25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I put a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. He will have noted that the price of copper has risen from £325 to £600 a ton in the last seven months and has thus substantially increased our costs of building and reduced our capacity to compete in the export market for manufactured copper and copper alloy products. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether this situation has been brought about by overseas interests carefully arranging their purchases of copper and copper alloy scrap and whether it has resulted in a critical shortage of copper in Australia and the near exhaustion of the defence stockpile of copper. Has the Government considered re-imposing an embargo, at least for the time being, on the export of copper and scrap to prevent such apparently deliberate disruption of the Australian non-ferrous metal industry?
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was good enough to give me some warning that he wanted information on this point. I have some information on it. The position is not simple. Normally the value of copper - and also of the other nonferrous metals - is governed by the prevailing value on the London Metal Exchange, which is generally spoken of as the L.M.E. price. That price has gone very high. I think it is of the order of £450 sterling a ton, which would approximate the figure of £600 - presumably Australian - that the honorable member mentioned.
The principal copper producers throughout the world - there are some Australian members and also Rhodesian, North American and South American members of the group - I understand have felt concerned that the price of copper was getting too high. They have taken the quite unique action of departing from the London Metal Exchange price. They themselves have fixed what they have called a world producers’ price. T understand that that price would cover about 70 per cent, of the new production of copper in the world. They have fixed a world producers’ price of £260 sterling a ton, notwithstanding that the London Metal Exchange price is £450 sterling a ton. The Australian copper producers have followed that action. Converting sterling to Australian, and taking into account the natural protection of freight and other such charges, the prevailing price charged in Australia by Australian virgin copper producers is £A340 a ton. That is the equivalent of the overseas producers’ price.
This creates the anomalous situation that scrap copper for export is worth a price related to the London Metal Exchange price, not to the Australian virgin copper price. So, naturally, there tended to be an outflow of scrap copper from Australia. Officers of the Department of Trade and Industry and other departments convened a conference of scrap copper exporters and Australian scrap copper buyers. With each side giving something, a compromise was reached, as a result of which the agreed price for the sale of scrap copper and copper alloys in Australia is substantially lower than what I might call world parity, although it is a little higher than the virgin copper price. In the end result the outflow of copper scrap from Australia has fallen very sharply. In the last couple of months it has achieved an annual rate of about 1,100 tons, compared with a normal virgin copper production in Australia of about 90,000 tons a year, and it is being sold, as I pointed out, at very much below the L.M.E. price. I think this action and the willingness to compromise between those who export scrap and those who want to buy it locally have produced this state of affairs. As to the spirit of the question, I believe that the Parliament will feel that overseas copper producers have acted with extreme restraint, as indeed zinc producers have . similarly done, in departing from the opportunity to charge a very high price and arbitrarily fixing a very much lower price.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General and refers to a meeting held in Melbourne last night to raise funds to assist certain people in South Africa to meet the expenses of their defence against charges brought against them in the Rivonia trial for what has been reported as their opposition to apartheid. I ask the Attorney-General whether it is a fact that the persons concerned were charged with sabotage and subversion and that the judge in his finding is reported to have said -
The crime of which the accused have been found gu illy is essentially high treason.
Is it also a fact that at least one of the principal workers for the Defence and Aid Fund is reported in the July issue of the South African “ Observer “ as being a selfadmitted and recognised Communist? If these are facts, will the Attorney-General investigate the purpose of the Defence and Aid Fund? I might say I am opposed to apartheid-.
– As I understand it, there is at present in Australia, at the invitation of certain people in Australia, a man by the name of Mr. E. S. Sachs who is commonly known as Mr. Solly Sachs. I understand that Mr. Sachs lived in South Africa for a number of years - perhaps 40 years, or thereabouts - but since the early 1950’s has lived in London. I do not know of any report in the South African “ Observer “ which states that he is a selfconfessed Communist. 1 do know of a report that I saw in the London “Times” that his name had been added to the list of Communists under the Suppression of Communism Act of South Africa. That is all I can say on that matter. As to the purpose of his visit here, as I understand it it is not for the purpose of raising funds for the defence of persons charged in the Rivonia trial but is for the purpose of raising funds for the relief of the dependants of those who were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. The final matter raised by the honorable member was whether I will investigate the fund. I do not see that the existence of the fund raises a matter which would require me to investigate it.
– My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. Now that the Government has apparently decided to leave the Sabre jet squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force in Darwin indefinitely it follows that work will be speeded up on the construction of the Tindall air strip at Katherine. In view of these developments, will the Government consider also holding combined exercises of the Services in the north of Australia so as to acquaint officers and men with actual tropical service conditions?
– I will bring the honorable member’s representations to the notice of my colleague in another place. The honorable’ member will be aware that combined exercises, both of the Australian forces and of Australian forces co-operating with Allied forces, have been held in areas north of Australia.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Air. Is there any truth in reports from Indonesian sources that Australian aircraft operating from Australian bases have reconnoitred Surabaya and violated Indonesian air space?
– I welcome this question although it comes as a surprise to me. There have been statements made in Indonesian newspapers, which were copied in the Australian Press, that this violation of Indonesian air space occurred. I want to say categorically two things: One is that the Indonesian Government has made no representation whatever to the Australian Government on this subject. The second is that ho aircraft operating from Australian fields have violated Indonesian air space.
– ;My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask the Minister: Are employees of the Commonwealth aircraft factories at Fishermen’s Bend, Port Melbourne, being subjected to acute discomfort on numerous occasions, due to fumes from the adjacent chemical factories at Footscray penetrating the work rooms at these establishments? Is there a threat to defence production, particularly in regard to the Mirage fighter, because of this industrial nuisance? Have workers threatened te down tools if action is not taken to stop the chemical firms discharging these noxious gases? Is the Minister aware that an attempt was made to invoke the Victorian Clean Air Act without success? Would the Minister investigate this matter with a view to having the nuisance eliminated and, at the same time ascertain whether the Commonwealth Government has any authority to prevent these dangerous gases being discharged from these factories with little regard for the health and safety of the people in the immediate surrounds?
– I think honorable members are aware that my colleague the Minister for Supply (Mr. Fairhall) is responsible for the aircraft establishments at Fishermen’s Bend. They are not within my direct responsibility. Even so, I think that if there had been large scale protests by the employees of the factory they would have come to my notice. I have not received any complaints. If the honorable member is prepared to be specific and give me details of the complaints I will make certain that they are immediately investigated. Once that is done I will let him have a complete answer.
– I direct my question to the Minister for the Army following on my question of Wednesday last. If the Government does not intend establishing a Regular Army unit in central and north Queensland, does it intend to strengthen and/or reorganise the present Citizen Military Forces unit in that area?
– Central and north. Queensland already have one of the finest Citizen Military Forces units in the Australian Army. I was able to see that for. myself a few months ago when I spent a week-end in camp with the unit at Ingham. However, I hope soon to be able to make a statement concerning fairly widespread changes in the organisation of the C.M.F. - not only in central and north Queensland but in the whole of Australia - which I hope will have the effect of considerably strengthening the C.M.F. in the area to which the honorable member has referred.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Territories. Is it a fact that widespread resentment has been expressed against the new salary structure for indigenous members of the Papua-New Guinea Public Service? Why was the announcement of the new salary rates delayed until the House of Assembly had adjourned? Will the House of Assembly have an opportunity of debating the issue later this year? If not, why not?
– In answer to the honorable member’s question I would point out that the reorganisation of the Public Service in Papua and New Guinea required a considerable amount of work. The whole structure of the Public Service was involved. In addition to this burden, the Administration of Papua and New Guinea also had to organise the election for the new House of Assembly. It was hoped to have this measure ready for the last season of that House but, unfortunately, it was not ready until the last day of the session. Undoubtedly this matter will be the subject of discussions in a future session of the House of Assembly.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration whether his attention has been drawn to the large scale immigration ring which sells forged passports on hire purchase for entry to the United Kingdom by persons from Pakistan and India. Is there any possibility of illegal entry into Australia through such forged passports?
– This is a subject which is always exercising the minds of immigration authorities in every country in the world. As to this particular case, I can say that the new passports which we have been issuing since 1st July contain special conditions which lessen any possibility of that happening. I repeat that this is something that is watched very carefully. An official of my Department had consultations with immigration officials in the United States of America recently, and as a result of those consultations he has brought back two or three ideas which we shall be incorporating later on as added safety measures.
If I may, I should like to refer now to questions which were asked of me by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Grayndler relating to passports for entry to mainland China and eastern European countries. There has been no change of policy with relation to those, but there has been a change of procedure. Prior to the issue of the new types of passports last July the custom for a number of years was merely to cross out the names of the countries which a person going overseas did not desire to visit. That was a cumbersome procedure. For better administration the new passports issued since July remain valid for entry to any country.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. Although I realise that it is too late now to make substantial variations in the proposed new decimal currency system, I ask the Treasurer whether he will give further consideration to the introduction of a half cent coin in the proposed new currency in order to avoid some of the price increases that are likely to occur because there are no exact equivalents of some prices involving pence. Prices which arc likely to be affected include those relating to such daily expenditures as postage stamps, newspapers, tram and train fares.
– The reasons for the adoption of the range of coins which it has been decided to incorporate in the decimal currency system were fully canvassed when the Decimal Currency Committee did its work. To introduce the half cent coin would, of course, destroy the true decimal character of the new currency system.
Later in the day, I shall be tabling the first report of the Decimal Currency Board and, while this will not bear directly on the matter raised by the honorable member, I think it will add to the store of knowledge which we all would wish to have on this topic in view of its importance and the forthcoming changeover to the decimal currency system. I feel that the advantages to be gained by having a system in which all the units are related to 100 - the true decimal system - will more than offset any advantage which might be gained by having the half cent coin. This was the conclusion of the Decimal Currency Committee and I do not think there has been any development since which would justify a change, from, the decision already taken.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service inform the House of the grounds on which the Waterside Workers Federation yesterday called for a strike in which all 2,600 men on the day shift in Melbourne walked off 34 ships? Is this renewal of disruption a continuance of political action by this militant union?
– The House will recall that some months ago the Victorian police decided that, because of the large scale of pillaging on the Melbourne wharves, they would search the vehicles of waterside workers as they left the wharves. Subsequently, the Melbourne branch of the Waterside Workers Federation, under the leadership of Mr. Young, decided to hold a strike because the time taken by the police to search the vehicles was too long, so the Federation said. It asked that the employers pay for whatever time was lost by thi workers. The Melbourne Harbour Trust provided additional gates as exits from the wharves and negotiations were held between the Trust, the police and the Federation. We hoped that, by this means, future strikes would be avoided. Nonetheless, subsequent to this a further strike was held. Details were taken of the vehicles passing in and out of the gates and it was found that many vehicles went out one gate and in by another, so passing through the gates on several occasions.
I heard again yesterday that another strike has been called, ostensibly on the ground that delays are taking place. I do not believe that is the true reason. As I have said in the House before, these wilful strikes are called on the waterfront in Sydney and in Melbourne on any -pretext whatever. Any excuse is good enough. I do not think the reason given by Mr. Young yesterday is good enough. The honorable gentleman would probably like to know that the real reason no doubt is that, following the stoppages, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority has been imposing penalties on the strikers. I think that the Waterside Workers Federation in Melbourne decided to call the strike because of these fines but to attribute it to some other cause.
” VOYAGER “ ROYAL COMMISSION.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is the right honorable gentleman aware of the statement reported to have been made by a former Minister forthe Navy criticising Mr. Smyth, Q.C., who assisted the Royal Commissioner inquiring into the “Voyager” disaster? If he is aware of the statement, does he agree with it? If not, what steps does he or his Government intend to take to rectify this matter?
– All I need say is thatI see no reason why my colleague should not express his own view on a matter concerning proceedings that related to events which occurred when he was Minister for the Navy.
– I address my question to the Minister for the Army. Is it a fact that his Department recently announced a 12 months officer training course which contained various incentives for promotion and was especially designed to attract university men and graduates? I believe that applications for the course closed recently. Will the Minister inform the House of the response received by his Department to this programme?
– For some time, the Army has been concerned about the shortage of officers, particularly in the Citizen Military Forces, to which, I think, the honorable gentleman’s question relates. In both Sydney and Melbourne, an attempt has been made recently to establish courses for people of the requisite standard who are enlisted. On completing a year’s training in one of these courses they become officers. The response has been extremely good, and we hope that the attendance of personnel at these courses will considerably improve the officer position in the C.M.F.
“VOYAGER” ROYAL COMMISSION.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. Was the view expressed in another place by Senator Gorton the considered opinion of the Government on the conduct of Mr. Smyth, Q.C.? If not, do the Prime Minister and the Government agree with the compliment paid to Mr. Smyth by the Royal Commissioner, Sir John Spicer?
– Surely the honorable gentleman does not believe that every time an individual discusses a matter of this kind he has a Cabinet meeting about it. That would be a complete novelty.
– My question, which is addressed to the Attorney-General, is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Henty. I appreciate the views that have prevailed on the Minister to refrain from investigating a fundbeing sponsored in Australia by a publicly confessed Communist, Solly Sachs, but will the honorable gentleman consider the implications of people being encouraged to support a fund for a cause which, though it doubtless commands the sympathy of many persons, is nevertheless a fund being sponsored by one whose pre-eminent interest is the advancement of international revolution, not of humanity?
– I rise to order, Sir. Is the question in order insofar as the Minister says that this man, Solly Sachs, is a self confessed Communist? Are we or are we not to accept that proposition? Is it in order? I know of no reason to believe that this man is a self confessed Communist.
– Order! The honorable member for Moreton is seeking information from the Attorney-General. I do not know whether the man named is a self confessed Communist.
– In answer to the honorable member for Henty, I said that I was unaware whether this man, Sachs, was a self confessed Communist. I said that, as I understand it, he had been declared to be a Communist by the South African Government under the South African Suppression of Communism Act. The purpose of Mr. Sachs’s visit here is to raise funds. I pointed out to the honorable member for Henty that, as I understood the matter, the funds were being raised for the relief of dependants of those who have been imprisoned as a result of their conviction in the Rivonia trial. In answering the question, which has been described as supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Henty, I can only refer the honorable member for Moreton to the answer that I gave earlier.
– 1 should like to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation this question: Is it a fact that the first Boeing 727 jet aircraft for Trans-Australia Airlines was ready for delivery about three weeks before the 727 jet being built in the United States of America for Ansett-A.N.A.? Is it a fact also that T.A.A., at considerable extra expense, is being forced to delay its aircraft’s delivery flight to Australia so that it will coincide with the late arrival of Mr. Ansett’s 727 jet? To complete the farce, did representatives of the two airlines toss up to see which airline would land its 727 jet first at Essendon on Friday, 16th October? Is not this fantastic chain of events further proof of the Government’s determination to see that T.A.A. does not receive a legitimate break in the air civil war in Australia?
– I will refer the question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. However, it is my understanding that it has always been standing practice that where any new equipment is introduced the equipment should be introduced at the same time by both companies, so that there is no advantage in one company or the other placing an order earlier. A standard date is fixed for the introduction, of the equipment by both companies, irrespective of which one obtains delivery first.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Does the Commonwealth’s statutory obligation to protect the aluminium ingot industry against imports end in 1964? As it has been obvious for some time that the industry has expanded to such an extent that much of the Australian production in future will be sold on the world market, and as the industry cannot be said to be facing a sudden emergency which could not have been foreseen for at least a year, will the Minister assure me that no reference for emergency protection will be made to the Special Advisory Authority, but rather that the case will be sent to the full Tariff Board for report if an inquiry is warranted?
– When the Government sold its aluminium production plant at Bell Bay to Comalco, which company at that time was the only producer of aluminium in Australia and which expected to remain for the foreseeable future the only producer, the Government, as part of the transaction, undertook to accord protection up to a certain agreed level to the output from the Bell Bay aluminium factory. This undertaking ceases in January next under the law which the Parliament passed. In the meantime another producer of aluminium has been established in Australia and representations have been made to the Government in respect of the future protection, if any, of the Australian aluminium industry after the - current legislation expires. This is still under the examination by the Department of Trade and Industry that is customary when such representations are made. What the final decision will be - whether or not any action will be taken - T cannot say. but T am bound to repeat to the honorable member what I said, in connection with another matter, namely, that in my judgment it would be completely improper of the Minister for Trade and Industry to give an assurance, not knowing what the facts were, that he would not refer a case to the Special Advisory Authority if requested to do so. This is in the terms of the legislation. In the spirit of the legislation a decision must be taken at the time an application is made, and it must be based upon the facts presented when the application is made.
” VOYAGER “ ROYAL COMMISSION.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I ask: Is he satisfied that the learned counsel assisting the “ Voyager “ Royal Commissioner acted within the scope of the instructions given him by the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor?
-Counsel assisting the Royal Commission acted in accordance with bis professional duties.
– I direct my question to the Postmaster-General. Has further consideration been given to the pressing need for a new telephone exchange building at Grafton? Will plans be prepared in the near future, and will the problem of separate manual exchanges serving Grafton and South Grafton be eliminated by the provision of modern automatic equipment and the listing of all subscribers under one exchange in the telephone directory?
– It is a little difficult to remember individual exchanges among the 7,000 in Australia, but if my recollection is correct, it is in fact planned that the new exchange for the Grafton area will go to construction in 1965-66, that the building will be completed the following year, and that a year later the exchange will be opened. We recognise the problem so far as Grafton and South Grafton are concerned. The exchange will serve both areas and there will be a common telephone directory for Grafton and South Grafton. I understand that the cost of the building and its equipment will be in the vicinity of £135,000.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration a question about the policy adopted by his Department in relation to people of foreign birth temporarily resident in Australia who marry Australian citizens. In the past has a marriage of this kind resulted in one or both parties to the marriage being granted permission for permanent residence in this country? If so, will the Minister say whether any change in the policy is contemplated?
– If an Australian citizen marries a person of foreign birth who is temporarily in Australia both parties to the marriage are permitted to stay here. This situation applies irrespective of whether the Australian citizen is the husband or the wife. No change in the policy is contemplated.
– Docs the Minister for Immigration know whether Great Britain is suffering from a labour shortage, especially in the fields of skilled and semi-skilled tradesmen? Can the Minister say whether any difficulty is being experienced by his Department in maintaining immigration targets of British migrants in the categories of skilled and semi-skilled tradesmen urgently required in Australia?
– At present the intake of immigrants from England is at a record level. We anticipate that this year about 75,000 migrants will come to this country from England. Of that number about 50 per cent, are ordinary workers and 50 per cent, are skilled tradesmen, who are so urgently required here. There is a world wide shortage of skilled tradesmen. This shortage is noticeable in all European countries. Nevertheless, a satisfactory number of the migrants coming to this country are skilled tradesmen. Because of the urgent need in Australia for skilled tradesmen the Department is taking steps to airlift skilled migrants to this country. The numbers brought to this country by these special measures are over and above the number envisaged in the transport arrangement set some months ago.
– I ask the Treasurer a question. Has the Government sought approval from the International Monetary Fund to introduce new measures or to extend existing measures for subsidising gold producers in Australia? If so, what methods of subsidy have been suggested and has approval for their implementation been granted? If the Government has not sought approval to subsidise gold producers beyond existing measures, does it intend to do so? If so, when? Finally, what form of additional subsidy, if any, is being considered?
– I can give the honorable gentleman and the House some information about the submissions I made to the International Monetary Fund in the discussions that I had recently in Tokyo. As to the latter part of the question, the honorable member raises aspects of policy which have not yet been discussed by the Government and which it would not be appropriate for me to canvass at this point. While in Tokyo I had interesting discussions about international liquidity. There is widespread concern that international liquidity may not be adequate in the future to meet the anticipated expansion of world trade. In the discussions I referred to the special place which gold occupies in the system. I made the comment that I felt that neither the report of the International Monetary Fund nor the report of the group of ten, both of which had dealt with this topic, had paid adequate attention to the place which gold occupies in the system. I referred to the importance of the place and the price of gold and the adequacy of supply of gold as basic elements in the existing international monetary system.
One of the points that I stressed was that in recent years - from about 1940 onwards - there has been a quite remarkable decline in the production of gold in nearly all the free world countries except South Africa. I made the point that a study should be conducted to determine the causes of this decline and measures which would have the effect of increasing production. I hope this will provoke some study inside the Fund and provide an opportunity for further discussions later. Our own consideration of this matter in Australia, of course, is a question for us to determine. I have nothing to add on that point at this time.
– I address a question to the Minister for National Development. Is Australia represented at the nuclear power conference being held in Geneva? If not, I ask the Minister: What is the implication of the comment made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations that only the use of nuclear power will enable the fulfilment of world demands? Has the Australian Government any intention to use nuclear power for the generation of electricity or for the construction of dams in any part of Australia?
– The international conference at Geneva was completed about three weeks ago. Australia was strongly represented by a delegation of about 14 people led by Professor Baxter, the Chairman of the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Some papers were presented by the Australian delegation, mainly dealing with work being done by the Commission at Lucas Heights. With regard to the question about the use of nuclear power in Australia, we are keeping in touch with the latest developments in the peaceful use of atomic energy throughout the world. At the present time it appears unlikely that nuclear energy will be used in Australia for power genera-tion because we have large quantities of very high quality coal at our disposal, and I think atomic energy could not compete in the immediate future with energy obtained from coal. In addition, many of the units being established in Australia are small units, whereas a large unit is necessary if atomic energy is to be economically competitive. However, the Australian Atomic Energy Commission has done some work in the Gove area, looking at the possibility of using power generated by atomic energy for the production of aluminium. All one can say so far is that the results of these inquiries have been encouraging.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Does the right honorable gentleman agree with the criticism of Mr. Smyth, Q.C., made by Senator Gorton? Was Senator Gorton speaking for the Government or was he speaking only for himself?
– I can only repeat that when Ministers are stating something as a matter of policy they speak for the Government, and when they are expressing their personal views, in circumstances in which they are well entitled to do so, they speak for themselves. That, I thought, has always been the rule, and as far as I am concerned it continues to be the rule.
– Do you agree with what he said?
– If the honorable gentleman expects me to get into an argument as to what I think about somebody who appeared in a particular piece of litigation, he must think I am a bigger fool than I am.
– I address a question to the Minister for Air. Is he aware that there is a doubt in the minds of members of the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve, particularly those actively serving as instructors with the Air Training Corps, as to their role in the event of a national emergency? Will the Minister make a statement to clarify this issue, defining the position of these Citizen Air Force officers in relation to the reserve structure of the R.A.A.F.?
– I am grateful to the honorable member for Calare for bringing this matter to my attention. The honorable member will be aware, of course, of the statement made last June by my colleague, the Minister for Defence, concerning the whole question of reserves for the R.A.A.F. and the fact that the Government was looking at possible changes in legislation dealing with emergency forces for Australia’s defence. When the relevant legislation is before the House I am sure that the whole question of the R.A.A.F. reserve will bc looked at, and I hope to be able to give the honorable member further information at that time.
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 3.30 p.m.
Consideration resumed from 24th September (vide page 1 573).
Department of Customs and Excise.
Proposed expenditure, £6,771,000.
Department of Trade and Industry.
Proposed expenditure, £5,531,000.
Department of Primary Industry.
Proposed expenditure, £17,616,000.
.- In Australia, rural industries are of the greatest importance. They feed the population; they provide goods for processing in secondary industries, and they also provide more than 80 per cent, of our export income which enables us to purchase abroad the goods that are essential to the smooth working of the Australian economy. National development, the welfare of the Australian people and their security in peace and war depend mainly on our rural industries. It was thoughts such as those that caused me to read a publication called “ Primary Industries, Part I, Rural Industries, 1959-60”, which was published by the Commonwealth
Bureau of Census and Statistics, Canberra, Australia.
At page 19 of that document, under the heading “ Vegetables for Human Consumption: Production, Australia”, I read that in 1950-51 the production of cabbages and Brussels sprouts was 91,000 tons and in 1959-60 it was 68,000 tons. Honorable members will realise the horror with which I read that information, if they, like myself, have a great affection for the cabbage. I then read about the sister of the cabbage, the cauliflower, which supplies so many gastronomic delights to the people of Australia. In 1950-51 the production was 92,000 tons and in J 959-60 it was 80,000 tons. In 1950-51 the production of parsnips was 12,224 tons and in 1959-60 it was 12,185 tons. Have honorable members ever thought what life would be like without the parsnip? I then went on to read about the delicious and delectable, if humble, turnip. In 1950-51 the production was 26,000 tons and in 1959-60 it was 12,000 tons. How many honorable members have not gone to picnics by the seaside or in the country and there enjoyed, if not their finest hours, at least their most romantic hours? Inseparable from those picnics is a meal or two of luscious beetroot. Yet I read that in 1950-51 the production of beetroot was 13,116 tons and in 1959-60 it was 12,804 tons.
As I turned the pages of this document, the more I read the more my horror grew. I found that between 1950 and 1960 there was a decrease of 70,000 in the number of dairy cows in Australia. I also found that the number of cattle increased by onesixteenth during that period, although the number of men, women and children increased by six-sixteenths. I thought that other categories of primary production would make up for the decreases to which I have referred. So I listened with care - as I always do - when the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) made a speech in this House on 20th August in which he boasted of the increase in rural production. He said that it was a remarkable achievement. He said -
Rural output alone reached the record level of £1,670 million last year . . . Our farmers today are feeding three million more Australians, and exporting almost two-thirds more than in 1949.
Those boasts were echoed by other members of the Country Party. I said to myself: “ This is a glorious relief. In reality primary production has increased.” Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Then I asked the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) the following questions upon notice -
Last week the Minister supplied me with this answer -
1950-51 .. .. .. £142.92
1963-64 .. .. .. £153.23
The Minister then said that the basic wage in 1951 was £8 2s. a week and that in 1963 it was £14 8s. That information makes it clear that as £1 was worth 10s. 6d in 1951 and less than 6s. in 1963, the value of rural production per head is more than £90 less today in today’s currency than it was in 1950-51. It may be said that 1950-51 was a good year, an exceptional year because of the price of wool. I agree with that, but if we take the previous year when the prices for primary products were lower and the quantity was less we find that the value of primary production per head was £28 higher in 1949-50 than it was in 1963-64. If we take 1951-52 we find that rural production per head of population was £20 more than it is today.
– Is that the total production?
– Per head of population.
– There has been a big increase in population, though.
– I have given you the figures; I will explain them to you later. The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Primary Industry may make speeches about growth and the remarkable achievements of our farmers, but these will not bring back to the people the objects of their affection. Those speeches will not bring back the solid and reliable cabbage or the more fragile but delicious cauli flower, nor will they return to us the rather aristocratic parsnip or the proletarian turnip. Something more than mere words is essential if Australia is to increase its rural production per head of population. We must have more farms and we must have more farmers. There are fewer farms today than there were in 1939, and there are fewer proprietary farmers today than there were in 1939. Also, there are fewer rural workers today than there were in 1939. Yet Australia has almost 4,000,000 more people today than it had in 1939.
– Machines are doing the work now.
– I have already pointed out that the machines are helping to produce fewer turnips, cauliflowers and parsnips than were grown in 1950, whatever assistance we may be getting from them. It may be suggested that if we were mentally alert - most Government supporters unfortunately are not - we would realise that today we are living as well as we did in 1950, despite the statements by a gentleman named K. M. Archer, the Commonwealth Statistician, in his masterpiece, the statistical document to which I referred. Of course we are living as well today, and the Deputy Prime Minister has provided us with the reason. He said -
If you are a farmer and you earn sufficient, you can live comfortably. If you are a farmer and you do not earn sufficient, you still can live comfortably by selling a bit of the farm every year.
– What complete and utter. rot.
– That is what the Deputy Prime Minister said. Those are his exact words when addressing the Country Party conference at Lake Tyers in 1963. He continued -
That is exactly the position of Australia today.
I agree with him. That is the condition of Australia today. This Government boasts of. increased production, but where has the increase come from? If this statistical document is read from beginning to end it will be found that it contains a sorry story of the decline of rural production per head of population in Australia - the production that determines the welfare of our people, their education, the amount that shall bo paid in pensions, the amount that shall be allotted for development by the creation of new water resources and determines also the provision of other amenities of life. It is also the production that determines the defence and security of Australia in the face of what has been described by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and others in this country as the greatest threat that has occurred to the continued existence of Australia. Yet no effort is made to increase the number of farms and no effort is made to increase the number of farmers, the number of rural producers or the amount of rural production that is coming from our farmlands.
– The honorable member for Scullin (Mx. Peters) made his case with some difficulty. He quoted the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr. McEwen) out of context and incompletely, and at the same time he tried to show that primary production in Australia is falling because the production of certain minor commodities which he mentioned is, on the figures he gave, less than it was. The honorable member very conveniently omitted to mention commodities the production of which has expanded very greatly, not only in overall terms but also on the basis of the population that we now have.
In the earlier stages of this debate several members of the Opposition were highly critical of the Government’s policy on, and handling of, the difficult and delicate situation in the tobacco industry. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) and the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) devoted their entire speeches to this problem. They have given such a false” picture of what has actually happened and of what the Government has done that some correction needs to be made. The record of the Government’s support for the tobacco industry is almost unparalleled, and the production figures bear this out. Fifteen years ago 3,500,000 lb. of tobacco was grown in Australia. In the year just closed tobacco production in Australia had increased to about 32 million lb. This production has been stimulated by a general tariff of about 160 per cent, on the landed cost of American tobacco, and a tariff of about 120 per cent, at the concessional rate on the landed cost of American tobacco. These tariffs alone, of course, have not been sufficient to extract this tremendous production from Australian tobacco growers. There has been also what is called, in nice terms, the mixing regulation, which provides that unless manufacturers use a certain proportion of Australian leaf they are subject to a higher rate of duty. The proportion of Australian leaf required under the mixing regulation has been increased from 3 per cent, in 1946 to 41 i per cent, at the present time. Under these circumstances of course tobacco production in Australia has expanded at a very great rate.
It is quite clear that the Government’s record of support and protection for this industry is very nearly unparalleled. Perhaps it is only paralleled by the level of support the Government has given to the cotton textile industry. It is interesting to note that tobacco production and the mixing regulation have been chasing each other over the years. Sometimes, when the proportion of Australian leaf required has been increased there has not been enough leaf in Australia to satisfy the demand and this has supplied a great incentive to increased production because of the higher prices created. At other times there has been extreme pressure on the part of growers themselves who said the mixing regulation did not provide for a proportion of Australian tobacco high enough to ensure that Australian manufacturers used all the Australian leaf available.
The pressure has come from more than one source but it has always been in an upward direction. It is strange that such protection as this is needed for this industry because the Australian industry does not have to compete with the cheap labour countries in Asia or Africa. Very largely Australian producers compete with the high labour cost country of the United States of America. This industry is a labour intensive industry and it is not one to which a great deal of capital can be properly applied. So one would have thought that - other things being equal - the cheaper labour costs in Australia would have enabled us to produce tobacco more cheaply than the United States of America. But because of various soil and climatic factors this is not so. American growers produce tobacco for about 60 cents per lb. whereas Australian producers are not happy unless they get the equivalent of 120 to 140 cents per lb. In view of the very high level of protection and the tremendous difference in Australian and world-wide costs it is proper to find out how our policies have affected other countries. While consumption of tobacco in Australia has risen from 29 million lb. in 1946-47 to 58 million lb. in 1962-63, imports from the United States of America have fluctuated between 14 million lb. and 31 million lb., with an average between 18 million lb. and 19 million lb. There does not seem to have been any particular pattern in the way imports from the United States of America have increased in the period which I considered. In 1946-47 imports amounted to 18.29 million lb. and in 1963-64 the figure was 19.68 million lb. The United States share of our imports has fallen from 90 per cent, to 66 per cent. America’s share of the Australian market has fallen from two-thirds to one-third of all the leaf used in Australia. America’s share of imports fell largely because of additional imports under some kind of preferential tariff for leaf from Rhodesia and South Africa. It may bc proper and easy for honorable members to say that it is a good thing that the local production in the tobacco industry is replacing our imports and saving this country exchange and that the only difference is a very much more expensive cigarette or tobacco for tobacco users in Australia. Because of the saving in overseas funds, we may say that it is a good thing to be in this industry even though we are not using the most efficient methods. But in view of the very high level of protection and the very high cost necessary for the continuance of this industry in Australia at the present time we could hardly be surprised if other countries believe that the protection afforded to the tobacco industry is, in fact, thoroughly excessive.
This is a view that would have no validity if our costs were anywhere near the costs of tobacco produced in countries where labour costs were high, such as the United States of America, but this is not the situation. If this were the end of the story - if other countries just believed that our protection was excessive - this would not matter very much. We could say: “ All right. This is your view but we prefer to go ahead and support this industry as we have done in the past.” Other factors have to be taken into account. There are inter-relationships between tobacco, meat and wool, for example, in our trade with the United States of America. Many honorable members and many people in Australia were extraordinarily concerned about the action which the U.S.A. Senate wished to take in respect of our meat exports to that country - action which would have jeopardised the highly efficient low cost meat industry in Australia as against the differently geared and high cost industry in the United States of America. We felt very strongly about this action and the American administration recognised our point of view. Indeed, it was the American administration which largely defeated, or at least controlled, the efforts by Congress to restrict the entry of Australian meat into the United States. But . the Americans feel as strongly about tobacco as we feel about meat and this instance does give some indication of how policy in relation to one particular industry can affect other industries.
The Kennedy Round tariff negotiations, which we hope will take place in the not too distant future, are important to Australia. One of the things which I hope this Government will ask for - and I think it is capable of achievement - is a reduction in the high rate of tariff on raw wool and on made up woollen goods sent to the United States of America. This is something which could be of considerable benefit to Australia. It is not a panacea for the problems of the industry but it could certainly be an advantage. But if Australia is to go to the Kennedy Round negotiations and ask for a reduction in the wool tariff, it is quite clear that we will have to be prepared to provide something on the other side of the scales and it . would be inevitable, feeling as they do, that the Americans would ask for greater access to the tobacco market in Australia.
So we are faced with the prospect of seeing our greatest industry interwoven with the prospects and future of an industry in which we are thoroughly uneconomic. I know quite well that present efforts are being made to bring about some kind of stabilisation in the tobacco industry. It is my hope - and I believe it is the intention of the Government- that this stabilisation plan will involve some limitation on production. I understand that the arguments at present revolve around what level of production should be set. Incidentally, it is worth noting that American tobacco farms operate under quotas despite their efficiency. It is my belief that a good case could be made out for buying out inefficient farmers in this industry and helping them establish themselves in some other way, on some other farm or in some other occupation in which they can be efficient. If this can be done in a humanitarian way there is no reason why such a policy should be regarded as being harsh in any way on the individual farmer. If you take the extreme view and 30 million lb. of the American product were imported this would cost us an additional £9 million in overseas funds in any one year, at the present landed cost of American tobacco. This would be absurd and no one would suggest it should be done. But if production were stabilised at around 20 million lb. or 22 million lb. then an additional 10 million lb. of tobacco would have to be imported at a cost of £3 million or £4 million a year, at the most. If a reduction in the American wool tariff increased the price of wool at our auctions by one penny per lb. over a year, then an additional £8 million would come to Australia in overseas funds through wool sales. So the balance of advantage would very clearly be on the Australian side. I cannot see any reason to believe that a reduction in the wool tariff in America would not have an effect of this order or perhaps slightly greater. I know it would be always difficult to isolate the forces that work in any auction system. But increased demand from any country as large as the United States must have a marginal but noticeable effect and, as I have said, for every additional penny per lb. we would get an additional £8 million for our clip. The figures I have used have been designed to demonstrate the direction in which I believe our policy should go. A reorganisation of the tobacco industry - although I know it will present great difficulties for the Minister and the Government - could well be financed from the additional revenue that would bc gained from the additional imports that would be required as a result of the reduction of Australian production. For example, if an additional 5 million lb. of tobacco were imported at the lower duty rate of 7s. per lb. then £1.75 million would be available each year and this could be devoted to some kind of re-organisation inside the industry to assist these farmers to get into something in which their labour could be used to better effect and with greater efficiency under Australian conditions. This could be a continuing policy and it would not involve any reduction of general revenue to the Government from other sources.
– Do you advocate this sort of policy for the dairy industry as well?
– If the honorable member cares to read some of the speeches I made about the dairy industry seven or eight years ago he will know what the position was.
There is a difference in this case because the dairy industry does not affect our trade with other countries in the manner in which the tobacco industry most certainly does. No trade in the dairy industry jeopardises our exports of wool. That is the significant difference with this industry. Australia is too short of labour, whether it is on the farms or in secondary industry, to be involved in high cost industries in which we are not efficient and which involve a large amount of labour. We should concentrate on those industries in which we are efficient, in which the natural advantages of Australia make us efficient, and which allow of a greater degree of capital use than does an industry such as the tobacco industry.
– Ordinarily I do not intervene in these debates, but I think I should say something today about a particular matter. I shall speak mainly for the benefit of members of the Country Party. I feel that they should know the contempt in which they are held by members of the Liberal Party. And they are held in contempt by members of the Liberal Party. There are lots of differences here from time to time between Ministers. For instance, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) has one policy and the Treasurer (Mr. Holt) has another policy with relation to certain matters. It is quite obvious that this is a very divided coalition Government. It is certainly not united in affection or in terms of ideological agreement; it is a very divided body, and, as I have said, I want to show just how the Country Party is being attacked by members of the Liberal Party on certain matters which come under the control of this Parliament. I refer, for instance, to the distribution of public moneys for primary industries.
Members of the Country Party have been under the impression, for a long time now that they serve the interests of the rural community. They have this idea in their heads, and I suppose they think they are right. They may even think in their innocence, that they have won a few benefits here and there for the farmers over the years - particularly the years during which the Menzies Government has been in office. Just let me say that it was the Labour Government led by Mr. Chifley that first gave the benefit of a superphosphate bounty to the farming community. This Government took the bounty away from the farmers. The Labour Government introduced it to operate for three years but this Government tookit away after two years. Now it has been restored, with the result that record crops are being harvested today.
As I proceed, I shall show that the Liberal Party claims that it and it alone was responsible for the restoration of that superphosphate bounty. This is said in an article published in the “Queensland Liberal “ in August of this year. According to that article, the members of the Country Party were like the boy who fell out of the balloon - they just were not in it. I am sorry to have to tell the members of the Country Party that they have been wasting their time. Everything that has been achieved by the Government has been the work of the Liberal Party’s Rural Committee, presided over by that luminary of the land, the honorable member for Macarthur (Mr. Jeff Bate). Let me now quote from the” Queensland Liberal “. Of course Queensland Liberals may be a distinct species. They may be different from New South Wales Liberals and Victorian Liberals.
– They are a genus not geniuses.
– They are a genus but not geniuses. In Victoria, the Liberal Party has shown its contempt for the members of the Country Party because it calls itself the Liberal-Country Party.
– That is not right.
– Of course, the members of that party have been accused of bushranging, theft and everything else although the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) never says a word against these things in Victoria; he just makes a few protests here. The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess), and the honorable member for Higgins (Mr. Harold Holt) - the Treasurer - are members of the Liberal-Country Party in Victoria, but in Canberra they are members of the Liberal Party alone. The article in the “ Queensland Liberal “ to which I have referred, proves what I have always contended - that the Country Party is just a useless appendage in this Parliament. It begins in this way -
One of the propaganda lines used by other parties to inhibit Liberal Party expansion is that we are essentially a city party and that we have no deep rural attachments.
The writer of this article - he could have been the former President of the Queensland Liberal Party who is now the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Hulme), or this year’s President, Senator Sherrington - was obviously referring to the Country Party because it is only the Country Party which seeks to inhibit Liberal Party expansion in the manner referred to in the article. The article goes on -
Since we assumed office - “We” - not the episcopal”we”or the royal “we”, but the Liberal “we”- in 1949 there has been a transformation in our rural economy, and this has been brought about by a coalition government which is overwhelmingly Liberal, led by a Liberal Prime Minister, and with a Cabinet always predominantly Liberal.
– Order! I suggest that the honorable gentleman keep to the estimates under discussion.
– I shall do so. I just want to say that according to this article the members of the Country Party aTe the sleeping partners of the coalition. We believe that everything that can be done to increase production should be done. We of the Labour Party who were responsible for the benefit of the superphosphate bounty in the first instance, we who were responsible for introducing a guaranteed price for butter and a guaranteed price for wheat, now find members of the Liberal Party, who had nothing to do with all these benefits, wanting to discredit members of the Country Party and take all the credit for themselves.
– Are you trying to create mischief?
– If a statement of fact causes mischief, then that is unfortunate for the people concerned. Sir, I ask for your indulgence while I read the article. Ils modest reference-
Order! I remind the Leader of the Opposition that if the article refers to the estimates under discussion he does not need to seek my indulgence.
– If I say it refers to the estimates, Sir, I hope I will be in order. The article states -
The major objectives of the State and Federal Liberal Rural Committee have been steadfastly pursued and magnificently achieved, and Budget after Budget, policy speech after policy speech, has seen the implementation of recommendations flowing not from the Country Party in the coalition but directly from our Liberal Rural Committee.
I ask the Leader of the Australian Country Party, the Minister for Trade and Industry, who is here: Is this true or is it not true?
– I will say it is not true.
– I am glad to hear the Leader of the Australian Country Party say that this is just a farrago of nonsense. It is propaganda against the Australian Country Party and it is disgraceful and dishonest.
Order! I suggest that the Leader of the
Opposition come to the estimates under discussion.
– I think I have made my point. I will leave it to the members of the Australian Country Party to say whether they are mice or men, whether they will allow themselves to be treated like worms by the Liberal Party. I shall sit back now and listen with interest.
– What precisely this has to do with the estimates before the Committee, I do not know, but as the discussion has proceeded I propose within the limits of what has been said to make some short observations.
– You are being stabbed in the back.
– And I do not want any aid. Within the limits of the opportunities provided to them, the Country Party Ministers have made a full and constructive contribution to the work of the Government, and I think everyone knows that. The Leader of the Opposition has referred to the rural policies set out in an article. I have heard of this article but not seen it. It is completely untrue to say that these rural policies are not the outcome of representations and arguments by the Australian Country Party but are the outcome of representations made by some other body. My colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann), who is at the table, knows the origin of the superphosphate subsidy. I know the origin of trade treaty negotiations, and similar matters. The whole world knows the origin of the health scheme which was introduced by Sir Earle Page. Everyone knows the work done in repatriation by my colleague, Sir Walter Cooper. Everyone knows the work in social services done by my colleague the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton).
I rise to say that my party has made its full share, and not less than its full share, of constructive contributions to the work of the Government and I will not remain silent while any. one charges that it has not done so. The party has a special capacity to make its contribution and has done so. In addition, it has an unblemished record of loyalty to the Government. There is not an occasion that can be mentioned where a member of my party has voted against the Government or worked subversively against it.
.- I wish to bring the debate back to the estimates now before the Committee. To that extent, I speak to the. estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry, and specifically to the allocation of £350,000 to the Australian National Travel Association. This association is a’ private nonprofitmaking organisation. Its principal objectives are to attract visitors to Australia and to encourage, promote and develop facilities for visitors to Australia. In view of the grand work that the Association does in the interests of Australia and in the interests of tourism, I am extremely glad to see that the Government has increased the grant for this year by £30,000 to £350,000. This compares with the grant last year of £320,000 and the grant for 1962-63 of £265,973.
As we are all aware, tourism has become one of Australia’s major industries. In terms of invisible exports, it ranks ninth. It is interesting to note that from 1957 to 1963, the income from tourism in Australia has increased from £6 million to £27 million. In 1964, according to the estimates of travel authorities* 162,000 overseas visitors will come to Australia and they will spend somewhere in the vicinity of £29 million. This is due very largely, of course, to the encouragement that has been given by the Australian National Travel Association to the tourist industry and to efforts to make Australia attractive to overseas visitors. The Association has been fully supported by the Government. People in other countries are becoming very conscious of Australia’s tourist attractions, but it is essential, if we are to foster tourism, that we in Australia give value for money. It is important that accommodation be of the highest standard. In recent years, some progress has been made in developing a higher standard of accommodation, but we still have only a small number of hotels of world standard. There is still much to be done in this regard.
First impressions created in the minds of bur overseas visitors are most important. It is essential that these first impressions be favorable. Consequently, I ask honorable members to come with me and have a brief look at some of the unsavoury impressions that are gathered by tourists making their first visit to Australia.
– Where will we go?
– We will go down to Melbourne and look at it through the eyes of those folk who come by ship to the port of Melbourne. The ship ties up at Station Pier and the passengers seek to make their way ashore. They want to go into the city of Melbourne. This pier is sub-standard by any criterion. I make bold to say that the facilities on it are very much outmoded. Visitors from overseas must wend their way through a conglomeration of heterogeneous cargo. They must traverse a very narrow roadway, which is dangerous and which is, of course, in the middle of the pier. Some honorable gentlemen who have from time to time travelled by ship have seen people almost knocked over by motor cars travelling on this very narrow roadway.
Then there is that train, the train that runs from Port Melbourne to the city of Melbourne.. On a recent occasion, I was aboard an overseas vessel and made friends with some passengers who were visiting Australia for the first time. They travelled by this train from Port Melbourne to Melbourne. When they came back, they described it as being dirty, jerky and oldfashioned, with hard uncomfortable horsehair seats, They said that to travel in it was nerve wracking because, being an old type train, there was the constant banging of doors. This sort of train creates a very bad first impression of the Melbourne transport system, of which I can speak very highly. The train takes about 10 minutes to travel into the city.
– Would you take a train from Woolloomooloo to the Hotel Australia? You would take a taxi.
– I will come to that. The train I have mentioned creates a very bad impression of Melbourne’s transport system and perhaps of Melbourne itself. The overseas visitor who travels to Adelaide by ship finds no modern passenger terminal there, but just a wharf shed. The train to Adelaide provides better standards of comfort. Fremantle has an excellent passenger terminal, which I rate as among the best in the world.
Now I come to what is regarded as the front door of Australia - Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. As one approaches Sydney, the captain of one’s Boeing aircraft describes it as the finest city in the southern hemisphere. With that I agree. It is quite right. The magnificent harbour, which is so characteristic of Sydney, is pointed out. This description arouses in me, at any rate, feelings of pride. When the incoming traveller disembarks on the tarmac at Mascot, he is immediately struck by the unkempt grassed expanses and the untidy, almost jungle like, areas that make up the aerodrome. He notes the great drain across the middle of the runways. In some sections, he can see veritable swamps.
The passenger, on alighting from his aircraft, has to make a somewhat tortuous journey to the reception shed. That is all one can call it. This is a single story fibrous plaster, galvanised iron and weatherboard shed surmounted by a sign, similar to the signs that one secs on outback pubs, bearing the legend “ Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport”. This is the background that we see on television when the arrival of visiting celebrities is shown. These surroundings in which the visitor to Australia is received create a shocking impression in the minds of visiting tourists. This bad impression is aggravated by the viewing of these surroundings on television. The visitor’s impressions of the doorway to Australia become even less favorable when he compares the situation at Mascot with the more modern terminal buildings that he sees on his journey to Australia at airports at places like Fiji, Djakarta, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Calcutta and elsewhere in so called backward countries.
I know of the plans to modernise the facilities at Mascot, Mr. Temporary Chairman. I am aware of the money that is to be spent there. Unfortunately, proper standards will not be attained for years, no matter how much the work is expedited. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of overseas visitors annually will enter Australia through the unsightly, undignified, uncomfortable and inefficient sheds at Mascot. Then, of course, there is still the journey into Sydney over what could almost be described as a goat rack. This is indeed a smelly journey.
Many of our overseas visitors come to Canberra by road. I am certain that most honorable members have witnessed the buildings that stand by the side of the road along which one enters Canberra from Sydney. These are nothing less than monstrosities at the entrance to this fair city. In my view, they are completely without merits of design and have no architectural features pf value. They can be described rather aptly as being more like chicken coops than dwellings. These buildings give the impression that one has reached the entrance of a penal settlement rather than a city that is the scat of Australia’s Federal Government.
These features that I have described represent only some of the unsavoury first impressions that overseas visitors will receive of this progressive and prosperous country for years to come. I say quite objectively that, unfortunately, we appear to lack a sense of the need for window dressing. Governments will have to look to this if Australia is to retain its high attraction for overseas tourists.
– On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman: In case any other honorable member may wish to deliver an address similar to that just given by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle), will you state which section of the Estimates his remarks related to?
Order! The honorable member for Warringah was in order. He was discussing the estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, over the years, both State and Federal Governments have assisted industries to grow, and rightly so. This has helped Australia to become a great nation and provided employment for our people. Carefully drafted legislation has provided for organised marketing and production. This has given our primary industries magnificent stature and enabled them to bring much money into the coffers of both Federal and State Governments and to help feed the hungry multitudes of the world. However, I believe that since the war governments have inclined more towards promoting secondary industries than primary industries.
One primary industry in Australia has been much like the present Government’s economic policies, which have been characterised by periods of stop and go. I refer to the tobacco industry, which has been up and down like a yo-yo. Tobacco has been grown in Australia for many years, but the industry has never had the stability that other primary industries have attained. Australia is principally a primary producing country. Tho tobacco industry, although it will not provide the exports that other industries provide, can play a very great part in improving our overseas exchange position. At present, we import leaf from other countries for the manufacture of cigarettes and tobacco.
Over the years, we have been talking much about decentralisation and the expansion of our economy. The tobacco industry alone is helping greatly in the development of the northern and western parts of Queensland and in the development of other States. More than one State is involved in the industry, and this may cause some difficulties, but there is no reason why we should neglect the industry or refuse to make greater effort to stabilise it. Figures that I shall recite later will show honorable members that the tobacco industry requires the earnest attention of both State and Federal Governments. I believe that the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) and the entire Cabinet should do more than they have done to try to get the various States to take an interest in stabilising the industry. It is of no use to talk about stabilisation unless we have some idea how to go about stabilising the industry. The Minister for Primary Industry has always said that he is waiting for the industry itself to put a concrete proposition to him. I suggest to him that he ought to exercise his own prerogative and take the initiative in trying to stabilise the industry by action in the Federal sphere.
I believe that the tobacco industry can be stabilised in much the same way as the sugar industry was stabilised. This can be done only by a Federal board having power to allocate areas for cropping and quantities to be grown on those areas and to control the sale of tobacco leaf.
I believe that today the manufacturers, more than the growers, are determining the policy of this industry. The two main manufacturers in this country are playing one State against another, and one grower against another. I have been to the tobacco sales and watched the auctions. Although the buyers claim to have bought all the usable leaf they have not done so. I have passed bales of leaf on the auction floor for which the buyers had not bid. Once I called the attention of the secretary of the Board to this and said: “ This looks good to me. I am not an expert, but it looks as good a leaf as they purchased in the other bales “ and he pulled out a handful of the leaf, examined it and said: “Yes. We had a 128d. reserve on it, yet there was no bid for it “. He then called the two buyers over and asked: “What is wrong with this leaf?”, and they said: “Nothing. We don’t want it”. He asked: “What would be the value of that bale?” They took out some of the leaf, smelled it, felt its texture and said: “ It would be worth 128d.” Yet, there Was no bid for it.
There has been no co-ordination between the manufacturers and the growers. For instance, the growers do not know what quantity and what quality of leaf the manufacturers will require for the next three years, or even for the next buying season. If one quality leaf brings the top price, all the growers want to grow that quality leaf for the next year and consequently the manufacturers do not want all of it then. I do not say that all of the blame is on the manufacturer. The grower has the responsibility of growing a quality leaf, but unless the growers know what quality leaf is going to be purchased and what quantity will be required by the manufacturers, then a lot of the growers will lose out because the leaf will not be sold.
A Federal body should be formed to control the growing areas, and it should seek the assistance of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in having soils analysed. I can see no reason why any type of leaf which is grown in America should not be grown in Australia. We have similar climatic conditions and similar soil conditions. With the help of agriculturists quality tobacco can be grown here. Growers want to grow the best quality leaf, but unfortunately some growers have too much land to bc able to look after and produce the quality leaf which is required. These problems are all known, but unless some body sets down a pattern for the industry the industry will fall again as it did in the ‘twenties.
Honorable members have said that farmers are walking off their properties. Not too many are doing this in my area. This can be a valuable industry provided quality leaf can be produced and provided the growers know that the amount of leaf they produce can be absorbed by the industry. We are not using all our leaf, and we are not increasing the content of Australian leaf used in tobacco and cigarettes. A board such as I have suggested could gradually increase the percentage of Australian leaf to be used once the growers knew the quality leaf required and could grow that leaf. I know that they can grow quality leaf, provided they are allowed to grow it. I know that they will improve the quality, because Australian farmers are so minded that they want to produce the best possible product from the soil. They always seek the advice of experts from the C.S.i.R.O. and other agriculturists.
If America can produce cigarettes and tobacco with the importation of 12 to 15 per cent, of leaf, surely Australia can do the same? We could do it even if we imported 40 per cent, of the. leaf, and not 60 per cent, as we do today. A gradual increase in the Australian tobacco content will enable the Australian leaf to be absorbed. It is not just a matter of taste. I am a smoker and know perfectly well that an increase in the Australian tobacco content will make no difference to the quality of the cigarette or tobacco, provided the manufacturer does the right thing. Of course, the manufacturers in Australia today have interests in other countries and they want to make sure that the percentage of Australian leaf is not increased too much because they want to be able to dispose of the leaf they obtain from other countries. If this had an effect on our economy or on our trade balances there would be something in this. When wc examine the figures, we realise that our tobacco imports come from the United States of America and South Africa, and we do not have the advantage of credits in those countries. On the other hand, this is a worthwhile industry, because from the 45,946,702 lb. of leaf manufactured into cigarettes tha Government obtains £72,954,830 in excise. From the 10,208,761 lb. of leaf manufactured into tobacco the Government receives £9,366,249, This is good revenue from this industry. If the Government does something about the industry - and it is well worthwhile doing something about itthen that rate of revenue will be maintained. At present the percentage of Australian leaf to be used in cigarettes and tobacco is 4H, and this will not be affected greatly. The Government will still get excise from the manufacture of cigarettes.
I sincerely recommend that the Minister exert more energy and show more interest in this industry. I know that he has many other interests in primary production, but this industry is worth fostering because of the people in it. A lot of our migrants who have been encouraged to come to this country - farmers from the European countries - have put their life savings into the industry. I suggest that the Minister endeavour to stabilise the industry and that he consider trying to form a Federal body with the powers I have suggested. I am sure that the States will co-operate, because it will be in their interests as well as the interests of the growers. On the Federal body there should be a 50 per cent, representation of growers.
I wanted to speak about the tea industry, but I have not much time left. However, I think that the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) recognises the potential of the tea industry in Australia. Dr. Marouff has demonstrated that tea can be grown successfully and harvested commercially in Australia. I have given the Minister a pamphlet which indicates that in Asia and in Russia machines have been invented for plucking tea. There is no reason why we cannot examine the question of mechanical tea pickers and create another industry in the north-western part of Australia, where good quality tea can be grown successfully. T see no reason why we should pay out good money to countries with whom we have not favorable balances of trade when the. product could be produced in our own country. If we grow tea here we will create more employment in this country and develop that part of Australia which we constantly claim it is our desire to develop. This is an industry which will encourage the settlement of families in the area in which the industry is conducted. We will not have the spectacle of people flocking to the industry at harvesting time only to leave the area after the harvest is over. In particular the industry will attract migrant families, which the Government and the people of Australia welcome because they know that these migrants will help Australia to develop into the great nation that we know it will become within the next 50 years.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, J feel that I would be failing in my duty as a representative of a vast number of wool growers in Western Australia if I allowed this debate to proceed too far without endeavouring to correct a very serious misconception in the minds of some honorable members regarding this vitally important export industry and its acute marketing problems. Let me say that I agree with some of the remarks of my colleague, the honorable member for New England (Mr. Sinclair), when he referred to the necessity for the wool marketing scheme to be referred to a ballot of growers in order to allow the growers, to determine themselves whether to accept the proposals of the Australian Wool Board and whether private selling is to be eliminated. T also share his concern at the fact that some of the implications of the wool marketing proposals are not completely appreciated by many members of the rural community. I would carry this latter thought even further by saying that I doubt whether they are appreciated by many honorable members, notwithstanding the fact that some of them are directly associated with wool broking houses.
The importance of conducting a ballot among the growers cannot be over emphasised as a vital principle to be applied in a democratic society. However, to permit,, in effect the National Council of Wool
Selling Brokers through the Wool Industry Conference and the Australian Wool Board, to toss a double-headed penny with the industry and at the same time allow them to make the call is not consistent with true democratic principles. The history of the development of private treaty sales in Western Australian is one which should be fully understood and appreciated by every honorable member before any hasty decision is made to eliminate them. Let it be clearly understood that private selling in Western Australia developed out of the widespread dissatisfaction with the auction system - a system which in so many ways had been found to be absolutely unreliable. At this point cif time more than half the wool growers in the State freely choose to dispose of their wool by private treaty and they are more than satisfied to do this in preference to selling by auction. The number of such growers is growing year by year.
It was this dissatisfaction which led a majority of Western Australian growers in August 1951 to vote in favour of the post Joint Organisation reserve price plan, lt is significant that growers in Western Australia were the only ones with the courage, wisdom and foresight 13 years ago to recognise the need for permanent reform of wool marketing procedures. This is not said with any undue criticism of growers in other parts of Australia, as it is freely recognised that in central and eastern Australia a most insidious and aggressive whispering campaign was conducted against the post Joint Organisation plan by the the business organisations which now constitute the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers. Growers were white-anted from within their own organisations and threats of implied economic reprisals against individuals were thinly veiled in discussions over the rails of the sheep yards. Western Australian growers, however, had the courage of their convictions and were fortified by the inspiration, wisdom and guidance of that great patriarch of the wool industry, Eric Hitchens of Cranbrook. The defeat of this ballot and the disappointment.. of Western Australian growers is now history. The post Joint Organisation plan, which could have been introduced without any of the grave financial problems and hazards associated with the present proposals, was relegated to the archives of forgotten ideals. It was in this atmosphere of dissatisfaction and disgust that private treaty selling started to get off the ground on a well-organised, efficient and businesslike basis.
It is unfortunately true that an entirely erroneous concept exists in the minds of people outside Western Australia as to the machinery now established by the private treaty buyers. The popular image of these people is a strange little person wandering around the wool producing areas, mostly speaking halting English, with a second hand truck and a roll of notes in the bottom of a battered kitbag, part of which he hopes he Will be able to tempt the grower to accept and transfer to his left-hand pocket in exchange for something less than the real value of his wool. Let us contrast this picture with the real picture of the highly successful and efficient machinery and facilities now established in Western Australia. First, the buyer operating in the country on behalf of the private treaty organisation is a properly trained valuator and is armed with the latest table of limits supplied by the major international end users of the product. He carries with him properly drafted contracts of sale which are signed by both parties in the event of a treaty being made. When the wool leaves the grower’s shed it is transported to first class receiving facilities where it is weighed. The grower receives his cheque promptly in accordance with the contract. It is significant that once the wool is weighed into store, no matter how well classed it has been in the grower’s shed it is immediately re-sorted and re-packed to rigid specifications in accordance with the requirements of the end user on the other side of the world. Is it any wonder that prominent wool industry authorities have recently described these private treaty buyers as probably the most efficient people in the industry today?
I would like to turn now to a very brief analysis of the growers who do not use the private treaty facilities for the disposal of their clips. Let me first again make the point that these people represent less than half the wool growers of the State and this proportion is each year becoming progressively less. This is in contrast to the majority of growers, who quite voluntarily, use the facilities offered by the private treaty operators. Nobody is compelled in any way whatever to sell privately, but this is not true of the minority who presently use the discredited auction system. This minority may be divided into three main groups. First we have the unfortunate individuals who, through adverse circumstances, are compelled to borrow seasonal finance from a broker, who makes finance available to them against the security of their stock and wool and binds them to dispose of their wool and livestock through the brokers’ organisation. It is significant that the broker in most cases now ties up the client’s insurance, farm merchandise and superphosphate business in the same way.
Then we have the stud stock breeder who, from bitter experience, has been taught that he will not be able successfully to dispose of his rams and surplus breeding ewes unless he keeps on side with the broker, who is also a livestock salesman. Finally we have the north-west pastoralist and station owner who, from past experience, is familiar with the cycles of bad seasons with which he is beset from time to time and which, without the financial support of the big broker, he would not be able to survive.
It may be appropriate now to ask ourselves why individuals who have been well recognised by informed people as fundamentally tools of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers have apparently changed their attitude to a reserve price plan in contrast to the thinly veiled attitude they adopted to the post Joint Organisation plan of 1951. I think the answer to this question undoubtedly lies in the new threat of private treaty selling by growers. With this, of course, must be associated a realisation that the tremendous unrest in the industry has now reached the stage where it is politically inexpedient for the Government to continue to ignore it. Something must soon be done to bring a measure of stability to the industry as a whole. In this situation why not accept the present proposal as the lesser of several evils and bargain with the Government for arbitrary action to get the private buyer off their back?
But what of the grower? Has he any guarantee that the present concept of a reserve price plan will do anything material to restore to the auction system the price stability the lack of which has been the nightmare of his existence since his first sheep was shorn? If it does not he will be left lamenting and again at the mercy of a system which experience has taught him is thoroughly bad, the machinery of the private operators having been arbitrarily and effectively destroyed in the meantime. 1 am not aware of any valid reason why the private treaty buyer cannot operate within the framework of the reserve price plan, and I see no reason to place the grower in the position in which voting in favour of reserve price must be conditional upon his agreeing to eliminate an effective alternative to the auction system. In short, I object to allowing the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers to use this Government and its grower-constituted bodies to toss a double-headed penny with the industry and, at the same time, to have the right to call.
In conclusion, may I also direct the attention of the House to the difficult and contradictory position in which honorable members will be placed if later in the life of this Parliament we are asked to place on the statute book a wool marketing plan which gives the brokers an absolute monopoly of the marketing of our most important national product whilst, at the same time, we have before us legislation which will attempt to do something about the iniquitous restrictive trade practices rampant in the community today.
.- The honorable member for Moore (Mr. Maisey) referred to the difficult and contradictory position in which this House might find itself in the event of various pieces of legislation being brought before it later in this session. The honorable member himself illustrated from his remarks the difficult and contradictory position that has been taken up within and between the Liberal and Country Parties in this House on very many matters of primary production and the export of primary products. There have been speakers in each of these parties on wool, which they readily say is the most important of all Australia’s present exports, and also on smaller industries such as the tobacco industry. There is a very distinct difference of opinion on wool marketing between those who are regarded as graziers, mainly among the Liberal Party or among some Country Party members from northern New South Wales, and, on the other side, those that the graziers declare to be peasants, mainly the Country Party people in Victoria and Western Australia in particular. Again, there is a difference of opinion as regards wool between those who regard themselves as able to dismiss small ° primary industries such as the tobacco industry as inefficient, implying that it is expendable as did the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) early this afternoon, and, on the other hand, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) who made a somewhat cloudy defence of the tobacco industry on Thursday night.
The whole question of whether wc are to sell our wool by private treaty or by auction is an important one. It goes to the whole traditional method of marketing. We have had a method which is traditional but which in many minds has few other virtues, if any. This matter has been now brought to the forefront of public discussion by the Marketing Committee of the Australian Wool Board. Its proposals to abandon the auction system or to have a reserve price system have been debated by the Board.- These proposals have been passed on by the Board to the Australian Wool Industry Conference and probably thence they will come to the Government and to the Parliament. But it is very interesting to see that on this matter there is a division of opinion between, on the one hand, the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) who is in the House, and on the other hand the honorable member for Moore who has just concluded his speech, just as there was a difference about the tobacco industry between the honorable member for Wannon and the Minister for Primary Industry and the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten).
– I think you had better stick to things you know something about.
– There are, on matters like this, more differences between the honorable member for Corangamite and some of those who sit next to him in the Country Party enclave than there are between the latter and the members who sit with and behind me, because we have been saying in our Party not only in the last few months or years but for the last couple of decades virtually the same things that are now being said by the honorable member for Moore. As my leader said early this afternoon, the Labour Party brought in the subsidies for superphosphate. The Labour Party brought in every export marketing board except the Australian Wine Board. For a long time, the Labour Party has been agitating to have a referendum on whether we should continue with the auction system for wool. This concerned the honorable member for Moore who asked this afternoon about the post-Joint Organisation scheme of marketing. This is just what the Labour Party was saying in the 1940’s while that scheme was still in operation.
– Private buying too?
– Which side is the honorable member for Mallee on in this matter? Is he in favour of the private treaty system or the auction system? Does he agree in this matter with the honorable member for Wannon that the tobacco industry is expendable, or does he think with the Minister for Primary Industry that this is purely a State matter? Does he think with the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten), who is one of his colleagues, and the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton), who is one of mine, that this is one of these industries which will save necessary foreign exchange? The debate which took place last Thursday night and which is taking place this afternoon is a very valuable one. It has illustrated the differences that there are within and between the Government parties on both our big and small primary industries.
Before I go into the broad matter of trade and the matter of manufactured exports with which I was wanting to deal particularly, I should mention the fact that the Committee commenced the debate on this group of estimates last Thursday night unexpectedly, as was pointed out at the time. The provisional list of proceedings which is on everybody’s seat in the House - the blue sheet - did not mention this group of estimates at all. This would not have mattered so much if honorable members had received before last Thursday the report of the Tariff Board. This is one of the basic reports which honorable members ought to receive early in the Budget session. Many honorable members have mentioned, and organs of public opinion are mentioning also, that members of Parliament are entitled to the proper facilities in preparing their arguments in this House. It is not satisfactory that we should embark upon, a Budget debate with the account of the economy given by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) in his Budget Speech and no other document. There are at least three other basic documents which should be in the hands of every honorable member before the Budget debate is resumed. There is the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report-
– You have received all the reports of the Department of Primary Industry.
– I was about to acknowledge that fact. I used to conduct somewhat of a campaign on this matter. I must confess that over the last three years the Minister for Primary Industry has been presenting his reports earlier and earlier, in a preliminary form, at least. This is not his fault. I imagine that the Auditor-General has not certified the accounts which are the only things which should be added to his reports. But the reports of his Department are presented very promptly. As a result of this, honorable members are able to talk on all aspects of primary industry. The Commonwealth Grants Commission’s report, which is a basic requirement for us when we are debating any aspect of the Federal financial structure, comes before us after the Budget debate and even when the Estimates debate is concluded. The report of the Reserve Bank of Australia comes down towards the end of the Budget debate. This is another basic economic report and it ought to be in the hands of every honorable member to give an alternative account - a dispassionate account - to that given in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech.
Thirdly, there is the Tariff Board’s report. Last year I thought we were turning over a new leaf. We received the Board’s report on 10th September, In the previous year we received the Board’s report on 3rd October. This year we received the Board’s report on 24th September; that is, on the day when the estimates for the Department of Trade and Industry were coming up for debate. This is all the more inexcusable because the Government received the report on 28th August. So the delay in our receiving the report is not due to the default of the Tariff Board in any respect. The report has been held by the Government for four weeks. It came before honorable members on the very day when, without any announcement at all, the affairs of the Department of Trade and Industry came up for debate. That fits in to the general pattern. The Government treats honorable members - members of the Opposition and private members of the Government parties - with contempt. It does not arm us with the reports which the statutes say we should have.
The Tariff Board’s report this year was an important one. I will illustrate, first of all, that it has borne out things concerning the high costs of Australian exports which Dr. Coombs mentioned five years ago in his address entitled “A Matter of Prices”. It is often said that high costs militate against our exports. They do. It is also said that the high costs aTe due to high wages. That is not what Dr. Coombs says or what the Tariff Board says in its latest report. The Tariff Board says, although with some reservations -
Direct costs had only a relatively small effect on (he cost disabilities of the particular industries concerned.
I point out that wage rises follow price rises. The active cause of price rises is the pricing policies of industrialists and traders. Dr. Coombs pointed out in his address that-
In developing that point, Dr. Coombs pointed out that management assumed that cost increases could and. should be passed on. He attributed that to the high degree of monopoly and a lack of consumer price consciousness. Because of its tardiness in introducing restrictive trade practices legislation, to which the Tariff Board has referred on many occasions, and because of its unwillingness to promote public competition which could reduce costs and expand output, the Government must take a large share of the responsibility for high costs. Dr. Coombs then went on to say that, although productivity rises and unit costs fall, management never lowers prices’, that instead, it will frequently produce a more elaborate article or advertise its article much more; and that the increase in productivity will be absorbed in wasteful advertising and packaging. In this connection - the second of the points made by Dr. Coombs - the Tariff Board, in its latest report, refers to “high costs of distribution in some industries “.
The third point made by Dr. Coombs was that management deliberately sets prices sufficiently high to increase profits and so provide the funds for future expansion. In relation to that third point, the Tariff Board expressed “ concern at the high level of mark-up in particular industries “. Those are instances in which the latest report by the Tariff Board - presented to the Parliament last Thursday but to the Government four weeks before - reiterates matters which Dr. Coombs pointed out five years ago. It is not wages which force up the costs of our export products at all; it is management and the pricing policies of business.
But on this occasion the Tariff Board has also pointed to a relatively new feature as one of the causes of high costs. It has stated -
Significant cost savings could follow a decrease in the number of manufacturers in some industries . . some of these industries (capital intensive industries such as chemicals and plastics) had a large degree of excess capacity.
That excessive capacity and the excessive humber of manufacturers in some industries are a real cause of inefficiency and high costs in Australia. .Attention has been directed to this problem many times before. But at last the Tariff Board seems conscious of the need to look not at individual firms but at the whole structure of particular industries. The Board has very great powers to fix prices. It should also use its power to enforce structural changes in some industries in order to improve efficiency. The latest report says that the Board -
An illustration of this point was made by the Board in its findings on the hydrofluoric acid industry in June this year. It pointed out -
Pacific Chemical Industries Pty. Ltd. has made a substantial capital outlay to establish its present hydrofluoric plant, and by a relatively small additional outlay would apparently be able to double the capacity of its plant. The evidence suggests that this doubling of capacity would probably enable Pacific Chemical Industries to meet the Australian demand for hydrofluoric acid until about 1970. As this demand will come mainly from Monsanto and Pacific Chemical Industries itself it would seem desirable for these two companies to negotiate a supply agreement. The Board considers, in other words, that the problems of the local hydrofluoric acid industry could to a large extent be solved by the industry itself. In this context it should be added that if Monsanto and Pacific Chemical Industries continue to be the main users of hydrofluoric acid, and if Monsanto decided to establish its own plant, there would still seem to be little purpose in recommending tariff assistance for the hydrofluoric acid industry.
At one and the same time the Tariff Board is fixing the price in the hydrofluoric acid industry and warning Monsanto that its entry into the industry could lead to higher costs. It is to be hoped that the Tariff Board will give a much wider application of this principle to enforce rationalisation and structural changes in industries where there is so much obvious inefficiency and there are far too many firms or what the Board describes as “ uneconomic fragmentation of the market “.
We often assume thai restrictive practices are all applied by monopolistic companies and raise prices. They can be applied by Government action, in some cases, to improve the efficiency of our industry where there is too much fragmentation and where too many companies are operating. It appears that at last the Tariff Board is becoming aware of its social and economic duties in these matters. As to restrictive practices in licensing agreements and so on imposed by foreign companies, our Federal system imposes no inhibitions on the Federal Government. It can act directly.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I want to deal first with the two* points raised by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). In the first place, he complained that this section of the Estimates was embarked upon suddenly. He said that it was not included on the blue programme.
No-one should be better aware than he is that Standing Order 101 makes it quite clear that the business of the Parliament shall proceed according to the notice paper. Those of us who worked in this House before the blue programme was introduced are well aware of its advantages. I have a document prepared by the Clerk of the House which sets out for our guidance the way in which we should use the blue programme. On page 12 it states -
While the notice paper lists all the business before the House, both Government and general, the blue programme shows only those items of business and other matters wilh which the House is expected to deal on that day. Every attempt is made to forecast the day’s proceedings as accurately as possible and some detail of the procedures to be followed is given in regard to each item. The programme is compiled in collaboration with the Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ministers, Whips and other members having business to be dealt with.
The programme is not a formal document as is the notice paper and it does not fix the order of business or limit its scope. It serves as a useful guide to Ministers and members in planning their day’s work in relation to die business of the House.
If the kind of criticism we have heard is to be levelled by the Opposition because we have had to depart on one or two occasions from the blue programme, it will mean that we will not have a blue programme. It will be impracticable to carry out the programme if it is hobbled. It is a guide. I hope that we do not hear this criticism again because if it is often voiced there will be a tendency on the part of the Government to depart from the use of something which I think we all appreciate. I, as a backbencher, am grateful to the Government and the officers of the House for devising it.
The second criticism of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was that the Tariff Board report was not in our hands sooner and that we did not have it before this debate commenced. No-one takes a greater interest than I do in the annual Tariff Board reports. I point out to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that later in this session there will almost certainly be an opportunity for him to discuss this very report when the House is debating the Tariff Board bills as they are introduced. Never before in the history of this Parliament have there been more opportunities for discussion of Tariff Board reports than there are now. I do not suggest that there is too much time in which to debate the reports, but it ill becomes the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to criticise the Government on the point at this time because later in the session there will almost certainly be an opportunity to do so at greater length and with more precision than is possible during the debate on the Estimates.
– Do you think the Government should have withheld the report for four weeks?
– I do not know why the Government did not publish it, but I am certainly not prepared to criticise the Government without full knowledge of the matter.
My main reason for speaking is to deal with a matter that some may think is a small matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition would certainly recognise it as a small matter because it deals with a mundane thing like a reaping machine. However, I want to deal with this subject because it comes, first under the Department of Customs and Excise; secondly, under the Department of Primary Industry; and thirdly, under the Department of Trade and Industry in that it has some implications in our overseas trade position. Recently the Department of Customs and Excise altered its long-standing ruling and provided that power take-off imported open front reaping machines shall pay a duty of 20 per cent, and not come in duty free as formerly. Until this change of ruling any open-front power take off reaping machine under 10 ft. was admitted duty free; now, because the Department has altered its ruling, a machine under 7 ft. will come in duty free under by law, but a machine of between 8 and 10 ft. will incur a duty of 20 per cent. Why has the Department done this? The ruling is that a suitably equivalent power take-off model is available iri Australia in the 8 and 10 ft. sizes, but not in the under 7 ft. sizes. The Department has said that because a suitably equivalent machine is available in Australia a duty of 20 per cent, will be charged on the overseas machine. This, of course, makes the overseas machine dearer.
I have had many prolonged arguments with the Department during the past year. In many cases I have been on unsure ground because I have been talking about furnish ing fabrics or something like that. But when it comes to reaping machines I feci that I have the Department where I want it. This is a subject on which I think I know a good deal more than the Department. I do not say that in any boasting way because many honorable members probably know more about these machines than I do. However, I do not think that the Department, knows much about them, as I shall now demonstrate. I should like to point out first that there is no social advantage in buying an imported reaping machine. The magic letters “Imp.” often intrigue people. They buy imported bulls and rams, but you do not buy imported headers for the same reason. I suppose one very good reason is that we have never been able to get headers to breed. There is only one incentive to buy an imported header, and there is only one reason why an imported header would be bought - because it is better at doing a particular job.
A little while ago, before I came into Parliament, when 1 was a full-time farme.r I had a crop of . oats that had gone flat. I know that it should not have gone flat and that had 1 been like the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) I would have been out into the field early in the morning to get it off before it did go flat. It went flat because it rained. Perhaps it should not have rained. However, the crop of oats went flat. I went out with my ordinary wheat machine, an Australian toothed model and I got into difficulties. I went back and got a 6 ft. open front machine. My neighbours said: “ Look at poor old Kelly reaping with a 6 ft. machine “. Although it was slow, T got through it. If I had used a standard machine, I could not have done the job.
I use this example to illustrate the point that one does not buy these machines for fun,, or for social advancement. There are some particular crops for which one needs an open front machine. There are some particular crops where small seed equipment that only comes with this class of machinery is required. I know this because I have got a standard wheat machine, and I bought an open front machine to reap choe mollier, rye grass, sub clover and that type of crop. In this case I know what I am talking about. In this instance the departmental ruling has been that these open front machines are not necessary and that suitable equivalent machines are available in Australia. The fact is that there is not an open front power take-off machine available in Australia. The departmental ruling is that an ordinary comb front machine is suitably equivalent. It will, indeed, do the same thing in a crop of wheat that is standing up straight and tall. It will do the same thing in a straight-standing oat crop, but I know from bitter experience that it will not do the same thing in a small seed crop that has gone down, or, indeed, in a cereal crop that has gone down.
How am I going to explain this ruling to my constituents when I go around the country? I could come across a farmer who has been tearing away at a down crop of oats with a traditional machine. He could come up to me and say: “ Why can’t I get one of these open front machines? “ I would say: “ You cannot get one because you would have to pay duty on it “. He would say: “ Why? “ I would say: “ These machines which are suitably equivalent are just as good “. After I had explained what that meant - I would have to refer to a dictionary or two before I could explain what it means - I would get across to him that the ordinary front machine is just as good as an open front machine. Being up to his ears in oats, so to speak, he would find it difficult to understand this matter.
I repeat that often I have had bitter arguments with the officers of the Department of Customs and Excise. I admit that departmental officers always go out of their way to be polite and helpful to me. They explain things to me to the best of their ability. It is often difficult for them because, as we all know, I have not got a very clear grasp of things like textiles. But when it comes to reaping machines, I will pit my opinion and my experience against the officers of the Department any day.
It is all right for the officers of the Department to say that there is a suitably equivalent machine, but there will be an increasing need for open front machines for particular circumstances in Australia. Farmers will not buy them in preference to wheat machines because they are dearer because of the protection and freight. They will buy them only because they are suited to particular crops in particular circumstances. My point is that as we farm better, as we practise ley farming, our crops will go down because the fertility level will be higher. I know that they should not go clown any more. I know, Sir, that your crops would not go down, I know that the crops of the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) would not go down, and I know that my own crops should not go down. But with the increasing standard of the farming, there will be more crops go down than before because of the weather. It is not sufficient to say, like the song in Camelot: “ The weather shall be perfect all the year.” It is not perfect all the year. From time to time there will be summer rain that will put the more lush crops down flat.
It is going to be small consolation to me, when going around my constituents, to explain to farmers that they cannot buy the machine that they want because the Department of Customs and Excise says that there is a suitably equivalent machine available in Australia. I ask the Minister to pass on to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) my plea that this matter should be looked at again. In this case I know beyond all shadow of doubt that the departmental decision is wrong.
.- We are indebted to the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) for giving us the benefit of his experience as a practical farmer, although I had to listen closely when I heard him mention open fronts to be certain that he was not talking about (he new topless dresses that we are hearing so much about at the moment.
– We are dealing with the proposed vote for the Department of Primary Industry.
– I wish to join with the honorable member for Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) in a plea for a national plan for the stabilisation of the tobacco industry. Leading representatives of the industry, particularly of the growers, and especially those in Queensland, have for some time now requested a stabilisation plan for the marketing of tobacco similar to that which operates in the sugar industry under the CommonwealthState sugar agreement which was initiated by a Labour Government in Queensland and a Commonwealth Labour Government led by a former member for Wide Bay, Prime Minister Andrew Fisher. That scheme had its opponents who decried it in 1915 as socialistic because it was a scheme under which the nation acquired the whole of a crop and then handled the marketing of it. Migrants, particularly from Italy, where such a scheme exists in primary industry whereunder the Government buys the produce and then does the marketing, have asked me why such a scheme is not possible in the tobacco industry. If it can be operated in the sugar industry, why can it not bc operated in the tobacco industry?
I know that more States would be involved in an agreement on tobacco marketing, but the time has come for action to be taken. This is becoming apparent, more to growers than to anyone else because, year after year their position is being prejudiced at the sales by buyers of whom only a small number operate. Despite the fact that tobacco growers have their own assessors who place a value on leaf, prices realised in recent years have been below the prices assessed. In a majority of cases, the prices realised have been much lower than the prices assessed and in quite a number of cases leaf that has been assessed as of good quality has been passed in. In some cases, in the opinion of assessors and of growers who have had quite some experience of growing over many years, leaf of similar quality to that which is being sold is being passed over. A number of growers in Wide Bay have come to me. One in particular has been growing tobacco for a number of years. The average price of his leaf eight years ago was 13s. per lb. This year, with approximately 14 per cent, of his leaf still to be sold, his average price is 9s. 6d. per lb. Although the cost of producing the leaf - growing costs, cost of insecticides and cost of fuel in the kilns - has risen, the average price reaslised is less than it was eight years ago. So it cannot be said that the tobacco growers are getting a fair deal under the present system.
We have seen a reduction in the amount of Australian leaf to be used in locally produced tobacco. I have spoken to experts at the Mareeba tobacco experimental station. These men told me that it is possible to grow in the recognised tobacco areas of Australia leaf as good as is grown in any other part of the world. This fact has been recognised by representatives of Rothmans who have paid record prices for leaf at Mareeba, in the Leichhardt electorate. Yet there has been a growing tendency for good quality leaf to be passed over.
If the solution is to increase the quota of Australian leaf, the argument is immediately advanced that the quality will suffer and that the price of tobacco to the consumer will be increased. Those matters can be investigated. But experienced men do not agree on this point. In Bundaberg there is a man who formerly was a buyer operating in all parts of the world for a tobacco company for a number of years. He purchased a tobacco farm in the district after having looked everywhere before selecting it. Some 40 per cent, of his leaf is being passed over this year. Having bought this farm, he now is wondering how he can ever get out of it.
Closely interested in the tobacco industry is the Department of Customs and Excise. In this year’s Budget provision is made for an increase in excise on tobacco. According to the estimate of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) the extra duty would increase the cost of a large packet of cigarettes by 2d., but according to the calculation of the tobacco manufacturers it was closer to 3d. a packet, and they increased their prices by that amount. It docs seem that whenever a government is looking for a means of increasing revenue - this is common to all governments - it generally looks round to see what it can slug.
It was a surprise to a number of people that the excise on beer and spirits was not increased in the last Budget. It was a surprise particularly to a number of publicans. I know that some people bought heavily in anticipation of an increase in excise on beer and spirits. Of course, they were going to sell at the price at which they had bought! I really do not imagine that that would be so for one moment. However, some people did buy heavily in anticipation of an increase in the duty.
I can remember being told by an old mate during my early working days that the best milking cow any government had was the man who drank and smoked, lt does appear that persons in that category are the ones the Government slugs when it is looking for an extra £1. Collections from excise on beer last year amounted to £123,584,256 and it is estimated that receipts will increase by almost £5 million in the current year. Excise on spirits will
Increase by almost- £700,00.0 to £9,900,000. 1 do wish to draw attention to the fact that over the last 10 years excise duty payable on brandy has been reduced to the present rate of 45s. a proof gallon. This has been done to encourage the wine industry and perhaps the reduction has achieved this objective because the local consumption of brandy has been stepped up considerably. On the other hand excise on rum has been maintained at 82s. a proof gallon. With rum selling at about £10 a gallon, £4 2s. is paid in excise. The estimated manufacturing cost of a gallon of rum is 12s.; the balance represents handling and bottling costs and excise duty. It seems that the rum manufacturers have had the same excise duty imposed on them for a period of ten years, while the manufacturers of brandy have enjoyed a reduction in excise duty. Rum is not a rich man’s drink. It is a drink of the battlers, as is beer. It appears that the maintenance of the duty at 82s. a gallon has caused the price of rum to remain at a fairly high level. Accordingly, consumption has dropped.
I believe that the time is ripe for the discrepancy in the duties on the two spirits manufactured in Australia to be reviewed. Of course, rum is manufactured mainly in Queensland and perhaps does not have the nationwide appeal that wine has. I suggest that there should be a review of the excise duty of 45s. a gallon payable on brandy, compared with’ the duty of 82s. a gallon payable on rum.
It is interesting to compare’ increases in the amounts of customs and excise duties per head of population with increases in population. In 1959-60, the amount of customs duty per head of population was £8.3. Today it is £10.55. In 1959-60 the payment of excise duty per head was £24.8. Today it has increased to £26.41. The increase has kept pace with the increase in population and revenue has benefited accordingly.
I turn now to the field of primary industry. I understand that following an investigation of the dairy industry certain approaches have been made. It seems strange that the last survey of the dairy industry was held, five years ago and that the Government declined to act on the recommendations of the investigating committee. I am hot aware of the purpose of the investigation which is being conducted at present.
– It is a Queensland investigation.
– I understand that a specialist or other members of the staff of the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry are associated with it.
– They may have been called in to give evidence.’ I do not know.
– It will be interesting to find out the reasons for and the outcome of the survey.
.- This afternoon I wish to refer to the primary industries which are so important to the Australian community. The main industries have increased rapidly in production arid development generally over the last few years but, as has been stated by the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) some industries have had a rather chequered career. One that was mentioned was the vegetable industry. I believe there is room for considerable improvement in this industry which suffers from periods of glut. Because only a restricted amount of the production can be sold at profitable prices on the markets of the various cities of Australia, there is room for considerable expansion of the canning and exporting industries. It is tragic to see good vegetables produced only to be either fed to the pigs or dumped. This industry is in dire need of some improvement.
The honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Kelly) referred to the need for a certain type of header for certain classes of agriculture. The need for this machine has arisen from the fact that our development has been so great in some parts of Australia that production has increased beyond what we ever dreamed of seeing 20 years ago. .Heavy crops are being produced under rather damp conditions in some localities and special types of machinery are needed to harvest those crops. To the best of my knowledge, the type of header referred to by the honorable member for ‘
Wakefield is not manufactured in this . country. In fact, I doubt that it is manufactured in Britain. There is nothing wrong with this type of agriculture. It is part of our development and progress in agriculture. If development and research result in heavy crops we must have the right type of machinery to harvest them. Otherwise our research will be worthless.
Let me support the honorable member for Wakefield a little further by saying that if farmers are unable to obtain the right types of machinery, not only is it frustrating to them but also it is detrimental’ to the economic working of the farm. It is important that the farmers be enabled to gather in their crops at the right time, as quickly ‘ as possible and at the least possible expense. I do not see why Australian agriculturists should be subjected to increased costs because they desire to buy special machines which are not available in Australia to do a special job. That is how I see the problem from my own practical experience in the country, and I strongly support the case submitted by the honorable member for Wakefield.
In these times of great progress in agriculture v/c must not ignore some of the problems which I have seen and which no doubt every honorable member has noticed in his travels. I refer in particular to soil erosion. This problem is not unique to Australia. It is experienced in many countries. We have only to look out of the window as we fly out of Canberra to see evidence of the erosion that is ‘taking place around this beautiful city. I think that all the State Governments are fully aware of .the problem and the dangers of it. But are the Australian people as a whole, and are we in the Commonwealth Parliament, fully aware of the soil erosion being caused by water and of. what this erosion will do to our production figures in the future if wc do not take heed of the situation?
I mention soil erosion because a great deal of land is being surveyed today, and I suggest that when we can carry out surveys wc should give some attention to past experience. In many cases land surveys are being made today on much the same’ lines as they were 50 years ago. This is not good enough because, as we know, soil erosion caused by the action of water can be con trolled to a large extent if contour surveys are carried out. Effective mitigation’ of soil erosion requires a completely new approach to the whole question of farming, right from the initial land survey. I believe this could and should be done by the State Governments which are responsible. I believe also that the Commonwealth Government should do everything in its power to assist in this field because there is no doubt whatever that the damage which can be done, is tremendous. In Pakistan, where I was some short time ago, some 20 million acre’sif I remember correctly - had been subjected to salt. That is something which that country will have to overcome. It cannot possibly allow that sort of thing, to continue.
The problem is not peculiar to Pakistan. We have seen it in America and in the Middle East, and we have seen it affecting vast areas in Australia. In the East- Kimberleys an area of 1,100 square miles has been devastated by erosion. It is, perhaps, erosion of a different sort from that which I have mentioned, but it is there. We have erosion of various types throughout Australia. If we do not take note of this problem our agricultural production throughout Australia will be seriously interfered with.
In this connection, I wish to mention road surveys. Roads are becoming better throughout Australia. There are more bitumen roads and consequently there is more runoff which is having the detrimental effect of causing soil erosion. The Commonwealth Bureau of Roads Bill which was recently passed through this chamber was designed to set up a Bureau to survey road requirements. I sincerely hope that the proposed Bureau will take note of this very serious problem in Australia.
Far too often as we look down from, aircraft we see Australian soil moving out to sea in the rivers. This soil should be the source of future food supplies, not only of Australia, but also of countries overseas which need our products. This soil should not be moving out through our rivers, but should be conserved to bc a source of food to supply a hungry world. I impress upon the people of Australia, and upon the Minister, the need to give heed to this matter because I believe it is very important.
Another subjectI should like to touch upon is the problem of noxious weeds which arc spreading throughout Australia. Perhaps we notice this problem more in Western Australia. Stock moving across the continent has caused this trouble. Western Australia was a very clean State until a few years ago, but noxious weeds are now spreading from east to west. It is impossible, of course, to eradicate the entire problem from Australia but it is not impossible to control it to some extent. I believe that the States, which are responsible not only for the eradication, but also for the control of undesirable weeds throughout Australia, should get together and endeavour to solve the problem at its source. Perhaps something can be done at the boundaries between the States, and especially at the boundary between South Australia and Western Australia. At all events more heed should be given to the problem.
These things can affect the economy of the country in more ways than one. The Commonwealth Government is responsible for the general economy and for Australia’s balance of payments situation. Our trade is affected by these noxious weeds. Our exports should be free of all foreign matter. If we do not attend to this problem it could catch up with us at some future date. We have very strict rules in Australia to stop the importation of undesirable products. It could well be that, if we do not heed this situation, then at some future time other countries could refuse to take delivery of our contaminated exports. I impress upon the Government the need to take note of this particular problem.
There is one other matter upon which I should like to touch before I sit down. It relates to a proposal put forward by the Australian Wool Board. It has been said in this chamber recently, and also on many occasions in the past, that a vote should be held on any new proposals concerning the sale of wool. I agree entirely with that suggestion and the Minister has made it perfectly clear, over a long period, that it is his policy also. I think that it is generally accepted that if a major change is to take place in the marketing of any major product of primary industry throughout Australia, it is only democratic and right that the growers and owners of that product should be able to vote on any change that is proposed. If and when a vote is taken and if the growers accept this marketing plan, we should perhaps go a step further and look realistically at the question of control. I think everybody will agree that, after any marketing board has been set up, the most important consideration is the management of the industry by a management board.I understand that the Australian Wool Board has not recommended that the growers shall, in the normal way, select the members of the board. I ask honorable members to reflect for a moment on this question: Having elected to make a change, would it not be democratic for the growers to have the opportunity to elect the members of the board? I think it is only right and just that they should and I hope that they will be given the opportunity to do so.
I do not think that the Australian Wool Industry Conference should be called upon to select the members of the board. The Conference was set up mainly to advise the Government and to be the mouthpiece, if I may use that expression, of the wool industry. The selection of members of the board is a different function andI think the Conference should be free of this responsibility. It should continue to do the work that it has been doing without being subject to the operations of the board, as it would be. I do not doubt that some members of the Conference would be selected by the growers. I think the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Nixon) would agree with me that the growers should have a vote on this important matter and that this would remove the undesirable features and solve the problems that have faced the wool industry for many years. I do not think that anybody would dispute that, if the growers had the first vote, they should have the opportunity to have the second vote.
The. following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment -
Post and Telegraph Rates Bill 1964.
Broadcasting and Television Bill 1964.
House adjourned at 5.34 p.m.
The following answers to questions were circulated -
e asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
Specific purpose payments of a capital nature to each State, and the projects for which the pay ments were made, for the period 1948-49 to 1963- 64 are set out in the following tables. Some of the payments for specific projects of a capital nature, e.g. railway projects, are repayable, either in whole or in part. Further details of the payments are set out in the White Paper “ Commonwealth Payments to or for the States, 1964-65”, presented on the occasion of the 1964-65 Budget.
son asked the Minister for Trade and Industry, upon notice -
What percentage of (a) exports and (b) imports were curried during each of the last five years in ships registered in Australia?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Figures published by the Commonwealth Statistician show the total tonnage of overseas cargo shipped and discharged at Australian ports, and the quantities and percentage handled by vessels registered in Australia, as follows. Figures are not available for quantities carried by vessels which are owned in Australia but registered overseas.
s asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
n asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
m asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
Why does Australia take so much longer to ratify shipping conventions than civil aviation conventions?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Before shipping conventions can be ratified by Australia intricate and often voluminous legislation has to be passed. My reply to question No. 252 also indicated that Australian ratification of some shipping conventions is not contemplated at present.
Overseas Investment in Australia. (Question No. 493.)
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1, 2 and 3. Precise information as to the amount of oversea capital invested in Australia prior to 1947-48 is not available. Since then, the Commonwealth Statistician has conducted an annual survey of Oversea Investment which provides comprehensive information on flows of private oversea investment in companies in Australia but only partial information on the levels of such investment. The types of investment for which levels are known are the paid-up face value of shares, debentures, etc., held by oversea individuals and companies; intercompany accounts owing by Australian subsidiaries to oversea parent or associated companies, and the book value of net assets in Australia of branches of oversea companies. Full details and explanations as to the basis of these figures, are shown in the “ Annual Bulletin of Oversea Investment .1962-63 “, published by the Commonwealth Statistician. The totals of the three components for which levels of investment are known, as at 30th June, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1954, 1957, 1960, and 1963 (the latest date for which particulars are available) classified by domicile or investor, are shown in the following table.
s asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
For the month of August 1964, what was (a) the intake of recruits and (b) the wastage due to retirements, resignations, expiration of engagement and other causes, in (i) the Australian Regular Army; and (ii) the Citizen Military Forces?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is -
In the month of August 1964, the intake and wastage of the Australian Regular Army and the Citizen Military Forces were as follows -
The apparently high A.R.A. wastage is simply a reflection of increased numbers completing periods of engagement. This, in turn, is a reflection of the exceptionally high enlistments in the same month in 1958 following the review of pay and conditions at that time and is not indicative of an upward trend in the wastage rate.
t asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
y asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The following is supplied on the assumption that the questions relate to proceedings under section 111 of the Act and its predecessor section 29a. All the information sought could only be extracted at the cost of considerable staff resources. The Commonwealth has not been involved in payment of any fees. In those cases where to date bills have been taxed by the Industrial Registrar, the amounts of costs so taxed to be paid by the unions were -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice-
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Statistics of the tax paid in Australia by overseas investors have not been compiled in relation to the income derived by residents of the countries mentioned by the honorable member. However, as I informed the honorable member in reply to a similar question previously asked by him, it is not to be assumed that all of the income on which Australian tax has been paid by non-residents would have been derived had double tax agreements’ not been entered into. The agreements have facilitated the investment of capital in Australia and tax has been paid on the income arising from those investments even though the income has been re-invested in Australia. In consequence, there may well have been an increase in the amount of tax collected on income derived in Australia by residents of those countries with which Australia has concluded taxation agreements.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
Is he able to say which airline members of the International Air Transport Association have offices in both the United Arab Republic and Israel?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answer -
The following airline members of the International Air Transport Association operate services to both the United Arab Republic and Israel and have sales offices in both countries -
Air Fiance k.l.m.
Trans World Airlines
s asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
There is no company operating in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea under the name of the Bulolo Timber Company. On the assumption that the honorable member is referring to Commonwealth/New Guinea Timbers Ltd. which operates at Bulolo the answers to his questions are -
380 under agreement. 2. (a) 196; (b) 20; (c) 7; (d) nil. 3. (a) The total yearly value of food, clothing and other articles as prescribed by Divisions 4 and 5 of the Native Employment Ordinance 1958- 1963 - (i) Workers - £71 10s. (ii) Accompanying wives (9)- £59 10s. (iii) Accompanying children (22)- £28 16s. 9d. to £6111s. 9d. according to age and sex. (b) The yearly value of accommodation - (i) Workers- £15. (ii) Wives- £5. (iii) Children- £5. (c) In addition to (a) and (b) the employer is responsible for the cost of full medical care of workers and their accompanying wives and children.
The employer is responsible for forward fares of workers and accompanying wives and children at the commencement of employment and their return fares on completion of the period of agreement which is usually for two years. 5. (a) The Native Employment Ordinance does not provide for paid annual leave. (b) Good Friday and Christmas Day are granted as paid public holidays. Overtime in lieu is paid in respect of other public holidays.
- In addition to the value of items listed at 3 above (where applicable) cash wages in excess of those provided by the Native Employment Ordinance 1958-1963 are paid to -
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
Did he tell the House that native wage rates bad been reviewed recently, when in his answer to my question No. 503 it is disclosed that there has been no review of native wage rates since the present rates were fixed in 1958? If so, why?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The honorable member misinterprets my answer to his question No. 503 when he says that, “ there has been no review of native wage rates since the present wage rates were fixed in 1958”. Minimum wages for agreement workers are provided in section 87 of the Papua and New Guinea Employment Ordinance 1958-1963. The last amendment to the section which commenced on 2nd January 1961 raised the monthly cash wage from the 1958 rate of £16 5s. per annum to £19 10s. per annum.
y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1 and 2. It would not be in the national interest to disclose either the number or the individual cost of weapons ordered.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following answer: -
Details of the revenue of public and private hospitals for the year ended 30th June 1962 the latest year for which information is available, are set out in tables 1 and 2 below.
Commonwealth grants as such are not made towards the maintenance of public hospitals except in the case of tuberculosis hospitals. Because of the varying accounting procedures used by the State Governments, it is not possible to identify the amounts of Commonwealth hospital benefits included in item 1 (Government Aid, Commonwealth Hospital Benefits, &c.) of Table 1. The amount of Commonwealth hospital benefits paid in 1961-62 are set out in Table 3.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice - 1. (a) How many doctors participated in the Pensioner Medical Service in 1963-64? (b) What was the average payment to each doctor? 2. (a) How many doctors rendered accounts for which medical benefits organisations made payments in 1963-64? (b) What was the average payment of (i) organisation and (ii) Commonwealth benefits to each doctor? 3. (a) How many doctors were employed (A) full-time and (B) part-time, other than in hospitals, by (i) the Commonwealth Government and (ii) the Stale Governments in 1963-64? (b) What was the average payment to each such doctor? 4. (a) How many doctors were employed (i) full-time and (ii) part-time by approved hospitals in 1963-64? (b) What was the average payment to each such doctor? 5. (a) How many doctors were employed (i) full-time and (ii) part-time by mental hospitals in 1963-64? (b) What was the average payment to each such doctor?
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following answers - 1. (a) At 30th June, 1964, there were 5,899 medical practitioners enrolled in the Pensioner Medical Service, (b) For the year 1963-64 the average payment per enrolled doctor was £799. 2. (a) and (b) Medical benefits are paid to the contributors to registered medical benefits organisations and not to the doctors. Records are not maintained by the organisations as to how many doctors render medical services that are the subject of claims submitted by contributors for the payment of benefits, and it is therefore not possible to supply the information which the honorable member is seeking. The following were the total amounts paid in 1963-64 in respect of medical services rendered to contributors to registered medical benefits organisations -
Departments. (These figures, and also those given in the answers to questions 4 (a), 5 (a) and 6 below, have been taken from a research project into medical man power in Australia carried out by Dr. I. M. Last in conjunction with his duties at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, which is conducted by my Department at the University of Sydney.) It is not possible to dissect these figures according to full-time and part-time employment. The corresponding figures for 1963-64 are not yet available.
((i) My Department does riot have details of the average payments to doctors employed by the State Governments. 4. (a) Figures are not available for hospitals approved under the National Health Act, as such. However, in 1962 the number of salaried medical officers in Australian hospitals (including repatriation hospitals and excluding mental hospitals) was 1,921. lt is not possible to dissect this figure according to full-time and part-time employment. The corresponding figure for 1963-64 is not available, (b) These doctors are mainly employed by State authorities, and there is no way in which this information may be readily ascertained by my Department. 5. (a) In 1962 the number of medical staff employed in Australian mental hospitals was 357. It is not possible to dissect this figure according to full-time and part-time employment. The corresponding figure for 1963-64 is not yet available, (b) These doctors are mainly employed by Slate authorities, and there is no way in which this information may be readily ascertained by my Department.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The Minister for Health has furnished the following answers -
The numbers of approvals for the supply of pharmaceutical benefits as at 30th June 1964, were -
As regards the suppliers in the first three categories, the arrangement for payment to them for pharmaceutical benefits which they supply provides for payment of the wholesale price of the drug, plus agreed markup and professional fees, allowances for such factors as containers, freight, wastage, etc. The supplier is not required to specify the prices paid by him for the drugs, nor the sources from which he obtained them. For example, some suppliers purchase only from wholesalers, while others purchase different proportions of their slocks direct from manufacturers. Also it is common practice for manufacturers and wholesalers to allow discounts and bonus issues which can vary greatly according to the company concerned, the size of the order and the goods purchased. For these reasons it is not practicable to calculate, from the amounts paid by the Commonwealth, the proportions which have been paid by suppliers to manufacturers. The position in regard to hospitals is covered by the answer to Question 3, and that in regard to other organisations by the answer to Question 1 (e).
Aluminium Hydroxide Gel.
The following firms are listed as suppliers of these drugs -
Abbott Laboratories Pty. Ltd.
Baxter-D.H.A. Laboratories Pty. Ltd.
Bellphar Ltd. Co.
Boots Pure Drug Co. (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.
Bristol Laboratories Pty. Ltd.
British Drug Houses (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
Burroughs Wellcome & Co. (Aust.) Ltd.
Difrex (Aust.) Laboratories.
Dista Products (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
Evans Medical Australia (Pty.) Ltd.
Farbenfabriken Bayer, A.G.
Glaxo-Allenburys (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
The Ioquin Company.
Lepetit (Pharmaceuticals) Pty. Ltd.
Eli Lilly (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
May and Baker (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.
Mead Johnson Pty. Ltd.
Merck, Sharp & Dohme (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.
Parke Davis and Co. Ltd.
Pfizer Pty. Ltd.
Protea Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd.
Riker Laboratories Australia Pty. Ltd.
E. R. Squibb & Sons (Pty.) Ltd.
R. D. Toppin & Sons Pty. Ltd.
Upjohn Pty. Ltd.
Wm. R. Warner & Co. Pty. Ltd.
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd.
Associated Drug Companies of Australia Pty. Ltd.
Chemos Pty. Ltd.
C.F.C. Pharmaceuticals Pty. Ltd.
Commonwealth Serum Laboratories.
Drug Houses of Australia Ltd.
F. H. Faulding & Co. Ltd.
Fawns and McAllan Pty. Ltd.
G. P. Pty. Ltd.
Hamilton Laboratories Ply. Ltd.
H. F. Harvey Pty. Ltd.
Knoll Laboratories (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.
Richards Laboratory Pty. Ltd.
Rocke Tompsitt & Co. Ltd.
Rotary Tableting Corp. Pty. Ltd.
Sigma Co. Ltd.
Soul Pattinson (Laboratories) Pty. Ltd.
Virax Ethicals Ltd.
Wholesale Drug Co. Ltd.
a asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
y asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
Available in Australia to airline companies who need not pay salaries due to employees who are qualified to become captains?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following answers -
d asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
d asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
What amount of deposit is required from applicants for housing assistance through housing commissions or trusts in the various States?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The minimum deposit required by the housing authority in each State for the purchase of houses built with funds provided under the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement is -
In addition, the South Australian Housing Trust and the State Housing Commission in Western Australia build houses for sale with funds provided from sources other than the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement. In South Australia the minimum deposit for these houses is £200 and in Western Australia usually not less than £100.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1964/19640929_reps_25_hor44/>.