25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John MeLeay: took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Will the Minister for Labour and National Service advise me, first, the number of 20-year-olds in the population; secondly, the number that will be available for national service training; and thirdly, the ratio of those who will be called up to those who are available?
– -There will be, I think, approximately 100,000 20-year-olds each year. Secondly, of that number approximately 55,000 will toe available for call-up. Thirdly when the scheme gets under way and 6,900 are called up annually, the ratio referred to will be between 1 in 7 and 1 in 8, not 1 in 30 as was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I direct my question to the Acting Minister for Health. What progress has the Department made in negotiations with the Australian Medical Association to extend the benefits of the pensioner medical service to all age pensioners, irrespective of whether they receive a full or a part pension?
– To my knowledge, there have been no negotiations in this regard with the Australian Medical Association. This would not be a matter for advice or decision as far as the A.M.A. is concerned. It is purely a matter of Government policy, and we will consider it at the appropriate time.
– The Treasurer will recall that some time ago a deputation led by Vice-Admiral Sh* John Collins waited on him to discuss the possibility of bringing to Australia a replica of Captain Cook’s “ Endeavour “ as part of the bi-centenary celebrations of the landing at Botany Bay on 29th April 1770. The right honorable gentleman will recall that the deputation told him that exact plans of die “Endeavour “ were in the possesion of the British Admiralty and that it was proposed to build the vessel at Whitby where the original “ Endeavour “ was built. It is necessary that the timber be cut early to give it time to season. The ship will be sailed out to Australia and maintained here as a permanent maritime museum. As the full cost of the venture is some £250,000, I ask whether it is possible for the Commonwealth to indicate that it is prepared to give some additional assistance ito finance the project and thus mark it as a truly Australian venture of national significance.
– The Government received an official request in connection with this matter from Vice-Admiral Sir John Collins. The honorable member, who might well regard the term “ endeavour “ as covering his own assiduous activities to interest the Government in this matter, will be gratified to know that the official request which has reached us shows that a number of people interested in the historical aspect of the matter have associated themselves with the trust which has been established. It might interest the House to know that, in addition to Vice-Admiral Sir John Collins, other trustees include Mr. A. E. Bax, President of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Judge H. T. E. Holt- no relation of mine, I regret to say - who is associated with the Captain Cook’s Landing Place Trust, Mr. Justice Mcclemens of the National Trust of Australia, Mr. Chisholm, the well known naturalist, the honorable member for Mackellar himself, and Mr. Alan Villiers.
The Government has considered the proposal which has been placed before it by Vice-Admiral Sir John Collins. It feels that all Australians have imperishable regard for Captain Cook and the voyage of the “ Endeavour “. With the bi-centenary celebrations coming up, this seems to be an interesting venture. I am quite certain that such a ship, fashioned out of timber grown in the area where the original “ Endeavour “ was built, will raise great public interest as it moves to Australia, calling at places visited by the original “ Endeavour “.
In determining the Commonwealth’s contribution we did take into account the fact that, according to discussions I have had with the taxation officers, the Trust can be formed in such a way that donations will be deductible for taxation purposes. Therefore, the Commonwealth will be foregoing a considerable amount of revenue if the full financial objective of the Trust is to be realised. But, in order to indicate our own interest in the matter, the Commonwealth Government will be making a contribution of £10,000 towards the cost of the venture.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware that the St. George Auxiliary of the Children’s Medical Research Foundation intends to bake a monster Christmas cake weighing 3,000 lb. for display and sale over the Christmas period to raise funds for this very worthwhile organisation. Is he aware that various private firms have undertaken to donate ingredients, and to cook the cake? Did the Auxiliary approach the Australian Dairy Produce Board and the Australian Dried Fruits Board for a donation of the butter and dried fruits? Has the request been declined by both these primary producers’ organisations? Is the Minister aware that the company that makes Tulip margarine has offered to donate the required quantity of margarine in lieu of butter? What are the reasons for the two primary producers’ organisations refusing to assist the Foundation and at the same time advertise Australian butter and dried fruits? Will the Minister undertake to have the decisions reviewed?
– I am not aware of the matters that the honorable member has raised in his question, nor that a request has been made to the two primary producers’ organisations. Those organisations, of course, are responsible for the disposal of the commodities. All I can say to the honorable member is that I will talk to them and try to ascertain the position.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to the allegation made by the Leader of the Opposition that alien youths will be able to take jobs in Australia previously held by youths involved in the national service call-up? Will the Minister explain to the House the position of aliens in national service schemes in other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and the position as it exists in Private International Law?
– A distinction must be drawn between migrants and aliens. If migrants are British subjects or are naturalised the law applies to them in the same way as it does to a native born Australian. Under the rules of international law aliens are not and should not be liable to service in the armed forces of a country other than their own without the acquiesence of their own government. That applies in other countries just as much as it does here. In other words, in what is called the comity of nations we accept that we should not call up aliens, and similarly other nations accept that they should not call up aliens for their fighting services. This is particularly important to Australia because if we called up aliens and other countries objected there might be reprisals. Those countries could call up Australian citizens who were temporarily visiting or resident there. Equally, we have the responsibility to ensure that nothing is done to interfere with our immigration programme. We want migrants and we are not prepared to offend the governments of the countries from which they come.
The principle of international law to which I have referred is accepted in the United Kingdom and also in the United States. It is true that in the United States aliens can be called up for service, but they have the right to opt out. However, having done so, if they subsequently leave the United States they cannot return. If they stay they will not be granted United States citizenship if they refuse to serve. None the less, the principles of international law are accepted there. As to whether there is a prospect or possibility that aliens might take the jobs of our own people who serve, I have tried to point out to the House before, and I repeat now, that under our law there will be civilian reinstatement provisions under which any person who was in employment when called up will have the right to ask his former employer to reinstate him. If he is not reinstated he has the right to go to the courts and to see that his rights are respected. I hope that that statement clears up some of the misapprehension that has been deliberately created by arguments advanced by the Labour Party.
– I preface a question to the Minister for Housing by referring to a
Press statement issued by the New South Wales Minister for Housing and Cooperative Societies, Mr. Landa, dated 11th November 1964, wherein he alleged that the Commonwealth Government was trying to use the home savings grant scheme to hurt the credit union movement in New South Wales. I ask: Did Mr. Landa originally warn early this year that the Commonwealth Government was going to use the scheme to try to destroy credit unions? Are certain financial institutions which support the Government showing increasing concern at the growth of credit unions and the movement’s potential development as a means of initiating wage and salary workers into the mysteries of running their own banks for their own benefit?
– Mr. Speaker, first, I am quite unaware of any opposition anywhere to credit unions which, no doubt, in many ways perform an excellent service to their members. I have already explained - last week, in answer to a question asked of me by the Leader of the Opposition - why credit unions were not included as approved institutions for this purpose; to wit, they supply hugely short term finance for the credit needs of their members of a kind similar in character to that provided by finance companies, hire purchase companies and so on. They are excellent institutions in themselves but they do not fit into one of the important purposes of the scheme, which is to increase the supply of long term funds available for housing at reasonable rates of interest. This is an important task to achieve and one which this Government will continue to pursue. As to the statements of Mr. Landa, he is engaged mainly, of course, in Labour Parry propaganda, from his point of view. His statements are worth that and no more which is not very much.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. Has he seen a report which indicated that there was an increase in the use of unused limits in the banking system and which then suggested that an increase in the use of these limits could cause a tightening on the part of monetary authorities? Is it not true that the reverse is the case and that there has been a decreased use of unused overdraft limits, which now stand at 80 per cent, of advances?
– There has been a tendency for the use of overdraft accommodation to increase in recent months but not at all dramatically and no more than might be reasonably expected in a rapidly growing economy such as we have in Australia at the present time. It has been the aim of monetary policy, with the Reserve Bank working in co-operation with the trading banks, to keep this increase in overdraft availability at a reasonable level. So far as I can assess the position, the banks are collaborating in the objective of the Reserve Bank. I do not think that there is anything in the current situation to give cause for concern. Such movement as has occurred is consistent with Government policy.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Win the same medical, physical and scholastic requirements demanded of volunteers apply to the conscript for the Australian Army or will the standard be lower?
– It is the purpose of the whole scheme - and it will be administered by my Department accordingly - to ensure that the Army’s needs and requirements arc satisfied. Consequently, the desired level of medical fitness will be the standard laid down by the Army itself in consultation with my Department. We have never had any trouble with standards in the past and we do not expect to have any difficulty about them in the future. There will be complete co-operation between the two Departments and we are sure that no difficulties will be encountered between them when the scheme is instituted.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Repatriation a question. I refer to the payment of fees for certain services rendered by the Repatriation Department. Has any complaint been made in regard to chiropody fees paid in different States? Is any action likely to be taken by the Minister to adjust this matter?
– Some complaints have been received regarding the uniformity of fees paid to chiropodists for services to repatriation patients. The fees have varied throughout all States. In the past we have tried to rectify that anomaly; but the main difficulty was that in this profession there was no federal body with which to negotiate. However, I am pleased to be able to inform the honorable member now that a federal body, which is called the National Council of Australian Chiropody Associations, has been formed, and at present we are holding negotiations with that body in an endeavour to arrive at uniformity in the scale of fees that will be charged throughout all the States in Australia. I hope that a satisfactory solution will be arrived at in the near future.
– I address a question to the Minister for the Navy. I refer to my recent discussion with him on the useful and successful pre-Royal Australian Navy role played by the Australian Sea Cadet Corps. Has the Minister ascertained that T.S. “ Flinders “, in its four years of existence, has provided 11 men for various branches of the Service, that the previous training of those 11 men has been invaluable, but that the activities of the unit have been limited by poor and inadequate headquarters? Has he confirmed that the unit has the title to land which is ideally suited to its purpose, but has been unable to obtain monetary assistance from the Navy League, the Naval Board, the State Government or the Federal Government in order to build a headquarters for the unit and the proposed girls’ nautical training corps? Does he agree that the Sea Cadet Corps is a really worthwhile adjunct to the Royal Australian Navy, as are its counterparts in the other branches of the Services, which are provided with headquarters accommodation without cost to the units? As, undoubtedly, other cadet units are placed in the same predicament as T.S. “Flinders” in respect of buildings, will he bring before the notice of the Cabinet the necessity for a Federal Government subsidy to be made towards the provision of buildings for these worthwhile units?
– I hope I can remember the long series of questions asked by the honorable member. I will start with the last question, I do hot intend to bring before the Cabinet the question of payment of a subsidy for the purpose that he mentioned. The Sea Cadet Corps is run by the Navy League in conjunction with the Royal Australian Navy. In most places comparison with the Army School Cadet Corps or the Air Training Corps is rather difficult because the Army is placed better than the Navy in respect of headquarters and buildings. Where the Navy has buildings, they are supplied to sea cadet units free of charge. Of course, in the particular place of which the honorable member speaks that is not possible. In my home State, although the sea cadets have been offered free accommodation, in conjunction with the Navy League they have set about building a hall of their own. They are raising funds for that purpose. Currently I am looking into the whole question of sea cadets. Some of the points that the honorable member has raised are under investigation. I will keep him informed of what happens.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Interior. I have read reports that North American and European countries are now enjoying the benefits of long range weather forecasting, with forecasts for periods up to 30 days ahead. In view of the tremendous value that such long range forecasts would be to people engaged in rural industries, I ask the Minister whether he will look into this matter with a view to the introduction of such a forecasting system in Australia.
– I am aware that in the northern hemisphere many countries now have 30 day forecasts. Being a farmer, I am acutely aware of the great value that such forecasts would be in farming operations - in ploughing, planting, fertilising and what have you. In the northern hemisphere there is an overall collection organisation which is a section of the World Meteorological Organisation. Data is collected at both Washington and Moscow. By getting an overall picture, the forecasters can make long range forecasts. We have not such facilities in the southern hemisphere. But recently the World Meteorological Organisation requested that Melbourne become a collection centre for the whole of the southern hemisphere, because of Australia’s very high standing in the meteorological field. I am pleased to be able to say that the Government has approved the establishment in Melbourne of this centre which will collect data received from the two great continents of Africa and South America. The central collecting station in Africa will be at Nairobi and the one in South America will be at Brasilia. At both those points, information will be collected and transmilted to Melbourne, where computers will be used to form an overall picture of the weather on the southern hemisphere. Not only will this be of advantage in enabling us to give better long range forecasts, but also it is vital to intercontinental flying.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question. I ask whether be has yet received a copy of the prepared statement issued in London by the Minister for External Affairs last Thursday, in which the Minister said -
In order to establish the sort of conditions under which Western Europe has developed in the past few years, we must first establish the same sort of detente - that is, the easing of tensions - ‘with the power that is the major cause of fear among the nations of Asia today.
Does this official statement ‘by the Minister of External Affairs represent the Government’s policy towards mainland China? Does not the Prime Minister agree that the Minister’s statement is an accurate summary of the position of the Australian Labour Party concerning the recognition of, and negotiations with, mainland China? Finally how does the right honorable gentleman reconcile the views of the Minister for External Affairs with his own statement of last week, in reply to the honorable member for Mackellar, that the Government’s refusal to reach a detente with China had been strengthened, not weakened, in recent weeks?
– I made inquiries about the text of the statement made by the Minister for External Affairs. That statement appears to have been pretty heavily distorted, I may say, in various newspaper reports and headlines. What the Minister said on this matter was -
World peace since the last war has depended mainly on the working out of a detente’ between the Soviet Union and the Western Alliance.
It is to our interest that this detente continues and eventually leads to attempts to form better relationships between these two groups of powers.
May I pause there and say that my colleague was, of course, discussing the effect that the deterrent power had had on relations between the West and the Soviet Union, and also the strong actions taken from time to time to halt the ambitions of the Russians. The Minister went on -
Already under the umbrella of deterrent power the countries of Europe have been able to make progress and enjoy prosperity. Today in Asia, however, the actual and potential power of China and its aggressive policies pose enormous and growing problems to the whole world. In order to establish in Asia the sort of conditions under which Western Europe has developed in the past few years, we must first establish the same sort of detente with the power that is the major cause of tear among the nations of Asia today.
I think that if one looks at that statement as a whole one will find it very difficult to discover any difference between that and what I have said.
– 1 should like to address to the Minister for Primary Industry a question that relates to war service land settlement. I ask the Minister whether, when further leases are granted, he will give each exserviceman concerned the option of having the title recorded in his own name or in the joint names of himself and his wife, as is done by the War Service Homes Division, to reduce the amount of estate duty payable by the widow in the event of the exserviceman’s death. I should like to mention that if the ex-serviceman transfers an interest to his wife after the lease is signed he is liable for gift duty.
– I think that, to alt intents and purposes, all leases under the war service land settlement scheme have been issued. So, in effect, there will not be any new leases signed. Leases under the scheme have been given only to eligible persons and have been issued under the respective State Acts. Generally there is a time prior to which the lessee cannot transfer or dispose of any assets that he might have in the property. After that time has expired he is a free agent to sell the property or to make whatever arrangements he wishes for joint ownership with his wife or another person, provided, of course, that the Crown is first satisfied for any debts due to it. That is the position as I see it. However, the main answer is that no new leases are being issued.
– I ask the Minister for Housing whether money voluntarily saved in the State Bank of South Australia by
South Australian public servants is not considered to be separate savings for the purpose of the housing subsidy. If so, what is the reason for this?
– I think the honorable member may be somewhat confused as between the State Bank of South Australia and the special scheme of savings operated in conjunction with the South Australian superannuation scheme. This matter has recently been raised with me by the Premier of South Australia and is under active consideration at the moment.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Leichhardt. Are the medical and other standards required of national servicemen the same as are required of volunteers for the Australian Regular Army?
– As I have said, the purpose of the national service scheme is to provide numbers of people of the standards required by the Army. Consequently, the standards for recruits and for national servicemen, whether they be medical, educational or other standards, will be exactly the same.
– I ask the Treasurer: Is he aware, or will he accept my assurance, that there is amongst officers of the Services considerable dissatisfaction regarding the operation of the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund in respect of contributions they are called upon to pay, the level of benefits and the conditions governing the Fund? Has he been informed that this dissatisfaction has been heightened following increases in Services, pay? Will he ascertain whether it is true that some senior officers now receive less in take home pay as active serving members than they will receive as pensioners on retirement? Will the right honorable gentleman give early consideration to the establishment of a committee of inquiry to which serving officers might freely give evidence and submit proposals? Could this committee also be empowered to investigate the method under which deductions are made from members’ pay for rent of houses they occupy?
– I have previously pointed out in the House that the Defence Forces Retirements Benefits Fund legislation was reviewed some time ago by a committee presided over by Sir John Allison, as a result of which considerable improvements were effected in the conditions of benefit under that scheme. As to dissatisfaction in some quarters, one always hears, of course, from those who complain rather than from a very much larger number of people who, perhaps, feel that the scheme is operating beneficially for them. That is our experience in politics and, indeed, in other cases also. But if there are complaints I have felt, from my study of the legislation, that they arise from an imperfect awareness of the very substantial benefits which flow from a contribution which is supplemented to a considerable degree out of Commonwealth revenue. The honorable gentleman now raises the point of whether we should have another committee of inquiry into this matter. That is a policy matter and I am certainly in no position to give an answer on it at question time. The legislation is constantly under review and from time to time, amending bills are brought before the Parliament. I shall be making a study, in the course of the recess, of the latest developments affecting it to see whether any of the changes to which the honorable gentleman has referred or any other developments in the Services call for any further amendments. In doing so, I will have in mind the comments he has made.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. In view of the change in strategic concepts to which he referred in his statement on defence, I ask: How has defence policy changed in respect of the pattern of civil and industrial development in Australia? If Australia is no longer to be regarded purely as a “ main support area “, as it was, has the Government any plans to strengthen our capacity to withstand an attack upon our cities, bases and industries by the positive encouragement of decentralisation?
– The honorable member’s question pursued a rather boomerang course, I think. I recently had an opportunity to write to an honorable member on the question of decentralisation and I mentioned the very great variety of steps which have already been taken by the Government, and which are sometimes forgotten. I will see whether I have a copy of that letter and if I have I will send it to the honorable member.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Industry a question. Could the proposed subsidisation of exports by the British Government reduce the efficiency of Australian tariffs in protecting Australian industry? Is the Government taking action to ensure that no Australian industry surfers any serious disability because of the action of the British Government?
– I am sorry; I did not realise that this question was being directed to me. If it relates to trade, I inform the honorable member that the Minister for Trade and Industry cannot be here today. He is a little indisposed. If the honorable gentleman will let me have his question in writing, I will secure an answer for him.
– I address my question to the Minister for the Navy. By way of preface, I explain that the Shoalhaven Shire President and a number of significant community leaders contacted me last night and asked for the submarine base to be established at Jervis Bay. I ask the Minister whether in the past plans have been made for a submarine base at Jervis Bay. Would such a base be convenient to H.M.A.S. “Albatross” and H.M.A.S. “Creswell” where large numbers of young naval officers are being trained? Was this Bay chosen years ago by admirals of the Royal Navy as the future base for the Royal Australian Navy?
– The enthusiasm of the honorable member for Macarthur for the siting of the submarine base at Jervis Bay is probably matched only by the enthusiasm of the honorable member for Newcastle for the siting of it at Port Stephens. Both places, I understand, have a rare beauty of their own. I wish the enthusiasm for the establishment of the base at the site chosen by the Government was equally apparent. The claims of Jervis Bay were considered very fully. Obviously it has advantages, but it also has disadvantages. The decision to establish the base at Neutral Bay was made only in the light of all the facts available to the commission which investigated the question.
– Can the Minister for the Army say to what extent his reference to the Army attracting the flotsam and jetsam of the community will increase the rate of recruitment? Since high officials of the Returned Servicemen’s League and many serving members of the forces are justifiably affronted, will the Minister make an unqualified apology for bis intemperate and insulting comments?
– The eagerness with which the Opposition attempts to distort what I said is a clear indication of the bankruptcy of its approach to this whole matter. I made the remark referred to in the context of pointing out to the House and to the country the disgraceful proposal put forward by the Opposition, namely, that the answer to this country’s defence problem is to fill up the Army with people of a standard who, when a Labour Government was in office, were regarded by that Government as administrative liabilities, dangerous to their comrades and a threat to morale.
– My question to the Minister for Labour and National Service concerns the manner in which Communists and other disruptionists are holding this nation to ransom on the waterfront. I ask the Minister: Is there any evidence of activity among the decent rank and file members of the Waterside Workers Federation to throw out these enemies of Australia? If not, does the Government propose to take any action in this matter before circumstances arise in which these people take matters into their own hands and embarrass Australia in an emergency?
– The honorable member will know, as Chairman of the Government Members Industrial Relations Committee, which I might say has carried out a comprehensive and, I think, excellent investigation into activities on the waterfront, including activities by the Communist Party itself, that there is far too much Communist influence on the Sydney and Melbourne waterfronts. The Executive of the Federation is controlled or strongly influenced by Communists. I think it is correct to say, in respect of the Melbourne waterfront, that the President or Secretary of the Melbourne branch is a member of the Australian Labour Party and has been voted into office despite left wing or Communist influence. One cannot say that one-half or any other proportion of the members of the Federation are against the Communists and are subject to control by Communists. There are signs that resentment of the activities of the Communists is being shown. It is obvious that rank and file influence is growing, although not as rapidly as we would wish. That, I think, answers the honorable member’s question; there are elements there favorable to the cause of this country. As to the last part of the question, this matter is kept under constant review by the Government and, of course, if it becomes necessary the Government will take whatever action is legally practicable.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. On 5th December the citizens of Australia will express, at the Senate poll, their views on the Government’s proposals to conscript the young men of the nation for service overseas. They will have a say then as to whether they accept or reject the proposition. I therefore ask the Prime Minister whether the Government has had any twinge of conscience about the fact that thousands of young men of all colours in the Territories will be conscripted and might well have to lay down their lives in the jungles of Malaysia or Indonesia without having had any say whatever in the making of this momentous decision. Will he say whether he considers this to be either morally right or democratic and, whatever the answer, will he take steps to extend representation in the Senate to the Northern Territory, and also extend full voting rights to the Northern Territory’s representative in this House so as to allow citizens of the electorate a say in the working out of their national obligations and the possible disposal of their own lives?
– I am delighted to have been put in possession by the honor able gentleman of his policy speech for the forthcoming election. All I can say for myself is that we have no proposal for altering the age at which people may vote.
– I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Just over three years ago - on 5 th September 1961 - I was the second last speaker in the debate on that year’s Budget. As reported on page 841 of “ Hansard “ for that date, I directed atten- tion to the fact that in that important debate not one Opposition member had made any reference whatever to the defence of Australia. In view of the recent speeches that members of the Opposition have made in this House, what is the cause of their changed attitude to this subject?
– I think the answer to that question is quite simple. They have, of late, become quite interested. They thought they were on a winner but now they seem to have got on to the losing side of the winner, as they will discover.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate -
Without, amendment -
Loan (Airlines Equipment) Bill 1964.
Without requests - Customs Tariff Bill (No. 4) 1964.
Customs Tariff (New Zealand Preference) Bill (No. 4) 1964.
Excise Tariff Bill 1964.
Consideration of Senate’s request. Clause 4. (1.) In this Act - “gross earnings”, in relation to a commercial television station in respect of a period, means the gross earnings of the licensee of the station during that period in respect of the televising from the station of advertisements or other matter, including the gross earnings of the licensee during that period in respect of the provison by him of, or otherwise in respect of, matter televised from the station, not being earnings from the production and recording on photographic film, or the recording on photographic film, of matter consisting wholly of an advertisement;
Senate’s request -
In the definition of “gross earnings”, after “ advertisement “ add “, provided that if the licensee satisfies the Minister that any such earnings have been received in connection with the televising of, or the provision by him of, musical, dramatic or other artistic material wholly produced or originating in Australia, then only one-half of those earnings shall be included in the gross earnings of the station “.
.- I move -
That the requested amendment be not made.
I should like to make three or four observations on the amendment that has been requested by the Senate. I suggest that this House should reject this request on several grounds which, in my view, are important. In the first place, I believe that this requested amendment is incapable of definition to the point of satisfactory administration of the proposal. It makes reference to three particular matters - musical material, dramatic material and artistic material. They are, of course, stated in very broad terms. I suggest that it would be impossible for this House to accept the terms which have been used. Let us consider the proposal. This is not just a matter of Australian composers whose compositions are sung by Australian vocalists. This may be a matter of an overseas singer singing an Australian composition, or vice versa. What, in fact, then becomes the Australian content of the presentation? When this matter was previously before the House I mentioned the jingles that are used in advertising. Is an Australian jingle, or an overseas jingle which in fact is played by an Australian orchestra, to be regarded as Australian material? Does it become Australian material within the musical context of this request?
A similar position arises in relation to dramatic material which may be presented on television. There is the question of whether this is capable of definition. The same could be said in regard to artistic material. If one of the stations televised an amateur judo show would that be regarded as artistic material? Many people would regard it as such but many would feel that this is not getting to the root of the problem with which I believe the House is concerned, namely, looking after the Australian script writer, the Australian actor, the Australian director and so on. Winifred Atwell is at present in Australis. She is not an Australian but if she sings an Australian composition does the presentation become an Australian production? If she sings an overseas composition what is the situation when the accompanist is an Australian? What is the situation if the accompanist is not an Australian but is using an Australian piano?
No-one in this House could tell me, when the matter was previously before us, how to define “ Australian content “. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) suggested that the definition contained in the annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board would be acceptable, but it is interesting to read a sentence in paragraph 212 of the Board’s report. It is in these terms -
The Board is now considering methods of completely recasting the basis on which calculation of Australian programmes would be made.
To take the definition which the Board has already given and with which the Board is not satisfied is, to me, an unsatisfactory basis on which to make a determination. Apart from that, I believe this would be taking the matter out of the hands of the Parliament and leaving it to a group of people outside to determine from time to time, and not necessarily related to a complete year, the actual definition which is to be applied.
My next point is that I believe the proposal to be incapable of administration. The Board would merely lay down the principles and it would then depend upon the companies to determine whether it is possible to administer them within the definition laid down. I remind the Committee that the licences of some television stations are. due for renewal on 1st December. So far as last year is concerned, it would be impossible for the stations to indicate the Australian content within the definition included in the Senate’s requested amendment. As to the future, I believe it would be essential for the companies to tabulate every day and every hour the parts of their programmes which, in fact, are Australian within any definition which may be determined.
I mentioned a similar problem as the reason why the Government had moved to a licence fee based on total advertising receipts plus programme receipts instead of the previous basis of advertising receipts only. Because the programme receipts were excluded for assessment of the licence fee, some stations tended to pay a substantial amount attributable to programmes and a much lesser amount attributable to advertising. The result was that we would find 50 per cent, attributed to each by one station, and 70 per cent, to programmes and 30 per cent, to advertising by another. I feel that exactly the same sort of situation would arise if the proposed amendment were accepted because the stations would be called upon to indicate what was the Australian content, and I think that they could not determine this accurately without considerable expense. The Board would be put to a good deal of expense in trying to set up some sort of auditing system to ensure that the figures supplied by the stations were accurate.
I come now to the attitude of the Labour Party. I think it can be fairly said that this measure is a money bill. As I understand the statements made by the Labour Party on previous occasions, it does not accept that the Senate has a right to amend a money bill. As I said earlier, perhaps it could be argued that what we have before us now is not an amendment but a request. I am dealing with the matter as though an amendment and request were similar. I should think that the Labour Party in this House would adhere to the principle it adopted on previous occasions when it argued that the Senate had no right to amend a money bill. I invite the Labour Party to vote for the rejection of this proposal in accordance with that principle.
Let me take the matter a little further. When, during the course of his Budget Speech some little time ago, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) indicated that it was proposed to increase the total of licence fees from £113,000 to approximately £400,000, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) interjected: “ Not enough.” I assumed from that remark that the Leader of the Opposition believed that there should be a substantial increase beyond the £400,000 envisaged in this legislation. This proposal from the Senate, which has the support of the Labour Opposition there, seeks, in effect, to repeal the present legislation dealing with licence fees. It has asked for a complete repeal of the Act. If that suggestion were adopted, then, at the point of repeal, no licence fees could be collected unless some other legislation had been substituted. The Leader pf the Opposition having said that £400,000 is not enough, I cannot believe that the Australian Labour Party wants us to create a situation in which, in fact, no fees are being collected.
It is also suggested that in order to encourage the production of Australian programmes, 50 per cent, of the licences fees should be rebated to the commercial television stations. In effect, this would mean that in the first year a sum of no more than £20,000 would be divided between the 26 commercial television stations. This represents an average of less than £1 ,000 for each station. Having regard to the increased cost involved in providing the necessary information to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, 1 suggest that the stations would have little or nothing left with which to engage in the production of Australian programmes. As a contribution towards that end, the sum of £20,000 divided between 26 stations would be almost valueless. I ask honorable members to compare that with what has obtained up to this stage. Up to this point, the television stations have, in effect, had available to them £300,000 for the production of Australian programmes, and they have not used the money. So how can it be expected that they will make any substantial contributions to the production of Australian programmes’ if they have only £20,000 available to them? I suggest that the committee should reject the proposed amendment.
I emphasise again the promise I made when the Bill was previously before the House. I indicated at that time that I had this matter under examination. This is not a matter for my judgment alone. Candidly, I have had little or no experience in this field and it would be ridiculous for me to promise the Committee that I would do certain specific things. I told honorable members that I had two groups considering the matter. These people have before them the report submitted by the Senate Select Committee on The Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television to my predecessor. I want to have the whole complex of the material available to me so that I may analyse the situation after first accepting the principle that we must do something to increase the Australian content of television programmes. If we are to do that effectively, we must give consideration to script writing, acting, directing and producing.
I submit that I cannot be expected to do any more at this juncture than promise the Committee to examine the matter thoroughly. It is my intention to do this within, I hope, the next six or nine months. I suggest that to write something definite into the legislation at this point of time would merely be to act on inexperience rather than on mature and well informed consideration of the matter. I remind honorable members, too, that to accept the proposal would mean that the Government would lose approximately three quarters of the revenue provided for in the Budget from this source.
K Mr. Harold Holt- About £300,000. - Mr. HULME. - The Government would lose about £300,000 out of a total Budget provision of £400,000. In all the circumstances, I submit that the Committee can justify no other approach than to accept the original legislation and to reject the proposal sent back to us by the Senate.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman-
– I hope the honorable member appreciates that the proposal will mean a loss to the Government, not a gain to this Parliament.
– What sort of a game are you trying to play? Even for you that is a bit stupid.
– That is very nice of you.
– You can make your own speech if you, want to. I have never heard you do this before. What are you so worried about?
The vital need is to ensure that Australian writers, dramatists, musicians, film makers and artists generally have an opportunity to live and work in this country and to contribute to its national culture. That is a burning need in Australia. There is also a burning need that Australian people should have the opportunity to enjoy first class programmes made with adequate financial resources and competing against the foreign programmes now dominating the Australian television screens because they are sold here at a figure far below the cost of their production. This is a very great issue in Australia.
So far as I know, Australia is the only country which does not take steps to protect, encourage and assist its own artists in these ways. The Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme) has raised a number of objections to the practicality of our proposals to assist the Australian industry. All I can say to him is that it is within the power of the Government to resolve every one of these difficulties and to bring down a proposal which would be completely acceptable to ail sides of the House. Every other country has been able to overcome these difficulties. Why should Australia not be able to overcome them? Australia is able to overcome them, but the Government is remarkably unwilling to do so. The Minister has spoken about the right of the Senate to amend money bills and has spoken about the policy of the Labour Party. The Devil can quote scripture when it suits his purpose and the Minister can request an amendment and raise issues which are not of paramount importance in this matter. The Minister need not lecture the Labour Party on his conception of its duty when all that the Minister is seeking to do is to persuade the Labour Party to abandon the advocacy and the attitude that it has maintained for years.
It is a scandal that in Australia we do not give the assistance that our artists and those who can contribute to our national culture should be receiving. This amendment, whatever its effectiveness, is aimed at that object. The Labour Party put forward at the second reading stage a proposal, which would have been completely practical, to increase the amount of the licence fees and to devote the total amount of the revenue from licence fees to the encouragement of the production of Australian television programmes. But the Minister now comes to the Committee without any proposal whatever on this matter. He says that he offers the Committee a promise. What is his promise? His promise is that he will have the matter under examination.
– It is under examination.
– That is right. The Minister’s statement is that the matter is under examination, but that is not an assurance on which honorable members can rely. We know perfectly well that the Minister months ago gave the House an assurance that he would have under his urgent examination the question of the amendment of the law to prevent such a situation arising as arose in Brisbane when Mr. Ansett flouted the Government’s intentions and the whole spirit of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board’s recommendations by buying up the shares in Universal Telecasters (Queensland) Ltd. Months have gone by, but the Minister has done nothing about it.
Even if the Minister had not this record of promising to undertake favourable consideration of things and then not doing anything about it, surely the Opposition and other honorable members could not be satisfied with a mere statement that he has the matter under consideration. The Government takes a heavy responsibility in this matter. This has been within the power of the Postmaster-General who has had many days in which to confer with his colleagues and to bring some proposals before us that the Opposition could go along with. Today we face the position that there is no proposal of any kind ‘before us to assist the Australian television industry. The Government simply adopts the dogmatic attitude that the Opposition must bow to its will. It simply says that it will steamroller through the Committee this vote that is now to be taken and will give no promise of any kind or any reasonable assurance that it will provide assistance for the Australian television producing industry. The whole responsibility rests upon the Government and not upon the Opposition. Therefore, the Opposition will vote against the Government’s proposal in order to maintain and assert its view that Australia should today urgently be giving full assistance to the making of first class quality television programmes in Australia and should be assisting Australian artists, writers, film makers, script writers and others so that they will stay in Australia instead of being forced overseas as they are at present. The Government should be giving the Australian people the opportunity to enjoy first class productions with Australian content instead of their having to rely on the foreign programmes which are now so largely undermining our national aspirations and our national way of life.
– I do not wish to speak at length on this matter because I believe the issues were clearly set out by the Post master-General (Mr. Hulme) and because we have had from the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) the stated view of the Labour Party, he being its spokesman for this purpose. But I do question the good sense of what is pressed now by the Opposition in relation to this matter. I can only assume that honorable members opposite have not fully absorbed what will be the consequence of the carriage of the proposal which now comes to us from the Senate. I shall come to that in a moment. Before doing so I shall go over the ground covered by the Minister on the points that seem to require some emphasis as to particular objections, so far as the Opposition is concerned.
The Minister has not long come to his present portfolio, but he has devoted himself to its very many difficult problems with, I believe, great energy and a conscientious desire to deal with the problems as quickly as he can. He has made it clear that he views sympathetically the objective of building up the Australian component in our television programmes. He says quite frankly that he has not a full comprehension of what is involved in this at the present time but that he is engaged in an examination of it. He has that objective in his mind and he asks the Committee and the Parliament to give him the opportunity to do that job thoroughly and to place him in a position to go forward with a well thought out policy - not something taken on the run with consequences that would be unforeseeable by most honorable members.
The honorable member for Eden-Monaro talks about the past, but what he is proposing now is, as instanced in the story by Charles Lamb, getting the roast pork by burning down the house. As I understand the position, in order to get about £20,000 into a particular fund he is going to deny to the Commonwealth revenue of the order of £300,000 and leave that with the television companies. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) did not think that the increase of licence fees was too heavy an impost upon the television companies for the privilege that they have of conducting stations under a Commonwealth licence. But that is my understanding of the consequences. I wonder whether my colleagues both here and in the Senate who supported the proposal for an increase realise what would be the financial effect of adopting the
Senate’s present proposal. Surely there are more desirable ways of getting to the objective than this clumsy and costly way.
The Government says that the Committee should reject the Senate’s proposal, and should accept the Minister’s assurance, made in good faith by a Minister who has a record of carrying through his undertakings in these matters. If there is a grievance in the future let us deal with it at the time. But here we have a proposal before us which would deprive the nation of revenues at a time when we certainly need all the resources we can get for a great variety of national purposes. Accepting the Senate’s proposal would be ineffective. It would not gain the objective sought. I hope that the added reflection that this quite short discussion may have allowed members of the Committee to have will enable them to clear their minds sufficiently to join with the Government in resisting this proposal from the Senate.
I have not opened up the constitutional question. The honorable gentleman has said that the Devil can quote scripture for his purposes. He, for his part, can resolve whether you can have a policy which you can apply when it suits you but which you cease to apply when it does not. I always understood that it was the settled view of the Labour Party that the Senate was not to be a chamber in which there would be significant alterations in financial measures. Well, this is a significant alteration unless we become so casual about money that £300,000 does not seem to us to be very much. In view of what has gone before I think that this is a case in which the traditional view of the Labour Party, repeatedly expressed here, might well apply.
.- Mr. Temporary Chairman, the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Hulme) has given a considered and persuasive reason for rejecting this amendment. I would have been inclined to accept the assurance that he gave but I cannot be happy now after hearing the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The Treasurer missed the opportunity to be as forthright as the Postmaster-General in giving an assurance on behalf of the Government concerning the promotion of television productions in Australia.
– I gave fresh emphasis to what had been put by the PostmasterGeneral.
– With respect, I do not believe that the right honorable gentleman was as forthright and as explicit and as dedicated in this matter as I believe the Postmaster-General is. The Treasurer mentioned briefly the constitutional position and the attitude this House should take to requests coming from the Senate on financial matters. If this matter had originated in the Senate then there would be no doubt that the Labour Party would not have supported it. We are consistent in stressing that financial matters should be proposed in this House and should be disposed of in this House and that it is not the prerogative of the Senate to initiate or dispose of financial matters. This amendment, however, did not arise in the Senate. It arose in this place by way of an amendment moved by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser), who had the conduct of this Bill on behalf of the Opposition, to an amendment moved by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). The House divided on the amended amendment. In those circumstances there is no departure from principle, surely, in the Opposition deciding again to vote in favour of the point of view it then put forward.
This was not the only way in which the Opposition sought to tackle this problem of assisting local productions. It moved an amendment during the second reading debate on the Bill and at that time, the Government supporters in general - and I think the Postmaster-General himself - did not take very great interest in the proposals. I have not checked, but I do not think’ the Postmaster-General referred to this matter. Did he conclude the conduct of the second reading debate?
– I spoke to the amendment. There was another amendment during the second reading stage which was not this one.
– The PostmasterGeneral has no doubt given more attention to this matter since the Bill came back from the Senate. I think his argument was a very persuasive one. I certainly would agree that this is not the best way of achieving the objective we had in mind. But when the Opposition put a better way - and I believe a practical way - during the second reading stage it got tepid support from the Government. 1 do not remember any support given by honorable members opposite.
– You were given a promise by me. I made the same sort of promise in relation to that amendment as I have now made in relation to this one. I am just as sincere now as I was at that point of time.
– I accept that statement. I am convinced that the Minister is sincere. But I do believe that some impetus must be given to the Government to do something about television in Australia. Australians speak the same language used by a very great number of other countries as their only language. It is the language used by more countries as a second language than any other. This ought to be an advantage. It ought to mean that something written, recorded or video taped in Australia is available anywhere where English is spoken or understood. Instead the opposite has occurred. Instead of Australian writing, telecasting and broadcasting material being promoted, our bookshops, radio stations and television stations are being swamped with material written, composed and recorded in Britain and the United States of America. In other words, we are disadvantaged because we use a universal language.
Australian television was made the subject of a thorough and eloquent report by a Committee of the Senate. The Government has done very little about it. It was also the subject, so far as copyright is concerned, of investigation by a committee which the Government promised to set up in 1954, which it appointed in 19S8, and which furnished a report in 1959, whose report honorable members received in April 1961 and whose recommendations are still not on the statute book. Copyright would extend to much of the material mentioned in this amendment. Until the Commonwealth goes ahead with the report of the committee which investigated copyright Australian writers are unable to achieve the advantages which three different international conventions would how give them.
Thus the Government is not doing what it can to help Australian writers- of books, and writers for radio and television because the three copyright conventions to which
I referred covered all three media. I cannot believe that the Government has a sufficient sense of urgency in regard to helping Australian writers of books, and writers for radio and television. The amendment also covers musicians, dancers and painters. I accept the Postmaster-General’s goodwill in this matter but I do not think the Treasurer was as helpful as the Postmaster-General. I do not believe the Government’s, record in matters of copyright, the Senate committee’s report on television, and its attitude to our amendments on the second reading stage can give us any confidence that the Government will do anything about it.
The amendment which we put was a last resort in the committee stages. We divided the House on it. We would not have supported such an amendment if it had arisen in the Senate and come to us for the first time as a request. But it is, in fact, the same amendment that we put forward. It is certainly not perfect but it is the best available to the House. The Government will not permit a debate or a vote on any private bill which Opposition members bring forward. There are such bills in both Houses which the Government refuses to have fully debated or to bring to a vote. This is the only way in which the Opposition can assert its interest in this matter. I am certain that the Postmaster-General’s interest is sincere. Until he can prevail on his colleagues to do something about Australian creative arts, the Opposition will press the amendment which it supported in the committee stages of the Bill.
– Even at this late hour I make an appeal to the Government to change its mind in regard to this requested amendment. I make this very sincere appeal. I sympathise very much with the Postmaster-General (Mr. Hulme). When he was speaking in this Committee a moment ago, I felt that he was very much up hill because he was putting a case which clearly had no substance and he was trying to invent - in fact he did invent - the most ingenious arguments against the requested amendment. They were very weak arguments. The nature of his arguments showed that his case had no substance at all. I make these statements with every sympathy for the Minister, knowing that he had to argue an up hill case.
Both he and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) were flying in the face of the facts when they spoke about a loss of £300,000 of revenue. Frankly, that is nonsense. All that we have to do is pass this request which the Senate has sent to us and which follows almost exactly the amendment that I moved in this chamber, with the small and, I think, not unreasonable addendum proposed by the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser). If that is done, there is no question whatever of our losing £300,000 of revenue. The argument was nonsense. Both the Postmaster-General and the Treasurer should be a little ashamed for having put forward that kind of argument. I admit that this requested amendment involves a fairly small amount. But to say that by passing it we jeoparidse £300,000 of revenue is to say exactly the opposite of the truth. By refusing to accept it, we jeopardise £300,000. We do not know what the Senate will do. Probably, the Senate will not persist in its attitude, but I do not know about that. The only person who can put £300,000 in jeopardy is the person who votes to refuse the Senate’s request.
Secondly, I refer to the ministerial discretion. If the Postmaster-General will look at the suggested amendment, he will see that the rebate can be given only where the Minister is satisfied of certain things. There is no reason why that discretion should not bc given. Apparently, we can give discretion to the Commissioner of Taxation, with the very greatest abandon, in matters one hundred times more important than this matter. That is settled Government policy. I suppose that on a little matter like this one the Government will say: “You cannot take the matter out of the hands of the Parliament. You cannot give a discretion to anybody outside the Parliament.” But only a few days ago we gave the Commissioner of Taxation one hundred times as much discretion as is involved here. I am sure that the Minister must realise that his attitude is simply silly.
I refer next to the question of the difficulty of definition. It is a matter of the Minister being satisfied of certain things. The points that the Postmaster-General raised were without substance. The requested amendment refers to “ material wholly produced or originating in Australia “. If material is wholly produced in Australia, that should be the end of the matter. What we are trying to do is to establish in Australia the nucleus of a small organisation to produce material here in Australia. For a start, songs or plays written overseas may be sung or produced in Australia; or songs or plays written in Australia may be sung or produced in Australia. The point is that we want an indigenous industry and, as the Minister knows very well, that may depend to some extent on bringing overseas artists to Australia. But we have to start somewhere. We have to get this industry on its feet. What we want to do is to have in Australia an organisation which will produce material in Australia, first for the Australian screens and later, I hope, for export and showing in other parts of the English speaking world.
It is perfectly true, as I have said, that this request involves only a small concession. The Minister may argue that not very much benefit is given. I would agree with that. This is only a small or token benefit. But it is a benefit. Even if it is only a small benefit, there is no valid argument whatever against giving it. It may be small; I would agree with that. It may be inadequate; I would agree with that, and so would the Minister. He says that at some time in the future he will do something more far reaching than this proposal. But let me point out to the Committee that this proposal cannot possibly cut across anything that the Minister may do in the future. I have every confidence that in the future he will do something along the lines that he has suggested. But this proposal cannot conflict in any degree at all with the Minister’s future plans. The amount of revenue to be conceded is quite small; it is not big enough to affect future plans. If the amount of revenue conceded should grow as a result of the increase in Australian content, the objective will be achieved. That may have escaped the Minister’s notice; but surely that is a fact.
In these circumstances I say that this requested amendment may do only a limited amount of good; but it can do no harm whatsoever and it cannot possibly conflict with any of the Minister’s future plans. So I make another appeal to the Government to accept it. I point out that the Government, by accepting it, will avoid any possibility of putting £300,000 of revenue in jeopardy. It may be that because of the constitutional position - this being a money bill - the Senate will not insist on acceptance of its requested amendment. I do not know about that. But this is an eminently proper request. There is no reason why we should refuse it. We give way on no constitutional point by accepting it.
Finally, let me say one thing which, I fear, is of more substance. The real reason why the Government is not accepting this requested amendment is simply the bad practice that it has developed of -never accepting amendments in this chamber. That is a very bad and very vicious practice. It is time that the Government rethought its position in this regard. The only reason why the Government is standing pat on this issue, which is not a matter of any substance, is a matter of foolish pride, a matter of endeavouring to bludgeon honorable members and a matter of endeavouring to refuse to honorable members their legitimate right to make a minor amendment when an improvement to Government legislation is suggested.
I am not trying to blame the PostmasterGeneral. I believe that he is only the unhappy and, probably, the unwilling voice of the Government on this matter. I put it to him that the real reason why this amendment is not being accepted is that over the years the Government has developed this practice of not allowing honorable members reasonable facilities to amend Government legislation, perhaps only in a minor way. I hope that the Government will not, as a matter of foolish pride, continue in its present attitude. Let it be reasonable about this matter. I appeal to the Government not to put £300,000 of revenue in jeopardy, but to accept the Senate’s requested amendment, which follows almost exactly the amendment that originally was moved in this chamber. Acceptance of this requested amendment can do no harm, although it may do only a limited amount of good.
.-Mr Temporary Chairman, I hope that the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) will not be too greatly disturbed by knowing that I agree with everything that he has just said, except perhaps that I do not make quite so strong a dis tinction between the Postmaster-General and the Government. In essence, the Government is not prepared to take for itself at least £280,000 and to give £20,000 to encourage Australian television programmes. If that attitude is a measure of the Government’s sincerity and concern for Australian television programmes today, the Government cannot ask the Opposition to have much confidence in its attitude in the immediate future.
It was interesting and to some extent refreshing to hear the plaintive appeals of the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). He was so plaintive as to be almost inaudible when he asked the Opposition, after so many years, to give the Government a chance to do something about Australian programmes. I recall that, over the nine years during which I have been a member of this place, many speeches on this subject were made by the former honorable member for Parkes, Mr. Haylen - we have heard none from the present honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) - in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House of Representatives night after night. In those speeches, Mr. Haylen explained the value of Australian programmes and appealed to the Government to assist those who wished to produce and present them. I can recall three occasions when the subject was raised by Mr. Haylen for discussion as a definite matter of public importance. I can recall the proposing of four amendments to earlier legislation. During most of the time of which I speak, the present PostmasterGeneral was a member of this place, although not the occupant of his present portfolio. In the light of these historical facts, does not the appeal by the Treasurer to give the Government an opportunity to come forward with a well thought out policy fall rather fiat at this stage?
The present situation would not have arisen had it not been for the amendment initiated in this chamber by the Opposition and the honorable member for Mackellar and finally voted on in the Senate. We would not have had from the Minister so convincing an undertaking to do something about the matter in the future. We would not have had any support from the Treasurer, who has failed or declined up to this time to give support to the promotion of Australian programmes on television. In a sense, this is an historic occasion. It is the first occasion on which we have been able to extract from a very senior Minister in this Government some support for an undertaking. by the Government to do something about the Australian content of television programmes. As the honorable member for Mackellar has pointed out, the effects of this amendment will be small. The benefit will be small. Yet the Government was not prepared last week to accept the amendment and is not prepared this week to accept it. The £300,000 that is involved is not being thrown under the table by the Opposition or the Senate. It is being thrown there by the Government, which has a way here and now of getting £280,000 at any rate. The Government could accept the Senate’s amendment. If that were done, the Government would get £280,000 and a token sum of £20,000, in round figures, would be available to help promote the Australian content of television programmes. That is the situation, and nothing that was said by the Minister a few moments ago even suggested that the situation was otherwise. I suggest that the amendments of the principal Act proposed in this Bill are not enough. I do not think that the Government’s attitude represents a well thought out policy. The Treasurer’s request that we give the Government an opportunity to come forward with a well thought out policy represents an admission that this Bill is not the result of such a policy. I do not believe that the amendments to the principal Act provided for in this measure are exceedingly well thought out. I consider that they have been designed to meet a particular situation. The Bill does not go very far and does not represent much of a solution to any of the problems that exist. However, the matter need not bc decided within the next five minutes. We shall be sitting till a fairly late hour this evening, I should think.
– The Bill was designed only to recover the costs of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board.
– I realise that. Our consideration of it, however, affords the Government an opportunity to do some thing about the Australian content of programmes if it wishes to do anything. As I have said, we need not dispose of the matter in the next five minutes, if the Government is sincere. The situation is said to involve some constitutional problem. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) has pointed out, it is astonishing that whenever the Government is in difficulty it tries to bind the Australian Labour Party by some of the Government’s interpretations of Labour’s policy. As the Minister himself recognised when he was endeavouring, in the midst of difficulties, to present a case designed to meet the present situation, a change was requested. He was ingenious in trying to prepare a case, but he did not succeed very well.
– I wish the honorable member had to administer the Act.
– We look forward to the time when we shall administer it. The Opposition means business when it talks about promoting the Australian content of television programmes. We shall do so in a far more substantial way than this Bill will do it. The Government has an opportunity now to begin doing something if it is prepared to seize the opportunity. I do not believe that the claim by the Minister and the Government that we should call off our efforts simply because something like £300,000 is involved carries any weight at all. The Government has had many long years during which it could have dealt with the situation. If it comes to that, the Government has had many long years within which to obtain more adequate revenues from the television stations than it has been receiving. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) was right when he said that, in general, this Bill will not produce enough revenue. If the revenue to be produced were considerably higher, we would have far greater scope for making certain exemptions from the payment of fees on the basis of the Australian content of programmes, and thereby encouraging the use of local programmes even more. We would have greater scope to divert some of the higher revenue into a fund for the purpose of directly promoting the production of Australian programmes.
The Opposition is firmly determined not to accept at this stage death bed repentances on the part of the Government, which could have taken action over many years. It could have acted particularly during the 12 months since the Senate Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television presented its report. That was in many respects a unanimous report by a committee that was composed of members from both sides of the Parliament. The present PostmasterGeneral has been the responsible Minister during most of the time for which that report has Iain in a pigeonhole. The Government has presented a very poor case in asking for another chance at this late stage. The Opposition is not at present prepared to give the Government another chance. We believe that it is necessary to emphasise that, for the first time, the Government will now have to do something to encourage the use of Australian television programmes. In that respect, this is an historic occasion.
– I wish to move: “ That the word’ not ‘ be omitted from the motion “.
– Order! The Chair could not accept such an amendment. It would be considered a direct negative of the motion. The motion is: “That the requested amendment be not made “. .
– I wish to take a point of order, Sir. I suggest that what we need is a motion which, if carried, would produce reasonable results. I consider that this is a substantial point of order, Mr. Temporary Chairman.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN The procedures of the Committee prevent the Chair from accepting such a motion. The motion is: “ That the requested amendment be not made “. A vote on an amendment such as that envisaged by the honorable member would have the same effect as a vote on the original motion. There is no substance in the point of order.
Question put -
That the requested amendment be not made, “
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. L. J. Failes.)
Majority . . 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Consideration of Senate’s amendment. Clause 6. (I.) A Commonwealth officer may, with such assistance as is necessary, arrest without warrant, outside Australia, a person to whom this Act applies if the officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person has committed, is committing, has attempted to commit or is attempting to commit an offence against this Act. (2.) The Commonwealth officer or a person authorized by him, may hold the person so arrested in custody until he can be brought before o Justice of the Peace or other proper authority in Australia (o be dealt with in accordance wilh law.
Senate’s amendment -
At the end of the clause add the following tub-clause: - “(3.) This section does not authorise the holding of a person in custody for a longer time than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances to enable him to be taken to Australia and there brought before a Justice of the Peace or other proper authority.”.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
During the debate on this Bill the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) made a suggestion in relation to clause 6. There are two sub-clauses to clause 6. Subclause (I.) provides for arrest without warrant in the event of the person who has the power to arrest having reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed or is likely to be committed. Sub-clause (2.) provides for the holding in custody of the person so arrested.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition proposed during the course of the debate on the second reading of the Bill that there could quite reasonably be added to clause 6 a further sub-clause which would limit the period of time during which the person so arrested could be held before being brought back to Australia. Unfortunately, I was not here during the debate. The Bill was in the hands of my friend, the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), who indicated to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the matter could be considered when the Bill was before the Senate. In due course the amendment was proposed in the Senate that there be added to clause 6 the following new sub-clause - (3.) This section does not authorise the holding of a person in custody for a longer time than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances to enable him to be taken to Australia and there brought before a Justice of the Peace or other proper authority.
The Government feels that the amendment can be accepted. I am bound to say that I do not feel that it will add a great deal, but it is certainly true that it cannot detract and that it has a persuasive force. On the basis of its persuasive force the Government is prepared’ to accept it.
– I thank the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden), his colleague the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth) and his representative Senator Gorton for the consideration they gave to our suggestion. We thank them for the amendment and we naturally support it.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Resolution reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 16th November (vide page 3054), on motion by Mr. McMahon -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- It is to be hoped that what has been said in the course of this debate in the last few days will be little noted and not long remembered. The debate has reflected little credit upon the Parliament or upon the parties on either side. I believe that those who have listened to the debate have been disgusted with the standard of it from the beginning up to this point of time. I believe this to be true. I have listened, as a member should who proposes to participate in the debate, to almost all that so far has been said, and before I pass on to the great principle that is involved in this Bill with which alone I shall be concerned, I would like to summarise the kinds of arguments and attitudes that have been adopted on the opposite side of the House.
First, Opposition members would have us believe that the Bill is presented as merely a political stunt. By a careful selection of quotations from the speech of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) they have suggested that the Bill has nothing but a political motive. I said by careful selection from that speech. Anybody who read the whole of the speech, as they did, but refrained from voting, will know that the Minister simply said: “A volunteer Army is better than a conscript Army and better than a part volunteer part conscript Army. But when we cannot raise the numbers that we require to meet our obligation to defend the country, we must accept the disadvantages of a body of conscripts because of the great advantages of increasing the number to that which we require.” This is what the Minister said, and his speech has been completely distorted by Opposition members.
It has been argued that the voluntary system could have succeeded. First, it is said that the educational qualifications should be lowered. The Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) has pointed out that these qualifications are the same as those that existed when Labour was in office in 1943.
– The young people had a better education then.
– The Minister’s assertion is not denied, not even by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). The Minister has shown that the qualifications required are the qualifications of a child of 10 years.
– This has not been disputed, and the words of the honorable member for Hindmarsh can be disregarded. Secondly, it is said that incentives could have been put before recruits that would have brought them into the Services. Incentives have been put before them, but before I sit down I will have a word to say about incentives and duty. I will leave that for the moment. Opposition members have tried to exploit the emotions of mothers and of others in. the community. . They have referred to a lottery of death, and may this long be remembered against them. They have suggested that men will lose their jobs and not be rehabilitated. They have said this in an effort to put fear into the hearts of young people. They have suggested that the careers of young men will be blasted. They have suggested that aliens will take the jobs of young men and perhaps take their girl friends. These arc despicable suggestions, and I say no more about them.
Opposition members speak as if intervention in Asia would make enemies for us and not win friends. The honorable member for Hindmarsh said last night that intervention in Asia was the shoring up of rotten regimes such as those of Syngman Rhee in Korea and the Nationalists in China. What about Malaysia? Is this a rotten regime? Is this the term the honorable gentleman applies to the Tunku? Malaysia is a small nation struggling for the independence to which it is entitled. Australia is a small nation whose independence is in jeopardy. If we can throw Malaysia to the Communist wolves, somebody may wish to throw a small nation like Australia to ‘the Communist wolves. We support a principle - the principle that small nations such as Malaysia and Australia have a right to their independence. This is true also of Formosa, or Taiwan, with its population of 12 million. That may be said to be a small nation that could be thrown to the wolves for the sake of peace. Australia also has a population of 12 million people. Somebody some day may wish to throw us to the wolves for the sake of peace.
We must remember that we have alliances. We have an alliance with the Americans upon whom alone, I believe, the independence of this country depends. Rightly or wrongly - I believe rightly - they think that the expansion of China in SouthEast Asia should be prevented. Whether they are right or wrong - I believe they are right - they are our allies. We hope that if the pinch comes they will protect us. Are we prepared to follow their policies? Are we prepared to throw in our lot with them? When the burden rests on us, do we say: “ We will have none of that burden “? But when we face danger, we expect them to be with us. Is this the attitude of Opposition members? What a miserable attitude it is. They say that Asia is a bottomless pit for manpower. Let us consider the position of the French. They had half a million men involved in South East Asia when they were defeated at Dienbienphu Yes, Asia is a bottomless pit for manpower, but the policy of the Americans, and our policy, fs quite different from that of the French. Our policy is to assist those Asian countries that are prepared to help themselves. The Americans do not have half a million men in South Vietnam and Australia has precisely 80 instructors there. We do not propose to march in and to defend these countries. Today, the policy simply is to assist those Asian countries that wish to help themselves. So Asia is no longer, in the light of this policy, a bottomless pit.
I turn from these paltry arguments to the real substance of this debate. This is a debate that moves from the floor of the House onto the hustings and into the homes of the people. It is a debate as to whether Australia is prepared to take a step today that, as it proceeds, will protect the security of this country in the years that lie ahead, perhaps over the next 20 years of instability in South East Asia. This is the question. It is not a matter of a few thousand men being conscripted today. It is not a matter of whether we will call up a miner or a milliner, a student of science or a shoemaker, or whether we will be better protected by armies or by atoms. It is not these things. The question is whether the whole Australian community is prepared to accept what is involved in protecting itself and its future. This is the principle involved: Forget about the few thousand people who are involved under this Bill at the moment.
The questions which the Australian people must ask themselves are, first: Are the Australian people prepared at all costs to defend their right to determine their own destiny? Secondly, do they accept the proposition that whatever friends or allies they may have or hope to keep the primary responsibility for our defence rests upon this nation? Thirdly, do they believe that the defence of all should be the duty of all according to their several abilities, or that those who are able and willing have a duty to protect those who are able but not willing? These are the questions which the Australian people are called upon to answer. I will answer these questions, I hope with logic. As an Opposition member was speaking I wrote down these words: “Policy can be determined by reason or by emotion “. The Opposition has appealed to emotion, but the reason of the mind is confirmed by the logic of events. You may ignore the one but you cannot evade the other. You may decide this by emotion but the logic of events will prove whether emotion is right or wrong.
Who must answer this great question? Clearly the Government must answer it because it has the primary responsibility. It has answered it by bringing forward this Bill - by giving effect to this great principle that all Australians are involved in the defence of Australia. The Opposition has answered it too. It has given a paltry, miserable answer. It has tried to turn this great debate into a matter of the lowest political advantage. I say no more of this. It is a matter for leaders of opinion in this country to decide. They have to make up their minds - the Press, the radio people and others. But finally the matter has to be decided by the people in their own homes. I ask the great question: Is conscription undemocratic? Is it undemocratic in itself? Is it undemocratic when it takes a selective and not a universal form? Is it undemocratic when it is resorted to in time of peace? I want to consider each of these three questions.
Is conscription, per se, undemocratic? I point out that all in Australia enjoy freedom of speech, the right to choose to elect their Government, and the protection of life, person and property under the rule of law. They enjoy a more equitable spread of wealth than do the people of any other nation on the face of the earth. They enjoy the riches of a great country. All the people in Australia enjoy these things and, therefore, I repeat therefore, all the people, and not simply some, have a duty to protect these things. The ancient Greek city-states were the very seed bed of democracy. There, the bearing of arms for the protection of the state was the same thing as citizenship itself - the duty and the privilege were two sides of the one coin. A person could not be thought of as a citizen with the rights and privileges of a citizen without his being thought of also as a soldier who had to protect those rights and privileges which he enjoyed. The two things could never be separated and in the ancient Greek democracies they never were separated.
But let us not think only of the past. Let us look to a great democracy in the present day - the Swiss democracy. None would deny that the Swiss practice democracy in the highest degree. At the age of 20 years the male Swiss is called up for national service.
– How many of them?
– All Swiss males at the age of 20 years. At the time they are called up each is presented with a rifle, conjoining the right of citizenship with the duty of protecting the state.
– What baloney.
– The honorable member claims that it is baloney that those who enjoy the rights of citizenship should be called upon to protect those rights. The Swiss serve up to the age of 48 with annual training of one kind or another in three phases diminishing, of course, in intensity as they get older. They attend annual camps. Any weekend one may hear reverberating in the mountains of Switzerland the rifle fire at the butts where the Swiss are called upon to practise the use of small arms. Of course they are not called upon for service abroad, because their mountains are their rampart. A country is defended where it can best be defended. Our rampart is not the beaches of Sydney, but South East Asia, and therefore we are called upon to defend it there.
If conscription is not wrong in itself, is it wrong when only a few are selected to serve? Can there be only universal conscription or none at all? Is this the choice? If it is universal then, apparently, in the view of Opposition members it is in conformity with democratic principles; but if it is not universal then, apparently, it is not in conformity with democratic principles. Let us examine this. Let us consider again the ancient city-states of Greece - the seed beds of democracy. There are always some tasks that citizens have to perform which are not performed by all citizens, but which must be performed by some. In our own community, for example, people are called up for jury service. Not every person has to serve on a jury, and here again we have a system of lots. Any eligible citizen may be called upon. The ancient Greek city-states had a system whereby if a duty had to be performed by some citizens and not by all citizens, they used precisely what is proposed in this Bill - a system of lots. They drew lots. If they needed a magistrate, or if they needed a general, they drew lots, because all citizens were equal and all were available for service. If they required some citizens they drew lots to determine who those some would be. So a ballot is indeed in conformity with the highest principles of democratic practice. It is important, of course, in modern conditions, that there should be complete fairness in the ballot and that clear principles should be observed. The law should be administered without fear or favour and there should be no influence and no favouritism regarding either groups or individuals who are liable for service.
We come now to the third point: If conscription is right when it is universal, if it is right when lots have to be drawn because not all citizens are needed for a particular task for which all citizens are liable, is it right in peace as in war? I believe that it is not always right in these circumstances, and I look to the history of our own country. It would not have been right in sending soldiers to the Sudan or to South Africa in the last century or in the early years of this century, because the safety of this country was not in peril and because these were wars which did not determine the fate of mankind or of ourselves. Conscription in these circumstances would not have been right. In World War 1 when men went away to Gallipoli believing, before they realised what world war was, that they would be back before Christmas, again it would not have been right.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was dealing with the question of whether people should be conscripted only in time of war and not in time of peace, and with the gradations of war and peace. I pointed out that in 1916 and 1917, when the referenda were held, Australia was subjected to threats. We were a distant country and our direct safety was not threatened. But we had a general understanding that a war was going on for the mastery of the world and that Australia would be affected by the result. In those circumstances, some were for conscription and some were not.
I pass now to Australia’s experience in the last war. When troops went to the Middle East and to Malaya the war bad just begun. Its shape was unknown and
Australia followed the old policy of voluntary recruitment, but when the war moved close to our shores, when the battle of the Coral Sea was fought, the Labour Government - the Curtin Government at that time - made provision for conscripts to serve in the islands to our north, at least within an area where our safety was threatened. So the principle was there accepted.
The great question for us today is whether the safety and security of Australia are threatened - whether, in fact, we are at peace or at war. The threat of global war has retreated, and due to the balance of terror in Europe, in the West we no longer are concerned about this particular form of threat. But the threat has moved from the West to the East, from Russia to China. It is a war of subversion and insurgency among the small countries to our north. This is the shape of war today - a world-wide struggle between Communism and the free world.
We face a deteriorating situation in our north, as the Government has said. Red China has expanded into North Korea, North Vietnam and Tibet. It has made an incursion into India. It has built roads of access along the border towards India and is poised again to strike when the time is ripe. The small nations of South East Asia - all the nations near the Indian border - Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma - are terrorised by the expansion of Red China. This is an expansion in fact, an expansion in preparation and an expansion that has been announced, not only in maps but in words. Are we, then, at peace?
So far as Indonesia is concerned, we have seen the takeover of West Irian, the attempted takeover of the little states of North Borneo and the landing of Indonesian guerrillas on the mainland of Malaysia. In addition, Australian troops have recently been in contact with regular Indonesian troops. We know that in Indonesia is the third largest Communist Party, in the World.
– Then why are we training Indonesian Army officers at Duntroon?
– I am glad the honorable member asked why we are training people who will only be available in two years time. I give him the direct answer-
– I did not ask that. I was not talking about conscripts.
– Well, it is a question that should be answered, and I will give the answer. I believe that for the next 20 years we in this part of the world will face a situation of instability. The troops that we train today will be available, not too late but in time for a long and continuing struggle. This does not mean that there is no need for diplomacy. Of course there is. This must go on at the same time, but we must also meet the military threat. Can we afford not to have conscription when the people of China have it, when the people of Indonesia have it, when our allies, the Americans, have it and send their conscripts to South Vietnam and on the oceans in their fleets that protect us? Let us not forget that this alone is what protects us. It is true that Great Britain had conscription and her young men were sent to Kenya and Cyprus and Malaysia.
– Mr. Speaker was not a conscript and he won the Military Medal.
– Order! The honorable member has exercised his right to speak.
– It is true, as I was saying, that Britain had conscription and abandoned it, but now she is considering its re-introduction to meet her commitments. But we - this happy breed, living in peace with war all round us- can afford not to have conscription when all our enemies to the north have it and when our greatest allies have it. That is the argument of the Labour Party. The Labour Party relies upon the United Nations. The Labour Party relies upon American conscripts. Apparently it is not too proud to rely upon them. It prates about a nuclear free zone; it wants to turn the South East Asia Treaty Organisation into something like the Colombo Plan; it speaks of withdrawal from Asia, throwing aside our allies and relying upon the goodwill of Asians who, at this time, are in a state of ferment.
Then the Labour Party trots out that old fustian that we are sending the sons of poor men to fight for us while the wealthy, of course, live happily in this country. Very well, the wealthy if not of the appropriate age are not conscripted. But the really wealthy man who has an income of £20,000 a year pays £11,000 a year in income tax-, and one must consider too that if that income is derived from dividends a tax of 8s. 6d. in the £1 is paid by the company. But let me come to this idea that only the sons of working men go to war. I have in my electorate a little suburb called Roseville in which ordinary people live. During the last war a patriotic organisation in the area combed every street with a view to helping those whose sons were soldiers and whose kinsfolk were at war. After a very careful survey the committee of that organisation came to the conclusion that 85 to 90 per cent, of people eligible to join the forces had done so - over 85 per cent, from the little suburb of Roseville. Yet it has been said that only the sons of working men go to war. What arrant nonsense. What an insult to those whom I and many others represent in this chamber. lt is true that the security treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States is the sheet anchor of our safety and that this involves the American alliance. If we expect aid from the Americans we must also be partners with them in enterprises for the protection of this part of the world. lt is our policy to fight, not on the beaches of Sydney but outside our territories, in South East Asia, Does this make sense or does it not? Of course we still need volunteers, career soldiers, officers, noncommissioned officers and so on, but if our Army is to be at the strength to meet our obligations - we have obligations to others- if we expect others to fulfil their obligations to us - we must increase the strength of our Army from the present 23,000 to 37,000, which is a very considerable increase. If we begin at the first stage with 4,000 this is not to be taken as a measure of the requirements. We must increase our strength from 23,000 to 37,000, and we do not do this once and for all. Men will be coming in and going out every two years. I have not the time to go into the details why the period of service should be two years, and so on. I merely want to say in conclusion that those who are called up and who carry the burden must be looked after. It will be the duty of all members on all sides -of the House to be vigilant, to see that they are properly looked after. This can be done, and it will be done. That is the will and determination of the Government and every member of this House. There will be difficulties, but they will be ironed out. We have been speaking about conscription. It is an easy word to say. But this is national service.
– Rubbish. It is conscription.
– The honorable member says it is rubbish. The whole history of mankind is summed up in these fe w lines -
A firemist and a planet,
A crystal and a cell,
A jelly fish and a saurian.
And caves where the cavemen dwell.
A sense of love and duty,
And a face turned from the clod.
I believe that the future of this country is in the hearts of young people who are not concerned only with material things, who have a sense of love for their country, and a sense of duty towards it. This country has no future if that flame does not burn in the hearts of young people, even if it does not burn in the hearts of old and cynical men.
.- The honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) lacks nothing if he does not lack modesty. He began his speech this morning by telling us that everbody in this House - honorable members on both sides - had been completely wrong up to this point and that he was going to put everyone right. He proceeded then to take us through history. First he sought to indicate that he had an intimate knowledge of Greece. Then he took us through the second World War, and back to the First World War. He wants us to believe that at this point of time Australia is in greater danger than ever before. He told us that in 1916-17, when the Australian people decided by referendum not to support conscription Australia was not directly threatened. Then, as though he had forgotten that statement, he said a couple of seconds later that the 1914-18 war was a war for the mastery of the world. I repeat that he said that after having stated that in 1916-17 Australia was not directly threatened. Then he told us that when Australia was threatened with invasion by the Japanese in 1942 the Labour Government adopted conscription for service limited to the islands to the north. He wants to give Australia the impression, as does his leader (Sir Robert Menzies), and the rest of those who rely on this sort of thing to win elections, that Australia is in a more dangerous position today than ever before in her history.
The Australian people just do npt accept that proposition. If they did, there would be no need for this legislation. If the Australian people believed that Australia was today in the danger that the erudite honorable member for Bradfield thinks she is in, there would be no need whatever for conscription. There would be no need to force one Australian to take one step in the defence of his own country. The Australian people do not accept the Government’s proposition. The honorable member for Bradfield must be bitterly disappointed with the present position because so recently as August last, in a speech in this House, he demanded that we have 12,000 or 15,000 conscripts a year. I emphasise that he wanted these conscripts in 1964. Now he is quite happy, indeed, enthralled and proud of legislation that seeks to give us 4,200 conscripts in 1965 and 6,900 in 1966. The honorable member for Bradfield and those other people who share those ideas of his that come from the past and are nurtured in the comfortable suburbs of north Sydney must be extremely disappointed with this legislation. So is the rest of Australia.
The Australian Labour Party unanimously and resolutely opposes conscription because it is unjust, unnecessary and inefficient and because its introduction brings unwarranted tension and crisis into the situation. The honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) said last night that he had not seen such tension and bitterness between the Opposition and the Government on any previous occasion during his term as a member of this Parliament. Who was prepared to create this condition of bitterness and conflict between the Opposition and the Government if it was not this Government, with its unnecessary and unjustified legislation?
The Australian Labour Party believes that the Government’s proposal is just one more example of its cynical election tech niques. The British Tory Government managed for 13 years to win elections because it timed the elections to coincide with economic booms in that country andspaced recessions to occur in between elections. The Australian Tory Government has managed to win elections for nearly 15 years by arranging for a defence or security scare to precede each one of them. As I have said, the Australian Labour Party unanimously and resolutely opposes conscription; but it does not oppose full and adequate defence of Australia. The Australian Labour Party believes that conscription is unnecessary for the adequate defence of Australia. The Government also believed that until 22 days ago, and I believe that the Government’s defence advisers and the Department of Labour and National Service still believe today that conscription is unnecessary.. The Labour Party believes, and the Government believed until 22 days ago, that conscription is unnecessary. I have the authority of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) for saying that. The Minister came to this House and professed to divulge confidential information directed to the Government. He said that his advisers had told him that conscription was unnecessary, inefficient and wasteful. I believe that is still the view of the defence advisers of this Government.
The Australian Labour Party has put forward a defence policy which is consistent and complete. We believe that the defence of Australia should be based in Australia; but that does not mean that we believe that the defence of Australia should be confined to Australia. We merely say that it should be based in Australia. It must be primarily a sea and air defence because an attack on Australia must be met first well before it reaches here, as it was in the Coral Sea and in the Java Sea. Australia’s naval and air defences must be fast, mobile, hard to hit and hard to find. It is difficult to be certain exactly what aircraft and vessels best meet this requirement, but that is the requirement which is fundamental to every decision that must be made. The Government has recognised this, in part, in its present review. When speaking the other night, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) clearly ascribed much of the Government’s plan to the lead given by the Labour Party. He said: “ The Labour Party has made suggestions which have now been adopted by the
Government. Why are you not supporting us?” On 10th March 1964 I said in this House that it was necessary for us to have small, fast motor torpedo boats for use to the north of Australia.
– Who said that?
– I said that on 10th March 1964. On 24th March 1964, I received a letter from the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney) in which he said -
The use of these small boats in Swedish and Baltic waters can be understood, where short range fast craft are of tactical use where sea conditions are generally in the low sea state.
But not in Australia because he went on to say -
An appreciation of the naval tactical threat to Australia, together wilh the capabilities and limitations of these craft revealed that such a specialized arm of naval warfare cannot be used economically in the foreseeable future.
At this very moment, the Government is ordering, for the first time, five patrol boats for New Guinea and nine for use in the Royal Australian Navy. In other words, the Government is adopting a procedure which, in March last, I said was a desirable one and which the Minister for the Navy, in a letter which he took the trouble to write to me, described as tactically undesirable.
As I have said before, the primary strategic requirements of Australia’s defence arc on the sea and in the air around Australia, especially to the north. In saying that, I am only quoting authoritative opinions. But this does not mean that we abandon the land in Asia. It does mean, however, that on land we no longer meekly accept a policy which is mainly military. We do not accept it, because it has failed. It has failed in Vietnam and there is general recognition that it cannot succeed. I emphasise again that our policy does not mean that we abandon interest in South East Asia. We of the Australian Labour Party are not isolationists. Our policy is more committed to the land and to the people of the countries in Asia than is the policy of the Government. This is so because the Labour Party has an economic, social and political policy which in fact will probably cost more to implement than the cheap, ineffective, killing policy that the Government has been prepared to support. Ours is not a superficial policy of hating and killing. A hating and killing attitude is a very easy attitude to take, and some people are superficial enough to believe that this is an effective way of dealing with an enemy.
Hating easily and turning easily to killing do not provide the answer for the security of this country. Our security should be based on a policy of understanding and working with the forces moving in the direction of change, and with the United Nations, and on coming down on the side of democracy and freedom everywhere. But Australia has not supported such a policy. Such a policy is not just a matter of supporting everything that the United States has done, whether it has been right or wrong. The United States has a wonderful record for good over the last 25 years, but the United States has made mistakes, and this Government has been prepared to support the United States in its mistakes as readily and quickly as it has been prepared to support it in its great achievements.
The Labour Party desires a constructive attitude to the United States. We are not going to be a satellite. We want an equal share in the partnership proportionate to our size and number. Labour’s policy is not to abandon Asia but to become more closely concerned with Asia. Our policy is not to suspect and hate, but to live with Asia. Finally, Labour’s policy for Australia is to bring into existence an Australian volunteer civilian army - because such a thing is necessary - based in Australia and supplied in Australia with fast, mobile and small weapons made in this country and to co-ordinate with a navy and an air force of the same kind. To do this we must have an aircraft and naval and army industry in Australia. We must have education and science for our forces. We must be able to transfer the forces that we have so that they can gain experience and knowledge overseas. They must be able to go to countries like Great Britain, Sweden and the United States and they must be a part, and a properly organised part, of the United Nations forces.
The Government is at it again. It is again crying wolf. It cried wolf in 1951, 1954, 1963, and earlier in 1964, and it is crying wolf again. The time will come when nobody will take any further notice of this cry, because the intention of the
Government is not to win wars but to win elections. Its purpose is not to defend Australia but to defend its parliamentary seats, and no more on any other issue than on the issue of conscription. Conscription is justified only when the need is real and when there is no alternative. It is in the tradition of Australia to rely upon volunteer action, to rely upon the free decision, and this tradition of Australia cannot readily and easily be overthrown. The decision that the Government has made now is an admission of failure, an admission that on its own record and its own performance it has proved impossible to get support from the Australian people for what it intends to do. Conscription is justified only when the need is real and when there is no alternative. We cannot be reasonably sure that the need exists, and we certainly cannot be reasonably sure that there is no other way. We have only to pay attention to the overwhelming evidence of the Government’s lack of sincerity in recent years to realise that this in itself is the very condition which takes away the kind of attraction that must be necessary to produce an effective volunteer service.
In 1951, just before the election of that year, the Prime Minister told us that we must prepare for war within three years. Whether that was reasonable or not is not the point. The point is that three years later we were in a worse position than we were at the beginning of that period. Not only that; we have the conclusion of Sir Frederick Shedden that Australia was not, three years later, ready for mobilisation. We were told in 1951 that the construction of the St. Mary’s ammunition plant at a cost of about £30 million was an essential for Australian defence. Three years later, at the end of the period that the Prime Minister had defined, the St. Mary’s plant had not even been started. That was the first shock that anyone who examined the situation must have got in testing the sincerity of the Government.
In 1954, the Prime Minister came out with another statement. He said that we would be supporting the S.E.A.T.O. with arms, with men, with ships, with supplies, with all the instruments of war. That was the rhetoric of war upon which the right honorable gentleman has so much relied as a substitute for defence. But even 10 years later we have only 80 men in South Vietnam. If the right honorable gentleman intended that statement in 1954 to mean anything, has he lived up to it by having only 80 men in South Vietnam today? On 3rd Ocotber 1958 the Prime Minister said that Australia’s defences had never been in better shape. On 4th October 1958 - the day after - he announced a complete revision from top to bottom of all items of the defence programme. What an astonishing change must have come over the country in 24 hours. In December 1958 he told us that the world situation was the gravest since the end of the Second World War. But 18 months later we found that no changes had been made in the defence structure of this country in the intervening time. We had not the fighter aircraft that were recognised in December 1958 as being necessary. There was no bomber replacement for the Canberra, a replacement which bad been recognised in 1958 as being necessary. There were no submarines coming to Australia, although they were recognised in 1958 to be necessary. After making the statement at the end of 1958 that Australia faced the gravest situation since the Second World War, 18 months later no changes had been made. It is obvious that the right honorable gentleman made that statement preceding an election for the same reason as he has made every other statement in his defence analyses.
In 1963 the Government told us that the provision of the TFX bomber was urgent, that we had to have a bomber of this kind. It told us that we could not wait until we got another effective replacement for the Canberra and that the Americans had offered us B47 replacements on an interim basis. These aircraft were flown to Australia to go round the country and affect the election results. But we know that we now have no TFX bombers and that we will not have them until 1968 at the earliest. We know that there is no replacement for the Canberra and we do not know when we will get one. Let me test the sincerity of the Government in this. The Government told us some time ago that the aircraft on the “ Melbourne “ were quite satisfactory, that they were not obsolete or unsuitable. Now we are told that they are and that they must be replaced by Trackers. But then we learn that the Trackers will not be available until the end of 1967 and that at that point of time “ Melbourne “ will be going into dock for two years for a refit. When the aircraft arrive there will be no aircraft carrier for them, although we have had since 1958 to get them.
How can there be any sincerity in any proposition made by the Government whether it concerns conscription, aircraft or motor cycles? How can there be my sincerity in the position taken by the Government when one examines facts such as these? In 1964 we have’ had exactly the same thing. Let us test the statement made bv the Government in respect of conscription. It was only a few days ago that the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes), making apparently a considered statement, told us -
This is the problem to which I have given more attention than any other since I have been Minister for the Army.
This leaves us wondering what attention he has given to other matters. Then, after stating that he had given more attention to this than to any other problem, here comes the considered statement, which is not taken out of context and which portrays the essential meaning of his remarks -
First, even a scheme which .provides for a twoyear period of service does not provide the people we most need, that is experienced officers and N.C.O’s. and specialists. These are the people we are short of now. The deficiency would be even greater if conscription were introduced.
Of course it would be greater with 7,000 nien to train for there would be relatively fewer volunteer officers, N-C.O’s. and specialists available for other purposes. The deficiency in N.C.O’s. will be greater next year and the year after. That statement by the Minister has complete validity to the present situation. The Minister for the Army went on to say -
Secondly, it is wasteful in the sense that you only get about 18 months’ service out of each person you train compared with Si years’ service for most Regulars.
I hasten to emphasise that all this means is that an Army composed entirely of long-term volunteers is a better one than one based on a mixture of volunteers and conscripts.
There are many problems also that the Minister did not, in fact, advert to. Do Government supporters suggest that 21 days ago the Minister for the Army was not telling members of this House that the Government was against the introduction of conscription in any form? Does any honorable member deny that?
– Yes, I do deny it.
– Well, if you deny that your denials have as little conviction as any of the other statements you have made on defence. If you deny that then you are setting out deliberately to deceive the people of this country in the way that you have always set out to deceive them. What change might have occurred in the strategic situation to bring about this great transformation of the Minister for the Army who three weeks ago, spoke against conscription and who, today, will vote for it? What great strategic change might have occurred?
First, there is Communism. Does any honorable member on the other side of the House suggest that there has been any change in Communism in the last three weeks? Has Communism become more of a danger to Australia since the Minister for the Army made this statement on 26th October? Has there been any change in the severity or the extent or the nature of the threat of Communism? Did the Government not know as much about Communism three weeks ago as it does now? Let us examine Indonesian confrontation. Has the Indonesian confrontation just begun since 15th October? Is it not a fact that it began just over 12 months ago?
– I rise to order. The House is now debating a Bill relating to national service, not a statement on defence. The honorable member for Yarra is gabbling on and I invite your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the fact that he is not addressing himself to the Bill but to the defence statement.
– The honorable member for Yarra is aware of his obligation to confine his remarks to the Bill. I might say that as far as this measure is concerned the complaint the Minister now makes does not apply only to one side of the House.
– The Minister for Labour and National Service knows as well as I do that a vital point about this
Bill is the justification for its introduction. The honorable member knows that the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said that his reason for the introduction of conscription was that Australia faced a particularly real threat that it had not faced before and that he was justifying a decision now to introduce conscription which was not justified last year or the year before. The Minister knows the relevance of this as well as I do. Knowing it is relevant he is trying to stop me from stating it because he knows that neither he nor anybody else has an answer to it and nobody has really given any answer. The Minister knows that Indonesian confrontation has been going on for well over a year. He knows that the Prime Minister, in his statement on defence, said there had been big improvements in respect of that situation in recent times. The Prime Minister said in his statement on defence -
True, in international opinion, Malaysia has been strengthened by the vote in the Security Council, the meeting of the Comonwealth Prime Ministers in London, and the relative failure of President Sukarno to gather support at the Cairo conference of unaligned nations.
All these things have happened to improve the position in the north of Australia. Despite these things being recognised by the Prime Minister today, the Government considers it necessary to introduce conscription when up to this point in time it had not done so.
What about the Chinese atomic bomb? Is it because the Chinese have exploded an atomic bomb that Government supporters think it is necessary today to introduce conscription? If they think that, did the Government have to wait for the explosion of a bomb to become aware of it at all? Has the Government not been saying, as we have all been saying for years, that the Chinese before very long would explode a bomb? Was it necessary for the bomb to go off to wake the Government up to its responsibilities in respect of conscription if it considered it necessary? And when we think of that particular bomb, is it not interesting to discover the attitude of other people to it? The Australian Broadcasting Commission, last week, broadcast a statement that Tunku Abdul Rahman had said that he noted the explosion of the atomic bomb by (the Chinese, that he welcomed this event and considered it was a great achievement by the Asian people. He considered it would be in the interests of peace in the long run. Apparently the Minister for Labour and National Service, and other members of the Government side, are quite unaware of this attitude of Tunku Abdul Rahman to the Chinese bomb. But the relevance of this is, as I said, that if it were necessary for the Government to wait for the Chinese to explode a bomb before introducing conscription in this country, then the Government has neglected its responsibilities as the Government of this nation.
I suggest the Government is not genuine in any of these things. Conscription is an election issue on which the Government considered that it could split the Labour Party. But the Government made a serious mistake in that respect. It has split this Parliament, as the honorable member for Higinbotham (Mr. Chipp) recognised the other day, in a kind of bitterness which he said had not been equalled for many years and not in his time in this House. The Government has been prepared to split the nation upon an issue which has been fundamental to the tradition of this nation. The Government has been prepared to split the nation because it thought it would help it in an election.
Now, this is a matter of principle which has always been regarded as a matter of principle. I want to bring to the notice of the House in respect of this matter a very important issue. No man, in his time, has taken a stronger stand with respect to the principle involved in conscription than the Prime Minister. I make a considered evaluation of the position of the right honorable gentleman. At no time do I accuse him of cowardice or an unwillingness to face his responsibilities as an Australian. But when I referred to “ Hansard “ of 20th April 1939, I found this statement and it is the Prime Minister speaking -
I was in exactly the same position as any other person who at that time had to answer the extremely important questions- Is it my duty to go to the war, or is it my duty not to go? The answers to those questions cannot be made on the public platform. Those questions relate to a man’a intimate, personal and family affairs, and, in consequence, I, facing those problems, problems of intense difficulty, found myself, for reasons which were and are compelling, unable to join my two brothers in the infantry of the Australian Imperial Force.
– It is the business of no one but yourself.
– I say that. la 1914 when, the Prime Minister faced the decision whether he should serve Australia overseas or not, the right honorable gentleman said that that was a private and intimate decision not to be made on the platform and that it was the business of no one but himself. At that time Australia was at war. At that time we faced’ an enemy. In the words of the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner), who preceded me, Australia was involved in a war for the mastery of the world. But the right honorable gentleman, the Leader of this Parliament, the Prime Minister of Australia (Sir Robert Menzies) when he faced that issue, demanded, claimed and obtained a free decision for himself. But today, when we are in a position where the danger to Australia as seen by the Australian people, is not as great as it was then, the right honorable gentleman is willing to impose a decision upon the young men of this country, willing to take away from them the right he demanded and obtained for himself.
The position is that this conscription is unjust. It is unjust because it is a breach of principle. The honorable member for Bradfield told us that in Greece in far off days they used lotteries to decide who were going to be generals. I am sure they used that method in this Government to decide who were going to be Ministers. But the practice is no more valid because of that. The honorable member for Bradfield omitted to emphasise a special point. He Said that all the people of Greece were liable for service and amongst all the people they decided in this way. But that is not going to happen in this case. In this case we are discussing, about half the 100,000 people who become eligible for call-up at the age of 20 years each year are going to be excluded by reasons of occupation. Prom the remaining numbers, one of every seven youths will be selected, I think the Minister said this morning.
– “ One in eight “, I said.
– If the Minister was going to select from the 100,000 it would bc one in 14.
– The honorable member did not understand what I said this morning.
– The Minister is telling us what we know to be a fact, namely that the Government will select young men only from those who will be left over after some young men have been excluded on occupational grounds. The Government will not select the young men from all the people; it will select them from only a small section of the people. We know that in our community today the people who have university training, the people who are in professional occupations and the people who have skills tend to come from the better off families. Basically, this piece of legislation selects young men from people who have not had the opportunities that those people have had. The Government will be using young men who come from poorer families.
I say that this piece of legislation has been introduced by the Government deliberately for political purposes. It is dividing the nation at a time when we should be united. This piece of legislation is unjust because it affects only a small number of people and because it excludes aliens. I believe that aliens should be required to serve, as the Labour Party required them to serve when it was in office, in the Civil Constructional Corps, so that everybody will have a share in whatever is involved. This legislation is unfair; it is unjust; and it is basically inefficient. It will create a defence force consisting partly of conscripts and partly of volunteers, who always and continuously will have different attitudes to one another. The Government stands condemned on this legislation because it is designed for its political effect in Australia and not for its effect in furthering Australia’s defence capacity.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
. -If this legislation divides the nation’s will, then it is important that we face that position now, without further delay. The situation would be far worse if this issue were allowed to divide the nation’s will in time of complete and actual crisis. Honorable members will recall that during the Second World War - perhaps not in the worst period, but in nearly the worst period - this issue was allowed to divide the nation. At that time one of the dividers was the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), who tried to sabotage his own Prime Minister on this issue. If this issue is divisive and if we see opposite us a divider who was prepared to stab John Curtin in the back, in the person of the man who at present is in command of the Opposition, then it is important that we have these matters decided here and now, because the next crisis for Australia may not be as easily or pleasantly solved as the last one was.
If I wanted to sabotage Australia’s defence preparations, how would I go about it? Obviously, I would not try to do it openly because the people believe that some kind of defence plan has to be put into operation. I could go about it by saying something like this: “I believe in defence. 1 am in favour of a big defence plan; a good, effective defence plan.” Then I would try to criticise every concrete step that was taken. I would say: “The Government should not do this. It should do something else.” Whatever the Government tried to do and whatever it chose to do, I, as the saboteur, would criticise it, pretending all the time to be in favour of a big defence plan.
Do I remember the attitude of the Communists before the Second World War? I think I do. “War, what for?” was their slogan. They tried to say that Australia was not in danger; that the war was no concern of Australians; that people were trying to blow the crisis up into something bigger than it was when Britain was falling, when bombs were raining on London, by saying that this did not matter to Australia; that this was not our concern. At the same time they tried to create class hatred by saying: “ Let the rich pay for the war. Let the rich send their sons. We workers are being treated unfairly. We workers should strike for higher wages.” I put it to the House that there is no perceptible difference between the attitude of the Communist Party on that occasion, which was treasonable, and the performance that we have seen in the House today.
A moment ago the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J.. F. Cairns) was talking about people crying “ Wolf “. Let me tell the Mouse and the honorable member some of the story of the boy who cried “Wolf”. He was left by his father in the hut. The first time he saw the wolf in the shadows and he said nothing. Then he saw the head of the wolf emerging and he cried “ Wolf “. His father came to the rescue, but the wolf had gone before his father arrived. The next time the boy waited until the wolf was out in the open and was coming towards the hut before he cried “Wolf”. His father came to the rescue again, but by the time his father arrived the wolf had gone. The father beat the little boy up for crying unnecessarily. The next time, as the wolf got to the hut, the boy cried “Wolf” and his father said: “lt is only that idiotic little kid again “. And soon the boy was not crying any more because the wolf had torn his throat out. That is the story of the boy who cried “ Wolf “. The only one who came out of that story well was the wolf. I put it to honorable members opposite that no cries of “ Wolf “ have been raised without justification. If the wolf has gone, that is because the cries were raised. Part of the wolf’s plan is to have people disregard those cries.
There has been an inherent contradiction in the attitude of members of the Opposition. I think it was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) who said that from now on Australia would have to learn to live in a sea of turbulence - I think that was the word he used - south of Asia. Yet his whole philosophy, his whole outlook is to disregard the unfortunately correct diagnosis of turbulence that he has made in relation to the situation that we face, lt is a situation of turbulence and, as he said, it is likely to be a long standing situation. We have to undertake long term plans to deal with it.
One of the things that we have to do - not the only thing - is to put our manpower situation in order so that we may meet the threat coming south. Australians live, and for the rest of our generation will live, with a lack of security quite unknown to any previous generation of Australians. I say this with the very greatest reluctance: Unhappily, the old, outmoded ways of thinking about these matters no longer hold good. The old way was much better, but it is not our fault that it is no longer any good.
I have spoken of the contradiction or contrast inherent in the speech and attitude of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. But what about the honorable member for Yarra? Only a couple of weeks ago in this chamber we heard him elaborate a strategy of abandoning all our friends on the mainland of Asia and concentrating on some kind of hypothetical line from Kamchatka to Darwin. I thought that that strategy was unfortunate and, doubtless by coincidence, would play into the hands of our Communist enemies. Nevertheless, one would have expected the honorable member for Yarra to have been consistent in his advocacy of that strategy. I thought - perhaps in my innocence - that we would have Australian troops going north and, no doubt, singing: “We are going to hang out our washing on the Jim Cairns line “. But now the Cairns line is to be held by somebody else. He would have Australia abandon this policy. Cannot honorable members see that here again is something advocated by the honorable member for Yarra which must be pleasing to our Communist enemies? First, he said’: “Let us abandon our friends in Asia, and retreat to -an island line “. Now he says: “ Let us not hold even this island line. The holding of it is not our business. We are not to be concerned with this island line that I have advocated. Instead, we are to be concerned only with things here in Australia.” This is not at all realistic.
We do not at present know, and perhaps we shall never be able to know much in advance, whether we shall have to commit Australian troops overseas for the defence of Australia. The only consideration of which we have perpetually certain knowledge is that Australian troops must be used in the most effective way for the defence of Australia. Events will show from time to time whether they can be used most effectively overseas or in Australia. Those events are in the control of our enemies very largely, not in our control, and we shall have to conform to them. It is necessary, therefore, that our forces be able to operate either at home or overseas at short notice for the defence of our own territory. It may be - we hope this will be so - that our defence line will be forward of our shores. But this may prove impracticable. Our defence line may be on the beaches of Sydney or the shores near Darwin. We hope that this will not be so, but we cannot tell now. In the present situation, it is impossible for us to be certain. Therefore, we need forces that can be used effectively in either eventuality.
Forces mean formations. The time scale now is short. It is not possible to tear formations apart as we did with the citizen forces and the Australian Imperial Force in the last war and to regroup them in other battalions and units. This is no longer possible. We must have formations in being. Therefore, because we cannot tell in advance whether they will be committed overseas or on Australia shores - this unhappily is one of the facts of the situation - these formations must have flexibility and the ability to operate either in Australia or overseas. This seems to be so elementary and obvious as scarcely to bear arguing, Sir. We must have formations all of which can be committed to action without being torn apart because some of their members are volunteers for overseas service and some are not. This means that, if we have national service, it must be national service with an obligation to serve overseas when called on. In a way, we hope that, if service has to be given, it will be overseas service, because this would mean that the horrors of war would not touch the coasts of Australia. It would be better if our defence effort could be made overseas. But at present none of us can guarantee that this would be the case.
Honorable members opposite have made great play with the fact that there has been a change in the Government’s policy. They ask: “What is the change in the situation that has brought this about?” I for one would agree with Opposition members that the Government’s policy should have changed sooner. I have said for a long time in this House and elsewhere that I believed that our policy should be changed. However, let us be fair. We ought to realise that three or four recent events, some of which have occurred in very recent weeks, have made a great difference to the outlook. Let me list three of these events. First, there was the fall of Khrushchev in Moscow, perhaps the prelude to a new alliance between Moscow and Peking. If this new alliance should be formed, the threat of the Communist Party in Indonesia would be very much greater than it has been hitherto. Indonesia, after all, is our nearest neighbour. At present, no one can estimate the significance of what has happened in the Kremlin, but if this rapprochement between Moscow and Peking should take place, Australia’s strategic position would worsen greatly overnight. Secondly, there has been the explosion of a nuclear weapon by China. It is all very well for the honorable member for Yarra to say that everybody knew this was to happen. Indeed, all of us feared it. Now that it has happened, it has surely made a difference to the situation. Let us not forget that even the Russians view it seriously. Suslov, the key spokesman for the Russians, has said that Mho, it he obtains nuclear weapons, will kill thousands of millions of mankind, because he means thermonuclear war. Does this make no difference?
Thirdly, we have had the announcement of the decision by the United Kingdom, under its new Government, to give up nuclear weapons. It will therefore become a negligible power in South East Asia. It is for us terrible that Great Britain, by far our closest ally, has chosen, if the announcement of its new Government’s policy is to be believed, to weaken itself and make itself incapable of protecting us in this theatre. Australia’s security will go down with a bump if the announced policy of the new Labour Government in Britain is ever put into practice. I hope it never will be put into practice, at least until there is general and controlled disarmament - something that I have always advocated. I hope that, until that desirable day comes, Britain will retain the power to give to Australia the means of survival. A few weeks ago, we had two friends - the United Kingdom and the United States of America - either of which was in a position to guarantee our survival. Today, it looks as though we may have only one. It may be no coincidence that Great Britain, just as it is talking of dispensing with its nuclear capacity, is talking also about re-introducing conscription. The two things, in a way, are alternatives for home defence. If you have a nuclear umbrella, you may have less need’ for a conscription overcoat, lt is unwise to be without either. Perhaps I should not be speculating at this distance, but the British decision to reconsider the whole matter of conscription may well be related to the fact that it is abandoning its nuclear capacity.
These three developments - the change in the Kremlin, the explosion of a nuclear weapon by China and the announcement of the projected abandonment of nuclear weapons by the British - have happened in the last few weeks. Having happened in the last few weeks, they may well have served to change the Australian Government’s outlook. I agree with the Opposition that the Government’s outlook should have changed earlier, but at least the Opposition should agree with me that we should be gratified now at the change. If honorable members opposite were loyal Australians they would support the measure and not endeavour to sabotage it. They would support it and not endeavour to raise all sorts of fictitious and emotional issues, of the falsity of which they themselves are very well aware, in order to try to to defeat the Government’s plans. Are they so little that they can think only of the advantages to their Parly? Have they forgotten the paramount duty of this Parliament - our paramount responsibility to see to the survival of the Australian people? This is what the Bill is about. It relates to the capacity of the Australian people to survive in an environment which unhappily is becoming more hostile.
I have spoken of great and sudden changes but honorable members will know that other slower changes have been accumulating over past months and in past weeks have assumed new and ominous appearances. The confrontation policy, so called, of Indonesia in recent weeks seems to have flamed almost into open war. Is this something which honorable members opposite forget? The Opposition’s attitude to this measure is regrettable - I almost said it was degraded - because it is playing on emotions in a way which it knows is prejudicial to the survival of the Australian people. The Opposition should be ashamed of what it is doing. It is no coincidence that the most vociferous advocates of this policy in the Opposition ranks are also those members of the Opposition who in the past have had the closest associations with Communism and the closest parallelism with Communist ideas. The spectrum emerges in the speech we heard a few minutes ago from the honorable member for Yarra (Dr.
This measure is a first measure only. Whether we have to go further has to be decided, not just by the Government’ but by events outside Australia. We have to get ready for those events. It is no great hardship to batten down for the storm. The storm will not be of our making, but we have to be ready. Unless we get our manpower situation in order, we cannot be ready. I do not myself believe that 4,000 or 6,000 men meet the situation, but I do know that the capacity to expand your forces in time of need is improved if you make a start now. The sooner we start, the better. If events which we cannot control require in the future a greater rate of expansion, then it will be well if we have these foundations well and truly laid. Indeed, it will be well if we can get this matter behind us now instead of allowing the Australian people to be divided, as the Opposition has shown it is capable of trying to divide them in moments of still greater crisis. I have only to recall again to the House the attitude and actions of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) at a time of actual war when he tried to divide the Australian people on this issue. He tried to divide not just the House and the Liberals but the Australian people and the Labour Party itself. He tried to organise and to stab John Curtin in the back. This is the extent to which he has shown he would go in his policy of division. In those days the fires were not set in such a period of bushfire danger, because in those days Russia and the Communists were for a brief moment on our side. Today we have the position where all the underground mechanism of the Communist Party will be organised behind the left wing Labour members, who have succeeded in saddling on their Party as a whole the responsibility for opposing the measures necessary for the survival of Australia. I regret thi? very much.
Sir, these measures may be insufficient. Such criticism could be sustainable, but at least they are the necessary first measures to be undertaken. They are incomplete. Things like repatriation benefits and reabsorption into industry - the measures which will see to it that no person suffers because he has been called up - are still to come. They will come before anybody is called up. The Government will see that this is done. But we must start somewhere. This is the right place to start. Further, unless this is done you run the risk in the future of having the country divided on something which - must be done at a time when division could be fatal to the life of the whole Australian people. Sir,’ I have no hesitation in supporting the Bill.
.- The honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) makes it extremely difficult for one to remain an opponent of euthanasia. He has been so erratic in the statements he has made in this House and outside that it is absolutely amazing that members of. the Liberal Party have not taker, some action to remove him from his seat in this Parliament. The honorable member, who has just made a statement on defence, in the early years of the last war was either court.martialled or asked to resign his commission because of an almost traitorous action against the defence of Australia. This man talks about the need for Australia to do something about its defence because mainland China recently exploded an atom bomb. But he is satisfied with the Government’s intention to put into the Army 4,200 of our young men in the next 12 months or so. That is the only decision of the Government that will be fulfilled in the immediate future.
The honorable member for Mackellar congratulated the Government on taking the magnanimous step of putting 4,200 of our young men in the Army and claimed that this is necessary because mainland China has exploded an atom bomb. He suggested also that this action is necessary because the Government in the Unted Kingdom has been changed. He said: “A few weeks ago we had two friends; now we have only one “. I would remind him and other honorable members that Australian troops are serving in Malaya not under any treaty made with Malaya but under a treaty made between Malaya and the United Kingdom. The 4,200 young boys who are to be taken overseas if necessary next year and the 6,000 or 7,000 who are likely to be taken overseas in the following year apparently will go to Malaya without our having any agreement with that country and, in the thinking of the honorable member for Mackellar, they will go to a place that will bc left by the United Kingdom Government.
The Bill that we are discussing is a dishonest Bill born out of a dishonest statement. Neither the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) nor the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) when he made a statement a few days ago was honest with the Parliament or the people. This is the second time in a period of 12 months that the defence of Australia has been made a matter of urgency just prior to an election. In 1963, before the House of Representatives election, we had a mad panic about the need to find a replacement for the Canberra bomber. Now, just on the eve of the Senate election, we again have a mad panic about the need to increase the number in our armed forces.
– Do you deny the need?
– I deny no need at all, and 1 have been more consistent in my attitude to defence, and so have many members of the Labour Party, than have members on the other side of the House. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) should be reminded of statements that were made by the honorable members for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) and Mackellar in this House 12 months ago. The honorable member for Chisholm said -
The Government will be slaughtered if it goes to an election with the nation’s defences in their present state.
The honorable member for Mackellar said -
The Government has been in office for 1) years and is now caught with its pants down.
The call-up of 4,200 young men now placates the honorable members for Mackellar and Chisholm who expressed those sentiments 12 months ago.
If we mean to talk about the defence of Australia, let us be realistic. Let us have a look at the plans and programmes that have been outlined by the Government in the last six months and we will see whether honesty in attitude towards defence . is on the side of .the Government or on the side of the Opposition. The Government, particularly in the last two years, has made defence an election issue. Just prior to the House of Representatives election in 1963, it decided to purchase the TFX bombers, and now it has raised this issue of the conscription of our young men for overseas service. It is no wonder that the youths of Australia are not prepared to enlist. in our defence forces. The Government has never shown its great belief in the need to do something about our defences. As the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) has said, this Government has cried “ Wolf “ on defence too often. No-one believes that the Government’s actions at this time are necessary. Many people admit that something should be done, but because the Government in the time it has been in office has not been prepared to make any worthwhile decisions, these people will accept this action as at least some move for the defence of Australia.
The young people of Australia are not convinced by the statements that are made regularly in this House by such men as the honorable member for Mackellar and others who continually raise the Communist bogy but who never once have gone outside and tried to do something about it. They attack the Communists when they speak in the House but they never aol in any field of endeavour outside the House in an attempt to curb the activities of the Communists. I would say that a number of honorable members opposite are entitled to belong to industrial unions, but I doubt very much whether more than five or six of them have ever voted at a meeting of an industrial union. It is apparent from history that the Communists gain control of a country by first controlling the industrial movement. Honorable members opposite continually criticise the actions of honorable members on this side of the House who have been trying to curtail the activities of Communists for a number of years. Government supporters have derided Opposition members, have criticised them and ridiculed them, but they may be called on to answer for their actions. In his defence statement, the Prime Minister said -
It is very much to be feared that if Indonesia provoked a war, the only people in Indonesia who would get advantage from it would be the Communists, ever ready to thrive on disorder and defeat.
Honorable members opposite are trying to thrive on the gains of Communists wherever they are made, but if they provoke Indonesia to a state of war they will have to answer for the fact that Communists have really taken over. I am not suggesting for one moment that there is not sufficient reason for us to do something about our defence. It is necessary to do so. Opposition members, including the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), have said on a number of occasions that the defences of Australia should be efficient and adequate. But the Government puts 4,200 men into our armed forces, pats itself on the back and says: “ This the answer; this is the thing most needed to be done “.
The Government’s record on defence is deplorable. We have only to look at the Service portfolios since the Government took office to realise this. There have been four Ministers for Defence, five Ministers for Supply, four Ministers for the Army and eight Ministers for Air. Is there any reason to believe that the Government has regarded defence as a matter of any importance? There have been 17 defence statements made by the Government and the legislation we are discussing now follows closely on the legislation to introduce an Emergency Reserve. That legislation was introduced on 15th October 1964. But the same degrees of urgency regarding the defence of Australia and the deterioration of affairs in South East Asia were not evident in the speech made by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge). As a matter of fact the proposals that were introduced in October 1964 were foreshadowed in a statement made by the Minis ter for Defence in June 1964. The Government has played with defence. It has not convinced the Australian people that there is need for our young people to enlist and that there is need for Australia’s defences to be more adequate than they are.
This is a dishonest piece of legislation. I will show from the speeches of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) that the Government in introducing this legislation has turned a complete somersault. The speech the Minister for the Army made to the National Congress of the Returned Servicemen’s League in Hobart, Tasmania, on 26th October has been quoted from several times. I am sorry to have to do this, but because members on the Government side have continually interjected and said: “ Repeat the whole of the speech “ I intend to quote lengthy extracts not just from this speech, which was made a matter of only a couple of weeks ago, but from an earlier speech of the Minister for the Army. However, during his speech to the R.S.L. Congress, the Minister said -
I could perhaps say, however, that we have not introduced conscription up to this point in time because our military advisers have indicated in the clearest and most unmistakable terms that it is not the most effective way of creating the Army we need to meet the situation we face. I stress that this is military advice.
Later in that same speech he said -
Many people seem to be of the opinion that conscription would solve all our problems. I think ‘ I have said enough already to indicate clearly and unmistakably that it would not. The need for long-term regulars, of people prepared to make the Army a career, would be greater, not smaller, if conscription were introduced. Unless the proportion of long-term regulars to conscripts is high enough, the Army could ‘ be rendered largely ineffective. What is the use of an Army, however large, unless it is capable of meeting the situations we are likely to face? So, conscription or no conscription, we are still faced with a major problem.
This speech was a repeat of a substantial proportion of a speech the Minister made in this House on 20th August 1964 during the course of the Budget debate. I think it is necessary to give the background to the speech which the Minister made then. At that stage back bench members on the Government side had spoken on the Budget - and I see at least three of them in the chamber now - and said that the Government should do something about introducing national service training. After they had spoken, and spoken quite violently on this topic, the Minister came into the House, undoubtedly with the imprimatur of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, because this was to be the Government’s answer intended to lay low the dissidents on its own back benches. His speech was an indication of Government policy. Having made it he was not criticised in any way. He was not told that military advice was contrary to what he said, so he went to the R.S.L. Congress two months later and virtually repeated the speech. During the period when the Minister was making these two speeches - in August and in October - a complete military defence review was proceeding, the Prime Minister now has the audacity to suggest. In the opening paragraph of his defence statement the Prime Minister said -
For some months the Department of Defence ami the Service and Supply Departments, in close collaboration with the Chiefs of Staff Committee, have been making a complete reassessment of our defence needs and programme.
He further said -
The Government has exhaustively studied the reports placed before it, and has consulted closely wilh its professional military advisers.
I want honorable members to note the word “ consulted “, because I will return to it later. The speech made by the Minister for the Army on 20th August undoubtedly expressed’ Government policy at that time, because if it were not Government policy then not even the Minister for the Army, inexperienced and naive as he might be, would have been prepared to go to the R.S.L. Congress and repeat his statement. He was the spokesman for the Government, and undoubtedly had the blessing of Cabinet and of the Prime Minister. The statements he made in this House were much more forthright than the statements he made to the, R.S.L. Congress. In the first instance - and this appears at page 4S / of “ Hansard “ of 20th Augusthe said - ll Iras been said time and time again by the Government that we base our defence planning on a cold war - limited war situation and, further more, that we relate this particular situation to the possibility of conflict in the South East Asian area.
That is exactly the same proposition which the Prime Minister put before us in his defence statement, namely, that our military needs are closely allied with the needs of the South East Asian area. The Minister continued -
Much of the criticism assumes, for instance, that Armageddon is just around the corner, that we should be basing our defence planning, for example on the belief that we are in imminent danger of attack or invasion.
The speech was made only three months ago. No honorable member opposite has indicated that Armageddon is any closer. Nobody, including the Minister for the Army and the Minister for Labour and National Service, has said that it is any closer. The situation is just as bad now in Vietnam as it was then. The confrontation of Malaysia was going on in August the same as it is going on now. One little incident occurred - the intrusion of fewer than 100 Indonesian guerrillas into Malaysia. They were quickly repelled by the Australian troops there. This was the first time that Australian troops had been in action in Malaysia for a number of years. These are the only incidents in South East Asia that Government members can indicate which could have changed the situation. If there are any other incidents which have changed the pattern of the Government’s thinking since August, surely it is up to the Prime Minister to be honest with the Parliament and with the people and to give, chapter and verse, the reason why the Government’s policy has changed so rapidly.
Is it because the United States of America has asked - and rightly so - that we should take a greater part in our commitments under the South East Asia Treaty Organisation or the A.N.Z.U.S. Pact or any of the other agreements we have with the United States? Are these the factors which have caused the rapid change in the Government’s thinking? I stress that in August 1964 the Minister for the Army undoubtedly espoused Government policy on conscription. Later in his speech on that occasion the Minister said -
Today we have a strength of approximately 24,000. Our target for early 1967 is 28,000. We expect and hope that we will be able to make up this leeway that we will achieve our planned target by 1967 . . .
Yesterday, in the House, the Minister said that it cannot be done, that it is not capable of being done. What has happened between August and now to make him change his mind on this? Three or four times in the speech that he made in August the Minister used the phrase: “This is the unanimous advice of our military advisers “. What kind or military advisers have we? Are they all a lot of Colonel Blimps? Are they people who change their minds from week to week even though the strategic situation has not changed to any great extent, at least from an exterior point of view? Or are changes made in our defence policy simply for political reasons? I think the answer undoubtedly is that the Government has made these changes purely for political reasons. Again, in the forthcoming Senate election campaign, the Government wants to do as it did during the House of Representatives election campaign in 1963. It wants to try to convince the Australian people that there is danger right at our doorstep.
Later in the speech to which I have referred, and which is recorded on page 438 of “ Hansard “, the Minister for the Army said -
Even if we do not achieve it -
He was talking about the target requirement for our armed forces - we shall not be far from it. In any case, as honorable member will know, the Government has made a decision to amend the Defence Act to provide for a Regular Army Emergency Reserve which will be well able to fill any gap that is left.
But yesterday he said: “ We cannot possibly do it “. However, the Minister for Defence, who introduced the earlier legislation on 15th October, was then satisfied that the proposal would be sufficient to take up any gap that might be left. I again repeat that the Minister for the Army was stating policy when he made his speech in August this year. If it were not Government policy, why was he allowed to make a similar speech to the R.S.L. National Congress in October this year? Not only did he make that speech on 26th October 1964 but also, 24 hours before the whole of the speech was shown to be utter nonsense, he distributed a roneoed copy of it to every member of this Parliament. He was proud of the speech that he made in August 1964; he was proud of the speech that he made to the R.S.L. Congress in October 1964 because, for the first time, the Prime Minister had smiled upon him and told him that he could espouse Government defence policy.
I do not blame him for making that speech. I would have fallen for the trap too.
But I would have expected the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet at least to have called me aside and to have said: “ Jim, do not send out that speech of yours. We have made you look such a dope.” But they let him go ahead. I forgive the Minister, but if I were he, I would not forgive the Prime Minister, the Minister for Labour and National Service or the Minister for Defence. I would put their names in my little black book and I would never forget them. In the speech of August 1964 there is a complete outline of the scheme that it is now proposed to introduce. There is a reference to boys of 20 years of age being called up for two years’ training and then spending three years with the Citizen Military Forces, and being eligible to serve overseas.
After outlining the scheme that we are now discussing the Minister asked this question: “Why, then, have we not introduced national service training? “ He answered his own question later in the speech in this way -
We have not introduced it because to do so would be against the unanimous advice of our military advisers.
Not only did he say those things but he devoted a great deal of his speech to outlining the defects inherent in national service training. I think those statements must be quoted. He said -
A national service training scheme is not a source of long-service officers, non-commissioned officers, technicians, tradesmen, specialists and instructors. These are the people who are scarcest at the present time, and it is precisely these people who would be diverted from their current operational roles by the necessity to train national servicemen.
In other words, the attributes to which we attach the greatest importance - readiness, efficiency, availability - would be substantially reduced by a national service scheme on any worthwhile scale in the circumstances existing at present.
Does the Minister now regard an inflow of 4,200 into the Army as a worthwhile scheme? If it is not a worthwhile scheme, why introduce it? If it is a worthwhile scheme, will it not contain all the defects and deficiencies that the. Minister outlined? The Minister for Labour and National Service, who is in charge of the Bill, is at the table. Did he believe in these things, as the Minister for the Army did, in August 1964?
– How many men does the honorable member think we should have?
– I would be quite happy to have a conference with the Minister for the Army at any time and to tell him my views on the defence of Australia, but I would tell him in confidence because I have seen so many times how ideas that Labour has espoused on the economic situation and on defence have been taken by the Government and claimed as its own. I will tell him what he needs to know. He is a young Minister, he is very inexperienced, and he has certainly copped the bucket since he became Minister for the Army. It is not for me to tell the Minister these things. We enunciated our policy during the 1963 election campaign. The Government has taken a couple of our proposals and has introduced them. We are quite satisfied with that.
The only point at issue is that we believe that the volunteer system can succeed. In the speech of August 1964 from which I have quoted so fully the Minister said that to introduce a scheme to take in 15,000 young men would cost about £40 million a year after the first five years. The proposed scheme now before us will take in about one-half that number. A rough calculation reveals that this will cost about £20 million a year. I do not think the Government has made any real attempt to recruit young men into our Army. Why has it not conducted a full scale television propaganda programme? Why has it not held rallies? Why has it not sent some of its officers to our high schools in an endeavour to bring before young boys the advantages of Army life? A full scale programme in the Press, on radio and on television for three or six months certainly would not cost anything near the £20 million that the proposed scheme will cost after it has settled down in five years or more.
The fina] point I want to make is that the Minister for the Army, in his speech in August in this House and in his statement before the R.S.L. Congress, stipulated on a number of occasions that he was acting on military advice, but nowhere in the speech out of which this dishonest Bill was born, and which was made by the Prime Minister, is there a statement of that kind. There are statements to the effect that the
Government had full consultations with its military advisers and with Service chiefs. I can consult with anyone but it does not necessarily follow that I will follow the advice that I receive. I want to know whether the Government is still acting on military advice. If it is acting on military advice, what has caused our military advisers to change their minds? If it is not acting on military advice, who made this important decision? Was it McMahon, the Master Mariner? Was it Pilot Officer Paltridge? Was it Field Marshal Menzies, retired? Was it Frogman Holt? Who made this important decision? If the military advisers did not make it, if they change their minds so quickly, it is time that we got rid of them. If the military advisers have not changed their minds and members of the Cabinet made this important decision, it is up to them to be men enough to admit that they did so and not to pass the buck to their military advisers. Let me say that the Labour Party believes in the adequate defence of Australia. We are a party of peace but we are not a pacifist party.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, on three points. The honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) said quite falsely that I expressed myself as being satisfied with a call-up of 4,000. That is directly the opposite to what I said. Secondly, he said that I do not fight the Communists outside this House. That is an outrageous falsehood. Thirdly, he said that no Government member had given reasons why, in the last four months, there had been any change in the situation. Those reasons have been given by myself and other speakers on the Government side. The record should bc set straight on those matters.
Mr. JESS (La Trobe) 13.56].- After hearing the speech delivered by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), those members of the public who may be listening to the debate this afternoon might well wonder what we are debating in this National Parliament. They might well wonder whether the issue before this
Parliament and the people of Australia is regarded by the Opposition as having any importance at all. Therefore, I suggest it is only reasonable that those who may be listening to the debate should be told what has happened in this House over the last two days.
It will be remembered that we came into this House yesterday to debate the National Service Bill. A number of honorable members were to speak on this question of national service, which this Government realises affects the manhood of the nation and indeed everybody in it. After only a small number of Opposition members had spoken, we found that there had been an arrangement made between the leader of the House (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that the debate on the National Service Bill would be concluded at ten minutes to six last night. The reason given for the arrangement was that the members of the Labour Party did not wish to debate the National Service Bill any further; that they preferred to discuss the broader issues covered by the defence statement made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). Of those members of the Labour Party who had spoken before ten minutes to six last night, some did not mention national service at all and those who did refer to it reduced the debate to a farce. They all endeavoured to drag the discussion down to the lowest level to which I have seen any debate sink since I have been a member of this Parliament. Let me now read the list of speakers as it stood at ten minutes to six last night.
– I rise to order. As you well know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, there are no such things as lists of speakers. Under the Standing Orders, a member rises and catches Mr. Speaker’s eye if he wishes to speak. Therefore, any list from which the honorable member quotes is not official. It has no standing in this Parliament.
– There is no substance in the point raised by the honorable member.
– It is obvious that members of the Labour Party now intend, to impede me in making my speech. I shall now read the list-
– I rise to order. Do I take it, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that you are to call speakers as their names appear on a list and not as they rise?
– There is no substance in the point raised by the honorable member.
– I will quote the relevant Standing Order to you in a moment even though it means interrupting the honorable member again.
– Order! I have ruled that there is no substance in the point raised by the honorable member.
– If the honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) takes umbrage, I shall not read the list, although I assure him that I have one. I shall not read it because I do not want to use up the time that is available to me to deal with some of the snide and contemptible remarks that he made last night.
– I rise to order. I ask whether the use of the terms “ snide “ and “ contemptible “ when referring to an honorable member of this House is parliamentary. If you rule that the words are not parliamentary, I shall ask you to have them withdrawn.
– I withdraw them. I do not want my time wasted by honorable members opposite.
– I rise to order-
– Order! The honorable member for Grayndler has twice mentioned his point and I have ruled that there is no substance in it.
– I rose to refer to the honorable member’s reference to snide remarks. Personally, I do not object to such charges because the people who know me will not believe the honorable member for La Trobe, and the people who know him will not take any notice of him.
– As the Opposition is so tender on this point, I shall endeavour to continue with my remarks. In my opinion, this debate on national service has been prostituted by the Australian Labour Party. It has been prostituted for party ends and party ends alone.
– I rise to order. This is going beyond a joke. I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to rule whether the honorable member is entitled to make a reflection on the House by stating that a debate has been prostituted. This subject has been ruled on many times.
– To my distinguished colleague, who is blushing all over his head at the moment, I can only say that I will withdraw the remark and say that the debate has been lowered to serve party political ends. If he is satisfied with that, I shall leave it at that.
I come now to what the Labour Party has put forward as its policy - if it has any policy at all - with relation to the dangers confronting Australia. Every honorable member of the Opposition who has spoken has sought to make the point to the Australian public that there is no danger whatsoever confronting this country at the present time. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) devoted the whole of his half-hour to discussing the need for an educational policy in Australia. There may be a need for such a policy, but my point is that he did not mention anywhere in his speech the need to defend ourselves against the threat confronting us.
I come now to the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron). I do not think the speech which he delivered has been equalled for venom by any other speech delivered during the whole of my time in this Parliament. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) argued that it was ridiculous to pay only £16 a week to anyone who was called up for national service. The honorable member forgot to mention that those who will be called up will be kept, that they will be fed, clothed and given free medical treatment. He made the farcical suggestion that in order to induce people to join the Army we should offer over £20 a . week. Perhaps he would like us to offer gold Cadillacs as well. The honorable member spoke of everything but the effect these things would have on our defence vote. He knows only too well how much extra financial inducements would add to the cost of defending the country. I cannot take his remarks seriously.
One of the worst things that I have noticed during the debate has been the endeavour by the Opposition to introduce class warfare into the discussion. Speaker after speaker on the Opposition side has consistently suggested that only the children of rich people will obtain exemptions and deferments. I have never been able to discover - and I do not think anybody else in Australia has; - who are the rich people in this country. Honorable members opposite speak as though members on the Government side are the rich people in Australia. Was the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) exempted because his family may have had some wealth? Were you, Mr. Mackinnon, exempted because you had some wealth? Does the Opposition suggest that His Excellency the Governor-General was exempted because of wealth? I remind them that he won the Victoria Cross. Do they suggest that a former Governor-General, Lord Gowrie, was exempted because of wealth?
I agree that during wartime there are many reasons why people either cannot, or may not desire to go to war. For instance, there are health reasons and reasons of responsibility. But when honorable members opposite talk in this way about exemptions and deferments, do they know what they are talking about? Is it suggested that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro did not go to the war because he was wealthy? Is it suggested that the honorable member for Grayndler did not go because of his wealth? Is it suggested that the honorable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr. Curtin) did not go because he was wealthy? I have never heard such humbug and such disgraceful statements made in this chamber before.
Let us analyse also some of the other speeches made by members of the Opposition. Let us refer to the speech made by the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) who stated, as he has stated over a long period in this chamber and outside it, at peace congresses and everywhere else, a policy which I find very difficult to reconcile with or to have any bearing on the defence of Australia. Let me read what the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston) read yesterday of a statement by the honorable member for Yarra contained in the Spring edition of “Dissent” this year. I presume that the honorable member for Yarra was referring to the Labour Party when he wrote -
We are situated in the political spectrum next to the Communists and they will stand for many things for which wc also stand. We cannot therefore oppose those things. Because of our position in the political spectrum we will find ourselves in the same places as Communists on some occasions,, doing the same things for the tame ends. 1 go then to a further article which appeared in the “New Age” of 1st October 1964. The author of this article is Jim Cairns, M.P., who wrote -
The Menzies Government is again confident and complacent. The 1963 election has put the Prime Minister and his boys on top of the world. All we have to do, according to them, is to give token support to everything America wants us to (like 60 men in Vietnam) and then America will use massive resources to stop the Asian explosion from touching Australia. 1 cannot understand this statement, nor can many people outside this House. Whenever the honorable member speaks of America it seems to be in a derogatory manner. We never hear him speaking in this way of mainland China, Russia, Cuba or any of the people that to the normal Australian appear to be against us. We never hear a word about them. The article continued, and I shall leave out a little which is irrelevant -
Nor is it simply the “southward thrust of Chinese Communism” as Mr. Hasluck says it is. What is involved is what the American, Professor W. W. Rostow, describes: “ Old societies are changing their ways in order to create and maintain a national personality on the world scene . . .
After giving a few more explanations of his outlook, he continued -
This is a challenge that has not been met. It cannot be met in the old ways. Let us determine to do our share to work out new ways.
The honorable member never goes further, never says what these new ways are. But does this have any relation to the closeness on the spectrum that some sections of the Labour Party - I admit that it is some only - have to Communism? I think that this is something that the people of Australia ought to know.
Honorable members on the other side of the chamber have asked why we say that there are dangers to Australia. Most of them know that there are dangers to Australia, but because of their political line, because of the domination of the 36 men, they are not allowed to come into this chamber and say so. Where is the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Harding) who, when he returned from South Viet nam, was quoted in a newspaper as saying that the threat is intense and great and that the people of Australia must have some form of national service? The honorable member for Herbert has. been sent home; goodness knows whether we will ever see him again. Where is the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin)? We know that he has unfortunately been ill, but he is a man who has had the courage to stand up in this chamber and say that there are threats confronting Australia. He has been prepared to make himself unpopular in his own party to protect, advise and warn the Australian people. The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) started off as Labour’s defence expert and is, and was, a distinguished Naval officer. How can he live with himself when he goes back to his electorate and has to confront his former colleagues and, indeed, anybody for whom he is responsible?
The Labour Party’s policy appears to be: “ We will defend Australia only on the Australian mainland “. This seems to have been said by every Opposition speaker. Do they expect, if they have this outlook, that the Americans will come to our aid? Do they expect the British, who are already in Malaysia, far from their homeland, to say: “ Those Australians have done a grand job on their home soil. Let us recruit everybody in Great Britain and send them out to protect Australia.”? The British will not say that, nor could they be expected to.
Let me return to one indication of what the threats to Australia could be. We know that the South East Asian scene can change quickly. The honorable member for Yarra made some mention of the Communist nuclear weapon. The Chinese nuclear weapon explosion can, and will, have a great effect on the small nations which are close to China. The small nations want to know whether we and the S.E.A.T.O. powers and the Western powers are prepared to play our part, or whether we are just talking. It has been suggested frequently by honorable members opposite that we are just talking, and up to this point I will say that we have been just talking; but at least we are now starting to do something. I only hope that things go our way and that we have sufficient time.
I now refer also to Indonesia. Indonesia has carried on her confrontation policy against Malaysia for some time. There is little hope that she will move away from this policy. For one thing, I doubt whether President Sukarno could afford to do so and still exist politically. I wonder also whether, because of China’s might and the Chinese nuclear bomb, he may not have made an assessment and decided - we hope not, and we must do everything to stop it - to move into the China camp. If that were so, and if the Communists in Indonesia take over either through the President’s death or through a move towards Peking, the whole of S.E.A.T.O. will be leap-frogged and we shall have Communist China in mainland Asia and Indonesia as close as a few hours’ flying time from us. ] now read to the House a section of the “ Canberra Times “ of today which, under a heading “ Remote Chance of Peaceful Solution to Confrontation “, written by its Malaysian correspondent, states - “This,’’ said President Sukarno in a proclamation in August, “is the year of living dangerously.” lt was an emotional and violent speech proclaiming confrontation, that odd military euphemism for a desultory and dangerous war against Malaysia.
Malaysia is a sister Commonwealth nation to which we have a responsibility. The article continues -
Confrontation has, therefore, this week more or less reached a moment of truth for Sukarno and for Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the young Federation itself.
Sukarno has committed himself to an action from which there is no retreat. . . .
Australia has begun to recruit manpower and increase her defence expenditure to meet the threat of the year of dangerous living. Britain has reinforced all arms of her powerful forces in South East Asia. Nations such as the United States and Canada, which have been hesitant in the past to involve themselves in what may well become another South Vietnam, have sent military aid missions to Kuala Lumpur.
That is a report from a correspondent in Malaysia today.
Is there one honorable member opposite who has not mocked the suggestion that there is danger to Australia? Is there one honorable member opposite who has asked himself what the effect might be on our allies, what the effect might be on anybody who wished to mount hostility or to continue hostility, if the Australian nation made it clear that it was not prepared to meet its commitments? It has been suggested by honorable members opposite that if we need only 4,000 men we should have gone out and bought them. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro said that we should have gone out and educated those who had not been able to gain employment. Does the honorable member have any idea of what is happening in other parts of the world? Does he think that if we had had the time to do this such an action would have impressed Sukarno or any other person who may at this stage be out of line with the thinking of the free world? I suggest to the Opposition that there is only one reason why the Army is calling up 4,400 young men and that is because, in fact, it is right. The increase in numbers and the training of the men is going to be a large drain on the Army in the early stages of the scheme. But from 4,400 young men one would hope to get young officers and non-commissioned officers and one would’ hope to be able to increase the size of the Army if it should be so desired.
Let those in other parts of the world realise that this Government has made the decision that this country is prepared to defend its commitments, to defend its country in depth and to meet any enemy before it gets to Australia. I wonder how some honorable members on the other side can go home and look at their womenfolk. I wonder how they can feel proud of themselves; because what they are suggesting is that if the war comes to us here in Australia perhaps they will be able to say to their womenfolk: “We will be side by side, my darling, in the battlefront “. If this is the sort of thing honorable members opposite want to say to the womenfolk of Australia, I would suggest that the womenfolk could well give them their answer.
I was proud on Sunday night to hear what was said on the “ Four Corners “ programme. It was one of the first times tha’ I have been proud of what was said. But the Opposition, for a change, is unhappy about the programme because of the youths who were interviewed and who, I thought, were magnificent. I thought that when the young chaps were asked what they thought of the national service scheme they seemed to be enthusiastically for it. I enjoyed the meeting at the Sydney University where the young men confronting an audience, in the forefront of which were a number of Asian students - and rightly so - were saying that it seemed to them that the only people who were opposing this call-up were a certain clement who were opposed to everything. But what has the Opposition said about the programme? The only person on the programme they have criticised was a woman who spoke in favour of national service and who thought it would do something for the country. But not one member of the Opposition got up and spoke of or opposed the professor who set such a glowing example to the manhood of this country when he said: “ I will do everything I can to oppose national service and to get people not to register “.
What an exhibition. What a magnificent thing this must mean to those people in Indonesia who want to continue their actions against Malaysia and other peoples. How joyful must President Sukarno and the Communists in South East Asia be at what happened at this meeting. This was an opportunity for the Australian people to have said that we confront nobody, that we are a threat to nobody, that we are not mounting a war against anybody .but that we will observe our commitments, we will take our place and we will protect this country. What a wonderful thing that would have been to the small nations of South East Asia from whom we may require help at some future date. What a magnificent thing it would have been for the United Kingdom which has sent men from many miles away to Malaysia; what a wonderful thing it would have been to the Americans. But instead of that, every nation in South East Asia and anyone who opposes us can say that now the Australian Parliament is split throughout, that the Australian Labour Party and the Opposition do not consider that there is any threat to Australia at all. If I were one of these aggressive men I would say: “Let us knock off so and so, number one and so and so, number two, because Australia is ready and waiting and we do not need to hurry too quickly “.
This attitude of the Opposition is completely wrong. In my opinion the young men of Australia welcome this Bill. I am quite sure that anybody who has served under the national service scheme, even though in the past it was too short, or any body who has served in a battalion in Malaysia, has enjoyed the great experience which they have been given. I am sure that the young mcn of Australia wish to go out and play their part in this country’s future in defence. I consider that those who are called to serve will be the lucky people because there is one thing that every member in this House and, indeed, every man in this country, must realise: If, for one reason or other, you have never gone and been tried, you never know what the answer is to yourself. But any man who has served in the Services and has taken his part can stand with pride in any company. I think this is something which we should say to these young men. The Opposition speaks of the idle rich, lt speaks of the glory of a volunteer army. Admittedly, a volunteer army is the best army because each member of it is there with the desire to serve. The Opposition speaks of losing the flower of Australian manhood. Why have we lost the flower of Australian manhood? Because on all occasions the Opposition has met and pondered and compelled the volunteer, who was prepared to accept his responsibilities, to go away to serve, and when things have gone wrong he has been the one who has borne the first brunt. I am sure there are few men in Australia who are not prepared to play their part but the question today is whether we have time. 1 admit that the Government, in its planning in certain sections of our defence, has been slow. I have said it before and I will say it again. But the Government is now doing something. Is this any reason for Opposition members to rise and say that because we are not getting aircraft until 1968 or 1970 and because these men will not be called up for 10 months there cannot be a threat? Do Opposition members expect that if war should come to us, or if there is a threat that we should meet as far as possible from Australia’s shore, these boys should be sent without any training? Or would the Opposition prevent them from training and hold them back in Australia for the period of their training? If that is so, by the expiration of that time the war might well be over. I would suggest to honorable members on the other side, who in my opinion frequently pander to the lowest instincts of this nation, that they may well think of the words of President Kennedy who said: “ Do not ask your country what it can do for you but say to your country: ‘ What can I do for you? ‘ “.
.- Judging from the speeches made by supporters of the Government today it is fairly obvious that the gunboat diplomats - these people, relics of a bygone era which was dated with the passing of the Victorian age, epitomised by the minstrel of that period, Rudyard Kipling - are having quite a time, quite a picnic. The amazing and disturbing thing is that their approach completely eliminates any consideration of the development of the new nations in the world today - the development of the uncommitted bloc. There seems to be pervading or underlying their approach to the international problem of the world a sort of superior, paternalistic tolerance of these nations. This is amazing. Indeed, it is frightening, because these new nations are developing into one of the most powerful blocs in the world today. I resent this sort of attitude. Their views and attitudes have to be taken into consideration. Geographically and strategically placed as Australia is today, we are, I feel, inextricably involved with them and we should be associating ourselves with an investigation of what the aspirations and attitudes of these people are. Yet, the attitude of many honorable members opposite seems to be in complete contradiction of what this uncommitted bloc is thinking and of what other very significant sections of the world in general are also thinking. I think the basic presumption of a number of the Government speakers can be summed up in the words of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), reiterated or emphasised by the last speaker the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess). They suggested that a general nostrum can be introduced for the defence of this country - overseas service - and that this would stop war from reaching our own shores. This seemed to be what they were saying. Apparently those people have never heard of the fall of Singapore in World War II and apparently they have forgotten that, despite the fact that we had troops overseas before the war developed, bombing raids were carried out Bt Darwin. We must be much more objective and much more analytical in our approach to international problems. The matters to which I have referred are associated with the Government’s conscription proposal. I do not believe that the Government is sincere in that proposal. It has suddenly conjured up a state of great emergency which unavoidably compels it to introduce conscription of our young men on a selective and lottery basis. 1 will refer to those matters a little later.
I refer now to three developments to which the honorable member for Mackellar gave great prominence as factors influencing decisions on international affairs today. 1 do not believe that his interpretations of those developments or events are as accurate as he would have us believe they are. First, he suggested that the fall of Khrushchev probably will be followed by a detente between Peking and Moscow, as a result of which the P.K.I. - the Communist Party in Indonesia - will become a fearful and threatening force to us and to South East Asia. The implication in what the honorable member said seemed to be that this did not happen and will not happen while the conflict between Peking and Moscow continues.
I believe that quite the contrary is the lesson of recent history. The effect of the conflict between Peking and Moscow has been to give Peking the incentive to try to establish an area of influence in the Communist world and in sections of South East Asia. Peking has developed certain attitudes towards the West, which it expresses aggressively. However, on the other hand, Russia has effected an accommodation with the West. I believe that the world has been a much better place since Khrushchev effected that accommodation. The successors to Khrushchev have made it very clear that they intend to follow his policies of accommodation with the West. I believe that, if Peking and Moscow were to come to a detente, Peking would follow Moscow’s accommodatory style.
What I want to say about the next point made by the honorable member for Mackellar could easily have been said in relation to the first point. His next point was that the explosion of nuclear weapons by China will mean that Mao Tse-tung will kill millions. I do not know that developments in China support that theory. Although China has been aggressive in its expression, it has also been restrained. It has not attempted to attack places such as Macao, Hong Kong and Formosa. I am not expressing a proCommunist view now. This view has not been gained from reading some Communist Party publication. Several writings in which this view is expressed are available in our Parliamentary Library. I refer honorable members - particularly those honorable members opposite who suggest that there may be some Communist implication in this suggestion - to Crankshaw’s Penguin book, “ The New Cold War, Moscow v. Peking “, which deals rather extensively with many of these developments. Crankshaw points out that China, rather than being an aggressive nation and a very definite threat to world peace, has practised restraint, and that what is taking place must be seen in the context of the ideological struggle or power conflict that has taken place between Russia and China.
The third point that the honorable member for Mackellar made was that the United Kingdom’s intention to deprive itself of nuclear weapons means that henceforth it will be a negligible power in South East Asia. I do not believe that that follows, just as I do not believe that any of the things that the honorable member suggested on these three points follow. I believe that his interpretations were completely wrong. On this third point, I suggest to him that the influence of the United Kingdom has always been restricted as a result of its policies in South East Asia and that its influence has existed as a result of the conventional equipment of war or the conventional arms that it has had in that area, and not because of it being a nuclear power. The strength of a nuclear power comes from the United States of America.
However, let me move on to the legislation itself. My sympathy for the Chiefs of Staff of our Armed Services is abundant. One week we heard senior members of the Government saying that on the recommendation of the Chiefs of Staff certain action, such as conscription, would not be taken; that it would not be suitable for our military structure because we have not sufficient servicemen available to train conscripts and because, considered in totality and in relation to our element of the defence network in South East Ask, this action is unnecessary. Then a week or so later, the same senior members of the
Government come before us and say that the Chiefs of Staff have said that the only way that we oan play our part is by having conscription.
When we look at the history of the defence policy of this Government, in its practical application as contrasted with the Government’s expressed attitudes, we see that defence has been a rather evocative and hackneyed hobby horse which is trotted out pretty speedily at election times and allowed to rest between elections. It is quite obvious that the Government, in introducing this legislation, has aimed at removing heat on itself from the electorate because of its tremendous and very numerous inadequacies in other fields as well. I refer to its inadequacies or performance in the field of the national economy; its peculiar and rather solicitous interest in Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. in relation to that company’s intrastate airline activities; and its mammoth failure in the field of defence! Do not let us forget the rather scandalous things that were exposed in the course of the debate on the “ Voyager “ disaster.
As the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) pointed out, before an election the Government usually tries to associate the election . with some matter related to security or defence. Before the forthcoming Senate election, it tried to use the Australian Congress for International Co-operation and Disarmament, which was held in Sydney recently, as a lever to introduce an element of insecurity and to taint the characters of honorable members on this side of the House, purely for political purposes. But the Government floundered badly. It floundered because people whose characters were above imputation came forward, not only before the Government’s allegations were made but also after they were made, and associated themselves with that Congress. The Government was unable to impugn the Labour Party as it had hoped to do, because members of the Opposition, such as the honorable member for Yarra, the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) and others including myself, were sponsors of that Congress. So the Government had to look around urgently for some alternative. It struck on this issue.
I suggest that two or three points are obviously indicative of the fact that the
Government does not believe that there is an emergency. First, there is the obvious fact that the “Melbourne” suddenly is to be given a new lease of life by being called back from the graveyard and renovated. But that renovation will not be completed for about three or four years. That is hardly the contribution of a government which is scandalised by what is happening to our near north and which feels that there is an urgent and pressing necessity to build up our defences overnight. Nor is it the action of such a government to allow this compulsory military training or conscription to be delayed until well into the latter part of next year.
The Government suggests that the “conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia is a motivating factor, a factor which has sparked off this feeling of urgency. But as the honorable member for Yarra pointed out with great emphasis and quite correctly, the conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia has now been continuing for some considerable time - for at least 12 to 18 months. It has been continuing ever since Malaysia was established. Even before that time there seemed to be a conflict between Malaya and Indonesia. The subversion that took place recently certainly took place before the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) went to Hobart and made his speech to the National Congress of the Returned Servicemen’s League in which he denigrated the concept of conscription as an integral part of our defence structure.
Personally, I find it greatly disturbing that this Government should use things such as this legislation to upset the security of mind of individuals in our community. But I find it deplorable that the Government should be prepared, to jeopardise, with a game of chance, the delicate balance of international relations, purely for electoral motives. It is quite obvious from what has been said today that the Government is taking this action purely for electoral motives. The history of the Labour Party shows that it has always acknowledged, accepted and discharged, in a responsible manner, its duties to this country in a time of crisis. Labour has acted responsibly when no crisis has existed. We have not tried to create crises purely for electoral gain. The fact that the Australian Labour Party introduced a form of compulsory military training during the last world war indicates that, when it speaks On these matters, it does not speak irresponsibily or on the basis of a binding dogma that refuses to budge in one direction or the other. The Labour Party speaks as a party that has acknowledged and continues to acknowledge its commitments to this country. We believe that it is deplorable that the peace of mind of people in this community is played about with as it is being played about with by this Government for personal motives.
I heard the honorable member for Mackellar mention the old story about the boy who cried “Wolf”. I heard other speakers opposite say, in effect: “We saythat dangers to our security are here. They have definitely arrived. Yet the people of Australia do not . respond to the situation.” Could it be - I am certain it is - that the Government has cried “Wolf” far too often? In 1953, it cried “Wolf” and said that it had three years in which to prepare this country for a war - that it had three years in which to build up our defence forces.. It claimed that it had done everything possible to build them up and that it would continue to build them up. As always, the Government set itself up as the tribune with the right to say what should be done about the defence of this country. It is interesting to have a quick glance at the real situation of the defence forces in 1953 and subsequent years. I refer honorable members to the Twenty-ninth Report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, which contains the minutes of evidence given before the Committee on 8th August 1956 by Sir Frederick Snedden, who was then Secretary of the Department of Defence. At page 43 of the report, there appears a passage containing questions by Mr. Leslie, who is a former member of this House, and Sir Frederick Shedden’s answers. It is as follows-
Mr. Leslie.; You made a remark this morning which, perhaps, will indicate what I want to get at. You said that the Prime Minister stated at the outset in connection with this programming that the proposal was that we were to be ready for mobilisation by 1953. Would we have been? - (Sir Frederick Shedden) No, Sir.
– Would we be now? - No, Sir.
– That nearly answers all I want to say. Is that in spite of the fact that the Parliament has provided to the full the money asked for by the Defence Committee? - No, Sir. It did not provide the amount that had been asked for by the services which came to the Defence Committee.
On the one hand, the Government said in 1953 that it had three years in which to build up our defences and that it would contribute everything it could to the building up of our defences. Yet, in 1956, Sir Frederick Shedden, who was then Secretary of the Department of Defence, and who should have known something about the situation, said that in 1953 our defences were deficient and that in 1956 they were still deficient. The Government was not honouring its promises on these matters.
– It had not provided all the money asked for.
– That is correct. That is a point that was emphasised and reemphasised in the course of that inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee in 1956. The attitude of this Government seems to be that bayonets provide a more effective solution to the problems of food shortages in countries in South East Asia than do social and economic measures. This Government is not prepared to attack the social and economic problems of those countries by any means other than military force. I wish to bring to the attention of the House at this point a statement by a person who, I think, is a valued commentator in the United States of America today. This comment appears in the preface to a publication entitled “Peace: The Control of National Power “. This publication deals with the control of national power and the need for disarmament. The comment is in these words - the fact remains that foreign policy today ls often discussed as if war were still the extension of diplomacy.
The writer was Mr. Hubert “H. Humphrey, who is now Vice-President of the United
States. This states precisely what is occurring with far too many governments in the Western world, including this Government. All too often, there has been criticism of the kind of regime that we prop up and support. These regimes are described as arrogant, oppressive and corrupt. In supporting them, wc destroy our influence in the eyes of the people of the countries concerned. If we want this sort of thing - I certainly hope that we do not - we can, I suppose, by force of arms, compel the people of a country to accept a regime. But we cannot compel them to like that regime or to refrain from supporting some alternative if an alternative government presents itself and promises to solve the economic and social problems that are not being solved by regimes of the kind that we prop up. One must be careful these days, because it is so easy to sustain a smear against one’s character if one expresses oneself honestly on these issues. So, for a little support, I call on Associate Justice William O. Douglas of the United States Supreme Court. Referring to the image of the United States in the eyes of other countries, he declared -
She seems weak in principle when her so-called bastions of strength are corrupt reactionary regimes such as Iran and Formosa.
He went on to criticise United States foreign policies. So honorable members can see that one can be critical of the turn of events in international relations and foreign policy without being disloyal. Indeed, one can be motivated by intense feelings of loyalty in the hope that the shortcomings pointed to will be rectified in the effort to achieve a far better world and better relations between one’s own country and others.
Concerning the problems of social and economic aid, I should like to quote from the contribution by Professor R. I. Downing to the proceedings of the 30th Summer School of the Australian Institute of Political Science held in January of this year, when the general theme of the discussion was “Australia’s Defence and Foreign Policy “. Discussing the cost of defence and the alternatives that have to be considered - and it is in the alternatives that we can contribute to the solution of problems in other countries*- he stated -
We have recently been spending less than onethird of 1 per cent, of our product on aid, even including expenditures in New Guinea. This is less than is being done by a number oE others of the richest countries, including some less welloff in terms of income per head than Australia. It is much less than the often-expressed target for aid of 1 per cent, of product.
I believe that this is a field that we could easily explore with profit. Government supporters refuse to explore it. We shall not make any progress and the whole concept will have no value if we do not follow up this approach. I believe ‘that we could follow it up with a good return for ourselves and the countries of South East Asia.
I shudder at the philosophy of honorable members opposite. I do not know whether they realise it, but what they say, in effect, is that we shall have to live in a perpetual military garrison situation, with this perpetual arrangement of military bastions in Indonesia and Malaysia - in both the Communist and the anti-Communist parts of the South East Asian area. Do Government supporters think that we shall progress in the face of these elements of fear, suspicion and grave doubt? How do they think we can achieve what could be achieved? How do they think we can achieve these paramount goals which, after all, are part of the Christian ethic, and which can be achieved for the greatness of humanity by the contributions that nations can make to the welfare of one another, unless we are prepared to step off and, by some practical effort, demonstrate that we are determined to follow up these ideals?
This Government is more interested in talking about defence at election time in an intimidatory fashion than in doing anything else. Let us look at its defence effort and its foreign policy. Not only at the present time, but over the years during which it has been in office, this Government has said that there is imminent danger to our country and that defence forces are required and must be built up. Looking back over this Administration’s period in office, one would expect a continuing improvement in the defence structure in this country. If this continued improvement has not eventuated, we are justified in forming one or two conclusions. Either the Government has acknowledged the need to build up our forces but has been irresponsible in not acting, or it has regarded this whole issue as a piece of humbug and has had no intention of acting, because it has believed that there was no need to do so.
If we look at the Government’s contribution to defence, we find that there has been a general rundown over the years during which it has been in office. This has been going on for a long time. It started about 1954, when the Government decided - discreetly, of course - that it would limit the defence vote to about £200 million a year. I asked a question on notice about defence expenditure and received the answer on 3rd September of this year. In that answer, I was told that between the financial year 1954-55 and the financial year 1960-61 our defence expenditure did not in fact reach £200 million in any year. As a proportion of the gross national product, it fell in that period from 3.6 per cent, to 2.7 per cent.
In the period 1954-55 to 1963-64 expenditure had risen to only £260 million a year and the percentage of gross national product spent on defence had risen to only 3 per cent. We know that the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Kevin Cairns), who is interjecting, is a noted economist, so he will agree with what I have said. The Government’s contribution towards defence does not keep pace with the annual increase in our gross national product. In other words, we have been maintaining our defences on the cheap. That is so if the Government really believes that things are as serious as it claims they are. The Government has been maintaining our defences on an increasingly cheaper scale. The fixed rate of defence expenditure which the Government has maintained from 1954 to 1960 has been further reduced in terms of real purchasing power because of inflation and the rising cost of highly technical and complex hardware required by our defence forces. In a table which he prepared for the seminar to which I referred a few minutes ago Professor Downing showed how our effort has not been too strenuous by world standards and in fact has not been very significant at all. This shows, in my opinion, that the Government has not been as concerned for the welfare of this country as it has honorable members I incorporate in claimed to be. With the concurrence of “Hansard” the table referred to.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) has pointed out that the Government’s claim is that the need for conscription arises now because the forces have been unable to get sufficient volunteers. Last year 20,000 men volunteered for the Army but only 6,000 were accepted. The Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) has suggested that the people coming to the recruiting offices are flotsam and jetsam - in other words, the scum of the earth. I would have thought that the rigid discipline of military service would hardly be an attraction for this type of people. Is it suggested that only this type of person is being rejected’? I have met quite a number of people who have sought to join the forces and have been rejected. They seemed to be quite intelligent. They seemed to be of good character. Mentally, they were alert as any person in the defence forces. The Government has poured a tremendous amount of money into recruiting advertising with the aim of increasing the number of applicants to join the defence forces. The Government has’ stated openly that it wants to see more people volunteering for service in the forces. But I think the
Government has set a darg on the number of people who may enter the forces because it wants to restrict defence expenditure. The continuing deficiencies of the defence forces were bearable not only all the time up until the elections but also until a couple of weeks ago when the Government found that it had to invest a large amount of capital in the defence forces and to coerce large numbers of people into serving in the defence forces. It appears to me that the purchases being made are nothing more than purchases of items to make up for the depreciation that has taken place in the capital equipment of the Navy. The Navy has 36 ships, according to an answer that I received recently to a question. Fifteen of those ships are 15 or more years old. Of six destroyers one is 22 years old, one 14 years old and another 13 years old. Of our ten frigates, five are 20 or more years old. We have 22 combat ships. That figure excludes “Sydney”, because of age, and “Melbourne “, because of decrepitude. Six of those ships are minesweepers and I do not think you can class them as a valuable aggressive or defence force.
– They arc second hand.
– As the honorable member for Batman, who is experienced in this field, points out, they are second hand. This means that, of our 16 combat ships, 50 per cent are either past or rapidly approaching pensionable age. What the Government is proposing to do is only to replace things that have worn out during its period of office. The Government is static, ft is at a standstill. It is marking time on defence. We have reached the point where the Navy now puts almost as much energy and manpower time into fighting encroaching rust, which threatens to gorge half of its component, as it does into other necessary fields of training. Our Navy will soon be known throughout the world as the rustcan fleet. The Army is similarly afflicted. The Air Force is obsessed by obsolescence. Yet the Government is trying to inculcate into the community the idea that the Government has a continuing awareness of the need for a defence buildup - that there has been beyond our shores this ever present threat to our security which is threatening to burst.
If the Government really believed there was a threat to this country would it not have increased defences in the north of Australia? All they have there at present are 180 members of the Australian Regular Army and 47 Citizen Military Forces personnel stationed in Darwin. The Air Force has a front line defence establishment at Darwin of C47 aircraft. I am relying on which the Minister has said in this respect The Navy has a complement of 245 persons, of whom 70 are in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service. The two vessels permanently attached to H.M.A.S. “Melville” are H.M.A.S. “Bass”, which is a general purpose vessel - in other words, a small motor vessel for carrying stores - and a workboat. This is what the Government is trying to tell us has been its major contribution to defence. The Government has continually claimed that it is building up our defence forces but when we investigate what it has done we find that it has been guilty of practising a furphy. There has been practically no build-up of our defence forces. The Government is trying to use as a lever, strictly for political purposes at election time, the issue of con scription. This is an unwholesome and unnecessary issue to be introduced into the election campaign. It is unnecessary because sufficient people are volunteering for the defence forces. The Government is rejecting them because it has placed a restriction on the numbers that it wants in the forces because it is trying to curtail defence expenditure and because it knows that at this stage the urgency of which it speaks does not exist. No doubt in time we will see the £10 million that is to be spent on H.M.A.S. “ Melbourne “ go the same way as the £li million that was spent on H.M.A.S. “Hobart”. Despite the expenditure of that amount of money, “Hobart” was not used again but was sold for £186,000 to the Japanese for scrap.
It is any wonder that the average period of service in the Navy is 6.8 years, in the Army 6.6 years and in the Air Force 6.7 years? That information was supplied to me in answer to a question that I asked recently. The Army and the other Services are not retaining the men that they train. This deficiency will not be rectified by conscription but by a more realistic defence policy.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- There is not much more to be said in winding up this historic debate. I think it is an historic debate and in some .respects the parting of the ways with regard to what I felt might have been the unilateral policy in this House with regard to the future security of this country of which all of us are so proud. The honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden) was a delicious example of the disastrous dilemma into which the Australian Labour Party has fallen in its consideration of the Government’s proposal. The honorable member spent most of his time saying that the Government had erred very badly in the past in not establishing a better defence force and then he said that the Government’s proposal now to increase expenditure on defence by about 100 per cent, was a political move. Where does the honorable member stand as far as defence is concerned? He does not know. He probably is like the rest of the Opposition - standing on his head and crying with disappointment in the knowledge that the Government’s proposals will be supported by the vast majority of Australians. Some speeches by members of the Opposition reminded me of Pope’s couplet on Bolingbroke - Damn with feint praise, assent with civil leer,
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Other Opposition members, like the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), have accused those on this side of the House who have been in the Services, of being warmongers. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) reminded me of Kipling’s poem, *’ A read-headed girl was the cause of it all “. I do not suggest by any means that he is a dyed in the wool left winger. I would call him a middle of the road member on most of the problems we face. On this problem, he seemed to think that he had been appointed - I suppose he was - by the Labour Party to make the best effort he could to answer the very sound proposals of the Government and to try to convince the electors that they should vote for Labour at the Senate election.
No-one can accuse me of having had a hand in framing this proposal as an election proposition. Like the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess), I still think - I hope I am wrong - that time is running out even faster than the Government would concede at this time. Nevertheless, I congratulate the Government on what it proposes to do. It has adopted a realistic attitude towards the situation. If Opposition members say the situation has not deteriorated over the last two months, they either have not tried to understand or have not the education or the minds to understand what the deterioration has been. If they are really true Australians, they will at once set to work to try to grasp the significance of the increased dangers that have threatened Australia and Australians since the beginning of August, anyhow.
A lot of attention was paid to the speech of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes). I do not propose to touch upon it, because the Minister, and the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner) in his magnificent speech to the House, dealt with it most effectively. In fact, the honorable member for Bradfield, when dealing with some examples from Greek history, reminded me of another quotation - his speech was so good that even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer. He dealt most effectively with the Opposition’s propositions. The Opposition has been most consistently peddling the suggestion that the Government’s military advisers were against, and still are against, conscription. I cannot answer the suggestion of the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) for obvious reasons. But even if this suggestion were true, the Government, and not the military advisers, has the final responsibility for the security of the country. Did John Curtin act in accordance with advice from the British military advisers when he refused to allow one division of the A.I.F. to continue on its way to Burma? Was there any criticism from the Labour Party because he did not on that occasion adopt what I suppose were the recommendations of the British military advisers? Of course there was not. So why do Opposition members now criticise the Government, even if it has taken action that is not entirely in accord with the views of the military advisers? They should admit that the Government still has the responsibility and that what it has done and has asked Australians to do is in the best interests of the defence of this country.
The honorable member for EdenMonaro issued a challenge when he spoke on the Bill yesterday. He said -
The fact is that the Government has no legitimate ground whatever on which to base this proposal. I will be astonished if any honorable member on the Government side is able to produce one legitimate ground for the Government’s proposal.
I accept his challenge; I am prepared to debate this at any time and at any place in Australia, even in the Trades Hall, provided it is a public meeting. I stand by this. His allegation has been answered by many honorable members on this side of the House. He went on to say -
It has neither the ground of war and national emergency nor the ground of lack of volunteers, and it does not even have the ground of military necessity or military advice.
Others have dealt with the question of military advice, and I have just mentioned it. I come’ to the question of military necessity. Surely the S.E.A.T.O. and A.N.Z.U.S. Treaties are not one way streets, If we expect other people to come to our aid, as they did in the last World War, surely we must play our part and accept our share of the responsibility to help other people.
The main argument against the Bill is that it provides for conscription in time of peace and not of war. But honorable members need only to read the daily newspapers and the statement of the Prime Minister of Malaysia in today’s newspapers to learn what the situation is. Does anybody suggest that the determination, unfortunately, of our next door neighbour, Indonesia, with whom we would like to be friends, to continue with the con.frontation and destruction of Malaysia is not a declaration of war? 1 wish it were not. We all want to be friends. But how can we ignore the realities of international life? When the leaders of the South Vietnamese Liberation Front arc feted and feasted in Peking time and time again, as Peking Radio has announced, and when these people are organised and financed by Peking in order to suborn and overcome South Vietnam by chaos and by straight out aggression, do we not have a duty to assist South Vietnam? Do not the people of South Vietnam have a right to freedom and independence? If I remember rightly, the population of South Vietnam is larger than the population of Australia. I believe that in one respect I misquoted the honorable member for Herbert (Mr. Harding) on a previous occasion. However, when he returned from a visit to South East Asia, he said that the overall pattern in the region was “ an expansionist movement from China, aided by the desire of North Vietnam for the rice-growing areas of the South”. He warned that should South Vietnam be lost or become neutral, Laos and Cambodia would follow and Thailand also would be lost.
– Who said that?
– The honorable member for Herbert, who was addressing a meeting after he returned. 1 do not know where the meeting was held. There is no purpose in trying to point out to Opposition members that the dangers have increased when they refuse to understand. But I am perfectly certain that the vast majority of Australians realise the position and consider, as Opposition members do, that this country is worth living in but, unlike Opposition members, consider it is worth defending. Unlike Opposition members, most Australians know that we cannot defend this country ourselves. They realise that we have an obligation and a responsibility to help other peoples who, like us, need friends if they are to defend their country successfully.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) seems to have altered his views about President Sukarno and the dangers from Indonesia since the time of the West Irian incident. I do not know whether he coined the phrase or whether it was put into his mouth, but he has said that the young men who will be asked to share in the defence of this country will be chosen by a lottery of death. This phrase could well have been coined by a oneeyed political bandit. Is it a lottery of death to stand up and defend this country either in the shadow of emergency or in time of emergency? Let us turn back the pages of history, not to Queen Victoria and Kipling but to the fall of Singapore. Within three months the fall of Singapore increased the number of Anzac prisoners of war to 20,000 men, and their sudden loss was due to policies of pitch and toss. Do we not remember how we all gambled and lost and how the Labour Party criticised the Menzies Government of the day more than anyone else for gambling at that time. Our loss was due to policies of pitch and toss.
Because Australia gambled with defence. And gods of chance replaced the gods of sense. A little belting is a harmless game - A nation’s gamble is a nation’s shame. Australia had perforce to face, at last, The outcome of her lazy thoughtless past; And realized that brave, but foolish, boasts Would not ensure the safety of her coasts.
We gambled on that occasion and the Opposition criticised us, but it is prepared to go on gambling now. What the Opposition Party describes as a lottery of death is an insurance against possible similar disaster, which we hope will not come. I cannot understand how the Labour Party, after the experiences it has had, can continue with its criticism of the Government’s proposals. I do not believe there will be a lottery. Now that everyone has an equal responsibility I think we will have to have a ballot to ballot out the volunteers, not to ballot in the conscripts. I feel sure that by making proper rehabilitation benefits available, as is done under the American scheme, the same thing will happen here as happens in the United States where at least 60 per cent., and as many as 70 per cent., of those due for national service training - or “ draftee service “ as it is called in the United States - ‘have become volunteers.
Some pressmen have suggested that the churches are against this proposal. This has already been denied, though not, in one instance, by one particular man. The Opposition has appealed to emotion. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), through no fault of his own, was not in the Services during the war, but those of us who were would like to do everything possible to stop another war. Yet he turns round and calls us warmongers. The Opposition made an appeal to the mothers. It said: “Your sons will be in danger “. I believe that the mothers of Australia have a better idea of the security needs of Australia than have any of the speakers on the Opposition benches.
Have you forgotten that because we did not train our men to meet disaster - disaster which we hoped would not occur - when the first bombs fell on Darwin they started the greatest cross-country race in Australia’s history. The leaders never stopped until they reached Adelaide. Have honorable members opposite forgotten how we ran the risk of mass murder - and this is a risk we do not want to run again - by sending reinforcements who had been only three weeks in uniform to help us in Singapore just before it fell? It was not the fault of the men themselves; it was because we had been shortsighted and had not taken out insurance against disaster. Have they forgotten how, when danger swept down from the north, they, who were in the Labour Government of the day, cried for help from Britain and the United States of America. Had we put forth our utmost strength on that first day we could have asked with head held high, without a whimper in that cry. Once again members opposite are asking young Americans to do the job which we should be assisting them to do in proportion to our relative strengths and our relative standards of living.
I make an appeal to members of the Labour Party not to carry on with this same error. We all want to see security for our friends and neighbours as well as for ourselves. We all want to build up their economic situation and help them improve their standards of living - but security becomes our first priority while there are still people in this world who are bent on world conquest, and while Communist aggression continues in South East Asia. I wish honorable members opposite had been with me in Korea as well as the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) who has just obtained for himself a glass of water. I am not frightened of anything that the honorable member for Reid might say. He was with me as a prisoner of war and he knows what the situation was then, and if he does not say so, he is not being true to himself.
Finally I should like to quote some words written at that particular time - when we were prisoners of war - because they apply to today. These words relate to what happened after the fall of Singapore.
Australia least of all could point with scorn Accusing fingers when upon the dawn The news of the defeat was known to all. Loud lamentations were in Canberra’s hall Where many men were forced to realise The dangers to their vaunted paradise And to admit they ruled by courtesy Of other nation’s strength on land and sea. Hie vapid boasts had changed to cries of help. The pampered mastiff’s bark became a yelp. One hundred thousand soldiers had to bear The burdens of the previous laisser-faire. What had Australia done in her pretence Of setting up a reasonable defence? What had Australia paid per year per head To justify her sixty thousand dead? What had Australians given of their time To justify such national pride sublime? But when the time of testing came at length How long some took to find sufficient strength To openly admit that in the past They’d nailed their colours to a spurious mast.
I ask the Labour Party not to nail its colours to a spurious mast. I ask members opposite to turn back the pages of history, to realise that in this day and age we still have to make sacrifices to defence. Having done that, it is not the end but the beginning of a road towards trying to do a lot more to bring about peace, prosperity and happiness in the regions of the world in which we live. If we do not start with security, then the beginning is made the end. I am sure that all Australians who think about this in any way whatsoever will support the Government in the proposals lt has put before the House. As I said, I shall be surprised if in the long run we do not have to ballot out the number of people who volunteer rather than to ballot in the conscripts.
.- The honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) said that he believes that we will have to ballot out and not ballot in persons for national service training. I refer him to what was said yesterday by the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley). He gave figures indicating that under the Fisher Administration in the First World War recruiting was at the rate of 36,000 a month but that when Mr. Hughes took over the Government and introduced conscription in 1916, from that day on he did not get 36,000 recruits in a full year, let alone a month. So, let us see whether history will repeat itself or not. The honorable member for Chisholm asked “Have you forgotten?”. No, I have not forgotten. On this occasion the honorable member made a very moderate speech. He is a fiery character on many occasions but on this occasion he made a moderate contribution. After all, for many years he has been hammering the Menzies Administration to spend more and more on defence. He has advocated the Government introducing conscription. He should be particularly happy now.
– I hope that the honorable member for Reid follows his lead.
– Let me remind the Minister for the Interior that the same honorable member for Chisholm said that the money in the pockets of members of the Country Party, earned by their sales of wheat to China, was bloodstained. This is the honorable member for Chisholm. He has been consistent in his attitude towards trade with Red China just as the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and many other Liberal backbenchers have been consistent. I know that they are opposed to trade with China, but this Government has maintained a policy of trading with China. It has acted under a cloak of hypocrisy. It will not recognise Red China, on the one hand, but it will trade with Red China, on the other hand.
We on this side of the House have stated consistently that we should trade with all nations because we believe that trade implies a policy of peace and will bring nations together. We believe also that this Government’s foreign policy has been defective because foreign policy is a part of defence policy. Surely trade and foreign policy must be considered in relation to defence.
There are great problems in the world today. We know there are many unsolved problems in the countries to our near north, but the Labour Party has said for many years that we will not solve those problems militarily. They must be solved economically. I asked a question recently of the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes). The reply that I received is interesting. He said that some £30 million has been spent since 1955 as the capital cost of having our troops in Malaya and in maintaining them there. That amount does not even take into account the pay and allowances of the servicemen. But in the 10 years between 1954 and 1964 we have spent only £2 million in aid to South Vietnam. That indicates this Government’s sense of values. Let us look at the Colombo Plan: Since its inception we have spent less than £50 million On aid under the Colombo Plan, as compared with over £3,000 million on defence since 1950. And this Government proposes to spend an additional £1,200 million on defence in the next three years.
Yes, this is an historic debate as the honorable member for Chisholm has said. I know that the jackboot boys on the backbenches on the Government side jumped with joy the other night when the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said that the Government intended to introduce conscription. This afternoon the honorable member for La Trobe (Mr. Jess) praised the Government’s action. He is a militarist at heart as well as by nature. He believes in militarism. He believes that military action will solve the problems that, exist. He may believe that but we believe that military action will not solve the world’s problems. The way to solve the world’s problems is by a sensible foreign policy, by trade and, of course, by each nation taking adequate defence measures to maintain its security. The world’s problems will be solved only by conciliation within the precincts of the United Nations. Action along these lines will encourage tolerance and understanding. It will bring the nations of the world together.
The honorable member for Chisholm asked whether we are true Australians. Of course we are true Australians. Every member of the Labour Party is a true Australian and all members of the Labour Party are united on this issue. Members of the Labour Party have made a contribution to this debate. Was it not the Labour Party that gave Australia leadership in the First World War and carried us to victory? Was it not the Labour Party that gave Australia leadership in the Second World War and carried us to victory? Honorable members opposite ask are we true Australians. We are true Australians all right, and we know where we stand. Fear and hate do not control and guide our destiny. We believe that tolerance and understanding will build up goodwill between nations and draw them together. That is the policy of the Labour Party.
The honorable member for Mackellar who also participated in the debate this afternoon is a small edition of Goldwater. What did he say only a short time ago? In 1964 he spoke about denuclearising China and in 1946 he spoke about denuclearising Russia. I see that the honorable member is nodding his head so apparently I have quoted him correctly. Perhaps he will nod his head again when I state the next proposition. How can we bring about denuclearisation? He advocated that we should have denuclearised the Soviet Union in 1946 and that we should denuclearise China in 1964 by the use of force. He has never denied that. On the last occasion he made this statement I challenged him to no avail. Only people like the honorable member for Mackellar and the Goldwaters would advocate such a lunatic policy.
It is interesting to read the remarks of the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, the Most Reverend Dr. Woods, as reported in the Melbourne “ Age “ of 6th October 1964. The report is in these terms -
On world affairs, Dr. Woods said there were signs that Australia was entering a period of “acute conflict” in the East. “On no account must we permit it to be thought that we of the so-called West stand for a Christian battle against the Communist world “, he said. “If you think of yourself as fighting Communism, inevitably your object becomes unlimited and indeed unattainable”. “ Let us not fall into the trap om of which Russia is at this very time extricating herself. They are discovering that politics and compromise go hand in hand. It is not Christian to thank
God that we are not as other men,” Dr. Woods added. “ We can be confident that just as Russia is finding its ideology a handicap, so eventually will China”.
I think that is a fairly tolerant and reasonable approach. We must try to solve these problems by international discussion. The only way in which we can initiate international discussion is by bringing China into the councils of the world and by ceasing to outlaw her and ceasing to take a hard line with her.
The Government has decided to conscript the youth of Australia for overseas military service. A decision of that kind has never before been made in time of peace or in time of war. The decision of the wartime Curtin Labour Government did not go as far as the present Government’s decision will go. The decision of the wartime Curtin Labour Government did not go so far as to permit conscripts to serve in either Malaya or Borneo. Why are conscripts necessary now? Is Indonesia a military threat to Australia? The Prime Minister is well aware that Indonesia is not a military threat to Australia. His chief Service adviser, the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Sir Frederick Scherger, told the Labour Party’s Defence Committee in 1963 that Indonesia is no threat to Australia. At that meeting I asked Sir Frederick: “Is Indonesia a military threat to Australia?” He replied: “No.” I then asked: “ Sir Frederick, is it a fact that Indonesia has no secondary industry to support its military machine? “ He replied: “Yes, that is a fact.” Many members of the Labour Party who are now in this chamber were present at that meeting. They can confirm my remarks. The Prime Minister also is well aware of those facts as Sir Frederick stated them to the Labour Party on that occasion.
The Prime Minister and all Government supporters should read the editorial in the “Australian” of 13th November which carries the headline: “We must Not Let Fear Spawn War”. The editorial states -
Ignorance of the unknown breeds fear. Fear begets hatred and hatred can spawn war.
The Prime Minister wants to breed fear because he thinks it suits his political ends to do so. President Sukarno of Indonesia has said that his country can absorb a population of 250 million. It already has a population of 100 million, but it could absorb, feed and support 250 million people. We hear much talk from the Government about the empty north. This Government and its supporters are trying to create in the minds of Australian people the fear that the Asians will be coming down to populate our empty north. I remind honorable members on the Government side that although there are 60 million people living in Java, the Indonesian Government cannot induce people to migrate to the Celebes or to Sumatra, one of the largest islands in the world, which has a population of only 7 million. I repeat that this Government’s stupid policy is designed to create in the minds of the Australian people fear and hatred of the peoples to our north. It now proposes to conscript Australians to fight in the jungles of Borneo. What will they be fighting for and what will they be dying for?
The ‘Prime Minister has little respect for our historical relations with Indonesia. I remind the House that Australia assisted Indonesia to obtain her independence from the Dutch. There was a strong bond of friendship between the Australian and the Indonesian people; but it will now take many years to heal the scars resulting from this stupid political opportunist action by this Government. I am not trying to put Indonesia in a goldfish bowl. The Indonesians have made many mistakes of late. In a speech I made in recent weeks I condemned Indonesia’s aggression against Malaysia, but I do not think that we in this Parliament should say that all the wrongs rest with Indonesia and all the rights lie on the side of Malaysia. Malaysia is not the true democracy that the Prime Minister claimed it to be the other night. Many people have been imprisoned without trial in Malaysia just as they have been in Indonesia. Our task is to stand between the two nations, not to decide that all the rights lie on the one side and all the wrongs on the other. That is our task as I see it in this conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia. The Australian Government says: “We support Malaysia “. I do not think such an attitude will do anything to solve the problem.
The Prime Minister has stated that his Government proposes spending over £1,200 million on defence during the next three years. It is interesting to note what a former Minister for Defence in the Menzies Go vernment, the late Mr. Athol Townley, said in a defence review on 29th March 1960, on an occasion when there was no election imminent. Mr. Townley is reported on page 647 of “ Hansard “ of that date as having said -
We believe that because of the nuclear deterrent, the outbreak of limited or local wars is more likely than a global or full-scale war. In a country with limited resources such as Australia, which has heavy and continuing commitments for national development, the scale of the defence effort must be determined by priorities. Large sums of money must be found for the wide range of projects aimed at developing our natural resources and expanding our industrial capacity, such as the Snowy Mountains scheme, the improvement of communications, and the search for oil. In addition, we must continue our immigration programme. All these measures will contribute to our long-term defence strength and capabilities.
The money and manpower available for defence must be kept in proportion with these other demands on our resources.
The prospect today is still only of limited and local wars. There is no threat of global or full-scale war. We have contained the Goldwaters, we are still a country of limited resources. We have heavy commitments for national development. We need large sums of money to develop our natural resources. We are still searching for adequate oil reserves. We still need improvements in communications. We must compete to maintain our flow of migrants. We are still a nation in which 150,000 families are waiting for homes. We still have tens of thousands of people living in sub-standard dwellings and slums. If we are to lead in this scientific and technological age, we need to spend greater amounts on education. Surely the Minister for the Army will admit that we need to spend greater amounts on education, especially when it is realised that of 11,000 volunteers for enlistment in the Army last year, only onequarter were accepted, the remainder being rejected because of lack of educational qualifications. Why is education not a big part of our defence project? Why are we not spending more on education?
What of medical services and hospitalisation? It is interesting to note that in its first year of office this Government spent 1.2 per cent, of Australia’s gross national product on health. In the last financial year, it spent only 1.3 per cent, of the gross national product on this work. The Australian people have, been treated worse than the people of any other advanced nation in the world so far as health services are concerned. Improved social services for the aged and the needy are ako required. Can this Government meet all those requirements and still spend so freely on defence? Has the Government given any real thought to those problems in making this defence review? I do not believe it has. If it has, then the Prime Minister makes no mention of it in his statement.
This defence programme is just another gimmick which the Prime Minister has provided for the Senate elections. He wants to rattle the sabre, to build up fear and distrust, and to confuse the real issue.
In 1960, Mr. Townley spoke about priorities. He said that the money and manpower available for defence must be kept in proportion with other demands on our resources. We have been given a similar warning in a Treasury White Paper entitled “ The Meaning and Measurement of Economic Growth “, which was published only a few days ago. On page 19 of that paper appears this statement -
Amongst the many choices that might be made at the expense of economic growth, one in particular may be worth noting - namely, spending on defence. In this the choice is between growth and the risk that the country will be unable to do enough in its own defence in the event of external aggression. This latter consideration aside, it is broadly true that the diversion of output to defence results both in some slowing down in the rate of growth of output and, no doubt, in living standards lower than they might otherwise have been. In particular, to the extent that resources devoted to defence arc provided (as in a fully employed economy they must be) by their diversion from the private sector, not only is private consumption likely to be affected but also the level of fixed investment, both public and private, may be lower than it would otherwise have been, probably with adverse effects upon the rate of growth.
Has the Government given us a plan for the whole economy for the next three years? If not, why has it not done so? Has the Government embarked blindly, on the pretext of defending our heritage, on the expenditure of this huge sum of £1,200 million on defence over the next three years?
I notice that the Prime Minister has just entered the chamber. I ask him: How are we going to pay for this extra expenditure? Are we going to rely more and more on indiscriminate foreign investment by which we are selling our heritage bit by bit each year, as we were told by John McEwen?
On the one hand, we set out to defend our heritage against the nations to our north, and on the other hand we are selling out our heritage through the back door to foreign investors. We have not been told how we are to pay for this increased expenditure. Is it to be by way of increased taxation? If so, what section of the community is to bear the burden? Will it be the wealthy section - the section which the Government represents? If taxation is to bc increased, will the Government continue with its policy of raising revenue by way of hidden taxes, indirect taxes, which are inflationary and which impose a burden on the workers, the real wage earners - those 82 per cent, of the taxpayers who earn £29 a week and less. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has yet given us any details on how this lopsided scheme will be financed.
As I said earlier. Labour’s traditional policy has always been one of adequate defence. Labour has always stood for a policy of trying to build up good relationships with overseas nations. In this context it is well worth while to quote some remarks made by Mr. J. B. Chifley on 4th November 1948 when, as Prime Minister, he was speaking in the House of Representatives. At the time he was replying to a censure motion which had been moved by the Opposition, led by the present Prime Minister. Mr. Chifley said - . . this Government at least has one paramount objective, which is to play its part on behalf of the nation in preserving peace in the world. We do not want to belong to the warmongers. We believe in security, in full defence and in the policy of keeping our powder dry, but we have striven, and will continue to strive, for international peace, with the help of . . . the Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Evatt)-
Whom we know that a senator in another place smeared a few days ago - in the councils of the world. We do not want to sec millions of young men dying at the orders of older men who themselves take no part in tha conflict . . . We shall make any contribution that is within our power towards the peace of the world.
The views expressed by the Labour Party leader then are the same as the views of the Labour Party today. I repeat to the Prime Minister, who is now at the table, the words uttered by Mr. Chifley -
We do not want to see millions of young men dying at the orders of older men who themselves take no part in the conflict.
I hope that the Prime Minister is well aware of that statement because we know that in the First World War he did not decide to go overseas. Let us be clear about this. I am not making any statement suggesting cowardice, because I think that anybody who has been in this House for any length of time would be aware that the Prime Minister does not lack courage. Let us be clear on that.
In April 1939, in reply to an attack by the then Prime Minister, Sir Earle Page, the present Prime Minister said - i was in exactly the same position as any other person who at that time had to answer the extremely important questions: Is it my duty to go to the war, or is it my duty not to go? The answers to those questions cannot be made on the public platforms. Those questions relate to a man’s intimate, personal and family affairs and, in consequence I, facing those problems, problems of intense difficulty, found myself, for reasons which were and are compelling, unable to join my two brothers in the infantry of the Australian Imperial Force.
– Who said that?
– The Prime Minister, the honorable member for Kooyong. Then Mr. Frost, a Labour Party supporter, interjected and said -
It is the business of no one but yourself.
The present Prime Minister replied-
I say that.
I also say that, and I say to the Prime Minister that it certainly was his right to make that decision - that private, personal and intimate decision. But surely he would give the same right to our young men today to make this personal and intimate decision about whether they will go to war or not. Surely the Prime Minister should be fair enough to do that. Why does he use his great powers as Prime Minister to dominate the Government and to bring in conscription, to determine that the young men of Australia today will not have the right to make that personal and intimate decision whether or not they will go to war. In 1915 the Prime Minister was able to make that intimate and personal decision, but in 1964, now that he is Prime Minister, now that he wants to rattle the sabre, he will not give the same right of decision to the young men of Australia.
Some people might say that these are hard words, but the honorable member for
Chisholm. (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) has said that this is an historical occasion. I agree that it is an historical occasion. This is the first time in peace that Australia has conscripted its youth to send them overseas. Of course many of us feel strongly about this. The honorable member for La Trobe talked about the programme “ Four Corners “ and referred to some of the people who were interviewed on the conscription programmes he had seen, but he did not mention a former prisoner of war of the Japanese who Was interviewed with his family and who said when asked what he thought about conscription: “I won’t have a bar of it. I do not want to send my boys over there to go through what I have had to go through.” I have not forgotten, and I do not want any young man to go through the horrors and the hell that I went through. Honorable members opposite have talked about the possibility of the young men not being engaged in war, but even if they do not suffer one scratch from military action they could have, like some servicemen, more than 100 attacks of malaria because of the conditions in which they will have to live. That will shatter their health for many years. These are the problems that have to be dealt with. The Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Swartz) knows that the cost of looking after Australians injured and incapacitated during the war in Korea is at least £500,000 every year.
Another matter at which the Prime Minister should look is the suggestion that the young men who are conscripted for overseas service will be able to get a job when they come back. If these men are disabled to any extent and try to get a permanent job in a Commonwealth Public Service they will find that they cannot get one because they cannot pass the medical examination. I have made representations to the Prime Minister about this anomaly. For several years the Prime Minister examined the Boyer report and, on 17th May 1962 tabled it in this House. There has been much advocacy on this subject, but when the Prime Minister brought down the Boyer report he just ignored the representations that had been made on behalf of ex-servicemen. Because some ex-servicemen receive a 20 per cent., 30 per cent., or 40 per cent. pension for disablement they cannot go forward in the permanent Public Service because they cannot satisfy the health requirements. Although the Prime Minister has been in office for 15 years he has done nothing about this, and yet he will send young men overseas. Many of them will be maimed, and many will be physically handicapped or not well enough to pass the medical examination for the Public Service. Yet, with his great powers he is going to send these boys out of Australia but when they come back to Australia they will not get a permanent job in the Commonwealth Public Service if they are disabled. So I agree that this is an historical occasion. We on this side of the chamber have stood united on this issue. We oppose conscription for overseas service in peacetime.
Question put -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 23
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I refer to clause 7, which reads -
Section sixteen of the Principal Act is amended by omitting paragraph (a) of sub-section (1.) and inserting in its stead the following paragraph: - “ (a) has attained such age as is prescribed;”. and to clause 14, which reads in part -
Section thirty-five a and thirty-five b of the Principal Act are repealed and the following sections inserted in their stead: - “ (3) Where the Military Board or a person authorized by the Military Board is satisfied that a person who, under this Act, is deemed to have been enlisted for service in the Regular Army Reserve -
I ask for leave to move together the five amendments which I have circulated.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
Amendments (by Mr. McMahon) proposed -
Omit clause 7, insert the following clause - “ 7. Section sixteen of the Principal Act is amended -
Question put -
That the amendments be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. L. J. Failes.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– The Opposition is prepared to have one vote taken on the whole Bill at the Committee stage, because we believe that the time has come for this issue to be transferred to the jury of the Australian people from this Parliament in which this Government has no mandate for its action. That will enable the Australian people to do as I am certain they will do at the Senate poli on 5th December, namely, register their overwhelming opposition to the unlimited conscription of Australian youth in peacetime for service on foreign battlefields, under foreign commands and in wars to which Australia is not a party.
– Mr. Temporary Chairman, I want to set the record straight on a matter of voting. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) arranged with me earlier in the day for a pair to be recorded for him on this legislation. I assured htm that a pair would be given. I regret that I overlooked it in the vote on the motion for the second reading. However, in subsequent voting I will pair myself with him.
Question put -
That the Bill, as amended, be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Temporary Chairman - Mr. L. J. Failes.)
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Motion (by Mr. McMahon) - by leaveproposed - That the Bill be now read a third time.
Question put. The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.) Ayes . . . . . . 57
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 6.7 to 8 p.m.
Bill returned from the Senate with a message intimating that the Senate did not press Us request for an amendment which the House of Representatives had not made.
– I present the fifth report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Debate resumed from 10th November (vide page 2714), on motion by Mr. Fairbairn -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This Bill, which provides funds for the acceleration of the measurement of the flow of Australian rivers and for the investigation of underground water resources, is welcomed by the Opposition. It is not a coercive measure. There is no element of conscription in it but there are all the ele- ments of co-operation. Since the earliest days of Australia, the great problem facing this country has been the problem of water resources - the harnessing of our rivers and the provision of water for the development of the country and to meet the recurring problem of drought and other allied problems. Because of this, successive generations of Australians have directed their thoughts to this subject. Over the yeaTs many views have been brought to bear upon this matter. In the course of time a charter has been evolved for the Australian Water Resources Council, a body which deserves the good will and support of the Australian people. For some time past, considerable dissatisfaction has existed in this country because of the failure of governments, particularly the Commonwealth Government, to deal with this matter. Professor C. H. Munro, who is an eminent authority on this subject, addressing in August 1962 a meeting of the Australian-New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science in Sydney, said -
The outstanding weakness in Australia is the lack of thinking and planning at the Federal level. In my opinion a full-time Federal Commission of three top technical men, representative of civil engineering, agricultural and economic expert knowledge should be appointed.
That view has gained considerable support in the course of the years and it is pleasing to note that the Commonwealth has now seen fit to take action to provide funds essential for the carrying out of a systematic and thorough investigation for the purpose of obtaining the necessary data required by those engaged in the work of water conservation, irrigation, flood mitigation and other projects. The Bill provides for a ten-year programme of accelerated work in thi gauging and measuring of rivers and provides finance for capital expenditure and for operational expenditure in testing and measuring the underground water resources of this nation.
The provisions appear to be eminently satisfactory because the States have agreed with the Commonwealth. There is close liaison in this matter between the Commonwealth and the States. This is a most desirable state of affairs - something that Australians generally have long yearned for and rarely find realised. Over the three-year period the Commonwealth will find £767,476. In 1964-65 the Commonwealth will provide for the States £402,000. For the more difficult task of assessing the quantities of underground water available, the Commonwealth will make a grant 10 the States of £2 for each £1 of expenditure by a State over and above the base year figure. This is a most satisfactory arrangement.
The establishment of the Water Resources Council indicates a high degree of unity between the Commonwealth and the States on one of the most important matters affecting this nation. Co-ordination in developing our resources is of the utmost importance. Ici his second reading speech the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) referred to various aspects of development and canvassed the fields of mapping and other activity in which the Department of National Development is engaged. I should like to think that from this great development that is taking place throughout the Commonwealth we will go forward to develop practical policies for the harnessing of our water resources throughout the nation. There are other fields, of course, which are not included in the Bill but which the Minister referred to, perhaps in passing. I should like to add one subject to those mentioned by the Minister - forestry development throughout Australia. It, too, requires the co-ordination and co-operation of the Commonwealth and the States.
The Water Resurces Council is only two years old. The Minister for National Development is Chairman of the Council. The Minister for Territories is a member of the Council, as are the Ministers for Conservation of Water Supply in each of the States. This is a most satisfactory arrangement and one which gives, not only pleasure to those engaged in the Council in the work of creating something in this nation, but also great satisfaction to Australians generally who feel that there is a challenging task facing them in providing adequate water simply for the people of this country.
The Council is strongly supported with experts in the standing committee of Commonwealth and State officers and in the technical committees that are able to give expert advice on various matters. The worthy objectives of the Australian Water Resources Council deserve the support of all Australians. The Council’s objectives are wide and cover a wide range of matters. In the dying hours of this session, perhaps it is not desirable that I should refer to all of them, but I believe that they are of such importance to the Parliament and to the nation that they should be on record. With the concurrence of honorable members I incorporate in “ Hansard “ a statement of the objectives and functions of the Australian Water Resources Council.
AUSTRALIAN WATER RESOURCES COUNCIL.
The provision of a comprehensive assessment on a continuing basis of Australia’s water resources and the extension of measurement and research so that future planning can be carried out on a sound and scientific basis. The assessment would indicate the extent to which availability of water will be a factor in influencing future development. It would show, for instance:
To review water resources research activities by government authorities and by non-government organisations with a view to fostering collaboration in such activities.
The “ Australasian Irrigator “ of September 1961 published an article which was headed “Conservation or Development in Flood Mitigation and Erosion Control”. This article is most interesting, and I read the following passage for the information of honorable members -
In a foreword to his Service’s quarterly Journal (July - 1961), Mr. E. S. Clayton claims that his Service’s “ own Research Stations have proved beyond doubt, during 20 years experimental work, and on many full soil-conserved private properties, that it is feasible to retain practically all the soil and much of the water from the highest intensity storms recorded in N.S.W.”. “ In 1947, 572 points of rain fell in 90 minutes at Gunnedah Research Station and at Scone Research Station in 19S8, SOO points fell in 60 minutes, yet in each case run-off was very greatly reduced, compared to untreated lands and of course the loss of soil was reduced to a minimum “.
This shows that scientific information enables the authorities to take proper action to control water. My mind goes back to the days when Mr. McGuren represented the constituency of Cowper. He brought the matter of flood mitigation before the House on a number of occasions. He made some profound speeches on the subject and all of us were deeply moved by his account of the menacing threat to the people of the north of New South Wales. We heard how land was inundated and production halted. These problems seemed to be of such dimensions that many people doubted whether they could be solved. However, articles such as I have just read show that we are garnering information and we are gleaning the facts. The additional gauging stations to which I have referred will provide valuable information, which will be of assistance to State authorities and local authorities. The stations will help people on the land in the districts where ‘they are established.
Although water conservation is a State responsibility, all these matters fall into the national pattern. Apart from the artificial boundaries between States, we all belong to Australia and the prosperity of one part is inseparably linked with the prosperity of another part. The devastation of one region certainly affects the whole of the nation. The great Murray-Darling rivers system affects a number of States. It can be seen that we need to have the fullest information that we can obtain on matters of this kind. The Commonwealth has a preeminent position, because of its financial position. It is the tax collector and it controls the banking system. Because of this, the Commonwealth of necessity has a responsibility to take some action in the field of water research.
It has long been known that Australia is the driest continent in the world. There is a great disparity in the distribution of water in this country. In normal times, rainfall ranges from some 200 inches to 5 inches. We have average rains and’ we have drought. Registration in some parts of the Commonwealth varies from 300 inches to 1 inch. The average rainfall is about 16i inches. This is only half the average recorded in the United States of America, despite its regions of desert; it is two-thirds of the average recorded in Europe, Asia and Africa and only one-third of that recorded in South America. The text of an address by an authority on water research,
Mr. W. H. R. Nimmo, at the annual meeting of the Water Research Foundation is published in the “ Australasian Irrigator “ of January 1964. His remarks are of particular significance at this time. As we all know, he has dealt very extensively with water research and has made it his special concern. In his address, amongst other things, he said -
While purely scientific research in hydrology should be encouraged, it is essential to keep our feet on the ground and realise that the greatest obstacle to the logical and systematic development of our water resources is the deficiency of basic data relating to stream flow; the temporal variation of precipitation and runoff; and evaporation. The great expenditure upon research in America has produced many practical methods of dealing with hydrological problems. Much of the technique developed can be transferred to regions of similar climate and topography in Australia. For the adequate design of a large conservation project, there should be available not leis than thirty years of stream flow records though more is desirable. Until such information becomes available considerable expenditure upon duplicating or confirming results of research in other countries will not be remunerative.
To overcome the serious deficiency there is much in favour of retting up a national organisation to co-operate the hydrological work of state and local governments, water boards, power authorities, and private concerns and itself undertake the obtaining of records where necessary to provide satisfactory coverage.
Underground water will become of increasing importance in Australia. Since all water is derived from rainfall, surface and underground water are not completely separate, there will be an advantage in one authority controlling both of them.
I have read that passage from the address of Mr. Nimmo because it shows that the course being followed in this Bill is worthwhile. I refer also to a paper delivered by Mr. E. W. Harrison, B.E., to the Clarence Valley Development Conference at Grafton in October 1959, Mr. Harrison said -
Before works can be designed, it is necessary to obtain much information about flood heights, discharge, duration, frequency, behaviour and effect on land use.
These are all valuable views from eminent authorities. The Opposition has this information in its possession and is aware of the great research efforts that are being made. We know of the compelling reasons for encouraging water research and we have from time to time supported proposals of this kind. We therefore have much satisfaction in supporting the Bill, which provides financial assistance to the States for the measurement and investigation of water re sources. Research on river flows and underground water supplies should not halt work that is proceeding at present. I should like to emphasise that this legislation should not halt the early commencement of work on major projects that have been promised where facts relating to river systems are known. With some projects, such as the Ord River, the facts have been gathered over the years and the basic information is known, in this instance, to the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments. I cannot canvass the Ord River project because it does not come within the compass of this legislation, but it is work in respect of which facts are known. Works for the Dawson, Fitzroy and Burdekin Rivers in Queensland have a certain historic background. Research has been conducted and facts have been provided to the Commonwealth Government and to the State Government, and something should be done. Regarding the Fitzroy basin of Queensland, I have an article published by the University of Queensland which states that this work has engaged the attention of experts for some 100 years.
The Bill deals with CommonwealthState relationships and State problems, but there seems to be no action envisaged in it to deal with the problems of the Northern Territory, and that I deplore. I regret very much that the Northern Territory’s problem could not have been included in legislation of this kind and I can only express the hope that the Northern Territory will not be forgotten, because the Northern Territory is the exclusive responsibility of the Commonwealth. It would be difficult to envisage a scheme for harnessing, organising and controlling the water systems of Australia in which 500,000 square miles of land were eliminated from the calculation altogether. I understand that such will not be the case and that the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes) and his Department will deal with the matter. I hope that early action will be taken and that the kind of work covered by this legislation will be commenced without delay within the Northern Territory.
The necessity for a national approach in these matters must be appreciated by every honorable member. Basic information on the rivers of the Kimberleys and of the
Gulf country is of importance to the problems of the Northern Territory, just as information on the Territory river systems is of the utmost value to Queensland and Western Australia. If the major project on the Ord River were undertaken the water banked up would spill back into the Northern Territory and would be of inestimable value to the Northern Territory. I hope that something like this work is done. Whilst I discuss these broad problems, perhaps it would be fitting if I were to say a word in appreciation of those engaged in the work on behalf of the Commonwealth Government and of the State Governments. First and foremost I should pay a tribute to Sir Harold Raggatt, Secretary of the Department of National Development, for his great enthusiasm and patriotism and for his deep interest in this particular work, and the fact that he has in his Department men of undoubted capacity and interest who are prepared to support him in these activities. The States, too, have excellent officers. Earlier I referred to Mr. Clayton.
It is necessary that we should acknowledge the work of such people, for only too often we in the Parliament seem to take all these things for granted. We come here and talk about a matter and discuss what we think ought to happen. Our discussions may involve the expenditure of thousands of millions of pounds, but after we have passed a bill we tend to expect what it provides for just to happen as though some alchemist were at work and that this was an ordinary development in the country. Of course, this is not the case. The work to be done needs men of capacity, ability and inspiration. We have had them in the past. We have had men like Dr. Bradfield and others who envisaged the Boomerang scheme for turning vast volumes of water from the eastern water sheds of Queensland over the ranges to lave the broad plains of the west and develop that country. This is the type of concept we want. It is good to know that we have people in the Public Service interested in such matters. There is need for a continuation of that idealism and technical knowhow.
As the Minister said in his second reading speech, for 18 years there has been no definite guide as to the conduct of the weather. For 18 years we have had more than our share of wet weather, and prior to that we had a considerable number of exceedingly dry years. This emphasises how necessary it is to obtain the fullest possible information. After getting the information it is necessary that we follow up with positive action. In the course of my remarks I have made it clear that information gained over just a few years is not adequate. I hope that the information obtained through the legislation that we pass in this Parliament tonight will not find its place in thedusty files and tomes of some department,, unwanted, neglected and forgotten, but willi prove to be something that will provide the blueprint of a thorough water programme for this nation.
The Bill makes a practical contribution in furthering the work of gathering essential information on our water resources. The Opposition is pleased to support the measure and we await with keen anticipation reports from the Water Resources Council. These will be used, if not by this Government then by a Labour government of the future, in vigorously developing this nation.
.- The Country Party very definitely appreciates this Bill. As a co-partner of the Liberal Party in this Government it has been behind the introduction of the measure. It is unnecessary for me to relate many details regarding the necessity for conserving water in Australia. I believe that Australia’s most important problem to overcome is the question of defence, and that the next important is water conservation. The future of Australia is wrapped up closely with the water we can conserve. Quoting the average rainfalls in Australia is somewhat confusing on occasions because, although we have very heavy rainfall along the coastal areas, as we move inland falls are light and the land becomes exceedingly dry and we have arid plains on which nothing can be grown without irrigation. It is well known that many places which are non-productive at present could grow almost anything if they could be watered. It is greatly appreciated that this Bill has as its main objective the measurement of the flow of rivers and the investigation and (measurement of underground water resources.
Without the measurement of the flow of rivers it is very hard to know where weirs can be satisfactorily built to help conserve water. 1 represent a large stretch of the Murray River, and there is strong advocacy there at present for more weirs and locks to be built between Koondrook and Mildura. We believe that water can be conserved there to bring into production thousands of acres of land in New South Wales and Victoria, but we cannot start producing on this area without having accurate information on the river flow and the quantity of the water which can be conserved for continuity of irrigation. Nothing would be worse than to start growing crops in an area thinking that there was a certain quantity of water available and then discovering later that the water had petered out.
Of course the Snowy Mountains scheme and Lake Eucumbene have put the Murray River into very different circumstances from those that obtained some years ago. Now, if the Murray River falls to only 20 per cent, of its normal flow water can be released from the lake to bring it up to 100 per cent. That means that 80 per cent, flow can come from the lake. This has given us greater stability. Although the amount proposed to be expended is not very great - £402,000 has been allocated - I believe that it could be used by the States to great advantage for improved water conservation and, therefore, improved production.
As to underground water, I direct the attention of the House to the fact that in the Mallee electorate, only a few miles north of Murrayville in north western Victoria not far from the South Australian border, there is a splendid flow of artesian water that anyone travelling in the area should attempt to see. Sheep are being run there in great numbers on small areas. It gives an indication of what is possible with the flow from underground water reserves. All these things make for faster progress. The Country Party has always realised the great value of water in Australia without which this country could not long satisfactorily endure. We could not continue to progress if we depended entirely on the normal rainfall.
I heard the name Cowper mentioned recently in a speech by the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti). The former honorable member for Cowper, the late Sir Earle Page, was one of the greatest advocates of water conservation that I have heard in this House. Most of his speeches advocated the conservation of water by harnessing the rivers in the area he represented. His advocacy was heard and appreciated by many honorable members in this House and by people far afield. If anything is done in this Parliament to conserve our water resources, I think he must be given some credit because he probably was one of the greatest advocates for the conserving of water.
I said earlier that it is not necessary to read very much about water. Every Australian knows the value of water. This country especially needs water. We are one of the great dry lands in the world where water is necessary for increased production. With sufficient water we probably can grow any primary product for which there is a market. With our normal rainfall we can grow wheat and produce wool, fat lambs, cattle and dairy products, but there are certain primary products for which irrigation is necessary. Of course, with irrigation the production of the items I have mentioned is greatly improved but some primary products cannot be grown unless there is irrigation. The conservation and use of our water resources means the production of many products of the soil that are not grown in Australia at present. Some honorable member may ask what these products are. Before we attempted to grow them we would have to find out what the world required. The soil then would have to be tested to see whether it were suitable, but if you have the water you can grow almost anything. I said that the late Sir Earle Page was a great advocate of water conservation. We have another great advocate of water conservation in this House who is now the honorable member for Cowper (Mr. Robinson). He formerly represented the State electorate of Casino in the New South Wales Legislative Assemblv. That State electorate forms part of the Federal division of Cowper. I am sure the House will hear from him tonight because he has been a strong advocate of water conservation and irrigation for many years, even long before he came to this House. I am sure he will continue his advocacy here.
Mr. DUTHIE (Wilmot) [8.351. - T shall be brief. I congratulate the Minister for
National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) and the Government for creating a new piece of legislation and a body which will play a vital role in this country’s development probably for the next 100 years. When we become the Government after the next general election we intend to broaden the scope of the Australian Water Resources Council, to build on what has been established, and to create a water conservation board which will cover the Commonwealth.
The proposal before us is a wonderful beginning towards solving the problem of making water available where it is needed most in this dry continent of Australia. We know that water is our nation’s life blood, if 1 may refer to it in that way. It is more necessary to man than anything else. It is even more necessary than food, a home, electricity or any modern invention. Water is primary and that is why this Bill is so important. Research into the location, quality, quantity and flow rate of water is of paramount importance to irrigation, river behaviour, water storage and the development of primary industries. The result of the Council’s work is and will continue to be made available to all States. It is a repository of vital information that each State can use in whatever way it wishes for its development.
My colleague, the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti), explained the Bill in some detail and said that we support it wholeheartedly. I join with him in that support. One of the remarkable features of my political life has been that from time to time this Government has had an inspiration. In the 18 years that I have been in this place, IS of them in the wilderness of Opposition, there have been a few occasions on which I have been really glad to support a Bill that this Government has introduced in one of its few moments of inspiration.
– They have been very rare.
– As I have said, th:s is one of its few moments of inspiration. We are glad to have this Bill before us. The Minister is to be congratulated on the work that he has done in research into water resources. Recently there was a conference in Adelaide - I do not think my colleague, the honorable member for Macquarie, mentioned this - of the Australian Council of Local Government Association which discussed the activities of the National Water
Resources Council. The following report appeared in the Melbourne “Sun” of 10th November 1964 -
Planning the use of all water resources in Australia should be under Federal control, the Australian Council of Local Government Association resolved today.
Here is a body that is up to date. Here is a body that is not parochial. We want a lot more of this kind of thinking in Australia. I congratulate the Association on its attitude. The report goes on -
It decided to ask the Federal Government to make the National Water Resources Council e proper planning body on a nation-wide basis.
Cr. J. R. Black of N.S.W., moving the resolution, said he believed Australia’s water problem to be purely a Federal matter.
Strong opposition could be expected from the various States because there was a certain amount of “ jealousy over such matters “, he said.
At present the National Water Resources Council had no statutory powers, lt should become a working body like the Snowy Mountains Authority, he said.
I join with the Opposition in agreeing wholeheartedly with that comment. The newspaper article then goes on to say -
Cr. J. C. Andrew of S.A. said: “These waters, as a national heritage, should be treated on a national basis “.
One of my colleagues from Tasmania, Cr. L. H. Cairns, said -
The proposal was not likely to get the blessing of the States. It would, if carried out, mean loss of the States’ control over water resources to the Commonwealth.
I do not agree with that. That is the fear which thinking of this kind throws into such a discussion. The position is not as he has mentioned. I agree wholeheartedly with the scheme. The States should give this Council every support because the proposed allocation of £400,000 will be spent for their benefit on their irrigation schemes and the like. This legislation is in keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy that -
Streams shall appear in the desert and the desert shall blossom as a rose.
This can happen only by the application of water, and Israel has given a splendid example of what can be done bv bringing water to the desert. The Council will have the fundamental task of helping to provide water for the parched areas of Australia. I agree with what my colleague the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) said about the Bradfield scheme. We should now have another look at that scheme. We have evolved new techniques and more efficient methods of coping with the physical problems of water conservation, river redirection and so on. By the use of the heavy earth-moving equipment and Other machinery that we have today, waters that are now flowing to waste in the Pacific Ocean could be redirected to the parched inland areas, and if we do not open these lands for our future settlers, somebody else will.
Finally, let me mention what has been done in Tasmania with irrigation and explain how this work will benefit from the activities of the Australian Water Resources Council. Many people might feel inclined to disbelieve me when I say that we do have irrigation in Tasmania. But Tasmania experiences many dry summers, dry autumns and dry winters. The area of crops and pastures under irrigation in Tasmania rose during 1963-64 from 24,285 acres to 33,570 acres, according to information supplied by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. The biggest increases were from 11,435 acres to 15,693 acres in pastures - an increase of 37 per cent.; from 2,043 acres to 2,703 acres in green fodder, and from 4,446 acres to 5,933 acres in fruit.
The information about potatoes is interesting. We now irrigate potato fields in Tasmania on a large scale. The area of potato production served by irrigation increased in 1963-64 from 1,688 acres to 1,984 acres. We are getting fantastic crops from the irrigating of potatoes. In the last four years, potato irrigation has increased fourfold, from 467 acres in 1959-60 to 1,984 acres in 1963-64. We now have 1.9 per cent, of the total area of crops and pastures under irrigation in Tasmania. Of our total area under irrigation, there are 7,280 acres in the Derwent Valley, in the Wilmot electorate, where 80 per cent, of Australia’s hops are grown - I may say that I have not sampled the hops in their most popular form - and 3,592 acres in the Huon Valley, where irrigation is used mainly in the great apple industry. The area under irrigation may seem ridiculously small, but when we consider that only a few years ago it was almost nil, we realise that the increase has been quite spectacular, and the use of irrigation is continuing to increase spectacularly.
I give this Bill a warm blessing because I realise that it will be beneficial not only for Tasmania but for the whole of the Commonwealth. I hope that it will be the forerunner of many similar measures to which we will agree as an Opposition, and which when we become the government, we shall expand still further.
.- This Bill is entitled the States Grants (Water Resources) Bill. I feel that the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has not recognised clearly the real purpose of this legislation. It is just one more example of the Government’s policy of assisting the work of the States wherever that is possible. The whole purport of this legislation is to give financial assistance to the States for the purpose of measuring the water resources of this continent, firstly by stream gauging, and secondly by studying our underground resources. There could be no more vital work than this undertaken in the interests of the development of Australia.
I do not propose to speak at length in this the final sitting of the House for this sessional period, but I should be failing in my responsibilities if, as a member representing a New South Wales electorate, I did not say that this measure will aid the work of development in that State greatly. Two factors arise here. The first is the importance of paying greater attention to water storage and water conservation in the high rainfall belt of that section of the State to the east of the Great Dividing Range. For many years there has been a strong advocacy of the need to conserve water in this sector of New South Wales because of the potential for development and for the use of water to build up productivity in the various categories of farming which are carried out in this region. The honorable member for Macquarie has mentioned many experts this evening, but he failed to recognise one particular aspect. For many years now, a number of experts have believed that the high rainfall areas do nob need water conservation, that there is no justification for the carrying out of works which would lead to the application of irrigation to the lands in this sector. Recent investigations have disclosed quite clearly that greater productivity can be obtained from this part of the State from the conservation of water than can be obtained from any comparable scheme that may be undertaken in other regions. The survey which will result from the finances to be made available under this Bill will make it possible for us to assess effectively the productivity that can be expected to result in the various river basins and the various areas in which underground water is available throughout the State by the use of Chose waters.
This is a forward step. The House will recall the many representations made here down through the years with relation to the gorge scheme on the Clarence River. The late Sir Earle Page spoke of it year in and year out. That scheme fell to the ground because of lack of technical information, and the lack of action on the part of the State - and the Commonwealth if I may say so - to ascertain what might result if the scheme were implemented. Similar schemes have been advocated in north Queensland, in the western part of New South Wales and elsewhere in Australia. My friend the honorable member for Maranoa (Mr. Brimblecombe) knows of the Border River scheme This would serve an important producing area, but here again there has been no complete or final survey. None of these schemes can be considered objectively unless surveys are carried out in a proper fashion.
This measure will make it possible for the States to go ahead with the vital work that is basic if we are to have a proper arrangement of water conservation schemes for Australia. We already have our great Snowy Mountains scheme and other works carried out by the various State authorities. Outstanding progress in water conservation has been made in Victoria. Similar progress has been made along the Murray River in South Australia. What has been done in the last 50 years has been quite unique for a country the size of Australia with its relatively small economic capacity and population. We now find that our whole future denends upon further forward action to establish economic schemes - I emphasise “ economic “ - which will make it possible, to expand our agricultural system and build up our productivity. This Bill will do an unequalled job of work in this regard. It is to the credit of the Government that it has seen fit to bring in this legislation as a result of conferences between the States and the Commonwealth through the Australian Water Resources Council. This scheme has been agreed upon by all the authorities involved.
The honorable member for Macquarie was somewhat remiss in his references to the Northern Territory. The Australian Water Resources Council is very actively supported by the Minister for Territories (Mr. Barnes), who is an executive member of the Council. It was clearly said in the second reading speech by the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) that the Northern Territory will not be overlooked in the work that is to be undertaken. Of course, work in the Northern Territory will be undertaken by the Commonwealth quite apart from this Bill, which provides for assistance to the sovereign States only. I have no doubt that the great task of establishing what may be done with regard to both surface and underground water in the Northern Territory will not be overlooked by the Government.
Some very interesting figures, which I shall cite, disclose that the job to be undertaken is a very commendable one when looked at on a comparative basis with other countries. For instance, the coastal area to which I have referred will have, as a consequence of the arrangements to be made as a result of this Bill, a gauging system that will give the number of stations in an area of 4,000 square miles a density that is far greater than that in the United States or in any other part of Australia. There will be four stations per 1,000 square miles, compared with 1.8 per 1,000 square miles for the whole of New South Wales. The density of gauging stations for the whole of Australia is one per 1,210 square miles, which is a pretty good effort for a continent of this size.
Undoubtedly the work of the Australian Water Resources Council should receive the acclaim of the whole of the Commonwealth. It should be recognised to a far greater extent by the authorities when dealing with the provision of finance for water conservation. I hope that future meetings of the Loan Council and the Premiers’ Conference in Canberra will not overlook the facts which will emerge from the survey work done. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) suggested that the Federal Government should take complete control of water conservation. I believe that would be a mistake at this stage. It would be quite impossible for the Commonwealth to accept responsibility for water conservation in every part of Australia at this juncture, in view of the good work being done in some States - Victoria in particular - it would be a pity to take this responsibility from the States and vest it in one single overall authority. But what might well be considered is a proposition to enable the Commonwealth to assist with headworks, that is, with major dam works, leaving the control of an irrigation system to a State as a direct local responsiblity. I believe that once this initial work has been completed it will be time for us to look at the national requirements and, if we can, make an arrangement whereby the Commonwealth will assist with major works, as has been done in the case of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority and which is currently being done in relation to Blowering Dam and the Chowilla Dam on the Murray River. An extension of this type of approach to water conservation in Australia will enable this nation to gain a very forward place in the world, when compared with other continents, in the task of water conservation and irrigation. Not only would the scheme increase productivity on our farmlands but in many instances it could be used to provide a system of hydroelectricity.
Much emphasis has been placed on the establishment of thermal power stations, and there has even been a suggestion that we establish a nuclear power station in Australia. I believe that the result of the investigation which will flow from this Bill will disclose that we can do a great deal more in the provision of hydro-electric stations which can provide a tremendous benefit to our economy. This is a work that will receive intensive study at the engineering level to ensure that we are able to use those things with which the continent has been endowed. The storage capacity that we have in many of our river valleys is tremendous. The border river scheme, the schemes in north Queensland and the schemes which have been advanced in so many places to which I referred earlier should be very fully studied through the provisions of this legislation and, in the interests of the nation, we should see to it that we carry this task forward.
If I may make one final comment, the success of the measure will depend very largely on the active work of the State
Government’s administration in this field. The Bill clearly sets out the financial assistance that will be granted to the States conditionally upon their carrying out certain administrative work. I believe that one of the fundamentals is that information which is gathered shall be available to all authorities which require it in making assessments and in putting forward propositions for water conservation. This must apply equally to the Commonwealth as it does to local authorities, such as electricity county councils and the like, to irrigation authorities and, of course, to the States themselves. I asked the Minister recently whether the legislation would provide that there would be no embargo upon the information gathered at the State level. I received the assurance of the Minister that the information gathered will be freely available to all authorities that may require it. This is a desirable thing and I am sure that the House will find that it is a useful exercise if, from time to time, reports of the work being carried out are presented to the Parliament. This is the way to ensure that we know what is being done in this great field of water conservation. I fully support the measure and I commend the Government for the action that it has taken.
– in reply- This is a measure to which the Government attaches great importance. The Government appreciates the co-operation and agreement that has been shown tonight by the Opposition. With so many parties involved it has not been easy to reach a satisfactory agreement on this subject. It is encouraging, therefore, that the Opposition recognises what is a very keen national problem. The Bill deals essentially with the finding of the basic facts upon which decisions can be made. In Australia we are very familiar with the fact that we are, on the whole, a dry continent. We are more accustomed to think that our shortage of water may limit agricultural development in some direction and that water conservation should therefore be extended. But even more so than primary development, industrial development is critically dependent on water supplies. In fact, the most important national resource for the purpose of developing industrial complexes is the supply of water.
The Bill is directed essentially towards collecting basic facts relating to water supplies. It is designed to provide the kind of information upon which decisions have to be made, because the immense outlay which is involved in many schemes which are often put forward without adequate information could mean a great deal in terms of Australia’s resources. It is vital that the great resources which might be spent on schemes should be used in the light of an intelligent appreciation of the basic facts. This was, of course, very freely recognised by members of the Opposition, particularly the member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti). I would like to assure the honorable member for Macquarie that the problems of the Northern Territory will certainly not be forgotten. In fact they engage the attention of the Government almost continuously so there is no risk whatever that they will be passed over.
I would like to join in the tribute which the honorable member for Macquarie paid to the services of Sir Harold Raggatt who, as honorable members well know, is now moving on to retirement. He is a great Australian and, one of those rare combinations of scientific knowledge combined with administrative capacity and a flair for getting things done. It is nice to know that this great Australian enjoys the confidence of both sides of the House.
I am sorry that the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has left the chamber. He claims that within his electorate 80 per cent, of the hops grown in Australia are harvested. Somehow or other he seems to profess a certain degree of disinterest in the end product. The honorable member for Wilmot suggested that, although he praised this fact, it was one of his rare moments of inspiration. 1 would suggest that if the honorable member took a little more interest in the end product of goods grown in his own electorate his moments of inspiration would occur a little more frequently. The honorable member for Cowper (Mr. Robinson) and the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) rightly referred to the importance of water conservation in their districts. Once again, of course, they support this work. They emphasise, of course, that it is done by State Governments but it is something in which every Australian must take a fundamental interest. This is a non-political issue and the Government does appreciate the enlightened view taken of this matter by honorable members on both sides of the House.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Bury) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 12th November (vide page 2908), on motion by Mr. Bury - That the BUI be now read a second time.
.- The Opposition has no objection whatever to this Bill. I do not intend to delay the House, under these circumstances, to attempt to explain to either side something about the nature of the Bill which I am sure all honorable members understand. The Opposition, therefore, is content to leave the debate at this point.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Bury) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 11th November (vide page 2791), on motion by Sir Robert Menzies -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Is it the wish of the House to debate the subject matter of both measures together as suggested by the Minister? There being no objection, I will allow that course to be followed.
.- Mr. Speaker, these two Bills now before the House are of considerable importance and of a great deal of interest. For a good many years the question of the determination of university salaries has been one that has been before all university people and before State Governments. Finally, it was recognised as the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government. These Bills are a particular recognition of the nature and degree of Commonwealth responsibility because they are based upon recommendations of a committee which, for the first time, was appointed to inquire into professorial salaries and the salaries of associate professors and readers and to make recommendations on which the provision of funds by the Commonwealth Government could be based. This is an important event in the history of Australian universities.
The two Bills are confined to the provisions of funds to meet salaries of academic staff of universities throughout Australia. In that sense the two Bills are quite narrow. They refer only to salaries. But, as the Eggleston Report on which the provision of funds is based indicates, some of the implications of this legislation, could be said to be broader than matters purely of salary. The Eggleston Report indicates, in a couple of places, the difficulties that States other than claimant States are likely to experience in relation to the provision of funds to meet these requirements because, as honorable members well know, the provision of Commonwealth funds only goes a certain distance and the responsibility lies on the States to do the rest. This is not a problem for the claimant States but it re mains, significantly, a problem for other than claimant States.
The brief history behind this measure is that at the end of last year the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) announced that the Government had established an inquiry under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Eggleston to recommend the level of university salaries or, specifically, the salaries of professors, associate professors and readers, but not for the rest of the academic staff, from the beginning of the current triennium after 1st January 1964. There has been some delay and dissatisfaction with the situation and the Prime Minister announced that as an interim measure the Government would offer to the States, for universities, a sum of money sufficient to pay a professorial salary of £4,600 per annum from 1st July 1963 until the beginning of the triennium commencing 1st January 1964. Therefore, the Bills that we have before us provide for this. The States Grants (Universities) Bill is to provide funds to pay salaries based on the professorial salary of £4,600 from the 1st July 1963 to 1st January 1964. The Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill provides an interim amount to provide salaries in the year 1964 based on the recommendations of the Eggleston Committee. In this regard I emphasise briefly two points. First, these figures for 1964 are provisional figures because the recommendations of the Eggleston Committee are only recommendations and they need not necessarily be followed by the States. The States may pay, and do pay, salaries which vary from the recommended salaries. The actual amounts are to be determined later. The Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill provides a provisional amount for 1964 only.
The second point that I make in this regard is that the recommendations of the Eggleston Committee are for a professorial salary of £5,200, which is an increase of £600 on the figure for the last six months of 1963: an associate professor’s salary of £4.300: a maximum salary of £3,800 for a senior lecturer; and a maximum salary of £2.400 for a lecturer. Of course, Mr. Justice Eggleston was asked to determine only the salaries of a professor and an associate professor: but in a very skilful way he managed also to suggest a maximum salary for a senior lecturer and a maximum salary for a lecturer.
The Opposition supports these two Bills to the full. In addition, later the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) will move an amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill. That amendment will be in these terms -
That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “ the Bill be w thdrawn and re-presented without delay to include provision for adequate finance to the New South Wales Government to enable it to grant full autonomy to the Newcastle University College as from the 1st January, 1965.”
The honorable member for Newcastle, in moving mat amendment, will expiate the significance ot it. in brief, the significance oi it is mat only the New SOUth Wales Government nas actually moved to give me standing ot a university to a university college and fixed a date for tile changeover and that Government has so moved only in respect of the Newcastle University College, the date that has been fixed is 1st January 19b5. In no other State and in respect ot no other school, college or organisation anywhere else in Australia has that been done. Therefore, the Opposition considers that it is justifiable to move this amendment. The New South Wales Government has proceeded further in respect of the establishment of a new university than has any other State. So the Opposition believes that at this stage it is fully justified in seeking to give support to the New South Wales Government in this respect.
Now I shall say a number of things about the report submitted by the Committee of Inquiry Into Academic Salaries, or the Eggleston Committee. The report is quite a long one. It consists of 28 foolscap pages of print. After a considerable amount of experience in this field, I was delighted to read the report. I believe that Mr. Justice Eggleston has done a highly creditable job. He has shown a thoroughly good understanding of the university situation. As I said earlier, this report is a landmark in the history of the determination of university staff salaries. The report says -
The necessity for the present Inquiry arises from the fact that there has never been any authority with power to determine academic salaries in all disciplines for the whole of Australia. During the period since 1951 there has been some degree of uniformity in salaries, but this has not been the result of salary prescriptions by arbitral tribunals. The staff of the University of New South Wales has had access to the Industrial Commission of New South Wales during this period, and awards have in fact been made by that Commission for positions up to professorial rank. But there has been no compulsion on other universities to follow decisions of the Commission, nor has the existence of an award prevented the Council of that University from increasing salaries when it felt that such increases were desirable.
Of course, a salaries committee was appointed to advise the Australian Universities Commission in 1960; but that is the only previous committee of this kind. The Eggleston inquiry is the most important, general and significant one that has been made so far.
The submissions made to the Eggleston Committee very early in its inquiries raised the question whether the Committee would function informally or in a kind of judicial capacity, with regard to the laws of evidence and so on. I believe that Mr. Justice Eggleston was completely right in deciding that the Committee should function in an informal way. The Committee consisted of Mr. Justice Eggleston and two assessors. That decision allowed the Committee to meet the representatives of the universities themselves, the representatives of the vice-chancellors, and the representatives of many staff associations from all over Australia, without the necessity to submit and rebut evidence and without the necessity for the formal cross-examination of witnesses. I believe that often, when an inquiry proceeds along formal lines, it limits very considerably the scope of the inquiring authority in doing its work.
The Committee, in the course of its inquiries, travelled to most Australian universities. More than 40 written submissions were made to it. Nine of those came from the universities themselves, from the vicechancellors; five of them came from the staff associations; and one of them came from the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations. The report states -
Broadly speaking, the main argument put on behalf of the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations was that a change in long-term income relativities between academic staffs and comparable occupations was necessary, “ not to put the universities in a dominant position . . . but to put the universities on a more equal footing with their main competitors in the intensifying scramble for highly qualified people.”.
That proposition contains a couple of very significant points. The Federation, in putting the case for university staffs, in effect, asked for a review of university salaries relative to those of other occupations, but not in order to put universities in a dominant position. The Federation indicated that there is what is described as a “scramble for highly qualified people” in Australia. There is a scramble for highly qualified people because there is an extraordinary shortage of highly qualified people in Australia. I believe that here we are entitled to move away a little from the’ narrow question of the determination of university salaries. 1 would have hoped that the Prime Minister, in introducing these Bills last Wednesday, would have said something about the extraordinary scramble for highly qualified people that exists in Australia, and also might have said something more about the urgency of the need for action. But, admitting that this is not strictly relevant, I point out that in introducing these Bills he avoided doing that just as, in this chamber for the last three or four years, he has avoided making any reference to the urgency of the need for action, although that has been completely relevant to the subject about which he has been speaking. I find myself still at a loss to understand his attitude on this matter.
The Federation of Australian University Staff Associations said that it did not want the Eggleston Committee to put the universities in a dominant position. I suppose the Federation was referring to the professions of law and medicine. Quite clearly it was referring to comparable occupations in industry and commerce. It is clear that the Committee, in recommending a salary of £5,200 for a professor and a salaries scale based on that of the University of New South Wales, has not placed the universities in a dominant position in relation either to law and medicine or to outside industry and commerce. Even after the presentation of this report, the universities are left in what 1 would call an inferior position.
Mr. Justice Eggleston saw fit to emphasise submissions made on behalf of the kind of States that I mentioned a few minutes ago. Those are the States which, though not claimant States, have to provide from their own resources, including reimbursement grants made by the Commonwealth in the ordinary course under the uniform tax arrangements, funds to meet the cost of university salaries. He emphasised the difficulties that these States would have in meeting even the provision for 1963 and 1964. This underscores again the need for urgency in this matter.
The university that 1 know best - the University of Melbourne - clearly is in a very difficult position. In a number of respects it is in a parlous condition. Had it not been for the effective actions of university students in relation to the library of that University, even the most elementary and essential services in the library would have run down to practically nothing during 1963. That University is short of technical equipment still. It continues to face the problem of over-large classes and of impossibly restricted quotas in practically all faculties. These quotas have particular significance in relation to the reference by the Federation of Australian University Staff Associations to the intensifying scramble for highly qualified people. If quotas are to be imposed in the faculties of Science, Medicine, Law, Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Architecture and all other conceivable faculties, as happens now, this intensifying scramble will be accentuated. The States are not in a position, and will not be in a position to change this situation significantly.
Mr. Justice Eggleston, in his report, gave an interesting summary of the history of professorial salaries back in 1951. That was the year when I first became concerned with these matters as Secretary of the University of Melbourne Staff Association. That was before I became a member of this House. In 1951, university staffs were almost without an effective voice in this respect. There were several years of very effective organisation by university staffs before their voice could be heard in any way effectively. At that time, we looked to the New South Wales Government and the University of Sydney for the standards to which we all tried to keep. I would not allow this opportunity to pass without expressing my appreciation to the Government of New South Wales, which, throughout this period, was able to provide for the University of Sydney sufficient funds to keep professorial salaries in that State at the top of the ladder in Australia. When we consider the attitudes of governments to university salaries, we must recognise that the New South Wales Government, under three or four Premiers, achieved results for which it deserves the appreciation of every one who knows the importance of salaries to universities.
The table at page 10 of Mr. Justice Eggleston’s report provides full evidence of whatI have just said. It is worth noting that in New South Wales the determination of salaries by an arbitral authority proceeded further than anywhere else, with the consent and support of the State Government. The report tells us that an award made in September 1962 by a Commissioner of the Industrial Commission of New South Wales was varied by the Full Bench of the Commission on 26th June 1963 by reducing the salary of £5,125 awarded by the Commissioner to £4,595 - a reduction of £530. In 1962, a Commissioner of the New South Wales Industrial Commission thought that the professorial salary ought to be £5,125. Now, in 1964, Mr. Justice Eggleston thinks it should be £5,200. So no-one can suggest, I think, that the salary proposed by Mr. Justice Eggleston is in any way excessive. Over the years, we have had to look to New South Wales for leadership in the determination of university salaries, and I would not allow this debate to proceed without pointing that out to the House clearly.
– That is just another instance of the leadership of New South Wales.
– Of course. New South Wales, I should think, leads in practically every field in which State Governments have an opportunity to give leadership. Mr. Justice Eggleston’s report, at page 11, tells us that, side by side with the processes that resulted in the adjustment of incomes on what it describes as an economic basis that would apply to university staffs in the same way as to everybody else, based on arguments that relate to the cost of living, productivity and so on, throughout the 1950’s there was developing a trend to more adequate recognition of intellectual qualities and higher educational achievement. No-one can say that this development has proceeded very far in Australia. I think it has still a long way to go. I believe that we are still rather backward in this evaluation of intellectual qualities and higher educational achievement. I am one of those who believe that we shall not achieve this kind of development unless we see it in economic terms. We shall win this recognition of intellectual qualities and higher educational achievement only when people with those qualities begin to receive salaries much higher than they are receiving now. In some respects, this is an important characteristic of what one might call an acquisitive society. But it cannot be ignored. If we are to obtain the results we want in this field, we must put money behind our efforts. The Eggleston report indicates the influences of the various factors that I have mentioned - the economic factor, what Mr. Justice Eggleston described as the tapering process introduced in the margins decision of 1955 and the recognition of the increasing importance of the groups concerned. These influences have operated in the determination of university salaries over the period with which I am dealing.
Interestingly enough, he points out that we cannot assume that throughout the decade of the 1950’s, and even beyond it, there has been what he describes as proper relativity between university salaries and other salaries. He does not suppose that there is relativity now. I firmly emphasise that. This report has been the result of a most intelligent and careful survey of the salary position. But Mr. Justice Eggleston says quite specifically that he does not wish by any means to give the impression that this is the last word when he states that he believes that there has not been proper relativity in the past and that he does not say that it exists at present. The significance of the rating and the possession of the status of intellectual capacity and higher education is of great importance for us. The report states - . . Australia is preparing, for the first time in her history, to live mainly from her own intellectual resources and to work to standards established within her own boundaries.
It is of great significance that Mr. Justice Eggleston should make that remark. The intellectual resources that we need in this country have many aspects and many services to perform. I was very pleased to see the report place in the forefront the following quotation -
In addition to their two aims of education and research-
These are taken as a matter of course by everybody - the universities, as was pointed out in the Murray Report, have a third function-
Mr. Justice Eggleston chooses to emphasise the third function - to act as the guardians of intellectual standards and intellectual integrity in the community. They should, as that Report said, “be proof against the waves of emotion and prejudice which make the ordinary man, and public opinion, subject from time to time to illusion and self-deceit”.
Mr. Justice Eggleston, as Murray did in the case of his inquiry in 1959, saw fit to emphasise that in the situation in which Australia exists in the world today - our proximity to Asia and the new world opening all around us - more than ever before we need people who will be proof against the waves of emotion and prejudice which make the ordinary man and public opinion subject from time to time to illusion and selfdeceit.
– What about the Australian Philosophers Association?
– Well, what about it?
– You are talking about professorial salaries and the integrity of professors. What about their black ban on the University of Tasmania?
– I think it is a thoroughly justified ban.
– I think the University of Tasmania proved itself to be an inbred establishment of autocracy, that it was prepared to use its power without a proper trial and has been completely unwilling to give that trial ever since.
– That is the honorable member’s opinion.
– The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Gibson) asked me for my opinion, did he not?
– Yes. I want it on record.
– Why interject if the opinion is not wanted? The report goes on to examine the status of professor and reader. It examines at some length the status of professor and considers the qualifications that need to be possessed in this field and the differences in the responsibilities that occur at different ranks. The report is, to my mind, somewhat inadequate in relation to its discussion of the position of reader and associate professor, although it does indicate that, in addition to the ranks of professor and reader, perhaps a third rank with a range is needed between reader and senior lecturer. To some extent it is difficult to say that this rank should be one of associate professor because over the years there has been a kind of equality between reader and associate professor. In some universities the same kind of person was called a reader as would be called an associate professor in another university.
I hope that in the near future there will be a development of two different ranks of professor and senior lecturer instead of one that has some kind of equality or some kind of mixed relation. I think we need the rank of reader. I would suppose that should be a second rank, a reader being the type of person who has special qualifications in research and special qualifications in teaching. That rank should be given emphasis, which the report does not do. The reader, very often, is one who has on one or more occasions been on the short list for appointment to a chair but has not, in fact, ever been given a chair. A little lower than that we need somebody and if he is not to be called an associate professor because of the history of this matter, why not call him a “ professorial associate”? He might later become known, shortly, as an “ associate “. I think there is room for this.
The Committee attempted to make salary comparisons in order to arrive at what the salaries should be and the Committee found great difficulty in this. It has paid a lot of attention to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and quite clearly it has decided that the salary of £2.400 for lecturers should about equate the pos tion of research scientist in the C.S.I.R.O. or elsewhere. My feeling on the subject is that whatever we may think about the £5,250 that has been decided for the professor, the lower ranges are too low. I feel that the salary for a lecturer should be more than £2,400 in order to attract the -kind of people that we want in this’ position. The salary should be higher, also, to give more scope for the salaries of tutors, senior tutors, demonstrators and senior demonstrators who come in below the level of lecturer.
The deficiency of this inquiry is that the Committee was not asked to inquire into, any salary other than the salaries of professors and associate professors. Mr. Justice Eggleston had to find his way around, as he skilfully did, the limitations of his instructions in this matter. I hope that when another committee is formed it will be directed to look specifically and closely at those other matters. The comparisons that the Committee found in looking at the research scientist were interesting. There is a tendency, I think, to consider that the significance and the attractions of research in universities are not now as great as they are in specialised institutions but it seems to me that the research attitude is still of as great importance in universities today as it ever was. The attractions of research and academic life in general do not seem to me to be the kind of things that should be taken into account as an attraction to the university worker in place of salary. You should not decide to give people doing this work less salary because the work is supposed to be attractive to them. We all know the attractions of research.
I was greatly honoured to be present on Monday in the University of Melbourne when Professor Linus Pauling was awarded a Doctorate of Science honoris causa. He was described by Professor Rubbo, who wrote the citation, as perhaps Melbourne’s most important graduate. I was interested to see that all the daily newspapers in Melbourne seemed to miss this rather interesting event. I am sure that honorable members will not overlook completely the fact that Professor Linus Pauling was last Monday given an honorary Doctor of Science degree in the University of Melbourne and was described by Professor Rubbo as perhaps our most distinguished graduate. I was very pleased and proud to see Professor Pauling join my university in this respect.
– Was he with you at the Peace Conference?
– He was. I was hoping that someone would allow me to say that Professor Pauling came to Australia to attend the Peace Conference in Sydney two or three weeks ago and I thank the honorable member for the interjection which has allowed me to bring out that point.
The Committee considered quite a number of other matters that it thought might be taken into account as a kind of offset to a higher salary. It considered the occurrence of study leave for university staff. One year of study leave is given in every seven years. It is interesting to note that the Committee found that this study leave is not regarded by university staffs as being a very great attraction. It is expected that members of staffs will take advantage of their study leave to go abroad, but it seems that going abroad often costs a considerable amount of money and is not regarded as an attraction in addition to salary. Similarly the report gives a very interesting conclusion about superannuation. Mr. Justice Eggleston said -
I should conclude, therefore, that in general the superannuation provisions for academic staff suffer by comparison with those of employees who spend their working lives with one employer. But as compared with other mobile employees and with self-employed persons, their superannuation stands as a relative advantage.
He looked at vacations which, as we know, appear to be fairly long. His conclusion was that members of university staffs do not work to a fixed timetable and this is an important element in assessing the attractiveness of an academic career. He looked at security of tenure and concluded that the kind of security enjoyed by academic staffs is an important element in the assessment of salary levels. He also considered outside earnings and found that only in a number of cases are outside earnings of any significance. He considered the question of academic freedom and thought that this was of some value to members of university staffs. However, when I look at the way that members of university staffs on the whole have used this freedom over the last ten years I am left with the feeling that it is not of very great value. Only very rarely has a member of a university staff ever said anything or done anything that has called his academic freedom into question. On the whole, we have had an extraordinary amount of conventional behaviour in recent years.
– That may be their choice.
– It may be, of course, but at any rate it cannot be said - I think the Minister would agree with me here - that there has been much interference with the freedom of academic staffs. 1 would say that on the whole they have not done anything that would have invited interference.
I have dealt with the most important points, as they appear to me, in the report. I think it is a very interesting and important report. .It provides an adequate basis for the determination of salaries at this point and perhaps this kind of inquiry might continue in the future. The Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) seemed to suggest that he had this in mind and that an inquiry of this sort might take place at least once in each triennium - once in each three years. I hope that when the next committee holds an inquiry, it will be led by a man as intelligent and wise as Mr. Justice Eggleston is and I hope that it will have instructions from the Government to inquire into all university salaries and not just the salaries of professors and associate professors.
.- As the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) said, it is my intention to move an amendment to the motion before the House. Therefore, I move -
That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: - “the Bill be withdrawn and represented without delay to include provision for adequate finance to the New South Wales Government to enable it to grant full autonomy to the Newcastle University College as from the 1st January 1965 “.
Twelve months ago when the legislation dealing with the second report of the Australian Universities Commission was being debated, I informed the then Minister, Mr. Downer, who is now the Australian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, that the people of Newcastle, the students, the students’ union, and everyone associated with the Newcastle University College were most anxious to have autonomy granted by 1965. The New South Wales Government had not at that stage given any clear undertaking that it proposed to grant autonomy by 1965, but since then the Governor of New South Wales in his address at the recent opening of the New South Wales Parliament indi cated that the Government proposed to bring down legislation during this session to grant autonomy to the Newcastle University College on 1st January 1965. The matter appeared to be at a standstill and on 27th August of this year I asked the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) a question. The right honorable gentleman replied that he was not familiar with the facts but would inquire and advise me of his findings.
Seven weeks elapsed and as I had not received a reply I again directed a question to the right honorable gentleman. He then said that he had received information, that he had a draft of a reply to me on his table and that after finally perusing it and correcting it to his satisfaction, he would advise me. A couple of days later he wrote to me and said, in part -
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.
This Parliament will go into recess in a few hours and will not re-assemble until probably the middle or the end of February of next year. It is the wish of all people associated with the Newcastle University College including the students, the council and citizens as a whole, that autonomy be granted and that this Parliament approve of it so that it can become effective as from 1st January 1965.
I want to give a brief history of the move to have the University College granted autonomy. The Council of the University of New South Wales accepted six years ago that this College in Newcastle would in due course become an autonomous university and it directed that the policy of the University should be such as would prepare the College for autonomy at the earliest practical date within the limits of the funds available and the growth of demand for university education in Newcastle. This policy has been followed up to the present time. A little over two years ago the Council of the University of New South Wales abolished the advisory committee which had previously existed for the Newcastle College and replaced it with the Newcastle University College Council, composed mainly of citizens drawn from the Newcastle area who had an interest in the College together with a few senior academic members of the staff of the college and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. This Council was charged with the supervision of all affairs of the College and it reports to the full University Council. It was in particular charged with the task of organising and supervising the planning of the new university building to be erected on the Shortland site. These buildings are being built with money allocated under the recommendations of the Prime Minister presented to this Parliament some 12 months ago. The College Council has been in fact a committee of the main University Council and it reports direct to the main council. It has had considerable delegated authority with respect to the local administration of the College. The members of the College Council have all now become quite experienced in the management of the College. In fact, it is proposed in the act for the establishment of the University of Newcastle that this body will be the first council of the independent university. I have that information on most reliable authority - the present Council of the Newcastle University College, when autonomy is granted, will become the first and original council of the new autonomous Newcastle University.
On the administrative side the Council has had for many years a full time warden and more recently a junior warden, both of professorial status, lt has had for some time its own accountant and has kept its own accounts. During 1964 the College has operated on a separate budget from that of the University of New South Wales, and the budget for 1965 has been prepared for submission to the State Government in the same independent form. For over a year the College has handled all its own staff appointments, including professorial appointments, and also all matters relating to promotions. It has, of course, in these affairs worked within the general rules which apply throughout the University of New South Wales and has in this way developed administrative habits which no doubt wilt continue in the future.
On the academic side, the professoriate has been built up rapidly during the last two years. Eight professors have been appointed during 1964, bringing the total to 13. A number of associate professors are also on the staff of the Colege. For quite a number of years now the College has had a board of studies which has supervised all internal academic matters and which has reported to the professional board of the University of New South Wales. The University of New South Wales has advised the New South Wales Minister for Education that the College is now sufficiently well staffed and equipped to be able to manage its own affairs and that a delay of two years, while it will obviously add some further experience to the College Council in its administration, will not produce any major improvement in the College’s ability to look after itself. It is worthwhile emphasising that any further delay will not produce any major improvement there. The University of New South Wales sees no difficulty in dividing the moneys which will be available under the State Grants (Universities) Act during 1965 and 1966, and considers that Newcastle should be able to manage without any addition to the moneys from the Commonwealth which it is already proposed to provide.
Autonomy will cost approximately £60,000. The New South Wales Government is prepared to accept this commitment. Autonomy will not cost the Commonwealth Government one additional penny over what has already been allocated for this independence. In reality, autonomy has been granted on an administrative and financial level. As I said earlier, the Council prepares and functions within its own budget. Only academic autonomy and the power to grant degrees is now required. Even though the New South Wales Government is prepared to grant autonomy from 1st January 1965, bearing in mind as I have said that New South Wales is a sovereign State and has the power and right to grant autonomy, the Australian Universities Commission will not approve of the Council of the University of New South Wales transferring any money to the autonomous University of Newcastle.
Why is the Australian Universities Commission adopting this dogmatic stand in view of the fact that the money has been allocated already and that New South Wales, as a sovereign State, is prepared to accept the additional cost of £60,000? The Council of the University of New South Wales is constantly in touch with the Newcastle University College and has recommended to the New South Wales Minister for Education that autonomy be granted from 1st January. Compare this record of constant and regular contact by the Council of the University of New South Wales with the College with the record of the Australian Universities Commission, which has not visited the Newcastle University College for over two years, and when it made its last visit it was there for one day only. We should bear in mind that the Council of the University of New South Wales has been in control of the Newcastle University College from its inception. The College was an institute of technology before it became a college. All that time it has been under the jurisdiction of the University of New South Wales. Initially Professor Baxter was completely opposed to the granting of autonomy. Politically the State Government was prepared to have a look at it. It said that so far as it was concerned, if the University of New South Wales recommended autonomy then the Government was prepared to go along with it. For quite some time Professor Baxter and the Council of the University of New South Wales were not prepared to accept the responsibility for recommending autonomy, but they have recommended to the New South Wales Minister for Education that autonomy be granted, as the Newcastle University is now ready for independence.
At the present moment buildings, which are being financed by money provided under the second report of the Australian Universities Commission, are well advanced. They will not be occupied in the immediate new year, but they will be ready for occupation at an early date. Bearing all these facts in mind, and bearing in mind that last Thursday, in reply to a question asked in the New South Wales Parliament by the honorable member for Kurri Kurri, the Premier indicated that irrespective of what the Commonwealth Government decided the State Government was going to proceed with autonomy, the nigger in the woodpile so far as this matter is concerned relates to the money already allocated by the Commonwealth Government to the University of New South Wales being redirected to Newcastle University
College. All I. ask at this stage - and I am not asking the Government to accept my amendment - is an assurance from the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), who is at the table on behalf of the Prime Minister, that the Commonwealth will not stand in the way of the New South Wales Government and of the University of New South Wales reallocating to the Newcastle University College money already allocated to them to enable that body to become an independent authority and to carry on its own financial affairs.
I do not want to press the amendment, but I seek that assurance. After all, as I indicated in my opening remarks, I raised this question in October 1963 when I pointed out to the Government that the students of the Newcastle University College and the Council of that College were anxious for autonomy and were of opinion that it should be granted as from 1st January 1965. The Prime Minister is still considering this proposal. I think that he has had any amount of time in which to make a decision. I am of opinion that if left to the Prime Minister personally he would approve of the proposal. I believe that it is the Chairman of the Australian Universities Commission, Sir Leslie Martin, who is holding up independence for the Newcastle University College. I do not know whether it is because the Prime Minister does not want to give an unfavorable decision before 5th December that there has been a hold-up in the decision, but I hope that the Minister can indicate to me that I can withdraw my amendment and that autonomy will not be opposed - not that this Government can approve it - but that the Government will not oppose the request from the Premier of New South Wales for the granting of autonomy.
Another matter to which I should like to refer relates to the Commonwealth allocation of funds for residential colleges or halls of residence in the various universities. One of the grants that was made recently followed a recommendation in the second report of the Australian Universities Commission that £220.000 be made available for a hall of residence on the Shortland site of the Newcastle University. On 2nd November the Prime Minister announced that all funds for residential colleges had been withdrawn and that in future funds would be made available only on a £1 for £1 basis. On the allocation of funds by a church organisation, the Commonwealth would match the allocation £1 for £1. I should like to refer to a paragraph that appears on page 69 of the Commission’s report under the heading “ University of New South Wales - Newcastle University College”. It reads -
In the 1961-63 triennium, local difficulties led to the abandonment by the Anglican authorities of a project to establish an Anglican college affiliated wilh the Newcastle University College.
At that time the Newcastle Anglican Synod was considering - there was a very strong move for this in Anglican circles - the establishment of an Anglican residential college on the Shortland site in association with the university. Unfortunately, when the matter went to the Synod, the Synod could not see its way clear to provide the necessary finance. Bearing that fact in mind, the Commission had this to say in the paragraph to which I have referred -
The Commission’s recommendations for the establishment of Newcastle University College on the Shortland site include a grant of £220,000 for the construction of a first stage of a hall or residence complex. The Commission considers that for this amount at least 100 students could be accommodated and centralised facilities provided for a much larger number of students
When this report was presented the Commission was fully aware of the Anglican Synod^s decision. It decided that it was necessary for a hall of residence to be erected on the Shortland site. The Prime Minister cancelled all allocations for halls of residence unless churches were prepared to provide their own funds which the Commonwealth would match on a £1 for £1 basis. I think that is wrong. Other universities throughout the Commonwealth received quite a substantial allocation for halls of residence. The University of New England at Armidale is a case in point. I believe that Monash University in Melbourne and others throughout the Commonwealth have halls of residence which have been constructed by joint Commonwealth and State funds. I ask the Minister to take my request in this direction to the Prime Minister with a view to the right honorable gentleman’s reconsidering his decision and again making the £220,000 available so that facilities can be provided.
Only last Sunday I attended the opening of extensions to a church home in Mayfield which is in my electorate. This home at present provides accommodation for 59 apprentices and university students. Some facilities are being provided on that site. I admit that much of the necessary finance is provided by Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., and by industry in the Newcastle district. I know that the State Government is prepared to accept its responsibility in this project. I would hope that the Commonwealth also would accept its responsibility by restoring the allocation of £220,000, on the basis of £110,000 from the Commonwealth and £110,000 from the States, so that a hall of residence can be constructed on the Shortland site. This would permit the university to develop as an independent authority and, at the same time, would provide facilities and opportunities that are available in other cities for students. Once again, I ask the Minister to accept the proposed amendment or to indicate clearly that the Commonwealth will not oppose autonomy if that is approved by the State Government by legislation this year.
– Order! Is the amendment seconded?
.- I second the amendment and strongly support the very persuasive case that has been presented to the House by the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones). He has done a service, not only to his own district, but also to academic circles in New South Wales. Apart from all other considerations, here is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to give expression to its oft repeated profession of a desire for decentralisation. A university, especially a fully autonomous university, confers status on the community that it serves. In addition, it retains within its local boundaries students who otherwise might be persuaded to go to other universities. There is no doubt of the prospects of development for a university if it receives autonomy. It can cater better for the desires of young students in the area than it would be able to if it remained merely an affiliate or an offshoot of the University of New South Wales.
I turn to the second point that the honorable member made about residential colleges. Today these are accepted as a very important and integral part of university development. I think Monash University in Melbourne is a very practical demonstration of how, apart from other things, the existence of a hall of residence provides an amenity and a basis of continuing loyalty for those who attend the university. To my mind, this is university education in the fullest sense, covering not only the formal provisions in any university campus but also the informal contacts between students attending the various faculties within the university. This is the wider and enriching part of university education. It would be a great shame if the proposed development at Newcastle were hindered in the way suggested by the honorable member.
My colleague, the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns), who led the debate for the Opposition, made a most comprehensive review of the Eggleston Committee’s report. I do not want to delay the House at this time of night and at this time of the year with any detailed reference to the report but I should like to make just a few remarks on it. One of the strange things about the report is that it makes recommendations in respect of professorial salaries and the salaries of readers. The Committee was not asked to go any further, much to the unhappiness of the university staff associations. They were anxious for the inquiry to be broad and to include consideration of the salaries of senior lecturers and lecturers. As the honorable member for Yarra said, the Eggleston Committee got around this in a way. It had to make certain assumptions. These were not advanced as recommendations but as tentative assumptions of the approximate salary of a lecturer rising to the salary of senior lecturer.
The Commonwealth has accepted these assumptions all very quickly as the basis for an interim provision in the grant that it is to make to the States for the purpose of meeting recurrent costs. I would have preferred to have had evidence before us that the Minister had yielded to the request that was made, and that the Committee would have been able to go into this matter fully. Mr. Justice
Eggleston makes the point in his report that he did not go into the whole gamut of university salaries because he did not have the opportunity or the time to do so and, therefore, the assumptions that were made in respect of the salaries of lecturers and senior lecturers must be very tentative indeed. The report itself does not make any presumption that they are matters which have been inquired into fully.
I share the opinion of the honorable member for Yarra that £2,400 as a base rate for a lecturer is inadequate. In the last couple of weeks in New South Wales increases in salary have been granted to teachers and persons occupying higher positions such as principal, deputy principal, and special subject master. I do not think that this £2,400 can be considered generous in comparison with what is provided for our teachers. I might mention here that under the latest provision, the principal of a first class high school in New South Wales is to receive £3,600 as compared with this £2,400, and I am not sure that the lecturer at the university level ought not to be receiving a sum a little closer to that received by the principal of a first class high school.
It is interesting to note that the report makes no reference to salaries for teaching fellows. I am told by the Universities Staffs Association that the teaching fellows represent an important recruiting ground for teaching staff within the universities. Therefore, if we are thinking in terms of future recruitment for universities, it would have been appropriate to have had consideration for teaching fellows. Amongst other duties, teaching fellows often - provide tutorial assistance. I am glad to relate that, according to all reports, the amount of tutorial assistance that is available is improving. This is the sort of thing that can make appointments to universities more congenial in the sense that the senior lecturer, reader or professor is able to give more of his attention to the things that are deserving of that level of attention, instead of being pre-occupied with providing assistance to students who may need it.
Another point that I think is very validly made in the report is that some States have expressed the opinion that they are going to have difficulty in meeting their commitments as part of the bargain. The Commonwealth provides a subsidy of £1 for every £1 provided from State funds and student fees to meet the capital cost of universities. This Bill does not deal with that. As to recurrent costs which are mainly salaries, the amount which has to be provided from State funds and student fees is £1.85 for every £1 provided by the Commonwealth. Every triennial report draws attention to the complaints made about this by those States which are not claimant States. The claimant States have no problem because they receive their money direct from the Commonwealth; but this cost has been a rather heavy burden for the States which are not claimant States.
I think it might be time for the Commonwealth, in consultation with the States, to have a look at the formula that was devised a few years ago. Important developments have taken place since that time. The formula was devised at the beginning of this happy and fruitful co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth but 1 do feel that, particularly in respect of the recurrent costs, towards which the States have to provide £1.85 from State funds and student fees for every £1 provided by the Commonwealth, the formula might be a little unbalanced. I hope that the Commonwealth will be able to do better than that.
Under this Bill, New South Wales will have to find £9.6 million as against the Commonwealth’s contribution of approximately £5.2 million. The States, of course, have other heavy educational commitments. In New South Wales secondary education is now a six-year course.’ As yet there is no Commonwealth aid to secondary education. The New South Wales Government has also re-established diploma courses at its technical colleges. All these things have meant a heavy burden on the States. Because the report of the inquiry into tertiary education is not yet available for implementation, the States have had to continue to carry the burden while waiting for some action to be taken by the Commonwealth. It looks now as though the State will have fo carry on with this work until well into next year before the report and recommendations of the inquiry will be submitted. Anticipating Commonwealth support in the future, the New South Wales State is going ahead making substantial facilities available for higher technical education as well as secondary education teacher training and the like.
Another matter dealt with in the report is the question of future inquiries. It seems to me that everyone agrees that this kind of inquiry into university salaries would be a suitable thing for the future. The university staffs - presumably the administrative authorities are also of the same opinion - seem to be happy enough with the rather informal way in which the inquiry has been conducted. The Prime Minister said in his second reading speech that as a matter of policy the Government was prepared to accept the suggestion, but he rejected the proposal for regular periodic reviews. This is something which does give concern to the teaching staffs at universities. They are beginning to wonder what the Commonwealth intends to do. They are wondering whether it proposes to wait until salaries get so far behind - as they did recently - that something has to be done about them or whether there is to be some commonly accepted criterian on which to set up an inquiry at appropriate times. At this stage, we have no suggestion from the Prime Minister as to any kind of criteria that will be taken to establish the need for holding an inquiry at any time.
The report does contain a suggestion - it is not supported by Mr. Justice Eggleston - that in the periods between the substantial reviews, provision might be made for automatic adjustments, based on the basic wage or the cost of living, so that university salaries will not fall too far behind. The Prime Minister made no comment on that. We have had no indication from his second reading speech as to what the Commonwealth intends to do about this matter.
The Prime Minister did say, however -
The Commonwealth views sympathetically the suggestion that limited provision should be made for additional funds from which loadings to professorial salaries should be paid in certain individual cases where there is a desire to recognise particular merit.
It was suggested in the Eggleston report that an addition of up to 4 per cent, to the aggregate of non-medical professorial salaries would be required to cover nonmedical loadings. There are individuals within universities, who, just out of. sheer merit, seem to deserve far more than the basic professorial salary of £5.300 mentioned in the report. 1 think most people know that clinical professorial staffs have been getting substantially in excess of the basic amount provided for other university professors. I am told that in the University of New South Wales such professors get up to £1,000 more than is provided for other university professors. From what I can gather from the report and the Prime Minister’s second reading speech, the whole of this expense is carried at the moment by the States and the universities between them, the university providing its share from students’ fees. The Commonwealth has specifically stated that it will not contribute to any salaries paid in excess of those mentioned in this report. The Prime Minister merely says that the Commonwealth views the matter sympathetically. What these words really mean remains to be seen. The Prime Minister did not commit the Government in any way to accepting responsiblity for the up to 4 per cent, additional fees which the report suggests would be required to meet this kind of contingency. The report also refers to superannuation. It states - . . it would be desirable that someone should investigate the specific question of improving transferability.
The various universities have established superannuation funds for their staffs. As in the case of superannuation funds for officers in commerce and industry, this superannuation fund could have the effect of tying the employee or professional man to that place of employment. The superannuation fund makes it difficult for him to move to other places. In fact, a superannuation fund often has that purpose - to retain those that the firm concerned has in its employment. It is suggested, particularly in respect of universities, but also in the wider field of education, that there must be greater provision for fluidity and mobility of employment so that a very promising lecturer or reader can, if an opportunity exists elsewhere, be readily transferred to another university when a chair becomes available for him there.
I suggest that salaries and superannuation are not the only things that attract staff to a university. The congeniality of the appointment is also important. By that I mean the material facilities within the university - the buildings, the teaching equipment, opportunities for research and proper class loading. All these things are important, but they are not always as good as we would like them to be. The honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) pointed to the case of the University of Melbourne where students, at least until recently, had to sit on the floor of the library while doing their studies. They had to work under grossly overcrowded conditions, and an urgent request was made to the Universities Commission for an extra grant of £600,000 to meet what was described as a crisis condition at the University. So far as I have been able to ascertain the Universities Commission has not been prepared to meet that request, so the University faces increasing difficulty. A consequence of this kind of thing is the imposition of even more stringent entrance quotas, not only in one university or in one faculty of one university, but in practically every faculty of every university in Australia today. These are matters that demand our attention.
Now that university salaries have been increased one wonders whether this will mean that university staffing problems will be eased, but at the expense of other higher educational institutions in the community. I know that teaching staff, especially science teachers, mathematics teachers, languages teachers and even teachers of English, have been taken by the universities from teaching colleges and even from certain schools, to make up the backlag in university teaching staffs. This has been done at the expense of the lower levels of education. From where will the new higher technical institutes get their staff? These are urgent problems that concern Australia. I should like to think that when we have an inquiry such as the one that has been suggested it will be more embracing - and will take in the whole picture of integrated and co-ordinated facilities - than be the piecemeal approach that we often make to our educational problems in this country.
– I propose to deal very briefly with the amendmen t moved by the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones). I hope to show him that it would not be right for the Government to accept the amendment at this stage, Indeed, I understood from his speech that he did not intend to press the amendment but was merely making the point that he considered that the University College at Newcastle–
– I do propose to press it.
– That is understandable. Let me say at once, to put the honorable member’s mind at rest, that the Government cannot accept the amendment at this stage, although this does not preclude the possibility that the University College at Newcastle will be approved by the Government as an autonomous university. I hope to be able to show the honorable member that it would be quite improper in the circumstances, and because of the history of this matter, for the Government to accept the amendment now.
The history is that the Australian Universities Commission, which has assumed considerable significance in the life of the universities of Australia, is a body on which the Commonwealth Government with, I think, general approval, has placed very wide reliance. The Government seeks the Commission’s views with regard to the establishment of universities and about their functions, and the Commission has made recommendations to the Government. The current recommendation of the Universities Commission is that the University College at Newcastle should not be granted autonomy before 1st January 1967. The Commission has its reasons for making that recommendation. The Bill now before the House deals simply with university salaries and it would be indeed a slap in the face for the Universities Commission if we were to tag on to a Bill dealing with university salaries an amendment which goes to a matter of principle - that is, an amendment to enable the granting of autonomy to a university college, a subject which has been dealt with by the Universities Commission and which has been a matter for discussion between the New South Wales Government, the Commonwealth Government and the Commission.
The Universities Commission made certain recommendations about autonomy for the University College at Newcastle. The New South Wales Premier has requested the Commonwealth to amend the legislation to enable the State Government to exercise its undoubted right to grant autonomy to the University College rather earlier than recommended by the Universities Commission.
– But the Council of the University of New South Wales, through the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Baxter, is continuously in touch with the Newcastle college, whereas the Universities Commission goes there once in two years.
– I do not quarrel with that. If the honorable gentleman and the Parliament expect to have ail the advantages of having a Universities Commission advising the Government and the Parliament about many complex matters dealing with universities then they cannot lightly brush aside the standing that the Commission has assumed in the life of the community. That is what we would do by tagging an amendment of the far reaching nature proposed by the honorable member for Newcastle on to a Bill dealing purely with professorial salaries. I suggest that it would be a grave insult to the Universities Commission to treat it with such discourtesy.
The honorable member recited the history of this matter. He said that the New South Wales Premier raised the matter with the, Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and that the Prime Minister discussed it with the Universities Commission, which reiterated its previous advice. The Prime Minister has given an undertaking, in the face of a repeated request from the New South Wales Premier, that he will discuss the matter further with the Universities Commission and will then give a decision on the matter. This seems to me to be an entirely proper course for the Prime Minister to take. There the situation must rest. I say that the function with which we have vested the Universities Commission is to operate with a view to promoting the balanced development of universities so that their resources can be used to the greatest possible advantage to Australia and this is embodied in its statute. This kind of treatment would not encourage the Universities Commission to function in such a way.
I believe that the Commonwealth Government is acting in an entirely proper way in raising again with the Universities Commission this matter, which the honorable member for Newcastle has brought before the House in the debate on this Bill, before it conveys a decision to the Premier of New
South Wales. It is entirely a matter of principle for the Premier of New South Wales to decide whether, in the final event, the University of Newcastle is to receive autonomy. The honorable member for Newcastle made that quite plain. But of course there is this financial consideration which arises from the view of the Commission that the time is not yet ripe for the University to receive autonomy. Again, without rejecting out of hand the proposition of the honorable member that autonomy should be given earlier than suggested under the original proposal by the Universities Commission, I say that it would be most improper for the Government to accept the amendment proposed by him at this stage. I ask honorable members to carry the Bill in its present form; that is, to approve of the increase in professorial and other university salaries as proposed, and not to be led aside by an amendment which raises a new question of broader principle and which is rather irrelevant to the current issue.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr. Jones’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker– Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Freeth) read a third time. >
Consideration resumed from 11th November (vide page 2791), on motion by Sir Robert Menzies -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Freeth) read a third time.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
– I move -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, which time of meeting shall be notified by Mr. Speaker to each member by telegram or letter.
I wish to make a few brief remarks, in moving this motion. We live in an age in which people seem to be more interested in record making and record breaking than they have been at any other time in human history. Honorable members may be interested to know - I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that this is a matter of which you are aware physically - that this Twenty-fifth Parliament has established an all-time record in the history of Federation for the volume of legislation carried through the Parliament in the course of a year. I understand that 130 bills have been passed through the two chambers this year. Whilst that is a matter of general interest, I take this opportunity to thank all honorable members for the co-operation that they have given me in my capacity of Leader of the House.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to-
That leave of absence be given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of ils next sitting.
Valedictory - Famine in India - The Parliament- Civil Aviation - Canberra. Sir ROBERT MENZIES (KooyongPrime Minister) [10.44]. - I move - That the House do now adjourn.
I used to have a little typed list of all the people from you, Mr. Speaker, down, who ought to be thanked on an occasion such as this. But I regret to say that I have been here for so long that I have lost it, so I will have to make this speech by memory. First, I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker. Last Thursday we took the opportunity to congratulate you on having equalled a record. Of course, you have now surpassed that record.
I would like to congratulate my colleague, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), in his capacity of Leader of the House, on being able to announce that 130 Acts of Parliament have been passed this year. If I were still practising law, I would be even more excited about that. We are very grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. We are also very grateful to the other presiding officers. It is not easy to preside over debates in a parliament in which, very properly, feelings run high and very controversial matters are debated. We are very indebted to the Clerks at the Table and to the whole parliamentary staff. I think all of us have a specially soft spot for the “Hansard” staff, because it improves our speeches so much when they are printed.
Speaking on behalf of the Government, I say that we are very grateful to all honorable members for having participated vigorously in the work of the House. When we look around the world and see how some other countries are governed or misgoverned, and see the substitutes that have been adopted for parliamentary democracy as we know it, we must be thankful - I think the people are, too - that we have a parliamentary democratic system which allows of every point of view being put, and being put with great vigour. I have always appreciated that. I have always been thankful that I live in a country that enjoys such a system.
I say to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) that we are indebted to him for his co-operation. In fact, the Leader of the House and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) have had a singular responsibility for getting the work through. When the Leader of the House says that 130 bills have been passed this year, do npt let us forget that those bills have had to go through all stages. Programmes have had to be organised. Sometimes impetuous and ardent members have been persuaded not to speak so that a bill might pass the second reading stage by a certain time. There is a great art of management in that regard. When I look back on the old days when there was no such person as a Leader of the House and no such person as an opposite number to arrange these matters, I wonder how we ever got through. I believe that the. fact that today we get through on time, with adequate discussion and with everybody more or less content that he has had his chance to speak, is due very largely to the skilful and responsible management of the business of the House.
I think a kind word ought to be said to the Whips. I marvel at their dexterity. They know which side of the table to go to. Sitting in the chamber late this afternoon, I was a little impatient to get away and I felt that one or two of the Whips might have moved at the double when they were called upon to do their counting. But still, we got there reasonably well. On both sides of the House, we all know how important it is to have good Whip work done. I must say that I believe that at the present time we have a singularly efficient group of Whips. I express my thanks to them.
The Parliament has many facilities for members. It has the Library facilities for those who are studiously inclined. Those facilities are ably conducted, splendidly conducted in a helpful way. The Parliament has other facilities for those not so studiously inclined. I gather that those facilities also are splendidly conducted. We have our helpers all sound this Parliament House. Over the years this Parliament has become an extremely efficient body - much more efficient than some of the critical onlookers might suppose. We are indebted to the Press. Without it, where would we be? That question opens up a great field of speculation, Sir. How keenly we all read the newspapers, though we pretend that we do not read them. We read them, and our blood pressure rises or falls, according to what we read. One day, we say: “ There was a splendid and intelligently written article in the newspaper this morning “. Another day we say: “The fellow who wrote that does not know what he is talking about”. There are two great means of communication between this House, and the members speaking in it, and the outside world. One is the long established avenue of the Press. The other is the broadcasting of parliamentary debates. I think that between the two we have no reason to complain that the people of Australia do not have a pretty fair idea of what goes on and of what we believe in.
I may have forgotten to mention a lot of people. To tell you the truth, Sir, I am a little tired at present. When the Treasurer mentioned those 130 bills, I felt even more tired at the very thought of them. I would like to make one observation before 1 sit down. It is this: There have been in my long occupancy of my present post occasions when I have looked at members opposite and said: “An election is coming. Some of you will not be here next time we meet.” They, in turn, have looked at us on this side and said: “An election is coming. Some of you will not be here afterwards.” Is it not a lovely thought that, although there is to be a Senate election, barring accidents we all shall be here when the Parliament next meets?
Before I conclude, may I say that I have just been reminded of something of which I was unaware when I referred to the Whips. This is a very interesting fact: The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull), I am informed, has today achieved 19 years in the Parliament without missing one day’s sitting.
– Mr. Speaker, I support all the observations made by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) that are worthy of support. I support him in commending all the people who make the Parliament work. If there were no Parliament, of course, they would not be here. But we are here and so they are here. They have always been most helpful andmost co-operative in every way. They wait on our every wish and they do their best to assist us. This applies to all from the Clerks at the table right through to the attendants, the operators on the telephone switchboard, the police, the transport drivers and the members of the “ Hansard “ staff - to everybody who co-operates with us in this great enterprise that we call the democratic system of Parliament. I suppose the Prime Minister is entitled to speak in laudatory terms of the Press. I shall not offer any contrary observation about it. I only wish that the Press reporters saw in us the virtues we see in ourselves and that they were as ready to overlook our weaknesses and forgive us our tergiversations as they are those of the honorable members opposite. Nevertheless, by and large the whole system works and we are grateful for that.
We wish you well, Mr. Speaker. I hope that we shall wish you well next year and the following year. I should like to see after that another Speaker. However, that is all in the lap of the gods. And the lap of the gods, of course, is a very uncertain seat. I am not so sure that we as a Parliament have discharged all our obligations to democracy. We have not completed the debate on the Prime Minister’s statement on the defence review, and we have not voted on my amendment to the motion that the paper - that is, the statement- be noted. I believe that the amendment deserves to be carried. But I think that, like Mohammed’s coffin, it is to remain suspended between heaven and earth. It may be between heaven and somewhere else or between earth and somewhere else, but there it is. We on this side wanted to continue that debate and vote on the amendment and I do not know why the debate was not continued. With that minor jarring note, Sir, I wish you well. I hope that we all shall come back to our duties in1965 renewed and re-invigorated and determined to make the democratic system under which we live work perhaps more efficiently than it has ever worked before.
As for churning out legislation, it may be true that we have this year passed more bills than ever before. Time alone will tell whether those that we have passed will contribute to the wellbeing of the Australian people. We live in very troubled and uncertain times. We live not only from year to year, but from day to day. On behalf of the Australian Labour Party, I wish everybody a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. Above all, I wish the Australian people a very bright future in these dark and uncertain days.
– First, I should like to say on my own behalf how much I appreciate the references by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to me. I join with them both in what they have said about the staff of the Parliament. I shall take the opportunity to make two speeches at the same time by thanking them on behalf of the staff. First, of course, I thank the Chairman of Committees (Mr. Lucock), who is not with us this evening, for the support he has given me and for the part that he played during my strenuous tour overseas. I am very grateful to him for his loyalty and bis co-operation. I also thank the Temporary Chairmen of Committees from both sides of the House for the way in which they have carried on the work of the
Chair and the assistance that they have given when they have been asked to take the Chair. I thank the Clerk and the whole of his staff. That goes for the messengers and all associated with the Clerk and his staff. I should also like to express my thanks particularly to the officers of the Joint House Department - a very important section of the parliamentary establishment. This includes the chefs, who undercook the oxtail, the waitresses who wait on the tables and the stewards who serve us in many quarters. We are grateful to them all for their contribution to the cause. I should like to say a word of thanks especially to the cleaners and to the attendants on the doors and the guides for the part that they play in selling the Parliament to the people of Australia. I pay tribute also to the staff of the Parliamentary Library for the part that they play in the work of the Parliament. Now and again, I become a little upset when I see the efforts of some honorable members, but then I realise how splendid a job the Library is doing in assisting members to do their homework.
I should also like to thank the Press. There is not a great deal of trouble with the local staff. We get on fairly well. However I think that now and again an order is received from headquarters, just as happens to us sometimes, and that, as a consequence, the shape of things is altered a little and possibly we are scratched on the wrong partof the anatomy. I should like also to express my particular thanks to the “ Hansard “ staff. I can assure the House - I am certain that no honorable member needs to be assured - that the members of that staff are not experts in distorting what is said*. If there is any section of the Parliament as an institution that has the respect and goodwill of all honorable members, it is the “ Hansard “ staff. We all acknowledge the integrity and strength of character displayed by the members of that staff in discharging their duties and turning dreadful speeches into wonderful efforts. I, too, appreciate what the Whips have done. On occasions, I think that they are a little dilatory in getting out the lists of speakers. Nevertheless, we seem to have been able to struggle through.
This has been a very interesting year. I am delighted to commend the honorable member for Malice (Mr. Turnbull) onhis achievement. He holds the record for the number of questions asked - 70 in this session. He has missed hardly a division since he became a member of the Parliament and he has never missed a meeting of the House. This is a very great achievement. I am sure that it has not been equalled anywhere else in our history. I wish also to extend my thanks to my personal staff for the part that they have played in helping me to discharge the duties of my office and for the way in which they have protected me from honorable members who have on occasions been unable to get enough seats for constituents in the Speaker’s gallery or in the public galleries. I am very grateful for the loyalty, co-operation and support of my personal staff. On behalf of all who are not allowed to express themselves in this House, I want to extend their thanks for the references made to them and to join with them in wishing everybody a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
.- Mr. Speaker, I join with those who have already spoken in extending Christmas greetings to you and all those whom you have mentioned. I do not want to allow this sessional period to come to an end without directing the attention of the House to the famine in India. As we think of Christmas tonight, hundreds more than the normal number of children and adults are dying in India every hour. In Kerala, Madras, Calcutta, Mysore and Bombay all this is happening. What is happening is the result, first, of an excessive monsoon. A particular emergency exists in India. It affects more greatly the Indian countryside, where the Indian farmer and farm worker stand alone, literally wringing subsistence with their bare hands out of a very unsympathetic environment. In this area 50 per cent, of the children usually die before they reach the age of six years. Because of the present famine, more than 50 per cent, of the children are dying before they reach the age of six years. Under normal circumstances people in the Indian countryside are fortunate if they live to 40 years of age. The average age is less than 30 years. Ghandi described the lot of the average person living in these circumstances as an eternal compulsory fast. About 20 per cent, of all the agricultural and rural peoples of the world live under these conditions.
Recently the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) and I, as well as other honorable members, raised in this House and in other places the justification that this Government would have if it took special steps to provide gifts of wheat for the people of India in these circumstances. We were told at the time that this could not be done for two reasons. One reason was that it was the responsibility of the United States of America to supply wheat to India on commercial terms and that at present it was impossible to get more wheat into Indian ports than was going there on commercial terms. We were asking for a gift of wheat to be sent to India. I understand that the port of Bombay is incapable of handling more cargo at the present time, but I understand also that this situation applies only to the port of Bombay and that wheat and other things could be shipped through other Indian ports.
I am not concerned at the moment about wheat. Accept, if you will, the explanation - I do not know whether it is an excuse - given by the Government about wheat. Accept for the moment that we will not ask the Government to make a gift of wheat to India. Inquiries show that the things most needed in India are dried milk, rice, medicines and vitamin tablets which are nutriment supplements. These things are most urgently needed. Australia is not unfamiliar with this problem. An original request was made by Mr. Keith Gale early in 1962 to the executive committee of the Australian-Asian Association. Mr. Gale was then a member of the Australian Trade Commissioner’s staff in India. In 1962, after a function to raise the necessary money, the Association sent one ton of powdered milk for needy children in India. A Victorian western districts manufacturer sold the milk to the Association at cost. Free shipping was arranged with the P. & O.-Orient Line. Free insurance was also arranged and the milk was allowed into India duty free. The Australian Trade Commissioner’s staff suggested that the powdered milk be sent to St. John’s Baby Clinic in Calcutta for free distribution to babies and children. This was done.
Following reports received from representatives of the Trade Commissioner’s office and also reports from Indian Government representatives, which indicated that the gift had been greatly appreciated and was most welcome, the Association decided in 1963 and again in 1964 to repeat the operation. Accordingly, following the same pattern as the 1962 project, powdered milk was sent in 1963 and again another ton was sent in October 1964. The funds of the Association do not allow a larger amount because there are many demands on it. Donations to the fund are not tax deductible.
There is at the moment in Australia a very great reservoir of potential voluntary assistance for this cause. Quite a number of people in Melbourne have to my knowledge undertaken to support an appeal. 1 understand that the Melbourne “Herald” and television stations have done so. What I am asking the Government to do is trigger off this great potential of voluntary assistance that exists in Australia and at the same time to obtain at is own cost a quantity of powdered milk and the other things I have mentioned - medicines and vitamin tablets - and to make an immediate airlift of these things to India. There can be no objection here that the ports will not allow it. I am not suggesting that this immediate gift go by sea but by air. There should be an immediate airlift to send to India a cargo of milk, medicines and vitamin tablets in the first place. Secondly, I would ask the Government to provide an airlift for anything that is given as a result of this voluntary effort, which is great in its potential and which would require only some Government assistance to become very significant. Thirdly, I ask the Government to plan for some weeks or months ahead to provide for shipments to India. I am sure that the ships can get into a number of ports in India. The fact that some difficulties arise in respect of Bombay should not be allowed to stand in the way of shipments to other ports. I understand that plenty of rice is available in Burma and Thailand. All that is required is the intention and enough finance to make the thing operative. I would think that by Christmas at any rate it should be possible for the Australian Government, if it desires to do so, to provide some finance for at least one ship that could fo with milk and rice to Indian ports, Last I think that to encourage and facilitate the potential of voluntary effort that exists in Australia to provide assistance for India, the Government should make donations to the existing appeals, such as that conducted by the Australian-Asian Association, tax deductible. If the Government does not respond to this appeal for an immediate airlift of powdered milk and medicines and does not do something about providing some encouragement to the voluntary potential that exists in Victoria, it will stand condemned for its attitude to the famine in India. I ask honorable members when thinking of the Christmas that they anticipate to enjoy to think also of India.
.- Mr. Speaker, I wish to join in the fraternal greetings that have been extended to you, the staff and various officers of the House. I wish to congratulate also the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull). He has had a long term in this Parliament. He has missed hardly a division since he has been here. It is interesting to note also that in this session he has asked 70 questions. I think he has been more fortunate than most of us in catching your eye on so many occasions because we on this side of the House have not been able to ask nearly as many questions as the honorable member for Mallee and have been forced to put on notice those which we could not ask. In saying that I do not for a moment reflect on your impartiality or fairness.
Tonight the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) said that this had been a record year. I do not think his comments should pass unnoticed at this festival time. You, Sir, sitting in your place in this Parliament in the early hours of many mornings, looking as intelligent as possible, must have wondered why the Government saw fit to deal with important legislation at such a time. You, Mr. Speaker, have achieved a record term in office. I extend my congratulations to you on that account. I congratulate the Treasurer on being perhaps the Cassius Clay of salesmanship in this Parliament. I would go so far as to say that some of the deals he has put over in relation to the 130 bills he mentioned were really remarkable. In speaking of the achievements of the Government, he should have said that many important bills were forced through the Parliament like sausages through a sausage machine. Some of the most important legislation that this Parliament has been called upon to consider in the past year has been put through at such a late hour that it has been impossible to deliberate on it properly. This was done deliberately to prevent people outside the Parliament, from hearing of the provisions that were incorporated in the bills, which included such important measures as the Repatriation Bill. Even in the last week of the session, the Government introduced important bills and it was impossible for the Opposition to consider them properly. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said, even the debate on the important defence review has not been concluded.
The Government boasts of the great year in which it has put through a record number of bills; but it has broken another record. It has given the minimum of time to Opposition members - the representatives of approximately half the people - to consider bills, to discuss them and generally to put their views before the Parliament, as every Opposition member is entitled to do. A writer recently said that the Government was in its 15th year of benevolent dictatorship. Nothing could be more true in the light of events in this year. From time to time, the Opposition has been denied the privilege of exercising its rights. Tonight, when we are reaching the end of the year, I am doing as the Treasurer did when he was in Opposition; for the benefit of honorable members I am reviewing what the Government has done and its attitude to the Opposition during the year. The Opposition, particularly during this session, has been denied its rights. It has been denied the right to discuss legislation properly and has been forced to handle bills without having had time to deliberate on them. The Parliament is even concluding the session without passing some very important legislation, although we have been told that we are at war.
Although the Government takes pride in having introduced about 1 30 bills, the people should know that many of them have not been properly discussed. The notice paper contains a matter of concern to the people, at this time when men are being called up, but- the Government is not even bothering to allow discussion of it. I wonder why it is not being discussed, if we are at war, as the Government has suggested.
You, Mr. Speaker, in this record breaking year and in this 15th year of benevolent dictatorship, have seen many events that do not bring much credit to the Parliament. You have seen the spectacle of a senator in another place having to withdraw a vile imputation he had made against two former members of the Parliament. You have seen a bill passed that will taken away the liberty of boys of 20 years of age - unprincipled legislation, the equal of which we have never before seen in the history of this country. You have seen legislation which will probably call on Aborigines to go to war, although they are not counted in the census. You have seen the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) discredited in the Parliament in recent weeks for statements he has made. This has been done by the splendid presentation of points of view by Opposition members. You have seen the inefficiencies and the incompetencies of the Government in respect of defence matters revealed to the people, who probably did not know that these inefficiencies existed. You have seen the Government, with its benevolent dictatorship, taking away the rights not only of Opposition members but also of men and women in this country. It has done this by introducing conscription. I repeat that on the eve of an election and at a time when we are told that we are at war, the Government is closing the session, refusing to continue the debate on its defence programme. If the Government is conscripting men because we are at war, why does it not proceed with the debate on its defence programme?
I know that my remarks are not very pleasant for honorable members on the Government side, but I do not like to hear the Government boast of a record breaking year when we on this side of the Parliament have been denied the right to put our points of view. Opposition members had a number of matters on which they wished to express their views, but the Government, seeking to go into recess, has denied us the right to discuss them. I record again my dissatisfaction with the decision of the Government to compel the Parliament to sit until the early hours of the morning, turning out legislation like sausages from a machine. Considerable demands have been made on you, Mr. Speaker. You have had to sit in this Chair at all hours of the day and night, listening to speeches by honorable members, when you should have been taking your rest and not straining your faculties. You are required to exercise tolerance and understanding and should not be subjected to the strain of long sittings. I also place on record my concern at the disrespect shown for Opposition members and the failure to allow us to debate the great issues before the Parliament. As we reach the end of the first year of this Government’s reign in the new Parliament, the people should be warned that the Government is as it was of old. It has not changed. Opposition members are being denied their rights, Until the Government appreciates that Opposition members have rights - the right to debate legislation, and not have it forced through the Parliament without due consideration - we will not have real democracy in this country.
On the eve of Christmas, as this session draws to a close, honorable members on both sides of the House know full well that the Government has condemned many men to death. Many a boy will regret that this Christmas has come, because in the dying hours of the session the Government introduced the worst kind of legislation we have known in our history. I give this brief summary of the Government’s efforts during the year. With it, I give my personal good wishes to you, Mr. Speaker, and to every member of the staff of the Parliament. But I hope that those who were responsible for the legislation I have mentioned will get the Christmas they deserve. I place on record my concern at the negation of democratic practices by this Government. It has failed to give me and other members of the Parliament the right to debate legislation and express views in a really democratic way, as we were elected to do.
– I appreciate very much the kind remarks made about me and my colleagues by the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies). I think that all of us on this side of the House would have appreciated them much more had he during the year demonstrated in a really practical way his concern for our desire to serve our country in the way we should. In thanking all those who have made the Parliament work so efficiently, we have quite inadvertently omitted to mention one officer. In referring to him, I know that I do so with the full approval and endorsement of every member of the Parliament. I refer to Mr. Gordon Pike, our Transport Officer. He has performed a mansized job during the year. I have been here for a good many years now. I have been here for more years than Gordon Pike has been Transport Officer, but I have never known him to make one mistake despite all the bookings he has made. I have never heard any other honorable member mention a mistake that Gordon Pike has made.
I do not blame him for what occurred to me last week. I was faced with a dilemma when I had to return to Adelaide to attend to some urgent business. T had to choose between travelling by Ansett-A.N.A., in the hope of reaching Adelaide at 10.30 a.m. and travelling by Trans-Australia Airlines via Melbourne and not reaching Adelaide until about 2.30 p.m. It was a very painful decision I made on that occasion, because I felt compelled to choose Ansett-A.N.A. I did this with a very heavy heart, but my heart became heavier as the morning wore on because one of the reasons given by Mr. Gordon Pike as to why I should not take the risk of travelling by T.A.A. was that the T.A.A. plane from Canberra to Sydney left about a quarter of an hour after the Ansett-A.N.A. plane and this could put me in the position of running a real risk of missing my jet connection from Sydney to Adelaide. I reluctantly decided to make the journey by Ansett-A.N.A.
However, when I arrived at the airport I discovered that while the T.A.A. plane was about to move out, the Ansett-A.N.A. plane which was to take me to Sydney had not even arrived. So, feeling some uncertainty about making the connection at Sydney, I was wise enough to go to the T.A.A. terminal office and ask: “ Can I get on that plane which is leaving now for Sydney?” The clerk said: “Certainly you can “. I said: “ Very well, I will run back quickly to Ansett’s and find out what has happened “. I went back to the Ansett officer and said: “Arc you certain I can make the connection in Sydney for Adelaide?” He said: “I think you can”.
I said: “That is no good. I want to know for sure. Cannot you ring them up? “ He said: “Oh, no, we are not allowed to ring until your aircraft is airborne”. I said: “That is no good to me, sitting up in the Friendship while you are ringing up Sydney and finding out that I cannot make the connection. I want to know now.” He said: “ I think it will be all right “.
I was not satisfied with this indecision so I resumed my inquiries with T.A.A., whose officer immediately rang both Sydney, to make sure that my connection would be possible, and Melbourne, so that I could travel via Melbourne if I could not get back to Adelaide by 10.30 from Sydney.
– That was service.
– Yes, and I contrast T.A.A.’s courtesy in ringing both Melbourne and Sydney and offering to allow me to get on the plane at Canberra without a ticket, with my experience with AnsettA.N.A. However, at this time a Liberal senator ran up to me and said: “It is all right. Everything is fixed up. They are loading up now. Ansett is about to go. We can get the connection for sure.” I was foolish enough to take notice of this Liberal senator from South Australia, so I and the Liberal senator, who was just as anxious as I to arrive in Adelaide at 10.30, found ourselves aboard a Friendship winging our way to Sydney in order to catch the Ansett jet from Sydney to Adelaide.
As we were flying over the airport at Sydney I looked down and observed what appeared to be a red-finned Boeing jet moving out slowly from the tarmac and getting ready to leave for Adelaide. My senator friend from Adelaide, being a Liberal, and so more trusting of Ansett. A.N.A. than I was, did not bother to look down. Later, however, as we entered the passenger lounge and heard the Boeing jet taking off my Liberal senator friend said: “Well, there’s another Boeing going”. I said: “ That’s not another Boeing, that’s the one we are supposed to be on, unfortuantely for you “. And so it was.
After being assured that we would make this connection we found that we arrived in Sydney in time to see our connecting plane going away before our very eyes. I at once returned to Canberra without a ticket on the very next Ansett aircraft which was coming back here. It happened to be the plane which took me to Sydney. I left the Liberal senator arguing the point with the Ansett manager in Sydney as to why Ansett’s could not be a little more methodical about their passenger arrangements.
To add insult to injury I found that Ansett’s then had the hide to ask that I pay for my trip to Sydney and back again in the Friendship which I had made only to have the pleasure of seeing the Boeing jet from Sydney to Adelaide departing under my very eyes. It is a great wonder to me that Ansett did not get paid. I still believe that if he cares to put a telephone call through to the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) he will get his five or six quid for taking me to Sydney and back. I shall be extremely surprised if he does not get paid.
However, this brings me to the point I wanted to mention. It concerns a very disturbing rumour I have heard recently. Unfortunately, I am not able to verify this rumour and, unlike Senator Branson, I must admit that I have not checked it and I do not know for sure whether it is false or not, but time will tell. My information comes from a reasonably good authority. I can tell the House in advance that this person will not allow me to use his name. But, for what it is worth, it has reached my ears that the Attorney-General’s Department at this moment is engaged in the task of preparing the documents necessary to excise portion of York Park opposite the Wellington Hotel in this city for handing over to Ansett-A.N.A. permanently.
– This is the information I got. York Park is part of Canberra’s permanent recreational reserves and no Government has the right to excise any of the parks and recreation grounds of this capital city for handing over to private enterprise. Unless we protest now against this kind of thing, in 100 years there will be no parks, reserves or recreation grounds in this garden city. Slowly they will be encroached upon and bit by bit they will be handed over to private enterprise. I say that if my information is true - and subsequent events will prove whether it is true - that a part of York Park, so named in commemoration of the Duke of York, who opened this Parliament in 1927, is being excised for handing over to Ansett-A.N.A., then it is a scandal of the very first magnitude and something for which the Government ought to be severely censured. What is more, it indicates the extent of influence and strange mystic power which this man Reg Ansett has over this Government.
I want to know what power it is that Reg Ansett has; what magic does he use to influence the Government; what is his strange and mystical power over the Government? Why is it that this Government is unable to say no to any single request that Ansett makes of it? What has he got on the Government? Has he got something on somebody? Is he holding something over somebody in one of the departments or in several of the departments? Has he got something on some of the Ministers? I should like to know, because all I can say is that this character has caused so much disturbance to the people of Australia, and this has been going on for so long.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.28 p.m. until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker and to be notified by him to each member by telegram or letter.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated - [ Airline Services within States. (Question No. 689.) Mr. Clyde Cameron asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
What sum has the Government spent on the development and maintenance of aerodromes whose commercial use is confined to the airline subsidiaries of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd.?
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
On what occasions have any of the States suggested or discussed the establishment and operation of airline services by Trans-Australia Airlines within the State?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information -
Queensland and Tasmania have both referred the matter of “Air transport” to the Commonwealth by appropriate State legislation - the former in 1950 and the latter in 1952. Trans-Australia Airlines currently operates intrastate services in both these States consequent upon these references of powers and also upon Commonwealth legislative and licensing action having been taken.
South Australia in 1956 and 1963 suggested to the Commonwealth that legislation might be enacted for a reference by it of air transport power to the Commonwealth as a step towards enabling Trans-Australia Airlines to operate within that State. However, as it was the Commonwealth’s view that intrastate airline services in South Australia were adequately provided by the existing operator, and the intrusion of a second airline would result in over-all uneconomic operations for them both, there was no progress made on the suggestion.
Western Australia in 1955 indicated its willingness to give a restricted reference of “air transport “ powers to the Commonwealth. This was not accepted because the total airline network in that State is subsidised.
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
What is the method or formula used in determining the amount of subsidy paid to the various airline subsidiaries of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd.?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information -
Standard methods are used in determining the quantum of subsidy for totally subsidised developmental networks, which are those of MacRobertson Miller Airlines in which Ansett Transport Industries holds a majority interest. Ansett Flying Boat Services, and of Connellan Airways Ltd. Likewise, standard methods are used in respect of those operators who receive subsidy for only part of their networks - Trans-Australia Airlines, East West Airlines and the A.T.I, subsidiaries, Airlines of New South Wales, Ansett-A.N.A. and Queensland Airlines.
In assessing the subsidy need of the totallysubsidised airlines, departmental cost investigators draw up a revenue and expenditure budget for each company in respect of its operations during the financial year under review. This is done with appropriate consultation with company officials, and encompasses the forecasting of traffic and determination of service frequencies required to carry the expected traffic at reasonable load factors. The company’s cost structure is examined in detail, and the estimated total cost of providing the level of services deemed necessary is calculated, due allowance being made for known or expected variations in cost rates. The acceptance for subsidy purposes of particular cost items, or estimated changes in rates, is subject to negotiation with the company. A reasonable allowance for profit is included in the assessment of cost. Similarly, revenue estimates are discussed and agreed with the company in the light of the traffic forecasts, and the subsidy requirement is then determined as being the difference between the estimated revenue and expenditure for the year. The subsidy need in the case of the companies who receive assistance for certain services only, is determined in the same way, except that estimated overhead expenditure is allocated to the subsidised services on a generally accepted basis. Thus, a revenue and expenditure budget is prepared for each service considered eligible for subsidy, the subsidy need being the resulting estimated deficits on the routes concerned.
Over-award Payments. (Question No. 742.)
on asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Forces in Malaysia. (Question No. 749.)
n asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
What expenditure was incurred by Australia by maintaining defence personnel in Malaya and subsequently, Malaysia, during each year from 1st July 1955 to 30th June 1964.
– The Minister for Defence has provided the following reply -
Expenditure incurred by Australia by maintaining defence personnel in Malaya and subsequently, Malaysia, during each year from 1st July 1955 to 30th June 1964 is set out hereunder -
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Army Engineers in Papua and New Guinea. (Question No. 766.)
n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
son asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information -
I understand that arrangements were made by a private company to fly a small number of Australian war brides to Australia as a part of the promotional activities connected with the introduction of these first domestic jet aircraft. It was strictly a promotional move which T.A.A. could have emulated if it wished. Any necessary approval for the carriage of war brides by T.A.A. would readily have been given by my Department
s asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
son asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice -
Is it a fact that the following industrial awards exclude Aborigines from their provisions -
What other State and Federal awards exclude Aborigines?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
In the Federal Pastoral Industry Award, Aborigines are excluded from the definition of “Station hands” used for the purposes of the award. The Northern Territory Pearl Fishing Award, 1955 does not apply to an employee whose wages and conditions are fixed by the Northern Territory Aboriginal Ordinance. The Cattle Station Industry (Northern Territory) Award, 1951 docs not apply to Aborigines within the meaning of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Ordinance.
Apart from the Aircraft Industry Award, 1955, which does not apply to “Aborigines employed in the Northern Territory with the approval of the Native Affairs Branch of the Northern Territory Administration”, no Federal awards have been brought to my attention which exclude Aborigines from any of their provisions.
The operation of State awards in relation to Aborigines is a matter of State administration.
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information -
m asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
How have the internal airlines been able to reduce freight rates at a time when they have had to increase passenger fares?
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has supplied the following information -
The only freight rates which have been reduced in the past 12 months are the bulk rates on services to Tasmania. These reductions were introduced because of a decline in the volume of air freight on these services due to strong competition from surface transportation.
m asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -
How many commissions were granted:
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
n asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice -
What assistance does the Commonwealth provide to the egg industry to aid it in seeking or developing overseas markets for its products?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The Australian Government assists the Australian egg industry through its Trade Commissioner Service in the exploration of new markets and with the provision of current information on existing markets. For some time now, world egg markets have been in a position of surplus and efforts to develop new outlets and expand existing markets have not been encouraging. The Government also gives financial assistance for the purposes of sales promotion in overseas markets. At present this assistance is being directed to the United Kingdom, the Persian Gulf and Japan, but the Government is prepared to support promotions in any other markets the industry or our trade commissioner service consider worthwhile. In addition, the Commonwealth export inspection service ensures that overseas markets are provided with only the highest quality eggs and egg products. Because of this strict inspection service, Australia maintains a high reputation for the quality of its products on export markets.
– On 12th November the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) asked about the food situation in India and whether the Government would make a gift of wheat and rice to that country and I promised to look into the matter and let him know.
The Government has, over recent months, taken a sympathetic interest in and has been kept informed of the food situation in India.
Our latest information suggests that present food shortages in certain areas of India have been caused primarily by problems of distribution and not because of a shortage of total supplies of food and that the Indian Government is taking energetic action to meet these particular problems. The bulk of India’s import requirements for wheat are being met from the United States under that country’s Surplus Disposals Programme. In these circumstances it appears doubtful whether Australia could help. Certainly no request has been put to us for any gifts of food and we have no reason to believe that India’s present food problem has caused the Indian Government to wish to vary the existing mutually agreed arrangements whereby Australia, in consultation with the Indian Government, is providing aid in other fields, for example, the provision of capital equipment for developmental purposes.
b asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
m asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice - 1. (a) Did he in answer to a question which I asked him on 18th March last (“Hansard,” page 583) as to whether arrangements had been made for Australian Privy Counsellors to sit in Australia to hear appeals which lie from State Supreme Courts to the Privy Council, promise to give me a suitable reply? (b) When will he give the reply? 2. (a) When did Cabinet give the former Attorney-General the. authority to design the new federal court to which the former SolicitorGeneral referred at Hobart on 22nd January, 1963 (36 Australian Law Journal 325)? (b) What stage has been reached ‘ in designing the new court?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1. (a) Yes. (b) No arrangements of the kind referred to have been made. 2. (a) In December 1962. (b) Much work has been done but a number of matters are still being considered. It is not possible to say, at this stage, when I shall be able to make further recommendations to Cabinet.
m asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - 1. (a) Was the Bankruptcy Law Review Committee, promised in the Governor-General’s Speech of 4th August, 1954, appointed on 23rd February 1956? (b) Did the Committee sign its report on 14th December 1962? (c) Did his predecessor circulate the report to honorable members on 20th February 1963, and express the hope that a bill would be presented to the House later that year? (d) When does he himself now hope to introduce bankruptcy legislation? 2. (a) Was the Copyright Law Review Committee, promised in the Governor-General’s Speech of 4th August 1954, appointed on 15th September 1958? (b) Did the Committee sign its report on 22nd December 1959? (c) Did his predecessor circulate the report to honorable members on 18th April 1961? (d) Did his predecessor tell me on 5th April 1962 (‘‘Hansard”, page 1468) that he hoped to introduce legislation in regard to copyright by the autumn session of 1963? (e) When does he himself now hope to introduce copyright legislation? 3. (a) Has a committee been appointed to review the laws relating to designs, as promised in the Governor-General’s Speech of 4th August 1954? (b) If so, when was the committee appointed and when docs he expect to receive its report? 4. (a) Did his predecessor complete his review of the Extradition Act in the light of the report made by the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs in October 1956? (b) What stage has been reached in the review of other matters in the extradition system?
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1. (a) Yes. (b) Yes. (c) Yes. (d)I have concluded my examination of the report and of the numerous representations received in regard to it I hope to introduce a Bill next year. 2. (a) Yes. (b) Yes. (c) Yes. (d) Yes. (e) I am considering the committee’s report and the representations which have been received from interested persons and organisations. I am unable to say, at this stage, when a Bill will be introduced. 3. (a) and (b) No Committee has been appointed. 4. (a) No. (b) My predecessor considered that it would be appropriate for Australia to have its own extradition law. A review of the present law is being undertaken in my Department wilh that object in mind. The review has been extended to cover the arrangements governing the return of offenders from one part of Her Majesty’s dominions to another under the Imperial Fugitive Offenders Act 1881. Proposals for new arrangements are under discussion with the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.
m asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
Has consideration been given to the suggestion made by the former Chief Justice at Melbourne on 18th July 1957, that the federal legislature might authorise the formation of a body for inquiry into law reform (31 Australian Law Journal 342)?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Yes. Since the suggestion was made the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General has been established. The extensive range of activity of that Committee is referred to in my answer to a separate question which the honorable member has asked concerning the Committee’s work.
son asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
I am informed by the University that some consideration has been given to the possibility of an undergraduate School of Medicine at the Australian National University. The Department of Health has an interest also arising from its responsibility for the future development of hospital facilities in the National Capital. But there is no present intention to establish such a School, nor is any proposal for it being developed.
m asked the Minister for Housing, upon notice -
Commonwealth or such purchasers if they were now to receive grants under the Homes Savings Grant Act and were later to default in their payments?
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The question whether a home savings grant might be paid where the home is being purchased on terms, and the purchaser does not receive a title to the property for a number of years, has been under review since the Department commenced to receive applications in July last. Since that time a progressive study has been made of the applications in this category as they have been received, with a view to determining whether they could reasonably be brought within the scope of the Scheme. As a result of this study, it was recently decided that a grant should not be refused on the grounds that the home is being purchased on terms over a period of years, whether from a State authority (provided, of course, Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement funds are not involved), the War Service Homes Division or a private vendor. This decision is consistent with the promise made in my second reading speech when introducing the Homes Savings Grant Bill that the Scheme would be administered in a sympathetic manner.
m asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What income, and what proportion of its income, does each university receive from (a) the Commonwealth, (b) a State, (c) endowments and benefactions and (d) fees?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is set out in the following table. This table is based on information contained in the publication of the Commonwealth Statistician, “Social Statistics: No. 23, University Statistics, 1962: Part 3 - Finance “. I refer the honorable member to this publication for a detailed description of the types of university income included under the various heads.
son asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows- 1, 2 and 4. Inquiries are being made.
m asked the Attorney-General, upon notice-
Hasthe Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys-General considered uniform law on workers’ compensation?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
There has been no proposal before the Committee for uniform workers’ compensation legislation in Australia.
m asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
If it will be of assistance, I can advise as the then Minister did in answer to a similar question in 1960 the requests for legislative or administra tive measures made in writing to my Department by the Association since those referred to in that answer. The requests and the actions taken are: -
Following discussions between departmental officers and representatives of the Association it was agreed that the regulations should be so drafted that the power to make a second order should only be exercised in relation to specified ports. As it now stands, by agreement with the Association the relevant regulation 69 is only applicable to the ports of Fremantle and Geraldton and an amendment to the regulations would be necessary if it were found desirable to apply this power to other ports.
The Association was told in reply that although it was necessary for the Australian Shipbuilding Board to supervise ship construction to which the subsidy applied, there would be no objection to a port authority or any other shipowner appointing an officer to stand by at the shipyard while a vessel ordered by the owner was being built.
y asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
I note that parts 1 to 4 of the honorable member’s question are identical with a question asked of my predecessor by the rate member for East Sydney on 6th August 1958, the reply to which, based on information obtained from the Australian Broadcasting Commission and licensees of commercial television stations, is recorded in “ Hansard “ for 2nd October 1958. It will be recalled that at that time only two national and four commercial television stations, all in Sydney and Melbourne, were operating and all of them had been in service for varying periods of less than two years. It was, therefore, not an extensive task for the station operators to supply the desired information and for it to be collated by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Today there are 19 national and 26 commercial stations in operation throughout the country and the supply of the information sought by the honorable member and its subsequent collation would be a tusk of considerable difficulty. I would be reluctant to impose on the Commission and the commercial stations the burden involved in examining their records for the past three years to extract the information requested by the honorable member which, he will appreciate, would involve a considerable amount of detail. If there is any particular aspect of this matter on which the honorable member would like information, I would be glad to try to help him.
n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
What companies operate the various television channels throughout Australia, and where are the television stations located?
– The information sought by the honorable member is set out in Appendix “C” of the Sixteenth Annual Report of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, which was tabled in the House of Representatives in 15th October 1964.
n asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
On receipt of a written application from the lessee and Ansett-A.N.A., private box No. 727 at the General Post Office, Melbourne, was transferred to Ansett-A.N.A. on 12th September 1963.
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
d asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
– On 3rd September, the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison), asked a question without notice concerning the possible use of pipeline transportation in Australia. I am now able to supply the following information -
There has been some development of pipeline transportation in Australia, particularly for the movement of water supplies to arid and semi-arid areas. The pipeline supplying Whyalla from the Murray River and the one that maintains the water supplies to Kalgoorlie are examples of this type of transportation. The Shell Company some years ago connected its refinery at Geelong with Melbourne by means of pipeline alongside the Prince’s Highway and more recently a pipeline was opened from the Moonie oilfield in Queensland to Brisbane.
The question whether this method of transportation offers economic or other advantages over other available methods is very much for consideration in particular sets of circumstances by the industries directly concerned. The Government has no plans for constituting an Interstate Transport Commission.
Training of Indonesian Staff Officers in Australia.
Sir Robert Menzies. - On 17 th September the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) asked a question without notice concerning the training of Indonesian Staff Officers in Australia.
I asked the honorable member if he would allow me to treat the question as being on the notice paper and I am now able to furnish him with the following information -
Under reciprocal arrangements concluded some time ago two Indonesian officers were accepted for the current course at the Army Staff College at Queenscliff and the Government accepted a vacancy for an Australian Army officer to attend the current course at the Indonesian Command and General Staff College at Bandung.
The Australian Staff College course concluded on 13th November last and the two Indonesian officers concerned will return to Indonesia in the near future.
As my colleague the Minister for Defence recently stated in reply to a similar question in another place, Indonesian applications for courses at Australian Service establishments are considered entirely on their merits and in the light of circumstances existing at the time. That has been the policy in the past and it will be pursued in the future.
– On 30th September the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) asked me a question without notice concerning decentralisation. Mr. Luchetti asked whether, in view of the fact that the New South Wales Government proposes to increase assistance to industrialists to establish industries in country districts, the Government would provide Commonwealth incentives for decentralisation.
In reply I said I would be glad to give him a carefully prepared statement of the things that we are doing and have done to encourage decentralisation. As I also said then that some of the things we are doing in this field are quite major and that they ought to be in the record, I now provide details of the letter on decentralisation which I sent to the honorable member recently.
These are -
The constitutional responsibility for bringing about decentralisation of population and industry rests broadly with individual State Governments. The Commonwealth has done and will continue to do much by way of direct contribution towards decentralised development, while through the general revenue grants which it makes each year to the States, it provides financial assistance to enable the States to fulfil their constitutional responsibility.
In regard to proposals by the New South Wales Government to increase assistance to industrialists to establish decentralised industries in country districts, I note that it has been reported in the Press that the New South Wales Government is prepared to build premises in “ depressed areas” for rental or purchase by industries, provided that the establishment of the industries concerned makes a sufficient contribution towards employment in such areas.
In order to see in its proper perspective the suggestion that the Commonwealth should increase its participation in the process of decentralisation, I would point out that the existing policies of the Commonwealth contribute substantially to the development of our resources and encourage a more balanced growth and distribution of industry and population in Australia.
Thus, the Commonwealth’s taxation policies support the principle of decentralisation. Noteworthy among the incentives towards the establishment of population in non-urban areas are, of course, the special taxation concessions made to primary producers, These include the outright deduction in the year in which they are incurred of certain classes of capital expenditure, an investment allowance at the rate of 20 per cent, on new plant and equipment other than road vehicles and the allowance of special depreciation at the rate of 20 per cent, per annum in respect pf most types of equipment and machinery as well as of structural improvements.
Primary producers are further assisted by various subsidies. For example, the use of phosphate fertilisers is subsidised at the rate of £3 per ton; a bounty is paid to cotton producers, while the dairy industry receives a subsidy of £13,500,000 per annum during the current Dairy industry Stabilisation Scheme. Wheat growers and producers of dried vine fruits are supported by the stabilisation schemes appropriate to their industries. Research and extension are assisted in many ways, and not least through the work of the C.S.I.R.O. The Trade Commissioner Service and the various statutory Marketing Boards have been set up under Commonwealth legislation to assist with the selling of Australian primary produce overseas.
Communications in rural areas, already assisted by the requirement that at least 40 per cent, of the Commonwealth’s financial assistance to the States for expenditure on roads be devoted to rural roads, will be further improved by the introduction of the scheme for reducing the price differential on petrol, as between rural and metropolitan areas, to a maximum of 4d. per gallon. I should mention here also the financial assistance, by way of grant or loan, which the Commonwealth is providing towards the construction of beef roads in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and of the Cordon River Road in Tasmania, and the part played by the Commonwealth in the various rail standardisation schemes.
Hydro-electric Scheme is, of course, the outstanding example. The Chowilla and Blowering Reservoirs in New South Wales are other instances. In addition, the Commonwealth has offered to provide financial assistance to the States for accelerated programmes of investigation of underground water resources and stream gauging.
This catalogue might be extended almost indefinitely, but I feel I have already given sufficient evidence to justify the Government’s “ oft-repeated claim of support for country development by providing Commonwealth incentives for decentralisation “.
As far as action to decentralise Commonwealth Departments is concerned, their location is determined by the needs of government and the services provided. Thus at present certain departments, e.g. P.M.G. and Labour and National Service, locate branch offices in non-metropolitan areas where this is appropriate and conducive to the more efficient performance of departmental functions.
A list of the more substantial legislative measures which have contributed to decentralisation of industry and population outside the metropolitan areas was given by the Minister for Trade and Industry in reply to a question on 22nd September 1964, and appears on page 1393 of “Hansard”.
Enlistments in the Armed Services.
Marine communications also have been improved with help from the Commonwealth. I need instance only the improvements to jetties at Derby and Broome in Western Australia, and to coal loading facilities in New South Wales and Queensland.
Large sums of money have been spent by the Commonwealth in stimulating the search for oil, and in encouraging the gold mining industry. The work of the Bureau of Mineral Resources in opening up our mineral assets needs no emphasis from me.
T refer to developmental projects associated with water that have been carried out or assisted by the Commonwealth. The Snowy Mountains (Question No. 723.)
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
l. - The Minister for Defence has supplied the following information -
Grounds for rejection or deferment of applications are -
Armed Services: Advertising for Recruits. (Question No. 745.) Mr. Hayden asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence -
The Minister for Defence has provided the following information -
m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1, 2 and 3. Since 6th September 1961 superior courts have given judgments contrary to the views contended for by the Commissioner of Taxation in two occasions in relation to estate duty and in one case concerning gift duty. The decisions were based primarily upon the facts of the particular cases or the interpretations of documents rather than upon interpretation of statutory provisions.
The cases mentioned are -
Estate Duly -
Union Trustee Company of Australia Ltd.
Glynn and Others v. Commissioner of
Taxation (decision handed down on 4th September 1964) which involved the application of sections 8 (3.) (b) and 8 (4.) (c) of the Estate Duty Assessment Act. The High Court held that the deceased had created a trust during his lifetime; that the value of shares, which were subject of the trust, should not be included in the dutiable estate and that dividends had been retained by the testator in breach of the trust. Gift DutyLee v. Commissioner of Taxation (13 A.T.D. 220) in which the Supreme Court of Tasmania decided on the evidence that the donor ‘was not domiciled in Australia and was accordingly not liable to duty under section 11 (a) of the Gift Duty Assessment Act.
d asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Citizenship in Territories. (Question No. 813.)
m asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -
In which of Australia’s overseas ‘territories are the inhabitants deemed to be Australian citizens?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Persons born in the overseas territories of Papua, Norfolk Island, Heard Island, Macdonald Island and the Australian Antarctic Territory and those born in Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island after the dates of transfer to Australia, viz. 23rd November 1955 and 1st October 1958 respectively, are Australian citizens. Other inhabitants of these overseas territories and of the trust territories of New Guinea and Nauru may be Australian citizens by registration or naturalisation or, in the case of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island, by acquisition.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 November 1964, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1964/19641117_reps_25_hor44/>.