25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
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.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. When does the Minister propose to table further information relating to the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement? Does the Government intend to introduce a bill to ratify the treaty?
– As I said when I spoke in the House on this subject, this Agreement, which is in lay language, is now in the course of being converted to a legal and technical document, and the present intention is that it shall be signed by the two Governments on 31st August. At that point of time it will be, without a minute’s delay, made available to the House. It has not been the practice of the Government to ask the Parliament to ratify treaties such as this. While I am on my feet may I say that I thought there were some points of detail which ought to be communicated promptly to some of the interested industries, and to that end I had letters prepared last Friday for that purpose. I found that there was some technical deficiency in the letters I had prepared to be sent to the dairy industry, the frozen food industry and the pig meat industry, and I was unable to sign the letters. I think that they may be ready for my signature now. I shall make precisely the same information available immediately to interested honorable members.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Will the Australian Government be consulted at tha forthcoming British Ministers’ talks in London on the United Kingdom’s defence commitments arising from Singapore’s break with the Malaysian Federation? In view of the importance of any proposed new plans, has consideration been given to the desirability of a senior Australian Minister being present in London at this time?
– I understand there is some newspaper story about this. I have no official statement to make about it at all.
– My question to the Minister for Trade and Industry is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Lalor. Is it the decision of the Government not to submit the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement to the House for ratification?
– The procedure which the Government will follow in this case, and which it has followed in a variety of cases, will be that which was set out in a formal statement by the Prime Minister at a point of time which I cannot remember, but which the honorable member may recall, and which can certainly be looked up by both the Leader of the Opposition and me. The statement sets out the kind of documents the Government would submit to the Parliament for ratification and the kind of documents it would submit to the Parliament for discussion and whatever treatment the Parliament agreed to, but not formally for ratification.
– I address a question to the Minister for Immigration. In view of the acute and increasing shortage of labour, both skilled and unskilled, in Australia, has the Minister given consideration to the removal of the restrictions which, in the last few years, have prevented persons in Australia from nominating other than close relatives from Italy, Greece and other southern European countries? If so, what decision has been made?
-I am not surprised to see the honorable member’s interest in this matter. He has made repeated representations concerning it over the years. Other honorable members also have made representations, but the honorable member for Sturt has been particularly active. Over the years, the area of nomination has been enlarged progressively, and it has now been decided to allow cousins and friends to be nominated by persons in Australia who come from southern European countries. Of course, every care will be taken to ensure that full investigations are made into character, health and all the other factors that go with the nomination of migrants. It might be relevant to say now that our target for this year is 145,000 migrants. This will include some 90,000 assisted and unassisted British migrants. In view of our employment situation, I am sure that this enlargement of the area of nomination of migrants from the countries mentioned by the honorable member - countries which in the past, have provided us with excellent citizens - will be of benefit to our work force and to the progress and expansion of this country.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration: Has be any further information regarding the abduction of a part aboriginal child named Barry John McKenzie? It will be remembered that this child was taken out of Australia without the authority of his mother in about May 1964. In answer to a question, which I asked him in April 1965, the Minister stated that Australian representatives overseas were trying to trace the child and that if they were successful in finding him every effort would be made to obtain custody. Did the Minister pursue this matter when he was overseas? If not, has he any other information relating to it?
– When I was overseas I did pursue the matter, as it was one that concerned me greatly. I made inquiries at the various Australian posts that I visited, bringing the matter again to their attention, but I regret to say that so far no information at all concerning the child has been received. The child has probably gone to some country in which there is no means of tracing it at present. The case has not been dropped. If we obtain any information at all, I assure the honorable member that it will be passed on immediately.
– In addressing a question to the Treasurer, I refer to section 73 of the Commonwealth Banks Act, which states that the Development Bank, in determining whether or not finance shall be provided for a person, shall have regard primarily to the prospects of the operations of that person becoming or continuing to be successful and shall not necessarily have regard to the value, of the security available in respect of that finance. As the continuance in operation of many primary, producers in drought areas is dependent upon finance being made available for the purchase of stock food, can they secure loans from the Development Bank under the provision which I have read?
– The honorable member raises a query which I think does not necessarily go to the substance of the situation of the people concerned. Most people on the land have a long banking association with a particular bank, and the trading banks have made it clear to the Reserve Bank, in discussions which have taken place on this matter, that they will give sympathetic treatment to those of their clients who are affected by circumstances of drought. If this is not being done in particular cases I will be glad to have those cases brought to my notice. So far as I am aware, this policy has been working out.
The Development Bank was set up for rather different purposes. It has been carrying out the functions that the Government intended it to carry out, and I do not think that in normal circumstances it would be looked to for drought relief assistance unless, of course, a particular person’s private bank was not meeting his reasonable requests.
I am not sure that I have correctly interpreted the purpose of the honorable member’s question, but I can say that the Development Bank is doing the sort of job it was intended to do, lending where there are development potentialities but not necessarily adequate security available. It is a bank of last resort rather than a bank oi first resort, and I should think that a droughtaffected client would first explore all the possibilities of securing necessary finance from bis own bank.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I may say that I have already placed a case before the Taxation Branch in relation to this matter and have been informed that as the law now stands nothing can be done to grant relief to the persons affected. I refer to the position of Australian persons employed on Danish ships operating in Australian waters. Their gross earnings are taxable by the Danish Government and also by the Australian Government. This means that young people working on Danish ships are taxed twice on their gross earnings. I have been informed that there is no arrangement between the Danish Government and the Australian Government to cover this situation, and I believe it is grossly unfair, because a young fellow working on a ship
– Order! I suggest the honorable member direct his question.
– Will the Treasurer look into the question of allowing money paid to the Danish Government by way of income tax to be deductible for purposes of Australian income tax?
– I will take this matter up with the Commissioner of Taxation and find out what the present taxation arrangements are between the two countries, and if I can then give the honorable member an authoritative reply I will do so.
– My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation. Has the Government given approval to the proposal of the two major domestic airlines to acquire in each case a fourth Boeing 727 aircraft and some DC9’s? Does the time taken to arrive at a decision indicate that other factors have arisen which have caused or may cause the Government to reconsider the question of acquiring DC9’s in preference to BAC Ill’s or Tridents?
– 1 understand that both airlines have forwarded requests to the Department of Civil Aviation. They are still being considered and as yet no decision has been made.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Has the Minister’s attention been directed to a statement by a member of the Queensland Parliament in which that member cast grave doubts on the reasons for the Minister’s statements on overseas investment in Australia? If so, will he confirm or deny the charge by that member that it was part of the setting-
– Order! Statements made outside by other members are not the responsibility of the Minister for Trade and Industry.
– On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker: This statement was not made outside. It was made in the Queensland Parliament.
– Order! It was not within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Minister for Trade and Industry, and the Minister is not responsible for statements made by other members.
– I will reframe my question. While I do not wish to dissent from your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I ask the Minister: Are his statements on overseas investment genuine or is there an ulterior motive as has been stated by responsible people?
– Order! The honorable member’s question is out of order. I call the honorable member for Oxley.
– I rise to order, Sir. Let me say at the beginning that I have complete faith in the integrity of the Minister for Trade and Industry. However, if statements are made about him outside this House he ought to be given an opportunity, if he wants it, to refute them. What was said was not merely a reflection on him as an individual. It was a reflection on him as a Minister of State. I believe that such statements, like everything else that is ever said about a person who is a member of this House, should be cleared up. I do not want to impose any conditions on the Minister. I hope that in this House he will say what he wants to say about certain things that have been alleged against him - and, I believe, falsely alleged.
– If anything is said in a responsible quarter and I believe that it impugns my integrity or reflects on my conduct as a Minister, I shall hold myself accountable for it. I have answered the statement in question. I said that the person who made it commands so little respect from me - for reasons that he well knows - that I was not concerned with anything he might say.
– I should like to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question.
– Order! I ask the honorable member to resume his seat for a moment. I suggest that if the House does not come to order, appropriate action might be taken.
– I should like to ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. I remind him that, last week, he expressed great satisfaction and pride at the fact that Cambodia had selected the Australian Government to represent it at the diplomatic level in the United States of America and South Vietnam. Would the Minister care to say whether his Government feels equally satisfied with reports that Communist China is to provide sufficient aid to equip the whole Cambodian army? Particularly, what is the Government’s attitude towards representing Cambodia now, bearing in mind the Prime Minister’s oft-stated view that the advance of Chinese Communism, in its “thrust between the Indian and Pacific Oceans “, to use the right honorable gentleman’s own words, must be stopped at all costs?
– The honorable member’s recital is not quite exact. Cambodia was formerly represented in South Vietnam by France. When France ceased relations with South Vietnam, Cambodia asked Australia to represent Cambodia in South Vietnam. We felt honoured by the request. We have complied with it and are now representing the Cambodian Government in
South Vietnam. Quite apart from this, when diplomatic relations between Cambodia and the United States of America were broken, the United States asked us to represent that country in Cambodia, and the Cambodian Government accepted our representation. These are two entirely separate matters.
The arming of Cambodia, of course, is a matter within the decision of the Cambodian Government. I would place this piece of evidence concerning the reported delivery of Chinese arms to Cambodia beside many other pieces of evidence of the supply of Chinese arms to other countries as further proof in support of the statements by the Prime Minister and others showing the way in which so much of the military activity in southern Asia is being promoted and supported by Communist China.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. If the referendum bill now before the House is passed and wool growers accept the proposal for the reserve price marketing scheme that will be outlined to them when they receive their voting papers, will further legislation be required to establish the conditions under which the scheme will operate and to set up the necessary authorities? If this is so, does it mean that the Parliament will be asked to pass legislation which it has no power to amend or reject? Or, if the Parliament can exercise its rights in this respect, does this mean that wool growers will have voted to approve one scheme outlined to them in the referendum papers and yet may have quite a different scheme imposed on them?
– If the Wool Reserve Price Plan Referendum Bill passes this House and the growers, when a vote is taken, give their approval, legislation will be introduced to enact the intent of the plan agreed upon between the Commonwealth and the industry. We have had instances such as this before. The dried fruits stabilisation proposal is one such instance. A proposal was set out for the growers to vote upon and it was then brought into the House in the form of legislation. The approach with the wool reserve price plan would be to hand to the Parliamentary Draftsman the contents of the plan submitted to the House for discussion and to let him put it into legislative form. But an addition would be necessary to protect the Government in respect of any financial provisions in which it was involved.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. Does he agree that the Governments engaged in fighting in South Vietnam could not be expected to enter into negotiations unless they had a clear idea of the conditions of the negotiations and the conditions they could expect in the country after the war? By conditions I mean, who are to be the negotiating parties, intervention by both 6ides afterwards, the supervision of boundaries, the future of minorities and the composition of the Government in the country afterwards. Can he say whether his Government has any idea whatever of these conditions? If it has, what are they? Or does his Government leave the matter completely to the United States of America?
– I did not quite follow the purport of the honorable member’s question.
– Perhaps I had better put it on the notice paper.
– No, I would like to give an answer to those parts that I did follow. The Australian Government and all other Governments engaged in supporting South Vietnam in its defence against aggression have said over and over again that they favour negotiations and hope that negotiations might commence. On several occasions, attempts have been made on their behalf, both by individuals and by special missions such as the mission appointed by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, to rind out the basis on which North Vietnam would be prepared to enter discussions. Before negotiations can commence, it is necessary to find the conditions under which North Vietnam would be prepared to come to a conference table. I am sure that the honorable member for Yarra, whichever direction his sympathies may lead him, would clearly recognise that we cannot have negotiations until we get people around a table. Up to the present we have tried again and again, in every conceivable way, to find out the conditions under which these people will come to the table, but we have not yet been able to get any response that encourages us to hope that they will come to the table and be prepared to talk.
– Whom have you asked?
– The recital of the attempts to start these discussions has been given to the House again and again. It was contained in considerable detail in the paper I presented to the House on Wednesday of last week. If the honorable member for Wills will have the diligence to read that paper, he will see at some length a recital of not one but dozens of attempts to bring about these discussions and in every case the resulting refusal of both Hanoi and Peking to enter into discussions or even to consider them.
– I wish to address my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is the Minister able to reconcile the decision of the Executive of the Waterside Workers Federation, announced yesterday, to discontinue the fortnightly stoppages-
– 1 rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Gippsland asks the Minister for Labour and National Service to reconcile a decision of the Waterside Workers’ Federation with something else. This has nothing to do with the administration of the Minister’s Department.
– Order! I understand that, at the moment, negotiations are within the jurisdiction of the Department administered by the Minister for Labour and National Service.
– Might I suggest, Sir, that you ask the honorable member for Gippsland to read his question again and then determine my point of order.
– I call the honorable member for Gippsland.
– I will start again. Is the Minister for Labour and National Service able to reconcile the decision of the Executive of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, announced yesterday, to discontinue its fortnightly stoppages with the problem of direct action which the Federation committed itself to a few weeks ago before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, and which it said was outside the jurisdiction of the Commission?
– It is true that, last night, the General Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation announced that the Executive itself had decided to call off the 24-hour stoppages. Some time previously, before the Arbitration Commission, an advocate for the Waterside Workers Federation had stated that the Executive had no power to call off these strikes, because they had been authorised at mass stop work meetings throughout the Commonwealth, unless its demands were met or, in other words, unless the claims made by the Federation were negotiated. The Federation did not concede that it was prepared to agree to negotiations on the claims that were made by the employers until they responded to Federation claims. In all of these cases, the Executive of the Waterside Workers Federation or the Federation never bothers too much about either morality or inconsistency. I think it can be said that there are four good reasons why the Executive of the Federation approached the Australian Council of Trade Unions. These are the reasons.
– You must be sure.
– Yes, I am. Due to the stoppages that have occurred in recent weeks and the loss of take home pay by the men, there is obviously gathering or growing discontent amongst the waterside workers themselves. There is disagreement with the policies which have been followed by the Federation. Secondly, Sir, the Australian Stevedoring Industry-
– I rise to a point of order. Do you realise, Sir, that the honorable member for Gippsland asked whether the Minister had seen a certain report in the paper. That was all he asked. The Minister is not answering that question at all. He is out of order.
– There is no substance in the point of order raised by the honorable member for Scullin.
– The second reason is that the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority has resolutely shown that it will apply the provisions of the Act and that whenever unlawful strikes or other strikes take place it will use those powers, particularly the powers relating to suspension of attendance money and work day suspension.
The third reason, without any doubt at all, is that the employers of waterside labour have said to the Federation that they are willing to negotiate with the Federation provided there is a genuine willingness on the part of the Federation to negotiate. They will negotiate, for example, on permanent employment and on contributory pensions. But they want the negotiations to be genuine. There is one other reason. Of course, this relates to the tactics of the Federation itself. On two occasions, Mr. Justice Gallagher has refused to give the one and a half per cent margins increase to waterside workers. I have little doubt that, in order to get the increase, the Federation has decided that it will call off these stoppages, at least for the time being.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs: Is the attitude of the Australian Government in regard to a ceasefire in the Vietnam war identical with that of President Johnson, who said that he was prepared to negotiate without conditions, or is the attitude of the Australian Government still the same as the Minister expressed a few minutes ago, and previously, that before there can be negotiations certain conditions must be established?
– The House will recall that when President Johnson made his speech it was welcomed on behalf of the Australian Government-
– By the Leader of the Opposition.
– Luckily, the Leader of the Opposition is not in a position to speak for the Australian people or the Australian Government at the present time. We welcomed that speech and we hope that it will have a fruitful effect. Up to date no response has come from the other side. For ourselves, we do not think that we are in a position where we can stipulate conditions and impose those conditions on other people. Our chief aim is to try to find what are the bases on which discussions could take place. If and when there is any response from the other side indicating that it is prepared to enter into discussions, in that situation we could, and undoubtedly would, express an opinion on whether or not the discussions were likely to be fruitful.
– I direct a question ;o the Minister for Territories. I understand that it is the intention of the Minister to introduce legislation which will permit the conversion of Crown leasehold land on Norfolk Island to freehold. Can the Minister indicate the probable date of introduction of this legislation?
– I point out first that about two-thirds of the area of Norfolk Island is held under freehold title and that a draft bill was provided for the consideration of the Norfolk Island Council to enable conversion of Crown leasehold land into freehold. After various discussions a bill is now ready for consideration by the Governor-General. I am not in a position to announce a date when assent is likely to be given, but it will be very soon.
– I ask the Minister for Health a question. The honorable gentleman will remember that the Government introduced a means test for the Pensioner Medical Service in 1955 because, to quote the former Minister for Social Services who used to represent the late Minister for Health in this place, the Federal Council of the British Medical Association in Australia required the Government to do so. Since this means test is now to be removed, I ask the Minister: When was the Australian Medical Association asked to waive this requirement and when did it agree to do so?
– I had some discussions with the Federal Council of the Australian Medical Association regarding this matter. The Association agreed, at its last Federal assembly in Sydney, just a couple of months ago, to conditions for the future Pensioner Medical Service on the basis of the means test which applied in May of this year. That is the basis of the amendment which we are proposing in the present Budget. So, the agreement of the Australian Medical Association was obtained before the change was made.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation a question seeking clarification of some aspects of the new pension for exservicemen to be established between the general (100 per cent.) rate and the total and permanent incapacity rate. In congratulating the Government on this valuable addition to measures designed to assist disabled exservicemen, I ask: Can the Minister inform the House as to the method of application for this pension? Most honorable members will know of, for example, many pensioners receiving the 100 per cent, rate who have tried unsuccessfully to get the T.P.I, benefits. Will these cases be reviewed automatically? Will applications be received only from pensioners who already are receiving the general or 100 per cent, rate pension? Or may any ex-serviceman apply?
– The new intermediate rate of war pension is certainly a very welcome addition to the range of repatriation benefits that are available. I am sure that it has been well received throughout the community. There is no standard procedure for applying for an increase in war pension. It is up to the individual concerned to apply at any time for a review. When that is done, a review will be made by the Repatriation Department. Also, under certain circumstances the Department may arrange for a review to take place. Normally a person would not apply for the total and permanent incapacity rate, the intermediate rate or the 100 per. cent, rate; he would just apply for a review of war pension. Then it is up to the Department and the authorities concerned, when they consider the matter, to decide the appropriate rate.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. In view of the criticism contained in the AuditorGeneral’s report of the accounting methods adopted in the overseas division of the Department of External Affairs, is it proposed to carry out an investigation of the matter that he has raised? If some action is proposed, is the Prime Minister aware that many officers who are stationed overseas work under considerable difficulties and inconvenience? Is there any liaison between the various departments whose officers are stationed overseas in respect of matters which, if integrated, might provide better representation overseas? Is the right honorable gentleman aware that a few years ago the British Government set up a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Plowden to examine and report on the British Foreign Service, and that that resulted in considerable improvements in that Service? Will the Prime Minister have a look at the report of that committee, if he has not seen it, and give some thought to setting up a similar committee to examine all aspects of Australian services abroad, with the object of effecting improvements all round?
– I have not yet seen the report; but, of course, I will-
– It is about two years old.
– I am not talking about the Plowden report; I am talking about the report of the AuditorGeneral. The honorable member began by asking about that report.
– lt was tabled yesterday.
– Apparently it was published yesterday. I confess that, strangely enough, I have not yet read it. But I will direct my attention to the passages to which the honorable member referred and then give consideration to whether any further investigation may be needed.
– Will the Minister for National Development inform the House of the latest developments in the search for commercial quantities of rock phosphate in Australia?
– The search for phosphate in Australia and on the adjacent islands is being pressed forward wim the greatest possible expedition both by the Bureau of Mineral Resources and by a number of companies. In fact, I am informed that about 11 private companies have leases to prospect for phosphate. We invited to come to Australia two American professors who have experience in the search for phosphate. Dr. van Andel is in Canberra at present, having discussions with the Bureau of Mineral Resources. We expect Dr. Sheldon to come next month. At present he is in the Middle East. He is an expert on the search for phosphate on land. Dr. van Andel is an expert on the search for phosphate off shore.
In addition, the Government has agreed to take on additional people in the Bureau of Mineral Resources to assist this search. At present we are doing work on Christmas Island in an effort to delineate the phosphate quantities on that island. I understand that preliminary results show that there may be a greater amount there than was expected earlier. We are also assessing other areas where phosphate has been found. Incidentally, yesterday I was informed that a prospector handed some samples of phosphate to an officer of the Bureau of Mineral Resources. But I am not yet able to tell the honorable member or the House what the quality of them was or where they came from. As soon as I can inform the honorable member, I will do so.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service a question. At approximately 7.28 a.m. on Wednesday, 26th May this year, the Minister informed the House that he and his departmental officers were endeavouring to obtain as quickly as possible a formula to cover deferment of national service training of students and apprentices undergoing parttime training. As three months have elapsed since that announcement and as another intake of national service trainees is pending, will the Minister inform the House whether any decision has been made in this matter and, if so, what is the formula?
– The facts as stated by the honorable gentleman are correct. I did have difficulty in devising a formula relating to part-time students. Since then we have been consulting with the university and apprenticeship authorities and with technical colleges in order to see whether we can devise a formula which will be satisfactory both from their point of view and the point of view of the students and apprentices. In the last few days my departmental officers have presented to me a paper for final approval. That is now on my table. As soon as I get enough time I will go through it. When I have made up my mind as to whether it meets the requirements of the Government I will make an announcement to the House.
-I ask the Mini.ter for Trade and Industry a question. I refer to the trade delegation that proposes to visit certain Iron Curtain countries. Will the Minister assure the House that after receiving the delegation’s report he will not recommend agreements the effect of which will be to force or encourage certain Australian industries to become completely dependent on the continuance of markets in those countries? I have in mind the avoidance of such a situation as is developing within the Australian wheat industry. Will the Minister give appropriate assurances on those matters?
– The Government has never done anything to compel Australian industries to sell in a particular market, nor is it likely to do so. The Government’s policy and the activities of the Department of Trade and Industry are directed solely towards creating a multitude of opportunities for trade. In this situation, Australians may elect whether to sell and where to sell. In the case of wheat, the traditional markets are first supplied. When those markets are no longer ready, willing or able to purchase more wheat, the Chinese market has turned up as the residual market.
– I ask the Minister for National Development a question. When may we expect an announcement about the future of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority, both on the general proposal for the establishment of a national conservation authority, the case for which has, I think, been fully put, and on the very interesting pump storage proposition?
– All I can say is that this matter is still under consideration by the Government. An announcement will be made when a decision has been reached.
– The Minister for Primary Industry will be aware that the Japanese Government has placed a ban on the importation into Japan of Australian fruit, particularly apples, because of the danger of introducing fruit fly and codling moth. Have any negotiations been conducted between the Japanese Government and the Australian Government, or between the respective responsible departments, to review this decision?
– I know that the Japanese have had some investigators in Australia and that Japan is concerned, of course, not to import codling moth, because Japan does not have this pest. The Japanese are interested particularly in Western Australian exports because Western Australia also is free from the pest. Unfortunately, we have not reached the stage where scientists can give us a commodity treatment to destroy the codling moth pest, but we are keeping in touch with the Japanese scientists and doing our best to achieve all the trade possible.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1960 I present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the following proposed work -
Provision of additional aprons, vehicular pavements, engineering services, roads and instrument landing system at Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport, Victoria.
I move -
That the report be printed.
.- I oppose the motion. I do so on the ground of principle rather than out of any desire on my part to deprive the people of Victoria and elsewhere from enjoying the very best facilities at international and domestic airports that engineers, scientists and architects can provide. During the parliamentary recess the Government referred to the Public Works Committee a number of references of work required by the Department of Civil Aviation which involved measures for the building of international airports at Mascot in New South Wales and at Tullamarine in Victoria. I am impelled to speak at this point of time in opposition to the first of the Tullamarine projects. I do so in an endeavour to influence the Government to review its thinking on airport policy.
– Order! On the motion that the report be printed the honorable member may not canvass the merits of the airport construction itself. That discussion can take place on a substantive motion relating to the report, but on the motion that the report be printed there can be no discussion.
– At what stage will I be provided with an opportunity to discuss this matter? Will it be when a motion comes before the House for the carrying out of the work?
– The honorable member may speak later when a motion is before the House for approval of the work, but on the motion that the report be printed the matter may not be canvassed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 24th August (vide page 383), on motion by Mr. Harold Holt-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Upon which Mr. Calwell had moved by way of amendment -
That all words after “ That “ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof- “ this House condemns the Budget because -
Such taxation increases as it contains add further burdens to wage and salary earners whose living standards have already been eroded by price rises and the Government’s active intervention against wage increases;
Such meagre social service benefits as it proposes are inadequate, belated and partial in their application; and
The Budget fails entirely to deal with such problems as increases in Imports and Australia’s dependence on foreign capital.
This House further declares that only by proper economic planning can Australia rapidly expand the resources required to meet its urgent needs in the fields of defence, development, education and social welfare”.
– I think the atmosphere that surrounds Australia, and also our internal economy, introduced into the minds of most people the thought that this year’s Budget was not going to be one containing large handouts. I think that everybody agreed that this was not a time for what we might call a shop window display. The unsettled situation to our near north, particularly because of the fighting in Vietnam and the troubles in Borneo, in conjunction with the constant truculence of the President of Indonesia, introduced into the minds of most people in Australia the obvious necessity for taking far greater measures towards national defence. It was reasonable to assume, as the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) pointed out in presenting the 1965-66 Budget, that the Budget would be surrounded by the problems of defence expenditure.
However, at the same time we have to face up to other problems. We have continuous over-full employment with its stresses on the labour market. We have a very serious drought in certain parts of Australia - in New South Wales and southern Queensland particularly - to which I shall refer later. Also we have to consider the normal demands of developing this huge continent of ours, partly on the Commonwealth level and partly on the level of the State Governments.
It is undeniable, therefore, that this was not a moment for a government to take measures which, while they might have great popular appeal, would not be of tremendous significance either for strengthening our defences or strengthening the economy of the country. Also it is undeniable, despite the fulminations of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell), that this Budget has been well received by people who are competent to express a reasoned view. This is so despite the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition last night, which might almost be described as those of a persistent Jeremiah. He, as a party leader, had the problem of trying to make the best of a pretty bad job. We hope that he did his best, but it certainly was not very good.
I can assure the House that many citizens of Australia who put savings into our splendid industries and commercial concerns will not share the doleful feelings of the Leader of the Opposition.” They will note with satisfaction the way in which the Budget has been received by the stock exchanges in Australia. I should like to remind honorable members, including the Leader of the Opposition, that very many people in Australia are concerned on this level and the numbers are steadily increasing every day.
One feature of the present situation in Australia was not sufficiently emphasised in the Budget speech or, for that matter, in the report of the Reserve Bank of Australia to which I will refer later. It is the effect on the national economy of the drought which still, unfortunately, is persisting in certain parts. I suggest that we have not even begun to feel the full financial effects of this disaster on the national economy. The only reference to it in the ‘ Budget speech was when the Treasurer referred to certain factors which were reducing the national output. He said -
For example, drought in New South Wales and southern Queensland is bound to cut back rural output quite significantly.
In the report of the Reserve Bank, on page 21 the Bank refers to bank lending as follows -
Bank lending in 1964-65 was affected by some special factors. As a consequence of the industrial dispute at Mount Isa, the banting system was called upon to finance large copper imports. Drought conditions in some States also led to demands on the banks over the closing months of the year but during 1964-65 lending for drought purposes did not become a very significant part of total bank lending. However, it appeared that the need for finance would increase, particularly when the drought broke and restocking commenced. Accordingly, the Bank decided in June that banks should be informed that in providing necessary bank finance for purposes arising from the drought, additional lending might be undertaken outside the general limitation on new lending commitments.
I shall refer later to the Mount Isa dispute. As to the drought, there are two obvious sequels to the disaster that struck parts of New South Wales and Queensland. First of all, there will be a tremendous decrease in the taxable incomes of the people concerned in those areas. Secondly, there will be, as was stated in the Reserve Bank’s report, a substantial demand for financial accommodation for restocking and general rehabilitation services. Neither of those effects have we yet begun to feel. I suggest that it is in the Budget for next year that wo shall be faced with both a large loss of income and a stress on our financial resources to rehabilitate the people concerned. There have been suggestions about providing against the dry day - not the rainy day - by some form of governmental scheme. There is a suggestion of financing some central pool of fodder or something of that sort, but anybody who understands the practical side of these problems will realise that very serious difficulties would confront any central organisation that tried to undertake that kind of provision. In fact, this all comes back to the point that the real responsibility rests with the individual himself. That is where I think some form of fiscal encouragement may possibly be given.
One point I should mention in passing is that it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to note that the drought has again brought out the unlimited generosity of the Australian people to those of their fellows who are in distress. I should like to offer my thanks publicly to the generous farmers, graziers and other people in the western districts of Victoria, many of them my constituents, who so spontaneously made available hay and other fodder as well as cash in order that those who were suffering difficulties due to the drought might be helped along the road. The House might be surprised to know that over 8,500 tons of hay was presented in this manner and that some thousands of pounds in money were donated to buy additional concentrates and fodders. This was a wonderful gesture. But surely something is wrong when individual generosity such as this is necessary to prevent the full effects of drought from being felt, especially when drought is, unfortunately, a normal expectation, not every year but at regular intervals, of Australian seasonal conditions.
I have mentioned Mount Isa. I feel that something has got to be said about this issue in this place in order to pin a little bit of the blame where it might belong. As has been mentioned in the Bank’s report, the balance of payments position of the whole nation was seriously prejudiced by the Mount Isa dispute because of the need to import copper instead of having available a surplus for export I am reliably informed that the net result of the cost of importing and the loss of exports will amount to something over £20 million in the current financial year. This serious loss is added to by the loss to the Queensland Government of rail freights and the substantial loss of commerce within the Mount Isa community itself. I feel, too, that something must be said about the activities of the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J: F. Cairns) and the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) in this very unfortunate affair. By their contributions, they played a substantial part in sabotaging one of Australia’s greatest industries and did a tremendous disservice not only to the cause of northern development but also to the economy to Australia.
I might say that it seems strange to me that at this stage Dr. Patterson, who is still an officer of the Department of National Development and who obviously believes in hastening northern development, should choose to ally himself to a party in which these two members are possible future Ministers. That seems a most extraordinary line of reasoning, and I hope that in due course he will realise what a strange stable he has moved into.
I wish now to turn to the question of the inflow of foreign capital, its effect on the control of Australian industries and its general effect on the Australian economy. Honorable members will remember receiving earlier this year a document published by the Commonwealth Treasury relating to private overseas investment in Australia. In the introduction, that document makes certain very cogent points. First of all, I should say that it is quite obvious that the Australian economy has been helped substantially by the introduction of capital from overseas, and, to support this assertion, I quote the following passage from the second paragraph on page 7 of the Treasury document to which I have referred -
Although we cannot know with any precision how (he economy would have fared in the postwar period had we had no overseas capital inflow, we can be sure that it would now be a smaller and less wealthy economy than it is. Overseas capital has moved into Australia on a large and increasing scale in the post-war period - in the seventeen years to 30th June 1964 for which figures are available, private overseas investment in Australian companies totalled £1,967 million - and, quite apart from any associated effects it may have had, the sheer size of the inflow has substantially altered the total and the pattern of investment in the economy. Australia has maintained a ratio of gross investment to Gross National Product surpassed in only a handful of countries; this achievement has been materially assisted by the augmentation from overseas of savings generated domestically. As well as adding to resources, overseas capital has in many cases brought with it new processes and technques of production and management (“ know how “) which have stimulated and strengthened Australian industry.
I agree entirely with that statement. Overseas capital has had a tremendous effect on the expansion of the Australian economy, and it is quite obvious that, without this overseas capital, the Australian economy could not possibly have developed to the extent that it has since World War II.
During the course of ‘his remarks last night, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) said -
Such international reserves as we have accumulated are the result, not of favourable trade, but of unregulated foreign investment.
Then he went on to say that there was some dissension within the Government itself on the subject of overseas capital coming into the country. I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that his statement 1 have just quoted is true only in part. Obviously, our scale of industrial development would have been quite impossible without the introduction of capital and know-how from overseas. That is just as true of all developing countries as it is of Australia. Our development has not been checked or slowed down by inability to attract this financial support. I agree with the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) when he says that the purchase of existing concerns by overseas interest’s adds nothing to Australia’s economic strength except where these transfers of control bring with them additions to the range or scale of production. However, I would point out that a take over is not always a dead loss, especially the take over of a whole going concern, in that the existing shareholders are paid out in cash which becomes available for future investment in other directions. Anyway, I believe that it is quite unrealistic to expect that only risky ventures, not attractive to Australian investors, should be available for overseas interests. I feel that anybody who gives this matter any thought will realise the justice of that statement. If we were to say to overseas investors: “You can put your money into Australia but you will only be allowed to invest in such concerns as we believe are too risky for us lo invest in ourselves”, we would not get very far.
I think I am echoing the sentiments of the Minister for Trade and Industry when I say that we should look for co-operation with overseas interests rather than control. I was delighted to read the remarks of the new Ambassador from the United States of America on his arrival here. He said that there was quite a feeling for cooperation in Australian concerns by new United States ventures that he anticipated would bc visiting these shores. lt seems to me that there arc three main political objections to large scale overseas investment in Australia which obviously could lead to overseas control. The first of these stems from the difficulties associated with servicing the interest and dividend payments to be made overseas. As against this it is necessary to evaluate the savings in imports and the increased potential for production in the general economic scheme. Obviously if a particular concern in Australia is taken over by overseas interests which have no intention of expanding that concern, there is no gain at all. This is an illustration of the theory that overseas capital can be damaging to our own economy. it may be necessary to impose some form of selective restraint on the remission overseas of funds raised in Australia by overseas companies, or it may be necessary to introduce some measure to bring about greater Australian participation in the equity capital of Australian branches of overseas companies. This should not present any really serious problem. It could be done through income tax measures. At the same time, however, it must be realised that if such a form of sanction is to be imposed it could react against the encouragement of the inflow of capital into the country. It is an action that should be taken with a great degree of caution at any time.
The second objection of a political nature to overseas capital is that there may be a danger to our international liquidity if political winds of change should encourage a flight of capital because of an impending change of government. It is quite obvious that this could happen. It would be followed by pressure on our overseas reserves and an increasing balance of payments problem for the incoming government. Tt is a very real possibility, but there are certain mea sures available to a government to prevent this from taking place. However, it is a possibility and it is a serious objection.
The third objection is the one which, I think, mainly determines the attitude of members of the Opposition to this subject. I think it is quite reasonable to assume that overseas control of Australian concerns would be less susceptible than would Australian control to pressures of demands for wages or working conditions. Certainly local control would be much more susceptible to the problem of unemployment or of loss of work resulting from industrial disputes.
Despite these very real objections there would be available to any government in time of crisis a means of controlling these overseas interests, at least as far as their Australian operations are concerned. This would not be used, however, except in the most serious circumstances because undoubtedly its use would have highly prejudicial results. In this connection we might consider recent events in two neighbouring countries, Indonesia and Ceylon. The Governments of both of those countries have in the last decade attacked, by way of confiscation, a range of overseas concerns operating in those countries. The results in the short term may have represented quite a financial gain. Obviously the acquisition of control of a big oil company, and the running of that concern purely for the benefit of the government would represent a gain. But it is obvious that overseas lenders or developers who might be inclined to cast favourable eyes on a country with a view to future investment would not be likely to take a risk by entering into the establishment of an undertaking which might later be arbitrarily confiscated. This applies particularly in countries requiring large scale and continuing financial and industrial assistance. T believe it would he a disaster, with a resulting serious limitation of potential economic expansion, if such assistance were cut off.
Now I wish to refer to another matter which I regard as important, and which has not yet been adverted to in this debate. The Budget papers tell us that Commonwealth estate duty receipts are expected to rise from about £20 million to about £22 million. For more than 30 years it has been an accepted principle in Great Britain, under the estate duty laws of that country, that there should be a differential rate for the duty charged on such portion of a deceased estate as was at the date of death devoted to agriculture. This differential in the United Kingdom is now in the form of a 45 per cent, rebate of duty on such land and improvements as come within the relevant description. It is understood that the reason for introducing this differential was the fragmentation of landed estates after deaths in families and the subsequent uneconomic farming on highly rated small properties.
This principle has been acknowledged in Australia in the Succession Duties Act of South Australia. The provisions of that legislation are rather more complicated, but they do prescribe for up to 30 per cent, rebate on such portion of an estate as was devoted to agricultural purposes. More recently in Victoria the Probate Duty Act was amended to provide, first, the same sliding scale as had applied in South Australia, and subsequently to provide a flat rebate rate of 30 per cent, on that portion of an estate which had been devoted to agricultural purposes.
The economic conditions which have prevailed within Australia since 1949 have been mainly determined by the demand for expansion both in population and in industrial potential. This demand, coupled with ever increasing wage demands, has caught the farmers of Australia in the cost-price squeeze which, combined with diminishing world commodity prices, has reduced overall Australian net farm income substantially in recent years. In Australia valuations of farming land and improvements for assessment of death duties are inevitably and invariably based on current market values, and it is an indisputable fact that the threat of inflation has a very strong influence on the attractiveness of land as an investment. This, coupled with the obvious income tax advantages in owning farming land and building up the capital asset at the expense of income, has brought into the ranks of land purchasers many successful business and professional people who are not at all concerned with the rate of income return they should expect from their land purchases. But the land in general represented by our farms and grazing properties still remains our main source of production of export income and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Any imposition in the form of a capital debt, such as that resulting from death duty, must retard and even prevent the lifting of a farm’s production.
Death duties are completely unproductive. This is something that I must stress. If a person seeks to borrow money for improvements he can expect some return, but when the debt is incurred simply to pay death duty, which can bring no reward at all, obviously the money borrowed will have no effect at all on the improvement of the farm’s production. When a farmer undertakes to borrow for the purpose of improvement of his property, there must be some advantage in the form of increased future production. But the impact of death duty which will almost certainly in most cases become a charge on the farm must inevitably decrease the earning capacity of the farm.
Another effect of inflation and its impact on death duties on deceased estates of all kinds has been higher values and steeply rising rates of assessment. For instance, the general rate of Federal estate duty rises from 6 per cent, on estates of £20,000 to 26 per cent, on estates of £120,000. Also, although the exemption was raised from £2,000 to £5,000 in 1953, the sharp rise in land values has meant that only the uneconomic farm units receive any benefit from the exemption which disappears above a value of £20,000. It will readily be seen how severe is the sliding scale of duties on a farm property of 1,000 acres which 20 years ago was valued at, say, £7 an acre and which today would be valued at about £40 an acre. This may be an extreme case, but rises of at least three times in values would apply in the drier pastoral areas.
It may be asked: Why make this difference between farming or agricultural land and an asset such as a factory or a small business? The first obvious difference is in the method of valuation. The earning potential of either a secondary industry or a business, or, alternatively, the share market estimate of this potential, coupled with the estimate of undisclosed assets, forms a fairly accurate guide to the value of the assets of a deceased estate in such a concern. On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, the valuation of agricultural land for duty is based on an estimate of current market value, not on current earning capacity. The second difference surely must be that a small business has no impact on the nation’s export production, and any influence of death duties on a small business will not in any way affect national production. Again, where a family or a small company operates some form of manufacturing or processing concern, the firm’s assets are normally represented by shares, and the sale of shares to meet death duties should not directly affect the production or operation of such a concern, though it may present some embarrassment in its control.
An anomalous position has arisen particularly in South Australia and Victoria. In those States, the taxable estate for the levying of Commonwealth estate duty becomes greater because of the remission by the State of some of the estate duty or succession duty on agricultural land. The Federal Government, by means of the Commonwealth estate duty imposed, takes part of what the State Governments remit. I suggest that this matter ought to be considered. We have approached the Treasurer on this subject before. I still believe that there are compelling reasons for doing what has been done in the United Kingdom, South Australia and Victoria, and I urge the right honorable gentleman to consider the matter further. I regard it as important from the standpoint of the industry that earns the greatest part of Australia’s export income.
I commend this Budget, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I believe that it is eminently sensible. No Budget, of course, can please everybody, but I suggest that the way in which the present one has been received indicates that the thinking people of Australia regard it as a Budget that will contribute to the steady progress of our great Commonwealth.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the report of the Budget speech made by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), as appears at page 32 of “ Hansard “, contains these words -
Each year presents different facts, different prospects, different necessities; but the general nature of the problem remains the same.
What is the problem of which the right honorable gentleman spoke? One looks in vain for any description of it. Nowhere does he attempt to elucidate or define what he regards as the problem. The Treasurer has presented many Budgets to this House. On each occasion, he has exhibited great dexterity in the presentation. If he presents a deficit Budget he lucidly propounds arguments in support of such a Budget, if his Budget provides for a surplus, he can with equal capacity defend such a course. If he presents a Budget that proposes expansion of the economy, he can with fluency defend such action. And he does no less if the course to be followed in the ensuing year is based on a policy of contraction. If that is the case, we are regaled with strict exhortations that we must heed the demands of sanity in seeking a balanced Budget.
In the Budget that we are now considering, the Treasurer anticipates a surplus of £19,415,000. The fact that a surplus is anticipated makes his attitude all the more complex and many of the measures proposed in this Budget all the more baffling and indefensible. When we examine the Treasurer’s record, we find him to be extremely unreliable in the matter of estimates. In some instances his estimates have been out by as much as £80 million in one year. To say the least, this is most undesirable. It is not unreasonable to expect a Treasurer to present to the Parliament a Budget that can be accepted as a reasonable aproximation of a government’s income and expenditure for the ensuing year. With one or two exceptions, that has not been the case with the Budgets presented by the present Treasurer. The degree of flexibility exhibited in Budgets such as we have become accustomed to in the past 10 years not only deserves criticism but also should be resisted very strongly. This method of loose presentation is both unjust and reprehensible. It can be used as a means of imposing unnecessarily high levels of taxation or unnecessary tax increases. Or it can be used as a means of supporting an argument that people must be deprived of advantages or benefits to which they are entitled, such as increased social service benefits of various kinds or tax remissions. Or it can be used as a means of justifying high customs and excise duties.
Not the least extraordinary feature of this Budget is that it envisages a surplus of £19,415,000. Among other things - and by no means least - it proposes borrowings of £55 million from the Reserve Bank of Australia to achieve this purpose. If one were to read a prospectus that promised a 10 per cent, yield to investors based on the borrowing of money from a bank for such a purpose, one would hardly need to state the reaction to such a proposal. If a company were to present a balance sheet showing that the dividend it was paying had been achieved by borrowing money for the purpose, one would noi’ need to state what would be the future of that company - that is, if anyone foolish enough to lend it money could be found. Surely this Budget ranks as one of the most unusual of its kind, because it depends on borrowed capital to achieve the estimated surplus. Knowing how unreliable and how hopelessly astray the Treasurer’s forecasts can be, one can readily see that the actual surplus could reach £40 million. If the estimate is so far out - as has happened in the past - we can see that no reliance at all can be placed on the forecasts on which the present Budget is based.
This Budget is inflationary because it will give the kind of impetus that will set in motion an inflationary spiral. This is proved by the price rises that have occurred since the Treasurer announced his proposals little more than a week ago. Worse still is the fact that the price increases have not been confined to the items mentioned in the Budget but are appearing in all fields. And, even worse than this, the Government does not intend to take any action that would contain this escalation of prices or protect the public against this kind of unprincipled exploitation by private operators. The Government proposes to increase personal income tax by 2i per cent. The yield from this increase is expected to be £19 million. It may be only a coincidence that this amount approximates the expected Budget surplus. How can taxation increases be justified in a surplus Budget? This same principle can be stated in respect of the increased imposts on petrol, beer, spirits and tobacco.
The Government proposes to obtain £19 million from direct taxation increases and £66 million from indirect taxation increases. The Budget favours the few at the expense of the many. The Government should have imposed additional direct taxes upon those who are capable of paying them instead of resorting to indirect taxes, which impose upon many people a hardship that they are ill equipped to bear. Once again, the Government has run away from its responsibilities. It could, with justice, have imposed a capital gains tax. This form of taxation is accepted and practised in most democratic countries. How long can this Government go on protecting the extremely wealthy? Why should the poor be called upon to continue making sacrifices with the imposition of indirect taxes? Pensioners will be called upon to pay increased prices for cigarettes and beer or go without, while fantastically wealthy corporations and combines go scot free. It does appear that, as a consequence of the principle followed in the Budget, the Government has fanned the flames of inflation. It is painfully apparent that very few will escape the heat or the scorching effects. The Government must have been aware of these effects and it has exhibited an alarming degree of irresponsibility in pursuing this policy.
The policy revealed in the Budget is highly irresponsible and makes the Government’s often repeated statements about the adverse effects of inflation so much nonsense. The policy that the Government has followed in the Budget makes a very interesting study when compared with the case presented on behalf of the Commonwealth in the recent basic wage and total wage inquiry. At this inquiry, counsel for the Government declared that any increase in the basic wage would be fraught with danger. By resorting to the use of indirect taxation, the Government has touched off what is now a major rise in the price structure. Some weeks ago it said that it was dangerous to increase the basic wage. Why is it not as dangerous, or more dangerous, to increase prices? The attitude of the Government makes it appear that it is now committed to the unjust and absurd thesis that it is not dangerous to increase prices but is dangerous to increase the basic and total wage. Wages and salaries always lag behind prices and now, as a result of the price rise that will inevitably follow the Government’s financial policy and the recent incomprehensible majority judgment of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the position of workers has deteriorated and must continue to deteriorate in the future. It is quite obvious that the price structure of the economy can only be gravely impaired. Judged by past performances, the Government will not take any action to arrest this dangerous development. The Government cannot go on indefinitely opposing and obstructing wage increases and at the same time continue to give effect to a policy that creates rises in the price index, as the present Budget will.
The Government has been one of the most favoured and fortunate governments in the history of our Federation, lt has relied very heavily on something to turn up to rescue it from its self-created dilemmas, lt was very fortunate in the succession of extraordinarily good seasons it enjoyed in its early years of office. Then, when faced with a heavy wheat carryover, it was rescued by the large purchases of our products by China and Russia. One thing is certain - its luck will not and cannot last for ever. If it is not rescued from the dilemma it has created for itself in the present budgetary proposals, we will see the beginning of a catastrophic era.
I now turn to another subject and that is the high price of justice, lt is true that all men are equal before the law. It is not true, however, that all men have equal opportunities to get before the law. Because of the exceedingly high cost of litigation in our courts, 1 believe that the Government should be taking positive measures to introduce urgently needed law reforms. The Government can apply such reforms only to Commonwealth Territories. Should it decide to effect these reforms, however, it will set an example in some instances that the States will, I believe, follow in their turn.
On this subject, I list three matters for the consideration of the Government. I believe that appeals to the Privy Council should be abolished. Most countries in the British Commonwealth have already done this. It is very costly for a person to take a case to the Privy Council and, because of the expense, it is not possible for a considerable number of our people to avail themselves of this course. In fact, there have been cases in the past in which people have been deterred by the cost from going on with such appeals. It has been proved in the past that this custom confers tremendous advantages on wealthy persons or business corporations to whom the expense offers no problems, but, because of the cost, persons or companies with limited capital have declined to proceed to the Privy Council. In this instance, monetary resources can determine a course of action resulting in a person or persons being deprived of justice. There is a growing body of opinion amongst our own jurists that appeals to the Privy Council should be discontinued and the final appeal should rest in our own High Court. Recently the Government broke new ground when it appointed an Australian to the position of Governor-General and I hope that in the near future it will see fit to end this relic of colonial administration - that is, appeals to the Privy Council.
I should like the Commonwealth to follow the lead of some of the States and create positions such as the Public Defender and Public Solicitor. The people appointed to these positions in the States are doing very good work and I would like to see the residents of Commonwealth Territories given the opportunity to enjoy the privileges that go with such appointments. In fact, I would like the Commonwealth to go much further. In many civil and criminal cases, people who are found not guilty of the charges on which they have been arraigned often become destitute as a result of the financial burden that is placed upon them in paying fees and charges. Some are able to meet these costs; many are not. In fact, some countries have legislation that provides for some form of compensation to be paid to or grants made to people who are found not guilty of charges laid against them. The last country to provide such legislation is New Zealand.
The financial cost involved in proving one’s innocence can be very high. I have in mind a case that was heard in Sydney recently. It concerned an alderman from a municipal council who was charged with accepting a bribe. Half way through the hearing of the case, the judge stopped the hearing and dismissed the charge, ruling that there was no case against this particular alderman. He was a free man, proved innocent of the charge. But to prove his innocence, it cost him £1,300 in legal expenses. He is an ordinary citizen with an ordinary job and in receipt of an ordinary salary. But it was a crippling blow financially to him to prove his innocence. He has no redress. Cases such as this occur in other fields and it is cases such as this for which I believe some form of compensation should be forthcoming. Other countries are facing up to this problem: I hope we do not lag behind them too long.
My final submission in this matter is that I believe the Government should, in all cases, abolish the dock. In this country, we have clung with almost infantile fervour to the custom of the presence of the dock in our law courts. It is a degrading custom and does not in any way dignify or enhance the proceedings of our courts. Recently, a child was placed in the dock of one of our courts. The fact that only his head appearing over the rails was a constant reminder of how outmoded this custom is. I believe the proceedings of our courts and the atmosphere of our court rooms would be immeasurably improved with the abolition of the dock. I ask the Commonwealth Government to take the initiative in this matter. The dock is a constant reminder of the barbarous past. It has been abolished in many countries, and I personally hope that the day is not far away when this country will also relegate it into the past.
I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
.- During the course of this Budget debate so far, members of the Australian Labour Party have made really heavy weather of their attack upon the Budget because it is in fact a sensible Budget What the Labour Party does not appear to understand completely is that, nowadays, the people of Australia are defence minded. They are willing to accept the fact that the defence of this country and their own security has to be paid for. I wish to devote my time, during the course of this Budget address, to the Repatriation Department and its ramifications. I will go back to the beginning of the history of this Government when, in his 1949 policy speech, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said - and I very well remember these words -
Repatriation remains a great and proud responsibility.
I submit, and I am going to prove, that this Government has honoured that statement completely. It can be said, I believe, with great accuracy that Australia has now established world leadership in the field of repatriation. There is no other country - and I have studied the repatriation systems of other countries - that has given mora sympathetic treatment to ex-servicemen and their dependants than Australia has. This Government can take very considerable credit for the fact that this is the precise situation.
In this Budget, additional repatriation benefits have been included, tidying up, as the Government has been able to do from time to time, the anomalies which exist or might seem to exist in our system. In this Budget is contained provision for an intermediate rate war pension. This new rate of pension is to be instituted to cater for the special needs of war pensioners who are so seriously disabled as the result of war disability that they are able to work only part time or intermittently, and are not so disabled as to qualify for the totally and permanently incapacitated rate of pension. The rate of this pension will be £10 2s. 6d. per week and eligibility will be determined on the basis of the ex-serviceman’s capacity to engage in some remunerative occupation.
The second major provision in the Budget is for medical sustenance for outpatient treatment. Eligibility for payment of sustenance equivalent to the T.P.I, pension is to be extended to cover exservicemen who are prevented from following their usual occupation because of the necessities of out-patient treatment through war caused disabilities for continuous periods in excess of one month. On the completion of a period of one month’s out-patient treatment, this higher rate of sustenance will be payable retrospective to the commencement of the period involved.
Additional benefits are introduced in relation to service pensions and benefits. Firstly, supplementary assistance is to be increased by 10s. a week, from £26 to £52 a year, and the maximum rate of pension is to be reduced by the amount by which the pensioners’ means as assessed exceed £26. Secondly, supplementary assistance is to be extended to a married service pensioner otherwise qualified whose wife receives a wife’s service pension. Then, the maximum rate of £312 per annum is to be available to a married service pensioner whose wife receives a wife’s service pension. Thirdly, the wife of a service pensioner who receives his service pension on the grounds of age is to qualify for a wife’s service pension if she has one or more children. A child’s service pension is to be paid to the child of an age service pensioner. Additional pension is also to be paid to the age pensioner himself in respect of a second or subsequent child. Fourthly, the agc limit for student children service pensioners is to be raised to 21 years. Fifthly, a funeral benefit of £20 is to be provided for service pensioners who are responsible for the funeral costs of a spouse, a child or another pensioner. Finally, a Guardian’s allowance of £2 per week is to be paid to unmarried member service pensioners who have custody, care and control of one or more children. Of course, under the social service provisions, the wife of a totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner is entitled now to a medical card.
Since 1950, repatriation benefits have been greatly extended. I propose to illustrate this point. Firstly, on the question of eligibility, the restrictions imposed by the Financial Emergency Act 1931 which debarred the wife married or the child born after 30th June 1938 to an ex-serviceman of the 1914-18 war from receiving a war pension in respect of his incapacity, or a service pension, were removed. The time limits which limited eligibility for stepchildren and adopted children of all exservicemen were also removed. The provisions of the Repatriation Act 1950 and of the Re-establishment and Employment Act 1951, with some minor modifications, were extended to ex-servicemen and exservicewomen who served in Korea and Malaya. In 1963, in the case of children of exservicemen and ex-servicewomen whose deaths were due to war service, eligibility to receive the higher double orphan’s rate was extended to include a child who was not in fact being maintained by a surviving parent, a step-parent or an adoptive parent.
In 1956, special legislation was introduced by the Repatriation (Far East Strategic Reserve) Act 1956. This Act provided appropriate benefits including war pensions and medical treatment in respect of service of members of the Commonwealth Defence Force, both male and female, with the Far East Strategic Reserve in Malaya up to 27th May 1963 when the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Act came into operation. The Native Members of the Forces Benefits Act 1957 enabled special provision to be made for suitable benefits for aboriginal natives of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea and of the islands of the Torres Strait and the Pacific Ocean who served with the Commonwealth Defence Force in the 1939-45 War. In 1963 the Repatriation (Special Overseas Service) Act was passed to provide repatriation benefits for members of the Australian forces whose service outside Australia involved some operational risk beyond that normally associated with peacetime service, and for their dependants. The Act applies to appropriate service in special areas which may be prescribed by regulation as circumstances require. At present it applies to certain border areas of Malaya and to Vietnam. 1 turn now to the new benefits which have been introduced by the Government. I refer first to the widow’s remarriage gratuity. In 1950 a gratuity equal to the amount of one year’s pension at the rate she was receiving was provided for the widow of an ex-serviceman on her remarriage. In 1950 it was decided to provide a four door sedan - a Hillman “ Minx “ - to an ex-serviceman whose disability was either a double amputation of the legs above the knees or complete paraplegia, and an allowance of £120 per annum for registration, insurance and general running costs. Subsequently an alternative choice of a Hillman station wagon was allowed. Later, the option was given to an ex-serviceman to receive a car with automatic instead of manual transmission where the exserviceman is to drive the car himself. Gift cars are now being replaced in appropriate cases.
In 1953 travelling expenses and subsistence for forward and return journeys were provided for war widows being admitted to repatriation general hospitals for medical treatment. In 1959 this benefit was extended to war widows travelling to other hospitals or places of medical treatment. In 1952 travel by air was made available to enable the nominated next of kin of an exserviceman receiving hospital treatment for a war caused disability to visit him if he was on the dangerously ill list or, in the event of death, to attend his funeral.
The Disabled Members’ and Widows’ Training Scheme was established in 1952 to provide rehabilitation training for exservicemen of the 1939-45 war who were substantially handicapped through war caused incapacity in being satisfactorily re-established in civil life, and for widows of ex-servicemen of that war if training was necessary to enable them to follow a suitable remunerative occupation. Assistance under the scheme includes payment of living allowances, subsidised employment and provision of books and fees. Training is provided for industrial, rural and professional occupations.
An allowance of 10s. a week by way of supplementary assistance was provided in 1958 for service pensioners who are unmarried or whose spouse was not in receipt of a service pension or a pension or allowance under the Social Services Act, who paid rent for their accommodation and were deemed to be entirely dependent upon their service pension. Where a service pensioner is paying for board and lodging the same principles will apply and the payment will be accepted as having a rent component.
In 1963 service pension payments in respect of a child, which had previously terminated when the child reached 16 years of 3ge. were extended so as to apply until 31st December of the year in which the child reached 18 years, so long as the child was a full time student at a school, college or university.
On the subject of increased pensions - notably, war pensions - substantial increases have been provided in all the main rates of pension and the removal of the ceiling limits by the repeal of section 91a of the Repatriation Act in 1955 and of corresponding provisions in the Social Services Act have enabled a large number of war pensioners to receive additional amounts by way of a service, age or invalid pension. In particular, married total and permanent incapacity rate war pensioners, who had previously been debarred from receiving an age, invalid or service pension, immediately became eligible for such a pension subject only to the means test, Such a married couple may now receive between them up to £18 a week by way of the dual pensions. Pensions and allowances payable to or in respect of their children arc payable in addition to this amount.
In 1950 the Act was amended to enable a retrospective grant of three months’ arrears of war pension to be made in respect of exservicemen of the 1914-18 war and their dependants, as was already the case for those of the 1939-45 war.
In 1957 it was provided that where after an appeal had been disallowed by an entitlement appeal tribunal, a further appeal was subsequently allowed by the tribunal, or the commission made a favorable determination regarding the original appeal, arrears might be granted from a date not earlier than four years before the date of the appeal tribunal’s decision or the date of the commission’s determination as the case may be, provided that the date so fixed did not precede the date which could have been fixed by the tribunal or the Commission if the first appeal lodged to the tribunal had succeeded.
In 1962 sections 29 and 78 of the Repatriation Act were amended to provide a uniform commencing date of war pension and associated benefits where a claim had been allowed, irrespective of whether the claim was accepted in the first instance by a repatriation board, or subsequently by the Commission or an entitlement appeal tribunal. The effect of this amendment was that the appellate body was able to grant benefits from the same date as the repatriation board could have done, provided the claimant had not delayed longer than three months in lodging an appeal to the Commission and, where a further appeal to a tribunal was necessary, for longer than three months from the date of the Commission’s decision.
The rates of service pension have been increased and the means test, in relation to both the income and property provisions, has been liberalised. Service pensioners receive the benefit of the merged means test which operated on and from 1st March 1961. The increases in rates and the easing of the means test corresponded with similar concessions to age and invalid pensioners under the Social Services Act. In 1963 a new differential rate for “ single “ member service pensioners was introduced. At £6 per week it was 10s. higher than the rate paid to others.
Rates of other allowances payable under the Repatriation Act and the Reestablishment and Employment Act have been increased and in some instances additional classes of persons have become eligible to receive them. I give examples of these allowances. The attendants allowance is payable to war blinded and seriously disabled ex-servicemen. The recreation transport allowance is payable to an exserviceman so seriously disabled that bis power of locomotion is negligible. Eligibility for payment of this allowance has been widened.
Two rates of medical sustenance are payable, one at a rate equivalent to the T.P.I, rate of war pension while an ex-serviceman is undergoing hospital treatment fo’ a war caused disability and the other at a rate equivalent to the general rate (100 per cent.) war pension or the difference between the ex-serviceman’s pension rate and the 100 per cent, rate while he is undergoing treatment for a war caused disability other than hospital treatment. These rates of sustenance have been increased each time those rates of pension have been raised. In addition, from 1954 payments made by an employer for sick pay which had previously been taken into account when assessing the higher rate of sustenance mentioned above were exempted. Payment of sustenance at the higher rate was extended to cover the period of essential convalescence following hospital treatment. The limited means applying to the special rate of sustenance allowance was removed in 1962.
Subsistence allowance while travelling in connection with medical treatment, for pension purposes or for the purpose of attending at hearings before a War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal or an Assessment Appeal Tribunal and attendance allowance in connection with loss of salary when attending for medical treatment or for pension purposes have both been increased. Eligibility for the last mentioned allowance was extended to self employed persons in the Budget of 1961-62.
A clothing allowance was introduced in 1959 and provides allowances ranging from 3s. 9d. to 7s. 6d. per week for amputees and other persons whose accepted disability results in exceptional wear and tear or damage to clothing. The rate of domestic allowance for war widows has been increased substantially from 7s. 6d. in 1949 to £3 10s. in 1963. In addition, eligibility was extended in 1952 to a war widow who is permanently unemployable, and in 1953 to a widow who has a child who is over the age of 16 years, is undergoing approved education or training and is not in receipt of or entitled to be paid a wage that in the opinion of the Commission is an adequate living wage.
In 1952 the age at which payment of allowances under the soldiers’ children education scheme commences was reduced from 13 years to 12 years. Substantial increases including those granted in 1963 have been provided in the rates of the allowances and in the amount of income from other sources including scholarships which a child may have before the rate of allowance is reduced. In 1956, when general increases were granted, the conditions regarding payment to apprentices were revised to bring more of them within the ambit of the scheme.
In 1958 it was decided that amounts earned by an eligible child from casual employment during school or university vacation would not be taken into account when determining the rate of education allowance to be paid.
Allowances payable under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme and the Korea and Malaya Training Scheme have been substantially increased since 1949. For example, the living allowance of £3 15s. a week which was paid to >a single trainee in 1949 has been increased to £6 19s. 6d. a week, whilst the allowance for a married trainee with one or more children has risen from £5 15s. to £9 3s. 6d. a week.
In recent years there has been a continued increased demand for treatment, both at in-patient and out-patient levels, due to the increasing numbers of entitled persons, the widening of eligibility for treatment and the greater needs for treatment as the exserviceman grows older. To meet this increased demand, hospital facilities have been continually expanded, new wards have been built, operating suites and other ancillary services have been enlarged and expanded and auxiliary hospitals, limb and appliance centres and other treatment facilities have been remodelled and rebuilt. Since 1950 some £14.5 million has been spent on capital works and maintenance at repatriation hospitals and other institutions.
Since 1943 a full range of medical benefits including hospitalisation has been provided for disabilities not due to war service, with some exceptions for ex-servicemen who are in receipt of a war pension at 100 per cent, general rate or a higher rate. In 19S8 eligibility for these benefits was extended to all nurses of the 1914-18 War irrespective of whether or not they were receiving a war pension. In 1960 the same benefits were extended to all member service pensioners.
For war widows and their children and certain widowed mothers, in 1952 the conditions were extended to provide for treatment being available on occasions when they are temporarily absent from their normal place of abode. In 1959 treatment facilities were extended to include treatment in country hospitals and other metropolitan hospitals when the circumstances require it, treatment at Repatriation Department outpatient clinics and a full range of specialist treatment. In 1963 medical treatment facilities were extended to the widows and children of deceased 1914-18 War exservicemen who did not serve overseas but whose deaths have been accepted as due to war service.
The funeral grant was increased from £20 to £25 in 1952. A grant of £10 towards the funeral expenses of a deceased service pensioner who does not otherwise qualify for the higher rate of £23 was provided in 1963. The supply of driving and signalling devices was extended in 1950 to additional classes of disabled ex-servicemen. The maximum amount of business loans which could be made available under the Reestablishment and Employment Act, as a reestablishment measure, to ex-servicemen who served in the 1939-45 War and the Korea and Malaya operations has been increased from £250 to £375 and, for certain prescribed cases, from £500 to £750. The increases were made in 1951. Rates of business re-establishment allowances were also increased in 1952. With the concurrence of honorable members, I incorporate in “ Hansard “ a table showing increases in the main rates of pensions and allowances since 1949.
I have dealt at great length with the history of the Repatriation Department since 1950. I believe that it is important to point out just what this Government has achieved and to demonstrate that the Government certainly has kept its promises, and right from the beginning, has followed what the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) said: namely, that repatriation remains a great and proud responsibility.
.- In speaking in this debate and particularly to the amendment that was moved last night by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr.
Calwell), who pointed out most of the shortcomings of the Budget, if I expressed anything but disappointment and frustation on behalf of the majority of my constituents - particularly those who are wage earners or pensioners - I would be grossly misleading. I believe that a Budget which decides how much money is needed and then just grabs it from wherever it can, with no consideration for the people involved, is very wrong. It boils down to nothing more than leaving less for the average family unit to live on. As we all realise, people who smoke, by and large, will still smoke as much as they used to; people who drink will still drink as much as they used to; and people who have motor cars for enjoyment by their families either will stay at home or will have to pay more. It means no less than that the average mother will have less on which to rear her family, because rarely does the man of the house do without his beer and cigarettes. Consequently, the pay that a man takes home will be less than it has been in the past.
In my opinion, this Budget is a direct hit on the living standards of women and children and people who receive social service benefits, including the age pension. Although we have a fairly affluent society in Australia today, there is a section of the community which is not at all affluent. They are living from hand to mouth. Anyone who has not seen this sort of thing does not open his eyes very much. We see children just decently clad. They come from poor families. They have little or no hope of getting anywhere, unless they are exceptionally bright at school and so are able to get their education on Commonwealth scholarships. That is one of the ways in which we lose the talent of many people who, instead of being helped to persevere in order to attain higher standards of education, mainly because of the poverty of their parents, and in many cases because of youngsters pushing from behind, have to grab the first job that is available. That is very bad for the future of a young country such as this. We will pay for it later, as for so many other things, as a result of policies pursued in the past. As I have said before, a good deal of the trouble in the United States of America today is caused by poverty in the home. That is so obvious that I would have thought that the Government would have tried to raise the basic level of the family unit instead of eroding it, as this Budget, rising costs and static wages are doing.
As far as I am concerned, the 6d. in the £1 increase in income tax could have been doubled or trebled and I do not think anyone would have complained. No-one can deny that income tax is the fairest tax, because the more one makes the more one pays, and it costs no more to collect more tax. I know of no-one who argues against the additional defence expenditure. Certainly no-one where I come from does. This year defence expenditure will approach £400 million. We all hope that what that expen diture provides will never be needed to defend this country again, as it had to be defended in 1942. Spending £400 million is one thing, but having something to show for it is quite a different thing, as not only Australia has found out. Since the last war we have spent almost £3,000 million on defence. Britain and Canada also have spent large sums on defence. Britain is obviously trying to reduce the huge non-effective percentage in every £100 spent on defence. The Canadians have made great progress towards achieving an efficient disbursement of their defence allocation. In my opinion we should do likewise. This was suggested last year by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Falkinder) during the course of a speech. I agreed with him at that time.
We should have only one armed force. Canada’s effort in this regard deserves special mention. It would not be hard for this Government to investigate what Canada has done. Canada will become the first nation to merge its defence establishments into one unified force. Plans have been going ahead since early last year, when Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Mr. Paul Hellyer, outlined in a long awaited White Paper proposals for revolutionary changes. The main idea was to reduce unnecessary defence spending and give Canada’s Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs an extra 100 million dollars to provide more modern equipment and armaments. Eventually the new look may extend even to a completely different uniform for all Canadian military personnel, replacing the distinctive uniforms now worn by members of the three Services.
The Canadian Government has already created a single command structure with a single chief of the national defence staff. Civilian control is being increased by extending the authority of the Deputy Minister of National Defence. Ottawa felt that the possible threats facing Canadian forces in the future ranged from all out thermonuclear war and large scale limited war to insurrection, guerrilla activity and political unheaval. As far as insurrection goes, I do not think we have need to fear this in this country. All out thermo-nuclear war and large scale limited war were the lowest on the scale of probable threats as far as Canada was concerned. Eventually, the merging of Service commands will (earl to a reduction of at least 10,000 in the number of administrative personnel, partly by attrition and partly by forced retirement. The final result will be a reduction in Canada’s armed forces from 120,000 to about 110,000 or even fewer. The number of generals, lieutenant-generals, and majorgenerals is being reduced from 17 to 12. This is a good thing.
We should look carefully at what Canada is doing in this respect. Mr. Hellyer has assured some of his colleagues who have expressed doubts about the tri-Service command structure that it will operate satisfactorily and efficiently. He said that Canada will be able to keep its forces at a high state of readiness and to keep up the support, which is absolutely essential. In all fields Mr. Hellyer wants to save cash, just as we in Australia want to do. In Ottawa the House of Commons Defence Committee was told recently that an integrated recruiting system for the armed forces would save the country 1,200,000 dollars a year and would reduce Canada’s total staff establishment in recruiting offices from 490 to 322. Recruiting centres across the country are being reduced in number from 52 to 34. No single-Service offices will be retained. This is a commonsense move. During the next two years the three Services expect to lose 24,000 personnel through retirement and other causes. But the planned reduction in strength of 10,000 will still leave 14,000 jobs to be filled. This will require 18,000 recruits, because officials must always allow for those recruits who withdraw their applications. In the same way the national service scheme in Australia must make allowances for those people who fail to meet the required standards.
Canada’s defence plan is designed to save money on staff overhead so that more may be spent to maintain a new look, flexible, lean and highly mobile force rather than depend on rapid recruitment and training in an emergency. Ottawa is stressing the need for the most modern and efficient equipment available. As was to be expected, there has been considerable internal resistance to the integration plan but what has already been achieved by Mr. Hellyer is quite impressive. There is always some resistance to any new idea. Whereas, before, there were three channels of command, all meeting at the Minister’s office, now there is a single overall command made up of field or flag rank officers from the three Services. The task of these officers is to hear inter-Service disputes and make recommendations to the Minister. Another important innovation has been Mr. Hellyer’s insistence that the Services produce five-year long term equipment programmes. The first of these was made public late in 1964. lt was certainly a vital document. For the first time, Canadian defence industries were given a clear indication of the kind and scale of work that they could expect in the following five year period and they were able to make their plans accordingly.
The Canadian Minister of National Defence made a deal a couple of years ago with his cabinet colleagues. He obtained an agreement that he should maintain defence spending at the current high level of 1,500 million dollars a year. He argued that his Department should be allowed to keep and devote towards equipment any savings made by reason of streamlining the military machine. In other words, in return for a promise that he would not ask for more money Mr. Hellyer was assured that the Government would not order him to pass back his savings. With this agreement in his pocket he began an ambitious programme to reduce operating costs and increase the capital share of the defence budget. Most of Canada’s defence economists, in keeping with our economists here, felt that this was badly needed. Whereas 15 years ago the ratio was roughly 40 per cent capital to 60 per cent, operating expenses, it had declined to an unhappy 13 per cent, capital and 87 per cent, operating expenses by 1964. Less than 200 million dollars a year was available for equipment but more than 1,300 million dollars was being spent to keep the military machine working. This is roughly parallel with our effort in Australia. The result was that in Canada the Army, and to some extent the Navy, had to use obsolete equipment. Only Canada’s Air Force managed to get most of the modern equipment it required.
Following a ruthless and politically risky campaign of slashing costs, including the closing of militia regiments with long traditions and military bases that were important to their localities, Mr. Hellyer believes that he is in a position to begin spending much more on equipment. The five-year programme served formal notice of this. By 1970 Mr. Hellyer hopes to have doubled the amount available for equipment. He plans to give the Canadian Army new guns and transports and better communications equipment. The Royal Canadian Navy will get several new destroyers, big antisubmarine helicopters and troop transports. The Royal Canadian Air Force has been promised new transports and a new closesupport tactical fighter. Canada’s defence chiefs say that most of the first five-year period will elapse before the effect of the re-equipment programme is felt and before any financial savings can be achieved. Also, it will take a long time to overcome the psychological difficulties which, perhaps, were not taken into consideration sufficiently when Ottawa formulated its original plans.
In the gradual movement towards the integration of the armed forces, the most traumatic change is taking place in the Navy, where more than just a difference in job is involved for the officers who remain. It is a completely new way of life. The proud traditions of Canada’s senior Service are vanishing and with them the feudal attitudes bred by shipboard life. Naval officers first became aware that Mr. Hellyer really meant business when he cancelled the construction programme for the fleet of general purpose frigates. These vessels, as we all know, represented the final evolution of the little ships - the corvettes and so on - that had fought the submarines so bravely during the last World War. In their place, Mr. Hellyer has ordered four helicopter-equipped destroyers suitable for the installation of missile defence systems, which will increase the range and effectiveness of other elements of the Canadian fleet. In the unification which is to follow the current integration phase, Army and Air Force trained men will take over many key jobs afloat. When this happens ships will turn into nuclear-age fighting machines and seadogs into the technicians who run them. Mr. Hellyer states that when the results begin to appear Canada will have a strong and mobile force capable of serving both the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries and the United Nations.
The experts in the field of defence, however, are still divided as to how the concept will eventually work. During hearings before the Defence Committee witnesses from the different Services were at each others throats, as we would expect. Some claimed that integration would prove to be a disastrous failure. Others praised Mr. Hellyer for taking a badly needed step forward. During the heated debate that raged over the future of the Services Major General Macklin, the Army’s retired adjutantgeneral, accused the Canadian Government of squandering thousands of millions of dollars on defence since the Second World War. He said that most of this amount had been spent on supplying the Royal Canadian Air Force with jet interceptors that could never do the job for which they were intended. He claimed that after 1945 Canada’s Air Force found itself with nothing to do. It rejected a transport role, according to Major General Macklin. because of the truck driving aspects involved. He said that the Air Force could not have heavy bombers, partly because it could not afford them, so it demanded jet interceptors. Replying to the Air Force’s complaint that its jets were out of date, Major General Macklin said: “They all were out of date all of the time.”
Like several other Canadian military experts, Major General Macklin is opposed to Canada’s role in the vast North American air defence system, known as N.O.R.A.D. This is something that does not affect us greatly in this country but it is a matter worthy of our consideration. Major General Macklin calls the Royal Canadian Air Force a sort of colonial appendage to the United States Strategic Air Command and contends that N.O.R.A.D. is based on two fallacies - first that it is necessary to protect Strategic Air Command bases in America, and secondly that it is possible to do so. Major General Macklin has said that Ottawa’s unification legislation has gone far enough. He has advised against pushing it to the stage where members of all three forces would wear the same uniform, thus wrecking the traditions in each Service.
So far, nobody in Ottawa has dared to predict when integration will be completed. Some people predict that the Services will be completely integrated by 1970, which is about the time our enlarged defence scheme might be working. Other people say that integration will take longer. Among the public the initial reaction has been positive. Canadians, like Australians, are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars wasted on aircraft and missiles which, they think, will never be used. If unification gives the Canadian nation an effective fighting force that is not an unnecessary financial burden, Canadians will be well pleased with Mr. Hellyer’s ideas. I would say that Australians, too, would be pleased with any similar ideas worked out for this country if those ideas would save us money and get us more equipment. We certainly would meet with opposition from some of the top brass in the various services who could see nothing but their jobs disappearing, but the duplication in stores, administration vehicles and general service installations alone must cost this country millions of pounds unnecessarily. I wonder just what the percentage ratio of new equipment to operating costs would be today. It would be nothing like 50 per cent, in my opinion - and that, as in Canada, is our main trouble.
I wish to speak now purely from the point of view of the people of Townsville where I live. A task force is to be stationed up there, as the Minister said in the same defence review to which I have referred. The matter has been commented on from time to time by the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes). This Army establishment, in conjunction with the Air Force establishment at Garbutt - which is one of the biggest and most extensive stations in Australia - will cause Townsville to become very much a garrison town. I do not think anyone objects to that particularly. I do not because, as I said before, I have been asking for more tangible evidence of the defence of northern Queensland since I came into this place. However, I do hope that the Government pulls its weight with regard to the problems which will be faced by the municipal authorities in implementing their part of what must be a joint operation, probably with the Department of the Interior, in order to get this business going. Houses will need to be built and water, sewerage and roads provided, if this project is to go ahead on time.
– It has been held up by the municipal authorities in Townsville.
– They will be after the Government for money, and particularly will be after the Minister for the Interior.
I hope also that the Government follows up this turning of Townsville into a garrison town by providing some form of antiaircraft defence, as there is nothing there at the present time. The area is developing, with the barracks that are already there and those that still have to be built, but there is still nothing in the way of anti-aircraft defences.
I wish to speak now about the development of northern Australia, about which this Budget makes very little mention. When I came here I had high hopes that we would see rapid progress in this sphere of national development. If honorable members look back over the various speeches made in the House on development of the north they will realise that national development in the past was what foreign affairs are today, and defence was a year ago. National development was the hobby horse of the Parliament, and most honorable members had a ride on it quite often. Today we hardly hear it mentioned. All the experts on national development of those days are now experts on foreign affairs. It is needless to say that need developing if they are to retain even their present rate of progress. The lack of water is becoming critical, and unless the Burdekin dam scheme is implemented in the near future the sugar industry of the Burdekin delta could well fold up. It is worth about £12 million a year on its own.
When the new pipeline to the mountains 40-odd miles away is built, Townsville will have reached the limit as far as water is concerned. A great deal of this additional supply will be needed for the troops that the Minister for the Army is to put in the Townsville area. After saturation point is reached Townsville will have to rely on one of the big rivers in the north, either the Herbert to the north, or the Burdekin, which is 50 miles south of Townsville. The Burdekin dam could serve any heavy industry with water and power, and could assist in supplying the long sought after steelworks at Bowen, if ever it is established. It would also make a big difference to the cattle raising and fattening industry in that area. I wonder how much longer we will have to watch most of Australia’s water in that part of the north go to waste in the sea as it does at present, while over the range, not very many miles away, cattle are dying and the country is stricken with drought, costing us untold millions.
If the money is not available for building these dams, surely the blueprint for an overall programme for the whole area could be drawn up and at least we would be going somewhere. There is a definite opinion in north Queensland that the Government does not want to see any secondary industry of any size north of the Tropic of Capricorn. So far, the only industries of any importance in the north are those which, because of their nature, could be put nowhere else. I refer to copper refineries, timber mills, meat works and so on.
I must say in conclusion that I view with grave concern the results of the scheme to conscript young men for national service. In spite of what has been said, young men are being taken from vital sections of industry in and around where I live. We see cases where one magistrate gives a person deferment from serving and another refuses to defer a person with a much more logical case for deferment. One case came to my notice recently. I intend to bring it up later when the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service are being discussed. That may not do any good, but nevertheless I will bring it up later on. It is the case of a young chap, about 20 years of age. Of course, he must be that age to be called up. His parents own and run a hotel. This young lad wanted to be a farmer so they bought him a cane farm at a cost of £50,000. They were a little worried about his age. After all, a young person in charge of a £50,000 farm could do anything. They put the farm in both of their names, gave the young chap a partnership, and put him in charge of the farm. That was the logical thing to do, because virtually it is his farm and will be his farm later on.
He was called up. The thing about this farm is that it is not like one in a normal place. It is in the Ingham district about 70 miles north of Townsville, but the cane goes to a mill 30 miles south of Townsville. This means a 100 miles drag of the cane over the Queensland railways to this- mill. The problem is that the cane has to be loaded at about 2 o’clock in the morning. In spite of the fact that we presented this case to the Minister, the lad’s call up was not deferred.
He has been called up, and is going in next month.
I think that cases like this should be looked at more carefully. There are certain things about farming that need to be considered. As everybody knows, farms will suffer a setback if they are let go out of production. This is particularly so in a tropical area. You cannot have two bad seasons on a farm and expect to bring it up to scratch automatically. You need to get labour of a suitable type to manage a cane farm. I am not referring to the pocket handkerchief farms down here. To get a suitable type of person capable and willing to manage a farm without supervision is almost impossible, yet the Government, as it were, shrugs its shoulders in this case. In the letter we received from the Minister he said that we must all make sacrifices. I remember that in 1942 men were taken out of the Air Force and the Army during the war because the sugar industry was rated important enough for labour to be exempted from the Services in order to carry the industry on. Today, however, although the industry is worth £100 million to the economy, young chaps are taken from it.
I think that, even at the risk of some criticism, the Government should widen the classes for exemption. However, I will say no more about that now, as I hope to have the opportunity to say something more about it later.
I do not know what I should call this Budget. It is certainly not a “ do nothing “ Budget. I think I should call it rather a “ touch somebody “ Budget, the somebody being the average wage earner and the unfortunate pensioner who, one would think, would receive something better after a lifetime of work in this country. I support the amendment.
.- I should first like to congratulate the Government and the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on the Budget they were able to present. It is quite an achievement to provide for a large increase of 27 per cent, in defence spending, and yet at the same time to be able to increase considerably spending on social services. These are probably two of our most important items of expenditure. I think that a fair criticism of the Budget would be to listen to the popular opinion of it by the nian in the street.
Undoubtedly the average Australian heaved a very great sigh of relief when he heard the Budget. He expected taxation to be much heavier. He was prepared, I believe, to pay heavier taxation to defend this country and to enjoy the privileges of living in a country which has the highest standard of living in the world. Those who quibble about paying a little bit more here and there should stop to think and realise just how fortunate we are in this part of the world. It may not always be that way, and we have an opportunity, here and now, to do something about keeping it that way. If ve do not, it will be too late.
Social services are always important and nobody is ever satisfied with what is allocated to be spent on social services. I, like many others, would like to see for one thing the abolition of the means test. It is, of course, the policy of the Government to move towards the progressive abolition of the means test. I believe that it would not cost anything like as much as has been estimated in the past because, first, a great deal of the money would come back to the Government in taxation. In Australia today we have a great shortage of skilled labour while a number of very able men are being forced to retire at 65 years of age when they could contribute very profitably and considerably to the national economy and to their own benefit. I believe that there are many unseen costs too. Often when an active man - or an active woman for that matter - suddenly stops work there is a psychological aspect to be considered. They have nothing to hold their attention or to keep them active and virile and well. Then they begin to have imaginary illnesses, which very soon become real illnesses. This adds tremendously to the cost of the medical benefits scheme, to say nothing of the cost to members of Parliament in time. A great deal of our time - this applies to all honorable members - is spent in attending to the problems of pensioners who have earned a little more than they should have done and whose pensions have been reduced as a consequence. Sometimes the pensions are not readjusted quickly enough, with the result that the pensioners fmd themselves in necessitous circumstances. We have had a tremendous amount of work to do in connection with such cases. There is a vast army engaged in adjusting and readjusting pensions and in policing the means test as it relates to age pensioners. I believe we are approaching the time when we should give serious consideration to complete abolition of the means test.
I should like to pay a tribute to the Department of Social Services and the Minister (Mr. Sinclair) for the work that has been done by the Department and by him during the past year. Quite recently, as a member of the Government Members’ Social Services Committee, I had the opportunity to visit Perth and Adelaide. The Committee saw a great deal of the work that is being done in those places in this field. For instance, we inspected some of the rehabilitation centres and saw the tremendous amount of valuable work being done in them. The enthusiasm of the staffs is something that has to be seen to be believed. A very interesting feature of this work is that a considerable number of those who require rehabilitation treatment are not elderly people, not people who are chronically ill, but people who have been hurt in motor accidents. Naturally, a very large proportion of them are young people. After months of hospital treatment and treatment after leaving hospital, many of these young people find it difficult to get back to the ordinary way of life, to regain their confidence and to become independent members of society. The rehabilitation centres are doing wonderful work for them.
Then there are the sheltered workshops, which perhaps carry on from where the rehabilitation centres leave off. They make it possible for handicapped people to earn respectable livings for themselves. One has only to meet those employed in these workshops to appreciate what it means, particularly to the younger people, to be given the opportunity to earn a good living, to take their places in society and to become thoroughly independent.
Possibly one of the greatest things done by the Commonwealth Government is the provision it has made for the building of home units for the aged. I visited a number of these projects. Wherever the area is large enough, a number of these units are built, with the result that the old people are housed at one centre. They have a community of interest. People of all circumstances are living in their own home units, which are fitted with all modern amenities and conveniences and are easy to look after. In these places, the old people are very happy in their declining years. We visited many of these projects, not only in Adelaide and Perth but also in other places. If there is anything which can be said to be a monument to the Department of Social Services and the Commonwealth Government, it is what has been done to enable various organisations to build these very substantial and comfortable homes for the aged.
It is not always easy in our modern society for young people to keep their parents at home and look after them, because this gives rise to all sorts of problems. Homes such as those to which I have referred provide the answer to the problem. Old people who cannot afford to buy their own houses may enter these homes for the aged and pay a very reasonable rent. There are others who pay less rent, or even no rent. Whatever these people are able to contribute goes towards the cost of building more homes. This is certainly very worthwhile work.
There is something else that I feel I must mention in dealing with the Budget. It is something that I believe to be of truly national importance at this moment; it is something that affects the export income of the country. I do not need to emphasise to honorable members that export income is the life blood of the country. Without it, the nation cannot grow, cannot develop, cannot become strong and cannot protect itself. I refer to the drought which is afflicting quite large areas of the eastern States. If there was one thing that disappointed me on this Budget it was that there was no provision for assisting the States to do something really practical to help those unfortunate people, who through no fault of their own are suffering from the effects of this severe and prolonged drought.
We are losing thousands of head of cattle. I know of many places where they are knocking lambs on the head, slaughtering them as soon as they are born, in order to save the ewes. I know of places where they are slaughtering the older ewes as they come off the shearing board in an attempt to save the younger ones. This is bad from any point of view. It is disastrous for the individual, and it is disastrous for the nation. We have in this country organisations like the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations and the various Departments of Agriculture. They are developing our pastures, increasing our carrying capacity and expanding irrigation. We are building beef roads. We are developing areas like Esperance and we are developing beef research projects in the north with a view to increasing carrying capacity from one beast to 20 acres to perhaps one beast to two acres. Yet, irrespective of the drought, we are faced with a tremendous shortage of breeding stock. Even in normal circumstances we would be desperately short of breeding stock, but now, due to the drought, the position will be worse.
So far, the Commonwealth Parliament has not been really active in the field of drought relief, and I feel that there is a tremendous need for closer co-operation between the Commonwealth and State Governments. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has stated that the Reserve Bank has been given permission to go ahead. But it is not as simple as that. Through the Rural Bank, the New South Wales Government has undertaken to make advances to farmers, but the farmer who needs money most has no assets. During the drought he has had to feed his stock for perhaps months and in the process has used up all his credit. Therefore, he is in the position of having no assets left. Even though it has been given permission to sell wheat on 12 months’ credit, the Australian Wheat Board will not sell to farmers unless it can get guarantees from them that they will pay within 12 months. When the farmer asks for the credit, he is advised to go to his bank. When he goes to the bank, he finds himself at a dead end. What use is it to ask a man who is growing crops or breeding stock, and who has had to endure a prolonged drought, to guarantee payment within 12 months? He must have long term finance on reasonable conditions if he is to rehabilitate himself and take his place again as one of the nation’s greatest export earners.
I venture to say that if there were a crisis or a catastrophe such as an earthquake or a flood in India or Chile, it would not be unlikely that this Government would give quite large sums of money for relief to those countries. Yet here, right now, in our very midst, we have a crisis - a national crisis - and so far we have not been able to see our way clear to giving the States some assistance to meet it. It is far beyond the financial resources of the States to deal effectively with a major drought like this, and I feel it is time we had more cooperation between the Federal Government and the State Governments in getting on with this important job. If it is left much longer, the losses to Australia will be very severe indeed.
The problem is not only one of providing for the present drought. I believe that an excellent case can be made out for long range planning. Droughts are normal in Australia. There is always a drought somewhere. As I have said, droughts are a normal experience, but provision can be made to defeat them. Generally speaking, the successful farmers have done so. In most of the drought stricken areas the man who has made provision against drought is doing reasonably well. We hear a great deal of criticism from the uninformed about the farmers having had a good time, about their having had good seasons and about their not having made provision against drought. This criticism only serves to show the complete lack of knowledge of the critics of the cost of conserving fodder. The storing of fodder is a very costly business indeed. One can very easily spend £10,000, £15,000 or £20,000 stacking hay and putting grain in silos. What small farmer has that kind of money? In many cases the small farmer wants a new tractor or a new machine of some other kind, or something for his home, and he is inclined to say: “ We will take the risk, we will buy the tractor or the machine “. Then he finds himself in trouble.
I do not know how we can encourage the improvident farmer to do something about storing fodder, but there are many farmers who would do so if they could afford to do it. There is a case for some concerted fodder conservation effort, hut not in the form of a national fodder pool. The very thought of such an arrangement horrifies me. It has been suggested that we should have several large fodder dumps in New South Wales in a national fodder pool of this kind. I can think of no greater schemozzle than would result from having a government institution administering a fodder pool. The loss and confusion would be almost unbelievable. But I think there is a case for paying a subsidy to farmers to store good quality hay in weatherproof sheds, or good quality grain in silos. One of my colleagues has just suggested, by way of interjection, a tax remission. That is one way, a double tax remission for money spent on fodder conservation, for equipment used in connection therewith and generally for the cost of putting fodder away. This is something that would not benefit the individual alone; it would benefit the nation, and it is of quite definite importance.
I believe there are many avenues we could explore to tackle this problem. We could store our wheat, for instance. If we devised some means of storing our wheat crop, or a large proportion of it, in the centres of production, by satisfactory storage means, until the next crop was ready for harvest, we would never have to suffer tremendous losses when prolonged droughts occur. Wheat can be stored easily and cheaply, and it can ‘be easily transported in time of need. What is more, it can be converted into cash when the next crop is in sight. This would be a practical proposition. It would entail the expenditure of money, certainly. A farmer would need an advance against the wheat in store, just as the wool grower gets an advance from a wool firm against the wool on the backs of his sheep or wool in his store.
Much can be done to improve our pastures. Where we have built up good pastures over the years the impact of drought has been much less severe. A good deal can be done with water conservation. Water must be our most valuable commodity. I am not speaking now only of irrigation. We are inclined to be carried away by the spectacular results of irrigation programmes. However, I am now speaking of the reticulation of domestic water and water for stock. This is not a pipe dream. This sort of thing has been done in Western Australia. Do honorable members ever stop to think how much stock could be watered with the water that is required to irrigate 100 acres? In the vast areas of dry farming country in Australia, I would say, 10,000 or 15,000 acres of heavy carrying country could be provided with enough water for stock with a lesser volume of water than it takes to irrigate 100 acres, and if that area of 10,000 or 15,000 acres could not give many times the volume of production that would come from the 100 acres of irrigated land, then I know nothing abou primary production.
In my own area we have a practical example of what can be done, in the southwestern slopes water scheme, which was inaugurated 40 years ago, although nothing has been done to develop it since. There is a crying need for stock water at the moment. We are not suffering a drought in my area at the present time, but if we do not get run-off rain shortly there will be stock losses because the dams will empty. I have this reticulated water running through the centre of my property. It costs 3s. 6d. a thousand gallons. It is cheap, reliable and good, and I defy anybody to provide water at any cheaper rate. One could not keep a dam clean for 3s. 6d. a thousand gallons, nor could one maintain a pumping outfit.
Water schemes of this kind could return to the Government tremendous dividends in increased production and export income. In the Lachlan Valley there are vast areas of underground water, stored where there is no evaporation, but yet to be developed. This water could be used to irrigate quite large areas of land. This is the kind of problem we have not faced up to in Australia. We have not faced up to it in our Budget provisions to the extent that we might have done. Development and growth are vital to the existence of this nation, and our primary industries have done and are still doing their part to enhance our development and growth. At the present time primary industry is responsible for 88 per cent, of our export income.
We hear a lot about what has been done by manufacturers. Do not think I am criticising them; we must have secondary industries to give employment to our people. But I remind the House that manufacturing industries are responsible for only 11.5 per cent, of our export income. The figure has risen only 6 per cent, in six years. Sir John Allison said recently at an export council meeting that it is vital for us to increase our exports at least at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum. He has been exhorting industry to expand and develop export markets. But unless we earn export income secondary industry cannot grow, because 82i per cent, of our export income is used in the building of factories, the provision of raw materials and the purchase of equipment, machine tools and component parts. Only 17i per cent, is spent directly on consumer goods, and this includes imported motor cars.
That is the story; we must expand and develop. Sir John Allison also said - and I remind the House that he is a representative of the manufacturing industries - that we must increase our exports by at least 5 per cent, per annum over the next 10 years if we are to progress, and he went on to say that the great bulk of this increase must come from primary industries. As I have said, we as a party believe in balanced development. We believe that the only avenue of employment for the vast numbers of people which this country must have is in secondary industry. But we believe that unless we can quickly and effectively increase our export income we will not be able to give employment to these people.
We have unlimited potential, not only in the agricultural industries but also in the mining industry. One has only to visit Western Australia to see the tremendous possibilities that exist. We are told that there are 15,000 million tons of high grade iron ore in that State already located. Probably there is even more that has not yet been found. There is bauxite and there is asbestos. We have untold mineral wealth. But to develop mining projects we must earn export income. The mineral fields in Western Australia and in the north generally are playing their part in earning export income for Australia’s development, but I believe we are neglecting our greatest asset. We have a market ready made for us in the East where there are millions of people with a rising standard of living. When one of these people has money to spend he first wants a meal and then a coat to put on his back. These people want all the amenities, privileges and benefits of civilisation, and there are many millions of them. Someone once estimated that if every Chinaman bought a pair of woollen socks once every two years, there would not be enough wool in Australia to manufacture those socks. This gives an indication of the terrific potential. These people have a rising standard of living which is going to rise at an ever increasing rate, and they will be able to buy what we produce. Let me quote Sir John Allison again. He said that they must produce and buy to live, while we must produce and export to grow and to exist.
Perhaps the greatest asset that we have in Australia is our youth, particularly our rural youth. In our rural areas we have hundreds, even thousands, of young men with ability, drive and knowledge, but without an opportunity to make a start on the land. Today, under modern banking practice, one must have considerable assets or considerable funds if he wants to start on the land. I have found throughout this country a lot of frustrated young men, not only farmers’ and graziers’ sons but also other young men who have taken jobs in government departments because it is the nearest they can get to owning a bit of land themselves. They ask only an opportunity to develop properties for themselves. These men do not want something for nothing. They are not asking for a 30-hour week, long service leave, cheap money or anything else of that sort. They just want finance on long terms. They are prepared to pay for the opportunity to carve out properties for themselves, to earn export income and to make this country grow.
At Esperance recently, we saw many young fellows trying to establish themselves. I am talking not of big American institutions with millions of pounds, but of young men who went there with very little money. There are not just one or two, but many of them. Many have taken their wives and families to live in a couple of rooms at the end of a shed while they get stuck into the tremendous task of developing virgin country. And they are succeeding. They are prepared to devote to this job their early years, when they have youth, vigour and drive. They are prepared to live under hard conditions while they develop properties for themselves and build homes for their families. There are many more men like these throughout Australia. Too often, they cannot get enough finance to give them a start. I believe that the Australian nation would do well to invest something in these young men.
The opportunity to settle young men on the land is to be found throughout Australia. In the brigalow country, in the Ord River area - wherever one cares to look - there are opportunities for young men to do something worth while and to help develop this country and build up our economy. I cannot repeat too often that they are not asking for something for nothing. They ask only for the opportunity to work to develop properties. Perhaps we could adopt a scheme similar to the soldier settlement scheme, under which a returned soldier was paid a wage for the first year or two while undertaking the initial development of his block. Money devoted to this purpose would not just be spent; it would be invested. Whatever happens, if the man to be settled on the land is carefully selected, he will improve his block and the Government will have a sound investment in an asset.
I should like to end on this note: I believe that, although this is a good Budget, it is just a little too conservative, lt suggests that we are a little afraid of progress and of doing something unorthodox. This is a young country. It needs unorthodox methods, as well as drive and enthusiasm. This is a country that must take a calculated risk, or, in the words of Lord Casey, live dangerously. I recall him, many years ago, exhorting the youth of this nation to live dangerously. Many young men, with their wives and young families, are asking only for an opportunity to live dangerously and to make this country grow, as well as to make it safe and strong.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, a study of this Budget indicates that it envisages no broad horizons. This Budget gives us no thrilling adventures in nation building. No new economic territories are being pioneered. No great vision is displayed and there is no example of real statesmanship. We see no detailed planning to match the jet age in which we live. There is no inspiration about this Budget. As I have said, it envisages no new horizons. There is no challenge or boldness of design. My friend, the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Pettitt), took the words out of my mouth when he said that the Government, in preparing this Budget, has been afraid to do anything unorthodox and has been too conservative. I shall emphasise that further in a moment.
As I have just said, there is no boldness of design in this Budget. I am reminded of a book written in the 1950’s in which Richard Pape described his amazing escape from a German prisoner of war camp in
World War II. He gave his book the title “ Boldness Be My Friend “. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) escaped from Canberra to Bingil Bay and has written a booklet that could be tided “ Timidity Be My Friend “. This Budget is based on an approach that is timid, hesitant and almost frightened. As the honorable member for Hume has said, the Government apparently is afraid to do something unorthodox. It is scared. It talks of holding what we have, as if someone were about to take everything from us overnight. This Budget puts on the Treasurer the stamp of drabness because it is dedicated to the maintenance of the status quo. lt puts the seal on drift and formlessness. This Government is the designer of drift, because it hates planning, and the architect of economic arthritis.
This is a petty, nasty sort of Budget belonging to the back alleys rather than the wide open spaces. It hits the little people of the nation and allows the huge corporations and companies to continue churning out record profits. There is no talk of an excess profits tax or a capital gains tax. This Budget represents the easy way out. It required the absolute minimum of thought for its preparation. Revenue is to be raised by higher taxes on everyday items such as beer, spirits, tobacco and petrol. I was scared stiff, as I heard the recital in the Treasurer’s Budget speech, that he intended also to tax my favourite drinks - orange drinks, lemon squash and one or two other non-alcoholic beverages that I enjoy. On top of all this, there is to be an increase in personal income tax at the flat rate of 2± per cent. That took a great deal of thinking out and a tremendous amount of planning, of course.
The key to this Budget is defence. In the name of defence, the Government seeks to get away with murder. Defence will absorb £81,430,000 of the total estimated increase in expenditure of £275 million this financial year. Mr. Deputy Speaker, it has been said: “ O liberty, liberty what crimes are committed in your name! “ This Budget could lead us to say: “ 0 defence! How much waste, how much extravagance is committed in thy name! “ Education will suffer, hospitals will suffer, national development will suffer, and many other important aspects of our vast economy will suffer - all because the Government proposes to pour so much money into defence.
Indirect taxes are to be increased. This also was very difficult to work out, I suppose. These taxes hit pensioners and superannuitants as hard as they hit company directors. All pay these vicious, indirect, fly by night taxes at the same rate. Mr. Monk, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has worked out an excellent illustration of the severity with which these taxes bear on the little man. According to the Melbourne “ Sun News-Pictorial “ of Friday, 20th August, Mr. Monk calculates that each wage earner will be £6 7s. 6d. a year poorer. I have not time to give the House the details of his calculations, but they are accurate and a credit to whomever helped him, if he had any help. This shows where the increase in margins and nearly every other increase is going. With the impact of this Budget, the wage earner will be £6 7s. 6d. a year poorer than he was before. He is the man who suffers the most while he tries to pay off his home and pay for the many amenities that his family needs. As usual, the wage earner is hardest hit by this Government, which always makes the wage earner the sacrificial lamb whenever it says that any action is needed to prevent inflation and to ensure stability.
Here is another interesting Point relating to taxpayers on the middle grades of income, ranging from £2,500 to £6,000 a year. In Australia, taxpayers in this group pay more than is paid by their counterparts in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada. These are mainly executives and professional men. Many of them are young technicians and scientists who play such a vital role in the Australia of 1965, and who will continue to play a vital role down the future years. In this country, such people are hit harder than are their counterparts in the countries that I have mentioned, particularly as a consequence of this Budget.
I want now to discuss in some detail a very important matter to which I have given a lot of thought. This, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is the need for a national fuel policy for Australia. On this issue the Government hedges. It refuses to face up to the problem and, indeed, has almost scoffed at the very idea of a national fuel policy. I put it forward this afternoon because it is vital to our future. We now have many types of fuel, including petroleum, coal, hydro-electric power, natural gas, nuclear power and solar energy. We must continue our research into the extent of deposits of coal, fuel oil, natural gas and so on. Many vital issues arise in the study of the use of natural fuel. The urgency of setting up the search for oil in Australia is very important. Do we want to become selfsufficient in petroleum as a nation or shall we go on being dangerously dependent on overseas . oil resources, overseas oil companies and overseas shipping lines? We are paying £150 million a year to bring these imports to Australia. We are spending 9 per cent, of our total overseas exchange reserves on getting petroleum products to Australia.
I want to give figures on the amount we spent on the search for oil in Australia between 1946 and 1963. In that time, private enterprise spent £100 million, leaving aside the odd thousands. Government subsidies amounted to £20 million and the total was £121 million or an average of £6 million a year on the search for oil since 1946. The origin of funds provided by private enterprise overseas for this search is interesting. To the end of 1959, 74 per cent, of these funds came from overseas and 26 per cent from within Australia. To the end of 1963, four years later, the pattern had changed and 43 per cent came from overseas and 57 per cent from within Australia. This establishes that we are increasing from our own resources the expenditure on the search for oil in Australia. Another fact is that 70 per cent, of the search for oil is being conducted in Queensland. Much has yet to be done. We are sinking five wells per 10,000 square miles. Canada is sinking 500 wells per 10,000 square miles and the United States is sinking 13,400 wells per 10,000 square miles. We have a very interesting development with oil at Moonie. Only 2 per cent, of Australia’s oil requirements comes from Moonie and the remaining 98 per cent, is imported. Of the imported oil, 23 per cent, comes from Indonesia.
Let us examine the cost factor in our own Moonie oil. It has been fixed temporarily at 2 dollars 83 cents a barrel, but the average cost of oil imported into Australia is 1 dollar 81 cents a barrel. The cost of Moonie oil is almost double the cost of imported oil, but it is not high enough to encourage exploration or huge investment in the search for oil. Does this cost factor involve a significant Government decision to put a protective duty on imported crude oil? This brings us to another reason why we should have a national fuel policy. Should we or can we preserve our own oil discoveries or should we sell out the oil as it comes to the surface? Involved in this is a major Government decision. The Tariff Board, which earlier this year concluded an inquiry, had for its terms of reference, in general, how to use commercially our indigenous oil, not how to preserve it or conserve it. It is stupid not to conserve our natural oil against the day we are at war and desperately need it, as we would if overseas supplies were cut off. Our supplies from Indonesia, which represent 23 per cent, of the total oil we import, could be cut off.
I ask this question. Should the Government purchase the Moonie field and shut it down for later use, thus keeping the oil in the ground? To purchase the field would cost the Government £5 million a year for approximately 15 years. This is a national asset. I believe the search for oil would be stimulated if the Government decided to buy any new commercial fields until a given national level of crude oil reserves were proven. This suggestion is not crazy, especially when we observe the difficulties of pricing the Moonie field and the current over-supply of crude oil. Apart from Moonie, we have other excellent prospects for oil at Alton in Queensland, Yardarino and Barrow Island in Western Australia, and in addition there are two or three promising areas in the Northern Territory. A major decision will soon be required from the Government. The .whole weakness of this Government’s approach to the oil industry, as well as to all other precious natural resources, is that it is not concerned with oil conservation but only with its profitable disposal. I put forward the thought that once we find these fields we should keep them as a national reservoir for times of emergency until a certain level of proven oil has been established. We could then let the production of oil go back to private enterprise again.
I want to examine the economics of furnace oil as against coal. This is another aspect of a national policy that must bc considered. Furnace oil has steadily been capturing coal’s share of the fuel market. Australia’s total consumption of energy has risen from 31,700,000 tons in 1954 to 51,200,000 tons in 1964. Of this increase of 19,500,000 tons in the past ten years, petroleum products in the past ten years, petroleum products accounted for 12,500,000 tons, brown coal for 3,200,000 tons, hydro-electric power for 2,300,000 tons and black coal for only 1,900,000 tons. During these ten years from 1954 to 1964, oil’s share of the energy market rose from 27.4 per cent, to 41.4 per cent., while black coal’s share fell from 56 per cent, to 38.3 per cent, and 8,000 men have left the industry. Hydro-electric power rose from 3 per cent, to 6 per cent, of the total. I will put it another way. In the last ten years, the coal industry has lost to oil 2,500,000 tons or about 12i per cent, of its total market.
If we put an excise duty on each ton of furnace oil to equalise competition with coal, we will run into other troubles. We will push up the costs of those industries using furnace oil, for the excise duty would be added to the costs. At £2 a ton on furnace oil, for instance, approximately £5 million a year would bc added to the industrial costs of consumers of furnace oil. The industries affected would be steel, cement, bricks, lime and aluminium. Others affected would be textiles, glass and engineering and Government enterprises affected would be railways, electricity, tramways and gas. An excise duty on furnace oil would therefore filter through all these industries and add greatly to the costs of major Australian industries, unless exemptions were given. In Che future, major projects using oil could also be seriously affected. I have in mind iron ore pelletising magnesite mining, petro-chemicals and aluminium refining. Because of fierce overseas competition in all these fields, we must keep Australian production costs down. Therefore, an excise duty on furnace oil would not be the answer. Would it not be better to give a subsidy to coal production?
We cannot afford large increases in crude oil imports, because of the erosion of our balance of payments. To offset this we must keep the use of furnace oil within limits, despite the difficulty arising from our limited control; subsidise coal in order to keep its price to the consumer within the range of furnace oil; step up the search for oil towards the day when we can become self-sufficient; and put a duty on imported crude oil.
Let us have a look at the price war between oil and coal. This is a staggering piece of recent history. The price of furnace oil to the consumer has declined from £16 a ton to less than £6 a ton in recent years. The oil companies have deliberately planned this attack on coal with cheap oil for obvious reasons. Incidentally, the price of coal has already fallen from 64s. 6d. a ton in 1951-52 to 51s. 4d. a ton in 1963-64. However, it is still far behind the challenge of furnace oil. The oil companies have been putting oil plants into ‘all the little industries they can find around Australia if those industries will change over to oil. They are going over to oil.
– ls crude oil the same as furnace oil?
– Furnace oil is one of the products of crude oil. But here is the interesting point. When the oil companies have the bulk of industries in Australia using furnace oil, up will go the price of that product. The oil companies have deliberately kept the price of oil down in order to attract industry from the use of coal to oil. When the oil companies have obtained their customers in this way and coal has been thrown out of the window, as it were, up will go the price of furnace oil. AH the industries which have converted to furnace oil will then be trapped in a beautifully executed pincer movement organised by the oil companies of Australia. It is claimed, by the way, that the eight refineries in Australia, as a matter of deliberate policy, are over-producing furnace oil compared with petrol. For instance, in the past five years, the refineries’ production of aviation and motor spirit increased by only 43.5 per cent., but the output of furnace oil has soared by 122.4 per cent.
– Is there any control over the amount of furnace oil that is in a given quantity of crude oil?
– I think so. The pattern I am outlining shows the deliberate policy by all oil companies to capture coal markets and to attract industry from the use of coal. I am pleased to see that the Ampol refinery at Lytton, near Brisbane, will produce 52 per cent, of motor spirit and only 15 per cent, of furnace oil, which is the direct opposite of the output of the other refineries in Australia at the moment.
These are momentous problems that a government worthy of the name should be considering with a view to introducing a national fuel policy. Our survival could depend on finding the right answers to this question. There are other factors that I will not have time to discuss in detail. These include such questions as whether or not there would be constitutional barriers to Commonwealth control of fuel, its use, price, etcetera. What would be the situation in relation to natural gas now coming onto the market? Would this new fuel be a serious competitor to other fuels? What about nuclear energy in the near future? lt, too, will be coming into the picture.
I stress the urgent need for the introduction of a national fuel policy in these few final words on this matter. In the event of a national emergency Australia would have to produce a blue print for a national policy on fuel to ration the use of available resources in Australia. That would be done within a week if a major war broke out. Why can we not do this in peace time? Australia imports 98 per cent, of the crude oil it consumes. As I said before, 23 per cent, comes from Indonesia. If any trouble occurred with Indonesia we would be down the drain in respect of 23 per cent, of our imports of this necessary producer of energy. A fuel authority could be set up to handle this under a portfolio called, perhaps, the Ministry for Power, or it could be added to the portfolio of National Development. It would be an essential instrument in the mobilisation of our economic resources for defence. The authority would have power to cut across vested interests, to plan the disposal of available fuel supplies, and to cut wastage to a minimum. In this cold war climate can we wait till a hot war is upon us before we have a national fuel policy?
In the time that is left to me. I want to raise another matter dealing with development. I refer to the Snowy Mountains scheme. The end of the scheme is in sight. By 1974 the bulk of this mightly project will have been completed and £400 million will have been spent from government sources and loan moneys on this magnificent scheme which, for magnitude, has very few rivals in the world.
– It is almost as good as the scheme in Tasmania.
– Our scheme in Tasmania is not as big as the Snowy scheme but it is equal in quality. Our Tasmania n scheme was praised by Sir William Hudson when he visited it. He said, when leaving Tasmania to return to Cooma, that he could not teach Tasmania anything in regard to its hydro-electric development. So, I am glad to have the interjection from my friend, the honorable member for Bass. The Snowy Mountains scheme cannot teach Tasmania anything in regard to quality and techniques in producing hydro-electric power.
Recently I was told by Sir William Hudson of the steady loss of key men through resignations because the end of the Snowy Mountains scheme is in sight. This exodus is gaining in momentum and is causing great concern to Sir William Hudson and his team who are charged with the task of completing Australia’s greatest hydroelectric project. So serious is the erosion of key men that the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority has recently advertised in Tasmanian papers for personnel. What concerns me is how this steady stream of resignations can be halted. I believe that it can be halted by Federal Government action. The answer lies in the hands of this Federal Government, because the cause of the resignations is the refusal of the Government to plan beyond the Snowy Mountains scheme which will be completed in 1974. Is the vision of the Snowy Mountains project to perish with its completion? Is the know-how to be buried in the concrete of the last dam? Is the loss of top personnel to gain in momentum until it becomes a danger to the scheme in its final stages?
If the Federal Government can produce the vision and the initiative of the Chifley Government, which launched the Snowy scheme, and plan and legislate for similar schemes in Australia, then this will be a major act of statesmanship. Let the Government give some indication now. Let it assure the key men of the Snowy scheme that they will be required beyond 1974. Let the Commonwealth Government create a national development authority within the Department of National Development with the power to build dams, turn rivers, move hills and tunnel through mountains in order to irrigate the good earth of this country, produce hydro-electric power, build new towns and increase production. Let this Government show a bit of statesmanship for a change. The new schemes could be financed just as the original Snowy project has been financed by annual allocations from this Parliament through the medium of the Budget or by way of loan funds of, say, £20 million a year. This allocation has been made for years. Why should it stop in 1974? Why can we not originate and work schemes in the northern and western parts of Australia and also in my own State, Tasmania, where we can turn rivers into producers of hydro-electricity and also provide irrigation. Let this £20 million be an annual allocation for this sort of development to beat droughts such as the present one and to turn back the rivers whose water is wasted in the ocean. Here is a chance for this Government to show a bit of statesmanship for a change and say that, within the next few months, it will use the Snowy know-how in other places.
This nation’s war against drought - we have heard much about the drought today; it is a tragedy in this generation - floods, low production and rivers running to waste has been a hit and miss affair. But it is a war that must go on for many decades yet. This expenditure of £20 million a year is as necessary for our economic survival as defence expenditure is for our natural survival. The spending of £20 million a year on new national irrigation and hydro-electricity projects when irrigation is becoming more and more important, and using the men, machines and knowledge gained in the huge Snowy project, will produce a continuous national dividend flow to Australia. Bradfield, the great engineer, had a vision of turning the eastward flowing rivers bland. Here is a chance for us to make this vision a reality. At that time, we did not have the knowhow that we have now acquired through the Snowy scheme. Let us turn rivers into the dry hinterland and begin to turn the desert into a fruitful garden. This is the challenge I make to the Government at this moment.
Let us have a look at one or two statements about this problem. In an article in the Launceston “ Examiner “ on 22nd July this year Frank Mangan stated, under a heading: “ World’s Driest Continent: Water crisis in Australia “ -
Professor J. R. A, McMillan, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Sydney University, told a symposium in Tasmania this week that Australia’s water supply situation is critical.
Last week Professor C. Renwick, Research Director of the Hunter Valley Water Research Foundation said Australia should be spending as much on the search for water as it is now spending on the search for oil.
He was saying that we have underground sources of water but that we want to know where they are, and he was urging that a search be made to find them. The article continues -
Our cities are running out of traditional water supplies.
This is a tremendous article which should be photostated so that a copy could be in the hands of every member of this Parliament. The article is remarkable and frightening because it shows that unless we have more schemes like the Snowy project to enable us to irrigate the dry areas of Australia, and unless we find water reserves which are now hidden under the ground, we will be in trouble within a few years. Australia is the world’s driest continent, yet our rivers every year discharge enough water into the sea to cover 280 million acres of land to a depth of 1 ft.
– What is the total area of Australia?
– Perhaps the honorable member could tell me. I think it is almost 3,000,000 square miles. In another article, which appeared in the “Australian” on Tuesday, 13th July 1965, Sir Harold Raggatt is reported to have said that the farm output of south eastern Australia is limited by lack of water. The report states -
Lack of water would prevent any significant rise in agricultural production in South East Australia, Sir Harold Raggatt said last night Development of the area’s water resources was rapidly approaching its maximum, and domestic and industrial users would soon have to compete with rural producers for the limited supplies.
For this reason the waters of northern Australia would soon have to be conserved and used for agricultural production.
That is another remarkable and frightening article which demonstrates the need for new schemes like the Snowy project. The article states further -
Of Australia’s total water resources, 71 per cent, are north of the south boundary of the Northern Territory. Of the 19,176,000 acre feet of resources in the Murray-Darling basin, 13,068,000 acre feet are committed - indicating that resources for agriculture in South East Australian are fast reaching their limit.
Irrigation therefore becomes a terribly urgent matter for this Government. I only hope that at the next election we will see elected a new government which has a bit of vision and some statesmanship and which is committed to a national fuel policy. I hope that a new government which is committed to more schemes like the Snowy Mountains project will take office in Canberra so that Australia’s progress can be assured.
.- The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) has not given me a great deal to answer tonight. However, I appreciate that this is one of the problems facing not only the honorable member for Wilmot but many other honorable members on that side of the chamber in answering the Budget brought down by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). The honorable member used many flowery phrases, perhaps in some instances to cover up a lack of fact. He spoke of no vision, no development, no boldness and of timidity. These were all phrases which fell from his tongue very fluently. I must take him up very briefly on the subject of timidity. May I say, as a member of the Government parties, that I have been extraordinarily impressed for some time - I hope in an objective fashion - by many courageous decisions made by this Government.
If I may refer to foreign affairs, many people in Australia would be in some state of uncertainty and horror over the defence of this country if the Opposition were on the Government benches. We can judge, from the attitude of honorable members opposite to the armed warfare going on in Vietnam at present, the policy that would exist were it not for a decision taken by a government of some courage. Nobody in his right senses would ever say that national service training involving the calling up of our youth would be a popular decision for a government to take. So I join issue with the honorable member for Wilmot and say that in my opinion the whole performance of the Government over the last few months has shown the courage and determination needed so that the Government can properly and responsibly look after this very important nation.
I was also interested to hear the honorable member for Wilmot who, I believe, comes from Tasmania, take up the cudgels on behalf of the coal industry. It seems to me that Tasmania has one tremendous advantage over the mainland States. It has a cheap source of energy provided by hydroelectric power, to which the honorable member referred. It has always been a great surprise to me that Tasmania, with this advantage, has not shown a trend of industrial expansion on the same scale as we have seen in other States. I hope that when there is a change of government in Tasmania that State will experience the same boom that South Australia experienced 25 years ago, and that Western Australia is achieving today with a flow of free enterprise, initiative and imagination. I am sure that if this does occur the people of Tasmania will realise that they have taken an important step forward in the industrial and economic expansion of their State.
Tonight I intend to speak about the problem of development and then move on to the problems leading from development to decentralisation. I hope that one or two of the ideas that I express may appeal even to the honorable member for Wilmot and may be suitable for the expansion of certain cities in Tasmania. I begin my remarks on this subject by saying that I am probably inspired by a trip around Australia which was organised by the Government Members Food and Agricultural Committee which I was very pleased to be able to join quite recently. I am probably inspired also by an article issued by a spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry which appeared in the Press recently. I do not fully understand why it should have come from that Department. It looked into the future and pointed out that the Department is looking for a multi-million pound scheme to aid in decentralisation of Australia in the future.
Honorable members will recall that I am committed a little on the subject of the tariff. I do not look on undue tariff protection as a proper way to aid in the establishment of industry, nor do I look on it with favour as a self-generating mechanism which can be used as a lever to make it a long term system. I regard the second alternative as worse than the first. In this perspective I hope tonight to have the opportunity to develop my thoughts on a scheme which I think is workable and would aid in the development of Australia by decentralisation. The Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) last Tuesday night elaborated - rightly, in my view- on the encouragement of the vast development already started in the northern areas of Australia. This development is taking place around certain resources - in this case iron ore and bauxite, and in the case of the Ord River, water - and is taking place in spite of the lack of resources of essential services and resources of pools of labour. So we can use the phrase that economic geographers are inclined to use, that expansion and development in this area are market orientated. I trust that honorable members will excuse that reference.
Sometimes we can categorise development as being economic, but sometimes it has a strategic implication. I maintain that Australia generally, particularly in many of its northern areas, is in a booming state. The country is at a stage of potential. I am quite certain that in the next 10 years we will see quite remarkable development in these areas. Development is assured. However, I believe that many honorable members - possibly more members of the Opposition than members of the Government parties - would ask: At what rate? Immediately after the Second World War, with a burst of enthusiasm South Australia started development based on the utilisation of its raw materials. During the last decade, perhaps Western Australia has taken over and has encouraged human initiative in much the same way. Today, in many ways Western Australia is the most exciting State in Australia.
I do not intend to weary the House with undue description of the Mount Tom Price iron ore deposits. Speaking from memory, there are 15,000 million tons of iron ore there. Then there is the development of King Harbour. I merely point out that the small developmental section that we were able to see is typical of many other areas along the coast of Western Australia which are in a state of flux or a state of being about to be developed into remarkable industries. Mount Tom Price is an example of a proper indent agreement, if I might put it that way, making it mandatory for leasing companies to adopt pelleting within a decade. So we will have a measure of secondary industry located in these areas. In some instances conditions are laid down under which steel industries will be established in the future. I repeat that this form of development has been instigated by State Governments; but, logically, the States depend on quite big amounts of Commonwealth aid. That is the only source of much of the capital that is necessary outside of the obligations of the leasing companies.
I consider that the pure development of Australia is very much to the point in these cases. Because of the net waste in the processing of raw materials, such as from Mount Tom Price, industries located in these areas in the future will, as far as can be seen, always be more than competitive with industries located further from the source of the raw material. The percentage of pure iron ore in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia is 62 per cent. It is the other 38 per cent, that represents the handicap in terms of transport costs if we wish to locate industry near the market rather than near the raw material source. Therefore, I say that the future of these areas of Western Australia seems to be assured. There is great competition between the States to attract industries, and this is a good example of proper encouragement to industry.
– What is the percentage of iron ore in these Western Australian deposits?
– The figure for Mount Tom Price is about 63 per cent., compared with 62 per cent, for the Middleback Ranges. It is just about the top quality available in Australia.
In Queensland we saw the industry surrounding the mining of bauxite. Because of the inaccessibility of Weipa it is necessary to ship to a regional centre. Much of the bauxite, in time to come, will be processed at Gladstone. That is an example of something to which I will refer later; namely, the importance of building up regional centres. This is more economical than spreading capital aid over a wide section of the area that we wish to develop.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m. [Quorum formed.]
– Before the suspension of the sitting I was discussing the development of the bauxite deposits at Weipa and I was about to say that from our discussions at Weipa we discovered that the freight charges on ore shipped from Weipa to West Germany amount to 38s. sterling a ton but the freight to Bell Bay in Tasmania is 48s. sterling a ton. It should be of some interest to this House to know that it costs 10s. sterling a ton more to transport bauxite from Weipa to Bell Bay than it costs to ship it to West Germany. I pass on this information because it is my belief that many of the troubles in which we sometimes find ourselves in this competitive world are caused by the slow turn round of ships in our ports. I am not trying to apportion the blame in any degree for this slow turn round; I am just pointing to what is a fact. The fact is that it costs 10s. sterling a ton more to cart bauxite from Weipa to Tasmania than it costs to cart it to West Germany. My remarks seem to be causing some agitation on the Opposition benches. I am glad that honorable members opposite have noted my remarks and I am glad that they excite honorable members. Those of us who want to see this country progress must face up to our responsibilities.
I now propose to attempt to develop an argument to support my belief that we should give incentives to the establishment of new industries. This is necessary if we are to have balanced development in this country. The present situation in this country highlights the imbalance of the population trend. In spite of the efforts of State Governments the trend is continuing. The populations of Sydney and Melbourne represent one third of the total population of Australia. Almost 60 per cent. of our population is concentrated in the five mainland capitals. In the national interest we must stop this trend towards centralisation. The problem facing people who think responsibly about this matter is how to deal with it. I certainly do not favour a system of subsidies. All of us who have had an opportunity to see the American system in action, where some States resort almost to blackmail and bribery to persuade industries to establish themselves within their boundaries, will be aware of the uneconomic monster that is created when you attempt to attract industries in this way. On the other hand, I certainly would not support decentralisation by means of heavy tariff protection. In my opinion the insidious effects of tariff protection are all too apparent on the consumer price index. Tariff protection offers no incentive to reduce costs of production of many of the goods that we produce. Tariff protection can be an economic monster. Whenever we attempt to deal with decentralisation or the development of industries I hope that we find methods of doing so without adopting tariff protection to any great degree. Tariff protection may be excusable in the early establishment stages of an industry.
I think it is true to say that in the last few decades the States have engaged in competition for new industries. I wonder whether this competition has always been healthy. I have already cited one example of why it may not always have been healthy, but I should like to go further along that line. Some time ago in America I ascertained that an industry which was wanted in a certain area was offered a complete plant, minus certain necessary equipment. The only obligation on the industry was to pay for ten years the interest on the capital value of the building. At the expiration of that ten years the firm was given, subject to certain qualifications as to total output, a grant of the entire factory premises. The title to the building went to the company. This may be all very well. It may be a good economic weapon to use to attract industry, but in Australia we must be careful that competition between the States does not reach the stage where it leads to wastage of the taxpayers’ funds and becomes uneconomic in the national interest. It is obvious to me that in the interests of the nation we must gear ourselves to national thinking so far as this problem is concerned.
Perhaps the next question with which we should concern ourselves is the need for decentralisation. The honorable member for Hume (Mr. Pettitt) referred earlier today to the social needs of certain country areas and certain regional towns. I accept what he said. It is clear that owing to the great size of our capital cities we have an economic need in the national interest to think more specifically about decentralisation. In terms also of strategic need decentralisation is important. I refer to a matter that has interested me for some years in this connection. I believe that in Western Australia or South Australia we should be planning for the establishment of dry docks. These should be established before pressure is exerted from South East Asia to encourage the United Kingdom to request such establishments in this country. We must retain some of the initiative in this matter. This is one example of decentralisation in a matter of strategic importance that interests me personally.
Time will not permit me to give details of what the States have attempted to do in the matter of decentralisation. It is probably sufficient to say that they have been attempting to locate along materially orientated lines industry that does not naturally occur. In other words, certain industries take advantage of the basic raw materials. These are industries such as wineries, centred in areas engaged in horticulture, dairy factories centred in dairying areas and those industries treating materials such as bauxite or iron ore.
Other industries, of course, are located at the source of their market. In other words, they are market orientated industries. Again, other industries have been located at centres of population. If I might, let me quote a quick example from South Australia during the war years. An equipment factory was based on Walleroo. This factory actually requested permission to move elsewhere because there was not a large enough pool of labour for the industry in the area in which it was situated. The fourth example comprises industries that are ancillary to other industries. They use the by-products of the others. For example, these industries work hand in glove with petroleum refineries, petrochemical industries and complexes of that type. Thinking along these lines has created some effective decentralisation in the past, but the sum effect has been that economic principles have dictated that most industries locate near a sizeable market pool. This has amounted to further centralisation based on the principle of cost of production and distribution or servicing of goods.
What sort of industries should we attempt to influence, if we can, by Government encouragement or incentive? First, I shall deal very briefly with what are termed by the economic geographers the “footloose” industries. These are industries that owe no economic allegiance to normal economic principles. They may be industries such as Nilsen Cromie Pty. Ltd., which manufactures plastic parts in the town of Murray Bridge in my electorate. They may be industries which manufacture cameras, rings, spark plugs, ball bearings or certain types of confectionery like all-day suckers or even aniseed balls. These industries all have one principle behind them in terms of cost of production. You can put an awfully valuable load of their products onto, say, a semitrailer. The cost of transport per article thenis a very small item indeed. As I have said, they owe no allegiance to any economic rule and are therefore available to be encouraged to move into other areas to a far greater degree than other types of industry can be.
Secondly, let me cite a much looser definition of the footloose industries. I refer to industries where two, three or perhaps four different raw materials are used in the manufacturing process. In their case, the desirable economic location of the industry might well be a point between the sources of supply of these various materials. Mostly these manufacturing industries are located near the source of one or other of the raw materials. I think that it is possible, with incentives, to influence these industries to locate somewhere near the merging point of the supply lines of the three or four materials that are being used. I give these instances quite seriously, because I believe there is a necessity to define accurately the type of industries that we have some hope of decentralising.
The second type of industry I wish to mention very briefly includes those situated in regional centres. It seems to be a fair economic principle that where towns are large enough - and with a population of 5,000 to 10,000 people - a very good return can be obtained from a small capital infusion. I mention towns such as Shepparton, Geelong, Newcastle, Traralgon and Mount Gambier. Such towns have already reached the stage where they have a self sustaining, snowballing economy. They are viable, self sufficient units in their own right. I believe that in the case of industries which have grown up fairly naturally, Government encouragement and incentive to decentralise can help to speed this trend. What is certain is that the industry, or complex of industries, must be large enough to attract ancillary or consumer industries around them. They need the necessary population to use any existing by-products.
If is probably time that I came to the point of suggesting how this establishment can be achieved. Briefly, State legislation can do what it can, but State legislation and State funds are limited in this sort of endeavour. I believe, however that in many ways taxation rebates can be given on the Federal level to encourage the snowballing effect in certain defined, specific regional centres. Who is the authority to do this? This is a moot point. The honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) spoke about authorities to achieve certain effects. Would it be fair to ask a department of the Federal Government to be the impartial judge in these matters? I do not believe it would. Is it enough to ask State Premiers - many of whom have negotiated very capably over the years to encourage industries into their areas - to do something about this matter? I do not believe that that is the complete answer.
Probably for the first and last time I find myself in agreement with the honorable member for Wilmot. He advocated that some semi-governmental and statutory body should be appointed to carry out in an impartial fashion this type of work. Such an authority would need relatively large sums of money. The money should not be thinly spread like a veneer, because that would achieve nothing. There needs to bc an infusion of capital in order to develop industries in specified, defined areas. 1 had hoped tonight to have time to develop also the theme of re-location of uneconomic industries. There are many industries of this sort in our society today. They are mostly industries that are located near a central point in a city which has developed very rapidly around them. The cost structures have changed so much that an industry may have become uncompetitive and uneconomic. Frequently the only thing that stops an industry such as this from relocating itself is lack of capital. In time, I believe, governments will develop funds, or evolve a guarantee system to enable such industries to move. Their own limited funds will not enable them to do this.
Let me give a quick instance of how costs can change. I refer to the smelting industry of 20 years ago. It used to take roughly 10 tons of coking coal to produce one ton of pig iron. This state of affairs has changed to the degree that it takes only about 1.2 tons of coking coal to produce a ton of pig iron today. It was for this very reason, of course, that we in South Australia were able to get steelworks in Whyalla. In other words, the industry became less concerned with the transport costs of coking coal and was located closer to the source of the raw material. This is an economic fact. It shows how costs can change and the desirable location of industry can change.
Finally, may I repeat that there is in my view a need in the future to give encouragement to industries to decentralise, both from the eastern States to the rest of Australia and from capital cities to regional cities. This need is based on strategic, social and economic factors. Governments can never, in my view, dictate the location of industries, lt would not be right for them to do so, but I do believe that proper incentives can and must be provided in the future to achieve a balance for the society that lives in Australia.
.- This Budget is an unimaginative document, devoid of new ideas. It will be known not for what it does but for what it fails to do. In a world of challenge and change, it fails to meet the needs of this nation. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has referred to our steadily expanding economy. What is demanded in these days is a vigorous growth in the economy. Steady growth should become a thing of the past Laisser faire and the adoption of old methods in these days of challenge and change for this country, situated in an Asian area with all the problems that that involves, certainly will not meet the requirements of our times.
Statements made by Ministers on foreign affairs and defence all stress the dangers confronting this nation, yet the Parliament is given a cigarette and beer Budget. The Treasurer is comforted because this is not his worst Budget. With knowledge of the capacity of the Government to produce fiscal statements like the horror and the little horror Budgets and the credit squeeze of 1960, the public is relieved. The Treasurer’s Budget could have been considerably worse. I think that is the feeling that exists in our community today.
The Budget is based on a series of guesses or estimates of income and loan raisings. In most of his Budgets, the Treasurer has made some glaring miscalculations. That happened last year, and it could well happen this year. Last year, the Treasurer budgeted for a deficit and obtained an £18 million surplus.
– That is wrong. We budgeted for a surplus of £18.5 million and got a surplus of £18.9 million. We were right on the button.
Mr. LUCHETTI__ I referred to the previous occasion. Last year the Treasurer almost hit the target. That was the exception which proved the rule. The Treasurer anticipates that taxation will yield approximately £184 million more than last year and that other receipts will increase by £41 million. Quite obviously, the Treasurer must estimate these things. He cannot measure them precisely. Then, too, he has his difficulties in regard to loan raisings. The problems of the economy, the balance of payments and our liquidity all add to these difficulties. On the Treasurer’s calculations, total receipts should be £225,035,000 above those for 1964-65 and overall expenditure should be £2,667,030,000, exclusive of debt redemptions. Total receipts amounting to £2,538,000,000 leave a gap of £128,055,000. The budgetary estimate for loan raisings - this is where the Treasurer comes in with an estimate or guess, for which we can make allowances - is £210,000,000. Allowing for redemptions of £135 million, he will have a net gain in loan raisings of £75 million for the year.
This is where we part from the Government. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr.
Calwell), the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean), the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. J. Harrison) and other Opposition speakers who have contributed to the debate have said, without exception - and I support them - that the Government’s attitude is to take advantage of the small man and the middle income earner to raise the moneys required to bridge the gap that exists this year. We find that the Treasurer, by increasing customs and excise duties on beer, cigarettes, tobacco, spirits and petrol, proposes to take, from the small people in the main, a total of £65,680,000. In fact, he is going further, in that he is going to tax lighthouses also. Of course, few will disagree with the Treasurer’s action in taking steps with relation to air navigation charges. It is quite proper that action should be taken in that direction. Over the year, the Treasurer seeks to build up something like £847,900,000 leaving a cash surplus of £19,450,000.
Much of the Treasurer’s statement depends largely on loan raising. If the economy is dampened down, as well it might be by increased excise and other taxes, then difficulties could occur. So we find the Treasurer is engaged in some measure of guessing on this occasion. I join with the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who suggests that there are other means of raising this money if it is necessary to raise it. I am not convinced that this extra money is absolutely necessary. In these days, the Treasurer budgets for a surplus of almost £20 million, and at the same time attacks those who have a smoke, those who have a drink and those who like to go out for a drive in the family car on Sunday. This attitude is rejected by the Opposition. We resent the type of programme adopted by the Administration.
I want to put to the Parliament tonight that there are serious problems facing this country which the Government has failed to tackle. It has failed to deal with the problem of planning the development and decentralisation of this nation. The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles), in his speech, has outlined his views as to the steps that ought to be taken to deal with these matters. The Opposition would find no cause to quarrel with his comments. We agree that there should be decentralisation, and we have advocated it. The honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) proposed the appointment of a select committee to go into this question. Debate on the proposal was commenced in this Parliament, and we heard the opinions of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon). He threw the matter right out. He would have none of it. His reply was: “ There is no unemployment in the country areas. You cannot have decentralisation if you have no unemployed in country districts “. This Minister sees to it, by the operations of the Department which he administers, that when there are unemployed people in the country areas they are told to go elsewhere in search of work. Consequently they leave the country districts, with the result that there is erosion of population there and a drift to our capital cities. This Budget will do no more than make Melbourne, Sydney and the other capital cities bigger. Already 60 per cent, of the entire population of Australia lives in five capital cities.
In his speech, the honorable member for Angas referred to some mirage or to a fanciful programme that the Liberal Party has enunciated with regard to decentralisation. I appreciate the honorable member’s views on decentralisation. I appreciate his desire to get on with the job, and his hope that his Party will do something about it, but I want to tell the honorable member that only last week - oh 18th August - I asked the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) a question on this subject. 1 drew the attention of the right honorable gentleman to statements made by the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), and I asked him to confer with his Cabinet colleague to see what could be done, to see whether they would support the States, to see whether they would have a Ministerial meeting for the purpose of informing the States what the Commonwealth was prepared to do. The Prime Minister was quite clear in his reply. He said -
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 inter-departmental committee actively examining this problem to see whether any practical measures may emerge. 1 repeat that - “ to see whether any practical measures may emerge no plan, no policy, some sort of interdepartmental inquiry, something that is not proceeding now but was in progress before we commenced the last parliamentary recess. This is the sort of thing that is going on in this land of lots of time.
It was only yesterday that the honorable member for Bendigo asked the Minister for Trade and Industry a question about decentralisation. He asked whether it was true that the Liberal Party had a plan for shifting one million people into the country districts and going ahead with a decentralisation policy. The Minister replied -
May I observe, in the first place, that life is too short to deny everything not based strictly on fact that appears in the Press. I read this Press report. I was surprised to read it. I asked the officers of my Department whether they knew of any basis for it. Neither I nor any officer of my Department knows of such a 10 year plan. . . .
This matter of national development, of decentralisation, should be treated as an all-party matter, as the honorable member for Bendigo has advocated in this Parliament. A select committee ought to be appointed and we should go forward with this important development. In reading the Budget papers I find that less than £26 million has been provided for new works. The Budget deals with an overall amount of £2,600 million, but less than £26 million is provided for the challenging task of developing Australia, revitalising it, building up our population, meeting the problems that confront us as landholders and land, takers, asserting our rights to this country. What have we done in this direction? We have provided £25,805,000- including the provision for standardisation of rail gauges - of new money for development. We all know that the only major project being carried out at present is the Snowy Mountains scheme, which was commenced by a Labour Government and boycotted in the first instance by the majority of the members who now sit on the Government side.
To the everlasting discredit of this Government there is no major water scheme for northern Australia. The Ord River project, which was started with such wild acclaim and supported by patriotic people throughout Australia who want to see the nation developed, is not being proceeded with. The Government is awaiting the results of a searching inquiry into the economics of the project, or so we are told. Recent reports from the Ord district indicate quite clearly that the land will yield in abundance if water is made available. There is grand land there, excellent land, land of superlative quality, land upon which young men and women are working at the present time and from which they are earning for themselves a competence and a reward. Yet this Government is not prepared to go ahead with that scheme. No doubt this is something that will be brought up when an election is pending; perhaps the Government will have second thoughts at that time.
These are some of the things that are troubling the Opposition. We have the Snowy Mountains project which, as I have said, was started by a Labour Government, and which is now approaching completion. We have had employed on that project the best technical men in the world, men who have established records in construction, men of imaginative genius, men of outstanding quality by any standard, scientists, engineers, experts of all descriptions, right through to the men working physically on the job. Many of these men are leaving the project now and going overseas in search of other employment.
If the Government had adopted the policy of the Labour Party and established a northern Australia authority under a special Minister, we would not have Dr. Patterson leaving the Department of National Development and offering himself as a Labour Party candidate at the next election. We would have men enthusiastically engaged in the work of building this nation. It is about time the Government made up its mind about the future of the men working on the Snowy Mountains project and assured them that a northern Australia conservation authority will be established and that they win be able to use their talents on the development of the Burdekin, the Ord. the Fitzroy, the Dawson and other great rivers, including the Mary and the Katherine and all the other rivers that are of great importance to this driest of all continents.
This is what the Government should do, I submit, but instead it continues to regard as development the plunder of this country, what the Deputy Prime Minister has referred to as making Australia a quarry, in which overseas interests dig out our reserves of minerals and metals, then leave us a few million pounds but eventually we find that the money has to be repatriated overseas in profits earned by overseas companies.
My colleague, the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie) referred to the need for a national fuel policy. Everyone who has given thought to this subject knows of the necessity for such a policy. We need a plan for marshalling our hydro-electric power, our natural gas, our oil, our coal and all our other energy-producing resources, including resources of nuclear power. But of course the Government has taken no action in this direction, and I am particularly concerned about the attitude of the Government to this question. We face many problems in connection with our overseas balances. The balance of trade position is quite serious. Yet there are ways in which we could help to safeguard our overseas balances. We could establish an overseas national shipping line to carry our goods to the markets of the world. This would reduce the tendency for an adverse balance to be built up by invisibles. But the Government is not prepared to establish such a shipping line. It continues to succumb to the dictates of the Conference lines, which seem to be able to increase their rates from time to time and so continue the plunder of our economy. An overseas national shipping line would be of great assistance in this connection, although the same result could be achieved by an extension of the functions of our existing Australian National Line. We must in some way have our own overseas shipping line in order to protect our economy, to protect our primary producers and to protect our manufacturers.
There is another thing that could be done to develop this country. This would not constitute a plunder of Australia or a rape of Australia. We could process more of our raw materials in this country. Too great a volume of these raw materials is taken out of Australia at the present time. This merely leaves a gap and little is done in this way to secure our future development and to build our population. I believe there is no better way of building our population than by processing our own raw materials in our own country.
The most important of these raw materials is iron ore. We know that vast quantities of iron ore are being exported to Japan. Our best coking coal is going to Japan. Japan is taking these raw materials, processing them into iron and steel products and sending those products back to Australia or putting them on the world markets in competition with Australian products. We should have strong leadership in this country so that the people concerned would be told: “ We will give you certain franchises but we want you to take immediate action to build up vast iron and steel industries in Australia, and, above all, we need immediately an iron and steel industry in Queensland “. There is good coking coal in Queensland, and if it pays Japanese interests to take our coking coal and iron ore to Japan and carry out the processing there, it would certainly pay them to use Queensland coking coal in that State and to bring the iron ore, if need be, from Western Australia to Queensland. But it is difficult to get that message through to the Government.
I have here some statistics relating to imports and exports of iron and steel products. They show that in 1964 - the most recent year for which figures are given - we exported £33,346,000 worth of iron and steel products and imported £29,856,000 worth. I direct the attention of the Parliament to the fact that there are varying grades of iron and steel, including special grades and some very inferior grades. The Thomas grade, for example, is regarded in the trade as one of the most inferior on the market. These figures that I have given suggest that we have an opportunity to improve our position in iron and steel. Why should we be importing iron and steel products and building up an adverse balance of payments when there is no need for such imports? We should be producing all the iron and steel products we need and exporting more besides.
All these are problems that a Labour government would tackle in the interests of the Australian people. We would attract population to northern Australia. Let it be understood by all honorable members that Australians will go anywhere to do a job. They are prepared to go to Mount Isa, Rum Jungle, Gordon River in Tasmania or anywhere else where there is a job to be done. Our people are resourceful enough, courageous enough and sufficiently en dowed with adventurous spirit to take employment anywhere if a job waits to be done. Yet Australians are not being accorded the opportunities they should have. It is not the cost that matters in this. I have with me a report on costs in Australian process industries. It shows that in 1961 structural steel sold for about £42.4 a ton in Australia, compared with £47.5 in the United Kingdom, £56.8 in the United States of America and £51.2 in Japan. These figures indicate clearly that Australian steel is the cheapest to be had. We are in the best position to provide waiting markets with steel. We can produce good steel and we can sell it at the right price. Yet we are not producing and selling it. This does not make sense. Any government concerned with the balance of payments problem would immediately address itself to a situation of this kind. But this Government does not, of course. I am not happy with the thought that we are sending our iron ore and our coking coal to other countries and receiving in return a mere pittance instead of doing as our nationhood suggests we should do and developing this country. This report on costs in the Australian process industries states -
It is clear that Australia is in a pre-eminent situation to produce iron ore and steel and that there is scope for much greater expansion. The export of ten or more million tons of steel products per year is certainly within Australia’s grasp and should be encouraged in every possible way.
Everybody accepts that view, because it makes sense and we understand it. I can only hope that the pleadings of the honorable member for Angas, myself and others will eventually be heeded and that the necessary development work will be undertaken to exploit our rich reserves of natural resources. I trust that eventually Australia’s development problems will be tackled in a really businesslike way.
I turn now to decentralisation. This, of course, is a national responsibility and, therefore, a responsibility of the Commonwealth. Local government discharges its responsibility in its particular field and the States discharge their responsibilities in the fields that fall to their charge. It is up to the Commonwealth Government to play its part and to see that the right thing is done in the promotion of decentralisation. I say definitely, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that the
Commonwealth Government’s failure so far to accept its responsibility for decentralisation has been a barrier to the adoption of effective measures to promote the growth of secondary industries in country areas. We all know that section 96 of the Australian Constitution empowers the Commonwealth to make grants to the States to enable them to undertake works that will encourage decentralisation. The Commonwealth, since it has constitutional power over banking, loan raising and finance generally, and since it levies uniform taxation and distributes the proceeds, occupies a special and privileged position and has a special duty to promote the growth and economic development of Australia. This Government, of course, has not played its part. It has been invited to play its proper role, but it has failed to avail itself of the opportunities presented to it. What is needed now is an immediate declaration of intention by the Government to the effect that it will take positive action to promote decentralisation. A ministerial meeting also is necessary to plan decentralisation measures. The States should be told what the Commonwealth is prepared to do and the necessary work should be undertaken without delay.
This Budget offers no incentive or encouragement. It presents no challenge on the issues of development and decentralisation. In May of this year, the Parliament passed the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act, which was designed to give effect to a scheme under which the differential between petrol prices in the cities and in the country would not exceed 4d. a gallon. Country people heralded this scheme as a great advance. They believed that their petrol would be cheaper and that production would be helped and decentralisation promoted. Now, immediately before that scheme becomes effective and the people gain its benefits, the Government has decided to increase the excise on petrol by 3d. a gallon, resulting in price increases of at least 3d. a gallon. This is the sort of thing that the present Government has done repeatedly in order to fool the people.
Other countries have gone ahead with proposals to promote decentralisation and development by helping depressed areas. They have promoted the establishment of new industries in places where such industries have not been established before. This has been done by Malaysia, Italy, the United States and Canada, our sister country in the Commonwealth of Nations. But no similar action has been taken in Australia. This country has a capital inflow problem. The honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters), who will be the next speaker on this side of the chamber, will deal effectively with that. We have also a major balance of payments problem. In this Budget, the Government proposes no action to deal with it. We know that last financial year the balance of payments situation was saved only by the inflow of capital. We had a balance of payments deficiency of £375 million and a capital inflow of £228 million. Without that inflow of capital from overseas, we would have been in a parlous position. The Government has failed to do many of the things that ought to be done, and it has permitted an inflow of capital on a large scale to enable overseas interests to buy Australian industries that have been pioneered and developed by the people of this country. Flour mills in country areas and other industries throughout the land have fallen victims to bread making and biscuit companies and milling interests overseas.
Time will not permit me to deal fully with the problems of population distribution and manpower utilisation. The urgent need is to expand our population with the utmost speed, whatever may be the cost. We have to populate a continent with an area of about 3 million square miles - a continent tremendously rich in resources. But we are not taking measures the need for which is obvious. Our immigration scheme is succeeding up to a point. To the credit of the present Leader of the Opposition, this imaginative and courageous scheme was started when Labour was in office. However, we should now be doing more to expand our population. We could do much to increase it by encouraging our own families. Labour has suggested a way to do this. During the last Federal general election campaign, the Australian Labour Party announced a programme for the payment of endowment at the Tate of lis. a week for the first child, 19s. a week for the second child and 22s. a week for the third and subsequent children. That is the sort of thing that we need to do.
We must give parents a chance to have their children educated so that they may take advantage of whatever opportunities there may be. We must make it possible for all who wish to attend technical colleges, for example, to do so. We should do everything we can to educate our children and allow them to be great Australians. Labour would also provide £100 for each child born in a family. This would help to pay off the debt on a home. These are the kinds of measures that are needed in these challenging and difficult days.
In conclusion, Mr. Deputy Speaker, all I say to the Government is: Your Budget does not meet the needs of today. We must bc forward thinking. We must progress. Let us undertake the kind of programme that will make Australia great.
.- I listened very attentively to the speech of the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti). 1 appreciate his brave words and his effort to make a speech relating to a Budget with which he can factually find very little fault. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) is in the House, it is timely for me to say that last night I listened most attentively to him for 55 minutes. As Leader of the Opposition he must in his speech set the pattern for the Opposition’s attack on the Budget brought down by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt). But as I understood it, and as many others did, the speech of the Leader of the Opposition was a welter of meaningless words. It was a speech pregnant with cliches, with slogans and with catch phrases. It was a speech with little or no direction and with no common sense or logic. I would imagine that it would arouse very little enthusiasm amongst his supporters outside the House. Those members of his party who listened to him - at least, I should say they were in their seats and appeared to be listening - slumbered very peacefully. They were quite unconcerned about what their Leader had to say. They were slumber happy; although we tried to wake them up.
The Leader of the Opposition admitted that the speech was prepared for him. That is all right. I understand quite a number of honorable members opposite have their speeches prepared for them. The Leader of the Opposition intimated that he received assistance from outside the Parliament.
Again that is quite all right. But I would say, from the tenor of the words that flowed from the mouth of the Leader of the Opposition, the speech was obviously written by one, two, three or four Socialists. When I refer to “Socialists”, I do so in the belief that at last the wraps are off members of the Opposition. Now they are beginning to parade in their true colours. It would appear that they are and have been for quite some time dedicated Socialists. I am not quite certain what type of Socialists they are. I recall that a high ranking member of the Australia Labour Party in New South Wales, when asked what democratic socialism was, said that he did not know. Several of his friends who belonged to the party called the Australian Labour Party said they did not know either. So I rather doubt that the gentlemen on the other side of the House know what democratic socialism is.
It is quite obvious that the Socialistic tendencies of Opposition members are now well and truly to the fore. Socialistic speeches have been made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). During the debate on international affairs last week, Opposition members intimated that they were Socialists. I remember the honorable member for Kingston (Mr. Galvin) particularly making every effort to ensure that we realised where he stood. It would now .appear that honorable members opposite have given away their intention - I think this is the expression - to nationalise by stealth. It sounds good, anyway. Perhaps they have taken their courage in their hands now that a Socialist Government is in office in the United Kingdom. How long it will stay on the treasury bench, of course, is a matter for conjecture. However, I ask honorable members opposite whether they will have the intestinal fortitude to go before the electorate at the next election as Socialists or whether they will again assume their sheeplike disguise.
I refer now to the Budget. Obviously, it is a great embarrassment to Opposition members. In their speeches they have tried very hard to make their critcisms stick, but the overwhelming truth is that this 1965 Budget is a realistic Budget. Despite claims to the contrary made by Opposition members, this is accepted as a good Budget by the great majority of the people. It is designed to meet the pressing problems of
Australia, both externally and internally. Reasonable people, no matter what their political beliefs may be, agree that the increases in taxation, both direct and indirect, are essential to meet the national economic problems and that they are moderate and necessary.
Let us consider the increases in excise. It is well to remember that despite the increased duty on a packet of cigarettes, the packet of cigarettes in Australia is only half the price of the same packet of cigarettes bought in England. Let us take excise on the gallon of petrol that has been so volubly attacked in this debate. In England a gallon of petrol costs a little more than half as much again as a gallon of petrol in Australia. Now let us get down to Australia’s national drink - beer. Although the increase of excise on a gallon of beer is ls. 6id., making the total excise on a gallon lis. 4id., this rate is still moderate. Unfortunately, it is sad to see that some publicans are taking advantage of the increase and are charging all sorts of fancy prices.
But there appears to me to be another way in which the Australian worker, if I may use the colloquial language of Opposition members, is being exploited and advantage taken of his liking for beer. This is a matter that puzzles me. Perhaps I have the story wrong. I do not know. However, I will develop it and perhaps someone will come up to me with an answer and tell me that what I am saying is quite incorrect. Although a kilderkin contains 18 gallons of beer, a brewery is charged excise on the basis of 17 gallons only. But I understand - and I have made a few inquiries on this point, that when a brewery delivers a kilderkin to a publican, it seeks to have returned to it excise duty at the rate of 1 1 s. 41d., as it is now, on either 1 7b gallons or 1 8 gallons. I will not argue which amount it is. T am told this understanding between the Department of Customs and Excise and the breweries is on the basis that 18 gallon wooden barrels are subject to leakage. To compensate for this leakage, excise is charged on the basis of 17 gallons. But the present position is that 18 gallons of beer are put into an aluminium container. Surely there can be no leakage or seepage from such a material. As T have said, a brewery pays excise to the Government on the basis of 17 gallons. Obviously this is all right by the brewery, but it seems to me that somewhere along the line the drinker of beer is paying more than he actually should.
I am not going to investigate the reason why this is so, but I will leave that thought with honorable members. However, I am particularly interested in the fact that, over the last IS years in New Zealand, beer has been carried in mobile tanks which are most hygienic. But Australian breweries, because of the gain which they obtain through the selling of 18 gallon cash, are not prepared to resort to the use of the mobile tank. I will leave the question of beer and the relationship of excise to it at that point and turn to the subject of defence.
In the estimated expenditure of £2,666 million this year, the defence vote, as honorable members well know, will rise by £81.4 million to £385.9 million. This represents an overall increase in the defence vote of 27 per cent. The Opposition is criticising this Budget on the ground that not enough money is being spent on defence and that, in fact, it is not a defence Budget at all. How ironical it is for honorable members opposite to say that when, during the four years I have been in this House, we have heard criticism after criticism of the Government for the amount of money, which honorable members opposite have argued, it has spent irresponsibly on defence. So, in this context, who are members of the Opposition to criticise the Government when, by their own record, they have never given any proper consideration to the spending of money required to place defence on the pinnacle of importance that it deserves?
I turn now to the national service training scheme which I notice, whenever it is referred to by an honorable member opposite, is always mentioned in terms of a scheme of conscription. The use of the word “conscription” is indeed harsh, but perhaps it is a socialist term with which honorable members opposite are more conversant. Therefore, I cannot quibble over its use. However, it is very pleasing to note that, in respect of our national service scheme, there has been distinct efficiency in the completing of the first stage of national service training. This, may I point out, is a great tribute to the manner in which the Department of Labour and National Service has handled the registration and all other functions which fell to its lot. Late in June this year, 2,100 young men entered camps at Puckapunyal and Kapooka out of a total registration of 41,000 youths. Of this number, I understand, only a very small proportion failed to report. Unfortunately, 29 per cent, of these youths was declared medically unfit. This indicates, perhaps in the interests of our defence, that the medical standard for admission to national service is high. This is a good thing.
Recently, in my electorate, 1 spoke to a few lads who were on leave from national service training. The unanimous opinion of these 20 year olds was that the life provided for them under national service training was a good life. They indicated that while training was strenuous it was indeed interesting. They said that they were provided with excellent conditions and good food in camp. Those youths are undergoing 10 weeks basic training. They are quite happy in the realisation that they will be spending these 10 weeks under good conditions. After their basic training, they will be posted to regular units. These conditions are a revelation to me. They are quite different from those which applied in the old days of national service training of which so many of us have had experience. These claims as to the conditions surrounding the training of these young men must be a tremendous disappointment to honorable members opposite, particularly the calamity howlers who indicated to us when the scheme was being introduced that young men would not take kindly to it and who foresaw all sorts of trouble. Again, I hand out a platitude and also extend congratulations to the Army because I think the Army has done a particularly good job in respect of this training.
Whilst handing out a bouquet to the Army on this occasion, I also desire to hand out a brickbat to the Army over the treatment it is giving to the foreshores of Sydney Harbour. It is true that I have spoken on this subject before, but it is well to remember that, in the Budget, there is an allotment made from which the Army will draw in order to build a certain number of homes on the foreshores of Middle Harbour. I know that the Minister for the Army (Dr. Forbes) is extremely sympathetic in respect of this matter. He has been particularly sympathetic to the past represen tations which we have made over the despoliation of the foreshores by home building and other developments. I recognise that it is the responsibility of the Army to defend Australia. I know that all honorable members in this House accept this fact as members representing electors. But I, as I would hope other members would, must accept also the responsibility for the preservation of our heritage. The heritage that I refer to is the natural foreshore beauty of Sydney Harbour, even if it is not appreciated by people who live remote from Sydney. During a recent visit to the Middle Harbour area my heart bled, and I can assure honorable members that my blood pressure rose, when I saw the way in which the area was being mauled and disfigured to make way for Army houses.
– It is a shame.
– The honorable member who said sarcastically that it is a shame comes from an area which is remote from Sydney. He would not be concerned about the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, yet the tradition of Sydney Harbour is as much his as it is mine. It is part of Australia and, with the building of these homes, we will lose the natural beauty of the headland and will never be able to recover it.
Despite the protection afforded by trees which grow on one side of the houses being built, the roofs of these houses will be an unsightly feature of the skyline and we will never be able to get away from them. I say with the greatest of charity that after going all over Middle Harbour headland and talking to various people I can see nothing strategic or of a secret nature about this area which would require Service personnel to be housed on Middle Head as is now planned. I realise that those are strong words, and I appreciate the situation in which I place myself in respect of those things which have been told to me by high ranking Army officers and especially by the Minister for the Army. Nevertheless. I feel sincerely that on this matter, if I may put it colloquially, I have been sold a pup. I know that some Army schools are located in the area, but I believe that they could have been put anywhere. I believe also that the Army personnel who are to occupy these homes could have been provided with first class accommodation adjacent to the Middle Head area. Naval personnel are so housed.
I draw attention next to what I regard as a scandal and a disgrace. I refer to the way in which an Army road has been built down to the engineer’s accommodation. It is the roughest job I have ever seen. The road has been torn through foreshore bushland running within a few yards of the harbour. It is a ragged scar laid wide open and the road surfacing - what there is of it - is a complete disgrace. This is not just my opinion but the opinion of many. The road certainly does no credit to the Army engineers. I hope that from this Budget an appropriation will be made from which the Army will be able to do something to compensate for the damage that it has done to our foreshores. The people, not only of Sydney but of Australia - let me keep it on a national level - have been deprived, by what has gone on through Service development, the construction of homes and other installations, of the finest foreshore parkland area in Australia and of the best point from which to view Sydney Harbour.
I am pleased to see that the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) has entered the chamber and is sitting back quite contentedly. Last night I listened to him most attentively.
– He made a good speech.
– No doubt it was quite a good speech from the honorable member’s point of view, but it was highly emotional and blameworthy. I know the honorable member for Blaxland as a good trade unionist, and I have known him also as a respected trade union official, but in my view he made, if I may use the expression, a diabolical and grossly irresponsible attack on the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission over the majority basic wage decision brought down in June. He spent a lot of time traversing the history of the basic wage and the influences which have been brought to bear on it since the Harvester judgment in 1907. No doubt that history would have been put before the Commission by Mr. Hawke, who is the very capable advocate for the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I do not take anything away from him. But I do challenge the honorable member for Blax land who said that the principles which had been followed over the years in bringing down a long line of basic wage decisions had been harmoniously accepted by the trade union movement. Of course, as the honorable member knows, that is complete rubbish.
Over the years each decision has met with a hostile reaction. Trade union leaders and members of the Labour movement on the political side have fallen over themselves in trying to get a catch phrase which would identify itself in some way with basic wage decisions. Since 1907, and including the last basic wage decision which was announced this year, there has been an automatic hostility which, so far as I am concerned, does not indicate that the last decision is any worse in the trade union mind than any other has been. I suggest to the honorable member for Blaxland that if he studied the decision in a calm and detached way he would see that for the whole community, including unionists, it was a just and - I say this quite objectively - sensible decision. The honorable member for Blaxland laughs. I expected him to do so. After what he said last night he must ridicule me when I make that statement. It must be remembered that the decision of the Commission was a majority decision of three judges to two.
– What did the President of the Commission say?
– In a democracy we accept the majority decision, and the majority decision was that a rise in the basic wage now would exhaust the ability of the economy to pay. In putting a stop to cost of living adjustments to the basic wage the Commission has removed one of the great hindrances to planned development. In this context I do not use the word “planned” in the context in which it was used in the amendment moved by the Opposition. By this decision industry has had removed from its area of activity one of its greatest headaches, and the interests of the wage earners have been safeguarded. I know it will be said that that is rot, but those interests have been safeguarded to the extent that now the wage earner knows that regularly, every year, his wage will be reviewed by the Commission. The Commission decided that the basic wage plus margin will be fixed each year for the ensuing 12 months.
This quite important and revolutionary method of wage fixation has undoubtedly been welcomed by every reasonable thinking person in the community. As I have said before, surely if the honorable member for Blaxland thinks without trade union bias he must see that, since the basic wage has little meaning, as practically non-one gets only the basic wage, the recent decision of the Commission is a most realistic method of wage fixation. I am sure that on quiet reflection he will agree that for unions to bargain with employers and to by-pass the arbitration system is not the proper way in which to regulate a country such as ours, which relies on stability. What sort of industrial irresponsibility is advocacy of that principle? Under that system the small unions would be thrown to the wolves and the trade unionists would lose their legal protections.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have been badly misrepresented by the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle). He claimed that in my contribution to the debate last night I said that in the years-
– Order! Does the honorable member desire to make a personal explanation?
– Yes. This personal explanation arises from my being misrepresented by the honorable member for Warringah.
– Yes, grossly. He claimed that in my contribution to the debate last night I said that from 1907 until this year the trade union movement had harmoniously accepted the basic wage decisions, other than this year’s decision. I did not use the term “ harmoniously “ at any stage of my contribution last night. What I said quite clearly was that from 1907 until this year the decisions of the various commissions and courts were accepted by the trade union movement and did not create revolts in the way that this year’s decision has. The reason for the trouble over this year’s decision is that it destroyed the basis upon which any future basic wage decision could be made.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am very pleased to see you gracing the Chair on the occasion of my contribution to this debate. On 13th February 1963, the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies) made a Press statement in which he said that he had appointed a committee to inquire into the Australian economy. He set out the matters that the committee was to investigate. Those terms of reference included all the objectives of the economic policy of the present Government. The Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), in the Budget speech which he delivered last Tuesday night, made it clear that the policy matters that were discussed in relation to the Budget are exactly the same as the matters that were referred to the Committee of Economic Inquiry by the Prime Minister on 13 th February 1963.
Those matters included trends in population; the economic availability of known basic physical resources; the growth of domestic savings and investment; overseas investment in Australia; the availability of credit; trends in costs, prices and wages; trends in productivity; the pattern of growth and geographical distribution of industry - primary, secondary and tertiary; the consequences of this for the occupational pattern of the work force; trends in the standard of living; the situation with respect to the external balance of payments; questions involved in the production in Australia of goods that would otherwise be imported; and production for export and the securing of adequate export outlets.
Anyone who has read those terms of reference and the Treasurer’s Budget speech will realise that the consideration of those issues by the Committee should have a direct influence on the ideas that the Treasurer should have in order to meet the problems of today. The Committee consisted of five gentlemen. They were: Sir James Vernon, Professor Sir John Crawford, Professor P. H. Karmel, D. G. Molesworth, Esquire and K. B. Myer, Esquire. The Prime Minister pointed out that all of them were men of capacity and integrity and that they were the ideal persons to investigate the effects of all the different influences on the Australian community and to suggest to his Government methods by which the difficulties could be overcome.
The Committee sat over a long period from 1963. Its report was promised in 1963; then it was promised early in 1964; later it was promised late in 1964; and ultimately the Government received it during the last sessional period of the Parliament. The report deals with all the economic issues that face this community at present. Its production cost the Australian taxpayers £100,000. Are not the people of Australia entitled to ask: What is included in the report? What does the report say? The Prime Minister admits that he has had the report in his possession for months. But he does not submit it to the Parliament. After all, it was not his £100,000 that paid for the report; it was £100,000 of the taxpayers’ money. We, the Parliament, are entitled to know what is in the report.
If the report had been favorable to the policies and practices of the Government, not only would a copy of it have been in the hands of each member of the Parliament today, but an abridged copy of it, with a photograph of the Prime Minister on the front cover, would have been produced by now and would be in every house in Australia. There is no doubt that the reason why the report is not public and has not been disseminated is that it is critical or condemnatory of the policies being pursued by the Government.
– That is what the honorable member hopes.
– What other reason is there for keeping it in cold storage? I am particularly anxious to get a copy of the report because I sent many communications to the gentlemen on the Committee. I sent them communications in connection with the flow of overseas capital into Australia and takeovers of Australian assets by foreign firms. One of the Committee’s terms of reference covered the investment of foreign capital in this country and the effects that such investment has on the Australian economy. Unfortunately we do not yet have that report, but we are considering an amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) to the motion -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
I support the amendment. The amendment is a condemnation of the Government’s budgetary proposals and is based on three grounds. The third of those grounds is that the Budget does not deal with increasing imports or with the desirability of controlling the investment in this country of foreign capital. In 19S1 I asked the Prime Minister whether he considered that at that time, when prosperity was high and when high prices were being received overseas for our products, we should conserve our overseas funds and not allow them to be dissipated rapidly, as they were being dissipated. In reply, the Prime Minister said that the Government, particularly the Treasurer and himself, had its attention on Australia’s balance of payments position. Since then, 14 years have elapsed during which time we have enjoyed what the Treasurer has called “a period of unparalleled prosperity “. We have enjoyed a period of what the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) has called “ exceptional economic growth “. But let me show what has happened during this period of exceptional economic growth and unparalleled prosperity - this period when the Government, particularly the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, was paying attention to the balance of payments position. In 1951-52 we had an adverse balance of payments of £544 million, la 1952-53 we had a favourable balance of £194 million. In 1953-54 we had an adverse balance of £2 million. In 1954-55 we had an adverse balance of £238 million. In 1955-56 we had an adverse balance of £224 million. In 1956-57 we had a favourable balance of £109 million. In 1957-58 we had an adverse balance of £154 million. In 1958-59 we had an adverse balance of £192 million. In 1959-60 we had an adverse balance of £230 million. In 1960-61 we had an adverse balance of £368 million. In 1961-62 we had a favourable balance of £1 million. In 1962-63 we had an unfavourable balance of £236 million. In 1963-64 we had an unfavourable balance of £25 million. In 1964-65 we had an unfavourable balance of £375 million.
– That is living it up.
– It is indeed. Our total balance of payments deficit foi 14 years was £2,284 million. People may say: “ What does that matter? “ During this time, Great Britain had a favourable total balance of payments of more than £1,000 million. During that period the United States of America had a favorable balance of payments of more than 12 billion dollars. Yet both those countries have had to take stringent measures to preserve their overseas solvency. Why are we solvent? We are solvent only because, so far, somebody else has paid our debts. We will remain solvent only so long as other nations continue to pay our debts.
What will happen in the future? Early in the last financial year I said that we would have the second or third highest unfavorable trade balance in our history. I was correct. We finished the year with an unfavorable balance of £375 million, which is the second highest in our history. It was exceeded only by the adverse balance of 1951-52, which was brought about deliberately by the Government’s policy of inducing firms overseas to send their goods to this country and by preventing Australians from manufacturing. What will happen from now on? One month only of the current financial year has elapsed. In July of the last financial year we had an adverse balance of payments of less than £1 million. During July of this year we had an adverse balance of payments of about £8 million. In other words, during July of this year we exported less than we exported in July of last year. In addition, we imported more in July this year than we imported in July last year. The prospect is that our balance of payments position this financial year will be more unfavorable than it was last year. We were able to pay for portion of last year’s unfavorable balance of £375 million by virtue of an inflow of capital from overseas. That is, we did not pay for it directly; we gave in return for it part of the assets of this community. The other portion of the balance of payments was paid for by a reduction of more than £100 million in our overseas funds. In effect, the United States and Britain, which, by the inflow of their capital into this country, have been financing our overseas balances, have said: “We will not continue to do this to the same extent in the future as we have done in the past”. If they do not, and if the position that has occurred during July continues during the rest of the year, then the only way in which we can finance our unfavorable balance is by a reduction in our overseas funds. Our overseas funds total at the present time about £600 million. A reduction in those funds could easily occur to the extent of £300 million. If that reduction does occur our funds will be reduced below the level they were at in 1952 when the Prime Minister went to the microphone and said, in effect, that he had to introduce panic import restrictions in order to save the international solvency of this country. The restrictions that he introduced resulted in more than 100,000 of the people of this country almost immediately becoming unemployed and remaining unemployed for a considerable number of months.
I, of course, am not the only person who sees a danger in the policies of this Government. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) has made the statement that a huge export lift is needed to keep Australia’s living standards at the required level. He said that Australia must increase its exports by more than £1,000 million a year in the next 10 years if it is to maintain its standard of living. A report in the “ Australian “ of 6th July 1965 says -
This estimate was given by the Minister for Trade, Mr. John McEwen, last night in the 16th Roy Milne memorial lecture in Brisbane.
– Not £1,000 million a year?
– By £1,000 million a year. I have a copy of the lecture before me and that statement is definitely set out. That was the contention of the Minister and it is a correct contention. The lecture is titled “ Australia’s Overseas Economic Relationships “ by the Right Hon. John McEwen, M.P. It was delivered just recently in Brisbane on 5th July 1965. The Minister said -
The Department of Trade and Industry has made some projections of what our export needs might be in a decade’s time. The projections were on the basis of the following assumptions: an average rate of growth of five per cent, a year over the next ten years … On that basis then our annual exports would need to be about £2,500 million by 1974-75 . . .
This is a tremendous figure. To achieve a level of exports of this magnitude we must not only have the goods to offer, efficiently produced, but equally important we must have opportunities to place those goods in markets . . .
At the present time, as the Minister pointed out earlier in his speech, our exports realise about £1,500 million a year. The increase necessary per year, therefore, is £1,000 million worth of exports. As the Minister said, it is a tremendous figure. I want to know what the right honorable gentleman is doing to see that this Government pursues policies that will achieve that increase in the production.
– He makes fine speeches.
– Yes, he makes fine speeches outside this House. He went to Lakes Entrance and said that the Government of this country was selling a bit of Australia every year. He said that it was like a farmer who sells a bit of the farm each year in order to meet current expenses; it must end in disaster. Yet he comes into this Parliament and does nothing about it.
The Minister went to Perth and said that we had to protect the basic industries of this country in the interests of our people. He said that people were purchasing the mineral resources of this country and exploiting them in the interest of overseas capitalists, and that that had to cease. He comes into this House and does nothing about it. He talks about our resources being used to make people overseas rich, and says that we are left with holes in the ground. He does nothing about the holes in the ground. He is the same gentleman who said that there is no necessity to sell those industries of this country that were brought into existence by Australian families and have been promoted by Australian families during the years. They are mainly the food processing and the primary producing industries of this country, or industries that process the primary products of this country. He made that statement at a conference of the Australian Country Party. What does he say in the Cabinet room? What does he do in the Parliament of this country in order to see that the goods of this country are not being used to aggrandise the wealthy in other parts of the world to the detriment of the standard of living of the people of Australia?
– He does nothing.
– An honorable gentleman behind me says that he does nothing. That is right, but the Minister is not the only one who does nothing. The members of the Country Party who sit behind him, a few of whom are in this chamber now, have done nothing to prod the Minister into doing something about this for Australia. Certainly they do nothing, and because they are doing nothing disaster looms ahead.
I agree with the Deputy Prime Minister. Disaster - and of a considerable magnitude^ - looms ahead and is rapidly coming closer. If we cannot secure overseas funds in order to pay for imports, if we cannot pay for our imports with funds belonging to other nations and our overseas funds are not sufficient to pay for them, then we will not receive the goods.
– What did the Minister say about the goods?
– He said that this country has to receive these goods. This country has to receive at the present time an increase of £1,000 million worth of goods. It has to pay at least £200 million to £300 million in freight and insurance on its exports and imports. It has to pay at least £150 million a year in servicing overseas funds that are already invested in this country. The Minister said that we have to increase our exports, or unemployment will stalk this land as it did in the days of the depression with the result that the standard of living of the people will be reduced.
It is not 1 who makes this accusation; it is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia who does so. But while he talks about these things he does nothing about them. My object in making this speech is not to make the dangers that confront Australia more vivid than the Deputy Prime Minister has made them. I think he has done that adequately and well. The object of my speech is to stir the members of the Country Party into some action, and to try to make them do something to ensure that this country rapidly pursues a policy that will increase production within Australia and will prevent the purchase of unnecessary imports. At present unnecessary imports to the value of almost £200 million are coming into this country annually. The members of the Country Party should see also that we create within Australia import replacement industries that will enable us to make for ourselves goods that at present are coming from other countries. Anybody who goes into a shop in any capital city of Australia will see not a few pounds worth but thousands of pounds worth of shoes made in Italy, retailing at from £10 to £15 a pair. He will see in any store in Melbourne thousands of suits of clothes, thousands of women’s overcoats and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of made-up materials which have come from overseas and are being sold to the Australian public. Surely we can create some import replacement industries that will enable us to manufacture into suits the cloth that is made in Australia. As the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) has pointed out, we should process our primary products. This country is able to produce steel cheaper and better than any other country in the world because our steel works are close to the sources of the iron ore. But we sell our iron ore to Japan. Japan manufactures it into steel, sends it back to this country in manufactured form, and we buy it. Is that the way to make a country great? As the Deputy Prime Minister has pointed out, the only results of that are unemployment in this country, holes in the ground and wealthy people in other parts of the world.
.- I was very interested to hear the honorable member for Scullin (Mr. Peters) say that we should increase our exports. That was one of the major themes of his speech, yet he belongs to a party that voted unanimously against the adoption of the Japanese Trade Agreement by this Parliament. The Japanese Trade Agreement is probably the most outstanding trade agreement reached by this country in this century, yet he voted against it. In effect, he then voted against increasing our exports. Therefore, his argument today falls to the ground.
The honorable member also said that he was making his speech to stir the Leader of the Australian Country Party (Mr. McEwen) and other members of the Party into action. I want to assure him that the leader and other members of the Australian
Country Party are always in action. They are always on the job, looking after the interests of the country people of Australia as well as those of every other section of the community.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) launched an attack on this Budget. I consider that his attack was unjust and unfair. I consider the Budget to be sound and reasonable. I think the attack by the Leader of the Opposition can be best answered and the general tone of the Budget best summed up by quoting the following passage from an editorial in this morning’s Melbourne “ Age “ -
Mr. Calwell’s harsh words do not fit the mild dose of fiscal medicine administered by Mr. Holt and taken by the taxpayer without making a face.
I can understand the Opposition being upset. The fact that no-one else is upset about the Budget makes the Opposition very upset. The increases in taxes proposed in the Budget are comparatively small and are spread over a reasonably wide area. No-one could strongly support an argument that they will impose a crushing burden on any one section of the community or that they will add dramatically to the ever present problem of rising costs in our export industries and the industries which produce for the home market.
– What about the fuel tax?
– The proposed rise in the petrol tax is to be regretted, mainly because of the pressure it will place on the cost of transportation for our primary and secondary industries. But this impost has to be viewed in the light of the overall need for extra revenue to finance our increased defence expenditure. The Leader of the Opposition has stated that the Budget is not a defence Budget. I consider that the increase in defence expenditure of about 27 per cent. - from £301 million to £385 million - must be acknowledged as a quite dramatic upsurge in expenditure and a realistic assessment of our defence needs. It must also be remembered that it is part of our programme to increase substantially our defence commitments over the next three years.
The proposed increase of 2) per cent, in personal income tax is a moderate measure.
I think most people expected a larger increase in this field. I was particularly concerned that this increase, as well as the increases in duty on beer, cigarettes and petrol, should not strike too hard at the lower and middle income groups. To quote the Leader of the Opposition and Mr. Monk, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the net result is that the average tradesman will be £6 7s. 6d. a year worse off. That is not a matter about which the Government is happy, but it could have been a lot worse.
However, we should not overlook the fact that the family man who has a wife and two or three children and who is earning £1,300 a year or less is facing an extremely difficult task in trying to make ends meet. The people in the lower and middle income groups represent a very large percentage of the taxpayers - about 75 per cent. - and a very large percentage of consumers in the home market. It is important that they should be in a position to afford to buy food and consumer goods, so that the prosperity of our production industries may be maintained. The position of the man who has a wife and two or three children and who is earning £1,300 a year, or £25 a week, and under must be constantly watched when increased taxes and rising prices are being considered.
It must be remembered also that the extra taxes proposed in this Budget do not represent the only increase in the drain on the purses of these people. It must also be borne in mind by the Government that there are nearly 500,000 people on £1,000 a year or less. I often wonder how the family man can keep his head above water.
– You do?
– I have said for years that, although the members of the Opposition hold themselves out as the only people who have any interest in or any knowledge of the average working man, that is not true. We have a great deal of interest in those people, too. Of course, we have. They show plenty of interest in us at election time, too. Let me say finally on this subject that I believe that inquiries should be instituted to find out exactly how much it does cost the average man with a wife and three children to live. 1 have tried to acer- tain this from the Commonwealth Statistician, but no information is available. My personal investigation of this matter have shown me that many of these people have a very difficult battle.
I want to comment now on the plight of the civilian widows and to say that I am disappointed at the lack of action in one particular direction so far as these widows are concerned. With her pension, her mother’s allowance, the allowance for children and child endowment, a class A widow, with three children receives £11 15s. a week. She is allowed to earn £3 10s. a week plus an extra 10s. for each child. If she does this, her total income is £16 15s. a week. She is also allowed to participate in the pensioner medical service, but if her children are sick this is of no advantage to her. If all are healthy, they do not want to use the service. As to property, a class A widow is allowed to have £2,250 in cash, a motor car, a house and furniture. If she has £2,250 and leaves it in the savings bank it will attract an interest rate which will return her, at the most, £2 3s. 6d. a week. This gives a total income of £18 18s. 6d. a week as the maximum that the average widow with three children can obtain.
In this whole picture the fundamental issue is the amount of income that the widow is allowed to earn without having her pension reduced. This amount has been set at £3 10s. a week since 1954. Considering only the decrease in the value of money, I suggest that the allowable earnings should be at least £5 a week at the present time. I believe, however, that a fair figure would be about £7 10s. a week. I am open to question on that, but my estimate is that the allowable earnings should be £7 10s. a week. That would give the family earnings of £24 5s. a week which, I suggest, would be only a reasonable figure for a widow with three children. Perhaps it would enable her to save a bit of money. But money is not the only important aspect of this matter. There are social and psychological problems for these widows. I also believe that with the current shortage of labour in Australia, particularly skilled labour, the failure to increase the allowable earnings above £3 10s. a week merely discourages these widows from going onto the labour market and performing useful services for themselves and for the community in general.
I have tried to find out how much it would cost the Government if the allowable earnings were increased to £7 10s. a week. I cannot calculate it and I am informed by the departmental officers that it is almost impossible to calculate. But there are many advantages that would follow from increasing these allowable earnings. What is more, th:re is so much justice in it that I can assure the Government that it will have a fight on its hands in the next 12 months because strenuous efforts will be made to have something done about this matter by the time the next Budget is brought down, or even before then.
Now I wish to comment on the section of the Budget speech which had reference to the Industrial Design Council of Australia. This is a body that has been rather in the Cinderella department, so far as Australian Government interest and general public interest have been concerned, until the last two or three years. It has to do with an extremely interesting and important sphere of activity. I have spoken with members of the Council today and they have told me that they have been given a tremendous lift in enthusiasm for their work in this important sphere by the allocation of extra finance in the Budget. The first allocation is a grant of £20,000, and this will be employed for many useful purposes, such as organising travelling exhibitions around Australia at which outstanding Australian designs will be shown. There will be more and better exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney and the Council will be able to carry out an educational programme. It will be able to implement also a design delegate programme, under which one person will be nominated to act as a design delegate in each of several large companies, such as the Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., General Motors-Holden’s Pty. Ltd., the International Harvester Co. of Aust. Pty. Ltd. and the Ford Motor Co. of Aust. Ltd. These people will receive information from the Industrial Design Council and see that it is used to the best possible advantage. The Council will be able to promote more design awards. The grant will enable the Council to prepare a booklet designed for use in schools and universities.
The Industrial Design Council has already done a good deal of outstanding work. I was informed that it had sent a cargo of textiles, ceramics and wood carvings to
London recently for display at an exhibition in the design centre at the Haymarket in London. It also has appointed a committee to investigate the publication of a design journal, which is another use to which the money provided under this grant will be put. The Council has arranged to bring a Professor Zagorski from the United States of America. He is in New Zealand at the moment. Three one-day seminars will be held in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide at which Professor Zagorski will show slides of more than 100 of the world’s best designed products.
Why is industrial design so important? First, it is recognised as being extremely important by such great countries as the United Kingdom and the United States of America and Germany in particular. It is only comparatively recently that these countries have taken an interest in the subject. Most people consider that design is concerned solely with the appearance of an article, but this is by no means the only aspect of the matter. The economic aspect is a vital one. The need for increased production is realised by the Government and by many other people. In fact, increased production is the basis of our economic strength and the key to a higher standard of living. Many factors are involved in attempts to increase production. It is most important to endeavour to increase the volume of production by new techniques and improved management. However, there is a tendency to think only in terms of volume of production. Volume is certainly important, but we must also have the right kind of production, because this improves the value of our export sales, with which we are most particularly concerned.
I do not pretend to be an expert on industrial design, but I know enough about it to know that countries which have taken a serious interest in the improvement of industrial design have noticed a resulting dramatic effect on their exports. This is one of the main reasons why I am directing the attention of the Government and the House to this subject tonight. It is why I am telling the Government that its interest in the subject is being greatly appreciated.
It must also be remembered that Australia at the moment is paying about £50 million a year in royalties for the use of overseas designs. This is an outgoing that could be greatly reduced if and when industrial design really takes on in this country. It is also a fact that good design can earn money and bad design can lose it: It can cause great economic waste and great industrial loss. To illustrate this point I remind the House of the Edsel Ford motor car that was designed in America. It had all the necessary mechanical efficiency and it had, apparently, everything the consumer wanted. The only thing it did not have was good design, and this resulted in a loss of millions of dollars. There is no doubt that markets and sales have been lost because of failure to appreciate the effect of bad design. Good design is as important as soundness of material.
Much remains to be done in respect of industrial design promotion. Educational facilities are lacking. I have said before, and I repeat now, that an industrial design unit should be set up within the Australian National University. There is only one decent industrial design educational facility in Australia. That is at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. This is just not good enough. I also suggest that the Department of Trade and Industry could undertake an educational programme in this subject, perhaps in conjunction with its Export Action films or through the Export Development Council, the Manufacturing Industries Advisory Council, known as M.I.A.C., or the Productivity Council. There are other matters in need of attention, such as the provision of more staff, more space, more industrial field officers and more exhibitions. However, I am sure that with increasing awareness in Federal Government circles of the importance of industrial design, the problems that exist will eventually be overcome.
I now want to discuss a subject that received only about one and a half lines in the Budget speech, though it represents a major problem to Australia in general and to large numbers of Australian families individually. I refer to the current disastrous drought that has hit huge areas of Australia. This drought situation has reached a stage at which help is urgently needed. It calls for immediate action by Governments, both Federal and State. It is not my intention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to be critical in retrospect. I do not propose to take up the time of the House by indulg ing in criticism of actions that have or have not been taken since this drought really took hold of large areas of Australia. I just sum up the last six months by saying that more positive action should have been taken by the responsible authorities.
The Australian Country Party, to which I belong, has formed a strong committee to investigate all aspects of the present drought. My Party has done much valuable work and has put forward practical suggestions for measures such as education in fodder conservation to help counteract future droughts. It has also made certain proposals concerning the immediate problems faced by those who live in drought affected areas. We in this Party have also stressed the drastic effects of the drought on Australia’s export income and on the supply of food on the home market. We have also emphasised the need for special long term finance to enable farmers to restock and generally to rehabilitate their properties.
– At low rates of interest, too.
– That goes without saying. Finance must be provided not only over long terms but also at rates of interest lower than the ruling rate. On the matter of finance, it has been stated that the Reserve Bank of Australia has given the trading banks permission to exceed their normal monthly increase in overdrafts in order to accommodate farmers who have been badly affected by the present drought. It is my opinion that this move will not meet the situation. Trading banks, at the best of times, and in the best of seasons, are reluctant to extend long term finance to primary producers. So it is difficult to see them granting this long term accommodation in drought affected areas.
However, the most urgent matter is the immediate task of keeping stock alive. More and more stock are dying or being killed with every day that passes. Money is urgently needed to buy fodder to keep stock alive, and to subsidise the freight on this fodder. This money is needed now. not in two weeks or a month. Some people, of course, consider that because we have had fairly widespread rains - I emphasise the words “ fairly widespread rains “ - the drought has broken. This is not so. The drought is still bad in northern New South
Wales and in other parts of that State, in Queensland, it is actually spreading still, according to the information obtained by the Country Party. It appears that there has been lack of liaison between State and Federal Governments in this matter. Furthermore, many difficulties and unknown quantities face both State and Federal Governments. However, these factors do not mean a thing to the many unfortunate individuals who face ruin and who see their stock numbers reducing day by day. They need help now.
Farmers, of course, are not the only people affected by the drought. Business people in country towns are losing business and have been called on to carry an almost unbearable credit burden. Furthermore, jobs in towns in areas affected by the drought are being lost. I shall give just one example. Abattoirs are laying off men, and there are no other jobs for the dismissed workers to go to.
The immediate need as I see it, Mr. Deputy Speaker, is for a grant to the States for the immediate relief of personal hardship. In the circumstances, the outlay would be practically nothing compared to the benefits to Australia and to individuals. Secondly, emergency finance should be provided to permit the purchase and freighting of fodder. Both these activities could perhaps be directed through the rural banks of the various States. If they have not the necessary money, the Commonwealth must help. I want to take my comments on this last point a little further. There are various procedures available, but in my view there is some rather clouded thinking about who should kick off the ball and act first in dealing with this problem. This situation has to be sorted out. It must be clarified in a hurry.
I hope that my comments on this disastrous drought have been constructive. As 1 said when I raised the matter, I am not prepared to be critical of the action taken so far. The problem is now an urgent national one. It has been caused purely by seasonal conditions beyond anyone’s control. It is true that lessons for the future have been learned by farmers. The plain fact, however, is that the situation is a desperate one that calls urgently for concerted and immediate action by both the Federal Government and the Governments of the States involved.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I feel sorry for the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten). It must be very disappointing to have to speak in support of a Government and to find that only one member of the other coalition party bothers to remain in the chamber and listen to one. The action of Liberal members, 1 think, is indicative of the contempt with which the Liberal Party of Australia treats members of the Australian Country Party both inside and outside this House. The only member of the Liberal Party who remained in the chamber while the honorable member for Indi spoke was the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Cockle). He remained only because he had to read the manuscript of the “ Hansard “ report of a speech that he made a little while ago. Had it not been for that, he probably would not have bothered to be present, either.
– I am here.
– The honorable member for Wakefield has arrived now that I am speaking. He has entered the chamber to listen to me but he did not bother to come in to listen to the honorable member for Indi. lt is not my custom, Sir, to deal with matters that may be described as parochial - that is, matters relating solely to the State that I represent. When one discusses the Budget, one ought to deal with matters that affect the nation as a whole. Though I shall open my criticism of this Budget with a criticism relative to South Australia and the way in which it is neglected in this Budget, I shall, as my case develops, envelop the whole of the nation. The disability from which Adelaide suffers, as I shall show, is general to all State capital cities in Australia. I refer to the Government’s failure to make any provision in the Budget for works to enlarge the buildings at the Adelaide airport.
Any person who has been to Adelaide and seen the shocking conditions to which passengers are subjected at the airport there will agree with me that there is a clear and urgent need for extension of the passenger facilities. There is insufficient car parking space. Indeed, at certain times of the day, it is literally impossible to get a parking place for one’s car. It is impossible also to get near the coffee bar, much less have a decent meal such as one can obtain quite easily at the airports of most of the other capital cities. There is no licensed liquor bar at the Adelaide airport. It is almost impossible to get near the book and newspaper stall at busy periods. People cannot easily use the few public telephones that have been provided. One must wait for several others to finish their conversations before a telephone becomes available. The arrangements for handling passengers’ luggage are inadequate and this causes considerable inconvenience and unnecessary delay for those who use the Adelaide airport.
– Does this apply to Ansett-A.N.A. or to Trans-Australia Airlines?
– This applies to passengers using Ansett-A.N.A. or T.A.A., for reasons that I will give the House in a moment. Adelaide airport does not have proper facilities for visiting celebrities. This is important. The standing and the prestige of a State are largely gauged by the reception given to visitors from overseas when they arrive at the airport of the capital city. Those important people visiting Adelaide who are interviewed by the Press can only be interviewed on the verandah outside or in one corner of the passenger lounge. There is not a V.I.P. lounge in Adelaide as there is in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. What is the reason for this neglect of Adelaide’s just claims for a decent airport and a decent passenger lounge?
– Poor, representation in the Parliament.
– I am glad the honorable member said that. The representation is poor. South Australia has only one representative in the Ministry and he is only a junior Minister. As the honorable member correctly observed, we have no representation inside the Cabinet. Although South Australia is a much larger State than is Tasmania or Western’ Australia, it is the only State that is denied Cabinet representation. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Menzies), because he and he alone determines which State will be represented in Cabinet and which will not. Western Austra lia, with its smaller population by comparison with the population of South Australia, has two Ministers in the Cabinet and has a further two Ministers outside the Cabinet, making a total of four Ministers compared with our one junior Minister. Little Tasmania has one Minister inside the Cabinet. Queensland has three, Victoria has three and New South Wales has three, but we do not have any at all.
The passenger congestion at Adelaide airport is made worse than it need be because the Government has allowed the rationalisation of air services to become commonplace in Australia. Let me tell the House of what occurs. The air schedules from Melbourne to Adelaide are as follows: The T.A.A. plane arrives from Melbourne every day at 10.15 a.m. and the Ansett-A.N.A. plane arrives every day five minutes later. At 5.5. p.m. every day, both airlines have an aircraft arriving at the same time. The last flight from Melbourne to Adelaide arrives at 8.50 p.m. by Ansett-A.N.A. and 15 minutes later by T.A.A. Much the same position obtains with the service from Sydney to Adelaide. Both airlines have a service arriving from Sydney at about 10.30 a.m. each day, because they are both using Boeing aircraft. At 8.25 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Ansett-A.N.A. has an aircraft arriving from Sydney and at 8.40 on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday T.A.A. also has an aircraft arriving from Sydney. This is also the position wilh the service from Perth to Adelaide. Each day T.A.A. has an aircraft arriving from Perth at 5.15 and each day Ansett-A.N.A. has an aircraft leaving five minutes later. This is the cause of passenger congestion.
Then we have the service from Adelaide to Melbourne. Each day at 7.10 an aircraft operated by T.A.A. and another by AnsettA.N.A. leave Adelaide to go to Melbourne. Each day at 11.10, T.A.A. sends an aircraft to Melbourne and five minutes later theAnsettA.N.A. aeroplane takes off. At 5.40 each day, the T.A.A. aircraft leaves for Melbourne and five minutes later the Ansett-A.N.A. aircraft leaves for Melbourne. At 7 o’clock on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the T.A.A. plane leaves for Sydney and at the same time on Monday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the Ansett-A.N.A. plane leaves for Sydney.
Each day at 5.45 T.A.A. sends away a plane for Sydney and five minutes later Ansett-A.N.A. has a plane leaving for Sydney. If a passenger wants to go from Adelaide to Perth, he can leave at 1 1 o’clock each day by T.A.A. or he can stagger the time a little and leave five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. This is not good enough. Friends meeting passengers who come from Melbourne, Perth and Sydney arrive at the airport at the same time. Passengers from Adelaide to Perth, Melbourne or Sydney and their friends seeing them off must arrive at the same time. The times ought to be staggered. Passengers are entitled to have a choice from wider timetables than those that are now available, and it is not good enough to say that rationalisation demands this arrangement.
I went to a spokesman for one of the airlines in Adelaide and asked: “ Why is it that we have no choice of timetables? Why must we go when the two airlines say we must go? We go at either 7, 11 or 5, or thereabouts, if we want to go to Melbourne, or at 7 or 5.45 if we want to go to Sydney.” The reason given to me was that Adelaide’s geographical position forces them to make passengers leave at the same time, whether they are travelling with one airline or the other.
– What about Melbourne and Sydney?
– I am glad that the honorable member asked that question. For a while I accepted the explanation given by the spokesman for the airline and I thought that perhaps Adelaide, situated as it is, could not enjoy the services given to other cities because of circuit arrangements and the link-up with other aircraft. However, I have taken the trouble to look at the very latest timetables, which have just been issued by both Ansett-A.N.A. and T.A.A. and this is what I find: A passenger who wants to travel from Brisbane to Sydney can leave at 7.30 a.m. by T.A.A. or five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. He can leave at 11.20 by Ansett-A.N.A. or at the same time by T.A.A. He can leave at 3.20 by Ansett-A.N.A. or five minutes later by T.A.A. He can leave at 4.25 by T.A.A. or five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. He can leave at 5.50 by Ansett-A.N.A. or ten minutes later by T.A.A. He can leave at 8.10 p.m. by Ansett-A.N.A. or five minutes later by T.A.A.
If he wants to go the other way around, from Sydney to Brisbane, he finds that he is in much the same situation. He can leave by T.A.A. at 7.40 a.m. or five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. He can leave at 9.30 by Ansett-A.N.A. or five minutes later by T.A.A. He can leave at 2.45 by T.A.A. or five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. He can leave at 6.15 by T.A.A., and here he does not have the choice of leaving even five minutes later because the Ansett-A.N.A. aircraft also leaves at 6.15. He can leave at 8.25 by T.A.A. or five minutes later by Ansett-A.N.A. or he can travel at 11.40 by T.A.A. or five minutes later by AnsettA.N.A.
– All in the same type of plane too.
– As the honorable member for Blaxland interjects, these services are provided by the same type of plane which means that passengers arrive at their destinations at the same time, thereby causing congestion at the other end. If a passenger wants to go from Sydney to Melbourne, he has a T.AA. service at 7.45 a.m. or an Ansett-A.N.A,. service five minutes later.
– Is the honorable member going right through the schedules?
– I am going to put it all on record so that everybody can see what is going on under our so called rationalisation of aircraft services. A passenger can leave at 8 a.m. by T.AA. aircraft or at the same time by AnsettA.N.A. He can leave at 10 o’clock for Melbourne with T.A.A. or exactly the same time if he likes by Ansett. A passenger can leave at 12 noon with T.A.A. or Ansett. A passenger can leave at 1.55 p.m. with Ansett or five minutes later with T.A.A. There is a service at 4.20 p.m. with Ansett and another five minutes later with T.A.A. At 6.10 p.m., T.A.A. departs, and five minutes later Ansett leaves. A passenger can leave at 8.20 p.m. with T.A.A. or five minutes later with Ansett-A.N.A.
If a person wishes to go from Melbourne to Sydney, he can leave at 7.45 a.m. with Ansett or five minutes later with T.A.A., or at 8 o’clock with both Ansett-A.N.A. and T.A.A.
– Does a passenger get dinner on those planes?
– Not on all of them. A passenger can leave at five minutes past eight with Ansett or at the same time with T.A.A. He can leave at 10 o’clock with Ansett or with T.A.A. A passenger can leave at 12 noon with AnsettA.N.A. or at the same time with T.A.A. T.A.A. operates a service at ten past one and Ansett-A.N.A. a service at fifteen minutes past one. A passenger can leave at 1.15 p.m. every day via Canberra with T.A.A. or at the same time every day with Ansett-A.N.A. A person can leave at 2.45 p.m. with Ansett or five minutes later with T.A.A. and at 4 o’clock he can leave either by T.A.A. or Ansett. A person can leave at 6.5 p.m. with Ansett-A.N.A. or can travel five minutes later by T.A.A. At 6.25 p.m. Ansett operates a service as does T.A.A. at the same time. Passengers can travel at 6.30 p.m. on either airline except on Saturdays. At 7.55 p.m.. an aircraft operated by T.A.A. leaves for Sydney and five minutes later, at 8 o’clock, an AnsettA.N.A. plane leaves for Sydney.
These timetables explode completely the explanation given to me that it is because of Adelaide’s geographical position that its air services are restricted to certain times. This is not so at all. It does not end with Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. A passenger can travel to Hobart from Melbourne leaving at 8.55 a.m. by T.A.A. or five minutes later with Ansett. A passenger can leave Melbourne for Hobart at 2.5 p.m. each day with T.A.A. or, at the same time, with Ansett. He can leave for the same destination at 6.40 p.m. with T.A.A., but if he wants to travel by Ansett he has to leave at the same time. Returning to Melbourne from Hobart, a passenger finds that same situation applies. He is allowed to catch a T.A.A. plane at 7.5 a.m. or an Ansett plane five minutes later. He can leave at 10.40 a.m. by T.A.A. if he likes, or five minutes later with Ansett-A.N.A. T.A.A. runs another service at 4.25 p.m. and the Ansett service departs five minutes later.
I want to complain about another matter concerning airlines.
– Before the honorable member does, he would agree that thru comparison shows Adelaide has a pretty poor service?
– Adelaide has a very poor service. One can compare the kind of service that Adelaide is receiving with the service Hobart is receiving. Certainly if one makes a comparison even on a pro rata population basis with Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the Adelaide service is bad in terms of the number of services provided and the span or length of timetables. Something ought to bc done about this situation.
I am very much concerned about another aspect of this so-called rationalisation programme. This Government has repeatedly told the Parliament that the rationalisation programme is aimed at providing the public with complete freedom of choice between the two airlines. This is not true. Members of the public have not a complete freedom of choice between the two airlines. The present system is conscripting passengers who normally travel by T.A.A. into travelling by Ansett-A.N.A.
Let me quote my own position, and let Mr. Ansett’s accountants and timetable experts check these facts if they want to. On Friday of last week, I endeavoured to obtain a seat on the 11.10 a.m. T.A.A. service to Canberra via Melbourne. I was told it was booked up. But T.A.A. asked: “Would you like u3 to book you with Ansett? “ I said: “ No. I do not want to travel with Ansett. I want to travel by T.A.A. Can 1 get on the 5.45 p.m. plane via Sydney?” T.A.A. replied: “We are terribly sorry, but it is booked up too. But we will be pleased to put you on to the Ansett service.” I asked: “ Can I get on the 7 o’clock plane tomorrow morning direct to Canberra?” I was told: “Well, we have been ordered to take that plane off, and only Mr. Ansett now is permitted to travel direct from Adelaide to Canberra on Tuesdays”. So, rather than be conscripted into travelling by an airline on which I refused to travel against my will-
– The honorable member does not like Ansett?
– Of course, I do not like Ansett. I do not like him; very few people do. But people who do not like Ansett are being forced to like him against their will. In other circumstances I may have been forced to do so, but I was not going to be forced to do so this time. I was compelled to arrive in Canberra threequarters of an hour late on Tuesday because rather than be conscripted into travelling by Ansett-A.N.A., I had to wait until 11 o’clock on Tuesday to travel via Melbourne. It is not good enough for me and it is not good enough for the public.
I say that this Government is not telling the truth when its Ministers get up and say that the public are being given a free choice of airlines under the present system. They are not. People are being conscripted into travelling with an airline on which they do not wish to travel. A person can always get on an Ansett aircraft because it has always some empty seats. The trouble is that a person cannot always get on a T.A.A. aircraft. As far as I am concerned, this is not good enough.
What about the occasion when 1 was forced to travel by Ansett-A.N.A. from Canberra to Adelaide via Sydney. In this particular experience, I left Canberra in the morning to catch the direct flight from Sydney to Adelaide by Ansett-A.N.A. only to find that Ansett’s aircraft for Adelaide was leaving the tarmac just as my plane from Canberra was arriving in Sydney. I had been given firm assurances by the Ansett people in Canberra that the aircraft would arrive in Sydney in time for me to catch the Ansett plane from Sydney to Adelaide. Having missed my connection I had no alternative but to come straight back to Canberra in order to catch another flight to Melbourne. Ansett-A.N.A. had the hide to ask me to pay for my trip from Canberra to Sydney just to see that aircraft leaving. It was only because I had something to say here about the matter, and Ansett-A.N.A. realised that more would be heard about it, that the company finally decided to give me a refund on that fare. I was not paying it. I was not going to allow the taxpayers’ money to go into the pocket of Ansett for a trip that I did not want to take and for a trip that did not serve its purpose.
I believe that these timetables ought to be staggered, in all capital cities, not only Adelaide. I thought that Adelaide was the only city that suffered in this way, but I now find that all capital cities are in the same position. The public ought to have a wider choice of services. It is absolutely necessary that this should be done in order to relieve the congestion at passenger terminals at the various airports throughout Australia. There is no passenger terminal in Australia now able to cater properly for the public at peak hours. These peak hours are created simply because the airlines are not staggering their timetables as they should be doing. It may be that the staggering of timetables will create financial disabilities for the airline that is forced to operate a service at a certain staggered time. If that is so, why cannot the Department of Civil Aviation arrange to alternate these staggered services between the two airlines every year or at six month intervals -
– Or monthly.
– Yes, even monthly. The airlines have to print their timetables. I do not know whether these are printed quarterly or monthly. We know that the services cannot be staggered without causing a lot of expense in the printing of timetables. But it is not beyond the wit of man to evolve some system under which the services of these airlines can be staggered so that the travelling public can be given a wider choice of timetables than they are now receiving. This, I believe, is what has to be done.
In the time left to me I want to criticise the Budget for the way it will impose extra taxation to meet the defence requirements of this country. The major part of the additional taxation is to be obtained from indirect taxation upon petrol, tobacco, spirits and beer. This is an unjust system of raising revenue, whether for purposes of war or for any other purpose, because it imposes upon the poor man the same rate of taxation per pint of beer, per ounce of tobacco, per gallon of petrol or per nip of whisky as it does upon the very rich. In time of war it should be the very rich who should be made to pay most, because the very rich have the most property to defend. If they will not contribute willingly, they ought to be compelled to pay the major cost of defending their property.
– That is Socialist talk.
– I am glad that the honorable member identifies it as Socialist talk, because 80 or 90 per cent, of the population of Australia-
I interrupt my speech at this point. I am very pleased to announce that the Government has been defeated in the other place by 31 votes to 29 on the I.P.E.C. regulations. I repeat, the indirect taxation of which I was speaking is wrong. It is absolutely unjust and it is indefensible. When there is a war, or when there is any other pressing need for revenue, those who are best able to pay are the ones who should be forced to pay. I remind honorable members that the workers are now very wage conscious. The recent unsatisfactory basic wage judgment has made them more wage conscious than ever before. The worker who has to live in a place which requires him to travel 10, 12, or 15 miles to work - people in my electorate who live at Grange and Henley Beach travel to Elizabeth to work at GeneralMotorsHolden’s Pty. Ltd - will have to pay at least ls. 3d. more each week for petroL The increased taxation on beer and tobacco will cost the wage earner an additional 8s. or 9s. a week. The increase could easily mean that not only have workers already lost the 5s. or 6s. increase in margins arising from the recent basic wage decision, but that double that amount has been filched from them by this Government.
There as been no increase in company taxation. In the event of invasion it is the industrial complex of the country that is in the greatest jeopardy. When a country is invaded and conquered, the victors do not worry about taking over little shanties, beach houses or the people’s private residences, because they still want people to work in the factories. What a conqueror wants when he comes into a country is possession, ownership and control of the great industrial complex of the country concerned. He never turfs the workers out of their homes. He never bothers to put the little man out of the corner shop or out of the icecream shop, because he needs them and the workers in the industries that have become his. Therefore, in time of war, or when money is required for defence, the people who own the great in dustrial complex are the ones who ought to be made to pay to defend it. If the workers’ sons are prepared to give their lives, the wealthy millionaire cartels of this country should at least be prepared to pay the cost to provide them with the weapons of war. This is why I am completely opposed to this Budget.
Instead of imposing a much heavier tax upon the high income groups and leaving the low and middle income groups alone completely, and instead of putting a higher rate of income tax upon companies that are making such enormous profits, this Government has chosen to leave those groups and companies alone completely so that they are, in effect, contributing nothing. The Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. is contributing npt one penny extra to the cost of defending its giant industrial complex. Instead, the employees of Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. are being made to pay the cost of the war in Vietnam. I believe this is where the Government is most vulnerable. It cannot possibly defend its failure to rectify .some of the existing social service injustices.
It has given back the medical benefit card to the people from whom it took them more than ten years ago. Then it says: “Are we not marvellous? We are giving back to you what we took from you and you ought to be grateful to us for doing so “. It has not restored to the pensioners and mothers of this country the purchasing power that their pensions or child endowment had when it came to office. It has not rectified such grave anomalies in the Social Services Act as the one which denies a pension to a pensioner’s wife who is not of pensionable age and so compels both to live on one pension. Labour’s policy in regard to this gross anomaly in our social services is that the wife of every pensioner, whether he be an invalid or an age pensioner, should herself receive a pension. The Government seems to work on the basis that a woman under 60 years of age does not eat as much food as is eaten by a woman 60 years of age or more; that she does not need the same amount of clothing; that she does not need the same amount of medicine or recreation as a woman of greater years. If anything, the reverse is true; she needs more, not less. This is one of the grave injustices that the Government has failed to recognise. The Government has failed to recognise this because it is determined-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Kelly) adjourned.
– I have received advice from the Leader of the Government in the Senate that Senator Morris has been appointed to fill the vacancy now existing on the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory.
Motion (by Mr. Sinclair) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I rise tonight to express the distress and alarm which the 55,400 dairy farmers in Australia felt upon discovering the Government’s proposal to enter into a free trade agreement with New Zealand. Specifically, the points causing concern are those which the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) raised in his statement in this House on 17th August, as reported at page 12 of “ Hansard “. There he said -
Items in Schedule A of importance to New Zealand export industries include frozen peas and beans, dried vegetables, cheese, lamb, pig meats, timber and paper products.
The present duties on these items will be phased out over a period of up to eight years - nine years in the case of frozen peas and beans - after the agreement enters into force.
As Australia is the third largest exporter of dairy products in the world anything which affects a section of the dairy industry must be viewed as of importance in the context of the Australian economy. The dairy farmers are greatly concerned because the recent provisional report of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, which we received a few days ago, indicates that the buoyant prosperity which the Australian dairy industry has achieved overseas is - in the words of the report - the crest of a wave. Let me quote from the report to indicate that this is something which is transient rather than permanent. At page 3 of the report the Chairman stated -
Although the year ended 30th June 1965 may be considered quite satisfactory in terms of the Australian Dairy Industry’s export performance, events towards its conclusion confirmed earlier feelings that it represented the crest of a wave. Recovery of European and North American milk production from theadverseclimatic effects of the eighteen months previous to the commencement of the period under review, together with the economic difficulties of the United Kingdom, led to a drift in international butter and cheese prices during the concluding quarter of 1964-65.
The Chairman had pointed out previously that it is estimated that in 1965 there will be in the world a surplus equivalent, in the terms of whole milk, of 6.8 million tons, which will rise to 9 million tons by 1970. Yet a Minister who is a member of the Country Party - a party which allegedly is devoted to the interests of the primary industries of this country - stands up and makes a statement which clearly implies that sections of the dairy industry - namely, the cheese producers and also the pigmeat producers, who produce those products as subsidiaries to their normal dairy products - will be affected by his decision.
Before I continue with that point 1 want to raise this matter for consideration: The Country Party is represented in this House by about 20 members, yet when we discuss the dairy industry we are very fortunate if we hear more than three speakers from the Government side of the House acting as defenders of the industry. I remember that earlier this year, when we were discussing the application of certain propositions to the dairy industry, only about three members of the Country Party participated in the debate. I must confess, rather reluctantly, that the best speech from the Government side of the House came not from a member of the Country Party but from a member of the Liberal Party. Of course, the best speeches in the House came from this side.
It is obvious from past performances in the House that the representatives of the Labour Party not only are better equipped and more effective spokesmen for the dairy industry than are members of the Country
Party but also that they represent more dairying areas and more rural areas than do members of the Country Party. Perhaps that explains why, at the present time when the 55,400 dairy farmers in Australia are greatly concerned about this proposal and are expressing their distress, members of the Country Party are reluctant to stand up and speak in defence of these people, whom they claim to represent with such great virtue and determination.
Let me move on quickly to the problem of imports of these foodstuffs; namely, cheese and pigmeats. Australia’s imports of cheese have risen significantly over the past several years. In 1958-59 cheese imports amounted to 861 tons. By 1964-65, however, they had risen to 3,130 tons. Let me quote those figures as percentages of Australian consumption. According to the 40th annual report of the Australian Dairy Produce Board, in 1960-61 imports represented 5.2 per cent, of Australian consumption. The figure rose gradually until in 1964-65 imports represented 8.9 per cent, of Australian consumption. The figures will climb higher still. Of course, this increase is to the detriment of Australian cheese producers.
What is the Minister for Trade and Industry proposing? He is proposing to increase the inflow of cheeses from New Zealand. That country has been a significant source of cheese for Australia. In 1959-60 we imported from New Zealand about 300,000 lb. of cheese, valued at about £59,000. In 1963-64 the quantity imported from New Zealand rose to about £704,000, valued at about £106,000. At this point it is appropriate to state that in 1961-62 we imported from New Zealand 18,344 lb. of pigmeats, valued at nearly £3,000. In 1963- 64 wc imported from New Zealand nearly 6 million lb. of pigmeats, valued at about £803,000. Those figures show the trend.
I pose this question to the House and particularly to members of the Country Party: Just how sincere are they and how honest are they as the defenders of the Australian dairy industry? Why have they allowed that situation to develop if they really believe the propositions which they espouse on the platform at election time and about which they are so silent in this House in between election campaigns? This proposal for a free trade agreement with
New Zealand causes great concern among primary producers in the pigmeats section and the cheese producing section of the dairy industry. I would have expected some sort of statement from members of the Country Party. I see that the Minister for Trade and Industry is in the House. I had the courtesy to let his secretary know that I intended to raise this matter tonight. I would not have quoted this, but I shall do so seeing that the Minister is present to hear it. I remind him that this is what he said earlier this year when he first indicated the interest of the Government in this free trade arrangement. What he said then is probably a fair indication of the true sentiments of the Australian Country Party regarding this very important industry, the dairy industry. Members of the Country Party say outside the House that it ls an important industry, but they do little for it inside the House. This is what the Minister said on this matter -
He also said -
But I make it quite clear that 1 have never sought - nor will I ever wish to do this - to perpetuate any inefficient industry in Australia, be it the dairy industry or any other industry.
What did he mean when he said that? Did he mean that his aim is completely to undermine the industry? Did he mean that he wants to erase it entirely from the economic scene of this country?
What are the objectives of the Country Party in these rural areas where the dairy industry is such a predominant and important element of the economic structure? There are dairy farmers throughout this country who are greatly concerned about the poor performance of their industry because of a lack of interest and encouragement from the Federal Government. I was at a meeting, at a town called Lowood, which discussed the problems of the recent drought in Queensland. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) was there. At a later stage when we are dealing with the Estimates, I must discuss the performance which the Minister gave to the dairy farmers there.
Nothing was provided for these dairy farmers in this time of need when they were suffering from all the rigours of the drought and when they had so many problems in trying to meet financial threats, pressures and burdens. Nothing was done by the Country Party, which allegedly was created to represent purely the rural industries. I ask: Is the Country Party in fact a party which is dedicated to serve the country man, or is it just a party which has conveniently selected that name for its emotive value in country areas? Is it a party whose supporters move about in country areas at election time and propound great concern for the interest and welfare of primary producers but forget about them when they arrive in this House? It is not only the dairy farmers who are affected. There are also the small crop farmers, the people who are producing vegetables. I know that the producers of frozen peas and dried vegetables will also be adversely affected when this agreement comes into force.
Once again I am greatly concerned because I represent a large number of dairy farmers in the electorate of Oxley. I represent a great number of small crop farmers who recently have moved into the field of pea production for processing and sale on the domestic market. If the members of the Country Party are going to say that the dairy industry is inefficient, let us also hear some discussion about the tariffs protecting the other grossly inefficient industries.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I would like to reply very briefly to the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden). Perhaps it is a good idea to do so because he has fired all his shafts at the Australian Country Party. I represent a country electorate and, I suggest, many more dairy farmers than does the honorable member for Oxley. If he was in touch with dairy organisations today which had received the good advice that can easily be obtained on the intentions regarding the cheese imports from New Zealand under the free trade agreement, he would not perhaps perform in quite the same way. I would not mind if he concentrated his endeavours on the frozen pea and bean industries that he represents, but I object to his method of rising in this House with a lot of facts and detail that he has got together probably - and I hesitate to use the phrase - without ever having milked a cow in anger in his life. He has milked a lot of other things, and he will try again because he is one of the faceless men.
This, of course, will not help him at all in dairying areas because the people in those areas have been in constant contact with the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) who happens to be the Leader of the Country Party. The agreement has been negotiated in the right spirit. As honorable members might imagine, being a dairy farmer of some years standing I immediately contacted the dairy associations in my own State concerning the agreement. I admit that at first glance - this was some weeks ago - some of them were a trifle alarmed. I invite the honorable member for Oxley to contact the State dairying associations. He will find that the escape provisions of the legislation look after local industries.
I recently attended the Brisbane show. I did not see the honorable member for Oxley in the dairy sections during the three days that I was there. Perhaps the fault is mine; I do not know. I cannot see why the honorable member should want to make a political fuss over something where no cause exists for such a fuss. There are many escape clauses in the Act. One of the things that most surprised me during my visit to the electorate of Oxley was the fact that the honorable member has succeeded in selling himself there as a right wing pro-Country Party member. I hasten to assure the honorable member that I was able to tell some of his constituents that I did not quite place him in this category.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I desire to address a few remarks to a matter that has come under attention in this Parliament and in other places. I refer to the Australian Labour Party’s newly announced policy on immigration. I do this in order to clear up some misunderstandings tha* may have arisen in the minds of honorable members. Some time ago the Australian Labour Party appointed an Immigration Review Committee. The Committee consisted of four members of the Federal Executive of the Party and the honorable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr. Collard), the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), Senator Fitzgerald and me. Arising from the Committee’s deliberations a unanimous recommendation came forth, which was subsequently adopted as the policy of the Party on immigration at its Federal Conference in Sydney. Our policy now reads -
Convinced that increased population is vital to the future development of Australia, the Australian Labour Party will support and uphold a vigorous and expanding immigration programme administered with sympathy, understanding and tolerance. The basis of such policy will be -
Australia’s national and economic security;
The welfare and integration of all its citizens;
The preservation of our democratic system and balanced development of our nation; and
The avoidance of the difficult social and economic problems which may follow from an influx of peoples having different standards of living, traditions and cultures.
I elaborate by giving the reasons for the adoption of this new policy and an explanation of it. It was the desire of our Party and of our Committee to make a clear and concise statement of the broad principles of our policy within the framework of which a Labour administration would function. A study of the recommendation shows that it removes from our policy the popular though objectionable term “ white Australia “. This seems a natural move as there is no such term in the official records of the Parliament. Reasons have already been given why it was used. At this stage the only party with its immigration policy described in these terms is the Australian Country Party. The new policy eliminates that section of the policy to which objection has been taken and on which a wrong interpretation has been based. In addition, the first clause in the recommendation that I have read confirms that the Australian Labour Party will support and uphold a vigorous and expanding immigration programme, subject to certain principles. This, iri effect, continues the programme commenced in 1 945 by Labour. The administration of the programme shall be carried out with sympathy, understanding and tolerance. These words should be interpreted in the widest terms. If this is done it should eliminate many of the objections of which mention has been made in the Press from time lo time.
The basis of the policy is clearly set out in sections (a), (b), (c) and (d). Nobody at home or abroad can object to the terms used. They seek to provide for our national and economic security, the welfare and integration of all our citizens, the preservation of our democratic system and balanced development of our nation, and the avoidance of the difficult social and economic problems which may follow from an influx of people having different standards of living, traditions and cultures. Any European or non-European who could meet the requirements of the policy would be1 entitled to be admitted for temporary or permanent residence. It would be for the Minister and the Government to decide whether he or she met the standard that was laid down. The deletion of the objectionable words “white Australia” and the reframing of our policy as recommended by the Committee will prevent misinterpretation of the principles which underline our immigration policy - a policy that has been endorsed by all Australian Governments since Federation.
The resolution should be interpreted as a clear, concise, unobjectionable statement of our policy, free of any taint of racial discrimination or superiority and based on the principle and ideal that the composition of our population should be such as to ensure the integration of all people and the sharing of our freedom, independence and way of life. Surely no reasonable objection can be taken to these broad principles on which a great programme shall be implemented and a nation developed. The Committee believed - no doubt the Federal Conference does likewise - that the policy as stated, which maintains ministerial and governmental responsibility for those who shall enter Australia permanently or temporarily, gives effect to the principle that it is the accepted right of any nation to decide the composition of its population. The same test is applied to migrants by every other nation.
Our immigration policy is not, and never has been, a suggestion of racial superiority. It began as an effective aspiration, and from it has resulted a positive achievement. This achievement is a united race of freedom loving Australians who can intermarry and associate without the disadvantages that inevitably result from the fusion of dissimilar races - a united people who share the same loyalties, the same outlook and the same traditions. When we read in the world
Press of the race riots in New York and Los Angeles, of the Negro threat of bloodbaths and so forth, we should recall the words of Frank Worrall, the captain of the West Indies cricket team in 1961, when he said -
This was our tour of tours. Here we found people welcomed us into their homes because they loved entertaining - the colour question has never arisen - Australia is a home away from home . . .
The Labour Party seeks to ensure that our society is so composed that regardless of race, all citizens of Australia as well as thousands of Asians and non-European students, and visitors, are fully accepted and have equal rights.
Our nation is free of racial frictions and hatreds which are so common in other parts of the world. The composition of our population ensures the integration of all people and the sharing of our freedom, independence and way of life. This glorious ideal can be maintained without offence to any nation, subject to its administration with sympathy, understanding and tolerance. I hope that tfr explanation that I, as Chairman of the Opposition Immigration Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Review Committee, have given of the policy of the Australian Labour Party as adopted by the Federal Conference will clear up some of the misinterpretations of the application and terminology of that policy that have appeared in the Press and elsewhere.
– I wish to refer briefly to the speech of the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden), and also the speech of the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles) in which reference was made to the dairying industry and certain commodities that would be affected by the proposed New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement. I can understand members of the dairying industry, and other industries for that matter, who are not aware of the full details of the proposed Agreement having some anxiety. This morning at question time 1 referred to the fact that unhappily I was not able last Friday to convey to interested parties by letter the full details of the proposal. The product that is of greatest interest to the Australian dairy industry is butter. This is overwhelmingly the most important product if we set aside liquid milk that is sent to the cities. The significant thing in tce proposed trade treaty in relation to the dairy industry is that butter is not an item proposed to be subject to free trade. No alteration is to be made by the treaty in respect of butter. That is the great assurance to the Australian dairy industry.
In respect of cheese, the other major item, the position is that blue vein cheese, which has always been free from New Zealand, will remain free. There is no change whatever in relation ;o blue vein cheese. In respect of other fancy cheeses the duty of 6d. per lb. on cheeses from New Zealand will be removed.
– A Labour member from the back bench says “ Shame “. I really think that if the Labour Party thinks it is shameful, an authorised spokesman of the Labour Party ought to say so.
– I said so a while ago.
– 1 did not classify the honorable member as an authorised speaker. I say to the Labour party, not offensively, but to make the position clear, that the greatest export market for goods manufactured in Australia - and the manufacture of goods in Australia provides the greatest base for employment in this country - is New Zealand. I would hope that anybody who was interested in employment here would not ignore the fact that any circumstance that better attaches New Zealand to Australia as a market makes an enormous contribution to the labour force, to its security and to its capacity to expand in this country. I do not want ever to get into an acrimonious relationship with anybody over a trade treaty which I believe will be good for both countries.
The position in respect of fancy cheeses is that the duty of 6d. per lb. will disappear, and as these cheeses have a pretty high value that is not a significant fact.
– What about ordinary cheeses?
– The major cheese item is cheddar cheese. We produce about 59,000 tons of cheddar cheese a year and we export a proportion of it. I think that we consume about 38,000 tons. New Zealand produces about 95,000 tons of cheddar cheese. We have been importing from New Zealand, at a duty of 6d. per lb., 200 to 250 ions j year and there has been no dislocation of our market. In the next two years wc will import not 250 tons but 400 tons.
– Is that all?
– This 400 tons will attract no duty, but on the understanding that the dairy boards in the two countries will reach an understanding about the price and about the arrival of the tonnages. Two years later we will import not 400 tons but 800 tons, and in the fifth year we will import the ultimate ceiling of 1,000 tons of cheese. The calculations are that if every ton we bring in from New Zealand leads to us exporting a ton at a lower price - a ton that we otherwise would have consumed in Australia - then the cost to the Australian cheese industry will be £12,000 a year. When wc reach the point at which we import 1,000 tons and export 1,000 tonspresuming that is the result - at a lower price, and I can only go on today’s figures, then the loss to the Australian cheese industry would be £48,000 a year. The first loss would represent one-tenth of a farthing per lb. of butter fat, not cheese. The ultimate loss would represent id. per lb of butter fat. This would be a loss of £12,000 a year or £48,000 a year by an industry to which this Parliament votes a cash subsidy of £H million each year. These are the stark facts of the situation and honorable members will put their own construction on it. In respect of all these items if, in any unforeseen eventuality, an Australian industry should be seriously damaged, the trade treaty permits us to invoke the Special Advisory Authority and impose a protective duty. I do not think that anything more could be provided to guarantee that no Australian industry would be seriously impaired in this regard.
In respect of frozen peas, I mentioned a figure. We have imported from New Zealand 4,300,000 lb. in the two years ended 1964, and the duty paid has been £14,000. In short, that is so near to free trade that you cannot tell the difference. The duty will be untouched for 12 months and then, every two years, it will be diminished. At the end of nine years, the duty, which slides according to the f.o.b. prices, will disappear, and still there will be a right to invoke the Special Advisory
Authority if by mischance the Australian industry is hurt.
In the case of pig meat, 3,000 tons will be imported duty free in the first year, whereas up to now there has been a duty of 3d. per lb. We have had experience of importing 2,600 tons of pig meat from New Zealand with no adverse effect at all on the Australian industry.
– The dairy farmers do not accept that.
– I beg to differ from the honorable member for Oxley. The terms upon which the 2,600 tons of pig meat have been imported and the terms upon which the 3,000 tons will be permitted are the same. Importation shall be not by butchers but only by processors, who will get a quota only when they enter into a written undertaking to maintain their competition in the Australian market on the normal terms that have hitherto applied.
– Why is the retail price of New Zealand cheese roughly 3s. per lb. more than that of the best Australian cheese?
– Because it is preferred by the customer.
.- I shall not delay the House more than a minute or two, but I want to refer to the matter introduced by the honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Hayden) which has now been answered to some extent by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen). I think that there has been room for some concern by primary producers and by some of their representatives in the House because the information that is obviously available to the Minister has not been made available as quickly as it might have been. This evening he has given us a good deal of valuable information about the anticipated effects of any increased imports into Australia of cheese, pig meat, peas and beans. On behalf of the Australian Labour Party, I ask the Minister to make this information available as extensively as he can and as quickly as he can, so that any concern or uncertainty that exists in the minds of producers or members of this House may be dispelled.
I should also be interested to know what are the anticipated increases in exports of
Australian manufactured goods to New Zealand. At this stage, it seems to me that the proposed free trade agreement with New Zealand is far from a substantial one. If the effects of it on imports into Australia are as they are indicated by the Minister, then it cannot be of much value to New Zealand. I would be interested, then, to know whether the increased exports from Australia to New Zealand are going to be very much more significant. In other words, has Australia gained considerably more out of this agreement than New Zealand seems to have gained? 1 think this is important. I know that our comrades in the New Zealand Labour Party are greatly concerned about the effect this agreement may have on the development of New Zealand’s secondary industries. Although the Australian Government may not seriously regard this as a disadvantage, I can assure the Minister that the Australian Labour Party is concerned about it.
I thank the Minister for the information that he has given us this evening. I would like to emphasise again that we want as much of this kind of information as the Government has, because it is difficult to obtain it from any other source. Unless this information is obtained, I think there will be continuing disquiet on this subject.
– Let me interject and say that I hope that tomorrow, and if not tomorrow then certainly by the weekend, I shall have all this information available for honorable members.
.- The subject that I want to discuss tonight arises from a question I addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) yesterday afternoon. The question I asked was whether, in order to assist honorable members to discuss the proposed reserve price scheme for wool marketing as objectively as possible and with as much information as possible, the Minister would consider making available to the House the report of the Wool Marketing Committee of the Australian Wool Board. So far as I can ascertain, that report was made by the Marketing Committee to the Board in or about July of last year.
When answering my question, the Minister said that he had referred to the details of the scheme in his second reading speech on the Wool Reserve Price Plan Referendum
Bill and that his reference to the details in his speech constituted a sufficient statement of the facts for the purposes of the debate. The point I want to make is that it is quite clear, first of all, that the report of the Wool Marketing Committee of the Australian Wool Board was basic to the whole proposal for a reserve price marketing scheme. That is where the proposal originated. I venture to suggest that if the report contains what we expect it to contain, we shall find in it a comprehensive and exhaustive analysis of the reasons why, in the opinion of the Wool Marketing Committee, such a scheme as is proposed should be introduced.
– Has the honorable member seen it?
– No, I have not. I wish I had. If I had, I would not be asking for it. The Minister has been heard to say that much of the comment that has been published on the proposed reserve price scheme has been lacking in objectivity and is not very fully informed. That is a view which, of course, the Minister is entirely free to express. I respect his view, even though I may not altogether agree with it.
The point I wish to make is simply that it would be useful for members of the House who want to debate the merits or otherwise of this marketing proposal to have available to them for their own evaluation a document which is basic to the whole proposal - the report of the Wool Marketing Committee to the Australian Wool Board. That is where, so far as I know, the proposal originated. I would therefore ask the Minister to reconsider what was, in effect, his refusal in his answer to me yesterday to consider making this document available to the House.
I cannot see any reason why the report of the Wool Marketing Committee should not be made available. I am sure the Minister will not take it amiss if I refer to the. fact that in his answer to me yesterday he did not for one moment suggest that the document contained information of such a confidential nature as would render it impolitic in the public interest to table it in the House. If I can go a little further on this matter, may I say that Sir William Gunn has been asked whether the document could be published. In fact, it was I who asked him this question. At the debate on wool marketing which was held in Canberra about a month ago, Sir William Gunn said -
If the wool industry through the Wool Industry Conference want the Marketing Committee’s Report, the Board-
That is the Australian Wool Board - will give it to them.
If Sir William Gunn, who is the Chairman of the Australian Wool Board, thinks it proper to give the report of the Board’s Marketing Committee to the Wool Industry Conference if it asks for the document, surely it is right and proper that Parliament should have the document available to it $o that honorable members may consider it and evaluate its implications before they enter upon a debate on the Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill which is to be, in my opinion, a very important debate.
I wish now to refer to what was said by Mr. C. D. Renshaw, a brother of the ex-Premier of New South Wales and a member of the Wool Marketing Committee of the Board. He is one of the gentlemen who, according to the 1963-64 report of the Australian Wool Board, spent no less than 11 months considering the question of wool marketing before the Committee of which he was a member came up with the suggestion of a reserve price scheme. Mr. Renshaw is reported as having made some quite pertinent remarks on this subject iti his address to the conference - I think the annual conference - of the United Farmers and Woolgrowers Association of New South Wales in Sydney on 27th July of this year. The “ Sydney Morning Herald “ reports Mr. Renshaw as having said that the report should be made available. The report then quotes Mr. Renshaw as saying, somewhat curiously, I think -
This great secret document does not really exist, there is only the evidence which took the marketing committee 14 months to read.
That is a somewhat cryptic and curious statement because it suggests that there is in truth no report of the Wool Marketing Committee of the Wool Board. On the other hand, of course, Sir William Gunn has stated quite unequivocally that there is such a report.
– I have a copy of it.
– The honorable member is luckier than I am, but he may be talking about the wrong document. I am speaking of the report of the Wool Marketing Committee of the Wool Board. So far as I am aware, it has not been made available publicly. I would very much like to see it, because I would like to inform my mind as fully as I can before I debate what I regard as a tremendously important measure.
– I would not show it to the honorable member because he is against the marketing scheme.
– That is all right. The honorable member can play dog in the manger if he wishes, but I still would like to see the document. I think the Minister should reconsider his refusal to make the report available. This Parliament is entitled to have before it advice on this very important topic. No suggestion has been made that it contains confidential material which renders it unfit for publication. Sir William Gunn has said that he would be prepared to make it available to the wool industry at large, if it asked for the document. I, as a member of Parliament, take leave to ask for the report and I hope that I get it.
.- I rise to refer briefly to a matter to which I gave some thought over the weekend. It is a matter to which I am quite sure quite a number of Commonwealth and State public servants also have given thought. The matter to which I wish to refer is connected with a question which was asked of the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) last Thursday morning. The question concerned the politics of a certain prominent public servant who is offering himself as a Labour candidate for a Queensland electorate in the next election. The inference from the Minister’s reply, and from the question, was that if the politics of a public servant are dissimilar from those of the Government of the day he should not hold a high position in his Department.
– An implied threat.
– There was a threat implied, most certainly, and the Minister in his reply - whether he meant to do so or not - did not qualify his statement that he had not previously realised that Mr. Patterson had any Socialist sympathies. I do not know whether to infer from that, if he had known it, Dr. Patterson would not hold the position that he now holds, or whether the Minister believes that the personal politics of a public servant are his own business. In Australia, every adult person who is an Australian citizen is compelled to vote. Therefore, whether he likes it or not he must have some political leanings. There may be some public servants who like to change their political leanings according to the Government of the day. There are in the Government at present some former public servants who were public servants in the time of the Labour Government. I feel that if the idea that a public servant should not entertain political views of his own is to be held by Government members or to gain ground amongst them, there is real reason for public servants to entertain fears. They will fear that appointments will be based on political leanings rather than on ability. This is a proposition that has not, to my mind, been entertained previously in the public service.
Let me say to the honorable member for Bowman (Dr. Gibbs), who is seeking to interject, that I raise this matter from a sense of duty and a sense of justice for every decent worker in Australia. I have been employed, not as a public servant, by people all over Australia and I have never been questioned about my politics. If the honorable member wants to investigate the politics of every public servant, let him say so. I feel that the Minister neglected an opportunity to defend an officer of his Department who was not here to defend himself.
Since this matter has been raised, many letters have appeared in the newspapers from people defending Dr. Patterson for his work as an officer of the Department I do not believe for one moment that his politics in any way influenced the workings of the Department. I believe that as a true public servant he carried out his duties along the lines of policy laid down by the Government of the day. If Dr. Patterson’s position has been jeopardised by his political views, we will see a situation in Australia very similar to the situation in the United States and other places, where heads of departments are automatically changed as Presidents and Governments change. I do not believe that this is for the good of the country and I raise a protest at the intimidation of public servants because of their politics.
– Some questions have been raised in this debate concerning proposals now before the Australian Wool Board. It should be pointed out that the opponents of the proposals do not have to offer any alternative solutions to the industry’s problems, and they are not offering such solutions. They merely have to cast doubts on the proposals that have been put forward by the Board and endorsed by the Government and by the Australian Wool Industry Conference. It is very easy to cast doubt and it is well known from the history of referendums that when in doubt people tend to vote against referendum proposals. So the campaign that has been launched and very skilfully managed is a campaign to cast doubt on what has been proposed, whileoffering no solutions to the present problems and difficulties of the industry.
I should like to give some examples of the way this has happened. It is suggested that the Wool Board should argue both sides of the case or should make funds available for arguments on both sides of the case, but I think such a proposal is nonsense, because people who talk in this way forget that the Wool Board’s funds are controlled by the Australian Wool Industry Conference. The Conference, which is composed of organisations representing both large and small growers, has endorsed the Board’s actions in trying to sell its plan to the wool growers. The Board’s actions are taken with the full approval of the majority of the organisations and, I hope, of the great majority of the growers themselves. Certainly individual growers have not raised much objection to this activity of the Board through their organisations. If large numbers did object, this would be the forum in which the effect of the objections would be felt.
It has also become clear in recent days that opponents of the industry’s proposals - because it has got beyond being a matter of the Board’s proposals - are not short of funds. Advertisements covering about 8 inches by 16 inches, such as I have here, are appearing regularly in the country Press exhorting growers to write to their Federal
M.P. to do this and delay that and, further, intended to cast doubt on some other matters before the industry. Some reference was made to the objectivity of the campaign against the reserve price scheme. A person need read only one of these advertisements to know full well that there is no objectivity in the campaign.
– A tissue of lies.
– I agree with the honorable member. One sentence in this advertisement is in these terms -
It is treating the woolgrowers like sheep! This kind of one-sided propaganda is the kind of thing we would have expected in Stalin’s Russia or Hitler’s Germany. But you don’t expect to find it in Australia.
This is the kind of argument that the Committee for the Retention and Improvement of the Free Wool Market, or whatever it calls itself, uses to try to persuade growers to wire or write to their M.P. to get the matter postponed and, in general, to cast doubt upon it. There are no arguments in this advertisement of any weight or any validity. The advertisements are a series of assertions which are not founded in fact.
This same Committee, which has now formed itself into a company has again challenged the basis of the referendum and the basis of the vote. I will not canvass that, but it is interesting to note that in some of its publicity it is stated that a vote will be given to people who have only a transitory interest in wool growing, or even no interest in it at all. The debate to come will show quite clearly that this kind of thing cannot take place, but I think it is pertinent to point out now that there are people with no interest of any kind whatsoever in wool, and organisations with no interest of any kind in wool, who are trying to direct this campaign against the Board’s proposals and against the industry’s proposals. Is it right for such organisations, with the immense power they have, to use their power and authority in this way? I believe they will have a heavy responsibility on their shoulders if their campaign happens to be successful, having regard to the fact that they have no interest in this industry and perhaps not so deep a knowledge of its problems as some other people have.
It has been said that the plan proposal originated in a recommendation from the
Wool Marketing Committee of the Australian Wool Board and that this particular recommendation or report has not been made available to the Parliament. That may be true. I have not seen the document, but we should not think this is a new proposal or that this is where it originated. I have here a copy of a publication by the former Department of Commerce and Agriculture, when the present Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) administered that Department. That publication relates to a claim for a minimum reserve price for wool. This was circulated in 1951 prior to a vote that was taken at that time. So it is not a new proposal. It did not orginate in the Wool Marketing Committee’s report in any sense at all.
Although I am never in the least opposed to the Parliament as a whole or any member of it having any information that members of the Parliament properly should have, I believe that when additional information is asked for, it should be borne in mind that a great wealth of material on this subject has been made available to the Parliament and to every member of it over the last year or 18 months. I shall summarise the material that is available. I believe that there is in it sufficient information to enable a reasonable debate to take place.
In the middle of 1964, a summary of the various recommendations made by the Australian Wool Board to the Australian Wool Industry Conference was made available. The Board published a reasonably lengthy report in July 1964. It is titled, “Australian Wool Board, Report and Recommendations on Wool Marketing presented to the Australian Wool Industry Conference”. Then there was a full submission to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) made by the Chairman of the Wool Industry Conference on 27th August 1964. Originally, the submission was confidential. Later, it was not and it was made available subsequently to all interested persons who asked for it. A speech was made by Sir William Gunn - again, a very long speech - in November 1964. All this material related to the same subject. There have been various statements by the Minister and a statement by Dr. Melville in April of this year after the Conference had had referred back to it the plan as agreed on between the Executive of the Conference and the Government. There was also a wool marketing report to wool growers which was published in May 1965. This also was a comprehensive report giving the views of overseas and Australian organisations and outlining details of the plan, the way in which it would work and all the financial arrangements that were to be made in relation to it. Last week, the substance of the proposals was embodied in the Minister’s second reading speech on the Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill.
I believe that if honorable members go through all this material, they will find in it sufficient to enable them to make reasoned and adequate contribution to the debate on that Bill, which relates to the holding of a referendum of wool growers. If additional information can be made available, I, with the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes), would welcome it. But 1 cannot really believe that any member of this Parliament can justifiably complain about lack of information on this matter. Indeed, one could say that, as with so many other matters, we in this Parliament have been inundated by a flood of written material. This flood has been so great that I doubt whether many honorable members will read everything that they have before them on this subject.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should like to make just a few comments in answer to the observations by the honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes), who, in this place, has made a request to me. Let me say, first, that under the terms of the Wool Industry Act 1962, the old Australian Wool Bureau was reconstituted and became the Australian Wool Board. Under the terms of that Act, there was imposed on the Board an obligation to establish a Wool Marketing Committee, and that Committee was to report to the Board on the subject of wool marketing. In this instance, there was on the Board an obligation to appoint the Committee. But it is quite usual and quite right for any board to appoint any committee that it sees fit to appoint for the purpose of ascertaining any information that it wants as a help in forming its conclusions. So the Wool Marketing Committee was established and it duly reported to the Board. The honor able member for Parkes has asked that the Committee’s report to the Board be tabled in the Parliament so that it will be available to honorable members for discussion. I wish to tell the honorable member that I have not that report and cannot table it. Nor has the Department of Primary Industry the report. I should like to read to the honorable member some comments made by Dr. J. Melville, Chairman of the Australian Wool Industry Conference. He stated -
There are absolutely no grounds foi the air of suspicion which opponents of the reserve price plan are attempting to create about the original report of the Board’s Wool Marketing Committee.
The wool marketing proposals- including tha reserve price plan- put to the A.W.I.C. by the Australian Wool Board in July 1964 are the same as the findings of the Wool Marketing Committee in almost every detail.
A.W.I.C. asked the Board if this was so and received a cleaT and unequivocal assurance that it was so.
The honorable member wants me to table the report of the Australian Wool Board to the Australian Wool Industry Conference. I am prepared to do so, but it is a public document which is already available as the honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) has stated, and it is identical with the report presented to the Board. The important point is that an agreement has been made between the industry and the Government. That was stated in my second reading speech on the Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill. In fact, I gave a summary of the contents of that agreement to the House before it rose for the winter recess but there have been some additions to it as I stated in my second reading speech.
That is the issue before the House. I do not know whether the honorable member wants to set himself up to put forward an alternative plan and be a spokesman for the industry. Surely it is for the industry and its representatives to determine the plan they want to submit to their own growers. The Bill before the House is to provide for a ballot on the agreement made between the industry and the Government. Agreement was reached on a certain approach to the reserve price plan but there were other matters in which the Government was involved and which are obvious to everybody. One of these was the expenditure to which the Government was prepared to commit itself. That will be covered in a subsequent bill should the growers approve of the plan.
All I can say to the honorable member is that I have not got the report but the Chairman of the Australian Wool Industry Conference has said that it is the same as the findings of the Wool Marketing Committee in almost every detail and the Australian Wool Board also has said that it is the same. I do not know whether the honorable member wants to create suspicion and confusion by adding to the issues before the House which have been clearly stated by me. If the honorable member wants the report tabled I shall be happy to table it.
.- I have listened with some interest to this debate. The honorable member for Parkes (Mr. Hughes) has asked for certain information relevant to a matter that will come before the House. No explanation has been given why this information should not be made available. The Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) has said there is nothing to hide.
– It is the same thing.
– Then why is it wrapped up in all this hugger-mugger? If it is the same let us have it. If it is different we also should have it. The honorable member for Parkes has asked for the report of the Committee to be laid on the table. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) has said that in his opinion this is not necessary. The honorable member for Wannon is entitled to his opinion. But the honorable member for Parkes is also a member of this House and he does not necessarily have to share the beliefs of the honorable member for Wannon; nor do I, nor do any other honorable members.
This is information that is relevant to a matter before the House and a member of the House wants to have the information. I do not care if only one member wants it. No reason has been given by the Minister why the information should not be provided except that he has told us he has not the report. If he has not the report he could ask for it and no doubt it would be provided to him.
I want to recall to the House what this is all about. I refer to the speech the Minister made in presenting the Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill last week. He said -
Under the Wool Industry Act 1962-64 the Australian Wool Board-
– Order! I remind the honorable member for Bradfield that he is anticipating a debate.
– 1 assure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that I have not the slightest intention of debating the subject matter of the Bill. I want to quote only that part of the speech which will enable honorable members to understand what report it is that the honorable member for Parkes is referring to.
– Order! The honorable member cannot quote from the speech.
– I cannot quote from a speech made last week and reported in “ Hansard “? Then what is “ Hansard “ for? Let us tear it up. What is the use of it? I tear it up; that is the only use we can make of the daily “Hansard”. This is what the daily “ Hansard “ is for. We cannot quote from it. Why do we have it?
– Order! I remind the honorable member for Bradfield that in quoting from a “Hansard” report of a Minister’s second reading speech he is anticipating a debate that will subsequently be before the House. The honorable member cannot anticipate a debate.
- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have given you an unqualified undertaking that I will not speak about the subject matter of the Bill. I sought merely to quote a few sentences that show what the report is. But, if I may not refer to “ Hansard “, very well; I am not tongue-tied. I can recall what was said. The Australian Wool Board, a Government instrumentality, was required by the Government to set up a committee to report on all aspects of the marketing scheme. This report was submitted to the Board; it had to be submitted to the Board. The Board was obliged to set up the committee and the committee was obliged to report. It went into all aspects of the proposed wool marketing scheme. This is a matter that honorable members will debate next week or at some time before the House rises. The report is relevant material that they should have. One honorable member wants it. I do not care whether it is only one honorable member who wants it. He is entitled to have this information to inform his mind. He does not need to be told by the Minister that the Minister has given him all the information that is necessary. He does not need to be told by the honorable member for Wannon that, in the belief of the honorable member for Wannon, he, the honorable member for Parkes, has all that is necessary.
This is relevant information. If the Minister does not have it now in his pocket, he can get it by asking the Australian Wool Board for it. It ought to be in the hands of honorable members. I believe that we live in the twilight of the British parliamentary system. If this were a contest on the American pattern, not only would the report be made available but the matter would be referred to a committee of Congress, the members of the Wool Board would be examined and cross-examined before the committee and any relevant information they had in the form of reports or otherwise would be required to be produced to the committee. No wonder the British parliamentary system is living in the twilight. No wonder any new country, when democratic systems of government are set up, chooses the system of a President and Congress. If this Parliament chooses to thrash about in ignorance, to wallow in futility and to deliver a party vote without an informed mind, that is what this Parliament will do, and there is no doubt that in due course, because it does not deserve to live, it will die. I support the right of the honorable member - one honorable member of this House - to have information that he is entitled to have and which the Minister has denied to him. The Minister does not recognise the enormity of what he is doing.
– I ask for leave to present the report.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
Mr. ADERMANN (Fisher- Minister for Primary Industry). - I present the following paper -
Australian Wool Board - Report and Recommendations on Wool Marketing presented to the Australian Wool Industry Conference, Canberra, July 1964.
– There is one aspect of this matter which has not been mentioned so far as I know. There is to be a referendum among wool growers in respect of this Wool Reserve Prices Plan Referendum Bill. The wool growers will need this information themselves because they are to vote and anybody who is trying to conceal from the wool growers the full facts is doing a very wrongful thing.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.55 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -
on asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Television. (Question No. IISS.)
s asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
b asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
b asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
b asked the Minister for Health, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 August 1965, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1965/19650825_reps_25_hor47/>.