House of Representatives
2 April 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, it is my unhappy duty to inform the House officially of the death on Sunday morning last at Port Pirie of Mr. Russell, the honorable member for Grey since 1943. He represented the electorate of Grey as a member of the Australian Labour Party for almost twenty years, without interruption. He was a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on War Expenditure from July, 1945, to August, 1946, and a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works from December, 1946, to March, 1951. On two occasions, with other members of the Parliament, he was a member of delegations to Japan, the first in 1948 and the second in 1958.

We all knew him in this House extremely well and, I think I may say of all of us, extremely favorably. He was a man who was constantly faithful to his political views and he was certainly a stalwart and energetic representative of his electors, not only in this Parliament, but out of it, all round his electorate. We all were unhappy witnesses of the decline of his health which had been apparent in recent times and which has now culminated in his death.

I am sure, Sir, that I express the feelings of this House when I offer to the members of his family our sincere sympathy. His wife, as we know, predeceased him, but to the members of his family we express our sincere sympathy and, at the same time, we take the opportunity to express in the records of this Parliament our sincere appreciation of his character and of his work. I move -

That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Edgar Hughes Deg Russell, a member of this House for the Division of Grey, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in its bereavement.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I join with the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in his expressions of sympathy to the daughters and other relatives of our colleague who departed this life early on Sunday morning at the age of 72 years. As the Prime Minister has said, Mr. Russell represented the electorate of Grey in this Parliament for about twenty years. He represented it faithfully and well. Grey is one of the six largest electorates in the Commonwealth of Australia, its area being approximately 100,000 square miles. For all that long period Mr. Russell kept in contact with the people he represented. He visited every part of the electorate periodically. All those people whom he knew and who knew him were able to keep in contact with him in one way or another. In the various elections that he contested from 1943 onwards - I think there were seven in all - he was able to increase his majority each time. He had a very kindly personality. He was a genial man who would rather help than harm a person. I am sure that he had many friends, and certainly no enemies, in this Parliament.

He was born at Booleroo in South Australia and commenced his working life as a bank clerk. He was a member of the Australian Labour Party for over 40 years and came into this Parliament when he was 52 years of age. He lived at Port Pirie. As the Prime Minister has said, Edgar Russell’s wife predeceased him a year ago. Many people have inquired from me, as they must have inquired from other honorable members, about the condition of his health which had been deteriorating for many months. Unfortunately, he was in hospital after the Parliament rose in November last. We all were hoping that he might recover his strength sufficiently to return to the Parliament but he had a stroke on Thursday night last and recovered consciousness briefly on Saturday evening sufficiently to be able to speak to his daughters. His doctors have said that had he been a younger man he might have recovered somewhat; but he died, and we mourn his passing. We shall miss him for a long time because men like Edgar Russell are not seen too often in our lifetime.

He was one of ten or eleven men who came into this Parliament following the 1943 election. He was one of only four or five who remained in the Parliament in 1963. Had his health stood to him he undoubtedly would have represented the electorate of Grey for a couple more parliaments, but he has passed from us.

On behalf of the Opposition I express our sympathy to his daughters and all those who were more intimately associated with him than we were and will mourn his loss more deeply than we do.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

– I desire to join the members of the Australian Country Party in this House with the motion which has been moved by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). Edgar Russell will bs sadly missed by members on both sides of the House. We knew him for a long time and we came to know him well. As has been said, any one who knew Edgar Russell could not but like him. He was a friendly man; he was a kindly man. The experience of working with him over the years leaves nothing but pleasant memories in our minds.

He was a South Australian through and through. He knew his State and particularly that part of it which he represented. He knew the people and the industries there and I think it can be recorded that he represented those people and those interests faithfully and well with devotion for a long period. Apart from these personal qualities he had the benefit of his experience in banking and local government affairs which enabled him, in his life in this Parliament, to bring to bear a specialized knowledge and experience which was always useful when he contributed to debates. He was a man of courage. He made no bones about those things for which he stood, and you could be sure that the stand he took on various subjects was the stand which his principles indicated he should take. The Parliament has lost a worth-while member. The Prime Minister has spoken of long and meritorious services. Those words are truly applicable to Edgar Russell. I join the Australian Country Party in the expressions of regret at his passing and offer our deep sympathy to his family.


.- Mr. Speaker, I join in the expressions of sorrow that are being voiced to-day at the death of a colleague with whom I and other men entered the Parliament in 1943. There is only a handful of us left. Following the landslide which occurred in that year, many new Labour faces were seen in the Parliament. Among them were those of Edgar Russell, myself and several colleagues who are now sitting behind me. I recall that as I came up the steps of Parliament House on that occasion with Edgar Russell I thought rather whimsically of the type of gladiator the Australian Labour Party had produced. As we all know, Edgar was a very big man and I would be numbered amongst the small members of the party. I discovered aftei wards that there was more than whimsy in that thought, because Edgar Russell was a gentle gladiator for the party. If one looks through the “ Hansard “ reports one notes that he did not make very many speeches and he did not ask many questions, but they all were directed by him, as a true representative of the people, to the cares, concerns and worries of his electorate.

When I first spoke to him upon coming into this House I was astonished to learn that he represented an area of 100,000 square miles. I represented only five square miles. We formed a close association in those days because we both sat in the same corner of the House. He was most assiduous in the discharge of his duty in this place. I am afraid that during the twenty years I have spent as a member of this House I have been more notable for my absenteeism while the House has been in session, having come into the chamber only from time to time during debates. But Edgar Russell always saw debates through. If ever the Parliament had a member who succeeded in impressing his quietness and dignity upon it, that man was Edgar Russell. He lived for the electorate of Grey. Any honorable member who has been here for any length of time knows a great deal about that electorate because both inside and outside of the House Edgar Russell quietly told us the story of it. The electorate, which is larger than a European principality, is notable for its ship-building and farming activities, its deserts, and the Woomera rocket range. Its resurgence in the post-war years has made it of great industrial importance and significance to Australia. In the quietest possible way Edgar Russell, over many years, told the story of his electorate. He was a man who spoke quietly, who lived quietly and magnificently according to the standards of his party. We thought we of the 1943 contingent should also express our deep sorrow at his passing.


.- On behalf of myself and my colleagues in the Liberal-Country League of South Australia I should like to express appreciation of the outstanding service rendered by Edgar Russell to the electors of Grey. Mr. Russell made few speeches in the House, but I do not think any member of the Parliament has given greater attention and service to an electorate than he did. As has been mentioned, he was a very friendly and very kindly man. There was never an occasion in the division of Grey when Edgar Russell was not present to see whether he could render assistance to his constituents. I should like to extend to the members of his family the sympathy of the South Australian members of the Parliament.


.- I wish to associate myself with the motion before the House. I knew Edgar Russell for nearly the whole period of his time in this Parliament. He was a good friend to all who knew him, a loyal colleague and a good father. He was revered by his family. He was never in doubt about his loyalty as a member of the Parliament. He was straightforward and honest in all his dealings and was highly respected in the division of Grey which he represented and which is the largest division in South Australia. So zealous was Edgar Russell about carrying out his duties that at each election after the first he increased his majority over his opponents. His name will be revered in South Australia. Already, in the town of Whyalla, a street has been named after him. This indicates that he held the respect not only of individual electors but also of those who govern local areas in his electorate. I join with the previous speakers in paying a tribute to the memory of the late member for Grey, Edgar Russell.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that as a mark of respect to our late colleague and friend the House be suspended until 8 o’clock.


– I feel sure that the suggestion made by the Prime Minister meets with the concurrence of the House. As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased member the sitting is suspended.

Sitting suspended from 2.47 to 8 p.m.

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Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– I move -

That this Government no longer possesses the confidence of this House.

The Opposition believes that the House should, by its vote, express and give effect to the prevailing opinion throughout this nation, for nothing is more certain than that this Government does not possess the confidence of the majority of the Australian people. We demand that the people be given the opportunity to express that view at the ballot-box. This Government now clings to the treasury bench by virtue of the preferential votes of splinter parties, and despite the fact that a majority of 300,000 voters preferred the Australian Labour Party to the Liberal and Australian Country Parties combined, in the 1961 elections. Only the other day the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) delivered himself of some interesting remarks about the validity of majorities. I should have thought that he who controls this House by the smallest possible margin would be the last person in Australia to enter into such an argument.

The Government has had sixteen months to redeem itself in the opinion of the people, and it has failed utterly to do so. Not only does the majority support for the Labour Party remain firm, but the Government has failed completely to win back the confidence of those who normally support it. Let me prove my claim.

The stock exchanges of Australia remain dull and lifeless, completely unresponsive to the monotonous pleas for confidence which the Prime Minister and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) deem it their duty to make from time to time. The Associated Chambers of Manufactures and the Bank of New South Wales, surely impeccable sources from the Government point of view, have recently completed a survey on industrial trends in Australia. This shows that 60 per cent, of factories, covering the whole range of industrial production, are still working below capacity. Sixty-five per cent, of companies report that the factor limiting their ability to increase production is want of orders. Fifty-one per cent, of companies have not been able to raise the numbers employed since November last year, and 53 per cent, do not expect to employ any more between now and July. The report says that the degree of optimism among employers is even less than it was last November, the time of the previous survey.

If we look at the trading bank figures, the same story of stagnation and lack of confidence emerges. Deposits held by the major trading banks at the end of January, 1963, were £1,951,000,000. Advances were £1,045,000,000. The comparable figures for the end of January, 1961, just before the credit squeeze began to take full effect, were deposits £1,730,000,000, and advances £1,059,000,000. In other words, deposits with the trading banks have risen by £221,000,000, and advances have fallen £14,000,000. The banks are flush with unused money, and people in a position to invest are cautiously refraining from doing so. The savings banks tell the same story. Deposits have risen by £220,000,000 in twelve months - from £1,665,000,000 to £1,882,000,000. Potential investors and potential consumers are doing the same thing, all showing their lack of confidence in the economic policies of this Government. As long as they are refused the chance of registering their vote at the ballot-box, they are voting with their money. They are doing what I hope this House will do - register a vote of no confidence in the Government.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce reported in February this year -

Progress in the private sector has been slower than total employment figures imply. While total employment had returned to its pre-November 1960 level by March 1962, this was largely due to a marked increase in Government employment.

In other words, from the three great groups from which the Liberal Party receives its support - the financiers, the controllers of the commercial life of this nation, and the manufacturers - the story is the same - lack of confidence in a fumbling Government which has presided over two and a half years of stagnation and thirteen years of confusion.

Among the Government’s own supporters in this House, this same lack of confidence is evident. The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has become an indefatigable writer of letters to the editors of metropolitan daily papers; and I applaud his views on housing, education and national development, because he is now repeating everything that my colleagues and 1 have been saying on these subjects for years. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) has stated publicly that the Australian economy “ is moving like the crab, sideways”. The honorable member for Wentworth has attracted much more favorable attention from Liberal supporters desperately seeking something, or somebody, they can support, and I note that he is now being cast in the role of the Young Pretender to the Prime Ministerial succession. No wonder the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), whose Assistant Treasurer he was, raised not a finger to prevent him from being thrown to the wolves last August.

Thus, for the reasons I have given, and for others that will be advanced, the Opposition believes it has a duty to the people to put forward this motion of no confidence. The Government does not only not possess the confidence of the majority of the people, it does not even possess the confidence of its own nominal supporters. And it clearly does not possess the confidence of some of its own members in this House. It therefore has no mandate to continue. It is living not on borrowed, but on stolen time - time stolen from the Australian people. They have suffered it for sixteen months, and now the Opposition demands that they be given the opportunity to assert their right to choose another and a better government.

If much of what I shall say has a familiar ring, it is simply because so little has changed in the past two and a half years. And this is the tragedy of Australia - that the country, above any other in the world, which must grow rapidly if it is to survive, has simply lost nearly three years in its march to greatness. We just cannot afford to stand still, to stagnate, any longer, and that is why this debate is of such moment and urgency. How can we have any confidence in a government whose policies and prognostications have been so consistently wrong over such a long period? I invite honorable members to compare my speech on the 1961 Budget with that of the Treasurer, or my policy speech of November, 1961, with that of the Prime Minister, and say which of the two sets provided the truer analysis of the situation then existing, or the more accurate predictions.

When one seeks for an explanation of this consistent wrongness and, one must say, wilful wrongheadedness in the Government’s predictions, one is bound to say that much of the fault lies in the personality of Ministers, particularly of the Prime Minister. The fact is that they have lost touch with the people, and even the electoral disaster of December, 1961, has not been sufficient to bring him or his colleagues back to earth. We cannot forget, although I am sure the Prime Minister would like to do so, his extraordinary comments during the height of the credit squeeze.

In his famous television talk to the nation, on 9th June, 1961, my right honorable friend, the sole triton of post-war Liberalism, had this to say: “By this time next year, many thousands of Australians will wonder what they were worrying about “. He repeated this view when he spoke to his fellow Liberals at a rally in the Sydney Town Hall, on 7th August that year. He said -

I am more experienced at dealing with the economics of Australia than any theorist . . .

I am an instinctive optimist about the future. I do not expect things to happen overnight, but 1 believe in my bones that by this time next year many of us will be wondering what the argument is all about.

Many of us are wondering to-day not what that argument was all about but why there is still unemployment in this country of such great opportunity. Within a few months of his remarkable utterances, the registered unemployed grew to 137,000, and exactly a year later it was still 100,000, in which vicinity it still remains. What was it, exactly, the Prime Minister meant when he said, during the 1961 elections, “ Our policy has worked, it has achieved the most magnificent results”?

The policy I put forward on behalf of the Australian Labour Party was dismissed by the Prime Minister as “ wild, impractical and inflationary “. The proposal of a deficit of £100,000,000, which I put forward in August, 1961, would, according to the Treasurer, “ launch Australia on a vast sea of inflationary finance “. In December, the Prime Minister made his great unhonoured promise. “ We confidently expect “, he said, “ to restore full employment in twelve months, without any of Mr. Calwell’s wildly inflationary proposals “.

The whole campaign of 1961 was fought on unemployment and economic issues. The Prime Minister desperately tried to drag in the usual Communist smear, and was publicly rebuked and repudiated by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) for hh pains. But the Labour Party and the Australian people refused to budge, refused to be sidetracked, and as a last desperate throw the Prime Minister made his famous, or notorious, promise to restore full employment within twelve months. What has been the result? Fifteen months later, the level of registered unemployment is almost what it was when the promise was made. The November, 1961, figure, the latest available before the elections, was 100,000. To-day the figure is 96,042, a fall of 4,000 in fifteen months. That is how this Government honours its promises!

I do not wish to examine the unemployment figures in detail, for the figures sometimes point one way and sometimes another, and, in the hands of a human calculating machine, such as the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), can be made to point in all directions at once. If his prognostications and interpretations of the past two years were to be added together, the demand for labour would now be so great that all the fleets of the world could scarcely bring enough migrants to our shores to fill the vacancies. But the harsh unadorned fact remains that he still has around 100,000 Australians on the books of his department looking for jobs and there has been little, if any, reduction in this army of potential workers since the Government created the recession. The only figures of the general performance of the economy worth looking at are the total national income and expenditure figures. They cover and summarize the whole economy, and their story is plain. Personal consumption in the December quarter just ended was a little over 5 per cent, higher than two years earlier. But in that time the population had increased by 4 per cent, and prices were 1 per cent, higher. Thus, after two years, we are just about where we were, running up and down on the same spot, with nothing contributed to progress or prosperity.

After the elections came the deluge. Smugness and self-satisfaction were temporarily shattered, and a whole series of measures were introduced in a desperate effort to regain electoral popularity. When the February measures were introduced just a year ago, many people said that the Government had stolen the policy of the Labour Party. But the Government had completely failed to grasp the true spirit and meaning of Labour’s policy for growth, and it took over in typically piecemeal fashion the very parts which it had previously criticized most violently. It was, as always will be with this Government, a case of too little too late. A year after I had proposed a budgetary deficit of £100,000,000, the Treasurer, without blinking an eyelid, actually budgeted for a deficit of £118,000,000. That deficit, and indeed the whole budget in which the proposal was contained, has become one of the greatest jokes in the history of budgetary finance. The deficit has become irrelevant, because all the predictions on which it was based have become meaningless. The deficit is gone like the snows of yesteryear. But the whole episode is enough to illustrate the inconsistency, or rather the insincerity, of this Government. A proposal which one day is greeted with derision and dismissed as wild and impractical with the airy omniscience Ministers assume when suggestions are put forward by the Labour Party, becomes sound and desirable when adopted, belatedly, by the Government. And this attitude still persists. We had an example of it only last Friday, as I shall show later on, in the case of interest rates. All our policy proposals were designed to restore the purchasing power of the people, and particularly the millions of ordinary men and women who are our chief concern. These millions had had their purchasing power whittled away by twelve years of inflation under this Government, and finally bludgeoned by the Governmentcreated recession. An economy is only as sound as its base. And that base is the purchasing power of the people, the purchasing power of wage and salary earners, small businessmen, farmers and those who, through age or misfortune, are dependent on social services to give them their birthright, as Australians, to a dignified existence.

If basic purchasing power is strong, then business flourishes, the economy expands, standards of living rise and economic injustice and unemployment disappear. This has not happened. The whole of the economic policy measures taken by the Government, either in February, 1962, or in the August, 1962, Budget, after it was forced to recognize the need to repair the harm it had done, may be summarized as follows: - (1) Substantial increases in loan money for State works, federal works, and some piecemeal development projects. (2) A reduction in the rate of income tax by 5 per cent. (3) A reduction in the sales tax on motor vehicles. (4) A facesaving increase in unemployment benefits.

  1. Investment allowances for industry.
  2. A so-called reform of the banking system which did nothing to control hire purchase and other forms of fringe banking.

Not one of these measures was designed to help the ordinary wage and salary earners of this country. And from that general indictment, I do not exclude the income tax reduction, which went almost entirely into the pockets of the rich. Seventy per cent, of the taxpayers received less than one-third of the concession. These are the people with incomes of up to £24 a week. Their benefit from the reduction was about ls. a week. There was no flood of purchasing power released there! But for the 100,000 persons with the top incomes of over £3,000 a year, the concession amounted to more than £100 a year, and they received more than one-third of the total benefit.

There is a good deal that could be said about the banking proposals. I shall leave that to my colleagues who will follow me as I shall leave a lot of other things because in the time allowed to me I cannot cover all the subjects that I should like to cover.

In my policy speech of seventeen months ago no aspect received more attention than the need to reduce interest rates. My colleagues and I lost no opportunity to emphasize that this is one of the keys to economic recovery. In this matter of interest rates, I am not sure whether incompetence, indifference or incredible stupidity is the correct way to describe the Government’s antics. The Government’s policy has been shown to be absurd and costly. Now, all too late, the Government has seen a glimmer of light. As recently as last August, the Labour Party again urged upon the Government the necessity for a reduction of interest rates. Only last Friday did we learn that interest rates were to be reduced by one half of 1 per cent., but interest rates are still too high in this country. They are far too high for the ordinary man or woman, far too high for business and far too high for everybody. The terms “ wild “, “ impractical “, and, “ inflationary “ always abound in Government speeches when the Labour Party is to be criticized. The Treasurer, last year, when replying to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) accused the Opposition of dangerous dabbling in impractical doctrine and policy. He dismissed the idea that the Reserve Bank should be asked to bring pressure to bear on trading banks to reduce interest rates as an immoderate inflationary plan. He said -

In practice it would involve an excessive and dangerous resort to Central Bank financing and there could be serious shortfalls in Commonwealth, semi-Government and local authority loan raisings.

Of course, we all know what has happened to make the Treasurer change his tune. He now suffers from an embarrassment of riches, with £206,000,000 of Commonwealth loan funds on his hands after only two of the usual three flotations. The Budget has been reduced to a meaningless mass, irrelevant in every way to the situation and needs of the time.

There are at least four lessons to be drawn from this incident. The first is that the Treasurer can no longer be taken seriously in anything he says. He has revealed himself as just a wordy rhetorician. He has never been right once from the time that he predicted that there would be no unemployment resulting from the credit squeeze. I turn his own words back upon him, and say that it is he, not we, who is the dangerous dabbler in impractical doctrine and policy. I leave him to the deserved ribaldry of the Australian people.

The second lesson to be drawn is the converse of the first, which is that it is the Labour Party which has proved consistently correct in its analysis of the economic situation and the remedies to be applied to it. We were right about import controls, we were right about the credit squeeze, we were right about deficit budgeting, and again we have been proved right on the question of interest rates. The logical conclusion is that we must continue to clean up the mess made by this Government, but from the other side of the House, not from this.

The third lesson to be derived from this incident is, of course, that there is no confidence in the community in this Government. In the final analysis, it was not the Labour Party’s criticism, nor even the Government’s own folly which has made a mockery of the Budget predictions. It was the business community itself which, lacking confidence in the economy, or rather the Government’s ability to restore the economy, filled the Commonwealth loans to overflowing, making nonsense of the idea of a budgetary deficit of £118,000,000. The crash of big finance corporations still echoes in our ears. Thousands of small investors, people whom this Government claim as their special preserve, have been flung into ruin overnight. They have lost, or stand to lose, anything up to £63,000,000, and there are more crashes to come. The private sector of the economy, bludgeoned savagely by a so-called free enterprise Government, will never regain confidence while this Government lasts. The back-benchers of the Liberal Party know it. Now is their opportunity to do something about their muchvaunted principles.

The fourth lesson to be drawn from the recent decision is that this Government is as much as ever addicted to stop-go policies. It is the very definition of such policies that a measure which is violently assailed as wrong and dangerous in August should be adopted with complacency the following March. The belated reduction of interest rates in itself will probably now have little effect, because it will bc rightly regarded, not as part of a coherent long-term policy, but as just another instalment in the erratic, unpredictable stop-and-go, start-and-stop policies that have hindered and hampered the efforts of our people for more than thirteen years.

Time does not permit - it could never permit - me to categorize all the Government’s failures over the whole range of the economy and national policy. In this House last week we had debates on education and housing, and the Opposition was able to demonstrate the complete bankruptcy of government policy on these two matters, so vital to the happiness and wellbeing of this nation. I shall not canvass that ground again beyond saying that in both these matters the Government’s method of dealing with the problem is to ignore or deny its existence. Whenever it is suggested that a housing shortage exists, the Minister for National Development (Senator Spooner) produces a set of figures purporting to show that supply balances demand and that consequently no shortage exists. That, of course, is a typical example of Liberal philosophy in action. The vision of Liberal Party members is limited by their addiction to laisser-faire economics with its fallacious premise of a free market. Can Ministers not understand that the demand for housing is limited by lack of finance, and that the law of supply and demand takes no cognizance of the social implications of the housing problem? In a country like Australia, housing is as much a social question as an economic one, and consequently society, that is to say governments, must accept ultimate responsibility for it. Until this is done, which means until Labour is restored to office, thousands of young Australian couples will be burdened with a lifetime of debt as the prey of land sharks and developers, and thousands more will be doomed to live in conditions which are an affront to the conscience of the nation.

As with housing, so with education. The story is the same, a story of failure. And the failure is not a failure of finance but a failure of conscience. In this nation of a mere ten and a half million people education lies at the very foundation of our prosperity, and indeed survival. Yet we have just had the spectacle of the doors of our universities and training colleges being closed to thousands of talented youngsters. Of course, tertiary education is but one aspect of the whole question. The Government accepts no obligations for primary and secondary education; instead, it takes refuge behind a constitutional quibble about Commonwealth powers and State rights. Arid legalisms are no substitute for vision. Rightly has it been said, “Where there is no vision the people perish “. And if this Government continues in office, and the needs of our youth and the needs of our nation remain unsatisfied, then the prophecy may prove tragically true for Australia.

The three matters that I now wish to deal with are foreign investment, national development and defence. At first glance, it might appear that these subjects are not closely related, but in fact they are bound by a common theme; that theme is their urgency. Australia can no longer wait upon the convenience of a coast-along government. Each day lost further jeopardizes our future. That is why this debate to-night is of such importance.

This Government has consistently and obstinately refused even to consider the need for regulating the volume, direction and nature of investment from overseas. The reason for this reluctance is very clear. The Government is very deeply in debt to overseas investors, for they have covered up the gigantic failures in its trade policies. In other words, to save its fa=e the Government is mortgaging away the future of Australia to foreign monopolies and cartels. Whenever this subject is raised, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer wax eloquent about the benefit which these apparently disinterested companies have bestowed upon Australia in the way of providing employment and development. But, as one of Australia’s leading stockbrokers, Mr. Staniforth Ricketson, has pointed out recently -

In some quarters., there has been a tendency to suggest that we in Australia should be grateful for the good things they have provided, as indeed we are. However, no one can justifiably claim that the entry of overseas capital into this country has been due to any factor other than the desire to take advantage of Australian conditions and markets for the purpose of making profits.

That at least is a more balanced view than that adopted by the Government. The Government quite uncritically welcomes any form of foreign investment and insists that any attempt to regulate it will cause an immediate flight of capital. Of course, any diminution in the flow whatever would embarrass the Government, because it uses the capital inflow to cover up the fact that under its policies Australia is just not paying its way. Tn little more than a decade, imports have exceeded exports by more than £1,600,000,000. That gap has been filled only by foreign investment. In other words, we are mortgaging the house to pay the grocery bill. This cannot last indefinitely, for the time comes when the dividend bill must be paid. General MotorsHolden’s Proprietary Limited, now compelled by law to reveal the extent of its profits, has just announced a payment of £11,900,000 to the United States parent company. It has been pointed out that this amounts to about half our total earnings from the export of butter. But the Government, in its gratitude to overseas financiers for covering its own failures, refuses to do anything to secure any Australian equity whatsoever in foreign companies. Its policy is one of “ after us the deluge “. Meanwhile the wholesale disposal of our great mineral assets and other resources to foreigners goes on undisturbed and unchecked.

The Labour Party is fully aware of the advantages of overseas capital to a developing country such as Australia. But we do resolutely deny that any attempt to regulate this flow, to ensure some degree of Australian control and equity in the use and disposal of our national heritage, would automatically mean that the capital we need would be denied us. As Mr. Staniforth Ricketson has pointed out, companies invest in Australia because there are profits to be made in so investing. This freeenterprise Government seems much more concerned with the privileges of foreign capitalists than it is about even Australian investors, still less the rights of ordinary Australians. We demand a fair go for Australians and Australia.

Then we look at the matter of national development, and particularly northern development. The Government rests its hope in the belief that foreign investors, the great combines and trusts who control the world’s metal industries, will be willing to buy up piece by piece our national heritage, at bargain prices, and so make Australia a rich quarry for the great industrial nations of the world. But for itself, for Australia, it will do nothing. It will not plan; it will not, as we propose, set up a special Ministry to deal with the whole problem of northern development. The engineers and scientists who are now bringing the Snowy Mountains scheme to a successful conclusion, probably the most skilful and knowledgeable men in their field in the world, will soon be dispersed, unless an authority along the lines of the commission is set up to tackle the far greater task of northern development and water conservation. Are these men, with all their priceless skill, and, equally important, their spirit of teamwork and enterprise, to be lost to this nation? Now is the time for action. Now is the time for the Commonwealth to accept its responsibility in this matter. It is a task that should excite the imagination of every Australian, for it is in northern Australia that our destiny as a European-descended people, few in number but rich in faith and courage and enterprise, lies. But our people want their own Government to take the lead. They do not want their national heritage to be the plaything of the Paris Bourse or Wallstreet jugglers or Hong Kong money racketeers. They want Australia to be developed by Australians for Australians and for no one else.

On the question of defence, I wish only to make a few observations. It is well known from the gossip which goes on interminably around these lobbies that some Government members do not intend to defend themselves on domestic or economic questions, but hope to confuse the people by raising spurious issues about the Australian Labour Party and the ideologies of the cold war. Let me say this: They do so at their peril. The Opposition is ready to debate any issue at any time, but those who wish to make a political football of these vast and complex issues are no friends of Australia, and no friends of America or the free world. Nothing could be more damaging to the relations between Australia and the United States than that the slogans of the cold war should become the stock-in-trade of debate in this House or in the electorate.

The Prime Minister in….. If is rep. to have told the federal executive of the Liberal Party that the United States authorities had advised him t!.at United States secrets would not be made available to a Labor government. He has not denied this report, though he knows very well that it is scurrilous and must be untrue. He has allowed this wicked whisper to work its evil way where it will. Let him now, ii> the name of political honesty, deny it, or say what American authority told it to him. But, of course he has been repudiated already - repudiated ‘->y th; studied silent of the American Administration, which knows well where the truth and its own interests lie. The American Department of State can only ‘ embarrassed by unwelcome activities of self-appointed spokesmen in Australia. The State Department is always capable of speaking for itself.

Let me emphasize that the Austraiian Labor Party is pledged to maintain the American alliance. It is also pledged to provide for the adequate defence of Australia. These two questions are linked inasmuch as it is largely the failure of this Government to define and implement a clear defence and foreign policy that has now placed it in the relation of the client, rather than of ar ally of our great and powerful friends. The Australian Labor Party stands now, as it did in the darkest days of 1943, for th? defence of Australia and the inviolability of our territory. When we resume our places on the treasury bench, we will, as we did in 1943, shape our relations with all our allies along lines of genuine partnership and mutual respect. We will conclude no treaty or agreement with the United States, or any other country, which does not guarantee the sovereignty of our soil, the authority of our Government, and the full rights of our people over the ultimate questions of peace and war. That is how it should be among nations which respect each other and respect themselves. That is how it will be when Labor is once again at the helm.

Sir, we stand for a vigorous, selfreliant, ever expanding Australia. Full employment, vigorous planned development, high incomes, low interest rates ; these are the things which make nations thrive; these are the things which a Labor government alone wu. give to Australia. The Government’s policy has been ai best one of pump priming, and not even judicious pump priming at that. We, and the Australian people, have grown tired of following the Government through interminable tergiversations and twists of policy. We have grown tired of th’ pompous parade ‘ of pious platitudes from the Prime Minister and his aides. Above all, we have grown weary to the point of the exhaustion of our patience with the Micawber-like attitude of the Government, waiting as it does for something to turn up which, by chance and not by positive policy, may restore the economy and its own political fortunes. When I contemplate the benches opposite, knowing as I do something of the internal state of the never-great Liberal Party and its camp followers in the corner, I am reminded forcibly of the words of the famous Canon of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Reverend Sydney Smith, regarding that South American mammal called the sloth. He wrote -

The sloth spends its life in trees, but what is most extraordinary, he lives not upon the branches, but under them. He moves suspended, eats suspended, and passes his life in suspense, like a young clergyman distantly related to a bishop.

That is the state of the Government to-day. It throws everything on the chance that something will turn up to enable it to win the next election. We of the Labour Party know’ where we stand and where /e have stood at all times in relation to all our policies. We are not afraid to face our masters. The Government throws everything on the chance that, before it can be dragged before its masters, somethi:ng - anything - will happen to divert the attention of the electors from the spectacle of its own incompetence and blundering. It knows that if it were forced to the polls to-morrow, it would be swept into well deserved oblivion. The people of Australia want, above all, one thing - they want a government which will speak for Australia with the authentic voice of Australia. They know they will get that expression only from an Australian Labour government in 1963, as they did in the grim and terrible days of 1943.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

Mr. Speaker, I imagine there is only one way in which honorable members, and for that matter anybody else who has listened to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), can describe his speech and that is to say it was slick and superficial. Apart from one or two purple patches, he returned to all the old statements made in the past. What is of paramount importance and must be recognized by honorable members is that not one word of new policy has come out of the mouth of the honorable gentleman while we have been sitting here listening to him. The Opposition has submitted a motion of want of confidence in the Government, but what amazes me is that my friend the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) has not moved a vote of want of confidence in the Leader of the Opposition.

Let me take the honorable gentleman through one or two of his own statements. First, he referred to the subject of confidence and said, amongst other things, that there was a lack of confidence amongst honorable members who support the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Government. There could be no worse statement than that, because never has there been a more loyal group of people than those who have supported the Government during the life of this Parliament. On only two occasions, and then by accident, have we failed to maintain a majority in this House. I believe the Prime Minister is extremely proud of the fact that he can count on the support of those who sit behind him in the private members’ benches.

The Leader of the Opposition went on to quote statements made by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures and the Bank of New South Wales. What a pity it was that he did not read the conclusions, because they contained this passage -

The individual expectations now are more bullish than they were four months ago.

The honorable gentleman attempted to create the impression that, on the part of the people who reported in this paper, there was a feeling there would be unemployment or a lack of orders. On the contrary, the expectations were bullish and better than they were four months ago.

Then the Leader of the Opposition moved on to talk about the trading banks.

It is true that there has not been the rise in trading bank advances that was expected, but I think it can be said positively that it is now expected that at least for the month of March and until the end of June there will be a rise in advances and a fall in deposits.


– You are always expecting.


– That may be so, but I always stand up to whatever I have to say. Now let me show why there must be grave doubts as to whether the Leader of the Opposition read the speech that was presented to him and before he made it here in the House. The honorable gentleman mentioned that the Commonwealth Development Bank was created by Mr. Chifley, the then leader of the Australian Labour Party. Everybody here ought to know that the Development Bank was a creation of the Menzies-Chifley Government and had as its purpose the helping of rural industries and other industries which perhaps could not obtain finance through normal lending sources. Mr. Speaker, I have been corrected. In any event, it was in 1969.


– Order! I must ask the House to come to order. There is too much audible conversation.


– I apologize for that inadvertence, Mr. Speaker. I refer to the decision of the Menzies-Fadden Government in 1959 to establish the Development Bank.


– Order! Honorable members will come to order. There is too much noise in the chamber.


– I shall reply effectively to the criticisms that the Leader of the Opposition has made about the forecasts made by members of the Government. I have had the honorable gentleman’s own record turned up and I have here six illustrations of forecasts made by him. I mention one, Mr. Speaker, and one only, which he made on 11th June, 1962. He forecast then that by November there would be again 130,000 school-leavers and a vast number of unemployed in this country. Sir, in November, 1962, the number happened to be 80,934- considerably lower than the figure mentioned by the honorable gentleman. That is one example, but, for those who are interested, every one of his forecasts that I have here has turned out to be wrong.

Now, Sir, I move on to the last part of the honorable gentleman’s speech, because I think it is important. The honorable gentleman touched superficially on the problems of defence and I personally believe, Sir, that whilst the subject of defence has to be left to people other than myself, the philosophy behind the defence policy of the Labour Party has to be examined here. I say that, because I believe that Labour Party policy on defence is both inconsistent and incoherent, and it cannot be understood by any person willing to look at it honestly. I believe that the Labour Party is again reverting to type. If you analyse Labour Party conference decisions from 1916 onwards you see the constant tendency to come back to a particular kind of philosophy. Every one in this House will remember the Holman debacle of 1916; every one will remember the “ red rules “ written into the Labour Party platform in 1921; every one will remember the “ Hands off Russia “ resolution in 1940; and every one will remember the split of the Democratic Labour Party away from the Labour Party because of its flirtation with the Communist Party. What this clearly shows is that all through Labour Party conferences you find on a philosophical level the return to Marxism - to primitive Marxism, or, if you like, to juvenile Marxism - and also the real inclination to be isolationist in defence. I think that that ought to be mentioned here because no one can understand where Labour is going in terms of defence.

Let me turn to something which I think we ought to debate in detail here. It is one of the issues that have to be clarified for the benefit of the Australian people. The Leader of the Opposition said that he would not deal in detail with the problems of employment. I do not blame him for not doing so, because what has to be said is that despite the fact that we on the Government side of the House have consistently published more and more details and more and more statistics regarding employment the Labour Party has never bothered to examine the statistics and find out what the difficulties were. Conse quently, not finding out what the difficulties were the Labour Party has never been able to suggest the appropriate remedies. Once upon a time there was one panacea, or one remedy.

Opposition members interjecting -


– Order! I ask the Minister to resume his seat for a moment. I point out to honorable members that they are not being fair in the circumstances. The Leader of the Opposition had a reasonably good run, and it is unsporting of honorable members to interrupt the Minister, who is suffering from the disadvantage of a bad throat.

Mr Webb:

– It is his policy that is bad.


– Order! The honorable member will rise and apologize for interrupting the Chair.

Mi-. Webb. - I apologize.


– If it occurs again, the honorable member will go out. I point out to the House that the Minister is entitled to a hearing and I ask the Opposition for co-operation.


– Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have now come to the problem of unemployment and I want to deal with it in two separate compartments. I have said that, despite the fact that we on the Government side have continually improved the quality of the statistics that are being issued, the Australian Labour Party has never analysed them to try to find out what the true problems are. Consequently, not knowing the problems, it can never hope to find a solution to them. In years gone by, perhaps in the ‘thirties, there was one remedy. That always was to spend more and more money to get a condition of full employment. Before I go any further, I want to say that no government has believed more implicitly in full employment than this Government has and no government has done more, or for that matter has a beter record, than the Menzies Government has in maintaining full employment.

But let me go back to the argument I was pursuing. To-day, it is no use just pumppriming or giving a general stimulus to demand. As well, the particular problems must be understood, if there is to be a solution. The problems concern the unskilled manual workers and the young people coming into the work force, including young women. As far as the unskilled workers are concerned, the House will remember that only a few weeks ago my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), approved of the expenditure of an additional £16,000,000 by the States to give a general stimulus to employment and to permit the problems of special groups, such as the unskilled, to be overcome. What is of particular importance is that running right through that statement is the feeling that unemployment is one of the real problems facing the Government. Our deeply held feeling is that everything that we can do to overcome the problem quickly will be done and the measures were designed to provide employment op;portunities for the unskilled.

Let us consider the problem of young people entering the work force. Last y-‘ar, about 81,000 school leavers registered with us, Despite this, in the month of February we had a substantial drop of about 9,000 in the number of juniors registered with us.

Mr Curtin:

– How many did that leave?


– Order! The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith will remain silent.


– Much more important than that is that I am sure the fall in the number of young people registered will be continued into March. As to unskilled people, as I have already said the Government not only gave a general stimulus but recently took action through the apprenticeship authorities and the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission to increase the number of apprenticeships that would be open and, consequently, to reduce the number of unskilled workers in the community. Much has been done on both counts. I have outlined what has been done on the basis of the general level of demand and the general stimulus to employment. With the particular problems of the young people, the unskilled, people in country areas and others, we find that specific action is being taken to reduce the number of unemployed as rapidly as possible.

I now move to the second part of my argument about the problems of unemployment. If unemployment is a critical indi cator of the way in which the economy is trending, let me remind the House of what I have said on several occasions would be the trend. In the latter months of 1961, I made two statements. I said that the improvement in the employment position would be steady but sure. Later I went on to say that 1963 would open more favorably, as regards both the general employment position and the position of school-leavers, than did 1962. The facts show that the Government was right when that estimate was made. The facts fully justify what I have said. Let me give some of those facts, because I think they are the critical ones to be remembered. In 1962, the occupied work force increased by a little over 100,000, including 82,000 wage and salary earners. That was a notable achievement and showed a reasonably high degree of progress. The drop in the number of unemployed in February was 16,000, bringing the total to 96,000 as compared with 112,000 last year. Again these are good figures. It is true that they are not all that we have wanted, but miracles are not performed in a day. They show that the forecasts of steady but sure improvement were correct. Again I mention schoolleavers, because I think this is important. Not only have they been placed in employment in large numbers, but I am sure the improvement will be continued well into March.

I have made my forecasts on several occasions; I have put to the House what I have thought would be the trend. I make these statements to the House now. We have forecast steady but sure progress before. I believe the March figures will show that the progress has continued to be steady during that month. I would be prepared to say that, because we are receiving notifications of job vacancies at the rate of about 14,000 a week, we can expect the March figures this year to be substantially better than the average of the March figures over the last four or five years or, for that matter, the average of the March figures since the end of World War II. I can say with complete conviction that the improvement of the position of school-leavers will be continued into MaTch. I mention, in order to prevent misrepresentation, that during the months of April, May and June it is usual for the decline in unemployment to fall off substantially, and I think that this will occur this year. I make that statement so that we on the Government side cannot be told that our forecasts were wrong. March will be another good month and there will be a significant improvement. If past performances are repeated there will then be a tapering off until July.

Now may I come to the question of housing. I will not touch upon this in any great detail, because it will be dealt with by others, but I want to come back to one or two matters that have been mentioned. I believe in a high rate of housing development, and I would like to see an over-supply of housing, if I could have it. But this Government has always had to keep in mind that it wants not only a good supply of houses but it wants also to keep the prices as low as possible. We have not been prepared to take action which would mean that the price of land and the price of houses would continue to rise. The Government’s objectives have been realized in that over the last year or more costs in this country have been stabilized. That is one aspect; but I think the second aspect is of equal importance. Those who have a long memory will remember the policy speech of the Leader of the Opposition, to which he is so fond of referring. In that speech he said that if we could achieve a rate of housing commencements of between 80,000 and 90,000 per annum the Government would be doing an extraordinarily good job. What is the rate of commencements now under this Government? As my colleague, the Treasurer, said in the House only a few days ago, the rate of commencements is about 90,000 per annum. Therefore, we are now bettering the figure that the Leader of the Opposition thought would be a good one and one that could be commended if it were reached.

Sir, I have addressed my arguments to you at considerable length. As for the Labour Party’s criticism of the Government’s defence policy, the fact is that the Australian people will condemn the Labour Party for having policies which it cannot understand. The Labour Party’s economic policy is an anachronism. Nobody looking at the economic trends to-day could possibly argue that confidence is not being restored and restored fairly rapidly. There is marked confidence within the Government’s ranks and we all are proud of the Government’s performance. Not only is confidence being restored in the business community, which now looks forward to a prosperous future, but the confidence of the Australian people in the Government is quietly returning. That confidence will continue to increase as the days go by.

East Sydney

.- Mr. Speaker, when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) proposed his motion of no confidence in the Government we knew that the Government was in a bad way, but I never thought it was in such a bad state as to be forced to put up the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) to answer the Opposition’s case. Recently a former Liberal Party Whip in this Parliament, Mr. Gullett - a former Liberal Party Whip should know the situation - said that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) had been guilty of foisting on the Australian public an extraordinarily large number of second-raters. Clearly Mr. Gullett was right on the ball. He must have had the Minister for Labour and National Service particularly in mind when he claimed that second-raters had been foisted on this country.

In judging the merit of a censure motion you must decide whether a government is a good government or a bad government. The only way to determine that is to examine the condition of the people. I do not want to deal with stock exchange figures or to consider whether investors have confidence in the Government. I want to know the state of the ordinary Australian citizen. To-day the Government concedes that 96,000 people are registered for employment. The fact that this is an artificial figure is admitted by even the “ Sydney Morning Herald “. I suggest that the trade unions of this country are able to determine with greater precision and accuracy the degree of unemployment in Australia than is the Minister for Labour and National Service. The trade unions claim that the number of persons unemployed is at least double the number admitted to by the Government. But recently the Minister for Labour and National Service said that the Government has almost achieved full employment! Does he regard 96,000 registered unemployed as constituting full employment? I am certain that the unemployed will be greatly disturbed to know of the Government’s attitude towards them. A former Liberal Party member of this Parliament, the present Lord Casey, on one occasion referred to some thousands of unemployed 33 chicken feed. That was a completely contemptuous attitude.

The Prime Minister, in his 1961 election campaign, referred to unemployment as a by-product. That is how Liberal Party members look upon unemployment. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick), in an endeavour to escape criticism, said that unemployment was not a matter for the Federal Government. He would not admit that unemployment had been deliberately created in this country by the Government of which he is a member. Do not imagine that my argument cannot be supported. The Attorney-General, during a television interview in Brisbane, said that unemployment was greater than the Government would have wished. I have asked the honorable gentleman, on a number of occasions, to state the figure of unemployment that the Government would have wished at that period.

Of course, the Libera] Premier of Victoria and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) see some merit in having an army of unemployed. They have said that one of the advantages of having an army of unemployed is that you get greater output from fewer employees. That is their attitude. The Government uses unemployment as an instrument to give effect to its economic policy. Human suffering does not mean anything to them. Did the Prime Minister not say that the nation should do a little less whinging about these temporary problems? That is not much comfort to the unfortunates who cannot find work. The Prime Minister said on one occasion that if you wanted to put down a boom you had to hit a few heads in the process. The people whose heads were hit were the unfortunate people who to-day are unsuccessfully seeking work.

I say that unemployment can be avoided, but it will be avoided only if we have a change of government in this country. The Prime Minister in his 1961 election cam paign, made one of his many unfulfilled promises. He promised to solve within twelve months the problem of unemployment. Why has he not done that? Is there any need to convince anybody in Australia that many urgent national works should be undertaken? Consider housing, a subject mentioned by the Minister for Labour and National Service. I will not go back as far as 1916, as the Minister did. I will be more up to date. In 1949 the present Prime Minister promised to remove the housing shortage and to lower costs. The Minister for Labour and National Service said that the Government’s objective is to keep costs down. When Labour left office in 1949 you could purchase a duplex cottage including the site for what it now costs to buy a building block of land. So, obviously the Government has not succeeded in keeping down costs. In 1957 the Prime Minister said that there was no housing crisis. He described his critics as ignorant and stupid. If you inspect the metropolitan area of Sydney, for example, you will see thousands of unsewered homes, but still the Government fails to solve the unemployment problem. Why is the Government not getting on with those works that are so urgently required?

The Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) continually claims that the solution to the housing problem is in sight. He has been saying that ever since he entered the Parliament. He recently said that construction is at present more than meeting demand. Last year 87,000 homes were completed. But Dr. A. R. Hall, the Senior Fellow in Economics at the Australian National University, whom I would regard as a greater authority on this matter than the Minister for National Development, said that to keep pace with current demands and without paying regard to slum clearance or to taking up the lag, 102,000 homes would have to be built in 1963. So even if the Minister’s target of 90,000 homes is reached this year, the shortage of homes at the end of the year will be 12,000 greater than it was at the beginning. So, the position gets progressively worse. According to Dr. Hall, in 1970 we will need 131,000 homes to keep pace with current demand. The Government claims that the building rate is being increased, but at 31st December last year fewer houses and flats were under construction than in any year since 1947. Does that look as though the Government is solving the housing problem?

Now let me apply another test of whether the people are prospering under this Government. We often hear claims of how well the community is doing generally. There are one or two tests that can be applied. One relates to food consumption. The Commonwealth Statistician’s figures disclose that less food is being consumed now per head of population than was being consumed in the pre-war period. Some time ago I questioned the Prime Minister about this matter. He gave this extraordinary reply to the question: “ This does not mean that there is a lack of purchasing power, but merely shows that the people have altered their eating habits “. Let us submit that statement to a test.

The other night we heard members of the Australian Country Party talking about the troubles of the dairy industry. In the pre-war period the annual butter consumption was 32.9 lb. per head of population. To-day it is down to 26.2 lb. Pre-war the annual consumption of meat was 2S2.8 lb. Now it is 237.5 lb. Pre-war, 40.6 per cent, of our total primary production was consumed locally. Now the proportion is down to 35.7 per cent. If the Australian community was able to consume to-day the same proportion of our primary products that it consumed pre-war, there would be no troubles in the primary industries. Why are not the people consuming that proportion? It is not because of the reason given by the Prime Minister, namely, that they have changed their eating habits; it is because money buys less.

We all remember the famous promise made by the Prime Minister in 1949 to put value back in the £1. I have tried repeatedly to ascertain to what extent the value of money has depreciated while this Government has been in office. I have asked this question repeatedly: Taking 1949 as the base year, what is the present value of the Australian £1? That is evidently a wellkept Government secret because, when I asked the Treasurer that question this was his reply-

Because of the disparities in price movements for various commodities and services in various places and at various stages of distribution, it is impossible to designate any single figure as representing in all circumstances the change in the value of money in recent years.

When Government supporters want to boast about the achievements of this Government, they talk about what they have done for the community and they argue that the value of money has not fallen proportionately to the increase in wages. They can calculate its value when it suits their purpose to do so. In the 1958 election campaign - that is about five years ago - at a meeting at North Sydney the Prime Minister admitted in reply to “a question that between 1949 and that time the value of money had fallen by 60 per cent. That was an admission by the Prime Minister himself.

Now let me turn to the Minister for Labour and National Service. He is a lowwage Minister. He believes in reduced living standards for the Australian community. Let me read some of the items of the Minister’s policy to which he did not refer this evening. Not so very long ago in this Parliament he made an announcement in which he said, “ The basic wage is more than adequate to maintain a man, wife and two children “. He also said that he was in favour of annual adjustments of the basic wage as against quarterly adjustments. When the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission decided to make annual adjustments, he decided that he was not in favour of annual adjustments either. He called them unrealistic. In 1960 the Government, acting on the advice of the Minister for Labour and National Service, for the first time in the history of this country went before the commission and opposed an adjustment of the basic wage. He believes in low wages. He believes in low living standards.

The Treasurer, when he wanted to stimulate business activity in the community, made the statement that expenditure on consumer goods represented 60 per cent, of domestic expenditure. I accept that figure. Therefore, if you want to stimulate the economy and increase the consumption of consumer goods, the people to whom you should give the extra spending power are the people who to-day are short of it or who lack it. You should raise the standards of the people on low wages. You should adjust social service payments including age, invalid and widow pensions, child endowment, unemployment and sickness benefit and repatriation benefits. All of them should be increased. If they were increased substantially the people would be able to consume more of the surplus foodstuffs in this country. Everybody knows the scandal about the supplementary allowance, under which many deserving people are denied even the paltry amount of 10s. a week that is made available when pensioners are paying rent for their accommodation.

Let me tell you the general attitude of the Liberal Party to social service payments. Sir Eric Harrison, who for many years was a prominent Liberal member of this Parliament, is on record in “ Hansard “ as saying this -

The pension was never intended to provide the aged with a comfortable living.

I ‘think we can agree that in that item of policy the Government has succeeded because it has never had pensions at a rate where they could give pensioners a comfortable living. I believe that it is useless for a government to be adjusting payments unless it does something to prevent the value of the increased benefit being taken from the people in increasing prices. It was a Labour government of which I was a member which endeavoured to protect the people against spiralling prices by keeping on prices control. I believe that sooner or later the people of Australia will recognize the wisdom of altering the decision that they made in 1948 and will give to the Commonwealth Parliament and a Labour government the power to regulate prices in this country.

In 1949 the Prime Minister made a solemn pledge to those unfortunate people dependent upon social service payments. He said -

The value of all social services will be at least maintained; indeed it will be increased. Pensioners can rely on us for justice.

Let me turn now to a matter which I believe will prove beyond doubt that this Government is a rich man’s government. This Government appointed the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation. That committee was appointed way back in 1959. It had as its chairman Mr. Justice Ligertwood. Its report was tabled in Parliament on 17th August, 1961. In tabling the report the Treasurer said -

The committee has drawn attention to several parts of our income law which are being exploited to the serious detriment of the revenue. . . .

The Government shares the concern of the committee that ingenious taxpayers should make use of the existing provisions in a manner not intended by the legislature, thus obtaining advantages at the expense of their fellow taxpayers. . . .

The Government . . . will in due course bring down amending legislation which will be operative from to-day’s date.

The tax dodgers are not the workers in industry whom we hear the Minister for Labour and National Service condemning repeatedly in this Parliament when they are fighting for their rights. The tax dodgers are the very wealthy section of the community. The worker has his income tax deducted at the source of his earnings. So the people to whom this report referred were those in the very wealthy section of the community.

After the Treasurer tried to impress on the Parliament and the Australian community that none of those people would escape and that the Government was going to make the changes retrospective, on 2nd November, 1961, after the Parliament had gone into recess, he said that the amending legislation was not to affect income earned or received before the 1962-63 income year. I ask the Treasurer why that change was made. We have not even seen the predicted legislation up to date. The Treasurer now refers to the complexities of the report as an explanation of the delay in taking some action on it. But when he tabled the report there were no complexities in his mind because he said -

They- referring to the committee - produced recommendations which in themselves are models of clarity and precision.

If the recommendations were models of clarity and precision, what are the difficulties and complexities of which he now talks? The fact is that approaches have been made to the Treasurer. The people who supply the Government parties’ funds have been able to influence the Government not to proceed with the legislation, because £14,500,000 per annum is involved. Every year, according to the committee’s report, unless the Government acts, the wealthy tax dodgers in this country are benefiting to the extent of £14,500,000. In order to demonstrate the magnitude of that sum, I point out that it is twice the amount that the Government is providing this year for development in the north of Australia. The Government, which tries to imply that Labour gets directions in respect of its policy from outside sources, gets its orders from big business and commercial interests which benefit from the legislation which it introduces in this Parliament.

Let me refer to development, Sir, in the few minutes that remain to me. The Prime Minister, during the federal election campaign in 1958, said -

For the sake of our national future we must develop and use the north. It is one of our most urgent problems.

Having made that statement the Prime Minister announced that his Government was going to make available for expenditure - not in one year, but spread over a number of years- £2,500,000 to deal with the urgent problem of developing the north. Let us look at the spread of population in Australia. The Government talks about defence. But is not Australia’s best defence the development of our country and the peopling of our vacant north? Supporters of the Government may point out that there have been Labour governments in office, but Labour has been in office in the federal sphere for only approximately one-quarter of the period since federation, and most of the time when Labour had control of the treasury-bench was in the difficult war and post-war years. So it can be said that all the opportunities for doing something about the north have occurred while antiLabour forces have been in office in this Parliament.

To-day 40 per cent, of our population occupies 2,500 square miles of territory around Melbourne and Sydney. In comparison, 1.9 per cent, of the population occupies more than 2,000,000 square miles, most of it north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Let us examine population densities in view of what has been claimed by anti-Labour governments. At federation the Northern

Territory had a population density of .01 per square mile and in 1961, after 60 years - most of the period under anti-Labour governments - the density of the population in the Northern Territory was .05 per square mile. At federation the population density in Queensland was .76 per square mile and to-day it is only 2.28 per square mile. In Europe - which is approximately the same size as the Australian continent - the density of population is 221 per square mile.

To test the sincerity of the Government’s desire to develop the north let me quote one little incident. There was a small railway running from Laura to Cooktown in the extreme north of Queensland. It was 67 miles in length and served a small community of pioneers, but because it was losing a few pounds a year in its operations the anti-Labour Government in Queensland decided to sell it - not to sell it so that it could be operated by somebody else, but for dismantling. Strangely enough that Government sold the line for about £5,000, and almost immediately the PostmasterGeneral’s Department purchased 19 miles of the rails for £7,820. The Federal Government paid about 50 per cent, more for 19 miles of the rails than the total price paid for the railway by the people who successfully tendered for it.

Let us look at the Government’s present proposals to develop the north. In the 1961-62 Budget there was mention of cattle roads and brigalow lands - cattle roads in Western Australia and Queensland - and the replacement of the Derby jetty. There is provision for cattle roads in the Northern Territory and the total figure for these works is just under £7,000,000, about half of the sum the Government would get if it was prepared to make the wealthy taxpayers pay the dues which, according to the report of the committee to which I have referred they should be obliged to pay. The Treasurer said -

These several projects in Queensland and Western Australia are building up to a fairly substantial programme for Northern Australia as a whole. The approach of the Government is forward looking and constructive.

Members of the Government are the only ones in this country who believe that that is the case. We have less than £7,000,000 for the development of the northern parts of Australia - less than £7,000,000 out of a total annual Commonwealth expenditure of £2,092,000,000. Yet the Treasurer calls that “ forward looking “. There is provision for expenditure in the National Capital of £12,000,000 on the artificial lake which is being constructed in front of this building, and for other developments. There is provision for the expenditure of £20,000,000 in Papua-New Guinea, but less than £7,000,000 to develop the north of Australia.

The Government has no considered plan. The Prime Minister regards “planning” as a distasteful word. In his policy speech in 1961 he said -

National growth under my Government has been phenomenal.

But the “Daily Mirror” which is not a Labour newspaper stated -

The record of the Menzies Government in the north is like that everywhere else. It is difficult to think of one constructive thing it has done, except to issue a lot of flatulent nonsense.

We could go on, repeating instances in which this Government has absolutely failed the Australian community. In the moments that remain to me I shall refer to the Prime Minister himself. Not long ago he said -

I am a seething mass of confidence about the future.

If he is confident about the future, it must be his own future to which he is referring; and we would like to know something about his future. I say to him that I have been here for many years in the period during which he has had complete control of the affairs of Australia. He is a complete failure in peace-time and a complete failure when this country is facing emergencies from overseas. I say, therefore, that the best thing this Parliament and the Australian community can do is to reject the Government and carry the motion proposed by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Harold Holt:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented and I wish to make a short personal explanation arising out of one passage in the remarks of the honorable member for East Sydney.

Mr Curtin:

– Have you been significantly misrepresented?

Mr Harold Holt:

– I have, quite significantly. I think it would be of advantage to the House not merely to know that I have been significantly misrepresented, but also to have the facts of the matter. At one stage during his speech the honorable member for East Sydney-

Mr Cairns:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I understand that it has been the ruling of Mr. Speaker in these circumstances that if an honorable member claims he has been misrepresented it must have been during the debate then current, and if he has not spoken in such debate he may not make a personal explanation.


– I rule that the Treasurer has the right, as any honorable member has, to make a personal explanation if he claims to have been misrepresented. When the Treasurer rose and claimed the right to make a personal explanation no exception was taken by any honorable member. I rule that the Treasurer has the right, as has any honorable member, to make a personal explanation if he claims to have been misrepresented.

Mr Cairns:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, we had to hear what the right honorable gentleman was going to say before we could raise any objection. Immediately after he said that he wished to make a personal explanation on the ground of having been misrepresented, I raised my point of order. I could not do so before, because I had no idea of what the Treasurer was going to say.


– I still rule that the Treasurer, if he claims to have been misrepresented, has the right to make a personal explanation. A decision on the point of order cannot be given from the Chair until the Treasurer has indicated in what respect he claims to have been misrepresented.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Is it not necessary under the Standing Orders, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the Treasurer to state in what respect he has been misrepresented and by whom, and then confine himself to correcting the misrepresentation?


– Order! I have just remarked that the Chair cannot give a ruling until the Treasurer has explained the misrepresentation; and I have given him the right to do that.

Mr Harold Holt:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I do not propose to detain the House at length, and the House will quickly judge whether I am justified in raising this matter as a matter of misrepresentation. In the course of his speech the honorable member for East Sydney said that legislation which I had indicated would be forthcoming, arising from the recommendations of the committee of inquiry into various taxation matters, had been deferred indefinitely because of pressure which had been put upon me and the Government by our own supporters. That, in itself, was a very damaging statement.

Mr Ward:

– It is what you said on 16th August.

Mr Reynolds:

– I rise to order. I submit that the Treasurer is arguing this matter and is not confining himself to the point of misrepresentation.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER__ I suggest to the Treasurer that he quickly deal with the point of misrepresentation.

Mr Harold Holt:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, with respect-

Mr Bryant:

– I rise to order.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Is this your free speaking democracy?

Mr Bryant:

– Standing Order No. 65 reads as follows: -

A member who has spoken to a Question may again be heard, to explain himself in regard to some material part of his speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood but shall not introduce any new matter, or interrupt any Member in possession of the Chair, and no debatable matter shall be brought forward or debate arise upon such explanation.

Secondly, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Standing Order No. 64 reads as follows: -

No Member may speak twice to a question before the House, except in explanation or reply.

If the Treasurer speaks now, will that mean that he has no further right to speak in this debate? He is not now raising anything relevant to a personal explanation.


– With regard to the point of order raised by the honorable member for Wills, my view is that if a member claims to have been misrepre sented he should be given the right to deal with that misrepresentation. If he proceeds to do so, the Chair can then decide whether he is debating the matter generally or is making a personal explanation. I rule again, as I have ruled already, that the Treasurer has the right to speak on his claim of misrepresentation. I suggest that the Chair is not being assisted by the number of points of order that are being raised.

Mr Whitlam:

– That is mutual.

Mr Harold Holt:

– lt is incredible.


– If the Treasurer is given an opportunity to speak further, the Chair may be in a position to decide whether he is debating this matter or otherwise.

Mr Harold Holt:

– The honorable gentleman made a charge. I deny the charge and I give this as evidence that the charge is not supported. The honorable gentleman, Sir, has said, in effect, that this legislation either has been deferred or abandoned, and on grounds of pressure on the Government.


– Order! The Treasurer must not debate the matter.

Mr Harold Holt:

– I am not debating it. I am saying-


– Order! I suggest that the Treasurer might now be said to have made his personal explanation, denying the charge laid by the honorable member for East Sydney.

Mr Harold Holt:

– No. I have not.


– The debating of the matter might be left until the Treasurer himself speaks to the motion.

Mr Harold Holt:

– With respect-

Mr Calwell:

– I rise to order. Does the Chair rule that the right honorable gentleman, having replied-

Mr Harold Holt:

– I have not replied.

Mr Calwell:

– You have.

Mr Harold Holt:

– I have been prevented from replying.

Mr Calwell:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I submit that the right honorable gentleman has denied the charge made by the honorable member for East Sydney and, therefore, that is the end of his personal explanation. That is as far as he ought to be allowed to go.


– In answer to the Leader of the Opposition, I say that that is the ruling I have given - that the Treasurer has given his personal explanation. The matter of debate may be left to the stage at which the Treasurer speaks to the motion.

Mr Harold Holt:

– Is there any sense of fair play on the other side of the House?


– I suggest that exchanges across the floor be discontinued. The ruling that I have given from the Chair, as far as the Treasurer is concerned, is that the explanation has been made.

Mr Harold Holt:

– With respect, Sir, you have not allowed me to make any explanation. Opposition members are making a lot of noise because they do not want to hear the facts. I do not want to argue this matter. What I said was that the honorable gentleman-

Mr Allan Fraser:

– I raise a point of order. Is the right honorable gentleman speaking to a point of order or on a personal explanation, Mr. Deputy Speaker? In what capacity is he now speaking?


– I understand that the Treasurer is speaking to a point of order relating to the ruling that I have given.

Mr Harold Holt:

– I could have made this statement quite readily outside this House, but I thought it proper that I should make a statement of the facts inside the House. As evidence of the point I am making-


– Order ! I suggest that the Treasurer should not debate the matter at this moment.

Mr Harold Holt:

– You have given me no opportunity to make a personal explanation.


– Order! I call the honorable member for Macarthur.

Mr. JEFF BATE (Macarthur) :9.36].Mr. Deputy Speaker, a few minutes ago we listened to a speech by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) which was so unfair and so inaccurate that there is no need to reply to it. The honorable member for East Sydney has, for years in this House, been making speeches which are ignored by the people of Australia and by honorable members. Tonight there was no change. However, there is one matter in the member’s speech to which reference should be made.

Mr Chaney:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. We have listened rather intently to other speakers and I think we should be given the opportunity to hear what the honorable member for Macarthur says.


– I think the point of order is raised correctly. I suggest that the House come to order and listen to the honorable member for Macarthur.


– The honorable member for East Sydney and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) did not make any worthwhile attack on the Government, but one of the things that the honorable member for East Sydney said was so false and so inaccurate that a reply should be made to it. The honorable member, not having anything to attack the Government with, ranged over the north and mouthed some words which he would never have heard of had it not been for our Government back benchers’ committees having gone through the north. They were words such as brigalow, beef roads, Derby Jetty and the Ord River. These all refer to things which were done by this Government. Of course, he tried to attack us on our strength. That is a good debating trick but I do not think that the people of Australia will be misled by it.

This debate has been a nauseating one. Fancy the Leader of the Opposition choosing a time such as this to move a motion of want of confidence in the Government! He has come into this House fresh from the humiliation which he suffered at the hands of his party a few days ago. What happened then showed that this party which has launched a motion of this kind is not able to think for itself. It does not represent the people of Australia generally or even the people who voted for it. He has spoken of sovereignty for the base at Exmouth Gulf. Where is the Opposition’s own sovereignty? Where is the sovereignty of the caucus which is supposed to make decisions? We have seen pictures showing the man who holds the high appointment of Leader of the Opposition and the man who holds the second-highest position opposite, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), in the shrubbery in the dark at the Hotel Wellington, waiting for the edict from their masters - waiting for their instructors. Fancy choosing as the time to launch a motion of this kind a time when the Opposition is fresh from a humiliating incident which was so repugnant to the people of Australia! We had the spectacle of the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader not going to their caucus, not going to those who elected them, not going to the members of the parliamentary Labour Party, but going to a group of 36 people - men who have not been heard of except for their meddling around with unity tickets; men who have been infamous in the Labour movement itself. Members of the right wing of the Labour Party must shrivel up in disgust, must be horrified at the activities of their leader and deputy leader, who showed such a lack of dignity, whose actions represented such a sad commentary on the depths to which parliamentary representation has sunk in this place.

How can the Leader of the Opposition possibly come into this House and move a motion of want of confidence in this Government and its Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) who has brought this country through twelve years or more of unheard of prosperity? Under that right honorable gentleman’s administration Australia has become the envy of the world, a country that is sought after by migrants, a country into which investors want to put their money because they have confidence in it. Sitting on this side of the House we look across at men led by these two who went down to the Hotel Wellington at midnight-

Mr Hasluck:

– It was th. Hotel Kingston.


– The Hotel Kingston - 1 thank you for the correction. All I know is that it was some hotel, and that inside it were six men from each State deciding what should be the policy of the Labour Party. But this would not have been so bad if we had not heard for weeks over the air and through the press that the conference of the Labour Party would decide the foreign policy of Australia. You almost rubbed your eyes when you read these reports, because for the moment you thought there could not be any government in Australia. You thought the Labour Party was to decide what we would do about the base at Exmouth Gulf. So the day came that had been heralded for weeks, on which the Labour Party was going to discuss this matter. The 36 delegates met and the meeting lasted for hours. There were representatives of the left wing and of the right wing and it was found that the left wing was in the lead by 19 to 17. Then some last-minute feverish appeals were made.

Who are the people who attended that Labour conference? Who are these men whose edicts, instructions, or orders are to be carried out by the Labour Party - by the unfortunate Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition who stood outside in the dark and had to be photographed with a flashlight? Who are the men inside who were fighting out these issues? Let us look at them for a moment. I will take the Queensland delegation first. One of the members of that delegation was Nolan. Nolan’s record has been cited time and again. He is one of the men in Queensland who decide matters such as this. The Trades and Labour Council in that State has fourteen members, of whom nine are members of the Australian Labour Party and five are Communists. What does this mean? It is known throughout Australia that the Communists aTe trained for organization. The members of the Australian Labour Party are not noted as being trained and skilled in organization. The result is that well-meaning, honest trade union leaders come in and are subjected to the high pressure put on them by the Communists. If you have five Communists out of fourteen members, that is more than enough to swing the vote, because what they can do in influencing the others is well known. So we find Nolan coming down from Queensland to take his place amongst these people who make important decisions.

Mr Curtin:

– You got all this from the “ Telegraph “.


– No, I have not got the “ Telegraph “. Let u:, examine Nolan’s record, whether it is in the “ Telegraph “ or not - and it so happens that it is not in the “ Telegraph “. Nolan, along with his fellow member of the Queensland inner executive, Mr. Egerton, is an active “ peace “ partisan on behalf of the Communist Party. This man, of course, is more dangerous than the Communists, because he is a captive Australian Labour Party member - a stooge and a puppet for the Communists. Describing the peace march rally in Brisbane’s Centenary Park “Peace Light” said -

Led by Frank Nolan, Vice-President of Labour Council, speakers gave Trade Union, Pacifist, Christian, and Peace Committee viewpoints and were enthusiastically received by the audience.

But if the Communist Party’s peace racket has completely seduced Mr. Nolan and the Labour Party members of the Labour Council an examination of the executive of the council reveals more.

Another man who came from Queensland was Mr. Waters, who was banned for years from the Australian Labour Party. Waters, like Nolan, has been to Moscow. Waters and Nolan have been organized by the Communist Party. Waters and Nolan have co-operated to assist the Communist Party in all its moves. These men have taken over the positions of the comrades when those persons have had to go back to Moscow to get their orders.

These are some of the men who decide what Labour will do. I have here a copy of a resolution contained in a letter received by a Liberal member in Western Australia from Mr. Paddy Troy, secretary of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union of Australia, Western Australia branch, Trades Hall, Fremantle. The resolution was to this effect -

That this union protests against the establishment of the United States base in the north west, and calls upon the Federal Government to prohibit the establishment of this base at least until such time as the people of Australia by referendum have made a decision in the matter.

So the Western Australian delegation was going to give orders to the Labour Party - to the leaders of those who represent the trade unions.

This is the party that has sent its leader and deputy leader to this House to move a motion of want of confidence in the Government! We have the disgraceful spectacle of this party actually offering it-elf as an alternative government! If this motion were carried Labour would take over the government of this country, but who would the real government be? Let us go back and see what Dr. Evatt said about this kind of issue. When he was Attorney-General he presented a bill to the House entitled the “ Approved Defence Projects Protection Bill 1947 “. This legislation provided, in part -

Any person who - by speech or writing, advocates or encourages the prevention, hindrance or obstruction of the carrying out of an approved defence project . . .

. . .

shall be guilty of an offence. if the offence is prosecuted summarily - a fine of not more than Five hundred pounds or imprisonment for not more than six months; and if the offence is prosecuted upon indictment - a fine of not more than Five thousand pounds or imprisonment for not more than twelve months . . .

Let us see what the Attorney-General of the time, Dr. Evatt, had to say about this legislation. The Woomera rocket range, which was under consideration at that time, was an approved defence project, similar to the Exmouth Gulf project which has been condemned by a section of the Labour Party. In his second-reading speech, Dr. Evatt said-

During that discussion ir was shown that representatives or members of the Communist Party had published certain propaganda which indicated that the primary objection to the test

That is, the rocket test - was that it would endanger Australian aborigines, although the real object of that party was the prevention of the project itself.

Mr Curtin:

– Who said that?


- Dr. Evatt said it.

Mr Curtin:

– Do you say he was a Com?


– Order!


– I do not know whether honorable members opposite are going to forswear Dr. Evatt, Mr. Speaker. I am simply showing how a Labour government dealt with an approved defence project, outlawing those who obstructed it. In other words, under the legislation to which I have just referred it is conceivable that people obstructing the Exmouth Gulf project, an approved defence project, would themselves be saboteurs. Dr. Evatt went on to say -

The third point to which I wish to direct the attention of honorable members, without going info unnecessary detail, is the fact that Australia, Great Britain and the United States of America are taking an active part in an attempt to establish an effective method of suppressing atomic weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction, such as those which will probably be tested in Central Australia.

Listen to these words, Mr. Deputy


Until suppression of atomic weapons is effected Internationally, vital defence projects must be gone on with provided they are approved by the Australian Government and the Parliament.

Mr Stokes:

– Who said that?


– That statement was made by Dr. Evatt in a speech on the Approved Defence Projects Protection Bill in 1947. The legislation was aimed directly at a few miserable Communists who, by publishing material, were trying to prevent the establishment of the Woomera rocket range.

What is happening now? The Labour Party has changed so much that the Communists, or their stooges or puppets, have been able to get into the inner councils and to go into the Hotel Kingston and make a decision which has been loudly trumpeted throughout this country and probably throughout the world, telling the Labour Party what it is to do. The leaders of the parliamentary party were there at 1 o’clock in the morning, waiting to find out what the bosses of the party had decided. What a travesty of sovereignty that was. Yet, the members of the party speak about the sovereignty of Australia in regard to the Exmouth Gulf base. These men, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are seeking to divert us from proceeding with this base. What a miserable thing to do. Yet, the Labour Party pretends that it ought to be the government of Australia in place of the present Government.

There has been some attack on the economy to-night. It is well known that the economy is absolutely sound. It is well known that primary production and export income are buoyant. It is well known that the Government has been able not only to stop costs of production from rising, but also to hold costs of production, without which the primary industries would go to the wall because they must maintain a competitive price level with the rest of the world. If evidence of the truth of my statements is needed - and this is where the attack on the Government sounds so hollowly in the ears of people who know what is going on - we have only to look at the statements that have been made by the advocate for the Australian Council of Trade Unions before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Well-known advocates have stated that business is so prosperous that higher wages could be afforded. If that is not sufficient, we have the statement by Mr. Heffron, the Labour Premier of New South Wales, that New South Wales under a Labour government has never had it so good. He made the point that New South Wales is prosperous. Yet, here we have this miserable attack on the Government on economic grounds. Mr. Hawke, in appearing for the A.C.T.U., took a completely different view, and so did Mr. Monk and the Premier of New South Wales.

The investors say that there is a record volume of investment in Australia; in fact, the volume is so great that it is causing some anxiety to the people who are watching it. There is a rush of capital. Honorable members opposite no doubt are plagued by migrants about Italians, Greeks and Europeans who want to come to Australia, in their thousands and hundreds of thousands. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) said recently that in January, 34,000 British migrants came to Australia and in February, 36,000, which was a record. He went on to say that if that rate of migration continued there would be 400,000 British migrants alone coming to Australia in the one year. Those migrants are coming here because they are certain of Australia’s future. What a difference there would be if we had a government led by the present Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Stokes:

– But we will not be led by them.


– No. That is a matter which will not be in the hands of the Labour Party caucus. It will not depend on an instruction from the 36 members of the peace-mongering conference which was held at the Hotel Kingston, on men who are so lacking in their conception of the defence needs of Australia that they have cut clean across what Dr. Evatt tried to do in 1947.

If we read carefully the act I have mentioned, which was placed on the statutebook by a Labour government, we shall see reference to acts tending to hinder, obstruct or prevent the establishment of approved defence projects. An approved defence project is one that has been approved by the Minister for Defence, as has the NorthWest Cape naval communications station. According to the legislation, any person who hindered, obstructed or tried to prevent the establishment of such a project, having been indicted and found guilty, could be fined £5,000, or sentenced to one year’s imprisonment, or both. Such an act was considered to be a form of treason, or a definite indication of an intention to sabotage the nation’s defence efforts.

This base that we have heard so much about has been the subject of a campaign organized by the Communists, by Communist sympathizers, or by people who are worse than Communists because they parade as Australian Labour Party men. The honorable member for East Sydney spoke about the deserted north. At Anna Plains, in a very deserted part of the north, we have a target area for the Woomera rocket range. At Exmouth Gulf, also in a very deserted part of Australia, a naval radio communications base is to be established. The Labour Party was about to ban the proposal, but by some flick of the wrist or for some other reason-

Mr Stokes:

– Taylor, from Tasmania, came in.


– Yes, Taylor went across and Duggan came back, and we had a window-dressing decision. But the Communist campaign is still on because this base will do something for Australia’s defence, because it will be a part of the pattern of defence in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific.

The base will cover about 20 square miles of deserted Australian countryside. Where there may be now a few sheep and a few kangaroos, there will be a large number of people. A thousand Australian workmen will be engaged in constructing the base. The sum of £33,000,000 will be spent on it, and Australian steel, timber and equipment will be used there. There will be thirteen masts each 1,300 feet high. An honorable member opposite yawns. He is new to this House, but his attitude shows what the Labour Party thinks of defence proposals. The members of that party receive their instructions from Waters, Nolan, Joe Chamberlain, and the Communist secretary of the Ship Painters and Dockers Union.

What will this base do? It will provide communications for allied and Australian ships at sea. In a deserted area of Australia, it will provide a market for Australian goods and manufactures. It will be the subject of tenders from Australian and American contractors. It will create activity in an otherwise little-known part of Australia, an area in which the Indonesian radio takes over the air. Indonesia, where Russian defence equipment is being based, is only a few hundred miles away. Yet, the Labour Party wants to prevent the construction of the base from going on. It wants to ban the base because its construction might make it awkward for the Communists, and the Communists have had their way with the Labour Party in this most disgusting, repugnant and nauseating exhibition of the handing over of power to people from outside the Parliament. Yet, members of the Labour Party have the effrontery and audacity to come into this House and move a want of confidence motion. If ever the Government were to be united and loyal, it would be so on this occasion. In such circumstances, there would be no possibility of the supporters of the Government not standing by it, or of the motion being carried. Of course, it was known that it would not be carried. Nevertheless, we have seen the Leader of the Opposition reading a speech to-night. By whom was it written? It was written by somebody outside this Parliament. So this party becomes a party of puppets and stooges - stooges for people outside the Parliament, stooges for the peacemongers and stooges for the people who come back to Australia from Peking and Moscow after having been indoctrinated and brainwashed.

This is the ghost of the Labour Party for which the honorable member for East Sydney is nostalgic, the Labour Party of the twenties and ‘thirties, the Labour Party even of 1947 which Dr. Evatt was trying to influence to protect approved defence projects from the machinations of the Communists. That was perhaps something of a reversal of form on Dr. Evatt’s part, but he had to do his duty even though he lost the Manus Island base which now would be used to assist Australia. The whole position is unthinkable. The Labour Party is unpopular. Every one to whom you speak about it asks: “ What is the matter with the Labour Party? What a mess the Labour Party is in when it cannot make a decision and, even when it does make a decision, it does so because of directions from outside influences.”

One stands in this place and looks at honorable members opposite - some of whom are very new to the Parliament - who accept this direction as part of the ordinary business of being a Labour member of the House of Representatives. They take instructions from these unheard-of persons who never in their lives received a vote but attained their positions by jerrymandering. One of these days we shall hear the true story of how these men are elected as delegates to the federal conference of the Labour Party and are given the right to decide the foreign policy which a Labour Government must follow. God forbid that the will of the people and of those elected by the people is ever frustrated in this Parliament.


.- The honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate) and other Government supporters have come a long way since the last election day. To hear them speak to-night one would never think that this Government was elected by the Communist Party. They are in this Parliament because they have received the preferences of the Communist Party candidates. The honorable member for Macarthur sits on the Government side in this House to-night because the Communist Party preferred to elect a LiberalCountry Party government instead of a

Labour government. 1 wonder it he remembers the picture of the frantic Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) pacing in his palatial study on that election night wondering whether the Liberal Party candidate in the Moreton electorate would receive the Communist Party preferences, thus enabling himself to enjoy a further period as Prime Minister. That spectre has faded temporarily but no one should forget that the present Government is in office because it received the Communist Party preferences. It took office on the preferences of a party which it claims to despise. If Liberal Party and Country Party members had been reputable and believed their own claims they would have repudiated those preferences and have gone again to the electorate.

Let me reply to some of the statements which have been made about the outside control of parties inside this Parliament. I want to tell Government supporters the names of the persons who control and dominate this Government and who are not answerable to any one in this Parliament. They are answerable only to the huge vested monopoly interests in this country. I have obtained from the federal Liberal Party secretariat information relating to the Liberal Party federal executive. It consists of fourteen members. Time does not permit me to name them all, but I shall mention the more important of them. There is Sir Philip McBride, who is a grazier, a director of the Bank of Adelaide and chairman of Elder Smith and Company. Then there is Mr. Lyle Moore, former president of the Real Estate and Stock Institute of Australia. He is prominent in the real estate world and is a member of the Millions Club, the National Club and the Civic Club. Next comes Mr. Pagan - what a name for one of the leaders of the Liberal Party - who is chairman and managing director of P. Rowe Industries Proprietary Limited and a director of the Northern Life Association. He is a member of the Union Club, the Imperial Service Club, the Royal Sydney Golf Club and the Elanora Country Club. Of course he lives in the now Labour suburb of Point Piper. Then there is Mr. Hulme, the former Minister for Supply. He is a company director and business consultant, and a director of Chandlers (Australia) Limited and J. B. Chandler Investment Company Limited. He is a member of the Brisbane Club. Next comes Mr. Anderson, a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, a former director of the Shell Company of Australia, Asphalt Cold Mix (Australia) Proprietary Limited, Shell (Queensland) Development Co. Pty. Ltd., Shell Refinery (Australia) Proprietary Limited and Shell Chemicals (Australia) Proprietary Limited. Those are some of the fourteen men who dominate the selection and control of members of the Liberal Party. They are not answerable to any one.

On 10th March, 1962, the “Sydney Morning Herald “, under the heading, “ Party executive issues summons to Liberal Ministers “, carried an article in these terms -

Canberra, Friday. - In a surprise move to-day the Federal Executive of the Liberal Party decided to summon all Federal Liberal Ministers before it.

What right have these fourteen individuals to summon the Ministers of the Government to come before them for instructions? What right have these company directors to dictate to federal Ministers? The article goes on -

The wording of the statement issued by Sir Philip McBride after the meeting is interpreted here as a sign that the Liberal Party organization is seeking greater control over the actions of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.

What a pathetic lot of puppets sit on the Government side of the chamber. They are dominated and controlled by huge wealthy interests. The executive comprises only fourteen men who have the power of life and death over this Government, supported as it is by private banking institutions which, wrecked the Labour Government in the days of the depression.

Let us now have a look at the collection of nondescripts who will not sit in the Parliament and listen to the debate on a want of confidence motion directed at the Government. I refer to the honorable members who are absent from hill-billy corner - the members of the Country Party. The Government is being censured, but with the exception of the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) who is at the table - I doubt whether he is awake - no member of the Country Party is in the chamber. The federal executive of the Country Party has as its chairman Mr. William Lionel Moss. Its secretary is John Frederic Dredge and its treasurer Mr. R. C.

Wilson. It includes Rt. Hon. John McEwen, M.P., Hon. Charles Davidson, M.P., and three delegates from each of the affiliated States. The federal executive numbers at most only 23 members. They control the selection and endorsement of members of this Parliament. They dominate the party in a way which makes anything done by the Labour Party executive appear insignificant. They are ruthless in removing from this Parliament honorable members who do not bow to their whims.

Mr. Dredge was for years associated with S. F. Falkiner and Sons in the Riverina. He is a member of the Country Party, so he resides at Greenwich, a Sydney suburb. Mr. Moss is deputy chairman of the Savings Bank of Victoria, chairman of Enterprise of New Guinea Gold and Petrol Company, a former vice-president of the Wool and Wheat Growers Association, and a member of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club and the Moonee Valley Racing Club. He resides at Camberwell, Victoria. Mr. Wilson, the man to whom the Minister for Primary Industry is answerable, is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. He was general manager of the Graziers Cooperative Limited from 1924 to 1961 and is a director of Allied Mills Limited, Australian Guarantee Corporation Limited, Bank of New South Wales, Country Television Services Limited, Portfolio and Development Limited, Tooheys Limited, Tooheys Standard Securities Limited, and Transport and General Insurance Limited. He is a member of the Australian Club and lives at Gordon, another Sydney suburb. That man, with 22 others, tells the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) and other members of the Country Party in this Parliament, what to do. The people of Australia might think that those honorable members control this Government by their vote, but they are wrong. Wilson dominates the Government through the financial institutions to which he belongs. He has an unrivalled power over what the Minister for Primary Industry and every other Country Party Minister and Country Party member does. Could you imagine the honorable member for Mallee speaking out of place to Mr. Wilson? He would shiver in his shoes before Mr. Wilson and the other roaring lions of the Country Party executive.

The names and occupations of the controllers of the Country Party and the Liberal Party are very interesting. Who controls Mr. Wilson? It is worth noting that most of the positions on the executive are honorary. The members are so tied up in big business that they have not the time to be paid. They are too busy dominating members of the Government parties. They are directors of companies, controllers of big business, members of important clubs, and residents not of country areas but of the wealthier suburbs in our great metropolises. They have direct control over every one in the Government parties from the humblest back-bencher to the most important member of the Cabinet, and they are answerable to no one.

It seems to be the usual thing for Labour members to be smeared. Ben Chifley was sometimes called a Communist while he lived, but when he died he was revered by Liberals and Labour men alike as one of the greatest men ever produced in this country. Government supporters smear the Labour Party, but the members of our federal executive are not drawn from members of the Millions Club. The members of the parliamentary Labour Party take their place in this House on the vote of the people of Australia. I have been elected to represent a party which has given to this nation all the great Prime Ministers it has had. We on this side of the House know what our party does. Our policies are laid down by party organizations which have been in existence for generations and the members of which are men who know what the rank and file of the nation want. We make no apology for the fact that they bring forward the policies that are to be followed by men who are answerable to the Labour movement for their actions and not, as is the case of honorable members opposite, to the Bank of New South Wales, the Australian Guarantee Corporation and others. The honorable member for La Trobe is interjecting. He may as well enjoy himself while he is here because, like the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman), he is on the bell lap. This is the last time round for him.

I was interested to hear this challenge to the Labour Party in regard to loyalty and unity. I want to deal with one of the major grounds of the attack that has been launched on this Government by the Labour Party, that is, that honorable members opposite are not competent to govern because they are a disunited rabble. By its actions in this Parliament and other places, this coalition Government has indicated that it is not fit to govern. Honorable members opposite are not united in policy or intention or anything of that kind. Let us have a look at the Australian Country Party, which is the rump of the Government. During the debate on a censure motion in this Parliament in 1941 Mr. J. A. Beasley said -

  1. . the Country Party has “ gate crashed “ in this Parliament on the system of democratic government for many years … the Country Party has secured office by trickery and by all the underground methods that could possibly be employed ever since it has been in existence . . .

That is as true to-day as it was in 1941. The policy of the Country Party is one of stand and deliver. It is one of unprincipled, downright political blackmail. Members of that party dominate this coalition Government, with detrimental results to the nation. The book “ Truant Surgeon “, which one might call a history of the Australian Country Party written by Sir Earle Page, sets out clearly the intrigues and machinations of this rump organization and the power politics it has employed. In his book, Sir Earle Page said that the Country Party members told Mr. Bruce, when they wanted him to serve as Prime Minister, that they would never serve under Sir Robert Menzies, as he now is. For all I know, that is probably the attitude of the present Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), who, of course, is a senior member of this coalition. The record of the Country Party has been one of wanting its pound of flesh. Members of the party were at the throat of the Bruce-Page Government, the Lyons Administration, and the Menzies Government of 1939. They demanded, in the Menzies-Fadden Government of 1949, the portfolios of the Treasury, commerce and agriculture and that of the Postmaster-General. They demanded and obtained those important portfolios at the point of the political gun, despite the fact that the cringing Liberal Party almost had an absolute majority in the Parliament. To its eternal discredit, the Liberal Party capitulated and gave away those portfolios to members of the Country Party.

What is the position in 1963? The Leader of the Country Party is the Minister for Trade. We have a free trade Minister from a free trade party administering the protection policies on which Australian industry depends! That is like a fairy tale or a fantasy. Protection has gone with the wind. The jobs of Australian workmen have been thrown away. People in cheap labour countries are working full time while Australians are jobless under this free trade Minister and the policy he espouses. The Liberals, silent and timid, are afraid to move lest they be voted out of office.

The Social Services portfolio is administered by a Country Party Minister who said in this House that he did not believe in the provision of social services. In another place we have as the Minister for Health a Country Party member in the person of Senator Wade. One of his predecessors, also a member of the Country Party, destroyed the free hospital scheme which was introduced by a Labour government. Whilst the present Minister for Health may be an estimable man personally, he knows little about the Department of Health and his appointment will probably prove to have been as tragic as was that of his predecessor and others. The attitude of the Australian Country Party in relation to these portfolios indicates that this Government cannot have the confidence of the House. Country Party members have made a travesty of democracy and have destroyed everything that is socially desirable and just in the administration of these portfolios. Then we have Mr. Davidson as PostmasterGeneral. He was an excellent soldier, but he knows nothing about the Post Office and nothing about censorship. The standover methods that have been employed by the Postmaster-General constitute a damning indictment of the Country Party.

We are told that the Liberal Party and the Country Party are united, but Mr. McEwen demanded the dismissal of Mr. Bury, the then Minister for Air, because he expressed views which were contrary to those held by the Country Party in relation to the European Common Market. The hatchet was buried in Bury’s head. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes), the honorable member for McKellar (Mr. Wentworth), the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) - who was the Communist Party’s choice for this Parliament - apparently supported the view held by Mr. Bury, and are in no mood to play ring-a-ring-a-rosy with the Country Party.

Where does the Country Party stand on the issue of electoral redistribution? A commission was appointed without demur from members of the Liberal Party and the Country Party. What happened? Because a couple of Country Party seats were to be abolished following a shift of population, Mr. McEwen, instead of coming into this House to say something, ran away elsewhere. In a magnificent display of unity, loyalty and Cabinet solidarity he told the world that the Country Party would not support Sir Robert on the redistribution proposals.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackinnon:

– Order! I ask the honorable member to refer to members by their correct titles.


– The Minister for Trade said that the Country Party would1 not support the Prime Minister. That was a great display of cabinet solidarity! Members of the Country Party wanted a gerrymander of the electorates. They demanded the protection of their members of the Parliament who cannot otherwise hold seats. The honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) is a striking example of the support accorded the Australian Labour Party in country areas. In the New South Wales Parliament a Labour member won the Lismore seat and has increased his majority from time to time. Why are members of the Country Party prepared to reject their blood brothers? They are prepared to do that to enable them, amongst other things, to save the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie). Could you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, imagine anything stranger than that? Even though the honorable member is a good man personally, do you not agree that the Parliament could do without him?

Then we have the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan). He, a radio announcer, is a member of the Country

Party. It would not be so bad if he were a good announcer, but he is not. The Liberals and members of the Country Party to-day are at variance on everything from margarine to machine guns. They agree on nothing at all. The incompetence which is displayed is the result of the disunity which exists in their ranks.

Let us consider members of the Liberal Party. The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) is, in relation to defence and foreign affairs, far from being a died in the wool supporter of the Government and the Country Party. The honorable member for Mackellar, the honorable member for Barker and the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) differ from the Country Party on matters relating to trade, defence and foreign affairs. The Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) administers two of the most important portfolios on a part-time basis. Is it any wonder that members of the rank and file of the Liberal Party who believe they are intelligent and entitled to be appointed to administer portfolios become disgruntled when they see one man doing two jobs and nonentities in the Country Party being appointed to administer portfolios?

The only reason why members of the Liberal Party and the Country Party hang together in this Parliament is that they know that if they do not hang together in the face of this censure motion they will hang separately somewhere else. The Government’s ranks are tattered. The Government is dependent upon a few miserly Communist votes for its election to office. Honorable members opposite present a facade of unity from time to time. However, in relation to electoral redistribution, the Common Market and the other issues I have mentioned, their ranks have been split wide open. What I have said about supporters of the Government is indelibly recorded on the pages of history. The weak and decadent Liberal Party, which represents the worst features of monopoly capitalism, has pounced on innocent newspaper reports about disunity within the Labour Party to take the minds of the people off the real issues that are involved. But I say, let them put their own house in order, because their slender majority in this Parliament, the growing number of unemployment, the shortage of housing and all the matters dealt with by the Leader of the Opposition to-night, show that they no longer possess the confidence of the people of this country.

To-night, in a stirring address in this Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition put to the people of this country the reasons why this Government should be defeated, and rarely in our time have we heard more pathetic replies to such serious charges than those given by members of the Government in defence of their failures.

Now let us turn to the broader picture of the position of the Government and the unity that should exist in a government. It is apparent that the shot-gun wedding of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party is on the rocks. This marriage of convenience has failed, and the domestic bliss of these strange lovers has been shattered beyond repair. Down through the years the echoes of their domestic differences have reached the public. Who will ever forget the anguished sobs of the sorely wounded Fadden when Mr. Menzies, as he then was, disowned Fadden’s election policy? “ This “, said Fadden, “ is another stab in the back for which the leader of the Liberal Party is notorious.” Again, when the Country Party hatchet was buried deep in the political scalp of the then Minister for Air, Mr. Leslie Bury, the public realized that the honeymoon was over. Again, later, the Liberal Party received a death blow to its domestic bliss with the Country Party when the Deputy Prime Minister let the nation know, in language which no married person would ever use in public, that the Country Party would go no further with the Liberal Party in regard to redistribution of electoral boundaries.

These facts are worth recalling. The marriage vows of the Liberal Party and the Country Party have been broken. Both are guilty partners. Wedded in political sin, these weird political adventurers have been destroyed by their own ill-advised public conduct. Is it any wonder that a former Prime Minister of this country, Billy Hughes, made a statement which I think should be repeated now? Somebody asked him, “ Why don’t you join the Country Party? “, and he answered, “ Good1 God, man, you have to draw the line somewhere”. To-day the Government stands like the figure of destiny, weeping in the graveyard of Australian enterprise. The crocodile tears of the Country Party will not bring much comfort to the people of the wide open spaces, and the wails of the frightened Liberals are no solution to our economic ills. The great problems that face this nation cannot be solved by the government that brought them about. The only solution is a change of administration - a change to a Labour government led by the Leader of the Opposition. For this reason I support the motion, and I hope that in the interests of Australians everywhere this motion of censure will be carried and that this Government will go to the country and be defeated.

Mr Turnbull:

– I desire to make a personal explanation, Mr. Deputy Speaker.


– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Turnbull:

– Yes, Sir. The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) said that a Mr. Wilson dictated to me. I do not even know the man. No one in this House or outside it has ever dictated to me about what 1 will do or say in this Parliament, and no one ever will.

Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP

.- One wonders what is the purpose of this motion of no confidence. We had the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) saying nothing about the reasons why a vote of no confidence in the Government should be carried in this House. He spent the whole of his speaking time in abuse of people of whom he is awfully jealous. He is jealous and really envious of the unity and solidarity that exist on the Government benches. He is chagrined that for thirteen and a half long years he and his party have been in opposition with no hope of unity among themselves, while this Government continues to function as a truly democratic government. So he abuses people because they have made a success in political life. AH the members of the Liberal Party and the Australian Country Party that he mentioned have made a success of their political careers.

Nobody should deny a member of Parliament the right to speak his mind yet that right is denied to members of the Opposi tion. They have been given their orders not to express their opinions on the very vital defence policy of this country. Seated opposite us we have a party that has dared to move a vote of no confidence in the Government, but which is ashamed of its own policies. The proof of that is clear. The first plank of the Labour Party policy platform is socialization, and every honorable member on the other side of the House has signed a socialistic pledge, yet at the last general election the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), while admitting that socialism was a plank of the Labour Party’s platform, said he would shelve it for three years. He was ashamed of the socialization policy which is the number one plank of the Labour Party’s platform.

In addition, members of the Labour Party in this House are unaware of certain aspects of Labour policy until told what they are by people outside. The Leader of the Opposition had to go to the Labour Party executive to find out what the party’s new defence policy was. So, while he is ashamed of the party’s policy on one subject he was unaware of its policy on another until he was told. There is division in the Labour Party as to policy.

The honorable member for Grayndler, more than anybody else, has taken the offensive in this debate by attacking other people. He has abused them in an effort to obscure the fact that the policy that he and the Labour Party now express in relation to our defence alliance with America became the Labour Party’s policy by the narrow margin of only nineteen votes to seventeen at the party’s federal conference. Wait till Mr. Duggan, who dared to vote against the other members of the Queensland executive of the Labour Party and the leftists in respect of the Labour Party’s attitude to this American radio station in Western Australia, gets his marching orders. He will get them, because the leftists controlled the Labour Party at the Bundaberg convention by a considerable majority. Mr. Duggan had the courage at least to vote for what he thought was right, but he is the same man who, when he was brought to book by his own Queensland executive, said, “ Right or wrong, wise or unwise, I will obey the Labour Party executive “. So he does not care whether the party is right or wrong, wise or unwise.

He has declared publicly that he will follow its policy because his masters have spoken. And the masters of members of the Opposition have spoken, too.

I have heard honorable members opposite speak of the Government’s defence policy, but they themselves are not allowed to declare what they really think about it. They are not allowed to support the minority report of the Labour Party committee that examined defence. They are not game to express their true opinions. Such a craven attitude is not to be found on this side of the House. Everybody on this side is game to say his piece. Yet the Labour Party dares to suggest that it should be put into government; that it would be an administration in which the people of Australia would have confidence! But, of course, the Australian people could not have confidence in a divided party like the Labour Party. A kingdom divided against itself shall not stand. The Labour Party has two defence policies, one for the Communists calling for peace, and the other supporting alliance with our friends the Americans. How can such a party have the confidence of the people? No wonder the honorable member for Grayndler did not really say a word in support of this no confidence motion. He confined himself to attacking people for almost the whole of the 25 minutes of his speaking time and the people whom he attacked are people who have made a success in life.

As I said before, the Labour Party is ashamed of its policy and, in fact, is unaware of its policy until its bosses have spoken. It is a party divided. We on this side are proud of our record. We are a government of positive action. We can show by our record that we have increased industrial activity and output, that we have increased rural production and rural incomes, and that we have increased exports. I could elaborate on each of these. We have the confidence of the people as expressed in the over-subscription of government loans designed to provide employment. We have increased bank deposits.

It was interesting to hear the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) say that there is no spending power in the community, when his own leader has referred to the fact that bank deposits have increased by £200,000,000. There is plenty of money about, so it is not a matter of non-availability of spending power. We have the continued increase in the aggregate of employment and we have cost stability, which the Leader of the Opposition termed “stagnation”. He attacked the Government for the inflationary spiral, which, of course, we inherited from the Chifley Government. Inflation was increasing so steeply when we took office that we naturally tried to halt the rise. I will deal with this matter later.

We have ever-widening trade activities. We have increased repatriation, health and social service benefits, and we have development of the country. Let me elaborate on some of these points. Primary production has increased by 55 per cent, over the prewar level. There was a 3 per cent, rise in the last financial year. We have a record volume of exports and the value of exports is a record. Last year, we had the record figure of £1,078,000,000 overall, with £790,000,000 of this coming from rural products. This year we expect the net increase for primary producers to be £80,000,000 above last year’s record. The value of the money received by primary producers has been enhanced because of cost stability. Production in secondary industries has also increased. The output of black coal has increased from 22,973,000 tons last year to 24,590,000 tons. The output of brown coal has also increased. Although the production of coal is essentially a State matter, the Commonwealth Government has assisted by providing the finance for improved loading facilities at Newcastle and Gladstone.

Steel output has been materially increased. Last year, steel exports were worth £29,000,000, an increase of £18,000,000 on the previous year. Exports by secondary industries are increasing. This is true not only of steel but also of other commodities, and results from the tax incentives given by the Commonwealth Government. We can expect a further expansion in the steel industry, because new equipment has been brought into operation. I refer to such equipment as the cold rolling mill and the electrolytic tin plate plant. For the first time, over 4,000,000 tons of steel was produced last year. The average number of employees in the industry increased by 3,500 last year.

The production of bauxite has increased. The first delivery of Weipa bauxite was made to Bell Bay last September. This production will continue to expand, because the Government in Queensland is of the same political colour as the Commonwealth Government. The Queensland Government will encourage the industry to produce more. The activities of the present Queensland Government, which co-operates with the Commonwealth Government, can be compared with the 40 years of stagnation in that State under a Labour government. During those years, no industry was encouraged to commence production in Queensland. During the time Labour was in office there and had taxing rights, it made sure that industry would not go to the State. It kept the rate of company tax at 2s. in the £1 higher than the rate in any other State. Labour did not want industry and it did not get it. That is why there is a little more unemployment in Queensland than in other States now; this can be attributed to the 40 years of stagnation under Labour. The present government during its term of office has encouraged industry to come to Queensland.

Production at Mount Isa is expanding and so is production at Moura and Kianga. Industry is developing in the State. We know that the search for oil there has been successful and this will encourage further industry to enter the State. The Commonwealth is also encouraging the search for oil and has granted subsidies. The Budget for this year provided for a subsidy of £5,000,000 as an incentive to companies in their search for oil. We are proud of what we have been able to do to assist industry. Secondary industry, of course, is the main source of employment. The value of refinery products has increased. Products from crude oil increased by 5.2 per cent. One of our weaknesses of the past will disappear when our fuel comes from the Moonie field and other fields, where we hope the search for oil will be successful. We will then go on to greater economic strength than we have ever had. More than 2,000,000 tons of refined products were exported last year. This was an increase of 19.7 per cent, over the previous year.

The capacity to produce electricity increased by almost 1,000,000 kilowatts last year. In the year ended 30th June, 1962, more than 26,450,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity were produced.

Farm incomes have tended to rise since 1959-60, which can be taken as the base year. As I have mentioned, we will have the greatest increase for years during this financial year. It is estimated that the net income of farmers could be £80,000,000 higher this financial year than it was in the previous financial year. One reason for this is that we have succeeded in securing cost stability. Let us look at the consumer price index for each quarter since December, 1960, when the credit squeeze was applied. For the March, 1961, quarter the figure was 124; for June, 1961, 125; for June, 1962, 124; for September, 1962, 124.3; and for the last complete quarter, December, 1962, 124.4. This shows that costs have remained stable. The wholesale price index has declined from 355 at the end of 1960 to 339 in February, 1963. The overall index of prices paid by farmers showed stability over the past year. Some decline took place in the prices of equipment and supplies, while wages and rates and taxes were the principal items showing any appreciable rise. The import price index has remained stable since early 1961 at 109.

Australia has shown more stability than have other countries such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany and Japan. These countries have shown a rise in the wholesale price index, but we have achieved stability. Similarly, the consumer price index in Australia registered no net movement but showed an increase in the six countries I have mentioned.

The honorable member for East Sydney referred to lack of development. Of course, we are proud of the development that has taken place in the last year or two in the north of Australia. Let me put the development projects on record. The projects using Commonwealth finance include roads in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and the roads in Queensland will be sealed. The Commonwealth has earmarked £16,000,000 for roads. Another £14,000,000 will be provided for the Chowilla Dam. New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the

Commonwealth will share the cost equally, the Commonwealth lending New South Wales its share. The Commonwealth has provided, by way of loan, £20,000,000 for the Mount Isa railway. That railway will assist the pastoral industry as well as mineral development. The Commonwealth’s assistance in this field will lead to an expansion of industry greater than occurred previously. The Government has provided £7,250,000 for the development of 6,000,000 acres of brigalow land. This year £1,650,000 of Commonwealth money will be spent on this work. The brigalow country is likely to become important beefproducing country. In the last 100 years, for 40 of which successive Labour governments were in office in Queensland, agricultural development in that State expanded from 4,000 acres to 3,000,000 acres. I forecast that in the next 20 years, bearing in mind the development of the brigalow lands, agricultural development in Queensland will expand by another 3,000,000 acres.

Mr Ward:

– You are anticipating a Labour government.


– On the contrary, I am sure that Queensland’s development will continue under Country Party-Liberal governments. If we have a Labour government my forecast will be astray, and we will go back to stagnation.

The Commonwealth is providing £5,000,000 for development in the northwest of Western Australia. It is providing £2,600,000 for improvements to New South Wales coal ports. It is providing £200,000 for improvements to coal-loading facilities at Gladstone in Queensland. The Commonwealth oil search subsidy in 1962-63 will amount to £5,000,000. The total cost of the Kwinana to Koolyanobbing railway in Western Australia will be £41,000,000. The Commonwealth has provided £300,000 for replacement of the Derby jetty. It has provided £1,300,000 for the purchase of new railway equipment by South Australia. Last year £54,000,000 was voted as Commonwealth aid for roads, excluding amounts provided for beef roads. Those expenditures to which I have referred represent a considerable amount provided by the Government in the last two or three years. They indicate that the Government is interested in the development of our north. The Opposition is wasting its time talking about lack of development in the north, because the Government is developing this area as fast as it can be developed profitably. If anything more is wanted in the north the Government will give the subject sympathetic consideration.

Sir, need I say more? The Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for East Sydney did no more to-night than generalize; they did not say anything specific. They made no definite charge against the Government of incompetency or failure to encourage economic progress.

Mr Ward:

– What upset the Treasurer?


– Your incorrect statement. If you kept to the truth you would not have a case at all. Australia’s living standards have no equal. Nowhere is the purchasing power of money greater than it is in Australia. Australia’s progress and development are unequalled. This Government is to be commended for the excellent progress that it has made during its term of office. I challenge the Opposition to name another country that is as well off as Australia. The Government is united and progressive. It has done well by Australia against a divided Opposition that does not know its own policy - an Opposition that has to go outside the Parliament for its policy, a policy of which it is ashamed.


.- The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) said that honorable members on this side of the chamber should stick to the truth. He cited figures which gave the impression that during this Government’s term of office there had been great expansion in primary production. Figures contained in the Government’s own documents show that whereas in 1950 the value of rural production in Australia was £1,027,000,000, in 1956 it was £1,023,000,000; and in 1961 it was the same again as for the year 1950, that is £1,027,000,000. During this Government’s term of office the number of farms in Australia has decreased. Whereas in 1939 there were 253,000 farms, to-day there are 251,000 farms in Australia. Today there are 3,000,000 more people in the country than there were in 1939, but thousands fewer are engaged in rural production than were engaged in 1939. Is that a credit to the Minister for Primary Industry?

I want to make a short but coherent speech dealing with the Government and its record. If the Government is a bad government and is to be replaced by a government equally as bad there would be no object in this censure motion; but I want to show that other governments can do better than this Government has done. In 1941 the Curtin Labour Government was given control of Australia by a helpless and hopeless Liberal-Country Party coalition. Labour geared the country for war. It put more than 1,000,000 persons into the armed services. It transformed factories from peace-time production to the manufacture of munitions and equipment for war.

Mr Leslie:

– Very well, those of us who fought in the war did the job. Now come up to date.


– Those who fought in the war under a Labour government did the job. I detract in no way from the valour of the Australian soldier. The war ended in 1945. During the course of the war the Labour Government had planned for the peace. It initiated land settlement and housing schemes for ex-service personnel. It inaugurated the gigantic Snowy Mountains scheme.

Mr Turnbull:

– It turned a couple of sods.

Mr Anthony:

– That is all it did.


– Perhaps so, but it inaugurated the scheme. For the first time in Australia’s history Labour put into operation a scheme of full employment.

Labour was defeated in 1949. The Reserve Bank’s financial supplement for September, 1960, shows that as at 30th June, 1946, we owed overseas £572,000,000 in loans. After the war the Labour Government was faced with the rehabilitation of thousands of ex-servicemen and the transfer from a war-time economy to a peace-time economy. It had to initiate vast projects of development in this country. When the war ended our overseas funds were £225,000,000. That is about £350,000,000 less than our overseas loans. In 1950 our overseas loans were £549,000,000, or £23,000,000 less than in 1946; and our overseas funds were £629,000,000, or over £400,000,000 more than in 1946. During that intervening period the Labour Government gave more than £80,000,000 to the British Government. Britain was wartorn and in necessitous circumstances. Of course, that was a very creditable record. The Labour Government had improved vastly the economic condition of this country relative to that of other countries during its short period of three years in office after the cessation of hostilities. In addition, it had rehabilitated the members of the armed forces of this country and transferred factories into peace time production once more.

That does not tell the whole story. In 1946 overseas investments in Australia amounted to a little more than £100,000,000. By 1950 they had increased by £170,000,000. But, despite that increase, our overseas indebtedness had been diminished by the Labour Government during its few years of office to such an extent that had all Australia’s overseas assets been realized we would have been able to meet all our liabilities in the form of loans and most of our liabilities in the form of overseas investments.

Mr King:

– Is that the time when people could not buy petrol?


– That is the time when people could not buy petrol; but what has happened since in order that the honorable member for Wimmera might be able to buy a bit of petrol for the sports car in which he drives around the western district of Victoria? This is what has happened: According to the statistical documents, to-day our overseas loans amount to more than £800,000,000 and our overseas reserves amount to £500,000,000. So we are £300,000,000 down on our overseas loans alone. In addition to that, bit by bit the Government has sold the industries of this country to such an extent that to-day £2,000,000,000 of foreign capital is invested, as they call it, in Australia.

Mr Leslie:

– That shows how people trust this Government.


– Yes, people trust it to such an extent that £200,000,000 worth of

Australian goods must go abroad annually in order to pay the interest commitment on that vast amount of overseas capital. Let me tell the House some of the ways in which this capital that has come into Australia is used. I have before me an official list of Australian manufacturing industries in which foreign interests have provided 50 per cent, or more of the issued capital of the major firms in the industries.

Mr Turnbull:

– Will you name the foreign countries?


– I do not intend to read them all.

Mr Turnbull:

– Of course, Great Britain is included in them, is it not?


– Yes, it is, and the United States of America is included, too.

Mr Turnbull:

– You call Great Britain a foreign country, do you?


– Do you think that it is more enjoyable for you to pay me £10 than to pay the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) £10? The position is exactly the same. If you pay money overseas, it does not matter whether you pay it to Great Britain or to another country. The position in these industries that are controlled from overseas is that the overseas investors receive all the profits that come from the industries. Here is a vast list which includes petroleum refining, plastic materials, carbon black, canned meat, canned soups, dried soups, steel sheets, steam-raising and steam-heating equipment, earth-moving and excavating equipment, motor vehicles, tractors, ball and roller bearings, sewing machines, dry batteries, industrial chemicals and soaps and detergents. Of course, that is not a full list. There may be other industries and products that have escaped notice, but they are likely to be minor. In addition, a vast number of industries in this country have overseas capital, but not to the extent of 50 per cent. They are not dominated by overseas capitalists, but they have a big percentage of overseas capital investment in them.

Between 1950 and 1954 our overseas indebtedness increased by £300,000,000. In the next four years it increased by £485,000,000. In the next four years it increased by £782,000,000. With that vast increase in overseas indebtedness, the amount of capital flowing into this country has increased considerably, too. In the last four-year period the amount of capital flowing into Australia was about £700,000,000; in the previous four-year period it was about £500,000,000; and in the previous four-year period it was about £300,000,000. The amount of money flowing into Australia in the form of either loans or investment capital is getting greater and greater and the burden of interest and commitments in the form of dividends is getting greater and greater. Those commitments have to be met somehow. Of course, they have to be met by our exports. It has been pointed out by one authority after another that in the foreseeable future a vast proportion of Australia’s exports must come from primary production; but, as I have pointed out, over the last ten years rural production has not increased proportionately with the increase in our overseas indebtedness.

If we reduced the flow of capital from overseas, immediately unemployment in this country would commence to increase. The reason for that is that employment in Australian industries depends upon the goods that are being imported at present. During the first ten years of this Government’s period in office we imported all kinds of goods that were non-essential; but to-day it is necessary to import £800,000,000 or £900,000,000 worth of goods to maintain the present level of employment in Australia; that is, to maintain an army of 100,000 unemployed people. If we reduce the flow of capital from overseas to less than about £300,000,000 a year, the unemployment figures in Australia will rise. That, of course, is the dilemma in which this Government has placed Australia. Under the policies pursued by this Government unemployment can be prevented only by increasing overseas indebtedness. Of course the time ultimately comes, as has been pointed out in government publications, when the inflow of capital dries up and loans become more difficult to obtain. That is happening now. The statistical bulletin to which I have referred states that in the 1950’s overseas loans could be obtained at an interest rate of three per cent. To-day the rate is five per cent, or six per cent, and the Government is going to all parts of the world to obtain loans.

In order to induce the investment of foreign capital in this country the Government has given concessions to investors in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. It has told them that the dividends they draw from industry in Australia shall not be taxed to the same extent as similar dividends from the same companies paid to Australians. In other words, the Government has said to these overseas investors, “ You will not have to contribute the same amount towards the defence of this country, the maintenance of its roads or the payment of social services as the Australian investor has to pay “. In that way it has put the overseas investor at an advantage compared to the Australian investor. When the Treasurer was putting forward a proposition for the reduction of taxation on American investors he said it was a reciprocal agreement. Reciprocal! American investment in Australia amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds, but Australian investment in America totals only a fraction of that. That is the position in which this Government has placed Australia. It has got the country into a further difficulty, and members of the Government are almost frantic in their efforts to secure an increase in our exports. They recognize that exports of our rural and primary products cannot be appreciably increased, so they are making frantic efforts to secure overseas markets for manufactured goods. The Government says, “We will give rebates in taxation to those who send their manufactured goods abroad “.

Mr Leslie:

– That is what creates employment. Do you not want to create employment?


– Of course I do. I suggested to the Government that the export of manufactured goods should be increased and I have other ideas that the Government could adopt to the advantage of this country. But what happens in the case of motor cars for instance? Can they be exported? The number of cars exported from Australia is determined by the parent companies in America and in England. They restrict the opportunities for export. Exports of all our industries that are controlled from overseas are limited by the overseas companies that dominate them. There are hundreds of companies overseas which are limiting the goods that can be exported from Australia.

We have great difficulty in increasing our exports, owing to the inflow of overseas capital and its dominance over the Australian industries. My friend the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) has reminded me that the Mount Isa company, in which overseas companies hold more than 51 per cent, of the shares, has been told by them that it must not produce more than a certain quantity of metal although the employees and the capacity are there to produce much more and a ready sale could be found for the increased production. Control by Australians is taken from them when industry and land are sold to overseas people who are allowed to take full possession of them and extract all the profits that come from them. It is not only overseas investment in our companies that is detrimental to this country; honorable members are probably aware that a television star in America owns a 22,000-acre farm in Western Australia and recently bought a property of 685,000 acres, or about 1,000 square miles, in the Northern Territory. That is typical of what vast numbers of individuals from overseas are doing. Honorable members may have read in the press of Hong Kong residents buying residential land in seaside resorts near Melbourne.

I have asked the Minister to provide the House with figures showing the total of rural properties and other assets of this country that have been purchased by overseas investors, together with the interests they have in our major industries, but wa cannot get the information from him. Other countries have seen to it that their assets have been preserved for their own people. Denmark, Sweden and soma European countries will not allow overseas capitalists to obtain a dominant interest in their industries. There are many countries that will not allow overseas capitalists to dominate their economy, but this Government, which in time of war abdicated and allowed men such as my colleagues the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the Leader of the

Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to form a government which safeguarded the nation, is allowing foreign exploiters and capitalists to gain control of our economy and secure, by purchase, domination over our industries and the nation generally.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Malcolm Fraser) adjourned.

page 294


Retirement of Mr. L. D. O’Donnell.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– I desire to inform the House that Mr. L. D. O’Donnell will retire from the position of Principal Parliamentary Reporter from the close of business to-day, after nearly 36 years with the Commonwealth Parliament. Mr. O’Donnell, who was born and educated in New Zealand, and who has been associated with journalism or parliamentary reporting all his working life, joined the Commonwealth “ Hansard “ staff as a reporter in 1927, shortly after the transfer of the Parliament from Melbourne to Canberra. In parliamentary recesses during the first two years of the Second World War he was seconded to the Royal Australian Air Force, Melbourne, where he carried out important tasks in the Directorate of Public Relations. From time to time he was promoted to more senior positions on the “ Hansard “ staff and, in 1957, was appointed Principal Parliamentary Reporter. Mr. O’Donnell is the seventh Principal Parliamentary Reporter since the formation of the staff in 1901 and he has maintained the reputation for impartial and accurate reporting that was enjoyed by his predecessors. I am sure that all honorable members will join with me in wishing Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell a long and happy period of retirement.

Consequent upon the retirement of Mr. O’Donnell, Mr. W. E. Dale has been appointed Principal Parliamentary Reporter, Mr. A. K. Healy Second Reporter and Mr. W. J. Bridgman Third Reporter.

Leader of the House · Higgins · LP

Mr. Speaker, I should like to associate members on the Government side of the House with the good wishes that you have expressed to Mr. O’Donnell and Mrs. O’Donnell. Life is full of sur prises and, frankly, it comes as a surprise to most of us on this side of the House to learn that the trim and youthful figure on the other side of the table has reached the age of retirement. That is a sign that we have not been as wearing on his disposition and his physical resources as sometimes we are on one another. At least it demonstrates that he has carried himself with equanimity of mind and purpose through the years he has devoted to our service in this Parliament.

I find from the record, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. O’Donnell, having been appointed, as you told us in the account you have given of his life and service in the Parliament, to the Commonwealth “ Hansard “ staff as a reporter m 1927, has seen fourteen Parliaments in action. He has had the opportunity to observe nine Prime Ministers perform their tasks, and eight Speakers. I have not a record to show how many people who could be classified as orators were in the Parliament during his term, but I am quite certain that most of us would agree that the standard of oratory has been greatly improved by the assistance that he has brought both to our grammar and to the substance of our speeches.

Mr. O’Donnell is very versatile in his pursuits. He is a keen golfer, a gardener, a bowler, and a fisherman. Like so many of the more astute members of Parliament, he will remain in Canberra for a good deal of the year but will spend his winters in Queensland. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) and I can hope to encounter him as we go about our researches in that very salubrious part of this great continent of ours. I am quite certain that everybody unreservedly endorses these words of appreciation of very efficient service so kindly given.

Sir, Mr. O’Donnell has been a man of great self-control. I would not know whether he has approved or disapproved of what has gone on in this place. I am not even sure how he votes, although I do not suppose he gets much opportunity to vote in Canberra. One would never know whether his mind inclined to one side of the House or the other. He has managed to convey to all of us that impartiality which we know has marked his service and his devotion to the leadership of a very able task force which serves us here, namely, the “ Hansard “ staff. We hope that he will have many happy years in his retirement. We convey to him our best wishes and grateful thanks for the service he has given to this Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

Mr. Speaker, both with sadness and with pleasure I join in the felicitations in the farewell speech which you have delivered from the chair, and in which you have been supported by the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt), in honour of Mr. O’Donnell. Mr. O’Donnell is all that you have said of him and all that the Leader of the House has added. From what I have been told, Mr. O’Donnell has literary abilities. That fact has not been mentioned. He has written short stories and he has completed the manuscript of a book. I do not know what the book is about.

Mr Falkinder:

– Life in the jungle.


– It might be entitled “ Life in the Jungle “ or “ Gentlemen I Have Met “. It might have a number of titles appropriate to what has been written. I should like to read some of Mr. 0’Donnell’s short stories if they have been written with real candour and if they deal with the parliamentary scene. I have no doubt that now that he is free of all inhibitions and prohibitions he will follow his fancy as a literary man and write more short stories.

Mr Falkinder:

– After all these years, too.


– Yes. Maybe they will be published in due course and we shall read them. If Mr. O’Donnell publishes any books I shall be glad to buy them and see what he has to say. If he had been born two years later he would certainly have seen another Parliament, another Prime Minister and another Speaker. That might have given him inspiration for even another book.

Mr. O’Donnell certainly carries the good wishes of all the members. He has been the quiet man of the Parliament. He was always courteous, always anxious to please, always diligent in his work and always painstaking. Like all his predecessors in office whom I have known in the 23 years 1 have been here, he has set a remarkably high standard. It is no wonder that he carries into his retirement the good wishes of all honorable members. We wish him a long, happy, healthful retirement. We hope he will be able to follow the sports to which he is addicted and that he will be able to allow his imagination full flight in all the books he will write.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

Mr. Speaker, I should like to associate myself with what you have said and with what the Leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) have said. Each of us, I think, feels that he speaks for the whole House in expressing to Mr. O’Donnell appreciation for the service he has given to the Parliament over a long period of years. I say this for myself and my party, but I believe that I speak for every one.

It must be an unusual experience to sit for about 30 years in the Parliament, listening but not speaking. It must be an experience that none of us in our vocation can comprehend. I do not think we could take it, and it is just as well that some people can take it. The service that is given to us as individual parliamentarians and to those intelligent people who read “ Hansard “ afterwards is a greatly appreciated and very valuable service. There has been recognition, I am sure, under the administration of Mr. O’Donnell, as under his predecessors, of the unquestioned integrity of “ Hansard “, the unquestioned ability of the “ Hansard “ reporters and their unquestioned devotion to the duties that they have assumed. For all these things I say “ thank you “ to Mr. O’Donnell and express my warmest good wishes to him in his retirement.


– I should like to make a personal explanation at this time. Early in the 1930’s Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell came to live next door to my parents’ house in Canberra and to reduce that immediate neighbourhood to cultivation, law and order. I should like to thank Mr. O’Donnell in particular for the forbearance he has shown me for more than a generation, and to acknowledge that my conduct and speech have been made more gracious and acceptable by his ministrations over that period. I know that Mrs,

O’Donnell has sustained him and fortified him throughout that period.


– I rise on behalf of the rather indescribable section of the Parliament which I shall call the honorable order of backbenchers. I would like to express the thoughts of the members of that body, on both sides of the House I believe, to Mr. O’Donnell on his retirement. I suggest that at some very far distant date, when a headstone is erected it will bear the inscription, “ He tempered justice with mercy”.

House adjourned at 11.22 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 April 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.