House of Representatives
28 October 1964

25th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Mr. KILLEN presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth urging that the Australian Government (a) investigate the reported worsening of the food situation in India to ascertain the type and amount of aid which Australia could offer to relieve the present crisis and (b) negotiate with the Indian Government to ascertain the type and amount of additional aid and trade which Australia could offer, on a long term basis, to help in the development of India.

Petition received.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Navy. He will remember hearing a speech made by the Prime Minister not so long ago in which the right honorable gentleman brought forward two recommendations. In respect of the first the Prime Minister said -

We have decided that there should be a Standing Naval Committee of Investigation with as much continuing membership as the circumstances of the Navy will permit.

In respect of the second, he said that the Government would set up a ministerial committee presided over by the Minister for the Navy, the Chief of the Naval Staff being associated with him. Is the Minister for the Navy able to tell the House what steps have been taken to establish those two committees?

Minister for the Navy · PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– I advise the honorable member and the House that progress has been made in both directions. In respect of the fi first committee mentioned, honorable members will remember that it was to be along the lines of the Air Accidents Investigation Committee of the Royal Australian Air Force. Because of the different types of accidents in the Navy as compared with those in the Air Force, which are purely air accidents, considerable work had to be done to find out whether altered regulations or new regulations would be required. That has been done and a decision has been reached. I hope that an official announcement on the matter can be made in the very near future. The second body is a sub-committee of Cabinet, as the honorable member realises. I do not make announcements about such sub-committee, although I can say that this one is functioning.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Supply. The Minister for the Army has said that no more 303 ammunition will be available for Australian rifle clubs from the Department of the Army after June 1965. It has been stated that after that date the Department of Supply will be able to provide .303 ammunition to rifle clubs on a commercial basis. Can the Minister for Supply give an estimate, under existing circumstances, of what the cost would be per one thousand rounds of this ammunition?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– It is true that the Army has no continuing requirement for 303 ammunition. Under those circumstances, this ammunition has gone out of production in the Department of Supply factories. However, the productive equipment is still available. If it were necessary to go back into the production of this ammunition we would need to operate on a commercial basis, as the honorable member suggested. We would need a commercial order for at least two million rounds. In the light of today’s prices of metals, particularly of copper, I should think that the price would range between £30 and £40 per one thousand rounds. However, if the honorable gentleman will be a little more precise about the quantity, I think I will be able to be a little more precise about the cost.

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– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Does the right honorable gentleman recall that after the Labour Governments of Australia and New Zealand were defeated in 1949 he sent a cablegram to the then Leader of the Conservative Party in Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, in these terms: “ The score is two down and one to go.” Will the Prime Minister now advise the present Leader of the Conservative Parry in Great Britain, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, that he has noted that the score today is one down and two to go?

Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– I am not at all sure that I understand the inwardness of this question. I am happy to say that Sir Alec Douglas-Home is a great friend of mine. I admire him very much and I hope that he will live long and successfully.

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– Is the Attorney-General aware that dependent relatives of Navy personnel killed in the “ Voyager “-“ Melbourne” collision are, under the present state of the law, confronted with uncertainty whether there is any court with jurisdiction to determine claims by them for damages against the Commonwealth under the legislation governing compensation to relatives? Will the Attorney-General consider the matter and take whatever action he believes necessary to see that some avenue for the judicial determination of these claims will exist?

Attorney-General · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– Because of the place at which the collision occurred which was, naturally, the place at which the lives were lost, there could be some legal questions as to whether jurisdiction to pursue a claim exists. Of course, persons wishing to bring claims would have to be guided by the advice of their legal advisers. For my part, I have looked at the matter and I have concluded that there is no necessity for any amendment or addition to the law. The Government holds the view that the High Court of Australia has jurisdiction to hear such claims.

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– I ask the Minister for the Navy a question. Are reports as to the cost of the refit of H.M.S. “ Duchess “ correct? If the reported cost of £300,000 is not correct, will the Minister inform the House what the estimated cost is? How long is it proposed that we will have this ship on loan? In view of the extensive refit that this ship is undergoing, will the Minister consider negotiating for its purchase?

Mf. CHANEY. - The cost of the refit was estimated at some £300,000. The work required on the ship was a normal refit which was known to be due when the ship was offered by the Royal Navy to the Royal Australian Navy. There has been a report that the ship was in poor condition when it went into the Williamstown dockyard for a refit, but there is no truth in this statement. The ship was in the condition that one would expect at that stage of its life. We have the ship on loan for four years. It must be realised that a ship of this type would cost about £11 million to build and that we will have the ship ready and available the moment the refit is finished. Many statements have been made about the ship. It has been stated quite openly by the Navy that the ship was in first class condition. The refit has taken a little longer than expected because of some trouble with the boilers due to faulty water gauge glasses. If the cost of the refit varies from the estimated £300,000 I will certainly let the honorable member know. The ship will be ready for service within a week or two.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. I ask: Is the Australian Government, through the Department of National Development, vigorously pursuing investigation of the desalination of sea water? How much money has been allocated for this purpose this financial year? What progress has been made to date? Have we any reciprocal arrangements with the United States of America for the exchange of technical information on this subject?

Minister for National Development · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I can inform the honorable member that the Australian authorities are particularly interested in the desalination of water because Australia is, I think, the driest of all the continents. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, nearly 10 years ago, began trying to discover improved means of desalination. That Organisation, together with the Department of National Development, has made a contribution to international work in this field which is being carried out in Holland. In addition, observers from the Australian Atomic Energy Commission went to America on two occasions to attend conferences held there. I understand that in addition to the interest shown by Commonwealth authorities, State authorities also are interested. I believe that the Western

Australian Government has established at Rottnest Island a desalination plant that produces some 8,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water. I understand, also, that the South Australian Government is interested in establishing a plant at Coober Pedy. Recently, the Australian Water Resources Council appointed an advisory panel on desalination. We are watching the matter very closely. It is my understanding that it is possible to obtain only very small quantities of fresh water from salt water until such time as power becomes very much cheaper.

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– I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral a question about the rebate of one third in the rental charge for telephones to be allowed to pensioners. Will he inform the House of the date from which the concession will operate? The Minister will know that the presenting of telephone accounts has been brought forward from December to October. The increased charges have already been paid by all those who have received and paid their accounts this month. Will adjustments be made in all instances in which pensioners have already paid accounts in which the increased charges were included?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I can inform the House that this concession will be made retrospective to 1st October, the date from which the increased charges have been applied. Pensioners who have paid the next six months’ rent in advance at the increased rates will find on their next account a credit equivalent to the rebate of one third.

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– I address to the Minister for Air a question concerning vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Is the Minister aware of recent technical advances in prototypes of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft? Is he aware also of the advantages of elasticity of operation which would permit these aircraft to land on and take off from virtually any small cleared area - a capability that would be of importance in the defence of a country with our long coastline? Finally, taas the Government any intention of ordering vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for service with the Royal

Australian Air Force or, alternatively, as a Fleet Air Arm component of the Royal Australian Navy?

Minister for Air · FAWKNER, VICTORIA · LP

– I am grateful to the honorable member for his continuing interest in the Service of which he was once a member. The situation regarding these vertical takeoff and landing aircraft is extremely interesting. The whole concept is of great importance and could be of tremendous interest to the Royal Australian Air Force. However, at present, the situation is that the period of development between the conception of the design and the actual production of an efficient aircraft is a good deal longer than was originally expected. As the honorable member knows, there are various ways of proceeding. The British are concentrating on using one engine to provide both lift and forward thrust, whereas the French are using one engine to provide forward thrust and a number of small engines to provide lift. Some manufacturers change the direction of the engines in various ways. Some adopt the concept of swivelling jets - a descriptive phrase - and others move the wings completely. At the moment a consortium of groups from the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany is working on the PI 154. This could have interesting results. We are watching developments closely. If they prove to be worthwhile, we will have greater interest still and will possibly place orders. At the moment, we are obtaining experience in the field of vertical takeoff by the use of helicopters and in S.T.O.L. - short takeoff and landing - we are obtaining a good deal of experience by the use of Caribou aircraft.

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– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. If the Government is successful in establishing that the Commonwealth has the constitutional power to allocate licences for intrastate air services, will the Prime Minister take the necessary action to grant permits to Trans-Australia Airlines to operate in all States intrastate air services similar to those operated by the Ansett-owned subsidiaries Airlines of South Australia Pty. Ltd., Airlines of Victoria, and MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. in Western Australia, which at present have a complete monopoly of intrastate air services’ in those States?


– This is a matter of civil aviation policy on which the first investigation will be made by the Minister for Civil Aviation, not by me. I will direct his attention to the question put by the honorable member.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Air. In view of the statement, attributed to the Minister for Civil Aviation last week, that air space around Sydney is rapidly becoming overcongested, will the Minister for Air favorably consider representations that the Royal Australian Air Force base at Richmond be transferred, preferably to a country centre such as Tamworth in northern New South Wales where adequate alternative facilities could be made available, thereby diverting much of the Service traffic from around Sydney while retaining strategic accessibility to the main centres of population in south east Australia?


– I am well aware of the congestion in the Sydney area to which the honorable member refers. I am also well aware of his continued interest in trying to move the Air Force to Tamworth. This has been shown on many occasions in the past. I am not certain that all the members of the Air Force want to go to Tamworth, although I know it has many delectable places of enjoyment. I shall continue to keep the honorable member’s representations well in mind.

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– Is the

Minister for Social Services aware that on 20th October of this year the Commonwealth Industrial Court unanimously held that the strike at the works of General Motors-Holden’s Pty. Ltd., which commenced in Victoria on 7th October or thereabouts and which resulted in the stand down of several thousand employees in South Australia, was separate and distinct from what occurred in South Australia and, on the basis of this finding, imposed a separate penalty of £500 on each of four unions because members of these unions still working in South Aus tralia had decided to cease work? In view of the Court’s finding, and as thousands of innocent women and children are being unjustly penalised for an occurrence that was separate and apart from any action by their breadwinnners, will the Minister now give directions that social service benefits be paid to those South Australian employees who were stood down by the company as a consequence of the strike, held to be a separate strike, in Victoria?

Minister for Social Services · RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I have no direct Ministerial responsibility in connection with industrial disputes, particularly the one the honorable member referred to. It is my manifest duty to administer the Social Services Act as it comes to me from the Parliament, and that Act does not permit me to pay unemployment benefit to those who are directly involved in an industrial dispute. There can be no variation from the practice established by the Socialist Party a number of years ago.

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Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The

Minister for Labour and National Service will know the concern that is beginning to be expressed in some quarters, particularly in the primary industries, about the possibility of inflation gaining force in the coming months, or next year. Can he tell the House whether or not the recent change in the consumer price index can be taken as a reliable guide as to the sort of change that could occur as a result of the basic wage case which, I understand, is to be heard next February?

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

– Too much weight must not be given to the vagaries of changes in the consumer price index which appear from quarter to quarter. As an example, if the honorable member looks at that portion of the index where the major price increases occurred - that is for meat, potatoes and butter - he will see that since the index was published only a few days ago there has been a fall of £22 per ton in the price of potatoes and Sd. per lb. in the prices of beef and lamb in New South Wales. Therefore, a great deal of notice cannot be taken of these month by month movements in the index. I am sure that had the index figures been taken three weeks later than they were taken a different picture would have been painted; the overall result would have been different from that which actually appeared.

The last part of the index, the general section, concerns price changes in many cases related to Government action, or arising as a consequence of Government action - for instance, the increase in the prices of tobacco, motor vehicles and some service charges. Some members of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission have referred with approval to an article by Professor Downing that if a change in the consumer price index is related to Government action directed towards ensuring that demand does not become so great that inflationary forces would thereby be built up, this should be considered by the Commission in determining possible changes in the basic wage. In my opinion there is not an automatic relationship between changes in the basic wage and changes in the consumer price index. The Commission will, amongst other influences, consider changes in the consumer price index and it will in its wisdom determine what, if any, changes should be made to the basic wage.

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Dr J F Cairns:

– Did the Prime Minister or the Government recently make a decision that the Government would not collect for the Victorian Government a separate income tax proposed by that Government? Did the Prime Minister later announce a willingness to reconsider this decision? Did he seriously mean to reconsider the decision or was this announcement made simply for political reasons? Has he now given the request reconsideration, serious or otherwise, and when will we know the result?


– This matter has been under examination by the Government. 1 know that some statement appeared in some newspapers at a time when I was in Adelaide, but it was not a statement made by the Government. I asked the Premier of Victoria whether he would like, either himself or through one of his Treasury officials, to submit any argument or facts to us other than those which were contained in his original letter. He did so. I expect that later today - if I can look far enough ahead - I may be able to write him a letter. After the Premier has received it I will announce what the result is.

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– I ask the Minister for the Navy a question. Has the honorable gentleman noticed a suggestion, taken out of context from a report of the proceedings of the Public Works Committee, that there could be some snob barrier to the selection of youths for training as naval officers? Will the Minister inform the House of the basis of selection for this most attractive career?


– I can assure the House that the matter referred to by the honorable member is not a consideration in the selection of young people for training as officers in the Navy. As honorable members are aware, the main stream of officers for the Navy comes from the Royal Australian Naval College, where there are two classes of entries - junior and senior. For the junior entry the educational qualification is to pass an examination set by the Commonwealth Office of Education at the Intermediate Certificate standard. For the senior entry the educational qualification is the matriculation examination, which is set by the various universities throughout Australia. It is interesting to note that of the last intake to the Royal Australian Naval College, 33 came from State high schools, six from public schools and eight from within the Navy itself.

Apart from the educational examination, a prospective recruit must pass a rather stringent medical test, and a whole test is based on the merit of the individual. About 20 per cent, of the officers now serving in the Navy came from the ranks. When the present systems of junior recruit training are in full swing in the Service it is estimated that between 35 per cent, and 40 per cent, of the officer strength will have come from ratings within the Service itself. Whatever may have been thought or said about the system of accepting recruits in the past, I am certain that any Australian lad who has the educational and medical qualifications can train to be a naval officer no matter what his background may be.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– My question to the Prime Minister refers to his announcement yesterday that telephone rentals for qualified pensioners will be reduced by 33i per cent. In making the announcement the Prime Minister said that this reduction would restore rentals to the figure that existed prior to 1st October last. May I point out to the Prime Minister that while qualified pensioners in Sydney and Melbourne will now pay £1 5s. lOd. a year less in telephone rentals and pensioner subscribers in other capitals will pay some shillings less, pensioner subscribers in Canberra still will pay £4 9s. 2d. a year more than they were paying prior to 1st October. Will the Prime Minister consider further reducing rentals in these cases? In cases where it can definitely be shown that - pensioner subscribers have had their telephone services disconnected because of one Government decision and the fact that they could not afford to pay the increased rentals, but now find because of a second Government decision that they can afford to maintain a telephone service, will those services be reconnected without the payment of an installation fee?


– This morning or last night the honorable member was good enough to write a note to me about this matter. I will refer it to my colleague, the Postmaster-General, who is much more familiar with the details than I am. In his note to me the honorable member stated -

I think I understood you to say that the 33i per cent, reduction would apply also to installation fees.

I did not say that. The honorable member must have misunderstood what I said. I referred to telephone rentals but I pointed out that taking the average figure, the reduction would be a contribution towards installation fees, because it went a little deeper than the original decision in October. The reduction would be a contribution towards the’ installation fee paid, by future pensioner subscribers. I did not say that the 33i per cent, reduction would operate so as to reduce the installation fee from £15 to £10. I will have my colleague the Postmaster-General look at the rest of the question.

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– In addressing a question to the Minister for Primary Industry, I refer to the alleged poaching by Japanese tuna vessels in the fishing grounds of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Has the Minister received any official report on this matter? If not, will he investigate the problem in respect of both territorial waters and waters beyond territorial limits?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– I have not received any official report but, because of some statements that appeared in the Press, I took the matter up with the Queensland fisheries authorities. I understand that the fishermen of the area mentioned by the honorable member are to confer with the Queensland fisheries authorities later this week.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. The honorable gentleman will recall that in answer to a question which I asked him on 21st October he said that discussions regarding the training of skilled worker’s would shortly be resumed. Did a meeting of trade unionists, employers and officers of the Department of Labour and National Service take place last Friday to discuss training for skill in industry? If so, what was the result of this meeting?


– A few days ago the honorable member for Mallee, asked me a question about training for skill in industry. I can inform him that on Friday last a valuable meeting was held between officers of my Department, the trade unions concerned and employers to try to get a better understanding of the facts and of each other’s point of view. I think there is now a far better understanding by all parties of the points of view of the trade unions and the employers and that we all, including the trade unions, recognise that there is a deficiency of skilled men, especially tradesmen. The representatives who met last Friday are having another look at the whole matter and will be coming back in December for further discussions with the Department.

One fact that emerged, and which I think is of vital importance to the future of this country, is that there is a high rate of wastage in the ranks of tradesmen. This is due -to the fact that, in what I choose to call this technological age, tradesmen are able to move from the tradesman status to a much higher status. Large numbers of tradesmen are now becoming technicians. With new industries growing up in this changing age, tradesmen are going into new types of employment. The tradesmen’s ranks are now providing large numbers of supervisors. The tertiary industries, too, are providing opportunities for large numbers of tradesmen and what are called technical salesmen. The question of the honorable member for Mallee highlights the vital importance of skilled tradesmen and provides the opportunity to point out that tradesmen now have opportunities for advancement previously not open to them. They are no longer faced with the prospect of remaining tradesmen for all their working lives. I hope that this will give an added incentive to young people to become apprentices and then tradesmen, and, through this means, to improve their status in life and their opportunities for enjoying a better standard of living.

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– I address a question to the Treasurer. The right honorable gentleman has introduced income tax bills to implement the recommendations made by the Ligertwood Committee in June 1961. Has he yet given consideration to appointing a committee to investigate the extent of tax avoidance under the Gift Duty Act and the Estate Duty Act and to recommend measures to close the loopholes in those Acts?


– I shall see how much work has been done on this subject independently of the studies which have been made of the Ligertwood report on income tax law. I should be able to give the honorable member an answer quite promptly.

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– My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Does the Government still intend to amend the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act?

If so, when is the necessary legislation likely to be introduced? Will it include increases referred to by the Treasurer in the Budget Speech? If so, can the Treasurer say what the weekly payments for dependent children will be? Will he also say whether any limit is to be placed on amounts for medical or hospital expenses and, if a limit is to be placed on them, why? Finally, will he ensure that any increases in compensation payments or any other improvements to the Act will be made retrospective so as to render those persons entitled to compensation as a result of the “Voyager” disaster eligible to receive the benefit of such increases or improvements?


– I am certainly not going to attempt to answer all the detailed elements of the long question that the honorable gentleman has asked. I can say that I hope the Bill will be introduced before the House rises, and passed by both chambers. When it is before the House, of course, detail of the character referred to by the honorable member will be disclosed. Between now and the time of the introduction of the Bill I will study the text of the question to ensure that the points raised by the honorable member are covered, so far as this is practicable. _

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Criminal Law


– Is the Attorney-General able to tell the House when he is likely to introduce legislation which will bring up to date the criminal law of the Australian Capital Territory? -Mr. SNEDDEN.- The standing committee of Attorneys-General has looked at this matter in a broad way. It has also been looked at by the Law Council of Australia, and at present a sub-committee of the Law Council of Australia, composed of members of the Brisbane bar and of solicitors, is considering a criminal code. It is progressing very well with the work, and one of the officers of the Attorney-General’s Department is co-operating with it. I expect that in the not too distant future the Law Council of Australia will submit. to me the code that it suggests. At that time it will be considered by the Law Council of Australia and the responsible persons in the various States, and also by me. I am afraid

I cannot say when I will submit the legislation, but I will submit it as soon as l can.

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– My question . is directed to the Postmaster-General. I preface it by saying that since the increase in telephone rental charges was announced, four out of eight people in my street with telephone facilities have taken steps to have their telephones disconnected. Can the Minister say whether this development is peculiar to my street or is occurring throughout Australia?


– I am pleased to say that what has happened in the honorable memb».’s street is not typical of what has happened throughout Australia.


– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that when premises are rented with telephone included it is the custom, ‘ due to the accounting system- in the Postal Department, for the owner to transfer the telephone service to the tenant? Further, is he aware that in some cases premises which have been rented in this way are subsequently vacated before the owner has had an opportunity to have the telephone service again transferred from tenant to owner? Will the Minister consider making arrangements for owners to be notified in all such cases so that they may have an opportunity to recover their telephone services?


– When a tenant or an owner vacates premises and when it is believed that those premises are likely to be let to some other party, the Department leaves the telephone in the premises for a certain period to enable it to determine whether the incoming party may require the instrument. After the elapse of a reasonable time, when no indication is given to the Department, the telephone is removed. If, after it is removed, a subsequent tenant requires a telephone service, that tenant must pay the installation charge in relation to that telephone.

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– Is the Prime Minister aware of considerable concern regarding the Commonwealth Government’s delay in dealing with a number of educational matters of great public concern? I ask him whether the Government will indicate, before the present session ends, its plans and intentions in regard to the following matters - First, the 2,500 technical education, scholarships promised in last year’s election campaign; secondly, the recommendations for a University and Institute of Technical Education for Papua and New Guinea contained in the report of the Commission on Higher Education in Papua and New Guinea presented in March of this year; and thirdly, the report of the three-year inquiry into the future of tertiary education recently made available to the Government. Finally, seeing that almost a third of the 1964-66 triennium has elapsed, when may we expect the Government to announce its provisions for teaching hospitals for this period?


– As to the last matter about the teaching hospitals referred to by the honorable member, I am sorry but 1 am not quite up to date on what has been happening, but I will find out the position. As to the report of the commission on tertiary education, I have had what I might call an external review of two massive volumes, having already been warned that there is a third yet to come. I would think that it is most unlikely that these documents could be studied adequately by the Ministry before the end of these sittings. So, I hold out no particular prospects on that matter. As for the technical scholarships, there has been, as the honorable member may know, considerable difficulty in negotiations because there are different types of schools and different rules in practically every State. My colleague, Senator Gorton, has been doing a great deal of work with the State authorities. Whether he will be in a position to make a final statement about these matters the week after next I do not know. But I think he might be because he has already had some discussion with me and with other Ministers about it. What was the other question the honorable member asked?

Mr Reynolds:

– I asked about the report of the Currie committee.


– What the honorable member is asking me to say is that the Government will give study to this proposal and arrive at its conclusion inside the next fortnight. Quite frankly, I do not see any prospect of doing so.

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– My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Health. I refer to unofficial predictions that there is to be an increase of 2s. a week in contributions to health benefit funds. Will the Minister, before agreeing to this increase, have regard to certain changed circumstances? Recently the benefit was increased by a Commonwealth grant, and 90 per cent, of medical charges - a higher percentage than before - is now recoverable by a subscriber from a fund. On the other hand, hospital bed charges have increased well beyond the amount of benefit recoverable from a fund. Will the Minister direct that any increase in contributions be payable to hospital benefit funds rather than to medical benefit funds?

Minister for Repatriation · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · LP

– A number of matters relating to this subject have recently been discussed by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council. The procedure from there is for a report on all aspects of th: matter to be sent te me for consideration. I have not yet received that report. I expect to receive it in a matter of days. After receiving and studying the report, I will be in a better position to reply to the honorable member’s question.

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– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. In reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Bowman yesterday, the Minister indicated that inducements were offered to prominent sponsors of the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament. I ask: Is he aware that there are 670 sponsors of the Congress? How many persons received inducements and what were the inducements that were offered?

Mr L R Johnson:

– The AttorneyGeneral’s answers were all nonsense and humbug.


– The Congress is certainly full of nonsense and humbug. I am aware that the organisers of the Congress published a claim that there were more than 600 sponsors of the Congress. _

Mr Uren:

– The Minister is a responsible person. Let him give us facts.


- Mr. Speaker, I repeat that I adi aware of the statement of the organisers of the Congress that there are more than 600 sponsors of the Congress. I said yesterday in answer to a question that inducements were held out. I believe that inducements were held out and that those inducements were, first, an inducement to a person whose sponsorship was sought to believe that this Congress had no relationship whatever to prior peace conferences or to any other organisation in Australia; and secondly, an inducement to believe that this Congress sprang out of the good will of a number of people. The statement that I made in the House and the statements that were made by the Prime Minister and other people in the debate on my statement prove quite conclusively that this Congress in Sydney is a direct lineal descendant of the original World Peace Council which was established in Europe in 1948 as an instrument of Soviet policy.

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– by leave - I present the following papers -

Inter-Parliamentary Union - 53rd Conference held at Copenhagen, August, 1964 - Report of the Australian Delegation. Preliminary Documents - Agenda, Draft Resolutions, Reports.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for leave to submit a motion in connection therewith.


– Leave is granted.


– I move -

That the House take note of the papers. ] ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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- Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. According to reports in the newspapers, it would appear that 1 said that there was snobbery in the

Navy. At no stage during yesterday’s proceedings of the Public Works Committee did I say that that was my opinion. I asked Captain Robertson a question about the Navy. I asked the question on behalf of some people from the outback whose sons applied for entry into the Navy and were rejected, although they passed their medical and scholastic tests. They thought they were rejected because of their background, as no explanation for their rejection was given. They were just told that they were rejected. It was not my opinion - nor have I every suggested - that there is snobbery in the Navy.

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Treasurer · Higgins · LP

– I ask for leave to raise a matter of procedure in relation to three bills that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) will be introducing this afternoon.


– Leave is granted.


– The bills relate to parliamentary and ministerial superannuation and allowances. They are all related. I believe that it will be convenient for honorable members to have the bills introduced and debated together. Accord: ingly, I ask for leave to submit a motion that will permit that course to be followed.


– Leave is granted.


– I move-

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent a Parliamentary Allowances Bill, a Ministers of State Bill (No. 2) and a Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill -

being presented and read a first time together and one motion being moved without delay and one question being put in regard to, respectively, the second readings, the Committee’s report stage, and the third readings, of all of the bills together, and

the consideration of the bills in one Committee of the whole.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Parliamentary Allowances Bill 1964.

Ministers of State Bill (No. 2) 1964.

Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill 1964.

Bills presented by Sir Robert Menzies, and together read a first time.

Second Readings

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– I move -

That the Bills be now read a second time.

Honorable members may recall that when, in April 1959, I introduced legislation dealing with Ministers of State, parliamentary allowances and parliamentary retiring allowances, I indicated the Government’s view that these matters should be dealt with every three years at the beginning of each Parliament. What I said was - .

The proposal to which effect is now being given is a proposal that the salary and allowances of members of this Parliament should be dealt with every three years, at the beginning of each Parliament, and that the decision should endure, except for some quite phenomenal or catastrophic circumstances, for the whole of the period of three years.

These, of course, are matters for Parliament since, under section 48 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, alterations in the emoluments of members of the Parliament must be made by Parliament itself.

The Government did not, in the event, bring down any proposals at the beginning of the 24th Parliament - that is, the early part of 1962–or at any time in the life of that Parliament. It is now, therefore, more than five years since the last review. Having regard to the great changes which have occurred during this period in the rates of earning outside Parliament, and the increasing pressure of parliamentary business, the Government has decided that a review of emoluments should not be further delayed, but should be made now in respect of the 25th Parliament and to take effect from 1st November 1964. As regards parliamentary retiring allowances, I shall say something in detail a little later on. At present I limit myself to the observation that steps to amend the benefits upwards are due, and in reality overdue. The increased pension benefits proposed will, as I will indicate later, require increased contributions on the part of members.

In relation to increases in salaries and allowances, the Government is again convinced that the adjustments proposed are due, and even overdue. Circumstances are, of course, never really propitious for dealing with parliamentary salaries and allowances. Certainly some people are always found to say, “Now is not the time”. No doubt on this occasion, as in the past, that will be said. But to understand the Government’s decision it is only necessary to understand the facts pertaining to salary incomes. Recently the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) asked me if I would make available to the House certain information and comparisons in the parliamentary pension and salary field and in certain related areas of salary, for instance in the Public Service. I agreed, as I said at the time, with the implication of the honorable member’s request; that is, that a first requirement in this matter is to have and to study the facts. The Leader of the Opposition added -

Most importantly, will his Government take suitable action to adjust parliamentary and electorate allowances in such appropriate fashion and at such time as it deems desirable in the light of movements in the directions that 1 have just instanced?

As honorable members know, material, in response to the honorable member’s request, has been tabled by my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), on my behalf. This material shows what I may call a cycle of increases in salary incomes since the 1959 adjustment of Parliamentary salaries and allowances. The. salaries and allowances of members of State Parliaments, which were increased following the Commonwealth adjustment of March 1959 have, with the exception of Victoria, been increased again by substantial amounts in 1963 or 1964.

A very significant comparison may be made with the position of members of the Assembly in the State Parliament of New South Wales. Their salary is ?2,650. Members of the National Parliament, a parliament which has to deal with the greatest national and international problems and with a vast complex of social, economic and financial responsibilities, now receive ?2,750. The State electorate allowances, range from ?650 to ?1,050, the Commonwealth from ?850 to ?1,050. Clearly, this state of affairs ought not to continue, and only this Parliament can change it. .

Both this year and last year there have been large increases in Public Service salaries - in the professional grades and the administrative grades and, I may add; largely as a result of arbitration. As I shall be indicating a little later, when I come to a subsequent bill, there are now to be, on the decision of the Government, necessary adjustments in the salaries in the First Division of the Public Service, that is to say in the salaries of the Permanent Heads of Departments and also of statutory officers and related officers. I shall come to that matter later when moving the second reading of a subsequent bill, but I just interpose on my own remarks at this stage to say that, as a result of all these changes that have been made through arbitral processes, there are officers in the Second Division of the Public Service who are now being paid more than the Permanent Heads who are in the second grade of Permanent Heads. This, of course, is a state of affairs that really nobody could allow to continue if we are to have an orderly and properly organised Public Service.

The Government has necessarily had regard to all these developments, and I believe that thoughtful and reasonable people will, on the evidence, be ready to accept that increases are now justified. We have considered whether, even though the salary adjustments are more than due, we ought to defer them still longer. We have concluded that we should not. In the first place, we are firm in our view that the adjustments are warranted. In the second place, they are adjustments which come at the end of a cycle of adjustments and not at the beginning.

Sir, as politicians ; and we must all plead guilty to being politicians - we are well aware of the facts that increases in the provision for Federal members are always attacked - this seems to be something from which State members have a certificate of exemption - and that a Senate election is in front of us.

Nevertheless, we are convinced that honest dealing with the electors requires that they should know right away what our proposals are; we believe that they will appreciate the propriety of this course, and that on proper consideration they will see the fairness of the changes that are being made.

On some previous occasions a review has been approached by first having an independent committee inquire and report to the Government. We had the Nicholas Committee in 1951. In 1955 and 1959, we had a committee of inquiry under the chairmanship of Sir Frank Richardson. This, however, has not been an invariable practice. On other occasions, the Government of the day itself has brought proposals to Parliament without recourse to such a committee, and we have decided to do that on this occasion. We decided against a committee because what we are now proposing to the House is essentially an upgrading of the amounts applying under the existing arrangements for salaries, allowances and retiring allowances. It is not a review of the structure of the arrangements or of other parliamentary privileges.

Honorable members will see that the salary of members and senators is to increase by £750 per annum to £3,500 per annum. As there are misapprehensions in some quarters, I would like to make it clear that members’ salaries, like ministerial salaries, are taxable at the normal rates. Thus, the increase of £750 is subject to income tax - say, £280 in an average case, and this is a modest figure - and to an increased retiring allowance contribution - £143 - a matter that I shall refer to later. This means that the net current cash gain, if I may so describe it, to the member is £327 per annum.

The supplementary salaries of Ministers and other office bearers have been increased broadly in parallel with this basic increase. In the case of senior Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition the increases range from £1,000 per annum to £1,250 per annum; in the case of junior Ministers, the increase is £750 per annum. In general, the increases represent of the order of 30 per cent, of the 1959 level - a little more in some cases, a little less in others.

The electorate allowances have been increased, by no means extravagantly, by £250 per annum, while special allowances have been increased by amounts varying for different offices - from £100 per annum in the case of Whips, to £250-£300 per annum in the case of Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition in the House, and £500 per annum in the case of the Prime Minister. Electorate allowances are, of course, granted to cover expenses incurred by members and their wives in discharging their public responsibilities. These costs have increased significantly since 1959. The same can be said of the costs of discharging the duties of various parliamentary offices. These expenses, which private citizens do not normally encounter, are ones which, in turn, the special allowances are designed to cover.

It is proposed, although this will be done administratively, to increase travelling allowances for senior Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition by £3 per day and for junior Ministers and members by £2 per day. As I do not want to take up time by reading through a mass of figures, with the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate in “ Hansard “ a statement setting out in detail the proposed changes in salaries and allowances. Copies of the statement are available to honorable members and the Press.

The actual adjustments to salaries and allowances must, inevitably, be in some degree a matter of judgment. Obviously, the adjustments must have regard to adjustments which have already been made in other incomes. Incidentally, average earnings m Australia have risen 35 per cent, since early 1959. The adjustments must have regard to trends in expenses incurred by members and office bearers. We have considered the facts on both these points and the proposals now before the House have been devised having regard to the facts. We believe that the basis arrived at is justified by the facts and is one which will serve to sustain the quality and prestige of the National Parliament.

I turn now to members’ retiring allowances, the amounts of which are no longer appropriate to the increased parliamentary salaries. In considering the standard of benefits, we concluded that members should be entitled to contribute for a basic pension which, in ordinary circumstances, would be 50 per cent, of the salary they were receiving on retirement. The 1959 legislation resulted in 30 per cent, of the cost of pen sions being met from members’ contributions to the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund. I want to emphasise that, because I think it is little understood around Australia that this is a contributory pensions scheme. We have preserved this basis of financing in adopting the scale of contributions which the Commonwealth Actuary has calculated for the benefits set out in the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill. The contribution henceforth will be Hi per cent, of salary, or, as I indicated a little earlier, £7 14s. lOd. per week on the proposed salary. The scheme has now been in force since 1948 and, in the course of our review of the Fund, the Actuary reported that at 26th March 1963 there was a substantial surplus in the Fund, which then amounted to £77,000, and which now would undoubtedly exceed £100,000. This surplus, which has been built up entirely from the contributions of members, has enabled us to review the rates of pension now being paid. There are many who were once well known in this Parliament and who are now receiving pensions at the rates prevailing prior to the 1959 legislation. We have de- cided to raise these pensions to the rates that were adopted in 1959 and, as a result of the surplus in the Fund, 30 per cent, of the cost of these pensions will be met from the Fund. Those who have retired since the 1959 legislation will receive either a lump sum payment from the surplus “ or an increased pension related to 50 per cent, of the parliamentary salaries hitherto in force. These pensions will also be -financed on the basis of 30 per cent, from the Fund.

Finally, as I said in my speech in 1959, we have examined the possibility of a con; tributory scheme to give very much modified effect to the recommendations of the Richardson Committee for a supplementary scheme for Ministers and “ certain other office bearers. The scheme now to be introduced, based upon actuarial advice, provides for a basic contribution rate of £4 5s: per week and pensions varying with. service from a minimum of eight years to a maximum of fourteen years. That- will be service as a Minister or as Leader of the Opposition or whatever the office may ‘be.

Mr Calwell:

– Eight years of service in the position will be necessary before one can qualify.


– That is right. The contribution rates have also been calculated on a basis to ensure that 30 per cent, of the pensions will be met from the Fund. I commend these three Bills to the House.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

Mr. Speaker, the Opposition supports these Bills. We considered the matter this morning at the same time that the Government parties were considering the subject. We agree that it is right that the salaries of Members of the Parliament be adjusted from time to time. That has been the case from the beginning of this Parliament. I cannot recall the figure that I have read as being the allowance - what we would describe as a salary today - paid to members when the First Parliament met, but I think it was of the order of £400 a year. In those days, heads of departments received something like the same amount. As the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) indicated, we shall have before us presently a bill to increase the salaries of heads of departments by, I believe, something like £1,800 a year. When that legislation has been passed, the heads of some departments will receive salaries of about £8,750 a year. Many heads of departments now receive more than Ministers, and the tendency is all in that direction. Quite a number of people throughout Australia’ engaged in industry and various professions today receive incomes much greater than that of the Prime Minister of this country. I do not suggest that the Prime Minister’s salary should be raised to £30,000, £40,000 or £50,000 a year. But the Prime Minister of Australia is the head of the Government of Australia and, therefore, the man who is primarily responsible for governing the destinies of the country.

Members of the Parliament should not be indifferent to their own well being. They should never try to write down their own importance. What this Parliament does affects the nation, for good or ill. Any failure by this Parliament to face up to its responsibilities could have very adverse effects on the future of this country. It cannot be said that members of the Parliament, throughout the whole period since Federation, have been avaricious or greedy. Every time members’ salaries and ministerial allowances have been increased, some people have said: “ The time is not yet ripe “. For some people, of course, the time never will be ripe. In the minds of some, members of Parliament are expected to serve the country without proper provision to enable them to discharge their duties properly. This is a bad thing in a democracy. I do not suggest that members of the Parliament should be overpaid, but I do say that they should be adequately paid. The Parliamentary Allowances Bill provides that salaries of members shall be increased in the same proportion as other incomes have increased since 1959.

I am sorry that the increases now proposed were not made before the life of the Twenty-fourth Parliament ended suddenly. I am sure that all members of the Parliament will be pleased about the provision being made for those who contributed to the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Fund from the earliest years of that Fund until the time they left the Parliament. They were neglected in the 1959 legislation. The Richardson Committee proposed that those who had been members of the Parliament and the dependants of former members should receive increases equal to those given to members serving in the Parliament in 1959, but that recommendation was not implemented, unfortunately. The Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Bill now before the House makes provision for quite a number of these people, and to that extent it is acceptable. However, I am sorry that it does not go further. At least, provision is being made for those who were members of the Twenty-fourth Parliament and who were promised increases in retiring allowances. Their pensions are now to be equal to 50 per cent, of the salaries they were receiving at the time they retired from the Parliament or were defeated. Until now, this provision for a retiring allowance equivalent to 50 per cent, of salary has not been written into the legislation. The pension was only 40 per cent, of what might be called the ordinary salary of a member. The Bills correct many anomalies. The foundation is laid for a good pension scheme and in future there will be no need to consider the question of pensions at all. Every time the salary is increased, the pension will be adjusted; in future it will be 50 per cent, of a member’s salary.

We have been in some trouble with the pension fund for quite a long time because, from 1948 onwards, the actuaries have been too conservative in their estimation of the earning capacity of the fund. It has earned much more than they forecast it would earn and so a number of people who are now outside the Parliament and a number of dependants of former members and senators have been denied what may be called just pensions. They all have a moral right to participate in the earnings of the fund, because those who made original contributions expected to receive equitable treatment from the fund. I would have hoped for a little more for some of those who retired or were defeated many years ago. But at least this is some advance and, if we take these increases, we

I will not feel that we have neglected those who have left the Parliament long since or whose dependants are still living. In some instances, these people receive pensions that are little better than the age pension. To the extent that their pensions are somewhere near the age pension, they have suffered. Age pensioners obtain medical benefits, but those receiving a pension from this fund do not obtain medical benefits.

As people grow older they must spend more and more of their incomes on medical treatment.

Mr Stokes:

– They also pay taxes on their incomes.


– That is so, and this further reduces their incomes and their standard of living declines.

I do not want to delay the House very much on this matter. There is no doubt that the increasing pressure of parliamentary business to which the Prime Minister referred is a factor. More and more powers are coming to this Parliament and are being attracted to it. If I may divert for a moment, the recent airline’s case shows that the Commonwealth is becoming more important in this field. People are looking to the Commonwealth Parliament with more and more concern, because they believe that here decisions affecting all Australia are being made. This trend will continue. There will never be any turning back. The States are important in the Federation, but their powers are diminishing and the deliberations and decisions of this National Parliament are assuming more and more importance in the public mind. I mention this merely to emphasise the agreement of the Opposition with the Government on the relationship of salaries in State Parliaments to those of the Commonwealth Parliament. In New South Wales, in some instances there are three State electorates in a Federal electorate, but the salary of the Federal member is only £100 a year more than that of the State member. The electoral allowance for the Federal member is just a little better than the allowance for a State member.

In Queensland, where there may be three or four State members in electorates such as those represented by the honorable members for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan), Leichhardt (Mr. Fulton) and Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe), the salaries of State members are only £100 behind those of the Federal members. The State members receive allowances ranging from £600 a year to £1,525 a year but the Federal members receive only £850 to £1,050 a year. It cannot be denied that Federal members are underpaid, and it may be said that, by comparison, State members are overpaid. However, I do not want to make any invidious comparisons. It is obvious that unless something is done to give decent remuneration to those who serve in this Parliament, we will not attract to the Commonwealth Parliament those who should serve here instead of in the State Parliaments. At any rate, we should do nothing to prevent people who want to serve in the National Parliament from doing so. With the exception of Victoria, all members of State Parliaments, when everything is considered, are better off than are members of the Federal Parliament.

Though there may be criticism of this proposal, it cannot be informed or fair criticism. If people want their elected representatives to serve them properly, they cannot complain if the Parliament makes proper provision to enable members to serve them. I think that the pensions fund is very good. I think that the provision that widows shall receive five-sixths of the amount received by a member is proper and just. The fund will continue to earn as it has been earning for quite a few years. This is the only fund for parliamentarians in the whole of Australia that is actuarily based, and this basis is being retained. It cannot be said that the Government has been profligate in handing out increased benefits. All it has done is to bring the salaries of of members up to date. I hope that the promise of the Prime Minister to review salaries at the beginning of each Parliament will be carried out, as long as his Government lasts anyhow. It is right and proper that there should be a review at this time.

The Opposition will give this legislation a speedy passage. If subsequently we have to meet unfair and unjust criticism, we will meet it. As far as the Opposition is concerned, this will not be an issue in the coming Senate election campaign. The Government’s position stands on its merits. The Opposition agrees with the action taken by the Government and, as far as we are concerned, the issue will rest while the Senate election campaign lasts.

Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I support the Bills introduced by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and generally associate myself with the observations of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell). It ought to be better understood than I believe it is understood by the members of the public that the duties and responsibilities of members of the House of Representatives and of senators not only warrant a fair remuneration but involve them in quite considerable expenses and disabilities. The duties are of a high nature. Members of the National Parliament ought to feel themselves economically free to devote themselves to the duties of their office. I have always thought that it is highly desirable that members of the Parliament should never feel such an overwhelming necessity to retain their seats that in an atmosphere of crisis they vote perhaps for economic reasons rather than other reasons. To this end, it is highly desirable that there should he an appropriate superannuation fund, and this exists now. It is being appropriately adjusted, but again it ought to be quite clearly understood by members of the public that it is a contributory fund and follows the same pattern as that which applies to the superannuation fund of Commonwealth public servants generally.

What is called the salary of a member of Parliament is rather different from what is called the salary of most other people, for it is the gross income of a member occupying an office in which he cannot discharge his duties and responsibilities without involving himself in quite a considerable expenditure. As one honorable member just interjected, almost without exception the expenditures in which a member is involved in connection with the occupancy of his office extend to domestic expenditures involving his wife and his household - involving absence from his household and from his children in quite constantly recurring circumstances.

In addition to the salary, a member receives an electorate allowance. Here again, this is not an allowance designed or calculated to add to the net income of a member. It is, or should be, designed to cover the member for the’ additional expenditures which are quite inescapable for any member appropriately discharging his duties. To this end, the Parliament has constantly accepted that a member representing a country electorate is probably, and almost certainly, involved in higher expenditures than a member representing a confined metropolitan area.

I should like to put on record that the members of my own party, when this matter was under study, were requested by me to form themselves into a committee and to set down with as much accuracy as was possible an account of the expenditures in which they were involved directly in relation to their membership of the Parliament, and the expenditures in which they were involved in having a car and so forth. Quite frankly, the average for the whole of my party in this regard represents an out of pocket expense higher than the amount members will receive as the outcome of this adjustment. Their figures were quite carefully compiled and I say to the Parliament and to the wider audience outside that on the experience of the 20-odd members of my party, including those in the Upper House, the amount proposed to be allotted will not cover the additional expenditures in which, on their actual experiences, they have been involved over a period.

In addition to this it must be remembered, of course, that all members are involved in the recurring expenditures of elections, and not merely elections for their own House. Members of the House of Representatives will be involved within the next few weeks in the Senate election, although their own seats here are not involved. Of course it is quite inescapable and quite proper that we should all be involved in activities concerned with our political organisations and that we should become involved in State elections. None of the expenses thus involved is avoidable. All have to be taken into account in the recognition that what is provided in these measures is a gross sum and by no means represents anything like the net personal income of the member arising from payments and allowances coming to him from his office.

The Prime Minister has referred to the increase in salaries of Ministers. Ministers, from whichever party they may be drawn successively, do occupy very great executive offices in this country, do carry immense responsibilities, are no doubt in a position to do good for the country, and are in a position where less than the proper ability or diligence could be harmful to the country. Ministers carry, by choice of the people and by choice of their peers in the parliament, such high responsibilities, and engage in such very onerous duties - as anyone who observes the activities of Ministers knows - that I feel no timidity whatever in standing here, or in places outside, and saying that I believe that Ministers will certainly not be one penny overpaid as a result of the proposals that are now before the House.

We are to have a continuance, with proper adjustments, of superannuation for the private members of Parliament, and for the first time superannuation, again contributory, for the Ministers. Just as I believe it is right for the private member to have superannuation sp, out of my very long experience in this Parliament, I believe also, and have believed for a long time, that it is highly desirable that there should be a system of superannuation for Ministers. Ministers occupy high offices, and sometimes for long periods. In the nature of things they dissociate themselves from most of their private affairs while they occupy their positions as Ministers. Sometimes they lose their seats in an election, or sometimes they become burnt out by the sheer intensity .of the activities in which they are involved. I think it is utterly wrong, and I believe thinking people would not desire to see a continuance of what we have seen, for a man well on in years, ceasing to be a Minister, to be forced, through sheer pecuniary need, to seeking to establish another career for himself when he is in his sixties or seventies. I do not think this conforms with equity or with the dignity of office that ought to attach to Ministers. Here we have an opportunity to provide for Ministers to contribute, as do private members, to a superannuation fund. I am sure this is right, and that the Bill provides for a proper adjustment.

I hope it will be recognised that real restraint has been exercised by the parliamentarians in this regard. It is quite a long time since the last run of increases related to the state of the economy commenced. There have been basic wage adjustments - and marginal adjustments in the professional field for engineers - and for the Public Services of the States and of the Commonwealth. Adjustments have been made right through. The very last group to be taken into account comprises the parliamentarians. It could be argued that this is hardly fair, but at any rate it is evidence of restraint.

Parliamentarians form the only group of salaried people in the country able to make its own determination. I think it is to the credit of the institution that parliamentarians have been willing to put themselves at the very end of the queue in this regard, and I hope, having regard to some avalanches of criticism which have occurred on several occasions, that there will be a fair and reasonable assessment of what is being done here by those who are completely entitled to examine, to dissect and, if they feel so inclined, to criticise. I hope that any observations made outside will be based on a fair assessment of what is being done and particularly with a recognition of the fact that what passes under the heading of salary and allowances is merely a statement of the gross amount available to members of the Parliament and to Ministers and that the actual net amount, for the occupancy of their offices is very much less indeed than that which appears in these figures.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills together read a second time.

Messages from the Deputy of the Governor-General recommending appropriations announced.

Third Readings

Leave granted for third readings to be moved forthwith.

Motion (by Sir Robert Menzies) proposed -

That the Bills be now read a third time.

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– The Opposition supports the motion for the third reading of the Bills. I should like to point out that there are some anomalies in the legislation. These affect particularly the younger men in so far as they affect a progressive improvement in the pension rates of those who leave the Parliament in their forties. If I make submissions on these matters I hope that the Government will consider them when the next review is being made. Some of the younger members of the Parliament on both sides are not being treated as well as they might have been. We in this Parliament are subject to retirement. I was a member of the Ministry that brought in the first bill relating to retiring allowances. I handled the bill on behalf of the then Prime Minister and Treasurer,

Mr. Chifley. In no State Parliament are there these provisions. I do not want to see young men disadvantaged by serving in the National Parliament.

Ours is a precarious occupation. The wastage, if I may refer to it that way, is very great. About 160 members of both Houses have retired, died or been defeated since 1951. There is no real security of tenure except for those who have very safe seats. I bring these matters to the attention of the Government and I hope that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) will give them consideration.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bills together read a third time.

page 2402


Bill - by leave - presented by Sir Robert Menzies, and read a first time.

Second Reading

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– I move -

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to provide increased salaries for the holders of the statutory offices included in the schedule to the Bill, the salaries for which are provided by special appropriation. The Bill arises out of the Government’s decision to increase with effect from 1st November 1964 the salaries of Permanent Heads and of the holders of certain statutory offices now on the salary levels of £5,900 and £6,900. These salary levels were determined in the early part of 1960. The new salaries will be £7,500 and £8,750 respectively. As honorable members will know, the 1960 review for Permanent Heads and statutory office holders followed a genera] revision of the salaries of all other offices in the Public Service.

In the last three years there have been substantial changes in the pay structure of the Commonwealth Service. These changes have arisen as a result of the group by group reviews by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the Public Service Arbitrator and the Public Service Board. Major changes have emerged as a result of the series of re-assessments for professional groups, commencing with the Commission’s determination of June 1961 for engineers. The salary increases have had regard to all factors relevant to wage and salary fixation, for example, work value, comparative wage justice and economic circumstances.

In order to illustrate the effect of these developments, I mention that the total increase granted by the arbitral authorities for the class 4 engineer in the Third Division at present on a salary of £3,733 amounts to £1,143. The similar increase for the Principal Legal Officer in the Third Division at present on a salary of £3,938 amounts to £1,218. As explained in the paper prepared by the Public Service Board and already presented to the House, these increases are quoted on the basis of the positions most commonly found within the new salary levels. In the Second Division, the December 1963 determination of the Public Service Board, subsequently endorsed by the Commission, resulted in some offices receiving a higher rate of remuneration than that received by Permanent Heads of departments. The top salary in the Second Division is now £6,465 per annum.

The Government has decided that, in the light of the time which has elapsed since their salaries were last reviewed and of the various developments in the Commonwealth Service and elsewhere, a further review for Permanent Heads and the statutory offices listed in the schedule to this Bill is now required. In determining the new salary levels to be applied, the Government took account of the high level of responsibility and the complex duties devolving upon the statutory office holders and Permanent Heads.

The salaries for the remainder of the offices not within the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board will be individually reviewed by the Government and the appropriate increases applied as from 1st November 1964. Because the salaries are provided from special appropriations, legislation covering the offices of the Public Service Arbitrator, the Senior Commissioner, Commissioners and Conciliators of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and the Chairmen and Members of the Taxation Boards of Review, and proposing effect from 1st November in each instance, will be introduced before the end of the present sessional period of Parliament. I commend the Bill to the House.

Leave granted for the debate to continue.-

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

– The Opposition does not oppose the passage of this Bill. In view of present trends it seems inevitable that salaries must be increased.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Deputy of the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Bill (on motion by Sir Robert Menzies) read a third time.

page 2403



Motion (by Mr. Adermann) agreed to -

That Government business shall take precedence over general business tomorrow.

page 2403


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 20th May (vide page 2148), on motion by Mr. Opporman -

That the Bill be now read a second time.


.- This Bill is not opposed by the Opposition. According to the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) it is technically a minor although an important Bill which seeks to amend certain sections of the Migration Act. The Bill was read a first time and a second time on 20th May of this year. In view of the time that has elapsed since then, perhaps I shall be forgiven if I place on record again a brief outline of the provisions of the measure as set out by the Minister in his second reading speech.

The Bill consists of five clauses, and seeks to amend sections 8, 57 and 67 of the principal Act. The first object of the Bill is to enable the Minister for Immigration to facilitate the entry into Australia of important visitors and their parties, and other persons and groups of persons whose admission, on a temporary basis, it is desired to facilitate - for example, delegates attending international conferences in Australia. The second object is the simplification of the passenger documentation required of carrier companies operating water-borne transport to and from Australia. This will not only ease considerably an existing clerical burden on the companies themselves, but will provide the Government with a more effective record of the entry and departure of persons, and with more control over such movements.

Section 8 of the Migration Act at present exempts four specified categories of persons from the need to be granted an entry permit on arrival. These are (a) members of the armed forces of the Crown entering on duty;

  1. diplomats, consuls and trade commissioners, and their staffs and dependants;
  2. members of the complements of vessels of the regular armed forces of a government recognised by the Commonwealth entering Australia on leave; and (d) members of the crew of any vessel landing on leave during the stay of their vessel in port. I repeat that I am mentioning these matters merely to refresh honorable members’ minds, in view of the time that has elapsed since the Bill was last under discussion.

Clause 3 of the Bill will permit the Government to give full effect to the provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement which has recently been concluded with the Government of the United States of America, in relation to the admission of United States service personnel and civilians within clearly denned categories. Under the provisions of clause 3, important visitors will also be exempted from the need to be granted an entry permit. The Minister stated that immigration control relating to admission and so on exercised by means of the visa system will not be affected by the proposed amendment; and that control over the length of stay and the departure of temporary entrants also will not be reduced in any way. Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill are designed to include in the Migration Act the authority necessary for furnishing or obtaining information in respect qf persons arriving in Australia, and of their departure.

Again, according to the Minister, it is proposed that the passenger cards now completed by travellers by air shall be completed in future by all persons travelling by sea when entering or leaving Australia, and that the legislative authority for passenger cards shall be included in the one statute - the

Migration Act. There are several advantages accruing from this Bill, with which the Opposition agrees. First, all travellers will be required to complete a minimum of identical documentation. In future, the documentation required will be the same for both sea and air travellers. Secondly, the Government will be enabled to establish and maintain a simple register of all movements into and out of Australia. The third advantage is that arrival formalities will be facilitated in that the number of forms required for health and immigration purposes will be reduced from three to one. That is very desirable. The Bill will ensure thorough identification, and will strengthen controls. It will also provide a check against malpractices in the use of passports generally. I understand from the Minister that the introduction of passenger cards meets the request of the shipping companies to bring them into line with the documentation applying to air carriers, and that a trial on three large overseas passenger vessels, both British and foreign, proved eminently satisfactory to passengers, carrier companies and Commonwealth authorities alike. As I stated earlier, I merely repeat these points to put the details of the proposals on record once again.

It is agreed by the Opposition that there is a need to reduce migration and customs formalities to a minimum. Delays give bad impressions to our visitors. Red tape and things of that nature do not create a favorable impression with visitors coming to and departing from Australia. We believe that anything that can improve the courtesy and consideration extended to travellers is to be encouraged. Minor though it is, this Bill would appear to provide technical solutions to problems that have caused aggravation hitherto.

At this stage, it might be appropriate that I should take time to show the importance of reducing to a minimum the documentation required in respect of people coming to and leaving this country. I have obtained figures from the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics relating to arrivals in and departures from Australia. In the period between March and December of 1963, 149,357 people arrived in Australia by sea and 231,370 by air. Those numbers show the amount of documentation that has to be completed. In the March quarter of 1964, 40,480 people arrived by sea and 77,000 by air, a total of 117,480. In the same quarter, 26,641 people left Australia by sea and 85,158 by air. There were 85,158 departures in that quarter. This also involved a tremendous amount of documentation work. 1 have also obtained figures relating to international conferences. These figures have been obtained from the available documents, but they may not be complete. In 1951, there were five international conferences held in this country; in 1962, nine conferences; in 1963, five conferences; and in 1964, five conferences. Those were major conferences at which hundreds of delegates and important persons attended. All those visits came within the scope of the provisions of the Migration Act, proving again that there is need to reduce documentation to a minimum.

I take this opportunity to say something about the migration aspect of this legislation. I know that the Minister will not mind if I put some figures on record. I should mention at this stage that the Australian Labour Party has more than a passing interest in the Migration Act and in migration generally. He will agree that -the migration scheme was introduced by a Labour Government. We recall with some pride the number of people who have entered this country under the scheme since it was introduced. Let me say at once, in fairness, that the present Government and others which succeeded the Labour Government continued to expand and develop the scheme that we introduced. It is appropriate to point out here that 1,750,000 people from all countries have come to Australia under the scheme that was introduced by a Labour Government and was first administered by the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell).

At times, migrants are inclined to criticise the Opposition and its leaders in respect of certain aspects of policy, but I point out that many of the people who have come to this country under the scheme introduced by the present Leader of the Opposition would not be here now had it not been for the desire of the Labour Government of that time to expand and develop this nation by seeking to attract migrants to it. I suppose the “two major achievements of our time in Australia would be represented by the great Snowy Mountains scheme and by the Australian immigration programme. One of the main reasons for the success of that programme would be the early efforts of the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to sell to the Australian people the need to accept immigrants from all countries. Those efforts were carried on by the present Government and the fact that the programme has been so successful makes necessary the legislation that we now have before us. I place these facts on record so that the position may be clear to all who want to know about it.

It is interesting to look back and see how the activities of the Department of Immigration, and the Department itself, have expanded. 1 have before me a statement on the immigration programme which was made by the present Leader of the Opposition, and I quote portions of it to demonstrate the need for legislation of this kind, as well as to show how the ramifications of the Department have increased. On 13th July 1945 the present Leader of the Opposition was sworn in as Minister for Immigration and Minister for Information. In a pamphlet that was issued on 1st January 1958 the Leader of the Opposition made this statement -

The new Department commenced wilh about twenty-four officers, six of them stationed in Canberra, six more in Melbourne and about twelve located in London and engaged almost exclusively in making arrangements for the British wives and children of Australian servicemen to come to Australia.

Just after the war there would, no doubt, have been more problems than there are today.

I quote that statement to show how the scheme commenced. Today I received some interesting figures from the Department of Immigration showing the present demands on the Department and its current activities. The Estimates for 1964-65 show the total of administrative staff as 795. Overseas posts have been established in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Republic and the United Kingdom. The Estimates show that the total number of personnel in those posts is 153, and the total departmental expenditure for 1964-65 is estimated to be £16,795,000. I have received actual overall figures from the Department, and I am assured that these are reasonably accurate. The number of people employed in the Department in Australia is 1,163. In other countries the Department employes 140 persons who are Australian based and 470 who are locally engaged. The total number of employees in the Department is 1,773. These figures show that in a comparatively short space of time in the history of this nation there has been a tremendous increase in the activities of this Department.

On 27th August 1963 I asked the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Opperman) a question on notice in these terms -

  1. How many migrants have been brought to Australia since the commencement of the immigration scheme?
  2. What was the number brought to Australia in each year?

The Minister gave me this reply -

  1. During the period October, 1945 to June 1963 Australia received 1,976,686 permanent and long term arrivals. These were mainly settlers, but the figures also include returning residents of Australia and long term visitors.

He went on to say that in the first period in which the scheme was in operation, October 1945 to June 1946, there were 3,430 permanent and long term arrivals, while in the year 1962-63 there were 137,235.

This all shows that a good deal of paper work was involved. In the period from January to June 1959 the number of permanent and long term arrivals was 64,872, in 1959-60 it was 133,684, in 1960-61 it was 138,481, in 1961-62 thenumber was 118,532, in 1962-63 it was 137,235. The total for those five periods was 592,804. That was only up to 1962-63, and for the first six months of 1964 the grand total of arrivals was 219,001, while in the same period the total number of departures was 175,365. These were figures given to me by the Minister in answer to a question I asked him on notice.

I give these figures to show why we support the legislation. With the concurrence of honorable members I shall incorporate in “ Hansard “ the report of the two questions I asked, one of the present Minister and one ofhis predecessor and the replies they gave me.

Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. How many migrants have been brought to Australia since the commencement of the immigration scheme?
  2. What was the number brought to Australia in each year?
Mr Downer:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

  1. During the period October 1945, to June 1963, Australia received 1,976,686 permanent and long term arrivals. These were mainly settlers, but the figures also include returning residents of Australia and long term visitors.
  2. New statistics of movements of settlers were published by the Commonwealth Statistician in 1962. These statistics show the composition of permanent and long term arrivals since 1959. They are included in the following tables.
Mr Daly:

asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

  1. How many persons (a) arrived in and (b) departed from Australia in 1962, in 1963 and in 1964 to date?
  2. What was the net gain in population in each of these years?
Mr Opperman:

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -

" Permanent and long term arrivals and departures " relates to persons, other than Australian troops, who state they intend to reside, for a period of one year or more - in Australia in case of arrivals, and abroad in case of departures. " Permanent and long term arrivals " are divided into three components: {: type="i" start="i"} 0. " settlers " (Permanent Movement): - i.e. persons who on arrival in Australia, declare their intention of remaining here permanently. 1. Australian residents returning after an absence in a country abroad one year more (long term movements). 2. Visitors arriving for stays of at least of one year (long term movement). " Permanent and long term departures " are divided into: 3. Former settlers departing permanently. 4. Other residents departing permanently. 5. Australian residents departing for stays in a country abroad of at least one year. 6. Visitors departing after stays in Australia of at least one year. " Short term arrivals " are divided into : {: type="a" start="i"} 0. Australian residents returning after an absence abroad of less than one year (short term movement). 7. Visitors arriving for stays of less than one year (short term movement). " Short term departures " are divided into: {: type="a" start="i"} 0. Australian residents departing for stays abroad of less than one year. I mention these matters so that in placing on record our support of the legislation we may help to eliminate, as far as possible, any red tape associated with it. However, I remind the Minister that several questions asked by me as long ago as 18th August still remain on the notice paper. They are numbered from 421 to 429. Perhaps the Minister will be able to give me answers to those questions later this week. Some of the matters dealt with might well have been relevant to this discussion and if answers had been given by the Minister they might have helped me to substantiate my comments. I would like to make a few other general observations concerning the immigration scheme. I do not intend to cite any other figures relating to arrivals and departures, because I think that matter has been substantially covered. It is interesting to note the basis on which this scheme was founded. I suppose the fulfilment of the scheme has been helped by the fact that the scheme has been carried on in the spirit in which it was initiated. Some of the best speeches made in this country on immigration - and I do not say this with any disrespect to other members or Ministers - have been made by the Leader of the Opposition, who had the vision, the drive and the energy to sell the scheme to the Australian public and to give effect to it. I wish to quote certain remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition and also by a Minister of this Government who was one of the successors of the present Leader of the Opposition as Minister for Immigration. I do this to show the purpose of the immigration scheme and to let some people who have come to this country and who have been successful know that the scheme required tremendous organisation and is a credit to those who have been associated with it for any period. The Leader of the Opposition said on 8th September 1949, when he was Minister for Immigration - >It is no use talking about a great future for any underpopulated country. A nation is not soil, or trees, or native animals, or landscapes, however beautiful - it is made up of human beings, engaged in co-operative efforts to improve the lives they lead and increase the opportunities available to their children and their children's children. In this day and age there are no " island paradises " where a few people can live lives of lazy leisure remote from the affairs of the world. > >What Australia needs and must have, as fast as she can get it, is an ample, ambitious, virile population, developing not only the resources of the land but every idea that can come from tha fertile mind of mankind. Our great cities must not be merely the smoky monuments of industry, but also the homes of literature and the arts, the theatre and the pure sciences. > >Our sturdy ancestors pioneered this country with true devotion to democratic ideals, and the new generations which take it over from us must find between its broad horizons more than prosperity and material comfort; they must find themselves part of a great and growing nation, seething with ideas and offering every sort of intellectual and spiritual opportunity to its eager and talented youth. > >Such developments depend utterly and absolutely on planned population growth, and that is why nothing could give me more pleasure than to have been able to report great and outstanding progress with our immigration programme and an even brighter future for it in the years ahead. A couple of years ago **Mr. Alex** Downer, then Minister for Immigration, reviewing what had been prophesied in 1949, said at an Australian Citizenship Convention - >We have been aided by relatively favorable world conditions, but the remarkable achievement of absorbing more than 1,500,000 settlers without economic or social strain has been the product of careful planning. In this essential work, the Government values the help generously given by the leaders of a broad cross-section of the community through our Immigration Planning and Advisory Councils, the Good Neighbour Movement, and by the delegates to the successive Citizenship Conventions. Your advice has been reflected in the success achieved. All the remarks I have quoted add up to the recording of announcements from mcn in a position to know of a great scheme and its march towards completion and achievement in this sphere. I record today, at a time when we are dealing with the admittance of these people, the departure of our own people or the return to this country of people, how necessary it is for everything within the scope of the Migration Act to be such as will enable people to be received in our country with a minimum of inconvenience and when they require to depart, to do so accordingly. The legislation under discussion gives effect to a proposal to improve a technical section of the Migration Act and as such has the support of the Opposition. Therefore, today I record that the Opposition does not oppose the measure. I thank the Minister for granting me leave to incorporate certain matter in " Hansard ". I trust that this amending Bill, and other amendments to the Act which are introduced from time to time, will add to the already great success of the migration programme and make it more satisfactory in its working and implementation to all concerned. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. {:#subdebate-31-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr. Opperman)** read a third time. SALES TAX BILLS (Nos. 1 to 9) 1964. Bills returned from the Senate without requests. {: .page-start } page 2409 {:#debate-32} ### DRIED FRUITS EXPORT CONTROL BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 1st October (vide page 1746), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the Bill be now read a second time. **Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Failes).Is** it the wish of the House that the procedure suggested by the Minister for Primary Industry be adopted? There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed. {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD:
Lalor .- The measure now under consideration seeks to amend two Acts concerning the dried vine fruits industry. The first Bill amends the Dried Fruits Export Control Act 1924- 1953, and the associated measure is a Bill to amend the Dried Fruits Export Charges Act 1924-1929. I do not want to delay the passage of the Dried Fruits Export Control Bill. The Opposition agrees with its general principles. The measure relates to one of Victoria's interesting and most valuable primary industries, the dried vine fruits industry, which gives employment to a large number of returned soldiers from both World Wars but particularly from World War I. It is a splendid industry which, over a long period, has been very efficiently organised. It has practised the co-operative principle to a great degree. Until recently, the industry did not have a stabilisation plan. When one views this industry in conjunction with the operations of the export control boards over the years, back to the 1920's, and the stabilisation measure passed by this Parliament some months ago, one can see that the industry now is as close to 100 per cent, organised as a primary industry can be. This has been due to the persistence of a variety of governments from time to time. The importance of the industry may be gauged by a few figures that 1 have. The production of dried vine fruits in 1963 was 68,707 tons, of which approximately 50 per cent, was exported. Of the total quantity exported, Canada took 36 per cent., Great Britain 32 per cent, and New Zealand 15 per cent. The value of the preferential trading system with Canada and the United Kingdom is fairly obvious. The value of preference is in respect of currants £40 a ton and in respect of raisins and sultanas £30 a ton. So the industry is in an advantageous position compared with corresponding industries in California, Greece and Turkey. Some of the main features of the two Bills are: The appointment of one additional member to the Dried Fruits Export Control Board; the removal of the mandatory requirement at the present time that the Government's representative shall be the chairman of the Board, which allows the appointment by the Board, subject to the approval of the Minister, of a chairman of the Board's own choice from the Members of the Board themselves. The Minister has intimated that **Mr. Eugene** Gorman, Q.C., is to retire shortly from the chairmanship of the Board. In all probability the new appointee will come from the staff of the Department of Primary Industry. I agree that an appointment of that character would be very valuable inasmuch as everybody knows - and I think every Minister in this Parliament and many people outside it appreciate - the very great efficiency and capacity of the senior public servants in the various Commonwealth departments. To have one of these men as a member of this Board would be of very great importance indeed, in view of the international character of the trade of this industry. I note that the title of the Act is to be altered to incorporate the word Australian. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- That is necessary overseas. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I, too, think it is necessary in view of the vast importance of the international trade of this industry. Provision is also made to change the name lexias to raisins. Apparently the expression raisins is more commonly understood by the public than is lexias. This is a matter of clarity. I do not think any comment on these measures would be complete if I did not pay tribute again to the work of **Mr. Eugene** Gorman, the gentleman who has been the Chairman of the Dried Fruits Export Control Board for a number of years. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- I note that only recently **Mr. Gorman's** good graces have been largely responsible for bringing Greece and Turkey into the proposed international pricing arrangement. That will have an advantage for not only the Australian dried vine fruits industry but also the dried vine fruits industries of other countries. Anybody who can succeed in bridging the gulf of difference - I would not say hate - between Greece and Turkey has rendered a very great service indeed. It is a tribute to the diplomatic activities of **Mr. Gorman** that this arrangement is on the verge of success, if it is not already completed. {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann: -- It is in operation. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- He has had great success and, as the Minister for Primary Industry has just indicated by interjection, this arrangement is already in operation. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Crean)** and I were in Greece in 1962 and we met members of the local dried vine fruits industry. In the course of a conversation with one of these gentlemen, we were told of the problems and difficulties that growers of dried vine fruits in Turkey have in regard to the exercise of control over the industry. This man told us: " **Mr. Eugene** will fix it ". I did not know whom he was talking about. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- Did the honorable member think he was talking about a saint? {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr POLLARD: -- It subsequently transpired that he was talking about **Mr. Eugene** Gorman, who is regarded almost as a saint by the Greeks and the Turks. This arrangement has been arrived at and is of major signficance for the Australian dried fruits industry. The Opposition approves of the first measure and also the associated measure which makes consequential changes. Notwithstanding what some people say, the invariable practice of the Labour Party is to assist Australian primary industries on every possible occasion. We are all very keenly interested in the prosperity of our primary industries. {: #subdebate-32-0-s1 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr TURNBULL:
Mallee .- I am delighted to be in full accord with the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard).** I am especially delighted with the last part of his speech, in which he said that the Labour Party will co-operate in anything designed to benefit primary producers. I believe that that augurs well for the future of Australia, because primary industry plays an important and increasingly important part in our economy. I mention in passing that since I came into this Parliament about 18 years ago I have noticed a greater realisation of the value of primary industry on the part of representatives of city electorates and secondary industry. They have come to realise that primary industry enables us to build up our overseas reserves and make available the funds with which we buy raw materials for secondary industry. I compliment the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** on always getting in touch with an industry before formulating legislation in respect of that industry. In doing that he is proceeding on sound lines, because the people in an industry are well acquainted with its requirements. The Minister's action in always discussing matters with the leaders of industry is appreciated and is very valuable. I appreciated the visit that he made some time ago to Sunraysia, Robinvale and other dried fruit growing areas. After that visit he introduced the stabilisation legislation for the industry. I am hopeful that it will prove to be very satisfactory. I was pleased to hear the honorable member for Lalor say that the marketing scheme for this industry is regarded as a highly organised and efficient scheme. 1 sent copies of the two Bills now before us to leaders of the Australian Dried Fruits Assocition. I understand that the industry is in full accord with them. As the member for the electorate of Mallee, in which 80 per cent, of the Australian dried fruit crop is grown, I give these bills my full support. {: #subdebate-32-0-s2 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- in reply - I want to make only one statement, for the benefit of the honorable member for Lalor **(Mr. Pollard)** and so that he will not misunderstand the position in regard to the appointment of the Chairman of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board. I I have advised the industry that the intention of the Government is to appoint a senior departmental official to the Board, but not as Chairman of the Board. As the honorable member will appreciate, the Chairman has a lot of work to do in respect of the stabilisation scheme and the marketing of the crop. The departmental officials have not the time to do these things. The Board requires a Chairman who is not a departmental official. The Government has given the Board the power, with the approval of the Minister for Primary Industry, to appoint a member of the Board or an outsider as Chairman. I make that statement so that the honorable member will be clear on that point and so that there will be no misunderstanding. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. {:#subdebate-32-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr. Adermann)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2411 {:#debate-33} ### DRIED FRUITS EXPORT CHARGES BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Second Reading Consideration resumed from 1st October (vide page 1747), on motion by **Mr. Adermann** - >That the Bill be now read a second time. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. {:#subdebate-33-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr. Adermann)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2411 {:#debate-34} ### AUSTRALIAN COASTAL SHIPPING COMMISSION BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-34-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 15th October (vide page 1978), on motion by **Mr. Freeth** - >That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- This Bill makes the same provision for borrowing and investment by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, which operates the Australian National Line, as was made for borrowing and investment by Trans-Australia Airlines in the Airlines Equipment Act 1958. The earlier legislation was supported by the Labour Party. This will be supported by the Labour Party also. Both the A.N.L. and T.A.A. are outstanding examples of public enterprise. They have brought great profit directly to the Commonwealth revenue, they pay taxes, and in every other way they operate under the same disabilities as are endured by private companies. But, more importantly, they have made sea and air transport within Australia more competitive and more efficient. Anything that is done to help the competitive position of the A.N.L. and T.A.A. should be supported. The only misgiving that the Labour Party has about this Bill is that it retains the limit of £5 million on borrowings by the A.N.L. For many years the Opposition has advocated the establishment of an Australian overseas shipping line. It would appear that the limit of £5 million on the Line's borrowings, even when that amount is added to its reserves, might impose a limitation on its expansion into overseas shipping. Other factors may limit the Line's expansion into overseas shipping at the moment. First, Australian shipyards, for the first time for many years, are fully engaged. Secondly, one cannot be certain of buying or chartering ships overseas. Thirdly, there is a shortage of seamen and officers for the Australian merchant marine. All those factors - Australian shipbuilding capacity, the availability of ships for charter and the availability of crews - might limit the expansion of the Line's operations into the overseas trade. Even if any or all of those factors operate at the moment, in our view there is no excuse for limiting the possibility of future expansion on financial grounds. In the Committee stage we will move an amendment to raise the limit from £5 million to £10 million. Even if the Act is amended every three or four years, the situation could arise within that period when more than £5 million would be required by the Line if it were to take advantage of opportunities to engage in overseas trade. It is not generally realised that the Line, as it is, can engage in overseas trade. The Constitution permits the Commonwealth to set up a shipping line to engage in trade with other countries and among the States or within or to the Territories. Section 15 of the principal Act gives the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission the functions^ - to establish, maintain and operate, or to provide for the establishment, maintenance and operation of shipping services for the carriage of passengers, goods and mails - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. between a place in a State and a place in another State; 1. between a place in the Commonwealth and a place in a Territory of the Commonwealth; 2. between a place in a Territory of the Commonwealth and a place in the same or another Territory of the Commonwealth; 3. between a place in the Commonwealth and a place in another country; and 4. between a place in a Territory of the Com monwealth and a place in another country; It is only the first of those functions that the Commission has regularly discharged. It has only very infrequently engaged in trade to the Northern Territory, to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea or to other over seas Territories. It has still less frequently engaged in trips to other countries. But even where it has engaged in trade between the States, for many years - still, in fact, - it has been denied entry to the tanker trade. It is only within the last 12 years that Australia has started to refine crude oil in a big way. In these years the tanker trade has become the largest sector of the Australian coastal trade. Until the initiative was taken by **Mr. R.** W. Miller's company and by the Australian Labour Party, inside and outside the Parliament, the coastal tanker trade was entirely in the hands of foreign ships - ships built, owned, manned and operated by overseas companies. Throughout these years it was possible, constitutionally and statutorily, for the Australian National Line to engage in the coastal tanker trade. It was because of ministerial directions that the Australian National Line, the largest and most modem of the Australian shipping lines, was prevented from engaging in the coastal tanker trade. It may be that the tanker trade has now become the preserve of Australian companies. Successive Ministers for Shipping and Transport - the former Minister, who is now Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Opperman)** and the present Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Freeth)** - were over-ruled by their colleagues, and principally by the Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen)-** {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- Oh, now! {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- The Minister for Trade and Industry was Acting Prime Minister at the time of one of the overrulings. He announced the change in policy. I have never known anybody to deny the propositions that I am now putting. The successive Ministers for Shipping and Transport were over-ruled by their colleagues and required to permit tankers for the Australian coastal trade to be built and manned by Australians. It may be that now the whole of this trade is an Australian preserve. It should always have been so. It may be that in present circumstances it is no longer necessary for the Australian National Line to engage in this tanker trade. It may be that all the tanker capacity required has now been allocated to private companies. If that is so,, this is the only aspect of the coastal trade which has been denied to the A.N.L. Further, this is the only aspect of the coastal trade where new developments have occurred since the war and where the A.N.L. has not taken the initiative. On this head I would suggest that when an opportunity presents itself for further tankers to be built, manned and operated by Australians in the coastal trade, the Australian National Line should be allowed at least to participate in that trade. There would be the same benefit in the A.N.L. sharing in this section of the coastal trade as has come from its participation in all other aspects of the coastal trade. It has been due to the initiative of the A.N.L. under its successive managers and its staff that improvements have taken place in the Australian coastal shipping trade. I have referred to tankers on the coastal trade, but there is still scope for tankers in the overseas trade. There is no import on which we are more dependent than crude oil, and crude oil still comes to Australia in foreign tankers. There is no constitutional or statutory reason why the Australian National Line should not now order, build, man and operate tankers in the international trade. This would give us again some of the advantage which the present Government lost for us when it sold the shares in Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd. When the Commonwealth was a shareholder in C.O.R. it was able to ascertain the cost of prospecting for oil, extracting oil, transporting oil, refining oil and retailing oil. The Commonwealth is not able to ascertain any of these things now, because the Menzies Government sold its interest in C.O.R. In the interests of the country the Government should reacquire those shares. I have no doubt that the Wilson Government in Great Britain would be prepared to co-operate to this end. A start could be made, whether or not the Government desires to buy into C.O.R. - now BP Australia Ltd. - if the Australian National Line were allowed to participate in the overseas tanker trade. Here, again, it has been administrative directions which have precluded it from doing so. There is no constitutional or statutory reason why it should not do so. I refer to another aspect which has been raised by our sister kingdom, New Zealand. The New Zealand Government for some years has urged the establishment of a Tasman shipping line. It has been prepared to share with Australia in the establishment of such a line on conditions similar to those which applied to the establishment of Tasman Empire Airways Ltd. The New Zealand Government has been prepared to share with the Australian Government in the operation of a twin line, as now happens with Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. and Tasman Empire Airways Ltd. The Australian Government has not responded. Again, there is no constitutional or statutory reason why the Australian National Line should not take part in a joint operation or a twin operation across the Tasman. It is merely ministerial prejudice which ensures that the Tasman trade will remain in foreign hands and flows with irregular frequency. One could ask: Why does the Government not allow the Australian National Line to operate regular services to New Guinea and around the New Guinea coast? Obviously, such services would be interim ones until the government of an independent New Guinea - which we would expect to be in office by the end of this decade - were to decide whether coastal services and international services to that territory and around it should be maintained by a New Guinea authority or should be conducted by an Australian or other international line on behalf of the New Guinea government. As it is, the Commonwealth subsidises some Australian services to New Guinea on condition that they operate under Australian conditions, but the Australian Government allows the rest of the services to and around New Guinea to be provided by foreign companies. Apart from these specific matters of tankers, both interstate and overseas, transTasman shipping between Australia and New Zealand, and New Guinea shipping, there is the overall need for an overseas shipping line to serve Australia. On this subject, I propose to quote several answers given by the Minister for Trade and Industry to questions on notice asked by my colleague, the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson).** My colleague asked - >What percentage of (a) exports and (b) imports were carried during each of the last Ave years in ships registered in Australia? On 29th September, the Minister replied indicating that in 19S8-59 2.6 per cent, of overseas cargo shipped at Australian ports and 1.1 per cent, of the overseas cargo discharged at Australian ports had been carried in vessels registered in Australia. By 1962-63, the percentages had fallen from 2.6 to 1 and from 1.1 to .5, respectively. So the position is deteriorating. My colleague also asked the Minister for Trade and Industry - ls he able to say which countries operate a publicly owned overseas shipping line? On 22nd September, the Minister replied - the following countries operate overseas shipping services which are either wholly or partly owned by the Government of the country concerned - In addition a number of Communist bloc countries operate government owned shipping lines in overseas trades. One might add that some of these Communist bloc countries which operate government owned shipping lines are land bound. They have no sea coasts but, like Switzerland, they still conduct overseas shipping lines. So not only is Australia's participation in overseas shipping declining, but also Australia is in the unusual position of being among the few countries throughout the world which do not have an overseas shipping line. The countries named by the Minister in his answer to the honorable member for Hughes are countries which have overseas shipping services wholly or partly owned by their governments. In addition at least a score of countries have shipping lines registered in those countries owned by locally domiciled companies. I am not so much concerned about whether an Australian overseas shipping line is owned by the Australian Government, by Australian companies or by a consortium of the Australian Government and Australian companies. The basic thing is that we need an overseas shipping line or some overseas shipping lines. We ourselves have not enough ships for all our purposes. I ask the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** an annual question: What ships do we charter or subsidise each year? On 30th September of this year, he told me that the Army had had to charter a training ship, the Department of External Affairs had had to charter its annual ship to the Antarctic and the Department of Primary Industry had had to charter nine ships. All these were chartered during last financial year. In addition to these charters, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the Department of Trade and Industry has subsidised the use of other ships in various services. Concerning these subsidies, the Prime Minister, in his answer of 30th September, informed me - >In respect of the service to the West Coast of South America and the Carribbean, the present Agreement, entered into in March 1964 for a period of one year, provides for financial assistance of £150,000 spread equally over six voyages. > >The East Coast Service operated under a two year Agreement which was due to expire in May 1964, and provided for financial assistance to a maximum of £175,000 over the period of the Agreement at a maximum rate of £21,875 per voyage. As the Line operating this service could not complete the required number of voyages within the period of the Agreement, due to circumstances outside its control, the Commonwealth has indicated its willingness to extend the present Agreement for a further period to enable the stipulated number of voyages to be completed. A decision on the future of this service will be taken shortly. > >An annual subsidy of £150,000 was paid in respect of vessels on the Australian Register and operated by Australian crews in competition with other vessels in the Australian/New Guinea trade. > >An establishment allowance of £12,000 was paid to assist in the provision of a new vessel on the Melbourne to King Island service. This service also attracted a subsidy of £3,600 so that voyages could be maintained to King Island while the regular supplying vessel was out of commission. > >An annual subsidy of £4,250 was paid in respect of shipping services to isolated Northern Territory ports in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Clearly, Australia, year in and year out, finds it necessary to charter vessels. These vessels are required for purposes which are perennial. The Australian National Line could fulfil those purposes. It is hard to believe that it is good business to pay foreign companies for these charters every year when we could provide the services with our own ships. Is it to be thought that we shall discontinue Army training which calls for the use of shipping, that we shall discontinue voyages to our research stations in the Antarctic and that we shall discontinue fisheries investigations? Unless we are to discontinue any or all these activities, we should take steps, after all these years, to see that Australian ships fulfil these purposes. Again, for how much longer are we to wait for a regular shipping service to the Caribbean, to South America, to New Guinea, to the Bass Strait islands or to the Gulf of Carpentaria? We know - and we must expect - that such services will be continued in the foreseeable future. We hope that services to Latin America will greatly increase. The existing arrangements have never been satisfactory. The agreements under which the present services are provided have often to be renegotiated. We have always to subsidise ships registered in countries which compete with us in the markets served. We will never really break into overseas markets until we can provide regular services ourselves. One other aspect of overseas shipping I feel bound to mention yet again is that of freights. It is a little disheartening, I suppose, in the debates on the Estimates for the Departments of Trade and Shipping and Transport, or in the debates on Bills dealing with the Australian National Line to refer every year to overseas freights. {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! I think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is getting very wide of the Bill now. The Bill relates to the finances of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. I do not want to restrict the debate, but I think the honorable member might come back to the provisions of the Bill. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- With respect, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** the long title of the Bill permits one to speak on any aspect dealt with in the principal Act. The principal Act mentions, in section 15, matters of overseas, territorial and interstate trade and commerce. Furthermore, I have foreshadowed an amendment, to be moved in the Committee stage, that would raise the borrowing limit from £5 million to £10 million so as to ensure that no financial limitations would preclude the Australian National Line from engaging in overseas trade or from building or buying ships for that purpose if the need arose before the Act rs next amended. I submit that I am entitled to continue along the line that I have been following. I point out that when the last amending bill was debated this line was followed by me and by other speakers. Every year the export marketing boards make reports to the Parliament I acknowledge once again that every year the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr. Adermann)** has been tabling those reports earlier. Most of the reports mention overseas freights. This year the Australian Meat Board made a comparison of the increases in freight rates since 1951 on meat sent to the British market from Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Freight rates on quarter beef from Australia have increased by 111 per cent, since 1951, on carcase mutton by 76 per cent, and on carcase lamb by 83 per cent. From New Zealand, the percentage increases have been respectively, 73, 53 and 53. From Argentina, in each case the percentage increase has been only 35. Why is it that since 1951 the percentage increase in freights on meat from Australia has been so much greater than on meat from New Zealand and has been twice to thrice that on meat from Argentina. The only answer can be that Argentina and New Zealand have their own shipping services, public and private, while Australia has neither public nor private services. The lack of such shipping services affects other primary products. In the debate on the estimates for the Department of Shipping and Transport last year, I quoted several instances of the increases complained of by the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board and the Australian Canned Fruits Board, as well as the Australian Meat Board. I will content myself on this occasion with reiterating the complaint made by the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia. Two years ago, the Associated Chambers unanimously adopted the following resolution - >That this Annual Meeting of the A.C.M.A. records its apprehension and concern that high shipping freights from Australian ports to neighbouring countries are handicapping increased exports of manufacturing companies and this may jeopardise the increased exports which this country so urgently needs and which were stimulated by the export incentives. > >It urges that the Government should take such action as may be necessary to secure for Australian exporters shipping freights competitive with those from other exporting countries to the markets which are logically considered suitable for Australian goods. I will quote also a statement made at the same time by the leader of a New Zealand trade mission. A newspaper gave the following report of his statement - >The leader **(Mr. G. W. Lane)** said inadequate freight services were hampering trade between Australia and New Zealand. " One of the first things you are asked after you get an order is ' When can you deliver? ' " said **Mr. Lane.** " We need a regular and dependable freight service across the Tasman. It is as vital to you as it is to us, for you, too, want to build up your exports ". How do we deal with these matters? I submit that the answers must be that for the proper development of our overseas territories, the proper development of trade with our sister Kingdom, New Zealand, and the proper safeguarding of our export trade to other countries we need an overseas shipping line. The ministerial ban on overseas operations by the Australian National Line must be removed. I have quoted from the statute. The statute permits the Line to operate overseas. Only Government policy prevents it from doing so. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- What basis is there for that statement? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- Does the Minister deny it? {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- I ask what basis there is for it. There is no foundation for it. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- The honorable gentleman himself has stated that it is Government policy, for instance, that prevents the Line from performing its own stevedoring operations. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- That is not overseas operations. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I am giving another instance. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- That is in the agreement with the stevedoring companies. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- That is so, but it is an agreement that the Government has made voluntarily. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- It is rather different from overseas trade. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I realize that it is. The Minister asked me a question and I quoted from a document that is in front of me. It is an answer he gave to the honorable member for Hughes on 15th September last. In it he said that the Government had foregone the statutory function of the Australian National Line to engage in its own stevedoring operations. My clear recollection is that the statutory function of the Line to engage in overseas shipping operations has similarly been limited by the Government. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Not by agreement. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- 1 am not suggesting it is by agreement. The fact that there is an agreement in respect of stevedoring operations does not affect this matter. Both as regards overseas shipping operations and as regards stevedoring operations, the Australian National Line is permitted by statute to participate, but in both cases the Government has chosen that it should not do so. In one case, the Government has done so by agreement with the stevedoring companies; in the other, it has made no agreement with the private overseas shipping companies. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- In fact, some overseas charters have been undertaken on occasions. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- It is true that the Line has done some tramp work, but it has not done this in pursuance of a settled policy to provide trade outlets, which we need, and to provide competition on freights, which we need. I know that there have been charter voyages, particularly to India with wheat. For generations Australia has exported agricultural, horticultural and pastoral products to Britain and Europe, but the freight on them is subject to more and greater rises than the freight on similar products for the same markets from New Zealand, Argentina and California. Australia can supply steel and other manufactures to South East Asia, East Africa and South America, but she has to pay higher freights than European manufacturers pay for exporting similar products to the same markets over several times the distance. Australia is among the 10 or 12 largest trading countries in the world, and all her trade must go by sea, but she is among the very few nations which do not own a single ship engaged regularly on overseas trade. Australia is among the nations whose principal products are manufactured goods, but she is the only such nation which has no private or public shipping services at its disposal to carry and promote its own manufactures. Before concluding, there are a couple of other features which I should mention, and they arise from comments made by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission in its annual report for the last financial year. The Commission makes some interesting observations concerning labour practices in two aspects - automation and permanent employment. These are very relevant to the argument against Australia engaging in overseas shipping which is most often advanced. It is true that the manning scales and the salaries and wages are cheaper on British, Greek or Japanese ships than on Australian ships, but on Australian ships they are no higher than they are on Common Market ships and on the Scandinavian ships which trade to and from Australia. Furthermore, they are much less than, in fact only a fraction of, the corresponding costs on United States ships, whether operating under the United States flag or flags of convenience. This aspect is being greatly diminished by automation. Captain Williams was quoted in the "Sydney Morning Herald" of 15th July 1963 as saying - >With the development of automation in ships of say 30,000 tons and upwards- I interpolate to say that Austraiian shipyards are now building such ships. the competitive impact of Australian costs on a per ton of cargo carried basis may be reduced to a point where an ensign carrying the Southern Cross will become a more common sight in the ports of the world. 1 believe Captain Williams has referred in another context to " Jindivik " ships - that is to say, completely automated ships. As this comes about, so the question of costs of labour will inevitably diminish. Quite apart from this, however, there is the necessity to build up a merchant service in this country. One of the limiting factors in conducting an overseas shipping line at the moment is the availability of officers and men. The Commission last year reported as follows - >Studies of ways and means of employing seagoing and waterside labour on a permanent basis are being continued. In the view of the Commission the advantages of a form of permanent employ ment are obvious and it is hoped some positive move towards this objective may be possible in the near future. The A.N.L. is the largest of the Australian shipping lines. It has been responsible for most of the improvements in the coastal trade since the war. One further improvement could be the permanent employment of seamen as well as of officers. We have such permanent employment in all other utilities. Railways, metropolitan transport and airlines are all manned and serviced by permanent employees. Shipping is the only transport utility where employment is not permanent. The casual nature of the employment is responsible for much of the turbulence in the industry and is also responsible for the fact that not enough people are undertaking employment in it. If permanent employment were available the work force in shipping would be more stable and ample, and this would mean that we could be free of the difficulties which attend some shipping operations in Australia and of some of the limitations which would apply to Australian overseas shipping. The Commission also comments on the advantages of permanent employment on the waterfront, in the stevedoring industry. This is a matter on which I have spoken for years past. Here again, if we are to have proper stability, and maybe responsibility, on the waterfront it can be achieved by permanent employment. {: .speaker-KJG} ##### Mr Irwin: -- Why does it not take place now? Is it not a fact now that men move from ship to ship? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM: -- I cannot justify why it is not taking place, but this is one form of terminal transport employment which is casual, or where the employees are rotated. It would seem that in order to get a stable and responsible career service one should do the same as one does with the railways and the airlines. The people at the terminals in those industries are permanent employees. The same should be the case on the waterfront. Perhaps the A.N.L. cannot do this by itself, although it does permanently employ the watersiders at Devonport and, I think in Melbourne, and it should do so in due course in Sydney for the " Empress of Australia ". I have taken the opportunity, as previously when this Act has been amended, to make a case for an overseas shipping line as an essential item in Australia's development and trade. If we are to be a successful trading country - more particularly if we are to be a successful trading country in manufactured goods - we must be able to deliver the goods; we must be able to have regular services to new markets and competitive services to existing markets. We have, in the A.N.L., the constitutional and statutory instrument to do this. Whatever other limitations there may be on its overseas operations at the moment, the capacity to build ships, to buy ships and to employ crews is with the A.N.L. It is wrong that there should be any financial limitations in this regard, and accordingly at the Committee stage the Opposition will move an amendment to raise the borrowing limit from £5 million to £10 million. We support the Bill as far as it goes. It diversifies the borrowing powers and the investment opportunities of the A.N.L. The A.N.L. has been an outstandingly successful enterprise, and we believe that the amendments made by the Bill will enable it to make a still greater contribution. {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot .- I agree with all that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** has said. I want to deal with two or three other aspects of shipping which arise from this legislation. The Bill is actually very limited. Certainly it is not going to be of tremendous assistance to the Australian National Line. We believe the A.N.L. deserves a far bigger blood transfusion in its work than this Bill will provide. The Bill merely permits the A.N.L. to borrow from fresh sources, but the limit of £5 million on its borrowings is retained in this legislation. This morning Opposition members discussed this matter fully at the party meeting. We feel that this limitation should be removed forthwith and that the Australian National Line should be permitted to borrow up to £10 million from the sources specified in the legislation. The reasons for this view were ably put by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. We want to see the activities of the A.N.L. extended overseas. We want to see it competing adequately with overseas shipping companies, which at present have Australia by the throat. They have so held this country ever since the old Austral Line was sold out so shamelessly in 1928 by the BrucePage Government. Except for a few vessels that operate under charter to Asian ports, the A.N.L. is a coastal shipping line. We do not agree with the limitations that have been imposed on this very fine line by a Government which does not believe in Australia having an overseas shipping line - a Government which believes that we can go on being strangled and dictated to by the overseas shipping companies which have their headquarters in London or Europe, and which put their heads together to fix whatever freight rates they please. There is no real competition between the overseas companies. They constitute one huge monopoly, involving Australia in the payment of about £150 million annually for freights both to and from this country. In other words, annually about £300 million is going out in freights to these companies. The great bulk of that money should be kept in Australia and it would be kept here if we had our own overseas line. This was done in the past. After the First World War **Mr. Hughes,** who .was Prime Minister, did a most courageous and magnificent thing. He created the Austral Line. How did he get it going? He bought second hand ships that were surplus after the First World War and he built up a fleet of more than 20 vessels. He started the first Australian shipping line, which operated between Australia and England and Europe. In the eight or nine years during which the line operated it saved the farmers of Australia about £7 million in freights. In other words, the farmers would have paid £7 million more in freights if the Austral Line had not been in existence in those days. The Line was created largely to give service and in those difficult years the primary producers thanked God that there was such a line. We believe that something of this nature should be done again. We have the nucleus in the present A.N.L. It could be enlarged to include an overseas division. We feel that the Line should be permitted to borrow enough money to start an overseas division with, say six secondhand vessels of 20,000 tons. Surely we could purchase them somewhere. All this would take time. It would take careful investigation. After the overseas division was established with six or eight vessels we would have to build bulk carriers and one or two passenger liners. Within ten years the A.N.L. would have an overseas division comprising one or two passenger vessels, at least ten cargo vesssels of 15,000 to 20,000 tons and some bulk carriers or oil tankers. This is what we envisage and that is what we will plan for as soon as we become the Government. This is our policy. We stick to it. We repeat it election after election. We have stated our policy in this Parliament. No matter what the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Freeth)** or the Government may say, this is still our policy and we hope to have the opportunity in two years' time to implement it. It would take possibly ten years properly to establish an overseas line, but a start has to be made some time and by somebody. A Labour government will start it. The Australian National Line operates under certain limitations. First, it is limited in its operations to the coastal trade. Secondly, it is limited in its borrowing capacity to £5 million. Thirdly, there is no real competition between the Line and private companies. The Government has rationalised the routes of the Line almost as carefully as it has rationalised air routes. This fact is not generally known by most people but a study of the Tasmanian situation will show that there is hardly any competition between the A.N.L. and the private companies. We begin to realise that the A.N.L. has been given certain direct routes on which to operate and private enterprise will not interfere. Similarly, private enterprise has certain routes on which to operate and the National Line has been told to keep out. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Who tells it to do that? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- That is the principle of it. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Who tells it to do that? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- It has been established; I do not know who did it. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- No, the honorable member does not know what he is talking about. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- I do know what I am talking about. It is a pity the Minister did not know more about shipping. He knows more about the law than he does about shipping. An analysis of the service between Tasmania and the mainland will show clearly that it is almost a rationalised service. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- It may be, but that does not mean someone has ordered it that way. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- We could have an interesting discussion on that subject. I do not blame the Minister for what has happened. I do not even say that the Government deliberately did this, but the situation exists. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- The honorable member has implied that the Government gave directions, and that is wrong. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- I will be glad to apologise if the Minister can prove to me that the Government did not order this situation. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- I do not have to prove it. It is for the honorable member to make out his case. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Let me put it this way: Perhaps the Government did not give directions in this matter but it has condoned the practice and it has not happened by chance. There is no real competition between the A.N.L. and private enterprise. I would like to know why. The A.N.L. has done a great job. I commend the Government for heeding the advice of the Opposition and not selling the old ships of the former shipping commission to private enterprise and instead deciding to create the Australian National Line for coastal shipping. We support the concept of a national line. When we look at the wonderful work the Australian National Line is doing along our coastline we cannot help but feel proud of it. The report of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission for 1963-64 reveals that the Line is now operating 41 ships. Five of those, with a total deadweight tonnage of 37,549 tons are aged between one and five years. Twenty vessels, with a total deadweight tonnage of 146,971 tons are aged between five and ten years. Nine ships with a total deadweight tonnage of 36,281 tons are aged between 10 and 15 years. Seven ships with a total deadweight tonnage of 19,516 tons are more than 15 years old. The average age of the Line's ships is ten years. The total deadweight of ships under the control of the Australian National Line is 240,317 tons. The Line has an impressive variety of ships. It has bulk cargo ships of 10,000 tons. It has two motor ore carriers, each with a dead weight of 13,710 tons. It has ships with a dead weight of only 642 tons- the "Euroa", the "Eugowra", the " Enfield ", the " Elmore " and the " Edenhope ". Those small ships have rendered wonderful service on the west coast of Tasmania, as my colleague, the honorable member for Braddon **(Mr. Davies),** will agree. His electorate extends right down to the port of Strahan, which has been kept open by the services provided by these mighty midgets. They have done much for the economy of Tasmania. The story of the finances of the Australian National Line is most impressive. The revenue derived by the Line from the operation of its vessels increased from £14,361,541 in 1962-63 to £17,091,592 in 1963-64. The gross profit before payment of tax for the year 1962-63 was £2,089,932. For the year 1963-64 it increased to £2,265,847. The tax taken from the profits jumped from £749,196 in 1962-63 to £1,230,436 in 1963-64. This increase in taxation has meant a decline in profits of approximately £300,000 in twelve months. In addition, the Australian National Line is required to pay interest on its capital, just as a private company does. This Government has a phobia about interest. It requires the Post Office, the Austraiian National Line and Trans-Australia Airlines all to pay interest. {: .speaker-KCI} ##### Mr Devine: -- It is another form of indirect taxation. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Yes, and it helps to keep freight rates up. What a ridiculous policy this is at a time when we are trying to keep freight rates down. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Should the taxpayers provide the money directly? {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- No, but I believe that, just as with the Post Office, interest payments are unnecessary. I should like to deal specifically with some of the problems experienced by the Tasmanian timber industry. I submit that that matter is relevant to this Bill because it bears on the need for more ships. Tasmania exports 70 million superficial feet of timber a year to mainland markets. That is a wonderful effort for such a small island. The housing demand on the mainland, in Victoria in particular, is increasing at a very great rate, and we in Tasmania are very glad of that. We want to see the demand continue. We do not want the Government to clamp down on housing as it did in 1961. We do not want the Government to say that 100,000 new houses a year are too many and that this construction rate is inflationary. Because of the increase in the rate of housing construction, the demand for timber, especially in Melbourne, is urgent. The buyers want large quantities of timber, and they want regular deliveries so that they can supply the builders promptly. Builders are now engaging in vigorous competition with each other, and they want their timber delivered in adequate quantities, and on time, so that they can keep their men at work for five days every week. If they run out of timber, they have to stand men down for a day or two, and that is bad. Precision shipping facilities are urgently needed. I know how difficult it is to get them, but regular shipping schedules are urgently required to cope with the boom in the building industry. The roll-on roll-off ships speed up the turn round, but they do not provide a complete solution to the problems. Regularity of services and adequate cargo space are very important to buyers in Melbourne. Failure by Tasmanian shippers to deliver timber in Melbourne on time would be the surest way to lose that market. As an example of the difficulties experienced by Tasmania shippers, I mention that one shipper obtained a new market in Western Australia, despite the fact that this market is a long way away. He got an order for 8,000 superficial feet, but the timber was left in the Burnie Marine Board's quarry area for nine and a half weeks before being shipped. This sort of thing is disastrous. The Western Australian buyer could well decide that Tasmanian timber shippers were unreliable and that he had made a bad bargain, especially when he could probably get timber from South Australia, which is much closer. There is a shipping service from Burnie to Fremantle once in every six weeks. It is conducted by private enterprise. This could help to boost the timber trade between Tasmania and Western Australia, and 1 hope that enough timber will be coming forward to keep it in operation. The transport of timber from Tasmania is handled by several companies. Between Launceston, Melbourne and Adelaide, timber is transported by ships operated by William Holyman and Sons Pty. Ltd. I suggest that the Australian National Line could well send ships to augment this service at least once every three weeks. As an illustration of the need for something to be done, I point out that, because of the chronic shortage of shipping space between Launceston and Adelaide, one shipper had to send 50,000 superficial feet to Melbourne and then transport it from Melbourne to Adelaide by truck, in order that a South Australian Government building programme might be maintained. In that case, the transport costs amounted to double what they would have been had the timber gone by the sea route. That sort of thing is not good. It is unfortunate that that should be happening. I hope that the Minister will cast all prejudice from his mind and give serious thought to an interesting suggestion that I am about to make. I suggest that the Australian National Line should have a ship, like the " Yarrunga " of 4,688 dead weight operating on a roving commission between Tasmania and the mainland ports to keep up our timber exports. 1 make no apology for asking that this be done for Tasmania, for the very good and undeniable reason that Tasmania has no other way of getting timber to the mainland than by sea. On the mainland, the States have the advantage of good rail and road services. They also have a magnificent coastal shipping service. I remind honorable members that 35 of the Australian National Line's ships are operating between the mainland States whilst only six of its ships serve Tasmania. Why can we not have a ship operating on a roving commission? Perhaps once every three weeks it could operate between Launceston and Adelaide. If we had such a service, it would avoid the necessity to carry timber first to Melbourne by ship and then to Adelaide by road. For another week, the ship could take up the slack in the trade between Launceston and Melbourne, or Burnie and Melbourne. It could augment services wherever timber was piling up, waiting to be transported. Surely it is not too much to ask that this be done, especially when we appreciate that the Australian National Line was established primarily to give service and not specifically to make profits. Tasmania deserves some recognition because of its isolation and the fact that it cannot get its timber to the mainland any other way than by ship. The mainland States have it all over Tasmania in this respect. I earnestly request the Minister to give serious consideration to my suggestion. On the route between Hobart and Melbourne, the trade is handled mainly by the Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand Ltd., with its ship the "Seaway Queen", which maintains a weekly schedule. She finishes loading around 10 p.m. every Tuesday night, and is giving a remarkably good regular service. Recent shipments have amounted to 240,000 super, feet per trip, but in spite of the use of this new ship, 20.000 to 50,000 super, feet have been left behind each week. This is disastrous to shippers and to buyers on the mainland who do not receive their stated quantity at the one time or on the one voyage. It is important to note that buyers are charged for timber that they do not receive, and this happens because the ships close down loading operations at certain times to fit their schedules, and so do not take complete loads. This may mean that quicker loading is necessary to make sure that the full quantity of timber goes to Melbourne on each trip. On 15th December the "Seaway Queen " sailed from Hobart leaving four packs of timber behind. The buyer did not receive those packs until three weeks later. The result of these short shipments of timber is readily appreciated by all of us. A buyer is debited with a quantity of timber of which he might have received only a part or none at all. He is unable to check deliveries. In the two weeks up to 22nd October one timber company shipping out of Hobart was allocated space for 80,000 to 90,000 super, feet, but there was a shortshipment of 20,000 super, feet. On another occasion this company was allocated space for 100,000 super, feet and this was reduced two days later to 60,000 super, feet. Admittedly shipping companies experience difficulties, but these things should not be allowed to happen more than once in a while. When these things become regular occurrences they really kill the trade for the shippers involved, who are trying to supply regularly a market that they have built up in Melbourne. I sincerely ask the Minister to consider these problems. The details I have given are absolutely authentic and the sources of my information have been checked. The service from Devonport to Melbourne is conducted by the Australian National Line principally. The A.N.L. is asking the timber men concerned to put their timber on trailers in Launceston and send the trailers and timber to Devonport to be carried on the " Bass Trader ". This, however, represents an added cost that shippers cannot afford. It costs an extra 6s. a hundred super, feet to get the timber from Launceston to Bell Bay by trailer for transport by the " Bass Trader ", and this added cost cuts out the reasonable profit that the shippers must make on their shipments. The DevonportMelbourne service is carried on principally by the " Bass Trader " and the " Princess of Tasmania ", both wonderful ships doing a great job for us but not always for the timber trade. This is why I suggest that a ship with a roving commission could help our timber men from time to time in a very real way and remove the spectacle of timber piling up on wharfs for weeks on end. Here is another interesting point. According to an Australian National Line representative, if the private shipping companies cannot cope with the trade from Tasmania to the mainland they ask the A.N.L. for help. That is quite interesting, but in fact it happens once in a blue moon. It is readily understandable that the private shipping companies do not want A.N.L. ships coming in on their trade, so such requests are very rarely made. The present situation is most unsatisfactory, but if the Austraiian National Line had a roving commission ship it would go in anyway, whether a request were made or not. Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Dealing with the position of Hobart in respect of timber shipments to the mainland, I point out that Hobart has approximately 350,000 super, feet of timber each week for which it requires shipping space. The "Seaway Queen " a Union Steamship Company ship, is taking 240,000 super, feet of timber only per week, leaving a substantial surplus behind. This is further proof of the merit of my suggestion that a roving commission ship supplied by the Australian National Line should be put on the Tasmanian run forthwith to pick up such surpluses. Now, the rationing of shipping space that is happening in my State at the moment is a nightmare for shipping agents who are allocating space. It means temptations in regard to favouritism, and frustrated and angry shippers when some of their timber is left behind. It also means unsatisfied buyers on the mainland and loss of markets. The difficulty in Burnie, in northern Tasmania, has been explained as a clash of interests or a clash of opinions about containers and packs, which are two different ways of moving timber. The Australian National Line wants timber sent in containers which are about 8-ft. 6-in. by 14-ft. 5-in. The small shippers want to send their timber in packs. This is, more or less, loose timber. This difference of opinion has caused many of the small shippers to lose out on shipping space. The reason why they are opposed to containers should be explained. Small shippers have been supplying two or three buyers in the one shipment. There are small loads of timber for, say, three buyers. The containers contain 5,000 super, feet which is too much for one order. If the small shippers used containers, when their shipment arrived in Melbourne it would have to be sorted out into different orders for three different buyers. That is the reason why the small shippers are opposed to containers. But I suggest that the small shippers in Tasmania should consider doing up three orders with distinct markings, and tying them separately, and including the three orders in the one container shipment. In that way, they could fulfil the conditions imposed by the Australian National Line. The " Yarrunga " has been going into Burnie as an extra ship. This service has been stopped at the moment], but we hope that it will be recommenced. The Minister for Shipping and Transport said yesterday that it was because of the seamen that we were experiencing trouble in Tasmania. That is definitely not so. The failure of seamen to fill quotas happens at big ports on the mainland but not in Tasmania. Income from timber in Tasmania is limited by lack of shipping space. This is not right or just. It is discriminatory. The sawmillers, bushmen, millers, transport men and waterside workers are all doing their jobs. But frustration kills enthusiasm when shipping space is not available for our timber. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-0-s3 .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE:
Warringah **.- Mr. Deputy Speaker,** this debate is in support of a Bill for an Act to amend the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1962. The Bill contains four minor amendments, the most important of which, as I see it, is the proposal to maintain the limitation on borrowing by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission to £5 million, but to widen the sources from which funds may be obtained. The funds are required for the development of the Commission's programme which has much to commend it, especially when we realise that such ships as the "Empress of Australia" have been built recently. In fact, this latest addition to the Australian National Line's fleet is to go into commission on 5th December. This ship will re-unite Sydney and Hobart, that service having been broken for the last 25 years. The funds will be required for a 47,000 ton bulk carrier which, I understand, is due for completion in 1966 and to finance the 21,000 ton bulk carrier, the " Musgrave Range ". I note that there are other very worth while projects which the Commission has in hand and which will require finance. When the " Empress of Australia " goes into commission on 5th December, another milestone will be passed in Australian shipping history. This ship will be a further illustration of the development of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. I have, as have other honorable members, looked with keen interest at the very well documented, and generally well presented, annual report of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. Although some of these figures have already been quoted, I feel that they bear repetition. It is interesting to note that the cargo carried in the financial year ended 30th June 1964 by the vessels of the Australian National Line in coastal trade was 7,139,134 tons, which was an increase over the tonnage carried in 1962-63. The greater portion of the cargo carried by the A.N.L. is bulk cargo. If honorable members take the trouble to look at the list of ships of the Australian National Line fleet, which appears in the report, they will see how many bulk cargo vessels the A.N.L. actually has. In 1963-64, these ships carried 90,837 passengers. Obviously those passengers would be carried mainly on " Princess of Tasmania ". Looking at the revenue from operations, we find the very exciting figure of £17,091,592, which represents a substantial increase on the revenue derived in the previous year. The net profit of the Commission after tax was £1,035,411. What is most important in traversing these figures is the fact that the Australian National Line paid a dividend of 6 per cent, and that its fixed assets at cost represented a total of £34,073,208. I refer to those figures at this stage because I intend to make a comparison between them and the financial buoyancy of the Australian National Line and the argument that honorable members on the opposite side are always developing in debates such as this with reference to the establishment of an Australian overseas line. The only item in the annual report which causes me some concern is the following statement by the Chairman of the Commission, which appears at page 4 - >As I have already inferred, the shadow of rising costs once again lies heavily over the Australian shipping scene and whilst there appears some scope for further operational economies, it is unlikely the rate of profitability can be maintained without adjustment to freights and passenger fares. I hope that the Commission will see its way clear to avoid increasing freights and especially passenger fares. The " Empress of Australia" is about to go into commission. It will be very attractive to folk who wish to take a sea trip to the Apple Isle and to take their motor cars with them. An increase in fares would curtail the number who would be able to take advantage of this delightful form of travel. One can read the annual report of the Commission with a feeling of excitement, bearing in mind the tremendous and dramatic change that has come over the Australian coastal shipping scene during the last few years. The report illustrates a success story in Australian shipping - a success story that comes from a government venture. I know that the Labour member who will follow me in this debate will say: "Here is an indication of what Socialism can do ". But there are certain factors which he will not take into account. One of them - it is a very important one - is that in the shipping industry today there is a rationalisation between the public line and the private lines, which is all important. It is interesting to note that the A.N.L. now consists of 41 vessels of varying types which admirably fit the various trades into which they have been placed. Those vessels have a total dead weight of 240,317 tons. A highlight of the annual report is the information in relation to the developments that have taken place not only on the seagoing side but also ashore. I refer to the facilities, particularly the terminals, which have been established to cater for the roll-on roll-off vessels - the "Princess of Tasmania " and the " Empress of Australia ". It is noteworthy that in eight years the Line added 15 vessels to its fleet. Those vessels are mainly bulk carriers and they are engaged mainly in the bulk trade. When the A.N.L. took over from the Australian Shipping Board it had a ready made fleet, but it was a fleet of what we now call conventional vessels. The Line did not have ships which were built specially for particular trades, such as the bulk trade in which it is now engaged. In the six years prior to 1963, 12 special bulk carriers were introduced into specialised trades. These specialised ships, which are capable of carrying cargoes ranging from 4,500 tons to 14,500 tons, are doing a really worthwhile job. It is interesting to note that very shortly the fleet of bulk carriers will be increased by a bulk carrier which, at the time of its commissioning, will be the biggest in Australia. It will have a dead weight of 21,400 tons. The A.N.L. has opened a new and dramatic chapter in Australian shipping history. One cannot take away from the Commission credit for the fact that it introduced the roll-on roll-off vessels - the vessels that we now call passenger-vehicular ferries - and the " Bass Trader ", which is a trailer container ship. All these vessels of unconventional design have operated very satisfactorily. I understand that the A.N.L. is planning to introduce into the eastern coastal trade - that is the trade between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane - a 10,000 ton roll-on roll-off vessel which I am informed will be able to carry about 30 semitrailers and 90 motor cars. One of the most impressive facts about this contemplated vessel is that it will have a surface speed of 20 knots. So it will definitely reduce the turn-round time and will provide an opportunity for a reduction in the heavy semitrailer traffic on the roads. Because Australia is an island continent, it is very dependent on shipping. Tremendous advances have been made in the public sector of the shipping industry in the past, but we should not overlook the fact that tremendous advances and dramatic changes have taken place in the private sector of the shipping industry, too. The old, conventional, all-purpose ship has very largely been replaced by specialised vessels in the private sector. These are great changes. 1 have heard shipowners, particularly Australian shipowners, being criticised and maligned by people who, for their own ends, seek to criticise and malign them and refer to them' as vultures who have created monopolies and have not provided employment conditions and all that goes with employment conditions for both maritime employees and shore employees. Of course, there is no substance in such criticism. As I have said before in this House, the ship owner generally has been a particularly good employer. Certain factors have mitigated against the shipowner doing all the things that he would like to do. One such factor is the amenities in the port of Sydney. The amenities, including change rooms and places in which to eat, have for a long time been neglected in that port. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that it was not until after 1956 that anything of real consequence was done about the amenities. But it was not the fault of shipowners that amenities could not be improved or even provided, for the simple reason that amenities came within the scope of the Maritime Services Board. The amenities have now been improved considerably and have been provided in all sections of the port in which they were necessary. The Australian shipowners, by progressive management and reliance on men of long experience in the industry, have developed a situation in which, to a very large extent, they have regained the trade which they lost to other forms of transport, such as road and rail. One of the reasons why that trade was lost was that ships were unable to sail on schedule. I was particularly interested to hear the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** refer to that point. One of the most important factors in shipping is that a vessel should sail at the time and on the date on which it is scheduled to sail. The shipping industry has been subjected to many frustrations because of trade union militancy which has prevented sailings from taking place as scheduled. It was factors such as these which led shippers and consignees to lose faith in the Australian shipping industry and to seek other means of transporting their goods. This situation gravely worried the Government because obviously, without our shipping industry, trade, particularly along the coastline of Australia, was being seriously hampered, and this was affecting our development. By good management, by taking the initiative and introducing ships which were not conventional but were designed for special trades, vessels which were capable of speedier handling of cargoes and which had a much quicker turn round, a situation was brought about in which the shipping industry was able to compete with road and rail because a door to door service was introduced with vessels sailing on schedule. In addition, the documentary work involved in shipping goods was simplified. Special wharfs were constructed to provide sufficient space both for cargoes and for vehicles awaiting despatch by these roll-on roll-off vessels and the other specialised vessels to which I have referred. As a result of progressive and forward thinking the Australian shipping companies, together with the Australian National Line, were enabled to recapture cargoes which previously had gone by road and rail, and in recapturing the cargoes the shipping industry was able to stimulate the national economy. All T hope is that now that there has been such a revolutionary change in the shipping industry and its code of conduct, vessels from now on will be permitted to sail on time so that not only will shippers regain their confidence in the industry, but folk who wish to travel by ship will not turn to some other form of travel. It frequently happened that people going on holidays by sea would get to the wharf only to find that the ship had been delayed because of an industrial dispute. Frequently the dispute could easily have been settled outside the wharf by the use of the correct arbitral processes. When we talk about new vessels we think in terms of the two ships of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand Ltd., the " Seaway Queen " and the " Seaway King ", which were recently introduced to the Sydney-Hobart and the MelbourneHobart runs respectively. I heard with considerable interest the honorable member for Wilmot, who is now out of the chamber, say that there was no competition between the Australian National Line and other Australian shipping lines. Of course the honorable member for Wilmot knows very little about the shipping industry. I gathered from what he said that he has never taken the trouble to find out the factors which influence a certain situation in the industry, where, perhaps, as he complained, a ship has short-shipped timber and other commodities. It is obvious that there is very great competition between the public sector, represented by the Australian National Line, and the private sector, represented by the Australian shipowners, for we find that the " Seaway King " and the " Seaway Queen " have a total cargo capacity for about twice the amount of cargo that has been calculated to be offering from Hobart. Therefore there must be very keen competition in that port. Reference has been made tonight to the establishment of an Australian overseas shipping line. This is a hardy perennial. One wonders why this topic is always brought forward in debates related to shipping, but it always is. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam),** who seems to cling fiercely to the argument that the economic situation is such that the establishment of an Australian overseas shipping line is essential, introduced this subject. The honorable member for Wilmot, and I think my old colleague, the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith **(Mr. Curtin),** always have a few words to say in support of this contention. This argument goes back over a number of years. I remember that during my term in the shipping industry numerous deputations from the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia came to see me, generally with the plea for the establishment of an Australian overseas line. Similar pleas came also from the Seamen's Union of Australia. One wonders why such determined pleas have been made, not only by the two unions to which I have referred but also by honorable members opposite. The honorable member for Wilmot said that the conference lines constituted a huge monopoly. Why would he say this? Does he know anything about the conference lines? In the short time at my disposal I should like to quote an extract from the "Maritime Journal" of 26th April 1962. The journal refers to a situation which developed early in the 20th century when the overseas shipping industry was very unstable. There were cut-throat efforts to attract freights, and shipping generally was disorderly. Referring to the weaknesses of disorder and instability, the "Maritime Journal " outlines the purposes of the formation of the Oversea Shipping Representatives Association and the adoption of the conference system in these words - >It was as a result of these weaknesses that a few far-sighted shipping men decided in 1912 to establish the O.S.R.A., and the Conference system, as it is now known, came into being in Australia. The main object of this Conference was, by consultation among the Lines, to see that a reasonable volume of shipping was maintained to meet the requirements of the Australian trade and thus put an end to a state of affairs where there might at any time be too many or too few ships, numbers of which might disappear if the freight market in other parts of the world became more favourable than it was here. As a corollary to this attempt at stability of services, the Lines forming the Conference agreed that they would all charge the same rates of freight, while maintaining healthy competition among them. The very purpose of the formation of the Oversea Shipping Representatives Association and the adoption of the conference system was to stabilise freights and still maintain competition between the privately owned overseas shipping lines. Any honorable member opposite who has taken the trouble to look into the facts will readily realise that freight rates are determined, not in some slaphappy fashion, but as a result of consultations between the Government, the producers, the manufacturers and the shipping companies. As a result of such consultations in 1929, the Australian Oversea Transport Association was formed. If honorable members opposite have been sincere in the representations they have made from time to time about the establishment of an overseas shipping line, surely they will take advantage of the invitation extended to them to discuss the matter with representatives of the overseas shipping lines who are experienced in overseas shipping activities and who would be able to tell them of the problems that have to be faced. I know that such an invitation has been extended but, to my knowledge, not one Opposition member has taken advantage of it or made any approach in an endeavour to expand his knowledge. This applies particularly to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who, I know, received a personal invitation to discuss the matter. To my knowledge, the overseas shipping companies neither support nor oppose the establishment of an overseas shipping line. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- It must come some day, surely. {: .speaker-JZG} ##### Mr COCKLE: -- It is not absolutely necessary, but, if it does come, well and good. As I have said, nobody in the overseas shipping trade is opposed to it. However, Opposition members, before they go too far, should consider just what they would commit the Australian taxpayers to in the financing of an Australian overseas shipping line if they were ever to gain office. They would find that they would have to commit the taxpayer to very heavy subsidising of capital expenditure on the establishment of such a shipping line and of the operating expenditure of the line when it had been established. I support the Bill, **Mr. Speaker.** {: #subdebate-34-0-s4 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES:
Newcastle **.- Mr. Speaker,** the Bill is designed to make three amendments to the Australian Coastal Shipping Act 1956-1962. These amendments relate to the terms and conditions of employment of members of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, borrowings by the Commission and the manner in which its surplus funds may be invested. We on this side of the House are concerned mainly with the second of these three amendments. I consider that the first and the third of the amendments are really routine and represent improvements. The amendment relating to the terms of borrowings by the Commission represents an improvement on the existing provisions of the Act, but we consider that it will not go far enough and, at the Committee stage, we propose to move an amendment designed to go further along the way that we believe should be taken. We consider that in the immediate future the maximum limit of borrowings by the Commission should be increased so that it may enter into overseas shipping activities as well as continue its existing coastal trade. Most speakers in this debate have taken the opportunity to mention the annual report of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, which administers the Australian National Line. I join with other honorable members in expressing appreciation of the manner in which the Commission has conducted the Line's trading activities. As the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** foreshadowed, I take this opportunity to remind honorable members that this Line is a Socialist undertaking established by a Labour Government and perpetuated and maintained by the present Government. I give credit to this Government for its extension of the activities of the Line which, today, is quite a substantial undertaking with a fleet of some 41 ships and a number of additional ships under construction. Members of the Australian Country Party continually use the expression " the Socialist Opposition ". We do not hide our Socialist principles. We accept the fact that we are a Socialist Party. The Government also can see the benefits of Socialist enterprises. One can point to many Socialist undertakings conducted by it. If I may mention just a few, I should like to name the Australian National Line, TransAustralia Airlines, which is better known as T.A.A., the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia), the Commonwealth Railways and the Post Office. One could continue for some time naming the list of Socialist enterprises run by the present Government, not forgetting the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. There are many Socialist undertakings that have been maintained and even developed by this Government. So honorable members opposite should not speak in one breath of the alleged ills of Socialism and in the next breath congratulate the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Freeth),** as ministerial head of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, on the excellent work that is being undertaken in the development of the Australian National Line. We on this side of the Parliament have always fully supported the Line and will continue to do so. I should like to mention very briefly the feature of its operations that has pleased me most. The table at page 6 of the annual report of the Commission for 1964 shows that for the seven years from 1957-58 to 1963-64 inclusive the Line has operated at a profit. Indeed it has been profitable ever since it was established. The figures for the seven years given in the table at page 6 show that in each of those years the profit has exceeded the requirements of the Government, which has annually received its dividend of 6 per cent. I do not wish to elaborate on the shipbuilding programme outlined in the report, but I should like to comment on one feature about which I am disappointed. This is the fact that, last financial year, the Line did not take any part in overseas trade. In *1959-60,* overseas cargoes carried by the Line totalled 51,133 tons; in 1960- 61, 56,242 tons; in 1961-62, 184,688 tons; and in 1963-64, 5,250 tons. Unfortunately, in 1963-64 the Line did not carry one ton of cargo in overseas trade. I am greatly concerned about this. We who belong to the Socialist Australian Labour Party which, with the Government, supports this Socialist enterprise, want to see the activities of the Australian National Line extend to overseas trade - for example to the transport of crude oil and passengers from overseas to this country. We want to see the Line enter into the general cargo and refrigerated cargo trade in the carriage of Australian imports and exports. We believe it is time that this country had its own overseas shipping line, regardless of the statement by the honorable member for Warringah that we would rue the day if ever we entered into overseas shipping activities. But our entry into overseas shipping activities is long overdue. For too long this country has been taken for a ride by foreign owned shipping lines. Almost every country has an overseas shipping line or is in the process of developing such a line, but Australia is not. I propose to deal with this matter a little more extensively later in my speech. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- India has a shipping line, has it not? {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES: -- That is true. India, one of the new, emerging, independent countries, has its own shipping line. I want to refer to the 1962 report of the Australian National Line. It has been said that we cannot compete with ships built and operated by foreign countries but I want to give a few figures from this report. The Australian National Line was blowing its own trumpet. It used figures to show that its charges were lower than the charges of other shipping lines. It referred to operations of the " Princess of Tasmania " on sea-road service between Tasmania and the mainland. It gave these comparisons of charges - From Preston to Northern Ireland: Base fare per mile, 6d.; freight per mile, 2s. 6. Id. From Wellington to Picton: Base fare per mile, 8.3d.; freight per mile, 3s. 6. Id. From Melbourne to Devonport: Base fare per mile, 4d. The charge in Greece is 7.8d. The " Princess of Tasmania " is a modern ship. It was built recently at today's costs and it is manned by Australian seamen. Yet the Australian National Line is able to bring to the attention of the Minister for Shipping and Transport and of honorable members the fact that on the sea-road service between Tasmania and the mainland the operations of the " Princess of Tasmania " are carried on at a much lower charge than the charge for similar services in other parts of the world. We advocate the establishment of an Australian overseas shipping line or the extension of the activities of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission into overseas trade. The Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act contains provision to enable the Commission to do this. There is no need to amend it. All the Minister has to do is direct the Australian National Line to extend its activities into overseas trade. Section 15 states - >The functions of the Commission arc - > >to establish, maintain and operate, or to provide for the establishment, maintenance and operation of, shipping services for the carriage of passengers, goods and mails - > >between a place in a State and a place in another State; > >between a place in the Common wealth and a place in a Territory of the Commonwealth; > >between a place in a Territory of the Commonwealth and a place in the same or another Territory of the Commonwealth; > >between a place in the Common wealth and a place in another country; I ask the Government to extend the activities of the Commission to include trade between a place in the Commonwealth and a place in another country. We should not engage in these operations on a huge scale at this stage; we should move into the field gradually. I agree that at this stage it would be impossible for the Australian shipbuilding industry to build sufficient ships to enter the overseas trade on a large scale. This is not to the Government's credit. For many years oil and petroleum products have been transported around the Australian coast in foreign owned and manned ships, but the Australian National Line has not made any attempt to move into this field. R. W. Miller and Co. Pty. Ltd. has done so and has forced the Government to agree to its importing tankers on condition that it build ships in Australia. In this way,, the monopoly of the foreign owned shipping lines has been broken. Today the oil companies are either importing or building 12 tankers to transport petroleum products around the Australian coast. This is very good. But the Australian National Line should have done it years ago and should not have waited for R. W. Miller and Co. Pty. Ltd. to break the stranglehold of foreign owned shipping lines on the Australian coastal trade. The transport of oil around the Australian coast should be extended to include the transport of crude oil from overseas ports to Australia. We import oil from two main points - the Middle East and Borneo or Indonesia, which are just to our north. We should also move gradually into the refrigerated and general cargo trade. There is a need for this and I will show later that it is being done in other countries. The passenger trade is ready made for us. Passengers are waiting to be brought to Australia in Australian owned and manned ships. I will develop this theme later. Whilst agreeing that we cannot at this stage build the necessary ships in Australia, I believe that additional money should be made available to the Commission so that it can at the first opportunity purchase or charter ships and engage in overseas trade in the three fields that I have mentioned. The Government should also tell the Australian shipbuilding industry what it proposes to do so that shipbuilders may commence immediately to extend their capacity. The shipyard of Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. at Whyalla is building ships of 47,000 tons at the moment. I have inspected the shipyard and have had discussions with the management. I believe that there is no limit to the size of the ships that can be built at Whyalla. AH we have to do is to tell the company that we propose to build ships of a certain size and, with a minor alteration of the layout of the yard, it will be able to make the necessary provision to enable it to build ships of almost any tonnage. Evans Deakin & Co. Pty. Ltd. in Brisbane at present is able to build ships of 20,000 tons. That is the biggest ship that can be built by this company. However, realising that it must either be in the shipbuilding industry or out of it, the company in the words of the general manager, has had to take a punt. It is spending more than £1 million on the development of its yards and in the near *future* will be able to build ships of 50,000 tons. The State Dockyard in Newcastle has prepared plans for the extension of its shipbuilding capacity. It is estimated that the dockyard will spend £5 million and ultimately will be able to build ships of 75,000 tons. These are the three main shipbuilding yards in Australia today. They are all prepared to spend large sums of money on modernisation so that they will be able to build the ships needed to meet the requirements of this country if we enter into overseas shipping activities. I do not believe that shipbuilding should be restricted to these three yards. We should establish another shipyard, preferably in Western Australia. I am now looking at this matter from the defence point of view. I believe that we should have an additional shipyard in Western Australia capable of building ships of the size we can build in the eastern States. Possibly the people in my electorate will be a little disappointed at my advocating the establishment of another shipyard, but I am viewing this matter as an Australian and not solely as the member for Newcastle. I believe that as a maritime nation we must develop and extend the Australian shipbuilding industry so that we will be able to undertake overseas shipping activities. If we intend to move into this field, we must have the ships to carry the merchandise and we must have shipyards with the capacity to build the ships we need. Where does Australia stand so far as the world tonnage of shipping is concerned? I believe the total word tonnage is 140 million. Australia's total is almost 600,000 tons or about .4 per cent, of the total. The present world tonnage of oil tankers is about 46 million; our total tanker tonnage is almost nil. We do not possess one oil tanker other than the tankers that R. W. Miller has recently imported. We have not built and registered in Australia one tanker. 1 know that the Minister will say that the "P. J. Adams" is an Australian tanker, but let us face the realities of life: That tanker, whilst owned in Australia, is registered overseas and therefore does not fly the Australian flag. Whilst we have built a tanker, we do not sail one. Let us compare the tonnage of ships under construction in Australia with the tonnages in countries of a comparable size. Sweden, for example, has under construction a shipping tonnage of 840,000; Norway, 456,000; the Netherlands, 421,000; and Denmark, 300,000. We have about 50,000 tons under construction. So in shipbuilding and in the shipping industry we are a long way behind countries of a comparable size. Is there a need for an Australian overseas shipping line? I propose to show from the figures that are available that there is. Our imports in 1961-62 were valued at £884 million, in 1962-63 at £1,081 million, and last year at £1,188 million. I know that it would be impracticable and unreal for me, or for anyone, to suggest that Australia should transport all its imports - that we should transport the whole of that £1,188 million worth of imports into Australia. We would go broke, and every shipping line trading with Australia would likewise go broke, because cargo would be carried only one way. I believe we have to move into this industry. We have to come to an arrangement with the companies now operating whereby an Australian-owned overseas shipping line could transport its share of our imports and exports. I have said that I believe there is a ready market for the transport of passengers to and from Australia. Last year 110,000 people left Australia in 27 ships, 16 of them owned by foreign companies and 11 by British companies. Let us consider the number of immigrants who have been brought to this country by ship and by air on assisted passages. In reply to a question that I asked the Minister for Immigration **(Mr. Opperman)** on 21st October 1964 he gave figures which are quite clear. I shall not give full details, but in round figures 303,000 migrants were brought from the United Kingdom by ship, 57,000 from Germany, 45,000 from the Netherlands, 39,000 from Italy, 31,000 from Austria, 28,000 from Greece and 15,000 from Malta, to mention a few places. What has been the cost? The total cost to the Commonwealth of Australia for bringing people to Australia on assisted passages has been £80,762,074. For the financial year 1963-64 it cost £8,557,830. This figure includes the cost of air fares, but it is safe to say that the Government paid at least £6 million in shipping fares towards the assisted passages. In 1962-63 the total cost was £6,343,534 and in 1961-62, £5,085,507. Considerable numbers of people will still be brought to Australia. It has not been suggested by anyone that the immigration programme will be watered down or cut out, or that the number of people wanting to come to Australia will decrease, so what is wrong wilh this Government spending money to purchase passenger ships to bring people to this country to live - people who want to establish for themselves a new life in Australia? The ships would then be available to take to Britain, Greece, Italy and elsewhere some of the 110,000 people who go overseas annually on holidays, pleasure cruises and so forth. I believe that there is any amount of opportunity, any amount of scope for us to move into the field of passenger carrying transport and overseas trade. Earlier this evening I referred to our crude oil imports. In 1962-63, which is the last year for which I can obtain figures, we imported 3,688,120,000 gallons of crude oil at a cost of £83,789,000. Of that quantity 2,574 million gallons came from the Middle East and 1,108 million gallons came from Indonesia and North Borneo. To transport this huge quantity of crude oil to Australia required 70 large tankers operating full time. Surely the Government can see its way clear to extend the activities of the Australian National Line into this field of transport so that we can bring some of this oil to Australia in Australian built ships manned by Australian seamen. Our exports to the United States of America and Canada amount to £152 million annually and our imports from those places to £276 million. Five shipping lines - British and American - provide the service to and from those countries, and there are 60 sailings annually. Two passenger cargo ships and four freighters are operating. In respect of our trade to the East, including Japan, our exports total £276 million annually and our imports £86 million. Ten shipping lines are operating on this service - Japanese, British, Swedish and Dutch. Sixty ships are permanently engaged on this trade. To Europe, the United Kingdom and Mediterranean ports we export goods to the value of £435 million annually and import to the value of £494 million. In these last figures of imports, oil imports are disregarded. These are the figures relating to the export of refrigerated cargo and general dry cargo. From these facts alone it must be obvious that there is any amount of scope for us to move into this particular field of transport. Many different companies have seen fit to introduce ships to the Australian trade. I have one particular quotation that I should like to read. It is from anything but a Labour journal. It is a publication called "Australian Coal, Shipping, Steel and the Harbour " - the journal of a most vicious anti-Labour organisation. It gave me displeasure to read this publication, but at the same time I want to quote from it. In reference to the Australian meat export trade the publication states - >The first of three new fast motor ships specially built by the " Blue Star " Line to carry Australian meat exports to the east coast of North America arrived in Sydney on November 5. It was the "Montreal Star" of 8,200 tons. The article referred then to the master of the vessel. American shipping lines have converted their ships to refrigeration ships for the transport of refrigerated meat cargoes from Australia to the American market. Why cannot we move into this field? Any amount of evidence has been brought to the attention of the Minister concerning the transport of steel from Australia to Hong Kong and Singapore at a much higher freight rate than that charged from the United Kingdom and European ports to the same ports. The same thing applies to the cost of transporting steel from Australia to New Zealand compared with the cost of transporting steel from Japan to New Zealand. We have had complaints from the Australian Meat Board about the cost of transporting Australian meat from Australia to the United Kingdom and the United States of America. There are any number of reasons why there should be some competition provided by an Australian shipping line. It is anticipated that within a short time we will be exporting about 10 million tons of iron ore from Western Australia to Japan. Are any discussions taking place at the moment to ensure that Australian ships are used to transport that iron ore? Of course not. The only discussions concern which Japanese ships will be employed on the job. So we find this position: It is good enough for other countries buying our minerals, such as coal and iron ore, to take them from Australia in their ships, but when it comes to Australia importing such things as crude oil, we have to use foreign ships. I admit that the ships which carry our minerals, wool and wheat are in the main manned by unfortunate men who, because of the low wage structure of their homeland, receive no more than 20 per cent, or 25 per cent, of the wages that normally would be paid to Australian seamen. This situation is admitted but for how long will we permit a continuation of this system whereby we allow these people from countries with low wage structures to be exploited? Why are ships today registered in Liberia? Why are they registered in Panama? They are registered in those places for one reason onlyso that the companies operating them may pay low wages to their seamen. I want to refer briefly to a statement made in England recently by **Sir Nicholas** Cayser, Chairman of the British and Com monwealth Shipping Company. Dealing with the subject of flags of convenience he said - >Flags of convenience multiplied in the prosperous post-war years. Big profits meant high taxation, so many foreign owners registered their ships in countries like Liberia and Panama where virtually no taxation is levied on shipping. This is why these overseas companies can undercut Australian shipping companies whose vessels are manned by Australian seamen. Why not carry this situation to its logical conclusion and advocate that the coolies of Hong Kong be brought out here to man our trams, trains, buses and the ships that operate in the coastal trade? It is not that I have anything against those people as individuals. I am opposed to the rotten world system of finance which condemns them to exist on a paltry pittance. But if any attempt was made to bring such people out here I am certain that Jim Harrison and the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Engine Drivers would not tolerate a system of low wages. What is the difference between transporting goods in Australia with Australian labour and transporting them externally with Australian labour? It is only the people opposite who are prepared to support the exploitation of people by a system of low wages. The Labour Party stands for the establishment and development of full and free operation of coastal and overseas shipping lines, the utilisation of the present capacity of the shipyards for construction of shipping for the nation's needs, and, above all, a programme that will provide these things, in not the distant future, but immediately. Let us extend the activities of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission so that we may move into this trade and provide a livelihood for our seamen and our shipbuilders {: #subdebate-34-0-s5 .speaker-KKU} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mackinnon:
CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-0-s6 .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR:
Cunningham .- I have listened with great interest to the debate and the trends it has taken. One of the matters which struck me most forcibly was the obvious reluctance of Government supporters to take part in the debate and, equally, the weak case presented by the honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** in opposition to the establishment of an overseas shipping line to serve the requirements of the Australian people. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- This Bill has nothing to tlo with that. {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- The Minister will have a chance to speak later. The Opposition has adopted the national viewpoint. As is traditional for the Australian Labour Party, we speak in the best interests not of one section of the community but of every section. I note with particular dissatisfaction the almost complete absence of members of the Country Party from the chamber at this stage of the debate. This is a pity, because no section of the community has more interest in overseas shipping freights than have primary producers. In recent weeks we have had a spate of oratory about defence. I know of no better contribution to defence than the training that is received in an adequate mercantile marine. This is one of the notable deficiencies in our system of water transport. Because we have no overseas shipping line we lack the opportunity to train Australian seamen so that they may be used in auxiliary ships of the Navy in wartime. Conversely, for men who have received their training in the Australian Navy and who, after their period of service is ended, are searching for employment, there is nothing offering in the way of employment with an overseas shipping line. Generally speaking their services and their training are lost to the nation. Questions of finance apart, as a very real contribution to the defence effort, this Government must give serious consideration to the proper establishment of an overseas national shipping line. There has been a lot of selfcongratulation by the Government on the success of our exports and the wonderful state of our overseas balances, but in point of fact the situation is not so very good. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! I think the honorable member is getting somewhat wide of the Bill. I cannot allow a discussion of our trading balances or international finance. {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- I do not propose to deal with international finance generally, but I wish to discuss that section of it which re lates to the payments made to overseas shipping lines for the transport of goods to and from Australia. Surely you. **Sir, will** permit me to do that. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Similar remarks have been permitted in the course of the debate but the honorable member is getting wide of the Bill, which concerns the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- The Bill specifically provides that the Minister may, if he so desires, permit the establishment of an overseas shipping line. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- That argument has been used before. I will not allow a discussion of Australia's trading balances. {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- Very good. I will keep my remarks to the point. Between 1950 and 1964, after the deduction of the aggregate of invisible credits in the balance of trade relating to transportation, the invisible debits amounted to £1,073 million. That is the amount Australia has paid in foreign exchange in the past 14 years because we have not had a national overseas shipping line. The latest report of the Australian National Line shows that it has total assets valued at £33 million. In other words, we would have had operating in Australian waters a fleet 33 times as big as the present merchant fleet if the money that has been paid to the overseas shipping combines had been used for that purpose. Can Australia afford to bleed to death? I say it cannot. That is why I referred to international trading balances. It was a very valid reason, I say, with due respect to the Chair. Australia is the 12th largest trading nation in the world. We take great pride in the fact that we are a major trading nation - that our imports and exports per capita are far in excess of those of other nations which have been trading for centuries. We are a young nation. We are one of the youngest nations in the world. Let us compare our position with that of Norway. Norway has a smaller population than that of the State of New South Wales, yet it has a merchant marine of nearly 4,000,000 tons. That merchant marine is Norway's major source of income, literally the means by which the people of that nation exist. If fewer than 4,000,000 people can do that, with all their limitations of climate and all the limitations of relatively poor national resources, what can the Commonwealth of Australia do? Let us take Sweden with its population of 7,500,000, two-thirds the size of that of Australia. Sweden's merchant marine is magnificent. In every ocean of the world you can see Swedish ships - neat, tidy, well equipped and well manned with contented and well paid crews. The Swedish ships are able to compete with all the ships flying flags of convenience and with all the rotten coffin ships used by the Overseas Shipping Conference - the derelicts and the Liberty ships from which the very last pound of profit is being squeezed. Australia is literally at the mercy of the Overseas Shipping Conference. Today, possession of a national merchant marine is not merely a matter of trading or of profit and loss. A merchant marine is an instrument of economic and trading policy. As a sovereign nation, we neglect the establishment of an overseas shipping line at our peril. Such a line is a stark national necessity. I want to know when the Government will open its mind and consider the realities of the present situation. We live on an island continent. We live as one people in possession of a whole continent. We are a people with a maritime tradition. For centuries men of our stock have gone down to the sea in ships. By ships we have lived. It was our proud boast of the United Kingdom that the British Empire was a steamboat Empire. It was the merchant marine which held it together. It was the merchant marine which provided the links and the very means of its existence. Without it, the Empire would have disintegrated. Today, the British Commonwealth of Nations needs that same merchant marine. Every one of its constituent members needs its own ships to take its own cargoes to chosen destinations on its own terms, with crews paid proper rates of pay and with ships built to proper standards of safety. The Australian shipbuilding industry has nothing to be ashamed of. I would say that the ships of the Australian National Line, for their size and type, will bear favorable comparison with those of any other merchant marine in the world. They are good ships. They are ships of which to be proud. I give credit to the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones)** for the interest he has displayed and the facts he has put before the House tonight with relation to our shipyards. The ships built in Australian shipyards are excellent ships. The ore carriers of the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. and Australian Iron and Steel Pty. Ltd. are built like battleships. I have seen them. I have had experience. For 13 years I had the responsibility, as a member of the State Parliament, of playing my part in the development and administration of Port Kembla. The honorable member for Warringah **(Mr. Cockle)** chose to cast aspersions at the the ability and knowledge of the Opposition. Let me tell him that there are men on this side of the House who know just as much about shipping as he does. I was a member of the Port Kembla Harbour Advisory Committee for 10 years. I know shipping like I know the back of my hand. It was my duty to know it. More than that, it was my pleasure. Port Kembla is one of the leading ports of Australia. A total of 7,000,000 tons passes into and out of that port each year. Of the six major ports of Australia, four are in New South Wales, and Port Kembla is the third largest port in New South Wales. I notice from the annual report of the Australian National Line that Port Kembla is the second largest port to which the Line's ships travel. The total tonnage into and out of that port each year is second only to that passing into and out of Whyalla. I was very pleased indeed to see the Australian National Line establish an office and other amenities at Port Kembla for, to me, that represented a tribute to the importance of the port. Where you have a steel industry it is natural that ships and shipbuilding will follow, because there is no greater user of steel products than the shipbuilding industry. Whilst we have lagged in that respect, I have no doubt that, in the fullness of time, a shipbuilding industry will be established at Port Kembla. I share the gratification of all honorable members at the achievements of the Australian National Line. This afternoon, when referring to profits and the comments made by the honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** about taxation being imposed on the Line, the Minister seemed almost to regard it as an affront that the Line should make a profit, and he seemed to look upon it as almost obscene that the line should make such a profit as would attract income tax. Let us examine the positions in other nations of the world. In France, for example, a direct subsidy is paid to shipbuilders to compensate for the difference between French and foreign costs. In Italy, a subsidy is paid to shipbuilders for the construction of modern ships. The subsidy is based on the tonnage and type of the ships to be built. Let us examine the different forms of assistance given by countries overseas, compared with the attitude of this Government which is interested not only in profits but also in taxable profits and dividends. Let mc illustrate the different attitudes adopted by other countries. In both France and Italy, construction and operating subsidies are paid. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Is the honorable member suggesting we do not have a construction subsidy? {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- We have it, yes. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Then why not mention it? {: .speaker-K0O} ##### Mr CONNOR: -- I will in due course. Operating subsidies are paid in France, Italy and Japan. Tax benefits are allowed in West Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Depreciation allowances are made in Norway, Denmark, France, Japan and the Netherlands. Loans and interest assistance are made available in France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Sweden. Other forms of assistance are given in France, West Germany and Greece. What have we to offer in answer to that? Are we taking the national point of view, or are we taking a paltry, capitalistic, narrow minded point of view? Australia needs a national shipping line; it is entitled to one, and when a Labour Government comes into office, as it surely will, it will have one. During the forthcoming Senate election campaign, we will throw down the challenge. Here I pay tribute to the maritime unions of Port Kembla, who have repeatedly raised this matter. There has not been a Federal election campaign for many years in which these men, through their unions, have not prepared propaganda and had it distributed, not locally but throughout the rural areas - the dairying and wheatgrowing areas - in order to convince the people there of the shortcomings of this Government, and to arouse their interest and get their support. Of course, the usual propaganda has gone out against them. But more credit to those men because, maligned and traduced as they may be in this House, they are capable of taking a national point of view. That is more than this Government is able to do. Shame on this Government for its blindness. Shame on it for its lack of national interest. It is time the people of Australia were told the facts and made aware of the realities. Last weekend a visiting professor made a statement that I think reflects a position in this country which redounds to the eternal discredit of this Government. He said that it takes 20 years for any modern idea to percolate to Canberra. That statement is absolutely true as it relates to this Government. We are 20 years behind the times. We are entitled to an Australian national overseas shipping line, and not one single valid reason has been given by any speaker on behalf of this Government to show why we should not have it. In countries on the borders of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean live two thirds of the world's people. It is my belief - and I hold it as an Australian, forgetting political partisanship - that it is Australia's destiny to become the common carrier of the Pacific area. The crossroads of the world today are at Singapore, and the centre of world power is shifting to the Pacific Ocean. What vision, what foresight and what planning do we see on the part of this Government to meet national and international realities? What price did we pay during the last war to maintain shipping routes to Australia? Have we forgotten the lessons of World War II? Have we forgotten the price paid in blood and sunken tonnage so that we could maintain our lines of communication and keep vital raw materials flowing into and out of this country? Are we to forget the sufferings endured by our mother country? Are we to forget the submarine attacks that were made on shipping coming to and leaving this country? Where would we stand in another war? We would be utterly and completely defenceless in terms of a merchant marine. If we are to function as a nation - we talk as one and we have the power and the destiny to be one - we must have a national overseas shipping line. This Government will not provide one. Only a Labour Government can and will do so. {: #subdebate-34-0-s7 .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr BENSON:
Batman .- I want to join with my colleagues on this side of the House and endorse the remarks they have made tonight. I would also like to pay a compliment to the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission on the excellence of its annual report for 1964, which I have before me. It is very well presented and quite explicit. It must be a pleasure for people interested in shipping to read it and see what is happening to this very fine shipping line, the Australian National Line. Page 1 lists the members of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. The first name listed is that of the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr. Freeth).** Then there are the Chairman, John P. Williams, the Vice-Chairman, Herbert Phillip Weymouth, Commissioners Andrew Graham Thomson, David Bell and Dudley C. L. Williams, and the General Manager, F. J. Mercovich. I mention these names because recently one of the gentlemen listed on this page was selected to manage the interests of the Australian National Line in respect of its passenger pursuits in Hobart. I want to register my protest about that appointment. This is not directed against the gentleman himself. I do not know him; He is probably one of the finest gentlemen in the world. But I want to show how different are the practices of this Commonwealth Government from those of local government. It would be impossible for a local government to engage any person having an interest in an undertaking carried on by that local government. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- This man is a paid employee of a company. He has no direct financial interest in this. The honorable member is away off the beam. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr BENSON: -- I hope the Minister is right about that. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- I know I am right. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr BENSON: -- Well, I am very glad to hear it. I am glad to hear the Minister interject to that effect, so that the nation will understand the position. Many people do not realise that this gentleman has no financial interest in this organisation, so I am glad to hear the Minister giving us this information. It dispels from my mind things that I have heard. I will take the Minister's word for it that the gentleman in question has no financial interest in the undertaking. I will leave the matter at that. Looking briefly at what has happened in the last 12 months, it is pleasing to note from the report that fixed assets have increased by nearly £1 million and that the numbers of passengers carried in the " Princess of Tasmania " have been maintained. I hope that when the new vessel, the "Empress of Australia", starts on her run between Sydney and Hobart she will be as successful as the "Princess of Tasmania " has been. I think it will probably be a little more difficult for that ship to maintain a passenger record as splendid as that which has been maintained by the " Princess of Tasmania ", but time will tell. During this debate reference was made to the establishment of a national overseas shipping line. I would like to see such a shipping line started. I think it is time that this country made a move towards starting its own overseas line. There would be no better organisation in Australia to manage and operate such a line than the Australian National Line. We have been told that during the last 12 months no Australian National Line ships have carried cargo overseas. To my knowledge, this is quite right, because coastal ships, in the main, are not fitted to carry cargoes overseas. You must have special ships for special jobs. If it becomes necessary to take cargo overseas in a ship designed for coastal duties it is usually unprofitable. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr. McEwen)** made a statement in his Department's journal " Overseas Trading " about the shipping service to South America. He was talking about the Japanese ships which had just been engaged to take over from a Swedish line. I will not quote the statement in the journal. It appears on page 108 of the March 1964 issue of "Overseas Trading". The Minister said that it was unfortunate that Australia had no ships suitable for the carriage of overseas goods. I do not know whether he meant that if we had ships suitable for the carriage of overseas goods they would be used. I think the Government should take it upon itself to see that we have these ships. It would be foolish at this stage to say that we must have a huge fleet of ships trading overseas, but I do believe we should have a certain number of ships trading overseas. As my colleague, the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones),** has pointed out, we spent a little more than £8 million last year in bringing immigrants to this country. I think we could well do with four ships of about 1 5,000 tons each which could fly the Australian flag, be manned by Australians and bring the immigrants from the United Kingdom and Italy to this country. Those ships could be readily converted in time of emergency. One could be converted, perhaps, to a hospital ship and the other three to troop transports. Honorable members will remember the ships we had available when war broke out in 1939. I do not know whether we are going to have another war. I can only gauge the seriousness of the events which are happening around our shores by the words of the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** who told the House of the critical times we are in. But at the present time we have no ships of the type of the "Manunda", "Manoora", "Kanimbla" and " Westralia " that we had during the Second World War. We have the " Princess of Tasmania ". The " Empress of Australia " will start on her maiden voyage in a few weeks time. They are both specialised ships. But we have not the ships that we had in 1939. They have been sold out of the country and have never been replaced. I was very sad to hear the " Bulolo ", a Burns Philip ship which runs between Australia and New Guinea, is to be sold, and will go out of the trade. We shall be left in the main with a couple of small passenger ships on the Western Australian coast and the two ships running to Tasmania, one from Melbourne and one from Sydney. But, with the amount of money that this Government pays out annually to bring migrants to this country, the ships could support themselves. I do not care whether it is a Labour Government or a Liberal-Country Party Government. Before you enter into a venture like this, you have to look at the facts coldly and see whether you can make a profit. This is a chance for Australia to enter this field and make a profit from the outset. The amount of money that is paid by the Department of Immigration to overseas interests could well be applied to the acquisition of four passenger ships. Those ships would be available in time of emergency. Besides those ships, I think we could have 12 tankers. We are going to get approximately 12 tankers. These ships are unlike coastal cargo ships. Tankers can be used in the overseas trade. I dare say that if it were necessary for cargo to be delivered to Sumatra or to the Persian Gulf, those ships could occasionally make such voyages. I think everybody in this House will agree that it was prodding from this side of the House that stirred the Government into allowing tankers to come into operation on the coast. R. W. Miller & Co. Pty. Ltd. had quite a struggle to get started on this coast. The company is now beginning to build up its trade. I understand - the Minister may be able to correct me if I am wrong - that there may be seven or nine more ships coming into operation on the coast, but they will be managed by oil companies which are operating in Australia at the present time. The Shell Co. of Australia Ltd., Caltex Oil (Australia) Pty. Ltd., Vacuum Co. Pty. Ltd. and B.P. Australia Ltd. will be operating tankers on the Australian coast, flying the Australian flag, and working under Australian conditions. Comments have been made tonight about the cost of running Australian ships and the amount of money paid to Australian crews. I cannot understand why this subject is always brought up. The wages paid to the crews which man Australian ships are determined by the arbitration court of this country after the learned judges have taken into consideration the skill of the men in deciding what they should be paid. It has been inferred that Australian crews are the highest paid in the world. I have here a publication which was brought out in 1962 by Captain Williams, the present Chairman of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission. He evidently went to quite a lot of trouble in obtaining these figures. They show that, as far as ships officers are concerned, the United States of America pays the highest wages; Australia is second; Sweden is very close to Australia, the wage being only a few shillings a months less; Germany is fourth, and Denmark if fifth. As regards able bodied seamen, the United States pays the highest wages; Australia is second and Sweden, by some 2 dollars a month, is third. This document lists 12 countries which Captain Williams discussed. As far as cooks are concerned, the United States the highest wages, and Australia is second with Sweden a very close third. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr Freeth: -- Sixty-five per cent. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr BENSON: -- 1 did not take out the figures. I will take the Minister's word on that point. I am just trying to illustrate that there is not much difference between the wages paid to seamen in Sweden and Australia. When Swedish ships come out to Australia, and if they are engaged on charter work, the crews work for approximately "nine months, and then they are flown back to their home port. Now, if it were not profitable to do so, no shipping company would engage crews in Sweden, bring them out here for nine months and then, after they had completed that period of service, fly them back to their home ports and fly replacements from Sweden to Australia. This is the general practice at the present time with ships under charter in Australia. In some cases, the officers and men of those ships agree to sign on and serve for two years. They get an extra rate after they have completed the first nine months. I know that, in some cases, the contract is fairly high. But, in the main, as far as the captain and officers are concerned, the contract covers a period of nine months after which they are flown back to their home port. I do not want to speak for too long on this Bill, but over the years I have collected bits and pieces of information from people in the shipping game who are supposed to know what they are talking about. I have had them bound for my own benefit. Writing in the " Sunday Telegraph " on 20th January 1957, a Sydney publication which is supposed to be pretty conservative - I do not know whether it is or not - Roger Randerson, the Finance Editor, had this to say - >Australia should immediately set about building up a merchant navy, appropriate for an isolated continent and one of the world's greatest trading nations. . . . The need is urgent, more urgent than most people as yet realise, if we are to establish our economic independence and strengthen national security. We would take steps immediately to establish our own overseas line. The " Sydney Morning Herald " had this to say in its editorial on 21st January 1961 - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . national anxiety is occasioned by the fact that so little Australian capital and enterprise are devoted to carrying goods and people to and from our shores. . . . Shipping freights are a mounting burden of ' invisible ' deficits in the balance of international payments. . . . Surely Government and local shipping interests should become more ' sea-minded ', and prepare a plan whereby in time - of emergency, and for the present time - more local ships carry the Australian flag into the ports of the world. There is a whole page devoted to this subject. I am not going to continue reading what other people have said, but if anyone cares to read these remarks, I think they will find that every journal in Australia at one time or other has said that it is time that we branched out and stood on our own feet. I think the Minister for Shipping and Transport and most other honorable members would agree that it would be wrong to bring an overseas line into being if it would put an added burden on the people. We are here to see that that does not happen. But where there is a chance to start something that will be of national benefit in time of war, we should start it. I have said frequently that probably the cheapest thing in the world today is to get the ships. But once we get them, if we want to make them pay we have to fill them up with cargo not only at the ports from which they leave but also at the ports at which they arrive. If we cannot do that we will be in trouble. So I stick to my argument that if we establish an overseas line wc should start with ships that arc capable of bringing migrants to this country and then, with the tankers that we are getting, see how we go. I believe that we would make a success of it. I hope that the Minister and the Government will consider these matters when they come to make a decision on an overseas line. Such a line should be started, but it should be started on a sound basis. I have before me reports from the Japanese Embassy in Canberra. They show the progress that Japan has made since the Second World War, with government assistance. As you know, **Mr. Deputy Speaker,** when that war finished Japan was literally decimated, its shipyards had been razed to the ground and it had very few ships. The Japanese Embassy states that Japan is now the biggest shipbuilding nation in the world. I have before me figures which show that its shipbuilding industry will expand further. We cannot be in a similar position at this moment. Our shipyards are doing quite well and they have work for quite a few years to come. But they could be expanded. I hope they will be expanded. I believe that Spencer Gulf in South Australia is a very good place to expand our shipbuilding industry because there is a large expanse of water, and ships can be launched without any encumbrances. It is not necessary to arrest the ships after they have been launched. I should like the Government to give some thought to this suggestion: Through its migration scheme it should endeavour to get shipbuilders to come to Australia. Perhaps we could get a complete small village of shipbuilders. When shipyards are slack in Britain, sometimes a whole villiage is out of work. I should like to see a grand scheme under which artisans were brought to Australia to carry on our shipbuilding industry. I believe that that is the only way we can expand profitably. I also direct the Minister's attention to the lack of dry docks in Australia. I do not think it should be necessary to direct his attention to this lack. As we all know, he is a Western Australian. There is no dock in Western Australia. That State has a port to and from which big tankers come and go. There is a big oil refinery in Western Australia, but there is no dry dock. There is no decent dry dock in Victoria, yet some of the biggest tankers in the world are now coming to that State. If anything goes wrong with ships in western or southern waters, they cannot be dry-docked in western or southern ports; they have to be towed to Colombo if they are in Western Australia, or to New South Wales or Queensland if they are in Victoria. The Government should start now to do something about building decent and modern dry docks in Australia. I leave it at. that. I hope that the Minister will look into that matter. At the present time space is available in Victoria to carry out the work that I have just mentioned. {: #subdebate-34-0-s8 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP -- in reply - The Bill before the House deals very simply and very briefly with the financial arrangements of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission and, in particular, with its borrowing powers. But during the debate tonight not one member of the Opposition has dealt with the Bill. Members of the Opposition have taken advantage of the licence allowed under the Standing Orders to base remarks on the title of the Bill, which is - >A Bill for an Act to amend the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act 1956-1962. They have ranged around the world and dealt with all kinds of matters which are not mentioned in this Bill. However, so many wild theories have been advanced about how easy it would be for Australia to run an overseas shipping line and about many other points, that some of the facts of life need to be injected into the debate. The honorable member for Batman **(Mr. Benson),** who does know something about shipping, said that we should start an overseas shipping line in a way and made the qualification that there should not be an added burden on the people of Australia. The honorable member for Wilmot **(Mr. Duthie)** argued that the Australian National Line pays dividends and taxation just as an ordinary company does and that that adds to the costs of people who send cargoes by its ships. I said, by way of interjection, that if the line did not provide the money the taxpayers would have to provide it. The honorable member for Cunningham **(Mr. Connor)** poured scorn on that proposition. But it is a very simple proposition. The Treasury receives revenue from the capital that is made available to the A.N.L. The Treasury, as the only shareholder in the Line, receives dividends, which go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. If that sum of money did not go into that Fund, the taxpayers would have to provide it. The proposition is as simple as that. Let us look at the question of establishing an overseas shipping line. There seems to be some confusion of thought on whether the Australian Government is to take on its shoulders the burden of providing a total service to carry all Australian passengers and Australian produce and other cargo overseas - whether the Government is to accept the burden of providing a service for that volume of passengers and cargo so as to provide adequate competition with existing services - or whether the Government is to start in a small way so that it will provide a minimum of competition. I wish to put a few figures before the House. They are not the most recent figures, but they are sufficiently apt to illustrate the point that I am trying to make. In 1961-62 our external trade was served by approximately 1,500 ships; 36 of those ships were passenger ships which made 155 voyages; 450 of them were vessels which made 1,287 round trips; 660 of them were vessels which made 345 inward trips and 1,134 outward trips; and 370 of them were vessels which made 641 inward (rips and 104 outward trips. So about 1,500 ships are employed pretty constantly on the Australian trade. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- They are all overseas ships. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- That is so. What proportion of those 1,500 ships, which make hundreds of voyages to and from Australia each year, would provide, if Australian owned, significant competition for the overseas ships? The honorable member for Wilmot suggested one or two passenger ships, ten cargo ships, some bulk carriers and some oil tankers. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That is for a start. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- Yes. This is a total. He has not put any specific figure on his suggested requirement, but I would make it a total of less than 30 out of 1,500. This is real competition, is it? This will force down freight rates? I ask the honorable member to consider it seriously, because this, to me, is entirely ridiculous. This proposition assumes, for a start, that these ships can compete. That is quite another point with which I shall deal in a moment. According to the honorable member we are to put 30 ships, or thereabout, to operate among 1,500. The next point is whether we can compete without, as the honorable member for Batman said, putting an added burden on the people of Australia. It is all very well to talk about overseas conference lines putting up freight rates and the like, but even with the best will in the world the ships of the Australian National Line cannot undertake voyages in competition with other ships on a bulk cargo basis, which is the most profitable basis on which the Line could compete. It has tried, and from time to time, when world trade conditions have led to a shortage of cargo ships in certain areas or for certain voyages, it has taken advantage of the situation and has entered into overseas trade. But I want to refer- {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- On that point, would the Minister say whether they were one-way sailings? {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- That is right. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- No shipping line could ever operate on the basis of one-way sailings. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- I quite agree. That is one of the great problems. It would be possible to give some sort of protection to ensure that Australian ships carry Australian cargoes outwards, but frequently general cargo ships have to go all round the world before getting back to their port of origin. The honorable member for Batman would be very familiar with this. We would have to compete in all ports of the world - not just between one or two ports. I want to make one point clear while I am on this topic. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** said that it was by Government direction that the Australian National Line did not engage in overseas trade. That is not so. There is no Government direction. I state that fact most emphatically, now that I have the opportunity to speak in order and not by interjection. There is no Government direction preventing the Australian National Line from engaging in overseas service, if it considers it to be a sound proposition, but equally there is no Government direction ordering the Australian National Line to engage in overseas shipping at a loss. This is the distinction. The Government has the power under the Act, if it considers it desirable and although there might be no profit involved, to direct the Line to engage in a service at a loss. There has been no direction to that effect, but there is nothing whatever to prevent the Australian National Line undertaking any overseas business if it thinks it profitable. Some of the factors which militate against profitability in an overseas service are such things as crew costs. It is true that Captain Williams has drawn attention to the increasing mechanisation which is taking place. It is a rather sad fact that it is only increasing mechanisation which is increasing the possibility that some day Australian ships will be competitive in overseas services. I propose now to give some figures which have been prepared by the Department of Shipping and Transport. The figures indicate some of the problems that we face in, for instance, crew costs. Every f 100 an Australian crew costs per day is matched by crew costs for United Kingdom ships with European crews of £57 per day. In other words, with European crews the United Kingdom costs are 57 per cent, of Australian costs. United Kingdom shipping with Asian crews has a crew cost of only £32 per day for every £100 per day of crew costs for Australian ships. Crew costs of Norwegian ships on the same basis are £56, for Swedish ships, as I indicated to the honorable member for Batman, they are £65; for Greek, £51; and for ships of Liberian and Panamanian register, £39 and £41 respectively. Crew costs in the United States of America are much higher than ours. The figure for that country is £222 per day for every £100 of Australian crew costs, but that is the only country in the world which has higher crew costs than Australia. At this point I should comment on the argument used by the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones)** who said that we should not worry about things like crew costs. He said that these overseas ships are flying flags of convenience, and that it is disgraceful that we are using such ships to carry our goods when we should be using ships paying Australian rates. I ask the honorable member: Does he really seriously consider that taxpayers of Australia should underwrite a costly crusade against the wages and condition of the crews of ships flying flags of convenience? Such a crusade would not alter the situation in world shipping, but it would be an enormous burden on Australian taxpayers. The argument would be useful if the crusade were likely to change the situation. The Commonwealth Government, in view of existing conditions, in which we have enormous requirements in Australia for funds for development and have all kinds of demands on Government revenues, has said that an overseas shipping service comes fairly low on the list of priorities. For this reason we have not engaged in overseas shipping ventures, which could be run only at a loss, with the burden borne by the Australian taxpayer. The alternative is to give special protection by insisting that Australian cargoes going out of Australia be carried in Australian ships - if we could provide the ships and, I suppose, if we embarked on the enormous capital expenditure involved in providing the equivalent of 1,500 ships. If we gave that kind of protection the cost to the shippers of cargoes would be enormous compared with present costs. It is all very well to talk about the conference lines putting up freights, but before anyone suggests that the simple answer to this is to get an Australian overseas shipping line it is as well to look at what would be the cost of having an Australian shipping line operating overseas. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr Benson: -- There are not 1,500 ships. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- This was the number of ships engaged in carrying cargoes to and from the Australian coast. {: .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr Benson: -- Not full time. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- Perhaps this number could be rationalised down to 1,000 if the ships were engaged full time in Australian trade. Let us consider the situation. Tha honorable member said that the ships were not engaged full time on Australian trade, but I have already shown that if for instance, a ship is carrying wheat to India it does not come back directly to Australia but takes or picks up cargo somewhere else. The ship may have to go round the world before coming back to Australia, and it must operate on a profitable basis. The whole of this exercise is, as I say, a Socialist dream which has no basis in fact. {: .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Jones: -- Are all the other countries Socialist? {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- Some countries subsidise their shipping services, but they have larger volumes of cargoes and they have rather lower standards than those on which our ships operate. They do not have the same crew costs to meet; they do not have the same survey, repair and docking costs that we have to meet; they do not have the same ship construction costs in general that we have to meet. The honorable member for Newcastle asked whether those countries are Socialist. He admitted with some pride that the Australian National Line was a Socialist undertaking. I should like to draw his attention to the fact that the Australian National Line operates as well as it does because it is so different from the normal Socialist conception of the government instrumentality. It is run like a private enterprise concern. It copies its methods from private enterprise. It uses a private enterprise costing system. It is not manipulated for political purposes, nor is it directed to carry out purely political objectives. So there is a vast difference between the kind of instrumentality which we have set up to provide a shipping service side by side with private enterprise and using private enterprise methods and the kind of Socialist dream that honorable members opposite have when they think in terms of overseas shipping lines, large or small, doing the kind of things they have talked about this evening. We hope that some day we shall be able to transport cargoes from Australia in Australian ships. This is just not a practical proposition at the present time. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In Committee. Clauses 1 to 3 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to. Clause 4. Section thirty of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: - "30.- (1.) The Commission may, with the approval of the Treasurer, borrow moneys from time to time in such amounts " (6.) The amounts borrowed by the Commission and not repaid shall not at any time exceed Five million pounds. {: #subdebate-34-0-s9 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr JONES:
Newcastle -- I move - >In proposed section 30 (6.) omit " Five ", insert "Ten ". The object of this amendment, **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** is to increase the limit of borrowing by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission to a total of £10 million instead of £5 million as provided for in the Bill. It is difficult to strike a comparison between this Commission and other government instrumentalities in relation to borrowing limits. Trans-Australia Airlines, for example, has a maximum borrowing limit of £3 million. But, as and when required, the Government has introduced legislation to increase the limit. This was done recently to permit the Australian National Airlines Commission to borrow 1 1 million dollars at the appropriate rate of interest. It would be possible, in the same way, perhaps, to extend the borrowing limit of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, but I want to see provision for a greater limit written into the Bill now, because I consider that if the Australian National Line is to undertake the activities in which it should be engaging, it will have to have a borrowing limit of £10 million, rather than £5 million, which is completely inadequate. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia), the Commonwealth Banking Corporation and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority all have their own systems of borrowing, which are somewhat similar to the system adopted for the Coastal Shipping Commission and the Australian National Airlines Commission. The Coastal Shipping Commission has on order at present one 47,000 ton bulk carrier, which, I believe, will cost about £5 million. It is expected that, in the current financial year, two additional vehicle deck ships will be placed on order, and these will probably cost about £1.5 million. Furthermore, the coastal shipping activities of the Commission must be extended, even if the Government completely ignores the Opposition's proposal that the Australian National Line enter into overseas trade. We do not want to see the Line placed in the same position as the Royal Australian Navy concerning shipping construction. The responsible Minister, on one occasion, said that Australian shipyards built naval vessels too slowly. It is agreed that construction in Australian shipyards is much slower than in overseas yards, but that is brought about by the Government's financial policy, which restricts the funds available each year in an endeavour to work to a nice smooth pattern without any great rise or fall in the requirements for a particular year. This is the reason why the responsible Minister could claim that it would take seven years to build a particular type of destroyer in an Australian shipyard whereas it could be built overseas in two years. However, if sufficient money were made available, Australian shipyards could build ships much more quickly. This is the sort of situation that I want to avoid in relation to the Australian National Line. I am sure that if adequate funds are available, Australian shipyards can get on with the job and build ships quickly. Quick construction is essential, because the vessels must be engaged in active trade as soon as possible so that they may earn income. If, in any way, financial restrictions are allowed to limit the building capacity of Australian shipyards, additional burdens are placed on both the shipbuilding and the shipping industries. If the Australian National Line were to extend its activities into the field of overseas shipping as we on this side of the chamber have suggested, obviously, additional funds would have to be available at all times without the Coastal Shipping Commission having to ask the Government, as happened with respect to T.A.A., to increase the borrowing limit. T.A.A., of course, is in a happy position, because it can plan years ahead. For instance, it can determine that, in 1970, a certain number of aircraft must be purchased to replace the present aircraft. That undertaking can plan a long way in advance. However, if the Australian National Line were to engage in overseas trade, and if it needed to purchase or charter ships for the purpose, it would need to have money immediately available to take advantage of any opportunity that presented itself to acquire the vessels that it needed. The Commission must be able to borrow immediately when it needs money. The whole question is whether the Minister and the Government consider that the funds at present available are adequate for the expansion of the activities of the Line, even in coastal trade. I consider that the Line must extend its activities into new fields and take advantage of new developments in bulk carrying, for instance. The Australian steel industry must expand its activities much more rapidly than it is doing at present. Our steel industry should be exporting, and we should not be importing large quantities of steel, as we are doing at present, to meet the requirements of Australia's development. The Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., if it is to continue as a monopoly, should itself be meeting the requirements of the nation for steel, and even exporting surplus production of manufactured iron and steel products. We should not be exporting iron ore and coal to Japan and importing manufactured iron and steel products from that country to meet our own requirements. If we are to develop the steel industry, and other industries as well, adequate shipping must be available. I believe that the Australian National Line is the shipping line that will make possible this kind of development and expansion. If the activities of the Line are to be extended, additional funds will be required. At the second reading stage, I stated that the Newcastle State Dockyard is prepared, in the immediate future, to expand its facilities so that it can construct ships up to 70,000 tons. Evans Deakin and Co. Pty. Ltd. at Brisbane, is prepared to build vessels up to 50,000 tons and, in my opinion, the shipyards at Whyalla can build vessels of unlimited tonnage. Money must be available so that the Australian Coastal Shipping. Commission can place orders with these shipyards for the vessels that it requires and so that the shipyards can build the ships at the necessary speed to enable them to go into service without delay. {: #subdebate-34-0-s10 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP -- **Mr. Temporary Chairman,** the Government proposes to reject the amendment, not because we do not think that some day there may be a need for larger borrowing powers for the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, but because the Commission, at this stage, does not require greater borrowing powers. When the principal Act was passed in 1956, the borrowing powers of the Commission were limited to only £1 million, which was at that time thought to be sufficient for its needs. When the Australian National Line entered into the roll on, roll off passenger and vehicular traffic, its borrowing powers were found to be inadequate. In 1962, again at the request of the Commission, the limit was raised to £5 million. Now it has told the Government that for the immediate future the limit is sufficient for its requirements but it wishes to have a rather wider area in which to be able to seek its funds. The Australian Coastal Shipping Commission does not pay for the ships it builds purely out of the money it borrows. It has built some 15 ships, I think, and it has paid for them out of its reserves, its profits, money obtained from the sale of old vessels and so on. In other words, it operates in much the same way as a normal business does. If it chooses to do so, it can come to the Treasury and ask for its capital to be increased. It can choose to borrow money on the normal market. These are business considerations. However, it is a Government instrumentality and it is thought desirable that its financial activities should be supervised and scrutinised by the Government to ensure that, in general terms, they fit in with the financial arrangements of the Government from day to day and with the kind of funds that the Treasury can make available to the Commission within the budgetary policy of the Government. Therefore, it is not desirable in general terms to give the Commission borrowing powers greatly in excess of its reasonably foreseeable requirements for the next few years. The Commission has embarked on a planned building programme. It believes that, unless there are very drastic changes in its ideas, the limit of £5 million will be quite adequate for its purposes. Therefore, there is no real reason why the Government should accept the Opposition's amendment. At one stage, it was suggested by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** that the amendment was designed to facilitate the entry of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission into overseas trade. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That is our main reason for moving it. {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- That may be so. But really, who would imagine that an additional £5 million would make an appreciable impact on the problem of providing an overseas shipping service? This may be a token gesture by the Opposition, but it is quite impractical and it is not acceptable to the Government in the present circumstances. {: #subdebate-34-0-s11 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- The Opposition is disappointed that the Government does not accept the amendment. If the amendment were accepted, the Government would be quite protected by the fact that the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission still could not borrow money unless it had the approval of the Treasurer and unless the Minister certified that the money to be borrowed was necessary to meet the Commission's obligations or to discharge its functions under the Act. At one time it was found that the £3 million limit contained in the legislation under which Trans-Australia Airlines operates - the Act we are considering here is based on that legislation - was not adequate. The Government overcame the difficulty. The aircraft being acquired by Trans-Australia Airlines were being bought overseas on loans from American banks, and the Government passed an act guaranteeing the overseas loans, despite the fact that they were for 11 million dollars or about £5 million. It is not expected, I would think, that any ships built or purchased by the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission would be built or purchased with foreign loans. We are able to contemplate this form of purchase in respect of aircraft, because all our commercial aircraft are imported from Great Britain or, under this Government, from the United States. Terms for the purchase of aircraft are available from the countries that manufacture civilian aircraft. But it would be contemplated that any ships to be built, bought or chartered by the Commission would be financed from Australia's own funds. Circumstances could arise in which £5 million would not be enough. The Commission should not have to wait until a new bill could be introduced. If the Commission wanted to place a contract or clinch a deal during a parliamentary recess, it might have to wait for three months until the next sessional period commenced. The fact that more money would be available does not mean that it would automatically be used. It could not be used as to the £10 million which we suggest or as to the £5 million which is the limit under this Bill unless both the Treasurer and the Minister were of opinion that it should be used. The situation could arise that we wanted to engage in overseas trade and were able to charter or purchase ships advantageously but could not do so because the £5 million, with reserves, would not be sufficient for that purpose. Accordingly, the Opposition persists with its amendment. We want a vote on it. {: #subdebate-34-0-s12 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP -- I rise only to reply to the point made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Whitlam)** and to say that the amendment is not really necessary for the reason he advanced. If a situation arose - I cannot foresee it arising - in which the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission suddenly needed to borrow more than £5 million, it would be quite possibile for it to arrange to have an advance of capital from the Treasury. This action could subsequently be put right legislatively. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- Does the Minister mean by a validating act? {: .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH: -- Yes, to repay the capital to the Treasury. We cannot foresee a situation such as that suggested by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition arising, but such a situation would not really affect the operations of the Commission. We could get around such a situation. For the reasons I gave previously, we still cannot accept the Opposition's amendment. Question put - >That the word proposed to be omitted **(Mr.** Jones's amendment) stand part of the clause. The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. W. J. Brimblecombe.) AYES: 58 NOES: 40 Majority . . ..18 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to. Bill reported without amendment; report adopted. {:#subdebate-34-1} #### Third Reading Bill (on motion by **Mr. Freeth)** - by leave - read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2445 {:#debate-35} ### LAW OFFICERS BILL 1964 {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Second Reading Debate resumed from 22nd October (vide page 2221), on motion by **Mr. Snedden-** >That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
Werriwa .- The Opposition supports the Bill. It is expressed to relate to the Law Officers of the Commonwealth; in fact it deals with the position of the Solicitor-General. The Attorney-General **(Mr. Snedden)** paid proper tributes to the three distinguished public servants who have held the position of Solicitor-General hitherto - **Sir Robert** Garran, **Sir George** Knowles and **Sir Kenneth** Bailey. Each was appointed to that position while head of the AttorneyGeneral's Department. I can claim to have had a close acquaintance with all three. They were all men of very great stature; they were distinguished public servants and distinguished public men. Not only were they most accomplished and specialist lawyers but they also had a gift of precise and elegant expression. My father acted on behalf of the two latter on many occasions. The new position will be the most significant and challenging legal post in Australia. The Solicitor-General to be appointed under this Act will have the opportunity of appearing in nearly all the constitutional cases and most of the administrative cases which will determine the rights of citizens and governments in this country. He will contribute more than any lawyer of his time to the making of the laws of the country. It is often thought that whoever appears for the government must be the Devil's Advocate. Governments, however, are not only oppressors; they are liberators; and the SolicitorGeneral will be rather the voice of the people in most of the cases in which he appears. The Opposition supports the Bill and trusts that the Attorney-General will be able to make an appointment worthy of the post. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. {:#subdebate-35-1} #### Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr. Snedden)** read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2445 {:#debate-36} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Governor-General - Olympic Games - Departure of Folk Singer - Australian League of Rights Motion (by **Mr. Snedden)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE:
Watson .- It has been announced publicly that His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord De L'Isle will retire from his august office some time next year. I think all honorable members will agree that this gentleman, like his predecessors Lord Dunrossil and **Sir William** Slim, has carried out his responsibilities with distinction, diligence and sincerity and has been well received and admired by the Australian people. But despite these facts I adhere strongly to the policy of the Australian Labour Party of appointing Australians to this office. Honorable members are aware that the Scullin Government appointed, as GovernorGeneral, **Sir Isaac** Isaacs, one of Australia's foremost jurists and a founding father of our Constitution. Honorable members will be aware also that the Chifley Government appointed **Sir William** McKell, as he now is, a former Premier of New South Wales, to the office of Governor-General. It cannot be denied that those two distinguished Australians carried out their duties equally as well as have members of the British nobility. I remind honorable members that a Labour Government in New South Wales appointed **Sir John** Northcott, a soldier of great distinction, as Governor of the State. He proved a very popular choice with the people of New South Wales because he exhibited dignity and sincerity in serving them. Upon the retirement of **Sir John** Northcott the Cahill Labour Government appointed **Sir Eric** Woodward as Governor. He still occupies the office. **Sir Eric** Woodward possesses a most notable war record. He and Lady Woodward have earned the admiration of the people of New South Wales. It is interesting to note that the policy of the Australian Labour Party in this matter is supported overwhelmingly by the Australian people. Let me quote from the latest issue of "Australian Gallup Polls" dated July-September 1964. Under the heading " An Australian for Governor-General " the article reads - >For at least 14 years about 7 out of 10 people have wanted our Governor-General to be an Australian, a series of Gallup Polls has shown. > >In June, the Gallup Poll asked an Australiawide cross-section of 1,600 men and women: "After the Governor-General, Lord De L'Isle, retires next year, would you like our next GovernorGeneral to be an Australian, an Englishman, a New Zealander, or someone else? "An Australian," said 70 per cent. " An Englishman," said 18 per cent. > >Fewer than 1 per cent, want anyone else, and almost 12 per cent, had no opinion. > >Comparison of these answers with similar Gallup Polls two years ago and 14 years ago shows a hardening of opinion in favour of an Australian as Governor-General. > >Of A.L.P. voters, 82 per cent, now want an Australian. > >Of Liberal and Country Party voters 58 per cent, want an Australian, 28 per cent, an Englishman and 14 per cent, have no opinion. > >The vote for an Australian as Governor-General is as high as 76 per cent among people aged 21-29. It is 70 per cent, among those in their thirties and 67 per cent, among older people. > >Among pre-war migrants and people born here, 71 per cent, favour an Australian. > >Post-war migrants from England, Europe and elsewhere answered: Australian 58 per cent., Englishman 21 per cent., no opinion 21 per cent. > >Usual comments were: > >Australian for Australia; > >For a change; > >Australians know our country. > >On the other hand, it was argued that the > >Queen's representative should come from where the Queen is. The present policy of the Government of appointing a member of the British nobility as Governor-General gives to people of other countries the impression that we are still in the antiquated days of traditional colonialism. It also creates the thought that Ausralians are an inferior race - that none of them possesses the capacity, intellect and dignity required for the office of Governor-General. I submit sincerely that there are Australians able and fitted to be appointed as Governor-General. Let me mention a few that I have in mind. There is **Sir Macfarlane** Burnet, who was a joint Nobel prize winner in 1960. He is one of the most outstanding Australians of the century - a man devoted to medical science for the betterment of the people of the world. Another man who comes to mind is **Sir John** Collins, a retired ViceAdmiral of the Navy. He became famous as Captain of H.M.A.S. "Sydney" which during the last war engaged and sank in the Mediterranean the Italian cruiser " Bartolomeo Colleoni ". Then we have men like **Sir William** Hudson, who is one of the most famous engineers in the world. He is in charge of the great Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric project. Honorable members opposite are laughing. Do they not think that the men I have named are as good as some of the worn-out hacks we have had as Governor-General in the last 50 years? Honorable members opposite have no right to laugh about the people I have mentioned, who are capable of carrying out the responsibilities of Governor-General. {: .speaker-KAU} ##### Mr Gibson: -- Do not let the honorable member flatter himself that we are laughing at them; we are laughing at the honorable member. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- Why? Because I mentioned a few Australians who could do the job? I am not ashamed of Australians even if the honorable member for Denison is. Let me name someother Australians who could capably fill the office of Governor-General. There is **Sir John** Eccles. Would anybody suggest that this famous Australian could not do the job? Apparently this is what honorable members opposite are laughing about. {: .speaker-KAU} ##### Mr Gibson: -- I am laughing at the honorable member's ridiculous remark about worn out hacks. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- I believe in Australia for Australians. Wherever it is possible to appoint an Australian to the office of Governor-General it should be done. I remind honorable members that 70 out of every 88 people who were questioned on this matter hold the opinion that I hold. That factor should be borne in mind when appointments to this office are recommended. I believe that the present system reeks of the old traditional colonialism. It suggests to the people of other countries that we do not have in Australia anybody capable of performing these duties. Does anybody object to the job done by **Sir Isaac** Isaacs or **Sir William** McKell? Does anybody object to the way **Sir John** Northcott performed his duties in New South Wales or to the way **Sir Eric** Woodward is now performing his duties in that State? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- Or **Sir John** Lavarack in Queensland? {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr COPE: -- As my Deputy Leader reminds me, does anybody object to the way **Sir John** Lavarack performed his duties? Have not these men performed their duties admirably? Are we not entitled to have an Australian as Governor-General? I say that we are and I ask the Government to bear this in mind when it recommends a successor to Lord De L'Isle I should now like to say something about the Olympic Games. Like every Australian, I was very proud indeed that we won six gold medals. I watched on television the presentation of the various medals and I noticed that as the flags were being raised the National Anthem of the country of a winner of a gold medal was played. I noticed that whenever an Australian was presented with a gold medal the National Anthem of Australia was played. 1 have no objection to that at all, but I do take exception to the fact that when a representative from Great Britain or New Zealand was presented with a gold medal the same National Anthem was played. I believe that if an Australian is presented with a gold medal " Australia Fair " should be played in order to identify the country represented by the winner of the medal. I have no objection at all to the National Anthem being played anywhere. Like every other member of this House, I respect the National Anthem. But surely when one of our representatives wins a gold medal we are not ashamed of having him identified as an Australian. I suggest that "Australia Fair " should be played in order that Australia may be identified as the country whose representative has won a medal. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr HAYDEN:
Oxley .- Tonight I want to discuss an organisation known as the Australian League of Rights and its Director, a **Mr. E.** D. Butler, both of whom have developed increasingly over recent years rather sinister reputations. The main allegation levelled at this body and this man is that they are anti-semitic and that they propagate anti-semitic propaganda. This has been denied recently by **Mr. Butler,** who claims that the Heritage bookshop in which his organisation has an interest is not a disseminator of anti-semitic propaganda. He says that it disseminates other propaganda as well and that, because it does this, it should not be classified as a disseminator of anti-semitic propaganda. I suppose the Communists also could claim that, because their bookshops distribute books containing other than Communist propaganda, they are not disseminating points for Communist propaganda. Let me refer quickly to some irrefutable evidence that, through its various organs, this organisation is disseminating antisemitic propaganda in our community today. There are two organs which both the League of Rights and its Director, **Mr. Butler,** use for this purpose. One is the " Intelligence Survey ", of which I have copies. It is the official organ of the League of Rights and it contains articles with headings such as: " Segregation Essential for Private Rights ". An article under that heading was published in this organ in November 1963. In the issue for May 1961 an article was published under the heading: " The Dangerous Myth of Racial Equality ". The rather alarmingly short time available to me tonight prevents me from quoting from these various publications. I have also copies of the " New Times ", another magazine set up by the same printing organisation and set out in similar fashion. The contributors to " Intelligence Survey " are in the main the people who contribute to the " New Times ". The " New Times " is alleged to be a social credit organisation but it is really a front for the Australian League of Rights and **Mr. Butler.** In it are published articles under headings such as " Jews and Sense ". That was published on 15th May 1964 and referred to the then recent outrage of swastika dobbing, not only in this community but in other communities of the world. The article concludes with these words - >Again, were it Jews who did it - That is, swastika dobbing - the act would have had some point for it seemed to put Q.E.D. to what was said at the meeting. The meeting referred to was a meeting of Jewish people who wanted some action taken against Nazi activity in the community, and who argued that Nazi literature should be banned. In the "New Times" of 16th October 1959 we find an article headed: "Khrushchev's Real Objective in the U.S.A." It make the direct suggestion that international finance is controlled by the Zionist Jews, to use the term used in the article, and that this in turn is tied up with the Communist organisation in Russia. I am passing very quickly from one piece of evidence to another. I have a tremendous amount of evidence to sustantiate the case that I am submitting, but time prevents my dealing with it fully. In the " New Times " of 27th March we find an article headed: "Did the Germans Murder Six Million Jews". The article suggests that the Jews have exaggerated the figure and that in point of fact there were considerably fewer Jews killed. Amongst other things, it says - >But when a crime is deliberately magnified to further a policy of world conquest, it is clear proof that the promoters of this policy are not really concerned about crime at all. According to this article, the promoters are the Jews, and the suggestion implicit, that Jews promote anti-semitism to further their aims of world domination, is the type of suggestion in line with the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion ", about which **Mr. E.** D. Butler wrote at great length in a book entitled "The International Jew." His article is sub-headed "The Truth About The Protocols of Zion '".I shall come to that in a minute. In the " New Times " of Friday, 17th May 1957 appears an article headed " Zionist Front Dominates American Policies ". The sub-heading is " President Eisenhower's Real Masters." Amongst other things, that article says - >It is encouraging, however, that Eisenhower and his backers are starling to meet effective resistance *from* American patriots who are not afraid to call a Jew a Jew, and who realise that there is a close relationship between Zionist financiers and numerous Marxist revolutionary and subversive movements. We have more recent evidence in a letter written by **Mr. John** Playford to the " Bulletin" on 24th October 1964. It contained three points. The first was - >Ever since their active participation in the crucifixion of Christ the Jewish leaders have worked ceaselessly to undermine the Christian faith. Today the Zionist Jews, who have played a dominant role in building up the international finance system, use every convenient instrument to further their ends. Reference is made to the " New Times " of 26th September 1947. The second point refers to the "New Times" of 12th September 1958 and states - >What is meant by the word gentleman does not exist among Jews. The genuine Jew fails in this innate good breeding by which alone individuals honor their own individuality and respect that of others. The third point mentions the " New Times " of 16th June 1962 and states - >Jews provide the biggest percentage of Communist agents and the smallest percentage of antiCommunist leaders ... the very fact that every effort is made to ignore the vital role played by Jews in the Communist espionage systems, is of itself striking evidence of the widespread belief that Jewish power is no myth. People who attempt to discuss national and international politics as if this Jewish power does not exist, are either very naive or they are very frightened. These views are, rather disgustingly, being propagated throughout the community by people with fanatically fixed views, with views verging on some form of mental illness. I come now to " The International Jew " to give a further indication of rubbish of a type which was propagated by the Nazis under Hitler. I refer first to the comment by the author - Butler - on Protocol 2. It reads - >The callous attitude displayed towards the sufferings of the rank-and-file of the Jews, who are merely regarded as pawns in a big chess game, should encourage the thinking Jews to join with thinking Gentiles in exposing the international groups responsible for Hitler and other bloodthirsty gangsters. The whole of the Jews' long tragic history is full of incidents of their being " sacrificed " in the interests of their leaders' policies. I could quote many other extracts but time will not permit of my doing so. Butler does suggest that a book written by Colonel Fleischauer, which violently attacked the Jews, was paid for by Jewish bankers for the purpose of creating antisemitism and thus promoting the Semitic aims of the international Zionist organisation. On page 162 of "The International Jew" we find this statement - >World War II was used by the Jewish financiers to improve further their international organization of finance, as we have seen already. I submit that this is all incontestable and conclusive proof that this organisation, and Butler in particular, are violent anti-Semites operating in the community. Where does this Government stand on this matter? I should like to know where it stands, especially when we know that this author, Butler, has a friend amongst the Government members. As proof of that I mention the " New Times " of 4th September, which states - >It is true, of course, that **Mr. Butler** is a friend of **Mr. Killen.** We also have evidence that this organisation raised money to send the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** overseas. In the " New Times " of 9th August 1962 appears a photograph of the honorable member for Moreton addressing a meeting in Caxton Hall in England on the question of the European Common Market. Underneath the photograph appears a heading " Jewish Press in Action in Britain ". That article suggests that the Jews are out to undermine the activities of the honorable member for Moreton and **Mr. Butler.** There are also other photographs of the honorable member for Moreton addressing various seminars of this organisation, all of which go to prove that he is obviously a favourite son. Almost the whole of many of the speeches delivered by him in this Parliament are quoted in these publications. It is not true for the honorable member for Moreton or any honorable member on the Government side to say that the honorable member's association with this group stems entirely from the fact that he and the association have a common interest in the Common Market. My reading of the papers that I have mentioned leads me to the conclusion that his association with this group goes back to well before the time when the question of the European Common Market first arose. Indeed, one statement that he made in connection with the partition of Israel, and which strongly supported the views of these anti-semitic people, was commented on with great enthusiasm by one publication published by this group. I also put this question to the honorable member for Moreton: If any member on this side of the House, such as myself, were to go overseas because he opposed the entry of Britain into the European Common Market, and if he went overseas at the expense of the Communist Party, this being the only interest he had in common with the Communist Party, would the honorable member for Moreton say that that was a reasonable thing to do, or would he say there was grave cause for concern at this action? I suggest that the honorable member should stand up and dissociate himself from these people and express disapproval of what they have been doing. I prefer to believe that he has been their unwitting dupe. However, if he does not disclaim association with their creed of social intolerance one can only conclude that he is a subscriber to the attitude of these anti-Semites who are disseminating propaganda literature of a form very similar to that which was propagated by the Nazi regime before and during the war, and which is closely parallel to the viciously tendentious protocols of the elders of Zion. I am being much more tolerant towards the honorable member than he has been towards us. Only yesterday, by snide innuendo, he attempted to smear the character of one honorable member on this side of the House. I am not following his example. But I ask whether he is prepared do dissociate himself from the activities of these people. Is it that he knew not that he was joining in this kind of racial intimidation and discrimination when he became enmeshed in this organisation? {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-KSC} ##### Mr SPEAKER (Hon Sir John McLeay:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- Order! The honorable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-36-0-s3 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON:
Hughes -- I rise to express concern at what appears to be the first evidence of the South African racial apartheid policy being followed in Australia. I am referring to the circumstances surrounding the sudden dramatic departure this evening on a Qantas Empire Airways aircraft of the young nightclub singer Miriam Makeba. This young lady, who has now gone to New York, was to be here until 13th November, but she has been forced to leave Australia because of the activities of white South African agents practising apartheid, the discredited and obnoxious racial policy of the South African Government. The experiences of this young lady in Australia, in my view, should be related in this Parliament. Tonight Miss Makeba has flown from here saddened and disillusioned. Her engagement at Chequers nightclub in Sydney has ended prematurely. During her stay, which commenced only a week ago, on 21st October, she has been subjected to embarrassment, intimidation and indignity. I know the details of her problem because only last Monday I had a long conversation with her, during which she told me of her position here. She mentioned, for example, that she had found it necessary to ask her agent to arrange for her speedy return to the United States of America. She was desperately miserable and unhappy and she was afraid to remain in Australia any longer. Let me outline the disgraceful experiences to which this talented artist and international singer was subjected. In Chequers nightclub, where the management, I must say, treated her with the utmost courtesy, several white South African apartheid supporters disrupted her act on many occasions. They gathered around the stage and made all kinds of rude remarks. Her first night was disrupted with jeers and derogatory comments. After several of these incidents the management intervened and the people concerned were properly dealt with. My complaint is not against the management in any way at all. Then at her hotel, which was the Town House in Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay, notes containing comments of a violent nature were put under the door of her apartment. Such comments appeared in these notes as "Get out of this country", " We do not want blacks here ". She received threatening phone calls and was afraid to leave the hotel. During the period she was in Australia she was almost constantly confined to the Town House Hotel. The management of the hotel did whatever was possible to protect her. She was shielded from unwanted telephone calls. When I telephoned her I was asked who I was and I needed a form of introduction to get through and speak to her because she had been subjected to so much embarrassment. I raise this matter because the impression could be gained overseas that the average Australian has a colour prejudice. This, of course, is not true. {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- These people were South African agents. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R JOHNSON: -- Yes, the ones I referred to were South African agents, but they had the effect of giving this impression overseas. The impression could also be gained that coloured artists are not wanted in Australia and that apartheid has wide support in this country. None of these things, of course, is anywhere near the truth. Nevertheless it is regrettably apparent that apartheid supporters are here and that they are very well organised, organised in such a way as to succeed in a most effective disruption of this lady's entertainment activities. I believe that the Security Service should have a look at this matter. The security officers have been busy with all kinds of people. Recently they have been looking at the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament. But here is a job that they can concern themselves with. This girl has already suffered enough because of her love of freedom. She has been exiled from South Africa since 1959. Her recordings, which consist mainly of freedom songs, have been banned in South Africa. After she made an anti-apartheid film called " Come Back Africa " her passport was taken away from her and was not renewed. She was separated from her daughter and it was not until 1962 that she was given a passport by Tom Mboya and invited to go to Kenya. In the interim, however, she was actually without a country. Tonight this lady has left Australia, and at an interview at the airport she said she was leaving because of sickness. She said she had infectious hepatitis. I know that this is not the real reason for her leaving because she told me herself that she could no longer stand the intimidation to which she had been subjected. She said that she had been continually threatened, denied the protection to which she was entitled and denied the decent treatment that could reasonably be expected by any visiting entertainer. If she had hepatitis I doubt that the Commonwealth health authorities would have allowed her to travel on an aircraft to another country. Her journey in those circumstances would have represented a serious threat to other passengers. The fact is that she is rushing away from here because of the threats and intimidations to which she has been subjected. This lady has made her stand against apartheid not only in South Africa and not only by way of the freedom songs that have been featured all around the world. Her records are best sellers in many countries. She has also featured in the film to which I have referred and she has appeared before the United Nations sub-committee on apartheid. I quote now from the New York "Times" of 19th July 1963, in which an account is given of her comments in the United Nations. The article says - >She appealed to the United Nations to exert its influence to "open the doors of all prisons and concentration camps in South Africa, where thousands of our people - men, women and children - are now in gaol ". > >Miss Makeba continued: "My country has been turned by the Verwoerd Government into a huge prison. I feel certain that the time has come for the whole of humanity to shout 'halt' and to act with firmness to stop these crazy rulers from dragging our country into a horrifying disaster." This is just a part of the submissions she made to the sub-committee on apartheid of the United Nations. At the end of the article in this newspaper there is an account of the eulogy of her by a number of representatives at that committee. I feel that some action should be taken to ascertain who is responsible for the intimidation of this talented young woman in Australia. I ask the Minister sitting at the table, **Mr. Swartz,** in the absence of the Attorney-General, whether he will take appropriate steps to ascertain the extent to which South African agents are operating in this country. It is well known that there is a tendency on the part of the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** to harbour some sympathy for the apartheid policy of South Africa. We recall his attitudes in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference not so long ago. We especially are mindful of the fact that he has failed to take any firm action along the lines towards discouraging South Africa from indulging in these unfortunate and undesirable racial policies. Twenty-five nations have already embarked on a programme designed to discourage by trade boycotts the continuance of these policies. I believe it is time the Australian Government did something firm along these lines. In addition to this, I particularly ask that an inquiry be conducted into the case of Miss Miriam Makeba {: #subdebate-36-0-s4 .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP **.- Mr. Speaker,** the House this evening has been informed of two very important matters which, apparently, the Government and its supporters are going to try to ignore completely. The second matter was that just raised by the honorable member for Hughes **(Mr. L. R. Johnson)** in which it appears for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth of Australia that a person has been forced to leave this country as a result, obviously, of action taken by organised supporters in the country of the policy of apartheid carried on by the Government of South Africa. That is what the evidence strongly indicates. The honorable member for Hughes and the Opposition wish to know the answer to this question: Is the Government concerned whether or not there is an organisation in Australia working on behalf of the Government of South Africa and its inhumane policy? There is evidence that this is so. There is an organisation in South Africa called the South Africa Foundation. It is quite clear that this Foundation is organised for the purpose of providing money for people in other countries to act as those people have done who this week have forced Miss Makeba to leave the city of Sydney. Here is a clear case of intimidation made on behalf of people in another country. Here is intervention in the affairs of this country by agents of another country. I think a case has been made out with which the Commonwealth Government must concern itself. The Government has the Commonwealth Police Force and has the Security Service which, apparently, is prepared to act in respect of left-wing organisations and in respect of organisations which from time to time are improperly or properly called Communist organisations only. But it is apparently not prepared to conduct serious investigation into Fascist or Fascisttype organisations in this country. We well remember the length of time it took me - it was nearly a year - to cause the Government to investigate the well known Fascist Ustashi movement, a section of which was in Australia. Finally, an investigation was made. I hope it is not going to take us nine months to get an investigation of this South African organisation operating in Australia, which, I believe, is paying money to Australian citizens to get them to act in the way in which those people who forced this lady to leave Sydney this week acted. Miss Makeba is a woman with a very great reputation in the world, both as an artist and as a person who is dedicated to working peacefully to improve the position of the South African people who are her own people. She has a reputation as an artist, as a singer of folk songs, that ranks high in the United States of America. It is a great tragedy that Australian people who were looking forward anxiously to hearing her in this country will not be able to do so. They have been prevented by the action of Fascist type people who are prepared to serve the Government of South Africa in this country. The other matter that has been brought to the attention of the House this evening was raised by the honorable member for Oxley **(Mr. Hayden).** Some little time ago, some assertion was made that the honorable member for Moreton **(Mr. Killen)** was closely associated with the League of Rights run by a gentleman called Eric Butler, an organisation which it was said had a long record of anti-Semitic propaganda and activity in Australia. This allegation was denied, I think, by **Mr. Butler** himself and also by the honorable member for Moreton. I understand that some time recently a well known member of the Jewish community, **Mr. Liebler,** interviewed the honorable member for Moreton and the honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** somewhere, perhaps in this House, and put to them a case to show that the League of Rights was really a thorough going anti-Semitic organisation. I understand that, at this meeting, the honorable member for Moreton was forced to admit that this was the case. He was asked at that meeting whether he would dissociate himself from this organisation. He made some remark about not being able to do that. Recently the honorable member for Moreton wrote a letter to the " Bulletin ", attempting to answer an earlier letter written by **Mr. Liebler.** The honorable member did everything except dissociate himself from **Mr. Eric** Butler and the League of Rights. We are still waiting for the honorable mem ber to do this. There can be no doubt about the nature of this organisation. I would like to quote some statements made in a recent letter published in the " Bulletin ". This letter was written by **Mr. John** Playford who is on the research staff at the Monash University. **Mr. Playford** said this - > **Mr. Eric** D. Butler's letter (The Bulletin, 17/10/64), denying that he has penned antiSemitic articles and pamphlets can only be described as disingenuous. It is true that in the post-war period he has dropped to some extent the extremely crude approach which typified his pamphlets on the early 'forties, e.g., "The part played by Jewish International Finance in the establishment of the present Slave State in Russia has been dealt with time and time again . . . this menace of collectivism, or Bolshevisation, which now threatens the entire civilised world, is essentially Jewish." This was the view of **Mr. Butler,** a friend of the honorable member for Moreton, which he put forward in the late 1940's in his book " The World Government Plot Exposed! ", at page 6. **Mr. Playford** continued - >Does he mean that he has now repudiated his infamous work "The International Jew: The Truth About the Protocols of Zion ". **Mr. Playford** had this to say about that work - "The International Jew" has no logic other than hatred of the Jewish people. Readers are told that Christ was not a Jew and that all Jews should be deported to Madagascar. **Mr. Butler** also alleges that "Hitler's policy was a Jewish policy; it helped further the declared aims of International Jewry". **Mr. Butler** said all Jews should be deported to Madagascar; that what happened in Russia was simply a Jewish conspiracy; and that Hitler's policy was a Jewish policy. How completely unbalanced can a person become and still maintain the friendship of a member of this Parliament, the honorable member for Moreton? That is what we are interested in. It may be, of course, that the honorable member for Moreton has some explanation for this friendship. He has chosen to write a letter to the " Bulletin " at some length, but has not given any explanation of this friendship. He has chosen to listen tonight for ten minutes to statements taken, quoted, and given in detail with references by the honorable member for Oxley. The honorable member for Moreton has gone to an important engagement somewhere. He is not in the House at the moment although he was here to listen to the speech delivered by the honorable member for Oxley. This is a very interesting set of circumstances. But **Mr. Playford** takes **Mr. Butler's** record on into recent times. He refers to statements, and gives the sources of the authorities for them, that **Mr. Butler** made in 1947, 1958, 1962, right up to the present year. These are continuously anti-semitic statements. In the time at my disposal, I want to refer to one or two of them. One example is - >Ever since their active participation in the crucifixion of Christ the Jewish leaders have worked ceaselessly to undermine the Christian faith. That is a pretty fair sort of anti-semitic statement. It was made by **Mr. Butler** in 1947. In 1958 he said- >What is meant by the word' gentleman does not exist among Jews. The genuine Jew fails in this innate good breeding by which alone individuals honour their own individuality and respect that of others. In 1962 he said- . . Jews provide the biggest percentage of Communist agents and the smallest percentage of anti-Communist leaders . . . The very fact that every effort is made to ignore the vital role played by Jews in the Communist espionage systems is of itself striking evidence of the widespread belief that Jewish power is no myth. So **Mr. Butler** continues to argue that the Jewish people are behind all these conspiracies of power in the world, whether they are Communist conspiracies or of the Hitler type. That is the kind of man that **Mr. Eric** Butler is, and evidence has been submited by the honorable member for Oxley that he has been closely associated with the honorable member for Moreton. I am sure that the House will be interested to hear the explanation to be made by the honorable member for Moreton in due course. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- **Mr. Speaker-** {: #subdebate-36-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! Why has the honorable member for Oxley risen? {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- I am seeking to participate further in the debate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member is out of order. He has exhausted his rights. {: #subdebate-36-0-s6 .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH:
Mackellar -- I have heard a number of hypocritical speeches in this House, but I think the honorable member for Yarra **(Dr. J. F. Cairns)** has rather gone over the fence tonight. I know nothing about this incident in relation to Miss Makeba. I do not even know her name, except that it has been mentioned in the House tonight. The story, as told, does not seem to add up to anything much more' than a well publicised stunt in which certain honorable members have participated. What I wanted to say was that a moment ago we heard the honorable member for Yarra say how terrible it was that Australian citizens should be connected with an organisation which was taking money from the South African Government. I do not know whether or not the organisation is taking money from the South African Government. That seems to me to be one of the gratuitous smears in which the honorable member so often indulges. What stands on the record is that the honorable member for Yarra himself, for many years, has been associated with a so-called peace organisation which was devoted to war and which obviously had been taking money from the Soviet Government. The honorable member for Yarra was one 'Df the foundation members of this conspiracy. The record of this organisation over the years shows that it has been denounced by the Labour Party as a Communist front. Do not let honorable members opposite say that this is McCarthyism or smears by me. I am merely quoting what the Labour Party itself says. The Labour Party itself denounced as a Communist front an organisation with which the honorable member for Yarra was, closely connected. He was a foundation member of it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I must point out to the honorable member for Mackellar that he is referring to a subject which appears on the notice paper and can come up for debate. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- I am referring only to the honorable member for Yarra and the allegations that he made in the House. I conclude by saying that the honorable member for Yarra is well known in this House as a trifler with the truth and as a crayfish- {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- **Mr. Speaker,** I think this has gone far enough. I direct your attention to the words "trifler with the truth" which the honorable member for Mackellar has just used. I regard that statement as offensive and I would like to have it withdrawn. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr Wentworth: **- Mr. Speaker,** on the point of order-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order ! The honorable member for Yarra has taken objection to a statement. It is a reflection on him. I must ask the honorable member for Mackellar to withdraw that statement. {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- Yes, but I point out to the House that in a document-- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- In a document that was laid on the table of the House there is the evidence in regard to the veracity or otherwise of the honorable member for Yarra. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! Did the honorable member for Mackellar withdraw the remark? {: .speaker-DB6} ##### Mr WENTWORTH: -- I withdraw the remark; but I direct the attention of honorable members to a document which has been laid on the table of the House and which will enable them to decide for themselves the standard of veracity of the honorable member for Yarra. I invite them to read the document. I conclude now by saying that the honorable member for Yarra has for long had an association of the most intimate kind with an organisation which was declared by the Labour Party to be a Communist front at a time when he was associated with it and which by its policy has shown itself to be a consistent tool of Soviet Russia. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- **Mr. Speaker,** I claim to have been misrepresented. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- If the honorable member has been misrepresented, he may correct the misrepresentation, but he will not revive the debate. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- No, I have no intention of doing that. The honorable member for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth)** said that I had an association with an organisation that had been declared by the Labour Party to be a Communist front. This statement has been repeated many times and I have denied it many times. I want to deny it now in order to make it a little more difficult for the honorable member to get away with making this sort of statement. The organisation to which he refers is the Australian Peace Council. I was chairman of its first meeting and a member of its first executive committee. I became so in August 1949. In March 1950 I resigned from that organisation and had no further connection with it. In April 1951, at a meeting of the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party, the organisation - the Australian Peace Council - was described as a Communist front organisation. I had severed my connection with it in March 1950. {: .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr Hughes: -- On what date in March 1950? Dr.J. F. Cairns.- It was about 11 o'clock. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! I ask the honorable member for Yarra not to enter into a debate. {: .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
YARRA, VICTORIA · ALP -- It was about 11 o'clock one morning, but I have forgotten the date. The point I want to make clear is that I had not been associated with that organisation for almost one year prior to it being dealt with in a resolution by the Federal Executive of the Australian Labour Party. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.18 p.m. {: .page-start } page 2455 {:#debate-37} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated - {:#subdebate-37-0} #### Pharmaceutical Benefits. (Question No. 691.) {: #subdebate-37-0-s0 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES t asked the Acting Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the average cost of prescriptions dispensed under the provisions of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Act when the 5s. charge for such prescriptions was introduced? 1. What is the average cost of these prescriptions at present? {: #subdebate-37-0-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. For 1959-60, up to the date of introduction of the 5s. charge, the average cost per prescription was 18s. 4d. 1. After early increases following the substantial expansion of the range of benefits in 1960, the average cost rose to a peak in 1961-62 of 20s.1d. (including the 5s. charge). Since then it has declined, largely as the result of price negotiations between the Department of Health and pharmaceutical manufacturers. In 1963-64 it was 18s. 7d. I am pleased to be able to say that this figure is still declining and that during the month of August 1964, it had fallen to 18s.1d. {:#subdebate-37-1} #### Printing of Prescription Books. (Question No. 719.) {: #subdebate-37-1-s0 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA n asked the Acting Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Are doctors now to be supplied with prescription books at Commonwealth expense? 1. What arrangements have been made for the supply of these books, and what is the cost involved? 2. Will these books show the name of each individual doctor concerned? 3. Were any tenders received from country printers for the supply of these books? 4. Were advertisements calling for tenders for the books placed in country newspapers? 5. Has a tender been accepted from a nongovernment source; if so, why was the Government Printer unable to meet the order? {: #subdebate-37-1-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. A procedure will soon be introduced whereby doctors, should they so desire, may place orders for prescription books printed to a standard design agreed upon between the Department of Health and the Australian Medical Association. The cost of printing these books will be met by the Commonwealth except that doctors outside metropolitan areas and Canberra will be responsible for the cost of freight or postage from capital cities. Doctors who wish to continue using their present prescription forms may do so, but their costs will not be met by the Commonwealth. 1. Doctors throughout Australia will shortly receive a circular from the Department of Health inviting them to place orders for prescription books. The estimated cost to the Commonwealth in the first year of use is £106,000, but this will level out to an estimated £51,000 in the second and subsequent years. 2. Provision will be made for the printing of the doctors' names and other basic information on the forms. 3. No tenders were received from country printers for the supply of these books. 4. The Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board carried out normal tendering procedure by calling tenders per medium of the Commonwealth Gazette and newspapers in the capital cities. 5. Yes. Under the proposed procedure, individual doctors will order direct from the printer, who therefore must at all times be in a position to supply individual doctor's requirements as required. For this reason it was considered that the most appropriate method of arranging supplies was to call public tenders through the Commonwealth Stores Supply and Tender Board. Doctors in Country Districts. (Question No. 720.) {: #subdebate-37-1-s2 .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: n asked the Acting Minister for Health, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is there a critical shortage of doctors in country districts? 1. Is it a fact that doctors are reluctant to take up a practice in country areas where low population density limits their potential income? 2. Will the Minister institute a system of salaried medical services for these districts to ensure that the country people receive the medical protection to which, as citizens, they are entitled? {: #subdebate-37-1-s3 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It would appear that there does tend to be a shortage of doctors in some rural areas, particularly where the local population is insufficient to provide a general practitioner with a reasonable income. On the other hand, there are many country districts where no such problem exists. It is therefore difficult to generalise regarding the position for Australia as a whole, since the situation varies considerably from region to region. Viewed on an overall basis, however, country districts cannot reasonably be said to be experiencing a " critical shortage " of doctors. 1. It is a fact that a doctor's income tends to be less if he is serving a small population in a scattered area, and this is, no doubt, one of the factors which doctors take into account in deciding where they will set up practice. 2. Responsibility for the provision of adequate medical services in sparsely populated rural areas is vested in the State Governments, except in the Territories under Commonwealth control. I understand that a number of State Governments have accordingly introduced arrangements of various kinds designed to guarantee the incomes of doctors practising in areas where there is only a small population, In the circumstances, the Commonwealth Government has no plan to introduce a scheme of salaried medical services in rural areas within the States but, as the honorable member is no doubt aware, the Commonwealth does provide a comprehensive range of medical services for the people of the Northern Territory and certain medical services in the Australian Capital Territory. {:#subdebate-37-2} #### South Vietnam. (Question No. 403.) {: #subdebate-37-2-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr L R Johnson: son asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for External Affairs, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the United States Defence Department has admitted the use of napalm bombs in South Vietnam and has ordered an inquiry into recent incidents? 1. To what extent has this or other forms of chemical warfare been used against civilian targets in South Vietnam? 2. If chemical warfare has been used in South Vietnam, what attitude has the Australian Government taken to its use? 3. Has the Australian Government expressed concern to the United States Government about the use of chemical warfare; if so, with what results? {: #subdebate-37-2-s1 .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies:
LP -- The Acting Minister for External Affairs has supplied the following answers - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The United States has stated publicly that napalm weapons have been used in South Vietnam and also that napalm is provided to the Republic of Vietnam under the United States Military Assistance Programme. Its use after supply in war against Viet Cong has, however, been the responsibility of the South Vietnamese authorities. The Australian Government is not aware of any "recent incidents" involving the use of napalm which have required an inquiry by the United States. 1. The use of napalm against civilian targets has not been authorised by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. The Vietnamese Government restricts its use to operations against the base areas of the insurgent Viet Cong and in close support of military operations against the terrorists. Chemical warfare has not been used in South Vietnam. 2. Napalm does not fall within the definition of chemical warfare. The Australian Government has not had occasion to express any attitude towards the use of napalm by the South Vietnamese authorities and the question of chemical warfare as such does not arise. 3. See answer to 3 above. {:#subdebate-37-3} #### Fertilisers. (Question No. 664.) {: #subdebate-37-3-s0 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr Collard: d asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the price of (a) superphosphate, {: type="a" start="b"} 0. superphosphate and trace element mixtures, 1. compound fertilisers in powdered form, (d) sulphate of ammonia, (e) blood and bone, (f) urea, (g) muriate of potash, (h) sulphate of potash and (i) rock phosphate, in each State immediately before the £3 bounty on superphosphate fertilisers was applied? 1. What are the present prices? 2. What bounty is paid per ton on each of the fertilisers listed above? 3. Has the benefit of the superphosphate bounty, which was re-introduced to assist the farmer and promote increased production, largely been absorbed by the fertiliser manufacturers in increasing all, or even several, of the prices of other fertilisers? 4. If so, has the Government any existing means of preventing this from happening and, if not, does it intend to seek some means? {: #subdebate-37-3-s1 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr Adermann:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1 and 2. The following table gives the prices prior to the introduction of the phosphate fertilisers bounty and the current prices for superphosphate, sulphate of ammonia, blood and bone, urea, muriate of potash, sulphate of potash and rock phosphate for each State. The prices for superphosphate and trace element mixtures and for compound fertilisers in powdered form are not given in the table. Fertiliser mixtures consist of two or more of the basic fertilisers and in some cases other ingredients such as trace elements. Normally, the price of these fertilisers is based on the cost of their ingredients plus a mixing charge. Each manufacturer has his own brand mixtures and they are too numerous to list in full; the total number in Australia would run into many hundreds. To the best of my knowledge all such fertiliser mixtures containing superphosphate were reduced in price at the time of the bounty in accordance with the provisions of the Phosphate Fertilizers Bounty Act. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. A bounty of £3 per ton is payable in the cases of superphosphate; a proportionate bounty is paid on the phosphate content of mixtures containing superphosphate. A bounty of £4 per ton is paid on sulphate of ammonia manufactured in Australia. 1. I have no reason to believe that any recent rises in the price of the various fertilisers are due to causes other than increases in costs of domestic manufacture and distribution or in landed cost of imports. In the case of superphosphate there have been substantial increases in the cost of phosphate rock imported into Australia. Most of the fertilisers referred to by the honorable member are imported, other than superphosphate, blood and bone and approximately Army Housing: Rental Payments. (Question No. 667.) {: #subdebate-37-3-s2 .speaker-KF5} ##### Mr Gray:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND y asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice - >What is the highest rental being paid by Army personnel where housing is provided for married men? {: #subdebate-37-3-s3 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
Minister Assisting the Treasurer · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows - >A soldier occupying a government provided dwelling pays a weekly rental based on the assessed economic rental of the dwelling or 15 per cent, of his pay, whichever amount is the lesser. > >The economic rental for dwellings provided under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement is determined as the actual rental charged by the State housing authority. The economic rental for other dwellings is as determined in each instance by the Department of the Interior but with provision for appeal to the Central Rental Appeals Committee. > >Where the economic rental exceeds 15 per cent, of the soldier's pay, the rental is limited to 15 per cent, of his pay plus, where a garage is provided, an assessed rental for the garage. > >The scale of maximum weekly rentals based on 15 per cent, of pay is as follows - Royal Australian Navy. (Question No. 713.) {: #subdebate-37-3-s4 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr Hansen:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND n asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many ships are under construction or on order for the Royal Australian Navy (a) in Australia and (b) overseas? 1. What is the tonnage of each of these ships and who are the builders? {: #subdebate-37-3-s5 .speaker-JWV} ##### Mr Chaney:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1. (a) 3 No. under construction - 1 No. Escort Maintenance Ship. 2 No. Type 12 Frigates. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. (i) 3 No. D.D.G 2's are under construction in the U.S.A. (ii) 4 No. Oberon Class Submarines are under construction in the U.K. 2. (i) The displacement tonnage of the ships is as follows- Escort Maintenance Ship - Approximately 15,000 tons. Type 12 Frigate - Approximately 2,600 tons. D.D.G. 2 Destroyer- Approximately 4,500 tons. Oberon Class Submarine- Approximately 2,030 tons. {: type="i" start="ii"} 0. The builders of the above ships are - 1 No. Escort Maintenance Ship- Cockatoo Docks & Eng. Co. Pty. Ltd., Cockatoo Island, Sydney, N.S.W. 3 No. D.D.G. 2's- Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Michigan, U.S.A, 1 No. Type 12 Frigate- Cockatoo Docks & Eng. Co. Pty. Ltd., Cockatoo Island, Sydney, N.S.W. 1 No. Type 12 Frigate- H.M.A. Naval Dockyard, Williamstown, Victoria. 4 No. Oberon Class Submarines - Messrs. Scotts Shipbuilding & Eng. Co. Ltd., Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Newcastle University College. {: #subdebate-37-3-s6 .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies:
LP .- On Tuesday, 20th October, the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Jones)** asked me whether the present provision for Commonwealth assistance to Newcastle University College can be modified to facilitate that institution's becoming autonomous at the beginning of 1965 rather than at the beginning of 1967 as proposed by the Australian Universities Commission and provided for in the Universities (Financial Assistance) Act. I indicated at the time that I was considering the terms of a reply to a letter recently received from the Premier of New South Wales on the same subject and that I would inform the honorable member of the Government's decision after it badbeen provided to **Mr. Renshaw.** I have now written to the Premier but have not yet given him a final answer. The Universities Commission, which in accordance with its charter had made its recommendations on educational as well as financial grounds, has reported to me following the approach from the New South Wales Government. However, I have told **Mr. Renshaw** that I would like further consultation with the Commission before I give him my decision.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 October 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.