House of Representatives
18 October 1962

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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– 1 desire to ask the Attorney-General a question. Does the Attorney-General still adhere to his statement of Tuesday, 9th October last, when in answer to a question I asked, and later in answer to one asked by the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labour Party, he said that he had not received a request from Mr. J. Kane or his legal representatives that the Commonwealth pay Mr. Kane’s legal costs incurred in his petition to the Court of Disputed Returns, until after the case had concluded? Is the Attorney-General aware that Mr. Kane is reported in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ of 29th September last as having said that he had communicated his request to the Attorney-General before the hearing of the case commenced? Will the Attorney-General say which of these statements is the truth?


– I do not know anything of the statement in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “. I know that what I said to the House was true. I, personally, was not approached until after the case had been heard.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior who, I understand, will be charged with the responsibility of determining the future of the land at George’s Heights, Mosman, after its release by the Department of the Army. Has the Minister received a communication from the president of the National Trust of Australia, Mr. Justice John H. Mcclemens, conveying the very commendable suggestion that the Commonwealth Government preserve the land as the commencement of the Royal Elizabeth National Park - the first Australian national park - and that its dedication be the occasion of a ceremony next year to mark the 175th anniversary of the foundation of Australia, coinciding with the visit of Her

Majesty the Queen? Will the Minister give this proposal favourable consideration and arrange for the necessary formalities to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, so that a dedication ceremony appropriate to the importance and significance of the occasion can be organized to take place during the Queen’s visit to Sydney?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Yes, I received a letter from Mr. Justice Mcclemens and I found his proposal most interesting. I must confess that I think there are rather more than formalities to be dealt with. I am not aware that the Commonwealth has any constitutional power to dedicate land for the purposes of a public park in New South Wales or indeed in any other State or anywhere other than in Commonwealth territory. I am examining the proposal. In any event, there will be discussions with the New South Wales Government about the future use of the land and I am quite sure that both the State Government and the Commonwealth Government will have the interests of the public at heart.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service, is supplementary to a question I asked last week about the abnormal delays caused by shipowners employing waterside labour on the Australian waterfront. Is the Minister aware that, since the 1961 amendments to the penal provisions of the stevedoring legislation, individual waterside workers have been fined the staggering amount of £660,511 17s. 3d. by the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority? Also, is it a fact that last Monday’s nation-wide protest stoppage brought further fines totalling £100,000-


-Order! We have started off this morning with two questions which were very long and which gave information. I ask honorable members to cooperate with the Chair, and to make their questions short and to the point.


– Also, is it a fact that during the same period of time the Stevedoring Industry Authority reported 277 cases of vessels delayed-


– Order! I think the honorable member is now giving information.


– Finally, then, can the Minister explain to the House why not one employer was fined under the provisions of the stevedoring industry legislation in respect of the 277 delayed vessels?

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

– The honorable gentleman has said that fines amounting to about £660,000 had been imposed, and that a second fine was imposed in respect of the stoppages last week. Those statements are not in accordance with fact. The amounts referred to were not fines at all. Some fines were imposed by the Commonwealth Industrial Court in respect of applications under section 109 in relation to the Waterside Workers’ Federation. However, the amounts referred to by the honorable gentleman do not represent fines, but the loss of attendance money and wages. The wages were lost because the men did not work. That is the simple fact. These stoppages were engineered by the Communists. There was no necessity for them. The union had the right to go to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. The Communists refused to do that because it is their constant goal to disrupt Australian trade. If the union cares to adopt this attitude it must take the consequences.

Mr. Wentworth. - Mr. Speaker, I rise to order. Honorable members opposite are interjecting in defence of the Communist Party. Can their names be recorded in “ Hansard “?


– There is no substance in the point taken. I ask honorable members who are interjecting to restrain themselves.


– The second part of the honorable gentleman’s question concerns the report of the Stevedoring Industry Authority on delays due to the failure of ships, mainly overseas tramp steamers, to comply with safety - loading and unloading - regulations under the Navigation Act. I am just as disturbed about the reports as is the honorable member. Subsequent to the asking of a question in this House, I informed my department that detailed information must be given to me as to the reason for each one of these stoppages. I am obtaining the relevant information, and as soon as I am in a posi tion to do something I will do it. The Minister for Shipping and Transport, with the assistance of the Attorney-General, has devised a new method by which prosecutions can be quickly launched against overseas shipping companies which do not comply with Australian safety navigation laws. I assure the honorable gentleman that this matter is under active consideration. As soon as I am able to inform the House of what we can do I shall be only too happy to make a statement.

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– I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is considerable concern in the northern part of New England lest the proposed Australian Broadcasting Commission television station on Mount Dowe may not effectively serve this area. The Minister has answered questions by honorable members from other parts of Australia who sought information about areas similar to this one. Can he now inform me whether, if it proves to be impossible to receive this station in parts of the area concerned, steps will be taken, by constructing translators or otherwise, to give an effective service?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The board realizes that in respect to both broadcasting and television, the New England area is difficult to service adequately. Tests have been carried out at various sites and it has been decided that the Upper Namoi station should be placed on Mount Dowe, but it is doubtful whether the whole of the New England area can be serviced from that station. The board and the department are continuing tests in other places to ascertain whether fresh services will ultimately have to be established in order to service the area properly. As the honorable member said, nothing is likely to transpire until the present proposed station commences operation. Attention has already been given to other sites - I think Ben Lomond is one - where it may be necessary later to establish further services. I can assure the honorable member that the board is aware of the problems, and they are under consideration now.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories. In view of the select committee’s recommendations for a majority-elected Legislative Council for Papua-New Guinea and of the Minister’s undertaking to place the recommendations before Cabinet, will he also, at the same time, take to Cabinet for consideration the proposals put forward by the Northern Territory Legislative Council for the constitutional reform of that body?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

- Mr. Speaker, as the honorable member very well knows, the report of the select committee of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory has already been placed before Cabinet and, subsequent to Cabinet discussions, it has been discussed with a delegation from the Northern Territory Legislative Council.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade. May I say, by way of preface, that the Honorable H. R. Lake, the New Zealand Minister for Finance, recently made a statement in New Zealand to the effect that while a customs union with Australia was not desirable there was no doubt that both Australia and New Zealand would benefit from coordinated development planning in certain industries. What efforts are being made by the Commonwealth Government to follow up this suggestion?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– No particular plans are In hand to follow up the suggestion, but following a visit which I made to New Zealand about two years ago there has been established a basis for continuous consultation between the two countries at both the ministerial and the official level. While I was in London with the Prime Minister I had discussions with the Prime Minister of New Zealand and with his Minister for Trade, who is his deputy. It was agreed that we should examine further the possibility of each, country aiding the other through trade. There will be further talks between the two countries early in the New Year, when this question will be examined. Australia will advance some constructive suggestions. We believe that we can contribute something towards programmes of industrialization in New Zealand, which would help New Zealand. We shall be interested to hear any suggestions that New

Zealanders may make reciprocally, although I may add that Australia has facilitated, aided and encouraged exports to this country from New Zealand. I mention forest products in particular.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that this Government is selling wheat to Communist China on a credit basis? If this is a fact, does the honorable gentleman agree that this indicates the Government’s complete confidence in the integrity of the Communists?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The answer is, “ No “. The Government is not making any sales of wheat to Communist China. The Government has established a marketing authority to sell the wheat, and the matter of making sales has always been left to the Australian Wheat Board.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to a meeting o£ job delegates called by the Trades Hall Council in Melbourne on 26th September last and the attendance at that conference of 84 men from the waterfront, without leave. After the disciplining of 72 of these men by the local representative of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority there was a 24-hour stoppage of the whole port of Melbourne from 8 a.m. on 3rd October. Certain union officers now claim-


– Order I ask the honorable member to shorten his question.


– Certain union officers now claim that the 24-hour stoppage was called at the direction of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I ask the Minister: Are there any facts to support this claim that the stoppage was called at the direction of the A.C.T.U.?


Mr. Speaker, anything that is said by Communist officials in justification of their action must always be treated with reservation, and this instance is no exception to the rule. It is true that the A.C.T.U. did suggest that there should be a meeting of job delegates on the date mentioned by the honorable gentleman, to consider, among other things, applications to the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission in respect of wages and long service leave. But we should all know that one of the most important objectives of the Communists is to disrupt Australian trade. We know, too, that in justification of their actions they will use any means that they can - truth, lies, half-truths or misrepresentation. In this case the A.C.T.U. did ask for a meeting of the delegates. In Sydney and in other ports ample notice was given by the port representatives of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, but in Melbourne it was only at 11 a.m. on the preceding day tha.t two rank and file waterside workers - not officials of the Melbourne branch of the federation - gave notice to the port authority that the men would not be working the next day. This was too late to permit the re-rostering of the men or to permit the authority to act effectively. I am certain that the A.C.T.U. is a highly responsible body and would not countenance action of that kind by a few Communists. In support of that I point out that notice was not given by the officials of the union but by two men who were A.W.L. Of course, when the office of the federation was rung, the secretary was compelled to confirm their action. So it is a complete distortion for the Communist officials to say that there was a direction by the A.C.T.U. I am certain that this organization would act responsibly and would not counsel this kind of action.

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– 1 ask the Minister for Primary Industry: Has the Minister noted the press report of yesterday’s date announcing the intention of a company, assisted by American capital, to engage in the manufacture of filled milk in a New South Wales country district? Can the Minister tell the House what filled milk is, and just what adverse effect this proposal could have on the already hard-pressed dairy industry? Does the Minister agree that filled milk could be a greater menace to dairymen than margarine?


– I have not seen the press report and I would be interested to obtain particulars of the proposal. There is an agreement backed by law between the Commonwealth and the States that filled milk is not to be manufactured in Australia, and I think that arrangement will prevail.

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– I ask the Minister for Territories what public reaction to the recent relaxation of liquor regulations as they apply to the indigenous population of Papua and New Guinea has been conveyed to him. Have any helpful proposals from temperance organizations been submitted? What kind of assistance for such organizations has been proposed?


– The honorable gentleman asks specifically what representations have been made to me as Minister. The only representations that have been made directly to me on the question of this Liquor (Temporary Provisions) Ordinance have come, rather unexpectedly, on something which was unforeseen. The legislation provides for the restriction of advertising for the encouragement of sales of liquor and, of course, it being Territory legislation, that restriction applies only to activities in the Territory. It has been pointed out, with some force, that an advertiser could take a full-page advertisment in a newspaper printed in Australia and circulating in the Territory which could not be subject to the restriction applying to advertisements printed in the Territory, whereas a local newspaper would be subject to the restriction. That is a matter which, I think, will require some attention; and it is receiving attention. Apart from that, no direct representations have been made to me, but reports from the Territory and from other places indicate that the legislation has been well received, and has been recognized as a necessary and useful step. Regarding the remainder of the honorable member’s question, I would say that the Government and the Administration are hoping that the temperance organizations, pairticularly those with long experience and knowledge of the techniques of temperance teaching, will apply themselves to the problem of inculcating the wise and moderate use of alcoholic liquors by the native people, and if any of the well-established organizations or churches will put to us a reasoned and technically competent compaign of temperance education the Administration will help to provide at least some of the funds for carrying out that educational campaign.

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– 1 ask the Minister for External Affairs: Did the Australian delegate to the United Nations recently vote for and urge a reduction of expenditure by the United Nations? Would such a reduction of expenditure involve also a reduction in the very worthwhile operations of United Nations agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and Unesco? Would a reduction of these activities be in the interests of humanity? Finally, what nations have failed to meet their obligations to the United Nations?


– As to the last part of the question, I mention the fact that the honorable member has had on the notice-paper a question which, if it has not been already answered, should be answered soon, because I have already settled the answer. He will then know what nations have not paid their way. As to the remainder of the question, the United Nations is in some financial difficulty, and if it is going to carry on worthwhile activities it will be necessary for it to do some good housekeeping. What we did at the United Nations was to say that very thing. We said that we thought that the time had come for a little more care in expenditure, and a little more selectivity in regard to the projects engaged in, and some regard for economy at the levels at which expenditures were made. This we did in the interests of the United Nations to see that it will continue to exist and continue to do worthwhile things.

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– I ask the Prime Minister what stage has been reached in the negotiations regarding the construction of the proposed Chowilla dam. Has the Commonwealth reached agreement with the States concerned, and if so, can the right honorable gentleman say when work on this project will begin?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I know that finality has not yet been reached in negotiations with the State of New South Wales. I have quite recently asked my colleague, the Minister for National Development, to inform me of the present state of the negotiations. As soon as I have the information I will be very happy to let the honorable member know the position.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority suspends waterside workers only when there is a surplus of labour in a port and cancels out their attendance money payments when there is a dearth of shipping and labour is not required? How can this practice be reconciled with statements made in this House about the Stevedoring Industry Authority by the Minister, and with his well-known love for the waterside workers?


– A fair answer to the first part of the honorable member’s question, Sir, is, “ No “.

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– Has the attention of the Attorney-General been directed to a statement made this week in a radio programme called “ Canberra on the Line “ that all appeals in the case of one Nicholls, who was charged with murder in Canberra, have been concluded? Was this statement based on fact?


– It is not true that all appeals have been concluded. The High Court of Australia has under reservation the last appeal, and the result has not yet been made known.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Will he examine the position with regard to crown land now held at Thursday Island for defence purposes, which is of considerable area and is not being used and not likely to be used, with a view- to having it released for home building? The release of this area would assist the local authorities in their administration of the area.

Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

– This is the first time that this matter has been brought to my attention. I will be very pleased to examine the honorable member’s suggestion.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. I understand the Minister is in charge of the soldier settlement scheme. Has any comparison been made between the conditions of soldier settlers who had not obtained property before, say, 1954, in the agent States and in the principal States? Are some of these soldier settlers now in considerable difficulty because of the fall in the price of wool and other primary products? Can the Minister arrange for an investigation to be made in order to compare what is happening in the agent and principal States, to see whether any further governmental action or recommendation is necessary?


– The answer is that I do not think a comparison can be made, because in the principal States the scheme has been taken over entirely by the State authorities, the Commonwealth contributing finance only by arrangement. In the agent States the Commonwealth is responsible for high policy decisions. The fall in the price of wool and other products has been taken into consideration, and the Government has been sympathetic in making assessments from year to year, so far as it is able, having regard to ruling prices and the possibilities of a reduction of them.

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– Is the Minister for Labour and National Service aware that the Australian Council of Trade Unions is preparing an intensive ‘ campaign for the introduction into Australia of a 35-hour week? Has the Government in mind any action to oppose this proposal which must have an extremely damaging effect on the nation’s cost structure and on our export industries? In any discussions on this matter, will the Minister bear in mind the results of recent public opinion polls which showed an overwhelming majority against any reduction in the 40-hour week?


– I can only comment with approval on the two statements made by the honorable gentleman, first, that overwhelmingly Australian public opinion is against a 35-hour week, and secondly, that if a 35-hour week were introduced it would do nothing but penalize Australia’s great export industries. As to the suggested campaign by the A.C.T.U., this organization has not yet lodged an application with the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for a 35-hour week. If it does, the Commonwealth Government will have to make up its mind about what action it will take. At this stage I should not like to forecast what the Government will decide to do.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that the domestic consumption of butter in Australia per head of population is about one-half the domestic consumption in New Zealand? Would not an increase in Australian domestic consumption of butter to the New Zealand level contribute much to lifting the prosperity of the dairy industry? What action has the Government in mind to promote home consumption of our butter?


– I do not remember the exact figures relating to the home consumption of butter in New Zealand and Australia but I do know that consumption in New Zealand is higher than it is in Australia. Margarine has been banned entirely in New Zealand and that, of course, has an effect on the consumption of butter.

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Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Is the Prime Minister aware that the Premier of South Australia regards him as a repudiationist and has stated publicly that the Prime Minister has repudiated his moral, legal and financial obligations to the South Australian Government in relation to the standardization agreement between the Commonwealth and the States? Does the Prime Minister know that the Premier of South Australia regards all the Liberal senators from that State as being incapable of representing their State’s interests? In any event, will the Prime Minister tell us what hope there is of the Commonwealth honouring-


– Order! The honorable member’s reference to the Senate is out of order.

Mr Wilson:

Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Hindmarsh has reflected upon senators from South Australia. I ask that his statements be withdrawn because they are contrary to the Standing Orders.


– Order! The honorable member for Hindmarsh is out of order in reflecting on senators from South Australia or even in referring to a current debate in the Senate. I ask him to withdraw the reflection. I remind him also that he may direct questions to the Prime Minister only on matters for which the right honorable gentleman is answerable to the House. In his question the honorable member is suggesting that the Prime Minister is answerable to the House for the conduct of the Premier of South Australia.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I withdraw the reflection on the senators. Actually, I was merely repeating what the Premier had said. Will the Prime Minister tell us how he is getting on with the Premier of South Australia in negotiations which, I understand


-Order! The honorable member is getting completely out of order. He should direct his question.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I understand that the Prime Minister has had conferences with the Premier of South Australia on the question of rail standardization. I want to hear the Prime Minister’s version of what happened at these conferences because already we have heard the Premier’s version of what happened.


Mr. Speaker, since >ou rule that this is a matter to do with my department, I will say that I have seen once in recent times the Premier of South Australia, with whose broad views I am quite familiar. He was in Canberra last week. We did not discuss the problem referred to by the honorable member. It is a little difficult for me to know why - at secondhand, admittedly, and whether truly or untruly - it is said that the South Australian Premier had said that I am a repudiationist and that the Constitution is violated. With respect to these moral and legal responsibilities, it is a great mistake to over-play one’s hand. The legal responsibilities were the subject of litigation in the High Court of Australia not so long ago, and I would have thought that even the honorable member for Hindmarsh would have known that the decision went in favour of the Commonwealth.

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Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. Can he tell the House whether the cholera outbreak in West New Guinea has been due to a break-down of quarantine controls on the part of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in that country? What measures have been taken to isolate the outbreak? Does the Minister know that it is vital that adequate controls be maintained on the coast to protect not only the people of all New Guinea, but also the animal population? Has the attention of the United Nations authorities been directed to the fact that some diseases such as foot and mouth disuse are spread as much by migrating birds as by animal contact, and to the fact that if controls are not established on the coast there may be some difficulty in persuading birds to respect the land border between eastern and western New Guinea?


– I heard of the cholera outbreak, and I was concerned about it and made inquiries. I cannot say with any degree of certainty what was the cause of it or whether it was due to any break-down of quarantine or other regulations. This disease, I understand, is carried by water, but I am not sure whether that was the way by which it arrived at the scene of the outbreak. However, on inquiry, I was told by the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority that the area had been isolated effectively and that it was not expected that the outbreak would spread. On the general question of quarantine, I answered a question asked of me a day or so ago. We are making the United Nations authorities alive to the risks and dangers of the kind that the honorable member has mentioned, and we have also taken steps to make the Indonesians alert to these things. As I said in my answer to the earlier question, this was done at the highest level. I myself took the opportunity to speak of the matter to the Indonesian Foreign Minister at some length and, I hope, to some point.

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Annual Report


– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. In view of the importance of the information normally provided for the Parliament in the annual reports of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, will the Minister inquire into the reasons why the report for the financial year 1961-62 is not yet available and see whether it can be presented before the debate on current legislation concerning the stevedoring industry is resumed next week?


– I have the report on my table this morning. I shall do what I can to see that it is presented to the House as soon as possible.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration. Is he aware that it was recently reported that nearly 250,000 European migrants have failed to become naturalized Australians and that this represents about 40 per cent, of the migrants eligible for naturalization after having lived in Australia for more than five years? Does the Minister consider that this is an unusually high figure and that it should give rise to any concern?

Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I do not think that the figure can be regarded as being, in the honorable member’s own words, unusually high. One can never be really satisfied, of course, and can never feel that one is doing enough to persuade people to become naturalized. But we must bear in mind that the last thing that any government would want to do would be to introduce some element of compulsion in our persuasions or inducements to migrants to adopt Australian citizenship.

The honorable gentleman may remember that not so long ago - I think it was only about a fortnight ago - I tabled a statutory return which showed that for the last year the rate of naturalization was a record. I would also remind him that although, as he says, the number of those entitled to assume Australian citizenship is approaching a quarter of a million - I think in round figures it is 240,000 - nonetheless, again in round figures, 47,000 of those eligible are minors, that is to say, children under the age of sixteen years. So, when we look at it overall, the situation is really not so grave as some people may think.

The honorable gentleman may also be interested to know that the Australian figures, in this respect, compared with those of other migrant-receiving countries, are very good indeed. Although, as I said at the beginning, one is never satisfied with the progress being made, nonetheless, I think that so long as we preserve this persuasive influence, pointing out to people the virtues of becoming naturalized and the advantages of citizenship, we shall proceed on a far more satisfying road to them - and to us- - than we would if we wielded a big stick, as it were, and introduced some suggestion of force or compulsion in having others adopt what, after all, to us in Australia must be one of our greatest prizes - our own citizenship.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Repatriation. Is it a fact that there is no doctor available in Grace Building, York-street, Sydney, to attend to ex-servicemen pensioners who may become ill during the day? Is it a fact that if these people complain of feeling ill, they are told to report to their local repatriationdoctor? If so, does the Minister not think that a doctor should be available to attend to ex-servicemen who may suddenly fall ill while visiting the department?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– It is not correct to say that doctors are not available at my department in Grace Building, Sydney. From memory, I should say there are at least twenty medical officers on duty there all day and every week day. If an emergency arises, patients can receive immediate attention at the out-patients’ clinic. However, a case may arise that is being attended to by a local medical officer, and it may be referred back to him in the circumstances. I can assure the honorable member that if an emergency arises in the building while an ex-servicemen is there for attention, he can receive medical treatment at the cutpatients’ clinic.

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– 1 address my question to the Minister for Territories. Has the attention of the Minister been directed to a newspaper report stating that New Guinea natives are seeking a rise in wages so that they may purchase alcoholic drinks under the provisions of the recent act? Can the Minister say whether this is true or whether it is just an illustration of unfortunate journalism?


– 1 have not seen the newspaper report. I think the customary situation in any community where people can freely express their ideas is that people are always on the lookout to find some grounds on which they can make a claim for increased income. I would imagine that if a claim were based solely on the proposition that more money was needed to buy drink, the tribunal would be rather unresponsive.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. 1 understand that a broadcast listeners’ licence is available at a reduced fee to persons living in fringe reception areas. Will the PostmasterGeneral consider giving a similar concession to the holders of television viewers’ licences in areas where the reception is not good?


– It is correct that in certain areas where reception is relatively poor, a reduced rate applies to radio licences. The proposal that this should apply also to television licences has been voiced from time to time, but the stage of development of television which would enable us to determine with some exactitude just where such zones exist has not yet been reached. Until it is reached we do not propose to do anything about this matter.

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

– by leave - Last evening, I am told, the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) raised two matters. He first questioned the adequacy or propriety of my answer to a question of his on notice. He also took the occasion to make some fairly considerable personal reflections on me. May I inform the House of the question and the answer and of the practice I have been following for some time in answering such questions? I was asked by the honorable, member to give the date of incorporation or registration of a public company in Canberra, to say who were the directors and shareholders, and to furnish a copy of the memorandum and articles of association. My answer was to give the honorable member the. date of registration and to inform him that he could obtain the balance of the information from the public register.

I have had over the past few months quite a spate of questions from honorable members - not always from the one side of the House - seeking information that is readily available to them in the Library or in public documents. I have taken the course of instructing the two departments I have the honour to administer that, in preparing draft answers for me, where a question seeks information that is readily available to honorable members in public documents the draft answer should furnish the honorable member with a proper reference to where he will find the material, even to the extent of giving the page number. I have been doing this for some considerable time. Indeed the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) some months ago asked me in a question on notice to give him the text of a United Nations resolution, and on that occasion 1 gave him the reference to the papers in the Library where he could obtain the text. He had a discussion with me and I told him then that I would follow this course of giving honorable members the reference so that they could look up the information for themselves.

Neither department that I administer has an adequate staff. The staff of each of them is very sorely over-taxed and have not the spare time to be looking up and copying out documents that are available to honorable members in the Library or elsewhere. Particularly as I have consistently taken this course I thought it right to take this opportunity to say that it is the course I propose to continue to follow. I think the. practice of the House of Commons is that a question which seeks information that is in an accessible document is out of order. I do not go so far as that. I am content to have my departments find the references and give them to honorable members.

I would like to touch briefly on the other aspect of the matter. The honorable member for Grayndler for some reason I do not quite understand - but then I do not understand his mind - made the suggestion that my purpose in giving him an answer in this form was to shield a company which had been engaged in nefarious practices to my knowledge and that probably I was a sharebolder. I want to say nothing as to the depths to which this House can be dragged. That can be discussed elsewhere, or even here, perhaps, at a later stage. But I think it only right that I should say that I know nothing of this company. I had1 never heard of it until I saw it mentioned on the noticepaper. I still know nothing about it. I have had no association with it nor any interest in it. If I thought more of the honorable member I would ask him for an apology.


– by leaveI thank the House for granting me leave to make a statement on the subject on which tie Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) has spoken. I did not know that the Minister was going to mention this matter, which I discussed with him some months ago. I should make it plain that my attitude was as follows: Although it was true that members could, one at a time, because there was only one copy available in the Library, find out the text of resolutions passed in the United Nations General Assembly and its various committees, 1 thought it would be valuable to have the various texts published in a convenient form and at a relevant time. Furthermore, I thought that they should be as readily available to members and to the public as are other documents presented to us - at least 60 statutory reports a year, besides scores of government periodicals and “ Hansard “ itself.

In this matter, the Minister for External Affairs has departed from the practice of his two predecessors during my time in the House. Those predecessors were Lord Casey, as he now is, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). Each of those gentlemen gave the text of, and the voting on, those United Nations resolutions which concerned Australia. I must confess that I place a fair number of questions on the noticepaper. I concentrate on asking questions for the purpose of securing information which has not yet been given to the House, or which would not otherwise be given to the House. I ask such questions with the deliberate purpose that this information should be as readily available to all members at the one time, or to the public as a whole, as are public documents which have to be given to the House under statute, or which departments voluntarily publish. I adhere to the opinion which I expressed to the Minister that it is far too difficult, in this country, to ascertain what is said by Australian representatives in international organizations and conferences, and to ascertain how they vote. This is partly because of deficiencies of press reporting, and partly because of the attitude of the Government. It is no adequate answer to say that this information is contained in public documents which are available - one copy only - in the Library to members of Parliament only. It is not possible for interested members to find this information during the time which elapses between the introduction of a bill, or the making of a statement, and the commencement of the ensuing debate. I make no comment on the other matters. I believe that members are entitled to as full, prompt and ready information on the conduct of the country’s affairs in international bodies as they are given under statute or voluntarily as internal matters.


– by leave- I listened with interest to the statement of the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) relative to the matter that I raised on the motion for the adjournment last night. It is not my fault that he was not here to defend himself as be should have been before the House adjourned. I am not satisfied with the explanation given by the Minister relative to his method of answering questions. I asked a question about a company in connexion with which, I have reason to believe, certain things are taking place which should be revealed to the public. The Minister, who has a huge staff and private secretaries, gave me a reply telling me to go to the office of the Registrar of Companies in Canberra and find out what I wanted to know. I think that that answer displayed complete contempt for the question of an honorable member.

I do not personally want to know the answer to this question; I want the people of this country to know it. I want to know whether the Attorney-General is prepared to give information on this company to the public, not merely to tell me how I can get it from a certain source so that it will never be publicly revealed. I do not accept the statement which the Minister has just made on this subject. His responsibility is to give to the Parliament the fullest information. Whenever he tells me, in reply to a question, that I ought to look something up for myself 1 will raise the matter in this House.

He mentioned that I had made certain reflections on him. What other interpretation can be placed on the fact that a member is given a deliberately evasive answer to a question on the notice-paper? I did not say that the Minister was a shareholder in the company concerned. Somebody interjected that he was a shareholder andI said, “ He may be “. I did not say that he was.


– Order! I ask the honorable member not to pursue thatline.


– The answer supplied to my question was deliberately evasive. The Minister has no right continually to refer us to documents when we ask him a question. This company will be well in the news in time to come. When we ask the Minister for information that should be brought to light concerning any company or organization which engages in a particular kind of practice, the information sought could be kept hidden by the giving of answers of this type. This is not good enough. If I thought more of the Minister I, too, would ask for an apology.

page 1681


Motion (by Mr. Townley) - by leave - agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) each speaking on the motion to print the Ministerial Statement on the Prime Ministers’ Conference and the Common Market for a period not exceeding 45 minutes.

page 1681


In Committee of Ways and Means: Consideration resumed from 9th October (vide page 1261) on motion by Mr. Harold Holt - 1.- (1.) That, in this Resolution . . . (vide page 1257).

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolution adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Townley and Mr. Swartz do prepare and bring in a bill to carry out the foregoing resolution.

Bill presented by Mr. Townley, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Motion (by Mr. Townley) proposed -

That the bill be now read a second time.

Melbourne Ports

Mr. Speaker, I move -

That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “ this House condemns this proposal which although it provides for a 5 per cent. reduction of taxation, does so on an inequitable flat rate basis which fails to extend an adequate share of the reduction to taxpayers with dependants and taxpayers with small incomes, and is of opinion that legislation to correct this injustice should be introduced immediately “.

I wish to give in some detail the reason why the Opposition is taking this step. It will be remembered that one of the emergency measures taken by the Government after the last election was what was effectively, on an annual basis, a 5 per cent. reduction in income tax rates applying to individuals, commencing at the beginning of March and continuing to the end of June. The first impact of that measure was that people whose tax is paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly by means of regular deductions from salary, received an immediate increase in their weekly pay envelopes because the tax deduction was so much less; and the illusion was created that the rate of deduction in that four months period would continue thereafter. Of course that was not so, and at the end of the financial year on 30th June, 1962, that schedule lapsed. The present proposal wlll extend the 5 per cent. reduction in taxation over the financial year ending30th June, 1963.

The reason given by the Government for making that reduction was that it would stimulate expenditure in the community. In terms of an aggregate collection of income from individuals, tax of some £600,000,000, a 5 per cent. reduction of income tax rates means a fall in revenue of £30,000,000. That is, £30,000,000 more is left in the hands of the taxpayers, and this additional money circulating in the community is supposed to stimulate the economy. That argument might be all right if one ignored just how the reduction of taxation is distributed among various sections of the community. A sum of £30,000,000 sounds a lot, but when we realize that it is distributed among 4,000,000-odd taxpayers it is not a very great sum per taxpayer if one averages it out. But to average it out is not to give a proper picture of the facts.

I bring to the notice of the House the statistics contained in the report of the Commissioner of Taxation. On this occasion the Commissioner has chosen to present his report in two parts, one dealing with administration and other matters, as such, and the other part giving taxation statistics for the year 1959-1960. The distribution of income tax in Australia for the year ended 30th June, 1959, is indicated there. That is the last year for which such figures are available, but although they relate to the position three years ago the proportions given are still largely relevant. At page 17 of that document it is shown that, in round numbers, there were 4,000,000-odd taxpayers, but the income distribution among the taxpayers is not very even. I have broken the figures down into four bands of income. The first band of income covers the range from the minimum taxable income, £105 a year, to £700 a year. An income of £700 a year is, in round figures, £13 10s. a week, so the first band comprises those taxpayers whose income is £13 10s. a week or less; and they number 1,412,000 in round figures, and constitute some 35 per cent, of all taxpayers. They receive an aggregate taxable income of £547,000,000, or 174 per cent, of all taxable incomes, and they pay an aggregate tax amounting to £25,700,000, or 6.8 per cent, of all taxation. When you reduce taxation by 5 per cent, you include this group which represents 35 per cent, of the total number of taxpayers, but pays only about one-sixteenth of the total tax that is collected. Thus more than one-third of all the taxpayers share the 5 per cent, reduction, but only in relation to one-sixteenth of the total tax paid. Therefore, the weekly reduction of tax to those taxpayers is very small indeed. Later I shall indicate how this reduction works out on a weekly basis. I ask honorable members to cogitate what effect a measure of this kind can have in stimulating the economy.

The second band of income comprises a majority of the bread-winners in the community - those whose incomes fall between £700 a year, or £13 10s. a week, and £1,300 a year, or £25 a week. When it is borne in mind that the average weekly wage in Australia at present is somewhere in the region of £22 a week we find we have included virtually the whole of our skilled labour force by the time we have reached this ceiling. In this group there are 1,887,000 taxpayers, or 46.8 per cent, of the total number. Between them that group of taxpayers have an aggregate taxable income of nearly £1,400,000,000, or 44 per cent, of all taxable income. They pay £118,000,000 in tax, or 3H per cent, of the total tax collected. In the next income group, ranging from £25 a week to £29 a week - taxpayers receiving from £1,300 to £1,500 a year - there are 260,000 taxpayers, or 64 per cent, of the total number. The aggregate taxable income of that group is £267,000,000, or 8.5 per cent, of all taxable income, and these people pay nearly £30,000,000 in tax, or about 8 per cent, of the total. Together these three groups comprise 88 per cent, of all taxpayers. In other words, nearly nine of every ten taxpayers have incomes of £29 a week or less. In the aggregate these taxpayers contribute £174,000,000 in tax, or 46 per cent, of all tax paid Thus the effect of a 5 per cent, reduction in tax is that nine of every ten taxpayers share among them the same amount of reduction that is enjoyed by the fortunate one-tenth of the taxpayers whose incomes are over £1,500 a year. That highlights the inequity of this kind of reduction.

We of the Opposition feel that the tax structure of Australia should be contemplated a bit more realistically. On an annual basis this tax reduction in the case of an individual receiving £700 a year, or £13 10s. a week - fortunately there is not a great number of family people in Australia who have incomes as low as that, although there are still some - means that a single man receiving £700 a year pays £53 15s., or more than £1 a week, in income tax; and a married taxpayer on the some income pays £34 4s. a year in tax. In other words, the difference between the tax paid by a married man and that paid by a single man on an income of £700 is about £19 a year. I do not know whether a married man is expected to keep his wife on £19 a year. I cannot see the logic in a tax structure of this sort. However, that is the difference between the income tax paid by a married man and that paid by a single man on that rate of income. If the married taxpayer on that income has a single child his tax is reduced from £34 4s. to £23 8s.; and if he has two children it is reduced to £16 7s.

I ask, hypothetically, and as a question for contemplation, whether anybody thinks there is much justice in a tax structure under which a married man with a wife and two children, earning £13 10s. a week, still pays £16 7s., or nearly 6s. a week in income tax. 1 do not think a person in those circumstances should pay any income tax. If you reduce his tax by 5 per cent, you reduce it from £16 7s. to £15 lis., giving him a benefit of 16s. over the whole year. Can that be regarded as giving any stimulus to the economy? As a tax reduction it borders on the ridiculous if it is supposed to serve the purpose which the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) implied it would serve when he announced the reductions in February or March of this year. And so it applies through the whole of the tax structure. Even if we take the end of our scale - the band I have chosen to use as the dividing line, an income of £1,500 a year or £29 a week - we find that a single taxpayer with that income prior to this reduction would have paid £225 16s. 8d. in income tax. That will be reduced by 5 per cent., which is £1 1 5s. a year or some 4s. a week. If the taxpayer at that level has a wife and two children his tax liability is not £225 16s. but £149 16s., or approximately £150. To him a 5 per cent, reduction means £7 9s. per annum, or about 3s. a week. What sort of stimulus is given to the community if a married man with two children is given only an additional 3s. a week? That is the import to him of a flat 5 per cent, tax reduction.

I suggest that the income tax structure in Australia at present contains great inequities so far as family groups are concerned and it is time that such anomalies were looked at systematically. Honorable members heard a reference” yesterday by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) to some new committee that is to be set up for the purpose of examining the structure of the economy, but he did not mention any fundamental examination of the’ equity of taxation as it affects various sections of the community. It will be remembered that a couple of years ago a taxation committee that had been set up made recommendations which went to the root of certain taxdodging devices being applied in this country. One of the purposes of a progressive income tax structure is to avoid disparities between the rich and the poor, and that committee pointed to certain devices which could only be taken advantage of by people in favorable economic circumstances, lt has been estimated that those devices are costing the community some £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 a year. Perhaps that is not a very large amount, but when one realizes that it is spread over a very small part of the community, one sees an anomaly that does need some rectification. The taxation committee made its recommendations nearly two years ago, but nothing has been done about them.

I suggest that there are at least two points that should be made. The first is that a committee appointed by the Government has already made certain recommendations but no action has been taken. The other concerns a far more substantial section of the community, the family groups, which all honorable members, when it suits them, claim are the basis of the welfare of the nation. At the moment those family groups are suffering from the inequities of a tax structure which, in many respects, has remained unmodified for something like fifteen or sixteen years, during which inflation in Australia has raged more than in any other similar period in our history. That inflation has greatly distorted the monetary sums on which many of the income tax concessions are based.

I have reflected before in this chamber on the sort of logic that gives a taxpayer with a wife, irrespective of his income, a deduction from his income tax liability of £143, or about £2 15s. a week. Such an amount has no relation to any economic reality at all. Does any one imagine that a married man can support a wife on £2 15s.? I think most honorable members are married and I am sure their wives have ideas different from that. Regarding the £143 merely as a tax concession, one sees that the wealthier the taxpayer the greater is the benefit derived. There seems to be no logic in that sort of proposition. At one end of our social scale about £280,000,000 is being distributed in the form of social service benefits - age and invalid pensions, child endowment and the like.

Right in the middle of the taxation structure there exists provision for concessions which, according to the last statistical report available, mean that £820,000,000 of taxable income- almost one-quarter of total taxable income - is free of tax. It can be calculated roughly that those concessions cost the Government some £200,000,000 in revenue. In many respects such concessions run in a direction opposite to that in which the progressive income tax structure is supposed to point. I suggest again that this sort of inequity calls for some legislative adjustment. Virtually the only adjustments that have been made in concessions in recent years have been that in respect of the payment of school fees by taxpayers, and that in respect of the payment of insurance premiums.

Many years ago, the allowable maximum deduction in respect of insurance premiums was £100. It later rose to £200 and is now £400. How many people have the financial capacity to pay something like £8 a week in insurance premiums? What limited section of the community enjoys this concession? On the other hand, there has been virtual stagnation in respect of Oe concessions that apply to the majority of taxpayers. The concessional deductions for a married taxpayer with a dependent wife and children have improved very slowly indeed. The improvement has been slower than the rate at which the value of money has fallen during the Government’s term of office. All these things have created anomalies and inequities in the principal taxation field.

I am not going to argue here to-day just what an equitable tax structure ought to be. That would be an exercise perhaps a little too technical and perhaps, in the circumstances, somewhat tedious also. Nevertheless, I suggest that it is one of the matters which call for serious attention in Australia. 1 direct the attention of the House to a report in the “ Taxpayers Bulletin “, a weekly publication of the Taxpayers Association which is sent to all members of parliament as part of the services provided by that organization. It is an admirable publication in many ways. In its issues of 29th September and 6th October the bulletin printed in some detail the text of the presidential address delivered by Professor Downing of the University of Melbourne to the 75th congress of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science held in Sydney last August. His paper was titled, “ Reforming the Australian Tax System “. Unfortunately, I have not had time since my return to Australia to study the report as fully as I should like. As reported in the “ Taxpayers Bulletin “ Professor Downing said -

Tax reform is not a popular subject. What people want is tax relief. However, they are not prepared to accept the particular reductions of public expenditures on works and services which would, in normal post-war economic circumstances, have to accompany tax reductions. Tax relief is available, therefore, only through tax reforms which might spread the burden of taxes more equitably, and reduce the undesirable side-effects of taxes designed to achieve other, desirable effects.

I suggest that those words are very pertinent, and 1 hope that honorable members will study the suggestions made by Professor Downing in this paper. I would not necessarily agree with some of the propositions advanced, but at least the professor has tried to grapple with the problem. He at least sees the problem, which is more than this Government does. After all, if the Government saw the problem as he does, it would never have come down with this piffling device now before us - not only piffling in its effect, but also inequitable and insulting to the vast majority of the people. Clearly it is only continued as a political device, which was made to appear better in February, 1962, than it was. Now the Government is rather ashamed to take it away in the new financial year. Instead of using this device the Government should have grappled with the problem that needs to be grappled with - the inequities and anomalies that undoubtedly exist in the income tax structure. That is why 1 have moved the amendment.


– Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Uren:

– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak later.


– The question is-

That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.


.- I want to refer, briefly, to four items which are subject to deductions under the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Act. The first concerns medical and dental expenses. These expenses are not incurred by taxpayers simply for the purpose of receiving the benefit of a concessional deduction; they are incurred of necessity. It is not realistic to apply a limit to the amount of deduction which may be claimed in any one year. I believe that having a limit on the concession denies help to taxpayers at the time when they need it most. The cost of implementing a change in this direction would not be great, and the change would remove a cause of dissatisfaction to many people.

My sentiments are exactly the same with respect to the concession for education expenses. These also are not incurred by taxpayers merely so that they can claim a tax deduction. I believe that the Government should give the greatest possible assistance to taxpayers in that direction. A taxpayer should be entitled to claim, as a concessional deduction, the full amount that he spends to educate his children.

Mr Duthie:

– Hear, hear!


– I now come to the third item to which I wished to refer. I shall probably get another “ Hear, hear “ from the Opposition Whip (Mr. Duthie) for my reference to this matter. I, together with, no doubt, a number of other honorable members, received a letter from the Tasmanian Dental Mechanics and Dental Employees Association concerning an apparent anomaly in the administration of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Act. The act states that the cost of dentures is not allowed as a concessional deduction for income tax purposes unless the dentures were manufactured by a qualified dentist. The reason is, apparently, that in five of the six States dental mechanics are not regarded as qualified to manufacture dentures. Some years ago, however, the Tasmanian Government passed legislation providing for the recognition of dental mechanics as being legally qualified to manufacture dentures. In these circumstances I believe the provisions of the Commonwealth legislation should be altered so as to entitle Tasmanian taxpayers to claim, as a concessional deduction, the cost of dentures manufactured in that State by dental mechanics.

The last matter to which I wish to refer concerns the age allowance. Some years ago this Government introduced the age allowance to correct an anomaly that existed at that time affecting persons of pensionable age who continued in their employment and did not claim the age pension. If this allowance had not been introduced the position would be that some pensioner couples to-day would be entitled to enjoy incomes of £17 10s. a week free of income tax, while a married man over 65 years of age who continued to work and received the same income would have to pay income tax. As a result of the introduction of the age allowance, a taxpayer of pensionable age may claim an age allowance of £455, and if his wife is over 60 years of age he may claim an allowance of £910 for a year, being the equivalent of £17 10s. a week. If his income exceeds £17 10s. a week, he pays 9s. in the £1 on the amount by which his income exceeds £910 for the year. This allowance was intended to place such a man on the same basis as a pensioner with respect to income tax.

I believe, however, that an anomaly still exists. For example, let us take the case of a married couple, the husband being 66 years of age and the wife 58, or any age below 60 years. The husband may be earning £7 a week, and as the couple’s assets, for the purposes of this example, do not exceed £200, the Department of Social Services will pay the husband a pension of £5 5s. a week, giving the couple an income of £12 5s. a week free of income tax. The reason for this is that the Department of Social Services deems the income of £7 a week to belong in equal parts to the husband and the wife. As the husband’s share of this, £3 10s., is not greater than the permissible additional income, for the purposes of assessing eligibility for pension, he is entitled to the full pension of £5 5s. This gives the couple an income of £12 5s. a week free of income tax. But let us assume that the man continues to work and earns, say, £20 a week. His age allowance is worth £8 15s. - as against the £12 5s. that was received free of tax - and b: pays 9s. in the £1 on £1 1 5s. or such lesser amount as may be assessed by the Taxation Branch if he had not applied for the age allowance and had been entitled to normal concessional deductions. I point out here that the Taxation Branch never allows the age allowance provision to operate to the disadvantage of a taxpayer.

If we are to place the person who relieves the Government of the payment of an age pension on the same basis as a pensioner, then I believe that in this instance the person concerned should be entitled to an age allowance of £12 5s. a week and not £8 15s.

The items to which 1 have referred are comparatively minor in themselves. The acceptance of my suggestions would not have a very great effect on revenue, but would, I believe, help to eliminate anomalies that are now causing annoyance to a number of people. I hope the Treasurer will give my suggestions some consideration between now and the time when the next budget is being prepared.


.- 1 join with my colleague, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), in supporting the amendment, which was in the following terms: -

That all words after “ That “ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “ this House condemns this proposal which although it provides for a 5 per cent, reduction of taxation, does so on an inequitable Hil rate basis which fails to extend an adequate share of the reduction to taxpayers with dependants and taxpayers with small incomes, and is of opinion that legislation to correct this injustice should be introduced immediately “.

This reduction of income tax was one of the measures adopted by the Government in an attempt to relieve the distress caused by its economic measures of February, 1960. When the legislation was brought in, in an effort to give some stimulus to the economy, we condemned it. We said that the Government was going the wrong way about achieving its announced objective, and that it was simply giving a hand-out to the wealthy elements that support the Government. We said that the needy section of the community would get no benefit from the legislation.

We know that of the 4,000,000 taxpayers, approximately, in Australia, about 90 per cent., in the middle and lower income brackets, will receive, as a result of this taxation reduction, only about £14,400,000 of the amount of £30,000,000 that the Treasurer has said the reduction will cost the revenue this financial year. At the same time, about 400,000 taxpayers in the top income brackets will receive £15,600,000. This section of the community already has sufficient wealth. This measure will not provide the economy with the necessary stimulus and it will not result in the elimination of unemployment.

Let us examine the proposal still further. About 37,500 taxpayers, or 0.7 per cent, of the total number, earn more than £4,000 a year. These people will receive 25 per cent, of the total benefit. They will, in fact, receive £7,500,000 between them. On the other hand, 1,800,000 taxpayers in the family group earning between £1,000 and £1,500 will get only £7,500,000 of the total amount. If you want to look at the real plums in this hand-out, you will find that there are 44 people who will receive more than £2,000 a year each. Just imagine iti In this community of ours 44 people will receive, as a gift from the Treasurer, £2,000 each year to help them to struggle along. This is utter stupidity.

We know that, as the Government boasts, savings accounts are at a higher and healthier level to-day than ever before in the history of Australia. We also know that this is because the wealthy keep their money in the banks. We should make sure that we give this money to the section of the community that will spend it and make it circulate.

We shall stimulate the economy and wipe off the Australian scene this scar of 76,000 registered unemployed only by giving financial assistance to the people who really need it.

The Government should be putting into effect Labour’s proposals as enunciated during the last election campaign. We claimed that the economy would be stimulated if child endowment for the first child were increased from 5s. to 10s., for the second child from 10s. to 17s. 6d., and for third and subsequent children from 10s. to £1. This would put an additional £66,000,000 a year into circulation. It is interesting to see just how little the family group to which I have referred will receive under the proposed tax rebate and to compare that with what the family group would receive under Labour’s proposal. An examination of the report of the Commissioner of Taxation will reveal in a simple and straightforward manner that the group earning between £800 and £1,500 a year - that is, between £15 10s. a week and £29 a week - has 66 per cent, of all first dependent children and 69 per cent, of second and subsequent dependent children. If the Government had accepted Labour’s proposals, this group would have received £44,000,000 of the £66,000,000 that I have already mentioned. This would have been an added stimulus to the economy. This would have been a more realistic approach to the problem of unemployment because additional money would have been put into the hands of the needy section of the community.

The family group to which I have referred has the responsibility of feeding, clothing and educating its children while this guilty Government of inflation has created a pool of unemployed. At the same time, the Government has continued its hand-outs to that section of the community which it wants to keep on side. The Government is greasing the palms of its friends. The 5 per cent, tax rebate is a kind of blackmail. The needy section of the community is the economically depressed family group, particularly the group in the £800 to £1,500 a year income bracket.

What about the other needy section of the community - the pensioners? What relief or assistance will the pensioners receive from the 5 per cent, tax rebate - this £30,000,000 which the Government claims will stimulate the economy? All honorable members on the Government side know that the 10 per cent, of incomeearners to which I have referred will receive £15,600,000 in tax rebate, but this amount will not stimulate the economy. It will merely stimulate that group’s bank accounts. Statistics prove that bank deposits to-day are higher than they ever have been. The Government will not solve its economic problems by granting a flat 5 per cent, tax rebate. The way to solve them is to give financial assistance to the needy family group to which I have referred.

Let me mention now in greater detail the effect on the pensioner group of the Government’s proposal. During the election campaign Labour said that it would increase the pension rate by 5s. a week and the supplementary rent assistance to 30s. a week, and that it would widen the ambit of this assistance to include a greater number of pensioners than is the case at present. Under Labour’s proposal some pensioners would have received an increase of 5s. a week, others 25s. a week and still others 35s. a week. I do not claim that our proposal could not be bettered. I believe that even we shall have to do more than we proposed for this needy section, because unless we give them some financial assistance in the very near future they will become a liability on the economy. Give them money because immediately they receive it they will spend it! By this means the pensioners will play their part in stimulating the economy and wiping off the Australian scene the scar of 76,000 registered unemployed.

Think of the many national developmental works that have to be undertaken. All that is needed is a change of government so that Australia will have correct leadership. Labour will give that leadership. Labour will stimulate the economy by assisting the needy family group, which has the bulk of dependent children, and by assisting the pensioners. The Government’s proposal will not assist any one except the very wealthy. The rebate is just a hand-out to its wealthy friends to keep them on side. The Government is greasing their palms. Give Labour a little more time and eventually we shall solve Australia’s problems. We believe that our amendment to the resolution should be supported by all honorable members.


– The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) has said in effect that if Labour were in office everything would be all right. Labour has had several terms of office since federation. Why did it not introduce better legislation than has been introduced by its opposing parties? The 5 per cent, tax rebate which has been mentioned, and in connexion with which an amendment has been proposed, is only a sideline. Labour’s attitude is fundamental to its policy of socialism. This is only a question of socialism versus a private enterprise government because, according to what has been said by Labour members and according to what I know of Labour’s policy, if Labour attained office it would introduce socialism and the incomes of the community would be levelled out.

In effect, Labour is protesting because some people in Australia have higher incomes than have others. If this were not the case the protest which is embodied in the amendment would not have been necessary. What happens when income tax is reduced? Some people receive a larger reduction than do others because the rebate is based on income. Surely to goodness, the Opposition must be fair. During our history we have had reductions and increases in income tax. What happens when income tax is increased? When income tax is increased the effect on the low income earner is very slight, but the effect on the high income earner in some instances is gigantic. The whole assessment is on a percentage basis. That is a fundamental principle of the system of taxation.

Labour’s protest is directed not to the 5 per cent, rebate but to achieving some approval in this House for Labour’s policy of socialism. I could not state the position more clearly than that because every one who has had anything to do with Labour policy or who has sat in this place for a good number of years and has understood what Labour really wants knows that if Labour attained office its first object would be to introduce socialism. Immediately Labour got the opportunity it would put out of business the men who are earning large incomes. As these include many of the employers in this country - employers who plough their earnings back into industry and production - such a policy would create widespread unemployment.

I do not want to devote too much time to this aspect because every one has appreciated the 5 per cent, reduction in taxation. Honorable members opposite must realize that the policy cuts both ways. If taxation rises, the earner of a small income is affected very little and the man with a big income is affected very much. When the opposite takes place, it is still calculated on a percentage basis. I should like members of the Australian Labour Party to explain what they really want. I should like them to come out in the open and not to try to hide behind an amendment such as that which we now have before us. I ask them to come out in the open on this issue, just as they come out in the open after an election sometimes. They say then that Labour believes in socialism, although they never do so when they are contesting an election.


.- I should like briefly to answer the remarks made by the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull). Labour believes in direct taxation as opposed to indirect taxation. That is the first principle of the Labour movement. Furthermore, we believe in direct taxation on a sliding scale. The man who can afford to pay should pay, and the man who cannot afford to pay should not have to pay. That is basic Labour policy. We state it now and it has been stated as election policy. This Government has raised the sales tax levy, which was £37,000,000 a year at the time when Labour went out of office, to £166,000,000 now. Such an increase in this sort of tax represents a vicious stab in the back for the people on low incomes. The pensioner pays exactly the same as the rich man pays.

We have before us now a measure which provides us with another example of the effects of this Government’s administration. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), supported by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) in one of his best speeches, has placed before the House with great emphasis our view of the effects of the 5 per cent, rebate of income tax, which will give the basic-wage earner a benefit of about 6d. a week and 44 rich people throughout the country £2,000 a year. Nobody with any sense of justice would say that this represents just administration of the tax laws. We believe in adjustments of tax rates being made on a sliding scale in such a way as to ensure that the people in all income groups receive approximately the same benefit.

The honorable member for Henty (Mr. Fox) has mentioned the situation with respect to dental mechanics in Tasmania and the grave injustice being done, in respect of tax deductions, to people in that State who seek the assistance of dental mechanics. Tasmania is the only State, as the honorable member said, in which dental mechanics are officially recognized by law for the supply of dentures. The relevant State legislation was passed about three years ago. What happens when a person who has paid fees to a dental mechanic comes to complete his income tax return? Many people pay a dental mechanic £40 or £50 in one year, as I have often done. I have been availing myself of the services of dental mechanics for years. One is not allowed to claim such expenditure as a tax deduction, because the Taxation Branch of the Treasury does not recognize dental mechanics, although they are recognized under State law in Tasmania. I have been fighting for the last two years to have them recognized by the Commonwealth, and many honorable members have now come to my support. We are thinking not so much of the dental mechanics as of the ordinary people whom they serve. The dental mechanics are doing an excellent job and the Tasmanian law is working very well indeed. Relations between those whom we may describe as the professional dentists and the dental mechanics are good. In fact, under the Tasmanian law, a professional dentist must inspect the mouth of a person before a dental mechanic can supply dentures. However, this is only a formality.

Last year, approximately 10,000 sets of teeth were supplied by dental mechanics in Tasmania, and hundreds of people have been denied tax deductions in respect of expenditure on dentures supplied by dental mechanics. So honorable members will realize that a great many people are suffering injustice merely because the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) will not recognize dental mechanics under Commonwealth law. Only a slight alteration of Commonwealth law in one respect would be required to allow people who avail themselves of the services of dental mechanics to claim tax deductions for the expenditure so made.

The present situation, Mr. Speaker, operates against the interests of dental mechanics and the people generally rather viciously in one respect. A dentist can tell a patient that if he goes to a dental mechanic he will not be able to claim a tax deduction for the expenditure and that if the dentist is allowed to provide the required dentures a tax deduction may be claimed. Dentists can bring pressure to bear in this way. In some instances, the situation is being used to discriminate in business between dental mechanics and professional dentists. The Commonwealth Government does dental mechanics a grave injustice by perpetuating a situation in which this can happen.

I appeal to this Government again to do justice to residents of Tasmania who obtain dentures from dental mechanics. I do not know whether the Treasurer is waiting until all the other States enact legislation similar to that passed in Tasmania. If he is, justice will not be done to the people of Tasmania for many years under Commonwealth tax laws. Canada has now passed legislation under which dental mechanics are officially recognized. The trend throughout the Australian States may be similar, but, so far, Tasmania is the only State that has acted. It is the test State. The arrangement is working very well there and I suggest to the other States that they get busy and enact similar legislation. That may be the only way in which we can bring the Commonwealth Treasurer to book and get him to act. In the meantime, he is perpetuating a grave injustice to many people in Tasmania.

Question put -

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Crean’s amendment) stand part of the question.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)

AYES: 55

NOES: 52

Majority . . . . 3



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.


Minister for Defence · Denison · LP

– I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

This is a bill for an act to amend the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1960 for the purpose of securing an increase in the revenue derived from the various operators who make use of the facilities for air navigation provided, maintained and operated by the Commonwealth. It will be recalled that inthe Treasurer’s Budget speech in 1960, the Government announced a policy of moving progressively towards full recovery of that portion of the cost of providing facilities which is properly attributable to civil aviation. We recognize that facilities for civil aviation are necessary for national development, and, of course, have defence value; but we must recognize also that the civil users of facilities are not yet contributing appropriately to the very large costs that are involved.

Last year we took the view that the airline industry was affected, both domestically and internationally, by a regression in traffic growth, and, therefore, we made no increase in air navigation charges. We did recognize that operators other than airline operators were still making only token payments, but decided that to increase these payments alone was hardly warranted. This year, however, it has been established that all operators are capable of absorbing an increase in charges.

It will also be recalled that last year Parliament approved an airlines agreement which had been executed by the Australian National Airlines Commission, Ansett Transport Industries Limited and the Commonwealth. This agreement was concluded so as to consolidate further the two-airline policy, and it recognized that for a twoairline system to progress and develop on a planned basis, it was necessary to establish a maximum rate of annual increase in air navigation charges. This rate of increase was limited to a maximum of 10 per cent. in any one year, and applies, of course, to Trans-Australia Airlines and to the Ansett Transport Industries airline subsidiaries. It does not limit the increase that may be required in the case of other operators, but obviously it does set a pattern in respect of the other domestic airlines.

The total commercial cost of providing air navigation facilities in 1961-62 exceeded £15,000.000. A proportion of the £15,000,000 in cost is certainly attributable to requirements of national development, but even if account is taken of receipts of £1,500,000 in aviation fuel tax, which, of course, is paid only by domestic operators, a recovery of £1,380,000 in air navigation charges in 1961-62 shows there is still a significant gap between costs and user payments.

The amount of £1,380,000 in 1961-62 was made up of £758,000 from domestic airlines, £606,000 from international operators and £17,000 from the operators of light aircraft in the private, aerial work and charter categories. The greater part of the contribution from domestic airlines naturally came from Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A., while in the international field Qantas paid approximately half of the sum of £606,000 paid by international operators. The contribution of fi 7,000 from the private, aerial work and charter operators represented payments in respect of more than 1,400 aircraft and demonstrates that these operators have been enjoying extremely low charges.

It will be observed that the bill continues the existing method of charging. Under the present system, the airlines pay a charge for each flight representing the product of the route rating and the aircraft unit charge. The scale of aircraft unit charges applying since the last review in 1960 is set out in the schedules to the Air Navigation (Charges) Act 1952-1960 and, broadly speaking, the scale varies in accordance with the all-up-weight of the aircraft but increases more than proportionately with the weight. The route ratings are based on the nature of the facilities provided on the routes and are likewise prescribed in the schedule to the act.

The owners of private aircraft pay twice the unit charge for the aircraft in respect of each week or part of a week comprised in the period of registration of the aircraft. Owners of aerial work aircraft pay four times that charge and owners of charter aircraft six times that charge.

The bill increases the charges payable by the holders of airline licences, including international airline licences, by 10 per cent, and this result is achieved by increasing the unit charge by 10 per cent, and leaving the route ratings unchanged. It should also be noted that i’t is proposed to add ten new flights to the table of flights, with appropriate factors, these being flights which were not previously covered in the table.

Registrations of light aircraft in Australia have been increasing at a remarkable rate over the past few years, and this is a most gratifying demonstration of the growing popularity of this type of equipment. Business houses are employing executive transport aircraft, charter operations have grown considerably, and there has been a remarkable growth in aerial work, particularly in aerial agriculture. Purely private flying has increased, and naturally flying training activity has grown in sympathy with all of this development. This has resulted, therefore, in a far greater demand for the use of air navigation facilities.

I might mention, in particular, that in 1961-62, the expenditure on search and rescue operations alone totalled £60,G00 and that most of this was incurred in searches for light aircraft. Even if we ignored the cost of operating airports - and at most of the major cities one airport is provided virtually for the exclusive use of light aircraft - radio aids and meteorological services, the cost of search and rescue activities has been three times as much as the total payments in air navigation charges by private, aerial work and charter operators.

Mr Whitlam:

– Do you pay for heliports?


– No. They are part and parcel of the system. As an example of the small charges hitherto required of these operators, I might refer to a popular light single-engined aircraft, of allupweight 2,000 lb., which sells at £8,000. A private operator has paid for such an aircraft an annual air navigation charge of £5 17s.; in the aerial work category the charge has been £11 14s., and for charter operations, £17 lis. In price, this aircraft costs more than very expensive imported motor cars, but the air navigation charge payable by the owner has been considerably less than the usual motor registration fee payable by an owner of the most inexpensive motor vehicle.

These very low charges are quite out of phase with the charges applying to airline aircraft and more especially they bear little relationship to the use which is now being made of facilities.

In the case of private, aerial work and charter aircraft registered in Australia, it is clear that a 10 per cent, increase would not establish a proper relativity with airline payments, nor a proper base from which progressively to move towards full recovery of attributable costs. The charges specified in the second schedule, referring to these categories of aircraft, are, therefore, increased from twice, four times and six times the unit charge for private, aerial work and charter aircraft respectively, to six times, twelve times and eighteen times the unit charge for the respective categories. To exemplify the result of this, the new charges for the light single-engined aircraft of an all-up-weight of 2,00t) lb. which”! mentioned earlier will be £19 6s. 1d for private operators, £38 12s. 2d. for aerial work operators and £57 18s. 3d. for charter operators. These are annual charges and represent a more appropriate charge for the facilities which the operators use: The effect on a charter operator, who pays- the highest rate, will be to increase his operating costs by no more than one shilling per flying hour - in the circumstances, a not unreasonable increase, and certainly one that can be readily absorbed.

The second schedule of the act, which relates to the charges payable in respect of private, aerial work and charter aircraft, has been recast to take into account a recently adopted practice of the Department of Civil Aviation of registering aircraft for periods in excess of one year. The amendments made to the second schedule, apart from the provisions increasing the amount of the charges payable, are drafting changes made for that reason.

It is proposed that the same scale of increase will apply to international operations into Australia by private, aerial work and charter aircraft registered in a foreign country. It will be appreciated that foreign aircraft, which are not airline aircraft, enter Australia in the great majority of cases in the course of charter flights. Such aircraft, in the main, are large aircraft of the type employed in airline operations, and make a significant demand on facilities. The charges hitherto applying to these operations have been quite inappropriate, and the proposed amendment of the charges specified in the third schedule is, therefore, fully justified.

With these revised charges, I estimate that revenue will increase by £89,000 in 1963-63, and in a full year by £177,000. Total revenue, therefore, in 1962-63 should be £1,470,000, and £1,560,000 in a full year. The increased recovery is not great in itself, but it clearly should be gained. The industry as a whole is capable of absorbing the charges. I commend the bill. [Quorum formed.]

Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.48 to 2.15 p.m.

page 1692


In Committee of Supply: Consideration resumed from 17th October (vide page 1648).

Department of Health

Proposed Vote, £4,593,000.

Department of Social Services

Proposed Vote, £7,596,000.

War and Repatriation Services

Proposed Vote, £110,701,000.

page 1692


Department of Health

Proposed Vote, £400,000. [Quorum formed.]

Minister for Repatriation · Darling Downs · LP

Mr. Chairman, I want to refer to some of the comments made by honorable, members during this debate relating to the estimates for the Repatriation Department. Before doing so I want to make some general references to these estimates. It is a fact that a natural increase in the extent of treatment required by exservicemen and also a continuing liberal attitude on the part of the Government towards former members of the forces will mean during this year an increase of approximately £7,000,000 in the estimates of the Repatriation Department. The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie), who has always taken a very deep interest in this subject, referred to ageing exservicemen. This is indicative of the changing role of repatriation in the community, whereby we have to consider this problem because ex-servicemen are growing older year by year and consequently their requirements for medical treatment and other benefits are changing.

I am pleased to inform the committee that I have arranged for a full investigation to take place in my department into the question of geriatric treatment and the problem of the after-care of aged ex-servicemen, because there is the growing problem in the community that this group of people who, after becoming hospitalized, are discharged from hospital, may become chronic patients and require convalescent treatment. In view of those circumstances and the changing role of my department I have arranged for an investigation to be made into this question. I hope to be able to report the results of that investigation to the chamber at a later stage. In this field it is interesting to know that to-day 176,000 pensions are being paid to either exservicemen of the First World War or their dependants. In addition to this, as will be seen from the estimates, 563,500 ex-servicemen of World War II. and the Korean and Malayan campaigns and their dependants are receiving some form of repatriation benefit. During this financial year war and service pensions for ex-servicemen and their dependants will increase by nearly £7,000,000. That will mean that pension payments this year can be expected to reach a total of £82,250,000-1116 highest figure yet recorded. Furthermore, as the result of the continued increase in the demand for medical services there is the additional cost of treatment and services provided independently of departmental institutions.

It is estimated that this year the cost of services such as those of local medical officers and hospital facilities outside the department will reach a figure of over £11,000,000, which is a rise of about £1,300,000 over last year’s figure. Another important but perhaps less spectacular change has occurred in the soldiers’ children’s education scheme, in respect of which increased expenditure is expected this year to bring the total cost to about £915,000. This is brought about by the increased number of children who are pursuing their education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, as well as by the normal increase in numbers which can be expected at this stage.

The total estimates for the Repatriation Department this year, including all departmental services and those of associated departments such as the Department of Works, amount to £107,728,000. As you know, Sir, corresponding expenditure last year was just a little over £100,500,000. During this debate a number of honorable members have referred kindly to my department. I appreciate the kind references that have been made by some honorable members to the work being undertaken by officers of my department who, in a great many cases, are themselves ex-servicemen and, I know, are completely dedicated to the work they are undertaking on behalf of the people of Australia in discharging this important responsibility. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) commented along those lines and I appreciate the interests he has always shown in repatriation matters. He outlined to the committee submissions made to me and to a committee of Cabinet by the Returned Servicemen’s League in respect of what that organization called its pension plan for this financial year. The honorable member also outlined the submissions made by disabled servicemen’s associations for the present year. In addition, as the honorable member knows, many other submissions were made in recent months by ex-servicemen’s organizations for consideration by the Government during this period.

I can assure the committee and the exservicemen’s organizations that very careful consideration was given to the submissions that were made. We made a very careful assessment of the situation and carefully considered each item submitted. However, the Government decided not to vary in a general sense the present rates of benefits this financial year, first, because of the economic stability shown by the consumer price index; and, secondly, because of the wide range of the benefits and some additional benefits introduced during the last Budget, which are only coming to bear on the situation this year, together with the fact that this year’s Budget placed emphasis on development. For those reasons the Government decided that the rates, in the overall picture, should remain constant for this year. But certain minor adjustments have already been made and some amendments to the Repatriation Act will be made during this sessional period to correct anomalies or to make necessary am, ls.ments. We should view our repatriation service as a whole. I shall now quote some figures, although not to show comparisons on a political basis, because 1 do not approach my task in that way, as I think members opposite will realize.

I think I should say this to show there has been a progressive improvement over the years in repatriation benefits. [ do not doubt that whatever government had been in power certain changes would have b»en made to try to bring up to date the benefits to ex-servicemen.

Referring to the special rate benefit for totally and permanently incapacitated and blinded ex-servicemen, I point out that in 1949 the figure was £5 6s. a week; this year it is £13 5s., which is an increase of £7 19s. The 100 per cent, rate of pension has increased from £2 15s. to £5 15s., an increase of £3. The wife’s pension associated with both those groups has increased by lis. 6d. from £1 4s. to £1 15s. 6d. and the child’s pension associated with those two groups has increased by 4s. 9d. from 9s. to 13s. 9d. The service pension during this period has increased from £2 2s. 6d. to £5 5s., an increase of £3 2s. 6d. The total expenditure in 1949 on repatriation services was a little less than £28,000,000; during this year, as I have already said, it is to be £107,728,000. I think those figures indicate that there has been a progressive improvement in the services and facilities available throughout the years. As Minister for Repatriation, it is my firm intention to see that the same type of progress applies as economic circumstances change in the future.

I listened with interest to the speech by the honorable member for Shortland (Mr. Griffiths), who cited two individual cases. I do not doubt for one moment the sincerity of the honorable member. I know that he has put forward perhaps many hundreds of cases to my department, and during my term in this portfolio he has referred quite a number of matters directly to me. Perhaps the two matters to which he referred are ones that he had referred to me previously. However, I do feel that some of his references to my department and to the independent tribunals were a little extravagant. Perhaps he was disappointed at the outcome of the cases concerned, but I feel that that does not warrant extravagant criticism of the type he has made. The only assurance I can give him, without knowing the full details of the cases, is that I will examine “ Hansard “ and see that the points he has raised in relation to those matters are properly considered. Also, if he likes to refer to me the third matter that he was unable to deal with, I will see that that, too, is fully investigated.

As the honorable member has suggested that the percentage of applications approved by .the boards, the commission and tribunals is not satisfactory, I think I should cite some actual figures. I have had an examination made and, as honorable members know, in the report this year from the Repatriation Commission certain references are made to the number of cases and the number of approvals. The percentage of applications approved by repatriation boards during the last financial year was 48 per cent.; the number of approvals by the Repatriation Commission, that is, appeals from the boards to the commission, represented 19 per cent.; the number of approvals by the entitlement appeal tribunals, that is, appeals from the commission, represented 17 per cent. There was a total of 57 per cent, of approvals during the last year. Of the appeals for increases in pension rates heard by the assessment appeal tribunals during the past year, 56.7 per cent, were approved.

I cite these figures merely to show that over half the people who made applications during the past year actually had some form of benefit approved or some increase approved. I think I should also draw attention to the fact that although in Australia to-day there are fewer than 2,000,000 people who, in all circumstances, might have been entitled to apply for a repatriation benefit, either as an ex-serviceman or as a dependant, the repatriation report for this year discloses that over 728,000 people in Australia are in receipt of some form of repatriation benefit. I think that is a substantial indication that reasonable and careful consideration is being given to applications brought before the department and its associated independent tribunals at the present time.

I should like in conclusion to point out that a major review of repatriation services took place in 1950-51 when some very substantia] changes were made in the system, particularly in relation to benefits. That was the first year of office of this Government. A further substantial review took place in 1957-58, and there was another major change in 1960-61 whir.h was of vital importance to a very large group of ex-servicemen. It was then that service pensioners became entitled to receive free medical treatment.

Mr. Chairman, my endeavour has been to administer my department on a principle of humanity, and I think that those who have had some association with me during my period of office will agree that, to the best of my ability, I have applied that principle and have expressed it to my department. I have endeavoured to implement the spirit of the act, which perhaps can be interpreted best in the terms of section 47. It has also been my desire, as a principle, to seek out all those in Australia who are eligible for repatriation benefits and to see that, where possible, they obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. In applying that principle, as honorable members know, there has been instituted - I think reasonably successfully - a system whereby visits are made by repatriation officials to country areas. This is an endeavour to take repatriation to the people so that those who may not have known that they were entitled to some benefit, shall be acquainted of their right. At the same time, I am quite prepared to listen to proposals which are put forward, no matter from which side of the chamber they come. I have no doubt that one or two honorable members opposite can give me information which will be of assistance to my department and to other honorable members. The honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) for instance, will be aware of certain adjustments that have been made. I can assure the honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) and others who have an interest in particular problems that if those matters are brought forward they will be considered on what I believe to be a humane basis and with the best interests of the ex-serviceman at heart.

I said some of those things to a very important conference which I opened last Monday. Delegates to that conference - it is a conference of entitlement appeal tribunals, and it is still sitting in Sydney - know very clearly what my approach to these problems is. I have full confidence in the senior officers of my department and in the work that the associated independent tribunals are doing. They have many problems to face. We can give them assistance from both sides of this chamber, and I assure honorable members that the department and the tribunals are imbued with the spirit of the act and will continue to carry out a policy in relation to repatriation which will put humanity before legality.

The second matter that I want to refer to is health. As you know, Mr. Chairman,

I represent the Minister for Health in this chamber, and a number of matters have been raised during this debate relating to that subject. At the outset I should like to draw attention to the changes that have taken place in the Department of Health over the last decade. I think the committee has already heard that in 1949 the expenditure of the Department of Health was in the vicinity of £6,000,000, and that in this year it will be £101,770,000. These figures show the emphasis which the Government is placing on national health at present.

The honorable members for Henty (Mr. Fox) and McMillan (Mr. Buchanan) raised two matters regarding mental health, and voiced a plea on behalf of the Government of Victoria for some further financial assistance to enable the provision of additional mental hospital facilities in Victoria.

Mr Buchanan:

– No, all over Australia.


– The Government has considered the requests from the governments of both Victoria and Tasmania - the only States which have totally expended the capital grant made to them by the Commonwealth - and has decided that at present these requests cannot be acceded to. The reason is that the grant was in the first place made as a result of the Stoller report to this Parliament, which was prepared at the request of the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). That report was the basis of the assistance to provide additional facilities at that time. A grant of £10,000,000 was made. Victoria and Tasmania used their full share of the grant, but there is outstanding, among the other States, an amount of £2,929,935 not yet expended. So, having regard to all. the circumstances, the Government is unable to consider the position of any one State, apart from the original approach. However, I can assure the honorable members that the information they have submitted will be conveyed to my colleague, the Minister for Health.

The honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa) and the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) said that additional financial assistance for general hospital facilities should be granted to the States. I cannot at this moment offer any particular comment on that matter, because next Monday in Canberra the Minister for Health will be meeting the State Ministers for Health to discuss the question of hospital benefits between the Commonwealth and the States. The honorable member for Banks also suggested that the list of medicines available free to pensioners should be extended. An extremely wide range of drugs and medicines is available free of charge to pensioners and their dependants who are enrolled tinder the pensioner medical scheme. This list is kept under very close review by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, which is responsible for advising the Government about adding drugs to the list. At present the Government, on the advice of the committee, feels that the wide range of pharmaceutical benefits currently available meets the needs of the community.

The honorable member for Banks also complained that he could not obtain a list of the hospitals in New South Wales which were recognized for special account purposes. I have passed on to him, on behalf of the Minister for Health, a reply to a question about this matter that he asked of the Minister. I pointed out then that the recognition of hospitals for special account purposes is continually kept under review, and alterations are continually being made to the list. For that reason a study of the list at any particular moment can be misleading. It is not possible to say with certainty at any particular time that the list in operation will apply for any specific period. Therefore, it is not the practice of this Government or of the. New South Wales Government to supply copies of lists. However, the honorable member has been advised that he can obtain information regarding the recognition or otherwise of hospitals in New South Wales from the office of the. Commonwealth Department of Health in Sydney. If there is any particular hospital that he has in mind he should be able to obtain the information about it there without difficulty.

The honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) raised a matter which he had raised previously by way of a question on notice. He referred to the effect of the drug thalidomide on children whose mothers had taken the drug at a certain stage of pregnancy. He claimed that information about the danger of using this drug should have been available sooner. He also said that the Commonwealth should undertake the testing of all drugs, and not only of those included in the pharmaceutical benefits list.

There appears to be some confusion about the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth concerning the control of drugs. The Commonwealth’s powers are limited to supervision of drugs and medicinal preparations which are imported, are the subject of interstate commerce or are supplied to the Commonwealth - lor instance, pharmaceutical benefits. Any imported product considered by the Minister for Customs and Excise to be of a dangerous character may be declared a prohibited import under the provisions of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. However, if a drug or medicinal preparation is manufactured within a State the Commonwealth has no power to ban its use. That would be a matter for the State concerned. The Commonwealth Department of Health fs continually engaged in testing therapeutic substances for purity and potency, mostly at the National Biological Standards Laboratory in Canberra.

The Government is concerned at the possibility of drugs which may have harmful effects or side effects being available to the Australian community, and examination is being made with a view to ensuring that the Commonwealth’s powers are used to the best effect. The States are similarly concerned, and the present supervision and control, which are considered to be generally effective, will be improved to meet changing circumstances. In addition, the Commonwealth is hopeful that uniform legislation for the supervision of the prescribing of dangerous drugs and poisons throughout Australia can be achieved, and we are actively working with this end in view.

The honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) and the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) raised the final matter with which I shall deal. They referred to the Commonwealth grant to the States for purposes of national fitness. This grant of £72,500 has been reviewed periodically since it was instituted, but it has not been changed for some time. The present position is being reviewed in the light of views expressed at a meeting of the Commonwealth Council for National Fitness which was held earlier this year, and those views will be considered. I point out to the honorable member for Kingston that in addition to the annual payment of £5,742 to the National Fitness Council in South

Australia £2,100 is provided for the University of Adelaide and £2,833 for the South Australian Department of Education. So the assistance provided annually by the Commonwealth in respect of national fitness activities in South Australia exceeds £10,000.


.- I wish to deal with two matters associated with the group of estimates we are now considering. The first concerns civilian widows. I ask honorable members to consider this matter not on a political basis calling for political arguments or propaganda, but as a distressing human problem which must have a great impact on the social conscience of this Parliament and of the nation. To-day widows in Australia are responsible for bringing up and educating about 50,000 children. If those children are not given an economic livelihood, a good standard of living and good opportunities the community as a whole will suffer both socially and economically. There will be a waste of the abilities of those children, and a loss of human dignity. There will also be a possible liability to the community from child delinquency.

I find that this matter is the most distressing of all matters on which representations are made to me in my electorate. I consider it a fairly representative electorate. The western suburbs of the Sydney metropolitan area, particularly the district that includes Blacktown and Parramatta, could be classed as a representative area, and you would find that a great many of the women who suffer the disabilities that I speak about reside in that kind of area not only in Sydney but in the other capitals as well.

When we consider this problem I think we should ask ourselves what would happen if our own wives had to make their way as widows. Consider the case of a man aged between 30 and 50 years, who has been accustomed to earning an average wage of £20 or £30, or even £40 a week, and who suddenly dies from a heart attack, leaving a wife and three young children. If the widow qualifies under the means test, she is entitled to a pension of £7 a week and also to child endowment of £1 5s. a week. She would get a total of £8 5s. a week. If she is living in one of the Housing Commission homes in my electorate she would have to pay about £4 a week in rent. She would be left with £4 5s. a week to feed, educate and clothe those children. Honorable members must agree that this represents a very distressing problem. Of all social service problems I believe this to be the most serious and the one that is most deserving of attention by this Government.

I would like to compliment the Council of Social Service of New South Wales for a publication that it has just issued. No doubt a number of other members of the committee have received it this week. It is called “ Widows in Australia “ and is a survey by Jean Aitken-Swan. I have read most of it, and I consider it a most revealing document. I will cite from it some figures showing the numbers of widows with dependent children in Australia. There are 14,154 A class civilian widows. This document gives an estimate of the number of war widows, based on statistics provided by the Repatriation Department and by the Commonwealth census. We are told that the estimated number of war widows is 3,600. There are 6,500 widows not receiving any pension, according to the estimate in this publication. The total number of widows is given as 24,254. These widows would be responsible for the upbringing of about 50,000 children.

In order to bring up a family, of course, a widow must provide for her own subsistence, and, I would say, it would be only a bare subsistence. If she receives a pension of only £7 a week, plus £1 5s. a week child endowment, for herself and three children, she would, in most cases, be forced to go out to work. I think that any woman bringing up a young family not only would not want to work but should not have to work. It is not a good thing for society as a whole for her to go out to work. I will be quite frank about this matter; I believe that when the paternal side of a family has gone, much greater responsibility remains for the maternal side, and it is all the more necessary that the mother remain at home to look after her children. If she has to go out to work, all sorts of social problems will arise in the future. There will bc economic problems not only for the individual human beings involved but also for the nation as a whole. These problems will arise from our failure to train our youth in the best possible manner.

War widows are given a considerably larger pension. I am not complaining about that fact - far from it. I am an exserviceman myself. My point is that the larger pension given to war widows is recognized as necessary for their subsistence. If we are going to treat this problem seriously and in a humane fashion, then surely we should treat the civilian widows in the same way as we treat the war widows. We should also remember that as the years go by the pension for civilian widows, as this survey points out, is moving steadily further away from the basic wage. In the immediate post-war years the pension was at a rate equivalent to a much greater proportion of the basic wage than is the rate to-day. Not only are we not trying to correct a position that should have been corrected long ago; we are even allowing it to deteriorate still further as each year goes by. As I said before, if a widowed mother is forced to work the foundation is laid for all kinds of very serious social problems.

I appeal to the Government to show some sympathy and understanding of this problem. I suggest that those members of the committee who have received this publication should read it; those who have not should try to obtain it and read it. It is a most interesting document about a grave social problem. I would also ask all members of the Parliament to treat this matter in the way that it should be treated, with sympathy and understanding, and to support any moves that may be made in the lifetime of the Parliament to overcome the problem by appreciably increasing the civilian widow’s pension.

There are other matters that I feel I should deal with. I would like to refer to some matters involving the War Service Homes Division. The first concerns the discharge of existing mortgages.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

– Order! I point out that the subject of war service homes should be discussed during the debate on the estimates for the Department of National Development.


– I wanted to deal also with child endowment. This is linked to some extent with the other matter that I have already spoken about. In these days the pattern of society is rapidly changing. The economic policies followed by the Government have brought about a situation in which more and more women are being forced to work. This is not always because they wish to work. Let me say at this stage that I think it is often a good thing for a woman to work after she has brought up her family, or when she has not got a family. But many women to-day are being forced to work in order to make ends meet. This has been one result of the economic policies of this Government, which have resulted in the amassing of large amounts of undistributed profits by big companies, while the proportion of national income going to individual workers has steadily declined. It has become more and more necessary for us to devise some way of assisting the family man in present circumstances. All honorable members will agree that if we promote the social welfare of the family we shall ensure the birth of more Australian children who, when all is said and done, are the cheapest migrants we can get. At the same time this assistance will ensure fewer problems of delinquency. We should consider the position in European countries which are increasing family allowances, child endowment and so on. Accordingly in some countries - Italy is one - there is a greater maternal control over the children and a decrease in delinquency.

This aspect of the social services programme is a part of Labour policy. It is one of the most admirable aspects of Labour policy that the family should be assisted, keeping in mind that the only way in which this can be done is through the instrument of social services. You cannot pay the father of a family more than you pay a single man or a married man without children because this would mean that the father of a family would be unable to find employment. So any assistance to the family must be through the avenue of social services. I appeal to the Government to consider this matter. Apart from the payment of child endowment in respect of the first child, there has been no alteration in child endowment since the Chifley Labour Government went out of office. It is time that something was done to help the family man to meet the serious problems which confront him.

I conclude by repeating my previous remarks about civilian widows. Unless the Parliament and the nation accept responsibility for these unfortunate women, there can be no guarantee that their children will be cared for properly. Widows already have, a tremendous burden to bear and they should be relieved of the serious financial problems which so many of them now have to face.

Minister for Social Services · Riverina · CP

– The debate on the estimates now before the committee has been in progress for some hours, both yesterday and to-day. Many honorable members from both sides of the chamber have addressed themselves to the estimates relating to my own department. It is a matter of great personal satisfaction to me that no honorable member has offered any criticism of the administration of my department or of the people who are responsible for it. I must seize this opportunity to express my own appreciation of the valiant work which has been done, and is being done, by the officers of my department whose duty it is to administer an act of this Parliament affecting the lives of nearly 5,000,000 men, women and children. This is no easy task. Payments must be made to those who qualify for them, in a humane way and on the due dates. Rarely do I receive a complaint, but when I do, investigations invariably reveal a complete explanation. This most satisfactory state of affairs has enabled honorable members to confine their general observations to matters of policy rather than to the various heads of expenditure covered by the estimates.

I have listened with keen interest to what every honorable member has had to say. The remarkable feature of this debate, which is common to all discussions on the general question of social services, is the variety of proposals which have been advanced by honorable members on both sides of the chamber. There are those who favour a concentration of the resources available to the Government on certain aspects of social services, on a selected number of items, on new and additional services, or on the entire range of the existing services, no matter how thinly those resources may be spread. But there is no sign of unanimity here, any more than there is any sign of unanimity in another place or outside this

Parliament. There are those who have made special pleas for increases in child endowment, maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, age and invalid pensions, funeral benefits and allowances paid to the wives and children of pensioners although, strangely enough, unemployment and sickness benefits were not mentioned particularly. There are those who have placed special emphasis on the rehabilitation of the physically handicapped, the blind, and the mentally sick; on the housing of the aged, and on the medical and pharmaceutical services which are available. In addition, there are those who have sought the introduction of differential rates for married and single pensioners and for those who live in remote and what are described as high cost localities throughout the Commonwealth; and there are those who have sought the introduction of entirely new ancillary services.

These conflicting opinions are not exclusive to this Parliament. I have to live with them from day to day. They can never be resolved with complete satisfaction. We must never forget that Commonwealth social services are based, traditionally, on the willingness and the ability of the community to provide assistance for those who need assistance from time to time. To that end the economy of our country must be geared to provide vast sums of money which, it is estimated, will exceed £387,000,000 in the current financial year, or a sum equal to 72 per cent, of the estimated collections of income tax.

We have a proud record of achievement in the field of social services. It must be remembered that it took 40 years - from 1909 to 1949- for the age and invalid pension to rise from 10s. a week to £2 2s. 6d. a week. In the last twelve years the pension has been increased progressively year by year until it now stands at £5 5s. It took more than 40 years of what might be described as social service progress for the permissible income to reach 30s. a week and for the property limit beyond which no pension is payable to reach £750. During the last twelve years the permissible income has been increased until it has reached £3 10s. a week, and the property limit beyond which no pension is payable has been increased until it has reached £2,250 in the case of a single person or £4,500 in the case of a married couple. At that point the means tests were merged. This has been described as the greatest advance in the history of social services in our country. To-day a pensioner may have means - that is, income and/or property - calculated to yield £455 a year before pension entitlement ceases. Thus, a pensioner with no income may have property, other than a home and personal effects, to the value of £4,750, and a pensioner without property may have an income of £455 per annum, before pension entitlement is exhausted. For married couples, these figures are doubled to £9,500 and £910. All these increases, extensions and liberalizations are equally applicable to widows in receipt of the widow’s pension. The movement has been general throughout the entire pensions scheme.

Mr. Chairman, it took 50 years to provide a reciprocal agreement with the Dominion of New Zealand and 50 years of consideration to provide the reciprocal agreement on social services with the Government of the United Kingdom. It took nearly 50 years to introduce a rehabilitation service for the restoration of the physically handicapped. It took nearly 50 years to provide medical and pharmaceutical services for the pensioners of our community. It took more than 50 years to introduce the Aged Persons Homes Act, under which homes are provided for the aged. It took more than 50 years to provide supplementary assistance for single pensioners and married people who are dependent on one pension only and who have to pay rent. It took more than 50 years to make provision for the dependent children of widows, of invalid pensioners and of incapacitated age pensioners. I am not playing at party politics when I say that for 50 years successive governments believed that it was financially impossible to make provision for the children of widows, of invalid pensioners and of incapacitated age pensioners. For 50 years successive governments believed that this could not be done. But all these things have now been done.

It took 50 years, Mr. Chairman, to remove the traditional discrimination against the aboriginal natives of our country, who, unless they were excluded from the application of the welfare laws of the State in which they lived, were not eligible for social service benefits at all. For 50 years, successive governments believed that the aborigines could not be provided for. But they have now been provided for and that last vestige of discrimination has been removed from the Commonwealth scheme of social services. It took 50 years to merge the means test on property and the means test on income. For that period, successive governments were plagued by the fact that the application of the permissible income limit, whatever it may have been from time to time, was disadvantageous to those who were subjected to the property means test. No government believed that any formula that would satisfactorily resolve that problem could be devised. But the problem has been resolved. So we write our social services history from day to day. In doing so, we try to mete out justice to the very best of our ability.

I think the time has come, Mr. Chairman, when, in the interests of all honorable members, I should say - I speak with a longer experience than any other Minister for Social Services since federation has hadthat there is no aspect of social services which has not been carefully examined by successive Ministers for Social Services and by the officers of the Department of Social Services. And there is no aspect of social services which will not continue to be carefully examined from day to day in the normal course of our duties. I have no wish to wound the susceptibilities of the honorable member for Port Adelaide (Mr. Thompson) or any other honorable member, but I suggest, speaking with the experience of nearly seven long years, that it is not possible to name any aspect of social services applicable to modern society which has not been examined and is not to-day under critical examination by the Department of Social Services. Individual members may be able, at some subsequent date, to say, “ I thought of this “ or “ I thought of that”. No one can properly raise any objection to these demonstrations of personal enthusiasm. But the fact remains that the Department of Social Services, and the Minister, whoever he may be from time to time, have the whole question of social services constantly under critical examination.

Sometimes, the cost of social services is not appreciated. It has to be borne, in the final analysis, by the work force in our community - by the men and women who devote their energies and resources to making provision in excess of their own immediate physical needs and, by that very process, render themselves liable to taxation in all its forms. I know that the credulous and the uninformed are encouraged to believe that there are illimitable and mysterious resources available to any Commonwealth government with the courage to use them. But that is a delusion which is designed to confound and confuse the credulous and the uninformed. It will not bear examination for a single moment. Every penny of the £387,000,000 that has to come from the National Welfare Fund this year must be found by the work force of our country in the first place. So a word about the costs of some of the proposals submitted, in all good faith, by honorable members on both sides of the chamber may be of some value to honorable members and to the community as a whole.

An increase of ls. a week in the rates of age and invalid pensions would cost the work force of our country an additional £1,850,000 a year. An increase of 5s. a week would cost an additional £9.250,000 a year. An increase of 5s. a week in the rates of widows’ pensions, which from time to time have been increased by an equivalent amount and even more, would cost an additional £810,000 a year. An increase of 10s. a week would raise the cost by an additional £1,620,000 a year. An increase of ls. a week in the rates of child endowment would cost a further £9,000,000 a year. An increase of 10s. a week would cost £90,000,000 a year. An increase of 5s. a week in the allowance paid to wives who are eligible for the wife’s allowance would cost £210,000 a year. An increase of £5 in the rates of maternity allowance would increase the total cost of maternity allowances by £1,230,000 a year. So it goes on. One cannot increase any social service benefit without pushing up by millions of pounds the aggregate sum that has to be found by the work force of our country.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– What would be the cost of the proposal to increase the funeral benefit?


– An increase of £5 would cost an additional £195,000 a year.

I say this for the information of the honorable member, if not for the information of any one else. If it is a question of having, for example, to add £195,000 to social service expenditure, in this or any other year, is that the best way to spend the money? A judgment has to be made by some one. It has to be made by the Minister and in the final analysis it has to be made by the Government and the Parliament. When there is an urgent demand for a wide variety of increases, and for money for many other purposes, it is very hard to justify increasing the expenditure on this benefit.

I want to refer to one honorable member who addressed himself to this question, and strangely enough he was the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner). In the course of a considered speech yesterday, he referred to an oration he had delivered in this chamber two or three years ago. He went on to say that when he referred the speech to me, I said that I had never read it. Then he said, “ The Minister never listens “. Both claims are entirely untrue. I have had very few conversations with the honorable member for Bradfield. None has been exciting. None has been sufficiently exciting for him to mention to me any speech he has ever delivered in this chamber. But it is my business to listen to every honorable member. Indeed, I have an infinite capacity for listening. I have to listen to honorable members both from the Government side and the Opposition side, and I always do. I have to listen to the Government Members Social Services Committee, and I do so with a great deal of enthusiasm. I have to listen from day to day to all the statutory bodies interested in the general question of social services. I have to listen to the voluntary organizations that are doing such splendid work in all six States and the two Territories. I have to listen to members of the executives of all the pensioners’ organizations throughout the whole Commonwealth. I have to listen to the trade unions as they make representations from time to time. I have to listen to all the charitable organizations. I do so with all the enthusiasm at my command.

We can all make a contribution to solving the perplexing problem of social services, but it serves no purpose for any honorable member to get up and say that he has not been heard or that the Minister would not listen. The Minister in fact does nothing else but listen to people. He rarely speaks, if for any reason it is to be avoided.

Mr. Chairman, my time is exhausted, but I want to say that at no stage in attaining the proud record of achievement of this Government in the field of social services has any particular aspect ever been neglected. The Cabinet, the Government as a whole and the Parliament as a whole have precisely the same degree of difficulty in reaching considered judgments as to what should be done from time to time as have honorable members who are in confusion as to what is the best action to take to-day with regard to social services. One suggests that there should be concentration here; another suggests concentration there. As I say, some one has to make a considered judgment.

The proud record of this Government during the last twelve years has never been paralleled or approximated by any previous government. This has been possible only by the creation of the economic atmosphere that allows the community to bear increasing burdens, multiplying year by year from £81,000,000 in 1949 to £387,000,000 in the current financial year. I hope the progress will continue; I hope it can continue. I hope that the economic atmosphere that has been sustained in spite of all the difficulties during the last decade will continue and that the work force of our country will be able to undertake increasing burdens in the field of social services.


.- Mr. Chairman, I want to-

Motion (by Mr. Swartz) proposed -

That the question be now put.

Mr Duthie:

– On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I think it is most unjust to cut down the time-


– Order! There is no Substance in the point of order raised by the honorable member for Wilmot.

Question put -

That the question be now put. (The bells being rung).


– There was an arrangement to conclude the debate at this time.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– There was no such arrangement.


– Do not impute your own improper motives to others. You are a liar.


– Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that remark.

Mr Whitlam:

– I withdraw the remark and I point out that the Minister was not telling the truth.


– Order! The committee will come to order. I ask the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to withdraw that remark also.

Mr Whitlam:

– I withdraw it and I point out that he was not speaking accurately.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– You are acting in a completely biased manner.


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark instantly. If he will not withdraw it the Chair will take action.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Whatever you wish me to withdraw, Mr. Chairman, I will withdraw. But the Minister for Social Services accused the Opposition of acting dishonestly and you took no action. The Minister called across tha table that we were acting dishonestly. You heard him, Mr. Chairman, and I ask that the statement be withdrawn. I regard it as personally offensive.


– Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– AH right - as long as it works both ways.

The committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr. P. E. Lucock.)

AYES: 55

NOES: 51

Majority . . . . 4

In division:



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Proposed votes agreed to.

Department of Immigration

Proposed Vote, fi 1,792,000.

Department of Labour and National Service

Proposed Vote, £2,812,000.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

– While the committee is debating the estimates of my department I thought I would take the opportunity to make a statement on a matter of importance, not only to the Parliament, but to all sections of the community. Earlier in the year the Prime Minister and I met a deputation led by the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Mr. Monk, composed of representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations and the High Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organizations. The deputation asked the Government to implement in respect of its own employees the International Labour Organization Convention and Recommendation of 1951 dealing with equal pay for work of equal value. The deputation also asked that the Government should arrange a discussion with the State governments concerning the uniform introduction of legislation to give effect to these instruments.

Pursuant to a promise then given by the Prime Minister, the Government . has examined anew its attitude to equal pay. This statement explains the Government’s conclusions. If it is somewhat lengthy it is because the subject is of profound importance to the nation, raising as it does industrial, economic and social issues of very great complexity.

With women playing an increasingly large part in the economic life of their countries - in Australia they constitute, these days, about one in four of those in the work force - it is natural that there should be support for the idea that men and women doing precisely the same job should receive precisely the same pay. It is not surprising, therefore, that equal pay should have received the attention of the International Labour Organization. The outcome was the 1951 convention and recommendation. A recommendation of the I.L.O. carries no more legal obligation than its name implies. The convention is not in force in Australia, as it has not been ratified by the Commonwealth. The reason may be shortly stated. It is the longstanding and quite proper practice of Commonwealth governments not to ratify a convention or accept a recommendation unless the law and practice in all the States and Territories of the Commonwealth conform with the instruments in question and unless the States agree, if they are involved. In this instance, the States are interested because wages and conditions of employment clearly concern them. The fact is that in no State does the law and practice on the subject of equal pay conform with the instruments, though two of the States have agreed to ratification. The Commonwealth Government’s obligations under the constitution of the I.L.O. with respect to the instruments are to consider itself whether effect can be given to them; to refer them to the State governments and consult with such governments about their implementation; to inform the Commonwealth Parliament, and the Director-General of the I.L.O., about the outcome; to submit reports to the I.L.O. as requested; and to consult with the States from time to time to review the possibility of implementation. The Commonwealth Government has honoured these obligations in every particular.

What do the instruments provide for? The convention says that every member, of which Australia is one, shall, by means appropriate to the methods in operation for determining rates of remuneration, promote and, insofar as is consistent with such methods, ensure the application to all workers of the principles of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value. The underlining has been provided; the emphasis is mine. The convention goes on to say that the principle may be applied by means of national laws or regulations, legally established or recognized machinery for wage determination, collective agreements between employers and workers, or a combination of these various means. The recommendation provides for appropriate action to be taken to ensure the application of the. principle of equal pay for work of equal value to all employees of central government departments or agencies, and to encourage the application of the principle to employees of State, provincial or local government departments or agencies where these have jurisdiction over rates of pay.

It is to be noted of the. instruments, first, that they are silent about the level at which equality is to be established.

They would be satisfied by a reduction of the male, rate to the female or by bringing the two together at some intermediate point. They would be equally satisfied by raising the female rate to the male. The problems associated with the level of equality presented by the Australian wage structure are critically important and will be referred to later. Secondly, they are directed not solely to equal pay for men and women doing the. same job, but also to the same rate of pay for different jobs if objective appraisal of the jobs on the basis of the work to be performed shows them to involve work of equal value. So in our case, the instruments would not be satisfied merely if women doing precisely the same work as men received precisely the same pay. They would not be satisfied until our whole, wage structure had been recast, that is to say, until the differential between the male and female basic wages, now 75s., had been eliminated and all margins for work done by men and by women had been objectively re-appraised.

By mid-1962 the I.L.O. convention had been ratified by 39 countries. This does not mean that in all of those countries equal pay is the rule. An I.L.O. report, in December, 1961, to the United Nations Status of Women Commission itself gave many illustrations of failure to implement the convention in ratifying countries. If the rate of pay for each job in our labour market were determined solely by reference to the skills required and the. other circumstances associated with it, jobs would be properly rewarded each in relation to the other and it would be difficult to deny the logic of the proposition that the rate of pay fixed for any job should be paid to the person doing it, irrespective of sex. The fact is that in Australia wages are not determined in this fashion.

While some features of the Australian wage structure are unique, especially the basic wage element and the superstructure of margins erected on it, the existence of differentials between the pay that men and women receive is not unique. [Quorum formed.] It is commonplace overseas and whether collective bargaining is the rule or otherwise. A study of the circumstances of wage negotiations and awards and determinations, here as well as abroad, reveals that differentials favouring men have been agreed to or awarded, often by consent of the parties, for a variety of reasons. They include the greater social responsibilities of males, trade union attitudes favouring their male rather than their female members, past attitudes to the employment of women, including their exclusion from employment in some fields, the greater availability of women and other economic considerations associated with their employment.

It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that in a country like the United Kingdom - historically socially advanced in attitudes to women - not only has the Government not ratified the International Labour Organization convention but also employers and unions alike have shown no disposition to consider any general application in industry of the principle of equal pay. Like us, they would have to face up to the recasting of the male wage structure, involving as it must a reduction in men’s wages or at least a halting, or slowing down, of increases in their wages.

Some advocates of equal pay in Australia argue that the basic wage no longer has any elements of “ needs “ or social responsibility in its make-up This, they assert, derives from the fact that the basic wage is primarily assessed by relation to the doctrine of capacity of the economy to sustain the wage. Therefore, they say there is no longer any reason why there should be different basic wages for men and for women.

If this argument is correct, it is remarkable that the trade union movement has not in recent years approached the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, which alone can decide the issue, to seek elimination of the differential between the male and female basic wages.

There is no argument that before 1931 what was uppermost in the mind of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court in relation to the basic wage was “ needs “ and, in particular, the “ needs “ of a family though its size was indeterminate. What is overlooked is that in introducing the concept of “ capacity “, and later elaborating it, the court did not discard the “ needs “ or social concept.

Study of the subsequent decisions on the basic wage reveals repeated recognition that our male basic wage purports to provide the male with enough to support some family. Inadequacy, in terms of “ needs “ and social responsibility, has never been established; nor has evidence ever been submitted to establish this. Study of the cases dealing with the basic wage for females likewise makes clear the social element in the male basic wage.

Also overlooked is that the court and the commission have never said that “ needs “ would not be considered; indeed no one has challenged the tribunal to do other than consider as the predominant issue in its assessment of the basic wage what is the highest rate the economy can sustain.

On the only occasion so far when the supreme Commonwealth arbitration tribunal has had to consider a claim for an equal male and female basic wage, i.e., in the course of the 1949-50 Basic Wage Inquiry, the court rejected the claim. Mr. Justice Foster then made the following points: -

  1. the male basic wage was a social wage for a man, his wife and family;
  2. no claim was made for a unit wage upon which equality of wages could be based. As this might have resulted in a lower male basic wage, the Union’s failure is easily understood . . . ;
  3. ” equal pay “ based on the male basic wage would put intolerable strain on the economy;
  4. it was socially preferable to provide a higher wage for the male because of his social obligations to fiancee, wife and family;
  5. while single females were said to be anxious to receive the higher wage, their interest changed on their marriage … As married women they became concerned that their husbands should bring home the largest possible pay envelope;
  6. . . . the needs and the responsibilities, etc., of females were substantially less than that of males in this community; and
  7. lastly, the redistribution of the wage fund so that young unmarried females would receive very substantially increased spending power would disturb the economy in a manner certainly to the disadvantage of the married basic wage worker and his wife and family, and, probably, of the whole community.

In summary, while the basic wage is now primarily assessed on “ capacity “, it cannot be said that there is no longer any element of “ needs “ or social responsibility in its make-up; the margins payable to women are a patchwork and lack a consistent relationship to margins payable to men; and the margins payable to men may themselves sometimes be distorted. It would be an act of irresponsibility to disregard all this. It is basically because of these considerations that the Commonwealth Government has taken the view that the question of equal pay should be considered by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. This is the appropriate forum for that thorough-going, dispassionate and objective study which is needed of the whole problem of equal pay, including the appropriateness of present male and females rates and the bearing that equal pay would have on our economy and on the employment of men and women.

It seems a fair inference that it has been the recognition of the problem involved and unpreparedness to face the possible consequences - especially the effect on men’s wages - of general application of the principle of equal pay that have persuaded the trade union movement not to raise the question of equal pay before our Conciliation and Arbitration Court or the commission since 1950. Instead, it has sought to bypass the commission and secure equal pay by legislative or administrative decision.

It is true that in New South Wales legislation was enacted in 1958 to provide that by 1963 women performing work of the same or a like nature and of equal value to that performed by men should receive the same pay. That legislation, which applies to substantially less than 10 per cent, of female employees in New South Wales, does not conform with the I.L.O. instruments. It does not apply, for example, to women engaged in work essentially or usually performed by females, but upon which male employees may also be employed.

Last year the Tasmanian Government presented a bill to the Tasmanian Parliament expanding the New South Wales legislation so as to provide that where there is no corresponding men’s rate for work women do, the rate for the women’s work should be re-assessed having regard to the rates women were receiving in the occupations where equal pay was the rule. It must be said, with regret, of this legislative activity, that it was not preceded by any real examination of the likely effect of the grant of equal pay on the economy or on the employment of men and women; that it disregarded the circumstances of our wage structure and especially the basic wage element; and that it assumed, wrongly, as has been explained, that the current lates for men were all objective appraisals of the skills required in, and other circumstances associated with, the jobs done by men.

I come now to some problems posed by equal pay. Assuming compliance with the I.L.O. instruments and that equality were secured without any decrease in existing male rates, a very general estimate of the extra wage costs could be of the order of £200,000,000 per annum. The impact on the economy of such an increase in costs does not need emphasizing. Certainly, if the concept of capacity to pay has any meaning, equal pay cannot be achieved without a substantial impact on men’s wages. To increase the female wage must involve a reduction in the male wage, or, at the least, a halting or a considerable slowing down, of increases in the male wage.

What the broader effects on the economy would be, for example, the ultimate effect on costs and prices - and because of prices, on wages - and on exports and imports, is extremely difficult to judge. Obviously, there would be no uniform pattern. Assuming the male wage did not increase as it otherwise would, industries with predominantly male employment would be advantaged and those with large female payrolls would be at a disadvantage. To the extent to which there were increased costs, a heavier burden would fall on the family man. Other social and economic considerations were mentioned in Mr. Justice Foster’s judgment.

The clothing and textile industry, in which over 110,000 females are employed, provides a good illustration of the impact equal pay could have on a particular industry. The effects on this industry - always confronted with competition from imports - and on the prices of its products and ultimately on wages require no elaboration. The assembly industries, for example, in the metal and electrical trades have also to be considered. Then there are the clerical type female employees throughout industry, commerce, the utilities and the public services, the sales girls, the waitresses and the nurses. It is axiomatic that these industries and services employing them would be faced with substantially increased wage coots.

The possible effect on the employment of women has also to be considered - particularly against the background of the relative increase occurring in the female work force. Because about half the people iri the female work force are under 25 years of age a great increase, such as we are now experiencing in the youngest age groups, must increase the supply of female workers, relatively to the supply of males, even if there were no change in the disposition of women to seek employment. Probably the present tendency is for more women to seek work: this could be increased if their wages rose considerably or the wages of their male breadwinners were relatively reduced. Already some difficulty is being experienced in absorbing the increased supply of female labour, especially outside the metropolitan areas. Prima facie, then, anything that might tend to restrict the employment of females must be approached with caution.

Not to be overlooked are the implications of equal pay in relation to taxation and social services provisions. Strong demands could be expected for far reaching changes in these provisions to restore the position of those prejudiced by, or not benefiting from, the introduction of equal pay.

Finally, the implementation of equal pay can hardly be considered apart from that other I.L.O. Convention, No. Ill of 1958, which is directed to the removal of discrimination against women in employment and occupation. So our male workers would need to be prepared to admit women to the jobs they have jealously preserved for themselves.

It has been suggested in recent years that rather more effort should be devoted by my department to the study of problems connected with the employment of women. It has, for example, been suggested that the department . should establish a women’s bureau on the lines of that in the United States Department of Labour. That bureau goes far beyond labour department matters and delves into social and political aspects of women’s activities. In fact, the Department of Labour and National Service has not been, and is not, inactive in relation to .the problems of women in the labour and employment field. The Commonwealth Employment Service provides facilities for women equally as for men. It has, however, been decided that the department’s work on the research side should be expanded and given a more formal organization. A women’s section will be constituted in the department for this purpose.

While the Government does not oppose the principle of equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value it does not consider that it would be acting responsibly if it were, by its own decision, to apply the principle to its own employees in advance of a definitive determination by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. It cannot be said that the Commonwealth has been unmindful of the position of the- women it employs. Since the 1920’s it has been the practice in the Commonwealth Public Service to pay to females and males the same margin where they occupy similar positions. However, to apply the I.L.O. instruments in their entirety to Commonwealth employees, as requested by the deputation, would be to create for those employees a wage structure vastly different from that currently applying generally throughout the Commonwealth. There would be consequences, in the field of Commonwealth Government employment, of significance just as considerable for men as for women employees.

It has long been the custom in Commonwealth Government employment that standards of remuneration should be maintained in proper relationship with those in the private sector and in other spheres of Crown employment. In the context of the highly integrated Australian industrial relations system, if the Commonwealth Government were to act on its own, a whole new set of anomalies between conditions in Commonwealth employment and elsewhere would be created and industrial unrest would be inevitable. The Commonwealth would, in effect, be prejudging, without proper inquiry, the whole issue of equal pay.

Sufficient has been said to show that the question of equal pay in the Australian scene involves such complexities and raises issues of such magnitude and consequence to the wage structure - affecting men and women alike, the economy at large, and the employment of men and women, as to require that it should be thoroughly and dispassionately examined apart from emotion and the stresses of party politics.

It is the Government’s view that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is the proper body to make the examination. The commission is the body empowered to deal with such matters and is generally so recognized. If, therefore, the trade union movement wishes to pursue the matter it has its remedy in a claim to the commission in the normal way - a process recognized as appropriate by the I.L.O. instruments themselves.

In the light of what has been said the Government does not think it appropriate to invite the Premiers to a discussion of the question of uniform legislation to deal with equal pay.

Kingsford Smith

.- I should like to direct my remarks to the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service and to the appropriate subjects of school leavers, unemployment and apprenticeship. For thirteen years this Government has been on the Treasury bench, and what a hopeless Government it has proved itself to be in regard to the economy. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), who has been built up by a spurious press as a superman, has failed on all counts and has proved himself, by his actions, to be the greatest flop in political history - incompetent and, above all, anti-Australian in his attitude. The welfare of his native land is the last of his worries. But what alarms one most is the Prime Minister’s attitude to unemployment - a vital problem which is ignored by his Government, which now does not refer to the 75,000 unemployed as a problem, but likes to talk about the high level of employment in Australia. What rubbish that is. The ranks of the unemployed are increasing daily, and the most serious aspect of this is the plight of the school leavers.

It is interesting to note that there are still 9,000 school leavers from last year looking for employment. In six or seven weeks’ time we shall have at least another 80,000 school leavers added to the 9,000 from last year, all looking for jobs. That is a conservative estimate of the number of school leavers who will come on to the employment market this year. What plans has the Government made in this regard? I suggest that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), who is now at the table, should listen carefully to what I have to say. The Government has made no plans to deal with the problem of employment for school leavers. It is incapable of thinking any thoughts other than those connected with furthering the interests of big business.

A feeling of depression has filtered right throughout the community and it has been caused by the inaction of this Government, and by that inaction alone. The parents of school leavers are wondering what is going to happen to their children when they leave school in a few weeks’ time after many years of sacrifice on the part of the parents, who denied themselves many of the necessities of life so that they might educate their children. They find now that there are no jobs for the children. That applies to almost every family in Australia. What are the Government’s intentions? What are the Minister’s intentions about finding employment for the school-leavers? Has he been making any plans, or is he just going to trust to luck? I say deliberately that that is what he will do - just trust to luck.

The trade unions of Australia have been warning the Government about what is going to happen. They have warned the Government that a grave emergency will arise because of the Government’s inaction. They have told the Government that the employers, especially those in the Metal Trades Employers Association, are neglecting their responsibilities and not taking their full quotas of apprentices. This is a very serious charge and the Minister for Labour and National Service should investigate it and see what can be done about the position. The unions are justifiably suspicious not only of the Minister but also of the employers generally who are just not playing the game. This is to be expected, of course, of employers, but I say that the Government is showing no concern at all at the very serious position that exists.

If we are to plan for the expansion of this great Australia of ours, surely the first thing to do is to train the numbers of skilled men who will be required. It seems, however, that the Government has allowed itself to be sidetracked. It has collaborated with the employers in putting forward a scheme which, I believe, has the full support of the Minister and the Department of Labour and National Service. The scheme is called “ Training for skilled occupations “. For sheer audacity this would be hard to beat. It is simply a scheme for diluting the dilutees who are already a drug on the market.

Most people will remember that in 1940 the unions, in the grave national emergency that then existed, agreed to the dilution of their trades. I was on the dilution committee at the time. We find now that those dilutees who were then admitted are a drug on the market, because of the inaction of this Government. Now the Government, in collaboration with the employers, brings forth this scheme to dilute trades that have been already dangerously diluted. This will mean, of course, the complete destruction of the apprenticeship system, and with it the hopes of many thousands of parents of young people who are about to leave school and who have been educated with the idea of their becoming highly skilled mechanics. Is this army of school leavers to be left to join the ranks of the unemployed and to roam the countryside in search of jobs that do not exist? Why cannot the Government embark upon some great national project, such as the building of railways and roads, or the construction of huge dams on our wonderful rivers, together with hydroelectric power stations, or - last but not least - the building up of a Commonwealth shipping line?

Has the Government forgotten that we have a coastline of 12,000 miles studded with great rivers, bays and harbours? Has it forgotten that because of Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market we will be forced to search the world for new markets for our produce? How are we going to transport that produce? There is no way at present except by foreign ships. Are we to remain at the mercy of foreign shipowners who can stultify our efforts by the simple process of increasing freight charges? When is the Government going to start thinking and doing something that will advance Australia? These great national projects should be started immediately. They would require a good deal of labour and could absorb the skilled and unskilled workers who are now walking the streets, vainly looking for work, and the result would be that thousands of school-leavers would be given opportunities to follow the careers for which they had been educated.

Let us be bold and aggressive in our approach to this matter of development.

Let us wipe out the sorry sight of thousands of men vainly searching for work. It is a sorry sight, as all members of this Parliament know. When we are in our own electorates we meet, from day to day, people who are walking the. streets looking for work. There are boys and girls, men and women, drifting around the city and suburbs and through the countryside, with no hope for the future. The Government must know that our national economy is at the point of collapse. Honorable members opposite, can laugh if they wish, but they know that they are keeping the economy bolstered only by the use of overseas loans. As soon as that source of finance runs out, our economy will face, total collapse. It is getting weaker day by day. Businessmen are complaining about business slackening off, and they are threatening to dismiss more employees. This depressing picture can be seen by every person in the community. I would say that we are approaching a state of affairs reminiscent of that which existed in the late 1920’s, simply because of the Government’s inaction. It has no stomach for planning for development. It has no red blood in its veins and refuses to decide what is best for this country. There must surely be something wrong with a body of so-called intelligent men who are prepared to spend about £15,000,000 a year on unemployment benefits rather than on undertakings which would represent a national investment and make jobs available for all those citizens who strongly object to collecting the dole when they are willing to work. Let us face the situation squarely and do something about it.

Is it the wish of our powerful friends overseas, about whom the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) are so fond of telling us, that we remain impoverished? Is it at the wish or direction of these overseas money-lenders that our workers are on the dole instead of using their efforts to expand our primary and secondary production and thus making us competitors in the race for trade on the world’s markets? Something is very wrong on the Government side. Surely there must be some member of the Government who will stand up for his native land and demand that the Government break away from the strangle-hold of the money-changers and blood-sucking interest-mongers. What a miserable Cabinet it is! Not one member of it is prepared to assert himself and demand a fair go for his country and his fellow citizens. Everything about this Government reeks of humbug, hypocrisy, maladministration, inefficiency and corruption.

There are, of course, two schools of thought in this Government, their adherents for ever wrangling in their efforts to squeeze as much as they can out of the economy to please their foreign financial supporters. The Australian Country Party, of which there are only two members in the committee this afternoon, is a miserable, decrepit group of people who are using the balance of power to extort further concessions from the Government for their financial backers in the huge pastoral companies that are controlled from overseas. They call their party a farmers’ party, but you would not find a farmer among them. They are really an insult to the intelligence of our community. They should pause for a moment and consider the tragedy that has been caused in this community by their incompetence and greed. They have manoeuvred the country into a position which has become exceedingly dangerous. I would refer honorable members to a report published recently of a survey made by the Department of Trade, which says that Australian manufacturers generally have some doubt that present economic conditions will be able to sustain continued rapid growth. It says, further, that manufacturers expect an overall improvement in output and employment, but that in onethird of the industries surveyed daily output is not expected to be as high by this present month as it was early in 1961. The survey indicates that smaller companies expect that the number of persons they employ this month will be less than the number employed in March last year.

Mr Turnbull:

– Cheer up!


– I am using the words of Australian manufacturers, not my own. In March last year output and employment were at about their lowest levels following the Commonwealth Government’s economic measures of November, 1960. During the survey, departmental officers interviewed executives of nearly 1,100 companies. The executives represented 47 industries in five broad groups - building and construction materials, basic materials, engineering products, durable consumer goods and nondurable consumer goods. The survey compares output and employment levels of August, 1962, with those of March, 1961, and notes the manufacturers’ expectations of levels by this month.

The survey shows that the industries causing most concern to the manufacturers are those making building and construction materials, clothing and certain capital goods such as excavating equipment, industrial mechanical handling equipment and machine tools.


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


.- I do not propose to waste my time in replying to the irresponsible nonsense that we have just heard from the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin). [Quorum formed.] The honorable member simply delights in running down his own country. He causes unemployment because he is always trying to destroy confidence in Australia. He talks about large numbers of unemployed when, if he only took the trouble to read the official statistics, he would learn that 98 people out of every 1 00 in Australia are in employment and that the great majority of them not only work full time but work overtime as well. In my own State of South Australia, the number of registered unemployed has fallen below the figure which Mr. Monk, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has stated to be the minimum below which a country cannot go if it is to meet seasonal employment requirements. Less than li per cent, of the work force in South Australia is not in full employment.

My main purpose in rising to-day is to speak to the estimates for the Department of Immigration. This Government’s policy is to maintain a high rate of population growth. This requires a high rate of migration. The Government’s performance has been most creditable because during the last few years it has not been easy to maintain a high rate of migration. Fortunately, there is no difference between the policy of the Government and the policy of the Australian Labour Party in relation to the need to maintain a high rate of migration. There are now few in Australia - and, fortunately, few in this chamber - who wish to reduce the present rate of migration.

One thing which has been proved abundantly by our experience is that migration does not cause unemployment. On the contrary, there is conclusive proof that migration provides employment. The States which have accepted the greatest number of migrants in proportion to population are the States which have had the least unemployment during the difficult times through which we have passed. The reason for that is obvious. When a migrant arrives in Australia his needs are very great. He has a great purchasing power. He wants a home, he wants furniture, he wants clothes and so on, and consequently his purchasing power provides a momentum and a stimulus to industry and this, in turn, provides employment. That is why the more migration we have the greater will be our employment opportunities and the less will be our unemployment.

The Government’s target has been to provide a net migration rate of 1 per cent, of our population. Until a few years ago we did not have the statistics from which we could ascertain whether our migration target was being achieved. The only figures we had available related to long-term and permanent arrivals and departures so we had to rely upon them. Fortunately, the Government decided to take steps to ascertain our net migration rate. I think most of us were astounded to learn the number of Australians leaving this country for lengthy periods. The new statistics have shown that we are not reaching our target of a net migration of 1 per cent, of population. This poses a challenge to the Government to do everything possible to increase our migrant intake at a time when world conditions have changed considerably since the programme commenced.

After the end of the Second World War there were large numbers of refugees in Europe who either could not or did not wish to return to the land of their birth. They had a very strong desire to find new homes in the new world. Fortunately for us and, I believe for them, we accepted a tremendous number of these refugees who to-day are among our very best citizens. In addition, shortly after the war there was a very strong feeling in Europe that Europe, which had been the cause of two world wars, might be the cause of a third world war. So for that reason also there was a great desire in Europe - particularly in northern Europe - to migrate to the new world where the Europeans felt, I believe rightly, there was less chance of being involved in a world war than was the case in Europe. That fear has diminished, if it has not been removed entirely, so there is not the same desire now to leave Europe for that reason.

Another factor is that as a result of the devastation of Europe, during the war standards of living there were comparatively low and the new world, Australia, offered many economic advantages to potential migrants. But, during the last few years, and particularly since the advent of the European Economic Community, Europe has made an amazing economic recovery. To-day, wages and conditions are so good that there is very little economic reason to migrate. So we find that we now have an urgent need to increase the numbers of our migrants and that none of the stimuli which existed after the last world war now exists. If we are to get the number of migrants that we want, we have to intensify our efforts and, to a certain extent, change our approach.

Throughout Europe, there is a strong belief - and, in my view, a correct belief - that Australia is a land of opportunity, that Australia is the freest country in the world. I was able to confirm the existence of this belief during my recent trip overseas. Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that Europeans are not so afraid of war and not so worried about economic conditions in Europe as they were before, there is still a strong desire to migrate to Australia, because they believe that it is a land where their children, particularly, will have the best opportunities.

I do not believe that we can rely on the old methods that were successful in the past in the conditions that existed then. We have to look through eyes that see world conditions as they are to-day. I believe that the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) and the officers of the Department of Immigration are doing that and are making such changes as they consider necessary to meet the new conditions. I was pleased to hear from the Minister his appreciation of the number of prospective migrants from the United Kingdom wishing to come to Australia. On my own trip abroad, I came to the same conclusion as the Minister reached. I believe that at the present time we have a wonderful opportunity to get increasing numbers of migrants from the United Kingdom. One of the reasons for this is that, in addition to the belief that Australia is a land of freedom and opportunity, there is a certain amount of uncertainty about what will happen in the. United Kingdom if it enters the European Economic Community. We should not lose this opportunity for any reason. If more assisted passages are needed to enable us to obtain from the United Kingdom every migrant that is available, we should provide more assisted passages. We should not miss the opportunity. It may not occur again.

When we look at northern Europe, we find that there is absolute full employment in both Germany and Holland. In fact, there is such an acute shortage of labour that those countries are themselves taking hundreds of thousands of migrants from Italy, Turkey and other places. Therefore, if we are to get migrants from northern Europe - and we certainly wish to do so - we have to intensify our publicity and feature the things that will be attractive to prospective migrants from northern Europe. Those things are family life, freedom and the wide open spaces and sunshine of Australia, rather than relative economic conditions, which now have little attraction for people in northern Europe.

The countries of southern Europe, which, a few years ago, were regarded as lowstandard countries, are rapidly moving into the category of high-standard countries. I suppose that no country in Europe has made greater progress in the last few years than has been made by Italy. A few years ago, the level of unemployment in southern Italy was very high. Germany alone is now taking something like 100,000 Italian workers a year, and the time is coming when there will be little or no unemployment in Italy. When that time arrives, the urge to migrate from Italy for economic reasons - the urge to migrate in search of a job - will no longer exist.

Mr Duthie:

– Germany is taking 50,000 Italians a year.


– The figure is 100,000. I believe, Sir, that we have to remove some of the restrictions that we, at present, impose on migrants from Italy. I consider that Italians have made splendid citizens of this country. If we are to get-


Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, I wish to direct my remarks, particularly, to the estimates for the Department of Immigration, which provide for an expenditure of £11,792,000. I am happy to have an opportunity to pay tribute to the very great dedication and interest that members of the staff of the department have shown for so many years in this very important work that they do. I regard them as the architects of the modern progress of Australia and of its society, because their work has meant that something like 1,800,000 people have come to Australia in the last fifteen years or so. Those migrants have brought with them many attributes which should help to change Australian life and which have, I believe, already done a great deal to remove the natural insularity which surrounded us prior to the commencement of the Second World War.

I take the opportunity, also, to pay tribute to every Minister who has held the Immigration portfolio, not excluding the present Minister (Mr. Downer), whom I consider to be a most sincere and humane Minister. In his administration of the department, he has done very many great things in affording to migrants the opportunity to find in this country a new life of peace and happiness. In paying this tribute, Mr. Temporary Chairman, I am warmed by the knowledge that the first Minister for Immigration was the present leader of the Australian Labour Party in this Parliament and Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). He laid the foundations of Australia’s immigration policy, which has led to the introduction to this country of so many people. That policy has in most respects been followed by every succeeding Minister.

I think that we all had very great pleasure and satisfaction when we heard very recently that Sir Tasman Heyes, the former secretary of the Department of Immigration, had been awarded the Frijthiof Nansen Medal by the Inter-governmental Committee for European Migration. I think everybody will agree that Sir Tasman Heyes was a magnificent officer who rendered yeoman service to this country in a distinguished way in the field of migration, a cause in which he laboured to build a great Australia. It is interesting to note that the announcement of the award mentioned the fact that the award was made not only to honour Sir Tasman Heyes for the very great work which he had done but also to give to Australia recognition as a land of freedom, liberty, peace and happiness that has opened its doors to migrants from many parts of the world. I am privileged to know a number of the men who cast votes in favour of the award of the Frijthiof Nansen Medal to Sir Tasman Heyes, and I was greatly warmed when a number of them wrote to me to tell me how pleased they were to support the award and thereby give recognition to the very great work that Australia has done in the field of migration.

Over the years since the initiation of our immigration programme, migrants have made a tremendous contribution to the Australian way of life. In every field at which we look, whether it be industry, arts, sciences or music, migrants have made notable contributions to the Australian way of life. They have helped to change for the better many habits that we in Australia had. They have brought to this country an understanding of the sciences and cultures of the old world and this has been blended with the features of the new world in Australia, with the result that we are emerging as a nation with our own culture and our own entity in arts and sciences. I believe migrants have been able to help Australia progress in all of these fields.

I am very distressed and alarmed to find, looking at the figures issued by the Department of Immigration, that Australia’s intake has fallen very seriously this year. In the figures 1 have taken from the statistics, I have been very careful to deal only with those who are shown as being in permanent movement - that is, settlers who have arrived permanently and settlers who have left permanently. I have taken no note of Australian residents who have been overseas for an extended period and have come back or Australian residents who are going overseas and intend to stay away for a prolonged period. However, this figure in itself is quite alarming.

In 1961-62, 85,808 people arrived for permanent settlement and 16,400 left. The net intake for the year was only 69,408. We should compare this result with the result for 1960-61, when 108,291 people arrived for permanent settlement and 11,430 left permanently, giving a net intake of 96,861. There is a very great difference between the figures for the two years. In 1959-60, 105,887 people arrived for permanent settlement and 12,760 departed, giving a net intake of 93,127. The net intake for each of the years I have mentioned was as follows: -

I think that all honorable members and almost every one in Australia will be vitally interested to know how many people we can arrange to bring to this country for permanent settlement. Every one should be concerned at the deterioration that occurred in 1961-62.

I agree with the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) that several factors have been responsible for the deterioration. It is true, as he saw when he was overseas and as I myself saw when I was overseas, that prosperity has come to the European nations. As a result, people in the previous countries of emigration are not hastening to come to Australia. But this, of course, is not the only reason. Honorable members on the other side of the chamber will pardon me if again I mention, and not in any purely political sense, the fact that there has been an economic recession in Australia and that much publicity was given to the fact that Australia had a great deal of unemployment. There is also a lack of housing here. Many people who wanted to come to this country decided not to come for these reasons. Who can blame them? Who can blame a man with a wife and family, who is looking for peace, happiness and a chance to re-settle and who is not satisfied with life in Europe, for not coming here in these circumstances?

Although, as the honorable member for Sturt said, there is prosperity in Europe, many Europeans are unhappy living there. They have seen wars, discrimination and horrible persecution over many decades, and hundreds and thousands of people would like to leave Europe. Some of these people have said to me that they want to get away from the scenes of war, that they want to go thousands of miles away and live in a land of peace. However, they would be dissuaded from coming here because the Government’s policies - I do not say this in any really critical sense - have resulted in unemployment, recession and a continuing lack of housing. There are many difficulties here which would dissuade these people from coming to Australia. It is a major decision for a family to take - to uproot itself, to leave Europe and to travel many thousands of miles to Australia.

The department and the Minister for Immigration will have to re-orientate their thinking on some aspects of immigration. The propaganda issued by the department should be changed. Worthwhile executive officers are in charge of the department’s offices in Europe and within the confines of their office they are doing good work. But I do not believe that the publicity and propaganda of the department are extensive enough and cover all the fields of life in Australia that should be covered. The Minister will have more information on this than I have, but I am concerned to find that many people in Europe and elsewhere, who would be sponsored personally by Australian residents, are refused permission to come here. The department has clung narrowly to the view that, unless the person concerned is an uncle or an aunt, a nephew or a niece, a father or a son or a mother or a daughter, no one in Australia can sponsor a person in certain countries and no one in those countries can come to Australia. There is something quite wrong with this attitude. I believe that if a decent, honest Australian or person who has come to Australia and been naturalized, wishes to nominate under form 40, which means that the nominator gives personal sponsorship and promises to provide employment and accommodation for the nominee, some person or family in Europe or some other country where there is no security risk, the department should automatically issue a permit.

Mr Anthony:

– From Asia, too?


– I said from any country where there is no security risk. 1 am sure the Minister will understand my point of view. I am not asking the department to change its policy as to the persons who should be admitted. Let me cite a case that came to my notice recently. I have many cases because, as the Minister knows, I have been interested in immigration for many years. Recently, a lady came to see me. The cousin of her mother is at present living in Chile with her husband. These people went from Yugoslavia fifteen years ago and settled in Chile. He started a plastics manufacturing business. If these people were still living in Yugoslavia, the present policy of the department would allow the lady I have mentioned to submit a nomination which would be accepted by the department. However, as we have no arrangements with Chile, she cannot get permission for these people to come to Australia. I ask the Minister to review this case. I am sure that the personal character of the people in Australia and the people in Chile would justify the department making this a special case.

But I do not think that should be necessary. The position should be quite clear. We badly need immigrants. If we can get the right type of immigrants, every one in this Parliament will welcome them. But why do we place a bar against a person who can be sponsored by a decent, reputable family in Australia? In the case I have mentioned, the nominator would agree to provide the immigrants with accommodation for at least two years. Why does the Minister not decide, if there is no security risk - I do not ask him to take risks - to issue permits for these people to enter Australia? Many thousands of people are in the situation of those people in Chile, to whom I have referred. I have references in my files to hundreds and hundreds of people who have been refused permits because they are not within the categories laid down by the department.

Another matter that concerns me is naturalization. Recently, the Minister quite rightly took great credit and was very delighted to be able to announce that there was a record number of naturalizations for this year. In 1962, 51,377 people were naturalized; in 1960-61, 41,741; and in 1959-60, 50,625. The Minister has also announced that 335,310 people have been naturalized since 1945. However, there are still 240,000 people in Australia eligible for naturalization who have not been naturalized. The Minister, in answer to a question to-day, said that 47,000 of these were minors. He went on to say that we cannot expect perfection and that the result to date was not too bad. I think it is very bad. We bring people to Australia in the hope that they will become Australians. Although the department is doing what it can in the ordinary way in writing to these people and in publicizing the advantages of naturalization, and although many voluntary organizations such as the Good Neighbour Council and church organizations are doing a good job, I think the department should set out to try to convince people who come here that they ought to be naturalized. I do not think this is too much to suggest.

Mr Whittorn:

– That is coercion.


– I do not think that coercion is necessary. I am satisfied that there is no resistance to naturalization in the sense that people do not want to be naturalized, but a great many immigrants do not understand what it means to be naturalized. They do not understand how easy and simple it is, and how newly naturalized citizens are welcomed by the. mayors of the municipalities. Therefore, I suggest that the Minister for Immigration should try an experiment and get officers of his department to call on people who have been in the country for five years, who are eligible for naturalization, but who have not applied for it. I have done this kind of thing myself. I have called on 50 or 60 people in my electorate who had not been naturalized. I have also spoken to thousands of people all over Australia on this subject. I have found that if you speak to them personally it does not take very much time to persuade them to become naturalized.

Progress reported.

page 1716



Ministerial Statement

Debate resumed from 16th October (vide page 1576), on motion by Mr. Menzies -

That the following paper: -

Prime Ministers’ Conference, London, September, 1962, and the Common MarketMinisterial Statement- be printed.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have now embarked on the long discussion on the European Economic Community. It is generally recognized that Great Britain will join the community and that Australia will lose preferred access to the British market. During the week the newspapers have decided that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) is reconciled to the. change, and to the loss of Australian markets in the United Kingdom. It is generally recognized that he has given up the fight because he has nothing to fight with. What will the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) say at 8 p.m.? Has the Minister any fight left? Did we ever have any bargaining power in our efforts to retain preferred access to Europe, or was the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) a needless sacrifice? Was the build-up of the Minister for Trade as our only effective negotiator merely a slick piece of political propaganda? These are questions which I think the Australian people must ask and they must be answered.

The European Economic Community has a number of very important aspects, but the Government has chosen throughout to be concerned with one aspect only - Australia’s exports to the United Kingdom and Europe, and what we should do if we lose those markets. Except on this aspect, the Government has refused to express any views or take part in deciding any other matters. The decision to enter or not to enter, and consideration of these other important matters have been left to the United Kingdom alone. Whilst it is recognized that Great Britain’s entry or failure to enter the European Economic Community may have very many important consequences, for instance, Britain’s entry may or may not, to quote the Prime Minister, “ affect the future of the free world “. It is as important as that.

Again, to use the words of the Prime Minister, will the entry of the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community “ eliminate the hostilities in Europe which twice in this century have brought the world to the brink of disaster “? Will it reduce the threat of communism by building up the strength of Europe or cause Great Britain to cease to be a sovereign community? Will it bring an end to the whole British Commonwealth as we know it, or handicap the under-developed countries of the world whose terms of trade, like those of Australia, have suffered as a result of the growing cartelization of Europe? Will it significantly damage the Australian economy as a result of loss of exports to Britain and Europe?

Whilst the Government and everybody else recognizes these seven very important aspects of the European Economic Community, the Government says little about any of them, except the last. Indeed, it says it is not entitled to say anything about the others at all. Does the Prime Minister or his supporters think that the European Economic Community will contribute anything to the free world or not? If they think that it will, why do they not support the entry of the United Kingdom under any conditions? Does the Prime Minister think that the European Economic Community will eliminate the old hostilities in Europe? From what he said, it appears that he does. But should we offer a judgment upon it because of this? No. Apparently we are not entitled to do so. This is a matter for Great Britain alone.

What about the new hostilities? Let us leave aside the old ones, for a minute. The European Economic Community may well reduce the danger of war between Germany and France if any one thinks that that is of any significance to-day. But what about the new hostilities? What about the chance of hostilities between the Western and Communist powers? Does the European Economic Community do anything to unite Europe in this respect? Or does it, in fact, not divide Europe in an even more positive and unchanging way? The Prime Minister has never so much as mentioned this matter - the role of the European Economic Community in the only place where Europe can be divided, in the only place where war could occur. The Prime Minister, in all his countless speeches on this subject, has never said one word on that point. Why? Is he avoiding the issue or does he not know the answer? Does the Prime Minister think that the entry of Great Britain to the European Economic Community will cause Great Britain to cease to be a sovereign State? Apparently he does not. But should we offer any judgment because of this? Apparently not. We should be silent. This is a matter for Great Britain alone. Does the Prime Minister think that Great Britain’s entry into the community will bring an end to the British Commonwealth? From what he has said it is impossible to say what he thinks about this. Will the European Economic Community handicap the under-developed countries? Again, the Prime Minister has not said one word about the relationship between the community and the under-developed countries. It seems as though he has no concern whatever about the matter.

Finally, will Great Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community harm the Australian economy? The Prime Minister’s answer is now a muted, “ yes “, as though he does not any longer want to be heard, even on this point. On one aspect alone - the effect on Australia - he feels entitled to express an opinion and say something about the conditions of entry. But what if the conditions of entry are not achieved? Well, the Prime Minister says, we would be bitterly disappointed. So the strong stand taken by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade, it seems, have come to nothing much more than this. Bitter disappointment!

If this is not so, when government supporters speak later in this debate they will be able to say what the Government proposes to do if the British tory Government gives away, in its discussions at Brussels, its guarantee to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth. The Government which has the future of Australia in its hands has a responsibility to define a policy on this matter. The Prime Minister and other Ministers are unwilling to say anything about the effect of the European Economic Community upon the “ future of the free world “. The Government has not considered whether Britain should or should not enter. If it thinks this is such an important matter for the future of the free world why does not the Government come out and support Britain’s entry under any conditions? There again the Prime Minister and his supporters are unwilling to say whether their belief that Britain’s entry to the E.E.C. will eliminate the old hostilities in Europe should incline us towards the argument that Britain should enter. They have given no conclusions about that.

The Government is completely unwilling to discuss or even to consider the effect of the E.E.C. upon the cold war and the peace of the world. It is completely unwilling to explore the probable effects of the E.E.C. upon British sovereignty and upon the British Commonwealth. It is unwilling to consider its effect upon the under-developed countries of the world. All it is willing to do is to think about Australian exports. Can any one dispute the fact that Australia will be materially affected by all these other factors and by anything that affects the future of the free world and eliminates the old hostilities in Europe which have already caused two world wars? Can anybody argue that that is not material to Australia’s interests, whichever way events happen to go? But we have had not one word from the Prime Minister as to what we should do in these circumstances. Can any one argue that anything which may materially affect British sovereignty or the future of the Commonwealth of Nations will not materially affect the future of the Commonwealth of Australia? Yet there has been not one word from the Prime Minister as to what we should do because of this. All the Prime Minister and the Government will say is that we must concern ourselves with Australian exports and the effect of their loss upon Australia. Could we ever have a more narrow, limited and parochial attitude to a matter of great historical importance, such as the formation of the E.E.C. undoubtedly is, inhibited in every respect? The Government having limited the Australian position to the least important of all the important aspects of the E.E.C, can anybody be surprised that Australia ends up having no influence at all upon whether or not Britain joins or on the conditions under which she might join?

How does the Government answer this criticism? There are all these very important aspects that have not been explored and upon which it, as a government, has not made any statement. It simply says, “We do not know enough about the situation to say any more “. We must wait until things hit us before we start to work out something about them. To take two important aspects which are not only important to Australia but also materially affect the future of Australia, the future of British sovereignty and of the British Commonwealth, the Prime Minister put it this way -

If the European Community becomes a federation with Great Britain as a constituent state, then

Great Britain would cease to be a sovereign community.

This, then, is the test selected by the Prime Minister. If the European Economic Community becomes a federation and Britain joins, then she ceases to be a sovereign community. Does the Prime Minister care? Would it be a good thing if Britain lost her sovereignty? It is almost inconceivable that the right honorable gentleman who has been strutting the stage in London for so many years could leave us in any doubt as to what he thinks about the future of British sovereignty. British sovereignty is needed in the world to-day to modify the extreme forces on both sides in the world conflict and for many other reasons.

But the question is whether the E.E.C. will become a federation and thereby neutralize and abolish British sovereignty. Examination of its constitution and the practice of its government under that constitution since 1958 shows that it is not only a federation now but also a powerfully centred federation. A federation is a collection of regional governments with a central government over all. This is the structure of the E.E.C. Not only has it a central government but that government has far more power than is in the hands of any other federation in the world to-day. There are sixteen specified heads of power. The Prime Minister must know this. I will briefly recite them. They are as follows: - External trade, articles 3 to 37; agriculture, articles 38 to 47; free movement of persons and services, articles 48 to 66; free movement of capital, articles 67 to 73; transport, articles 74 to 84; rules governing competition, articles 85 to 91; aids granted by States, articles 92 to 94; fiscal provisions, articles 95 to 99; approximation of laws and administrative procedures, articles 100 to 102; economic policy, article 103; balance of payments, articles 104 to 109; commercial policy, articles 110 to 116; social policy, articles 117 to 122; social fund, articles 123 to 138; investment bank, articles 129 to 130, and foreign policy, article 224.

These powers are wide, complete and detailed. They are not just passing references to powers such as we find in the Australian constitution. This is a wide, complete and detailed statement of powers. They are wider, more complete and more detailed than those of any other federation that now exists. There are no divided powers here in the E.E.C. Indeed, the. E.E.C. is already constitutionally more of a unitary state than a federation. Now let us look at who will exercise those powers. It is a super-government with four component parts. The. first is the Assembly, now appointed but later perhaps to be elected. The. second is the Council of Ministers, appointed now and never to be elected. The third is the Commission, appointed now and never to be elected, whilst the fourth is the Court of Justice, appointed now and never to be elected. It would be a mistake to think that the powers of the central government are going to be exercised by the Assembly whether elected or not. The Assembly is only a discursive, consultative body which is almost powerless. Its only real power is to dismiss - by a twothirds majority - the Commission. It has no power whatever over the Council of Ministers or the Court of Justice. It is like this Parliament would be with no power over the Cabinet, and I sometimes think that the similarities there are greater than appears. Not only this, but the Court of Justice can also issue directives to member countries and order them to do things or not to do things. It can issue directives to the Council and the Commission and impose monetary penalties upon individuals anywhere.

The powers of the central government are exercised by the Council of Ministers and the Commission, and for this we have the authority of the chairman of the Commission itself, Dr. Walter Hallstein, who has said -

The independent Executive and the Council of Ministers, then may be regarded as jointly forming the Decision-making agency of the European Community; that is, its legislative agency, responsible for issuing regulations.

Not only, then, is the central government of the E.E.C. already more powerful than any other existing federation, but also it is an unelected body designed not for democratic discussion and decision but for administrative and executive efficiency. The Prime Minister recognized that the government of the E.E.C. was being “left to officials” and that it could not indefinitely be left so, as he said, “ since the control of such great matters by a central bureaucracy would be inconsistent with British democratic ideals “. So we have the authority of the Prime Minister for the fact that the E.E.C. does have “ great matters “ controlled by a “ central bureaucracy “. Are we not entitled to express some view on this matter and to suggest that the E.E.C. might be made a little more democratic before Britain enters, or do we wash our hands of the whole business, relying on the hope that some time in the future the E.E.C. may become more democratic?

What are the chances of material changes in written constitutions? They are always difficult, and unlikely. Perhaps the Prime Minister is the greatest living expert on unchanging written constitutions and on their value to conservative governments. In view of ail this, would it not be reasonable to say that we do not oppose the E.E.C. in principle, but that we think that among Britain’s conditions of entry should be the condition that the constitution of the E.E.C. should be made a little more democratic before she enters? Should we not join the British Labour Party and seek power for Britain to plan democratically her economy and work out and apply her own foreign policy? So much for British sovereignty. What about the Empire? What about the Commonwealth? Here the position taken by the Prime Minister is that if the European Economic Community is a federation and Britain is involved, then British Commonwealth ties will loosen up and finally disappear.

Astonishingly, the Prime Minister and his supporters do not seem to worry much about this. Once the Prime Minister would have become impassioned at the very thought of the disappearance of the British Commonwealth - or should I say “ Empire “. But now he has become philosophical at the thought. “The old hopes of common policy have gone “, he says, and “… if Europe became a federation then Britain’s position in the Commonwealth would be regarded as no more anomalous than many other things that have happened “. What other things? The independent status of India as a republic? The independence of Burma? The emergence of the coloured Commonwealth nations of Africa? The exclusion of South Africa from the Commonwealth? All these things in his time he thought were tragedies.

Britain’s entry to the European federation - make no mistake about it - will produce, according to the Prime Minister, just another anomalous situation. It has been, of course, possible to detect for a long time in the Prime Minister and his supporters a declining affection for the British Commonwealth as it has become more and more a multi-racial community. The Prime Minister’s new philosophy is just another stage in that declining affection. But is this continuing decline of the British Commonwealth a thing to be accepted as the Prime Minister accepts it, philosophically and without any protest?

The British Commonwealth has become more and more important, not less important, as it has become more and more a multi-racial community. It is more capable of understanding the complex and peculiar problems of the world to-day. The British Commonwealth is more capable to-day of modifying the drive of forces which would destroy civilization and is more capable of seeing the complex difficulties that are involved. There is no certainty whatever, on the other hand, that an enlarged and more powerful European Economic Community will help to prevent any of these catastrophies or to see things more clearly.

The British Commonwealth is capable of seeing not only that the old white imperialism is ineffective, but that the new white imperialism is not much better. It is capable of seeing that the explosive forces of national independence must have a constructive outlet. It has more than ever before a role to play in the world.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:
Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– If I am to give as much information as I can to the House in the twenty minutes available to me I must, for the sake of brevity, make certain assumptions. The first, and most important of these, is that the United Kingdom Government will enter the European Economic Community. We would hope, and indeed must continue to press our conviction, that this should only occur on terms more precisely defined and more favorable to Commonwealth interests than have so far become evident.

Australia’s views have been made clearly and firmly known to the United Kingdom

Government by our Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and my colleague, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). Our detailed proposals have been vigorously urged at both the ministerial and official level. But Australia cannot afford to stand still while awaiting the outcome. [Quorum formed.] We must base our immediate policies and plans on the probabilities as we see them. I propose, therefore, to concentrate on some important issues which derive from what are termed the economic union articles of the Treaty of Rome, particularly those which relate to capital movements.

Australia has a very direct interest in questions which now arise. What effect is British entry likely to have on the rate of capital inflow to Australia from British sources? What are our prospects of future loan raisings on the London market, which until now has been reserved for United Kingdom and other Commonwealth borrowers? Australia is the largest holder of sterling reserves. We are an important member of the sterling area group. What will be the impact of British membership of the E.E.C. on sterling area arrangements and on the course we should follow in relation to our sterling holdings?

We cannot answer all these questions now. Some of the answers will be shaped by our experience of what transpires after Great Britain has entered the community. But I have tried, in correspondence and discussion with British Ministers and officials, and those of European countries, to gather as much information as I could. I shall tell the House my conclusions, so far as they can be taken at the present time.

But first let me state a few relevant facts. As is well known, our industrial development has been greatly assisted by a substantial continuing inflow of private investment from Great Britain and by the borrowings we have made from time to time on government account in the city of London. In the period 1947-48 to 1960- 61, private investment in companies in Australia from Great Britain amounted to £806,000,000 out of a total overseas investment in companies of £1,381,000,000. That is to say, 58 per cent, of total private investment in companies came, over this period, from Great Britain. The importance of this capital movement is frequently overlooked by those who merely study the figures of

British exports to Australia and see them as a diminishing proportion of our imports. Many United Kingdom firms which formerly exported to Australia have now established their own production units in this country. While they may not despatch the same volume of goods to us, they receive by way of profits more income from Australia than they previously enjoyed.

From all the evidence which has reached me, I find no reason for pessimism as to capital inflow. This had exceeded a rate of more than £100,000,000 per annum from the United Kingdom in 1959-60 and 1960- 61, the last two years for which I have complete figures. While there would have been some falling away in 1961-62, the current level of capital inflow, including that from the United Kingdom, would suggest that overseas investors continue to take a favorable view of Australia’s long-term prospects.

I have said that Australia is the largest holder in the world of sterling reserves, our present holdings amounting to more than £A.400,000,000. We have also been considerable borrowers from the United Kingdom for governmental and semigovernmental purposes. The total of Australian governmental and semi-governmental debt held in the United Kingdom as at 30th June, 1962, amounted to £442,000,000.

I believe these facts, of themselves, provide some assurance for us. No British government, studying the extent of British capital investment in Australia, the size of Australia’s holdings of sterling reserves, the volume of our loan indebtedness, the sizeable market we continue to provide for British manufacturers, and the steady absorption we continue to make of British migrants, can afford to ignore the importance of Australia’s prosperity and national growth for the economic and social wellbeing of Great Britain. Australia will always have an importance for Great Britain. The Macmillan Government expressly recognizes this. We would hope that this recognition finds expression in the terms finally hammered out with the Common Market negotiators.

There is at this stage uncertainty about the future of financial aspects as there is of trade aspects. My own talks and inquiries would, however, suggest that Aus tralia should be able to take a reasonably optimistic view of our future capital prospects. It is true that adoption of the provisions of the Treaty of Rome will open the London market to the countries of the community. It has been part of my task in recent years to ascertain whether this development could seriously prejudice borrowings by Australian governments of fresh capital on the London market, or the refinancing of current loans. I have discussed this matter with the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, and his successor, Mr. Reginald Maudling. I have also had talks on it with the former Governor of the Bank of England, Lord Cobbold, the present Governor, Lord Cromer, and others, including Nivisons, our London firm of underwriters.

I report what has emerged from these talks. The first comment I make is that there has been remarkably little discussion so far between representatives of the United Kingdom and the community on the detailed operation of the financial provisions of the Treaty of Rome, This was confirmed for me in the talk I had in Rome last month with Mr. Colombo, the Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Government of Italy, who had recently served as chairman of the Council of Ministers of the E.E.C. As I understand the position, the United Kingdom has not discussed these areas of the Rome Treaty in any detail with members of the community, although it has had discussions on them with the European Economic Commission. However, the United Kingdom informed The Six at the opening of their negotiations that the economic union provisions of the Rome Treaty were acceptable to it in principle. Later it advised The Six that, subject to certain details of domestic implication, it could accept the arrangements which The Six have come to between themselves since the treaty entered into force. As regards capital, it would seem that on joining the community the United Kingdom would be required immediately to remove any restrictions on capital movements in specified categories.

At present, restrictions in force in the United Kingdom do not apply to capital movements to sterling area countries, but they limit movements of capital to nonsterling countries, including those in the community. In practice, direct investment

These developments will not necessarily be adverse from Australia’s point of view. Theoretically they could work to our disadvantage, but my own view, which could prove optimistic, is that there are factors which would operate in our favour. In the first place, for reasons already mentioned - and these would be fortified by the undoubtedly favorable sentiment towards Australia existing in Great Britain - there would be strong incentives for the United Kingdom to continue capital investment in this country and to maintain our wellestablished lender-borrower relationship. I have been repeatedly assured that Australia should be able to have access to the London market in future to no smaller degree than we have experienced in the past.

Putting the matter at its lowest level, the United Kingdom would not, I imagine, wish to see us reduce our sterling holdings significantly because we were compelled to go on redeeming London-held government debt. There is the possibility, also, that with Great Britain inside the community the City of London could become an even more powerful financial centre than it is to-day. I know that efforts are. being made to promote capital markets in other important European centres, but this is much more difficult to achieve than may be thought. It can take many years to build up investor confidence, the experience, the techniques and the diversified financial institutions with the strength to support an international capital market. My own judgment is that one of the substantial gains the United Kingdom is likely to make from entry into the community will be an increased volume, of financial activity through the City of London, reaching out not only throughout the community but, by investment, into the rest of the world. Australia can reasonably hope to gain from such a process, provided - and it is a vital proviso - that we can maintain our present political stability, our high credit standing and our attractive growth prospects.

While in Washington for the conference of Commonwealth Finance Ministers and the annual meetings of the International Bank and International Monetary Fund I felt the most useful thing I could do at this time was to press the view advanced repeatedly over recent years by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) that there should be negotiated satisfactory international commodity agreements.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) urged at the recent London conference that early efforts should be made to negotiate at least one substantial agreement before the United Kingdom took any final decision about Common Market entry. Wheat, it was felt, is the commodity providing the best opportunity for an early negotiation and reasonably speedy conclusion. The success or failure of such a wheat negotiation would serve as a valuable pointer to the degree of reliance we can place on the general assurances we have received from the British Government and the assurances which Britain’s negotiators have received from the Common Market countries.

I recognize, as do my colleagues, that even if a series of agreements should be concluded for various primary commodities, this would only form part, however important, of the answer to Australia’s future trade problems. But if we are to lose, at the end of some transition period, our present preferential position in the United Kingdom, then we must look for other opportunities to sustain that export income which is basic to our national growth.

The House has already been told of the expansion of our Trade Commissioner Service and of our trade promotion activities generally. We are energetically seeking new markets and the enlargement of old ones. But we have much to gain from international arrangements if they will ensure reasonable prices for a reasonable volume of production of our principal primary commodities. We can take some heart from the fact that at this point of history Australia’s interest in this direction is linked not only with that of other primary producing countries but with all who wish to see an expansion of world trade and an improvement in the circumstances of underdeveloped and undernourished peoples.

As is well known, Australia has had to contend with a serious worsening in its terms of trade. I gave figures earlier in the year to show the remarkable effect this could have, and has had, on our export earnings.

From our own experience, we can have some conception of what this trend has meant to countries with less diversified economies and lacking the assistance we have enjoyed from overseas investment and borrowed funds. The Commonwealth. Prime Ministers, at their meeting in London, reached broad understanding on four main needs: the need to work for an expansion of world trade; the need to improve organization of the world market in primary foodstuffs through a fresh approach to international commodity agreements; the need to recognize that opportunities for trade are no less important than aid; the need to regulate disposal of agricultural surpluses so as to help peoples in want. These are all most commendable objectives. How quickly can they be translated into practical action? More than 80 governments were represented at the annual meetings of the International Bank and International Monetary Fund which I attended in Washington - most of them by their finance ministers.

Australia, principally through my colleague the Minister for Trade, has over many years played a prominent part in voicing the problems of the primary producing countries and the need for wellconstructed international commodity agreements. I found an opportunity to restate our views at the Washington meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers called by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. At the bank and fund meetings it was encouraging to find from all the more prominent spokesmen of the major countries, as well as from the managing director of the fund and president of the International Bank - and including a notable statement by the President of the United States of America - recognition of the importance of finding measures urgently to improve the situation of the primary producing countries. Here, I believe, is an early test of what the European Economic Community is going to mean for the future well-being of mankind. If it looks inwards and allows itself to become a sort of rich man’s club it will dislocate world trade, provoke bitter resentments and political unrest - all reacting to produce danger and damage for the community itself. If it embraces the responsibilities and opportunities opening for it to make a contribution to human advancement we could be on the threshhold of the greatest era in human history.

I am sufficiently optimistic to believe that the world will gain advantage from this great adventure. The spokesmen for these European countries may be hard negotiators, but they are men of intelligence, well capable of understanding the exciting possibilities for their exercise of statesmanship. The creation of the European Economic Community was itself a magnificent triumph of statesmanship. Is it too much to expect that its principals will willingly devote themselves to further far-sighted and imaginative achievement? Many countries of the world have become more sensitive to the plight of others less favorably placed than themselves. There is abroad to-day a genuine will to help those in need of assistance. Greater resources than those now in use are available to mankind. It is the great humanitarian task of our time to secure a more widespread enjoyment of the greater production of which the world is capable. Australia, like many other countries, including Great Britain and those of the community, will have to contend with many problems arising from changes inherent in these events. But there is something bracing and stimulating in measuring up to the tasks that lie ahead of us. The Prime Minister of Great Britain is convinced that the challenges his country will have to meet will produce a better Britain. I believe that in the long run those we must face will produce a better and stronger Australia.

I think that if I were an Englishman I would be found amongst those in Great

Britain willing to take the plunge. As an Australian, I may feel that our interests have so far received in Europe inadequate recognition and certainly inadequate satisfaction. We must continue to work for a better outcome. But we live in a world that is moving swiftly and growing fast. Last year the world’s population grew by more than 50,000,000 people. It will grow by even more year by year, until by the end of this century the population of the world may be double what it was at the beginning of the 1960’s. We are fortunate to be living in a country that is one of the world’s great producers of foodstuffs and mineral wealth. We have great resources as yet little exploited. I believe we can face with confidence both the hazards and the opportunities ahead.


.- The speech of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) does little to reassure us as to the likely financial results for the sterling area of Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market. Much that he said was speculative, and we shall have to await future developments before being able to assess the effects fully. The Treasurer said little by way of firm assurance of protection of Australia’s interests. However, I shall leave succeeding speakers on this side to comment further on his speech. They will have an opportunity to analyse it more fully.

I come to the. consideration of the European Economic Community with an inquiring mind. I think this can be said of most people. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) has declared that the negotiations in connexion with the Common Market and the uniting of the countries that will comprise it have been historic and may even be described as revolutionary. The amazing aspect of the matter is that whilst we have heard so much we have actually been told so little. In a matter of such great importance, even of profound importance, we have been left un-informed and in a state of indecision and inconclusion. Surely the Australian Government should have issued a white paper describing frankly all the consultations that had taken place, and the implications of them. Instead, we have been treated to a dissertation by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) that has been totally unsatisfying. Australia is disturbed at such uncertainty. Long before now positive action should have been taken and firm plans made by this Government which, however, as the honorable, member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) has rightly said, has abdicated and given up the ghost.

While journeying this week through the fruit-growing districts of the Murray Valley, including Berri, Barmera, Renmark and Mildura, I realized the serious prospects facing those areas, and others such as Shepparton, Leeton and Griffith, unless some plan is formulated by the Government for opening up new markets. A Labour government would have had such a plan well advanced by this time. What I have said about the prospects for the fruit industry applies with equal force in respect of all the other industries that are likely to be affected. The Prime Minister gave us a declaration designed to calm the Australian community. He said that Australia wanted fair and reasonable opportunities and that “ we will be bitterly disappointed if events turn out otherwise “. That was the. part of his speech that became headlines in the daily newspapers of this country. Could there be any statement more nebulous and unsatisfying than that? The more we consider this question the more we are conscious of other aspects of it than the economic aspect. Walter Lippmann, the noted columnist in the United States of America, frankly referred to the community as a Western alliance and canvassed the political issues involved. He referred to it as a grand plan.

Britain’s unwillingness to become a signatory to the Rome Treaty of 1957 showed that she realized the greater advantages of maintaining her association with the Commonwealth. If we look at the relevant figures we find that Britain’s trade with Commonwealth countries is overwhelmingly greater than her trade with European countries. About 14 per cent, of Britain’s total exports have been going to the nations that constitute the European Economic Community, whilst 46 per cent, have gone to Commonwealth countries. Even if Britain’s exports to Commonwealth countries are reduced by only 5 per cent, she will have to increase her exports to European countries by 20 per cent, to make up the loss. The United Kingdom has shown in the trade agreements that she has made that she has realized the significance of accepting the terms of the Rome treaty. Britain sought to form an association of European nations not directly connected with the European Economic Community, in a group known as the European Free Trade Association. The terms of membership of this group would have given the constituent countries the right to negotiate third-party trade treaties. This would have suited Great Britain and preserved her trading arrangements with Commonwealth countries. However, this association was not successful.

In the meantime, West Germany proposed and regained her status in the councils of Europe. General de Gaulle had recognized the common interests of France and Germany and had cultivated friendship with that country for the purpose of strengthening the economies of both countries. In the review which he made of these circumstances when he travelled through Europe, Mr. Walter Lippmann indicates that France will find a satisfactory market for her surpluses of agricultural products in Germany, and that Germany will find a satisfactory market in France for her steel and manufactured goods.

The possibility of this unity greatly disturbed the official mind of Washington. Anything in the nature of an economic and political union between these two countries could have far-reaching consequences. Both Adenauer and de Gaulle are ageing men, and the patterns of trade and political association which they have designed might not be the patterns followed in the future. Therefore, it was the earnest desire of the United States that Britain should enter the European Economic Community to give stability to France and Germany, the two dominant nations of Europe. At first General de Gaulle was strongly opposed to the idea because he was insistent that France must become a nuclear power. But the United States refused to share her nuclear secrets with France. General de Gaulle knew that Britain shared them and that if Britain entered the European Community this fact might give her much greater prestige and standing than was enjoyed by France. General de Gaulle was disposed to dismiss the suggestion of Britain entering the European Community by referring to her as being only an island off the coast of Europe and not actually of Europe.

Great Britain, for her part, was not enthusiastic about entering the community and, when Commonwealth considerations were taken into account, it seemed that there was not by any means a strong case for Britain joining the Common Market. Indeed, I can show the justification for any reluctance that Britain might have felt in this regard by reading the conclusions of Mr. Walter Lippmann, who was visiting Europe at that time. His impressions, which were expressed in the press of the United States and in the journals of other countries, were these -

For the British the terms for admission present a truly agonizing decision. If the British must shut out the old dominions, which are the producers of temperate agricultural products such as wheat and meat and butter, the old political and human allegiance of the Empire and the Commonwealth will suffer a rude and painful, if not a fatal, shock. The issue is deep, momentous, and highly charged with sentiment. No solution of it is in sight at this writing. To find a solution, the Continentals will have to move into a much more generous and flexible position than General de Gaulle and Dr. Adenauer now occupy. The British are not so hard pressed that they can be brought to a kind of unconditional surrender to Paris and Bonn. Thus the immediate fate of the grand project depends primarily on Paris and Bonn.

As late as 1960 the British Prime Minister made it clear that there was no desire on his part and that of the government he represented to undertake membership of this community. Then a change came over the scene. Prime Minister Macmillan went to Washington in April, 1961, and met President Kennedy. The attitude of the British Government then changed without any adequate reason being given. All the subsequent discussions and negotiations have revealed that Britain’s entry must require certain sacrifices by member nations of the Commonwealth in relation to markets for their products.

Let me state the tariffs proposed by The Six against outside countries which certainly include Australia. The pamphlet issued by the Forward British Movement indicates the following proposed tariffs: - Meat, 20 per cent, to 24 per cent.; bacon, 20 per cent, to 25 per cent.; wheat, 20 per cent.; butter, 24 per cent.; cheese, 23 per cent.; tea, 11 per cent.; sugar, 80 per cent. It is obvious that these are very heavy levies to be imposed u;:on our products, which have enjoyed preferential treatment on the

British market and for which we now must find markets elsewhere. Great as may be the trade difficulties created for us by this new arrangement, this is only one of the many problems which will arise for Britain herself. True, the Treaty of Rome does not actually tie the signatories to a political union but this is definitely implied. Subsequently another treaty will be drawn up to give effect to this. There will have to be a surrender of certain sovereign powers to a central European authority. Undoubtedly these will include trade and industrial and social affairs. The standards of the average working man in Britain are higher than those of his opposite number on the Continent, and his social benefits are much better. The proposal could mean a reduction in the living standards of the British people. The transfer of the labour force from one country to another, as has been proposed already, must also be considered. The Forward British Movement pamphlet has this to say about living standards -

Certain big businessmen are known to favour Britain’s entry because they feel it will enable them to have a wages show-down at home and to “ discipline “ their workers. Lord Chandos, chief of Associated Electrical Industries, said in the House of Lords: “I think there will be a downward pressure on our wages here, while wages in the other countries will go up “. Already trade unionists are being told that they cannot expect any increase in the level of wages because of the prospect of Britain’s entry.

Pressure has surely come from somewhere to require Britain to change her mind on this matter because it actually requires on her part much sacrifice both at home and in her future relations with the Commonwealth. In all of these complex situations Britain rightly will make her own decisions, but this surely does not deny to us the right to state in the most forthright manner the disadvantages and difficulties that will be occasioned to our industries and to our economy. Anything less would be abdication on the part of the Australian Government. I consider that at this time there should be a strong expression of our concern at the prospect of losing the advantage of the trade arrangements in the British market that we have enjoyed. We should continue to press for the maintenance of those arrangements. But I am afraid that the Prime Minister and those identified with him tend rather to take the view taken by the Conservative Party in the United

Kingdom and to seek to accommodate our situation to that view.

Unfortunately, the results of Britain’s entry to the European Economic Community may be far-reaching for all those who are associated in the British Commonwealth of Nations as we know it to-day. We have a clear understanding of the tremendous influence and power that that Commonwealth has exercised in the development of those nations that have emerged from their primitive and under-developed state and are to-day able to claim nationhood in their own right. If ever we should be displaying unity of mind and purpose in the Commonwealth of Nations and trying to knit even more closely those ties upon which the influence and power of that Commonwealth so much depend, this is the time when we should be doing it. Our Prime Minister should have expressed Australia’s views much more firmly than he has done and much more firmly than I believe he will be willing to express them in the future. I wish to express my great concern and earnest apprehension at what may be the results of the present moves designed to make the United Kingdom a member of the European Economic Community.


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


.- Mr. Speaker, it is with some trepidation that I dare to enter this debate, because so many speeches have already been made on this subject by honorable members who are much better informed than I am. However, it is my opinion that none of the speeches made in this Parliament or, indeed, in any of the parliaments of the British Commonwealth of Nations, with the exception, of course, of the Parliament at Westminster, will have the slightest effect on any decision which Britain has yet to make in this matter. In saying that, I do not intend to be disrespectful to those honorable members who have already contributed to this debate. If Britain believes that it will be to her advantage to become a member of the European Economic Community, she will do so. The views of both the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) are already well known to the United Kingdom Government. Whatever impact these two right honorable gentlemen have been able to make on the thinking of the British Government has already been made. But it has been made by their personal representations and not by any speeches which they have made in this Parliament. Australia’s views could not have been put more forcibly by the two right honorable gentlemen, and the British Government can have no doubt whatever of Australia’s views after listening to the advocacy of both of them.

It is because I believe that the speeches already made in this Parliament will have no influence on Britain’s decision that I have ventured to contribute to this debate. As far as I am aware, most of the speeches made in this Parliament on the subject of the European Common Market have, dealt with the political implications of Britain’s likely entry to that organization and the likely effects on Australia’s economy. I suppose it is only natural that this is so. I want to express, for what they may be worth, my views on the possible effects on Britain’s economy of a decision by that country to join the European Economic Community.

Britain, of course, hopes that she will be able to find a much better outlet for her products in the countries of the European Economic Community, because, if she becomes a member there will not be any tariff discrimination against her in those countries. However, I wonder whether things will really work out in that way. It is reasonable to infer that the countries of the Economic Community are already buying from Britain what they require. Is it likely that they will buy any more unless the manufacturers in the United Kingdom can reduce their costs? [Quorum formed.] On the other hand, Britain will have gradually to reduce her tariffs on goods manufactured in the countries of the Economic Community, and, in my opinion, this must result initially in a flood of cheaply manufactured goods from the low-wage countries of Europe. This, if it happens, will have one of two effects. Either British industry will have to increase its productivity, thereby reducing the price, on the home market, or there will be unemployment in those industries which are vulnerable. The British manufacturer will have to reduce the price on the home market if he is to meet European competition. On the other hand, if the

British manufacturer can increase, his productivity, Britain has, in my opinion, a chance to sell more to Europe. I realize that many people will not agree with my line of reasoning, and they are entitled to their opinions, the same as I am entitled to mine. But I believe that there is room for reasonable doubt about what will happen.

Let us assume that, in certain vulnerable industries, the British manufacturer cannot increase his productivity. If he cannot, there is every chance that imported goods will be cheaper than those made locally will be. Once in the European Common Market, Britain will not be able to protect her industries by means of tariffs. I am speaking, of course, of the short-term probabilities, because I am aware that it is expected that, under the terms of the Treaty of Rome, parity will be achieved by about 1970. If the British manufacturer cannot reduce his cost of production, I see no possibility of Britain being able to break into markets in which she cannot compete, at present, because the tariff walls now raised against her will not disappear overnight. At the same time, the home market of the vulnerable industries is likely gradually to disappear, and unemployment in those industries must result. This will be the price which Britain will have to pay for the political gains which she hopes to make and which, I personally believe, are the real reasons impelling her to seek membership of the European Economic Community.

It is my opinion not only that some United Kingdom industries will lose their home market but also that others will lose at least some portion of their Australian market. I say this because I assume that Britain, if she enters the Economic Community, will not be able to protect Australia’s interests, regardless of the keenness of her desire to do so. I think it is only common sense to assume that if Australia loses her preferences in the British market, Britain will lose her preferences in the Australian market. We in Australia shall need all the bargaining power at our disposal if we are to find new markets to replace lost British markets, and what preferences we have to offer will be given to those countries with which we hope to do a greater volume of business. No doubt, Britain hopes that some of the European Economic Community countries will buy more from her if they are able to increase their exports to the

United Kingdom. But will they, or will they continue to buy from the country which can supply most cheaply? In Australia we have a number of safeguards in the Japanese Trade Agreement. If we think that any of our industries are being threatened by Japanese imports, there are a number of steps we can take to protect them. But as far as I am aware, no safeguards are provided in the Treaty of Rome. The problem I have been discussing is a short-term one. Under the terms of the Treaty of Rome, the countries hope by 1970 to reach parity in a number of fields, such as wages, hours of work and taxation. However, in the period of transition, which will extend over a number of years, some British industries could suffer severe hardship.

Sirring suspended from 5.56 to 8 p.m.


– Before the suspension of the sitting I was endeavouring to give the House my own views on the possible effect on Britain’s economy if that country were to join the European Economic Community. I said that I believed that certain British manufacturing industries would be vulnerable to imports from the low-wage countries of the European Economic Community. Some people believe that not many industries would be affected, but one which I believe it is conceded would be affected is the footwear industry. At the present time British footwear manufacturers enjoy a comparatively low cost of distribution. They have a vast local market, and they can place most of their production with the large warehouses in London. On the other hand, the European footwear manufacturer has to obtain his orders from dozens or, perhaps, hundreds of distributors scattered throughout Europe. Consequently, his low cost of production is largely offset by the high cost of distribution.

If Britain decided to enter the European Economic Community the position would be reversed. The overseas manufacturer, whose costs of production are already considerably below those of British manufacturers, would be able to cut his distribution costs and thus place himself in an even more favorable position in relation to the British manufacturer. Instead of his salesmen having to travel all over Europe seeking orders, he would be able to place his production, or a large percentage of it, in London. If the British footwear manu- facturer were to survive at all, he would have to sell his products in those countries of Europe which the Italian manufacturer, for example, would have abandoned because he would have been able to place his output on the British market. Instead of having to make only a few calls in a small area, the salesmen of the British manufacturer would have to seek comparatively small orders over a wide area, and the cost of distribution of the manufacturer would rise steeply. I have no doubt that some other industries would find themselves in a similar position.

I should like to examine, now, some of the figures relating to Great Britain’s export trade which I have seen in a British publication. In 1960, 40 per cent, of Britain’s exports went to Commonwealth countries, and only about 15 per cent, to the Common Market countries. More important than this is the fact that during the years from 1954 to 1960 the balance of trade between the United Kingdom and the countries of the European Economic Community declined from a surplus of £1,000,000 to a deficit of £100,000,000. During the same period Great Britain’s balance of trade with the Commonwealth countries improved by £50,000,000. The reason that Great Britain has been able to sell such a large percentage of its exports to Commonwealth countries is that the Commonwealth countries enjoy preference on the British market. If the Commonwealth countries lose this preference it is only logical to assume that exports of the United Kingdom to the Commonwealth countries will fall. Great Britain’s experience with the countries of the European Free Trade Association does not encourage the belief that she would gain economic advantage by joining the European Economic Community. During the period 1954 to 1960, Great Britain’s adverse trade balance with the E.F.T.A. countries deteriorated from a deficit of £17,000,000 to one of £69,000,000. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the figures that I have given, but I believe that, at least, they indicate a trend.

Another aspect of the problem involved is that if Great Britain’s balance of trade with countries of the European Economic Community deteriorated further the deficiency would have to be paid for in foreign currency. Perhaps this is not a serious problem, and I shall leave further comment on it to persons who are better informed on these matters than I.

I have tried to deal with some of the economic risks which I believe that Great Britain has to weigh and consider before applying for membership of the European Economic Community. Probably I shall not find a great many people in agreement with the views I have expressed. But perhaps, by sifting the views of members with greatly varying opinions, we may be able to reach a conclusion that will not be very far removed from the ultimate result of the decision which Great Britain has yet to make.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

Mr. Speaker, any one alive to-day who was born before 1914 has lived through the two great European civil wars which finished up as world wars, and knows the cost of those two dreadful holocausts to all humanity. Immediately World War II. ended, the leaders of certain European nations decided to minimize the risk of a third world war after the lapse of another few 5’ears, and set out to form closer trade links and a closer economic unity among themselves.

The Marshall Plan of 1947 for the rehabilitation of Europe, costing the American taxpayers thousands of billions of dollars, helped, directly and indirectly, in the breaking down of trade barriers and the promotion of economic unity. It laid the foundations for the great new addition to free world economic, political and military deterrent power which has followed the re-birth of Europe. It was the first step.

Various other plans initiated by European statesmen followed, until the Treaty of Rome, involving both economic and political changes in Europe for its signatory nations, was ratified in 1958. This would never have been possible before 1958.

The present European Economic Community of six nations affects the lives and happiness and future security of 167,000,000 people. What they have done is their business and not that of anybody else; and what they have done, in a material sense, is striking.

Britain and six other nations - the outer Seven - on the fringe of this compact inner group of six European States, formed the

European Free Trade Area, and attempted to bring about changes in the European Economic Community. The attempt failed, and British membership of the Economic Community has become a matter of vital concern to hundreds of millions of people as a result of that failure.

We, of the Australian Labour Party, in common with members of all Australian political parties, say that it is for Britain alone to decide whether or not Britain will enter the Common Market; but all Australians claim that Australia has the right to protest if the economic consequences to Australia of Britain’s entry will mean any harm to any of our exporting industries now enjoying preferential treatment in the British market.

On the political side, we want to see Britain strengthened and not weakened in its relationship with the Commonwealth, but as has been pointed out by my colleagues and by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator McKenna), and by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), who visited London earlier this year and addressed this House a month or so ago, the time has not yet arrived for a final decision to be made.

We all agree with the Leader of the British Labour Party - and the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) himself has shared in that agreement - that the time to make a final decision on this very complex question is when the final terms of Britain’s entry are fully known. We cannot, and should not, make our decision before then.

I have no desire to traverse the ground already covered, but I do want to emphasize how fast the world is changing, how much it is shrinking and how interdependent it is becoming. The great acceleration of the international movement of people through the speeding up of international travel has pointed to the one deeply significant change in our times - national boundaries are becoming blurred. The days of strident imperialism are over, the era of monopoly capitalism is fading and the menace of international communism, though still with us, may also be in the process of evolution. I am opposed to communism and so is every member of the Australian Labour Party. We want a society where there is no undeserved poverty and no social inequalities.

Let me put it this way: Sweeping changes are taking place everywhere in the world to-day, and in many ways Britain’s decision to seek entry to the Common Market has brought into focus the vast importance of this revolution in the economy of the free world. It was only to be expected that the resurgence of Europe, a resurgence which in my view has so far owed little to the actual working out of free trade between the countries of the European Common Market, would create far-reaching disturbances in world trade. The free world now faces a period of great adjustments to new world trading arrangements required to accommodate the emerging force in Western Europe.

At the moment, the main weight of these adjustments is concentrated on the United Kingdom, whose Government has decided that it is in Britain’s best interests for her to seek entry to the Common Market. But the process of adjustment will not stop there. Already the United States Government has secured passage of a revolutionary trade expansion act whose principal end is to adjust United States trade to the new emerging world trade pattern. Like the evolution of the European Common Market itself, the working out of the new powers now given to the President of the United States will bring great changes in world trading patterns. In the interests of world peace let us hope it will do so. It is inevitable that the process of adjustment and reorganization will proceed in Europe and Asia and Africa, bringing in its train perhaps the most profound changes in world trading in this century.

I thought the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday night was remarkable for its detachment. Calmly and patiently my right honorable friend drew historical parallels and reached conclusions with which I would not generally disagree. Somehow, he sounded differently. Neither his phrases nor his protestations were the same as those of a few months ago. I gathered the impression that he is hoping for the best, but fearing the worst, on the political issue of Britain’s entry to Europe and is fighting for the best without much hope or confidence on the economic front. I can appreciate his dilemma. Only time will tell how right or wrong his government has been in its handling of this complex, difficult problem.

Some supporters of the Government have accused us of playing party politics with this issue. This is not so. Our position is basically the same as it was a year ago, and as it was stated in the policy speech which I delivered during the last election campaign. My colleague, the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), delivered our rural policy speech, and referring to the Common Market he said -

Whilst the over-riding necessity is to develop other markets especially in Asia, it would be folly to shut our eyes to the fact that Britain’s entry into the Common Market could create critical difficulties for Australian producers of wheat, butter, sugar, dried fruits, wines and other primary products.

The honorable member for Lalor went on to say -

In these circumstances, a Labour Government would not hesitate to provide subsidies sufficient both to maintain Australian living standards for those engaged in these industries, and, at the same time, to facilitate those products gaining a footing in new export markets.

During that campaign there was a single theme running through the speeches of all Ministers. It was that they, and they alone, were equipped to handle this question, and if everything was left to them, things would turn out better for Australia than they would under a Labour government. I have no desire to pursue this argument any further. I think I have proved my point. In any case, it is the future that matters, not the past. Since December last, three Ministers and four Opposition members have visited the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, where important conferences and discussions were held dealing with the Common Market. They have put their views before the Parliament and the nation, and we are all better informed as a result. I have some observations to make on these latest happenings overseas.

The British Government has abandoned its promise not to go into the Common Market unless, first, its own agricultural interests, secondly, those of its European Free Trade Association partners, and thirdly, those of the members of the Commonwealth are adequately protected. A vague undertaking to do its best to get the best results in future negotiations with The Six is not good enough from Australia’s point of view and could be serious for us.

The communique issued by the Prime Ministers’ Conference failed to seek another conference before Britain makes its final decision. Such a request would have had a tremendous effect in Britain and in Europe. The failure to make that request let the British Government down too lightly. We believe Australia should have demanded another such conference. If things go wrong for us, as seems likely, how can we complain when Australia did not stand out, alone ;’ necessary, for such a further conference?

Unfortunately, the British Government seems to have influenced the press of Britain to emphasize the official viewpoint expressed by Mr. Macmillan and his Ministers at the Prime Ministers’ Conference at the expense of the other Commonwealth Prime Ministers who disagreed with them. On the available evidence, it looks as if the British Government tried to browbeat all who attended the Prime Ministers’ Conference into accepting its view. The only concession likely to be sought will be for New Zealand. I have a strong suspicion that Australia will not be similarly favoured. These are disappointments, and the negotiations now proceeding may provide us with more. As I see it the Conservative and Liberal Parties of Great Britain will support Britain’s entry to the Common Market on almost any terms, whilst the Labour Party will support such entry only if the terms are suitable to Britain, the Commonwealth and the countries of the European Free Trade Association. Some people think, quite mistakenly, that the E.E.C. is an American capitalist plot. I do not. I am hopeful that as Europe assumes more responsibility for its own aid and defence programmes the United States will be able to reduce the European financial commitments which it has borne for the past fifteen years. Tn time, this should lead to Russian disengagement in Poland and Hungary. Instead of increasing the cold war, as some assert, this will help the cause of peace. The subject we are discussing is primarily Britain’s integration, or re-integration, in Europe and not what will ultimately happen to Europe. If we are wise we will recognize that the problems of adjustment to the new world that is dawning on us are here with us right now and can pre-occupy the minds of the leaders and peoples of the free world who fear change and retreat from new challenges.

In this changing world, this new world of the vanishing frontier, Britain is seeking to find her place. We all deeply regret the diminishing role which Britain has been obliged to play in the world in recent times. We deeply regret the decline of British power which has taken place. And knowing the great contribution which Britain has made to the search for freedom in the world, we want Britain once again to become strong. We stand for a strong Britain. If she enters the Common Market we want Britain to be strong in Europe and stronger than ever in the Commonwealth. We hope that is possible of achievement.

We know that in the last decade there has been one great group of nations in the free world who have been largely by-passed in the growth of world trade and prosperity. These are the producers of commodities, the primary products which feed the people and the factories in the great new industrial complexes of Europe, North America and Japan. And of all these nations Australia is the most important to us. We need a new deal for commodities, a new promise that commodity exporters will share to a much more significant extent than in the last decade in the mounting tide of world prosperity.

Such a new deal is one essential ingredient in the whole plan for strengthening the free world in the enduring battle against international communism. As I have said, I am opposed to communism and every form of totalitarianism. And first of all, within this changing world, I stand for a strong Australia, an independent Australia, a self-reliant Australia, an Australia which will grow to accept a large and constructive role in the affairs of the free world. These are my four principles as I look at the issue of Britain and the Common Market: A strong and self-reliant Australia; a strong free world against communism; a new deal for commodity producers everywhere; and a strong Britain.

The situation now is that the British Government has decided that Britain will grow stronger faster if she takes the drastic step of joining the Common Market as a full member, subscribing to the full provisions of the Treaty of Rome. I hope the assurances which were freely given by the British Government of its own free volition, that it will not join the Common Market unless there are adequate safeguards for the vital economic interests of the Commonwealth and for her partners in the European Free Trade Association, indicate once again Britain’s abiding interest in the British Commonwealth of Nations. At the recent Prime Ministers’ Conference in London, the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth countries told the British Government again how much they valued this assurance by Britain of adequate safeguards for Commonwealth trade. They also told the British Government that the trend of the negotiations to date did not suggest that the safeguards so far achieved would meet their standards of adequacy.

The negotiations in Brussels have begun again and sooner or later the British Government will have to make a decision of enduring, historic, significance to Britain, the Commonwealth and the free world. I do not envy the British Government its task. The case for the Commonwealth has been put to Britain. She knows we wish her well, and I tell her that, for myself, I dearly hope the decision will be one which will bring new strength and dynamism to a Britain which lacks them now but which in the past has often been the one lonely barrier against the spread of doctrines quite alien to our traditions of freedom-

Whether Britain goes into the Common Market or not, there is one issue of deep importance to the free world, which has been raised in acute form by her proposed entry and by the developments within the Common Market itself. Our fear which is bound to be raised by the development of a new discriminatory trading area such as the Common Market is that the policies of the governments concerned will be inward looking rather than outward looking. The Prime Minister referred particularly to this important point. It is vitally important, if the full promise of the trend towards greater freedom of commerce in the world is to be fulfilled, that the policies of the Common Market, including or excluding Britain, should be outward looking. It is also vitally important that the countries of the area, as of other major industrialized areas, should vigorously pursue policies of full employment and economic expansion. Rapid economic expansion of the total market in the Common Market is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for the development of commodity trade.

I need only point out that in the last four years total imports by the Common Market countries have risen by almost 30 per cent.; their industrial production has risen by 30 per cent, but their imports from commodity producers of the outer sterling area have risen by only 4 per cent. Or to put the same point in another way, between 1955 and 1961 total imports by the Common Market countries rose by 70 per cent.; their imports of manufactured goods rose by more than 200 per cent.; but their imports of mainly rural products rose by little more than 35 per cent, over this period of six years. I make these points to underline my belief that growing prosperity in the Common Market countries does not necessarily mean that their imports of primary products will increase anything like proportionately.

Active measures are needed to ensure adequate access to this market for primary products at reasonable prices. There is little room for fear at this time that the existing member countries of the Common Market will not meet the conditions of full employment and economic expansion. And if British entry does indeed lead to an acceleration of economic expansion in Britain there will be room for gratification. But there is much more room for fear that in respect of trade in primary commodities, and in other commodities of less direct interest to Australia, the Common Market will turn inwards upon itself, seeking policies of self-sufficiency, particularly in the primary products of great concern to us in Australia. Britain alone cannot be expected to change single handed these policies of self-sufficiency. Her entry to the Common Market could be expected to have some influence in encouraging liberal and outward looking policies in respect of trade, particularly in primary products. But the problem of encouraging the development of liberal trading policies by the Common Market countries is a problem for the whole free world, not for Britain alone.

There are quite legitimate fears in this country, and in other countries, that British entry to the Common Market could lead to a great extension of restrictive practices in respect of trade, particularly in commodities. But it is for the whole free world to unite in the effort to secure a liberal tone for Common Market policies. By this I mean that the Common Market must be encouraged to allow freedom of access for imports of primary commodities at adequate prices. This is only a part of the new deal for commodity producers which should be sought, but it is a vita! part. Here we can be grateful for the change in the policies of the United States. Through the powers conferred on him under the new Trade Expansion Act, President Kennedy will be able to lead the United States to play a great role in the development of liberal trading policies by the Common Market, including or excluding Britain. So we should welcome this new initiative by the United States and suggest that Australia should play her part in the constructive, if protracted and difficult, series of negotiations which will soon be coming up.

With the United States, Australia must play a constructive role in bringing into being the new series of world commodity stabilization agreements foreseen by the United States Government and already incorporated in the first part of the draft agreement between Britain and the Common Market. We welcome this evidence of understanding in the major industrialized countries that a new deal for commodity producers is an essential ingredient in the vast reform of world trade now being undertaken. I hope deeply that this new deal for commodity producers will indeed come about for without it much of the promise of the new initiatives will fail. This brings me directly to the problems facing Australia herself. If Britain goes into the Common Market without safeguards for our present trade which we would regard as satisfactory, there is no doubt this would represent a sizeable negative factor in the future outlook for our trade. It would be idle to deny that if this bald unvarnished situation were allowed to persist, the future development of Australia would become rather more difficult. Our experience over the last ten years shows that even only small declines in exports can bring widespread consequences in loss of production and dislocation of our internal economy. So, for a time, there is a very big question mark over some aspects of Australian development. But I do not believe that the stark confrontation of a cut off of our trade in a Europe including Britain is what will eventually come out of the developments taking place in the world to-day. The United States Trade Expansion Act has great promise for Australia. So has the growing acceptance of the need for a new deal for commodity producers. And there is always the hope that Britain will grow stronger - a hope to which I attach great weight. Once these considerations are taken into the accounting, the need for fear of the future is diminished accordingly. But there is also great need for Australia to get this whole issue into much clearer perspective.

Let me assume for a moment that over the next seven years, that is the seven years to 1969, the annual loss in exports to Australia on account of British entry to the Common Market amounts to some £100,000,000 a year. My advice is that the loss will be nothing of that order over the period; but let me assume for the moment that the loss amounts to some £700,000,000 in export income, below what we would otherwise have achieved, over the seven-year period. I have already said several times that, on my calculations, the loss of production in Australia resulting from the shocking miscalculations of economic policy beginning in November, 1960, has amounted to some £700,000,000. So, by the mistakes of the Menzies Government, we have already inflicted on ourselves losses of production amounting in total to much more than we could reasonably expect to be the loss in exports over the next seven years as a result of British entry on the worst terms imaginable.

We have in our own hands the power to make ourselves much stronger, much more self-reliant than we have ever been. The time has come for some Australians to stop whining and start working. The time has come for an end to credit squeezes, to restraints on enterprise, to the donothing policies of a government dedicated to the policy of laisser-faire. The time has come for us to make Australia strong, to increase production, to develop our national resources, to educate our children properly, to train our workers, to stop the waste of idle factories and idle men, to develop our empty north. Then, in cooperation with our allies, taking our full part as a strong and self-reliant nation in the councils of the world, we will be able to cast fear behind us and take our full place in the changing environment now being built, whether we like it or not, in the free world to-day for the bigger and better world of to-morrow.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

– I listened with great interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). He did turn, with some exuberance and some political extravagance, in the concluding part of his speech, from the subject of the Common Market. That is an exercise of political licence which we understand. On the subject of the Common Market the Leader of the Opposition has taken a line with which we agree to a considerable extent. He opened his speech by saying that it is for Britain to decide whether or not she becomes a member of the European Economic Community. That is what we have been saying, so we are in agreement with the Opposition in this regard.

To-night the Leader of the Opposition, insofar as he addressed himself, as in fact he did predominantly address himself, to the subject of the Common Market, has not taken a line calculated to divide this country on this great issue. On that I compliment him. When the Government of the country faces a difficult position there is always an open temptation to the Opposition to exploit the difficulty of the situation, notwithstanding that its doing so could be detrimental to the overall interests of the country. The Leader of the Opposition has not fallen to that temptation. This country has difficult enough economic problems to face, and in those circumstances I think it would be well if we were to confine political disputation to those things which are internal to the Australian scene and endeavour to present a unified Australian front in respect of those issues which are problems for Australia vis-a-vis the rest of the world, or parts of the rest of the world. I interpret the speech of the Leader of the Opposition as substantially conforming to that general design.

We on the Government side have sought to follow a course which in our opinion is consistent with what might be a bipartisan Australian approach to what could be, in certain circumstances, a situation of critical proportions for the Australian economy. The recent meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London was an occasion of major importance in international affairs. Any meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers is an occasion of major importance in international affairs; but, as already indicated by the Prime Minister in his speech to this House on Tuesday evening, the recent meeting in London was unique. For the first time, some sixteen independent countries were represented. There were also the crucial issues raised for the Commonwealth itself by the fact of Britain’s application to join the European Economic Community.

The importance of the conference was such that most Commonwealth countries were represented by strong delegations. Our Prime Minister was supported by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and myself. At the outset I must observe that the Prime Minister put the Australian case with tremendous vigour and with very great clarity at the conference. He made a very deep impression and sustained his reputation as a great Commonwealth statesman.

It was originally intended that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers should have this opportunity to consider the prospective terms of British entry into the Common Market. In fact, the negotiations are still far from complete. However, enough information on the negotiations is available to make it quite clear that if Britain joins the Common Market this will inevitably mean a major transformation of international trade, with all this may mean for Commonwealth relations. In fact, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, has quite categorically stated that “ Britain’s entry into the Common Market would mean an end to the present system of free entry and preferential treatment for imports from the Commonwealth “.

The attitude of the British Government has been fully expressed by the British Prime Minister in a series of public statements recently. In these statements Mr.

Macmillan has set out at some length the reasons, both political and economic, why his Government is seeking entry to the Common Market. These reasons were dealt with by our Prime Minister in his statement on Tuesday evening.

A careful reading of Mr. Macmillan’s statements leaves no doubt that his Government is firmly resolved to become a member of the European Economic Community. I do not challenge the resolute course being followed by the British Government. Right from the time of the visit of Mr. Duncan Sandys some fifteen months ago the Government has held that the question of Britain’s joining the Common Market is for her to decide alone.

A measure of agreement has been reached on the questions raised by Britain’s application to join the Common Market. Much remains to be negotiated, especially in relation to the items of trade important to Australia. Why, we may ask, after twelve month does so much remain to be settled between the parties in Brussels?

I think that we should consider for a moment the attitude of The Six, the countries which presently comprise the membership of the Economic Community. Here was a group of nations which have endured shattering experiences not only in recent times, but down through history. They undoubtedly felt insecure because of their proximity to the communist bloc. We understand the desire of these countries for closer unity and for strength. They appear to be applying the principle that “ if we cannot have one world then let us have one Europe “. This is understandable. They have set out to achieve it with enormous spirit and with remarkable subjugation of national pride and prejudice.

I am sure that it is because of the real fear of these nations that their achievements towards unity could be undermined that they hold an unbending attachment to the Treaty of Rome, and particularly to the common external tariff and the common agricultural policy.

It is against this background that we must comprehend their rather distressing unwillingness to change their rules in order to accommodate Australia, or even to bend the rules. I gave more than a hint of this in my speech to this House last May, after my visit to North America and Europe. The objective of my earlier visit abroad was to ensure that the vital trading interests of Australia would be fully comprehended at the highest political levels. In the course of those talks with government leaders of the Common Market countries I saw how intense was their dedication to the Treaty of Rome. This was the treaty that brought the six countries together. They seem to feel that any changes in their rules, or set policies, might drive a wedge into the unity and solidarity of the European Economic Community. This deep unwillingness to change anything which they had achieved with such effort overlies all the endeavours of Britain and Australia to secure arrangements to meet our special needs. For this reason we decided that any proposals that we might make to safeguard our trading should be designed to be consistent with the Treaty of Rome. It would also help proposals to be accepted internationally if they were consistent with Gatt.

Australia is not a party principal to the negotiations. These are between the British Government and the governments of the six Common Market nations. Australia has, however, sought to influence the negotiations. We have never tried to obstruct them. We have explained to these governments what Australia’s interests are, and how we would stand to be affected. We have put forward proposals which were, we thought, and still think, constructive and positive. Our proposals, with respect to individual commodities, were based on full discussions with the Australian industries affected. At the peak of the discussions on what represented the Australian interest we had the advantage of the presence in London of advisers from all our industries concerned.

Our proposals were stated very fully and ably by Dr. Westerman at a meeting with the top-level negotiating officials of Britain and the Common Market countries in Brussels on 26th April this year. Only Australia sought and secured this opportunity. Much of the substance of these proposals was incorporated in the British papers submitted to the Six in the course of the subsequent negotiations. They took the form of requests for unrestricted dutyfree entry into the Community for metals and a few other items, and tariff-preference quotas into an enlarged Community for those other items currently enjoying preference in Britain. For the great bulk foodstuffs, arrangements were sought that would preserve our trade opportunities, without upsetting the common agricultural policy of the Common Market.

There has been much less progress in the negotiations than had been anticipated. I do not rate the intransigeance of the Six as due to lack of sympathy, but rather due to a real fear that if their rules and doctrine are once breached to accommodate a newcomer seeking to join, or a third country pleading a special case, then the whole concept of the Treaty of Rome may be progressively loosened and their hardwon unity weakened. I gathered the sense of this on my visits in March and April, and I gave more than a hint of it when I spoke in this House last May. The intransigeant attitude of the Six to Britain’s request undoubtedly reflects this fear.

This, then, is the crux of the problem. On the one hand we have the reluctance of the Six to make the necessary concessions to Britain on behalf of the Commonwealth because of their fear of the consequences for the E.E.C. itself. On the other hand, we have the evidence of increasing determination of the British Government to join.

Before beginning the negotiations in Brussels, the British Government had given the Commonwealth countries the assurance that it would not join the E.E.C. unless it could make arrangements to safeguard their vital trading interests. This was not an assurance extracted from the British Government. It was an assurance publicly and voluntarily given.

The position reached in the Prime Ministers’ Conference is set out in the final communique. The British Ministers, when going back to the negotiations, would take into full account the views, both general and particular, which had been expressed by the other Commonwealth Governments at the Prime Ministers’ Conference, and would continue their efforts to safeguard essential Commonwealth interests.

Understandings have been reached between The Six and Britain regarding some of the vital interests of some Commonwealth countries. Most of the British dependent territories, and the Caribbean and African Commonwealth countries, would be eligible for the status of association with the Common Market. This offers duty-free entry into the Common Market. This proposal seems economically realistic, even if some of the countries concerned regard it as politically unpalatable. India, Pakistan and Ceylon would have under the tentative arrangement some concessions and the prospect of special trade agreements. Their spokesmen did not think these go far enough.

With regard to Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the British asked that our long-standing preferences should be retained, though with a quantitative limit on the volume of export that would enjoy preferential treatment. Provision for growth in these preferential quotas was requested. Generally, the British sought, for us and other temperate foodstuff producers, comparable outlets within an enlarged community for our traditional exports to the United Kingdom.

However, after nearly twelve months of negotiations very little of these proposals has been secured up to this stage. Indeed, it has been provisionally agreed between Britain and The Six that the preferences we enjoy on manufactured goods - hard manufactures in the technical jargon - should be phased out by 1970.

Disappointing as this negative situation in regard to the British and Australian proposals may be, there has been a certain development in some items of major concern to us. What has emerged in respect of the bulk foodstuffs of interest to us is that Britain and The Six have arrived at certain broad understandings about international trade. The first understanding is that they would declare their intention to call an international conference to negotiate worldwide agreements for wheat and other grains, meat, dairy products and sugar. This conference would be held, if possible, in 1963. There would also be a declaration by the community, expressing its intention to pursue an agricultural price policy, which would offer reasonable opportunities in its markets, for exports of temperate agricultural products.

With regard to processed food stuffs, like canned or dried fruits, and other items such as metals, for which duty-free entry had been sought, no arrangements had been negotiated up to the stage of the Prime Ministers’ Conference. This applied also to other food items such as fresh fruit and wine.

The proposed declaration with regard to international commodity agreements is welcome. This would conform with the policies long advocated by the Australian Government and supported this evening and on earlier occasions by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). It is a positive achievement that these European nations should now freely accept the approach which this Government has been pioneering for years, namely, that greater stability in international trade in primary products can be achieved by way of commodity arrangements. We first achieved general Commonwealth support for this approach at the Commonwealth Trade and Economic Conference held in Montreal in 1958. Since that time, we have been encouraged by the French initiative on cereals. This culminated -in the decision at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ministerial meeting last November to seek solutions to the problems of international trade in agricultural products by way of commodity arrangements. This decision led to the establishment of two commodity groups on grains and meats. These groups have already held meetings in Geneva. Pressure for international commodity agreements has been forthcoming in other international conferences, including one at Cairo. It was evident at the meeting of the Economic and Social Council earlier this year.

The United Nations Assembly is now discussing proposals for a world trade and development conference, to be held some time in 1963 or 1964. Only last week Australia spoke in the United Nations in support of an early world trade conference. Clearly, the circumstances of Australia’s terms of trade, and the uncertainties raised by Britain’s application to join the Common Market, require us to treat as important and urgent any opportunity to further a worthwhile international trade conference. It can fairly be said that the idea of com modity agreements is now the current fashion. The promised British support for a fresh and vigorous approach is welcome and it lines up with present world-wide thinking.

Commodity agreements are valuable, if they improve the position of countries whose terms of trade and export earnings are vulnerable to low world prices, or wide price fluctuations. This Government will do all that is possible to negotiate workable arrangements which will ensure remunerative prices for efficient producers and reasonable access to traditional markets. When I use the term “ commodity arrangements “, I am thinking of a broad variety of approaches with a consistency of end objectives, namely, equity to both consumers and producers, stable and remunerative prices, and conditions of orderly marketing generally.

Because of the particular circumstances confronting trade in individual commodities, our basic approach remains one of a careful commodity-by-commodity examination. In certain cases we would expect that initial discussions would be limited to the principal importing and exporting countries, and we think that these might well be begun within the context of the Gatt in suitable cases. For some commodities a final solution might be found in more broadly based arrangements, which may truly be described as world-wide agreements. On the other hand, for some products for which an enlarged community would be the main import market, it is possible that satisfactory arrangements could be worked out within the context of the common agricultural policy in consultation with interested exporting countries. There could be scope for exporting countries to negotiate with an enlarged E.E.C. regarding the conditions of import that may apply to some agricultural products, such as the height of import levies. That would parallel the situation in which the E.E.C. is prepared to negotiate the height of the customs duties they apply to imports of manufactured goods.

Generally, what we are seeking by way of acceptable marketing arrangements for our bulk commodities is an extension of the principle already accepted by the community itself. In formulating the common agricultural policy, The Six, with respect to level of prices, have worked on the basis of ensuring a fair standard of living to their agricultural community. That 1 interpret as indicating prices that would show a profit to those agriculturists within their borders who are to be protected. We are seeking the same principle - that the average efficient producing country outside Europe should be able to sell its products at a profit. There is nothing in the Common Market arrangements, or in the Treaty of Rome, or in the Gatt which would lead us to expect that this principle would be repugnant to The Six. Indeed, the French Government has declared itself in favour of the extension of this principle. Certainly, it would be quite intolerable if producers inside the Common Market were guaranteed profitable returns by their governments while outside suppliers to the community were denied remuneratvie returns by the same governments.

On the point that prices for exports to the Common Market from efficient producing countries should be remunerative - a point of tremendous interest to our producers - we requested, in the course of the conference, that the British Government should state its position. The communique of the Prime Ministers’ Conference - unanimously agreed to - refers to “ stable prices at fair and reasonable levels “. I can interpret “ remunerative “ but some of my experience in international trade leaves me much less than happy with the word “ reasonable “. I and other spokesmen for Australia have referred many times to the unsatisfactory level of prices for our commodity exports, and the constant deterioration of this situation now for about ten years. But for this we would not have encountered the balance of payments problems that have bedevilled this country. Nor would we have been so constantly dependent on capital inflow to service our development and industrialization.

Our producers for export have achieved wonders - an increase of some 50 per cent. in their volume of production without addition to the labour force since the war. We have avoided accumulating surpluses. We have battled until we have found markets. Price has been our problem, as it has been the common problem of all who in the last decade have depended on exports of bulk commodities. Western Europe, the greatest market in the world for these products, maintains profitable prices for her producers In reality this means profitable prices there, for quantities much greater than all the exporters throughout the world seek to send to Europe. We do not begrudge her producers profitable prices.

However, we have some indications of the level of protection likely to be accorded agricultural production in an expanded Common Market.

The danger is that through the apparatus of variable import levies and other devices production inside the Common Market will be encouraged to such an extent that outside suppliers of wheat or dairy products, for example, will progressively be able to ship less and less, and perhaps finally be squeezed out of the market altogether.

We want to see arrangements that leave sufficient room for imports from efficient producing countries outside Western Europe, like Australia. From the very first time the possible entry of Britain to the Common Market was mooted I have felt, and said, that this could conceivably turn to our advantage if the Western European countries, including Britain, were willing to concede to other efficient producing countries the right to sell to them at a profit, just as they plan for European producers. Given this outcome, the occasion of Britain applying to join the Common Market would mark an epoch for us. On the other hand, if, through design or default, we and other outside countries are required to supply European deficiencies at a loss to our own producers, we and many others will have a very real grievance. Apart from the bulk temperate foodstuffs, we are, moreover, concerned with a wide range of products which we have traditionally exported.

It would appear that we may have to live with a phasing out of preference for our manufactured goods. However, for our major exports of processed foodstuffs and a wide range of other items involving trade valued at many millions of pounds, a similar phasing out of preferences would, without doubt, create major difficulties unless some other arrangements were made for this trade. The same must be said on the items of export from Papua and New Guinea, for example coconut oil. It seems to be a consequence of the proposed arrangements, that coconut oil produced there would pay a duty on entry into an expanded E.E.C. instead of getting a preference as it now does in the British market. On the other hand, coconut oil from British territories in the same Pacific area would presumably receive a preference not only in Britain but also in any Common Market country. Products from Papua and New Guinea should not be put at this disadvantage if Britain joints the E.E.C.

I am not stating the final position; this is a glimpse of what could be the situation. We draw an important conclusion from the general demeanour of The Six in the Brussels negotiations to date. It seems plain that they expect Britain to accept, and us to tolerate, the phasing out by 1970 of our existing preferential arrangements with Britain.

I turn now, Mr Speaker, to the influence of the United States of America in the negotiations in Brussels. We all are aware, of course, that that country is not directly involved. But there is no doubt that the influence of the United States is a pervasive element in the movement towards economic integration in western Europe. In the past I have felt impelled on occasions to comment critically on the policies and attitude of the United States both in the field of direct bi-lateral trade with us, and in the field of wider international trade arrangements, and especially because of their known desire for Commonwealth preferences to go.

Earlier this year I had discussions with, among others, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, and other high officials of the American Administration. Subsequently our Prime Minister - as he reported to the Parliament on 9th August last - had talks with the President of the United States and leading members of his Government. It was arranged that Dr. Westerman, of the Department of Trade, and other officials should sit down in Washington with their American counterparts to discuss the whole gamut of our trade interests abroad. This examination, I believe, has proved fruitful. It has undoubtedly led to a more complete understanding by the United States of the reality of our trade problems and concerns, in connexion with the negotiations in Brussels. The United States Administration now recognizes that if our preferences in Britain were eliminated the United States would stand to gain at our expense in the British market.

It is my reasonable expectation now that the use of the new negotiating authority which Congress has just given to the President under the Trade Expansion Act will result in our receiving some compensation for the windfall benefits that would accrue to the United States if Britain joined the Common Market and the preferences of countries like Australia in the United Kingdom market disappeared in due course. This new negotiating authority available to the United States Administration will, of course, be used primarily to improve the trading conditions for American exports. However, under the mostfavourednation rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, any benefits gained by the United States would automatically be extended to third countries. Further, the United States Administration is now actively interested in the pursuit of workable commodity arrangements.

In regard to our direct trading relations with the United States, there has been one important recent development. We now are entitled for the first time to supply some 40,000 tons of sugar to the American market, although this represents only about 1 per cent, of total United States imports. This year, under special temporary arrangements, we have already sold nearly 150,000 tons of sugar in the American market, and this is immensely valuable.

Reverting to Britain and the European Common Market, I state the prospect as I see it. On all the evidence the Macmillan Government appears to be firmly set on joining the Common Market. I make that statement, having regard not only to the communique issued at the conclusion of the Prime Ministers’ meeting, but also to speeches by British Ministers at the conference last week of the British Conservative Party and to the pamphlet recently issued by Mr. Macmillan under the title, “ Britain, the Commonwealth and Europe “.

Our Government does not question Britain’s right to follow a course of policy which she considers to be in her best interests. That does not mean, however, that we are called upon to express approval. The present attitude of the British Government to joining the Common Market represents, as I have already pointed out, a fundamental shift of policy. Had the Australian Government been prepared to endorse the British Government’s policy on this matter as it has been expressed over recent years, we here would have been following a pretty winding path. In 1955 when the negotiations for the Common Market commenced Britain held aloof. In 1957, after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, she entered into negotiations to associate with the Six in an industrial free trade area, excluding agriculture.

In 1959, Mr. Reginald Maudling, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking in the House of Commons as the Minister who up to that time had conducted the negotiations for Britain, was at pains to show why it was then judged impossible for Britain to become a full member of the Common Market. Mr. Maudling spoke of the great obstacles to, and reasons against, such a course. He spoke about British agriculture; he said that signing the Treaty of Rome would mean the end of Commonwealth free entry; and again, that to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal political federation in Europe.

I emphasize that I am not calling into question the propriety of this change of policy on the part of Mr. Macmillan’s Government. The record of history is that in a sufficiently serious situation those responsible for the political and economic security of a nation take the course judged to be right for their own people. This has a message for Australians - if Britain goes into the Common Market on terms which seriously weaken our trading position. Clearly, a situation in which the parent nation of the Commonwealth would bind herself against making another trade treaty with Australia - the Commonwealth member which for so many years was her principal trading partner in the whole world - would indeed be a dramatic circumstance in Commonwealth history.

It is true that we can have no final knowledge of the nature of any damage to our trade opportunities until the final outcome of the negotiations in Brussels is known. However, the terms on which we have traded with Britain in the past - the system of free entry and preferences as we have known it - would no longer be available to us if Britain joined. Moreover, Britain would become part of an enlarged Common Market, applying a common commercial policy and a common agricultural policy. Such an enlarged community would constitute the most important trading bloc in the world. It would be one of three great economic blocs - the European Economic Community, the United States and the Communists. We would be in the situation of being one of the countries on the outside looking in. We must be permitted to trade fairly if this new giant emerges.

What, in these circumstances, does this Government propose to do? We will continue close consultation with our industries; we will continue to grapple with the socalled unfinished business in Brussels; we will battle for the protection of our industries. Again, we must seek to retain in the minds of the great countries a consciousness of the problems and needs of countries such as ours and of the less-developed countries of the world. It must be our concern to see that the pre-occupations of the great countries with their own formidable problems do not lead them to overlook the problems of others.

The great industrial powers cannot take it for granted that countries like Australia will be prepared to continue to support Gatt unless Gatt shows itself able and willing to deal fairly and realistically with the trade problems of primary producing and lessdeveloped countries. These include important problems arising from the growth of giant trading blocs.

We must redouble our efforts to find new markets. This Government has already been very active in this regard and will continue these policies vigorously in the future. Here I should refer to the claim that has been made - inside this Parliament and outside - that we can fairly easily replace markets lost in Britain, by markets gained elsewhere. This is part of the claim that this Government has exaggerated the consequence for our trade of Britain’s possible entry into the Common Market.

The fact of the matter is that for a number of our staple exports the British market has been our only large and reliable market. Within the system of preferences industries have been created or expanded predominantly to supply the British market. Development of alternative markets would be slow, and for some of the products, even doubtful. We cannot expect overnight to be able to discover or develop large enough alternative markets. Nevertheless, we shall pursue vigorously efforts to diversify and expand our trading opportunities. We will take the opportunity when commodity discussions take place, to argue our case for improved prospects for our bulk products in respect of both price and access.

As part of a greater export consciousness we must also be more acutely aware of our costs at home - to increase our productivity generally but particularly in relation to our export industries. When the terms for British entry are established, if they are, and when we know whether the British Government has finally or formally decided to accede to the Common Market, we will make an assessment, as the Prime Minister has said, of the consequences for Australian trade. We would then decide what new or different policies Australia should pursue.

Many discuss these problems in economic terms - as indeed I have done this evening. But at the bottom of all these discussions about industries, there are people to be thought of. Serious problems could develop for an export industry, because of the actions of overseas governments of a kind, which now appear possible, but which eighteen months ago, no one in Australia would have predicted. If this happens there is no doubt that Australian sentiment would, because of the human considerations involved, wish the Government to aid such industry through its problem of re-adjustment.

Our apprehension remains. Our experience up to the present justifies appre hension We can also have our hopes. We can hope that a strong and united and prosperous Europe will be disposed increasingly to look beyond its own preoccupations. We hope that the great powers will have the wisdom to understand that, in the circumstances of to-day, security is not to be found in an island of prosperity; surrounded by a sea of want.


.- The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has made his calmest and first realistic assessment of the attitude of the European Economic Community countries themselves and of the British and United States governments towards Britain’s application to join the community. He has still not made an assessment of the consequences for Australia of this attitude of The Six, Britain and America. Expressly he said -

When the terms for British entry are established . . and when we know whether the British Government has finally or formally decided to accede to the Common Market, we will make an assessment … of the consequences for Australian trade. We would then decide what new or different policies Australia should pursue.

This is not good enough. How much longer must we wait before the Government faces up to the consequences of Britain’s application to join the Common Market, and furthermore to the consequences of this Government’s decade of inflation and deteriorating overseas trade?

Mr Anthony:

– You cannot make up your mind whether you are for it or against it.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– That is so.


– The honorable members who interject are welcome to do so. They have made no contribution on the four occasions that the House has debated this matter.

It is quite clear that it will be some time before Britain’s application is finally determined. The terms that will be available to Britain, and particularly those concerning Australia, will not be known until the end of this year, and possibly not until Easter of next year. There is very little chance that the British Parliament would be able to pass the necessary legislation until twelve months have elapsed from now. It is quite possible that The Six may defer ratifying any treaty until after the next British election. It is some sixteen months since Mr. Sandys visited Australia and made it quite plain that Britain intended if at all possible to join the community. Indeed, on Mr. Macmillan’s own admission to the House of Commons, two years have now passed since Britain commenced full and fruitful negotiations with the community concerning its entry.

We have had two years. We may have to wait two more years before it is known whether Britain will in fact join and on what terms. We should not have to wait for that time until Australia commences adjustments. The Minister has seemed to take the attitude up to now that if Australia were in any way to make such adjustments it would spoil its bargaining power; that if it were to look helpless it would command some sympathy from The Six. We do not have to wait until then to work out what can be the consequences to Australian trade. Some adjustments will have to be made. Australia’s trading position will be all the stronger for making those adjustments, whether Britain’s application succeeds or not, whether it is granted or withdrawn.

To-night the Minister for Trade adopted a commendably calm and, for the first time, I believe, factual approach to this problem. He has at last realized the attitude of those who will have the determination of this matter. But at question time, and in statements to the newspapers, he has certainly not been so statesmanlike, so calm and so factual. He has then gone into historical comparisons, but I do not propose to go into them at the length he did. The plain fact is that Australia’s trading position has deteriorated more than has that of any comparable country since 1953. The trading trends of which he complains can be assessed in their full gravity when we compare the position that obtained under the Labour Government which this Government succeeded with the position that obtains to-day. Transport costs, the invisibles, in the last full year of the Labour Government were £44,000,000; last year, they were £150,000,000. Investment income - that is, the drain through foreign investment here - was £43,000,000 in the former year; it was £150,000,000 in the last year.

The Minister has also referred to the multiplication of our markets which has taken place while he has been Minister, but he gives a generalized deliberately vague account. In the very industries with which he and his colleagues profess to be most concerned and which they admit to be most gravely threatened, there has been no multiplication whatever. Let us take the position of sultanas, currants and raisins and canned fruits, the products of his own electorate of Murray and of the electorates of the silent members for Riverina (Mr. Roberton), and, except at question time, Mallee (Mr. Turnbull). The fact is that ten years ago we depended on the British market for 45 per cent. of our exports of dried vine fruit; now, it is 53 per cent. As regards canned fruits, before he became Minister we depended on the British market for 67 per cent. of our exports; we now depend on it for 88 per cent. We are becoming more, not less, dependent on a diminishing market. The Minister has not succeeded in multiplying this industry’s markets.

It takes seven years for a fruit tree to come to maturity and five years for a vine to come to maturity. Everybody agrees that the year 1970 will be the precipice, when preferences and quotas will be reversed against Australia; but the Minister is waiting for one or two more years - if he has that time left to him - to make adjustments in these industries which he represents and which he and his colleagues have neglected. Growers may now defer planting and by 1970 find that they have foregone production for new markets which were then available. Alternately, growers may now continue planting and by 1970 find that they have excess production which they cannot sell. Now is the time to investigate these industries and consult with them and protect their communities. These communities - irrigation and soldier settlement blocks - depend on government initiative more than any other communities in Australia. The Minister would have us wait until it is too late to adjust to the new market situation. We can find other outlets, I am convinced, but we will have to get on to them pretty quickly. What is to be the production pattern and the sales pattern for such industries? The Minister says that we must wait until we know whether Britain has finally or formally decided to join the

Common Market. We must wait for at least one year - probably two years. We have had sixteen months. We have had two seasons. How much longer must these particular industries wait?

The Minister referred to commodity agreements. He is a welcome convert to the idea of a commodity agreement. The first commodity agreement after the last war with which Australia was associated was the wheat agreement of 1948. The Minister condemned it in the House at that time as a process by which Australia made giant strides on the road to socialism - “ Socialism “ is a sinful word to the Minister - that and serfdom for primary producers. He added that the wheat-grower and, indeed, all the people of Australia had a lesson to learn from the socialistic experiments of the Labour Government of the day. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) said that the International Wheat Agreement was deficient in principle, unsatisfactory to the industry and so lacking in any assurance of implementation that we should not proceed with it. So much for this Government’s foresight. Its conversion is welcome indeed.

The Minister referred to commodity agreements in general. The only one so far mooted, that mentioned in the communique of 6th August and Mr. Heath’s White Paper, is concerned with wheat. The Minister still will not be frank with the Australian wheat-grower as to what would be the terms on which an international wheat agreement would be possible. The Six believe that if it is reasonable for them to have a home price which would limit their production it would also be reasonable for exporting countries to fix a similar home price for their production. They believe it is reasonable that if production is to be deliberately limited by some producers it should be deliberately limited by all. We might like it or we might not, but we have to know their attitude; and we should be frankly told the attitude of the people who have been our principal customers and on whose goodwill we have to rely for future agreements. Australian wheat-growers should contemplate, as American wheatgrowers are contemplating, the possibility that a wheat agreement will only be attained if all countries which wish to sell excess production take some steps to regulate the amount of that excess by fixing the internal prices in them all.

Commodity agreements should not concern primary products alone. In Australia, particularly in the under-developed parts, they should concern minerals. The large industrial complexes of the world - North America, Western Europe, the Soviet bloc and Japan - manipulate the. market in metals and minerals. Each exporter depends more on the export of its minerals than the importer depends on the importation of them. The weaker mineral exporters are played off one against the other. In isolation, the mineral-producing countries are easily exploited by these strong industrial complexes. The. course for Australia must lie in co-operation with our neighbours and competitors in making international agreements to regulate the production and marketing of minerals. In this we have much in common with such countries as Mexico, Peru, the. Congo, Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Minister never deals with them. For him, all roads still lead to London. Until we realize that our problems are similar to the problems of those countries we shall never make any steady headway with our minerals. We will make no headway in developing the under-developed part of our own country. These industrial complexes do not want to exhaust their own mineral deposits. They would have to pay more to get their lower-grade ores out than they have to pay to get them from us. But instead of getting together and making a commodity agreement we, the producers, still allow these purchasers to set us off, one against the other; and the Minister still will not deal with this elementary problem on which he would get great international support.

Let me return to some of the primary products. The marketing boards are not allowed to sei! their products, excepting the Australian Wheat Board, which, fortunately for Australia, has made some very good deals in the last couple of seasons, irrespective of politics.

As the Leader of the Opposition said, if we are to build up our export income we must have a steady policy internally. I have already dealt, by way of illustration, with the most vulnerable primary districts and industries. We must have no more credit squeezes which, on three occasions under the present Government, have set back our secondary industries upon which we should be depending more and more for our export income.

What about export credit? What about Sir John Crawford’s statement that we may need to further extend our export credit arrangements? What about Mr. McClintock’s statement which was as follows: -

It is true that United Kingdom, continental and Japanese firms can offer credit terms with the certainty that they will get far stronger backing from their governments and from their financial institutions than is possible in Australia . . . only Australian official policy can provide the lead.

It is not the fault of the Department of Trade, but of the Minister, who is inhibited by his past and his prejudices in these matters.

What about export franchises? Again,

Sir John Crawford says

We may need to review our policies on capital investment from abroad.

Mr. McClintock, who was Sir John’s principal assistant and who also retired from the Department of Trade a year ago, said -

The battle to remove restrictive export franchises is one which Australian firms must win before we can increase our export trade in finished manufactured products significantly.

Australian cannot afford to have the most rapidly growing manufacturing sectors of its economy make such an inadequate contribution to our export income. The Minister makes bold to tell our principal allies to “ get out of our hair “. He meekly suggests to overseas companies which inhibit their Australian subsidiaries from exporting that “ such restrictions are undesirable “.

Again, what about our trade services? It may have been safe enough for us to depend on British shipping, credit and insurance while Britain took over 50 per cent, of our exports. It is sheer folly for us still to rely on these services when we send less than 20 per cent, of our exports to Great Britain. Sir John Crawford stated that we may need to recast our shipping policy. Mr. McClintock made the same remarks in the June issue of the “ Australian Quarterly”, where I commend his frank and illuminating article. Our exports of secondary products include steel which is the cheapest in the world. But we have to pay, in general, 50 per cent, more in freight on our exports to South-East Asia than is paid for the same exports from competing European countries, although the same shipping companies provide the service. All our competitor suppliers of primary products pay less freight than we pay. Argentina and New Zealand pay much less to send their products to Great Britain than we pay. We alone among the trading countries of the world depend entirely on foreigners to provide our trade services, notably shipping. Every other country at least has some overseas ships of its own.

Again, what about economic aid? Sir John Crawford said, “ We may need to . . enlarge our economic aid to Asia”. For instance, by a small investment in Indian industry we could provide an increased market for our wool. It is calculated that by spending ?12,000,000 in modernizing India’s woollen mills we could find further outlets for our wool. India’s trade and production patterns are being formulated now. Now is the time for us to get in and help such countries which provide a potential market for a most efficient Australian industry. There is no time for further delays.

The Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) takes an attitude that displays his derivative thinking. He believes we should continue to be a dependent and tributary nation - dependent on others in our trade services and tributary to others in our industrial pattern. He has given the impression in Britain, America and Western Europe that he is unable to meet the challenge of the future and that he is unwilling to correct his faults of the past; he looks helpless and hopeless over there. We should not have to gear our thinking to his timetable.

There has been a decade of lost opportunities in the Commonwealth. I regret the fact that Britain, under a Conservative government in the last ten years, did not realize how far she and the emerging Commonwealth - the freest, frankest and most mutual arrangement in the world - could be further developed. The Commonwealth could have provided a microcosm of the world as it is and a model for the world as it could and should be. We now hear of the decade of development. What better basis could there have been for that decade of development than developing the British Commonwealth? But our own Conservative Government has clearly shown, in its relations with India, that it is similarly lacking in vision, lacking in drive and lacking in faith. There is no profit in crying “Perfidious Albion “ now. It may be that in these matters perfidy is a conservative prerogative. We now have to face the situation of the present. We have to build from now on. The Commonwealth could have developed wider contacts through Britain in Europe, India in Asia, Ghana in Africa and Australia in the South Seas. The opportunity of extending the Commonwealth has been dissipated by Conservative governments. From now on Australia must get moving as an economically independent country. We must stand on our own feet. It is not being patriotic to procrastinate. It is not being partisan to prepare.


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

La Trobe

.- Sir, after listening to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) I think the Parliament and the people of Australia could well pause and ask themselves just what he was doing when he was abroad - just where he was and what investigations he was carrying out. The honorable member devoted very little of his speech to the Common Market. He spent most of his time attacking the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) and telling us what that right honorable gentleman had not done. That attitude is understandable, because we know that the Labour Party has, since the last sessional period, had internal troubles over its outlook towards the Common Market. We know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has had to rush in and out of the House - mainly when the Minister for Trade was speaking - so that he could see who was scraping his ribs in caucus. We have had three magnificent speeches on the subject of the Common Market during the course of this week. The Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) clearly and concisely outlined what took place at the recent Prime Ministers’ Conference. To-night the Minister for Trade put before us the probable effects on Australia of Britain’s entry into the Common Market and told the House what he had learned during the negotiations abroad. We also heard the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) speak. I agree with the Minister for Trade that the Leader of the Opposition made a good and fair speech on behalf of one section of the Labour Party, but it .is obvious, from what was said by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) and some other honorable members opposite, that there is violent disagreement within the Labour Party on its policy in relation to the Common Market. I would like to deal mainly with what the honorable member for Yarra said this afternoon, because I have never heard a more insidious speech or one which followed more completely the line put out by the Soviet Union concerning Britain’s proposed entry into the Common Market. If I had the time I could read word for word what the honorable member said. I notice that honorable members opposite are counting heads apparently with the object of calling a quorum. They do not want what I have to say to be heard. [Quorum formed.] As I was saying, Sir, before the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant) called your attention to the state of the House in an attempt to prevent me from making my point, the honorable member for Yarra this afternoon made a speech which coincided word for word with the policy put forward by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in opposition to Britain’s entry to the Common Market.

It is obvious that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) did not agree with one word of what the honorable member for Yarra said, because the honorable member for Yarra made great play on the suggestion that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) had come to no conclusion and had made no firm statement as to the effect of Britain’s proposed entry to the Common Market. [Quorum formed.] Sir, before the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) called attention to the state of the House I was making some points about what the honorable member for Yarra said this afternoon. I would like to point out that the honorable member for Reid is also one of the group which is known to be very strongly on the left. He has been one of those who have created confusion in caucus last week.

The speech of the honorable member for Yarra consisted mainly of accusations against America of pushing American arms, of fostering monopolistic tendencies and of committing great abuses by putting pressure on Britain to go into the Common Market. In fact if one were prepared to spend time reading the speeches of the honorable member for Yarra and the honorable member for Lalor one would find that the same views can be read in the “ Tribune “, the “ Guardian “ and other Communist newspapers. The Communist technique is obvious - to divide and conquer, and to do everything possible to prevent unity in Europe. One statement made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) - to whom I give credit for being one of the better members on the other side of the House - which could be misconstrued was as follows: -

When one contemplates the vast annual expenditure, throughout the world on arms for defence against certain forces-

I presume that refers to the Communists although he did not say so - one concludes that surely it is time people began to look a little more sensibly - perhaps more selfishly - at the situation. We should ask, “ What have we to defend ourselves against? “.

Does this section of the Labour Party feel that we have nothing to defend ourselves against; that the free world has nothing to fear and that we should take down the bastion we have in order to let its friends into this country and into the free world in Europe? Furthermore, since the Labour Party seems now to be dominated by the opinions of the honorable member for Reid and the honorable member for Yarra, does it intend to use its endeavour to divide the West and thereby leave the free world open to attack by the Cor–….. ‘-‘=’>


– The honorable member for Yarra will cease interjecting.


– In referring to the United States of America and what that country is doing, I think honorable members should give great thought to exactly what is hap pening in Europe, and I think the people of Australia should give thought to the speeches of honorable members in this House.

I should like to quote the United States Ambassador to Belgium, Douglas MacArthur, Junior -

As we assessed the threat to the survival of our own country and other free nations, it soon became apparent that the United States of America would by itself be unable to meet successfully the challenge of Soviet expansion. The imperative and crying need was for greater free world strength which, joined with our own power, would be adequate to meet the challenge.

He went on to say -

If Europe’s great potential - economic, industrial and human - could be rehabilitated and if our European friends would work together in cooperation with each other and with us and with other like-minded people, then indeed Western Europe’s great potential could be realized and the balance of free world-communist world military power could be more than redressed.

This political thesis of the United States of America has been accepted by The Six, and I think has been accepted by the British people and those in other countries of Europe who wish to go into the European Community. This is the reason that the Soviet wants tor keep them outside.

Further, let me read the speech of President Kennedy when he was answering President de Gaulle, who had said that perhaps the United States of America should not have such great control of Nato -

The United States … is committed to the defence of Europe, by history as well as by choice. We have no wish to join, much less to dominate, the European Community. We have no intention of interfering in its internal affairs. But neither do we hope or plan to please all of our European allies, who do not always agree with each other, on every topic or discussion - or to base those decisions which affect the long-run state of the common security on the short-term state of our popularity in the various capitals of Europe . . . We cannot and do not take any European ally for granted - and I hope no one in Europe would take us for granted either-

That is important -

Our willingness to bear our full share of Western defence is deeply felt but it is not automatic. American public opinion has turned away from isolation - but its faith must not be shattered. Our commitment, let it be remembered, is to a common united defence, in which every member of the western community plays a full and responsible role, to the limit of its capability, and in reliance on the strength of others - and it is that commitment which will be fulfilled. As long as the United States is staking its own national security on the defence of Europe, contributing to-day 425,000 men at an annual cost, in balance of payments, and therefore in dollars, and therefore potentially in gold, of 1,600,000,000 dollars to Europe and calling up 160,000 men at a budgetary cost of 3,500,000,000 dollars. Since last July, in a far greater effort than that of any other country in response to last summer’s crisis we will continue to participate in the great decisions affecting war and peace in that area. A coherent policy cannot call for both our military presence and our diplomatic absence.

Let honorable members on the other side of the chamber remember those remarks when they criticize the United States, not only in Europe but here in Australia. Let the honorable, member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), when he makes his speech, remember that these things are done and that we are getting the benefit of them in protection. Further, let us bear these statements in mind when we listen to the attack of these honorable members on the other side. We in Australia have much to gain by the success of the Common Market, for if America can pull out of Europe some of her money and troops she will be able to play a larger part in South-East Asia.

However, the facts concerning the E.E.C. and Britain’s entry are to-day no clearer than they were prior to the Prime. Ministers’ Conference. Nothing has been decided and no decision has been made. We can only assess what could be the situation if certain things occur. It can, however, in my opinion, be said, first, that from a defence viewpoint a united Europe, strong and prepared to play its part in world affairs, would be to the advantage of the whole Western world, and indeed to its survival. By this I mean survival as free men in a free world. Secondly, if Britain joins the E.E.C. and can use her great experience to persuade the community to be outward looking, to give assistance to the smaller nations in the world and to the underdeveloped countries, it must be to the advantage of world peace and happiness. If Britain can go in and still keep her connexion with the Commonwealth and her influence as an intermediary of the smaller nations with the community, it will be to the advantage of the world. However, if Britain should go in and should be absorbed entirely and lost merely as a part of Europe, it would be a great tragedy. I do not think this will happen.

The Western world has met and contained over the years the military threat of the Communist world by building up and main taining its own strength. This has been done at great cost. However, we must realize also that the economic struggle of democracy versus communism may well be the vital one. Under totalitarian controls the Soviet economy has achieved remarkable growth. As a totalitarian power the Communist countries can much more easily than the West, first, continue to increase their military strength, secondly increase their economic penetration of undeveloped countries, and, thirdly, demonstrate to the undeveloped countries the superiority of the Communist system. They will utilize their added economic strength to intensify steadily their military, economic and political pressures against the free world in every way they can. This is what is happening to-day all over the world, and this is why the Communist countries and their disciples are committed to preventing the recovery of Europe and the emergence of a new, strong, outlooking force for good in the world to-day.

The E.E.C. and, I feel, the United States of America, and I am sure the thinking people of the world of whatever race or colour, know that if the third of the human race which comprises what is called the under-developed countries despairs of a free society and chooses instead communism, freedom in the world could well be lost. This is what the Soviet and its satellites want to occur. They do not want any third force that can give aid to come into the under-developed countries and to the developing countries; they want to keep this third force from going into these countries, so that they can persuade these people to go over to the Communist world. I think honorable members opposite who make these speeches should surely look at some of the facts. I feel at times that they think they will have a great and wonderful life under the new system. I point out to them that this has rarely happened in any country where the Communists have come in. Those honorable members owe an obligation to this country to be honest, to put before the people the facts as they see them, to act on behalf of the people of this country, and indeed people of the world, and to do all they can to keep it free, so that every man shall have the choice to live as he wishes, to worship as he wishes, and to enjoy all the things that we hold dear in this free world.

Mr. Speaker, so far as I can judge from the debates that have taken place, it appears that Britain will go in. I feel that we must have some trust that the Community will be outward looking. I feel that we cannot always take the morbid view and say that such and such a thing will occur. Let us at least give them a chance to create a new Europe, a strong Europe, and a Europe which can be an advantage to all people and all countries of the world, whether they be great or small.

East Sydney

.- The twenty minutes speaking time permitted in this debate is not sufficient for me to answer all the arguments advanced by Government speakers with which I strongly disagree. I cannot help but comment, however, on the address given by the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess). It does not matter what subject is raised in this Parliament, whether or not it be of purely local character, the honorable member for La Trobe has never made a speech in this chamber without directing attention to what he believes to be the activities of Communists and their responsibility in the matter. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), in a statement on the issue in debate, said that there was no party difference over it. He said that we, the Opposition, had the same policy as the Government. I hope that, after listening to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in this House, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam) the Minister for Trade realizes that his own statement was not a statement of fact. In my opinion there is just as much difference between the policy of the Labour Party in respect of this particular matter as there is in respect of many of the domestic issues that arise here from day to day, and there is just as much of unity of approach to the question between the Opposition and the Government as there is between Gaitskell and Macmillan in Britain.

Let us look at some of the statements made. It is argued that Britain’s entry into the Common Market is a matter for decision by Britain. Nobody will dispute the fact that, if it is a matter affecting Britain only, then Britain has the right to make its own decision. But whom do we mean by “ Britain “? Surely it is not suggested that the Macmillan Government to-day speaks for the British nation, because the information I have been able to gather in respect of the results of gallup polls held in Britain on this issue shows that a preponderance of the British electorate is against the Macmillan Government’s proposal.

The Macmillan Government has no mandate to take Britain into the Common Market without first consulting the British people and obtaining their agreement to that step. I believe that the people who should make the decision are the British people and not the members of the Macmillan Government. The Macmillan Government has no right to make that decision, just as the Menzies Government in Australia has no right to speak for the Australian nation, because at the last federal election the votes received by the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party combined numbered 300,000 less than the votes cast for the Labour Party’s candidates.

Why is it said that this Common Market issue is not our business? The Government would have people believe that we ought not to criticize, that we ought not to speak up for what we believe to be Australia’s interests. The Government says that the question of Britain’s joining or not joining is a matter for Britain’s decision only; a matter on which we ought to remain silent. But this is an issue which concerns us very vitally in Australia. The Government bungled as it usually does on great national questions. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition correctly accused the Government, in respect of an issue in which our primary industries are threatened, of just sitting back and doing nothing. The speech made by the Prime Minister on Tuesday evening shows that the Government has come to the conclusion that it is inevitable’ that Britain will join the Common Market. Then what are we waiting for? Why is not the Government doing something about it?

The man who must be astonished and perplexed by this debate is the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), because the Prime Minister made a reference in his speech to the fact that some people in this country were exaggerating the dangers i with which we were confronted. That is the very statement that the honorable member for Wentworth made some time ago, for the making of which the Prime Minis- ter had the honorable member for Wentworth excluded from the Cabinet. I should imagine that the honorable member for Wentworth will now be seeking reinstatement as a Cabinet Minister - not that he himself has been consistent in his attitude to this matter, because in this chamber on 8th May last he said that industries which owed their existence and livelihood to preference had a right to continued existence. He was referring to British preference. He also said - 1 Australia is very heavily indebted to the Minister for Trade for his skilful and strenuous efforts to accomplish this.

So the honorable member for Wentworth evidently had a change of opinion about the matter, because at one time he was of the opinion that the danger to Australian industry was as great as is now stated by other members of the Parliament. It is quite true that there are issues of political and economic importance involved in this matter. The Prime Minister agrees with this, because he said -

The Government of the United Kingdom had decided the political issue in favour of going into Europe.

Then he quoted Mr. Macmillan, the British Prime Minister, as saying that “ entry into the Community is something which must be achieved “.

What do those gentlemen hope to gain by making these statements? If we are to benefit from the negotiations at Brussels, and the negotiators for The Six know that Britain is going in whatever the terms may be, how are we going to obtain concessions? If the decision is going to be that Britain will go in, it ought to have been kept the closest of secrets.

What are the assurances asked for? Adequate protection of Commonwealth interests. We know what the Australian Government asked for. It wanted comparable outlets not merely in Britain but in the enlarged Common Market area equivalent to the outlets it had previously enjoyed. [Quorum formed.]

That was a ridiculous proposition to be put by this Government, because if that proposition was acceded to by The Six, and the same advantages were conceded to others likely to make the same request, the result would be that there would be no Common Market at all. At that particular time the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade appeared to be fighting mad. They were going to be tough negotiators. So let us consider what they did overseas. There arises, first, the question: Is Britain a free agent in this matter? Objections have been taken to the fact - and some people think them unfair - that there is pressure on Britain to join the Common Market. As a matter of fact, the President of the United States of America, in a “ Message to the Nation “ delivered in January this year, said -

Economic disunity must necessarily weaken military co-operation.

Thus proving conclusively that what the Americans were aiming to do by getting European economic integration was to strengthen their position in the military sense. Then the question of British preferences arises. The Americans have always been opposed to the principle of British preferences for Commonwealth goods. That is why the Minister for Trade, in one of his outbursts, said about the Americans, “ Let them get out of our hair “. But after the Prime Minister had visited Washington on one of his frequent overseas trips - and there he received the full treatment, with a full gun salute and being met by notabilities at the airport - he decided he was not in favour of the vigorous attitude being adopted by the Minister for Trade.

What have been the Government’s achievements in relation to the negotiations at Brussels? The six member nations of the European Common Market have decided that by 1970 manufactured goods from the Commonwealth countries are to be phased out insofar as British preferences are concerned. The Prime Minister made a protest at the time this decision was made, but he did not appear to have his heart in that protest, because it has never been followed up. Then a Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference was held recently. The Prime Ministers issued a communique. What came from it, and who were the people who were relieved? We know that Commonwealth Prime Ministers criticized very vigorously the policy which is being pursued by the British Government. When the conference was over and the communique was issued the most relieved man in the country, according to newspaper reports in various parts of the world, was Mr. Macmillan himself, because this Government, through its Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, had, in effect, acting together with other Commonwealth Governments, given the Macmillan Government an open cheque. It had agreed to allow the British Government representatives to go to Brussels and do what they liked. No specific conditions were laid down. The Australian Government did not specify any terms. It did not say, “ We believe that these conditions are necessary to ensure the protection of Commonwealth trade “. The communique had simply said, “ British Ministers will continue their efforts to safeguard essential Commonwealth interests “. But what are essential Commonwealth interests? Unless we are given some interpretation of the meaning of those words, unless we are told what this Government and the British Government mean by “ essential Commonwealth interests “, we cannot know exactly what is meant by the phrase.

According to Mr. Macmillan, and Mr. Heath, the chief British negotiator, there is to be no reconsideration of decisions already made at Brussels; and the decisions already made at Brussels have been declared by the British Labour Party, as well as the Australian Labour Party, to be unacceptable. Mr. Gaitskell has made that quite clear. Yet we find that there is to be no reconsideration of the decision to end British preferences on Commonwealth manufactured goods by the year 1970.

We have heard in this debate some mention of international commodity agreements. There appear to be some differences between what appeared in the communique issued by the Prime Ministers after their conference on this question and what the Prime Minister now tells us in this chamber. The communique said -

The European Economic Community would, at the time of British accession, initiate discussions on international commodity agreements.

There is to be no discussion of commodity agreements preceding Britain’s entry into the Common Market; these are to be considered only after Britain has gone in. But the Prime Minister said -

We urged that talks between major countries interested in particular commodities should be called at an earlier date and certainly before the United Kingdom made its decision whether or not to enter the European Economic Community.

The Prime Minister says that he believes these international agreements ought to be made before Britain enters the Common Market, and then at the Prime Ministers’ Conference he gives assent to a communique which says the very opposite - that no agreements are to be entered into until Britain has decided to go in.

Let me quote some further remarks of the Prime Minister. He said - in our case there have been considerable discussions about world commodity agreements, with particular reference to wheat.

No new International Wheat Agreement has been negotiated in recent times. It has merely been discussed. The Prime Minister said, further -

But, on the other large matters that concern us- meaning other primary export industries involving Australia’s share of world trade - there was no progress to be reported. Of course there was no progress to be reported. The Prime Minister went on to say -

We can and do say that anything like a phasing out of our present preferences and agreements by 1970, without some proper provision for preserving our market opportunities, would be vigorously resisted by us.

What does he mean by “ vigorously resisted “? What can the Australian Government do? It cannot resist once Britain has made its decision. Therefore the Prime Minister is misleading the Australian people by telling them that after Britain has gone in the Australian Government can do something about it. It can do nothing at all.

Let me turn to the political aspects of the situation. Honorable members on the Government side have spoken of this move as being a step towards uniting Europe. As I see it, at this stage six European nations have been united, and if Britain joins them seven will have been united.

But is it not rather significant that these people who speak of Europe becoming united do not mention the fact that the neutralist nations are not to be admitted to full membership? The Community does not propose to take in as full members countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. Mr. Heath said in the House of Commons on 6th May of this year -

The Six expected future members of the Common Market to become parties to all of the political agreements between them.

It seems, therefore, that unless applicant countries are prepared to agree to the political decisions as well as economic integration they are not to be welcomed as full members of the Community.

Of course we know that this projected move involves a surrender of British sovereignty. It cannot mean anything else, and let us not pretend that it does mean anything else. Yet our Prime Minister, knowing the exact situation, said in his speech- -

Should the day come when the European Community became a federation with Great Britain as a constituent state, then Great Britain would cease to be a sovereign community . . . Great Britain has no intention of going into a federation.

If Great Britain enters the Common Market, as the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) pointed out, she will automatically become a party to what is more than a federation - and what is really a centralized bureaucracy controlling and administering this great area in Europe. Even the Prime Minister admitted that if Britain enters she will surrender some of her sovereignty, because he said -

Inevitably there will be at the centre of the Community a large financial and administrative organization exercising functions which, as we see them, are functions of government.

He admits that upon entry the British Government will be surrendering sovereignty. It is well to remember that if Britain enters the Common Market and then finds she has made a mistake, she will not be able to correct it and withdraw from the Community, or even change the structure of the Community. She will have no opportunity to do so. The decision she makes will be irrevocable. The rules of the Community provide that there must be unanimity on a decision to admit, but there is no provision for withdrawal.

This European Economic Community is an undemocratic body, as other speakers have pointed out. Although it has an assembly, a council of ministers, a commission and a court of justice, none of these bodies is subject to public control as this Parliament is. We know how difficult it is to change the Commonwealth Constitution, but we can do it in this country by getting the approval of a majority of the electors in a majority of the States. But if you want to change the structure of the E.E.C, or the provisions of the Treaty of Rome, it must be done by unanimous decision. Every one of the member nations must agree to the change. This being the case, a decision by Britain to enter must be considered, for practical purposes, an irrevocable decision, and one that cannot be changed after it is made.

The Prime Minister, referring to the functions of the administrative bodies, said -

They are not likely to be left indefinitely to officials, since the control of such great matters by a central bureaucracy would be inconsistent with British democratic ideas.

Of course it would be inconsistent with British democratic ideas, but there is nothing that Britain can do about it. Once she has joined, she must accept decisions agreed to unanimously by the present member nations. The British Government, therefore, would be powerless to do anything about such decisions. A future Labour government in Britain would be unable to implement its policies, because once sovereignty is surrendered this will be the position: The economic aims of the European Economic Community involve the proposition that among member nations goods are to be bought and sold on equal terms. Trade is to be fair as well as free. Therefore, British Labour’s plan for industrial development, for research and financing of new and untried projects, would be regarded as discriminating against the industries of the other member nations and would not be permitted. If any dispute arose as to the British Government’s power, it would be decided not by the British Parliament but by the court of justice appointed by the European Economic Community. Nationalization would be out, because private firms in Britain would have a tendency to develop on European lines. Mergers would be entered into, and once industries became internationalized, nationalization would be impossible for the British people, even if they voted strongly in favour of it.

There is to be an equalization of living and industrial conditions. It is argued by the pro-marketeers that this represents an upward trend in conditions, but there is no evidence that this will be the case.


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


– Towards the end of his speech the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said -

If I were an Englishman I would be found amongst those in Great Britain willing to take the plunge.

My right honorable friend is entitled to his opinion, and I believe I am entitled to mine. I want to say in the plainest possible language to this House and to the country that the sentiments expressed by the Treasurer I do not share, and I would be ashamed to think that any person nurtured in the British tradition would be prepared for one moment to contemplate embracing this bureaucratic mechanism. I have never disdisguised my resentment at the proposal that the United Kingdom should join the European Economic Community. My resentment has not been solely on commercial grounds. It has been on both political and economic grounds.

I do not want to recapitulate the arguments that I have advanced already other than to say that I still find myself utterly stunned with amazement that people in this Parliament and outside should say, “ Well, if the United Kingdom gets into the community she will be able to lead it “. That statement has within it the proposition that the person who makes it either has not read the treaty or does not understand the treaty. The dichotomy is not a false one, as is evident from the treaty and from all the material distributed by the community. The commission has a peculiar singular independent status, and the council, comprising Ministers representing the member countries, cannot act - I repeat, cannot act - other than on a proposal of the completely independent commission. But be that as it may.

I want to put on the records of this Parliament, among other things, a collection of statements made by some of those who have played leading roles in the Economic Com”munity controversy in this country and outside. Conversion to a cause frequently happens with great suddenness. That is not to be questioned. But none of us should burke the point of challenging the genuineness of a conversion, more particularly when there has been no explanation or admission of the conversion. Simply because a person changes his mind is no reason why he should be condemned, but what invites the lash of both pen and tongue is the action of an individual who, under the guise of mere flexibility, deserts a cause while pretending he still supports it. That curious feature of behaviour unhappily is part of our present circumstances. Those against whom I believe that charge fairly rests cannot seek pardon by claiming that their minds are not cluttered with foolish and trifling inconsistencies and by adopting the style of superior beings treating all others with scant respect. When the time comes for the history of these turbulent days to be written, it will seem surprising if the remarkable attitudes of some of the protagonists of British entry into Europe do not warrant a secure place. Whether it will be a respected place is as much a matter of opinion as a matter of conjecture.

I begin this brief survey by referring to one of the most ardent “ Europeans “ in all England, Mr. Peter Thorneycroft, who, as co-author of a publication “ Design for Europe “, wrote -

No government dependent upon a democratic vote, could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifices which any adequate plan must involve. The people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences.

Whatever may be thought of that striking piece of totalitarian philosophy, it has at least the quality of candour. However, what is staggering is the fact that Mr. Thorneycroft, and those who think as he does, came within an ace of being successful. The British people and those who have an affection for the British cause should not think too unkindly of Mr. Thorneycroft. At least he had the courage to state his views on the matter. That cannot be said of others.

In the last few days the British Prime Minister has invited the British people to accept the challenge of a Britain in Europe. Mr. Macmillan has not always been enthusiastic for such an end and more sharply, he has not, to my knowledge, ventured to give the slightest explanation of his conversion to a Britain in Europe. Speaking in 1956, on the question of Britain joining Europe, Mr. Macmillan made certain statements which I shall read. These statements, like the others which I shall recite to-night, are not taken out of context. He said -

I do not believe that this House would ever agree to our entering arrangements which, as a matter of principle, would prevent our treating the great range of imports from the Commonwealth at least as favourably as those from the European countries. So this objection, even if there were no other, would be quite fatal to any proposal that the United Kingdom should seek to take part in a European Common Market by joining a customs union.

On 2nd April, 1958, Mr. Macmillan stated. -

Our trading arrangements are governed by the Ottawa Agreements. It is, of course, true that these Agreements were reached at a time when the Commonwealth countries - apart from Britain - were not predominantly manufacturing countries. Times have changed. Some of the Commonwealth countries have now become great manufacturing countries. Difficulties have necessarily arisen from time to time; but these have always been solved by mutual agreement in the spirit of our Commonwealth partnership.

Where, I ask the House and every honest British person, is the spirit of Commonwealth co-operation flowing out of the Conservative Government in Britain to-day? Mr. Maudling, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been no less frank. On 28th October, 1958, he said-

The Commonwealth remains, of course, first priority in all our trade policies. Quite apart from political and sentimental ties, the Commonwealth in terms of hard trade takes between 40 per cent, and 50 per cent, of our trade. Within the Commonwealth there are great opportunities now for further expansion in trade with the Commonwealth territories as the territories themselves are recovering from the effects of the fall in commodity prices which for so long undermined their reserves, so that many of them had to maintain restrictions on import programmes.

Then on 12th February, 1959, Mr. Maudling - remember that he is the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom to-day - had this to say -

I cannot conceive that any Government of this country would put forward a proposition which would involve the abandonment of Commonwealth free entry. It would be wrong for us and for the whole free world to adopt a policy of new duties on foodstuffs and raw materials, many of which come from under-developed countries, at present entering a major market duty free.

Later in the same speech in Parliament Mr. Maudling observed -

We must recognize that, for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate political goal political federation in Europe, including ourselves.

Does he still say that to-day? He added -

That, as I have said, does not seem to me to be a proposition which, at the moment, commands majority support in this country.

After having spent four weeks among the British people I think that Mr. Maudling is right. Now the pro-marketeers have sought to present the British Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. R. A. Butler, as a devotee of European union. It is in no sense of malevolence that I remind them that Mr. Butler wrote in the “Times” of 29th September, 1949 -

It cannot be too clearly stated that any tendencies, however unlikely to be realised, expressed at Strasbourg which lead to constitutional change involving a formal cession of British sovereignty whether political or economic, will weaken British relations with our own family. They would render the wider and grander aim of the full co-operation of all the free democracies less easy to achieve.

Would any one accuse the British Prime Minister of having pro-Communist views because he was opposed to British entry into Europe, and because he stated in clear and explicit language that for Britain to go into Europe would mean the end of the Commonwealth and would act as an inhibitor against a genuine and lasting peace being created in the world?

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1960 the Lord Privy Seal, Mr. Heath, said among other things -

We want to see unity created. We want ourselves to be part of that unity. We are prepared to work for it by an association between the European Free Trade Association and the European Community.

I believe that the speech Mr. Heath made to the Conservative Party conference a few days ago differs from his statement of two years ago both in tenor and in character.

On the question of supra-national institutions no one, I hope, has any doubt as to their role in European Community affairs. If there should be any doubt, may I refer the doubters to a statement made by a Britisher at Strasbourg on 15th August, 1950, giving the reasons why the United Kingdom could not join the European Coal and Steel Community. I implore the House to mark carefully these words.

Our people will not hand over to any supranational authority the right to close down our pits or our steel works. We will not allow any supra-national authority to put large numbers of our people out of work in Durham, or in the Midlands, or South Wales, or Scotland.

Who was it who said that? It was Mr. Harold Macmillan, the gentleman whose Government to-day has made formal application to join the European Coal and Steel Community.

Finally, on the matter of conversion, there is my friend and colleague, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury). In a recent speech, he said that those who oppose British entry into Europe have one thing in common, that being an absence of fertility of ideas. I thought that language a little harsh and unkind, Sir, more particularly as, only last year, his views on the European Economic Community were such as to prompt Mr. Heath, the Lord Privy Seal in the United Kingdom Government and Minister in charge of British negotiations, to describe the honorable member for Wentworth as “ one of the fiercest critics “. I hope that the honorable member was not too badly wounded by Mr. Heath’s description of him, just as I hope that he will not be too embarrassed if I remind him of several of the points that he made in what I regarded, and still regard, as an excellent speech. My friend said, among other things -

What happens a few years hence when political integration goes further? What is the position of the Crown?

The honorable member described that worry as “ a very serious one “. He said -

This presents a curious moment indeed to em. bark on far-reaching economic negotiations with the hard headed gentlemen across the Channel.

I ask the honorable gentleman: Why does he think now that the time is propitious for the United Kingdom to embark on farreaching economic negotiations with the hard-headed gentlemen across the Channel?

In this speech, the honorable member for W’entworth continued -

Britain sends three times the volume of goods to Commonwealth countries that it does to the entire Common Market. Canada and Australia alone buy more from Britain than the entire European Economic Community. These things are birds in the hand . . . Admittedly Common Market momentum has been very impressive, but if serious frictions developed the potential economic gain will easily be lost in Governmental inefficiency. Currency disorders, differential labour and social policies and divergent fiscal and monetary policy would quickly swallow any economic benefits. It could, indeed prove to be very rough waters on which Britain was casting her bread.

Why is it that the honorable member no longer believes that it could be very rough waters on which the United Kingdom is casting its bread? He went on -

Commonwealth countries naturally fear that the preference they now enjoy in the British Market will not only be lost but eventually turned into reverse against them in favour of European Countries. This may be an extreme and ill-founded fear, and far off, but such a possibility will be bitterly resented and resisted.

Finally, Sir, the honorable member for Wentworth said - . . We hope, indeed, that our Leader will make very sure of her new friends before loosening ties with the old, and take note of the conclusion reached at the recent Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Conference.

All of what I have quoted of my honorable friend’s speech - or, more correctly, speeches - can be found in the report of the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held in London in September last year. I am sure that the honorable member for Wentworth will not cavil at my stand when I say to him that, if the test of intellectual fertility is the accumulation of a hopelessly irreconcilable collection of principles, then I prefer the barren state.

Sir, I say to the House with the greatest of regret, but, nevertheless, with the clearest of determination, that there appears to be in existence an influential group of people who have been intent on undermining the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) in their efforts to preserve legitimate Australian interests and those of the Commonwealth. But it would be to flatter them to say that their motives rest there. Their undermining, in my judgment, has been a springboard from which to further personal political ambitions. It would be completely wrong for any person to assume that retreat in a skirmish is the prelude to defeat. Retreat in politics, no less than in war, is frequently a manoeuvre to secure a planned and substantial victory.

Finally, the last example of conflict that I want to give is a strange one indeed. It deals with the basic objectives of the European Economic Community. I remind the House that Mr. Macmillan is the United Kingdom Prime Minister. Is his word to be heeded? On 2nd August, last year, he said in the House of Commons -

I must remind the House that the E.E.C. is an Economic Community, not a Defence Alliance or a Foreign Policy Community, or a Cultural Community.

On 22nd June this year, in an address to the Diplomatic Press Association, Professor Walter Hallstein. President of the European Economic Community Commission, said -

Our Community is essentially political in its ends, in its structure and in its functions.

He continued -

  1. . We heartily welcome the completion and perfecting in the fields of foreign, defence and cultural policy of the edifice built in common.

Putting the matter at its very lowest, Sir, it would be reasonable to say, on the basis of that evidence, that either Mr. Macmillan or Professor Hallstein does not understand what the European Economic Community is aiming at. The only alternative in existence is that one of them is being deceitful.

I admit that Great Britain’s strength has waned as a consequence of her titanic efforts in two great wars. Yet it would be wrong to say that she is enfeebled. Great Britain survived against the forces of tyranny primarily because her people had the will to do so. I do not believe that the will of her people to-day has changed. They have the resolution of old and a ready earnestness to see that there is no corruption of the long-accepted axiom that an Englishman’s word is his bond.

I can think of no finer note on which to finish than a passage from an editorial that appeared. in the “Sunday Herald” of 3rd April, 1949. This was a Sydney newspaper and, though the name has change slightly, I believe that the controlling interests are still the same. The editorial is headed -

No Need to Apologise for the Empire.

It was written at a time when the British Empire was changing and the new, emergent

Commonwealth was coming into being. The author of this editorial wrote -

The British Empire is said to have been acquired in a fit of absence of mind. Let it not be liquidated or enfeebled in a fit of self-abasement.

I know that one could say that the Commonwealth was acquired by hard work and great sacrifice. Let it not be enfeebled in a fit of self-abasement. I remain supremely confident that the people of the United Kingdom will survive the vagaries and the weaknesses that come from the utter confusion and the wretched duplicity that presently are inflicted upon her by one of the most tragic governments ever inflicted upon that great and historic land.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Duthie) adjourned.

page 1755


Questions - The Parliament - Social Services - Phenacetin - Anti-Semitism

Motion (by Mr. Roberton) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- Mr. Speaker, I was amazed at the attitude towards questions revealed by the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) in a statement made by leave to-day. I am disgusted by the arrogant and supercilious manner in which he treats members in this House and by the premeditated and deliberate insults that, in his concluding remarks, he directed at the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). The Attorney-General, in making his statement, dared not reply to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who had attacked him last evening and pointed out that either the Minister or some other honorable gentleman whose statements conflicted with those of the Minister was lying to the community in general.

The Attorney-General said that in answering questions in future he will refer the member who asks the question to a source from which he can obtain the information. If that attitude is adopted, the whole purpose of questions will vanish. Every Minister will be able to reply to every question, whether it be on notice or without notice, that the information sought by the honorable gentleman is available from this document or that document or from this officer of a department or that officer of a department. The inevitable result, of course, will be that Ministers will answer only those questions that it is to their advantage to answer. In effect, the only questions they will answer will be the Dorothy” Dixers, and we should not allow that state of affairs to develop.

I believe that Ministers do not give sufficient attention to questions that are put on notice. The notice-paper is voluminous and will continue to be voluminous because questions that were put on it as far back as 17th May have not yet been answered. There is no adequate reason why the simple question asked by the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) on 17th May should not be answered. On 30th August I asked a question, and it has not been answered yet. Apparently, Ministers are determined to prevent information from being published as it should be published and as members of the Opposition seek by asking questions, to have it published. They will prevent information from being published by asking members to seek out the information they desire in the Library or from some other source, by allowing questions to remain on the notice-paper for a long time or by refusing to answer questions altogether.

I have told the story of two questions I asked. One was addressed to the prime Minister (Mr. Menzies), the other was addressed to the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth). The questions were answered in exactly the same way. The answer to each question was -

The allowances have been paid in accordance with the Richardson report.

Did the Ministers think alike? No; there was collusion either between the officers who serve them or between the Ministers themselves so that they could say to me, in effect, “ You will not get the information you desired “. A question I placed on the notice-paper on 16th October has t:er answered, but a question I placed there on 30th August has not been answered. The answer to the question I asked on 16th October is - 1, 2, J and 4. Information is not available to answer these questions.

I wanted to know what amount of money was being invested by oil companies in petrol stations throughout Australia and what was the value of houses and other buildings demolished in order to make way for petrol stations. The Government says, “ We cannot tell you “. The money invested in this way, of course, was capital from overseas or dividends payable overseas being re-invested in Australia. A vast amount of money is being used by oil companies to provide unneeded petrol stations at the expense of homes that are urgently required.

The Government that says it cannot supply me with the information I seek is very emphatic that the overseas funds and undistributed profits of oil companies and other overseas companies are being invested in such a way as to promote the development of primary and secondary industry in Australia. Does the Government mean that the development of the nation is being promoted by the destruction of houses that have been built for only a few years so that petrol stations can be located on every second corner in the metropolitan areas? Of course it is not! Such a suggestion is absurd. But when an honorable member seeks information, the Government says, “ We know nothing about it “. This forces us to think of Pontius Pilate washing his hands. The Government says, “ We know nothing about it; the information is not available “. If the Government does not have the information in its possession, it should secure it. I am confident that the Government has information on this and many other subjects but is not willing to disclose it.

To-day the Attorney-General tried to castigate the honorable member for Grayndler because, in referring to a company that sells television sets in a manner of which the honorable member does not approve, he said, “ Of course, a member of the Liberal Party may be associated with this firm which negotiates contracts in such a way that those who have dealings with it are at a big disadvantage “. The AttorneyGeneral rose in his wrath and said: “ That is absurd. Members of the Liberal Party, irrespective of where they come from, are above suspicion.” I have been told that a Liberal member of the New South Wales Legislative Council is a director of the company that was mentioned by the honorable member for Grayndler.

Mr Ward:

– A Liberal M.L.C.!


– Certainly a Liberal M.L.C. This Attorney-General of ours, who should act in an ordinarily decent way, used an expression in referring to the honorable member for Grayndler which meant that he considered the honorable member to be beneath contempt. If Ministers took their positions seriously, they would find out something about these allegations.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

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


.- We have heard a little to-night about democracy in the European Common Market. I rise now to ask for a little more democracy in this, our national Parliament. I want to put on record my very vigorous protest about what happened to-day when the estimates for the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services and the Repatriation Department were being debated.


– Order! I warn the honorable member that he cannot canvass the proceedings that took place this afternoon. They were in committee. He would be out of order if he attempted to canvass them. Indeed, he would be out of order in referring to them.


– I take it Mr. Speaker that I may refer to the estimates for the Territories?


– Order! The honorable member will be out of order if he deals with that matter. 1 shall give the honorable member the opportunity to speak oh another subject.


– I am asking that all members on both sides of the House be given an opportunity to put their case with a facility equal to that enjoyed by the Government. I am referring, of course, to those occasions when Ministers deliver their speeches during broadcasting time and then gag debate immediately after they have made their contribution. This is a rather disgraceful position. It could happen in a year in which the Government had not done the right thing. For instance, it might not have made an adequate contribution to social services, repatriation or health services. It might not have made an adequate contribution to the alleviation of the misery of people who are dependent on government services. It might have failed to respond to a request from some worthwhile organization. I have known such organizations to spend £5,000 in carrying out a survey in order to give a Minister information:

The sort of thing to which I have referred might happen in a year in which the Government had failed to give relief to civilian widows. An A class civilian widow who has one or more dependent children receives only £5 10s. a week. Think of it. A mother and her dependent child. Her dependent child might be fourteen years of age. Probably this mother and her child would have as many requirements in food, clothing and shelter as two adult people. In some respects, they may have more requirements. The mother may have a son of fourteen years of age going to secondary school. She would receive £5 10s. a week plus 5s. child endowment. That would be £5 15s. a week altogether. I should like the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) to examine this position. What does it mean? It means that these two people can have three meals a day at a cost of 2s. a meal, for seven days a week. If they had nothing to eat between meals their food would cost them £4 4s. a week out of their £5 15s. a week. That would leave £1 lis. a week for rent, clothing, school fees and other expenses.

I resent the action of Ministers who rise in this Parliament and make glossy, syrupy speeches about what the Government has done and who reserve to themselves one hour out of one and a quarter hours on the air on a broadcast day. Other members then have to speak on a day on which the proceedings of the House may not be broadcast. 1 think that is most unfair. I give notice that there will be a vigorous reaction by the Opposition against any attempt by the Government to stifle criticism in this way. I know that 1 have the full support of the Opposition in this matter. In fairness, I must say. that recent proceedings along these lines actually disgusted some honorable members on the Government side. It was reliably reported to me that Ministers had reserved to themselves the right to make their speeches during a restricted period of broadcasting time and to gag debate after they had made their speeches. I protest emphatically against this practice. I am inhibited in my remarks, Mr. Speaker, out of respect for your ruling. I think it is quite clear, in view of recent proceedings in this chamber, that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) who is at the table and Government supporters know what I am referring to. I hope that Government supporters who have spoken to me on this subject and who have said that this practice is unfair will make their voices well and truly heard in the Government parties.

I am sure that many Government supporters respect the fact that the Opposition constitutes almost 50 per cent, of the membership of this House. We speak on behalf of more than 50 per cent, of the electors outside the parliament. We demand, if that is the necessary thing to say, proper facilities in this place to speak in debates and to speak at such times as will enable the public outside to hear the Labour Party’s point of view. We wish to do that even if it might be embarrassing to the Government after having given nothing to most of the community and after having given as much as £30,000,000 in tax rebates to less needy sections of the community. We live in a democracy, and we are a little disturbed at recent events. Debate on the Estimates has been very much curtailed. This year there are very few enabling bills such as we have had in previous years. Therefore more opportunities should be afforded to honorable members to speak.

I hope that the present procedure has not been geared to get the Parliament into recess by 15th November, as I have heard it rumoured. I have heard it rumoured that we will not return until the end of March or the beginning of April next year. If that is so, the Government will be severely censured not only by the Opposition but also by the people outside. They expect us to be here, doing a job on their behalf. There are lots of jobs to be done by the Parliament. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has much to talk about. There are many things which we are still waiting for him to attend to, including protection for Australian industries and, more important, protection for Australian consumers. We still want to know what kind of set-up the Government has in mind to investigate the economy.

We have the Common Market to be dealt with. There is a heap of social service legislation that demands attention. If I thought that the Parliament would pack up on 15th November in order to enable certain honorable members to run over to the other side of the continent, attend games, and not return to attend to this business I would be more severely critical than I am. On behalf of the Opposition I say that we shall actively resist any curtailment of our right to speak on behalf of the people. I do not relish the business of calling quorums on every little occasion and such obstructionist tactics, but if we are forced to make that protest as the only kind of protest available we will have to do so. We have to bring to the notice of the Government and the people our determination that we are not going to be gagged. We shall demand our right of discussion because we recognize our responsibility in this Parliament to speak on behalf of many thousands of people outside.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I want to refer to phenacetin consumption in Australia and the many cases of kidney damage and deaths due to phenacetin abuse. The use of phenacetin has more than trebled since 1955. According to a recent issue of the “ Medical Journal of Australia “, a report by Dr. Paul Ross, of Melbourne, showed that between 1955-56 and 1960-61 phenacetin imports rose from 187,978 lb., which is about 83.9 tons, to 510,812 lb., which is about 228 tons. Phenacetin, of course, is not made in Australia. Dr. Ross said that in 1961 the average annual phenacetin consumption in Australia was 40 grammes for each adult. This was twice the consumption in Switzerland, one of the first countries where the problem of phenacetin abuse was recognized. Dr. Ross’s report is one of three in the “ Medical Journal of Australia “ which present overwhelming evidence against phenacetin. Another survey in Sydney by Dr. Lionel Jacobs showed phenacetin abuse as the probable cause of 50 out of 54 deaths from renal papillary necrosis - kidney failure - at Sydney Hospital during the last three years. In view of this I sought from the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) the names of the various drugs being sold freely in chemists’ shops, without prescription, that contained this dangerous drug, phenacetin. I thought it was proper to ask the Minister this question so that the answer containing the names of the drugs could be included in “ Hansard “ as a warning to the public against kidney damage by the use of phenacetin. I received from the Minister a reply saying that if I looked at the list of pharmaceutical benefits contained in a report from the Department of Health 1 would find the drugs to which I referred. 1 went through that voluminous document, which probably had cost pounds to produce, and after a great search, I found the names of ten drugs only. I asked the Minister to give me a list of all the drugs so that the public would know to shy clear of them. I give the Minister credit for the fact that he did eventually supply me with the list, but only after I approached him personally. I do not say there is anything wrong with the attitude of the Minister for Health, but the attitude of the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) in relation to questions asked of him seems to be permeating all departments. It seems departmental officers, presumably to save themselves work, have persuaded the weaker Ministers to fob off questions asked by members of Parliament on vitally important matters which should be publicised, by saying “ Go and find out for yourself”. I have here a list which I ask for leave to have incorporated in “ Hansard “, so that I shall not have to take up the time of the House in reading it out.


– Is leave granted?

Mr Roberton:

– No.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– The Minister has refused me the right to have incorporated in “ Hansard “ the names of the various preparations so that the public may be protected. I may not have time to read them all but I shall try. The list is as follows: -

Mr Turnbull:

Mr. Speaker, should this farce be continued? There is no chance of “ Hansard “ taking down what the honorable member for Hindmarsh is reading out and honorable members cannot hear what he is saying.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– I have a copy for “ Hansard “.

Mr Turnbull:

– The honorable member for Hindmarsh says he will hand thelist to “ Hansard “, in order to have it printed, but I submit that he is completely out of order.


– Order! The honorable member for Hindmarsh is naming medical preparations. It is very difficult. He is in order.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– The list continues -

Mr Roberton:

Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Hindmarsh is canvassing your ruling. Before he spoke to-night he showed me a letter which he had received from the Minister for Health and a list of the names of preparations. It was a personal letter from the Minister to the honorable member for Hindmarsh. In it the Minister said that the list was incomplete. I said that without the permission of the Minister for Health it would not be proper for me-


– Order! I thought the Minister was taking a point of order.

Mr Roberton:

– I am taking a point of order.


– Well, so far there has been no substance in the point of order. I have no knowledge of any correspondence or discussion between the Minister for Social Services and the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The honorable member for Hindmarsh is quoting from a list of preparations and I have already said that he is in order.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– The list continues -

I will now read the list of readily available headache preparations which do not contain phenacetin, and these are the ones that people should take if they want to protect themselves from the damage that may be caused by that drug -

You will see, Sir, that there is a considerable number of preparations which contain this dangerous drug phenacetin, yet the Minister for Social Services and the Government are trying to prevent the public from knowing the names of these readily available preparations. Presumably the Minister is not worried about whether people suffer death or poisoning of the kidneys through taking preparations in ignorance of the dangers of doing so. I am merely seeking to have this information made public by incorporating it in “ Hansard “, but the Minister’s chief interest appears to be to protect the wealthy drug firms which are waxing fat on the ill health of the people of Australia. Now that this information is being made available for the first time, I hope the press of Australia will publish the names of the drugs I have mentioned so that people may know what they contain. It seems to me that the reason why this information was not made public previously is that the Government did not want the press to be in a position to publish the names of these preparations without being open to action. Now the press can publish it freely but only because I have had to read out every name on the list.

I wish now to repeat what I said at the beginning of my speech. It is about time this Government was stood up for the attitude it is adopting towards questions asked by members with the legitimate purpose of trying to tell the public what it is entitled to know. No Minister of the Government has any right to send a member an answer such as I received the other day. I will read out the answer which I got when I asked the Minister for the trade names of the powders and tablets known to the Department of Health to contain phenacetin. The reply was -

Preparations containing the drug phenacetin-


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


.- Mr. Speaker, following the upheaval to-day when the closure was moved during the debate on the Estimates-


– Order! I have already brought to the notice of the House the fact that honorable members cannot discuss the debate on the Estimates at this stage. The honorable member would be out of order in doing so.


– I wish to call the attention of the Opposition to the time that was allotted for discussion of the Estimates when the Labour Government was in office, and to compare that with the time that is being allotted on this occasion. On the last occasion when the Labour Government brought Estimates before this chamber, the time allotted for certain departments which I will mention, was from 4 p.m. on Tuesday,11th October, to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 13th October, or just two days. That was in 1949. During those two days the Parliament was called upon, under the guillotine, to discuss the estimates of the following departments: -

Department of the Interior.

Department of Works and Housing.

Department of Civil Aviation.

Department of Trade and Customs.

Department of Health.

Department of Commerce and Agriculture.

Department of Social Services.

Department of Supply and Development.

Department of Shipping and Fuel.

Department of External Territories.

Department of Immigration.

Department of Labour and National Service.

Department of Transport.

Department of Information.

Department of Post-war Reconstruction.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Researct Organization.

Department of Defence.

Department of the Navy.

Department of the Army.

Department of Air.

Department of Supply and Development.

Miscellaneous Services.

Mr Cope:

Mr. Speaker, is the honorable member in order in reading his speech?


– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.


– To continue-

Refunds of Revenue.

Advance to the Treasurer.

War (1914-18) Services.

War (1939-45) Services.

Commonwealth Railways.

Postmaster-General’s Department.

Broadcasting Services.

Northern Territory.

Australian Capital Territory.

Papua and New Guinea.

Norfolk Island.

Supply Resolution, and adoption of Resolution. Ways and Means Resolution and adoption of Resolution.

Appropriation Bill - All stages.

I inform the honorable member who interjected, that the date on which the guillotine was applied on that occasion was 11th October, 1949. The time allowed for debate on all those matters was from 4 p.m. on Tuesday, 11th October, 1949, to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 13th October, 1949 - just two days. For the discussion of the current Estimates we have had two weeks, and will have three weeks, yet members of the Opposition are objecting and saying the Parliament should be closed down. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) has suggested that the House should close down. If a Labour government were in office, what chance would we have to discuss these matters? It is useless for honorable members opposite to argue about it; the information I have given appears in “ Hansard “. On that date Mr. Chifley said -

I declare (a) that the Estimates of Expenditure are of an urgent nature; (b) that the resolutions preliminary to the introduction of the Appropriation Bill are urgent resolutions . . .

He then moved that the guillotine be applied, and it was applied. Honorable members opposite can read what I have said in “ Hansard “; I have given them the date and all the information they need to enable them to check what I have said. But I cannot impart to them the sense of fair play, which is what they need. On this occasion those members have howled when the closure has been moved, but they have had at least a period four times longer than we had when Labour was in office to discuss the Estimates. I think it is only right that the Parliament and the country should know what a Labour government did when it was in office. Honorable members who were in this Parliament at that time know very well what happened. The honorable member for Port Adelaide-

Mr Thompson:

– What did I do?


– You know; you were here.

Mr Thompson:

– On a point of order, Mr. Speaker-


– I merely said that the honorable member for Port Adelaide knows that these things happened. He was a member of the House at that time. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) knows that the guillotine was applied at that time.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– We always treated the Opposition with the greatest respect.


– The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) knows about it. Most honorable members of the Labour Party now in the chamber are new members who do not realize how Labour handled these things. They have been given a fair deal and have been allowed about four times as long as we were given to discuss the Estimates. But honorable members saw what happened this afternoon.

Mr Hayden:

– What happened?


– I suggest that the honorable member for Oxley should get a copy of “Hansard” and see what happened. When I referred to the date on which the Estimates were considered when a Labour government was in power the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) immediately left the chamber to see if what I said was right. I know his tactics. Now he has come back, and if there was the slightest doubt about my being right he would have brought a copy of “ Hansard “ with him and said, “ The member for Mallee is wrong “. But he has come back empty-handed. These are salient facts that have not been publicised but of which the new members of this Parliament should be made aware.


.- Mr. Speaker, I know that you will not allow me to canvass any speeches made in the Senate to-night, but as a private citizen I walked into the gallery and I was amazed to hear that a Labour senator had referred to Senator Hannan as a-


-Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. The Standing Orders prohibit an honorable member canvassing any debate or proceedings in the current session of the Senate.


– I have no intention of offending against Standing Orders in any way, but this is a most serious problem which concerns the growth of antiSemitism in this House. When I took the liberty of explaining what had happened in the Senate I did so with the intention of explaining the anger that has developed in this Parliament. It would be a very serious thing in a democratic country if, because we have two members of the Jewish community, we should try to cause animosity between them as has been done. This has been done in a most malicious and cowardly way in order to imply that one belongs to the democratic side of this party and the other is an ally of the left wing. That has been done in such a way as to injure the latter in his constituency. We must realize that this is a most dangerous thing to occur in this House. The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) - stupidly, in my view, and advised by certain dissident groups in his own electorate, and probably looking for votes in his own electorate - brought into this House a disputation concerning certain aspects of what has happened to Jewry in Russia. We have not all the facts, but the subject was not raised in an attempt to seek facts. The honorable member was not looking for the truth about whether Russia had initiated a pogrom against the

Jews. The honorable member was attempting to damage Senator Samuel Cohen in another place. He was attempting to drive a wedge between him and the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld), two honorable members who have an affinity both of race and comradeship which should be encouraged in this place.

Anti-Semitism is completely abhorrent to Us and we regard the situation that has developed - the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) is waiting to leap; an honorable senator in another place has already leapt upon this thing - as a disgraceful episode in an Australian Parliament. As a supporter of any organization, group of people or country which is under the tyranny of some other superior power, I believe that before members of the Liberal Party start to attack on a political level the senator in another place or the honorable member for Phillip they should first examine their own conscience. Where were members of the Liberal Party when Krupp came to this country? Where were they when there were serious difficulties in regard to German migrants? They all cowered in their corners, but now that they want to get a mean political advantage they come out and try to create some antiSemitism, twenty years after the war. This is a most disgusting and degrading spectacle and I abhor the whole way in which it was created. If that is the way honorable members opposite are going to split groups in this Parliament it is unworthy, and we should be thoroughly ashamed of it.

What good will accrue to the Liberal Party from this? It represents a wealthy community which bars Jews from its golf clubs, which blackballs them from its social clubs, which in every way performs antiSemitism. Then one of its members gets up in this House and makes an implication about an honorable member in this chamber or an honorable senator in another place. We must stop this before it starts. I say that it is most cowardly and that it is obnoxious to me. When we find a man, ostensibly a grouper, Senator Hannan - I have been watching him-


– Order! The honorable member is now referring to a current debate in the Senate.


– That is true; but you would not say that I was factually calling him a grouper, would you?


– Order! I am not referring to that. I shall read the standing order so that the honorable member will understand it. Standing Order No. 72 states -

No Member shall allude to any debate or proceedings of the current Session in the Senate, or to any measure pending therein. 1 draw the honorable member’s attention to the standing order, and I ask him not to canvass any discussion coming within it.


- Mr. Speaker, I shall obey explicity your orders. I would like to say to all honorable members who are Australians that we cannot afford to have antiSemitism rear its ugly head in this country. We cannot afford to allow one political party to score a mean and scabby advantage against another which would make a sacrifice of the Jews. If ever an attempt is made to do that we as Australians, whether we be members of the Liberal Party or members of the Labour Party, should protest vigorously. I am saying this because I have had a close association with Jews who have lived in Australia for a number of years or who have recently come to this country. I am proud of their contribution to Australia’s progress.

If the subject before us is what is happening to Jews in Russia, let us discuss that in isolation. Has there been a pogrom? I would freely join in a discussion of such a matter but I have no time at all for any attempt to derive mean and lousy political advantage by slaying a man in another place. If you scratch the surface you will find that we in this country are not without a certain amount of blame. The honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) has been made the victim of a political campaign. I feel that Mr. Ashkanasy missed out badly. He wanted to be a senator for the Labour Party. He betrayed his faith and his party by selling this stuff to the honorable member for Isaacs. The honorable member has in his electorate many followers of the Jewish faith, yet, like the bell wether that he is, he peddles this stuff in the House.

I am not seeking to gain political advantage out of this matter but I say to

Australians who have kept our record clear that we will not have anti-semitism in this House. If you had seen a man distressed and beaten, looking as if he felt that the democratic world had deserted him - battling for his rights in the Senate - you would feel as I did. About 6,000,000 Jews went to the ovens in Germany. We are about to trade with the European Common Market of which Germany is a member. We will do that to the accompaniment of loud cheers.

Let us be realistic. Let us not deal with these matters in the political manner. You cannot score a point off the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld), who is chairman of Jewry in this country. You cannot score off the honorable senator in another place by injecting anti-semitism into your discussions. If you want to discuss what has happened in Russia - whether there have been pogroms there - let us do so without attempting in contemptible fashion to score off these worthy Australian citizens. That is all I rose to say and that is where I rest my case.

Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I do not propose to speak at any great length on this matter. All I say is that the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen), while ostensibly making an admonitory speech to honorable members on this side of the House has, in the most unctuous fashion, made as highly political a speech on this topic as one would expect to hear. I reject out of hand the statements that he has made imputing anti-Semitic bias to members on this side of the House.

Mr Haylen:

– How many Jews are there in the clubs to which you belong?


– Some of my best friends are followers of the Jewish faith. While I sit in this place I will not have charges of this kind levelled against my colleagues and myself. We are not seeking to make political capital out of this matter, and the honorable member for Parkes has made a highly political speech for his own political advantage. It is well that the House recognize his speech for what it is.


.- Mr. Speaker, I rise -

Motion (by Mr. Fairbairn) put -

That the question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr. Speaker- Hon. Sir John McLeay.)

AYES: 55

NOES: 52

Majority . . 3



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11.20 p.m.

page 1765


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

  1. Is he able to say whether legislation likely to stimulate America-Australia trade relationships is now before the Congress of the United States?
  2. Has he any knowledge of the contents of this legislation; if so, what effect is it likely to have upon the export of wool, sugar and other primary commodities?
Mr McEwen:

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

  1. The United States Congress recently passed legislation entitled the “Trade Expansion Act of 1962 “.
  2. The Trade Expansion Act gives the President authority, during a period of five years ending on 30th June, 1967, to reduce in negotiations with other countries, United States tariff duties and other import restrictions. The passage of this legislation opens the way to trade negotiations between the United States and other countries. The effect of the legislation on exports of primary products will depend upon the results of such negotiations.

Employment and Unemployment

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

  1. How many persons, excluding those who have obtained or have been found employment, have had their names removed by departmental action from (a) the list of those registered for work at Commonwealth Employment Offices or (b) the list of those deemed eligible for payment of unemployment benefit, in each of the last three years?
  2. Why was this action taken in these cases?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) The Commonwealth Employment Service does not remove the name of any person from the register of persons who have sought its assistance to obtain employment unless (i) those persons are placed in employment by it, (ii) have obtained employment by their own efforts, or (iii) have ceased to seek its assistance to obtain employment. Separate statistics relating to the last two categories are not kept. (b) The Commonwealth Employment Service does not maintain a list of those deemed eligible for payment of unemployment benefit.

  1. See 1. above.


Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

  1. How many houses have been (a) sold and (b) let by each State housing authority under the successive agreements between the Commonwealth and the States?
  2. How many applications were (a) lodged in the last financial year, and (b) outstanding at the 30th June last with each authority to (i) purchase, and (ii) rent houses erected under the agreements?
  3. How many applications were (a) lodged in the last financial year, and (b) outstanding at the 30th June last with building societies in each State to (i) purchase and (ii) build houses with loans under the agreements?
  4. How many applications from serving members of the Forces were (a) lodged in the last financial year, and (b) outstanding at the 30th June last in each State?
  5. What amounts (a) were advanced in the last financial year, and (b) will be advanced in this financial year to each State for (i) the State housing authority, (ii) building societies, and (iii) serving members of the Forces?
  6. How many houses were (a) commenced, and (b) completed in the last financial year in each State in each category?
  7. What payments of interest and repayments of principal were made by the States in the last financial year and are expected to be made by them in this financial year?
  8. How many tenants were receiving rental rebates at the 30th June last under the 1945 Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement in each State which is a party to the agreement, and what was the total cost of rental rebates in the last financial year in each of these States?
Mr Fairbairn:
Minister for Air · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following information: -

  1. Applications for rental in Victoria and Queensland are treated for purchase if the applicant so desires.
  2. Allocations in Tasmania are on a purchase basis except in the case of flats and some allotments to elderly persons in indigent circumstances.
  3. Not all building societies record information concerning applications received to either (a) purchase or (b) build houses with loans under the Housing Agreements; therefore total information is not available concerning these applications, in respect of each State.

Note. - Tasmania withdrew from the 1945 agreement during 1950-51. South Australia docs not operate under the rebate formula laid down in the agreement. However, it does operate a rebate scheme, but the above information in respect of the cost of the scheme to that State in 1961-62 is estimated.

Social Services,

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that the formula by which his department assesses the means of persons engaged in the poultry industry who are applicants for unemployment benefits does not take into account the changed and unfortunate circumstances which have caused a severe reduction in incomes derived from the industry?
  2. Will he undertake to review the formula so that persons, whose income in many cases is nonexistent, are not credited with incomes which they have, in fact, no possibility of receiving?
Mr Roberton:

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

  1. No rigid formula is applied.
  2. Any income assessment which a claimant or beneficiary believes is not justified on the facts of his particular case, can be reviewed on application and at any time.


Mr Hayden:

n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What commodities are used in the manufacture of margarine in Australia?
  2. What amounts of those commodities obtained from (a) local sources and (b) imported sources were used in the manufacture of margarine in Australia for each of the past ten years?
  3. From what nations did those imported commodities emanate?
Mr Adermann:

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

  1. Margarine is manufactured in Australia mainly from vegetable oils, including hydrogenated coconut oil, peanut and cottonseed oils and animal fats and oils such as edible beef tallow and whale oil. The manufacturing process and the ingredients used would no doubt differ as between manufacturers.
  2. The quantities of the respective commodities used in the manufacture of margarine in Australia are shown in the Secondary Industries Bulletins issued periodically by the Commonwealth Statistician which are available in the Parliamentary Library. Information is not available in respect of the amounts of the commodities used in the manufacture of margarine obtained respectively from local and imported sources.
  3. Not available.


Mr Collard:

d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. How many gold producers in Western Australia during the year 1961-62 produced more than 500 oz. but no more than 1,075 oz.?
  2. How many of them elected to be treated as small producers for the purpose of gold subsidy?
  3. Who were those that so elected and how much subsidy did they, or will they, each receive?
Mr Harold Holt:

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

  1. The information available suggests that three gold producers in Western Australia produced minerals from which more than 500 oz. but not more than 1,075 oz. of fine gold was obtained and delivered to an approved bank or refiner during the year 1961-62.
  2. One producer.
  3. Messrs. V. M. Tarabini and G. B. Cabrini, a partnership, have received £975, 7s. 4d., the full amount of their gold subsidy entitlement in respect of 1951-62.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

Will he arrange to have displayed at each Commonwealth Employment Office, for the information of those seeking work, details of vacancies existing in the locality; if not, why not?

Mr McMahon:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

It would not be practicable to display at offices of the Commonwealth Employment Service details of vacancies existing in the district or elsewhere and it would not be in the best interests of those seeking employment. For example, workers might proceed independently to employers’ places of business only to find that work was not available because some one else had already been engaged. Moreover, it is necessary for the Commonwealth Employment Service to discuss the nature of vacancies with applicants and to satisfy itself that they meet employers’ specifications.

Mr Collard:

d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that approximately 72,500 schoolleavers registered for work with the Commonwealth Employment Service last year?
  2. How many of those school-leavers were actually placed in employment by the Commonwealth Employment Service?
  3. Can he say how many of the school-leavers who registered for work actually returned to school?
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. Yes, in the year ended 30th June, 1962.
  2. In the same period a total of 31,156 schoolleavers were recorded as placed in employment by the Commonwealth Employment Service.
  3. No.


Mr Uren:

n asked the Minister for External

Affairs, upon notice -

Did he recently state that there are many Asian nations with whom we are friendly who respect us because we do not recognize China; if so, to what nations was he referring?

Sir Garfield Barwick:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

  1. On 10th October, during the debate on the Estimates, I said that there were many in Asia with whom we were friendly who respect us because we do not recognize red China.
  2. I was referring to those nations which, like Australia, recognize Nationalist China and not Communist China, viz. Japan, Philippines, Thailand, South Korea and South Viet Nam. I also believe that the countries of Asia generally understand and respect the reasons underlying our position on this question.
Mr L R Johnson:

son asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Which nations (a) supported and (b) opposed China’s most recent application for membership of the United Nations?
  2. Which Asian nations (a) recognize and (b) do not recognize China?
Sir Garfield Barwick:

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

  1. The honorable member will be aware that China has been a member state of the United Nations since the organization’s foundation, and I therefore assume that his question is specifically directed to the representation of China. This issue underwent a substantive discussion, and was put to the vote, for the first time at the Sixteenth Session of the General Assembly in 1961. The issue gave rise to two draft resolutions, under the first of which the Assembly would have resolved that the question was “an important question”, that is, one on which any draft resolution would require a two-thirds majority for adoption. This resolution was adopted by a vote of 61 in favour of 34 against, with seven abstentions, the details being as follows: -

In favour: 61 - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroun, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Leopoldville), Costa Rica, Dahomey, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federation of Malaya, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Upper Volta, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Against: 34 - Afghanistan, Albania, Bulgaria, Burma, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Cambodia, Ceylon, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Arab Republic, Yemen, Yugoslavia.

Abstentions: 7 - Austria, Cyprus, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanganyika.

After the adoption of this resolution, the General Assembly, by a vote of 36 in favour, 48 against, and 20 abstentions, rejected a draft resolution presented by the Soviet Union. This draft would have expelled the Chinese Nationalist delegation and have invited the People’s Republic of China to assume the Chinese seat in the United Nations. Details of the voting are as follows: -

In favour: 36 - Afghanistan, Albania, Bulgaria, Burma, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Cambodia, Ceylon, Cuba, Czech oslovakia, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Arab Republic, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Yemen, Yugoslavia.

Against: 48 - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroun, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federation of Malaya, France, Gabon, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Tanganyika, Thailand, Turkey, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Abstentions: 20- Austria, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Leopoldville), Cyprus, Dahomey, Iceland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Tunisia, Upper Volta.

The record shows that subsequently Norway requested that its vote be recorded as in favour and not as an abstention.

  1. I assume that in his question the honorable member wishes to refer to Communist China. The following Asian nations, other than Communist regimes, recognize Communist China: - Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Nepal, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia. The following Asian States do not recognize Communist China: - Thailand, Malaya, South Viet Nam, Philippines, Japan and South Korea. Countries lying west of Afghanistan have not been included in the above.

Federation of Malaysia

Mr L R Johnson:

son asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Does the Government fully support the recently determined agreement on the new Federation of Malaysia; if not, what are the factors causing concern?
  2. In what manner will the Singapore defence establishments be affected by the entry of Singapore into the Federation of Malaysia?
Sir Garfield Barwick:

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

  1. The Government believes that the proposed new Federation of Malaysia can contribute significantly to stability and progress in South-East Asia. While there are many detailed constitutional and administrative arrangements still to be settled, the substantial progress which has so far been achieved appears to open the way to the establishment of a strong and harmonious state dedicated to peace, stability and progress.
  2. The joint communique issued by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Malaya in November, 1961, stipulates that after the coming into being of Malaysia, the Federation will allow the United Kingdom to maintain the bases at Singapore for the purpose of assisting in the defence of Malaysia and for Commonwealth defence and for the preservation of peace in South-East Asia.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr Cairns:

s asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. How many atomic, nuclear or thermonuclear weapons tests have been carried out?
  2. What countries have conducted these tests and in what year were they conducted?
  3. Which country is ahead in the development of these weapons?
Sir Garfield Barwick:

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

  1. The exact number of tests is not known. According to published information there have been about 320 atomic, nuclear and thermonuclear weapons tests since 1943. However, this figure may not include all Soviet tests.
  2. Tests have been conducted by the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France. The United States began testing in 1945, the Soviet Union in 1949, Britain in 1952 and France in 1960.
  3. I have no information to give the honorable member.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Attorney-C General upon notice -

  1. Have allegations made in the House of Representatives on 30th August last by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that grossly dishonest and fraudulent practices were being engaged in by a firm trading as Goodwins Limited been investigated as requested by the honorable member; if so, with what result?
  2. If no investigation has been made, will he state the reason for the Government’s failure to take any action in respect of these serious allegations?
Sir Garfield Barwick:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

The gist of the criticism made on the occasion mentioned seems to have been alleged misleading advertising through an unnamed commercial broadcasting station. I have brought the matter to the notice of my colleague the PostmasterGeneral.

Papua and New Guinea

Mr Clyde Cameron:

n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

When was forced unpaid native labour for road construction and road maintenance prohibited in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?

Mr Hasluck:

– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -

Section 71 (2) of the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949-1960 prohibits forced labour in the Territory except in such circumstances as are permitted by International Labour Convention No. 29 - Forced Labour (which convention was ratified in respect of Australia, including the Territories of Papua and New Guinea on 2nd January, 1932). The Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 came into operation on 1st July, 1949. In the Territory of New Guinea forced labour was prohibited by Section 36(2) of the New Guinea Act 1920-1935, in accordance with Article 3 of the Mandate. The act came into operation on 9th May, 1921. In addition, forced labour is, and always has been under Australian administration, illegal under the provisions of the Criminal Code unless affirmatively permitted by statute.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. On what date did the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea complete the draft law to provide industrial safety, health and welfare measures for Territory workers?
  2. When did the Administration commence drafting regulations covering the proposed law?
  3. When is it anticipated that the Industrial Safety, Health and Welfare Ordinance 1961 will be brought fully into operation?
  4. What are the dates on which the following laws were (a) proposed, (b) drafted, (c) passed by the Legislative Council, and (d) fully implemented: - (i) Native Employment Ordinance 1958- 1960; (ii) Workers’ Compensation Ordinance 1958-1960; (iii) Natives Contracts Protection Ordinance 1921-52; and (iv) Administration Servants Ordinance 1958-60?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. Draft ordinance completed 7th June, 1961; passed by Legislative Council, 27th September, 1961; received Governor-General’s assent, 28th December, 1961.
  2. Drafting of regulations commenced on 29th September, 1961. The work is continuing.
  3. January, 1963. The Industrial Safety (Temporary Provisions) Ordinance 1957 has been in operation since 22nd May, 1958. 4. (i) Native Employment Ordinance 1958-1960: (a) proposed October, 1955; (b) drafted 31st August, 1957; (c) passed by Legislative Council 11th June, 1958; (d) fully implemented 6th October, 1960. (ii) Workers’ Compensation Ordinance 1958-1960: (a) proposed 13th February, 1957; (b) drafted 31st August, 1957; (c) passed by Legislative Council 13th June, 1958; (d) fully implemented 6th October, 1960. (iii) Natives Contracts Protection Ordinance 1921-1952: It is presumed that the intended reference is to the Transactions with Natives Ordinance 1958, otherwise the required information is unavailable, as the Native Contracts Protection Ordinance came into force on 9th May, 1921, and was last amended with effect from 1st October, 1954. Transactions with Natives Ordinance 1958: (a) proposed 13th February, 1957; (b) drafted 13th August, 1957;

    1. passed by Legislative Council 11th June, 1958;
    2. fully implemented 6th October, 1960. (iv) Administration Servants Ordinance 1958-1960: (a) proposed 13th February, 1957; (b) drafted 31st August, 1957; (c) passed by Legislative Council 11th June, 1958; (d) fully implemented 1st December, 1960.
Mr Beaton:

asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. What language or languages are taught to Papuans in secondary schools located in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?
  2. Is it proposed that the indigenous students should complete a secondary course similar to that provided in New South Wales?
  3. Will the French language be included in the course in addition to English?
  4. Has any attempt been made to adapt a secondary course of studies to suit the special requirements of the Territory?
  5. Would it, in the circumstances, be more practical to include Malay as the second language in the course of studies?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. English as the language of instruction. French, and in some mission schools, Latin or German as a second language.
  2. Up to the present the secondary course has been similar to that provided in New South Wales with some adaptations to Territory conditions but action is being taken to develop a Territory system meeting the needs of Territory people living in the Territory community.
  3. This has not yet been determined. A lot will depend on the matriculation requirements of the Territory’s own future university which a special committee on tertiary education is examining.
  4. See answer to 2.
  5. I will ask the committee to consider this.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. In what year was the mining of the phosphate deposits on the island of Nauru commenced?
  2. What has been the (a) total quantity and (b) value of the phosphate since extracted?
  3. To what countries is the phosphate mined on Nauru exported?
  4. On what basis is its distribution determined?
  5. Of the amount received from the sale of the phosphate, what percentage was paid to the Nauruans?
  6. What number of the Nauruans benefit directly from these payments?
  7. Upon what basis is the distribution of these moneys among Nauruans determined?
  8. What is the constitution of the British Phosphate Commission which at present controls the operations of the industry, and from what sources is its capital obtained?
  9. From what source does the British Phosphate Commission obtain its labour?
  10. How are the wage scales and industrial standards observed by the Commission determined?
  11. How do they compare with Australian standards?
  12. How do living standards and the cost of living compare with those prevailing in Australia?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. (a)’ Approximately 28,000,000 tons. (b) Value of production from 1921 to 1961 was approximately £36.7 million. (Figures prior to 1921 when the production was in the hands of the Pacific Phosphate Co. are not available.) 3 to 10 inclusive. The information sought is given in the annual reports on the Administration of the Territory of Nauru addressed to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Copies are available to honorable members individually. The agreements governing the working of the phosphate deposits are published as a schedule to the Nauru Island Agreement Act 1919 and the Nauru Island Agreement Act 1932.
  2. Owing to the many differences between the Nauruan and the Australian wage and social service systems no direct comparisons of wages and conditions can be made.
  3. There are no available statistical indices to enable a precise comparison to be made between the cost of living in Australia and the cost of living in Nauru. Living standards are different.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 October 1962, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.