House of Representatives
4 April 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

page 369



Debate resumed from 3rd April (vide page 367), on motion by Mr. Calwell -

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


.- Mr. Speaker, we come to the second annual censure motion. This is becoming an annual event. We can look forward in the future, year after year, to the Opposition putting forward a censure motion, because we shall be here in government while honorable members opposite are still in Opposition. Last year, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) brought forward a censure motion which was entitled in grand language “ The Seventeen Points “. Each of them failed. By the time he reached the stage of reciting the tenth point the people had forgotten what the first ones were. This year, apparently, he has decided not to fall into that trap, and he has not put up any points at all. He has not given any reasons for the censure motion. The real reason, of course, is unsaid. It is his realization that the tide has moved and that if he is to have any chance at all something must be done immediately. But even that hope will be frustrated.

One should compare the solidity of the Government and of the back bench people who support the Ministry, with the pitiful spectacle on the other side of the House. Honorable members opposite have faction fights. This fellow does not speak to that fellow, and that fellow does not speak to somebody else. They dislike each other. They do not believe each other. They do not trust each other, either within their caucus or in the Parliament. They have constantly before them the unity ticket question. They would like to avoid it but they cannot do so. It is always with them. It is a very severe running sore. The difficulty is that not only can they do nothing about it, but they do not want to do anything about it, because they are being held to ransom by those very people who organize the unity tickets.

Apart from the eternal unity ticket there is the infernal leftism that constantly pervades the Labour Party, in the party sense and also in the organizational sense. There is nothing that the members of the party can do about it. Recently, we had an exhibition of the external control of the party. We have heard of the 36 faceless men. Perhaps “ faceless “ is not quite the right word. I am sure that the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) has a face. Often, he turns the other cheek, and his face often has a wry smile on it when he is speaking of unemployment; but he is one of the 36 men. Compare that background with the background of the parties on this side of the House. They are solid parties. We are in government with a majority of one, but we are just as much in control of this House as we were with a majority of 31. We know what we are doing. We know what the Government is doing, and the Government has our confidence and our trust. Furthermore, day by day the electoral appeal that we are making to the people of Australia grows greater. We have confidence. We have loyalty.

The Leader of the Opposition has had his difficulties, and they are very great. They have been manifested over a period of years, both inside the House and outside it. He is greatly assisted by his Deputy Leader, the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Whitlam), who is a very clever man. He will follow me in the debate and I am sure that he will display great cleverness. He will display to the people of Australia how he can put an argument, how he can turn a phrase-

Mr O’Brien:

– Professional jealousy!


– No, not professional jealousy. He is a Silk of the New South Wales Bar. I have no jealousy whatever. I merely was pointing out the capacity that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has. It is a pity that he will not use it for the benefit of his party, but he will not so use it because his interests are in direct conflict with those of his leader and with that group of the Opposition which has as its leader the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) and the other group which has as its leader the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Coutts) who now sits on the back bench. He formerly was the Opposition Whip but his views were in conflict with those of the left wing of the party and when the left wing took over out went the honorable member.

The conflict for leadership is demonstrated at every point. The honorable member for East Sydney is constantly inciting riot. We had the spectacle one night of the Leader of the Opposition leading some members of his party in one door while the honorable member for East Sydney was leading others out another door. The honorable member for East Sydney gives no loyalty whatever to his leader or his deputy leader because, make no mistake, the honorable member still regards himself as a highly-favoured colt in the leadership stakes.

But the Leader of the Opposition can call upon others in the party. For instance, there is the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) who is a great help. Do honorable members remember his speech on New Guinea two years ago? At that time he said, in effect, “If I were an indigenous inhabitant of New Guinea I would take up arms against Australia to force independence”. That statement did not have a very favorable reception and the honorable member was quiet for a couple of years; but only this year he announced what he thought was Labour policy on New Guinea. The Leader of the Opposition ran hot foot into the chamber and said: “That is not my view. The honorable member is speaking for himself”. So the honorable member for Hindmarsh can be a great help but he was not a help on that occasion.

You cannot really blame him for acting as he did because the Leader of the Opposition wanted to declare war on Indonesia about a year ago. I recall the headlines in the press telling us what the Leader of the Opposition wanted to do to New Guinea. I wonder what the 36 men would have thought if the Leader of the Opposition had asked the Government to declare war on Indonesia. They would not have liked it a little bit. They are pacifists. They are people who believe in the integrity of Australia and they think every one else does so, too. But we are Australians who stand on our own feet and are prepared to face up to our own responsibilities.

If you compare the reality and the loyalty on this side of the House with the factions and internecine warfare which exists in the Labour Party, how can you believe that this want of confidence motion has the slightest chance of success? Measure the Labour faction fights against this Government’s achievements. You can point to a number of things. For one thing, we have stability in very fine measure. The consumer price index has scarcely moved for two or three years. So stable has it been that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has not found it necessary to alter the basic wage. Then there is the matter of savings. Never have the savings of the Australian people been at such a high level as they are to-day. There have been tremendous increases in production. I suppose there is no simpler way to point to the incredible increase in production than to refer to the fact that 41,502 motor cars were registered in January and February, 1961. In January and February, 1963, there was an increase of almost 11,000, the number registered being 52,325. We have had a comprehensive legislative programme. We have had realism in defence and we have had development in our foreign affairs. Over the period of this Government we have moved into the field of Asian relations. We have demonstrated that we are a country whose views ought to be sought, a country capable of putting sound and reasoned views.

Now let me come to the speech which launched all this - the speech of the Leader of the Opposition. The honorable gentleman did not merely confine himself to the sixteen months of this Government’s present term. He cast his net wide to drag in all the little sprats, or minnows perhaps, that he could find. He said - and I think this is one of the most important aspects of his speech - that he hoped that the House would carry the motion. It is a very scant hope. We have the numbers to oppose the motion and there is nobody on this side of the House who will use his vote in any other way. I am sure that the Leader of tha

Opposition would like to be as confident about the people on his side of the House.

It is worth examining the honorable gentleman’s speech in some detail to see the errors and fallacies that crept into it. The honorable gentleman said, for instance, that deposits with the trading banks had risen by £221,000,000 and that savings in the savings banks had risen by £220,000,000 in twelve months. He also pointed to the fact that the loan market had produced £206,000,000 after only two of the usual three flotations. This is a mere £647,000,000 in total. If you divide that amount by the number of people in the work force you find that in two years every member of the work force in Australia, has on average increased his savings by £150.

It is only a matter of two or three years ago that we were pointing to the fact that the average savings of the people amounted to £112 each. The figure moved up and up, and we were very proud of that. Even the Opposition did not seek to detract from it. So, in this period of stability, the amount of savings of every member of the work force has increased by £150. The Leader of the Opposition uses this as a vehicle to criticize. What nonsense that is! He said that there must be lack of confidence if the people are saving. This is just a non sequitur - a complete non sequitur. Simply because people are anxious to save, and have never been so well-equipped to save, is not a demonstration of lack of confidence. For years, Government policy, guided by economists, was directed to asking people to save. The message got through and they are saving, because economic conditions are such that they can save.

The honorable gentleman said that there is lack of confidence. According to him, the people are not spending because they are saving. Yet personal consumption over the last two years has risen by £244,000,000 a year. This is something to be inordinately proud of as a government. The honorable gentleman also said -

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.

The honorable gentleman forgets completely the time factor involved. He has no advisers, and apparently he cannot do the job himself. He is not able to look at the critical economic indicators that exist at the time and make a decision on those economic indicators as they are. What is true to-day cannot be thought to be necessarily true in a year’s time.

The Opposition works on a very simple theory. That is, that if you keep saying the same thing, ultimately it is going to be the right thing. Then you can look back, with the benefit of hindsight, and say, “I was right”. Having established that you must have been right you then go round assiduously saying: “ I am infallible because I was right. If I had been able to do then what somebody else did later, and which proved to be right, everybody would admit I was infallible “. This is the sort of theory on which the honorable gentleman works.

The Leader of the Opposition referred to banking proposals, but he merely said that they would be dealt with later by others. He spoke about interest rates and used the same cyclic argument. That is: If you say what you believe often enough conditions will change and you will be proved to have been right. He said that in August last year the Opposition asked the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) to reduce interest rates. In fact, interest rates were reduced in March of this year, seven or eight months later. One cannot assume that because it was right to do that in March, 1963, it would have been equally right to do it in August, 1962. Indeed, the reverse is the case. The Opposition in general, and the Leader of the Opposition in particular, have adopted a rigid, doctrinaire approach to economic matters. The rigidity is such that the honorable gentleman cannot make adjustments to meet specific subjects. The consequence is that he preaches his own infallibility.

The Leader of the Opposition spoke about low interest rates. Let us compare interest rates in Australia with those in other countries. The yield on the longterm market in Australia is 4.9 per cent., in New Zealand 5.2 per cent., in Canada 5.1 per cent, in France 5 per cent., in West Germany 6.2 per cent, and in Italy 5.5 per cent. I have been able to learn of only two countries which have a lower interest rate than that in Australia. I refer to the

United States of America and Belgium. In the United States of America the rate is 3.9 per cent. Would honorable members opposite like to swap interest yield on the long-term bond market amounting to 1 per cent, for the degree of unemployment that exists in the United States of America? Of course, they would not. The level of unemployment in that country is approximately 5 per cent. In fact, the President has appointed an economic advisory committee which is dedicated to finding a means of reducing the level of unemployment in that country to 4 per cent. I would sooner have a higher interest rate than have America’s unemployment problem. In Belgium the interest rate is 4.1 per cent. Let honorable members opposite think of the troubles that Belgium has experienced recently. I should not like to swap interest yield amounting to .8 per cent, for those troubles.

Then the Leader of the Opposition came to the subjects of education and housing and made this remarkable statement: “I shall not deal with these. I rely on the debates of last week.” My recollection of the debates we had last week is that the Opposition was tarred. Speakers on this side of the House wiped the floor with honorable members opposite. I repeat that the Leader of the Opposition said that he relied on the performance of the Opposition in those debates. In relation to housing, we rely on our performance as a government. Ninety thousand commencements is not a bad performance. Although the Leader of the Opposition said he would leave it to his colleagues to deal with the subject, he did make one little foray into the field of housing and spoke about the adoption by the Government of the fallacious premise of the free market. If the free market is a fallacious premise, what is not fallacious? What is certainly fallacious is the socialist, doctrinaire rigidity of controls that the Opposition believes in. We on this side of the House do not believe in such controls. Two great things separate us on this side of the House from honorable members opposite - first, the socialist control and subjugation of the individual and, secondly, the preparedness of honorable members opposite to walk hand in hand with the party’s left wing and, indeed, with those who espouse Communist policy. We do not believe in those things, and we never will.

The Leader of the Opposition dealt with three other matters - foreign investment, the development of the north, and defence. He said, “You might not see a string connecting them all, but I assure you that they are connected “. He said that the Government had refused to regulate the volume, the direction and the nature of foreign investment. That is a blanket criticism. He did not tell the House, the nation or the world what the Opposition would do. What would it do - control the direction? What is the direction to which he objects? He has not told us. What is the volume to which he objects? What level would he fix it at? He has not told us. He has not told us the nature of the investment that he would permit. He makes a blanket accusation and leaves the matter unexplained, expecting that to be accepted as the basis of an argument on a censure motion.

Mr Buchanan:

– He has not been told himself.


– That is true. He says that we must have foreign investment because of our trade situation. Has he not looked at the statistics? Does he not know of the tremendous advances we have made in export action? Is he not aware of the business community’s reaction to the export incentives introduced by the Government? Australia is making good progress in the export field. As far as foreign investment in Australia is concerned, I for one welcome it. I am sure that all honorable members on this side of the House and the great Australian public welcome overseas investment in this country.

The Leader of the Opposition sought support for his argument from a statement by Mr. Staniforth Ricketson. That statement is certainly no support for the opposition’s censure motion.

The statement was -

In some quarters there has been a tendency to suggest that we in Australia should be grateful for the good things they have provided -

That is referring to foreign investments - 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.

In other words, the person quoted by the Leader of the Opposition has pointed to the state of the Australian economy and has claimed that it attracts people from all over the world. Is that the basis for a censure motion? I will not have anything to do with objections to the word “ profit “ because I hold that the profit motive is a perfectly respectable motive. It is a motive that encourages the dynamic activity that is so necessary for the development of Australia. What does the Australian Labour Party propose? Have the 36 men given an answer? If noi, why does not the parliamentary party be bold and brave, and say what it thinks, or are honorable members opposite afraid of being disciplined and expelled?

The next matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition was the development of the north. This was a magnificent part of his speech. I thoroughly recommend it for close scrutiny. He said that we must have great development in the north. He proposed two things - a separate ministry to deal with the north and taking the Snowy Mountains team to the north. He did not tell us what that team would do when it got there. Where is the magic in a ministry or in a team of men if you do not know what they will do? Nothing in this regard has been suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. The facts are that the Government has been developing the north. The north is growing. The Government has taken a great many steps to increase the development of the north.

Next the Leader of the Opposition dealt with defence. This was the best joke of the lot. In effect, the honorable gentleman said: “There have been rumours that the Government will not attack us on economic matters but will attack us on our defence policy. I want to get in early and stifle all this. If the Government attacks us on our defence policy, that will be a nasty thing to do because it will injure Australian relations with the United States. It would be wrong to introduce the slogans of the cold war into the debate”. Having said that, and thinking he had protected his flank, he told us what Labour’s defence policy was. Do you know what that policy was as revealed by the Leader of the Opposition? He told us that it was the same policy as Labour held in the darkest days of 1943 - that is, the defence and the inviolability of Australian territory. What does that mean? Not a single thing! The point is that the Leader of the Opposition did not have the courage or the authority to extend further into the defence field; he did not have the authority of the 36 men. They are the people who determine Labour’s defence policy and to say that it is a defence policy is meaningless. The honorable gentleman was in difficulty there because this is the help he received from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) during the debate on the Estimates, on 5th October, 1961 -

The nuclear-powered submarine is a capital ship and is a major weapon for the country that has it. I recognize that very great difficulties confront any government in this matter. If a country is entirely equipped with nuclear weapons, every military action that it found itself involved in would tend to become a global nuclear war. If such a country had no conventional weapons, it would have to turn every action into a major war or be comparatively defenceless. So I am not making the criticism that there should be no conventional weapons; I am making the criticism that to have no nuclear weapons at all is really, in modern circumstances, to have no defence.

That is the view of another honorable member who is on the executive of the Opposition.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation in respect of a charge made against me by the honorable member for Bruce. It is quite untrue and seriously reflects on me. A few minutes ago the honorable member stated that I had said in this Parliament that if I were a New-Guinean I would take up arms and fight against Australia. He said that I had made that statement in the Parliament, but I refer to “ Hansard “, page 2841, volume 29, of 15th November, 1960, and not 1959, as the honorable member said. I was speaking to the bill to amend the Crimes Act. I said -

I point out that if agreed to this legislation will apply to the natives in the trusteeship Territory of New Guinea who have no right to vote, and therefore cannot remedy their grievances by constitutional means. . . . They have to remain in complete subjection, politically, socially and industrially until such time as this Government chooses, out of the goodness of its heart, to free them from the situation in which they now find themselves.

I want the House to remember what follows, and I place emphasis on this part of my statement -

I say now, and have always said, that there is absolutely no justification for overthrowing an established government by force provided the people of the country concerned have the right to remove a government constitutionally. But where the people of a country have not the constitutional right to remove a government, they have every justification for overthrowing that government by force, because there is no other way of removing it.


.- Mr. Speaker, I suppose honorable members on the other side of the House will be disappointed to know that I propose to vote for the motion now before the House. I have watched the techniques they have employed, particularly since yesterday afternoon. There was, for a while, no defence against charges laid by the Opposition, not only on the occasion when the motion was moved, but on prior occasions. That was particularly so last night when the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) clowned, because that was the only alternative left to him. Insofar as the Government has a defence policy, its supporters, in order to defend it against the Opposition, must perforce claim that the situation is all that it ought to be.

On the question of unemployment, the Prime Minister went on record as saying, “ It is not bad “. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Drummond) went on record as saying, “ It is the best situation in the world “. And Government supporters applauded him for saying that.

When honorable members opposite attempt to defend themselves on the question of education, they mainly repeat what the Prime Minister said in his White Paper in order to show what they have done. This looks formidable, until it is measured against the actual requirements of education. All the White Papers in the world will fail to alter the facts, and the facts will be analysed by the people and their representatives at a meeting to be held in the Exhibition Building, Melbourne, during May. Representatives of all the education authorities will meet and I know that they will condemn the Government, not for what it has done but for doing too little. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) had the temerity to ask a question about Commonwealth aid for education. The Prime Minister laid down flatly that this was the concern, not of the Commonwealth, but of the State governments. He said, “There it is, and a hundred speeches will not alter it “.

Every time Government supporters try to defend their record, they must say something that will react against them. They speak about defence and about the solidarity of members of their party on this matter. I have not seen evidence of this solidarity-, but I do know that when a Minister, almost a newly appointed Minister, had the temerity to say what he thought about the European Common Market, although subsequent events proved that he was more accurate than were the Prime Minister and the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), he was given the order of the boot and the Prime Minister was given the order of the noxious weed.

Government supporters are supposed to be completely united on the question of defence. I have here the March issue of the “ Australian Liberal “, the official organ of the Liberal Party of Australia, New South Wales Division, and I refer to page 8. I note that a conference was held. The honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) said that honorable members opposite do not receive instructions from outside; they are given advice. I suggest to him that he should always take that advice, because if he does not something will happen to him.

Mr Chipp:

– Are you speaking from experience?


– I have not had the experience yet. I joined the Australian Labour Party well knowing what the rules pa the constitution were. If our federal conference, our policy-making body, makes a decision, I follow that decision. I make no excuse for that. The report in the “Australian Liberal” under the heading “ State Council “ had this to say -

Concern with recent developments in SouthEast Asia and with some recent criticisms of defence policy appeared to be underlying factors in a lively debate in State Council on February 25 on a motion by Wakehurst Federal Divisional Conference that the defence vote “ should at least be doubled”.

I ask honorable members to note that this refers to a lively debate. If such a debate took place during a meeting of our policymaking body, it would be referred to by honorable members opposite as a shocking shambles. Let us read about what went on.

The report continued -

Mr. W. C. Wentworth said he had been shocked by Sir William’s speech and by the fact that he was pleased.

We all know who Sir William was. He was Sir William Spooner.

The report continued -

It is not a healthy situation. You cannot double a defence vote overnight. It takes time. But the Government has been in office for thirteen years and now caught “ with its pants down “…

The picture of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) being caught with his pants down - presumably his striped pants - is not very edifying. However, we have it on the authority of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) that, after thirteen years, the Government has been caught with its pants down. The article continued -

  1. . we are not spending per head one-half of what Britain is spending, or one-sixth of what the United States is spending . . .

Then, the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) was reported as follows: - “ Even if I were given £50,000,000 more now, I would not have the people to spend it on,” Mr. Cramer said. “You can trust the Government to do what is possible and proper.”

As with education, as with unemployment and as with housing, the Government is so satisfied on defence that even if it had another £50,000,000 to spend it could not spend it. That is the general attitude that has been maintained by the Government throughout.

Mr Cockle:

– What rubbish!


– A certain amount of rubbish would be contained in anything I read in the official organ of the Liberal Party. However, these facts were quoted by one of your colleagues.

Honorable members opposite have claimed that the Labour Party lacks solidarity. I have pointed out before that their technique is to attack where they cannot defend. Government supporters prefer not to defend because, each time they defend, they are bound to make more statements which will not square up with the facts. The solidarity of the Labour Party is immensely superior to that of the Liberal Party. One Minister was sacked. He got the order of the boot for exercising the privilege of free expression which honorable members opposite claim they all enjoy. That privilege, apparently, does not extend even to a Minister.

Another sample of the attitude of the Government to which I have referred exists in connexion with the Common Market. In 1957 Senator Hendrickson raised a serious question concerning the implications of the Common Market negotiations that were going on in that year. The question that he asked is reported at page 760 of the Senate “Hansard” of May, 1957, and a part of the report reads as follows: -

I ask the Government to give serious consideration to the calling of a meeting in Canberra, during the parliamentary recess, of representatives of the organizations mentioned . . .

They were rural, industrial and other organizations likely to be affected - so that Australia’s position can be thoroughly examined and the full impact on Australian exports of meat, wheat, wool and butter can receive the closest examination. In view of the necessity to maintain a favorable trade balance, this matter is of serious importance to every section of the Australian community.

What did the Government do? The then Acting Leader of the Government said -

If I were the Minister for Trade, I would not call a conference . . .

And the Government did not. It let the situation go along and deteriorate. Not only did the Government do that - this shows the differences of opinion that exist among members and supporters of the Government - but many members of the Government parties supported Great Britain’s entry to the European Common Market. I will quote one honorable member opposite. On page 66 of “ Hansard “ of 8th March, 1961, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) is reported as saying -

I believe that it is in the interests of everybody that the United Kingdom should join the European Common Market and that we should encourage everybody who can do so to try to move the United Kingdom towards that end.

So honorable members opposite do not always have a unanimous opinion.

Yesterday somebody - I think it was the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) invited us to have a look at, and invited at least some of us to say something about, our attitude to foreign relations and foreign policy. The Government has not a very proud record in that respect. There are 1,700,000,000 people to the north of Australia. Many of them go to bed hungry each night. Their problems and their relationships with this Commonwealth are very important to us, but the Government rates them as being worth only a part of the time of the eleventh senior Minister in the Cabinet. At one time the Government gave them a part of the time of a heavyweight Minister - I refer to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) - but now, when, as the House will agree, the situation is more serious, the Government has got down to giving them a part of the time of a bantamweight Minister.

I happen to know something of the Asian mind, having lived and worked with the Asians. My knowledge does not come from being on conducted tours or in prison camps. After all, one does not get to know the mind of the Asian peoples in prison camps any more than one gets to know the mind of the Australian people in the Goulburn prison. The Asian peoples have a newly found dignity and sensitivity. Their dignity has been outraged over hundreds of years. When we send a part-time Minister to those people, the first thing that happens is that they ask themselves, “ Who is this Barwick? “. When they have a look - as they do, because they are a thorough people - they find that this Government has affronted them by considering them and their affairs worth only the part-time consideration of the Attorney-General. They also find that he docs not know much about Asia; that he was an eminent company lawyer; and that among his achievements is the Crimes Bill. They are a freedomloving people and they are fighting for their freedom, so they would not be greatly impressed by his activities in that direction. They also find that his mighty achievement was the family destroying Matrimonial Causes Bill. Asians do not like that sort of thing.

In their newly found liberties and their newly found dignities, they would feel that the Government could have done better; that at least it could have considered their problems so important as to be worth fulltime consideration; and that it could have sent somebody who was really worth while. What the Government has done, in my view, understanding their minds, is to convey to them a deep insult. They know well enough that the Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) is a close friend of a Prime Minister who has never befriended them in any of their struggles and who, if he did not actually support apartheid, was very prominent among those who did not oppose it very vigorously. They know that the Prime Minister interfered in the Suez crisis. They also know that he torpedoed what they were attempting to do at the summit conference in New York. I believe that if the Government considers the friendship of the Asian people to be really worth while it should give more consideration to their dignity and their aspirations than it is giving now.


.- The honorable member for Darebin (Mr. Courtnay), who has just sat down, rambled on and left the impression that whether he sits at the back over there or whether he sits at the back over here is a matter of complete indifference to him.

The extraordinary feature of this debate has been that speaker after speaker, including the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), who sits next to the honorable member for Darebin, has referred to my recent experience with the Government, trying to convey the impression that I encountered some great dictator who quickly chopped off my head. Honorable members opposite talk of independence of thought. Let me suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that there is such a thing as independence of thought and that there is also another thing which is important, and that is Cabinet solidarity. It so happened that I took a view which differed from that of the Cabinet on something which I thought at that time was very important. I still think it is important, although conditions have changed. In those circumstances the importance of Cabinet solidarity was recognized, but to suggest that there was a one-man type of dictatorship that organized this affair is completely misguided.

While I am on this subject let me refer to the silly myth about the great wisdom of Senator Hendrickson, who, it is suggested, showed himself to be a great prophet when he referred to the European Common Market in a statement on, I think, 16th May, 1957. This issue has been around for years. Anybody who took any interest in what was going on in the world would have known and appreciated that issues involved in the development of the European Common Market arose long before 1957. Since we are talking in this way for the record, let me say that even I, in my maiden speech in this House, mentioned the European Common Market as a great issue that would cause us in Australia increasing concern. That statement pre-dated the one made by this great prophet. However, that is neither here nor there. Every thinking person outside the Parliament would have appreciated what was happening. The members of the Labour Party may not have understood the developments that were taking place, but to most of the world they had been obvious for a very considerable time.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) made a reference to me in his speech. It is not that I am important, of course; it is simply that the honorable gentleman dragged me in because my difference with the Cabinet may have been considered useful as something with which to embarrass the Government. The Leader of the Opposition said that I had stated that the economy was moving sideways. Then he made a most intruiging addition to my statement. He said I had stated that the economy was moving sideways like a crab. I never mentioned the word “ crab “, but I suppose he is preoccupied with crabs because they have been biting him for years. What I did say - and I repeat the general import of what I have been saying, as distinct from odd bits which may have been lifted and exploited in various directions - was that the economy was in basically good shape for further advance; that in some cases there was a certain lack of confidence, and that a large part of the business community was in the position of being liquid but reluctant. To suggest that the present atmosphere was primarily due to the Government’s actions would be quite contrary to the main tenor of much of what I have said.

The unfortunate fact is that the Labour Party can never understand anything happening anywhere in the economy for which the Government is not responsible. This is a pitiful outlook, that the only group of people who count in economic considerations are the members of the Government. Of course the stage has now been set for economic improvement. Even the Leader of the Opposition referred to the amount of money that was available, although he went on to talk about confidence. If we really wanted to dampen confidence the most effective step we could take would be to carry this motion of want of confidence in the Government. Where would confidence be then? What would happen to this foreign investment which the Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party so strongly dislike? Again he called to his aid Mr. Ricketson, who is always interesting. Certainly he is often right, but he is also often wrong. Be that as it may, what the Labour Party is singularly silent about is what it would do with foreign investment. Would it stop foreign investment? Would it impose irksome conditions on foreign investment? Would it say that 50 per cent, or 55 per cent, of every company in which foreign capital is invested should be owned by Australians? Would it in fact move a finger to do anything about the position? We are entitled to know that, and foreign investors are entitled to know it because accidents can always happen. Sometimes the worst occurs and, by accident, a Labour government could come into office and it would probably be three years before the people woke up to what was going on.

The business community is entitled to know just what a Labour Government would do, what its policy would be and what its policy means. The Labour Party talks about foreign investment, but what in fact would its policy be about foreign investment? All this chatter goes on, but we have only to look at the record of Labour governments to see what could happen. When Labour was in office in a most tricky period of our foreign exchange crisis during the war and shortly afterwards, it always permitted the remittance of profits and dividends, with only une small and rather curious exception. Why did it do that? It did so because it was put to the then government that if it interfered with the process the stream of foreign investment would dry up. What has the New South Wales Labour Government done? It has established an office in New York to encourage the flow of foreign capital to the State. What does every responsible government do? It adds what resources it can to Australia’s development. What is this useless chatter of the Labour Party designed for? It is designed to deter foreign investment. Until the Opposition comes forward and, instead of merely saytog that it just does not like foreign investment, instead of just snarling at foreign investment and so forth, says what it will do, its criticism of the Government is all just so much useless, idle chatter.

I have not risen to talk mainly about economic matters because the area of dispute is small. The Leader of the Opposition refers to an essay he read out six months ago advising the Government to do something, then he says that the Government has done it, and, because it has done what he says he advised it to do, he blames the Government. Then he reads another essay and says the Government has to do something else. If you stripped him of his essays and asked him a few questions about the economy, he would be a very puzzled man. Economic policy, which is certainly an area of conflict, and which we normally discuss in this House, is very small stuff compared with foreign policy, defence and security. They are fundamentals, and there are certain things that should be put straight in the record. One relates to the great days of 1943 and the war effort of the Labour Party. Among the members of the Labour Party - indeed, the prevailing majority of that Party, and certainly its rank and file members and those who are in this House - are patriotic men who are on Australia’s side. But look at the history of the war effort of the Labour Party. At the beginning of hostilities, many of the members of the Labour Party were right in the war effort, but a large section of its members - the Communist influenced section - endeavoured to sabotage the war effort. They only started to give support when Hitler attacked Soviet Russia in 1941. I was in the Army with some of them in 1941. They were roped in and did not like it very much, but with the entry of the Soviet into the war we heard a different story. Of course, the enemy position was greatly reinforced in December, 1941, when Japan came into the war. Many people did not feel very secure in December, 1941.

The Labour Party came to office and was then in charge of the war machine. I do not want to detract from what the Labour Government did during the war years, except to say that the war effort’ of Australia was made by the nation, by the armed forces and by the people in industry. Certainly, a large number of able men in the Labour Party worked very hard; but do not let us exaggerate. Whichever party was in office at that time would have done its very best. The industrial-based war machine was very largely built up before Labour came to office, because industry cannot be re-organized to fight a war in a year or eighteen months. Many of the foundations were laid beforehand. In fact, when Japan came into the war the military direction was handed over, very largely, to the Americans, and sensibly so. The Government of the day was sitting in a prominent position, with a marvellous publicity machine at its disposal. The present Leader of the Opposition then had at his hand a very ready instrument. The members of the Labour Government during the war years all played their part and gave good leadership. Do not let us detract from that, but so, one would hope, would any substantial group from the Australian Parliament, at any time and in similar circumstances.

Now let me come to events which happened after the war. During the war Labour was only too pleased to call the Americans in. They were our friends then. But what happened afterwards? The Americans said, “ We would like to establish a permanent base at Manus “. The Labour Government said: “ No, you can clear off now. Your work is done. You saved our skins, but there is no more need of you, and what is more, we do not trust you “. That is what the policy at that time amounted to. But what is the defence policy of the Labour Party now? The Government’s policy is clear enough. We want to see to the north of Australia, between us and Communist barbarism, a belt of nations, peaceful and friendly, enjoying economic progress and with a rising standard of living. We are giving economic aid to those countries, and we are helping to educate their people on a large scale. An essential point is that we should put in our military forces to help the situation there. The standing edict of Labour Party policy, the edict of these 36 people from outside, is to pull back our troops. Do they want the United States of America to pull out of that area? Do they want the United Kingdom to abandon Singapore and Malaysia? Do they want the American and British armed forces to be removed from those areas, or only our forces? Do they want somebody else to do our work?

We want to hear about these things and to have them made clear. Apparently, Labour Party opinion on the defence position varies. At one stage we are attacked for not providing sufficient defence, and at another stage for wasting money. It is said that we should not spend so much money on defence, but should devote some of it to the construction of roads, or to some other purpose. In fact, the Government’s policy is, within the scope of our resources, to build up the most efficient conventional arms that it can. Of course, under modern conditions our total forces could be only a modicum of what would be required for Australian defence in the event of a major world conflict. In such circumstances, what would be our position? The Americans have come along and said, “We need for our forces a radio communications centre in Western Australia “. Certain elements in the Labour Party - not all of it, of course - have said: “We have been misled. Things are being hidden from us”. When the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) repeated the various announcements that he had made on the matter it was said that he had not mentioned the word “ submarine “.

Any one who followed modem naval affairs to-day surely would not think of a naval communications centre from which submarines were excluded. With what types of vessel would such a station communicate - fishing smacks? What would anybody think that the station was intended to do? The suggestion concerning submarines may come quite genuinely from some honorable gentlemen opposite, but not from others. Many were aware of the implication from the first. For instance, the honorable members for Yarra (Mr. Cairns) and Reid (Mr. Uren) were alert to it; and certainly the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who takes a great interest in naval matters, would have indicated, if he had been asked, that he had a very clear idea, in general terms, of what it was about. There is this constant hostility to the United States of America which runs through such a large part of the Labour Party and which could be disastrous for Australia.

This radio communications centre is ons of the essential things in the defence of the free world, because there will lie nuclear submarines with atomic warheads and hydrogen warheads stationed all over the world at strategic places. If Australia could not avoid the front line in 1914 - I think in World War II. we declared war on Nazi Germany even before France did - and if we were in Korea right at the beginning, how could we expect, as the countries of the world get closer and closer, to escape the next catastrophe, should one occur? To speak of a nuclear-free zone in the southern hemisphere is to try to cut the world in half, to put your head in the sand and forget what is going on. I heard on the radio only this morning about the latest device - satellites cruising around in space within measurable distance. Nuclear bombs may be delivered from satellites circling the globe. How absurd it would be to suggest that a satellite 700 miles up in the sky would be used only to look at the Equator. When it reached the Equator, would it reverse gear? The sooner Australians, particularly those in the ranks of the Labour Party, realize that we are part of the free world and in the front line, and that we will survive or perish with the rest of the world, the better.

Right through this fantastic attitude of the Labour Party to the naval communications station runs mistrust of the United States of America and hostility towards it.

Cannot any one opposite believe in the good faith and good sense of a friend? I happen to have spent five of the best years of my life closely watching the United States colossus at its centre, in Washington, and I have no hesitation in saying that by and large the American people are the most generous in the world. There are more people in America who think not in the nationalist terms but of saving the whole world and of the future of man and civilization than anywhere else. That thinking runs right through their schools. Of course, any one could pick out, say, a general from the Pentagon who was inclined to shoot off his mouth to the press and make the kind of silly headlines which rapidly get around the world and alarm some people. But what about the Leader of the Opposition in this Parliament? However misguided we may think him, we certainly like and respect him; but if we were to judge him by his daily press statements - this constant shooting off of the mouth - what would we think? We do him the credit of believing that he did not gain the office he holds by being quite so silly as that.

The broad stream of our policy runs on. Suppose nuclear war is let loose and these submarines are in the Pacific, forming an essential part of the defence force of the free world. What will we do? The missiles are already in the air. Everything possible was fired when the war commenced. What will happen? In Canberra the Labour Prime Minister will blow a whistle and summon his 36. He has the whole of Australia to choose from, so where will the 36 go? They will go to the nearest possible spot to the Soviet Embassy. There, running around the bushes in the night, will be the Labour Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. At least wc can take comfort from this: The Leader of the Opposition, aged and ailing, is still a man with a certain courage; he is prepared to take risks and to run in the bushes in the dark of the night with the crown prince close at his heels.

However, the Leader of the Opposition did venture one serious challenge. He claimed that there should be a general election. In certain circumstances, this challenge must be taken seriously. The proposed United States base will be a vital link in the defences of the free world. You cannot have 100 or 200 people in complete agreement. We know from long experience that any agreement which is reached by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet certainly will preserve all reasonable Australian rights and sovereignty. Of that we can be sure. In the end, we can take only one of two positions on this. Either we go along with it or we adopt the attitude which has been taken by the honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Cairns). In the final analysis, you are either in it or you are not. There is serious equivocation on this matter by the representatives of one-half of the nation. They can only be sure of narrow support for this base from the party generally, and an accident could bring that party to power. Ii. is only reasonable for Australia to say where it stands on this issue. If there is any serious equivocation, in the end the issue should be decided by the people of Australia at a ballot.


– I support this motion because the Opposition is attempting to give Australia something it has not had in the last thirteen years, that is, government by the Australian Labour Party. We hope that it will not be very long before we are in office. The honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), in keeping with the general attitude of Government supporters to the debate, has treated the matter with levity. Honorable members opposite have smeared every member of the Labour Party and every Australian who voted for the Labour Party. Let me remind the House that 300,000 more people voted for Labour than for the Government parties, so in insulting us honorable members opposite are insulting the Australian people. There seems to be an outcry coming from the Government side of the House. I do not know why this should be, because honorable members opposite have done nothing to deserve even the privilege of interjecting. This Government has been in office for thirteen years but it has nothing to its credit.

The honorable member for Wentworth did mention something about the defence system that was built up prior to 1939. I remember only too well the conditions which existed between 1939 and October, 1941, when the Curtin Government took office. I was one of the unfortunate people who lived in the vicinity of the Brisbane line at the time arrangements were being made to shift cattle inland from the coast to feed the armed forces. I was one of the people who were given wooden guns to defend certain important projects. Those wooden guns sometimes created little disturbances. One night a soldier on guard challenged someone who was in a restricted area. He challenged him three times and finally said, “ Stand or I will fill you full of white ants “. That was the kind of defence system we had in 1939. Then, thank God, we had an election and Curtin took the reins of office. In February, 1942, bombs were dropped on Darwin. Then Curtin sent his clarion call around the world, but directed it particularly to America because we had been more or less given away by every other country. The Liberals opposed that action. During the Budget debate in 1942 it was criticized by Mr. Abbott, the then honorable member for New England, who wanted to know what right the Australian Prime Minister had to ask America for assistance. Mr. Abbott wanted to know why Mr. Curtin had not approached personally the Prime Minister of Great Britain, the President of the United States and - this rather intrigues me - Mr. Stalin.

Mr Einfeld:

– Uncle Joe!


– Yes, Uncle Joe. Mr. Abbott decried the Labour Government of the day because Mr. Curtin did not go to see Uncle Joe before approaching America for assistance. He claimed that Mr. Curtin had done the wrong thing by not interviewing those world leaders. Another strange thing happened at about the same time. The then honorable member for Richmond attacked the Labour Government for not telling the people and the then Opposition in advance that the Prime Minister intended to seek aid from America. Any honorable member can read these things for himself in “ Hansard “ if he wants to learn the true record of the present Government parties.

Something like £2,000,000,000 has been spent on defence in the last ten years but still we are short of submarines, destroyers and aircraft of various kinds. We still are using Canberra bombers which probably were obsolete when we obtained them. We still are waiting for delivery of the Mirage fighters which were ordered two years ago. That is all we have to show for the expenditure of £2,000,000,000. We have reverted to the days of 1939 when the person who is now the Prime Minister told the world what a great man he thought Hitler was and told us in Australia that we should adopt some of Hitler’s ideas.

Mr Duthie:

– That was 1938.


– That is right, 1938. Our defence system to-day is practically in the same white ant stage as it was in 1939 when men were given wooden guns to defend Australia.

Mr Chaney:

– That is not true and you know it. That is just an attempt to decry the armed services, which did a magnificent job.


– The present Government’s magnificence seems to be in its use of words. There is nothing magnificent about its record. There is nothing magnificent about the wave of prosperity about which we have been reading and about which we have heard so much from the Prime Minister. I am giving a few facts. The other night the Minister - I nearly said the “ Minister for Unemployment “, but honorable members know his title - gave out certain figures and said that in a matter of a month or so we would have very few people unemployed in Australia. He neglected to tell the House that a special grant had already been made which will last about a month and will have a definite effect on the next month’s unemployment figures. He did not say that people given work as a result of that grant would be back on the books again inside six or seven weeks. I am attacking the honorable gentleman because I feel that he plays an important part in the economics of this country. The Minister also did not mention the very tough pockets of unemployment that were created by the Government’s recession ideas of a couple of years ago, although these hard cores of unemployment remain.

I gathered some informative figures for the district between Taree and Murwillumbah, in New South Wales, which suggest that people who were thrown out of work in the timber industry during the recession, and have not returned to the same jobs, will continue to be a problem for the Government unless something is done about them. In November, 1962, Kempsey had 289 unemployed, in January, 1963, 340 unemployed, in February, 338, and in March, 315. In November, 1962, Lismore had 404 unemployed; in January, 1963, it had 498 unemployed, in February, 548, and in March, 502. At Murwillumbah in November, 1962, there were 177 unemployed; there were 209 in January, 1963, and in February, 251. The March figure was 239. You can see from these figures, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the position has remained consistent.

I have not the figures for Taree for November, 1962, but in January, 1963, the unemployed there numbered 307. In February in Taree there were 340 people unemployed and in March there were 315. This shows a 30 per cent, rise on the figures for 1961, in the worst part of the recession, but this has been very smoothly ignored by members on the Government side.

It is only a month or so ago that the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) attended a conference in that district, and was careful to avoid any reference to the unemployment difficulties there. Perhaps the people attending the conference were too polite to mention unemployment to him, but in any case the problem was not mentioned. I cite the figures for this area merely as an instance, but the area has its counterpart almost anywhere in Australia. It is no good saying that things are different up there from anywhere else. We have the same picture all over Australia. The pattern of unemployment is the same everywhere, but the Government has done nothing whatsoever about the problem.

Mr Anthony:

– What about the money that the Commonwealth made available to New South Wales for the relief of unemployment and which the New South Wales Government paid into its Consolidated Revenue Fund instead of using it in the way intended? ?»Ir. McGUREN.- I will tell you where that question came from - the Grafton branch of the Australian Country Party. Our friend has raised a very interesting point, and I am glad to be reminded of it. I have a letter here from the Grafton branch of the Australian Country Party which says - t

At a recent meeting of this Branch- j

This is from a branch of the Country Party. We are debating this motion now, because honorable gentlemen opposite are playing the game of two tongues, and I will prove that to the House. Honorable gentlemen ask why this censure motion has been moved. I repeat that the motion has been brought about by the fact that members on the Government side talk with two tongues to the people of Australia. Mr. Deputy Speaker, on 8th September, 1962, 1 received a letter from the Grafton branch of the Australian Country Party which stated -

Now that Flood Mitigation Councils are operating on several of the North Coast Rivers, the value of the jobs they are doing is becoming more clear.

The nation stands to gain much from the money invested in such works and the Branch resolved to approach the Federal Government with a request that they contribute on a £ for £ basis with the State Government to give the councils sufficient finance to expedite their programmes.

We therefore ask your asistance in placing this request before the Federal Government.

On 4th October last I moved that the Government, as a matter of urgency, do something along the lines suggested by the Australian Country Party’s Grafton branch. We all know the story. The motion was defeated by one vote. It was defeated because the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock), who was in the Chair at the time, voted against it, as did the honorable member for Richmond.

The Grafton City Council later asked the honorable member for Richmond what his approach to flood relief was. Now we have an example of the double meaning, double-tongued approach that members of the Government are using. As I say, the Grafton City Council wrote to the honorable member for Richmond and asked him for his opinion on the question of Federal aid for flood mitigation. The honorable member’s reply was reported in the press under the heading “ Mr. Anthony Replies to Council Query “ in the following terms: -

Over the years he had consistently fought for the highest possible Commonwealth allocation to N.S.W. so that Commonwealth money could be used to carry out vital work such as flood mitigation. _

Now I will show the House the kind of representation we have in our area. The honorable members whom I have mentioned have their counterparts all through the Government side, and it is no wonder that the people object to them. I have here an extract from the report of the 1962 Flood Mitigation Conference, which was held from 29th to 31st May, 1962. The honorable member for Lyne attended this conference and had this to say - . . the reduced production costs attributed to flood mitigation work could be used in argument for Federal Aid.

The same honorable gentleman moved out of the chair and voted against such a proposal in this chamber. These honorable members are typical of members on the Government side. Unfortunately, they and their colleagues have the running of the nation in their hands. I have given instances of the kind of double talk in which they indulge and of which the people are sick. That is the reason for this motion.

I want to give the House some facts on certain industries and with your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I will revert to the subject of unemployment. One of the industries I mentioned earlier was the timber industry. The 3/ 16th ply industry in Australia is absolutely finished because it cannot compete with Japanese imports. The Australian Plywood Board Limited, and various other organizations associated with the manufacture of plywood, have repeatedly asked for protection against imports. However, this has been of no avail, and the result is that our figures of production have fallen to about 30 per cent, of what they were. No assistance has been given by the Government to the people employed in semi-skilled occupations in the manufacture of plywood, timber-getting and various other jobs associated with the timber industry.

This Government was responsible for the introduction of a number of horror budgets which have produced an unfortunate state of mind in many people of Australia who, unfortunately, have not the capital to carry them over bad times. This is one of the prime reasons why we on this side of the House have moved the motion, which I support.

Minister for Trade · Murray · CP

.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I listened with interest to what the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) said, but it seemed to me to be a purely parochial speech about his own electorate. It is, indeed, an important electorate.

Mr McGuren:

– It was important enough for you to go up there to help the Australian Country Party candidate to try to win the seat.


– It is a very important electorate indeed, but the honorable member’s speech had little to do with a general want of confidence motion against the Government. I listened with more interest to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who seemed to me to be completely engrossed in what has occurred in Australia over only the last sixteen months. That takes us back to a time that is rather significant for him. It was then that he failed to win an election against a government which had been in office for some twelve years. I repeat that the Leader of the Opposition confined all he had to say to the period of 16 months since he failed to win an election against a government which had been in office for a record period. He had nothing to say about the general development of this great country of ours over the last decade or so. He made wild charges. I have read his speech and failed to find anything constructive that he had said in criticism of the functions of government for which I have carried a particular responsibility.

In the normal political scene an attack is expected to be met, and indeed is met, by a counterattack. In my opinion, and I am sure in the opinion of the whole House, when the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) spoke last night and took the Australian Labour Party’s record and policy to pieces he did so with such effect that the Labour Party was left without a feather to fly with. Consequently, there is little need for the rest of us on this side of the House to dissect Labour’s record, Labour’s proposals, Labour’s failures, and the outside control of Labour. It is against the background of the Prime Minister’s devastating analysis of Labour’s record and policies that I turn to treat the censure motion in a different manner and to bring to the attention of the House and the country as a whole the advancement of this great nation predominantly as the result of policies adopted by the Government. I do not intend to confine myself, as the Leader of the Opposition doubtless would wish me and other Government speakers to do, to dealing with the last sixteen months.

The growing strength and development of Australia during this Government’s term of office has been phenomenal. The facts speak for themselves. That development is exhibited in our great rural, mining and manufacturing industries. Usually we associate development with new projects. Speaking in those terms, I point out to the House that never has any other Australian government attempted to undertake the gigantic projects which this Government has initiated or aided. Let us consider, for example, the development of the north. This Government has provided £16,000,000 for the construction of beef roads in the Northern Territory and north Queensland. No other Commonwealth government has ever helped to convert the extensive fertile brigalow areas of the north from their primitive state to rich agricultural country. This Government has undertaken to find £7,500,000 for that project. No other Commonwealth government has accepted responsibility for the provision of coal ports with adequate loading facilities. We have not been content with a limitation of the export earnings of our great coal-mining industry because of neglect to establish coal ports. We have adopted a novel policy by providing approximately £3,000,000 for such facilities. Moreover, we have assisted in the conservation of water. This Government has undertaken the construction of a great dam on the Ord River which will soon result in the surrounding country becoming really productive. The Government’s undertaking to find funds for the great Chowilla Dam on the Murray River is further evidence of its record of achievement.

In addition to the projects I have mentioned, we have undertaken to provide £55,000,000 for the reconstruction of the Mount Isa railway line and the standardization of the rail gauge from Kalgoorlie to Kwinana. For the standardization of the rail gauge between Sydney and Melbourne we provided a sum of £15,000,000. All these projects are part of the record of a government which is determined to develop this country in our day. Over the past few years it has provided £6,500,000 to aid the search for oil in Australia. The construction or sealing of hundreds of miles of roads in the north form part of the story of real development. A sum of £20,000,000 has been found for the reconstruction of the Mount Isa railway, and the Mary Kathleen road in Queensland has been constructed with Commonwealth funds.

Let me turn now to our industries. I am proud to be able to recount that the tobacco industry in the Mareeba-Dimbulah area in the north, which was in a pitiful state - indeed it was a peasant industry when we inherited responsibility from Labour - this year will earn more than £8,000,000 for the growers. In other words, one small agricultural community in northern Australia will receive more than the whole annual pay-roll of the great Mount Isa mining complex. I am recounting a record of policies which have produced results. When Labour was in office 2i per cent, of the content of our cigarettes was Australian leaf, but to-day the proportion is upwards of 40 per cent. In the mumbled, jumbled criticisms which the Labour Party has levelled against the Government, we have not heard of a record like this. Let me remind honorable members opposite, too, of the development of the great Rum Jungle uranium complex and the encouragement this Government has given to the discovery and exploitation of our bauxite deposits, and to the production of aluminium principally in Tasmania but now pardy in Western Australia and Victoria. Developments of this kind have transformed our prospects for the future. Let the Queenslanders opposite who prate so much about the north listen to what I have to say about the sugar industry. When Labour was in office the sugar industry could not export 500,000 tons of sugar a year, but this year, consequent upon the adoption by this Government of policies of encouragement, the industry will export 1,250,000 tons. Honorable members opposite say that the north has been neglected, but just let us compare that achievement with Labour’s record.

I now wish to touch upon developmental projects which really merit individual consideration but which constitute part of the development of our manufacturing, mining and rural industries. A spectacular advance has been made in this sphere since this Government assumed office. Over the past thirteen years the production of pig iron and ingot steel in Australia has more than trebled, cement production has become two and one-half times as great, the production of sulphuric acid has doubled, superphosphate output has nearly doubled, and great new industries for the manufacture of petrochemicals, synthetic rubber, plastic materials, television apparatus, nylon yarn and tinplate have been established. This is all the result of a climate for expansion and confidence which has been established by this Government. This is the real story. The production of the coal-mining industry, which was a withered, fumbling, troubled, pitiful idustry when Labour was in office, has risen by 64 per cent. Lead production has increased by 29 per cent. Zinc production has increased by 77 per cent. Copper production has increased from 13,000 tons a year to 96,000 tons a year. What is the Opposition criticizing? Is this increased production wrong and to be condemned? I am not telling a fairy-story; these are cold facts flowing from this Government’s policies - from its determination to establish in Australia and in the minds of Australians confidence in the Government and create a climate that encourages and leads to individual and company decisions to do things in this country. In the field of manufacturing industry there is a greater degree of confidence in our protectionist system than existed before. The Tariff Board and its procedures have been streamlined. No longer is it necessary for an industry to wait until Parliament assembles before it can obtain a decision from the Tariff Board. Now this may be done when the industry needs protection irrespective of whether the Parliament is in session. This is a big thing for industry.

Mr Peters:

– It should have been done ten years ago.


– Why did not Labour do it years ago? The Labour Party never thought it was unsatisfactory for an industry to wait one, two and sometimes three years for a Tariff Board hearing to conclude and a decision to be taken, but under this Government an industry that has real prob lems knows that it can get a decision within 30 days. The Government’s policies- are one of the basic things that give confidence to Australian industry. Industry knows that the Government is genuine when it says that it wants industry to expand.

The latest innovation in this field is that, having regard to commercial and technological circumstances, an industry may, upon the recommendation of the Tariff Board, be protected by quantitative restrictions. There was no such thing until this Government introduced the system. No wonder employment in this field has increased from 900,000 persons in 1949 to 1,200,000 today. Never before were job opportunities of that character created at that pace.

Look at Australia’s record in the export of manufactured goods. In 1948-49 the value of these exports was £29,000,000. I concede that the value of money has changed since that time, but the cold statistical fact is that last year we exported, not £29,000,000 worth of manufactured goods, but £134,000,000 worth. Manufacturers know that we want them to export. We do not plead with them to export, but we point out that this country needs export income. The Government is establishing all along the line conditions that make it attractive for manufacturers to do the things that are desirable in Australia’s interests. That is why the Government introduced the investment allowance scheme which has encouraged the installation of the newest kind of plant for manufacture. To encourage exports the Government has introduced tax incentive systems. The Government filled a gap in the insurance field by establishing the Export Payments Insurance Corporation. The Government has subsidized shipping so that we may have adequate services to South America and the West Indies ports. There is no stagnation here. Surely this is a story of an active government doing things designed in this instance to encourage manufacturing industry in Australia.

There is no lack of enterprise in devising new policies. As I speak we are recounting great new policies at the rate of several a minute - something Labour could not boast of and never will think of. All this has been done in the closest partnership with industry, commerce and finance in this country. This is what we want. We do not want government managing the affairs of free individuals. We want government offering to work in harmony, partnership and mutual confidence with individuals. This is a story of which we are proud. It is a story of which all Australians may be proud. It is a story envied overseas.

Our record so far as the rural industries are concerned is comparable with our record in the manufacturing field. Largely as a result of research and tax incentives wool production has increased during this Government’s term of office by 61 per cent. That is a tremendous increase. Sugar production has risen by 96 per cent. - almost double in the life of this Government. Wheat production has increased by 30 per cent, notwithstanding the problems associated with the international marketing of wheat. The beef and veal industry has always been slow to expand. It is an industry that endured many hard times before this Government came to office but to-day beef and veal production has risen by 37 per cent. The production of mutton and lamb has risen by 83 per cent, and milk production has increased by 20 per cent. Such expansion does not take place unless the industries concerned have confidence. The expansion in those industries is an indication of their confidence in the Government. They are willing to invest and investment has produced results.

It is well known that we converted the mean stabilization schemes that we inherited from the Labour Government into fair stabilization schemes and that we will continue to sustain them. We have assured a fair home price for sugar. We have pursued policies of assistance to the tobacco industry which have produced the phenomenal results at Mareeba and Dimbulah to which I referred earlier, as well as in Victoria and New South Wales. To encourage cotton production the Government has introduced tax concessions and a 20 per cent, depreciation allowance. It has abolished federal land tax and provided money for research and extension services. It has assured security in the home market and entered into interminable negotiations to improve our access to overseas markets.

In its comparatively short period in office the Government has concluded nine major commercial agreements in four continents, protecting our existing markets, opening up new markets and diversifying our outlets. To-day more than half our total exports are protected under some form of negotiated, beneficial access to overseas markets. We have entered into trade agreements with the United Kingdom and Japan. We have flour agreements with Ceylon and Malaya. Arising out of the Japanese Trade Agreement our exports to Japan have increased by £100,000,000 a year. What has Labour to say about that? I hear nothing. Honorable members opposite are silent. But I remember what the Opposition said when the Japanese Trade Agreement was debated in this House. On that occasion the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), speaking for the Labour Party, said -

This agreement constitutes the greatest betrayal of Australian interests that has been perpetrated by this Government.

That is a measure of Labour’s imagination. Was the Opposition playing for Australia or was it playing for votes? It was playing for votes and the motion now under discussion is not related to the good of Australia; it is related to the good of the Australian Labour Party. The two matters are by no means synonymous.

As a result of that the Japanese Trade Agreement, which was opposed by every Labour supporter in both Houses, Japan has become our best customer for wool, coal, copper ores and concentrates and cattle hides and skins. Japan has become a very important customer for wheat, sugar, tallow and lead ores and concentrates. Japan is our second best customer, second only to the United Kingdom. Just as we negotiated the agreement with Japan, so we have continued to negotiate wherever there has been an avenue wherein the Australian voice could be heard with a hope of success - in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in the British commercial conferences, in Montreal, in the European economic centres, in Brussels and in Washington. As honorable members know, in a few days I will leave Australia to resume negotiations of that kind. I say, as I have said many times in this House, that our country, with its great programmes and needs, is under a disadvantage because we get less than fair prices for our bulk commodities on world markets. I have said before, and I repeat, that if last year the prices that obtained had been the same as in 1953 we would have had the equivalent of £540,000,000 more overseas income and this country would have had no problem at all in that regard. I now argue for this country - not for this Government - that we want a fair go in prices; and this is an enormous disability which Australia carries. But what am I possibly going to encounter? It will be retorted: “ No, it is not your problem, Mr. McEwen. Your problem in Australia is not inadequate prices. The alternative Prime Minister of Australia has explained that if your Government pursued different policies at home there would be no problem at all for Australia.” He has already discounted the whole of the arguments upon which I will rely overseas. His words can be quoted effectively against me when I fight for Australia overseas; and that is not good enough. I can only hope that no great weight will be attached to what he has said and that a proper evaluation - that it is a political stunt - will be placed upon his action. I have cited the facts of our growth and development and of our policy of employment. Honorable members opposite may sneer if they like, but there have been 300,000 more jobs in factories created in our days in office.

Here is the background against which the Leader of the Opposition claims that our trade policy has been a gigantic failure: There is now 61 per cent, more wool produced and sold and 96 per cent, more sugar produced and sold. What a gigantic failure! What nonsense! Where does Labour stand in regard to the European Economic Community? I have heard a lot of speeches from honorable members opposite and have studied them, but I cannot untangle their policies from those speeches. We have made our contribution in converting this country into a great and growing country. It is a prosperous country, by any world comparison, with a rising standard of living. In 1947, 59 per cent, of the houses in Australia were either owned or being bought by their occupants. I repeat that at that time 59 per cent, of the occupants were either owners or in the course of buying their homes. But in 1961 - my figures are a little out of date - of all houses occupied in this country 77 per cent, were either owned or in the course of being bought. No other coun try on earth has a record like that. This is a conversion of life for the ordinary people of Australia in our day. Whereas a few years ago one in every seven Australians owned a motor vehicle, to-day the average is one for every four people. The same position applies in regard to television sets, washing machines, refrigerators and all the other household appliances that are used. “ Wrong-headedness in policy “, says the Leader of the Opposition. Well, what this country needs is more of the same kind of wrong-headedness if it produces results of that kind.

Never before in the history of this country have such giant strides forward been made in growth, development, security and stability. Yet the Leader of the Opposition calls this political incompetence. I think he made a very ill-considered speech. It was torn to pieces by the Prime Minister last night, and the statistical facts of the Australian scene deny every criticism that has been made. This motion will kick back in Labour’s face.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has endeavoured to bring before the Parliament some facts and figures with regard to Australia’s exports under this Government. What a complete contrast that was to the clowning by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) last night, when he clowned for the best part of twenty minutes of the 45 minutes for which he spoke. The Minister for Trade endeavoured to bring facts and figures to the Parliament to substantiate what he said. Before he leaves the chamber I would like him to explain the difference between what he said here this morning and what he said at the Country Party conference on Tuesday of this week - not last week or two or three years ago, but two days ago. There, he said -

This country, with its empty and neglected north and inland is the most urbanized nation on earth. The tempo of concentration of population in a few cities grows at a rising rate.

Where do we go from there? This is the calamity howling that went on at the Country Party conference. This is what was said by the Minister for Trade, who has just resumed his seat after telling the House what this Government has done. I ask him to try to explain away the difference between what he said here to-day and what he said two days ago. Those are the facts.

The Minister gave us a great list of exports and of the increased production that has taken place during the reign of his Government. Let us look at the facts with regard to overseas trade. Is it not true that this Government incurred a trade deficit of £1,600,000,000 up to last year, and that already this year it is £150,000,000 behind? What does that mean? Is that not a clear indication of the lack of business administration on the part of the Government and particularly on the part of the Minister for Trade, as one of the leaders of the Government? The Minister referred to the export of wheat. I shall deal with that question and the Government’s trade policy together, as well as the attacks that have been made on the Labour Party whose sympathies, it is alleged - 1 emphasize “ alleged “ - lie with the Communist Party and Communistcontrolled nations. Let us examine our trade with Communist-controlled countries under this Government. In 1961 exports to those countries totalled £68,626,000. In the last trade year, 1962, £95,992,000 worth of goods was exported to Communist-controlled countries. The figures were: China £65,942,000, Czechoslovakia £4,877,000, North Korea £854,000, Poland £9,498,000, the Soviet Union £11,767,000 and Yugoslavia £3,054,000.

China to-day is our fourth best customer. We have only three customers better than China. They are the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States of America. Yet supporters of the Government have the temerity to stand up in this Parliament and attack Labour for its alleged sympathy towards the Communist Party. Members of the Country Party have assisted in what the Government has done. I defy any member of the Country Party to rise in this chamber and criticize the export of wheat to China. What has been the effect of that trade? Everybody in this Parliament and throughout the world knows that China has had a series of crop failures. This Government has exported upwards of £50,000,000 worth of wheat to China to help it out of the jamb it is in. If honorable members opposite really wanted to embarrass China and the Communist Party, what would they do? They would not export wheat to Com munist countries. Honorable members opposite criticize us because we say that we should trade with every one; but they are willing to accept all the money they can get from Communist countries, as has been clearly disclosed. The three principal exports from Australia to Communist countries are wheat, wool and steel; and no one can tell me for a second that those commodities cannot be classified as strategic commodities. The Government is prepared to trade with those countries to assist in their development, yet honorable members opposite stand up and criticize us and claim that our policy is wrong and that we sympathize with the Communist Party. We are the only party that can ever destroy communism, because we believe in lifting the standards of the people. We do not believe in excess profits, as honorable members opposite do. To me, “ excess profits “ is a dirty expression.

This morning, the honorable member for Bruce (Mr. Snedden) said that “ profit “ is not an unclean word, that he considered it a clean word. We, on the other hand, believe that the exorbitant profits made by the capitalistic system throughout the world have created communism and will continue to create communism. There is only one way to destroy communism and that is by lifting the standards of the people in the under-developed countries. We have campaigns such as the “ Freedom from Hunger Campaign “, but that is sheer hypocrisy. The United States of America, Great Britain and the other major countries should pay decent prices for the raw materials that they buy from the underdeveloped countries. If the people in the under-developed countries had decent incomes, communism would be destroyed. However, we have a lot of humbug and suggestions that the way to suppress communism is by resolutions and by acts of Parliament. As I have said, the only way to suppress communism is by lifting the standards of the people.

Honorable members opposite criticize men like the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), who has expressed the desire for world peace. He is criticized because he has the intestinal fortitude to express bis opinions on communism. He has made an effort to understand these people and to make friends with them, but he is criticized for doing so.

The Deputy Prime Minister also referred to subsidies paid to rural industries by this Government. However, whenever we on this side of the House suggest the payment of a subsidy to assist the development of Australian industries, such as the shipbuilding industry, we are criticized. We have suggested that subsidies be paid to the shipbuilding industry and the shipping industry so that we can compete with the Government’s friends who have monopoly interests in the shipping combines. We are told that it would be wrong to pay such subsidies and honorable members opposite deplore the payment of a little over £1,000,000 a year in subsidy to the shipbuilding industry.

Approximately six months ago the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) opposed every attempt we made to have subsidies paid to Australian industries. The position is that the Deputy Prime Minister is willing to pay subsidies to rural industries but is completely opposed to the payment of subsidies to secondary industries, which provide the greatest amount of employment for the Australian people.

I have referred to the conflicting statements of the Deputy Prime Minister. On Tuesday, he said that there is no development of the north, that the north is completely neglected. Then he gave a few figures which show that £25,000,000 to £30,000,000 is being spent on the development of this large tract of Australia. But let us look at the statement made in the middle of last year by Mr. Foots, the general manager of Mount Isa Mines Limited. In referring to development of the north he said that £35,000,000 was just a drop. A newspaper report had this to say -

Recent spending of £35 million on the development of North Queensland was a drop in the ocean compared to what was needed, Mr Isa Mines 0-td.), general manager (Mr. J. W. Foots) said yesterday.

I ask honorable members to bear in mind that of this £35,000,000, £30,000,000 will be spent on the Mr Isa railway. When we examine what the Government has done to develop the north we find that it has done practically nothing. The amount it has spent is only a drop in the ocean. What has the Government done to develop the Fitzroy basin, which is one of the largest basins in the Commonwealth? About 90,000 people reside there. It has a great potential. Water is available and the Government should provide for the storage of the water so that it can be used for irrigation and for the production of hydro-electric power. The Government should also encourage the development of the coal-fields and other natural resources there. But the Government is not prepared to provide the money for this development.

The time has long since passed when the Commonwealth should have commenced to take a part in the development of industry in this area by the provision of Australian money. The Government should invest in development in this area. When I was in the Fitzroy basin recently, I was sickened to see a huge drag-line crane with three names written along the side in letters about two feet high. The names were Thiess, Peabody and Mitsui. Any Australian would have been sickened at that sight. The resources of this country have been sold out to overseas monopoly interests. No one could convince me that the Peabody organization, which is one of the largest exporters of coal in the United States of America, is not out here to tie up the world market in coal, just as Vestey’s has done with the beef market. No one could convince me that the Mitsui organization, with all its interests in Japan, is not out here to destroy our export of coal or to tie it up so that it can make the arrangements best suited to it.

About six months ago, I asked the Deputy Prime Minister whether he would take action to ensure that the coal-fields in Queensland and New South Wales would not cut one another’s throats in the export trade. It is obvious that the Peabody and Mitsui organizations have come into Queensland to force down the price of coal. If they do force down the price in Australia, certainly their Queensland venture will lose money, but so will all the other Australian coal-fields and the organizations will more than make up their losses in the increased profits they will make in Japan. I ask the Government to examine these facts and to invest Australian money in this development.

The Fitzroy basin lends itself to development. But what has the Government done about it? It is spending a few thousand pounds on brigalow clearance. But who will be helped by this? The minimum amount needed to occupy one block in the brigalow country is £40,000. The blocks vary in size from 7,000 to 10,000 acres. A successful applicant must have a minimum of £40,000 for development before he will be eligible to enter the ballot. Does the Government consider that that is developing the area? Who will be the real people to develop the area? The big combines will put stooges into the ballots; they will be the only ones with sufficient money to develop the blocks.

No matter how Government supporters try to distort the facts that emerge from the present economic crisis, it is clear that the people no longer have confidence in the Government. I believe that the only way to test this assertion is to accept the challenge of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and to give the people the opportunity at the ballot-box to express their opposition to the Government. During this debate, honorable members opposite have attempted to deride the Australian Labour Party and to imply that Labour would not be able to carry out its responsibilities as a government. I want to quote a statement that was made twelve months ago by Mr. Staniforth Ricketson when he addressed a meeting of an investment company. He said -

Tn any case, previous Federal Labour Governments have never done anything to undermine confidence in the soundness of the Australian currency, and have acted in strict accord with British principles of honour and integrity.

Mr Curtin:

– Who said that?


– That is what Mr. Staniforth Ricketson had to say on 19th March, 1962, when presenting his financial report to one of the investment companies of J. B. Were and Son, which is one of the largest firms of its type in Australia. Mr. Ricketson is one of the leaders of the Australian business community, and that is what he thinks of the Australian Labour Party. Honorable members should also read his recent statement that the Government can claim no credit for investment in this country. It was a natural flow of credit into this country. I shall deal with this subject briefly. The Prime Minister said last night that overseas investors had confidence in

Australia and in this Government and that they would continue to invest in Australia, but if you examine the figures released this week you will find that the amount of investment in this country during the last twelve months has dropped by £100,000,000. The figure in 1961 was higher than that in 1960 and this year it is down completely.

Regarding employment, this Government has a shocking record. The figures clearly disclose that the Government does not know where it is going. Statement after statement has been made by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) but the fact remains that there is to-day a great amount of. unemployment. The spread of unemployment, at least over the last two years, has been the greatest that this country has had since the end of the depression of the 1930’s.

The figures for youth employment are shocking. In my district where there is a better break-up of figures, the position is this: In Cessnock, Maitland and Newcastle, there are 1,136 unemployed junior males and 1,468 unemployed junior females. The Minister for Labour and National Service said on Tuesday night in this chamber that jobs were coming forward at an extraordinarily good rate and that within a very short time employment would be found for all our unemployed juniors. What is the real position? In a bulletin issued by ons of his officers, Mr. Smee, the regional director for New South Wales said that these three centres in the Newcastle area had fifteen vacancies for junior males and fifteen for junior females. Yet the unemployment figures are 1,136 for males and 1,468 for females! That indicates the real unemployment position. The jobs are just not there.

Let us examine the number of apprentices being employed by the Government - a factor which could assist in reducing the number of unemployed. The Minister for Labour and National Service recently went to great lengths in this House to emphasize what the Government was doing to try to obtain employment for young people, particularly apprentices. The Government should apply the same principle to its own departments. For example, in the Department of Works 3,157 tradesmen are employed, but only 320 apprentices although the quota is 1,358. That means that they are 1,038 under the quota. In the Department of Supply 2,312 tradesmen are employed and only 682 apprentices, the quota being 867. So that department is 185 under the quota. From information supplied by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Opperman), who is at the table, the Commonwealth Railways employ 273 tradesmen and only 61 apprentices. The quota is 107, which means that the Commonwealth Railways are 46 under the quota. In the Postmaster-General’s Department 1,524 tradesmen are employed and 224 apprentices. The quota is 638 which means that the department is 414 under quota. So, in those four departments there are 1,683 apprentices fewer than should be employed. Where is the Government’s sincerity? These figures clearly disclose that the Government is not facing up to its responsibilities in providing employment for apprentices. In those four departments work should be given to 1,683 boys.

Why does the Government not get on with the job of providing employment for the young people? If Government supporters reply that more people are in employment to-day than there were two years ago I suggest that they examine the statistical information. They will find that notwithstanding the fact that the work force has increased by 150,000 in the last two years, whereas in November, 1960, there were 3,088,000 civilians in employment, at present there are 3,118,000 in employment, or only 30,000 more than there were two years ago. There are 16,600 fewer males in private employment to-day than there were two years ago. Yet the Government claims that the community has confidence in it!

The figures which I have brought to the Parliament clearly establish that not only has the Australian Labour Party no confidence in this Government, but the people as a whole have no confidence. Industry has expressed its lack of confidence in the Government. Industry is afraid to carry out development. Banking statistics show that. People are investing their money in Government bonds. Overdrafts are lower than they were and lower than they should be. These are undeniable facts. I support wholeheartedly the motion of the

Leader of the Opposition that this Government no longer possesses the confidence of the people.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, anybody who has listened to the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) will quite understand why the Australian Labour Party adopts policies likely to turn Australia into a people’s republic. I do not want to traverse what he has said because there is too much to be said in the limited time that I have at my disposal. I think that the Government is indebted to the Opposition for having moved this want of confidence motion because it has given the Government an opportunity to state its position in regard to the new spirit of optimism and confidence that has sprung up everywhere in Australia during the last few months. I am sure that I am not the only one on this side of the House who thinks in this way. My colleagues have accepted the challenge thrown down by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) during his speech on this motion. He said, Sir -

Some members of the Government do not intend to defend themselves on domestic or economic questions but hope to confuse the people with spurious issues about the Australian Labour Party and the ideologies of the cold war.

I want to repeat those words -

  1. . spurious issues about the Australian Labour Party and the ideologies of the cold war.

The Leader of the Opposition wound up his speech by challenging the Government to an election on the issue of the radio base at Exmouth Gulf, or, as we sometimes call it, the North-West Cape. Now he wants to talk on economic and domestic issues and not on the defence policy of the Labour Party. He cannot have it both ways. At one moment he wants to talk about defence policy and in the next minute he wants to move away from that issue because he believes it is spurious. I believe there is no need to confuse the public on defence. They understand this issue. They realize the tremendous effect that this could very well have on the lives of Australians. The Leader of the Opposition warned my colleagues not to raise this spurious issue. What more spurious issue could anybody raise than that raised by the Leader of the Opposition when he tried to tie the Prime Minister up with a whispering campaign?

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.


Mr. Speaker, just before the suspension of the sitting I was questioning the impropriety of the Leader of the Opposition in suggesting that honorable members on this side of the House should not raise the defence issue or the Labour Party’s ideologies but should concentrate on the domestic issue. I cannot think of a more spurious issue that could be raised by a Leader of the Opposition than that in which he tried to associate the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) with the whispering campaign that United States secrets would not be available to a Labour government. Apparently he must have a very guilty conscience about this, because I have never heard the whisper. I think the first time most members of this Parliament, particularly those on this side of the chamber, heard that suggestion was when the Leader of the Opposition mentioned it. The Prime Minister has contradicted it, as I expected he would do. I do not know whether the United States thinks that way, but if the United States has any doubt about the Labour Party’s ability to be trusted I am not surprised.

The history of the Labour Party since the last war is that its members cannot keep the most simple domestic issues secret. The executive of the A.L.P., rightly referred to as “ the 36 “, will not trust even the Leader of the Opposition. When recently the executive was in Canberra to discuss the Labour Party’s policy on defence the Leader of the Opposition was not even allowed to participate by his constant presence at that discussion. So, although it is not a surprise to all of us, I suppose it is a very great surprise to the people of Australia to know that a potential Labour Prime Minister would not be allowed to be present at such discussions.

What is wrong with the Labour Party executive? What is wrong with so many Opposition members? The week-end papers say that they are starry-eyed about the virtues of communism. They are what has been described in this House as left-wingers. What we do know about leftwingers of the Labour Party is that they have made some remarkable statements and have performed some remarkable actions. I know that when I raised the question of the persecution of Jews in Russia, with a request to the Government to raise the subject with the United Nations, with the exception of one man, Opposition members gave no encouragement whatever to the request. Members of the Labour Party rubbished the suggestion in another place. They went further and allowed a senior member of their party in this chamber to accuse the supreme leader of Australian Jewry of being a traitor to his faith and to his party. The only wrong he had committed was to defend, courageously and with great loyalty, Jewish people in Russia against persecution.

How could any friendly nation have confidence in a government composed of a party of unpredictable people who see virtue in those things that the free world opposes? The recent conference of the A.L.P., in Canberra, at which some people hoped to get a ban placed on the Northwest Cape project, is now legendary. The A.L.P. men came to Canberra from Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland resolutely opposed to the establishment of the Learmonth base, at the North-West Cape. They had the traditional “ defence is bunk” approach of die-hard leftism, and they thought they had the numbers. They, had, too, until one Queensland; delegate realized that there were electoral implications. Nothing else mattered to him. Australia’s defence did not matter. He had probably read the new doctrine enunciated by President Oliver of the New South Wales branch of the A.L.P., who had said: “ We must welcome America as an ally”. He added coyly, “ Not to accept America as an ally, would be to commit political suicide “. You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that it was not a matter of principle, but a matter of political suicide that concerned him most.

So one man switched to save the skin of eighteen others, and they all came tumbling after him. Sir, very simply, does not all this make you feel a bit sick? Does any one really believe that vital issues of principle can be made the currency of tawdry little fixes like this one? Is this the stuff of which national leadership is made? Is this the type of government that the people want? Is this the type of government that would start to-morrow if this want of confidence motion were won by the Labour Party? I think not.

I do not want to refer to any further matters regarding that side of the issue because the domestic issues are uppermost in the minds of some people and I should like to follow my colleagues in making reference to them. The first signs to look for in any revival of public confidence are public spending, unemployment figures and immigration figures, as well as inflow of overseas capital. These are the great national policies of this Government and they will, I am sure, impress people if they take time enough to look at them.

I submit that there is free spending in the community in most spheres to-day and there are signs that the taxpayer is resuming his buying habits with much more discrimination. That is a very healthy sign of a good economy. This is in marked contrast to what took place two years ago during a period of inflation. Over and above that, the gratifying thing about to-day’s economy is the stability of costs and prices and the cost-of-living index, which has been steady over the last two years. If anybody doubts me in regard to that, he has only to refer to the “ Monthly Review of Business Statistics “ for January, 1963, or turn to the “Treasury Information Bulletin “ Number 29, of January this year. From those documents he will see that what I say is true. Further, he might see the instalment credit figures, which are even more marked than those for the cost of living.

Retail sales and instalment credit figures are to me most significant. They are very buoyant figures, and are even more important than the figures for the motor transport industry, because the figures for retail sales of goods cover such a wide range of goods. In other words, the sales of some commodities included in the retail figures must be high in order to take care of those that are of a lower level. 1 mentioned the motor transport industry. Most of us know that the rise in the figures for that industry was almost astronomical over the last eighteen months. Then I come to the unemployment figures. The last review of the unemployment situation at the end of February, 1963, made available by the Department of Social Services several weeks ago, showed that there was a fall of 15,765 in the number of persons registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service. This reduced the total number of unemployed to 96,042 persons in all, males and females, or 2.2 per cent, of the work force of Australia. No one on this side of the House wants to say that is good enough, but it does show a strong trend towards full employment, and an infinitely better result - I repeat that remark; an infinitely better result - in employment figures, even at 2.2 per cent., than Labour ever had during its period of office. The Government Statistician tells us in his Labour Report for 1960 that during Labour’s regime, under Mr. Chifley or Mr. Curtin, the lowest unemployment figure was 3.2 per cent.; and that was in 1947 when every man, woman and child had only to say they were available for a job and employers would rush them off their feet in a desire to place them on the payroll.

I pass to the subject of immigration. One of the best outward signs of confidence that the people of one country can have in another country, is that they want to go to that other country and share in its prosperity. The people of overseas countries are prepared to sacrifice all that they have in their own country in order to start afresh in Australia. That is the position to-day. Immigration figures are strongly on the way up. Seldom in the history of this country have they appeared to be better. The 1962-63 target of 125,000 arrivals will be exceeded. There has been a tremendous flood of applications in Great Britain for assisted passages to Australia, and there is no reason why this trend should not continue. Many of the applicants are skilled and key workers of a type upon whom the expansion of our industries depends so heavily. It is already clear that the intake of British migrants in the twelve months ending 30th June next will be the best for the past ten years.

The inflow of overseas capital is a very good indication of the confidence that overseas countries have in the Government of Australia. It is worthwhile reminding the Opposition, which desires to criticize the handling of the economy of this country by the Menzies Government, that the hippocket nerve is still the most sensitive of all nerves when it comes to gauging public confidence. It is a very good barometer. The tremendous interest manifested in the growth possibilities offered by Australia is emphasized by figures in the quarterly summary of Australian statistics for December last year. Leading executives of great overseas industrial investment houses have come lately to Australia, in large numbers, to assess the opportunities presented for the initiation and extension of their financial activities in Australia. They are impressed and they have come here to find out what is going on. Of course, they have read the statistical reports that have been made available to them by the Treasury in its information bulletins. I have no doubt they have read also one of the most highly conservative financial gazettes in the United Kingdom. I refer to an article which appeared in the “ Stock Exchange Gazette “ of London at the end of January this year. It was headed “Australia - a Common Market Hedge”, and it contained the following paragraph -

For the British investor seeking a wider spread of his funds in these days of uncertainty, Australia has a lot to offer.

That article appeared about the time of the Brussels talks on the European Common Market. In addition, our own Treasury Information. Bulletin, No. 27, 1963, made it very clear at page 11 that our balance of payments position was very strong.

For a variety of reasons we need the capital that has flowed into this country from abroad; and I do not propose to develop that aspect further. However, I should like to take this opportunity, when referring to the wonderful and welcome inflow of capital, to say that the benefits which flow from these transactions have been by no means one-sided. I congratulate the subsidiaries of overseas corporations which have succeeded in making profits in this country. I praise their initiative and skill. I join issue with the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), who apparently objects to overseas capital coming to this country. He objects to these companies making profits. He referred to the fact that General Motors-Holdens’ Limited sent approximately £11,000,000 profit to the United States of America this year. Let me remind the honorable member that if we had had to import motor cars into Australia to meet the demand of the last twelve or eighteen months it would have cost this country £100,000,000.

I think the subsidiaries of overseas corporations would admit that they have come to Australia for the single purpose of taking advantage of conditions and markets to make profits in the atmosphere that this Government has helped to create. I have no objection whatsoever to that. The stable political and industrial conditions that exist in Australia have assisted such companies to achieve their objective. Also, the skill of Australian workmen, the large export markets adjacent to our shores, as well as stable costs and prices, have all contributed to the success of this country. However, Sir, I do say that it would seem that overseas companies need more than a reminder by the Government that they should be prepared to concede to Australian citizens the right to have equity in the Australian operations of their subsidiaries without having to transfer capital overseas. I strongly recommend the Government to have a close look at the state of affairs that exists to-day in this respect. Australians will obtain such equity only by Government action. You cannot expect companies themselves to initiate such a move. This is in no sense a complaint, because the remedy is in our own hands. If we desire that the Australian citizen should have more equity in these companies it is up to the Government to arrange it; and I think it could do so.

I should like to say a lot more about the economy and how it is improving from day to day, but time does not permit me to do so. In conclusion, I ask: How could we have a Labour government directing the national affairs of this country when the Labour Party is so divided on international affairs? The matters on which it is divided could have an effect on the lives of every living individual in Australia. We can well understand the feelings of the Australian people, who have taken strong action in the last fortnight, since they realized the tremendous division that exists in the Australian Labour Party, which wants to capture the treasury bench. Labour’s representatives in this Parliament are directed from outside by people who have no responsibility whatsoever to the electors.

I shall not support the want of confidence motion, but I feel grateful to the Australian Labour Party for affording this opportunity to Government supporters to point out to the people of Australia, by facts and figures, that the outlook for this country was never brighter. The confidence shown in this Government extends for beyond our shores into the great countries of Europe and America; and that, 1 believe, is one of the most exacting tests of all.


.- During the three days in which this want of confidence motion has been debated a mass of evidence has been presented by Opposition speakers which is sufficient to indict any government. We have had evidence of miscalculation and incompetence and of an unrepentant attitude on the part of the Government in respect of its mismanagement and mistakes of the past. Government speakers have tried, as usual, to draw the red herring across the trail, but nothing can disguise the fact that at home or abroad they have engaged in what is virtually government by guesswork. The Government’s foreign policy has shifted with the wind, while at home Ministers have been hopeful prophets with predictions that are never fulfilled in fact. They have made continual confident statements, without any economic evidence to support them, like that of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), supported by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), who said that no unemployment would result from the credit squeeze of November, 1960. How false that prediction was and how equally false were the countless others that have followed!

I listened with interest to the speech of the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). 1 was staggered to hear him comment on what he said was the false charge levelled by the Labour Opposition of neglect of the north of Australia. The picture he painted this morning was a vastly different picture from that which he painted only three days ago. I am greatly disappointed that only one member of the Country Party is interested enough to hear me recount what he had to say on Tuesday last at the Victorian Country Party’s conference. He said -

Here in Australia, where we must need more than anyone else to encourage the spread of population, less is done than elsewhere. This country with its empty and neglected north and inland is the most urbanized nation on earth. The tempo of concentration of population in a few cities grows at a rising pace.

What a dreadful indictment that is of his own party, the Country Party, the so-called champion of country people, members of which for years have been full of talk of decentralization and development of the outback and country areas, who for thirteen years have been partners in this coalition government, and who have done nothing but talk and pull the wool over the eyes of country electors. Despite brave words by the Minister for Trade about an expansion of export trade, the stark fact is that we cannot pay our way. In the last decade the excess of imports over exports has reached a staggering total of £1,600,000,000.

Three years ago the Minister for Trade said that if we were to maintain our balance of payments we must increase our export income by £250,000,000 annually within five years. Over those three years, in spite of a windfall in the form of wheat sales to China, which this Government feeds and clothes but does not recognize, Australia has had a deficit of over £600,000,000 on current account. So it can be seen that this tragic trend in trading has not been arrested.

A look at our balance of payments will tell the tale of how this Government has covered its failure to pay its way, by borrowing from overseas and by encouraging, in any circumstances, the investment of foreign capital. It has built a legacy of debt, of repayment of capital and dividends, which future citizens and governments will find increasingly burdensome, and which even now requires the repatriation of vast sums of money overseas each year. In 1960-61, for instance, the amount was £57,000,000, with a further £63,000,000 of undistributed profits ploughed back into industry, earning more money. That was Australian customers’ money. These sums, of course, require substantial export earnings to equalize.

Government supporters accept this foreign investment gleefully, unmindful of the pitfalls as they stumble blindly on. Overseas capital comes here for one purpose and one purpose alone - profit - and certainly with no high-minded “ develop Australia “ motive. The Opposition is appreciative of the advantages that can accrue from foreign investment, but we see also the need to regulate its flow and to ensure participation by Australian capital on a partnership basis in any enterprise. The nation draws no benefit from foreign portfolio investment which merely takes control of, or a share in, an existing and prospering Australian enterprise. This is purely speculative investment, with no material gain at all for Australia.

I am reminded of a statement by a leading Melbourne stockbroker, Sir Ian Potter, in July, 1961. He said-

In the short space of ten years, two-thirds of Canada’s industry has passed into foreign ownership and control.

He said that this had been accompanied by unemployment and a fall in real output. This dangerous situation could be repeated in Australia in the years to come if this Government remained at the helm. The Labour Opposition offers no real objections to foreign capital which brings with it new industry and new techniques, providing some degree of Australian control and equity in the development and use of our national assets and resources are maintained. Now, we find foreign interests exploiting our great mineral resources and natural assets, with this Government eager to sell out more. Is this the great national policy that the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth) spoke about a few moments ago? Following Labour’s lead, there has been a gathering storm of protest from Australian investors. One such statement was made only yesterday by Mr. A. H. Urquhart, the chairman of the Sydney Stock Exchange, which is certainly not a traditional source of Labour support. He said -

Australia should not lose all its natural resources to overseas investors. Australian banks, insurance offices and other big public companies could back the development of Australia’s natural resources.

Surely this statement is evidence of unrest at this Government’s sell-out of Australia’s heritage, our natural assets. I am reminded of another statement by the Minister’ for Trade, made at the opening of the Country

Party conference at Coffs Harbour. He described as disquieting a trend towards overseas ownership of Australian industry. The great disparity between his words and his actions in this Parliament is remarkable.

There is another aspect of foreign investment which the Liberal-Country Party Government has chosen to ignore and which is costing us dearly in foreign trade. I refer to restrictive franchises preventing Australian manufacturers from engaging in export trade. This restriction, imposed by foreign companies on Australian subsidiaries or on Australian factories manufacturing under licence, is becoming increasingly widespread. Embracing more man 1,000 products over a wide range from consumer durables to foodstuffs, it places a dead hand on the export potential of these industries. The manager of the trade and commerce department of the international division of the Bank of New South Wales, Mr. W. S. Johnston, who recently toured South-East Asia, had some very revealing comments to make. He said -

The large percentage of Australian manufacturers tied to local marketing by franchise restrictions with overseas principals was a bigger problem to exporters than price. . . . Having reached this stage of recognition, the franchise problem cannot be over-emphasized; it is the major hurdle facing Australia and without question is detrimental to the future development of our export trade.

Here, an expert in his field of trade and commerce says that a large percentage of Australian manufacturers is prevented from exporting by these restrictive franchises, and that price is only a secondary problem. Repeatedly, Opposition members have urged action on what really amounts to an infringement of Australian sovereignty. How can we effectively expand our export income in the manufacturing field when these hobbles restrict activities? Frightened of offending its powerful - that is, financially powerful - friends, this Liberal-Country Party Government stands idly by. Surely this is another indictment to add to the overwhelming evidence that it is time for a change to a Labour government.

I want to turn to one branch of primary industry in which government inactivity has endangered the livelihood of many Australians. More than six months ago I initiated a debate on the poultry industry as a matter of urgency. For egg-producers little has changed since then. Action to stabilize the industry is still an urgent necessity. Over the past eighteen months returns to egg-producers have slumped to levels lower than for a decade. Many eggproducers have left the industry, being literally starved out of it and losing their life’s savings. Some are deeply in debt. Some go out to work, leaving their families to work the farms; whilst some receive the only governmental assistance available to them, namely, the unemployment benefit.

So great is the disorganization in the industry that State egg boards handle less than 50 per cent, of Australia’s consumption. Border-hopping, under the protection of section 92 of the Constitution, is a practice engaging whole fleets of transports. The producers who participate in it evade thi payment of the equalization levy or pool charge which enables the egg boards to make up the losses incurred on overseas sales. As conditions have progressively worsened in recent months, and as this Government has stood by, desperation has driven many more producers to that practice.

Mr Turnbull:

– What do the States say about it?


– J. will answer the honorable member for Mallee in a moment. What is the answer for the poultry industry? Many months ago the Council of Egg Marketing Authorities submitted to the Minister ‘or Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) and the Government a stabilization plan. That plan consists, in the main, of four features and has received substantial support from the industry. It provides for minimum prices for all egg products in Australia; a reasonable similarity in prices of shell eggs on the Australian market; uniformity of grading and quality and a levy on all laying fowls except the first twenty in each flock.

The great majority of the people who have examined the plan realize that it could go a long way towards ending the chaotic marketing situation. Because of our turnofthecentury Constitution, such a plan can become a reality only with the consent and co-operation of the States. Regrettably, as the Minister for Primary Industry informed us last week, such consent is not forthcom ing from all States. Although the Minister has not mentioned the dissenting State, it is no secret in the industry that South Australia has rejected the plan. This has come as a very bitter blow to those people who have struggled to restore sanity to the industry. But, quite frankly, when records are considered it is no surprise. South Australia has come to regard other States - particularly Victoria - as almost traditional markets. The surplus of production over South Australian consumption is sold in other States, and South Australia virtually ignores overseas markets. At the present time South Australian egg pulp is being marketed in New South Wales contrary to a pulp agreement between the States.

Does the South Australian board think that it will always live such a charmed life? Does it think that these excursions into the domestic markets of other States will continue to solve the problem of its surplus production? How it has dodged massive retaliation up to now is a mystery. The South Australian board and producers should be warned that they are vulnerable to such retaliation and that their refusal to support this stabilization plan will provoke an egg war which will result only in further financial loss to the hard-working poultryfarmers.

I ask the South Australian producers to take a look at the economics of the situation. In 1961-62 South Australian commercial egg production was 11,400,000 dozen. In the same year New South Wales produced 61,600,000 dozen and Victoria produced 29,900,000 dozen. So the Sou:h Australian production is dwarfed by the big two in Australian egg production. In the same year the combined production of egg pulp by New South Wales and Victoria was 16,500 tons. The South Australian production was 1,531 tons. In fact, New South Wales and Victoria together export to overseas markets more than twice South Australia’s total production, and those overseas markets return net prices as low as Is. a dozen. Is it not obvious that New South Wales and Victoria would lose nothing by dumping large quantities of egges on the South Australian market? After all, eggs sell in Britain and Europe for next to nothing.

I predict that, unless this plan is adopted on a Commonwealth-wide basis, in a few months’ time, in the midst of the flush production period, a cut-throat interstate egg war in which not only producers but also egg boards will participate will bring further disaster to the industry, and the South Australian producers will suffer severely. Of course, they have a choice - stability and a fair deal for all, on one hand, and a selfish “ I’m all right, Jack” attitude, on the other. Knowing how strongly the other States feel about the situation, I urge the South Australian board to take an industry viewpoint, a national viewpoint, and accept the stabilization plan.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, the Menzies Government has a choice, too. As always, it has taken the easy way out. Despite vigorous support from egg producers and producers’ associations for the plan, when faced with this single dissenting voice among the egg marketing authorities it has, in the words of the Minister for Primary Industry, “ let the matter rest “. But there is another course open to the Government, namely, an amendment to the Constitution. That course was recommended by an all-party committee on constitutional review as far back as 1958. T remind the Government that its Liberal Party and Country Party members had a majority on that committee. The committee, in clause 148 of its report, recommended that the Federal Parliament should be given power to submit proposed marketing plans to a poll of primary producers. What is happening in the poultry industry is surely a classical example of how our 63-years old Constitution has failed to keen abreast of developments in modern marketing and transport. The marketing practices carried on under the protection of the Constitution are permitting the exploitation of poultry-farmers.

What does this Government intend to do about it? For years it has been urging the poultry industry to increase production. Now, when the industry is in trouble and unable to sell its surplus economically, the Government coldly stands by and watches the financial execution of life-long members of the industry. Why will it not follow the recommendations of its members and supporters? Is not the poultry industry - or other industries similarly endangered by constitutionally correct but self-seeking ex ploiters - important enough to warrant action?

When opening the Twelfth World Poultry Congress on 13th August last, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) described the development of the poultry industry as “ one of the great achievements in Australia in the last fifteen to twenty years “. He said -

The industry has changed into a major industry, scientifically and technically abreast of the times, giving more stable and satisfactory results than ever before . . .

How that must have provoked ironical laughter from the producers who were present and who knew the real situation in the industry. The Prime Minister went on to say that the industry is a major industry worth £67,000,000 a year and employing more than 100,000 people. Those were very fine and flattering words from the Prime Minister, who is adept at saying such words. But what the poultry-farmers want is action, not words. Like all primary producers who take risks in producing their products, they want stability and they want a reasonable living as the result of their labours. This stabilization plan offers them the chance to achieve that. On their behalf, I ask the Government, lacking the confidence of the people as it does to-day, for once in its life to be positive, to be strong and to take action to bring this plan to reality.


Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that I have not always seen entirely eye to eye with the Government on the details of its economic policy. Indeed, there have been times when I would have liked that policy to have been pressed a little further and a little more vigorously. I took it a little ill, I am afraid, that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) should have said or implied that I had followed the Australian Labour Party. If he will look up the records, he will see that what I have said I have said in advance of the Labour Party. I do not intend to take that any further at this stage.

As the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said, this is a censure motion with two sides, and the important and operative side is its objective. The objective of the people who moved it is to have a new government brought to power, a Labour government. I personally believe that a Labour government could not be accepted as an alternative to the present Government. That this is so has been shown very clearly during the past few weeks, when the structure and orientation of the Labour Party, which should have been apparent, have been clearly revealed to the public. Labour would be impossible as an alternative government, because it is under the control of an outside body, and also because it is deeply infected with communism and is, in a sense, an agent of the Communist Party in this country.

Mr Bryant:

– I take a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I take strong exception to the honorable member’s remarks, and I would request that he be instructed to withdraw his reference to the Labour Party’s connexion with communism.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Order! The honorable member for Mackellar was not referring to the honorable member for Wills.

Mr Bryant:

– But, Mr. Speaker-


– Order! The ruling has been given.


Mr. Speaker, I can understand-

Mr Ward:

– There is no point of order now. He is a lunatic.


– Order ! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.

Mr Ward:

– Certainly, Mr. Speaker.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Every one knows it, anyway.


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw that remark.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– Perhaps some people do not know it. I withdraw it.


– Order! The honorable member will withdraw without any qualification.

Mr Allan Fraser:

– In any terms that you desire, Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw it.


– As I said, Mr. Speaker, the reason why members of the Labour Party cannot form an acceptable alternative government is that they are deeply infected with communism, and the party’s policy is, in a sense, the vehicle for Communist policy in this House. So far from withdrawing this statement, I am proposing to do something here this afternoon to prove it. I realize that it is a complicated subject and that it will not be possible for me to cover it completely in a single speech. I hope that further opportunities will present themselves in the future so that I may cover the subject fully.

The two things that make the Labour Party impossible as a body from which an alternative government may be formed are interlinked. It is the very structure of the Labour Party which affords the Communist Party an opportunity to get inside it, and so, often, to control or influence its policies. It is important that we should look at the structure of the Labour Party, because the people have a right to know who their real rulers would be if Labour came to power. They have a right to know who the secret 36 are. I think you will agree with me, Si., that when a party so far prostitutes itself to give adherence, in matters of high policy and detail alike, to an outside body, then that party must accept the fact that such outside body will be scrutinized. Let us, therefore, have a look at the secret 36.

Let me say something first, however, about the structure of the Labour Party. Its most important organ is its federal conference, which sits every two years, unless called together on special occasions.

Mr Duthie:

– It has been in existence for 60 years.


– I said that it sits every two years. It consists of six delegates from each State. These delegates are chosen by State annual conferences. The method differs in the several States, because the constitution of the Labour Party is not the same in all States. I would like to read portions of a document entitled “ Australian Labour Party Federal Platform, Constitution and Rules “. Rule 1 is as follows: -

The Federal Conference of the Party shall be the supreme governing authority and policymaking body, and its decisions shall be binding on all State Branches and Affiliates thereto, and upon the Federal and State Parliamentary Labour Parties, and upon the Federal Executive.

Rule 11 says -

On all questions affecting members of the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party, the decisions of the Federal Conference shall be final. Pending consideration by the Federal Conference, the ruling of the Federal Executive shall be binding.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Why not?

Mr Courtnay:

– Yes, why not?


– If these people are here - and they say so themselves - only as puppets of a conference which can meet at any time and tell them what to do, it is high time the public learned something about this conference and what it is like, who constitutes it and how it is set up.

Mr Courtnay:

– What about-


– Order ! The honorable member for Darebin has spoken in the debate. He will remain silent.


– Between meetings of the federal conference, the powers that it can exercise are held by a federal executive consisting of two members from each State. Let me direct attention to the rules of that federal executive, and particularly to rule 9 (k), which allows the federal executive to disband any State branch which offends against its policy. Honorable members will recall that rule 9 (k) was invoked in the notorious case in which the Communists desired to get rid of the antiCommunists in the Victorian Labour Party.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– That is where you are wrong. It was not.


– The machinery of the party was invoked in the interests of the Communist Party, and it operated very successfully in that way. There are various State branches of the party. These branches are governed by their various conferences, which consist both of party members and of delegates from affiliated unions, which not only send these delegates but also provide a great amount of the finance with which the party functions. These affiliated unions include a number which are openly under Communist control.

Mr Ward:

– Rubbish!


– It is not rubbish. What about the sheet metal workers’ union? Isn’t that under Communist control? Of course it is, and of course it sends delegates to the New South Wales conference. So the Communists are able to get a toehold inside the Labour machine. It is true that the Communists will not send a known party member to a Labour conference. There is no need for them to do so. They send a member who is either a nonCommunist or an undetected Communist, and they send him with instructions, and he is under the control of a Communist unit.

So we see how this supreme policymaking body is drawn from the Communists, and how it is very often under Communist control. This is a matter almost of open record, and the sooner the public knows about it the better. The sooner the public realizes that the decisions made at the recent Hotel Kingston conference in Canberra were very largely influenced by our Communist enemies, and by a Russian machine which operated in this House amongst honorable members opposite, using those honorable members as its tools, the better. Honorable members who were used in this way may have been only pawns, or they may not; I do not know. But I do know that the machine has operated very successfully.

In the result, you arrive at a position such as obtained in Victoria, where the Labour branches have virtually ceased to exist, and the Labour executive, which is under left-wing control, and under the control of unions which are openly Communist, dictates the policy of the members of the Labour Party. The Communists in other States have organized very successfully with undercover members in the Labour branches, and in other ways. Really, the main crux of their power lies in the Communist-controlled unions - the unions controlled by our open enemies - which are able to send delegates to the conference of which honorable members opposite boast they are only puppets. This is a shocking state of affairs, but it illustrates the point I was trying to make that in order to see the way in which this works you have to understand two things: First you have to understand the structure of the Labour Party itself; and secondly, you have to understand the way in which the Communists work inside that structure.

Over this debate there looms the long shadow of Exmouth Gulf; and perhaps we might have a look at some of the events which led up to this. The attempt to prevent the United States of America and the free world from putting in a base at Exmouth Gulf stems back to the 21st Congress of the Communist Party held in Moscow in January, 1959, which originated the so-called concept of the nuclear-free zone in the Pacific. This was echoed in May, 1959, at the Pacific conference of all Pacific and Asian dock workers which was held in Tokyo. The late Mr. Healy represented Australia at that conference, and he brought back the doctrine which came up in November, 1959, at the A.N.Z. Peace Conference held in Melbourne, which brought this Communist doctrine into our Australian scene. Among the sponsors of that conference were the honorable members for Yarra (Mr. Cairns), Parkes (Mr. Haylen), Melbourne. Ports (Mr. Crean), and Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron); and, of course, Mr. Sam Goldbloom, who was one of the chief undercover Communist operatives inside the Labour Party. The theme was dutifully taken up in Melbourne at that conference, and it is worth noting that many of the secret 36 who met at Kingston in Canberra a couple of weeks ago were also sponsors of or actively connected with that conference.

Next we come to August, 1960, when we find that Mr. Chou En-lai, the Prime Minister of Communist China, was echoing the same theme and asking comrades and their associates all over the world to take it up. In December, 1960, we had the second A.N.Z. conference in Australia, and I understand that at that conference the honorable member for Yarra, who sits on the opposite side of this House, disburdened himself of the momentous thought that Communist China and the Soviet Union posed no military threat to the free world. Meanwhile, of course, the Communists were active in Canberra, wining and dining. I do not object to honorable members seeing the Russians; they have a perfect right to do so. But I do object to honorable members who have been feted and made much of by the Russians over a period, and who have been found in close consultation with them on many occasions, thereafter coming into this House and sponsoring the Communist policy. That is a different thing altogether. It is permissible to confer with one’s enemies. But it is sometimes called treason to confer with ones’ enemies for the purpose of adopting their policy and endeavouring to further it; and that, wittingly or unwittingly, is what so many honorable members opposite have done.

We have been inclined to laugh off the clumsiness of Mr. Skripov and Mr. Gometchnikov; but measure their success - 19 to 17; they very nearly brought it off. They were able to mould to their designs quite a number of honorable members opposite. I see in this House one of them - the honorable member for Parkes - who was the author of a minority report which, so far as its tenor goes, might well have been written in Moscow because there are few Communists who would be able to better the Communist line which it expresses.

Let us come back to this conference of the Labour Party. On the motion of the Western Australian executive last October, the Federal Executive passed a definitive resolution in regard to this base. Here I quote from a journal known as “ Fact “, which I understand is the official Labour journal in Victoria. It reads -

A resolution from the West Australian branch called on the Federal Executive to state the Party’s attitude clearly.

The Federal Executive resolved unanimously that it would oppose the building of bases in Australia which could be used for the manufacture, firing, or control of any nuclear missile or vehicle capable of carrying a nuclear war-head.

That resolution was passed. It was quite correctly quoted, I notice, in this House on 28th November by the honorable member for Parkes. His quotation was perfectly in order. What he said was true. But then it was suddenly realized that if this were allowed to become too public the Labour Party would have very little electoral chance. So a falsification of the document was invented; and the falsified document said, “ We did not pass this resolution; all we did was put it on the agenda for the next conference “. That was deliberately false. Of course, one cannot have very much respect for a party which goes about falsifying its documents; and, as witness to the fact that the Labour Party does that, I cite the honorable member for Parkes who quoted the document quite correctly in this House on 28th November. Having decided that they would falsify the document, they then called on the executive to see what should be done about it, and the executive ran away from it. The executive decided to hold a special conference and, meanwhile, to get some kind of report from its foreign affairs committee. Mr. R. W. Holt, a sometime member of this House and of the Labour Party, and the honorable member for Parkes were the architects of that report - that magnificent document, if one may so describe it. That minority report was all in favour of having nothing to do with the base at all. So, the conference was convened.

Let us have a look at this conference. There were 36 delegates. The Victorian delegates - I have said that A.L.P. branches virtually did not exist in Victoria - were pledged to the left wing. The Western Australian delegates were sponsoring the left wing resolution. The Queensland delegates had been captured by the left wing at the recent Labour-in-Politics Convention in Queensland. They were left-wing. However, the right-wing had the support of the New South Wales delegates. I have noticed the loyalty it always receives from the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). There were the South Australian delegates, whom it could not trust, so their executive bound them. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, in the South Australian inner executive, moved against the base and then moved that the delegates be not bound, but they were bound. It was Mr. Nicholls who remarked to him at the time, “You had better not be ill or away from the vote, or we will have to do something about it”. In Tasmania, there w°re two associates of the Communists - funnily enough, both called Taylor - on the delegation.

Mr Duthie:

– That is a lie.


– Order! The honorable member for Wilmot will withdraw that remark.

Mr Duthie:

– I withdraw it, but I ask him-


– Order! The honorable member will resume his seat.


Mr. Ramsay had to bring extreme pressure to bear so that they would not vote with the left wing.

Mr Davies:

– I rise to order, Mr. Speaker. The remarks of the honorable member for Mackellar are not true. They are offensive to me and I ask that they be withdrawn.


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


– I realize that honorable members opposite are trying to waste my time, but I may be able to deal with the matter again at some time in the future.

The first thing that happened, Mr. Speaker, was the introduction of the majority report.

Mr Davies:

– Why don’t you tell the truth?


– Order!


– The delegates were shocked at the way in which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) tried to whittle the thing down. Perhaps I should give him credit for trying to get something through against the previous unanimous vote of his executive. Perhaps I am doing him an injustice. Maybe he was only manoeuvring. Then came the minority report, and a vote was taken. I think that this first vote is the origin of the Lili Marlene scene underneath the lamp-posts outside the Hotel Kingston in Canberra, where the two titular leaders of the Opposition, the two chief puppets, stood around waiting for the puppeteers to pull the strings.

The important thing is that Mr. Waters, one of the left-wing delegates, was finally persuaded not to vote for the left-wing resolution. We have a photograph available of the conference - the lamp-post conference - at which this was decided. Mr. Waters was persuaded not to vote for the resolution, and he carried Jones and Duggan with him. The resolution was lost by 21 votes to 15. Then there was a leftwing resolution from Jones, and that was deadlocked at eighteen votes all. Finally, Mr. Duggan was brought over, and there was a vote of nineteen to seventeen in favour of defending Australia. Seventeen of the 36 voted for a policy which Mr. Calwell himself had publicly declared to be indefensible.


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


.- Once again, this House has been subjected to a tirade of red baiting and Communist-like smearing of the Australian Labour Party. I know that there are plenty of honorable members on the other side of the House - I have spoken to them in the lobbies - who consider the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) to be a complete ratbag.

Mr Dean:

– Name one.


– Order!


– Honorable members opposite can give it, but they cannot take it. The honorable member for Mackellar has made some very startling statements over the years. Let me read one of them, It is as follows: -

Mr. Menzies can neither call nor command as a leader. Under his leadership the party broke up and yet he refuses to co-operate under the leadership of anybody else.

In these circumstances the greatest national service he can render the party and Australia would be to quit politics.

Those of us who stand for a more vigorous policy are anxious that Mr. Menzies’ inevitable failures should not block the path of future progress.

That statement was made by the honorable member for Mackellar, I wonder whether he was taken as seriously then as some people seem to take him now.

It was men such as the honorable member for Mackellar who blackguarded our revered leader, Mr. Ben Chifley, and accused him of being a Communist or a fellow traveller. It was people of the same kind who blackguarded the late Joe Cahill in New South Wales, and accused him also of being a Communist. That is the only way they know to fight an election. By such tactics they hope to divert attention from the economic position. It is blatantly obvious that honorable members on the other side of the House are endeavouring to do that at the present time. They will speak on anything except such subjects as national development, social services, the position of our hospitals, and education, in relation to which the policies of the Government are operating against the progress of Australia.

They will also delve into the past in order to show what was said by a Labour man in this House ages ago. For example, yesterday the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) said that m 1945 the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said something about 5 per cent, of unemployment. The statement of a Minister or a backbencher does not necessarily represent the view of a political party. Let me remind the House of statements that have been made from the other side of the chamber. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) has stated that the basic wage is sufficient for a man and his wife and two children. Does that represent the view of his colleagues, or of the Government? Then there was the occasion, before the war, when the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) returned from a trip to Germany. He was very complimentary. He said “ We have a lot to learn from Hitler “. Did that statement represent the view of his colleagues? The late Mr. W. M. Hughes said that the present Prime Minister could not lead a flock of homing pigeons. Was that an expression of the opinion of his colleagues, or was it simply for the birds? To illustrate my point further, we remember the stab-in-the-back statement by Sir Arthur Fadden in 1943. Did that represent the view of the Australian Country Party? Honorable members opposite have the audacity to imply that because a statement was made from this side of the House in the dark past, it represented the views of the Australian Labour Parry. Nothing could be further from the truth. The farcical nature of such a proposition can be appreciated when we think of the statement by the Minister for Labour and National Service that the basic wage is sufficient for a man and a wife and two children.

I wholeheartedly support the want of confidence motion that has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell)). I wish to direct the attention of the House to the failure of the Government to increase child endowment. It will be recalled that in 1949, the Prime Minister, who was then the Leader of the Opposition, gave a solemn promise that if a Liberal Party-Country Party coalition government were returned to office it would maintain the full value, in money terms, of social service benefits. That promise, like many others made at the time, has not been fulfilled. Despite the fact that the purchasing power of money has decreased by more than half since this Government assumed office in 1949, the rate of child endowment has remained the same. It is true that in 1950 the Government introduced the payment of 5s. a week for the first child.

The history of child endowment in Australia is also interesting. It was introduced in 1926 by a Labour government in New South Wales for the specific purpose of assisting wage-earners in the low-income bracket to clothe, feed and educate their children. Then in 1941 child endowment was applied to the whole of Australia by the Menzies Government, not because the then Prime Minister believed in it but simply because of a decision by a judge of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court relating to the number of children for whom the basic wage at that time was supposed to provide. In 1941 when the basic wage was £3 19s. a week child endowment of 5s. was paid for each child after the first. In 1945 when the basic wage was £4 16s. a week the Curtin Government increased the child endowment to 7s. 6d. a week. In 1948 when the basic wage stood at £5 19s. the Chifley Government increased the child endowment to 10s. a week. So, in seven years, during which the basic wage increased by only £2, two successive Labour governments doubled the child endowment. The present Government, however, is content to allow the child endowment to remain at its present level.

The Labour Opposition has made repeated representations to the Government about this matter. We have asked it to maintain the relativity between the basic wage and child endowment which existed when it took office in 1949 but we only waste time, words and energy in pressing the Government to keep the promise which it made in 1949.

The Labour Party is cognisant of the great difficulties being experienced by many parents, particularly those in the lowincome bracket, in their struggle to raise a family on the paltry wages that they receive. As a result, during the 1961 election campaign the Labour Party announced that if returned to office it would increase child endowment until it bore the same relativity to the basic wage as it did in 1949. Let me illustrate the point. The present Government pays child endowment of 5s. for the first child. A Calwell govern ment would pay 10s. for the first child, an increase of 5s. a week. For two children this Government pays 15s. but a Calwell Labour government would pay 27s. 6d., an additional 12s. 6d. a week. This Government pays 25s. child endowment for three children but a Calwell Labour government would pay £2 7s. 6d., an additional £1 2s. 6d. a week. For four children this Government pays 35s. a week but a Calwell Labour Government would pay £3 7s. 6d., an increase of £1 12s. 6d. a week. For each subsequent child a Calwell Labour government would pay an additional 10s. a week.

This Government has blatantly refused to extend the benefit of child endowment to full-time students up to eighteen years of age. A Labour government would do so. These are the things about which the Labour Party feels proud. We would not be giving the people anything new; we would be merely restoring what this Government has robbed them of since it assumed office in 1949.

Let me refer now to the widow’s pension. At present the widows are classified as A class, B class and C class, but as there are very few in C class I shall not mention them to-day. An A class widow - a widow with one child - receives £5 10s. a week plus 5s. child endowment, a total of £5 15s. a week, on which she is expected to keep herself and the child. Would any honorable member opposite like to see his daughter or sister trying to manage on £5 15s. a week? A widow with two children receives £7 a week including 15s. endowment, and a widow with three children receives £8 5s. a week which includes £1 5s. endowment. This Government expects widows to feed and clothe themselves and their children, as well as meeting other expenses, on those paltry amounts. How can a widow manage? It is true that some are lucky enough to find a job which enables them to supplement the pension by a few shillings a week, but then they must arrange for some one to mind the children. This problem may be solved but, after all, no one can replace a mother. For this reason, during the election campaign the Labour Party guaranteed a domestic allowance of £3 10s. to the widow who has children so that she would not have to go to work to supplement her income. Those are the things for which the Labour Party stands. Those are the proposals we want to have implemented because we are a realistic party. We, unlike the Government parties, are trying to help the underdog, not the big man on top.

Mention has been made of the 36 men who control the Australian Labour Party and the fact that we are subject to strict discipline. Let me tell honorable members a little about the discipline which is applied to the Government parties. The federal president of the Liberal Party of Australia, Sir Philip McBride, is a millionaire. He is one of the few men in Australia who know how many £10 notes fit into a 44- gallon drum. Before the last election he instructed members of the Liberal Party that they must not appear on the television session “ The Candidates “ which had been organized - quite rightly - by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to give the people of Australia the opportunity to see the candidates for whom they were asked to vote and to hear what they had to say. But the Liberal Party knew at the time that the Labour Party would have too much effective criticism to offer if it could only get its opponents to debate politics. That is why members of the Liberal Party, which complains about discipline in the Labour Party, were too scared to reject the direction by the federal executive.

There has been talk about Lily of the lamplight, the reference being directed to the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition waiting in the street for the Labour executive’s decision on the United States naval communications base. Can you see any difference between that and the Prime Minister pacing his study after the last election waiting for the preference votes to be distributed and wondering whether the Communist Party would return him as Prime Minister? He was elected on Communist Party preferences. The honorable member for Mackellar has not protested about the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick) proposing the toast at the celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the Communist revolution in Russia. I have a photograph showing the Minister proposing the toast, but I do not suppose I will > be allowed to have it incorporated in “ Hansard “. Some time ago the honorable member for Mackellar advocated that the Western powers should drop a bomb on Russia. He would commit the world to a nuclear war to-morrow if he had his way. He is such an arrant red-baiter that no one takes him seriously. Thank God they do not, otherwise we would all be annihilated.

Mr Wentworth:

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Wentworth:

– Yes. The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) said that I had endeavoured to commit the world to a nuclear war by saying that I would drop a bomb on Russia. That is completely false. What I did advocate, and what I know is right, was that while there was only one holder of the bomb in the world we should have used that power to preserve permanent peace and permanent international justice. That is right, and I admit it.


Mr. Deputy Speaker, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) put in most of his time discussing social services, including child endowment. I can recall when this Government introduced legislation to extend child endowment to the first child. He voted against it. All the members of the Labour Party in this House voted against that legislation.

Now we are getting towards the dying stages of this debate. It will not be long before the vote will be put to the House and the motion will be thrown out. In my short period in this House I have heard quite a few censure motions debated. Listening to honorable members opposite it seems that most of their speeches on this occasion have been similar to what has been said down the years on similar motions. In order to save the time of the House and enable us to get on with more important business, I suggest that honorable members opposite should be asked to obtain reprints of their speeches on previous occasions and have them incorporated in “ Hansard “. In this way we would save quite a lot of time.

I do not want to delay the House, but the honorable member for Watson also referred to the mysterious 36 - the faceless people - and he did not deny that these 36 people issue their instructions to honorable members opposite as to how they should carry out their parliamentary duties. Members on this side of the House have covered that aspect fairly thoroughly, but I want to go back a little into history and tell the House of something said by Mr. Curtin in 1942, when a measure in relation to the mobilization of services and property was before the Parliament. I shall quote from “Hansard”, volume 170, at page 403, recording the proceedings on 25th March, 1942. At that time there was under discussion a similar accusation to that which has been made in this debate - that the Opposition receives instructions from a mysterious outside body of 36 people. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) said that this system has been in operation for 60 years, but I direct the attention of the House to this passage from “ Hansard “ of 25th March, 1942-


– If the Prime Minister thinks that he is interpreting the wishes of the Labour movement correctly, he should, before he puts regulations of this sort into effect, take steps to summon another Labour conference and learn whether the Labour conference would agree with them or their spirit.

Mr Curtin:

– I do not propose to entrust the government of this country to any body outside this Parliament.

Opposition Members. - Hear, heart


– If it were not for the organized Labour movement, nobody in thi” Parliament sitting behind the Government, and including the Prime Minister himself, would be in this Parliament.

Mr Curtin:

– No Labour movement ever expected that there would be a substitution of itself for the lawful government of the country.

I ask honorable members opposite who is correct? Are they prepared to accept the interpretation of Mr. Curtin or the interpretation of the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who had the courage to stand up at that time and cross the then Prime Minister, who has been held up as an example, as the man who won the last war for Australia? Mr. Curtin said that he would not be dictated to, and that the Labour movement was never expected to substitute itself for the government of the country. I ask honorable members opposite where they stand on this matter. Do they support the stand of their late leader, Mr. Curtin, or do they support the action taken to-day?

According to a newspaper report, after the conference at Kingston was over the Leader of the Opposition was asked for comments. Among other comments he made was this -

Yes, I am leading a party, but what sort of a party?

That is true, too. What sort of a party is it which is prepared to accept the dictates of these outside people? I wonder what the honorable gentleman meant. Mr. Duggan of Queensland saved the day by voting in favour of the establishment of the American communications base in Western Australia subject to certain conditions. But I can recall a statement that Mr. Duggan made in Queensland not very long ago. He said -

Like it or not, wise or unwise, the course is to endorse Labour decisions.

That is, to take dictation from outside. Mr. Egerton, a trade union official in Queensland said that politicians should be “ told “. We do not approve of this practice, and nobody on this side of the House is subject to such dictation from outside. I would advise honorable members opposite to read that speech made by Mr. Curtin in 1942 and take it to heart.

I do not know on what grounds the Leader of the Opposition has moved this motion of no confidence, because it is difficult to see that we have had anything to answer - and if there was anything we were required to answer it was effectively answered last night by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and honorable members on this side of the House.

I want now to correct the honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Cross) on a few matters. He said -

We know that inflation was brought about in the 1950’s by the increase in the price of wool which resulted from the demand for that product during the Korean war.

I recall the words of Mr. Chifley in 1949 when he said -

No matter what Government takes over the reigns of government in this country after the election, drastic measures will have to be taken to curb inflation.

Inflation at that time was on the increase at the rate of approximately 10 per cent, a year, the highest we have ever had. I ask the honorable member for Brisbane to keep that in mind. Inflation had started and we had to reap the harvest when we came into power in 1949. We have done a remarkable job in controlling inflation, and that has been demonstrated amply during the last two years. We have virtually controlled inflation, and we hope we will continue to control it. The people of Australia know that we are the only ones competent to handle an inflationary situation.

The honorable member for Brisbane mentioned unemployment in Queensland and lamented the fact that we have io secondary industries in that State. I believe the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) covered that matter adequately. He demonstrated to the House why we have no secondary industries in Queensland to absorb the workers who become unemployed due to seasonal conditions there. I think his statement is worth repeating. He said -

The activities of the present Queensland Government, which co-operates with the Commonwealth Government, cannot 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.

No company would go to Queensland, and this is apparent if you compare what happened in South Australia and Queensland. From the viewpoint of secondary industry activity, at that time South Australia was one of the poorest States in the Commonwealth. What has happened since then? In that State there is not the spectacle of seasonal workers being unable to obtain employment at certain times in every year, as happens in Queensland. Unemployment in Queensland was the result of not only the seasonal nature of some industries but also seasonal conditions. At one stage Queensland suffered a five-year drought which particularly affected industries that produce export income. At that time thousands of people who did not normally register were registered as unemployed.

During its 40-year term of office in Queensland, the Labour Party endeavoured to implement the nationalization plank in its platform. Reference has often been made in this House to the industries in Queensland which Labour tried to socialize and to the tens of millions of pounds that were lost in the attempt. Recently at Collinsville we got rid of one of the last of those undertakings. During Labour’s term of office in that State, people who had money to invest within the State were offered no security. Queensland is still reaping the fruits of 40 years of socialist government.

Towards the end of his speech, the honorable member for Brisbane made this comment -

All the new economic policies introduced by th: Government in the past twelve months were taken from the policy speech of the Leader of the Opposition.

Other honorable members opposite, too, have risen in their places and have accused this Government of adopting economic measures that have been advocated by the Labour Party. They have condemned everything we have done, but at the same time they have said that we stole their policies. In one breath they say the policies are no good because we have been implementing them and in the next breath they complain about our taking them. The Opposition cannot have it both ways.

This morning the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) amply demonstrated the growth and development of this country during the term of office of this LiberalCountry Party Government.

Mr Coutts:

– You are afraid to say otherwise.


– What I say is true. The facts and figures prove that never in the history of the Commonwealth has there been such rapid development. That development has occurred during a record intake of migrants. It has been a remarkable achievement. The growth of the economy is demonstrated, as the Prime Minister said last night, by the confidence in Australia which is displayed by almost every other country.

The time of the House has been wasted in discussing the motion now before us. Recently, I read press reports to the effect that the leaders and members of the Australian Labour Party asked why the House was not called together earlier to discuss urgent business. Urgent business indeed!

We have been obliged to spend three days discussing this want-of-confidence motion. Honorable members opposite could have helped us to get on with the business of the House if they had adopted the suggestion I made at the beginning of my speech and had asked for permission to have reprinted and to have incorporated in “ Hansard “ the speeches they have made on these matters over the years. That would have saved a lot of time.

I had intended to discuss quite a few other matters, but I shall confine myself for a few minutes to the development of the north of Australia. I was elected to this House in 1951, and ever since I have advocated the development cf the inland and the northern parts of the continent. Nearly every time I have put forward a proposal I have been ridiculed by my friends on the opposite side of the House. One night I was followed by an Opposition member who said that all I was concerned about was looking after the beef and wool barons in the country and dealing parochially with the development of the north and west. Now honorable members opposite think there is some political advantage to be gained by developing these areas and they want to get on the band wagon. I have never heard such nonsense uttered by honorable members opposite about these areas as I have heard in ,-ecent times. They say we must develop the north, but when one asks them to put forward a concrete proposal and invites them to say how we should apportion the limited funds available over the whole of Australia they show that they know nothing about the matter. The development of the northern and western areas of Australia in recent years by this Government has been a remarkable achievement. I hope, indeed I know, that the Government will continue to display an interest in these areas.

That is all I have to say. I rose only for the purpose of pointing out to my friends opposite that they must get their thinking straight. The people of Australia now know Labour Party members for what they are. They know, since the recent meeting of the federal excutive of the party, just what kind of government would come into office if honorable members opposite were returned to the treasury bench. I would not mind accepting the challenge issued by the Leader of the Opposition to us to test the feeling of the people. I know they would throw out honorable members opposite neck and crop and would elect to office a government which they could trust. They know that if this Government were returned to office the security and development of the nation would be in capable hands.


.- I point out, in reply te the remarks of the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe) about the development of the north, that only a month ago the Premier of Western Australia stated that all the money which had been available for the development of the north of that State had been expended. That fact substantiates our claim in this House last year that the money which this Government was making available for the development of the north was quite insufficient.

I support this motion of want of confidence in the Government which has been proposed so ably by the Leader of the Opposition (Mi. Calwell). I realize that it has come as no shock to supporters of the Government. Indeed, I should say they would have been quite surprised if such a motion had not been proposed, because they know quite well that they have not got, and never have had, the confidence of this House and they have now lost the confidence of the majority of the people of Australia. The very poor showing of honorable members opposite and the weak replies they have made to the attack of the Australian Labour Party have caused the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to lose confidence in his Ministers and his supporters generally. The action of the Prime Minister in running away from the real issues has caused him to lose the confidence of his Ministers and his supporters. The backbenchers themselves have lost confidence in the Prime Minister, his Ministers and themselves. The stage has been reached where they are a completely disorganized and disheartened rabble.

We must remember that, in December, 1961, the people of Australia indicated, through the ballot-box, in no uncertain way, that they no longer wanted this Government. They have since become even more disturbed and dissatisfied at the way in which the Government has mishandled the country’s affairs. In December, 1961, the people demonstrated clearly that they wanted the Liberal Party removed from office and the Labour Party elected in its stead. That should have happened, because the Australian Labour Party received in excess of 300,000 votes more than were received by the combined Liberal and Country Parties. In fact, looked at as a vote in regard to economic policy, and having regard to the number of people who voted for the splinter groups, about 900,000 more people voted for the Australian Labour Party’s policy than voted for the economic policy of the Liberal and Country Parties. The Government’s majority in this House fell after the last elections from 32 to two, and it has never recovered from the shock. Of course, we know that the actual numbers on each side of the House are the same. The Labour Party has 62 members in its own right and the Liberal and Country Parties have only 62 members between them. The only reason why the Government has been able to remain in office is that it has refused to give the people of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory proper and full representation in this House. The Government has refused to give the representatives of those electorates the right to vote on all issues in this Parliament. Those honorable members will not have the right to vote on this motion, even though the majority of the people in those electorates have cast a vote of no confidence in the Government.

This Government remains in office purely because of its dishonest actions. It is not here at the wish of the people. Since December, 1961, the Government has done absolutely nothing to win back the support of the people. In fact, by its continual blundering and its stop-and-go tactics it has lost the confidence of many people and organizations which previously were prepared to give it another chance. In moving his motion of want of confidence in the Government the Leader of the Opposition is meeting the wishes not only of this Parliament but also of the majority of Australians. Even though the motion may not get the support of all honorable members who sit opposite, we are confident that it has the full support of the people outside this Parliament. We know very well that at the next elections the people of Australia will endorse the action that we are taking to-day. Some of the reasons for the Government’s present unpopularity have been in evidence for many years. Some of it is of recent vintage and some of it was caused by the Government’s action in 1960 when it brought down an emergency or inflation-curbing measure. It does not matter what name you give to the Government’s action. After all, a rose by any other name would have no fewer thorns.

Whatever were the Government’s intentions in 1960, there can be no doubt that its actions achieved one of its major objectives^ - the creation of a large and permanent pool of unemployment. One of the tragedies for which this Government is responsible is the present lack of employment for our young people. Young people who have studied and trained for a particular vocation are unable to find work in their chosen field. The fact that a couple of teenagers may be seen walking to work every morning does not mean that they have no employment problems. Quite likely they are not engaged in the kind of jobs for which they trained at school. Parents spend many pounds educating their children and in the process very likely deny themselves and other members of the family many things to which they are entitled. It is poor reward for parents to find that when their children leave school there are no employment avenues open to them in which they may take advantage of their education. Instead girls finish up as kitchen maids or waitresses, and boys take jobs as junior labourers. Many schoolleavers are unable to find employment of any description. They return to school to resume their studies or roam the streets. A lot of our teenage delinquency, which has undoubtedly increased in volume in the last two or three years, is attributable to the fact that young people have nothing to do or are not happy in their work. That state of affairs is an indictment on this Government. When our young people are engaged in unsuitable employment or when they have no jobs at all, they waste a lot of valuable time, and industry and the country at large lose the services of those young people who are qualified to play a part in this country’s future.

Another tragedy tor which this Government is to blame is the inability of large number of adults to procure work. One would expect that people with a sense of justice and fair play and a sense of responsibility towards Australia would look at this matter as a challenge. But this Government does not do that, if what its supporters say is a guide. I was shocked to read in a Western Australian newspaper that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) said that there was no unemployment problem in Western Australia. When questioned about his views on the rise in January last of 10,550 in the number of registered unemployed in Australia, he said -

What problem? In Western Australia it virtually does not exist.

The honorable member repeated those views in this Parliament only last week, when he said -

The Western Australian unemployment figures issued by the Department of Labour and National Service may be a few points higher than the Australian average.

He admits that the figures in relation to Western Australia are higher than the average figures for Australia. He continued -

That can be explained. There is nothing alarming about that. Some people write in the press about an unemployment problem. It virtually does not exist in Western Australia.

We must not forget that the honorable member for Swan said in this Parliament on 22nd February, 1962, that he had a suspicion that many of the unemployed were malingerers. He did not say that a few, or several, were malingerers; he said that many of them were malingerers. I am pleased to see him in the chamber now. This Government is made up of members who think as the honorable member for Swan thinks. How can we expect the Government in those circumstances to make any real endeavour to create full employment? After all, who created this large pool of unemployed? The blame lies with this Government, and the people of Australia know that the Government would do again, if it felt so inclined, what it did in 1960. The Government has no thought for the suffering and hardship of the unemployed. No wonder the people have lost confidence in the Government. The Minister for

Labour and National Service has claimed that the demand for employment by school leavers is being met. A report in the “ Kalgoorlie Miner “ reads -

The biggest employment problem on the goldfields was finding school leavers work for which they had been trained, the officer in charge of the Commonwealth Employment Services in Kalgoorlie, Mr. L. G. Mews, said to-day.

Speaking at a meeting of the Kalgoorlie Rostrum Club, Mr. Mews said too many goldfields children were in the wrong jobs.

A survey in 1961 revealed that about 400 children left school each year.

That is in Kalgoorlie alone. Another article a few days later on 16th January, 1963, in the “ Kalgoorlie Miner “, under the heading, “Job Found for Only 21 School Leavers in December “, reads -

Figures released by the Kalgoorlie office of the Commonwealth Employment Service yesterday show that during December the office placed only 21 school leavers in employment.

The article reveals that in November last only twenty school leavers were placed in employment. The article continues -

Mr. Mews said that vacancies for juniors were filled immediately they were notified.

Obviously, there are no vacancies for school leavers in Kalgoorlie-

He expects the number of school leavers registering as unemployed to increase further this month when school holidays end.

So the position is that 41 school-leavers out of 400 have found employment, and no doubt several of the 41 are in jobs which are not suitable for them in view of their training and education. Yet we have the rotten and vicious statement by the honorable member for Swan that many of the unemployed people are malingerers and that there is no unemployment problem in Western Australia.

Social services is another avenue where the Government has failed completely, particularly in regard to child endowment, maternity allowance, civilian widows’ pensions, permissible income and many other things. There has been no increase in child endowment since June, 1950. The 10s. paid for a child other than the first applied before this Government took office. All that has happened in this field in the thirteen years of office of the LiberalCountry Party Government is the granting of a payment of 5s. for a first child, and that took place away back in 1950. There has been no increase in the maternity allowance since July, 1947. What a magnificent record! Is it any wonder that mothers and family men have lost any confidence they might have had in this Government? The purchasing power of child endowment and the maternity allowance to-day is only about half of what it was in 1947 or 1950. If the amounts paid in those days were warranted - I do not think any member on the Government side would be game enough to say they were not - the payments to-day should be at least doubled. The honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) dealt lengthily with social service matters, so I will not go into them further.

Taxation is another sphere where the Government has fallen down. It claimed that the re-introduction of the 5 per cent, rebate on income tax would have a stimulating effect on the economy, but we all know that it has not. The Government was told last year that it would not. The amount of the rebate received by the family man and the wage-earner was too small. Only the man on the large income received an amount of any consequence, and of course he did not put the money into circulation. If the Government honestly wants to put extra money into the hands of people who would spend it on essential goods and thus help the economy, it should increase child endowment, the maternity allowance, pensions and so on and lift the burden of taxation from the family man. But this Government, if the words of the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Fox) can be taken as a guide, is not concerned about the difficulties of the family man. He said -

I believe there is already too great a margin in favour of the married man.

That remark is recorded at page 744 of “ Hansard “ for 13th March, 1962. What a great mob they are on the Government side of the House! One of them said that the unemployed were a lot of malingerers and that we should not be bothered about them. Another said that the standard of living of family people is too high and should be reduced. We all know that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) said that if the Government had an additional £40,000,000 to spend, he would oppose any of it being spent on social services. We find, from his speech yesterday that he does not believe in a really good communications system of roads and railways, because it might assist our enemies. What a lot of rot!

Sales tax and other indirect taxes place an unfair burden on the small wage earner and the family man. No matter whether you earn £15 or £115 a week, you still pay the same amount of indirect taxation. Worse still, if you live in a country district or in the outback you will, in most cases, on account of freight charges, have to pay more sales tax than the city person pays. For instance, if an article costs £10 in Adelaide, where it is manufactured, the purchaser there pays sales tax on £10, but if the article is freighted to Kalgoorlie or Geraldton and is sold for £12, to cover the cost of freight, people in those centres pay sales tax not on £10 but on £12. If the article is sold in Wyndham or somewhere else, where, with freight, it costs £15, people in those centres would pay sales tax on £15. Surely it is unfair and unjust that simply because a person lives in Wyndham, Cairns or Alice Springs he should pay half as much again in sales tax, on a similar article, as is paid by a person in Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney. This Government has done nothing about that matter and has given no indication that it has any intention of doing anything.

In view of what honorable members on this side of the House have said in relation to this motion, is it any wonder that the people of Australia and this Parliament have no confidence in the Government and that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and his colleagues have no desire to argue the real issues involved in the debate - issues which mean so much to the Australian people? Government members, as usual, dodged the real issues of the debate. They tried to switch to defence and to the naval communications base at North West Cape, Some membsrs on this side of the House took the time to blow up the arguments of Government members on those matters, but we will be happy to debate them again and will welcome the opportunity to do so. There is no need to debate those matters on this occasion because the Prime Minister told us last night that ha intends shortly to introduce a bill on the subject. Then the Labour Party will have the opportunity - we will take it - to show the Australian people that on all counts the Government has failed also in regard to defence.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I follow the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard), whose ideas on economics could, I think, be summed up briefly as “ Raise less money and spend more money “. That is an interesting political gambit, but it does not attract very much attention in circles that give serious consideration to such problems. I regret that the honorable gentleman, who was obviously sincere in many of the things he said, found it necessary to attack the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) personally in relation to his attitude to social services, although the honorable member for Swan is known by all who have been associated with him to have made a marked contribution to the social services legislation of this Commonwealth. Not only there, but also in the field of assistance to the individual both here and in the Swan electorate, will the answer to the charges made by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie be easily found. It was unfortunate that in this debate, in which, by and large, the speeches have not been unreasonable, the honorable member for Kalgoorlie should have found it necessary to make those references. He is interjecting now. He wants to make two speeches, but that cannot be done.

I want now to refer to the terms of the motion moved by my friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). He puts, first, the proposition that this Government no longer possesses the confidence of this House. That is a matter for the judgment of the House. He then goes on to say that the Government does not possess the confidence of the majority of the Australian people, and he demands an election. With reference to the confidence of this House, I say it will be little short of a miracle if, within an hour or so, this House does not express its confidence in the Government. That is a matter of fact. We then move to a matter of opinion. I say, without disrespect to the Leader of the Opposition, that although he is a man whose admirable qualities commend themselves to us all, he is known and recognized as one of the worst political judges in this country. That is a matter of record. If we boil his second proposition down, what he means is that, to prove him right or to prove him wrong, we should take from the taxpayers of this country about £300,000 or £400,000, which an election requires. I do not think the record of the Leader of the Opposition justifies any one expecting that we should engage in that activity.

The second matter relates to what the people think of the Government. There is a tendency in this place, as in others, to divide issues very simply into right or wrong. In the practical terms of government and in the practical terms of the life and activity of any member of the House, this just is not so. Governments are like individuals; they do good things and they do bad things. They are right on occasions and they are wrong on occasions. In the sort of assessment the people would be required to make at an election, they look at the balance between right and wrong.

My friend from Kalgoorlie spoke of the failure of the Government to face realities. I will remind him of one or two realities. By and large, administration is administration, from one government to another, though policies may differ. On the policy announced by the Leader of the Opposition at the last election, there was not a substantial difference between us. But during the last few days something of great and marked political significance has happened. This occurs infrequently in history. My friends from this side of the House have referred already to the decision taken by the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party and to the power and authority exercised by 36 individuals outside this House. To my mind that exercise of power is an accepted fact. The situation to-day is no different from that which has existed in the past. The significance is that on this vital matter, when those on the right and left of the ruling body of the Labour Party voted, the result was nineteen to seventeen. That is a political reality that no one in this House, wherever he sits, can afford to ignore. It is a major factor that will influence the judgment of the electors when they come to make a choice.

Mr Cleaver:

– rAnd well does the Opposition know it.


– Of course. The weakness in the speeches of some of my friends opposite, if I may say so with respect, is that in trying to avoid certain subjects they destroy what on normal occasions would be a fairly strong speech. What is the situation? My friend from Kalgoorlie referred to the campaign of 1961. In his speech on Tuesday, the Leader of the Opposition said -

The whole campaign of 1961 was fought on unemployment and economic issues.

The situation in broad is that over the last two years the economy has been stable. Later on I will give some evidence to support my contention that we have achieved stability. Employment is rising. I do not think any one claims that the employment position is perfect, but it is improving.

Now we come to the second part of the honorable gentleman’s reference to the basis of the last election, and that is the economic issues. We in this House should be realists. If we are not, we do not stay here, and I think some of the Opposition members may leave us after the next election. The realities of the last election campaign were that the Leader of the Opposition moved from Labour policy and Labour principles. He gave an assurance that during the life of his government, if he were elected to office, there would be no nationalization. I invite the House to do what the people will do and that is to regard the economic issues in the light of the vote of nineteen to seventeen in the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party. Do not think that I am trying to emphasize a point that is not important. I make these remarks with some regret. This point is important; it is most significant and to any Australian it is an infinitely disturbing point, not only on the economic issues, but also on the far more important issue of our national security. It is the black cloud on the Australian horizon.

Mr Reynolds:

– Do not be over-dramatic.


– Please forgive me if I appear to be over-dramatic. That is not the intention. I believe this to be one of the vital happenings of the post-war period, and its significance cannot be over-estimated.

Since this matter of the people’s opinion is the vital issue, perhaps I may be allowed to quote one or two comments that may have some bearing on the matter. I choose with intent the official journals of the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures and the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures. Again we are realists and again we know the facts of life since 1961 and for the next year. I want to tell the House of one or two statements that are made in the official journals of these two chambers. In “ Impetus “, which is the journal of the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures, some interesting statistics are produced. They show, in the broad, that there has been a steady and progressive gain in the average weekly earnings of the employed male over the last year or eighteen months. By and large, all those who are in employment are better off.

The journal also quotes from the revised index of factory production of the Australia and New Zealand Bank Limited. I will not weary the House with all the statistics. It is sufficient to say in this context - the index gives all the items - that there has been a steady and progressive increase in all factory production over the last year or eighteen months. The journal also refers to the consumer price index. This has been referred to already and I will not weary the House. It is sufficient to say that the evidence of the representatives of a significant section of the Australian community shows that the consumer price index has remained stable for the last year or eighteen months.

We come now to another issue raised by the Leader of the Opposition during the last election campaign. Honorable members will recall that he spoke of growth. He accused the Government of destroying growth, or retarding growth and of cramping the economy. He advanced the somewhat speculative theory that he would encourage growth. Let us look again at the authorities I used. In each case they refer to an attack by Australian manufacturers on the Singapore market, to our moving into the Singapore market, to Australian products being sold in Brazil, to electronic and radio equipment being sold in Brazil and so on. The Victorian chamber has another approach to the same problem. I will merely give the headings. It refers to the oil industry’s capital investment in Australia. It points out that the contribution of the oil industry to Australia has meant a great capital gain and a great employment gain for this community. The official publication of the journal then has an article on the increased volume of money. It refers, in passing, to the increased activities of the hire-purchase companies - one of the economic indicators. Finally, and most significantly in the sort of area we are discussing, it has a comment on record earnings in Australia. It states that the total cheque has risen each quarter. So, I do not think it logical that the area of voting strength represented by those two organizations will vote against the only alternative government. It does not make sense.

I want to refer to an authority, again quoted by my friend, the Leader of the Opposition, by my friend, the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa), and by other members of the Opposition. The House will recall that the Leader of the Opposition quoted at length a reference which Mr. Ricketson made to the investment of foreign capital. I point out that while the Leader of the Opposition made some play on this, all that Mr. Ricketson said was that this investment was for business reasons. It was in the normal course of business. That was it in essence. But, after the paragraph read by the Leader of the Opposition, there was a paragraph which was not quoted. Mr. Ricketson made a further statement, as follows: -

Stable political and industrial conditions, the steadily growing skill of our ever-increasing work force, well-developed marketing techniques, the opening up of large potential export markets abroad and, more recently, the almost unparalleled stability of costs and prices have all contributed materially to the success of overseas organizations in the Australian field.

They are two related paragraphs. The second one casts a somewhat different light on the matter.

Further, since the Leader of the Opposition has chosen Mr. Ricketson as an authority, let me deal with another matter. Honorable members will recall that the Leader of the Opposition went on to talk in those polished and delightful phrases which have a certain air of vagueness about the development of Australia by Australians and for Australians. I want to refer him to his acknowledged authority, Mr. Ricketson. In the same document Mr. Ricketson said this in relation to Ampol Petroleum Limited -

The extraordinary success of that company over a long term of years has been due primarily to able, enterprising and far-seeing direction and management, but has been greatly assisted by the fact that it is a wholly-owned Australian company, which has drawn practically all its capital from local sources and has contributed greatly to the development of private enterprise and economic expansion in this country.

He went on to say -

By virtue of its Australian origin and Australian character, Ampol has made a strong appeal to national sentiment and has reaped its reward in the increasing support accorded to it both in respect of sales of petroleum products and the availability of adequate funds locally to finance its progressive growth in competition with powerful overseas interests.

In view of the expression used by the Leader of the Opposition - “ of Australia by Australians and for Australians “ - I remind the House of the tanker which I think was built by Ampol Petroleum Limited with Australian capital and which was subsidized by the Australian taxpayer. This represents a great and powerful addition to the economic strength of this country, yet by the decision of the unions it is not allowed to operate in Australian waters.

Mr Curtin:

– Quite right.


– My friend applauds this action. Let us look at this proposition as reasonable people. I use the Ampol company as an illustration because of the reference by the Leader of the Opposition to the development of Australia by Australians and for Australians. The Ampol company is financed by Australians and is progressing in active competition with powerful overseas interests. Do Opposition members think that this and similar companies will develop their activity and use their initiative and skill for the benefit of this country while hanging over the country is the threat of the 19-17 split in the Labour Party? We are reasonable people. They are some of the facts of life.

Mr Einfeld:

– We only asked them to have an Australian crew.


– The honorable member is sliding away from it. He is an adroit interjector in debates. The facts are inescapable.

I come now to the second proposition advanced by the Leader of the Opposition. Does he think that a section of the Australian electorate will give him the support that it gave in 1961? Everyone in this place knows the answer to that question. Finally, I say that this want of confidence motion will not be carried in this House because of two reasons.

Mr Beaton:

– You have the numbers.


– We have them here and we have them outside. But there are two main reasons. The first is that our record of progress and stability commends itself to the Australian electorate. The second reason is that regardless of any moderate policy which the Leader of the Labour Party and his agile lieutenant try to put to the Australian electors, as in December, 1961, the people just will not believe him, because every Australian elector who has any stake in this country and any hope for the future of this country will say: “How will the conference of the Labour Party divide on a crucial issue? Will it be 19-17 for or 19-17 the other way? “ They are the facts of life. We have wasted some two or three days in debating a proposition that does not commend itself to this House. Nor would it, if put to the electorate, commend itself to the people.

Smith · Kingsford

.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the motion of no-confidence in this tragic Government. As a matter of fact, I do not think that the Government should be here. As I propose to show, it was only by accident that it got here. Almost eighteen months ago, this anti-Labour Government narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of the people of Australia. Strange to relate, the Government was saved only by a paltry few votes which were received by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) in Queensland from supporters of the Australian Communist Party. It is strange indeed that a tory government, notorious for the antiworking class legislation that it introduces in this Parliament, can have a working agreement with the Communist Party and can acquire control of the country through the agency of Communist Party preferences. It is stranger still when the greatest Fascist in the Parliament can receive those Communist party preferences.

I wish to take this elected-by-accident Government to task for its handling of the unemployment question. This is a most serious problem which is growing worse day by day. There are 100,000 people out of work and the figure continues to increase. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) keeps advising the people that any increase is due to wellunderstood seasonal factors. The Minister said that these factors are not peculiar to Australia. Whatever he means by that, only the Minister can tell. What I should like to know is this: How can seasonal factors in other parts of the world be peculiar to Australia? Wintry conditions in Britain and on the Continent are quite different from those conditions. How the Minister can blame unemployment in Australia on that peculiarity only the Minister can tell. In Britain, unemployment has reached 1,000,000. In the United States of America it has reached the staggering total of 5,000,000 with 30,000,000 on the verge of unemployment - on the fringe, as Americans say. Would the Minister like to think that the number of people out of work in Australia would be comparable with the number in those two countries that I have mentoned?

Another ex-Minister, the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury), when addressing the Association of Superannuation and Provident Funds of Australia some months ago, said, “ Having recovered from the recession which followed the boom of 1960, we, as the Americans put it “ - they love to quote the Americans - “ are moving sideways. Unemployment “, said the exMinister, “ although exaggerated by the axe-grinders of different kinds, is likely to cause some disquiet in the coming months. The demand for the skilled and proficient is quite strong.” He knew that that statement was untrue as he must have been aware that in our waterfront dockyards and structural steel engineering shops skilled men were being laid off. A check on these yards will suffice to show that. “ At long last “, the ex-Minister said, “ employers and trade unions, State and Federal governments, are moving to overcome this dreadful problem “. That statement was made just twelve months ago, but now we find, after all the assurances given by the honorable member for Wentworth, unemployment is a bigger and still growing problem, and we find the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) announcing in the Sydney “ Sun “ on 1st February, 1963, just twelve months later, that two series of talks will be arranged between the Commonwealth Government, the State Government and the employers.

When will something be done to alleviate the sufferings and worries of the average Australian whose one desire is healthy, constant employment which will ensure a weekly pay packet? That is all the Australian working man is concerned about. He wants the pay packet in the home to enable him to meet the daily expenses of life. The average Australian likes to remain free of debt and free of the dread of not being able to meet his creditors owing to unemployment. Payments on his home, his furniture and the family car have to be met. But how can they be met out of the unemployment benefit? There is only one result. The creditor steps in - this happened in the 1930’s - forecloses on the mortgage, sells up the furniture and the car, evicts the people from the house and leaves them walking the streets, homeless, without shelter and without the means of providing it. I repeat that that happened in the 1930’s; and it is happening again in this country now.

Let the Minister make no mistake; that is what happened in the 1930’s. We must act before it is too late. Does not the Minister realize that big companies are crashing all about us? That happened in the late 1920’s. Investors are going bankrupt and the courts are cluttered up with a waiting list as long as one’s arm. Judges are complaining about being unable to cope with the rush of bankruptcies in the court. Did not this happen in the early 1930’s? Spend some money, Mr. Minister, and make an immediate start on urgently needed public works. Get the economy running smoothly and save your fellow countrymen. That is all I ask - save your fellow Australians from the coming disaster. The Labour Party has the answer to this misery and poverty; the answer is full employment. A Labour government would restore full employment by simply bringing down a supplementary budget based on deficit financing, if neces sary. A Labour government would end unemployment and the economic slump, reduce taxes to revive home building and the motor industry, provide easier borrowing on reasonable terms, return to the States all receipts from petrol tax, remit pay-roll tax on local government activities other than on trading, and provide bold planning for the development of northern Australia.

We should not tolerate any federal government which cannot find work for all who want it. The Menzies Government has demonstrated its incapacity to govern by creating deliberately a pool of unemployed in Australia. The Menzies Government is too closely involved in the preservation of big business combines and monopolies to place the welfare of the people before the profiteering of its friends. Could I suggest to the so-called economists that a large allocation of money be pumped immediately into home building? Who can deny that we could go on building homes for the next ten years and then not catch up with the increasing demand? Would not an extra £20,000,000 allocated to housing, schools, universities, hospitals, &c, as a first step infuse into the economy the dynamism that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) so glibly talks about? That is all that he can do - talk. Do not the tired old Ministers and their equally tired, so-called, economic advisers realize that if the wheels of the building industry are turning the impact goes right through the economy as a whole? This would mean an injection of new blood which our economy needs. But all this Government does is talk, while our skilled and unskilled workers go on the dole and into debt and suffer slow starvation.

I ask the House: Is it not time that some of the homburg-hatted, knighted professors of economics were given the order of the boot and practical men put in their place - men who are aware of the need for real action? They are the men we want - men who will act rather than talk. The very presence of these titled gentlemen makes one suspect that the Government has in mind a scheme similar to the situation that existed in the 1930’s, when a large pool of unemployed lived on a paltry unemployment benefit. I pause here to comment on the paltry amount now paid as an unemployment benefit to the unfortunate out of work. I remind honorable members that the paltry pittance paid to an age pensioner is £5 5s. a week, or £10 10s. to a married couple. But the sturdy, big, energetic young person who is out of work, if he or she is in the sixteen to seventeen years age group, receives the magnificent sum of £1 15s. a week. Out of that the recipient is expected to pay fares in search for work, and keep himself, or herself, tidy, clean, well-dressed and fed. One can just imagine what a difficult task that is. The unfortunate young person in the eighteen to twenty years age group receives £2 7s. 6d. a week.

Mr Reynolds:

– That would hardly pay for his breakfast.


– You cannot afford breakfast when you are on the dole; I was on the dole in the 1930’s, so I know. A person 21 years and over receives £4 2s. 6d. a week, and a married person of any age receives £4 2s. 6d. a week. If a person is married he receives £3 a week for his spouse, which means that a young, energetic married couple on the dole receives £7 2s. 6d. a week, whereas the miserable pittance paid to age pensioners is £5 5s. for a single person or £10 10s. for a married couple. A young couple in their early twenties receive £3 7s. 6d. less than the miserable pittance paid to age pensioners. The permissible income for those in the sixteen to seventeen years age group is £1 a week. The Government is careful to see that they do not get too much. If a person in the sixteen to seventeen years age group earns more than £1 the unemployment benefit is reduced accordingly.

Mr Fox:

– Tell us what Labour paid.


– Never mind arguing about it. Those of 21 years and over, and also married couples, are permitted to earn £2 a week. You can mow somebody’s lawn and get a couple of quid, but if you earn more than that you will find that the extra money is deducted from the unemployment benefit. How are our young people expected to subsist on such paltry amounts? I should explain that payment is made only from the seventh day after lodging an application. How are young people expected to live on these amounts? They are no more than were paid in the tragic thirties. The only difference is that to-day you are paid in cash whereas in the thirties you received a dole ticket. Big business houses such as Woolworths, Coles and other large chain stores insisted that payments be made in cash. They are able to bring pressure to bear on this Government. If payments are made in cash, they can get some of the money, to the detriment of the little grocer on the corner who, in the thirties, was willing to cash dole tickets. Now these chain stores grab the cash that this munificent government is willing to pay.

Mr Einfeld:

– The people on the other side do not like you telling them that.


– They do not like the truth, because it hurts. The average purchasing power of members of our work force is reduced by each dismissal. The average wage is lowered by people being placed on the dole. That means that the average purchasing power of the community is reduced. The demand for goods is not forthcoming and therefore somebody else is dismissed. Then, with the demand for consumer goods on the decline, it is not necessary to have so many workers in the factory. Further dismissals follow. The unemployment pool increases. Where does it all end? That is what I would like to know, Mr. Speaker.

Australia has the men with the skills and the brains. It has the materials. All that is necessary is finance. This could be created by the Commonwealth Bank which, in reality, was set up by a federal Labour government in years gone by for that specific purpose. The problem is easy to solve. If this Government did not, by rule and regulation, decline to allow the Commonwealth Bank to function as it should, in the best interests of Australia, everything would be all right. Governing in the interests of big business, which includes the private banking institutions, this Government is slowly sabotaging the Commonwealth Bank with a view to destroying it one day. We need men with the patriotic drive and the energy to get our country out of the difficulties it is in. While big business heaps up enormous profits, which are increasing day by day, we should examine the dreadful spectacle of our workless youth. It makes one gasp to realize that 40,000 boys and girls are out of work in Australia.

That great social worker, the superindendent of the Central Methodist Mission in Sydney, the Reverend Alan Walker, had this to say -

Australia to-day is permitting the senseless wastage of the country’s most precious national asset, the youth of the nation.

Recently, at a teenage cabaret I sat with eight boys and found that six of them were out of work. Everywhere idleness is having its demoralizing and corrupting effect.

Federal Government complacency over unemployment is ruining the lives of thousands of young Australians.

How true that is! In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I should like to say that the Minister in this House, in a speech made on 2nd April, 1963-

Mr Barnard:

– What Minister?


– The Minister for Labour and National Service, who is an abject failure in the department which he controls, said that jobs for people leaving school were becoming available at the rate of 15,000 a week. Commenting on the Minister’s words, Mr. G. R. Bain, the Director of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales, had this to say, according to a newspaper report -

Employment figures quoted by the Federal Minister for Labour and Industry, Mr. W. McMahon, just cannot be believed.

That was not said by some union official, but by Mr. Bain, the Director of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales. The newspaper report continues -

Mr. Bain today said the figures quoted could not be believed, in the light of Mr. McMahon’s announcement on unemployment figures on March 18. “I feel sure that he has misread his notes, or been misquoted on these figures, which have no relation to those released on March 18.”

I support the want of confidence motion in this pathetic and tragic Government.


.- The moving of a want of confidence motion by the Opposition is, as every one knows, tantamount to saying that the Government should be deposed and that the Opposition should take over the treasury bench. One of the things said by members of the Opposition during the course of this debate is that this Government was returned to office with only a slender majority. The Leader of the

Country Party, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), referring to that statement this morning, said that when you look at the history of this Government the remarkable thing is, not that it was returned with a small majority, but that, after a period of more than twelve years, it was still returned to power.

Mr Barnard:

– It was returned to power by a minority vote.


– I suggest that the honorable member consider what has happened in New South Wales over a period of twentyodd years. The fact is that this Government was returned, first, because of the people’s confidence in it, and, secondly, because of a complete and absolute lack of confidence in the Opposition. I can present factual evidence to substantiate the statement that I have made.

The members of the Opposition have told us that the Government has failed to do this and has failed to do that. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) last night, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) to-day and other speakers have, to my mind, presented irrefutable evidence that this Government has contributed in no small way to the development and progress of Australia. If we were to listen only to the half-truths and the half-presentation of facts by members of the Opposition, we would think that the Government had done nothing at all.

Mr O’Brien:

– That is true. It has done very little.


– I am glad that the honorable member for Petrie admits that my statement about the mistake made by the Opposition is true. I am glad to know that even one member of the Opposition is honest enough to admit that what we are saying on this side of the House is true and correct. Let us take what was said by the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) about the development of one area of the north. He presented only half a case. If honorable members will consider the full facts of the case as presented by my colleague, the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate), and by the Minister for Trade, they will appreciate the contribution that this Government has made to the progress of that particular area. Honorable members opposite have referred to hospital finance, particularly in New South Wales, yet on all occasions when this matter has been brought forward, or when there has been an endeavour by my State colleagues in the Country Party to bring it forward, the New South Wales Labour Government has said: “ There is nothing to worry about. We have a very good Minister. There is no need to have any discussion on this matter in the State Parliament.” So here again we see a complete contradiction.

Honorable members opposite have attacked this Government on the subject of finance for the relief of unemployment. My colleague, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) has pointed out that £3,000,000 given to the New South Wales Government to assist in the relief of unemployment was put into Consolidated Revenue. This was purely and simply a political action to sustain that government and make its record appear a little better than it would otherwise have appeared. One fully appreciates the realities of the situation. The New South Wales Government has shown no consideration for local government finance, which is a field completely under the control of State governments. The New South Wales Government has - been one of the worst offenders in increasing housing costs. An article in “ Investors Chronicle “ of 12th October, 1962, stated-

Few countries in the world can match Australia’s low level of unemployment, its high and rising pitch of industrial activity, its price stability and the soundness of its balance of payment and overseas reserves position.

As I have said in this House before, anybody with any thought and consideration would appreciate that, to a person who is unemployed, unemployment statistics showing that unemployment is lower in his country than in any other do not provide any consolation. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) is the first to acknowledge that fact. One can only have admiration for the work that the Minister and his department are doing in trying to solve this problem.

Before the Opposition talks about failure of this Government to do this and that in regard to unemployment, it should have a look at the unemployment figures, which I think were cited by my friend, the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr.

Curtin), for the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Western Germany. The percentage of unemployment in Australia is lower than the percentage in any of those countries. Ninety per cent, of honorable members opposite have no appreciation of the problems in relation to overseas markets that confront Australia at this stage. If they had such an appreciation they would not have made some of the remarks that they have made during this debate. The Government can defend its record in the economic sphere over the years that it has retained the treasury bench. Considering the problems confronting us in overseas markets, one appreciates the job that has been done by this Government in sustaining the economy so well.

Conditions in other countries have been cited, but in Australia we have State governments which can undermine action taken by the Federal Government in its endeavour to stabilize the economy. This is frequently done by the New South Wales Government. Primary producers in that State know that many of the problems they face to-day in rising costs of production are caused by the stupidity of the State Labour Government and its inability to handle the finances given to it by the Federal Government. A story is told of Sir Winston Churchill, as a young man, going round Madame Tussaud’s and seeing a figure that was called “The Boneless Wonder “. He stopped to have a look at it but his mother came, took him by the hand and led him away, saying, “Later on you will have more time and a better opportunity to see this “. On one occasion in the House of Commons. Sir Winston Churchill said: “That promise of my mother’s has now come true. 1 have seen it in the figure of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.” He referred to Ramsay MacDonald. That story could be told to-day of the Australian Labour Party. We have seen an exhibition of a boneless wonder. There was an illustration in the recent conference of the Labour Party.

So many times in this House I have heard the prating of honorable members opposite about the magnificent war effort of the Labour Party. No one can take away from me my admiration for the late John Curtin, which is strengthened because of the difficulties he faced with some members of his own party even when this country was at war. In spite of those difficulties, he was still able to sustain a magnificent war effort but, as my colleague the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) pointed out this morning, we must realize that this war effort was a contribution of the people of Australia and no government would have had the guts to fail to do the job that was before it. Honorable members opposite prate that the Liberal-Country Party Government of that time ran away from the job. That is so much rubbish. What happened was that two independent members of the Parliament sold their souls and the safety and security of this country for their own personal advantage. This is apparent to anybody who has a look at the records of this Parliament during that period. The Budget that had been presented at that stage was one of the best budgets ever presented to this Parliament.

All these things show that at this stage a motion of want of confidence in this Government could not be accepted by this Parliament or by the people of Australia.


.- I shall refer to only two trains of thought of the former speaker, the first concerning unemployment and the second concerning national development. If one wants to make comparisons on the unemployment record of this country under this Government, one has to concede that unemployment is much greater and more persistent in Australia than it is in any country of Western Europe. It is true that in America and Britain unemployment is greater, but in no country of western Europe is unemployment as great as it is in Australia. Secondly, Sir, on the question of national development, we heard last night from the honorable member’s deputy leader the nadir of thinking on this matter. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson), in deprecating any idea of northern development and constructing roads and railways in the north, said -

If you want to provide a really good communications system of railways and roads for our enemies to get right to our heart, that is the best thing you can do. As a man who has had some experience in these matters, I can think of nothing more dangerous than to provide an efficient transport system for our enemy to use to get to our heart without having a proper defence force to ensure that we can use that transport system.

Pursuing the theme of Country Party members, the deputy leader of that party, Mr. Davidson, and the Chairman of Committees, Mr. Lucock, say that the best thing we can do is leave the north undeveloped and leave the country towns without new industries, because in that way we will find it easier to defend our continent.

If, however, country towns, such as those in the electorate of Lyne, are to enjoy prosperity and if they are to make full use of material and human resources in their areas, we need to have some national development. We need it in ways such as one that the New South Wales Government has used better than any other State government in Australia; that is by providing rural electricity. But we need more action, and we can secure it through more initiative from the Federal Government in bringing industries to those towns, in preserving our trading relations overseas and in coordinating national development throughout Australia. The country towns will benefit more in communications, conservation, flood mitigation and industrialization by the implementation of Labour policies. In some cases they have withered on the vine. They have certainly not increased in prosperity, as they should have, in the fourteen years of this Government’s term of office.

There are only two general subjects on which I wish to speak in this debate. Those are, first, the one pursued last night by the leader of the Liberal Party, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), and then with the economic matters which will be those appropriately dealt with by the concluding speaker in this debate, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The Prime Minister’s speech bad two particular aspects. One was about outside control of the Australian Labour Party, and the second was about Labour Party attitudes on foreign affairs and defence. First of all, I will deal with the matter of outside control.

There are three or four matters upon which the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the Treasurer, can speak best in this regard. It is true that the ways in which the Labour Party comes to its decisions are well known. They are public. They are democratic. But the Liberals are subject to outside influences of a much more subtle and sinister character. Perhaps the

Treasurer can explain why he modified his November, 1960, proposals for disallowing the deduction of interest as a business expense. It will be remembered that the whole scheme was abandoned through pressure from financial institutions - not, of course, in hotel corridors, but in club rooms.

Secondly, the Treasurer may explain why he modified, or under whose influence he modified, his proposed statutory obligations on life assurance offices to invest in certain categories. He substituted mere taxation incentives. Who gave him that idea? The third matter is his attitude on interest rates. For some time now, particularly since the last Budget was presented, Labour members have been saying that the time was opportune to reduce interest rates, but it was only when Sir Ian Potter, Sir Robart Knox and Mr. Staniforth Ricketson said the same thing that the Treasurer acted. That was a case in which open pressure was brought to bear upon him. The concluding instance about which I want to ask him is the proposed restrictive trade practices legislation. He has never supported the AttorneyGeneral (Sir Garfield Barwick) or the Prime Minister in their attitude on this matter. He and the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon), in particular, subject to those subtle, sinister and secret outside influences, have done their best to sabotage it. They have never yet said anything in favour of the proposals. Perhaps the Treasurer can take this opportunity to do so.

The Prime Minister dealt with differences, as he alleged, within the Labour Party. In the parties behind him there is an in-built dissension. Looking over the records of the last twelve months on tariffs, trade, redistribution and restrictive trade practices, honorable members will see the differences that there are between the two Government parties. I now come to the Prime Minister’s comments on foreign affairs. On these matters he is generally ambiguous and evasive. He will not take the Parliament into his confidence; nor will he take the Australian public into his confidence. Some of his remarks were amusing enough. He made quite a play, so it seemed, on the fact that the Labour Party’s policy on foreign affairs was published in Perth. He seems to take some objection to the fact that it was released in Perth. Admittedly, from his experience of his own party, he might well think there was not much political virtue in party representatives in Western Australia.

The Prime Minister made a particular point in these terms -

On the matter of North-West Cape . . . no written document was handed out at all.

He said that there was nothing about NorthWest Cape in the document given to the newspapers this week. I know that the right honorable gentleman adopts a somewhat lofty attitude to administrative details, but the plain fact was that everybody in Canberra who wanted the conference decisions on North-West Cape was able to get them the day after the conference. That was a fortnight ago. Copies were made available by the Department of External Affairs. That department asked the federal secretary of the Australian Labour Party, who was in Canberra that day - the conference having concluded in the early hours of that day - whether it could have a copy of the resolutions on North-West Cape. The federal secretary said, “ Yes, you can run them off, and give me a couple of hundred copies, too “. Accordingly, I have one of the copies here. They are very well roneoed. Everybody in Canberra had the resolutions and they appeared in the following day’s newspapers. I would think that the Prime Minister could have got them. I am sorry for being so precise on this matter. The right honorable gentleman makes these airy generalizations, but when you come to check anything specific that he says you find it to be erroneous and that there is no basis for it at all.

Let me deal quite briefly with three issues on which he spoke. First of all, he spoke about the troops in Malaya. What are the arrangements under which Australian troops are in Malaya? What were the arrangements under which the Royal Australian Air Force occupies the Butterworth base, and in the last month went to Brunei? The arrangements are completely vague and veiled. They are not in any public document in Australia, as are the Anzus and Seato treaties. There is no clear and public commitment at all. All these things have happened without reference to the Parliament. That is not fair to the Australian people; it is not fair to the Malayan people and it is subject to mis-interpretation in all the countries in between. We have the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), and the dismissed chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee disagreeing on interpretation. The Australian people are entitled to know, the Malayan people are entitled to know, and the whole world ought to be informed what are the actual obligations in this regard.

The right honorable gentleman also talked about the nuclear-free zone proposal. He said that was the ecstasy of suicide. I think that was the phrase he used. The simple fact is that Australia and New Zealand, under conservative governments, are the only countries in the southern hemisphere that have not supported such proposals. It came before this House, as the history and the texts will show because of his Government’s failure to take an initiative towards disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, presented by the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly of seventeen months ago, and circulated by the Acting Secretary General.

Our attitude on this matter was well expressed by Ambassador Dean, on behalf of the United States of America, in speaking in the United Nations on 6th November last. He said -

In an area where nuclear weapons are not deployed, an agreement which would ensure keeping them out, including an arrangement for verification, could be a most important contribution to our overall efforts to prevent the wider dissemination of nuclear weapons.

We want to extend the Antarctic Treaty, to which the United States of America is a party, and no country should miss an opportunity in this regard. If the Americans still agree with that point of view - that is exactly the attitude that we ourselves will express - would the Prime Minister support it?

The final comment I want to make on this matter concerns North-West Cape. The Prime Minister said - as, of course, the Treasurer himself said, because he either was not told any more or was not prepared to tell the public any more - that this station was to provide radio communications for United States and allied ships over a wide area of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific. We are yet to be told what is the special function of the station. After some probing last week, the Prime Minister at last admitted that it would be used for submarines, that it could be used for submerged submarines, that it could be used for any kind of submarines that there were. He has still not told us whether this installation is to be under Anzus. If it is, we can tell from the statutes here what the obligations to consult and act are on either side.

Which allied ships are concerned? Twice last week I gave the Prime Minister an opportunity to tell us. When I said, “Which are the allies referred to - presumably Britain and New Zealand but which others? “, he said, “ Certainly Australia “. It is an extraordinary thing for an Australian Prime Minister to refer to the forces of his country as allied forces, or to the ships of his country as allied ships. Are British submarines to be catered for or not? Are New Zealand’ vessels to be catered for? Who are the allies? The Prime Minister has never said; the Treasurer either does not know or will not say. As to the arrangements for consultation, what the Australian Labour Party asks is that the same arrangements be made between Australia and America as have been made between Britain and America in respect of the Thor missiles, in respect of the strategic bases, and in respect of the Polaris submarines themselves. The House of Commons is told these things quite freely and openly and debates them in a spirit of mutual respect. Does the Prime Minister believe that Australia and Australians deserve less consideration?

Nothing has been more obscene in this House during the past few months than the way in which the Prime Minister, when discussing this subject, has cast reflections on the patriotism of honorable members on this side. Last night he made two references to the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), who enlisted as soon as he turned eighteen, a month after war broke out, and served right through the war, half the time as a prisoner of war. His patriotism and his motives are now impugned by a gentleman who, at the height of the Gallipoli campaign, resigned his commission and chickened out of that war.

Mr Killen:

– This is scandalous.


– Of course it was scandalous. Furthermore, he was discharged from this country’s service in the Second World War. I see that the

Treasurer is among those honorable gentlemen opposite who are trying to interject. I did not expect him to comment on this, because his record in the forces and in the Cabinet during the Second World War was no more distinguished than that of the Prime Minister.


– Order! I ask the honorable gentleman to resume his seat. I ask the House to come to order. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has the call and he is entitled to courtesy.

Mr Ian Allan:

– I take a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The words uttered by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition are offensive, and I ask for a withdrawal.


– Order ! The words were not directed to the honorable member. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition may continue.


– I shall now pass to some matters on which the Treasurer can, perhaps, inform us. Unquestionably his forecasts are discredited throughout cbe country. Let me quote some things that he has said during the past year. At the end of the Budget debate last year he said that a reduction in interest rates would cause a short fall in loan raisings. The upshot of his incompetence is that through not lowering rates he has had loan money to spare. In the same speech he said that our proposals to lower interest rates were immoderate and inflationary. He must wonder why his advisers put such specious words- into his mouth. The Treasurer has discredited himself in the eyes of every State Minister and official who attends meetings of the Australian Loan Council.

Again, in August last, the Treasurer said that there was not a strong case for varying the investment ratio of the savings banks to permit them to lend more for housing. Nine days ago he said he was examining this ratio with a view to changing it. In April, 1961, the Treasurer said that there was little likelihood of any disturbance in the investment pattern of life offices as a result of the taxation proposals of the Government. The life offices in fact increased their housing mortgages last financial year by only one-sixth as much as in the year of his new measures. The

Treasurer, therefore, has discredited himself in the eyes of every bank and insurance economist and in the eyes of every family which is waiting to build or buy a house. But I will now give him an opportunity to exculpate himself from a situation in which he was placed before the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission last week. The Treasurer was more effectively exposed and discredited publicly then, in the margins case before the Arbitration Commission, than he had been in any circumstances hitherto - and that is saying a great deal. At the time the last Budget was presented and debated I pointed out that the Treasurer had abused his financial knowledge and sought to hoodwink the Australian people by alleging that the main stimulus of the Budget would be felt in the first nine months of the financial year. All that was involved, however, was a normal seasonal pattern of government finance, which gave no genuine economic stimulus at all. But the Treasurer’s rationalizations and subterfuges last August were minor indeed compared with those he has perpetrated in the last two months.

Honorable members will recall that when he presented the Budget the Treasurer clearly said that its economic impact could be measured by the £118,000,000 cash deficit for which it provided. He spoke of the likely impact of such a budget result on the economy. He said he was budgeting for a deficit to ensure that expansion would not falter. The whole tenor of his speech and of the speeches of other government members was that this deficit was vital to promote economic growth and that a smaller deficit would retard growth. At that stage the Treasurer had committed himself to the £118,000,000 deficit as the measure of his Budget’s economic impact. Suddenly the Treasurer changed his mind about the relevance of a deficit. It became clear that there would not be such a large deficit, due to an unexpected increase in loan raisings. The deficit was about to disappear and the Budget would have been recognized as a failure. The Treasurer then changed ais tune completely and said that the figure of £118,000,000, and the concepts which lay behind it, were misleading and wrong.

In the recent margins case the whole tenor of the Government’s submissions was that the Budget had provided the necessary stimulus to the economy and that no further stimulus was required by way of a wage increase. This was despite the fact that the Commonwealth claimed it was neither supporting nor opposing a margins increase. But this sort of double-talk by the Government is not unfamiliar in this context. In the margins case counsel for the Commonwealth tendered an article which the Treasurer had written for the “ Canberra Times “ of 28th January, and which, he said, fully conveyed the Government’s views. In that article the Treasurer had completely repudiated his justification of a deficit in August last. He said -

It would be natural to conclude that a reduced deficiency would mean a reduced Budget impact on the economy. But if we look at the matter more closely it is plain that … a reduced Budget deficiency would not mean a reduced Budget impact on the economy.

Thus in January he completely reversed the argument he had put in August. Warming to his self-repudiation, he went on to say -

Despite the likely change in the accounting result of the Commonwealth Budget-

Because of heavy loan raising - its economic impact will be just as great as it was intended to be when the Budget was presented.

The Treasurer was forced to admit that there was now no basis for his August arguments on the economic impact of the Budget. What, then, was the basis for his claim in January that the economic impact of his Budget was still as great? He put it this way in his article -

In this year’s Budget we provided for expenditure that would exceed revenue and other current receipts by no less than £270,000,000, and, as I have indicated, we do not expect any great change in this figure which is some £52,000,000 greater than in last year’s Budget.

This was the new yardstick which the Treasurer introduced, this £52,000,000 which he had never mentioned in his Budget speech. The £52,000,000 is the amount by which he expects the difference between expenditure and receipts in this financial year to exceed the difference between expenditure and receipts in the last financial year. It is the increase in this difference which he expects to preserve the Budget’s economic impact. The increase, however, is meaningless unless it is compared with the corresponding movement, increase or decrease, between last financial year and the previous one. Before the Arbitration Commission on Tuesday of last week the Commonwealth was challenged to supply the comparative figures. The advocate for the unions accused the Treasurer of misleading the public and of treating the commission with contempt. On the following day - Wednesday of last week - after the commission asked for the comparative figures, counsel for the Commonwealth said that information and instructions had been sought from the Treasurer himself. Later, the Commonwealth supplied figures which showed how deep and widespread the Commonwealth’s misrepresentation and misinterpretation had been. The evidence did not bear out the Treasurer’s assertion that the impact of the current Budget would be greater than that of the Budget in the previous year. It showed quite the reverse. This new evidence showed that the excess of expenditure over revenue was estimated to rise by only £52,000,000 between 1961-62 and 1962-63, as the Treasurer said, but it also showed that the excess of expenditure over revenue rose by £148,000,000 between 1960-61 and 1961-62. The figures demonstrated without any doubt - we have the Commonwealth’s own admission - that the impact of the current Budget on the rate of growth of the Australian economy was considerably less than the impact of the previous Budget. They completely destroyed the Treasurer’s January assertion that the impact of the current Budget could be expected to be considerably greater than that of the previous one. Needless to say, counsel for the Commonwealth made no attempt to refute the allegation that the public had been misled and the commission treated with contempt. There was no defence by the Commonwealth, for the simple reason that there could be no defence. The Treasurer has had a week in which to think out his defence. I challenge him to present it here and now.

The Treasurer has thus, by his silence, now admitted that the real intention of the current Budget was to provide a smaller stimulus to the growth of the economy than the Budget of the previous year, as we pointed out last August. In January, however, he publicly claimed that his Budget provided a greater stimulus. There are only two ways of reconciling these two statements by the Treasurer. Either he is grossly incompetent and does not know from day to day what are the purposes of budgetary policy, or he is prepared consciously and knowingly to try and deceive this Parliament, the Arbitration Commission and the Australian public by using fallacious arguments whenever he thinks he can get away with them. How can we have confidence in a government which, in August last, set out so brazenly to hoodwink this Parliament and the Australian public concerning the fundamental assumption on which the Budget rested? The Treasurer’s Budget speech was completely at variance with the Budget itself. How can we have confidence in a Treasurer who, last January, admitted out of his own mouth that what he said about his Budget five months before was false? How can we have confidence in a government which was forced to concede before the Arbitration Commission last week that the yardstick used by the Treasurer in January to estimate the economic impact of the current Budget compared with the previous Budget was only half the story, and, as a result, wholly erroneous? Where will these attempts to hoodwink the Australian public stop? When will the Government introduce some honesty in its dealings with the Parliament and the people? The accounting of Australia’s finances to this Parliament, and their interpretation by the Government in this Parliament, and before the Arbitration Commission and the Australian public, constitutes a most serious dereliction of public duty.

Treasurer · HigginsTreasurer · LP

– This no-confidence motion has served many useful purposes. I am quite certain that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) expected that it would have a very different outcome, at least in debate, if not in result, from that which we have seen over the days leading up to the vote we are to take in a few minutes’ time. Perhaps the most valuable purpose is that it has exposed to the Australian public more clearly than ever before the character and personality of the white hope of the Labour Party, who has been presented as a man ready to take up the leadership of this party the moment that his ageing leader falters in his task. The honorable gentleman used the word “ discredited “ several times. If ever I have heard a man discredited in public debate in my time in this Parliament - it is a long time - it is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). We all knew his capacity to distort, twist and misrepresent the truth like some slick bush lawyer, but we had to wait until to-day for the full exposure of a temperament which, up till now, we had glimpsed but had never seen clearly. I do not propose to devote valuable time to discussing something which, to me, is completely valueless so far as the future of this country is concerned.

The moment this no-confidence motion was launched, it proved itself to be a very misguided missile. It had an unsteady takeoff from the launching pad. It wandered into outer space wondering where to go, because no clear destination had been given to it. Finally, it acted like a boomerang and crashed right back on to the launching pad, causing destruction to those who set it in motion. It is not the Government which is on the run as a result of this no-confidence motion; it is not the Government which is running for cover. The honorable gentleman spent two-thirds of his speech running for cover on matters on which the Labour Party is so clearly vulnerable.

This proposal has demonstrated many things to the country. It has demonstrated the strength and unity of the support for this Government, its policies, and the results which have flowed from them. I question whether any other government has ever been able to count on such strength, ability and unity of purpose as have been shown by Government supporters in this debate. How envious the Leader of the Opposition must be of this demonstration! He is confronted with a 19-17 ratio of support outside this Parliament and he does not know from week to week his ratio of support inside his own caucus.

The Leader of the Opposition has proposed a motion of no confidence in this Government. If the only alternative to this Government is a government from the opposite side of the House, then this has been a most valuable public exercise. The Prime Minister indicated last night that perhaps my principal duty to the public on this matter is to deal with some of the salient facts of the economic position. I think that is very necessary because once again the public has had Labour’s view of the Australian scene. That is a very different view of the Australian scene from that which presents itself to the overwhelming mass of the people in this country. Honorable members opposite are like a body of men who wander out of the bright sunshine into some murky, foggy hollow, lose their way there and think that what is going on around them then is going on elsewhere. The picture painted by the Opposition is not the picture which our fellow Australians get of their own country at this time. If honorable members opposite believe only half of what they say in this place, what an unhappy lot they must be! How different from the masses of people whom they claim to represent! Who, listening to them, would imagine that they were living in one of the most prosperous countries in the world, enjoying one of the highest standards of living to be found in the world?

Let me give a few salient facts. I know they come with no novelty to honorable members on this side of the House. Perhaps they are well known to members of the Opposition, but how rarely do they acknowledge them publicly? They either suppress them or present them in such a way that the public cannot hope to get a clear view. Honorable members opposite have attacked us on our housing policy. Has any of them ever acknowledged that during the life of this Government 1,000,000 new homes - one new house for less than three people added to the population over that period - have been constructed in this country? Can they point to any country in the world with a better construction record. Do they know of any country in which young couples have a better prospect, early in their married life, of securing a home than they have in this country? Of course, while housing is a reflection of general community prosperity, there are other even more apparent manifestations around us to-day. There are more than 3,000,000 motor cars on the roads of Australia. In the year which has been under attack by honorable members opposite, there were some 323,000 new motor registrations. Our people rank, I repeat, amongst those with the best living standards in the world. They are well clothed, well housed, well fed and well supplied. There is a wide range of household amenities which an earlier generation would have regarded as available only to a wealthy few. They have more leisure; they have a wider range of social benefits. All these things, Sir, are to be found in a country that is steadily growing in strength through its increasing population. We have an immigration programme which has been admired around the world and which is associated with national development in the town and country areas of Australia.

The people who blacken the name of Australia are not critics outside this country; they are members of the Opposition. People outside this country who observe what is going on here are full of praise and commendation of us. They come here in their growing numbers. They invest their funds here in ever-increasing amounts. They have seen a future which apparently is not so obvious to our critics on the other side of the House. We have faith in the future and we believe that those who come here to share it with us will have their faith amply justified.

I have never known honorable members opposite to acknowledge the fluctuations in fortune with which the Government has had to contend. Let me refer to the major one, the sharp downturn in the terms of trade for Australia which occurred early in the 1950’s. That downturn has placed a tremendous additional burden on this country. We have had to step up our production of exportable commodities in order to contend with it. We have had to make the most drastic economic readjustments to deal with that downturn which took us from a level of 100 in 1953 - and that was not the peak of our favorable situation - to just over 60 in the last few years. There have been only two comparable situations, in my political lifetime, in which the terms of trade have turned so drastically against us. One was the situation early in the 1930’s. We have had no guidance to Labour form in recent years, but that was the situation with which the Labour government of the day had to try to contend. Owing to the complete incapacity of that government to handle the situation, the result is now a matter of tragic history. Honorable members opposite speak to us about unemployment, but at that time, 30 per cent, of registered trade unionists were driven to hunt for work around Australia, as a result of Labour’s incapacity. We have had to face up to the same kind of termsof -trade problem.

With the experience of the 1930’s in mind, the Labour Government of the postwar period took the view that we would be doing very well indeed if we could get the number of registered unemployed down to 5 per cent. Of course, what the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Haylen) said on that notable occasion has been referred to time and again in this place. The significance of it, however, is sometimes not clearly perceived. The honorable member was not simply uttering a view of his own, or some judgment to which he had come privately. He was speaking as the official spokesman for the Australian Labour Party on the piece of legislation then before the Parliament, and his view was not contradicted by his colleagues. It was the view of the Labour Party. In those days, against the pre-war experience of something of the order of 8 per cent, or 10 per cent, of unemployment in reasonably good times, 5 per cent, of unemployment seemed to be a realistic target. Right through the fluctuations which have occurred while we have been in oR.e, and even at the peak of registrations, the percentage has barely reached half of that which the honorable member for Parkes considered to be a full employment target in a time of peace. I hope I shall have time to say something more on the subject of employment.

Over its long period of office, this Government has sustained employment and employment opportunities in a manner unparalled by any previous government in the history of this country. We have done so in a variety of ways. Let us see how our provision compares with the provision that the Labour Government found itself able to make in its last year of office. One of the ways in which we have helped to keep employment at a high level has been by the assistance we have given to the States. In its last year of office, the Labour Government provided the States with £70,000,000. This year, we have provided £304,000,000.

While that difference is large enough, it is nevertheless rather ironic to mention in passing that even the £70,000,000 which was provided in the 1949-50 Budget was swollen by £8,000,000 because the government of the day had to make special financial provision for the States to recompense them for a disastrous coal strike - one of the worst strikes in the history of this country. The Labour Government had to send troops to the coal-fields in order to ensure the production of coal, at a time when coal was sorely needed and in such short supply. Our provision for the States under the works programme this year amounts to £255,000,000, which compares favorably with the £92,000,000 provided by the Labour Government in its last year of office. In this, and in other ways, we have provided work opportunities throughout the country.

I await again, quite patiently but perhaps not very hopefully, some acknowledgment from the Labour Party of the significant features of our current situation, an acknowledgment which the public at large would find heartening and encouraging. Let me say this as an indictment of the Labour Party. During a period when, as almost anybody will acknowledge, we have faced the most serious economic problems, honorable members opposite, instead of helping in a truly national spirit, have done their very best to sabotage our efforts at every turn we have taken. When we removed import licensing, which sharpened competition, attracted a wider range of goods into the country and helped to keep prices down, the Labour Party was the first to attack us. At every point along the road we have had to contend with the opposition of the honorable members opposite. Why does not the Opposition tell the people that last year we added 100,000 people to the work force and that to-day people are working in great numbers on overtime; or that the Department of Labour and National Service is placing people in jobs at the rate of 40,000 to 50,000 a month? Those are facts which would give some heart and encouragement to the wage-earner who might be anxious lest his job cease at some point of time, and who therefore might spend less on the goods available in Australia than his earnings and his savings would enable him to spend.

What brand of patriotism is it which, for some political advantage, would damage the interests of the fellow Australians whom honorable members opposite claim to represent, create anxieties and aggravate the problems which Australia is in the process of meeting? Yet, those who are doing these things are the members of the alternative government, as offered to us by honorable gentlemen opposite. There has been no acknowledgment of the way in which we mastered the inflation that we inherited from the Labour Party. At the time that we took office, inflation was running at 10 per cent. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward), who is attempting to interject, is well aware of that fact. I know that honorable members opposite are relying on short memories, but at that time Sir Douglas Copland described the economy as a milk-bar economy - plenty of froth and bubble at the top, but very little substance underneath.

This Government has recognized that inflation does not suit the wage-earner of this country and that, in fact, it does great harm to him because of his fixed scale of wages. We know that inflation may suit some people - not the kind of people that I would have thought the Labour Party would claim to represent - but it certainly does not suit the housewife, with her problems; and most certainly it does not suit the man on the land who has to export in competition with the rest of the world. All those people have been among the principal beneficiaries of the policies which we have laboured so hard to bring successfully into being.

What acknowledgment has there been from the Labour Party of Australia’s strong external position? We have just on £600,000,000 in our front-line reserves and more than £200,000,000 in second-line reserves with the International Monetary Fund. What acknowledgment has there been of the fact that Australia’s credit is so high abroad and that a highly favorable view is taken of Australia’s growth prospects, resulting in a strong and steady capital inflow bringing us new skills, new techniques, additional capital equipment and increased employment opportunities? The savings of others are helping Australia to grow, and those savings are here to stay.

Labour’s patent hostility to this overseas investment could seriously affect this source of strength if ever it were given the opportunity of office. Australia’s success in attracting this investment is the envy of other developing countries which are offering all manner of inducements to attract similar support.

Our public credit is high at home and abroad. This is reflected in the remarkable level of savings and loan proceeds. Several factors have contributed to this. At least it is fair to claim that faith in this country’s currency and a recognition that we have achieved stability of costs and prices, which in turn strengthens the currency, have been potent factors. Last year the Australian people added £200,000,000 to savings bank deposits. We are taunted with that. Would the Australian people have increased savings bank deposits by £200,000,000 if they feared the introduction of policies which would weaken the purchasing power of their currency? Would they have more than doubled the amount we sought in one of our recent loans when they supplied £126,000,000 to meet a £60,000,000 target if they had not faith in the strength and stability of the currency under this Government’s policies? Again the Opposition has seen fit to sneer at that. I do not think it need fear that at any time in a period of office which it may enjoy the public will more than double any loan which it may seek to raise.

This growing wealth is spread among the people. I remind the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) of this. He painted a most distorted and mischievous picture last night of the number of persons registered for employment. He spoke about 200,000 people eating dole meals. What completely mischievous nonsense it is when we know that included in the number of persons regis: :red for employment are 36,000 young men and women who, very largely, are living with their families in considerable comfort these days; when we know that married women are included; and when we know that men who have been doing seasonal work in north Queensland and have earned enough in the season to represent a worthwhile annual income are included also. How can the honorable member reconcile his claim when we know that the total operative savings bank accounts in this country number more than 10,000,000 with an average holding of £185 per head of population. Yet, despite all this, look at the miserable picture of Australia which has been painted by honorable gentlemen opposite.

I only wish that I had a great deal more time to deal not only with the economic position but with some equally important matters which have emerged in this debate. Fortunately some of those matters have been dealt with so effectively by other Government supporters that it is not even necessary to make a passing reference to them. The Labour Party wants to be the government. The people are entitled to know Labour’s present political philosophy and the machinery by which policy will emerge from that party. Is it a socialist party with a socialist programme? Its printed platform to which every member opposite is pledged states that it is a socialist party. That platform sets out details of methods to be employed to give effect to the platform, including a list of industries and services marked for nationalization. That is the prospectus of the Labour Party.

The Leader of the Opposition who already has pledged himself to give effect to that platform has given a new pledge to the people that he will not put it into effect. What is the public to understand? If this pospectus were for a public company the Australian Labour Party would be prosecuted for fraud on the Australian people. Just where does it stand? Is the Leader of the Opposition now putting before the people the platform as set out or the pledge not to give effect to the platform? He had no authority to give such a second pledge, we know, because the executive was not consulted for this purpose. Having seen the way he has bowed the knee, not only on this recent notorious occasion but in the instances mentioned by the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe) earlier to-day, revealing the consistency with which he has adopted that attitude, what faith could any Australian community have that given the opportunity he would not respond again to that kind of dictation regardless of any public pledge that he had given?

What of the celebrated letter containing the silence order to honorable gentlemen opposite? We have heard a lot to-day about the nineteen votes to seventeen episode but to me an even graver development in this country has been the way in which meekly, without protest, honorable members opposite accepted this silence order which was issued by their executive. Let the Australian people judge the calibre of the government which would come from the other side of the House. Only a few days ago the Leader of the Opposition, speaking in Melbourne, called for more trade unionists to join the Australian Labour Party. He was not very happy about the present composition of his own forces. He wanted more trade unionists. A very stalwart Labour man in the person of Mr. Tom Dougherty, general secretary of the Australian Workers Union, commenting the next day on Mr. Calwell’s plea for more trade unionists in the party, said that the wrong type of Labour man was getting into Parliament. He continued -

The parliamentary ranks of the A.L.P. were filled with go-getters, lawyers, publicans and eggheads.

At least Mr. Dougherty had the courage to follow his own policy and resign from the New South Wales Legislative Council, but what courage of that kind exists among members on the other side of the House?

No confidence? Why, the Australian people have confidence in this Government and honorable members on this side of the House have confidence in this Government. With an assured vote from them we will go forward with confidence to meet the problems which Australia has to face.

Question put -

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

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

AYES: 58

NOES: 59

Majority . . . . 1



Question so resolved in the negative.

Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.

page 430



Mr. DRURY presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the Commonwealth Government remove section 127, and the words discriminating against aborigines in section 51 of the Commonwealth Constitution, by the holding of a referendum at an early date.

Petition received and read.

Petitions in similar terms were presented as follows: -

By Mr. DON CAMERON from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

By Mr. COMBER from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

By Mr. COUTTS from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

By Mr. CROSS from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

Petitions received.

Social Services


– I present a petition from certain electors of New South Wales praying that the Government take urgent and immediate action to -

  1. Grant an increase in the pension and allowances of age, invalid and widow pensioners, and
  2. allocate additional finance for the building of low rental houses and units for pensioners and elderly people.

The majority of signatories to this petition are from the Parramatta electorate, but as the Attorney-General has declined to meet a deputation to receive the petition-


– Order! The honorable member is out of order.


– I have pleasure in presenting the petition on behalf of the citizens concerned.


– Order! The honorable member must not comment on the petition.

Petition received.

Petitions in the same terms were presented as follows: -

By Mr. JACK from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. CLAY from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. McGUREN from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. COSTA from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. REYNOLDS from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. IAN ALLAN from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. KEARNEY from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. JEFF BATE from certain electors of New South Wales.

By Mr. COPE from certain electors of New South Wales.

Petitions received.

page 431


Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

Mr. Speaker, 1 would like to inform the House of ministerial arrangements during the absence - which has already begun - of the Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) and also during the impending absence of the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). While Sir Garfield Barwick is away I am acting as Minister for External Affairs and the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Freeth) is acting as Attorney-General. During the absence of my colleague, the Minister for Trade, Senator Denham Henty will act as Minister for Trade and in that capacity will be represented in this chamber by the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz).

page 431



Ministerial Statement. Mr. McEWEN (Murray - Minister for Trade). - by leave - Mr. Speaker, the International Coffee Agreement, which was tabled by my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs (Sir Garfield Barwick), on 28th March, was negotiated in 1962 under United Nations auspices. Seventy-one countries were present at the negotiations and 58 participated in them. The agreement represents the culmination of much hard and patient work by interested countries - both producers and consumers - largely through the medium of the Coffee Study Group. It has been signed by 54 countries, representing 95 per cent, of world trade, and when it enters into force will take the place of, and have much wider scope than, the agreement, also styled the International Coffee Agreement, entered into by producing countries in 1959.

Coffee is one of the top three agricultural commodities entering world trade. In 1960, the last year for which complete figures are available, world exports of coffee were valued at no less than £1,000,000,000. This was slightly more than the value of world exports of wheat, and appreciably greater than the value of total Australian exports in that year. Coffee is the most important source of export earnings of a large number of developing countries, especially in Latin America and Africa, and the pace of development of these countries is directly related to the state of the international coffee market.

The main purpose of the agreement is to increase the export earnings of coffeeexporting countries by stabilizing prices at remunerative levels and by increasing consumption. It aims to do this by controlling world trade through a system of export quotas on member countries, by holding imports from non-member countries at their present level, by reducing obstacles to trade and by increasing consumption.

Australia signed the agreement last November and the Government has decided to present it to the House for ratification. Australia will join the agreement as an importing country. However, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is an exporter of coffee and special provisions have been included in the agreement which should meet the Territory’s needs. The negotiation of the agreement represents a break-through for countries like Australia which see a great need for international arrangements to stabilize trade in primary commodities at prices payable to producers while fair to consumers.

Honorable members will be aware of the existence of international agreements covering wheat, sugar and tin. We are currently engaged in a great deal of activity associated with the negotiation of, or study of the need for, further international commodity agreements. A delegation has recently been in Trinidad taking part in a conference preparatory to negotiation of an international cocoa agreement. Other international meetings of great concern to less developed and developing countries which Australian representatives have attended in the past few months were those dealing with jute, hard fibres and olive oil.

On coffee and cocoa, Australia has a twofold interest in that the mainland is an importer and Papua and New Guinea is an exporter. It has thus been necessary to ensure that the terms negotiated are acceptable to us both as a consuming country and as a country with very direct and pressing responsibilities for the viability and development of our dependent and trust Territory.

As honorable members are aware, I will be attending a conference of Ministers of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in May. There has already been a fair amount of useful work in the Gatt framework on the question of trade in primary products. Groups comprising representatives of countries having a major interest in cereals, meat and tropical products have set about tackling the problems associated with these commodities. One of my aims will be to bring home to industrial countries the trading needs of less developed countries and indeed of all countries which depend heavily on primary products for their export income.

Australia supports the negotiation of commodity agreements for three main reasons. First, our own producers stand to benefit directly from higher returns and more stable market conditions which these agreements bring about. Secondly, a growing proportion of our export trade is done with countries, many of them among the lesser developed ones, whose export returns depend crucially on world price levels for a few commodities like tin, rubber and jute. International commodity agreements which improve the export earnings of these customers of ours will in turn bring benefits to ourselves.

Last but not least, economic advancement, and the political stability that goes with it, cannot be achieved in many of these countries in the absence of rising exports to provide the wherewithal for buying essential imports. In this way, intern;tional commodity agreements have a vital contribution to make towards the economic, social and political progress of the free world as a whole.


– by leaveMr. Speaker, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) has just made a very interesting statement to the Parliament. In order to remove any misconceptions about the Go vernment’s intentions, I ask the Minister whether the statement which he has just made is all that the Parliament is going to hear about the International Coffee Agreement or whether he intends to introduce a bil] to ratify the agreement.

Mr McEwen:

– It will be presented to the Parliament for ratification.


– A bill?

Mr McEwen:

– The correct legal procedure will be followed.


– This will not be the last of it?

Mr McEwen:

– No.


– You will introduce a bill similar to the international wheat stabilization legislation?

Mr McEwen:

– I do not know; a bill will be introduced or a resolution will be moved. The customary procedure will be followed.


– I want to ensure that the Parliament shall be consulted and its approval sought within a reasonable period. All we have been told to-night is that the Government intends to ask the Parliament to ratify this agreement. We have been informed that the coffee trade of the world involves an amount of £1,000,000,000 annually. I think the Minister also mentioned that it involved a traffic of 929,000,000,000 lb. of coffee.

Mr McEwen:

– I did not use that figure.


– The main point is that the Minister made a number of references to the interests of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, which is a producer of coffee. He informed us that we participate in the agreement as an importing country. He did not go to any pains to explain to the Parliament whether the agreement enables Australia, in respect of its mandate, to give protection to the Territory. I have here a copy of the agreement which was tabled on 28th March. More important still, the Minister for Trade has not told the Parliament that as far back as April, 1962, a report was received from the Australian Tariff Board with respect to the coffeegrowing industry in New Guinea. That report was not tabled in this Parliament until 15th November, 1962, when some of the recommendations made by the board regarding the coffee industry became operative. He did not inform the Parliament that the Tariff Board made a recommendation which the Government did not accept in its entirety. He did not inform the Parliament that the Government’s alibi for not fully accepting the board’s report was, perhaps, the fact that further international negotiations made it difficult to accept all of the board’s recommendations.

The most interesting feature of the Tariff Board’s report as it affected the coffee producers of New Guinea, and perhaps coffee consumers in Australia, was its emphatic statement that it had encountered the greatest possible difficulties in obtaining information which would have enabled it to make a more satisfactory report. The board emphasized that these difficulties arose mainly from the fact that the coffeegrowers of New Guinea have no organized marketing arrangement whatsoever. They have no organized marketing board, yet this is a government that says it stands for the organized marketing of primary products. In the far-distant island of New Guinea the native coffee-growers and the Australian-born planters are struggling against great odds in the production of coffee. We find them embarrassed and harassed because they do not have an organization that would enable them to participate in the organized marketing arrangements that this Government boasts about but which, in fact, are not nearly so good as those under a Labour administration.

Let us look at the situation. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) asked the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) a question on this subject on 6th December, 1962, in these terms -

What steps has he so far taken to set up a coffee marketing board in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as recommended in the report made by the Tariff Board?

To that the Minister gave this evasive reply -

The question of a coffee marketing board in Papua and New Guinea was discussed with the industry several times before the Tariff Board inquiry, in connexion with arrangements for the marketing of the Territory coffee crop. The view taken by the Government is that a marketing board should not be imposed on the producers and owners of a crop but should bs organized at their request and in consultation with them. This consultation is close and continuous.

We cannot accept that. We feel that if the coffee-growers in New Guinea, both native and Australian born, were not as active as they might have been in organizing their industry, the Minister for Territories and, particularly, the Minister for Trade and the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) should have gone to great pains to explain to them that since 1959 there had been long and arduous negotiations for the creation of an international coffee agreement and that if the New Guinea producers were to be protected, it was essential that they make haste to get their industry organized so that they might have a voice in the land and have their industry protected.

What does the Australian Tariff Board say about this situation? I shall not quote all that it says, although it is a fairly damning indictment of the Government. In the board’s report on coffee there is the statement -

The Board gave consideration to recommending bounty assistance as being the best method of ensuring a stable return to growers in the Territory. However, in the absence of a marketing authority, the Board could see no practicable method of administering such a scheme. Largely for this reason the Board therefore decided against recommending assistance by means of a bounty.

That may have been - who knows - a better method of assisting the industry than that which was adopted. There is more along those lines in the Tariff Board’s report.

But let us hasten along. On 15th November, 1962, Tariff Proposals were introduced in this Parliament. Instead of adopting the Tariff Board’s report on coffee in toto, the Government hid behind some excuse. On that occasion the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall), as Minister representing the Minister for Customs and Excise, said -

In accordance with the Tariff Board’s recommendations increased protective duties are being imposed on soluble coffee, roasted coffee and liquid extracts. The Board has also recommended continued free entry of raw coffee from PapuaNew Guinea with increased duties from other sources, subject to a remission of such duties, in whole or in part, when specified quantities are obtained from the Territory.

Mr Leslie:

– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Lalor rose and sought permission of the House-


– What is the point of order.

Mr Leslie:

– He sought permission to make a statement.


– There is no substance in that point of order.

Mr Leslie:

– I want to ask a question.


– Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. He is interrupting an honorable member who has leave of the House to make a statement. With his experience in the Parliament he should know better.


– To assist the Papua and New Guinea coffee growers, the board recommended continued duty-free entry of raw coffee from that Territory and increased duties on coffee imported from other parts of the world - subject to remission, in whole or part, when specified quantities were obtained from the Territory. The Minister went on to say -

Before the board’s findings on raw coffee may be implemented it will be necessary for Australia to negotiate with certain overseas countries.

I appreciate that. Then the rub comes. When the board actually made its recommendation it suggested a deferment of further consideration for a period of two years. In view of the fact that the Tariff Board was unable to deal adequately with the Territory coffee industry because of the Government’s negligence in failing to encourage the Papua and New Guinea coffee producers to establish a marketing board, is the Government going to agree with the board’s proposal to adjourn further consideration for a period of two years? Those are the things which are of interest to the coffee producers of the Territory and to Australia. I emphasize this because I noticed in the international agreement, a copy of which is before this House, that there is an express intention on the part of the new organization to engage in a coffee consumption campaign. Why not? The purpose of the campaign is to increase the consumption of coffee and to assist the coffee producers of the world.

The most interesting feature about the Tariff Board’s report, and about the industry generally, is that Australians are consuming about 80 per cent of the coffee produced in New Guinea. I often wonder how many people are buying New Guinea coffee, unintentionally, thinking they are buying something else, although in reality New Guinea coffee is as good as any coffee in the world.

I hope and trust that in due course the Government will bring down a bill in this Parliament to ratify this agreement in order that a general debate may ensue. This international coffee agreement, embracing 54 countries, has been arrived at with the help of the United Nations. It is the outcome of an immense amount of work. It provides ample scope for debate. I sincerely hope that the Minister will fulfil his promise and that a ratifying bill will be brought before the Parliament.

I have browsed through the agreement and I can see within it the precepts and practices established by one of Australia’s most eminent public servants. I refer to Sir Edwin McCarthy. The Minister for Trade knows it was my pleasant duty in 1948 to pilot through this Parliament the first international wheat agreement legislation that this Parliament ever enacted. That international agreement was due almost entirely to the skill of Sir Edwin McCarthy, the value of whose work was recognized at the international conferences where the instrument was created. In the main, the agreement was the work of that great Australian. The provisions of the agreement we are now considering are along similar lines to those of the International Wheat Agreement of 1948.

I leave the matter at that, emphasizing that I hope that the Government’s ambition to get into the haven of recess at the times it has fixed will not be realized if this and similar agreements are treated with contempt and an endeavour is made to pass them off or perhaps avoid bringing them to the Parliament by the device of making statements of the type that the Minister made to-night. In particular, I hope that the Tariff Board will be reminded that now that the international agreement is, in effect, nearly ratified, it should not be allowed to slumber for another two years. I hope, too, that the responsible Ministers will not fail to ginger up and assist the New Guinea coffee producers in establishing an organized marketing scheme, with all the benefits that it may bring.

page 435



– As it is now past the time provided for Grievance Day, Order of the Day No. 1 will not be called on. The Committee of Supply will be set down for a later hour this day.

page 435


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 28th March (vide page 245), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- Although bousing was dealt with at some length in this Parliament last week and again this week, Opposition members welcome the opportunity for a general debate on the question, because we hold the opinion that despite what was said in the discussions to which I have just referred there is still a great deal that can be said relating to the housing shortage. We also welcome the opportunity to debate the second housing bill to be introduced in this financial year and the second-reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on the measure. For the second year in succession he has at least endeavoured to give the Parliament and1 the people some indication of the Government’s policy in respect of housing matters generally.

It should be pointed out that a Loan (Housing) Bill, whether it is a supplementary measure or a measure normally following a budget, has usually been the subject of one of the shortest second-reading speeches presented to the Parliament. At least on this occasion some indication has now been given to the Parliament of what the Government proposes to do and of what it believes it has achieved in respect of housing.

This measure provides an additional amount of £2,711,000 this financial year for the purpose of assisting State housing instrumentalities with their housing programmes. It should be pointed out that on 8th August, 1962, the Treasurer introduced a measure which provided an amount of £45,900,000 for housing to be used by State instrumentalities and approved lending societies. That amount was £2,600,000 less than the provision made in the preceding financial year 1961- 62. So, I submit to this House that the additional amount of £2,711,000 that is being appropriated under this legislation will only bring the provision for 1962-63 into line with the amount that was made available for this purpose by this Government in 1961-62.

In addition, the Government has approved the allocation of an additional amount of £2,500,000 to the War Service Homes Division. That will make the total allocation to that division during 1962-63, £37,500,000. However, when the legislation to amend the War Service Homes Act by increasing the maximum advance from £2,750 to £3,500 was introduced into this Parliament on 8th August, 1962, the Opposition pointed out to the Government that unless it increased the overall allocation for war service homes the number of outstanding applications must naturally increase. At that stage it was obvious that if the Government was prepared to increase the maximum advance to £3,500 a greater total allocation would be necessary. At this late stage the Government has seen fit to provide an additional £2,500,000 for that purpose. It should be pointed out also that even now, according to the last report of the director of the War Service Homes Division, 15,000 applicants are still waiting to obtain homes through the division. There is something wrong with a policy that keeps 15,000 applicants waiting for war service homes seventeen years after the conclusion of the Second World War. We hope that this additional allocation will overcome at least some of the difficulties of people who are waiting for assistance through the division.

I refer now to one of the very few documents on housing statistics that have been made available. It was made available to the Parliament by the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) as far back as February, 1957. At that time the Minister suggested that if we could provide 77,000 homes a year for the following five years we would overcome, in some measure at least, the backlog of homes that existed in this country. It is assumed that the Minister based his estimate on the natural increase in population and a net increase of 1 per cent, by migration. The Minister went on to say, in that document, that 65,000 new homes would be required each year by 1965, and that 79,000 new homes would be required each year by 1970. The Minister made that information available to the Parliament back in 1957. Quite recently we had information from Dr. Hail of the Australian National University which showed how far out was this Government’s estimate of home requirements during the early 1960’s. Dr. Hall has estimated that in 1965 the level of demand will not be at 65,000 homes, as suggested by the Minister for National Development, but that it will be higher than 100,000 homes. He suggests that by 1970 there will be a demand for more than 130,000 homes. In both cases the Minister has under-estimated housing requirements by no less than 60 per cent.

Mr Howson:

– So did Dr. Hall.


– I am referring to Dr. Hall, and I point out for the benefit of the honorable member that I have heard no one in this House, and no one in the other place, certainly not the Minister responsible for these matters, disputing the figures given by Dr. Hall. I believe we can accept his figures as being accurate. It is quite obvious, then, that the target that has been set by this Government will not meet the demand for homes in the years that lie ahead. Obviously the demand will increase, and obviously the Government’s target will have to be greatly increased.

Let me turn now from the overall demand to the demand in the lower income groups. I have shown that the Government’s target will be insufficient to meet the demand. It will, therefore, certainly be insufficient to meet both the demand and the back lag. I turn, then, to the demand in the low income groups. There has always been in this country a great problem represented by the margin of security required by private lending institutions. This security requirement has meant that thousands of young people each year have had to turn to the State housing authorities. It can be shown that they are the only instrumentalities that have been able to meet the needs of people in the lower income groups.

I listened this afternoon to the Treasurer speaking in an earlier debate, when he told this House that he did not believe there was any country in which the prospects of a young married cOUple obtaining a home were better than those in Australia. 1 know that many Ministers of this Govern ment have been overseas, and I suggest that the Treasurer is no mean contender for the record in respect of numbers of overseas trips. Obviously, however, he has not taken the opportunity to study the housing schemes in other countries, and particularly in countries in which the standard of living is said to be inferior to that in Australia. I had an opportunity of looking at some of these schemes last year, and I could point immediately to at least three or four countries in which the housing situation is better than it is here, and in which a person’s ability to purchase a home is not entirely dependent on whether he can provide the margin of security that would be required in Australia. I therefore suggest that the Treasurer might endeavour to confirm the accuracy of the statement he made in this House this afternoon.

Let me return to the question of the margin of security required by these people in the lower income groups. As I have said, they must turn to the State housing authorities. Each of those authorities lays down certain conditions. The conditions may vary from State to State, but generally they provide for those people who are not able to find the deposit that would be normally required by private lending institutions. I could refer in detail, I suppose, to the position in Tasmania. In that State no deposit at all is required. A person’s eligibility to obtain a home is judged on the basis of his need only, and I believe that condition should apply in every State to meet the requirements of those people who will always be dependent upon a State authority for their housing. The Minister pointed out in his second-reading speech that the maximum advance that is now available to intending home purchasers has been raised to £3,500 by the various banking institutions. Let me say at once to the Minister and this Government that that action has been taken eight or nine years too late. The Minister knows as well as I do that, according to the figures published in the last annual report of the director of the War Services Homes Division, the average cost of a home in this country has increased in recent years to £4,200. That being so, it is obvious that with a maximum advance of £3,500, these young people who desire to get married and who probably are in the lower income bracket are still required to find a deposit of anything from £500 to £700. For that reason I say that the maximum housing loan should have been increased many years ago.

The problem of bridging the gap between the average cost of a home and the maximum loan offered by approved lending institutions and private banks has been referred to year after year in debates in this House, but no action to meet the position has been taken by the Government to date. Indeed, the Government has refused to face up to its responsibility in its own department - the War Service Homes Division. For years the Government refused to increase the maximum amount available through the War Service Homes Division to the present level of £3,500 and in fact did not do so until the Director of War Service Homes referred to the matter himself in his report for the year 1961-62. On that occasion he pointed out that the number of applicants for war service homes finance was falling off because intending home builders or purchasers could not bridge the gap between the maximum advance available and the cost of the home they desired. Although we appreciate the action being taken now by the Government, we on this side believe that the Government should be censured for waiting so long before granting assistance to those people who are obviously still in need of it.

During the course of this and other debates over the past few days I have heard reference made to this Government’s achievements in the field of housing. I concede at once that in some years the Government has exceeded by a considerable number the home-building target set by the Minister for National Development in another place (Sir William Spooner). But let me emphasize that although the Government may have exceeded its target in one year by constructing a record number of homes, it has never been able to maintain the effort and, as a general rule, the number of houses constructed in the following year has declined. As evidence of that, I need only refer to the latest figures available from the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics with relation to the number of houses commenced. In 1959, the commencements numbered 85,126. In 1960, a year in which we give the Government full credit for its achievement, the number of homes commenced reached the record figure of 97,090. In 1961, however, the number was down to 80,044. I suggested, a few moments ago, that this Government cannot maintain the record that it set in 1960. In 1962, the number of commencements was 86,322, or approximately 10,500 fewer than the record number in 1960. In 1961, the number was about 17,000 fewer than that in 1960. Those figures indicate the general attitude of the Government to housing throughout its period of office. It has had no plan. It has given no consideration to the information made available to it by people who are in a position to ascertain accurately the extent of the housing lag. I believe that the Government must immediately give some credence to such information and take action to deal with the situation as it has been outlined in the comprehensive and reliable report submitted by Dr. Hall, of the Australian National University.

I have referred, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to the deposits that have been required of people seeking homes in recent years, and to the margin of security that has had to be bridged, more particularly during the period of office of the present Government. There is a second factor, that of interest rates. I point out - and I believe the Government understands the situation only too well - that about 75 per cent, of housing loans in this country carry an interest rate in excess of 5i per cent., again the result of the actions of the Government over a number of years. I say at once that no responsible government should demand an interest rate of more than 4 per cent. I point to the profits that have been made by the War Service Homes Division. I understand that, in 1961-62, repayments of principal and interest exceeded £21,000,000.

In this financial year, more than £20,000,000 will be repaid by the State housing authorities on the loans that they have received from the Commonwealth Government. Housing has therefore become a good investment for the Government. It collects money from the people by way of taxes and lends it to the States for housing and other purposes. On that money the States are obliged to pay a high rate of interest. Although the Commonwealth Government is expending approximately £48,000,000 for housing purposes in this financial year, it will receive back by way of repayments of principal and interest no less than £20,000,000. We believe that the interest rate should be no more than 3i per cent., or not more than one-quarter of 1 per cent, higher than the ruling interest rate for housing loans in New Zealand. That is the promise we made to the people of this country in our policy speech during the general election campaign in 1960. If it is possible for countries such as New Zealand to provide for such a rate of interest, it should also be possible for Australia to do so.

In the brief time that is now available to me, I want to deal again with the need for homes in this country. I do not believe that any competent authority in Australia would claim that the Government has solved the housing problem. Perusal of reports by various State housing instrumentalities reveals that more than 21,000 people are still on the waiting list. So whilst the Government may boast that it is achieving an all-time record in building the fact remains that the number of homes built is far below the number required to meet the back-lag and to provide for slum clearance which is so necessary.

As I have stated, no responsible government should demand an interest rate in excess of 4 per cent, on finance that it provides for housing. If other countries can provide such finance at 3£ per cent, it should be possible for Australia to do so. We on this side of the House believe that home-ownership is of paramount importance. We believe too that this Government bears heavy responsibilities in this respect. I have referred already to some of those responsibilities, and I conclude with the suggestion that the Government should consider increasing the loan allocation which will be made available to State housing instrumentalities and other approved lending societies.


.- We are coming to the end of what has been a fairly lengthy debate on housing, most of which took place last week. I only want now to draw a few threads together to tie up our ideas on this important subject. One of the main and interesting features of the debate has been the great degree of unanimity which has been displayed on the importance of housing and on some of the major problems which confront us at this time. As I have stated many times previously, we have three main aims. First, we believe in home-ownership. We believe that Australians should be able to buy homes at a reasonable cost and not have to bear an extremely heavy burden for the major part of their lives in repaying that cost. Secondly, we believe that we should try to achieve a steady rate of building and not have the violent fluctuations which have occurred in the past not only in this Government’s term of office but also when other governments have been in power. Thirdly, we believe in trying to define the responsibility which governments bear in this matter. Those three aspects have been discussed well during this debate. I shall deal with each of them.

On the question of home ownership, we on this side of the House have always believed that every Australian should be encouraged to own his home. During its term of office this Government has gone a long way towards achieving that objective, so much so that now well over 70 per cent, of homes are either owned outright or are in the process of being purchased by their occupants. I am glad that the Opposition now agrees basically with this ideal. It was very nice to learn from the speech of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) that he realizes the importance of home ownership; and it is pleasing that the Opposition now is getting away from Mr. Dedman’s idea that home ownership creates little capitalists. [Quorum formed.] I thank the honorable member for Grayndler for his kindness in getting me an audience. I am glad that many Opposition members now are beginning to realize the value of home ownership. I hope that eventually they will come to recognize the other virtues of a property-owning democracy and also the wisdom of the ideals that we on this side have advocated for so many years. We believe also that the burden of repayments and interest rates should not be too high. That is one of the matters to which we have addressed ourselves during this debate.

Now I come to the question of responsibility for housing. This aspect was dealt with very well by my friend, the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Davis), in his speech last Thursday. I only want to echo his remarks and point to the wisdom of them. I have always believed that the Commonwealth Government should have no responsibility for housing. I believe that housing is the responsibility of the State governments. All that we should do is help the State governments to overcome the many difficulties which confront them. If the Commonwealth cannot hand over its share of the responsibility in this matter then it should assume complete responsibility. There are ways in which the Commonwealth can assist the States to tackle the task, but the responsibility should remain with the State governments and with private enterprise.

During the debate two schemes have been proposed. We have been told that the Commonwealth should inaugurate a scheme similar to that under which the Federal Housing Authority in the United States of America operates. Several honorable members on this side of the chamber have advanced that proposal and their remarks have been endorsed by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. My own belief is that it would be better to encourage the savings banks to increase their lending for homes and, if possible, to rely on the savings banks as the main source of this finance. They have been the traditional source of finance for housing for many years. An organization similar io the American Federal Housing Authority would be something novel and would mean setting up another department. Our first task should be to learn whether the savings banks can do the job themselves without establishing an additional authority.

I was tremendously pleased to learn that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), is considering altering the so-called 70-30 rule relating to the investment by savings banks of their funds. If the proportion of savings bank deposits which can be made available for housing loans were increased by, say, 3 or 4 per cent., we would go a long way towards providing sufficient funds for housing. I hope that the Treasurer will soon conclude his deliberations on this subject and have some further information for the House on it.

There is, however, one feature of the Federal Housing Authority scheme in America that I think is important - the provision of a mortgage exchange. I believe that we need some way in which mortgages can be negotiable, and can be exchanged, so as to encourage more people to lend money on first mortgages for homes. If we adopted these two improvements - the mortgage exchange and an alteration in the 70/30 proportion in regard to the utilization of savings banks funds - I think we should go a long way towards eliminating the present shortage of finance for homes in this country.

The other factor that is important is the present high cost of homes in Australia. This matter was ably dealt with by the honorable member for Latrobe (Mr. Jess) in his speech. The first of several important points he dealt with was the need for the State governments to provide finance for services for land subdivisions. He showed how finance provided at high interest rates for services on land subdivided for housing increases the cost of the land. I believe that this is fundamentally a task for the State governments - a task which most of them have neglected during the past few years. It is time that the State governments accepted this responsibility and increased their expenditure on public works, particularly for the provision of services for land newly subdivided for housing. If we can lower the cost of land, if we can reduce the interest burden on loans by increasing the proportion of loans for housing advanced by savings banks, if we can facilitate tha raising of money on mortgages by making mortgages more liquid and negotiable, I believe we shall be able to see our way clear to reducing the need for Commonwealth loans. We should then not need to raise so much money in Commonwealth loans, and we would be able to reduce the allocations by the Commonwealth Government to the States for housing purposes.

As the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. Whittorn) has said, the housing problem does not arise purely from any lack in the building industry itself. It is the need to provide finance for housing at reasonable rates of interest which is important, as well as the need to reduce costs that are being borne to a great extent because in many oases the State governments have neglected their responsibilities.

I turn now to the need for a steady building rate and elimination of the fluctuations from year to year in the number of houses being built. This was referred to to-night by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard). One element necessary to increase the rate of home building is the provision of more skilled operatives in the building trade. There are very few skilled building operatives unemployed in Australia at present.

Mr James:

– Train them!


– I believe that the building trade has not done enough towards training skilled operatives. It is no use advocating a large and rapid increase in the building rate without having the people skilled in building. I think that honorable members opposite sometimes neglect this important phase of building activity. They content themselves with mouthing statements about the “ large number of unemployed “ in the industry. We cannot employ more unskilled operatives in the building trade unless there are enough skilled people to work with them, and at present there is a great shortage of skilled operatives.

Mr Griffiths:

– Many men could build their own homes if you gave them the money.


– I am saying that one of the things in which I hope the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the building unions will co-operate is the training of skilled operatives. I hope the honorable member for Hunter, who interjected earlier, will see the force of my remarks. - Mr. James. - Come up to Cessnock.


– I did not know there was a shortage of housing in Cessnock at the moment.

Mr James:

– But there is a shortage of employment.


– I agree with many honorable members that there is need for a survey of housing requirements in Australia, but such a survey should not be on the lines of previous surveys. It is here that I disagree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who has asked the Minister for National Development (Senator

Sir William Spooner) for another survey like that carried out in 1956. If we carried out a wider survey we would discover a number of facts that were not taken into account in previous surveys. So let us make certain that any future survey will provide all the answers and not just some of them.

We have had many references to Doctor Hall’s booklet, “The Housing Demand: A Second Look”. If you read this booklet you will see that there is a tremendous number of questions which require answers if we are to get an accurate assessment of the housing requirements in Australia. I agree that one has to make some assessment of the marriage rate over the next few years, and of the rate of immigration. These assessments can be made, and have been made, with reasonable accuracy, but there are other factors for which we need answers; for instance, the monthly figure of approvals in the building trade does not coincide with the number of houses actually commenced during a particular month. The discrepancy may be as much as 10 per cent. - sometimes less, sometimes more. We do not know how many existing homes are subdivided. We see from Dr. Hall’s booklet that the number is fairly large, but there is no accurate assessment to-day of that category.

We want to know why the number of unoccupied homes has grown so much during the past five years. We want some idea of the rate of replacement of existing homes and the rate at which existing homes should be demolished or repaired. We need a more accurate assessment of the need for slum reclamation and the pulling down of condemned homes.

An important factor, recognized by Dr. Hall but so often missed by Opposition members, is that the number of houses actually built is 7i per cent, greater each year than the figure for homes built given in the statistics. The honorable member for Bass mentioned that 94,000 homes were completed in 1960, whereas the actual number completed exceeded that number by 7i per cent. The actual number of homes completed in 1960 was well over 100,000. This illustrates the need to use two figures - the number of homes recorded as built and the actual number built - and the need for any survey that may be carried out to ascertain more accurately the number of homes actually built and the reasons for the discrepancy in the statistics.

It is important that we should inquire into the source of finance for housing, particularly the way in which private funds are raised. We need to know how many people, when they sell existing homes, use the money to buy new homes. Much has been said here about the building of new homes, but we do not know anything about the movement in the ownership of existing homes. We know that large funds are provided by solicitors and other persons, and by organizations and companies, for housing but we have reason to believe that those funds could be increased considerably if the mortgages were made more easily negotiable. I have already referred to that factor.

Mr Griffiths:

– At 10 per cent.?


– We have reason to believe, too, that such funds could be increased if the guarantees were improved. If these things were done, I believe that the interest rates on these loans would be reduced from their present high level.

Mr Griffiths:

– It is done deliberately.


– I ask the honorable member to listen; I am answering his point. While the security on the second mortgage is so limited you cannot expect people to come forward and lend money at low interest rates. I repeat my belief that if the guarantee could be increased and the mortgage itself could be made more negotiable, so that the mortgagor would have a chance of getting the money back if it were really needed, the interest rate would come down. This is a matter which should be considered. It has not been raised by the Opposition, but I hope that honorable members opposite will consider it, too.

When we speak of the need for a survey, we are brought up against the very difficult question of what is the actual housing need in Australia. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said that every person who is living in a shed, hut or similar accommodation should be re-housed. I pose this question: Are we absolutely certain that every person who is living in a shed, hut or other low-standard accommodation does want to move? I hope these people do want to move, but we cannot be absolutely certain that they do. If they are moved into better accommodation, will they be happy and will they be prepared to pay a higher rent for it? Will they be happy about devoting more of their income to rent and less to saving up for a car, furniture or other needs of the family. Or does the Opposition suggest that the States should subsidize the rents that would be needed to provide a higher standard of living? Members of the Labour Party often adopt the attitude that they know better than the persons concerned and say to them, “ This is what you must have whether you like it or not “.

Mr Stokes:

– They tell people what they want.


– Yes, they say to people, “This is what you want”. Before honorable members opposite lay down rules on this subject, it would not be a bad thing for them to ask the persons concerned what they want. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spoke about the number of families that are sharing accommodation. Generally speaking, it is desirable that there should be one home for each family, but sometimes three generations of people enjoy sharing one roof. Surely we should not say that because families are sharing accommodation they must be separated. In many cases that is not what the people concerned desire.

On the other side of the ledger, if we increase the rate of construction and reduce the cost of houses, obviously the demand for houses will suddenly increase. So at no time can we say that a certain number of houses are needed. One factor which governs the situation is our standard of living; another factor is what each person living in a house desires for himself or herself. I believe we can get answers to all these questions. If we are to have a survey of housing needs, I hope much care and thought will be given to it. If a survey is conducted, I hope we shall have a much more accurate assessment of our housing needs than we have at the present time. Probably the best assessment of needs we have at the present time is that of Dr. Hall. He has referred to a recorded output of 95,000 dwellings a year. The actual output, which would be 74 per cent, in excess of that figure, would be between 102,000 and 103,000 units a year. This month the number of recorded commencements is equivalent to an annual rate of well over 90,000 houses. So already this Government is getting close to Dr. Hall’s figure and the funds provided when this measure is passed will raise that figure still higher. With all the measures that are now being taken and which have been announced by the Government during the last few weeks, we are gradually coming to grips with and tackling efficiently this very difficult problem.

Smith · Kingsford

.- Mr, Deputy Speaker, one of the greatest social problems of the day is housing. One cannot understand the timidity of this Government in analysing and tackling the problem. It is generally known that thousands of Australians are living in conditions which are an affront to all decentminded citizens. Families are living in shacks, garages, sheds and all sorts of makeshift shelters that are a disgrace to any civilized community. Why does not the Government make available the necessary money to give every person an opportunity to own a home? As in other fields, this Government is tied to the apron strings of big monopolies which are engaged in land speculation and development. Those developers are satisfied to confine their operations to the commercial sphere. Having the power to bring pressure to bear on this Government, they have persuaded it to limit its operations in the housing sphere, with the result that finance is allowed only to dribble into that field in very small amounts.

Mr Stokes:

– It is a pretty big dribble.


– Whatever it is, it is not enough. If it were millions of pounds more, it still would not be enough. The building industry is stagnating, but the demand for houses continues to increase. This is creating a bottleneck which is becoming more severe day by day. The Menzies Government gives no consideration to the ever-increasing flow of British migrants. That is making the position even worse. These unfortunates, who before they leave Britain are promised that they will be able to secure a home within twelve months of their arrival in Australia, are immediately herded into hostels when they get here. After that the Government loses all interest in them. They are expected to plod along, to make the best of the makeshift accommodation available to them and to raise families in those conditions. European migrants, sometimes living four or five to a room, are being exploited viciously. Will any honorable member opposite challenge that statement? Those migrants are paying up to £4 a week for the privilege of living four or five to a room. Entire families of European migrants are living in one room. What a shocking state of affairs! Their rents are excessive. They are being squeezed unmercifully by foreign landlords operating as companies in our large cities. This situation may be observed in any capital city if honorable members care to take the trouble to look around. I suggest that they look especially in the metropolitan areas. The situation has to be seen to be believed. Housing difficulties are one of the major reasons why European migrants to this country are returning to their homelands. That this is so is revealed in a preliminary analysis of a survey being conducted on behalf of the Good Neighbour Council of the Australian Capital Territory by Dr. Charles Price, Senior Fellow in Demography at the Australian National University. Dr. Price has conducted his survey by submitting questions to a cross section of European migrant groups. I think all honorable members will agree that we can believe Dr. Price.

Why are the present housing conditions allowed to continue? Why is more money not made available for housing? Why are more opportunities for building not given to the State housing commissions? They could build many more homes annually than they are doing now. New South Wales has an outstanding administrator as Minister for Housing. Abe Landa is one of the best administrators in the New South Wales Ministry and he is doing a remarkable job. It is well known that with the limited amount of loan money at its disposal the New South Wales Labour Government is doing a remarkable job in housing. Since World War II it has provided accommodation for 250,000 people.

That is a superhuman effort having regard to the limited amount of money provided by this miserable Commonwealth Government. The New South Wales Government completed 4,700 homes in 1961-62 and expected to have enough money to build a similar number in 1962-63. But it must be remembered that applications for houses are pouring in to the New South Wales Housing Commission at the rate of 18,000 a year. The result is that the number of persons on the waiting list is now 37,000. What a shocking commentary in sunny Australia! In New South Wales alone 37,000 families are waiting for homes, yet Sir William Spooner, our Minister for National Development, states that there are sufficient homes for all.

Full credit must be given to the New South Wales Minister for Housing for the way he has used the limited finances at his disposal. The New South Wales Government has encouraged home ownership and more than 20,000 housing commission homes in New South Wales are now being bought on a minimum deposit of £50 with the balance spread over a maximum of 45 years at 4i per cent, interest. That is an example of what could be done if the Menzies Government would release the necessary finance. All we need is finance, but this Government keeps a very tight hold on the purse strings. It seems to want to perpetuate the housing shortage in the interests of its wealthy supporters. We know who they are - Hooker, Dusseldorp and the like. They call themselves land developers.

The election of a Federal Labour government will ensure a steady flow of funds for housing at reduced rates of interest; substantial investment by life assurance companies in building societies and Commonwealth bonds; investment by savings banks of a proportion of their deposits in housing loans to individuals and building societies - not in the hire-purchase racket as at present; larger grants to the States for housing; increased grants to the War Service Homes Division and an extension of the scheme to others who come within the Commonwealth’s responsibility; and the holding of a referendum seeking power for the Commonwealth to make laws in respect of interest rates and mortgage loan charges.

We all must agree that the vermininfested slums that are to be found in every capita] city, particularly in the inner metropolitan areas, should be cleared. They are a constant menace to the health of the community and should be replaced with highdensity housing projects which would help to overcome the desperate shortage of homes that now exists. Slum clearance is a work of great urgency. A big job remains to be done in this field and if more money were made available by the Menzies Government, the New South Wales Housing Commission under Abe Landa could go ahead with the job. It is well known that the New South Wales authorities have done a great job in this field and despite the Commonwealth’s refusal to assist the New South Wales Government, more than 50 acres of the inner city of Sydney has been redeveloped. Recently the New South Wales Minister for Housing said that New South Wales considered the time had been reached when the Commonwealth should, as a national undertaking, give proper consideration to supporting financially those States that had embarked on large-scale slum clearance and redevelopment projects. Mr. Landa emphasized that housing grants should not be repayable. I agree. This aspect of the matter was adverted to at a conference of State housing Ministers, which called for a national committee to inquire into Australia’s housing needs in the next five years. The conference suggested also that the committee should comprise three persons nominated by the Commonwealth Government and two by the States.

The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement makes no provision for helping to solve the plight of the aged. I think everybody will agree that this is or should be the responsibility of the Commonwealth. What would become of these unfortunate people if the States did not come to their aid? New South Wales, again under Abe Landa, leads in the field. In New South Wales more than 1,000 specially designed units for the aged have been built or are under construction. Those units are let at sub-economic rentals - £1 a week for single persons and £1 10s. a week for married couples. Those units must be built from State funds. The necessary finance comes mainly from the tax on the much-maligned poker machines. That is what the New

South Wales Government uses to build these homes for the aged - the tax from the much-maligned poker machines. But because of this Government’s neglect to face up to this problem of housing the waiting list for an aged person’s home unit has increased in New South Wales to about 4,000 persons. Many of those persons are more than 80 years of age. Advance Australia! Our mothers and grandmothers - 80 years of age and over - are waiting for homes. What a shocking commentary on this Government’s neglect of our old pioneers!

Ample evidence exists to show that in the next few years there will be an increasing demand for homes as more young people reach marriageable age. Encouragement should be given to all States to follow the example set by Abe Landa, the New South Wales Minister for Housing. His Government is prepared to build homes - through the Housing Commission - on the applicants’ own land and encourage self help through the special home-site development division which was established to provide the wherewithal to carry out the scheme of cost-price home sites. That is what the Labour Government in New South Wales wants to do. Over 200 cost-price home sites have been offered and a family can buy for cash or terms over three years at the low interest rate of 4 per cent. That is the New South Wales Government. This scheme is a really practical approach to the problem and I fail to see why the Commonwealth Government cannot give greater assistance to the States in schemes of this kind. Why not? What is the answer to that question?

I feel that a national housing survey should be carried out immediately, as there seems to be a lot of confusion in the Government’s ranks in regard to housing. I think half the honorable members on the Government side do not know what it is all about and they are not interested. Look at the state of the House, Sir! There are only four Liberal members and two or three Country Party members have just come in-

Mr Leslie:

– I am as good as ten.


– I did not see you. A full report from a national housing survey would surely galvanize even you into action. When we read from time to time statements by the inept hard-hearted Minister responsible - the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) - who repeats continually, like a parrot, that from 85,000 to 90,000 new houses a year is more than adequate for Australia’s growing population, one comes to the conclusion that his good friend the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) showed a rare sense of humour when he appointed that gentleman Minister for National Development.

Even the merest novice in the field knows that the construction of at least 100,000 dwellings annually is necessary to take up the lag. That is a conservative estimate when we take into consideration the fact that 75,000 families are waiting on government housing lists in all States, with new applications coming in at the rate of 3,000 per week. Many thousands of people see their housing problems as an awful spectre. When we consider that 170,000 families in sunny Australia are living in huts, shake-downs, sheds, rooms, shared rooms, shared houses and slum dwellings and hear the responsible Minister issuing such clap-trap from his office, is it any wonder that the people of Australia are becoming heartily sick of the present Government? Is it any wonder when they see the performance of the Minister for National Development and the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) in the war service homes field, and the stop-gap methods adopted in the last twelve months?

The responsible Minister increased the individual loans by £750, with a great blare of publicity, but forgot to increase the aggregate amount of money necessary to meet the increase for every applicant. The result was confusion, chaos and suffering and much embarrassment for the officers of the War Service Homes Division. These officers in all the capital cities are highly efficient. They have the very unsavoury job of rebuffing applicants who have read in the daily press the misleading publicity issued by the Minister. This made them believe that increased loans were available to all. The many - that is, the majority - were penalized to confer an advantage on a few - a minority. In other words, the loan to the individual was increased but the allocation to the division was not. What a shocking position! What a thing for a man in a responsible position to put forward! If there was ever a blatant confidence trick pulled it was that one.

I would like the Minister for Air (Mr. Fairbairn), who is in charge of the House, to advise me why the Government had to single out such a long-suffering body as the ex-servicemen to try this on - especially married men with families; men who went overseas to defend Australia in all the theatres of war throughout the world; men who married when they came home, had families and are patiently waiting for the hard-won privilege of securing homes! Remember the cry: “We don’t want to lose you but we think you ought to go. When you come back we will give you everything.” Now the Government cannot find homes for them and is putting confidence tricks like this over them. To be fair, I must say that after a period of twelve months or more the heads of the Department of National Development - through the Minister - suddenly woke up. It took those sleeping beauties twelve months to awaken to the fact that the position would have to be righted. What have members of the Country Party and members of the Liberal Party to say about that? You would agree, Mr. Speaker, that it was a cheap trick on the part of the Prime Minister, the Minister for National Development and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt).

Before concluding I say that more finance should be allocated to the State housing commissions for home building, to allow them to build the homes which are now needed, for example, in my own electorate of Kingsford-Smith. It is a worthy electorate at any time. In that electorate the New South Wales Housing Commission has built 2,277 homes and has an additional 50 at present under construction. Abe Landa, the Minister for Housing in New South Wales, has done a remarkable job with the money at his disposal and all I ask on his behalf is for more money so that we can build more homes. I repeat that there are 50 homes at present under construction in my electorate and despite that, there is an urgent demand for more homes by young women and men who wish to marry. There is a demand, too, from those who are just married and are living with mothers or mothers-in-law. We all know what that means - cramped conditions in the home, creating distressing consequences at times. All I ask is that the Minister supply the money to meet this urgent demand.

A survey in my electorate carried out by the county council, which looks after the electricity needs of the district, shows that there is still enough land left there to house another 25,000 people. Seeing that Kingsford-Smith is such a great electorate I think the money should be made available to build the homes that are required, so that they can be filled with good, happy, contented and prosperous young Australians and their families. Get busy, Mr. Minister! Get busy! The Government says that migration is picking up again and that our natura] increase is accelerating. The Minister for Immigration (Mr. Downer) will tell you that, but he seems to forget that more houses are needed to meet the natural increase. Wake up, Mr. Minister! This Government has deliberately created an artificial shortage of money in order to manoeuvre the community into a position where it will be forced into the net of the various hirepurchase firms, most of which are controlled by the private banks. The private banks have an influence with this Government to create a position which they can exploit. How can the Government honestly say there is a real shortage of money when any of the hire-purchase companies operated by the private banks can lend unlimited sums at from 12 per cent, to 14 or 15 per cent, interest? That is all I want to know - where does the money come from?

Why does the Government not lift the regulation which prohibits the Commonwealth Bank of Australia from lending money for housing purposes? It does not do so because it wants to create a situation in which the private banks can exploit the people by imposing interest rates of 14 per cent, or 15 per cent. How can any young married couple think of going into a home when this very savage interest rate of 14 or 15 per cent, on a £4,000 home is imposed on them. In this situation, young people would be paying interest for the rest of their lives. With the present unemployment situation, we know why young people hesitate before they take on such a responsibility.

This Government should be condemned for not meeting the demands of the young couples in our midst by supplying them with the necessary housing finance at low interest rates through the Commonwealth Bank. The Labour Government set up the Commonwealth Bank for that purpose. This Government should take the shackles off the bank and so make available, for housing purposes, part of the £700,000,000 it holds. The bank should form a housing finance section and get on with the job of housing all the Australians who need a home in which to live.


.- I feel privileged to follow the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin). He is really a likeable chap. When he gets up and extolls the virtues of the various schemes he has in mind, I can imagine him extolling the fruit in his barrow compared with the fruit of the chap with a barrow further down the street. I can imagine him calling out, “ Buy from me; my fruit is better than his “. This is symptomatic. The honorable member is able to convince the House that he is a perfect barrowman.

Mr Collard:

– He made an impression on you.


– He did create an impression on me in that respect; I give that credit to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. As the honorable member for KingsfordSmith wandered through a haze, I managed to pick up one or two points. One point in his advocacy was his assertion that the economy of New South Wales is dependent on poker machines. What a glorious economy for a State to have. This honorable member apparently advocates that we should build a State on the proceeds of poker machines. This is a fantastic suggestion. Heaven forbid that people outside this continent should ever learn that one little section of Australia, with a concentrated population, advocates dependence on poker machines for its public finance. That State apparently has no ideas beyond poker machines.

Mr Curtin:

– How would you like to live in a home built by one?


– I do not know whether the State Government made £1,500,000 or £21,500,000 from poker machines; but apparently that is the basis of its economy.

The honorable member for KingsfordSmith attempted to make the point that in the electorate of Kingsford-Smith - wherever that may be and however large it may be - there was room for another 25,000 people. He suggested that we should concentrate another 25,000 people on half a pocket handkerchief and expect them to live in that little area. We have a continent to develop, but the honorable member wants another 25,000 people concentrated in this little section of an electorate. I would not be surprised to learn that he could go around the whole of his electorate on a threepenny tram ticket. He wants another 25,000 people in that area whilst members of the Australian Country Party are asking for 10,000 people - or even 5,000 people - to develop this continent.

Mr Einfeld:

– Where will you get the money?


– We will get the money. While we ask for more people to develop the continent, the honorable member wants another 25,000 people, no doubt so that he will be sure of being returned to the Parliament at the next election.

The honorable member made a shocking statement when he referred to migrants brought here by this Government. I remind him that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) started the immigration scheme, and I give the latter all credit for what he did. The honorable member for Kingsford-Smith said that migrants brought here are immediately herded into hostels and then the Government loses interest in them. That is the most shocking statement that any honorable member could make. If the Government loses interest, the Parliament loses interest, and the honorable member, as a member of the Parliament, also loses interest. He condemns himself by his own words. But his statement is wrong; he cannot prove it. It is easy to get up here and make such statements. Honorable members can say what they like here, because we are not subject to the laws of libel. So, the honorable member makes these shocking misstatements. Sir, I am not allowed to say that his statements are lies, so I will not do so. Nevertheless, you know what I mean. I will not deal further with the honorable member. As I said, he is a lovable fellow, but now and again he is carried away; he loses touch with reality.

During this debate, much has been said about the housing shortage. I want to remind the House that there has never been a time in the history of any country when there has not been a housing shortage. I am a family man, and when I speak on this subject I have in mind the needs of my children as well as my own needs. What was the position before this Government took office? Over the years, the average young couple, when getting married, never expected to go into their own home. They could not afford a home of their own, and they lived with their in-laws. They lived where and how they could. What is the position to-day?

Mr Einfeld:

– They still cannot find homes.


– Let me tell the- honorable member for Phillip that one of the most useful assets I had when I married was the humble kerosene case, which is now unobtainable. That was the basis of the furniture in most family homes at that time. That is what we looked forward to in our day; and this country grew on that sort of thing. It did not develop on the b-sis of £4,000 homes, about which the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith spoke. If we managed to get half a dozen kerosene cases to use as seats and cupboards, we thought we were well off. If we could not do that, we lived with our in-laws. But to-day, because of the policy of this Government, we can talk about £4,000 homes.

Mr Einfeld:

– You can talk about them.


– And home-seekers are getting them. What is the expectation of the average young couple going into a home to-day? They want a home of their own. They want the place to be furnished completely, with wall-to-wall carpets, a television set, a wireless, a vacuum cleaner, a refrigerator and a washing machine. Those things are now part and parcel of the prosperous economy which this Government has built up in this country, but in the old days you went into a home with a kerosene case as a chair for your kitchen. That is the general pattern, but, of course, somebody somewhere misses out. There has always been a housing shortage. Because of that, I am prepared to support and advocate a housing survey.

In 1945-46, as a member of the post-war reconstruction committee in Western Australia, under a Labour government with the Honorable John Dedman, I think, as Minister for Post-war Reconstruction, we attempted to get the trade unions to agree to an intake of ex-servicemen immigrants sufficient to provide enough skilled tradesmen to meet the housing demand. The honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) may remember some of the discussions which took place in Western Australia at that time. We could not get the trade unions, in 1945, to see that the average requirement for years to come would be about 100,000 homes a year. This was the number necessary to meet the immediate need and to cater for future requirements. We could not persuade the unions to accept our proposal, but, eventually, we got them to accept a modified proposal.

I believe there is still a necessity for a survey of housing requirements. There is still slum clearance to attend to, and we must meet immediate and future needs. I consider that it is necessary to build more than 100,000 homes a year. I advocate a housing survey with all the powers within me. Never mind about Dr. Hall. There has to be a survey to ascertain the requirements in future years. We need a survey so that we can find the answers to these questions: How many houses do we need for sale? How many houses do we need for rental? What are our requirements in materials, man-power and other things? The survey would have to take into consideration that if you divert a disproportionate amount of money, man-power and material to housing, that could upset other aspects of the economy. Some other sector of the economy could suffer as a result of housing needs being met. A survey is required, not only to ascertain how many houses should be constructed, but to examine the effects of increased housing construction on other sectors of the economy.

This Government has a fantastic record in providing buildings for industrial development. I shall not give the figures now but honorable members, if they care to examine them, will find that this Government has a record in building for industrial development which no other Government in the world can equal. Perhaps that has affected our housing proposals. I do not know. It is possible that a housing survey would show that a little too much of our available resources has gone into the construction of factories while not enough has gone into housing; or it may show that too much has gone into housing and not enough into factories. I strongly advocate the holding of a survey.

I am not prepared to say that every idea produced by the Opposition is haywire merely because it comes from the Opposition. A lot of Opposition members are haywire people, but now and again a haywire person can produce a good idea.

Mr Webb:

– We put you into the Parliament.


– I do not deny that. It could be so. Sometimes you get an idea which appears to be haywire but which proves to be right in the end. Labour Party voters have given me their preferences. This does not benefit the Labour Party, but it does benefit the electors of Moore and the people of Western Australia generally. So I give credit to the Labour Party for having given me its preferences, because Western Australia will benefit as a result of my advocacy of its interests in this place. Labour voters have done a good job although they may have thought that they were haywire when they were doing it.

Perhaps the matter which I shall now raise is outside the Commonwealth’s field of activity except insofar as the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement is concerned. I refer to housing in rural areas. Although honorable members opposite claim that they represent the interests of all sections of the community, I have not heard anybody on the Labour benches make a plea for those who want houses in rural areas. The honorable member for KingsfordSmith wants 25,000 more homes for his electorate. I, Sir, want about 2,000 more homes for the whole of the division of

Moore,- which, in terms of size, would make the State of New South Wales look like a stamp on the corner of an envelope.

Mr Curtin:

– But what a stamp!


– Yes, a very disfigured stamp. The vast division of Moore produces a considerable portion of the export wealth on which this country relies, on which the people who live in the KingsfordSmith area depend. I want to advocate a revision of the procedure for providing housing in country districts. All parties agree on and talk about the necessity for decentralization, yet somehow we do not get anywhere on this issue. Let me tell the House what happens in Western Australia. Perhaps the honorable member for Stirling will listen to me and give me some support. When applications are made to the State Housing Commission for the construction of houses in country towns to be occupied by employees of local businesses, whether banks, insurance companies or other established businesses, or even by employees of local government authorities, the reply generally is that it is the responsibility of the employers to provide adequate housing for their employees. The employers should put up houses for their employees, according to the Housing Commission, which refuses to do so. That is the situation in country districts. The peculiar aspect of the matter is that if an employee of a bank or other business or of a local government authority in the metropolitan area applies for a house in that area, the Housing Commission does not say that it is the responsibility of the employer to provide the employee with a house. The Housing Commission provides him with a house. But when an employee lives outside an urban area, the Housing Commission considers that it is the responsibility of the employer to provide the house. That is wrong. Using its powers under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, the Commonwealth should say to the State, “ You must make no distinction between people in one part of the country and another. You must not demand that employers shall be responsible for the provision of homes in country areas.”

The Housing Commission in Western Australia will provide a house for an employee in a country town if the employer guarantees the continued occupancy of that house. That does not apply in the metropolitan area. This is the sort of thing that annoys country people. Why is there this discrimination if the allocation of a house is justified? If a local authority in the country or in the city wants to house one of its engineers, then it is entitled to house him through the machinery provided by the Commonwealth and State governments. There should be jio distinction between conditions of tenancy in city and country areas. At present the State Housing Commission of Western Australia says to the city engineer, without reference to the local authority, “ Yes, we will give you a house “; but if an engineer happens to require the house in a country district it says, “ Yes, we will give you a house, provided that your employer guarantees that you will stay on the job “. That just is not right. It is not justice.

I do not know whether this situation applies in other States as it does in Western Australia, but there is a responsibility on the Commonwealth Government either to alter the housing agreement or to say to the Government of Western Australia that it must stop this unjust discrimination between rural and metropolitan areas. Conditions that are good enough for the metropolitan areas are good enough for the rural areas. If that principle were applied we would achieve more decentralization.

In the west we are finding it extremely difficult to find rural workers, no matter what we offer by way of remuneration, and that difficulty is caused by the lack of what the farm labourer considers to be reasonable housing. This Government has, I think, been extremely generous to primary producers in giving them a special depreciation allowance of 20 per cent, so that for taxation purposes they can write off the cost of a home in five years, but the farmer still has to find the initial finance to build that house. He cannot afford it. The result is that many farm hands are asked to live under substandard conditions, and they are not prepared to do this. I do not blame them. But this is where the Commonwealth Government could assist the farmer, not by building accommodation on the farm, thereby enhancing the value of the property, but by building sufficient houses in the country towns for farm workers. Many such workers are easily able to afford to travel 4, 6, 8, 10 or 14 miles to and from the farm where they are working, or perhaps the employer would be willing to transport them. By such a housing scheme the Government would lose nothing, it would retain its equity, and at the same time it would be implementing its policy of decentralization. “This would move the population to country areas and build up the country towns so that they in turn would have a sufficient resident population to provide amenities similar to those enjoyed in the cities. With the increased population they could afford swimming pools, clubs, bowling greens and the other things that make the recreational side of life worth while. In addition to that they would be providing labour for the farmers.

I am nol supposed to refer to a matter mentioned in another debate during the last three days, but honorable members have heard of the improved prospect of increasing our export income by providing the labour which is required on so many farms. Sir, we are short of labour on the farms - make no mistake about that - and we cannot get that labour for the very reason that people are not prepared to live in conditions such as 1 knew in my early days. In those days people were prepared to sleep on bags of chaff and use empty chaff bags for covering. People living in those conditions developed this country, but those conditions have now gone and the workers want reasonable conditions. I do not blame them. It is up to this Government to overcome the problem and to provide adequate housing.

I repeat that the responsible Commonwealth Minister must instruct the Western Australian Government to remove the discrimination now existing between metropolitan and rural areas in regard to housing. He must insist that homes be provided in rural communities without tenancy guarantees being required from banks, business houses or local governing authorities. Honorable members cannot come into this chamber and tell local governing authorities that it is their responsibility to house their employees. That is the responsibility of this Government and the State governments. Further, this Government must devise some scheme whereby houses will be provided in rural towns to ensure that housing is available for the farm workers. That is a vital necessity to-day. If that can be done, I think we will have achieved a tremendous amount in overcoming the so-called housing shortage, which exists mainly because everybody wants to live in some postage stamp size area, such as is represented by the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin). By encouraging people to live in rural areas we can ease city congestion. Additional housing in country towns would also attract young people who at present have little chance of getting homes in the cities.

Prior to the introduction of the various government housing schemes many houses were built for rental by private investors. To-day that does not happen, and I honestly believe that it is because of the introduction of what I have heard called these Santa Claus government schemes of rentalcumpurchase homes. I believe that there is scope for the encouragement of private investment in rental homes to be occupied by itinerant workers. Years ago private home builders provided rental homes which were occupied by these nomadic tenants for, say, six months, twelve months or two years. The tenants were constantly changing. To-day that kind of private investor has gone because he is given no encouragement. I believe that homes built privately to house this moving population would never be unoccupied, and until some such scheme is introduced we will find it extremely difficult to overcome our housing shortage, if we are ever able to do so.

I understand that if our requirements are to be met over the next ten years, our home-building programme will have to be in the vicinity of 100,000 houses each year. Governments have not the material, the money or the man-power to do this, and we must induce private investors to enter the field. This is not a party political discussion on housing but a sincere effort to overcome one of the greatest problems that we have to face - the problem of housing our people in reasonable comfort. The three basic requirements of a human being are food, shelter and warmth. Provide those three things and you have a contented community. Art, culture and everything else are of secondary importance. You cannot fill a baby’s belly with a pretty picture; you can fill it only with milk. We have the food. We have the means of providing the warmth. What we need is the shelter. It is within the hands of this Government to provide the shelter. By getting the co-operation of everybody, and with a slight modification of the existing arrangement, it will meet the situation and overcome all of our problems.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Webb) adjourned.

page 450


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

That leave be given to bring in a bill for an act to make special provision with respect to industrial disputes involving persons employed in the Public Service of a State, or by certain Public Authorities of a State.

Bill presented, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

.- by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This is quite a short bill. It deals with one single issue: an issue in relation to which all the States except Tasmania have asked us to legislate. In the simplest of terms the issues are these: Should the States continue to be responsible for deciding the conditions under which their own government employees work and the methods by which their remuneration is determined? You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that I used the phrase “ continue to be responsible “. I did this deliberately because, until recently, this principle was never in doubt.

Let me trace the circumstances that have given rise to alarm in the States about this matter - an alarm which has led, as I have said, to five of the six State Premiers requesting legislation to protect the position of the States in relation to their own employees. And, I may add, this alarm is also shared by the Australian Public Service Federation - a federation of the State Public Service associations - which has also asked for legislation by this Parliament.

Three things have sparked off this concern. First, until fairly recently, the general rule has been that our federal industrial tribunals have refrained from making awards for the normal run of salaried, career, administrative, clerical and professional State government employees, and especially so in the case of State public servants. Our tribunals have recognized that the conditions of employment of such persons are regulated by elaborate State legislative provisions, by State Public Service authorities and by State tribunals. So, exercising the discretion given by section 41 (d) of our act our tribunals have generally refrained from intruding into fields of State government employment.

Federal awards have existed for many years in relation to many industrial type staff and employees of the States: I am thinking here for example of construction authorities, public utilities, business undertakings and the State railways, with the exception of the Queensland railways. The same is true in relation to some salaried and professional officers notably in some railway and transport services, though again not in Queensland, and also in some gas, abattoir and harbour authorities.

The professional engineers’ award of 1961 broke violently with this tradition. Understandably it has given rise to fears among the States that the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission will be minded in other cases in future to depart from the past practice of refraining from proceeding under section 41 of our act and accordingly make other awards, covering more and more State government employees. It has to be remembered, and this worries the State authorities greatly, that the commission need not confine itself to determination of remuneration. It could get into the whole field of conditions of employment of State employees and seriously undermine the position of the State public service authorities and the State tribunals.

As honorable members are aware, the State public services are widespread in their ramifications. Their salary structures and their conditions of employment have been built up over the years to meet the peculiar circumstances of each of the States. There are special procedures, obligations and benefits. They vary from State to State. One cannot but have a great deal of sympathy with the view that no tribunal, no matter how august or painstaking, could possibly in the course of a hearing get to understand the ramifications of all of the State public services and the whole of their history and culture.

The second point I want to make has to do with the most recent interpretation placed by the High Court of Australia on the powers of the Conciliation and Arbitraion Commission in relation to State employees. That the States and their agencies may be bound by an award made under our act in settlement of an industrial dispute was established in 1920 in the engineers’ cass. There have been a number of decisions over the years dealing with the powers of our tribunals in relation to disputes affecting particular types of public servants. However, arising out of a challenge by the State of New South Wales before the High Court in December, 1959, in relation to the course of proceedings before the commission in the professional engineers’ case, the High Court decided that it was the character of the individual’s work rather than the functions of the department or agency in which he works which is decisive of the question whether he is subject to the Commonwealth’s industrial jurisdiction. Now, in deciding that the question whether or not a State employee is within the jurisdiction of our commission depends on an examination of the duties of the employee, the High Court, in practical administrative and industrial relations terms, vastly extended the area of employment which may be affected by an award of the commission.

Let me explain this. Let us assume that two officers in a State department are engaged in the same sort of work, and that one of them is engaged on work which is covered by such an award and the other is not. Let us then assume that the salary for the officer covered by that award is higher than that enjoyed by the other, even though it may have been determined by a State industrial tribunal. No one could imagine, in these circumstances, that there could be any contentment in the department while this state of affairs existed. This is clearly understood by the organizations registered under our act, the State public service organizations and the State governments. What is more if the commission were, in an award, to provide for conditions of employment, as is open to them to do, the situation could be that two State officers sitting side by side could be governed by different conditions of employment - a preposterous situation.

Let me illustrate this, lt is normal to have in State public service legislation provisions governing promotion; in fact, elaborate provisions have been built up over the years to protect the rights of persons in relation to promotions. These provisions have been written by State parliaments in exercise of their sovereign jurisdiction and because they were considered to be best for the circumstances of each State. Now there would be nothing to prevent our Conciliation and Arbitration Commission from inserting in its awards its own provisions about promotions and appeals, and they might be quite different from the provisions made by the State parliaments. It is useless to say that this will not happen. As a matter of fact, some years ago the States made representations to the Commonwealth that some legislation should be enacted, excluding State government employees from the federal jurisdiction, because they feared that what has happened would occur. This Government declined to legislate because it held the view that judged by the experience of the federal tribunal’s attitude of the past no federal tribunal was likely to intrude upon the State public services.

The third matter that has led to the States’ concern is that organizations registered under our act or seeking to be registered under our act have set out to build up their membership at the expense of the State public service associations that had been catering for them. This means that the opportunity is much greater for awards to be made under our act in respect of State employees. The State public service associations, which have a long and honorable tradition, recognize this development for what it is - a threat to their very existence. I have no need to ask what the reaction of honorable members opposite who have a trade union background would be to the poaching by new organizations of members of their unions. So, public service associations in some States have opposed applications by bodies for registration under our act insofar as their membership extends to State government employees and have also opposed claims by organizations already registered under our act to extend membership to State employees. Likewise, some of the State governments themselves have intervened with a like purpose.

These considerations must be kept in mind. Each of the State public services is integrated in respect of salary structures and general conditions of employment. And the State governments are justified in fearing that wide repercussions on their carefully constructed salary structures and conditions of employment and upon the authority and status of the State public service authorities and industrial tribunals will result from further intrusion of the commission into the field of State employment. Our approach to the requests of the Premiers was made easier because the general run of State employees is well provided for by their own organizations.

Against this background let me mention our basic thinking in preparing this bill. State government employees are of many types. They include those employed under State public service acts and by all sorts of statutory authorities. When we came to examine the requests of the States for legislation we felt it necessary to make some distinction between these statutory authorities. Some of them are primarily business, commercial or trading undertakings. We felt it necessary to tread warily with these lest their employees be placed in a position different from employees of private corporations engaged in the same type of activity. Were it not for the fact that in some States functions are discharged by what are commonly called semigovernmental authorities which in other States are discharged by persons employed under public service acts, we might have been able to confine the bill’s provisions to employees under the State public service acts. Incidentally, this bill is not concerned’ with municipal and similar local government authorities, though they are clearly creatures of State parliaments.

Next, we felt that since the State governments are primarily concerned with the effects of intrusion by the commission upon their control of their employees, and more particularly their control of the salaried career staff of the State public services proper, they should carry a large measure of responsibility in deciding the extent to which the jurisdiction of the commission should be limited. Fundamentally the bill’s approach to this whole matter has been to build on the present discretion conferred on the commission by section 41 (d) of the act. This section authorizes the commission to refrain from dealing with a matter if the dispute has been, is being, or is appropriate to be dealt with by a State industrial tribunal, or if further proceedings are not desirable in the public interest. This discretionary provision will still remain, but the bill elaborates this provision where State government employees are involved in a dispute before the commission.

Here I direct attention to sub-section (3.) of proposed new section 41b. This sub-section provides that where a dispute relating to the employment of State government employees is before the commission, and the State employees are within the public service or employed by a State semi-governmental authority specified by a State Attorney-General, no award of the commission applies in relation to that employment. I emphasize that provision. This new sub-section provides also that where a State Industrial Authority has dealt with, is dealing with or is available to deal with, terms and conditions of that employment, or such matters are already regulated by agreement, the commission must, as a threshold point, before it commences to deal with the dispute, decide whether exceptional circumstances make it desirable that the dispute be dealt with by the commission. The bill provides also for an appeal to the full commission against a decision come to on this threshold point by an individual commissioner of the commission. In short, the bill writes out more explicitly the discretionary power of the commission in relation to disputes coming before it that affect State government employees where the conditions I have mentioned are satisfied.

Sub-section (6.) of the proposed new section deals with another problem to which I have already referred. This sub-section provides that the commission shall not determine conditions of employment, as distinct from matters relating to salaries, wages and rates of pay, for State government employees of the types I have referred to, wherever the conditions in dispute are provided for by or under the law of a State and those provisions apply to all or a large number of State employees, that is, besides those immediately involved in the dispute. You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that I referred earlier to provisions about promotions and appeals against promotions. There is a host of other conditions governing employment laid down by State legislation. We feel that the States should know best the sorts of conditions that best mee! their needs and those of their public services. Again I ask the House to note that this provision operates only if there is no award of the commission in existence dealing with the conditions in dispute. As a matter of fact, up to the present the federal tribunals appear to have refrained from entering this troublesome field of conditions of service of State employees.

I turn now to proposed sub-section (7.). This deals only with the area of State government employment which is of an administrative, clerical or professional nature; in other words, the core of the career State services. This sub-section provides that where a dispute comes before the commission in relation to this class of employment the Attorney-General of a State may request the commission not to deal with the dispute, and if such a request is made the commission may not deal with such dispute. However, there are some qualifications to this provision. First, im respect of a dispute affecting employees of a semi-governmental agency such a request may not be made if an award of the commission exists in relation to those involved! in the dispute. Secondly, no such request may be made if the principal or only function of the agency is to carry on a business, commercial or trading undertaking. There is one exception to this; the case of the Queensland Railways, which so far has never been the subject of awards of the federal tribunal.

Some of the bill’s provisions, indeed almost all of those that succeed sub-sections (3.) to (5.), might be described as precautionary. It is reasonable to expect that, having regard to the clear intention which this bill conveys, it will be the commission; which, in exercise of the discretion given under the proposed sub-section (3.), decides to return to the practice followed for so long of keeping out of the area of State government employment and certainly away from the State public services. In this case the need for resort to sub-sections (6.) or (7.) will not arise.

I have only to mention one other provision of the bill and it is the last in the bill. It preserves the power of our commission to complete its consideration of the particular industrial disputes in relation to which the professional engineers award of 1961 was made.

While the purpose of this bill is to amend the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and therefore, prima facie, has to do with methods by which disputes affecting a very important class of employees in the community should be dealt with, in truth what is at stake here is our views about the responsibilities of the States in relation to their own State government employees. This bill is before the House because all of the Premiers, except the Premier of Tasmania, want legislation to protect their States’ position. And so does the Australian Public Service Federation. If any honorable members do not believe it is important that the States should be responsible for their own employees, if they are unificationists, then obviously they will oppose the bill, but it is only on these scores that the bill can be opposed.

Why do I say this? I say it because the bill does not preclude State government employees from going to arbitration; it does not deny them access to the Commonwealth commission. Secondly, nothing in the bill takes away from State government employees anything that they have gained at the hands of the federal tribunal. Thirdly, the bill does not itself remove from the federal jurisdiction any State government employees who have been customarily dealt with by the commission. I do not deny that under the bill the commission may not go on to deal with disputes affecting State government employees in certain circumstances. Those circumstances are clearly defined. But, as I have pointed out, there is nothing new in principle about this. Until recently the federal tribunals have, in general. kept out of the area of State government employment. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr. E. James Harrison) adjourned.

page 454


Second Reading

Debate resumed (vide page 450).


.- As has been said, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the Opposition supports this measure, but it is very critical of the paucity of the amount that is provided for housing in it. The fact that this bill is supplementary to a previous Loan (Housing) Bill indicates not only that the amount is too little but also that it is too late. The view of the Australian Labour Party is that every family should be able to secure accommodation in accordance with its needs. The fact is that over the years this Government has made it more difficult for people to get homes. People who want to rent homes find that they have to pay rents out of all proportion to their means. People who want to purchase homes have to secure excessively high deposits before they can hope to purchase and then they have to pay excessively high instalments. People who have been paying off their homes for years find that, in order to meet the increased interest rates, they have to pay higher instalments than they were paying formerly or arrange for their payments to extend over a greater number of years. This Government has hindered rather than helped people who require homes.

The records show that in 1951-52, 1955- 56 and 1960-61 the Government restricted bank loans for housing and increased interest rates at the same time. Those actions made it more difficult for people to purchase homes. The Government’s policy was responsible for banks and life assurance societies lending less money to the building societies. It is true that the Government compensated the building societies by diverting to them 30 per cent, of the funds available to the State housing commissions; but that only meant that the building societies received as much as they received formerly and the State housing commissions received less than they received formerly. The result was that the State housing commissions had an inadequate amount of finance with which to build the houses that they were required to build. Increased costs have meant that fewer houses can be built with the inadequate funds that are available for housing under this Government.

Although the Government has increased the maximum loan for war service homes in recent years, the total amount that has been provided under the War Service Homes Act has meant that fewer war service homes are able to be built than were being built previously. The repercussions of the Government’s policy have placed the unfortunate home-buyer in the position of having to secure a temporary mortgage at excessively high interest rates and to pay legal costs twice over, in some cases.

Under this Government interest rates have skyrocketed. In 1949, under the Chifley Labour Government, one could obtain finance for home building at 3i per cent, interest. Under this Government, the interest rate was increased to 4i per cent, in 1952, and to 5 per cent, in 1956. It has also been increased on occasions since then. At present a person is lucky if he can obtain finance for home building at 6 per cent, interest. In most cases the interest rate is 7, 8, or even 9 per cent. Recently the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) pointed out that the Associated Chambers of Commerce stated that 45 per cent, of housing mortgages in Australia are at an interest rate of 7 per cent, or more. The average is pretty high, when we consider the other interest rates that are being paid.

The weekly payments on State housing commission homes are higher than they were when the Labour Party was in office. In some cases the weekly payments have been increased by from 15s. to £1 a week. The purchase price paid by a purchaser, who borrows £3,000 to be paid back over 45 years, for a State housing commission home has increased by more than £1,000. That is what has happened as a result of the high interest policy of this Government. If bank interest rates were still the same as they were under the Chifley Government, a man who then borrowed £2,500 from the Commonwealth Bank for 30 years would pay approximately £750 less for his house than a man who borrows the same amount over the same period to-day. That is because of high interest rates.

This problem is appreciated by several authorities. A reduction of interest rates has been called for, as a matter of fact, by

Mr. Staniforth Ricketson, who has already been quoted in this debate and whom I will not quote again. The newspaper, “The West Australian “, in its editorial of 2nd April of this year, mentioned a reduction of interest rates. It said -

The reduction of i per cent, in some rates of bank interest is an overdue step towards stimulating private investment.

Interest rates generally are too high in a developing country that is capable of much greater productivity. To help the unexpectedly slow recovery from the 1960-61 credit squeeze the interest reductions should have been made earlier. Indeed, the maximum overdraft rate, now at 6i per cent., could be further reduced to the 6 per cent, that it was before November, 1960.

Then the editorial goes on to point out how it would be an advantage if interest rates were reduced in a country such as this.

Mr Duthie:

– And that is a conservative newspaper.


– Yes, it is a conservative newspaper, but its view on interest rates is similar to that of many people.

The measure we are discussing provides for an additional amount of about £2,700,000 for housing during this financial year. But despite this increase, the total available this year under the heading of loan housing funds will still be £1,800,000 less than it was last year. Therefore, in my opinion, this Government stands condemned for failing to realize that the provision of adequate housing for the people is a social problem. It is obvious that the Government has failed to realize this fact because it has refused to provide the finance necessary for the housing needs of the people.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) pointed out that at the time of the last census approximately 170,000 families were living in sheds and huts, sharing homes, or living in like conditions. In addition, there were thousands living in sub-standard houses. Having these facts in mind, cannot the Government see that this is a social problem? The honorable member called for a survey of housing requirements. This suggested survey has been supported by other speakers on this side of the House, and I am pleased to say that many honorable members on the other side have also supported it. It was supported by the honorable member for Moore (Mr.

Leslie). A conference of State housing commissioners unanimously urged this Commonwealth Government to appoint a committee to inquire into housing needs. It suggested that the committee should consist of five members, three from the Commonwealth and two from the States.

The last housing survey was undertaken m 1957, and it was then estimated that by 1970 there would be an annual demand for 79,000 dwellings. That was based on the 1947 census and the 1954 census. Surely there should be another survey following the 1961 census. Is the Government afraid of what a survey would reveal? Why does it not agree to this survey, which has been advocated by a number of members on both sides of the House and by many influential people outside the Parliament? Dr. A. R. Hall of the Australian National University clearly showed that the figure arrived at with regard to housing requirements following the 1957 survey was an under-estimation. He estimated that by 1970 the demand for houses would reach 107,000. That was before the. recent census figures were made available. Now he estimates that the demand could be between 124,000 and 131,000.

The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) said that various factors should be taken into consideration in connexion with Dr. Hall’s suggestions regarding housing needs. If there are several factors that have to be considered, surely a survey would reveal those factors and indicate what the housing needs of this nation will be in five, ten or more years’ time. Mr. Warren McDonald, chairman of the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, has also called for a survey. A report in “The West Australian” of 11th March, 1963, said -

An impartial and authoritative survey should be made to establish an accurate picture of Australia’s real housing position.

Commonwealth Banking Corporation chairman Warren D. McDonald said this yesterday . . . “Estimates varied, but the general feeling in the industry and the community was that building in Australia was getting further behind housing demand “, he said.

Here is a man to whom this Government should surely pay some attention. There are many other authorities with similar views. There is, for instance, the Australian Industries Development Association, which considers that Dr. Hall’s estimate was too low. In its report No. 126 of November, 1962, the association said -

These estimates of Dr. Hall are based on a net migrant intake of 80,000 a year. At 50,000 net migration his estimates are: 1965, 101,000; 1970, 124,000. These are too low.

So you have quite a number of questions, as the honorable member for Fawkner said, which I suggest can only be resolved by a very careful survey of the housing situation by a body that would take all these factors into account. This report of the Australian Industries Development Association is very interesting. It goes on to say -

However, the primary need to stimulate housing construction is finance. At present, considerable sums are provided for housing by “ fringe “ financial institutions, at high rates of interest, in order to bridge the gap between personal savings and the maximum housing loans available through the normal financial institutions. This problem of the “ deposit gap “ is a major one in retarding the translation of needs into effective demand for houses.

A.I.D.A. has suggested . . . that we need an extra £60m. this year to bring housing construction to the needed level - £25m. to cover construction of an extra 6,000 dwellings and £35m. to cover increases in the maximum permissible advance.

There is a body that does not hesitate to say what we should do in regard to housing. The problem of the deposit gap has been mentioned by previous speakers. Young couples are being driven to seek second mortgages at high rates of interest, and builders are being forced to pay finance companies 2 per cent, a month, or 24 per cent, a year, to bridge the gap between home-buyers’ deposits and the cost of land and the necessary services that have to be provided before they actually start to build. This is what young people are faced with when they are trying to get houses to-day. They have to meet an initial interest rate of 24 per cent, per annum.

The Australian Industries Development Association, in its report No. 129, of March, 1963, said -

While recent measures to make housing loans easier have all been in the right direction they only meet part of the problem. The “ deposit gap “ - the difference between the cost of a house and land, and the maximum advance available from lending institutions - is still high despite substantial increases in the maximum advance. The tatter is now generally £3,500 (from £3,000) but its application is severely limited by the condition with most lenders that the advance cannot exceed 60 per cent, of valuation. To’ buy a property of £5,000 one then would need to have £2,000 deposit or to borrow elsewhere (generally at excessive rates and terms).

These are experienced people who are giving this information. They are authorities who cannot be ignored in a matter of this kind. These reports show that £60,000,000 extra would be required to cover the construction of an additional 6,000 dwellings, £25,000,000 for the homes and £35,000,000 to cover increases in the maximum permissible advance. An extra 6,000 homes would provide employment for about 20,000 people in the building and servicing industries. I do not say that those would all be building workers, because when you provide 6,000 houses you provide employment not only for those who build the houses. The new homes have to be serviced and furnished and provided with all the things that are needed to set up house. It is estimated that the 6,000 houses advocated by this body would provide work for 20,000 people. This would mean a big step forward in helping to solve our unemployment problem. We have not yet caught up with the lag in housing which has resulted from the war and our migrant intake. We now have a bulge, as it were, in requirements because of a sharp increase in the birth-rate after the depression years of the 1930’s. The babies born after the depression years are now grown up and want to set up house. Information obtained from the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics discloses that the number of marriages is increasing.

For the twelve months ended 30th June, 1961, there were 76,362 marriages; for the twelve months ended 31st December, 1961, there were 76,686 marriages; and for the twelve months ended 30th June, 1962, there were 77,572 marriages. I rang the bureau to-day in an effort to obtain the number of marriages for the twelve months ended 31st December, 1962, but it is not available. The figures I have quoted indicate that more marriages are taking place each year as a result of the sharp increase in the birth-rate after the depression years. As I have said, the people born then are now grown up and want to set up homes. This adds to our housing troubles and it is something that the Government should take into consideration when determining the amount of money to be made available to the States for housing.

We have also to remember the migrants coming into the country. Nobody objects to the migrants. We have no objection to their coming here provided they can be furnished with accommodation and placed in jobs. But we do object to their coming here if they are taking houses that should be available for the people who are already here and if they are taking the jobs that should be filled by people who are already here. The housing problem is also of great concern to those people who share houses, or live in garages and other makeshift dwellings. They all need homes. Then, again, sub-standard houses need replacing. Many of these points have been dealt with very ably by the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin) and there is no need for me to elaborate them.

Now let us examine the number of outstanding applications on the books of the various State housing authorities as at June last. They were as follows: -

I emphasize that those figures relate only to applications to State housing authorities; they do not include applications submitted to private builders, building societies and so on. The number of new houses and flats completed in 1962 was 86,656, compared with 94,794 in 1960, which was before the Government applied its credit squeeze. That reduction gives some indication of how the credit squeeze affected housing. For the December quarter of 1962, the number of new houses and flats completed was 23,421 compared with 26,045 for the December quarter of 1960. In effect, the building industry has been providing less than 90 per cent, of the number of new houses and flats that were erected before the imposition of the credit squeeze. That gives some indication of how far we are lagging behind at a time when so many people who will be requiring homes are coming to settle here.

The housing lag is not being overtaken. Despite the fact that many thousands of people are applicants for houses, we find that in this financial year the Government is not providing as much money as it provided formerly, and fewer houses will be constructed. To support that assertion, I quote the following allocations to the States:-

South Australia is the only State which will receive a bigger grant this year than last year despite the fact that our housing problem is becoming more acute each year. In Western Australia, the housing position is deteriorating.

Mr Cleaver:

– That is not right!


– Formerly, Western Australia had the best housing record, and had almost solved its housing problem under a Labour government, when Mr. Graham was Minister for Housing-

Mr Cleaver:

– Here come the politics.


– The lag in the provision of rental homes in the metropolitan area is two years, according to official figures, whereas, only a few months ago, one could get into a rental house within twelve months of applying for it. People desiring to purchase homes now have to wait for as long as fifteen months. I do not say that Western Australia is not in a better position than some of the other States. The point I am making is that the position there is worsening. I repeat that whereas at one time our housing problem was almost solved the position is now rapidly deteriorating instead of improving.

I am pleased that the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Cleaver) has interjected because I want to emphasize again the importance of housing and its effect upon unemployment in that State. In several debates in this House, the honorable member for Swan has sneered at the plight of the unemployed. Only the other day he referred to them during the debate as having physical defects. In another debate a little while ago, he called them malingerers. When he was asked by a Perth newspaper what could be done to ease the unemployment situation he said, with his usual conceit and pompousness: “ What problem? In Western Australia it virtually does not exist.” Those were his words. Is he so much out of touch with the electors that he does not know that unemployment has increased in Western Australia? Or is he so heartless that he does not care about the plight of the unemployed?

The Australian Labour Party knows that unemployment exists and that the position is worsening in Western Australia. The official figures disclose that there were 7,112 people unemployed in Western Australia in March this year compared with 6,777 in March last year, and that 2.5 per cent, of the work force there is unemployed. This is .3 per cent, higher than the Australian average. And the honorable member asks, “ What problem? “ The problem is there all right as is illustrated by the fact that it was revealed in the Western Australian press to-day that officers from the Commonwealth immigration office in Western Australia met a migrant ship at the port and told the migrants not to get off in Western Australia but to sail on.

Mr Cleaver:

– Why do you not read the whole article?


– If the honorable member cares to read the article he will see just how many of them did not sail on. I know that about 250 of these migrants were to have left the ship at Fremantle but f believe only about 80 of them did so. This was due to the fact that Commonwealth immigration officers told them to sail on as there was no work for them in Western Australia.

Mr Cleaver:

– You are trying to deter tradesmen from going to Western Australia.


– The honorable member for Swan speaks as if there was no unemployment in Western Australia. That assertion is flung back in his teeth by the Government’s own department.

If we are to solve the acute housing problem this Government must not only provide more funds for housing at lower rates of interest but also ensure that there is a considerable reduction in the deposit required of young couples seeking to buy homes. We must look at this problem in the interests of the people as a whole. I believe that if we pay due heed to the reports on our housing problems and set up a committee to make a survey of the position, as suggested, I think, by the States, we will be doing something effective. The committee could consist of five representatives of the Commonwealth and the States. If, at the same time, we increase the funds available to the States we will be on the way to doing something towards solving our problem and towards taking up the slack in employment.


.- I do not intend to delay the House for very long, Mr. Deputy Speaker. What I propose to say will occupy only about 20 or 30 seconds. In my opinion, the comments of the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) were designed for one purpose and one purpose only. He is trying to stop progress in Western Australia. The honorable member opposite who is trying to interject has not been here very long, but if he reads the speeches of his colleague he must agree that that is so. The’ honorable member for Stirling cries unemployment for the purpose of helping to relieve his own electoral problems, and that is all.

West Sydney

. I am pleased to see that the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) is in the chamber, because before I finish speaking to-night I want to appeal to any charity that may be left in him. We listened this evening to the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) giving facts and figures about the housing position in Tasmania which nobody on the other side of the House contradicted, except by way of interjection. We have listened to the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin), who has told some unvarnished truths about things that are happening in his electorate in New South Wales, and we have heard from the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb), who comes from Western Australia. Those three honorable members have covered the housing conditions in three States. In view of what they have said, it is a shame that the Government should offer such a paltry sum as an additional £2,700,000 for housing, when it knows very well that that will make little difference to the housing problem.

I have never been able to understand how the Government manages to strike a balance, as it were, between the 90,000 unemployed in this country and the 90,000 migrants who come here every year. In 1949, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said, “We will continue the immigration policy”. Incidentally, Arthur Calwell initiated that policy. The right honorable gentleman added, “We will not only build houses for the migrants, but we shall also bring in prefabricated houses “. It is true that the Government did bring in a few parcels of prefabricated homes, but for many years it has brought migrants to Australia and housed them in camps throughout the Commonwealth. Consequently, when the migrants get jobs and leave the camps they squeeze other people out of rooms and homes. Thus many people throughout Australia are in dire need for homes.

The Government has failed to continue the housing agreement that existed between the Federal Labour Government and the State governments, whereby houses were built and money was passed over to the States at a reasonable rate of interest of approximately 3i per cent. Under the Labour scheme, flats and houses were provided for elderly people in each housing project. This Government not only has raised . the rate of interest but also has discontinued the agreement on the former basis. The Government has shown by its callousness that it is not concerned about housing the people. If it were, it would get down to work and try to provide homes for the people who need them, including the unemployed who have been mentioned during the debate this evening. A young man of 20 or 21 years of age who marries has at least 40 years of his working life to pay off a reasonable housing loan at a reasonable rate of interest. He should be able to live his life in happiness and at a decent standard. However, under this Government, young couples are being driven to seek finance at rates of interest as high as 10 per cent, or 12 per cent., if they wish to have a home of their own; or they have to pay £10 or so for a room. That is happening all over the Commonwealth, and to a great degree in New South Wales.

When I was an alderman of the Sydney City Council, we resumed 20 acres of zoned land in the Surry Hills area, but only after many years has the State Government been able to build blocks of apartments there to house some 1,700 people. Her Majesty the Queen was invited to open the project. When she was taken to the top of the building and had been shown over the place, she made a remark which should sting the Federal Government into activity. Her Majesty said to the Premier of New South Wales, “You certainly have a lot of old places down there which should be condemned.” If the Queen saw fit to make such a comment, surely the people who are running this country should realize what needs to be done. They should work in with the State Government and give it the required finance to house the people.

The Sydney City Council has built flats in my electorate over the last three years to house approximately 1,500 people. Included in the flat projects is accommodation for age pensioners, who pay 30s. a week rent. There is land available in the city of Sydney for housing, and the Sydney City Council would willingly make it available for the housing of pensioners if the Minister for Social Services would only make available the grant of £2 for £1 for which the Aged Persons Homes Act provides. It is eight years since the act was passed, but not more than £15,000,000 has been provided under it. The supporters of the Government should know that people are shivering in hallways because they have nowhere else to live. According to a newspaper report which I have in my hand, an age pensioner had to sleep on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall last night because he had no money. There are thousands of such people. Were it not for the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Sydney City Mission, which supply them with food, they would be starving in this land of plenty. Yet, members of the Government call themselves legislators. I ask every man and woman who goes to the ballot box at the next general election to put this Government out of office for all time, because it has made no attemt to help those people who are unable to help themselves. It is a poor government which will not look after the pioneers of the country, the people who have reared sons to go to the war and help to protect our homes. This Government is denying those people the right to a place in which to sleep.

I appeal to the Minister for Social Services. He could easily meet the Sydney City Council and give it a couple of million pounds. If he were to do so, we would see to it that the people of West Sydney were properly housed. The big oil companies are buying houses and pulling them down. The University of Sydney is to take over 18 acres of land. The homes of elderly people are being knocked down, and they have nowhere to go but the street.

Mr Chaney:

– And there is no Australian ambassador in Ireland.


– That is so. The honorable member would be a poor sample of an Australian to send there. We shall leave old Ireland out of it for the present To-night, I am speaking of a human problem. Honorable members opposite grin and laugh, so we know very well that we cannot expect much from them. The Government should do something for these unfortunate people. At least it should give them £1 extra for their rent if it cannot see its way to allocate additional finance to build homes for them.

Mr Turnbull:

– Labour did not give them anything when it was in office.


– I know that you would not give them anything. It is getting late, and I make a final appeal to the Government to do something for the pensioners in the next Budget. It is not a joking matter when people are starving. There are 7,000 pensioners in my electorate and possibly one-half of that number are paying rent. When new Australians buy a house, pensioners who were paying something like £2 a week for a room in that house are forced to leave and then have to pay £3 or £3 10s. a week for another room somewhere else. What is left then of the pension? Surely the Government could rise to the occasion and do something for these people who deserve so much and get so little.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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

page 461


Motion (by Mr. Swartz) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.


.- Mr. Speaker-

Motion (by Mr. Swartz) put -

That the question be now put.

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

AYES: 58

NOES: 56

Majority 2



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11.29 p.m.

page 461


The following answers to questions were circulated: -

Northern Territory: Meat Industry

Mr Reynolds:

s asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. Does the Government plan to build cold stores at Darwin?
  2. If so, had Vestey’s made any prior public decision to build cold stores at their Darwin meatworks?
  3. What prospects exist for the full utilization of two export abattoirs in this area?
  4. Will these operations affect plans for the construction of beef roads designed to take live cattle out of the Territory?
Mr Hasluck:
Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

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

  1. Yes. The Government has approved that a cold store of 1,000 tons capacity for export meat awaiting shipment be constructed as an annex to the existing public cold store at Darwin.
  2. I have no knowledge of the private affairs of this company and am unable to answer the question.
  3. Vestey’s have decided to establish an export abattoirs near Darwin and Northern Meat Exporters Proprietary Limited have decided to establish an export abattoirs at Katherine. Each company has invested capital in its project and presumably each considers that the prospects are good for the full utilization of its abattoirs.
  4. No.

Colombo Plan

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

What expenditure was incurred by Australia under the Colombo Plan during the years 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61 and 1961-62?

Sir Garfield Barwick:

– I would refer the honorable member to the tabled copies of the Colombo Plan report.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. What licence fee is payable to the Commonwealth by commercial television stations?
  2. Upon what basis is the fee determined?
  3. Has the rate of the licence fee charged ever been reviewed or varied since it was first imposed; if so, what are the details?
  4. What was the total amount received by the Commonwealth from this source in each year since the introduction of television into Australia?
  5. .What has been the profit earned or loss incurred by each Australian television station since it commenced operations?
Mr Davidson:
Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Pursuant to the Broadcasting and Television Stations Licence Fees Act 1956, a licensee of a commercial television station pays an annual licence fee of £100 together with an amount equal to 1 per cent, of the gross earnings of his station from the televising of advertisements or other matter during the preceding financial year.

  1. No.
  2. 1956-57, £7,325; 1957-58, £18,246; 1958-59, £37,692; 1959-60, £64,619; 1960-61, £90,284.
  3. It is not my practice, nor has it been the practice of former Postmasters-General, to make public the financial results of particular stations as disclosed by the information which they forward for the purposes of the act.

Australian Government Publications

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. What periodicals are issued by Commonwealth departments and instrumentalities other than the Commonwealth Statistician?
  2. Which of them are: (a) printed by the Government Printer and (b) available to the general public?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– In answer to the honorable member’s questions 1 and 2, I refer him to the recent publication by the National Library of Australia, “ Australian Government Publications 1961 “.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. How many full-blood aborigines are resident in the Northern Territory?
  2. How many have been declared to be wards under the Northern Territory Welfare Ordinance?
  3. What are the circumstances under which an aboriginal - (a) becomes a ward of the Commonwealth, and (b) ceases to be a ward?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. 18,710 as at 31st December, 1962.
  2. 15,271.

  3. (a) Section 14 of the Welfare Ordinance 1953-1961 of the Northern Territory provides that-

The Administrator in Council may, by notice in the Gazette, declare a person to be a ward if that person by reason of -

  1. his manner of living;
  2. his inability without assistance, ade quately to manage his own affairs,
  3. his standard of social habit and behaviour, and
  4. his personal associations, stands in need of such special care or assistance as is provided for by the Ordinance.
  5. (i) By revocation of a declaration to be a ward by the Administrator in Council, (ii) A ward may, in the prescribed manner, at any time appeal to the Wards Appeal Tribunal for revocation of a declaration made under the Ordinance declaring him to be a ward, (iii) When the marriage of a person who is not a ward is celebrated with a person who is a ward, the ward ceases to be a ward from and including the date of the marriage.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What type of evidence given to the Sugar Enquiry Committee is regarded as being of a confidential nature and therefore not published in full in the committee’s report?
  2. What is the particular reason for treating such evidence as being confidential?
Mr Adermann:
Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

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

  1. In my second-reading speech on the Sugar Agreement Bill 1962, and subsequently in reply to a question on this subject directed to me by the honorable member on 2nd May, 1962, I explained why the report submitted by the Sugar Enquiry Committee could not be published in full. The committee was commissioned to receive information in confidence, and certain evidence was submitted to and accepted by the committee on this basis. In its report the committee drew heavily on this information which mainly, but not entirely, related to costs and, therefore, it is not possible to publish the full report without betraying the trust placed in the committee.
  2. See answer to question 1.

Wheat Stabilization Fund

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What total amounts were (a) received and (b) paid for by the Wheat Stabilization Fund in each of the last five years?
  2. From what source has money been secured to meet any discrepancy in a year in which expenditure from the fund has exceeded the amount standing to its credit?
  3. What is the present credit position of the fund?
  4. What is the present cost of producing wheat in Australia?
  5. What is the price being obtained for Australian Wheat sold (a) locally and (b) overseas?
Mr Adermann:

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

  1. Payments out of the Wheat Stabilization Prices Fund for wheat of the last five seasons were- No. 21 pool (1957-58), £400,000; No. 22 pool (1958-59), £6,500,000; No. 23 pool (1959-60), £8,000,000; No. 24 pool (1960-61), £8,900,000; No. 25 pool (1961-62), £7,300,000 (this amount will be paid shortly). Over the above period there have been no payments into the fund of growers’ moneys.
  2. From Consolidated Revenue.
  3. At present the fund has a nil balance.
  4. The present assessed cost of production under the wheat stabilization scheme is 15s. lOd. per bushel, bulk, f.o.r. ports.
  5. The local price of Australian wheat is 15s. Hid. per bushel (equivalent to £29 16s. per ton), bulk basis, f.o.r. ports; the overseas price varies according to destination but in the United Kingdom, our main traditional market, the latest published quotations are £24 10s. sterling to £24 12s. 6d. sterling per ton.

Papua and New Guinea

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

On what dates were the Industrial Organizations Ordinance 1962 and the Industrial Relations Ordinance 1962 - (a) passed by the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, (b) assented to by the Administrator of the Commonwealth, and (c) proclaimed to come into operation?

Mr Hasluck:

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

The Industrial Organizations Ordinance 1962 and the Industrial Relations Ordinance 1962 - (a) were passed by the Legislative Council for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea on 9th March, 1962; (b) were assented to by the Administrator of the Commonwealth on 30th August, 1962; and (c) came into operation on 28th March, 1963.

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

  1. Did the United Nations Trusteeship Committee some few years ago seek the establishment of a United Nations information centre in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea?
  2. Did the committee in 1959 by resolution carried without a single dissenting vote, request the then Secretary-General of the United Nations to hold talks with Australia with a view to having the information centre established?
  3. What action was taken by the Australian Government arising out of the Trusteeship Committee’s decision?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. On 5th December, 1959, the General Assembly of the United Nations requested the Secretary-

General to negotiate with the administering authorities of the larger trust territories (including New Guinea) with a view to establishing United Nations information centres in those territories.

  1. Following negotiations with the Australian Government a United Nations information centre was opened in Port Moresby in May, 1962, in premises provided by the Administration and with other forms of assistance from the Administration,

New Guinea

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

What decisions were made by the Government in respect to East New Guinea arising out of the proposals contained in the Report of the United Nations Visiting Mission?

Mr Hasluck:

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

Three main proposals were made in the report of the United Nations Visiting Mission to the Trust Territory of New Guinea which arrived there on 8th April and departed on 13th May, 1962. These were that there should be a full economic survey by the World Bank; that there should be a new programme of university and higher education; and that immediate preparation should be made for the election of a representative parliament. In relation to each of these matters the Government had taken action far in advance of the arrival of the Visiting Mission in the Territory in April, 1962, and with no knowledge of what it would recommend in its report, which is dated 21st June, 1962. In respect of an economic survey, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was first approached in May, 1961. Arrangements have now been completed for a mission organized by the bank to begin a comprehensive economic survey of Papua and New Guinea in June. With regard to higher education, the government had appointed a committee in May, 1961, to investigate the whole problem of tertiary education and higher training in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. In August, 1961, that committee recommended that a residential administrative college should be established in Port Moresby; that a university college should be established in Port Moresby not later than 1966; that a multi-racial full standard teachers’ college should be set up in the Territory as soon as possible; that plans should be made for the provision of a higher technical training institution; that secondary education throughout the Territory should be expanded to bring more indigenous people to university entrance standard. Detailed planning has proceeded on the basis of these recommendations and the creation of the Administrative Staff College was made the first priority. The principal for that college took up duty in 1962 and, with the assistance of an interim council, will bring the college into operation this year. On 9th February, 1963, I announced the appointment of the Currie Commission to inquire into and report on the means of further developing higher education in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. In April, 1961, a reconstituted Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea was opened at Port Moresby and in October, 1961, by my direction, a committee of administration officers was set up to give continuing attention to matters relevant to the expressed objective of establishing a common roll. In September, 1961, the establishment was foreshadowed of a select committee of the Legislative Council to review the political development of the Territory and this select committee was appointed in March, 1962. After a period of intensive inquiry it placed its first report before the Council in October, 1962. The Legislative Council unanimously approved the report and the Government’s acceptance of the proposed reforms was announced by me to the Parliament on 23rd October, 1962.

Repatriation Department

Mr Don Cameron:

n asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. Has his department any present or future plans for the purchase of Lennon’s Hotel, Broadbeach, Queensland, as a unit of the Repatriation Department?
  2. Has the department taken part in any negotiations for the purchase of this hotel?
  3. Does his department propose to negotiate for the purchase of this hotel by private treaty should it be submitted to auction and passed in?
Mr Swartz:
Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

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

  1. No.
  2. No. Approaches were made by the management of the company with a view to ascertaining whether the department would be interested in the purchase of the property and it was informed that the department had no requirement for the property.
  3. No.

Australian Armed Forces

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. In what South Asian countries have Australian armed forces been engaged on active service since the Menzies Government took office in 1949?
  2. Against the forces of what country were the Australian forces engaged?
  3. On what duties are the overseas Australian forces at present engaged?
Mr Townley:
Minister for Defence · DENISON, TASMANIA · LP

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

  1. Malaya.
  2. The Australian Forces in Malaya, at the request of the Government of the Federation of Malaya, have assisted that Government in operations against the communist terrorists. 3. (a) Malaya: The Australian forces serve with British and New Zealand forces in the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve in order to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in the South East Asian area. At the request of the Government of the Federation of Malaya they continue to assist that Government in operations against communist terrorists remaining in the area of the border between Malaya and Thailand, (b) Republic of Viet Nam; At the invitation of the Government of the Republic of Viet Nam, an Australian army training team of 30 instructors assists that Government by providing instruction in jungle warfare and village defence against externally directed communist insurgency, (c) Thailand: A contingent of Royal Australian Air Force fighter aircraft is stationed at Ubon in Thailand at the invitation of the Royal Thai Government to co-operate with the Thai armed forces in maintaining the territorial integrity of Thailand.

Uniform Drugs and Poisons Legislation

Mr Webb:

b asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that a draft of uniform drugs and poisons legislation was adopted by the National Health and Medical Research Council in 1959?
  2. Which States have not yet implemented the recommendations?
  3. Would the proposed legislation offer adequate protection to the public against the possible harmful effects of new drugs?
  4. If not, what protection is necessary?
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. Yes.
  2. New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia. However, it should be pointed out that all of these States are actually engaged in reviewing their poisons legislation and will implement the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations in the near future.
  3. and 4. The National Health and Medical Research Council has recommended that in the proposed uniform poisons legislation all new drugs should be made available to the public only on a medical, dental or veterinary prescription until such time as the appropriate schedule, has been determined. In this manner drugs which may possibly have undesirable side effects will not be available to the public except under strict supervision. Further proposals relating to new drugs will be discussed at the next meeting of the Public Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Civil Aviation

Mr Collard:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that the Minister recently visited Roebourne and that on the night of his stay heavy rain made the airstrip unserviceable?
  2. Was the strip opened for traffic purely for the purpose of allowing the Minister’s aircraft to take-off and closed again immediately it had cleared the area?
  3. If so, who was responsible for the decision that the Minister’s aircraft could take-off but other aircraft in the area could not land?
  4. As a result of the Minister’s experience at

Roebourne, does he intend to have the airstrip sealed? If so, when is work expected to commence?

Mr Townley:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers to the honorable member’s questions: -

  1. It is a fact that the Minister recently visited Roebourne and approximately 3 inches of rain fell between midnight and 6 a.m. the following morning.
  2. No. The aerodrome was not closed prior to or immediately after the departure of the aircraft on which the Minister was travelling. The short runway was closed after the Minister’s departure, because it was considered hazardous for aircraft operations, but the long runway from which the aircraft took off remained open for some 24 hours after the Minister’s departure.
  3. This question is not applicable.
  4. There is no current proposal to seal the strip at Roebourne. The runway has a satisfactory unsealed surface which is capable of handling the aircraft which use it with a very high degree of regularity.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -

  1. What privately owned airlines received Commonwealth subsidies in each of the last five years, and what amount did each receive in each year?
  2. Were any of the recipient companies subsidiaries of, or associated wilh, other companies: if so, what are the details?
Mr Townley:

– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -

  1. MacRobertson Miller Airlines Limited, Connellan Airways Limited, Ansett-A.N.A., Ansett Flying Boat Services Proprietary Limited and Trans-Australia Airlines are all in receipt of subsidy from the Commonwealth in respect of the operation of developmental air services. Queensland Airlines Proprietary Limited, Airlines of New South Wales Proprietary Limited, East-West Airlines Limited, Ansett-A.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines are subsidised in respect of the operation of essential rural services. The distinctions between these two categories of services and a schedule of subsidised services appear at pages 14 and IS of the 1960-61 report to Parliament by the Minister for Civil Aviation. The amount of subsidy in each instance is determined having regard to the levels of revenue earned and the expenditure incurred in the operation of the particular service. These details are confidential as between the operator and the Commonwealth and, in accordance with normal practice, are not made public, except in the case when the company itself releases the figures.
  2. Ansett-A.N.A., Queensland Airlines Proprietary Limited, Ansett Flying Boat Services Proprietary Limited and Airlines of New South Wales Proprietary Limited are subsidiaries of Ansett

Transport Industries Limited. East-West Airlines Limited has a close working relationship with Trans-Australia Airlines.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government concluded its consideration of suitable action to ensure that new drugs are properly tested before being made available for general use?
  2. If so, what was the outcome?
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. The Government has made a great deal of progress in its consideration of this matter and I have already announced the main Commonwealth proposals concerning the safety of drugs.
  2. These include the establishment of a section in the Commonwealth Department of Health to co-ordinate all the activities necessary for an effective system of drug supervision. It will be an information centre on all aspects of drug toxicity and will work in co-operation with overseas drug administrations, the State health departments, the medical profession, the World Health Organization and the drug manufacturers. It will also supervise the importation of new drugs. It is also proposed to set up a committee of independent experts as an advisory body to report on the safety of drugs generally.

Standardization of Rail Gauges

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -

  1. Is the completion of the standard-gauge railway between Broken Hill and Port Pirie regarded by the Government as being of national importance?
  2. If so, when is it proposed to implement the agreement of 1949 between the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments for the carrying out of this undertaking?
Mr Opperman:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

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

  1. The standardization of the line between Broken Hill and Port Pirie is one among a number of projects which are of national importance.
  2. Clause 9 of the Railway Standardization (South Australia) Agreement provides that the order in which the standardization works shall be carried out, and the time at which they shall be commenced, shall be determined by agreement between the parties. A decision to undertake standardization works in South Australia in accordance with the agreement will depend upon it being demonstrated that the tangible benefits to be obtained are commensurate with the costs involved, and will take into account priorities among works of developmental nature. Meanwhile in 19SS, at the request of the South

Australian Premier, £50,000 was made available to the State towards the costs of survey of the Broken Hill to Port Pirie line. In addition, financial assistance to the extent of £1,325,000 has been made available to the State under the Railway Equipment Agreement (South Australia) 1961, for the acquisition of twelve diesel locomotives and 100 ore wagons, specifically for the carriage of ore from Broken Hill to Port Pirie. This rollingstock is to be constructed initially for narrow gauge operations, but in accordance with the agreement it must be so designed as to be readily convertible for standard-gauge operations.

Unemployment Benefits

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

How many students could not be placed by the Commonwealth Employment Service during their recent vacations and have subsequently and retrospectively been granted unemployment benefits?

Mr Roberton:
Minister for Social Services · RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

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

  1. Pull-time students who intend to continue their studies are ineligible for unemployment benefit during vacations.
  2. Persons who have terminated their studies and intend to enter the work force are eligible for benefit subject to the usual conditions.
  3. Students who are disqualified under (a) and who subsequently decide not to continue their studies may qualify for benefit in the normal way when, eligibility having been established, payment may be made retrospectively appropriate to the date on which they registered for employment with the Commonwealth Employment Services.
  4. No information is available as to the number of such cases.
Mr Don Cameron:

n asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice - 1- What amount was paid in unemployment benefits during the last twelve months?

  1. Are migrants who are unemployed and living in migrant hostels paid the full amount of unemployment benefit; if not, what amount is paid?
  2. How many persons in each State were drawing unemployment benefits at the end of (a) November, 1962, (b) December, 1962, (c) January, 1963, and (d) February, 1963?
  3. How many of these persons were migrants living in migrant hostels?
Mr Roberton:

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

  1. For the period 1st March, 1962, to 28th February, 1963, the amount paid in unemployment benefit was £11,694,878.
  2. Under authority contained in the Social Services Act, a person living in a migrant hostel is paid part of the benefit and the balance is paid to the hostel authorities towards the cost of the board and lodging of the beneficiary and his dependants, if any, living with him. The apportionment of benefit per week is -
  3. The number of unemployment benefits being paid in each State at 24th November, 1962, 29th December, 1962, 26th January, 1963 and 23rd February, 1963, is shown in the following table: -
  4. The information is not available.

Homes for the Aged.

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. What amount has been paid out by the Commonwealth in each year under the Aged Persons Homes Act since the initiation of the scheme?
  2. How many additional aged persons were provided with accommodation by the recipient organizations in each of these years?
  3. How many age pensioners were there in Australia when the scheme was introduced?
  4. What number of age pensioners are there to-day according to the latest figures available?
Mr Roberton:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The Aged Persons Homes Act came into operation on 16th December, 1954. The total subsidy approved, and the number of additional beds provided, for aged persons in each year since the inception of the act are as follows: -

  1. 407,276.
  2. At 11th March, 1963, there were 602,951 persons receiving age pensions.

Social Services

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. What recipients of Commonwealth social service payments are eligible for payment of the supplementary allowance?
  2. When was the payment of supplementary allowances first introduced?
  3. How many applications for the payment of the supplementary allowance have been received in each year since its introduction?
  4. How many applications were approved in the same years?
Mr Roberton:

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

  1. Supplementary assistance is payable to an age, invalid or widow pensioner if the DirectorGeneral of Social Services is satisfied that the pensioner requires supplementary assistance by reason that he (she) pays rent and is entirely dependent on the pension. It is not payable to a married person whose husband or wife is in receipt of a social service pension (including a wife’s allowance), a service pension, or a tuberculosis allowance.
  2. The first payments of supplementary assistance were made on 23rd October, 1958, in the case of -age and invalid pensioners, and on 28th October, 1958, for widow pensioners. 3 and 4. No information is available as to the number of claims made and the number of claims granted. The following table shows the number of supplementary assistance payments being made at the dates indicated.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. Is he or his department aware of any cases of pensioners who, because of their fear of eviction, have been obliged to enter into contracts to purchase their homes on terms in order to prevent the properties being sold to new owners requiring them for their own occupation?
  2. Are such pensioners in the very great majority of cases obliged to meet instalment payments greater than they were previously required to pay as rent?
  3. Can age pensioners entering into such contracts late in life ever expect to complete the purchase of the property?
  4. Is it unjust to deny such pensioners, who are otherwise qualified, the payment of the supplementary rental allowance on the grounds that they are property owners and not tenants?
  5. If so, will he recommend to the Government an early amendment of the existing scheme to establish the eligibility of pensioners so situated to receive the supplementary allowance?
Mr Roberton:

– Information of the kind sought is not available to the Department of Social Services.

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -

  1. How many Australian aborigines are at present in receipt of (a) age, (b) invalid and (c) widows’ pensions?
  2. In respect of how many aboriginal children are child endowment payments at present being made?
Mr Roberton:

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

Social service benefits are paid ti Australian citizens who qualify under the provisions of the Social Services Act regardless of their ethnic origin.

Pharmaceutical Benefits

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. When was the pharmaceutical benefits scheme providing for free medicine first introduced?
  2. What number of prescriptions was provided free in the first year of operation of the scheme?
  3. What was the total cost to the Commonwealth?
  4. When was the 5s. per prescription charge imposed?
  5. What number of prescriptions was provided at 5s. each under the amended scheme during its first year of operation?
  6. What was the cost to the Commonwealth?
  7. What was the number of prescriptions for the latest year for which figures are available?
  8. What was the cost to the Commonwealth?
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. The original pharmaceutical benefits scheme commenced on 1st June, 1948. The scheme provided by the present Government commenced on 4th September, 1950.
  2. The number of prescriptions provided free in 1948-49 was 280,719. In 1950-51 the number was 3,758,622.
  3. The total cost to the Commonwealth for these prescriptions was:- 1948-49, £66,268; 1950-51, £2,726,779.
  4. 1st March, 1960.
  5. In 1960-61, the first full financial year of the amended scheme, the number of prescriptions provided at 5s. was 20,489,065.
  6. The prescriptions referred to in question 5 cost the Commonwealth £17,141,248.
  7. The number of prescriptions which were provided at 5s. for the financial year 1961-62 was 26,050,370.
  8. The prescriptions referred to in question 7 cost the Commonwealth £22,316,244.

National Health Scheme

Mr L R Johnson:

son asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Did the Minister recently send a cautionary letter to the Australian Medical Association regarding the rising cost of antibiotics under the national health scheme?
  2. Did the letter suggest that doctors sometimes prescribed expensive drugs when cheaper ones would prove adequate?
  3. Is there any evidence to suggest that doctors are unnecessarily prescribing expensive antibiotics?
  4. If so, what action has been initiated against the offenders?
  5. If doctors have not offended in this regard, what was the purpose in sending the cautionary letter7
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. No. The honorable member is apparently referring to a short article prepared by my department which was published recently in the Australian Medical Association’s news bulletins. 2 and 3. The article was a factual statement which drew the attention of doctors to the fact that the rate of prescribing of antibiotics had increased to a much greater extent than could be accounted for by the increase in population. 4 and 5. While provision exists in law for the reference of cases of excessive ‘prescribing to committee of inquiry, this course of action is usually reserved for flagrant cases. I am pleased to be able to say that such cases are in the minority. However, I consider that the problem referred to in the articles is one best handled by providing doctors with information on the situation, and how it affects the scheme as a whole. The article in question was written for this very purpose. In addition my department takes every opportunity to discuss such matters, not only with the Australian Medical Association, but also with groups of doctors and doctors individually. This activity supplements the valuable information on the use and effect of drugs which my department sends to all doctors in the form of the “ “Prescribers Journal “.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Was it intended in the original Commonwealth national health scheme to provide benefits to insured persons equal to approximately 90 per cent, of medical fees and charges?
  2. Has the scale of benefits in accordance with this principle been maintained at a figure equal to 90 per cent, of increasing medical fees?
  3. If not, to what extent has the value of benefits depreciated since the commencement of the present Commonwealth national health scheme?
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. No. However, a condition of registration of medical benefits organizations is that the combined Commonwealth and fund benefits shall not exceed 90 per cent, of the medical fee.
  2. See question 1 above.
  3. The average amount of the combined Commonwealth and fund benefits paid to contributors, and expressed as a percentage of the medical fees is as follows:- Year ended 30th June: 1954- 63.1 per cent.; 1957-63.4 per cent.; 1960-63.6 per cent.; 1962-63.9 per cent.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -

  1. Are all convalescent hospitals and homes which have obtained State recognition and registration accepted by the Commonwealth Department of Health as coming within the scope of the amended national health scheme whereby £1 per day is paid by the Commonwealth towards the maintenance of pensioner inmates?
  2. If not, will the Minister state what conditions have to be satisfied by these institutions to obtain Commonwealth recognition?
  3. Will (he Minister furnish a list of the convalescent hospitals and homes in all States which have been recognized as complying with the conditions of the Commonwealth scheme?
Mr Swartz:

– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -

  1. Yes, for all practical purposes. Commonwealth benefits are available to all patients in convalescent hospitals and homes approved under the National Health Act and are not restricted to pensioner patients.
  2. See No. 1.
  3. The approvals of hospitals and homes under the National Health Act are continuously under review and because the continuous alterations would render lists of approved hospitals and approved nursing homes misleading it is not the practice to issue them. However, approved hospitals and approved nursing homes are required to display Commonwealth certificates of approval which clearly show the type of approval held. Advice as to the type of approval held by any hospital or home is available from the Commonwealth Director of Health in the State concerned.

St. Mary’s Filling Factory

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -

  1. To what extent is the plant at the St. Mary’s ammunition filling factory at present being utilized?
  2. ls all of its output directed to meeting the needs of the Australian forces?
  3. If not, to what other destinations is its production being dispatched?
  4. What number of employees are at present working at this factory?
Mr Fairhall:
Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

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

  1. As explained in reply to similar questions in the past, the St. Mary’s factory was designed to meet war needs and would operate at full capacity only in the event of war. 2 and 3. Substantially yes, but from time to time a comparatively small amount of work is done to supply component’s in aid of orders placed by New Zealand military authorities and the Department of Territories (New Guinea).
  2. 890 persons.

Royal Austraiian Navy

Mr Hansen:

n asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

  1. Have orders yet been placed with United Kingdom shipyards for the construction of four submarines for the Royal Australian Navy?
  2. What inquiries were made with respect to having these submarines built in Australian shipyards?
  3. Is there any evidence that Australian shipyards are incapable of building these submarines?
Mr Freeth:
Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers to the honorable member’s questions: -

  1. Tenders have been called in the United Kingdom by the Admiralty on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy for the construction in the United Kingdom of four Oberon class submarines. No United Kingdom yard without experience in submarine building will, on Admiralty advice, be invited to tender.
  2. Inquiries were made into such matters as (1) the additional cost involved in building ships in Australia - estimated by the shipbuilding industry to be 331 per cent.; (2) past experience of increased expenditure of money and time in assembling in Australia ships in the construction of which builders had had experience; (3) availability of drawings and specifications, capital equipment required, crews to carry out trials, overseas experts to supervise and train workmen, naval assistance which would have to be supplied, and related matters.
  3. There is no evidence that any Australian shipyard either is or is not capable of assembling Oberon submarines in Australia. But provided sufficient time and money were allowed an Australian shipyard ought to be able to assemble such submarines from imported components. There is evidence that such assembly in Australia would reduce the number of submarines available for a given expenditure by at least one third and that time taken in building would be considerably longer.

Petroleum Products

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -

  1. What procedure is followed by the Commonwealth in obtaining its supplies of petroleum products?
  2. What price is it paying for its current requirements?
Mr Fairhall:

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

  1. The term “ petroleum products “ embraces an extremely large number of different items including petrol, aviation fuels, many types of oils and greases for very many different purposes. My department is concerned with the purchase of supplies of an extensive range of these products for its own use and for the Defence Services. These are always obtained under contracts arranged after the invitation of public tenders. Contracts are also arranged however, by the Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board, Department of the Treasury for various petroleum products for every Commonwealth department. Such contracts are also arranged after the invitation of public tenders, and they include the very large requirements of motor spirit for all Commonwealth vehicles, both civil and defence.
  2. In view of the fact that hundreds of different products are involved the preparation of complete details would entail a very great amount of work. However, if the honorable member will indicate specific items which he has in mind, I shall be pleased to furnish him with the information desired.

War Service Homes

Mr Hayden:

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

  1. How many applications for homes were received, and how many homes were provided, under the war service homes scheme during each of the past five years?
  2. How many applications were outstanding at the end of those years?
  3. What sums have been (a) provided by the Government for the scheme and (b) received as revenue from the scheme during each of the same years?
Mr Roberton:

– The Minister for National Development has supplied the following answers to the honorable member’s questions: -

  1. The number of applications for homes received, and the number of homes provided, under the war service homes scheme during each of the past five years were as follows: -
  1. The number of applications outstanding for each of the years from 1957-58 to 1961-62 was as follows:- 1957-58, 19,257; 1958-59, 20,518; 1959-60, 19,727; 1960-61, 15,374; 1961-62, 13,678. 3. (a) Funds for expenditure under the scheme are provided by parliamentary appropriation and proceeds from the sale of properties and other miscellaneous receipts. The sums provided for each of the last five years were as follows: -
  1. The sums received as revenue were as follows: -

Government Building Contracts

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Works, upon notice -

  1. What building construction firms have been the recipients of a contract exceeding £100,000 in value from the Commonwealth or Commonwealth semi-governmental authorities, including the Commonwealth banking group, in each of the last five years?
  2. Were tenders invited in all instances?
  3. If not, what procedure was followed in letting the contract in cases where tenders were not invited?
  4. Where tenders were invited, did the successful tenderer in all instances submit the lowest tender?
  5. If not, by what amount did the price submitted by the successful tenderer exceed the lowest tender?
  6. What was the reason in each instance for rejecting tenders below that submitted by the successful tenderer?
Mr Freeth:

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

  1. For contracts under the control of the Commonwealth Department of Works, the information requested is available from the tenders accepted section of the weekly “ Commonwealth Gazette “. The Department of Works has no records of contracts let by Commonwealth semi-governmental authorities or the Commonwealth banking group.
  2. No.
  3. Selected tenders or negotiated contracts.
  4. No.
  5. I am not prepared to instruct my departmental officers to examine contractual records over a five-year period to obtain this information. However, for the year ending 31st October, 1962, there were three instances where the lowest tender was not accepted. The price difference between the lowest and accepted tenders was £26,815 (value of contract £356,800), £9,117 (value of contract £107,884) and £8,127 (value of contract £178,000).
  6. In all instances the tenders, at the ‘time of acceptance, were the most favorable to the Commonwealth.

United Kingdom-Commonwealth Meat Agreement

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. What was the total amount received from the United Kingdom Government in each year since the commencement of the current United KingdomCommonwealth meat agreement in respect of deficiency payments?
  2. How are these payments determined?
  3. To whom, and in accordance with what formula, are these moneys distributed?
Mr Adermann:

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

  1. Since the commencement of the AustraliaUnited Kingdom Meat Agreement in 1952, the following deficiency payments have been received from the United Kingdom Government: -
  1. The United Kingdom Government has guaranteed to make good annually any deficiency between the average market price and the agreed minimum prices fixed under the agreement.
  2. The method for distributing deficiency payments is set out in the Meat Agreement (Deficiency Payments) Act 1955.

Repatriation Benefits

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Re patriation, upon notice -

Will he have a statement prepared and made available showing (a) the amount initially paid in respect of each repatriation benefit and class of war pension, including the service pension, (b) the present rate of benefit or pension in each instance, and (c) the rate of payment which it would be necesary to pay to maintain the original purchasing power of each pension or benefit?

Mr Swartz:

– The answer to the honorable members question is as follows: -

  1. and (b). The early historyof repatriation benefits in Australia has not been precisely documented, and, initially Tensions and benefits were administered separately by different government authorities. For these reasons, and because of the very wide range of individual repatriation benefits, it is not possible to provide all the information sought. The following table shows for each of the main classes of pension, the rates fixed in 1920, in which year the Repatriation Act consolidated arrangements which had been made under earlier legislation. The table includes service pension (introduced in 1935), and domestic allowance (introduced in 1947). In each case current rates are also shown: -
  1. It is not practicable to estimate with precision variations in the purchasing power of money. Successive governments have, of course, varied rates of repatriation pensions and other benefits from time to time as circumstances warranted.

Parliamentary Constitutional Powers: Statement by Minister

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

  1. Did the Minister as guest speaker at the Melbourne City Council’s quarterly luncheon on 11th February last, in advocating greater constitutional power for the Commonwealth Parliament say that we would survive as one country or we would not survive at all?
  2. Was the Minister on this occasion speaking for the Government or expressing his own personal viewpoint?
Mr Freeth:

– The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers to the honorable member’s questions: -

  1. On the occasion to which the honorable member refers I stated, inter alia, that all Australians should regard themselves primarily and above all else as Australians and not as persons owing allegiance to some sub-division of Australia. I expressed the view that the concept of Australia as an indivisible nation was the overriding concept and that in the world to-day Australia would survive as one country or it would not survive at all.
  2. I expressed what were, and are, my own views - which is not to be taken as implying that those views either are or are not the views of the Government.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 April 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.