House of Representatives
25 September 1963

24th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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

A similar petition was presented by Mr. Chipp.

Petitions severally received.

Social Services

Mr. CAIRNS presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the pension increase of 10s. proposed in the 1963 Budget be granted to all age, invalid and widow pensioners.

Petition received.

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– I ask the Prime Minister whether he has read a statement by Sir Philip McBride, a former Minister for Defence and currently president of the Liberal Party of Australia, in these terms: “ Australia’s cost structure has been moving steadily and remorselessly against the woolgrower, and in recent years wool-growers have been gripped in a cost-price squeeze “. Wool-growers have expressed grave concern to me about this trend and have asked that assistance be given them in the important wool promotion campaign. In view of the statement by Sir Philip McBride, what does the Prime Minister intend to do to assist this important industry? Will he make a statement immediately indicating the Government’s intention to help wool promotion, as proposed by the Labour Party?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I have not had an opportunity to read what Sir Philip McBride said, although I am sure that if

I had heard him I would have listened to him, as I usually do, with very great respect. I gather from what the honorable member said that Sir Philip was making some reference to the operation of the terms of trade in recent years in relation to Australia’s exports of primary products. If so, all I can say is that such a statement would be closely in line with what has been said very frequently by my colleague, the Minister for Trade, and from time to time - and I hope not without some effect - by me.

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– Can the Minister for Territories give the House any information about the Pacific Games held recently in Fiji? Were any of the Territories under Australian administration represented at the games?

Minister for Territories · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The Australian Territories of Papua and New Guinea and Nauru were both represented at the Pacific Games which were held earlier this month in Fiji. The games were attended by teams from all of the Pacific territories and most of the well-recognized sports such as athletics, swimming, boxing, tennis and basketball were contested. From the reports I have received, it was a most successful gathering, not only in the sportsmanship displayed but also in providing a meeting place for the people of the Pacific. They had an opportunity to get to know each other and to compete against each other. I am very glad to say that the two teams from our Territories distinguished themselves in a way of which we can be proud.

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– I ask the Minister for

Immigration: What inquiries, if any, were made by his department before permitting Sydney’s mutilation murderer, William Macdonald, to migrate to Australia from the United Kingdom? Was Macdonald subject to health examinations? If so, was any evidence obtained as to his mental illness, which is said to have been in evidence prior to his departure for Australia?

Minister for Immigration · ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I shall inquire into the matter that the honorable gentleman has raised and give him an answer subsequently.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Supply. Will the honorable gentleman inform the House whether the sites for the proposed satellite tracking stations in Western Australia and the Northern Territory have been determined as the result of technical tests, and, if so, whether thu establishment of the station? A being proceeded with?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Two tracking stations arc planned for operation in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. One will bc located at Carnarvon and the other one al Darwin. In general terms, they have been located according to certain technical requirements of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. They are to be used principally in connexion wilh observation and control of the forthcoming Rendezvous space vehicle tests, and for control of orbiting astronomical and geophysical satellites which will be launched in the near future. The station at Carnarvon is finished except for the installation of equipment. The station which is to be established at Darwin will require no buildings. It will consist of two instrumented vans, which will require the construction of only hard-standing areas and an antennae system. Both the stations should be ready for operation in the very near future.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Air. The honorable gentleman knows of the acrobatic team, the “ Telstars “, which is based at the Royal Australian Air Force aerodrome at Sale in Gippsland, Victoria. Has he had an opportunity to see this team in action? If so, can he say how it compares with similar teams of the Royal Air Force and United States Air Force?

Minister for Air · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I had an opportunity to see the “ Telstars “ in action at Laverton one day last week and they were witnessed by a very large number of people. I think something like 80,000 or 90,000 people attended that display. During Air Force Week the “ Telstars “ demonstrated before a total of about 130,000 people. They were formed to replace the “ Red Sails “ team which was lost tragically at about this time last year. I feel that the demonstration by the “ Telstars “ at Laverton was of a very high order, particularly in view of the fact that they had been together for only a very short time and spent only part of their time doing acrobatics. I think that they are in world class in the sphere of acrobatic teams.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories regarding a commission on tertiary education set up in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to prepare natives for senior administrative positions within the Territory. Can he say what progress this commission has made and when we are likely to hear something more of it?


– With duc respect to the honorable member I think he has two different activities mixed up. There is a commission on higher education, under the chairmanship of Sir George Currie, which is inquiring into the needs and the best way of meeting the needs for tertiary education in the Territory. That commission has been proceeding with its work for several months and is expected to present a report before the end of this calendar year. 1 have no means yet of knowing what will he in the report, but when it is received the Government will give it the most careful consideration. With regard to the preparation of native people for higher positions in the Administration of Papua and New Guinea, two major activities are under way at the present time. One is the reconstruction of the Public Service so that it will be composed predominantly of indigenous public servants, with the assistance of the Australian public servants as auxiliaries. The other move is the establishment of the Administrative Staff College. It is possible that the Administrative Staff College will eventually fit into the established pattern of higher education recommended by the Currie commission, but, without waiting for the report of that commission, the Administrative Staff College has been brought into operation and is preparing people for higher appointments. In addition to that, in each of the functional departments, such as education, health and police, there are training colleges now in operation preparing people for higher appointments.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade relating to the committees that were established earlier this year by the parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to formulate proposals for the future marketing of cereals and meat. I ask the Minister whether he has received any progress reports of the activities of those committees. If so, has he any information on those matters that he can give to the House?

Minister for Trade · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I have no precise information. The honorable member and the House will know that part of President Kennedy’s proposals for freer world trading was that, concurrent with the reduction of tariffs, there should be improved access for the products of primary industries, and of agriculture in particular. To this end, the ministerial meeting of Gait last May decided that a committee on cereals and a committee on meat should be appointed and that later a committee on dairy products should be established. The committees on cereals and on meat, which are separate committees, have met and have had preliminary discussions. Australia is represented on each of those committees, as it will be, in due course, on the dairy products committee. It is not expected that there will be fast and conclusive decisions by these committees, but I can say that the progress which they have made up to the present time gives me some ground for optimism that useful results will flow from them. It is intended that the conclusions of these committees shall not stand alone but will ultimately become part and parcel of the total proposals of President Kennedy.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– I ask the Minister for the Interior: Does he recognize that the amounts provided in the first schedule of the Workers’ Compensation Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory for payment to workers totally incapacitated by injury are completely inadequate in the state of the economy to-day? As amendment of this ordinance usually follows or waits upon amendment of the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act, will the Minister use his best endeavours both as

Minister for the Interior and as Acting Attorney-General to see that both these items of legislation are brought up to date?

Minister for the Interior · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– As Acting AttorneyGeneral, I will have this matter looked at. However, I think that some examination of this problem is currently being made in the Attorney-General’s Department.

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– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether he is aware of reports of dissatisfaction among interstate road hauliers with the pick-a-back service being provided on the TransAustralian Railway from Port Augusta. If there is any substance in these reports, can the Minister assure the House that the transport of goods to or from Western Australia will be expedited on this line?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– I am aware of some criticism that has been directed against the pick-a-back service. It appeared in a newspaper report which, with all due respect to the Fourth Estate, was rather embellished. The position of the pick-a-back service at Port Augusta is that applications for rail truck space have to be made in advance. If this is done and if the vehicles arrive on time, there is no delay. The Commonwealth Railways inaugurated the pick-a-back service and are especially proud of it. The service is under constant review so that a high standard of efficiency will be maintained and goods will be cleared. My inquiries reveal that at present the service is at its highest state of efficiency. However, there have been complaints about the accommodation for drivers, and the complaints are justified. I discussed this matter with the commissioner some months ago and he intimated that he had some changes of plans in mind. These have taken shape now. Three new cars will be available in this financial year and three more will be available in the following year.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Trade. Is it a fact that the Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited, as a result of pressure from the Tariff Board, has revised its international buying policy, which reacted so adversely against the Australian manufacturers of motor parts? If this is a fact, will the Minister give details of the correspondence that passed between the Government and the company? Will the Minister take action to ensure that other large motor manufacturing companies are brought into line in a similar manner?


– Frankly, I have no personal knowledge of any correspondence between the Tariff Board and the Ford motor company, or between the Government, which in this case might be my department, and the company. However, if there is any foundation for the suggestion that has been made, I will ascertain what may properly be said, whilst adhering to my general rule of not disclosing the business of private companies. On this point, I can say that in the last year, as the invited guest of a large gathering of automobile manufacturers, I have said that the Government did not set out to protect and nurture a car manufacturing industry in Australia only to discover that many of the parts that could be made here were being imported. I have said this quite frankly and publicly to the industry and I have every reason to believe that the message has been, taken aboard. I think that would obviate some correspondence.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation, relates to the education allowance for the children of ex-servicemen, which has recently been increased. I preface my question by inviting the Minister’s attention to the fact that this is the only repatriation benefit that is not paid in advance. All other repatriation benefits and pensions are paid one fortnight in advance but this benefit is paid one fortnight in arrears. Will the Minister consider bringing the payment of this allowance into line with other repatriation benefits when the new rates become operative?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– It is a fact that, since the inception of the soldiers’ children’s education scheme the allowance has been paid a fortnight in arrears. It is also a fact that the payment of all other types of pensions and allowances through my. depart ment is made each fortnight in advance. I recently looked at this matter. A decision has now been made to bring all allowances into line. A double payment of the education allowance will be made on the next pay day, which is to-morrow, to all those who receive the allowance, and in future it will be paid in advance.

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– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question. Is the right honorable gentleman aware that Sir Alan Westerman stated a few days ago that Australia will face tough times and that another credit squeeze is certain in the near future? What is the Government’s view of this statement?


– Apparently, I am not as well informed on what appears in the press as my friend is. But I want to tell him that I will be most surprised if what he has just said is a fair representation of anything that was said by Sir Alan Westerman.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Repatriation. By way of preface, I point out that the Repatriation Commission’s annual report for 1962-63 has set out some information about the scheme for the education of children of deceased and seriously handicapped ex-servicemen sponsored by the Repatriation Department. I ask: Can the Minister inform the House whether details of this scheme are available to those who are directly interested and to appropriate organizations and, if so, where can such further information be obtained?


– It is a fact that the Repatriation Department publishes a number of pamphlets relating to benefits and services that are available. Quite a number of these pamphlets are already in circulation, but there has not been one dealing with this education scheme. However, I can assure the honorable member that his representations will be considered and a pamphlet of this kind will be prepared for circulation in the near future. We also have in mind another publication which should be available within the next few weeks. It relates” to .all the medical services provided by the department. As soon as it becomes available, it will be widely circulated.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Territories. In view of the importance to the nation of the discovery in Australia of worth-while deposits of phosphate, and in view of the fact that certain deposits have already been located in the Northern Territory, will the Minister encourage the search for this important material by offering a substantial reward for the reporting of deposits that prove to be of economic value to the nation?


– -The question of offering a reward for the discovery of deposits of phosphate is a matter of Government policy. I assure the honorable member that his suggestion will be brought under notice.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior. I refer to the ceremony last Friday at which he, standing in for the Prime Minister, closed the valves of the Canberra lake dam, beginning, we believed, the tilling of the lake. I ask: Is it correct that the valves have now been opened to enable water to be released and work on the dam to be continued? If this is so, what are the nature and extent of the work to be done?


– There is no great mystery about this. The flow of water through the dam is controlled in two ways - first, by the sluice gates or sluice valves beneath the wall, which were formally closed last Friday; and secondly, by the hinged gates on top of the wall, which are designed to help control flood waters. The work on the hinged gates has not been completed, as it has not been possible to test them under working conditions. First, the clearing of the lake bed must be finished and the filling of the lake must be timed so that the gates can be tested in due course. Because of the rains, work on the lake bed could not be completed before last Friday’s ceremony, and it has been necessary to release some water through the valves that I closed then. This was always in contemplation, because it is not intended completely to cut off .the flow of the Molonglo River. The river must flow below the dam and from time to time water will flow through those valves. I think it is obvious that the closing of the sluice valves to fill the lake was merely a formal gesture to indicate that the lake was beginning to become a reality.

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– I ask the Minister for Supply whether it is a fact that approximately 23,000 appreciative people inspected the exhibition in Canberra organized by the Department of Supply a few weeks ago. To avoid any suggestion of sectional treatment, will the Minister endeavour to send the exhibition to Western Australia for display in Perth and other centres?


– It is quite true that about 25,000 people saw the exhibition in King’s Hall. We were able to arrange the exhibition only because most of the exhibits were being returned to Melbourne after having been displayed at various northern fairs at the expense of parties other than the Department of Supply. I am sorry to tell the honorable gentleman that there is no provision in the department’s estimates to cover the cost of an exhibition in the way he seeks, but if he can find a sponsor for such an exhibition in Western Australia I shall be glad to talk to him about it.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Yesterday, in reply to the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister, when referring to his proposed statement on Malaysia, said -

I hoped that the Minister for External Affairs would be able to make this statement, because the matter is in his bailiwick, but his departure for the United States of America having already been postponed, it is really necessary for him to leave at a later hour to-day.

Is it not true that the Minister for External Affairs is still in Australia and will not leave for the United States until 7 o’clock this evening? If this is so, and in view of the importance which the Prime Minister said he attaches to this matter, why will not the Minister for External Affairs himself make the ‘Statement, or at’ least be ‘present in the

House when it is made by the Prime Minister?


– I am sorry that the honorable member, as an old friend, should take such exception to the head of the Government making a statement on a matter of such prime importance. Nevertheless, I still intend to make the statement. The Minister for External Affairs was a participant in all of our discussions yesterday. It was necessary for him to go to Sydney to-day. After all, he has a number of things to arrange before flying off. I entirely approved of his being in Sydney to-day. I took the opportunity of sending him a copy of the draft of the statement that I propose to make. I had the advantage of a long conversation with him on the telephone this morning about the statement. The honorable member need have no fear; the statement will represent the views of the Minister for External Affairs just as completely as it represents my views and the views of all of my colleagues in the Government.

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– Has the Acting PostmasterGeneral read the oration delivered by Senator Kennelly at the University of Melbourne and noted his criticism of the media of mass communication? Is Senator Kennelly’s criticism justified?


– I did read a press report of a speech that had been delivered by Senator Kennelly. I think I should take this opportunity to correct two misstatements of fact. One relates to the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the other to the issue of commercial television licences. In relation to the commission, all I can do is repeat what the Prime Minister and the Postmaster-General have said in this House on other occasions, namely, that the commission is a completely autonomous body which is responsible for its own programming and is not subject to any political pressure from the Government. Applications for commercial television licences are considered very carefully by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which then makes recommendations to the Government. The final decisions on the issue of licences are made by the Government, after very careful consideration of the board’s advice. This matter comes within the ambit Of the Broadcasting and.. Television Act, which is designed to protect the Australian people as well as to ensure the freedom of television stations.

The most interesting point that emerged from this matter was the disclosure by the honorable senator that in 1961 the Australian Labour Party decided that if at some distant date it came to power in this Parliament it would produce a national newspaper. That statement indicates to the people of Australia the first step that would be taken by any future Labour government to control the Australian press.

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– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Is the Seventh Menzies Government about to repeat the action of the First Menzies Government and leave this country without adequate defence in a time of crisis? Has this Government the audacity to consider facing the electors without first making and implementing a decision to replace the now obsolete Canberra bomber?


– The honorable member is singularly impatient. He talks about an election, but I cannot discover whether the Labour Party really wants one. Almost every remark that I have heard from Opposition members during the past week or two has shown that they are almost shivering with apprehension.

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– My question to the Minister for Primary Industry arises from an earlier question concerning the ravaging of our flocks and herds in improved pasture areas by what is known as hoven or bloat. An expert from New Zealand has been invited to come here to investigate this subject. Will the Minister ensure that particular attention is directed to the fact that it was decided in New Zealand a number of years ago that the loss of lime from the soil in heavy rainfall areas was a major factor in the incidence of hoven or bloat? If this is in fact so, will consideration be given to a system whereby the Commonwealth, in co-operation with the States, will arrange for lime to be distributed cheaply? Without some cheap form of distribution, the wholesale use oi lime will be impossible.

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I am interested in the honorable member’s remarks. I assure him that the research committee concerned in this work is alive to its responsibility to see that money is spent in the right directions and that all the information gained on matters such as that raised by him will be made freely and widely available. The Government has been generous in providing funds for extension services so that knowledge gained can be imparted to producers. 1 shall direct the attention of the research committee to the points raised by the honorable member. I am sure that Dr. Johns, the New Zealand expert, with all his experience, will be able to impart a lot of useful information when he arrives here.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister, ls it a fact that many young family men are experiencing difficulty in raising deposits large enough to enable them to attract housing loans from lending authorities? Is the Prime Minister aware that this problem has been overcome to a considerable extent in New Zealand by the provisions of the Family Benefits Home Ownership Act 1958? Has any consideration been given to instituting a similar plan in Australia so that young couples may capitalize child endowment for expenditure on any matter associated wilh the purchase of a home?


– I do not profess to speak with knowledge of this matter, but I shall be very happy to refer the suggestion made by the honorable member to my appropriate colleague or colleagues.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for Immigration been directed to a statement made in this House yesterday by the honorable member for Mitchell? The honorable member referred to a tabic in the “Australian Demographic Review No. 167 “, which he interpreted to mean that nearly 50 per cent, of the migrants who have come to this country have returned to their homelands. In view of the fact that such ill-informed statements can do a tremendous amount of harm to our immigration programme, will the Minister inform the House of the correct percentage of migrants who have returned to their homelands?


– I was in the House last night when the honorable member for Mitchell was speaking. I have a high regard for his capacity and intelligence, and I was rather surprised that he should make so loose a statement. Of course, what he said is not true. My honorable friend from Henty, very properly, has directed the attention of the House to the statement. In fact, the whole experience of the Department of Immigration over recent years has been that between 93 and 94 per cent, of the migrants - the real migrant settlers - who have come to Australia and stayed here for a period of five years have remained. The departure rate for British migrants in recent years has been between 9 and 10 per cent., and the departure rate for migrants from the continent of Europe has been approximately 3 per cent.

Although those figures are good from our point of view, they could be improved upon, because in the sphere of the administration of these great national schemes there is probably no such thing as absolute perfection. None the less, I think honorable members will be glad to know that, according to my own researches, no other country in the world has as low a migrant return rate as Australia has. That should give honorable members cause for great satisfaction. It certainly does ill-service to our highly successful migration programme if - I would like to think it is through misinformation or inadvertence - a member of this House misrepresents the position.

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– Is the Prime Minister aware that a Japanese organization known as Japex is about to drill for oil in Australia? Is that organization controlled by the Japanese Government? Who gave permission for that organization to drill in Australia? Was that arrangement made at the recent conference on Australian-Japanese trade?


– In the homely phrase, I do not know but I will find out and advise the honorable member.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for the Army. As there appears to be little information on this subject, I ask: Is it the intention of the Department of the Army to make the FN. rifle available to Australian rifle clubs at a nominal price? Is the Minister aware that such action is urgently necessary if rifle clubs are to continue to fill the role of giving important training in which they have long been engaged?

Minister for the Army · BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– We have not yet met all the requirements of the Army for FN. rifles. The Australian Regular Army and the Citizen Military Forces are to be fully equipped with the rifle, but we have a long way to go before we can consider the suggestion made by the honorable member. I have no doubt that when that stage has been reached, if he talks to the Minister for Supply whose department makes the rifles, the Minister probably will be able to make some arrangement.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Is it a fact that the agreement on migration between the Australian and Italian Governments originally proposed was not acceptable to the Italian authorities on the grounds that it did not guarantee secure jobs for migrants before they left Italy and that it did not guarantee that the migrants would not have to go to the migrant centre at Bonegilla? If these were not the reasons for the failure of the Italian authorities to ratify the proposed agreement, will the Minister tell us what the reasons were? Has the agreement yet been signed? If not, when will it be signed?


– The negotiation of a new migration agreement between Australia and Italy is still proceeding. That being so, I do not think it would be proper for me to make detailed comments on some of the matters at issue between our two countries. I have high hopes that whatever differences may exist between us will ultimately be resolved amicably; but until such time as it is possible to have continued discussion between the Australian Government and the Italian Government I would prefer not to make any further comment.

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Ministerial Statement


Prime Minister) - by leave - I present to the House the following papers: -

Malaysia Defence -

Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement of 1957

Notes exchanged between Australia and Malaya in March and April, 1959.

United Kingdom - Malaysia Agreement of July, 1963 (excluding Annexes).

Notes exchanged between Australia and Malaysia in September, 1963.

In reference to the last of these papers, I point out that in answer to a question last week, I summarized the effect of these notes exchanged between Australia and Malaysia. In substance I then said that our existing arrangements with Malaya would now apply to Malaysia.

It may be remembered that so far back as April, 1955, the Government emphasized the importance of Malaya to the security of the zone in which we live, and pointed out that, in consequence, Malayan integrity and defence were matters from which we could not and should not stand aloof. Reasons of this kind, directly affecting us, were, of course, closely allied with the proper interests of others - who are our friends. The establishment of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve, of Seato - to the functions of which the Reserve was relevant and the negotiations of the Anzus pact, are all in the same pattern. That is a pattern, not of aggression, but of defence; not of isolation in defence, but of common effort for the common security.

There has been some suggestion that our forces in Malaya went there primarily for purposes of internal security. This is not so. As I have indicated, they went there and are there as a part of a strategic reserve with the United Kingdom and New Zealand and as a contribution to the defence of the South-East Asian area. True, we quickly agreed that our forces could be employed in operations against the Communist terrorists in Malaya. They were so employed, with success, and with great credit to themselves and Australia. The facts were, of course, that these terrorists were promoted and supplied by Communist authorities outside Malaya, and that their activities were as much acts of war against the territorial and political integrity of Malaya as would have been overt military invasion. We think that the people of Australia have agreed with these policies and decisions. In all these arrangements, and in any to be made, the usual rule will apply that the employment of Australian forces remains under the control of the Australian Government. We have acted and will continue to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations.

But Malaysia, the new nation, is here. The processes of its creation have been democratic. The United Nations SecretaryGeneral, having appointed suitable persons as examiners, reported that the people of North Borneo and Sarawak desired incorporation into Malaysia. The Prime Minister of Singapore, one of the great sponsors of Malaysia, has just received an overwhelming endorsement at the polls. We have publicly and unambiguously said that we support Malaysia which is, never let it be forgotten, a Commonwealth country, just as our own is. Should there be any attempts to destroy or weaken Malaysia by subversion or invasion, what should Australia do about it? We know that the United Kingdom accepts, in substance, the position of a military guarantor. Honorable members now know the terms of our own recent exchange of notes.

The Government of Malaysia has said clearly that this exchange is completely satisfactory to it. But it has not been the normal practice of Commonwealth countries to spell out in detail their sense of mutual obligation, nor to confine themselves to legal formulae. For example, our vital engagements with the United Kingdom are not written or in any way formalized. Yet we know and she knows that in this part of the world we look to her, and she looks to us. We each apply in a spirit of mutual confidence a golden rule of mutual obligation.

But for the benefit of all concerned, honorable members would not wish me to create or permit any ambiguity about Australia’s position in relation to Malaysia. 1 therefore, after close deliberation by the Cabinet, and on its behalf, inform the House that we are resolved, and have so informed the Government of Malaysia, and the Governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand and others concerned, that if, in the circumstances that now exist, and which may continue for a long time, there occurs, in relation to Malaysia or any of its constituent States, armed invasion or subversive activity - supported or directed or inspired from outside Malaysia - we shall to the best of our powers and by such means as shall be agreed upon with the Government of Malaysia, add our military assistance to the efforts of Malaysia and the United Kingdom in the defence of Malaysia’s territorial integrity and political independence.

I now present the following paper: -

Malaysia Defence - Ministerial Statement, 25Lh September, 1963.

Motion (by Mr. Adermann) proposed -

That the House take note of the papers.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.

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Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.

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Second Reading

Debate resumed from 14th August (vide page 100), on motion by Mr. Adermann -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- This is a bill for an act to authorize the raising and expending of a sum not exceeding £4,225,000 for a defence purpose, namely, financial assistance for the States of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania in connexion with war service land settlement. The measure flows directly from an act of this Parliament, passed in 1945, assenting to the War Service Land Settlement Agreement. Under the terms of that agreement there was -set up all the machinery then considered essential to enable the respective State Governments to settle on the land numbers of men who had returned or would return from war service, under conditions that would enable them to earn comfortable livings during their lifetimes.

The Commonwealth Government of the day, which had made this agreement between itself and the six State Governments, did not seek the authorization of this Parliament for the agreement until a vast amount of preliminary investigation and inquiry had been made. A most competent and experienced body of men was appointed by the Government as a committee to investigate and make recommendations. The committee members had the great advantage of having available to them all the experience which the Commonwealth Government and the State Governments of the period following the 1914-1918 war had gained under the scheme which operated after the close of hostilities in 1918. I need hardly remind honorable members that the experience of the various State Governments and the Commonwealth Government in relation to land settlement of returned soldiers after World War I was, to put it mildly, that the scheme had been rather disastrous. Perhaps disaster was inevitable. It is not my intention to apportion blame for all the failures that occurred. Land settlement for returned soldiers was then an entirely new matter. Some of the State Governments were more incompetent than others. The main causes of the failure of the scheme at that time were excessively high land valuations, areas inadequate to enable men to make satisfactory livings and meet their commitments, excessively high rates of interest and, equally important if not more important, the disastrous fall in the 1930’s of the prices of primary products.

Mr Adermann:

– Not always the right types of land or men were selected.


– The Minister has mentioned other factors. In the main, however, the factors that resulted in failure were not of a personal character, within the control of the men involved. The experience gained from the period after World War I. fortunately was available to governments after World War II. and enabled them to make plans to protect more adequately the prospective soldier settlers of that time.

The Commonwealth Government assumed that the repatriation of exservicemen, as far as land settlement was concerned, came legally within the defence powers of the Commonwealth. However, it recognized that State governments had sovereign powers over the land, had officers experienced in land apportionment and con trol and, more important still, had in their agricultural departments officers trained in the skills of agriculture, which they could impart to settlers. It was decided that the three States which were most prosperous and best equipped to carry on land settlement would be known as the principal States. They were Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. It- was realized that Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia were relatively weak in the economic sense. It was determined that these three relatively weak States should act as the agents of the Commonwealth Government, which would assume liability for capital expenditure and other essential financial requirements.

This bill is nearly as historic as the first agreement, inasmuch as the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has informed the Parliament that we will not be likely to receive any more bills of this nature or of the nature of many that have preceded it. In this bill the Commonwealth Parliament is asked to authorize the raising of moneys totalling £4,225,000 from loan accounts. I understand from the Minister’s speech that that sum, plus the amounts flowing in this year as repayments by settlers, will be sufficient to enable the three agent States practically to complete their jobs as war service land settlement authorities. Any funds required in future, due to the accountancy procedures to be adopted following the enactment of this measure, will be hypothecated from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Commonwealth. I do not think that the Opposition will quarrel with that.

We wish to point out that although favorable conditions have operated in Australia for the settlement of returned servicemen since the end of the last war, only a fraction of the men who desire to go on the land have been accommodated. You look around and try to apportion the blame. You ask why something better has not been done. At the inception of the scheme, there was a pegging of land values. The agreement provided that land must be purchased at prices not in excess of 1943 land values. There was then a chain of economic circumstances. On the recommendation of members of the present Government parties when in opposition, the people refused to vote for control over prices and land values.

They would not support alterations of the Constitution to enable control of costs in Australia. In addition, supporters of the present Government - both when out of office and since being returned to office - refused to support any amendment of the Commonwealth Constitution to deal adequately, for instance, with restrictive trade practices. The end result of this was an enormous boom in land values and those States which had to find their own financial accommodation - the three principal States - were confronted by an ever-increasing cost of land. The Commonwealth was similarly placed in regard to the agent States which it was financing. Whereas in 1942 you could purchase a farm at a fair value of, say, £7,000 or £8,000, over the whole range of soldier settlement the average cost of farms has mounted to an exceedingly high figure.

Taking the figures for the three agent States, we find that the total cost of the settlement of ex-servicemen on 1,260 farms in Western Australia amounts to £23,204,000. On a rough calculation that gives an approximate figure of £18,000 per farm. The Minister referred also to South Australia where, since the inception of the scheme, 1024 soldier settlers have been provided for at a total cost of £15,977,000, or £17,000 per farm. In Tasmania 523 soldier settlers have been provided for - there are a few still to be settled - at a cost of £17,841,000, or about £34,000 per farm. It does not take much imagination to realize the position of the Commonwealth in relation to the three agent States, or of the three principal States, which find their own finance. There is now a good deal of hesitation in acquiring land for soldier settlement. The Minister may be able to blame the principal States, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, for not putting enough men on the land, but he can blame only the Commonwealth in regard to the agent States-

Mr Adermann:

– Some very heavily timbered country had to be cleared.


– It is true that some very heavily timbered country had to be cleared, but when we take into consideration the number of men approved for land settlement, the number actually settled is pathetically small. The basic reason for that is the excessive cost of settling men on the land. It is true that the scheme has been so well based, generally, that it is only recently that some nasty hazards have been experienced, particularly in relation to men settled in later years. In the earlier years of settlement, soon after 1945, the prices of wool and other produce were relatively good and costs were kept down. In those years some ex-servicemen were able to pay off the total cost of their farms within a few years, but that is no longer possible.

During the course of his speech the Minister said that some of the money involved under this measure will be used to cover expenditure yet to be made in Tasmania and some of it will be used to consolidate the position of some soldier settlers and enable them more efficiently to obtain a living from their land. I pay a tribute to the Minister for visiting the farms of some soldier settlers in Tasmania and Western Australia and, when he was convinced ., that under present-day conditions they had no hope of succeeding, deciding that they should be rendered some assistance.

It is a long while since 1945 and it is wrong that some soldier settlers should still not be sure of what the ultimate valuations of their properties will be. It is tragic that some of them are still waiting to have their properties re-appraised and their final obligations determined, when they are now middle-aged. I suppose some of these things were inevitable, but it is not a glowing tribute to a government which has been in office since 1949 that a lot of these men still do not know what their position is and are not yet out of the woods. This applies particularly to men on dairying and woolgrowing properties.

While we all hope that this will be the last measure brought before us seeking loan money for this purpose, if the drift continues we may be faced with further bills of this kind, not only utilizing the repayments that are flowing in, but also providing additional funds from Consolidated Revenue. Admittedly this scheme has worked out, overall, a lot better than did the World War I. scheme, but it is not good enough and 1 think the Minister will admit that it could have been better. It could have embraced a vastly greater number of men. More farmers are needed in our economy despite the advent of mechanization and the application of science to rural production.

Land settlement is still a “ must “ in Australia. If we examine the not quite uptodate figures that are available we find that whereas in 1940 there were 443,800 people employed on rural holdings, in 1957 the number was 397,800. Those figures include both farmers and employees.

The number of our rural holdings and the number of farmers is decreasing annually, at a rapid rate. The Minister will probably say that the smaller number of people on farms to-day can produce a greater volume and a greater value of primary products than was the case in 1940, but that does not dispose of the fact that with more people employed on rural holdings the value of production both for export and local consumption would be infinitely greater than it is to-day. 1 do not want to rehash what I have said during previous debates concerning loans for soldier settlement purposes. I hope that individual cases will be raised in this House to-day by honorable members who know the position in their own States. I hope that the money to be provided by this measure and that which may be provided from Consolidated Revenue will enable assistance to be given to these men quickly *o that they can overcome the difficulties witu which they have been confronted. 1 know that some soil problems have been encountered at the Kangaroo Island settlement in South Australia, but that could have happened to any government. To overcome these problems additional finance has had to be provided and scientific research has had to be made into the use of fertilizers, pasture improvement and so on. A similar set of circumstances has obtained on King Island, Tasmania. If my arithmetic is correct - I speak subject to correction - it costs £30,000 per holding to settle an ex-serviceman on the land in Tasmania. It is no wonder that only 523 people have been settled on the land there. Of course, the Tasmanian scheme is the Commonwealth’s responsibility because Tas mania is an agent State; but in view of the heavy cost of settling ex-servicemen on the land there, it is no wonder that the land available for settlement there had to be hawked around and offered to Victorians and people from other States. Apparently when those Tasmanians who were qualified to take up holdings and who perhaps were offered an opportunity to settle on the land in their own State were confronted with a cost of £30,000-

Mr Adermann:

– There were heavy writeoffs.


– You did not allow me to finish my sentence. When they were confronted with a proposition that would cost £30,000 a holding, even though that figure was to be subject to re-valuation and write-off-

Mr Adermann:

– Heavy write-offs.


– I do not know what the Minister means when he refers to heavy write-offs. Was the write-off to be 50 per cent, or 20 per cent.?

Mr Adermann:

– It varies. The position is that no settler is asked to accept a holding at a value greater than that which will enable him to make a reasonable living. We accept responsibility for the balance over that figure.


– The Minister tells us that no settler is required to accept a valuation higher than that which will enable him to make a reasonable living from the holding. That was the vital principle which the government of which I was a member laid down in the agreement that it made with the States. But that does not exonerate the Minister or this Government from being involved in a state of affairs that makes inevitable what the Minister calls very heavy write-offs. Undoubtedly, despite the writeoffs, people have been frightened away from the scheme by the heavy cost; and not very many people were attracted from the mainland. Probably, the passage of time and the increasing age of eligible returned soldiers have made necessary the action which is now proposed.

However, the Opposition gives this measure its blessing and expresses gratification that at last the scheme is on the point of being wound up. It appreciates the fact that despite all trie troubles that have been encountered, 64 per cent: of the settlers have made their repayments whilst the bad debts written off to date amount to only 19 per cent. That is not bad, but, that write-off does not include the writing off which will be done finally and which the Minister mentioned to-day. That is something which a future government, regardless of party, will have to face eventually. Overall, we can be thankful for the measure of success experienced with the scheme. I leave it at that. The Opposition supports the measure.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Forbes) adjourned.

page 1343


Assent to the following bills reported: -

Social Services Bill 1963.

Repatriation Bill 1963.

page 1343



In Committee of Ways and Means:

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

– I ask for leave to withdraw motions formerly moved in con nexion with the following Tariff Amendments: -

Customs Tariff Amendments Nos. 70-83.

Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment No. 9.

Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Amendment Nos. 14-17.

Customs Tariff (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland Preference) Amendment No. 2.

Excise Tariff Amendment No. 2.

Under our new procedures following the amendment of the Standing Orders, the Customs and Excise Tariff Proposals moved in the Committee of Ways and Means are no longer debated and disposed of. Instead, bills are brought in incorporating the proposals as schedules and when the bills have finally passed both Houses and received the royal assent the original motions moved in the Committee of Ways and Means serve no further purpose and should be cleared from the notice-paper. All the proposals I have mentioned have been incorporated in bills which have now been assented to.

Motions - by leave - withdrawn.

Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 91); Customs Tariff (Canada Preference)

Amendment (No. 10)

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 91).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twentysixth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals “ mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced nto the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 14th August, 1963 ; 15th August, 1963; 22nd August, 1963; 29th August, 1963; and 19th September, 1963.

[Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) Amendment (No. 10).]

That the Second Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Canada Preference) 1960-1963 be amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the twenty-sixth day of September, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. **Mr. Chairman,** the tariff proposals which I have just tabled provide for amendments to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963 in respect of drums, sparking plugs and insulating parts therefor, raw coffee, foam coated textile fabrics, and inserted tools for rotary and percussive rock drills. Details of these amendments are now being distributed to honorable members. The changes in relation to drums, sparking plugs, and insulating parts for sparking plugs are consequent on recommendations made in reports by the Tariff Board which I shall table later this day. On drums, new protective duties of 20 per cent. British preferential tariff and 30 per cent, mostfavourednation tariff have been introduced, but provision has been made for admission at concessional rates of certain types of drums and drum heads outside the range of local production. On sparking plugs imported separately or included in goods for use as original equipment in the assembly or manufacture of motor vehicles the British preferential tariff duties remain unchanged, but the ad valorem portion of the alternative mostfavourednation rate has been reduced from 50 per cent, to 37i per cent. The existing fixed rate portion of the mostfavourednation rate is being retained, however, with the effect that the minimum mostfavourednation duty will remain at 13d. per plug. Both British preferential tariff and mostfavourednation duties on the insulating bodies for spark plugs have been increased by 7i per cent, ad valorem. The amendment in respect of raw coffee completes the implementation, following international negotiations, of the tariff changes recommended by the Tariff Board as a means of assistance to the coffee industry in Papua and New Guinea. In respect of foam coated textile fabrics a tariff defect in the textile tariff changes introduced in November last year required correction and such fabrics now become dutiable at the rates applicable to the textile fabric as was previously the case. The remaining amendment ensures that drill steels and any other interchangeable tools for rotary and percussive rock drills will remain dutiable at the non-protective rates applicable to bits for such drills and the drills themselves. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 1345 {:#debate-31} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-31-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP -- I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects: - >Drums. > >Sparking plugs and insulating parts therefor. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 1345 {:#debate-32} ### LOAN (WAR SERVICE LAND SETTLEMENT) BILL 1963 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 1343). {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES:
Barker .- I thought that the general assessment of the operation of the war service land settlement scheme, with one or two exceptions, given by the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** was very fair. It is easy to point at separate instances of the scheme having broken down and to refer to individual farms or groups of farms that have not been as successful as others and have required remedial action. Indeed, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** in his second-reading speech said that quite considerable remedial action had been taken in *some* places. But the point I want to make is that, although this action may sometimes be necessary and although the scheme must be constantly watched, there is no doubt whatever that this land settlement scheme has not only been the most successful war service land settlement scheme in Australia's history, but it has also, been by far the most successful closer settlement scheme of any description. This should be borne in mind in making an overall assessment of the scheme. This has been the most successful closer settlement scheme in Australia's history because, almost for the first time, economic rather than political considerations have predominated in deciding on the elements of the scheme - the size of farms, how they will be developed, the financial resources that will be provided to settlers and so on. Always in the past, political considerations ) have tended to dominate the situation. Some one has said in some parliament somewhere that a couple of hundred acres is good enough for any man. This sort of suggestion does not take account of the type of land, the best use of the land, the circumstances of the settler, whether he has any capital and so on. However, on this occasion, a really genuine attempt was made to leave political considerations out of the scheme and to test the scheme by the criterion of economic validity. The honorable member for Lalor referred to the slowness of getting people on to their farms. He said that people were still going on to war service land settlement properties many years after the scheme had been inaugurated. I agree with him. From my experience, I know that this has happened in South Australia. But frequently this has happened because of the point I made earlier, that an economic criterion was adopted. The honorable member for Lalor mentioned Kangaroo Island. He said that the Commonwealth and State Govern ments had had to take remedial action and give concessions to some settlers on Kangaroo Island. Indeed, I am grateful to the Minister who, at my request, some months ago visited the island. Remedial action flowed from that visit. The need for remedial action on Kangaroo Island shows why it was vitally necessary in the interests of the settlers to hasten slowly with the scheme. This action was necessary in relation to the first 50 settlers, who went on to their blocks before they should have done so. They went on to their blocks before the blocks, in the circumstances of Kangaroo Island, had reached the standard laid down in the scheme. If settlement had been hastened, as the critics suggested it should have been, remedial action would have been necessary with many more settlers. After the initial experience on Kangaroo Island, the authorities decided that, despite pressure from the settlers themselves and from the Returned Servicemen's League to settle people as quickly as possible, the settlers would not go on to their farms until the farms had reached the desired standard. Some people were in occupancy but did not have a farm allotted on Kangaroo Island for three, four or sometimes five years. This is one reason for the slowness of the scheme. But, looking back, few people would regret that it has been slow. It will not be necessary to take remedial action in relation to the later settlers on Kangaroo Island. My purpose in rising is to repeat a protest that I have already made in the long and sometimes acrimonious correspondence with the Minister about the final rentals that have been issued for the later zones in South Australia. This afternoon, I wish to refer particularly to zone 5 in the southeast of South Australia, because this is an example which best illustrates the point I want to make. However, my general comments on principle apply equally to Kangaroo Island, the zone that covers the settlers at Camden Park and one or two other of the later areas. I believe, as I have said to the Minister in correspondence, that the final rentals in zone 5 and in other areas offend the tenets of common sense and justice when they are compared with the final rentals in some other areas of South Australia, especially areas in the south-east in zones that are only a few miles from the boundary of zone 5. I wish to explain to the House how this came about. The areas in South Australia to be used for soldier settlement are widely dispersed. The quality of the land is uneven and the requirements for development are uneven. Some areas were quickly and easily developed. Others involved the removal of heavy timber and painstaking pasture preparation. The agreement with the State of South Australia provided that the rental of these properties would be based on *2i* per cent, of the cost of development or on a productivity valuation, whichever was the lower. For administrative purposes, it was decided to divide South Australia into zones based roughly on the time of completion of development. When development in each zone was finished, a costing operation was undertaken, and final rentals were fixed and notified to the settlers on the basis of that costing operation and the productivity valuations. Theoretically, **Sir, this** was a neat and tidy system'. It introduced some rationality into the method by which rentals were fixed, and to some extent protected the interests of the taxpayers. It also meant that the early settlers did not have to wait until the whole scheme was washed up before knowing their final position. It is understandable that a settler who went on his block in 1947 would not like to wait until 1965 to learn what his permanent commitment was to be. However, this system ignored one thing, and this seems to me to be the vital point. This point was made by the honorable member for Lalor in a different context. This system that I have described ignored the fact that costs of acquisition and development had increased enormously for the later zones compared with the earlier ones. In the south-east of South Australia, the average rental in the earlier zones was under £200 a year. In zone 5, the average of the rentals just issued is more than £450 a year. On top of this, many settlers in zone 5 have considerable commitments to the South Australian Government for drainage betterment. This is something which very few of the settlers in the earlier zones had to face. It would not matter if the blocks in zone 5 were better than those in the earlier zones. If the blocks in zone 5 were better, obviously, it would be reasonable to expect them to bear higher rentals. But this is not so. If anything, the average block in zone 5 is not as good as the average block in the earlier zones. Yet, as I have pointed out, the average rental in zone 5 is more than twice as much as the average in the earlier zones. The system also led to some extraordinary anomalies, of which I shall give the House one example. The Padthaway estate was acquired for soldier settlement and subdivided into fourteen blocks. Ten of these are in one of the earlier zones. The rentals for these blocks varies from £179 a year to £220 a year. The other four blocks, because they happened to be located in zone 5, on the other side of a line on the map, are subject to rentals which have just been fixed, varying between £533 and £543 a year. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- Are they similar blocks? {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES: -- These blocks are part of one estate acquired for war service land settlement. They all were developed at the same time and the settlers went on to all of them at the same time. Yet, over tha fourteen blocks, the rentals vary from £179 to £543 a year. Furthermore, most people would agree that the four blocks with the highest rentals are not quite ' up to the standard of the ten blocks with rentals ranging down to only about one-third as much. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- Were the blocks purchased at the same time? {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr FORBES: -- The one estate was purchased and sub-divided and all the blocks were allocated at the same time. However, because a line on the map divides the estate into two zones, the rentals paid by one group of settlers ranges as high as £543 a year, compared with only £179 a year for some of the blocks in the other zone. I mention this as one of the extraordinary anomalies that arise under this zonal system against which I am protesting this afternoon. The Minister for Primary Industry has argued, in correspondence with me, that the increase in costs that has led to this situation has occurred also in other spheres - that it is not unique to war service land settlement. He argues that the increased costs have to be borne in other spheres and that it is expected that they will have to be borne. He asks: Why should this not apply equally to war service land settlement? The Minister gave as an example in the same general field the war service homes scheme. He stated that some who had acquired a war service home early paid a much lower price than was paid by others who entered the scheme more recently. I believe that this argument ignores two tilings, **Sir. I** do not think that the examples are parallel in the first place. All soldier settlers are part of the same scheme - the Second World War soldier settlement scheme. They were not at liberty to choose when they would go on their blocks. Given a choice, of course, they all would have been on the earlier blocks, because, having been demobilized after the war, they were anxious to get on with their post-war occupations as quickly as possible. They wanted to get cracking and not waste years of their lives. Regardless of any consideration of rental, all would have wanted that. But what has happened has been that settlers who, as I have pointed out, were ready and anxious to get on the land as soon as possible were forced to waste five, six or seven years of their lives that they could have put into developing and working their blocks. They are the very people who have ultimately been penalized by having to pay rentals higher than those paid by settlers who had the advantage of getting on blocks much earlier. That seems to me to be the main point that is ignored when war service land settlement is compared with the war service homes scheme. The second point that is ignored is the fact that a person who, because of general inflation in the economy and increases in costs, has to pay more for his war service home, in most instances would have had his income raised and therefore would be in a better position to cope with the rising costs. Wages, salaries and other incomes rose in conformity with increases in prices during the period when not only the cost of housing but also the cost of everything else rose. Therefore, a person who had to pay more for a war service home than was paid by those who obtained their homes earlier in the scheme would have been in a position to meet the additional cost. As every one in this chamber knows, that consideration certainly does not apply to farming. Not one honorable member in this House would claim that people who began farming in the mid-1950s were as well able to meet higher costs and higher commitments as were people who began farming earlier. In fact, in many cases the very opposite is true. The early settlers under the land settlement scheme obtained the inestimable advantage of the wool boom. Many of them were able to meet their commitments in a few years because of the high returns that they received for their wool in that period. Against the point I am making the Minister has argued that he has complied with the principles of the legislation. I do not deny that. My point is that principles which produce the inequities to which I have referred should not be allowed to determine the final results. Also, I doubt whether the zonal system which, in my opinion, has been responsible for the results that have flowed, is contained in any legislation. It is an administrative procedure agreed to between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of South Australia and designed to facilitate the administration of the scheme. I cannot believe that when the system was agreed to by the Commonwealth and South Australia it was anticipated by those making the agreement in this respect that it would produce the grossly inequitable result that it has produced in the form of rentals. Surely an administrative procedure can be varied if, due to circumstances that could not have been foreseen or anticipated at the time it was devised, it is shown to be producing an injustice. We have come to a pretty pass if we are to take our stand willynilly on an administrative procedure that is admitted to be out of date and which does not produce the result that it was intended to produce. The Minister has told mc also that any variation of this procedure would cost the Commonwealth and South Australia money. That is because any write-off under the scheme is shared as to three-fifths by the Commonwealth and as to two-fifths by South Australia. Of course, anything done to rectify this inequitable situation would cost money. But I do not agree that that validates the argument that nothing should be done. If you present that as a valid argument for not rectifying the situation you say in effect that if an administrative procedure produces an unexpected and unjust result, the settler and not the governments that devised the procedure must bear the brunt. If you use that argument you are saying that despite the fact that this system has operated in a way that is unfair and inequitable and which could not be foreseen at the time it was devised, because it will cost us money we will ask the settler for whom the scheme is supposed to operate to bear the brunt and not the governments that devised the procedure. 1 cannot accept that argument. I appreciate, as the Minister has often pointed out, that South Australia is involved in this matter because of the agreement and that the Commonwealth could not possibly take unilateral action in respect of the matter because to do so would, as it were, automatically involve South Australia in expense for which it has no legal liability. I have never suggested, and 1 do not suggest now, that the Commonwealth should take unilateral action. The Minister is well aware that the South Australian Government has appointed a committee to inquire into the position of zone 5 settlers in the south-eastern portion of South Australia. I ask the Minister: If. as a result of the inquiry, the Government of South Australia makes recommendations to the Commonwealth indicating that it is prepared to meet its share of the cost of rectifying these inequities in the south-eastern portion of South Australia, will the Commonwealth give those recommendations careful consideration and, in fact, agree to them? That is the only point T wish to make at this stage arising out of the case that 1 put before the House. I support the bill. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Land settlement and the promotion of rural industries in this country have been, during this Government's term of office, disastrously inadequate to meet the increasing needs of the people of Australia. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes · Scullin [4.22]. and the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** have pointed out that the soldier settlement scheme as it operated after the last war was a vast improvement on the system of soldier settlement that operated after the First World War. They pointed out that every ex-serviceman settled on the land after the last war has had an opportunity to succeed, which is a distinct improvement on what happened to soldier settlers after the First World War. But there are not enough people on the land. Not enough ex-servicemen have been settled on the land. The history of the land settlement scheme shows that while this country was at war the Curtin and Chifley Governments were planning for peace. They realized that when the war ended many ex-servicemen would want to become farmers; so they instituted an inquiry to ascertain how many exservicemen would want to go on the land and what types of farms would bc required. The Curtin and Chifley Governments discovered that 80,000 men had left rural occupations in order to serve their country in theatres of war. They decided that at least 50,000 of those mcn would want to return to rural occupations after hostilities ceased. When the war ended the State governments invited applications from exservicemen who desired to become farmers. They received applications from more than 60,000 ex-servicemen. Those applications were examined and the applicants screened. It was discovered that of the 60.000 applicants, about 48,000 were eligible and suitable for settlement on the land. But what happened? Only 17,000 ex-servicemen were settled on the land. Of the 60.000 who had applied to be settled on the land more than 30,000 did not receive farms. As the honorable member for Lalor has pointed out, one of the main reasons why that happened was that in 1948 when the Labour Government held a referendum seeking power to control the ceiling price of land, members of the parties which now sit in government were able to destroy that ceiling with the result that in Victoria alone, where farms were being obtained for soldier settlers at f 10,000, the price immediately soared to more than £20,000. In his second-reading speech the Minister gave certain figures relating to the average cost of farms in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. In Western Australia the cost was £18,000, in South Australia £16,000 and in Tasmania over £30,000. These costs could not be met to the extent required to put on the land ali those who desired to go on the land. However, these figures do not reveal exactly the extent of the disaster which has occurred. Quite a considerable portion of the land which was purchased was purchased prior to 1948, when the price of land was about one-half the present price. Farms which were purchased after 1948 cost very much in excess of the amounts cited by the Minister. In Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland - the States which were operating under their own schemes - the position was equally as bad as, if not worse than, the position in the other three States. The price per farm in those States ranged from £20,000 to £22,000. A vast proportion of the additional expense resulted from the defeat of the referendum which would have enabled a ceiling price to be put on land. What has happened has been a personal tragedy for those people who returned from the war in their early twenties and went on to farms to learn farming practices. They were told that if they obtained employment on farms the Government would pay a portion of their wages and ultimately would provide a farm for each of them. But many of these exservicemen did not get farms of their own. Is not that a personal tragedy? Can any one claim that a scheme which left 30,000 eligible and suitable applicants without land was satisfactory? Those 30,000 exservicemen were from the Second World War. We also had men serving in the Korean War. How many of our young men who served in the Korean War have been placed upon farms? We have men now serving the interests of their country in Malaysia. How many of those servicemen who return and desire to become farmer settlers will receive farms? There will be very few, if any. Greater than the personal tragedy is the national disaster which has arisen from the non-settlement of people on the land. In 1950 the value of rural production per head of population was £82. In 1962 it was £96, but that did not take into account the decline in the value of the £1. In .1950 the £1 was worth 12s. 6d., compared with the prewar value, but in 1962 it was worth only 7s. Taking 1962 values, in 1950 the value of rural production per head of population was £146 and in 1962 it was only £96. There was a decrease of £50 per head of population. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon: -- What about overseas markets and prices? {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- Because we received for some time the best prices ever received in the history of this country, 'lie disaster which befell us was not as grave as it could have been. During the term of this Government's occupancy of the treasury bench there has been a reduction in the value of our rural production by £50 per head of population. Taking the matter further, in 1939 there were 253,000 farms in Australia, but now there are only 251,000. As the honorable member for Lalor pointed out, to-day there are tens of thousands fewer workers in rural occupations than there were in 1939. So we have the position that there are 2,000 fewer farms than there were, tens of thousands fewer farmers and a reduction in the value of our rural production by £50 per head of population. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon: -- But there has been a big increase in population. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- The increased population needs to eat. It wants all the requisites of human existence. Instead of the decrease to which I have referred, there should have been an increase in the value of rural production per head of population if our standard of living had improved. The only increases have been in the staff of the Minister for Primary Industry and in the expenditure by the department he administers. Before long there will be more people employed in his' department than upon all the farms in Australia. Honorable members opposite will not heed my advice but perhaps they will heed the advice of another. **Sir John** Crawford, who was the head of the Department of Trade recently was appointed a member of a committee set up to solve this nation's economic problems - problems that the Government can not solve. What does **Sir John** Crawford say about the present position? He is reported in the Melbourne "Age" of 5th September, 1963, in this way - A rise of between £250,000,000 and £400,000,000 in export income would be necessary in the next ten years *to* meet any feasible rate of growth in the gross national product beyond 4 per cent, and pay for a higher level of imports, **Sir John** Crawford said to-night. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon: -- You are getting wide of the bill. Is this only' a passing reference?' {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I do not want to waste my ammunition upon peewees. I want to shoot at bigger game, so will you keep this peewee quiet? {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-KCU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury:
RYAN, QUEENSLAND Order! I ask the honorable member to return to the bill. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- **Sir John** Crawford has said that within the next ten years our export income must rise by from £250,000,000 to £400,000,000. In 1957 the Government convened an export convention in Canberra with the object of increasing our export income by £250,000,000, but it has been unable to do so. **Sir John** Crawford points out rightly that you increase your export income by increasing rural production. We purchase 90 per cent, of our imports and pay 90 per cent, of our overseas debts with the proceeds of our rural production. Because the prices paid for our rural products are not sufficiently high and because the volume of our rural production is not as great as it would be if we had a land settlement scheme which would enable more people to go on the land, we cannot meet our overseas obligations. Over a period of ten years we are £2,000,000,000 in the red. That is what the present Government has done by neglecting to develop our rural industries. The Government has got us into exceptional difficulties. **Sir John** Crawford pointed out how the increase of between £250,000,000 and £400,000,000 in export income should be achieved. He set out a scries of things that should be done. He said that Australia must increase farm productivity in order to keep costs down. We must increase rural productivity in order to meet our overseas obligations and to feed and clothe the increasing population of Australia. Of course, that is not being done. I know the answer that will be given. The distinguished Minister for Primary Industry, or some other representative of his party, will rise from his seat and, like Pontius Pilate, disclaim responsibility. He will say " But those things are not the obligation of the Federal Government. They are the obligation of the State governments. We wash our hands of them." If Australia drifts into disaster because of inadequate land, settlement ,and inadequate rural pro duction with which to purchase from abroad the goods that are required to enable our secondary industries to employ our increasing population, presumably the honorable gentleman will say: " How can we be blamed? Those are things for which the State governments are responsible." But this Government controls the purse strings. The Commonwealth was the initiator »f soldier settlement. This Governcould have regulated soldier settlement so that the States received adequate finance to put more and more people on the land. But it did not do that. It has not done anything to promote civilian land settlement, and soldier settlement has ceased except for a small job that is being done in the brigalow country in Queensland. With that exception, ail the vast areas of Australia are not becoming more and more populated by rural producers. Rural producers are leaving the land. The important points for the Australian people to remember are that there are fewer farms to-day than there were in 1939. In 1939 the population was 7,000,000 and to-day it is 11,000,000, but not one of those additional 4,000,000 people - whether they are returned soldiers, sons of farmers or migrants with rural experience - has been settled on a farm without displacing a person who was already settled on the land, and not one of them has secured employment in a rural occupation without the displacement of a person who was already engaged in a rural occupation. Yet the Government is complacent and regards these things as inevitable and not tending towards disaster. Let me tell the Government that, in modern times, in every country in which discontent has ultimately led to revolutions, those revolutions occurred as a result of a land-hungry population looking upon lands that were used inadequately and from which they were excluded. In China an agrarian revolution preceded and was the excuse for the ultimate Communist revolution. It was an agrarian revolution which ultimately caused the eastern areas bordering Russia to become annexes of the Communist revolutionaries. That is the position that faces this country. I can remember in my boyhood days the thundering of William Morris Hughes, who said: " Populate this country or perish. We are a white speck sn a black ocean. We have to put men on the farms in the outback. We have to populate the hinterland of this country; otherwise the land-hungry millions to the north of us will look with envious eyes on this country, and that ultimately may cause them to take action to the detriment of Australia." Those were the stories that were told in days gone by. As I have pointed out, since 1939 we have had not an increase but a decrease in our rural population; not an increase but a vast decrease in the number ,of farms; not an increase but an immense decrease in the value of rural production per head of population. Are those things for which the Minister for Primary Industry, who has spent quite a considerable time increasing his staff and extending his activities, takes credit? Why has he not accomplished something? After all, we are not asking the Minister to do anything that Labour would not have done, could not have done and has not done. What was the position when Labour was in office? In 1946, the year after the end of the Second World War, the value of rural production was £35 per head of population. In 1950 the relevant figure was £82. But there had been a variation in the value of the £1 during that period. The true figures were £85 per head in 1946 and £146 per head in 1950 - an increase of £61 per head under Labour. During those five years Labour increased the output of rural production. It also put into operation plans for the rural rehabilitation of thousands and thousands of Australian settlers. The Labour Party brought vast areas in the north of Victoria under soldier settlement. Those are the accomplishments of the Labour Government. In its five years in office after the end of the Second World War it was faced with the task of rehabilitating more than 1,000,000 ex-service men and women and putting them back into peace-time occupations. It had to convert factories that had been utilized in the manufacture of the munitions and equipment of war to the manufacture of plough shares, furniture and all the other requisites of peace. Labour did those things and at the same time increased the value of rural production per head of population by £61. As I have pointed out, this Government, during ten years in which, generally, it had the most favorable climatic conditions in the history of this country and the highest overseas prices ever payable for rural products, decreased the value of rural production per head of population by £50. The comparison, of course, is all in favour of Labour's administration. I join with **Sir John** Crawford - I do not know whether **Sir John** will be very pleased about that - in suggesting that one of the means, perhaps the most essential means, of bridging the gap that now exists between our exports and our imports is by increasing the volume of rural production, which necessarily involves increasing the number of farms and the number of people who undertake rural activities. The sooner this is done the better. It is a fact, of course, that the cost of land - not its value, but its cost - has been allowed to mount to an excessive extent in the rural districts of Australia, and unless something is done to fix a ceiling price for land, the ordinary citizens, the ordinary sons of farmers, the members of the Australian Workers Union, a great rural organization, will have no opportunity of going on the land. The man who comes here from overseas and tries to save his money to obtain a farm will not be able to get one. How long would the ordinary worker in industry have to save to get a farm costing £20,000 or £30,000 or more? It would be utterly impossible for him to get a farm. {: .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr Barnes: -- Nonsense! {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- The interjection "Nonsense " comes from a person who is a monopolist of land in Queensland. He is one of the squattocracy, and he and others like him are keeping a vast number of the people of this country out of rural occupations. He is one of the aggregators of land in Australia. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony: -- How much land has he got? {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- Now we hear another member of the Country Party who is the same type of person. He comes here as a representative of the people. He holds a farm that he does not work himself; he has somebody working it for him during his absence here. People of that kind, of course, who become members of this Parliament should get out of their farms and sub-divide the big areas that they now hold, so that dozens and dozens of other people can settle on the land. ' The honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Nixon)** is also seeking to interject. He is another one of the aggregators of land, the land monopolists who are occupying land that they are unable to use to its productive capacity. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony: -- We arc good farmers. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS: -- Good farmers! A survey was made during the regime of the Cain Labour Government in Victoria of unused land in the western districts of that State. That survey, conducted by independent experts, revealed that more than 600,000 acres of superb farming land could have been taken from the holders of the land in the western districts without reducing by one iota the income of the people who owned the land and without reducing by one iota the volume of production in the western districts. In reality, of course, if that land had been taken there would have been a vast increase in the production of the western districts. While people are using land to its productive capacity they are entitled to hold it, no matter how big an area they have. But the position is that there are people owning thousands of acres in New South Wales and Victoria simply because their fathers or grandfathers happened to be favorites of particular Governors of those States. They are not using the land, and the time has arrived when, in the interests of the production and defence of this country a survey should be made of the potential use of the whole of our agricultural land. In this way we will discover how we can feed our own population and play our part in helping to provide the necessary food for a hungry world. {: #subdebate-32-0-s3 .speaker-L19} ##### Mr LESLIE:
Moore -- I shall deal later with a number of the points made by the honorable member for Scullin **(Mr. Peters).** First, however, I want to refer to one matter which has no real connexion with soldier settlement. I suggest that the honorable member for Scullin should expand his mind beyond the parochial, pocket-handkerchief confines of the electorate of Scullin. He suggests that there is no opportunity for mcn to go on the land. Let me tell him that at the present time in Western Australia we are developing millions and millions of acres of land, and there is plenty of opportunity for men to go on the land. Land is available at from 2s. 6d. to about 15s. an acre, and all that is required is the courage and energy to develop it. Men are going to these areas with less than £100 in their pockets. All they need is enough to pay their fare to get to these districts and obtain, perhaps, a tent to start with. These are the types of people that we need in this country, people who will develop, and are developing, the land. The honorable member speaks about a declining farm population and production. I agree that there has been a decline in some parts of the Commonwealth, but for goodness' sake get outside Melbourne, and remember that there are vast areas of land where new farmers are going in, and that there has been a vast increase in the volume of production as a result of this development. In my own State we have increased wheat production in a year or two from 50,000,000 bushels to 72,000,000 bushels. Western Australia is now the second State in volume of wheat production, although we were at the bottom of the list a few years ago. Let the honorable member get out and observe what goes on, and so broaden his mind. Let him see the splendid opportunities that are available. The kind of statement that he makes is what deters people from coming to Australia and, in the case of those who do come here, causes them to acquire a feeling of regret. They hear statements like those made by the honorable member and, unfortunately, they believe them to be true. It is very difficult to counter the effects of such statements, and the honorable member does this country a disservice by making them. We have before us a bill to make available £4,255,000 in connexion with the war service land settlement scheme. Actually this is not all new money going into the scheme. What is involved is an adjustment in connexion with money that has already been allotted to the States involved in this scheme. I do not know the actual proportion of new money that is involved. Western Australia will get nothing like the amount mentioned in the bill. It will probably get a very small amount. I want to deal with the matter of land settlement generally. It is true that this war service settlement scheme is a vast improvement on the scheme which operated after the First World War. It is a most successful scheme. There still remain some difficulties and problems, some of which I will mention, but the major criticism that I would make in connexion with this scheme - and I would offer severe criticism on this aspect of the matter - is that it has attempted to do too little too late. I was a member of the State Parliament and a member of the Post-War Reconstruction Committee in Western Australia. A suggestion was made early in 1946 that we should have a celebration of the Japanese surrender on V.J. Day. The war service land settlement scheme was introduced in 1944. My reply to the suggestion was that I believed the time to have such a celebration was when the first soldier settler was put on a farm. There had been a lot of planning and talk, but that was as far as the scheme had gone. It was not until a couple of years later that the first soldier settler was placed on a farm in Western Australia. The war service land settlement scheme is based on one of the ten reports prepared by the Rural Reconstruction Commission and submitted to the Chifley Government. The commission's reports are very valuable, but unfortunately, they are not all readily available at the present time. The report to which I shall refer made a valuable contribution to a solution of the problems associated with war service land settlement, many of which are still with us. The report deals with the employment and settlement of returned servicemen on the land, and it contains a draft of a bill which the Returned Servicemen's League submitted to the coinmission as the basis for a new war service land settlement scheme. I had a hand in preparing the bill, together with other State members from various parts of Australia. The commission did not accept the bill, although its main recommendations were based upon our submissions. There were two vital departures from our submissions. The Returned Servicemen's League had recommended that, by agreement with the States, the Commonwealth should accept financial responsibility for war service land settlement, as it was a defence matter, and that a Commonwealth land settlement commission should be set up - a body similar to the Repatriation' Commission. There was a .further recommendation that in each State a land settlement board should be appointed to operate the scheme. Unfortunately, the Rural Reconstruction Commission did not adopt the suggestion for the appointment of a land settlement commission, but it indicated in its report that the financial responsibility for land settlement belonged to the Commonwealth. When we made our recommendations we had in mind the failure of the war service land settlement scheme instituted after World War I. **Mr. Justice** Pike, in a report submitted in 1927 after he had made an investigation of the first land settlement scheme, referred to the split in financial responsibility between the Commonwealth and the States and said that it was a factor contributing to the failure of the scheme. The loss on that scheme in 1927, according to **Mr. Justice** Pike, totalled £23,500,000. The Rural Reconstruction Commission, after taking evidence from the States in 1943, estimated that the accumulated loss on the first war service land settlement scheme then was £43,000,000. That is a substantial sum of money, judged even by to-day's values. In 1927, at the time of **Mr. Justice** Pike's inquiry, only 71 per cent, of the settlers under the first scheme remained on the land. The Rural Reconstruction Commission did not try to discover the number still remaining in 1943, but I believe that it was very substantially less than that in 1927. Our committee's recommendations were based on knowledge and experience gained during the period after the First World War. The bill we recommended and our suggestions for the operation of a scheme were largely adopted. The criticism which I offer is that unfortunately too little was done too late. In Western Australia after the last war there were 4,000 applicants for land settlement, but only 1,002 were settled on farms. In Western Australia alone, 3,000 applicants did not get farms. Many of those people had trained themselves for farming, in accordance with a recommendation made by the Rural Reconstruction Commission. Why did the scheme fail to satisfy the needs of so many people? Why is there a shortage of land for war service land settlement? The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** and the honorable member for Scullin **(Mr. Peters)** suggest that the shortage has occurred because of the action of the Liberal Party and the Country Party in opposing the granting of power to the Commonwealth in relation to prices control suggested in the 1948 referendum. Those honorable members suggest that the inability of governments to acquire land is due to the lifting of prices control. I do not know what happened in other States, but I know that in the post-war period we had legislation in Western Australia which gave the State Government complete control of land transactions. Land prices were fixed at the 1942 values, plus allowances for any expenditure on improvements since that time. All transactions for the sale of farms were controlled. A person wanting to sell a farm negotiated with a potential buyer, reached an agreement and signed a contract. The transaction then went before the State Land Settlement Board, which had the right to acquire the farm at the price which the vendor was willing to accept. The board acquired quite a lot of farms. Honorable members opposite should not say there is a shortage of land only because of the defeat of the 1948 referendum. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- Prices control was lifted in 1948. {: .speaker-L19} ##### Mr LESLIE: -- In 1945, 4,000 men in Western Australia were waiting to be placed on farms. A Labour Government was in office in this Parliament until 1949. Men were waiting for land and the Government had the power to acquire land, but nothing was done about it. Why was there a lack of development farms in that period? I have one criticism of the report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission. The members of that commission were experts and knew what they were doing, but they created an impression in the minds of the State Governments and the Commonwealth Government of that time that there was a shortage of land suitable for war service land settlement in this country. I cannot give exact references to the report. I have in my notes extracts from the report, one of which states - >The commission feels compelled to emphasise strongly that suitable Crown lands in various States are limited in extent. In another part of its report the commission said - >There are no vast areas of Crown land to be opened up by the States in the development of which both governments and citizens might again share ill-founded optimism. I potested when that appeared in the report and said that it would create a defeatist attitude in this country. I was speaking with a knowledge of my own State. Since that report appeared and since the war service land settlement scheme approached its closing-down stage, Western Australia has profitably developed millions of acres of land. Once we had a change of government in Western Australia - the Labour Government had accepted this 'no opportunity in this vast land of ours " attitude - there was a change of outlook. The government which followed took a portion of land on the coastline, which I had recommended to it, and requested that the Commonwealth regard the development of this virgin land as a project area, lt was a light land venture and the Commonwealth Government said, "Yes, we will agree to your taking half a million acres ". To-day there are 50 very successful settlers on that land at Eneabba. One of the men who assisted me in my representations to the Commonwealth in connexion with this project was the present Minister for Trade who had a look at the area. Following the Commonwealth Government's action in backing the State Government's view that the land could be developed and was worthy of development, the State started releasing land further south and to-day there are townships which have grown up and developed in the last ten years. That has happened as the result of the courage and wisdom of the Government of Western Australia which, backed by the Commonwealth Government, ignored defeatist reports. Tt believed that there was land capable of being developed and decided at least to try it out. There are to-day, in the area I have mentioned, 300 successful settlers who were not there ten years ago. It is true that some of them have financial trouble, some major and some minor; they have no roads, railways or electricity; they are away out in the bush, as were so many settlers in the early days; but they are men of courage, energy and ability - the people who will make this country. They are dinky-di-Australians and I say that with all pride. They are the type of people who will develop this country very well. I do not know what happened in Queeusland. The Labour Government in that State was given an allocation for soldier land settlement, but did nothing about it. I do not know exactly what happened, but I was darned sorry to hear that the returned soldiers there were denied their opportunity. It is no use trying to bring them back into any land settlement scheme to-day. Most of them now are too long in the tooth to start hard work on the land and many of them are settled in other directions. They have lost their opportunity. It was denied to them by dilatory action on the part of the State Labour Government. A Labour government in Western Australia delayed the settlement of returned soldiers on the land until finally a start was made in 1947. I can tell the House of the vast development that is taking place on the coastal plain of Western Australia. This development, in the Esperance area, has excited the whole of Australia so much that we have more applications for this land from people in the eastern States than from our own people. A great number of eastern States farmers and their sons are being allotted land and given an opportunity in Western Australia. I can mention other parts of Western Australia also where there have been tremendous advances, yet in 1943 the attitude of the then Commonwealth Labour Government, guided by the report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, was that there was no more worthwhile land capable of development in Australia. It was a sorry story at that time and it remains a sorry story because it denied an opportunity to so many people to whom opportunity was promised, even to the extent of their being trained in preparation for it. I believe this bill will be one of the last to be brought into this Parliament in relation to war service land settlement. The scheme has virtually ended, although not all the settlers are happy and satisfied. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- The Queensland Labour Government settled 614 men on the land, compared with 716 in Western Australia, so you win by only 100. {: .speaker-L19} ##### Mr LESLIE: -- As I have said, 4,000 men were waiting to go on the land in Western Australia between 1945 and 1949 and we were able to settle only 1,000 of them because of the failure of the Commonwealth Labour Government to do anything about land settlement. The scheme is now pretty well at an end, but I say to the Minister that the Commonwealth cannot wholly absolve itself from financial responsibility in this scheme. Particularly in the project areas there is still money to be written off. Financial assistance is still required, particularly for putting right development which was not properly carried out and where there are still shortcomings. There are in Western Australia some 339 men still under the financial control of the War Service Land Settlement Board. Until they are entirely their own masters and are operating under their own financial arrangements this Government has a responsibility to them. It cannot absolve itself from that responsibility in any way. In another part of its report, the Rural Reconstruction Commission said - >Notwithstanding any cost to the Crown by reason of purchase consideration for, or improvements effected on any lands, a farm for a returned man should be made available at a fair value, having regard to the productive capacity when fully improved, with due allowance for the cost of further improvements necessary to bring the farm to full improvement. I am not sure that this principle has been and is still being correctly applied in Western Australia. Land prices quoted during this debate bear out my contention that these settlers are being charged too much and that the initial capital cost which they will be required to meet could - and in some cases will - bring about a set of circumstances similar to those which applied after the 1914-18 war and to which **Mr. Justice** Pike referred. As the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** said earlier, overcapitalization was one of the biggest difficulties. The recommendation of the commission is incorporated in the agreement and in the legislation. It is a condition in the act under which the land is made available to the farmer that the price which he will ultimately pay shall have regard to the productive capacity of the farm when fully improved and not to the cost of development. If that is taken into consideration there can be no failure and no regret. Unless it is taken into consideration and given full effect we will find ourselves in trouble similar to that experienced after World War I. We then had to ask for a royal commission and **Mr. Justice** Pike investigated the position and suggested remedies for the future of soldier land settlement. I want finally to refer to the requests and recommendations which we made, for the appointment of an appeal board, for a long time before the present Minister came to office. Ultimately we got an appeal board and I am informed that the conditions of appeal and the operations of the board were arrived at after consultation with the Minister then in charge of the scheme. I say to the Minister at the table that the operation of the appeal board is a farce. I happen to have sat on the board and I know how it operates. It is a farce; it is of no use to the settler whatsoever. The honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Holten)** suggests that the board was a farce because I sat on it. I can assure him that that was not the reason. I endeavoured to make it less of a farce if I possibly could. I say it was a farce, first, because the settler had only a limited right of appeal. He could appeal only after he had been ordered off his property. Perhaps he had been ordered off because he had committed an offence, but the only time he could appeal was after he had been ordered off his property. The appeal board consists of a magistrate, a representative of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia and a member of the department. Evidence is given before it on oath. When I was on the board, I was in somewhat the same position as a justice of the peace when sitting alongside a magistrate in a court; I could not ask questions in my own right. If I wanted to ask a question I had to ask it through the chairman. At the termination of the hearing, I found that only one of two things could be done. Either the appeal could be dismissed, or it could be allowed. The position really is that before the hearing of the appeal is commenced, a decision has been reached with relation to the way in which the settler has worked the property. He may have made a mistake. In fact, to illustrate the type of lease under which the soldier settler is required to work his property, I point out that one condition is that the lease can be cancelled if the settler is guilty of unbecoming conduct. That is the sort of thing that one finds in Australian Military Regulations and Orders - the military rules. The settler could be guilty of unbecoming conduct, but there may be mitigating circumstances. If he is found guilty of unbecoming conduct, his appeal is dismissed. The board cannot do anything else with him. It cannot say, "Yes, this man has committed an offence, but, in the circumstances, we consider that this, or this, should be done". Perhaps the settler should suffer some kind of penalty, but he should not be entirely dispossessed of bis property and thereby lose whatever equity he has in it. There is no half way. I point out further that under the provisions by which the appeal board is appointed, even the Minister is given no discretion. He cannot come in and say, " I think that there are certain circumstances in this case which would justify giving special consideration to this settler ". We have appealed from time to time for a change to be made in the conditions under which the appeal board operates. There are still 300 or 400 men concerned, and there probably will be more. It could be that these men could do certain things for which they would be criticized and condemned by the department. We do not want the appeals limited only to cases in which a man is to be dispossessed of his property. We are asking that the appeal board be given authority to hear cases in which there is a difference of opinion between the inspectors appointed by the Land Settlement Board and the settler as to the way in which the settler is carrying out his operations. Under the present arrangement, the board is a law unto itself. The settler just must obey the orders of the board or find himself in trouble. We feel that if a settler thinks he has a case to support a claim that the board should alter its attitude, he should be able to appeal to this tribunal. We recommended the appointment of this appeal board because of our experiences after the First World War. In those days, there was no separate war service land settlement scheme in Western Australia. At that time, land settlement was carried out under the administration of the Agricultural Bank. Ultimately, the. Lands Department, agreed to the setting up of a committee on which was one officer seconded from the Agricultural Bank, one officer seconded from the Lands Department, and ohe representative from the Returned Servicemen's League. Ultimately, we reached a' stage at which any soldier settler could appeal to this body if he found himself in difficulty with the Agricultural Bank or the department. That body would then give a ruling, publish a decision or make a recommendation which went to the Minister who could either accept it or reject it. At least in that way we got a band of contented people, and we all know there is nothing worse than a band of people who are not contented. What I have suggested requires only a very minor alteration. Attempts have been made in the State Parliament to have it adopted, but I understand that there is some difficulty at this end in connexion with it I do not know to what stage the discussions or negotiations went because they were conducted at ministerial level, and I did not follow the matter up. I support the bill. I hope that at the winding up of this land settlement scheme all who have been privileged to take part in it will have benefited from it. {: #subdebate-32-0-s4 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES:
Braddon .- The House has before it the Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Bill 1963. In his secondreading speech, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** explained that the purpose of the measure is to raise loan moneys amounting to £4,225,000 for war service land settlement in the agent States of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania during the current financial year. Of this amount, £1,546,000 is to be made available to Western Australia, £1,229,000 to South Australia and £1,450,000 to Tasmania. The Minister also outlined a proposed change in accounting procedure which is to take effect as from 1st July of this year, but I understand that this proposal is purely a Treasury requirement which stems from a recommendation made to the Government by the Public Accounts Committee which is comprised of members from both sides of the House. The Government has accepted the recommendation of the committee, and this Treasury requirement does not affect in any way at all the amounts of money to be made available under the bill for war service land settlement. I should like to point out that the total amount advanced by the Commonwealth to the five States under the war service land settlement scheme which was commenced by a Labour government in 1946, after the bill had been assented to on 14th October, 1945, is approximately £100,000,000. The Governments of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have contributed a similar amount. Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia have acted as agents for the Commonwealth, and in those States the Commonwealth has supplied the whole of the money expended on war service land settlement. As we know, the scheme was originated after the war for eligible exservicemen who were keen to be settled on farms. For obvious reasons, ex-servicemen who were eligible to participate in the scheme were not debarred because of lack of private capital. This fact was stated by the Minister in his second-reading speech when dealing with the amount of money advanced to equip and operate the farms. I should like to deal with that point later. It must be heartening to the authorities, both Commonwealth and State, to find themselves in the position where they can now claim that all interested and classified applicants in Western Australia have been allotted farms. I believe that in all some 1,260 farms have been provided in that State. I was somewhat alarmed by the statement by the honorable member for Moore **(Mr. Leslie)** that there were in fact 4,000 applicants for farms but only 1,000 were successful in having farms allotted to them. If that is the position, I should like to know more about it from the Minister when he replies. I simply record the fact that in his second-reading speech the Minister said that all those interested and classified were allotted farms, and I pay tribute to the authorities, both Commonwealth and State, for what has been done in Western Australia. It appears that in South Australia some applicants will be unable to be allocated farms because of the difficulty of obtaining sufficient areas of suitable land. I believe that the settlers on Kangaroo Island in particular are experiencing much the same type of difficulties as those being experienced on King Island in Tasmania and that a technical committee comprised of both State and Commonwealth officers has been appointed to inquire into their problems. I have not been to Kangaroo Island, but I have promised certain people there that I shall visit them in the very near future. From reliable information given to me, I understand that the scheme on Kangaroo Island has cost something in the vicinity of £4,500,000 and that only 160-odd blocks have been allotted. The holdings are of approximately 800 acres each, and 1,200 acres have yet to be allotted. Of the number settled, 130, or 90 per cent., have gone bankrupt. On an average they owe between £5,000 and £8,000 in arrears of rental and advances for working capital, stock and plant and for fixed improvements. I further believe that the main trouble arose from stumps and sticks left on the ground and through various types of soil deficiencies. I sincerely hope that the people on Kangaroo Island, like those on King Island and others who have experienced great difficulty, will soon receive recognition of the work they have done and some compensation and possibly even better concessions than they have already received. As I said, I have not been to Kangaroo Island, but I hope to visit the island, which is in the electorate of the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes),** very soon. In Tasmania, which is the remaining State referred to in the bill, we have been informed that to date 523 farms have been allotted. Of these, 197 are in my electorate and they are to be found in four areas - King Island, Togari, which is the new name for Montague swamp, Mawbanna and Preolenna. On King Island 55 sheep farms and 96 dairy farms have been established at a total cost to date of £4,342,198. At Togari, 27 dairy farms have been established at a cost to date of £2,469,247. Of the 27 farms at Togari, nineteen have yet to be completed and allotted to finish the scheme. At Mawbanna, there were originally eleven dairy farms, but thanks to representations that we made, lot 10 has been amalgamated with lot 1 and there are now ten settlers in occupa tion of this area. The total cost to date has been £197,878. At Meunna, eight dairy farms have been established at a cost of £131,173. The cost of the scheme in Tasmania up to 30th June of this year has been approximately £18,000,000. Of this amount, 40 per cent, has been spent in my electorate on some 197 farms. In his second-reading speech, the Minister for Primary Industry commented on the fact that development is still proceeding on the projects at King Island and Togari. He said - >These projects have taken longer to complete than originally estimated, due to a number of factors such as excessively wet seasons, problems in the control of re-growth and rushes, or pasture failures requiring some research to find the answers. This unfortunately is all too true. The land on King Island was originally covered with very dense ti-tree scrub. No great difficulty was experienced in removing the scrub with modern machinery, but, as so frequently happens, after the land was ploughed, cultivated and sown to pasture, the ti-tree seeds germinated in the ground with the result that ti-tree re-growth is occurring constantly. However, the biggest problem is that after the ti-tree scrub has been removed, rushes appear and spread rapidly over the new pastures. There is no easy way, and certainly no cheap way, of controlling the pest. I have previously appealed in this House to the Government to enlist the services of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in an attempt to find some hormone or spray that will eliminate the pest. The result of the re-growth, of course, was the depletion of pastures and, as everyone can easily understand, this led to a consequent reduction in farm incomes. Added to this was the high cost of excessive machinery breakdowns and depreciation of plant, mainly because of the manner in which the surface of the blocks originally developed had been left. These factors very soon showed up in settlers' budgets, which revealed the great economic difficulties with which they were confronted. Inability to meet their commitments and the economic worry and fear of the future prompted the settlers to petition the Government to establish a committee of inquiry, consisting of members of all the political parties, to inquire into all aspects of war service land settlement on King Island. The Government refused to appoint such a committee, but the Minister did set up a committee of inquiry which commenced work in July, 1959. It is to his credit that he did set up this committee. It is more in the nature of a technical committee. It consists of the Deputy Director of War Service Land Settlement, an accountant of the Agricultural Bank in Tasmania and an officer of the State Department of Agriculture. These men visit each farm and conduct an inquiry into the affairs of individual settlers. Following the findings of the committee, the settlers receive such concessions as free agistment for stock, superphosphate credits, the writing off of interest on advances for stock, plant and working expenses, extension of the repayment period for stock, plant and implements, and the provision of a mowable area. The Government has accepted liability for some of the earlier mistakes it made. Re-development work will be done on most of the blocks on this island. Further, a credit is made in the plant account for undue depreciation of plant used under rough conditions and for re-growth control in excess of a reasonable level of maintenance control. As I pointed out, this committee has been in existence now for four years. I believe that some settlers are still waiting for the results of the investigation. I point out to the Minister again, as I did a few years ago, that the committee is taking far too long. The members of the committee should have been taken away from their ordinary work and should have been put to work as a committee straight away. It is easy to understand the dissatisfaction of some settlers who are still waiting for an investigation whilst others have had their concessions for as long as two years. The committee recommended some redevelopment work on the blocks. To date on King Island approximately 12,000 acres have been recommended for re-development and £232,000 has been credited to the settlers' accounts as a result of the committee's inquiry. Two years ago I drew the attention of the Minister to the feeling aroused amongst the settlers because the re development work, like the reports, was taking too long. Any one who has lived on a farm will understand that while some paddocks are being torn up and redeveloped, the carrying capacity of the farm must be reduced. When the carrying capacity is reduced, the farm income diminishes. Despite the reduction of carrying capacity, the authorities have refused to reduce the annual commitments of farmers. The position to-day, four years after the committee was set up, has naturally worsened a great deal. The Minister in replying to me two years ago regretted the delay in the re-development, but he said he wanted the job done thoroughly. I am pleased to tell him that the job is being done properly; but it is being done much too slowly. I will not go into the cost now, because we all realize that there will have to be a big write-down on the whole scheme. But surely some adjustment can be made to the annual commitments now in view of the reduced farm incomes resulting from the re-development. The Minister admitted in his seconddifficulty in meeting their commitments. He reading speech that settlers have had some said - >Some arrears have accumulated due to causes accepted as being outside the control of the settlers and "ad hoc" measures to assist settlers are being introduced as required; for example, by the extension of time in which to make principal repayments on advances made for the purchase of stock. I think the committee of inquiry whose work I have outlined and whose job it was to recommend the amount of redevelopment and credits for each settler could be classed as one of the ad hoc measures to which the Minister referred. Valuable as were these concessions that the Minister gave us, they still did not prove to be the final solution to the settlers' problems. When the settlers realized that they were no better off but were becoming worse off, even after the majority of them had received concessions, they were forced to send representatives, who were accompanied by the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture and some members of this Parliament, to meet the Minister for Primary Industry again towards the end of last year. The Minister, to his credit, listened sympathetically once more and then appointed another committee to inquire into the economics of war service land settlement on King Island. The chairman of the committee is **Mr. R.** M. Sargent, of Hobart, who is a chartered accountant. The settlers' representative - it is good to see them represented on the committee - is **Mr. Ken** Payne, a bright young settler. Other members are **Mr. M.** J. Firth, an economist, of the State Treasury, and **Mr. A.** G. Bennett, of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. The secretary of the committee is **Mr. D.** Edwards, an accountant of the Agricultural Bank of Tasmania. This committee, which was appointed at the end of last year, was given terms of reference which required it to examine direct farm operating costs on an annual basis, excluding capital items, to look at total farm income on an annual basis, to conduct a comprehensive survey of finance for personal expenditure on an annual basis, to obtain information on the rate of depreciation of capital items, and after consideration of the facts revealed by the inquiry, to make suggestions about the basis of charges that a settler could be expected to meet under the conditions pertaining during the period covered by the inquiry. Naturally, at the end of the terms of reference, there was a blanket reference to " any other matters pertinent to the inquiry ". So, after extensive inquiries, this second committee is to make suggestions about the basis of charges that the settlers can be expected to meet. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I wish the committee well in its task. I only hope, as I said a few moments ago, that the members of this second committee will give their full time to the inquiry. They should be seconded from their ordinary work so that they may devote alt' their time to the pursuit of these inquiries and arrive at some worth-while recommendations, for time is running out for the settlers. 1 should like to know whether the Minister has any idea when the committee's report can be expected. Will the inquiry extend over four years, like that made by the first committee? Is this to be the end of all inquiries into war service land settlement? Will the Minister accept a substantial writing-down of the cost of this project? He informed me once that 50 per cent, of the total cost of the project at Rocky Gully in Western Aus tralia had been written-off because the cost of development in that area had been so high. Has the Minister any comparison between the cost of the scheme in Tasmania, especially at Togari and on King Island, and the cost of the scheme at Rocky Gully in Western Australia? He may be able to let us have some information about that when he closes the debate in reply. I impress on the Minister the fact that the settlers want to know one thing. It is now almost twenty years since the end of the Second World War. Some of these settlers have been on their blocks for twelve or thirteen years and are anxious to see the green light on the hill and to know where they are going and what their commitments will be. After many years of frustration, all that they want to know is: What will be the final valuation of their blocks and what will be the settlers' annual commitments? We have been pressing for this information for some time. The sooner the committee of inquiry makes its recommendations and the writing-down occurs and a realistic approach to valuations and rentals is adopted, the better it will be for the settlers and for the country as a whole. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, mentioned one of the objectives of the scheme - the building up of equity by the settlers. I have previously spoken in this House on the subjects of equity and of rental and valuations. I again press the Minister for a more realistic approach to rentals. This matter was raised earlier this afternoon. The settlers in Tasmania maintain that rentals should be based on the fair market value of a property as a complete unit. The practice of valuing buildings, houses and land separately is all wrong. The settlers say also that the option to purchase should be based on the value of the property as a complete unit. The Minister said that this would require an amendment of the principal act. That is just the very sort of thing for which the Parliament assembles here. If the people wish the act to be amended, and an amendment is found to be a valid and reasonable proposition, that amendment should be made. I know that any amendment necessary in this instance would receive the blessing of honorable members on both sides of the chamber. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** 1 believe that at this stage it is only right that I place on record here the views of the King Island Settlers Association. The views that I have been expressing for a long time have been stated not just as my views. They have been expressed on behalf of the settlers on King Island. **Mr. R.** W. Cooper, president of the association, whom the Minister knows personally from his own visit to the island, wrote a letter giving his comments on the matter after the Minister's second-reading speech on this bill had been published in full by the "King Island News", a very fine little newspaper, as many of these provincial weeklies are. **Mr. Cooper,** in his letter, states the views of the settlers on the points raised by the Minister in his second-reading speech. Referring to the impending writing-down of war service land settlement farms that had been forecast, **Mr. Cooper** wrote - it should be pointed out to the general public that the cost to settlement authorities of developing a War Service Land Settlement farm almost invariably greatly exceeds the actual market value of the farm when leased to the settler. A proportion of this excess cost has been written off, but in spite of this the cost valuation figure for rental purposes appearing on a settler's lease always greatly exceeds the market value of the farm. For example, on a King Island War Service Land Settlement farm of 400 acres this cost valuation figure may exceed municipal valuation (or approximate market value) by as much as £10,000. Whether or not **Mr. Adermann's** speech on the Second Reading of the Loan, War Service Land Settlement Bill presages a complete write-off of this excess cost is not clear. It is obvious until this is done it will continue to be impossible for a settler to build up equity on a War Service Land Settlement farm on King Island. Actually there could easily be a tendency to interpret the effect of what is here called by the Minister a " write-down " incorrectly. To our mind it relates to write-down of capital costs incurred by the settlement authorities, and except >*>tt it may have some tendency to reduce rental assessment it will not greatly reduce the settler's annual costs. He will still be responsible for meeting principal and interest re-payment on loans for stock, plant, structures, improvements, &c. It is payment of these annual commitments together with high rentals which have placed an impossible burden on the settler who started without capital. It is therefore very necessary that any attempts at writing-down be done in such a way that it will make War Service Land Settlement farms an economic proposition and that the settler will be assured of a reasonable standard of living, even though he begins with no capital. I want to emphasize two points in this letter, **Mr. Deputy Speaker.** The first relates to the writing-down. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, said that there will be a fairly heavy writing-down, and he added - >The total amount of write-off involved cannot be defined precisely at the present time . . . We say that a farm ought to be valued at present market value and that all excess, costs of development should be written off. Anything over and above the present market value of a farm as a unit should be written off. That is the point of view of the settlers. For the sake of their peace of mind, happiness and satisfaction and of the stability of the settlement scheme and the economic well-being of King Island, it is to be hoped that the Minister will accept this point of view. The Minister stated that the total amount of write-off cannot be defined precisely at the present time. We say that once the farm is valued as a unit, that is the amount that must be written off. The letter which I have just read - it is a very good letter - refers to the impossible burden on the settler. This is the great problem to-day not only on King Island but also on Kangaroo Island and in other soldier settlements. In the interests of the economic stability of the islands as well as the future of the scheme I urge the Minister to base rentals on the market value of the farm as a unit. As the president of the King Island Settlers Association states, the responsibility for meeting principal and interest repayments on loans for stock, plant, structures and improvements will still fall on the settler. In addition he must pay a high rental for his land. This is not done in ordinary private farming procedures to-day. Let us cut the red tape and let us get down to a normal farm accounting procedure where you value the farm and take into account improvements, such as fencing, water holes, barns and the dairy. Having arrived at a figure you fix a reasonable rental. The various accounts that must be kept by soldier settlers are worrying to them and are not necessary. Possibly a separate account should be kept for stock and plant because stock costs vary, particularly at places like King Island. It may be difficult, because of variations in stock costs, to arrive at a fair rental, but having taken into account all the things that I have mentioned, and having regard to the fact that on some farms plant may be older than plant on other farms, you should be able to reach a fair valuation. In his second-reading speech the Minister referred also to the other objective of the scheme, which is to enable settlers to earn a reasonable labour income. I know that settlers on dairy farms will be able to show the committee that they are not receiving a reasonable labour income. As for those on sheep blocks, their position as far as farm income and return to capital and management is concerned is fully covered in the "Tasmanian Sheep Industry Survey", a document published late last year by the Division of Agricultural Economics. That survey was far-reaching. It covered all types of sheep properties in Tasmania - the long-established properties and a percentage of war service land settlement properties. The survey shows that the return to capital and management on a merino wool-growing property has fallen from 5.91 per cent, to 3.36 per cent, over the last three years. The return on a property engaged in growing crossbred wool has fallen from 3.02 per cent, to .55 per cent. In the case of crossbred fat lamb properties - I remind the House that these are the types of properties to be found on King Island and they were included in the survey - the return to capital and management has fallen from 2.1 per cent, to 1.29 per cent. One would have thought that the Minister for Primary Industry, who is in charge of war service land settlement, would have immediately ordered a review of the commitments he expects soldier settlers to meet in respect of sheep blocks on which they have been settled. Under the present arrangement the settler must find annually an amount which would represent at least 6 per cent, of the total capital investment in his holding. Yet the survey shows that the settler on a crossbred fat Iamb property receives only 1.29 per cent. It is utterly impossible for those settlers to find 6 per cent, while maintaining a reasonable standard of living and effecting farm improvements. I have dealt fairly fully with war service land settlement on King Island because there are 151 farms there with problems far more pressing than perhaps in any other area of Australia. In the interests of the economy of the island as well as Australia as a whole those problems must be solved. I would have liked to deal with the general picture at Mawbanna, Togari and Meunna, where the position is much brighter, and the problems are not as great as they are on King Island. {: #subdebate-32-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-32-0-s6 .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr BRIMBLECOMBE:
Maranoa -- In his opening remarks the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** traced the history of soldier settlement from the First World War to the present time. He gave reasons why land settlement of ex-servicemen after the First World War was a comparative failure. To a certain extent I agree with what the honorable member said. In those days we did not know too much about land settlement. The scheme was an experiment. Unfortunately, quite a few ex-servicemen who went on to the land after the First World War failed. Also, the honorable member said - I cannot agree with this statement - that the removal by this Government of prices control had resulted in some soldier settlers failing after the Second World War. I think the honorable member is well aware that in 1942 land prices were fixed throughout the Commonwealth. Restrictions on the ceiling price of land were not lifted until 1948. But in Queensland things went a little further. Even in 1951, when I came into this Parliament, a good deal of land in Queensland was frozen. Hundreds of thousands of acres of soldier settlement land in Queensland was frozen at 1942 values. Little or nothing was being done to get ex-servicemen on the land. As its excuse for not settling more people quickly on the land the Queensland government claimed that it could not get surveyors and contractors to do certain work. The honorable member for Lalor said that the Chifley Government offered to take over all soldier settlement as it believed it was the Commonwealth's responsiblity to settle ex-servicemen on the land. That is true, but Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria stated that they would accept the responsibility of looking after their returned servicemen. Queensland has the worst record of any State in respect of soldier settlement. Under Labour governments in Queensland only 470 ex-servicemen were settled on blocks. The Queensland Government abandoned its scheme in 1954. In closing down the scheme it threw certain blocks of land open to selection and certain areas were reserved for soldier settlement. but that is as far as the Queensland Government went. The terms and conditions under which soldier settlers financed their blocks were similar to those which applied to non-soldier settlers who drew blocks beside them. The Queensland Government abandoned its soldier settlement scheme in 1954 after it had obtained from the Australian Loan Council it's quota for soldier settlement. A few weeks after the Australian Loan Council met the Queensland Government closed down its soldier settlement scheme, but the money obtained from the Commonwealth for the purpose of soldier settlement was not returned to the Commonwealth and was not used for soldier settlement. It was used for other purposes. So in effect Queensland obtained £1,000,000 under false pretences. At that time the Commonwealth Government made an offer to the Queensland Government. It offered to take over the operation of the scheme and contribute £2 for every £1 that the Slate Government contributed towards the cost of maintaining it, but the Queensland Government turned down that most generous offer. I have mentioned this because the honorable member for Scullin said that we were responsible for the failure not only of the war service land settlement scheme but of all land settlement schemes. The Commonwealth's offer was designed to speed up the settlement of the remaining appplicants for land, but, as I have said, that offer was refused. The Queensland Government made a counter-offer. It said that it would continue the scheme if the Commonwealth contributed all the money and allowed Queensland to retain possession of the land. The only security available to the Commonwealth was the land, so naturally it would not agree to the proposal. Those are the circumstances behind the Commonwealth's attitude to war service land settlement in Queensland. Only 407 persons were settled on the land. It is generally accepted that there is a failure rate of about 30 per cent. in all land settlement. That has been proved through the years by practically all States. Failures occur because some settlers are no-hopers, some just cannot make a go of it, some are forced out because of seasonal conditions and so on. As to failures by soldier settlers, let me point out that in those cases in which the Commonwealth wrote off the settlement the farmers concerned were far better off then than they would have been if they were receiving Government assistance to enable them to carry on. The money that was put into the land was not lost. Some one else carried on and received the benefit of it. The country did not lose anything. I do not agree that a write-off should be made on the present value of land. I believe that it should be based on the productive capacity of the land. There are arguments for both points of view, but if you wrote off a farm on the basis of its productive capacity you would be working on a more solid foundation than if you had regard to the capital value of the land at the time you proposed to write it off. I have some knowledge of what happened in a soldier settlement area after the First World War. I live rather close to an area which was settled by ex-servicemen of that war. You would not get better country anywhere in the Commonwealth, but many of the settlers failed because of the bad advice that they received from the authorities. They were keen enough to go on the land but they could not get the finance to buy the equipment that they needed. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later hour. Leave granted; debate adjourned. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1364 {:#debate-33} ### MALAYSIA DEFENCE {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Ministerial Statement Debate resumed (vide page 1339), on the following papers presented by **Sir Robert** Menzies: - >Malaysia Defence - > >Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement of 19S7. > >Notes exchanged between Australia and Malaya in March and April, 1959. > >United Kingdom-Malaysia Agreement of July, 1963 (excluding Annexes). > >Notes exchanged between Australia and Malaysia in September, 1963. > >Ministerial Statement, 25th September, 1963. And on the motion by **Mr. Adermann** - That the House take note of the papers. {:#subdebate-33-1} #### Suspension of Standing Orders {: #subdebate-33-1-s0 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK:
Minister for Territories · Curtin · LP -- by leave - I move - >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** speaking for a period not exceeding 45 minutes. May I explain that my colleague, the Minister for Trade **(Mr. McEwen),** who will be the next speaker after the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell),** will not seek any suspension of the Standing Orders, but, if required, will ask for an extension of time. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: #subdebate-33-1-s1 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne -- Nothing that I say will, I hope, exacerbate the present delicate situation existing in the relationships of countries to our near north and near north-west. However, 1 feel that my first duty is to place on record the attitude of the Opposition towards the creation of the new state of Malaysia, and to certain events which have followed in its wake. The Labour Party supports the concept of Malaysia and welcomes its creation. We believe that this experiment in nationhood should be given its chance, free from attack or interference from other nations, to prove itself. I think it is worth while pointing out at the beginning that Malaysia is indeed an experiment. For the various States which form it, it is an attempt to secure economic and political stability, and to find some acceptable means of enabling the peoples to live together despite very difficult and complex internal tensions and problems. For Britain, it is an attempt to leave former colonies in such a condition that they possess some prospect of economic and political viability. Those who welcome the end of colonialism should welcome the beginning of this latest independent State. The fact that the United Nations commission, appointed by the SecretaryGeneral, U Thant, has found, after what it believes to have been a full and fair investigation, that a majority of the peoples of Sarawak and North Borneo are willing to join Malaysia weighs very heavily with us of the Labour Party in supporting Malaysia. Just as we believe it was proper to conduct such a survey - and the request for it *cams* from Indonesia and the Philippines - we believe it is proper to stand by the verdict of the commission. We say further that, as the United Nations has now, in a sense, a direct responsibility for the creation of Malaysia, it has a direct responsibility for its security. The proper forum for disputes that may arise in the future about Malaysia, is in our opinion, the United Nations. However, the question which Australians are asking, and the question which should be answered in this Parliament is: What is the extent of our direct commitment to the new State and how is it to be regulated? The Government's attitude has been marked all along by a peculiar procrastination - by a reluctance to give facts, and a refusal to face facts. Until this afternoon very little information was vouchsafed to the Parliament and I propose to show how unsatisfactory even that little really is. The concept of Malaysia was first promulgated by the Prime Minister of Malaya, the Tunku Abdul Rahman, over two years ago. From that time on, its creation became an increasing certainty; yet right until the last few weeks, the Government has spoken of Malaysia as if it were some sort of hypothetical question. As recently as 15th July of this year, the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** was asked at a press conference - >Can you give some indication of what type of commitment in Malaysia is contemplated? The Prime Minister replied - >No, I can't, because we have none at present. This is all a matter that has to be discussed. You say we are associated. We are not . . . This has yet to bc discussed as a Cabinet matter, because up to now, Malaysia has been a concept and not a fact. That was on 15th July last. The projected date for the creation of Malaysia was 31st August, and the actual date ultimately became 16th September. And so on the Prime Minister's own admission, the Cabinet , had not discussed the question of Australia's commitment even when the creation of Malaysia was less than one month off. Have great affairs like this one ever been so casually treated before? The first definite statement made by the Prime Minister on our defence arrangements with the new State was not given until last Tuesday; and then, not as a formal statement, but in reply to a supplementary question asked by my colleague, the honorable member for Kingston **(Mr. Galvin).** The Prime Minister then said - I think I ought to take this opportunity, since the honorable member raises this matter, to say that there is a British-Malayan defence agreement, which was made in 1957. That agreement makes provision for the maintenance of Australian forces in the Malayan Federation within the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve, which is the particular structure. The Prime Minister then went on to say - I am pleased to say that there has been mutual acceptance of a proposal, and ready agreement among these nations (that is Britain, Malaya, Australia and New Zealand) following discussions in recent weeks, that the arrangement should carry forward into the future. Specifically, that means that the Australian and Malayan Governments consider that the proposed course of action which is to cover the situation now that Malaysia has come into existence, is the most satisfactory. In other words, our arrangement, instead of directing itself to Malaya, will now direct itself to Malaysia - the enlarged unit. This can only mean that we have no direct commitment to Malaysia. The arrangement which applied to Malaya is, in the Prime Minister's words, now directed towards the larger unit, Malaysia. But as he said on 15th July, "We have no obligation to Malaya ". And as the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** said on 27th March this year - There is no formal military alliance between Australia and Malaya. But if the same arrangement which we had with Malaya is now to carry over with regard to Malaysia, it is worthwhile looking at what the arrangement with Malaya actually was so that, on what the Prime Minister has said, we can discover what our new arrangement with Malaysia now is. In the House on 19th September, 1957, the Prime Minister gave the following explanation: - The Government of the Federation continues to be faced by a campaign of armed Communist terrorism within its borders. It has accordingly requested the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to continue to make their forces available for use in emergency operations against the terrorists. Australia has been glad :o join with the United Kingdom and New Zealand in agreeing to this request, which, I repeat, is for the sole purpose of continuing the campaign against armed Communist terrorism. That then was the alleged basis for the maintenance of our troops in Malaya - "For the sole purpose of continuing the campaign against armed Communist aggression. " But this afternoon the Prime Minister said - There has been some suggestion that our forces in Malaya went there primarily for purposes of internal security. This is not so. As I have indicated, they went there and are there as part of a strategic reserve with the United Kingdom and New Zealand and as a contribution to the defence of the South East Asian area. Only this Government can reconcile the irreconcilable. To further illustrate this point on 1 6th August, 1960, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked - Now that the Government of Malaya has declared the emergency there at an end, and since Malaya is not a party to or covered by Seato, will the Prime Minister say what formal arrangements exist between Malaya and Australia concerning the Australian land and air forces based in Malaya? The Prime Minister in his reply referred to the existence of letters passed in 1957 between the Malayan Government and the Australian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur, letters which, to my knowledge, were never made public until March of this year. The Prime Minister then went on to say - The termination of the emergency and the promulgation of new Malayan legislation has not changed this situation. On August 1, 1960, an Internal Security Act came into force which empowers the Malayan Government to deal with the risks to internal security presented by the threat of subversion, particularly in border areas of the Federation ... An order under the Malayan Visiting Forces Act 1960 provides in effect for the Commonwealth forces in Malaya, including the Australian forces, to assist in operations against the terrorists in such border security areas. Thus, if the Prime Minister's past pronouncements can be taken to mean what they say, our commitment to the new State of Malaysia is simply an extension of that towards Malaya - and that commitment he has justified for the past six years on the sole ground of the need to combat armed terrorist activity. The notes exchanged this month, referred to by the Prime Minister, do not change this situation. When the Opposition called for the recall of our troops, because the alleged purpose for their being sent there no longer existed, we were always told the same thing, that the containment of communism required their presence. Even when the Prime Minister of Malaya said in 1961 that he did not care when Australian troops were repatriated, the Government did nothing to regularise their presence there, or to explain the need for them to continue to be there so long after the emergency had ended. We were not the only ones who thought the conditions were too vague. That vagueness helped to place the Tunku himself in a most embarrassing position. At a political rally in Malacca on 9th March this year, he was reported to have said that Australia was pledged to fight with Malaya in the event of war with Indonesia. After a hurried diplomatic exchange - accompanied, be it noted, by complete official silence from the Australian Government - the Tunku was placed in the humiliating situation of having to explain himself before the Malayan House of Representatives, and to give a new interpretation of our commitment, as he believed it to be. He said - >If I have caused embarrassment to Australia by mentioning her in my speech yesterday, I am terribly sorry. I suggest that, in the eyes of the world, it was Australia which had most cause to be embarrassed. The Tunku obviously said too much, but it is the Menzies Government itself that is responsible for whatever misunderstandings, misinterpretations and misgivings have arisen. The Australian Labour Party maintains that this indecision, this ambiguity - disturbing in the eyes of our allies, confusing to our neighbours - must not be allowed to continue in our relations with Malaysia. We regarded the arrangement with Malaya as completely unsatisfactory. If nothing more formal than the same arrangement is to continue with Malaysia, we will regard that as equally unsatisfactory. At the federal conference of the Australian Labour Party in Perth in August, we of the Labour Party declared - >Labor does not believe that Australian forces should be committed overseas except subject to a clear and public treaty which accords with the principles of the declaration of policy which gives Australia an effective voice in the common decision of the treaty powers. The parties to the treaty should know their rights with precision. The countries which are not parties to the treaty should also know the implications of the treaty with equal precision. We believe that such a treaty - clear, open and denned - should be negotiated to govern our future relations with Malaysia, and that it should also regularize the conditions under which our troops are to remain in Malaysia. The very fact that a large number of contingencies could arise may make precision with regard to our commitments difficult to express, but at the same time, those contingencies make it all the more important that we should have precision. In his statement to-day, the Prime Minister gave no indication that he realizes the complexity of the situation. The plank of our platform demanding the recall of our troops from Malaya was superseded because the impending formation of Malaysia demanded a new approach to Australia's possible commitments in this area, and because of the need for open, honest diplomacy expressed in public treaties based on mutual obligations for the protection of mutual interests. In the Melbourne " Sun News-Pictorial " of 8th August last appeared an article giving a series of questions which were asked of me, and the answers given to them by me. One question was - >Does the resolution on defence commit you, if you were Labor Prime Minister, to withdrawing Australian forces from Malaya, even if the Malayan Government wants them to stay? I replied in the following terms: - >The Party's plank on the withdrawal of troops from Malaya has been repealed. In its place is a new one which says that no Australian troops should be sent for service abroad except by clear, defined and open treaty, ratified by the Australian Parliament. We will gladly defend that principle whenever the next elections are held. It follows from that question and that answer that we are not advocating the withdrawal of Australian troops from the new State of Malaysia, but we are insisting that their continued presence in Malaysia shall be covered by a treaty clear, open and, if possible, mutual, which gives Australia an effective voice in the decisions of the treaty powers. The Melbourne " Age " summed up the position accurately when it said on September 16 - >Both Britain and Malaysia are anxious for an Australian commitment to be made in precise terms. Does any honorable member on the Government side suggest that the Melbourne " Age " is a Labour Party organ? As the Sydney "Sun-Herald" said on September 22 - >Those nations concerned to maintain the peace in this area must spell out in unmistakable and public terms the precise nature of their total commitment to Malaysia. Does any honorable member on the Government side suggest that the " Sun-Herald " is a Labour Party organ? Or again to quote the " Sydney Morning Herald " of September 18- >It takes two powers to make the kind of open, firm commitment by Australia, which is desirable. Does the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr. McMahon)** suggest that the "Sydney Morning Herald" is a Labour Party organ? Of course he does not. He would not last long in his present seat if he did. One can think of many possible situations which may arise and in which fighting may occur. The Prime Minister seems not to have examined these real possibilities and certainly he has not provided for them. There is the possibility of a resurgence of Communist terrorist activities. There is the possibility of internal rebellion, not necessarily Communist-inspired, and of an internal breakdown of the State. There is the possibility of activities by insurgents in Sarawak and Sabah. There is the possibility of border conflicts on the island of Borneo. There is the possibility of internal clashes between the Malayan and Chinese populations of the new state. There is the possibility of outright conflict between Malaysia and other nations. Overriding all these possibilities is the common threat from Communist China - and that is a threat which Malaysia shares in common with Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia. With the exception of the first and the last two possibilities and to-day's statement, the present arrangements do not say what Australia would do, or how our troops would be involved in such events. And as far as the last is concerned - the containment of communism - the present unsatisfactory arrangements with Malaya prevent our troops in Malaya from playing their proper part in Seato. Malaya has refused to become a member of Seato, and Australian troops in Malaya cannot be directly deployed in Seato activities. We have no secure tenure of authority or control over the best airfield and base we have built in Malaya - at Butterworth. If any member on the Government side says that is nonsense, let him ask the Minister for External Affairs for a statement of the facts. That is the absolute truth. Is it the Government's attitude that Australia need make no special arrangements directly with Malaysia because we are included in arrangements between Malaysia and the United Kingdom? This seemed to be the real purport of to-day's statement. If this is the Government's attitude - and I think it is - then I reject it on behalf of the Opposition. We do not accept the proposition that Britain can make arrangements on our behalf in any part of the world, without our direct approval and complete participation. We claim that right both as an independent nation and as a full, free and equal member of the Commonwealth of Nations. If our involvement with the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve is to remain the sole basis of our association, then the Labour Party says, quite bluntly, it is not" good enough. Britain has special responsibilities with regard to Malaysia. She has taken a leading part in the creation of the new state. It is composed of four former British colonies. For Britain, Malaysia is a bridge across which she can disengage politically from her old colonial responsibilities in the new area. Australia's position is quite different. Though we have supported Malaysia, we have not taken a leading role in its creation. We are not a colonial power and have never had any part, nor wanted any part, in the government of any of the newly federated States of Malaysia. Above all, Malaysia represents to us a new nation in the area where our destiny lies. The Deputy Prime Minister said in the House on Thursday that Australia would give Britain every aid that Britain would undoubtedly give Australia. As a general statement of policy and sentiment, my colleagues and I agree completely. But I do suggest that it is neither helpful, nor particularly relevant, to see this problem through British eyes, or in terms of Britain's interests alone. We are not really faced with a question of whether or not we support Britain. Of course we do; but the real question is whether or not we support Malaysia. Indeed, the chief obstacle which the Tunku has met with in recent months has been the conviction on the part of Indonesia and the Philippines that Malaysia represents a form of neocolonialism. Our job is to help dispel that belief. The chief object of British policy has been to demonstrate that Malaysia is a genuine attempt at orderly de-colonisation. Our job is to assist Britain to achieve that object. This then is another reason why our future obligations must be clearly, publicly, and independently stated. I hope the Government has not forgotten the lesson it should have learnt from the late John Curtin. **Mr. Curtin** stood for the principle that no matter how closely our larger interests coincided with those of the United Kingdom, no matter how essential co-operation between the United Kingdom Government and the Australian Government might be, Australia must insist at all times on making her own decisions with regard to diplomatic policy, and the deployment of troops in the Asian hemisphere, or anywhere else outside Australia. If John Curtin stood for anything, he stood for that principle; and the victory of our armed forces and the maintenance of the inviolability of our soil during the war against Japan was the triumphant vindication of that principle. Further, let me re-emphazise that we owe it to our neighbours to be clear and precise in our commitments and intentions. We have the firmest desire to maintain the friendliest relations with Indonesia and the Philippines. I hope they share that desire. The basis of friendship is mutual trust. The existence of trust depends upon the avoidance of suspicion, and the things which might give rise to suspicion. Unless all our treaty arrangements are made clear and public, it is inevitable that suspicion will arise. Friendship and honor alike require that our intentions should be made clear beyond doubt, and beyond room for misrepresentation and misunderstanding. It is, unfortunately, the case that Malaysia was born in an atmosphere of hostility and suspicion. It is our clear interest and duty to do all in our power to dispel that hostility and suspicion. Vague military arrange ments, unratified by Parliament, misunderstood by other governments, will have the reverse effect. Surely the Government has learnt its lesson in West New Guinea. Surely we do not contemplate a repetition of that shameful episode. In that case, we misled the Netherlands and confused Indonesia. Both had cause to be doubtful of our attitude, and in the end both grew contemptuous of our ambiguity. I have said that we owe it to our neighbours to clarify our intentions by means of open treaty. Let it not be forgotten that we owe it also to our allies - the allies with which we have mutual commitments by virtue of the very type of treaty which we on this side of the House advocate. It may be noted in passing that one of our treaty allies - under Seato - is the Philippines, undoubtedly an interested party in the present dispute with Malaysia. Another ally under Seato is Thailand, Malaya's immediate neighbour. The keystones of Australia's foreign policy are two open, clear and public treaties - Anzus and Seato. If it is possible to formulate treaties with our fellow members of the Commonwealth, Britain and New Zealand, and with our most powerful friend, the United States, why is it not possible to formulate such a treaty with another member of the Commonwealth, Malaysia. But, if it is argued that such a treaty is not needed with a fellow member of the Commonwealth, then why are treaties necessary with our closest, oldest Commonwealth fellow-members and our greatest allies, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States? Indeed, when it suits his purpose, the Prime Minister has shown no reluctance to conclude formal treaties, ratified by Parliament. It is only six months since he introduced into this House a treaty relating to the North-West Cape base, although at the same time he pointed out that there was no constitutional necessity to do so. On March 26 he enunciated this principle - >When the details have been worked out and this matter, which is most important from the point of view of the United States of America, the Allied point of view and our own point of view, can be put in hand we propose, jo that there may be no doubt outside about the validity of what we are doing, to annex the agreement in ils full and final terms to a bill and to invite the Parliament to ratify it. Let me repeat those words - " so that there may be no doubt outside about the validity of what we are doing " - and by " outside " he clearly meant our allies and our neighbours. The course that the Prime Minister took with regard to the naval communication centre was perfectly correct. It would be equally correct, but far more necessary, in the case of any commitment in Malaysia. If this argument is not accepted, then the Government is committed to the curious proposition that we must trust Malaysia more, and they must take us on trust more, than the United States trusts us, or we them. The Prime Minister made the remarkable statement to-day that " it has not been the usual practice of Commonwealth countries to spell out in detail their sense of mutual obligations ", yet have we not done so with Britain in the case of Woomera? Have we not done so with New Zealand in the case of Anzus, and with New Zealand, Britain and Pakistan in the case of Seato? Most strikingly of all, in the very statement in which the Prime Minister made this assertion, he pointed to a detailed agreement between two Commonwealth countries, namely Britain and Malaysia itself. And yet, presumably to forestall our demand for a formal treaty, the Prime Minister condemned the practice of making treaties between members of the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister said to-day that the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve was " relevant to the functions of Seato ". This is special pleading, for the reserve could not be used for Seato purposes under the 1957 United Kingdom-Malaya Agreement and can now only be used for Seato purposes under the 1963 United Kingdom-Malaysia Agreement in Singapore. Australia's Army base at Malacca and R.A.A.F. base at Butterworth can still not be used for Seato purposes. In fact neither agreement gives Australia the right to maintain bases anywhere in Malaysia, and, indeed, the 1963 agreement gives Australia no rights. It sets out the rights of Britain. It sets out the obligations of Britain. It sets out the rights of Malaysia. It sets out the obligations of Malaysia. But where does Australia come in? We have rights under Anzus and Seato but not under the United Kingdom-Malaysia Agreement. We undertake obligations under Anzus and Seato, but not under this agreement. Above all, we owe it to our own people, and in particular, our fighting men to declare our intentions specifically and openly. In the final analysis, we, here, are dealing with men's lives. It is true that our troops now in Malaya are volunteers. But they have volunteered for the service of their country and their country owes it to them to say unmistakably what it expects of them. The conditions under which they might be called upon to fight cannot be left to the discretion of the Malaysian Government, or the decision of the British command. They are our men, and those who constitute the membership of the National Parliament alone have the right, the responsibility and the duty to determine when, where and how they shall be used. The Australian Labour Party will never call on any Australian to shed his blood without telling him, without the least equivocation, why we ask him to make the sacrifice. Labour governments have mobilized Australia's armies in two world wars. The people trusted us because we trusted the people. It was on the basis of frankness and trust that we were able to lead the people. We do not intend to depart from that principle now, or ever. {: #subdebate-33-1-s2 .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN:
Minister for Trade · Murray · CP .- The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** has said in crystal clear terms that Labour supports the concept of Malaysia; that Labour welcomes its creation. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Wait till we rig the boundaries! {: #subdebate-33-1-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Lalor will restrain himself. {: .speaker-009MB} ##### Mr McEWEN: -- It does not sound as though the Australian Labour Party is very serious about this problem, does it? I am not going to try to shout honorable members opposite down. I was about to approve of the speech of the leader of the Labour Party, if his supporters had permitted me to do so. As I have said, he made it crystal clear that Labour supports the concept of Malaysia - to use his own words. He welcomed the creation of the new state. He said that Malaysia is an experiment; an attempt to secure economic and political stability in this area. For Britain, he said, it represents an attempt to enable colonies to achieve a viable and independent existence. He reminded us that the Secretary-General of the United Nations had, after investigation, satisfied himself that the majority of the people of Sarawak and North Borneo wanted to join Malaysia. He said that all this weighed heavily with the Labour Party and that we should stand by the verdict of those who made the investigation on behalf of the United Nations. Clearly, in the critical points of his declaration of Labour's attitude he was, I am happy to say, taking exactly the same line as the Government takes. This is very good for Australia and good for the new state of Malaysia. Indeed, it was that very attitude on the part of the Government that led the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** to utter these critical words in the House to-day- >I inform the House that we are resolved, and have so informed the Government of Malaysia, and the Governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand and others concerned that if, in the circumstances that now exist, there occurs, in relation to Malaysia or any of its constituent states, armed invasion or subversive activity - supported or directed or inspired from outside Malaysia - we shall to the best of our powers and by such means as shall be agreed upon with the Government of Malaysia, add our military assistance to the efforts of Malaysia and the United Kingdom in the defence of Malaysia's territorial integrity and political independence. We are proud of that declaration and if what the Labour leader said to-night has real substance, then surely the Labour Party itself must subscribe to it. Lest there be any doubt that I am confusing the issue, I immediately attract attention to the fact that no word that the Leader of the Opposition has specifically uttered detaches him from this declaration by the Government. He certainly confused the issue a little later on, but we are, up to this point, in line. He reminded us, as we are well aware, that there is now a new and free state which has been formed under the scrutiny of the United Nations and that, therefore, the United Nations should assume some responsibility for preserving the integrity of this state. Against that background, the Leader of the Opposition then says that the question for Australians is the extent of our direct commitment to the new State and how it is to be regulated. Having posed that question he then proceeds to a thoroughly confusing analysis of why Australian troops were, and are, in Malaya whereas in fact, the reason why our troops were there has been crystal clear at all times. Have the Leader of the Opposition and the Labour Party forgotten the great Seato alliance that was formed in 1954 and that those who were parties to that alliance assumed some military obligations? Have they forgotten that the Commonwealth countries proceeded immediately to equip themselves to discharge their obligations by arranging the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve, as was done in 1955, the year after the establishment of Seato? That strategic reserve was posted in Malaya. Every one knows that was our contribution towards the security of South-East Asia. That is the reason why our troops were put there, and all of them were proud to be able to make an invaluable contribution in dealing with Communist terrorist activities in Malaya. But to deal with the Communist terrorists was not the primary reason for their being posted in Malaya. The whole nation, and others interested, knew that perfectly well; but it was a relevant and invaluable contribution to the main objective of withstanding the southern penetration of the Communists. Against that background of clear knowledge, it does not do credit to the Labour Party that the Leader of the Opposition should attempt to misrepresent what the Prime Minister has said. He quoted the Prime Minister as saying, when dealing with our troops in the strategic reserve - >The Government of the Federation continues to be faced by a campaign of armed Communist terrorism within its borders. It has accordingly requested the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to continue to make their forces available for use in emergency operations against the terrorists. Australia has been glad to join with the United Kingdom and New Zealand in agreeing to this request, which, I repeat, is for the sole purpose of continuing the campaign against armed Communist terrorism. That was the sole purpose of the request; but the Leader of the Opposition attempts to present it as the sole purpose of the presence of our troops there. That is completely wrong. It is a very unhappy misrepresentation of what the Prime Minister has said, and what the Prime Minister has made crystal clear. It is interesting to note that in attempting to confuse the issue by departing down a very questionable side alley, the Leader of the Opposition lead himself into the unhappy situation of having to remind the House and the country that it was in these circumstances that the Labour Party evolved a policy of withdrawing our troops and bringing them home. At that moment, that was the Labour Party's contribution to withstanding the southern penetration of Communists in this area which is so vital to the security of our own country. To clear the record, I point out that he reminds us again that that unhappy decision of policy on the part of the Labour Party to call our troops home has since been repealed. All I say is that if there is confusion in any one's thinking, or in any one's policy - if there is confusion in the capacity of onlookers to comprehend what goes on - that confusion is all on the opposite side of the House. Again to put the record straight, I point out that the Leader of the Opposition makes it quite clear to-night that the Labour Party is not now advocating the withdrawal of Australian troops from Malaysia. We are happy to accept Labour's present decision and to forget Labour's earlier unhappy attitude on this critical matter. On this great issue, and at this very difficult period, Australia needs a truly bi-partison policy as she has never needed one before, and I hope that, notwithstanding its unhappy ingredients here and there, the speech of the Leader of the Opposition to-night is basically the revelation of a bi-partisan policy in Australia with respect to this matter. When the Leader of the Opposition was speculating in his speech on possible problems touching the security of Malaysia, he said - >Overriding all these possibilities is the common threat from Communist China, and that is a threat Malaysia shares in common with Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia. We agree entirely with that. Overriding it all is the threat from Communist China to us, to Malaysia and to our Philippine friends. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition is here recounting the explicit reason why our troops were posted in Malaya in the first place and why they have been retained there as part of the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. That is why we have entered into commitments under the Seato pact. It is why we have a vital association with the United States of America in this area. That was the reason why the troops were posted there and it is a reason why they are there to-day. A new reason that emerges is our willingness to protect the territorial and political integrity and independence of the new State of Malaysia. The Leader of the Opposition said that his party recognizes that this is a reason, and he approves now of our troops remaining there as a protection against '."hat threat from the Communists. To clear up the point that he has raised in a confusing manner, it has been, as all the world knows, a cardinal point of the policy of Australian governments, from whichever side of Che House they have been drawn - and it is certainly a cardinal point of the policy of this Government - that the control of Australian forces when overseas shall never pass out of the authority of the Australian Government. The Leader of the Opposition said - >We are not really faced with the question of whether or not we support Britain. Of course, we do. He said - >But the real question is whether or not we support Malaysia. I did not think it was the real question; I thought it was clear on our part, and I had hoped that it was clear on his side of the House. But, if these two things are separable, then we make it clear that we undoubtedly support Britain as she undoubtedly supports Australia. The Prime Minister's declaration to-day has surely passed beyond any question of whether or not we support Malaysia. The principal theme of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition seemed to be that our position in respect of Malaysia should be covered by a treaty, and it appears that the sharpness of his criticism lies in the fact that we have no treaty with Malaysia. Surely that argument is too shallow to hold water. The Leader of the Opposition agrees with the Government that the independence and integrity of Malaysia must be preserved; he agrees with the Government that Australia is vitally interested in this area; he agrees that there should be an Australian alliance with Malaysia; he agrees that there should be an Australian alliance with the United Kingdom; he agrees that there should be an Australian alliance with Seato; he agrees that there should be an Australian alliance with the United States of America through Anzus; and now he agrees that Australian troops should be posted in Malaysia. Up to this point all that he has said has confirmed the policies and acts of the Government; but if we take his words literally, then all these declarations of policy and attitude are negated by his complaint that we have not a treaty with Malaysia. He would like, to use his most curious words, a treaty with Malaysia, mutual for preference. But Malaysia is only ten days old. He would withdraw the substance of all he says he believes in because we have not a treaty with a country ten days old, a country that has been tormented with trouble since it was established. Does the Leader of the Opposition seriously suggest that we should have negotiated, concluded and published a treaty with a country ten days old? All the world knows that it has been a characteristic of the British Commonwealth and is a characteristic of the new Commonwealth of Nations that we do not require of each other documents of mutual obligation. When the Leader of the Opposition sought to show that this attitude is negated by the existence of a whole series of treaties between Commonwealth countries, what did he recount? He mentioned the Seato treaty, in which foreign countries are involved; the Anzus treaty, in which foreign countries are involved; and the agreement related to the communications centre in the north-west of Western Australia, in which a foreign country is involved. This is an entirely confusing and misleading declaration. The single instance that he gave of a treaty between two Commonwealth countries was the treaty of the United Kingdom with Malaya and the treaty of the United Kingdom with Malaysia. The United Kingdom, a colonial power, was setting out a declaration of guarantee for colonists to be made free. This is the same sort of thing as is represented by the Constitution of Australia. It was needed by colonists, not numerous and not powerful in military strength. They were given their freedom. What is more natural than that the parent country should enter into a treaty of obligation to make it crystal clear that, having set them free, she would see to it that they remained free? That does not confuse the general principle in which we believe, that as between Commonwealth countries there is a degree of mutual respect, trust and comprehension that we will stand by each other. We do not need signed documents to make clear that we intend to adhere to our word. I do not find myself happy to-night to be in criticism of the Australian Labour Party on this issue. I would have much preferred the Leader of the Opposition to conclude his speech, which he opened very correctly, by making clear to all Australians and to all our friends and those who are not our friends overseas that, as far as Australia's internal security and relations with other Commonwealth countries are concerned, there is one Australian policy. {: #subdebate-33-1-s4 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Bonython .- We are glad to have from the Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr. McEwen)** his firm approval of the statement made to-night by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** However, we do not need the encomiums of the Deputy Prime Minister, for the record of the Australian Labour Party in providing for the defence of this country speaks for itself and is in striking contrast with the record of those who sit opposite. I am sure I speak for all Opposition members when I say that we appreciate and warmly approve of the statement made to-night by the Leader of the Opposition. I believe that it expresses the sentiments of the Australian people and that we will find approbation of it whenever we have the opportunity to test the Australian electorate on this question. The absence of the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** at a time when the major issues of Malaysia and the future of international relations in SouthEast Asia are under review is most regrettable. Surely his departure for the United Nations General Assembly could have been delayed for one day so that he could have been present in this House and made the report on this subject. He is the Minister who has had immediate contact with all of the people concerned in this situation. He could have advised us directly and answered questions pertinent to the matter of peace in this part of South-East Asia. His first duty is to this Parliament. The Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** made a brief statement to-day. Let us hope that in the near future another statement will be made to the House by the Prime Minister or the Minister for External Affairs when, I hope, the climate of international relations will not be clouded with tension or ill will. I believe that the House to-day was entitled to a more detailed statement than it received, but evidently the absence of the Minister for External Affairs has precluded a more detailed statement being made. It is regrettable that, when considering a matter of such import, the Parliament cannot be officially informed of the events that have led to such disturbed relations in South-East Asia. It is a matter for gratification that Malaya, the State of Singapore and the former colonies of Sarawak and North Borneo have been united into a federation. It means more than just a political union, important as that surely is. It unites three distinct national groups - the Malayans, and the Chinese and Indian residents in those countries - and makes them a composite entity. This is a definite step forward in inter-racial relations. This union of peoples is a great achievement. It is a matter for appreciative acknowledgement that they are to be associated with this country and other member countries of the Commonwealth. As the Leader of the Opposition has already said, our congratulations and best wishes are extended to these people in their newly constituted nationhood. I wish to emphasize two aspects. First, the Federation of Malaysia was achieved by constitutional procedures, and secondly, the basis of government is to be democratic - that is, it is to be based on the popular will as expressed by the ballot of the people. The forms of parliamentary government as known to us are to be the method of government in Malaysia. This is very satisfying to those who ardently support democratic institutions. There is, however, another aspect associated with the advent of the Federation of Malaysia. It provides a new status, especially for Sarawak and North Borneo, for it terminates the old colonial system in those areas and permits a local autonomy. This new Federation of Malaysia should be able to establish with Australia the kind of mutual relationship that we have with New Zealand, our nearest neighbour in the Commonwealth of Nations. In many aspects of trade and mutual aid there can be reciprocal advantage. The new federation accomplishes another vital objective in securing to its people the right of self-determination. Any small nation or state is vulnerable at this time to acquisition by powerful neighbour nations that are ever seeking to expand their influence and power. Efforts at expansion often are paraded as attempts to liberate people from neo-colonialism, but they really are adventures in appropriation. The United Kingdom Government has wisely forestalled the use of any such justification - if ever it could be regarded as justification - of trespass by one nation into territory beyond its own frontiers. Of course, there are those who, for their own reasons, may still seek to declare that colonialism exists. But this proposition is a falsity, as the future course of events will prove. Surely this is a matter on which the peoples of the countries of the Federation of Malaysia alone are the best judge. Now I come to the deterioration of relations between Indonesia and Malaysia and the even more serious matter of the deterioration of relations between Indonesia and Great Britain. It is a matter of grave concern to Australia that such circumstances arise in relations between neighbours in this area and that national tempers rise to such a degree as to cause violent action to be taken. Having occupied the high and responsible office of an ambassador, I know much of the protocol and the immunities that are vouchsafed in the exchange of diplomatic representatives. Even in the most grave and serious of the tensions that have occurred in the past, rarely has there occurred an incident that has abrogated or denied the normal protocol and immunities. Even with a declaration of war imminent, the safety of personnel and property has been guaranteed. Circumstances are serious indeed when flouting of the normal immunities is allowed without intervention by security forces. No one can justify such unrestrained actions by any country or community that claims to be worthy of respect and goodwill. I personally view the present attitude and actions of Indonesia with considerable concern, for I was one of those who exercised good offices with the State Department of the United States of America and at the United Nations to bring about Indonesian independence. At the time when Indonesia was seeking independence, many believed that the opportunity to exercise self-government would bring the Indonesians to apply themselves earnestly to the task of building their nation and establishing their nationhood with the best of intentions to preserve peace and maintain goodwill. Many envisaged also an increasing incentive for the Indonesians to stabilize their own domestic economy and to raise the standard of living of their people. The contributions made under the Colombo Plan have shown the desire of Australia and other countries to assist in promoting the well-ordered development and peaceful pursuits of Indonesia. I say, also, that 1 deplore the hostile demonstrations that have occurred in the Malaysian capital. Such incidents can only inflame the minds of other peoples. No good purpose is served by such ill-considered and irrational conduct. I should like to make a few observations about the efforts by the Malysian Prime Minister to achieve some accord with both Indonesia and the Philippines. His willingness to attend two summit conferences in Tokyo and Manila, and his agreement to submit certain matters to examination by the United Nations and to defer the date of proclaiming the new federation constitute an impressive gesture of good faith and are evidence of a wish to be on friendly terms with neighbouring nations. Malaysia has no military strength of its own to make it a threat to any one. This brings me to Australia's commitment to Malaysia. I believe most strongly that if we are to have any part in defending this area of the world, our role should be laid down clearly in a public treaty, as has already been stated by the Leader of the Opposition in the excellent speech that he made to-night. That is what is demanded by other nations that have responsibilities of this kind. We in this country, along with the United States and New Zealand, have clearly stated in a publicly-known treaty our mutual commitments to one another's defence. That treaty has been approved by the parliaments here and in New Zealand and by the Congress of the United States. In that treaty, we have committed ourselves to firm and definite action if acts of aggression arc ever threatened or attempted against any of the signatories. Is Australia, as a fellow member of the Commonwealth of Nations, to have in relation to Malaysia a code of committal different from that which we have in relation to New Zealand? Our commitment to New Zealand is firmly declared in a treaty made public and endorsed by this Parliament. Let us have matters of this kind in relation to Malaysia put into some regular form. A letter may carry all the implications of committal, but is it really fair to the Australian community to allow one man or even several men to commit this nation to a course so grave and perhaps so full of sacrifice without the knowledge and consent of the Parliament? The people will demand to know the exact terms of our commitment, and any undertaking should be implemented in some regular form by the Parliament. The United States requires this to be done if it is to be committed. I see no reason why the requirement set torth in the declared policy of the Australian Labour Party should not stand also in the name of the Australian people. This is the way in which we have committed ourselves in the wider sphere of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. Let us recognize that any commitment to Malaysia may have far-reaching obligations and consequences. The Australian nation has a right to know the exact nature of those obligations and likely consequences. This may be a time also when the good offices of mediation would be appropriate. Australia is in a unique position to exercise a restraining influence, and we must not miss the opportunity to seek to restrain and curb any belligerency, no matter from whom it comes, and any action that would disturb the peace of this area of the world. It would be interesting to know whether the Government has considered having the situation reviewed at the United Nations General Assembly now meeting in New York. The United Nations, as an international authority, cannot be indifferent to these happenings that we are discussing, since a party delegated by that body has verified the wishes of the people concerned. Australia is a country with peaceful intentions and goodwill to all men. Australians are realists however, and they deprecate actions that disturb peaceful human relations. The Australian nation is not without memories of the grievous consequences suffered by victims of aggression, but we would not allow these memories to prejudice our vision of a world of higher purpose. I conclude my remarks by quoting the concluding sentences of the speech made earlier by the Leader of the Opposition, for I believe that they are worthy of repetition and embodiment again in the records of this Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition said - >Above all, we owe it to our own people, and in particular, our fighting mcn to declare our intentions specifically and openly. In the final analysis, wc, here, are dealing with men's lives. It is true that our troops now in Malaya are volunteers. But they have volunteered for the service of their country, and their country owes it to them to say unmistakably what it expects of them. The conditions under which they might be called upon to fight cannot be left to the discretion of the Malaysian Government or the decision of the British command. They are our men and those who constitute the membership of the National Parliament alone have the right, the responsibility and the duty to determine when, where and how they shall be used. The Australian Labour Party will never call on any Australian to shed his blood without telling htm without the least equivocation1 why we ask him to make the sacrifice. Labour Governments have mobilized Australia's armies in two world wars. The people trusted us because we trusted the people. It was on the basis of frankness and trust that we were able to lead the people. We do not intend to depart from that principle now or ever. {: #subdebate-33-1-s5 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK:
Minister for Territories · Curtin · LP -- The honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin),** who enjoys wide respect in this House both because of his seniority and the benignity of his nature has, I think, deplored the deplorable in a most commendable way. He has also supported his own leader. But with all the respect duc to him and to his international experience, I question whether he has added more to the situation than his leader put before us. So in my few remarks I will return to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** It seemed to me that the speech of the Leader of the Opposition showed a far greater interest in escap ing from the present into the past and into the dimness and confusions of the past than in facing up to the realities of the present. One point which I suggest the House has to realize is that we are not at this moment dealing with a theoretical situation. We are not dealing with a general discussion on international affairs and what is proper in international conduct. We are dealing with an existing situation which at this moment is imperilling the future of the newly born Malaysia. Before I proceed to put forward my ideas on that particular situation I want to make passing reference to the way in which the Leader of the Opposition presented his views in respect of Malaysia and linked his views with the conclusion of a treaty - a treaty in respect of which his references were rather vague. The Leader of the Opposition did not come out in a clear and forthright way and say that he supported the Government. He said in effect that he did not oppose the Government. He refrained from contradicting the Government. He did not come out at any stage and say, " The Labour Party is solidly behind the Government in its support of Malaysia in its extremity ". Then, having left the position of the Labour Party rather unclear by refraining from opposing the Government, he linked that rather vague support to some references to the need to conclude a treaty. He said, " There must be a treaty; it must be a clear and public treaty ". He even went so far as to refer to it as a mutual treaty, which seems to me to be a contradiction in terms, for I doubt whether there can be such a thing as a unilateral contract, and a treaty is, of course, some form of contract between two parties. I do not want to dwell on what seems to me to be the fatuousness of the honorable gentleman's remarks about a treaty. I say his remarks were fatuous because here we have a situation in which the newly born State of Malaysia is imperilled and the Leader of the Opposition says, "Yes, we will not refrain from backing up the Government in supporting Malaysia, but we will not give our support unless there is a treaty ". I would like to ask the Opposition a few questions about those references to a treaty. They are questions that were not answered by the Leader of the Opposition. I would like to ask, first, to what extent is the Opposition's support qualified. If the Opposition cannot get a treaty, does it retreat from the position that it has declared to-night? Is the attitude that the Opposition has declared to-night and the measure of support that it has given contingent on the conclusion of a treaty? Will it withdraw its support if it does not get this treaty? Above all, what will the Opposition put into this treaty? What are the conditions which the Opposition has not yet revealed but which it regards as so important that without that price being paid for its support, it will not give it? I wonder whether there may be some difference of opinion within the Labour Party as to what should go into this treaty. I wonder whether there has been some argument in the Labour Party about what should go into the treaty. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- Do you want an answer? {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -- I would like an answer. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr Beazley: -- The answer is, " No ". {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -- The honorable member for Fremantle tells me that there has been no argument in the Labour Party about what should go into this treaty. His statement reveals the Opposition's suggestion that there should be a treaty as even more fatuous than I described it earlier. The Opposition insists on having a treaty without even knowing or arguing about what should go into it. The Labour Party says, " We will not oppose, but there must be a treaty ". The Labour Party has not disclosed to the people of Australia or to the world at large what it thinks should go into the treaty. The two speakers from the Opposition made some remarks about the necessity for control over our troops. Control exists at present without the necessity for any treaty to be concluded with Malaysia or any other power. But I am sure that the people of Australia will be asking what the Labour Party means when it speaks of qualified support contingent upon the conclusion of a treaty. Is this an escape clause? Is it a sop to those members of the Labour Party who otherwise would not have gone as far as the Leader of the Opposition wished them to go? These are the questions which anybody analysing the speech of the Leader of the Opposition must be prepared to ask. I turn from that to what seems to me to be the real core of the matter, and that is the existing situation of Malaysia. What is happening in Malaysia to-day - the anxieties in Malaysia and the dangers that confront Malaysia - are facts. They are facts with which we must grapple. They are facts in which we in Australia are vitally interested. In the first remarks that I make on my own account I should like to try to set out clearly what seem to me to be the reasons not only why the Government of Australia but also, I believe, the majority of the people of Australia see the fate of Malaysia as being very much their concern. The first point is that Malaysia was created by a democratic and constitutional process. That democratic and constitutional process has been made freshly evident in the last few days first by the report of the United Nations SecretaryGeneral after the examination of the situation in North Borneo and Sarawak and more recently by the results of the free elections in Singapore, which clearly show that the majority of the people of Singapore endorse the action of their Prime Minister in joining with the federation. So Malaysia was created by democratic and constitutional process. Because it was so created and not brought into existence by force of arms, intimidation or threat, we in Australia will want to see it survive. We will wish it luck and will be ready to support it. The second reason is that Malaysia has come into existence as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and we in Australia value our association with other member nations. We value in particular the ancient alliances we have had in many times of trouble, and we value also our common store of ideals and traditions. Those ideas about what is proper conduct between nations and what are the proper responsibilities of nations towards each other are to-day perhaps the strongest bonds that bind us. So because Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth we feel more than the passing interest we would feel if it were not. Coming closer to our national interest, Malaysia is worth something to Australia. The stability and the prosperity of Malaysia are important to us. We live, we trade and we prosper in this region of the world, and the stability and the prosperity of every one of our near neighbours vitally affect our own stability and prosperity. So we want to see a stable and a prosperous Malaysia just as we wish to see stability and prosperity in other countries around us. The security of Malaysia undoubtedly must add to the security of the whole of the region in which we live, just as the insecurity of Malaysia must add to the insecurity of the whole of the region in which we live. Any threat from anywhere to the peace of this region is a threat to ourselves. Although these things may not interest or concern the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Cairns),** who is interjecting, I believe that, though rather axiomatic, they are the things in which the people of Australia are mainly interested and the things on which the declaration by the Government of Australia is based. I believe they support the Government. The final set of circumstances to which I wish to refer is that this issue of Malaysia is important to us because in giving support to the survival of Malaysia we are maintaining respect for the choice of a free people and respect for a democratic and constitutional process. In addition, we are resisting methods of intimidation, negotiation by threat, and diplomacy by abuse; we are resisting methods of infiltration and subversion, and we are maintaining the political and territorial integrity of nations against whom aggression may rise in any form. Those are things which I believe the people of Australia value and which they would wish to support. In giving our support to Malaysia in the clear terms of the declaration made by the Prime Minister this afternoon, we hope that we will hearten the people of Malaysia, we hope that we will hearten those others who support them and we hope that we will strengthen the resolution of all those who try to ensure that the principles which we value are applied day by day, month by month and year by year in the conduct of international relations. It is because the situation seems so clear to all of us on this side of the House and, I believe, to the people of Australia, that, whilst we welcome the indication from the Opposition that it does not differ fundamentally from what the Government has said by way of support of Malaysia, we wish that the declaration by the Opposition had been given in more forthright and less equivocal terms than those in which it has been given. We wish, and I am sure the people of Australia wish, that the Opposition would not talk in the rather wordy way in which the Leader of the Opposition traversed the ground and avoided most of the corners, but that it would talk in a forthright, plain and simple way. There is not a great deal to be said in this situation. All that is required are what side we are on and, being on that side, simple words that mean: " Yes. We know we will use all our efforts to support it." {: #subdebate-33-1-s6 .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY:
Fremantle .- We are not dealing with a question for a potential election. We are dealing with a question for a potential war, and the discussion in this Parliament to-night should proceed on that basis. For the life of me, I cannot understand why a responsible Minister of the Crown should want to quibble about what he regarded as the misuse of the word " mutual ". The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** made perfectly clear what he meant by mutual obligations. He said that Malaysia had assumed no obligations towards Seato and that Australia, functioning within Seato, could find that Malaysian territory was denied to Australian forces. {: .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon: -- That is nonsense. That is utterly wrong. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY: -- If I am wrong you can refute me. That is the meaning of the statement of the Leader of the Opposition. You do not answer that statement by bellowing. Our relations with Indonesia have been the graveyard of the reputations of Ministers for External Affairs - Spender, who gave guarantees about West Irian and whose words were flung to scorn, Casey, and now the Minister whom the Government has run out of the country. The Government sounds uncertain trumpet calls and asks us to follow it. But which line shall we follow - the Barwick line or the Menzies line? With the utmost goodwill in the world, we say that the trumpet has given out very uncertain sounds over the last three months. There is clarity in the policy which was enunciated to-day, but not in those enunciated before to-day. If men are to be committed to fight, they need a Parliament behind them which is not wrangling. I am not interested in attacking the Government on this. The argument that obligations should be clear and precise needs to be answered by analysis. It should not be shouted down. Secondly, we must face the fact that if Indonesia intends to mount a full-scale offensive against Malaysia, the whole of the armed forces of Australia, let alone the few men in Malaysia, will seem very small indeed. If there is any restraining influence in the new declaration of Australian foreign policy on this matter, it is because the armed forces of the United Kingdom will be able to use Australian territory, not because the armed forces of Australia, especially the segment in Malaysia, could be called a powerful army. Thirdly, Indonesia's purpose appears to be to eliminate Western influence in SouthEast Asia. Indonesia's illusion is that if Western influence is eliminated it will be replaced by Indonesian influence. It will not. It will be replaced by Chinese influence. We must face the fact also that many Asian powers do not think as we do. They did not adopt the same attitude as we did to West Irian. For instance, India said, "This is a case of Asians returning to Asia ", whereas the Africans said, " This is a case of black men like ourselves being handed over to Asian imperialism ". Then we have the curious attitude of the Philippines in this present crisis. We ask the Government one or two questions. First, is Indonesia's confrontation of Malaysia - I use the Indonesian word "confrontation ", which is a new word for " threats towards " - to be submitted to the United Nations as a threat to world peace? I believe that it should be submitted to the United Nations as a threat to world peace, and that it should be submitted to the United Nations by the Australian Government. The mission of the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** to New York will have significance if that is his intention. If that is not his intention, he is merely going to the ordinary proceedings of the United Nations and he is moving from a position of relevance here to one of irrelevance in New York. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- You have not much faith in the United Nations. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY: -- Did you say that we have not much faith in it? {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- Yes. You talk about its irrelevance. {: .speaker-JF7} ##### Mr BEAZLEY: -- The United Nations is made relevant if it is called upon to make decisions on this situation; but if these are ordinary procedural affairs of the United Nations and no one is going to bell the cat of Indonesian threats of aggression, then the proceedings at the United Nations are irrelevant to what to this country has become the most important issue, namely the activities of a neighbour with whom we share a common frontier in New Guinea. The United Nations, in its procedures on this matter so far, has seen to it that the vital principle of self-determination has been carried out. The decision has been verified. What has happened has been a violation by Indonesia of the diplomatic decencies. I invite the Government to consider this: Since the Government says that its position has been very clear and we members of the Opposition ought to have been following it, I say that if its attitude towards Malaysia had been clear the Australian Embassy in Djakarta would now be gutted. Every country which has stood against an Indonesian interest has had its embassy or its consulate attacked. It is precisely because the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** has left his position unclear that the Australian Embassy in Djakarta is intact. The Malayan consulate was attacked. Honorable members will remember that this technique was used earlier when the United States appeared not to be supporting Indonesia's position on West Irian. This is not a new technique in Indonesia policy at all. There are a good many silences in the statement made by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies);** but he was not silent on 14th July of this year when he said that he understood the United States view that the defence of the new federation should be a Commonwealth of Nations responsibility. If the Australian Government has had any discussions with the United States on this matter, I think it would be very good if they were revealed in this House. This back-handed way of saying things appears to me to mean that the United States takes no responsibility for the defence of Malaysia; it says that that is a Commonwealth of Nations matter. One can put the position positively by saying that it is a Commonwealth of Nations matter; but was that statement intended to convey negatively that it is not a United States matter? If that is the view of the United States, it is an attitude with serious implications from our point of view; but it is in conformity with a number of things that have happened in South-East Asia. For instance, in relation to West Irian, the policy of the United States was clearly the liquidation of colonialism - if I may use the terminology that has become common. In respect of the Foot report, the United States wanted to speed changes in our colonial position in relation to Papua and New Guinea. What is the attitude of the United States on this Malaysian question? Those are the kinds of things that we believe the Prime Minister's statement should have made clear to this country. A great many negotiations and a great many discussions go on, and we get no clarity about them, whether they are on the United States naval communication station or on this crisis, until the Prime Minister considers that they might be election material. Then there is a sudden clarification of policy, and some revelations of fact and challenges are hurled across the floor over matters that have been kept quiet for months and months. . This engaging little flash of information as to what is the United States opinion of this situation came in July and has not been repeated; but it is very relevant to this country in making decisions about what we should do. We hark back to March when the Minister for External Affairs gave his blessing to the three-power talks, the intention of which as far as Philippine and Indonesian policy was concerned was clearly to delay and frustrate the establishment of Malaysia. I do not believe that the clarity that the Government feels it has in its policy to-day was apparent then. However, there are a number of things about which I believe we can be confident. We can be confident about the fact that if we have to defend Malaysia we will be defending a free decision to federate. I could wish that the United Kingdom, which now stresses a free decision of the people of Malaysia, had equally stood for a free decision of the people of West Irian. Self-determination was not granted on that occasion. But at least we have the testimony to Malaysian self-determination of U Thant who, in my opinion, had a quite equivocal role earlier over West Irian. On Malaysia he said - >Bearing in mind the fundamental agreement of the three participating governments in the Manila meetings, and the statement by the Republic of Indonesia and the Republic of the Philippines that they would welcome the formation of Malaysia provided that the support of the people of the territories was ascertained by me and that, in my opinion, complete compliance with the principle of self-determination within the requirements of General Assembly resolution 1541 (XV), Principle IX of the Annex, was ensured, my conclusions, based on the findings of the Mission, is that on both of these counts there is no doubt about the wishes of a sizeable majority of the peoples of these territories to join in the Federation of Malaysia. So, insofar as we can say that an effort has been made to get an objective view of the state of opinion in the Federation of Malaysia, the people do desire to unite. In fact, we have had a great negative verification of that in the decision of Brunei not to enter the federation. Soekarno has said a great deal about people being coerced. No one coerced Brunei to enter the federation and it has not entered the federation, although at one stage it was expected that it would. There is no doubt that Indonesia's pressure, even if it stops short of war, is going to be a continuing fact in regard to Malaysia. I think an issue of pride has become involved in this matter. On 9th July - nothing in this crisis is recent - Subandrio, in promising Malaysia a terrible confrontation, to use his word, said - >Malaysia, without Indonesian support, whoever supports it, will still be a question mark. He accused Tunku Abdul Rahman, as Soekarno did, of having broken a promise to conduct a plebiscite. It is very easy to be right in opposition, when watching the conduct of foreign policy; and it is easy to be intolerably selfrighteous when you are in government. The Government says to the Opposition, " What would you do?", when the Opposition as an opposition can do nothing. I do not stand and ridicule what are quite apparently the hesitations of the Minister for External Affairs over the last few months. After all, I still believe that Australia has a fundamental interest in Indonesian unity. We do not wish to see Indonesia break up into chaos. We have no malevolence whatever towards Indonesia in any part of this House. In fact, I believe that there is a very general belief in this Parliament that Indonesia and Australia have the same fundamental interests and that both countries could have their independence destroyed by aggression from the north. We had the same fundamental strategic interests in the Second World War, although Indonesian affairs were then conducted by the Dutch. I do not think that on this matter there is any need for any hostility or bitterness in this House. We are still hopeful that restraining influences will operate on Indonesia. I hope that the restraining influences will be not merely those of the United Kingdom but also those of the United States. It may be that the violent attacks on the embassies have helped to consolidate United States opinion in a way that did not exist before. It certainly appears so when one studies the United States press. We do have a vested interest in getting this matter settled, in mobilizing every restraining influence on Indonesia that can be mobilized. I think the tactics of Idonesia have not been much good from that country's own point of view. There are limits to the tolerance of people who may be persuaded to believe that a kind of diplomatic larrikinism can pay off. We should recognize the fact that these methods of diplomatic larrikinism did pay off in the case of West Irian, and that this is why they are being used again at the present time. But I think it would not be very hard for the Government, if it desires complete parliamentary unity on this question, to proceed to get clarification of the obligations of Australia to Malaysia and vice versa. I quite concede that Malaysia is only ten days old. If you read carefully the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition you will find that he has not said that we want a treaty this minute; he has asked for clarification and precise definition of obligations, and a firm treaty as a matter of future policy. The position of the Australian forces in Malaya, he said, warrants this. But if the Government is serious in believing that this country is committed to the defence of Malaysia, what it should be telling the Australian people - and if it wants to have a restraining influence it should make the statement publicly so that Indonesia will be aware of it - is what forces it has to implement these promises to Malaysia. This is a most relevant point. We have spoken about being practical, and every member of this House knows that if the forces available are those that are now in Malaysia, then they are very small in comparison with the forces in Indonesia. {: #subdebate-33-1-s7 .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr MACKINNON:
Corangamite -- I am sure that all Australians who have had the opportunity of listening to this debate to-night, or who will read reports of it in the newspapers to-morrow will regret deeply that although the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** commenced by expressing the Opposition's support of the establishment of the Malaysian Federation, he then proceeded to give reason after reason why the Opposition does not support it. I believe that most people in Australia agree that on an important subject such as this we should avoid petty party politics and devise a decent bi-partisan policy to give expression to the will of all the people of Australia. Too much of this discussion has been based on the treatyornotreaty proposition. The people of Australia are far more Impressed by notions of friendship and fellowship than they are by this extraordinary suggestion that we should be tied up with legalistic restrictions which would, no doubt, give the lawyers plenty of opportunity to find escape holes should they be required. I am sure the people of Australia are far more concerned with the honesty of purpose and association which underlies the general conception of the Commonwealth of Nations than they are with a lot of legalistic treaties. During this discussion to-night perhaps too little attention has been given to the overall philosophy behind the present situation. The Minister for Territories **(Mr. Hasluck),** I think, touched on this subject to a certain extent, and I propose to give it some attention. We all wish for peace and we believe that peace and progress are the best things for our neighbours to the north. We believe that the security of the Australian mainland and of Papua and New Guinea is dependent to a great extent on the peace and security of our northern neighbours. The progress and evolution of those countries will be based on their ability to produce the kind of economy which will raise living standards and remove the kind of ground which communism finds. so fertile and in which it can grow. We must accept the fact that any step taken to halt such progress in the areas with which we are concerned in this discussion must inevitably hinder the development of a large-scale economic effort in those areas. Furthermore - and this was also mentioned by the Minister for Territories - if these countries are now to be asked for a military effort at a time when they are trying to further their own economic development, this must represent a great hindrance to future progress. This can be illustrated - and I say this with deep regret - by the obsession of Indonesia with military armaments, which undoubtedly has been the main cause of that country's deplorable economic situation. If similar conditions are to be forced on the smaller countries, particularly this new Federation of Malaysia, the possibility of their steady social and economic development must be seriously threatened. Australia more than any other country is directly interested in this problem. We want peace and we want our neighbours to have peaceful conditions in which they can carry out their tasks of development and of raising their living standards. In this atmosphere we must also remember the constant pressures of Chinese Communist expansion in this area, which make so much more necessary a common development policy which, by raising living standards, will remove the ground in which communism grows. Even the most unthinking person, if he has any powers of perception, must be alive to the changes that have been taking place in our immediate sphere of influence and association. Australia dwelt for so long in the sheltered atmosphere of the stabilizing powers of Britain, France and the Nether.lands, which countries were in control of many of the lands to our north. We were aroused from our peaceful sleep when japan in World War II. came close to our shores, after over-running the forces of the European metropolitan powers in the area. Now, with the almost complete withdrawal of those stabilizing influences and the establishment of newly emerged governments in the former colonial territories, we are faced with a completely new set of circumstances, wilh changed values and with unpredictable possibilities. The final withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Borneo dependencies has virtually completed the disengagement of which I have been speaking. The Australian Government, with due consideration for the stability of the new countries that is so essential to Australia"s security, has wisely decided to support the new federation, and it is the extent of this support that we are now considering. The nature of this support must also be considered in the context of our future relations with our neighbours, and this immediately brings us to the problem of the future of Australia's relations with Indonesia, where the events of the last few months, as has been mentioned by the honorable member for Bonython **(Mr. Makin),** have clearly tended to confirm the doubts and misgivings which we had at the height of the West New Guinea dispute, and which have been renewed by the establishment of Indonesian occupation troops in West New Guinea. The geographical fact of becoming a nextdoor neighbour to Indonesia has further emphasized the problem. The reason for Australia's support of the new federation are many. They have been well set out in previous statements and by earlier speakers in this debate. I do not propose to go into them at any length, but there is one feature of the situation which was brought home to me very clearly during a recent brief visit to the area concerned. Malaya has evolved, despite the trials and tribulations of protracted activities against militant Communists, a most dynamic economy supported by an efficient and progressive administration. It can, with the assistance of the wealth and progress of Singapore, provide economic and administrative strength to the Borneo territories which would not be available from any other country in the area. I repeat that it is within the capacity of Malaya, in conjunction with Singapore and the new federation, to provide the economic and administrative effort needed by the rather more backward countries, the Borneo protectorates, for their progress and development. I further believe that it is almost palpable that the deep-down cause of friction between **Dr. Soekarno** and Tunku Abdul Rahman is the realization that the policies of the Government in Malaya have been successful, whereas the economic deterioration of Indonesia is almost unbelievable, especially in view of the richness of the area and the sound position of the national finances some years ago. Indonesian preoccupation with the recovery of the white elephant - West New Guinea - and the expenditure involved in defeating the rebellion of 1956 cannot be real reasons for financial collapse. Similar problems were facing Malaya in its early struggle against communism. Following complete economic irresponsibility, we are now confronted by continuing manifestations of political irresponsibility, of which the events of the last few weeks are unfortunately only too symptomatic. I believe that the Tunku, with the understandable desire to see Malaysia launched on a calm sea - for which I praise him - has done everything humanly possible, even to the extent of leaning over backwards, to placate Indonesia and the Philippines. The indications are that the Philippines will accept the fait accompli, even if with little enthusiasm. But Indonesia appears to remain obsessed with the imaginary feeling of being contained, with hostility directed at the United Kingdom as the alleged instigator of neocolonialism in what it considers to be an Indonesian sphere of influence. This was mentioned by the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley).** With the examples we have already seen of irrational and irresponsible behaviour at the highest level, I believe it is impossible to make an intelligent forecast of what is likely to be Indonesia's next step, but one thing seems abundantly clear. I want to make my position on this quite obvious. What is abundantly clear - it has been explained and accentuated in the statement by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** concerning Australia's attitude towards and its understanding with the United Kingdom and Malaysia - is that we must leave no doubt in Indonesian minds about what national action we will take should Indonesia's present policies lead it into an attack on the new federation, even at the obvious and probable risk of incurring the full blast of hostility which all along has descended on the heads of any nation that expresses opposition to Indonesian demands. I regret having to state these facts, but I believe they must be faced. At the time of the dispute over the observers who were to accompany the recent United Nations mission to Borneo, **Dr. Subandrio** was reported as saying, " We always get what we want ". I believe that all people who are interested in international affairs realize that the time has arrived when, with some imagination and with a full knowledge of the implications, we must stand firm with Britain and Malaysia, even at the risk of an outbreak of hostilities. We must be prepared also to increase substantially the availability of our military forces in any eventuality that may arise. It has often been said in the press and in speeches in this chamber that we in Australia, through the Colombo Plan, have taken an active part in promoting the economic welfare of South-East Asia. We must be prepared now, both mentally and physically, to accept a greater share of military responsibility. Criticism has been levelled at the Government - mainly from Australian sources, and not so much from outside Australia - to the effect that we have for too long relied on the forces of the United States of America and of the United Kingdom for the provision of the military backbone in the area where we are so vitally concerned. The Government's present decision makes our position and intentions unequivocally clear. I believe that it expresses the opinion of the great bulk of the Australian people, who have for some months been more than uneasy about the shape of developments to our north. I remind honorable members that Australia has been directly interested in the defence of Malaya since 1955. The Prime Minister in that year pointed out that in some aspects the defence of Malaya was more important than the defence of some point on the Australian coastline. Since then, the Government has regarded the defence of the countries of South-East Asia as a collective responsibility and a joint effort. Hence our part in Seato, our contribution to the strategic reserve and our Anzus commitment. Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that we undertook an immediate responsibility in Korea. It has already been mentioned that we accepted an involvement in the Commonwealth effort in Malaya, subsequently embodied in our acceptance of the implications of the British-Malayan agreement in 1957. Under this agreement we accepted in general terms a Commonwealth responsibility. I point out that Australia's entry into the British-Malayan agreement was accompanied by distinct reservations about the specific British role in the external defence of Malaya. In other words, we were restricted in our obligation to an internal defensive requirement in line with our other international understandings. I believe that this situation fits in with the general approach to a Commonwealth obligation related to our association with other Commonwealth countries, such as our immediate reaction to the Indo-Sino conflict last year. These obligations are perhaps difficult to define and the eventualities which may occur can never be anticipated, but I believe that I express the thoughts of most Australians when I say that the legalistic drawing up of treaties is not only practically impossible in this world of rapidly changing situations, but also that the attitude of hiding behind some ill-defined or inappropriate treaty clause is foreign to our national character and wishes. In view of the report of the United Nations visiting mission, accepted by the Secretary-General, U Thant, as a reasonable appreciation of the wishes of the people concerned, we must expect to have the weight of world opinion with us when we declare for the maintenance and security of the new Malaysia Federation. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Coutts)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1384 {:#debate-34} ### LOAN (WAR SERVICE LAND SETTLEMENT) BILL 1963 {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 1364). {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr BRIMBLECOMBE:
Maranoa -- Before the suspension of the sitting I was relating to the House some of the reasons why, in my view, the settlement of war veterans in certain areas was a failure. Although the land provided for settlement in certain areas was the best obtainable for that purpose, some of the settlers were wrongly advised on the methods to be adopted in preparing the land and on suitable crops. On some occasions dry conditions caused the failure of crops and at that time bad market conditions were operating. That is all I want to say in regard to that matter, but I wish to return to the subject of my opening remarks. I agree that they are not relevant to the bill before the House, but I made them in reply to certain statements made by the honorable member for Scullin **(Mr. Peters)** on land settlement. I thought it was quite proper that the true position regarding soldier settlement in Queensland, and why it was discontinued so early, should be made known to this House, and the minds of certain honorable members refreshed in regard to the deplorable attitude adopted at that time by the then Labour Government in Queensland. The approach was dishonest and it was not a genuine approach to soldier settlement after World War II. I support the bill and I hope it will be the last measure of this kind that will have to be brought before this House. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON:
Adelaide .- This bill was introduced by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** on 14th August. It sets out to fulfil the obligations and commitments to soldier settlers entered into by the Commonwealth and State Governments under the war service land settlement scheme. I want to speak particularly about the land settlement scheme on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. It was amusing this afternoon to listen to the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes)** praising himself for the great fight he had been waging on behalf of these settlers. It is all the more amusing when we recall that about fifteen months ago many of the soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island sent an S.O.S. to the Australian Labour Party for help because of the inaction of both the Federal and State governments and their failure to recognize the plight of these men. The settlers had received promises; they had received sympathy; but they had received no help. Hence their appeal to the Labour Party a week after the then Minister of Lands in South Australia had said that he was completely satisfied with the way the soldier settlement scheme had gone. This statement by the South Australian Minister followed complaints from some of the settlers on Kangaroo Island. At that stage the honorable member for Barker made no public statement, but after our visit to Kangaroo Island he was the first honorable member in this House to be on his feet at question time to ask about soldier settlement problems. The honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** and I visited Kangaroo Island and addressed a meeting of soldier settlers there. At that meeting we were told of the hardships under which they work. I shall list some of the complaints that were made at that meeting. It was claimed that the development charges, particularly for the first 50 settlers, were too high for economic returns, and that some settlers were heading for financial disaster. This was admitted on all sides. The exservicemen alleged that the high cost of development and the restricted allocation of superphosphate for fertilizing their land was crippling them and preventing them from obtaining the best production that could be obtained from their holdings. To their chagrin they noted that later settlers were given a greater allocation of superphosphate, which would give them some semblance of an economic return. It was also claimed that the capital costs of development were too high, that interest rates were too high, and that repayment rentals were too high. We were told also that the living allowances for working and family expenses were far too low and in many cases worked out at less than the basic wage when all of the items were taken into consideration. Of course, this caused a feeling of frustration and led to a lack of development in this area. Again, these men believed that they were not being fairly treated in that the valuations of their properties were based on the actual cost of development rather than on the economic values of the blocks. The act expressly states that the lesser value shall prevail and of course that would naturally be the economic value of the block and not the cost of developing it. I will give illustrations of some of the costs involved and how they mount up. The average settler on Kangaroo Island buys about 60 tons of superphosphate a year. This costs - I am speaking of last year and I presume the cost is still the same - £12 13s. a ton at the factory. Another £3 17s. a ton is paid to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited and other firms to transport the superphosphate from the factory to the farm. Superphosphate alone costs each of these people £900 a year. So, if the Australian Labour Party had been elected at the last federal election its policy of paying a subsidy of £3 a ton on superphosphate would have benefited each of these soldier settlers to the extent of £180 a year. When we look at the freight charges which are being made by the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited and others we cannot help wondering whether the Liberal Party and the shipping companies and their subsidiaries are not hand in glove in allowing this robbery to continue. Freight on superphosphate costs these people 77s. a ton and transport of a sheep from Kangaroo Island to the abattoirs costs 9s. 9d. Let me quote from a statement rendered by Elder, Smith and Company Limited. A settler sold a total of 90 lambs, for which he received £154 16s., but he had to pay the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, in freight, charges and cartage, no less than £50 lis. 4d. A statement from Goldsbrough Mort and Company Limited shows that another settler sold 540 sheep, for which he received a total of £606, but £284 of this was taken in commission, charges and freight. The charge made for transporting a bale of wool from Kangaroo Island to the wool store is no less than £1 8s. 6d. The average settler pays to the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, for transporting his products from Kangaroo Island to the mainland and for bringing goods from the mainland to Kangaroo Island, no less than £750 a year. In other words, the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited is receiving more each year from each settler than a settler is allowed by this Government and its allies in the South Australian Parliament. But with the money he receives, the settler must house and clothe his wife and family, educate his children and try to attain a reasonable standard of living. Those were the complaints that we heard at the public meeting that we addressed on Kangaroo Island. After a general discussion of the complaints had taken place, a branch of the Australian Labour Party was formed and almost every person present at the meeting waited back to join the A.L.P. Within three days, the Premier of South Australia announced that he had sent the Director of Lands and another highly placed official of the department to Canberra to consult with the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** in an endeavour to do something for the soldier settlers on Kangaroo Island. As I have said, the formation of that branch of the A.L.P. stirred the State Government into action. It also stirred the honorable member for Barker into action because, on the first day of sitting after our visit to Kangaroo Island, and after the formation of a branch of the Australian Labour Party there, he jumped to his feet and received first call at questiontime. Upon receiving the call, he asked the Minister for Primary Industry a leading question about these soldier settlers. The Minister then went out of his way to praise the honorable member for Barker for the representations he had made on behalf of the soldier settlers of Kangaroo Island. If all this was fair dinkum, to use a colloquialism, if the honorable member for Barker had genuinely made representations, why did the soldier-settler members of the A.L.P. branch on Kangaroo Island send out an S.O.S. to the Labour Party seeking help to rectify their grievances and their injustices? Not only did the Minister go out of his way to praise the honorable member for Barker but, in order to make things look better still, he also said he would make a personal visit to Kangaroo Island and talk to the soldier settlers on their properties. Many months later, he visited Kangaroo Island, but it is interesting to record that his visit was arranged by the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, and this precluded any political intervention whatsoever at that particular meeting. Of course, we do not mind the league getting credit for anything that it does, but on this occasion things were done in a very furtive way that created suspicion in the minds of many people. Indeed, it created so much suspicion that the people on the island who had joined the Australian Labour Party on the occasion when the honorable member for Hindmarsh and I visited there have retained their membership of the Labour Party. It is said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof; and we are satisfied with the situation. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- You should not bring party politics into it. , {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- We do not have to bring party politics into it. The returned soldiers on Kangaroo Island did that. They had had a taste of one side of politics. They had been left high and dry by the members on your side of the House, who took no action on their behalf, so they brought the other side of politics into the question to see if they could get some redress. And they did get some redress. Here, let me refer to a prophecy I made when addressing that meeting that night, a prophecy which came true. I said - >Gentlemen, even if you do not believe in the Australian Labour Party's policy, the very formation of a branch to-night will bring you action quicker than twelve months of negotiation will bring action from the Government side, whether the people who represent you be members of tha Liberal Party or the Country Party. That statement was proved to be true because, as I said, three days after the formation of the branch of the A.L.P. on Kangaroo Island, the South Australian Premier went into action and sent his Director of Lands and another highly placed official to Canberra to confer with the Minister for Primary Industry to try to do something practical and get some action for these people instead of the promises and expressions of sympathy that they had been receiving over the years. {: .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony: -- If they had formed a branch of the Country Party they would have got some action. {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- Do not wake that up. Look at those who come into this Parliament purporting to represent the country people. The real interests of the Country Party are so closely allied to the interests of the Australian Labour Party that they are almost indistinguishable, but whenever it comes to casting a vote, we find the members of the Country Party voting with the very men who kick them and rob them from day to day and from 3'ear to year. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- We are not socialists. {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- What a hackneyed word " socialist " is. The honorable member for Mallee reminds me of the supporter of the Australian Democratic Labour Party who published an article in a newspaper the other day about socialism. He quoted the objectives of the Australian Labour Party and said that if we really meant what we said we ought to say so in different language. In that article he quoted the very language that we use in setting out our objectives and, with his double talk, he tried to convince the non-thinking readers of that newspaper that his idea of socialism was something different from the true objectives of the Australian Labour Party. The honorable member for Mallee would make a very good companion for the member of the D.L.P. who made that statement. If the Liberal Party members of this Government really want to do something for the settlers, they ought to be attacking the costs that are plaguing the returned soldiers, for costs are the essence of the whole matter, The returned soldier settler is not looking to make a fortune in twelve months or three years. All he wants is a reasonable living in return for the labour he puts into working his property; but he constantly comes up against rising costs which are plaguing primary producers throughout Australia. It almost makes me sick to hear the Country Party members getting up to support the Government when they know full well in their own hearts that the Government is allowing costs to rise continually to the detriment of the very people whom they are supposed to represent. A moment ago, I cited the freight rates charged by the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited. Have we had any real complaints from the members of either the Country Party or the Liberal Party about excessive freight charges? I cannot recall having heard any. Nor can I recall hearing any of them advocate that one of the Australian National Line's ships should be put on the run in competition with the ships of the private shipping companies so that we might get a true indication of what would be a just freight charge. But they still come in here, waving their arms in ecstasy and using auto-suggestion to convince themselves that they are doing the right thing and that the primary producers are getting along very well. I do not believe that the primary producers, particularly the settlers on Kangaroo Island, are getting along very well. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- What about the' cockchafer beetle? {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- The honorable member mentions the cockchafer beetle. To Government supporters, who are laughing, I say this is not funny. We visited a farm where the beetle had eaten all the herbage. On another farm, the farmer was loading the wethers he should have been keeping for shearing into a semi-trailer and sending them to market because the beetle had eaten the fodder that would have sustained the wethers until shearing time. But the beetle is only one of the many problems that beset the primary producers. I have a very even temper, but it almost annoys me when I hear members of the Australian Country Party trying to create the impression that they are championing the cause of the primary producers. There is only one shipping line to Kangaroo Island and that is controlled by the Adelaide Steamship Company Limited, which has the monopoly. The company will not allow any competition on this run. The directors of the company are also leading members of the Liberal Party in South Australia. Perhaps that is why these settlers were complaining for so long without getting any results. Nothing was done for them until the Australian Labour Party went into the arena. Only then did members of the Liberal Party bestir themselves. We have not won in this area, but we have done some good work. I believe that the action taken by the Australian Labour Party led to the settlers receiving consideration much earlier than they otherwise would have. The Minister has been gracious enough to allow £300 to be credited to every soldier settler on Kangaroo Island as a contribution to the higher costs of development. He is allowing £2 an acre for re-ploughing the blocks that were developed early in the scheme. There were 50 of them. The settlers on these blocks were almost a lost legion, because they were all heading for financial disaster. The Minister is allowing £2 an acre as a re-ploughing charge for those who will need to re-pasture their land. He has increased the superphosphate allowance to 71 cwt. so that the land that has been neglected for so long may be revitalized. Not many years ago, a man came into my office and said: " I am being told to get off my property on Kangaroo Island. I happen to be one of the first settlers there. My superphosphate allocation is insufficient to allow me to get the best results from the block. I cannot keep enough sheep to the acre to make a reasonable living and as a consequence I am behind with my payments. Despite the fact that I have a wife and seven children to keep, the authorities have told me that I must leave the block." If this pioneer of Kangaroo Island had been given a little more sympathetic consideration during his earlier years there and had received a better superphosphate allocation, he could have brought his block up to a suitable productivity level. He would have had the fodder to enable him to carry sufficient sheep to make this an economic proposition. He would then have been able to remain as a settler on Kangaroo Island and in turn have been able to raise seven of the best migrants for Australia. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Have you seen this island yourself? {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- Yes. I have told the House that I have been there to inspect the farms and to form a branch of the South Australian Labour Party there. I have visited the properties and seen the damage done by the beetles. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Who were the pioneers on the island? {: .speaker-KQY} ##### Mr SEXTON: -- I have seen lots of funny things in my time and I have seen lots of funny things on the other side of the House, but I have not time to analyse them all at this juncture. I believe that the local members of Parliament are now paying a little attention to Kangaroo Island. The local branch of the Australian Labour Party meets regularly and it is necessary, therefore, for the local members, both State and Federal, to pay some attention to Kangaroo Island and to visit it periodically. What I have said to-night may be useful to some other area that may be suffering similar disabilities to those we found on Kangaroo Island. I do not have any area in mind, but there may be an area, politically conservative, that is receiving the same treatment as Kangaroo Island received until the Australian Labour Party took an interest in it. If there is such an area, I hope that it will, as a result of my speech to-night, receive the quick justice that it is entitled to receive and that settlers there will obtain recognition of the hardships that soldier settlers endure in their pioneering efforts to develop the land from its virgin state to a state of productivity that will ensure economic prosperity. {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- in reply - We are very pleased that the bill has been well received. It introduces a change in accounting procedures and it is necessary to provide finance by way of loans to meet expenses in this year rather than to use the repayments of advances. There was really nothing contentious in the speech of the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard).** However, I assure him that the net cost of the scheme to the Commonwealth will not be affected by the procedural alteration. He will find confirmation of this assurance in my second-reading speech. I inform the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** that all applications for settlement in Tasmania and Western Australia have been met. Indeed, there were surplus farms in Western Australia. We advised the Returned Servicemen's League throughout the States that any eligible settlers wishing to do so could lodge claims for the surplus farms in Western Australia. As a result, some settlers were transferred to that State. In South Australia, there was a deficiency of suitable land and this prevented us from obtaining sufficient farms to satisfy all the applicants in that State. Victoria claimed that all applicants were satisfied and then changed from war service land settlement to closer settlement. I think that the few unsatisfied applicants. remaining under the war service land settlement scheme were satisfied under the closer settlement scheme. In New South Wales, a considerable number of applicants are not satisfied. That is a principal State. The New South Wales Government decided not to continue war service land settlement and to change to closer settlement, with some preference to ex-servicemen. I think honorable members will recall that about 1958 - I speak subject to correction on the year - the Commonwealth Government made available an additional £2,000,000 to New South Wales and Victoria to assist those States to put more settlers on the land. All the money was not used in the specified time and tha time was extended to enable all the funds to be spent. As I have said, both Victoria and New South Wales decided to change to closer settlement. Queensland, unfortunately, did not proceed with war service land settlement after 1954. I turn now to the remarks made by the honorable member for Barker **(Mr. Forbes).** The Director of War Service Land Settlement, who administes the war service land settlement scheme, has two objectives in zonal costing - first, to achieve equality of rents within a district as nearly as possible, and, secondly, to advise settlers of their commitments as early as possible on completion of development in an area. We have been told that rentals vary because blocks are in different zones. That is so. The cost of land and development was not nearly so high years ago as it is to-day. If the actual cost of development is particularly high, the productivity of the land is determined and the rental is based on whichever is the less. We cannot add anything to the costs incurred in earlier years. In a sense one has to submit to the luck of the draw. This can be illustrated by reference to Canberra. Rents of the houses built here years ago are lower than those of dwellings built in more recent years. What happens in war service land settlement is in line with what happens with respect to house rentals in Canberra. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- It is in line with inflation, you mean. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- That may be what the honorable member would say. Farms developed in more recent years are subject to higher rentals than are blocks developed earlier. I do not agree, however, that earlier-developed farms have better potential than those developed later. All that is needed is time for proper development. Only after pastures have been fertilized for some years can potential be properly assessed, and then it is sometimes found to be better in respect of some of the laterdeveloped farms than in respect of those developed earlier. In zone 5, which was mentioned by the honorable member for Barker, settlers are subject to payment not only of the rental determined by the Commonwealth but also of what is known as a drainage betterment charge, which is imposed by the South Australian Government to meet the cost of drainage work that was necessary. This work has been confined in the main to the area of zone 5. The State insisted that the Commonwealth fix its rentals before the drainage betterment charges were fixed by the State. Every settler has the right to appeal if the rent is too high. I believe that that is a fair thing. {: .speaker-KFH} ##### Mr Forbes: -- If the drainage betterment charge is too high, you mean. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- Yes. There is a right of appeal in that event. The honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Sexton)** levelled at the honorable member for Barker a charge that I must refute. Correspondence in the files of the Department of Primary Industry shows that, long before the honorable member for Adelaide and the honorable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr. Clyde Cameron)** went to Kangaroo Island, the honorable member for Barker had been pressing me to go there. A Minister cannot always visit any place as soon as he is asked to do so. I remind the honorable member for Adelaide that I visited South Australia on at least two occasions to assist war service land settlement before the occasion on which I went to Kangaroo Island. He may recall the generous gesture by the Commonwealth, which I was instrumental in having the Government agree to, in providing all the funds for the drainage of the whole Loxton settlement. We had no commitment there except the commitment of common sense. The land was becoming waterlogged because drainage was inadequate. So I provided funds to enable the whole settlement to be drained. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- You had a responsibility. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- I had a responsibility and I accepted it. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- The Commonwealth had to drain the land to make it suitable. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- I remind honorable members that this Government has not been lacking in action in these matters when action is known to be necessary. The honorable member for Barker was on my doorstep, as is proved by correspondence. He pressed me to go to Kangaroo Island and eventually I went. The honorable member for Adelaide was generous enough to tell the House of some of the measures that we agreed to undertake to assist the settlers there. However, I think it must be agreed that the honorable member for Adelaide and the honorable member for Hindmarsh went to the island primarily for the purpose of forming a branch of the Australian Labour Party. I do not blame them, as members of the Opposition party, for attempting to form a Labour Party branch. I merely state that the formation of such a branch was their primary purpose in going to the island. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- They were only trying to whip up votes. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- That does not matter. Even if they formed not one branch but two branches, they still would not unseat the honorable member for Barker, who is appreciated for the excellent service that he gives to the settlers on the island. The honorable member for Moore **(Mr. Leslie),** who made some comments about war service land settlement in Western Australia, will know of the visits that I have made to that State in an endeavour to assist the scheme there. I assure him that Western Australia will get its full share of the funds being allocated, as provided for in the bill, provided, of course, that the money is required to finance the agreed programme for the year. We do not intend to minimize our commitment if the money is needed. The honorable member made some comments about the appeal board. Settlers have a right to appeal, and I do not agree with him that a board is necessarily farcical. The Commonwealth imposes only one stipula-tion - that the board shall have no power to alter rents. Those are determined by the Commonwealth alone. I have been able, in certain instances, to assist settlers in relation to rent problems. But rents are a Commonwealth responsibility and the Commonwealth makes the ultimate decision. The appeal board may deal with appeals lodged by settlers in relation to all other matters. For example, if a settler is charged with a breach of a covenant in a lease - in effect, if he is charged with a breach of contract - he has a right to appeal to the board, which will determine the appeal. The honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** knows of my visit to the scheme at King Island and to other war service land settlement schemes in Tasmania. He was good enough to mention the concessions that I have extended to settlers in that State. To date, the Commonwealth has provided £232,000 to meet special needs of development. All the settlers whose farms need additional development have not yet been assisted in this way; so the allocation made for this purpose will be increased. That will not be a load on the settlers. The expenditure will be borne under the agreement by the State as to two-fifths and by the Commonwealth as to three-fifths. I have not sought in any way to impose an extra burden on settlers. I recognize that some of the fault was their own in going on the land before development was complete. That was a mistake made in several settlements. Because it was a mistake we do not want to continue to penalize settlers. I have rather taken the view that it is necessary to bring their development up to the proper standard, and I have sought to do that in every settlement where I have found this to be the position. The honorable member for Braddon referred to two committees. He referred to one on which the Commonwealth is represented. So far as the Commonwealth is concerned there has been no delay. I think the particulars may be obtained from the State committee's office in Tasmania. The delay has been occasioned by the illness of a member of the committee. The honorable member may refer to the Government of Tasmania to see if he can expedite the matter. We will be happy if that is done. The only other point that I wish to raise concerns the second committee, which is a State committee. There are two sides to the question whether war service land settlement is a success. Some settlers who have had their accounts squared following credits being given to them as recommended by the committee, on investigation have been found not to have paid one penny in the last two years. That is their attitude after having been given credit and assistance in the way the committee has done. It is to be hoped that the honorable member for Braddon does not suggest that the income of the farmer will meet only operational costs and the settlers' living costs because the full cost of living of the settler is taken into account before a rental is fixed. There are always two sides to a matter. I cannot accept the honorable member's statement of the economic position of the settlers to whom he referred. I thank both sides of the House for the support that they have expressed for the bill. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. In committee: The bill. {: #subdebate-34-0-s3 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- I have no desire to delay the passage of this measure. During the course of the debate honorable members roamed over Australia. The honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. Brimblecombe)** referred to Queensland's treatment of soldier settlers.' I may be getting a little wide of the bill but I think 1 should say something in defence of Queensland. In 1952 when the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** was the Minister administering war service land settlement the allegation that Queensland had not played the game and had not done as much as it should have done was raised. At that time the honorable member for Chisholm said - >Queensland expenditure, as far as is known to the Australian Government does not include the cost of acquisition of land. The honorable member compared an expenditure of £19,000,000 in Victoria, which included the cost of acquisition of land, and the expenditure of £21,000,000 in New South Wales, which also included the cost of acquisition of land, with an expenditure of £1,600,000 in Queensland. Obviously the cost of acquisition of land represents the major portion of expenditure. The comparison was unfair. I direct the attention of the honorable member for Maranoa to that fact. In the course of his speech in 1952 the honorable member for Chisholm had incorporated in " Hansard " a table which showed that up to that time Queensland had provided for soldier settlement 614 holdings, totalling in area' 410,000 acres. Western Australia, with a population similar to that of Queensland, had provided 716 holdings. Tasmania had provided 217 holdings and Victoria had provided 2,256. Of course, comparisons of the number of holdings provided by the various States are odious. Populations of the States varied and area of land available varied. It is completely unfair to attempt to brand Queensland as the bad boy of soldier settlement. Even the honorable member for Maranoa will admit that when Queensland abandoned soldier settlement in favour of another settlement scheme, it gave preferential and exceedingly generous treatment to soldier settlers. {: .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr Brimblecombe: -- I admitted that. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- You did. I have never heard of any complaints from soldier settlers organizations in Queensland regarding harsh, unfair or inadequate treatment by the Queensland Government. I will leave the matter there. {: #subdebate-34-0-s4 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES:
Braddon .- The bill provides £1,450,000 for expenditure in Tasmania. I do not want to delay the passage of the bill but the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** may be able to supply some information regarding the expenditure of part of that money because, as I said earlier to-day, we are anxious to know what plans the Government has to bring this scheme to a successful conclusion. Some settlers have been on their land for twelve years, and they are anxious to know what the final valuation of their properties will be. They want to know how much rent they will be up for. On this matter I refer the Minister to an answer which he gave to a question which I asked on 1st July this year. He said that the area which had been recommended for re-development on King Island was 11.935 acres. I am well aware that in the first year of redevelopment 500 acres were developed. Last year an area of 5,000 acres was redeveloped and sown. This year an area of 3,000 acres has been disked and is ready to be sown. So we have a total of 8,500 acres re-developed out of a total area of almost 12,000 acres, leaving 3,500 acres still to be attended to. ti I point out to the Minister that on King Island there are twenty wheeled tractors belonging to war service land settlers and 23 crawler tractors. When you add the thirteen crawler tractors belonging to private contractors on the island it brings the total to 36. If only 3,500 acres remain to be re-developed, why is it proposed to expend £100,000 on new equipment? I understand on good authority that five wheeled tractors are to be disposed of and that five new ones are to be purchased, and three crawler tractors are to be replaced at a cost of about £8,000 each. I should like the Minister to tell us whether the proposed purchase of these additional machines is an indication that his department intends to carry out further re-development work. There are so many machines already on the island that there are machines to burn. 1 welcome the proposed expenditure on new machines if an all-out effort is to be made this year to proceed with the redevelopment work. As I stated this afternoon, two years ago we were concerned at the slow rate at which the job was progressing. This caused a great deal of dissatisfaction among the settlers on the island. While the re-development was going on, the amount of land available to the settlers for carrying their stock was reduced. Despite this, and despite the reduction in income which followed, the settlers were expected to continue to meet their usual annual rent commitments. If the Minister is not prepared to carry out an investigation into this matter and to reduce the rents while the re-development is going on, at least he can tell us whether this additional £100,000 for the purchase of new machinery is justified. If the new machines are to be used to carry out the re-development as quickly as possible, let us get on with the job. However, the authorization of this expenditure does not seem to fit in with the figures, he gave previously. While the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Opperman)** is in the chamber, let me refer briefly to a matter similar to that raised by the honorable member for Adelaide **(Mr. Sexton),** who said that it cost 9s. 9d. to convey a Iamb from Kangaroo Island to the market. We pay £1 ls. 9d. for the carriage of a lamb from King Island to Melbourne. We acknowledge the work done by Captain Bob Houfe in building the roll-on, roll-off vessel " King Islander ", a vessel of about 180 tons. He constructed this vessel to modernize the means of transporting lamb and beef from King Island to Melbourne. We have no desire to see the freight rate increased. I make a plea to the Minister for Primary Industry, who administers the war service land settlement scheme, and to the Minister for Shipping and Transport, to heed the efforts being made by the people of King Island to obtain for Captain Bob Houfe a subsidy for his ship. Unfortunately, because the vessel is under 500 tons, it does not attract a subsidy. If the Government will not pay a subsidy, will it heed the request of members of the King Island Municipal Council, who asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport for a straight-out grant? If the man who runs the fleet of ships serving King Island does not receive assistance, he will not be able to carry on. He borrowed £130,000 from the Development Bank at 6 per cent, interest to build the new vessel. His other two ships, " Loatta " and "Darega" lost £4,000 last year. He cannot sell them at present because they are the security for the advance he received to build the " King Islander ". Wc do not want him to increase his freight rates to meet the interest bill on the advance he received to build the new ship. If the Government cannot give a subsidy to Captain Houfe, it could make a straight-out grant to him. A similar grant has been made to the Burns Philp organization, which trades between Australia and Papua and New Guinea. In conclusion, let me repeat my request to the Minister for Primary Industry for information on the Government's plans for the re-development on King Island. What acreage is to receive attention? Will the Government consider reducing the rents now being charged while the redevelopment work is progressing? {: #subdebate-34-0-s5 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I am not sure whether the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** objects to the purchase of the new machinery, but I can assure him that there will be no surplus of machinery. We propose to use the machinery to develop an area which is not under investigation at present or within the terms of reference of the committee, as well as the area that the honorable member mentioned. I shall look at his comments on the other matters that he raised and, if necessary, will reply to him later. Bill agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. Bill - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 1393 {:#debate-35} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Television - Political Parties Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** proposed - That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-KGX} ##### Mr HAYLEN:
Parkes **.- Mr. Speaker,** I wish to return to an old subject of mine which has been debated in this House with sympathy on both sides. I refer to television in Australia and the content of Australian drama in the television programmes diffused from day to day. Tonight we have had a debate about our overseas obligations and our responsibilities to the rest of the world; but in Australian television we have completely abdicated to a culture which is foreign to us, although it may be sympathetic to us. There is no substitute for the Australian way of life and we cannot get the Australian way of life out of a can from the United States, England, Japan or any other country. As a writer, I say to my colleagues in this House that there is a great cause to be fought for. I agree completely with the setting up of the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television. I have read evidence submitted to that committee and I am impressed with the way in which **Senator Vincent,** as the chairman, and the Liberal, Labour and Country Party members of the committee have attempted to probe a problem which is a serious one in our lives. Surely, after nearly 200 years of existence this country should be able to say to the world through television, which is the modern way of expressing ourselves: "This is the true Australian sentiment ". I am astonished to find that we are challenged by commercial vehicles which say that we should not have this in television. Can anybody tell me that the country that produced Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson and hundreds of other writers is incapable of producing Australian scripts for television shows? How absolutely and stupidly absurd that is! I submit to you, **Sir, that** the reason why such scripts are not being produced is a commercial one. The reason why we do not have more Australian television programmes is that it is cheaper to buy canned Yankee, British, or other overseas programmes. If this country is not prepared to put a stop to this by imposing a tax on the footage of film or in some other way - I leave it to the good sense of the Senate select committee to come to a decision on that - we are in a very bad state. It is not sufficient to make windy assertions to the world about what we represent and what we are proud of, unless we are prepared to do something. I completely refuse to believe that we cannot produce an Australian film. I refuse to believe that a good Australian drama would not be acceptable to Australians. From my own experience and that of most Australians to whom I have spoken, I know that Australians are anxious for us to get our own peculiar national aspects on television. We do not want any favours; we do not want any concessions. We want only the right to depict our own country, in our own country. Anybody who says that we have not that right is not a true Australian. We see the Sydney " Daily Telegraph ", with its addiction to syndication and its penchant for ploughing through the morgues of Hollywood to find films for its television stations. No Australian who sits in front of his television set will say that he is getting too much of a good thing. We have been tolerant with the twenty-year-old films, the westerns and all the other rubbish. Some people might like those programmes. I am not going to say that they should not like them. I do not intend to make any comment about a man's taste. But we, as Australians, through the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, have given the television stations entree to our lounge rooms or wherever we have our television sets, and we expect them to give us some Australian drama in their programmes. If they do not do that, why should the Government have anything to do with them? At present, sloppy entertainment is purveyed to anybody wholikes to turn the dial on his television set. The responsibility resides in the Government and the Broadcasting Control Board to do something about the Australian content in the television programmes, lt is useless to tell me that something cannot be done, when we have the best sportsmen in the world, we have singers equal to the best in the world and in every other sphere we have measured up whenever we have been asked to measure up, despite the fact that we are only 10,000,000 people in a young country. We are not immodest about these things. I have made many speeches on this matter. Perhaps 1 have even bored honorable members. But it is an important matter. If you have no culture you have no significance. If you are ashamed of your own drama, the story of your own country, you have no significance. It is quite obvious that the people in control of television - the " Daily Telegraph " is an example - are dedicated to syndication. They do not care whether there is any Australian content in television, so long as they make their big profits. We have to remember the dramatic development of television in this country. After a paltry three years the television stations started to make considerable profits, and lately they have made enormous profits. They have treated the Australian public as a lot of goons. They have said, " You have to take it and like it. Our programme material is cheap and nasty, but we are going to disseminate it into your lounge rooms, to your wives and children ". Listen to this arrogant, illogical and illiterate editorial and see what you think about it. If you cannot get steamed up, I underestimate the anger that resides in all Australians in relation to anything to do with their country. After questioning the value of setting-up a Senate select committee which would challenge the unbridled right of any company, such as the company that owns the " Daily Telegraph ", to make profits out of television, the editorial reads - It wis left to a very expert, and somewhat un expected witness to give **Senator Vincent** some of the facts of life this week. . . . He told **Senator Vincent,** loud and clear, chat viewers preferred top quality imported programmes to Australian programmes. How, in the name of God, could he do that when we have never had Australian programmes on television? lt' is up to the Government, the Broadcasting Control Board and the Senate Select Committee to say that this is the time to do something to assist the production of Australian programmes. We do not want to be fed for ever on Yankee dope. I am tired of galloping cowboys, difficult psychological problems that cannot be sorted out, crosssection examinations of operations and all the other horrors of overseas television which are alien to us and which are not balanced with the Australian point of view. Because 1 am a writer, I believe in balance. I hope that the Senate select committee will not bc intimidated. My time is limited. I rose merely to say that the fight in this Parliament should be for Australian television, no matter what the chairman of the Broadcasting Control Board, the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Davidson)** or the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** may say. It is conditional upon an Australian demand. If we have television we must have an Australian content in it. What sort of people would we be if wc did not want to tell our own story? People say that Australian productions are amateurish. Of course they are amateurish - because money has not been spent on showing people how to produce programmes. But is there anything more amateurish than a lot of cowboys galloping around the one rock and the same Indians making whoopee on the same scene every night? We are having our legs pulled. What we get from overseas is the lowest form of entertainment and it is bought at the cheapest figure. I hope that we will have some sympathy for the decisions of the Senate Select Committee. I hope it will be given every opportunity to bring down a report that will be Australian in outlook. This is the Australian outlook: We will accept the good talent from the rest of the world. We will listen to its music, its art and its culture. But that does not mean that we should not have a voice in our own television, for which we as taxpayers pay. We must have an opportunity to present the Australian way of life. I know that the hour is late, but I have thought it necessary to point these things out to the House, as they have been pointed out many limes previously. The Australian Labour Party, of which I am proud to be a member, has always had the basic culture of the Australian people as one of its ideals. {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-35-0-s2 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler .- I wish to support the remarks of the honorable member for Parkes **(Mr. Haylen)** about the desirability of greater Australian content in television programmes. While this is not the matter on which I rose to speak, I may say that in the field of television at least the Americans have managed to present the American outlook. In Australia there is much to be said for the point of view expressed by the honorable member for Parkes. We should give our Australian viewers a greater proportion of Australian programmes. I hope the honorable member's words will be heeded by those people who bring syndicated programmes from foreign countries to our television screens night after night. {: .speaker-KDI} ##### Mr Einfeld: -- And show the same things again and again. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- Yes, they show the same things again and again. I hope they can learn that this is Australia and that we are entitled to programmes giving the Australian point of view. They must be made to realize that they should give to viewers, particularly to our young people, some sessions which will show them the real Australian way of life. My primary purpose in rising was to let the people of this country know the facts of life in connexion with the Liberal and Country Parties in this Parliament, which the members of those parties endeavour to hide to-day, but which should be known to all the people because they are so apparent to us in this chamber. For some time the Liberal and Country Parties in this Parliament have masqueraded as one united party, and you would think as you see them sitting here - that is, if you were not very observant - that they all believe in the same things and in the same policies'. But only to-night we heard the Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr. McEwen)** agreeing, in the main, with what the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** put forward on behalf of the Labour Party. The gloomiest sight in this Parliament to-night was that of the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies),** as he sat in his place and heard the Leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister disagreeing with the Liberals on a great international issue. We have seen the honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate),** who is interjecting, speaking on the matter of redistribution, and we have heard the honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** tearing at his throat because he had attacked the Country Party's proposals for a gerrymander of Commonwealth electorates. The Prime Minister may put on a bold front, but he cannot disguise the bitterness of the feelings of one section of the coalition government for the other. Members of the two parties disagree, first, over the proposed redistribution. There is no doubt about that. They can make no headway in their attempts to settle their disputes. The Leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister has refused to deal with the Minister for he Interior **(Mr. Freeth),** who is in charge of electoral matters. The Deputy Prime Minister is not speaking to the Minister for the Interior, because the latter gentleman said what he thought of the Country Party and its leader and had his views published in a Western Australian newspaper. To-day we find the Leader of the Country Party and Deputy Prime Minister negotiating with the Prime Minister for a gerrymander because he refused to deal with the Minister responsible for electoral matters. That has never been denied in this Parliament. The honorable member for Higinbotham **(Mr. Chipp)** is doing a lot of interjecting, but I suggest that he get up and answer me when I have finished. Do not sit there mumbling; stand up and defend your Country Party colleagues. Every day of the week we see Country Party members getting up to speak and all the Liberals walking out. I cannot say I blame them because the Country Party members are not worth listening to. But the point is that the members of one party just do not like the members of the other. When a Liberal member gets up to speak he finds there are no Country Party members in the House. If the Labour Party did not ensure that there was a quorum present, there would not. be a member about the place. Here we sec the united party government that seeks to lead this country to great things in the future. Its members disagree on redistribution. They disagree at the State level about the inroads of one party into the supposed territory of another. The Country Party has demanded that the Liberal Party stay out of the election for the federal seat of Cowper - as though either party could beat the honorable member who represents that electorate today. Why, in the very stronghold of the Country Party we find that the seat of Lismore in the New South Wales Parliament is held by a Labour Minister. The honorable member for Cowper will take you all on, give you a lead and wind up the winner. Members of the two Government parties disagree on many other matters. They disagree on overseas investment. We hear two voices from the other side. They disagree about the state of the economy. The Minister for Trade attacks the policies of the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** from time to time, and the Treasurer in turn attacks the Minister for Trade. A section of the Liberal Party sympathetic to the honorable member for Wentworth **(Mr. Bury)** tells me that the Minister for Trade was responsible for that honorable member's dismissal from the Ministry. 1 think they are right, and it seems that the Minister for Trade had him kicked out for disloyalty to Cabinet decisions while now the Minister for Trade opposes Cabinet decisions every day of the week. We see the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the Country Party, fuming and going red in the face whenever the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** rises to give his views on tariff matters and the administration of the tariff generally. The Minister for the Interior has attacked the Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister from time to time. Only a fortnight or so ago we saw the spectacle of the Minister for the Interior telling the Deputy Prime Minister that he should resign from the Cabinet if he could not support Cabinet solidarity. There is no doubt in the minds of members of this Parliament that the Deputy Prime Minister disagrees fundamentally with Government policy to a greater degree than the former Minister for Air, the honorable member for Wentworth ever did, although we know that the former Minister for Air was kicked out of the Ministry for his disagreement. What a disunited rabble sits here on the Government benches. Fancy them telling us what to do about Malaysia and other international matters; they are hanging together by a thread. They are a minority Government, in power only because of the votes of supporters of the Communist Party. Yet they try to lead the people and to tell us on the Opposition side what to do. The disputes go further than public attacks in the newspapers and in party conferences. They are taken into the Cabinet room itself. The Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister, I understand, attacked individually and collectively the Liberal party members of the Cabinet. The Liberal Party is at the end of its tether. Anybody can see that its members are worn out and have not an idea between them. It sees political power slipping through ils fingers. But in the case of the Country Party the position is desperate. It is dying slowly. The only way it can retain its position is by gerrymandering the electorate, lt is at the end of the road. The members of this minority rump group stand with their backs to the wall, wondering how long they will last. Year by year their supporters are diminishing in number. The only way they can save themselves is by gerrymandering the electorate at the expense of the Labour Party. The Minister for Trade is quite brazen about the position. He now appears as a partisan Country Party man in this Parliament, and in the Cabinet he is quite irresponsible in his position as Deputy Prime Minister. The people on the opposite side of the House, in the Country Party corner, are telling the Electoral Commissioners that they must draw the boundaries in a certain way, so that the members of the Country Party may be saved at all costs. The people won't have them. They have woken up at long last to the fact that the members of the Country Party are only a pressure group. So the Government must instruct the Electoral Commissioners to draw the boundaries in such a way as to save - for heaven's sake - the honorable member for Mallee and others. The members of the Country Party are endeavouring to force the Government to issue such an instruction. I congratulate the Minister for the Interior who evidently believes in the integrity of the Electoral Commissioners and will not be a party to this vile plot of the Country Party. Because of his refusal, you now have a tired, worn-out, discredited Prime Minister, forced to do the things that the responsible Minister will not do. Here we see the members of the Government who talk about the Labour Parly being disunited. 1 have pointed out these few salient facts to show the disunity that exists in Government ranks. How long is it since we have seen a member of the Country Party get up and defend a member of the Liberal Parly. They are members of one organization, but they hate each other. They will not stand united as an organization, I hear a lot of interjections from the other side. The members who are making them will have plenty of opportunity to reply to me. Let us see you members of the Country Party who are interjecting get up and defend your Country Party colleagues. Let one of you deny that you want a gerrymander to save yourselves, at the expense of members of the Labour Party. The only reason you arc not game to pull on an election is that you know you cannot arrange a gerrymander in time to suit the Country Party. You know that your sins have found you out. I put on record my brief resume of the disunited rabble - if I may use that term - who sit opposite. I ask the public to look at them and see how they joyously embrace each other in debate and in the policies presented. 1 hope that ultimately the Australian people will see them as we do and reject them as they ought to be rejected - as a disunited rabble, inept and incompetent, who should not be trusted with the government of this country. {: #subdebate-35-0-s3 .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE:
Macarthur -- We have listened to the honorable member for Grayndler **(Mr. Daly)** talking about a so-called split in the Government parties. Some of the honorable members now on the other side of the House were not here when seven Victorian Labour Party members lost their pre-selections because they told us why the Labour Party could not become the government. Some of us remember those seven men standing up in their places here and putting a curse on the Labour Party. We all know what the Labour Party did to those men. The Democratic Labour Party, to which they now belong, advises its supporters to give their second preferences to our candidates, because the Labour Party is not fit to govern. It ill behoves a right-winger who has only recently taken his place on the Opposition front bench to talk about a split in the Government parties. The greatest split of all time occurred in his party because **Mr. Keon, Mr. Cremean, Mr. Bill** Bourke and others squared their shoulders and told the truth, holding nothing back. The honorable member for Grayndler was one of their mates, but he survived because the New South Wales executive of the Labour Party is a right-wing executive. Otherwise he would have gone the same way as **Mr. Keon** and the others. They were flung out because there was a left-wing executive in Victoria which could not bear to have mcn of courage telling the truth. Those mcn told us about the Victorian Labour man who was approached by a certain organization which offered him £11,000, and who said, " That is chicken feed; we want more than that ". Many of us remember Bill Bourke telling that story. The Labour Party tries to cover up its weaknesses by indulging in the sort of tripe we heard from the honorable member for Grayndler. The honorable gentleman might like to know that left-wing members of his party from New South Wales have told me the truth about him. 1 have got the story. The so-called split in the Government parties can be brought out into the open. Members of the Australian Country Party say that they represent people in the country districts. I also represent a country district. I say to the .honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull),** who is not here now, that his party does not have a monopoly of country representation. There is healthy rivalry in the Government parties, but the split in the Labour Party is not healthy. On one side of the Labour Party are the left-wing people who play about with Moscow and with Mao Tse-tung. They are the enemies of Australia, the unAustralian group. What the honorable member for Grayndler has said about us is a joke, a bit of good fun. The so-called split in our parties means nothing, but the split in the Labour Party really means something. The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell),** speaking to-night with his tongue in his cheek, said there was a lack of precision in some treaty with Malaya. But while he was speaking, the left-wingers of his party were banished from the chamber. They were in the corridors, talking about what they would do to sabotage their leader. The right-wing has control of the Labour Party for a little while, but that is only because the left-wingers said, "All right boys, you do the talking and pretend to the people of Australia that we are decent right-wingers. However, when Labour becomes the government, the left-wing will take control." That is the real story. The split in the Labour Party is basic, but the so-called split in our parties is a matter for amusement. It is only healthy rivalry. The split in the Labour Party is dangerous because it has in it treason to this country. The people who once mattered in the Labour Party left it because of that. Where there is treason, the stench of treason- {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- Where? {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- -In you and the people that you represent, the Victorian executive. {: .speaker-JSU} ##### Mr Bryant: -- **Mr. Speaker-** {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- The Labour Party cannot take it. I am not surprised that a Victorian member tries to object to what I am saying. He has a left-wing executive around his neck. The decent people who used to support the Labour Party - the right-wingers, the brains of the party - got out. They said, "We cannot win while there are Moscow troopers in the Victorian executive and the Queensland executive". Men like Nolan and Waters who have had their trips to Moscow, split the Labour Party; they kept the leaders of the party skulking in the bushes outside the Hotel Kingston, waiting for their orders; and they decided at Hobart that we should not send Australian troops to Malaya. The Labour Party has been trying to square off ever since. This is a deep-seated split, and a tragedy for Australia. The Leader of the Opposition is listening to me now. He knows how dreadful this situation is. He knows how dreadful it was that he and his Deputy Leader had to go to the Hotel Kingston to get their orders about the naval communication station in Western Australia. The Labour Party has been trying to square off with the Australian public ever since the red Hobart decisions were made. I think the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Beazley)** and seventeen others walked out of the Hobart conference, and the nineteen men remaining made the infamous decisions which would have let Australia down. To-night, however, we see a different picture. The right-wingers have said, " There may be an election soon and we must try to win it. We must pretend that we are true to Australia, that we are dinkum Aussies. We must keep the leftwingers outside". The honorable members for Parks **(Mr. Haylen),** Reid **(Mr. Uren)** and Yarra **(Mr. Cairns)** were kept outside. They could not be allowed to speak on the issue of Malaysia because they would have let the cat out of the bag and the people of Australia would have known where the Labour Party really stood. That i. the classic dilemma of the Labour Party. It is split right down the middle, and the brains of the party have left it. The others have blown out what brains they had. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.29 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1398 {:#debate-36} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Shipping. (Question No. 159.) {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-KGL} ##### Mr Harding:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND g asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is north Queensland at present served by any regular shipping service carrying passengers to that area? 1. If not, what is the possibility of such a service being established in the near future? 2. Will he investigate the practicability of having a ship similar to the " Bass Trader " or the " Princess of Tasmania " constructed for the National Shipping Line to operate a tourist-cargo service to north Queensland ports? {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-KMB} ##### Mr Opperman:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The M.V. "Waiben" with accommodation for 25 passengers operates a regular service from Brisbane to north Queensland ports and Thursday Island. In addition the following overseas vessels with passenger accommodation call regularly at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and north Queensland ports and in the absence of Australian licensed passenger vessels are permitted to carry passengers interstate: - " Changsha ", " Taiyuan ", " Francis Drake " and " George Anson ". 1. I am not aware of any proposals by private shipowners to establish such a service, and based on the Australian National Line's assessment of the opportunities for economic operation of an interstate passenger service to north Queensland ports, I think its establishment in the near future is unlikely. 2. The economic opportunities for further developing existing trades and also establishing new ones are constantly under review and in line with this policy shipping services to north Queensland have been examined by the Australian National Line from time to time. However, based on the experience gained by the line in the searoad passenger service between Melbourne and Devonport and other relevant data such as the high capital cost of a special purpose vessel, the provision of appropriate berthing and terminal facilities and the existence of other forms of surface transport competitive with shipping, the Australian National Line considers that the introduction of a roll-on roll-off passenger-cargo service to north Queensland ports could not be economically justified at the present time. Garlic. (Question No. 257.) {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls garlic imported? 1. If so, what are the sources of this commodity, and what are the (a) quantities and (b) values obtained from each source during each of the past five years? {: #subdebate-36-0-s3 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - >The Commonwealth Statistician does not have a statistical classification for garlic and a great deal of work would be involved in ascertaining whether the item is imported or not. > >Garlic is grown commercially in Australia and as small quantities are exported from time to time, I feel that if imports are taking place, the quantities involved would be very small. {:#subdebate-36-1} #### Cockatoo Dockyards. (Question No. 259.) {: #subdebate-36-1-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones:
NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA s asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice - >What are the conditions and financial arrangements which apply to the lease of Cockatoo Docks, Sydney, by the Commonwealth to Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Proprietary Limited? {: #subdebate-36-1-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth:
LP -- The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following information: - >Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Proprietary Limited lease the Cockatoo Dockyard from the Commonwealth under an agreement which expires in 1974. Briefly this agreement provides that the lessee maintains the premises as a naval dockyard in good order and conditio!, fair wear and tear excepted, and is to give preference to naval work when so required. The lessee company is required to pay an annual rental calculated on a formula related to turnover. The annual rental so assessed in recent years has been of the order of £130,000. > >In addition to the lease agreement the Commonwealth has a trading agreement with the company. This agreement provides for the company to undertake Commonwealth work on the basis of actual cost of labour and materials plus overhead costs. The company receives a management fee based on a percentage of turnover and shares in the residual profit or loss arising from all of its trading operations. The balance from all trading operations is vested in the Commonwealth. The annual surplus paid to the Commonwealth under the trading agreement in recent years has been of the order of £40,000. The trading agreement may be terminated by either parly by giving six months notice ending 3 1 st October in any year. {:#subdebate-36-2} #### Slaver)': International Conventions. (Question No. 280.) {: #subdebate-36-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES m asked th; Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has Australia ratified the International Slavery Convention of 1926 and the Supplementary Convention of 1956 on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery? 1. If not, what steps have been taken to ratify the conventions in the light of the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19th December, 1962, calling on members which have not yet become parties to these conventions to do so? {: #subdebate-36-2-s1 .speaker-126} ##### Sir Garfield Barwick:
Attorney-General · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is- >Yes. If- ' '. {:#subdebate-36-3} #### Townsville Post Office. (Question No. 162.) {: #subdebate-36-3-s0 .speaker-KGL} ##### Mr Harding: g asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Do the plans of the renovations at present being carried out to the Townsville post office provide for the air-conditioning of the building? 1. If so, will he consider having this important amenity installed during the present period of alterations? 2. If the plans do not provide for airconditioning, will he give the matter favorable consideration? {: #subdebate-36-3-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers to the honorable member's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The plans of the renovations at present being carried out do not provide for any more air conditioning services than that which has existed for some years in that part of the first floor which is occupied by the trunk exchange. The working conditions in such a telephone exchange are exceptionally severe and air conditioning is normally provided where such large staffs are employed on such exacting duties. 1. ft is not proposed to extend the air conditioning during the present period of alterations. 2. As the honorable member is aware, the Townsville Post Office is an old building and the cost of providing air conditioning would be excessive because the architectural design does not lend itself to the provision of such services. In any event, however, it is not considered sufficient justification exists for air conditioning throughout the whole of such buildings. {:#subdebate-36-4} #### Telephone Services. (Question No. 202.) {: #subdebate-36-4-s0 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E James Harrison:
BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES on asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What revenue was received in each State from calls, as distinct from charges for rental and phonograms, originating from private and business telephones upon which rental charges were paid during the year 1962-63? 1. What was the total number of telephones installed in each State during that year upon which rental charges were levied? 2. What amount was received as telephone rental in each State during the same year? {: #subdebate-36-4-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers to the honorable member's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Information concerning earnings from local and trunk calls for 1962-63 will be made available to the honorable member later in the session after the financial results of the Post Office for that year have been presented to Parliament. 1. The average numbers of subscribers' services installed in 1962-63 were - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. See answer to 1. {:#subdebate-36-5} #### Broadcasting. (Question No. 240.) {: #subdebate-36-5-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that some twelve months ago investigations were carried out in the NorsemanEsperance districts to ascertain why these districts were subject to very poor radio reception and interference from station 5CL, and also to determine v/hat action should be taken to try and remedy the position? 1. If so, was the request for a transmitting station given consideration during, and as a result of, the investigation? 2. Has it now been found that a transmitting station in the area would be the most effective and economical method of providing satisfactory reception; if so, when is it expected that the station will be completed and commence transmission? 3. If it has not been decided to install a transmitting station, what other means are being explored? {: #subdebate-36-5-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answers to the honorable member's questions: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2, 3 and 4. As I have already indicated in correspondence with the honorable member technical problems are involved in this matter. Various means by which the broadcasting service in the area might be improved, including the possible establishment of a station there, have been investigated. The investigations are close to finality and I expect to be able to provide information on plans in the matter very shortly. {:#subdebate-36-6} #### Telephone Handsets. (Question No. 244.) {: #subdebate-36-6-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice - >What is the purchase cost to his department of (a) coloured and (b) black telephone handsets? {: #subdebate-36-6-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Postmaster-General has supplied the following answer to the honorable member's question: - >It is not the policy of the department to make public details of prices of individual items purchased, because to do so may give information to the competitors of successful tenderers. {:#subdebate-36-7} #### Immigration. (Question No. 200.) {: #subdebate-36-7-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls any record kept of the number of migrants who return to their country of origin because of dissatisfaction with Australian conditions? 1. If so, what is the number to date, and how many have relumed to each country of origin? 2. How many of the persons concerned were (a) mcn and (b) women? 3. What were the principal reasons given for the dissatisfaction of these people? {: #subdebate-36-7-s1 .speaker-KCK} ##### Mr Downer:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Information first published by the Commonwealth Statistician in 1962 now makes it possible to distinguish between departures of former settlers and of other " permanent and long term departures ", that is, departures of Australian residents and of long-term visitors. For example, of 63,134 permanent and long term departures from Australia in 1962-63, 8,699 were former settlers. No distinction is made in these statistics as to the reason for the departure, nor whether the persons concerned were returning to their homeland or migrating to another country. 1. Information on former settlers leaving Australia is available as from 1st January, 1959: The statistics include, in addition to those returning to their homelands, those moving to other countries. Similarly, the statistics are not confined to those leaving because of dissatisfaction with conditions in Australia. In 1962 the main countries of destination were: - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Former settlers leaving Australia - 1. Research into British migration by **Dr. R.** T. Appleyard of the Australian National University supports the experience of Australian immigration officers, that personal rather than economic reasons are the primary motives of returning migrants. Some had returned for long visits with their relatives. Moreover. **Dr. Appleyard** found that, of those covered in his survey " over three-quarters stated that they hoped to return and resettle in Australia ".

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 September 1963, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.