House of Representatives
30 April 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Mr. BENSON presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the 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.

Mr. KING presented a petition in the same terms from certain citizens of the Commonwealth.

Petition received.

Disarmament and Nuclear Tests

Mr. GRIFFITHS presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Government -

  1. Support the United Nations resolutions for a nuclear test ban treaty;
  2. Ensure that foreign bases are not permitted on Australian soil;
  3. In response to the call of the United Nations, declare Australia’s willingness to enter into an agreement not to manufacture, test, station or acquire nuclear weapons.

Petition received.

Mr. JAMES presented a petition in the same terms from certain electors of the Commonwealth.

Petition received.

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Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– No doubt honorable members will be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley), has been ill. Indeed, for a time he was seriously ill. I am happy to say that he is now making a good recovery, but it will be some weeks before he will be back in the Parliament. During his absence Senator Paltridge will act as Minister for Defence. In this House, the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) will represent the Acting Minister for Defence, and the Minister for Air ( Mr. Fairbairn) will represent the Minister for Civil Aviation.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask: Is he satisfied that the legislation discriminating against the waterside workers and the continual imposition of heavy penalties on them are improving the position on the waterfront in any way? If he is not satisfied that things are improving, is he prepared to consider further the harsh penalties now imposed in order to try to improve the position? I think the Minister will realize that all the fines that have been imposed and the losses that the men have sustained are doing no good and that he should get back to the normal practice of treating waterside workers in the same way as other people are treated.

Mr Turnbull:

– On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The question asks for an expression of opinion. Is not such a question out of order?


– Order! I call the Minister for Labour and National Service.

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

– It should be known to the House and particularly to the honorable member for Port Adelaide that penal sections of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act were in the law when the Australian Labour Party was in government and that the law has been amended in certain respects since this Government has been in office. What the honorable gentleman should realize also is that there is industrial peace on the waterfront of Australia with the exception of the ports of Sydney and Melbourne, where the waterfront is under Communist control and domination. No one knows from day to day when the workers in those two ports are to be called out and few people can tell what is the cause of any dispute there. I am certain that, if it were not for the penal provisions now contained in the act and the Stevedoring Industry Act, industrial disputes on the waterfront in Melbourne and Sydney would be worse than they are to-day. The men who control the waterfront in Sydney and Melbourne are no respecters of persons or of the law. They want to get their way by direct action and they are not concerned about the penalties, which are paid not by them but by the men themselves.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. I refer to certain reports alleging that several indigenes of West New Guinea who are now being trained at the medical school at Port Moresby, and who have been critical of Indonesian policies, are now apprehensive that they may be sent back to their homeland and may suffer ill treatment at the hands of the Indonesians. Can the honorable gentleman clarify the position of these young men and give some assurance that the dictates of humanity, should the issue arise, will not be ignored by the Australian Government?


– There are seven West New Guinea students at the medical school in Port Moresby. The courses of three are due to finish in 1965 and the courses of four are due to finish in 1966. Apparently, an Indonesian authority has asked that these students return to West New Guinea. I gather that a similar request has been made with respect to students who are in Holland. These West New Guinea students in Port Moresby have not been singled out in this respect. I believe that the important thing is that they be allowed to continue their studies, which were commenced originally on scholarships for which the Dutch administration was responsible and for which the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority in West New Guinea - commonly known as Untea - has since been responsible. Accordingly, I thought that the right course was to see whether the Indonesian authorities would allow these students to complete their training, and I am at present engaged on inquiries for that purpose. Any other question can wait until the result of my endeavours with the Indonesian authorities is known.

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Mr Don Cameron:

– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. In view of the proposals by Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. to introduce Boeing jet airliners on our internal air routes in the near future, will the Minister arrange to have the wartime igloos now serving as passenger terminal installations at Eagle Farm airport, Brisbane, demolished, and to have erected in their place modern air terminal buildings comparable with those in Sydney and Melbourne, and in keeping with the modern jet age and with the advancement and development of a city as beautiful as Brisbane and with such potential? Further, Sir, I ask whether the Minister is aware of the great assistance a modern air terminal installation at Eagle Farm would give to the tourist trade of Queensland generally. Finally, will the Minister have Eagle Farm airport gazetted as a principal entry or exit port for all overseas airliners entering or leaving Australia, thus simplifying air travel arrangements for overseas tourists visiting this country-


– Order! I think the honorable member is making his question far too long and is now expressing opinions. I ask him to direct his question to the Minister.

Mr Don Cameron:

– This would have the effect of reducing the number of flights that have to be made by tourists wishing to visit the capital cities of Australia.

Minister for Air · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– This is a very long question which, I feel, should really go on tile notice-paper. I will” bring it to the attention of my colleague in another place. It obviously involves matters of policy. I will ask the Minister to consider the matter and to furnish the honorable member with a reply in due course.

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– I address a question to. the Minister for Primary Industry. In doing so I would like to commend the decision to appoint Sir William Gunn as chairman of the newly constituted Australian Wool Board.


– Order! I think the honorable member should ask his question.


– It is necessary, Sir, to give-


– Order! The honorable member must try to keep in order.


– As a result of this appointment, the representation of the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation remains equal, but a vacancy now occurs on the board. My question to the Minister is: Would this present him with the opportunity that he sought for the attainment of a complete industry voice, which is something that he urged in his second-reading speech on the Wool Industry Bill? Will he seek the appointment of a representative of the Australian Primary Producers Union, in order to attain the unity that he spoke of?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The act under which the Australian Wool Board was constituted provides for the appointment j> grower representatives to h<” .Pinnated by the Australian Wool Industry Conference. The terms oi the act must be applied. The conference is to meet within the course of a few weeks, and it will then advise me of it- decision with regard to the filling of the vacancy.

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– I ask the PostmasterGeneral whether it is a fact that the PostmasterGeneral’s Department proposes to call tenders for the cleaning of public telephone booths in Brisbane. As this work is at present carried out by the department, what is the reason for the change-over to outside contractors and what will be the estimated savings, if any?

Postmaster-General · DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The policy of the department in this matter is that, in certain areas, particularly areas in which there are large numbers of telephone booths, the cleaning of the booths is carried out by contractors. In other areas, in which the amount of work available is not sufficient to warrant the letting of a contract to an outsider, the work is done by the department. I cannot answer the question regarding the savings involved, because I have not seen any tenders and I cannot, therefore, make a comparison with present costs.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. By way of explanation I may state that the New South Wales Department of Agriculture and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization have, I believe, materially assisted potato-growers throughout Australia, and certainly on the northern tablelands of New South Wales, where great quantities of potatoes are produced. As considerable difficulties have been presented in the past by the undue importation of New Zealand potatoes, and their sale on Australian markets, can the Minister assure the House that he will urge upon the Minister for Trade the necessity to ensure that potato-growers, particularly in New South Wales, but also in other States, will be reasonably safeguarded, and that protection will be given to an industry which the scientific bodies I have referred to have helped to build up?


– I remind the honorable member that the Tariff Board determines the degree of protection of our industries. Any imports of potatoes in recent years would really not have been detrimental to the Australian producers - I say this advisedly - because, after paying the protective duty, the price of imported potatoes would not be very low. However, I will have a look at the honorable member’s question and refer it to the Department of Trade. I do not expect that imports of potatoes will cause any real trouble, because of the price at which New Zealand potatoes can be sold here in competition with locally produced potatoes.

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– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware that a recent survey has shown that of every 4 lb. of margarine sold in Lismore, Casino, Murwillumbah and Grafton 3 lb. are manufactured in Queensland? Would it appear that the Queensland Liberal-Country Party Government is undermining the New South Wales Government in its attempt to legislate-


– Order! The honorable member will keep his question within the limits imposed by .the Standing Orders. The Minister is not responsible for the Queensland Government.


– Is the Minister aware that the survey revealed that sales in these towns are in the ratio of 7 lb. of butter to 1 lb. of margarine? What action does he intend to take to assist the New South Wales Government to implement its legislation?


– I am aware of the quotas fixed in recent years for the manufacture of margarine. I am also aware that when Labour was in office in Queensland and New South Wales the quota was increased, to the detriment of the dairy industry. I am further aware that it is a New South Wales company that is reported to be manufacturing margarine in excess of the quota. The Australian Agricultural Council agreed that it was the New South Wales act that required amending to protect the dairy industry. I suggest to the honorable member that he see that the New South Wales Government proclaim the amendment to the act recently passed so that further protection will be afforded to the dairy industry.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. Is he aware that, even though the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is administered in the main as one area for the purposes of government administration, it is at present necessary for a customs clearance to be given to every person travelling between each of the two parts of the Territory? Will he consult with his colleague in another place, the Minister for Customs and Excise, to see whether this apparently -superfluous customs procedure can be abolished?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– There will be no need for consultation with the Minister for Customs and Excise as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea has its entirely separate customs administration. I was unaware that this difficulty existed; I was under the impression that it had been removed. However, I will make inquiries.

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– I direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil

Aviation. Will the acquisition of shares and the actual control of intra-state airlines by the Ansett-A.N.A. organization preclude the government owned and controlled airline, Trans-Australia Airlines, from being allowed to share the passenger and freight business originating in country areas and having interstate destinations, and to provide the services desired by the passengers or consignees? If so, does this situation comply with either the spirit or the letter of what has come to be known in airline matters as rationalization, which, when it concerns the business and running of T.A.A., is strictly applied? Will the Government demand cross-charter rights for the government-owned airline when desired by passengers and consignees of freight from country areas to interstate destinations?


– This matter comes within the jurisdiction of my colleague in the Senate, the Minister for Civil Aviation. I had some discussions with him just recently on the question of whether passengers who travelled into a capital city by an Ansett airline would have any difficulty in continuing their journeys by services operated by Trans-Australia Airlines. He said that he could see none whatsoever. He said that, so far as the recent purchase of shares in MacRobertson Miller Airlines Limited was concerned, it had been discovered that usually people who travelled from the country to Perth stayed there overnight or for some longer time before they travelled on to the eastern States. Even if they stay for only a day or two, they have every opportunity to continue their journeys to the east by whichever airline they choose. However, as I said, this matter comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister for Civil Aviation. 1 will put the question to him and get a reply for the honorable member for Bonython.

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– My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to a circular letter sent to all honorable members by the Association of Professional Engineers and dated 23rd April, in which it is stated that the proposed amendments to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act did not arise from any real demand by State governments. Will the Minister be good enough to reconcile that assertion with his recent statement that the legislation was requested by five of the six State governments?


– I am glad that the honorable gentleman has given me the opportunity to clear away some misapprehensions that exist as to who conceived this legislation.

Mr Ward:

– The States left you with the baby.


– That is right. I would not have used the word “ conceived “ if I had not wanted that interjection. The beginnings of this legislation were at a Premiers’ Conference, when one of the Premiers asked that protection be given to the States in regard to their own employees - both civil servants and government employees. It was then suggested to the States that it would be preferable for them to put their request to the Commonwealth Government in writing, because it was better that we should have their ideas in detail before the matter was discussed subsequently. All of the State Premiers have written, and five of them have requested the Commonwealth Government to introduce legislation to protect them, that is, to take their employees outside the scope of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. That suggestion was not agreed to by Tasmania. Some of the State governments, that is the State Premiers writing, I presume, on behalf of their governments, asked that the Commonwealth Government should go much further than it was prepared to go and further than the provisions now contained in the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill itself. Negotiations have gone on between my department and the various State authorities for well over nine months and, although the States themselves were not aware of the exact contents of the bill, they were well aware of the substance of it; so I think it is perfectly right for us to state clearly that this legislation was conceived at the request of the State governments, and, secondly, that they have been kept well in the picture during the course of the last nine months. But, having said that, I do admit that having con ceived the legislation, the States have left others to carry the baby.

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– I address a question to the Prime Minister. This House and the Australian people are well aware of the right honorable gentleman’s hereditary attachment to the Presbyterian faith. They are also aware of his impartiality in the matter of church attendance. I ask the Prime Minister whether he has ever attended a Methodist church and joined the congregation in singing hymn No. 601 which reads in part, “They who tread the path of labour follow where my feet have trod “. If he has ever done so, I ask the right honorable gentleman to use his great influence with the Presbyterian Church to have this hymn incorporated in the Presbyterian hymn book.


– I am greatly flattered to know that I administer the Presbyterian Church. In case the honorable member is disposed to think that I am narrow-minded on this matter, I tell him that for the first twelve years of my life I was, for one reason or another, attendant at a Methodist church, and I frequently find myself at a Methodist church now, because occasionally the Methodists are good enough to invite me to make, a speech at what is somewhat loosely described as a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon. So, if that is the right answer, I am a very broad-minded man.

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– I ask the

Minister for Repatriation whether the federal body of the tubercular exservicemen’s association recently held its annual meeting in Canberra and whether any submissions were made to him afterwards regarding repatriation matters.

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The federal body of the Tubercular Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Association did hold its annual conference in Canberra a few weeks ago. I had the opportunity to declare the conference open and to address delegates on repatriation matters. At the conclusion of the conference, delegates met me in Parliament House and discussed at length a’ number of submissions which they intend to make to me in writing on matters concerning improvements to the repatriation system. I assured the delegates that the matters which they will submit in writing will be carefully considered in connexion with the preparation of the Budget for the forthcoming year.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether it is a fact that as long as section 92 of the Commonwealth Constitution remains unaltered no State government and no Commonwealth government can prevent the manufacture of margarine within a State provided that, when manufactured, the margarine is transported to another State for sale. If this is so, will the Minister inform the House when this Government proposes either to amend the Commonwealth Constitution to give the Commonwealth adequate power to deal with this problem or to arrange with the States for the enactment of Commonwealth and State complementary legislation to deal with it?


– The manufacture of products is, of course, a matter over which the States have jurisdiction, and section 92 of the Commonwealth Constitution does permit of the interstate transport of such products. The honorable member asks what I propose to do about the problem of margarine production. I remind him that I tried very hard to do something about it in 1937 when I was an organizer for the carrying of the referendum proposals relating to trade. The Labour Government of Queensland, which originally supported the referendum proposals, reversed its course half-way through the campaign and voted against them. If Queensland had remained on side on that occasion, the referendum would have been carried.

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– In addressing a question to the Treasurer, I refer to the influence of the 30/20 rule which was written into the income tax law relating to the investment portfolios of life insurance offices and superannuation funds. I ask the Treasurer whether it is a fact that the new legislation has influenced a rise in interest rates of housing loans and company debentures.

Because of the spectacular success of the recent Commonwealth loan raisings, is any relaxation of this 30/20 rule contemplated by the Government?


– Dealing with the second part of the honorable gentleman’s question first, let me say that the reasons which influenced the Government and the Parliament to support the legislation which is now in force have not altered since its introduction. Looking a long way into the future of Australian development, it was felt proper, having regard to the incentives given under the taxation legislation, by way of deductions in respect of premiums paid to people who invest their savings in this way for their future security, that a reasonable proportion of those savings should be channelled into the development of important public works of the Commonwealth and State governments. I think, Sir, that the legislation is admirably serving the purpose for which it was intended. I have no proposals to submit to the Government for amendment of the legislation.

Whether this requirement has had the effect of increasing the rates of interest charged by the life offices in respect of other loans is, I gather, a matter that is debatable even within the ranks of life office managements. I have seen a statement to the effect that it did have this result. On the other hand, it has been pointed out by another spokesman for a life office that the present level of interest rates was determined prior to the legislation being introduced and that, in any event, a requirement for balanced investment would not necessarily be related strictly to the revenue returned by a particular type of investment. I feel that we have brought greater stability to the loan raising operations of the Commonwealth and in that way have contributed to a more stable financial order, from which the life offices will benefit.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has his attention been drawn to a report that the Japanese Wool Spinners Association is considering a plan to curb the current uptrend of raw wool import prices? If the

Minister is aware of the proposed action by the Japanese Wool Spinners Association to restrict its operations, what action does he intend to take to protect Australia’s interests? If the honorable gentleman is not fully informed about the proposed restrictive action by Japanese buyers, will he promise to inform himself and to make a statement to the House?


Mr. Speaker, that report appeared some time ago. The Australian Wool Board and my department are watching the activities of the Japanese. It is not the intention of the Japanese Wool Spinners Association to control directly the operations of its members. However, we are keeping the situation under review and will take such action as is possible to protect Australian interests.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask: Included in the number of people registered for employment in Australia are there some people currently in employment? If so, are they treated in the same way as the genuine unemployed or are the unemployed given preference, other things being equal, when employment becomes available?


– I should inform the honorable gentleman that if a person is in a job we do not register him as unemployed and publish the registration with the figures that are issued each month. It is only those who are out of work and state that they are out of work who are registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service. But there are, of course, a small number of people - I do not think it would be a very great number - who have been referred to jobs but have not informed us that placement has occurred and that they therefore cease to be liable to be registered. I do not believe there is good reason for think,ing that large numbers of people are registered with us who are already in jobs. We do get quite a number of people who want higher employment. They come to the Higher Employment Qualifications Section. They inform us that they are in jobs but would like to be placed in something better. Those people are not registered in the unemployment statistics. We try to find jobs for them and, if we can, place them in those jobs. But no preference is given to them over any one else on the register.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Has his attention been directed to the disclosure that the Government of the United Kingdom has formulated a peace plan designed to facilitate effective government following a nuclear attack? Apart from the civil defence programme, which the Commonwealth substantially leaves to the States, is he able to say whether the Australian Government has a plan similar to that of the United Kingdom?


- Mr. Speaker, I will make inquiries about this suggested plan in the United Kingdom and I will advise the honorable member.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Supply. I refer to the recent finding of a metal object - a ball - about 200 miles north of Broken Hill. I understand it weighed from 80 to 100 lb. I ask the Minister: Has his department investigated the find and, if so, has it established the origin of the metal object and its identity?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The metal sphere found outback, about 100 miles north of Broken Hill, has been subjected to preliminary examination by the Weapons Research Establishment. It was made of very light metal and was about 15 inches in diameter. A preliminary examination disclosed, without any doubt, that it came from a space vehicle of some kind. The plumbing to and from the ball had been fused, and as the contents may be of scientific interest the sphere has not yet been opened.

At the moment my department is making inquiries overseas to ascertain the original owner of the sphere, who may have some interest in its contents. I think I should say that this find represents a million-to-one chance; that is, a piece of orbiting hardware has been able to survive the temperature met at the time of re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere and reach the earth in a solid piece.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Does he recollect saying recently that every time he went into the Cabinet room he looked at the map of South-East Asia, and that he looked at it so frequently and so earnestly that he knew it backwards? Is that the reason why the “ Australian Liberal “, the official journal of the Liberal Party, in this month’s issue has printed the map of South-East Asia backwards? What does he propose to do to reward such loyalty?


- Mr. Speaker, the honorable member has raised a very serious matter and T shall regard it with all the gravity that it deserves.

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– I direct to the Minister for External Affairs a question supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Bradfield. Does he know why, if the Indonesian Government was only carrying out a routine request for the return of the seven medical students at Port Moresby, the request was not made by the Indonesian Government to the Australian Government, instead of by cablegram from the United Nations Director of Public Health in Hollandia to the Principal of the Medical College in Port Moresby? Did the cablegram read that the Indonesian Government desired the return of the seven medical students by the “first available plane”? If the request was merely routine, why the urgency of having the students placed on the first available aircraft? Does the Minister know that last January a close relative of one of the students was badly beaten in Hollandia and taken to hospital because he voiced opinions similar to those held by the seven students? Does the Minister know whether that relative has since left West New Guinea?


– I gather that the communication was sent by an Indonesian official who is also at present an official of the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority and that it was sent apparently in order to give sufficient notice and secure return before- 1st May, when the change-over of administration is to take place. I gather that the Indonesian Government desires to continue the training of these people with its own facilities within Indonesia. I know nothing about the last matter raised in the honorable gentleman’s question. I do not know what are his sources of information; certainly I have not received any information on the latter matter raised by the honorable gentleman. May I say that I think it will be to the greatest advantage of these young students if they are enabled to finish their courses in as normal a way as we can contrive. The greater the aura that we build around them, the greater will be the detriment to them.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is it a fact that the amount of cheese now held in cold storage is the highest for some time? Are some cheese manufacturers who do not contribute to the equalization scheme under-selling on the Australian market manufacturers who do contribute to the scheme? Since local retail prices of butter are fixed, why cannot the retail price of cheese also be fixed?


– At present there is a surplus of cheese production over Australian requirements. The whole of that surplus cannot be exported because of arrangements with the United Kingdom and New Zealand more or less to curtail imports to the United Kingdom market and to stabilize prices there. Australian cheese producers have conferred and are conferring from time to time with a view to reducing their output voluntarily. I am not aware that producers outside the equalization scheme are under-selling other producers. Price-fixing is not a matter for the Commonwealth; it is a matter for the producers and the equalization committee.

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– My question, which I direct to the Minister for Labour and National Service, is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for Barker. Will the Minister make available for perusal by honorable members the correspondence representing the requests made by the States for alteration of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act, particularly as those requests seem to indicate an interesting trend towards a possible resumption by the States of powers which this Commonwealth perforce has had to exercise?


– I think it would be unusual to make available correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Premiers. The honorable member may rest assured that what I have said is correct. What I think highlights that fact is that none of the Premiers has, up to the moment, contradicted my statement, nor has any of them publicly acclaimed the fact that the bill has been presented to the Parliament.

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– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been directed to recent statements emanating from several sources that Indonesia intends to increase the size of her standing army in West New Guinea to 15,000 strong? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that Indonesia intends to patrol the border that separates Indonesian territory from Australian territory? Are any of these new moves a threat to the security of Papua and New Guinea and Australia? What steps does the Prime Minister intend to take in this matter, having regard to the fact that for the past 50 years or so all the patrolling in Papua and New Guinea has been done by parties consisting of two Europeans and a handful of indigenes?

Sir Robert Menzies:

– The Minister for External Affairs will answer the question.


– I have no firm information as to the numbers of troops which the Indonesian Government proposes to place in West New Guinea after the change of administration, but I quite understand that the numbers which have been mentioned in the press are such as to give some cause for concern. But I think it is proper that we get some of our ideas in perspective. There is to be a considerable change in the civil administration, and the Indonesian Government is in the habit of using troops for a part of its civil administration, partly for want of other adminis trative officers. It has been said - I have no means at present of examining the propriety of this statement - that the troops in West New Guinea will be used to perform civil administration tasks. Naturally, I shall be ascertaining from time to time what further firm facts are available.

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Assent to the following bills reported: -

Wool Tax Assessment Bill 1963.

Wool Tax Bill (No. 1) 1963.

Wool Tax Bill (No. 2) 1963.

States Grants (Additional Assistance) Bill 1963.

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Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– I have received a letter from the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) proposing that a definite matter of urgent public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely -

The need to amend section thirty-seven of the Repatriation Act to provide for automatic pension entitlements to ex-servicemen and members of the forces who may be afflicted by cancer.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -


.- The purpose of this debate is to express the opinion, stated frequently by honorable members on this side of the House, that the Repatriation Act should be amended to provide that exservicemen who are afflicted with cancer should become entitled automatically to repatriation benefits. On occasions in the past various honorable members on the Government side have sought to claim the credit for initiating moves in this Parliament relating to this matter. I am not greatly concerned with that aspect, because long ago the Labour Party decided that the ex-servicemen to whom I have referred should be entitled automatically to repatriation benefits and accordingly this feature was incorporated in Labour Party policy relating to repatriation matters. We believe that no enlightened government should do otherwise than extend repatriation benefits automatically to ex-servicemen afflicted with cancer.

Perhaps it might be said in fairness to this Government, and I suppose to all previous governments, that the legislation under which ex-servicemen who served Australia in two great world wars and in other minor conflicts can apply to have disabilities which they believe to be due to war service accepted under the Repatriation Act has been so improved that it compares very favorably with corresponding legislation in most other countries. But, regardless of how adaptable the legislation may be and of the extent to which an exserviceman’s disability is investigated by Repatriation Department doctors and other medical practitioners, there always will be cases in which the medical profession is unable to say with any degree of certainty that an ex-serviceman’s disability is due to his war service. But neither can the medical practitioners or the departmental officials claim that the ex-serviceman’s condition is not due to his war service. For that reason, section 47 of the Repatriation Act was amended to provide that when a doubt exists, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the applicant. Whether the provisions of section 47 are always applied is a matter of debate. That aspect cannot be dealt with at this stage. However, Opposition members hold the view that the onusofproof provisions of the section are not always applied. If they were, no application by an ex-serviceman for a cancerous condition to be accepted as a war-caused disability would be rejected. But such applications are rejected. I have no doubt that many honorable members on both sides of the House know that the benefit of the doubt is not given to ex-servicemen who claim that their cancer is a war-caused disability.

Section 37 of the Repatriation Act was amended to provide for the automatic acceptance of tuberculosis as a war-caused disability. No application for a pension based on that ground is questioned by the Repatriation Department. The departmental doctors are not concerned whether an ex-serviceman’s tuberculosis has been caused by war service. They are concerned merely that he is suffering from tuberculosis. The pension which he receives is determined on the basis of whether the ex-serviceman can continue in employment or whether his condition is such as to warrant full-time medical treatment.

Why did this Parliament decide that an ex-serviceman suffering from tuberculosis should become entitled automatically to a pension? The Parliament so decided because of the peculiar nature of the disease and the difficulty experienced by medical practitioners in deciding accurately when the condition originated. Whether an application for a pension is lodged two years, twenty years or even longer after an ex-serviceman’s discharge, if he is suffering from tuberculosis his condition is accepted as being due to his war service.

Now let me deal with the disease which the Opposition asserts should be given similar recognition. Recently the federal executive of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia submitted to the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) a request that an exserviceman suffering from cancer should be entitled automatically to benefits under the Repatriation Act. I do not suggest that this organization can be any more positive about these matters than the Opposition can be, but it can be said on the other hand that the organization does not normally make requests that have not been carefully considered and are not regarded as necessary to give common justice to the not inconsiderable numbers of ex-servicemen whom it represents.

I am sure that it is not necessary for me to point out to this House that the cause of cancer still remains undiscovered. Many theories have been advanced, but, in the final analysis, the growth and development of a cancer to a stage at which a definite diagnosis is possible obviously cannot be a matter of circumstantial evidence based on known incidents and sequences that lead to a disease the causes of which are provable. In these circumstances, then, we believe that the Repatriation Act should be amended to ensure that the benefit of the doubt, in cases such as those to which I now refer, will always be given to the ex-serviceman. Every member of this House, including the Minister, must be aware that there have been grave miscarriages of justice in this respect. For example, I may ask the Minister whether he considers that the incidence of mustard gas during World War I. may be a factor contributing to the development of lung cancer. Representations to this effect have been made to the Repatriation Commission in cases of lung cancer and the applications of the ex-servicemen concerned have finally been dismissed after the normal investigations have been made. I do not suggest that there has been a lack of proper investigation in that respect, because I know - I am sure that most honorable members acknowledge this - that the repatriation authorities are noted for their persistence in these matters and, I hope, too, for their sympathetic investigation of all the evidence submitted to them by applicants.

The real difficulty lies in the nature of the disease of cancer and the inability of repatriation officials to make, in these cases, a decision that is beyond all possible doubt correct. Therefore, this is a special situation relating to the onus-of-proof provisions in the act. This situation requires, in effect, that the benefit of the doubt, if there is a doubt, always be given to the exserviceman. It requires, in effect, that special responsibility be accepted by the Repatriation Department to ensure that the onusofproof provisions are always applied. This situation that I have described means that if the facts available suggest a number of reasonable inferences, even though those inferences may not be as attractive to the authorities as are the inferences arrived at by the repatriation officials determining a case, the benefit of the doubt must be given in favour of the inferences suggested by the applicant in support of his claim. I submit, therefore, that, if it is not possible to say what are the causes of cancer, it is surely not proper to argue that war service, with all its strains and stresses and its unusual experiences and circumstances, may not have contributed to the onset of the disease.

One of the great problems associated with the investigation of cases in which cancer is involved is the lack of departmental statistics. No real attempt has been made by any Minister for Repatriation to provide the kind of information that would enable this Parliament to determine whether it is discharging in accordance with the original intentions of the act its obligations to ex-servicemen who suffer from cancer. The Repatriation Department must readily accept that the number of cases submitted to it since some statistics first became available is not inconsiderable and that more than 50 per cent, of the claims in this respect have been rejected. For example, up to 31st March, 1961, 4,135 applications to have cancer accepted as a war-caused disability had been lodged by ex-servicemen of the 1939-45 war, and only 2,030 of these applications, or fewer than 50 per cent., were successful. Furthermore, 1,577 applications to have the deaths from cancer of men who had served in the 1939-45 war accepted as due to war service had been made up to 31st March, 1961, but only 386. or fewer than 25 per cent., succeeded.

On many occasions, Sir, I have listened in this Parliament to dogmatic assertions about the cause of cancer. They may or may not have been correct. But, overriding all these assertions is the known fact that many millions of pounds are now being spent in efforts to find the cause of cancer and to perfect a cure. On previous occasions, it has been said also that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the kind of conditions experienced on war service would be any more predisposing to cancer than are the conditions experienced by people who have never seen war service. I do not believe that to be a fair statement, and I am sure that it is not accepted by the great majority of people who appreciate and understand the significance of the appalling conditions experienced in the field by many former members of the armed forces.

I say finally, Sir, that I believe that the Minister for Repatriation should be able to say quite emphatically whether he is satisfied that cases of the kind that I have described have been treated in the way in which they should have been treated. If he is satisfied that the case for the automatic acceptance of cancer in an ex-serviceman as due to war service has been given the consideration that it deserves, he must be satisfied that in no instance has an application to have cancer accepted as a war-caused disability been rejected by the repatriation authorities except on the ground that there has been absolute proof that the condition was not either due to or aggravated by war service. I do not believe that the Minister can be as positive as that about this disease. Therefore, I suggest that the Government has a responsibility to amend the Repatriation Act to ensure that the mistakes that have been made in the past are not perpetuated in the future.


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

Mr. SWARTZ Parting Downs ( Minister for Repatriation) [3.34]. - Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) stated that the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia had submitted that cancer be accepted as a war-caused disability. On several occasions, the organization has made a submission to that effect. Indeed, I replied in detail to representations by the league on this subject last year. We should note, however, that the returned servicemen’s league did not include the proposal in its pensions plan this year for special priority. In the past, the proposal has been submitted as a supplement to the pensions plan, and I assume that if the matter is re-submitted this year, that is how it will be raised. I think that that point should be clarified.

Mr Haylen:

– The proposal is made on the same page as the pensions plan.


– Not on the basis and terms stated.

Mr Haylen:

– In the copy that I have, this proposal is submitted as part of the pensions plan.


– It is not included as part of the pensions plan.

The automatic acceptance of cancer as due to war service, for repatriation benefits, has been the subject of debate in this House on a number of occasions in recent years. It is interesting to note that the members of the Opposition, who are now so vocal on this subject, had the opportunity, when they were in office, to do something about it. If they really believed then in the arguments they are now putting forward no doubt some action would have been taken.

Here we see one of the differences between a government and an opposition. A government must accept the responsibility for the administration of various acts, such as the Repatriation Act which, of course, is based on certain clearly defined principles. On the other hand the Opposition, without such responsibility, can submit pro posals to the Parliament with the knowledge that it will not have to implement those proposals. It is a fact that the general policy of successive governments, since the inception of the Repatriation Act, has been to accept liability for pension and medical treatment for disabilities due to war service. There has been only one major exception to this principle throughout the years, and the introduction of service pensions in 1936 did not conflict with this general policy.

The automatic acceptance of cancer as due to war service, for repatriation benefits, would be in full conflict with the general policy and principles accepted by all governments in the past. In addition, an important repercussion would be pressure for the automatic acceptance of other disabilities as due to war service, some of which would have at least as strong a claim as that which could be urged in favour of cancer. Already representations have been made for the automatic acceptance of other disabilities, such as cardio-vascular diseases, mental illness, nervous conditions and several other disabilities. The general acceptance of such disabilities would mean a complete change in the repatriation policy and system and would undoubtedly lead to the acceptance of all disabilities on the same basis as those which can be shown to be due to war service. Honorable members must appreciate that this would mean a tremendous increase in Commonwealth liability coupled with, perhaps, a reduction in other services, and it would create a situation which it would be far beyond the capacity of the present repatriation system to handle. However, as I will indicate to honorable members, the present system covers cases of cancer which are due to war service, and many thousands of cases have been accepted in the past.

The term “ cancer “, which has been loosely used in this debate, is a term which is commonly used to include all kinds of malignant tumours. It covers a wide variety of diseases occurring in many parts of the body. For example, there are 155 different varieties of malignant neoplasm that can occur in the human body, according to the international classification of diseases. It can, therefore, be very misleading to generalize by the use of such an allembracing term.

The argument has also been advanced that because pulmonary tuberculosis has been accepted as a major exception to the general rule cancer should be classified in the same way. I will reply to this point in detail shortly, showing that the special circumstances which brought about the acceptance of pulmonary tuberculosis do not exist in the case of other disabilities. However, Mr. Speaker, as cancer may be accepted as due to war service under certain conditions, I think it desirable to define, for the benefit of the House, the general conditions which apply for the acceptance of a disability as due to war service in World War I. and World War II., as well as later operations.

In the case of World War I., an incapacity which may be accepted as due to war service is one which -

  1. in the case of a member of the forces who was enlisted for service outside Australia or was employed on a ship of war or was a member of the Army Medical Corps Nursing Service -

    1. results or has resulted from any occurrence that happened during his war service;
    2. does not arise from inten tionally self-inflicted injuries; and
    3. does not arise from any occurrence that happened during the commission of any serious breach of discipline by that person.
  2. in the case of a member of the forces enlisted for service in connexion with naval or military preparations or operations where the disability results or has resulted from his employment in connexion with naval or military preparations of operations.

In the case of a member who served in camp in Australia for six months, or who embarked for active service overseas, incapacity from a disability existing prior to enlistment is accepted as due to war service if contributed to in a material degree or aggravated by the conditions of war service, unless due to his serious default or covered by certain other conditions.

Honorable members can see that these are far-reaching provisions, which apply to cancer .as to other disabilities. In the case of World War II. there are some variations of those provisions. An incapacity which may be accepted as due to war service in World War II. is one which -

  1. in the case of a member of the forces who served on active service has resulted from an occurrence that happened during the period from the date of his enlistment to the date of the termination of his service in respect of that enlistment;
  2. in the case of any other member of the forces arose out of or is attributable to his war service; provided that the incapacity is not due to his serious default.
  3. which is the result of an accident which happened to a member while travelling directly to or from his place of employment on war service or was in the opinion of the commission due to an accident that occurred, or to a disease or infection that was contracted, and that would not have occurred or been contracted but for his being on war service or but for changes in his environment consequent upon his being on war service.

In the case of a member who served in a camp in Australia for at least six months, or was employed on active service, incapacity from a disability existing prior to service is accepted if contributed to in any material degree or aggravated by his war service, unless due to his serious default.

Again these are far-reaching and broad provisions for the acceptance of disabilities as due to war service.

In the case of the Korea and Malaya operations, an incapacity which may be accepted is one which -

  1. has resulted from an occurrence that happened during his war service;
  2. is the result of action by the enemy or in combating the enemy; and is not due to his serious default.

An incapacity which existed prior to enlistment may be accepted if contributed to in any material degree or aggravated by his war service. War service in respect of these operations in Korea and Malaya does not include service in Australia or service outside Australia except in those allotted areas for service in Korea and Malaya.

Again it can be seen that there is a broad approach to the classification of disabilities as being due to war service.

There is one exception, as I said at the outset, to the general rule covering repatriation policy. This was mentioned by the honorable member for Bass. Under section 37 (3), where an ex-serviceman has served in a theatre of war and at any time after his discharge becomes incapacitated from pulmonary tuberculosis, or dies from pulmonary tuberculosis, war pension and medical treatment, as the case may be, are provided for him and his dependants as though the tuberculosis was due to war service. Tuberculosis is also included as one of the grounds of eligibility for a service pension.

The original acceptance of pulmonary tuberculosis goes right back into the early history of the Australian repatriation system. There are special reasons why tuberculosis was accepted as due to war service. At the time when the decision was made to accept it much less was known than is known now concerning the course and prognosis of the disease. The stress and strain of war service and the effect of gassing - referred to in another sense a few minutes ago - were regarded medically as factors predisposing ex-servicemen to tuberculosis infection. There was a high rate of tuberculosis among ex-servicemen with consequent risk of infection to others unless they were encouraged by all means - including the grant of a pension - to accept adequate treatment.

The rate of cure was lower, and the prospect of full recovery much less, than at present, and there were consequent heavy financial losses to the ex-serviceman and his dependants during long periods of treatment or after his death from tuberculosis.

The accepted treatments for this complaint included rest, food and freedom from worry, and these could only be provided for the ex-serviceman by means of adequate pension and good facilities for treatment. At the time there was no civilian scheme of tuberculosis allowances or treatment comparable to that now available. However, in the light of modern medical knowledge and th. success of the Commonwealth antituberculosis campaign, it seems unlikely that either an automatic acceptance of tuberculosis or an automatic permanent pension for an entitled ex-serviceman who has suffered from tuberculosis would have been justified if the question had arisen at this stage. It will be seen from these facts that there is no parallel between the present repatriation policy covering pulmonary tuberculosis and the case for cancer.

I have referred to the first two grounds that the honorable member for Bass raised to-day and has raised in the past. I now wish to deal with the third and main basis of the Opposition’s case, and that is the argument relating to the unknown causes of cancer and the relationship to the benefit of the doubt and the onus-of-proof provisions. Whilst generally it may be said that the cause of cancer is not known, a good deal is known both as to the cause of some cancers and as to factors which have no apparent effect in relation either to the cause or development of a cancer. It can often be said in a particular case beyond reasonable doubt that the cancer arose from causes associated with post-war conditions or was not aggravated or contributed to by the conditions of war service. A good deal is also known of the development of certain types of cancer, sufficient to be able to say beyond reasonable doubt that a particular cancer did not have its origin during the period of war service.

The argument for the automatic acceptance of cancer is not supported by any statistical evidence that the incidence of cancer in the ex-service population is any higher than in similar age groups in the community generally. Among exservicemen themselves there is no evidence available that service of a particular kind or in a particular area has resulted in a higher incidence of cancer in one group of exservicemen than, in another. In those types of cancer where a good deal is known of the course of development of the cancer, there is no evidence that the life history of the cancer is any different in the case of ex-servicemen than in the case of civilians. Automatic acceptance would cover all exservicemen, some of whom had service living at home or at base camps under conditions which were little or no different from those of their civilian life, and which often were more conducive to general good health.

Mr Luchetti:

– I rise to order. Is the Minister entitled to read a carefully prepared speech in reply to the case already made? Surely he has a responsibility to answer the points that have been made.


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


– Obviously, the Opposition does not like the points I am making. I prepared my speech before lunch, and I will let the honorable member have a copy of it afterwards so that he may read it carefully. It contains some interesting information.

It is possible for a determining authority in a particular case to say beyond reasonable doubt whether a cancer can have any relation to the ex-serviceman’s war service. That is a case where the medical and other evidence establishes the known factors which could have caused it, when the cancer first caused disablement and how long it may have been present before causing disablement. When the determining authority is left in any doubt, the claim or appeal must be, and in fact is, resolved in favour of the ex-serviceman or his dependants. In fact, many claims are allowed solely because the onus thrown on the commission to resist the claim has not been discharged or because there is some possibility that a wound or war injury has been a contributing factor to the subsequent development of a cancer.

Statistics which are now available - some of the figures have already been given - show that of approximately 4,500 claims submitted by persons who served in the 1939-45 war, 2,106 have been accepted.


– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.


.- The dreary recital by the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), who read from a prepared statement, will not create much enthusiasm amongst Opposition members, and more significantly, it will not give much solace to the widows and children of deceased ex-servicemen. These people have been hoping for a change of heart by the Government, following the plea so ably made by my colleague, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard). I admire the honorable member’s persistence. He has raised this issue on a number of occasions and, with others, has been able to impress the Australian Labour Party with the justice of the claim.

The Minister, dogmatically and without any evidence, said that the incidence of cancer amongst ex-servicemen is no greater than the incidence of cancer amongst civilians of a comparable age. The Minister did not give any statistics, let alone an analysis of statistics, in support of his claim. However, a former Queensland Liberal member of the last Parliament quoted statistics from an authoritative American journal to show that the incidence of cancer amongst American exservicemen was twice as great as the incidence amongst a comparable age group of civilians.

This matter has been raised because of our sympathy for the unfortunate exservicemen who contract this wretched disease and for their wives and dependants. We believe that the Parliament, as a longoverdue act of humanity, should provide that cancer will be automatically accepted as a war-caused condition. Nearly every ex-servicemen’s organization has asked that the condition be accepted in this way. As a matter of fact, the organizations go further and ask the Government not only to accept cancer but also to accept heart disease, mental illness and other chronic illnesses. I believe that the organizations have a strong case. However, at the moment, we have not sufficient confidence in the Government to ask it to accept all these disabilities as war caused. We hope that we may, at this time, be able to extend the area of automatic acceptance beyond pulmonary tuberculosis to include cancer.

As I say, the humanitarian aspect of the case demands that we accept cancer as a war-caused condition. We are convinced that the unfortunate sufferers from this disease are not given the protection that section 47 of the Repatriation Act intended that they should have. We believe that the present interpretation of the section does not give justice to the ex-servicemen and does not extend to them the full benefits of the onus-of-proof provision. The benefit of the doubt is not given to the exservicemen. We are not prepared to accept that any authority can say with reasonable certainty - quite apart from absolute certainty - what caused a cancer in any one individual. Who can say with any certainty that the conditions of service during the First World War - those who sit in judgment may not have experienced these conditions - did not cause or aggravate a cancer? But our tribunals pretend that they can say with absolute confidence, or at least with reasonable certainty, that 50 per cent, or more of cancer cases did not result from war service or were not aggravated by war service.

This attitude cannot be accepted by the community. The community wants at least the normal repatriation benefits to be extended automatically to ex-servicemen who suffer from cancer. The cost of doing so would not be great. The community has given no evidence that it would begrudge this being done. If ex-servicemen suffering from cancer are not given repatriation benefits, they will still receive care, perhaps to a lesser extent, from the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health and even the Repatriation Department. I am affected, as I am sure other honorable members would be affected, by the spectacle of a woman looking after her husband for eighteen months or two years, knowing that his death is certain. She and her children have to go out and engage in some casual occupation in order to supplement the very inadequate invalid pension during this trying time. Then, when the breadwinner has gone, she is left to battle on a class A widow’s pension of £5 10s. a week, plus a little extra for the second, third and fourth dependent children. This arouses our sympathy. I felt sure that it would arouse the sympathy of members of the Government, but it has done no such thing.

It is often said that the onus-of-proof provision, section 47 of the Repatriation

Act, will look after people in this condition. The New South Wales branch of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia told me as recently as yesterday that it carried out a survey in 1962 and found that 99 per cent, of World War I. applicants for acceptance of cancer as a war-caused disability claimed that they had been exposed to gas and that their respiratory systems had been affected. Yet, as we have noted, half of them, and sometimes more, have had their applications rejected. They have served in gas areas; yet the authorities are able to say with absolute confidence that those people are not entitled to a pension and that the cancer was not in fact caused by their war service.

The onus-of-proof provision says that if there is any reasonable doubt whatsoever that war service could not have caused the cancer, or for that matter any other disability, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the applicant. We believe that it is not being given to the applicant. We have good and valid criticisms to make about the way this part of the act is being administered. For instance, there is no possibility of cross-examining the medical witnesses appearing for the Crown. More often than not they are unsighted. They give their testimony to the repatriation board, commission or tribunals and they are never confronted by medical authorities giving the opposite point of view on behalf of the applicant.

There is no judicial right of appeal, which the Australian Labour Party has advocated so constantly and which exists in England. This benefit means so much to these men and later, unfortunately, more often than not to their widows and dependent children. But they have not the ordinary right of appeal to a judicial court as in civil justice. They have no opportunity, as there is in an ordinary court, to know the reasons why the repatriation tribunal rejected their application. In an ordinary civil case the judge gives reasons why the application is rejected or why the case has failed; but reasons are not given in repatriation cases.

I have received numerous complaints from people who have gone before repatriation tribunals. Their complaint often is that they received no encouragement and very little assistance in elucidating their cases fully and giving all the facts as they know them. The tribunals are so overcrowded with work that more often than not there is a delay of six months or more in getting cases heard by them. Because of ordinary human reactions to pressure, the tribunals have to get the cases through as quickly as they can. I am sure, very sure, that justice does not always come the way of those who are most in need of it. Sometimes we are not even sure that the detailed submissions that have been put forward by members of the Parliament have received all the inquiry and consideration that they ought to receive. Members give up their time to examine cases as thoroughly as they can, to ascertain as much of the history as they can and then to submit the material; but I am afraid that sometimes those submissions are not carefully studied. I believe that the time is long overdue when we should make at least one further step towards giving justice to people who were prepared to give their all for the welfare and survival of this country. Those people ought to be the first ones to receive the next instalment of benefits.


.- I preface my remarks by saying that I believe I am qualified to speak on this subject and any other subject concerning ex-servicemen because for 35 years I have held office in the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia and worked actively for ex-servicemen. During that time I had the privilege and the honour of meeting the one-time Minister for Repatriation, the father of the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), for whom we had a very great respect. I am certain that he would have been the last to approve of the welfare of ex-servicemen being made a political football. That has been done before. This is not the first time that it has been done. We might expect it from the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds), but from the honorable member for Bass, who has a tradition to live up to, we expect something better.

The two honorable members attempted to show that cancer should be accepted automatically as a war-caused disability; that section 47 of the Repatriation Act is not being carried out; and that the onusofproof and benefit-of-the-doubt provisions are not operating as they are intended to operate. I shall tell the House what used to happen when I was secretary of a subbranch of the R.S.L. before section 47 was introduced into the act. At that time it was necessary for an ex-serviceman to prove that his disability was war-caused.

Mr Barnard:

– He still has to do that.


– He does not. In my time as secretary of an R.S.L. sub-branch, I had the task of writing all over the world and chasing up officers and other leaders of units in order to obtain from them sworn affidavits that a soldier who had applied for a pension was at a particular place at a particular time and therefore could have sustained an injury which could be accepted as war-caused. That is the proof that they had to give.

Mr Griffiths:

– They still have. 1


– They do not. The fact that the applicant had war service was not the only thing he had to prove.

I come now to the benefit-of-the-doubt provision. I suppose honorable members know what happens in an ordinary court of law. Evidence is given for and against a person and two lawyers fight out the case. The way British justice is supposed to operate is that where conflicting evidence is submitted and there is a doubt in the mind of the judge, he must give the benefit of that doubt to the accused person. The same principle applies in connexion with repatriation. This point needs to be emphasized because repeated statements by our Labour friends are misleading many ex-service people: The act does not say that where there is a conflict of opinion the repatriation benefit shall be given automatically to the ex-serviceman. The act says that where conflicting evidence is given - for instance, if one medical man says that the cancer could be war-caused and submits evidence of that, and another medical man gives evidence to support his opinion that the cancer need not necessarily be war-caused - and after hearing the evidence there is a doubt in the mind of the tribunal, the applicant must be given the benefit of that doubt. Let me correct the honorable member for Barton. An ex-serviceman is entitled to be represented at the hearing.

Mr Reynolds:

– I did not deny that.


– You said that he was not. We did not hear anything from the honorable member for Barton about an exserviceman being represented at the hearing. That shows how much he knows. The legislation provides that whenever there is a doubt in the mind of the tribunal, whenever the tribunal is unable to accept the expert evidence submitted on either side, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the appellant - the ex-serviceman. But whenever the tribunal is satisfied that the disability is not war caused or could not be war caused, it is bound to exercise its judgment in accordance with its firm conviction.

Mr Griffiths:

– How do you find out if it has a firm conviction?


– I suggest that the honorable member appear before an appeal tribunal as a representative of exservicemen.

Mr Griffiths:

– I go along, but the members of the tribunals will not talk to you.


– Order! I ask the honorable member for Moore to resume his seat for a moment. I point out to honorable members that the previous speaker, the honorable member for Barton, received a fair hearing and I suggest to honorable members that they extend the same courtesy to the honorable member for Moore.


– I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I have been associated with this matter for very many years, not for political reasons but because I have always had and still have a genuine interest in the welfare of ex-servicemen.

Mr Reynolds:

– What is the implication there?


– You can accept whatever implication you like. I regret that this subject is being made a political football. Of course, it has been the subject of resolutions submitted by the R.S.L. and similar organizations but I have known of occasions when wise counsel has not always prevailed. I can remember the occasion when my own State branch of the R.S.L. received from a national congress of from 200 to 300 delegates a resolution to the effect that action be taken to destroy the ravaging fox. That came out of an R.S.L. congress.

Mr Bryant:

– So did you.


– So did I, and I am damned proud of it. I suggest that if the honorable member could boast of as good a period of service as I can, he would be proud. That is the position with regard to the onus of proof and benefit of the doubt. It is unfortunate that this question of the benefit of the doubt is being hammered politically because it is creating in the minds of a tremendous number of ex-servicemen the false impression that they have only to get two doctors to differ in their opinions and the Repatriation Commission must automatically give them the benefit of the doubt. That is not provided in the act and it was never intended that this should be so. The benefit of the doubt must be given to the appellant only in -those cases where there is a doubt in the mind of the tribunal, not in cases where there is a conflict of opinion between two medical men. I deplore this constant reiteration of the suggestion that the benefit of the doubt provision is not being administered correctly. False arguments that are put forward in this matter are doing serious hurt to many exservicemen and to their dependants. They are creating a state of mental anxiety amongst a great number of these people.

Mr Griffiths:

– How many medical men are on the tribunal?


– There are no medical men on the tribunal, but the tribunal is empowered to hear evidence from any medical man. I would like to know the reaction of honorable members opposite to the suggestion that lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoking and to the evidence submitted in support of that suggestion. It is being suggested throughout the whole world by certain medical opinion that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Again, almost every doctor will tell you that if you go out into the sun hatless you will get skin cancer. I have got it; I do not wear a hat. It is certainly not war caused. Are we to accept that sort of thing as a warcaused disability? If we are, then where are we to stop? Why not accept any chronic ailment as being war caused? This is a matter of great concern to ex-servicemen. They want to make certain that adequate facilities will always be available, not to everybody, but to those who have a genuine war-caused disability. Let me say in conclusion that the World Veterans Federation, a federation of 157 ex-servicemen’s organizations spread throughout 46 nations in the world, which is fighting at all times to improve the benefits available to exservicemen from the governments of various countries, has not yet suggested in any country that cancer should be accepted as a war-caused disability or that it should be automatically accepted as resulting from war service.


.- It is a long while since an important debate such as this on a matter that affects the hearts, homes and health of hundreds of thousands of Australian people has been reduced to the low level to which it has just been reduced by the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie). It is nonsense to suggest that we are making a political football of repatriation policy. I remind the honorable member that the various sub-branches of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia discuss it at times. For instance, in its annual report for 1961, the R.S.L. had this to say -

The League has been pressing for a number of years now for the automatic acceptance of cancer as a war caused or contributed illness. While this has not been included in the Pensions Plan for 1962, it has been made the subject of a special approach to the Minister.

The honorable member for Moore can claim as lengthy a service to the ex-servicemen as he likes. He claimed 35 years of such service. Then he used all the arguments in the book in an effort to prevent exservicemen sufferers from tuberculosis from obtaining the benefit of the extension of the principle of ordinary justice that was established here twenty years ago. That action reflects very little credit on the service he has given. I take a dim view of his remark concerning the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard). It was a low remark of the type that one does not ordinarily expect from people with the background of the honorable member for Moore. So far as I am concerned, the intrusion of the honorable member into this debate has done nothing at all for the ex-servicemen, nor has it done anything to improve the status of parliamentary debate.

The Opposition’s case in this instance rests upon four points. The first is the spirit in which the onus-of-proof provision should be interpreted, the principle of which was laid down by a committee of this Parliament some twenty years ago which sat under the chairmanship of the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard). The second point is the unknown factors relating to cancer. The third is the world-wide campaign against cancer, and I should say the fourth is that the social service system of this country in particular, which is situated in a position where it is fairly free from most of the troubles of the world, should be continually extended. Especially do we say that the repatriation benefits available to the ex-servicemen of this country should be extended in accordance with the spirit which the people of Australia have come to expect to be exhibited in matters of this kind. I do not know for how long this Government proposes to inflict upon our ex-servicemen Ministers who are simply apologists for tradition. I do not say they are apologists for bureaucracy or anything like that, because, after all, they can administer the laws only in accordance with the spirit determined by Parliament. Here we have seen the last three or four Ministers for Repatriation repeatedly saying in answers to questions that the department supports the Repatriation Commission and general administration of the department. We say that the provisions of the repatriation legislation should be administered by the Minister in charge of the department, not a public relations officer of the department. We want to see the present Minister administer the repatriation law in accordance with the sentiments that he expressed when he was sitting on the back benches behind the Government.

Let us consider for a moment the onusofproof provision and how it ought to be interpreted. There is no doubt whatever about what the act says. It provides -

It shall not be necessary for the claimant, applicant or appellant to furnish proof to support his claim, application or appeal but the Commission, Board, Appeal Tribunal or Assessment Appeal Tribunal determining or deciding the claim, application or appeal, shall be entitled to draw, and shall draw from all the circumstances of the case. from the evidence furnished and from medical opinions, all reasonable inferences in favour of the claimant, applicant or appellant.

In other words, the principle laid down twenty years ago was that unless the commission or tribunal or board could’ say definitely that the ex-serviceman had no case at all, the ex-serviceman should be granted the full benefit of the doubt. That is what we say and that is in accordance with what I suggest is the true spirit of the act. That this was the intention of the act was pointed out quite clearly in 19S9 by a very highly placed legal man in this Parliament. I refer to Dr. Evatt who, as Leader of the Opposition, is reported on page 1418 of. “ Hansard “ of 24th September, 1959, ashaving said - he was supported in this by Mr. Percy Joske, now a Justice of the Commonwealth Industrial Court and of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory -

No doubt the honorable member’s contention is quite reasonable from his point of view, but my absolute conviction is that the benefit of this provision should be given to the ex-serviceman. I am not speaking in generalities. I know of cases in which the benefit has not been given to the ex-serviceman.

In a short debate of this nature one cannot take up a lot of time by quoting, but if honorable members will look at page 1418 and the following pages of “ Hansard “, of September, 1959, they will see the burden of that debate. Mr. Joske, the honorable member for Balaclava at that time, gave his support to the then Leader of the Opposition. He said -

It seems to me that the weakness is rather in the way in which evidence is presented before the tribunals, particularly medical evidence.

He went on to refute the kind of thing that the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) was saying by pointing out that the medical people making submissions are not present before the tribunals to be questioned. Honorable members who have been before tribunals will know that that is the position.

Some time ago - in February, 1959 - the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) asked the Minister for Repatriation at that time -

Will the Minister prepare a summary of the reasons for refusing war pensions to applicants Buffering from lung cancer?

This is what the Minister representing the then Minister for Repatriation said -

I am advised by the Minister that a repatriation board of the Repatriation Commission only rejects a claim for pension in respect of incapacity resulting from lung cancer when the tribunal or commission is satisfied that the incapacity is not due to war service.

The honorable member for Hindmarsh asked on what evidence these decisions were based, and the reply was -

I am advised by the Minister that members of the tribunal … are laymen.

When we look at other answers, we find the same thing is said time and time again. A board of laymen receives medical opinions from somewhere or other and makes its decisions in an atmosphere which causes appellants - at least the appellants whom I have accompanied - to become slightly awestruck. These are friendly enough gatherings, and much more informal than courts of law, but the atmosphere is not such as to put an applicant or an appellant in a position to present his claim thoroughly. We say it is not his job to prove the claim. It is nonsense for honorable members to say that an ex-serviceman has only to produce evidence of his war service. If that is the case, why is it that appeals from one section of the system to another section are continually allowed? For instance, 18.7 per cent, of appeals from decisions of the commission were allowed last year, according to the report.

There is plenty of evidence that the tribunals, boards and other authorities do not make absolutely infallible decisions. We say that cancer in ex-servicemen is something to which this Government ought to turn its attention. There is plenty of evidence to the effect that nobody knows the cause of cancer. All the relevant documents show that this is the case. Cancer is the subject of a world-wide campaign, a campaign in which this Government ought to take part. It could do so by throwing the resources of the Repatriation Commission into the fight. It could do so also by acting in accordance with the spirit of the act, which places upon the Repatriation Department the responsibility of caring for exservicemen in sickness, particularly when it can be shown that their illnesses have been aggravated or contributed to in any way by war service.

We believe there is a demand for an expansion of the spirit of the act, so to speak. Twenty years ago, certain principles were established in relation to tuberculosis. It is obvious, if one reads the reports, that a stronger case can be made out for the automatic acceptance of tuberculosis, having regard to conditions of service in the two world wars, than can be made out for cancer, but we do not think this is a case for cold hard logic. It is obvious that knowledge of the causes of cancer is extremely meagre. There is some evidence that this, that or something else does seem to predispose a victim to cancer, but we say that this is a case for Government action. There is no answer to the charge that the onus-of-proof provision is not being applied in the spirit in which it was intended to be applied. There is a strong case for the Government to step in and give the benefit of common humanity to the servicemen who have been affected by cancer. As far as the returned servicemen’s league is concerned, it could do more in this field than it has done in some of the other fields in which it has campaigned recently.


.- I did not quite appreciate the significance of the last remark of the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant).

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Why does not the returned servicemen’s league do something about this, instead of sitting back and writing a few letters?


– I do not think anybody on either side of the House can say that the R.S.L. is not trying to do something about it.

Mr Bryant:

– The Minister and the honorable member for Moore seemed to imply-


– You have had your ten minutes. Give me ten minutes, instead of nine. The honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), in the speech that opened up this debate, stated that the congress of the returned servicemen’s league had passed a resolution to this effect and had submitted it to the Government. I notice that that congress mentioned many other things which it said the Government should further consider. Some of them are stated in this way -

That the Age Allowance provided under the Income Tax legislation be based on taxable income only and not on net income, and that in the section relating to Dependants’ Allowance separate net income shall be deemed not to include a war pensioner’s dependant’s allowance.

That the Repatriation Department be requested to appoint a Resident Officer of the Repatriation Department in country centres and territories of Australia.

That the Repatriation Department be asked to speed up communications, the payment of pensions, and action on application for medical reviews.

That War Widows be granted concessional T.V. and Wireless Licences.

That all children over the age of 16 years who are receiving a Repatriation education allowance be entitled to free medical and dental treatment.

That Heart complaints be automatically accepted as war caused disabilities.

That Mental Illness be automatically accepted as a war caused disabiity.

So you can see the picture. If you accept one, you must accept the next one. Then you accept the next one and in the end you have something that is contrary to the original Repatriation Act. Any illness suffered at any stage after a man’s service - even a broken leg 40 years after his service ended - would be accepted for the purposes of the Repatriation Act.

Mr Reynolds:

– No one is suggesting that.


– I am suggesting that that would be the natural follow-up. I think it is wrong to give the impression that representations to the Government on this issue have come from only one side of the House. I know of honorable members on this side of the House who have advocated automatic acceptance of cancer as due to war service. I think the former honorable member for Lilley was misquoted. I can remember working with him on this point. Our original investigation proved, strangely enough, from the figures that were obtainable, that cancer was less prevalent amongst ex-servicemen than amongst the community generally.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Those figures were cooked.


– Let me assure you that they were not cooked. It is very difficult to get the proper picture. The honorable member for Barton was quoting American figures.

Mr Reynolds:

– I was quoting the former member for Lilley.


– They were American figures, based, I believe, on the results of post-mortem examinations of casualties in Korea. The honorable member for Barton said that widows and orphans would get no comfort from the attitude of this Government to repatriation. I can assure him that widows and orphans have had a great deal of comfort from this Government’s attitude to repatriation. Three members of the Opposition have spoken in this debate so far. If the day comes when the present Opposition forms the government and it happens that those members hold portfolios, there will be some very suitable material to be quoted back at them, as seems to be the habit here.

No one who examines what has happened in the field of repatriation over the last fourteen years can say that this Government has been unsympathetic to ex-servicemen or their dependants. A marriage gratuity was introduced, equal to nearly one year’s pension; expenses incurred in travelling to and from hospitals are reimbursed; and the domestic allowance has been increased from 7s. 6d. to £3 2s. 6d. I am sure thai no honorable member on the other side of the House would quarrel with those things being done. It is generally accepted that ex-servicemen and their dependants are entitled to those benefits. However, the greatest step forward in this field was the provision made by this Government for the treatment of service pensioners in repatriation hospitals. The main reason behind the move to get cancer accepted as a warcaused disability is that people have such a dreadful fear of the disease. Anybody over middle-age who contracts some sort of illness immediately suspects that he has cancer. Unfortunately, if a person finds that he has cancer it is tantamount to receiving a death sentence. But heart diseases kill just as many people in Australia as cancer does. I suppose there could be put forward just as good an argument, if not even a better argument to enable an ex-serviceman with a heart weakness to claim that it is directly attributable to war service as could be put forward to claim that cancer was directly attributable to war service. So it is a matter of priorities.

The honorable member for Barton mentioned section 47 of the act and the onus of proof. He went on and, I believe, emulated his predecessor in this seat, who used to advocate an appeal from the tribunal to a justice of the High Court of Australia. I can remember some of the debates when the then member for Balaclava, who is now Mr. Justice Joske, joined the former member for Barton in agreeing that there should be an appeal to a High Court judge. As an ex-serviceman I think it would be a retrograde step to adopt the principle of appeals to judges in repatriation matters. Regardless of any shortcomings in the act I know, as well as anybody here does, that every honorable member has had cases where he tried to understand the mind of a repatriation tribunal in rejecting an application. But that does not prove to me that the system is wrong, because nowhere else in the world has any country such a system as this. Once you have a purely legal interpretation of the act, based on purely legal grounds, fewer ex-servicemen in Australia will get pensions. It is no use Opposition members quoting the fact that 25 per cent, of all appeals fail, because this is an extremely wrong figure. What they are quoting is the percentage of those cases which go to an appeal. If you take the original applications to the Repatriation Commission for the acceptance of a disability, you will find that the percentage of refusals of applications which go to appeal is very small indeed.

Mr Reynolds:

– You are putting up Aunt Sallys to knock down.


– You cannot refute this. I cannot quote the figures now, but in a speech three years ago I showed how many applicants never had to appeal. The commission had automatically granted acceptance because of evidence tendered and examination by doctors. The honorable member cannot try to destroy the system because of the number of rejections, which he quoted as 25 per cent, of the cases that went to appeal. I believe that ex-servicemen in Australia are extremely fortunate in having the Repatriation Act they have. I believe, too, that if we adopted a system of legal appeals fewer people would get entitlements than get them to-day. It is appropriate here for me to quote from the 46th annual report of the national executive of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia, which states -

Even during its brief association with Mr. Osborne the League had ample evidence of his enthusiasm for his responsibilities and his desire to continue the close and friendly association with the League, that was necessary in the overall interests of all ex-service men and women and their dependants. It is pleasing to note that Mr. Swartz is continuing this same policy in administering the Repatriation portfolio.

I read that passage because the Minister was accused by the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr, Luchetti) of reading a statement. I think that as Minister for Repatriation it is vitally important for him, in a matter such as this, to put the policy of the Government in this respect down in writing. No member of the Opposition could expect anything less and if the position were reversed and the Opposition became the Government its own Minister would do exactly the same thing.

Mr Barnard:

– He did not know what our case would be.


– With regard to the point raised by the honorable member for Macquarie I say that a review of the act and of repatriation benefits is constantly under the notice of the Government and of the appropriate Minister. Looking at the record of the Government and seeing what the Government has given to ex-servicemen and what has been achieved, I say that no one in this House can claim with justification that the Government has been unsympathetic to the widows and dependants of those who served their country.

Mr Swartz:

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

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Swartz:

– Yes, Mr. Speaker. The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), by interjection, claimed that I had stated that the returned servicemen’s league had not pressed the case for the automatic acceptance of cancer as a war-caused disability. In fact, I thought I said exactly the opposite. The purpose of my remark was to clarify the point that the R.S.L. had not given the matter priority in its pension plan this year but had submitted it to me in writing on several occasions in the past and that I had replied to the league.

Mr Reynolds:

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


– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Reynolds:

– Yes, Mr. Speaker. I claim to have been misrepresented by the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) although I do not know that he did it intentionally. He stated that I had said that applicants are not allowed to enter the tribunals to put their cases. I did not say anything like that. I said that in my opinion they often do not receive encouragement to place their case in its entirety once they are inside the tribunal - that they do not receive all the assistance from the tribunals and their officers that they might receive.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

.- Mr. Speaker–

Motion (by Mr. Fairhall) put -

That the business of the day be called on.

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

AYES: 58

NOES: 54

Majority . . 4



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

page 830


Messages from the Governor-General reported transmitting (a) Additional Estimates of Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1963, and (b) Additional Estimates of Expenditure for Additions, New Works and Other Services involving capital expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1963, and recommending appropriations accordingly.

Ordered to be referred to the Committee of Supply forthwith.

In Committee of Supply:

Motions (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to-

Additional Estimates 1962-63

That there be granted to Her Majesty an additional sum not exceeding £47,503,000 for the services of the year 1962-63, viz.:-

Additional Estimates for Works and Services 1962-63

That there be granted to Her Majesty an additional sum not exceeding £7,395,000 for the services of the year 1962-63 for additions, new works and other services involving capital expenditure, viz.: -

Resolutions reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolutions adopted.

Resolutions of Ways and Means, founded on resolutions of Supply, reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Harold Holt and Mr. Fairhall do prepare and bring in bills to carry out the foregoing resolutions.

page 831


Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purposes of this bill and of the associated Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill are to obtain parliamentary authority for certain expenditure for which provision was not made in the 1962-63 Estimates. The various items contained in the Additional Estimates can be considered in detail in committee and I propose at this stage to refer only to some of the major provisions.

Further appropriations totalling £7,400,000 are sought by the departments in the defence group, but it is not expected that the total expenditure will exceed the Budget provisions of £210,000,000 by more than £3,900,000, including £1,400,000 special aid to India. An amount of £6,012,000 is sought for departmental votes. However, there will be savings under other items and it is not expected that the net additional expenditure from revenue will exceed the Budget estimate of £148,000,000 by more than £3,000,000.

The additional amount provided includes £100,000 grant towards the construction of the Howard Florey Laboratories at the

University of Melbourne; £229,000 to cover increased fees and allowances under the Commonwealth scholarship scheme; an additional contribution of £142,640 to the United Nations; a contribution of £223,220 to the world food programme; £300,000 for grants to eligible organizations under the Aged Persons Homes Act for the construction of homes for aged persons; £1,348,000 for migration generally, including £1,150,000 for British migration; and £198,000 to cover the increases in the salaries of architects and engineers attached to the Department of Works.

An additional appropriation of £913,000 is sought for repatriation benefits such as medical, pharmaceutical, dental and for maintenance of patients in nondepartmental institutions.

Under Business Undertakings an r.mount of £226,000 is sought for the Commonwealth Railways to cover increases in salaries, administrative expenses and the cost of the procurement of stores and materials. An amount of £1,522,000 is sought for the Postmaster-General’s Department. However, there will be savings under other items of that department and the total expenditure L not expected to exceed the Budget provision of £106,459,000 by more than £690,000. The major part of this additional expenditure is to meet the higher rates of pay awarded for engineers.

An amount of £419,000 is sought for Territories, including £179,000 for the Northern Territory and £239,000 for the Australian Capital Territory. Estimated additional payments to the Department of Education of New South Wales for education in the Australian Capital Territory total £132,000.

Under Payments to or for the States, an amount of £92,000 is included to cover reimbursement of capital expenditure to State governments under the Tuberculosis Act.

At the time of the Budget it was estimated that expenditure which would ordinarily have been charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund would exceed receipts by £47,300,000. It appeared, also, that it would be necessary to pay £51,000,000 from the Consolidated Revenue

Fund to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve in 1962-63 to assist in meeting commitments in respect of State works and housing programmes. In order that this amount would be available, and to avoid a deficit in the Consolidated Revenue Fund, provision was made for £98,300,000 of expenditure on defence services to be charged to the Loan Fund. It is now clear that little or no assistance will be needed from revenue for State works and housing programmes. This, in turn, means that the charging of defence expenditure to the Loan Fund may be reduced. Accordingly, expenditure on defence services will be charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund after the Appropriation Bill (No. 2) has been enacted. It is estimated that the amount involved may be as high as £30,000,000 and it is proposed to seek an appropriation of this amount from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This, of course, does not affect the total expenditure on defence services during the current financial year. It provides, however, for this expenditure to be met from the Consolidated Revenue Fund instead of the Loan Fund.

I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 832


Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in 1962-63 on certain items of capital works and services. Additional appropriations of £7,395,000 are sought. However, after allowing for savings in other appropriations, it is expected that the total expenditure will not exceed the Budget estimate of £167,877,000 by more than about £3,500,000.

An amount of £1,500,000 is included in the bill for the construction of the standard gauge railway between Albury and Mel bourne. This will cover the final payment for the work involved. In accordance with the Railway Standardization (New South Wales and Victoria) Agreement Act those States are required to repay the Commonwealth three-tenths of the total expenditure by the Commonwealth on the project over a period of fifty years.

The amount of £2,500,000 for payment to the War Service Homes Trust Account increases the total appropriation for the year to £37,500,000. The maximum advance was increased from £2,750 to £3,500 in May, 1962. There has been an increase in the number of applicants seeking assistance for the construction of homes and for additional essential accommodation in existing homes.

An amount of £1,070,000 is included for the Postmaster-General’s Department - £750,000 is provided for telephone exchange services and trunk line services and £320,000 to meet higher rates of pay for engineers. An amount of £200,000 is also provided for the acquisition of additional television transmitting equipment.

Additional appropriations totalling £1,430,500 are sought to cover requirements in the Northern Territory, £456,000, Australian Capital Territory, £694,000, and Papua and New Guinea, £280,500. The major additional items provided in the Northern Territory are for additional buildings, works, fittings and furniture and the construction of beef cattle roads. In the Australian Capital Territory, the major item is £685,000 for additional advances to the Australian Capital Territory Housing ComImissioner for loans for private houses. However, it is anticipated that there will be an off-setting saving of £500,000 in respect of amounts provided for advances to cooperative building societies. The amount of £280,000 for Papua and New Guinea is to provide an additional advance to the Administration to provide loans to exservicemen in agricultural enterprises.

I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 832

SUPPLY 1963-64

Messages recommending appropriations reported.

In Committee of Supply:

Motions (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -


That there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding £301,764,000 for or towards the services of the year 1963-64.

Supply (Works and Services).

That there be granted to Her Majesty a sum not exceeding £70,282,000 for or towards the services of the year 1963-64, for Additions, New Works and other Services involving Capital Expenditure.

Resolutions reported.

Standing Orders suspended; resolutions adopted.

Resolutions of Ways and Means, founded on resolutions of Supply, reported and adopted.

Ordered -

That Mr. Harold Holt and Mr. Fairhall do prepare and bring in bills to carry out the foregoing resolutions.

page 833


Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to appropriate £301,764,000 to carry on the necessary normal services of government, other than capital works and services, during the first five months of the financial year 1963-64. These are services placed before the Parliament in the Appropriation Acts 1962-63. The total sought is £301,764,000, comprising -

In general, these amounts represent approximately five-twelfths of the 1962-63 appropriations. However, the amount of £102,873,000 for Defence Services makes allowance for heavy contractual payments due in the first five months of the financial year. The amount of £51,017,000 for War and Repatriation Services includes provision for the payment of war pensions at existing rates for the pension pay-days falling within the period. There is no provision for new services except in the Defence section. However, in accordance with established practice, an amount of £16,000,000 is sought for an advance to the Treasurer to make advances which will be recovered within the financial year and to make moneys available to meet expenditure, particulars of which will after wards be submitted to Parliament.

I commend the bill to honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 833


Bill presented by Mr. Harold Holt, and read a first time.

Second Reading

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to appropriate £70,282,000 to carry on the necessary normal capital works and services of government for the first five months of the financial year 1963-64. This will enable Commonwealth works to be continued until the 1963-64 Budget has been considered by Parliament. The bill will provide funds for Commonwealth works in progress at 30th June, 1963. In addition, it is the practice to programme the capital works and services in the major Commonwealth departments, including the Department of Works, the Postmaster-General’s Department and the Department of Civil Aviation. The appropriation will provide funds to ensure the orderly continuation of those programmes of works and to continue day-to-day purchases of plant and equipment.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

page 833


Second Reading

Debate resumed (vide page 832).

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– There being no objection, that course will be adopted.

Melbourne Ports

.- Mr. Speaker, we have not had long to contemplate the measures that we are now discussing, as the first of them was presented by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) only a few minutes ago. They involve in aggregate the expenditure of almost £427,000,000. More than £47,000,000 is to be appropriated for what are called the Additional Estimates of expenditure on ordinary account and more than £7,000,000 for Additional Estimates for Works and Services. In addition, we are contemplating supply for the first five months of the financial year to begin on 1st July, 1963, under which there will be voted more than £301,000,000 on ordinary account and more than £70,000,000 for capital works and services.

Although we are discussing these measures together for the convenience of the House, I think nevertheless that, to begin with, I should point out the reasons for the two sets of measures. As I have stated already, the Additional Estimates provide for expenditure on ordinary account as well as on capital works and services. These Additional Estimates arise from the fact that, at the beginning of a financial year, one cannot always see definitely what total commitments may be by the end of the financial year. Sometimes, we cannot come up to full performance for some commitments. Sometimes, inevitably, because of the scale of government activity, we find that some commitments not budgeted for at the beginning of the financial year have become necessary. The purpose of the Additional Estimates is to provide for those contingencies. The expenditure must receive parliamentary sanction. The theory at least of expenditure under parliamentary control is that no expenditure can take place legitimately until it has received the approval of Parliament. I want to say a little more shortly about the growing difference between theory and practice with respect to that assumption.

The other matter, the necessity for five months’ supply, arises, of course, from tho fact that the Parliament will adjourn, probably, towards the end of May. This financial year will end on 30th June, the Parliament will not come back until some time in August, and if you did not carry supply along for a month or two no payment of government accounts would be legally possible from 1st July. The purpose of the Supply Bill, therefore, is to sanction expenditures for the first five months of the financial year.

I want to say something about the attitude of this Government towards the Parliament with respect to these financial measures. We all know that in August of last year the Government brought down its Budget, which was supposed to be a forecast of its receipts and expenditures for the period ending 30th June next. For reasons which he gave in one of the speeches that he made here to-day the Treasurer estimated that on all accounts - that is, ordinary revenue and capital works and services and grants that had to be made to the States - there would be a deficiency in revenue, as against expenditure, of about £120,000,000. I think £118,000,000 was something like the exact figure. That deficiency was to be made good by what is known as a budget deficit. In other words, the Government, through the medium of the Reserve Bank, and by the use of treasury-bills, would pump into the community during the course of the year some £120,000,000.

It is interesting to note the acceptance now by this Government of the need, in some circumstances, to resort to what is called deficit financing. It is not very long since it was popular on the other side of the House to suggest that if you resorted to deficit financing you would find yourself on the toboggan that runs down the precipitous slope of inflation. It was really a very silly attitude to be adopted by any government knowing much about the realities of public finance in a modern system. Nevertheless, at election times and other suitable times the Government produced its stalking-horse and suggested to the people that if deficit financing were indulged in it would be ruinous for the country. What we on this side of the

House have always held - to the contrary - is that as long as there are resources in the community that are not being fully utilized, as long as there is man-power idle and seeking to be employed, then something must be done to stimulate the economy and to see that men, materials and machines are brought together for the betterment of the economy as a whole. We have said that the quickest way to bring this about is for the Government itself to take the initiative and to spend more than it is currently raising in revenue, either from taxation or from loans. That, it seems to me, is a sensible enough assumption in the period in which we are living.

In the eight or nine months of the financial year that have already elapsed there has been a radical change on the receipts side of government accounts, as the Additional Estimates show. There has not been a great deal of change in actual departmental expenditure. The missing link, so far as the documents before us to-day are concerned, lies in the fact that we have not got the full picture of the revenue side of government activity up to the end of March or April. All that we know is that in some respects some revenues have exceeded expectations and, most importantly, the Government has been much more successful in the loan market than it expected to be when it framed the Budget in August last. The Treasurer at that time believed that he would actually have to put money into the loan market, when account was taken of loan conversions and other commitments that were falling due in the course of the financial year. But to his great surprise, if to nobody else’s, there has been much more money forthcoming in the loan market than he had expected.

Mr Reynolds:

– Because he crucified private investment!


– There, of course, is a question that has to be asked and, perhaps, we should attempt to answer it. Does the Government’s success in the loan market show the financial confidence of the community in the Government or is it, perhaps, a reflection of the lack of confidence of investors in the future of the Australian economy? Is it that they are not sure which way things are going and, therefore, prefer at the present time to put their money into the safe custody of government bonds rather than into what honorable gentlemen opposite call the fields of private enterprise, which, when it suits them, they suggest constitute the mainspring of the economy? The question that they should ask themselves occasionally is whether the present circumstances of the economy reflect confidence in private enterprise. I suggest that when that question is asked systematically by honorable members opposite, and related to what they call their political philosophy, they will find that there is a lot to be unhappy about from their point of view.

It is true that the Government has got more in revenue - and I use the term “ revenue “ to include money from loans as well as from taxation - than it expected to get. Because of this, of course, the Government does not have to face as great a deficit as it thought it would have to face. Again, however, we should ask ourselves, “ What was the assumption about the deficit in August or September last? “ The assumption was that the Australian economy needed that much more spending injected into it in order to get it working at its maximum level. It is not working at its maximum level at the moment. We still have 90,000 or 100,000 people wanting jobs and unable to get them. At the end of December, 1962, the end of the last quarter that is measurable, economic activity was certainly higher than it was at the end of December, 1961, but in aggregate it was at no higher level in December, 1962, than it was in December, 1960. We had the rundown throughout 1962 which we called the slump. Since then, economic activity has improved to some extent, but at the end of December, 1962, it had only reached the point at which it was two years earlier.

In speaking of the Australian economy, the Government claims that it believes in full employment, in price stability and in economic growth. If the Government claims that it believes in economic growth, surely it means that the standards per head at the end of, say, 1962 should be a little better than they were at the end of 1961. Australia’s population increases by about 2 per cent, per annum. If prices are stable and the population has grown, total economic activity at the end of one year should be some 3 per cent, to 4 per cent. greater than it was twelve months previously, if growth has been achieved. With 2 per cent, more people to feed, clothe and look after each year, we must have an annual increase of about 4 per cent, in our economic activity if the standards of the people are to improve at the suggested rate of 1 per cent, or 2 per cent, per annum.

That is not the pattern in Australia at the moment. By forgetting certain unpleasant aspects and by camouflaging others, the Government can say that conditions were better in December, 1962, than they were in December, 1961. But conditions had only come back to the point at which they were two years previously. Instead of being 8 per cent, better than two years previously, in essence they are no better than they were. That certainly is not economic growth. As far as we can read the financial accounts of the Government for this financial year, the Government still needs to impart a stimulus of somewhere near the expected budget deficit. As I said on a previous occasion, according to the philosophy of the Government, it would have been all right if the deficit had not been required because private spending had increased by so much more. But that is not the circumstance in Australia. What has happened is that the budget deficit is less than it should have been. Private spending is not as great as it was and Government spending is no more than had been provided in the Budget, so the total activity is at a lower level than was anticipated.

We have a mixed economy. We have a large amount of public activity of one sort or another. The Post Office, education and health systems, and electricity, power and irrigation undertakings are all conducted by public authorities, but the main part of industrial activity and a fair amount of what is called tertiary activity are still conducted by what is sometimes euphemistically described as private enterprise. I suppose that an overall picture of Australia at the moment would show that of total activity roughly 30 per cent, is public and the remainder private of one kind or another. We have a mixed economy with private activity greater than public activity. The encouragement that can be given to private enterprise, at least by this Government, tends to be indirect rather than direct. If for one reason or another private enterprise is not being as enterprising as it should be, the only way to provide a stimulus is by greater public activity.

I want to direct the attention of the House to the rather clouded picture we have of the amount of public activity and the future planning of public activity in Australia. Every honorable member knows that there is great discontent in the community at the moment about the provision being made for education. There has not been enough planning for education, from the kindergarten to the university, either in the provision of buildings or in the training of staff.

There are similar deficiencies in the field of health, particularly in such specialized matters as mental health and the care of aged people. About 10 per cent, of our people are men over 65 and women over 60 years of age. Grossly inadequate provision is made for them. They are at the ages where their demands for hospitalization and specialized medical care are greater than ever before. The aged population is growing nearly as fast as the young population is, but aged persons are not being provided with the health services and specialized housing that they need. Every honorable member has had the depressing experience of meeting pensioners who, with no income but the pension, have to pay rates on a house, if they are fortunate enough to own one, at the same level as they paid when they were working. We all know of the more distressing cases in which pensioners who do not own homes often are living miserably in rooms or in things that are called flats, for which they pay more than half of their pensions. Their needs are not being met.

We have the same situation with electricity undertakings and other requirements. But the most deplorable shortcoming in the public sphere in what are called great modern cities such as Sydney and Melbourne is found in the fact that one-third to one-quarter of the cities are without sewerage. We are actually falling further and further behind in meeting this requirement. New houses are being built much more quickly than sewerage, roads and other such services can be provided. Can this be said to be a healthy and sensible situation? Does this not point to the need for a more systematic planning of public works in Australia? The attitude of the Government on this matter is revealed in a book to which I shall refer. I think all honorable members have received a copy of it. If they have not they can receive one from the Department of National Development. It is called “ Major Development Projects - Australia -June, 1962”. It claims to be the fifth in a series of publications that come out every two years. Apparently the previous one was dated June, 1960.

I defy anybody to regard this document as a very intelligible or even intelligent setting out of the major development projects. All it is is a conglomeration of everything that is going on in Australia, whether it is the building of a bridge over Gin Gin Creek or anything else. That bridge may be significant in somebody’s electorate, but I doubt whether it is very significant to the nation as a whole. Yet in this volume it looms almost as large as the construction of the dams in the Snowy Mountains scheme. All I am saying is that here is some documentation but it is documentation which in the ultimate is unintelligible. I suggest that too much unintelligible documentation is published by this Government and that there is not enough sifting to find out what the real issues are.

What does it mean if we are told that £200,000,000 of the £400,000,000 which the great Snowy Mountains scheme is to cost in aggregate has already been expended? All that we know is that there is another £200,000,000 to be spent on that project. Does anybody know what is the significance of that project when completed in relation to all the things that need to be done throughout Australia? For instance, people who come from some of the farflung States of this Commonwealth should have a look and see how intelligible is this map which shows roads and bridges being constructed in Australia at 30th June, 1962. It can be found as an inset between pages 96 and 99 of this document. What does that map mean in terms of a population of 10,000,000 people, an area of 3,000,000 square miles and the talk that can be heard at the moment about developing the north?

I raised this question with the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), by implication, on another occasion when he was introducing a measure to provide £1,000,000 or £1,500,000 for the construction of roads. What is the significance of £1,000,000 in relation to the total demand for roads in this community? Does anybody know offhand what it costs to build a mile of road? If you are a metropolitan man, you might know what it costs to build a mile of concrete road down one of the main highways; but do you know what it costs to build a mile of road across the electorate of the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull)? And he may not have the same problems in his electorate as those that face the honorable member for Moore (Mr. Leslie) or my colleague, the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan). It is time we began to talk in this House about the number of miles of road that need to be built and the dozens, hundreds, thousands or millions of people who have to be served, according to the nature of the particular service.

About half an hour ago the Treasurer brought in bills to appropriate about £450,000,000 in aggregate. Again I ask the House: How real is it? What is it relative to? For instance, we know that half the annual expenditure by the Government scarcely comes before this Parliament at all because it is committed in advance just to keep the Government rolling, as it were. Yet we continue to debate these matters in this chamber as though the expenditure of every £1 authorized by this Parliament was understood and something sacred that we are all striving to preserve. That is not the reality of the matter at all.

Earlier I started to speak about the Budget deficit. The fact that we are talking about budget deficits shows that we are no longer thinking in terms of revenue and expenditure having to match each other. I understand that to-morrow this House will contemplate amendments to its Standing Orders which will take away some of the rigmarole that has been practised in this chamber in regard to what is known as the Committee of Ways and Means, which historically goes back to the time when, if the Parliament imposed a tax, that tax was supposed to relate to a particular purpose of government. Ever since we have had this Federal Parliament there has been only one Consolidated Revenue Fund. All moneys that the Government is able to collect are paid into that fund. Very rarely does a particular tax attach to a particular purpose. Some people still try to suggest that the petrol tax attaches to a particular purpose. There may be a case for saying that. I am not arguing that. By and large the collection of taxes and the expenditure by the Government are scarcely related to one another at all. Yet that is still the way in which we conduct financial debates in this Parliament.

I suggest that the time has come for us to think in terms of the physical, human and social problems that face this Parliament. Do we properly encompass them? Do we get them in proper perspective merely by talking about them in terms of pounds, shillings and pence? In fact, this rather ironical phrase appears in the document issued by the Department of National Development -

The projects described are principally works of the Commonwealth and State Governments and their Instrumentalities in fields conducive to economic (as contrasted with social) development.

I doubt whether, in a modern community, we can contrast economic development and social development. It is true that each has different aspects; but from the point of view of the Parliament as a whole they have to be contemplated together. How far we can go in economic development is limited by how far we want to go in social development. To put the two forward as though they are almost an antithesis or a dichotomy is absurd in a modern context. I think this document highlights the point that I am trying to make. It tries to set out in a fairly old-fashioned form how much is being spent on hundreds and perhaps thousands of projects in Australia. I believe that the Government is still obsessed with the idea that it looks good if you can produce a document of 130 pages and say, “ This document is full of public works that are being carried out in Australia “. If it mixes up the bridge over the Gin Gin creek with the-

Mr Leslie:

– But it is an important one.


– Yes, it is important. I am not saying that it is unimportant. I hope nobody will take that sort of carping point. If you take that point you have missed the whole lesson that I have tried to delineate this afternoon. All that I am suggesting is that I doubt whether honorable members, other than those who happen to represent the State in which Gin Gin Creek is, would know where it is. However, we have some conception of a project like the Snowy Mountains scheme. Wo all know that every town, every hamlet, every village and every county has to have roads and bridges. Those things are essential for the people in those districts. But do honorable members think that they are getting all the bridges and all the roads that they want in their electorates at present by the current methods of allocating our financial resources? Would not you prefer to have emphasis placed upon the physical problems that need solution in your electorate rather than have the Treasurer simply say that he has allocated £200,000,000 or £250,000,000 from loan funds? In fact, the allocation u made by agreement between the States and the Commonwealth and nobody knows better than does the Treasurer that he is the one that calls the tune. I think he is calling the tune in a most unsatisfactory way. It is certainly a most inadequate way of encompassing the great problems of national development in Australia in 1963.

Mr Turnbull:

– You have to leave something to the States and local governments to explain. This is only the Commonwealth’s.


– I know that, but this document includes local government, semigovernment and other works. Anything that takes up a line or so is included to make the volume look more impressive. That is not the way in which I suggest the problems of this nation should be encompassed. The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) is more concerned that he should have representation according to area rather than the number of people. I think that democracy is meaningful if we talk about it in terms of people and quite meaningless if we talk about it in terms of cows and geography. I admit that we must throw a little to the cows and geography, but, basically, democracy means representation of the people and a system under which, as near as it is possible, the voice of one should be just as able to be heard as the voice of anybody else. I do not say that all voices are necessarily significant, but all voices should be given the opportunity to be significant if they can be. That has been the pattern of our development, and I hope that, in the years to come, this Parliament will begin to talk in terms of economic and social planning rather than in terms of just a barren provision of large sums of money. I suppose it will be a long time before we can estimate requirements in any better way than by using the measuring rod of money, although, over the last few years, money has been a fairly crazy measuring rod, as most of us know. In fact, I doubt whether the problem will be any more easily understood if we shift to decimal currency in preference to pounds, shillings and pence. We ought to be measuring these things in terms of the social, cultural, economic and other internal and external needs of Australis as we face up to them from time to time. I do not think we are doing that at the moment in the way we are treating these measures in this place.


– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) has paid the Government a grudging compliment–

Mr Peters:

– You misunderstood him.


– I probably did.

Mr Peters:

– You generally do.


– He did say that at last the Government had come round to appreciating that there was nothing shameful in budgeting for a deficit, whereas once upon a time this Government would not entertain a deficit under any circumstances. As I understand the position, the Government has never been afraid to introduce a deficit Budget. To that extent, it does not differ very greatly from the Labour Party. The great difference between the Government and the Labour Party is that the Government believes it has a responsibility to relate the size of its deficit, and the decision as to whether there shall be a deficit at all, to the economic conditions prevailing at the time. The Labour Party, on the other hand, if we are to believe what its members say, would have a large deficit on every occasion irrespective of the economic climate in the community. Ever since 1 have been in this House, whatever the conditions were, whether they were conditions of boom or slight recession, the Labour Party has advocated a deficit Budget on every occasion. Whenever we advocate a deficit Budget, the Labour Party wants us to budget for a bigger deficit. When we advocate a balanced Budget, or budgeting for a surplus, the Labour Party still wants a deficit. In other words, Labour’s policy is irresponsible, stupid and unintelligent and is in no way related to the grave responsibility a government has to frame the economic environment in which the community will operate for the next twelve months.

The honorable member for Melbourne Ports went on to say that because the Government envisaged a deficit in the Budget this year, and its estimate had been thrown out of balance by unexpected loan raisings, the Government had not been sincere in its desire to achieve the economic effect of a deficit. What in fact has happened is only what should have happened. When you find that you have made a miscalculation, that you have not been able to estimate accurately what your loan raisings will be, you have another look at what has happened to the economic situation before deciding whether at that point - nine months later - it is necessary to retain your deficit at the original estimated level. The Government looked at the economic indicators and the situation and found that, because of the way in which things had developed, it was not then necessary to inject into the economy the stimulus which, nine months earlier, it had thought to be necessary.

I want to take this opportunity to say a word or two about the question of subsidies and assistance to primary industries. In recent months there has been a good deal of critical comment about this in quite responsible journals, such as the “ Australian Financial Review “, in business circles in Australia and, indeed, by some of my colleagues in this Parliament who do not fully understand these things. My reference to this subject is occasioned by the fact that we are proposing to find substantial sums in this year’s Budget to support the wheat stabilization scheme which we are about to negotiate for a five-year term. Looking at the trends, it seems fairly evident that we will probably have to support that scheme with subsidies for some time to come. The critics suggest that there is something slightly immoral and not consistent with the principles of self-reliance in this sort of subsidy and the other subsidies which some of the primary industries of Australia enjoy. There is an implication of an overtone of favoritism and coddling at the expense of other sections of the community. I emphasize that I am not making that point; I am merely pointing out that that suggestion has been made. The criticism to which I have referred generally ends up with a demand that the industries being subsidized stand on their own feet and that the burden involved in subsidizing them be removed from the shoulders of the taxpayer. I believe that this sort of fallacy, which is more widespread than some people imagine, should be nailed once and for all, not only to protect the existing subsidy arrangements in our primary industries, but also to provide a basis for the inevitable expansion of those industries which will and should come as the country grows and develops.

Why have we been led to the point where it is both just and in our economic interest to subsidize and otherwise assist our primary industries? It is easy enough to demonstrate why our primary industries need assistance if they are to stay in business and if our primary producers are to enjoy standards of living comparable with those enjoyed by other sections of the community. You have only to compare the prices paid by farmers with the prices they have received in recent years to realize the necessity for this. If you use this argument, the critics ask: “Is not this the price of progress? Is this not a stimulus to adjust to circumstances? “ They say that in any other branch of business, if a person is not successful he goes to the wall. He does not expect, nor does he get, government subsidies to keep him on his feet. I know that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, personally are strongly convinced of the validity of the point that I make, but it seems to me that in deciding whether the point is valid you must ask yourself: What is the cause of the present position of primary industry? Is the farmer responsible, or is the community responsible? The question has only to be posed to be answered.

The Australian farmer is among the most efficient farmers in the world. Indeed, in the last twenty years he has become progressively more efficient. On the other hand, in the post-war years the Australian community, almost without a dissentient, has chosen to pursue particular objectives - objectives which have been stated so clearly many times by the Treasurer. The emphasis is on national development, on full employment and on a rapidly expanding population. These have been nationally desired and nationally demanded objectives. They have transformed Australia in a relatively short time into a modern industrial nation.

I believe that this has been a wonderful achievement, and I fully support it. But it has not been done without cost, in particular to the primary producing section of the community. Over almost the whole of the period since the end of the last war there has been a persistent pressure on the general price level. This pressure has been removed - I hope permanently but I suspect temporarily - for the last two years by timely action by this Government. Nevertheless, taking the period as a whole, there has been persistent pressure on the general price level in Australia.

This process has been generated by the force of the expansion and the development which have occurred in this country and, I might add, by the protection necessary to keep alive many of our secondary industries. Faced with this rise in the general price level, most sections of the Australian community have protected their own positions more than adequately. Wage and salary earners have had access to the arbitration system. Industry and commerce, faced with the same pressures, have jacked up their prices. Both sections of the community have managed their prices, either for goods or for labour, so as to compensate for the increase in the price level that has occurred.

But what of primary industry and the primary producer? If the primary producer is fortunate enough and organized enough, he can jack up the price of his products on the home market. I might add that not all of them are in this position; indeed, very few of them are. But what of the proportion of primary products which is exported? The producer cannot adjust the price of his exported goods at will.

In those circumstances, there is only one way in which he can protect his position in the same degree as all other sections of the community protect their positions. That is by government subsidy. Is this just? I mentioned earlier that many people do not believe that it is just. I believe that it is just. The reason why the primary producer’s position has declined is that the Government has pursued national policies demanded by the community. No government would survive which did not pursue these policies. In these circumstances, surely he is entitled to compensation for the effects of those national policies. Surely he is entitled to payments to compensate him for the effects of nationally approved, nationally demanded policies. On the criterion adopted by the Tariff Board - or the criterion that should be adopted by the board - of an economic and efficient industry, most primary industries in Australia would qualify for assistance. Why is the primary producer not entitled to compensation for the disability he suffers, in the same way as the manufacturers, but in a manner appropriate to his needs and circumstances?

I have never been able to understand the people - and there are many of them - who see a stigma in a subsidy but see nothing wrong in tariff protection. These people talk as if there were no stigma in tariff protection, but when a subsidy is involved they refer to self-reliance and other factors. Just what is the difference? They both involve a price - to the Australian consumer, where tariff protection is involved, and in the case of a subsidy, to the taxpayer.

I believe that if you put the two cases alongside each other, the subsidy has a lot to recommend it over tariff protection, from every point of view. At least the subsidy is in the open. Its cost is known, defined and debated in this Parliament. How many members of this House know the cost of any particular tariff proposal? I suggest the only one here would be the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly), and not even he has been able to estimate the cost of all of them. At least a subsidy, because it is paid by the taxpayers, is paid in proportion to the capacity of a person to pay. A tariff is not. It rests on every consumer, whatever his income; it rests equally on rich and poor.

This is a principle which my honorable friends opposite are always talking about, and yet I have never heard from them any suggestion that our system of tariff protection should be replaced by one of subsidy. I am not advocating that, Sir. I am simply making the point that when people attach a stigma to a subsidy - something that should be removed, something that is not in accordance with the principles which we on this side of the House are supposed to support - and at the same time make no bones about tariff protection and, indeed, demand tariff protection, their argument has no validity at all, either on moral or on economic grounds.

I have been talking, Sir, about the justice of subsidies to primary industries. Looking at the problem from the point of view of this country as a whole, I believe that the economic considerations are even more overwhelming, if that is possible, because the continued prosperity of these industries is vital to our future as a country. This is an argument I am not going to emphasize again. It has been put time and time again from this side of the House, ad nauseum. As we continue to grow as a nation, our demand for imports will become greater and for a long time ahead we will depend on primary industries to finance them. We will not earn enough export income unless our primary industries continue to grow and prosper, in circumstances in which nationally demanded policies inevitably put pressure on the price level and disadvantage those industries, which have to depend on the export market for their prices. In these circumstances, I believe a compensation payment in the way of a subsidy is the right and proper answer. The economics of the situation seem to me to be as clear as the justice of it.

Mr Duthie:

– You have been reading our policy.


– What I am advocating is very different indeed, because honorable gentlemen opposite appear to believe that tariff protection can be as high as you want :’ without creating any difficulties in this country. Honorable members opposite -

I would not go as far as this - believe that it does not matter and that there is no objection to an unlimited rise in the price level, because you can compensate all sections of the community in this way. I would never say that. I believe that we must not get into a situation in which everybody is living off everybody else and every one is chasing his own tail. I would put a limitation on the effects of the argument I am bringing forward.

Therefore, I in no way decry policies designed to achieve price and cost stability in this country and keep prices at reasonable levels, because, after all, we cannot live in isolation in the world. Honorable members opposite would put no limitation whatever on this. At least I do place a limitation on it.

I end as I began. My purpose was to make out a case for subsidies - particularly for the primary industries - by pointing out that these are little more than compensation payments designed to compensate those spctions of the community which suffer as the result of nationally demanded policies. In that sense they are just as necessary and are as much an economic requirement as is any form of assistance that we in this Parliament grant.

Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 8 p.m.


.- Mr. Speaker, the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) this afternoon directed the attention of the House to the injustices being suffered by primary industry. To-night, I should like to devote my time to a recital of the injustices inflicted by this Government on Commonwealth public servants. I am gravely concerned that in the past three or four years there have been numerous attacks on the Government by public service organizations in pursuit of their just claims for salary and wage parity with industry and the public services of the States. It was with concern that I learned that 1,450 Commonwealth public servants met at 1 p.m. to-day in the Festival Hall in Brisbane to consider the attitude of the Government to their claims for wage justice. Those public servants represented every Commonwealth department in Brisbane. They comprised engineers, architects, accountants and clerical officers. They are responsible citizens of our community. I am sure that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) would not claim that those people are being led by the nose by the Communist fraternity in Australia. The action decided upon by those Commonwealth public servants cannot be termed irresponsible. On the contrary, the course of action upon which the Commonwealth public servants in Brisbane have decided to embark is the direct result of injustices they have suffered at the hands of this Government over the last few years.

The meeting in Brisbane carried a resolution which has caused me grave concern. The resolution is as follows: -

This meeting of Commonwealth public servants condemns the Commonwealth Government for its continued refusal to conciliate with public servants unions on salaries and wages in the Commonwealth Service, for its continued neglect to increase salaries and wages in keeping with general wage and community living standards and for its deliberate denial of wage justice to its employees as evidenced by -

persistent and direct Government opposition to arbitration claims which should be disputed between unions on the one hand and the Public Service Board on the other, without Government interference;

deliberate and vicious destruction of the independence of the Public Service Arbitrator;

discrimination against its own employees by its support for the principle of tapering off marginal increases;

failure to increase Public Service wage standards to the same respective levels as apply to the State Public Services; and (5-) refusal to apply the principles of professional work value rises to other trades, professions and groups in the Commonwealth Public Service; and in supporting the policy of the High Council affirms that if the Government continues its suppression of the salaries of its own servants and continues to deny justice by directly opposing unions’ just arbitration claims, then the unions have no alternative but to campaign actively against the Government and its supporters.

That resolution was carried unanimously by 1,450 responsible public servants in Brisbane at 1 p.m. to-day. I am concerned, as I am sure every honorable member is, that a group of people in the Commonwealth Public Service should find it necessary to hold a mass meeting and aline itself with one particular political party. Certainly the resolution does not in so many

Words affiliate the unions with a particular political party but the resolution does state that the Public Service unions will work for the defeat at the polls of members of the political parties that form this coalition Government. I would not like to see Commonwealth public servants associate themselves with a political party and become a pressure group.

The present action of the unions has been brought about by this Government’s continued intervention before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Surely the commission should be able to arbitrate between employer and employee without intervention by the Government. The wages of Commonwealth employees have been frozen since 1959, when margins were adjusted retrospective to 3rd December, 1959. Everybody knows that the cost of living has increased since that time. Other employers are paying much more for the services of skilled men than is the Commonwealth Public Service. This Parliament should be responsible for seeing that Commonwealth public servants receive fair and honest consideration from any government. The Government denies public servants the right to strike. It refuses to permit public servants to hold stop work meetings. Public servants cannot take direct action. Their only recourse is an application to the Public Service Board or to the Arbitration Commission. For many years public servants have waited in vain for wage justice. In 1955 the Arbitration Commission determined that margins should be two and a half times the 1937 margins. But the Public Service Board devised its own formula for public servants and decreed that they should get less than had been awarded by the Arbitration Commission. In 1960 the commission decided that margins should be increased by 28 per cent., but the Public Service Board decided that not all public servants should receive margins increases of 28 per cent. Some public servants had their margins increased by 28 per cent, but in a great many cases margins were increased by from 17 per cent, to 23 per cent.

Public servants object very strongly to Government intervention before the Arbitration Commission. They see no reason why the Commonwealth, which is their employer, should, through the instrumentality of the Public Service Board, oppose them in the court and, in addition, as represented by the Commonwealth Government, intervene in the court proceedings. Other employees in Australia may go in to bat against their employers but the Commonwealth public servants must fight two opponents. It is of no use to say that when the Commonwealth intervenes in a case it does so merely for the purpose of supplying the court with information. When the Commonwealth intervenes it does so in order to block any attempt by public servants to improve their conditions. This process of intervening has undermined the rights of the Public Service Arbitrator. Quite rightly the resolution adopted in Brisbane to-day refers to the deliberate and vicious destruction of the independence of the Public Service Arbitrator. He should determine matters involving public servants, but the Government is not satisfied with that course. It continues to intervene.

Some brilliant men are employed in the Commonwealth Public Service. Those men are charged with the responsibility of putting into effect, for the well-being of the people of Austraia, the policies handed down by the Government. Those men are highly skilled. We are losing many of them to private industry. The old idea of a public servant happy in the service is passing. The public servant is still devoted to his work and that devotion can be a wonderful thing if it is backed by wage justice. I am alarmed that Commonwealth public servants have taken this action but the decision to do so was not made overnight. This trouble has been brewing ever since this Government took office. In 1947 the then Labour Government recommended to the Public Service Board that public servants be given a 25 per cent, increase in margins. When the Public Service Board objected to this, the Chifley Government said, “They are entitled to it and they will be paid “.

One does not have to go far to learn the feelings to-day of Commonwealth public servants. This morning’s “ Sydney Morning Herald “ carried the following article: -

Canberra, Monday. One of the strongest Commonwealth Public Service associations has threatened to take direct political action against the Federal Government unless it receives “ salary justice “.

The organization referred to is the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association, which covers most public servants in the second and third divisions.

The Opposition has raised in this House the matter of the amendments which the Government has made to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act and the Government’s intervention in hearings by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Almost every day we have that jack-in-the-box, the Minister for Labour and National Service, jumping up and crying, “ Communist, Communist “. Surely Government supporters will not claim that the resolution which the public servants carried is Communist inspired! Surely the Government supporters will not claim that the 1,450 engineers, architects, surveyors, accountants and clerical officers who met in Brisbane to-day are Communist inspired!

It is time that the Government gave some justice to Commonwealth public servants. I assure the Government that they are most concerned at the way they have been treated. In 1955 they were cheated out of the increase of two and a half times the 1937 margin and in 1960 they were not given the full 28 per cent, increase in margins which other workers received. What is the position to-day? Their application was to be heard by the Arbitration Commission on 28th April, but unfortunately one of the judges contracted a sore throat. Did the Government say, “The public servants are concerned about this matter so we will appoint an acting judge to hear their claims”? No, the Government stood over the hearing of the application for one month. About 175,000 people will be affected by the decision in the case so, by simple mathematics, the Commonwealth public servants will lose about £350,000 by the delay in hearing their application. But they have been subjected to delays all along the line. No one seems to care about them, least of all the Government. A voice asking for justice for them is only a cry in the wilderness. To-day I heard the honorable member for Barker advocate increased subsidies for primary industry and ask for justice here and justice there. How ludicrous it is that this Government shows no sign of giving justice to Commonwealth public servants.

Before the metal trades margins case was heard the High Council of Public Service Associations repeatedly asked the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) for an opportunity to place the public servants’ case before him but he stated that there was no point in meeting a deputation. This group represents many Australian voters, responsible citizens who repeatedly over the years have been denied wage and salary justice. They still are waiting patiently for justice. Is it any wonder that their organizations are threatening to take political action against the Government? I hope that the Public Service always will remain the impartial, highly respected and well-paid organization that it was when Labour was in office, but the conditions of public servants have deteriorated so much under this Administration, as have the conditions of all workers in Australia, that the public servants are beginning to realize that they will not receive justice unless they fight this Government, which represents a small minority of businessmen.

Mr Cope:

– The Government even appealed against the Castieau award.


– That is right. Since federation, Commonwealth employees have enjoyed three weeks annual leave and a working week of 361 hours, which was shorter than that of other workers. These better working conditions possibly were compensation for the fact that the salary range in the Public Service was not as high as it was in private industry. But what has happened over the years? The working week for people outside the Public Service has been reduced from 48 to 40 hours, but the public servants still work 36i hours. The commission recently granted three weeks annual leave to all persons employed under federal awards but the Commonwealth public servants still receive only three weeks annual leave. What attraction has the Commonwealth Public Service now? The Commonwealth is employing many young people, training them to a high degree of efficiency and then losing them to private enterprise. The Government bears a tremendous responsibility to maintain a well-paid public service to assist it to administer the country’s affairs. If the Government continues to turn its back on the just claims of Commonwealth public servants, the Public Service will be deficient in men of ability to administer the country as the Government desires it to be administered. Surely the responsibility for the present state of affairs rests squarely on the Government’s shoulders. In all spheres it has turned its back on the needs of the Australian people and has refused to give them justice.

The following article appeared in the Melbourne “Age” of 24th June, 1960, after the decision to grant a 28 per cent. increase in margins to workers in industry -

Public Service to Campaign for Higher Margins.

Commission Rejects 28 Per Cent. Claim.

Representatives of Federal and New South Wales public service organizations to-day decided to combine in a campaign for higher margins.

On the same date the “ Canberra Times “ had this to say - “ Political Influence “ seen in Decision on Public Service Margins. Political influence was being brought to bear on the “ supposedly impartial arbitration system,” the president of the A.C.T. branch of the Commonwealth Public Service Administrative and Clerical Officers’ Association, Mr. W. A. McKinnon, said yesterday.

This state of affairs has not arisen overnight. For many years Commonwealth public servants have been falling behind other workers in industry in the matter of salary, working hours and so on. They now demand that their salary rate be on a par with that of outside industry. Recently the Australian Bank Officers’ Association published a pamphlet which indicated that a block of land which was worth £75 to £100 in 1939 is to-day worth between £1,000 and £1,500. The price has increased over ten times. In the same period the cost of a four or five roomed house has increased eight times, the cost of house furnishings has increased five times, transportation costs have increased ten times, but salaries have increased only four times. The Government must realize that Commonwealth public servants are underpaid and that it is pushing this organization which the people of Australia always have looked upon as an impartial body into a political body.

The Sydney “Sun” of 23rd November, 1961, carried an article relating to a protest by Commonwealth public servants that a claim made by the Prime Minister was unfair. Mr. D. Thompson, the State secretary of the Commonwealth Public Service

Administrative and Clerical Officers’ Association, is reported in this way -

Senior public servants in this union say that Mr. Calwell’s proposals are practical and can be carried out. Public servants resent Mr. Menzies* implication that they are providing figures to support the Government’s case against Mr. Calwell.

What will be the result if public servants become so frustrated at the injustices which they are suffering that they - I would be the last person to want this to happen - try to use departmental estimates and figures for political gain? Our public servants could become frustrated if they do not receive reasonable remuneration for what they are required to do. Engineers, doctors, chemists, surveyors and accountants employed by the Commonwealth are not at present receiving remuneration that is equitable by comparison with salaries paid in private enterprise. We must pay these people adequately. We are now entering the age of science, automation and mechanization, and this Government, as the biggest employer of labour in Australia, should be leading the field and offering salaries that will attract the brains of this country to its service.

For a long time now, private industry has been poaching from the Commonwealth the brilliant young people that we have. They are easily poached because salaries paid by the Commonwealth are so low. Some of our engineers receive only £1,400 or £1,500 a year as Commonwealth employees, whereas they could get £2,000 or £3,000 outside the Commonwealth service. One has only to look at an article published in the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ on 30th October, 1961 - not so long ago- to see a list of some of the former Commonwealth public servants who have gone to employment in private industry. Looking across a group of photographs, I see the names of Sir Patrick McGovern, Sir John Jensen, Mr. A. D. J. Forster, Mr. R. J. Webster, Sir Giles Chippindall and Sir Jack Stevens, all of whom have become management consultants or directors in private industry.

Mr Fox:

– Some of those had retired from the Public Service.


– We can pick out one or two who have retired, but there are plenty more who had not retired from the Commonwealth service when they joined private industry. Recently, four assistant secretaries from the Department of Trade went to private industry. Most of the young technicians helping to establish television stations throughout Australia have come from the service of the Postmaster-General’s Department.

Let us look a little further at this poaching by private industry from the Commonwealth Public Service, which is so easily done. Under the heading, “ Heavy Fees Costs for Department “, the “ Canberra Times”, on 22nd August, 1961, reported a hearing before the Public Accounts Committee in these terms! -

The use of private architects and consultants by the Works Department was incurring “ mammoth “ expenditure, the Public Accounts Committee was told yesterday.

Mr. H. F. Yoxon, Assistant Director General (Administration) of the Department, said the private architects and consultants were employed because of staff losses and scarcities in the Works Department.

He was replying to Senator Benn.

Mr. Yoxon was commenting on an expenditure of ?334,252 for fees for the year 1960-61.

The department had paid ?334,252 in one financial year to private architects and consultants, but the Commonwealth could not pay qualified architects and surveyors in its service adequate salaries! That is another illustration of the effects of the Commonwealth’s refusal to adopt equitable salary ranges that will attract the brilliant young people of Australia. I venture to say that unless the demands made by the Commonwealth public servants are recognized as just, we shall lose to private industry and the State services a great number of our brilliant officers.

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that every honorable member on this side of the House, like me, is concerned about the situation and supports the claims of Commonwealth public servants for just salary scales. We sincerely hope that the Government will cease intervening between the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Public Service Board. The public servants of Australia are looking forward to receiving not only the full percentage marginal increase recently granted by the commission to workers in the metal trades, but also some adjustment to remove the disparity in the adjustments made by the Public Service Board in 1955 and again on 3rd December, 1959. Our public servants in Australia must be kept a non-political body - a non-pressure group. This Government has a responsibility for ensuring that their salaries are increased in due proportion and that their just demands are met. I can only hope, Mr. Speaker, that this Government will recognize the justice of the demands of the public servants when they approach the Public Service Arbitrator in consequence of the recent decision in the metal trades case.


.- Mr. Speaker, as the representative of an electorate that is one of the largest producers of wheat in the Commonwealth, I am prompted this evening to discuss the proposed legislation for the renewal of the wheat stabilization plan, the wheat industry in general and, if time permits, a matter relating to income tax. I have been prompted to speak this evening by numerous press statements that have been floating about this country in recent times. The first one that I want to quote appeared in the Melbourne “Herald” on 11th February last. The article to which I refer was written by Mr. Ronald Anderson, “ Herald “ writer on agriculture. I have not time to read the whole report. I shall read only the headline, which stated -

Axe may fall on wheat crops soon.

Another article by the same writer appeared in the “ Herald “ of 25th April of this year under the heading -

Cheaper wheat is tipped: Bread and eggs, too?

That article stated -

Australia may get cheaper wheat - and as a result cheaper bread, cakes and eggs - later this year.


– Hear, hear!


– It is interesting to hear the comment from the Opposition side of the House. Opposition members are more interested in cheaper bread than in the welfare of the wheat industry, just about the most important industry in Australia to-day. Mr. Ronald Anderson’s article continued -

I believe the Federal Government will announce within the next month or two a new wheat industry stabilisation plan which will substantially cut the home price of Australian wheat.

The new formula will have the effect of making wheatgrowing less profitable and therefore less popular.

The formula incorporates a figure termed a yield divisor - a figure taken as the average yield of wheat per acre.

The divisor in the present five-year stabilisation plan, due to expire this year, is only 151 bushels to the acre.

So much for the statement by Mr. Ronald Anderson on cheaper wheat. On 16th March of this year, an article by John Eddy was published in the Melbourne “ Herald “ under the headline -

Big issues are looming in wheat.

Under the sub-heading “ Cost-plus “, the article stated -

The taxpayer has been guaranteeing the farmer on a cost-plus basis.

This is most misleading, Mr. Speaker, because only in the last two wheat years has the Government been called on, and only to the extent of £20,000,000 or less. There is no mention in these reports of the huge cost to growers after the last war, when the home-consumption price was many shillings a bushel below the price on the open world market. In many wheat circles, it has been pointed out that this situation cost the wheat-growers something like £200,000,000. I should just like to remind the House of the original wheat stabilization plan and the subsequent plans, under which the growers contributed up to 2s. 6d. a bushel by placing in a fund 50 per cent, of the difference between the home-consumption price and the export price. This answers some of these economists and agricultural writers of the Melbourne “ Herald “. Surely no one can dispute the claim that the growers have held this fund together for twelve or thirteen years.

In February last, an official of the Australian Wheat Board was reported as having said that if Australia lost the China market it might have to curb production by making it less profitable. The Melbourne press, on or about 11th February last, reported also that Australia had doubled its acreage of wheat in the past six years. This statement is very misleading. I suggest that honorable members should have a look at the Commonwealth Year Book and study the actual figures. They will find that before the war the average area under wheat in Australia was about 14,500,000 acres. In 1961-62 the figure was exactly the same, 14,500,000 acres. Admittedly there has been an increase in the acreage in the last six years, but I remind honorable members that those who have been levelling criticism have found it convenient to select as a base year the one on which we had the lowest acreage on record under wheat. Of course, those people who are interested in the wheat industry know why the acreage in the years before this last six-year period was so small. At that time one of the States was experiencing exceptionally wet seasons. We must remember also that this was the period immediately following the time of high wool prices. I believe that this had a very important bearing on the reduction of wheat acreage.

I suggest that the trend is all one way. It is towards less money for the wheatgrower which, of course, would make certain people in this chamber very happy. It would also have the result that no taxpayers’ money would go into the wheat industry and that also is what some people would like to see. These results can be brought about in several ways. One would be by reducing acreage. Another would be by reducing the home-consumption price, as was mentioned in one of the newspaper reports. By reducing the homeconsumption price, or the guaranteed price for the 100,000,000 bushels of export wheat, you would discourage the growers who would naturally turn, if they possibly could, to other kinds of produce.

I said earlier that the wheat industry is the biggest industry in Australia to-day. While we hear, on the one hand, about huge quantities of surplus wheat being held throughout the world, on the other hand we see a vigorous campaign being conducted, known as the Freedom From Hunger campaign. There is no need for me to remind honorable members, or any one else in this country, that millions of people are starving in numerous countries throughout the world.

In 1943-44 Australia produced 110,000,000 bushels of wheat. In the following year this figure was reduced to 53,000,000 bushels, and that was the year in which we had to import wheat.

Mr Cope:

– But wasn’t there a drought in that year?


– Yes, there was a drought, but if you look through the records you will find that droughts frequently occur in this country, as is well known to any one acquainted with rural problems. Not only did we import wheat in that year, we also imported some sorghum for stock feed. As the honorable member for Watson said, there was a drought in that year, but I remind him that as late as 1957-58 we also had to import wheat into New South Wales. This was not entirely as a result of drought; it was also because of the fact that milling machinery in New South Wales was geared to take a certain proportion of hard wheat, and there just was not enough hard wheat in New South Wales or Queensland to go around.

I have heard many people say at various times that there is a huge surplus of wheat in the world, but if honorable members analyse the position they may be amazed to find that these huge surpluses are confined to the United States of America and Canada, in which countries I think about 1,500,000,000 bushels of wheat is now held as surplus stock.

I now want to turn to the demand for grain in general. In the last two and a half years we have exported about 190,000,000 bushels of wheat to mainland China. I believe that the Asian countries in general, are improving their standard of living, and this will naturally mean a big increase in the consumption of wheat. When we are discussing wheat we must not overlook the significance of the position with respect to the coarse grains, such as oats, barley and sorghum. All these products go hand in hand. The consumption of various grains as stock feed is very important in a consideration of the problems of this section of primary industry. The production of coarse grains in Australia has been reduced year by year. In 1960-61 Australia’s production was 3,195,000 tons. The following year it dropped to 2,345,000 tons, and in the last season it has dropped by a further 100,000 tons. I have before me a publication by the Division of Agricultural Economics titled “ The Coarse Grain Situation “, and dated February, 1963. This shows that the problem is not confined to Australia.

On page 19 we find the following comment: -

North American Stocks Reduced Sharply.

End-of-season stocks of coarse grains in North America fell from 77.9 m. tons in 1960-61 to 64.0 m. tons in 1961-62.

On page 1 of the same publication we find -

World production of the three major coarse grains (maize, barley and oats) is estimated to have increased to 310.6 million tons in 1962 from 307.0 million tons in 1961 . . .

World exports of coarse grains in 1961-62 increased by 27 per cent, to a record total of 27.57 million tons compared with 21.56 million tons in the previous year.

The publication also says that in France there was quite a large proportionate increase.

I believe that all this evidence, in respect of both wheat and coarse grains, points one way. It shows that the demand is definitely on the increase. Since 1940 world production of wheat alone - excluding coarse grains entirely - has increased from 6,000,000,000 to 8,000,000,000 bushels a year. Production has actually increased by about 2,000,000,000 bushels. When one considers the carry-over of wheat in the United States and Canada one can appreciate that it is not in such huge quantities as some people would have us believe. But let us consider the figures for Australia. The last harvest, which was a record one, amounted to 300,000,000 bushels. If we doubled our production of wheat - and I am not suggesting that we should - what would be our proportion of world production? Similarly, if we reduced our acreage or our production, what percentage of world production would be represented by our production?

Mr Holten:

– About 5 per cent.


– My colleague from Indi says 5 per cent., but I think he is being pretty optimistic when he gives that figure. However, I submit all this noise about the over-production of wheat is not justified.

I would like to mention a matter that I have raised on several occasions. I know it is very easy for honorable members to suggest that the Government should do this or that, but frequently suggestions involve the expenditure of millions of pounds. My suggestion, however, would not involve much expenditure. It relates to a matter of policy. I refer to income tax. There i: no need for me to mention that in recent years the values of incomes have altered. A few years ago, an income of £4,000 was large, but that is not so to-day. The incomes of primary producers vary greatly with seasonal conditions and price fluctuations. Governments over the years have met this situation by using what is called an averaging system. Incomes not exceeding £4,000 are averaged over a period of five years. Incomes over £4,000 are subject to the normal taxation rates. This system has worked quite satisfactorily, because the incomes of primary producers fluctuate from perhaps a loss in one year to huge profits in another year.

The limit of £4,000 for averaging incomes is relatively much smaller than it was a few years ago. I suggest it should be increased to £6,000, £7,000 or even £8,000. Thousands of primary producers would earn more than £4,000 in one year but have an average income over five years of much less than £4,000. The system was modified in 1951. I will read from the report of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation, which was submitted in June, 1961. Paragraph 532 reads as follows: -

Until 1951, a primary producer’s income was taxed at a rate arrived at by reference to the average of his income over five years. These years consisted of the year of income and the four years preceding that year. In 1951, these provisions were modified to provide that -

If both the taxable income of a year and the average income did not exceed £4,000, the average rate of tax was applied to the taxable income;

If the taxable income exceeded £4,000 and the average income did not exceed £4,000, the first £4,000 of taxable income was to be taxed at the rate applicable to the average income, and the tax on the excess over £4,000 would be the difference between the tax payable at basic rates on the total taxable income and the tax on £4,000 at basic rates;

If the taxable income did not exceed £4,000 but the average income did, the taxable income was to be assessed at the rate applicable to £4,000;

If the taxable income and the average income each exceeded £4,000, the taxable income was to be assessed at the rate applicable to its own level.

Paragraph 533 reads as follows: -

A taxpayer was also granted the right to elect to withdraw from the “ averaging system “ but, once made, the election was irrevocable.

I wish to direct attention to the very important point that a taxpayer could elect to withdraw from the system. Quite a number of primary producers elected to withdraw but now find that they cannot return to the averaging system. This has been unfortunate for some of them. I do not suggest that all those who elected to withdraw now wish to return to the system, but I know of some people who do wish to use the averaging system once again. Some primary producers were encouraged to leave the averaging system because of the high wool prices being paid at the time, and to-day they regret having withdrawn.

I ask the Government to consider allowing people who have withdrawn to return to the averaging system, even if a penalty is imposed upon them. I do not mean a financial penalty but a penalty that would prevent a primary producer from returning to the averaging system for a number of years after withdrawing. I have not reached any conclusion as to the period that should elapse; it may be two, three, four or five years. If a person were prevented from returning to the system until a period of years after his withdrawal had elapsed, he would be unable to derive a taxation advantage by making frequent changes from one system to the other.

I suggest that the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) consider correcting this small anomaly in the next Budget. Some primary producers who withdrew from the averaging system would then be able to correct their error and the cost to the Government would not be great. Indeed, there may be no cost to the Government at all. They are the two submissions that I wished to make in this debate.


.- I listened with some interest to the speech of the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. King). It was rather difficult to determine what the honorable member was driving at. The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan) is reported in the bulletin of the Inter-Parliamentary Union of a year ago as having said that prices should be fixed at levels satisfactory to the producers, even if this might mean the establishment of production quotas. I do not know whether the honorable member for Wimmera was adopting this suggestion, but in view of his remarks about wheat I think at some time he should inform the House whether he agrees with the honorable member for Gwydir, who also is a member of the Australian Country Party.

I believe that it is time I drew the attention of the House once again to the disastrous floods that have hit the north coast of New South Wales. I take this opportunity to extend my deepest sympathy to the people living in areas beyond Macksville, particularly those in the electorate of Lyne. What they had last week was a repetition of what they had only a couple of months ago. It is time this Government gave some thought to doing something about this national question. The problem of floods is as old as civilization itself. I suppose few countries have escaped the effects of them in some shape or form, because it is only natural that people will continue to live in the highly fertile valleys which, in effect, are flood plains. I believe that it is up to man, with his ability to control these conditions to some degree, to do something about flood mitigation in this country.

The recent floods have caused widespread damage and it will be impossible to calculate the cost. Indeed, it is impossible to state precisely what a flood costs a district. The amount has never been calculated. It has been ascertained that the damage to towns is up to 82 per cent, of the total damage in the affected area. During the 1951 floods in the United States of America the damage to towns in the Kansas and Missouri River basins was as high as 92 per cent, of the total damage. So we can see that this problem is national in character although it is regional in location. It requires a far greater contribution from this national government for that very good reason. The solution of the problem requires not only financial help but also the establishment of a commission such as the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, through which specialist brains are made available for a special type of work. I believe that this is national work that is completely necessary if Australia is to be the great country that it should be. Any government which has no faith in the development of this country should not be a government.

I believe that it is time certain published statements by the so-called representatives of the country people were nailed to the wall as fallacious. They have no substance in fact. In October last year I made a move to have something done about the very important matter of flood mitigation. I asked for some financial assistance to be given to the various organizations that are concerned with this work. I was told that this was a State Government matter. The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) said that a subsidy on the basis of five to one was introduced in Victoria. I wish to quote from the Victorian AuditorGeneral’s report for 1960-61 and the “ River Improvement Handbook “ issued in 1949. In Victoria provisions are made under the Water Acts. The GovernorinCouncil may and does proclaim certain districts under the jurisdiction of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. Up to 30th June, 1962, there were four constituted flood protection districts, namely the Lower Koo-wee-rup, Cardinia, Loch Garry and Kanyapella flood protection districts under the control and management of the commission.

For a number of years New South Wales has had various bodies and departments doing the same class of work as the Victorian commission does. So it is difficult to make an analysis. It has the following departments and operations, which work at no cost to the people: Harbour works, water conservation and irrigation commission, public works, soil conservation, and dams and like constructions which are applicable to flood control or mitigation. I take that a step further and quote the actual expenditures by the State Government instrumentalities. This statement of expenditure on river improvement works in New South Wales in 1961-62 reads as follows: -

Total- Allocation 1962-63, £424,600; expenditure,

1961-62, £382,445.

Now let us look at the Victorian figures. In that State the five to one ratio, as expounded by the honorable member for Richmond, applies. At 30th June, 1961, there were nineteen river improvement or drainage trusts operating with the assistance of government grants of about £175,000 per annum, apparently now on a five-sixths basis. That is where the ratio that was quoted quite frequently came from. There were also grants to councils for minor works from the Rivers and Streams Fund, which comprises mainly licence and permit fees for water diversion, of £40,000 per annum. It seems that since 1959-60, and to some extent before then, the trusts have operated with advances from loan funds, and that they expended a total amount of £198,662 in 1960-61. However, the State at 30th June, 1961, had assumed liability for all but £87,095 of the £1,208,576 advanced by the State to that date. It is interesting to note that during the whole period of operation Victoria spent £1,208,576. It seems that the State may also have assumed some of the trusts’ own share of the liability. The State meets interest costs in excess of 3 per cent, on the trusts’ own debenture raisings. That information is taken from the Victorian YearBook for 1962, the Auditor-General’s Report for 1960-61, the Budget Speech for 1959-60 and the “River Improvement Handbook “ issued in 1949.

That is not the whole story. I gave those figures in order to debunk the misleading statements that have been made in protest against the move that I made in this House to have something done about this matter on a national basis. The point is that this problem is not restricted to the north coast of New South Wales. There are floods on the western plains of that State. There are also floods in the Burdekin River basin, in Queensland, and other river basins in Australia.

The situation at present is that a few people meet on occasions when disaster hits them and many people lose their lives. Then the matter is debated rather hotly in this chamber and a certain amount of money is given to the States on a £1 for £1 basis to help the distressed people. But in no way does that help recompense them for what has been lost. The situation is rather ludicrous. We have to face up to this national responsibility. I believe that an organization similar to the Snowy Mountains Authority should be brought into existence. Wc have the brains now. Rather than let them be lost to this country, this important work should be undertaken by the people that we have here, who have the brains and the know-how to do the job. Something should be done to prevent the great damage that can be caused not only to individuals but also to the national economy.

We should look at what flood control means. In many instances it means a complicated pattern of construction works such as diversions. In brief, we should reduce and delay run-off by soil conservation and by afforestation; hold the flood water - or part of the flood - in dams; use levee banks, bank protection, dredging, the straightening of streams and flood by-pass channels; and shift towns and industries to flood-free ground, where possible. That in itself is something that we in Australia should look upon as important. I remember that some years ago Dr. Bradfield submitted to the then Prime Minister, the late Mr. Chifley, a scheme for diverting the coastal streams back into the dry areas of the interior. When the question of cost was raised Dr. Bradfield said that it would cost no more than one year of war could cost the country. If we look at this problem from the logical point of view, if we consider it not from the point of view of the immediate future but rather from the viewpoint of long-term development, we must give serious thought to Dr. Bradfield’s suggestion.

Mr Barnes:

– Did you say that was Dr. Bradfield’s scheme?


– I believe that Dr. Bradfield’s scheme is far beyond the understanding of the honorable member who has just interjected. That was the scheme suggested by Dr. Bradfield, and this Government and governments of the future must give earnest consideration to suggestions such as that. We of this side believe that this country must explore every possible avenue of controlling floods which cause so much devastation to the people living in the affected areas. It is all very well to argue that flood control and mitigation are the responsibilities of the States or of the local authorities. As we all know, this problem is far too big and too complex for any one State or any one body to handle it. Its solution lies in the implementation of a scheme so big as to call for utilization of the best brains that we have in this country.

I make my plea to-night because of the fact that at the present time many hundreds of people living on the coast are suffering the loss of not only their money but also their household goods, and these losses will recur unless we approach the problem with a reasonable and logical attitude and implement schemes such as those I have suggested. I believe, too, that a solution of this problem is not beyond the ability of the Australian people. I believe that Australians can and always will rise to meet any problem that is put to them. All they require is leadership from the national government. This is a national problem and any person holding office in a government who has not the greatest confidence in the future of this country should relinquish his position. This question must be looked at from the proper point of view. The suggestion I made last October should be considered not from the point of view of the political gain that may be achieved, as was suggested by the honorable member for Lyne (Mr. Lucock), but from a national point of view. If we persist in considering these important important national matters in the way suggested by the honorable member for Lyne, this country will not advance very far. We must cease arguing about whose responsibility it is to undertake these great flood mitigation projects. We must realize the cold fact that such an attitude is singularly narrow, illogical and provocative and can lead only to stagnation in our national development.


.- I take this opportunity to speak about industrial strikes, their effect on the economy and the threat they present to our security. The honorable member for Cowper (Mr. McGuren) persists in his representations concerning flood mitigation. I give him full credit for doing so, and just as he persists in his attitude, I propose to persist in deploring strikes and industrial lawlessness. My rising to-night was prompted by a statement made not so long ago by an honorable member opposite that I was a stooge of the employers and an enemy of the trade union movement. I give the lie direct to both those accusations. I am certainly no stooge of the employer. If I am a stooge at all, then I am a stooge of the general public. As for trade unionism, no one has a greater appreciation of, and no one gives greater support to, the trade union movement than I do, always provided the trade unions which are registered act in conformity with law and order.

As honorable members are aware, trade unions have their genesis in their registration under the trade union legislation. The provisions of this legislation apply not only to unions of employees but also to unions of employers. These organizations may then obtain registration either under the arbitration acts of the various States or under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act on the federal level. I propose to talk about registration on the federal level. The obtaining of registration under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act imposes certain obligations and responsibilities upon trade unions and employers’ organizations. I refer to these responsibilities and obligations because, as we are a trading nation, the importance of observing industrial law and order as prescribed by the relevant acts must be emphasized. It is vitally essential that industrial grievances be submitted for adjudication to the proper and experienced tribunals which are set up under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act to determine wage justice and proper conditions of employment. I have said before in this chamber, and I say it again, that Australia is singularly fortunate in having the comprehensive system it has for the determination of wage justice and the awarding of proper conditions of employment under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I repeat that I am speaking now only on the federal level. Under the act to which I have referred we have set up the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to dispense wage justice and to prescribe just conditions of employment. It is interesting to note the composition of this commission and the functions it is required to perform in giving whatever assistance is necessary in administering our industrial laws. The commission is comprised of a president and five deputy presidents. These gentlemen all have the status of judges. Then there are a senior commissioner and nine commissioners. By the amending legislation of 1956, three conciliators were added to the organization. These are all men of great integrity, who have been selected from the Australian community for their skill in adducing and analysing evidence and in arriving at just decisions based on that evidence. They are tolerant men who have the interests of the community and of the work force of the nation in general very much at heart. The importance of this great system lies in the fact that, as a result of the just and adequate wages and conditions of employment prescribed in the judgments of these skilled and impartial gentlemen, price stability in the community is assured, and price stability is of vital importance to Australia as a trading nation. Labour costs must be regulated. We cannot afford an inflationary spiral in labour costs. This must be avoided at all costs if we are to prevent Australians and the Australian nation from being priced out of overseas competition. Therefore, the commission must be capable - and in fact experience has proved it to be so - of making a proper analysis of the national economic factors involved in ensuring a continuance of stability within the ambit of our national development. There is one fundamental feature which always takes my mind back to sport. That is what the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is, in effect - an umpire. When I look across the chamber - unfortunately the Opposition benches are very empty at the moment - I see usually a lot of gentlemen who are very closely associated with sport, either in an administrative capacity or as spectators. These honorable gentlemen accept the situation that an umpire is a man of great importance who controls a game. Our system of arbitral control is not much different, surely, from a game of sport. Honorable gentlemen opposite believe there should be an umpire for a game of sport. Why then do they believe there should not be an umpire - I say this quite objectively - to determine disputes between employees and employers? We are very fortunate in this country to have such an umpire in the form of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, with all its protective machinery available to trade unions to ensure industrial justice for their members.

Why should the community generally be oppressed, badgered and held at ransom by strike action? It has been said by trade unionists that the right to strike is the life blood of unionism. I condemn such a statement as rubbish and humbug, unless it is made in circumstances where men are required to work in dangerous conditions. I would not require any man to work if his physical being were endangered.

I ask honorable gentlemen opposite whether there would be strikes under a socialistic government. If the people of Australia were to vote them onto the treasury bench and they introduced their policy of socialization, there would not be strikes then. A socialistic government could not afford to have strikes. After all, honorable gentlemen opposite believe in the regimentation of labour. They believe that labour should be directed to where it is required by the State and that employees should not be free to choose what type of job they will do, where they will do it and at what times they will do it.

Mr Curtin:

– Did you refer to the boilermakers?


– The honorable gentleman opposite who has so rudely interrupted me will find that there are no strikes in Russia. As a matter of fact, he will find that there are no strikes behind the iron curtain. Why is that so? It is because the labour forces there are regimented and are ruled by fear. The system of conciliation and arbitration is the law of this land. I say, without fear of contradiction by people who really think, that strikes are barbaric. The strike is a weapon of intimidation against industrial tribunals, against law and order, against employers, and against the community generally. It is an economic bludgeon used to enforce a demand in circumstances where those who make the demand know that it is not justified.

It is very significant, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that unions which are militant come before the industrial tribunals, but at a point of time after they have indulged in their little acts of intimidation, using the strike weapon. That is most significant. I am going to quote a well-known authority, the late Mr. justice Higgins. Some years ago he said -

The logic of compulsory arbitration is to displace the rude and barbarous process of the strike by the orderly and just procedure of the law - there is no room for both.

The late Mr. Justice Cantor, an experienced New South Wales judge, made this forceful statement in the Metal Manufacturers case in 1950 -

Industrial registration by a union, either of employers or employees, carries with it the positive obligation not to resort to direct action to enforce industrial claims or demands but to submit them to conciliation and failing agreement by conciliation then to arbitration under the Act, and having submitted them to the tribunal appointed by law for determination not to resort to direct action to supplement or subtract from the decision that has been reached. Each party concerned must be prepared to accept the decision and loyally abide by it whether it is wholly in its favour or not. Any organization of employers or employees which fails in this duty commits a most serious industrial offence and one which it is impossible for this tribunal to overlook.

Those pronouncements by two eminent judges condemn strikes in unequivocal language. What those two eminent gentlemen of the law had to say years ago holds good to-day.

I am concerned, as all reasonable people must be concerned, at the continuance of strikes in Australia when we have available all the machinery necessary to adjudicate on men’s claims and to effect proper judgments on those claims. When one looks at the monthly bulletin of employment statistics, No. 254 of January, 1963, one sees on page 24 a statement which sets out for a period of years the number of stoppages in each year, the workers directly or indirectly involved, the working days lost and the estimated loss in wages. It is very interesting to note that in 1962 there were 815 stoppages involving 288,526 men. In 1962 the number of stoppages had increased to 1,183, involving a total of 330,823 men. It is also interesting to note that in the period between 1961 and 1962 manufacturing stoppages increased from 270 to 598 and that such stoppages accounted for 42 per cent, of the number of strikes which took place in 1962.

It is of further interest to note that the coal-mining industry accounted for 25 per cent, of the strikes and the stevedoring industry for 15 per cent. Unfortunately, in both the coal-mining and the stevedoring industries increased strike activity was reported. Most noticeable and perhaps very significant is the fact that the number of unions involved in strike action is relatively small, but in looking at the character of those unions you find that they are the most militant as well as the most powerful. As I have already said, out of a work force of approximately 4,000,000 men in 1962, only 330,823 men were involved. So although there is not a great number of men involved, they are members of these powerful, militant and what one might call strategic unions. They are the unions which play the most vital part in our national development and economic wellbeing and, in an emergency, in our defence also.

Having traversed a certain area relating to strikes and their effect on the community, I now ask where the Opposition stands in respect of strike action. I know honorable members opposite will say they believe in strikes. The honorable members for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), East Sydney (Mr. Ward), Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin) and Parkes (Mr. Haylen) have made it abundantly clear that they support strike action. If they make it clear by their facial expressions that my assertion that they believe in strike action is not correct, they are being completely hypocritical. Not one honorable member on the Opposition benches - when we have heard of a very damaging strike - has at any time said anything except in support of that action and to the effect that the employer is doing the wrong thing - sweating labour and doing all the other things that the employers have been accused of doing over the years. Opposition members have not for one moment thought that the proper thing to do was to exhort the striking union to take the proper process of law and go before the court - competent advocates are available - and put forward a case and have its grievances properly adjudicated upon. Nol Their attitude is: “ Go on strike. Harass the community. Make sure you harass the employer and do everything you can to damage the economy.”

When you look at the Opposition benches and think that by some mischance members opposite could come over to this side of the House, you realize that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) is a Queen’s Counsel and that some of his colleagues are members of the legal fraternity yet they do not support the conciliation and arbitration system. They support strikes, as against that system. What a remarkable state of affairs we would have if the people suddenly felt that the Labour Party should become the government! We would then have in the Ministry men who would not be prepared to take action, in accordance with their own legislation, to ensure that militant trade unions were kept in step, as they should be required to be, in conformity with that legislation. I ask the honorable gentlemen opposite: Do they not believe in conciliation and arbitration? I know that I have walked in circles - I am not saying I was walking around in circles; I refer to trade union circles - where I have been told to my face, “We do not believe in the arbitration system “. That belief is expressed by a certain type of gentleman - perhaps I should not call him a gentleman, but a certain type of man - who does not believe in law and order in any case. Yet honorable members opposite support this kind of man, who does not believe in law and order or in our system of achieving a proper way of life.

I ask honorable members opposite: Are you too frightened to stand up in your places and say, in effect, that strikes and the militancy of trade unions are the right objectives of a sound, wise and properly conducted government? Surely they cannot agree to such a proposition, but must agree that the settlement of industrial grievances by the proper processes of conciliation and arbitration, which this side of the House stands for, is in the interests of our community, our high standard of living and the integrity and welfare of our nation as a whole.

The honorable member for KingsfordSmith, in an interjection, said to me, “ Put a bit of ginger into it “. How can one do that when honorable members opposite sit dumb in their places and say nothing because the 36 men have not directed them what to say? We on this side of the House are not puppets like the 60 honorable members opposite, who sit dumb when the question of industrial anarchy is mentioned. And strikes are just that!


.- The measures now before us, Sir, provide for £500,000 for the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Trade, between them. Those departments are pursuing policies detrimental to the best interests of this country. They are carrying out policies which, if indulged in for any length of time, will bring about national disaster. Therefore I cannot possibly favour providing those departments with any further supply at all, much less half a million pounds.

I have here a directory issued by the Australian Department of Trade in 1962, showing United States of America investment in Australia. It sets out over 1,000 firms in which such investment has taken place. It is obviously a directory for circulation in America to attract further capital to this country. The directory includes, among the firms controlled by Americans, those engaged in making men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, sausage casings, greeting cards, vodka, processed foods, toothpastes and light machinery.

Much of the American capital in Australia at present has been used to purchase industries already established and operating successfully. Some of the capital created firms to compete with Australian firms that were already expanding and adequate to meet local requirements. In addition, a bigger and bigger proportion of Australian mineral, oil, pastoral, chemical, transportation, constructional and other basic industries is passing into the control of overseas investors.

The introduction to the directory reads -

The Australian Government welcomes oversea investment particularly where it is of a kind likely to help in the balanced development of Australia’s resources and where it brings with it the skills and techniques needed for the successful fulfilment of the project for which the investment is made. There are no restrictions on the remittance of capital funds to Australia except that residents must obtain exchange approval before borrowing overseas currency or incurring a liability to a nonsterling area resident.

The introduction also states -

Dividends may be remitted without restriction and capital may be repatriated as desired.

To encourage investment Australia has negotiated a taxation agreement with the United States pf America which is designed to relieve double taxation on income flowing between the two countries.

It is clear that Australia welcomes any and every kind of overseas investment and passes laws to encourage such investment in this country.

It is interesting to compare - should I say contrast? - Australia’s attitude towards foreign investment with the attitudes of other capital importing countries. Many governments use a variety of devices to limit and to regulate the flow of foreign capital into their countries. West Germany, Britain and the United States of America - the capital exporting countries - promote investment in other countries by taxation concessions and investment protection schemes. The instruments used to regulate the flow of capital are treaties and investment laws. The United States of America has treaties with Belgium, Columbia, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Pakistan and Uruguay. Those treaties encourage the flow of mutually beneficial investments. Several countries supplement the treaties with investment laws. The first Article of the Japanese investment law reads -

The purpose of this law is to create a sound basis for foreign investment in Japan by limiting the induction of foreign investment to that which will contribute to the self-support and sound development of the Japanese economy and to the improvement of the international balance of payments.

Mr. A. A. Fatourous, in his book, “ Government Guarantees to Foreign Investors “, points out that such explicit statements as the one I have just quoted are found in several other investment laws and that in all of them assurances and privileges are granted to approved investments only.

Investment treaties and laws stipulate the type of investments to be approved and prescribe conditions governing the employment, whether of foreigners or otherwise, in the industries in which the investments are made. The treaties and laws impose such conditions as are considered necessary for security and developmental reasons. I am unable to-night to go into all of them. Some treaties regulate the flow of dividends and fix a period after which foreign capital may be repatriated. Some overseas investment laws stipulate that foreign investment in industry shall not exceed 30 per cent. In other cases the figure is fixed at less than 50 per cent. In India, for example, foreign investment is not permitted at all in a vast number of industries. Australia is almost alone among the major capital importing countries with no protection against the effects of foreign-sponsored and locallyencouraged investment.

I wish now to direct attention to the vast amount of overseas capital invested in Australia and to the way that investment is increasing. The introduction to the directory to which I have already referred states -

In the decade ending 1960-61 the inflow of private overseas investment into Australia was 2,600,000,000 dollars of which 820,000,000 dollars were from the United States of America and from Canada.

Other official documents make it clear that at 30th June, 1962, there was £1,800,000,000 worth of overseas investment in Australia. That is quite apart from overseas loans. To-day’s newspapers show how overseas investment in Australia during the last nine months has increased by more than £200,000,000. If overseas investment in Australia continues for the next three years at the rate at which it has been flowing during the last three years, there will be an inflow of more than £700,000,000 of fresh overseas capital into this country. If that happens, overseas investment in this country, apart from loans, will amount not to £2,000,000,000, which is the present figure, but to £3,000,000,000. In 1961, dividends remitted overseas amounted to £120,000,000. Quite apart from amounts required to redeem loans overseas and pay interest on overseas loans, £120,000,000 was remitted overseas as dividends on foreign capital invested in this country - capital invested in the manufacture of shirts, the printing of greeting cards and the making of shoes. That work could have been done with Australian capital if Australian capital had been given the opportunity to do it and if overseas capital had been regulated and directed into those channels where it could do the greatest good.

Let me make it clear that the Australian Labour Party is not opposed to overseas capital being invested in Australia. We of the Labour Party are opposed, however, to something which probably no other country in the civilized world permits - the unrestricted inflow of capital. We are opposed to statements that dividends will be freely remitted, no matter how great they may be, and that capital may be repatriated no matter how sudden the demand for its repatriation may be. We suggest that Australia should learn from what has happened to other

I propose to quote some remarks by Mr. Robin M. Corrie, a member of the Brisbane Stock Exchange. He is not a Labour supporter. He has adverted to the dangers created by this inflow of foreign capital. He has referred to the necessity to pay overseas increasing amounts by way of dividends. He has referred to the danger that at any time that capital source overseas may be reduced or may dry up altogether. If that happened we would be plunged immediately into the disasters which have been kept away from us only by the selling of our heritage bit by bit to overseas interests. Mr. Corrie states -

The example of Canada should be heeded as a warning. How was it that the prosperous Canada of the 1940’s and early 1950’s with its dollar standing at a premium to the United States dollar for the first time in history and subsequently blessed with a fully integrated oil industry encountered unemployment levels of 14 per cent, in 1961, is still faced with 8 per cent, unemployment and now has its dollar at a discount?

He points out that this was due to the fact that American capital flowing into Canada took control of Canadian industry, particularly oil refining and distribution and the industries dependent upon oil. Canada then became subject to the economic decisions of the organizations in the United States which controlled industries in Canada. The economic depression in Canada is a result of the inactivity of the Canadian Government and the Canadian people when all kinds of United States capital was pouring into Canada.

In the same way, Australia could be faced with immediate considerable unemployment if there were a reduction by £100,000,000 or £200,000,000 annually of the capital which is flowing into Australia from nations overseas. There was an immediate danger of that occurring when Great Britain contemplated joining the European Common Market. Had she joined then, not only her trade but also her financial investments would have been directed towards European industrial activities rather than towards members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Within a short time we would have been confronted with overwhelming economic disabilities. The present difficulties which face us are being created by the Government. We of the Labour Party have been pointing this out for years but the Government has not heeded our words. In fact, Government supporters, including the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), have ridiculed the idea that any type of overseas investment could be prejudicial to Australia’s best economic interests. This was the attitude adopted by the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen), as is evidenced by the introduction to the “Directory of United States Investment” which was written by officers of his department in 1962. The introduction states clearly that Australia welcomes any kind of capital from other countries. This year, however, the Minister changed his attitude. When addressing the Country Party conference he said -

There has been an increasing tendency for capital to flow into Australia, not to establish some new and highly complicated technical activity but to come in to buy out an existing Australian flour mill or an Australian dairy factory.

That, of course, is not for Australia’s benefit. The Minister went on -

If we earn enough annual income we can live comfortably. If we don’t we could still live comfortably by selling a bit of the farm every year, and that is very much the Australian situation - we are not earning enough and we are selling a bit of our heritage every year. I am not satisfied, and we in the Country Party will not be satisfied until this is no longer a necessity.

Those are not my words. They are the words of the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. It would not have become necessary for us to sell a bit of our heritage every year had the Government directed its policies in the right way. Overseas investors never should have been allowed to buy Australian industries which were being managed successfully by Australians. However, that has been allowed, and the profits of those companies are now going overseas to develop some other country and to expand the activities of some other organization instead of being taxed in Australia to provide the necessaries of government administration and utilized for Australia’s development and the promotion of its resources.

The propositions which I am putting before the House are not of a socialistic nature and they are not propositions which should have any particular party emphasis or which should be violently supported only by the workers of this country. Of course, the workers should support them. They should say: “We do not want our resources and labour to be exploited unnecessarily by overseas capitalists. We desire them to be used in this country by our own people, in the interests of our own nation.” Not only the workers, but also the industrialists, whether they are engaged in secondary or primary industry, have a stake in defending our industries against foreign investors. Both workers and industrialists have an interest to see that our lands are not sold bit by bit to overseas interests so that eventually those overseas interests will dominate us.

I have pointed out that the vast majority of other countries - populous nations like India, small nations like Haiti, developed nations like Japan and Belgium - have laws and treaties designed to protect themselves from being peacefully absorbed by the process of purchase by overseas exploiters. But this Government has taken no such action, although it is presumed to act in the nation’s interests. I have mentioned the vast amount of investment which is flowing into Australia. At present there is over £2,000,000,000 of overseas investment here without taking overseas loans into account. It is no exaggeration to say that there will be another £1,000,000,000 of overseas capital invested here within the next three years. That is well within the bounds of reason. This will mean a total of £3,000,000,000 of overseas capital invested in Australia. As a consequence, £300,000,000 worth of our commodities will have to go overseas each year to pay dividends alone, and nearly another £100,000,000 worth will have to go abroad to meet interest and to repay capital on more than £800,000,000 of loans that we have borrowed overseas. Furthermore, we have to pay more than £100,000,000 a year in freight, insurance and other charges on the goods that leave our shores. These costs total gigantic sums, and they have to be met out of the proceeds of about £900,000,000 a year from our entire exports, with little chance in the foreseeable future of increasing our export income by any considerable amount. Does not this situation spell disaster? Of course it doss!

As I see the smile on the face of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer), who is now at the table, and the lackadaisical attitudes of members of the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Country Party, I feel acutely the truth of the words of Henry Lawson, who wrote that the warning pen shall write in vain, the warning voice grow hoarse. I wish to direct attention, as vigorously and as keenly as I can, to a matter that in my opinion is of supreme national importance. It was of supreme national importance in Canada and was the issue that led to the destruction of the Diefenbaker Government there. This matter has been regarded in other countries as being of the greatest possible interest. I believe that the sentiments that I have expressed this evening should appeal to the self-interest not merely of a section of the Australian people but of all Australians who wish to promote development in this country in time of peace and who wish to make Australia secure in time of war. The first essential of adequate defence and satisfactory development is to ensure that control over the industrial resources and manpower of this country shall be in the hands of the Australian people, who ought to exercise effective control through the government of the day.


.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, in the bills that we are now discussing provision is made for expenditure by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, and I take this opportunity to direct attention to the demand for the extension of television facilities in country areas. In so doing, I am not unaware of the nature of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Television which was appointed in 1953 and which suggested that this medium be adopted in stages, determined largely on the basis of population. I am aware, too, that the Government has developed the television service in line with these recommendations.

Stage 1 embraced Sydney and Melbourne by providing for a national and a commercial station in each of those cities. These stations began telecasting in 1956 and 1957. The service developed progressively into stage 2, which extended television to the other State capital cities. However, the medium did not become available to viewers in country districts until stage 3, under which television was extended to thirteen country centres. As a Western Australian, I noted - I may say with some disappointment - that the selected centres did not include any in my State. So, in general terms, country viewers in that State will have to wait until phase 4 of the programme has been virtually completed, and this will not be for some time yet. Only then will they be able to take advantage of a form of entertainment that has been generally available to the greater part of the Australian population for some time.

What does stage 4 of the television development programme envisage? It is expected to be completed, 1 understand, in 1966 or 1967. What does it provide for in Western Australia? Initially, it provides for one additional metropolitan commercial station. It provides also for a national and a commercial station in each of three selected country areas - first, the Lower South- West, to be served by a station located near Bunbury; secondly, the Southern Agricultural Area, to be served possibly - I emphasize the word “ possibly “ - by a station situated near Mount Barker, some miles north of Albany; and thirdly, the Central Agricultural Area, to be served oy a station possibly to be located near York at a point known as Needling Hill.

There were, however, some complications. One of these was the fact that, when applications were called for the allocation of commercial licences in these three country areas, the Bunbury area was the only one of the three for which an application was received. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Davidson) has made it clear that this fact will in no way prejudice the establishment of the national stations in these three areas. He intimated, in reply to a question that I asked on 3rd April last year, that further investigations were being undertaken by departmental officers in an effort to find sites for these national stations that would give the most effective coverage. Needless to say, people in these country districts have been very much concerned about the selection of sites, because it appeared that in at least two instances transmissions from the stations proposed at Bunbury, Mount Barker and Needling Hill would overlap existing services in the Perth metropolitan area. Against this situation, I believe, one cannot argue with very much force, possibly for several reasons and certainly for one reason at least: It is the intention of the PostmasterGeneral, the department and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to provide a good service in which the standard of reception shall be at least the equal of that obtained in more densely settled districts and large communities.

In addition, it seems apparent that in two of the possible situations, if we accept the viewing area for good reception to be one with a radius of about 60 miles, subject to the influence of topographical features, that a large part of the good viewing area will extend seawards and much of the viewing potential will be wasted. What may appear to be a rather more serious consequence of the use of the three sites that will possibly be chosen is that in all probability an area between them and an area extending eastwards and northwards would not be given an adequate service. As a consequence, also, it would be doubtful whether the capital work involved in the provision of another station would be justified to provide for the area which would be thus left out. It is realized that the total area of the districts involved is far greater than can be covered adequately by two, or possibly even three, stations, as it comprises something like 300 miles square - and this does not include such towns as Kalgoorlie and Geraldton. It is for these reasons that the people of the farming areas feel that development of the service should take place not on the basis of the selection of certain centres but rather on the basis of a progressive covering of the country.

I am very pleased to note that other sites have been explored by the department. These include selected peaks in the Stirling Ranges which, if they had been found satisfactory, would have extended the viewing area a considerable distance eastwards and northwards into the sparser farming areas, particularly on the eastern side. However, I am given to understand that access and road construction costs alone to these peaks could exceed £400,000, and they were therefore ruled out - or presumably this was the reason why they were ruled out. This, naturally, is a matter of some regret to all the people in the vicinity, because the areas that would have been so served are those which, in my opinion, because of the lack of communications and general public amenities, are really most in need.

The Postmaster-General has also said that for the central areas a point further east than Needling Hill, perhaps as far as Kellerberrin, would have been more satisfactory, because coverage could then have been provided for north-eastern districts, including such towns as Merredin, and parts of the Yilgarn. Unfortunately, however, it seems that no suitable topographical feature can be found to satisfy the requirements in that territory. Out of the many discussions that have taken place throughout the districts it does appear that there may not be sufficient knowledge of the topography - perhaps because of the inadequacy of detailed mapping of that part of Western Australia - without which the most suitable location of possible stations cannot be determined.

Considerations of the kind I have mentioned led the council of the town of Narrogin, which is a major town of the Great Southern district, and which would have been outside the 60-miIes viewing area of one of these stations, to convene a meeting of all interested shires to discuss the question. This meeting was held last Saturday at Narrogin, and it is indicative of the interest taken in the matter that sixteen shires, with a total population of 46,000, were directly represented. In addition, the Great Southern Shires Association, with a membership of 27 shires, was represented by delegates and, finally, authorized representatives of the Great Eastern ward of fifteen shires, were also present and taking part in the discussions. Considerable appreciation was expressed of the fact that the Director of Technical Services of the Australian

Broadcasting Control Board, Mr. MacDonald, was present at the request of the Postmaster-General and was able to fill in a few gaps in the knowledge and information of those present. I believe Mr. MacDonald was most impressed with the arguments put forward by the delegates, and I think it is not inappropriate to state that a resolution was passed unanimously in the following terms: -

Taking into consideration the projected T.V. policy outlined by the Postmaster-General for W.A., this meeting of delegates from the Central Great Southern strongly recommends the authorities to give urgent consideration to the establishment of a T.V. station in the Central Great Southern somewhat on the lines of that put forward by the Wagin Shire Council, particularly in view of the statistics supplied by that authority, and the fact that under the present proposals the Central Great Southern and Eastern Districts will not have a satisfactory service.

I may add that the Wagin shire has undertaken considerable work in the preparation of plans and proposals for an alternate site for the location of these stations, and I may add that these plans and proposals have been receiving consideration by the Postmaster-General’s Department and by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. This resolution was supported by the meeting. It is not claimed that this is the answer to the question of the determination of the television site, but it is surely something that merits a good deal of investigation.

I do not wish to go on at great length on this subject, and I close by saying that I hope that the resolution passed at the meeting to which I have referred will be accepted in all seriousness as a true representative opinion of the districts concerned, and that no stone will remain unturned by the Broadcasting Control Board and the staff of the Postmaster-General’s Department to locate sites which will adequately provide for the needs of the areas involved, particularly those at present so poorly served with alternative amenities.

I have made no mention of the use of translators, and I feel that perhaps there is no great opportunity for their adoption in general terms over such wide areas. I accept the advice of the department and its technical staff that these translator stations at this stage may best be used for filling in certain pockets which are not adequately served by existing services. In submitting this resolution and in giving some enlargement of the views of the councils and people concerned I believe that this question of translator stations should still be given further examination in the hope that in this direction also we can provide a service for the great and worthy people of these areas.


.- Some remarks made this afternoon on the Supply Bill by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) captured my attention. He referred to the small change of debate that comes from the Government side in relation to the spending of many millions of pounds and to the picture created here of an abiding prosperity in the country, which is only half the picture, although it is maliciously and persistently canvassed as a condition of prosperity created by this Government in the years it has been in office.

To-night I would like to talk in a truthful way about the economy of this country and to show honorable members the two sides of the picture, not only the glamorous televised and built-up picture of an abounding prosperity but also the picture represented by the invisible people who are suffering - the unemployed who number 90,000 or so, the homeless to the tune of 100,000, and the pensioners who live on nothing but their pensions, whose numbers are uncounted but whose tragedy is very great indeed. In no picture presented by the Government or any of its protagonists, from the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) to the ordinary back-bencher, do you see this portrayed, although all the economists have noted this trend all over the world, a trend which is only too apparent in Australia. We are creating what is called a culture of poverty. When I say culture I do not mean something good and splendid. It is an organism, a danger, a cancer in the community that is eating unchecked into the body politic. We are creating a culture of poverty among the unemployed because we cannot solve their problems, among the homeless because the Government cannot get them homes, and among the pensioners who are living on a pittance. This is called abounding prosperity. What nonsense! The Government has never given any indication that it feels any twinge of conscience about these people. On the contrary, we are told that this is a land of great prosperity, that we have the shortest working week and the highest living standards. Let us accept this argument of the Government for the purpose of breaking it down. Let us say that for most of us this is a situation of well-being. But how far does this prosperity go? ls there another side of the picture? What of all the good Australians who do not enjoy this prosperity, who have not had these conditions for years and who are not likely ever to have them under the Menzies Government? I speak of the unemployed, the homeless and the pensioners. What can we do about their situation?

The first charge we make against the Menzies Government is that it is too smug, too self-satisfied, too senile, and too softened by its long term of office to care about what happens to the workless, the homeless or the pensioners. The Government does not speak about these people. The subject is not refined enough, and nothing can be said or done about them. The Government wants to forget them, for the poor are always with us. Let us examine the attitude of Ministers when they are pressed to deal with questions about the unemployed, the homeless and the pensioners. I have gathered a few examples. They are not verbatim, but in the main they give the views of the Ministers. The idea is not to answer a question but to pat it down the wicket as their leader does. If they are in the first eleven, they think they are playing the gentle game of cricket on a soft wicket and they pat the questions back. They never answer the demands made by honorable members on this side of the House to tell us what is happening on these vital and urgent problems.

What does the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) do when he is asked about the money needed for housing? Invariably, he refers to action taken by the Australian Loan Council, the assistance given to the States last year and the buoyancy of the local loan market. The trouble is that although he will let you look at the financial machine, he will never show you how it is supposed to work. He cannot explain why it is not working and why it is unable to provide for the needs of the workless, the homeless and the pensioners.

We find the same trouble with unemployment. When the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) is bombarded with questions from this side of the House, what happens? The Minister is fascinated with his political yo-yo. He secs the figures going up and down daily, but he can never tell us whether they are going up or down until some statistician provides him with the answer. This does not help the unemployed, 90,000 of whom are waiting for a chance. The Minister looks at his political yo-yo, but he does not know where it is going. That may sound humorous, but the way the Minister deals with questions is tragic.

Let us look at pensions. I am glad the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) is here. I know him to be a humane and very kindly man, but he stands like a black dog in front of the Treasurer’s millions. He says that there can be no pension increases until the next Budget is fixed, and he cannot be shifted one way or the other. That should not happen. Consideration should be given to increasing pension rates as the need arises. Increases should be given in supplementary budgets or in the Supply Bill. Pensioners are the most vulnerable group in the community but they receive scant attention from the Government.

From time to time, the Government makes pallid statements and then retires into its shell. It locks these skeletons up in its cupboard. It believes that it is not nice to talk about them. It says, “ It is really very, very sad, so let us try a diversion. Let us have a royal tour, a spy trial or, better still, let us build a nuclear base, This will keep our minds off the people who live across the tracks - the people who, in this stage of prosperity, are the forgotten men and women of Australia, the invisible poor.” Meantime, these decent people arc in trouble - the unemployed, the homeless and the pensioners. They drop down through the slats of our house of prosperity. They become the other Australia which is not talked about. They disappear. They are, as I have said, the invisible poor, the invisible homeless and the invisible old and sick, but the Government goes out to a big fat dinner and prates of our prosperity and progress.

The problems of the poor do not show up on the screens of prosperity. They are not seen on television programmes. They do not appear in the statistics. We do not see the poor in the streets of our cities, because they do not have the fare to get into town. We do not see the homeless wearing sandwich boards bearing notices to quit, eviction orders or their priorities with the Housing Commission. They keep their troubles to themselves. We do not see the pensioners in numbers because they are old and sick. But they exist, and the statistics prove that they exist. They are living on short commons. They do not parade their misery and hopelessness, but we can see them on seats in the parks - homeless, aged and finished - and we can see them on transport benches waiting for the bus that never comes. They wait for the good times that they are entitled to expect as citizens of Australia. But this does not matter to the Government. The Government creates a false image of prosperity. It subsists on this false image, hoping to gull the public. However, there will be an election soon and I hope that the people then will listen and understand that there is another picture besides the picture of abounding prosperity falsely portrayed by the Government.

The workless, the homeless and the pensioners have been brought to this state by the Government. We remember that at one time we had full employment. But these people of the economic underground are here in Australia. They have given the game away under the Menzies Government. They are beginning to believe that there is no hope for them. They are in the nevernever land of poverty, unwept, unhonoured and unsung. They are forgotten. We have the culture of poverty, and this is the other side of our prosperity. That is the charge we make against the Government in this debate.

I wonder whether the Prime Minister has seen these people passing by. If government members think that I have exaggerated and that I have painted a colourful picture, I invite them to come into the industrial areas of New South Wales. If they visit the electorates of the honorable members for West Sydney (Mr Minogue), East Sydney (Mr. Ward), Watson (Mr. Cope) or Dalley (Mr. O’Connor), where the crowded workers live, they will see that the picture

I have painted is not an untrue picture and that the problems of the people are just as I have spoken of them. I have mentioned these honorable members because they come from industrial areas.

Mr James:

– What about the coal-fields?


– Of course, as my friend, the honorable member for Hunter so rightly says, I should mention the coal-fields. Here we have the complete decay of a whole industry because of the stupid attitude of a Government which has built up coal-mining but has ignored the workers. Men have been turned out from their homes after almost a lifetime of work in the coal industry simply because this was economically better for the big boss. Automation, mechanization and a ruthless playing with the souls, hearts and bodies of men have created a shambles in our northern coal-fields, though the potential of these fields is as great as that of any coal field in the world. This certainly strengthens the picture I have painted.

We cannot afford to let the invisible poor become an accepted part of the pattern of our affluent society. Can anything be done for them? Of course something can be done, but the Menzies Government cannot do it. What is needed is a return to office of a Labour government, because Labour will do what has to be done. Whenever a by-election or a general election is held in any State, this message must go out to the people. Labour has the answer to the problems. After twelve or fourteen years - it seems an interminable time to me - the Menzies Government does not have the answer.

Let us take the question of unemployment. Why should the core of unemployment harden and harden until we accept it as a cancer or as an incurable disease. We had full employment when the Chifley Government was in office, and this can be achieved again if the government of the day has the will and the wit to put men and women back to work. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) not only had the will and the wit but in 1961 he also had the plan. His plan was to use money, which is never as important as men and women are. By using money, he would give a buoyancy to the economy and put new blood into our economic bloodstream to the tune of £100,000,000. His plan was pooh-poohed by the economists of the right wing. It was laughed at by the Prime Minister. It was prated about by his little stooges all over the country, and he convinced some people. But immediately his Government crept into office again by one solitary seat, he stole the policy of the Leader of the Opposition to assist the unemployed by creating jobs and services, by paying extra pensions and by examining the whole slackness of the economy at the grass roots. The Menzies Government stole this policy holus bolus and services by paying extra pensions and by it has thrived. That is the sort of thing one expects from the Menzies Government. We feel that we have the answer to unemployment, although the solving of the problem has been botched by incompetent operators on the other side of the House. With the proper wit and the will to do these things, which lie with the Labour Party, unemployment could be well on the way to solution.

We hear horrible slogans. It used to be “ the hard core of unemployment “. Now the slogans are getting worse than that. We hear reference to people being unemployable, to psychiatric cases, to people who are not available for the type of job we have, until the statistics have become a madhouse and we can not believe any of them. We cannot get a faithful, immediate picture of where the work is, although we can see the people wanting it, because we have been badgered and beggared into this statistical nightmare. The answer is in making more money available along the simple lines propounded by Labour’s leader in our policy at the last federal election. We must find why workers are unemployable, whether they are sick and not capable of finding and doing a job, and whether the jobs available are not suitable to their needs. We must create jobs. The men on the lower level of employment will always tumble out. They will always be in a state of anxiety. They will always be close to the bread-line. It is the right and duty of a prosperous country to see that they are not left in that position. We must provide for them. It is not Christian, sensible, ethical or profitable to leave them out of jobs, because while they are out of jobs we are paying doles that only keep body and soul together, regardless of the need to develop our economy.

The Labour Party is quite certain, because it has been proved by those inexpert people opposite, that by applying the formula given out at the last election we can defeat unemployment. This is not an overburdening, intolerable problem. Once we start to break the soft edges we can get to the so-called hard core and break it down. To those persons who have been collecting outside employment offices but should have been on pensions, we can apply our social services provisions. We must do that. Any government that does not know that the first essential is to keep its people employed and its pioneer aged and sick in comfortable circumstances is not doing its job for Australia.

The Calwell policy had a powerful thrust to it. Can anybody say that in the many years we have been in opposition anything that the Menzies Government has done has had thrust to it? The Government has been running down hill, following old-fashioned formulas on foreign affairs, development, employment and everything else. It has followed the worn-out formula of laisserfaire, the old-fashioned, worn out, scabby capitalism, that ought to be done away with if we are to do the right thing by the Australian people who are asking us to do it. We must break through for them, because they cannot break through for themselves - the invisible poor, the invisible homeless, who have been crushed out of the news; nobody wants to hear about them. I am reminded of the remarks of the lamented Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. At the time of the revolution, when someone came to her and said, “ Madame, the poor have no bread “, she replied, “ Well, let them eat cake “. That is what the Menzies Government is attempting to say. It is buttering up the boys who have plenty of butter, doing nothing about the basic problems on which we are challenging it to-night.

Housing is a problem that is a heartbreak. Every Federal member and every State member is bent every day upon doing something about this. The primary reason for its existence, of course, is that money in sufficient quantities does not go to the housing authorities of the various States. Otherwise, why would the people queue up - mothers with kiddies in prams, worried, neurotic, almost psychopathic - haunting us into doing something for them in relation to housing? If something was not wrong with the financial arrangements, we could get on with the job.

All over the world, people are considering this problem. The Labour answer to it is lower interest rates, loans to young people to allow them to build and, above all, homes for rental. It is of no use to say, “ Let them all buy houses “, because a very wide section of the community just cannot afford the necessary deposit. Let us face it. We must provide good homes for rental at a reasonable price, which we are not able to do, because of the pressure for loan money, high interest rates, and the indifference of Ministers of this Government.

The honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor), who was away overseas on a mission, brought back to me from West Germany details of a housing plan for young married people, which is in accordance with Labour policy. Houses for rental are a matter of urgency there, as well as here. The amount of loan provided is 2,000 marks, repayable at 2 per cent. In West Germany the payment of a bonus to get into a rented house appears to be acceptable. One may accept this money as a rental bonus or use it as a deposit when buying a home on terms. This arrangement is supplementary to an extremely wide housing plan that is part of the policy of the West German Government.

I do not believe in high density housing as passionately as some people do. I have watched the trek of the poor from one place to another. We clear a slum, build a beautiful block of flats, charge £6 a week for the flats, and the slum dweller, who has lost the place where he used to live, has not enough money to live in the flats the Government has provided, so he goes somewhere else. He is part of the invisible poor. We are only pushing the problem back into the darkness. We must come out with it. High density housing has a usefulness, but we must find money at the very lowest rate of interest, sufficient only to meet the administrative cost of handling the money - li per cent, to 2 per cent. - and do something about the problem. Otherwise, we are botching the job. The people are sick and tired of this and want the Government to do something about it.

There is a whole series of agonizing dramas about what happens to people who are homeless. Every member who meets his constituents, that is, every one on this side, knows how tragic the story is. From the other side, we get the mechanical answer from the mechanical Treasurer with his mechanical poker machine, and it all adds up to nothing if we have not enough money to build houses and provide for the honest needs of the Australian people. I believe that Labour would provide a rent bonus, rather than have people rack-rented as they are to-day while waiting in the long priority list for homes.

I know that the Government’s answer on housing is the answer of the developer, who takes a cheap block of land and turns it into an expensive block. It is the answer of the insurance companies and the banks, which are building sky-scrapers all over Australia, and particularly in Sydney. Many of these twenty-story buildings are owned by provident or mutual societies, but if anybody goes along and says, “Is there any chance of a couple of thousand pounds to build a home for myself and my wife - we are newly married? “ the answer is a reverberating “No”. That is where the money is, millions and millions of pounds. The developer is exploiting the country, tearing the heart out of Australia, selling land at three, four or five times its value, so that the man trying to get himself a home finds himself beaten by the deposit, or what the economists call the deposit gap. These people can always find a wonderful word to describe anything but they can never find a solution for the problem indicated by the word. We have the developer, the deposit gap, and the careering expenditure and extravagance of insurance companies and banks, but the people who need houses still have not got them. Is it not obvious that the solutions lie with us on this side of the House? Of course it is. The solutions are there plainly to see. If we do not break the bottle-neck in housing, we still have the invisible homeless, the invisible poor and the very, very visible slums. Breaking that bottle-neck is the answer to the housing problem. But does the Government ever think about it? Not the Knight of the Thistle. The homeless people have had the brush-off from that gentleman long since.

Finally I refer to the pensioners. I am all in favour of the means test. I, like all honorable members on both sides of the House, am very disturbed because the value has gone out of money and the pensioners are in deep trouble. The means test, as operated by the Government to-day, is lopsided. Let us be frank about these matters. What Labour man, in his wildest dreams, ever dreamt that he would be sitting in his office smiling at a couple of constituents who were seeking a pension, and that he would be saying to them: “Yes, it is O.K. You may have £4,000 each and still receive the pension.”? I agree with that idea. I say, “ Good luck to them “. I help them, and so do other honorable members.

But a few minutes later we are saying to another man: “Be careful, Jack. If you work two days instead of one a week, you exceed your permissible income and you are in trouble with the Department of Social Services. You might even go to gaol.” What an extraordinary means test! It is like a concertina with all the wind at one end of it. If it is a means test, it has to be all-embracing; it has to hit at the lower levels where people are suffering most. I never conceived that I would be able to tell fairly comfortably off people that they were entitled to receive the pension. Mind you, I do not deny their right to it. I want a comprehensive means test. I do not want to have to say: “ Go for your life, Jack. You work two days a week at the bowling green; but if you do not look out the social services inspector will catch you, and then I will have to try to get you out of trouble.” We know that that happens. How ridiculous and how absurd that is as a plan for social services. We have to say these things.

I believe that we should abolish the work test in regard to pensioners. The decent people on the pension do not receive enough money. If they could earn a few extra pounds, what a difference it would make to them. I do not mean that they should go out and get full-time jobs, because 90 per cent, of them could not do that, in any case. That little extra work, without having the Gestapo after them, would make all the difference. Mind you, the administration of the Department of Social Services is very good. It tries to help. But the machinery is there and the old tyrant is still there. Nobody is going to be like Oliver Twist and ask for more while the present Minister is there. We know that only too well. So pensioners cannot earn, without fear or doubt, the extra money that they really need.

The real answer is to give them a pension that they can live on. The Labour Party a- a Labour government would give them a pension that they could live on. By doing that we would not bust the economy, because the Menzies Government busted it ten years ago. We would revive the economy by giving spending power at the lowest level, where the money that is received on Thursday at the pensions office is spent by Monday on feeding themselves and buying a few clothes. This is a simple proposition to a layman. I am not an economist. I know only the hard common facts of life as a result of experience in my own electorate and living in this country. The real answer is to give the pensioners a pension that they can live on. That is all that they ask for. The Government need not be afraid that anything will happen as a result of doing that. All that the pensioners want is a break and a fair go.

I am deeply moved, as we all are, by their plight. It makes me sick when this supply debate goes on and on like a madman’s circus, full of morons and clowns chattering on the other side of the chamber, and none of them breathing reality in regard to this matter. We are all very interested in the pensioners. We know that they are hungry. We are all very interested, too, in the Freedom from Hunger Campaign. I support it strongly. But what about freedom from hunger at home, amongst the pensioners? Will anybody dare to tell me that some pensioners are not hungry to-night? These hungry people have not got to be 2,000 or 20,000 miles away.

I hear members of the Australian Country Party mewling and puking night after night, calling on the Government to come to the aid of the dairy industry to the extent of £20,000,000 worth of subsidy. If they are dinkum about that, we will call their bluff. If they are spending the nation’s money anyway, why should we make butter cheaper to our overseas customers instead of giving it to our pensioners? Let us give our sick and aged poor a chance to eat something better than dripping and margarine on their bread. Let us give them protective foods like milk, butter and eggs during the cold winters. Then we will be doing a good job for the Australian people. All the money comes out of the Budget. I am a great believer in the old adage that charity begins at home.

In the few minutes remaining at my disposal, I should like to sum up. The Government’s picture of Australia as a prosperous country flowing with milk and honey reminds me of a notice that I read on the wharfs down in Woolloomooloo during the depression. Some migrants were coming to this country and I saw on the wall a notice in chalk which read: “Welcome, friends, to the land of milk and honey. P.S. Bring your own milk and honey.” That is the Government’s suggestion to the underprivileged people of this country. Do not let us forget the ugly image, this culture of poverty, that has been created on the Government side. The Government says that you must not talk about the unemployed, the homeless or the pensioners who have nothing but their pensions to live on. That image is created, and the story put out day by day by the Government, of a land abounding with prosperity and certainty, is a contemptible lie. It is untrue in every aspect and should be challenged. I know that in the electorate of Grey and at the Queensland election it certainly will be challenged.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Chaney) adjourned.

page 866


Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.

House adjourned at 10.37 p.m.

page 867


The following answers to questions were circulated: -


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. To what extent must an ex-serviceman be Incapacitated from accepted war-caused disabilities to be deemed eligible for a 100 per cent, war pension?
  2. Why is an ex-serviceman in receipt of a 100 per cent, war pension, who is deemed to be unfit for any class of employment, not granted the totally and permanently incapacitated exservicemen’s pension?
Mr Swartz:

– The answers £o the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. An ex-serviceman whose accepted Incapacity is total and permanent, i.e., who is incapacitated for life to such an extent as to be precluded from earning more than a negligible percentage of a living wage, is grantee* the special (T.P.I.) rate war pension, as is a war-blinded ex-serviceman. Where he is incapacitated to the same degree, but not for life, he may be paid the equivalent amount for an appropriate period as temporarily totally incapacitated. In the case of incapacity from certain specified disabilities the act provides (vide section 37 and the Fourth Schedule) for pension to be paid at a specified percentage of the full general (100 per cent.) rate, and additional amounts are paid under the Fifth Schedule in respect of amputations of the limbs and partial loss of vision. In other cases, the rate of pension is assessed according to the nature and extent of the incapacity at an appropriate percentage ranging from 10 per cent, to 100 per cent, of the general rate. Within the above statutory principles, pensions are paid at amounts determined by the independent determining authorities established under the act for that purpose.

Mr Beaton:

n asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government received proposals with respect to repatriation pensions from the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia?
  2. If so, what were the proposals?
  3. What is the estimated cost of the various proposals?
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. Yes, in accordance with the practice established by this Government.
  2. The proposals are outlined in 3 below.
  3. Rates proposed by the R.S.S. & A.I.L.A., with an indication in each case of the league’s priorities and the estimated annual cost, are as follows: -

Note. - The estimates, which are based on the latest available statistics, are subject to revision in the light of changes in the numbers of persons entitled to these benefits.

The R.S.S. & A.I.L.A. also requested, as its fifth priority, that “ all returned servicemen of the first world war and previous wars be granted full repatriation hospital and medical benefits”. If this request were granted it would, of course, add very considerably to the estimated cost of £14.8 million annually for the League’s other proposals.


Mr Ward:

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

  1. Do practically all government and semigovernment authorities and private employers fix a maximum age for engaging permanent employees?
  2. Does this maximum never exceed 45 years?
  3. Has the Commonwealth Employment Service ever made a survey to obtain this information?
  4. If so, will he have the information made available to the Parliament?
  5. If no such survey has been undertaken would information of this type be of value to officers of his department engaged in the placement of labour?
  6. If so, will he arrange to have such a survey undertaken at the earliest possible date?
Mr McMahon:

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

  1. The Commonwealth and most State public services do fix maximum ages for many appointments to their permanent staffs. Semi-government authorities often follow the broad principles of the Public Service Act of the particular government under whose authority they have been consituted, but this is not true of all semi-government authorities in Australia, nor do those which follow the broad principles adopt all the provisions of the various acts. It is not possible to generalize about the recruitment policy of private employers.
  2. It is not the case that the max .muni, where set, never exceeds 45 years. 3 and 4. No such survey has been undertaken.
  3. My department has found that the most successful policy is to treat each registration for employment and each notification of vacancy ,is :u individual case, rather than attempting a universally applicable approach.
  4. It is therefore not proposed that such a survey should be undertaken.

Stevedoring Industry Act

Mr Ward:

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

  1. How many employers in the stevedoring industry have been successfully prosecuted for breaches of obligations imposed by the Stevedoring Industry Act in each year since the act came into operation?
  2. What was the total amount collected in fines in each such year?
  3. On bow many occasions has the approval to an employer to engage in stevedoring operations been (a) suspended or (b) cancelled by order of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission?
  4. What was the nature of the offence of which the employer was deemed to be guilty in each instance where suspension or cancellation of his right to engage in the industry occurred?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Employers became liable to prosecution on 14th August, 1956, when the Stevedoring In dustry Act 1956 came into operation. The number of successful prosecutions of employers each year since that date and the total amount collected in fines each year are shown in the following table: -

  1. Nil.
  2. See 3.

Asian Residents in Papua and New Guinea.

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. Were Asians resident in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in early 1957 given the right to Australian citizenship upon satisfying certain conditions?
  2. Have approximately 1,700 adults and children obtained naturalization under this scheme to date?
  3. If the residents of Papua and New Guinea eventually decide for the complete independence of their country or for a political tie with a country other than Australia will these people be given the right, where desired, of entry to Australia for permanent residence?
Mr Downer:
Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

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

  1. Yes.
  2. In the period ended 31st December, 1962, the number of persons granted naturalization in accordance with this decision was 1,623.
  3. Persons granted naturalization in accordance with the 1957 decision received also the right of entry into Australia. This right would not be affected, should the eventualities to which the honorable member refers occur. In this latter event, however, and should the question relate to persons who at that time had not yet qualified for naturalization, their right of entry into Australia would be a matter for consideration at the time.

Citizenship Conventions

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. How many people attended citizenship conventions as guests of the Commonwealth Government in each of the years 1956 to 1962 inclusive?
  2. Do guests of the Government receive payment of expenses in accordance with a fixed scale or are they recompensed for actual expenses incurred?
  3. What was the cost of transport, accommodation, &c?
  4. What was the amount of other costs associated with the conventions?
  5. What was the total cost of holding the convention in each of the years referred to?
  6. What organizations were represented at these conventions?
  7. What is the basis of representation for participating organizations?
Mr Downer:

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

  1. The number of people who attended each convention between 1956 and 1962 as guests of the Commonwealth was: -
  1. Expenses incurred for transport and accommodation, including meals at fixed rates, are met by the department
  2. The cost of transport, accommodation, &c, was -
  1. Other costs associated with the conventions were - ,
  1. The total cost of holding the conventions was -
  1. More than 80 organizations were represented at each convention. These included the political parties of Federal Parliament, State governments. Commonwealth Immigration Advisory and Planning Councils, churches, voluntary organizations constituted on a Commonwealth basis, including the Good Neighbour Council with its migrant representation, commerce and industry, trade unions, employers’ associations, press and radio.
  2. Representation at the convention is confined to organizations with Commonwealth-wide affiliations, which are generally accepted as representing an important section of public opinion, or which are making a direct contribution to the cause of immigration and the assimilation and welfare of new settlers.


Mr Reynolds:

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

  1. What analysis of unemployed persons has been made in terms of (a) occupational groups, (b) sex, (c) adults and youth and (d) duration of registration?
  2. If current statistics have been so analysed, what are the figures?
Mr McMahon:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. An analysis of the statistics of persons who claimed when registering with the Commonwealth Employment Service that they were not employed, and who were recorded as unplaced at the end of the preceding month, in terms of (a) occupational groups,(b) sex and (c) adults and juniors under 21, is made every month and published in my department’s monthly news release on the employment situation, but no such monthly analysis is made of duration of registration.

Nuclear Tests.

Mr Einfeld:

d asked the Minister for

External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. Is he able to say whether the French Government proposes to institute tests of nuclear weapons, including bombs, in the Society Islands in the Pacific Ocean?
  2. Has the Australian Government any view on this proposal; if so, has he conveyed it to the Government of France?
  3. If not, will he inform the French Government that the United Kingdom Government consulted Australia and New Zealand before it made Christmas Island available for similar tests?
  4. If the French Government proposes to proceed with these experiments, will he make a statement to the House indicating the extent and time of these tests?

– In replying to the honorable member’s questions I wish to state that -

  1. Australia was a party to the Disarmament Statement made by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers attheir meeting in London on 17th March, 1961, which included the following paragraph: -

Every effort should be made to secure rapid agreement to the permanent banning of nuclear weapons tests by all nations and to arrangements for verifying the observance of the agreement. Such an agreement is urgent, since otherwise further countries may soon become nuclear powers, which would increase the danger of war and further complicate the problem of disarmament. Moreover, an agreement on nuclear test, apart from its direct advantages, would provide a powerful psychological impetus to agreement over the wider field of disarmament.

  1. We adhere to these views.
  2. In spite of the efforts of the Western powers, the Soviet Union has continued to frustrate the securing of such an agreement, and therefore retains the right to make such tests itself.
  3. I was informed by the French Government, during my recent visit to Paris, that a decision would be taken before the end of the year on the choice of a site to be reserved for French nuclear tests in the Pacific region. I was informed that even when a decision is taken a considerable period will elapse before a test can actually be conducted at tie site.
  4. The French Government has undertaken to inform us at the appropriate time of the safeguards which will be taken against any fallout hazards and if necessary to discuss these precautions with us.
  5. Having the impression that the French Government’s decision might well be taken in the fairly near future, I expressed deep regret at any such decision and our strong preference for a test ban treaty, and repeated the views expressed by the Prime Ministers in the passage quoted above.


Mr Webb:

b asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

Will he consider an amendment of the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act to provide that verifiable fares or reasonable transport costs incurred by workers in travelling to and from their places of employment shall be allowable deductions for income tax purposes?

Mr Harold Holt:

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

Arrangements have been made for this matter to receive consideration when the 1963-64 Budget is being prepared.



s asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

What (a) quantity and (b) value of wheat has been exported to Mainland China from (i) Australia and (ii) each State since the 1st July, 1960?

Mr Adermann:

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


Mr Harding:

g asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. Have the Brandon tobacco sales collapsed leaving in the hands of the growers leaf which cost them almost £250,000?
  2. If so, will production of leaf cease in the Clare-Millaroo-Dalbeg areas on the Burdekin River?
  3. Has tobacco growing also virtually ceased in Western Australia and Victoria and at Texas in Queensland?
  4. Does this leave the Mareeba-Dimbulah area as the only area in Australia producing tobacco lean
  5. Can he say whether the failures of these areas one after another is part of a plan by tobacco companies eventually to smash completely Australian tobacco-growers?
  6. Would success of this plan necessitate larger imports of leaf from cheap-labour countries and circumvent the Government’s requirement compelling the use of a percentage of Australiangrown leaf?
  7. What does the Government intend to do to help stabilize the tobacco-growing industry and to assist the unfortunate growers, many of whom are now destitute?
Mr Adermann:

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

  1. Of a growers’ estimate of approximately 600 tons of tobacco leaf produced this year for sale at Brandon, only 68 tons have been offered. Thirty-one and a half tons have been sold at an average price of 107d. per lb. Sales have been suspended at Brandon and the remaining leaf from that centre will be offered at Mareeba.
  2. i am in no position to predict the future growing plans of growers in the ClareMillarooDalbeg areas, particularly as the great bulk of this year’s crop has yet to be offered.
  3. No, except in Western Australia, where only a very small acreage has been planted to tobacco this year.
  4. No.
  5. No.
  6. The Government’s policy is to provide a market related to Australian demand and a satisfactory price to growers for Australian leaf of a quality acceptable to Australian smokers. To the extent that Australian leaf of this quality is not available, it is not unreasonable that imported leaf should be used to meet overall requirements of manufacturers.
  7. The Government has indicated through my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, in his recent announcement on percentage usage rates, that it will closely watch the result of leaf sales and if the objectives of the percentage usage arrangements are not being achieved, then the situation will be reviewed.

Primary Production

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. How did prices obtained by Australian producers for (a) eggs, (b) butter, (c) cheese, (d) meat and (e) dried fruits consumed locally compare with those received from exportable surpluses in each of the last five years?
  2. What quantity of these commodities was locally consumed per head of population per annum in the period immediately preceding World War II?
  3. What is the present consumption of these products per head of population in Australia?
  4. Have the prices received overseas for these commodities declined during the past five years?
Mr Adermann:

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

  1. Eggs. - Details ofreturns from the sale of eggs on the local and overseas markets are not available separately. Producers receive an equalized price for local and export sales and as prices and quantities sold on the local and export markets vary as between States, returns to producers are different in each State. The Australian weighted average return to producers for each of the last five years was as follows: -

The only export returns available are from sales made by the Australian Egg Board on behalf of the pooling States. Over the past five years, for the 16-1b. pack, these returns - net to the pools concerned - were -

Butter and Cheese. - Returns from the sales of butter and cheese are placed in separate pools, each of which pays an equalized price to the producers. The producers do not, therefore, receive two distinct payments in respect of local and export sales. Returns to the respective pools from the two market’s were as follows: -

Meat. - A comparison of domestic producer prices received for meat consumed locally and exported is not practicable because of the difficulty in providing a representative price for Australia; and secondly, even if this could be obtained, export prices provide little or no basis for comparison because of the forms in which the meat’ is marketed. For instance a large proportion of our beef and mutton exported is sent in the boneless form which does not incorporate the full carcase. Detailed domestic and export price information is contained in the Australian Meat Board annual reports, copies of which are available in the Library.

Dried fruits - Five-Crown Sultanas - (sultana prices in the United Kingdom provide a convenient indication of dried vine fruit price movements.). -

2 and 3. Consumption per head per annum -

  1. See answer to No. 1. in respect of eggs, butter, cheese and dried fruits. In regard to meat there have been wide fluctuations in meat export prices duringthe last five years. However, the average export prices for beef and mutton during 1961-62 were higher than those obtaining five years earlier, while lamb prices were lower.

Aero Clubs and Flying Schools

Mr Griffiths:

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

  1. In what cities and towns in Australia is there either an aero club or flying school, or both?
  2. What is the population of each of these centres?
  3. Are aero clubs or flying schools subsidized by the Government; if so, to what extent?
  4. What subsidy does each club or school receive?
  5. How long must a club function before it is entitled to receive a subsidy, and how long does the subsidy remain in force?
  6. What conditions govern thegranting of a licence to operate (a) an aero club and (b) a flying school?
  7. What embargo on the operation of charter or local joy flights does the Department of Civil Aviation . place on the holder of a flying licence?
Mr Fairbairn:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. There are presently51 cities and towns in Australia served by 61 aero clubs and flying schools licensed by the Department of Civil Aviation to train people through to private pilot licence and/or commercial pilot licence standard.

These 51 cities and towns are spread over the Australian mainland, Tasmania and Papua-New Guinea, and range in size from cities, such as Sydney with its 2,250,000 people, to the smaller towns such as Keith, in South Australia (population 1,100) and Walgett, in New South Wales (population 1,700). In addition, many clubs and schools train at away from home base centres. For example, in New South Wales 27 organizations offer training at a total of 62 centres. In Queensland one club, Darling Downs, centred on Toowoomba, trains at fifteen other country centres.

  1. In mid-1961 the Government extended for a further four-year period, to 30th June, 1965, the subsidies paid to the flying training organizations. Over this four-year period £637,000 has been allocated for these purposes. Full details are set out at page 52 of the 1961 report to Parliament by the Minister for Civil Aviation.
  2. Subsidy is payable to aero clubs and flying schools on the basis of the number of hours flown on specified classes of flying training operations and also on the number of licences - private, commercial and instructor rating (some within appropriate age groups) gained. In general terms, and within the limits which the Government has placed on this type of assistance, clubs and schools are now receiving from the Government an average of some 9s. to 10s. for each “ subsidized “ hour flown, and some £30, £45 and £15 for each “ subsidized “ private pilot licence, commercial pilot licence and initial instructor rating, respectively.
  3. Before being entitled to a subsidy a club must obtain a flying school licence from the Department of Civil Aviation. It must also have been registered under the appropriate State legislation as a non-profit organization, and it must have entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth covering the terms and conditions under which subsidy is payable. In certain cases a club may be required to operate without subsidy for a period up to twelve months to demonstrate, firstly, that the club is suitably controlled and managed and, secondly, that there is an established need for a flying training organization in the particular area. As mentioned above in answer to question 3, the present arrangements will continue to 30th June, 1965, at which time the Government will review the whole question of assistance to flying training organizations.
  4. The conditions are those laid down in Part VI. of Air Navigation Regulations, in force under the Air Navigation Act 1920-1962.
  5. Only the holder of a commercial pilot licence flying an aircraft on behalf of the holder of a charter licence is permitted to engage in charter operations or receive profit or a reward for local joy flights. The holder of a private pilot licence is not permitted to engage in charter operations, nor can he engage in joy flights for hire or reward.

Disposal of Ships

Mr Reynolds:

s asked the Minister for Supply, upon notice -

Who was the successful tenderer and what was the tendered price for each of the recently dis posed of vessels “Warramunga”, “Quadrant”, “Fitzroy”, “Derwent” and “Loddon”?

Mr Fairhall:

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

The two ships first mentioned were surplus naval vessels. They were sold by my department after the invitation of competitive public tenders in Australia and overseas and both vessels were sold to the highest tenderer, Kinoshita and Company Limited, Sydney.

Most buyers of surplus Commonwealth property require that the prices offered shall be kept confidential and this is also in the interests of the Commonwealth in securing under public tenders the most favourable prices obtainable.

For these reasons I am unable to disclose the prices accepted for “Warramunga” and “Quadrant “. A large number of satisfactorily competitive tenders was received for each of these vessels however and the prices accepted were favourable on world price levels.

The three “River” class vessels were formerly owned by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission and I have ascertained from my colleague the Minister for Shipping and Transport that these vessels were sold on a normal commercial basis by brokers appointed by the commission.

There was no occasion for any restriction upon the disclosure of information in the esse of these vessels and details of their sale were as follows: - “ River Derwent “. - This vessel was sold in January, 1959, to Interstate Steamships Proprietary Limited, 19 Bridge-street, Sydney, for the sum of £375,000 (Aust.). “ River Fitzroy “ and “ River Loddon “. - These vessels together with a third ship “River Mumimbidgee “, were sold in November, 1962, to Mitsubishi (Australia) Proprietary Limited, 543 Little Collins-street, Melbourne.

The three vessels were offered for sale collectively and separate prices were not obtained for each. The total price accepted for the three vessels was £132,000 sterling.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. What percentage of the total receipts from taxation in the year 1948-49 was obtained by (a) direct and (b) indirect taxation?
  2. What is the percentage in each instance for the latest year for which figures are available?
Mr Harold Holt:

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

  1. The percentages of the total receipts from taxation in the year 1948-49 represented by (a) direct and (b) indirect taxation, based on figures set out in the Commonwealth Budget, are as follows: -

Direct taxation consisted of income tax, social services contribution, pay-roll tax, land tax, estate duty, entertainments tax, gift duty and gold tax. Indirect taxation comprised customs and excise duties and sales tax. Total taxation is regarded as being the total receipts into the Consolidated Revenue Fund from all Commonwealth taxes.

  1. The corresponding figures for 1961-62, the latest year for which figures of taxation collections are available, as published in the 1962-63 Budget, are as follows: -
Mr Collard:

d asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

Which goods made for human consumption are subject to sales tax, and what is the rate of tax in each case?

Mr Harold Holt:

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

All staple, foodstuffs are exempt from sales tax. Among those which remain taxable the most important are cakes, pastry, scones, buns, biscuits (other than milk arrowroot biscuits and baby rice biscuits), ice cream, imported canned fish, jelly crystals, custard powders, junket tablets, spices, curry powder, pepper and salt. The rate of tax applicable to these taxable goods is 12i per cent.

Mr Webb:

b asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

  1. Did the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation recommend that, provided the husband had attained an age of 65 years, the age of the wife should not be a condition in the application of the married couple age allowance?
  2. If so, when will he implement the recommendation of the committee?
Mr Harold Holt:

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

  1. The terms of the recommendation of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation relating to the age allowance in respect of married couples are set out on page 86 of the committee’s report.
  2. The report of the Commonwealth Committee on Taxation raised a number of complex considerations that have been and are still receiving close consideration. I am not able to say at this point when legislation will be introduced.

World Land Speed Record

Mr Hayden:

n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Has the Government contributed, or does it intend to contribute, towards the cost of the preparations being made for, and the conduct of, the land speed record attempt at Lake Eyre by Mr. Donald Campbell?
  2. If so, what expenditure has been incurred to date, and what further amounts are expected to be expended on this attempt?
  3. If money has already been expended, in what manner was it spent, and how will any future contributions be spent?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 3. The Commonwealth Government has agreed to provide certain assistance to Mr. Donald Campbell in connexion with his attempt at the world land speed record on Lake Eyre. This assistance will be mainly in the form of the loan of Commonwealth facilities and the provision of some services. The Commonwealth has agreed to install certain communications facilities, to provide ambulance, fire-fighting and certain other (largely services’) equipment, and to carry free or at concessional rates the test car and associated equipment and spares over the Central Australian Railway. Service personnel will also be available to provide search and rescue services, if needed. The Commonwealth is not making any direct cash contribution towards the coat of this venture.

Japanese Prisoners of War in Australia. Mr. Webb asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a detailed account published in a Japanese newspaper of a war-time mass escape attempt by Japanese from an Australian prisoner-of-war camp at Cowra, New South Wales?
  2. Did the escape attempt occur on 5th August, 1944, and were 231 Japanese killed and eleven wounded?
  3. Were four Australians also killed?
  4. Will he state whether this newspaper version of a well-kept government secret is true or false?
Mr Cramer:
Minister for the Army · BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

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

  1. I have seen several articles in both the Japanese and Australian press on this subject.
  2. The escape attempt took place on Sth August, 19.44. The number of Japanese killed was 234 and 108 were wounded.
  3. Yes.
  4. The press items I have seen on the subject have been substantially correct. I am not aware that any secrecy attached to the publicity surrounding the incident.

Equal Pay for the Sexes.

Mr Ward:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Did a deputation led by the president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions some time ago request him to adopt the principle of paying the same basic wage to both male and female employees of the Commonwealth performing work of equal value?
  2. Did he undertake that the representations of the deputation would be considered by the Government?
  3. If so, when is it expected that an announcement of the result of the Government’s consideration of this proposal will be made?
Sir Robert Menzies:

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

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. Once again, I refer the honorable member to the statement made by my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, in the House on 18th October, 1962 (“Hansard”, page 1704).

Royal Visit

Mr Ward:

d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Were all permanent Commonwealth employees given an additional public holiday with pay to enable them to participate in the celebrations associated with the recent visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh?
  2. Were casual workers employed by the Commonwealth excluded from this arrangement?
  3. Did the casual workers lose a day’s pay as a result of their enforced idleness due to the closing of the establishments in which they are employed; if so, why were the casual Government employees penalized in this way?
Sir Robert Menzies:

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

  1. Yes. 2 and 3. Relevant award conditions prescribe that casual workers are paid only for the work performed. These awards also provide for a loaded rate of pay to compensate for the fact that casual workers are not granted recreation leave or sick leave or public holidays with pay.


  1. . Ward asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -

    1. How are wage rates and conditions of employment for aborigines determined in the Northern Territory?
    2. Where aborigines are employed under conditions less favorable than those provided in the awards of the Arbitration Court, must an employer have first obtained the permission of some governmental authority; if so, what are the details?
    3. Are aborigines considered the equal of others when employed as cattle station hands or drovers?
    4. If so, why are they paid less than others performing the same duties?
Mr Hasluck:

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

  1. Except where an aboriginal has been declared to be a ward, wage rates and conditions of private employment in the Northern Territory are subject to determination in the same way for aborigines as for other employees, i.e., by tha Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Where aborigines or other employees are not covered by an award of that commission, wage rates and conditions of employment are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee. The Administrator may, under the Welfare Ordinance 1933-1962, declare a person to be a ward if that person by reason of bis manner of living; his inability, without assistance, adequately to manage his own affairs; his standards of social habit and his behaviour; and his personal associations, stands in need of such special care or assistance as is provided for by the ordinance. The conditions df employment of wards are specified in the regulations made under the Wards’ Employment Ordinance 1953-1962, and the minimum wage rates are specified under that ordinance by the Administrator by notice in the Northern Territory Government Gazette. The conditions of employment include the payment to each employed ward of a clothing allowance and the supply without charge to the ward of tobacco and other articles, and to the wife and the child of an employed ward of clothing, food, tobacco and other articles. Under section 39 of the Wards’ Employment Ordinance, welfare officers may procure on behalf of a ward employment in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in an award or industrial agreement applicable in respect of the calling in which the ward is employed.
  2. Where an employer is bound by an award of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to provide certain minimum wages and conditions he may, if the award so provides, employ slow, aged, or infirm workers, whether aboriginal or not, at rates less than the minimum rates provided in the award, subject to whatever conditions are set down in the “ slow-worker “ clause of the relevant award. The employer of such a slow worker would be required, however, in accordance with section 48 of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1940-1961, to obtain the certification of a person or authority specified by the commission that bie employee is unable to earn the minimum wage before he could employ the worker at wages less favorable than the award rates. Where an employer is not bound by an award to provide certain wages or conditions (for example, if he is not a respondent to the award, or if the award binds him only in respect of certain of his employees) no permission is required to employ any person, aboriginal or not, under conditions less favorable than those provided in the award. Any person who commences to employ wards must notify the Director of Welfare within 28 days after the commencement of the employment. While no positive permission is required to employ a ward, the director has the power to forbid a person to employ any ward where that person is not a fit and proper person to employ a ward, having regard to previous conduct of that person in relation to a ward. An employer of an aboriginal ward may, under section 38 of the Wards’ Employment Ordinance, employ a slow, aged or infirm ward at a wage less than the wage prescribed under that ordinance only if the wage is agreed upon between the employer and a welfare officer. 3 and 4. Whether aborigines are considered the equal in skill and responsibility of others when employed as cattle station hands or drovers is a matter of opinion. Where welfare officers hold this opinion in respect of individual wards who are paid less than the wage prescribed in the relevant award, the welfare officers undertake, in accordance with section 39 of the Wards’ Employment Ordinance, negotiations with the employer to procure for the ward wages and conditions in conformity wit-1 those contained in the award.


Mr Benson:

n asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -

  1. Is the Blue Funnel ship “ Rhexenor “, which is about to leave Sydney for the Near East, on her normal run?
  2. Has this vessel been especially chartered as a relief ship to carry urgent stores to Indonesia?
Mr Swartz:

– The Acting Minister for

Trade has supplied the following answer: - 1 and 2. The managing agents advise that the “ Rhexenor “ is on its normal run and carrying normal cargo.

Presentation of Reports to Parliament

Mr Whitlam:

m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Under what statutes and on what matters must reports be presented to the Parliament?
  2. When was each such report last presented?
Sir Robert Menzies:

– I have had prepared the following statement which sets out the reports required to be presented to Parliament under statute, the date on which each report was last presented to Parliament and the period covered by each report: -


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -

  1. Has the world price of sugar approximately doubled in the last twelve months?
  2. Would the profits of the interests controlling the Australian sugar industry as a result be substantially enhanced?
  3. Do Australian consumers pay a price for their sugar requirements much in excess of the world price?
  4. Is the Australian home-consumption price fixed in terms of the Sugar Agreement at a figure to compensate the producers for losses sustained in selling production surplus to home requirements on the export markets?
  5. If so, is there any provision in the agreement whereby local consumers may benefit by a downward adjustment of the retail price when a substantial and rapid increase occurs in the price obtained in world export markets?

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

  1. The world price of sugar has more than doubled in thelast twelve months.
  2. The Australian sugar-producing industry has benefited from the improved world price, although most of the exportable surplus from the 1962 season’s production had been sold long before the world price reached its highest levels. As the Australian crop is marketed by a non-profit making authority - the Queensland Sugar Board, acting through an agent which is paid fees on a contract basis, the benefit of higher world prices is passed on to sugar millers and cane-growers, who divide the proceeds of a season’s production on a basis determined by the Queensland Central Sugar Cane Prices Board.
  3. At the present time, the domestic price of Australian refined sugar isless than the cost of importing foreign sugar of comparable quality, duty free.
  4. Yes.
  5. No. However, should circumstances warrant, it would be possible to raise the matter with the other party to the agreement, the Queensland Government.


Mr Reynolds:

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

  1. Is the Minister able to say whether sixteen capsules of tetracycline cost the United Kingdom health scheme £1.3s.11d. sterling, or £1 10s. in Australian currency, while the same drug costs the Australian health scheme £2 13s. 9d.?
  2. If so, what is the reason for this difference?
  3. How much would be the annual savingto the Australian health scheme if the price of this drug could be reduced to the English equivalent?
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. £2 13s. 9d. is the current cost under the Australian scheme of sixteen capsules of tetracycline in the250 milligram strength. £1 3s.11d. sterling was the cost in Britain in 1961. Since then the basis of reimbursement to chemists in Britain has been changed, and the cost now varies according to the turnover of the chemist dispensing the prescription. Based on the current British wholesale price, the cost to the British health scheme would average about £1 6s. 2d. sterling.
  2. The reasons for the difference include the fact that the market in Britain is much wider than in Australia. Tetracycline has been manufactured in Britain for some’ years, while Australian manufacture is only just commencing. For imported tetracycline, the price includes the cost of freight and insurance. Finally, distribution costs differ as between the two countries, and wholesalers’ margins, and the rates of mark-up and professional fees paid to chemists, are greater in Australia than in Britain. 1 Assuming no change in the rales of mark-up and professional fees, £820,000.

National Health Scheme

Mr Reynolds:

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

What progress has the Government made in its negotiations with the Australian Medical Association to establish a stabilized scale of medical fees for services rendered under the national health scheme?

Mr Swartz:

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

The Commonwealth has not been engaged in negotiations with the Australian Medical Association regarding a stabilized scale of medical fees for services under the national health scheme. However, I understand that representatives of registered medical benefits organizations proposed to seek a conference with the Australian Medical Association with a view to discussing this matter but do not know whether any progress has been made.

Social Services

Mr Barnard:

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

  1. Are social service pensions continued while a pensioner is an inmate of an asylum; if not, why not?
  2. Has this matter been raised by the State Ministers for Health; if so, what was the result of the discussions?
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. Social service pensions are not paid to inmates of mental hospitals. I would point out to the honorable member, however, that the authority for the payment of pensions is the Social Services Act, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Social Services.
  2. Yes, this subject has been raised on occasions by the State Ministers for Health, but as I have pointed out, this matter falls within the province of my colleague, the Minister for Social Services.


Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. Is Maltese migration to Australia limited to an annual quota?
  2. If so, what is the quota, and upon what basis is it determined?
  3. Is it a fact that applications from Maltese families desiring to migrate to Australia are subjected to a much more rigid screening than that applied in respect of applications for the nationals of other countries?
  4. Is there strong resentment among Maltese now resident in Australia at what they regard as discrimination against their countrymen?
Mr Downer:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. The immigration programme and its various components are determined annually in accordance with assessments of the availability of migrants and Australia’s requirements. The programme for the financial year 1962-63 makes provision for 3,000 Maltese migrants, including 1,500 under assisted passage arrangements.

  1. No. The majority of Maltese migrants come to Australia under sponsorship by relatives already here. The Department of Immigration applies the relaxed standards applicable to all family reunion cases.
  2. There is no such dis:rimination.
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. With what countries has Australia existing migration agreements?
  2. What does it cost (a) Australia, (b) the country of the emigrant and (c) the migrant, to bring an adult migrant to this country under each of these agreements?
  3. What is the estimated average cost, subsequent to arrival, of absorbing a migrant into the Australian community?
  4. Of this amount what proportion is met by (a) the States and (b) the Commonwealth?
Mr Downer:

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

  1. Australia has bilateral migration agreements with the United Kingdom, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
  2. The cost of bringing an adult migrant to this country under each of these agreements is set out as follows: -
Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. What is the scale of charges imposed upon occupants of immigration reception centres and hostels?
  2. Are these charges based upon a calculation of what accommodation is worth or on the ability of the occupant to pay?
  3. What is the extent and quality of the accommodation provided?
Mr Downer:

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

  1. Standard weekly charges for board and lodging in migrant centres are -

    1. Workers -

Adult male- £3 16s. 6d.

Adult female- £3 14s. 6d.

Juniors (under 21 years) -

  1. where the weekly nominal wage does not exceed £2 - 15s.less than the nominal wage.
  2. where the weekly nominal wage exceeds £2 - £1 5s., plus1s. per week for every 2s. by which the nominal wage exceeds £2 until the adult worker’s tariff is reached.

    1. Dependants -

Adult male or female - £3 3s.

Juniors aged 16 and under 21 - £1 15s.

Children aged three and under sixteen - £1 5s.

Children aged one and under three - 15s.

Children under one year - Nil.

Family maximum where applicable - £5 4s.

For this purpose the family unit will include wife and children up to non-working age; mother, mother-in-law, father and father-in-law. Migrant hostel standard tariff charges are -

  1. Workers -

Adult male- £4 17s. 6d.

Adult female- £4 6s.

Junior (under 21) similar to the charges raised in immigration centres.

  1. Dependants -

Adult male or female - £3 3s.

Juniors aged sixteen and under 21 - £1 17s. 6d.

Children aged eleven and under sixteen - £111s. 6d.

Children aged five and under eleven - £1 5s.

Children aged one and under five - £1. Children under one year - 10s.

  1. These rates may be reduced for families to provide a maximum charge for dependants of £3 15s. per week plus 2s. for every 59. by which the nominal wage of the breadwinner exceeds £9.

    1. The tariff charges in immigration reception centres and migrant hostels may be further reduced to ensure that families retain the following amounts each week from the breadwinner’s nominal wage: -

Breadwinner with dependant -

Wife and one dependent child - £3.

Wife and two dependent children - £3 10s.

Wife and three dependent children £4.

Wife and four dependent children - £4 10s.

Wife and five or more dependent children- £5.

  1. The nominal wage referred to is the breadwinner’s regular wage.In addition, he may receive overtime, bonus or incentive payments, special allowance or penalty rates, which are not counted as pa?t of the regular wage. Child endowment payments are also excluded for tariff calculation purposes. 2. (a) The charges made fall substantially below the actual cost of providing board and lodging. The scales of accommodation rates have been framed with an appreciation that immigration centres and migrant hostels provide for an interim period of adjustment in a new country, and so ensure that residents are given a reasonable opportunity to save some money towards early movement to private accommodation. (b) Migration agreements with other countries call for reception and after care of new arrivals, and it is therefore appropriate that part of the running costs of immigration centres and migrant hostels should be borne by the Commonwealth, (c) The operational costs of migrant hostels are subsidized by the Commonwealth Government, the amount of the subsidy for 1961-62 being £1,522,000. (d) Charges made are related to the ability of the occupant to pay, in the sense that they are reduced whenever the application of the full tariff would leave the breadwinner with an amount less than that shown in the final part of the answer to question 1. 3. (a) Accommodation provided for migrants is reasonable and adequate, bearing in mind the purposes for which reception centres and hostels are operated. (b) Sleeping accommodation consists of individual bedrooms allocated on the basis, generally, of two persons per room, but frequently on the basis of one person per room. Each family is provided with a group of connected furnished bedrooms, according to the number, age, and sex of the children. (c) Services such as communal washing facilities, lavatories and dining halls are situated in a central position for each group of accommodation buildings. (d) Food, furniture and equipment issued are all of good quality, and regular inspections and maintenance ensures that general living conditions remain at a high standard. Linen and towels are provided and laundered without charge.


Mr Collard:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. How many migrants of each nationality have been naturalized in Western Australia from and including January, 1962?
  2. How many of each nationality have been naturalized from and including January, 1962, within the area comprising the electoral division of Kalgoorlie, and in what areas and on what dates did the naturalizations take place?
Mr Downer:

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

  1. During the year ended 31st December, 1962, naturalization was granted to residents of Western Australia as shown below: -

Figures for naturalizations in Western Australia subsequent to December, 1962, are not yet available.

  1. Naturalization statistics are available only by former nationalities and State of residence.

Without special research, involving considerable time and effort, it is not possible to provide statistics to show either in what areas or on what dates naturalizations took place.

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. Have applications for naturalization been rejected on the grounds that an applicant’s activities are such that he would be a danger to the national security of Australia if granted citizenship?
  2. If so, will he explain how such an applicant, if successful, becomes a greater danger as a naturalized citizen than he was before he was granted citizenship?
Mr Downer:

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

  1. It has been the practice since 1949 when considering applications for naturalization, to take into account an applicant’s membership of, or association with, the Communist Party or other Communist activities, although applications are not necessarily rejected on all of the grounds mentioned. However, if the applicant’s activities are such that he is not considered suitable for Australian citizenship, then citizenship has been and will continue to be refused. The full circumstances of each case, including the security report, are weighed most carefully by me before naturalization is withheld on security grounds.
  2. As well as obligations, Australian citizenship entails certain privileges which could not appropriately be extended to a person who is a security risk.


Mr Ward:

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

  1. Has the Commonwealth Department of Health completed the compilation of the Register of Poisons which the Minister announced last year was to be prepared in co-operation with State health authorities?
  2. Was the declared purpose of the register to record the toxicity and antidotes of all substances in commercial use in Australia which may cause poisoning?
  3. What steps are proposed to give the information contained in the register the widest publicity?
Mr Swartz:

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

  1. No. Compilation of the whole register will take some years as it is expected that it will contain more than 30,000 entries. Individual sections of the register will, however, be issued progressively, as they are completed, to State health authorities. The first issue is to be made shortly.
  2. Yes. However, some of the substances included in the register may even be harmless but they are nevertheless being included as a reassurance to attending physicians.
  3. Wide publicity is expected to be given by State health authorities when the siting and staffing of poisons treatment centres in each State are determined.

Australian Diplomatic Service

Mr Ward:

d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -

  1. How many of the officers attached to Australian diplomatic missions throughout the world have some proficiency in the knowledge of the language of the country in which they are stationed?
  2. Where there is no officer attached to an Australian diplomatic post who has an adequate knowledge of the local language what steps are usually taken to meet this deficiency?
  3. Are any steps being taken by the Government to either train or secure for such employment officers who have a good knowledge for the language of at least the most important nations diplomatically?
Sir Garfield Barwick:

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

  1. At the present time 72 officers of the Department of External Affairs attached to Australian diplomatic missions overseas (at other than English-speaking countries) have some proficiency in the knowledge of the language of the country in which they are stationed. The numbers of officers of the department with special language qualifications will increase now that the Public Service Board as the authority responsible for deciding allowances and conditions of overseas service has approved a system of language training.
  2. Wherever possible officers and, where appropriate, wives are given prior to posting some initial or refresher training in the language of the country to which they are being posted, and further tuition is provided after arrival if necessary. Where a post would be left without an officer with an adequate knowledge of the local language because of staff changes, the department endeavours, with due regard to all the other factors which determine postings, to select an officer with some knowledge of the language and it provides intensive tuition if necessary.
  3. In its recruitment the department lists as an important qualification the knowledge of a modern European or Asian language, and it includes in its intake each year a number of trainees who have majored in a foreign language during their studies at university. All trainees, except those already well qualified, study at least one language during their training course and before their first posting. From time to time junior officers are selected to undertake full-time language tuition in the more difficult languages, or languages of special importance, such as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Indonesian.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 April 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.