House of Representatives
16 April 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Mr. UREN 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.

Similar petitions were presented by Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Irwin, Mr. Benson and Mr. James.

Petitions severally received.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In order to safeguard passengers using AnsettA.N.A. aircraft against unnecessary risk of life, will the Prime Minister request the Minister for Civil Aviation to order the grounding of all Ansett aircraft until the maintenance and general serviceability of such aircraft have been checked by engineers and mechanics who are free from the obligations and consequences associated with the greed for greater profits?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I venture to say that there is nothing more contemptible to be observed in this House than a member making a poisonous and entirely unjustified attack on somebody outside the Parliament. This is a filthy question, and I refuse to answer it.

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– I address a question to the Treasurer. As the economy of Australia has been described as a dream, and as loan money is readily available for government use, will the Treasurer tell the House whether the Government will be able to release more money in addition to the amount already promised, for the jet airport at Tullamarine in Melbourne at budget time?


– To the best of my knowledge, the Budget provision pre* viously made is being carried forward and, again to the best of my knowledge, the project is proceeding according to the plans that the Government had in mind for it. I am sure that, after the welter of economic debate that has occurred in this Parliament over recent years, the honorable gentleman will appreciate that our problems are not always merely those of having sufficient money. In fact, there are times - we are in the middle of one such time at present - when we must carefully weigh the allocation of resources. It would be within the honorable gentleman’s knowledge that currently, particularly in Victoria, there is a good deal of pressure in the construction field, with shortages of labour and a growing housing boom. Consequently, these considerations would have to be borne in mind in any further approach to the problem of Tullamarine airport.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it true that the Government is seriously considering the introduction of a training scheme for adult workers similar to the scheme introduced to provide skilled workers in the post-war years? Does that mean that the immigration programme is failing to cope with the situation, because of its inability now to attract the desired class of skilled workers? Does it highlight the deficiencies of our technical training system? Will the Government consider aiding that training system?

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

– It is true that the Government has given careful and long attention to the problem of training for skill in this country and has given authority to the Department of Labour and National Service to continue discussions with the trade union movement and the employers wilh the object of achieving an improved training scheme for skill - I would not like to call it an adult training scheme. My answer to the second question asked by the honorable gentleman is, “ No, I do not think it can be said that the immigration scheme has failed “. On the contrary, my colleague the Minister for Immigration has pointed out that this year the migrant intake will be increased to 145,000. He has also made it clear that we will be increasing the skilled component in the migrant intake. In reply to the third question asked by the honorable gentleman, I say that it can be said that there have to be large-scale reforms in the Australian system of training technical and technological personnel. This was well recognized in the Prime Minister’s policy speech. The honorable member will there see the assistance that is given to scientific training in schools and also the offer of the Government to provide £5,000,000 a year for the technical training of young Australians. I think I have given answers to the three questions asked by the honorable gentleman.

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Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:

– I desire to ask the Minister for the Interior a question. What is the ultimate plan for the surrounds of and approaches to the Australian-American War Memorial? Is the memorial to remain as a king-size parking meter for the cars of the personnel of the armed services as it is at present, or is the plan for the original approaches and surrounds to be restored to their pristine beauty? Did the original plan for the buildings now being erected provide for the area around the memorial to be used as a car approach for the top brass of the armed services?

Minister for the Interior · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I will have the matter raised by the honorable member examined. When I find the answers to the various points he has brought up, I will let him know.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether it is now proposed to survey the tuna potential off the east coast of Tasmania. If it is, is it to be on the basis of a Commonwealth and State venture? 1 further ask the Minister whether he can say who is to conduct the survey and when it is expected that the survey will begin.

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– This matter is still the subject of discussion between the Tasmanian and the Commonwealth Governments. Since it has not been finalized, I can make no definite statement on it at this juncture. I noticed that an item in the press stated that a decision had been reached. That is not correct; the discussions are not as yet finalized.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. I refer him to the report of a paper prepared by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for the New South Wales Executive of the Australian Labour Party, in which he states -

The Australian Labour Party in general cannot and should not be indifferent to the political subversion of some trade unions.

Does this refer to Communist infiltration of trade unions? If so, is there any action that can be taken to counter it?


– I did read a newspaper account of the honorable gentleman’s report. I have no doubt that his words “ political subversion “ can refer only to the Communist Party of Australia and the Aus? tralian Communist Party. The extraordinary thing about the statement is that this is the first time we have heard a member of the Opposition publicly recognize the fact that some trade unions in Australia are under either Communist domination or control. The 64-dollar question is not whether this fact has now been recognized, but what action the Australian Labour Party will take to help us prevent this position continuing.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. What progress has been made in the proposed alterations to the Commonwealth Electoral Act and the Representation Act to enable the agreement between the Liberal Party and Australian Country Party for a gerrymander of electoral boundaries to be put into effect? Will the legislation be introduced by the end of this year? Is consideration being given to introducing a first-past-the-post system of voting?


– The subject raised in the first part of the honorable gentleman’s question is a matter of policy. When I first answered this question in the House I said that I thought something would be brought into the House within a year. The honorable member referred also to firstpastthepost voting. The adoption of this system is apparently the policy of the Australian Labour Party. I find it hard to reconcile this view with Labour’s principle of one vote one value. The firstpastthepost system would enable a person to be elected to this House without a majority vote of the people. It means, actually, that the contestant receives his prize before he gets to the post.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Repatriation. Recently some publicity has been given to complaints of ash fall-out from the boiler room chimneys at the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood, in Perth. Can the Minister inform me whether action is being taken to eliminate this nuisance to nearby residents?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– Strong representations on this matter have been made by my colleague, the Minister for Defence. The fuel supply to this boiler house at the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood, in Perth, is based on sawdust. This is a reasonably efficient and certainly a most economical means of providing fuel. For those reasons I have no desire to change the fuel system. However, some time ago the Minister for Defence drew my attention to the problem of ash fall-out. Immediate action was taken to try to overcome the problem by the installation of automatic stokers and also a type of grit arrester. These measures were not completely successful, and further investigations were carried out by the Commonwealth Works Department’s engineers who had advice from an independent air pollution expert in New South Wales, and by fuel technologists in Western Australia. As a result of the investigation a recommendation was made to provide a special type of highefficiency grit arrester. Tenders will be called next month for those grit arresters, and the work of installing them will be proceeded with as quickly as possible. I might mention, in conclusion, that the cost of this work is expected to be £39,000, but I consider that expenditure to be worth while if it overcomes the inconvenience to the residents in the district.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Yesterday the honorable gentleman said that it was not his duty to interfere in the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s decisions on political telecasts. Can he now assure the House that there was no political intimidation of the Australian Broadcasting Commission which forced it to cancel the programme “The Candidates” in the 1963 general election campaign?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The honorable member knows that 1 was not a member of the House when that decision was made. I do not know the details and therefore I offer no comment.

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– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Immigration. Is he aware that there are many thousands of frustrated bachelors in Australia vainly searching for wives? Will he take steps to see that a larger number of females of marriageable age are included in the migrant intake so that these frustrated bachelors may be afforded the experience of the everlasting joy and bliss associated with married life?

Minister for Immigration · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– I have had many problems put before me since I have taken over this portfolio, but I have never had one put to me in such sentimental terms, lt is very difficult to overcome this problem at the moment because the Department of Labour and National Service, through my ministerial colleague, of course, is pressing very strongly for skilled labour to come to Australia in the migrant intake. However, the immigration programme must be balanced and I will give due attention to the honorable member’s question.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Air. He will be aware that twice in the course of the last couple of years I have complained about the activities of jet aircraft which fly excessively low and have been causing damage and loss of livestock in one district of northern New South Wales. Can the Minister say why the aircraft fly at extremely low altitudes in this district and will he give consideration to sending there an Air Force officer to ascertain the exact nature and extent of the damage caused to property owners?

Minister for Air · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I answered a question by the honorable member on this subject in this House some time ago. I said in my answer that a strict regulation stated that no Air Force plane, except when landing or taking off, may fly at less than 600 feet other than in very specific areas set aside for practising low-level interceptions and low-level cross country flights. I said then to the honorable member that if he would give me details of any specific cases I would look into them immediately. In the last day or two the honorable member has written to me and has stated a specific example. Officers of my department are investigating the case at the moment. If any action is necessary I shall certainly see that it is taken.

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– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he is aware that a large pair of pliers smeared with engine oil has been recovered from among wreckage from the Ansett-A.N.A. DC-6B airliner involved in an episode over Melbourne. Is it usual for such tools to be left in the cowling of an aircraft engine after maintenance? If not, will the Minister arrange an investigation to determine how the tool entered the wreckage of the motor and whether its presence in the motor was primarily responsible for the accident?


– I have already informed the House that an inquiry is being undertaken by the Department of Civil Aviation. I would make no comment whatsoever until the result of the inquiry is known. All I know at the moment is contained in the statement of the Minister for Civil Aviation which I read to the House yesterday. I have no intention of making any further statement until the result of the inquiry is known. It is a remarkable fact that members of the Opposition seem to bear a grudge against the free enterprise airline and take every opportunity to smear it by insinuations. If they are aware of any problems involving the servicing of Ansett aircraft I suggest that they should get in touch with their candidate for the Henty electorate at the last general election, who is a director of the Ansett airline company.

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Mr Kevin Cairns:

– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask: Can the Minister state whether in Queensland school-leavers are being placed quickly in employment and also whether the recent publicity directed to increasing the numbers of apprentices both in Brisbane and in country centres has been successful?


– I am not able at present to make a precise statement about the placement of school-leavers in employment in Queensland. We are conducting a thorough review at the moment and I am hopeful that it will be completed within the next two weeks. I shall then make the results of the review available to the honorable member and to other members of the House.

The answer to the second part of the honorable member’s question is that for some time now the Government has carried out a propaganda exercise in trying to encourage young people to become apprentices and to encourage employers to provide job opportunities for apprentices. I am glad to say that in Brisbane there are now, over a range of skills, more job, vacancies for apprentices than there are apprentices available to be placed into them; that certainly applies throughout Brisbane. The figures have been made available for every one to see, including members of the Opposition. The same thing applies in some of the Queensland country towns where we are finding that vacancies for apprentices are occurring at an unprecedented rate and we cannot get the numbers of young people to fill them.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior. Is it a fact that several Commonwealth cottages at West Cessnock have been vacant for approximately six weeks, despite urgent requests by persons in dire need of housing accommodation, one of whom is the widow of a totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner?


– I should like to look into the matter raised by the honorable member. As soon as I have further information I will give him a reply.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport, who indicated to a meeting of interested organizations in Hobart recently that within a year he would examine the passenger and cargo traffic carried by the “Empress of Australia” to see whether an additional monthly visit to Hobart would be warranted. Can the Minister give any indication of what volume of cargo or passengers would warrant an additional visit?

Minister for Shipping and Transport · FORREST, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I think that on reflection the honorable member will appreciate that it is impossible to state with any precision the tonnage of cargo or the number of passengers that will have to be offering to warrant an additional visit by the “ Empress of Australia “. The cargo varies from time to time and the number of passengers varies between peak periods and low periods. All these things will have to be looked at, together with other shipping space that is offering and the requirements of other ports on the Tasmanian coast. I have given the assurance that if there is a strong indication of demand in Hobart exceeding the demand elsewhere we will certainly try to arrange for another trip by the “Empress of Australia “ each month.

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– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question concerning the recent dispute between Qantas Empire Airways Limited and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots. Has any settlement been reached in this dispute? If so, what are its terms?


– After holding discussions with Qantas and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, which continued over several weeks, the conciliator - he prefers to call himself the mediator - reported to the parties that he had been unable to prevail upon them to come to a long-term or permanent settlement covering all the areas of dispute. The parties then asked him to make recommendations as to action pending a scientific inquiry into jet fatigue in long-distance aircraft under Australian conditions. The mediator made some interim recommendations for the temporary settlement of the dispute. Qantas accepted those recommendations immediately, and shortly after that they were accepted by the air pilots. So we can say that in the interim there has been a settlement of the dispute. I should like to make two comments about the mediation proceedings. The mediator has complimented both parties upon the satisfactory way that they put their case and the help they have given to him in the conduct of the mediation. As to the long term, which is of vital importance, he has expressed strong confidence that proceedings of the kind initiated will bring long-term benefits to both the airline and the air pilots.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it the present Government’s policy, as has been stated in news reports, still to defend Australia only in part, as was the policy adopted before the Second World War by a government of which the forerunner of the present Liberal Party of Australia formed part, or does this Government intend to defend the whole of Australia? If it intends to defend the whole continent why are defence units not operating on Cape York Peninsula and in north-western Australia and the Northern Territory so as to enable them to become acquainted with climatic conditions, terrain and other geographical features?

Minister for Defence · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The policy of this Government is to defend the whole of Australia by action both within our own borders and outside our borders. The honorable member’s reference to something that is supposed to have happened a long time ago seems to me to be of very doubtful historical validity.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Territories. Has he seen newspaper reports that Australians living in Port Moresby have tightened security measures in their homes following a recent wave of violence by natives and also that women’s hostels are the scenes of frequent sex offences and that these attacks are becoming increasingly serious in nature? Has the Minister any reports that give rise to concern about the position in Port Moresby? If so, what action is being taken to ensure adequate protection of the community there?

Minister for Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I saw reports in the newspapers and wrote to the Administrator of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea about the matter, and I have now received a report. I think that the honorable member, in the first part of his question, really referred to an attack on a European who was thought to be involved in a motor car accident. That is the only incident of the kind that has happened at Port Moresby in recent weeks. The violence mentioned is not in any way due to racial antagonism, because apparently such attacks take place against Papuans in similar circumstances. There have been instances of attacks of the kind mentioned by the honorable member in the second part of his question. Such incidents, of course, are not unknown in Australia, and I do not think that there is any greater incidence of these happenings in Port Moresby. The Administrator is of the opinion that normal police activity will easily cope with the situation, and that these reports appear to have been completely exaggerated.

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– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. Yesterday, he confirmed reports that the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Country Party has been refused free broadcasting and television time by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in the Tasmanian State general election campaign. Can the Minister assure the House that his involvement or noninvolvement in this matter is not dictated by the well-known and currentlycontinuing vendetta against the Country Party that he carried on as president of the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party of Australia?


– I have no knowledge that I carried on any vendetta against the Australian Country Party in my capacity as an official of the Liberal Party of Australia. I intimated yesterday that the Australian Broadcasting Commission had complete autonomy in the matter of political broadcasts. While I am on my feet, I should like to mention that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition asked me a question which indicated that he believed, relying on his memory, that an instruction on such matters had been given to the commission during the term of the Chifley Government. I have not been able to complete my inquiries in the matter, but, as I understand the position, prior to 1942 the Australian Broadcasting Act provided that the Minister could in fact give instructions in such matters. This I understand would have been proper for the Chifley Government although I appreciate-

Mr Calwell:

– I was speaking of a time around about 1949.


– In 1942 the act was altered to give complete autonomy to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. I believe that a Minister’s responsibility is such that he should be the first to observe the law. If in fact an instruction were given by the Labour Minister of the day 1 believe that he acted contrary to the provisions of the act.

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– My question is directed to you, Mr. Speaker. Are you aware of the unsightly incident that occurred in this chamber on Thursday night last, 9th April-


-Order! The honorable member is out of order. The House was in committee at that time.

Mr Jones:

– Why am I out of order? You have not heard my question yet.


– Order!

Mr Jones:

– What is the matter? Do you not want to hear my question?


– The honorable member is out of order. He will resume his seat.

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Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:

– Is it too early yet for the Minister for the Army to give the House the recruiting figures for the Army proper for the month of March? I refer to recruiting figures for the Army proper as distinct from the special call for apprentices.

Minister Assisting the Treasurer · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– If I can provide an answer to the honorable gentleman’s question I shall do so.

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– Has the Minister for Shipping and Transport seen a statement attributed to the spokesman for the Tasmanian Timber Association in which he questions the accuracy of the information conveyed to the honorable member for Bass, and released to the newspapers by the Minister for Customs and Excise, relative to various shipping movements from Tasmanian ports? Does the Minister intend to check the accuracy of the information in view of the difference of opinion which apparently exists?


– I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member has referred. I shall have a look at it.

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– My question to the Minister for Territories relates to the fact that Commonwealth assistance is not given to mission schools in the Northern Territory unless the medium of instruction is English. Is it the intention of the Department of Territories to extinguish aboriginal languages in the Northern Territory? If this is not the department’s intention, will the Minister ensure that at mission stations such as Hermannsburg, where there is a school population with one mother tongue and where the teachers are convinced that a true education process takes place in the mother tongue and that literacy is best established in the mother tongue, Commonwealth assistance will be given to the school provided that English is taught effectively as a second language, as has been demonstrated by the natives at Hermannsburg?


– One purpose of the education system in the Northern Territory is to give an adequate education to the aborigines. I am not aware of the particular aspect to which the honorable member has referred, but I shall certainly look into the matter and advise him.

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– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. Has the

Postal Department accepted the installation of public telephones owned by a private organization to augment the department’s own equipment? If it has, does not this set a dangerous precedent? What control is exercised by the department over the revenue of these public telephones?


– The department has the right to license this kind of equipment. The person who installs it is called upon to pay £50 for the equipment as well as the normal rental and call charges levied by the department. Of the 6d. charged to each caller, the department receives the normal unit charge of 4d. and the person installing the machine receives the other 2d. to repay him for the service given and the cost of the equipment.

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– Will the Minister for Shipping and Transport indicate when the Tariff Board will submit its report on the Australian shipbuilding industry? Is the Minister aware that prospective shipbuilders are hesitant to place orders because they anticipate that the subsidy will be extended to vessels of less than 500 tons?


– This matter comes within the jurisdiction of my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry. I understand that the board’s report is currently being considered by the Government.

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– I ask a question of the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. Since Australia imports more than £800,000 worth of fish a month in various processed forms, is the Minister able to say whether local producers are looking into the possibilities of producing these products in Australia? If they are not, can the Minister give me reasons why?


– Production from local fishermen does not in all cases meet our requirements. Various types of fish are imported because the consuming public of Australia wants them. Over the years the special fund established from the proceeds of the sale of the whaling station in Western Australia has been used to survey prospective fishing fields around Australia. When an inter-departmental committee makes a recommendation about additional fields being opened, the Government has been ready to respond. In this way we seek to increase production.

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Mr. Speaker, has the

Chairman of Committees brought to your notice the unsightly incident that occurred in this chamber-


– Order! I ask the honorable member to resume his seat. Standing Order No. 152 provides that a question without notice may be put to the Speaker relating to any matter of administration for which he is responsible. I am not responsible for what happens in committee. The question, therefore, is out of order.

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– The PostmasterGeneral will recall that on 3rd. March last I asked him whether he would have investigations made with a view to having the names of official and non-official post offices prominently affixed to the buildings in which the post offices are housed or, in the case of non-official post offices, on the gates leading to the buildings. The Postmaster-General replied -

As far as I know both non-official and official post offices are indicated by their names.

In the hope that the honorable gentleman has discovered in the meantime that this is not so, will he give further consideration to my original request?


– In the isolated cases where the names may not be displayed I have given instructions that they should be displayed.

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– My question to the Minister for Labour and National Service is supplementary to the question asked by the honorable member for La Trobe. Did the Minister, when addressing a Liberal Party rally recently, say that Government supporters were free to vote as their consciences dictated on matters affecting his department? If so, will the Minister say why he adopted a menacing attitude and threatened to lay hands on the honorable member for Mackellar when the honorable member sought to exercise that right a few days ago?


– The first part of the honorable member’s question is inaccurate, when he refers to a recent Liberal Party rally. I have frequently stated that members of the Liberal Party - I did not say this at my conference, but I have stated it publicly - vote and are entitled to vote according to their consciences. When their consciences are involved no attempt is made to prevail upon them to change their attitude. As to the second part of the question - I hope that the honorable member for Mackellar will not mind me saying this - when I heard that the Labour Party was likely to raise this matter I felt that for me to attempt to threaten the honorable member for Mackellar would be like attempting to threaten Sonny Liston. I spoke to the honorable member in a kindly way. He is a friend of mine. We have never had an acrimonious discussion although we have had frequent differences of opinion.

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– Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Wentworth:

– Yes.

Mr Calwell:

– By whom?

Mr Wentworth:

– By the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly). On no occasion has the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) threatened me, as the honorable member for Grayndler suggested. That is a complete fabrication on his part.

Mr Sinclair:

– I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Sinclair:

– Yes. One of Sydney’s daily newspapers to-day carries a report of a statement that I made in this House yesterday and claims that I said that membership of the Country Party in Tasmania stood at 600. In fact there are 6,000 members of the Country Party in that State.

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Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) agreed to -

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the notice standing in the name of the honorable member for Moreton being proceeded with forthwith.

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.- I move -

  1. (a) That a select committee be appointed to inquire into the advisability of introducing fluoride into the water supply of the Australian Capital Territory.

    1. That the committee consist of seven members, four to be appointed by the Prime Minister and three to be appointed by the Leader of the Opposition.
    2. That every appointment of a member of the committee be forthwith notified in writing to the Speaker.
    3. That the chairman be one of the members appointed by the Prime Minister.
    4. That five members of the committee constitute a quorum. (0 That any member of the committee have power to add a protest or dissent to the report of the committee.
    5. That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to sit during any adjournment of the House and to adjourn from place to place.
    6. That the committee report to the House as soon as possible.
    7. That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.
  2. That pending the presentation of the committee’s report to the House, all work associated with any scheme for the introduction of fluoride into the water supply of the Australian Capital Territory, cease forthwith.

I thank the House for its assistance in facilitating this debate this morning, more particularly when I understand from casual gossip that there is some opinion that does not completely subscribe to the merits that reside in the motion. However, I am encouraged to believe that after a case has been stated there will be complete, if not generous, support for the establishment of a select committee.

The motion seeks to have set up a select committee to inquire into the advisability of introducing fluoride into Canberra’s water supply. The terms of the motion, whilst by no means specifying, do, I believe, encompass not merely a consideration of the therapeutic values or disadvantages of fluoridation but plainly encompass a consideration of the philosophy which resides in the proposal to introduce fluoride into a public water supply. I am quite aware that some people do not see this as involving any philosophical discussion. I say nothing about that save that for my part I would find it most uncomfortable to live in an unfurnished house. I submit with respect to the House that fluoridation involves a consideration as to whether the State should have the final say as to whether a particular substance is good or bad for you. When this matter was last before the House I said that for my part the concept of the State being right under all circumstances was something that I would attack again and again. Lest there be any ambiguity about that statement, I now repeat it again and say that as yet I have not even put on the underpants of anger.

I now turn to the motion. Some of the most ardent proponents of fluoridation have recently developed an argument that runs approximately along these lines: Look old chap, you cannot consider the scientific aspects of this proposal; you cannot consider the sceintific arguments. A great deal of emotionalism despising emotionalism is always injected into the consideration of this matter. So be it. This is the brave, new, splendid, metallic world that these people want to take us into - a world in which emotionalism no longer has any meaning or any significance. Am I to understand from the present Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony), his immediate predecessor, who is now the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), and the proponents of fluoridation that love, affection and friendship can be spelt out in terms of some scientific formula? That is precisely the proposition that these people are inviting us to approve. For my part, I say that I will have none of it. I will have none of this casual despising of the qualities and virtues of people who believe in emotionalism and emotions. I will have none of the belief that the consideration of all the great qualities and institutions of human society should be discarded as of no consequence.

I take up this illuminating matter by saying that the decision to fluoridate Canberra’s water supply is not a decision of the Government; it is a decision of the former Minister for the Interior, who is now the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Acting on a recommendation made to him by the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, the honorable gentleman approved the introduction of fluorine into the water supply of Canberra. So the fountain-head, as it were, of this matter is the Advisory Council. I take the House back to the meeting of the council on 22nd April, 1963, when it received from a sub-committee of the council a report on fluoridation. That report has been described variously as being critical, exhaustive and extensive and as appraising every known facet of fluoridation. Yet that sub-committee turned in a report of only 124 words. Nobody could accuse it of being desperately long-winded. Even Moses needed 319 words to set out the ten commandments. But this sub-committee of the Advisory Council dealt with this great issue in five paragraphs, or in 124 words.

Each of the paragraphs represented a proposition not supported by one skerrick of evidence. One of the paragraphs dismisses in a nonchalant way, as though it did not exist, consideration of the ethics involved in this matter. None of the paragraphs defeats or repudiates in any comprehensible way the argument put forward by Hugo Theorell, a Nobel Prize winner for biochemistry, who set out, among other things, that fluorine is a potent and active inhibitor of various enzyme systems. The subcommittee forgot about him. There is not a. word about the brilliant work of Oxford’s Berry and Trillwood. There is not a word about the monograph produced by Dr. Sutton. There is not a reference to Professor Amies. There is not a reference to the dean of the faculty of dentistry in Rome, Professor Benagiano. Am I to understand that the intellects of those people have now become so utterly desiccated that they can be ignored as though they did not exist and that argument is to be despised as though it did not exist?

We have this powerful, arresting, forwardlooking report of 124 words, which both the present Minister for the Interior and the former Minister for the Interior have described in such a lavish way. When the chairman of the sub-committee - the rapporteur - produced its report, he said - referring to this elaborate piece of quilldriving - “ I am very sorry that copies of the report are not available. Through inadvertence, they were left behind in the office “.

We take up the narrative at the next meeting of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council on 20th May, 1963. On that occasion the rapporteur presented a motion which, among other things, said, “This council recommends to the Minister that he should approve of the introduction of fluoridation, and also that the Minister for the Interior get a copy of the subcommittee’s report”. With infinite respect to the Minister, I say that I am unable to draw in my mind’s eye any sad picture of him in a state of utter exhaustion after having read the sub-committee’s report. Mark you, Mr. Speaker, this is the report to which the Ministers subscribe and hang, I submit, so tenuously. The rapporteur then made a speech on this matter, loaded with propaganda and not supported by evidence that would do credit to the mind and training of but a first-year law student. After he had finished his obliging speech, he turned to the chairman of the Advisory Council who accepted the report and said: “ We have had enough discussion on this matter. We will hear no more “. Then, in a corner somewhere was an obliging member of the Advisory Council who moved that the question be put. That motion was seconded. A lady member of the Advisory Council was cut off in her prime when she said, “ There is some new evidence that I want to submit “. So the question was put and carried.

I come now to the then Minister for the Interior. Here is the situation: He was in possession of this powerful, exhaustive, critical report - this report of a sub-committee which looked so earnestly and so honestly at all the facets and which canvassed in this supreme way all ethical and philosophical considerations. With very great respect to the Minister, I say that he now regards fluoridation as a sacred cow. But what may be to-day’s sacred cow can turn out to be to-morrow’s cold roast beef. Did the Minister make any searching inquiry into this matter? I invite the House to look at his speech on 10th October, 1963, when we had a discussion in this chamber on the matter. I put it to the Minister that he had not really looked at this matter as he should have looked at it.

The honorable gentleman had in his hand a copy of the report of the sub-committee of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. With great respect to that report - I do not want to say anything unkind about it - I say that it is not the sort of document that could persuade a person to change his mind on any issue at all. If the Minister has changed his mind on this issue - as indeed he has - I should like to know what influenced him and what intellectual exercise persuaded him to change his mind. When the Advisory Council originally put a resolution on this matter to him, he refused to accede to the Advisory Council’s request. But to-day he has approved of it. With great respect to him, 1 urge him, I implore him to say why he changed his mind on this issue.

My honorable friend, in his speech on 10th October, 1963, said, “We must look for scientific opinion. “ I did not quarrel with that. But then the honorable gentleman went on to say, “So often the opponents of fluoridation call in to support their arguments the views expressed by a scientist or a doctor who has expressed a philosophic viewpoint. “ I want to say only one or two things about that statement. First, heaven protect us from the day when we have a breed of doctors who are incapable of expressing a philosophic point of view. Secondly, the honorable gentleman did not himself produce one medical opinion. Thirdly, the honorable gentleman did not rebut any of the medical evidence that I produced to the House. Fourthly, the honorable gentleman called in aid the opinion of dentists. With great respect to those of the dental profession, I submit that whether or not a substance is good or bad for a person is an inquiry properly reserved for the medical profession and not for the dental profession.

Then my honorable friend came to the question of the dangers in this matter. He said, “ You would need to drink 50 bathtubs of fluoridated water before it would have an ill effect upon you “. With great respect to the honorable and gallant gentleman, I thought that was a very stupid argument. If he were to drink one bathtub of water, whether it had fluoride in it or not, I believe we would have a byelection This is precisely the stupidity of it. Then the honorable gentleman, who is represented to have carried out a searching inquiry into this matter, proceeded further and said, “ We should not have a referendum on this issue because people can be panicked into taking a decision “. I apprehend this to be the view of some people in this chamber and it is certainly the view of others outside it. I cannot and will not subscribe to this sort of State paternalism in any circumstances or under any threat. On great and complex issues involving the Australian Constitution, did the former Minister for the Interior ever say. “No, there should not be a referendum on this issue because it is too complex. The people could be stampeded and panicked one way or the other. “ Let me say this to the House, with great respect: I can think of no better way for public issues to be settled than by open and public discussion. The assumption of the right to determine what is good and what is bad in every respect for the individual is a philosophy I deeply despise and I will on every possible occasion attack it, attack it and attack it again.

The Minister then said, “There is no evidence at all that fluoridation is harmful “. With great respect to the honorable gentleman, this is not so. Are we to say to people of the immense reputation of those to whom I have referred that their inquiries have not been honestly carried out? That is not the honorable gentleman’s proposition, I know, but it is incredibly easy in this matter just to go straight down the road and to ignore all the signposts as though they were not there. My honorable friend turned to the statement by Dr. Sutton and said, “The honorable member for Moreton has referred to some statement made by Dr. Sutton which says that statistical surveys are not always accurate “. I know that the Minister meant no offence at all, but I thought it a rather ungracious and ungenerous way to describe this brilliant monograph prepared by Dr. Sutton. I apprise the House of the fact that it has never been answered. The ground on which Dr. Sutton based his monograph has been independently examined by a statistical organization within the United States of America. I thought, if I may say so without wishing to be tedious, that this was not the way upon which this issue should be settled. The recommendation of the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council was made, I put it with respect, in a cavalier way. This powerful, 124-word document brushes to one side, almost with obscenity and certainly with indecency, the considerations of both philosophers and scientists.

I submit that there is a powerful argument to be made on clinical grounds against fluoridation. Certainly I do not believe that any person looking objectively at all the arguments could be satisfied that the argument for fluoridation was made out. But if we are to consider it in terms of numbers, am I to understand now that whether a person is to have an appendectomy is to be determined by five doctors standing over him and saying, “ Let us have a vote on it “? Is the decision to be made on the basis of numbers, three for and two against? What would happen if the fifth moved the other way? This is no way at all for such a decision to be made. I submit that the House has not considered this matter. I submit further that the Minister, acting as he did, changing his mind as he did without giving the House any explanation as to why he changed his mind, has not done justice to the subject.

Fluoridation is a completely different approach to a medical problem from any that we ever had before. It is unique. Never before has the State said to individuals, “ Here is something which you take not to protect the people around you from disease but because we the State consider this to be in your own good “. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House that that attitude is grievously exacerbated by the fact that there exists this profound and responsible difference of professional opinion. This has been a century of great conflict and of terrible anger and anguish. I have no doubt that it is the ambition of all men of good will to settle for ever those forces that are influenced by fear, hatred, greed and envy. But surely the distress of the immediate past and the challenge of the present are inextricably linked with the philosophy that proclaims not the dignity of the individual but his subservience to the State. I venture to say that whenever we find entertained the notion that the State should be supreme in all matters we find being laid the basis of a new and viable tyranny.

I am not ashamed to say in this company that I believe, and believe passionately, that it is not the duty of the State to dose its people like cattle. Here I hold, we put in issue the fundamental liberty of the individual, and no person should treat that as being a light matter. In the frenzy to want to control and to regulate all aspects of human affairs in a modern society it is tempting to want to install ultimate State control over every form of human activity. I should hope that that temptation would be resisted. For my part, I can think of no more subtle form of imprisonment than for a people to be persuaded to believe that their liberties are not in danger and that there is no need to protect them.


– Is there a seconder to the motion?


.- I second the motion, though I am not entirely convinced that the appointment of a select committee is the best method of dealing with this problem. I have never been involved in the fluoridation controversy before. If any one had asked me whether I favoured fluoridation of public water supplies - and no one did - I should have answered in the negative. My reasons would have been that I am no believer in State paternalism, that my first introduction to sodium fluoride was as a cockroach killer and that such arguments on the safety of fluorine as I had read failed to convince me. I do favour the taking of fluorine tablets if they have been recommended, but this is a vastly different question. I have now felt it my duty fully to study this matter. In this study I have been greatly helped by the Library staff who have, almost unflinchingly, secured for me mountains of literature on both sides of the subject, and many papers dealing with the fundamental aspects of fluorine metabolism, which were prepared with complete scientific integrity and not for the purposes of controversy. I have studied all these papers as objectively as I could, and I shall now give as much of my interpretation of them as may be crammed into twenty minutes.

Let me say from the outset that when I make a statement it is backed by, at least, one scientific paper. Everything I say can be proved. If I do make a conjecture, I shall identify it as such. Much remains to be known about the behaviour of fluoride in the body. Even the protagonists of fluoridation recognize this. Here are a few quotations -

  1. There is uncertainty as to the full extent of the effects on man produced by the absorption of quantities of fluoride large enough to alter slightly the X-ray appearance of the bones, but too small to endanger life.
  2. The editor has been struck by the fact that there seems to be no other ready source of precise information as to certain questions which remain to be answered.
  3. lt is hardly necessary to state that in regard to the fluoridation of public water supplies, it is impossible to give absolute guarantees of safety.
  4. What is needed is a complete and profound knowledge of the metabolism of fluorine.
  5. An area of research that has yet to be explored successfully is that of the mechanism of the toxic action of fluoride.

It is my deeply rooted belief that no measure should be adopted in the name of public health unless there is complete certainty that that measure is completely innocuous. There should be nothing comparative about this. There must be no possibility of damage even to one living human being. If I can make a prima facie case that damage could occur, that some one could be harmed, that the harmlessness of fluoridation of a water supply is not proven, then the point has been made.

The metabolism of fluoride in the body briefly is as follows: Fluoride is absorbed from the digestive system and/or the lungs, completely and rapidly in the case of sodium fluoride, and it is absorbed incompletely and more slowly in the case of calcium fluoride and other naturally occurring compounds. From here it reaches the blood stream, and some is excreted by the kidneys and in sweat. The remainder is stored in the body, exclusively in the bony structures in the young, but increasingly in the soft tissues - particularly in the kidneys, liver and heart - as the individual ages.

An arch-priest of fluoridation, McClure says that his experiments and later those of Zipkin, another arch-priest - . . convinced us that fluoride does not accumulate in the body. It is eliminated, particularly in the urinary excretion.

Very many papers conclusively prove the contrary. For instance, Glock and others have shown that the fluoride content of the bones of persons drinking water containing less than one-half part per million increases by 20 parts per million per year. Some people store more at this low level. For instance, the bones of a 30-year old man using this water supply contained 2,800 parts per million.

The ribs of three residents of West Hartlepool, where the fluoride content of the water was 1.9 parts per million, were examined. All contained more than 6,000 parts per million. Many animal experiments using radio-active fluoride have confirmed these findings. The fluorine does not become inert when it reaches the bones. It is in a constant state of flux - entering and leaving the blood-stream.

The factors governing the deposition and mobilization of fluorine are very incompletely unknown. Here let me quote from the “ Archives of Industrial Health “, April, 1960-

It is firmly established that fluoride accumulates in the bones of the skeleton and in the teeth. This physiologic fact explains the older concept which leads to the designation of fluoride as a “ cumulative poison “. This concept is supported and confirmed by recent observations on experimentally induced fluoride intoxication in experimental animals.

A considerable body of evidence indicates that there is a time interval between the initiation of significant increase in the ingestion of fluoride by domestic animals and the onset of intoxication by fluoride. This interval has been aptly referred to as the “ lag “ or latent period in the toxic syndrome.

That is a very important observation. Water supply is but one source of our fluorine. The atmosphere and food are others. Hence, dental fluorosis has been found in a number of communities, such as Athens and Tristan da Cunha, where the water supplies contain virtually no fluorine at all. Let us consider the water supply as a source of fluorine. The amount we absorb from a given water supply depends, first, upon the nature of the fluoride compound - almost all sodium fluoride would be absorbed, but a great deal of calcium fluoride would not - and, secondly, upon the amount of the water which is drunk. The amount of water drunk varies within enormous limits. Some of the factors involved are individual habit, climate and state of health.

A number of studies have been made of this. All agreed that the variation in water intake as between individuals is, as I say, enormous. For this reason fluoridation of a public water supply is unscientific. At a level of one part per million, one individual would receive only half a miligramme whereas another would receive ten miligrammes or more. This does not take into consideration the unknown quantity absorbed from the atmosphere and from food. Tea and fish, for example, have a very high fluoride content. Vegetables cooked in fluoridated water concentrate it within themselves. Fruits which have been sprayed with fluorine-containing compounds - and these are increasing in number - may contain surprisingly large amounts and such spraying has been regulated in certain health acts.

In any case, no one knows the optimum daily dose of fluorine. I will show that there is wide individual susceptibility to it, and 1 believe that there is no optimum dose. You will recollect, Sir, that fluorides are excreted by the kidneys. It should go without saying that a person with a kidney disease might not be able to rid himself of as much of this drug as a healthy man, and thus would accumulate more of it in his body. Yet Hodge, another fluorine apologist, contests this and maintains that the excretion of fluorine by way of the kidneys goes on, irrespective of their state of health. His contention has been proven to be wrong again and again.

It is incontrovertible that fluorides accumulate in the body. I believe that they exert a toxic effect upon many of the tissues. Dental fluorosis is evidenced by a mottling of the teeth. The mottling is due to thimned and altered enamel. When a tooth is developing, cells known as ameloblasts lay down the enamel coating of the teeth. Fluorine produces mottling by its toxic action upon the ameloblast, whereby its normal function is interfered with. The toxic action has been shown to occur in a number of ways, mainly by interfering with complicated processes which provide oxygen for the cells. This toxicity is felt by many other cells. It would be naive to assume that ameloblast cells are more sensitive to the toxic effects of fluorine than any others in the body. In fact, a considerable proportion of severe cases of chronic fluoride intoxication do not show this dental effect which, after all, is non-specific, and may also be produced by vitamin deficiency, injury and general severe illness.

Fluoridation fanciers can tell us that the kidneys are not poisoned by fluorides. To prove their point they have carried out tests upon some of the children who live in Newburg and other towns with fluorine- containing water supplies. I have two points of criticism here. First, the kidney tests were crude and would show only gross kidney damage; secondly, fluorides take 25 years or so to produce chronic toxic effects. Well-controlled experiments performed upon rats by Bond and Murray showed that small quantities of sodium fluoride in the diet produced kidney damage. Rats are more resistant to fluorine than humans. This has been substantiated by clinical experience. For example, Siddigui examined kidney functions in fourteen cases of fluorosis which resulted from drinking water containing from 5.2 to 118 parts per million of natural fluoride. Each of the fourteen cases had markedly impaired renal functions.

The nervous system undoubtedly is affected by fluorides. I shall mention later acute toxic effects in susceptible individuals. At the moment I shall continue to deal with chronic effects which result from longcontinued consumption of fluorine. The effects are severe and ghastly. Apart from the acute effects which can be almost immediate in appearance, neurological symptoms usually take 25 years to appear. This is recognized in places where it is endemic. Chhottami and others reported ten cases in patients drinking naturally fluoridated water containing” iwo and three parts per million. The fully developed picture is the horrible one of a paralysed bed-ridden patient with no control over excretory functions. I shall spare the House a full description. Several other investigations have reported a large number of cases.

Fluorine has a profound effect on the bones and ligaments. In fact, the earliest symptoms of fluorosis - always vague - are usually manifested as low back pains. As the condition advances, joints stiffen and the back and neck become rigid and immobile. The ribs stiffen and interfere with the aeration of the lungs. In Newburg, one of the artificially fluoridated towns in the United States of America, there has been a remarkable increase in the incidence of defects in the outer layer of the long bones of children. This condition has been observed on X-ray. Fluorine protagonists maintain that this appearance is within normal limits. Independent observers do not agree. I ask honorable members to remember that the experiment has not yet been going for twenty years.

I shall now mention a few animal experiments. Fluorine at a level of one part per million - the amount recommended - has a definite inhibitory effect upon the thyroid glands of tadpoles. A quantity of 6 parts per million of fluoride has been proved lethal to 50 per cent, of rainbow trout placed in an otherwise suitable medium. I can hear Izaak Walton rotating in his grave. Rats passed blood-stained urine when taking 9 parts per million. Bond and Murray, as I have said, showed that rats develop renal damage on being fed small quantities of sodium fluoride.

The growth of two types of mammalian cells was shown to be inhibited by extremely minute quantities of sodium fluoride in the growth medium. C3H mice, which naturally develop breast cancer, were shown to develop it earlier when fed sodium fluoride. Sodium fluoride was shown to induce melanoma - malignant black moles - to a quite remarkable degree in certain flies. The life span of mice drinking water fluoridated to one part per million was diminished by 9 per cent; and mice are resistant animals. Animal experiments are not always fully applicable to humans but they usually give a useful pointer.

There is a deal of evidence that susceptible individuals, and particularly allergic people, suffer acute symptoms of a rather different type. Thus Spira quotes the case of a sufferer from fluorosis who develops asthma and tetany - a severe form of cramps - whenever fluorine-containing food is taken. Waldbott quotes a series of cases of patients with varying symptoms but who have in common the relief of symptoms when fluorine-containing foods and water arc avoided. He establishes the validity of this by giving the patient three bottles of water of identical taste and appearance. On of the bottles contains fluoride and the others do not. The patients are not informed which bottle contains fluoride. The case is regarded as proved if the patient develops symptoms when consuming water from the fluoridated sample but does not when taking fluorinefree water.

I shall quote briefly details of the first case met with by Waldbott that drew this result to his attention. The patient was a housewife of 35 years of age. She complained of pain in the stomach which was usually present at night. It was much more pronounced during the summer months and was accompanied by considerable nausea. Occasionally she was subject to vomiting. Extreme weakness prevented her from carrying out her daily household tasks. Upon climbing stairs, for example, and when trying to hang up her laundry she became exhausted. She found herself unable to peel potatoes, among other tasks. She had very severe headaches and personality changes, she could not concentrate, her memory had begun to fail and there was a disturbance of her vital functions. She passed a blood clot in her urine. Her throat, nose and eyes were unusually dry. She had had mottled teeth since childhood. She was placed in hospital. Amongst other findings an eye specialist noted that there was degenerative change in the retinas of her eyes. There was a weakness of a hand. These symptoms cleared up when she went off the fluoridated water and returned when she drank fluoridated water. Moreover, after she had been off the fluoridated water her symptoms completely cleared up. Her personality changed and there was the definite physical sign of disappearance of the eye degeneration.

Feltman has also described cases which indicate that certain patients react unfavorably to fluorine therapy. I shall now detail a few specifically reported cases, mainly from India, the Middle East, Italy and Algeria: 49 cases of severe fluorosis at 2.6 to 4 parts per million; 46 cases of severe fluorosis at 1.2 to 14 parts per million; 10 cases of severe fluorosis at between 2 and 3 parts per million; 32 severe cases at 5.2 to 11.8 parts per million; 8 severe cases at 0.8 to 1.1 parts per million. Of 60 cases, 27 had nervous complications at 1.2 to 14 parts per million. In one area 30 per cent, of the residents suffered severe fluorine intoxication at 3 parts per million. In another area 12 per cent, of the population suffered severe fluorine intoxication when drinking water at a level of 1.2 parts per million.

I point out to the House that other factors must play their part in producing severe fluorosis at these low levels. Nutrition is probably one factor; physical stress is another and climate would certainly be another factor. There are many unknown factors. It could be that long hours of sunlight have an effect, as may other things which are unknown.

I come now to the reports which allege the innocuousness of fluorine. They do not convince me, and again I ask honorable members to remember that it takes 25 years to produce chronic toxic symptoms. I shall give one example. Bartlett and Cameron, two tiny hamlets, have been compared. Bartlett’s water contained eight parts per million of fluorine and Cameron’s water contained 0.4 parts per million. The death rates of the two towns were compared over a period of ten years. In that time fourteen people died in Bartlett, the town with the high-fluorine drinking water and four people died in Cameron, the town with the low-fluorine drinking water. Yet by superb juggling skill the results are said to be comparable.

I must refer briefly to the so-called critical examinations of fluorine in many reports. These examinations are not critical in that they do not bring up any of the matters I have raised. In fact, they simply quote and reiterate again and again that fluorine is in fact innocuous. The surveys conducted are not critical and results which allegedly prove the innocuousness of fluorine are not included in scientific papers listed in the Index Medicus. All the reports I have quoted have been listed in the Index Medicus; not one paper listed in the Index Medicus conclusively proves the innocuousness of fluorine.

I remind honorable members that human nature and intelligence are now much the same as they were a thousand years ago.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Lucock).

Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.


.- I think that all honorable members would agree that with the sole exception of the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs) we are laymen in this field. We do not have his scientific training or knowledge. In dealing with this matter we are in the same category as a jury - we are here not to make decisions on scientific grounds but to make decisions on facts. With all due respect to the report of the Australian Capital Terrtory Advisory Council which disposed of this proposition in 124 words, we must keep in mind that this is a controversial subject from one end of the world to the other. If we concede to the members of the Advisory Council all the scientific knowledge that they may claim to possess on this subject, we still are faced with the fact that others with at least equal scientific knowledge have presumed to disagree with them.

One of the most important documents that have come to our notice in recent times on this subject is from the National Research Council of Canada. This institution’s views cannot be lightly brushed aside. It did not arrive at a decision in any great haste; it conducted a research programme into fluoridation under the direction of Dr. Dyson Rose and Dr. Marcel Boulet over a period of ten years. No one can accuse them of arriving at a conclusion without giving the matter due consideration. Let us admit that this report was not available to the present Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony) when he made his decision, and let us admit that it was not available to the Advisory Council. Also, of course, the Minister’s predecessor did not have it at his disposal. So far as I know, the report arrived in Australia only in 1964. When we bear in mind that this scientific institution carried out its experiments over a period of ten years we must give its report some weight.

Having arrived at a decision, the two doctors submitted their findings to Dr. L. F. Belanger of the Department of Histology at the University of Ottawa; to Dr. B. B. Migicovsky of the Animal Research Institute, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa; and to Dr. F. C. Lu of the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of National Health and Welfare, Ottawa. These three scientists all supported fully the findings of the National Research Council of Canada. Still not being satisfied, the council sent the report to the United States of America, where it was submitted to the “ Archives of Environmental Health “, which is the official journal of the American Academy of Occupational Medicine and of the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine. The papers were read and criticized by nine different specialists, one by one, who took eighteen months to complete the work on behalf of these scientific organizations. After all this, no sufficient cause having been found to reject the Canadian thesis as faulty or misleading in regard to fact, publication finally occurred in the “ Archives “ issue of May, 1963.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Have we a body in Australia which is the parallel of this council?


– I presume that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization is the parallel here of the National Research Council of Canada, but I do not know. According to the report, the only undeniable and indisputable good that fluoride is known to confer on the human body is conferred in the mouth. Coming into contact with the teeth it lends to them a tendency toward increased resistance of the tooth enamel to decay. The tendency is not universal, but occurs in something better than half the exposed population in degrees varying with age, if the exposure takes place up to the age of sixteen years. How long the resistance lasts, once acquired, is a question of sharp dispute. Some say that the practical effect of fluoridation in those persons whose teeth are affected at all is merely to delay decay by six years. There is some documentation for this view. There is much less evidence to support claims that resistance to decay continues into the fortieth year of life, or even longer.

Just as too much fluoride in the tooth enamel can malform teeth, so too much fluoride in bones can make a caricature of the human figure. The problem in using fluoridated water, then, is to guarantee protection against excess deposition. The metabolic process involved is not at all understood, and in many respects has not even been thoroughly investigated. It was shown that once the fluoride leaves the mouth and enters the stomach, none of it returns to the teeth via the blood. It was established that a certain amount of all fluoride ingested, whether in water, food or air, is deposited in the bones. Absorption from the stomach varied from 37 per cent. to 97 per cent. of the amount ingested, depending on the nature of the fluoride. When large proportions of calcium, magnesium and aluminium accompanied the fluoride, fluoride that went to the bones dropped by one-third to three-fourths. When phosphate was added to the calcium a further decrease of one-half occurred. Apparently what happens under these cir cumstances is that fluoride is locked up in an insoluble aggregate and excreted. This appeared to be confirmed by feeding fluoride in bone meal and milk. The implications of this line of thought could be significant to the whole structure of reasoning on which artificial fluoridation of public water supplies is built.

This report is available to the Minister and to his department, and also to any honorable member who may be interested in it. One of the claims advanced by proponents of fluoridation is that all modern and scientifically-minded nations have supported fluoridation. I have written to some authorities in some of them. I shall deal first with France. No matter what we may think of some of the activities of France, we must admit that the French are in the forefront of scientific thought and knowledge to-day. A reply from the Director of Public Health in Paris states -

The Ministry of Health, faced with the problem of the employment of this method as a means of preventing dental caries, has submitted the question to the consultative scientific assemblies . . .

The reply mentions that this occurred over a period of two years.

The Chief Adviser of Public Hygiene of Franco has estimated that the harmlessness of prolonged ingestion, particularly of artificially fluoridated water, even in rigorously controlled small doses, does not appear to be sufficiently demonstrated, and that in these circumstances it would be preferable that the administration of fluorine remain an individual matter on advice from physicians and dentists.

I refer next to Soviet Russia. Although we may disagree with its politics and with its general activities, we must admit that Soviet Russia stands in the forefront of scientific accomplishment to-day. I have with me a letter from Russia, and any honorable member who understands Russian is quite welcome to read this for himself. One passage in that letter states -

Mass fluoridation by means of adding sodium fluoride to the town water supply is not practised anywhere in our country.

I have also a letter from Dr. Alfred Taylor, a research scientist at the University of Texas. Some of the facts contained in this letter were touched upon by the honorable member for Bowman. Dr. Taylor’s letter states -

Our laboratory results demonstrated that even though fluoride is given in trace quantities, its toxic qualities become evident in susceptible mice which receive this drug in their drinking wafer for most of their life span. Evidence for this was obtained in 12 experiments involving 645 mice. The average life span of mice drinking water containing sodium fluoride, as low as 1 ppm of fluorine, was 9 per cent less than that of other animals treated and fed in an identical manner but receiving nonfluoridated drinking water. Further, four of the mice drinking fluoridated water developed urinary bladder stones, a condition never encountered before in our mouse colony. Since our work was completed, it has been discovered in other laboratories that urinary bladder stones removed from human patients have a high concentration of fluorine . . .

The Texas State Medical Association reviewed the scientific evidence for and against fluoridation of public drinking water and considered that the harmlessness of the procedure had not been established. They refused to endorse the program . . .

There is no precedent in medical practice for subjecting a total population to even trace quantities of a drug about as poisonous as arsenic. The human body is individual in its reactions to drugs. A level of a drug which has no unfavorable effects on one person may cause adverse reactions in another. Those who wish their children to have fluoridated drinking water can easily prepare it, a quart or so at a time, with specially prepared fluoride tablets and can discontinue the practice if ill effects develop. There is no justification for treating the young and the old, the sick and the well, for a lifetime with a standard dosage of a highly poisonous substance. Yet, that is what is being done when fluorides are added to the city water supply.

We have also the opinions of authorities in our own country, such as Sir Arthur Amies, who is dean of the dental faculty at the University of Melbourne. We should not overlook his views. If we are to consider the opinion of an eminent professor such as Professor Martin, who occupies the Chair of Preventive Denistry at the University of Sydney, we should consider also the opinion of Sir Arthur Amies, who is dean of his faculty.

Mr Fox:

– What did he say?


– I shall tell the honorable member what he said. His opinion is contained in the minutes of a meeting of the Dental Research Advisory Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council, and is recorded in these terms -

Professor Sir Arthur Amies requested the Chairman to record in the report of the Committee that he considers: - “ 1. Conclusions drawn from numerical data of experimental trials in U.S.A. which were accepted by the N.H.M.R.C. in 1952, have been proved to be fallacious, and the original claim and promised benefits of artificial fluoridation have not been demonstrated.

  1. Also, there is now sufficient evidence to justify a presumption of medical hazard due to long term toxic effects of artificially fluoridated water.”
Mr Kevin Cairns:

– When did Sir Arthur express that view?


– He communicated it to me on 22nd May, 1962.

Mr Fox:

– Is he against fluoridation?


– He most certainly is. Let me now give the House a quotation from publication No. 825 of 1962, issued by the Public Health Service of the United States of America. Under the heading, “ Fluoride Drinking Waters”, that publication, which was issued by an organization that is a proponent of the fluoridation of water supplies, stated -

Adequate presumptive evidence from epidemiological studies and laboratory experimentation suggests that dental caries can be partially controlled by fluoridation of domestic water supplies. lt may be concluded in the light of present knowledge that such a procedure will not be associated with adverse physiological effects.

I ask honorable members to pay particular attention to the next sentence -

The full evaluation of the benefits of employing this method of caries control must await the final results of experimental studies now in progress.

In other words, the United States Public Health Service is not at all sure what the effects of fluoridation will be.

The health authorities of the United Kingdom conducted a national experiment on the fluoridation of water supplies. On 10th October, 1962, after five years of fluoridation, the council of the city of Kilmarnock, in Scotland, voted to discontinue fluoridation of the city’s water supply. Councillor Wallace, who is treasurer of the council, stated -

It is a fact that Kilmarnock’s death rate per 1,000 has shown a significant rise during the five years of fluoridation, as against the previous five years - 12.2 against 11.7.

This meant that an additional 230 people had died.

Mr L R Johnson:

– They may all have died of bubonic plague.


– They could have died of anything. We would not know what they died from; nor would Councillor Wallace. The important point is that more than the normal number of people have died, and the council was sufficiently influenced by this fact, among others, to induce it to discontinue fluoridation of the city’s water supply. We should be satisfied why the additional number of people died. We should go into the matter carefully before we introduce fluoride into the water supply of yet another city.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– No doubt, the people who died had better teeth, though.


– They may have had better teeth, but what is the use of a good set of teeth when one lies in the cemetery?

There is another aspect of this matter. I have here a letter from Mr. Edmund Sargent, a water engineer, of Wilmington, Massachusetts, in the United States of America, and I quote the following part: -

  1. . it has been impossible to maintain the recommended 1 part per million. This is the concentration which we add to the water at the pumping station; but tests of fluoride in the lines have fluctuated from . 4 to 1.4 parts per million, dangerously close to1.5 parts per million which according to the U.S. Public Health Service makes the water unsafe for drinking purposes.

These are the opinions of only some of the people who are qualified to judge, and these views give only part of their evidence. In my opinion, there is ample evidence from these qualified people at least to cause the Government and the Minister for the Interior to pause.

Here is another interesting development: A new industry has grown up in the United States for the supply of drinking water in places where fluoride is introduced into public water supplies. I have here a letter from the Polar Water Company, of Pittsburgh, where the water supply has been fluoridated for a lengthy period. Those who do not wish to drink water obtained from the public supply can buy other water such as that provided by the Polar Water Company, in just the same way that we buy milk. Who do you think buys water from this company, Mr. Speaker? It supplies water to one of the chief proponents of fluoridation of the city’s water supply - Dr. G. J. Cox, who is Professor of Dental Research at the University of Pittsburgh. He was largely instrumental in having fluoridation of the drinking water in that city adopted by the city council on 26th

November, 1951. The letter from the Polar Water Company states -

In reply to your letter of August 5th, you will find listed below the names of several doctors who use our service and have been known to recommend Polar Water to their patients.

At the top of the list is the name of one of the chief proponents of fluoridation - Dr. G. J. Cox. He is prepared to introduce fluoride into the people’s water supply, but he apparently will not drink it himself. The second name on the list, which contains twelve names, is that of Dr. Jonas Salk, the discoverer of the wellknown vaccine used in immunization against poliomyelitis. Apparently, he will not drink water from the public supply. Why will he not?

We know little of the effects of fluoride. So let us at least give proper attention to the opinions of those who, without the slightest doubt, know sufficient about the subject to give expert advice.

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– In my view, the mover and the seconder of this motion and the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Gray) have destroyed their own case. They have established conclusively that there is no need for a select committee, since I gather from the speeches that have been made that all the evidence is one way. There has not been the faintest reference to any one who supports fluoridation. There have been masses of quotations against it, the validity of which and the value of which I am not in a position to judge. Even my distinguished friend, the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs), to whom I listened with great respect, always referred with a rather sinister inflexion to those who favour fluoridation. I noticed that those people were referred to as apologists or archpriests. This disclosed quite clearly that the view of the honorable member for Bowman was, in a highly respectable way, completely partisan.

We have heard three partisan views. I imagine that there must be some case to the contrary, otherwise the fluoridation of water supplies would not have progressed as it has in various parts of the world. So, not setting myself up as an expert on this matter, I did a little research to find whether any bodies, which in their nature might be calculated to take a broad and a skilful view on this matter, had dealt with it. As honorable members know - but I might as well read it for the record - fluoridation has been endorsed and advocated by the World Health Organization, which is not a lay body, the United States Public Health Service, the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, the National Research Council, the Commission on Chronic Illness and the Association for Advancement of Science. These American bodies are not bodies of laymen, nor are they bodies of irresponsible people.

In Canada, the Ministry of Health, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dental Association and the Canadian Public Health Association have endorsed and advocated fluoridation. In Great Britain, the British Ministry of Health, the Medical Association, the British Dental Association and the Royal Society for Health have also endorsed it. Fluoridation has also been endorsed and advocated in New Zealand by the New Zealand Department of Health, the New Zealand Dental Association and the New Zealand Medical Association, and in Australia by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Dental Association and Commonwealth and State Departments of Health. It is perhaps worth while to remind honorable members that the organizations to which I have referred represent a very considerable and respectable body of scientific, medical and dental opinion in favour of fluoridating water supplies.

The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) spoke with considerable and, I thought, admirable passion on this matter, but I was not quite clear as to the foot on which he ultimately came down. First of all, he said that he had a philosophical objection to fluoridation and he left my mind, I am sorry to have to tell him, quite uncertain as to what he meant by a philosophical objection. Apparently he objected to paternalistic action by governments. He objected to people being ordered around. Well, we all dislike being ordered around, but it cannot end there. There is a good deal of paternalism. In this very city, about which this argument revolves, the water is chlorinated with frightful results to the bouquet and the flavour. But it is chlorinated.

I know the honorable gentleman will say, “ But that does not produce a physiological effect”. Then is it physiological paternalism that he objects to? After all, if health provisions of this kind have to be made, government in Australia whether it be Commonwealth, State or local, will attend to it. If it does not, all of us, staunch individualists though we may be, will protest that it is neglecting its duty. I cannot see either the outlines or the limits of his philosophical argument.

Then the honorable member went on to adduce a lot of printed evidence, all of it on one side. If he will allow me to say so, he made quite clear that he could not be a member of a select committee to investigate this matter and pretend to impartiality. Nor would the honorable member for Bowman, which would be a deprivation; nor could the honorable member for Capricornia.

It has been brought to my attention - I do not speak as an expert on this matter; I am the least of God’s creatures in this field and I still have a few of my own teeth - that the honorable member for Moreton laid great stress on the views of Professor Hugo Theorell of Sweden, a Nobel Prize winner. I think this made a great impact on our minds. The honorable member was referring, I am told - and I have it here in writing - to what the professor said in 1958. In 1962 the sameman, no less a world expert and no less a Nobel Prize winner, said -

If you read my 1958 report you will see that at the time I simply did not consider the time to be ripe for any general permission for the fluoridation of water supplies, and advised experiments along other lines. But now, since the Norrkoping experiments have shown such good results as a 50 per cent, reduction in caries, I consider that it would be wrong to stop the experiments. Quite obviously they must go on. 1 stated in my 1958 report that there was a risk involved in increasing the fluorine content of certain organs of the body, and that as fluorine is an enzyme poison, the prolonged addition of fluorine to drinking water might have medical consequences. The Norrkoping experiments, however, have not supported this theory. That is something we did not know four years ago. We now know that it is not dangerous.

Not much is to be gained by taking an individual argument or quotation and, so to speak, to bowl it over, but it is a very good illustration of the fact that there is a good deal of fluctuation of opinion and a good deal of development of opinion in this field. If I were the Minister who had to determine whether this ought to be done, I would be profoundly impressed by the bodies, the names of which I have read to the House, which have supported it. They have no axe to grind - none whatever - and they have at their call the finest scientific authorities in their respective countries. Of course, a great deal of what they have to say must be based upon prolonged experimentation. People do not rush into new things in the medical world in a hurry. There is prolonged experimentation.

Suppose this motion were carried and a select committee, presumably consisting of people who were in no sense partisan and who up to that time had no views on this matter, were set up. What would the select committee do? It would itself be a completely inexpert body. Let us concede that. With a rare individual exception or two, we in this House are not in the remotest sense experts in these matters. We are not sent here for that purpose. So if the select committee were appointed you would have an inexpert body which would set out to do what? I know that the terms of the motion refer to the water supply of the Australian Capital Territory, but everybody knows that this is a mere form of words. What the committee, presumably, would investigate would be not circumstances peculiar to Canberra but circumstances peculiar to putting fluoride in water anywhere in Australia. Therefore, the committee would undertake the task, so to speak, of laying down, if it can, a national policy which would be regarded as having persuasive weight, I suppose, with those bodies which have power to deal with these matters. I refer to the States and the municipalities - the people who deal with town water supplies - the municipal authorities and the water boards.

This select committee would presumably give some pretty powerful and authoritative guidance to those bodies. I wonder bow long that would take. If it is just a matter of reading what people have written, Ministers can do that. The Advisory Council could do it. If I were doing it, how would I know on what principles to prefer the opinion of one man as against the opinion of another? We have heard about investigating evidence. Of course, it is right to do so, but when courts investigate evidence on a scientific issue the witnesses are called and cross-examined. People of experience, devoting themselves to the issues day after day and perhaps week after week, are then in a position to form a pretty shrewd judgment as to where the weight of authority lies and where the weight of expert opinion lies. I myself have been in scores of cases of that kind. Will the proposed committee call before it all the people who have written papers? Will it have an investigation which spreads out into the rest of the world? I venture to say that any such suggestion is fantastic. What would happen if the select committee were to be required to report within a tolerable period of time would be that all these papers would be filed. They would be read. The laymen would discuss them among themselves with not the faintest criterion in their minds as to which should be preferred to which. And in the end you would get a minority judgment and a majority judgment, and the matter would come back into the House with more heat and less light.

The Government has looked at this matter. We looked at it yesterday to see what should be done about it. We are completely opposed to the appointment of a select committee. We think that a select committee would serve no purpose - that it would merely serve the purpose, if it is a purpose, of clouding counsel on this matter and would perhaps achieve a meretricious but dangerous authority in relation to the rest of Australia and the people who are considering this problem elsewhere. Therefore the Government rejects the idea of a select committee. I am perfectly certain that if honorable members generally think about this matter they will see that the appointment of a select committee would serve no real purpose but would on the contrary perhaps have damaging consequences, one of which, from the point of view of both sides in this argument, would be that this problem would be shelved.

I conclude by saying that we think these arguments are very weighty. I have listened with great care to the arguments powerfully expressed by those who have been supporting this motion; but I think all honorable members should think about this matter carefully - not to magnify it out of its intrinsic importance but to avoid doing something foolish, wasteful and unnecessary. After the next Opposition speaker has concluded his remarks it is proposed to adjourn the debate. 1 indicated to the House that the debate having been adjourned, the Government proposes to consider what should be the next step. We want to consider the arguments that have been put forward. I may say that we do not want any undue delay. It has been suggested in some quarters that a referendum might be held so that the people of Canberra can determine for themselves whether they want fluoridation in the Territory. Well, there are arguments pro and con on that matter. I am not at this stage prepared to say more than this: The Government would very carefully consider a proposition of that kind.


– As one who is still capable of getting his own teeth into this subject I would like to say that I am still wondering whether the Government has gone to water on this issue of fluoridation. The remarks of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) indicated to me the tremendous dilemma in which the Government parties find themselves so far as this issue is concerned.

Mr Chaney:

– What nonsense.


– The honorable member for Perth scoffs at my suggestion, but I challenge him to indicate at this stage whether the Government intends to hold a referendum in the Australian Capital Territory to determine this matter. Even this fundamental point has not as yet been decided. So far as the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs) and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) are concerned, it seems to me that they had little regard for the particular matter that is the subject of this debate. They were classical in indulging in name-dropping, in surreptitiously sneaking upon all the expert advice and information that is available on this topic and disregarding the very merit and objective of the debate - that a select committee should inquire into this matter. The honorable members pro ceeded by their devious means to intrude into the debate a case against fluoridation. The honorable and learned member for Bowman, who is a skilled and qualified medical man, exploited his professional capacity in a most unfortunate way. Although it would be beyond the capacity of most honorable members to take him to task in technical terms in respect of what he said, it is fair to say that he failed to concede the tremendous weight of scientific and medical opinion that has revolved around this issue.

One thing that concerns me as well as many other Australians is that the Government is vacillating on this matter that is of tremendous concern to the people of the Australian Capital Territory. The Government has failed to honour its obligation to give a lead in this matter to the instrumentalities in the States. In other parts of the world the position has been quite different. In a number of countries of considerable size we have classic examples of governments giving a lead in this matter. The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) brought some very illuminating evidence to light as a result of a question on the notice-paper which was answered yesterday. His question dealt with the condition of the teeth of children in the Australian Capital Territory. The data in the answer revealed the percentage of children in the Territory who have developed dental decay in permanent teeth. The figures range from 54 per cent, in the case of six-year-old children to 99 per cent, in the case of twelve-year-old children. That is the extent of the deterioration that is taking place in dental health throughout Australia generally. So it is a matter for genuine concern that this Government has been guilty of so much procrastination for such a long time. In contrast with the position of this Government, two of the State governments - I believe that it is significant that they are the two Labour State governments - already have accelerated the processes and have caused expert opinions to be brought to light so that they may be examined and thoroughly weighed. Having done that, those two State governments have told the people the results of their very careful consideration and examination.

For how long will we in the National Parliament continue this procrastination?

The smallest State in Australia, Tasmania, is producing magnificent literature of the type that I now display to the House. One of these pamphlets is in a very brief and tremendously informative form. In view of the limitation of this debate, I ask the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony), who is at the table, whether he would be good enough to agree that I should have leave to incorporate in “ Hansard “ a condensation of the Tasmanian Government’s attitudes on fluoridation.

Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:

– Is leave granted?

Mr Anthony:

– All right.

Mr Roberton:

– No.


– Leave is not granted.

Mr Webb:

– Who is in charge of this debate?


– Order! I will put the question again. The honorable member for Hughes is seeking leave to have the attitudes of the Tasmanian Government on fluoridation incorporated in “ Hansard “. ls leave granted?

Mr Roberton:

– No.

Mr Anthony:

– Speakers from this side of the House did not incorporate anything in “Hansard”.


– Order! Leave is not granted.


– I regret that the Minister for the Interior has changed his mind. The smallest State, Tasmania, has shown a great sense of responsibility in this matter. Despite its limited financial resources, it has produced this wellinformed pamphlet which sets out information under several headings, such as “ What is Fluoride?”, “Is Fluoride Safe?” and “Fluoridation is Cheap”. I thought the Minister for the Interior, who has been an advocate of fluoridation for the Australian Capital Territory up to date, would have been reasonable and would have supported my request to incorporate this material in “ Hansard “. I am sorry to hear his decision.

If Labour were in government in the federal sphere, we would have accelerated the processes to the extent that the shocking decay that is taking place in the teeth of

Australian children, including those in the Australian Capital Territory, would have received consideration in one form or another by now. Our counterparts in Tasmania and New South Wales have acted in this matter. But this Commonwealth Government, on this matter and on many others, appears to be rent by dissension and division. Yesterday we saw evidence of that on tariffs, and to-day we see evidence of it on fluoridation. The Prime Minister found it necessary to come into the House and reprimand some of the leading exponents of the case which he set out to oppose. It is a pity that the Government has vacillated for so long. It is a pity that it is wracked with indecision on this matter.

Does the Government intend to transfer its responsibility as a government to the community? I know that my colleague, the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr. J. R. Fraser), has felt very strongly about the rights of citizens in this matter. On a previous occasion he advocated the holding of a referendum on it in the Australian Capital Territory. I am sure that he would be the first to advocate that, if there were to be a referendum, it be taken among well-informed people. If there is to be a well-informed referendum, it is fair to contend that an investigation by a select committee would contribute substantially towards that end. Yet the Prime Minister - not some remote back-bencher - has now left the chamber after giving us reason to speculate about the likelihood of a referendum. However, he said - with no uncertainty at all - that the people who will participate in such a referendum will not have the benefit of the well-informed opinion that could result from the appointment of a select committee. In my view, this is a very unfortunate state of affairs.

Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.


– The Prime Minister, who preceded me in this debate, has left us with a very uncertain position. He more or less put this matter into the political limbo, although it is an important matter relating to the care of the teeth of people in the community generally and especially in the Australian Capital Territory. He has said that he will deny the motion of his own colleague, who is a distinguished member of his side of the House. He does not intend to support the motion of the honorable member for Moreton. In addition, he has revealed the possibility of a referendum in the Australian Capital Territory and then has denied the community the opportunity to be well informed about the matter.

We have listened also to three other honorable members on this topic - the honorable members for Capricornia, Bowman and Moreton. They seem to have indulged in a substantial amount of name dropping. They have quoted the opinions of people without handles to their names. Of course, many lay people are impressed by this technique and it is important for every one to realize that only opinions have been quoted. These people are not unassailable authorities. Many people with impressive handles to their names would be prepared to bring scientific evidence to bear against this case.

The honorable member for Moreton and others referred briefly to the effect of this matter on civil liberties. Of course, there are such considerations. But this is not the first time that such a consideration has been projected into this kind of subject. I have never heard any honorable member opposite say that people may be denied their individual rights when trace elements are used in agricultural pursuits, although their addition to the soil can have all kinds of effects on the health of the people. No one has made out a case against this practice, but we go on consuming these trace elements as we eat the products of agriculture. In addition, there is an intrusion into the rights of individuals when preservatives and colouring agents are added to foodstuffs, including certain beverages. So these people who refer to civil liberties are inconsistent. They fail to show the same degree of enthusiasm when elements are added to other consumable products. Water is only one consumable product to which something is added.

Fluoridation has been considered by special investigation authorities around the world on many occasions. I suppose the most recent such investigation was in New Zealand, where a special committee was set up to determine whether civil liberties or rights were infringed by the fluoridation of water. The committee gave an emphatic negative answer. After all, people are not compelled to drink fluoridated water. It is possible to obtain a device to defluoridate a fluoridated water supply. It is also possible to collect a supply of natural water. In many parts of the world, the natural water supply would contain a much higher content of fluoride than is proposed for the water supply in the Australian Capital Territory.

In the short time available to me I want to refer especially to the honorable member for Moreton. It would be a great tragedy, every one will willingly agree, if he were merely engaged in an endeavour to humbug the Parliament and the people of Australia. It would be a tragedy if he were merely engaged in delaying tactics. Yet he seems to be moving towards this end. The Opposition supports his motion for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the fluoridation of water, but it does so for reasons other than those influencing the honorable member. We believe that it is important for the National Parliament to give a lead on this matter. Indeed, on 10th October, 1963, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) moved an amendment to a motion moved by the honorable member for Moreton. The amendment sought to have a select committee appointed.

The honorable member for Fremantle gave several reasons for his proposal. He said that in the Australian Capital Territory the National Parliament makes the kind of decision that is usually made by local government or State authorities. His second point was that it is beneficial to reassure the people that decisions taken at the administrative level have received the consideration of the Parliament. The honorable member for Fremantle then referred to the honorable member for Moreton and suggested that his delaying tactics should be investigated. I also believe they should be investigated. It is apparent that the honorable member would not be placated by the findings of a select committee, no matter what those findings were. He intimated that the introduction of fluoridation should be delayed while there is any conflicting evidence on the subject.

I remind the honorable member for Moreton that on 10th October, 1963, he moved -

That, in view of conflicting evidence available on the value of fluoridation of water, this House is of opinion that the decision to introduce fluoride into the water in the Canberra area should be suspended.

Does he still believe that any conflict of evidence would justify inaction? This seems to be his point of view. Does he apply this point of view to all similar controversies? If this is his attitude, I contend that he is hardly fit to be a member of a Parliament that must make decisions. This should be a responsible Parliament and he should not be so willing to shirk his responsibilities. Even if a select committee were appointed, there could be no certainty that the conflicting evidence would not remain. In those circumstances, the honorable member could never be placated and he would always seek to defer the introduction of fluoridation in the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Howson:

– Do you think the water supply should be fluoridated?


– The Government Whip should know, even if his leader, the Prime Minister, does not know, that this is not a debate about the pros and cons of fluoridation. I am sure that you will agree with me, Sir. This motion merely seeks the appointment of a select committee to investigate the matter, and that is the issue with which I am dealing.

There are many points I could make if I had the time to do so, but I make this final point: It is a matter for concern that the honorable member for Moreton seems to be in company with some of the ultra rightwing reactionaries who seem to be intent on inhibiting progress in this and other matters at any price. Has his brief been prepared by his contemporary, his mentor, the notorious Eric Butler, of Melbourne, whose views are so extreme that he equates the danger of fluoridation with that of nuclear fall-out? What sinister ulterior motives now inspire these two traditional reactionaries? They have linked hands previously in other dubious causes. The honorable member can hardly deney that he has been linked with Eric Butler not only in the antifluoridation campaign but also in the controversy on the European Common

Market, when he was assisted in respect of a visit to the United Kingdom, in the Suez crisis issue when he espoused the Nasser cause and, of course, at the social credit seminar in Melbourne.

This Eric Butler with whom the honorable member has these affiliations is also notorious in other respects. He is notoriously anti-Semitic. He is opposed to vaccination for the prevention of poliomyelitis and he is opposed to research or other methods adopted to combat cancer. He is also a front man for the Victorian League of Rights. It seems to me a matter of concern that the extreme right-wing faction in Melbourne, which has its counterpart on an international scale, and which injects such incredible fury into issues of this kind, should have its representative in this Parliament.


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

Debate (on motion by Mr. Anthony) adjourned.

page 1155


Message received from the Senate intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the House of Representatives to this bill.

page 1155


page 1155


Reference to Public Works Committee

Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP

– I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: - Proposed erection of stage tWO of the Land Research and Regional Survey Laboratories for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization at Black Mountain, Australian Capital Territory.

Stage one of these laboratories was recently completed at a cost of £150,777. The proposal to be referred to the committee involves the construction at an estimated cost of £237,000 of a reinforced concrete framed structure consisting of lower ground, ground and -first floors to accommodate laboratories, offices and ancillary rooms. The extension will have concrete floors, brick infill panels, aluminium window frames and corrugated asbestos cement roof to match the existing building. I table plans of the proposed building.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1156


Approval of Work - Public Works Committee Act

Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP

– I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to this House: - Proposed construction of stage two of the Darwin High School, Northern Territory.

The proposal submitted to the committee was estimated to cost £380,000. It provided for construction of a mechanically ventilated three-story building similar to the existing main block together with expansion of the covered assembly area and bike sheds. The new building will be joined to the existing school at all floor levels by a connecting link. In reporting favorably on the proposal the committee strongly recommended the air-conditioning of both stages of the school at an additional cost of £134,000. It is proposed to accept this recommendation. Stage one airconditioning is a current new works programme item. Upon the concurrence of this House in this resolution stage two will proceed as an air-conditioned building in accordance with the recommendations of the committee.

The committee also recommended provision of an air-conditioned assembly hall for 1,000 children. This recommendation has been noted and it is understood that the Department of Territories will consider provision of an assembly hall as part of the final development of the school.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 1156



– As it is now past the time provided for Grievance debate, Order of the Day No. 1 will not be called on.

page 1156


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 9th April (vide page 912), on motion by Mr. Swartz -

That the bill be now read a second time.


.- The Opposition does not oppose this measure, but, as I will tell the House later in my speech, we propose to move an amendment which we consider will improve the legislation.

As the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) said in his second-reading speech, the purpose of the bill is to continue for a further three years the Commonwealth assistance to the States for capital expenditure in the field of mental health. The bill will repeal the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act 1955 and replace it with legislation which will continue the assistance provided by that act. Furthermore, it will, from 1st July next, provide similar assistance to those States which have exhausted, or which may in the next three years exhaust, their share of the original grant. The commencing date, 1st July, 1964, was chosen, the Minister said, to enable the States which had exhausted their entitlement under the 1955 act to prepare a works programme. Under the legislation, one-third of the total cost of providing and equipping mental health institutions - on the basis of a grant of £1 for £2- will be provided by the Commonwealth for a period of three years from 1st July, 1964. This bill differs from the 1955 act, which provided an amount of £10,000,000, in that no limit is fixed on the total of amounts payable. The Minister estimates that the assistance provided under the legislation in 1964-65 will amount to £1,483,000.

Those briefly are the terms of the legislation. I suppose I do not have to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that the bill appears to set a narrow limit on what may be discussed in the debate. The terms of the legislation appear to be limited to the acquisition of land and the erection and alteration of buildings to be used for the purpose of mental health institutions, and to the acquisition of equipment for this purpose. I am pleased to see that we are on common ground at least thus far in this debate, Mr. Speaker.

At this stage 1 want to say that the Opposition raises a protest at the methods adopted by this Government to curtail criticism by honorable members on this side of the House of certain aspects of important legislation, including the legislation now before us. The Government has used a device to prevent honorable members, in debates on this and other measures, from discussing broadly and on a national basis aspects of legislation which could be improved and should be improved, and it certainly deserves much criticism.

Mr Freeth:

– We are trying to keep your remarks relevant.


– The Minister said that the purpose is to keep the discussion relevant to the issue, but I do not accept this. I think the Government wishes to curtail criticism. The legislation before us provides no scope for discussion of the great national problem. Capital expenditure is the only subject involved in this measure. We cannot deal with the question of maintenance, which is a vital one. We cannot deal with trends in mental health treatment and research, which are also vital. We cannot deal as extensively as we might with the serious problem of retarded children. We cannot deal with new methods that may be available for the improvement of the mental health of the people. We are prevented from discussing those things. The Opposition is denied the right to criticize, and it is even difficult to move amendments to the legislation. In fact it is well nigh impossible. Honorable members will recall that the National Health Bill that was before the House a few months ago was framed in such a way that we could not voice the criticism that we wanted to. The Opposition is far from satisfied with the Government’s approach to the problem of mental health. The bill before us, however, because of its limitations, prevents me from moving many of the amendments I wish to move. I am denied the opportunity in this discussion to state the views of the Opposition on a national health scheme. I am denied the opportunity, because of the measure’s limitations, to move an amendment at the secondreading stage.

Mr Swartz:

– A bill dealing with health will be introduced later.


– That will give us plenty of scope, if and when it arrives; but if the national health bill follows the recent trend it will refer to only one item. Therefore, whilst supporting the second reading of this measure, we propose at the committee stage to move an amendment designed to improve the legislation. We cannot move as many amendments as we wish because the scope of the bill is limited. We will seek to amend clause 8 which states -

For the purposes of this Act, an amount shall not be taken to have been expended for or in connexion with the buildings or equipment of a mental health institution unless -

the amount has been expended for or in connexion with -

the acquisition of a building (in cluding the land on which the building is erected) to be used for the purposes of a mental health institution;

the erection of a building to be used for the purposes of a mental health institution, including the acquisition of the land on which the erection of the building takes place;

the alteration of a building used, or to be used, for the purposes of a mental health institution; or

the acquisition of equipment for use in a mental health institution; and

the expenditure was incurred with the prior approval of the Minister or of a person authorized by the Minister to give approvals for the purposes of this section.

It is the view of the Opposition that this clause will curtail the expenditure of State governments that wish to use the newlydiscovered methods of treatment of mentally-defective or ailing people. We will seek to amend the clause to provide, if possible, that institutions which to-day are endeavouring to implement the new methods of treatment of mentally-ill persons by adding buildings, wards or clinics of any type to their existing premises shall come within the scope of the legislation.

Clause 4 contains the definition of a mental health institution. It states -

In this Act, “ mental health institution “ means an institution carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons, being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State.

If an institution which is not conducted exclusively or principally for the care or treatment of the mentally ill adds a new clinic or something of that nature, to be used in the treatment of mentally-ill people it will be denied the payment of benefits under this legislation. Therefore we will endeavour to amend clause 4 for the purpose of ensuring assistance for all institutions providing accommodation for mentally ill and mentally defective persons and for other reasons.

The Opposition intends by that amendment to express its dissatisfaction at the failure of the Government to increase its contributions for the assistance of mentally retarded children. The forms of the House prevent us from seeking that end in just so many words, but it is our intention to endeavour to help those institutions which cannot receive assistance from the States because they are not carried on exclusively for the treatment of the mentally ill and are for that reason not within the scope of the legislation. The trend in modern times for the treatment of mentally ill persons in institutions other than those defined in the act is one which has been adopted in most States. The amendment is designed to provide assistance out of the grants to the States for that purpose. It can also be said that this trend and the fact that the institutions adopting the new method of treatment are not covered by the act could account to a great extent for the failure of some States to spend their grants under the 1955 act.

I have outlined to some extent the dissatisfaction of the Opposition and have indicated the amendments we shall move in committee. I shall now trace quickly the history of mental health legislation in Australia. As has been the case with so many social reforms in Australia, the Labour Party has been the pioneer in the field of mental health. As long ago as 1948 the Chifley Government, by agreement with the States, introduced legislation which provided that the Commonwealth would pay to the States the equivalent of the fees received by the States from the estates of relatives of patients, in return for the State authorities agreeing to remove all charges to patients. As the Minister said, the amounts ranged from 9d. to ls. 2d. a patient a day. Under the agreement the Commonwealth paid to the States £2,420,000. So, this move in the field of human endeavour for social justice for the mentally ill was commenced with

Commonwealth intervention. Early in 1954, when the five-year agreement made in 1949 terminated, the present Government decided, with the approval of the States, on an Australia-wide survey of the needs of mental institutions. The task was directed by Dr. Alan Stoller, an eminent man in this sphere, and Mr. K. W. Arscott, an administrative officer of the Commonwealth Department of Health. The survey covered the whole field of mental health in Australia. Amongst other things it revealed an appalling state of overcrowding in institutions. It indicated that there was an immediate accommodation bed shortage of 10,000, estimated to cost £3,000 each, so that immediate expenditure of £30,000,000 was required.

The Commonwealth Government decided to provide £10,000,000 towards easing the shortage on the basis of £1 for every £2 of capital expenditure on mental institutions by the States. Details of the Commonwealth allocation are incorporated in the Minister’s speech. New South Wales received £3,830,000; Victoria received £2,740,000; Queensland received £1,460,000; South Australia received £895,000; Western Australia received £720,000; and Tasmania received £355,000. To date £8,472,000 of the Commonwealth allocation of £10,000,000 has been spent by the States. So, arising from the report of the Australiawide survey, which included mention of the need for action, the 1955 legislation was introduced. As the Minister has stated, the measure under discussion continues the assistance given to the States by the former legislation.

I have briefly related the history of the legislation. On a note of criticism I wish to say that the Government has certainly shown no appreciation of the urgency of our mental health problem. In fact, it has shown very little interest, if any, in this problem. I have here the 1962-63 report of the Director-General of Health. It covers 90 pages of very small print and would take a long time to read. Nowhere in the document, so far as I can see, are the words “ mental health “ used. In other words, mental health so far as this Government is concerned is a non-existent problem, if the report of the Director-General is taken as any indication.

A study of other documents shows that the only mention of mental health is to recite the figures given in the Minister’s speech. Even on the question of retarded children, the Government, through the Minister, stated in answer to a question by Senator Fitzgerald in the Senate yesterday that it is not a Commonwealth problem and that the Government has no intention of intervening. There is no central authority from which information may be obtained on the problems of mental health. In order to obtain statistics one has to search through the many and varied State reports. No statistical record is kept by the Commonwealth Government. Very little detailed information is available, and to say the least, this indicates complete neglect by the Government of its responsibilities in this field and a rejection of the section of the Stoller report which recommended action along these lines. In other spheres - as in the cases of age and invalid pensioners - the Government has passed on its responsibilities to the States. Age and invalid pensioners are denied pensions while in mental institutions and the Commonwealth Government saves £1,272,000 because of the Commonwealth Government’s failure on this score. Furthermore, the Government refuses to give effect to the principle embodied in the 1948 Labour legislation, whereby a contribution was made not only towards the capital cost but also towards the maintenance of mental hospitals. Despite the making of this grant, it is safe to say that in the field of mental health the Commonwealth has not only neglected its responsibility but has failed in its national obligation. The grant is being made certainly not before its time. As I mentioned, Victoria and Tasmania long ago expended their quotas under the 1955 act, and New South Wales has less than £250,000 left, and that will be spent very shortly.

Mr Jess:

– There is a Labour Government in that State.


– Queensland and Western Australia still have half of their quotas, and South Australia has over 80 per cent, of its quota. In that State a tory government is in office, and it is supposed to be progressive. The position is similar in Queensland. I am not blaming the States on this grave issue. I will outline why I think this situation has come about.

It is because of the limitations of the bill that I am criticizing the position. It is not sufficient to say that there are fewer mentally ill people in certain States, because the figures show that the average is very consistent, both in numbers and percentage. I do not criticize the State governments for what has happened, as the honorable member for La Trobe seemed to suggest when he remarked that New South Wales has a Labour government. There are other problems which make it impossible, in some respects, for the States to remedy the situation, which problems I hope the Minister will remove in due course. There has been a demand from State Ministers for Health for action on this matter. Tasmania and Victoria have been seeking additional funds. I should like to refer to what was said on this subject by Mr. Bolte, the Premier of Victoria, who, I presume, is well known to honorable members opposite. This statement was reported in the Melbourne “ Herald “ of 4th October under the headlines, “ Unreal To Stop Federal Grant. Mental Health Aid Still Needed: Bolte “. The report reads -

The Commonwealth was “ completely unrealistic “ in discontinuing mental hygiene finance for Victoria in the middle of its rehabilitation programme, the Premier, Mr. Bolte, said to-day. “ I will take the matter further w. th the Prime Minister, Mr. Menzies,” he said. “T cannot believe that the Commonwealth should suddenly say to Victoria: ‘ Because you have done the best job, no more money for you ‘.”

Last week, Victoria’s Minister for Health, Mr. Mack, went to Canberra for talks on mental hygiene finance with the Federal Health Minister, Dr. Cameron.

This was a long time ago, but the measure has only just been brought in. The report continues -

Today, Mr. Bolte was answering a statement yesterday by the Country Party Leader, Sir Herbert Hyland, that treatment of the mentally ill should be given a higher priority in the Budget.

In other words, this measure is a long way behind schedule. On 25th July, 1963, the Melbourne “ Herald “ made this scathing statement in a leading article on this great national problem -

The chairman of Victoria’s Mental Health Authority, Dr. Dax, yesterday gave an impressive answer to the claim by the Federal Health Minister,

Senator Wade, that the Commonwealth could not be blamed for any defects in the State’s mental health system.

Unless the Federal attitude changes quickly from a denial of responsibility, it will be impossible for Victoria to extend urgently-needed centres. A long and praiseworthy effort to cater adequately for the mentally sick is now seriously hampered by lack of funds.

A little further down the report states -

The Commonwealth has created special problems here by not granting mental patients the hospital benefits that are payable to other classes of sick people. It is also Federal policy that age and invalid pensioners lose their pensions when they enter mental hospitals.

That is a criticism by the Victorian Premier, of which I cannot elaborate in this speech, on the limitation put into the act by the Minister in case he needs it. But it does show that the Victorian Liberal and Country Party Government realizes that something should have been done a long time ago. Victoria, as a matter of fact, spent its allocation under the last grant by the end of 1960-61, and the same thing applied to Tasmania. In this regard I quote from a speech on this subject made by my colleague, the honorable member for Braddon (Mr. Davies) in this Parliament on 16th October last year. Even at that stage it was apparent that something should be done about this great problem. The honorable member for Braddon said -

At that lime-

He was referring to 1961 - the Tasmanian Government had embarked on a major rebuilding project at Lachlan Park Hospital at a total estimated cost then - in 1960-61- of £3,500,000. I point out that 60 per cent, of this project for the mentally ill had been completed when Tasmania’s share of the Commonwealth grant ran out, The then Tasmanian Minister for Health, Dr. Gaha, pressed the claims for a further grant for Tasmania at the conference of Ministers of Health in Sydney in 1960. Those claims were taken up at meetings of State Ministers and of State Premiers held since that time, but still the Commonwealth, apart from its grants in 1955, has run away from its responsibility to assist the States to care for the mentally sick.

That means, in effect, that the States were being tied in their rate of expenditure on this important purpose to the speed of expenditure in the slowest State. There was, in addition, a great deal of difference created by this Government in the treatment of mentally sick and physically sick persons.

There are great anomalies in the present hospital benefit scheme, as all honorable members know, particularly in relation to the need for a person to be a member of a medical benefit fund before the Commonwealth benefit will be paid. A pensioner who becomes a mental patient immediately forfeits his pension. The terms of the bill unfortunately do not permit me to develop an argument on this matter or to show up the Government’s weakness in that regard, or to show where it is vulnerable and subject to criticism for its inhumane treatment in that regard. This legislation is a long way behind schedule, and the Government has been promising it for a long time. State Ministers have continually made submissions in respect of mental health, not only at successive conferences held by this very Government, and have also made recommendations opposing the manner in which these grants are made and asking for equitable treatment, not only for patients but in regard to mental health generally. The system adopted has meant, in effect, that until this legislation was introduced, Tasmania and Victoria, both anxious to push on with their schemes, were restricted to the pace of Queensland and Western Australia, who still had a long way to go.

For years Victoria and Tasmania have been denied assistance. The Minister was tied by the 19SS act. He said he could not make additional grants. Whilst the Government is making this amount available at this stage, it must be subject to criticism, not only from honorable members on this side of the Parliament. I do not believe that this is an issue on which one can politically or personally take sides, because it is a national problem applying to all sections of the community. Probably criticism should be levelled at some governments, but I do not criticize them. However, 1 do say that this Government has certainly been dilatory in bringing to this Parliament legislation to give benefit not only to States which immediately need them, such as Tasmania and Victoria, but also to the other States whose progress has been retarded, by the fear that the money might not be available. I give these facts in order that all honorable members might know them.

It is significant that in introducing the bill the Minister mentioned that Victoria and Tasmania had fully expended their quotas. He said that New South Wales had spent all but about £240,000; that Queensland had spent 50 per cent., leaving a balance of £763,000; that Western Australia still has £350,000; and South Australia has £176,000, which is 80 per cent. It might be said that those States should not get the money because they still have funds, but I do not think that that is a reasonable proposition, because many reasons can be advanced why the money has not been spent. I think that probably in all States it would be found that within the terms of the act expenditure is restricted to the rate that the Commonwealth wants. The money has not been available, for instance, for many of the purposes for which the States have required assistance, such as the treatment of retarded children, unless that has come within a field where finance can be granted under the act. It may also be difficult for the States to erect buildings for the mentally ill or mentally defective in places and institutions which do not come within the definition of mental institution under the act. In this way the States could be denied assistance through the grant, although they were providing for the mentally ill in institutions, public hospitals and other places.

New methods of treatment have been applied. There has been integration with other patients, and retarded children have been treated by several different methods. This may not have been in the same buildings, but may have been certain specialized treatment of a nature for which subsidy is not available. If that expenditure were not recognized the States would be unable to keep up maintenance work because of lack of funds. The act as it now stands - I say this quite objectively, although quite critically - is not keeping pace with the needs of mental treatment in this modern age. That is why I suggest to the Minister, and why we will move an amendment on this point, that there is a need to widen the range of the bill in order to speed up the spending of this money and to assist the States to spend it in a way which will not only provide the buildings and equipment necessary but will provide some contribution towards maintenance. The provision of funds for capital expenditure is all very well, Mr. Speaker. But mental institutions hospitals have to be maintained.

Despite the fact that the States are required to help the mentally ill and the mentally defective, State budgets cannot provide adequate funds. In order to get £1 from the Commonwealth, a State has to spend £2 of its own money. So, no matter how one looks at it, the work that the States can do is limited by the funds that they can provide from their own budgets. If they spend money on mental institutions, they may have to deprive education of funds, for example. So that the present method of providing funds by Commonwealth grants of £1 for every £2 provided by the States in not wholly satisfactory. The limited financial resources of the States restrict the provision that they can make. The Commonwealth has failed to move with the times and to provide properly for capital expenditure and also for the continuing maintenance of buildings and the continuing treatment of patients, and this is probably one of the reasons why unexpended portions of Commonwealth allocations remain in the hands of various State governments. There is now a desire in the States to treat mental diseases in other than what are described as “ mental institutions “. Unless these centres are brought within the scope of this measure, we shall find continually arising this problem of unexpended funds, because the States will be unable to keep pace with the scale of expenditure required.

Let me give the House an idea of the problems of the States in keeping up with the demands of maintenance and staffing. I have here some figures prepared by officers of the Parliamentary Library from statistics supplied by the Commonwealth “ Year-Book “ by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. These figures give a statistical picture of the situation of mental hospitals in Australia. I believe that this information will be of value to the Minister for Repatriation as well as to the Parliament, and, with the concurrence of the House, I shall incorporate this material in “ Hansard “.

Honorable members will see that, between 1950-51 and 1960-61, there was a remarkable reduction in the ratio of patients to doctors caring for them. The increases in the number of beds, the number of patients and costs generally have thrown tremendous financial responsibilities on the States, and the provision of funds for capital expenditure in the way envisaged in this bill will not necessarily meet the requirements of the State mental authorities. I direct the attention of honorable members to note (f). It explains one reason why the Opposition proposes, at the committee stage, to move an amendment to provide that the treatment of mental patients in clinics attached to general hospitals shall come within the scope of clause 8 of the bill. We believe that this is a reasonable proposition. I hope that, even at this stage, the Government will consider it sympathetically.

The figures and facts that I have given to the House - somewhat briefly, because they range over an extensive field - show that since 1950-51, although the average incidence of mental illness in the overall population has remained almost unchanged, there has undoubtedly been a tremendous increase in costs in every category. Therefore, the Government should realize that this problem cannot be dealt with merely by the passage of a measure such as this, which provides only for grants for capital expenditure.

I turn now to clause 4 of the bill, which reads -

In this Act, “ mental health institution “ means an institution carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons, being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State.

The words “ being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State “ have been taken from the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act 1 955, but the wording of the remainder of the clause is slightly different from anything that has appeared in the statutes before.

The description “ mental health institution “ is new. In recent days, because of a tragic event in another State, the problems of coring for mentally-retarded children have become of prime importance in the minds of the public. In view of the text of this clause, I should like to know just what will be the situation in respect of capital expenditure for institutions established for the care of mentally-retarded children. Will they come within the scope of this measure and, if so, will they come within the terms of this clause? I should like this matter clarified. I believe that clause 4 will provide for institutions caring for mentally-retarded children which are conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State. The important point concerns the phrase “ in receipt of a grant for maintenance from “.

I mention this point because, at present, although no accurate figures are available, it appears from the information that has been provided by the New South Wales Council for the Mentally Handicapped, and by the New South Wales Health Advisory Council in its third interim report, that there are about 110,000 children in New South Wales who could be described as mildly, moderately or severely intellectuallyhandicapped. Of these, about 40,000 are moderately or severely handicapped. President Kennedy, of the United States of America, during his term of office, ascertained that roughly 3 per cent, of the United States population was moderately or severely mentally retarded. As I have said, no accurate figures are available, but it is estimated that roughly the same proportion of the Australian population is in the same category. This represents 40,000 or 50,000 people at least in New South Wales. Although clause 4 would appear to provide for the granting of financial assistance to institutions caring for such people, I ask the Minister to clarify the matter for the House in due course. The States have the responsibility of caring for mentallyretarded people, and those who cannot be kept in mental health institutions, and who cannot have the specialized treatment that they need, should benefit equally with those who are in mental health institutions. The States cannot afford to make provision for the treatment of all in mental institutions because State financial resources are too limited.

Many organizations and institutions are now making great contributions to the care of mentally-retarded people, as is indicated in the third interim report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Committee. That report states that in every 100 intellectually-handicapped persons, 75 are mildly affected, twenty moderately affected and five severely affected. The four usual classifications mentioned are mildly intellectually affected, moderately intellectually affected, mildly or moderately intellectually affected and severely intellectually affected. The States have to provide for the care of people in these categories. Many and varied are the facilities provided by the New South Wales Government for the treatment of mentally-retarded persons. It is true that some institutions will come within the scope of this measure, but others will not. We on this side of the Parliament would like to have them all provided for by clause 4, so that all may receive the treatment that is so necessary.

There are many and varied institutions in New South Wales caring for the mentally retarded which will not benefit by this measure. The report from which I read earlier goes on -

This is illustrated by a summary of existing facilities which provides in part for some 6,345 persons out of an estimate of approximately 40,000 intellectually handicapped persons in the State.

To give an idea of why this bill is not wide enough, not only in the matter of assistance but also in the matter of capital expenditure, I point out that in New South Wales the Department of Public Health has 3,021 mentally-retarded persons under its control, the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare has 311, the Department of Education has 1,444, voluntary and private organizations have 1,422 and religious organizations have 147. The report continues -

At the 30th June, 1961, there were approximately 3,000 intellectually handicapped persons accommodated in the mental hospital system.

My colleagues will elaborate on this aspect as I have not sufficient time to do so now. The facts indicate a terrific need at this stage to give in this bill such power as to enable the States to allocate their funds and thereby provide for the mentally retarded in a way that will do justice to this unfortunate section of the community. At the same time this would enable the States to operate in . this field with the assistance of a direct allocation from the Commonwealth without using funds allocated for education or other needs. Unless private institutions receive a direct grant they will be in serious difficulty. These problems are so complex and varied that mental health must be regarded on an Australia-wide basis, not on the basis of six different States. This Government has a responsibility not only to co-ordinate activities in the field of mental health and hygiene in Australia but also, if necessary, to establish a federal authority to handle this great national problem.

Although 1 have not the time to discuss this particular aspect further, let me say to the Minister that the few passages that I have read refer to the 40,000 or so unfortunate persons in New South Wales alone. But even this fact indicates the need for widening the scope of the bill so that they might enjoy the benefits of the new and enlightened treatment that is now available.

The bill docs not go nearly far enough. A limit is placed on Commonwealth assistance if the grants made are not spent within a specified time. The Minister should elaborate on that. We do not want to see a repetition of the unfortunate and tragic happening that occurred a short time ago in a family which had a mentally retarded child.

Now let me summarize the situation as wc on this side of the Parliament see it. 1 hope that the Government will view this matter as the Opposition does, because we are dealing with a very sad human problem. I hope that the Opposition’s views will be accepted by the Government in the spirit in which they have been expressed - as a constructive endeavour to assist in some way those persons who are included in the statistics that I have mentioned. Unfortunately, the Government makes great play of the fact that this legislation is based on the Stoller report. It is true that the Government has given effect to some of the recommendations contained in the report, but there are others that it has not bothered about, and in fact has tried to forget. On page 173 of the Stoller report this important problem is dealt with in this way -

We consider, from our own observations, and a close study of the extent and nature of the national interest in mental health in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada, that a Federal Mental Health Division would be desirable in Australia. It could act as a clearing house for the distribution of mental health knowledge; could, by subsidies, encourage activity in the mental health field, where it was most needed; and could examine the overall statistical position for the guidance of State and Federal Governments, lt would act as a catalyst’ in fostering new mental health developments, according to the needs of each State. It would also be in a position to develop a functional liaison with the Commonwealth Departments of Labour and National Service, and Social Services, insofar as they were able to help with the rehabilitation of psychiatric patients, and with the Repatriation Department. We think that merely making a monetary contribution to the States may not, of itself, be sufficient. We commend especially the structure of the most recently constituted Federal programme, that of the Dominion of Canada, where the Federal Government contributes moneys, on a part-contributory basis, for mental hospital construction and improvement, services in general hospitals, establishment of clinics, training, research and rehabilitation.

If the Government gave effect to that section of the Stoller report it would be making a major contribution to the welfare of the mentally ill and mentally defective in this county. The Opposition believes that a federal mental health division is important and could well be established. There should also be a special inquiry at the Commonwealth level into the question of mentally retarded children and mental health generally. I mentioned earlier that the late President Kennedy gave a great lead to the world during his term of office in dealing with this great problem of mental illness. His lead could well be followed by this Government.

The bill restricts expenditure by the States to capital expenditure, lt makes no contribution to maintenance and provides very little assistance for many organizations and institutions in the field of mental health. It should be broadened to cover a wider range on a more generous basis. The Opposition suggests that the limitation period placed on the £1 for £2 arrangement is subject to challenge. We believe that it would be better to adopt a different method of assistance. Instead of telling the States that we will give them a subsidy of £1 for every £2 that they can match from already committed funds, the Commonwealth should adopt the method and principle embodied in section 5 of the Tuberculosis Act 1948 and pay the cost of all new improvements and the cost of maintaining patients in the base year. For the benefit of the House I shall read that section of the act, sub-section (2.), which has worked very well. It states -

Any arrangement entered into under this section may provide for the reimbursement of the State by the Commonwealth in respect of -

capital expenditure by the State on or after the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and forty-eight, in the provision by the State of land and buildings for use in the diagnosis, treatment and control of tuberculosis and in the erection and improvement of buildings and the provision of furnishings, equipment and plant for such use; and

the net maintenance expenditure by the

State in any financial year after the year which ended on the thirtieth day of June, One thousand nine hundred and forty-eight, in relation to the diagnosis, treatment and control of tuberculosis, to an extent not exceeding the amount by which that expenditure is in excess of the net maintenance expenditure in relation to the diagnosis, treatment and control of tuberculosis incurred by the State during that last-mentioned year.

In other words, maintenance as well as capital expenditure is covered, and this could well be incorporated in the bill that we are now discussing. I suggest that the Government consider that aspect.

Finally, may I on behalf of the Opposition again express our pleasure, naturally, at this somewhat belated contribution which the Government has made towards assisting this unfortunate section of the community. At the same time, may we also urge the Government to accept the constructive suggestions that we have made in our criticism of the legislation, especially in relation to establishing a federal health and mental division and to extending the limited benefits over the full range of treatment necessary to give relief to those suffering from mental illness which in this, and other countries, is one of the great problems facing mankind.


.- After hearing the very grudging remarks of the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) it is interesting to learn that the Labour Party is in favour of further grants to the States in relation to mental health institutions. However, he foreshadowed certain proposed amendments which will be stated during the committee stage but which we on this side of the House have not yet seen.

The bill is quite simple. It is designed to appropriate a further sum to assist the States in the provision of mental health facilities. I welcome the bill because I believe it is a further indication of the Government’s increasing interest in mental health in Australia.

I believe that this has arisen partly as a result of experience gained since the 1955 bill was passed. The intervening period has certainly brought home to me the fact that there is a great lack of administrative uniformity in handling this problem. That worries me particularly. It appears to me to be quite wrong that State health departments should have to resort to all kinds of subterfuge in order to obtain available social service amenities and health benefits for people who suffer from mental diseases. The remarks I propose to make later on this subject should be of interest, because mental disease is something that may strike any of us. We may be stricken with mental disease almost at any tick of the clock, no matter how good our general health may be.

The honorable member for Grayndler exercised his rights to criticize the Government for what he considers are its sins of omission. In view of what the honorable member said, I point out that the way in which the various States conduct their mental health division varies considerably, as a result of which the Commonwealth’s approach to the problem is restricted. The Commonwealth’s approach will continue to be restricted until such time as there is uniformity in the approach of the States to mental health. Commonwealth cooperation is involved in this problem because there are necessary obstacles at present which prevent the great majority of mental patients from being treated the same as other types of patients.

In order to understand why the amount specified in the bill is being made available to the States on the terms set out, I, like the honorable member for Grayndler, think it is necessary to recapitulate briefly the history of grants to the States for mental health institutions since 1955. The first thing we must remember is that conditions of mental hospitals and their management rest in the hands of the six State Governments. That is basic, and we must approach this subject with that fact in mind. Prior to 1955, conditions relating to mental hygiene in Australia were so far behind all modern thinking that the Menzies Government decided that the situation should be completely reviewed. The review was conducted, as the honorable member for Grayndler has said, by a very eminent psychiatrist in this country - Dr. Alan Stoller - who was ably assisted by Mr. Arscott of the Commonwealth Department of Health. Dr. Stoller found that caring for mental patients had reached a serious stage. The serious situation that he and Mr. Arscott found to exist, and which was highlighted by the honorable member for Grayndler, was due largely to a state of affairs that was permitted by the Labour Government led by the late Mr. Chifley. Payments then ranged from 8d. to ls. 2d. a patient a day. That was the sole contribution of the Commonwealth to the States at that time. No capital payments were made towards mental institutions. As honorable members will be aware, the capital expenditure of State health departments is very heavy. The grants that were made by the Commonwealth under the 1955 legislation revolutionized the thinking of the States so far as mental disease is concerned.

Following promulgation of the Stoller report, in the same year legislation was introduced to remedy the state of affairs that existed by providing £10,000,000, based on the same formula as is provided for in the bill now before the House. The Commonwealth provided one-third of the capital costs of mental institutions built to provide more accommodation for mental patients. The interesting point which was made by the Opposition in 1955 was that the sum of £10,000,000 was not enough as a single contribution towards the treatment of mental disease. I say a single contribution because it must be remembered that the States can use funds from tax re-imbursements in order to maintain mental health institutions.

In the nine years since the 1955 grant was made some of the states have still not spent all of their quotas. In fact, only Victoria and Tasmania have fully availed themselves of the grant. Those two States had spent by 1960 all of the funds made available to them in the 1955 grant. The reasons why some States have not spent their quotas are very interesting. In brief the States find that it is more profitable to have their mental clinics attached to general hospitals, where they may collect money from medical and hospital benefit funds instead of building special mental institutions.

Mr J R Fraser:

– That is not the only reason.


– If their mental institutions were separate and were proclaimed as mental institutions, the patients would not be entitled to receive Commonwealth social service benefits. Take, for example, the situation that exists in New South Wales, to which State the honorable member for Grayndler referred. The New South Wales Government accepts payments from mental patients who are able to pay. When that charge is made to such patients they qualify for hospital and medical benefits. Psychiatric patients who are inmates of geriatric units attached to general hospitals and who are qualified to receive social service benefits receive their pensions in the normal way. In some States psychiatric geriatric patients who are well enough are placed in convalescent homes and receive their £1 a day plus social service payments. In consequence they are able to contribute towards the maintenance of the institution.

The Victorian Government, which carries out extensive and very effective work in this field of mental health under a special mental authority quite separate from the Department of Health, has chosen to give its psychiatric patients treatment in mental hospials, for which no fee whatever is charged. Those patients are therefore precluded from receiving health and social service payments. If the Victorian Government were to provide accommodation at general hospitals for psychiatric geriatric types of patients, hospital and medical benefits and pensioner entitlements could be paid to such patients as is the case in New South Wales and other States. The Department of Social Services applies to patients who are inmates of mental institutions the pre-historic section 48 of the Social Services Act which denies the payment of social service benefits to those patients. The Repatriation Department over which the Minister at the table has control treats repatriation patients in a completely different way and, I am glad to say, in a much more humane way. In most States - Victoria is an exception - patients suffering from any mental disorder come under a health department which grades the disease, if I may put it in that crude way. Mild and acute cases may well be inmates of general hospitals, and qualify not only for hospital and medical benefits but also for social service payments. Under those conditions, is it any wonder that the various State Governments look for ways and means by which they can get around the existing Commonwealth act?

It has been said that the Commonwealth Government should review the act which suspends the payment of pensions when people enter mental institutions, although payments continue to be made to people who enter other types of hospitals and benevolent homes. If the Government were to do that, under the present legislation pf the six States the money would go into the State treasuries and not to the patients. The present State legislation provides that all funds paid to patients in mental institutions must be paid to the Master of Lunacy - although that term is not used to-day - or to trust funds which look after the interests of such patients. So, before the Commonwealth made any change in its legislation, it would be necessary for the State Governments to amend their mental health legislation. It is clear that if Victoria wishes to benefit from social services funds and hospital benefits, it must tailor its own administration to the Commonwealth legislation.

It is particularly interesting to see the amount of funds collected by the various States. I have in my hand the annual reports of the mental hygiene authorities in Victoria and New South Wales. They show that in 1962-63 the New South Wales Government received approximately £250,000 from paying patients in mental institutions. I have no doubt that that money came from the hospital benefit societies. In that year the Victorian Government received nothing. I should say that these Governments receive some payment from the Repatriation Department, which asks the State Governments to look after some of its patients.

It is quite obvious that a number of State Governments appreciate that administratively, there is more to be gained from keeping mental patients attached to general hospitals and other similar facilities than from building mental institutions. I have no reason to believe that the treatment provided is not of the best standard. It may very well be so. That is the way most of the State Governments administer this service in order to gain as much money as they possibly can from the various benefits that are available from the Commonwealth. I have reason to believe that mental patients are better off, in respect of social service benefits, in the States which adopt that form of administration. What I have said shows the complete lack of uniformity in Australia in the entitlement of mental patients to health and social service benefits.

One comes to the conclusion that some State Governments are making an ass of Commonwealth law and that, in fact, they are making a crude racket out of social service payments to psychiatric patients. The legal interpretation of section 48 of the Social Services Act is a relic of the past. It is archaic. It may be said that what the individual State Governments do in the running of their mental health services has nothing to do with the Commonwealth, whether their administration is bad or otherwise. I think we all agree that the unsatisfactory state of Commonwealth legislation on mental health is very much our concern. We must admit that it is Commonwealth law which forces State Governments to tell a white lie in order to receive pension payments for psychiatric patients or, as in Victoria, to tell no lies and to receive no pension payments. It is time the Department of Social Services began to distinguish between a lunatic, in the strict legal sense, and the hundreds of Australians who to-day suffer from some kind of minor mental illness and for that reason may require a period of hospitalization.

It will be interesting to see how the State Governments make use of the grants proposed under this bill during the next three years. During that period it will be open to them to spend as much as they can afford to spend on capital works in the field of mental health, on the basis that the Commonwealth Government will be making funds available to the extent of one-third of the capital expenditure. In spite of all the difficulties that I have mentioned, the Victorian Government has announced that it will make use of this opportunity to clear the financial obstacles that have been hampering its fine work since it exhausted the grant made under the 1955 act. In conclusion I say very strongly that I hope the Victorian Government will do that. I also hope that the Commonwealth Minister for Health (Senator Wade) will confer with the State Ministers for Health and see what changes they can make in order to bring about uniformity in mental health administration not only in the States but in the whole of the Commonwealth.


– lt is refreshing to see that at least one honorable member on the other side of the House is able to identify some of the tremendous deficiencies that exist in the field of mental health, whether they are attributable to the Commonwealth, the States or anyone else. It is good that he has - and I hope other honorable members opposite have - the inclination to come to grips with these problems with a view to doing something about them with the least possible delay. While the type of delay that has characterized the fifteen years of administration by this Government continues, people are suffering, time is passing them by and they are being deprived of the right to manifest their potential and their personalities and, in general, to live a better life than is their lot at present.

This bill has some regard for a fairly substantial part of the problem of the mentally afflicted people. But I emphasize that it has regard for only part of that problem. It is a matter of considerable concern to all people who make it their business to know about this matter, that the Commonwealth Government seems to be so bereft of a thorough understanding of it. I hold in my hand a document headed, “ Message from the President of the United States of America. “ . The document has a sub-heading, “ A National Programme to Combat Mental Retardation. “ Can any one visualize the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) coming into this Parliament with a speech that showed he comprehended the enormous deficiencies to be found in this field in Australia? Somehow, the tendency seems to have grown here for people to steal some miserable, mundane debating point or some advantage at election time when these issues are raised. But the President of the United States of America on 5th February, 1963, described the manner in which he would make available 2,000,000 dollars for this purpose. He went to considerable pains to show that the money would be used not for some infinitesimal or even some substantial part of the treatment of mental retardation but for an impressive programme. The attitude of the United States Government is in sharp contrast to that of the Australian Government. I will not read from the document because I am sure that every honorable member has received a copy of it.

We speak of mental health, but I do not think the word “ health “ is contained in the Constitution. Nevertheless, this National Government, like national governments in all parts of the world, has a responsibility to ensure that some decent attempt is made to solve this enormous problem. We should be adopting a national outlook, such as that adopted in Canada, the United States of America and New Zealand. We should not leave this problem to the States without regard to their capacity or incapacity to meet the obligations that are constitutionally ascribed to them. I think it is time that we had a genuine conference on this subject. I have regard for the points made by the honorable member for Isaacs (Mr. Haworth). It is true that there is a difference in approach by the various States and a difference in the capacity of the various States to tackle the problem. The same expression or activity has a different meaning or result in different parts of the Commonwealth. All this is not good enough.

A mentally-afflicted person living on one side of the Murray River would receive different treatment from that given to a similarly afflicted person living on the other side of the Murray River. A similar situation could obtain in respect of any other State border. People with mentallyafflicted children would find a different attitude in different parts of the world. Dr. Benn, for instance, could well find a greater degree of compassion in some more enlightened country. I believe that the Commonwealth and the States should come together and devise a new deal for the mentally-afflicted people of Australia. Such people should be given more assistance. Mentally retarded children receive less consideration than other children do. Free and adequate education is available to every healthy Australian boy and girl, but the education and advancement of mentally retarded children in many instances is left to some charitable organization. The Commonwealth should give a lead in these matters. It should bring the States together and set a high minimum standard. I am not talking about uniformity or socialization. I am talking about a high minimum standard which could be exceeded by any State that chose to do so. Once the high minimum standard had been set, it would become the obligation of the Commonwealth in these days of uniform taxation to assist the States to discharge their obligations.

This measure continues for three years the Commonwealth aid to the States for capital expenditure in the field of mental health, or at least in a part of the field of mental health. The bill repeals the previous legislation, the act of 1955. In nine years, £8,472,000 has been made available to the States by the Commonwealth. It is not surprising that there should be a heavy drain on funds because we are now developing a new concept and pulling the dark veils aside. We are starting to recognize the deficiencies of mankind over the generations and we are coming to realize that mental illness is little different from any other form of illness. The same concepts and expenditure of the same funds are involved.

Instead of introducing a bill of this nature, the Government should have provided us with a comprehensive report. We should have been told how bad the situation is and to what extent the problem has been overcome by the expenditure of most of the £10,000,000 which was made available. The problem is enormous. Is the present emphasis right? The bill provides capital for the acquisition of a building, for the erection of a building, for the alteration of a building and for the acquisition of equipment for certain categories of mentally handicapped or retarded people. But do these happen to be the right categories of mentally handicapped or retarded people? I believe that the emphasis is wrong and that the Commonwealth should be spending its funds to meet other aspects of the problem.

Should expenditure be for capital items? Should it be for the maintenance of buildings? Should it be for the maintenance of patients? There appears to be a tremendous problem right around the whole of Australia. Indeed, I shall show to the House that every State Minister for Health in the conferences that take place from year to year has subscribed to the idea that the Commonwealth should contribute to patient care. But the Commonwealth has refused to do this, even with those people who are traditionally its responsibility - the poor, unfortunate pensioners who happen to go into these establishments.

I suggest that the legislation should provide funds for the assistance of voluntary organizations which undertake many activities in this field. Of course, it seems almost impossible for them to receive assistance. Some of these organizations work in the field of custodial care and some in the field of rehabilitation with sheltered workshops, but it seems unlikely that they will benefit from this legislation. The second-reading speech of the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz), who represents the Minister for Health (Senator Wade) is almost lighthearted. When one thinks of the enormous complexities of the problem, it is almost frivolous. It takes little more than one solitary page of “ Hansard “. If he had an interest in this subject, he could talk for a very long time. His speech does not include any sort of analysis of the problem at all. This is the degree of lightheartedness that we find.

Mr Turnbull:

– What about Lincoln’s Gettysburg address? It was only short but it made the point clearly.


– I think it is unfortunate that the honorable member for Mallee is himself frivolous about this subject. He has little interest in these matters. If ever we hear him say anything that has a real relationship to human beings, it will be a red letter day for the Parliament.

The bill provides that the Commonwealth will meet one-third of the total cost of providing and equipping mental institutions. That is to say, the State Governments would need to spend £3,000,000 to attract £1,000,000. I believe that the fundamental premise on which the legislation is based is faulty. I believe it is wrong to limit this aid or subsidy according to the capacity of the States to pay. Some States have tremendous problems in respect of mental health. States which can see clearly the many ways in which they should set out to overcome their problems often have not the financial resources to match their good intentions. Why should such a situation prevail? New South Wales, for example, is in this position, as is revealed by the fact that it failed to take advantage of the full amount of money made available to it under the earlier legislation. Other States show similar financial deficiencies. New South Wales had available to it £3,830,000, but was able to spend only £3,590,144. Queensland had available £1,460,000 but could spend only £697,177 of this amount. South Australia had available to it £895,000 but was able to spend only £718,904 of this amount that had been made available by the Commonwealth Government.

All States have grave problems in regard to mental health, and this piece of legislation seems to have little regard for the financial position of the States. Nor does it recognize the extent of the problem. I was interested to read that in New South Wales there has been excessive overcrowding in mental institutions. In 1961-62 there were 1,700 more patients in those institutions than were provided for with the accommodation available. Yet New South Wales was unable to take all its share of the money made available by the Commonwealth under the earlier legislation. New South Wales is doing a tremendous job. In that State there are 12,500 mental patients at the present time, but there are many other persons who should also be in residence in mental institutions, as the Director of Psychiatric Services has said.

Does this bill provide anything for the maintenance of patients in mental hospitals? Let me tell the Minister that there has been a very substantial increase in the cost of maintaining patients. Last year New South Wales alone spent no less than £7,000,000 in this direction. The cost of maintaining patients in mental hospitals in that State has more than doubled in less than ten years, from about £3,300,000 to £7,000,000. As I understand it, and the Minister may correct me if I am wrong, there is no provision in this bill for a contribution towards the cost of maintenance of patients.

Reducing the figures to an individual basis, the cost of maintaining a patient in a mental institution in New South Wales has risen in less than ten years from £280 to £563.

Think of the tremendous complexities of this problem. Think of the cost of food, of clothes, of medical care, of drugs and of amenities such as cigarettes and cosmetics which have to be provided, because mental patients are very different from other hospital patients in many ways. It is true that the Chifley Government realized the need to make recurring grants for the maintenance of people in mental hospitals. Not a large amount was involved initially, it is true, but it is a fact that in 1948 the Chifley Government negotiated the fiveyear agreement, as a result of which no less than £2,420,000 was made available to the States for the maintenance and care of patients in mental hospitals. This Government has terminated that arrangement and it now does nothing more than is its due, making a contribution only to capital expenditure on buildings and equipment.

Does this bill provide any financial assistance towards accommodation for the medical staff associated with mental hospitals? I am told that this is a great problem in many States. The report of the Director of Psychiatric Services in New South Wales says -

Increased recruitment created heavy demands for departmental residences for medical staff. Many of the present residences were in need of repair.

Is this another facet of the problem which is to be disregarded? Evidently it is. What about the training of nurses and staff generally? The numbers of staff have increased to a tremendous extent. Even salaries are not covered or contributed to in this measure or in any other Commonwealth legislation. In New South Wales alone the number of staff employed is now in the vicinity of 4,200, and it is increasing by more than 400 a year.

As the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) has pointed out, expenditure in these directions is incurred by the States at the expense of other State services. The States do not want to curtail the funds provided for transport or conservation or education, and the Commonwealth Government must realize that all the funds available to the States are already fully deployed.

The arrangements made to deal with problems of this kind are nothing more than a hotch-potch.

I was interested to read that mental hospitals are crowded with people who should not be in them at all. Referring again to the report of the Director of Psychiatric Services in New South Wales, we find this aspect of the matter thrown into sharp relief -

Attention is drawn to the admission of 1,424 patients during the coming year whose ages range from 60 to 90 years. Many of these patients could be cared for outside mental hospitals if adequate facilities were available for them.

It seems that we tend to confuse senility with insanity. It is apparent that instead of putting old people into mental hospitals we should be putting them into geriatric hospitals. Where are the funds to come from to solve this problem, which is present in every State, regardless of the political complexion of its government? There is a substantial need for geriatric hospitals and an enormous amount of money could be contributed by the Commonwealth towards this problem. So far, however, the need has not even been recognized. Obviously one way of alleviating the position in mental hospitals would be to put aged people in places where they could obtain genuine geriatric care.

I would like to make passing reference, as the honorable member for Grayndler did, to the matter of depriving pensioners who go into mental hospitals of their age, invalid or even widow pensions. This is happening on a grand scale. The Minister for Health in New South Wales had this to say about the matter -

The patients who would, under ordinary circumstances, be eligible for age pensions, which are automatically stopped when they enter mental hospital were -

The numbers are then given in age groups and the total is given as 4,641 for the year 1962-63. This was in New South Wales alone. The Minister went on to say -

The saving to the Commonwealth based on the then current rate of pension was £1,272,453. The maintenance cost for pensioners in mental hospitals for 1962-63 was £2,480,383.

So a profit of £1,250,000, in very general terms, was made out of this unfortunate situation. As late as a day or two ago some more precise information was given to me by the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) on this matter. I asked him whether his department terminated age, invalid and widow pensions when recipients entered mental institutions, and he said that it did. He went on to say that no fewer than 1,636 people lost their pensions in the twelve months ended 30th June, 1963, because they were unfortunate enough to be admitted to mental institutions. I understand that up to the end of August last year almost 8,000 people had been treated in this way by this Government. In other words, 8,000 pensioners have been denied compassion and consideration by this Government after being admitted to mental hospitals.

Another difficulty confronting the States is their inability to plan ahead because they just do not know what the Commonwealth plans to do. I want now to refer to the unified attitude of the State Ministers for Health in this matter. I wish to quote from the report of the conference of State Ministers for Health held in Parliament House, Hobart, on 12th and 13 th February, 1963. The following resolution was moved: -

Since the Commonwealth Government discontinues old age and invalid pensions to patients who enter mental hospitals and does not provide benefits for mental hospital treatment, it is now asked to provide adequate continuing funds to the States for the care and treatment of mental illness to avoid discrimination against a particular form of sickness.

The resolution was not moved by the New South Wales Labour Minister for Health, Mr. W. Sheahan, but by Mr. R. W. Mack, Minister for Health in the Liberal Government of Victoria. It is significant that the plea I am making to-day, and which has been made by the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly), was also made by the Minister for Health in a State Liberal Government and supported by every other State Health Minister at the conference. Yet no attention has been given to this running sore.

I have received an interesting letter from the Mental Hospitals Auxiliaries of Victoria. It contains complaints about the uncertainty of Commonwealth assistance. The letter states -

Victoria spent its allocation by 1960 and great improvements have been made to the hospitals but as the Commonwealth failed to renew the grant, plans to relieve the waiting list for retarded children and the provision for early treatment of the mentally ill throughout the States has been postponed. In fact ft has put back the whole mental health programme for some years to come. As one who for many years has been actively interested in the welfare of the mentally ill, I am most concerned about the shortage of accommodation and urge that the Commonwealth renew the grant immediately.

The letter is signed by Lilian Andrews, the State president of the organization. The letter expresses a dilemma which is being experienced by all the States. Why has it been found necessary to disrupt the programme to provide adequate facilities for the mentally ill? It is interesting to note that the problem is not peculiar to New South Wales but applies also to Victoria where at present a Liberal Government is in office.

Who is to be helped under this measure and who will not receive help? Does the Commonwealth care at all? It seems to me that the approach of the Commonwealth Government is uninformed and terribly obtuse. Not all mentally ill persons are in mental institutions. There are many shades of mental deficiency. The report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Committee indicates this position very clearly. It states that of every 100 mentally ill persons, 75 are mild cases, twenty are moderate cases and five are severe cases. Different cases need different treatment. I want supporters of the Government to understand that not all mental cases are admitted to mental institutions. Why is it that those who are admitted to some institutions will not receive assistance under this legislation? In fact, the majority of mental cases will be excluded from payment of benefits. A wide range of cases need extensive treatment.

The report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Committee sums up the position. It states that out-patient clinics are needed in general hospitals. This is the new concept. It is not just a question of custodial care or of putting the mentally ill persons into an institution like a gaol. It is a matter of integrating them into hospitals where their sickness may be treated like any other sickness. Out-patient clinics and residential clinics are being provided, but as I shall demonstrate in the committee stage, this legislation does not provide that such institutions shall receive assistance. To treat mental illness it is necessary to provide custodial care, diagnostic facilities, facilities for counselling parents, for training and for rehabilitation. Hostels are needed to relieve families of the care of their mentally ill children. Such a hostel or an appropriate school might have provided a solution for Dr. Benn’s problem, but no assistance for such establishments is provided for under this legislation.

The Handicapped Children’s Centre of New South Wales has been most vocal about this matter. It is in my electorate, in the township of Sutherland. Mrs. Ruth Mcculloch, director and supervisor of the centre, recently commented on the Dr. Benn case. She said that some families are driven to the point of deperation trying to live with a mentally-retarded child who is beyond control.

A newspaper report of an interview with Mrs. McCulloch states -

Some people, she said, did not have a clue about the difficulties of living with a severely mentally retarded child. “ They make animal noises. They claw, grab and pull you for 24 hours; they strike at you. have tantrums and screaming fits.”.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackinnon:

– Order! I think the honorable member is going a little wide of the subject of the bill.


– I am indicating generally the types of cases which are excluded from assistance by the bill. This is a terribly important matter and we seem to be handicapped in discussing it because of the finer points of debate. I would have thought that such a discussion was allowable, because there is no appropriate opportunity for any honorable member to talk about the general question of mental care. I thought that on this occasion I might have been permitted to stray a little in that direction in the interests of such a worthy cause. However, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in view of your attitude I will be content to leave it at that. It is unfortunate that you should have restricted me in this fashion because I am speaking of people who are in desperate need of attention; to a substantial degree they are people who will not be assisted. The New South Wales Handicapped Childrens Centre will not receive any assistance after this measure is passed, because of its finely drawn provisions. One provision is that a State has to provide maintenance before a centre can receive assistance; but having been given maintenance, a centre can receive assistance only in relation to the extent that the State gives a subsidy for capital investment. Some institutions do not need additional buildings. Their need is to maintain the present establishments and present and future patients. The New South Wales Handicapped Children’s Centre depends on charity. Each week it has to raise £300 to £400. It is the biggest centre of its kind in New South Wales, yet I am prevented from discussing it to a substantia] degree because of a fine debating point.

Mr. Deputy Speaker, there are many matters requiring attention to which I have not referred, but I commend to honorable members opposite the need to show a greater degree of humanity in respect of this tremendous scourge to mankind. The Commonwealth Government should give to the States and to their difficult financial circumstances the type of consideration that will enable them to come to grips with the problem which is causing great anxiety, heartbreak and suffering to a large number of people in the Australian community.

Debate (on motion by Dr. Mackay) adjourned.

page 1173


Customs Tariff Proposals No. 9; Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference)

Proposals No. 5

Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP

.- I move- [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 9).]

  1. That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals, 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 seventeenth day of April, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly.
  2. That in these Proposals, “ Customs Tariff Proposals mean the Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the following dates: - 27th February, 1964; and 8th April, 1964.

[Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals (No. 5).]

That the Schedule to the Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) 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 (New Zealand Preference) (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 seventeenth day of April, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-four, Duties of Customs be collected accordingly. **Mr. Speaker,** Customs Tariff Proposals No. 9 which I have just tabled relate *to* proposed amendments to the Customs Tariff 1933-1963 and give effect to the Government's decision following receipt of the Tariff Board's report on phosphorus and its derivatives. The duties on imported phosphoric acid derivatives competing with local production have been increased to a uniform level of 30% British preferential tariff and 40% most-favoured-nation tariff. In the case of trisodium orthophosphate, an additional sliding scale duty has been imposed to cope with a wide disparity in overseas export prices. As organic derivatives are not now locally manufactured, the duties on these have been reduced to the lowest level consistent with international commitments. On the question of dumping, the board has found that sodium tripolyphosphate of the kind produced in Australia has been sold to persons in Australia at export prices less than the normal values in the country of exportation and that imports at prices below the normal values established by the department would threaten injury to the Australian industry. My colleague, the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Senator Henty),** has therefore taken action to make sodium tripolyphosphate subject to dumping duties whenever appropriate. Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Proposals No. 5 which I have also tabled restore a 5 per cent, margin of preference to imports of epoxy resin products from New Zealand. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Galvin)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1175 {:#debate-40} ### PHOSPHOROUS AND ITS DERIVATIVES {:#subdebate-40-0} #### Tariff Board Report {: #subdebate-40-0-s0 .speaker-KEN} ##### Mr FAIRHALL:
Minister for Supply · Paterson · LP -- I present a report by the Tariff Board on the following subject: - >Phosphorus and its derivatives. Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 1175 {:#debate-41} ### STATES GRANTS (MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTIONS) BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-41-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 1173). {: #subdebate-41-0-s0 .speaker-KIW} ##### Dr MACKAY:
Evans .- We have heard a debate so far in which a good deal of constructive comment has been made. We on this side of the chamber feel much sympathy on some points made by honorable members opposite. But the point remains that we are dealing with a specific bill for a specific purpose. I, for one, and I am sure that there are others, take some exception to the suggestion that the Commonwealth Government is bereft of all understanding in the matter of mental health and its treatment. I take exception to the suggestion that we are uninformed and obtuse, and to the plea that we need a greater degree of humanity. In the course of the time permitted to me this afternoon I propose to make a few references to matters which have been raised by the Opposition, but in a different context, and to refer to the money which is eagerly sought by the States - more eagerly by some than by others, perhaps. Those which have already spent the previous grant would be to the forefront in advocating a continuance of the grant. Nevertheless, it seems to me to be rather lopsided, to raise the criticisms in a situation where it is universally recognized that there is a lack of accommodation and a waiting list of two or three years for accommodation for grossly mentally defective children, that is, where the necessity for specific mental institutions remains. The Government is definitely coming to the aid of the States and is making provision in this specific bill to make capital grants to the States, on conditions of the States recognizing their own responsibility, so perhaps it has laid itself open to charges that it is bereft of understanding of the total situation. The prevalence of mental and emotional ill-health is increasing tremendously, so this is a vitally important field. This is a subject about which the modern world is becoming increasingly aware. When I was studying at Edinburgh University the Professor of Medicine there gave me as his opinion that 80 per cent, of the patients who presented themselves for treatment by a general practitioner had some form of mental or emotional ill health. In Sydney only the other day a professor in a similar position vouchsafed the opinion that at least half the patients presenting themselves at general practitioners' consulting rooms were suffering from mental ill health, either in some incipient or in some very elementary form. It is an interesting matter of statistics that in the United States of America more than one in seven adults, it is estimated, will spend some time in a mental institution. So when the Commonwealth speaks in terms of spending £10,000,000 and of making this money available specifically for capital purposes, I maintain that this is the meeting of an obligation and that it is going a long way towards meeting the obligation recognized by the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)** in his secondreading speech when he spoke of the Commonwealth policy of assisting the States in meeting the capital cost of extending the facilities for treatment and care of mentally-ill or mentally defective people. This extension, of course, is something which is taking place in different States in different ways. There are a number of different ways in which these extensions are being effected in the different States. The situation in Australia is not very different from that of other nations. We have seen the change take place from the days when it was felt that " asylums " were needed - large gaol-like institutions where people were kept in isolation, largely due to superstitious or ignorant fears. Very often the inmates were subjected to ridicule. This isolation was extended even to the relatives of patients. This is changing, and capital expenditure is required to give effect to the changes. Those of us who come from New South Wales are aware of the changing physical appearance of mental institutions; the great high walls have been knocked down and something much more attractive has been put in their place. There is a changing atmosphere in this vast field. Mental illhealth itself is no longer regarded as a stigma, and even where in time past an affliction like epilepsy was regarded as being a visitation for some kind of behaviour on the part of parents in the past, this ignorance and superstition is passing and there is a wider knowledge and recognition of the nature of mental ill-health. So when the Commonwealth addresses itself to this specific purpose I believe it ill behoves the Opposition to try to make what is plainly political capital by bringing into the debate a vast number of other things and suggesting that they are being excluded because of ignorance or callousness on this side of the chamber. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- Why are they excluded if it is not because of ignorance and callousness? {: .speaker-KIW} ##### Dr MACKAY: -- I fail to understand the logic of that suggestion, as I have been trying to point out for the last few moments. {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr Reynolds: -- In other words, you think that it is humane to exclude them? {: .speaker-KIW} ##### Dr MACKAY: -- It has been suggested that we are not humane in trying to exclude these things, but I am trying to point out that there is a vast need still in the field to which the proposed grant is to apply. I am not trying to make the argument that these other things are not important, but I do suggest that they should be attended to in the place where the responsibility lies, which is in the States. We have heard from the honorable member for Isaacs **(Mr. Haworth)** something about the lack of uniformity in the Australian States. We have heard the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** picturesquely describing this lack of uniformity and this problem with which the States are faced as a " running sore ". It is undoubtedly true that there is a need for overall uniformity of approach, but it will not be obtained by the kind of partisan political attitude which attacks the bill, but nonetheless with the careful proviso that the Labour Party, although it will introduce some amendments at a later stage, is supporting the bill. That, of course, must underlie every argument that has been made. To return to the point that I am trying to make, we are discussing a situation in which there is a vast variety of different categories. There are those people who were unfortunately bom with mental afflictions - mental defectives - and there are other people who, because of special events in their lives - because of environment or accident - arrive at a condition of psychosis. The trend in this field is away from specific institutions, from the specialized institutions of a gaol-like nature, but even to give effect to these changes requires capital expenditure. We are beginning to realize - I mean " we " as the human race and not as the party on this side or that side of the chamber - that we are dealing, in mental ill-health, with an illness which must frequently be treated in the environment of a general hospital. Leading psychiatrists list as the No. 1 glaring gap in the situation the lack of psychiatric units in general hospitals. We know all this, but at the moment we are also aware of other facts. We are aware of the fact that in so many States the existing institutions, which are exclusively devoted to the care of the mentally ill, are far from up to standard and are in great need of capital expenditure to bring them into line with modern medical treatment. There are many reasons, of course, why some mentally sick patients should be treated in a wider environment. This enables the total care of the patient to be given effect to. Very often, a patient suffers not only from a mental affliction but also from physical and other conditions that require treatment at the same time. We on this side of the House are not ignorant in these matters. We realize that the whole atmosphere of institutions affects patients. The usual atmosphere of institutions, many of which feature fences and large marble halls, has a bad effect on patients. Furthermore, the need to-day is not just for doctors who will work as isolated individuals, but for doctors who will think of themselves as members of a team. Most hospitalized patients in our general hospitals need some degree of psychiatric care. As I have said, it is common-place in the community at large to-day to find that as many as 80 per cent, of a general practitioner's patients have emotional or psychiatric problems. These problems affect especially those who undergo major surgery, for instance. Very great emotional problems attach to such operations as a mastectomy or hysterectomy. Some of these operations bring profound changes in personality and the patient needs subsequent psychiatric treatment. Then, of course, there are those terminal diagnoses that throw a patient right back on his last resources in terms of his mental and emotional stability. At the Johns Hopkins hospital, in Baltimore, a psychiatrist participates in all medical rounds. We all know that there is no point in merely bringing these problems forward and suggesting that, because these are the current trends in the care of the mentally sick, the Government should scrap this present scheme of assistance - which is needed by the States and which has been requested by them for specific purposes - and accept an Opposition amendment designed to set the scheme aside and change the pattern of these grants. There are other needs, of course. I would be one of the first to support any kind of move to place greater emphasis on the widespread nature of the needs that must be satisfied in dealing with the problems of mental health. In this present instance, however, we have been presented by the Minister for Repatriation - who, I believe, made a very enlightened and carefully thought-out speech - with a bill designed for a specific purpose to which the Government is addressing itself at this time. When the total position is reviewed, it is found that, to some degree, all institutions that serve specific needs in treating the mentally ill, experience tremendous difficulties such as in getting staff. One of the anomalies that comes up immediately is the differences, even within States, between the wages and conditions attaching to nursing in various institutions. In New South Wales, nurses employed in institutions specifically caring for the mentally ill are paid more than nurses who do exactly the same work in psychiatric units attached to general hospitals. Various anomalies such as these exist within the States and need adjustment. These are only a few of the matters to which the States must address themselves if they are to achieve uniformity and an overall appreciation of the wider possibilities of federal assistance that the honorable member for Grayndler **(Mr. Daly)** outlined so well. Quite apart from this wider field of the recognition of psychiatric units at general hospitals as mental institutions for the purposes of this bill, the question of the care of mental defectives has been raised. The Benn case in Western Australia has been mentioned and Opposition members have referred to specific institutions such as that at Sutherland conducted by **Mrs. McCulloch,** with which I am quite familiar. These are institutions that specifically devote their time to the care of the mentally ill. Yet the New South Wales Government, it is true, has not availed itself of the whole of the funds available for capital expenditure. If honorable members were to study what is being done at present in this field in New South Wales, they would become aware of gross over-crowding. They would learn that at the Watt-street institution in Newcastle there is still a wait of two or three years for admission. The institutions at Peat and Milson islands come within the terms of this bill, as they are specifically devoted to the care of the mentally afflicted. At those institutions, one sees sights that would move the most stony heart. If honorable members were to visit those places, they would see male children herded together without the benefit of one female among the attendants. Honorable members would see the effects on those children of their being brought up in a most undesirable atmosphere and housed in quarters something like pens. Is any capital expenditure needed in this field? Is this not a specific field to which the purposes of this bill may be directly related? One cannot help but be moved at the sight of the children in those institutions who have been raised from babyhood to adolescence in such conditions, especially when one realizes the effects of the totally male environment on their development, with the consequent moral and homosexual problems that not infrequently arise. One cannot fail to be moved by the pathetic reception that a woman visitor receives, with the children running up to her almost as if she were an exhibit of some kind, and crying out something like " Ma " or "Mother". In terms of medical treatment, we are greatly enlightened to-day, but there is still this specific aspect of the problem with which this bill is designed to deal. Greater attention must be given to improving the institutions themselves. So it seems to be somewhat incongruous for honorable members opposite to suggest that perhaps the particular field of application of this bill ought to be narrowed to allow greater concentration on another aspect of the problem. Other anomalies arise in this situation. Once again, our attention has been directed to the fact that medical benefits and pension benefits are not available to patients who are placed in institutions specifically designed to care for the mentally ill. This undoubtedly is so, but is this Parliament the place in which, at this time, we should debate this aspect of the situation? {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: -- Why not, if it is relevant to the bill? {: .speaker-KIW} ##### Dr MACKAY: -- It is relevant only to the extent that some mentally-afflicted patients are not treated in institutions esablished specifically for the treatment of mental illness. Patients in such institutions are segregated from those treated elsewhere not because of Commonwealth action or responsibility, but because of unenlightened and out-of-date legislation in the States. It is impossible for the Commonwealth to ensure that individual patients in New South Wales receive the benefit of Commonwealth pensions and other Commonwealth benefits. The estate and income of a person committed to a menial institution in New South Wales, for instance, immediately come under the control of an officer who may or may not still have the title of Master in Lunacy. Whatever the title may be, it amounts to the same thing. If Commonwealth pensions and other benefits were paid to patients in mental institutions in New South Wales, the money would go not to the individual but to the State. We have before us a measure designed specifically to give continuing effect to a scheme that the States themselves have welcomed and, indeed, pressed for. Many of them have adamantly stated that the scheme must continue. I am quite certain that if this were not so Opposition members would not, at their very first opportunity, have declared their support of the bill. I suggest that the arguments presented by the Opposition this afternoon in an effort to show that we on this side of the House lack humanity and diligence, that we are generally ignorant and that we are acting obtusely and not doing our best to put into effect a proper scheme of assistance, only add political overtones to the situation. The bill is properly designed to give effect to a certain kind of approach to one aspect of the problem. I warmly commend the Government on taking this action to continue the scheme of grants for capital expenditure on mental institutions in the various States. {: #subdebate-41-0-s1 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES:
Braddon .- I welcome the change in the title of the legislation which in 1955 was called the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Bill. To-day it is called the States Grants (Mental Health Institutions) Bill 1964. That change is certainly all to the good. The effect of the bill is to repeal the 1955 legislation and replace it with a measure designed to continue the assistance provided by the 1955 act and, in addition, with effect from 1st July next, to provide similar assistance to those States which have exhausted, or which may exhaust in the next few years, their share of the original grant. As I mentioned in October last year, I have in mind particularly Tasmania and Victoria. No doubt the change in the Government's attitude is a result of the 1963 general election. In his policy speech the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** promised this kind of assistance to mental health institutions, thereby changing the policy previously adopted. The Minister for Health **(Senator Wade)** had always maintained that there would be no change in policy and that nothing would be done to alter the provisions of the 1955 legislation until all the funds granted under it had been expended. In fact, in October, 1963, only one month before the election, the Minister for Health replied, through his representative in this chamber, to a speech that I had made on this subject. He intimated that nothing would be done until all the States had exhausted their share of that grant. As I pointed out at that time, approximately £2,000,000 of the total grant of £10,000,000 remained to be spent. However, the Government has changed its policy and we welcome this measure. Although there has been a change of policy there has not been a change of outlook to meet the new methods of caring for the mentally ill and the mentally defective. For that reason the Opposition intends to propose the postponement of clause 4 because clause 8 provides - >For the purposes of this Act, an amount shall not be taken to have been expended for or in connexion with the buildings or equipment of a mental health institution unless - > >the amount has been expended for or in connexion with - > >the acquisition of a building (including the land on which the building is erected) to be used for the purposes of a mental health institution; > >the erection of a building to be used for the purposes of a mental health institution, including the acquisition of the land on which the erection of the building takes place; > >the alteration of a building used, or to be used, for the purposes of a mental health institution; or > >the acquisition of equipment for use in a mental health institution; This proposed amendment will provide assistance under clause 8 to other institutions providing accommodation for the mentally ill and the mentally defective. I refer particularly to people receiving attention in psychiatric wards in public hospitals, to the need for greater opportunities to be provided for retarded children to improve and also to the need for assistance to be granted to the States to enable them to provide accommodation and equipment for retarded and mentally defective children who attend what are called special, or opportunity, classes in the ordinary State schools. The amendment is designed to provide Commonwealth assistance particularly for psychiatric wings in general hospitals. When I spoke on this aspect during the Estimates debate in October last year I stated that such psychiatric wings were to be built in Tasmania at the Launceston General Hospital, the Royal Hobart Hospital and the Spencer Hospital at Wynyard. As the honorable member for Evans **(Dr. Mackay)** pointed out in the first ten minutes of his speech, this changed outlook, placing these unfortunate people in psychiatric wings in general hospitals, has a tremendous lot to commend it. In Tasmania a stigma is attached to unfortunate people who have to go to Lachlan Park at New Norfolk. The authorities have stated that of the people in the Lachlan Park hospital two-thirds require hospital treatment and only one-third In Tasmania there is also a very strong reason why psychiatric wings should be built in various places. New Norfolk, where the main mental health institution is established, is in a rather isolated area. Although Tasmania is only a small island, New Norfolk is a considerable distance from, for example, the electorate that I represent. I know the great cost that is incurred by people who have to travel to visit friends and relatives in that institution. Not only must they bear the high cost of travel but when they get there they must also bear the cost of accommodation. As a result, in many instances I suppose patients would be visited possibly only once during their stay in the hospital. The actual surroundings of the institution must also be considered. If these patients were in psychiatric wards in public hospitals the nature of their surroundings would, I am sure, aid their recovery. As two-thirds of the people in Lachlan Park require hospital treatment and only one-third require custodial treatment, the Tasmanian Labour Government's policy of establishing psychiatric wards in places like Launceston, Hobart and Wynyard is to be commended. However, under the provisions of the bill the State Government will receive no financial assistance to implement its policy. We of the Opposition maintain that it should, so we make an urgent plea to the Government to consider our proposed amendment. I understand that the Commonwealth has already said that the States cannot have I have referred to Lachlan Park at New Norfolk. I dealt with this matter rather extensively in my speech during the Estimates debate last October. I appealed at the time to the Government to confer with the State Ministers and to amend the 19SS legislation so as to allow States such as Queensland to expend the outstanding amounts of their grants on whatever psychiatric projects were decided upon jointly by the Commonwealth and the States. I did that because by 1960-61 Tasmania and Victoria had spent their entire allocations under the 1955 act but the other States still have large amounts unspent. On that occasion the Minister for Health was adamant that no further support could be given by the Commonwealth until all States had spent their entire allocations. I pointed out last year that the Government's failure to provide further funds was retarding the excellent work done at Lachlan Park by the Tasmanian Labour Government. In 1955, the Tasmanian Government embarked on a major task of rebuilding Lachlan Park at an estimated cost of £3,500,000. Tasmania's share of the £10,000,000 under the 1955 act was £355,000. But that money ran out in 1960-61 when only 60 per cent, of the project had been completed. The Tasmanian Minister for Health at that time, **Dr. Gaha,** who was formerly the honorable member for Denison in this House, immediately raised the matter of more finance at a conference of Health Ministers held in Sydney in 1960 That was four years ago. This matter of additional finance for mental institutions has been raised at meetings of State Ministers and Premiers on several occasions since then. Despite the refusal of the Commonwealth to grant further financial assistance, the Tasmanian Labour Government has continued with its humanitarian work It is estimated that the total cost of that work now exceeds £5,000,000 In his second-reading speech the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr Swartz)** said - >The commencing date, 1st July, 1964, was chosen to ensure that the States which bad exhausted their entitlement under the 19SS act would have time to prepare a works programme which could derive the greatest benefit from the new scheme. I would like the Minister, with the help of his advisers, to tell me whether the Tasmanian Government, which has spent almost £500,000 since its grant ran out, will be able to claim under this bill onethird of that amount. For the benefit of the Minister and his advisers I point out that the gross expenditure at Lachlan Park during 1960-61 was £163,920. Approximately £27,000 additional was spent by the Tasmanian Government during that year after the grant was exhausted. So, although Tasmania's allocation was exhausted in 1960-61, a further £27,000 was spent in that year in order to complete urgently needed works at Lachlan Park. In 1961-62, the Tasmanian Government spent £115,870 at Lachlan Park. In 1962- 63, it spent £82,137, and so far in 1963- 64 it has spent about £208,000. So the Tasmanian Government has spent about £433,000 since it exhausted the Commonwealth's allocation. During that time the Tasmanian Government did not receive any financial assistance from the Commonwealth. In order to assist the Minister and his advisers in deciding whether Tasmania should receive one-third of the £433,000 that it has spent since it exhausted in 1960-61 the grant from the Commonwealth, I would like briefly to outline some of the capital works that have been carried out by the Tasmanian Government at Lachlan Park. A complete private automatic branch exchange communications system, with necessary cables has been installed. Five blocks for chronic cases have been built. A new water and sewerage scheme has been put in. A new nurses home has been built. A new boiler-house has been built. Extensions have been made to the Millbrook Rise convalescent psychiatric hospital. New roads have been built. A new mortuary has been built. A new medical officers residence has been built. Extensive electric installations have been carried out. With the information that I have given to the Minister and his advisers I hope that they may be able to let the Tasmanian Government know whether it will receive from the Government one-third of the money that it has spent at Lachlan Park since 1960-61. It was said that the time schedule was arranged so as to give States like Tasmania time to prepare a works programme in advance, but, as I have pointed out, this programme has been continuous. If Tasmania qualified for a grant in respect of works carried out up to 1960-61, I maintain that Tasmania should qualify for a grant in respect of works carried out since 1960-61. {: .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: -- lt is a continuing process. {: .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr DAVIES: -- I am indebted to the honorable member for Bass for the interjection. This is a continuing process. Tasmania embarked on this programme back in 1955 when it knew that the Commonwealth would come into the field of mental health. Tasmania knew that the total Commonwealth grant would be £10,000,000 and that Tasmania's share vould be £355,000; but Tasmania fully expected, as, I think, did other State Ministers for Health at the time, that when the grant was exhausted the Commonwealth would make further grants. This was intimated by a former Minister for Health, **Dr. Cameron,** who said in this place in October, 1961, in reply to a question, that money would be provided for new mental hospitals in Tasmania and Victoria. At the time the Government was under a good deal of pressure as a result of articles that had appeared in the Melbourne " Herald ". The Government was under pressure also from the State Ministers for Health and from the Opposition. So the honorable member for Bass **(Mr. Barnard)** is quite right. Tasmania was ready to believe that it would get additional finance. The Tasmanian Government has continued to effect improvements at Lachlan Park. But unfortunately the remarks passed by **Dr. Cameron** were so much ballyhoo. They were election propoganda. Tasmania did not get any additional allocations. I know that the present Minister for Health **(Senator Wade)** appreciates what has been done at Lachlan Park. I appeal to him, and to the Minister for Repatriation, who is sitting at the table, to let Tasmania know whether it will qualify for additional grants, bearing in mind that this work of providing mental institutions is a continuing process. The renovations and repairs which are being carried out to the institution at New Norfolk for the benefit of the mentally ill, were estimated in 1955 to cost the Tasmanian Government £3,500,000, but it is now apparent that the cost will be more than £5,000,000. Unless the Tasmanian Government can get more financial assistance from the Commonwealth, and it believes it is justified in asking for one-third of the amount that it has spent since it exhausted its allocation under the 1955 act, it will be in difficulties. But if Tasmania could get more money it could embark on further programmes which would enable it to do more for the care of these unfortunate people. I know the Minister for Health appreciates what is being done in Tasmania in the field of mental health. He visited Lachlan Park and said in another place on 16th October, 1962- >The Tasmanian Government' has made great progress in its attempts to provide a better way of life for the people under its care in its institutions. The Minister continued - and this sentence is very important - >Lachlan Park has seven new wards which would do great credit to any State. Whilst the Tasmanian Minister for Health, **Mr. W.** D. McNeil, and the people of Tasmania appreciate that praise from the Federal Minister for Health, we would like to see it backed up with hard cash. Tasmania would like a grant of one-third of the £500,000 that it has spent since its grant was exhausted, so that it can get on with the great humanitarian work of caring for the mentally ill. Health authorities in my home State of Tasmania interpret clause 4 of the bill in a certain way. I refer to it because I wish to ask the Minister for Repatriation for clari fication of the words " or mentally defective persons " in the definition of " mental health institution " in that clause. I appeal to the Minister to seek some advice on this point. Perhaps he himself knows the answer to my question and will be able to give some clarification in his concluding speech in this second-reading debate. Will he tell the House whether that clause refers to assistance for retarded children? I have been requested to seek clarification of that clause from the Minister. I wish to refer to four specific projects in Tasmania in which the honorable member for Bass and I are very interested. One is " Devonfield ", which is in the town of Devonport. It is under the control of the Retarded Children's Welfare Association. It receives an annual grant of £2,000 from the Tasmanian Government. The members of the association are doing a wonderful job there, looking after youngsters of up to about sixteen years of age. But they realize that there is a gap in the care of people over that age. They plan to have a sheltered workshop in order to look after those people. At the age of sixteen years, retarded children cannot be cast adrift, or go back to their parents. So the association plans to do something useful, in the way of training and rehabilitation, for them. It plans to build a sheltered workshop. We would like to know whether the construction of that workshop would come under clause 4 of this bill and attract the Commonwealth grant of one-third of the capital cost. I also refer to the very fine sheltered workshop that is being built by the Retarded Children's Welfare Association at Flagstaff Gully, near Hobart. It is still under construction. The first section was opened by His Excellency the Governor of Tasmania, **Sir Charles** Gairdner, on 14th March last. The association also plans to build a sheltered workshop at the St. George's School Centre in Launceston. As I said, this is a matter in which my friend, the honorable member for Bass, and I have taken a great interest. The association also plans to build a sheltered workshop at Burnie. I have been asked to ascertain from the Minister and his advisers whether those sheltered workshops at "Devonfield", Launceston, Flagstaff Gully and Burnie will qualify for the Commonwealth subsidy under clause 4. If they do not qualify for the subsidy, perhaps the Minister will be kind enough to tell the House the requirements that must be satisfied in order to qualify for it. Despite the fact that this bill at present does not go anywhere near giving the assistance that we would have liked the Government to give in the field of mental health, it will be of some assistance to the two States that have spent their present allocations, namely Victoria and Tasmania. I have been associated with the work not only in Tasmania but also in Victoria. What a pity it was that the Government did not wake up about four years ago. A great deal of suffering could have been alleviated if the grants made under the 19SS act had been continued. Last October I referred to **Dr. Dax** and the great work that he has done in the field of mental health. I pay tribute to him again. I referred to a World Health Organization publication which described the work that he has done in Australia as possibly the most outstanding work in mental health in the world. As early as October, 1961, he criticized the Commonwealth Government. He said - >A clamp-down on money by the Federal Government has forced Victoria to shelve plans for six urgently-needed new psychiatric centres in the country. He went on to say - >The Commonwealth has crippled our programme for tackling effectively the problem of mental illness in the community. > >The hold-up is one of the greatest disappointments we have experienced. He said that the Commonwealth was making a profit out of every pensioner admitted to a mental hospital. He went on to speak about the serious over-crowding facing the Mental Hygene Authority in Victoria. He said - >At Kew Mental Hospital, officials estimate that at least 2S0 of its 1,000 patients need to be moved to make existing wards liveable. > >Kew Cottages and other institutions for retarded children have a waiting list of 400. Extensions are being delayed by lack of money. If we follow the sorry story through, we find that in October, 1961, the Melbourne " Herald ", in a leading article, said that **Dr. Dax** had said that plans for six urgently-needed treatment centres had been shelved because federal aid was withheld. I point out that in that year the great press publicity and pressure from the Opposition led the then Minister for Health to promise that special grants would be made available to Victoria and Tasmania for the building of new mental hospitals. But how disappointed we were! Nevertheless, Tasmania and Victoria continued to do what they could under their own steam, in the interests of mental health. In February, 1962, the Premier of Victoria, **Mr. Bolte,** said that he was going to have a showdown with the Prime Minister on this matter. **Mr. Bolte** said - >It is serious when Victoria has had to cut its mental hygiene programme by a third. In June, 1962, **Mr. Bolte** said that he would ask for a new mental health deal. He said - >The State Government will press the Commonwealth for a better deal for Victoria's mentally ill. He said that he was going to Canberra to see the Prime Minister about what the Commonwealth could do to help Victoria. In July last 3'ear **Dr. Dax** said that the new work had had to be suspended in Victoria. He said that the new work consisted of work on wards for old people at Mont Park, wards for intellectually retarded children at lanefield and the Kew Cottages, and work on a new early treatment centre. He said - >This has added to the waiting list and to the overcrowding of centres. He went on to say that the number of old people in hospitals was increasing and that there was a need for the 1955 legislation to be continued. I make a plea for the Commonwealth to do something in its own Territories under this legislation. I understand that in the Northern Territory mentally ill patients are put in gaol because there is no mental hospital for them. In this connexion I refer to an article which appeared in the Sydney " Sun " of Thursday, 1 0th October, 1 963. The article reads - >Some mentally ill people in the Northern Territory and others only suspected of being mentally ill are put in gaol. > >If a court certifies them in need of treatment they go into gaols to await passage and escort to an interstate mental hospital. The article goes on to say what a terrible thing that is. A member of the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory, **Mr. F.** W. Drysdale, is reported in the article to have said, " This is a dreadful situation ". He also referred to matters that are covered by the amendments foreshadowed by the honorable member for Grayndler- {: #subdebate-41-0-s2 .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackinnon: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-41-0-s3 .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr WILSON:
Sturt .- I congratulate the Government of the introduction of this bill. Although health - both physical and mental - traditionally has been regarded as a responsibility of the States, the Commonwealth realized the necessity for giving assistance to the States in 1955, when this Government introduced the first States Grants (Mental Institutions) Bill. Under that bill fi 0,000,000 was provided for distribution among the States, to enable them to erect new and better buildings for the mentally ill. Since that time Victoria and Tasmania have utilized the whole of their allocations, whilst New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have drawn less - in some cases substantially less - than the amounts that they could have drawn. We should ask ourselves why that situation arose. I think we can assume that the numbers of mentally ill people are approximately in proportion to the populations of the States. Therefore, we have to look for some other reason why States such as Queensland have drawn less than half the amount that they could have drawn while Victoria and Tasmania have drawn the whole of the amount to which they were entitled. I believe that an examination would show that this situation arose not because the interests of the mental patients have necessarily been considered but because of what I may describe as differences of administration between the States and the laws of the Commonwealth and the States. I believe the main reason why Queensland did not draw the amount to which it was entitled is because that Government realized that if it erected mental hospitals the patients in the mental hospitals would immediately lose their age or invalid pensions whereas if it built annexes to public hospitals or put the patients in nursing homes the age or invalid pensions would continue. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- The Government did not say that. {: .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr WILSON: -- No. it did not. I believe that the decision as to whether a mental patient should be institutionalized should not depend upon whether finance is available from the Commonwealth. I do not think that in any field of legislation is there more confusion than in the field of mental health, nor is there any case in which more authorities have a finger in the pie. Within the Commonwealth, it is never quite certain whether we go to the Department of Health or the Department of Social Services to ascertain what benefits are available for people who are mentally sick. There are six State departments of health and many other departments dealing with social welfare in one way or another. In this whole field of mental health, we get into a state of hopeless confusion, divided authority and buck-passing. I believe that the time is long overdue when we should have a thorough and exhaustive inquiry into the whole question of mental health and also into the situation of the physically disabled. Clause 4 of the bill provides - >In this Act, " mental health institution " means an institution carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons, being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State. Can we take it for granted that all people who are mentally sick should be placed in a mental institution? I say definitely no. Yet this assistance is limited to buildings which are exclusively used as mental institutions. I want to refer to the third interim report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Committee, and especially to the definitions and classifications of intellectually handicapped persons. The report stated - >Intellectually handicapped persons have been classified into the following groups: > >Mildly intellectually handicapped persons with training potential in varying degrees who, as a rule, can live satisfactorily at home with their parents or guardians. These persons require and may be expected to benefit from special educational care and/or vocational training. I do not think any one in this House would say that that class of mentally retarded person should be placed in a mental hospital; but that class of person cannot gain any benefit from this bill unless he is placed in a mental hospital. The report went on - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Moderately intellectually handicapped per sons with training potential in varying degrees who could be cared for at home or by guardians with the aid of special educational provision and/or special care facilities. The bill does nothing to provide educational facilities or special care facilities for these mentally handicapped people unless they are placed in mental institutions. The report continued - {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Mildly or moderately intellectually handi capped persons with training potential in varying degrees who, because of additional handicaps such as severe behaviour disturbance, cannot be cared for at home or in an institution for normal children. Should these people be put in a mental institution? They are only mildly or moderately intellectually handicapped. They have a training potential. Should we put them into a mental institution with people who have no training potential? Obviously these people need training and can become useful members of the community. They can get no help under this legislation unless they are put into mental institutions. The report went on - {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Severely intellectually handicapped persons who, by the nature of their disabilities, are totally dependent and require constant residential care. These, and only these in the fourth category, are the ones whom J think honorable members will agree should be placed in mental institutions. When we look at the numbers in New South Wales in the various categories of handicapped children we find that there are 10,500 mildly handicapped, 2,600 moderately handicapped, 700 children who cannot be cared for at home, 500 moderately handicapped with severe behaviour disturbances, and 450 severely handicapped. Of about 13,000 or 14,000 only about 1,000 are amongst the types of mentally handicapped persons who would be or should be assisted by a measure of this kind. This does not mean, of course, that this is not a good bill. So far as it goes, and so far as it enables the States to build suitable mental hospitals, it is all to the good. But I would urge the Government to investigate thoroughly this whole field of physical and mental health. I would like, first, to put this question to the committee: Should mentally sick people be cared for in a mental hospital, an annexe to a public hospital - I understand they are cared for in such annexes in Queensland, thus enabling them to retain their pensions - a private nursing home, or in the home? The second question I would ask is: Should age or invalid pensions cease when the recipients of them are cared for in mental hospitals? If the answer to that question is " yes ", why should those pensions not also cease it such persons are in an annexe to a public hospital? Again, if the age or invald pensions should continue, should mental hospitals be able to make a charge for the nursing care they provide? The next question I would ask is this: Should the £1 for £2 Commonwealth subsidy to the States in respect of capital expenditure be limited to mental hospitals or should it be extended to annexes to public hospitals and to nursing homes caring for the mentally retarded? From the categories of mentally sick that I gave earlier, it is quite obvious that the vast majority of mentally sick people should not be in mental hospitals at all. They are the people who can be rehabilitated. They are the people who can be trained and can become useful citizens in the community. I believe that our attention should be given not only to those who are so mentally sick that they have to be in mental institutions, but also to those who are mentally handicapped and who, with training and proper handling, can be restored to the normal work force of the community. Therefore I would question whether the thinking that has given rise to this legislation has been along the correct lines. We say that we are going to provide a Commonwealth grant, on the basis of £1 for £2, to the States to build mental hospitals exclusively for mental patients, but I would think it is just as important, or even more important, to give a subsidy to approved organizations building homes and workshops for those who are mentally handicapped but who are capable of rehabilitation and restoration to the work force of the community. The next question I would ask is this: Should the £2 for £1 Commonwealth subsidy under the Aged Persons Homes Act prevent approved organizations, as it does at present, from building, with the aid of subsidy, hospitals to care for those of the occupants of their homes who become chronically senile and mentally sick as a result of advancing age? We know that those splendid charitable and church organizations that have built homes for the aged with the assistance of the provisions of the Aged Persons Homes Act are becoming increasingly worried because of the advancing age of their occupants, some of whom have obviously become senile. How are they to be housed when they are unable to look after themselves? Should such organizations be prevented from building hospitals for the occupants of their homes who become physically or mentally sick and who become chronic patients? If such organizations do establish such homes, should they be restricted to their own occupants? If they have vacant beds should the nurses be kept occupied by taking in aged, sick, invalid sick and chronically sick from outside those homes? Last year we were able to congratulate the Government on passing the Disabled Persons Homes Act, which enables churches and charitable institutions and other approved organizations to receive a £2 for £1 subsidy if they build hospitals or homes for disabled people working in sheltered workshops. It was a splendid piece of legislation. It was legislation urgently needed. But was it right to limit it purely to the physically and mentally sick working in sheltered workshops? I believe that all these matters should be looked at by a specially appointed committee examining the whole field of mental health. I want to refer to the sheltered workshops. Time does not permit me to do more than pay a tribute to those magnificent organizations which have established sheltered workshops to enable our disabled people to be rehabilitated and take their places again in the life of the community. I believe that such organizations should be helped. We know that there is a tremendous demand for sheltered workshops. We know that there is a frightening waiting list in all States. I believe that, just as with a normal person, we talk from the platform of the need for these people to be given additional educational and vocational training. But many of these disabled people, who are anxious to get training to enable them to go back into the normal work force of the community, find that there are no sheltered workshops which have space for them to enter. I therefore believe that, in this examination of the matter, the whole question of a subsidy to organizations building sheltered workshops should be considered. Then we have the anomalous position, under the present legislation, of our Department of Social Services, which does a magnificent job in the field of rehabilitation, being subject to restrictions which say that it can rehabilitate a person if he is likely to be able to take his place in the work force of the community, but cannot provide training for a housewife who is disabled, so as to enable her again to take her place in the home. Surely in this field of mentally and physically handicapped persons the most important of all is that, if a housewife has a mental breakdown, she should be given the training and facilities to enable her to return to her home and look after her children. There is a glaring case for a thorough investigation into the whole field of physical and mental health. We have then to consider the basis of jurisdiction. Should the care of the physically and mentally handicapped continue, as at present, to be partly under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and partly under State jurisdiction; in the Commonwealth sphere partly under the Minister for Social Services **(Mr. Roberton),** partly under the Minister for Health **(Senator Wade)** and partly under the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Swartz)?** In the State sphere we find that handicapped persons come partly under the jurisdiction of the State Minister for Health and partly under that of innumerable other Ministers. Has not the time arrived for some proper balance to be worked out so that there is one authority and one set of rules which apply to all these people? I do not necessarily say that they should be placed under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. All I say is that the position should be clearly defined and that there should be some body or authority which is able to deal with all the problems relating to the physically and mentally handicapped. There are physically and mentally handicapped people doing magnificent work in sheltered workshops where they are getting the training to enable them to go back to community life and take their places as useful citizens. But as they improve their skill and begin to be paid a bit more by the sheltered workshop, they reach the position where they lose their invalid pensions. They do not want to do that and therefore they keep their earnings down to the amount they are permitted to receive under the means test whilst still retaining the pension. Surely the means test should be removed from people working in sheltered workshops, so as to give them an incentive. They can earn the permissible income when they first enter a sheltered workshop and as they gain skill they should be permitted to earn more and more, at all events until they earn about the basic wage. I think it is now realized that training is all-important to the physically and mentally handicapped. No longer can we say - nor will the community allow us to say - because a person has a mental breakdown or becomes physically handicapped we will pay him an invalid pension and forget about him. The experience of the last few years has shown conclusively that a very high percentage of physically and mentally handicapped people can be restored to health sufficiently to enable them to take jobs commensurate with their disabilities. I, therefore, think the committee should examine the types of schools that should be established for mentally and physically handicapped children and adults, and decide who should finance these schools and what kind of teachers they should have. We know that in our own electorates there are schools for mentally and physically handicapped people and that in almost all cases they are carried on by dedicated people with very little money. They are carried on as a rule in very poor old homes which have been converted into schools, and dedicated people do their best to teach the physically and mentally handicapped people sufficient to enable them again to take their part in the community. I believe that a country as prosperous as Australia can and must do better. We must look at the type of schools and instructional institutions which should be provided for the physically and mentally handicapped. I do not put these views forward as a criticism of the Government. I put them forward constructively, in the hope that those who have been listening to me will take note of them and that we will have a thorough examination of the whole of this problem. It is not a matter which can simply be decided by a vote in this House or anywhere else. A proper examination will have to be made of the many factors that, up to date, are preventing physically and mentally handicapped people from being given the opportunities in life that Australia should demand for them. Just as we have set a lead to the world in many other fields of social legislation, I believe we can give the world a lead in this direction if we tackle the problems of the education of the physically and mentally handicapped and the provision of suitable accommodation and suitable opportunities for them. I commend this bill to the House. 1 am delighted to see that one more step has been taken towards providing assistance to those who are mentally sick. {: #subdebate-41-0-s4 .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS:
Barton .- I normally expect from the honorable member for Sturt **(Mr. Wilson),** a fairly slavish speech of support for Government measures but I take pleasure tonight in congratulating him on having said so many of the things which are in the heart of every member of the Opposition. I wish the honorable member for Evans **(Dr. Mackay)** had been present to hear him speak in that way instead of branding the same knd of comments that were made by earlier speakers for the Australian Labour Party as a purely political move. I will ignore the honorable member's last few remarks, but I heartily commend him for the breadth of his approach to this very human question. There are a good many criticisms that can be levelled at this bill. Many of them have been implied or even openly stated by the honorable member for Sturt. I understand that the honorable member is the chairman of the Government Members Social Services Committee. I realize that this is a health measure but it seems to me that the honorable member's criticism is all the more significant because of the position he occupies in the Government ranks. I have four principal objections to the bill. First, it is restricted to capital grants to be made conditionally to the States under certain specified circumstances. Assistance is restricted to £1 Commonwealth capital grant for every £2 that can be raised by a State. Secondly, the grant applies only to a State-conducted or Statesupported institution exclusively or principally devoted to the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally deficient persons. Payment of a Commonwealth subsidy is denied for specialized facilities for the care and treatment of such people where the facilities form part of a more general-purpose institution. In a few words, the legislation fails to meet the requirements of modern trends in psychiatric treatment. I intend to amplify these points later in my speech. My third objection is that no Commonwealth subsidy is to be provided towards maintenance costs even of institutions that are included within the purview of the bill. Fourthly, apart from a financial grant, the bill makes no provision for a comprehensive and co-ordinated national attack on the great human and economic problem of mental health. I was glad to hear the honorable member for Sturt lay emphasis on this aspect. It seems to me that the varied activities of the States in the field of mental health have been reduced to a hotch-potch because of the straitjacket imposed by unenlightened Commonwealth legislation. In clause 4 of the bill there is a reference to institutions for mentally ill or mentally defective persons. After listening to the speech of the honorable member for Sturt I have much greater misgivings about this clause than I had before. "Mentally ill" has a fairly clear meaning to me and to most people. I interpret " mentally defective " to refer to people who are mentally deficient; in other words, to those persons who are commonly referred to as mentally retarded or intellectually handicapped. 1 do not know whether the honorable member knows that the Commonwealth Government does not in fact intend to provide assistance for mentally retarded or intellectually handicapped people. If that is the position, this legislation means infinitely less than we thought it may have meant. Like the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies)** I am waiting with interest to hear from the Minister whether mentally retarded or intellectually handicapped persons are covered by the definition included in this measure. There is a technical point, not yet referred to, which might be discussed more fully in the committee stages. Clause 4 states that institutions must be carried on exclusively or principally for the care and treatment of mentally ill or mentally defective persons in order to qualify under the legislation. One necessary qualification stated in clause 4 is - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . being an institution conducted by, or in receipt of a grant for maintenance from, a State. No reference is made to the extent of maintenance contributions required to be made by a State to an institution in order that the institution may qualify under this legislation. On a literal interpretation, if a State contributes £1 a year to the maintenance costs of a privately-conducted institution, the institution per se qualifies to that extent. But that is not the end of the task of qualifying for the Commonwealth grant. A State, in addition to contributing towards the maintenance costs of such a private organization, must be prepared to apply £2 towards the capital costs of the institution in order to receive £1 contribution towards capital costs from the Commonwealth. I wish now to discuss the dimensions of the problem of mental health. They have been mentioned earlier but I think it would serve a purpose to refer to the effects of this great human problem in the community. We have not been as aware of them as we ought to have been. The much-publicized case of **Dr. Benn,** despite its tragic circumstances, has been of some benefit in helping to awaken public consciousness. Consequent upon the publicity given to the trial of **Dr. Benn** many letters have been written to newspapers outlining the silent tragedy present in so many homes in Australia and around the world. We have been told that the incidence of the birth of mentally retarded children is 3 per cent. Studies conducted in the United States of America indicate that mental retardation can occur in children born to the most intellectually bright parents in the community, just as it can occur in children with parents of low mental capacity. It can occur in all walks of life irrespective of economic or social circumstances. Until recent times people afflicted by this tragedy have tended to keep quiet and public attention has not been drawn to mental health to the extent necessary for beneficial legislation to be passed by our Parliaments. President Kennedy of the United States of America headed a national government with a constitution very similar to ours. He gave a lead in this field and attacked the task in a very broad and human way. I want to refer in more detail to the leadership of President Kennedy and the great work carried on at a national level in the United States in the field of mental health. Assuming that our community is not very different from the United States community, we may assume that we have over 100,000 people suffering from mental illness. I hasten to add that that figure refers to persons who are intellectually handicapped or mentally retarded and does not encompass people who suffer psychological breakdowns because of the strains of ordinary life. I am referring to mentally retarded people, not to those persons whose mentality is unimpaired but who, because of emotional stress or for all sorts of reasons, suffer breakdowns. As I understand it, they are not included in the assessment of 100,000 persons who are mental retardees, if that description may be permitted. An inquiry has recently been conducted in New South Wales which has formed the basis for the third interim report of the Health Advisory Committee. The report deals with intellectually handicapped persons. It states that 75 per cent, of mentally retarded persons could be described as mildly handicapped. This means that they are not capable of undertaking normal educational studies in our schools. I digress again at this point. We have been speaking of the needs of mentally retarded persons. Those needs include not only hospitalization but also facilities to rehabilitate these people for employment and to educate them. Twenty per cent, of mentally retarded persons could be described as moderately retarded. Here again, we are speaking of people who cannot even be relied upon to look after themselves, except with special care and training. Even then, a good many of them do not prove to be trainable. The report states that 5 per cent, are absolutely beyond ordinary kinds of training, or even special training. They are severely retarded mentally and in most instances have to be institutionalized. The report refers to the tremendous shortage in New South Wales of facilities to meet those needs. It mentions the shortage of special schooling facilities and the absence of training workshops. It refers to the dearth of activity centres, even for those who cannot benefit from ordinary training in workshops. It refers also to the lack of vocational guidance for these young people and their parents. It directs attention to the need for short-stay homes and, in appropriate cases, residential provision. It refers to the need for farm training for mentally retarded people who live in rural areas and who would not ordinarily be able to go to a city to be cared for. The report states that existing facilities provide only in part for some 6,345 persons out of an estimated total of approximately 40,000 intellectually handicapped persons in New South Wales alone. This is the problem that we have to face. When we refer to the problem we must remember that it encompasses the families of these young people - their parents and their brothers and sisters. When such a tragedy comes upon a home it can set up all sorts of other problems, as recent correspondence in our newspapers has indicated. The problems that arise in New South Wales also arise in every other State and in every civilized community in the world, not to mention communities which have not yet reached our level of civilization. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr Cockle: -- Your figure of 5 per cent. is incorrect, is it not? {: .speaker-KYS} ##### Mr REYNOLDS: -- There are 40,000 intellectually handicapped persons in New South Wales, according to the report I have mentioned. I suppose that the number in New South Wales would be proportionate to the overall Australian population. Of those 40,000 people, approximately 6,500 are receiving attention and care in a variety of institutions administered by a variety of government departments and voluntary agencies. The Department of Health cares for approximately 3,000 of them in mental institutions. The Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare cares for 311 of them. The Department of Education, at the time that the survey was taken, was caring for 1,444 of the 10,500 children who could benefit from special classes run by the department if classes, facilities and specialist teachers were available for the purpose. I think that my comments about the position in New South Wales would apply to other States as well. No State should be smug about its performance in this regard. Above all, the Commonwealth Parliament cannot afford to be smug about the contribution that it is making to assist the States in this field. Religious organizations in New South Wales provide for approximately 147 persons. All of these children are in the very lowest group who are regarded as being trainable in educational centres of one kind or another. In New South Wales, they are generally placed in opportunity F classes. They have an I.Q. or between 30 and 50, which is at the bottom of the range. The report states that 976 children are being accommodated in such classes, out of an estimated 2,600 who could be accommodated if classes were available. The report also directs attention to the need for residential centres at which children could be cared for. As we know, some of these children come from very poor backgrounds. Some of them come from families that have broken up because of domestic strife, perhaps due to the burden of having to look after children of this kind. At Glenfield Park there is a residential school which I have had the pleasure of visiting. It is an admirable centre. It is a great pity that there are not many more schools of this kind, because there is a need for them. Children who are trainable could be taken from their limited social background, from broken homes and the like, and accommodated at the schools. A whole series of recommendations is made in this report which has been submitted to the New South Wales Minister for Health. I do not want to dwell too much on them at the moment, but they give a lead regarding the kind of help that the States need from this Government in order to carry out their task. I have indicated, to some extent, the kind of institutions that are required. The report also directs attention to the need for subsidies to be provided to voluntary organizations, such as organizations of parents of mentally retarded young people. They need subsidies to help them to carry on the noble task that they have assumed in the absence, to this stage, of governmental assistance. The report directs attention to the need for a sufficient number of opportuity F classes to accommodate children who are mentally retarded. If there were sufficient classes, children could be admitted at the age of six Tears instead of. as at present, at nine years. Of course, with these mentally retarded children a chronological age of nine years probably means that they have a mental age of only three or four years. Therefore, they need apropriate care which cannot be provided in the limited conditions in which opportunity F classes now operate. The report also recommends the provision of hostel accommodation close to activity centres for children who are not able to benefit from a programme of education. It directs attention to the need for correspondence courses to be made available so that parents who live in remote areas of the State, or parents who do not wish to make use of the facilties at the centres which are provided, may use them for the benefit of their mentally retarded children. Correspondence courses could do much to protect the mental health of the parents, and could also be of some use in helping them to cope with the unfortunate youngsters. The recommendations refer to the need for training workshops. This is a most obvious need in all States. At the present time, all the efforts that are being made in respect of sheltered workshop training do not attract one iota of help from the Commonwealth. In some States, notably Victoria, the workshops are assisted by the State governments. There is a fairly generous measure of such assistance in Victoria. I had hoped that sheltered workshops and institutions of that kind would1 be defined in clause 4 as institutions dealing with mentally defective people, so that automatically they would qualify for the subsidy from the Commonwealth of £1 for each £2 of capital cost raised by a State. The honorable member for Sturt is even pessimistic about that body. InNew South Wales, as in other States, we have great institutions providing sheltered workshops. I refer to such institutions asthe Civilian Maimed and Limbless Association, the Poliomyelitis and Physically Handicapped Society and the Aid Retarded Persons Association and various sub-normal schools, which have sheltered workshopswithin the precincts of their schools for subnormal children. Most institutions such as these receive no help from the Stater governments. State governments do help by providing a subsidy for -teachers and in providing transport concessions for children who voluntarily attend school. One thing that 1 notice about this is that it refers to mentally retarded children who are less than fifteen years of age. That is the school leaving age in New South Wales. By the time such children have reached that age they have developed only to about the mental age of nine or ten and so are not fitted to take their place in the community. They need some other institution to which to graduate from the ordinary school. They need also facilities to provide for them when they are beyond the age of sixteen years, and I suggest that those facilities should be in institutions of this kind. I am wondering whether those children will even attract the child endowment provided by this Government, even though they are full-time students in sheltered workshops. I have grave doubts whether they will qualify for the endowment. All institutions want to do something for these children once they have turned fifteen or sixteen years of age, as the case may be. Many young retarded persons will ultimately be able to go out into the community and carry on a self-sufficient life economically and socially; but before doing so they need training to prepare them to go into a workshop. They need to be trained in the routine of going to work, of receiving wages, even if of a limited amount, and of managing their economic and social life. They need this transitional training. I had hoped that this legislation, limited as it is, would apply to institutions of that kind, just as I had hoped that it would apply to special schools as such. The Commonwealth has a vested interest in this matter. It has the choice of paying invalid pensions for life to these people once they have reached sixteen years of age or of assisting them economically by enabling voluntary institutions to provide facilities in which many of these youngsters can be trained to take their place in workshops and to perform routine work in the community. By taking the latter course the Commonwealth would avoid paying them an invalid pension for life and would be receiving the taxation which would be payable upon their earnings. That would be money corning back to the Commonwealth, so it should provide some inducement. I should imagine that the Commonwealth has a strong vested interest in getting many of these people back to work. Not all people who go into these sheltered workshops will be able to go out into the community ultimately; for many of them that will be their terminal employment. They will spend the rest of their lives in those institutions, but at least there will be the satisfaction of their parents having been relieved of the terrible burden of having to maintain them full time in their own domestic circle as they grow older. I have seen many of these human problems. I wish I could convey adequately to the House what a tremendous burden is placed on these parents. I hope that all honorable members will take any opportunity to visit some of these institutions and talk to some of the parents who have sent their children there. They will then come to realize what an absolute god-send these institutions are for the parents, and for mothers particularly, in relieving them for some part of the day of the burden of having to care for these children. In the atmosphere of a school, or even in a workship, these children are infinitely more trainable than they are in the domestic circle of their own home where they are mixing with normal boys and girls and other members of the family. I indicated at the beginning of my remarks that the proposed Commonwealth subsidy of £1 for each £2 provided by the States is not a fair approach to this problem. We do not take this approach when financing the universities, for instance. The Commonwealth provides £1 for every £1 provided by the States for universities. In the building of homes for the aged the Commonwealth provides £2 for every £1 found by charitable and other voluntary organizations. Also, in a matter which was dealt with quite recently, the Commonwealth provides £2 for each £1 coming from community organizations to provide hostels for people who work in sheltered workshops. What persuaded the Commonwealth to so limit its contribution in respect of the great human problem dealt with by this bill? The whole burden of maintenance is left on the State or on voluntary organizations. Once buildings have been erected the maintenance of the institutions will be infinitely greater than the capital cost. To my mind this measure does not represent an equitable or encouraging approach by the Commonwealth. I hope that it will look into this matter and do something a lot better than this to relieve the situation. My time has gone much more quickly than I expected, but there is one point that 1 want to mention. 1 refer to the imposition of a restriction by the Commonwealth in providing a grant only to institutions that are exclusively or principally concerned with the care and treatment of mentally ill and mentally defective persons. In Queensland, to cite just one example, instead of building institutions exclusively for mental patients the authorities are adding to general hospitals special wards to deal with psychiatric cases and people of that kind. I should have thought that this method would have earned approval instead of disapproval from the honorable member for Evans. I did not expect to hear a member of. the Liberal Party demanding uniformity. That, is not a line that the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** adopted. I think we want as many approaches as we can get to the problem, which is still in an experimental stage, and that we should not be decrying the approach made in Queensland. Under the previous legislation, which is to be repealed by this legislation, Queensland had not been able to attract much benefit, as a result of which much of its grant has not been spent. That is simply because Queensland has chosen to approach the problem in a different way, to decentralize activities on the one hand and, on the other, to bring these institutions and the people needing treatment into contact with other kinds of cases. As a matter of fact, the annual report of the Queensland Department of Health and Medical Services for 1962-63 stated- >If mental diseases are to be looked upon as just "another disease" they should be treated in general hospitals where all diseases are treated and the patients returned to their homes from where they can attend as out-patients if further treatment is necessary. The tendency in Queensland is to have both out-patient clinics and in-patient units for mental disorders in association with general hospitals. I understand that there is a big clinic at Townsville and that it is proposed to establish such clinics at other big Queensland centres. This is the aproach adopted in that State, but that will not attract the Commonwealth grant under this legislation. 1 heartily support the sentiments expressed by the honorable member for Sturt, who suggested an all-embracing inquiry into this problem. He was not prepared to say that the Commonwealth should conduct the inquiry, but I am prepared to say so. I hope that the Commonwealth will do that, because, with all the evidence available to it, that was the recommendation in the Stoller committee's report to which reference has been made and which has been eulogized in this debate. That committee's report specifically recommended that the Commonwealth should set up a Federal mental health division in Australia to carry out the necessary research and then, to bring about coordination and integration of all the States in their approach to the problem. It recommended that the Commonwealth should not insist on uniformity of approach, but should co-ordinate and integrate the work of not only the States in their approach to the problem, but the institutions within a State and the responsible departments within a State. {: #subdebate-41-0-s5 .speaker-KGP} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon W C Haworth:
ISAACS, VICTORIA -- -Order! The honorable member's time has expired. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Hallett)** adjourned. Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1192 {:#debate-42} ### AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE ASSISTANCE FOR MALAYSIA {:#subdebate-42-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-42-0-s0 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK:
Minister for Defence · Curtin · LP -- by leave - I rise to inform the House of a decision by the Government to furnish further military aid to Malaysia. This decision is in response to a request received from the Malaysian Government and it is in keeping with the announcement by the Prime Minister in September, 1963, that Australia would assist Malaysian and British forces to defend Malaysia against external attack or externally inspired subversion. The Government has made it clear on a number of occasions that we stand firmly for the territorial integrity and political independence of Malaysia and we have given definite undertakings in support of this. Australian forces stationed in Malaya as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve Slave already undertaken appropriate tasks an pursuance of this policy. The Royal Australian Air Force fighter squadrons at Butterworth were placed some time ago on operational readiness for air defence, and (the two ships of the Royal Australian Navy serving in the strategic reserve were made available for patrol and escort duties. Elements of the Australian Army battalion in Malaya have just completed a further tour of duty in security operations against -terrorists in the northern border region of Malaya, thereby freeing Malaysian forces for other tasks. On 17th March, I announced the Government's decision to give assistance to Malaysia in the form of material, training and secondment of Australian officers to assist Malaysia in developing and expanding her own forces more quickly. Australia's response to the latest Malaysian request is in continuation of this policy. The Malaysian Government has now : sought assistance by Australian forces in countering the threat of seaborne infiltration <of insurgents along the coasts of Sarawak and Sabah, for engineering construction in the Borneo States, for helicopter support of the security operations against terrorists along the northern border of Malaya, and (for some air transport support. In response to these requests, the Government has decided that two Royal Australian Navy coastal minesweepers will be made available at once for patrols off the coast of the Malaysian Borneo States, supplementing the patrol work which is already being undertaken by the two Royal Australian Navy ships in the strategic reserve, and that the provision of two further vessels will be considered in early June. An Army engineer squadron, with the necessary plant and workshop capacity, will be provided to construct air strips, roads and bridges in the Borneo States. A detachment of four Royal Australian Air Force Iroquois heli- copters, with the necessary pilots and technical personnel, will be made available in support of operations on the Thai- Malaya border, thus releasing other helicopters for service in the Borneo area and an addition to the number will be con- sidered later in the year. Air transport assistance will be provided in the ThaiMalaya border area and in freight flights from Malaya to Borneo. The services are making arrangements for the units concerned to be made available as early as practicable. The converted aircraft carrier H.M.A.S. "Sydney" will be used for the movement of personnel and equipment from Australia. In communicating these requests as a matter of urgency the Malaysian Minister for Defence said his Government was deeply appreciative of the defence aid in the form of equipment, training and seconded personnel which the Australian Government had already offered, as announced by me to the House on 17th March. This statement is made, not because of any lack of desire to live in a neighbourly fashion with Indonesia, but because, for reasons clearly and repeatedly stated, we support the political independence and territorial integrity of Malaysia, a member of the Commonwealth, and recognized as an independent country by the United Nations. {: .page-start } page 1193 {:#debate-43} ### CEREALS AND CEREAL BY-PRODUCTS {:#subdebate-43-0} #### Ministerial Statement {: #subdebate-43-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- by leave - For the information of honorable members I propose to present to the House on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen)** an exchange of letters between representatives of the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom which constitute an agreement on cereals and cereal by-products. This new agreement is of considerable importance in several respects and I propose therefore to outline briefly its background and its main provisions. The agreement is the outcome of negotiations between the United Kingdom and its principal suppliers of cereals, Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina. The negotiations followed an announcement early last year by the British Government that it proposed to make certain changes in its agricultural policy. With regard to cereals the stated objectives of the proposed changes were to promote greater stability in the United Kingdom cereals market and to maintain a fair and reasonable balance between home production and imports. It was the view of the British Government that to achieve these objectives it was necessary first to introduce measures to discourage domestic cereals production from increasing beyond a predetermined level and, secondly, to prevent unduly low-priced imports from undermining the British market. The measures which the British propose to introduce as from 1st July next will, if effective, represent something of a balance of advantages to the countries concerned. On the one hand, the foreign suppliers will benefit from the limitation on the level of support given British farmers and the protection against heavily subsidized supplies which have been dumped on the British market from time to time in the past. In turn, the supplying countries have voluntarily agreed to the imposition of levies on wheat and other cereals offered for sale in the British market below an agreed schedule of minimum import prices. In the case of Australia, this represents a significant waiver of our contractual right of duty-free entry into the British market. Honorable members will be aware that, for many years, the British Government has pursued what it has described as an open market policy for cereals. Imports of wheat and other grains have been permitted to come in freely subject only to the payment of a modest duty in the case of imports of flour and coarse grains from nonCommonwealth countries. At the same time, British farmers received by way of deficiency payment or subsidy the difference between the average market price and the guaranteed price on their entire production. The guaranteed price was determined annually. Under this system there was no limit to the financial liability of the British Government because every ton of cereals production attracted the subsidy payment. In 1963 the deficiency payment to British cereal farmers had risen to £77,000,000 sterling. A major purpose of the new arrangements for cereals was to place some limit on the extent of the British Government's financial liability to its farmers. The new system contains two distinct types of disincentive to increased British production. In the first place, predetermined levels of pro duction or standard quantities have been set for wheat and barley. In the first year, 1964-65, the standard quantity for wheat has been set at 3,300,000 tons and, for barley, at 6,500,000 tons at guaranteed prices of £26 10s. sterling and £26 13s. 4d. sterling respectively. In the event that these standard quantities are exceeded, the return to farmers will be decreased proportionately to the excess of actual production over the standard quantity levels. For example, if the actual production of wheat were to be 4.000,000 tons, farmers would be entitled to receive only 33/40ths of the subsidy payment. The second prong of the disincentive mechanism relates to the determination of the level of the subsidy payment. Up to the present, British farmers have received as subsidy payment the full difference between the guaranteed price and the average market price. It is proposed to introduce, however, a new concept known as the target indicator price, which in layman's language can be described as an estimate of what the average market price would be if domestic production were no greater than the standard quantity. For 1964-65 the target indicator price has been set at £20 sterling per ton for wheat and £19 sterling per ton for barley. When production exceeds the standard quantity the subsidy payment to farmers will be the difference between the guaranteed price and the target indicator price. In other words, in circumstances when actual production exceeds the standard quantity - and when the likelihood is that prices of British wheat will fall below £20 sterling per ton - there could be a considerable drop in the return per ton to British farmers. This second aspect of the British scheme should assist in bolstering prices on the United Kingdom market as British farmers will be discouraged from selling their cereals at prices below the target indicator price. A full description of the new system of restraint of financial assistance to domestic producers is set out in the British White Paper on the Annual Review of the Economic Circumstances of the Agricultural Industry for 1964-65. However, in the case of wheat, for example, the system will work roughly as follows: - If actual production in 1964-65 is 4,000,000 tons, compared to the standard quantity of 3,300,000 tons, and the average market price is only £19 sterling per ton, compared to the target indicator price of £20 sterling per ton, the support payment to farmers will be only £5 7s. 3d. sterling as compared with £7 10s. under the present system. This figure of £5 7s. 3d. is arrived at by taking the difference between the target indicator price of £20 and the guaranteed price of £26 10s., which is a difference of £6 10s., and by then taking 33/40ths of £6 10s. because production is 4,000,000 tons instead of the standard quantity of 3,300,000 tons. The end result is that the farmer's return is £24 7s. 3d., made up of the market price of £19 plus a subsidy of £5 7s. 3d. This compares with the return of £26 10s. which he would receive under the present openended guarantee system. I might remark that in the negotiations we were concerned to ensure that the standard quantity for wheat was not set so high relative to barley as to encourage an expansion of wheat production which, of course, would be prejudicial to our main cereals trade in the British market. It is impossible at this stage, of course, to say how effective the new system of disincentives will be on production. However, it represents a significant break-through in that after many years the British Government has faced up to the problem of unlimited protection of its domestic agriculture and all that this has meant in terms of reduced access and lower prices for its traditional suppliers such as AustraliaThe domestic arrangements which I have briefly described are to be complemented by a system of minimum import prices for cereals and cereal by-products. The minimum import price arrangements proposed by the British are, of course, an important departure from the open-market system which has applied in the past. Since the British Government proposes to enforce minimum import prices by the use of levies on shipments made at prices below those prescribed, the new system required a willingness on the part of Australia and the other major exporters to the United Kingdom market to waive their existing rights of entry free of duty or at prescribed rates of duty. Prom the outset the United Kingdom has had very much in mind its responsi- bilities as a major cereal importing country, its international obligations, and the need to ensure that any new measures introduced were consistent with more comprehensive arrangements which might emerge from the current negotiations in Geneva in the context of the Kennedy Round of trade negotiations. The British Government accordingly sought the co-operation of the governments of those countries which are major exporters of cereals to the British market. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen)** has been closely involved in the discussions and the Australian delegation to the negotiations which were held in London earlier this year included the chairman of the Australian Wheat Board, the president of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation and a representative of the flour industry. The agreement reached with Australia is identical with agreements entered into with the other exporting countries except insofar as has been necessary to take into account the special rights enjoyed by Australia under our bilateral trade agreement with Britain. The main provision of the new cereals agreement is that imports of major cereals will be subject to a levy if imported at prices below those prescribed. I shall table a copy of the minimum prices for 1964-65. It will be noted that the minimum import price for Australian wheat is to be £24 10s. sterling a ton c.i.f. United Kingdom. This price is slightly above the minimum price for Australian wheat under the present International Wheat Agreement but it is considerably below the price of £27 7s. 6d. sterling a ton currently ruling for Australian wheat on the British market. The minimum prices for wheat from other countries are likewise slightly higher than the relevant minimum prices under the International Wheat Agreement but below current prices. The minimum price for Australian barley and Australian oats is £20 sterling a ton c.i.f. United Kingdom. It must be emphasized that the minimum prices are intended only as floor prices and do not purport to represent an optimum level of prices or the level of prices which it is hoped would be negotiated in the Cereals Group of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The basic objective of the minimum import price system is to prevent prices on the United Kingdom market from being depressed to uneconomic levels. The system is not intended to raise the level of prices generally and in normal circumstances it is expected that world prices would be higher than the minimum import prices specified in the agreement. However, at times the actual price at which wheat has been sold on the British market has been less than the proposed floor price. This is particularly true of European milling wheats for which a minimum has been set at £22 10s. sterling a ton c.i.f. On a number of occasions in the past, European milling wheats have been dumped on the British market and traditional suppliers such as Australia have been forced to follow prices down or to refrain from selling thereby losing the market to heavily-subsidized or dumped wheat. The introduction of floor prices should therefore provide somewhat greater stability in future and ensure protection against inroads into the British market by dumped or subsidized wheat. With regard to flour, the minimum import price arrangements vary according to the circumstances under which flour is exported from each of the main supplying countries. The objective of the new arrangements is to secure equity as between the various flour suppliers to the United Kingdom and to ensure that low-priced flour cannot defeat the objective of the minimum prices for wheat. The separate flour arrangement for Australia should safeguard the interests of the Australian flour trade. The British Government has also undertaken to consult and to take prompt and effective corrective action if the introduction of the new measures fails to permit the total volume of cereals imports, including flour, to be maintained at a level not appreciably less than the average level in a recent representative base period. Further, the minimum import price arrangements will be subject to annual review. The agreement may be terminated by either Government giving not less than four months' notice in writing. Moreover, it is understood that any measures shall be terminated in so far as it is mutually agreed that they may be inconsistent with or be superseded by the provisions of a more comprehensive international arrange ment to which both the United Kingdom and Australia become parties. Honorable members will be aware that as part of the totality of the so-called Kennedy Round of trade negotiations a group of countries comprising the major grain importers and exporters has been given the task of negotiating improved conditions of access to world markets and thereby expanding world trade in cereals. The Australian Government places great importance on the work of this group. We regard the British proposals as useful interim measures incorporating new techniques which may be capable of suitable adaptation into more comprehensive international arrangements. The Australian Government has made it clear that its acceptance of the British arrangements is on the basis that the proposed minimum import price system would not in any way affect the provisions of Article 6 of our present trade agreement with the United Kingdom. Article 6 relates to the United Kingdom undertaking to purchase 750,000 tons of Australian wheat including the wheat equivalent of flour annually. It has been agreed by Britain that Article 6 shall continue in force until our trade agreement is reviewed. In addition we have retained the preferences which Australia presently enjoys in the United Kingdom market in respect of flour, barley and oats. The agreement specifically covers this aspect and provides that should the preferences be eroded in practice the British Government will take effective corrective action. As noted earlier, I think that this cereals agreement with the United Kingdom can be described as a practical arrangement with a balance of advantages to the various countries concerned. It will bring to an end the open ended system of support which for many years has been enjoyed by British farmers to the detriment of traditional suppliers. The advantages to be derived from this change of policy and the safeguards against unduly low priced imports implicit in the minimum import price arrangements are balanced by exporters voluntarily agreeing to some limitations on their conditions of access to the British market. We are hopeful, moreover, that the administrative techniques developed by the British Government to implement its new cereals policy are capable of extension into more comprehensive arrangements with enhanced prospects of improved access to world markets and more stable and remunerative prices. I present the following papers: - >Cereals Agreement between Australia and United Kingdom - > >Exchange of letters, dated 15th April, 1964, between Australia and the United Kingdom constituting the Agreement. > >Schedule of minimum import prices of wheat and coarse grains and certain cereal products and by-products. > >Ministerial Statement, 16th April, 1964. and move - > >That the House take note of the papers. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Might I ask the Minister whether it would be possible when statements of this nature are made relating to wheat that the quantities be quoted in bushels, perhaps in brackets, as well as in tons. The Minister will agree with me that most Australian farmers, most Australian primary producers' organizations and, indeed, most members of this Parliament easily comprehend prices related to bushels of wheat, but not everybody has at hand a ready reckoner to enable him to convert prices for tons quickly into bushel prices. Many of us know that about 36 bushels of wheat go to a ton. The Minister also referred to barley and oats. It would make this statement, as it will appear in the press and elsewhere, much more easily understood if an arrangement of the kind I have suggested were adopted by the department. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1197 {:#debate-44} ### STATES GRANTS (MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTIONS) BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-44-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed (vide page 1192). {: #subdebate-44-0-s0 .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE:
Warringah .- I have great pleasure in supporting this bill, the purpose of which is to continue the policy of assisting the States to meet the capital cost of extending facilities for the treatment and care of mentally ill or mentally defective people. I regard this piece of legislation as being very humane, designed as it is to encourage, urge and stimulate the States in the performance of their own responsibilities. Significantly enough, those who have spoken from the Opposition side have, I think with one exception, been members from New South Wales. I recall the honorable members for Grayndler **(Mr. Daly),** Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** and Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** speaking on behalf of the Opposition. The main burden of their argument was a condemnation of the Commonwealth because the Commonwealth did not do those things that it is the responsibility of the States to do. It would appear, because we have had three members from New South Wales representing the Opposition in this debate, that the aggrieved State is New South Wales. I say, almost without fear of contradiction, that the New South Wales Labour Government is the State Government which has the most to answer for because of its sins, in the days before 1955 it had a pitiful record, indeed a wretched record, in relation to relieving the problems of the mentally ill. It was not until 1955, with the introduction of the States Grants (Mental Institutions) Act, providing a greater stimulus from the Commonwealth, that the New South Wales Government started to take stock of itself. It did not do that of its own will: It had to be vigorously prodded by the New South Wales Liberal-Country Party Opposition. As a result of this prodding by the Opposition parties in New South Wales over the years the Labour Government there became redfaced and had to do something. It knew that it was not doing its job. All manner of scandals were developing with reference to Callan Park and Gladesville. They did nothing to help the dignity or the credit of the Labour Party in New South Wales. I say this because the main burden of the argument that has been advanced by members of the Opposition here has been condemnation of what the Federal Government has done. I have the greatest sympathy for honorable gentlemen opposite because of the role that they have to play. I realize that they cannot very well criticize a bill such as this which has the highest motive - to provide humane assistance to unfortunate people in the community. There can be no real objection to what the Commonwealth is attempting to do in the field of mental health. It has, however, come to my knowledge from quite a few sources that certain persons are trying to misrepresent what the Commonwealth Government is doing by saying to the parents or other relatives of mentally afflicted children or adults that the responsibility for sufficient accommodation not being available in New South Wales mental hospitals lies with the Commonwealth Government. In my view that is a dastardly thing to say to people who are already very worried about the circumstances in which they find themselves. It is perfectly clear that the Commonwealth Government is doing exactly the thing for which it is responsible - it is making available to the States what might be termed encouragement funds, because the main responsibility for looking after mental institutions and for ensuring that those who are in need of hospital treatment shall receive that treatment, lies with the State governments. No one can argue his way out of that because the Constitution makes provision in that way. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: -- The Constitution does not even mention health. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- That is right. So this is a residual power for which the State governments are responsible. The responsibility for what has not been done in the matter of health generally, and mental health particularly, rests fairly and squarely upon the State governments. Let us look at what Professor Trethowan, a retired professor of psychiatry at the Sydney University, had to say in 1962 when referring to the position generally in Australia. He said - >Many Australian mental hospitals lag far behind world standards. He is a very eminent psychiatrist and he knew what he was talking about. He went on to say that unfortunately in 1962 New South Wales lagged behind Victoria. It will be noted that the Minister stated in his second-reading speech that Victoria had used up all of its share of the 19SS grant, a total of £2,740,000, and so had Tasmania, but that of the New South Wales grant of £3,830,000 the sum of £239,856 remained unspent. I recall that not very long ago the New South Wales Minister for Health admitted that a large proportion of the grant still remained unspent. He was prompted at that time by the State Liberal-Country Party Opposition to get on with the job and, to his credit, to some extent he did something about it. But the difference between New South Wales and Victoria, as Professor Trethowan said, was that New South Wales had lagged behind Victoria to the extent that Victoria had cured 6 per cent, more mental cases than had New South Wales. I understand this was the result of very fine work done in Victoria by the Victorian Mental Hygiene Authority under **Dr. Dax.** If I recall correctly, the additional 6 per cent, of mental cases that were cured in Victoria - which is administered by a Liberal-Country Party Government - represents 172 patients. In other words, if 172 patients in mental hospitals in New South Wales had been in hospitals in Victoria they would have been cured. This is a shocking indictment of the New South Wales Labour Government. I have no hestitation in saying that because, without any good reason, the Opposition has criticized the bill. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- You are bringing politics into a great human problem. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- We are dealing here with an issue which is all-important from the humane angle. You introduced politics into the debate and you have played politics very solidly on this issue as on others. We know something about why you do it. Therefore, I say that until a couple of years ago the record of the New South Wales Labour Government was very poor. It has improved considerably over the last couple of years - and so it should. Now, building reconstruction is going on. This is in the interests of the mentally ill. As other honorable members have said, in 1955 **Dr. Stoller** submitted his report in which be indicated that there was shocking over-crowding and a low standard of accommodation in mental hospitals. He estimated that there was a shortage of 10,000 beds. **Dr. Stoller** went on to say that there was a great amount to be done - to overcome years of neglect and inertia in mental hospitals and bring the standard of Australian psychiatry to a reasonable level of modern practice. He mentioned other deficiencies such as the shortage of trained staff and the lack of training facilities in hospitals and universities. We need not dwell too heavily on those issues because we are dealing now with hospital accommodation. The late **Sir Earle** Page, a man well known to this Parliament and revered for his medical knowledge, once said that the three main features in the successful treatment of the mentally ill were, first, accurate diagnosis and investigation; secondly, relaxation of the patient by hospital treatment or sedatives, and thirdly, occupational therapy. All those features required enlarged accommodation not only in the hospital buildings themselves but also in the hospital grounds. He added that it was essential that the mentally ill have privacy, but this has not been available in the congested overcrowded accommodation that to date has been provided. To the mentally ill, privacy is indispensable. The bill before us is designed to provide additional accommodation and modern equipment for the treatment of the mentally ill. I am very pleased that over the past five years the 1955 legislation has gone a long way towards achieving those objectives. It is very pleasing that in the treatment of the mentally ill there has been a trend away from institution.alism particularly in cases of severe retardation. The trend now is to provide what is known as community care rather than to keep these unfortunate people behind bars. Until a few years ago the institutions were as bad as gaols, and unfortunately they bore the horror name of lunatic asylums. We are getting away from that position. It has also been shown that these institutions are too big. I understand that a mental hospital which provides accommodation for 1000 patients or more is much too large for the type of treatment that is required. There is not the same intimacy in that hospital which is afforded by a hospital which has somewhere in the vicinity of 500 beds. This new trend towards community care is doing a very worth-while job. It can be appreciated that such care gives the patients an opportunity to retain contact with their families and community surroundings. I would say, as a layman, that this would be very important in achieving the cure of these unfortunate folk who are mentally retarded. This community care system, to which I have referred, has been developed, and I give credit here to the New South Wales Labour Government. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- It is about time you woke up and said that. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- I am saying it now. Over the last couple of years that Government has seen the light, and now we find the trend is towards the attachment of psychiatric units to general hospitals. We on this side of the House agree that the establishment- of psychiatric out-patients departments is a very good move. The development for which I think the Government in New South Wales deserves the greatest credit is the provision of day hospitals so that mental patients can attend daily while living with their parents. The general trend is to provide a system which in the long run, I feel certain, will reduce the number of patients in mental hospitals. I have referred to the shortage of staff in the mental hospitals, but since this bill does not deal with the shortage of staff, I will not carry that matter any further. One of the results of the treatment of mentally sick people in these modern days is the change for the better in the public's attitude towards mental hospitals. This attitude is reflected in the number of mentally disturbed people who voluntarily seek admission for treatment. I have some figures here which show that in 1956 a mere 16 per cent, of the total of mentally sick patients sought admission voluntarily. In 1957 the percentage increased to 22 per cent., in 1959 to 33 per cent., in 1960 to 48 per cent., and in 1961 to 49 per cent. This, in my view, is a gratifying indication of the waning prejudice and the better public relations which have been established. I will conclude my remarks by dealing with children who are the unfortunate victims of mental retardation. As has been already mentioned here to-night, in New South Wales there is a total of 40,000 mentally handicapped people, and of this total 13,500 are children. The present accommodation facilities for the children can cater for only 2,400 of them. There is an obvious need for more accommodation, and this bill is designed to provide that. The plea which I make - it may be in line with the thinking of honorable members on the other side of the chamber - is for a new deal for the mentally retarded children to ensure that they are able to live a life of liberty and share in the happiness that goes with that life. I want to see, as far as is practicable, equality between children, whether they are mentally retarded or otherwise. We not only have to consider the children, but also the parents. I believe that every child is entitled to an equal chance, and the only way in which we can ensure that a mentally retarded child is given an equal chance is to provide the necessary accommodation in institutions. It is interesting to note that, according to experts, mentally retarded children fall into four groups. The first group consists of the dull and backward retarded children, and it accounts for 10 to 13 per cent, of the total of children in New South Wales. The second group consists of the mentally handicapped kiddies. They are referred to as mildly or educationable mentally retarded children, and this group accounts for 2 to *2i* per cent, of our child population. The honorable member for Barton **(Mr. Reynolds)** made some reference to them. He is experienced in school -teaching and appreciates the position. The third group is the moderately or trainable retarded children, and education is not made available to them because they cannot cope with the ordinary school subjects or even a modified curriculum. Difficulty is experienced in training this group in even very simple skills. This group forms .2 to 3 per cent, of the New South Wales school population. According to Professor J. A. Richardson, Professor in Education at the University of New England, educational facilities for these children are either nonexistent or are often inadequate. That, again, is a shocking indictment of the New South Wales Government. The group that I am very concerned about is the fourth group of mentally handicapped children at the extreme lower end of the range. They are generally referred to as severely mentally retarded. They will always need care, protection and help in their basic elementary living needs. Fortunately, only .05 per cent, of the New South Wales child population constitutes this particular group. It is essential that the children in this group be provided with institutional accommodation. I emphasize accommodation here, because a kiddy who is in this fourth group cannot be expected to live anything near a normal life, and in the interests of the parents, the children and their brothers and sisters, it is essential that they be accommodated in institutions. Over the last few days I have had discussions with **Mrs. Negrini.** There was a mention about **Mrs. Negrini** in the Sydney newspapers because she has a mentally retared daughter who, two years ago, was No. 100 on the list of persons seeking to enter the Watt-street centre at Newcastle. The entry of this child to the institution was urgent because there was nothing that could be done for her outside. **Mrs. Negrini's** story, as related to me, illustrates just what parents of mentally retarded children have to endure. It shows the important bearing that a mentally retarded child in the fourth group to which I referred has on the life and happiness of the rest of the family. **Mr. and Mrs. Negrini** have four children. The first two, one aged nine and the other seven, are perfectly normal and healthy kiddies. Amanda, who is the mentally retarded child, is aged five. Their fourth child, who is younger than Amanda, is perfectly normal. It is not a question of who your parents are, whether they are rich, whether they are poor, or whether they suffer from illnesses or physical handicaps. This is likely to happen to any one. So we find1 a family which is placed in the position where they have a young girl like Amanda, with an I.Q. of 18, severely handicapped through mental retardation. I understand that Amanda's physical appearance is perfect, despite her mental disorder. Her mother and father are worried sick trying to look after her as best they can. They have placed her in Greystanes Private Hospital in Leura. One can appreciate the heartbreak that is suffered by those people. Strangely, when Amanda is at Greystanes associating with other children who are mentally retarded, she is perfectly happy but when she is at home with her family a tension builds up which affects the home life. It is not possible to keep children in this fourth group in the family home. They must be placed in an institution. [Quorum formed.] It is essential that Amanda Negrini be placed in an institution where she may receive custodian care, if nothing else. Of course, she would receive other treatment which may be of advantage to her. But the fact remains that, even after two years, there are twenty names ahead of Amanda's on the list of children seeking admission to the Watt-street centre in Newcastle. This bill is designed to do the very thing that I am referring to. It is designed to provide the accommodation that is so essential for the mentally afflicted. At the Parramatta centre 300 beds will be provided for mentally retarded children but there is a very great demand for that accommodation. Much more accommodation will be required if we are to relieve the problems which frustrate the parents of mentally retarded children. The expense of keeping a mentally retarded child in a private hospital causes a lot of worry to parents in all circumstances. The cost of keeping Amanda Negrini in Greystanes Private Hospital is £12 12s. a week. The Government pays £7 a week towards that cost, which means that the Negrinis have to find £5 12s. a week. That represents a considerable drain on their resources. The Negrinis are good solid Australians. **Mr. Negrini** is a hard worker. He had to sell his motor car in order to pay for his daughter's hospitalization. The cost of keeping a child in a private hospital is beyond the resources of the Negrinis, and, I am sure, would be beyond the resources of many other people. Our sympathy must go out to **Mr. and Mrs. Negrini** in their dilemma. Let us hope that the accommodation that is so urgently needed for mentally retarded children will soon be provided. I feel that young children starting life deserve more sympathy and consideration as far as accommodation is concerned than do older people. If it would help to provide more accommodation for children in this fourth group to which I have referred I would like the Government to consider making grants to the States on the basis of £1 for £1 rather than £1 for £2, because I feel it is very important to do something about providing accommodation for mentally retarded children. As I said earlier, mental health is basically a State responsibility. The problem is neglected because of the general attitude of the community to mental disease, but since 1955 we have come a long way. We have come from darkness into light. I hope that this legislation will result in greater improvements in accommodation for the mentally retarded in all the States. {: #subdebate-44-0-s1 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- No matter what measure is before the House and no matter what subject is under discussion, one may be sure that the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** will, if he secures an opportunity to speak, try to find somewhere in the matter under discussion a stick, a twig or something else with which to beat the Australian Labour Party either in this House or in government in one of the States. I feel that he must have experienced some disappointment that he could not, within the ambit of the legislation now before us. find something which would enable him to link the debate with the Waterside Workers Federation or one of the other unions which he seems to detest so strongly. The honorable member should be well aware that under the 1955 legislation a State had to spend £3 before it could attract £1 of Commonwealth assistance. The 1955 legislation did not provide a time limit but it did provide a ceiling on the amounts of the Commonwealth grants. Under that legislation the maximum grant that could be obtained by New South Wales was £3,830,000. In order to attract that measure of Commonwealth assistance the New South Wales Government had to expend £11,490,000. It has, in fact, spent £10,770,432. The honorable member may have been wiser to look at the figures concerning Queensland, where I think he will realize there is not a Labour government. In order to attract the maximum entitlement of £1,460,000 under the 1955 legislation Queensland would have to expend on mental institutions £4,380,000. It has in fact expended £2,091,531. So, although Queenslands' maximum entitlement under the 1955 legislation was £1,460,000, it has expended sufficient to attract a Commonwealth grant of only £697,177. Time and again it has been said that Victoria and Tasmania expended sufficient on mental institutions to attract the whole of their entitlement under the 1955 legislation. It is evident that there is no incentive to the States to undertake expenditure in this field so as to attract the full measure of Commonwealth assistance provided in the 1955 legislation. There was no incentive for the States to undertake early expenditure of the amounts granted to them under the legislation because the two States which attracted their full entitlement have been without funds for three years. They completed their expenditures to attract Commonwealth assistance in 1961 and since then they have sought in vain for assistance from the Commonwealth Government, despite a promise given by the former Minister for Health, **Dr. Donald** Cameron, that special grants would be given to the States of Victoria and Tasmania for their work in this field. So it ill behoves the honorable member for Warringah, who has now left the chamber, or any other member on the Government side to seek to chide the Labour Party, either in the State Government or here, for its actions in regard to the assistance to be given to those responsible for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The 1955 legislation recognized the need for the Commonwealth to provide financial assistance for the provision of buildings and equipment for the care, treatment and training of the mentally afflicted throughout the Commonwealth. It recognized the need to continue and extend - indeed, to change - the form of assistance that had been given by the Chifley Government under the agreement of 1948, which was a five-year agreement, as honorable members will recall. It is quite evident from what has been said throughout this debate, not only by members from New South Wales but a'so by members representing South Australia and Tasmania, that the assistance being provided is not sufficient. The present measure practically re-enacts the measure of 1955 with one or two minor changes. There is a minor change in the definition and another change in that the 1955 legislation provided a ceiling limit on the amount of assistance that would be given by the Commonwealth, but no time limit, whereas the present measure provides a time limit but no ceiling. It is quite evident that it is difficult for the States to find the money that they must expend in order to attract the Commonwealth assistance to be given under this measure. As I have pointed out, the Commonwealth provides one-quarter of the capital expenditure on buildings or equipment. To attract Commonwealth assistance of £1, the States must expend £3 and I think that there is sound basis for the argument put forward from both sides of the House that the Commonwealth might be a little more generous in this field in the amount of assistance that it is prepared to give. {: .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr Wilson: -- It is £1 for £2, not £1 for £3. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- I hope I am not incorrect in this. The honorable member who interjects should have a look at the bill. Clause 5 states - >Subject to this Act, there are payable to a State, by way of financial assistance, amounts equal to one-third of amounts expended by the State, . . . {: .speaker-KBH} ##### Mr Wilson: -- That is £1 for £2, not £1 for £3. {: .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP -- My interpretation of the clause was that the States had to expend £3 to attract £1. That was the way in which I had read it. I accept the correction that comes to me from both sides of the House. That means that the figures I cited earlier need to be amended and I shall see that that amendment is made. That does not alter the fact that there is need for the Commonwealth to grant additional assistance in this field. Arguments on both sides of the House have shown that not only have governments come to realize more fully their responsibilities in this field but also there has been, perhaps as a result of governmental action, an awakening of the general conscience of the community in regard to the care of those who suffer some form of mental illness. There has been in recent years a great increase in the work of voluntary associations which assist those persons in the community who suffer some form of mental ailment. Recent events, of course, have directed particular attention to the need for greater assistance to the mentally retarded children of this country. The position was well referred to in an editorial in the Sydney "Sun" of Monday, 13th April, which stated that one effect of the tragedy in Western Australia had been that it had brought starkly to light the appalling lack of State institutions and accommodation for the mentally afflicted, especially children. The newspaper stated that when the case in Perth was before the courts people in the various States had been assured that institutional treatment was available for such people. The assurance, of course, was qualified. The editorial continued - >To be sure, the various State authorities were careful to say that there were delays because of pressure on the available accommodation. This problem is, I believe, a national one. It exists in every part of the Commonwealth, and there is a responsibility on people generally - on the community, and on governments in particular - to provide a measure of assistance much greater than that which is already being provided. The problem may be well illustrated in my own electorate, where we have had formed for a period of years what is now called the Handicapped Children's Association. Some years ago, when the honorable member for Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes)** was a Minister of the Crown, this Government established Koomarri school, which was then described as a school for atypical children. It provided the school building and it pays the teaching staff. The Handicapped Children's Association acts in the way of a parents and citizens' association in relation to this school, which is able to take 26 children from the age of six and a half years to the age of sixteen years. The association, which is a voluntary organization, has since established Koomarri House. This was built in 1 959 by the association at a cost of some £11,000, of which £5,000 was provided in a £l-for-£l grant by the Commonwealth. The association maintains Koomarri House and pays all expenses, amounting to about £4,000 a year, but it receives from the Government a subsidy of £1,000 a year. The balance of £3,000 is made up by public subscription or public support of the work of the association. Koomarri House accommodates 24 people from the age of sixteen upwards. It is a training school and workshop. Recently the association approached the Government with a request that the Government, having established Koomarri school, which takes children from six and a half years to sixteen years, should provide a pre-school in association with Koomarri school. In this city we have pre-school centres for normal children, in which they receive some form of play training before they go on to the ordinary level of education in the infants' and primary schools. The Commonwealth found that it was not prepared or was not able to finance the establishment of the pre-school centre, which would have cared for twelve children. That is to say, there are twelve mentally retarded children under the age of six and a half years who could have been assisted in a pre-school centre of this kind established in association with Koomarri school. That is still needed. At the moment, the Handicapped Children's Association is embarking on a project to establish a new training centre, which will be a workshop capable of taking 60 trainees, including the 24 already there in Koomarri House and the 26 who are in Koomarri school and who will, in the ordinary course, graduate into the workshop. It will also, of course, provide for others who are not able to attend school, who are not at a stage at which it is considered ordinary school training or the type of school training that could be provided would be of benefit to them. It is expected that this new training centre will cost £30,000. So far no offer of assistance has been made by the Commonwealth. I understand that so far no approach has been made to the Commonwealth. But I believe that it would be reasonable to expect that, in this Territory, the Commonwealth would provide assistance at least on the same basis as it provides assistance to mental health institutions in the States under this bill. So we can confidently expect the Commonwealth to make a grant of £10,000 towards the establishment of this new training centre. The Commonwealth might well have another look at the provision of a pre-school. If the Commonwealth is able to provide, completely at its own expense, pre-schools for the normal, healthy and happy children of a community, surely, although the numbers would not be as great, there is a very strong argument for the provision of a pre-school nursery for mentally retarded children. They face a life which cannot be a full life. Of course, their life can be made more useful, but it cannot be a full life. I commend those cases to the Government. I suppose that technically they are not within the ambit of this bill; but I quote them as illustrations of a need that exists not only in Canberra but also in other centres throughout the Commonwealth. 1 was pleased to hear the honorable member for Warringah speak quite strongly on this problem and on the need to provide additional facilities for mentally retarded children. In fairness, he mentioned the step that is being taken in New South Wales to provide a 300-bed institution for mentally retarded children at Parramatta. In order to illustrate the problem that exists, 1 shall quote a case. I do not propose to mention names. Only to-day I received a telephone call in my office from a woman who, with her husband, formerly lived at Captain's Flat and has moved to Canberra in order to seek assistance for one of her children who is mentally retarded. They have five children. One of them is a boy who is now five years and four months of age. At birth he suffered some brain damage which has left him mentally retarded and also has affected his eyesight. On account of him, the family moved to Canberra. His mother hoped that by moving to Canberra the boy would be able to receive the medical attention that he needs and also the educational assistance and training that are provided in the institution that I have mentioned. However, when she approached the authorities at Koomarri House, she was told that her lad of five years and four months could not be admitted to the school, which takes children from six and a half to sixteen years. Of course, because the Commonwealth has refused to provide the assistance that the voluntary association needs, there is no pre-school to which the lad can be admitted. His mother has been told that there is not a chance of his being admitted to the school before he is seven years of age. I do not doubt that that case can be multiplied hundreds of times throughout the Commonwealth. I believe it has been shown that in the work of the institutions and voluntary associations much can be done to assist mentally retarded children in particular. Assistance given to them in their formative years seems to have greater value than treatment given to them later in their lives. I mention these matters in the hope not only that this assistance will be provided in Canberra but also that assistance will be provided on a more generous scale throughout the Commonwealth. This is a national problem. If we have been remiss in this matter, the conscience of the nation certainly has been stirred by the events of recent weeks. I believe that from these events must come some advancement, some hope, some help for mentally afflicted and mentally retarded people, particularly mentally retarded children. {: #subdebate-44-0-s2 .speaker-KGA} ##### Mr HALLETT:
Canning .- I rise to support this bill because I believe that we in Australia have a tremendous responsibility in the field of mental health. Regardless of the age of the individual, we must assist in every possible way not only 'he individual but also the mother, the father and the rest of the family. In my opinion, that is frightfully important. I believe that the events of the past month or two in my home State of Western Australia have proved beyond any shadow of doubt how important this matter is. This bill provides finance to assist in the construction of buildings and the purchase of equipment. It. is important to Western Australia at this time because of the amount of future work that has been planned. Our State has nothing of which to be ashamed in the progress that has been made in this field, but a tremendous amount of work has yet to be done. The work is planned ahead. To-night I wish to say a few words about mentally ill people, especially younger people. I hope - as do other honorable members Who have spoken this evening - that this bill covers younger people. I do not say that because I believe that the younger people are the only ones who are important. I do not believe that. I believe that the whole field is important. But the younger people definitely must not be overlooked. In Western Australia there are organizations which are doing a sterling job. One of them is the Slow Learning Children's Group. That group of people has been working in this field for some years, determined to do something to assist mentally retarded children in Western Australia to obtain occupations. It has been proved that, with assistance and guidance, these children can be occupied in useful jobs. One centre, which was erected only a few years ago, is called " Hawkevale ". Since it was erected it has been doing an excellent job. The boys who are the inmates of the centre are occupied in various practical ways in a rural setting. They grow vegetables, milk cows, tend sheep and do all sorts of jobs around the house and gardens. It is good to see these lads being occupied in these ways. Unfortunately, because of the proposed extension of the airport at Guildford, this comparatively new building will have to be demolished and a new project will have to be started. "Hawkevale" originally cost £33,000. One-third of that amount was found by the Slow Learning Children's Group, one-third was raised by lotteries and one-third was found by the State Government. It grieves me to think that the magnificent buildings will have to be demolished. However, a new " Hawkevale " is to be erected. The land alone will cost the group about £35,000. It is estimated that the new buildings will cost about £100,000. That money still has to be found. I do not think anybody in this House or in Australia would suggest that we have not an obligation to find that money. I wish to mention other centres which are operating in Western Australia under the same group. There are many of them. One centre cost £11,000, half of which was found by the group itself. Another cost £18,000. This is an occupational therapy group building, half of which again was found by the group itself. A third cost £3,250, and half of this money was found by this particular group. A fourth cost £3.500, of which half again was found by the group and the balance by the Government. There are also two girls' hostels which cost £11,000. Half of this money was found by the group itself. Then there is a girls' training centre which cost £3,000, half of which was found by the group. Another is a newspaper collection shop costing £8,000, half of which was found by the group. This is a particularly interesting project. An exporting industry has been established. The boys attending the centre have been responsible for that. Then there is a girls' home which cost £5,500. half of which was found by the group. I mention these things to illustrate the tremendous responsibility which certain individuals in Western Australia have accepted in this particular field. The administration of all these centres costs something over £30,000 a year, of which the group finds about £25,000. This is a tremendous achievement by the Slow Learning Children's Group. It illustrates that the people of Western Australia are prepared to help themselves and for that reason they should be given State and Commonwealth support. I notice that the total enrolment in this particular group is some 1,700 people of all ages. It is impossible, of course, with the facilities available, to occupy the whole of that number at the one time. More capital is required to erect sufficient centres, and I think this is a responsibility that we certainly must face up to. At the moment the only system that can be claimed to be practicable is a roster system of training, and this position will continue until sufficient capital is found for the erection of more buildings, and more finance is available to run them. One of the occupation centres that I should like to mention as an example of what can be done in this particular field is the newspaper export industry to which I referred earlier. This has returned about £25,000 to the group to date. About 50 boys, working on the roster system, take part in this particular work which involves collecting newspapers, putting them into special packages and exporting them. I believe to Malaya. I mention this as an example of the useful type of work that these boys can do. I know it is not the practice at the moment, but I should like to see the Government give some consideration to including the money collected by such organizations as I have mentioned within the definition of State funds. I think the important work being done by these people should be recognized. Whether other States have done similar work, I do not know, but I do believe that Western Australia has indicated in no uncertain fashion that useful work can be done at these centres. Therefore, I believe that these activities should be given every encouragement throughout Australia. It is up to us as a Parliament and as individuals to help in the work that is being done in Western Australia, and 1 have great pleasure in supporting the bill. {: #subdebate-44-0-s3 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN:
Oxley .- A serious and intelligent interest has certainly been displayed by honorable members tonight in this important bill which proposes to grant money to the States to be expended on mental health institutions. This must be encouraging to those wonderful goodhearted people in the community who have contributed such a large amount of their time to promoting the welfare of the unfortunate young people who are afflicted by mental illness. It is probably symptomatic of the interest in mental health which has been rather dynamically generated in the community over the past few years. There is a sharp awareness that mental health is not an oddity or a quirk which invites criticism or denigration of the afflicted, but rather something that could touch any one of our families or, indeed, any one of us. A short time ago the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** pointed out something of which we are all aware. That is that there are cases in which, unfortunately, a mentally afflicted child is born into a family in which the child born before it and that born after it are perfecty normal mentally. Indeed, so far as mental strain is concerned there is not one of us in the community who is not a potential sufferer from this type of breakdown. In the electorate that I have the honour to represent, there are what are probably two of the largest mental hospitals in the Commonwealth. On the many occasions when I have visited these places I have had forcibly driven home to me a realization of the importance of taking a serious interest in this subject and a realization of just how vulnerable all of us are to mental illness. Because of the problems associated with mental illness. I believe it is urgent that work in this field should be promoted with wholeheartedness by responsible authorities, particularly by governments, and that every effort should be made to ensure that everything possible is done to rehabilitate those people who are afflicted with mental illness. So we come to an important point which I know has been raised on a number of occasions. I raise it because it has application to my home State of Queensland. I refer to the allocation of money. Mention has been made of what the Government proposes to do, what has been done in the past, and what should be done in future. It would appear to those who have not studied the bill closely that the Government is being super-abundantly generous in proposing that there shall be no limit on the amount of money to be made available to the States. Once again I can only repeat what has been said before. Although the Government places no limit, there is in actual fact, as has been found from experience, a very definite limit to the amount of money that the States find themselves capable of drawing from this fund. Under the 1955 bill - the last occasion on which money was allocated - £10,000,000 was made available for use by the States. As was pointed out in the Ministers speech, only New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have gone anywhere near using their allocations. Over £1,500,000 of the £10,000,000 allocated on that occasion has not yet been drawn. So I think we are justified in asking why this money has not been drawn. Although £1,450,000 was made available for Queensland, only £690,000 has been utilized so far. 1 am informed that there are many reasons why this money has not been utilized by the States. The fact that it has not been utilized is not an indication that fewer people are being afflicted by mental illness, nor is it an indication that fewer people are being hospitalized because of this ailment. Rather is it a case of hard economics. The fact is that the State Government finds that it is easier to raise money on the loan market for general hospitals than it is to raise money for mental hospitals. So it adopted a scheme of building annexes to general hospitals for psychiatric treatment. I do not see any serious objection to mentally ill people being treated in the psychiatric annexes for short-term cases, but there are very definite and valid objections to the treatment of such patients for long terms in these wards. Another inducement for the State governments to build these annexes is that it is able to obtain a subsidy from the Commonwealth for beds in annexes but the subsidy is not available for beds in State mental institutions. There is one deplorable aspect of the Government's efforts to save a little money. The specially trained mental nurses who are available in mental institutions are not used in these annexes. Certainly the Government is using trained sisters but the general staff consists of nursing aids who, I am assured on very reliable authority, have not the qualifications for this specialized form of medical treatment. So the Government is using what could be termed an inferior and cheaper type of medical attendant for these unfortunate people. The Government is also placing mental patients, who formerly would have been accommodated in mental institutions, in Eventide homes. I hope I am not being pedantic when I explain to honorable members that Eventide homes are homes for aged people. Whilst again there is a strong argument for placing certain senile people in these homes, I am also reliably informed by authoritative sources that a large number of people in the Eventide homes should be receiving the specialist treatment that is available only in the mental institutions. The Government is depriving these people of specialized treatment by not placing them in institutions, and is seeking to save money by placing them in the charge of attendants who are not fully qualified and who do not receive the full award rate for mental nurses. Again, by placing these people in the Eventied homes, the Government receives a Commonwealth subsidy which would not otherwise be available to it. A very serious problem arises from the situation in which the Queensland Government finds it more expedient on economic grounds to place mental patients in general hospitals rather than mental hospitals. Patients who have been receiving full-time treatment in an institution no longer receive this treatment because space is short. Some patients are given a handful of tranquillisers or some other drug, sent home and more or less left to their own resources. Once again I am acting on information that has been forwarded to me. Sometimes these people throw the drugs down the drain, as it is put to me, and they have had collapses. It does not take much imagination to picture the sort of problem that would arise in a community if these people were violent. There is a definite need in Queensland to establish new buildings and to provide neuro-surgical units where they are required. The treatment of mental health in Queensland reached a fairly high standard under previous Labour governments. The present Government has not adopted any vigorous approach to the problem of mental health and has not tried to improve the standard, but I am informed that at least it has not lowered the standard. The Commonwealth Government should pay special attention to certain aspects. There is an urgent need for psychiatric day hospitals scattered throughout the State. There is also an urgent need for psychiatric and child welfare clinics. The only clinic at present operating in the State is in Brisbane and a very large number of youngsters receive treatment there. The problem of the young people who have to resort to these clinics is very pressing, and it is not peculiar to Brisbane. If a similar clinic were established in the city in which I live and in other cities in the State, the health and future of people receiving treatment from it would be benefitted. Why does not the Government take a more expansive view of these problems? Why does it not define more precise headings under which some of the money could be spent? Some of the States are not using all the money available to them. If I may interpolate here, let me suggest that the Commonwealth break down the requirement that the States must find two-thirds of the money expended for these purposes and make it, say, a £1 for £1 subsidy. The people who care for the mentally ill patients in Queensland receive training for about three years. It is an extensive and intensive training course. They obtain special qualifications for their calling and in my experience they are very humane and dedicated to their task. However, at the Goodna Hospital in the outskirts of Ipswich the accommodation for the female staff is in a deplorable state and has been for some years. The buildings are similar to the rather archaic wartime huts. Surely the Government could allow more flexibility in determining the manner in which the money is to be provided so that the staff at the institutions could live in the dignity and comfort to which they are certainly entitled. I would like to give some figures to show that, although Queensland is not using all the money to which it is entitled from the Commonwealth, the problem of mental health is very real to-day and is as real as ever it has been. According to the records of mental hospitals in Queensland, at the end of 1963 2.61 persons per thousand of population are mentally ill. These figures are based on the number of people who have been accepted as inmates of the institutions. The figure for admissions to mental hospitals in Queensland has remained fairly high. It has ranged from about 1,400 in 1957-58 to about 1,700 last year. There is a fairly high recovery rate. Recoveries represent about 76 per cent, of admissions and this shows that something effective can be done in successfully saving the health and future of these people. There is a need for the Commonwealth Government to carry out a survey of the effects of modern-day stresses and strains on people engaged in industry. The Stoller report advocated that the Commonwealth Government set up an institute to carry out research on all aspects of mental health. When one looks at the number of people in industry who are affected by nerves and fatigue, one can realize the need for a study of the problem. A bulletin released by the Department of Labour and National Service on absence from work shows that of the total days lost by males in industry, 5.5 per cent, could be attributed to nerves and fatigue and, with females, 9.6 per cent, could be attributed to this cause. This represents a fairly substantial cost to industry and a vigorous approach in providing more money on more flexible and assured terms would certainly pay big dividends in the future. There is also a case for money to be provided for building special schools for youngsters. In Queensland there are all too few opportunities available for young people who have some mental defect. I know of a number of cases in which youngsters who had the capacity to react favourably to the proper training and treatment have had to wait a couple of years before they have been able to enter an opportunity school and receive the necessary treatment to equip them for the future. When these people are young they have their parents to rely on, but as they grow up and their parents pass on they are at the mercy of the vagaries of the modern-day world. A number of them whom I have met realize their shortcomings and want to do something about them, but because of the complete inadequacy of the present approach to the problems of such people I regret to say that probably they will have a fairly troubled future as adults. There are problems associated with special training centres for children such as the one at Wacol, which is an adjunct of the Goodna mental hospital. At that centre, according to the last report of the Queensland Department of Health, the five teachers are able to handle only about 40 or 50 per cent, of the children who are inmates of the institution. This shows that the provision of money has by no means been over-generous and that there is need for an easier approach so that money will be more freely available for the States for these purposes. I know from the published reports that psychiatric centres are required at Rockhampton and Townsville but I think it will be quite some time before they are eventually established in view of present trends. I believe it is urgently necessary for us to establish a number of sheltered workshops. 1 understand that in the United States of America President Kennedy was responsible for establishing a model sheltered workshop for the training of mentally retarded people. This is an example we could follow but we could go further and greatly increase the number of such establishments in the Commonwealth. Vocational rehabilitation training is another matter that does not seem to have received as much attention as it should from the responsible authorities. Further, the problem of inebriates is possibly one of the most upsetting that we encounter in the community. The Commonwealth Government receives millions of pounds in excise from people who may eventually become chronic inebriates but we find that insufficient recuperative treatment is being provided for these people who, in a large proportion of cases, will respond to specialized treatment. At present the cost of mental illness is astronomical. The employment of staff, the maintenance of equipment, the provision of uniforms, special training and a host of other items cost millions of pounds. Not the least of the costs is that represented by the loss to industry of the services of the people who are patients. It would be of great benefit to the community if we were to adopt a positive and vigorous approach and endeavour to overhaul the situation as far as we possibly can, instead of taking the static view. Although this bill will provide an amount of money for the States, that amount is by no means adequate and the money is not available easily enough for an effective approach to the very serious problem that confronts the community to-day. 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 1209 {:#debate-45} ### COMMONWEALTH AID ROADS BILL 1964 Bill - by leave - presented by **Mr. Harold** Holt, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-45-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-45-0-s0 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
Treasurer · Higgins · LP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The proposals I now lay before the House are intended to replace the present Commonwealth Aid Roads Act which expires on 30th June, 1964, and to provide for grants, to the States for roads in the five years from 1st July, 1964. In preparing this legislation we have had the benefit of many viewpoints expressed in representations from organizations and individuals. We also discussed Commonwealth aid for roads and the terms of this legislation with the State Premiers in Canberra in March. Before outlining the main provisions of the bill, however, I should like to say something in general terms about the problem of roads finance and the role of the Commonwealth in the provision of such finance. In recent years, associated with the rapid growth and rising prosperity of Australia, there has been a spectacular increase in the ownership of motor vehicles. Over the last ten years the number of vehicles on Australian roads has risen from 1,800,000 to 3,200,000, an increase from approximately two motor vehicles for every ten persons in 1953 to nearly three per ten persons in 1963. Although still somewhat lower than in the United States of America and Canada, this is nevertheless one of the highest levels of motor vehicle ownership in the world. Increasing motor vehicle ownership has, of course, led to increasing use of roads and to the need for far higher expenditures on roads. Thus, in 1950-51, total expenditure on roads, as defined by the Commonwealth Statistician, amounted to £41,000,000. Now it is running at about £160,000,000 per annum. More significant still, in that earlier year expenditure on roads was 1.1 per cent, of gross national product; it is now over 2 per cent. Much of this great rise in expenditure has been financed by the Commonwealth. Roads, of course, are only one branch of Australian economic development. Governments must also provide rail, port and air facilities, housing, education, health, water and sewerage services, and power supplies, to mention only some of the more important. In considering what resources can be made available for roads it is necessary to keep in view these other competing demands as well as the still larger and more varied needs of the private sector of the economy for resources to encompass the growth of industry. Without doubt, however, the roads problem is one of the largest confronting Australian governments to-day and the Commonwealth is fully alive to its implications, both for the efficient running of the economy and for community life. Much has been said and written lately about the need for larger roads expenditures and a number of assessments have been put forward. The Government has considered all these and has obtained much light from them. Necessarily, however, we have had to make our own assessment of what resources should be allocated to roads; this in the context of fast-developing needs in other sectors. From the financial viewpoint, roads have become one of the major items in the Commonwealth Budget. In the current year Commonwealth aid roads grants will be £58,000,000 and, in addition, we are currently spending about £10,000,000 on roads in the Territories and on special roads projects in the States. Primarily, of course, the Commonwealth role remains a financing role, the main responsibility for construction and upkeep of roads resting with the State governments and their local and municipal authorities. But, in order that the Commonwealth Government may be adequately informed on the developing roads situation, it is proposed to establish a Commonwealth Bureau of Roads and a bill for that purpose will be brought down later in this session. Briefly then, the main provisions of this bill are as follows: - First, the legislation will cover a period of five years from 1st July, 1964. Secondly, subject to matching contributions by State governments in respect of that portion of the grant known as the additional grant, the Commonwealth will make available to the States over the five-year period a total sum of £375,000,000 for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of roads. Thirdly, within this total of £375,000,000, a basic grant of £330,000,000 will be payable to the States by the Commonwealth, distributed over the five years as follows: - Fourthly, in addition to these basic grants of £330,000,000, further sums totalling £45,000,000 will be payable to the States on the basis of £1 for every £1 allocated by the State governments from their own resources for expenditure on roads over and above certain base amounts. These are the amounts required to be allocated by States for roads expenditure in order to qualify under the present legislation for the additional grant in 1963-64. The amount of such additional grants by the Commonwealth will be subject to annual limits as follows: - The annual limit applying to each State will be proportionate to its share of the total grant as determined by the distribution formula. Fifthly, the State Governments will be required to ensure, as under the present legislation, that not less than 40 per cent, of funds made available by the Commonwealth will be spent on roads in rural areas, other than highways, main roads and trunk roads. State governments will be free to allocate the remaining 60 per cent, for roads expenditures as they think appropriate. Sixthly, the amounts made available by the Commonwealth will be distributed, as under the present legislation, between States in the proportion of 5 per cent, of the total for Tasmania, and the balance between the other five States on the basis of one-third according to population, one-third according to area, and one-third according to motor vehicles registered. Seventhly, the provision in the present legislation permitting the States to spend up to £1,000,000 of the amount made available by the Commonwealth each year on works other than road works connected with transport by road or water will be renewed. Lastly, the provision in the existing legislation permitting the States to make payments for or in connexion with research relating to the construction, maintenance or repair of roads will be extended to include research relating to planning and design of roads. I shall now say something on each of these main provisions. The first is the term of the legislation. The present act has had a term of five years. In earlier days, Commonwealth-State agreements on roads were set up for ten years; but that proved too long. Conditions changed and the agreements had to be altered. A three-year term was tried but the States found it too short for planning purposes. A five-year period seems about right and it is proposed that the new legislation run from 1st July,* 1964, to 30th June, 1969. I shall now deal with the amount of the grant. After weighing many considerations, to some of which I have already referred, we reached the view that a fair and adequate contribution by the Commonwealth towards roads expenditure in the States over the next five years would be made by providing for an aggregate sum of £375,000,000 to be payable to the States. This represents an increase of 50 per cent, on the amount of £250,000,000 being provided in the current five years. If requirements as to matching contributions are fully met, the annual amount provided by the Commonwealth to the States under the new legislation will rise from £65,000,000 in 1964-65 to £85,000,000 in 1968-69, the annual increase being £5,000,000. I may point out that, besides the proposed State grants of £375,000,000, it is currently estimated that the Commonwealth will spend at least £45,000,000 in the next five years on roads in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory and on roads in the States, including projects such as the beef roads in Queensland and Western Australia and the Gordon River road in Tasmania. In consequence, the total contribution by the Commonwealth to roads expenditure over the next five years will certainly not be less than £420,000,000. As a matter of interest, I mention that the total expenditure on roads by all authorities in Australia over the five years of the current legislation will probably have been about £750,000,000. What total sum will be provided by State Governments and their municipal and local authorities for roads in the five-year period ahead cannot be estimated at all precisely. It can however be said that if in total these authorities also increase their expenditures on roads by 50 per cent., as we are proposing to do, total roads expenditure over the next five years will be well above £1,100,000,000. The next matter is the basic grant and the additional grant. As I have said, within the total grant of £375,000,000 an amount of £330,000,000 will be paid to the States regardless of their expenditures on roads from their own resources. This portion of the grant is referred to in the bill as the basic grant. Besides the basic grant, a further amount of £45,000,000- described as the additional grant - is payable to the States, subject to their making matching contributions on a £1 for £1 basis over and above certain base amounts. The matching provision is designed to give the States an incentive to allocate more money for roads expenditure each year from their own resources. With large and increasing contributions being made by the Commonwealth for roads, it is only right and proper that the States should do likewise St far as their resources make possible. Revenues from various State taxes on motor vehicles and motorists have grown considerably and, with the growth in the number and use of motor vehicles, their resources will, without doubt, continue to grow. As I have mentioned already, the base amounts against which the matching contributions of the States will be measured will be the amounts it was necessary for the States to allocate to roads in 1963-64 in order to qualify under the present legislation for the full amount of additional grant payable in that year. The States will also be required to spend any amounts that they set apart from their own resources during a year no later than six months after the conclusion of the year. Provision is made for rural roads. Under the two previous Commonwealth aid road acts, those of 1954 and 1959, the States were required to spend each year not less than 40 per cent, of their Commonwealth aid roads grants on roads, other than highways, trunk roads and main roads, in rural areas. This was to encourage and assist improvement of secondary roads in rural areas and thereby assist the primary industries and those who work in them. The Government considers that these reasons still hold good and that the provision should be continued in the new legislation. That view was generally supported by the State Premiers. I may point out that since the States themselves have very considerable resources of their own which can be used for roads expenditure at their discretion on any class of roads, this reservation of Commonwealth moneys for rural roads applies to only a small fraction of the total finance available for roads. The amount required to be allocated for expenditure on rural roads constitutes only about 15 per cent, of total roads expenditure, taking Australia as a whole. To take an extreme example amongst the States, as regards the State of Victoria, it is, I believe, only about 9 per cent, of total allocations for roads in that State. However, a change will be made in the accounting arrangements. Under the present act the States must actually spend on rural roads 40 per cent, of the total amount they receive within a year. This has created difficulties for some States where for various reasons expenditure has not actually been incurred during the year - and it is now proposed that our requirements will be met if the prescribed proportion is cither spent or set apart for expenditure in the year in question and actually spent within six months after the end of the year. This requirement will also be stipulated for the remainder of the grant. It will be recalled that when the current legislation was framed, there was an alteration in the formula which had governed the distribution of Commonwealth road grants for many years previously. A new factor, the numbers of vehicles in the respective States, was introduced and instead of the total grant being split as to three-fifths according to population and two-fifths according to area, with 5 per cent, of the total reserved for Tasmania, it was provided that the grant should be distributed among the States one-third according to population, one-third according to area and one-third according to numbers of vehicles, with 5 per cent, of the total again being allocated to Tasmania. That change was justified chiefly on the ground that the road systems of the more densely-settled States were coming under heavier pressures through the concentration of industry and the consequent growth in commercial and industrial transport. At the same time it was still recognized that those States which have large areas to develop and a lower density of population, have a relatively greater need for aid in the development of their road systems. Hence, while the formula was altered to improve in some degree the relative positions of New South Wales and Victoria, the area factor was retained. At the Premiers' Conference in March each of the Premiers put his State's point of view on this issue. The Commonwealth Government took the view that this matter is primarily an issue between States. However, it became evident that the States could not agree on any change in the formula, and the Commonwealth could not see any compelling reason, particularly under these circumstances, why a change should be made. The existing basis of distribution is therefore to be continued and provision to that effect is made in this bill. As at present, the distribution of the grant for any financial year will be based on the population figures shown in the latest available census and on the figures of motor vehicles registered as at 31st December in the preceding financial year. Ordinarily this will allow the distribution to be calculated before the commencement of each financial year and will avoid the need for adjustments during the year to take account of revisions to statistics of population or motor vehicles. However, to avoid having to make adjustments to the grant for a particular year after it has been paid, it has been decided to introduce a new clause which will have the effect of finally determining the distribution of the grant for a year shortly after 31st December in that year. On the distribution formula proposed and on the present figures of population and motor vehicles, New South Wales will receive approximately 28 per cent, of the total Commonwealth grant, Victoria 19.7 per cent., Queensland 18.2 per cent., South Australia 11.5 per cent., Western Australia 17.7 per cent, and Tasmania 5 per cent. A clause in the existing act allows the States, in aggregate, to spend up to £1,000,000 per year on works other than roads connected with transport by road or water. Most of the Premiers requested that the provision be retained, so the Government decided to include it in the new legislation, with some minor modifications to make clear the precise intention of the clause. Under another permissive clause in the existing act the States may spend Commonwealth aid roads moneys on research into problems of road construction. A good deal of importance has been attached to this purpose since, according to some authorities, far too little research of that character is undertaken in Australia. Following representations made by the Premiers it was decided that the provision in the existing legislation permitting the States to make payments for or in connexion with research relating to the construction, maintenance or repair of roads should be extended to include research relating to planning and design of roads. One matter to which I wish to refer specifically is that of finance for road works in metropolitan areas. Strong representations were made to the Government by the Lord Mayors of capital cities, municipal councils and other parties, in favour of a specific allocation of funds for this purpose and we considered the matter very carefully. However, there are considerable practical difficulties in the proposition and we also found, at the Premiers' Conference, that the Premiers were all opposed to any provision of this type and they made it clear that their Governments were well aware of the importance of these roads and the special problems associated with them but said that they did not desire any express provision for those roads in the new legislation. Like the present legislation, the new legislation will, of course, provide that any portion of the road grants, other than the 40 per cent, reserved for rural roads, may be passed on by the States to their municipal and local authorities for expenditure on roads and this leaves the States entirely free to assist metropolitan councils to the extent they consider desirable. With these explanations then, I commend the bill to the House. We believe that, through its provisions, the Commonwealth is measuring up in ample degree to its share in responsibility for the upkeep and improvement of the nation's roads. Under it the State Governments will be assured of having, each year for the next five years, large and increasing grants for roads expenditure, adding up to a formidable total for the period. To emphasize the magnitude of our Commonwealth roads commitments let me cite two points. Firstly, in 1968-69, the last year of this legislation, the Commonwealth will almost certainly be providing, all told, for roads expenditure, about £100,000,000 per year. That will be more than ten times the amount the then Commonwealth Government provided in 1949-50, the year in which we took office. Secondly, under the current act, which I also had the privilege of introducing, and the bill now before the House, the Commonwealth will have made available over tcn years roads grants to the States totalling £625,000,000. That will be more than twice as much as was provided for such grants over the previous 30 years since Commonwealth aid to the States for roads began in 1923-24. More than ever these days the state of the roads is a matter of interest and concern for people at large, wherever they live or whatever their occupation. But it is also a matter of great economic significance. Increasingly it is true that efficient transportation of people and goods is vital for overall economic efficiency and good roads are a first requisite of efficient land transportation. It has been in full awareness and appreciation of this fact that the Government has framed these proposals. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Luchetti)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1213 {:#debate-46} ### WOOL INDUSTRY BILL 1964 Bill - by leave - presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-46-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-46-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Wool Industry Act 1962 in three respects. First, it is proposed to insert into the act provisions which will give effect to the Government's undertakings to contribute funds for expanded wool promotion activities. Secondly, amendments are proposed to those sections of the act which define the wool-growers' contributions for promotion and research, as well as the Government's research contribution. These amendments are necessary because, on the recommendation of the Australian Wool Industry Conference, it is proposed to change the levy which is paid by woolgrowers for promotion and research from a per-bale basis to a percentage of sale value. I shall introduce bills to give effect to this change immediately after the debate on this bill has been adjourned. Finally, it is proposed to give the Australian Wool Board borrowing rights to assist it to overcome temporary short-falls in revenue. In considering this bill, it is necessary to keep in mind that any action to assist the wool-growing industry amounts to safeguarding the well-being of this country. No other industry has contributed more to our ability to sustain the economic expansion which we have witnessed in recent years. Year after year wool earns for Australia more export income than any other commodity. In 1 962-63 the export income from wool amounted to £407,000,000, which was 38 per cent, of our total merchandise exports. For the last half century, the proportion of our export income earned from wool has only once fallen below 30 per cent., and in many years was around the 50 per cent, level. It is difficult to envisage any other commodity approaching wool in its importance in our export trade in the foreseeable future. Australia will have to continue to rely on wool to provide much of the foreign exchange necessary to import basic materials and equipment for her current needs as well as further industrial growth. Some 95 per cent, of our wool is exported and the world demand for wool is therefore of crucial importance to Australia. It is essential that this demand should continue at a level which will return remunerative prices for the wool-grower and yield satisfactory export earnings. However, because of the increasing availability of synthetic fibres, Australia can ill afford to be complacent about the position of wool. Since 1936, Australian woolgrowers have levied themselves to defend wool's share of the total textile market. From the initial rate of 6d. a bale growers have stepped up their levy payments to 10s. a bale. However, the stage has been reached where the increasing variety and growing production of synthetic fibres call for substantially greater funds if a really effective promotion campaign is to be mounted to counter the present as well as future competition. It cannot be overlooked that prospects are for further intensification of this competition, as patent rights for the major synthetic fibres are beginning to expire this year. In order to meet the challenge inherent in this situation, the International Wool Secretariat, which conducts wool promotion throughout the world on behalf of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, drew up a plan for greatly expanded promotion activities. This plan calls for an annual expenditure of £A 16,250,000 over the next five years, of which Australia is expected to provide 64 per cent. The programme received full support of the three International Wool Secretariat partners and in June last year the Australian Wool Board asked wool-growers, through the Australian Wool Industry Conference, to meet Australia's share of the costs. This amounts to £10,400,000 annually, which is about four times more than the amount which wool-growers at present contribute through their promotion levy of 10s. a bale. Faced with the prospect of such a substantial increase in their levy payments, wool-growers approached the Government, through the Wool Industry Conference, for assistance in finding the additional funds. The Government gave very careful consideration to their request and concluded that, in view of the key importance of wool to the Australian economy and the special circumstances with which the wool industry is confronted, this assistance should be granted. The terms of the Government's decision were announced by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** in October last and provide that for a period of three years commencing on 1st July, 1964, the Government should match £1 for £1 the funds contributed by wool-growers for promotion in excess of their present contribution of 10s. a bale. At the end of the three-year period, the Government will review its assistance in the light of circumstances prevailing at that time. The decision also provided that the Australian Wool Board should submit each year a comprehensive report to the Government on the operation of the programme. This will enable the Government to keep the position under review and assess the effectiveness of the International Wool Secretariat wool promotion programme. The Government's decision was welcomed by the Wool Industry Conference and wool-growers generally. At a meeting of the conference in January last, it was decided by a large majority of 40 to 10 that the levy paid by wool-growers for wool promotion should be increased to the extent necessary to provide, together with the Government contribution, a target sum of £11,000,000 per annum. As the present levy paid by wool-growers for promotion yields about £2,500,000, the additional amount to be provided by the wool-growers and the Government will be about £8,500,000 per annum. The Government's offer to match any increase in the funds contributed by wool-growers means that its contribution will be half this amount, that is, about £4,250,000 per annum. The wool-growers increased annual contribution of about £6,750,000 includes a sum of about £600,000 for the financing of wool promotion in Australia on a scale similar to that of recent years, and for other activities of the Wool Board in this country. In seeking the Government's support for the financing of wool promotion, the Wool Industry Conference also suggested that wool-growers and the Government should increase their present contributions for wool research in order to avoid an unduly rapid depletion of the Wool Research Trust Fund. The Government considers that the reserves in the fund are adequate for the time being, but it will review the position after the Wool Board has had the opportunity of examining future financial requirements for research. Accordingly, the present contributions by wool-growers and the Government which are 2s. a bale and 4s. a bale respectively, making a total of 6s. a bale, will continue unchanged. Provision to this effect is made in the bill. The bill also defines the financial commitments of wool-growers and the Government in regard to wool promotion. With the proposed change in the method of collecting the levies paid by wool-growers for promotion and research, to which I referred earlier, these levies will be collected as a single composite percentage deduction from the sale value of wool. Accordingly, the bill dennes the wool-growers' contribution for promotion as the total amount collected by way of levy, less an amount equivalent to 2s. a bale for research. In defining the Government's contribution for promotion, the bill provides that the Government's matching contribution will not apply to the present levy of 10s. a bale paid by woolgrowers for promotion. Accordingly, the Government's contribution for promotion will be equal to the total amount collected from growers on a percentage of value basis, less the 10s. a bale that growers pay at present for promotion and the 2s. a bale for research. Payments of the Government's contribution for promotion will be made to the Wool Board on a monthly basis concurrently with the levy collections from wool-growers. Provision is made in the bill to widen the borrowing powers of the Australian Wool Board, which are at present confined to borrowing moneys, with the approval of the Treasurer, for the activities of the Australian Wool Testing Authority. The extension of the borrowing powers is proposed in order to assist the Wool Board to overcome temporary shortfalls in revenue for wool promotion. The financial requirements of the International Wool Secretariat are greatest in the early part of the financial year, as it conducts its major promotion campaigns in the northern hemisphere autumn. However, during this period only a relatively small proportion of the wool clip is sold and the receipts of the Wool Board could be insufficient to cover its commitments to the International Wool Secretariat in the early part of the financial year. It is therefore proposed that the Wool Board should be granted the power to borrow money from its bankers for wool promotion purposes against anticipated receipts from levy collections and from the Government's contribution. Finally, the bill contains saving clauses to permit payments to be made to the Australian Wool Board and the Wool Research Trust Fund of moneys collected under existing legislation after its proposed repeal. The Government is keenly aware of the need to take all possible action to stimulate the demand for wool and so ensure the prosperity of our greatest industry and indeed of this country. This bill is therefore designed to provide the Australian Wool Board with the resources which will enable it to join with its counterparts in New Zealand and South Africa in mounting a major promotion campaign for wool throughout the world. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1215 {:#debate-47} ### WOOL TAX BILL (No. 1) 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-47-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-47-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This is the first of the five wool tax bills under which it is proposed to change the levy paid by woolgrowers for promotion and research from a flat charge per bale to a percentage deduction from the proceeds of wool sold. The bills are also designed to permit the amount of levy payable by woolgrowers to be increased in order to finance an expanded wool promotion campaign. I dealt with this subject in my second reading speech on the Wool Industry Bill. All five bills are similar in their provisions except that they deal with wool passing through different marketing channels. The need for five separate bills arises from a constitutional requirement that laws imposing taxation shall deal with one subject of taxation only. This bill relates to wool which is sold by wool-brokers. In changing the method of collecting the levy paid by woolgrowers from a unit charge per bale to a percentage of sale value, the Government is acting on a recommendation made by the Australian Wool Industry Conference. The conference considers that the present method, which is a fiat charge per bale, falls much more heavily on the growers of low-priced wool than on those whose wool fetches high prices. To date the rates of the wool tax have been relatively low so that the per bale tax on the grower of low-priced wool has not been unduly onerous. However, with the proposed substantial increase in the tax, a uniform per bale charge on all wool could be burdensome to the producer of low-priced wools. Furthermore, the per bale tax does not make any allowance for fluctuations in wool prices which occur within a selling season. This means that two growers who produce similar wool pay the same tax irrespective of the fact that due to a fall in wool prices the grower who sold his wool before the fall received a higher price. It might be said that a change to a percentage of value basis could operate against the grower who produces the better quality wool and so act as a disincentive. However, apart from the fact that environmental conditions play an important part in the quality of wool produced in various areas, it is also considered that the tax will not be of such magnitude as to act as a disincentive in this regard. On balance the Government considers that a levy based on a percentage of value will be more equitable for woolgrowers generally. As at present, the new tax will apply to shorn wool only. Although the Wool Industry Conference suggested that the tax be extended to embrace wool other than shorn, it was found after a thorough examination that this would not be practicable at the present time. The main obstacle is the extent of physical appraisement which would be involved in order to determine sale value and to identify tax-paid and tax-free wools. However, this question may be reviewed at a later date should circumstances warrant it. As recommended by the Wool Industry Conference, the wool tax bills provide for a maximum rate of levy of 2 per cent. The actual rate which will be imposed in any one year will be fixed by regulation on the recommendation of the Wool Industry Conference. The rate recommended by the conference will be such as to cover wool growers' contributions for wool promotion as well as for wool research. The increased tax on a percentage of value basis will come into operation of 1st July, 1964. Appropriate provisions are contained in all the wool tax bills to ensure that wool upon which tax is imposed under the new legislation or the existing legislation is not taxed again. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1216 {:#debate-48} ### WOOL TAX BILL (No. 2) 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-48-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-48-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This bill provides for the imposition of the wool tax on a percentage of value basis on wool which is purchased by a registered wool-dealer from a person other than a wool-broker. In most instances this wool will be purchased by registered wooldealers direct from wool-growers. However, the bill also applies to wool which will be purchased by registered wool-dealers from unregistered wool-dealers. The provisions of the bill are similar to those of Wool Tax Bill (No. 1) 1964 which I explained when introducing that bill. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1216 {:#debate-49} ### WOOL TAX BILL (No. 3) 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-49-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-49-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This bill deals with the imposition of the wool tax on a percentage of value basis on wool which is purchased by a manufacturer direct from wool-growers or unregistered wool-dealers. The provisions of the bill are similar to those in the other wool tax bills. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1217 {:#debate-50} ### WOOL TAX BILL (No. 4) 1964, Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-50-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-50-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This bill deals with the imposition of the wool tax on a percentage of value basis on wool which is subjected by a manufacturer to a process, other than securing or carbonizing, on behalf of another person who owns the wool. It also covers wool which is grown by the manufacturer himself. The provisions of the bill are similar to those in the other wool tax bills. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1217 {:#debate-51} ### WOOL TAX BILL (No. 5) 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-51-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-51-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This bill deals with the imposition of the wool tax on a percentage of value basis on wool which is exported without having been previously taxed at the taxing points provided for in the other bills. The provisions of the bill are similar to those in the other wool tax bills. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1217 {:#debate-52} ### WOOL TAX (ADMINISTRATION) BILL 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-52-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-52-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the bill be now read a second time. This bill contains the administrative arrangements for the collection of the ad valorem levy to be imposed under the five wool tax bills. The change in the method of collecting the levy paid by wool-growers for research and promotion from a flat charge per bale to a percentage of sale value will require a major modification to the collection procedures. As in the case of the existing wool tax, the Commissioner of Taxation will be charged with the general administration of the new tax. Separate provisions are required for the collection of the tax on shorn wool marketed through different channels and these have been provided for in the bill. The separate categories are wool sold by a broker at auction or otherwise, which accounts for about 90 per cent, of the wool clip; wool purchased by registered dealers directly from growers or from unregistered dealers; wool purchased by manufacturers directly from growers or unregistered dealers; wool processed by a manufacturer on commission which has not previously borne tax; wool grown by the manufacturer himself; and wool exported that has not previously been taxed. In the case of wool sold by a broker, the tax will be imposed on the gross price for which he sells the wool. Wool purchased by a registered dealer will be taxed on the purchase price plus an allowance for transport and handling charges to make the basis of the tax comparable to wool on the broker's floor. Wool purchased by a manufacturer will be taxed on the purchase price plus an allowance for transport and handling charges to the manufacturer's premises. The taxable value of the wool processed by a manufacturer on commission or grown by the manufacturer himself will be the value as appraised by the Australian Wool Board. Finally, in the case of wool which is exported without passing previously through a taxing point, the exporter can pay tax on the value as appraised by the Australian Wool Board. Alternatively, the exporter can enter into an arrangement with the Commissioner of Taxation to have the wool taxed on the price realized overseas less the charges incurred in moving the wool from Australia to the overseas point of sale. As I mentioned earlier, the great bulk of the wool clip is sold by brokers and most of the remainder is purchased by registered dealers. Accordingly, the amount of wool which will require appraisement for tax purposes will be very small. Wool-selling brokers will be required to register with the Commissioner of Taxation as will the manufacturers who handle wool which has not previously passed through a taxing point. The registration will carry with it an obligation to furnish a monthly return and remit tax collected to the Commissioner of Taxation. As at present they will be empowered under the legislation to recover the tax from their clients. Registration of exporters will only be required where they export wool without payment of tax under an arrangement with the commissioner, the tax to be paid later on a value determined on the basis of the price received overseas for the wool. Wool-dealers will be given the option of registering with the Commissioner of Taxation and if they so elect, they will be subject to the same obligations and rights as wool-brokers. For those dealers who buy only from growers it may be more convenient to remain unregistered and so avoid the obligation to furnish monthly returns and remit tax to the Commissioner of Taxation. The wool handled by them will be taxed at some later stage, that is, when sold by a broker, or sold to a registered dealer or to a manufacturer, or when exported. However, the dealers who buy wool, not only from growers, but also from brokers and mix these wools may find it advantageous to register. This will enable them to avoid the risk of paying double taxation because of the difficulty of identifying the tax-paid wool after it has been mixed with tax-free wool. The bill provides for wool-brokers and registered wool-dealers to issue certificates in a form approved by the commissioner to identify wool on which tax has been paid. These certificates, or certificates issued by the commissioner, will accompany the wool whenever it changes hands before being manufactured or exported in order to avoid the wool being taxed twice. Woolbrokers and wool-dealers will also be authorized to issue certificates for the identification of skin wool, which is exempt from the tax. Special provision is made in the bill for the certification of wool which is to be scoured or carbonized on commission or for resale in order to ensure that such wool is not taxed twice or conversely, that it does not escape tax. The reason for this provision is that wool, when scoured or carbonized, loses its original identity. As a safeguard that no shorn wool leaves Australia without paying tax, ships' agents will not be permitted to accept wool for export unless it is accompanied by evidence as to payment of tax or arrangements for payment of tax. In cases where the Commissioner of Taxation is not satisfied that the taxable value of wool has been correctly stated, the bill empowers him to make his own assessment of this value. The remaining provisions of the bill relate to the procedures which will apply to the collection and payment of tax, including provisions concerning objections, reviews and appeals on assessments, as well as the penal provisions and prosecutions for infractions of the act. These provisions are similar to those commonly made in all taxing acts. The arrangements for the collection of wool tax on an ad valorem basis which are outlined in this bill are more complicated than those which obtain under the existing per-bale system. However, this will be more than offset by the greater equity which the new form of tax will provide for the individual wool grower. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1218 {:#debate-53} ### WOOL TAX LEGISLATION REPEAL BILL 1964 Bill presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-53-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-53-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this bill is to repeal all existing acts which govern the imposition, payment and collection of the tax paid by woolgrowers for wool promotion and research. This action is necessary in order to make way for the new wool tax arrangements which have been outlined in my secondreading speeches on the five wool tax bills and the Wool Tax (Administration) Bill. The bill contains the usual type of saving clause in relation to liability for tax arising out of the receipt into store or export of shorn wool prior to 1st July, 1964. However, the bill also contains a clause which provides especially that unsold wool in brokers' stores as at 30th June, 1964, and which was received after 31st March, 1964, will not be subject to tax under the repealed legislation. This wool will be subject to the new rate of tax which is to commence on 1st July, 1964. I commend the bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 1219 {:#debate-54} ### ADJOURNMENT The Parliament: Incident in Debate- The Brisbane Line - Extradition of Immigrant. Motion (by **Mr. Adermann)** proposed - That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-54-s0 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee **.- Mr. Speaker,** the matter to which I wish to refer concerns a speech that I made in this House on 19th March - the last time that we had a Grievance debate - and a reply made by the honorable member for West Sydney **(Mr. Minogue).** What I intend to say now I shall say in the most friendly manner towards the honorable member. My remarks and his reply are on record in " Hansard ". When I read the " Hansard " record, honorable members will realize, I am sure, that I am justified in raising the matter now. I had intended to reply in a subsequent Grievance debate to what had been said by the honorable member for West Sydney, but, owing to the intervention of private members' business and proposals for the discussion of definite matters of public importance, no Grievance debate has since taken place, and I have to take the opportunity afforded this evening to raise the matter. On 19th March, I said - >I wish to refer to the last election campaign. I hope that I am the same in victory as 1 would be in defeat. Members of the Labour Parly have said that the Government is arrogant. Of course this is not so. I am not a member of the Government; but I am a supporter of it. Honorable members opposite will not hear me saying anything about the great victory of the Government and the defeat of the Labour Party, because I realize that as time goes on the pendulum will swing and the Labour Party will have a victory. This Government has been in office for a long time. I hope that if the Labour Party gets into office in the years to come its legislation will be as pleasing to the people as this Government's legislation has been over the past fourteen years. The next speaker in that debate was the honorable member for West Sydney. Referring only to that part of my speech which I have just read, he said - >The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** eulogized himself because he beat a Labour candidate at the last election. He is now assured of continued markets for his wheat and wool. China will be his best market. In one breath he supports the sale of wheat and wool to China and in the next breath he accuses honorable members on this side of the House of being " Corns " and supporters of Communist China. That has been his attitude during the last six years. Immediately after the honorable member had spoken, I was able to make a personal explanation about the sale of wheat to China. In that personal explanation I said - >My attitude on this question is very clear. What 1 have said is that while we sell wheat to China we must keep full supplies for our traditional customers and that sales to China are made to prevent the wheat from rotting in the silos. The personal explanation covered that matter well. The part of the speech made by the honorable member for West Sydney to which I am now objecting I shall read again. {: .speaker-KGL} ##### Mr Harding: -- We want to get home some time to-night. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- The more the honorable member keeps quiet, the sooner he will get home. The honorable member for West Sydney, in the part of his speech to which I am now objecting, said - >In one breath he supports the sale of wheat and wool to China and in the next breath he accuses honorable members on this side of the House of being "Corns" . . . Has anybody on the Opposition side of the chamber heard me, in all the time that I have been in this Parliament, refer to any Opposition member as a " Com "? Have I ever indicated, or given any impression, that I thought any Opposition members were " Corns "? The honorable member for West Sydney said - he accuses honorable members on this side of the House of being "Corns" and supporters of Communist China. That has been his attitude during the last six years. I have been a member of this Parliament for more than eighteen years. I shall not tie my denial to the period of six years mentioned by the honorable member for West Sydney. If any one can produce the slightest evidence that I have implied, d ur. ing all the years that I have been a member of this Parliament, that Opposition members were "Corns" and supporters of red China, I shall be the one to apologize. Indeed, I shall apologize quick and lively, because, in all that period, I have never said such things. I would be ashamed of myself if I had done so. I have not said those things inside this House or outside it. in fact, I have never gone into the subject at all. I have never described even **Mr. Khrushchev** as a Communist. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- What do you think he is -a Liberal? {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- Of course I know that he is a Communist, but I have not previously described him as one. I do not go in for that sort of talk. I believe that if I were to say that some Opposition member was a Communist I ought to be able to substantiate such a statement, and I could not do it. During the time that I have been in this Parliament, I have never made such statements, as honorable members can see if they look through " Hansard ". If they examine " Hansard ", they will find that in all the years that I have been a member of this place I have not said here on any occasion anything that I could not substantiate. I want to be as kind as I can to the honorable member for West Sydney. I believe that he was probably a little heated and that he just let his tongue run away with him. All I want him to do is to realize that he has made a mistake. If he does, I shall be quite happy, because, for many years, we have been on the most friendly terms. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Oh! {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL: -- I helped him with a problem relating to Lord Howe Island by asking a question. The honorable member for Watson knows that. Because I helped the honorable member for West Sydney in that matter, I think it is only right that he, being the man that I know he is - he is also a man whose friendship is appreciated by honorable members opposite - realize that he should not have said about me personally the things that he did say, and that he should withdraw them. {: #debate-54-s1 .speaker-JUX} ##### Mr MINOGUE:
West Sydney -- **Mr. Speaker,** I cannot understand what the honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** has said this evening. I think that the reason is not so much what he has said as the way he said it. As I have said, over the last six years the honorable member has accused Opposition members of being " reds ", left wingers and everything else. He has applied those descriptions to everybody on this side of the House. In 1958, when **Dr. Evatt** led the Australian Labour Party in this Parliament, everybody who mentioned China was regarded as a traitor to his country. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- But I did not say so. {: .speaker-JUX} ##### Mr MINOGUE: -- The honorable member said it, all right. He backed up his party. He never once dissented, from such statements. At that time, we were all regarded as " Corns ". What goes for any man on this side of the House goes for me. Does the honorable member think that f can be white if he accuses all the, others on this side? People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. I know that the honorable member's conscience is pricking him. He had a good win in the last general election because he had an Australian Democratic Labour Party candidate for a runner. That is why he had such a good majority. However, if the honorable member is in any way upset over this matter, I should like to tell him that if I have one friend on the other side of the House, it is the honorable member. Why should I say anything against the honorable member for Mallee? I ran up against him at the Sydney Town Hall when I was collecting for the pensioners of West Sydney at a time when this Government was starving them - it is still starving them - and he was the first man to give me a donation. He boasts here about the Government sending wheat to China. That is the popular thing to do, because wheat for China means money for the Country Party, but if the Government did something for the pensioners of West Sydney that would be something practical. I have made up my mind that if an apology is wanted I will give it to him, irrespective of whether that is the right or wrong thing to do. I would not fall out with a good friend over something I said here the other night. The honorable member for Mallee has told me confidentially that he will never support those on his side of the House when they say that we are Corns and such things. If an apology is wanted, he can have it by all means, but he will be expecting too much if he expects that every time an honorable member from this side speaks he can interject and call him a left winger or something else. He should not think that he can get away with that. I give the honorable member that warning to-night, along with the apology. In future he will have to respect those on this side of the House. Never mind talking about my mates doing this, that and the other thing. If it suits the honorable member, I will apologize, although I do not think I have anything to apologize for. I think it was frivolous of the honorable member to introduce this matter. {: #debate-54-s2 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Scullin **.- Mr. Speaker,** many times during the period in which I have been a member of this Parliament the statement that under the Liberal Government there was a Brisbane line strategy during the last war has been described as ludicrous and worse. The late member for East Sydney, who had contended that there was a plan envisaging falling back upon a line joining Perth and Brisbane, was credited with having imagined the idea. I am not now going to argue whether a Brisbane line strategy was good or bad, but, in justice to the memory of the late Honorable E. J. Ward, I think a statement in to-night's Melbourne " Herald " should be written into " Hansard " so as to complete the story. To-night's Melbourne " Herald " states - >The bitter controversy over Australia's "Brisbane Line " of the Second World War was resurrected to-day in the new book, " General Douglas MacArthur ", by American war correspondent Bob Considine. Considine says in his book that MacArthur escaped from Corregidor and went to Australia to find a state of mind that seemingly had learned nothing from France's Maginot Line dreamers. The Australian chiefs of staff told MacArthur that Australia would be defended to the death along a line across the continent from Brisbane to Perth, Considine says. "Everything of possible value to the Japanese in the northern portion of Australia would be destroyed in advance. New Guinea was to be written off." MacArthur listened politely to the planners at his first meeting, Considine says. Then he spoke. He would gather up what meagre forces he had and meet the Japanese in New Guinea as they rolled like a gigantic wave against the Owen-Stanley Range. . . . > >The existence of specific plans for retreat to a Brisbane Line has never been disproved. The Royal Commission in which **Mr. E.** J. Ward figured in 1943 was not appointed to investigate whether the planing had been made, or to determine what documents relating to it existed. The Commissioner's prime task was to investigate **Mr. Ward's** allegation that a document about the Brisbane Line had been removed from the official files. . . . > >There is no doubt that plans had been made to retreat from the north, if necessary, and to make a last ditch stand to defend Australia on a line across the continent. The big aircraft repair base on the Murray River was built for the express purpose of maintaining aircraft that might be operating on just such a line. I bring this matter before the Parliament because over the last fourteen or fifteen years, during which I have been in this Parliament, I have heard definite statements from members on the other side of the House that no such strategy was envisaged at all and that it was monstrous for the late **Mr. Ward** to suggest that it had been envisaged by the defence authorities of this country, under a Liberal Party government prior to the control of the country passing into the hands of the Labour Party and the late John Curtin. Statements have been made, not by irresponsible back-benchers but by Ministers and other leading members of the Government parties, that the proposition for a retreat to a Brisbane line, good or bad, did not exist. I rise in order that " Hansard " may show the complete story, which vindicates the statements of the late **Mr. E.** J. Ward. {: #debate-54-s3 .speaker-JWI} ##### Mr FOX:
Henty .- Let me put the record straight. The honorable member for Scullin **(Mr. Peters)** raises the question of whether or not there was a Brisbane line. I want to tell him' that Japan did not enter the war until December of 1941, so no strategy for falling back to Brisbane or anywhere else could have been worked out prior to December of 1941. The previous non-Labour government went out of office in August of 1941, so that if there were a Brisbane line it was thought up by the Curtin Administration - a Labour administration. {: #debate-54-s4 .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES:
Hunter .- The honorable member for Mallee **(Mr. Turnbull)** said a short time ago that he never makes charges unless he can substantiate them'. In the few minutes available to me now I propose to make charges against the Government for being the host - the herbourer - of some of the worst war criminals the world has known. I propose to impart to the House and to place on the records of this Parliament some information that has come into my possession in recent weeks from a reliable source. Towards the end of last year the Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** was requested by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to hand over to it a man then living in Sydney, named Ervin Richard Adolf Viks, a war criminal who collaborated with the Gestapo when the German Nazis or Fascists occupied what is now the Soviet Republic of Estonia. The Government here refused to hand Viks over to the Soviet authorities for trial. He is the son of Peeter Viks and was born on 7th May, 1897, in the former town of Veski, Tartu District. I shall quote from the evidence that was adduced at the trial of Viks, Juhan Juriste and Karl Linnas at the Criminal Court at Tartu on 16th January, 1962. After the Nazis were forced out of Estonia in 1944, Viks fled and now, as I have said, is living in Australia, protected by this Government. Some of the depredations in which he participated, which he organized, sponsored and brought to fruition I shall now relate to the Parliament - >As the preliminary investigations established, fiendish crimes were also committed by the third of the accused - Ervin Viks, who is at present hiding in Australia. In July and August 1941, in his capacity of Deputy Chief of the so-called " Special Department " of the Tartu concentration camp, he conducted the inquiries into the " criminal " cases of the imprisoned Soviet citizens, passed sentence on them, including sentence of death, drew up lists of prisoners destined to be eliminated and, in conjunction with the management of the concentration camp, organized the transport of the victims to the edge of the anti-tank trench where they were finally executed. Viks personally interrogated the prisoners, often physically assaulting them during the process. Together with other members of the staff of the concentration camp, Viks was often present in person when mass executions were carried out. > >When questioned during the course of the preliminary investigation, witness Hans Laats gave the following account of Viks's direct participation in the wholesale extermination of the Soviet citizens held at the Tartu concentration camp. > >Voldeman Rajalo also bore witness to Viks's criminal activities at the Tartu concentration camp in 1941. ". . . On the basis of the materials to hand," his deposition runs, "Viks formulated personal judgments with respect to the Soviet citizens detained at the camp, and arbitrarily determined the punishment in each case. These judgments ' took the form of lists of names followed by columns in which the gist of the accusation and the penalty proposed were briefly indicated. ... On a few occasions I happened to be present in the office when Viks was busy compiling such judgments on the 'criminal cases ' of prisoners held in the camp. I also saw one such completed document which had been drawn up by Viks for the benefit of the Germans. I could see that one and the same sentence was proposed for all the persons named in the list - the death penalty." > >In September 1941 Viks, as one of the most active supporters of the Nazis, was transferred to Tallinn. Another torturers' concentration camp - >Here he was promoted to the post of chief of the political police in the Tallinn-Harju prefecture'. In this new capacity Viks directed the punitive operations of the political police in Tallinn and the Harju district. > >Utilizing to the full the experience he had acquired at the Tartu concentration camp- This was one of the largest concentration camps and more mass executions took place than in any other concentration camp in Estonia - >Viks now embarked on a career of intense activity in Tallinn, where he organized on a mass scale the execution of Soviet patriots, as well as the indiscriminate slaughter of Jews and gypsies. > >In the Anal stages of the war a certain number of documents belonging to the Sonderdienst---- That is German for " special service " - and the Estonian security police fell into the hands of the Soviet troops. These are at present preserved in the Central State Archives of the Estonian SSR. Among them is to be found a report' of the political police of the Tallin-Harju prefecture which contains the statement that, by February 19th, 1942, in the area falling under the jurisdiction of the police organ in question, S053 *persons in* all had been arrested, including 652 of Jewish nationality, and of these 1599 persons had already been executed, including 618 of Jewish nationality. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- From what are you quoting? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr JAMES: -- I am quoting from official documents that I am prepared to show you, **Mr. Minister,** if you desire to see them. If you are a defender of a mass murder like this, as you apparently are, stand up and indicate it to the people of Australia and allow the press to print it. Now that you have interrupted me, let me point out that I have been taught that the crime of murder does not become less serious through the passage of time. I set out to accuse this Government as the protector and the harbourer of Nazi war criminals. If the true story were known, the nations of the world would be shocked. To continue - In the spring of 1942 the whole of the Estonian political police was reorganized by the forces of occupation. It is known that Viks actually witnessed the mass executions and, in some instances took part in finishing off some of the people who still showed signs of life in this antitank trench just outside Tartu where these mass executions took place. I ask the Government to reconsider its attitude to requests for extradition that are made by any country. I hope that one day extradition treaties will exist between all the nations of the world so that no man like Viks, or even one who commits less serious crimes, will be given protection in any country. I should like to see representatives of a country requesting extradition permitted to come to Australia to prove their case, prima facie, in accordance with the British criminal code. Then if the court is satisfied, extradition should be granted. This Government frequently accuses members of the Labour Party of being proCommunist. I accuse this Government of protecting the worst kind of fascists that the world has ever known. I hope that the Government will search its conscience on these matters as time goes on. Time will not permit me now to impart to this Parliament more of the revolting things done by this man who is still breathing God's fresh air in a suburb of Sydney. Thank you, **Mr. Speaker.** {: #debate-54-s5 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN:
AttorneyGeneral · Bruce · LP -- It is curious that the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. James)** should revive this matter in 1964. The first request for extradition was made on 24th February, 1961. The Minister for External Affairs **(Sir Garfield Barwick)** made a statement on the matter to the House on the 22nd March, 1961. Nothing happened then until 13th April, 1961 - indeed it was the morning of 14th April, 1961 - when the honorable member for Hunter decided to raise the matter. He did not get very far with it on that occasion so he remained rather quiet for three years. Now some documents have become available to him. It would be interesting to know the source of the documents. Apparently the honorable member has access to documents from what he is pleased to describe as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. I am surprised that the honorable member should refer to that country, a captive nation of Europe, as part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Is the Opposition's attitude that captive nations are to be abandoned in this fashion, and that because they are captive they are to be regarded as forming part of the Soviet Socialist empire? Is this the attitude of the honorable member for Hunter and the attitude of the members of the Opposition? Let us go further into this matter. What is the source of these documents upon which the honorable member for Hunter relies? He has been seen walking around with a book under the title- {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- I do not hide the truth from the people of Australia. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- You do not hide the truth, and what I am anxious to do is to assist you to bring to light the truth of the matter. The honorable member for Hunter walks around with a book published under the auspices, as I understand it, of the Soviet Government. He has documents upon which he bases his case, but he has not told us the source of the documents. He has offered to show them to my colleague. He does not offer to tell us the source. This is one aspect of the matter which I think is worth recounting. Another aspect is that the honorable member in his long recitation spoke of the evils done to the Jewish people by the person he alleges to be a war criminal. He spoke of the offences done to Jewish people twenty years ago, but not a single word has been said by the honorable member for Hunter about the offences done to the Jewish people at the present day behind the iron curtain. Not a word. He has shown no concern about to-day's events. He is concerned only about the events of twenty years ago. It suits him to bring these events out of three years' limbo because he thinks he can make some capital out of them. I should like him to realize that there is no capital to be made out of those events. There is an interesting point about the request that was made on 24th February, 1961. It was a request for extradition, accompanied by no facts at all. The first "facts" that have been provided - I put the word " facts " in inverted commas - were provided by the honorable member for Hunter. The Soviet Government did not offer any facts when it made the request for extradition. This is an interesting proposition in itself. Are we to understand from the honorable member for Hunter that he is the channel though which the Soviet Government has renewed the request for the extradition of this man? Is that what we are to understand from it? I do not think he intended that, but he lays himself open to this accusation. Before he comes into this house to seek to make some statement he ought to consider the evidence. His training has been such that we would expect him to consider the evidence. Apparently, he has been prepared to disregard the evidence completely on this occasion. Let us come to the basis of this matter. The basis of the matter is that a request for extradition was made, accompanied by no facts. There is no extradition treaty between Australia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Were there an extradition treaty it would be necessary for the country requesting the extradition to make out a prima facie case. There was nothing accompanying the request. The request was based on documents quite outside an extradition treaty. The request was looked at by the Government in the light of the fact that we in Australia have the rule of law, and in the rule of law there is the availability of the writ of habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus is most important to protect the freedom of the individual - the integrity of that freedom for every Australian subject. This is what the honorable member for Hunter asks us to throw aside. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- I am not, **Mr. Speaker.** {: #debate-54-s6 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member will resume his seat. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr SNEDDEN: -- This I am not prepared to throw aside. The Australian Government reserves its right, absolutely and without qualification, to make a decision whether it will surrender somebody within its territory. When that person within our territory is an Australian citizen - whether he bc an Australian citizen by right of birth or whether he be an Australian citizen by naturalization - the Australian Government will at all times be anxious and devoted to protecting the integrity of his right to freedom and his right to a fair trial. This Government will never agree to extradite an Australian citizen to another country, especially if that country be a country which knows not the rule of law, if there is no prima facie case made out. In this country we have a great number of people who have come here to make their homes. They have chosen Australian citizenship. Is the attitude of the Opposition, as expressed by the honorable member for Hunter, that, notwithstanding their Australian citizenship, they may be extradited as a result of a mere accusation? This is what it amounts to - a request for extradition on a mere accusation. Nothing was presented to the Australian Government to suggest that there was any proof of the charges. The honorable member for Hunter says in effect, "Forget this trifling fact that there is no proof". The accusation has been made, and the honorable member for Hunter apparently feels that the source of the accusation makes it absolutely reliable and one upon which the Government should act. For my part, I would never agree to that course of action. The whole question of the development of this nation, the development of its population, the attraction that this nation has for immigrants and the attraction of Australian citizenship is involved here, and if the honorable member asks the Government to throw all this aside, to abandon the rule of law, so be it upon his head. But I - and I am quite sure that I speak in the firm knowledge that the Government will support me - would never do it, not even at the invitation of the honorable member for Hunter, or for that matter at the invitation of the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- **Mr. Speaker,** I claim to have been misrepresented. The AttorneyGeneral **(Mr. Snedden)** said twice in his statement that I asked the Government to cast aside the principle of the liberty of the subject. It was absolutely to the contrary. I said that I should like to see an extradition treaty existing between ali countries of the world, and I said that a foreign country would have to prove a prima facie case to the satisfaction of our courts before the person would be handed over. The Attorney-General definitely misrepresented what I said. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- You also said we were harbouring a war criminal. {: #debate-54-s7 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr CLYDE CAMERON:
Hindmarsh **.- Mr. Speaker-** Motion (by **Mr. Howson)** put - That the question be now put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) AYES: 55 NOES: 35 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Original question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.24 p.m. {: .page-start } page 1225 {:#debate-55} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS The following answers to questions were circulated: - {:#subdebate-55-0} #### Water Supply for Village of Hall. (Question No. 81.) {: #subdebate-55-0-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Why must the residents of the village of Hall, only a few miles from Canberra City, still be denied a piped water supply? 1. Are the people of Hall, who have neither water supply nor sewerage, officially regarded as being in any way inferior to the people of Canberra? 2. Is it a fact that very considerable homebuilding activity is at present under way at Hall and that approximately 25 new homes are under construction in trie village? 3. Will he personally consider the history of representation for water supply for the village of Hall? 4. Have past governments made promises for the supply of water to Hall? 5. Is there any possibility that the new main now being constructed to serve the northern suburbs of Canberra will facilitate the extension of supply to Hall? 6. Will he give some firm assurance to the people of Hall that they will be provided with a water supply, and will he, if possible, set a time limit within which that supply will be provided? {: #subdebate-55-0-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The village of Hall contains 62 occupied dwellings with nine others at various stages of construction, it would be misleading to say that there is very considerable building activity at present under way. As with other similar small townships throughout the country, residents rely upon their tanks for storage of rain water. Successive Ministers have made it clear that the costa of an extension of the Canberra water supply to Hall would need to be met by the residents, and although a number of them offered some years ago to subscribe certain annual charges for such an extension, the total annual amount which would have been contributed was found to be far short of that necessary to meet the high expenditure involved, not only because of the distance to Hall but also because of differences of elevation. The most recent estimate of the cost of extending the Canberra water supply to Hall indicates that an expenditure of at least £60,000 would be involved in providing the necessary trunk main, storage reservoir and reticulation. This, of course, will not include the costs that would have to be incurred by householders in installing house connections. While it is agreed that it would be desirable for the village to be connected to the water supply, the plain fact is that the high expenditure to serve such a small number of residents could not be justified at this stage. {: type="1" start="6"} 0. The new trunk main from Winslade to O'Connor will not facilitate the provision of a water supply to Hall. 1. It is not possible to give any assurance at this stage as to when a water supply will be provided. {:#subdebate-55-1} #### Taxation. (Question No. 168.) {: #subdebate-55-1-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Treasurer, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is a person purchasing a house granted the amount paid for rates as an allowable deduction for income tax purposes? 1. Is a person paying rent, including rates as part of that rent, as is the case with State Housing Commission homes, not deemed to be "personally liable " for the rates and therefore unable to claim them as an allowable deduction? 2. If so, will he take action to amend the Act to remove this discrimination? {: #subdebate-55-1-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - t and 2. Section 72 (1.) (a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act authorizes a deduction in respect of any amount paid for rates annually assessed if the taxpayer is personally liable for the pay ment of those rates. This provision was extended in 1963 to cover the case of a taxpayer having a proprietary interest in a home unit or similar type of dwelling. Tile expression "personally liable " has been interpreted by Taxation Boards of Review as meaning a personal liability of the taxpayer to pay rates to the rating authority. A taxpayer purchasing a house and land is usually personally liable for rates on the land and so entitled to a tax deduction for the amount of such rates paid by him. A tax deduction is not available to a taxpayer for the rent of a house used only as a private residence. This is so whether the rent is paid to a private person or a government instrumentality. The fact that a liability for rates is taken into account by a land- ~ lord in fixing the amount of rent charged to a tenant is not considered to change the nature of the charge from rent. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. A person buying a house is usually personally responsible for payment of the rates. In the case of a tenancy, on the other hand, responsibility for payment of the rates usually rests on the landlord. In these circumstances, no discrimination appears to exist under the present law. The matter has, however, been noted for consideration when the income tax law is next under review. {:#subdebate-55-2} #### Alleged Assault of Nauruan Students. (Question No. 224.) {: #subdebate-55-2-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: son asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to allegations made in "Woroni", student newspaper of the Australian National University, that two white mcn recently bashed two visiting native Nauruan students in a Port Moresby police station while police looked on? 1. If so, has this complaint been investigated? 2. If the complaint has been investigated, have the allegations been substantiated or not? 3. Has. the alleged incident resulted in the institution of legal proceedings; if so, what is the nature of the proceedings? {: #subdebate-55-2-s1 .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr Barnes:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's questions is as follows: - >The two Nauruan students are before the Court on charges against them of unlawful assault and the cases are at present sub-judice.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 April 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.