24th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr. Speaker, I have the unhappy duty of informing the House of the death in Canberra last week of His Excellency Mr. Sydney Cuthbert Johnston, High Commissioner for New Zealand in Australia since April, 1961. Mr. Johnston was well known, and I think I might confidently add, favorably known to members on both sides of the House. He had an extensive experience in the organizational side of politics in New Zealand. He spent sixteen years in the practice of the law and as a public accountant in his home city of Auckland. He was president of the Auckland Savings Bank from 1956 to 1958 and was chairman of the Motor Spirits Licensing Authority from 1955 to 1961. He was also chairman of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Plunket Society.
Mr. Johnston, in the time that he was here, travelled extensively around Australia. As all honorable members know, he was a man of what I might describe as simple sincerity of character. He won his way into our hearts, as his wife did. Everybody had respect for him. He was a splendid and effective representative of his country, which is in essence a sister country of our own. He understood us, we understood him, and everything that he did helped us to understand each other in Australia and New Zealand better.
He was a man of the loftiest character. His death was shockingly unexpected. In apparent good health, as many of us saw him last week, he went to his office and died suddenly at his desk. He leaves a widow. He leaves a family that was devoted to him. I think it would be our wish on this occasion to record our deep sympathy with the widow and with the family, and our uncommonly warm appreciation of what Sydney Johnston meant to his country and to us. Therefore, I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Mr. Sydney Cuthbert Johnston, the High Commissioner for New Zealand in this country, and tenders its sincere sympathy to his wife and family in their bereavement.
– On behalf of the Opposition, I join with the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) in expressing our very deep regret at the sudden and untimely passing of Mr. Sydney Johnston, who, as the Prime Minister said, seemed last week to be enjoying very good health. We all saw him at some time or other in the last fortnight and there was no indication then that he was so near his end. Truly, in the midst of life we are in death. Mr. Johnston came here a very short time ago, but he had a quiet simplicity which enabled him to make friends immediately with everybody he met. We of the Opposition knew him as well as did honorable members on the Government benches, and we esteemed him greatly.
Of all the people who come to Canberra in the diplomatic world who might be described as the quiet man, Mr. Johnston could best be so described. He had a persuasive personality, but he was never ostentatious, never obtrusive, never commanding and never demanding. He was there to give us any information we wanted, and many of us readily availed ourselves of his kindly services. We looked upon him, as the Prime Minister has said, as being the representative of a sister dominion - perhaps I should not say a sister State, or use some other term indicating a relationship closer than that of two dominions. He and all his predecessors have been very warm friends of ours, as we have tried to be warm friends of New Zealand. His passing was extremely sad and it shocked us all very much because it came so suddenly. I believe that there may be some difficulty in finding a man as well equipped as he was to represent New Zealand. To his widow and to his family, and to all those who knew him and esteemed him in New Zealand and to his Government and the people of New Zealand we pay a tribute. We offer our deepest, heartfelt sympathy, particularly to his widow and his family. We hope that time will help to assuage the grief they so naturally feel in these very sad circumstances.
– I desire to associate the members of the Australian Country Party with the expressions of regret that have been voiced by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) at the sudden and untimely passing of our friend, His Excellency the High Commissioner for New Zealand. I wish also to associate our party with the sympathy that has been expressed with his widow and his family who mourn him.
The wide service of Sydney Johnston, and the experience gained in that service, have already been well stated. Unfortunately for us he did not have a lengthy period of service here, but nevertheless all those who had the privilege of knowing him - and he was an easy man to get to know - learned to respect him deeply as a gentleman. I have been impressed by the fact that both previous speakers expressed the very thought that was in my mind - that he was a quiet and sincere gentleman, obviously imbued with the desire to strengthen the already strong bonds existing between our two countries. This task he was able to carry out well because of his great knowledgeof the industrial aspect of our relationships and also of the. primary production aspect of those relationships. These are two spheres in which our countries are closely associated. It is obvious that the qualities that distinguished this gentleman were such as to make us in this place feel this afternoon the deepest of regret at his passing. In fact, Mr. Speaker, it can be properly said that he carried on the splendid tradition of co-operation between the two sister countries that has been long established. So, Sir, I say that we regret sincerely Mr. Johnston’s untimely passing, and we extend to his widow and family our deepest sympathy.
– Mr. Speaker, the people of Canberra had developed a very warm affection for the late Mr. Johnston during his tour of duty in this city, and I am sure that his memory will be green in the hearts of his numerous friends here for many years to come. He was a man of wide and varied interests. He was not one who walked apart from the people. He was known not only to those who do what is called the cocktail round in this city, for he gave his support unstintingly to many local organizations. In particular, he was associated with sporting bodies in this city.
I join with previous speakers in expressing very sincere regrets at Mr. Johnston’s passing and in conveying our sympathy as well, I am sure, as the sympathy of this city to Mrs. Johnston and the members of the family.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Mr. WARD presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Government -
Petition received and read.
– I ask the Treasurer a question. Has he read an article in the March issue of the “ Economic Record “ in which Professor Keith Hancock suggested that the Government might consider devaluation of the Australian £1 as a possible remedy for the balance-of-payments position? Secondly, will the right honorable gentleman assure the House that the Australian £1 will not be devalued in the lifetime of the present Parliament? Thirdly, will he treat the second question as being more important than the first?
– I have not had the advantage of reading the article by Professor Hancock to which the Leader of the Opposition has referred. Of course, it is not the Treasurer’s role to speculate about devaluation issues. One of the aims of Government policy, consistently pursued, has been to strengthen our external resources. Indeed, fundamental to the policy of bringing our costs under control and of making ourselves competitive in international markets has been the maintaining of strong external balances and an export income capable of ensuring full employment for our people. I am glad to be able to assure the House that, as a consequence of the success of the Government’s measures, our external resources are now strong. We have in the neighbourhood of £600,000,000 of front-line reserves and second-line reserves with the International Monetary Fund amounting to £223,000,000. From those facts, the House will see that the Australian £1 is strong. We are determined to maintain it in that strength.
– In reply to a question recently the Minister for Air indicated that he was pessimistic about obtaining delivery of the British TSR2 bomber for the Royal Australian Air Force before 1968. Will he consider approaching the British Government with a view to obtaining, by loan or by some suitable arrangement such as exchange duty, current Royal Air Force bombers to fill the gap until the TSR2 can be delivered?
– This request will be considered when the Chief of the Air Staff goes abroad very shortly. I have discussed the matter with him and I know that the Air Force generally is not in favour of obtaining aircraft on a temporary basis, if a suitable type of aircraft is available on a permanent basis, because that would involve double conversion courses for crews, first, on whatever type we obtained temporarily, and secondly, on the new type when it became available. I had some discussion to-day with a representative of the British Aircraft Corporation who has just returned from England. He told me that there is a possibility that the TSR2 will be available for sale earlier than I had expected. In any case, the Chief of the Air Staff will consider the matter when he is abroad.
– My question to the Minister for Primary Industry relates to the recent announcement that the guaranteed price for lamb exports to England will operate next season as at present. Is the Minister aware that there was no occasion to pay the higher subsidy of ls. 6d. per lb. on Iamb exported from Australia during September, October and November of last season? Is he aware also that exports from Tasmania are shipped later in the season because of climatic conditions and that, with the lower subsidy rate of ls. 4id. per lb., Tasmanian lambs shipped last season met with a depressed market because of heavy supplies from New Zealand? In view of this, will the Minister extend the higher subsidy rate of ls. 6d. per lb. to cover all lambs exported from Australia, including lambs from Tasmania, and so remove the present unfair discrimination against Tasmanian producers of fat lambs?
– The honorable member’s statement about there being no subsidy payments on the shipments of lambs from September to November of last year is substantially correct. That means that the funds which were made available from the deficiency payments in the United Kingdom are available for further use this year. If the honorable member considers the figures he will learn that the Government’s policy of giving this guarantee achieved its purpose inasmuch as considerably greater quantities of lamb were shipped in the early part of the season than otherwise would have been the case. As a consequence, we are repeating that guarantee in the hope that the lamb raisers will do the same thing again this year. I also inform the honorable member that before I accepted on this occasion the recommendation of the Australian Meat Board I asked the board to meet representatives of the Tasmanian lamb industry. The representatives of the board had a full discussion on this matter with representatives of the industry. I understand that as a result there was a better appreciation of the facts on the part of the Tasmanian lamb raisers. I welcome the giving of this guarantee by the Government because it is an encouragement towards early shipments of lamb.
– Will the Minister for Immigration tell the House whether, in accordance with his recent announcement, his department has introduced a “ Sponsor a Skilled Migrant” scheme in a drive to increase the number of skilled migrants coming to this country? If so, is the scheme meeting with success and, if it is, what is the expected rate of inflow of skilled migrants as a consequence?
– I launched the “ Sponsor a Skilled Migrant “ scheme last October. The honorable gentleman may be interested to know that since that time we have had, in round figures, 3,800 applications under the scheme. My department has approved 2,600 of those applications. I think the honorable gentleman will agree that in a fairly short period of time the project has got away to a good start. The persons who have been accepted will come to Australia as soon as possible and thereby render invaluable service in fulfilling the demand of industry for skilled workers.
– I ask the Treasurer whether he is aware that 69 employees, men and women, members of the Federated Ironworkers Association, employed in the manufacture of copper tubing at the works of Metal Manufacturers Limited at Port Kembla last week were dismissed because the company claims that there has been a substantial decline in orders. Is it a fact that copper tubing and other copper components are used extensively in the construction of homes, commercial premises, refrigerators, air conditioners and other things? In view of the circumstances to which I have directed attention, will the Treasurer take urgent action to cause the further release of ample finance for homebuilding, thus providing the impetus essential to create a much higher demand for consumer goods and thereby giving employment to thousands whose jobs are threatened by the very sluggish internal economy-
– Order! The honorable member seems to be embarking on a second-reading speech. He should ask his question.
– Is it a fact that the sluggish state of the economy and the continuing advance in new manufacturing processes and automation are leading to the sacking of many workers in industry to-day?
– I am interested in the facts supplied by the honorable gentleman, although I question whether the causes of the situation that he alleges exists can be attributable to the sources that he suggests. On the last information available to me there was in prospect for this year a heavier home building programme than last year, when the rate was the second highest in the history of this country. Construction of non-residential buildings was proceeding at a record level. As to the amount of finance available, again I question whether this is in present circumstances a factor limiting building operations. As honorable members will be aware, the Commonwealth Government has provided in this financial year through its Budget a total of, I think, about £97,500,000 from one direction or another.
– It is still not enough.
– Well, the honorable member will be aware that the States, in deciding what proportions of the total funds available to them shall be set aside for works and housing, have this year set aside rather less for housing than was the case last year. The Commonwealth, however, not only has provided increased funds for the States but also has added to its war service homes provision and in other ways stimulated the availability of finance for home lending. We have been active in our discussions with the savings banks, for example. To the best of my knowledge, at the present time all savings banks have a higher rate of lending for home building. That is certainly true of the principal savings banks, including the Commonwealth Savings Bank and the Bank of New South Wales Savings Bank. I repeat that I believe it to be true of others also.
– I direct my question to the Treasurer. In the absence of my colleagues, the honorable member for Richmond and the honorable member for Lyne, who at this moment are on the north coast of New South Wales inspecting the extent of the flood damage and the resultant human suffering, I ask the Treasurer whether-
– Mr. Speaker, I raise a point of order. In view of the matters raised by the honorable member for Lawson, would it be in order to say that he should include the honorable member for Cowper and the honorable member for Mitchell who are also on the north coast-
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I ask the Treasurer whether, owing to the taxation problems that will follow these disastrous floods, he can assure me that most sympathetic consideration will be given in regard to provisional tax and extension of time for the payment of any taxes due. I ask this question because the incomes of many farmers and business men will be affected adversely for some considerable time.
– I know that it is the practice of the Commissioner of Taxation, in instances of disaster from natural causes, to deal sympathetically with the taxation problems of those people who have been affected in this way. I have no doubt that the same consideration will be given promptly to any applicant for consideration by the commissioner. Such decisions are taken in relation to individual applications. No general ruling ls laid down because circumstances differ quite widely even among people affected in the same area. Therefore, I would recommend that any person seeking an extension of time to pay tax or other special consideration should make an application personally to the commissioner, setting out the circumstances which would justify that consideration.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Did more than 2,000 additional adults register for employment during April and did the number of recipients of unemployment benefit rise by nearly 900? If they did, and as urgent remedial action appears necessary to arrest this trend, will the Minister outline what measures the
Government proposes to take to create additional employment opportunities? Is he aware that special unemployment problems reaching chronic proportions are depressing many country towns? Will he urge the Government to make direct financial assistance available to country municipalities and public bodies to relieve this situation?
– The figures cited by the honorable gentleman in his question are correct. There has been a slight increase in the number of male registrants for employment, but a quite substantial fall in the number of young people who have been registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service. The honorable gentleman asks what action the Government has taken. I mention, first of all, that normally we expect perhaps even a slight rise in registrants for employment during the months of April and May. They are two slack periods. Normally we do not expect good figures during those two months, and perhaps even in June. That has been stated to the House, and the House itself is well aware of the reasons for that position.
Several times this year the Government has taken action to stimulate employment in this country. At the last Australian Loan Council meeting it was agreed that additional amounts of money should be made available to the States. Later on, bank overdraft rates were reduced with the definite purpose of stimulating private enterprise. This shows that there is a continuous stimulation by the Government, designed to give a stimulus to industry and a direct stimulus to employment.
As to the last part of the honorable gentleman’s question, I think he should know that at the last Loan Council meeting f 5,000,000 was allocated specifically to the relief of unemployment and the State governments were asked to confer with the Department of Labour and National Service on the provision of employment-giving opportunities in country areas. I will admit that in the country areas there has been, particularly in the case of women, a special problem, but the Government did, during the last Loan Council meeting, take specific action to reduce the numbers of unemployed people in those localities by the means I have mentioned.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. In view of the splendid rains in South Australia, the steady and satisfactory prices for wool, wheat and many other primary products, and the stabilization of farmers’ costs, will the honorable gentleman, as the Minister for Primary Industry and, indeed, as a fellow farmer, tell me what I ought to start being miserable about?
– I think the inference to be drawn from the honorable member’s question is that everything in the garden is lovely. I rejoice with him in hearing of the recent good rains, which will ensure a good plant of wheat for this season and give good pastures for the woolgrowing industry during the winter months. However, as fellow farmers, we both recognize that primary industries have seasonal difficulties. We both know that the Government will continue to give generous assistance to research in order to help the primary industries even further. A sum of £3,500,000 was provided by the Government for research in the past year, on the basis of £1 for each £1 found by an industry, or, in the case of wool, £2 for £1. There are, in addition, extension services to assist primary industries. Of the £8,500,000 voted for - the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization for this financial year, about one-half will be spent on research to assist those industries. The honorable member has reason to be somewhat pleased with present conditions, but, of course, we are going to work for even better things.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister and is supplementary, to some extent, to the question asked by the honorable member for Bendigo. I ask the Prime Minister whether he said about eighteen months ago -
We confidently expect to restore full employment within twelve months.
If so, how can he justify an unemployment figure of 84,625 at the end of April? Does he agree with the president of the Australian Metal Industries Association that Australia was doing all right with an unemployment pool of 86,009?
– When the honorable member started to mention a pool of unemployment I thought he was going to quote what the chairman of the Australian Council of Trade Unions had to say about that. As a matter of fact, our figures not only are just about the best in the world, but also are much better than the Labour Party would have settled for ten years ago.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister and refers to the comprehensive water scheme in Western Australia. 1 understand that the Western Australian Government has set up a subcommittee to prepare a submission to the Commonwealth. Can the Prime Minister advise me whether this submission has yet been received by the Commonwealth and, if it has, can he indicate the nature of the considerations which will determine the extent of the assistance, if any, to be provided by the Commonwealth for the extension of this scheme?
– As the honorable member knows, we have been previously involved in this water scheme to a quite substantial extent. Early in April, the Premier of Western Australia wrote to me about a further extension of it and asked for Commonwealth co-operation. I indicated that we would have this matter looked at. We have had an interdepartmental committee working on it, but I am not yet in a position to say what ultimate conclusions have been reached.
It is not always easy to say in advance what considerations apply to a particular case. As the honorable member knows, we have attached considerable importance, in our assistance to individual State projects, to the development of export income and matters of that kind. I refer to such projects as the development of the north of Western Australia, the construction of the railway line in that State and the development of Kwinana, all of which could lead to expanded export income. I would rather like to be excused from setting out the exhaustive list of considerations that apply, but the honorable member may be assured that the matter he raises will have our very close attention when some of the problems connected with it have been finalized on the official level and it comes before the Cabinet.
– I ask the Minister .for Territories whether his attention has been drawn to reports that public servants in the Northern Territory have stated that they are afraid to give evidence before the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council to inquire into political reforms on the ground that they fear that disciplinary action might be taken against them if they do so. If the Minister’s attention has been drawn to these reports, will he state that public servants have no need to fear any such actions and that no attempt will be made to prevent them from expressing opinions on these matters as all citizens of Australia are, or should be, entitled to do?
– My attention has not been drawn to these reports. The first I heard of them was when the honorable member asked his question. I think he and all other honorable members of this House who have themselves served on a parliamentary committee will recognize the peculiar difficulty in which a public servant is ‘placed when called as a witness before either a joint committee or select committee of the Parliament. A public servant is in the curious position of being required to serve successive governments with equal fidelity and equal scrupulousness and be immune from any political allegiance. If a public servant finds it is incompatible with his conscience to accept that sort of relationship with successive governments, then the way is open for him to resign and enter the political sphere in which he is involved.
As every honorable member of this House who has served on either a joint parliamentary committee or a select committee will know, when a public servant is called before such a committee he can clearly, fairly and without any fear of being considered to do anything that is improper, present those facts which are in his possession and which it is proper for him to possess. It is certainly not within the province of any public servant to express an opinion of his own on any matter of public controversy, nor is it within the province of any member serving on a select committee to request him to do so.
– I address to the Minister for Primary Industry a question supplementary to and directly opposite to that asked by the honorable member for Wakefield because the farmers in my electorate have not been lucky enough to enjoy the advantage of the bounteous seasons which the farmers of South Australia have obviously enjoyed. I preface my question by reminding the Minister of a petition from officers and members of various primary producers’ organizations which I presented to him last year and in which they requested assistance in the continual battle against rising costs by the granting of a subsidy on superphosphate. In view of the recent margins decision, which must eventually increase the costs of primary producers still further, will the Minister give high priority to the reintroduction of a subsidy on superphosphate in the Budget discussions this year?
– I think a similar question was put to the Treasurer recently. If I recall his answer correctly, he promised that this matter would certainly be considered along with others at the discussions on the next Budget.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Can he tell the House how the argument between member countries of the International Air Transport Association over the question of fares will affect the operations of Qantas Empire Airways Limited? What part has Qantas taken in the argument? Has it sided with European countries, which want to raise fares, or with the North American countries that would prefer lower rates? Is it likely that the International Air Transport Association will cease to be an effective body in the regulation of international air services as a result of this dispute?
– I am afraid that all I know about this subject is what 1 nave read about it in the press. 1 will discuss it with the Minister for Civil Aviation whom I represent in this House and let the honorable member have a reply at a later hour.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Did the Government legislate in 1952 to destroy the independent arbitration system then available to the Commonwealth Public Service? Was this legislation introduced for the stated purpose of maintaining uniformity of salary fixation by the Commonwealth arbitration authority? Did the Government, in contravention of this principle, subsequently intervene in the Commonwealth court to deprive the white collar workers of the benefits of the two and a half times margins increase in 1954 and the 28 per cent, margins decision in 1959? Will he now say whether the Government intends to ease up on white collar workers to enable them to recoup their losses, or will he risk annihilation at the next election?
– I will answer the last part of the honorable member’s question first. I would imagine that if the honorable gentleman and his colleagues had read the result of the last gallup poll, and, indeed, the results of several gallup polls recently, they would be worrying about annihilation at the next election.
– You had a close call last time.
– You were beaten once by Jimmy Clasby and if he had been alive to-day you would not be in your seat. I think those honorable members who should worry most are the five mentioned in a newspaper this morning who are bitterly opposed to the United States naval communication centre in the north-west of Australia. So if the honorable gentleman wants to be political, let us make it as political as he wants to make it. I will answer his question very briefly. I understand that this issue will be raised as a matter of urgent public importance later to-day. There was never any intention of destroying the independent arbitration system of this country. In 1952, the act was amended so that we could get consistency in awards and, so far as the private sector was concerned, to provide for appeals so that individual commissioners would not make decisions that were inconsistent and in some cases create grave anomalies. So far as the Public Service is concerned, we do not believe in discrimination. On the contrary, we believe in the rule of non-discrimination. What was done in the private sector was applied also to the public sector. I think it will come out during the course of the debate, if the debate takes place, that this has been of great benefit to the Commonwealth Public Service associations.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has received a request from the Premier of Victoria that the Commonwealth Government join with the Victorian Government in giving financial assistance on a £1 for £1 basis to the dried vine fruit-growers. In view of the difficult financial circumstances confronting dried fruitgrowers, will the Prime Minister treat this request, if received or when received, as deserving of urgent full consideration?
– In his very proper zeal in this matter, my friend, the honorable member for Mallee, is apparently a little ahead of the mail. I had heard something of this and I inquired just as I came into the House, but no such request had then been received. Of course, if one is received from the Premier, it will as usual be given prompt consideration by the Commonwealth Government.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of his refusal to answer questions put last week by the honorable members for Kennedy and Leichhardt, on the ground that an election is imminent in Queensland, is it his intention not to answer, between now and 1st June, any questions about his Government’s responsibilities for the development of that State? If such is not his intention, will he now say whether the Government will give early and favorable consideration to the setting up of an authority for northern development along the lines of the Snowy Hydro-electric Mountains Authority?
– As the honorable member well knows, what is to happen to the Snowy Mountains authority when its functions begin to diminish is very much under examination by the Government, and we will continue to examine it.
– Will you be able to make a decision?
– I rather like trying to conduct the Government of the country on behalf of the Government and not on behalf of the honorable member, if he will allow me to say something that may sound discourteous. We have a remarkable record of works completed and in hand in Queensland, and I have no doubt whatever that the people of Queensland are well aware of it.
– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. I ask the honorable gentleman whether he will now consider a further extension of the approvals for migrants from southern European countries, particularly Italy. Would he be prepared to discard the family relationship requirement and accept any nomination from an Australian resident of a skilled person desiring to come to this country?
– As the honorable gentleman well knows, I recently announced an extension of our policy on entry requirements for southern Europeans. I think it would be much better to allow the effects of that to work themselves out, if my honorable friend1 can contain himself a little, so that we can pursue our traditional policy of maintaining a reasonable balance of nationalities in our immigration programme. When the results of that extension have manifested themselves, it will then be time to consider what further steps, if any, can be taken.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is he aware that a committee set up by the Western Australian Government following the cyclones of last February has recommended that the town of Onslow on the north-west coast should be abandoned? Does the Prime Minister realize that the implementation of the recommendation would not be in the best interests of the development and defence of the north-west of Western Australia? Is he aware, further, that the people of Onslow have petitioned the Western Australian Government, giving many good reasons why the town should not be abandoned and requesting that it be preserved? As the Western Australian Cabinet is now considering the recommendation, will the Prime Minister treat this matter as urgent and do whatever is possible to ensure the retention of Onslow as a port?
– I really cannot speak with any particular authority on this matter. I have heard about this proposal for moving the town of Onslow. All proposals for moving towns, I think, require a great deal of thought before they are accepted, so I will approach this matter with a reasonable degree of scepticism. I will find out what communications have occurred with the Commonwealth and what is, if I may so describe it, the present state of the game, and I will advise the honorable member.
I ask that further questions be placed upon the notice-paper.
- Mr. Speaker-
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– No, Sir, I want to make an apology. During the course of a speech in this chamber last Wednesday night on war service homes and the administration of the War Service Homes Division, I referred to the Minister for National Development (Senator Sir William Spooner) and said that he is a near crook. It has occurred to me that this could be construed to mean that the Minister, in a personal and monetary sense, is a near crook. I regret having made that statement. I do not believe it would be true.
.- In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, 1 present the report of the Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work: -
Report relating to the proposed erection of Stage Two of the Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne, Victoria. and move -
That the report be printed.
This proposal was referred to the Public Works Committee on 16th May, 1962. Because of the lapse of time in presenting this report, the committee believes that I should inform the House of some reasons why there has been that delay. The statement from the Department of the Interior was received on 10th August last and those from the Department of Works on 5th and 10th October. The detailed estimates of cost were given on 12th October, 1962. The committee’s report shows that a number of public hearings was necessary. The first of these was on 9th October, 1962, and the last one on 14th March, 1963.
I wish to say also that in its conclusions, the committee states that there is overcrowding in Stage 1 of the Commonwealth Centre and that there is an urgent need for additional Commonwealth office space in Melbourne. When inquiries commenced, no decision had been made about departments which would move to the new building and although a decision was made later that the Repatriation Department should be accommodated in it, this was finally reversed. The decision now is that space will be allocated to departments with general administrative functions only.
The committee recommends the construction of the building to the size and design proposed at an estimated cost of £2,560,000, which includes the cost of airconditioning. I direct attention to the committee’s recommendation that an inquiry should be made into all aspects of the requirement for air-conditioning in Commonwealth buildings.
– I shall not detain the House for very long. This building happens to be in the electorate that I represent in this Parliament. I think the second stage of the Commonwealth Centre in Melbourne should have been proceeded with a long time ago. I noticed in the Melbourne newspapers to-day that tenders have been called - perhaps, indeed, a contract has been let - for the construction of a new building opposite the Customs House in Melbourne. If that is so, some progress is being made towards accommodating public servants properly in that city, and a great saving is being affected for the Treasury, because large amounts of money will no longer have to be paid out by way of rent.
The second section of the Commonwealth Centre at the top of Spring-street, which I suggest should have been built years ago, is now recommended by the committee for construction. I am sorry that faults have been found with the first section, but the committee has made a very thorough investigation of the matter, presumably, and its findings would then be well based. My information is that there is a need for airconditioning, central heating and the like in the existing building, and I hope that this will be attended to. I hope also that the Government will approve the construction of the second section of the centre in the next financial year. I think the present state of the building trade in Melbourne justifies the erection of the Commonwealth Centres. It would be a good thing for everybody - for the Commonwealth Treasury, for the building industry and for the public servants who will be accommodated in these buildings - if both projects were undertaken in the next financial year.
– I would like to support the two previous speakers. I hope that the second stage of the Commonwealth Centre will be constructed without delay. I had quite a bit to do with the first stage when I was Minister for the Interior.
I notice that the honorable member who moved the motion mentioned, not in detail but in outline, the departments that are to go into the second stage of the centre. I would like to make a plea for the members of this Commonwealth Parliament who are housed in almost slum conditions at the present time. Our Melbourne offices are in a very old building. Quite apart from the fact that one cannot eat the cabbage that is evidently cooked for lunch every day at the hotel next door, the building in which the offices are situated is quite unsuitable. The lift is constantly breaking down, and some honorable members have to walk up as many as six flights of stairs. There is no room to park a car anywhere in the vicinity. When I was Minister for the Interior, and plans were being made for the erection of Stage 1 of the Commonwealth Centre, members of this Parliament were to be accommodated in one floor of the new building, in which space was to have been made available, but unfortunately when I left office somebody else managed to get that space and the move of members from their present unsatisfactory offices did not take place.
I do believe that the present offices are unsuitable. The building itself is not a place in which one would like to receive visitors from overseas. No member wants a big, flash office anywhere, but I believe the present offices are not suitable and I ask that consideration be given to the provision of space in the new building for offices for members of this Parliament.
– I suggest to the House that in the planning of this and other Commonwealth buildings in Melbourne and also in Sydney more attention should be given to the provision of car parking space. A major Commonwealth building has been in course of construction in Sydney for which the car parking facilities will be completely inadequate. The Commonwealth is not carrying out its obligations to provide reasonable car parking space for the offices which are being constructed in the Commonwealth Centre in Melbourne and also in Sydney, and I make a plea for more consideration to be given to this vital aspect of planning in all future work.
.- The Public Works Committee found that there was an urgent need to proceed with this building and many other buildings. We found there was considerable overcrowding, and also that the Commonwealth is spending a large amount of money in renting premises in Melbourne. In our report we have urged the Government to consider the need to press on immediately with the third stage of the project, instead of allowing a lapse of time such as that which occurred between the first and second stages.
As to air-conditioning, it is the firm recommendation of the committee that full air-conditioning should be introduced into this building. We have also suggested that the Government should, as a matter of policy, consider its approach to the whole question of air-conditioning. The committee has found itself in a serious dilemma at times because the Government has not announced its policy on this matter. We find in Darwin at the present time that the Commonwealth administrative building is air-conditioned, the post office is airconditioned and the proposed court building is to be air-conditioned. Yet when this committee recommended that the new Darwin high school be air-conditioned the recommendation was not adopted. We now have the absurd position that in a place like Darwin the newly erected high school is not air-conditioned, and this has caused considerable dissatisfaction and disturbance.
– Order! I ask the honorable member to resume his seat. This discussion about airconditioning, and previous remarks about practically everything else that has been referred to, have really been out of order. The motion was that the paper be printed, and I expected that there would be little discussion on it. However, this has now developed into a discussion on the merits of air-conditioning at Darwin, Port Augusta or somewhere else. I direct the honorable member’s attention to the fact that the motion before the Chair is that the paper be printed, and I direct him to confine his remarks to that matter.
– I will do so. I simply say that we have asked the Government to lay down a firm policy with regard to its approach to air-conditioning. That is part of a recommendation contained in the report. Also in the report - and honorable members may read it if they wish to - we have dealt with the question of parking space and have suggested that the Government lay down a policy to be followed when there is a proposal to erect high density buildings in the capital cities. This problem of parking space is assuming considerable dimensions.
It has also been pointed out that the committee found it was proposed that certain departments were to go into this building, and that if these plans had been allowed to proceed it would have cost the
Commonwealth an additional £200,000. This resulted from failture to determine properly, before the project reached a critical stage, what departments should be housed in the building. This is contained in the committee’s report. We hope that the recommendations will receive the urgent attention of the Government and that something will come out of them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Assent to the following bills reported: -
States Grants (Universities) Bill 1963.
Loan (Housing) Bill 1963.
– I have received a letter from the honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) proposing that a definite matter of urgent public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely -
The considerable degree of dissatisfaction existing among clerical and administrative officers of the Commonwealth Public Service over salaries and conditions of employment and the delay that has occurred in the hearing by the Arbitration Commission of an application for increases in margins lodged by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association.
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) -
– Mr. Speaker, it has become abundantly clear in recent weeks that there is considerable dissatisfaction in the Commonwealth Public Service. Never before in the history of the service has there been so much public agitation and criticism among the staff about salaries and conditions of employment. Professional, administrative and clerical officers among this nation’s employees have a tradition of loyalty and efficiency of which any country could be justly proud. What is the situation that has roused these normally staid employees to a state of indignation such as exists at present? How can it come to pass that this unusual degree of unrest has been engendered? I suggest that the answers are to be found in the manner in which this Government has treated these people who are its own employees.
For almost a generation after the Commonwealth Public Service was first established there was always industrial peace. A government of the same political persuasion as the present Government introduced many years ago legislation establishing an independent Public Service arbitration tribunal to which public servants could repair for the satisfaction of their grievances. This was distinct from the then existing Public Service Board. The system afterwards worked efficiently. It was speedy, just and inexpensive. Over the years, case after case was dealt with satisfactorily and expeditiously. There was never any resultant discontent, because salaries were determined by proper and scientific methods of evaluating the work performed in every instance. The Parliament retained the right to disallow the awards and determinations. In the history of salary fixation throughout the world, there was nothing until that time that could equal that procedure. One would have imagined that with such a successful and sound system of arbitration functioning so smoothly this Government would have been concerned to maintain and strengthen the operation of the scheme. But, for some inexplicable reason, the present Government, soon after coming into office, destroyed the independence of the Public Service Arbitrator and threw the Commonwealth’s employees into the turmoil that is part of the life of outside industrial tribunals.
Honorable members on this side of the House opposed the destruction of the Public Service arbitration system in 1952. We opposed the amending act of that year. The Government was warned at the time that if public servants lost their independent system and were forced into the costly, delaying and frustrating legalisms of the general arbitration tribunals, there would inevitably follow a degree of unrest and dissatisfaction. This is precisely what has happened, Sir. The bill designed to destroy the independent Public Service arbitration system was introduced in this House by the present Treasurer, Mr. Harold Holt, who was then Minister for Labour and National Service. He tried to explain at the time that the Government wanted conditions in the Public Service to be based on standards the same as those applied by the main arbitration tribunals to other industries.
When other groups of salary and wageearners in the community were awarded marginal increases in 1954 to raise margins to two and one-half times those of 1937, the Public Service Arbitrator, following well-established precedents, granted similar increases to officers of the Commonwealth service. After that, the Government permitted and encouraged the Public Service Board to take advantage of its new appeal rights, and the matter of margins in the Public Service was referred to the full bench of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, as it then was, insofar as officers of the Second and Third Divisions were involved. The court reduced to less than two and one-half times the increases that had already been granted by the Arbitrator. Again, in 1960, the Government actively intervened in the next margins hearing and was represented before the full bench of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, as it had then become, to argue successfully that public servants in the clerical and administrative ranks were not entitled to the full benefit of the 28 per cent, increase in margins that had been accorded to other sections of employees.
Honorable members will thus see that in two successive margins cases the clerical and administrative officers were denied a proper measure of wage justice and their conditions were depressed in comparison with those that they had previously enjoyed. This indefensible state of affairs has been brought about by the actions of the present Government, Mr. Speaker. What happened to the explanation given to this House by the Treasurer when he introduced the legislation? He said then that the Government wanted Public Service conditions to be the same as those in outside industry. Yet what did the Government do in fact? It set out to use the new system in such a way as to ensure that public servants in the clerical and administrative divisions received, on a percentage basis, less in marginal increases than did other sections of wage and salary earners. Is it any wonder that the officers who now constitute the clerical and administrative sections of the Commonwealth Public Service are agitating, holding public meetings and conducting an intensive propaganda compaign against the Government in protest at its actions?
We on this side of the House do not wish to make political capital out of this salary depression imposed on our nation’s loyal and efficient public servants. We are most anxious, however, to see that salary justice is restored to them without the need for them to take such drastic measures, which seem so unusual to them, to bring their case to notice. The Government, however, has only itself to blame for the situation in which it finds itself. The independent Public Service arbitration system, in our view, should never have been destroyed. The Government should never have allowed the Public Service Board to deny proper marginal adjustments to the Second and Third Divisions. And the Government most certainly should never have induced the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission to reduce the standard of salaries in the Service below the rates fixed for other kinds of employees.
The nation’s public servants, faced with this loss of salary rights on two successive occasions, and with the prospect of continuing depression of their wage conditions, are reacting just as was forecast when they lost their formerly effective and efficient system of independent arbitration. No one can blame them, because they are not used to going on strike or indulging in stop-work meetings and the like. They have frightened this Government, nevertheless, by their recent public campaigns and their threat to take electoral action to seek the downfall of the Government. These measures have struck fear into the hearts of a few honorable members opposite, one of them being the present Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). He very nearly lost his seat at the last general election as a result of the experimental campaign waged in his own electorate by whitecollar workers, and he does not want a similar experience in the future. No wonder he wants a redistribution of electoral boundaries in his district!
Honorable members on this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, wish to see an efficient Public Service adequately paid for the important duties that its members have to perform. Efficiency cannot be maintained if every time a marginal increase is granted to non-government employees the important administrative and clerical section of the service is likely to receive something less on a percentage basis. It is a wonder that these officers have been so patient for so long. But the Government has traded on the loyalty of the service until that loyalty has been stretched to breaking point. It would be a different matter if the demands for wage rises were unreasonable, but they are not. The officers are merely asking that they be allowed to maintain their salary relativity and that they shall not be turned into a kind of depressed class of wage and salary earners.
What has possessed the Government to indulge in this attack upon the employment conditions of our clerical and administrative officers? In one breath, Government members praise the loyalty and efficiency of the Public Service. In the next breath, they foster a situation which denies wage rises for those officers at the same rate as is applied to other employees. Could it be that the Government is endeavouring to use the Public Service as a standard by which it hopes to depress in time every other class of wage and salary earner in the community? There must be some reason why the Government first conceived the idea of destroying the Public Service arbitration system. The Government just would not abolish a procedure which operated so well for such a long time unless it had some ulterior motive.
Since the Public Service arbitration system was abolished the Government has taken advantage of the new method to bring about a depression of salary conditions in direct contradiction of the assurances given to the House by the then Minister for Labour and National Service, the present Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), that the intention was to keep Public Service conditions and outside conditions in line. That is not being done. If we turn back the pages of “ Hansard “ and read the explanations given at the time the independent Public Service arbitration system was instituted it will be seen that those explanations are just as valid to-day as they were then. My time is limited, and other honorable members on this side of the
House who follow me in the debate will give evidence in support of my contention.
The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) admitted the Government’s folly in the 1960 margins case, when it intervened in the hearing, and he announced in this House last Thursday that on the next occasion the Government will not send its lawyers to the court to oppose the Public Service claims. The members of the Public Service regard that as most interesting. But the Government must do more than that. It must instruct the Public Service Board not to support any further depression of salaries in the service and it must ensure that the board takes steps to have restored to public servants the margins that they lost in 1955 and 1960. Nothing less than this will represent a restoration of full salary justice.
The Government should also look again at the effects of its decision to destroy the independence of the Public Service arbitration system. Action should be taken to restore the procedure which operated so efficiently in the past so that there will be an end to the current and growing serious unrest. Public servants are only asking for justice. They are entitled to justice but the Government is denying them justice. If the Government will not give public servants justice they are entitled to take every constitutional means to see that they get it. The Opposition will help them to get the justice to which they are entitled.
– I do not propose to take very long to deal with what I must say is one of the most half-hearted attacks I have heard my friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), make. Indeed, one might well be pardoned for speculating why this matter was brought before this House when it is coming before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on 28th of this month. Is the idea that the commission will be threatened and conditioned in advance? This is in the teeth of all arbitration principles.
The fact about this present matter - it is worth reciting - is that the case will come before the commission on 28th May. The reference of the case to the full commission was made at the request of the Commonwealth Public Service staff associations. I have already made it clear that, as distinct from a former occasion when we were experiencing very acute inflationary pressures, when this matter comes before the commission the Commonwealth does not propose to intervene. The matter will be contested and thrashed out between the Public Service Board - which, for this purpose, is the employer - and the Public Service organizations.
The honorable gentleman’s idea of the arbitration for which the people for whom he offers to speak have asked is that the matter should be heard on 28th May and that there should be no intervention by the Public Service Board except for the board to say that it agrees to everything for which the staff associations have asked. Really, I begin to wonder whether, if he had the power, he would, in all the other applications which will crop up to extend the metal trades margins decision to other industries, tell the respective employers that they were not to intervene at the hearings except to say “ Yes “. This is a fantasy. I am really shocked that a man who aspires to be the Prime Minister of this country, and would then be responsible, as I am technically, for the Public Service administration, should be prepared to foment an idea of this kind.
Of course he went back a little and stated that in 1952 we introduced legislation, which the Parliament passed, to provide for an appeal procedure or a reference procedure to the full Arbitration Commission. Why did we do that? We did it to produce some consistency of results. The honorable gentleman rather conveniently forgets, if he will allow me to say so, that many people employed by the Commonwealth are doing exactly the same kind of jobs as are people employed in a variety of private industries. The oldest game in the world of industrial arbitration, with which I used to be extremely familiar, is to jack it up by getting an award from a limited tribunal and then telling the general tribunal that it must apply the provisions of that award generally, otherwise there will be anomalies and industrial unrest. I suppose those expressions are still being used.
We knew that there would be industrial unrest and anomalies unless some procedure was established under which there was coordination of decisions. There had to be co-ordination of the work of individual commissioners. There had to be suitable procedures for references to the full commission so that the full commission could co-ordinate what was being done by the individual commissioners. We felt that in the same way, on appropriate occasions, the commission could be charged with the responsibility of producing some coordination of what it was doing and what the Public Service Arbitrator was doing. We still have the Public Service Arbitrator. Listening to the honorable gentleman’s speech, you would think we had abolished the Public Service Arbitrator. Listening to the honorable gentleman’s speech, with its somewhat tenuous logic, you would think we had abolished all the individual commissioners under the arbitration system. Of course we have not. We have provided for co-ordination of their work and for the determination of the big basic problems at the top level.
How any one can complain about that, I do not know. How on this occasion the Public Service associations can complain retrospectively to 1952, I do not know. Their self-appointed spokesman, the Leader of the Opposition, has said to us: “ You did a terrible thing in 1952. You wretched people wanted to produce some consistency between decisions over a wide field.” Now his complaint is that there is not to be consistency over a wide field. When we say, on the application of the Public Service unions themselves, that we will go to the commission - the commission that made the first decision - and allow it to determine what should happen in these matters, they say, “ That is a funny thing to do unless you agree to go to the commission and tell it to do what we want it to do “. That is a pretty strange proposal, and all the more strange when one remembers that subsequent to the legislation of 1952 we had in 1959-60 the increase in salaries - margins if you wish to use the more precise term. That matter went to the full bench of the commission on the application of the public service association, just as this present application has. So apparently the new rule, as stated by the Labour Party, is: Ask for the matter to go to the commission and do your best to get it on in time. The unions cannot claim that we have held up their application on this occasion. The application will be heard on 28th May. The Labour Party then says, “ Use parliamentary representatives to frighten members of Parliament or to have the commission itself feel that there is a great switch of opinion against it “. We must be timid!
Mr. Speaker, I have noticed in the local newspaper a large and costly advertisement inserted by the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association of the Commonwealth Public Service. I must say I have had a happy experience of Commonwealth civil servants. I have not met one of the type referred to in the advertisement and I would refuse to believe that such people represent a majority of the men who work so faithfully and so objectively, not only for this Government but for the country as a whole. It is a novel experience for me to be told, “ Come down quietly or we will convert ourselves into a political pressure group “. A letter has been circulated, and a copy of it has been handed to me by my friend-
– Who is your friend?
– The honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury). The letter is a fascinating document. I do not know a single Commonwealth civil servant who could have stooped to write -
Should I not obtain salary justice on this occasion through the persistence of the Government’s attitude … I must point out that as a retaliatory measure I will cast my vote against you in this electorate at the next election.
Do you suppose I will lose any sleep over that threat? If I were any other honorable member of this House I should take as an insult the suggestion that I could be frightened into changing my public policy - persuaded but frightened by these foolish threats. I do not believe for a moment that more than a tiny percentage of Commonwealth civil servants would dream of saying, not only to us, but also to all the other people of Australia who outnumber them: “ We are not concerned about the great issues that affect the safety and growth of the country. We are not concerned with any matter of public policy except our salaries. Give us what we are after.”
– They did not say that.
– They did say that. At least that is what the few people responsible for this concoction say. They say, “ Unless you do what we want in this regard we will convert ouselves into a political pressure group and vote against you “. As far as I am concerned they are welcome to vote as they think proper. If I were in their place I should hesitate before I set myself at variance on these matters with the rest of the Australian people, but that is a matter for these people themselves to determine. All I want to point out, and in the simplest possible terms, is that these threats proceed in relation to a matter which in a few days will be before the lawful tribunal - the very tribunal that has already dealt with the margins application in the metal trades case. That tribunal will not be pressed by the government of the country by way of intervention. It will thrash the matter out and will arrive at a conclusion. Following its invariable practice the Government will accept the tribunal’s decision. Is this a threat that somebody else will not accept that decision? This is something new. I do not for one moment believe that such an improper exercise of the forms of this House designed solely to bring influence to bear on the tribunal, will have the sympathy or support of either the general public of Australia or of 95 per cent, of members of the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
.- It is quite obvious that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and his Government are considerably concerned with the unrest that exists at present in the Commonwealth Public Service. The right honorable gentleman has adopted the habit of clowning a matter which was referred to by the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Einfeld) in an earlier debate. The right honorable gentleman obviously clowned through the last fifteen minutes of his speech and disregarded the seething unrest that exists in the Public Service to-day. The Prime Minister obviously attempted to show that that unrest is the result of the discontent of a few malcontents.
Lunch-hour protest meetings of Commonwealth public servants have been held in Brisbane, Perth and Canberra. Articles by public servants have been contributed to newspapers. There is unrest in the Commonwealth Public Service and it stems directly from this Government’s intervention in public servants’ applications for wage justice. On 30th April last I had an opportunity to speak during the debate on the Appropriation Bill. In that debate I referred to the wage injustice under which public servants are labouring. Two days later I had received 500 telegrams from all over Australia seeking to enlist my support for the public servants. Surely that indicates to the Government that the discontent is widespread through Australia. One does not like to see the Prime Minister come into this House and laugh off the claims of the Commonwealth public servants in such cavalier fashion as he has adopted to-day.
What are the problems confronting public servants? The Government says that it wants harmonious employee-employer relations in private industry; that it wants employees always to go to arbitration. The Commonwealth public servants have waited in vain for wage justice during the thirteen or fourteen years that this Government has been in office. I admire their patience. In 1951, shortly after the right honorable gentleman was returned to office, his first directive to the Commonwealth Public Service Board was, “ Sack 10,000 public servants”. That was a sop to the people whom a few moments ago he said he should ignore. It was a sop to the electors. Public servants at that time wondered whether they would be sacked. Subsequently a survey was carried out in the Public Service and the right honorable gentleman’s directive was not put into effect. The public servants retained their jobs.
In 1953, because of this Government’s intervention, automatic cost-of-living adjustments were suspended. Much confusion was caused because State arbitration commissions refused to follow that decision and suspend adjustments. This Government violently opposed subsequent claims by the Public Service for the restoration of quarterly cost-of-living adjustments. So, in 1953 we had the problem of the Commonwealth suspending those adjustments and the State arbitration commissions continuing them.
In 1955, the Public Service Arbitrator granted the full increase equal to two and a half times the 1937 margins throughout the Public Service. This Government appealed against that decision and succeeded in depressing the salaries of its employees. The ironical twist is that this Government previously had introduced legislation to permit such an appeal to be made. Apparently it thought well in advance about what was going to happen and introduced legislation so that it could appeal against the granting of the increase equal to two and a half times the 1937 margins.
Early in 1959, during the margins contest, the Government was not content with allowing the Public Service Board to present in the normal way its opposition to the public servants’ claims. In addition, the Government itself briefed counsel to intervene and oppose the claim. It was not even satisfied with that. The Prime Minister took it upon himself to make public announcements opposing the claim when the case was in progress. That same gentleman, adopting his clowning attitude in this House, says: “ Surely you are not going to bring the case on before the 28th. You are not trying to pressure people.” Yet in 1959, while that case was being heard and the Public Service Board, as the employer, was arguing the case with the employees, this Government briefed and instructed counsel to go before the arbitration commission, and sided with the employer against the employees. But that was not sufficient. While the case was proceeding the Prime Minister made public announcements, trying to influence the commission in its decision.
Surely the Government will not tell the people of Australia, or is not implying, that there is no discontent in the Commonwealth Public Service. That discontent has built up over the years. An accounts clerk employed in a Queensland Government department receives a salary of £1,541 per annum after twenty years’ service. Yet at least 60 or 70 men in the accounts and engineering sections of the Postmaster-General’s Department in Queensland, who have been there for more than nineteen years, receive £150 to £200 less than that. There is discontent in Queensland, where a Commonwealth employee, doing almost identical work with that of a State public servant, receives £4 to £5 less per week. The Prime Minister was clowning, but 1 am completely serious in this matter. It is the concern of everybody in this House and this country when the Commonwealth public servants rise up as a body and take the action that they have taken. They have written to the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) and the honorable member for Ryan (Mr. Drury) suggesting that unless they bring this Government to its senses so that it gives some recognition to the injustices in relation to the salaries and wages of Commonwealth public servants, they will have to go actively into the electorates of Ryan and Moreton to fight against those Government representatives. As I mentioned earlier, it is very clear to everybody on this side of the House that the Government is concerned. All over Australia public servants are agitating.
We on this side of the House are very worried about another aspect; that is the drift of Commonwealth public servants to other industries. In a reply given in another place to-day to a question asking how many Commonwealth public servants have left the Service in the last two years, we find that, from 1st January, 1961, to 31st December, 1962, 8,200 Commonwealth public servants left the service. In view of the present unemployment position, which has been brought about by this Government, one wonders whether the Commonwealth Government could maintain sufficient servants to administer this country if there were full employment. Obviously there is a tremendous drift of talented people. I mentioned previously in this House that four assistant secretaries of the Department of Trade have left that department. 1 notice that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) is making a note. A reply given in another place to-day states that five assistant secretaries have left since 1st January. I understand that the second, third and fourth men in charge of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures in this city of Canberra are former senior officers of the Department of Trade. This Government is seriously depleting the administrative talent of this country.
The responsibility lies heavily on the shoulders of the Prime Minister, who, in a cavalier fashion, brushes off the entire Com monwealth Public Service and tries to make out that this discontent is in a small group, when he knows that it is throughout the whole Commonwealth Public Service. He, of all people, knows that 8,200 people have left the service. He, of all people, knows about the drift of talented people.
What is going to be done about it? Is the Government going to give a review? Commonwealth public servants simply ask to be given the right to the increase of two and one-half times the 1937 margins, the 28 per cent, increase in margins granted in 1959 and the current increase in margins. They require only that their wages have some parity with those of people employed in State public services and private industry.
.- The speech of the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. O’Brien) can be dismissed with two comments. First, his complete lack of appreciation of the facts is shown when he stands in this House and asserts that the Commonwealth suspended automatic costofliving adjustments in 1953. Apparently he has no conception of the fact that it was the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission that suspended those adjustments. The Government had no part in that whatever. If that is a guide to the standard of his material, we can dismiss all of it as being completely unreliable.
The honorable member made assertions about the departure of officers from the Commonwealth Public Service, and he made an entirely wrong diagnosis of that position. The fact of the matter is that the Commonwealth Public Service has such efficient officers that people in outside industry have a great desire to attract those officers out of the Public Service into private industry. That is, if anything, a true reflection of the capacity, loyalty and standard of Commonwealth public servants.
I come back to this matter of urgency. There can be no doubt that this is a political exercise. It is nothing more or less than a political exercise in this chamber by the Australian Labour Party - an opposition thirsting for office and clutching at any straw that might bring office to it. The political exercise has associated with it individual pressure brought to bear upon individual members in their electorates, in the form that the Prime Minister (Sir
Robert Menzies) has illustrated to the House. The Australian Labour Party - the Opposition in this Parliament - is running as an opportunist in this matter. That party has never represented or stood for the Second Division or Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service. It represents philosophies and a broad mass of opinion, the interests of which are diametrically opposed to the interests of the Second Division and Third Division officers. The Opposition has taken up this matter in the hope of winning a few votes cheaply. That is the only reason the Opposition has demonstrated a complete irresponsibility to the matters with which an opposition, in our two-party system, ought to concern itself. It has never represented the people for whom the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has to-day asserted that he speaks. The Australian Labour Party has seen a chance to make trouble. It has seen a chance to make trouble in concert with certain officers of the associations who share the political philosophies of so many members of the Opposition. There is, of course, a very clear assertion in this urgency proposal that the Government is at fault in this matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts of the matter are that the associations sought a reference and that the President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, exercising his statutory powers - to which, I might say, the Opposition has at no time raised any objection - granted the reference and fixed the date for the hearing of the case.
One of these associations is torn with internal strife. There is warfare going on within its ranks, publicized in its journal for all the world to read. The opinion held by some officers of the association is that a display of militancy is the vehicle necessary to gain control of the association, to convert it from a traditionally responsible body to one which resorts to a wide range of activities and pressures never contemplated in the past. There is a conflict for power between Smith and Thompson. Everybody knows of this conflict. Smith is the present federal secretary and Thompson, the New South Wales secretary, is seeking to gain power. Thompson is a man who was an active card-carrying member of the Communist Party. I do not allege that he is a card-carrying member of the Communist
Party at the moment, but I have no doubt that his present views are not greatly different from those he held in the 1940’s, when he was an active Communist. There is a proposed change in the constitution of the association. There is a war going on to see who will be the industrial officer - Deverall or Freestone. They represent two shades of opinion. There is also a war going on in the Opposition, which is seeking to clutch at votes by allowing itself to be drawn into this war within the association.
What is the situation in relation to this particular case? Thirty-eight claims were made to the Public Service Arbitrator. Let me hasten to point out to the Leader of the Opposition that there never was in the history of public service wage fixation a suggestion that this entailed an approach different from that used for other employees, although there were certain factors which had to be taken into account because public servants were involved. They had different areas of duties, different degrees of security, and different conditions of employment. However, it was never suggested that because a man was a public servant he was essentially different from anybody else who earned his livelihood by selling his labour.
It has been suggested by the Leader of the Opposition that the independence has been taken away from the Public Service arbitration system. This is not true, and the Leader of the Opposition admitted it when, at a later stage in his speech, he said that the independent tribunal is not being used. He alleges that the Public Service Arbitrator is no longer an independent officer, exercising his own judgment in terms of a judicial application to the arguments put before him. The Public Service Arbitrator has always been an independent officer, and remains so to-day, but there is now a commission to which appeals and references can be made. Let it be clearly understood that it is the associations which have taken the greatest advantage of the right of reference to a full bench of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. If you look at the numbers of appeals and references - they have gone out of my mind at the moment - you will see that those instituted by the associations are in the ratio of two to one. Indeed, the very matter which is the vehicle of this urgency proposal was an application to the Public Service Board which went to the Public Service Arbitrator and then, as has been pointed out by the Prime Minister, was the subject of an application for reference to the commission by the associations.
Turning to the nature of the claim, it is important to know that it is a claim for an increase in margins on the same basis as the claim made by the metal trades unions. When the reference was sought, the President of the commission delayed his decision until the metal trades margins case was well started. He then granted the reference, as he also did for the Australian bank officials’ association on a like application. He has said that there are two matters to be considered. First, there is the tapering effect. Secondly, there is the piercing of the ceilings. The associations wanted the reference because they wanted to upset a previous decision by a full bench of the commission, and it was only by a reference that this could be done.
Another matter which has been mentioned is the matter of delay. Let us look at the facts. A reference was granted while the application by the metal trades unions for increased margins was in the course of being heard. The decision in that case was given just after Easter - about 16th April. I have forgotten the precise date. The President of the commission set 30th April as a firm date for the hearing of the Public Service case. Unfortunately, Mr. Justice Wright, a deputy president of the commission, became ill. The case was adjourned by consent until 7th May and then, because of urgent matters which arose, it was adjourned by the commission until 14th May. Now there is a firm date fixed - 28th May. Allow me to add, on the question of retrospectivity, that the 1959 Public Service margins decision, when it was ultimately made by a full bench of the commission, granted retrospectivity to the date of the decision in the metal trades margins case. First, there is no delay. Secondly, inasmuch as there must be a lapse of time between the determination of one case and the other, this is covered by the retrospectivity provisions.
.- The purpose of this urgency proposal is to point out to the Government the seething discontent that pervades the whole of the Commonwealth Public Service. Professional, skilled, trained and experienced men are vacating the Commonwealth Public Service and transferring to outside industry because there they can obtain higher pay and better promotional opportunities. As the honorable member for Petrie (Mr. O’Brien) pointed out, thousands of highly skilled men are leaving the Commonwealth Public Service and replacements are not coming forward because of the lack of incentives. As a result, departments are lagging behind with their services and with their annual reports on the multifarious and important duties that they must perform.
The Commonwealth Public Service is losing many of its best career officers. Architects, surveyors, town planners, health officers, public administrators, accountants, legal officers, economists, draftsmen, scientists, engineers, technicians and many skilled artisans are leaving the Commonwealth Public Service. Officers with these qualifications will not remain in the Commonwealth Public Service for much less remuneration than they can get in outside industry. I refer, for instance, to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. No agency of the Commonwealth Public Service, or of private industry, has added more to the national economy than this organization. The results of its work have added millions of pounds to the national economy. Yet officers of this organization, along with officers of all other departments of the Commonwealth Public Service, are being deprived of wage and salary justice.
During its term of office this Government has consistently attacked the salaries and working conditions of Commonwealth public servants. This has been a deliberate part of Government policy. Initially the stage was set by an amendment to the Public Service Arbitration Act to deprive the then Arbitrator, Mr. Castieau, of his powers. In its usual glib way, at the time the Government went to considerable trouble to explain that this had no real significance, but was a tidying up device. Then in the margins case of 1954 the Government really showed its hand. The Public Service Arbitrator was prevailed upon to await the outcome of the metal trades margins case before determining the Public Service case. Rightly using the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission’s judgment as a precedent, the Arbitrator awarded pro-rata marginal increases to the Commonwealth Public Service.
The Public Service Board, acting under the personal instruction of the Prime Minister, appealed against the arbitrator’s decision; and then the Government bad the effrontery to intervene in the hearing before the court! The Prime Minister complains that we are putting up a case for the Commonwealth public servants. We must do the opposite to what he has been doing. As all honorable members know, margins are expressly intended to be the province of particular commissioners. In the case of the Commonwealth Public Service, they are the province of the Public Service Arbitrator, but this Government has so shattered the entire framework of arbitration that now matters of any substance are referred to the full presidential commission with consequent high legal costs, frustrations and attendant delays.
In 1954, by the exercise of pressure and the use of most specious arguments, the Government had the arbitrator’s determination upset, and destroyed his authority. As a result, public servants were denied wage justice, the Government considered it had had a victory and public service morale and recruitment suffered. The story in 1958-59 was very similar except that on that occasion, as his authority had already been destroyed by this Government, the arbitrator took no more than a nominal part in the proceedings, which is the role this Government intends that he shall continue to play. As a result of the great influence which the Government brought to bear on the matter, Commonwealth public servants had their previously tapered margins tapered again by the denial of the full 28 per cent, marginal increase. The Government has clearly shown that it is opposed to wage justice for its employees - the public servants.
To illustrate the adverse effect of the Government’s policy on salaries of Commonwealth public servants, I mention specifically the failure of the Government to allow the application of the full increase of two and a half times the 1937 margins awarded by the metal trades decision of 1954. Again in 1960, the Government refused to allow the application of the full 28 per cent, marginal increase. Every employee in every industry outside the Commonwealth Public Service received in full the increases awarded by our arbitration courts. This Government and the Public Service Board alone discriminated against their own employees.
As to the 28 per cent, increase in the margins, I emphasize that the Government applied its own formula, which was to apply increases ranging from 23 per cent, in the lower grades down to 17 per cent, in the higher grades. To illustrate the disadvantages suffered by public servants through the application of this formula, I mention employees of the Postal Department. For instance, linemen, postal assistants and conduit workers lost from £20 to £30 a year, clerks on the base grade, the most numerous of all categories of officers, lost £40 a year, while the loss suffered by clerks on the maximum grade was £90 a year. Again, in the Third Division, postal clerks, telegraphists and senior postal clerks suffered relatively the same losses. Further, Grade 2 postmasters lost £52 a year, Grade 3 postmasters lost £78 a year, Grade 4 postmasters lost £85 a year, Grade 5 postmasters lost £105 a year, while those in Grade 6 lost £125 a year. Postmasters in the highest grade, those in Grade 7, lost £145 a year. All those losses were suffered as a result of the tapering down by the Government of the marginal increase of 28 per cent.
The facts relating to the present Government’s political attacks on public servants are very clear. This Liberal-Country Party coalition Government destroyed the independence of the previously effective and efficient public service arbitration system and threw the public service unions into the costly, delaying, excessively legalistic procedure of the outside individual courts. Having committed this destructive act of wanton sabotage in the middle of one night in a few hours in both Houses of the Parliament, the Government then swept into the arbitration commission and made submissions on two occasions, first through its pliant Public Service Board and on the second occasion through the person of its own barristers, and induced the judges to decide that a public servant was a secondclass, depressed and unworthy type of lowly citizen who did not deserve the same economic wage justice as other salaried employees. Those public servants who are in the lower and middle classifications and who were receiving remunerations equal to defined sections in other industries in 1937 and 1954 suddenly found their margins reduced in 1955 and again in 1960, so that in effect they were robbed of economic justice as surely as if the Government had stolen the money out of their pockets.
Could it be expected that a career officer or a professional officer would remain in the Commonwealth Public Service to receive a marginal increase of only 17 per cent, when he could obtain an increase of 28 per cent, in outside industry? It is impossible to believe that they would be so unwise as not to sell their labour to the highest bidder. The Commonwealth public servants are not asking for better or higher privileges than are enjoyed by any one else; they are asking only for equality, and the Opposition is fighting with them to see that they get that equality.
– It becomes obvious from what we have heard from the Opposition that there are two reasons why this matter has been raised for urgent discussion. The first is to bring some pressure to bear upon the Arbitration Commission that is now about to hear an application by the public service associations for an increase in margins. The second - and this is just as important - is to attempt to coerce some of the members of this House into bringing pressure to bear upon the Government about what it should do in the conduct of its case. In other words, the intention is to bring pressure to bear to induce the Public Service Board not to object to or take any action in connexion with the hearing of an application by the public servants for an increase in their margins.
Speaking personally, I would not care what the public service associations did in their attempts to coerce members of this House. We are here representing the people of this country, we act in the national interest, and coercion has no effect upon people like myself or, for that matter, any other person who happens to hold a marginal seat.
My attitude towards this matter is somewhat different from that taken by honorable members opposite. The main claim of th? public service associations is that their members have not received wage and salary justice during the last twelve years. That is the first issue that should be examined by this House. As honorable members will know, we have in this country a system of mutual bargaining arrangements, or, if you like, mutual negotiations between the various parties to industrial disputes. In the private sector of the economy, we have the employers and employees; similarly, in the public sector we have the Public Service Board, which represents the Government and is the equivalent of the employer in outside industry. That Public Service Board has wide powers and authority to negotiate individual wage claims and claims relating to conditions of employment. In addition, we have a system of conciliation and arbitration which is part of the law of this land. That system applies equally to both the civil service of this country and the private sector. There is no discrimination. Indeed, if I may use the words of the honorable member for Banks (Mr. Costa) there is equality of treatment as between all sectors of the economy and that is exactly as it should be.
Some members of the public service associations have offered criticism on three grounds. The first relates to the amendment made to the Conciliation and Arbitration Act in 1952; the second relates to the appeal by the Commonwealth Government in 1955; and the third relates to subsequent references of claims from the Public Service Arbitrator to the full commission in 1960 and 1963. I say openly and publicly that when issues of great public moment are involved, or where there are important principles involved, it is the responsibility of the Government to put its views before the full commission. This is the policy of the Government and it is a policy which will be continued. I do not think any government, whether Labour, Liberal or Country Party, should abdicate its public responsibility when great public issues are, in fact, involved.
I will not go over the facts of the 1952 case or the change in the legislation which then occurred. As the Prime Minister has pointed out in this House, we wanted consistency in awards as between the Public Service and private industry and within private industry. We could not have commercial and trading interests in the public sector, such as the airlines, railways and the supply services, dealt with differently from similar private trading and commercial concerns. Consequently, we wanted to achieve integration and consistency. I think that on that occasion in 1952 and again in 1955, when the appeal took place, the Commonwealth Government acted correctly and in accordance with these principles.
I come now to the 1955 appeal, which was made against the decision applying to the civil service the two and a half times margins decision in the metal trades case. The court said -
It is clear that “ the general marginal pattern of the Second and Third Division salaries in the Public Service has not, in the past, followed that of the metal trades award “.
In other words, it said that there was no direct connexion between the two. The critically important fact that I want to bring to the notice of the House - it is something which the Opposition has to think about and state whether or not it agrees with the reasoning and the decision - is that in its judgment the court said -
In the present state of economic knowledge and on present community standards of salary awards we could not, with what we regard as a proper sense of responsibility, give a decision which would probably lead to all salaries from £1,000 or so up to, say, £20,000 a year, as far as their marginal content is concerned, rising and falling proportionately to an increase or decrease in the fitters’ margin of 73s. a week or under £200 per year.
The Opposition has to state publicly whether it believes that because a fitter - on a margin of 75s. a week, or under £200 a year - gets a rise of X per cent, or a fall of x per cent, that same percentage is to be applied to people who receive between £1,000 and £20,000 a year. That position has only to be stated openly in public to show that the commission’s decision in this case was correct and consistent with any generally acknowledged principle of wage justice.
The second part of the Opposition’s argument deals, first, with the problem of having for the Public Service a similar system to that for private industry and, secondly, the question of whether the two and one-half times increase in the margin should also have been applied to the civil service. Let me now come to the issue of whether there should be a right of appeal or a right of reference from the Public Service Arbitrator to the full commission. I want to make some points clear. The Government has never intervened in the issue of the actual amount of wage and salary claims or the conditions of employment as between the Public Service Board and the Administrative and Clerical Officers Association. On matters of principle, yes, but not so far as the question of the actual quantum of wages or salaries has been concerned. The Government has never intervened on that ground. Let me take the 1960 and the 1963 applications by the public service associations as illustrations. Those applications for a reference from the Public Service Arbitrator to the full commission were made by the public service associations. The Government itself did not initiate the proceedings. In other words, the civil service itself took the responsibility and we, as a government, took no part in promoting the matter before the commission. If you look at the present margins case, you can note: First of all, in the 1963 margins application, the reference to the full commission was initiated by the public service associations. The Commonwealth Government has taken no action whatsoever regarding the reference. As the Prime Minister has said, there is no intention whatsoever of the Commonwealth Government intervening. The Public Service Board has full authority to conduct the negotiations for an agreement and, if arbitration is necessary, the case before the commission.
I finish on this note, which is of great importance to the survival of democratic government: I believe in maintaining, so far as the civil service is concerned, the rules of anonymity and freedom from involvement in political affairs. I think these principles are as important as the principles of the liberty of the individual and the supremacy of Parliament. The public service association must recognize that it has a responsibility to remain apolitical or outside the political world. In this margins case there has been a definite intention to influence the commission and action taken to coerce members. If these small groups within the Public Service want to destroy the feeling that the Australian people have for the integrity of that service, this is the way to do it. I hold the Public Service of this country in high regard and I am sure that the people of Australia do so. I do not want the destruction of the Public Service system by th: actions of a few disgruntled, and in some cases over-anxious, officials.
Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
.- Mr. Speaker, I wish to support the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell)-
Motion (by Mr. Davidson) put -
That the business of the day be called on.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 7th May (vide page 1079), on motion by Mr. Hasluck -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- Questions affecting the future of New Guinea are of importance and interest to the people of Australia, but, in addition, legislation relating to the Territory receives the close scrutiny of the United Nations. In introducing this bill, the Government displays a great deal of reluctance in moving towards the goal of self-government in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It becomes necessary, therefore, to go back over a little of the history of the economic and political development of the Territory - the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) did not reveal it in his speech - in order to understand the great change of attitude that has now come over the Government in its approach to these important questions.
It was not until 1945, when the war terminated, that very much thought was given to the future of Papua and New Guinea. The Territory received very little financial support from the anti-Labour governments that had retained control of the Commonwealth Parliament over very many years. It was only with the termination of hostilities, when a Labour government was in control, that any real forward planning was made and there was any real progress in the political and economic development of the community in New Guinea. It is rather interesting now to note the reluctance of the Government to proceed much more rapidly. I know that this country can be justly proud of many things that have been done in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, but, on the other hand, many things that have happened to the people of the Territory, in my opinion, are to the discredit of those who were in control at the time. The attitude of the anti-Labour parties to the Territory is that it is another place where the resources of the country and the people may be exploited by the investment of private capital.
Let me go back and quote a little from the records to prove my point. In 1945, when the Labour Government established the provisional Administration after the cessation of hostilities, a Mr. White, who was then the member for Balaclava, led for the Opposition in the debate. We should examine what we then proposed to do and what the attitude of the anti-Labour parties in the Parliament was to our proposals. In establishing the provisional Administration, we proposed to do a number of things. We proposed to have a 44-hour working week, to prohibit overtime except under certain emergency conditions, to eliminate indentured female labour, and to raise the minimum age for male labour from fourteen to sixteen years. We announced the abolition of the indentured labour system, as far as the public administration was concerned, and we announced that we would completely eliminate it about a year later, but of course the Labour Government was defeated in the interim. The honorable member for Balaclava, who led for the then Opposition in the debate, said -
If we suddenly enforce labour laws which might be applicable to a completely civilized democratic community, overpay the natives for their work, and give to them too much leisure, we shall be spoiling them . . .
In the pre-war period in New Guinea, the natives were receiving 5s, a month pay plus rations and accommodation and were receiv ing 10s. a month in the Territory of Papua. We had proposed, as a temporary measure, to lift the payment immediately to a minimum of 15s. a month, to increase the dietary scale and, of course, to limit the hours of labour to 44 a week. But the honorable member for Balaclava said, “ Talk of a 44-hour week, treble pay “. What a nice way to put it - “ treble pay “; it sounds good, but when you realize that the increase was from 5s. to 15s. a month, it was not really such a tremendous increase that was proposed at the time. The honorable member said, “ A dietary scale laid down by a dietitian would fill these men “ - referring to the white planters - “ wilh amazement “.
The former Postmaster-General, Mr. Anthony, who was then a member of this Parliament, also opposed the legislation. He said, “ If they “ - referring to the natives - “ become an educated force, they may one day join our enemies “. These remarks appear in “ Hansard “. He said -
Consequently the Government, in introducing this legislation-
The Papua-New Guinea Provisional Administration Bill - is embarking on a very risky experiment that may ultimately threaten the security of Australia.
From these remarks we can judge the mentality of the people who were then in Opposition in this Parliament but who are now in charge of the Government.
What have been Labour’s accomplishments in this field? To read the Minister’s speech one would imagine that everything that has happened in Papua and New Guinea in recent times that he can put forward as being something to the credit of Australia is attributable to the efforts of his Government and to his ministership. In actual fact it was the Labour Government that laid the foundations of the structure that has been built up in Papua and New Guinea. I have already said that we abolished indentured labour employed by the Administration, and that we proposed to extend such abolition generally at a later date. The Labour Government granted workers’ compensation to native workers, something that had been unheard of previously. We established village councils. The village councils are now recognized, even by this Government - although it never gives Labour the credit for having established them in the first instance - as being the training grounds for the natives who will eventually accept the responsibility for the government of their own country. We established a native labour department and we established the Australian School of Pacific Administration. War damage payments were extended to cover native losses during the war period, and native army labourers were allowed to return to their homes when hostilities ended. I was the Minister at that time, and I received a great deal of criticism for this last concession. Honorable members who are now on the Government side were then attacking me and my Government because, they said, we were going to ruin the economy. They were quite prepared to accept forced native labour so that the work of rehabilitating European-owned plantations could be undertaken immediately upon the termination of hostilities.
We abolished the professional recruiter. Honorable members will remember the old system of blackbirding, which was permitted by anti-Labour governments but which was abolished by the Labour Administration of which I had the honour to be a member. The Labour Government was the first to establish the machinery for a Legislative Council. It is quite true that the council had not been actually established when we left office, but the foundations of it had been laid by a Labour government. We provided in our legislation, for the first time in the history of the Territory, for the natives of the country themselves to have direct representation. So great was the hostility - fostered largely by honorable members of what are now the Government parties - amongst the white planters and commercial interests in the Territory that at one stage the other representatives were threatening to withdraw from the Legislative Council if the Labour Government proceeded with its plan to provide for direct native representation. Mr. Beale, a most favoured son of this Government and now Australian representative in Washington, said this -
The bill contains a fantastic proposal to have native representatives on the Government councils.
This is the man who is now an Australian representative abroad, saying that to give the native inhabitants a direct say in the government of their own country was a fantastic proposal.
It is quite true, and we readily admit, that this legislation, with which I will deal in more detail in a moment, represents a great improvement on the present situation by increasing the number of native representatives on the legislative body. Honorable members will remember the United Nations mission which visited Papua and New Guinea and submitted a report to the United Nations after making exhaustive inquiries on the spot. This is what it said in its report, which is available for honorable members opposite to read if they want to form an honest opinion -
The main effort for improved administration, education and development dated only from 1945-
That was in the days of the Labour Government -
We recognize the magnitude of the undertaking in New Guinea which faced Australia when the Japanese surrendered. Australia tackled this new task with courage and enterprise and drive and soon produced remarkable results.
That is the opinion of the visiting United Nations mission, that the real progress commenced in 1945 under a Labour administration.
Let me now come to the matter of selfdetermination. Evidently there are still many members on the Government side who are only recent converts to this principle of self-determination. The Territory of New Guinea was formerly held by us on a mandate from the League of Nations, and when it was proposed to place it under the trusteeship of the United Nations the present Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen) opposed the proposition on the ground that it would make Australia answerable to small South American nations. He did not want trusteeship. As a matter of fact honorable members who are now on the Government side were then favouring outright annexation. If you talked in those days of giving independence to Papua and New Guinea, or of giving the people of those Territories the future right to determine whether they should become independent, you were regarded as a traitor to your country. The present Australian representative in the United States, Sir Howard Beale, referred to the legislation of 1945 as “this peculiar bill”. He said-
I am completely in favour of annexation.
Mr. White, who led for the Government, said -
Australia should have retained the Territory as South Africa has retained its territories.
The present Minister for Territories said in 1960, not so very long ago -
The Government would set immediate and realistic target dates for the advancement of Papua and New Guinea, and would rather take each step for advancement too soon than too late.
That was a very fair statement to make. But when we come to the second-reading stage of this bill we find that the Minister has lost his enthusiasm for setting target dates. He mentioned that somebody had suggested that self-government ought to be given to the Territory by 1970 or by some other date, and here is his remarkable statement -
The Government is not planning withdrawal by that or by any other date.
Surely the Government is planning withdrawal if the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea finally determine, as is their right, that they shall have complete political independence. Surely they have the right to make this choice. But the Minister tells us that the Government is not planning withdrawal by 1970 or by any other date. If one gives that statement its literal meaning one must conclude that the Government is not planning withdrawal at all, no matter what is decided at any time by the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea. When the Minister was in Washington at an earlier time, he made another significant statement -
The natives of Papua and New Guinea would not be ready for independence for 30 years.
I am not able to say that that is an accurate assessment, but I would have hoped that they would have been ready for independence much earlier than the date stipulated by the Minister. Many of these statements, which appear to conflict with one another, must be confusing not only to this Parliament and the people of Australia, but also to the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea themselves.
The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), during a visit to the Territory in 1957, said that Australia was in New Guinea and would remain there. He added -
We do not regard our presence here as temporary.
That seems to indicate not a decision to allow the natives the right to determine for themselves the political future of their country but a determination on the part of this Government to remain in New Guinea as long as it can. The right honorable gentleman, when he returned to Australia, reversed his attitude and said -
What does the Government mean in this matter? Does the Government intend to give the inhabitants of the Territory, at some date in the measurable future, the right to determine their political destiny? In 1969, the Indonesian Government, if it observes the agreement for the taking over of West New Guinea, will give to the inhabitants of that part of the island the right to determine their political future - to decide whether they want to retain the political tie with Indonesia, whether they want to be associated with some other nation or whether they want to plump for independence. As a consequence, in 1969 we may easily have a situation in which the people of West New Guinea declare for independence while the people of the rest of the island, under the control of the Australian Government, lag far behind.
There are economic obstacles to the granting of self-government. I readily admit that, and I think that every member of the Australian Labour Party admits it. Talk about political independence is unrealistic unless the Territory can be made economically independent. I think that that is recognized by everybody. The United Nations visiting mission recognized it also, because it said that the economic obstacles on the road to self-government are probably the greatest obstacles of all. I believe that, and it would be completely unrealistic at this stage to talk about giving political independence to these people who obviously are not yet prepared for independence or even for complete self-government. The Australian taxpayers at present provide twothirds of the money required to meet the expenditure provided in the present budget of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. So, obviously, the Territory needs economic development and it must become more selfsupporting in the economic sense before its people can hope to become truly independent in the political sense. At present, 80 per cent, of the cash crops are produced by properties that are owned by people who are not New Guineans. This shows how dependent the Territory is on income from other sources to maintain even its present development.
This bill proposes to give certain powers to what is to be known as the House of Assembly. The Minister for Territories has said that the executive body will eventually become responsible to a wholly elected legislature. What is the present position? All ordinances approved by the Legislative Council, except those specified in section 52 of the principal act, are presented to the Administrator for assent and, if he wishes, he may withhold assent or reserve them for the Governor-General’s pleasure. The Government proposes to reduce from one year to six months the time within which the Governor-General must exercise his pleasure on an ordinance reserved for his consideration. We think that that is an improvement. I do not think that anybody would deny that it is an improvement. The bill provides also that the Governor-General or the Administrator may return ordinances with recommended amendments where assent is withheld. I think that that is an improvement.
At present, the Governor-General has power to veto within six months any ordinance approved by the Administrator. We do not regard this as being completely satisfactory and, at the committee stage, the Opposition proposes to submit an amendment to provide that ordinances assented to, or from which assent is withheld, by the Administrator or the GovernorGeneral, are to be placed before the Parliament within fifteen sitting days, and that, where assent is withheld, reasons for the withholding of assent are to be furnished by the Minister to the Parliament. We think that that will be a much better provision than that which at present operates. It will mean that ordinances shall be tabled in the Parliament not only when assent is given but also where assent is withheld, and that the Minister must submit to the Parliament reasons for the withholding of assent.
I dare say that one of the great problems in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to-day is racial discrimination. In recent times, it is perfectly true, there has been an effort made at the administrative level and, I believe, by many organizations to eliminate racial discrimination. But nobody would argue that it does not still exist to some extent. Prejudice on the part of individual citizens may be a cause, and this is very difficult to remove. Anti-Labour governments, in the past, have fostered racial discrimination. I recall an occasion years ago when I visited the Territory as a Minister and came under very strong criticism from members of this Parliament belonging to the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Country Party because I once refused to allow a couple of natives to carry me ashore from a craft. I was told that I had lowered the prestige of the white man. The late Mr. Cameron, a former Speaker of this House, who was then in Opposition, referring to me, said -
One prominent person who visited New Guinea recently was under the impression that the natives should be placed on an equal footing wilh the -white man. He refused to allow himself to be carried ashore on the shoulders of a native.
For that, I was severely criticized. There was also an incident involving Colonel Murray, who was at one time Administrator of the Territory. I do not want him to be confused with a previous Administrator of the same surname. Colonel Murray was appointed Administrator by the Labour Government. He was greatly opposed to racial discrimination and on one occasion he invited two natives who were to be decorated for distinguished war service to have afternoon tea with him at Government House in Port Moresby. There was a great uproar in the Territory and in Australia on the part of people who thought that this was a wrong thing for the Administrator to do. A Mr. Robson, who is editor of the “ Pacific Islands Monthly “, said -
It was a stupid thing to do. It is absurd for the ruling white race in Papua to treat these primitive stone age natives as their social equals.
That was the viewpoint accepted by many Liberal members in this Parliament. I shall show honorable members that this discrimination has existed for a long time. Mr. A. Rentoul, a former Papuan official, speaking on the radio session “ Forum of the Air “ conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, said -
The trader had a habit of charging natives a much higher price for commodities than that payable by the white man.
He was there referring to the private traders in the Territory. When one thinks of the many misdeeds that have been perpetrated against the native inhabitants of the Territory, one realizes that the amazing thing is that they have so much goodwill towards Australia and its people, for, in many respects, the New Guineans have been ill-treated.
I mentioned earlier what the Labour Government had done about the indentured labour system. I should like now to give honorable members an indication of how bad a situation existed. That situation was permitted to continue by a government of the political persuasion of the present Government. As soon as the Labour Government had an opportunity at the termination of the war, it set out to improve the position. For many years, under anti-Labour governments, the professional recruiter - the black-birder - had functioned. Mr. Arthur Blakeley, who was sent to the Territory by the Labour Government to examine the indentured labour system, made a very exhaustive report to that Government on his return. An interesting, passage in his report is the following: -
Government supporters would lead one to believe that the sole purpose of anti-Labour governments in Papua and New Guinea has been to benefit the natives. Even Mr. Robson, who, as I have said, is editor of the “ Pacific Islands Monthly “, was prepared to say that there were great disadvantages in the indentured labour system. The natives were concentrated in barracks and were not permitted to bring their womenfolk with them.
To show the attitude of some white settlers in the Territory towards native labour I remember the late Mr. Blackburn, M.P., a member of the Labour Party, reading from a letter which he had received prior to the Second World War. The letter was written by one lady to another and was in these terms -
She offered to lend me her cook, purchased when 12 years of age, and loaned to any friend who promised to return her as arranged, without any wages. “ That would spoil her for us if you paid her any wages “.
They were lending this slave labour to one another, and the arrangement was satisfactory from their point of view so long as they all agreed not to pay any wages.
– You are 30 years behind the times.
– The Minister states that I am 30 years behind the times when I refer to things which were done by anti-Labour governments. Surely he will not contend that I am behind the times when I refer to the report of the United Nations mission and tell him that it states that progress in the Territory commenced from 1945, when a Labour government was in office.
This bill proposes the establishment of what is termed a House of Assembly. I shall indicate where we believe the Government’s proposals are lacking in reality and why we believe that, although this very hesitant step is a step forward, the Government, in our opinion, in view of the circumstances, is not moving forward as rapidly as it should. The bill proposes a common roll. How long ago is it since the Labour Party in this Parliament proposed a common roll? What happened then? When we moved for the establishment of a common roll not so long ago the Government rejected the proposal as being completely unrealistic. Those honorable members who have the time can look at the “ Hansard “ reports and learn the views of Liberal and Country Party members about our proposal. Even the Minister for Territories did not favour a common roll a short time ago. However, the Government is now taking a step in the right direction, because there is to be a common roll.
The Government proposes to call the new legislative body the House of Assembly. We think, as does the United Nations visiting mission, that it should be called the House of Representatives, because that would convey more to the natives the idea of representation in their own legislative body than would the term House of
Assembly. Whilst it may be argued that the select committee which was appointed by the Legislative Council decided on the term House of Assembly, it is also true that in the committee’s interim report there is some acceptance of the view that the new body should be called a House of Representatives. We maintain our position in New Guinea only as a result of a trusteeship. The United Nations is the body to which we are answerable, and it is exceedingly important that we should meet the United Nations’ viewpoint wherever we can. The United Nations mission suggested that this new assembly should be known as the House of Representatives and, with the concurrence of a majority of this House, if we can secure that majority, we propose to alter the proposed name to House of Representatives.
The Government proposes that the new body shall comprise 44 elected representatives, each representing a single constituency. Although not stated specifically in the legislation or in the Minister’s speech - I take it that the matter will be dealt with by ordinance - I assume that the constituencies are to be based on the principle of one vote one value. I hope that that will be the principle adopted. There are to be ten reserved single electorates, which will be represented by persons elected from the common roll, but they will be non-New Guineans. Although this arrangement may be resented by some people, I think it will be accepted generally. According to the native leaders themselves, they need to gain additional experience and training in running their own affairs and it is considered necessary to have this arrangement at least for the first parliament. There are to be ten official representatives, who will be nominated. We propose that the number of elected representatives should be doubled to 88. We are prepared to accept the ten reserved electorates for the reason that I have mentioned - that the native leaders themselves desire it - but we differ from the Government in that the Government proposes this as a somewhat permanent arrangement. We propose that the ten reserved electorates shall function only for the first election. When the second election is due the proposal will be subject to review.
– We stated that, too.
– I accept the Minister’s statement. I did not notice it in his secondreading speech. We propose to eliminate entirely the nominated official representatives. We believe that the time has arrived when this should be a purely elected body. I do not argue that these ten officials would not be experienced men who could be of great help in the political development of the Territory, but surely they would be available for the purpose of advice and consultation. We cannot see that the legislative body would lose anything by eliminating the proposed ten nominated official representatives.
When the Minister referred to the proposal for 44 elected representatives he endeavoured to show that this was a very generous arrangement, but if you care to examine the proposal you will find that the opposite is the case. He mentioned that in Australia we have 122 persons representing a population of 10,500,000, whereas in New Guinea under the Government’s proposal there will be 54 persons representing a population of 2,000,000. He then went on to say that on that basis of representation Australia would have 270 members in the House of Representatives instead of 122. It may be all right in a debating class to advance that kind of argument, but any one who has been in New Guinea knows the special difficulties of the area. Why, in his own speech the Minister referred to the fact that there are approximately 700 different languages. If the electorates are too large you will have a representative who probably will not be able to converse with some of his constituents. We believe that the electorates should be smaller and that the number of representatives should be 88.
Then there are the difficulties of transport, which I believe must be recognized. If we are to increase the acceptance by the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea of the idea of representative government, they must have representative government in which their representatives can go to them and discuss their problems with them. In our own much more highly developed country we hear several honorable members complain repeatedly that, even with our much more up-to-date transport system, they are unable, between the sittings of the Parliament, to visit the many areas that they would like to visit.
– Do not forget that we also have representation in State parliaments in Australia.
– As my colleague has pointed out, we must recognize that in Australia we have representation in our State parliaments. If you approach the matter on the basis of parliamentary government in Australia and add the number of State representatives to the number of representatives in the Commonwealth Parliament, you will find that we are much better placed than will be the people of Papua and New Guinea under the present proposal.
The report of the select committee of the Legislative Council supports the proposal to have 44 elected representatives, but the members of that committee were worried about the cost factor involved in a larger representation, which was perfectly natural. Having regard to the fact that Australia already meets two-thirds of the Territory’s budget expenditure, that obviously would be an argument which would influence the committee. They also expressed the view that they doubted whether there were 100 inhabitants of New Guinea who would have the necessary qualifications. That may be true. It might be difficult to get 100 firstclass educated native inhabitants who could take their places in the parliament, but that would not be any great handicap because even if all those who entered the parliament in the first place were not highly educated they would gain knowledge and experience of the machinery of government. If Labour’s proposal were adopted, it would help to train legislators for the future. We can see no objection to it. The United Nations mission recommended that there should be approximately 100 elected members. Labour gets as near as possible to that figure, because we propose 88 general electorates and 10 reserved electorates, which gives a total of 98 elected representatives. We think that would be more acceptable to the United Nations than what is now proposed by the Government.
– How many constituents will there be to each electorate?
– Obviously many fewer than is the case in Australia. The number will be about 20,000. The Minister said that the select committee appointed by the
Legislative Council submitted two reports, both of which were approved by Cabinet with only minor reservations. That is not quite correct, because the Minister now confirms that the ten reserve seats will function only for the first election and then will be subject to review. That is what Labour proposes to do, but we propose to do it in a different way. We propose to do it by a decision of this Parliament so that the matter will be beyond doubt and so that there will not be any future backing and filling as to the exact position. The natives favour the reserve electorates for the present because they believe that they must have men of experience and knowledge in the economic development of the Territory, in trade and business and in legislative procedures. They consider that would be a stabilizing influence. That is a reasonable approach but I do not think it will be long before political development in the Territory will have reached the stage where they can dispense with the ten reserve seats.
Let me turn to the Administrator’s Council. The Government proposes that the Administrator’s Council shall have three official members, which is the number it has now. The Government proposes also to increase the number of non-official members from three to seven. It proposes that those seven non-official members will be selected from the elected members of what it will term the House of Assembly. The Labour Party has a different proposal. We think that the Administrator’s Council should be completely elective. We propose to retain the number of members at ten and not merely to say that they shall be elected members of the House of Representatives, as we hope it will be called, but to say that they shall be elected by the House of Representatives. You would then have the position where the House of Representatives has the opportunity of determining who shall constitute the Administrator’s Council.
We approve the idea of parliamentary secretaries, which will give these people an opportunity to become trained in the work of government in their own country and help them to reach the position which the Labour Party sincerely hopes they will soon reach.
The United Nations mission made a number of important recommendations which the Government might have adopted. The United Nations mission suggested that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development should be asked to make a full economic survey of the Territory. That was a very sound proposition and one which the Government should have adopted. Surely on present knowledge-
– The survey is taking place.
– Surely it must be recognized that there is still much to be learned about the economic resources of the Territory. This is not, on present knowledge, the wealthy country that many people believe it to be. We hope that research will show that the country possesses great resources that we will be able to develop in the future and which will lead to an improvement in the standard of living of its people. The United Nations mission suggested also that the Government might encourage and assist every New Guinean who was capable of going forward to higher education to undertake such studies, even to go to the university standard. It may be argued by the Minister that the Government is doing that now, but I am certain that it is not doing so in every such instance, as is the suggestion made by the United Nations mission.
The Minister was completely silent on the question of pay for members of the legislative body. Apparently this is a matter to be determined at a later stage. But we believe that these people who are elected to govern their own country should be paid an initial salary of £1,500 a year. I understand that some trained native teachers in the Territory are in receipt of almost that amount at present. We think that the people who are to take charge of the government of their country should be paid that salary. At least we should fix the initial salary and allow them later to determine it in the light of debates within their own legislative body.
Finally, I would like the Government to review the position with regard to the fixation of target dates. Nobody suggests that the Government can say to the exact month or year when it will take certain steps, but surely it can plan in some respects with regard to these matters. The United Nations will be pressing for target dates. On an earlier occasion the Minister undertook to provide target dates for self-government. Clearly he has now abandoned that undertaking and is not prepared even to nominate 1970 or any other date as the date when the Government will be prepared to give the inhabitants of New Guinea the right to determine their political future. That is a weakness and I hope that when the bill is in the committee stage the Government will see the wisdom of Labour’s viewpoint and will adopt many of our proposals.
– The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) in order to criticize the Government, to my surprise adopted the rather mean and shallow expedient of quoting what somebody on the Government side of the House said 10, 20, 30 or even more years ago.
– You should go back 50 years in order to put the matter in chronological sequence.
– I did not intend to adopt that procedure, but since the honorable member for East Sydney adopted it and since his colleagues approve of its adoption, may I refer to what the honorable member for East Sydney said on 2nd November, 1938, during a debate on a motion of want of confidence? On that occasion he wanted to give the whole of New Guinea away. According to “Hansard”, volume 157, at page 1149, he said -
It is amusing to hear people say that we shall not give up New Guinea. To these people I would say that if it should become necessary to defend our Mandated Territory, they should defend it themselves.
The honorable member has advanced very considerably since then. He has changed many of his ideas since that time. I give him credit for that for the simple reason that the only person who never changes his mind very often is the person who does not have a mind to change. I congratulate the honorable member on having taken a very much larger view in later years as to the Mandated Territory and our portion of that Territory.
I was surprised also that the honorable member, with his usual keenness and fondness for hard work - I do not say that cynically; he is one of the hardest workers in this House - had not read the report of the Foot mission a little more carefully. I was surprised also that he had not followed up the report of that mission by reading the report of the debate that ensued in the United Nations Trusteeship Council. If the honorable member had done so he would not have fallen into the error of saying that he was surprised that the Government had not accepted any of the recommendations with regard to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development making an economic survey. In its conclusions and recommendations regarding economic advancement the Trusteeship Council reported -
The Council, endorsing the view of the 1962 Visiting Mission that the time has now come to institute a full review of the economic problems now existing in the Territory and the programme now going forward, notes that the Administering Authority have already been in touch with the World Bank-
Yet the honorable member for East Sydney was criticizing the Government for not doing that -
This is most unusual for the honorable member for East Sydney; but all the way through his speech his criticism was based on facts that were only half digested - consequently, they seem to have made him oratorically sick - and half-truths because he did not read the whole of the paragraph. The same thing occurred when he quoted from the Foot report. He said that it was quite true, according to the Foot report, that the main progress in New Guinea started in 1945. He claimed that all the progress was achieved on the foundations laid down by the Australian Labour Party. I give that party full credit for any share that it had in that progress, but I will not allow the honorable member for East Sydney to say that all the credit should be given to the Labour Party and that members on this side of the House, and the Governnent, have done nothing, because that is so palpably untrue.
Had he looked at the Foot report and read past the first two sentences of para- graph 122, which he read to the House, on the next page - this is all part of the one subject - he would have noticed, in paragraph 123, where the committee talks about local government, which is very important, a table giving the number of council in the mandated territory in June, 1955, as six. That was not a very large number, if the Labour Government had started in 1945 and continued for four years to 1949. In June, 1961, the number was 27. The number of councillors was 141 in 1955 and 780 in June, 1961. The approximate population covered was 30,000 in 1955 and 206,000 in 1961. Then the committee goes on to say -
Since 30th June, 1961, eleven new councils involving a population of 126,500 have been established in the Trust Territory. This brings the total to 38, covering a population of 332,800.
I understand that practically half the population of both the Trust Territory and Papua is now covered by local government of one kind or another. It is true that in some cases those local governments are only advisory.
The Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck), and therefore the Government, the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council and the United Nations visiting mission are all in agreement that the birth and gradual building up of local government is one of the best things that have happened in the Territory in order to make the people politically conscious. The fact that under this Government the Territory has now reached the stage where half or more than half of the population is covered by this form of government is a very great credit to this Government. Whilst I give credit to the Labour Party for starting that movement in 1945, the honorable member for East Sydney should give credit to the Government for having carried it on even more successfully than the Labour Party began it.
It is also very notable that the Foot mission pointed out the difficulties in communications. It hoped that more roads would be built. All of us - or at least those of us who have been to New Guinea - know the difficulties that are encountered in communication, particularly in the braided river valleys. A bridge is put over a river one day, but the river does not run under the bridge the next day; it flows somewhere else. It is very difficult country. The Foot report commends the airstrips, the roads and other forms of communication that have been constructed and the work that has been done all the way through. The honorable member for East Sydney did not quote this statement -
It went to work with a will.
That referred to the Labour Government in 1945. The report continues -
Perhaps the finest examples of Australian effort were in the Patrol Posts where young men created order and carried a message of progress and new hope to people living in the most undeveloped conditions in the world.
Many honorable members believe that the Foot mission went much too fast or too far too fast. They have not really studied the report and seen the very large amount of credit that has been given to Australia and to the Administration for the work done in the Territory.
It is interesting to note that the mission’s visit coincided with the select committee’s investigations which began before and carried on after the mission had left. The two bodies were running almost concurrently. They do not agree on certain points. For instance, the mission recommended that there should be 100 members in the new assembly, and the select committee recommended that there should be 44 plus the 10 in the reserved occupations. By and large the Government has accepted the underlying principles of the report of the United Nations mission, but where the mission differs with the select committee the Government generally has come down in favour of the select committee’s recommendations as being the will or the request of the people concerned. This is also mentioned in the Foot report. The mission has noted that the Government has taken this step in order to try to ascertain the wishes of the people. In other words, it felt that some of the recommendations of the select committee would be different from those that it was making. I do not think it will raise any very great objections to these differences.
Therefore, I for one congratulate the Minister for Territories in particular and the Government in general on having made another steady and solid forward step in constitutional progress in this rather difficult country. We all know the physical configuration. We all know something about the slip country, although we do not know as much as the people who live in it. We all know the difficulties of climates, heights a_d communications. There are 1,500,000 people-
– There are 2,000,000.
– Are there 2,000,000?
– The Foot report says there are 1,500,000.
– That does not include Papua.
– That is right. About half or 40 per cent, of the people live in the highlands; another 40 per cent, live around the coast; and I forget how many thousand non-indigenous people there are.
– There are 25,000.
– This bill has had a rather mixed reception, although perhaps “ mixed “ is not the right word. It has had a rather cold reception, because I do not think most people understand the principles and purposes behind it, and other people, like the honorable member for East Sydney, are inclined to mistake their own production of sound and fury for the winds of change.
What has the Government done? It has tried to go forward steadily with the advice of the people, through the select committee, and with the advice of the United Nations. It has put forward these proposals not as final proposals, as the honorable member for East Sydney would have us believe, but saying that even at the end of the first period of three or four years these provisions may have to be altered. We may have to go backward; we may have to go forward in another direction; we may have to increase the number qf members. As I understood the Minister’s speech, nothing was fixed and determined. It is a matter of going steadily forward by a process of trial and error.
When I look around and see some of the sorry spectacles in other parts of the world which have been hailed as steps forward when actually they have been slidings backward into barbarism, I congratulate the Government and I congratulate even more the Papuan members of the select committee for wanting to go forward steadily and at as fast a pace as is reasonable. Papuans who have had the advantage of higher education realize how many accidents have occurred already on the international highway because of excessive speed. We have only to look at the unfortunate occurrences in the Congo.
– That was due to the presence of hate, not to speed of constitutional change.
– We are dealing with human nature in a human world. If you and I could get rid of hatred and other passions in this world, everything would be very much simpler. Tribal hatred is the worst. Sometimes it is fostered by people for particular purposes, such as in the Communist invasion and the rebellion in the north of Angola.
– Do you think that hate exists in New Guinea? I do not.
– I do not think there is hate in New Guinea. On the contrary there is a warm feeling of co-operation and friendliness.
– Why then did you want to introduce the subject of hate?
– I did not introduce it. The interjection came from the honorable member for Fremantle.
– I was talking about the Congo.
– There we saw the sorry results of going too fast. Now the authorities in the Congo are seeking the return of officers whom some people insisted on sending out of the country. If we want to know what the United Nations mission felt about co-operation and friendliness between the Papuans and the Australians, we have only to refer to paragraph 77 of the report of the mission. Sir Hugh Foot said -
At Mount Hagen some 7,000 or 8,000 persons gathered for the largest public meeting the Mission had held up to this time. Here speakers repeated each others’ points and much the same remarks were made as the Mission had heard the previous day at Kerowil. The Administration was praised and no change was desired. One local leader left the Mission in no doubt concerning his sentiments. He told the members that they were welcome in the Highlands provided that their respective countries were friends of Australia and had never fought against Australia.
That evidence could not have been cooked. If it had been doubtful, I do not believe the mission would have reported it. Everywhere the mission went it was given similar evidence of the goodwill and co-operation that exists. I know there are some people who still have prejudices and do not want to see any change. There are others who are idealists and want to go much faster. But, by and large, I believe that the Government in this bill has done a reasonably sound job and that it hopes to be able to go forward again in the near future. I believe that both Australia and New Guinea are lucky to have a Minister with such breadth of vision undertaking this very difficult task in this particular historical period.
I will turn now to the conclusions of the special mission from the United Nations. It came to three conclusions. I have already referred to one concerning the economic survey. The honorable member for East Sydney said that the Government had taken no notice of it, but I have given him proof of what the Government has done with regard to it. The second conclusion deals with a truly representative assembly, or a truly representative parliament. I quote now from the first paragraph of the recommendations and conclusions of the Trusteeship Council -
The Council endorses the views of the 1962 Visiting Mission that the time has now’ come to create a truly representative Parliament in Papua and New Guinea, that it is possible to proceed more rapidly in the political field than was contemplated when the new Legislative Council was inaugurated last year. . . .
There is a touch of humour in that quotation, because one of the members of the Trusteeship Council which recommended a truly representative parliament is the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I hope that the Russians will begin at home, after voting in that way. But we are not dealing with problematical things; we are dealing with realism at the moment.
We have accepted the recommendation of the select committee of the Legislative Council in relation to numbers. I think it will probably be better in the first instance to do that rather than to go to 100, the number suggested by the mission. One cannot be sure, but I am very doubtful whether there will be much criticism on that particular point.
I was surprised to see in the report of the Trusteeship Council that the remarks about a truly representative parliament came before the comments on questions of local government. I believe that the Minister is correct and that local government at this particular stage is even more important than having a truly representative parliament. Other countries of the world have found, and I think we are finding ourselves, that the whole of our British democratic system of local government, begun with the old village moot under the village oak. That is where it started, and it moved from there to the provinces and finally to the parliament of the nation. Pakistan tried a parliament without any foundation in local government and found that it had put the roof on the house before it had laid the foundations. That country has found it necessary to return to the village and provincial level to lay the foundations of local government. It is easy to criticize South Viet Nam and other countries for not having a democratic parliamentary system. On the other hand, it is very difficult to understand language nowadays, when peoples’ democracies are exactly the opposite of their name. In a country hostelry the week-end before last there was on the table a jug full of water, but the jug was labelled “ Old Colonial Rum”. Things are not always what they seem. People’s democracies are military oligarchies run by commissars and are as
I far away from democracy as is possible.
Countries such as South Viet Nam are trying to do what the Government is trying to do in this bill, but many people do not appreciate it. They are building up strategic hamlets which are not just defence measures. One finds in these hamlets a local council, a local school, a small maternity ward, the beginnings of a medical centre and a pavilion where farmers can get information. The people run their own show. Whether or not the guerrillas continue their activities in South Viet Nam, the foundation is being laid on which can be built a truly democratic system. That is what the Minister has been trying to do in New Guinea and is trying to do now. He wants to go ahead. The Government has said, “ We are going ahead “. The Government, the select committee and the special mission have all agreed that these local government councils should be expanded and that the town advisory councils might be developed into ordinary municipal councils, having their own rating powers, and so on.
These things are all going ahead at the same time as we are trying out what is, in effect, an embryonic parliament. Nobody suggests that lt is going to be a full parliament. There is still the veto. There is still the question of the school for future cabinet government. Nobody suggests it is going to act as a full parliament in its first phase. There is a building up of local government institutions, together with the commencement of this embryonic parliamentary system, with candidates for election and the people becoming accustomed to the machinery of democracy. I think the Government is to be warmly congratulated by us. I am sure the same thing will apply as far as the United Nations is concerned. I know there will be criticism by some people who cannot run their own territory as well as the Papuans can. One cannot help that. I hope that we will be able to go on in the way we have started, at an ever-increasing pace, and supply most of the leaders, until such time as the Papuans can fill senior positions as they did under the Dutch in West New Guinea. One of the recommendations made in the Foot report is that perhaps the United Nations specialized agencies could supply some of the extra staff of teachers. I know that the United Nations had a very difficult job in West Irian.
– At the moment, I do not think they could pay them.
– I do not know about paying them, but judging from the cynicism of some of the people concerned in West Irian, I would rather do without them. I want to help the United
Nations all I can, but at present I would prefer to see a staff recruited from Australia rather than drag in these people on a temporary job for a short time. I hope we ourselves will be able to supply the staff.
When the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) addressed a public service conference in Port Moresby on 1st September last year he spoke on four main topics. They were defence, self-government, the civil service and private enterprise. I notice that the United Nations mission did not say anything at all about defence. I wish we could ignore that very pressing problem, but under existing conditions we cannot. As we have said many times, we would like to be friends with our next-door neighbours and every one else, but, unfortunately, under present conditions we cannot ignore the question of defence. I do not know whether any tape recording was taken of the taking-over ceremony at West Irian on 1st May, but it was reported that the speech actually delivered by Dr. Subandrio was not exactly as recorded in the English translation that was published, and that the United Nations Commissioner was bowing and smiling at what he thought were compliments but what, in fact, were pretty hard backhand slaps on the jaw coming from the Foreign Minister. That was borne out by the fact that, two days later, the new newspaper issued by the government tore the United Nations security officials to pieces. I think the newspaper is called “The Bird of Paradise “. Therefore we are in a difficult position in that whereas we would like to be friends and trust people it is very hard to see how we can avoid taking out a good insurance policy in New Guinea and Papua as well as in Australia. I hope that the Government will have a look at the desirability of enlarging the Pacific Islands Regiment to brigade strength and of building up the Papuan security forces so that we may be able to deal with any infiltration or subversion - I think “ confrontation “ is the correct word - that happens these days. I am perfectly certain that will be the best way of tackling the problem. I am sorry to have to say that, but there it is.
It is my belief that if we did not have to spend money on defence and security we could go ahead faster with economic development. I hope that other people will realize that although the per capita wealth of this country of 11,000,000 people is high our financial resources are not unlimited. We hear people talking now of giving large sums of money to West Irian while that country is run by a government that spends up to 80 per cent, of its budget on defence. I point out that the population of West Irian is only one-third of that of our part of New Guinea. Therefore, if money is to be made available by the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations, I hope this Government will be very quick to put in a bid for three times as much money to provide for the economic development of the people in our part of New Guinea which would be three times that put in by the Indonesian Government for the development of West Irian.
I think I will leave the matter there for it is almost time to suspend the sitting and I do not want to drag out the debate. In conclusion, I say to the Government and the Minister, “ You have done a good job “. Perhaps I should add one thing. I think we have been a bit slow with our education policy in New Guinea. I think the criticism of the United Nations mission in this direction was justified. It said we ought to move faster in providing better facilities for higher education. The mission also said that our health measures far outstrip the institutions that we have built for educational purposes. Let me make two comparisons to illustrate my point. At one time, it was suggested that bulldozers in West New Guinea should be operated by Papuans. I do not know whether there has been any change, but, until quite recently, it was not considered safe to trust a Papuan or New Guinean with a bulldozer, yet in Dutch New Guinea they were frequently doing such jobs with efficiency.
-There are plenty of them driving bulldozers now.
– Then the outlook has changed somewhat.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I desire to quote one unusual example of the excellent work that Australians are doing in New Guinea. One of the best quarter-milers Australia has ever known, Kevin Gosper, went to New Guinea and in twelve months organized the
Papuan amateur athletic team. He brought the athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Perth. They took part in those games with great credit to themselves and to the great delight of the Australian spectators. Incidentally, I think, they also originated the Papuan flag, which is a bird of paradise on a green background. That is an example of the sort of co-operation that has been taking place in the past in many spheres.
I hope that we will be able, with the Papuans, to produce conditions attractive to investment, provide a viable economy and improve standards of living. I hope, too, that one day there will be a Melanesian federation. If the honorable member for East Sydney can change so much since 1938, as he has shown to-day, perhaps there is some hope that one day Indonesia’s rulers will be as nice and as friendly as the Indonesian people themselves.
.- Mr. Speaker, I propose to touch on only one point in the speech of the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) because I think it would be unwise if we were to follow up a remark he made which probably came out on the spur of the moment and did not represent his deepest thinking. He said that the sponsorship of the United Nations’ proposals on NewGuinea had been very largely by countries which had not shown that they could manage their own affairs. We must remember that the Foot report had the backing of the representatives of the United Kingdom and of the United States of America. Those countries are fairly experienced in conducting parliaments and the United Kingdom is easily the most experienced country in the granting of self-government to former non-self-governing countries. If the proposals of the Foot report have had the backing of the United Kingdom and the United States we cannot dismiss them in that cavalier manner.
I feel that when the United States discusses the establishment of a parliament in New Guinea it almost ineradicably has in mind a congress. I believe that America cannot see why we are so hesitant about a parliament. We are thinking of a parliament, in the ultimate, which will, on the British and also the Australian pattern, control the cabinet. The Americans are think ing, in essence, of a presidential cabinet, which does not depend upon the parliament, except that the presidential cabinet proposes to the congress and may have its proposals amended, accepted or rejected and congress can propose to the president and have its proposals accepted or vetoed. They have to work to some kind of modus vivendi. We are afraid of an unstable executive government. The Americans, thinking of the administrator being in a presidential position with an independent cabinet, cannot understand why we are not ready tq have a parliament which is congressional, in the sense that it can express a body of Papuan opinion which the administrator and his executive may accept or not. They are really arguing from a quite different premise.
The Australian Labour Party feels that the present situation in New Guinea, where we do have an Administrator with an entirely independent executive, is so much more closely analogous to the United States’ situation than it is to the British situation that wc would rather have a New Guinea House of Representatives which really expresses Papua-New Guinea opinion for all that period of time when all its proposals, after all, are subject to the veto of the Administrator, just as the proposals of a congress are subject to the veto of the United States president.
The essential difference between us and the Government is that the Government seeks a triple safeguard and we feel that, in the existing situation in New Guinea, a double safeguard is adequate. The Government’s triple safeguard is that it has twenty Europeans in a parliament of 64. That means that if the Papua-New Guinea people’s representatives were voting 31 to thirteen for a proposal, which is more than two to one, and the Europeans were solidly against it, it would be lost. It is at this stage that we want the parliament which fully expresses the Papuan people’s point of view and does not have a veto inside it as the Government has a veto inside its proposed parliament by having twenty Europeans out of 64, unless the native opinion is overwhelmingly and more than two to one in favour of a particular course of action. There is a second safeguard; the Administrator may veto legislation. The third is that, on all sorts of vital subjects such as defence, labour, and land, matters which are passed by the Administrator are nevertheless referred to the Commonwealth Government here in Canberra.
We do not consider that the triple safeguard is necessary. In the existing position, if the Government doubts whether the people of New Guinea are fully capable yet of governing themselves, we believe that the Administrator’s veto and the reference to Canberra are sufficient. We want to be certain that we do not get inside the parliament imposed European opinion, so that what goes to the Administrator is not Papuan opinion at all. That is why we are much more ready to accept that the proposals should be more akin to what the United Nations has set forth.
The Opposition proposes a change of name of the new body. Members of the Government correctly call what the Government is creating an assembly. Members of that assembly are not representatives, because ten of them are nominated and therefore cannot be called representatives. They are an assembly, which is merely a congregation of people to legislate. We propose that everybody in the parliament should be elected and therefore our change of name is the reflection of a change of nature.
We want a house of representatives, the structure of which should meet five tests. First, it should be fully representative, therefore, we propose - this is purely a question of convenience because the Government’s Administration has already worked out 44 seats - that there should be 88 seats. We believe that each seat that the Government has created should be divided in two, in order to try to extend representation into more localities so that each of those localities can produce a spokesman. We believe that the ten reserved seats that the Government has proposed and which it has asserted are desired by the Papuan people should remain only until the house of representatives of Papua and New Guinea otherwise provides. If it wants them it can have them for the next twenty years, but if it does not want them it can get rid of them in the next parliament.
The justification put forward for these ten members has been that it was the impression of Dr. Gunther that the people of Papua and New Guinea wanted them. We believe that the test will be whether they are wanted by their colleagues. If they are wanted by the representatives of the Papua-New Guinea people, that is very good. It is not much use avoiding the fact that this subject of racially reserved seats is a fairly deadly subject in the world to-day because in the United Nations and around the world people will persist in projecting their own circumstances on to this question. The reservation of seats in Sir Roy Welensky’s constitution for the Central African Republic to Europeans is a deadly topic in Africa. We do not want to look as if we are imposing on these people Europeans who are not wanted. I believe there can be no criticism of a situation in which we say that until the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea otherwise provides there will be these ten reserved seats.
Secondly, although the limitation on the power of the proposed Parliament should continue to exist for the time being, the form of the proposed Parliament should be as near as possible to what it will be when independence comes. We believe that in this way we will have a Parliament genuinely gaining the experience of selfgovernment. Thirdly, we believe it should meet this test - that it should be a body which represents to the wor’d and to the United Nations, whose mandate we hold in New Guinea, an intelligent effort to meet the views of the United Nations and to further self-government in Papua and New Guinea. The United Nations expressed the point of view that it did not believe in nominated representatives, and we in the Opposition do not believe that the nominated representatives are essential. For far too many people in the world, that is the point which the United Kingdom reached in the nineteenth century when it was establishing legislative councils anc! putting within them a nominated non-elected content. We believe that in 1963 we have moved past that point.
Fourthly, it should be a Parliament which will produce a sense of national unity in a geographically and linguistically fragmented country. We must remember that many of these representatives - and we want a good many of them - will come from small islands or from very large islands. This is the Congo story and this is the story of many of the countries of the world. Papua and New Guinea was an idea in the minds of its conquerors; it was not an idea in the minds of its native people. The Congo was an idea in the minds of its Belgian conquerors; it was not an idea in the minds of its native people. Sometimes these places may hold together, and sometimes they may not. Nigeria was an idea in the mind of Lord Lugard and it has held together. But the Indian empire of 1937 was not held together and we have it in four succession States: India, Ceylon, Pakistan and Burma. In the same way, the people of New Britain and Bougainville had no historic association with the people of mainland New Guinea or with the people of the many hundreds of islands around the mainland. They were joined by Bismarck.
Fifthly, it should be one which the Australian Government knows in its heart can give us the views of the people of Papua and New Guinea and one which the United Nations delegation would be morally compelled to accept as speaking for the people of Papua and New Guinea. The Government may hope for anything from the proposed assembly, but I believe if it hopes for this acceptance its hope will be in vain. I do not believe that the United Nations will accept the resolution of a Parliament, in which twenty members out of 64 are Europeans, as expressing the views of the native people. I think it would have considerable difficulty in evading the resolutions of the House of Representatives which we propose, consisting of 88 natives and ten Europeans for the time being, with the right residing in the native majority, if it so wishes, to abolish the reserved seats for Europeans.
There are serious weaknesses in the proposed relationship of the Assembly with the Administrator’s Council. I take it that the Administrator’s Council is supposed to be a field in which certain of the native representatives will acquire something approaching Cabinet experience. The proposal of the Government is for ten members, divided in various ways, who will be nominated by the Administrator to his council. We believe that this new Parliament should itself elect the ten who are to advise the Administrator and then it can be reasonably certain that he is not just selecting the people he wants. There is a tremendous suspicion in Africa of the selection by European controlling powers of certain natives. In Nigeria it was explained to me that right throughout Africa O.B.E. was translated as “ Obedient Boy of the Empire “ and not “ Order of the British Empire “. There was a considerable suspicion of those who were selected or honoured by the suzerain power. I do not believe that any of these suspicions exist in New Guinea. That is why I do not think we need to say that on the experience of the Congo we should not go too quickly. I did not sense any hatred or tension in New Guinea and we in the Opposition believe for that reason we should trust this Papua-New Guinea Parliament, this Parliament really representative of the people of Papua and New Guinea, considerably more than is evinced on the Government’s part in the Government’s proposal for a House of Assembly.
– You mean no hatred of Australia?
– Yes. Nominated seats seem to us to be the hallmark of colonialism and reserved seats are too closely associated with Sir Roy Welensky for us to be entirely happy about them being there. I am not joining in any derision of Sir Roy Welensky. I am not joining in any judgment of what the Europeans of Central Africa believe their position to be. But I am saying that we should avoid giving the impression that that is our policy when we go before the United Nations.
– They have not a common roll in Southern Rhodesia.
– That is true, but there is not much sense in saying that members are elected on a common roll if they must be Europeans. It still is a reservation. Sir Roy could have had this system. He could have provided that half the Parliament should be Europeans and he could have expected the natives to elect them. But that still would not have allayed the suspicions of Africa.
We wish to make some other points about this proposed Parliament. Whether the Government will accept any of our amendments - I suspect that it will not - I still ask it to remember that we are legislating for a constitution for Papua and New Guinea and there is a bare minimum that ought to be in decent English. One thing that can be said for the Australian Constitution, which is very often criticized by this side of the House, is that it is in good English. But here the Government speaks about “ indigenous inhabitants “. What on earth does the Government think the people of Papua and New Guinea will feel about this when they look back on one of the steps along the road to selfgovernment and find that we called them “ indigenous inhabitants “7 The Australian Constitution at least called us by dignified names. It was enacted by the United Kingdom Parliament. We are referred to as people of the Commonwealth, people of a state or subjects of the Queen. Surely it would not have been beyond the wit of those who drafted this legislation to talk about the people of Papua and New Guinea. If it is thought that that may include people who are not of the original race, there could have been some definition at the beginning to show that by the people of Papua and New Guinea, as distinct from the occupants of the reserved seats, the Government meant the descendants of the people who occupied Papua and New Guinea before 1884 or whenever it was we annexed the country.
– The Labour Party called them natives.
– I have been to Melville Island and I have seen the notice put up when the Minister opened a native village. It says, “ This native village was opened by the Honorable Paul Hasluck”.
– What relevance has that?
– It has no relevance, but “ native “ is not intended as an insult. To me, it does not matter whether the Labour Party’s record is totally unworthy; we are discussing the difference between two technical documents. The Minister cannot avoid the criticism of the words “ indigenous inhabitants “ by saying that we also used a silly word in the past. If it suits him for the purposes of the debate, I admit that we used a silly word. Now can we move on and ask the Minister to remove “ indigenous inhabitants” and substitute “people of
Papua and New Guinea”? I think this is the more dignified expression to use.
Our second point is that we should do for the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea exactly what the United Kingdom Parliament did for us. Our forebears in this Parliament in 1901 were spared the necessity to haggle about their salaries. The people of Australia, as far as I can understand it, have never approved of any salaries for members of Parliament and certainly they have never approved of any adjustments to the salaries of members of Parliament at any time. So it is, perhaps, fortunate that when the United Kingdom Parliament enacted our Constitution, although that Parliament was not itself paid at the time it inserted a provision to this effect, “ Until the Parliament otherwise provides, the salary of a member of the House of Representatives and of the Senate shall be £400 a year “. That was in 1900. We would hope that the people of New Guinea will have a similar provision enacted in respect of their Parliament. The proposal we are putting forward is that something of this nature be inserted, “ Until the House of Representatives of Papua-New Guinea otherwise provides, the salary of a member of that House shall be £1,500 a year “.
The Minister was most gracious in sending a letter to me setting out the allowances at the present time. From what he said, the elected members at the present time are getting, or have been getting in the immediate past - the Minister is not, of course, speaking about his present proposal - something in the vicinity of £400 or £500 a year. That has not enabled them to spend their full time going to their own constituents. A good deal of that amount has been earned while they have been sitting, and not while they have not been sitting. We regard it as absolutely imperative that people who are beginning political education among their own people should be free at all times, when the House is not sitting, to move among their own people. For that reason we believe that they should have a salary in the beginning which will enable them to do this.
You may say that this, of course, creates a class of professional politicians. African professional politicians, or professional politicians of any ex-colonial territory, have usually been disliked as spokesmen who have been embarrassing to the controlling power. I am not saying that there is a colonial issue between Australia and New Guinea. I do not believe such a thing exists. But I do believe that the people who are to be elected as spokesmen in this new parliament should be able to speak for their people freely and be able to move freely amongst them. They will do this if they receive a reasonable allowance which, I think, would begin at about £1,500 a year. This, of course, would be considerably in advance of most incomes earned by people of Papua and New Guinea, although I must say that I have met very good teachers, who owe their training to the present Minister, who have been receiving salaries in advance of £1,000 a year. It is quite possible, since in most of these communities the first of the intellectuals, if you like to call them such, to move into politics usually come from the teaching sphere, that New Guinea and Papuan teachers will move into parliament.
The other issue is that of privilege. When the United Kingdom Parliament enacted a Constitution for the Commonwealth of Australia it included a provision to this effect, “ Until the House of Representatives and the Senate otherwise determine, their privileges shall be those of the House of Commons at the date on which the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act was passed “. We believe this to be a sensible principle. In point of fact this Parliament has never felt the necessity to enact anything else in respect of privilege, and has been content with what was granted to it under the Constitution. We believe it would be a good thing if the House of Representatives of Papua and New Guinea, or the House of Assembly as you propose to call it, should have the privileges, at the time of its inception, that are possessed by the Australian House of Representatives at the time when the act is passed.
You see, not a great deal of power is being vested in this new parliament. It will be a forum. But the occupants of that forum should have immunity. They should have full parliamentary immunity, and they should come to understand what full parliamentary immunity means. If there has been any dangerous tendency among the political representatives of the new African states, it has been a tendency towards dictatorship at the expense of representative institutions. In Ghana, for instance, most of the Opposition is in gaol. The Government has been reduced to dealing with the Opposition with terms of imprisonment, and the Opposition has been reduced to dealing with the Government with bombs. We believe that there should be firmly in the minds of the new representatives of Papua and New Guinea the idea of the dignity and the immunity of parliament, and we would like to see the legislation specify the privileges of the new parliament that is being created.
– Do you want them to become like us?
– I do not think they will become like us. You are not asking me to pretend I am superior to my colleagues, I hope. I think the Commonwealth Parliament has had, over the years, a reasonably good record. I hope that a stable form of government will ultimately emerge in New Guinea. After all, we are not a very glaring example of instability. Sometimes, from the Opposition’s point of view, we regard government as being too stable in the Australian community at the present time. But that is by the way.
We feel also that this new parliament in Papua and New Guinea should be given a good deal of freedom with regard to its initial legislation. The exercise of the Administrator’s veto is ultimately to be justified by the fact that this country is finding two-thirds of the money that the parliament of Papua and New Guinea will have a share in spending. There are grants, I think, of about £25,000,000 a year at the present time, and the Minister did say on one occasion that it is expected that they will rise to £35,000,000 a year. A parliament which is not appropriating its own revenues cannot, of course, be as independent as a parliament which is, and while the Commonwealth is making these appropriations no doubt it should have a say in expenditure through the means of the veto. But we must at all costs avoid the attitude that because we are assisting people financially we have bought them. If that is to be our approach it will ultimately produce resentment. It will not ultimately produce a partnership. If we are making an investment in the stability of Papua and New Guinea, we are making an intelligent investment which I say is not purely an exercise of self-interest, but which is undoubtedly in the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. So I say we should not act as if we are going to have all the say and not listen to the parliament of Papua and New Guinea because of the special financial relationship which will exist between this House and the one that is to become into being.
You will note that the Labour Party’s proposal would result in 98 members, which is very close to the 100 recommended by the United Nations. The Foot report had this to say at pages 70 and 71 -
As to the membership of the new House of Representatives, we would suggest about a hundred members, and we consider that the existing special provision for nominated unofficial members and for Australian elected members should be discontinued . . .
We believe that with the establishment of such a Parliament the political life of the Territory would be transformed. The views and wishes of the people would not be open to misunderstanding or misinterpretation. For the first time there would be a central body which would both represent and create public opinions. A new working partnership between the people and the Administering Authority would result. At every future stage it would be possible to act with and gain support from public opinion as represented by the directly-elected spokesmen of the whole country. . . .
One of the subjects on which new proposals should, we think, be put to the House of Representatives as soon as possible after it is elected would be in regard to a ministerial system. The procedure adopted in some other countries has been for the House to elect a few of its members to sit in the central council or cabinet.
We believe that the amendments being proposed by the Labour Party are in the direction of those recommendations. The House has to discuss the technical differences between the two sorts of parliament that are now being proposed from both sides of this chamber. The debate in which we are engaging now is one that is likely to attract both the attention of the representatives or assembly men who will go into the new parliament and also international attention. We are not going to achieve anything merely by passing abuse back and forth across the table. If there is a case for keeping twenty Europeans in this Parliament, then that case has to be put.
We have tried to say that we believe that in the two sorts of veto there is a sufficient safeguard and that the parliament should be almost purely representative of the people of Papua and New Guinea so that we shall know whose voice we hear. We are disturbed at the proposal that there will be twenty Europeans out of a total of 64 members, because we do not believe that what will be heard ultimately from such a parliament will be the voice of the people of Papua and New Guinea.
.- Mr. Speaker, I listened with very much interest to the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). I remind him that this question of political representation in the creation of a parliament in Papua and New Guinea is only one facet of the total picture of this Territory. There are facets perhaps even more important than that of political representation. There are, for example, the economic side and other matters on which I shall enlarge a little later. This question of political representation is only one aspect of a very severe and very complex problem. The honorable member wants to jump his fences before he comes to them. He wants to establish a working parliament in Papua and New Guinea. That is a wonderful ambition and v,u all share it. But a working parliament in the island at present would be quite impractical.
We intend shortly to expand the political institution of parliament in the Territory very greatly indeed under the provisions of this bill. We shall find it very hard to get from the native section of the community men sufficiently able to put their point of view to such a parliament. One could think of one thousand and one systems that could apply to New Guinea, and the proof of any system is whether it works. I have very great confidence that the proposals outlined in this bill will work - that they will do the job that we want this measure to do and that the proposed parliament will be an establishment for training in parliamentary procedure.
There will be ten elected European members and ten members nominated by the Administration. The first thing that will happen will be the creation of tension between the ten elected white settlers and the ten members nominated by the Administration. In this condition of tension, there will be a bidding for the support of the elected indigenous members. In the cut and thrust of debate that will take place between the two sections representative of the Australian community in the Territory, there will be ample opportunity for the Papuan people to learn what debating really means and to participate on one side or the other as they choose and as their opinion dictates. We can move on at some future time - and we undoubtedly will move on - to a higher form of parliament in Papua and New Guinea. I hope that at that time the economy will have caught up with this great political advance that is being made.
I shall use in respect of this Territory a name that I think is the most effective one by which to describe it - the Territory of Papua, the name that we gave to our sovereign Territory in the island in 1905 by an act of this Parliament. Papua has always been a difficult country. Its terrain is one of the roughest and most difficult to be found anywhere in the world. This country has a community of very primitive people who talk at least 600 different languages and in their own villages and tribes obey about 600 different sets of laws and customs. This is a country with an inhospitable climate and it has attracted the attention of do-gooders from all directions - a country about which a whole spate of words continues to be written and spoken. This makes it extremely hard for any student of conditions in the Territory really to make sense of the plans and policies being carried out there. This is a difficult country, and I do not think that the difficulties that I have outlined are very often sufficiently appreciated by visiting missions which spend two or three weeks there and go away with a lot of information that may be useful or otherwise. The people who really know the Territory are those who have dedicated their lives and their services to it. These are men of whom we should be very proud indeed. They are Australians who have given their health and their lives to serve the people of the Territory in acting as custodians on our behalf of the welfare of these primitive people.
One of the striking aspects of the report prepared by the select committee of the Legislative Council for the Territory is the fact that the native people interviewed, and especially their leaders, were most reluctant to contemplate any thought of Australians leaving them to their own devices. The indigenous people do not want freedom. They do not want independence. They want Australians to stay with them, to guide them and advise them, to help them establish industries, to help spread a common language throughout the area and generally to raise their living standards at the earliest possible time to the level to which they themselves aspire. This is a very commendable attitude. Had it been shared by some other colonial peoples in other parts of the world that one could think of, perhaps the countries concerned would be on a much sounder basis to-day than they are. The people of Papua - I use my own description again - have shown a degree of conservatism, level-headedness and caution in their approach to this problem that is highly commendable. We can be confident that when they finally cast off the painter and go it alone as an independent nation, they will be able to manage their affairs competently, with good sense and with stability.
There are, it seems to me, three targets that the Administration of Papua should continue to bear in mind. These are the three cardinal points. I think that if we bear them in mind continually, we shall be able to see how we are guiding the people towards independence and what progress we are making towards attaining this ambition. The first principle is that an independent country must be economically independent. It must be able to pay its way. No country can be called independent unless it can pay its way. Secondly, there must be an efficient administration. The country must be able to govern itself with its own administrative machinery. Thirdly, the people must have a sense of community, a sense of oneness, a sense of unity and a sense of loyalty to their own nation. Those are the three principles.
As to the first principle, which relates to the economic success or otherwise of Papua, we know that that country is very rich in some ways but unfortunately its economy is now geared to the production of certain commodities which are at present in over-supply. As a consequence prices are depressed. Rubber, copra, coffee and cocoa are the Territory’s principal products. Their production is engaging the attention of an increasing number of native inhabitants. That is something that we want to see, because until recently the Papuans lived at subsistence level. They knew noth- ing of growing cash crops, but with the introduction of crops which can be sold to markets overseas they are learning to understand the kind of economy which is operated in Australia and the other great countries of the world. They now are selling their products for cash.
I should like to cite some figures which are illuminating. They relate to what, in my estimation, are the two most important products, coffee and cocoa. One-quarter of the total output of coffee in the Territory comes to Australia and represents 44 per cent, of our total imports of that product. One-third is grown by native producers and this proportion is increasing rapidly. One-third of the total output of cocoa in the Territory comes to Australia and represents only 23 per cent, of our total imports of that product. One-third of this commodity also is grown by native producers.
From those figures, it would seem possible for us to absorb a greater proportion of the coffee and cocoa which is produced in Papua and so benefit that country’s economy, but in fact it is not quite as easy as that. The Tariff Board recently investigated the subject of coffee and found that coffee is in different forms. Unfortunately the people of Papua have been encouraged to grow a variety of coffee which we do not need in Australia, at least not in the quantities in which it is being produced in Papua. If this is happening with coffee, it is possible that the same kind of production problem is occurring with cocoa. We could take a lot more than we do if it were the particular variety that we wanted.
What is needed is not greater encouragement in Australia by way of tariff for the admission of more coffee and more cocoa from Papua. There is room for the establishment of a marketing board in Papua for each of these commodities, to act as a bridge between the technical advisers who are promoting the extension of the growth of these crops among native farmers, and the particular markets which they intend to reach. Obviously, if the producers were producing the variety of coffee that we could absorb in Australia we could offer them a better, larger and a growing market. I suggest to the Minister that he consider the establishment of some link between the market in Australia and the production end in Papua. There should be some bridge between the production side and the selling side. Then we may hope that the producers in Papua will earn a larger income, that more people will be attracted to these forms of primary production and that the economy will be assisted materially. Some means must be found to end the constantly growing grants that we are making towards the advancement of Papua. If we could assist Papua to export to profitable markets, this would be better than contributing funds by way of grants towards building up Papua’s economy. I have devoted a good deal of time to this first principle. I believe this should be the first matter to receive attention when considering the progress that Papua can make towards independence. The economic aspect is by far the most urgent.
The next principle which I mentioned is the building up of a strong and efficient administration. According to the department’s annual reports, the Administration is making rapid strides in spreading education among the Papuan people. It has a long way to go still, but with the assistance of the missions the educational system is producing results and the structure of the Public Service is benefiting. But education is not simply a matter of schooling. There are other forms of training. There is legal education, and that also is receiving attention by the Administration. A sense of respect for the rule of law is being inculcated in the minds of the native people of Papua.
Finally, we have the proposed parliament. When the common roll is prepared and the election is held next year, the people of Papua will gain an experience which they are not likely to forget. They will be taking their first political step. They, will continue to gain political awareness and political sense as time goes by. We cannot expect them to understand fully what is going on in the first year. It will take them several years to understand cause and effect - that if they elect a member they and their country will receive certain benefits. This process must take time. As I remarked earlier, the honorable member for Fremantle should not jump his hurdles too soon. This system must be introduced step by step, because that is the way of all learning, and this political advancement is a form of education.
The last principle I should like the House to consider relates to fostering loyalty in the minds of the people of Papua towards their own country. Here I support the remarks of the honorable member for Fremantle. In my opinion the word “ indigenes “ is archaic. It reminds me of a song about an Englishman from a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. The words go -
He is an Englishman! For he himself has said it, And it’s greatly to his credit, That he is an Englishman!
I would hate to transfer those words to the circumstances in Papua and say -
And it’s greatly to his credit, That he is an indigene!
Obviously the word “ indigene “ means nothing at all, as the honorable member for Fremantle pointed out. It means nothing at all in the sense of a community. It would be far better to refer to these people who live in the eastern half of the island of New Guinea as Papuans, as we took the opportunity of doing in part of that area in 1905. I am sure that not one of the people living there would be grossly offended if we were to call him a Papuan. That is a good honest word. It is understandable, which is more than can be said for the words “ indigene “, “ non-indigene “ or “ expatriate “ - words that are now used to describe the native-born people and the Australian people who are living in the Territory.
We are starting a great adventure in establishing in Papua this House of Assembly. As I have already said, I have confidence that it will succeed. It will succeed in developing a sense of political awareness among the people. It will produce a greater degree of appreciation among the people of the work that Australia is doing to assist them towards independence. I hope that it will lead to a greater and stronger sense of community - a sense of pride in their own efforts to achieve inde pendence. Ultimately it will lead to independence. When that day arrives there will be leaders experienced, capable and friendly towards Australia. The people, as a whole, who live in this rugged and difficult country will still retain their affection and respect for Australia.
.- I fear that the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan) must live in the same state of insulation as he would like New Guineans to live. It is an archaic and arrogant assumption to say that New Guineans can acquire the skills which we know they would like to acquire and the virtues which we believe they would like to acquire only if we remain their political tutors. It is possible in the world to-day for people to make social, economic and educational advancement while they have political independence. Most countries in fact assert that the quickest way for a country to achieve social, economic and educational independence is for it to have political independence. Political independence is the key to development - the key to self-respect in the other fields.
Australia unfortunately has lagged behind in the political field. We have made considerable advances in many other fields - not so much in the economic but certainly in the social field and particularly in the health fields. We can retain the respect - the affection if you like - of our neighbours in New Guinea if we are prepared to provide assistance when they are independent of us. The chances are that we will forfeit their respect if we remain for too long their political masters in Papua or their political tutors in the Trust Territory. The best safeguard for Australia is to have a neighbouring country with our political ideals. There is no safety in the old idea that in some way New Guinea - only half of it now, of course - represents some cordon sanitaire against the rest of the world.
This bill represents probably the last opportunity which this Parliament will have to implant the idea of representative government in the future republic of New Guinea - the future member, we would hope, of our Commonwealth of Nations. Australia has not yet in any way implanted this idea of representative government in its neighbouring countries - in New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland and Manus. We have held responsibility now for nearly 80 years in respect of part of the island of New Guinea; we and the Germans before us for nearly 80 years in respect of the rest. This time has sufficed for Britain and France to bring to independence most of the countries of Africa and the formerly subject countries of Asia. We should do no less, but we have not done so yet. The greatest legacy that we can leave in New Guinea is the idea of representative government.
Many of our economic, political and social ideas may be exotic. In the political sphere it is not to be thought that New Guinea will very soon develop a party system. Not one of the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa has done so. It is not even to be expected that New Guinea will develop the parliamentary system as distinct from the congressional system of the United States of America or the fifth republic system of France and the former French possessions or of Pakistan. It is quite likely that the Administrator will be succeeded by a president directly elected by all the people of New Guinea. The basic thing, however, is that the people there should have the opportunity of representative government.
Many of the things which the present Government has tried hard to inculcate - our ideas of land use, industrial employment and law - are exotic. It is not likely that they will be transplanted from this country but there is a good chance that we can implant the idea of representative government - that is, that the very core of democracy can still be implanted in New Guinea; the idea that laws are made by persons whom the people themselves choose and whom they at regular intervals may repudiate or re-endorse. That is where we have hitherto failed.
When the first Legislative Council was appointed in 1951, three indigenes were appointed to it. Sir, I do not wish to get embroiled in an argument on the correct term to apply. For the time being I shall use the term used in the bill. I certainly believe it is superior to the term used in the principal act over the years - natives. I certainly think the word “ indigene “ is a more elegant term than the one I find on what in ordinary parlance in Rabaul is called the Government compound, but which bears the plaque “ non-expatriate housing project “. Three indigenes were appointed to the Legislative Council in 1951. One of them retained his nominated position until the elections ten years later. He was not elected; he was rejected by the people. Another was appointed and his appointment was terminated in 1957. Another had his appointment terminated in 1954. He was succeeded by another against whom his constituents sent deputations to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) in Canberra and who did not face the electors two years ago. The one who was appointed to take an original man’s place in 1957 faced the electors two years ago and was defeated by his erstwhile constituents. The sum total, Sir, is that of the five persons who were appointed to the Legislative Council not one was subsequently supported by the electorate. Two years ago six men were elected. It is a matter of common knowledge that if they all choose to contest the poll next year they will not all be elected either. The simple reason is that three persons, as there were until two years ago, and six persons, as there have been in the last two years, cannot among them look after the areas that they were appointed or elected to serve.
That is the crux of this bill. We must take this opportunity to see that the electorates are sufficiently numerous for the elected representatives to coyer them. We must see that constituents can get in touch with their members and that members can report to their constituents. This is the most serious contest that we will have with the Government. The United Nations - not just Sir Hugh Foot - all our allies and all our neighbours unanimously recommended 100 members. We say that that number is much more likely at this stage - this late stage - to give an opportunity to implant representative government in New Guinea than is the Government’s number of 44.
The election of two years ago should be analysed to see what attempt was made then. It will be remembered that an indirect method was chosen for electing the six indigenous members of the Legislative Council. The area within which the election was conducted consisted not of 2,000,000 people as there are, but just under 500,000 people. That population was made up of 39 local government council areas with a population of 285,000 and 33 electoral groups including Port Moresby, Lae and Rabaul with a population of 209,000. Of that population, 83,450 persons were eligible to vote for the selection of voting representatives to attend the electoral colleges for the six electorates. Of that number, 29,341 - barely a third - actually voted. The latter number selected 364 representatives on the electoral colleges. A total of 108 candidates nominated for the six divisions. Of the six members of the Legislative Council who were elected only one secured an absolute majority of the votes in his electoral college. He was given 32 out of 53 votes. One of the others received 11 out of 51 votes. The rest were in between.
It will be seen that our attempt two years ago to initiate representative government in the Territory was meagre in the extreme. We did not succeed. We must succeed this time. We cannot fail, in our interests or in the interests of the people of the Territory, to see that representative government receives at least a fair chance in Papua and New Guinea.
This is not a subject on which the Labour Party is making a criticism at this stage alone. When the Papua and New Guinea Bill was before the House two years ago we moved two amendments. The first was designed to provide that there would be a common roll on which all the elected members of the council would be elected. The Government defeated our amendment. The Government has now come round to the spirit of our amendment. We moved another amendment -which, if carried, would have ensured that at the next election for the council - that is the election due to take place next year - there would then be an election on a common roll. We wanted to delete the provision that the present system instituted two years ago would continue until an ordinance of the council was passed. Our amendment was defeated. The Government has now come round to it.
It is quite likely, therefore, that the proposals we are making now are ones which in due course, if the Government were spared, it would accept in the time that we are laying down in our amendments. I do not propose, except in this next respect, to deviate from the political aspects of this bill, because it deals with the political machinery for the Territory - the establishment of a constitution and, we hope, the institution of representative government in the Territory.
It will be remembered that last year the United Nations Triennial Visiting Mission came to Australia. On the very day on which the members of the mission and their staff were sitting in the Speaker’s gallery, we proposed as a matter of urgency that the House should discuss the establishment of a university in Papua and New Guinea. We informed the Government of our intention the previous Thursday. Over the intervening week-end the Minister for Territories announced that in fact the establishment of a university was being discussed by the Government and was in its mind. It is notable that when the Minister made a statement on education in Papua and New Guinea on 26th October, 1961, he made no reference to the university. The Foot mission pointed that out. It said -
It is significant that the statement of educational targets made on 26th October, 1961, makes no reference to higher or university education.
A later statement on education by the Minister on 11th October, 1962, made this appalling estimate - . . in 1963 approximately 620 children will leave secondary schools but of these possibly little more than 20 will have reached Leaving or matriculation standard. In successive years the numbers proceeding to matriculation will grow and it is estimated that by 1967 the numbers of those reaching the Leaving standard will be well above 120.
That shows how far, on its present timetable, the Government will fall short of an adequate target for higher, university, tertiary or teaching education - a subject on which we raised a matter of urgency a year ago and one of the three subjects on which the visiting mission, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations all laid such emphasis.
Only last February did the Minister announce the formation of a committee to discuss this subject. May I recall for the benefit of many people, apparently including the Minister, who have always thought that we must proceed at an even pace - that is, that we should not set up a university until everybody has primary education and most people have secondary education, and that no one must get ahead of his fellows - an answer given by Chaim Weizmann nearly 40 years ago at the opening of the Hebrew university in Jerusalem. He was asked whether the creation of a university in Palestine at that time was not putting the cart before the horse. He replied, “ Among Jews learning is the horse which pulls all the carts”. Had we laid more emphasis on higher education during the 43 years for which we have had a mandate and a trust in New Guinea or the 80 years for which we have had possession of Papua, in fact there would be many more horses pulling the economic, educational, social and political carts in that Territory. There is not another territory in the world ruled by European people where, as in New Guinea, there are no university graduates at all.
I return to the political aspects of the bill. The Charter of the United Nations obliges us - under both Chapter XI., dealing with non-self-governing territories, and Chapter XII., dealing with the trusteeship system - to have regard to political, economic, social and educational advancement. The objects are stated in that order in each case. We have in fact been far too laggard in the field of political development. I elicited from the Minister last year that he could name only one territory in the world, other than Papua and New Guinea, where some residents but no indigenous inhabitants had direct votes for the legislature. That other territory was Fiji. It is no longer so in Fiji. Everybody in Fiji - Indian, indigenous and European - now has a direct vote for the legislature. We are coming to this ourselves at last. The Minister’s attitude in all these matters has been far too belated, far too begrudging. In his Roy Milne lecture in September, 1956, he said -
There is not at present, and cannot be for many years to come, any possibility of a Territory-wide franchise for the native people . . .
I have said that among the people themselves, interest in political change comes after interest in social and economic change.
That was the attitude: Wait until there is a demand. There was never a policy of anticipating demand and fulfilling natural aspirations. For too long we have relied on the fact that the people in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea have not clamoured for or demanded these things. Let no mem ber be in any doubt that they desire them. In July, 1960, the Minister said -
My own opinion was that we had progressed far enough to attempt reforms two or three years ago. However, I gave priority to other items of major legislation which, in the event, took longer than we expected to pass.
The Administrator of the Commonwealth, two years ago, in opening the first session of the Legislative Council, said -
Can any one doubt that the Minister has always been behind the times on the question of political advancement?
The other attitude he has is one of disparaging the United Nations interest in this matter. Everything he said last year and everything he said three years before about the recommendations of the visiting mission was to this effect: “This is something we already have in hand “. In fact, it would inspire much more confidence in us by the United Nations if we were frankly to say: “ We thank you for the suggestion. We will consider it. Better still, we will act upon it.”
Let me quickly refer to what was done last year, and done principally because of the visit of the United Nations mission. There was an inquiry into liquor laws - the most resented form of discrimination; an emblem was found for the Commonwealth Games team; eleven subjects and some twenty ordinances came up for review to remove aspects of discrimination; a reprieve was given in the Buka Island cases; a committee was set up to inquire into university education; censorship of films was abolished; steps were taken three years ahead of the former plan for political advancement; and at last, after years of resistance and spurious arguments, a United Nations Information Centre was opened in Port Moresby.
We constantly refer to the Foot report. Let it be quite plain that the Foot report was compiled by a committee of four, of which Sir Hugh Foot was the chairman. The committee was unanimous in its report, which was strongly supported by the members of the Trusteeship Council and the
General Assembly, including representatives of Great Britain, the United States of America and France - all of them our allies in Seato, all of them our partners in the South Pacific Commission and all of them having responsibilities within our immediate area. Therefore, if we disregard the recommendations of the United Nations - they are not the recommendations of Sir Hugh Foot alone - we shall in fact be saying that we do not want the co-operation of our neighbours and of our allies but will go on in our own insular and isolated way for as long as the world will tolerate it.
We are told constantly that there are committees in the Territory which have recommended a certain course and that the indigenes ‘themselves fear further advances. If the indigenes fear further advances, that is a reflection of our failure to give them the normal human and community aspirations which all other people have. One might fairly ask, “ What do they know of Papua who only Papua know? “ The countries in the United Nations that are our allies and neighbours have some experience in colonial matters and have had some successes. They have had more successes than we have had so far. We cannot just disregard and discard their advice in this regard. But, more importantly, it is essential to know what is their attitude.
Some ten months ago I had the opportunity to visit the three countries I have mentioned. I conferred with their Foreign Ministers or the heads of the relevant departments on this very subject. In one of these countries I asked, “How long do you believe it will be before Australia will have to face heavy international pressure for the independence of New Guinea? “ The Minister I was questioning said, “ Not very long”. I asked him whether he thought we might have until 1970. He said: “ That is rather a long time. It depends on whom else they have to eat first”, referring to the committee of seventeen, now the committee of 24. He believed the first attack would be on Rhodesia and the British African territories which are on the verge of independence. He said that the next attack would be concentrated on the Portuguese and Spanish African territories, and that it might take another four or five years for them to be digested. “ Digested “ was the word he used. After that, he said, attention would no doubt turn to New Guinea. That would be three or four years from now.
I asked the head of the relevant department in one of the other countries for how long he thought Australia would have the political responsibility for New Guinea. I asked, “Do you think we will still have this political responsibility in 1970?” He said, as quick as a flash, “ I think it would be rather an anachronism if you still had it in 1968 “. I am not saying that these ideas are right or wrong. It would be foolish, however, if these ideas are entertained by the responsible political and administrative persons in America, Britain and France - our allies and colonial neighbours - for us to think that we can disregard them. If we think the ideas are wrong, we have to persuade our allies and neighbours to a different point of view. It would be singularly futile for us to say that these ideas were wrong but do nothing to persuade our allies and neighbours that they were wrong, nor to show them where they were wrong. The Government’s views have not been put or have not been accepted.
One crucial difference emerges from the Minister’s argument concerning the number of members of the House of Assembly, as he calls it. The General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council and the visiting mission thought that the term should be “ House of Representatives “. I would have thought that that was a clear term, a term which everybody would understand and adopt. They suggested 100 members. They unanimously and strongly endorsed the idea. The Minister said that if that number were adopted in New Guinea, it would mean that this chamber, proportionately, should have a membership of 270. He had forgotten the Senate. If one took into account the Senate, it would be only two-thirds of that number, or 180, which is not a terribly unmanageable number. He also over-looked the fact that in Australia we have six State Parliaments in which there is a total of eleven houses. Whereas he said that in each of the 44 electorates which he has proposed the average total population would be about 46,000 - that is, not more than 30,000 adults - the fact is that in Australia, with a population of 10,800,000, we have 709 members of Parliament. The average population to each Australian member of Parliament is 15,000, which is one-third of the number that the Minister wants in New Guinea. And this in a country which is just learning representative government, a country which has much greater communication difficulties than we have! There are no railways, there are few roads, and there are no comparable shipping services there. There are good airline services, but they are scarcely comparable with ours; and there are very few telephones. How is it possible for an elected New Guinean, with the poor means of radio communication and the poor surface and air transport available to him, to look after three times the number of people that the average member of Parliament has to look after in Australia? The idea is absurd! How are we in Australia to implant the idea of representative government in a country like New Guinea when, proportionately, it is staffed with only one-third of the personnel employed in Australia, and when it has not a tithe of the facilities that we have?
The rest of the world might think that we are still not trying in this field. I believe that when honorable members contemplate the position again they will see that the recommendations of the United Nations mission were extremely modest. Everybody at the United Nations thought they were practicable, and they were thought to be practicable by countries which have had much greater experience and more success in decolonization, or independence, or selfgovernment than Australia has had. We should heed their advice; we should cooperate with them. Australia, more than most countries, depends on international arrangements, commercial and political and social. In this matter, where, in four or five years, the eyes of the committee of 24 will be focused on us, and already the eyes of the Trusteeship Council are focused on us only, it is more than ever necessary that we display our good faith by co-operating with our neighbours and our allies.
.- Honorable members opposite have stressed to-night that this is a tremendously important debate. With that, I entirely agree. They have said that the report of it will be read with tremendous interest in many places overseas, and in the United Nations in particular. I agree with that. But I believe that the most important people to whom we are talking to-night are the people in the areas of Papua and New Guinea. It should be those people above all others for whom we should have the greatest thought to-night.
Quite clearly, our aim is self-government. I think that most honorable members who have spoken to-night have agreed that our aim is self-government, but our emphasis is on government by the people themselves. That is the important point. We think it is even more important than the question of representative government which was the key to the points made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). We also differ with the Opposition on our ideas of the time-table to be followed in achieving our aims, but I do not think we can discuss the time-table until we have clearly defined our aims for self-government. 1 believe that we should not only aim at self-government but that we should also seek to ensure responsible democracy. We want to ensure the rule of law; we want to ensure economic independence and a rising standard of living. We do not believe that these things will be achieved by aiming only at representative government.
We think that honorable members opposite have not clearly defined the targets they are setting themselves. They have not clearly looked at the eventual picture at which they should be directing their minds. What sort of government do they expect for the peoples of Papua and New Guinea? I think that, to be certain of defining our aims, we should look first at the historical background. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said to-night it is quite clear that we are not the original propounders of the proposal. We here in Parliament to-night did not start this idea of changing the whole civilization in New Guinea. That was something which was started in New Guinea by the Germans and in Papua by the Government of Queensland. But, whoever started it, I think the whole course of world history in the last 60 years shows that Western civilization would have been brought to New Guinea. This has been a world-wide phenomenon, by which we have seen the Western civilization altering the whole structure of civilization. All over the world there is this phenomenon of Western civilization civilizing communities that have been developing by themselves in isolation for centuries. Because of the impact Western civilization has had, these isolated civilizations have come to appreciate and to wish voluntarily to share our material wealth. The important point is that they wish for these things, not that we are wishing to force them on to them. In saying this, let us not be ashamed of what our forefathers sought to do when they went into New Guinea and Papua. Listening to the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) to-night I formed the impression that he was ashamed of the past. Let us remember that most of the people who went to those Territories, unlike those who went into Africa and Asia, did not go with the aim of exploitation. Large numbers of them were missionaries. They went to these places to put an end to cannibalism, to put an end to slavery and incessant tribal warfare. They went to try to eradicate diseases and malnutrition. These were some of the higher aims that these missionaries sought to achieve, and they have achieved what they set out to do.
In overcoming the evils of past civilizations, we believe they have achieved a great deal by these Christian ethics which we look upon as being entirely right. I believe that we were completely right in encouraging people like the missionaries of the past to go to those countries and do what they did. They have brought peace to the area, they have established the rule of law and they have succeeded in improving the standards of health and raising the standard of living. What is more, in achieving all this, they have become firm friends with the people with whom they have been living. I would say that they did not go in as conquerors, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) suggested they did; I believe that the picture we have is one of friendship with those people for whom we have been responsible. Whether we like it or not, we have started a complete revolution in the way of life of the people of PapuaNew Guinea. We cannot now turn back the hands of the clock or deviate from the path that we have set ourselves. Our task now is to demonstrate to the people of these lands that this new way of life which we believe is right is worth preserving and a way of life that they would wish to lead. As I see it, the main issue dividing supporters of the Government and the Opposition to-night is that we believe we should try to abide by the wishes of the select committee and of the people of New Guinea, whereas honorable members opposite desire to abide by the report of the United Nations and seek to impose on the people of New Guinea what the United Nations thinks is in their best interests.
I believe that there is a certain amount of feeling among honorable members opposite that they know what is best. There is a tendency for radicals and members of labour parties throughout the world to try to impose on others what they think is right rather than what the people desire. We believe that the way of life which was taken to the people of New Guinea by our forefathers can endure only if with it goes our own system of government. This system cannot be learned in a few months. Our critics say that the system of government which we suggest is ideal for the people of Papua-New Guinea will never be made to work anywhere. It is true that we might have experimented in the past.
The honorable member for Fremantle suggested that we should have adopted the system of government that obtains in the United States of America. He suggested that we should divorce the executive from the legislature and that there should be representative government in the form of a congress. In trying to work out that system of government, did he also work out what sort of executive he would have alongside it? I do not think he has worked out the result to which his original premise will lead him. You can have either some form of executive divorced from the legislature or a cabinet, responsible in the parliament, such as we have. You cannot have both, and I believe the honorable member for Fremantle is suggesting that you can. I do not think he has followed up that system and he has only a foggy and misty idea of the final solution to the problem.
Our aim, above all others, is to create responsible government by the people who live in these Territories. We have found that our system of government matches our way of life and we know of no system under which we can have the one without the other. We may be wrong, but at least we have learned our way of government over many years and it is one which suits our situation. We have started on this way of development in Papua-New Guinea and we believe we have to see it through. So we seek to establish this form of government - adapted to local conditions - in Papua-New Guinea because we believe it is the best system that we can devise. Nothing that has been said by honorable members opposite to-night suggests that they have anything more suitable to put in its place.
We believe that this system should start at the grass roots, as the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) so wisely said, with the encouragement of local government. That is where this system of government should start and is starting. We believe that a fully elected parliament with full responsibility can be developed only by a system of training, which will be aided if there are in the government Europeans to encourage the people who eventually will take over responsibility for their own welfare. We must realize that the old system of civilization in this Territory was completely wrecked, not by us but by our forefathers. The old system of tribal organization having been wrecked, it is absolutely fundamental that we stay in the Territory until the new system is fully established.
I know - just as well does the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - the dangers of colonialism and the way in which the hatred to which the honorable member for Fremantle referred can be built up. I know of the danger of degradation of local leaders and their lack of self-respect if they have no responsibility for their own government. With all those things in mind we have tried to advise, rather than dictate. This has shown in many ways the wisdom of the policy of the present Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). He has tried to encourage a community of interest between Europeans and the original inhabitants of this area, in order to avoid remoteness or living apart. This whole system of living together - almost of symbiosis - is something which the people of the Territory want and not something that we are trying to force on them. As we found during the sittings of the Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aborigines, the aborigines had a desire to adapt themselves to our way of life. It was not being forced on them by Europeans. It is apparent to us all that the people of New Guinea wish to adapt themselves to our way of life.
The major criticism of the Government’s policy is that in no other country where self-government has been granted in the past few years has the aim of fully responsible democracy been achieved. Our answer to that is that no one else has tried the methods that we are using. I believe that in many cases the effort failed because the education of the few got ahead of the emerging political system. In those countries there was an educated elite aware of other forms of government, together with an illiterate people and no middle class to evaluate the slogans being imposed on the population by the few who had been overseas and thought they could adapt an overseas system to their own country. There was no middle class that the educated elite could train to take responsibility and there was slow economic development.
I stress that in order to make responsible self-government work effectively there has to be a middle class and a balance between economic and political development. Educational development must be neither behind nor too far ahead of political development. It is right to stress the importance of educational development, but it must go hand in hand with political development and must no get either too far ahead or too far behind. In adopting this system the Minister for Territories has been seeking out the only path by which fully responsible self-government will be achieved in Papua-New Guinea. I think he is coming closer to achieving this than has any one who has tried to do this anywhere else in the world during the last 20 o 30 years. I really believe that if we try any other system we will find ourselves leaning towards a form of dictatorship and that representative government will tend to fade into the background. It is no use trying to set up representative government without all the other things that must go with it, and that is the weak point in the argument put forward by the honorable member for Fremantle to-night.
In this bill we seek to establish a parliament on the lines that have been requested by the people of the Territory.
We are not trying to impose on them some other system, as is advocated in the United Nations report and by members of the Opposition. We have at all times tried to meet the wishes of the people concerned and to balance their wishes and aims with the organization that fits them. By doing this we believe we will succeed where others have failed. Certainly I think at this moment no other course is open to us and we must persevere in the course we have set ourselves.
We should not be ashamed of what we have done. The honorable member for East Sydney suggested that we should be ashamed of some of the things we have done, particularly on the economic side. There are 2,000,000 people in Papua and New Guinea and the Government is providing £20,000,000 a year for them. That is an average of £10 a year for each person living in the Territory. India has a population of 400,000,000. Did the British Government spend £4,000,000,000 a year on them? Nigeria has a population of 40,000,000. Did the British Government spend £400,000,000 a year on them? Indonesia, at the time of its independence, had a population of 60,000,000. Was the Dutch Government spending £600,000,000 a year? By no means! I do not say that what we are spending in Papua and New Guinea is enough or that we should not be doing more. But I do say that we are doing more than any one else has ever done in any other territory in the whole period of history. By doing this, I believe, we have a much better chance of achieving our aims than anybody else has ever had. People may say we have been hesitant in starting, but at least we did not make all the mistakes that other nations made in the inter-war period. By being hesitant in the past, we have been able to avoid mistakes and to set a clear goal before us.
We can now look to the time-table ahead of us. This deals with the question of target dates which were mentioned frequently by the honorable member for East Sydney. There are dangers in going too slow or too fast. I think the dangers of going too slew are well known. The people in the Territory become impatient and this creates a hatred between the two races. We know that these dangers exist and I believe that the bill overcomes them. But I believe that the more significant dangers are the dangers of going too fast. These dangers would appear if we adopted the course advocated by the honorable member for Fremantle. These dangers also must be emphasized. We have seen in Ghana the end of democracy. Ghana had representative government, but there is no longer representative government. All the members of the Opposition are locked up in gaol and an election has been postponed until the President of Ghana deems that the time is right for him to have an election. So Ghana has moved from representative government to tyranny. That surely is a greater danger than are the dangers of being too slow in political development.
In Nigeria, we have seen the misappropriation of the people’s funds. Some £20,000,000 belonging to a marketing board has found its way into the coffers of a parliamentary party. Some members of the Opposition may like to see that happen here. Once again, bribery is coming out in all its forms in Nigeria, in Mali, we have seen a recrudescence of slavery, the very thing that we as Christians went to Africa in the first place to try to eradicate. As soon as the Western influence left that continent, all the dangers of slavery and inter-tribal warfare returned. We have had that same danger occurring in the Congo and we have had a reduction of the standard of living of the people of Indonesia. Are these dangers of less significance than the danger of pursuing the course too slowly? Members of the Opposition who advocate that we should proceed quickly should weigh the whole situation carefully and not merely look at one facet.
Let me conclude on these lines: We should remember the quotation -
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Our forefathers started this exercise for good or for ill and we inherited the task. We have put our hand to the plough and we see our goal quite clearly. Our goal is full responsible self-government - not merely self-government but self-government within the framework of democracy and by the rule of law,’ economic independence and a rising standard’of’living.
– Within the Commonwealth?
– Within the Commonwealth of Nations, and also as a full voting member of the United Nations. Our critics opposite want fast progress, but the nations that have advocated fast progress have failed to achieve their objective, as the events in so many other countries have shown. We are learning from their mistakes. As I have said, after a period of early hesitancy our work in the Territory is now accelerating rapidly. The reports of the United Nations show quite clearly a record of which we can be well and truly proud. We have moved towards meeting the wishes not so much of the United Nations but more importantly of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Despite criticism, particularly from Opposition members, we should not deviate, because we believe that what we are doing is right and in the best interests of those for whom we are at present responsible.
We should pray that those who will be elected next March to be the first members of the new House of Assembly will have a vision of the future and that our plans for them will come as closely as possible to coinciding with their vision. I think that this will be so because, having lived together as friends for many years and especially during the last few years, our plans and theirs are starting to coincide. If the New Guinea people have this vision, they will build a parliamentary democracy in this new nation and they will learn the responsibilities of government by carrying out the objectives that we have in the bill now before us. If we try to achieve self-government in any other way, especially in the way advocated by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Fremantle, we shall have a parliament without responsibility.
In setting up this new House of Assembly, we pray for its success, because if it does succeed and becomes as representative as the Parliament we have in Australia, then the people of that Territory will, I believe, be the envy of those other new nations that have achieved independence but have failed to achieve something even more valuable, that is, the possession of parliaments that are able to ensure for their countries internal peace, the rule of law and a gradually rising standard of living.
.- The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Howson) introduced into this debate the theme of political pessimism that has been evident in discussions about the advancement of other peoples. This probably shows the fundamental difference between the attitude of honorable members opposite and those on this side of the House on the question of political advancement. We have a faith in the ability of people to look after themselves, to stand on their own feet and to develop their self-reliance. Honorable members opposite have not.
The honorable member for Fawkner made reference to certain historical matters. He said that Europeans - I think his words were, “ We, as Christians “ - went to Africa to abolish slavery. The people of Europe went to Africa to make slaves and to build the slave trade. So I say that Europeans, and we too as people of European ancestry, have to face the world handicapped by the knowledge that for three centuries at least the Europeans have been the mischief-makers of this whole planet. When the eyes of the world are turned upon us, it will be in a very critical way. It is a manifestation of our conceit, unfortunately, that we think we are superior in so many ways, that we can do things so much more quickly and effectively, that we have the right to lay down the law.
The problem of Papua and New Guinea seems to me to be fundamentally different from that which has faced most of the other colonial territories. The honorable member for Fawkner made the point that there is no middle class in the Territory. Would it not be more appropriate to suggest that it is the middle class that has produced the dictatorships in territories of this kind? Then, coming to Papua and New Guinea, and calling the people Papuans for want of a better and more accurate term, would it not be the fact that we do not face a similar possibility in this Territory?
Here I would like to interpose a compliment to the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck). I think that, while he is diffident in some ways, and while he may be conservative, as I know he feels himself to be, with all the virtues that conservatism sometimes brings, he has played a very important holding role in his handling of
Papua and New Guinea. We have not foisted on the people there the great commercial enterprises that would completely submerge them, come the time when they have to face their independent destiny. I pay a tribute to the Minister for the retention of the rights of land, which appears to have been achieved. It is particularly important to restrain these great commercial interests, which could easily take over such a place and make it impossible for the people in the future to develop economic independence. This has been the Minister’s first contribution, and I think it is a matter for which he deserves some respect. However, I believe that for the last eight or ten years the contribution that has been made has been too diffident. We have been too reluctant to accept the necessity for change, and therefore we have not been facing the task as I think this country is capable of facing it.
The honorable member for Fawkner made a few points which I think should be cleared up. He spoke about our financial contribution of £20,000,000. He said that we are doing more than any other country in history has done on behalf of similar peoples. This may well be the case, but is it not a fact that we have, perhaps, a greater duty to these people than most other nations have had to their colonial territories? For one thing, we are right next door to them. The Australian boundary runs to within a few miles of the Papuan coast. There is no significant difference between the people of the Torres Strait islands and the Papuans themselves. Papua has been almost a part of the Australian terrain for the last 80 years. It has formed a part of our thinking and our history.
Another important point is that we are one of the wealthiest nations. We are up near the top of the list in respect of individual wealth and I believe, therefore, that Australians can make a handsome contribution to the development of the people of Papua and New Guinea, given the opportunity and the challenge. The honorable member for Fawkner mentioned our contribution of £20,000,000. Of what significance is that? Is that such a magnificent contribution? It is about what we will spend this year on civil aviation. The 2,000,000 or so air travellers in Australia will have about the same amount spent on them as will be spent on the whole political, social and economic development of the 2,000,000 people of Papua and New Guinea. It is not a bad idea to keep our priorities and our perspectives straight. Some great things have been done. The young people, the public servants, who have gone to the Territory have carried out their tasks in a way to reflect credit on Australia. Nobody denies that. The Foot report says so. But we do think that we have been approaching the problem with a caution, with almost a reluctance, with a diffidence that has prejudiced our case in the eyes of the world.
The honorable member for Fawkner reminded us of certain provisions in the bill. I shall just mention one simple difference between the amendments we are moving and the provisions of the bill as drafted. The honorable member told us that there will be 44 Papuan members of this House of Assembly under the provisions of the bill. We suggest that there should be 88. The honorable member said, as did all the other speakers on the opposite side of the House, that we must teach them, that they must learn, that we must give them the opportunity to learn. On the basis of simple arithmetic, would it not be better for 88 of them to learn than for 44 to learn? We can see no reason at all for the caution with which this matter of numbers of members of the parliament has been approached, unless there is a fear that if a large body of political activists were developed they would be hard to handle Well, that is something that all governments of developing peoples have had to face. We must ensure that these people develop a system of self-government and that they become self-reliant, so that they may handle their own destiny.
The honorable member for Fawkner also said - and I think this is important for everybody in this House and for the people of Australia generally - that we must develop a responsible democracy and that we must take it cautiously. If we waited for the Liberal Party in this country to name the day when people were politically responsible we would never arrive at that point of time. That ideal has not yet been achieved by even the people of Victoria, where in respect of local government the people do not enjoy a full and satisfactory suffrage. Even the Legislative Councils of
South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania still do not believe that the people are responsible enough to be given full self-government.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) made it clear that the Government has been driven by two forces to introduce this legislation. First, there is the pressure engendered by the United Nations report, and by the advice, encouragement, coercion and persuasion from this side. This is an important debate that we are conducting to-night. We have to make it clear to the Government that we will not allow it to be dilatory in its task. It has to take up the challenge to develop in Papua and New Guinea a proper, independent and self-respecting government. The time to do it is now. In this present-day world we are quite likely to find that to-morrow will be too late. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said, this may be the last debate in which members of this Parliament can participate to direct the political development of Papua and New Guinea. I hope that honorable members opposite will give some thought to what we have said, between now and the time when the debate closes, and do what they can to imbue the Minister with a more adventurous spirit so that he may accept some of the propositions that we on this side have put before the House.
This is, in some ways, a nineteenth century bill. If we go back through the history of Australia we will find that every step forward has been reluctantly made. Every advancement, from the time of the colonial Governor’s complete authority through the gradual development of responsible and representative government, has been gained after bitter struggles and long arguments, and finally a decision on the full powers of this Commonwealth Parliament was made only after long discussions and pressures brought to bear on the Government in England. It has been almost inevitable that a government with such a history to look back upon would have been diffident, reluctant, conservative and cautious. This is not the hour to be any of those things, when we face the issues that arise in Papua and New Guinea. We do not suggest that the Australian public servants should simply walk out. We do not suggest that the whole box and dice be suddenly thrown to the people of the Territory and that they be told, “ Make your own way “. That is not our suggestion at all. We say that there are some things that we must face with much more vigour. I suggest that in the last eight or ten years we have been extraordinarily diffident in promoting political development, the role of education, national development and industrial development in Papua and New Guinea. That country will never be able to stand on its own feet until it has achieved progress in all these things.
This evening, we are discussing the political development of the people of Papua and New Guinea, and it is good for us to turn back in Australia’s own political history to the struggles of the colonists in the last century to make their way politically and to break through the caution of the people in England who were laying down the laws. The colonists finally found foisted on them here a system that, particularly with respect to features such as Legislative Councils, still represents part of the millstone hanging round the neck of Australian political democracy. We do not want to see that kind of thing foisted on the Papuans. We want to see them get off to a flying start, encouraged in the belief that they are a self-reliant people and that they can do for themselves what we have done here on the Australian continent. That, I think, is the simple issue before us this evening.
The question of the importance of this debate was raised with the Minister for Territories only last week, I think. He was asked what opportunity he would give Papuans to come down here for us to discuss with them the issues that arise in this matter. This evening, we are discussing the political future of the people of Papua and New Guinea - 2,000,000 people of whom, I suppose, 700,000 or 800,000 are of voting age. Where are they this evening? What opportunity have we here had to discuss the issue with any of them? Honorable members opposite may say, “You could have gone to New Guinea yourself”. That is true: We may go to New Guinea. Some of us do, but not all of us. Furthermore, we cannot always go when the issues are particularly topical. Would it have been difficult to bring some of the leaders of the people of thi Territory here to let us talk to them? Would it not have been good to have some of them here to-day while this debate was in progress? Of course it would.
We cannot treat people as these people are being treated. We must not regard them as pawns to be pushed about. We must not regard them as people to be traded. We have to regard them as dignified and self-respecting people and treat them as such. We on this side of the House are unhappy to think that, without individual members having had an opportunity to talk to Papuans on the subject, this Parliament is discussing an issue so important as this - an issue concerning the partnerhip of two peoples. I think that the theme of the speech made by the honorable member for Fawkner - the theme of partnership - was very worthy indeed. We are discussing the question of two peoples getting together. Would not this have been a good opportunity for individual members of the Parliament and representatives of the people of the Territory to get together? I hope that in the future we shall have an opportunity to achieve this. So I make that special point about the importance of this debate.
Sir, I wonder why there is such diffidence in the Government’s approach to representative democracy. We are talking about a country that is approximately twice the size of Victoria and has some 2.000.000 people - about 500,000 more than the population of Queensland. So this is a pretty significant country. Quite a lot of members of the United Nations have smaller populations and areas than the Territory of Papua and New Guinea has. We are talking of a future nation. Not often do people have a part to play - even the small one that we may take by participating in this debate - in the development of a nation and the setting of the feet of that nation on the road to parliamentary democracy. So why are we so diffident now?
We have heard various statements from honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan), I think, talked about the difficulties presented by illiteracy, diversities of language and the great problems of geography. What are the examples of other nations?
Are these things such terribly great handicaps? Is illiteracy a bar? That was the question raised in this place when there was last a debate here on the constitution of the Legislative Council for Papua and New Guinea. On that occasion, six electorates were proposed. Any man elected for one of those constituencies would have a tremendous task before him - one that no human being, given the resources of Papua and New Guinea, could properly undertake. But is illiteracy a bar? Have we considered India and the mammoth adventure in democracy that has taken place there? In that country, illiteracy is part of the pattern of life and elections have to be conducted with the aid of special devices. But, despite all that, the Indian people vote. The Indians may be working under difficulties, for they have their economic and other troubles, but they have overcome the electoral problems of illiteracy. After all, illiteracy is only part of the mystique that has developed as a result of the use of the printing press. The first representative institutions in England developed some 800 or 900 years ago in an illiterate community - a diversified community in parts of which were spoken special dialects completely strange to people in other parts.
We are inclined, when we are considering the development of democratic processes, to apply the present-day mature, sophisticated standards of democracy in our own community, although, in fact, over all history and in current geography one can find plenty of examples in which the supposed difficulties were not necessarily a bar to the development of political democracy. Is geography a bar? Consider Australia in 1900, with meagre railway services, no air services, very slow communications and great distances - for example, 4,000 miles between Cairns and Perth. The Australian nation was able to come together despite all these obstacles. The geography of Papua and New Guinea, of course, is difficult. This is one of the reasons why we have tried to stress the point that the member of parliament there must be given personal resources that will enable him to discharge his functions properly. Is diversity of language and customs a bar? Can we develop a new nation out of the present diversities in Papua and New Guinea? Of course we can. We have only to think of Switzerland and the United Kingdom itself, to say nothing of India. The Indian nation has beon developed by the coming together of many people of widely diversified backgrounds and widely varying languages and customs.
Honorable members opposite are inclined to say of the inhabitants of Papua and New Guinea, “After all, these people have to depend on our bounty “. Plenty of nations throughout the world have to depend on the bounty of other people. We do not think a person’s worth is weighed in property. This is where our attitudes towards adult suffrage, representative democracy and all the rest of it come from. I believe that in most of these things honorable members opposite would give us basic support. But for goodness sake let us not apply any of our attitudes to restrict the political development of the people of Papua and New Guinea because, for years to come, they will need help from outside. Plenty of other nations need help from outside.
I take issue with the Government, therefore, principally on three issues - the presence of nominated members in the proposed House of Assembly, rates of payment of members proposed and the number of members. Honorable members opposite imply that a chamber of 100 members as suggested in the Foot report would be much too large. They say that 100 members is a lot of people. We are inclined to relate matters such as these to this Parliament, but would not the arguments be more valid if we looked at some of the other representative institutions in Australia? After all, in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, the Minister has an empire that, were it a State, would be served by a full range of departments and ministers and a full parliament.
Queensland, for example, with a population of approximately 1,500,000, has a legislature of 78 members in one House only. Tasmania, with about 350,000 people, has a parliament composed of a House of Assembly of 35 members and a Legislative Council of nineteen. This means that the people of Tasmania have one representative in the House of Assembly for every 10,000 people. The proposals in this bill will mean that the people of Papua and New Guinea will have something like one representative for every 40,000 people. Tasmanians, of course, have shown exceptional political maturity, because, for about the last 30 years, they have returned Labour governments. If one really concedes the advantages of having a greater number of members of parliament, Tasmania surely demonstrates the advantages, because 60 per cent, of its federal members are Labour.
Perhaps this is really where we get to the fear in the minds of honorable members opposite. They know that a greater number of members of parliament produces more advanced political attitudes and they, being conservatives, are frying to hold hack the development of advanced political attitudes. I think that honorable members opposite are just afraid of figures, and perhaps Tasmania is a case in point. Victoria has 100 members of parliament to represent 3,000,000 people - one member for every 30,000. We could g6 through the whole Australian scene and” find a similar picture. In all the States there is one member to a smaller number of people than is expected to be the case in Papua and New Guinea, despite all the difficulties that the people’s representatives in that country will face. So we say that even 88 members of the proposed House of Assembly would not be too many.
Now I come to an important point. The work of a member of parliament, I think, is pretty clear to all of us, but we may not have analysed exactly what it means. I believe that the existence of representatives going about the country all the time - always on the move and always available - is fundamental for two reasons. It is fundamental, first, to the protection of the freedom and rights of the individual because he is thereby afforded ready access to his representative. I think this system is fundamental, secondly, as the means to enable the ground swell of discontent in the community to bring forward the issues that the people really want to raise. Put 88 Papuans into orbit in Papua and New Guinea, each one with 20,000 or so people to represent so that he is always on the job in the same way as every member of this Parliament seems to be always on the job, and you will make a bigger contribution to political development than by any other single measure. I know what happens from my own experience. You establish your office in your electorate. The doors are open all day and any citizen may come in and state to you his complaints and his ideas. Every member of this House is in contact with his constituents continuously through his office or by personal contact.
Surely the lessons we have learned here are applicable to Papua and New Guinea. How is any member of the legislature in Papua and New Guinea to travel in the Owen Stanleys, in the remote western district or in the islands? How will he move round his electorate unless we supply the resources? What is the first requirement? This goes back to the Chartists. I would not be surprised if the grandparents of honorable members opposite were all Chartists. Perhaps that was why they came to Australia. Members of Parliament should be paid so that they can be free of all financial worries. We have chosen £1,500 a year for the members of the new parliament. I suppose that would put them in the top bracket of Papuans but certainly not anywhere near the top bracket of Australians employed in Papua and New Guinea. The new members must be free to move. We must supply them with special facilities and with special assistance to enable them to go into their electorates in the same way as we do. We must give them the opportunity to go out into their electorates so that the people there can learn about political structure and political development.
This is a challenge. How else could we handle this matter? All members in this Parliament have telephone and travel facilities at their disposal; they have their own offices and so on, but still they find themselves hard pressed. Even I, with an electorate which covers only 1 square miles, find myself hard pressed. I know that I, in common with all honorable members, work full time. But the essence of the contract is that a member shall be on the job all the time. The people must know that their members are accessible and that they can approach them when they want to learn something.
We believe that the new parliament should be called the House of Representatives, rather than the House of Assembly, because in the Australian context the former title carries a little more status. I must be careful that this remark is not repeated to some of my State colleagues. We believe that the idea of a House of Representatives is hallowed by Australian and American practice. However, generally speaking, we would not fight about that kind of thing. It is unfortunate that the Papuans have no common word which they could use and eventually come to respect. However, the important factors are that the members of this new body should have full time jobs, that they should be paid such amounts that they will be free of financial worry and they should be respected for their ability to do their jobs. I do not believe that people whom we choose to call primitive are necessarily so backward that they do not know what their people want. It is one of the oddities of Australian politics that such a conservative Government as this has shown so advanced an attitude to granting the suffrage in Papua and New Guinea. It has chosen eighteen years, I think, as the minimum age at which a person may vote. We challenge the thinking behind this bill. We believe it is nineteenth century stuff to have members who will fly occasionally to where the Parliament meets, who will gather there untutored, unbriefed, unknown to one another, and in most cases out of contact with their citizens. Honorable members opposite should give very serious thought to this aspect.
The question of numbers is vital because of the size of the electorates, the difficulties involved due to the geographical aspects and because this new venture is only a training ground. Surely you will get a greater ground swell of public demand and expression of opinion with 88 members than with 44. I believe that 20,000 inhabitants in every electorate is still slightly too many. It will not do us any harm to have more than what we consider to be enough.
I know that the report of the select committee expressed all kinds of attitudes. On the question of nominated members and reserved seats, the report stated that we must have European members. We want to be careful about this. That is the logical attitude of the sophisticated Papuan, I suppose, but the poignancy lies in the fact that Europeans cannot stand for the local electorates because they would not be elected. All Papuans passionately want Europeans in their parliament, but if the Europeans stand for election they will not be elected. That reasoning seems to be a little odd. If we must have Europeans there - if the Papuans want them - they should remain only for as long as the parliament decides that it wants them. When the new parliament decides that reserved electorates should exist no longer, that should be the end of the section for the European members. For that reason we suggest that the words “ until the Parliament provides “ be included in the relevant clause of the bill.
We suggest writing in a provision about the status and privileges of members. When the Minister rejects an ordinance, it should come to this Parliament. In fact, all ordinances, whether he assents to them or dissents from them, should be tabled in this Parliament and explained. The responsibility lies here. The Minister is answerable to us, not to the people of Papua and New Guinea. We are the trustee of Papua and New Guinea and we must be the Territory’s watch dogs. We can do our job only if the Minister places all matters affecting the Territory before us and answers to us for his actions. Probably on many occasions there would be no doubt that the Minister had taken the right action, but I think that our suggestion is pretty sound.
The members of the Administrator’s Council should come from the elected body. We cannot get away too quickly from this practice of nomination. We do not want nominated members. We do not want people nominated to the Administrator’s Council. We want them elected by the House of Assembly, or the House of Representatives as we would call it. We want them answerable to the body from which they came and for whom they work. There are enough vetoes, checks and balances to prevent any eccentricities developing. This is where we take issue with the Government. We believe it has been dilatory in this regard. We must show more trust and faith. I can use the Australian aboriginal people as an example. I remember seeing one aboriginal in Arnhem Land whose father was the terror of those parts. This young mau worked, I think, in the local hospital. One generation, from father to son, had seen a wonder 4, advance. Of course those people had lived in Arnhem Land satisfactorily - -perhaps barbarously in some ways, depending on how we look at it. Perhaps they would think that the people of Europe had been pretty barbarous in the last eight or ten centuries. They had their customs and their culture. I do not think we should overlook the fact that there is a basic unity in all humanity. Most people are much the same whether they are black, white, brown or yellow. The Unesco reports on education indicate that there is no basic difference between the intellectual capacities of people, no matter what their race.
Australia stands at the door of history. We have a very proud and privileged task to perform. It has not been given to many nations to take up such a task in such an atmosphere. From my knowledge and observation, the people of Papua and New Guinea are friendly towards us. If we make a mess of this, we shall have only ourselves to blame. All we ask is that the Government give to the people of Papua and New Guinea the self-respect that representative government demands. You will not get self-respect unless you develop selfreliance. I would like to see the Minister or any one else involved taking much more adventurous steps in the appointment of Papuans higher up the ladder in the Public Service. As far as I can recall, no Papuans yet in the Army have entered an officers* mess. I think it is time that they did. If they can command platoons as sergeants or warrant officers, they can do so as officers. There are many arguments for and against these propositions but they comprise some of the elements involved in developing self-reliance.
In the last few years I have done a good deal of work on conferences with aboriginal people, who are much further down the line of political development and more socially depressed than are the Papuans. They must have a large number of supporters before they have the confidence to express themselves freely. For example, in a group of 80 persons an aboriginal would feel that he had to have the support of 50 or 60 of those persons. We must be pretty diffident if we fail to give them the encouragement to stand up and say their piece. This is what we want them to do: We want the people of Papua and New Guinea to get into the habit of getting up and saying their piece - of going to their member and putting a point of view. We want that member to get into the habit of going to Port Moresby, standing up and being counted when the great issue at stake is his new nation. Representative government is the very cornerstone of democracy. In the issues with which we deal in this place we exhibit some of the ideas of democracy. People may come to us no matter how humble or low of estate they may be. We step into this place and the Prime Minister must answer to us directly and personally. That is a principle we must develop in the Territory. You only get it when you have a large number of people in the Assembly, each one of whom has an electorate small enough to handle competently.
.- The bill before the House naturally is one of great concern not only to the people of Australia but also to the people of Papua and New Guinea, because it represents a substantial step forward in the development of the principles of selfgovernment in that area. It introduces for the first time into the legislature the possibility of a Papuan majority in the Legislative Council. It also introduces one or two rather important features that are tied up with the general principle of advancing these people politically towards their ultimate goal of self-government.
I found myself fundamentally at variance with some of the remarks passed by the honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant). In fact, the only common ground that I had with him was in relation to his remark that the devoted work of the present and past administrative staff of the Territory deserved the greatest praise. I think every honorable member will echo those sentiments. I agree also with his remarks of praise for the work that the Minister for
Territories (Mr. Hasluck) has done in the interests of the people of the Territory.
I could not agree with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) on one or two of the basic principles on which he formed his philosophy in relation to this question of independence. He put to the House the view that political independence is inevitably a step towards economic and social independence. I suggest that the history of modern evolution towards independence of non-self-governing countries disproves him on all grounds. In fact, so far political independence, if it is to be sustained in previously non-self-governing countries, in most cases has now to be supported by a substantial degree of economic dependence. However, I agree with the principle that he propounded, and which is now acknowledged by most students of political science, that irrespective of whether economic viability is achieved on the one hand, or total dependence on the other hand, there is no substitute for political independence in the mind of evolving man. That is a fact of life that we must face.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition spoke also about the common roll. He mentioned the legislation in 1960. His remarks illustrated to me quite clearly the way in which the Minister has been putting forward his ideas for the gradual achievement of the objective, with gathering momentum. I think the common roll is a case in point. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition criticized the Minister for the educational shortcomings of the people of the Territory. I think the Deputy Leader himself knows that his remarks were completely unfactual. He knows that it is utterly unrealistic to propound a theory that we have failed to raise the people of the Territory to the tertiary level of education in a matter of half a generation. I believe that the soundly based system of education that is being introduced into the Territory now and that which has been in operation over a number of years, based on the education particularly of the women, will raise the standard of intellectual exchange within the home and will be a great influence in advancing the general standard of education throughout the Territory and the general raising of the demands and inquisitive natures associated with a search for knowledge. It will be in fact the first real step towards a soundly based form of education.
Despite the pressures of the present international atmosphere, certain obligations remain on this Parliament. We must make decisions in the light of our obligations. Our first obligation is to safeguard the political future of the people of Papua and New Guinea for very good reasons. First, we owe a debt of gratitude to them. They stood beside us in a time of great peril. With few exceptions they did not flinch. We have a responsibility to repay them to the best of our ability for the stand that they took. Secondly, we have a heavy responsibility, particularly in connexion with the problems of the bill now under discussion, to ensure that their future is not prematurely damaged by creating another kind of Congo. Thirdly, every member of this House has a responsibility to the people of Australia, present and future, to ensure that the security of the Australian mainland will not be prejudiced by any arrangement that will set up in our immediate vicinity a state lacking stability and guidance.
This bill is a step towards the political enlightenment of a very primitive people. Nothing that anybody can say will disguise that fact. All must respect and admire the patient, thoughtful and sincere approach that the Minister has made to this difficult subject. One or two honorable members opposite have had the grace to refer to this aspect of the Minister’s administration. It is necessary also to consider the atmosphere of world opinion expressed through the votes of the United Nations. In that connexion reference has been made to the decolonization resolution of November, 1961, and the setting up of the committee, first, of 17 and, later, 24. It is necessary also to consider the views expressed in the report of the United Nations Trusteeship Mission - the Foot report as we know it. We must remember that the decisions of the select committee appointed by the Legislative Council were arrived at in their full knowledge and possession of the recommendations of the Foot report. Those recommendations were made available not only to the native leaden but also to the many people congregated to hearthe discussions. That is one point that seems to have escaped completely the attention of honorable members opposite, who have been advocating what one might call straight Foot. This is, to my mind, one of the most significant features of this legislation. While I take the view that we should and will give due cognizance and recognition to the recommendations of the Foot report, and to any other report that may be made by the United Nations concerning the trusteeship areas, particularly the area for which we are responsible, we must remember that the people for whom we have a regard were in this case given the opportunity of hearing an explanation of the recommendations, and that the opinions expressed by those people were based on a knowledge of the recommendations in the Foot report. The opinions of Sir Hugh Foot and the members of his mission must be tinged somewhat by their own practical experience. I refer particularly to those of Sir Hugh Foot who has had a long association with the emancipation of nonselfgoverning territories. That is his business. It is quite natural that he should be advocating the advancement of these people and their emancipation from nonselfgovernment. We have to give due recognition to that fact. Whilst I have the greatest regard for Sir Hugh Foot’s integrity and his opinions about what is good for such primitive peoples, in the past he has been dealing with people of much greater sophistication than the people that we are discussing now.
I believe that the logic of the resolution of the 1961 General Assembly of the United Nations is seriously undermined by the unthinking expression embodied in it of the racialism attached to the anti-colonial urge. We cannot regard that type of expression as being completely logical when it is related to people who are progressing well, who are receiving great assistance from Australia and who themselves have expressed the desire to continue along certain lines.
I suggest that the position is complicated by the events that have taken place in West New Guinea. You might remember, Mr. Speaker, that the Netherlands, for certain reasons, in 1960 aimed at producing an elite of the population with a certain degree of administrative and executive skill, so that that elite could take over an early form of self-government. The Netherlands advanced from people at the top down, with that intention. That set Australia, as an administering country, quite a problem, because our attitude was to build on the old British principle on which all our organization and development have been based, namely, of building from the grass roots up.
I believe that the policies that have been adopted by this and previous governments in regard to the institution of local government councils and the gradual expansion of the Legislative Council are a natural development of the principles on which our own parliaments have been formed. The idea that a satisfactory and effective method of achieving self-government is by the evolution from an elite downwards of the people with whom we are concerned would be a very dangerous principle. But we can see the point of the Netherlands idea. It was aiming at early independence and it believed that that was the only possible way in which it could be achieved. I believe in the philosophy behind the Australian approach to this problem. It is based on the thought that I mentioned before, namely that the acceleration of progress should be possible in due course, but we have to have a sound basis before we can build rapidly. The Minister for Territories has gone a tremendously long way towards achieving that basis.
I was very disappointed with the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). He is a former Minister for External Territories. He had a vast experience in the administration of that portfolio. I felt that he should have made a much more constructive approach to this problem. He harped on the social and racial relations between the Papuans and the people of European stock. It is almost a certainty that a degree of racial problem must exist among humans in a mixed society. Nothing can be done either constitutionally or in the legislation before this House in order to overcome the unfortunate human characteristics involved in the racial problem. Whilst it is most important that that difficulty should be eradicated, I cannot see that he or anybody else will be able to make any satisfactory suggestion to overcome the problem while human nature remains as it is. Future generations, when people are not so inhibited about the racial problem, may be able to achieve something.
In the light of the modern parliamentary system, I believe that we have to face up to certain difficulties that will confront New Guinea. There is an almost complete lack of political experience or education. So far there has been no development of any party political system. Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, there is an unfortunate lack of sophisticated commercial or professional knowledge among the Papuan people. So the skills that are required to handle the administration associated with self-government have yet to be developed.
It was interesting to note how the honorable member for Wills contradicted himself in terms. One minute he was urging speed, and the next he was saying that it was obvious that if satisfactory commerce and industry were to be developed and encouraged from outside there must be some degree of sense about the speed that was employed. His remarks reminded me of this situation: You put an unfortunate man in a motor car, push down the accelerator and release the brake, and although he has never driven a car or had a licence before you think that he will be all right. If we look at this matter in that light, we might get a little more sense into the solution of this problem which I believe we are trying to achieve to the satisfaction of not only the Australian people but also the people of Papua and New Guinea.
I believe that on the basis of this constitution the development of the political, economic and social maturity of the people of Papua and New Guinea will be aided, encouraged and accelerated. I admit that heed and regard must be given to the suggestions made by the United Nations. I was very surprised by the speech made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. He chided the Minister for Territories tor acting on a certain number of the recommendations in the Foot report. He said that the Minister had taken steps to reduce discrimination, to evolve some method of making alcohol available to the natives and various other things of that nature. Yet the Deputy Leader of the Opposition chided the Minister for doing exactly what the Labour Party is suggesting that the
Government should do. I just cannot follow the line of logic that that party is applying.
I do not believe, Mr. Speaker, that the Government has anything to defend m this matter. I remind the House again of the objectives that I mentioned earlier. We desire political and economic stability for the future Papua and New Guinea which, through that stability, will be a satisfactory and co-operative neighbour to Australia. That is the Government’s problem, and it cannot be delegated to the United Nations or any other body. Whilst we have shown our capacity to accept the principles of the suggestions made by the United Nations mission and other bodies of that sort, I believe that we have wisely adapted them to our own needs and to meet the wishes of the people of the Territory.
.- In this bill the most important aspect to consider is the very short distance to Papua and New Guinea. It is closer to where I live than Sydney is. We saw in 1942 how a lack of defence in this Territory threatened the security of Australia. We now see the eastern part of the area in foreign hands and potentially unfriendly hands. We have to think very seriously about that.
We must do something for the people of this Territory. We must see to it that, as it were, they go places. They must be educated, and that will present some great problems. I have seen some of the villages there. They are situated on escarpments, and how you get to them I do not know. Other villages are located in swamps and can be approached only by tracks. How the people of those villages are to be properly represented by their members of parliament, I do not know. I believe that what the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) said about more representatives is worthy of consideration. In view of the numbers of people involved, the size of the area, the terrain and the character of the people, I do not think there could be adequate representation under this proposal. Many of the people are illiterate, ignorant and superstitious.
We must bear in mind that these are not the days of colonialism, the stock in trade of the Communist countries. We have been hit with the charge of colonialism right, left and centre, but it is up to us to prove that the charge is not true. We must give to the Europeans who live and work in this area a reason for wanting to stay there. At the moment, they do not want to stay. Some of them pass through our part of the world quite frequently and we see that the general idea is to think about how long they will have to stay in this Territory and how much they can take with them when they leave. That is not conducive to building a stable community or a good nation. After all, we are trying to make East New Guinea into a nation, just as the Indonesians say they are trying to make West New Guinea into a nation. We saw this problem arise in the East Indies in 1946, 1 think. The people who had been in control of that part of the world had picked the eyes out of the mining areas, the timber resources and so on. They left the area in a very bad state. We have seen the results of that policy. There is a struggle to keep the Communists out and for Indonesia to get on its feet financially.
I do not know whether it will ever come about, but I would like eventually to see East New Guinea become a part of Australia, with its own representative in Canberra. That could well be thought about without doing much harm to the present proposals. If we are to maintain friendly relations with the people of this Territory and if we are to develop this large area, there must be some cohesion. I cannot think of a better way to start to bring about that cohesion than to have a representative of the Territory in this Parliament.
Many Australians have seen New Guinea during the war and since the war. We know that the problems that face this Territory are basically those that face the north of Queensland, although the Territory has not had 100 years in which to pick up the threads and tie the knots. The type of development required in each place is virtually the same. Population in each case is concentrated in little pockets, with bad communications between them, and this makes for slow progress.
Time is not on our side, and we will have to do something about this Territory very quickly. This is not something that can be dwelt on or fooled about with. The problems are big and numerous. This bill seems to be based on an understanding of the problems, gained from the report submitted by the select committee, and I think that basically it is quite a good bill. It is designed for the benefit of the people concerned, and I do not suppose we can ask for much more than that. However, as with most things in this world, it could be improved after a little more investigation. It is our responsibility to develop this place. We have had it now since about 1883, I think, but nothing much happened until after the Second World War. I do not suppose much would have happened then had it not been for the war allowing many Australians to see just what was there and for the development of air transport permitting easier communication. We must bear in mind that, whatever we do in this area, we will never be praised. We will be abused if we fail but we will not be praised if we succeed. That is the attitude of many people to-day. However, we do not want a:.y more Congos. The free world cannot afford any more shocking events of that kind.
Education in this Territory will cause many problems. There will be educated people moving amongst uneducated people, and this will give rise to feelings of superiority and inferiority as well as to suspicion. I believe that, even with proper guidance, the people who are going to lead this new country, or the members of the House of Assembly, will have a very hard job. As I have said, in the long run we will get no thanks for whatever we do.
There is a political problem, too. As one honorable member said, there are no political partiies in the Territory now that we know of. I think there will be in the future. We can be certain that the Communist Party is thinking about this Territory now, if it has not been thinking about it for some time. That is something that we must bear in mind. The Communists are moving down from the north now and they may think they can move into this place. Unless we give the right guidance to the people in this legislature, we shall store up a lot of trouble for ourselves in the future.
We want a society in this place that is independent and self-sufficient, and that could be brought about. New Guinea is not a rich country but, as the honorable member for East Sydney has said, it is not a poor country. It is capable of development but it will require a lot of money to be spent on it. Where that money will come from, I do not know, but Australia will have to find a large proportion. The tragedy is that we spend more in that part of the world than in north Queensland. However, I suppose it would be useless for me to complain about that because it would not get me anywhere.
As I have said, I think it is important, not only that we should lead the indigenous people to self-government, but also that the white people who live and work there with their families should have some incentive to stay. I do not think that at the moment they are very happy about what is happening. This is a big problem which is worthy of great consideration, and I hope the Government will give it that consideration.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Forbes) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.48 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated: -
d asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions are set out in the following tables 1 and 2.
y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
-The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 4. The question of the issue of a separate medal for Australian and New Zealand troops who fought at Gallipoli was first proposed at the time of the First World War, but the proposal was not adopted, as it was felt to be unfair to members of the forces of other countries who had fought there. In addition, it was thought inappropriate to have a special Gallipoli Star, whilst not giving similar recognition to troops in other combat areas. The same question has been raised on many occasions since, and the same view has been taken by successive Australian governments. The New Zealand Government is not in favour of the matter being re-opened at this stage. My Government’s decision on the matter last year was in line with these earlier decisions. The Government is not unmindful of the significance for Australia of the Gallipoli Campaigns, nor of the part played by Australian and New Zealand ex-servicemen in them. Indeed, the place of these events in Australian history is permanent, and will not be affected by the actions of any government. Nevertheless, the Government considers that the awarding of a commemorative medal for the Gallipoli campaign is a matter on which Australia should not take any independent action and that, in any case, the lapse of time has been so great, particularly with the Second World War intervening, that it would be inappropriate to re-open the matter now.
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
Provident Account to which person? appointed permanently at a lower medical standard contribute, is applied also to appointees who are eligible under the higher medical standard to contribute for superannuation benefits but who, by reason of their age, choose to contribute to the Provident Account. The statistics do not distinguish between these two groups. A further difficulty is that temporary employees are not subject to medical examination and accordingly records of medical conditions at time of appointment are not available for them.
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 4. As I- informed the honorable member in reply to a previous question (“ Hansard “ 27th November, 1962, page 2614) it is established policy to give sheltered workshops equal opportunity to compete for Government contracts, and I understand that some departments are, indeed, using the services of the sheltered workshops. If the honorable member will supply me with the names of any organizations desiring to enter this field, on a commercial basis, and a list of the goods or services each organization has to offer, I shall arrange for them to be supplied wilh tender schedules by the Commonwealth purchasing authorities.
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notices -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows: - 1 to 9. The honorable member is no doubt aware that the Government has adopted measures which are operating successfully in promoting its objectives of increasing employment and the rate at which dwellings are constructed.
d asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
son asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
d asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: -
a asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What amount was paid by each State in respect of pay-roll tax for the year ended on 30th June, 1962?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Estimates of the amounts of pay-roll tax paid or payable during 1961-62 by State governments from their Consolidated Revenue Funds (in the case of New South Wales the figures shown include amounts in respect of the business undertakings included in the budget papers) are set out below -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
What is the value of Australian real estate owned by residents of other countries?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
There are no official statistics available to the Commonwealth which show the value of Australian real estate owned by residents of other countries.
United States Naval Communication Station in Australia.
s asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Acting Minister for Defence has supplied the following information: -
European Common Market.
– On Thursday last, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) asked me about the present attitude of the British Government towards the entry of Britain into the European Common Market. In a supplementary question the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) inquired about the attitude of the British Government to the possibility of developing the Commonwealth as an alternative to entry into the European Economic Community.
Since the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations at the end of January senior British Ministers have said that nothing has happened to reduce the force of the reasons which lay behind Britain’s application to join the community. The tenor of official statements by the British Government suggests that eventual entry to the community remains their objective. I have no information, however, which would indicate that an early resumption of negotiations is considered likely. Discussions the Minister for Trade has had in London have been concerned principally with preparations for negotiations in the Kennedy Round in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
The conditions upon which Britain might eventually accede to the community have not been the subject of discussion between the British and Australian Governments since the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations. 1 have no knowledge of the British Government having since then discussed with member governments of the community the possible terms of eventual British er-try.
With respect to the question raised by the honorable member for Moreton, I am not aware of any policy statement by the British Government which would suggest it is considering the development of the Commonwealth as an alternative to British entry to the European Economic Community. Senior British Ministers have in fact said that the development of Commonwealth trade cannot be regarded as a simple alternative to accession to the community. The honorable member will be aware that the Trade Ministers from all Commonwealth countries are meeting in London on Monday and Tuesday of this week to discuss, among other things, the place of Commonwealth trading in relation to the comprehensive trade negotiations which it is proposed will be conducted within the Gatt over the next year or so.
h. - The honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. Mclvor), on 17th April, asked the Prime Minister a question relating to the visit to the United States of the Minister for the Navy (Senator Gorton). The Prime Minister undertook to have a statement prepared by the Minister, who has now furnished the following statement in answer to the honorable member’s question: -
The visit which I made to the United States recently was primarily concerned with negotiating the purchase of a third guided missile destroyer for the Royal Australian Navy. A number of other matters of joint naval concern were also discussed, but Australia was not committed to any expenditure other than for the guided missile destroyer although the acceleration of the delivery of three Iroquois helicopters on order for the Royal Australian Navy before the visit was arranged.
I do not remember making any statement in the terms used by Mr. Mclvor, which are, “that arrangements have been made for stockpiling and storing naval supplies for use by the United States Navy in conjunction with the Australian Navy “.
It is possible that Mr. Mclvor may have in mind a statement made by me that it was inevitable that as a result of the acquisition of United States guided missile destroyers there would be closer co-operation between the two navies and that since these ships were identical with the latest American types, spare parts and fittings of all kinds, and weapons systems, would be the same. This would permit United States destroyers to draw on our naval stores and spare parts and our ships to draw on the United States Navy’s stores and spare parts, in each case, of course, paying for what was used. It would also, in the event of war, facilitate the repair of damage to American ships of this type in an Australian naval yard.
These considerations do not, however, commit Australia to any particular expenditure.
Importation of Oil Pipeline.
l. - On 19th April, the honor able member for Brisbane (Mr. Cross) asked whether import duty had been paid on certain 10-in. steel pipes imported from Japan for the Moonie to Brisbane pipeline and, if so, would a rebate be given at a later date either in part or in full, and for what reason.
The Minister for Customs and Excise has informed me that approximately 1,800 tons of pipe were entered at Brisbane and duty paid at the rate of 35 per cent, on 16th April.
No decision has been made concerning the question of any rebate, either in part or in full, of this duty. However, an application for admission of these pipes under concessional by-law has been received.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: - 1, 2 and 3. Trans-Australia Airlines are not licensedto operate to Bundaberg: In accordance with their normal practice the airlines have discussed the matter of air services on the Queensland coast from time to time over the last few years. The existing pattern of air services results very largely from agreements they have made and under this pattern Bundaberg is served exclusively by Queensland Airlines. There is a total of 27 airline movements per week at Bundaberg, of which 22 are Fokker Friendship aircraft and having regard for the volume of traffic this appears to be an extremely good service. However, any application by T.A.A. for a licence to serve Bundaberg would naturally be processed in the light of existing agreements and the rationalization machinery.
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
What procedure will be adopted to preserve the free How of road traffic along General Homes Drive when work commences upon the extension to the 16/34 runway at Kingsford-Smith Airport?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -
The procedure followed will be a matter for the Commonwealth Department of Works and the New South Wales Department of Main Roads to decide between themselves. The road will pass under the extended runway on a new alinement and this should enable satisfactory procedures to be determined without undue difficulty.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -
d asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information: -
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -
son asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following reply: -
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
How many candidates successfully contested the Commonwealth Public Service entry examinations for junior typists in each of the past five years, and how many were appointed during each of those years?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
Public Service Board records do not show the age of candidates at entry examinations for typists. Nor do they separate successful candidates for initial appointment to the Public Service as typist (female) from officers of the Public Service who qualify for promotion or transfer to that position. The number of persons successful at typist (female) qualifying tests and the number of appointments in the - years 1958-1962 were as follows: -
The differences between the numbers qualifying and the numbers appointed are largely accounted for by (a) the exclusion, from the number of appointments, of successful applicants who are already officers; and (b) the fact that not all successful candidates, whether inside or outside the Service, accept appointment.
– On 30th April, the honorable member for Hughes (Mr. L. R. Johnson) asked me whether the Australian Government has a plan, similar to that of the British Government, for maintaining effective government following a nuclear attack.
In Australia, the Commonwealth’s planning for all aspects of civil defence includes consideration of the measures necessary to maintain the essential functions of the Commonwealth Government in an emergency situation. We have not yet proceeded to the point of firm arrangements in the sense of the British plans.
d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows: - 1. (a) Immigration Advisory Council members are: Mr. K. C, Wilson, M.P. (Chairman), Mr. O. D. A. Oberg (Deputy Chairman), Mr. R. W. C. Anderson, Mr. L. H. Barnard, M.P., Mr. G. Burnham, Dame Alice Berry, Professor Morven S. Brown, Senator N. Buttfield, Mrs. W. H. Cullen, Dr. J. R. Darling, The Hon. Mr. Justice W. R. Dovey, Mr. G. M. Hastie, The Hon. J. D. Kenny, M.L.C., Mr. A. J. Lee, Councillor A. K. Lines, Mr. E. D. Milk, Mr. H. R. Mitchell, Mr. A. E. Monk, Mr. W. P. Nicholas, Mrs. J. G. Norris, Brigadier J. E. Pagan, Mr. G. Polites, Mr. H. J. Souter, Mr. Baron D. Snider, M.L.A., Mr. R. H. Wainwright, Mrs. R. N. Wardlaw, Air Marshal Sir Richard Williams, (b) Immigration Planning Council members are: Mr. E. N. Drury, M.P. (Chairman), Mr, I. McLennan (Deputy Chairman), Mr. A. E. Monk (Deputy Chairman), Hon. J. I. Armstrong, Mr. B. C. Button, Sir Arthur
Coles, Sir Douglas Copland, Mr. F. E. Foulis, Mr. W. G. Gerard, Sir Tasman Heyes, Mr. A. J. Keast, Mr. J. F. Ledger, Professor J. N. Lewis, Mr. T. M. Scott, Mr. R. E. G. Shone, Mr. H. J. Souter, Mr. A. H. Urquhart.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 14 May 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1963/19630514_reps_24_hor38/>.