House of Representatives
8 April 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Mr. BENSON presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Commonwealth Government immediately grant a basic pension rate of £8 10s. per week, formulate a national housing plan for low rental homes for pensioners and provide all pensioners within the permissible income with the medical entitlement card.

Petition received and read.


Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– by leave - Following upon the speeches that were made yesterday about the late General Douglas MacArthur, I wish to inform the House that his funeral will take place on Saturday. The Australian Government, of course, as is proper, will be represented by our Ambassador to the United States of America. In addition, I have invited to go to that country and to be present at the funeral in a representative capacity the Right Honorable Francis Forde, the senior surviving Minister in the Curtin Government, and General Sir John Northcott. Each of those gentlemen has accepted the offer to go. I am greatly indebted to them. They will be present on this occasion.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. I refer to the present censorship arrangements which are administered by the Commonwealth through the Department of Customs and Excise as well as separately by the States under their own powers. I point out to the right honorable gentleman that in those circumstances a book that is banned in one State conceivably may become a best seller in another State because of publicity attached to the banning of the book. As I understand that at least some of the States desire to end this confusion - and certainly most citizens desire to end it - I ask the Prime Minister whether he will attempt to bring about some uniformity in censorship by seeking to arrange Commonwealth-State discussions on the subject.


– I quite agree with the honorable member that the present state of affairs is confusing and, indeed, dangerous.

Mr Calwell:

– And ludicrous.


– And ludicrous; I adopt that word. However, I know that my colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise, who is responsible for Commonwealth censorship at the point of entry of books into Australia, has given a lot of attention to this matter and has had discussions with the States. I am perfectly certain that nothing would suit him better than for us to have some uniformity of treatment. That objective certainly will be pursued.

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– I preface my question to the Minister for Repatriation by referring to discussions that I have had with him about the payment of repatriation benefits to members of philanthropic organizations who served with the Australian forces in World War II. Can these benefits be paid to these persons in the same way as they are now being paid to ex-servicemen?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– Members of philanthropic organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Australian Comforts Fund and the other groups are not covered by the Repatriation Act and allied acts in the normal sense, but early in World War II. the War Cabinet decided that under actofgrace provisions certain limited repatriation benefits would be extended to such personnel who served in conditions somewhat similar to those experienced by members of the forces. The honorable member for Robertson and several other honorable members, as well as representatives of the Salvation Army, raised this matter recently, inquiring whether the benefits could be extended to bring them into line with the benefits which are paid to ex-servicemen who have been classified as members of the forces. I am pleased to advise the House now that the Government has agreed to extend these benefits. The personnel in question will now be entitled to the same benefits as those provided to persons classified as members of the forces.

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– Does the Treasurer know whether the new scale of charges on trading bank accounts which have been operating for a year and a half have brought increased revenue to the trading banks or whether they have merely shifted total charges as between bank customers? Have there been discussions recently between the Government and the trading banks about increasing the interest payable on statutory reserve deposits?


– I shall deal with the latter part of the honorable gentleman’s question first. There have not been formal discussions of the kind which I think the question implies, but it is fair to say that the Government is well aware that the banks, through their spokesmen, have expressed repeatedly some quite strong criticism of the rate now payable in respect of statutory reserve deposits. However, the Government does not see eye to eye with the banks on this matter and has stated its policy quite clearly. I shall need to examine the first part of the honorable gentleman’s question to see what information I can obtain.

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– I address my question to the Treasurer. In view of the high liquidity of funds in Australia has the Treasurer considered the need to encourage the investment of Australian capital in ur.der-developed countries? Is he aware that the West German Government has adopted legislation which provides tax privileges of up to 57.5 per cent, in the first year of investment under certain conditions? Has he considered, or will he consider, introducing similar legislation for the benefit of Australian investors?


– Putting the position generally, for many years Australia has been a capital importing country. Whilst I think we can take some satisfaction from the present strength of our overseas reserves, we are still a long way from a situation in which Australia can let down its guard so far as the future is concerned. We have had previous experience in Australia of fluctuations in overseas prices and of the adverse effects of seasonal conditions. I think it is too early for us to consider reversing our established position in relation to capital export. We are still bringing capital into Australia in considerable quantities and are finding good use for it.

The parallel with West Germany cannot be drawn at all faithfully, because West Germany has built up a very great strength of overseas reserves. She is a capital exporting country. West Germany has been under considerable pressure from the United States of America to play a larger part in giving aid to under-developed countries. Whereas the United States has largely given assistance in the form of gifts and not of loans, the West German Government favours the loan process rather than the gift process. The question is rather too complex to discuss at question time, but I shall be pleased to discuss it further with the honorable gentleman if he cares to see me about it.

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– I preface my question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, by stating that the spread of business from a local operation to an interstate operation and in many cases an Australia-wide operation has the effect that many people on their death, leave estates in different parts of Australia. As a result, the winding-up of such an estate becomes protracted due to the necessity for the resealing of probate of the will of the deceased in every State where assets are left. I ask: As each State is trying to attract investment within its boundaries from other States and overseas, has any consideration been given to abolishing the necessity for resealing in Australian States probate of the wills of persons dying in another part of Australia? There also arises the payment of separate duty in each of the States when resealing has been achieved. Is there any way in which these separate payments can be avoided?

Attorney-General · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– This matter has been under active consideration by the Standing

Committee of Attorneys-General. The Commonwealth, in this matter, has no constitutional power to legislate for Australia as a whole. Of course, it has a very real interest in the resealing in the States of probates that have been granted in Commonwealth Territories or the resealing within the Territories of probates granted in the States.

I think I should mention that the recent uniform company legislation made a great advance in this regard, because it permitted shares to be transmitted to the executor of an estate without the necessity for the resealing of probate in another State. I recall that the Life Offices Association asked that similar consideration be given to life assurance policies. As I recollect the facts, that request was referred to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, which in turn referred it to the Law Council of Australia. Of course, the Law Council of Australia will discuss the matter with its constituent bodies. When we receive a report from the council I will make sure that the matter is relisted for consideration by the Standing Committee of AttorneysGeneral.

As I recall the honorable gentleman’s question, he asked whether there was any way in which uniform duties could be imposed. That is a matter which relates to the revenue policies of the States. I am afraid that I cannot usefully comment upon it.

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– I ask the Minister for the Army whether the Army recently obtained a new type of amphibious vehicle for use as regular equipment. Will this special type of vehicle not only be a tremendous asset for training and defence purposes but also could it be of great value in times of flood disaster? Will the Minister consider testing the possible use of the vehicle in the flood areas of the Clarence, Richmond, Macleay and other north coast rivers in New South Wales in co-operation with the civil defence authorities as part of Army training exercises?

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– I assume that the honorable gentleman is referring to the decision to introduce into the Australian Army the American M.113 armoured personnel carrier. This vehicle, which is primarily an armoured personnel carrier, is designed to replace existing armoured personnel carriers in use in the Australian Army, but it also has considerable potential as an amphibious vehicle. It is principally a land vehicle. It can carry about one dozen troops at 40 miles an hour but it also has a wading capacity, and in this respect it has a great advantage over the armoured personnel carriers at present in use. I believe that this vehicle’s amphibious capacity will add considerably to the Army’s ability to assist in flood relief. I will be only too glad to give attention to the suggestions made by the honorable gentleman.

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– I ask the AttorneyGeneral whether it is a fact that the Telephonic Communications (Interception) Act 1960 prohibits the secret recording of telephone conversations except for reasons of security. Is a penalty of £500 or imprisonment for two years provided for a breach of that provision of the act? Has the Attorney-General’s attention been directed to the fact that State police officers have admitted making such recordings where no matter of security was involved and that those recordings have been used in evidence against citizens? Will the honorable gentleman take whatever steps are possible under the existing legislation or, if necessary, introduce amending legislation, to prevent the use in State courts of recordings made in breach of the federal law enacted to preserve the privacy of citizens? Does not the federal law regard the privacy of telephone conversations as even more important than the detection of any crime other than a crime against security?


– The legislation to which the honorable gentleman has referred makes it an offence to intercept a telephone communication. The only exception to the prohibition against intercepting a telephone communication is when a warrant has been issued by the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General’s power to issue such a warrant is limited to security matters. I have no information that State police officers have intercepted telephone communications. I will make inquiries about the matter and I assure the honorable gentleman that I will pursue those inquiries to see just what the position is. If necessary, the provisions of the act will be invoked.

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Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– Has the

Treasurer seen a report issued by the chairman of the federal Rural Committee of the Liberal Party of Australia in which various policy items are suggested for consideration by Cabinet? Will the Treasurer give an assurance that these matters will be examined at the appropriate time? In particular, will the Treasurer consider the suggestion that wool warrants should be issued against the security of wool in store pending sale? The issue of such warrants would enable producers to borrow in the short-term money market for limited periods at rates well below current overdraft rates.


– I am, of course, very well aware of the valuable work performed by the Rural Committee of the Liberal Party. Indeed, as acting chairman of the party’s Joint Standing Committee on Policy I frequently confer with the chairman of the Rural Committee on policy matters which the committee wishes to have considered, first by the Joint Standing Committee on Policy and subsequently, if supported by that committee, by the federal parliamentary party. As is well known to members of the Liberal Party in this place, the recommendations that come to us from our policy advisory bodies, which function in accordance with the best democratic traditions of the party, are carefully considered. As to the second part of the honorable gentleman’s question, the matter of policy raised is not one for discussion at question time. I assure the honorable member that it will be carefully considered.

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– I wish to ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. I preface the question by stating that the president of the Stockowners Association of South Australia recently published an attack on the South Australian Government in respect of beef roads in that State.

Mr. R. J. McAuley said that, while other States spend millions of pounds on beef roads, South Australia does practically nothing and this inaction on its part is helping to perpetuate exorbitant burdens of freight costs, both inwards and outwards. Can the Minister say whether any form of agreement exists between the Commonwealth and the States which requires the States to assist in developing and expanding the cattle industry thus assisting the export drive which is contemplated in legislation currently before the House?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The Commonwealth has always been sympathetic towards assistance for any project which might increase our export potential. The beef roads agreements that have been made with various States are examples of this. When a proposition for such a road is submitted by a State government, it is submitted on a Premier-Prime Minister basis and the Commonwealth then considers, as a matter of policy, whether or not it should assist. I cannot recall any direct application having been made by South Australia for a particular beef road.

Sir Robert Menzies:

– There was one.


– The Prime Minister says there was one. These matters are discussed by the Government as matters of policy.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for the Navy. Has a decision been made regarding a permanent replacement for the ill-fated “ Voyager “7 In addition, has consideration been given to placing further orders with Australian shipyards for the construction of frigates of the Leander class, as additions to our Navy?

Minister for the Navy · PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– My colleague, the Minister for Defence, in answer to a question asked quite recently by the honorable member for Batman I think, set out the procedures that were to be followed for a permanent replacement for “ Voyager “. All I can say now is that those procedures are being followed and that at the appropriate time an official announcement will be made in this respect. As to the second part of the honorable member’s question, 1 think it is evident to most honorable members that at all times, when this Government considers that an Australian shipyard has the capacity to construct a vessel required, it sees to it that the Australian shipyard gets the order for that vessel.

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– I preface a question to the Minister for the Army by reminding him that last November the late Minister for Defence said there was a possibility that a major army unit would be moved to Tasmania in the near future. Has the Minister received a report from the Chief of the General Staff in connexion with this matter? If so, what units, if any, will be established in Tasmania?


– I am not aware of any remark made by the previous Minister for Defence on this matter, but I can assure the honorable member that there is no present intention to move a major unit of the Army to Tasmania.

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– I desire to ask the Treasurer a question. He will be aware that the Reserve Bank of Australia has agreed to increase deposit interest rates and that discussions are to take place regarding overdraft interest rates. Having regard to the need for cost stability, will he place before the Reserve Bank a request to prevent an increase in interest rates on loans for exporting primary industries?


– I can assure the honorable gentleman and all who arc interested in this very important aspect of banking policy that it has been the consistent attitude of this Government - clearly stated to the Reserve Bank of Australia and, indeed, in no uncertain terms to the banks generally - to ensure that the export industries of this country were to receive preferential consideration. That has applied to both the availability of finance and the rate of interest charged for the finance so provided. I confidently expect that preference to be continued in the future.


– I address to the Treasurer a question relating to his recent policy decision to increase the interest rates on bank deposits. I understand that that policy will not apply to current deposits. As a result of the contemplated policy of increasing interest rates on overdrafts and other loans, will current loans and overdrafts be subject to the increased rates, or will the new rates apply only to new overdrafts and loans?


– As I understand it, no finality has been reached in these discussions between the Reserve Bank of Australia and the trading banks on these other aspects of the matter raised by the honorable gentleman. Of course, there is a great variety of situations in which the bank deals individually with the client or the company concerned. I can give no generalization on this point as to what would be the attitude of a particular bank in relation to a particular situation. What we have here is a general interest movement. It will be recalled that twelve months ago, at a time when the economy appeared capable of accepting some further stimulus, there was a general lowering of interest rates by a deliberate act of official policy. That course was adopted after consultation between the Reserve Bank and the trading banks, and with the concurrence of the Commonwealth Government. Now, twelve months later, it has been found that the state of the economy is such that a stimulus of this character is no longer required. Indeed, the steadying influence of a movement in interest rates may have very useful effects. We certainly hope that that will be the case. We have adopted what I think would accord with most people’s idea of a flexible interest rate policy to meet the current economic requirements.

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– I ask the Treasurer a question concerning the fall of £25,000,000 in March in the gold and balances of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Has he seen the front page attempt by the “ Australian Financial Review “ to interpret this variation as the result of a sudden deterioration in our overseas trade? Can he inform the House of the real reason for this movement in our overseas reserves?


– It is a fact that for the month of March the published figures of the Reserve Bank of Australia, indicating, as is the bank’s practice, weekly movements in the gold and balances held by the bank, have revealed some fall. It would, however, be both inaccurate and unsound to assume from this that there has been a corresponding movement in the total of our international reserves. These totals are not published so frequently, but, from my knowledge of the situation, I am able to say that there has not been anything like a corresponding decline or a relative decline in the total of our international reserves. We shall find, when the figures are published, that there has been a very much smaller downward movement in the totals. The reasons for the rather larger downward movement in the gold and balances of the Reserve Bank cannot be stated in full detail here, but they do include some technical factors and one quite significant payment on defence account.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Don’t you know the reasons?


– Yes, I do know the reasons quite precisely.

Dr J F Cairns:

– Well, what are they?


– One of these days, if you have a responsibility for government, you will understand -


– Order! The honorable member for Yarra is out of order.


– I am indicating in as much detail as is the practice in these matters what the situation is. I may say that this is a practice that Labour Treasurers have observed no less than have Treasurers from this side of the House. I refer you to the practice of the late Mr. Chifley in this regard.

I am trying to give an answer Which deals with a trend. I think it is important for the country to be clear as to what is happening in the general economic sense. I am able to say that the total does not reveal any general downward trend in reserves. Our reserves have moved upwards by £231,000,000 in the twelve months to the month of February, and the expectation of my advisers is that between now and the end of the year there will be some further upward movement in our total international reserves.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. I ask: Is it the intention of the Government to purchase jet training aircraft overseas and if so, from what country? Is Australia capable of producing such aircraft? What arrangements are in hand to make Australia selfsupporting in the manufacture of aircraft?

Minister for Defence · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– Some of the details of this question might more properly have been addressed to my colleague, the Minister for Air, but I can assure the honorable member that there is no immediate proposal for the purchase of training aircraft overseas. All aspects of our requirements for aircraft are very carefully examined and the value of having them manufactured in Australia as compared with some advantages that might come from purchases overseas is carefully weighed and examined.

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Mr Kevin Cairns:

– My question, which is addressed to the Treasurer, concerns the decision of the Decimal Currency Board to assist in the modification of accounting machines to accommodate the new currency. Is it the intention of the board to assist in the conversion of taxi meters to the new system and will similar conditions apply to the conversion of taxi meters - that is, the hire-purchase arrangements and the age of the machines - as apply to other accounting machines?


– The Decimal Currency Board has yet to report to the Commonwealth Government on a wide range of items, including the particular item referred to by the honorable gentleman. The only items on which recommendations have been received and decisions taken have been those already announced by the chairman of the board and myself. The question of taxi meters has not yet been reported upon to the Government. I have every expectation that it will be.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Army. Last week the Minister said that the Army was hell bent on doubling the strength of the Pacific Islands Regiment from 700 to 1,400? How long does the Minister estimate it will take to reach this ridiculously low figure? Is this target figure to be the maximum strength of the regiment?


– The maximum target to be reached is a matter of Government policy. I stick by what I said - that the Army is hell-bent on doubling the size of the Pacific Islands Regiment as quickly as possible. I cannot give the honorable gentleman a precise date because there are factors involved which cannot be evaluated at the present time; but it will be as quickly aspossible which means pretty quickly.

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Scientific Atheism


– I preface my question to the Minister for External Affairs by referring to a report from the German Embassy in Canberra, through its official organ “ German News “, that at Jena University in the Soviet zone of Germany, the first chair for scientific atheism has been established under Professor Olaf Klohr of the Philosophical Institute of the university. I ask: Has the Minister received any information relating to this particular subject? Is it correct that at the establishment of the chair at this major university there were members of the Committee for Youth Consecration, by which the Communists hope to replace the first communion and confirmation of the Christian denominations? Should not this move - if it is a fact - be given the widest publicity, particularly in the deeply religious countries to our near north, to drive home the fact that communism is antireligious, in the hope that it could mark a common rallying point against the advance of the Communists’ political system?

Minister for External Affairs · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

Mr. Speaker, the report has come to my notice and the notice of my department. I have no further information than appears in the report, but I have asked officers of my department to examine it and furnish me with any additional information they are able to obtain. When I have that information 1 shall write to the honorable member and answer his question more fully. May I say at this moment that communism, as the honorable member appreciates, is opposed to all religion and all religious practices. Its followers regard religion as incompatible with communism’s materialistic ideology. The extent to which communism has suppressed religion has varied from time to time, from the outright suppression of the Stalinist days to the less forcible, persuasive methods currently used. In these circumstances, one might very well not be surprised that a university which is to teach atheism would be in line with Communist doctrine and the setting up of a chair of this kind is but another example of the Communists’ methods in an endeavour to rid their people of religious beliefs and religious practices. I shall answer the honorable member more fully when I have more information.

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-I ask the AttorneyGeneral: Is it a fact that the honorable gentleman has directed officers of his department to review the case of a Jindara publican, Mrs. Gertrude Rowen, in the light of a recent ruling by the High Court of Australia on restrictive trade practices? Is the Minister satisfied on prima facie grounds that certain Victorian and New South Wales breweries are witholding beer supplies, thereby threatening her livelihood and jeopardising her position under the New South Wales Licensing Act? When does the Minister expect to have a report from his officers on this case? If the officers’ report shows that action taken by the breweries conflicts with the Commonwealth Industries Preservation Act, will the Minister not only refer the matter to the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs and Excise, who controls brewery licences, but also direct an investigation of the position of liquor supplies in the border area of Albury to establish whether breweries are victimizing other New South Wales publicans and whether residents in that part of New South Wales are deprived, by a cartel arrangement, of a free choice of either Victorian or New South Wales beer? I might say that this matter was fully-


– Order! The honorable member had better say no more.


– It is true that I have asked officers of the Attorney-General’s Department to investigate the matter referred to by the honorable member. I want to be sure that all the facts are available to me. I am afraid that I shall not respond to the honorable member’s invitation to prophesy what I shall do until I know what are the facts.

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– I ask the AttorneyGeneral a question with reference to the review of the bankruptcy law of the Commonwealth. He will be aware that last year his predecessor distributed to all honorable members not only a copy of the report of the committee appointed to review this law but also a copy of the draft bill. I ask the Minister: Have many recommendations in regard to the draft bill been submitted to him by other bodies throughout Australia? Has the Government’s study of the draft bill been completed? Can we expect legislation on this matter at an early date?


– Everything is relative. I do not know what the honorable member means by “ an early date “; but I can assure him that after the committee’s report was received by the Government it was circulated to all honorable members and was made available to the public. It was on sale. Many people and organizations have bought it and studied it and have made recommendations. Officers of the Attorney-General’s Department have been working assiduously on this piece of legislation. It has now reached the stage where I am considering in detail a whole host of recommendations and submissions that have been made. I am unable to say how quickly I will be able to encompass that task, but I assure the honorable gentleman that I am working on it. As soon as I am able to do so, I will bring the matter to the attention of the Government.

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– I ask the Minister for the Navy: Why is there no officer in the Royal Australian Navy corresponding to the Judge-Advocate-General in the Army and the Royal Australian Air Force?


– I inform the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that at the present time machinery is in motion for an appointment of this sort to be made.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and

National Service. He will remember that prior to Easter I asked him whether he would use his good offices to obviate any hold-up on the Sydney or Melbourne waterfront which would affect the tight programming for the export of the fruit crop from Tasmania. Can he say whether he expects any difficulties in the next few months and whether officers of his department are keeping a close watch on the situation?

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

– Subsequent to the honorable gentleman raising this matter in the House, the steamship owners informed me that they had given an improved priority to the movement of the apple and pear crop from Tasmanian ports. I also made inquiries from my department and found out that the Tasmanian port quotas - that is, the numbers of men allotted to the Tasmanian fruit ports - had been filled or were about to be filled. Finally, it was agreed that the port quotas in both Sydney and Melbourne, which frequently are the last ports at which ships call before going to Tasmania, would be increased by 600 in the case of Sydney and 300 in the case of Melbourne. We hope that as a result of all of those measures the tight schedule for the shipment of the Tasmanian apple and pear crop to the United Kingdom and Continental markets will be met. Nonetheless, I will see that my department keeps its eye diligently on this matter. If I find that I can say any more to the honorable gentleman on the subject I will let him know.

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– My question, which is directed to the Postmaster-General, relates to the Dimbulah telephone exchange. As he knows, Dimbulah is the centre of an improving primary-producing area which has outgrown, and is greatly handicapped by, the antiquated telephone service there. Prior to the Minister taking over his portfolio, I was advised by the Postal Department that this exchange was receiving consideration, along with others in similar areas. Could the Minister have compiled a list showing the order of priorities, the reasons for the priorities and the dates when improvements are expected to be made to those exchanges?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I quite appreciate that in many areas, particularly in country areas, there are small exchanges which, perhaps. should be replaced over the next five or six years. The question is whether the supply of money available to the department will enable us to replace them. Of course, we must have regard to the degree of usefulness still remaining in these exchanges. The Post Office does not waste money by replacing a telephone exchange which still has a considerable number of years of usefulness, merely for the sake of giving convenience. In many of these areas the great difficulty is associated with the number of subscribers. The House will appreciate that it is almost impossible to give a continuous service in every area, particularly through an exchange which has fewer than twenty subscribers. That would be completely uneconomic. However, I will consider the question asked by the honorable member about the compilation of a list showing the order of priorities. I am not sure whether such a list could be compiled on a wholesale basis - that is, covering the whole of Australia - but it may be possible to compile one in respect of a particular area.

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Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

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

The need for all Commonwealth instrumentalities, including the armed services, to pay aborigines employed by them a wage at least equivalent to the award rate as fixed by the Arbitration Commission for a worker similarly employed who ls covered by awards; the need for the extension of the protection of Arbitration Commission awards to aborigines employed privately in the Northern Territory; the need for unemployment, sickness and tuberculosis benefits to be paid to aborigines in the Northern Territory at the same rate as for other citizens and to be as readily available to them.

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


– Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party in this chamber have been disturbed at their inability, since the Parliament first assembled this year, to obtain information on what is taking place in regard to policy on aborigines in the Northern Territory. Articles have appeared in the press on the proposals that were presented to the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory by the Director of Welfare, Mr. Giese. He introduced a battery of legislation, which was summed up by the Melbourne “ Age “ in these words -

The sweeping legislation introduced in the Northern Territory Legislative Council by the Director of Welfare (Mr. Giese) on Wednesday abolishes the concept of protective wardship for the majority of the Territory’s 18,000 full-blood aborigines and would end at a stroke social and legal restrictions which have been represented for years as valuable and necessary.

When we have examined the proposals that have been put before the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory, we have been disturbed to see that the question of the wages paid to aborigines has been deferred to some undefined date in the future. We feel that on wages turns the question of eligibility for certain social services at European rates, such as the unemployment benefit and the tuberculosis allowance. The select committee on the grievances of Yirrkala aborigines found that no aboriginal in the Northern Territory receives the unemployment benefit and that tuberculosis allowance at the rate of £1 a week is paid to aborigines who, if they were Europeans, would receive the allowance at the rate of some £12 a week.

Adequate wages confer real freedom of movement, as distinct from theoretical freedom of movement, and social freedoms which in practice do not exist without an adequate income. The Government, through its officers in the Legislative Council, is sweeping away what might be called paternalistic legislation, but the ability of aborigines to dispense with paternal protection depends on their ability to support themselves with adequate wages. The legislation does not yet touch wages. While aborigines receive inadequate wages the final impression given by the policy being pursued in the Northern Territory is that it ends up only with the prospects of ill-health, poverty and degradation.

It is not so very long since I was in South Africa. There I was taxed by the South African people, when I spoke at the

Witwaters Rand University, about Austraiian policy relating to aborigines. I was happy to defend our policy, in the honest belief that there was complete equality in social service benefits and so on. I now deeply regret that I misled my South African hearers, because I found out that this was far from the truth. In the case of the unemployment benefit, you are eligible if you have been employed, in the European sense, at award rates. Aborigines have not been so employed in many cases and therefore they are not eligible. An Australian broadcaster who recently returned from South Africa went so far as to tell the South African people that their native policy was immeasurably superior to Australia’s policy.

I should like to explain my proposal by citing certain facts. Of something like 5,000 aborigines in the Northern Territory, only about 50 receive award rates of a European standard. The Commonwealth itself is employing aborigines in a civil capacity in the armed forces at much less than award rates. It is also employing aborigines on settlements at less than award rates. For instance, when I was at Maningrida a tractor driver, whom I admit receives his keep, was being paid £3 10s. a week for bis services. No aboriginal in the Northern Territory receives unemployment benefit although many are palpably unemployed.

The changes being proposed in the Legislative Council are many. There is a long and complicated statement by Mr. Giese which I do not propose to pursue, but the dramatic items that have been highlighted in the press are, first, that aborigines may drink alcohol and enter hotel bars; secondly, in native settlements drink will be made available under supervision; thirdly, aborigines may cohabit with Europeans without marrying them. The whole assumption underlying this in the speech of the Director of Welfare was, of course, that European men will have access to aboriginal women without marrying them, not vice versa. The fourth proposal is a touching little one which provides that aborigines may buy methylated spirits provided an unpalatable additive goes into the fluid. It was indicated that something would be done in future about wages but it seemed to relate only to wards’ awards.

Everyone may have an opinion about priority of need. I believe that these proposed priorities are wrong. Aborigines need access to the Arbitration Commission before they need access to the bar and the brothel. Those who have lost their tribal life clearly need a standard of living long before they need methylated spirits, the right of promiscuous intercourse, the freedom to be prostitutes for white men or the right to enter a bar. We are seeing in Western Australia, where legislation concerning wages is defective, how some of these things are working out. The press has been full of reports about aborigines being paid in cheap wine. On the streets in certain sections of Perth we see to-day aboriginal women, who obviously come from homes with no income, standing around waiting to be picked up by affluent white men in cars.

The assumption underlying these priorities that have been submitted to the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory is that aborigines want the dregs of our civilization before they want what belongs to their dignity. If this is, in fact, the priority of values which has been allowed to develop among them, then we will be disgraced before God and mankind. To permit white men to cohabit with aboriginal women without taking responsibility for them as wives and at the same time failing to ensure that aboriginal menfolk have incomes to support aboriginal women as wives, is a savage exploitation of both aboriginal women and aboriginal men. I do not know what thinking emanating from the Department of Territories devised these priorities but it seems to be a defective concept that liberty and depravity are synonymous. Vital aspects of real liberty are being ignored.

The Labour Party wants decent wages for aboriginal men. We want reforms which will cost the Treasury something. Is it part of the cure of the underprivileged position that aboriginal women may drink and be promiscuous with white men? Clearly that is not part of the cure. Is it part of the cure of their underprivileged position that aborigines be paid decent wages? It is. Therefore, let our changes ensure decent wages. The Labour Party is concerned at the absence of policies designed to give equality in wages to aborigines, first, by the Commonwealth itself and then by private enterprise.

The Government’s latest proposals indicate in essence an intention to give up trying, or even starting to try, to give a real lift in the status of aborigines. The whole purpose of legislation and the whole purpose of the Administration in the past was to protect the people of the aboriginal race from immorality, injustice, imposition and fraud. These objectives were right. The carrying-out of the policy was always defective because successive governments of all political colours never provided for the staff, the teachers, the domestic science teachers, the medical practitioners, the land policy, the instruction in agricultural and pastoral procedures and trades, the houses, the buildings, the education or the staff of linguists which would have been necessary to make the policy work.

All of what we are now doing has been dressed up in a formula of self-deception issued by the Commonwealth and State Ministers in Darwin in 1963. Although every sympathetic foreigner - sympathetic to this country - British observer or B.B.C. camera team who comes to Australia can only form the final impression that the aborigines are grossly under-privileged in a very wealthy country, the Ministers perpetrated this statement from Darwin -

The Conference noted with satisfaction the considerable progress made since 1961 in the removal of restrictive legislation applying only to aborigines and the announced intention of the several governments- to make further changes of this kind. It recognizes the need for retaining in the interests of aborigines some legislation which confers privileges or benefits on them, although the objective of all governments is to provide assistance or protection to all Australians without distinction of race.

If the Ministers really believe, as the statement implies that they do, that the task before us is to bring the aborigines from a position of privilege and benefit not enjoyed by the community at large down to a position of equality with the rest of the community, then they have really moved past rational discussion. What they really mean, of course, is to promulgate a doctrine of legal equality. No one can argue against that, but it is just not adequate. We can now, if we wish, interpret the doctrine of assimilation to ensure that the aborigines lose everything. Thus on this reasoning, Australian citizens of European descent do not have reserves. Therefore, the aborigines should not have reserves. Grants of land, except in rare instances, are not made to Europeans. Therefore, on this reasoning, we can continue not to grant land to aborigines under section 112 of the Land Ordinance of the Northern Territory, just we we have not granted land to aborigines for the 70- odd years that the provision has been in existence.

The proposal advanced to-day by the Opposition seeks the concentration of reforms, as a priority, on the economic status of aborigines. In 1961 members of the Select Committee on Voting Rights of Aborigines heard evidence from pastoralists which had no strict bearing on voting rights but which has a value for the subject under discussion to-day. Those pastoralists were concerned lest voting rights led to equality of pay for aborigines. They were at pains to point out that they were often under an obligation to maintain not only their aboriginal workers but also their aboriginal workers’ families and even tribes. Nothing can be said in defence of granting pastoral leases on tribal lands as though nobody was there. But if such policies have been pursued, and where they have been pursued, it should be made quite clear that the Commonwealth takes full responsibility for the aboriginal people whose land of occupancy has been leased to pastoralists. This should be effective responsibility. We should not have a situation in which social service payments are made to the station owners in the hope that they will be passed on.

In 1903 the Parliament of the Commonwealth decided that there would be no crypto-slave labour in Australia. Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, aided by strong representations from John Christian Watson, set about making the appropriate laws in relation to the Queensland sugar industry in the teeth of opposition from the Queensland Government. Philp, the then Premier of Queensland, argued that without Pacific Islands labour, for which a payment of £6 a year was made, the industry would die. The Commonwealth laid down the doctrine that the industry must be enabled to pay a living wage. If the industries of the Northern Territory cannot pay a living wage, they must be guaranteed so that they can do so. This Parliament needs to recognize that aborigines are paid desparately low wages but that they pay the same prices as everybody else. An adequate income is fundamental to any other right.

Mr. Speaker, the time allotted to me has almost expired. We ask the Government to reconsider its proposals. We ask for a massive investment in the rehabilitation of the aboriginal race. We ask for a new approach to the needs of these people - not a doctrinaire adherence to a policy of assimilation which regards the purchase of methylated spirits as being an item for equality of status but does not seem to regard the payment of adequate wages as being of equal importance, but as something which will be considered later. We ask for the aborigines to be provided with adequate housing, for adult training, and for the Commonwealth to end its policy of having no communication with aborigines who do not speak English. We ask for the aborigines to be accorded wages and conditions which are consistent with citizenship and inconsistent with exploitation.

Minister for Territories · Mcpherson · CP

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have been associated with the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) as a member of several select committees on aboriginal matters. I have very great respect for his sincerity and great admiration for the exuberance he displays in seeking to improve the lot of the aborigines, but I am afraid that I cannot accept his judgment on the matter under discussion.

Dr J F Cairns:

– What about the facts?


– I shall come to the facts in a moment. It is very interesting to see this new interest in the welfare of the aborigines on the part of the Australian Labour Party. We have become used to the philosophy of the Labour Party. We have become used to the party’s outmoded attitudes. But at least on this occasion we have seen a new approach to the advancement of the aborigines.

Mr Pollard:

– What are you growling about?


– Just listen to my story. This Government’s record in relation to the welfare of the aborigines seems to have aroused an interest on the part of the Labour

Party. Until the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Hasluck) became Minister for Territories after Labour had been in office for some time, there had been no advancement of the welfare of the aborigines. Up to that time they were a dying race, but to-day we are seeing a tremendous increase in their number. It so happens that I come from Queensland, which was subjected to 39 years of Labour administration. I have heard criticisms from honorable members opposite about the treatment of aborigines in Queensland. I merely mention that by way of preface to what I propose to say in the course of my remarks.

The honorable member for Fremantle seemed to suggest that if we increased wages and gave the aborigines improved social service benefits and so forth we would solve the aboriginal problem. Actually a consideration of the problem takes one’s thoughts a lot further than that. The honorable member treated the aborigines as a whole and did not differentiate between all the different categories into, which aborigines fall. We must have regard to the people from the far south-west of the Northern Territory who are just oming under control, the nomads, the seminomads, the sophisticates of Darwin, and so forth. We cannot place all aborigines under the one heading. Let me recount some of the advances that were made during the administration of my predecessor in the portfolio of Territories.

Mr Stewart:

– What do you propose to do about wages?


– I know the honorable member for Lang likes to change the subject. He does not like to listen to this because he does not find it good for his ears. In 1949-50, which was the last year during which Labour was in office, a total of £426,128 was spent on aboriginal welfare and education. In 1963-64 the amount spent was £2,300,000. That represents quite a difference.

Mr Nelson:

– What about the Liberal government that was in office before it?


– Did the honorable member refer to Victoria? That State has not a very great problem; it has only 253 fullbloods. We have quite a different problem in the Northern Territory where we have 17,000. The number is increasing rapidly. It is now increasing for the first time in recent Australian history. The honorable member for Fremantle seems to believe that this Government has not increased the number of aboriginal reserves.

Mr Beazley:

– I did not mention the subject.


– Well, I am sorry. I must have misheard the honorable member. Nevertheless the fact is worth mentioning. In 1959 reserves covered total area of 44,494,420 acres. This year the area is almost 63,000,000 acres.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– What has this to do with the question of wages?


– The Opposition suggests that if we pay the aborigines full wages everything will be all right. I am dealing with the matter more broadly. These people must be guided in learning how to look after themselves to make best use of the wages when they get them. These people have to be educated so they can make use of the jobs that are offered to them. Great strides have been made in aboriginal education.

Mr Stewart:

– How many have you got working for you at low wages?


– None. That question is quite easily answered. In 1950 we had only two government schools and eleven mission schools, with 763 pupils. We now have 37 schools staffed by 96 teachers, and an enrolment of 2,889 children.

Mr Daly:

– What has this to do with wages?


– This is all part of the subject. If you deal only with wages you have not solved the aboriginal problem. I am outlining the broad policy. The interjections that I am now hearing from honorable members opposite fortify my belief.


– Order! There are far too many interjections. The matter before the House is one of public importance. The honorable member for Fremantle was given an opportunity to present his case on behalf of the Opposition. I suggest that the Minister for Territories should be given the same opportunity to reply on behalf of the Government.


– We are aiming not to advance only the welfare of the aborigines but to advance the aborigines generally. To my way of thinking welfare is a somewhat static situation. The only way in which we will advance the aborigines is by educating them and instructing them in worth-while skills. This we are endeavouring to do in all parts of the Northern Territory. It is only in recent years, under this Government’s administration, that efforts have been made to advance the aborigines in the Northern Territory. Throughout the Territory to-day on various settlements forestry schemes, for example, involving logging and saw-milling, are being undertaken. At Beswick efforts are being made to stimulate cattle husbandry and pasture improvement. We are endeavouring to train the aborigines to handle stock and to undertake agricultural pursuits.

We have paid attention to the health needs of the aborigines in the Northern Territory. We have established hospitals there. The aborigines now enjoy the best health services that they have ever had. This is probably one reason why their numbers are increasing. A few years ago the generally held belief in Australia was that the aborigines belonged to a dying race, but this is not the case in the Northern Territory.

The honorable member for Fremantle said that of the 5,000 aborigines employed in the Northern Territory only about 50 were paid award wages. It must be remembered that the definition of an aboriginal varies as one moves around Australia. In some States an aboriginal is not necessarily a full-blood. The number of aborigines in the Northern Territory receiving award wages will vary according to the definition of aboriginal that is applied. Job opportunities in the Northern Territory present a problem. This Government has set out to improve the employment opportunities for aborigines. Although the problem is not easy of solution, the Government is doing everything possible. It is endeavouring to stimulate the mining of ores in the Territory and to attract investment there to enable treatment of the ore on the spot. If these efforts are successful more jobs will be available to aborigines and they will have greater opportunities to acquire skills.

We aim to pay normal award wages to any aboriginal working in the Northern Territory if his skill and reliability are satisfactory. Race and colour have nothing to do with the payment of award wages. It is not easy to bring a person from a nomadic or semi-nomadic way of life into the more sophisticated life of the white man in the Northern Territory. The aborigines must be trained. They must be advanced to the stage where they can pull their weight in the community and earn a fair wage. Obviously, if they do not have some degree of skill they will most likely remain unemployed.

The honorable member for Fremantle referred to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory which is inquiring into legislation proposed to be placed before the council. The honorable member complained that I had not dealt with this matter. Obviously, as I have already said, it would be improper for me to give my views on what the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory should do in these matters. I prefer to await the report of the select committee, which I will consider. I know that in the past the Commonwealth has provided for the ordered employment of aborigines. Under the aboriginal Wards Employment Ordinance an advisory board was established to advise the Administration on certain matters. Represented on the board were all sections of the community in the Northern Territory, including missions.

Obviously, conditions must change in the Northern Territory. The status of the aboriginal must change in conformity with the changing economy and way of life of the Territory. All these matters will need to be considered. Old concepts will have to be discarded. Changes will have to be made. Defining the status of a ward was a temporary measure to guide and help these people into a new way of life so that they might take their place alongside other Australians. I am amazed that this debate should take the form almost of a censure of the Government. If the Government has anything of which to be proud it is its achievements on behalf of aborigines in the Northern Territory. The Government’s record in this regard has never been matched.


.- The Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) introduced a good deal of politics into his remarks. We of the Labour Party, who have raised this matter to-day, do not regard the plight of the aborigines as a problem into which politics should intrude. We all would commend the work done for the aborigines by the former Minister for Territories, the present Minister for Defence (Mr. Hasluck), and we hope that the new Minister for Territories will follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and do all in his power for the benefit not only of the aboriginal population of the Northern Territory but of all the people of all of the Territories administered by the Commonwealth.

Without in any way detracting from the value of measures recently introduced into the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory, we say that they are not sufficient and that living standards of the aborigines must be raised so that they may take advantage of the removal of restrictions that have for so long been placed upon them. Unfortunately, very few Australians in the course of their normal day-to-day activities meet aboriginal people. Only a comparatively few Australians whose employment or tourist activities take them into the backblocks of this country see aborigines in the circumstances in which many of them exist in Australia. Most of the aborigines whom the majority of Australians see are fringe dwellers around small country towns. These people, by force of circumstances, live in conditions which none of us would enjoy and certainly which none of us would commend. The circumstances in which aborigines live as fringe dwellers are entirely different from the traditional pattern of aboriginal life as it was prior to settlement of this country by the white man. No matter how much we may see the aborigines to-day as a dependent people, prior to European settlement of Australia the aboriginal was basically an individualist.

Australia was never an easy land in which to live. The aboriginal, both as an individual and as a member of his tribe, worked quite hard to maintain a reasonable standard of living in what was by and large an arid country which had no possibility of being used for agricultural purposes. So it is that we made the aboriginal people what the are to-day. We turned them from an individualistic and to some extent a communal people into a dependent race.

The Minister said something about the progress which has been made under the present Governments’ administration in the Northern Terrtiory. We of the Australian Labour Party would not take any credit for these things away from the Minister or his predecessor. It is true that there are defects in the legislation which applies to aborigines in Queensland, but it is also true that the present Queensland Government has caused to be set up a committee which is investigating these matters, and those interested in aboriginal problems are hoping for great improvements in Queensland in the near future.

The legislation which at present applies in the Northern Territory is in line with the thinking in the days when it was introduced. When the present legislation in Queensland was introduced, it was a great improvement on the previous legislation, but in the days of the previous legislation many of the aboriginal people in places like Cape York and Arnhem Land were still living in an almost tribal state. The Second World War altered that. The number of aborigines in Australia who are out of contact with our form of civilization and culture is very small indeed to-day, so we need to introduce a new dimension into the problem of helping these people. We all commend the measures introduced in the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory on 19th February last, but, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said, they do not go far enough. The Labour Party wishes the Government would see to it that those aborigines working on pastoral properties and in other places are paid full award wages. We realize only too well that there are many arguments which can be used against this case. Many aborigines are quite capable of working, as stockmen, equally as well as and in some cases better than Europeans, but some aborigines are not capable of meeting this standard and it may be that, as was suggested by the honorable member for Fremantle, the Government will have to find some way in which to subsidize the employers of these aboriginal people or the industries in which they work.

It is no argument to say that an aboriginal man is not capable of doing work that would enable him to be paid an award wage, because that would only perpetuate the present circumstances. It would perpetuate a system whereby the children of that man are unable, because of the comparatively small amount of money coming into the household, to make the advances that they should be making. This is a very real problem throughout Australia. I have seen aboriginal children in small country towns doing their homework under street lights. This is a measure of what is brought about by the non-payment of award wages to aboriginal people. So it is necessary, if we are going to take advantage of the legislation introduced in the Northern Territory, for the Government also to provide for the payment of full award wages to aboriginal people. A similar position applies to those people in regard to social services. It was never intended that the wording of the Social Services Act should deny to aborigines social service payments because of the technicality that few of them earn more than the normal amounts paid in social service benefits.

The future of the aboriginal people is bound up with a policy of assimilation. This means equality with the European community in terms of both cultural matters and income. It is true that this measure, which removes legal discrimination, will meet the needs of the aboriginal people only in part. It is equally true that the payment of award wages may result in some aboriginal people being replaced by people of European origin. This is a problem that has to be met. It can be met, to some extent, by social service payments. It is a problem that we have to meet if we believe in equality - and one would hope that to-day all Australians believe in equality.

Many people who claim that an aboriginal is not capable of doing a normal day’s work for a normal day’s pay have never seen the aboriginal people, many of whom show great aptitude for work as stockmen, in the timber industry and in other important industries. I hope that the Commonwealth, which already has done so much in this field, will take this question a great deal further, not only by making the improvements which have been suggested on behalf of the Labour Party by the honorable member for Fremantle, but also by setting an example to the States in the administration of aboriginal rights throughout Australia by adopting the relevant International Labour Office Convention and applying it to the aboriginal people in Commonwealth Territories. We all have to realize that if we do these things Australia will have to spend a great deal more on social work among the aboriginal people. Immediately the restrictions are removed and the aborigines are brought, in many cases, face to face, somewhat ruthlessly, with the conditions applying in our culture, with competition for work and with other aspects of living in our form of society, a great increase in expenditure on social work and measures of that kind among the aboriginal people will be required.

I note, from documents presented to this Parliament, that in the last financial year, under a number of headings in the Northern Territory, expenditure was substantially below the amount of the parliamentary appropriation. I hope that the new measures introduced and the measures which we advocate will result not only in departments expending the full amounts of their appropriations but also in those departments coming here during the Budget session and asking for more money to enable them to do the jobs that we want them to carry out, not only in the interests of the aboriginal people but also in the interests of all the people of the Commonwealth.

Minister for Defence · Curtin · LP

– The honorable member for Brisbane (Mr. Cross) commenced his speech by deploring a little the fact that a political contest had been introduced into this debate by my colleague, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes). While such innocence is refreshing, I point out to him that the device of bringing a question before the consideration of the House as a matter of urgent public importance is just a part of the political contest which takes place in this Parliament. Having said that, I want to endorse what the honorable member said and to back up his plea that a subject of this kind should be discussed by this Parliament free from the characteristic political contest that one side of the House does all the blaming and the other side does all the defending. This is a subject on which both sides of politics in Australia need to make a constructive contribution. If we fall into the weakness of attack and defence and nothing else when we are discussing aboriginal matters, we will not get very far.

Another point I want to emphasize - it has been mentioned before - is that when we talk of “ aborigines “ we are using a term which has not a single meaning. In all parts of Australia to-day there are hundreds of persons of aboriginal or part-aboriginal origin who are mingling with the ordinary community and who are working on exactly the same terms, in the same jobs and for exactly the same rates of pay as all other Australians. The trend of this debate has made it clear that we are not thinking of those hundreds of aborigines who are already living a normal life, with the full acceptance of the community. We are thinking particularly of that group of persons of aboriginal race who are still in the remoter parts of Australia, who have not been long in contact with the rest of the Australian community and who are living at standards somewhat different from those of other Australians. If we confine our attention to that comparatively specialized group, I think it is valid to make the point that the circumstances in which they live are not due to the fact that some prohibition or restriction is placed upon them or that they have lacked encouragement. The reasons why they are not living at exactly the same standards as other Australians are more complex than that. The position of these people arises from a whole tangle of historical and ethnological factors and cannot be explained by saying that they are backward or that we are advanced, that they have been subject to restrictions of lack of opportunity or that we have been in any way oppressive. That is far too much of a simplification of a very complex situation.

Let us accept the fact that in some parts of Australia there are numbers of persons of the aboriginal race who are not living and being rewarded at exactly the same standards as other Australians. It seems to me that the honorable members opposite have tended to suggest that this is due solely to a failure by the Government to do something - that it is due to a lack of effort on our part. With all due respect to the honorable gentlemen who have already spoken, I would say that it is due to many other factors and not to any failure on our part.

Another point on which I fully agree with the honorable member for Brisbane - although he did not express it quite in this way - is that it is necessary to give aboriginal persons some sort of economic foundation for their lives or they will not make progress. 1 would prefer to state that proposition in this way: You have to take exceptional measures to promote their education, to improve their hygiene, to introduce new standards of nutrition, to break down some of their primitive practices and to give them an opportunity to live in better housing. It is not sufficient to do those things if, having done them, you do not also then provide the aborigines with the means to support themselves in the new way of life to which they have advanced. It would be incorrect to say that if you give them higher wages you necessarily bring about their advancement. If you do not make other provision in respect of housing, education, hygiene and so on, the mere giving of higher wages will not bring about any transformation. These social measures having been taken, it is essential that they be followed up by giving the aboriginal people the financial means to enable them to support, with self-respect, dignity and independence of spirit, the new life which you have made it possible for them to live.

I want to turn from that point to make a very rapid survey of the history of the post-war attempts to bring about these results. I am sure that the honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) will agree with me, even if no other member of the House does, when I recall the first step taken after the war, during the time of a Labour government, when a former member for Kalgoorlie, the Honorable Victor Johnson, was Minister for the Interior. Under his guidance, thi first postwar award - if it can be called that - granting stipulated wages to aboriginal workers in the Territory was made. I invite honorable members to have a look at that award and the wages fixed by it. The award, at the time it was made, met with opposition from some members of the community because this was thought to be too progressive and te advanced a step. From what has happened since during the term of the present Government, it can be seen that it was only the first step. We have now gone far beyond that award. The awards given for aboriginal workers have gone ahead of what was given in those days of the Labour Government.

I now want to state a proposition which, when I occupied the portfolio of Territories, I always supported. If an aboriginal is capable of working in a job at the same level of skill and on the same terms as any other Australian, he should certainly do so. I have told trade unionists in the Northern Territory that the way in which they can help these people is to make aborigines whom they regard as having the same level of skill, the same training and the same capacity as any other Australian, members of their unions and parties to the awards which the unions have obtained for their members. I have told the trade unionists that they should ensure that the aborigines get the award rates that have been obtained by the trade union movement through the ordinary Australian industrial arbitration processes. I say that it is far better for us to do that with any aboriginal who can join in the general industrial pattern of Australian life than to make special provision for him. Aborigines should share in all the benefits that our Australian industrial system gives to every trade unionist in Australia.

Administratively, then, our only concern is with those aborigines who, because of lack of inclination in some cases, lack of skill or training, or failure to achieve the general way of life that allows them to work alongside other Australians on precisely the same terms, need special conditions to be made for them. From time to time in the Northern Territory, progressive increases have been made in award rates to suit the case of particular classes of aborigines. I want to emphasize a point which has already been made. If it is not made possible to employ these people on terms rather less favorable than those applying to other Australians, they probably would not be employed at all. From inclination, they may not wish to work full-time. Full-time work may be foreign to their habits.

Finally, I want to refer to one passage in the proposal before the House which makes reference to the armed services, and to inform honorable members that aborigines enlisted in the armed services receive pay and conditions identical with those of other

Australian servicemen. Some aborigines employed by the armed services in civil capacities in the Northern Territory receive remuneration at rates fixed by the Northern Territory Administration because they work at a level of output and skill lower than that of the general Australian workman. The current minimum rates in the armed services for such aborigines are approximately £6 10s. to £6 15s. per week plus food, accommodation and clothing. If aborigines have some special skill, such as the capacity to drive a lorry they are paid an extra £1 10s. per week, making a total of about £8 5s. per week. That is the position in the armed forces.


– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.

Northern Territory

Mr. Deputy Speaker, the attention of the House and Australia generally was fixed on the problems of the aborigines in the Northern Territory particularly in 1961 when this Government set up a select committee to inquire into the voting rights of aborigines throughout Australia. I want to mention at the outset that the Minister for the Territories (Mr. Barnes) made a very provocative point when he said that the present Government appointed the committee out of the goodness of its heart and with an earnest desire to promote the advancement of the aborigines of Australia. I want to put the record straight. I think we would be pulling our own legs if we did not realize that it was pressure from the United Nations that forced the Government to appoint such a select committee. We know the consequences that flowed from the establishment of the committee. Whoever was responsible - we consider it was the United Nations - great benefits came out of that action. As a result of the work of the committee on voting rights for aborigines, a unanimous report was presented by members representative of all shades of political opinion in this House. The committee recommended that voting rights in Commonwealth elections be given to all aborigines. That recommendation triggered off a certain chain of events.

Those honorable members who served on the committee know that when we visited various parts of Australia we created in the natives themselves an interest in their own welfare and in their political, social and economic circumstances. When you awaken a political consciousness, you awaken a social consciousness and also an economic consciousness on the part of the people that you investigate. That is what happened. As a result of the committee’s report, the various welfare bodies in the Northern Territory Administration conducted among the natives on settlements an education campaign setting out the advantages of political advancement and political knowledge. So did the various denominational missions, not only in the Northern Territory, but in Australia generally. Then certain politically-conscious white persons campaigned amongst the natives and educated them in their political rights. Time and time again we found in our deliberations that the political advancement of these people cannot be completely divorced from their social and economic advancement. It is only natural that they now strive to go ahead socially and economically.

The Australian Labour Party has no cause for shame in its efforts to bring about the advancement of the aborigines. We took an active and leading part in the setting up of a select committee to inquire into the grievances of the Yirrkala people. The Government acceded to the Opposition’s request to appoint a select committee and the people of Yirrkala and the native people generally now know that, if they feel aggrieved, they can approach the Commonwealth Parliament. This all tends to awaken the aboriginal people to their needs in other fields. Like my colleague, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), I believe that we just cannot advance these people politically unless we actively try to advance them economically. Now the Minister for Defence (Mr. Hasluck), who was formerly the Minister for Territories, says that they must be advanced politically and socially before they can be advanced economically. I do not think that is right. I think advancement must proceed in all fields at the same time, and I think this is where the legislation in the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory has fallen down. It has not taken note of the need for the people to be advanced in all fields. The Government could well give a lead. It has given a lead to other States in the political field and it should now give a lead in the social and economic fields.

The Minister for Defence said that the aboriginal people have not developed skills of a sufficiently high degree to warrant the payment of the basic wage or the full award rate of pay. I would like the Minister to tell me of any white person who could match the skill of a black tracker, for instance, in a police force. The white people just have not developed this skill. The trackers are a valuable adjunct of the police forces of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. They have a unique skill and their efforts have resulted in many criminals being brought to justice. They provide no small measure of help to the police forces. Surely they are entitled to full award rates. Then we have the people who are employed full-time on their own settlements as cooks and supervisors. It is certainly conceded that not every employee on a settlement would deserve the payment of the award rate, but surely key personnel would.

The Government would do well to give a lead in the payment of award rates. If it does, the private employers will follow. However, we know that if a system of paying the basic wage to aborigines was introduced overnight, there would be dislocation not only to the aborigines themselves but also to industry. The hard facts of life are that a station owner would say, “ If I have to pay a native award rates, I will employ a white man instead “. My colleague, the honorable member for Fremantle, made a most constructive suggestion. He said that the Commonwealth Government should underwrite the losses that would be incurred in a period of re-organization or dislocation that would follow the transfer of these people from one set of conditions to another. The problem of the welfare and employment of aborigines is not the sole responsibility of the employers; it is the responsibility of the Australian community. If the Australian community wants to proceed with the advancement of these people with the least dislocation, unhappiness and hardship, it will have to underwrite to some extent the losses incurred in the transitional period. If this is done, the whole economic evolution of the aborigines will take place without a great deal of dislocation.

The advancement of the aborigines must be planned. My own opinion is that the Legislative Council will endorse the legislation now before it. I think it will criticize the machinery and the methods by which advances are to be made. No provision has been made for a wage structure, and this should have been done. I well recall the historic occasion when the Minister for the Interior at the time, Victor Johnson, made the first provision of this kind. The machinery he created has remained and we believe that some improvement is now necessary to take account of the advanced state of the aborigines at present and to ensure that their further social, political and economic advancement proceeds as quickly as possible.

Minister for Labour and National Service · Lowe · LP

– The matter we are debating now relates primarily to the wages and conditions of employment of Australian aborigines in the military and civil services of the Commonwealth and by private industry. It also relates to social service benefits paid to Australian aborigines in the Northern Territory. The honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley), who introduced the debate on behalf of the Labour Opposition, expressed his disquiet and a sense of shame at what he said at a university in South Africa. There was no necessity for him to have worn his mantle of shame in this House. He mentioned the benefits paid to aborigines for tuberculosis and the benefits paid by my department for unemployment. In the case of the unemployment benefit, there is no discrimination whatever as between an aborigine and any other person resident in the Territory. There are qualifying conditions, and if the aborigine meets these conditions, in the same way as any other person meets them, he is entitled to the payment of the full unemployment benefit.

Mr Beazley:

– None of them gets it.


– I do not know whether you know that, but I say that if they qualify they receive it. The law does not discriminate as between one and the other, and the honorable gentleman is a humbug if he tries to create the impression that there is discrimination. If he cares to look as if he is wearing a mantle of shame, I frankly am not one of those who would be prepared to dissuade him.

The qualifying conditions for the payment of the tuberculosis benefit arc exactly the same for aborigines as for other persons. Aborigines receive the benefit, but naturally if they are maintained in institutions - this includes aborigines on welfare settlements - the payment is not made to them. The principle is one of nondiscrimination between Australian aborigines and other people resident in the Territory.

Let me go back to the substance of the debate, which is the policy of the Commonwealth insofar as it relates to wages and conditions of employment of aborigines. This question would not have arisen in the House were it not for the fact that it was decided some time ago to repeal the Wards’ Employment Ordinance. The effect of that act was to take away the position of the aborigines as wards of the Administration in the Northern Territory and to give to them citizens’ rights the equivalent of any person born in any State of the Commonwealth. In my opinion, that was one of the enlightened measures introduced into this House and part of the enlightened administration of my colleague, the Minister for Defence (Mr. Hasluck), who so effectively administered the Territories portfolio for many years.

The effect of the repeal would have been that the provisions of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act would have applied. It was realized that those provisions could not apply because the circumstances that existed in the Territory were very different from those that existed in other parts of the Commonwealth. Some of the natives are on missions, some on reserves, some may be on stations and some are nomadic. There were so many different characteristics and so many different types of aborigines that it was realized that it would be impracticable to attempt to apply the provisions of the Commonwealth

Conciliation and Arbitration Act in their entirety to these people.

My colleague, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes), has been good enough to allow me to examine the file. I think I can assure the House that the approach taken by him is in the tradition of enlightenment that was so well established by my colleague, the Minister for Defence. I am sorry that I cannot say too much about this matter, for the good and sufficient reason that my colleague has forwarded to the Administrator of the Northern Territory a document that is intended to be presented to the Legislative Council. The document sets out the views of the Government and the Department of Territories on the method of approach and the changes that ought to be made in order to secure wage and salary justice for aborigines.

I can say that if honorable members study the various types of aborigines in the Territory they will find that there are some who comply with award conditions and receive award payments, lt is true that they are not great in number, but there are some. There are others, who, while they are not covered by an award, receive award payments.

The great bulk of aborigines, who are on the missions and the stations, are not covered by an award. It is these we now wish to protect. So the Minister has recommended to the Administrator that a system should be developed based on the principle that in terms of wages policy and conditions of employment there shall be no discrimination. If an Australian aboriginal can work under conditions under which any other person resident there can work and can produce the same results, he should receive award payments. There are others who cannot so qualify - and this is recognized under section 49 of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act - who do not have the qualifications necessary to permit them to earn award salaries. If employers had to employ them at award rates, the probability of employment would be remote. The circumstances mentioned by my colleague show that you cannot apply award provisions automatically to Australian aborigines. We must be able to adapt award provisions to comply with the particular requirements of the natives concerned.

We are hopeful that in time a system will be developed and we cannot at the moment commit ourselves to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act or some other act - which will permit differential payments or differential wages to be paid according to the capabilities of the natives, and under the supervision of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or whatever authority is established. We are hopeful that by this method we shall be able to develop a system that can be applied to the special conditions of the Territory and to the special conditions of the Australian natives. We are hopeful that such a system will give to them wage justice, and an opportunity to earn a livelihood, and will continually improve their opportunity to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families.

That is the basic kind of system that has been submitted by my colleague to the Administrator for consideration by the Legislative Council. It has also been thought desirable to recommend the introduction of two other provisons. First, our Australian arbitration system has been based upon the fact that large numbers of people are able to organize together, to register with the commission, and once they have registered, are able to make applications to the commission for an award.

However, many aborigines may be nomadic and may not want to settle down in a particular place. It is felt that some one should be able to initiate reforms on their behalf. My colleague has therefore suggested that instead of the aborigines being compelled to organize, the commission or some person appointed by the commission should have power to initiate applications to the commission either for an award, or for a variation of an award, if one exists. Secondly, it has been thought wise in all the circumstances that if we can introduce a system which will permit appeals from the decisions of an inspector or of an individual appointed by the commission to make an award or make a particular award payment to the individuals, that the appeals should be permitted to the commission or to somebody appointed by the commission in order to ensure justice and fairness for the aborigines.

In conclusion I confine myself to this note: I believe that in the last ten years we have seen a revolution in approach to the Australian natives. It has been enlightened. We want that process to continue. In our view the only things that matter are the welfare of the natives, their opportunities to progress and the opportunities for their families and for their children to progress with them. I express my confidence to the House that under my colleague, the Minister for Territories, those objectives will be achieved.


– Order! The Minister’s time has expired. The discussion is now concluded.

page 833


Customs Tariff Proposals No. 7; Customs Tariff Proposals No. 8; Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals No. 2

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

.- I move - [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 7).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-seventh day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, and as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff (No. 2) Bill 1964 introduced into the House of Representatives on the nineteenth day of March, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the thirty-first day of March, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 8).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-seventh day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, and as proposed to be amended by Customs Tarin* (No. 2) Bill 1964 introduced into the House of Representatives on the nineteenth day of March, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the ninth day of April, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four. Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. [Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals (No. 2).] That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) 1936-1959, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the twenty-seventh day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that, on and after the thirty-first day of March, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** Customs Tariff Proposals No. 7 and Customs Tariff (Papua and New Guinea Preference) Proposals No. 2 which I have just introduced relate to tariff alterations which operated from 31st March, 1964. Notices of the proposals were published in the Commonwealth " Gazette " and copies of the notices were circulated to honorable members at that time. The reductions in duty on tea and on cocoa beans and shells are in accordance with the announcement made in Geneva on 26th March, 1964, by my colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen),** who represented Australia at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Customs Tariff Proposals No. 8 which I have also tabled relates to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff which will operate from to-morrow morning and give effect to the Government's decision following receipt of the Tariff Board's report on polyvinyl chloride products. The temporary duties imposed in July, 1962, on some pro ducts covered by this report have been removed. On curtains and tablecloths made from polyvinyl chloride film the ordinary protective duties have been increased to 32$ per cent, under the British preferential tariff and 50 per cent, under the mostfavoured nation tariff. On tablecloths of polyvinyl chloride supported by textile fabric, customs duties equal to the existing combined rates of ordinary customs and primage duties will apply. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Crean)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 835 {:#debate-25} ### POLYVINYL CHLORIDE PRODUCTS {:#subdebate-25-0} #### Tariff Board Report {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP -- I present a report by the Tariff Board on the following subject: - >Polyvinyl chloride products. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 836 {:#debate-26} ### MEAT INDUSTRY BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-26-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 7th April (vide page 803), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-26-0-s0 .speaker-KAR} ##### Dr GIBBS:
Bowman .- One of the most important characteristics of a good government is that the interests of all sections of the community are effectively looked after and catered for without fear or favour. I am very proud that this Government has achieved signal success in that direction. The bills now before the House are an excellent example of this. They demonstrate the manner in which the interests of the meat industry have been first ascertained and then safeguarded. Some honorable members opposite, especially the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. Collard),** have cast doubt on the value of the meat agreement made recently with the United States of America. I must spend some time correcting the faulty impressions of this magnificent agreement which the honorable member for Kalgoorlie apparently has. It was secured despite very strong opposition from powerful groups in the United States of America - the country which at the moment is most important to us from the meat export point of view. The prosperity of Australia is very largely dependent on our ability to export, and our exports of meat to that country have made a real contribution to our financial well-being. Last year the value of our meat exports to America was no less than £79,000.000. I think we all must admit that that is a very substantial sum of money. In fact, the meat industry ranks third in importance among our rural export industries. With continued co-operation between the Government and the meat industry and the continuation of the masterly handling of problems which we have seen in the past, I believe that the industry will become even more important to us not only financially but also by assisting in the development of our country. All fair-minded people must admire greatly the negotiators who have secured this agreement against powerful opposition. The agreement has ensured the prosperity of our meat industry - insofar as it humanly can be ensured - for years to come, and at the same time it has made history. History has been made by the writing into the agreement of a new principle which cannot fail to have favorable repercussions not only in this country but also in many other primary-producing countries. The principle is that of a basic entitlement - in this case to 242,000 tons of meat - to which is to be added annually an amount which takes into consideration the expected increase in the consumption of meat for each subsequent year during which the agreement is in force. This agreement was arrived at after full consultation with the Australian industry. That had much to do with the success of the negotiations. At the beginning of the negotiations the United States of America suggested that Australia accept a very substantial cut in its exports to that country. **Mr. Mehran.** the assistant secretary to the United States Department of Agriculture, said that Australia flatly refused to consider cutting back its exports to an average of the 1958-1962 figures. That is what the United States of America was asking for. The agreement provides for the export to that country of 242,000 tons of meat in the first year. Although that is slightly less than last year's figure of 257,000 tons, it is well in excess of the 221,000 tons that we exported to that country the year before. The quantity that we may export will increase annually in accordance with the new principle that I mentioned earlier. The beauty of the whole matter is that we almost certainly will not be able to produce enough beef to fill our quota in the next year. Of course, conceivably, in subsequent years our meat production might rise and we might produce meat surplus to the export requirements. Under no circumstances should the surpluses be allowed to depress the price of meat on our local market. For that reason, much research is being undertaken into the availability of alternative markets overseas. I shall refer to that again later. Honorable members opposite, who have a vested interest in gloom and woe, have cast doubts on the United States of America's import requirements from Australia and that country's future attitude to our meat exports to it. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie was singing little dirges about the escape clause in this agreement. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- It is a dirge, too. {: .speaker-KAR} ##### Dr GIBBS: -- I said that he was singing dirges. Any sensible agreement of this nature needs an escape clause. Either government may terminate this agreement, but the termination will not be effective until the end of the calendar year in which notice to terminate the agreement is given and written notice must be given at least six months prior to the end of that calendar year. Obviously, the United States of America will not now be able to give notice before the end of June this year, because of more spectacular matters which are to come before its Senate and because of the impending presidential election. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- The agreement could be terminated by December. {: .speaker-KAR} ##### Dr GIBBS: -- The honorable member could not have heard what I said. In fact, 1 doubt whether the United States would be able to do anything about terminating the agreement - even if it wanted to - 'before the end of June next year. If it gave notice at the end of June next year the agreement would terminate at the end of next year. In any case, I believe that the long-term outlook for our beef exports to that country is extremely favorable. I shall give my reasons for holding that view. But first, in fairness, I must mention some unfavorable factors. I am confident that they will operate only over the short term; that is, if they ever do operate. First, there is the increasing age of breeding cattle in the United States. Sooner or later the old breeders must find their way to the slaughterhouse. The meat thus produced will come into direct competition with our beef. That will be only a shortterm and self-limiting matter. The fact that the United States supplies of thirdgrade beef have been 1,000,000,000 lb. less than normal will cushion that factor to a very considerable degree. The other important factor is the one that we have heard so much about, namely the unfortunate experience of the lot-feeding cattle industry in the United States. It is the very real plight of that industry which has led to the intense lobbying against the agreement which has taken place. Lot-feeding of cattle always has been and probably always will be a precarious under taking. Profits usually are based on the narrowest of margins. Most members of the industry recognize that there are times when losses must be sustained, sometimes even for substantial periods. At present the industry is going through such a phase. That was caused by the feeders holding their cattle for too long, with the result that too many cattle are being turned off at the one time. That has led to a reduction in the price of lot-fed meat. At the same time, the price of the grain used in the feeding has increased, with disastrous consequences. However, the price trends of lot-fed beef and our third-grade beef are different. That means that different economic factors operate in each case. The price trends for our beef in the United States are not the same as those for the American-produced meat which one would expect to be in direct competition with our beef, namely fresh boneless cow beef. In other words, Australian beef is not in direct competition with American choice beef. In fact, over the short term it is not in direct competition with even American boneless cow beef, which is manufacturing grade meat. Moreover, the beef which we export to the United States is lean. This assists the American fat beef industry as the fat trimmed from the American meat is mixed with our own in manufacture. To some small extent this increases the returns to the lot feeders. If it were not for the supplies of Australian and New Zealand manufacturing meats there would be a real shortage of this commodity in the United States, with resulting unemployment in the meat and sausage processing plants. The chairman of the Meat Importers Council, which is concerned with 85 per cent, of United States frozen beef imports, has recommended a lowering of the duties on beef and allied products. The purpose of this, in the chairman's own words, is "to benefit world-wide expansion of beef production and ensure the supply of nutritious foods of the kind the United States consumer wants ". I shall now examine the long-term factors, all of which I believe to be very favorable. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** has mentioned a survey which has been made of the United States meat market. This survey included longterm requirements. I have the temerity to disagree with this report as to future United States requirements of manufacturing grade meats. First, the recently launched war against poverty in the *United States* undoubtedly will lead to an increase in meat consumption. This increase will be very largely in manufacturing type meats. The poorer American families rely on the hamburger as their basic unit of meat food, and when they begin to eat more meat they will consume more of the manufacturing grades. This cannot fail to assist the demand for this type of meat. Secondly, at present the United States is only a poor fifth in the per capita world consumption of meat. The annual consumption of 164 lb. per person contrasts with, for example, the 235 lb. per person consumed in New Zealand. Again, the increasing population in the United States will increase the potential market for meats of all kinds. If America is to meet this increase herself she must increase her beef production by 5 per cent, annually for the next seven years - that is, by 1970 her beef products must have increased by one-third. However, the increase to date has been only slightly more than 4 per cent, over the three years preceding this year, and this year the increase fell below 4 per cent. To cater for her future expansion, 14,000,000 acres of new grazing land must be brought into production each year but the United States Department of Agriculture expects an increase of only 40,000,000 acres, or less than one-half of America's requirements, by 1970. The leeway will need to be made up, if it can be made up, by improved methods. In any case, it is the basic policy of the United States Government to remove barriers to trade rather than to raise them. The United States Agricultural Attache in Australia agrees that the importation of Australian beef into America has benefited both countries. I am sure that our future in the United States market is secure but I should like to mention some of our competitors for this market. The chief ones - the only ones meriting consideration - are Ireland, New Zealand, the Argentine, Mexico and Central America. These countries, with the exception of New Zealand, have a slight advantage over Australia because of their proximity to the United States. This means that in thinking of imports the importer need only think a fortnight ahead in the case of most of these countries whereas in the case of Australia he must think about eight weeks ahead. This might tend to discount somewhat the price of Australian meat because the importer would not know the price trend over the next eight weeks. But Australia has other advantages which I shall mention. All of the countries that I have named, with the exception of the Argentine, will not be able to increase their meat exports because they will not be able to increase their meat production to cater for any increased United Stales requirements. The noteworthy exception to this is the Argentine, but, fortunately for us, Argentine cattle are afflicted with foot and mouth disease. This has led to a serious restriction on the importation of Argentinian beef into the United States. In fact, such meat cannot be imported into the United States unless it has been cooked in an approved manner in an approved factory in the Argentine. This leads not only to an increase in the price of Argentinian meat but also makes it less competitive with our own. The Argentine is debarred from the ground beef and cuts trade, which constitutes 60 per cent, of our exports. Therefore, for the foreseeable future the Argentine is debarred from this market and is at a disadvantage in competition with us for other sections of the United States market. Mexico produces meat which is lighter in colour than ours and has a higher moisture content. It suffers a high incidence of rejection. Moreover, Mexico relies mainly on the export of live cattle to the United States rather than slaughtered meat. These factors are very favorable to us. The quality of central American meat is not as satisfactory as ours nor is the meat as flavourful. There is a high proportion of rejections. In any case, she cannot increase her production. Ireland is very much favored. Her beef probably is preferred to ours but she exports selected cuts whereas we export the whole carcass. In any event, Ireland relies mainly on the export of cattle to Great Britain and would have to alter this trend to take advantage of the greater demand from the United States. New Zealand meat is too fat for Ameriacn requirements. In addition, about two and a half years ago she sent over some rather poor shipments. The importers have remembered this and many refuse to deal with New Zealand meat. There is a very important lesson for us to learn from that. Australian meats must be consistent in quality. Some packers have been sailing a little too close to the wind in relation to fat content and trimming. Some firms in the United States will not accept certain of our brands. Because of this, only a few exporters can truthfully claim that they have a good reputation throughout North America. However, on the whole our meat has a very good reputation there and it is vital that we preserve our good name. Clause 23 (b) and clauses 29 and 30 of the Meat Industry Bill are designed to assist in this regard. I hope that the Australian Meat Board rigorously enforces uniformity, proper labelling and a high standard for our exports. In any case, considerable evidence is available that in the future we will be less dependent upon America as an export market for our beef. The United Kingdom remains the world's largest meat importer, with an annual requirement at present of between 3,000,000 lb. and 4,000,000 lb. This is nearly double the quantity that is imported by the United States of America. Here let me correct another faulty impression that has been gained by some honorable members opposite. This increased demand in the United States for our meats is not the result of greater demand but has been produced by the inability of the United States to supply her own requirements. The popularity of Australia's meat has declined in England, but this trend away from Australia's meat ls almost certainly at an end. Great interest was shown recently in an exhibition of new style beef cuts which was held in the United Kingdom in November last. The result was that all of T. A. Field's exports in December went to the United Kingdom at a price which was equivalent to that obtainable in America. France, Italy, Japan and Scandinavia have sent inspecting missions to Australia, and their reactions have been very favorable indeed. It is to the credit of our meat industry that buying missions from potential importers have been given red carpet treatment. They have been shown all those phases of the industry which they wanted to see, including exhibitions of cuts of our meat. I believe this is how things should be done. Our visitors have fully appreciated this treatment. I believe it is unlikely that the European Common Market will be unfavorably disposed towards our meat, if for no other reason than that it needs our meat. Official sources have forecast a world demand of more than 1,800,000 tons of beef a year by 1970 - an increase of 40 per cent. Even this figure may experience an increase, because recently red China has arranged for the importation of 100,000 tons of canned beef from Argentina. The Australian meat industry is well organized to take full advantage of this increase in demand for meat. The reorganization of the Australian Meat Board is designed to streamline the industry and to further our export trade. The slaughter levy on cattle and sheep will finance additional efforts to diversify the market for Australian meat. Work undertaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization will continue and will include research into marketing as well as various aspects of meal itself. This work will be financed entirely from people within the meatproducing industry and the taxpayer at large will not be called upon to pay one penny. Admittedly some of our abattoirs will need to be improved considerably before our meat will be acceptable in some countries. But this problem is being attacked. In fact, the Can Pak beef dressing system which is being introduced not only will make our meat universally acceptable but also should reduce costs. This will widen the scope of economic marketing. Our meat industry is on the march, and I am confident that its future is very bright indeed. We are particularly fortunate in being free of the scourge of foot-and-mouth disease, and as long as we remain in this felicitous situation I have no fears about the future of our meat exporting industry. It is with pride and pleasure, **Sir, that** I support these bills. {: #subdebate-26-0-s1 .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON:
Blaxland -- Unlike the honorable member for Bowman **(Dr. Gibbs),** I do not propose to survey world meat affairs or Australia's potential in regard to the sale of meat Rather do I look at the industry from the stand-point from which I have always looked at it. I believe that we should devote our attention to having the most efficient means of production and should go forward in the belief that the world's meat requirements will continue to expand. When I hear doubts expressed about the sale of food of any kind, I think of what has happened in relation to wheat. Not very long ago, doubt was expressed about what would happen to our wheat surplus. Later, we were told that the Australian Wheat Board proposed to sell wheat to red China. Some people could not believe that would happen, but very soon we were to learn that this market which had been opened to the Australian wheatproducer had afforded a very real measure of assistance to the industry. Whether we recognize red China now or later, sooner or later Asia will require meat as well as wheat. We should make sure of two things - that the quality of our meat is good and that our transport system is such that meat can be handled as economically as is possible having regard to the long distances over which our product must be hauled. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** has intimated that it is proposed to reconstitute the Australian Meat Board as part of a plan for the development of meat marketing. I have read many of the reports of the Australian Meat Board. I cannot help wondering why the Minister, when introducing the legislation now before us, failed to pay the highest possible tribute to the Australian Meat Board for its splendid record of service in the national interest and upon its efficient organization of the industry that it was designed to control. I doubt whether any other federal authority has delivered the goods as has the Australian Meat Board, which was first constituted in 1935 and reconstituted in 1946. Perhaps the failure to pay a tribute to the board was an oversight on the part of the Minister. But I do not intend to let this day pass without paying tribute to the work of this body. Many of the men who were members of it have gone to the Great Beyond. When introducing the legislation, the Minister said - >The increasing importance of the great industry in our economy is well known. Sheep and cattle numbers have been increasing and rising private investment in the industry coupled with government development projects now being undertaken all point to a continuation of the rapid development which has been achieved in the post-war period in this industry. We on this side of the House pay tribute to members of the Australian Meat Board who have played their part in this development. I join with the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** in commenting upon the failure of the Government to provide in the new legislation for the appointment to the Australian Meat Board of a representative of the workers. I do not know why the Government has decided to drop the employees' representative. Surely it is not because the Minister has not full say as to who the representatives shall be. Section 5 of the old act provides for the membership of the board to include one member to represent employees engaged in the slaughter and preparation of meat or meat products for export. Sub-section (8.) of that section provides - >The member appointed to represent employees engaged in the slaughter and preparation of meat or meat products for export shall be a person nominated by the Minister after consulting, wherever practicable, the Federal Council of the Meat Industry Employees Union. Two facets appear in legislation of this kind. First, the appointment is made by the Minister himself. He is expected, but not obliged, to consult the federal council of the Meat Industry Employees' Union. Why are the employees no longer represented on the Australian Meat Board? I hope that at some stage before this legislation is finally passed the Minister will answer that very pertinent question and also will indicate his acceptance of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Lalor. Has the Government reached a stage where it now disregards the interests of workers in the industry? Let the Government remember that to a great extent the quality of the finished article in the meat industry depends on the service given by employees in the industry. One wrong cut of a knife will spoil a slab of beef. The men working on the chain are skilled artisans. I wonder how many honorable members opposite have seen a killing chain in operation. I am sure that if the Minister has seen one he will concede that the skill and understanding applied by the workers is of the highest order. The men employed producing the finished article must be imbued with a sense of pride in their work because the very future of the meat industry is dependent on the skill with which they prepare the meat. The honorable member for Bowman referred to the branding of meat. The skilled artisan plays a very important part in the processing of chilled beef. We should engender in him a pride in the work that he is doing in preparing meat for export, whether to America or other countries. In Germany the employees in the industry would be represented at the executive level on the counterpart of the Australian Meat Board so as to engender in them the pride in their work that is so essential if the finished product is to be successful on the world's markets. In this country we are turning our backs on an industry which last year earned £96,000,000 for Australia in exports. We are turning our backs on those facets of the industry that should be encouraged. Surely the Minister does not feel that no regard should be paid to the matters that I have raised. The Government is missing an opportunity to engender in workers in the industry a pride in their work. This is something that could be achieved in an industry of this kind, where the finished product goes from the chain onto the world's markets, by giving adequate representation on the board to the employees. But in this legislation the Government implies that the man wielding the knife - he is an artisan of the highest order - need not be particularly careful about his work and is not entitled to representation on the authority that will handle his finished product at the export level. The Government is saying deliberately that the worker is not a fit person to be associated with the organization that endeavours to put his product on the world's markets in the best possible condition. Surely we have reached a stage in our national development when we need to encourage in those engaged on the production line a pride in their skill so that our products, whatever they may be, may compete with advantage in the world's markets. The meat industry is an industry which is most susceptible to failure in the world's markets if the end product is not of the highest quality. Anybody who has watched a killing chain in operation will appreciate the skill that goes into the work. The Minister has taken a retrograde step in denying employees in the industry representation on the Australian Meat Board. His action will not further the national interest. Let us retain in the employees the spark that could engender a regard for the national interest. Let us encourage a pride in the skill that produces the article that goes onto the world's markets. Let us not slap the worker in the face and say that we are not interested in him; that we feel he would not have any influence on overseas markets; that he would not have any interest in the things the board proposes to do. The Government is doing these things at a time when the present board on which the employees are represented, is delivering the goods in a way that no other competitive organization has delivered them in our history. Let me refer to some of the features associated with meat production in Australia. I have been concerned for a long while, as has the Australian Meat Board, which is being reconstituted by this legislation, with the fact that no move has been made by the Government consequent upon the report, brought down in 1953, dealing with the transportation of cattle. In 1953 the Australian Meat Board pointed out that if the Government were concerned to develop northern Australia one of the first things to do was to provide adequate means of transportation in the area to encourage development of the cattle industry there. This would be the first major step towards getting people into the northern part of the continent. That was eleven years ago. If there is one way to develop the north it is by encouraging meat production. As long as we can produce surplus meat we will have a market for it. I do not look at the dark side of the picture. If ever we reach the stage of producing more meat than we can sell on the American market and consume at home we would do ourselves no harm if we were to send the surplus meat to starving countries free of charge. It would not matter if we had to subsidize the industry for three, five or ten years. Let the people of some of the underdeveloped nations acquire a taste for our meat. If they do, eventually our markets will improve. The Government's failure to pay any regard to the transport needs of the north has resulted in our exports failing to keep pace with our development. Seven years ago about 70 per cent, of our meat exports came from Queensland, but the pattern has changed. A perusal of the 1963 report of the Australian Meat Board indicates how trends have changed in the last five years. The change is even more significant if we go back further than five years, but I am satisfied to look at the situation over the last five years. In the last five years the number of beef cattle in the Northern Territory declined by 160,000. In Queensland in the same period the number increased by 113,000. In Victoria there was an increase of 336,000. In New South Wales there was an increase of 874,000. So not only are the populations of Sydney and Melbourne increasing because of this Government's failure to improve transport facilities in the north, but also we are bringing all of our cattle wealth into the already overcentralized States of New South Wales and Victoria. This situation will continue unless this Government calls a halt. I wonder whether it is intentional that the only provision of this measure which relates to transport does not give the board clear power to deal with the transportation of cattle. I refer to sub-clause (3.) of clause 24, which states - >The powers of the Board in relation to the function of the Board referred to in paragraph (c) of the last preceding section extend to the doing of such things as the Board thinks fit in order to improve the quality of Australian meat and the methods of production, storage and transportation of Australian meat. It may be that, on one interpretation of that provision, the transport of beef from the north in first-class condition will be a matter for the incoming board. I am sorry that the present board is going out of existence. At page 16 of the annual report of the Australian Meat Board for the year ended 30th June, 1951, the board cried out for an improvement in transport facilities, and it continued to do so until 1953. I want to deal very fully with what the board said in 1953, and while I am doing so I want the House and the nation to keep in mind what I have just said about the numbers of beef cattle now in Victoria and New South Wales, in comparison with the numbers in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Whether we like it or not, if the north is to be developed and if this nation is ever to come into its own as a great beef producing nation, what the Australian Meat Board urged in 1953 will have to be done. If it is not done by this Government, it will be done by a Labour government at some future time. Let me put on record some of the things which the Australian Meat Board said in its report for the year ended 30th June, 1953. Under the heading " Transport Facilities " the board said - >It is the considered opinion of the Board that a prerequisite for proper development of the remote areas of Australia is the extension of railway facilities on a strictly priority basis. As reported in the Seventeenth Annual Report, a deputation waited on the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture and the Minister for Territories in May, 1952, to discuss the question of such an extension. In order that the matter should not be overlooked a further deputation met the same two Ministers on the 17th June, 1953, and submitted a comprehensive report embracing the Board's suggestions regarding transport and the development of the beef cattle industry in northern Australia. Emphasis was placed on the urgent need of a railway linking western Queensland and the Barkly Tablelands. In the next paragraph, the report stated - >The Deputation was advised by the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture that the Government had already considered the proposal and had called for further information for study by a special Cabinet Sub-committee. Many of the older members of this House will remember the Prime Minister, in answer to a question that I asked in those days, saying that the Government had set up a special sub-committee of the Cabinet to consider the question about which the Meat Board was talking - to consider transport in Australia and rail transport in particular. I do not know whether that subcommittee ever met, but apparently it never submitted a report. That is in keeping with this Government's approach to the problem of transport in the north. The board's report continued - > **Mr. McEwen** said it was necessary for the Commonwealth Government to observe priority in major developmental works, in the same way that it insisted on the States observing priority in their own works. That was in 1953. The north never has got priority from this Government on the question of transport, and it never will get it unless there is some solid thinking on the part of people who believe that the development of the beef industry is of great importance to this nation. At page 34 of the report the Meat Board provided a map showing the need for a railway between Newcastle Waters and the northern part of Queensland, to link up at Dajarra with the railway line through to Rockhampton. I have looked at this situation in recent times. The Minister will know where I got my information. It is authentic information, and there is only one body in Australia that I know of which can, with authenticity, produce railway construction figures. He knows what authority that is. Railways linking Rockhampton, Townsville and Brisbane with all the meat country and Darwin in the north, and linking Tennant Creek with Alice Springs and then going through to the north, can be constructed to-day, with all the equipment necessary for running standard 4 ft. 8i in. gauge rolling stock through those areas, for less than £90,000,000. For less than £90,000,000 we could have opened up the whole of this country, as the Meat Board recommended in 1953. If we had done so, we would not now have the situation which 1 have mentioned. The number of cattle in the Northern Territory has fallen in the last five years by 110,000, and the number in New South Wales has risen by 800,000. It is stupid to allow the development of secondary industry to be concentrated in only two States and also to allow primary industry, in the beef production sphere, to move into those same areas, thus neglecting completely the great potential of the northern portion of the country. The Meat Board, at page 34 of its 1953 report, referred to the importance of railways to the beef cattle industry in northern Australia and indeed to the national economy. Let me emphasize that. We are dealing with this bill at a time when the annual value of our meat exports is £96,000,000. The Meat Board, in 1953, had no conception of what the situation would be at this point of time, but it had vision and could see the potential. It knew what improvements must come. At page 34 of its report for that year it said - >The importance to the beef cattle industry in northern Australia and indeed to the national economy as a whole of these products is set out herein, together with the basic reasons and justification for constructing such lines. It is requested that the construction of the top priority line from Dajarra-North West in the Barkly Tablelands be commenced as soon as possible. No thought has been given to that project from then until now. The report of the board continued - >Quite apart from economic considerations the Board understands that Australian Government policy requires the population of northern Australia to be increased for strategic reasons. In the opinion of the Board the only way in which population can be increased in the first instance is through the development of the beef industry. For this development to take place on a significant scale it is essential that adequate transport facilities be provided for this area. I am reminded that quite recently, in the Parliament of Western Australia, a Minister made a speech in which he said that in the northern portion of Western Australia there was an untapped area one-third larger than Victoria, equal in potential and in value. That is the kind of territory which the Meat Board in 1953 wanted to tap so as to bring about an increase in meat production that would put this country on the map as a meat producer. The report continued - >This change of opinion resulted largely from various reports submitted since 1922 showing that a railway crossing the Barkly Tablelands would increase the turn-off of both store and fat cattle from the Barkly Tablelands and the Northern Territory. A summary of these reports supporting this railway is at the end of this section. That report was submitted to this Government in 1953. The present Deputy Prime Minister **(Mr. McEwen)** was one of the Ministers to whom it was presented. Together with that report, the board presented a report from the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Northern Territory Administration, **Mr. A.** L. Rose, in which he said - >Although the Northern Territory comprises about 500,000 square miles, nevertheless it is safer and surer in regard to rainfall than any large or small district throughout the length and breadth of this continent. Advanced progress in production of beef in the N.T. could not be expected unless and until adequate basic transport facilities were provided, and only an efficient railway system would be adequate to discharge such a task. Queensland's hunger for Northern Territory store cattle would be appeased if we could project the railway line from Dajarra into the Northern Territory as far only as Soudan, a distance of some 230 miles, and for every 50 miles of extension beyond Dajarra, the greater would be the return in production into the Northern Territory, to Queensland and to Australia in general. The line mentioned above will give cattle which have travelled over soft country and then by an effective railway to Queensland destinations. I invite every member in this House who is interested in the north and the development of the north and the beef industry to read that 1953 annual report of the Australian Meat Board. 1 have not the time at my disposal to deal with what the Bureau of Agricultural Economics stated in 1961 when it examined the possibility of the development of water transport of beef cattle in the north. I just invite honorable members to have a look, first of all, at the preface to the bureau's report of 1961 entitled "Development of Water Transport for Beef Cattle ", and especially at pages 16, 17, 23 and 25, and to think about what I have said to-day. The bureau's report gives findings made in 1961, eight years after the recommendations made by the Australian Meat Board about transport facilities in the northern part of Australia. The bureau stated definitely that it is totally impossible to get out of the Northern Territory thousands of older store cattle which could be fattened in north Queensland and slaughtered to supply the markets at present available. To-day, the cattle that we need to supply our markets are being left to die, because the 1953 report of the Meat Board was not favorably considered by this Government despite the fact that in 1952 and 1953 two Ministers received from the board deputations that made representations at a matter of great urgency. I gave figures earlier showing the movement of cattle from the north and the growing concentration in the south. Not only secondary industry, but also rural industries- {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Are you in favour of decentralization? {: .speaker-KNM} ##### Mr E JAMES HARRISON: -- The capital outlay on dieselization will more than repay the total outlay for the last ten years compared with any other form of transportation in saving costs in the handling of the transport of beef cattle. What I favour is expansion of the cattle industry to its maximum. This will help to develop the north in the way that the Australian Meat Board recommended in 1953. Give private enterprise an opportunity to develop the north if you will. Development throughout Australia has been made possible by the provision of rail transport for private enterprise throughout the continent. When the building of railways into the hinterland was stopped, it was found, as is now being found in the Northern Territory and north Queensland, that private enterprise did better to go to Victoria or New South Wales to engage in the beef industry and to make capital rather than put up with the rigours of conditions in the north where transport was lacking. I urge the Government again to look at what the Meat Board recommended in 1953 and to give recognition to this great organization that is now to go out of existence in its present form. Let us now follow an Australian line of approach that has been neglected from 1953 till now. {: #subdebate-26-0-s2 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wakefield **.- Mr. Speaker,** this is the first time, I think, that I have followed the honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison)** in a debate. No one can listen to him without feeling that at least he means what he says. He may not be right, but he thinks he is right. I suppose that should be some comfort to him and it may excuse some of the comments that I am about to make. The two criticisms that I want to make concerning what he said are kindly meant. I agree that transport is important. However, I cannot see any relation between the lecture on transport that he gave us and the bills now before the House. If there is some relation, he did not make it clear. I often feel angry about things. There are certain subjects that I set worked up about, as I think the House will realize, and I often mount and ride my own hobby-horse. So I do not think I should be critical of the honorable member for having mounted his own hobby-horse. But I am critical of the attitude adopted by him and his party towards the fact that there will be no employee representative on the reconstituted Australian Meat Board. I know that the employees are important in the meat industry. We all know that. But surely the honorable member is not really serious in his attitude. The meat employees* organization would surely be aware that the meat producers are important to the industry, but the union does not ask that the meat producers, who pay no union dues, sit in on union affairs. In this case, the producers have to pay the levy, and I should think that they should have the say in how the money raised by the levy will be spent. I do not think there is any more than that to the honorable member's argument. I turn now to the bill, and I shall try to confine my remarks to it. First, I should like to pay a very sincere tribute to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann).** Perhaps these comments come rather better from me than from most other honorable members. In this House and outside it, I have often been rather critical of him. Sometimes I get impatient at the pace at which things move. In discussions in this House concerning the beef export levy and wool legislation, I have often become a little impatient with the Minister. However, he may have been right and I may have been wrong. He seems to be able to plod along in a much more leisurely way than I do. I am inclined to break into a trot now and again. I am sure he will understand the allusion. As I have said, I think this praise comes rather better from me than, perhaps, from others in this House, and I mean it sincerely. The way in which the Minister has been able to get producer organizations together is a great credit to him. I used to wish he would knock their heads together, but he has brought them together in another way. This is a great tribute to his patience and honesty and to the objectives that he has always in mind. He has been able to get the producers to work together almost as one. We know, of course, that they are not completely as one, and that problems are yet to be faced. However, the Minister is doing very well. He is sneaking up on this problem, whereas I would probably have run at it head-on a long time ago. Secondly, I should like to pay tribute to the producers' organizations for the signs of maturity that they are showing. They have now agreed to levy producers to give the Australian Meat Board the financial tools with which to do the job required. The organizations are growing up as responsibility falls on their shoulders. No one could have imagined them taking their present attitude ten years ago. We producers know our own problems. We are levying ourselves to enable the Australian Meat Board to do the job. This legislation will give the board the power it needs to do the job. This maturity in the grower organizations is exemplified by the arrangement that the levy will be paid by lamb producers equally with other producers. Ag the Minister has told us, only 8 per cent, of the lamb we produce is exported. Many people would say, "Why should lamb producers be levied? " As a lamb producer, I know that if the price of beef falls, perhaps because overseas markets have not been explored, the price of lamb in Australia falls. This applies even more so to mutton than to beef. We export 31 per cent, of our total production of mutton, 44 per cent, of beef and only 8 per cent, of lamb. But all producers are in the same boat. We all sink or swim, together. The price levels of all the products are tied together. It is a sign of maturity that the meat producers are prepared to levy themselves not so much to explore lamb markets, though this certainly will be done, as to explore beef and mutton markets. The pig producer will not pay the levy, and it must be admitted that he is getting off rather lightly. The pork price in particular is tied to the other meat prices. I realize, of course, that a proposal has been made for pig producers to levy themselves for research, but I understand that the levy will not be used for market promotion. Again, I am prepared to leave this matter to the Minister's wisdom. He probably is not willing to rock the pig boat at this stage lest he jeopardize the pork and bacon levy of the future. Whilst dealing with the levy, let me say that I noticed that the Minister said in his second-reading speech that there is a possibility of a levy to undertake increasing research into mutton and lamb problems. No one has a greater appreciation than I have of the important place of research in the primary industry scene. However, I hope that the Minister will realize - I am sure he will be reminded if he does not - that wool producers are paying a levy. I understand that wool comes only from sheep or lambs and if research is undertaken to produce healthier sheep that will grow more wool then we automatically grow better sheep and lambs. I know that this would be well in the Minister's mind. I merely add a plea that we do not overdo the levy on the mutton and lamb producer when the *wool producer is* doing rather manfully in the payment of a levy. The main purpose of the legislation is to give the Australian Meat Board the resources and the power to do its job even better than it has been doing it in the past. lt will have power to explore markets and to venture into markets that are not fully developed. Many prophecies have been made about the market position and about the soundness of markets. Looking back over my long life, I remember being grimly warned in 1951 that Australia would run out of meat and that we would have to import meat. A few years later we were told that the export position of beef was utterly hopeless. A little later we were warned that Europe would certainly cease to buy our beef, but now Europe is greedily looking for it. All you can say about prophecies about meat is that you are almost always wrong - or the other people are. When I started to examine my own prophecies I found that they were even move wrong than were the prophecies of others. All I would say is that, on general estimates, in an affluent society protein meat looks as if it is sound. At this time, when we happen to be discussing the bill, it is very sound indeed. But we do not want to pretend that the position will continue to be sound, because it never has. This position has never continued. Things will go up and down, and I suppose I will always be wrong in the prophecies I make about when they will go up or down. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** may be different from me, but I admit that I am usually wrong. So 1 will not make any prophecies about how strong the market will be, except to say that anything we can properly do to make it stronger we should indeed do. However, when it comes to supply, I can speak with rather more assurance, because this comes a little closer to home. Looking over the beef production scene in Australia, as the honorable member for Bowman **(Dr. Gibbs)** and others did very carefully, it is obvious that the position is sound. Much has been said about the Northern Territory. lt is easy to be eloquent on this subject. I know that every one solves the problems of the Northern Territory with grandiloquent speeches every time the Estimates are discussed. However, as the House would know, this is a subject about which I do know something. I know that over the years we will continue to advance gradually. We will not advance quickly, no matter how eloquent the speeches may be. In South Australia, we will continue our solid advances of the past, and we will do this also in Victoria. Western Australia will go ahead even more quickly. I visited Western Australia recently and was again staggered to see the tremendous development there. I also visited Queensland recently and again I observed the immense potential of this tremendous State and heard the eloquence with which its possibilities are pressed. However, I have not seen much evidence of advance there. I say quite definitely that the reason for this is the antiquated tenure policy in the State. The people there seem to have the over-riding fear that pastoralists will make money out of the peoples' land. They should look around and see how development proceeds under freehold tenure. I believe most sincerely that if Queensland would learn how much better it would do with a more sensible land tenure policy it would take the big step forward that I am sure it is capable of taking. In summing up, let me say that while we continue to produce the cheapest beef in the world our position should be sound. Like the honorable member for Blaxland, I find the temptation to mount and ride my hobby horse - mine is the subject of tariffs - to be almost overwhelming, but I will resist it because I am sure that you, **Sir, would** pull me sharply to heel if 1 did not. I want to pay a tribute to a few members of the Australian Meat Board, particularly to the **chairman, Mr. Shute,** who has rendered a magnificent service to Australia. With the indulgence of honorable members, particularly the honorable member for Lalor, I would like to mention three other members. I think the honorable member for Lalor will know that my father was a member of the meat commission during the war. Because of his association, I knew these people well. I would like to pay a particular tribute to W. J. Dawkins from South Australia, the land representative who put half a lifetime into this industry, to the late **Mr. Brodie** and to the late **Mr. Hugh** Tancred, who did a tremendous job for Australia in this industry. I would not like to let the opportunity pass without paying a personal tribute to these gentlemen in particular. Others should have been mentioned, but I think it would be silly to go on. Looking at the future of the industry, one cannot help but be confident, first because of its production capabilities, and secondly because of the way it is progressing under this legislation, under the Minister and through the increasing maturity of its organization. Wc have every confidence that this progress will continue. I wish to ask the Minister a question which I hope he will answer when he replies to this debate. An alteration has been made to the method of imposition of the wool levy. It used to be paid at the rate of so much a bale. It is now to be reckoned as a percentage. I would be glad if the Minister would explain to me why the method which seems fairer to me is not to be continued under the new legislation. There may be technical reasons for its discontinuance which I do not understand. Speaking as a non-technical person, I say that the former approach seems to me to hi more sensible. I congratulate the Minister most sincerely on the preparation of the legislation and for the patience with which he has plodded forward with it. {: #subdebate-26-0-s3 .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr RIORDAN:
Kennedy .- When the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** rose to speak, he referred to the speech of the honorable member for Blaxland **(Mr. E. James Harrison).** All I can say is that if the honorable member for Wakefield does not know all about the Northern Territory, at least he thinks he does. In introducing the bills which relate to the meat industry, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** explained that they dealt with three major aspects of the industry - market development, diversification, and the reconstitution of the Australian Meat Board. At the outset of my remarks I wish to refer to the proposal for the reconstitution of the board. I support the remarks of the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** when he referred last evening to the very serious omission by the Government of any provision for a representative of the publicly-owned abattoirs or meat treatment plants. Even though such works may not be exporters of meat, many of them engage in the treatment of meat for people who have export licences. Con sequently, such abattoirs have a vested interest in meat export and to my way of thinking it is serious that such undertakings are not to have a representative on the newly-constituted board. I join with the honorable member for Lalor in protesting at the omission of a union representative from the board. After all, the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union has bren represented on the board since 1946. Yet it is to lose its representation through a measure which gives to the Australian Meat Board the right to become an exporter of meat and to find markets for its products. I believe that the union has the right to be represented on the board because its members are engaged in the treatment of meat for export, whether in abattoirs which aru publicly-owned or in privately-owned treatment plants. Another serious defect in the legislation is that nominations for appointment to the board are to be submitted by only two organizations to a selection committee. What of the other organizations whose members have an interest in the meat export industry? During the Easter recess I took the opportunity to visit north Queensland and to discuss this measure with cattle-growers there. I found that they were not as well informed on the legislation as they might have been but they consider that if the bill does nothing more than stimulate the meat export trade it will receive their full support as a worthwhile measure. I agree with them in their belief that the Australian Meat Board as at present constituted, which will go out of existence when the bill is proclaimed, has done a reasonably good job under difficult circumstances. The north Queensland cattle-growers believe that a drive for new markets ought to be commenced. Press reports from time to time state that representatives of the meat industry have gone to Japan and other countries to promote sales, but I believe that not enough has been done. A drive for new markets should begin, especially in the light of incidents occurring in the United States of America at the present time. The cattle-growers believe that the board should be investigating the prospects of new markets to its utmost ability before it considers any schemes for the promotion and sale of meat on the home markets. If overseas markets are expanded, the cattle industry in northern Australia, which depends on those markets for its future development, will expand in the same way that it has expanded in recent years to meet the demands made upon it. Northern Australian cattlemen depend on overseas markets not only for their expansion but for their very existence. They realize that if they are to compete on the world markets the price of beef must be kept at a reasonable level; in other words, they do not wish to exploit consumers at home or abroad. It appears that one of the biggest problems facing the industry to-day is the marketing, not of lower quality beef, but of better quality cuts. In 1959 I had the privilege of visiting Smithfield on five different occasions. Australia at that time was getting a foothold in the United States meat market. I discussed with operators at Smithfield the question of Australia's entry into the United States market. They informed me that so long as we supplied only the poorer quality cuts for the sausage and hamburger trade we would have nothing to worry about, but immediately we started to send better quality meat to the United States we would run into trouble. Judging by recent press reports I should say that the forecast in 1959 was not far out. I have studied the 28th Annual Report of the Australian Meat Board and the figures on page 11 relating to consumption of meat in Australia. For the year 1962-63 the consumption of all meat decreased by 1.2 lb. per head of population when compared with the previous twelve months; but during the same period the consumption of beef and veal rose by 4.6 lb. per head to 97.5 lb. per head when compared with the previous twelve months. On page 8 the report states that the production of meat during 1962-63 rose by 116,000 tons on the previous year's production and was 1 1 3,000 tons higher than the peak production in 1958-59. Judging from those figures, the home market is a very good one. But producers in the north have very little to gain from any promotion on the home market. They might sell a few stores which arc sent south for fattening; but they are largely dependent on the overseas market. Promotion of the home market does not concern them as much as promotion of overseas markets does. The price that the processor receives for his product governs the price that he can pay to the cattle producer for his cattle. Higher overseas prices will force up internal prices because the butcher who buys meat for home consumption has to compete with overseas buyers or processors. If the cost of sales promotion becomes an additional cost there is a great danger of prices being forced up to such an extent that there will be a buyer resistance in Australia and a reduction instead of an increase in the consumption of beef and veal. If the promotion overseas is such that demand is stimulated in markets that are found by the Australian Meat Board, the industry will meet the increased demand. The stepping up of production will mean increased overseas earnings, which will assist our balance-of-payments position, and also will mean development in areas of Australia in which it is sorely needed. Australian breeders have developed types of cattle to meet the demands of markets that have been developed in post-war years. These bills will ensure that money will be made available for research work on cattle and pastures. Australian cattle studs are producing the types of cattle that the breeders want. Since World War II. there has been a change to lighter, younger carcasses with less fat than the types demanded in pre-war years. In those days our markets at home and abroad demanded certain types of cattle and certain classes of meat, and Australian cattle producers met that demand. They will also meet any reasonable demands that are made on them in the future. Beef roads are being constructed to enable producers in the Gulf country and western Queensland to get their cattle out at much lower ages than previously. Our sheep and cattle numbers have risen, despite the vagaries of the climate and the increasing consumption of beef at home and abroad. In 1962-63 Queensland had 45 per cent, of the Australian cattle population and provided 54 per cent, of Australia's beef exports. I wish to refer briefly to some of the overseas markets. The honorable member for Bendigo **(Mr. Beaton)** gave the quantities taken by some overseas markets. First, I wish to refer to the United States market. In 1962-63 America took 73 per cent, of our beef exports and 50 per cent, of our mutton exports. In short, it has replaced the United Kingdom as our best customer. In February this year much publicity was given to the fact that an agreement on meat had been entered into between the United States Administration and the Australian Government. We were told that the agreement would not be onerous to Australia. We were also told that it provided for Australia to supply 242,000 tons of beef to the United States this year and that there would be annual increases at the rate of 3.7 per cent. We have been informed that the agreement is for a period of two years, but each country has the right to terminate the agreement, should it desire to do so. We members of the Opposition have been trying to find out why that escape clause was put in the agreement. Was it inserted because of the policy of give and take? The Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt)** made a statement about the agreement. II I remember correctly, he said that there was a bit of give and take in the negotiation of the agreement. Why was the escape clause inserted? Was it inserted because of the trouble that the American negotiators expected to encounter from the cattle industry in that country? I remember that last August or September the United States was insisting on higher standards of hygiene in our export meat work. When I made inquiries about this matter one authority informed me that if Australian meat exporters had been forced to do the work that the Americans were insisting should be done, it would have cost them £50,000,000. This demand for higher standards of hygiene came after we had been exporting meat to the United Slates for five years. It is true that last year our exports to that country were stepped up considerably. Suddenly there was this outcry about hygiene. Until I heard about this matter I always thought that hygiene was a tall Scottish lassie. The Americans wanted to put an impost of £50,000,000 on our meat export industry in an attempt to reduce its profit. Their outcry came after a period of five years. Surely to goodness it did not take the American buyers five years to find out that our cattle were being killed under most unhygienic conditions. Last year Australia supplied 208,811 tons of beef and veal and 36,615 tons of mutton, worth about £75,000,000, to the United States. Queensland's share of the exports was worth between £35,000,000 and £40,000,000. Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr RIORDAN: -- Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was referring to the United States meat agreement and I had said that it was to remain in operation for two years. I referred also to the fact that the agreement contained an escape clause by which either party could withdraw from the agreement at any time. I mentioned that in September of last year the statement was made that to bring the Australian treatment plants and meat works to the standard of hygiene required by the United States would cost many millions of pounds. Looking for the reason why the escape clause was inserted in the agreement, I remember that in about August or September of last year a delegation of United States cattlemen came to Australia and that the leader of the delegation warned our cattlemen that our exports to the United States had reached the danger limit. The Vice-President of the United States National Cattlemen's Association, who was also a member of the delegation, stated at that time that in January of 1963 America's cattle population was 103,500,000 and that by January of 1964 it would be 107,000,000. These two factors - the complaint about our standards of hygiene and the statement that America's cattle population is increasing - indicate to me the reason why the escape clause was inserted in the agreement. I have noticed in the press in recent weeks, and particularly to-day, that **Senator Mansfield** has introduced a resolution into the United States Senate calling for certain restrictions to be imposed on the importation into America of Australian beef. He submitted to the Senate Finance Committee a plan to cut back all meat imports to the 1959-1963 average, which is 30 per cent, below the record 1963 level. In to-day's Sydney " Daily Telegraph " the following article appeared: - >Meat exports from Australia to the United States this year would fall by about 29 per cent., **Mr. O.** Freeman said last night. > > **Mr. Freeman** is the United States Secretary of Agriculture. The article goes on - >Imports from Australia and New Zealand in the first two months of this year were 23 per cent, lower than in the comparable period last year, he said. **Mr. Freeman's** statement indicates that he agrees with **Senator Mansfield's** resolution. However, 1 have also read in the press that even if this resolution passes the Senate it will be defeated when it ultimately reaches the House of Representatives, and that there is not much prospect of it becoming law. However, the statement by **Mr. Freeman,** the United States Secretary of Agriculture, is a little disquieting, particularly to Australian cattle interests. I pass now to the matter of freight. As all honorable members know, Australia's entry into the United States market has not been very smooth. In October last the ship owners decided that they wanted to come to the party too. They saw that a great deal of meat was going to the United States so they decided to increase shipping freights on the meat being exported from Australia to the United States by 10 per cent. I shall read another article from the Sydney "Daily Telegraph" of 31st October, 1963 - I point out that I have no shares in this newspaper - which carries the heading " Meat Export Shipping Costs Rise " and states - >The Australian Meat Board has approved an increase of 10 per cent, in shipping freight rates on meat sold to America. > >The rise will cost the Australian meat industry more than £1,000,000 a year. > >America last year took 242,000 tons of Australian meat, mainly boned beef for hamburgers and sausages, worth nearly £100,000,000. > >Freight on these exports yields more than £11,000,000 to the shipping companies carrying them. By means of the licensing system the Australian Meat Board is able to maintain a pretty tight control over the quality and standard of beef exported from Australia. 1 hope that it will exercise as tight a con trol over freights on ayr exports to the United States. There is no doubt that this is another instance of Australian primary producers giving a party. The sooner we have an Australian national overseas shipping line the better it will be for the primary producers, the cattlemen and the people of Australia generally. I shall refer now to other markets that are available to the Australian Meat Board for exploitation or for development. The principal one is Japan. The great potential in this market is due to the fact that Japan, a country of teeming millions, has implemented an economic plan designed to double the scale of the national economy in the ten years period from 1960 to 1970. The plan envisages an increase in industrial production by increasing exports at an average annual rate of 9.3 per cent, and by limiting imports to an average annual rate of increase of 9.3 per cent. The Japanese have changed their diet a little. They now want variety, and the types of food being consumed in Japan are changing. Japan's meat consumption between 1951-53 and 1957-59 increased by 94 per cent., so keeping within the terms of her economic plan the consumption of meat will increase by considerably more than 94 per cent, between 1960 and 1970. Japan's projected imports of meat by 1970-71 will be eight times more than they were in 1958-61. What a market is available to Australia in Japan! I was pleased to read in the press that a **Mr. Wilton** has been sent to Japan by the Australian Meat Board. The Japanese Planning Agency has estimated that the total demand for meat by 1970 will be 1,270,000 tons. Japan's domestic production is forecast to increase from 338,000 tons, as it was in 1956-58, to 1,030,000 tons by 1970. By 1970, therefore, there will be a gap of 240,000 tons between domestic production and domestic consumption. In 1961 Australia supplied 50 per cent, of the beef and 10 per cent, of the mutton imported into Japan, so at least we have our foot in the doorway. If the Australian Meat Board wants to embark on a meat promotion plan here is an opening. Italy imported 100,000 tons of meat last year. There was some objection to meat being imported from Australia but due to the efforts of the Australian Meat Board that objection has been overcome. In the future there will be a better market for Australian beef in Italy. A market for mutton is opening in Japan. France and West Germany have also been inquiring about the importation of meat from Australia. All the European countries are looking to Australia for meat because of a falling-off in the marketing of beef by Argentina. I support the bill generally, subject to the objections I mentioned when I rose to speak. I propose to support amendments to be moved by the Opposition at the committee stage in an effort to overcome some of the objectionable features of the measure. We all hope that the Australian Meat Board will continue to expand our markets. The producers in particular hope that this legislation will ensure the opening up of new markets with consequent increased overseas income. {: #subdebate-26-0-s4 .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING:
Wimmera .- I feel that numerous comments made by the honorable member for Kennedy **(Mr. Riordan)** call for a reply. First, I refer briefly to those he has made since the resumption of the sitting. Time will not permit me to mention them all. The honorable member referred to the escape clause in the new meat agreement entered into between the United States of America and Australia. He knows only too well that almost all our international agreements contain an escape clause. He said that the United States wanted to limit her imports of Australian meat and added that in the first two months of this financial year there was a big reduction in our exports to that country. The honorable member tried to tie these two matters together. He tried to make us believe that the reduction we had suffered flowed from the fact that the United States of America wanted to restrict the importation of Australian meat. {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr Riordan: -- You misunderstood me. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING: -- The honorable member has been a member of the Parliament for a long time and he represents a large rural area. He knows quite well that at the present time we are having many inquiries for Australian meat. I think it was the chairman of the Australian Meat Board who said recently that a French delegation had visited Australia in an effort to obtain meat. People have also made inquiries from Switzerland, Greece, Sweden and other European countries for the same purpose. The honorable member for Kennedy himself said that there had been a big increase in the consumption of meat in Japan. I repeat that he tried to make us believe that Australian shipments of meat to the United States had fallen off because of the opposition in that country. Before the suspension of the sitting the honorable member for Kennedy referred to the proposed non-inclusion of a representative of the meat industry employees on the new Meat Board. Does the honorable member suggest that whenever a board is reconstituted we should not exclude a certain representative from its membership? Does he suggest that membership of the new board should include representatives from all branches of the industry? If he does, I would suggest that we might well have a representative of the railway employees who carry the meat, a representative of the drovers, a representative of the shipping interests and a representative of the financiers. If all those people were to be represented, the board would have a membership of 20 or 30 representatives. The honorable member must realize that it would be quite unreasonable to have a board of that size. The fact that we have had a certain representative as a member of the board in the past does not necessarily mean that he should be included in the future. The honorable member pointed out that only two organizations would be represented on the board as reconstituted. There is no reason at all why the representatives of the industry should be members of one or two particular branches of the industry. As I shall endeavour to establish later, the important thing is to have the most efficient representatives on the board irrespective of where they come from or the organizations to which they belong. Then the honorable member said that, we could experience buyer resistance because of increased prices overseas caused by the promotional activities of the board. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I thought that the idea behind all such schemes and the appointment of such boards was the securing of increased prices so that we in Australia might enjoy an increased income. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** mentioned the rings that operate in the saleyards to force prices down. In view of the difference of opinion that seems to exist between these two older members of the Opposition, an orderly marketing scheme such as is envisaged in this legislation seems to be absolutely necessary. Now I want to come back to the bill. Opposition Members. - Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KZ9} ##### Mr Riordan: -- You did not understand my speech. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING: -- I have my responsibility to discharge. Judging by the cries of " Hear, hear! " that I have just heard, Opposition members agree that my reply to the honorable member for Kennedy was justified. The important aspects of this legislation may be summarized in this way: It is designed, first, to reconstitute the Australian Meat Board; secondly, to give added powers to the board; and thirdly, to widen the scope for buying stock. Probably all honorable members have studied the second-reading speech of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann),** but for the benefit of those who have not had that privilege I should like to outline the proposed set-up. The existing board includes a chairman, two beef producer representatives, one mutton producer representative, one pig producer representative, three lamb producer representatives, two meat exporter representatives, one meat industry employees' representative and one public-owned abattoirs representative. Because the board was more or less too large to work satisfactorily, it was decided to appoint an executive committee to discharge day-to-day responsibilities. That committee included the chairman, two beef producer representatives, one lamb producer representative and one meat exporter representative. The proposed new board will consist of nine members - a chairman, five meat producer representatives, two meat exporter representatives and one Commonwealth representative. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that each State will be represented. I have heard on good authority that some of the organizations within the various States are somewhat critical of this proposal. As I said earlier, it is important that we have the right representative and not necessarily one from a particular State or a particular organization. It is important to have the most efficient representatives who are available. I believe that the reduction of the number of members from twelve to nine will lead to the board being more workable. The members of the board will be appointed by a selection committee. In his second-reading speech, the Minister said - >A new feature of the proposed legislation provides for the chairman of the board to be appointed by the Minister after consultation with the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee, and for the five meat producer representatives to be appointed by the Minister from a panel of names submitted by the selection committee. The two moat exporter representatives will be appointed by the Minister from a panel of names submitted by the Australian Meat Exporters' Federal Council. > >The Australian Meat Board Selection Committee referred to above is not a statutory authority and was constituted jointly by the Australian Woolgrowers' and Graziers' Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers' Federation on 27th February, 1964, for the purpose of this legislation. The main function of the selection committee will be the nomination of the meat producer representatives for appointment to the Australian Meat Board. It consists at present of nine members comprising four each from the council and the federation and an independent chairman. Provision has been made, however, in the constitution of the selection committee for the admission of new member organizations. Membership of the selection committee is not to be confused with membership of the board. I wish now to refer to the powers of the board. We note from the Minister's secondreading speech that exports of beef and mutton have increased considerably since 1957-58. The bone-in-weight equivalent of our beef and mutton exports amounted to 164,000 tons in 1957-58 but totalled almost 500,000 tons in the last financial year. Lamb production - not export - increased from 152,000 tons to 228,000 tons in the same period. A very great percentage of those increases has been offset by increased local consumption. I cite those figures to direct attention to the importance of the industry. The bill is designed to encourage the development of overseas markets, which is a very important thing, and to promote the sale of meat both at home and overseas. In his secondreading speech the Minister said - >The board will be permitted to use the funds collected for purposes other than research to undertake additional measures to develop overseas markets for Australian meat. In addition, the funds shall be used by the board in accordance with its present powers to undertake additional meat promotion in Australia and overseas. There is also power for the board to purchase and sell meat in its own right after consultation with the Australian Meat Exporters' Federal Council. . . The issues with which this legislation is concerned are development, meat promotion and trade in meat. I believe that those three issues could virtually be combined into one issue. I would like to call that issue market development rather than to refer to it as promotion. In certain instances it is all right to promote a thing but in this instance I think we must find a market rather than find individual people who are desirous of consuming the goods that we want to dispose of. The word " promotion " is becoming rather common. Reference has been made to research. I think that we must give consideration to introducing, through the Meat Board, quality control of the meat that we produce and make available to the people who buy it. 1 think honorable members will agree that many housewives who shop for meat do not have a clue as to the quality of the meat that is offered to them. I think the adoption of a star rating system to classify the meat, similar to the system that is adopted in some parts of the world to grade hotels, would be in the best interests not only of the housewife but also of the producer. We could perhaps give one star to meat of the poorest quality and increase the number of stars as the quality of the meat improved. In this way we could create an interest in quality. The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** tells me that the Americans add stripes to the stars. I am not so concerned about stripes. The important thing is to indicate the quality of the meat to the consumer. We know the reputation enjoyed by New Zealand lamb compared with Australian lamb. We must improve the quality of our lamb if we are to increase the demand for it. I have already said that I am not completely convinced that overseas promotion is necessary. I would rather say that what we need is development. I support the principle of promotion so far as it is stated in the bill but, like the honorable member for Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon),** I do not think any particularly good purpose will be served by spending money on meat promotion in Australia at present because if we were to spend in Australia large sums of money on the promotion of meat we could find that the effect on producers of other commodities, such as poultry and fish, was detrimental. We could find at some stage the vegetable grower urging the Government to embark on a large-scale scheme of promotion on his behalf. I do not think that promotion in Australia would lead to any worth-while increase locally in the demand for meat. The next point I wish to refer to is the enlarged scope of the levy. Honorable members will know that at present a 2s. levy is charged on cattle and that a consumer export charge operates. Under this legislation those charges no longer will operate. They will be replaced by a new sst of charges, including levies on mutton and lamb and beef and veal. The levy will be payable on all cattle of more than 200 lb. dressed weight. In his second-reading speech the Minister said - >As with the beef research levy, the incidence of the levy will be borne by the producer and provision has been made in the legislation for meat operators and selling agents to have the legal right to pass back the incidence of the levy al the time the stock are purchased for slaughter. The levy will apply from a dale to be proclaimed and the operative rate will be prescribed on the recommendation of the Australian Meat Board after consultation with the main industry organizations concerned and the Australian Cattle and Beef Research Committee. The Minister mentioned levies of 5s. a head on cattle and 6d. a head on sheep and lambs. This was mentioned as an illustration of the money that would be received if the levy were struck at those figures. It is not suggested for one moment that those will be the final figures. They have yet to be worked out. However, the Minister gave this illustration and I am led to believe that there are many people who to-day believe that the rate of the levy has already been fixed and that it will be applied at a rate of 6d. for lamb and mutton and 5s. for beef. I would like to refer again to that part of the Minister's speech in which he said - >Provision has been made in the legislation for meat operators and selling agents to have the legal right to pass back the incidence of the levy at the time the stock are purchased for slaughter. I doubt the wisdom of this move. However, I know that both the graziers' organization and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation have agreed to it, so I suggest to those people who are somewhat critical of this portion of the bill that they direct their criticism away from the Minister. This was a request from the growers' organizations and the Minister is carrying out that request. If some people have a grievance about this matter, they should take it to the growers' organizations. I firmly believe that, although this legislation provides for the producer of beef to pay the levy, it would be much better, for all practical purposes, if the butcher or exporter had to pay. If the butcher or exporter were responsible for paying the levy, indirectly the producer would pay eventually. Clause 7 of the Live-stock Slaughter Levy Collection Bill 1964 provides - >Levy on the slaughter of any live-stock is payable by the person who owns the live-stock at the time when the slaughter takes place. I believe that it would be in the best interests of the industry if clause 10 of the Meat Industry Bill 1964- that is the portion which allows the butcher or exporter to pass the levy back to the producer - were deleted. There are a lot of problems attached to this matter. During the Easter recess I took the opportunity of making inquiries of a cross-section of my constituents, including many agents and a few butchers, and I know that a lot of confusion exists. The position is quite all right where a producer sells direct to an exporter or butcher, but in numerous cases no direct sale is made. There is a middle man - a dealer, if you wish to call him that - involved. I know a man who buys for an exporter and also for a butcher and who is, himself, a grazier. When he buys sheep, at the knock-down of the hammer he is not always sure where the sheep will finish up, for the simple reason that he may be looking for stock for the butcher and find later on that the butcher is not satisfied, and so the sheep may eventually go to the exporter. Similarly, this man has commissions to purchase on behalf of graziers. This is where I can see a lot of confusion arising. When we have a man such as this who is, I believe, doing a very worthwhile job for the sheep industry, are we to penalize him by expecting him to see that the levy is paid on the first purchase of the stock, when he may find that, having taken the stock home for a short period, he has to pay another levy when they go to be slaughtered? {: .speaker-JSG} ##### Mr Brimblecombe: -- Only when they are killed. {: .speaker-KET} ##### Mr KING: -- The honorable member for Maranoa said: " Only when they are killed ". As I tried to explain a few minutes ago, when the individual buys sheep he is not absolutely sure that they are going to be slaughtered. Do not tell me that this will not happen. I know that it has happened. It will continue to happen and somebody will be penalized. That is why I have always said that it would be better if this levy had to be paid by the butchers or the exporters. I know that when the recent cattle levy legislation was brought before this House there was strong opposition to this course from those people and that they said they were going to test the validity of the measure. I do not think it matters two hoots whether the payment is made by the butcher or by the owner of the sheep prior to their going to the butcher, because, as I have said, the levy will be passed on to the owner. As an illustration, if a butcher thought there was £4 worth of meat on a sheep, with a levy, of 6d. he would bid 79s. 6d. and not 80s. Od. If I took sheep to market and I thought they were a grazier line, and if the auctioneer asked me whether I was satisfied with 80s. for each, my answer might be, " Yes ". Then, when I got my account sales, I would find deductions, including the 6d. levy. What I thought I had sold for 80s. would return only 79s. 6d. If my suggestion were followed the buyer would bid 79s. 6d., and that is as high as he would go. I would know that that was the price I would receive, less the normal expenses. Although there is a lot of opposition from people such as butchers and exporters, I still believe that this is the answer to this problem. Naturally it would involve altering the whole of this measure, because the levy would not be a producer levy. It would be a slaughter levy. In the few minutes remaining to me, I would like to deal with the rate of levy on low-grade stock. In recent years we have had some pretty favorable seasons, but I remember a season not very many years ago which was not so good. I think the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** knows only too well the condition of his State three or four years ago when there was a pretty serious drought. I, like many other interested producers, saw sheep sold for a very low figure. At one sale 1 saw at least 50 per cent of the sheep sold for only 5s. a head and numerous pens were sold for in the vicinity of 2s. a head. If we had a 6d. levy, would these people be expected to pay it? I suggest to the Minister that he give consideration at some time in the future to a minimum price to which the levy should apply. The. minimum price could be 10s. or £1 a head for sheep and £5 or £10 a head for cattle. That would bring the industry added benefits. Finally, I wish to mention a matter raised yesterday by the honorable member for Calare **(Mr. England),** who discussed the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee. I should like the Minister for Primary Industry, if he is able to do so, to say what the future of this committee will be after the legislation at present before us has been passed. Will the activities of the reconstituted Australian Meat Board in relation to promotion and various other tilings cut across the responsibilities of the committee? Perhaps it is a little early for the Minister to answer that inquiry, but I appeal to him to do so in the not too far distant future if he can. **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I support these measures in principle, although I object to one or two features of the Meat Industry Bill. Nevertheless, I trust that the broad principles that will be put into effect will be acceptable to those people who have put a lot of time into planning for the future of the meat industry. {: #subdebate-26-0-s5 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-26-0-s6 .speaker-JVB} ##### Mr MORTIMER:
Grey **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King)** has made it quite plain that he is not very happy at the absence of representation on the reconstituted Australian Meat Board of certain primary producer organizations and some other bodies that have played a vital part in the meat industry and produced quite a lot of our output of meat. The honorable member also mentioned the arguments advanced in favour of representation of employees engaged in the industry and said, in effect, " If the meat industry employees are to be represented on the board, railway employees also should be represented ". That is a ridiculous idea. Quite plainly, as we can see from the operations of the present board, the trade union representatives have played an important and proper part in the functioning of the industry. The honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** searched for the reason why the Government had decided not to have represented on the Australian Meat Board and the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee all sections of the industry which are vitally interested in it. He asked the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** why the publicly-owned abattoirs and the employees in the industry are no longer to be represented. There are some 22 publicly-owned abattoirs. Is it just and proper that the managements of those public utilities should not have placed at their disposal all the information made available to the board? The Minister has given no proper reasons why these sections of the industry are denied representation. Nor has he given a proper reason for the denial of representation to certain producer organizations which embrace a very high percentage of the meat producers of Australia. All honorable members no doubt agree that it is just and proper that the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation be represented on the selection committee and on the board. But by no stretch of the imagination can it be said that these two organizations represent all the meat producers of Australia. In South Australia and Tasmania, for instance, the membership of the Australian Primary Producers Union, which is to be denied representation, produced 54.6 per cent, and 56.2 per cent, in the respective States of all the beef cattle sold in the 1962-63 season. In Victoria and New South Wales, the figures were 28.8 per cent, and 22.2 per cent, respectively. How can the Government deny representation to an organization such as this and still make it appear that justice has been done? The Australian Primary Producers Union was not admitted to membership of the Australian Wool Industry Conference. Yet the union's members produced, as the statistics show, 21.1 per cent, of the Australian wool clip in the 1962-63 season. These figures have been produced and accepted and it is now strongly rumoured that the union may be admitted to the conference. However, this is to happen only after a levy has been struck and organizational arrangements have been completed. Let us now consider what the Minister said about the admission of new members to the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee. This matter also was mentioned by the honorable member for Wimmera and lightly brushed aside. He gave the same reason as did the Minister, for he said, " We want the most efficient members ". He said nothing about whether other organizations should be represented. The Minister stated - The Australian Meat Board Selection Committee ... is not a statutory authority and was constituted jointly by the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation on 27th February, 1964, for the purpose of this legislation. The main function of the selection committee will be the nomination of the meat producer representatives for appointment to the Australian Meat Board. It consists at present of nine members comprising four each from the council and the federation and an independent chairman. Provision has been made, however, in the constitution of the selection committee for the admission of new member organizations. The constitution of the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee provides - Decisions by Motion. {: type="1" start="15"} 0. All decisions of the Committee shall be by motion. Motions - How Submitted. 16. (i) Motions may bc submitted to the Committee by: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Any Member Organisation. 1. The Chairman. We can see that this procedure will present applicant organizations with considerable difficulty. The committee will not be able to make a decision without a motion, and a motion may be submitted only by an existing member organization or the chairman. In these circumstances, it is believed that the Australian Primary Producers Union or any other organization seeking membership will find it at least very difficult, if not impossible, to have a motion submitted to the committee. So we find that the Government has excluded from membership of the Australian Meat Board not only publicly-owned abattoirs and employee organizations but also a producer organization that represents a great number of farmers and graziers. An indication of the large interest of just one of these organizations in the sheep and wool industry is given by an editorial in the " Producer ", which states - The result of the official enquiry into the claim of the A.P.P.U. to be a representative organisation of wool growers and entitled to be recognised as such have been indicated by the independent and official survey made by **Dr. Jarrett** and **Dr. T.** L. Dillon of the Adelaide University. It is clearly shown that Union members produce 22% of the wool sold and that the average number of bales produced by members is in the vicinity of 35 bales of wool per annum. The total number of wool grower members is 22,000 and sheep represented 33.6 million producing 983,000 bales of wool, or 21.1% of all wool sold. Here in South Australia the Union claim to have more than 4,000 wool grower members has been substantiated, the figure being found to be 4,441 and an average of 1,350 sheep. Total number of sheep represented by union members in S.A. is 13 million. Under the Rules of the A.W.I.C. applicants for membership must provide information on the above matters but the two wool organisations, the Woolgrowers Council and the A. Wool & Meat Producers Federation, have been accepted without question as foundation members. Full representation has been granted to each on the Wool Industry Conference but even though the A.P.P.U. is entitled to membership on the basis of the statistics given, there is nothing to indicate the result of the application. The fact that this is the first application of this nature to be made to the Wool Industry Conference may have some bearing on the Conference decision to appoint a Committee to examine the position and report back to its next meeting in June. In the meantime all general members in the A.P.P.U await the result with keen interest - and mixed feelings. So this union having proved statistically that it is entitled to be admitted to the Australian Wool Industry Conference may now at this late hour be admitted. However, this and other similar organizations are not interested only in wool and sheep. I will deal only with the Australian Primary Producers Union because information relating to it is readily available. It has 41,422 members. I have already given figures relating to wool and sheep and I add that the estimated contributions to total Australian production by its members are as follows: - These figures prove that the organization is entitled to membership of the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee and it could be said that it is entitled to membership of the board. It cannot be stressed too strongly that if it were given membership all organizations paying the slaughter tax would then have representation. The slaughter tax is estimated to produce some £1,700,000. This is a huge increase on the sum previously available and, with assistance from the Government, could be put to valuable use in research into the orderly marketing system that is so badly needed by the industry. In my opinion, there is a distinct parallel between the manner in which the wool and meat levies have been introduced. The idea was to have a wool levy and then talk about a floor price plan. That was the attitude of those in authority. With the meat levy, the idea was to secure a slaughter charge and the present attitude is to forget about orderly marketing. Yet we are all aware that the introduction of these marketing arrangements is vital to the industry and to the Australian economy. Higher prices for our beef products have brought about an expanding programme right throughout the industry, and, as with other primary industries in the past, we must expect at some stage to experience a difficulty in disposing of any surplus at an average market price. Therefore, the meat agreement entered into between the Australian Government and the United States Government has added importance. We were all quite thrilled to hear the Minister make the following statement: - >This agreement is a tremendous step forward for our meat export industry. Uncertainty has been replaced by security. As a result, our industry will be able to plan ahead and develop in confidence assured of continued and growing access to the American market. This would be important enough in itself. But it is not the only result. The agreement also contains many other features for which Australia has been fighting for years in its trade in primary products. He also said that we would have assured, predictable access to one of the major world meat markets. The feature that concerns a great many people is whether the American producer will permit the United States Government to keep the agreement. It was thought that the agreement did at least one thing and that was to place the Australian producer in the position of knowing almost exactly the quantity of beef and mutton that could gain entry into America and its markets. In 1957, we exported 2,300 tons of beef and mutton to America. This had increased over a period of seven years at the average rate of 36,300 tons a year, reaching a peak export of 257,000 tons in 1963. The agreement now gives us reduced exports to the United States for 1964, less for 1965 and an additional 4,000 tons over the 1963 total for 1966. What is the attitude of the American producer? This is a matter for concern. In almost any newspaper, including those printed to-day, we will see the information that our meat exports to America are continually under heavy discussion. The newspapers carry headlines such as " Trade War Averted", "U.S. Cattlemen Want Embargo ", " U.S. Trade restrictions savage ' ", and " ' Big Fall ' in meat exports ". So America has been quite open in saying that Australia has been greedy, selfish and unreasonable in increasing its exports of frozen meat by 162 per cent, over the last three years. We have also been called many other things and great pressure has been brought to bear on the American Senate to cut our meat exports further. I wish to refer to an article that appeared in the "Sun-Herald" of 8th March, 1964. It reads as follows: - >Washington. The Secretary of State, **Mr. Dean** Rusk, said to-day a trade war with Australia could have resulted if Congress had accepted Farm Bill amendments to place quotas on meat imports. > >The Senate yesterday defeated proposed quota legislation by the narrow margin of two votes. > > **Mr. Rusk** told a Press conference that if the amendments had been passed, very large compensation would have been due to Australia in American trade in other commodities, a trade war could have developed, and the coming " Kennedy Round " of trade negotiations in Geneva could have been affected. If retaliation against the United Stales had taken place, " We would have been in deep trouble, " he said. I now wish to refer to the remarks made by our Ambassador, **Sir Howard** Beale, on this matter. An article in the Melbourne "Herald" of 18th March, 1964, had this to say - The Australian Ambassador to the United States, **Sir Howard** Beale, today criticised a U.S. Bill to limit further American imports of beef, veal and mutton. " If this Bill becomes law, it will mean that a solemn agreement entered into between the Australian and United States Governments will be nullified, " **Sir Howard** said. " The Australian Government and people will find this hard to understand. " **Sir Howard,** addressing the Rotary Club in Rochester, New York Slate, defended Australian beef exports to the U.S. as "the fairest of fair competition. " Recently the Australian Government agreed to a State Department request to limit imports to a figure " somewhat less than last year's imports and allowing a small percentage increase for growth in demand in the future, " he said. " Now, however, Congress, under pressure from cattle interests, is putting forward a Bill which would destroy this agreement and cut back Australian (and other foreign) imports severely." We do not ask for aid. Australia is a good ally of the United Slates and also a very good customer. If we are to be restricted in this way, what are we to use for money? We already have a dollar deficit because, inter alia, of a heavy tariff of Australian wool, *one of* our biggest export earners, and a severe quota on Australian lead, another big export earner. We are buying from you -I said buying because we do not get any foreign aid and have never asked for it - a great deal of military equipment, naval vessels, TFX aircraft, Hercules transports and many other things. How are we to pay for these and thus be adequately equipped, as a good ally should be, if we cannot raise dollars by selling our goods to you? The report continues, but I shall not weary the House by reading the rest of the quotation. I wish to refer very briefly to another problem that I think confronts Australia - rises in freight charges. In the " Sydney Morning Herald " of 6th December, 1963, an article appeared headed "Orderly Marketing ". The article stated - Orderly marketing was vital to help absorb the 10 per cent increase in shipping freight rates on meat sold to America, **Mr. A.** S. Jeffrey, president of the Country Meatworks' Association, said to-day. The increased freight charges could be offset to some extent by regular and on schedule arrivals of meat in American ports. If exporters and shipping companies co-operated, there might not be a big tonnage of meal arriving in America when the market was dull. This was particularly the case in the period between August and December when the American domestic killing seasons was in full operation, **Mr. Jeffery** said. . . . **Mr. Jeffery** said the chairman of the Australian Meat Board, **Mr. J.** L. Shute, had stated that the new rates would increase costs by at least 12s. 6d. a carcass. **Mr. Shute** had also stated that the rise in freights would cost the Australian meat industry more than £1,000,000 a year. All manner of people rightly object to the freight increases. I shall quote a report of a statement by the chairman of the Australian Meat Board, **Mr. J.** L. Shute, which appeared in an article in the " Sydney Morning Herald" of 29th August, 1963. The report stated - Australian meat producers may have to absorb the additional costs per year in increased shipping costs for exports to America . . . No information had been furnished to justify the substantial increase in freight charges . . . The new charges would increase the cost of shipping cattle to America by about 12s 6d. a head . . . Last night, the other major shipping line operating between Australia and America, Atlanttrafik Express Service, announced it would apply similar freighting increases. Government supporters state quite frankly that they can do nothing whatsoever to prevent freight increases yet we find - as has happened on this occasion - that when the pressure is on, other countries can increasethe costs of transporting our products to overseas markets. Members of the Opposition have continually asked the Government to establish an overseas shipping line to be controlled in Australia so that with respect to freight our primary producers and our importers may be placed on a level footing with those of other nations. Once again we ask that such shipping line be established and that the Government make provision for the representation on the Meat Board of members of the Australian Meat Employees Union. {: #subdebate-26-0-s7 .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE:
Macarthur .- The measure before the House provides for the reconstitution of the Australian Meat Board and aims at the development of our overseas trade in the commodity which has had phenomenally-increased sales overseas recently. Meat will become, like wool and wheat, one of Australia's great export commodities. A great deal of care has gone into the organization of a board which will not represent any sectional interests, any State, any group or any colour. It will be a board which aims at being very efficient and at doing the job handed over to it by the old board. I think it is fair to say that the Australian Meat Board, as formerly constituted, was in being, and the present Government was in office, during the time of the magnificent increase in the tonnage of meat exported and the development of the bonanza in the meat trade. Sometimes we miss the point that the American market, which has taken boneless meat and meat cut from second and thirdclass cattle, has greatly stimulated our exports. I refer to the work of the present Australian Meat Board when I say that while there has been such an interest in what is happening in America, exports to Britain have increased to such an extent that half of our exports intended for America have been diverted to Britain. Italy and Greece are buying meat; the Japanese are interested and so are the French. In other words, the predictions of some of us, including myself, over the last five or six years have been confirmed. As the standards of living in the world rise, the people whose standards are improving are seeking meat; and meat they will have. They are prepared to pay for meat and Australia is the last country with the great range of cattle-breeding areas which can supply this commodity. The three great meat exporting nations - Australia, New Zealand and the Argentine - have each exported about £100,000,000 worth of meat annually. One realizes that Australia will develop greatly and very rapidly become the premier exporter of beef, mutton, lamb and other classes of meat. Australia has the resources to do it and can export £200,000,000 worth of meat. Therefore, the bill before us is a very important one and it is important that it should be debated. It is important that we should carefully examine the proposals it contains. Having commended the old board, I commend the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** for the work he has put into these proposals. A great deal of patient work has been done by his departmental officers. {: .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- My friend, the honorable member for Wannon, also is to be commended for his interest. He has taken a great interest in this bill and has made some very constructive proposals. Our committees have received reports from all organizations. We have had discussions with everybody who could help us with our problems. We have toured Australia many times in the last six to ten years, looking at the places where development can take place. A great deal of our study has concerned the production of beef. The proposed consultative committee is to be constituted by two great organizations - the Australian Woolgrowers' and Graziers' Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers' Federation. I am aware that the Australian Primary Producers Union asked to be included, as it did in the wool conference discussions. I believe that this organization will eventually be brought in as part of the background to these great boards - the Australian Wool Board and the Australian Meat Board. I sincerely believe that the Australian Primary Producers Union, particularly in Victoria, deserves to be represented on the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee, because it has tried to make a contribution to the development of our primary industries. I believe that it has kept the other organizations on their toes. The proposal is to create an Australian Meat Board consisting of the best men we can get. It will include the chairman, a Government nominee and five representatives of producers who pay for the work of the board. Those five representatives will come from the people who will put up the money. The levy, which will provide the money for the administration of the board and for promotion and research, will be paid by the producers who are represented in these great organizations. It is completely correct that there should be five such men. They will be selected not because of the States from which they come, but because of their efficiency, competence and soundness in dealing with these problems. That is as it should be. There will also be two representatives of the Australian Meat Exporters' Federal Council. The men on that council have had a lifetime of experience in this industry. They are extremely efficient and very able men. They will make their contribution to the board. We are seeking to create an Australian Meat Board which will be able to handle the meat industry during this very exciting time in which it will develop so greatly. At present there are about 13,000,000 beef cattle in Australia. That is the number of cattle that have been counted. But a great number of cattle have not been counted and have not even been seen because of the vast areas in the ranges of Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley area. In Australia we have one of the largest unexplored areas in the world. There are cattle running in all directions. They are towey, and if the Brahmin strain is introduced we will never catch them until we have fences. It is a well known fact that in Australia we have one set of figures which contains the figures returned to the stock boards and pastures protection boards, but wc know from experience that there is another set of figures that have never been put on paper and which represent the number of stock that we actually have in Australia. Australia has become a laboratory for research in tropical cattle. Australians who took the old shorthorn cattle north have produced a breed known as Droughtmasters, They have qualities Which enable them to withstand the rigours of Australian tropical areas. These areas are among the most difficult in the world. Many of the cattle that have been taken to them have not been able to stand up to the conditions, but Australians have produced cattle that will survive in those areas. The Atkinson brothers and other people in northern Australia have produced the breed called Droughtmasters. They are to be commended. Now we are seeking to have more research done into the types of cattle that we need to withstand the rigours of the tropics. To-day, **Mr. Jack** Kennedy of Belmont, which is outside Rockhampton, pointed out in a radio interview that sleekcoated cattle which have sweat glands and are able to sweat do well in the north. It has been proved that that quality is important. Shaggy-coated or long-haired cattle which are unable to sweat and so bring down their body heat do not do well. We need cattle that can stand up to the rigours of the Australian tropical climate and the paucity of feed at some times of the year; that are able to ingest the low quality feed that they have to eat at certain times of the year, such as at the end of the dry season; and that are able to survive, to produce more cattle, and to be fattened and become available for export. It is noteworthy that the men who went to the north in the past 100 years received very low prices for their cattle. At last those men are receiving a reward. Do not let us forget that good prices arc received for northern cattle. Cattle from the Kimberley area and the Cape York Peninsula command good prices in the boneless beef market in the United States of America. That market does not demand prime cuts from cattle such as Herefords and other British breeds, which are sold on the United Kingdom and European markets. The Americans want lean meat, and we have lean meat in the north. A research station is starting at Townsville. We also have the one at Belmont to which I referred. Research into tropical cattle and nutrition is a very difficult job because Australian conditions are really tough. No conditions anywhere in the world are tougher than Australian tropical conditions. We must remember with gratitude the men who worked in our northern areas over the past 100 years. We must remember the men, women and their families who have suffered in that torrid climate and have been successful in developing new breeds of cattle. We should be thankful to them, because they had years and years of blighted hopes and frustrations after they went into the northern areas. We talk about " potential ", which I believe is the word that we should use in respect of the Australian beef industry. Recently this Parliament passed a bill to provide £7,250,000 to the Queensland Government for Brigalow lands development. In the last day or so I have received a brochure about that development in the Fitzroy Basin. This development will increase the Australian beef herd of 13,000,000 by another 1,000,000 and by more millions when the scheme is in full operation. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has been optimistic enough to say that the carrying capacity of the spear grass country, which now carries 3,250,000 cattle, could be increased eight times by the use of Townsville lucerne. That increase may be a long way ahead, but it would bring our beef herd to 26,000,000, or twice the present number. Queensland already has half of the Australian beef herd. There are about 6,000,000 cattle in that St,te. The wallum areas of the State could be capable of achieving enormous increases in production. There are also the wet tropical areas such as the Tully area between Townsville and Cairns. Cattle are brought from the Cape York Peninsula and fattened there on the rich new tropical legume pastures such as centrosema and siratro and others that **Senator Morris** is growing. These exciting new tropical legumes will make quite a difference. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Queensland could do with a good land tenure policy. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr JEFF BATE: -- If we had farmers like the honorable member for Wakefield in the northern areas we would have a large increase in production. 1 believe that the beef herd of the Northern Territory, which is now about 1,000,000, is capable of development. The Kimberley and Ord River areas will sustain the production of by-products such as cotton seed meal and the other meals that come from the crops that will be grown there. Those by-products will help cattle through the last of the dry season. So we see that Australia is capable of running an enormous beef herd and having an enormous production. We have been fortunate in our sales of wheat, which have been a bonanza for us. Wool prices have risen. The results of operations in the sugar industry have been phenomenal. We can see that the world is hungry for food as the standards of living of people improve. The world is looking to Australia as one of the world's granaries. We cannot help but feel that we are fortunate in that we live in an age in which these things are happening. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** is guiding our primary industries patiently and calmly and in a co-operative way. He is presiding over his department at this time when exciting things are happening. Victoria has 1,000,000 cattle in the western district. New South Wales has 3,000,000 beef cattle. These numbers are increasing. It is good to see that the owners of cattle are keeping their breeders, their female cattle, so that they can increase their herds. The breeders are producing better cattle which are bringing the record prices that we have seen in the past few days. So, I am proud to be able to speak at this time when this work is being done in Australia, when a new Australian Meat Board is being created to look after the promotion of our meat. There has been some talk about a proposal to give the board defined power - a power which it had previously in an uncertain sort of way - to buy and sell meat. The Minister for Primary Industry in his second-reading speech said that the board will have power to sell meat when the private operators find that they cannot handle a market, perhaps because of a small order or shipping difficulties or because low prices in the area concerned make it impossible for the operators to buy meat at current prices and sell it without a tremendous loss in markets which they are trying to open up. The Minister said - >There is also power for the board to purchase and sell meat in its own right after consultation wilh the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council where there are special marketing problems or market circumstances which preclude the effective participation of private traders. Like other members of my party, I stand for private enterprise and for private trading. We do not believe in a government messing about with an important subject such as the handling of meat. We look at the masses in Russia and China who are half starved because their governments tried to produce and handle agricultural commodities through a governmental system. We are horrified at what can happen in a Communist country, where the people cannot get enough to eat. So we believe that private enterprise - private operators and private producers - is best fitted to handle this industry. Our belief has been proved to be correct. We are loth to give power to a statutory body such as the Australian Meat Board to engage in trading. It should be given this power and this right only if private traders cannot handle the trading. I expect that a private trader would not mind losing a certain percentage of his profits to open a market but he would not know whether a market would be profitable until he had opened it. The board has been given power, I believe, to operate on a market which could be in Viet Nam, or Burma, where not so much meat is eaten. The majority of the meat that is eaten there at present probably comes from old water buffaloes. The people have not tasted Australian meat, which comes not from a feed lot but from sunlit pastures. Our cattle feed on natural grasses and growth and in an environment which gives a delightful flavour to our meat. Markets could be found in depressed areas where the standard of living is now beginning to improve. I hope that the power which this bill gives to the board will be used only when a private trader is unable to open up a new market which we want to see opened. At present one would not think there was any need for new markets, having regard to all the talk about the American market. But Britain wants our meat. I believe that within the last few days five ships have been diverted to Great Britain because the meat on those ships can be sold there at a higher price than it would bring in America. Because America cannot obtain the meat that she wants the price has risen. In addition, Italy and Greece have been buying our meat and France and Japan are interested in it. After the glowing things that I have said about this bill I want to lodge one complaint on behalf of the dairy farmers. In 1962-63, 4.200,000 cattle and 1,600,000 calves were slaughtered. The Bureau of Agricultural Economics has estimated that 14.9 per cent, of the cattle slaughtered are dairy cattle, made up of 13.5 per cent, dairy cows and 1.4 per cent, dairy heifers. No fewer than 2,250,000 dairy cattle are included in the total slaughtering of 5,800,000. This is a pretty large number of cattle but the dairy industry is not represented on the board. I would accept this only if the board's object were to obtain the best men available. If an able representative of the dairy farmers were available he should be a member of the board. The Minister forecast that a 5s. levy would be charged on each animal. Although a percentage basis is used for wool, a similar basis is not used for meat. On whom will the burden of this 5s. fall? The average weight of beef cattle killed in Australia is 650 lb. This means that the beef producer will be paying .092d. or about one-tenth of a penny, per lb. In the case of dairy cattle, the average weight is 400 lbs. for cows and 250 lb. for heifers. This means that the levy on cows will be .I5d. per lb. and on heifers .24d. per lb. In other words, the dairy farmers will pay 50 per cent, more in levy than do the beef breeders in respect of cows and 250 per cent, more in respect of heifers. This is most unfair to the dairy farmers. I do not accept the situation in which beef men will pay .092d. per lb. and dairy farmers will pay .15d. or .24d. per lb. I understand that the Government has not accepted' a percentage basis in this instance because of difficulty in administration. In other words, it is too hard for some one to look at a ready reckoner to work out the levy. A percentage basis is used for commission paid to the auctioneer on account sales. Other charges are also made on a percentage basis, so if an intelligent mathematically inclined man were put on this job there is no reason why the percentage basis could not be adopted. I repeat that I do not see why the dairy farmers should be called upon to pay 50 per cent, in the case of cows and 250 per cent, in the case of heifers more than the beef men are called upon to pay. Therefore, I ask the Government to change the present basis of levy. I do not want the beef men to put it over the dairy farmers. I do not accept the Government's basis; I reject it. In the case of sheep, taking the average weight of a carcase as 50 lb. the levy of 6d. a sheep works out at .12d. per lb. In 1962-63 about 19,000,000 sheep and 14,800,000 lambs were slaughtered. The sheep men pay a levy of .12d. per lb. while the dairy mcn pay .15d. in the case of dairy cattle and .24cf. in the case of dairy heifers. No one had ascertained this information previously so I was shocked when I worked it out and saw the result. I know that the Minister, who represents a dairy farming area, and his Country Party colleagues who also have large numbers of dairy farmers in their electorates, will listen to my argument and will become interested in it. I ask the Government to heed what I have put forward. I commend the bill to the House. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in this debate although I am not happy about the basis on which the levy is to be applied. {: #subdebate-26-0-s8 .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY:
Capricornia .- I think you would agree, **Mr. Speaker,** that the discussion on this bill has proceeded to the stage at which it would be rather difficult to make any original contribution to it. One might say that the meat has been well chewed over. However, I should like to criticize some of the statements which have been made by honorable members who have preceded me in the debate. The honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate)** does not agree with any proposal contained in the bill which is likely to reduce the activities of private enterprise in the meat industry. Well, he would have a lot of trouble selling that idea to the beef producers in central Queensland. We have quite a few producers in that area. Within 200 miles of Rockhampton there are 2,000,000 head of beef cattle. Rockhampton has the largest meatworks in the southern hemisphere. Until recently there were two meatworks in the area, but the Swift organization closed its works without much warning, to the detriment not only of the people who worked there but also of the producers who supplied the cattle. The honorable member mentioned research stations. The particular one that he mentioned is in the electorate of Capricornia. I point out to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** that the main reason why more research is not undertaken is the insufficiency of finance available to the station. I doubt whether the honorable member for Macarthur could work out the number of cattle used for research as a percentage of the total number of cattle in the area. Only a few hundred head of cattle would be used for research purposes. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr Jeff Bate: -- You are probably right. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- Undoubtedly I am right. {: .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: -- The honorable member for Macarthur is not a mathematical genius. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- No. He is not a beefproducing genius, either. The prices that we receive for cattle in central Queensland are largely at the mercy of those who buy under the auction system. I do not doubt that the position is the same elsewhere. If honorable members were to consult the beef producers about this system, they would be astonished at what the producers think. Let us look at the operations of the members of private enterprise who are the buyers at these auctions. The largest producer of beef in Queensland is the firm which owns the meatworks. These men are well organized. Not only do they control the cattle in the paddock but also they have station properties from the Northern Territory down through northern, western and central Queensland to the coast so they can move their cattle forward progressively and get them to the works in good condition. They own the meatworks, the storage capacity, the ships in which the meat is exported and the wholesale organization in Great Britain which distributes the meat. Moreover, they own 1,200 retail butcher shops, including more than 50 per cent, of the butcher shops in Rockhampton. These men constitute the private enterprise group which the honorable member for Macarthur was giving a little push along a moment ago. These people are quite capable of looking after themselves. I compliment the Minister for Primary Industry upon the fact that in the legislation now before us he has shown that he is concerned mostly about protecting those who need protection - the people who produce the beef and those who consume it. Earlier to-night one honorable member expressed approval of the fact that this legislation did not include an employees' representative in the membership of the reconstituted board. One could take umbrage at the fact that the honorable member in question said that what we had to consider was getting the best men available. That statement carries the implication that the employees are not capable of producing anybody who would be an asset to the board. I point out to the Minister that one of the most important considerations in operating any board, including the Australian Meat Board, is the maintenance of good industrial relations. Although the representative put forward by the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union might not be a meat producer or the owner of a meat exporting firm, his presence on the board would improve relations between the board and employees in the industry. The board would have the advice of a person who was expert in industrial relations. Moreover, the appointment of an employees' representative would completely remove any suspicion on the part of the employees about what might bc done at board meetings. The employees' representative might not influence the policy of the board, but his advice would make a great contribution to the board's deliberations. I suggest that the Minister should again look at this aspect of the matter and decide to restore to membership of the board a representative of the employees. The primary producers are responsible for the accumulation of almost all the funds that lie at the disposal of this country abroad. For that reason, they should be given a little more consideration than the Meat Board has given them in the past. I am astonished to note that the Australian Country Party, of which the Minister for Primary Industry is a member, has not given a little more thought to this point. At the present time a sum of approximately £800,000,000 is available to Australia in London and is at the disposal of the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt).** The Department of the Treasury did not do anything to put those funds there, but those who are concerned in this bill did. Those funds are the result of our exports of meat, wheat, butter and various other primary products. That being so, one would imagine that the Minister might have tried to get his hands on a little more of this money for the benefit of the people who are responsible for putting it there. {: .speaker-JOE} ##### Mr Jeff Bate: -- Which money? {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- I refer to the sum of £800,000,000 that stands to Australia's credit in London. That money was not put there by the supporters of the Liberal Party. It is they who take hold of it, but they did not put it there. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- And it was not put there by the supporters of the Australian Labour Party. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- If we are to fight this issue on sectional grounds, I point out that supporters of the Labour Party are providing almost all the labour that is involved. The primary producers would not get much of their produce to London if it were not for the assistance given by the people who support the Labour Party. At least, we are prepared to split the difference with the Country Party, but not with the Liberal Party. {: .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: -- When will we all get a divvy? {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- We will get it when wc occupy the treasury bench. Not only will we get a divvy, but the producers will get a better divvy, too. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon: -- When will that be? {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- It will not be too far away. I suggest to the Minister that it would be legitimate to apply a portion of those funds to the increasing of our marketing ability. In the final analysis, neither the Minister nor the board will sell any of the meat. The board will arrange for the sale of the meat at the wholesale level, but it will be sold to people who will resell it. Of course, that is what happens to most of the primary products that are sold on the world's markets. I suggest that the commodity boards and marketing boards of the primary producer organizations are sufficiently well organized and have sufficient experience to be able to market their products. If they were enabled to do that, they would be able to enjoy a greater proportion of the final price obtained. If it is good enough for a meat company to be able to operate all the way from the paddock to the butcher shop, surely it would be good enough for the producer organizations to do likewise. There is no reason in the wide world why they should not be able to do so. Why should we not establish, in co-operation with other exporting primary commodity boards, a marketing organization in, for instance, Great Britain? We have the money to do it and the primary producers have provided that money. {: .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon: -- It is not their money; it is Australian money. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- It is Australian money now because we own it and we have the right to use it. I suggest to the Minister that we could establish storage facilities and transport facilities in the form of shipping. Of course, somebody will say that if Australia establishes a shipping line the Communists will operate it and ruin it. But when people make such accusations they do not give any thought to the Ned Kellys who own the shipping lines at present. No thought is given to the fact that Australia is held to ransom by the shipping cartels which raise freight charges and thus increase the prices that must be charged at the other end for our primary products, in many cases pricing them out of markets that would otherwise be available. If the Australian Meat Board were to co-operate with such organizations as the Queensland Butter Board and the Peanut Marketing Board, about which the Ministers knows so much, we might be able to get an Australian-owned shipping line wilh which to transport our primary produce. We could provide cold storage and other facilities overseas. If it is good enough for the meat companies to own butcher shops - I am not suggesting that the Government should operate them- {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- The Queensland government operated them for a while. {: .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr GRAY: -- Those of us who come from Queensland know more about that matter than does the honorable member for Mallee. We would not for a moment suggest that those shops were a great financial success. With our experience, which the honorable member for Mallee and his colleagues lack, we can tell the House that owning premises and operating the business are two different propositions. Prior to the last war I was a trade adviser to the Queensland Butter Board. The board tried its hand at marketing but found that it could not sell anything in Singapore because the cold storage firm there was owned by an American organization which paid for all of the cold storage capacity. We could not get any of our products into cold storage. In other cities in the Far East we found that our opponents had provided on lease, refrigerated counters for the shops, and had agreements with those shops that the produce of other people could not be put into those counters. The provision of a nationally-owned shipping line is a logical extension of organized marketing for primary producers in this country. It is something that will have to be done if we are to hold our markets overseas. Adequate facilities will have to be provided for the retailer. It is not necessary for us to operate his business. Wc must help him to sell our produce. To confine our salesmanship to dealing with wholesalers can lead to the situation that faced the Committee of Direction of Fruit Marketing in Queensland, which lost extensive sales for the sake of id. a tin You do not lose the sale of a tin of fruit in a shop over that amount of money, but you lose the sale to the wholesaler. If you cannot by-pass the wholesaler you have no access to the market. The same considerations apply to meat. If you control the premises on which your meat is sold you can enter into suitable agreements that will ensure that your market will not disappear over-night. I have pointed out that the finance to do these things that I have suggested is available to the Government. The Australian Meat Board does a very good job in rural areas in its efforts to improve the quality of meat produced. For instance, it offers inducements to primary producers for pasture improvement activities. It offers prize money at rural shows for beef cattle sections. But there is a tendency for the amount of prize money offered to be less than the current value of the beasts competing for the prize, and often it does not pay a producer to submit his cattle for the prize money. He could get a better return by making a direct sale of his cattle. Very often producers are not particularly interested in exhibiting their cattle at agricultural shows because of the expenditure involved and because the return in the long run is not as good as may be obtained otherwise. The Minister may be interested in attempting to induce the board to increase the amount of money made available in this respect and also to increase the amount made available for pasture improvement. The Minister might also suggest that more money be made available for research stations. The honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate)** referred to the brigalow land. I do not think he has seen much of that country. The amount of brigalow land in Queensland that has been made available to primary producers will not lead to a greatly increased amount of beef being produced for export. In the first place, the land thrown open would absorb only those people who are already in the industry and who have sufficient finance to go into cattle production elsewhere. You have no chance of getting one of these blocks unless you have about £20.000 in hard cash. In the brigalow country the Government had an opportunity to see to it that some people who had the necessary experience but who lacked sufficient finance obtained blocks. Some of that land should have been reserved for the sons of farmers who did net have £20,000. But the Government did not do that. That land is available only to people who have considerable finances. The Government has lost an opportunity to make a very valuable contribution towards agricultural advancement in Australia. Something has been said about freight charges. This is a matter that the Government might well investigate. We should bc told why Australia is to-day paying probably the highest freight rates of any country to get its produce on to the world's markets. It costs more in freight to ship goods from Australia to New Zealand than it does to ship them from Japan to New Zealand. Why? The freight on goods shipped from Australia to Singapore is greater than on goods shipped from England to Singapore, simply because there are no Australian-owned ships available to enter the trade and offer some competition to the monopolies which at present carry our produce. The situation with regard to freights affects all sections of Australian industry. Freight charges are an important ingredient in our price structure. As has been pointed out to-night by an Opposition speaker, immediately our exports to the United States increased the freight rates charged by the shipping combines were increased. One would think that an increase in the amount of meat carried to the United States would enable the shipping interests to reduce the freight rates, but that is not the way they work. The Government tells us that the more business private enterprise handles the more cheaply it can operate. That may be possible, but it is not the way private enterprise operates. The shipping combines increased freight rates because they were aware of the degree of dependence of Australian exporters on their ships. By virtue of the fact that we sell our produce only in a wholesale manner we are at the mercy not of the market but of those who manipulate the market. It has been reported that the amount of beef that we export to the United States is likely to be reduced by 29 per cent, and that the same reduction may apply to the New Zealand producer. This is a kind of yo-yo economy. It goes up and down. Who knows what the price of meat will be tomorrow or what quantities we will be able to export? The logical course to follow is to take the present organizations further and seek to control the marketing of our beef and other primary produce on the retail markets as well as the wholesale markets. I repeat that the primary producers' marketing boards in this country now have the necessary experience and organization, and should be provided with the finance which would enable them to undertake this extension and provide their own means of transport. I realize that it would not necessarily be an economic proposition to provide ships merely to carry meat, but the various boards could co-operate in providing ships to carry all our produce. These ships could get their share of return freights. They could bring migrants to this country and could enter into world trade. They could carry the goods of the world from port to port, as other ships do. We are going to be faced sooner or later with the problem, not of providing food for America and Britain, where the peoples are sufficiently financial to be able to pay the prices we now get, but of providing food for countries which cannot provide it for themselves and which do not have the money to pay the prices we get to-day. I think this board, as well as the Government and the various departments which handle food, should give considerable thought to this problem. It is one that we must face. We support the bill in the main, but we do not support it in all its aspects. It might be true to say that the main things we criticize are things which are not in the bill. We do not think the bill goes far enough. We do not think it gives enough power to the board. We think the board should be able to extend its activities further than it will be able to do under the bill. We feel that more finance should be provided, and not all of it at the expense of the primary producers. I agree with the honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King),** who pointed out that the grower is not only going to provide the meat and the board's mechanism but also the finance to operate that mechanism. The grower is not the only person concerned in this. He is the producer, but the entire population is concerned because the people are the consumers. They are interested in getting good meat at a reasonable price and in seeing that the primary producer gets a good market abroad as well as here. I think they should make their contribution. In other words, the reserves established in Great Britain and elsewhere as the result of the export of primary produce should to a greater degree be made available for the benefit of the people who provide the goods that are sold. I commend that point of view to the Minister and suggest to him that the ambit of this bill could very well bc expanded to take in these additional aspects. I suggest to him also that the omission from the board of a representative of the employees in the industry is a very grave one. He has cut himself off from the main source of good employer-employee relationship. I feel that this is not going to improve industrial relations in the industry. We are always pleased to support any measure which will improve the industries of this country and make it possible for them to expand and develop, making the country more prosperous. But we feel there are serious omissions from this bill, which will be dealt with in the committee stage. I trust that the Minister will then agree to at least some of the amendments which will be moved. {: #subdebate-26-0-s9 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Gray)** showed in the last few moments of his speech, in much plainer terms than did many of his colleagues, the latent dissatisfaction with this bill which many of them evidently feel. He said that the new board will not have sufficient power, that it will not have sufficient finance and that the Government should add some finance to that to be provided by the growers under the legislation. The honorable member will be well aware that this new board will have power to promote meat sales in Australia and overseas, to make funds available for research, to buy and sell meat in Australia and overseas and to use the funds available to it to subsidize the sale of meat in certain markets. In addition, it will have the power, as does the present board, to make a great number of regulations affecting the local meat trade and the export meat trade. It will have power to impose quotas on different firms, to ban the shipment of certain types of meat to certain markets, to licence firms that are permitted to export and, in general, to supervise the industry as a whole. This is a fairly formidable list of powers, yet the honorable member for Capricornia says it is not sufficient. I wish he had had a few more moments in which to spell out in greater detail the additional powers he would like to see included in the bill, because if he had done that we might have found that his party - he used the word "we" as speaking for his party - would prefer to have a board which could undertake the whole business of exporting meat from Australia, which would mean that the private traders, Australian or otherwise, would be out of business. This may be the objection of the Opposition to this bill, and if the honorable member speaks during the committee stage he may agree to clarify what he said a few moments ago. Two producer organizations, the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation have, over a considerable period of time, thought it necessary that the Meat Board should be altered. I can say, in justice, that it has for a considerable time been the policy of the Australian Primary Producers Union also that changes should be made to the Meat Board. The first two organizations I mentioned thought that the powers and composition of the board should be altered because of changed world trading conditions. The old board had become unwieldy and in many respects outdated. It had been necessary for it to work very much through committees, with the result that one, two or three of the people on the board really carried out the full functions of the board in many respects. The new board is going to be considerably smaller than the old one, and I think this will make it much easier for it to act as a whole and for each member of it to play his full part in what takes place. Under this measure the producer representatives on the board are going to represent, not one particular type of meat, but the Whole meat industry - not one particular State, but the meat industry of Australia. It is proposed that the members of the board shall be chosen for the contributions they can make to the meat industry and to the operation of the board. They are to be chosen not because they belong to this or that organization, but because of their ability. Precedents have been set for this approach in the legislation introduced to bring into effect the Australian Wool Board, and in many respects the relationship of the Australian Wool Board to the wool industry has been followed in the relationship of the new Meat Board to the meat industry. Because of the different type of representation on the board, it was quite clear that some machinery would have to be brought into being to give effect to this. So we have the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee, which will make this new approach possible and effective. The committee's powers are limited to submitting to the Minister for Primary Industry a panel of names of producer representatives and to playing some part in the selection of the chairman of the Australian Meat Board. I understand that the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** objects to the selection committee having any say in the appointment of the chairman. The honorable member, no doubt, prefers to leave the matter entirely to the government of the day so that it may choose somebody who will be satisfactory to it but not necessarily satisfactory to the industry itself. The composition of the proposed Australian Meat Board Selection Committee is important. If the House will bear with me, I should like to repeat that there will be on it four members representing the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation, four members representing the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and an independent chairman. Two organizations will not be represented, although they should be. These are the Australian Primary Producers Union, and the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation, on behalf of which the honorable member for Macarthur **(Mr. Jeff Bate)** made so eloquent a plea a little earlier. We should not forget that 15 per cent, of the adult beef cattle slaughtered are aged dairy cattle. So the dairy industry contributes largely to the meat industry and supplies a large part of the meat that finds its way to the markets that we have in the United States of America at present. It is one thing to believe that the two organizations that I have mentioned should be represented on the selection committee and another thing indeed to get representation for them. It is quite legitimate to ask how they can best be represented on the committee in the interests of the industry. The Government could take some arbitrary action and make the selection committee a statutory body, saying, "This is how things will be done ". In relation to the wool industry, the kind of approach resulting in the Australian Wool Industry Conference was adopted. That approach was based on the idea that the industry organizations should themselves attempt to settle these problems by negotiation. Since this precedent has been set for the wool industry, the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** has adopted the only possible course and followed that precedent in this legislation dealing with the meat industry. I should like to direct attention to two statements that the Minister made in his second-reading speech. He urged that additional organizations be represented on the selection committee and said that he confidently expected that the Australian Primary Producers Union would soon be represented on the Australian Wool Industry Conference. These are only the Minister's opinions, but he has used firm language and I hope that the wool industry and the meat industry will take note of the opinions that have been so confidently and firmly expressed by the Minister on these important matters. The fact that the Government has chosen to follow in relation to the meat industry the precedent that was set in the wool industry and to leave this matter in the hands of the two organizations at present represented on the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee does not mean that those two bodies can go their own way and ignore the need for a responsible and sensible approach to the question of widening the membership of the committee. The two organizations at present represented on it have an obligation not only to their own members but also to the industry as a whole. They have an obligation to deal with any application for membership responsibly and in a fashion that is in no way frivolous. I am unable to understand some of the objections that have been raised against the claim by the Australian Primary Producers Union for membership of the Australian Wool Industry Conference. An application has been under discussion for the last few months and efforts have been made to get from the union a membership list so that it may be compared with the membership lists of the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation and the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council. I understand that the idea is that a name that is found on the union's list and also on the membership list of one of the other two bodies will be crossed off the union's list. This seems to be completely and utterly unreasonable. Why should the name not be crossed off the federation's or the council's list? Cross-membership should not be used against one organization any more than against another. People who persist in the idea that it may be so used do neither their organizations nor the industry a service. I should like to mention a statistical case that has been prepared at considerable expense and effort by two notable economists at the University of Adelaide in an attempt to define in pretty precise terms the role of the Australian Primary Producers Union, not only in the wool and meat industries, but also in other primary industries. These economists have done a first-class statistical job. They 'have shown that the union has very significant effects on the primary industries and the country as a whole. The statistical case has been criticized by people who, I say with respect, have no knowledge of statistics or the principles involved. The case has been referred to other statisticians for comment on the methods and means used in preparing it, and they have given high praise to the work that has been done. So the report of these two economists should be given the respect that it deserves and side issues should be ignored. I repeat that I have confidence in the opinions expressed by the Minister about the Australian Wool Industry Conference. I hope that what he expects will come about. But it should be remembered that this Parliament has a national obligation to try to achieve justice as between the various primary producer organizations. It will be much better if the producer organizations can work these things out for themselves but, in the ultimate, this Parliament may have to make some decision on the matter. At the outset, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** I mentioned the changed trading conditions that have, in some measure, made this legislation necessary in the view of the industry organizations. I understand that when these measures were first envisaged early last year the future position of the export meat industry appeared to be much more serious in the short term than the short-term prospects now appear. Exports to the United States market had been continually rising. As prices in the United States have regularly been better than those in other markets, meat exporters naturally have been sending more and more meat to the United States and less to the United Kingdom and other markets. Although our exports of meat to the United States are now subject to a quota of 242,000 tons a year, which is significantly less than the volume of our exports to that country last year, it may well be that we shall not export to the American market more than 170,000 tons or 180,000 tons of meat this year. There are good reasons for this. It will not be brought about by loss of production in Australia but by improving markets elsewhere. The meat export trade is poised to take advantage of the best markets offering in something like 70 countries to which Australian meat is already exported and, in particular, the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece, which will take considerably greater quantities of Australian meat this year. I understand that one of the reasons is that the Argentine meat industry is once more in trouble. A significant factor is the fact that Italy for the first time is allowing frozen meat to be sold over the counter in shops, whereas before frozen meat could be used there only in manufacturing processes. Additional profitable markets in which prices are sometimes as high as, and occasionally higher than, those obtainable in the United States are, in the natural course of events, attracting some of our meat export trade from the United States and causing us to sell more meat in European markets. It has been possible to do this without any dislocation of the meat industry because of the contacts that traditional exporters have in many countries. Because the United States market is so important, it is necessary that we understand the problems involved in the nature of that market. From about 1958 on, great expansion began in the United States beef herds, which now stand at the tremendous total of about 105,000,000 or 106,000,000 head. The number of cattle in feed lots has increased greatly. Any beast with any quality about it at all is put into a feed lot for fattening. The availability of subsidized grain helped to make possible feed-lot operations on such a large scale. As a result of the increase in the number of cattle and in the number of animals fattened in feed lots, cow slaughterings in the United States have declined. It is important to bear in mind that the sort of meat we send to the United States is largely equivalent to what they call their cow slaughterings. There came to be a shortage of manufacturing meat in the United States and therefore there was a much greater demand for imports of this meat. This can be shown quite clearly. In 1957, the availability of cow and bull beef in the United States - this is United States production - was 24.3 lb. a head of United States population. By 1963, this had fallen to a little over 15 lb. a head and this is a significant decrease over a period of about six years. About the same time as this, Australia was released from the restrictive provisions of the Australia-United Kingdom meat agreement. In the earlier year, 1957, 2,500 tons in total of Australian meat went to the United States; in 1963, 257,000 tons went there. This is quite a tremendous increase. It was the nature and suddenness of this increase, without perhaps an understanding of some of the background of their own marketing conditions, that caused the American cattlemen so much concern. Australia has become the major exporter of beef and mutton to the United States. But again let us look at the composition of the meat we send there. Of the total, 20 per cent, is first and second quality boneless meat, but 15 per cent, of this 20 per cent, is used for manufacturing purposes. Only about 5 per cent, goes as table beef and this I am told is used in the lower grade hotels. Of the beef that goes to America 80 per cent, is straight out manufacturing beef and cannot be used for anything else. In total, 95 per cent, of Australian beef exports to the United States is used for manufacturing beef. This is the beef that is in short supply from United States sources. It was natural that the Americans should look more to us for it. I think it is important to understand that in the United States there are two markets for meat. They tend to be distinct and prices in one can go up while prices in the other go down. The markets are, first, for table beef, the high quality beef, and, secondly, for the manufacturing beef about which I have been speaking. In the last year or two, the price of Australian manufacturing beef has varied between 33 and 34 dollars per 100 lb. The price of choice steer beef from December, 1962, to December, 1963, fell from 28 dollars to 22 dollars per 100 lb. It is worth noting that in the last ten weeks, when the price of choice steer beef has stayed at this level or has perhaps moved down a little further, the price of our manufacturing beef in the United States has risen to the highest level for about three years. This confirms that the prices for the two different types of beef move independently of each other. The availability of beef in the United States gives us clearly the reason for the price changes. In 1957, 66.6 lb. per head of table beef, the high quality beef, were available for every person in the United States. By last year, because of America's own expanded production, this had risen to just on 76 lb. of beef per head. Imports had nothing to do with this. This was a greatly increased supply in the United States not only in total terms but also in terms of the number of the population. This is why the price for this type of beef has fallen, quite apart from the availability of imports. The total supply of manufacturing beef, of which our beef is a quite significant proportion, has between the years 1957 and 1963 fallen from 27.9 lb. per head of American population to just over 25 lb. per head. So, despite the great imports of Australian meat into the Unites States, as well as meat from other countries, the supply of manufacturing beef in that country is less per head of population than it was six years ago. This again clearly explains why the price of this type of beef has risen while the price of the United States high quality beef has fallen. The supply of this high quality beef has increased. Again we have confirmation of the fact that there are two markets for beef, both of them very largely independent. In this year, one of the factors that has probably led to an increase in the price of the slaughtering beef we send to the United States is the quite sudden and unexpected alteration in the marketing position. Our exporters have been able to take advantage of this change. More meat is going to the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Greece. It is worth noting that in Italy to take one example, the consumption of meat per head of population - it is a large population - is rising very rapidly. In 1952, the Italians ate only 37 lb. of meat per head of population per year. By 1962, this had risen to 64 lb. This is a really tremendous increase, but meat consumption in Italy is still well below the Australian standard. On a lesser scale, all European countries are beginning to eat more meat than they used to eat. I have no doubt that, no matter how much additional meat is supplied by the Common Market countries, the rising standard of living in these countries will result in a demand for more meat than the Common Market countries can supply, and the surplus demand will have to be met from the Argentine or Australia. Therefore, the prospects for Australian meat in Europe over the coming years are relatively good, especially if European standards continue to rise as they have in recent years. This will mean that not all our beef and mutton will be sent to the one market, as has been the tendency in the last year or two. So, from natural causes, there may well be a diversification of the markets to which Australian meat is sent. As a result of all these factors, the meat export crisis that some people feared throughout the course of the last year has receded for the present very much into the background. I believe we should have confidence in the future of the export markets for Australian meat. As a result, the Australian Meat Board should not in the immediate future, and not perhaps in the foreseeable future, need to use the trading powers available to it under this bill. We have markets for as much meat as we can sell at present, and they are good markets. They are profitable markets and they are not markets for which we need any special subsidy. There is no point in spending money to develop an under-developed market unless we can be sure that we will have beef or mutton or meat of some kind to send there, and this would need to be meat that we cannot send to another more profitable market. There is no point in taking meat out of a profitable market that does not need special development merely for the sake of developing a new market somewhere. I recognize that as our production rises and if there are special trading difficulties in certain areas - perhaps a drought in the United States with a consequent sudden fall in the price - it may be necessary for the board to use its powers. But for the board to take meat from one market merely for the sake of sending it to another developing market would be a tragedy for the Australian meat exporters, and this would come back to the producers in the price that would be paid to them. We should not forget that the exporters already have contacts in 60 or 70 countries and the trading arrangements are so good as to secure the best price for Australian beef or mutton. This is the best thing for the Australian producer. The traders should not be chastized for foresaking a cheaper market for a dearer market, as one honorable member did when the bill was being debated earlier. The bill is a product of changed circumstances and I believe the Minister should be complimented on the patience that he has shown over several months in getting a sufficient degree of agreement amongst the varous parties to enable the bill to be brought into the House. {: #subdebate-26-0-s10 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot .- I want to deal with trends in the production and sale of meat; I want to deal with the proposal to constitute a selection committee and a new Australian Meat Board and with the people who are deliberately excluded from the newly-constituted board. I shall deal at the outset with current trends in the production and sale of meat. The first trend is that in 1958-59, for the first time, the United States of America replaced the United Kingdom as our main export market for beef, mutton and lamb. In 1962-63 the United States imported 81 per cent, of our beef exports and over 50 per cent, of our exports of mutton. I shall quote a few figures to illustrate the trend in exports to the United States and to the United Kingdom. In 1961-62 the value of our exports of beef and veal to the United States was £45,895,000; the value of our exports to the United Kingdom totalled £7,765,000. A revolution has occurred in the United States in imports of boneless beef for hamburgers. As several previous speakers have said, the change is fantastic. Since 1957, imports of boneless beef for hamburgers into the United States from all sources have increased nine-fold. To be more specific, the United States imported only 40,000 tons of boneless beef from all countries, but in 1962 it imported 366,000 tons. Much of the imported beef was from Australia. This phenomenal increase of 815 per cent, occurred in five years. The second trend is that the unprecedented American demand for our boneless meat has aroused the meat producers in the United States into seeking government action to control imports of Australian beef, which they say are threatening their own production. The principal result of the protests of the American producers was the meat agreement between Australia and America. The agreement has a lot of weaknesses; in my opinion it is a very shaky agreement. However, it will stabilize the situation for the time being at least. In to-day's Sydney " Morning Herald " a report appears of an address by **Sir John** Crawford at an Australian-American Association luncheon at Menzies Hotel. The report is headed " Closer U.S.-Australian Trade Views Apparent to **Sir John** Crawford" and states - > **Sir John** describes the recently negotiated Australian and U.S. meat agreement as "sensible", although its terms had not fully appeased American producers. How right he is there! The report goes on - >Fortunately, by accident, this year's supplies of Australian frozen beef and mutton - principally used for manufacturing - were running well below the agreed quota, which itself was below last year's exports. This was largely due to improved demand and prices in U.K. and Europe. This was stated by the honorable member for Wannon **(Mr. Malcolm Fraser)** a moment ago. The report states - "The demand for meat in Europe and Japan and other markets is likely to have an upward trend," he said. " If we can handle our United States arrangements tactfully, I believe we can look forward to retaining and further developing a major export industry. Short of a trade agreement with the United States' in the style of those we have with the United Kingdom and Japan, we must depend on constant discussion in Canberra, Washington and Geneva. Wherever these occur, frankness is required and, in my experience, this has been the practice. This being so, I look forward, not to complete absence of disagreement, but to a rapid enlargement of the areas of agreement. Our mutual economic interests call for this." **Sir John** is a very wise man in these matters. He said that the agreement is a sensible document, but I believe it is a shaky one. The United States could get out of the agreement within eighteen months if it wished to do so and we could do nothing about it. To put all our meat-balls in one basket, as it were, and concentrate on the American market could prove to be quite disastrous for us in the long run. The third trend arising out of our increased exports of meat to the United States is the decline in our exports of beef, mutton and lamb to Asia. The attractive prices received for our exports to the United States have caused a drop of considerable proportions in exports to Asia which may prove to be dangerous for us. We could lose permanently some of our Asian markets because of the sudden switch in exports to the United States. I have a few figures to illustrate how dramatic the change has been in beef exports from Australia to Asia. In 1956-57, we exported 4,000 tons of meat to the Philippines; in 1961-62 our exports to the Philippines dropped to 857 tons, a reduction of about 80 per cent, in five years. To Japan in 1956-57 we exported 7,226 tons of meat; five years later we exported 3,703 tons of meat to that country, a drop of about 50 per cent. In 1956-57 we exported 4,100 tons of meat to Hong Kong, but five years later we exported to it only 1,367 tons, a drop of about 66 per cent. Singapore in 1956-57 imported 4,456 tons of our meal; five years later we exported 2,777 tons of meat to Singapore, which represented a drop of about 40 per cent. The sama story is repeated in our exports to Belgium, Malta and Egypt. I feel that the main reason for the dramatic reduction in our exports of meat to Asian markets is the higher prices offered in the United States. We gain on the one hand but we could lose permanently valuable new markets in Asia on the other hand. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- Would you sell for less? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- No, I am simply pointing out the trend. The trends may be bad, they may be good, but it is a good idea to have a look at them. We might not recover some of the markets we lose in Asia. The Asians may decide to buy their meat from Argentine. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- Would you quote the latest figures of exports to Japan? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Exports to Japan are rising again, fortunately. Honorable members may laugh at this matter but it could be that in a few years the Asian people will stand on their dignity and say: "We will get our meat from some other country. You deserted us when we wanted your meat and sold it for higher prices in America. " Primary producers are chasing all over the world for higher prices for their products. It is the same in the field of agriculture. There are no guaranteed markets or guaranteed prices. Wherever the prices happen to be highest, there go our beef and veal. Somebody else may be offering a little less, but perhaps Asia will stand up to us one day and tell us where to go. {: .speaker-JSY} ##### Mr Buchanan: -- Are you not in favour of primary producers getting a fair price for their products? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Of course I am, but if we had a government-to-government agreement we could retain our markets and perhaps in the long run it would be more advantageous to our primary producers to do so. They take the short-term view all the time and scream to the Government for assistance when they get into trouble. Primary producers all over the world want to socialize their losses and individualize their gains. The Government encourages them to the nth degree by jungle law in marketing and prices. Asia one day may give us its answer. The fourth trend is that total production of mutton and lamb in Australia reached a record level of 586.713 tons in 1961-62, exceeding the previous record by 12,000 tons. That is a wonderful tribute to our producers of mutton and lamb. In the ten years from 1951-52 to 1961-62 Tasmania achieved an increase of 42 per cent, in its production of mutton and lamb. Tasmanian production increased from 26,474 tons to 45,331 tons bone-in weight. The fifth trend is that total production of beef and veal in Australia reached 791,000 tons carcass weight in 1961-62. That was the third best production effort since 1938-39. These figures are taken from the. latest " Year Book ". In the ten years from 1951-52 to 1961-62 Tasmanian beef production increased by 27 per cent, from 14,390 tons to 19,674 tons. The figures for cattle and calves slaughtered for human consumption in Tasmania showed an increase of 48 per cent, in that ten-year period, and the figures for sheep and lamb showed an increase of 59 per cent, in that period. The sixth trend is that in 1959-60 consumption of mutton and lamb in Australia exceeded that of beef and veal for the first time in our history. That is a very significant trend. The seventh trend is the advent of boneless meat. From 1958-59 to 1961-62 the quantity of boneless meat shipped from Australia exceeded for the first time in our history the quantity of beef exported in carcasses. The United States trade brought about that dramatic change from carcass beef to boneless beef. The eighth trend is the growth of abattoirs, killing works and treatment plants throughout Australia with the increase in the American trade. Huge amounts of money have been invested in these works in the past five years, and the standards of killing have improved greatly as a result of the American trade. The ninth and last trend to which I wish to refer is referred to in the second-reading speech made by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann).** He said - >On the basis of estimates which have been supplied by representatives of meat exporters and ship-owners, it is expected that meat shipments to the United Kingdom and European destinations for the period January to June, 1964, will be in the vicinity of 59,000 tons compared with 18,600 tons for the same period last year. Shipments to North America for the first six months of 1964 have been estimated at 70,400 tons compared with 126,500 tons last year. This is a very considerable reduction and should be recognized as such by American producers. I quoted that to show another swing away from the North American trade to the European trade. This business is like a yo-yo. This time next year we may be quoting another upward swing in exports to North America. However, the estimates for the period from January to June this year - the most up-to-date figures that we have - show a great increase in exports of meat to United Kingdom and European destinations and a big and dramatic decline in exports to North America. It is terribly difficult to understand the way these markets operate. We cannot be sure of having any one country as a market for very long. We members of the Opposition believe that the Meat Industry Bill is necessary. But in streamlining the Australian Meat Board the Government has narrowed the base, the grass roots of its representation and its impact. The representation of employees in slaughter-houses and meat preparation plants and the representation of the publicly-owned abattoirs and freezing works have both gone. This bill also provides for a reduction in the size of the board from twelve to nine which, in my opinion, is a mixed blessing. The old board had representatives of four groups of meat producers on it - producers of beef, Iamb, mutton and pigmeats. The new board of nine will have five meat producer representatives on it, but they will not specifically represent any of those four groups. In other words, there is no guarantee that on the new board the five producer representatives will represent the three types of production covered by the bill, namely beef, mutton and Iamb. Pigmeats are not included. The five producer representatives could be all beef producers, all lamb producers, or all mutton producers. There is no guarantee that all of those three groups of producers will be represented, as they are on the present board. That is a big weakness. The narrower basis of representation excludes the employees engaged in the meat export trade. They are very important. Without them there would not be any boneless meat. I have seen these men working in the meatworks in Queensland. It is a very technical and scientific operation to bone meat quickly, carefully and expertly. These men have a very important part to play in the export trade. But no longer will they be represented on the Australian Meat Board. Neither will the publicly-owned abattoirs and freezing works be represented. They should be represented. That is another weakness in the new board. One of the worst weaknesses, and the object of the most severe criticism, is the method of selecting the new board and the exclusion of a large body of producers not only from the Australian Meat Board but also from the Australian Meat Board Selection Committee. The right of the Minister to make a final selection is not disputed. He has to make his selection from a panel of names submitted by two producer organizations and the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council. First, let us look briefly at the new selection committee. It was bom on 27th February, 1964. Its father and mother were the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers Council and the Australian Wool and Meat Producers Federation. In my opinion, their offspring is a retarded child because the Australian Primary Producers Union - one of the most powerful primary producer organizations in Australia, which has 44,400 members - is not even represented on the committee. The A.P.P.U. was disregarded in all pre-natal discussions, the birth itself and in all post-natal processes. This committee is a lop-sided infant. When it learns to talk it will speak for only two-thirds of Australian meat producers. That is the concoction to which honorable members will agree under this bill. As happened in regard to the Australian Wool Industry Conference, the 44,400-strong A.P.P.U. is being excluded deliberately from this committee. The Minister talks about hopes that the union may be included later; but in our opinion such talk is just pious platitude. We know the kind of treatment it received when the Wool Industry Conference was established. It will receive the same kind of treatment from this new-fangled selection committee. The Government has insulted the producers and all members of this large live-wire organization. **Mr. R.** T. Curtis, State Secretary of the Tasmanian Farmers Federation, which is a constituent body of the A.P.P.U., expressed the federation's view in a letter to me and to my colleagues dated 26th March. Referring to the exclusion of the A.P.P.U. **Mr. Curtis** said - >This exception is the incredible fact that the largest farmers organization in Australia, the Australian Primary Producers Union, will be given no recognition and no say in the appointment of the producer representatives to the reconstituted Meat Board. In other words the lamentable situation created by the controversial wool industry bills of 1962 is to be repeated. To the Tasmanian Farmers Federation, this seems to be an inexplicable and tragic refusal to recognize facts. Many thousands of meat producers belong to the A.P.P.U., a fact that can be verified as the result of a recent survey carried out by reputable economic consultants - They were **Dr. Jarrett** and **Dr. Dillon** of the University of Adelaide - and therefore, despite the fact that the meat producing members of the A.P.P.U. will be annually contributing tens of thousand of pounds on meat levies, they will have no say in the policies determined from time to time by the Australian Meat Board. In other words, there is to be taxation without representation, and this in a land dedicated to the democratic way of life! The Tasmanian Farmers Federation is a constituent part of the A.P.P.U. and therefore to proceed with the Meat Industry Bill in its present form will deprive the vast- majority of Tasmanian meat producers from any voice in the policies of the Australian Meat Board. **Mr. A.** A. Dawson, chief executive officer in Canberra of the Australian Primary Producers Union, analysed the bill and criticized very strongly the method of appointing members of the board. He mentioned that meat exporters, for instance, do not pay any levies but they will have two delegates on the board whereas members of the A.P.P.U. will have no say in how the hundreds of thousands of pounds that they will contribute will be spent. In his comments on the bill **Mr. Dawson,** referring to the Minister's second-reading speech, stated - >The speech said that it would be " contrary to the principle it has induced the two main producer organizations to adopt, namely, that the producer representation should be selected on the basis of the best men available ". I cannot conceive why the Minister should talk that kind of guff. He is actually insulting the entire membership of the A.P.P.U. and stating as a fact that there are no suitable men available within the organization. Apparently only the two large bodies that the Government originally included in the selection committee can provide suitable men. **Mr. Dawson** continued - >Obviously if the Government proposals go through as they stand, it is most unlikely that anyone associated with the A.P.P.U. will get a seat on the board . . . The statement is made that "the Government accepts the approach whereby the producer organizations decide the composition of their selection body ". We cannot understand this statement when such a large producer organization as the A.P.P.U. is specifically excluded. > >The final statement " the Government feels that the matter should be resolved by negotiation between the A.P.P.U. and the other two organizations " cannot be accepted, because now that the > >Government has once again accorded a privileged position to the A.W.M.P.F. and the A.W. & G. C, the negotiating power of the A.P.P.U. is correspondingly diminished. **Mr. J.** A. Thompson, chairman of the Federal Meat Committee of the Australian Primary Producers Union, stated his views on this bill on the night it was introduced. He criticized it severely for leaving the A.P.P.U. completely out of the picture and stated - >Nearly one-third of the total quantity came from dairy herds owned by A.P.P.U members- He was referring to meat exported to America - and more than 30 per cent, of the fat lambs raised in Australia came from the flocks of A.P.P.U. members. Despite this, they do not have even a voice on the selection committee. This to me is discrimination of the worst kind. The Government has repeated the grave error that it made when it established the Wool Industry Conference. On that occasion we criticized the omission of the A.P.P.U., and on this occasion we again criticize the omission of the A.P.P.U. Members of the A.P.P.U. produce 12,765 fat lambs, which is 30.2 per cent, of Australia's total production and 63.5 per cent, of Tasmania's production, and 19,166 beef cattle, which represents 18.3 per cent, of Australia's total production. They have no voice on the selection committee although they will pay the levies - or else. We cannot understand the thinking of a government which deliberately excludes such an organization from the selection committee. Another point I should like to mention, which appears in the document prepared by **Dr. Jarrett** and **Dr. Dillon,** is that members of the A.P.P.U. run 11.9 per cent, of Australia's total beef cattle and 52 per cent, of Tasmania's beef cattle. Despite this, members of the A.P.P.U. will have no voice on the new board. In the amendments which we shall submit during the committee stage we hope.? to cover this weakness in the bill. We look to members of the Country Party, many of whom must be members of the A.P.P.U. - at least their supporters would be - to support us. By doing so they will enable the A.P.P.U. to be represented on the selection committee and on the Australian Meat Board. Let me deal now with the great problem of shipping freights, which other honorable members have mentioned. I believe that the best agreements in the world can be broken down and the profits gained by primary producers can be eaten into very severely by increasing freight charges. I hope that the Government will tackle this problem more vigorously than it has. The new Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Freeth)** is at present in the chamber and we respectfully raise this problem, of which no doubt he is aware. We could kill the real effects and benefits of this legislation and of our meat exports to Asia, Europe and America if we allowed shipping rates to rise still further. In conclusion, let me advance a suggestion: Why cannot the Government subsidize the levy in this instance in the same way as it has subsidized the levies for wool research and promotion? The board may not receive the income necessary to enable it to carry out its programme of research even if the amount mentioned by the Minister is obtained, so why cannot the Government subsidize on a ls. for ls. basis the levy to be raised from the meat producers and thus double the amount available to promote this wonderful industry that brings so many dollars into Australia, that keeps so many primary producers solvent and that plays such a mighty part in Australia's overall agricultural economy? {: #subdebate-26-0-s11 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr ROBINSON:
Cowper .- The legislation now before us is vital to primary producers throughout Australia and in particular to the meat-producing section. The honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** made many references to the legislation, but it was very difficult to detect whether he was in favour of it or was opposed to it. Indeed, that has been the tenor of the submissions of members of the Australian Labour Party in the debate so far. This legislation can be regarded as representing a very progressive move on the part of the Government and particularly of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann),** having regard to the importance of reorganizing the marketing of our meat overseas and the overhauling of marketing and production arrangements within the Commonwealth of Australia. I strongly commend the legislation to the House. I believe that it will arrest the drift in efficiency and will gear up marketing arrangements for the meat industry. It introduces into the sphere of meat marketing an arrangement the nature of which approaches that of the great stabilization schemes which have saved other primary industries from the effects of an upsurge of price) and the serious disabilities which flow from a fall in prices. This legislation will bring some consistency to the returns to producers from overseas markets. The reconstitution of the Australian Meat Board has certainly posed a major problem for the Minister and the Government. I believe that the action proposed to be taken in the existing circumstances is wise. The board in its existing form has been cumbersome. Its membership no longer accords very directly with the task of grappling with the problems associated with going abroad and selling our meat and at the same time of considering vital factors involved in seeking new markets, in satisfying the needs of our existing markets, and in particular in discharging our responsibility in regard to standards of marketing. I have nothing but praise to offer to the Minister in this connexion. I believe that the task of reorganizing the Australian Meat Board can be regarded as being one of the most difficult that has been undertaken by the Government in recent years in the organization of primary industry marketing. From my own point of view and that of my constituents, certain problems arise from the direct representation of particular interests within the meat industry. It is obvious that we cannot take account of all the interests that are involved. Therefore, the only logical thing to do is to ensure that the best men available in Australia are appointed to the board. The Meat Industry Bill is designed to make that approach possible. It would be a pity if we were to think in terms of sectional interests when reconstituting the board. I am a dairy farmer and I have the interests of dairy farmers at heart. I believe that the dairy farmers have a particular stake in this matter, but I realize that it would be quite wrong for us merely to sponsor the interests of one section of the industry and not look at the overall functions of the Meat Board. We must first take into account the need to have men who can devote their time and attention to the marketing of meat overseas. We need as members of the board persons who can go abroad and advance the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia. The specific interests of the dairy industry, the broader field of production, the development of the Northern Territory and the north of Australia and various other matters can be encompassed by the board. Where it is necessary to do so, special advice can be sought. I think that such an arrangement is the solution to the vexed problem of representation. I support the legislation in its existing form on the ground that it will ensure that men of the best calibre and of capacity will be appointed to the board. The appointment of such men will take care of the problems that have been envisaged, some of which have been very ably set forth in this chamber, others having been expressed outside by producer organizations. It is a pity that in this country we have so many producer organizations. In some spheres - for example, in the dairy industry - it is possible to select men for, say, a produce board by a ballot of the producers. That mechanism can be employed only when an industry is fairly closely organized and when the producers can be accounted for. It is not possible to do so in the meat industry, and for that reason the approach that is now being made to industry representation is the only practicable one. A lot has been said in this debate about factors which affect the marketing of meat. I believe that the primary consideration is to think in terms of the production of meat that will be suitable for the markets which are in existence and which we are likely to find. That, of course, involves a clear understanding of the functions of the Australian Meat Board. It will be the duty of the board to give attention to the standard of meat produced and to give advice about the kind of production in which we should engage. For certain markets we must produce lean meat and for other markets we must produce meat of an entirely different quality. The board will have the means to disseminate advice about what the various markets will require. However, it is not within the province of the board to go beyond that point and to take over extension work and so forth. I believe that under the proposed arrangement it will be possible to establish, under the control of the board where necessary, advisory authorities to assist in the production of meat. It will be possible for the board to deal also with the financing of certain activities. The legislation provides for the functions of the board to be extended so that it may engage in certain trading where that is found to be necessary. I do not think anybody could interpret the legislation to mean the Australian Meat Board will undertake the full function of the purchase and export of meat. But the board will be able to create for private enterprise the means of expanding trade where expansion is possible. A few years ago I had a little experience in relation to marketing overseas. I travelled through the East into Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and on to Bangkok. At each of these places I made inquiries about the possibility of increasing the market for Australian beef. The response to my inquiries was interesting. I discovered that people in each of those centres were anxious to receive a trial consignment of Australian meat. On my return to Australia I made available to a number of exporters details of the information that I had received overseas. Their first response was: " Unless the people overseas are prepared to take 40 tons we are not interested. We are not prepared to send 10 tons or some other small amount as a trial shipment." In some instances the figure quoted was higher than 40 tons. The exporters in this country were not interested in sending small trial shipments overseas. This situation is understandable because the producer expects to get a return on his beef. Before exploring a new market an exporter must first acquire meat at the ruling price on the home market. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- Don't you think the Government could help a man in those circumstances? {: .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr ROBINSON: -- No. The legislation will make it possible for us to test new markets where there is a likelihood of doing business. Under the legislation this will be a practical proposition because the Australian Meat Board will have at its disposal funds to deal with the excessive overhead involved in making trial shipments. Surely this is a practical approach to enable people to seek new markets, to build them up and and to open the way for private enterprise to do the job that it has been able to do in the past but which, because of economic circumstances, it has not always been able to tackle in the way that we would like to see it tackled. This is a task that must be performed in the interest of producers. This legislation has been submitted by the Government in the interests of the producers in the first place. The object of the legislation is to ensure that the interests of the producers are safeguarded, at the same time ensuring that the interests of the exporters are not in any way jeopardized. The idea is for the exporters to co-operate with the producers. At the committee stage there will be greater opportunities to deal with specific matters contained in the bill. The rate of levy will undoubtedly be a vexed question until such time as we know positively what the rate will be. If we are to draw from the Minister's speech the inference that a flat levy of 5s. a head in respect of cattle will be imposed, some difficulties could arise so far as the interests of producers are concerned. Figures have been given showing the interest of the dairying industry in the overall kill in the Commonwealth. I think it is fair to say that the persons mainly concerned ir. this field arc the larger producers who contribute not only by way of the weight of meat that goes into the market from the kill but also by way of the special lines that they produce. The return that they obtain for their top quality beef is far higher than that which the dairy farmer obtains for a culled cow. These are matters that might be taken into account when wc consider the details of this legislation. In my opinion the legislation can overcome many of the disabilities that we have experienced in recent years. In the meat industry, meat that is earmarked for the export market is subjected to inspection by Commonwealth inspectors and State inspectors. The inspections are very rigid. 1 think that the meat works engaged in killing for export, particularly those which are producer-controlled, should be represented on the Australian Meat Board. I concede that if we allow representation on the board of meat works engaged in killing for the export trade other segments of tha industry will seek representation. It is then that we realize that the only solution to the problem of representation is to ensure that we have on the board the most highly skilled and knowledgeable mcn in the industry. I support the bill. I think it is in the best interests of Australian meat producers. {: #subdebate-26-0-s12 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr HANSEN:
Wide Bay .- The principal bill of those now before the House has as one of its objects the reconstitution of membership of the Australian Meat Board. The number of representatives on the board will be reduced from twelve to nine. The board as now constituted comprises mainly producer representatives. The honorable member for Cowper **(Mr. Robinson)** pointed out that representation on the board was to be changed. He said that it was a matter of regret that some sections of the industry would no longer be represented on the board. In that regard the Labour Party agrees with the honorable for Cowper. The Labour Party regrets particularly that publicly-owned abattoirs will no longer be represented on the board. I assume that co-operative abattoirs will not be represented. The Labour Party believes that the absence of an employees' representative on the board will not he in the best interests of the industry. It is a retrograde step. To-day all major industries acknowledge the importance of employer and employee relations. Many companies which can afford to do so employ men for the sole purpose of ensuring good relations between employer and employee. I am sure that the Postmaster-General **(Mr. Hulme)** will agree that employer and employee relations are of the utmost importance. It is vital that in a large industry, such as the meat export industry, employer and employee relations should be good. Very often the Australian Meat Board will have before it problems affecting the industry and the employees in the industry. Surely it would be of advantage for the board to have the views of the people who derive their livelihood from the industry. In his second-reading speech the Minister ' for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** said that membership of the board would be ; reduced from twelve to nine. I take it i that the Government expects that the board will be able to operate more freely with a membership of nine than it did with a membership of twelve. The latest report of the board shows that every meeting has been fully attended, with the exception of one from which **Mr. Tierney** was absent through illness. These twelve men represent the industry throughout Australia. A committee of twelve members does not seem over large to meet centrally in Sydney, as it has been doing over the years. It has done a very good job on behalf of the industry. Instead of there being one representative of mutton producers, one representative of pig producers, one representative of lamb producers and two representatives of beef producers, it is proposed that there will be five representatives of meat producers, appointed by the Minister from a panel of names submitted by the selection committee. Quite a number of members on both sides of the House have mentioned that the Australian Primary Producers Union and the National Farmers Union will not be represented. It is quite possible, though highly improbable, that the selection committee will select a member of either of those organizations amongst the five representatives, but the selection committee itself is not representative of those organizations. We believe that nothing would be lost by allowing the Australian Primary Producers Union and the National Farmers Union to have representation on the selection committee. Reference has been made to representation of publicly-owned abattoirs. The Minister will recall that not very many years ago, in the town of Murgon in his own electorate farmers - mainly dairy farmers - joined in a co-operative to establish a central killing works because they were dissatisfied with the prices being obtained at the markets in Brisbane. Many of these people supplied vealers and young calves to the Murgon killing works where beef cattle, in the main, were killed for private exporters. These exporters were small operators who did not own their own meat works. They have expressed to me their belief that rings of buyers operate at sales. Any time that one attends a cattle sale he will be told, " So-and-so is sitting back, because it is the buyer's turn to bid ". We know that this happens when cattle are sent to the main city abattoirs. Companies such as Thomas Borthwick & Sons (Australasia) Limited, which operate at the abattoirs, sometimes precipitate a strike by dismissing a union representative. Immediately, nobody buys at the sales. They know that the strike can be ended only by conciliation, by agreeing to the union's request and restoring the man to his job. The men will then go back to work. The strike is on for two or three days, during which the cattle are held at the sale yards. Borthwicks know that they will be resuming operations because it is in their hands to re-instate the man, upon which every one will return to work. Their buyers then operate the day before the sale. The men who are involved in the strike lose two or three days' work. The men who send bullocks for sale probably lose £10 a head, and Borthwicks buy bullocks £10 a head cheaper. They are the only ones in the whole set-up who win. Recently it was brought to my notice that a number of local authorities in the Bundaberg area had approached the municipal abattoir for export killing to be conducted there. They believed that producers would be in a much better position because they would not suffer loss of weight through haulage of bullocks many thousands of miles to central killing works if the stock could be killed in close proximity to where it was produced. The producers themselves support, in principle, the idea of decentralized killing, but they always like to sell where they can get the best price. I disagree with the Minister's statement that local abattoirs are not directly interested in export killing. They have a vital interest in it. They are in the main killing for people who are *not* operating on behalf of large meat companies. These are people who are giving a better price and offering competition to the buyers of the Swift, Vestey, Angliss and other large organizations. They are rendering a service to the producer, and I believe that the one representative that they have had on the board must have played his part in their interest. It is significant that recently the Queensland Government appointed a committee to investigate all aspects of the meat industry in Queensland and that amongst the people appointed was the manager of the Goulburn municipal abattoir. The cattle industry is vital to Queensland and to the north of Australia. I should like to direct the attention of the House to the fact that the cattle population of Queensland and the Northern Territory is declining. Although the total cattle population of Australia has increased, as with the human population it has increased more in the south than in the north. In 1958, the total number of cattle in Queensland was 7.187,000 of which 5,917,000 were beef cattle. In the Northern Territory there were 1.244.000 cattle, all of them being beef ca 'tle, In 1962 the Queensland total was 7,098.000. a decrease of 89,000 head. The number of beef cattle decreased by 27,000 to 5.S90.000. In the same year the total cattle population in the Northern Territory was 1,063,000, a decrease of 181,000 head. Many people describe Queensland as the premier cattle State, but to-day it has fewer cattle than it had in 1921 and 1922, despite all the improvements that have been made in breeding. I think the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Kelly)** mentioned the land tenure system in Queensland, saying that if more security could be given to persons taking up large areas of land this would assist in development. This has never proved to be the case. In fact, the case has proved to bc otherwise. Large areas of land have been held by families for generations while nothing has been done to it. Towns such as Mundubbera and Monto in the Burnett owe their existence to a Labour government which had the foresight to break up lands, bringing closer settlement and turning large areas into rich agricultural, dairying and grazing properties. Many more cat,le are being produced from these areas, in addition to grain and other crops. One of the reasons for the decline in the cattle population of Queensland may have been drought. We have had over seven years of serious drought in the Wide Bay electorate alone. Another reason has been the demand for leaner meat, mainly for the American market. Much has been said about the type of meat that America desires to buy from Australia. The American demand has led to the killing of quite a number of cattle which could have been kept as breeder stock. I know it to bc a fact that following the credit squeeze and pressure being exerted by banks on landholders to reduce their overdrafts, they were told that there was no money available to them. They were told to sell their breeders, as they would get a good price for them. When rain did come and these men looked around' to replace the animals they had sold they found they had to pay more for them and that stock was not readily available. I have mentioned the Meat Industry Bill 1964, but we are dealing also with seven other bills, including that which provides for a levy of 5s. per head on cattle and 6d. per head on sheep, when slaughtered, in order to provide the funds to promote sales and to finance further research in the industry. This is very good and we must commend the Minister on these measures. Sales promotion plans are now the accepted thing. The honorable member for Cowper **(Mr. Robinson)** told us how, in his own little way, he had approached exporters. Exporters are always looking to see where they can make a quick profit and they have no interest in research or in exploring for new markets. lt is hoped that the funds provided by this new levy will help to secure new markets. We cannot allow time to slip by in seeking new markets to replace any that we lose. We have already suffered losses in the United Kingdom market and we must anticipate any losses we will suffer on the United States market. The Government has already done a great deal towards research and has granted" £483.000 for the 1963-64 research programme from the present levy. Portion of this sum has already been expended at the Wide Bay research station at Brian Pastures where, as the Minister will know, a field day will be held tomorrow. I have been invited to attend, but of course will be unable to do so. At this station research is being carried on by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, in the improvement of pastures and testing the weight gain of beasts. People who criticize the spending of money on research have said that at Brian Pastures the dearest way of raising cattle is practised. However, cattle from Brian Pastures have always topped the sales at which they have been marketed, whether at Cannon Hill or locally. At this research station a considerable amount of work is being done by agronomists and animal husbandry experts in testing weight gains in relation to the various plants, types of grasses and lucerne which can be used. The weight gains of animals raised on the various blocks are tested. From the 5s. levy a further sum will be added to the amount already being obtained from the present levy. Quite a number of honorable members speculated, during the debate, about the American market. The " Queensland Country Life " of 2nd April featured an article by Doctor Herrell De Graff, President of the American Meat Institute, in which he said there has been a 50 per cent, drop in the consumption of meat in the United States of America. I believe that even in Australia the consumption of meat has dropped. Many people, and particularly migrants from the Continent, are not normally meat eaters and are eating cheese and more bread and flour products such as macaroni and spaghetti, instead of meat. We find that in 1925 United States of America meat consumption was 27 lb. per head, and the figure had dropped to 14 lb. per person in 1963, a decline of nearly 50 per cent. Doctor De Graff also mentions a drop in cattle prices in the United States of America and this probably accounts for the reaction of the senators from the cattle country of the United States. Their own prices for cattle are falling and they are looking at imports which they feel are having an adverse effect on their own sales. Average cattle prices in the United States of America are down about 3.7 dollars per cwt. as compared with twelve months ago. Doctor De Graff also said - >It is true that in recent years meat imports have exceeded the value of slaughtered produce and exports, but this has never been true over the whole cattle cycle. 1 will support amendments which will be moved by the Opposition in the committee stage and which we feel would be to the benefit of the industry as a whole. The Government has been fortunate in quite a number of respects in many of the things which have happened and for which it has had no responsibility. It has been fortunate, in the case of sugar, that the rebellion and the hurricane in Cuba increased our sugar sales on world markets. This has added to the prosperity of Australia. Also the harsh winter in Europe has assisted in the sale of our dairy products in Europe and the United Kingdom. I hope the Government's luck will hold a little longer. 1 am sure this bill will assist in obtaining fresh markets for our products although I look forward particularly to the retention of our present markets in the United States of America. {: #subdebate-26-0-s13 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- in reply - There has been quite a good debate on the second reading of the bills with which we are dealing and it appears that the House, generally, has accepted the principles contained in them, although various opinions have been expressed about certain details. I do not intend, during my reply to the debate, to canvass those matters regarding which amendments are to be moved, as I think that would be better accomplished in the committee stage. But there were about three questions I was asked and I will do my best to answer them. Some honorable members have asked why the levy is not related to the sale price of the animal instead of being the flat rate proposed in the bill. As we know, the percentage system is opposed. I will be introducing legislation for the wool industry on that basis. I would say, firstly, that the producer organizations who sponsored this levy plan wanted the levy on the flat rate basis and not on a value basis. The main reason for this is the practical difficulty of establishing proof of the sale price of every animal slaughtered. It would probably require a vast army of inspectors to check the levy collections against the actual proof of the sale price. This is not the case with wool, the bulk of which is sold at auction where the sales price can be easily established and related to the amount paid by brokers and other persons on behalf of the producers. However, we can always look at this legislation again after a year or two of experience. I assure honorable members that it is not easy to do what we have done in the bill. Several honorable members commented on the absence of any reference in the second-reading speech to the work of the Australian Meat Board. The board is not going out of existence immediately. The time to thank individual members for their services to the Government will be when I know that their services are to be terminated. I will, of course, thank them at the appropriate time, as I have done at any time when members of various boards have ceased their activities. The honorable member for Wimmera **(Mr. King)** asked whether the levy could be terminated if prices became very low. I hope, of course, that the present satisfactory level of prices will continue. This is an apt time to impose a levy so that we can build up a small fund against the day when prices fall. Obviously, if that time comes, a recommendation can be made for a lower levy to be imposed. In reply to the honorable member for Wimmera, I would say that that could be done. The only other point I want to make, apart from thanking honorable members for their contributions to the debate and the various opinions they have expressed, is that I hope the approach made by the Government will be recognized. We will be discussing the matter of membership further. I do say, however, that I have tried repeatedly, in dealing with various industries in which boards have been established, to get the various organizations to work together. I hope that that principle will be furthered and that the selection committee that will be recommending the best men available for appointment to the board will seek to widen the representation by recommending additional representation from other organizations. Two organizations which stand out as having merit - I am talking of producer representation - are the Australian Dairyfarmers Federation and the Australian Primary Producers Union. As I have said in my secondreading speech, I hope we will see in this instance also the wider representation of producers which has been accomplished in the Wool Industry Conference. I hope the principle will be applied to other industries, because what I want to see is the producers working together. There is no need for them, although they may have different organizations, to do otherwise than work together for the good of the industry as a whole. That is my wish. 1 conclude the second-reading debate and I thank honorable members for their contributions. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. Bill committed pro forma; progress reported. {: .page-start } page 882 {:#debate-27} ### WEIGHTS AND MEASURES (NATIONAL STANDARDS) BILL 1964 Bill received from the Senate, and read, a first time. {: .page-start } page 882 {:#debate-28} ### NEW SOUTH WALES GRANT (FLOOD MITIGATION) BILL 1964 Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 882 {:#debate-29} ### ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Mr. Fairhall)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler **.- Mr.** {:#subdebate-29-0} #### Speaker- Motion (by Mr.Fairhall) put - >That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) AYES: 64 NOES: 39 Majority . . . . 25 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.43 p.m. {: .page-start } page 883 {:#debate-30} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Canberra Housing. (Question No. 82.) {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Will he ascertain from his department, or from the Defence Department or the several service departments, what assurances were given to defence and service personnel transferring from Melbourne to Canberra as to the conditions under which they would be enabled to purchase homes allotted to them by the Commonwealth in Canberra? 1. Were these transferees given promises, both oral and written, that homes could be purchased on the basis of replacement cost less depreciation, and without any capital charge in respect of land? 2. If he finds such promises were made, will he undertake to review existing policy with regard to the sale of Government homes to tenants so as to ensure that these promises are met? 3. If, after enquiry, he finds that such promises were not made or that, if made, they were limited as to duration, will he consider setting up an independent authority to enquire into and publicly report upon the nature and extent of any promises made to defence or service personnel transferred to Canberra? 4. Is the present arrangement requiring tenants who seek to purchase Government homes to pay premiums for the land on which the homes stand in direct conflict with the Government's general policy to encourage home ownership? 5. Is it also in conflict with the Government's policy of making capital grants to some home purchasers? {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
Minister for the Interior · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1, 2, 3 and 4. Members of the defence group who were compulsorily transferred to Canberra were given advice about conditions of rental, purchase, and other factors about Government cottages obtaining at the time of the transfer. They were not guaranteed that these conditions would obtain for any specific period. To put the answers to these questions into perspective, it should be remembered that the first moves of nearly 2,500 members of the defence group and their families commenced at the end of 1958. The last transfer of personnel in that series was made in January, 1963. It is obvious therefore that it could not possibly be expected that the conditions obtaining over this four-year period should remain frozen. It should be noted, however, that not all of the changes which occurred have been unfavorable to tenants. For instance, people who were transferred during the first couple of years could obtain from the Government a maximum mortgage of only £2,750 if they wished to purchase their Government cottages; later this restriction on the size of the mortgage was removed and there was no limit to the amount of the mortgage. At the same time the deposit required was reduced to 10 per cent.; this was later reduced again to5 per cent. Conditions of sale of Government cottages to tenants who wish to buy them are at present: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. 5 per cent, deposit, with no limit on the amount of mortgage; 1. interest at 4) per cent, per annum on the outstanding amount of mortgage; 2. repayment over any period up to 45 years; 3. sale price of the house will not exceed its market value. These arrangements cannot be considered other than highly advantageous to tenants who wish to purchase their homes. Under these circumstances, it is not considered that any enquiry is necessary. It should be remembered that if tenants do not wish to purchase their houses under these most favorable terms they can of course continue to live there and pay the modest rental. {: type="1" start="5"} 0. No. The sale price of the house, the low deposit, the moderate interest rate and the unlimited mortgage amount, seem to be a substantial encouragement to tenants to purchase their homes. There is evidence to show that tenants are anxious to purchase homes on these terms. 1. No. {:#subdebate-30-1} #### Commonwealth Subsidies. (Question No. 90.) {: #subdebate-30-1-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what basis does the Commonwealth, through the Australian Capital Territory Services Branch of the Department of the Interior, distribute public funds by way of annual grant or subsidy to community organizations within the Territory? 1. What measuring stick is used to assess the merits of applicant organizations for subsidy? 2. What amount has been allocated for this purpose in each of the past three complete financial years? 3. How many organizations have received subsidy in each of these years? 4. What has been the (a) maximum grant, (b) minimum grant and (c) average grant in each of these years? 5. How many applications were (a) approved and (b) rejected in each of these years? 6. What are the names of all organizations at present being assisted with financial grants, and what is the amount in each case? 7. Are allocations limited in total to a sum provided in the Budget or is the Australian Capital Territory Services Branch enabled to approve worthy requests during the currency of the financial year? 8. At what time each year should applications for subsidy be made, and when are decisions on allocations determined? 9. What organizations whose aims and activities are linked with education currently receive grants or subsidies? 10. What criteria are used in assessing the merits of applications by organizations whose aims arc educational? 11. Has the request from the Canberra Mathematical Association for subsidy or grant been rejected; if so, on what grounds? 12. What widening of its aims, or what extension of its activities, would this association be required to undertake in order to qualify for the financial assistance it has sought in its efforts to promote and assist mathematics teaching in the Australian Capital Territory? 13. Has any survey been made of the work undertaken by the Canberra Mathematical Association to promote interest in mathematics and to effect improvements in the teaching of mathematics consequent on the introduction of a new syllabus in mathematics? {: #subdebate-30-1-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Funds are distributed by way of annual grant or subsidy to community organizations in the ACT., to encourage social, cultural and community activities. 1. Each application is treated on its merits, having regard to the purpose for which the grant or subsidy is required. Generally it is necessary in order to receive assistance, for an organization to demonstrate that: - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. it has some stability; 1. it is worthy of Government support; 2. its activities are of benefit to a significant section of the community; or 3. it is providing a service which would otherwise have to be undertaken by the Government. 2. 1960-61, £17,600; 1961-62, £21,400; 1962-63, £24,725. 3. 1960-61, 21; 1961-62, 22; 1962-63, 24. 4. -- 6.- in addition to those rejected, there were several organizations which applied for assistance and failed to respond to requests for further information. {: type="1" start="7"} 0. The following payments have been made or are under consideration for the current financial year: - It is proposed to review the need for all grants prior to commencement of the new financial year. {: type="1" start="8"} 0. A small amount is provided in the estimates each year to meet unforeseen expenditure. Additional fund's could be sought in the event of a worthy request being received, which had not been allowed for in the Estimates. 1. No particular time is set for the receipt of applications, but it is desirable in the case of new applicants seeking substantial amounts, for applications to be submitted early enough to permit provision to be made in the estimates of expenditure. 2. Australian Capital Territory Science Teachers Association. 3. Covered in answer to 2. 4. Yes. After consideration of the information submitted by the association, assistance was not considered to be warranted. 5. The association would have to meet the criteria set out in the answer to 2. 6. All of the information submitted by the Canberra Mathematical Association has been carefully examined and considered. {:#subdebate-30-2} #### Mousing. (Question No. 103.) {: #subdebate-30-2-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: y asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When is it proposed to introduce legislation covering the housing scheme promised by the Government at the last elections? 1. Is he at this date in a position to give details of the scheme; if so, what are they? {: #subdebate-30-2-s1 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
Minister for Housing · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is my intention that legislation to authorize payment of the home savings grant be introduced within a few weeks. 1. Full details will be given when the legislation is presented to the House. {:#subdebate-30-3} #### Wheat. (Question No. 111.) {: #subdebate-30-3-s0 .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr Gray: y asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to a statement by the New South Wales Labour Council alleging that the wheat sold on credit to Communist China has been resold in other countries to earn foreign exchange? 1. ls he able to say whether sales have been made by Communist China as alleged? 2. If so, can he say whether the wheat was sold at a profit? 3. If the wheat was sold at a profit, could Australia have sold it direct to the other countries and secured the additional price? If not, why not? 4. If sales have been made by Communist China as alleged, what has been the loss to the Australian wheat-grower because of Australia's failure to sell on the highest market? {: #subdebate-30-3-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >Purchases of wheat from Australia are made by China on an f.o.b. basis, and occasionally the buyers have requested that wheat be consigned to other destinations. Since shipments of wheat to China commenced in January, 1961, the following quantities have been consigned to destinations other than China against contracts covering the sale of wheat to China on credit: - No details are known of the transactions between China and the recipient countries; but it has been understood with the Chinese buyers that such transactions should in no way prejudice sales of Australian wheat to such of the countries as may purchase directly from the Australian Wheat Board. {:#subdebate-30-4} #### Australian Wool Board. (Question No. 124.) {: #subdebate-30-4-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the Australian Wool Board extended offers of technical assistance to Communist China? 1. Has such assistance been similarly offered to India or Pakistan? 2. If not, has consideration been given by either the Wool Board or the Government to offering this form of assistance to India and Pakistan? {: #subdebate-30-4-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. During a recent exploratory visit to Communist China, which was part of a programme by major wool producing countries to promote wool usage around the world, the chairman of the Australian Wool Board, **Sir William** Gunn, informed the Chinese that the Wool Board is prepared to make certain technical assistance available to their wool textile industry. 1. Yes. The International Wool Secretariat, 64 per cent, of the funds of which are contributed by the Australian Wool Board, is providing research facilities for the Indian wool textile industry and is assisting to modernize the industry. The secretarial is also prepared to assist the Pakistani wool textile industry. 2. See answer to 2. {:#subdebate-30-5} #### Wheat. (Question No. 125.) {: #subdebate-30-5-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the (a) quantity and (b) value of wheat exported to the Republic of China during the last five years? 1. What was the (a) quantity and (b) value of this wheat sold on credit terms? 2. Have payments been made, on time or before duc dates? {: #subdebate-30-5-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - {: type="A" start="I"} 0. Quantity and value of wheat shipped to mainland China during the last five years - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Australian Wheat Board figures show that credit shipments to mid-March, 1964, were 5,668,000 long tons, valued at £150,000,000 approximately. 1. The buyers have been unfailing in making payments by the due dates and recently have been making substantial payments ahead of schedule. {:#subdebate-30-6} #### Child Tudowment (Question No. 128.) {: #subdebate-30-6-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: n asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice - >As child endowment is now proposed to be payable in respect of student children over sixteen years of age, will he take action to expend this principle to the payment of allowances in respect of children of war pensioners where these allowances now cease at the age of sixteen? {: #subdebate-30-6-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: - >There is no necessary relationship between the principles governing payment of child endowment and the payment of pension and certain allowances to the eligible children of war pensioners. Possible changes in the latter area are, of course, a matter of Government policy.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 April 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.