House of Representatives
18 August 1965

25th Parliament · 1st Session

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

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Newspaper Advertisements

Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne

Mr. Speaker, 1 raise a matter of privilege which is based on an advertisement containing a photograph of the House in session published in the “ Canberra Times “ and other Australian newspapers on Wednesday, 18th August 1965. 1 produce a copy of the “ Canberra Times “. The printer is the Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty. Ltd. of Pirie Street, Fyshwick, in the Australian Capital Territory, and the publishers are the Federal Capital Press of Australia Pty. Ltd. and John Fairfax and Sons Ltd.

I cite the “Canberra Times” for the purpose of raising the matter, but I point out that a similar advertisement has appeared in other newspapers. Not all the other newspapers appear on the list I have, but ] have no doubt that upon investigation it will be found that there are more than I shall cite. One is the “ Sun-News Pictorial “ of Melbourne, another is the “ Daily Telegraph” of Sydney, and another is the “ Australian “. As I have stated, no doubt there are others that have published the same matter around Australia. The newspapers I have cited just now are published by the Australian Consolidated Press Ltd. of 168 Castlereagh Street, Sydney; Nationwide News Pty. Ltd. of 42 Mort Street, Braddon, in the Australian Capital Territory; Mirror Newspapers Ltd. of Kippax Street, Sydney; and Southdown Press Pty. Ltd. of 402 Latrobe Street, Melbourne. The “ Sun-News Pictorial “ is published in the office of Herald and Weekly Times Ltd. of Flinders Street, Melbourne. 1 move -

That the matter of the advertisement in the “ Canberra Times “ and other Australian newspapers be referred to the Committee of Privileges.

This particular advertisement holds up this House to ridicule. It does not matter that I am the person who is being used, allegedly the day after the presentation of the Budget, to advertise in this House the sale of a particular brand of motor car. Any other honorable member could be put in the position of appearing, in the minds of the public of Australia, to abuse his rights and privileges in this Parliament either for his own gain or for the benefit of his friends. I have been here for a quarter of a century and I have never known a member of this House who has done, or would do, anything like that. I think that the publication of the advertisement is a dreadful abuse of privilege.

The passage I am about to quote from May refers to something that happened as far back as 1701, but it is still true. We still want to preserve the rights and privileges of the Parliament. May states -

In 1701 (he House of Commons resolved that to print or publish any books or libels reflecting on the proceedings of the House is a high violation of the rights and privileges of the House, and indignities offered to their House by words spoken or writings published reflecting on its character or proceedings have been constantly punished by both the Lords and the Commons upon the principle that such acts tend to obstruct the Houses in the performance of their functions by diminishing the respect due to them.

This House, which is part of the Parliament of Australia, is an integral part of our institutional life. Its dignity must be maintained and its honour respected. It is just as bad to reflect upon this Parliament, or any member of it, as it would be for a newspaper to publish a sitting of the High Court of Australia and make the Chief Justice of Australia urge that because of certain things that happened in the Budget, a certain brand of cigarettes or petrol, or something else, was preferable to some other. I do not know how these people can have such a low regard for the Parliament. I think the matter ought to go to the Privileges Committee, and I hope the members of the Committee will interrogate every editor, every sales manager, and every other person who may have been responsible for this, and, if necessary bring them to the Bar of the House to apologise and purge their contempt, because it is a gross and awful contempt.

Prime Minister · KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– I second the motion. My attention was drawn to this advertisement this morning. Quite frankly, I found it very hard to believe that any organisation should have such a state of mind as to publish such an advertisement.

Here is a picture of the House sitting. These pictures are not taken except by the concurrence of both sides of the House. They have an official quality. A copy of the photograph has been obtained somehow. Underneath it appears the words “ 1965 budget news” followed by some advertisement. But to have a picture the day after the Budget is opened in which the Leader of the Opposition is represented as uttering an advertisement for a particular kind of car is, I think, grossly defamatory of him and grossly offensive to this Parliament. It may be said, of course, by these people that this is just a touch of humour. Well, of course, humour is very hard to define. Some people’s humour is not the same as that of others. I wonder whether they mean that this is just a humourous affair; in which case I wonder whether they mean the remark that more than ever, a Mini makes motoring sense, is regarded by them as a good joke. I do not understand the techniques of advertising people, I must confess. But the fact is that under these circumstances the representation of Parliament in session - of this House in session - has been used in this utterly fraudulent way to put into the mouth of the Leader of the Opposition, who holds a responsible office in this House, a piece of advertising. It is designed as advertising, presumably, because no doubt it went into these various newspapers at advertising rates.

If it can be done in this way then, of course, there is no limit to the prospect that is opened up - none whatever. Some honorable member who is well known for having very strong views against some particular matters can be represented as having strong views in favour of them, if it is for advertising purposes. This goes all around. If this goes by undealt with, anybody in this Parliament may be held up to complete ridicule, and indeed may inspire the contempt of people by allowing it to be thought that he uses himself, or allows himself to be used, as the instrument of advertising some commodity - above all things, although it is not vital in this case, advertising a commodity in an industry which is thought by some to have been adversely affected or preserved, as the case may be, by the Budget that has been delivered. I do not want to use extravagant language. All I can say is that I was quite nauseated when I saw this this morning, and I can assure the honorable the Leader of the Opposition that if he had not moved this motion I should have done it myself.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Mr. MORTIMER presented a petition from certain citizens of the Division of Grey praying that the Commonwealth Government will take immediate steps to provide high standard television reception throughout the entire far west coast and upper Eyre Peninsula regions of South Australia.

Petition received and read.

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– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I ask: In view of an opinion recently expressed by the Minister for Trade and Industry that the Commonwealth Government should now cooperate with State Governments and local authorities in promoting decentralisation of industry, will the right honorable gentleman confer with his Cabinet colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister, with the object of formulating and initiating proposals for the growth and development of country centres? Will the Prime Minister convene a ministerial meeting so that the question of decentralisation and balanced development may be discussed and the States informed of the measure of co-operation which may be expected from the Commonwealth Government?


– The problem of decentralisation in its various aspects is one that quite frequently engages the attention of the Government. Of course, we have taken certain steps which have been designed to assist it. As the honorable member knows, at the present time we have an interdepartmental committee actively examining this problem to see whether any practical measures may emerge. When that is done, I will be in a better position to say whether any new step can be taken.

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– I ask the Minister for the Navy whether it is correct that submarines of the new class now being built in the United Kingdom are to be manned by Australian crews but with British officers in command. If so, as there has been a great deal of organisation in preparing the crews for their new commissions, will the Minister explain why it is that these submarines are to be commanded by British officers, and not Australian officers?

Minister for the Navy · PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

Mr. Speaker, what the honorable member has said is true. The reason for it is fairly obvious, because it takes, f think, about six years experience in submarines of the type referred to before an officer becomes eligible for command. As the honorable member is aware, we do not have a submarine service of our own. The submarines we have been using have been on loan from the Royal Navy and their crews have been members of the British Navy. It is expected that by the time the last submarine is delivered an Australian officer will be sufficiently experienced in these vessels to take command. Until that time the vessels naturally must be commanded by Royal Navy officers.

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– Does the Minister for Territories fully appreciate the vital need, in the interests of Australia, for the rapid development of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea? Has any timetable been prepared by the Department of Territories for this development and for the granting of independence? If so, will the Minister indicate how many years are likely to elapse before independence is granted and whether the meagre increase in Government expenditure this financial year will allow the Department to adhere to its programme?

Minister for Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– It would appear that the honorable member has posed a question from two points of view - the economic and the political. His suggestion of planning on an economic basis is a socialist concept to which this Government does not subscribe. We have accepted the report of the World Bank mission, which has given us guide lines for the future development of Papua and New Guinea. These guide lines are important because it is very difficult to assess twelve months ahead the economic situation in any country, let alone in Papua and New Guinea, which is moving rapidly towards economic development. As far as the political concept is concerned, at all times we have stated that it is not for Australia or this Government to say when these people should have either self government or independence; it is a matter for the people themselves. I for one would never attempt to hurry this development.

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– I ask the Minister for the Navy a question. Is it a fact that the Lord Mayor of Perth was invited to and went to the recent commissioning of H.M.A.S. “ Perth “? If so, at whose expense was the journey made? Will a similar invitation be extended to the Lord Mayor of Hobart in connection with the forthcoming commissioning of H.M.A.S. “ Hobart “?


– It is true that the Lord Mayor of Perth attended the commissioning of H.M.A.S. “ Perth “. His attendance was not at Commonwealth expense. His trip was paid for by the ratepayers of Perth. I am certain that when H.M.A.S. “ Hobart “ and H.M.A.S. “ Brisbane “ are commissioned the lord mayors of those cities will receive invitations in similar terms.

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– Is the Treasurer aware that in the past 15 years overseas investment in Australia has amounted to about £2,000 million and that in that time it has captured control of about 25 per cent, of Australia’s secondary industry? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that some sections of industry have become completely foreign owned? What is the Government doing actively to channel overseas investment into the establishment of new industries instead of permitting it to take over existing Australian industries? Is the Treasurer aware that the present procedure, if allowed to continue, could seriously threaten Australia’s control of its own affairs within the not too distant future?


– The honorable gentleman has given his own version of facts and has in effect invited debate of a far reaching kind on a major matter of considerable controversy and undoubted importance. The honorable member will be aware that one of the terms of reference given to the Vernon Committee was the examination of overseas investment in this country. I suggest that when we have had an opportunity to study the Committee’s report and absorb the comments - I hope this will be in the course of this sessional period - we may exchange views more profitably.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry, relates to the effects of the serious drought in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. I refer to the extremely heavy stock losses that have occurred and the financial difficulties of farmers who are unable to finance fodder supplies and the replacement of livestock. Is the Minister able to say whether the Government can take urgent action to deal with the requests made by the New South Wales and Queensland Governments for financial assistance towards drought relief measures?

Minister for Primary Industry · FISHER, QUEENSLAND · CP

– This matter has been referred by the Premier of New South Wales to the Prime Minister and is being considered on that level. As a member of the Cabinet, I know that discussions have taken place on this matter and I am sure that in due course the Prime Minister will make an announcement about the action that the Government is taking.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Social Services. Is the Minister aware that local government authorities in New South Wales are willing to assist in the provision of homes for the aged by making grants of land or finance to acceptable organisations eager to build such homes? Is it a fact that grants of land or finance from local government authorities are not eligible for subsidy under the Aged Persons Homes Act? If this is so, what consideration has been or will be given to amending the Act to allow donations from local government authorities to attract the subsidy?

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

– I think that few measures introduced by this Government over the years have provided more assistance to a section of the community than the Aged Persons Homes Act. Since it was passed, over 20,000 people have been accommodated as a result of the subsidy provided by the Government. Every section of the community is most appreciative of the effort that has been made. The honorable member mentioned a section of the community that has suggested from time to time that it also should be eligible for the subsidy. As the honorable member is aware, funds for housing are made available to the States under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement. The Aged Persons Homes Act is designed to provide housing for the aged primarily by giving assistance to private organisations and in this way a tremendous amount has been achieved. Any suggestion that the scope of the Act be extended will have to be considered in the proper context at some future stage.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Territories. The Minister will be aware that there has been a marked fall in the price of cocoa and that this is seriously affecting the future of producers of cocoa in Papua and New Guinea. Can the Minister say whether representations have been made to him on this matter and whether action is envisaged to give some practical assistance to cocoa producers who are in a precarious situation?


– As the honorable member said, there has been quite a disastrous drop an the price of cocoa. I think the price in 1959 was about £500 a ton. A few months ago it had fallen as low as £70. I am happy to inform the honorable member that today’s price is somewhere near £105 a ton. This is a very healthy rise. Nevertheless, this price is apparently below the cost of production of the general producers in the Territory. The Government is always ready to examine any scheme that is submitted by the majority of producers and I have intimated that at all times I am willing to consider such a scheme. This, of course, would be done without committing the Government at this stage. If some scheme is evolved, we will always be happy to look at it.

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– I would like to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. Can he say whether any discussions have taken place between his Government and that of the United States of America concerning the possible use of Cocos Island as some form of United States defence base? Has the United States carried out any physical survey of Cocos Island for the purpose of investigating its suitability as a defence base? If either of these things has occurred, will the Minister provide the House with details and will he particularly state as precisely as possible what form of defence base the United States may be contemplating establishing on Cocos Island?

Minister for External Affairs · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– The answers are: “ No “. “ No “. “ No “.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it true that the number of telephone applications outstanding in the Sydney metropolitan area as at 30th June 1965, of 40,000, is 24,000 more than the combined total for all the other capital cities? Will the Minister indicate to the House when this imbalance might be eliminated?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I am afraid that I cannot remember exactly the figures at 30th June, but I do know that at 31st July the percentage of outstanding applications in New South Wales was 61 per cent, of the Australian total. Honorable members will realise that, as the Treasurer announced last night, there is to be a substantial increase in moneys available for capital works in the Post Office, and I am hopeful that we will be able to make some impact during the current year on the number of outstanding applications. I mention that there cannot be a tremendous drop in the actual number of outstanding applications because manpower and materials are required to overtake the lag. We will do the maximum possible having regard to all the resources that are available, and I hope that by the end of this year there will be some improvement in New South Wales.

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– My question to the Minister for Territories arises from the submission which the Commonwealth has made, presumably with the co-operation of his Department, to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in favour of introducing equal pay for Aborigines in the pastoral industry in the Northern Territory. As the Commonwealth has complete power to legislate on industrial conditions in the Northern Territory I ask the Minister why his Department did not introduce an ordinance in the Legislative Council for the Northern Territory to carry out its wishes. Since, however, the Commonwealth has chosen to promote the reform through arbitration instead of legislation I ask him whether the Government will defray the costs of the union which had to approach the Commission in order to initiate the reform.


– I believe the proper approach in this matter is to the court for a determination of this wages scheme. This is accepted policy in Australia. I do not see any occasion for the costs of the union to be met in this case. If the honorable member can give me any reasons why this should be done I shall be very happy to have a look at the matter.

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– I desire to ask the Minister for Supply whether the Armalite rifle, which is now on issue to some of our troops in Vietnam, has been evaluated by his Department. If the rifle is, as claimed, superior to the FN rifle, would he consider having the Armalite rifle manufactured in Australia and giving it a wider distribution within the armed Services?

Minister for Supply · PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The Armalite rifle has not been evaluated by the Department of Supply. I understand it has been dealt with by the Department of the Army, and the question of its production in Australia and its distribution to our armed forces is one, of course, for the Department of the Army. As I understand it, some of these rifles are on issue to our troops in Vietnam. They, of course, would be drawn from United States stocks. The matter is under consideration at the moment.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. The Minister recently expressed his alarm at further increases in shipping freights of 10 per cent, between Australia and American ports and 6.6 per cent, between Australia and European ports. He is reported as having said that he would introduce a rationalisation plan that would reduce freights overall by 121 per cent. Will the Minister say how he intends to implement such a plan?

Minister for Trade and Industry · MURRAY, VICTORIA · CP

– I think that, within limits, the honorable member is under a misapprehension, or maybe I have been misreported on one aspect of this matter. lt is true that I expressed concern at the rise in freights, because it is well known that for a number of our commodities, values are low and higher freights have a very important significance in these circumstances. However, as costs rise in the shipping industry one must expect there will be some reflection in the recovery of those costs through higher charges. The fact of the matter is that in respect of Australian outward shipping freights - ‘international freights - my advice is ‘that 40 per cent, of the freight charged by the shipowner is to recover costs that he meets on the wharf, not at sea. This points up highly the significance of high costs on the wharf, whether in Australia or elsewhere.

That is all that I can say on that aspect, but on the other aspect, the Department of Trade and Industry has been conducting, in co-operation with the shipping interests, and the Conference lines - and conducting quite separately on its own account - a close study of the nature of the shipping services from overseas, particularly by the European Conference lines to Australia, to discover whether the Government can make some proposals to the shipping interests which might provide an offset to these constantly rising freights and charges. It is now clear that if these competitive lines were to rationalise their services, so that a ship, instead of calling at six or seven ports and taking a long time, could find its loading in three or maybe four ports, more efficient use could be made of the ship and there could be a sharing of the savings between the ship owner and the shipper. This is the study that we have made.

I have no consciousness of 12i per cent, having been mentioned by me. It is not within the power of the Government to compel this rationalisation but we have no doubt that both the shippers and <the shipping interests are interested in the evidence that the Department of Trade and Industry has produced in this regard and I earnestly hope that in the interests of all parties there will ensue in due course a rationalisation that can lead to the results that I have indicated.

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– My question, which is addressed to the Prime Minister, refers to our relations with New Zealand. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether, in view of the common interests of Australia and New Zealand, as evidenced in the fields of defence and trade recently, he will give consideration to the extension of travel facilities for members of this Parliament to New Zealand, similar to those applicable between Australia and New Guinea, in order to contribute to the closest possible understanding between the peoples of each side of the Tasman.


– This is a matter to which I have been and am giving some particular attention.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– I ask the Treasurer: Would it be the first three months or the first six months of collections under the proposed new stamp duties for the Australian Capital Territory that would be required to pay for the cost of construction of the two squash courts at Parliament House?


– I can understand the honorable gentleman’s interest in this important matter. However, I regret that I have not been able to give it the same close attention which would have enabled me to give him a precise answer today.

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– Can the Minister for Trade and Industry inform the House of the likely date of publication of the report of the Tariff Board inquiry into the prices of crude oil and protection for indigenous petroleum? Will he treat this as a matter of urgency because of the imminent extinction of many Australian interests in this field and Australia’s obvious defence weaknesses in terms of fuel supplies?


– 1 can say that the Tariff Board has concluded its hearings and study and has produced its report on this matter. At the moment, as is customary in all cases, the report is subject to close study by an interdepartmental committee. As soon as that committee has concluded its studies and proffered its advice to the Government, the matter will be brought before Cabinet for decision. I cannot speculate as to whether the facts of the situation will enable Cabinet to make a prompt decision, but I can say with confidence that there will certainly be no avoidable delay in reaching a conclusion on this matter.

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– I address a question to the Minister for the Interior. In view of the fact that conscripted national service trainees under 21 years of age are to serve overseas, is it the intention of the Minister to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act to grant’ them the right to vote? If not, why not?

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

– Any alteration in the electoral franchise is a matter of Government policy. It is very strange that when the Electoral Act was being debated in this House only during the last sessional period, the honorable member did not see fit to bring up this question.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Immigration. As assisted passages to Australia are available to citizens of the United Kingdom, will the Minister give consideration to granting a similar privilege to British people residing in other parts of the world, especially to those residing in the Seychelles Islands, from which some excellent nominated migrants have come to Australia, unassisted, recently, and from where more would be encouraged to come to Australia by an extension of this privilege?

Minister for Immigration · CORIO, VICTORIA · LP

– We are endeavouring to get suitable migrants from various countries throughout the world. Apart from the assisted migrants scheme, there is a general assisted passage scheme under which some part of the fare is given to suitable migrants. I have not had this matter brought to my attention before, and 1 shall look into it to see what consideration can be given to it.

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– I preface a question to the Attorney-General by drawing his attention to section 89, sub-section (5.), of the Commonwealth Public Service Act, which reads -

The amount fixed by the Board as rental deduction upon an officer assuming occupancy of quarters shall not be increased during the period of his occupancy by reason of his advancement in salary otherwise than by promotion.

In view of that provision in the Act, will the Attorney-General investigate and advise the House of the legality or otherwise of the practice of the Postmaster-General’s Department of increasing the rent of resident postmasters on each occasion upon which a marginal or basic wage increase is granted?

Attorney-General · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– The honorable gentleman asks for a legal opinion. I am afraid that I cannot provide it for him.

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– I address a question to the Minister for External Affairs. Did the Minister, while attending a teach-in at the Monash University, hear it said by a professor of political science, or was he informed that a professor of political science had said, that if some of the people of Asia and South East Asia desired Communism they should have it? When asked about those who did not want Communism, such as Buddhists and Catholics, did the professor say that it would be a good thing if these people could be sent to Australia? 1 ask the Minister whether this is the best professor we can get for the Melbourne University. Is he influencing in a treasonable way the minds of thousands of young Australians?


– With deep respect to the honorable member, I think he is taking a rather heavy view of Professor Macmahon Ball’s statement when he uses a word like “ treasonable “. 1 heard the professor say something to the general effect recounted by the honorable member but, being present, I took it as a heavy handed piece of academic pleasantry rather than anything else.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for External Affairs. Does the A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty apply only to the Pacific Ocean area or does it apply to areas where Australian servicemen may be engaged?


– The A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty, I think in Article III, does use the phrase “ defence in the Pacific “. The meaning of “Pacific” has never been denned, but all discussions in meetings of the A.N.Z.U.S. Council and exchanges with the United States have given the Australian Government the confident expectation that the broadest and most liberal interpretation will be given to that term. If one took a strict view, one might say that Western Australia is not in the Pacific area, but I can give the House my confident assurance that Western Australia certainly would be regarded as one of the regions coming within the ambit of the A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty. Recognising that the measures we have taken on the defence aspect might put us into a situation invoking the obligations in the A.N.Z.U.S. Treaty, we have taken care to inform the United States in advance of those measures so that it will be well aware of our view of the obligations I have mentioned.

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– Will the Minister for Territories look into the possibility of establishing in Port Moresby, for the use of the Administration or the Department of Territories, a fully equipped operations room similar to the Malaysian Cabinet room in Kuala Lumpur, which I think many honorable members have seen, and which is somewhat reminiscent of a wartime operations room? Would this facility be an aid to efficient future planning for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, and also a useful means of impressing overseas visitors with the very great organised development which is taking place in this area?


– I much appreciate the interest that the honorable member has taken in ideas to promote the advancement of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I have never viewed the particular room at Kuala Lumpur to which he has referred, but within the next 12 months or so my Department hopes to have new accommodation in Port Moresby because, with the acceptance of the report of the World Bank mission on the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, there will be need for greater liaison between the Department of Territories and the Administration of Papua and New Guinea. No doubt the honorable member’s suggestion will receive very worthwhile consideration.

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– Does not the Treasurer think it is a bit tough that small sheltered workshops which employ less than half a dozen blind and general incapacitated persons should have to pay sales tax on the articles they manufacture? This is pricing them out of business. Surely this country with its supposed affluence could exempt this section of the community from sales tax.


– The honorable gentleman has raised a matter of policy which calls for some study. I shall look at the text of his question and see whether I can supply a more detailed answer although I should imagine that consideration of this subject would need to await a further review of the sales tax legislation.

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– I wish to ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. No doubt he is aware that the Treasurer announced last night that for a number of reasons, including a likely falling off in overseas earnings, the Government deemed it necessary to increase taxes levied on the people of Australia. Is it a fact that the Waterside Workers Federation throughout Australia is today continuing its planned campaign involving 24-hour stoppages at all ports? Can the Minister say what action the Government intends to take to restore sanity to the waterfront and prevent the taking of action aimed specifically at damaging the economy of this country? Or is it intended that the other wage earners of Australia be taxed so that the Communist-dominated waterfront union may continue its campaign unchecked?

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

– Some days ago I made a statement which received wide publicity in the Press. I said that the Government was not prepared to tolerate the kind of action in which the Waterside Workers Federation was indulging. I have not made any statement on the matter since then, and I have quite deliberately refrained from doing so. I believe it is wise to keep them guessing. What I can say to the House and particularly to the honorable member for La Trobe is that if there is anything of substance that I want to say I will announce it in this House.

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Statement of Expenditure

HigginsTreasurer · LP

– I present the following paper -

Statement for the year 1964-1965 of Heads of Expenditure and the amounts charged thereto pursuant to Section 36a of the Audit Act 1901- 1964 (Advance to the Treasurer).

Ordered -

That the statement be taken into consideration in Committee of the whole House at the next sitting.

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Ministerial Statement

KooyongPrime Minister · LP

– by leave - I wish to inform the House of two decisions concerning defence which have been taken by the Government. The first has to do with the strength of the Australian forces in Vietnam. The Government has decided to provide support units to the Army battalion there to make it up to what is known as a battalion group. The support units, which involve about 350 troops, include artillery, engineer, armour, signal, light aircraft and logistic elements.

Honorable members will have a full opportunity in the external affairs debate which begins this evening to discuss the general situation in Vietnam and other matters; this is, indeed, why I am making this statement this afternoon and not tonight. All I wish to say at this time is that in recent months open aggression against the people and Government of South Vietnam, instigated and sustained from the north, has continued to grow. United States assistance to South Vietnam is being increased by the introduction of substantial additional forces whose purpose is to prevent a communist military victory in that country. It is important that the efforts of the South Vietnamese Government and the large contribution of the United States Government should be supplemented by assistance from other countries. At the same time, every political effort continues to be made to bring the issues in South Vetnam to international discussion. It is our conviction that all these actions give the best prospect of opening the way ultimately to peace in South Vietnam.

The second decision taken by the Government concerns the size of the national service intake. The intakes of national servicemen will be retained at 2,100 each quarter in 1966 - that is, a total of 8,400 during the year - instead of reducing them to 1,725 each quarter - 6,900 during the year - as previously planned. So the total will rise from 6,900 to 8,400, maintaining the current rate this year. The maintenance of the annual intake at the higher level of 8,400 will result in an Army strength of 40,000 in 1967 instead of the previous figure of 37,500. The Government’s decision has been taken in the light of the successful introduction of the national service scheme and bearing in mind all the various commitments, at home and abroad, which our forces might be required to undertake. It is a continuation of the Government’s policy of taking measures as appropriate which will lead to a steady improvement in our defence capability.

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Discussion of Matter of Public Importance


– I have received a letter from the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely -

The Government’s failure to ensure that TransAustralia Airlines receives half the passenger and freight traffic between all capitals.

I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places) -


.- I am very pleased to have the opportunity, on behalf of the Opposition, of proposing the discussion of this matter of public importance. All members of this Parliament are well aware of the extravagant aid that has been given to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. by this Government, to the detriment of Trans-Australia Airlines. In actual fact the Government’s aviation policy is building up the Ansett commercial empire. 1 am not blaming Ansett for getting what he can in this way; after all, it is his business to do so, and, in fact, he is merely following the principle upon which most businessmen work. But I am blaming this Government and the Ministers of the Government for letting him get away with it and for assisting him to do so.

The latest move has been the decision of the Department of Civil Aviation to transfer a large portion of T.A.A. business to Ansett on the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne and the Brisbane-Longreach-Mount Isa routes. These services have been built up to a point of efficiency over the years by T.A.A. and it was morally wrong to take this business away from T.A.A. and give it to Ansett. The action was taken under the airlines rationalisation agreement on the principle that both airlines should have equal access to the trade offering on air routes. But it is a one-sided agreement which has been used by the Department of Civil Aviation - and by the Government which backs the Department - to build up the Ansett empire at the expense of T.A.A. It is one way traffic.

This shocking airlines story goes back to an early period in this Government’s term of office, when the Government forced Trans-Australia Airlines to allow its rival, then Australian National Airways Pty. Ltd., to take over 50 per cent, of its airmail business. The Government also took other Commonwealth business away from T.A.A. and handed it over to A.N.A. But the Government has not forced Ansett to reciprocate in respect of certain other airlines which I will mention later in my speech. This Government also introduced legislation requiring T.A.A. to pay a dividend at a rate specified by the Treasurer. This was not for the purpose of ensuring compe tition between the two airlines; it was directed towards destroying competition between them and towards assisting Ansett. Sir Warren McDonald, former Chairman of the Australian National Airlines Commission, said at one time -

What has been done is the very negation of competition.

Sir Warren McDonald, as honorable members know, was at one time a member of the Australian Country Party. He criticised this Government for what it did to T.A.A. in the name of competition or rationalisation.

It was only a few years ago that the Government forced T.A.A. to hand over three Viscount aircraft to Ansett in exchange for two out-of-date DC6 aircraft. The House knows how the shocking sabotage of the Government’s own airline was continued in the airlines agreement which is now current. On the eve of the 1961 election the Government extended the agreement then in operation, which was to have expired in 1967 - it still had six or seven years to run - by a further 10 years. That, mind you, was on the eve of the 1961 election at which the Government was very nearly defeated. The purpose of that legislation, of course, was to bind future governments, and it would have bound a Labour Government if the Australian Labour Party had won one or two more seats, as it might well have done on that occasion. Under that agreement, Ansett was given access to Darwin from its eastern runs. By the same agreement, T.A.A. was prevented from investing, in its own business, reserves of £3 million which it had created from carrying its own insurance. It was not allowed to use that money in its own business. Otherwise T.A.A. might have been able to offer stiffer competition to Ansett by reducing fares or freight charges or something like that. So, the purpose of stopping T.A.A. from using this finance which was at its disposal was again to assist Ansett.

But the acts of sabotage go further. The Government has assisted Ansett to take over all but one of the private airlines. Ansett bought A.N.A., of course, as we know. Then he took over Southern Airlines Ltd. in Victoria, Guinea Airways in South Australia, and Butler Air Transport Ltd. in N.S.W.. Everyone knows what happened during the Ansett take over of Butler.

Then Ansett took over Queensland Airlines Pty. Ltd., New Guinea Airlines and, finally, MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. Ansett tried to get East West Airlines Ltd. in N.S.W. but a Labour Government was in office in that State and the take over bid failed. I do not know what is likely to happen in N.S.W. now that the Liberal Party is in office. If the Liberal Party bends over backwards as it has in the past to assist Ansett Transport Industries 1 believe that East West Airlines will find its way into the maw of that organization.

The shocking story reached a further stage with the take over of MacRobertson Miller Airlines. The then Minister for Civil Aviation leaned over backwards to assist Ansett create a monopoly in intrastate airlines by adding M.M.A. to his group. The Minister stopped T.A.A. from acquiring shares in M.M.A. although T.A.A. wanted to do so. He refused to bring in amending legislation to give T.A.A. equal rights with Ansett in acquiring shares. The Government of Western Australia had agreed at one time to allow T.A.A. to operate in that State but the Minister threatened to take away the subsidy to M.M.A. if this was permitted. This was before Ansett took over M.M.A. Consequently, the Government of Western Australia did not go on with that proposal. The subsidy amounts to £130,000 a year and now that, of course, goes to Ansett.

In 1945, when Labour was in office in Queensland, the Queensland Government passed legislation authorising T.A.A. to implement services in that State. Those services were begun. In 1952 the Government of Tasmania referred the necessary power to the Commonwealth to enable T.A.A. to embark on intrastate services in that State, but complementary legislation was not passed by the Commonwealth. As I have said, the same thing happened in Western Australia when the Government of that State wanted T.A.A. to operate there. Recently Ansett has been given quite a considerable amount of T.A.A. business into and out of Canberra and on the Brisbane, Longreach and Mount Isa route. But the Government has refused similar treatment to T.A.A. lt refused to allow T.A.A. to operate in Western Australia. Also, there is no reciprocity in regard to freights. The report by the Minister for Civil Aviation for 1963-64 shows that

Ansett-A.N.A. carried 31,757 short tons of freight while T.A.A. carried only 21,552 short tons. These figures relate to the main routes and not to the intrastate routes. So, there is no equality in regard to freight.

I want to say something about what has been happening in Western Australia recently. T.A.A. has asked for authority to operate from Perth to Darwin, which, of course, is in Commonwealth Territory. That request has been refused. M.M.A. is not only an intrastate airline; it holds the licence to operate to Darwin. This means that Ansett can operate completely round Australia but T.A.A. is barred from that strip of the west coast. If I remember correctly it is 2,000 miles from Perth to Darwin around the west coast. If T.A.A. wants to operate to Darwin it has to go via the eastern route from Perth. This is what the Government calls rationalisation.

It is a big advantage to Ansett to have all the capita] cities linked by his main services and to have the private intrastate arlines acting as feeder services to the main lines. I have travelled on subsidiary routes myself and I know what happens. Naturally if somebody wants to travel from Wyndham to Perth before going east, the booking is made through M.M.A. and Ansett. The Ansett companies push their own business. That is one indication of how these intrastate services can help to feed the main routes.

I want to give honorable members some idea of what has happened in less than two years in regard to the building up of Ansett Transport Industries. I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation a question, and on 17th September 1963 received an answer from him. I asked -

What is the total number of airports in Australia and the Territory of Papua and Kew Guinea served by (a) Ansett-A.N.A and (b) TransAustralia Airlines?

The Minister replied -

The total number of airports in Australia and Papua and New Guinea served by (a) AnsettA.N.A. is 69 and by (b) T.A.A. is 144.

On 27th April this year I asked the Minister for Civil Aviation the following question -

  1. What is the total number of unduplicated route miles operated by (a) Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. (Airline group) and (b) TransAustralia Airlines?
  2. What is the total number of ports served by (a) Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. (Airline group) and (b) Trans-Australia Airlines?

The Minister said -

  1. The total number of unduplicated route miles operated in Australia and Papua-New Guinea by

    1. the Ansett Transport Industries Ltd (Airlines group) is 53,631 and by (b) Trans-Australia Airlines is 28,319.

There again honorable members can see the picture. But let us look at the figures for the airports served. The Minister’s answer was -

  1. The total number of ports in Australia and Papua-New Guinea served by (a) the Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. (Airline group) is 284 and by

    1. Trans-Australia Airlines is 146.

In a period of less than 2 years, Ansett jumped from 69 airports served to 284 and T.A.A. jumped from 144 to 146. There is the story in a nutshell of the bolstering up by the Government of Ansett’s commercial empire.

But another point we have to remember when considering this matter is that Ansett is not only interested in airlines. His interests include two television stations, road transport, hotels, manufacturing, the building of buses and overseas ventures. Therefore, losses on some of the undertakings of Ansett Transport Industries - and there are losses in some - can be made up from profits from the airlines which receive financial assistance from this Government. Ansett is being assisted financially to compete not only against T.A.A. but against private competitors in other industries such as transport - the Interstate Parcel Express Co. Ltd. is one - the hotel business and television. Consequently, Ansett is in a position to cut his charges in those industries. If he loses out in his competition with these private concerns he can make it up out of his profits from the airline industry which is backed financially by this Government. This is supposed to be competition. The Government’s action to sabotage the entry of I.P.E.C. into air freight is all part of the same plot to assist Ansett. It is true that, indirectly, this will also assist T.A.A. but that is not the purpose. The Government’s purpose is to assist Ansett. As a matter of fact, Mr. Barton, the Managing Director of I.P.E.C., said that whatever the Government’s original intention had been, the end result of its action was to protect Ansett Transport Industries. I am not saying that I.P.E.C. should have been granted a licence to import the planes it required but the Government stands condemned for the immoral way in which it amended the regulations on the eve of the appeal to the Privy Council. Everybody knows the story in regard to I.P.E.C. It is not for me to deal with that matter during the course of this debate. It should be dealt with when the regulations are being considered.

I say that this Government stands condemned for its failure to ensure that T.A.A. receives half the passenger and freight traffic between all capitals. I have outlined how T.A.A. has been sabotaged by having to give away its business to Ansett-A.N.A., and how T.A.A. has not been allowed to operate between Perth and Darwin. Surely access should be given to T.A.A. on this route. It is about time an inquiry was held into the favourable treatment given to Ansett by this Government. Attention should be given to the detrimental effects of the rationalisation policy on T.A.A. and the travelling public, the denial of intrastate routes to T.A.A. and the refusal to grant to T.A.A. the right to operate from Perth to Darwin.

Minister for National Development · Farrer · LP

Mr. Speaker, in opening this discussion the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) condemned the Government’s failure to ensure that Trans-Australia Airlines receives half the passager and freight traffic between all capitals.

This is a rather odd proposition, because Trans-Australia Airlines does receive over half the passenger traffic between the capitals. The latest figures I have show that T.A.A. in the last 12 months received 50.6 per cent, of the passenger traffic between the capitals and that Ansett-A.N.A. received 49.4 per cent. It is true that, on the freight side, there is a marked advantage in favour of Ansett-A.N.A. But, of course, this is an historical advantage which really boils down originally to the fact that Ansett took over the defunct Australian National Airlines Ltd., and A.N.A. had a very large freight component in its activities because of the fact that it was also a shipping firm and carried large quantities of freight. So, as far as passenger business is concerned, T.A.A. receives more than a 50 per cent, share of the market.

The honorable member for Stirling said that the Government is destroying T.A.A.

To say that we are sabotaging T.A.A. is just so much complete nonsense. In fact, T.A.A.’s position today, compared with its position when this Government took over, shows that, if we have destroyed it. it is one of the most healthy corpses ever, lt must be double the size today that it was when we took over. I do not know how the figures I have quoted compare with past figures, but I would be surprised if the passenger air miles travelled by T.A.A. were less than three times what they were when this Government came into office in 1949. We certainly have not destroyed T.A.A. We have not sabotaged this airline.

As honorable members know, we have a two airline agreement. This agreement has been put before the House on three different occasions. I think the first occasion was in 1952, then 1957 and 1961, which was the last occasion on which the House agreed that there should be two trunk route airlines in competition in Australia. We set out to secure and maintain a position in which there were two, and no more than two, operators of trunk route airline services - one being T.A.A. - each capable of effective competition with the other. We have achieved this position. We did not say, and we never have said, that there should be an equal division, giving 50 per cent, to each, between these airlines. But, as it has worked out through the rationalisation committee, there is in actual fact on the passenger side a very close division giving about 50 per cent, to each. As I said, on the freight side Ansett-A.N.A. has an advantage, but T.A.A. has a slight advantage on the passenger side. It is absurd for the honorable member for Stirling to say that we in the Government have sabotaged or destroyed T.A.A. We have done a tremendous amount for T.A.A. Let me tell honorable members some of the things that we have done for this airline.

First, we have arranged for T.A.A. to obtain loans at considerably lower interest rates than those that can be obtained by Ansett-A.N.A. for loans. For example, recently in re-equipping with Electra and Boeing 727 aircraft, the Government enabled T.A.A. to obtain a loan of 27 million dollars. Ansett-A.N.A. had to go out on the market to obtain its loan. It obtained 25 million dollars. Whereas T.A.A. paid 3.8 million dollars interest on its loan of 27 million dollars, Ansett-A.N.A. paid 4.96 million dollars on its loan of only 25 million dollars. So, there was a difference of 1.16 million dollars in interest between the two loans obtained by these companies, with Ansett-A.N.A., receiving a loan 2 million dollars smaller than T.A.A.’s, but paying a higher interest total. That was a considerable advantage given to T.A.A.

The Government has allowed T.A.A. entry to the New Guinea route and has allowed it to operate in New Guinea. We have allowed T.A.A. to operate two international routes under charter to Qantas with the result, of course, that T.A.A. brought in passengers who, very often no doubt, travelled on by T.A.A. within Australia. The honorable member for Stirling claims that passengers coming from the north west coast of Western Australia into Perth will tend to travel on to the eastern states in Ansett-A.N.A. planes. I do not know if this is completely so, because it has been told to me that people who come from the north west of Western Australia to Perth on their way east, usually stop over in Perth before they go on to the east. If they set off for the east after a day or two in Perth, it is perfectly simple for them to travel on by whichever one of the airlines they choose. After all, this is. in accordance with the whole basis of the Government’s two airline policy. The Government having set up a rationalisation committee and having ensured that equipment available to the two airlines is pretty similar the airlines themselves have to compete in attracting passengers and freight. How successful each airline is in attracting people depends on the efficiency of the airline. The Government does not dictate that certain people shall travel on one airline or the other. What would a businessman think if he were told by the Government: “ You must travel T.A.A. We are not going to allow you to travel AnsettA.N.A.”? We have seen to it that each airline has equal access to passenger business and that each has almost identical aircraft. It is up to the airlines to see that they provide a service which will attract passengers.

To continue on what the Government has done for T.A.A., I mention that we have approved the construction by T.A.A. of a very imposing new head office building. We have allowed T.A.A. great freedom in its financial management. For example, we have allowed it to retain its very large superannuation commitment. We have enabled T.A.A. to introduce the first genuine intrastate airline operations in Tasmania. We have encouraged and enabled T.A.A. to develop as one of the most modern airlines in the world, in competition with private operators wherever competition is an economic feasibility. Contrary to exaggerated claims, the Government has done nothing to prevent T.A.A. from securing completely equal access to air freight business.

What has been the effect of this policy? The effect has been that Australia has one of the best airline systems in the world. I feel that all of us, as Australians, can be proud of our airlines. We have had a record of safety that is unequalled anywhere. We have had only two incidents in the last 14 years in which passengers have been killed. I do not know of any other country with a similar number of aircraft operating over similar distances which can claim this. In fact, T.A.A. was awarded a worldwide prize for the safety with which it carried out its operations.

The airline system in Australia is, I think, second to none. One of the features of our system which 1 like is ..that we have a relatively cheap scale of fares - I would say comparable with fares anywhere else in the world - and yet a passanger can go out to an aerodrome and have a seat booked and have that seat kept for him. What happens in other parts of the world? Often a second rate service is given. The gate is swung open, there is a charge by intending passengers from the tarmac out to the aircraft, and it is a case of women and children last. Perhaps this is regarded as rationalisation. To give an example, taking the flight between London and Glasgow: People turn up at the airline office and they are told that if there is a seat available they can get on board the aircraft. There is a special cheap rate available. So people turn up two or three nights running and then, if they are lucky, they get on a flight. Do we want to see this sort of service in Australia? No. T believe that the people of Australia want the sort of system that we have at present. It is a system under which we have two efficient, first class airlines. Because we have adopted this policy that has given us two such airlines, we have economic viability of both airlines. The fact that they are economically viable has led to our great safety record, because they do not have to try to increase loadings and cut safety factors in order to squeeze out the last little bit of profit.

Today, the honorable member for Stirling has merely engaged in the usual kind of diatribe that we on this side of the House have been used to during the 16 years that we have been in office. This is because the Opposition has adopted a policy of nationalisation which is completely opposed to the existence of a second airline. The Australian Labour Party has made no secret of the fact that it will, as soon as it is able to get into office, do its utmost to nationalise the airlines of Australia and to ensure that Trans-Australia Airlines is the only airline allowed to operate on trunk routes. What is the reason for this attack on Ansett? As I have said before in this House, the only reason why honorable members opposite attack Ansett is that he is a person who has been successful.

Mr Whitlam:

– No - a person who has been favoured.


– No. On the contrary, as he himself said only last week, very often he has lost as much as he has gained from the Government. Under our two airline policy, we have said that there shall be equal access to business and equal competition between the two airlines. But Ansett also has been successful. He started from humble beginnings and built up an organisation of which anyone in the world could be proud. Indeed, anyone who is a decent Australian ought to be proud of the Ansett organisation. It is owned not just by Ansett. The 60,000 Australian shareholders own it. This enterprise has 8,600 employees. Do honorable members opposite think that when election time comes the employees of the Ansett organisation will vote for Labour and get themselves thrown out of their jobs?

I say it is time Opposition members had a new look at this Ansett organisation and realised that it is doing a first class job and that it is not making excessive profits in relation to the funds that it has invested in the airline business. Compared to the funds invested, the profits are very moderate. In fact, if similar funds were invested in almost any other form of industry, they would earn considerably greater profits.

I do not want to deal with too many of the things that the honorable member for Stirling said. Let me discuss just a few of his observations. He said that every time the Rationalisation Committee is called in, Ansett gets the best of the deal and T.AA. gets the worst of it. This, of course, is complete nonsense. As we all know, the Rationalisation Committee is called on frequently to adjudicate. On one occasion it gives a plum to T.A.A. and on another to Ansett-A.N.A. Take the example of the route through Albury, my own home town, which about 18 months ago was given an air service to and from Melbourne and Sydney. Both airlines applied for a licence to operate a service from Melbourne through Albury to Canberra, Sydney and Newcastle, and it was decided that the licence would be given to T.A.A. Obviously, one airline picks up a route on one occasion and the other picks up a route on another occasion.

Let me conclude by saying that the honorable member for Stirling certainly did not prove his point. If he had only looked at the figures, he would have found that T.A.A. actually has the bigger share of the passenger services between all the capital cities. I am sure that everything I have said today proves that there is equal access by the two airlines to the business offering and that it is up to each airline to go out and see that it gets the business it wants.


Mr. Deputy Speaker, we have just listened to a remarkable speech by a responsible Minister. I would have thought that, since this Parliament meets in Canberra, the National Capital, the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) would have told us something about the reasons why this handout of Canberra traffic was recently given to Ansett. I thought that he would have told us something about Ansett’s losing £20,000 in his efforts to build up his services between Canberra and Sydney and then getting out of the game and leaving it to Trans-Australia Airlines. But, after T.A.A. had made the Canberra services profitable, half the traffic was given to Ansett.

I thought the Minister would have told us, too, that, when Ansett was given this increased share of the business, he did not provide as many services as T.A.A. had been providing for passengers to and from Canberra and that all that Ansett did was to operate larger planes on the services that he had been providing previously. This was a disservice to Canberra in comparison with the frequency of services provided by T.A.A. I would have thought that the Minister would not have covered up that kind of thing and that he would have told the people of Canberra what a raw deal they have had since Ansett was given profitable^, business that had been built up by T.A.A. I would have thought, too, that he would have mentioned similar features of air services in the north.

The Minister talked about the great things that this Government has let T.AA. do. It has let that airline construct its own building and fit up very nice offices in it. This Administration has let T.A.A. conduct its management in the way the airline has wanted to conduct it. The Government has let this organisation operate its own superannuation scheme. What else could it do with a business like T.A.A.? This organisation has proved that a government organisation is efficient and can give the people of Australia the kind of service they want.

Let us consider what has happened with this handout to Ansett-A.N.A. in the name of rationalisation. What has rationalisation achieved? Have the people gained any benefit from the rationalisation plan? Let anybody try to get to Hobart from Melbourne on Sunday morning. He will find what effect the so called rationalisation plan has had. If a person wants to be in Hobart on Sunday morning, he has to fly from Melbourne on Saturday evening and stay in Hobart overnight, because, under the Government’s rationalisation scheme, neither airline operates an aircraft from Melbourne to Hobart on Sunday morning. If a passenger wants to fly from one capital city to another, he can choose either T.A.A. or AnsettA.N.A., whatever the hour of the day at which he proposes to travel, because the services of both airlines leave within five minutes of one another. The service given to the public as a result of this rationalisation plan, which has been introduced to suit

Ansett, is the greatest disgrace ever inflicted on the community. It is true that a jet service leaves Melbourne at 7.45 a.m. for Sydney. That of the competing airline departs at 7.55 a.m. If one examines the schedules, one finds that the aircraft of the two airlines depart within five minutes or so of one another at two hourly intervals. This is the kind of rationalisation that we have.

The Minister said that T.A.A. had slightly more than 51 per cent, and Ansett-A.N.A. a little under 49 per cent, of the passenger traffic between the capital cities. Why is this? The services of the two airlines depart almost at the same time. However, T.A.A. is giving better service than Ansett-A.N.A. and is proving to the people of Australia that a government airline can give them the kind of service they want.

I would have thought that the Minister for National Development would have told us that away back in 1952 the Government provided funds to make it possible for the great Ansett empire to be built up. I challenge this Government to appoint a royal commission to inquire into the Ansett empire. Ansett has more than his share of rationalised air services. He has more than his share of television stations. He has more than his share of road transport. This transport and communications empire is a danger to the future of Australia. If ever this empire that Ansett owns falls into the hands of an organisation that is opposed to the government of the day and is determined to force its will on the government, whatever may be its political complexion, that government will be doing the same as this Government does when it dances to the tune that Ansett whistles whenever be cares to whistle.

Let us look at the history of everything that has been done since 1952, when this Government provided funds at the rate of £500,000 a year for Ansett by giving him half the air mail business. Can anybody nominate any other country where a government has its own transport organisation and yet determines that half the air mail business of the postal services is to be given to some other transport concern? What was done represented a clear gift of £500,000 a year to Ansett.

This last handout to Ansett of the traffic between Canberra and Sydney and the traffic between Sydney and the north through Townsville and across to Mount Isa is worth £270,000 a year. Last night we heard presented the Budget which called upon the workers to contribute their mite of sixpence in the £1 but six weeks ago we handed to Ansett £270,000 worth of business, a sum which should have gone into Consolidated Revenue. That kind of action by the Government certainly calls into question the validity of the course being followed. At a time when we are proposing to take the worker’s mite of sixpence in the £1, as was mentioned in the Budget speech last night, surely whatever profit was being made by T.A.A. on the Canberra, Townsville and Mount Isa routes should have come into Consolidated Revenue.

Let us consider the rationalisation of the airlines that has been spoken about. What we have done is to make the Ansett organisation a present of a great industry. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) told us last night that the cost to the Government of aviation would reach £21 million this year, but that we will receive in return £2,600,000. In other words, the community at large is contributing at least £17 million to provide Ansett with air facilities that will give him a profit. Although we have taken the worker’s mite - this sixpence in the pound in taxation - we give to Ansett facilities worth at least half of £20 million upon which to make a profit for himself and for the company that he represents. In my view this does not add up to a proper running of civil aviation. The Minister blithely dealt with the question of freight, but he did not say there would be any division of freightbetween the airlines. Nor did he say that the rationalisation plan would give the public greater service.

If T.A.A. were given an open opportunity and given the same financial help as Ansett has had and the rationalisation plan were removed, T.A.A., the Government airline, would run Ansett industries off the map. But the Government chooses to protect Ansett and uses the plea that it wants two major internal airlines. Why? If ever there was a country that should have had one airline with all its own facilities, with ali its own airports and its own runways, with complete control of everything with respect to air transport, it is Australia. Every airport that we have in Australia should have been, and will be some day, one of the nerve centres for the defence oi this country. If the money were being spent on air facilities to meet the defence requirements of Australia no one would have quibbled about the £20 million that we propose to spend. The Minister spoke about nationalisation, but he cannot condemn T.A.A., which is a nationalised project. T.A.A. can compete with and out-do private enterprise and so could any good Government enterprise which is properly run as T.A.A. is. There is no profit in that organisation for those who wish to grab the profits and who take away from the nation those things to which it is entitled.

What a tragedy it is that we have not only one airline in Australia, an airline that could be coupled with our defence requirements, with every airfield an arsenal for our defence needs. This is the kind of planning that this Government should have followed in 1949. However, it prefers to help Ansett with a rationalisation plan. This, in my view, does not do this Government, or any other government, justice in a country such as this. The Minister has not given an explanation so I invite the next Government speaker to tell us why £270,000 worth of trade was handed to Ansett on a plate at a time when this country has a crying need for more funds for defence purposes. I believe that there is no explanation. The Minister is quiet because he knows that there is no answer to that question.


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


.- The closing remarks of the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) were rather interesting. If I heard him correctly he said that if Trans- Australia Airlines were given an open go it would run AnsettA.N.A. off the map. This seems to me to highlight the difference between the Opposition’s policy and ours. The honorable member said also what a pity it is that Australia does not have only one airline. This is a purely socialistic concept. If there is one thing about which the Labour Party has been consistent over the years since 1949 when it went out of office it has been Its attempt to socialise the various industries in Australia. It has flaunted that concept. It has said quite frankly that if it were ever returned to office it would nationalise the Press, it would nationalise television and it would nationalise the banks.

Mr Griffiths:

– Hear, hear!

Mr Webb:

– We do not say that at all.


– One honorable member opposite said: “Hear, hear!” Who is right? Is the Opposition still divided on matters of policy? The Australian Labour Pa, t could not agree on unity tickets or on foreign affairs. Now it disagrees on this question. If ever a debate in this House has shown that the Labour Party is out to hold up T.A.A. as a socialistic example and to subject Ansett-A.N.A. to all the barbs and socialistic shafts that it possibly can in its determined attempt eventually to kill it if ever it comes to office, it has been this debate. I do not believe that the public of Australia does not want a choice in anything. The people want a choice of government and they want a choice of how they are going to travel whether it is with T.A.A., Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. or with any other airline. It is in an Australian’s makeup to cherish freedom of choice, and the day that we loose this for a socialistic policy would be an extremely sorry day for Australia.

Mr Griffiths:

– Which airline does the honorable member travel with?


– I travel with bothwhichever suits me. What a contrast there is between the Opposition policy and the Government’s policy. The Government does not believe in monopolies of airlines and believes that the public interest is best served by competition. It is interesting to note that since various changes have taken place in the air routes throughout Australia we have found over the years that the service for the ordinary passenger has greatly increased, that the meals have improved and that the schedules are now very good. In Australia we have two airlines which are the envy of the world. They are safe, speedy, and comfortable, and the fares and freight rates are among the lowest in the world. Both airlines are doing reasonably well, lt has been said that T.A.A. is not out to make a profit, but in each of the last few years it has been earning more than 7i per cent, profit.

Mr Griffiths:

– Where does it go?


– It goes into revenue. But this does not preclude private enterprise from taking advantage of its own resources, gaining the confidence of the public and giving an efficient service. Is the Opposition against this type of thing? I would not imagine that anybody in his right senses would object to this. The plain fact is as the Minister has said - I believe that the figures are worth repeating - that under the airlines agreement the Government has given equal access to both airlines as to freight and passengers. It is then up to the individual company’s initiative, service and efficiency because the Government does not guarantee them an equal share of business. Only equal access gives a better service and is more efficient. Then the individual, Mr. Public Citizen, decides that he wishes to travel or forward freight by a particular line; surely this is within his rights. For the 12 months to 6th August this year, T.A.A. carried 50.6 per cent, of the passenger traffic. It had a greater proportion of passenger traffic than Ansett-A.N.A., which carried 49.4 per cent. With freight we find that T.A.A. carried 30.6 per cent, and AnsettA.N.A. carried 69.4 per cent.

When the Labour Government was in office it purchased and set up Qantas Empire Airways Ltd. Of course, it gave no encouragement to the other private internal airline, A.N.A. Captain Holyman, as its chairman, purchased, I think, DC4 aircraft in an attempt to capture a greater share of the freight traffic of Australia. As honorable members know, a great deal of freight was carried by the airline under contract. These contracts have been continued because Ansett-A.N.A. has been able to provide a fast and efficient service. The airline has its own transport industry to handle the freight after it arrives at the airport. The manufacturer, the person who freights between the capital cities of this country, wants service and he obtains service from Ansett-A.N.A. Apparently Ansett-A.N.A., because of its record and its ability to handle the freight, has been able to maintain its hold on the freight market of this country. I remind honorable members that T.A.A. has equal access to freight, but it has not been able to take freight from the private enterprise company.

The honorable member for Blaxland referred to the routes to Canberra. I remind the House that in the Airlines Agreement Act provision is made for consultation between the two airlines on matters of difference. We also know that if a disagreement occurs between the two airlines they have the right to go to the Co-ordinator. If his decision is not satisfactory to both airlines, they have the right then to go to the Arbitrator, who at the present time is Mr. Justice Spicer. The Government did not make the decision to alter the ratio of the services to and from Canberra. As the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) and the honorable member for Blaxland have intimated to the House, it was made by the Arbitrator after hearing the case of both airlines. That is a different proposition from saying that we, the Government, made the decision.

Mr Reynolds:

– It is the Government once removed. He is a former Commonwealth Attorney-General.


– Honorable members opposite always cast aspersions on the judiciary, whether it be members of the Arbitration Court or of any other tribunal. The judiciary of this country is equal to any other judiciary in the world. It is surely entitled to respect. I believe that our airline system is one of which all Australians can be proud. Of course, the Labour Party will not be content until all the airlines in this country are nationalised.

Mr Coutts:

– Hear, hear!


– It might be of interest to the honorable member to know that, if we include Qantas at the present time, at least 75 per cent, of the airlines in Australia are owned by the Government. Qantas gives an excellent service, as does Trans-Australia Airlines. Surely this purely socialistic policy which many honorable members opposite seem so proud to espouse and which many more are just as ready to disown, is a negation of the rights of the individual to choose the airline by which he will travel or consign his freight.


.- The House is debating the Government’s failure to ensure that Trans- Australia Airlines receives half the passenger and freight traffic between all capitals. There is no criticism of Mr. Ansett getting all he can from this Government. There is no criticism of Mr. Justice Spicer and the decision he made. On this occasion there is no criticism of the Government’s failure to introduce legislation to permit T.A.A. to compete intrastate and to give freedom of choice to shippers and passengers intrastate. The motion deals entirely with matters for which the Government is already responsible and for which administrative decisions can be made under the law as it stands.

J must refer to some of the slogans which the Government Whip, the honorable member for Phillip (Mr. Aston), used. He referred to freedom of choice and competition. We are here lamenting that the freedom of choice which passengers and shippers should have between Darwin and Perth has been denied. There is no freedom of choice there. MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. has always had a monopoly. Ansett Transport Industries Ltd bought a controlling interest in MacRobertson Miller Airlines and now holds the monopoly. The Government, by administrative action, is denying T.A.A. the opportunity to operate between one capital, Darwin, and another capital. Perth. It is completely within T.A.A.’s constitutional and statutory power to provide competition and freedom of choice on this route. The Government, administratively, has prevented T.A.A. from competing and giving that choice.

There has always been freedom of choice for passengers or shippers between Darwin and Brisbane, Darwin and Sydney and Darwin and Melbourne. The public has exercised its freedom of choice in favour of T.A.A. Under the law as it stands, AnsettA.N.A. asked the Co-ordinator, and then Mr. Justice Spicer, to reduce T.A.A.’s capacity and thus to force people to travel on the service which they liked less. The public has always had freedom of choice in travelling between Canberra and Sydney and Canberra and Melbourne. It has always exercised that choice in favour of T.A.A., because two thirds of the passengers and shippers preferred T.A.A. to Ansett-A.N.A. Latterly, the Co-ordinator, applying the law, reduced the capacity which T.A.A was able to offer and thus forced shippers and passengers to use the services of AnsettA.N.A. At present there is a monopoly between Darwin and Perth, and the Government preserves it. Where the public has freedom of choice between Darwin and the eastern States and to and from the National Capital, the Government preserves the law under which the freedom of choice is reduced. So much for freedom of choice.

Again we hear the cry of competition. Under the Constitution and under the Statutes, competition is possible between the States, within the Territories and between the States and the Territories. As the Constitution stands, unless the States refer the power to the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth accepts the reference, competition is not possible within the States. Ansett Transport Industries Ltd enjoys six times as much intrastate business as T.A.A. Western Australia, under a Labour Government and then under a Liberal Government, and South Australia, under a Liberal Government and now under a Labour Government, for years have asked the Commonwealth to accept a reference of legislative power over air traffic within those States. The Commonwealth has refused to accept the reference. Until the Commonwealth introduces a bill complementary to State bills it is not possible for competition or freedom of choice in air services to be provided within Western Australia or within South Australia. The only States in which there are such competition and such freedom of choice are Queensland and Tasmania. In those States the State Parliaments passed acts under the old Commonwealth act. The Commonwealth has since altered its act to prevent any further references unless a specific new act is introduced by the Commonwealth. I have had to refer to these matters because the Government Whip thought it was necessary to mention them.

There is no competition between Darwin and Perth. Neither the Government Whip nor the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) referred to that fact. There has been a reduction of competition and freedom of choice to and from Canberra and between Darwin and the eastern States. In this respect the Government has acted administratively. The matter before the House concerns the Government; it does not concern Mr. Justice Spicer. The Government has refused to exercise its administrative responsibilities in such a way as to give competition and freedom of choice between those capital cities between which there is none at the moment. The Government has connived at the reduction of competition and freedom of choice between those capital cities between which competition and freedom of choice already exist.

In general, passengers prefer TransAustralia Airlines on competitive routes. The proportion is about 53 per cent, for T.A.A. and about 47 per cent, for Ansett-A.N.A. It is true that in respect of mail orders the Government has seen to it that there is virtually an equal amount of business for both of the airlines. As regards freight, however, there is unquestionably a very large degree of favoritism. In 1963 the number of short tons of freight embarked with Ansett-A.N.A. was 31,757 and the figure for T.A.A. was 21,552 short tons. Those are the latest figures with which the House has been provided. I have quoted them from the annual report of the Minister for Civil Aviation for 1963-64.

The Government has given no explanation for administratively refusing T.A.A. permission to operate between Perth and Darwin. It has given no explanation for refusing T.A.A. the chance of securing half of the interstate freight. This is all the more relevant since the Interstate Parcel Express Co. Ltd. application. What attitude did the Government Whip adopt in his caucus on the I.P.E.C. application?

Mr Barnard:

– He did not say a thing.


– Not a thing. What attitude did the Minister for National Development adopt on the I.P.E.C. application? The application concerned freight. Competition is sought. Freight competition is inadequate. People want a greater choice because in respect of freight T.A.A. administratively has been denied the opportunity to complete fully with Ansett-A.N.A.

Mr Aston:

– That is not true.


– The figures show that it is true. The honorable member can now show his heroism here in respect of the I.P.E.C. application and competition. He did not touch the question of the denial of competition and freedom of choice for passengers between Perth and Darwin. He did not touch the question of the reduction of competition and freedom of choice between Darwin and the eastern States and to and from Canberra. He did not touch the question of the unequal competition in freight between the States. He had his opportunity and he did not refer to matters which had been put to him squarely by two previous speakers and which the Minister for National Development also ignored.

In 1960 Ansett-A.N.A. complained to the Co-ordinator that 66 per cent, of passengers to and from Canberra decided to travel by T.A.A. Ansett-A.N.A. put on aircraft with the same capacity and at almost exactly the same times as the T.A.A. aircraft. After some months Ansett-A.N.A. still had not been able to build up its business. In fact, it was losing at the rate of £70,000 per annum on these augmented flights to and from Canberra. In free competition it could not win the passengers over. Mr. Justice Spicer’s decision has now compelled the Co-ordinator to reduce T.A.A.’s seats and freight capacity into and out of Canberra. The passengers no longer have the choice. They do not prefer Ansett-A.N.A.; they prefer T.A.A. Yet the latter’s capacity for passengers and freight to and from Canberra has been reduced, as it was in respect of flights to and from Darwin. The Government Whip says that this is a question of competition and freedom of choice. Give the people competition and give the people freedom of choice, and they will make plain their preference.


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


.- The matter that the House is debating, at the instigation of the Opposition, is -

The Government’s failure to ensure that TransAustralia Airlines receives half the passenger and freight traffic between all capitals.

That immediately strikes me as being entirely contrary to the policy of the Australian Labour Party. In order to make it coincide with Labour Party policy, the words “ to use force “ should be inserted so that it would read -

The Government’s failure to use force to ensure that Trans-Australia Airlines . . .

In fact, 1 cannot understand why the Opposition wants T.A.A. to receive only half of this traffic. Why is it not all the traffic? That would be in line with Labour Party policy.

I was quite interested to hear the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) trying to square himself off with his monopolistic policy. He says that there should be only one airline; yet he condemns the Government because there is no freedom of choice on a couple of routes, which are fairly minor routes, anyway. He referred to the monopoly between Perth and Darwin. I thought that would have made him happy, because that is the very principle that he and the Labour Party support. He said that no-one on the Government side of the chamber had commented on that. I will comment on it. The position is that the route between Perth and Darwin forms part of a wholly subsidised network which belongs to MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd. If T.A.A. were licensed to operate between Perth and Darwin the result would be that the taxpayers would have to provide a greatly increased subsidy for the necessary development of airline services in Western Australia and in the Northern Territory.

While 1 am on this point, let me say that MacRobertson Miller Airlines is not the only company that has a monopoly of a route. The Perth-Darwin route is not the only one on which no other airline is allowed to operate. Ansett-A.N.A. is not allowed to operate on several routes. Those routes are mainly in the Gulf country and the Channel country. The honorable member for the Northern Territory (Mr. Nelson) would know them well. Another one is the important Townsville-Mount Isa route. Again, the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) ought to know that that is the position on the west coast of Tasmania. So, although the Deputy Leader of the Opposition spent most of his time condemning the Government for not giving freedom of choice, he was speaking directly against his own policy.

That proves to me that this debate has been brought on for only one reason; that is, in order to enable members of the Opposition to indulge in their regular exercise of tearing into Mr. Ansett and so emphasising their envy of his success. I do not know Mr. Ansett at all. I have never met him in my life. However, there is no question that he started in a small way and has worked his way up to being one of the top businessmen in Australia. It is true that he has had help. He would be the first to admit that. But what man who has reached the top has not had a bit of help somewhere along the line? Mr. Ansett has had his ups and downs. Although I have never met him, 1 have an admiration for him as one of the greatest Australians that we have seen during our lifetime. The honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) said that, by making these moves to help Ansett, the Government has sabotaged T.A.A. and is on the way to ruining that airline. To my mind, the financial result of an organisation’s trading is one indicator as to whether it is being ruined or is successful. The profit of T.A.A. has increased each year. Last year it was about £640,000 and, although the relevant figures have not yet been released, I understand that this year the airline has shown a dramatic profit result. I understand it is an all time record. That is the airline which the honorable member for Stirling, who proposed this matter for discussion, says is on its way to ruin.

A number of comments have been made by other Government speakers to emphasise the success of the two airline policy that this Government has followed. Of course, this policy has its weaknesses, but there is no doubt that overall it has been successful. As the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) has stated, legislation dealing with this matter has come before the Parliament on three different occasions and has been passed by both Houses. That legislation was introduced in 1952 and 1957, and in 1961 when the Airlines Agreements Act was passed. It is worth repeating that the parties to the Civil Aviation Agreement are TransAustralia Airlines, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. and the Commonwealth Government. The two airlines and the Government confer and if they cannot agree on any particular matter it is referred to the Rationalisation Committee. This setup emphasises the fact that the Government seeks the greatest possible degree of impartiality and efficiency in the operation of our airlines system. The Rationalisation Committee consists of a representative of T.A.A., a representative of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. and a Co-ordinator who at the present time is Mr. Anderson, the Director-General of Civil Aviation. They discuss the problems and differences that arise, and if they disagree the matter is referred to the Arbitrator, who at the present time is Mr. Justice Spicer. As other speakers have said, the judiciary of this country has a fine record, and I am sure that Mr. Justice Spicer makes decisions that are directed always towards the best interests of Australia and of our airlines system. I cannot see how a fairer arrangement could be devised. If it is possible to devise a fairer arrangement, then it certainly has not been suggested by members of the Opposition during this debate.

The success of our two airline policy is obvious, if we take into account three or four different factors. That policy has provided the Australian public with one of the most efficient air networks in the world and with the speed and convenience of jet travel at fares that are as low as any elsewhere in the world. That is a remarkable feat, particularly in view of our comparative lack of population and the fact that Australia is one of the largest countries in the world. The success of the Australian airlines in providing air transport at such low fares is commendable. Australia has established the world’s best safety record. Of course, no intelligent or reasonable person would claim that the Government’s two airline policy solely is responsible for the safety record of our airlines. Many other factors are involved. We must take into account the efforts of the pilots, the men who service the aircraft, those who build them, and the men who control the air traffic lanes of this country. All these people have contributed greatly to Australia’s wonderful record of air safety.

The Government’s policy has lead to the development of two major financially stable airline organisations each of which is capable of effective competition with the other. Certainly they are not as competitive as they might be, but the competition is still quite effective. Both organisations have resources available to meet the extremely demanding requirements of the Department of Civil Aviation in relation to the installation of modern safety equipment. I conclude by saying that the Opposition censure motion has not got off the ground.


Mr. Deputy Speaker, I commend the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten) for what probably was one of the most reasoned speeches that we have heard from the other side of the House in answer to the charges of the Opposition that this Government is showing special favouritism to Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. However, the honorable member did not answer any of the specific charges that have been advanced. He did say, quite truthfully, that Australia had the cheapest, most efficient and safest airlines system in the world. He was fair enough to say, and was absolutely correct in doing so, that that was not due entirely to the efforts of the air operators but to a large extent was the result of the efficiency of the Department of Civil Aviation and the climatic and geographical conditions in which our airlines operate and over which, of course, even the Department of Civil Aviation has no control.

The real complaint that we make in this debate is that the Government is not showing the same degree of fairness and solicitude towards Trans-Australia Airlines that it has always shown to T.A.A.’s competitor, Ansett Transport Industries Ltd. Let us try to recall events as they have occurred. First, Mr. Anderson, the DirectorGeneral of Civil Aviation, agreed to give the Darwin-east coast routes to Ansett. There was no appeal by T.A.A. In fact, the Government directed T.A.A. not to appeal to Mr. Justice Spicer against the decision of the Co-ordinator. So Mr. Ansett found himself with the routes from Darwin to Mr. Isa, Brisbane and other seaboard ports without any fight on the part of the Government airline.

Not being satisfied with that achievement, Mr. Ansett then said: “ I now want the Darwin to Adelaide route “. Mr. Anderson said: “ No, we will not give it to you. You already have the Darwin-east coast route. We do not intend to let you have the Darwin to Adelaide route which was pioneered by T.A.A. and operated by that airline for years at a loss. Now that it is profitable you come along and claim a share of it. You are not going to get it”. That was a decision that Mr. Ansett was not prepared to accept. He appealed to Mr. Justice Spicer who, having regard to the preamble of the 1961 Agreement, had no alternative but to uphold Mr. Ansett’s appeal. I say unhesitatingly that I know of no man who has been more honorable than Mr. Justice Spicer or whose reputation as a judge is so completely above reproach. The fact that he did as he did in this particular case proves that he is an honorable man and has regard to the law irrespective of whom it hurts or whom it helps. Properly interpreted, the Agreement compelled him to do what he eventually did. When Mr. Ansett’s application for the Darwin-Adelaide route was granted he did not have the necessary planes to give effect to the decision he had obtained. He had to use T.A.A. aircraft and T.A.A. aircrews on charter. He is still using T.A.A. aircraft and T.A.A. aircrews twice a week to give effect to the decision he secured as a result of his appeal to Mr. Justice Spicer.

The next move by our friend, Mr. Ansett, was to appeal for more of the MelbourneCanberra and Sydney-Canberra air traffic. As we would have expected, his application was favourably considered. Mr. Anderson decided to give Mr. Ansett more of this traffic and he directed T.A.A. to take off some of its planes from the Canberra-Melbourne and Canberra-Sydney routes in order not that Mr. Ansett could give the same service, but to enable him to bring in one big plane instead of two smaller planes at different times. This is the point about which I complain. The Government’s so-called rationalisation scheme has poured tens of thousands of pounds of profit into Ansett’s pocket by allowing or directing - and I do not know which - Ansett and T.A.A. to operate their aircraft at almost identical times. Planes from both companies leave Adelaide for Melbourne and Adelaide for Sydney within five or ten minutes of each other. A person cannot travel at any time other than the times selected by the two aircraft operators. If this is what the Government calls * rationalisation “ I can tell it that the people of South Australia - and I can speak only for them - are very dissatisfied. However, this is all done for the sole purpose of helping Mr. Ansett.

One would have thought, having seen what has transpired with the CanberraMelbourne and Canberra-Sydney routes, that it was Government policy automatically to grant an application if an operator said he was not being treated the same as the other operator; but what are the facts? When T.A.A. tried to get the right to compete with Ansett on the Perth-Darwin route, did the Government help it? Did the Government speed up the matter? No, of course not. T.A.A. is still waiting for a decision. It has not yet secured the right to compete with Mr. Ansett on this route. Mr. Ansett has a 100 per cent, monopoly on this route - a monopoly which, incidentally, is being subsidised out of taxpayers’ money by this Government.

Last session I put a question on notice. I asked whether it was not a fact that T.A.A. was willing to run the Perth-Darwin route without the subsidy which the Government is now paying to Mr. Ansett. How can anybody justify the present situation? The Minister said that T.A.A. is in a healthy condition. It is healthy not because of Government policy but in spite of it. The agreement that we are talking about - the agreement that Mr. Justice Spicer has to interpret - is the direct result of something forced upon T.A.A. by the Government. It is not an agreement into which T.A.A. entered of its own free will. It entered into the agreement under duress from the Government. An agreement entered into under duress is not an agreement at all, and it ought not to be accepted. It is interesting to note what the agreement provides. The agreement says that no one of the two operators can reduce fares without the approval of the other. T.A.A. cannot alter its schedules without Mr. Ansett’s agreement. T.A.A. cannot open up new routes without Mr. Ansett’s agreement. T.A.A. is not allowed to buy new aircraft without Mr. Ansett’s agreement. How on earth can there be real competition when the two competitors are tied together by the agreement I have just described?

This Government has given special concessions to Ansett. It acted as guarantor of a loan for Ansett under which the only collateral Ansett offered was the planes he was going to buy with the loan. What other operator could have got conditions like that? Honorable members opposite speak about Mr. Ansett being a good businessman. Why, even the honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Mackinnon) could succeed if he had the support that Ansett has got from the Government. Anybody could succeed. A person would not need a brain in his head. He could not help succeeding if he had the Government pamper him all the time, pour money into his pockets - taxpayers’ money - to make him rich, cover his mistakes and, when he makes a mistake in purchasing an aircraft, force the competitor to buy the same type of aircraft.

We ought not to be allowing the operators to buy American aircraft at a time when our overseas balances are drifting so rapidly away from us. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) drew attention to this fact and pointed out that we are squandering our overseas balances.


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

Mr. FOX (Henty) [4.401.- The honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb) opened the debate by saying that the Government was sabotaging Trans-Australia Airlines. I want to give some figures relating to T.A.A. These apply from the time this Government took office- in 1 949 until the last year for which I have figures available, 1963-1964. They present interesting reading. For instance, the air cargo carried by T.A.A. in 1948-49 amounted to 21 million lb. For the year 1963-64 it had more than doubled to over 49 million lb. The mail carried increased from 2.8 million lb. to 7.2 million lb. The number of passengers carried by T.A.A. increased from 456,000 in 1948-49 to almost li million in 1963-64. The passenger miles flown rose from 211 million to over 700 million. Whereas at the 30th June 1949 the accumulated losses of T.A.A. amounted to £900,000, since this Government took office T.A.A. has been showing a steadily increasing profit. In 1958-59 it had a profit of £254,000; in 1963-64 it was £641,000. The capital has increased in the same period from £3$ million to over £8 million. This is effective working capital as at 30th June 1964. The percentage of profit to capital invested has risen from 5.2 per cent, in 1958-59 to 8.6 per cent, in 1963-64. These figures hardly justify the claim that T.A.A. has been sabotaged by this Government; rather do they indicate that T.A.A. is thriving on the treatment it is getting.

Much has been said about T.A.A.’s request to operate between Perth and Darwin. The honorable member for Stirling said that it had been refused. I understand that a request was refused in the past, but that another hearing is pending. I do not know what the outcome of this will be, but let me say that the reason w,. . the request was refused previously was that the PerthDarwin route is subsidised by the Government and the Government does not see the sense of inflicting further taxation on the taxpayers in order to enable a second line to operate where the amount of traffic is not sufficient for even one airline. The policy of the Department is that there shall be competition where traffic density warrants it. However, in the case under review the traffic density does not warrant it. As pointed out by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten), freedom from competition does not rest entirely with Ansett-A.N.A. T.A.A. enjoys the same privileges on a number of routes in Queensland.

The Australian Labour Party seems to be continuously attacking Ansett. I do not know why, unless it is because of his success. I know that the Labour Party hates success. Ansett is head of an industry which employs 8,500 Australians and over 59,000 people have invested in the Ansett organisation either in shares or through loans. The average investment is only £544 for each person, which should indicate that the organisation does not represent the fortune of an individual, but a good investment for over 59,000 Australians.

The terms of the motion indicated that Trans-Australia Airlines is not getting a fanshare of the traffic between capitals, but figures already cited by the Minister show that T.A.A. is getting more than 50 per cent, of the passenger traffic, which means that Ansett is getting less than 50 per cent. T.A.A. receives only 30.8 per cent, of the freight traffic between capitals, whereas Ansett receives 69.2 per cent. Members of the Opposition did not point out that under the terms of the agreement - historical reasons for this were given by the Minister - T.A.A. is quite entitled to receive 40 per cent, of the business but is receiving only 30 per cent. Honorable members will recall that the old A.N. A. organisation, which carried most of the freight, was taken over by Ansett.

I believe I have dealt adequately with the claim of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) that the public prefer the service offered by T.A.A. The Government is not in a position to guarantee loading. All it can do is to ensure that every opportunity is provided for both airlines, by means of numbers and types of aircraft operated, and the schedules offered. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition complained that some business on the Canberra route was taken away from T.A.A. by direction. Trans-Australia Airlines was receiving 60 per cent, of the business and apparently the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would have liked that situation to have been perpetuated. I remind honorable members of the days when the Labour Party was in office and it was impossible for any member of Parliament or of the Public Service travelling on a Government warrant to travel by air other than by T.A.A. That is hardly competition. The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) stated that he thinks it is a tragedy that Australia does not have only one airline. The Labour Party not only would prefer to have only one airline, but also to have only one bank, one insurance company and one television station. Labour would like to have only one political party, which would be the Australian Labour Party.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition also complained about the Government taking away business on the Canberra route which had been pioneered by T.A.A. The truth is that the old A.N.A. organisation, which was absorbed by Ansett, began operating services to Canberra nearly 30 years ago - in 1936. So much for the suggestion that business on this route was pioneered by T.A.A. I wish to say that I believe that T.A.A. is an excellent airline which offers a first class service to the public. But so is Ansett-A.N.A. an excellent airline. I believe that to be so because of the Government’s policy of rationalisation, which provides competition. I believe that without competition neither airline would provide its present standard of service to Australian air travellers who have the benefit of fares equal to the lowest in the world. The services offered are equal to the best in the world and without doubt the record of safety of the Australian airlines is better than has been established anywhere else.

A member of the Opposition complained about rationalisation, under which planes leave at approximately the same times. Reference to rationalisation occurred more than once. I also complained about rationalisation once and spoke to that effect in this chamber, but I would like to draw the attention of honorable members to a series or articles which appeared in the publication “Aircraft”, which is rated as Australia’s complete aviation magazine. The articles were written by Douglas Gillison and relate to the two airlines policy of the Government. I shall quote from the article which appeared in the August 1965 issue of the magazine in which the writer attempted to answer criticisms of rationalisation. He employed a series of questions and answers.

Mr Stewart:

– He is only a newspaper reporter.


– One of the questions states: “ Are the needs of the travelling public adequately served by the present virtually simultaneous departure and arrival schedules?” Mr. Gillison quoted the opinion of T.A.A. and if honorable members opposite do not think it is right, they may take it up with him. He stated -

Reasons for the almost simultaneous scheduling of services on certain routes are, in the opinion of T.A.A., the dictates of the travellers themselves, economy in airline operation, similarity of equipment and competition between the airlines in terms of normal commercial enterprise.

Those are the reasons given for rationalisation and it is stated that T.A.A. agrees with that policy. I do not think that the arguments advanced by members of the Opposition have proved that the Government is not giving a fair share of business to each of the two airlines. 1 believe that the figures I have cited illustrate that far from sabotaging T.A.A., under the policies of this Government T.A.A. is thriving and will continue to thrive.

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay).

This discussion is concluded.

page 174


Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 4)

Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP

– I move - [Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 4).t]

That the Customs Tariff 1965, as proposed to be amended by Customs Tariff Proposals introduced into the House of Representatives on the seventeenth day of August. One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five, _ be further amended as set out in the Schedule to these Proposals and that the amendments operate on and after the nineteenth day of August, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-five. THE SCHEDULE AMENDMENTS OF PART II. OF THE FIRST SCHEDULE TO THE CUSTOMS TARIFF 1965 {: type="1" start="1"} 0. After note 10 to Chapter 40 insert the following note: - "11. The following goods are specified for the purposes of sub-item 40. 12.2, that is to say, hot water bags that - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. were in transit to Australia on 14th July, 1965; and *(ti)* are entered for home consumption within 21 days after importation.". 1. Omit sub-item 40. 12.2, insert the following sub-item: - 40.12.2 - Hot water bags **Mr. Speaker,** Customs Tariff Proposals No. 4, which I have just tabled, provides for the imposition of a temporary duty on rubber hot water bags in accordance with the recommendations of the Special Advisory Authority, whose report I shall table later this day. The temporary duty which will operate from tomorrow morning, is in addition to the normal duties and is equal to the amount by which the free on board price of the imported bag is less than 3s. 3d. It does noi apply to hot water bags in direct transit to Australia on 14th July 1965, which are entered for home consumption on importation nor to bags having a free on board price of 3s. 3d. each or higher. The normal protective needs of the Australian industry producing hot water bags have been referred to the Tariff Board for inquiry and report, and the temporary duty will operate only until such time as the Government takes action upon receipt of the final report of the Board. I commend the proposals to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Clyde** Cameron) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 174 {:#debate-30} ### TARIFF BOARD Reports on Items. {: #debate-30-s0 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Minister for Housing · Wentworth · LP -- I present reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects - >Phosphoric acid. Bicycles. These reports, which relate to matters arising out of section 7 of the Customs Tariff (Dumping and Subsidies) Act 1961, were released on 28th May and 1st July 1965, respectively by the Minister for Customs and Excise **(Senator Anderson).** Neither report calls for legislative action. I also present a report by the Special Advisory Authority on the following subject - >Hot water bags Ordered to be printed. {: .page-start } page 175 {:#debate-31} ### WOOL RESERVE PRICES PLAN REFERENDUM BILL 1965 Bill - by leave - presented by **Mr. Adermann,** and read a first time. {:#subdebate-31-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-31-0-s0 .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN:
Minister for Primary Industry · Fisher · CP -- I move - That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to make legislative arrangements for a compulsory referendum of wool growers on the question of implementing a reserve price plan for wool. All honorable members will have heard about the proposed plan, which has attracted a great deal of public comment. Not all such comment has been objective or informed, and it may therefore assist the House in considering the present Bill if, before dealing with the Bill itself, I describe the plan and outline its genesis. Under the Wool Industry Act 1962-64 the Australian Wool Board was empowered to investigate wool marketing and make recommendations to the Australian Wool Industry Conference on this subject. The Wool Board was obliged to establish a Wool Marketing Committee to assist it in carrying out this function. After 12 months of detailed investigation, the Wool Marketing Committee reported its findings to the Wool Board. The Board, after examining the Committee's report, recommended in July last year to the Australian Wool Industry Conference that a conservative reserve price scheme be introduced within the present wool auction system. The Wool Board did not put forward a detailed plan for such a scheme because it considered that this was a matter for consultation between the Wool Industry Conference and the Government. However, the Board did outline the funda mental elements of the scheme which it had recommended. The Australian Wool Industry Conference decided that the Wool Board's recommendation should be pursued and instructed its Executive to consult with the Government on the matter. It was accepted from the outset that any plan evolved would require the approval and support of the Government, the Wool Industy Conference and wool growers generally. As a first step, the Executive of the Wool Industry Conference drew up specific proposals for a scheme based on the Wool Board's recommendations and presented these proposals to the Government. After examining the Executive's proposals, the Government concluded that a thorough study should be made of the financial and other aspects of the scheme, and appointed an interdepartmental committee, for this purpose. After considering the report of the interdepartmental committee, the Government agreed in principle to the introduction of a conservative reserve price scheme within the auction system, provided that wool growers approved such a scheme at a referendum. Following consultations with the Executive of the Wool Industry Conference, the Government reached agreement with the Executive on a mutually acceptable plan. The plan as agreed upon between the Government and the Executive of the Wool Industry Conference was considered by the full Conference on 23rd June 1965. The Conference adopted and supported the plan by a majority of 45 votes to 5 and recom-, mended that wool growers accept it at a referendum. The principal objective of the reserve price scheme is to reduce extreme downward fluctuations in the price of wool and so protect growers against exceptionally low returns. By setting a limit to price falls, the scheme engenders greater confidence among wool users and assists in creating a more stable and stronger demand for wool. In essence, a reserve price scheme involves fixing a minimum level, also called " floor " or " reserve ", below which prices at auction are not allowed to fall. This is achieved by establishing an authority which purchases any wool for which commercial bids in the auction fail to reach the reserve price. Such wool is held by the authority and resold under more favorable conditions. The plan, which has been agreed upon by the Government and the Wool Industry Conference, covers both financial and administrative arrangements for a reserve price scheme. On the financial side, wool growers will have to provide a fund of £30 million as their contribution to the capital required for the buying-in of wool under the scheme. Growers will be expected to subscribe their capital contribution by way of an annual levy over a period of seven years. However, if the amount of £30 million is not accumulated within seven years, the levy will continue until this amount is achieved. In addition to their contribution towards the capital of the scheme, growers will pay a small levy to build up a contingency fund. This fund will be used in meeting the operating costs of the scheme to the extent that these costs cannot be met from profits made on the resale of bought-in wool and from rental income of wool stores at present under the control of the Wool Board. Under normal circumstances, the rate of levy paid to build up a contingency fund should not be high and the initial levy should not be more than *i* per cent. The rate would be reviewed annually in the light of actual experience and the stage could be reached where in some years no levy would be required because of the contingency fund being at a sufficient level. The levies paid by wool growers for the capital of the scheme and for the contingency fund would be collected as part of a combined levy not exceeding 3 per cent, of the gross proceeds of wool sold. This combined levy would cover, not only the growers' contributions for the capital and the operating costs of the scheme, but also their commitments for promotion and their current contribution for research. The annual levy for the capital of the scheme would be not less than 1 per cent, in any year and all receipts from the levy fixed for capital purposes would be paid into the capital fund. Except for the first year of the scheme - that is, 1966-67 - wool growers will be expected to contribute not less than £4 million annually for the capital of the scheme. This could mean that should the proceeds of the 1 per cent. levy in any year be less than £4 million, the shortfall must be made up from the total proceeds of the overall levy of 3 per cent, by adjustments of the receipts from the other components of the 3 per cent. As I mentioned, the £4 million minimum will not apply during the first year of the operation of the scheme, that is, 1966-67. In view of the special circumstance of serious drought with its expected effect on the level of wool production, the Government decided not to insist on a minimum contribution of £4 million by growers in 1966-67. However, the requirement that the capital contribution should be not less than 1 per cent, of the gross proceeds of shorn wool will still apply. This special concession by the Government is not a precedent for future years. I should mention that in any case it will be necessary to review the present arrangements for the financing of wool promotion and research before the end of June 1967. The need for reviewing the financing of wool promotion is due to the fact that the Government's undertaking to contribute for promotion is for three years ending 30th June 1967. As far as the financing of wool research is concerned it will also have to be reviewed before the end of June 1967. At present growers make an annual contribution equivalent to 2s. a bale and the Government contributes 4s. a bale. However, the income from these sources is not sufficient to meet the annual costs of the research programme which is running at about £3.8 million. The deficiency of about £2 million is being made up by drawing on the capital of the Wool Research Trust Fund. At the current rate of expenditure the Fund will be reduced to about £1.5 million by 30th June 1967. Accordingly, to maintain the research programme after that date at something like the present level, additional income of about £2 million will have to be found from some source. The points which I have just made in regard to the financing of wool promotion and research will mean that the overall levy of 3 per cent, will be subject to review before 30th June 1967. This is understood and accepted by the Wool Industry Conference. In the interests of building up the growers' capital fund of £30 million as quickly as possible, it is provided that moneys in this fund would be invested when not used for the buying in of wool and the interest credited to the fund. Similarly, any net profits made on the resale of wool - that is, the surplus remaining after al. costs have been met - would be credited to the growers' capital fund. After reaching the level of £30 million by accumulated wool grower contributions, interest earnings and net profits, the capita] fund would be revolved. However, only the amounts actually contributed by wool growers by way of levy would be repaid to them under the revolving arrangement. By way of explanation, I make the point that interest or profits from other sources would not be repaid to the growers. Apart from the growers' capital fund of £30 million, the scheme would have ready access to additional financial backing of up to £50 million. The Executive of the Wool Industry Conference is at present negotiating with trading banks regarding the possibility of these banks providing some or all of this additional backing. If it proves impossible to arrange this finance on terms acceptable to both the banks and the Wool Industry Conference, the Government will be prepared to make the funds necessary available from its own sources. The Wool Industry Conference suggested that the scheme should have access to a total financial backing of £80 million. However, the Government considers that the scheme should have available to it unquestionable financial backing and accordingly has guaranteed the provision of finance in excess of £80 million for the buying in of wool if this should ever be required. Any moneys advanced by the Commonwealth Government for the scheme will be made available at a reasonable rate of interest. Such advances made by the Government would, of course, be a first charge on the wool bought in by the reserve price authority. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Would the advances come from the Reserve Bank? {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- I have just said that the Conference is negotiating with trading banks at the moment. It may be that some arrangement could be made through that source. If not, the Commonwealth Government would lend the money. {: .speaker-KYC} ##### Mr Pollard: -- Through the Reserve Bank? {: .speaker-JLR} ##### Mr ADERMANN: -- That has not been determined finally. The matter would come back to Cabinet at that stage. The Government feels that it would be undesirable to delay the introduction of the scheme until a substantial amount of growers' funds has been accumulated. It has therefore been decided that to enable the scheme to start without any undue delay, the Government will make such advances to the scheme as may be necessary for the buying in of wool. Any initial advances made by the Government would be repayable from the levy paid by growers as well as from the proceeds of resold wool. The Government and the Wool Industry Conference are agreed that the average reserve price must be kept within a conservative range. The Government attaches great importance to this point and wishes to ensure that all possible care is exercised in determining reserve price levers. The Government and the Wool Industry Conference recognize that no special formula can be laid down for determining reserve prices, because no such formula would necessarily suit the many combinations of market conditions which might operate from time to time. However, the Government and the Conference have agreed upon a broad policy as well as certain specific principles and criteria which should be followed in this regard. The general policy can be stated briefly as follows - {: type="i" start="i"} 0. In a market where prices are high there would be a wide margin between market prices and reserve prices. 1. In a market where wool prices are not unduly high nor unduly low in relation to general price levels, the margin between market prices and reserve prices would be more moderate, the objective being to stiffen the resistance against a possible fall in the market whilst leaving adequate flexibility for general market conditions to operate. 2. In a period of low market prices, reserve prices would be set at a level close to those prices. In such conditions the objective would be to offer still greater resistance to any downward trend. In determining the reserve price in each of the three situations outlined above it would be necessary to have regard to certain guiding principles and criteria. The most important principle is that the average reserve price would be set at such a level that except in exceptional circumstances, it would not be likely to lead to heavy buying in of wool. On the other hand, it would not be fixed so low that the reserve price authority would not be required to operate even in periods of depressed prices. Such a reserve price would have no practical value. It will be appreciated that there are a number of criteria which would have to be taken into account in determining reserve prices, and these have already been agreed upon with the Conference. The principal criteria would be the average price for wool in past seasons; economic conditions throughout the world, particularly in major wool consuming countries; the relationship between wool prices and commodity prices generally and in particular the price of competing fibres; the level of stocks and the anticipated volume of wool production; trends in wool consumption and market prospects in wool consuming countries; and the level of reserve prices fixed by New Zealand and South Africa. The reserve price level once fixed would not be changed within a season except for compelling reasons not connected with the state of the wool market, such as a change in the exchange rate. However, there would be flexibility to vary the reserve price level up or down from one season to another. Any increase would be kept within a conservative range but on the other hand a reduction would only be contemplated when circumstances indicated that such action was absolutely necessary. The procedure for determining the annual average reserve price would be that the Australian Wool Board, after taking into account the views of the reserve price authority, would fix a reserve price level which would be subject to the approval of the Government. The power of the Government in regard to the fixing of the average reserve price would be confined to accepting or rejecting the Board's recommendations. The Government could not fix a price that had not been recommended by the Board. I have dealt with the financial aspects of the proposed plan and with the reserve price policy. I shall now turn to the proposed administrative arrangements. To administer the proposed reserve price scheme an authority would be set up within the organisational structure of the Australian Wool Board. This authority would be known as the Australian Wool Marketing Authority. The Wool Marketing Authority would consist of seven members, namely, a chairman, two wool growers, three members with special qualifications and a representative of the Government. The members with special qualifications could be drawn from the fields of marketing of wool and wool products, wool manufacturing as well as finance and commerce. Not more than two members of the Wool Board, excluding, if necessary, the Government's representative on the Board - although he could be on the Board - would be on the Authority. Moreover, the Chairman of the Wool Board would not be eligible to be a member of the Authority. The members of the Marketing Authority would be appointed by the Wool Board for a period of three years. In appointing the Chairman of the Authority the Wool Board would be required to consult the Minister for Primary Industry and the executive of the Wool Industry Conference. Before appointing the other members of the Authority, excepting the Government's representative, the Wool Board would be obliged to consult the executive of the Wool Industry Conference. The structure which I have outlined has been designed to ensure that wool growers have the major voice in the operation of the proposed reserve price scheme. This will be achieved by vesting the main policymaking functions in the Wool Board on which wool growers have a majority. The Marketing Authority will thus be primarily an administrative body. The Wool Board would be responsible for recommending the annual average reserve price to the Government but before doing so would take into account the views of the Marketing Authority. The Board would also be responsible for determining the broad policy in regard to the disposal of bought-in wool. The power to borrow money for the purposes of the scheme would likewise rest with the Board. Apart from the functions which I have mentioned, the Marketing Authority would have autonomy in the administration of the scheme. The responsibilities involved in this task would include the preparation of a table of reserve prices, based on the average determined by the Wool Board and approved by the Government; the assessment of reserve prices for each lot of wool to be auctioned; the buying-in of wool which does not reach the reserve price at auction and the storing of it; and the selling of boughtin wool in accordance with the policy approved by the Wool Board. It is envisaged that the Marketing Authority would take over from the Wool Board the control of its wool stores which would, of course, be required for the operation of the reserve price scheme. The Authority would also take over from the Board the administration of the wool statistical service and the registration of wool classers. In regard to the method of disposal of bought-in wool the Government and the Wool Industry Conference agree that the policy would be to resell such wool through the auction system, except in special circumstances. If the proposed scheme is approved by wool growers at the referendum which is the subject of this Bill, it is envisaged that it would commence to operate on 1st July 1966. The scheme would be subject to a complete review in the fifth year of its operation. The executive of the Wool Industry Conference expressed concern about the possibility of private selling adversely affecting the operation of the proposed scheme. If a reserve price scheme is introduced and it is found that exports of privately bought wool are militating against the effectiveness of reserve prices, the Government will take corrective action. I have dealt with the proposed plan in some detail because I felt that this would be desirable for a full appreciation of the background to the present Bill. I shall now deal with the main provisions of the Bill. The Wool Industry Conference considers that the question of introducing a reserve price scheme is of such importance that it recommended that voting in the referendum on the subject should be compulsory for all wool growers who have a real interest in the industry. There is much to commend this recommendation. If voting were voluntary, many wool growers might fail to record their votes. The Government feels that the issue is too important to risk a decision having to be made on a poll in which many producers failed to express their views. The Government agrees with the recommendation of the Wool Industry Conference and accordingly the Bill provides that voting in the referendum will be compulsory for all eligible growers. It is clearly desirable that people who cannot claim a real interest in the industry should not vote in the referendum. Accordingly, it is necessary to set some minimum qualification for eligibility to vote. The Wool Industry Conference has recommended that the minimum qualification should be 10 bales of wool, with voting to be on the basis of one man one vote. The Conference made its recommendation " on the understanding that this decision shall not be regarded as a precedent for any future referendum in the wool industry, since there is a considerable proportion of growers who believe that the volume of production of those voting for and against should be taken into account ". The Conference also recommended that the alternative to the minimum qualification of 10 bales should be the ownership of 300 sheep. The alternative qualification of sheep ownership is necessary to cater for producers who have entered the industry recently and have the potential to produce 10 bales of wool but have not yet done so. It is obviously desirable to ensure that the minimum qualification set does not disfranchise small producers who nevertheless have a worthwhile interest in the industry. On the other hand, it has been argued that it would be wrong if small producers - who comprise the great majority of wool growers but produce only a small part of the clip - were allowed to have a decisive influence in the referendum. This argument assumes that all small producers would vote in the same manner; however, this is open to question. Moreover, it may be said that some small wool growers are just as dependent on wool production as the large ones. If, nevertheless, large growers were given a greater voting power by way of multiple voting, this could be regarded as contrary to democratic principles. In the Government's view the issue turns on determining an appropriate minimum voting qualification. Such a qualification should aim to avoid giving the very small growers an undue voting strength while at the same time safeguarding the interests of those growers who depend on wool to an important degree for their livelihood. A minimum of five bales was adopted in 1951 but the Government considers that on today's costs and values this minimum does not represent a sufficient interest in woolgrowing. On the other hand, the minimum of 10 bales recommended by the Conference, and I might add, agreed to also by the Australian Primary Producers Union, should be satisfactory on this score under present-day conditions. In view of these considerations, the Government has adopted the recommendations of the Wool Industry Conference on the minimum voting qualification and the method of voting. Accordingly, the Bill provides that the minimum qualification for voting will be the production of 10 bales of shorn wool during 1964-65 or the ownership of 300 sheep. The Bill also provides that each eligible producer will be entitled to only one vote regardless of the size of his clip or the number of properties which he owns. However, special provision has been made for a wool grower who is acting as a personal representative or trustee of the estate of a deceased person or on behalf of a company. Such a wool grower will be entitled to vote in these added capacities as well as on his own behalf. To avoid the possibility of children voting in the referendum, only persons who have attained the age of 21 years will be allowed to vote. It has been necessary to define the voting rights of partnerships, companies, trusts and deceased estates. In the case of partnerships, the executive of the Wool Industry Conference and the Government are agreed that it would be unjust to disfranchise a man who is engaged in wool growing in partnership with another person merely because he is not the sole owner of a property. Accordingly, it is provided that each member of a partnership will be entitled to vote as long as his interest in the partnership meets the minimum qualification of the production of 10 bales of wool or the ownership of 300 sheep. However, a producer in a partnership who also operates on his own account will be entitled to only one vote. The question of voting rights for companies, whether private or public, has presented special problems. Because of the complex inter-relationship which exists between various companies and the fact that some individual companies are owned by a great number of shareholders, it is not practicable to determine the degree of ownership of individual shareholders and so decide on each individual's voting rights. There are, of course, cases where companies are owned by one family or a small number of individuals. However, to make a distinction between this type of company and those I mentioned earlier would, in effect, mean discriminating between different companies. In view of these problems the Executive of the Conference and the Government agree that the only practicable solution is for each company to be entitled to only one vote and provision has been made for this in the Bill. It will be recalled that the same practice was adopted in the 1951 referendum. There are instances where producers trade as family companies but are not legally incorporated. In such cases, the provisions relating to partnerships will apply if such companies are genuine partnerships. In regard to trusts and deceased estates, the Bill provides that personal representatives or trustees of these entities will be entitled to only one vote per trust or deceased estate. The Bill makes provision for a roll of wool growers to be prepared by the Department of Primary Industry on the basis of information obtained from wool brokers, wool dealers and other sources concerning growers who sold or delivered wool for sale during 1963-64. As I mentioned earlier, the voting entitlement will be based on wool production or sheep ownership in 1964-65. However, as it will be practicable to compile a roll based only on 1963-64 data, as this is the latest year of completed returns, provision is made in the Bill to delete from the roll growers who have died or left the industry since 1963-64. Likewise the Bill enables persons who have entered the industry since 1963-64 to claim enrolment. Safeguards are included in the Bill to prevent from voting growers who appear on the roll as having produced 10 bales of wool or more in 1963-64 but whose production or sheep owners-hip in 1964-65 is below the minimum required. The Bill provides that voting in the referendum will be by post but allows persons to record their votes by other means. The Bill requires a statement setting out full details of the plan to be prepared by the Minister for Primary Industry and approved by the executive of the Wool Industry Conference. This statement will be sent to all eligible growers with their ballot papers. It will be necessary to prescribe by regulation various detailed arrangements for conducting the referendum such as the date of the poll, forms to be used, etc. Included in the Bill are penal provisions for failure to enrol and vote, for untrue statements and for other offences in connection with the referendum. The Wool Industry Conference recommended that the result of the poll should be determined by a simple majority of votes cast. The Government has accepted this recommendation and this is noted in the preamble to the Bill. In conclusion, I should like to mention that if woolgrowers approve the proposed reserve price plan at the referendum which we are now considering, legislation will have to be introduced to enable the implementation of the plan. In the course of the passage of such legislation, there will, of course, be further opportunity to discuss the plan. Before agreeing to support the introduction of a reserve price scheme, the Government gave the matter long and serious consideration. However, the Government recognizes that whether or not a scheme is introduced is a matter which woolgrowers themselves must first decide, and it will abide by their wishes. I commend the Bill to the House. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Pollard)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 181 {:#debate-32} ### STATES GRANTS BILL 1965 Bill presented by **Mr. Harold** Holt, and read a first time. {:#subdebate-32-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-32-0-s0 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr HAROLD HOLT:
HigginsTreasurer · LP -- I move - >That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to authorise the new arrangements agreed at the Premiers' Conference held on 1st and 2nd June for the payment of financial assistance grants to the States. Before outlining the detail of the arrangements, I think it would be helpful to describe in general terms the nature and extent of the financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth to the States. Generally, this assumes two main forms: assistance for general revenue purposes, which the States are free to use as they see fit, and assistance for a variety of specific purposes, where the money is provided specifically for use on a particular purpose or project. In addition, of course, the Commonwealth accepts responsibility for ensuring that sufficient funds are made available to the States for the works and housing programmes agreed by the Loan Council. Assistance for general revenue and specific purposes has increased very significantly in recent years. In this year's Budget provision has been made for payments to or for the States amounting to £555,000,000; this represents more than 20 per cent, of estimated total expenditure by the Commonwealth in 1965-66. Of the amount of £555,000,000, nearly £400,000,000 consists of grants for general revenue purposes - the financial assistance grants and the special grants paid to the claimant States on the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Honorable members will recall that the former system of tax reinbursement and supplementary grants which were intended to compensate the States for loss of income tax revenue arising from the adoption of the uniform tax system was replaced by the arrangements for the payment of financial assistance grants which were agreed in 1959. Under these arrangements the financial assistance grants were varied from year to year by reference to the two main factors affecting current expenditures of State Governments - changes in population and wages. In consequence, as State populations grew and as wage costs rose, the grants increased proportionally. In addition, over and above these increases related to population and wages, there was a " betterment " factor in the form of a 10 per cent, addition to the percentage increase in average wages. This addition was intended to help the States to raise the standard and extend the range of the services they give to the community. I think it is fair to say that the arrangements that were agreed to in 1959 have worked satisfactorily from the viewpoint of the States and the Commonwealth. It is not often appreciated that in recent years approximately one-half of total annual net budgetary expenditure by the States has been financed by way of general revenue grants paid by the Commonwealth. In other words, by medium of these grants the Commonwealth has, indirectly, been making a very significant contribution to the provision of basic community services in fields such as education and public health; that is additional, of course, to the contribution which is made through specific grants to the States and direct expenditure by the Commonwealth in such fields. From the Commonwealth's viewpoint, the arrangements though adding to its budgetary problems - the financial assistance grants increased from £244.5 million in 1959-60 to £340.7 million in 1964-65- resolved the annual wrangles between the States and the Commonwealth as to the size of the grants for each year. There has thus, I believe, been a notable improvement in the relations between the Commonwealth and the States in financial matters. The States for their part have known fairly accurately the size of their grants for the year ahead and, with that knowledge, have been able to plan their activities on an assured basis. It was against this background that the financial assistance arrangements were reviewed at two Premiers' Conferences, one held in April and one in June this year. At the April conference, Premiers submitted their views on the working of the existing financial assistance arrangements. The consensus of opinion was that the 1959 arrangements had worked considerably better than the preceding tax reimbursement arrangements. The Premiers expressed the view, however, that the annual rate of growth of the grants had been too slow in relation to the rate of growth of their expenditure commitments for important government services. They then submitted various proposals designed to increase the rate of growth of the grants. A number of variations was also suggested for increasing the shares of grants going to particular States. After close examination and detailed consideration of the views expressed by Premiers at the April conference, the Commonwealth put forward a series of pro posals at the June Premiers' Conference designed to maintain the broad framework of the 1959 arrangements but, at the same time, to effect certain changes which it was thought would improve those arrangements. In the first place, the escalation of the grant payable to each State each year by reference to increases in population and average wages had proved satisfactory and it was therefore proposed to continue these elements of the formula in the new arrangements. However, an important change was proposed in relation to the betterment factor. During the currency of the 1959 arrangements the betterment factor had the effect of increasing the grants by an average of about 0.4 per cent, per annum although, because it was related to the increase in average wages, it had fluctuated from year to year with movements in wages. In the light of the continuing need to improve the standards of State Government services the Commonwealth proposed to make the betterment factor independent of the increase in average wages and in effect to treble its size by fixing it at a constant 1.2 per cent, per annum. We also proposed adjustments to the formula to reduce the time lag before changes in State population and wages are reflected in the grants. Under the 1959 arrangements, the grants for a financial year were calculated by reference to the increase in State populations and average wages in the preceding financial year. We suggested that under the new formula the grants for a financial year be determined on the basis of the increase in State populations during the twelve months ending in December of that financial year and the increase in average wages during the twelve months ending in March of that financial year. Under this proposal the time lag before movements in State population were taken into account in the formula would be reduced to six months and the time lag before movements in average wages were similarly reflected would be reduced to three months. The Premiers found the proposals to improve the operation of the formula generally acceptable but most of them did not wish to see the reduction in the time lag for average wages take effect in 1965-66. We were not prepared to delay the switch to the use of more up to date statistics until *1966-67* solely because this would give the States the assurance of a substantial rise in the grant in 1965-66 due to the steep increase in average wages that occurred in 1964-65. Finally, it was agreed that the increase in average wages would continue to be calculated as under the 1959 arrangements but that the increase in population be as proposed - that is, by comparing December of the year of the grant with December twelve months earlier. On the question of the distribution of the grants, a careful examination was made of the proposals by particular States for increases in their shares. Largely in recognition of Queensland's large area and relatively small population, we proposed, and the other States agreed, to increase Queensland's share of the grants by adding £1,000,000 to the amount on which Queensland's grant would be calculated for each of the five years 1965-66 to 1969-70. This will have the effect of progressively increasing Queensland's share of the grants relative to the other States. It was also agreed to add an extra amount of £600,000 to the grant which Victoria would receive in 1965-66 under the new formula. The effect of this addition will be to reduce the difference between the per capita grants for Victoria and New South Wales to about the same level as it was in 1959-60, the first year of the previous financial assistance grants arrangements. Apart from the cases of Queensland and Victoria, it was considered that no further changes in the existing distribution of the grants were warranted. Thus, under the agreed arrangements which are incorporated in the Bill before the House, the grant payable to each State in 1965-66 and each subsequent year will be determined by taking the grant for the previous year, with the addition of £1,000,000 each year for five years in the case of Queensland, and increasing it by the percentage change in the population of that State during the year ending 31st December in the year of payment. The amount so obtained will be increased by the percentage increase in average wages for Australia as a whole for the financial year immediately preceding the year of payment, and this last mentioned amount will - be further increased by the betterment factor of 1.2 per cent, in the case of Victoria, the grant determined under the formula for 1965-66 will be increased by £600,000 and the resulting amount will form the base for calculating Victoria's grant for subsequent years. Honorable members will note that the Bill provides that these arrangements agreed with the States will be subject to review by the Commonwealth if there occurs, or is proposed, a substantial change in the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States. A similar provision was made in 1959. This provision makes it clear that in the event of a change in, for example, the distribution of taxation powers the Commonwealth can review the arrangements. A change in the present system of uniform taxation, for instance, would clearly require a revision of the arrangements. However, I should mention that, following further discussions at the Premiers' Conference on the initiative of the Premier of Victoria, it seems unlikely that any arrangement can be agreed to for the modification of the present uniform tax system that would be acceptable to all of the States and safeguard the interest of taxpayers. It is intended that the new arrangements will operate for a period of at least five years - from 1965-66 to 1969-70 - and be reviewed at the end of that period. However, there is no time limit specifically laid down in the Bill and, if the arrangements prove satisfactory to all the parties concerned, they can run on beyond 1969-70. I should add that, as in 1959, there are one or two matters which form part of the new arrangements but which are not actually incorporated in the legislation before the House. The most important of these matters concerns the eligibility of States to apply to the Grants Commission for special grants in addition to the financial assistance grants determined in accordance with the formula I have described. Honorable members will recall that, in 1959, South Australia ceased to be a claimant State, although it was agreed that both it and Queensland would have right of access to the Commission in special or unexpected circumstances which endangered their budgetary position. At the conference in June of this year it was agreed that both Western Australia and Tasmania would continue to be eligible to apply for special grants, but I made it clear that, so far as the other States are concerned, it would be a condition of the new arrangements that they remain non claimant for the period of the arrangements. In the light of the special arrangements made to increase Queensland's share of financial assistance grants, and of the demonstrated ability of South Australia to progress as a non claimant State, it does not seem appropriate to continue to discriminate as between the four non claimant States. Of course, should a State run into major financial difficulties through circumstances beyond its control, the Commonwealth is ready to review its position under the financial assistance arrangements. I now propose to discuss briefly some details of the new arrangements. First, the population figures to be used in calculating the grants for each year will include full blooded aboriginal natives, who were specifically excluded under the previous Act. This will be of particular interest to States such as Queensland and Western Australia which have relatively large numbers of full blooded Aboriginals. Secondly, the Bill is drafted so as to ensure that there will be no uncertainty, as occurred following the 1961 census, as to which estimates of population will be used following the 1966 census in determining the grants for 1966-67. Thus, the population figures to be used in determining each year's grant will be the latest statistics available to the Commonwealth Statistician at the time he makes his determination. There will be no question of retrospective adjustments to the grants on the ground of subsequent revisions to the estimates of population of a particular State. As under the previous legislation, all statistical calculations under this Bill are to be performed by the Commonwealth Statistician after consulting, where practicable, with the official State Statisticians. The Statistician is required to perform his calculations of the grants payable in any year before 1st June of that year. On the basis of the Statistician's preliminary estimates, the financial assistance grants payable to the States in 1965-66 under the new formula will be £377.5 million or £36.9 million more than the grants paid in 1964-65. This represents a considerably larger increase in the grants than in any year under the operation of the previous formula. With the concurrence of honorable members, I incorporate in " Hansard " the following table which compares the estimated financial assistance grants payable to the States in 1965-66 with those paid last year - I feel confident that the improvements in the financial assistance arrangements which were agreed with the States in June, and which I have outlined to the House today, will make an important contribution to assisting the States, both individually and collectively, to continue to raise the standards of their services. We are all aware of the important role which the States play in providing such basic community services as education and public health. Let me say in conclusion that by accepting the increased financial commitments to the States under the new agreement, the Commonwealth has placed a not inconsiderable burden on its own budget, particularly as this happens at a time when we are faced with heavy and increasing expenditure commitments in other directions. We have been prepared to accept these burdens in recognition of the important role played by the States and in the belief that the new agreement will provide a sound basis for financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States. I therefore commend the Bill to honorable members. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Crean)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 185 {:#debate-33} ### STOKES HULL POWER STATION, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY {:#subdebate-33-0} #### Approval of Work - Public Works Committee Act {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · Forrest · LP -- I move - >That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960, it is expedient that the following proposed work should bc carried out without having been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: - Stage 3 Extension to the Stokes Hill Power Station, Darwin. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in 1957-58 examined and reported favourably upon stage 1 of the power house project. Stage 2 was exempted by resolution of this House in October 1963. This exemption was supported by the Chairman of the Committee. Stage 3 involves the provision of an additional 15 megawatt capacity generating set to cope with normal load growth, the anticipated additional major loads associated with the Radio Australia booster station, the hospital development proposals and the proposed iron ore handling plant. The estimated cost of the proposal, including associated site and building works, is £1.176 million. In order to ensure continuity of supply, it is essential that the stage 3 set be commissioned early in 1968. To meet this date, it will be necessary to place an order before the end of December 1965. In view of the urgency of the work, the fact that it is a similar extension to the stage 2 extension previously exempted, and as it forms part of the development of the power station foreshadowed in evidence to the Committee on the stage 1 proposal, it is recommended that the stage 3 proposal be exempted from reference to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-K58} ##### Mr O'CONNOR:
Dalley .- As Vice Chairman of the Public Works Committee, and in the absence of the Chairman, I feel I should say something on the matter now before the House. It is well to remind the House that the Act provides that unless any project, the cost of which exceeds £250,000, is exempted, that project must be referred to the Committee. In recent months the Public Works Committee has become increasingly concerned at the number of exemptions that are being granted. In some instances the reasons that have been given for the exemptions have satisfied the Committee, but in other instances the Committee has been far from satisfied, lt feels that some definite principle should be laid down as to when and in what circumstances exemptions shall be granted. I understand that Cabinet follows the practice of giving the particular Minister responsible for the project the discretion to recommend whether the work shall come before the Committee. The number of projects which have been exempted in recent months leaves the Committee far from satisfied and, on behalf of the Committee, I feel justified in placing the matter before the House because we are very much concerned with the trend that has become apparent. The Minister has outlined the history of the project now before us and has stated the reasons why it should be exempted. The Minister for Works in another place has written to the Committee setting out in detail the reasons for the exemption. On this occasion the Committee agrees that the reasons advanced are valid. We support the Minister. Question resolved in the affirmative. Sitting suspended from 5.55 to 8 p.m. {: .page-start } page 185 {:#debate-34} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-34-0} #### INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Ministerial Statement. **Mr. HASLUCK** (Curtin - Minister for External Affairs). - by leave - **Mr. Speaker,** when I last spoke to the House in March of this year on the general international situation I thought it proper to outline for honorable members something of my own approach to the subject. The House will recall that I then addressed myself to four principal topics. I spoke about the realities of power, the relationship between Australia and Asia, the future of the United Nations and, finally, the importance of constant, unswerving adherence to agreed and established principles of international conduct. I reaffirm what I then said. I propose, tonight, to address myself chiefly to recent events in Malaysia and in Vietnam. As we debate these events let it never be far from our thoughts that these are places where our own young men are serving Australia. In both places the basic issues that we face are unchanged. The defence of Malaysia against Indonesian confrontation has a new characteristic by reason of the separation of Singapore from the Federation, and the changes that ensue from that separation, and the conflict in Vietnam has undoubtedly intensified and entered on a highly critical phase; but in both cases the principles at stake, the nature of the conflicts and the Australian interests that have to be upheld are the same as when the House last debated foreign affairs. So let us concentrate on the reality and not on the Changing appearance. First, Malaysia: On 7th August an agreement relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent and sovereign State was signed between the Malaysian and Singapore Governments. On 9th August an act was introduced and passed in the Malaysian Parliament to amend the Constitution of Malaysia and on the same day the Singapore Prime Minister issued a proclamation of Singapore's existence as an independent, sovereign State. Consequently, the Australian Government announced on 10th August its recognition of the State of Singapore. On the same day our Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** sent personal messages to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Prime Minister of Singapore confirming our friendship, assuring them of our understanding and co-operation and expressing good wishes in their new responsibilities. Australia has agreed to Singapore's admission as a member nation of the Commonwealth, and we have appointed a High Commissioner in Singapore. In the separation agreement, the articles which are of particular interest to us are those which provide for a treaty on external defence and mutual assistance between the two Governments; those which provide for an undertaking on the part of each Government not to enter into any treaty or agreement with a foreign country which may be detrimental to the independence and defence of the territories of the other party; and those which refer to future co-operation in economic affairs for their mutual benefit. The constitutional separation having taken place, we believe that Singapore and Malaysia still face the same tasks that they faced when they federated. They still have common interests, common opportunities and common dangers. Both States wish to maintain a unified defence arrangement as indicated in the references I have made to the separation agreement; both use the same currency and their foreign exchange assets are jointly held; their citizens invest capital in the enterprises of each other. Malaysian prosperity is advanced by the use of Singapore's facilities. Singapore earns 20 per cent, of its national income from trading in and processing Malaysian goods. Singapore vitally needs commercial access and outlets in Malaya, while Sabah and Sarawak greatly benefit from their trading arrangements with Singapore. There is thus much to be preserved and nourished through close association and common arrangements. We, for our part, will apply ourselves to co-operation with both Singapore and Malaysia. We believe that the reality of living side by side and helping each other is more important than any legalism. I turn to the effect of the new situation on the existing defence arrangements. The formal position is that under the separation agreement the two parties agree to enter into a treaty on external defence and mutual assistance. The Government of Malaysia will assist Singapore in external defence and Singapore will contribute units to the common defence. Existing treaties concluded between Malaysia and third countries, including the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Treaty, will be deemed to be treaties between Singapore and those countries. Whether any additional action is necessary by the Australian Government to associate itself with these arrangements is something still to be determined. At the moment, the efforts of Singapore and Malaysia are directed towards making adjustments to the existing machinery of defence planning and policy in order to introduce Singapore into that machinery and planning as a separate party. Meetings have already been held between the Malaysian and Singapore Ministers for Defence and it has already been agreed that the second battalion of the Singapore Infantry Regiment will proceed this month as previously planned to Malaysian Borneo as part of the Malaysian Security Forces. I wish to mention two aspects of these very important matters. I am sure honorable members will recall the statement by the Prime Minister in the House on 25th September 1963. At that time he referred to the consistent Australian policy of support in defence of Malaya as part of the common effort for the common security. He went on to say that Malaysia having been formed, in accordance with the freely expressed will of its peoples, we were prepared to add our military assistance to the efforts of Malaysia and the United Kingdom in the defence of Malaysia's territorial integrity and political independence. That was in September 1963. The essential features of the situation then described are still in being. What are those essential features? Indonesian pressure continues, under the name of confrontation. Britain still has commitments. Both Malaysia and Singapore, though separate, face the same defence problems and the facilities and resources of both are involved in their common defence. The Malaysian and Singapore Governments, as I have shown, are entering into mutual defence arrangements, by agreements between them, and they wish to maintain the existing system of defence with the participation of the other countries concerned, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Hence, as our Prime Minister said in a public statement last week - >We welcome the agreement of the two Governments to establish machinery for ensuring a common defence effort. We hope that this will be set up with speed, and that it will be effective. The particular Australian association with this common defence will require study in the light of the new circumstances. But we are determined to play our part with all the other countries concerned in continuing a common resistance to attacks upon the Malaysian area, an area which will still include Singapore, though it is no longer part of the Federation of Malaysia. That ends the quotation from the Prime Minister's statement. The second matter is the principle of what the Prime Minister previously called combined defence. The existing system of combined defence has worked extremely well; it is in our interests to continue with this existing system. In Borneo, substantial regular Indonesian forces in forward areas have been kept in check by the Malaysian Security Forces which comprise Malaysian, British, Australian and New Zealand units, to which a separate identifiable Singapore unit is now to be added. Efficient command arrangements, logistic systems and mobility of operations have been achieved. Equally efficient systems of surveillance at sea and on the coasts of Singapore and Malaya have led to failure after failure for parties of Indonesian infiltrators and saboteurs. In other words, the Malaysian area is one theatre, operating under one operational system and governed by a common purpose. It is these arrangements which enable the collective effort to be made, with countries like Australia and New Zealand adding their military contribution to the total defence structure. It will be quite obvious to the House that considerable difficulties would be raised for us if it was a matter of entering into separate and possibly differing commitments with a variety of authorities. Nor, of course, would we have the means in terms of military capability to make a series of separate substantial commitments. So, combined defence is of importance to us. From what I have said it will be plain that Singapore's separation from Malaysia is not the result of the pressures of Indonesian "confrontation". It is the result of political stresses within the Federation. It is not the product of Indonesian policy. In this respect, the Indonesian Government has not as yet taken any action to recognise Singapore as an independent sovereign State. President Sukarno's speech of yesterday - a speech of some 50 pages - lasted for a period of hours. We do not want to comment on that until we have studied fully all the implications of what he said. All I wish to say at present is that we deeply regret President Sukarno's expressions of hostility towards the United States and the policies of that country in South and South East Asia. Those policies, as I shall now proceed to discuss, involve the United States in great expenditure of men and material resources not for its own advantage but in preserving the national independence and integrity of the countries of South East Asia themselves. In Vietnam the aggressive use of power is at present finding its clearest and most ruthless expression. Since I spoke in March, with the growing seriousness of the situation, the Government has decided to extend our military commitment in support of South Veitnam. It is our considered judgment that Australia's interests require this action and we believe it has the firm support of the great majority of Australians. The wet season is now at its height in Vietnam and will continue for a couple of months or so. The Vietcong, with no fixed bases, no centres of population or communications to protect, is seeking to make the best use it can of the advantage of mobility and surprise that guerilla forces always have. The Vietcong, even though suffering severe casualties, has been able to mount limited offensives in some areas, to disrupt communications and to threaten some centres of population, particularly in the central highlands of Vietnam, around Kontum and Pleiku. In that area the Vietcong forces are supplemented by units of a regular North Vietnamese division and are backed by heavy support in weapons provided by North Vietnam. Despite cloud cover and rain, very difficult and hazardous conditions, United States and South Vietnamese airmen have taken great flying risks and have continued to inflict substantial losses on the Vietcong. They have also damaged the sources of supply and the supply routes by which men and arms are being infiltrated from the north. The North Vietnamese Government and its subsidiary organisation in the South, the National Liberation Front, still speak confidently of military victory in South Vietnam. On 20th July, less than a month ago, the National Liberation Front was reported by Radio Hanoi as saying: "With all the factors of victory within our grasp, let our entire people and army valiantly march forwards. We shall certainly win. We are resolved to win a great victory." That is the intention of the Vietcong and of North Vietnam. This intransigence and indifference to human suffering has been reflected in the repeated refusal of North Vietnam and Peking even to consider entering into discussions directed towards (peaceful settlement. They want unconditional surrender by South Vietnam and those supporting her defence - that and nothing else. I would recall what is already well known, I think, to all the House and to the Australian people. In the past few months there have been fruitless efforts by the Canadian representative on the International Control Commission to sound out Hanoi's attitude. There was in May a pause in the bombing attacks on North Vietnamese territory, accompanied by further efforts by the United States authorities to evoke from Hanoi some conciliatory response, however slight it might be. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers, the President of India, the seventeen non-aligned nations, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and others have all tried fruitlessly to bring about discussions. I propose to table later a paper prepared by my Department giving an account in some detail of these efforts. The efforts have been made consistently and patiently but up to date they have all come to nothing. With the North Vietnamese evidently determined to settle for nothing less than the total subjugation of South Vietnam, and in the face of increasing pressure from the Vietcong, with the aid of more men and more arms from the North, the Government of South Vietnam recently asked for further assistance from the United States. On 28th July, President Johnson announced that the number of United States troops in Vietnam would shortly be increased from 75,000 to 125,000 and that more would be sent as requested. At the same time President Johnson reiterated that the United States was willing to enter into unconditional discussions at any time and he went out of his way to encourage the United Nations and its individual members to search for ways of bringing about a just and lasting peace. On behalf of the Australian Government I want to say again what has been said before: We support the United States, both in its resolution and in its aim of seeking to bring about realistic discussions. The Government and its advisers have examined these decisions in relation to our own contribution in South Vietnam. As the Prime Minister announced in the House this afternoon, the Government has decided to provide support units to the battalion now in South Vietnam to make it up to a battalion group. During this period, which I have been traversing, the Soviet Union has continued to furnish North Vietnam with equipment for an air defence system as well as with transport and other forms of military aid. China, while also supplying military equipment, appears to have worked consistently against all efforts to launch discussions or to enter negotiations leading towards a settlement. In the series of studies by the Department of External Affairs, which I propose to lay on the table of the House, honorable members will see some of these matters traversed. These studies show that the Vietcong is controlled and led by the Vietnamese Communist Party, the Lao Dong Party, which is the party that forms the Government of North Vietnam; they show that the Vietcong movement is essentially a Communist movement using the organisational structure and the technique of guerrilla warfare which were evolved in the war against the French by the Vietminh which, in its turn, had drawn heavily on Chinese Communist advice, experience and training. These studies, which I shall table, also show that the National Liberation Front was established under the sponsorship of the Hanoi authorities as the instrument of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Within the Front, leadership is exercised by the People's Revolutionary Party, an avowedly Marxist party and a direct offshoot of the Vietnamese Communist Party. Membership of the two parties is interchangeable and seniority in one applies to the other and thus when Hanoi and Peking say that the National Liberation Front must have the decisive voice in a settlement in South Vietnam and that the Front's programme must be the basis of a settlement, they are in fact talking about Hanoi's own agency. These studies show, furthermore, that the Vietnamese Communist Party, in defiance of the separation of zones and administrations brought about by the Geneva Agreement, has planned consistently in terms of one Vietnamese Communist revolution. The Vietcong organisation extends from the South to Hanoi itself. Working initially through Vietnamese Communists of southern origin, the leadership in Hanoi has progressively committed considerable resources of arms, equipment, logistical support and manpower to the task of subverting and subjugating the region south of the 17th parallel, which was brought into existence at Geneva in 1954 with the agreement of all Communist countries. This is the reality. These things which are happening in Vietnam are not a civil war. This is not a civil war which would end by substituting one government for another in South Vietnam. It is a war to destroy any separate existence for South Vietnam, to impose on the South the Communist Government of the North and to unify the country solely on the terms dictated by the North. Whether or not there may have been elements of genuine anti-government sentiment in parts of South Vietnam from the beginning, the fact of the matter is that the Vietcong movement is the creature of the Vietnamese Communist Party and it shares the militant and ruthless characteristics of its parent movement centred in Hanoi. That is our assessment of the situation. What are the considerations of policy that follow from such an assessment? As I have tried to show, the National Liberation Front, the Vietcong and North Vietnam are united in the aim of destroying the nonCommunist Government of South Vietnam and achieving a unified Vietnam under a Communist system of government and society. They aim at the capture of power by force, using all the familiar techniques of terror and liquidation. Indeed, this is what has happened in North Vietnam itself, where the Communist system has been imposed on the people in its most rigorous and oppressive form. If the North were allowed to have its way the whole of Vietnam would be reunified, not by negotiation, not by the processes of free election, but by force, by aggression and by killing those who disagree with those who want to rule. What we have to ask ourselves is whether we can stand by and watch still another country brought under Communist domination by force against its will by a minority supported from an external Communist centre of power. Are we, in Australia, to have no concern about what happens to these people and to the people of the neighbouring States? We know that in virtually every South East Asian country any dissident movement, whether in existence or only in embryo, attracts Communist attention as the possible instrument for a so-called war of national liberation. We face the fact that Communist pressure throughout South East Asia is unremitting and is directed towards the overthrow of the existing economic, social and political systems of the countries of the region. What does the voice of the "Thailand Patriotic Front", so-called, say from Peking and Hanoi - not from within Thailand but from Peking and Hanoi? The programme is couched in militant Marxist terms. It calls for military action to overthrow the Thai Government. It calls for subversion and armed revolution to bring about a forcibly communised State in Thailand. Do not let us be blind to this reality and what this reality means. The truth of it. as all of us must see quite plainly, is that to condone aggression in one place is to encourage it in other places, and to fail to defend sovereign independence and territorial integrity at this time of challenge would mean that we were already weakening our ability to resist the successive challenges to these principles which would surely follow the first surrender. Your Government has not lightly asked our Australian men to enter this struggle. We have nol lightly committed the Australian people to this enterprise. We believe that this is something that Australians need to do. What is it that we are seeking to achieve in Vietnam? What are our positive aims? I submit, **Sir, that** we are seeking to deter, not to destroy. We are helping to defend the Government of South Vietnam by a combination of military operations, political support and economic assistance. {: #subdebate-34-0-s0 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK:
LP -- It is a government which has been accepted by the people of South Vietnam. In direct answer to the honorable member I put to him this plain fact: There have been successive governments in South Vietnam but no government in South Vietnam has sought power, gained power or retained power by any proposal to surrender to the Vietcong. Every government that has come to power in South Vietnam and endured there has come there on the sole principle of resisting the Vietcong and continuing this struggle. {: .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: -- Does the Minister say- {: #subdebate-34-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honorable member for Oxley who is interjecting is out of his place. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -- We are trying to help to defend the Government of South Vietnam by a combination of military operations, political support and economic assistance. In respect of the aggressor, North Vietnam, we have no military designs and purpose other than to prove that aggression will not succeed. Within the South our objective is to hold and to blunt the guerrilla offensive and make it clear to the Vietcong that they have no prospect of a victory. We want to bring about discussions to lead the way to a just and lasting peace. When we talk about discussions, let us be plain. The purpose of discussions is not just to talk for talking's sake. Discussions need to be held as a realistic approach to an eventual settlement. That settlement must serve the needs and interests of the Asian peoples themselves and ensure that they will be safe in their homes, go about their daily life in peace under the rule of governments of (heir own choice, and join in making these changes that will advance the welfare of their own kith and kin. None of those things "is it possible for them to do at the present time. We believe that neither security nor the means of social and economic development can be found without external aid and that behind any local settlement lies the need for the great powers, all of whom have interests and responsibilities in this region, to join in the necessary guarantees and to afford the necessary aids. In my speech last March I spoke about the realities of power and I reaffirm what I then said. I think it is idle and purposeless to ignore the facts of power in the world today. In that context, I also repeat our belief that, in this grim and difficult contest, the United States of America has acted with care and restraint as well as with steady resolution in discharging its high responsibilities as a great power. We have faith in the dedication of the American people to the same principles and purposes as those which we hold dear; we support them in what they are doing and as best we can we will help them do it. Saying that is by no means any surrender of our right and capacity to make our own judgments as various situations may require us to do. It is our considered judgment as the Australian Government that we should not be, indeed cannot he, neutral or non-aligned and that this is the side that we should take, both directly for our own interests and to help establish better opportunities for other small and independent people of this region. There seems no immediate prospect that the fighting will have an early end, but it is important, nevertheless, that we state our aims and hopes for the future. It seems to me that what we should envisage is a return to the Geneva Agreement of 1954. That Agreement embodied the results of discussions and negotiations between the countries immediately concerned and the great powers. It provided for a provisional partition of Vietnam pending steps towards unification by free agreement between the North and the South. It also provided for the regrouping and movement of peoples between the two areas and for a system of international inspection and reporting. South Vietnam is entitled to its own administration and its own territorial integrity; the future relationships between the South and the North are for the two parties to settle through agreement freely reached. A return to that position could be a starting point for more widely ranging negotiations aimed at establishing, with appropriate guarantees, the conditions under which the nations of South East Asia could have some reasonable confidence in their future, be relieved of the present need to divert so much of their energy to fighting, and be able, with help from their friends, to get on with the tasks of political, social and economic reconstruction, completing and consolidating the processes that brought them independence. One quieter word I should like to speak. I think we ought to recognise, too, that this struggle will test our own character in two different ways. This struggle calls for resolution and also for moderation. Perhaps one risk we must avoid - I trust that we will avoid it - is that armed hostilities might engender their own passions. We do not want that. Another risk is that in helping Asians to defend their freedom we might ourselves limit their freedom by making decisions for them. We do not want that. We oppose aggression so that Asia can be truly free and truly independent for the good of its own peoples and for the hope of lasting friendship with its neighbours for mutual benefit. During the recess, I attended ministerial meetings of S.E.A.T.O. and A.N.Z.U.S. As honorable members would expect, these two dangerous situations, in Vietnam and Malaysia, commanded the attention of ourselves and our allies in both bodies. At the S.E.A.T.O. Council meeting, which I attended in London in May, I took the opportunity to reaffirm the value we place in S.E.A.T.O., both as a deterrent to aggression and as a means of co-operation among like minded countries. I also under lined the point that S.E.A.T.O. is more than a military treaty and that the members of the organisation are making a useful contribution to the improvement of the life of the peoples of Asia. I indicated our own readiness to continue our S.E.A.T.O. aid programme. The communique which was issued by the S.E.A.T.O. Council on 5 th May reflected its continued grave concern with the dangerous situation posed by the Communist aggression against the Republic of Vietnam. The Council said that it was disturbed over evidence that the increasing infiltration of arms and combat personnel from North Vietnam into South Vietnam now includes members of the regular armed forces of North Vietnam. The Council reaffirmed the conclusion reached at its meeting in Manila the year before that the defeat of this Communist campaign against the Government and people of the Republic of Vietnam was essential not only to the security of Vietnam but to that of South East Asia as a whole. The Council noted with concern evidence of increasing Communist subversion from outside against Thailand, and particularly its north-eastern region. Determination to resist in Vietnam was linked to a like determination in respect of Thailand, which could fulfil for the Communists the role of " next target ". The Council again recognised that subversion posed a serious threat to Asian member countries and agreed to maintain measures to combat it. I must take note here of the position of France. France decided not to send a delegation to the London meeting of S.E.A.T.O. but to be represented by an observer. We regretted - and we said we regretted - this absence as it deprived us of a French contribution to the debate. France took no part in preparing the communique, and does not consider itself committed to it. The Pakistan delegation to S.E.A.T.O. reserved its position on the communique solely on the reference to Vietnam and Laos, but voiced the hope that determined efforts would be made to restore peace in the area on the basis of the Geneva Agreements. At the S.E.A.T.O. Council the United Kingdom and Australia raised also the situation arising from Indonesia's confrontation of Malaysia. In making known its concern over this situation the Council noted that certain member governments had provided both military forces and other forms of aid to assist in the defence ot Malaysia and that the strength and determination of this support had contributed materially to the stability of the area. The hope was expressed that an honorable and secure settlement would be arrived at on a basis acceptable to the Asian nations concerned. In this case the Pakistan delegation expressed its particular concern over the continuance of the Indonesian-Malaysian dispute, stressing the need to resolve it by peaceful means and to avoid anything that would aggravate the existing conflict. I should report to the House that the Council approved also the appointment of Lieutenant-General Jesus M. Vargas as Secretary-General of S.E.A.T.O. for a three year term. General Vargas is a distinguished Philippines soldier and citizen, and he has our good wishes in the appointment which he took up on 1st July. At the same time, the Council expressed appreciation of the services to S.E.A.T.O. by the retiring Secretary-General, **Mr. Konth** Suphamongkhon, who is so favourably known in Canberra and to many members of this House for his years of service in Australia. I added - I am sure with the backing of every member of this House - my warm personal endorsement of this tribute to **Mr. Suphamongkhon.** An invitation which I extended to the Council to hold its next meeting - in 1966 - in Canberra was accepted, and we look forward to the opportunity to play host to the S.E.A.T.O. Council next year as we did in 1957. At the A.N.Z.U.S. Council in Washington on 28th June, with our American and New Zealand allies, we again discussed Vietnam. We noted particularly the substantial increase in the infiltration of arms and personnel into South Vietnam from North Vietnam much of it via Laos, and that the infiltration includes identified units of the regular armed forces of North Vietnam. We also noted that the Communists regard the war in South Vietnam as a critical test of the technique of infiltrating arms and trained men across national frontiers, and reaffirmed " that the defeat of this aggression is necessary, not only to the security of South East Asia and the South West Pacific, but as a demonstration that Communist expansion by such tactics will not be allowed to succeed." The A.N.Z.U.S. Council also agreed that more intensive efforts should be made to promote the economic and social development of South East Asia. Along with the Prime Minister of New Zealand I welcomed the generous offer of the United States to contribute 1,000 million dollars to an expanded programme of economic assistance under the leadership of the Asian nations and the United Nations. This leads me to make some observations about the size, nature and purposes of the wide variety of external aid commitments in which Australia is now involved. First of all may I quote some figures revealed in the Estimates that were presented to the House last evening by my colleague, the Treasurer **(Mr. Harold Holt).** These show that total contributions by the Australian Government in overseas economic aid are to increase from a total of £48 million in 1964-65 to £51 million this financial year. This will bring the total amount of aid given by Australia in the post-war period to £467 million. {: .speaker-JOO} ##### Mr Beaton: -- Does that include New Guinea? {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr HASLUCK: -- Yes. The main components in the Estimates for 1965-66 are £6 million for multilateral aid, £8 million for bilateral aid ana £37 million for aid to Papua-New Guinea. This aid for the economic development of Asia is one of the main elements of Australian policy, and Australia can claim a good international record as an aid contributor. In recent years our toal official aid has averaged about 0.6 per cent, of our national income, making us, on this basis, Che fourth largest aid contributor. On the basis of aid per head of population, our relative position is just as high. In the course of this year, the Cabinet has considered the external aid estimates against the background of a comprehensive report prepared by an interdepartmental committee established for the purpose of informing Ministers of the nature, extent and estimated effectiveness of our external aid. Following this review, while maintaining the essential priority of Papua-New Guinea, the Government will aim at intensifying the concentration of our aid on South and South East Asia. As an immediate result of the review, Colombo Plan funds have been increased by 15 per cent, for the new financial year - from £5.2 million to £6 million. Within this increase, funds for economic development in the Colombo Plan area will increase by £700,000 and funds for technical assistance by £100,000. In the field of multilateral aid, our contribution to the international plan for development of the Indus River Basin rises this year by £600,000. An amount of £3.3 million has been estimated as our contribution for the year to the International Development Association. With £5.6 million still uncalled from our first pledge of £9 million, and with our decision to pledge a second contribution of £8.8 million over three years from November 1965, we have now undertaken to provide £14.4 million to the Association by November 1968. We have also for a long while made substantial contributions to programmes of the United Nations and its specialised agencies. In the financial year just closed, these amounted to over £4 million. In addition, there is the voluntary aid that is given by the spontaneous effort of Australian citizens. Here, I should like to pay tribute to those people who have associated themselves with voluntary aid schemes by the donation of either finance or their own services. Honorable members will recall that on 7th April of this year, as I have already mentioned, the President of the United States called for a massive programme of co-operative development in South East Asia, and undertook to ask the United States Congress for $1,000 million of additional aid funds for this purpose. The President hoped that North Vietnam would share in the benefits of such an expanded aid programme " as soon as peaceful cooperation is possible ", and he also expressed the hope that other industrialised countries, including the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, would join the United States in providing aid on an expanded scale to the countries of South East Asia. Closely associated with President Johnson's initiative is the proposal to establish an Asian Development Bank, with a capital of $1,000 million, of which $600 million would be contributed by countries in the region embraced by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, including Australia. The Australian Government will associate itself with other coun- tries, including the United States, in preliminary planning for the Bank. As my colleague, the Treasurer, recently announced in a public statement, useful exploratory discussions on the proposal have been held with members of a visiting consultative group of experts who w-r: informed that Australia's attitude to the proposal was sympathetic and positive. I may say that I wanted to give that very brief and hurried picture of external a:o to show the House that our interest in Ai.d is not simply a military interest. Before we ever had a soldier in Asia, we were doing our best to contribute technical and economic assistance to help Asia to solve its own problems. Even though the present military effort has necessarily diverted so much of our resources, we are still continuing, in various forms, this non-military aid to the countries of Asia. In conclusion, **Sir, I** have time only to refer briefly to wider aspects of Australian co-operation with the United Nations and to say something about the future prospects of the organisation itself. May I say that successive Australian Governments have tried to play a responsible and constructive part in the United Nations, to fulfil our obligations under the Charter and to uphold its principles. We will continue to do so. For the past year the main deliberative body of the United Nations - the General Assembly - has been unable to function because of the dispute over the payment of the costs of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The dispute - which I do not propose to analyse in detail at the present time - is more than a merely financial one. It has its roots in conflicting ideas about the respective functions and responsibilities of the United Nations' principal organs for preserving peace aid security. The prospect at present is that the deadlock in regard to the functioning of the General Assembly will be removed and that it will resume normal work next month. The United States Government, which is the largest contributor to the United Nations and has made immense voluntary contributions in the past as well as its assessed contributions, has announced this week that it will no longer press for the application of Article 19 to deprive (he defaulting countries of their votes. Tt has done this in the belief that a wide consensus exists among the members of the United Nations that the General Assembly should not continue to be deadlocked by this issue. The United States has made it clear that there has been no change in its previous view - in which it is fully supported by Australia - that the defaulting members of the United Nations should pay their due share of the costs of United Nations peacekeeping operations. But the United States has also indicated that if any member can in future insist on making an exception to the principle of collective financial responsibility, the United States reserves the same option to make exceptions. These moves, of course, do not mean that the basic issues that lay behind the financial crisis have in any way been solved. In the first place, the financial deficit of the United Nations still has to be liquidated. The Russians have stated in the past that if the threat to deprive them of a vote is removed they will make a " voluntary " contribution. They and other defaulters should now do this promptly and on an equitable scale. Even so, it seems likely that a substantial amount will have to be made up by the contributions of other members. But, apart from the financial question, more fundamental issues are involved. A breach will have been made in the principle of collective responsibility, particularly for peace-keeping operations which derive their authority from the General Assembly. This may have far-reaching implications for the future functioning of the Organisation. Another aspect of great interest is the fact that, if members decide not to uphold Article 19 of the Charter, the majority of the United Nations have chosen to prefer an arrangement by which the General Assembly has in effect abdicated part of its powers. This also will affect the future working of the Organisation, and in particular the relationship between the General Assembly and Security Council. These implications, which are far reaching, will require, and will receive, close study by the Government. The Australian policies that I have outlined in reference to Vietnam and Malaysia are based on our conviction of the necessity for upholding the principles contained in the United Nations Charter and trying to make them work. The regrettable but undeniable fact is, however, that as conditions are at present we cannot expect either from the Security Council or the General Assembly the kind of prompt and effective measures that are needed to deal with the sorts of emergencies that have arisen in South East Asia. In such circumstances the Charter contemplates action for regional security and for individual and collective self-defence. The purposes which we are upholding in South East Asia are the same as those of the United Nations Charter - respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the peaceful settlement of questions in dispute between nations, and avoidance of the use of force or the threat of force. I suggest that no small nation, especially those which have recently emerged to full independence and in which attempts are being made from outside to subvert them, can have any secure hope for its future in a world that does not observe these principles. I would add that the action we have taken in Vietnam has been reported by us on each occasion to the Security Council, and the United States also on each occasion has reported to the Security Council the action it has taken. As the United States Secretary of State, **Mr. Dean** Rusk, said recently - >Any workable system of world order for the foreseeable future will be a pluralistic one in which the United Nations, regional organisations, bilateral diplomacy and national defence forces play their several and sometimes mutually reinforced parts. Our own experience, in Australia, and the realities of international politics as we see them, endorse this in full measure. Australia is trying, according to our capacity and opportunity, to do its best for peace and for the security of our own land in all four ways and, with the support of the Australian people, which we are confident that we have, we will go on. I present the following papers - >Foreign Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 18th > >August 1965. Department of External Affairs Information > >Handbook No. 1 of 1965- Studies on > >Vietnam. and move - > >That the House take note of the papers. Suspension of Standing Orders. Motion (by **Mr. Hasluck)** - by leave - agreed to - >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent me Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** speaking without limitation of time. {: #subdebate-34-0-s2 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Leader of the Opposition · Melbourne -- I move - >That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof - " this House regrets statements made by the Prime Minister which disclose his Government's desire to seek a solution to the conflict in Vietnam by military means alone. The House urges the Government to strive for a ceasefire now. to be policed by a United Nations peacekeeping force, and for a conference of all parties directly involved, including representatives of both the Government in Saigon and the Vietcong, to seek a settlement which will both end the agony of the Vietnamese people and establish their right to choose their own Government." I thank the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** for his courtesy in making a copy of his speech available to m; at about 5 o'clock today. I have had an opportunity to consider it and to prepare a reply. I regret that I was not able to provide the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** with a copy of my speech before I came into the House. I think it is important, after such a long recess, that the Minister for External Affairs or the Prime Minister should make a statement on foreign affairs, that the House should proceed to debate it and that, at the earliest possible agreeable time, a vote should be taken by the House on the question submitted by the Minister that the paper be printed and on the amendment which I have had the opportunity and the honour to move. This debate comes at a momentous, troubled and ominous time in the history of this nation, and of the area of the world in which this nation is destined, we hope, to live for ever. One nation, our nearest neighbour, adopts a policy of mounting an unconcealed hostility to our greatest ally, which is Great Britain. Its Government has reiterated its intention to destroy its own nearest neighbour, and our nearest Commonwealth partner. That nation itself is threatened with dissolution from within. Meanwhile, war, cruel and apparently endless, runs its terrible and dangerous course in the cockpit of South East Asia, daily threatening to develop into the suicidal cataclysm of world nuclear war. This is the sombre background against which this debate takes place. If the present is grim, the future contains the possibilities of disaster. Our responsibilities, as the Parliament of this nation, are grave indeed. The first is to maintain and strengthen the security of Australia. The second is to use our influence to secure the adoption of policies best designed to promote the peace, stability and security of the area' in which we live. And the third is to examine the policies of the Government to discover how effective they are in achieving these two objectives which are, of course, inseparable. The Minister for External Affairs, both in his speech tonight and in his utterances outside the House, has displayed a great fondness for his world power struggle theory which I suspect derives from his desire, as an historian - and a very distinguished one- to provide a consistent and selfcontained philosophical basis for his activities and attitudes hi a Department which works in a sphere that is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. If the object of foreign affairs were to provide simple explanations for all that happens in the world, then the Minister might be able to afford the luxury of his world power struggle philosophy. But it is not the object, and he cannot afford the luxury. The purpose of foreign policy is to seek solutions in complex and confused situations - situations which certainly cannot be explained, or explained away, by the simple and misleading concept of world power struggle. What a mass of contradictions the Minister must involve himself in should he try to apply his easy generalisations to the exclusion of Singapore from the Malaysian Federation, for example; and when he applies it to the war in Vietnam, the consequences are calamitous. The Minister obviously regards himself as a hard realist, a man who recognises facts and, particularly, what he calls the facts of power. Yet he should have learnt by now that the facts and the conclusions to be drawn by accepting facts are seldom simple. As an illustration of the difficulties and self-contradictions he gets himself into by his over-simplifications - a habit he must have learnt from my friend, the arch.simplifier, the Prime Minister - let me quote an extract from the report of a Press conference he gave at Kuala Lumpur on 21st May last. He was asked if he thought Malaysia's support for South Vietnam would weigh against the Federation in the eyes of the Afro-Asian Nations. He said - >I doubt it. I would credit the Afro-Asian nations with enough perspicacity to judge the issue on its merits. There is only one issue - recognition of the sovereignty of Malaysia - and surely the Afro-Asian bloc would not say " we will only recognise the sovereignty of countries which happen to agree with some of us on policy." Sovereignty is a fact and the only issue for the Afro-Asian countries is the recognition of Malaysia as a sovereign state. Surely they are not going to dictate the policy of every nation they recognise. There the Minister has set out in all its alluring simplicity the argument for recognising the facts of sovereignty. But does he propose to follow the logic of his own argument and apply it to China? If not, why not? Or is the sovereignty of the Communist Government of China, over one quarter of the world population, not a fact? I will not traverse in detail, as the Minister has already done, the course of events which has led to Singapore's exclusion from the Federation of Malaysia. Though this development will serve President Sukarno as vindication of his confrontation policy, it cannot be said that the partial collapse of Malaysia was directly attributable to that policy. Indeed, both the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Prime Minister of Singapore have frequently stated that the common will to resist Indonesian aggression served to unite and strengthen the Federation. The external threat masked the internal dissensions. The separation of Malaysia and Singapore is so serious a matter that it cannot help Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom or Australia. It can only help Indonesia if its policy of confrontation is to continue. In such a fluid and delicate situation, I do not want to venture into the realm of phophesy as to what may happen in the existing component parts of the Federation, or in Singapore itself. But what this sudden and surprising development does make absolutely clear is that the nature of the arrangements Australia has with Malaysia are altogether inadequate and unsatisfactory. In the first debate held in this Parliament on Malaysia in September 1963, I pointed out that any number of contingencies could arise which were in no way covered by the terms of our commitment. I showed that while Australia was accepting obligations, the Government had secured no rights for us at all in our mutual relations, lt now appears that we do not even have the right of consultation, or even prior information on matters of vital significance to the commitment on which we have staked the lives of Australian soldiers. I understand that the Prime Minister of Australia was not advised in advance of the decision that Singapore should be separated from Malaysia. Yet we have our troops committed in that area, presumably to defend both parts of what was then a Federation, but is now two separate parts. In September 1963 I said - >The Government's attitude is that Australia need make no special arrangements directly with Malaysia because we are included in arrangements between Malaysia and the United Kingdom. I reject that altitude on behalf of the Labour Party. We do not accept the proposition that Britain can make arrangements on our behalf in any part of the world, without our direct approval and complete participation. We claim that right both as a full, free and equal member of the Commonwealth of Nations. If our involvement with the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve is to remain the sole basis of our association with Malaysia then the Labour Party says quite bluntly, it is not good enough. What I said at that time I think is true now. Now that we have had a striking proof of how rapidly and completely the situation can change, the force of those words, I believe, is redoubled. Far from seeking a direct, open and plain arrangement covering the presence of our troops in Malaysia, the Government has not even bothered to explain to the Australian people, or the world at large, the precise nature of our commitment and our obligations. What is now our relationship with Singapore? What happens in the event of friction between Singapore and Malaysia? What are the obligations of our forces in the event of further internal dissension between the remaining component parts or States of the Federation? What do we do in the event of some future Government of Malaysia deciding to take some sort of police action against some future Government of Singapore? These are the questions that the people of Australia are asking. They have the right to ask them, and they have the right to have answers to them. These are not vague hypothetical questions, even though I heard the Prime Minister say to the Minister for External Affairs that they are. They are posed *o-..* tale basis of real possibilities. The Menzies Government must therefore work speedily ami earnestly for a much clearer understanding with Malaysia than we have had hitherto. From my own knowledge, I can say definitely that neither the Malaysian Government nor the British Government has any objection to such a treaty. Why should the Australian Government persist in refusing to take action so clearly in Australia's own interests? We will continue to resist aggression, in the name of self-determination. But we cannot remain indifferent to internal events which threaten to make our own commitment meaningless and irrelevant. In addition, we must work for a direct arrangement with Singapore itself. Singapore, by nature of its geographical position, because of the presence of the great British base there, because of the character of its predominantly Chinese population, and because of its social and economic progressiveness, remains the linchpin to this area. It is now an independent nation, though bound very closely by new treaty arrangements to the Federation of which it was, until a week ago, an integral part. We should work for the same clear arrangement with Singapore as we need with Malaysia itself. Thirdly, the Australian Government should use its good offices with Malaysia to ensure that Singapore gets a fair deal. The decision to exclude Singapore was made by Malaysia. Now that Singapore has become independent by mutual consent, we cannot tolerate interference in her internal affairs. Trade is Singapore's life blood. Its teeming population of more than two million, confined to their tiny island of less than 300 square miles, must trade or die. We must allow to Singapore the right which we claim for ourselves - the right to trade anywhere. Our interests demand that Singapore shall be prosperous, progressive and stable. Those things can be guaranteed only if Singapore is permitted to fulfil her true role as a great trading entrepot. We will all welcome the assurances given by the Prime Minister of Singapore that the British base will remain undisturbed. Australia and Britain need that base, just as Singapore itself needs it. The British presence in Asia is essential to India, Malaysia and Australia, just as the United States presence in this area is essential to the security of the area. 1 cannot close my remarks on cue unfortunate and, in many ways, tragic situation which has developed from the exclusion of Singapore without a personal reference to Singapore's great leader, **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew. We of the Labour Party have only goodwill for all the people of Malaysia and Singapore, but we cannot fail to recognise that the democratic socialist experiment in Singapore brings a message of hope to all Asia. In its own way, the success of that experiment is as vital to Asia and Africa as the success of the Indian experiment is to the cause of democracy everywhere. In the face of frightful difficulty, **Mr. Lee** has shown how Communism can be defeated on its own ground and with its own weapons. This courageous and brilliant man has won many friends in Australia, but it is only fair that I should say on behalf of my colleagues that he has no firmer friends than those who sit on this side of the House. In his present hour of lonely leadership and bitter disappointment at the wreck of one of his dreams, I want him to know and understand this. If there is one thing that does emerge with clarity from the exclusion of Singapore from Malaysia, it is the total futility and irrelevance of the so-called domino theory as applied to South East Asia. Under, this theory, a military defeat in one area will lead automatically to the loss of the entire area. The domino theory is one of those concepts which are attractive to superficial minds because they seem to explain everything whereas in fact they explain nothing. It is similar to the theory of the downward thrust of China, and presents a dangerously deceptive view of the world situation. Theories of this sort are dangerous in that they derive from a military interpretation of essentially political, social and economic questions. What is now happening in Indonesia, what has now happened in Malaysia, and what might happen in either of those two countries in the future, cannot be understood and explained by some theory or other about Chinese military expansion. To base policies on such concepts is dangerous indeed, because they ignore complex political and economic factors and inevitably lead to a disastrous reliance on military measures alone to solve problems which are not primarily military in their origin or nature. I have frequently pointed out that the Prime Minister's love of over-simplification, whatever it may yield in political dividends, has consistently led him into grave and gross errors in foreign affairs. On every major question of foreign policy since he formed his first Ministry, he has made wrong judgments based on his frightening propensity for over-simplification. On his early attitude to Hitler's Germany, on Dutch colonialism, on French colonialism, on Indian independence, on Suez, on summit meetings, on South Africa, he has used precisely the same sort of language as he is using today on Vietnam; and on all those issues I feel that he has been proved wrong. We have waited, and waited in vain, for an adequate explanation from the Prime Minister of his Government's policy on Vietnam. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies: -- Well, well. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- I repeat my asseveration: We have waited, and waited in vain, for an adequate explanation from the Prime Minister of his Government's policy on Vietnam. If he understands it himself - and I must assume he does - then he has done nothing to enable the people of Australia to understand it. We have waited, and waited in vain, for one word of compassion for the people of Vietnam in their agony, one word that would show that he thought and felt something beyond, something deeper than, his futile simplifications and easy catch-phrases. Let us look at the questions that Australians are asking about this war, and the answers that the Prime Minister, as spokesman for the Government, has given them. He is the most distinguished spokesman for the Government. I do not know what the Liberal Party will ever do without him. The descent from the right honorable gentleman to the next man on his side fc, indeed, precipitous. It is like jumping over The Gap. I ask: Why are we at war in Vietnam? " Because ", says the Prime Minister, " Vietnam is the frontier of freedom ". What are we going to do in Vietnam? "We are going", says the Prime Minister, " to keep banging away at the Vietcong". What are our long-term objectives in Vetnam? "Oh", says the Prime Minister, " let us win first ". There we have the three pillars of the Government's policy, as expressed by the Prime Minister, respectively, in a speech in this Parliament, a speech at a London banquet, and a speech at a recent Press conference in Canberra. These matters do not concern this Government, I am sorry to say. I ask honorable members to listen to this undenied report of a statement by the Minister for the Navy **(Mr. Chaney),** as published in the Melbourne "Age" on 1.4th July. The " Age " is about the second last journal of record that functions as a newspaper in Australia. The report stated - > **Mr. Chaney** said that South Vietnamese Governments were like football committees and coaches. He said: If you win matches you say the committee and coach of your club are okay. If you lose, you get rid of them. That, incidentally, is from the speech which the Minister for the Navy made to the Western Australian University Liberal Club and in which he was reported as justifying the use of torture against the Vietcong. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- No. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- Let the Minister say how true it was; I do not know. I certainly hope it was not true, but one never knows how far one should follow these newspaper reporters around. I think that the Minister for the Navy is a very kindly person, and I hope that he will say that he was completely misreported. {: .speaker-N76} ##### Sir Robert Menzies: -- That is why the honorable member quotes the Minister for the Navy as having said it. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- No, it is not. I just read it, and I have not had a chance to discuss it with the Minister for the Navy. When the Prime Minister criticises the Australian Labour Party, he sometimes does not bother to check what he reads in the newspapers. The only defence that can be advanced on behalf of the Minister for the Navy is that his own views on Vietnam have all the superficiality of those of the Prime Minister and other people. I hope that the Minister will have his say later. This war, in which governments are like football coaches and in which our object is to keep banging away, is also supposed to be, according to the Prime Minister, a great moral crusade. Where, then, is the morality of their own approach and attitudes? This Government, which preaches the doctrine of the great moral crusade, presumably against China, has made that same China Australia's fourth trading partner. That trade is carried on in materials that are clearly of strategic importance. I do not criticise that trade, for I do not preach the doctrine of the moral crusade. But the insincerity of a Government which does preach it should be exposed for all to see. What then is our position? We burn down the homes of the Vietnamese, because we are defending their homeland. We prop up regimes of varying degrees of corruption, because we are defending the right of the Vietnamese to choose their own government. We propose to send conscripts to fight in a foreign land - we now propose to increase the number - because we are defending certain Vietnamese from certain other Vietnamese. We are driving North Vietnam right into the arms of China, because we are resisting the power of China. Do none of these terrible questions occur to the minds of members of the Government and its supporters. In the face of these questions, can they so easily satisfy their consciences and their intellects with the grandiloquent slogans of the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister says that we are going to keep banging away until we win, and until we win we need not bother about long term policy. What does he mean by winning? How does he define victory? Does he mean the total destruction of the Viet Cong? Does he mean the destruction of the Communist regime in Hanoi? Does he believe that these objectives are remotely capable of achievement or, indeed, are desirable things to achieve? If this is not what he means by winning, what does he mean? The Prime Minister maintains that we are at war, but he refuses to define Australia's war aims. He accepts that conscripts will be called upon to fight in Vietnam, but he gives no indication as to what they are expected to achieve or how long it will take them to achieve whatever it is they are supposed to be trying to achieve. Slogans and catch phrases may satisfy members of this Government and its supporters, no matter how demonstrably false the slogans themselves may be. But the soldiers of Australia, and the mothers of Australia, and all the Australian people deserve and demand something more. Never before in our history has a military commitment been entered into so casually by a government. We had the example of today's statement, which in perfunctory fashion increases our commitment by a third. Yesterday we had the admission of the Prime Minister that he did not really know, he could not be sure, he could not be expected to remember, whether our original commitment to the Vietnamese Government had been agreed to in an exchange of letters between himself and **Dr. Quat,** as Prime Ministers. admitted ". the Prime Minister could hardly be expected to know which of the nine recent Prime Ministers of South Vietnam might have been temporarily in charge at the time, or whether the commitment was made at the ambassadorial level. So, bit by casual bit, we accept wider commitment and, apparently, endless involvement in an Asian land war which in any meaningful sense of the word cannot be won and in which the Government does not even dare adequately to define our aims. The Government has made it clear that it is satisfied to rely on military me;'ns alone to end this conflict. The Minister for External Affairs tonight has given a certain gloss to Government policy, but that is what it really comes to. Such a course will surely lead to disaster. We read this morning of a threat by President Sukarno that he might send volunteers, so called, to Vietnam. This disturbing news points to several different things, but above all it illustrates the ease with which the war in Vietnam could escalate into global war. We are rapidly reaching the stage - perhaps we have already reached it - where the course of this war will be beyond the control of any group or nation. But Australia's action, insofar as we can influence the course of this war, should be designed to reduce the inherent risk of the conflict becoming greater. Our action should be aimed at seeking a comprehensive cease fire and a conference of all the parties directly involved. This is the essential precondition to any solution of the problem. {: .speaker-KAR} ##### Dr Gibbs: -- Tell us how. {: .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL: -- It is the Government's responsibility. Honorable members opposite are trying to laugh that statement oft. In doing so they display the same mental condition as did their predecessors in this Parliament at the outbreak of World War II. The objectives of our policy should be to obtain a suspension by the United States of bombing attacks on North Vietnam. We should work to secure a North Vietnamese undertaking to prevent the movement of any military forces or material to South Vietnam. We should work for a total cease fire on all sides to enable a conference to be convened. That was the purpose of the recent Prime Ministers' Conference in London, to which the Prime Minister of Australia very rightly gave his support. The purpose of such a conference should be, principally, to end the war in Vietnam and, ultimately, to secure the withdrawal of all foreign military presence from Vietnam and the neutralisation of the area, to establish an international peace force to safeguard the peace of Vietnam and protect minorities - Buddhist, Catholic or otherwise - and to establish principles for the eventual unification of the country through free and internationally supervised elections. I wonder whether the honorable members for Mackellar **(Mr. Wentworth),** Chisholm **(Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes),** Moreton **(Mr. Killen),** Corangamite **(Mr. Mackinnon),** Higinbotham **(Mr. Chipp)** and Latrobe **(Mr. Jess)** object to these principles? I wonder whether they think these principles are pro-Communist? If they do, they will have to work it out with the Prime Minister, because, while these views coincide with what the Labour Party has been saying ought to be done in Vietnam, they are in fact taken almost verbatim from the Statement of Guidance issued in the communique of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. The Prime Minister has put his name to them. But he has not given his mind, his heart or his energies to securing their adoption. To be fair, the Minister tonight gave a far more ample and sophisticated statement of our supposed aims than anything previously vouchsafed to us. He did try to emphasise the importance of economic aid and social progress in meeting the challenge of Communism. It is incredible that we should have waited since April for an expression of Government support for President Johnson's Baltimore announcement of a billion dollar aid programme for South East Asia. Nonetheless, we of the Labour Party welcome the assurance of practical support that has been given tonight. But while the general tone of the Minister's speech was far superior to anything we have had from other members of the Government, it is clear that he still refuses to recognise the nature of the war in Vietnam and, fundamentally, is still committed to a policy of reliance on military means for its solution. His analysis of the war was deliberately framed to accentuate the role of North Vietnam and to deny the civil war aspects of the conflict. He made no concessions whatsoever to the nationalist element in the Vietcong, and I believe he was completely inaccurate - I hope not deliberately so - in his estimate of the genuine control the Vietcong exercises over two thirds of South Vietnam - a control exercised with or without outside aid. There can be no settlement until these things are recognised. Thus, despite the more sophisticated tone of the Minister's speech, the basic assumptions - the false assumptions about the nature of this war and the role of the Vietcong - on which Government policy is based remain the same, and the results of that policy will be as barren and futile as ever. How wonderfully simple and straightforward the Government likes to make the situation, and how woefully inadequate its views are as a basis for action. Apparently it is not necessary for this Government to reflect that what Australia chooses - what the Australian Government chooses - to call its " frontier of freedom " is in fact the homeland of 14 million people with a national history stretching back to the very dawn of European civilisation itself. This Government is apparently not concerned with the fact that the Government of South Vietnam - the Government at whose request allegedly we are acting - has long lost control over nearly 80 per cent, of South Vietnam; that it is heartily despised by a huge proportion of the non-Communist population, and that it is led by a person who is on record as saying that his hero is Adolf Hitler. Nor is the Government disturbed that the Vietcong itself is as much nationalist as it is Communist, or that it includes large numbers of professing Catholics. There was the case, for instance, of a student who attempted to assassinate the then American Ambassador - I think it was Henry Cabot Lodge - two years ago. The student, who was a Catholic, asked for and received the last rites of his church before he was executed. No secular or religious newspaper anywhere in Australia has mentioned this fact. I learnt the story from " Commonweal ", to which I subscribe, and which is a United States weekly newspaper edited and controlled by Catholic laymen. These are facts that point to a situation far different from anything the Prime Minister, the Minister for External Affairs, or the Australian Press have described. These are the facts about the war to which Australia is committed and to which this very day our commitment has been further increased. The Minister for the Army **(Dr. Forbes)** has pointed to the certainty that Australian conscripts will be sent to Vietnam as the Australian commitment grows and the war lengthens and widens. The Government increasingly turns its face to war, and does nothing to promulgate the fine sentiments we heard from the Minister tonight. The people of Asia generally will not read anything said in this House tonight. They will be aware only that Australia has again declared itself in favour of seeking a solution by military means alone. And while we will insist that it is really our homes we are defending, all that the wretched people of Vietnam will know is that it is their homes our soldiers, the American soldiers and all the others engaged in this war are burning. Let us pause before it is too late. Let this House declare its recognition that the conflict cannot be settled by military means, and express the determination of Australia to seek the kind of settlement I have outlined in the way I have outlined. Let rhetoric give way to reason, let slogans give way to sanity and let humbug give way to the cries of suffering humanity. {: #subdebate-34-0-s3 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is the amendment seconded? {: .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: -- I second the amendment and reserve my right to make my remarks at a later stage. {: #subdebate-34-0-s4 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER:
Bradfield .- The Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell)** has stated some quite unexceptionable things. He is in favour of peace: We are all in favour of peace. He would like to have a conference to settle this matter, 1 think to the satisfaction of us all. The only difficulty is that however unexceptionable his objectives may be they are not attainable at the present lime, and the Leader of the Opposition knows it. The Australian Labour Party, unfortunately, suffers from a kind of schizophrenia - a sort of split personality - and it is therefore not surprising that the Leader of the Opposition has been somewhat unclear in his objectives. This is a matter of regret. I do not rejoice in it; there is no reason for Australia to rejoice in it, but it is unhappily a fact. What is the attitude of the Opposition to the problems of Malaysia and the problems of Vietnam? The Opposition should surely put forward an alternative policy. It is no use the Opposition simply criticising aspects of alleged failures of Government policies - matters that have no connection with one another or with this issue - without putting forward a constructive policy of its own. So I tried to determine from the speech of the honorable gentleman, what was the attitude of the Labour Party to, say, Malaysia. The Leader of the Opposition spoke of the necessity for a formal agreement. He said that there should have been an agreement and no loose arrangements. If ever there was a clear case where a precise agreement would have come to nought it is this case. The Malaysian Federation has been partly dissolved and any special agreement that we had had with the Federation would have been thrown into confusion. So, in the circumstances that have arisen, a flexible attitude to the Malaysian problem is quite clearly the right one. We must see how the situation develops and determine what our attitude may be. We hope that Singapore and the remaining members of the Malaysian Federation will recognise their common interest in defence against confrontation from Indonesia. This, 1 imagine, is what we would seek to promote. Surely we should with flexible minds watch the situation as it develops. That is a clearcut attitude to the matter and, as I understood it, it is what the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** said. However, I have gained no clear idea as to what is the attitude of the Opposition. Does the Opposition still speak of an agreement with Singapore and Malaysia? What does the Opposition propose to do about this matter? Of course, it does not help at all in these circumstances to support one party to a quarrel against another party. If a husband and wife are quarreling, the worst thing in the world to do is to take sides. If one wishes to reconcile them, he must recognise that usually there are some faults on both sides. There is no help, therefore, in the attitude adopted by the Leader of the Opposition in this matter. 1 must not occupy too much time with the question of Malaysia. The situation must be watched and it is our hope that the peoples concerned will see their common interest. We must promote this aim as diplomatically as we may. I shall pass now to the problem of South Vietnam. Again I sought to discover from the honorable gentleman's speech what is his attitude and what is the policy of the Labour Party in respect to Vietnam. It is all very well to have a little bit of fun about the domino theory being attractive to superficial minds. No doubt that is why it appeals to me. It is all very well to say that the Minister is an historian and therefore his idea of the world struggle for power must be wrong. The truth is that one does observe a world struggle for power. Surely this has been the history of the period since the war. The question remains: What is the Labour Party's attitude to Vietnam? The Leader of the Opposition said that military means alone cannot solve the problem. I was rather interested in this statement, because when my friend, the honorable member for Gippsland **(Mr. Nixon)** and I were in Saigon about five or six weeks ago, we were concerned to inquire as to how far economic means could win the hearts and minds of the people of Vietnam. Indeed, the President of the United States already had made an offer to spend no less than $1,000 million on economic aid to South East Asia, including North Vietnam. My friend and I made this inquiry of those who were concerned with economic and social means of aiding the people of South Vietnam and were informed that no fewer than 33 nations were assisting, mainly in social and economic fields. The resources for this purpose were more than could be used because the security situation was so bad that it was not possible to use all the resources available. If anybody supposes that the Government of South Vietnam, supported W 31 nations including the United States of America, is not aware of the desirability of promoting economic improvement, he is completely wrong and I hope that the proposition will not be repeated. The aim may indeed be to bring about a cease fire. Various people have tried to achieve this end. Really, I am tired of citing the attempts made. I shall refer now to a document entitled " Studies on Vietnam ", produced by our Department of External Affairs. The document states that the United Nations has done all it could. U Thant, Secretary-General of the United Nations, wanted to visit Peking and Hanoi but he was not welcome. The United Kingdom Labour Government has done all it could, in keeping with Britain's position as co-chairman of the 1954 Geneva Conference. **Mr. Gordon** Walker sought to visit Peking and Hanoi but he was not received. President Johnson offered to negotiate without pre-conditions. U Thant supported President Johnson's offer. An initiative was taken by Canada. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers sought to bring about a conference to solve the problem of Vietnam. **Mr. Harold** Davies, a minor Minister in the British Government and a friend of people in Hanoi, tried to do something about the situation, but without success. Earlier even than these efforts, the 17 nonaligned nations had made an approach. The President of India suggested that there should be a policing of the boundary between North and South Vietnam by an Afro-Asian force. The suggestion was rejected. President Tito made a separate approach. What does all this mean? lt means that it is not possible to do the simple thing that the Leader of the Opposition is talking about; that is, at this stage to settle the Vietnam problem peacefully by a conference. I do not know where the Leader of the Opposition obtains his material, but he repeated tonight that the war in South Vietnam is just a civil war and that two thirds of the country is controlled by the Vietcong. I shall turn to a little geography. In North and South Vietnam about 30 million people live, and all except *li* million of them live in 20 per cent, of the territory; that is, in the area along the coast. The remaining *li* million people live in the other 80 per cent, of the territory, in the par' presumably alleged to be under the control of the Vietcong. Of that area, 40 per cent, is jungle and the rest of it is bush. If honorable members look at a map and see a big area coloured to denote that it is under the control of the Vietcong, they should understand that this means very little indeed. I should like to examine the question of whether it is a civil war in Vietnam. We cannot inquire of each Vietcong soldier whether he is a nationalist or a Communist or why he is serving with the Vietcong, but there are various indications whether the struggle is a civil war. I think it is undisputed that the Vietcong has about 45,000 regular combat troops, from a country of about 15 million people. The Vietcong has also about 15,000 rear support troops and between 80,000 and 100,000 irregular troops. The total force is thus about 160,000 in a country with a population of about 15,000,000. Recruitment is largely done by terror. It is easily understood that if the Vietcong can range at large in the back country among the villages and hamlets, if it wishes to recruit people it has the means of inducing their compliance. But no leading political figure ir South Vietnam has joined the Vietcong; not one. There is no support for the Vietcong in the towns and cities, and there are 46 provincial capitals in South Vietnam, besides many towns. It is clear that where most of the population lives, the Vietcong has no support. Not a single provincial capital has been captured by the Vietcong and in those capitals there is no Vietcong fifth column, either. Naturally, the people of South Vietnam would have some notion of the type of regime in North Vietnam. Reports filter down to South Vietnam and it is fairly certain that an authoritarian regime would not have much appeal to rural people. Early this year 400,000 refugees left the areas that are subject to intimidation and terror by the Vietcong and retired to the safety that was provided by the Government of South Vietnam. It does not seem as though they were very friendly to the Vietcong in the area subject to depredation by that force, when 400,000 people left the area. On 30th May this year provincial and municipal elections were held, at which 3,412,000 people voted. That number is half the total adult population of the south. Many of them voted despite intimidation by the Vietcong. This does not look like strong support for the Vietcong. None of the turbulent groups in South Vietnam - the Catholics, the Buddhists, the Cao Dai or the Hoa Hao - has made overtures to the Vietcong. None of those groups struggling for power has sought to bring in the Vietcong as an ally. Changes of government in Vietnam have been bloodless coups, adjustments and reshuffles of various groups. The honorable member for Gippsland and I met the Premier, Air-Marshall Ky and three leading members of the Government - General Thieu, General Chieu and **Dr. Do.** We felt quite certain that these were sincere and patriotic men. We might doubt whether in chaotic political conditions they would be able to steer through the rapids but we did not doubt for a moment that they were patriotic and devoted men. The South Vietnamese army has suffered enormous casualities - 80,000 since 1954, including 26.000 killed. On a relative population basis those casualties would be equivalent to 2,000,000 Americans killed. I say without hesitation that an army that accents casualties of this order has its heart in the job. The Vietcong are said to control certain areas. What is meant by the term control? If you can concentrate a force, enter a village, cut the throats of the public officials in the village - because this is a matter of deliberate policy - and then move out or be pushed out, is that control? The Vietcong are said to exercise control through taxation. Is the taxation levied on a proper basis according to means or income? Do the people on whom taxes are levied have a say in how the taxes are to be spent? To call this taxation is nonsense. This kind of thing has been done since the beginning of time. It is simply a matter of living off the country - stealing a few fowls or whatever is wanted and dignifying the actions with the name of taxation. It is suggested that this means control over an area. Let us consider some of the groups in South Vietnam. There are H million Catholics devoted to the South Vietnamese cause. Why would they not be devoted to it, since half of them fled from the north and the terrors inflicted by the Communist North Vietnamese Government when it took control? At that time 50,000 people were killed - murdered or massacred - by the North Vietnamese. The CommanderinChief of the Army in North Vietnam, General Giap, has stated that th? north made the mistake - in his view it was worse than a crime; it was a blunder - of killing 50,000 people in North Vietnam. No wonder the people of South Vietnam are prepared to fight to the last in order to avoid a similar fate. The Hoa Hao represent million people in South Vietnam. They are as devoted to the South Vietnamese cause as are the Catholics. What about the Buddhists, who represent a large element of the population? {: .speaker-KJO} ##### Mr James: -- Seventy per cent. {: .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr TURNER: -- AH right, 70 per cent. On 12th April 1965 the powerful Buddhist Association of Saigon stated - >For more than a century Buddhism suffered many calamities created by the colonialists and local dictators, who sought to eradicate the people's traditional faith, but all those dangerous plots failed. However, those dangerous facts have not completely disappeared but are developing at present in insecure areas in the countryside and are seriously threatening the faith. It is the danger of communist dictatorship. The Buddhist Association prays for the liberation of the nation and the religion from control and subversion by the Communists. I hope that my friends opposite will not continue to repeat the misstatement that has been put into their mouths by people who are perverting the truth. What is the war aim as far as the Government is concerned? This has been made abundantly clear by the Minister and by the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies).** It is alleged that the Prime Minister has said that what we must first do is win the war. Naturally, the Prime Minister was emphasising that before honorable members engage in airy fairy talk about conferences and cease fires - before they talk about what they will do ultimately - they must keep their eyes on the ball on the fact that the war must be won. This is where the war is being fought and it is being fought now. The war aim is perfectly obvious. It is to ensure that the people of Vietnam are not enslaved by an attack from the north. The aim is to ensure that small people shall survive. It is the same aim as we have in Malaysia. There is no secret about it; it is obvious. These are small nations and we fight (hat they shall survive. Why do - e do this? I concede that there is an element of selfishness in our actions, but this does not mean that they are cot altruistic also. We, too, are a small nation. We see the march of Communism in Asia, lt must te blocked wherever it is. This is why we are in Vietnam and Malaysia. These are small nations under threat. We too are a small nation. We recognise the power struggle that is going on in the world. ?r the Opposition fails to observe this power struggle I can only say that it is completely blind or is deliberately putting its head in the sand. Time will not allow me to deal with a number of other aspects. Following the Leader of the Opposition as I did, I had to deal with a number of matters tha: he raised. I had hoped to mention some other matters. I do emphasise, however, that to represent the war in Vietnam as not only a civil war but an isolated war far from our shores is a complete perversion of the truth. After all, the distance between Darwin and Saigon is no greater than the distance between Darwin and Melbourne. We are fighting to protect small nations so that they may enjoy their independence. We are fighting for small nations like ours which in the long run must come under threat unless we stand with them now and with our great allies in this area - the Americans and the British. If we do not stand with them we are lost. Any independence we might hope to have under the Labour policy would be that enjoyed by Tito from Soviet Russia. It is not the destiny that I would hope for the Australian people. {: #subdebate-34-0-s5 .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
Monaro · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honorable member for Bradfield **(Mr. Turner)** in an extremely able speech has cited with approval the efforts that many governments have made to achieve a cease fire and a just settlement in Vietnam. I think he cited in all the efforts of 12 or 13 governments. He did not refer to any such effort by the Australian Government. Of course he did not, because there has not been such an effort. Alone of all the Commonwealth countries and the other countries deeply concerned in this matter the Australian Government has not made any effort to bring about a cease fire and a just settlement. The honorable member's statement is complete justification for the Opposition's amendment, which simply seeks that the Government will lend its voice and will strive for a cease fire and a just settlement. No view of the struggle in Vietnam is realist unless it is seen in the light that men can engage in war today in Vietnam or elsewhere only at the peril of the destruction of mankind itself. The glare in which thousands of people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki lit up this turning point in history. We have had a dread reminder of it earlier this month in the 20th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of those Japanese cities. The Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** must know this even as he urges military victory as one means of imposing a settlement in Vietnam. He knows - we all know - that stepping up the war and extending it in Vietnam is done, whether justifiably or not, at the risk of extending it into a nuclear war. Moreover, any settlement now imposed by military victory, even if military victory were possible, can always be challenged later by nuclear weapons. Military victory today is meaningless as a means of settling international problems. The only solution that nuclear war can provide is the final solution - the end of human life upon this planet. The conflict in Vietnam, while it continues, is a powerful incentive to more nations to hurry to acquire nuclear armament for themselves. Today five rations are making the bomb and others are learning fast. At least eight other nations are already capable of moving quickly into the nuclear weapons field whenever they choose to do so. Today's bombs, of course, make those of 1945 seem like penny crackers. The horrible conflict in Vietnam is hastening the spread of nuclear weapons. What would any Asian country think when it sees American planes raining bombs on North Vietnam targets while the North Vietnamese are helpless to respond in kind? {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- This is a sad story. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is a fact. The Americans are able to rain bombs on North Vietnam and the North Vietnamese are not able to respond in kind. Asian countries seeing this might surmise, and I think correctly, that America would not thus be bombing North Vietnam if North Vietnam were a nation with the power of massive nuclear retaliation. The lesson for North Vietnam from her bombed cities and installations is plain. It is not to love and honour the Americans and to meet them in a friendly way at the conference table; it is a lesson to harbour hatred and revenge and to try to acquire nuclear weapons and the power to deliver them as soon as possible. Small nations cannot possibly match the great powers in conventional armaments. But nuclear bombs are quite cheap. The United States Atomic Energy Commission estimates the cost of a two megaton bomb as £270,000. The lesson that is being taught in Vietnam today to other countries is either to get under the umbrella of one of the existing nuclear powers or to acquire nuclear destructive power for themselves. The Australian Government seeks to discourage other nations from acquiring nuclear weapons and at the same time hopes that we ourselves will be able to shelter under the American nuclear umbrella. We try to laugh off President Sukarno's announcement that Indonesia will produce nuclear weapons, but we know it is inevitable in the present situation that Indonesia will seek to become a nuclear power, perhaps by acquiring weapons from China until she can manufacture them herself. Those who denounce Indonesia for this include Government supporters who at the same time have urged the nuclear bombing of China now before China acquires the power to develop and deliver nuclear bombs. They are the very same people on the Government benches who are bringing pressure on the Government to arm Australia with nuclear weapons. They are the very same people who denounced any plans to obtain agreement against nuclear armament amongst the countries of this area. They support plans for a nuclear free South America and a nuclear free Africa, but they declare it impossible in this area and do their best to make *k* impossible. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- How about getting back to Vietnam? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- This is very close to Vietnam. When a man is bound to the rails with the express due soon or late, he is in a pretty desperate situation. That is where humanity is today. There are those who try to help and those who sneer and declare that it is impossible. It may prove to be impossible, but I would rather be among those trying to avert the tragedy. What shall de done in Vietnam? Here .here is obviously a fundamental difference of attitude between the Government and the Opposition. By the Government 1 mean the Prime Minister because, despite his modest disclaimers, he is the Government of this country. He knows it. All his Ministers know it. Every member of the Government parties knows it. It is a lesson they dare not for a moment forget. The Government's attitude, as expressed by the Prime Minister in his own words, is: " No negotiation, keep banging away for victory, let us win first and think afterwards. I credit the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** with knowing that this attitude is hopeless and fatal. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- It does not even exist. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I have quoted the Prime Minister's words. The tragedy of the speech of the Minister for External Affairs tonight was its demonstration that he dare not speak out what he personally believes. Australia is saddled with a reactionary attitude which is rejected by every other Commonwealth Prime Minister. It is rejected in America by leading members of the Democratic Party and it does not even represent the view of President Johnson. In London, for example, the Prime Minister - and I say this to the Minister for External Affairs - gave his adherence to the resolution of the Prime Ministers' Conference and then went outside and contradicted it. {: .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck: -- That is completely false. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Here is his statement if the Minister wishes to read it. But this sad failure of a noble mind was shown most extraordinarily at the Prime Minister's recent Press conference on his return from overseas. No dictator ever commanded a greater coverage for his remarks which were reported verbatim on television, radio and Press alike. But not once during the whole of that hour-long interview did the Prime Minister condescend to a reasoned answer to any of the doubts raised in Australia about his Government's policy. To clergy and academics alike, and to everyone who had dared to express an opposing view, the reply was dismissal with a sneer. To the assembled journalists he showed a patronising indifference which I thought was not undeserved for I have never seen more tamecat interviewers. I have referred to the unnatural and artificial unity in the Government ranks on this matter. I think that among thinking Australians there is a considerable difference of opinion as to the course that should be pursued. There is considerable concern and worry, and that is the position in the Australian Labour Party. I would not pretend for a moment that the attitude of every member of the Australian Labour Party is the same as to the correctness of the facts of this issue, the correctness of the interpretation to be placed on those facts or the degree of the action to be taken, but every member of the Australian Parliamentary Labour Party is in agreement on the proposition that military victory in this situation is impossible as a means of obtaining a just settlement. They agree that an attempt must be made as quickly as possible to obtain a cease-fire, to institute a peace keeping operation by a United Nations police force and a conference of the parties concerned in an endeavour to bring about a situation in which the agony of the Vietnamese people will be ended and they will have an opportunity to choose their own form of government. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Where is this United Nations police force that the honorable member is talking about? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- We should urge this course in every country of the world. The honorable member asks where is the peace keeping force. Let him ask the Prime Minister because that is the resolution of the Prime Ministers' Conference. Let the Prime Minister of this country who voted for that resolution express his support for it in this Parliament to our friends and allies everywhere. Let the honorable member who has just interjected lend his support to this proposition. We value American friendship. We value the American alliance. So we should. It is of crucial importance to us, but, of course that does not bind us to silence when we disagree with American policy. On the contrary it is that very fact which commands us to speak out. We should be America's ally, but we injure both America and ourselves when, as now, we become America's satellite. If our friend and ally is on the wrong course, are we not involved also, and should we not say so? If America is injured and weakened, are we not also weakened? If our friend is hated, does not some of that hatred rub off on us? Of course it does. At this moment America bids to become the most hated nation in Asia and we, who could have claimed to be the most liked, bid to become the second most hated nation in Asia, with one almighty difference - that America can get out but we cannot; we must continue to live with Asia. If America fails in South East Asia, a turn of the political tide may within years restore isolationism in Washington. How will we fare then, if we stand alone in Asia, confronted by hatred instead of goodwill? The point I make is that we cannot commit the future of this country to America and give up thinking and deciding for ourselves. That is a craven abnegation of our role as a free and independent nation. Sooner or later we will wake to realise that we must take our own responsibility for the policies that we follow and for the actions that we perform. Perhaps it will not be too late when we do wake up to that realisation. So I say again: America as an ally but not as an overlord, Australia as an ally of America but not as a satellite, and the utmost free discussion in Australia of the best policies for Australia. These are the imperatives for our own safety and well being and unless we can safeguard those things for ourselves how can we pretend that we can command them for the people of Vietnam? In short, the lackadaisical belief that we can leave our future to America is incorrect. We cannot abjure our own responsibility to history. Therefore, we ought to turn to the facts of the current situation in Vietnam. Surely the chief of those facts is that the American policy of stepping up the war and carrying it into North Vietnam has failed in its announced object of shortening the conflict. That was the announced object of the Americans in adopting that policy. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- That is your opinion, is it not? {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- That was their statement to the Security Council. Air strikes on North Vietnam have now proceeded for over six months with increasing intensity and ever closer to China, but they have not brought either North Vietnam or China apparently any nearer to the conference table. Perhaps we can understand that. Bombs on Darwin did not encourage us to negotiate for peace and the hellish rain of fire and death and destruction on London simply steeled the British people to fight for total victory. I know that there are those among the right thinking who would regard it as akin to blasphemy to compare the subhuman Vietnamese Communists with the magnificent British people. Well, I am reminded of a cartoon in the " Australian " newspaper. It showed two Australian soldiers struggling through the jungle and one saying: " Twenty years from now, when the Indonesians and the Chinese are no longer baddies, I wonder who we will be fighting then. Who will be the enemy?" That cartoon portrays a truth. The Japanese and the Germans are now our friends and allies. Though their rulers have changed, the peoples have not. The Russians, who were once our gallant allies, became for a time evil and brutal, and now have been white washed again. The Chinese, who, the other day, were our heroic allies, are now unspeakable. I do not think that the Communists will cease for a moment in their endeavours to establish the Communist system throughout the world. But I know that the battle for the minds of men cannot be won with a sword or a bomb. It must be won by the power of a better idea. That does not deny the need for military measures, but it does require that the better idea must be expressed fully, not only in words but in deeds, by those who espouse it. 1 certainly would not want to see the Americans accede to North Vietnam's precondition for negotiations that the Americans must first walk out of Vietnam, leaving that country to be over-run at once. I do not know anyone who does. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- Jim Cairns. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- That is a lie. {: #subdebate-34-0-s6 .speaker-KIH} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock: -- Order! I ask the honorable member for Reid to withdraw that remark. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- 1 withdraw it. {: .speaker-JWU} ##### Mr Allan Fraser:
EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Whether America should ever have gone in there is one thing, but to walk out now in breach of all the guarantees America has given would make America a by-word in Asia and would mean liquidation of many good, decent Vietnamese who have trusted America's word. But, equally, to extend further the anguish and suffering of the South Vietnamese themselves seems an unbearable price for them to pay for retaining a democratic sham in South Vietnam and a government which they did not appoint, and which they do not want, anyway. All war is horrible, but the accounts which newspaper correspondents are cabling of the burning of villages, the shooting of women and the taking prisoner of children must harrow us all, whether these acts are performed by people fighting on one side or the other. If that is so, then it is obvious how these deeds, when performed on our side, are being pictured in Asian eyes to show us as brutal ii perialist aggressors. American air strikes in North Vietnam, inevitably killing innocent people and destroying roads, bridges and factories, must cause the Americans particularly to be branded in this category. Since the object has failed, and the harm to our cause as well as to the people of North Vietnam is so great, surely the call to suspend these operations must be heeded. There is much more which I could say and which I would like to say, but my time has expired. {: #subdebate-34-0-s7 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Towards the end of the remarks of the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, the honorable member for Reid interjected, and I immediately asked for and received from the honorable member a withdrawal of his interjection. I did not then proceed with the matter any further because the honorable member for Eden-Monaro was nearing the end of his speech. However, I feel that the honorable member for La Trobe made a remark concerning an honorable member of this House who is not present tonight which should be withdrawn and I ask the honorable member for La Trobe to withdraw it. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- Could I just state- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- This statement was made at the Melbourne Technical College last Wednesday afternoon. I will withdraw the remark if you like, but the statement was certainly made. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: -- Order! I ask the honorable member for La Trobe to withdraw the interjection which he made. {: .speaker-KKB} ##### Mr Jess: -- I withdraw it. {: #subdebate-34-0-s8 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr ROBINSON:
Cowper .- In this debate the reality of Australia's participation both in Malaysia and South Vietnam, where our own Australian forces are in combat, is, quite naturally, our first consideration. Our own men are serving a cause which can properly be described as involving Australia's destiny. The Minister for External Affairs **(Mr. Hasluck)** tonight gave an exposition of Australia's part in this vital problem which confronts us not so very far to the north of this country. The future of every Australian will depend on the degree to which the antiCommunist front holds firm, and this in turn will depend on the convictions and dedication of the components of that front, which include ourselves. It has been quite amazing this evening to hear the proposition put forward by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Calwell).** What he suggests is the immediate withdrawal of our participation in the combat; the immediate withdrawal of our support for the United States of America in a task that has been undertaken in the interests of the security of the free world. We are discussing this situation at a time when the separation of Singapore from Malaysia is foremost in our minds. We think of Singapore as the corner stone of Britain's Far East defences and, of course, as a particular and integral part of Britain's policy in the Far East. All of this was glossed over by the Leader of tha Opposition when he said that in his opinion it would be an easy thing to withdraw from combat and to allow things to take their course. He said that if this were done we would avoid conflict and could find a way of settling the trouble. It is a surprising turn of events that at this time, when the Government, on behalf of this nation, has made a decision to assist the United States by participating to a fuller degree in Vietnam, the Opposition is so lacking in outlook, so void of principle and so "remarkably vacant in its concern for the security of this country. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the deliberations at the recent Prime Ministers' Conference, but he failed ;o reveal the full result of the endeavours that were made at that time to gain peace: I think the statement of the Minister for External Affairs gave a full exposition of this situation. He outlined very clearly the outcome of the efforts to gain pe-ace and he said, without reservation, that our policy in this regard is undeviating. If there is an avenue for negotiation, if there *U* a way by which we may achieve a settlement, we will continue to support any efforts in this direction, but certainly we will not stand by and turn our backs on the crucial situation that exists while persisting with our efforts, even though to date they have failed. Unfortunately, over the past few years the Labour Party has viewed Australia's position as if we were still in what might be termed the horse and buggy days. There has been reference to the need for greater defence of Australia's shores and, at the same time, an advocacy for the withdrawal of our participation anywhere beyond our own shores. What complete folly, what complete lack of understanding of the events of this modern day and age, to advocate a policy of that kind. Three years ago the Opposition opposed the establishment of the base at North West Cape, lt has continued to persevere with a policy which, from the point of view of Australia's security, is a most unwise policy. It is to be hoped that the Australian people will not be influenced in any way by the views expressed by the Opposition. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to see something of the world situation at first hand. I visited the United States and the United Kingdom and then traversed part of Europe and Africa. This enabled me to gain some knowledge of the problems which we face. The realities of the situation, having regard to the effect of the activities of the Communist bloc, must occasion concern. However, I believe that we have reason §0r great confidence because of the inspiration we have received from the efforts of the United States of America in so many parts of the world, from the real strength which Britain continues to exert, and from the firm stand that Whitehall has taken in all matters pertaining to the defence of the free world. This, I believe, has been overlooked by the Opposition, because there were references earlier this evening to Britain's part in the defence of Asia. lt was suggested that the separation of Singapore means, in effect, that Britain is in a weaker position. In time this may ultimately be the case, but what was contained in the ministerial statement presented on behalf of the Government showed very clearly that the position has changed very little since the separation occurred. I believe it would be folly for us to think otherwise. Many well-intentioned people these days tend to suggest that there has been a change of heart on the part of the Soviet Union and that Moscow now has a new outlook, but an examination of the records over at least the last eight years shows that this is a completely wrong concept and one which we in Australia must guard against. It is a sad fact that in the last eight years there has been constant pressure from Moscow and Peking to exert an influence in the underdeveloped countries that is not designed to bring about peaceful coexistence except on terms dictated by those exerting this influence. At the time of the Cuban crisis President Kennedy made a statement which I think summed up and crystallised a situation very similar to that which exists today. He said - >It is clearer than ever that we face a relentless struggle in every corner of the globe which goes far beyond the clash of armies or even nuclear armaments. > >The armies are there and in large number. The nuclear armaments are there, but they serve primarily as a shield behind which subversion, infiltration and a host of other tactics steadily advance, picking off vulnerable areas one by one in situations which do not permit our own armed intervention. Power is the hallmark of this offensive, power and discipline and deceit. How true these words are today. How true they are seen to be when we assess the situation in Vietnam and Malaysia. I believe the cold war to which President Kennedy referred has not diminished in intensity. Those who speak of a change of heart on the part of the Soviet Union undoubtedly overlook many occurrences of the last decade. In 1956 there was the suppression of the Hungarian people who did not readily accept the iron heel of Soviet domination. There was a death toll of 25,000 in Budapest alone. Then there were the occurrences in Berlin in 1958. In 1959 Castro came to power in Cuba and quickly a veil was removed to disclose the fact that there was in the Americas an agent of the Soviet Union. Then, of course, in December of 1960 the Soviet Union - not Red China - began an airlift of military equipment and North Vietnamese to aid the pro-Communist forces in Laos, thus initiating the crisis with which we are still faced today. Tracing the occurrences in Asia since that time we find that despite the Geneva Agreement of 1954 and despite all the attempts at a reasonable reconciliation, our efforts have failed. What is the alternative to these efforts? The alternative is the same as that which was available in a comparable situation at the time of the crisis in Korea and more recently in Cuba, where very swift action was taken. In the years 1962, 1963 and 1964 the movement of influence into Africa from Moscow and Peking has been disturbing indeed. In these three continental areas of Asia; Africa and Latin America the forces of the Communists have confronted the free world with crisis after crisis in such rapid succession that these events seem to blur in the minds of the people, and certainly they must be blurred in the eyes of members of the Opposition in the light of the proposition which has been put forward tonight. During the past year the position in South Vietnam has been difficult indeed. Many of us find it rather a problem to assess clearly the significance of occurrences, the difficulties which have been encountered, the reason for the kind of conflict in which our own Australians are involved today, and the difficulties which the United States of America has encountered in its tremendous effort, at tremendous cost and with a tremendous number of men deployed. I think that one of the background factors which we in Australia may not be as conscious of as is desirable is the philosophy from Peking which has been engendered into the minds of the people who are the cause of this problem. Mao Tse-tung wrote a book soon after the rise to power of his regime and, of course, with his tremendous population backing of some 600 million people and with a situation in which there is not the happiest relationship between Peking and Moscow, it is inevitable that there would be a particular philosophy. This philosophy has been published and is well known to those who care to study it. The book is very much akin to that written by Adolph Hitler, " Mein Kampf ", and it sets out a proposed course of events. It has become the military bible of all those dedicated youths of Communism who want to win power and who want to see the free world crushed. The four principles enunciated in this book are infiltration from a source or base in a neighbouring country, retreat and dispersal when attacked, harassment of local forces when they rest for even a short time, and pursuit when local people break and flee. When we think of these four points of advice, given as a philosophy, we think of the experiences of the United States, of Australia and all the other countries who were allies in Korea. We think of the earlier endeavours in Malaya and the long task of ridding that country of terrorists. Then, of course, we can see very clearly the process, the pattern and the type of war which goes on. It is a type of war described as combat. It is not easy to classify it as a war; in fact it is not a war of magnitude. It is certainly a clash of magnitude so far as those engaged in it are concerned. It is a dreadful thing for the people who live in the area of conflict and it is a problem which cannot be solved unless we adopt tactics which meet this unique situation. This process of infiltration and armed action follows a pattern which is quite unique - a pattern which developed in this Asian area in recent years and which undoubtedly will go on into the future as long as we allow this kind of condition to continue. There is only one way to solve the problem and that is to follow the course in which we ourselves have now agreed to participate. The United States of America has undoubtedly exhausted every avenue and all its ingenuity in trying to find a way of dealing with this problem. There is no way of dealing with it other than by the process which we support today. There is no other course of action that could be attempted in this kind of situation. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** made some quite remarkable statements during the course of his speech. He said that a nuclear situation could easily develop. He went on to say that it was quite wrong for the United States of America to be bombing North Vietnam when the North Vietnamese could not retaliate. Those were his words, although the honorable member is shaking his head now. He clearly said: " How wrong for this kind of war to be carried on, when the people involved cannot answer back ". We have had plenty of evidence of the situation as it exists today in North Vietnam. We have had the accurate reports of representatives of the United Nations, which are available to every member of this House and which set out the extent to which equipment and the means of war have been made available in North Vietnam. This is surely a complete answer to any humbug suggesting that we should not be a party to the bombing of North Vietnam. The means of war are there and the only way in which we can meet this situation is to adopt tactics similar to those of the aggressors. Whether our equipment is better than theirs or not is another matter. We hope it is better, but we face the prospect that the support for the aggressors which comes from Peking and Moscow does not minimise the threat but does, in fact, escalate it. Our only course of action is to go on along the road which we have chosen to travel. If we do otherwise we neglect the responsibilities of Australian nationhood and we certainly cast aside the great heritage which belongs to this nation and to its people. {: #subdebate-34-0-s9 .speaker-JP5} ##### Mr BENSON:
Batman .- I would like to congratulate the honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Allan Fraser)** on his very fine fighting speech to this House. Whether or not the Government agrees with what he said, he still made a very fine contribution to the debate. We are all delighted to see him back in this chamber after his long absence due to a motor accident and we hope that he will be with us for many more years to come. Having congratulated the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, I now offer my congratulations to the honorable member for Cowper **(Mr. Robinson),** but there is one thing which I want to point out to the House. In the course of his speech the honorable member for Cowper said that the Australian Labour Party opposed the establishment of the American naval communications station at North West Cape. That is not true. We had a vote on the establishment of that station and, owing to the peculiar acoustic properties of our party room it was made known to the Press just how we all voted. I can say that, because it was published in the Press and everybody knows how we voted, but a majority of members of the Australian Labour Party voted for the establishment of the base. All honorable members, no matter to what party they belong, carry out the decisions which their party arrives at. We arrived at the decision that the base should be established at North West Cape. We had a few disagreements as to how it should be managed. We said that as the base was to be established in this country we thought dual control was desirable, just as America had agreed to dual control when similar bases were erected in other parts of the world. I make that point so that my friend the honorable member for Cowper will get his facts right. If he cares to read the newspapers he will find the facts clearly set out there. I would like to spend most of the time at my disposal in talking about the areas of South East Asia which I visited recently; that is, Singapore, Borneo and the mainland of Malaya. I am one of the people, I suppose, who were old enough at the time to be able to comprehend what was happening just before World War II and who have come to the conclusion that we are in, and going through, a very troubled time. All of us in this House have seen the British Empire, as we knew it, develop into a Commonwealth of Nations. Now we have seen it, through the aggression of Communism, slowly shrinking. This situation is of great concern to all of us because those of us who say that the democratic way of life is the way of life feel these new changes with great concern. **Mr. Speaker,** I feel that, at the present time, Australia is in danger due to what is taking place in South East Asia. The secession of Singapore from Malaysia has shifted our former front line to our very front doorstep. This is not the time to cry over spilt milk for Australia was taken by surprise and given no warning of what was about to happen. But now that the secession of Singapore from Malaysia has happened, it is no good shirking what may lay before us, because we need new thinking, and new ideas, and a new concept of the whole area must be formulated. 1 think it stands to our credit that we of this Party have been saying for years that where people are engaged in wars or in treaties, those wars or treaties must be clear and public. If the Government had heeded our request there would have been a clear, open and public treaty between Australia and Malaysia. Malaysia would have been compelled to act upon that treaty. In those circumstances, our Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies)** would not have been in the position, when the secession took place, of knowing nothing about it. After all, we are greatly concerned in this area. We have men there who are prepared to lay down their lives if need be. I think the people of Australia should be acquainted with what is about to happen or what is happening in that area. But, as I said, it is no good crying over spilt milk. It has happened. I hope steps will be taken to remedy these matters in the future. Less than a month ago I was in Singapore with five of my colleagues as guests of the Prime Minister of Singapore, **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew. A further invitation to visit Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Penang and Borneo was extended to us by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak. We gladly accepted that invitation. We would be wrong, all of us, if we were to take sides and say that either Lee Kuan Yew was right or that Tunku Abdul Rahman was right. This is not the time for us to do such a thing. This is the time for all of us to get together and cement up the cracks which have appeared. If we can get these two countries together again we will have done a worthwhile job. While we were in Singapore, we stayed most of the time with **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew, because, primarily we were guests. We asked him many pointed questions and, in return, he gave us many- candid opinions. We were concerned, as was everybody else in the area, about what was happening. I asked **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew: "Are you the one who is rocking the boat because, if you are, do you not think you should stop?". I said to him: " Why do you not have a game of golf with the Tunku when he returns and sink your differences?" He told me: " I am not rocking the boat. We have troubles, but I shall certainly be playing a game of golf with the Tunku. There will be many more rows before this is finished. But have faith. There will be no break. We shall weather the storm and all will be well." So my five colleagues and I thought, when we left the area, that all would be well. Now we have learned otherwise. **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew gave us the impression that he had great regard for the Tunku. So I think it is fair to say that, as far as I could make out, these two men seemed prepared to come to some agreement. It is not for me to try to look into the future and make submissions about what has happened in either Singapore or Malaya, and I do not intend to attempt to do so, though I have my own ideas. I think that for the sake of the peace of the two countries, we should keep out of the argument. The thing that seemed to trouble **Mr. Lee** Kuan Yew was the constant succession of remarks by members of the Central Government suggesting that he was about to be arrested. This caused him great concern. He feared that if such a thing happened riots would break out in Singapore and that they would extend not only to the mainland of Malaysia but also to the Borneo territories. Seeing that this could have happened, I believe that, in the circumstances, the right thing was done when both countries agreed to the action that has now been taken. May I repeat myself, **Mr. Speaker,** and say I am sure that trouble would have broken out if this action had not been taken. What has happened is a great pity, but there are signs that the two countries will get together and that commonsense will prevail, because, already, they have made defence and trade agreements. The two countries are dependent on each other and it is up to all of us to do what we can, as I said before, to cement the cracks that have appeared and to see that Malaysia and Singapore remain together. There is no occasion for anyone in the Australian Labour Party or am other party to cause trouble. This is not the time for any of us in this chamber to be sniping at one another or indulging in cross fire over this issue. No; on.> the security of Malaysia but also our own security has now to stand the test. For, no matter what happens in South East Asia, sooner or later Australia will be involved. Singapore is situated at one of the main crossroads of the world and it handles one of the largest flows of traffic both b sea and by air. Any interruption to this traffic not only would affect Australia but also would affect the economic wellbeing of many countries. Therefore, it is essential that Singapore be kept open to trading nations. Our own overseas airline, Qantas Empire Airways Ltd., for example would be seriously embarrassed if things were to go amiss in the Singapore region, for Singapore is the main refuelling and maintenance base for Qantas in South East Asia. No one in Australia or in the United States of America can be happy about the overall events now taking place in South East Asia. It seems to me that only the Red Chinese and the Indonesians led by President Sukarno can be happy about the trend of events. I base this statement only on recent Press reports, **Mr. Speaker.** The 20th anniversary of Indonesia's independence, together with a speech by President Sukarno, should have a very sobering effect on this country. For him to tell America to get out or accept the consequences and then be cheered by 300,000 people is, to say the least, frightening. The very words " get out of South-East Asia or face defeat by Indonesia, China, and China's allies " leave no room for imagination. It is clear to me that the course that Indonesia, together with her Communist allies, has set, is one headed for trouble. We in this country must be prepared to weather the coming storm. If we are not prepared to do this and to brace ourselves against whatever may come, all will be lost. How much warning do we need? We know that when cumulus clouds go through all the motions of becoming nimbus clouds, trouble lies ahead. President Sukarno has gone through this cycle and for 20 years has deluded the world. He has done and said some very odd things. For instance, while equipping himself with Soviet arms he won United States support for his claim to West Irian. It was due to American pressure that Holland and Australia yielded Dutch West New Guinea to him. On 4th May 1963 President Sukarno declared in a speech to the Papuans at Kota Baru, formerly Hollandia and now Sukarnopura, that, having acquired West Irian, Indonesia had no desire to annex any other country or to steal anything from anybody. Yet less than a year later he declared his intention to .crush Malaysia. Now, during his 20th anniversary speech, which was delivered yesterday, he is reported as saying - >Indonesia will actively support the struggle for independence in Portuguese Timor. The report of his statement continued - >Indonesia was building an axis through Djakarta, Pnompenh, Hanoi, Pyongyang and Peking. > >Indonesia would continue attempts to break Sarawak and Sabah away from the Malaysian Federation. He said he intends to do that. He also said that - >Indonesia would prohibit propaganda against Communism, nationalism and religion. These are words of warning, and I think that we in Australia would do well to heed the warning. But what are we going to do about it? The Budget has just been presented to us and the amount put aside for defence is pitiful. Many people will not agree with me, but the increase in our defence expenditure this year is not enough to build one aircraft carrier. The Government says that it is greatly concerned, that we are in great danger, but it has not shown us by the documents that it has produced that we are in great danger. I have never known Australia to be in greater danger. I do not say that to frighten people, but after a study of the events that have taken place most thinking people must arrive at the conclusion that I have just stated. How are we to get out of this situation? What are we going to do? Are enough men being called up for the defence of this country? I do not think so. In the short time that is left to me I should like to read to the House the thinking of a Labour government in 1911, led by **Mr. Andrew** Fisher. I now refer to the Commonwealth Year Book, 1901-1915. It states - >On 1st January 1911, by proclamation, compulsory training was established. Further on it stated that the following groups were then formed - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. From 12 to 14 years of age, in the junior cadets. 1. From 14 to 18 years of age, in the senior cadets. 2. From 18 to 26 years of age, in the citizen forces. In 1909 a visit was made to Australia by Viscount Kitchener who had been invited by the Australian Government to report upon a scheme of land defence. He recommended the establishment of 28 regiments of light horse; 56 batteries of field artillery; and 92 battalions of infantry. In 191 1 we did not have conscription for overseas service, but we had a force in training for home defence under a compulsory training scheme. I say to the Minister for External Affairs that if he has any say with the Minister for Defence **(Senator Paltridge)** or with the Prime Minister **(Sir Robert Menzies),** something along these lines must be done now and it must be done readily. During my visit to Indonesia two years ago - and this is confirmed by television and news reels - it was common to see young women drilling with arms. Indonesia has formed a people's army. There is no doubt about that. Everyone in that country, whether male or female, who is capable of shouldering a rifle is doing so. It must be understood that the Indonesians are our next door neighbours. I am not saying that anything will happen, but we have to be ready in case it does. The Government proposes to spend an extra £3 million on Papua and New Guinea during this financial year. Is that enough under present conditions? I venture to say that it is not. While countries close to us carry on the way they are even if it costs more money it is up to a government, which wishes to lead the people, to do something to make this country secure. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Aston)** adjourned. House adjourned at 10.58 p.m. {: .page-start } page 215 {:#debate-35} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated - {:#subdebate-35-0} #### Australian Capital Territory Liquor Ordinance. (Question No. 1083.) {: #subdebate-35-0-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP ser asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - !. Does section 43 of the Liquor Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory provide that every holder of a licence shall be guilty of an offence if lie sells, gives or supplies, or permits any person to sell, give or supply any liquor to aa Aboriginal native of Australia? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Does the Government propose to amend the Liquor Ordinance by repealing this section? {: #subdebate-35-0-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="a" start="t"} 0. Yes. 2. Yes. {:#subdebate-35-1} #### Australian Capital Territory Juries Ordinance. (Question No. 1087.) {: #subdebate-35-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice - >When was consideration given to amending the Australian Capital Territory Juries Ordinance to permit (a) men of other than European race or extraction and (b) women to serve as jurors? {: #subdebate-35-1-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows - >A decision was made in 1964 by the AttorneyGeneral that the Juries Ordinance should bc amended to provide for both categories of jurors and it is understood that instructions have been given to the Parliamentary Draftsman for the preparation of the necessary amendments. {:#subdebate-35-2} #### Bankruptcy Law Review Committee. (Question No. 1115.) {: #subdebate-35-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: m asked the Attorney-General, upon notice - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which requests for alterations to the draft bill prepared by the Bankruptcy Law Review Committee did he refer to the committee? 1. When did the committee give him its opinion on the requests? {: #subdebate-35-2-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Requests for alterations in clauses 44 (2.), 116. 133(3.), 249(6.) and 252 of the draft Bill prepared by the Bankruptcy Law Review Committee, and for the creation of a new offence relating to the obtaining of large amounts of credit by a person who subsequently becomes bankrupt, were referred to the Bankruptcy Law Review Committee. 1. The opinion of the committee on these requests was received on 15th March 1965. The committee was not asked for and did net make a formal report on the proposals referred to it. {:#subdebate-35-3} #### Sales Tax. (Question No. 1122.) {: #subdebate-35-3-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb: b asked the Treasurer, upon notice - >Why is it that soap for human use is taxed, but dog soap is not taxed? {: #subdebate-35-3-s1 .speaker-009MC} ##### Mr Harold Holt:
LP -- The answer to the honorable member's ' question is as follows - >Not all dog soaps are exempt from sales tax but certain dog soaps are exempt under a provision which applies to preparations for use in the prevention, cure or eradication of diseases or pests in livestock, including dogs. These exempt dog soaps contain medicaments or other ingredients for the treatment of skin diseases or the eradication of parasites. Other dog soaps, like soap for human use, are subject to sales tax.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 August 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.