25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– Mr. Speaker, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal - the only daughter of the late King George V and Queen Mary - died suddenly on Sunday. She was 67 years of age. She collapsed while walking with her eldest son, Lord Harewood, and his three children in the grounds of her home, Harewood House, near Leeds in northern England. Last year was one of the Princess Royal’s busiest years. Her official engagements took her to Newfoundland, where she visited the regiment of which she was Colonel-in-Chief; to Lusaka, where she represented the Queen at the Zambia independence celebrations; and to many parts of Britain. As you know, Sir, the Princess Royal’s title - one which had been borne by the eldest daughters of the Kings of England for 200 years - was conferred on her on 1st January 1932. She married Viscount Lascelles - later Sixth Earl of Harewood - in 1922. He died in 1947.
During two World Wars Her Royal Highness worked unceasingly to help provide comforts for British troops. In the Second World War she was Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Scots, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Indian Signal Corps, the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and other corps. She was also Controller Commandant of the Auxiliary Territorial Service - the women’s branch of the Army - andCommandantinChief of the British Red Cross Society. The facts I have recounted are only those that one might gather from “Who’s Who”. Very few people in Australia had ever met the Princess Royal. I had the singular privilege of having met her on a variety of occasions and having come to appreciate that although she was reticent and a little reserved, she was a woman of immense charm and of the most lively intelligence. She was, among other things, Chancellor of the University of Leeds, a university closely associated with wool technology and, therefore, with Australia. In that University the Princess Royal took a most active part and displayed a most active interest. The one thing known against her was that she conferred upon me a degree of that University a few years ago. The Princess Royal had an intense patriotism for that part of Great Britain and a genuine and unaffected interest in the work of the University and, therefore, in what is, after all, our greatest industry in Australia. I shall always remember her for that. Her son, the present Lord Harewood, is, as everybody knows, a very great stimulator of the arts, both of the theatre and of music, and is making his own contribution to the artistic history of the land. If I may repeat myself without appearing to be patronising, Her Royal Highness was a woman of charm and intelligence. I myself conceived a very deep regard for her. I am sure that, had she been in this country at any time, she would have made a remarkable impact on our people. I propose that we should address ourselves to Her Majesty the Queen, and therefore I move -
That an address to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the following terms be agreed to:-
We, the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, have learned with heartfelt sorrow of the death of your aunt, HerRoyal Highness the Princess Royal. On behalf of your people throughout the Commonwealth of Australia, we express deep sympathy to Your Majesty and members of the Royal Family in the loss which you have sustained.
– The Opposition supports the motion of sympathy with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family on the occasion of this very sad bereavement. There is very little that I would like to add to the remarks of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) and what little I have to say relates to the public life of the Princess Royal. She started her public life at about the age of 17 years when, in World War I, she helped to tend the sick and the wounded in Great Britain. From that time until she died a few days ago at the age of 67 years, she gave a lifetime of service to many worthy causes. It was not merely a lifetime of service; it was half a century of service.
She was very prominent in the Girl Guide movement and in the Red Cross Society, both very great organisations and both doing very useful work for humanity all around the world. She was always active in work of compassion and sympathy for other people. Like many thousands of mothers in World War II, she suffered years of anguish and concern because her eldest son was a prisoner of war. Fortunately, he and his younger brother survived the war. It was perhaps fitting in a sense that, 20 years after the end of the war, she should have died in her own home near Leeds, in the company of her son who had been a prisoner of war and of his three children, who were, of course, born after the war.
The Prime Minister said that very few Australians had ever met the Princess Royal. I believe that is true. It is a great misfortune for us that she did not come our way and that so few of us who ever went to England had the opportunity to meet her. On behalf of all my colleagues, I say that the motion moved by the Prime Minister expresses adequately and fully the sympathy of the House for Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
– I suggest that as a mark of respect the sitting be suspended until 8 p.m.
– I feel sure that the suggestion made by the Prime Minister meets with the concurrence of the House. As a mark of respect to the memory of the late Princess Royal, the sitting is suspended.
Sitting suspended from 3.39 to 8 p.m.
– I desire to ask the PostmasterGeneral a question. It refers to the experimental operation currently being carried out by engineers of the PostmasterGeneral’s Department to transmit, by a radio link, television programmes from Redfern, Sydney, to Madden’s Plains near Wollongong. Can the Minister confirm that the equipment being used was actually developed by Australian engineers of Standard Telephones and Cables Pty. Ltd. of Sydney? Is it a fact that this experiment has been highly satisfactory? Can the Minister confirm also that this is the first time that a television programme has been transmitted by a radio device which is completely transistorised?
– I understand that engineers of Standard Telephones and Cables Pty. Ltd. have developed this type of equipment, and that at the moment experiments are being conducted by S.T.C. with such transmissions between Redfern and Wollongong. The Post Office has not as yet been informed of the results of the experiments. There has been some semitransistorisation of television programmes in Australia, but this would be the first occasion, if technical success is achieved, on which a fully transistorised programme would have been transmitted.
– My question to the Treasurer refers to his recent statement about the disposal of the surplus in the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund, to which I have been calling attention for some years. Will the refund of excess contributions made since 30th June 1962 be taxable and, if so, on what basis? Will the cash distribution to pensioners be taxable? Will cash payments to retired contributors to the Provident Fund be taxable? I point out that if these refunds and payments are taxable much of their benefit may be lost.
– I had a suspicion that someone might ask me this question, so I took the opportunity to fortify myself by placing the problem before the Commissioner of Taxation. He informs me that on this point - as indeed on any similar point where his advice is sought - he is unable to give a firmruling until he has seen the relevant enabling legislation. He went on to say that, broadly, refunds of contributions previously made to a superannuation fund, and lump sum distributions made to fund members by reason of the unexpected accumulation of surplus moneys in the fund, would be receipts of a capital nature on which tax would not be payable.
– My question also is directed to the Treasurer. It relates to the changeover to decimal currency on 14th February 1966. Why is the changeover to decimal currency not to be made at the commencement of a financial year rather than in the middle of a month? Why is k not to be made from the first day of a month? Would not either of those times be better for book-keeping purposes?
– Without attempting to refer in detail to the effect of the recommendations made on this matter by the committee which was appointed by the Government, I would refer the honorable gentleman to that passage in its report in which the committee sets out the reasons for the recommendations which it made. The date recommended by the committee was 14th February, and the Government adopted that recommendation.
– I direct a question concerning the Continental Shelf to the Minister for External Affairs. Australia signed the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf on 30th October 1958 and deposited its Instrument of Ratification with the United Nations on 14th May 1963. The Convention is expressed to come into force on the 30th day after the deposit of the 22nd Instrument of Ratification. I ask whether the Convention has yet come into force. If it has, will legislation be introduced shortly to give legal effect to its provisions?
– -As this is a question involving technical considerations, the honorable member was good enough to inform me shortly before I came into the House that he would be asking it. I have therefore prepared myself to answer it with exactitude. The Convention came into force on 10th June 1964 in: accordance with the provisions referred to in the honorable member’s question. For the most part, the Convention creates rights in favour of coastal States over the Continental Shelf adjacent to their shores. On the advice given to me by my Department, the Convention is largely declaratory of existing international law as it is generally understood by the Australian Government, and Australia has already adopted legislation in this field. I refer to the Pearl Fisheries Act 1952-53 The Government is at present considering what legislation it should introduce with regard to other resources than pearls on the Continental Shelf.
– I preface a question addressed to the Minister for the Interior by saying that I have noticed since Parliament reassembled for this sessional period that there is now included in the Commonwealth car pool at Canberra a number of imported Japanese Toyota motor cars. I refer also to the fact that, at the beginning of last year, the Government discussed plans to encourage car manufacturers to secure an increasing amount of Australian content in their products. I therefore ask: What is the reason for purchasing these cars instead of Australian built vehicles? Secondly, if the purchase is a diplomatic gesture, can the Minister say how many Australian built motor cars are included in the Japanese Government’s motor car fleet?
– I should like to point out that periodically we call tenders for the supply to the Commonwealth motor car pool in Canberra of certain classifications of cars. Last year, we called tenders for the supply of 14 medium weight cars. Toyota Crown was one of the tenderers. Its tender was considered in conjunction with a number of others, and it was the lowest tender. In considering these tenders, factors such as the import duty on motor cars were taken into account, as was the suitability of the type of car for the particular job. Toyota Crown was the winning tenderer, and we now have 14 Japanese motor cars in the Commonwealth pool. I would not say that we would naturally always accept the lowest tender, but I think that in this case it was probably good to try the Japanese cars, the tender having been submitted in competition with tenders from other Australian motor car manufacturers. Toyota Crown won the contract on a competitive basis and, in those circumstances, I see no reason for rejecting the tender.
– I address my question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is it correct that for the first time Australia is now self-supporting in the production of linseed and, in fact, a bountiful season and good farming methods in the past season have produced a crop surplus to our annual requirements? Does the research and experience of the Department of Trade and Industry indicate that this surplus can be exported at a price which will be satisfactory to ‘growers? Can the Minister advise the House on the expected overseas market potential of this grain, the production of which so well complements cereal farming and animal husbandry generally?
– It is true that last year there was a very large crop of linseed and that Australia is in the happy position of being more than self sufficient in an item of which we have been, traditionally, a pretty heavy importer. It has been a long haul getting the industry worked up since the post war years. The industry has had the advantage of a tariff and the fortuitous advantage of import licensing in a period when exchange was short. The Department of Primary Industry - Commerce and Agriculture in the older days - and the Department of Trade and Industry have helped this industry, for example, with representations to the crushers. Now we are in the happy circumstance of having had a very big production last year - close to double Australia’s requirements, if my memory is right. However, one ingredient in the growth of the industry is now, perhaps, to be missing. Whereas Australian crushers have been willing to contract ahead to purchase the whole of the growers’ crops at a predetermined and profitable price, now, because of the large carry-over of linseed, crushers are not prepared to contract ahead. This is understandable. Therefore it is not possible to predict the future with certainty. However, I can tell the honorable member that the growers, the crushers and the Departments concerned are examining every aspect of this matter, including the possibility of getting sales overseas where, unhappily, market prices are below what we understand to be the Australian cost of production. Having made the long haul to the point where Australia has been able to produce more than it needs of this agricultural product we do not intend to let the industry sag back again.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Air. Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to a statement made by the manufacturers of the F111A retractable wing bomber to the Government of the United States of America that it is anticipated that after this aircraft has flown for one hour it will require 40 hours of servicing before it flies again? Can the Minister inform the House how many of these aeroplanes it will be necessary to purchase to ensure that one squadron will be available for active flying at all times?
– I would like to point out to the honorable member for Capricornia that in the contract for the production of the FI IIA bomber by General Dynamics there is a clause stating the amount of maintenance that is to be required for these aircraft. Actually, the amount of maintenance on the ground will be very much less for this aircraft than for comparable aircraft in the past.
– What comparable aircraft?
– For other bombers in the past there has been a considerably greater amount of maintenance on the ground compared to the amount of flying hours. I am speaking not of the total number of hours on the ground but of the total number of man hours required to maintain this aircraft. Considerable research has gone into the maintainability of this aircraft and what is required is laid down in the contract. In the light of the sophistication of this aircraft the indications are that its maintainability will be very much better than that of previous aircraft bought for the Royal Australian Air Force.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army. Does the encouraging answer given last week to an Opposition member’s question about the sale of ammunition to rifle clubs indicate a change of outlook from the inflexible refusals given last year to representations by Government supporters who sought assistance for these extremely valuable adjuncts to Australia’s defence preparedness?
– My answer to the question asked last week by the honorable member for Grey was not meant to be encouraging. It was neutral if anything. Since the previous statements were made on this matter, representations made by the rifle clubs and on their behalf have introduced into the situation one or two new factors. Quite properly I believe, these are being considered by the Government before a final decision is taken.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. I ask: Why is it that Commonwealth police searched the offices of the magazine “ Nation “ some time ago when a review in that journal disclosed its possession of a copy of the banned book, “ Lolita “, whereas Commonwealth police officers apparently have not yet searched the offices of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ which is shown by a recent review to have in its possession a copy of the banned book, “The Quest for Love”? Does the different procedure in the two cases indicate that the officers of the Attorney-General’s Department have come to tolerate breaches of the censorship laws, that they regard readers of the “ Sydney Morning Herald “ as less susceptible to corruption than readers of “ Nation “, or that they are more reluctant to offend the proprietors of the “Sydney Morning Herald “ than the proprietors of “ Nation “?
– It is extraordinary to see what the Deputy Leader of the Opposition can imply by innuendo in a question. I put it to him that the Commonwealth Police Force is a very fine body of men. All its members are fine policemen and are tolerant. I am proud to be able to say that I am the Minister who has some responsibility for that police force.
– My question, which is directed to the Attorney-General, relates to a question that I addressed to him on 28th October last. I now ask whether he is able to intimate when a new Criminal Code for the Australian Capital Territory will be introduced.
– The honorable member asked me a question about the Criminal Code of the Australian Capital Territory and for some time has displayed a real interest in this matter. If I recall correctly, on the last occasion I informed him that the Government hoped not only that a modern Criminal Code would be introduced in the Australian Capital Territory but also that that Code might well serve as the basis for criminal legislation throughout Australia that would at least be uniform in general layout if not completely uniform. The Law Council of Australia very generously made its professional talents available to consider the matter, and in accordance with its practice, asked a constituent member - in this instance the .Queensland Law Society Incorporated - to examine the question. About three weeks ago, I received from the Council the first report from the Queensland Law Society, which dealt with criminal responsibility. The honorable member will realise that this is one of the major aspects of the whole approach to a criminal code. Because of the broad concept that is desired, the Law Council of Australia is now sending to all its constituent members for examination the report already prepared by the Queensland Law Society. In the meantime, I, too, am examining that report.
– I direct a question to the Prime Minister. Has the Government been advised of the decision to send the Right Honorable Gordon Walker on a factfinding mission to Vietnam? If so, will the Prime Minister invite Mr. Walker to visit Australia, after he has consulted with the Governments of China, North Vietnam and South Vietnam? Alternatively, will he appoint an Australian to accompany Mr. Gordon Walker on this very important mission?
– I must say at once that the Right Honorable Patrick Gordon Walker is not only a man of great distinction but is a personal friend of mine. Anything that I could do to help him in his work I would be very glad to do. However, he is being sent out by the Government of the United Kingdom and I do not think it is part of my function, to use our homely phrase, to wish on to a delegation or mission sent out by the United Kingdom somebody of our own. If at any time Patrick Gordon Walker cared to come to Australia for discussions I would be delighted to see him.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. The right honorable gentleman is aware of the disastrous drought which has affected New South Wales. I point out that many farmers still owe money borrowed only a short time ago because of heavy floods. I am sure that the Treasurer would agree that one of the difficulties facing the man on the land is not only to pay back the money borrowed but to do so over a short period. I ask the Treasurer whether he will have discussions with the banking institutions to see what can be done to help in the way of long term loans at special low rates of interest.
– I shall be glad to give consideration to the honorable gentleman’s question.
– I ask the Minister for Health a question. Is it a fact, as I have heard, that a number of medical benefit fund organisations strenuously and bitterly opposed the proposed sharp increases in fund contribution rates to operate as from tomorrow? Why have these organisations been forced to raise their rates despite their claim that they have quite adequate reserves to meet all foreseeable demands at present rates? Have I been correctly informed that the insistence on uniformly increased charges by all fund organisations was led by the doctordominated Medical Benefits Fund of Australia which has recently been involved in the construction of lavish prestige offices and in large scale advertising? Will the Minister, even at this late stage, be frank with the Parliament and the people and give details of which fund organisations asked for the increases, which ones opposed them and what are the present reserves of each fund organisation in relation to its membership?
– First, 1 direct the honorable member’s attention to the fact that the new tables will come into effect from 1st April - not from tomorrow. The second point relates to the request of funds for new tables to be introduced. This matter was discussed originally by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council and later was referred to the associations of the medical benefit funds in all States. After that it was referred again to the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council, which held its last meeting in’ Canberra. At that meeting the Council made certain recommendations, following which, acting on the Council’s advice and after consideration by my Department, I laid down the conditions which governed the basis of the limits for benefits and the ceiling limit for contributions. Within the limits laid down the funds then submitted applications.
In all cases the applications which have so far been submitted and approved will be put into operation. These applications were made by the funds and not as a result of a direction from me or my Department. Applications have been received from the fund which was mentioned by the honorable member as well as other funds in New South Wales and in all other States. The request came from the organisations. Apart from the ceiling limit tables which have been approved, a variety of other tables have been., approved. In New South Wales alone, three tables ranging from the upper limit to a lower limit, which is similar to the amount charged before, have been approved and will be introduced. In regard to the disclosure of confidential information which is provided to my Department, I point out that it has not been the practice in the past to disclose such information and it will not be disclosed in the future.
– Is the Minister for External Affairs in a position to confirm to the House that the use of gas, allegedly of the anaesthesia or nausea type, in the Vietnam struggle is not in any way a contravention of the Geneva Convention of 1925, the Hague Convention or any other convention?
– Last week I promised both the Leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Kingston that I would seek information on this subject. With the indulgence of the House, I will give that information now. It is really quite brief. The latest information that we have received confirms that neither the United States nor the Vietnamese Government is carrying on gas warfare. As I pointed out earlier, certain types of non-lethal gases have been used on occasions in South Vietnam. I understand that they have been used two or three times. They have been used against Vietcong elements which have intermingled with local non-combatants. These gases were used in that situation in preference to conventional weapons which might have caused civilian casualties. The gases used were three types of non-lethal gas - namely, C.N., a tear gas; C.S., a more potent tear gas; and C.N.D.M., a tear gas with a chemical additive to cause nausea. They are similar to the tear gases which are obtainable commercially and are used by police organisations throughout the world.
At this point I answer the honorable member for La Trobe. The use of these kinds of non-lethal gas in these circumstances would not be contrary to any international conventions; nor would it contravene the 1925 Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphixiating Poisonous or other Gases and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.
I will refer now to the questions that have been asked about napalm and phosphorus bombs. The position in regard to napalm is that it has been used extensively against the Vietcong and in air strikes against North Vietnam, as a conventional weapon, because of its military advantages. The House has been told of its use on previous occasions. I understand that phosphorus bombs have been used similarly against military targets in South Vietnam. Bombs and shells of these types were used in the Second World War and in Korea. They have specific use as incendiaries, for target marking, and to produce smoke for concealment. If the phrase “ incendiary bombs “ had been used, it would have been familiar to all honorable members. But because these bombs have been given the names napalm and phosphorus, it is assumed that their use is some type of warfare other than the conventional warfare that is covered by the term “ incendiary bomb “.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Territories. What would be the effect of the amendment to the Public Service Ordinance which was passed recently by the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, if it were approved? Last Thursday week, in answer to a question on this subject, the Minister said -
What did he mean when he said that? Does he intend, when making his decision, to take into account the detrimental effect on the reputation of the newly formed House of Assembly which will occur if the proposed amendment is not approved?
– I direct the honorable member’s attention to the fact that I said that legal matters were being investigated because the new amendment appeared to have been drawn in haste and when it was compared with the old ordinance, there appeared to be quite a number of irregularities. As to the effect it will have on the local House of Assembly, this is purely a matter of opinion, and I feel that the honorable member has probably paid more attention to Press reports than to ascertaining the facts. Anyhow, I am giving the matter full consideration before I come to a decision.
– Has the Minister for Trade and Industry seen a report from the former British Deputy Trade Commissioner to Taiwan wherein that gentleman mentioned the possibility of an increase of trade in wool and certain machinery between Australia and that country? As Taiwan has for some years had the second most quickly expanding economy in the world, and as this is being accompanied by an immense expansion in her external trade, can the Minister indicate whether he will consider appointing a trade commissioner to Taiwan?
– I have not seen the report to which the honorable member refers, but I will make it my business to do so. Over the years there has been a developing trade between Australia and Taiwan. In connection with another matter, I ascertained only today that the Australian Trade Commissioner stationed at Manila, within whose ambit Taiwan falls at present, will be visiting Taiwan within a few days.
– On 22nd May, not within a few days.
– The honorable member for Chisholm corrects me. I wrote him a letter giving him the precise date of the visit, so if I appeared to mislead the House I apologise. On 22nd May the Trade Commissioner will be visiting Taiwan, and I will see that he investigates all aspects of this matter.
– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. Is it correct that officers of his Department have told the Council of the town of Warragul in Gippsland, Victoria, that they will suspend the construction of a promised new post office to replace one which is too old and too small until the Council undertakes to remove a comfort station which it has provided for the benefit of townsmen and travellers on a site adjacent to the proposed new building? As there is much evidence that those who patronise the Warragul Post Office also patronise the Warragul comfort station, does not the Postmaster-General think that there is a place in Warragul for both these establishments? Since the comfort station is under threat as a result of booming post office business in Warragul, will he make some financial contribution to its re-erection on another appropriate site if the present site must be sacrificed to post office expansion? As there could be political implications of a far-reaching nature in a matter of this kind, will the Postmaster-General obtain and read a copy of the novel “Clochemerle”, in which some of those possible implications are reviewed with much insight and sympathy?
– I think this is a matter of every man sticking to his own trade. The Post Office, I suggest, has its responsibility and local authorities have theirs. We will look after ours and we would expect the local authorities to attend to theirs.
– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware that many woolgrowers are expressing dissatisfaction at the lack of information about expenditure of funds contributed by woolgrowers and the Commonwealth Government for wool promotion? Will the Minister arrange that more detailed information of wool promotion projects, and the cost in each instance, be made available to woolgrowers?
– The annual accounts of the Australian Wool Board are tabled in this House in the Board’s report.
– Not in enough detail.
– And they are made available to all wool growing organisations. Any woolgrower can get a free copy of them by writing to the Wool Board. The honorable member says that they do nor give enough information. I do not think it is good commercial practice for the wool growing industry to give details to the world of every item of expenditure that it makes on promotion. One does not get that kind of information from the synthetics industry and I do not think the wool growing industry should make that information available. The Wool Industry Conference, which consists of SO members, is fully representative of the industry and is kept supplied with confidential information on all such matters. I think the matter is capably looked after in that way.
– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry a question. Has any State Government submitted an application for aid in the drought conditions which have been prevailing over most of Australia? If so, what does the Department of Primary Industry propose to do about the increasingly serious plight of thousands of Australian farmers who are affected by these drought conditions?
– I assume that if any such applications are made by State Governments they will come from the Premiers of the States to the Prime Minister. That is the avenue by which these applications are usually made. No such applications have come to my Department. The Government, of course, is sympathetic in circumstances of this kind and always takes sympathetic action.
– I address a question to the Minister for Primary Industry. As much real concern has been expressed by tuna fishermen regarding the decision to stop field research by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation on tuna at the end of the coming season, I ask: Does the Minister consider that the rather limited amount spent on tuna research in Australia compares unfavorably with the continued heavy expenditure on research by other countries, many of which also subsidise fishing fleets? Is this rapidly expanding industry in Australia proving to be a dollar earner? As the tuna fishing industry admits that it has been greatly assisted by C.S.I.R.O. research, will the Minister arrange to have such research continued, so that the ever growing number of people in the industry will have a greater knowledge of what the future holds regarding the industry’s potential?
– Speaking generally on this matter, I point out that the State ministers for fisheries and I have had at least two conferences over the last two years to consider the fishing industry and its potentialities. On each occasion representatives of the C.S.I.R.O. have been present. I agree with the honorable member that the C.S.I.R.O. is doing quite a good job on this research. In addition, teaching conferences have been held at the Cronulla establishment of the C.S.I.R.O. Each State sends two officers to these conferences so that they may obtain all the information that the C.S.I.R.O. scientists can give them. In these ways we are trying to further research because we realise the importance of the industry.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral a question. Is it a fact, as has been reported, that his Department is about to sign a costly lease for floor space in Newcastle in premises known as Latec House at a rental of about £15,000 a year, in which will be housed the district telephone manager, engineers and radio licence inspection staff? When will the lease be signed? Is the Minister able to justify such extravagant expenditure in view of the fact that vacation of the present offices is likely to result in departmental buildings remaining idle, and to present parking and transport problems as well as staff difficulties? Will the Minister postpone signing the lease pending an examination of alternative and cheaper accommodation and the cost of possible additions to existing premises at Hamilton, having in mind that rental, removal and other costs could well exceed f 200,000 over the next 10 years if the present plans are adhered to?
– I am afraid that I do not have the details in relation to the matter raised by the honorable member but I would assure him that the Post Office is very conscious of the economics of its operations. If a move of the kind referred to by the honorable member is contemplated I am sure that the economics of it have been investigated and that it is in the best interests of the community.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Industry able to say what progress has been made towards acceptance of the Government’s policy of encouraging an increase in the local content of Australian-made motor vehicles? In replying, will the Minister refer specifically to the reaction of Japanese manufacturers to this policy?
– Up to the present time, nine manufacturers of what I might call the popular types of motor cars have accepted a proposal under which they gain certain concessions or assurances that components will be admitted under by-law in consideration of lifting the Australian content of their vehicles to 95 per cent, within five years. Partly as a result of this acceptance by manufacturers, the value of components imported into this country during 1965 will be more than £5 million less than the value of such imports in the previous year. Discussions are proceeding with Japanese manufacturers or with parties engaged in a joint venture in the progressive assembly in Australia of Japanese vehicles. Interest has been displayed by several companies. I cannot say further than that at present.
– I ask the Minister for Air a question. It has been reported that the new bomber on order from America, currently called the FI IIA, has a capacity for bombing only when armed with nuclear bombs. Is this report true? Will the aircraft be suitable for bombing missions when armed with conventional bombs?
– To the first part of the question the answer is “ No “. To the second part the answer is “ Yes “.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs taken any action with regard to the operation of Russian whaling vessels within 40 miles of Albany? Is the Minister aware that these operations will seriously prejudice the livelihood of men in Albany employed by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company? Further, will the Minister investigate allegations that these ships are taking whales below the minimum size set by the International Whaling Convention, to which Russia is a party? I understand that if a certain type of whale is under 70 feet, the darned thing must be thrown back. If these facts are established, what remedies are available to Australia?
– My colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, and I have been giving close attention to this matter. We have received reports to the general effect that a Russian factory ship with eight chasers is operating about 40 miles off Cape Riche on the southern coast of Western Australia. This area is normally fished by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Co. and undoubtedly the presence of the Russian ship is having very serious effects on the operations of the company. I think two separate issues are involved and it is necessary to distinguish very carefully between them. One is that the Russians are fishing in waters that are normally fished by a shore based sperm whaling company. They are fully within their legal rights in doing so. The only appeal that might be made to Russia to vacate these waters would be an appeal on the grounds of fair play and consideration for a small company. In that connection, it is relevant to recall that, at the International Whaling Commission in 1964, both Australia and New Zealand proposed that seagoing whaling ventures should not operate within a radius of SOO miles of shore based sperm whaling stations. That proposal was defeated in the Commission and amongst the nations opposing it was the Soviet
Union. So, one would not be led to believe that there would be a very ready response to any plea to the Soviet Union that these waters should be left to a shore based station.
The other issue relates to the International Whaling Convention which sets down certain limits and certain conditions regarding the catch of whales. The size at which they must be thrown back is not 70 feet but 38 feet. At present we do not have evidence that is definite enough to enable us to take immediate action under the International Whaling Convention, which is, of course, administered by the International Whaling Commission and is subject to international usage. Both the Department of Primary Industry and my Department are giving very close attention to this matter. I have already authorised my Department to make certain approaches in the hope that we will get a better position than we have at present.
– by leave - Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement relating to a drawing by India from the International Monetary Fund, which took place yesterday. I should explain, Mr. Speaker, that for the first time Australian currency is being used in such a transaction and this, I feel, makes it a matter or some historical importance and of particular interest to the House. More precisely, Australia has made available to the International Monetary Fund Australian currency to the extent of £5.6 million - equivalent to $12.5 million - as part of a drawing from the Fund by India of $100 million in various currencies to assist it to meet balance of payment difficulties. This transaction has taken place under a standby credit agreed earlier this month between India and the Fund under which India would be able to draw up to $200 million from the Fund in the next 12 months if this proves to be necessary. The Australian Government has already made known to the Fund and to the Indian authorities its willingness to a make a further £5.6 million available should a further drawing be requested by India at a later stage.
I should explain to honorable members that although we have made this amount of £5.6 million available to the Fund in the first instance in our own currency, the transaction will entail a reduction by an equal amount in our overseas funds - that is, in our “first line” reserves. When countries draw a package of currencies from the Fund they usually convert those currencies into the currency or currencies in which they normally hold their reserves. We adopted that course in respect of our own drawings from the Fund and India proposes to adopt the same practice and convert the Australian pounds into sterling. Accordingly, the Reserve Bank is transferring an equivalent amount of sterling to India in exchange for the Australian currency which India has received from the Fund. At the same time, by making our currency available in this fashion, we also receive an equivalent increase in our own drawing rights in the Fund. In effect, therefore, the transaction represents a transfer from our “ first line “ reserves to the “ second line “ reserves which we hold in the Fund.
On more than one occasion when Australia has encountered temporary balance of payments difficulties, we have drawn other members’ currencies from the Fund - the last occasion being in 1961, when we made a drawing of £78 million. As I have already indicated, we have not hitherto made our own currency available to the Fund for drawings by other members. In selecting the currencies to be used in drawings, the Fund does not seek assistance from a member unless that member’s balance of payments and reserves position is reasonably strong. Indeed, for many years after World War II, drawings from the Fund were made almost exclusively in United States dollars. In more recent years, however, the Fund has drawn extensively on the currencies of European countries - including smaller countries such as Spain and Sweden - and it has also drawn on the currencies of Japan and Canada. Naturally, it strengthens the Fund’s ability to provide assistance to members if as many countries as possible make their currencies available for this purpose and we are very happy to meet the request which the Fund has made to us on this occasion.
I am sure that honorable members will share my pleasure that, in our first venture into this field of international monetary co-operation, the country which is receiving assistance is India, a fellow member of the Commonwealth. It will be recalled that we recently made a gift to India of wheat valued at £3.75 million. Of course, had the Fund request been related to a drawing by some other country we would have wished to assist to the best of our ability but we are very glad indeed that the country that is making this first drawing of our currency happens in fact to be India.
I present the following paper -
India - Drawing from International Monetary Fund - Australian Contribution - Ministerial Statement, 30th March 1965.
– Would you move that the paper be noted?
– If that is the wish of the honorable gentleman representing the Opposition, I shall be glad to do so. I move -
That the paper be noted.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
– by leave - Mr. Speaker, because of the need to place firm orders with the Note Printing Branch of the Reserve Bank as soon as possible for the printing of postage stamps to be used from 14th February 1966, on the introduction of decimal currency, and the need for Australian companies selling franking machines to order any new value dies required from overseas before the end of May 1965 the Government feels that honorable members and the public should be informed of its decisions concerning postal, telephone and telegraph charges which will operate on the changeover to decimal currency on 14th February 1966.
During his second reading speech on the introduction of the Currency Bill on 17th October 1963, the Treasurer stated -
Certainly I can assure you that the Commonwealth Government itself will not be using the introduction of a decimal currency system as an excuse for raising taxes and charges fractionally . . some charges may have to be increased slightly by force of circumstances but there will be offsetting reductions in other related charges.
Direct conversion into equivalent decimal currency is not possible within the total area of Post Office charges. Some adjustments will be downwards and others upwards, but the Post Office will not profit by the adjustments. Indeed, it is expected that total revenue will be reduced. It is the Government’s intention to reduce the basic 5d. rate for letter mail for destinations within Australia and the British Commonwealth to 4 cents for the first ounce. This is a reduction of 0.2d. on each article. Each additional ounce will cost 3 cents. The estimated loss of revenue in this category will exceed £800,000 in a full year. Other postal articles such as newspapers and packets will be charged at the rate of 4 cents for the first 4 oz. in lieu of the present rate of 5d. for the first 4 oz. Each additional 4 oz. will attract a charge of 3 cents.
– What does it attract at the moment?
– It is 5d. at the moment.
– What is it for the additional 4 oz.?
– lt is 3d. I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that 90 per cent, of all mail handled in these categories will benefit by the new rates. Individual registered publications at present attracting a rate of Sd. per 8 oz. will be reduced to 4 cents per 8 oz.
The surcharge for internal airmail, that is, mail by air not within a specified envelope size, will become 3 cents per ounce. However, approximately 95 per cent, of all air letter mail comes within the “ Operation Post Haste “ system and no airmail surcharge is made. Rates for parcels, registered mail, private box and bag rentals, money orders and postal notes will be converted to the exact or nearest decimal equivalent.
Foreign letter rate of postage will become 7 cents for the first ounce and 4 cents for each additional ounce. Certain overseas airmail rates will be altered. Complete details are contained in the statement which I propose to distribute for the information of honorable members. The postage rates I have just outlined will cause an estimated reduction in revenue of £300,000 to the Post Office in a full year compared with the present rates. Generally, telephone and telegraph charges are capable of direct con version and this will be done. Slight adjustments are necessary in some cases and are clearly indicated on the statement to be distributed. A charge that is not directly convertible is the 4d. fee for a local telephone call. Telephone calls are charged on. periodic accounts - at present each six months - and the present charge can be maintained by a charge of 10 cents or ls. for each three calls. This will be done. There would be a slight adjustment to the nearest cent at the end of each six months.
The Government believes that the adjustments to the basic Post Office charges as I have outlined them, give practical expression to the assurance given by the Treasurer, which I mentioned earlier, and meet the situation in the most practical and convenient way.
I present the following paper -
Post Office Charges on Conversion to Decimal Currency- Ministerial Statement, 30th March 1965.
Motion (by Mr. Swartz) proposed -
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 25th March (vide page 407), on motion by Mr. Hasluck -
That the House take note of the following paper - Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 23rd March 1965.
.- The question whether or not Red China should be admitted to the United Nations Organisation has figured prominently in most debates on foreign affairs that I can remember. This debate has been no exception, as members on both sides of the House have raised the subject. Members of the Opposition have provided reasons why Red China should be admitted to the United Nations and Government supporters have given reasons why it should not. During his speech the Deputy Leader of- the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), when referring to this subject, received an interjection from the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who said: “ China says we cannot recognise her without agreeing to the liberation of Formosa.” The Deputy Leader of the Opposition replied: “ If China persists in that attitude then, of course, she will be exposed as unreasonable, but the offer has never been made.”
If, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition says, no offer has ever been made, I suggest it is because it is perfectly well known that the concept of two Chinas is totally unacceptable to both Taipei and Peking. If neither the Deputy Leader of the Opposition nor the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) understands that, I propose to inform them. I am including the Leader of the Opposition because of a statement which he made during a previous debate on the subject of foreign affairs following a statement made on 11th March last year by the then Minister for External Affairs, Sir Garfield Barwick. The Minister at that time was referring to the fact that France had recognised Red China. He said that a number of people assumed that France had broken new ground by succeeding in establishing diplomatic relations with Peking while still being able to maintain relations with the Nationalist Government in Formosa. He set out to disabuse people of that nation by making it quite plain that a statement had been issued by a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Government in Peking that the understanding was that when diplomatic relations were renewed between France and Communist China the Nationalist Government’s representatives would have to get out of France.
Obviously the Leader of the Opposition did not accept this, because when replying some eight days later, on 19th March, he said -
The Minister claims that, in essence, France’s move has failed because she has not been able to achieve recognition of both the Communist regime on the mainland and the Nationalist regime on Taiwan or Formosa.
He continued -
The Minister states a fact, but the correctness of his inference is another question altogether.
The Leader of the Opposition went on to say -
The truth is that Nationalist China severed its relations with France. The inference he draws is that France was forced to bow to Communist demands and sever her relations with Nationalist China. What authority has he for stating that? The fact, surely, is that Nationalist China, by withdrawing her embassy, made sure that the French experiment would fail, or appear to have failed. If Nationalist China had obliged France to act- that is, to take the initiative in severing relations - then, and then only, would we be in a position to assert definitely that dual recognition is an impossibility. What the Minister does is to judge Communist China’s intentions by Nationalist China’s actions - a curious course indeed.
The Leader of the’ Opposition concluded that particular section of his speech by saying -
If the French experiment has really failed’ - and I maintain that this has not really been put to the test - it surely is a matter for regret.
I want to suggest that the statement of the Leader of the Opposition is entirely contrary to facts, because on the day following that on which France accorded recognition to Communist China - it was 27th January last year - a statement was made by a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Chinese regime. I have a copy of the exact statement which was made on 28th January, which reads as follows -
The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China is authorised to state the following concerning the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the French Republic.
As in the capacity of the sole legal Government representing all the Chinese people the Government of the People’s Republic of China entered into negotiations and reached agreement with the Government of the French Republic on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
According to international practice, recognition of the new Government of a country naturally implies ceasing to recognise the old ruling group overthrown by the people of that country. Consequently, the representatives of the old ruling group can no longer be regarded as representatives of that country to be present side by side with the representatives of the new Government in one and the same country or international organisation.
Surely that means the United Nations. He went on -
It was with this understanding that the Government of the People’s Republic of China reached agreement with the Government of the French Republic on the establishment of diplomatic relations and the exchange of ambassadors between China and France.
The Chinese Government deems it necessary to reaffirm that Taiwan is part of China’s territory and that any attempt to detach Taiwan from China or otherwise to create “ two Chinas “ is absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese Government and people.
I suggest that in the face of that very definite statement we are quite justified in claiming that dual recognition is an impossibility.
– Why did the Government sell them wheat?
– If I had sufficient time, I could tell the honorable member that I discussed the question of Australian trade with Communist China with Government officials in Taiwan when I was there last year, but unfortunately, I have only 20 minutes and I should like to say what I want to say. Following his statement that the offer had never been made the Deputy Leader of the Opposition went on to say -
I am not suggesting that one makes an offer without getting some corresponding advantage; but in the settlement which must take place and for which we must strive in South East Asia this is one of the contributions which China is entitled to expect and which America will have to offer.
I presume that the honorable gentleman means by that statement that America will have to dump Taiwan if she desires to achieve a peaceful settlement with Red China. This is something that I hope will never happen because, if we did abandon 12 million people in Taiwan for political expediency, I feel that we would not only lose face with the other small nations of South East Asia but we would also lose our own self-respect. Furthermore, we would not advance the cause of democracy on iota. If we can dump Taiwan when it suits us, then we can just as easily dump Thailand, Malaysia and the other South East Asian countries which are still free. Having visited Taiwan during the past 12 months. I have a tremendous admiration for the first class job the Government of that country is doing in raising, not only the living standards of the people, but also their educational standard in spite of the handicap which is thrust upon it by the necessity of survival of having to spend 70 per cent, of its budget on defence and having to find employment for from 50,000 to 60,000 discharged servicemen each year.
I believe that we in Australia are not sufficiently aware of the important part played by the Taiwan armed forces in keeping the trouble in South East Asia within much more reasonable limits than would be the case if there were not at least 600,000 well trained and well disciplined troops who are ready, willing and able to go into battle at a moment’s notice. I believe that the present security which Australia enjoys is due in no small measure to the presence of those troops. I should like to see the Australian Government recognise this fact by providing diplomatic representation in Taiwan. As was said by one honorable member, at the present time we have not even a trade commissioner there.
The Nationalist Chinese Government occupies, not only Taiwan, but also a number of offshore islands including the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. Listening to the speech made by the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) during the previous debate on foreign affairs, one would think that Communist China, benevolently, or good naturedly, tolerates the presence of the Nationalist Chinese on those offshore islands because, on 19th March 1964, he said -
Is it not a remarkable thing that for some 15 years now the Government of mainland China has been prepared to accept the occupancy of Nationalist China of islands from three to fi vo miles off her coast? What other great power in the world would accept that situation?
Whether or not they accept it, I leave it to the House to judge, especially when one takes into account that, in a 40 day period during the months of August and September 1958, the 60 square miles of land in Quemoy were subjected to artillery bombardment of nearly 500,000 rounds of ammunition; and that in the period between August 1958 and early November 1960 Quemoy was hit by over 829,000 rounds of ammunition. Surely it is exaggerating the position to say that mainland China accepts the occupancy of these islands by Nationalist China. During the visit to Quemoy of President Eisenhower in June 1960, the Chinese Communists at one stage fired nearly 86,000 rounds in a little over H hours without breaking the morale of the people of Quemoy.
The honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren), whose sincerity I do not doubt, but who I know lives in a world of make believe in that he believes that people and nations will behave as he would like them to behave, and who does not make allowances for the weaknesses of human character, said that when he was in China in 1960 it was estimated that China had a militia of 12,500,000 men, and that it would be much higher today. He also quoted from a recent issue of “ Newsweek “ which stated that China has a regular army of 2,500,000 men. If, as some honorable members opposite would have us believe, Red China has no aggressive intentions, why is it necessary for its Government to spend a colossal amount of money, which could be spent to much better purpose on raising the standard of living of the people of China, on maintaining a regular army of 2,500,000 men plus a militia of nearly 15 million? From whom does she fear attack?
Surely she does not fear attack from Great Britain, which since the end of World War II, has been granting independence and freedom to the countries which once belonged to the great British Empire. Surely she does not fear attack from the United States which, since the end of World War II, has granted independence to the Philippines and has never in its history indicated that it had any designs on the territory of another country. Surely she does not fear attack from non-aligned India, or Pakistan or Malaysia. Again, do honorable members suggest that Australia has any designs on mainland China? Nothing will convince me that mainland China requires an army of 15 million men to prevent an attack from the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan where the total population is only 12 million. Perhaps she fears attack from her Communist ally, Russia. But I believe that China maintains this huge army because she desires to infiltrate, conquer and dominate the whole of South East Asia.
Some honorable members opposite believe that all of our problems in South East Asia will be solved if Red China is admitted to the United Nations. The honorable member for Reid said -
The only way of settling the problems of the world is to bring all nations into the family of nations, the United Nations. Only by bringing nations around the table in the family of nations can we enter into discussions, solve our problems and begin to break down the barriers between nations. Negotiation is the only answer.
I ask the honorable gentleman how he applies that philosophy to Indonesia’s confrontation policy in Malaysia, because Indonesia was in the United Nations, and, when she could not get United Nations support for her policy of confrontation, she walked out. That is what I meant when I said that the honorable member for Reid takes into account everything but human nature. He virtually preaches a policy which might be expressed in the words: “ When you are hurt, turn the other cheek “. This is all right if you are dealing with people who interpret such an act as a genuine attempt to live in peace with your neighbours and to return good for evil, but the trouble is that when you are dealing with nations which follow the Communist doctrine those nations regard it as weakness and as an invitation for them to go in and take some more of what does not belong to them. Lenin has said: “ Communism must many times follow a tortuous path. It must frequently take two steps forward followed by one step back.” I believe that the Communists are prepared to take one step back if, by doing so, they can take two steps forward.
Honorable members opposite have not a monopoly of the desire for peace in the world, but peace at any price is not good sense. Nor does it really solve any problems. That policy did not work with Hitler at Munich, and there is no reason to believe that it will work with any aggressor, no matter from what quarter aggression comes.
In the short time left to me, I should like to turn to Vietnam. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition wants to see North Vietnam and South Vietnam get into negotiation. What has happened ki the past where peace has been negotiated with the Communists? There has been a regular pattern of ceasefire, Communist participation in a temporary government, followed by a plebiscite, and the inevitable result has been Communist control. As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said - and I would commend his speech to every Australian - the Communists negotiate only when they stand a chance of gaining something. He quoted Khrushchev as saying that the question of Russia’s withdrawal from Hungary was npt negotiable. He quoted from Lenin’s book “ What Is To Be Done “ in which Lenin said: “We enter into negotiations, agreements and compromises with other parties in order to destroy them”. The honorable member showed how the negotiations in 1954, which divided or partitioned Vietnam, had not solved anything but in fact had provided a base from which the Communists in North Vietnam felt that they could pursue, with immunity, their attacks on that part of Vietnam which was not under their control.
The honorable member for Wills (Mr. Bryant), in the course of his speech, said -
Have we no lessons to learn from history?
All through history, peace has come by negotiation.
I commend the optimism of the honorable member for Wills but I deplore his blindness to reality and his failure to learn from history. He should have said that temporary peace has come by negotiation. Did we obtain any lasting peace from Munich or from the Vietnam agreement in 1954? The honorable member for Wills went on and said -
Why has not this Government exercised its influence to have the agreement that was entered into in 1954 carried out? . . .
Why was not that plebiscite held? Why were the free elections not held?
One would think from listening to him that Communist dominated countries were in the habit of holding free elections. I would like him, or any honorable member opposite, to tell me why, since Russia took over quite a number of countries in Europe, free elections have not been held in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia or even in Russia itself? Does he believe that Sukarno will honour the pledge to pass an Act of Self Determination for the people of West Irian by 1969? He may believe it but, frankly, I do not.
On the 3rd June last year the then Foreign Minister of Vietnam, Phan Huy Quat, who is now Prime Minister, spoke to the National Press Club in Washington. He discussed the position in Vietnam and whether the free world could permit the Communists to win. He said -
I shall limit myself to suggest a hypothesis; The battle in Vietnam is the last one in Asia and if the misfortune happened to the free world of losing it then even the ultimate sanctuaries such as India and Japan win be of little strategic value and then trouble spots will kindle at some dizzy speed in the very American continent.
Perhaps many people will consider this to be an exaggerated and extremely pessimistic statement. But it is the considered opinion of a man who was at that time, and is today, in much closer contact with what was happening in Vietnam than anybody else in this Parliament. I do not believe that I am a warmonger. I do not believe that I am a pessimist. But I do sot believe in putting my head in the sand and kidding myself that everything will come out all right in the end.
The honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) quoted Senator Dodd of the United States of America. There happens to be an article written by Senator Dodd in the April 1965 issue - the latest issue - of the “Readers Digest”. In this article Senator Dodd makes this statement which I would commend to all honorable members -
We must face the facts, brutal and unpleasant as they may be. If in the quest for temporary peace of mind we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the facts we are inviting disaster.
.- I have listened with considerable attention to the speeches made by honorable members opposite. I heard the speech of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) in which he advocated the extension of the terrors and atrocities of war, the destruction by the use of bombs of Chinese territory, munitions factories and other installations in order to destroy the potential of the Chinese for the creation of the atom bomb. In effect, the honorable member for Mackellar said: “ We have to destroy, if necessary, civilian populations in mainland China because only by that means can we prevent the acquisition by the Communist Chinese of the means of making war that ultimately could prove detrimental to the people and the security of Australia “. Not one member of the Government parties has risen and repudiated him.
– That is just not true.
– The honorable member for Higinbotham did.
– I am speaking the truth. Honorable members should read “ Hansard “. Not one member opposite has repudiated the statement made by the honorable member for Mackellar and others in the House during the course of this debate. I, like the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Fox) am not a warmonger. I am not a pacifist either. I detest war. I do not like to see war spread, nor do I like to see its frightfulness increase. The Americans claim that in order to avoid killing and injuring people who are not taking an active part in the warfare in Vietnam, they have used only disabling tear gas bombs in certain circumstances. I am in favour of that attitude. I say that if we can contain a war, if we can protect women and children even though we cannot protect the combatants, then war is made less frightful. I detest the ideas of the honorable member for Mackellar and I support the views of those who would drop disabling gas bombs instead of atom bombs upon the people of North Vietnam.
This debate has followed a very familiar pattern as far as supporters of the Government are concerned. The pattern might be described as the “ holier than thou “ method of debate. Honorable members opposite accuse members of the Opposition of a lack of patriotism. The honorable member for Wentworth and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen), without discrimination, said that members of the Opposition had no devotion to the best interests of their country, that they gave succour and comfort to the enemies of Australia and that they insulted and maligned those people who would be our friends. Other supporters of the Government were not as blatant in their attack upon the Opposition as were the honorable members for Moreton and Mackellar. Of course, they hinted that there were certain members of the Australian Labour Party who were infected with procommunism and did not love their country as they should; and that that lack of patriotism and pro-Communism were affecting the entire body of the Labour Party. There is nothing new in that method of attack. It is not peculiar to this Government or to this particular time. That method has been adopted down through the years by antiLabour parties.
– Senator McCarthy was the architect of it.
- Senator McCarthy adopted that method in the United States of America. I know that it was adopted also in Great Britain. I remember a noble member of the Labour Party of Great Britain who, in defence of his party when this accusation was made, said that the members of the British Labour Party loved their England as the Athenians of old loved the city of the purple crown. What he meant was that the Labourites of England served and acted in such a way as to make their country, in times of peace, the admiration and the envy of other countries and that, during times of war, they marshalled the manpower and the resources of their nation effectively to defend it against aggression. That, too, is true, and it states exactly the position of the Australian Labour Party in relation to the nation that it serves.
After all, protestation is not what counts. It is not any recommendations that I make for myself or on behalf of my Party that tell the story of the Party’s devotion to the nation’s cause. It is the record of achievement that tells the story. What are the monuments to the Labour movement in this country in times of peace? They are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the National Capital at Canberra, the scheme of social services and Australia’s immigration policy.
– What are the honorable member’s views on foreign affairs?
– These achievements indicate the Labour Party’s views on foreign affairs.
– Order! I suggest that the honorable member’s remarks are a little wide of the subject before the House.
– In time of war, how did the Labour Party serve Australia? The Royal Australian Navy is a monument to this Party’s record in time of war. Between the two world wars, the Australian Labour Party advocated, and fought to secure, the mobilisation of Australia’s armed forces so that they could be used to the best advantage to protect this country.
– Order! I think that the honorable member is getting a little wide of the scope of the debate.
– Getting wide of the scope of the debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker? The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), in initiating the debate, asked Mr. Speaker to allow the whole subject of international affairs to be discussed and Mr. Speaker concurred in this suggestion. I am doing exactly what the Minister suggested we be allowed to do.
I am discussing now the attitude of the Australian Labour Party, not only at present, but down through the years, to the defence of Australia. Prior to the Second World War, John Curtin sought to have built up an air force that would be able effectively to defend Australia’s far flung coastline. Governments which were the political ancestors of the present Administration, and of which some honorable members who now sit on the treasury bench were members, by their inadequacy and incompetence, brought this country into conflict with the enemy in the Second World War absolutely ill prepared. A government led by the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) left to John Curtin and his Labour Administration the task of fighting the war against the Japanese at a time when the Japanese were practically hammering on Australia’s door. All these circumstances and events provide evidence of the way in which Labour seeks to serve this country, and has always sought to serve it, not only in times of war but also in times of peace.
What are the fundamentals on which the security of this nation depends? Our security depends, first, on the most effective utilisation of our resources, the promotion of development, the strengthening of our economy and the enlargement of our capacity to produce the weapons and instruments of war. Our security depends also on our ability to produce more and more foodstuffs so that Australia can absorb and feed an increasing population and, at the same time, as one of the world’s great food producing countries, properly play its part in feeding other nations. It is not words that defend Australia from aggressors or potential aggressors. It is the undertaking of schemes like the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme and the multiplying of such schemes. This is the kind of development that enables us to produce more foodstuffs to feed the increasing manpower that will be needed to manufacture the equipment of war and to man the battlefields in our defence.
– What about Mount Isa?
– I remind the honorable member that these are the things to which we must look if we are to win and retain allies and hold their respect. At the same time, development of the kind that I have mentioned causes enemies and potential enemies to hesitate to attack, because they realise that this kind of development builds up our strength.
There are other needs, of course. Here I come to the second’ consideration concerning international affairs. We must do our best to invigorate the United Nations and put teeth into it. We must, through our staff at the United Nations, strive to give it power and strength. I once went to the United Nations as a representative of Australia. I recall that, at that stage, the whole of our resources as a nation within that organisation had, for an entire year, been devoted to winning enough votes to ensure the appointment of Sir Percy Spender to the International Court of Justice. As expected, our efforts were very successful. Australia’s representatives overseas are highly capable. However, I suggest that they could use their capacities and their time in the interests of this country to better purpose than devoting themselves, for a whole year, to securing the appointment of one individual to a post in which he sinks into oblivion for the rest of his career.
I have stated the first two important considerations relating to Australia’s position in international affairs. The third matter that I wish to mention is the need for us to make friends and, when we have made them, to clamp them to us with bonds of steel instead of allowing them to be enticed away from us. We should not cause them to turn from us in disgust. The best way to ensure the collaboration of one’s friends is to show one’s determination and to provide evidence of the worth of one’s friendship. We must show that we are determined to play our part. Accordingly, we must build up our strength and make it compatible with that of our friends.
– Why do you not try to sack Whitlam, then?
– Was that merely an interruption for the purpose of interrupting, or was the honorable member seriously asking me something?
– It was only his ears napping.
– That is so. I have stated the position of the Australian Labour Party, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Labour Party, during the Second World War, sent a call to Roosevelt and sought the collaboration and unity of purpose of the forces of the United States of America and Australia in defence not merely of Australia but of the entire southern hemisphere against the might of Japan and Germany. When that call was sent out what was the attitude of the .present Prime Minister and his supporters? They reviled and attacked Curtin for cutting the painter that attached us to the Government of Britain. They rebuked him for loosening the ties of kinship. They said, in effect, that they would rather let the Japanese come forward, invade Australia and allow Australia to suffer from the results of that invasion. They said that we should not have any association, so close an association, with the Government and the people of America.
– They never said anything of the kind.
– They did. Their attitude during the war was that we were too proAmerican. But the attack from honorable members tonight is that we are antiAmerican. We are not anti-American; we arc neither pro nor anti American. We believe that we should support America in the ideals in which we both believe. We do not believe in giving absolute and servile allegiance to an alliance; we want intelligent participation in an alliance in the defence of freedom. That is the attitude of the Labour Party. Is it anti-American to attack America because she will not drop atom bombs on China? Is it anti-American to attack America because she is not extending the frightfulness of war? Yet that is the attitude of the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) and the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). Not one honorable member opposite has repudiated the utterances of those two honorable members. I believe that I have said enough to show clearly that if service in time of peace and devotion in time of war prove patriotism then the patriotic party in this House is the Australian Labour Party.
.- After listening to the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), I am firmly convinced that on future occasions it would be better for him to confine his remarks to the monetary system instead of trying to discuss foreign affairs about which he appears to know little. Just one week ago the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) delivered to this House a statement on foreign affairs. If I may be permitted to say so, he delivered an excellent summing up of the overseas position today. Since that statement we have heard much from honorable members on both sides of the chamber. Although some statements have been positive, factual and to the point, I believe that others have been negative and some certainly not so factual. I must frankly admit that I was very disappointed with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam), who spoke in this debate last Thursday evening. He contributed little to it. When one realises that during recent times he has visited a number of centres throughout the world, one feels that he should have been able to contribute much more than he did. Perhaps the reason for this failure was that he belongs to New South Wales where, in a few weeks time, there is to be an election. Perhaps, if he were to speak his mind on certain issues related to foreign affairs, his remarks would not be well received by the electors of that State.
However, I do not wish to be critical of all honorable members opposite. I believe that the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) made a very worthwhile contribution. I shall not examine his remarks in detail, as the honorable member for Henty (Mr. Fox) has already mentioned the fine address that he made. Equally, I cannot agree with all that has been said by honorable members on this side of the House. I refer to some remarks made by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) when he was dealing with Communist China, and in particular his remarks to the effect that it was time that we went into Communist China with a view to destroying the factories which are engaged in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. I, and I am sure many other honorable members, would like to see Communist China vacate this field; but I interpreted the remarks of the honorable member for Mackellar to mean that he wanted to stand over them with the sole purpose of ensuring that the operations of these factories were discontinued. People in Communist China may be quite within their rights in saying that they disagree with our contribution towards the production of arms and that it is time that we did away with the Woomera Rocket Range.
I believe that negotiations are good, if they succeed, but I do not believe that if negotiations fail we should demand immediate and drastic action, such as has been mentioned by the honorable member for Mackellar. I believe also that one reason why South East Asian areas are so disturbed at the present time is that people, leaders and countries are too impatient. Many have an inflated opinion of their own ability and importance. I refer particularly to some of the leaders. The importance and strength of any country is not indicated by its population or numbers in uniform, as would appear to be the case in some instances, but rather by the wherewithal behind the scenes and the country’s economic standing - whether she has the necessary foodstuffs to support an army, as well as a civilian population to supply the equipment and the host of other things that are necessary. But there is no doubt in my mind that the very basis of the success of any country is the economy of that nation.
Last week the honorable member for Evans (Dr. Mackay) said that he thought Indonesia cannot and has not the strength to carry out a large-scale offensive against another country. I could not agree more with what he said on that occasion. Together with a number of other members from both sides of this chamber I too visited Indonesia about 18 months ago. During my visit I felt that Indonesia was certainly in trouble then, and I am sure that she is in greater trouble today. The black market in currency proves beyond all doubt that her economic position is unstable. The black market in currency was, to my mind, a black marketeer’s dream because when we were there the official rate of exchange was about 700 rupiah to the £A1 but the black market rate was about 2,100 rupiah to the £A1. No country can expect to go very far on the international front with worries such as those. Indonesia as a nation and Indonesians as a people are, I believe, fairly wide apart. The man in the street is usually a respectable peace-loving man, but unfortunately I do not believe that the same can be said of the leaders. To my mind Sukarno is like another Hitler, and sooner or later he will finish up in the same way. Unfortunately, the people of Indonesia cannot voice their opinions as we and others in democratic countries are permitted to do. Sukarno has complete control. Almost every week some new move is made for a takeover. The last move was to take over the Press. When one takes charge of the Press it removes from the man in the street all opportunities to learn the truth of a situation.
I believe that there are two ways in which a country can suffer disaster. One is as a result of internal strife or problems and the other is as a result of external forces. Internal strife can be created by the country’s economy, infiltration or sabotage. On the other hand, a country can be overpowered by an outside force. Sukarno should know that he cannot possibly succeed in overrunning Malaysia, unless he can get a greater measure of support from outside. All that he has at the present time is manpower. He has absolutely nothing else. As he originally promised his people that he would crush Malaysia, he now finds that the only avenue open to him is confrontation, blockade, infiltration and sabotage. With his people he has adopted the attitude that he is all-powerful. He withdrew Indonesia from the United Nations. He told the United States what it could do with its aid. He certainly used strong language on that occasion. To my mind, his words are the words of a desperate man, and nothing that he is likely to do or say in the not too distant future would surprise the world.
I refer now to a statement that he made when he was speaking to a Moslem trade union conference on 9th March. He made two suggestions. The first was the setting up of a three power conference between himself, Tunku Abdul Rahman and President Macapagal under the Manila Agreement. The second was the formation of a conciliation commission consisting of one nominee from each of the three leaders, plus a chairman mutually agreed upon. I quote the following words of President Sukarno, as they were reported in the “ Indonesian Newsletter “ of 19th March -
I have already said in Tokyo that whatever the four-nation Afro-Asian commission might decide will be accepted by me. So the Tunku may choose between the two ways - return to the Manila Agreement or the four-nation Afro-Asian commission.
I now quote the following statement from an article on the same page of the “ Indonesian Newsletter”, under the heading “Nation Determined to Crush Malaysia ‘ “-
The First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (Dr. Subandrio) also stated that the whole Indonesian nation was determined to crush “ Malaysia “, with or without talks, even if Indonesia had to use her own revolution’s laws.
To my mind, those two statements, which appeared on the same page of the “Indonesian Newsletter” of 19th March, are not parallel.
Over the years Australia has helped Indonesia considerably, both socially and materially. The aid has takenmany different forms; but, technically speaking, it has been mainly of a non-strategic nature. I disagree with a statement that the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) is alleged to have made over the weekend. I quote the following from this morning’s Melbourne “Age”-
Indonesian Aid Aim is Stability.
Adelaide. - Australia’s economic aid to Indonesia could not in any way add to Indonesia’s ability to prosecute her confrontation of Malaysia, the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) said in Adelaide yesterday.
Whilst, technically speaking, we are not giving Indonesia aid of a strategic nature, I believe that the aid could be used indirectly for strategic purposes. If we give Indonesia £1 for food, that means that it has £1 to spend on arms. I voice a certain amount of opposition to and criticism of this aid. I believe that this is an important point. The question is not so much the goods that we actually supply, but the value of those goods, because the aid in turn allows Indonesia to spend an equivalent amount of money on things that it desires, such as arms.
I know that we have agreed to assist Indonesia. The question that I now ask is: How can we back out without making an issue of the matter? If we back out we are really saying to Indonesia what is true and factual, namely: “You are an enemy of our friend, Malaysia. Therefore, you are an enemy of ours. That being so, of course, we will not be able to remain friendly with you.” What is the next move? Which way do we go? How do we handle this delicate situation? I believe that if we sever our relations with Indonesia, that nation certainly will be more affected than we will be. It is very interesting to note that over the past 14 or 15 years we have given Indonesia at least £6 million worth of aid in various forms. I understand that we purchase about £25 million worth of oil from Indonesia every year. For how long can we hold out the olive branch? That is the question. If your neighbour continues to steal your chickens, sooner or later he has to face the music.
Let me sum up the situation. Indonesia is in trouble. Economically, she is flat broke. Her people are becoming hungry. Their leader has issued threats to her neighbours and certainly will not back down. She is falling out with many other countries. Now she is out of the United Nations. Communism is running at an all-time high level. The Communist Party is one of the strongest political parties, if not the strongest political party, in Indonesia. Both Russia and China have assisted her in the past. For how long will they continue to do that? The United States has taken a very firm stand in Vietnam. The real question as I see it is: For how long will we allow the present situation in Malaysia to exist without our taking a firmer stand? As honorable members know, we have had troops in Malaysia for quite some time. Already we have suffered our first casualties. Will we just tag along or will we make our presence felt.
Finally, I want to make a brief comment on Australian aid in general. I believe that Australia’s contribution to underdeveloped countries over the past 14 or 15 years has been about £60 million. That is a considerable sum of money for Australia. Unfortunately, not too many people, even in Australia, really appreciate just what we are doing in this regard. Recently we heard of a request from the Indian Government for assistance in the form of wheat. We read in the newspapers that 150,000 tons of wheat was donated to India by the Australian Government. But what does 150,000 tons of wheat mean to many Australians? Even the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Cope) would not have any idea of the value of 150,000 tons of wheat.
– About £6 million.
– That interjection proves beyond all doubt the honorable member’s lack of knowledge of wheat. His figure is 50 per cent. out. If the honorable member for Watson does not know the value of such a donation, how can we expect the people outside to know? I am suggesting that from time to time - perhaps twice a year or even only once a year - the Minister for External Affairs should issue a statement setting out how much money we are giving to underdeveloped countries and where the money is going. We have heard from time to time that we are giving insufficient aid to this country and too much to that country, but, hang it all, very few people really know how much we are giving to these various countries under the Colombo Plan.
My time has almost expired, and I conclude my remarks as I commenced: I compliment the Minister on his contribution to this discussion when he introduced this matter last Tuesday night. It was an excellent report on the situation although, frankly, I admit that I do not go along entirely with all that the Government is doing in relation to some of our next door neighbours.
.- A paradox which has entered into this debate on international affairs is that on the one hand the Australian Country Party, as a member party of this responsible Government, strongly advocates the sale of wheat to mainland China while on the other hand members of the Liberal Party of Australia advocate the bombing of mainland China. Significant in the minds of people all over the world, and indeed of members on both sides of the House, is the dread thought that the war in Vietnam can, and will, if continued, involve the world in a nuclear holocaust. That thought alone should be sufficient to induce all responsible parties to strive to the very limit of their endeavours to end the slaughter in Vietnam. The world accepts starkly, clearly and without dispute the fact that nuclear weapons are not in these days the playthings of America and Russia alone. Indisputable as that fact is, there is another fact that everyone should get firmly fixed in mind - that in spite of what Press reports may say to the effect that Russia and China are divided on certain issues, if China goes to war against America so too will Russia. Their survival makes this inevitable.
Never in the history of the nuclear age has there been such world tension and anxiety arising from the attitude of the great powers in their fight to gain ascendancy over one another in the mad race, wilh death and destruction as the prize, for the possession and command of nuclear weapons. All efforts have failed to bring some sanity into their warmongering. They have failed because on the one hand Russia distrusts America and on the other hand America distrusts Russia, and this distrust prevails despite the fact that in a nuclear war the very act of assault would be tantamount to the attackers signing their own death warrant; for all agree that in the nuclear weapon lies the potential to blot out mankind and this present civilisation, that is, if we can call the complex of mistrusts, animosities and death and destruction which prevail in our midst today, civilisation.
The greatest danger, of course, is that other nations, realising the strength that the possession of nuclear arms gives, will seek to make them. If they cannot make them they will seek to procure them openly or secretly, and if the great powers are to gain friends by giving favours most probably the nations who desire weapons will find ready suppliers. Thus the state of affairs in South Vietnam leads to one inevitable conclusion; that if we accept the inevitability of war we must accept the consequence of nuclear destruction.
It has been pointed out on other occasions that armed conflict in what is called the “ conventional “ style is but a short step from total war, in what is called the “ new “ style; and called “new” for the sake of those who want to turn a blind eye to the horrors of nuclear destruction. It is safe to assume that it will be a long time before we see the end of armies of occupation. It is just as safe to assume that in every conflict on the conventional scale lies the plausible excuse for the use of the nuclear weapon - and the excuse will soon be found if the attacker assumes that there is no hope of retaliation. On the other hand, if the threat of retaliation does not deter, retaliation cannot repair. Nuclear weapons have but one purpose, and that is to attack. Experts tell us that there is no escape from this attack, and if there is no escape there is no victory.
Considering all these aspects, and allowing the dust raised by dialetical experts on these matters to die down, the situation remains the sam with all its stark danger. Therefore it is as vital as it should be obvious that no chance of peaceful talks should be neglected. To neglect or to discourage them can only play into the hands of Russia or China, or both - and in my opinion, both. I remember reading in a newspaper in India that 40 per cent, of the money allocated to major developmental schemes does not reach the projects because of corruption and wastage. This is the state of affairs which exists in that country while people die of starvation and disease, where millions are homeless and where millions live on less than a rupee a day. The pattern of India can be applied to most of the underdeveloped countries - graft, corruption and wastage. The sum total of sacrifices in South East Asia has been to bolster up corrupt regimes and corrupt practices.
Let us look at the situation in South East Asia. In the first place, the corrupt Premier of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, would not abide by the agreement of the 14-nation Geneva Convention on IndoChina to hold national elections in Vietnam in 1956 for fear that the Communists would win. Therefore it is true to say that the slaughter which has taken place over the years in that war torn country is due to this sort of dictatorship and corruption. Further, if North Vietnam believes that most of the people want a Communist State and, on the other hand, South Vietnam and America just as fervently believe that the majority of the people want a democratic Vietnam, in an attempt to decide the issue would it not be better to conduct an election than to continue the bloodbath? Since each side distrusts the other, the election could be conducted and supervised by the United Nations or some other responsible body like the International Control Commission.
Recently I listened to a talk by Mr. Lee, the Prime Minister of Singapore, in which he stated that experience had taught his party that it was useless to fight the Communists with arms, as this method only drove them underground. Experience has taught him that one must compete for the hearts and minds of the people through emancipation, and challenge the Communist drive by raising the living standards of the people. Yet in spite of this theory, which I think is the correct one, billions of dollars are spent on weapons and methods of destruction. Indeed it would be difficult to calculate the vast sums of money used in the prosecution of war, and all this money is spent while the average per capita income of millions of people living in these countries would not amount to £A.100 a year. At the same time, 12 million children die in their first year of life from starvation and malnutrition. Therefore to the parents of these children, to the people of these unfortunate countries, the question of politics becomes insignificant before their struggle for survival.
Let me say, on their behalf, that war waged from the precincts of this chamber, or from the comfort of our environment, and viewed through thick-lensed glasses, is vastly different from war waged in the field and among those whose life down the centuries has been one of subjection, misery, starvation and exploitation. It was the late John Kennedy who said: “ In this world there is much poverty, much hunger, much disease, much ignorance. These things are not the products of Communism, but Communism is the product of these things”. Pandit Nehru said: “The four greatest enemies to mankind in the world today are hunger, ignorance, disease and poverty”. Yet, with the knowledge of these things we still spend millions of pounds to destroy mankind. This carnage must stop. This destruction of human life must stop.
I say that we in Australia should set an example to the world by endeavouring, to the very limit of our resources, to seek a means of ending the Vietnam horror and also of solving the Malaysia-Indonesian problem. It is admitted that bombs, gas, graft and corruption, loss of life and property, even the burning of people alive, have not stopped the advance of Communism and have in fact, served only to accelerate it. This is admitted even in the United States of America. In fact, the belief is becoming widespread among many people that the Vietnam affair is but a step on the road towards the effort by the U.S. to exterminate China. Many contend that if the present struggle continues America will eventually have to fight China, and that her only chance of success then would lie in the use of nuclear weapons. Indeed, as other honorable members have pointed out, the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) has openly advocated the bombing of China.
There are people in America who are prepared to fight both Russia and China in order that the dignity of American might may be upheld. There are even some people in this House who think along these lines. This attitude is built on the argument that China does not possess the means of nuclear retaliation and that America, because of present superiority in arms, should strike now. It was not so many years ago, however, when the same argument was being advanced by warmongers who favoured an attack on Russia. Today thenadvocacy of such an attack is not so enthusiastic. Who knows what may be waiting around the corner in China?
It is argued that the withdrawal of American troops from South East Asia would lead to further Communist intrusion. However, I support the contention of the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee, and I believe it is possible to negotiate a mutual “hands off” agreement between Russia, China and the Western Powers, with all parties having the ultimate aim of aiding the social and economic development of South East Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, without military, political or economic gain to any one party. Surely this is not a proposition too radical for the Australian Government to accept.
The plight of 740 million people in China and 450 million in India, as well as the teeming millions of the other South East Asian countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia, cannot be ignored. We have the choice of either gaining or losing the friendship of the peoples of those countries. We cannot afford to drift away from these people. We must oppose the theory that war is inevitable. America wants to win the war that is at present being waged, but I do not think she can. The South Vietnamese people want to end the conflict. The problems of South East Asia cannot be handled in isolation; every event in that part of the world affects the rest of civilization.
It is said that China is ignorant of world affairs. Possibly it would be more truthful to say that there is a world ignorance of China’s affairs. When we discuss events in North and South Vietnam and urge the extension of the slaughter, we see a cloud obscuring the outcome of such action. Hidden behind the cloud is the problem of China’s reaction. In appealing for sanity in our approach to these problems in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, I suggest that a door, or at least a window, must remain open between China and America. The necessity of keeping open channels of communication with Peking is of vital importance. Indeed, lack of discussion between America and China leaves the world grappling blindfolded with a problem which, if not solved, and solved quickly, could lead the world to ultimate destruction.
There must be a peaceful solution to the bloodbath in South East Asia. To achieve this I believe, and my party believes, that this Government should invite France and the United Kingdom to arrange a conference between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, to be presided over by France and the United Kingdom. I believe that this action is imperative if we are to achieve a peaceful solution of the Vietnam conflict in the interest of world survival. I say also that the Governments of the United States and the People’s Republic of China should be invited to send representatives to such a conference.
I often wonder what the attitude of the Americans would be, or what the attitude of the honorable member for Mackellar or any other advocate of mass destruction would be, if Australia or America or any of those advocates individually had suffered the horrors of mass destruction. I wonder whether such people would be so eager to resort to the use of gas or of razor bombs, or .to burning people alive, in order to settle differences, or whether they would prefer to resort to the- conference table. It is certain that if the Vietnam war continues there will be no need for a conference table. I wonder also whether those who favour extending the war into North Vietnam will stand up and say that they support the use of gas, of razor bombs or of bombs that burn people alive, or whether they support the use of that mild universal exterminator, the atomic bomb. If they do not believe in these things how can they justify war? How can they justify a policy of atrocity and mass destruction? The Suez affair, the Cuba affair, the upheavals in Africa and indeed other international crises have proved without a shadow of doubt that no single country will fight alone for its survival, even if survival means only for that short and precious space of time before the atomic explosion that will end civilisation.
It is true to say that loss of life, the burning of people alive, shot, shell, gas and bombs have failed to provide a decision. Negotiation is all that remains. It is, indeed, either negotiation or obliteration.
.- This debate has revolved mainly around the situation in South East Asia, with particular emphasis on Vietnam, and it has highlighted the difference between the attitude of the Government and that of the Opposition. The members of the Opposition unfortunately are repeatedly subjected to pressures, sometimes from the left and sometimes from the right, but none of these pressures has succeeded in changing the anti-American attitude of members of the Opposition. Almost every action that America takes against the Communists on the international scene, whether in Asia or Cuba or anywhere else, is made the target of hostility by the Opposition. It is most unfortunate that in this debate American activities against the Communists in Vietnam have again been unsupported by the Labour Party.
We in Australia should not be unmindful of America’s part in the last great war. Perhaps it would be well to remind some honorable members of America’s part in Australia’s survival, for instance in battles in New Guinea and in the many important operations in the Pacific, including the Coral Sea engagement. I say at once that I believe that America is again manfully shouldering her great responsibilities on behalf of the free world, this time in South Vietnam.
Having made those preliminary statements, let me now go back to 1954. After the signing of the Geneva Agreement in that year, dividing Vietnam at the 17th parallel, partitioning South Vietnam from North Vietnam and allowing for a neutral zone between the two countries, North Vietnam realised that the South Vietnamese had little experience in leadership or administration, and she speedily and with encouragement from Peking conducted a ruthless campaign of terrorism, sabotage and subversion, in conjunction with a skilful use of propaganda. Clearly the South Viet namese were not the aggressors. They are peace loving people and, as General Khan told me, although the people are war weary after 20 years of hostilities they do not want peace at any price, particularly under the Communist regime. Like other emerging nations, they want their freedom and the right of self determination. With the continued progress of the North Vietnamese, and without the facilities to protect themselves against the atrocities continually being perpetrated, the South Vietnamese people requested American aid and protection. America quickly responded. Had its aid not been given swiftly the South Vietnamese, with their inadequate supplies, their outmoded equipment, their difficult economic situation and their lack of leaders and trained personnel, could not have held out against the better equipped and better organised Vietcong.
We all would like to see peace restored in this area. We all would like to see South Vietnam have the right for which it is fighting - the right of free determination. I do not believe any honorable member would disagree with that. But if the Opposition wants American and other foreign troops withdrawn from South Vietnam it must accept the inevitable consequence that North Vietnam, with aid and encouragement from Peking, would be in a position to take over the whole of the territory now held by the South Vietnamese. In short, if America had not intervened, one of the stages of Red China’s self-confessed territorial expansion programmes would have already been successful. This would not only give Red China control of the valuable Mekong River and its tributaries but also one of the richest rice bowls of South East Asia. It would increase Red China’s primary and industrial potential. Red China, would have available air bases within easy striking distance of Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia. It would have control of ports and bases from which to harass the sea lanes in the South China Sea. In effect, Red China’s strategic position would be immeasurably improved.
The Opposition would have us forget its policy on the basing of Australian troops in Malaya in the early 1950’s to combat Communism. Honorable members opposite were bitterly opposed to the stationing of Australian troops in (hat area. The present position in South Vietnam is not dissimilar to that which obtained in Malaya in the 1950’s. America, with some aid from other countries, is now combating Communist influence in South Vietnam and is simultaneously halting China’s expansion. China, by her actions in Tibet and Mongolia and her unwarranted attacks on India, has shown quite clearly that she wishes to expand territorially. If she were to obtain South Vietnam, with Laos divided and partly occupied by the Communists and with Cambodia having already accepted the fact that Red China will some day be its master and already under China’s influence, the way would be open to infiltrate into the rest of Asia - to India, Burma and southward to Indonesia. China, with her overwhelming manpower and the undoubted skill and tenacity of her people and their capacity to endure hardship, has improved tremendously in her industrial and striking potential. None of this can be lightly overlooked, nor can her skilful use of propaganda, the ability of her leaders and their determination to expand as the leading nation of Asia. It is therefore important that China should be contained within her present territorial boundaries, because further successes would make her the striding colossus of Asia. Such success would help to unify the Communist countries which would be a tremendous blow to the prestige of America and the free world, particularly what would be left of it in Asia and Africa.
Does any honorable member seriously believe that China’s declared policy of territorial expansion should not be checked? If honorable members opposite agree that it should be checked, why then the continued anti-American approach, for America is now engaged in halting China’s expansion and I believe this action should be continued with all its attendant risks. The conflict in Vietnam is a struggle for the freedom of all Asia, because if China were victorious who would be the next victim? China would not stop at one success. The struggles that are being waged in Vietnam are being waged with American manpower, knowhow and equipment, and at enormous cost. America is making an overwhelming contribution compared with the small amounts of aid from Australia and other countries. One could perhaps be pardoned for questioning what right we in Australia may have to dictate to America how it should conduct this war. We may not agree with all of America’s diplomatic actions. We may not fully agree with its methods of warfare, but as the methods so far employed are those that are accepted under the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention, what action should we counsel? Should we advocate that America withdraw her troops and leave South Vietnam to be overrun and controlled by the Communists, and in so doing aid and abet Chinese expansion, or should we request America to back pedal in its efforts to achieve success? Both courses are unthinkable. America is prepared, as she always has been, to negotiate and talk peace provided such a peace is just and guarantees the integrity of the South Vietnamese. It is difficult to find a valid reason why the North Vietnamese in their own right would seek to promote and prolong such a conflict if their motives were those of peace. I believe that if North Vietnam were prepared to seek peace, which at the moment it is not, any such action would be prevented by its masters, for they are content to encourage the South Vietnamese to fight Red China’s battles and, in the process, to weaken their own morale and their economy so that in the long run, even though North Vietnam may be unable to defeat South Vietnam, it will be so weakened that Red China will be able to occupy its puppet’s territory without difficulty.
In 1956 a rather new member said in his maiden speech -
The Mao plan envisages that by 1960 China’s military, economic and industrial strength will be such that it will be able to “liberate” Indochina, Thailand and Burma. Thereafter, the “ liberation “ of Indonesia is to be completed. If this is achieved, an arc of Communist-controlled countries will be formed around the Malay Peninsula. The pattern is clear, and if the Western nations, including Australia, do not combine to play their part vigorously, we could be engulfed in the all-too-rapid Communist drive towards us. This pattern, and the nearness of those countries, is a problem which has to be faced, lt is a matter that concerns every Australian.
– Who said that?
– I was gratified but not surprised to learn that those words were spoken by the present honorable member for Phillip. My recent journeys to South East Asia have strengthened my belief that what I said in 1956 holds good today. I cannot emphasise too strongly that we in Australia should never lose sight of the fact that we alone cannot hold our freedom or hope to prevent China’s expansionist programme in Asia. We must accept American and British assistance and be prepared to honour our obligations, for we simply cannot afford an isolationist policy. We have taken sides. Let us then push on with our cause without undue vacillation. This does not mean that we must follow blindly. Our voice is entitled to be heard and should be heard. But let us constantly bear in mind that Red China’s territorial containment is essential to the wellbeing of our own and other free peoples.
I congratulate the Minister for External Affairs on a rather scholarly and clear exposition of the Government’s attitude on external affairs. I think he made the position of Australia extremely clear, particularly our attitude to Malaysia, Indonesia and South Vietnam. America need have no fear as to where we stand in this conflict. I believe that the electors of Australia are solidity behind the Government in its determination to ensure that emerging countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam - a country that is centuries old and was once part of Indo-China - will have the right to selfdetermination and will be able to live in peace and freedom of their own choosing. This is not only a Christian principle; it is a principle in which the members of this House, including Opposition members, believe. It is an aim that we should all endeavour to attain. We may have different views as to how this so-called Utopia could be attained, but all in all I regret that during the period that I have been in this Parliament, Opposition members have not seen fit to give due credit to our allies. They should not suggest, as the honorable member for Gellibrand (Mr. McIvor) did, that all hostilities in the world today were created by the West. This is not so.
In the past, we have had to face many trials and tribulations. We have been able to contain Russia’s territorial ambitions in Europe. Our American, N.A.T.O. and British friends have been able to stop any further Russian expansion in that area. This was an important achievement. Sir, I believe that the same principle applies in Asia; the containment of China territorially, is just as important, and perhaps more important, to our own country as the containment of Russia was to Europe. We must prevent China from continually probing and thrusting into other countries. To permit her to do this, will be, to my mind, a tragedy. Not only will it affect countries in this part of the world but also, in due course, it will have repercussions throughout the world and we might not recover for centuries to come.
.- When the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) made his statement to the House he said that he hoped that you, Mr. Speaker, would permit a broad discussion on international affairs. It would appear from the course of the debate that you have been generous and have not confined it. I know that you have said that you agree with the Minister’s request.I hope that I do not try the patience of the Chair unduly. I shall try to keep within the bounds set by the Minister and by you.
The speeches made by the Minister for External Affairs and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) certainly covered broadly the international affairs in which Australia is involved. I hasten to say that I am delighted to be permitted to associate myself with the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, who brilliantly outlined the policy of the Australian Labour Party. The policy placed before the House by the Leader of the Opposition on this and previous occasions is very sound, as far as Australia is concerned. It is aimed at promoting peace in the world, if this is possible and I hope it is. But from the tone of the debate, particularly the speeches tonight, it would appear that we are centring our vision on that part of the world that is South East Asia. The honorable members for Wimmera (Mr. King) and Phillip (Mr. Aston) have dealt particularly with South East Asia. Of course, Australia is vitally interested also in other parts of the world. What is happening in Africa is of great moment to Australia and will give Australia concern in the very near future. But it would appear that all honorable members are concentrating their thoughts on activities in South East Asia and I propose to follow the example they have set, whether it be good or bad.
The great powers in this part of the world, such as China, Japan, India and Indonesia, have an enormous concentration of manpower. India is noted for its extensive manpower. It has some defence forces but they are not of great consequence when considered in the light of the manpower of the country. A few years ago Japan was a mighty military power, but following its excursions into war it has been reduced to a non-military power. The other two nations that I mentioned, China and Indonesia, are great powers in the military sense in that part of the world in which Australia exists. I said many years ago when I entered the Parliament that, geographically, Australia must be regarded as part of the Eastern world. Though some honorable members on the other side of the House disputed my statement at the time, they have come to agree with me. In all respects, our interests are becoming more involved with the Eastern world and particularly with the Far East. Whatever happens in China, Japan, India and Indonesia is of vital concern to Australia.
Australia is a peace loving country. I am sure that most honorable members believe that this is so. But some honorable members on the Government side have been very outspoken and have followed a different line. I refer particularly to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth), who was most outspoken about what he called the enucleation of Red China. I presume he was referring to America, because Australia, after many years of office of this Government, is incapable of doing as he suggested. He wanted America to embark on the bombing of the factories of China. He was at pains to say that be did not advocate war but that he would like to have the factories bombed. It is quite a new concept not to have a war but at the same time to bomb the factories of a country. Of course, in bombing factories you bomb and kill people. He does not want to bomb people either, but actually the honorable member for Mackellar would be the most delighted man in this country if war were declared on Red China. I believe that to be so in view of his statements on international affairs in this debate. If we were to follow the suggestions of the honorable member for Mackellar, not only would the United States be involved in war but a complete holocaust would occur with all the civilised nations becoming involved in this most unpleasant affair.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) stated the Australian Labour
Party’s policy quite clearly. He placed the party in pretty good company in this respect. First, he stated that the Labour Party supported the United Nations. In the international scene the United Nations is the last hope of the world. I am not one to criticise it for its failures, but rather would I praise it for its successes. I hope that all members of this Parliament will pay the respect to the United Nations to which it is entitled. We on this side support it and hope that it will have more successes. We believe in the policy of its SecretaryGeneral, U-Thant, who wants to negotiate peaceful solutions to the problems that exist in South East Asia. Many leaders of religious thought advocate the same line. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that the Labour Party is in pretty good company in following this line. It does not deserve the accusations that have been made against it by members of the Government parties who have accused us of disloyalty to Australia and of being associated with Communist front organisations. Our hands are clean, as is borne out by our record over many years of government and service to the people of Australia.
– Does the -honorable member believe that?
– I do believe it. I propose to show the honorable member for Lilley in a few minutes just how many of his colleagues can be regarded as suspect.
Much can be done to improve the conditions of people in South East Asia. I do not believe that it is necessary to go to war in order to contain Communism. Some time ago Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore visited Canberra and other parts of Australia. I was fortunate enough to hear an address given by him, which was touched upon by the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) during the debate last week. Mr. Lee is very well informed on Asian affairs. He made it quite clear to us that it is not necessary to be an anti-Communist in order to defeat the Communists in Asia, but that rather it would be better if we were nonCommunists. Many people, particularly in Australia, follow the anti-Communist line but are not prepared to be non-Communists. There is a vast difference between the two.
If we were to do something to show the people in Asia that we want to help to faring them the benefits of civilisation that we enjoy in Australia - jobs, development, hospitalisation, better health and a hope in life - we would be going a long way towards bringing contentment into this wartorn world in which the common people live in a state of semi-slavery, exploited to the limit. They have no wealth, no possessions. They have no hope and when hope is abandoned there is nothing left in life. That is the position of many millions of people in South East Asia today. Much can be done by our following along the line that we are pursuing in a limited way in association with other members of the Colombo Plan nations in bringing benefits to these people.
Only last week we debated a bill dealing with the construction of a dam in the Indus Basin. Our contribution to the construction of that dam is a very generous action on the part of a country which is not wealthy by any means but is limited in its resources and its wealth. We are prepared to spend money in the Indus Basin on doing there something that many thousands of Australian settlers would like to see done in this country. We believe that we must give to those who have not. I should like to see this policy expanded on many occasions and in many countries.
I wish to make some reference to remarks by the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) who was regarded some little time ago, if not now, as a man of some standing in the Liberal Party. A little time back he was chairman of the very important foreign affairs committee of the Liberal Party. I want to refer also to the stand taken by prominent supporters of the Government, and of their close affiliation - by their actions - with the Communist countries of South East Asia, particularly Red China.
The honorable member for Chisholm referred last week to an appeal made by the New China News Agency in relation to the arrest, trial and sentencing of certain spies in Brazil. The New China News Agency put out a release which contained the following paragraph -
Popular organisations, trading companies and public celebrities in many countries have cabled the Chinese organisations concerned’ expressing their deep indignation at the Brazilian military authorities’ illegal sentences on the guiltless Chinese and voicing support (or their fight for justice.
One of the public organisations alleged to have sent a letter of protest to the Chinese authorities was the Australian Wool Board. When the honorable member for Chisholm endeavoured to obtain a denial regarding this action alleged’ to have been taken by the Australian Wool Board, the Chairman of the Board refused to send a letter of denial to the honorable member for Chisholm. We can only conclude, therefore, that the Australian Wool Board was allied with prominent Communist organisations and Communist front organisations throughout the world in sending this protest about the trials in Brazil. Who is this man who is Chairman of the Australian Wool Board?
– He is a member of the Australian Country Party.
– He is Sir William Gunn, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, who has been nominated for Country Party preselection for the seat of Maranoa. He hopes to come here and take his place in the corner opposite as a member of the Country Party and a supporter of the Government, yet he was not prepared to write a letter stating that the Australian Wool Board had not joined in this protest about the action in Brazil.
I wish to refer also to remarks made by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten) only last week, in which he berated the Leader of the Opposition for not using up the limited time at his disposal to criticise the Communist Party and its behaviour. Surely it is not necessary for the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, to transgress the rules of this House by indulging in repetition by repeatedly asserting the stand of the Australian Labour Party in international affairs and stating just where we do stand regarding the vocal but not very important section of the Communist organisation that exists in Australia.
Several members of the Australian Country Party have been at pains to try to smear members of the Australian Labour Party with the old Communist smear brush. It is becoming quite tiresome to sit here and listen to this, but it goes on because the use of the brush is popular. Let me remind honorable members opposite of the stand taken by members of the Country Party in relation to dealings with Communist organisations. I would say that from their behaviour - and I propose to quote figures to support my argument in a moment or two - one could be pardoned for thinking of the Country Party as a Communist front organisation in this House because Country Party members are completely silent in regard to matters dealing with associations with the important Communist countries. During the present financial year, for the seven months ended January 1965, Australia has exported a considerable amount of wheat to the United Kingdom - 268,913 tons which have been sold at a price of £27 a ton. Australia has sent a considerable quantity of wheat to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the amount of 153,068 tons. We have sold it at £26 15s. 4d. a ton to that country, which is considerably lower than the price we are charging the United Kingdom. But let us go a little further. We find that the principal consumer of Australian wheat is the Chinese People’s Republic, or Mainland China. Australia sold Mainland China over 1 million tons - in fact, 1,447,067 tons - of wheat in this period. It was sold at the very depressed price of £26 8s. 9d. So. this Government and the Department of Trade and Industry which deals with the sale of wheat, and which is controlled by a Country Party Minister, is selling wheat to Communist countries. In fact, 48 per cent. of Australia’s total trade in wheat goes to Communist countries. We are selling wheat at the lowest price possible to Mainland China.
I think that suggests that the Country Party is not prepared to be outspoken and even ask that the price of wheat sold to Communist countries be the same as that charged to our brothers in the United Kingdom, but that the Country Party is prepared to sell wheat at this price to these people in Mainland China who are regarded as traitors and the arch assassins of the world, and who are prepared to stab Australia at almost the first opportunity. Our friends in the Country Party are adopting the role of allies of these people in this House and are completely approving of what is happening. Their leader, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) has negotiated agreements for the sale of wheat at very low prices. Let me quote, in conclusion, the words of Mr. A. C. Everett who is a prominent member of the Victorian Wheat and Woolgrowers Association. Mr. Everett predicted that there would be a loss of £22 million on Australia’s overseas sales of wheat this season and said that this loss would have to be subsidised by the Australian consumer and the Australian Government. So, because of the policy of members of the Australian Country Party in this place, Australia is going to subsidise the export of wheat to the country they call our principal enemy, Red China.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Jess) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- Mr. Speaker, this afternoon -
Motion (by Mr. Hasluck) put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr. Speaker - Hon. Sir John McLeay.)
Majority . . . . 30
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affitmative
House adjourned at 10.57 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -
m asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Listed hereunder are the ten companies which received the largest payments from this department during the financial year 1963-64. Services or materials supplied and the total payment made to each company are also shown -
b asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
What action is being taken to ensure that Aborigines receive award wages?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The question of Aborigines in the Northern Territory being paid award wages is being considered by the Government and in one respect is before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.
b asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
b asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
n asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The information sought by the honorable member is as follows -
b asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The price paid to New Guinea landowners for timber rights for a limited period represented only a small proportion of the total benefits which accrued to the landowners from such arrangements. Timber rights were let by tender and the lessees of such rights had to commit themselves to the expenditure of large sums for the purpose of constructing access roads, wharf facilities, employee accommodation, etc. Such development in turn would promote settlement and give rise to townships, for which the Administration in turn would provide urban facilities, including schools and hospitals.
The development of the region that had been referred to required the removal of timber stands which could only be undertaken by large-scale operators supplied with heavy equipment. Once the heavy timber was removed, the land would be capable of agricultural development by its New Guinean owners. The landowners concerned were well aware of these advantages and the need for heavy capital investment by the Australian lessees which would be required for the purpose. For this reason, the owners had entered voluntarily into agreements for the sale of timber rights.
The World Bank Mission that had recently surveyed the economy of Papua and New Guinea and whose report was now being considered by the Government, strongly recommended the rapid and large-scale development of the forestry resources of the Territory.
Royalty payments for timber leases provided some of the funds required to push ahead with the economic development of the Territory and would, in the long run, reduce its dependance on financial assistance from Australia.
b asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
This matter will be considered when social services legislation is next under review.
n asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1 and 2. No. 3 and 4. These matters are outside my province and have nothing to do with administering the income tax legislation.
Australian Representation in Turkey. (Question No. 871.)
t asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honor able member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Representation in East Germany. (Question No. 872.)
t asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
Why has Australia established relations with the Federal Republic of Germany but not with the German Democratic Republic?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The Commonwealth Government does not recognise the East German regime and the question of establishing a diplomatic mission does not therefore arise.
t asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows - 1 and 2. Australia does not recognise the Government of the Mongolian People’s Republic. This is a question of policy which is kept under constant review.
Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dahomey, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Rumania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda,Upper Volta, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia and Zambia. In none of these cases has recognition been withheld.
Australian Representation in Czechoslovakia. (Question No. 874.)
t asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honor able member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Representation in Poland. (Question No. 875.)
t asked the Minister for Exter nal Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
See answer to Question No. 871.
Australian Representation in Yugoslavia. (Question No. 876.)
t asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Representation in North Vietnam. (Question No. 877.)
t asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Australian Representation in Iran. (Question No. 878.)
t asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
s asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
What rates of payment have been made to doctors in respect of pensioner medical service patients for -
domiciliary consultations, since the inception of the scheme?
– The following fees have been paid to participating doctors since the inception of the pensioner medical service -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 March 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1965/19650330_reps_25_hor45/>.