25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Mon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform the House of certain Ministerial arrangements.
– All the way with L.B.J
– Well, I hope the Leader of the Opposition will be, too. Honorable members will be aware that on Sunday 23rd October I will be leaving Australia for the Manila conference. I expect to return on Wednesday 26th October. The Right Honorable John McEwen will, as usual, be Acting Prime Minister during my absence. The Minister for External Affairs, the Right Honorable Paul Hasluck, and the Minister for Defence, the Honorable Allan Fairhall, will be attending the conference with me. Mr. Hasluck will be leaving tomorrow and returning on 26th October. During this period the Minister for Works. Senator the Honorable J. G. Gorton, will act as Minister for External Affairs. After the Manila conference Mr. Fairhall will take the opportunity to visit Australian forces in Vietnam. He will also represent the Australian Government at the Vietnam National Day celebrations on I st November. I may say that we had a specific invitation from the Government of South Vietnam to bc directly represented. ‘
– Does the Prime Minister think thai government will still be in business then?
– Rather longer, I think, than the honorable member will. Mr. Fairhall will be attending the Vietnam National Day celebrations and will return to Australia via Singapore about 3rd November. During his absence the Postmaster-General. the Honorable A. S. Hulme, will act as Minister for Defence.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question about Vietnam. Has his attention been directed to a number of articles appearing in American newspapers to the effect that the Australian Government has undertaken to double Australia’s commitment in Vietnam to 9,000 some time next year? If there is no truth in the statement will he give a specific denial now and say that the Government does not intend to increase Australia’s commitment?
– What a lot of rubbish. He has done this about three times already.
– I ask whether he will give a specific undertaking that there will be no increase in Australia’s commitment in Vietnam. Better still, will he say that it will be reduced?
– The honorable gentleman should not need to read overseas journals about this matter. He has put this question directly to me in the House earlier in this sessional period. I gave him a clear answer as to the atittude of the Government.
– What is the answer?
– I will come to that. Could the honorable gentleman not read the first answer?
– 1 could not understand the previous reply.
– Welt, my previous reply was clear enough. I said that it is our practice from time to time to review the level of Australian forces in Vietnam.
– That could mean doubling them.
– A review can produce a variety of things. The honorable gentleman wanted us to reduce our forces. At least theoretically a review of our military establishment could lead to that result. 1 do not anticipate it, because 1 see no lull in the struggle there, and so far as Australia is concerned we are not going to turn our backs on our allies halfway through that struggle. The honorable gentleman was twitting me a little earlier about “ All the way with LBJ “.
– It is better than being halfway in with Ho Chi Minh.
– That is the sort of smear for which the honorable member is notorious.
– Why should the Leader of the Opposition become so indignant? Halfway would be much further than the honorable member intends to be. He has made it quite clear that he is resisting, and is opposed to, Australian forces being in Vietnam. He has said that if given office he will withdraw national servicemen immediately and that he will withdraw the remainder of the Australian troops as soon as practicable thereafter.
– Does the Prime Minister say that I am supporting Ho Chi Minh?
– I am not saying that the Leader of the Opposition is supporting Ho Chi Minh. I am saying that he is refusing to support Australia’s resistance to Communist aggression in South Vietnam.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is there any substance in recent reports that the topic of an extensive economic development programme for South East Asia has been put forward for discussion at next week’s important Manila conference and that during pre-conference consultations in Manila, Australian representatives have stressed that participants in the Manila conference should confine themselves to events in Vietnam instead of discussing future economic plans outside the Vietnam issue itself? Are reports accurate that Australia objected to discussing in Manila economic development programmes for the whole of South East Asia, on the premise that any substantive United States aid programme in Asia will be to Australia’s economic disadvantage?
– Such reports would give, in substance, a misleading and false impression of Australian attitudes. It is, of course, to be expected that when a conference of this kind is mooted and governments are approached to see if they will be represented, there should be some exchange of views on the agenda of what is to be a very short conference of two days. The Australian view was that while not discarding the possibility of discussions on other matters we should concentrate on the Vietnam situation, since the governments in attendance at the conference are representative of countries which have forces currently operating in Vietnam. The Australian Government considered that in those circumstances we all have a very lively concern with the possibility of peace negotiations and the kind of peace which would be sought in such negotiations.
We all have an interest in doing what we can to rehabilitate South Vietnam and, indeed, to do this, so far as is practicable, even while hostilities are still in progress, because it may be a long time before we can see an end to hostilities. We would be interested in the subsequent rehabilitation - rural development, reconstruction and civic action programmes and matters of that sort. We would certainly be interested to have the latest report on the military situation there. These matters could occupy a considerable part of the time of the conference, but if there is a disposition to discuss our concern with wider issues in Asia, then the Australian Government will be entirely willing to participate in those discussions. I can imagine nothing more absurd than a statement that Australia would feel in some way disadvantaged if the United States and other friendly countries were to step up considerably economic aid and civil aid to South Vietnam. On the contrary, we would welcome any such increase in activity. I believe that not only from Australia’s point of view would there be great benefit in this for South Vietnam, but also that indirect benefits would spread throughout the whole South East Asian area.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question supplementary to that just asked by the honorable member for Phillip. I particularly ask it in view of the impression which was given by the Minister for Defence on Wednesday of last week in answering a question by my colleague, the honorable member for Hughes, concerning civilian aid for Vietnam, when the Minister for Defence replied -
The country must be pacified before we can build with any security.
I ask the Prime Minister whether he will reassure the House that he agrees with President Johnson’s speech at the Johns Hopkins University on a development plan for South East Asia, and in particular, with President Johnson’s assertion that “ we cannot wait for p;ace to begin the job “. I ask the Prime Minister also whether he will be equally as forthright as President Johnson in relation to the question of civilian aid.
– So far as the statement of my colleague is concerned, the words “ with any security “ are, I believe, the operative part which influences the statement. He at no stage has denied the usefulness of going ahead with civil aid while hostilities are in progress. Indeed, anybody who has taken the trouble to study what Australian troops are doing in South Vietnam will know that in the periods between operations, and, indeed, so far as those not involved in the operations are concerned, there is a steady programme and practice of assistance for the South Vietnamese community in the neighbourhood of our own camp.
– But President Johnson did not speak of what the troops alone could do.
– No, nor do I. I have had the advantage of some discussions with President Johnson on these matters, and I greatly welcome the fact that, immediately after my visit to Washington, he made one of the most significant speeches ever to come from an American President in years, in which he spoke of the interest and concern of the United States Government in affairs in Asia. In that speech he took the American people further into the problems of the future of Asia and in a more forthright way than I have known any American President to do in my own lifetime. I welcomed and applauded that. It reflected the kind of policies which this country would gladly join with the United States in supporting.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether he has seen a recent statement referring to vertical take-off and landing aircraft and its possible development for commercial purposes in the future. Was it suggested also that small airports called metra-ports could be developed close to centres of cities? Has the Minister any information regarding these forecasts?
– I have recently seen several statements on this matter. I think they all arose from a symposium which was held in Melbourne last week and which was arranged by the Royal Aeronautical Society to discuss the potential of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. My Depart ment has already done quite a lot of work on this subject. We visualise that in the period from about 1975 to about 1980 a light or medium V.T.O.L. aircraft suitable for short haul commercial purposes could be developed. But we are looking further than that at the problem of providing facilities close to the centres of major cities. This problem has not yet been resolved. Any possible solution at this stage could rest only on the assumption that the noise factor would be far less than it is with all known engines at present. The provision of metra-ports in addition to the existing airports would be very costly indeed In fact, we have an estimate that metra-ports in either Melbourne or Sydney would cost approximately $100 million each. I can assure the honorable member that further general studies are being undertaken in this matter, which is of vital importance in the field of transport.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Has his attention been drawn to the report of the Special Advisory Committee on Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccines presented to the Surgeon-General of the Public Health Service in the United States of America? Does the Minister know that one of the conclusions stated in this report is that vaccination of individuals over school age - that is, older than about 18- should generally be recommended only in those situations in which exposure to poliomyelitis might be anticipated, such as occasions of epidemics, entry into military service and travel to other countries? Now that the Sabin vaccine is available for general use in this country, what steps has the Department of Health taken to publicise the dangers of the indiscriminate use of this oral vaccine?
– I have seen a report by the Surgeon-General in the United States of America as, indeed, I have seen the expert reports prepared by authoritative bodies in Canada and the United Kingdom. What was said in the report by the SurgeonGeneral is that there was a very small risk in the administration of Sabin vaccine to adults over the age of 30. From memory, I would say that the report put the risks for the type 3 vaccine, which is used against the type 3 virus, at one in21/2 million, tor the type 1 vaccine at one in 6 million and for the type 2 vaccine at one in 50 million. The Epidemiology Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council met in August and fully considered this matter. It had before it the report by the SurgeonGeneral. No doubt this is one reason why the Committee, in the report made at the conclusion of its meeting recommended that in Australia adults who had not been previously vaccinated should receive Saik vaccine rather than the Sabin vaccine. The honorable gentleman asks: What have we done to publicise this? He will remember that in the middle of last month I made inthis House a statement in whichI disclosed the findings of the Epidemiology Committee. At the same time 1 made a public statement. I might add that the Public Health Advisory Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council will meet at the end of this month to consider the report of the Epidemiology Committee. The final matter that I want to mention is the campaign in the Australian Capital Territory, which, apart from the Northern Territory, is the only segment of the campaign which is under the control of the Commonwealth Government. Until we receive the report of the Public Health Advisory Committee, the Sabin vaccine will be administered only to children and to adults who have already had Salk vaccine.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question about the granting of aid to Asian countries. I remind the Minister that the Asian region covered by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, which before the last war was an exporter of cereals, is now a large and growing importer of cereals. Does the Minister agree that the best form of aid to Vietnam and other Asian countries is in the retraining of their farmers? If so, will the Minister take steps to encourage the training in Australia of practical extension officers from Australia and countries in the region so that they may return to their homelands or go to those countries, as the case may be, to raise the Levels of food production?
– Our objective, publicly stated by me and by other Ministers on several occasions, is that the forms of aid that we give should be, as far as possible, forms of aid that will have a continuing and reproductive effect on the countries that receive the aid and make a continuing and permanent difference to those countries. In the forefront of that policy we have set the forms of assistance that will lead to increased agricultural production in the countries of Asia. Both in the training of Asians in Australia and the sending of technical experts into countries of Asia, we have tried to serve that objective over a number of years.
The honorable member will appreciate that conditions vary considerably from country to country in Asia and the sort of measures that might be appropriate or possible in one country may not be appropriate or possible in another. For example, the honorable member referred to Vietnam. The areas in Vietnam where normal life or something near to normal life can continue at present are largely rice growing areas. The possibilities of immediate agricultural assistance there are limited. In other parts of Vietnam, attempts to give agricultural assistance and any other form of assistance are limited by the necessity of establishing sufficient security for the work to continue without interruption from the Vietcong. As the Prime Minister has indicated this problem of establishing security is inseparably connected in Vietnam with the hopes of giving assistance on the civilian side which will be of permanent value. I remind honorable members that in South Vietnam-
– Do not be too long.
– This will be the last and perhaps the most significant sentence thatI will put before the Leader of the Opposition: 1 remind honorable members that we were giving civilian assistance to Vietnam long before we were giving military assistance and that the civilian aid which we have given in South Vietnam in the past 10 years has amounted to more than$10 million.
– Will the Prime Minister say whether Australia’s support of American involvement in Vietnam is due to a fear that a Communist takeover in Vietnam would constitute a military threat to the security of Australia? Or does it mean merely that the Government views American involvement as protecting the Vietnamese themselves from a Communist takeover? If it is the former, can the right honorable gentleman explain why this Government and the Government of America are not declaring war on Communist China or, for that matter, on Cuba, which is so much closer to America? If the honorable gentleman cannot give an explanation, will he at least explain why Australia continues to sell wheat and wool-
– And steel.
– And steel to Communist China when it is admitted by all authorities that Vietnam itself could never be a military threat to Australia and that the only military threat could come from China?
– Answers on all these points have previously been given in the House. I do not mind giving them again if the education of honorable gentlemen opposite depends on a certain amount of reiteration. I merely make the point that the answers have been given and they are on record in “ Hansard “. Honorable gentlemen opposite have it on their own heads if giving the answers again takes up a portion of question time.
– Why not give a clear reply?
– I propose to give a reply to the question if honorable gentlemen opposite will do me the courtesy of listening. The honorable gentleman asked first whether I believe that a Communist takeover of South Vietnam could in some way present a Threat to the security of Australia. I do believe that. I believe that as long as aggressive Communism remains unchecked in Asia, no country in Asia or in South East Asia can feel secure. This is not the view only of the head of the Australian Government and bis supporters; it is the view also of the heads of Government of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. A delegation of Labour men went to Singapore and can tell the people of Australia that Singapore feels threatened by these developments. 1 have a clear answer on that point.
The second point follows from the first and my answer is: Yes, of course it is our objective to give assistance and support to South Vietnam, not only because we are under threat if it is submerged but because, in Asia and in other parts of the world, Australia has shown that if free people are threatened by tyranny, by oppression and by Communist aggression, it is speedy to come to their aid. This was our attitude in two world wars: it was our attitude in Korea and it is our attitude in Vietnam today.
– Why does not the Government declare war on China?
– The honorable gentleman asks why we do not declare war on the 700 million people of China. What is he looking for? A holocaust or an Armageddon in which the civilisation of the world as we know it today will be destroyed by nuclear attack? How absurd it is. Has the Australian Labour Party become the hawk of the Parliament while we are trying to restore peace? This is the inference that can be drawn from the honorable gentleman’s question. He asks why we are trading with China if we will not declare war on it. Can honorable gentlemen opposite deny that one of the most effective ways of creating an atmosphere of peaceful co-operation, of penetrating the Bamboo Curtain is by the process of trade?
The items of trade that we supply could be secured by China from other parts of the world. China does not reed to come to Australia for them. I said clearly in the United States of America that we should not divide the world into the goodies and the baddies if we were to hope for the restoration of peace; that we had to be looking for contact with thoughtful, intelligent people in all countries to see whether we could resolve the problems. I believe that there has been a thawing to a degree in Europe. The cold war is not as frigid as it was, and peaceful processes have been going on in that area of the world. Is it too much to hope that this could occur in Aisa at some time? In pursuit of that hope we are prepared to adopt these measures - trade contacts, cultural exchanges, scientific exchanges and sporting exchanges - which are the means by which general contact is established. Where do honorable gentlemen opposite stand on these things?
– Completely opposite to the Government.
– What is their policy in Vietnam? Are they opposite to the Government on this question of trade? Do they say that if they were in office they would proscribe trade with China?
– Of course we would not.
– Then they are not opposite to us.
– I direct a question to the Minister for External Affairs. Is it a fact that the Australian forces have been allocated the rather large province of Phuoc Tuy in South Vietnam? Further, should not our type of civil aid be involved primarily in this area? If what I say is correct, would the Minister agree with me that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is guilty of muddled thinking when he suggests that military protection is not necessary in order to safeguard Australian civil aid?
– The aid which Australia is currently giving on the civilian or non-military side in Vietnam is of two kinds. The Army, under Army discipline and using Army personnel, is, in the area in which it is operating, carrying out some very useful and beneficial work in assisting to restore civilian life and to improve the living conditions of the people among whom it is operating. Aside from that, and in different parts of Vietnam, our Colombo Plan aid and some of our Seato aid programme are being applied to other projects, for example, to surgical teams, to civil engineering schemes that are attempting to provide better water supplies and sanitation in towns, and to more comprehensive schemes such as the provision of text books, the provision of Colombo Plan assistance for technical training in Australia and the receiving of Vietnam students in Australia and so forth. There is this twofold form of non-military assistance to Vietnam. Not the least valuable part is that being conducted by the Australian Army in the area which it is making secure and where, having made an area secure, it is doing something to improve the civilian life of the people living there.
– Is the Minister for Social Services aware of the miserable action of the Victorian Liberal Government in reducing its assistance to widows and their dependent children, thereby cancelling out the Commonwealth Budget increase of $1 a week in pensions? Was the Budget increase designed to combat cost of living increases and, if so, does the Victorian Government’s action now mean that the widows and children, already on the bread line, are left to face these increases without additional income? Have any other States taken such action and do they subscribe to Sir Henry Bolte’s view that social services are entirely a Commonwealth affair? Finally, will the Minister take urgent action to see that the innocent sufferers from this lack of Commonwealth-State cooperation are given some relief?
– As the honorable member will know, the administration of the domestic affairs of each State is entirely within the sovereignty of that particular State. It is not within the responsibility of the Commonwealth, nor is the Commonwealth in a position to direct the States as to the manner and pattern of their legislation. For this reason, although I am aware that there has been some variation in benefits payable to pensioners, it is entirely outside the responsibility of the Commonwealth. I appreciate that as a result of this action some pensioners will suffer a reduction in the benefits they would otherwise receive.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. Can he inform the House of the views of the British Government as to the withdrawal of forces from Vietnam as set out in the recent speech of the British Foreign Secretary to the conference of the British Labour Party?
– I would not attempt to give in any detail the text of the speech of the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, but copies of the full text are available from the British Information Office. I am sure that any honorable member who wished to secure a copy would be able to do so. In fact, I could have copies provided myself.
– Every honorable member has one.
– I am glad to hear that, because the honorable gentleman will have become aware that the attitude of the United Kingdom Labour Government is a very different attitude to this issue in Vietnam from that which is presented in the Parliament by the Australian Labour Party. The Labour Party of the United Kingdom has supported the United States presence and that of other friendly forces in Vietnam. It regards what is occurring in Vietnam as a process of Communist aggression and infiltration whereas in the United Kingdom-
– But the United Kingdom has no troops in Vietnam - none at all.
– No, but the United Kingdom is a co-chairman of the Geneva Conference of 1954 and has felt that this official position which it occupies does have a bearing on the action it takes in this situation. The United Kingdom, has been most active in trying to promote negotiations for peace, but pending these it has given, through its leader and through its Cabinet, despite the fact that there are divisions in its party as there are in the party opposite-
– And in the Prime Minister’s party too.
– It has given staunch support. I ask the honorable gentleman to tell me where the divisions are in my party.
– Between the Liberal Parly and the Country Party and between the front bench and the lunatic fringe on the back bench.
– The honorable gentleman would find it hard to discover divisions in these parties in relation to the issues in Vietnam, but the contrast is clear between the attitude of the British Labour Party and that of the Australian Labour Party.
– Will the Prime Minister ascertain whether the President of the National Civic Council in Melbourne has applied for an entry permit to visit Vietnam and whether the Government has taken any action on the request? Is the Government giving any financial assistance to the person concerned?
– The answer to the last part of the question is “ No “. This is the first time that I have heard of any proposal that the gentleman concerned should visit South Vietnam, not that there is anything of special significance in that. I understand that the Government of South Vietnam still conducts a campaign for tourists to South Vietnam.
– It likes to meet fellow Fascists from Australia.
– The honorable gentleman would be welcome, 1 assure him, if he cared to go. My undertaking to assist him to go there still stands. So far as I am aware, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition did not complain of the reception that he received in South Vietnam and, so far as I am aware, this applies lo any member of the Parliament.
– My question to the Minister for Social Services is supplementary to that asked by the honorable member for Bendigo. Now that the Minister’s attention has been drawn to the decision of the Victorian Government to withdraw its payments of certain types of pensions in that State, I ask: Has this withdrawal been discussed with the Commonwealth? What effect will it have on pensions, and particularly widows’ pensions? Finally, will he consider replacing the proposed removed extra pension with a further increase in the Commonwealth general rate pension?
– I know that the honorable member, through his work with Legacy and other organisations, comes in contact with many civilian widows. As he knows, the Commonwealth Government has provided to the maximum extent, within ils budgetary capacity, for pensioners. At present 15 per cent, of the national Budget is being allocated, for social services. This year more than S750 million will be paid in various benefits that are administered by my Department. As I explained in answer to the previous question on this subject, the action of the Victorian Government is its own sovereign responsibility. The Commonwealth Government has no power to modify or affect in any way the decision of the Victorian Government.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. I preface it by reminding him that I recently directed his attention to the marketing difficulties now facing the apple and pear industry in Tasmania. I now ask whether the Department of Trade and Industry has investigated the Japanese market, in which it is considered that a large quantity of our apples and pears could be sold annually? If the Department has not considered this market, will the Minister undertake to have an investigation carried out as early as practicable?
– I make it clear that my Department and the Department of my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry, are very conscious of and concerned about the problems of the apple and pear export industry. My Department has trade commissioners and trade correspondents in various countries. They are constantly examining the possibility of expanding or establishing markets for Australian fruit and they forward intelligence back to Australia. But basically where an item of trade is concerned the Department of Trade acts in close consultation and co-operation with those who have such an item to sell. In this case the Australian Apple and Pear Board is really the central agency for those who have apples and pears for export sale. The Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Primary Industry and the Apple and Pear Board are acting at present, as they have acted for years past, in very close consultation in examining traditional markets and possible new market?; - and these would certainly include the Japanese market.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. As conflicting reports are current as to the progress being made in providing Sydney Airport with modern terminal buildings and also with the extension of the runway into Botany Bay, can the Minister say what progress has been made with these two projects and when they are likely to be completed and in use? Is the Minister still convinced that on the completion of these projects Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport will continue to serve Australia as its No. 1 airport?
– Answering the latter part of the question first, I think I can say that because of the population of Sydney and the international traffic which originates and terminates there, it is fairly obvious that Sydney Airport will be the major international airport in Australia in the foreseeable future. As to the progress being made with the provision of terminal buildings and the runway extensions, the programme is well up to date. The runway extension into Botany Bay and the road tunnel associated with it should be completed by the end of next year. This will be in accordance with the original programme. The filling operation for the new terminal building site will be completed about next March, which will be in accordance with the original estimates. The piling operation for the new terminal building will commence immediately after that, followed by the erection of the building frame. The new operations building project is under way now. The sea wall is being built and tenders will be called for the new building in the near future. So far as the future is concerned, if additional runway lengths are required, either on the north-south or the-
– I think the Minister had better come in and land.
– lt is amazing to see how the Opposition is always against progress. To conclude: So far as future runway requirements are concerned, both the northsouth and the east-west runways, can be extended to considerable length as required. This will meet all future requirements for aircraft, including the SST which we expect will be operating in a few years time.
– As Chairman, I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee -
Eighty-seventh Report - Report of the AuditorGeneral - Financial Year 1965-66.
I ask for leave to make a short statement.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– On previous occasions your Committee has expressed the view that it should adhere to the practice established in 1959 of critically examining each year the reports of the Auditor-General and, where it sees a need, of proceeding to a public examination of matters referred to in those reports. We would again endorse that view on the basis of this inquiry. Our inquiries show that, in recent years, the reports of the Auditor-General have been tabled during the latter half of August. As in our Seventy-Eighth Report, we would again emphasise that the early tabling of the report is greatly appreciated by your Committee and we pay tribute to the Auditor-General and his staff for the sustained effort which they have made over the years to achieve that result.
Your Committer’s inquiry into the Auditor-General’s report for 1965-66 covered a somewhat smaller field than that traversed in the previous year but was designed in part to afford an opportunity for review of certain matters relating particularly to the Departments of External Affairs, Interior, and Trade and Industry which had been the subject of material criticism by your Committee when examining the report of the Auditor-General for the previous financial year. In the case of the Department of the Navy, on the other hand, your Committee felt that whilst that Department had recently established a policy relative to vehicle replacement, it should examine the basis of that policy and the circumstances surrounding its establishment. I commend the report to honorable members.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-65. J present the report relating to the following proposed work -
Erection of a Migrant Hostel at Springvale, Victoria. I ask for leave to make a short statement in connection with the report.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Australia’s immigration programme has been maintained at a level that no other country can match in spite of improved working conditions in many of the countries from which so many migrants have come in the past 20 years. One of the reasons for its success is, I am sure, the reception we give to migrants on their arrival in Australia. Not the least important is the provision of transitory accommodation for those who need it. There arc 30 migrant hostels in Australia with a total capacity of about 25,000 beds. About one-third of the assisted passage intake of migrants is entitled, under our generous plan, to hostel accommodation. In 1965-66. this represented about 20 per cent, of the total intake. Before leaving their own country, migrants know that permanent family accommodation is not being offered but that, on arrival, they will bc 1’ree from immediate concern about shelter and food for their families. No other country in the world makes this gesture to keep families together. Some provide barracks accommodation but often this is only for single persons whose families can join them only after they have found housing for themselves.
Australia’s plan of grouping migrants in convenient areas close to work opportunities, and in growing communities where they can conveniently find their own permanent housing, is unique and is of particular value to those in the lower income group who have young families. The existing hostels consist mainly of the Nissen hut type of accommodation which is subject to some criticism on grounds of lack of privacy, the somewhat cramped sizes of rooms and the fact that ablution blocks must be supplied as separate buildings. Other hostels have been in the form of rather makeshift adaptations of the space available in wool stores. But a programme is in train now to improve the standards of the buildings, and, particularly, to include toilet and ablution facilities under the one roof, preferably in each family unit.
The first permanent building to be provided by the Government for migrant accommodation is to be erected at Randwick in New South Wales. The present proposal on which the Committee is reporting follows very much the pattern of that building. The building will be on a 17 acre allotment at Springvale in Victoria. The design provides for bedroom accommodation in family units for about 250 families. Its completion will allow the unsuitable hostel at Brooklyn to be closed. It is hoped also that a similar hostel at Holmesglen will be shut down.
The plan also provides for an amenities building containing dining and kitchen facilities, a recreation centre, child minding and youth centres, and separate general office facilities. Three three-bedroom brick houses are needed for managers, and a two storey staff quarters is also planned. The Committee is convinced that the need has been established for new migrant hostel accommodation in the Melbourne area. The site at Springvale is an appropriate location, and we recommend the carrying out of the proposed works at an estimated cost of $4.25 million.
Ordered that the report be printed.
Motion (by Mr. Fairbairn) agreed to -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until tomorrow at 9.30 a.m.
Bill presented by Mr. Adermann, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The general purpose of this Bill is twofold: First, to modify the method of ascertainment of average return as presently prescribed in the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act 1964; and secondly, to provide a new procedure for bounty payments under the Act which will simplify its administration and also fit the industry financing pattern. The Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act 1964 and two associated Acts - the Dried Vine Fruits Contributory Charges Act 1964 and the Dried Vine Fruits Contributory Charges (Collection) Act 1964 - implemented a scheme for the stabilisation of returns to growers of currants, sultanas and raisins for a period of five years commencing with the 1964 season. In its simplest terms, the scheme is as follows. Three varietal stabilisation funds are established by the legislation. The Act which this Bill seeks’ to amend provides for a guaranteed price per ton for specified quantities of each variety in each season of the plan. This guaranteed price is the calculated cost of production per ton for the season less $10. The Act also prescribes a method whereby in each season an “ average return per ton of fruit received for packing” is calculated. If in a season the calculated average return is below the calculated guaranteed price a bounty per ton - in normal circumstances, the difference between the two figures - is payable to growers of the variety in question. On the other hand, if in a season the calculated average return exceeds the cost of production by more than $10 the excess, up to a maximum of $20, is levied on growers as a contributory charge under the complementary legislation. Charge is paid into, and bounty is paid from, the appropriate varietal fund.
It will be evident from the foregoing that the calculated average return is a key figure in the administration of the scheme, and the Bill now before the House deals first with the method of ascertainment of this figure as it is prescribed in section 7(2.) of the Act. Honorable members will appreciate that the requirements of the Act as originally brought down necessarily preceded the practical application of the prescribed method of ascertainment, and it is in the light of experience in attempting to apply the method to the first season of the scheme - 1964 - that these modifications are proposed. Their essential purpose is to bring what was of necessity a method of ascertainment devised in theory before the event - even though only after close collaboration between the industry and my Department - into line with the realities of the industry as subsequently disclosed by the application of the scheme.
By way of preliminary to dealing with the proposed amendment I should like to say very briefly what the method of ascertainment is. A grower delivers his fruit to a packing house for processing and packing and the product is then passed on to agents for sale. Until sale, the grower retains an equity in the fruit. To establish the grower’s return for the fruit, therefore, it is necessary, after the packed fruit has been sold, to ascertain sale proceeds and to deduct from them agents’ and packing house costs. The resultant figure for all the fruit of a season sold, divided by the corresponding tonnage delivered for packing for the season, is the average return. This, briefly, is how the determination under the Act is derived. The present method of ascertainment requires the Minister to take into account all the fruit of a season that has been sold. Experience has shown that at least in the present situation of the industry, such a requirement is impractical. There is a considerable diversity of accounting practices and procedures in the industry which makes it virtually impossible to determine satisfactorily on a total industry basis many of the costs which are vital to the average return calculation. There is, however, a large segment of the industry handling a substantial quantity of fruit in which accounting practices and procedures do fit into the pattern required for the calculation. What this Bill proposes is that an alternative method of ascertainment be written into the Act which is based on a sample of the fruit of a season. This sample will relate to fruit passing through establishments which do in fact meet the requirements of the stabilisation acounting. The precise content of the sample will be decided in each season in close consultation with the industry authorities to ensure that sufficient fruit is included to enable a fair ascertainment. The present method based on all the fruit sold will also be retained against the time that changes within the industry may make its application a practical possibility. In all other respects the two methods of ascertainment will be identical.
The Bill will also modify the method of ascertainment in another relatively minor respect designed to simplify the complex arithmetical calculations involved. Experience has shown that providing for the starting point of the determination at proceeds of the original sales was both unnecessary and unrealistic, and that the determination could with safety be commenced at that point where agents account back to the packing houses for fruit sold.
The Bill also provides for a new procedure of payment to growers of bounty and refunds of contributory charge. The method of payment provided in the present section 9 has some administrative disadvantages. It had always been envisaged that the Commonwealth, subject to safeguards regarding the handling of the moneys, would use a central industry authority as the machinery for the distribution of payments under the Act to individual growers. Since the Act came into operation such an authority, namely the company specified in the Bill, has been established. Section 9, as presently worded, however, would require each individual grower to authorise the company to collect bounty on his behalf before the Commonwealth could pay the total moneys to tha company for distribution. Such a requirement is unnecessarily cumbersone and the new section proposed by the Bill will eliminate this need. I should like to point out, nevertheless, that this does not imply that the Government will in all future circumstances work only through the presently specified company. Should in the future similar organisations be established within the industry for this purpose, the Government will certainly consider their inclusion also in the Act to operate on behalf of the Commonwealth. Honorable members will note that safeguards regarding the handling of moneys until they reach the growers are provided in the new section.
The new section will also recognise that a traditional industry practice relating to industry financing methods will apply to moneys paid under the Act. This is the practice where, by specific arrangement between the parties, packing houses make loans or advances to growers and subsequently recoup such debts from the proceeds of sale of the growers’ fruit as those proceeds are received back from agents. The section will recognise that where such specific arrangements exist moneys paid under the Act may be treated as proceeds of sale. I would emphasise that this only applies where an arrangement exists. In the absence of such an arrangement moneys under the Act must be paid to the grower.
In conclusion, I should like to report very briefly on the operation of the scheme to date. The 1964 season’s returns to growers were satisfactory, and a contributory charge on all three varieties was collected and paid into the funds. I will be happy to give details on request. The funds have therefore got away to a healthy start. Only one variety from the 1965 season - currants - has at this stage been completely sold and the finalisation of the stabilisation accounts for this variety is imminent. It is clear at this stage that a contributory charge will be payable. Sultanas and raisins from the 1965 season have not yet been com’pletely sold. The amendments proposed by the present Bill have resulted from the closest consultation and discussion with representatives of the central industry organisation - the Australian Dried Fruits
Association - and have their support. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Daly) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Barnes, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act to make changes in the composition of the House of Assembly and in the Territory judicial system. I refer first to the proposed changes in the judicial system. Under the Papua and New Guinea Act, the Supreme Court of the Territory is established as the superior court of the Territory. An appeal lies to the High Court of Australia by leave from ail judgments, decrees, orders and sentences of the Supreme Court, with such exceptions and subject to such conditions as are provided by ordinance. In order to provide for an appeal within the Territory from a decision of the Supreme Court, the Bill constitutes a Full Court of the Supreme Court to hear and determine appeals from or cases stated by single judges of that Court. The Bill also provides for the High Court of Australia to have jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from all decisions of the Full Court with leave of the High Court.
The effect of these new provisions is that there would be no appeal directly to the High Court from the judgment of a single judge of the Territory Supreme Court; appeal would lie only after an appeal had been heard and determined by the Full Court. The underlying principle of the establishment of a full court is that the judicial system should be appropriate to the emerging status of the Territory. It should therefore as far as practicable be self-contained and possess those characteristics which a supreme court has, namely, a form of review of decisions by way of appeal by a full bench. There are, too. clear practical advantages in local appeals; not only for the resident professions development but also, for example, in providing an oppor tunity to promote uniformity in judicial approach to sentences.
Section 55 of the Papua and New Guinea Act sets out certain classes of ordinances which the Administrator is required to reserve for the Governor-General’s pleasure. The Bill proposes that there be added to these classes of ordinances any ordinance which diminishes the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or affects its practice and procedure or establishes a new court. While the principle behind the amendments is to make it clear that the judiciary is identified with and belongs to the Territory, in present circumstances the Commonwealth must retain a responsibility to ensure that the position of the Supreme Court is maintained and the rule of law respected.
Section 62 of the Act provides that the jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the Supreme Court shall be as provided by or under ordinance. It is proposed to replace this section with provisions under which the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court will be conferred by ordinance only and matters of practice and procedure will be dealt with either by ordinance or by rules of court made under the authority of this Act. The Bill therefore makes provision for rules of court to be made by the judges of the Supreme Court. The changes proposed in clause 10 relating to the appointment of judges are formal only. The Bill also makes provision in clause 5 for an officer of the Commonwealth Public Service appointed as Administrator of Papua and New Guinea to retain his existing and accruing rights as a Commonwealth officer and to apply to such an appointment the Officers’ Rights Declaration Act.
I turn now to proposals for changes in the composition of the House of Assembly. On 31st March of this year I informed the House that the House of Assembly had appointed a Select Committee on Constitutional Development which would, among other things, be inquiring into changes in the composition of the House of Assembly to be made effective in time for the next general election in the Territory in March 1968. The Select Committee has now reported to the House of Assembly and copies of the report have been circulated. The report was adopted unanimously by the House of Assembly on 1st September. It recommends that the size of the House, which first met in 1964, should be increased substantially. The Government has accepted the view that the circumstances of the Territory warrant smaller electorates and clause 6 of this Bill proposes amendments of the Papua and New Guinea Act to bring about those changes which are required to be made by this Parliament.
The Bill proposes to increase the number of members of the House of Assembly from 64 to 94. This will be achieved by increasing the number of ordinary seats from 44 to 69; by abolishing the ten seats now reserved for non-indigenous residents of the Territory; and by providing for 15 seats of a new kind, described as regional seals, which will be open to candidates who possess a minimum educational qualification. The Bill does not propose to change the number of official members, which will remain at ten. The Committee recommended the increase in the number of ordinary seats because of the difficulty which members now have in covering their electorates adequately. With a total enrolment in excess of one million electors, the increase will mean that there will be one member representing approximately 15,000 electors or 30,000 residents.
The present ten special seats, in which only non-indigenous persons may stand for election, were established because of the wish of the people of the Territory for an assurance that there would bc some Australians elected to the House. The Select Committee considered that the previous need for this special form of non-indigenous representation did not now exist. It saw, however, a continuing need to have some members who could bring broader experience to the House of Assembly and it desired at the same time to remove the principle of representation based on racial grounds. The report recommends that a number of seats be provided for which the candidates must have a minimum education qualification of the Territory Intermediate Certificate and that these electorates be based on the present Administrative District boundaries, with one member for each District, except in the cases of the Gulf and Western; East and West New Britain; and Manus and New Ireland which would return one member for the two Districts concerned. This results in 15 regional electorates.
There are certain other recommendations of the report to which honorable members’ attention should be drawn although they do not entail amendment of the Commonwealth Act. In paragraph 71 a recommendation is made that, in addition to the normal qualifications, a candidate for election to the House of Assembly who was not born in the Territory must have resided there for at least five years. It is proposed to give effect to this part of the report by amending the Territory Electoral Ordinance.
Paragraphs 46 to 50 of the report deal with the control of internal revenue. The Select Committee regarded it as desirable that elected members should, as far as practicable, assume some control over locally raised revenue. The Committee mentioned for further consideration two methods of achieving this; either a separate budget for local revenue or a budget committee working in conjunction with the Territory Administration. The Committee proposes to discuss this matter further with the Administration. Present arrangements provide for the Administrators Council to be consulted regarding the framing of the Budget. Elected members of the House of Assembly are in a majority on that Council. The Government is, however, in general accord with the move by the Select Committee for discussions on how elected members of the House of Assembly can participate more effectively in the framing of the Territory Budget.
In the course of the House of Assembly debate on the Territory Budget, elected members adopted a resolution calling for action on the lines proposed by the Select Committee in respect of future budgets. A majority also voted in favour of a reduction in the item in the Appropriation Ordinance dealing with recruitment expenses for the Territory Public Service. The framing of the Territory Budget is one aspect of the general question of constitutional arrangements in the Territory. On this particular aspect the Government wishes to see improved arrangements which will give elected members of the House a more effective voice in the formulation of the Budget and which will at the same time preserve the Government’s ultimate responsibility.
On the more general question of possible changes in the form of the executive government of the Territory, the Government’s attitude was set out earlier this year in statements to this House on 31st March and 21st April. In these statements it was made clear that the Government has no desire to press constitutional changes upon the people of the Territory which they do not want or for which they think they are not ready; nor will the Government refuse to make changes if there is strong and widespread support for change in the Territory. Consistently with this attitude the Government is now proposing to give effect to the changes in the composition of the House of Assembly recommended by the Select Committee in accordance with the views of the Territory people.
Consistently with this attitude, also, the Government would regard it as appropriate at this stage for transitional steps towards eventual responsible ministerial government to be taken if the people of the Territory desire change of that kind. Such transitional steps could operate after the next election for the House of Assembly and amendment of the Papua and New Guinea Act in 1967 would permit this. It is the Government’s attitude that as the capacity of the Territory to contribute to its own revenues increases it should progressively be given more financial autonomy and that more and more of the Territory administration should be put into Territory hands by the development of the local Public Service and by the progressive enlargement of the measure of selfgovernment. It needs to be recognised, however, that the maintenance of effective financial relationships between the Commonwealth and the Territory is not a simple straightforward matter.
In the years when the Commonwealth carried virtually the complete responsibility for administration in the Territory, no problem of conflicting views or of respective responsibilities could arise. Increasingly, however, the institutions of the Territory are being developed so that decisions are shared between elected representatives of the Territory people and the Commonwealth. This is fundamental to the Government’s policies for the Territory and it is a development we welcome and wish to promote. Yet it is necessary for the Government, for this Parliament and for the Territory representatives to face the fact that while it is important to recognise the principle of sharing responsibility it ls equally important to work out practical workable arrangements to give effect to the principle.
The principle that the Territory elected representatives should take an increasing share of responsibility for decisions is accepted by the Government. Arrangements to give practical effect to this principle must, however, pay regard to the ultimate responsibility which must remain with the Government while it continues to be the administering authority for the Territory. The Government must remain finally responsible, for example, for constitutional arrangements and for decisions on the Public Service and the machinery of administration. The Australian Government must retain responsibility to this Parliament for the way in which the Australian grant is spent. The grant to the Territory this year of $70 million represents 58 per cent, of the total Territory Budget. In these circumstances and under present constitutional arrangements the Commonwealth must be responsible for the strategy of the Budget.
These responsibilities of the Commonwealth Government need not prevent arrangements being made under which Territory elected representatives would take an increasing share of responsibility for decisions. They do, however, have the consequence that much care and deliberation will be needed for the working out of practical measures. Thus the approach taken by the Select Committee to the question of financial relationships is eminently sensible. It says, in effect: “ We think there ought to be some changes to give the House of Assembly a more effective voice in budget making. We want to have some talks with the Administration to see what can be worked out and how it can be done “. It is an approach which allows the realities of the situation to be taken fully into account - realities which include the necessity of maintaining effective machinery of administration as well as the need to give increasing scope for the House of Assembly whilst recognising the continuing responsibility of the Commonwealth. These realities cannot, if the interests of the Territory are to be paramount, be ignored.
The development in the Territory over the past decade or so is very heartening. The Territory Budget, for example, has increased from S20.5 million in 1954-55 to SI 20 million in the current financial year. In 1954-55 exports were valued at S24 million. In 1965-66 the figure is nearly $44 million. School enrolments have expanded dramatically. The quality of education has greatly improved. An institute of higher technical education and a university are being established. Similarly in other fields, expansion and advancement are apparent. This has of course been achieved only at the cost of increasing the Territory’s dependence on Australia. In 1954-55 the Commonwealth grant was $14 million, compared with this year’s S70 million.
With this economic, social and political advance, demands and requirements are expanding. The capacity to do more is growing. In looking to the Territory’s future, however, none of us can lose sight of the fact that if the Territory is to stand on its own feet politically and constitutionally, it must be brought closer to the stage where it can stand on its own feet economically. This aim will in itself require an increase in external aid in the immediate future if dependence on external aid is to be subsequently reduced. Social and political and human factors cannot be ignored or under-weighted. In the process of budgetmaking in the Territory a proper balance must be kept and as large a share of the available resources as possible has to go into strengthening the economic foundations. This, along with the advancement of the indigenous people of the Territory, is the basic strategy recommended by the International Bank Mission. A substantial part of present Australian aid to the Territory is directed, in accordance with this basic strategy, to accelerated economic development.
The Government is willing to help in this way if the help is wanted. The help can be truly effective only if it is based on cooperation between the Australian Government and the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory. If there is basic harmony between the views of the Government and the views of the House of Assembly and the people of the Territory regarding the aims and the strategy and the fundamental policies which the Government regards as essential to its approach to assistance for the development and advancement of the Territory, then that approach can be continued. If this basic harmony on aims and strategy and fundamental policies were to disappear, the Government would not take the view that Australian opinion should prevail over Territory opinion. The situation would, however, plainly be different from that on which the Government’s present approach to assistance for the Territory has been developed, and the Government’s responsibilities to this Parliament and to the taxpayers of Australia would require it to re-examine the position, including the level of Australian aid.
These matters directly relate to the Papua and New Guinea Act which establishes the institutions of government in the Territory. When institutions of government are under consideration, regard must be had to the context in which they operate. When changes are contemplated, regard must be had to the longer term consequences as well as the short-term effects. In the case of Papua and New Guinea the interests of the people and their future are vitally affected by the relationships that exist between Australia and the Territory. Everyone who has a part to play in these relationship.; has a responsibility to look at the situation as a whole and at the interests of the people of the Territory as a whole, to recognise both the complexities and the realities of the situation, and to ensure that he does not damage the future by a shortsighted view of the present. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr. Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is introduced to put into effect the decisions which the Government announced on 21st September 1966 in regard to assistance to be given to colleges of advanced education during the three years commencing January 1967. The Bill appropriates $24 million for capital expenditure and $11.18 million for recurrent expenditure in these colleges. Honorable members will recall that the new colleges of advanced education are being developed as a result of a recommendation from the Martin Committee of Inquiry into the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia and that interim capital grants totalling $4.8 million have already been appropriated for the purpose under the State Grants (Advanced Education) Act of 1965. It is expected that some $3 million of this amount will have been spent by the end of December 1966 and the balance will be spent later, in addition to the amounts now recommended for appropriation.
The present Bill contains schedules setting out in detail the capital and recurrent grants for programmes of the various institutions in all of the States. These programmes result from discussions with the States and have the support of each State concerned. Proposed grants for recurrent purposes are set out in the first and second schedules of the Bill, such grants being in the proportion of one Commonwealth unit to 1.85 units from State grants and fees. The Commonwealth grant for recurrent expenditure applies to expenditure by the State in excess of that in the base year 1964-1965. The proposed capital grants are set out in the third and fourth schedules of the Bill; such grants being in the proportion of one Commonwealth unit to one Stale unit.
The Bill appropriates within the $11.18 million total the sum of $500,000 for an unmatched grant from the Commonwealth for building up library facilities in the colleges. This grant is to be distributed to the colleges by decision of the Minister who will seek the advice of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and will report to Parliament what distribution has been made as a result. The Bill does not provide for appropriation of the sum of $250,000 as an unmatched grant for research into future lines of development of these colleges, as the sum will be appropriated separately.
I draw the attention of the House to the discretionary powers which, under the Bill, are given to the Minister. As a result of such powers the Minister may vary the amount of capital shown in the schedule for a capital project within a State, but only provided the total grant made to a Stale for capital purposes is not thereby in creased. This flexibility is necessary because estimates of cost of a project cannot be forecast with complete accuracy and the Government is concerned to see that a building which is provided is the building which was originally approved and is not smaller in size or inferior in quality. We would prefer, if the cost of a building is more than was estimated, to delete or delay some other project rather than reduce the capacity or quality of a needed building in order to meet a pre-determined cost.
The Minister also is given the power to add a project to those shown in the schedules, but only when the project so added is one for the acquisition of land for college development purposes. The land in mind is land other than Crown land. The opportunity may arise during the course of a triennium for a college to acquire property for development purposes and it should be able to grasp that opportunity, but again on the condition that the total sum available for a State for a triennium will not be exceeded. The Minister must inform the Parliament of any such project so added.
In the third place, honorable members will note from the schedules that in three States. New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, some colleges are grouped together with one overall figure shown for them for the triennium. This has been necessary because the States concerned were unable, in the time available, to make firm individual recommendations about certain colleges, although the total sums shown in the schedules have been agreed as being reasonable. Here again the Parliament will be informed of decisions taken by the Minister in consultation with the States about the distribution of these global sums.
The Bill also provides - as it must with the multi-level colleges with which the programme is concerned - for ministerial approval of the courses to be supported for grants purposes. There are also provisions for advances to the States, the usual appropriation clause and the necessary legal framework for the good administration of the programme in association with the States. In brief, the programme provides for the development in New South Wales of the New South Wales Institute of Technology and of two agricultural colleges in that State. The programme of the New South Wales Institute is on the basic of a large scale development of a central institute in the Sydney city area with feeder institutions planned for a number of suburban sites.
In Victoria the provision is for a wide range of city and country colleges with coordinating influence being exercised by the Victoria Institute of Colleges. The programme in Queensland provides for the development of the Queensland Institute of Technology and also for the interesting development of new college centres of the Queensland Institute of Technology at Toowoomba and Rockhampton. Residential accommodation is being planned at both places. In South Australia the emphasis is on the development on a new site of buildings for the South Australian Institute of Technology, while in Western Australia there is the continued development of the Western Australian Institute on its new site, and also development of the Kalgoorlie School of Mines. The main Tasmanian provision is for the development of a new College of Advanced Education at Hobart.
In examining the details in the schedules, honorable members will note that some of the figures differ from those set out in the Wark Committee’s report. Where they occur, variations have been made at the request of the State concerned and with the support of the Wark Committee. The only one of substance concerns the Western Australian Institute of Technology. In a supplementary report presented with its main report, the Wark Committee recommended that an amount of $350,000 be written into the triennial programme to cover the additional cost of an administration building commenced under the interim capital programme. The final estimate suggests that a sum of $475,000 rather than $350,000 will be required and this amount has been written into the schedule with a consequential re-arrangement of funds for Western Australia withinthe agreed total.
Before concluding I should like to point out that, co-ordinated with these developments of staff and facilities in the Colleges of Advanced Education, we are keeping under review the provision of advanced education scholarships to enable students to take full advantage of the courses and the physical provisions being developed in the colleges of advanced education. We see these two aspects of development as being intimately related. The Bill seeks to put into effect a programme which we believe to be imaginative and certain to have longrange and beneficial effects on the quality of the institutions with which the Wark Committee has been concerned. It will be the start of a new range of educational opportunity in tertiary education in Australia and will, I am certain, prove to be a fine investment in both economic and human terms. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr. Snedden) - by leave - agreed to -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the consideration of the question, That grievances be noted, being continued until 2.55 p.m.
Newstead Post Office, Launceston - Customs Building, Neutral Bay - Decentralisation - Motor Vehicles - Overseas Shipping Line - Dairy Farm in Vietnam - Airport at Newcastle - Public Comment on Policies and Events - Homes for the Aged - Public Service: Employment of Handicapped Persons.
Question proposed -
That grievances be noted.
.- I want to take the opportunity that a debate of this nature provides to discuss two matters which affect the PostmasterGeneral’s Department and which have special reference to my electorate. I make no apologies for raising the first matter again on this occasion. I have dealt with it in this House on a number of occasions and have pointed to the need to replace the existing post office which is situated at Newstead in Launceston. The PostmasterGeneral’s Department has consistently refused to recognise claims of the City of Launceston in this respect. The Department has rejected the representations which have been made to it over a long period and the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Hulme) has never attempted to provide any explanation of why the Department is not prepared to recognise the claims for a new post office which have been submitted to him from time to time. So far as the people of Launceston are concerned a new post office should be provided at the earliest possible opportunity.
The structure which now serves the people of Newstead is a temporary building. It is a prefabricated structure which was erected for the district in the immediate post-war years. One can appreciate that in those days it was difficult to provide the materials and difficult to find many of the requirements necessary at that time to provide postal facilities for the area. It was agreed then that a prefabricated structure would be better than no post office at all. So the council of the City of Launceston, which is responsible for these matters, accepted the fact that a prefabricated structure would be erected to provide postal facilities. No-one expected that a temporary structure would remain for more than 21 years, yet this is the situation which has applied with regard to this post office. Nobody criticises the facilities which are available at the post office. It is agreed that those who administer the post office in this area are providing the best possible facilities that they can in the circumstances. But our complaint so far as the PostmasterGeneral’s Department is concerned is that a temporary structure which was erected more than 20 years ago should now be replaced by a more modern building which is suitable for this rapidly developing area.
Several years ago the PostmasterGeneral’s Department decided to submit for the consideration of Parliament provision in the Estimates for a new building to replace the temporary structure. Then for some reason known only to the Department, a reason which it has never bothered to explain adequately to me, the provision for a new post office was removed from the Estimates leaving the situation as it was some years ago. Recently I asked the Postmaster-General how many existing official post offices in Tasmania were to be replaced within the next two financial years and where these post offices were to be located. I asked also on what dates the replacements were scheduled. The Minister said in reply to the first question that no replacements were envisaged in this period. It is obvious from his reply that the Newstead post office is not to be replaced this financial year, nor is it to be replaced in the financial year 1967-68. For two financial years there is again no promise of a new post office in this area. I believe that the Minister ought to be able to provide some reason why originally the Estimates contained the provision for a new post office in this area and why it was removed from the Estimates. He should be able to tell us why his Department is not prepared to replace an obsolete and temporary structure which was erected in this area more than 20 years ago.
Only a short time ago the Launceston City Council, which is responsible for the building regulations for the City of Launceston, pointed to the fact that the Newstead post office contravened the normal building regulations of the city. But this also has been ignored by the Postmaster-General’s Department. If a building of this kind were erected in Canberra I submit that it would bring immediate protests, not only from the Postmaster-General’s Department and not only from the National Capital Development Commission but also from the Minister for the Interior. It would not be acceptable to the people in a city such as Canberra. If the facilities provided in Canberra are established according to certain regulations, 1 believe that the same situation should apply in other parts of the Commonwealth. We believe that the Government should not be prepared to continue a situation that it created in this area. As I have already said, the people of Launceston were quite prepared to accept a temporary structure, having regard to the difficulties that existed with respect to postal services in the immediate post-war years. But if it is accepted that the building now contravenes the building regulations of the city, and if it was agreed some years ago that provision ought to be made for a new post office, then I think the Minister has a case to answer and we ought to be told why the Government is not prepared to provide these facilities in the financial year 1966-67.
In the past the Minister has given as an excuse for not replacing the existing substandard structure the fact that the amount of business attracted by this post office is relatively small. While the Department continues to use the building that is now being used to provide postal facilities at Newstead it is obvious that business will not increase. People are not attracted to this kind of building. They prefer to use the main Launceston Post Office which is situated about a mile and a half or two miles from the Newstead post office. But this is a rapidly developing area. New business premises have been constructed in the vicinity. The population is probably three times what it w as when the post office was constructed back in the 1940s. Obviously if the building was of a kind tha; would attract the public, business would increase. So I say - and this is the consensus of opinion - that until a modern structure is provided in this area it is unlikely that business will increase. We have a vicious circle and I nm sure the Postmaster-General’s Department appreciates the situation. We believe the Department should not continue to use buildings of this kind. Surely in 1966 the Department should be able to plan to provide modern post office facilities.
The building at Newstead is sub-standard. It ought not to be tolerated by the Department. I suggest that the Minister should at least explain why this building has not been replaced, in view of the fact that it was erected as a temporary structure many years ago. He should also explain why the provision for a replacement, made in the estimates some years ago. was not followed up by the Department. The present building is sub-standard and has been recognised as such by the Department. The fact that it is sub-standard has been pointed out by the local council which I think is entitled to have the requirements that it lays down in relation to such matters met by the Postmaster-General’s Department. The Department has chosen to ignore the requirements of the local council and I believe that the Department and particularly the Minister have a case to answer.
.- I wish to raise a matter which, though perhaps small in itself, illustrates a degree of departmental arrogance that I think should receive the attention of this House. The matter can be succinctly stated, I think, in a few words taken from a letter I received from one of my constituents. He said -
You have no doubt followed the correspondence recently regarding the Commonwealth Government’s intention to erect a concrete building at Neutral Bay, despite the protests of the local authorities and the public.
The arrogant manner of going about the business and the contemptuous disregard shown for the wishes of the people in this respect have incensed my friends and myself beyond expression. There has been too much pilfering already of our shore line, not only by the Commonwealth Government but unfortunately by local authorities as well . . . More than 90 per cent, of our harbour front has been lost to us forever. We are naturally intensely interested in preserving the remainder . . .
One has only to look at the unsightly mess that is now North and South Head to appreciate official indifference to preserving the beauty, or what is left of it, of our harbour. I doubt if there is a country in the world with such a beauty spot on its doorstep which would tolerate . . . such . . . mischief.
That fairly clearly states the interest that my constituent has in this matter, and I may say that he is not personally affected. He does not live at Neutral Bay or anywhere in the vicinity, but lives in my electorate. Let me pursue this matter and point out the arrogant fashion in which the Department of Customs and Excise has set about this business. That letter from my constituent was dated 20th September. I brought it to the attention of the Minister on 22nd September and the very same day a reply came to me like a rocket. I wi!l not read it to the House but 1 will go through the substance of each paragraph. First, the assurance is given that a nice building will be constructed. But that is not the point. It is an industrial building to all intents and purposes in an area that has been residential. The second point made by the Minister is that it is very important to carry out anti-smuggling activities. It is said that this is very important to the Department which, therefore, needs this proposed boat house for its anti-smuggling fleet at Neutral Bay. Of course the question is: Does it need it at Neutral Bay? The Minister went on to say -
The preventive force-
That is the anti-smuggling vessels - has been operating from the existing building at Neutral Bay since 1963 and this building has been on the site as a boatshed since 1944. Experience has shown that Neutral Bay is ideal from an operational viewpoint.
Let us look at these dates. It appears that operations have been carried on from the existing building at Neutral Bay since 1963. Three years ago the Department commenced to operate from there. From where did it operate before? Why is it so essential that it should now operate from Neutral Bay? In all the years before 1963 it operated from somewhere else. So I ask: Is Neutral Bay so essential, on the showing of the Minister’s own letter?
Then it is said that this has been the site of a boatshed since 1944. That was wartime, and a boatshed was put up there presumably on a temporary basis. There has been too much of this business of saying that because something was provided temporarily during the war it will do forever afterwards. On the Minister’s own showing it is evident that this is not an essential location and there is no justification for continuing something into the peacetime period that was necessary in wartime for some other purpose.
The Minister went on to say -
The North Sydney Municipal Council was provided with a copy of the plans by the Department of Works on 6th July. The contract for the building was awarded on 8lh August.
Precisely a month elapsed between the time when the Department told the Municipal Council what it proposed to do and the date on which it let the contract, after which, of course, nothing further could be done. One month was allowed, the Municipal Council did not reply and the Department went ahead and let the contract, so the matter is concluded; it is a fait accompli - finish.
I consider this a pretty high-handed way of proceeding, especially since the electorate involved is that of Warringah, and it so happens, due to the sad death not so long ago of our good friend Mr. Jack Cockle, that there is no member for Warringah at the present time to protest on behalf not only of the people of the area but also of other people who are concerned with the preservation of what remains of the beauty and amenities of Sydney Harbour, it is for these two reasons that I speak: First because there is no member for the district in question, and I think that to push this through in one month when there is no member representing the electorate is bad. The second reason why I stand here is that I am concerned for Sydney Harbour as such, even though my electorate does not touch the shores of the Harbour. This is a pretty arrogant way of proceeding. The Minister told me: “ Well, some years ago North Sydney Council expressed no opposition to this area being zoned as a service area” - whatever that means; I would call it industrial. It may be that municipal councils are not as alive to their responsibilities in these matters as they should be. Maybe the citizens of Sydney have too little sense of the heritage that they have, and the obligation to preserve these things. Nevertheless I do not think a Minister should be entitled to decide that because a local governing body has not made a complaint from the beginning, or because the people of Sydney have too little sense of their responsibilities in this regard, the convenience of a Government department should take precedence over all other considerations.
There are 21 sites owned by the Commonwealth Government around Sydney Harbour. The North Sydney Council itself has agreed to find another site in Lavender Bay, where Luna Park is established, and which is the kind of area where you could establish some such thing as this. But Neutral Bay is one of the most beautiful little coves in Sydney Harbour. My friend the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Chaney) is in the chamber now, and I point out that he has done his best to ruin Neutral Bay with his submarine base. The Minister will tell me that there has been a gasworks there for many years. That is true; but my information is that with the advent of natural gas the gasworks will in 10 years time become obsolete and superfluous. Meanwhile the Government of New South Wales has preserved the opposite headland of Neutral Bay. It resumed Kurraba Point when the developers proposed to ruin it. It has been made into a park. Just at the time when this beautiful little cove - and that is what it is - was going to get out of its industrial bondage, when something had been done about the opposite headland, when the gasworks was about to go, the Department of Customs and Excise stepped in and said: “This is the only place for a boatshed for our antismuggling launches. We have only been using it since 1963, and there could not be any other place; after all, there was a boatshed there during the war, so it is quite ali right for us to build another one. It will be a nice building.”
There was a famous lawgiver in Greece, named Solon, who once said that justice was only possible when all were as coa*cerned as much about injuries to others as they would be about injuries to themselves. This proposal does not concern an injury to me or my constituents. But it is wrong, and I put on record the arrogant manner in which the Department has proceeded. I have brought it to light. True, the caravan will move on although the dogs bark; and so I bark. But it may be that the opportunity will come at some time when the dogs that bark about this kind of thing will be able to bite.
.- On numerous occasions in this House honorable members from all parties have spoken on decentralisation. The subject is listed on the notice paper under General Business. The motion was moved by the honorable member for Bendigo (Mr. Beaton) and the debate on it was adjourned on 29th April, 1965. The motion states -
That this House notes with grave concern -
The abnormal concentration of nearly 60 per cent of Australia’s population in the five mainland Slate capitals.
The overwhelming concentration of defence and other key industries in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Port Kembla.
The serious social problems confronting country communities as the result of lack of employment opportunities for young men and women leaving school.
That more than onethird of the total population of Australia is centred in Sydney and Melbourne, and recommends to the Government as a matter of extreme urgency-
This matter was last dealt with in April 1965- in the interests of balanced development and defence that -
And then the motion refers to certain matters. Amongst them is the question of concessions in individual, company, sales or other taxation to encourage such industries. I wish to speak on sales tax. In about May 1964 a committee was appointed under the chairmanship of Sir Louis Loder to investigate freight problems, particularly in northern Australia, and to present a report on the subject to the Government. I understand that the work of the Loder Committee has been completed but as yet its report has not been presented to this Parliament or made public. On the matter of freights it is possible that some relief can be given by way of concessions. It is certain that the Commonwealth can do something in this regard by way of concessions on sales tax. In many instances this tax is levied on the last wholesale price, and this is having a substantial effect on industry in provincial cities. Where there is a wholesaler in a large provincial city he must charge freight on the goods he sells and must add it to the price he charges the retailer. Sales tax is then added to that price containing freight. Of course the retailer passes the charge on to the consumer.
This is reacting against decentralisation. Not only does this mean an increased cost to the people living in outer areas; in many instances manufacturers, in order to cut costs to consumers, are sending salesmen to the provincial towns and are selling direct from the factory. I will refer to Maryborough particularly to show the result of this. In that city there were three wholesalers trading in grocery lines and in liquor and spirits. Now there remains only one, and he deals mainly in liquor and spirits. Both the others have had to close down because of the competition in these lines from the manufacturers. In Maryborough they employed a staff of about 120, including travelling salesmen who moved round the country areas. This avenue of employment has been lost to the people involved. I cite this as only one instance of what is happening throughout our country towns and provincial cities where wholesalers formerly operated. I mentioned liquor. In Queensland the licence fee on liquor is based on the wholesale price - the price that the licensee pays to the warehouse, the manufacturer’s agent or the brewer. In Queensland some three years ago the licence fees were increased by about21/4 per cent. To offset this Carlton and United Breweries closed down its distributing agency in Maryborough and employed salesmen to sell its beer at the Brisbane price. This reduced to some extent the licence fee paid by the hotel keeper, but it did not mean a reduction in the price to the consumer.
Hie motor vehicle is a very important commodity to people living in outer areas. It has become a necessity. People living in northern Australia, furthest from the point of manufacture, have to pay higher sales tax upon their vehicles than the people of Sydney or Melbourne who live close to the point of manufacture. It costs $100 to transport a car from Brisbane to Townsville. The purchaser of a utility has to pay 25 per cent, sales tax on that freight charge of SI 00.
I wish to deal briefly now with the question of motor vehicles and how Australian exporters of motor vehicles have been held to ransom - I believe, because Australia has not entered into the overseas shipping freight. It was interesting to read in today’s “ Australian “ this statement -
Australia’s Chrysler Valiant entered the first day of the- Earl’s Court Motor Show today with $250 ofl’ i-,5 top price and its first sale of the show . . . The first Valiant sold was to the chief buyer of the British Coa! Board.
He had owned a Humber Snipe but he told the Valiant sales’ staff he wanted something different.
This is a very good breakthrough. But the Chrysler-Rootes group, which also makes the Humber, has found that it costs 30 per cent, more to send a Valiant car to the United Kingdom than it costs to ship a Humber, which is about the same size as the V. liant, from the United Kingdom to Australia. Why is this? Perhaps the reason is to be found in this article which appeared in “ The Australian Financial Review “ of Friday, 1 6th September 1966 -
The Australian Meat Board yesterday accused the Federal Exporters’ Overseas Transport Commit ee of ‘yielding to pressure” and “reversing a previous unanimous decision “ in agreeing to differential freight increases on Australian exports to Britain and Europe . . .
The chairman of the Meat Board, Mr. J. L. Shute said the Board had reluctantly agreed to approve a 10 per cent, freight increase on meat exports to these countries.
Mr. Shute is also reported as having said -
From the information available, the Board believes that F.E.O.T.C. yielded to pressure at a time when a united stand might have brought more acceptable results.
It is pleasing to note that the chairman of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, Captain Williams, suggests in the Commission’s annual report that the time might be right for Australia to enter into the overseas shipping trade. But he does this in a very cautious manner. Perhaps he has been encouraged to some extent to make this suggestion by the recent statements of the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) about establishing an Australian overseas shipping line. After referring to freight differentials, he makes what might be interpreted as a recommendation that shipowners be allowed to write off a greater amount for depreciation than the present maximum of 5 per cent. Everyone will admit that it is not possible to run a carrying business profitably today by using T-Model Fords or A-Model Fords or the old type of blitz-waggons, Modern trucks must be employed. This is true also of shipping. The average age of ships belonging to the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission has increased from eight years in 1958 to 10.1 years in 1966. It is interesting to recall that one of the oldest ships -
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
– I am sorry that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) is not in the House at the moment. I had the requisite notice sent to him through his Whip that I proposed to raise a matter in which the honorable member would he interested, and I was hoping that he would be present. I am sorry that he is not. I want to refer to a sequence of events and to try to bring before the House the implications of those events.
Some years ago, the Australian Government sent to Vietnam a complete dairy set-up to provide milk for the children of Saigon. This was part of the civil aid which we give to Vietnam and which, of course, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) explained earlier this morning, is coordinate with our military aid. That dairy which was set up at Ben Cat, was destroyed by Communist and Vietcong action. There is no need for me to rehearse again the particulars of this event. They were given in some detail in this House on 28th September by the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Armstrong).
It was important to the Communist propaganda campaign that these events should be misrepresented. One of the things that the Communists are endeavouring to do. of course, is to induce political parties in Australia to sponsor the thesis that we should withdraw all military aid from Vietnam and give only civilian aid; but, in order for this to be plausible, it is necessary that the Communists should be able to put forward the thesis that civilian aid, by itself, is enough. Honorable members will see, therefore, the Communist interest in endeavouring to cover up the truth about the destruction of this dairy.
I am glad to see that the honorable member for Eden-Monaro is now in the chamber. The true story of the destruction of this dairy at Ben Cat gives the lie direct to the Communist propaganda that is being fed into other political parties and which is directed to the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam. The Communists in Vietnam desire, of course, to impoverish the civil population and to disorganise the Government. Naturally, when there was an attempt on our part to provide milk for the children of Saigon, the Communists wanted to destroy the dairy. And they did so. The honorable member for Riverina has given the House full details of the way in which this was done.
In one way or another, it was important for the Communists to spread the lie that this dairy was destroyed not by them but by the Americans. This was a propaganda lie and no doubt, it was put out in various subtle ways. I cannot trace its full origin. Very often these things are most effectively put out by the Communists through their grapevine. They are disseminated through Communist whispers and talk. If possible they try to find people who will talk to influential people to spread these lies. In one way or another, this allegation was put forward, and it was put forward in the Communists’ interest to the effect that the destruction of the dairy at Ben Cat was due to American bombing. It was false, of course, but it paid off from the Communist point of view. It may well be that people who had been talking to Communists or Communist agents accepted this story at its face value as being bona fide and believed it to be true. That is entirely possible. Communist propaganda is very often like this.
I come now to the events in this House on 27th September last. The honorable member for Eden-Monaro, perhaps believing what he had been told either directly or indirectly, and so believing that what he was saying was true, was moved to attack the anti-Communists and to sponsor in this House the lie that the destruction of the dairy at Ben Cat was due to American action. H« may not have known at the time that this was a lie. He may have been putting forward Communist propaganda in all good faith. But what he said was, nonetheless, false. I am not suggesting, nor can I suggest at this stage, of course, that he knew then it was false.
What happened next is important. The honorable member for Riverina then gave in this House full details to show that this Communist story was false. In another place, a Minister, Senator Gorton, on behalf of the Government, gave the details again. It was intimated by me later the same week in this House that the honorable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer) had firsthand information of this. There was thus no doubt to any reasonable man that the story was false. What did the honorable member for Eden-Monaro do? Did he inquire from these people whether the story was false or whether it was true? So far as I can understand, he made no attempt to go to any of these sources. Apparently he was not concerned. He must have known that if the story was false he had acted in this House, either wittingly or unwittingly, on behalf of the Communists - that he had acted in this House in a way that was prejudicial to the security of Australia and that, unwittingly perhaps, he had acted as an enemy agent.
If the honorable member had been really bona fide in this matter, what would he have done? He would have gone to the people concerned. He would have tried to check the story. He would at least have endeavoured to find out where the truth lay. Having found out the truth, he would have come into this House and made a retraction in order to try to undo some of the harm that he had done to his country - to Australia and to the Australians fighting in Vietnam - the harm he had done by repeating, perhaps unwittingly, a Communist lie. But he did not do any of these things. When the matter was raised in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of the House, he was given a chance to reply, to retract, to withdraw, to try to undo the harm that he had done to Australia. The Government Whip went over to the Opposition Whip and asked whether the honorable member for Eden-Monaro, who was then in the chamber, wanted to speak. It was said that he did not want to speak, and he has not spoken on the matter since.
Why is this? Let us give the honorable member for Eden-Monaro the benefit of the doubt. Let us say that when he sponsored a Communist lie in this House he did not know what he was doing - that he believed that the story was true, though in fact it was false. But when he got conclusive evidence to the contrary, backed by full detail, he made no retraction. He made no withdrawal. He made no amends. He did not even make an inquiry to find out whether there was any substance in the story that he had told. I put it to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro that this is dishonorable conduct on his part.
Silting suspended from 12.44 to 2.15 p.m.
.- I would like to bring to the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Swartz) a matter on which I have spoken on previous occasions in this House. I refer to the provision of an airport for Newcastle. My representations in this regard have to date met with little success. This Government has failed to provide an adequate civil airport to meet the requirements of Newcastle, which is the sixth largest city in the Commonwealth. The Government has continually hedged on this matter. In 1952-53 it purchased an area of land in the Hexham swamp which was to be the Newcastle civil airport. Unfortunately, shortly after purchasing that land the Government introduced the local ownership scheme which made local government authorities responsible for the construction and maintenance of airports other than those owned by the Commonwealth. So Newcastle missed out on having an airport owned and controlled by the Commonwealth. It has had to provide its own airport.
In 1957 it was estimated that the cost of constructing an airport at Newcastle would be about $2.5 million. With the increase in costs since 1957, the up to date figure would be about S4 million. The Government has not been prepared to accept the responsibility of providing an airport at Newcastle. Recently an alternative scheme was put before the Minister. Under this scheme the cost will be about 3500,000. A firm estimate has not been taken out. Since July last year the Newcastle City Council has been trying to get from the Minister for Civil Aviation a decision as regards the allocation of air space in and around Newcastle, having in mind that the Williamtown Air Force base is reasonably close to the site at Hexham. The House will recall that last week I asked a question about the allocation of air space near Newcastle and the Minister told me that his Department and the Royal Australian Air Force were negotiating on the matter. How much longer do they want? They have had since July 1965 to indicate whether air space can be allocated. If the Minister and the Air Force consider that the proximity of the Hexham site to the Williamtown base will make conditions at a civil airport at Hexham unsafe and that therefore air space cannot be allocated, why do they not say so, thus giving the local authority an opportunity to look for an alternative site and enabling the Government to dispose of the land which it purchased some years ago? The Government should make a decision on this matter immediately. It should not need to wait for 15 months.
I have made representations to the Minister for Civil Aviation on behalf of a number of organisations on various occasions. The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce wrote to me on 4th October. Next day I forwarded the correspondence to the Minister. The Chamber of Commerce drew my attention, and that of the Minister, to the fact that recently the Australian Gas Association held an annual conference in Newcastle at which it stressed that the lack of air transport to and from Newcastle militated against attracting conventions of that kind to the city. The same thing can be said of the Metal Trades Employers Association, which earlier this year wrote to me stating that its members were faced with considerable expense and inconvenience in having to travel interstate and intrastate to attend conferences associated with the metal trades in Newcastle. So there is any amount of support for a civil airport in Newcastle instead of the present arrangement. At present, only one aircraft is allowed out of Williamtown in the morning and one allowed in at night. An aircraft leaves Sydney at 8.25 p.m., arriving at Newcastle at 8.50 p.m. This principle of local ownership is unfair. Why should the Commonwealth be responsible for the construction and maintenance of 122 airports throughout Australia while 524 are owned by local authorities or are private airfields? Of those 524 I think the major proportion are privately owned.
What are the prospects of a local council making a go of running an airport? In 1962-63 receipts from air navigation charges amounted to only 8.9 per cent, of the total cost of operating government owned air fields. In 1963-64 the figure was 10.2 per cent. In 1964-65 it was 10.7 per cent. In the next year it was 13 per cent. It is anticipated that this year receipts from air navigation charges will meet only 14.5 per cent, of the total cost of providing airports and airport facilities throughout Australia. A number of cities have government owned airports. I do not propose to mention them all. There are 120 of them. J cannot see why places like Townsviile. Mackay and Whyalla should have government owned airports while Newcastle cannot have one. The latest report of the Department of Civil Aviation gives details of airport expenditures. Expenditure on Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport will amount to $43 million. Expenditure on the Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne will amount to $40 million. Expenditure last year on Cairns Airport amounted to $1.1 million. Expenditure on Launceston Airport will amount to $3.8 million. Expenditure on Hobart Airport will amount to $1.1 million. The estimated cost of work being carried out on Perth Airport is S690.000. Work on Brisbane Airport was completed during last year at a cost of $300,000. Expenditure last year on Moorabbin Airport amounted to $70,000. During last year, an expenditure of $400,000 was incurred on Bankstown Airport, which is not even a principal capital city airport. All of this money is Commonwealth money. Either the Government should accept responsibility for all civil airports in the Commonwealth or it should throw the onus completely on to local authorities. There is no reason why the Commonwealth should provide airports for Sydney, Melbourne,
Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth but should insist that other cities provide their airports out of local revenue. This is unfair. Civil aviation is a Commonwealth responsibility. The Commonwealth should accept full responsibility in the matter and provide airports where they are obviously needed.
Last week in the House the Chairman of the Public Works Committee tabled a report which disclosed that the Committee had recommended an expenditure of $1.3 million for extensions to Coolangatta Airport. Why? What does Coolangatta do for the development of Australia? Has it the same potential as has Newcastle? Does it play the same role in the development of this country as does Newcastle? Coolangatta is no more than a holiday resort. Yet this Government is prepared to spend $1.3 million of taxpayers’ money in providing recreation facilities.
I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation to give serious consideration to the matter of providing an airport in Newcastle at a cost at this stage of only $500,000. The provision of an adequate airport at Newcastle is long overdue. An airport will meet a long felt need of people who wish to travel to and from that city. People travelling from Melbourne to Newcastle experience considerable difficulty. The latest plane they can take leaves Melbourne at 9.40 a.m. They arrive at Newcastle at 3.30 p.m. after travelling from Sydney to Newcastle by train. People travelling from Brisbane to Newcastle by air leave at 7.25 a.m. and arrive at 3.30 p.m. by train. The Minister for Defence (Mr. Fairhall) and the honorable members for Hunter (Mr. James) and Shortland (Mr. Griffiths) and I leave here to return to our electorates on Friday morning, but honorable members who leave at the same time to travel to Western Australia arrive in Perth long before we arrive in Newcastle, even when the difference in time is taken into account. Honorable members arrive in Perth at 2.30 in the afternoon; we do not arrive in Newcastle until 3.30 in the afternoon by train. This anomaly in air travel exists today only through the failure of the Government to provide adequate airports for the country as a whole and for all the major cities in particular.
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- This afternoon, I want to refer to a matter that highlights a danger that we on this side of the House have been pointing to for quite some time. This is the danger of people in public office being critical of a policy or of events without having a full understanding and a full realisation of all the factors. We on the Government side of the House do not deny to anyone in Australia the right to express opinions; out we have, I am afraid, seen many instances of people in responsible positions making comments without this full realisation and appreciation of all the factors. I refer to a letter that appeared in quite a number of Australian newspapers, signed by four Ministers of religion. It relates to the visit to Australia of President Johnson. The letter appears under the heading “ L.B.J.’s visit ill-timed “, and reads -
Sir, - We respect the President of the United States, but we regard his visit as ill-timed and open to misconstruction.
The President’s journey and the Manila Conference seem to by-pass the United Nations while its General Assembly is in session.
The Australian people dislike external gestures that seem calculated to cloud ‘ their judgment in a national election by the waving of another country’s flag.
Australia’s relationship with the United States at this time must be friendly but critical, not fulsome and uncritical.
I will comment on these three points in reverse order. The third point has been referred to by quite a number of people. I think it is almost an insult to the people of the United States.
– And to the people of Australia.
– As my colleague points out, it is also an insult to the people of Australia. I have had a number of visits to the United States of America and on two occasions I was there for some time. On both occasions, I have had open and frank discussions with many people in responsible positions and on each occasion I have had open discussions on matters in which I have been critical of the policy of the United States. Whilst I say that we are extremely fortunate to have the United States as a friend of Australia, I think that the people of the United States and those in authority there would not be flattered if they thought we merely accepted anything and everything they did without any comment or criticism. 1 believe that this should be made perfectly plain to those who do not have a full appreciation of the position. I would suggest also, if I may, that these people read the outstanding editorial that was published in the “ Sunday Telegraph “ in Sydney last Sunday. The words and thoughts expressed in that editorial were a reminder to us of the position and should have been a reminder to some people in other sections of the Australian community.
I think the comment that the Australian people “ dislike external gestures that seem calculated to cloud their judgment in a national election by the waving of another country’s flag”, is an insult to the Australian people. The President of the United States is on his way to a conference in Manila. He has extended to us the courtesy of visiting Australia on the way to visit Manila. It just happens that the visit coincides with a certain political event in this country. The judgment of the people in my electorate, and in the rest of Australia, would not be coloured by the visit nor would the visit change their views on the policy of the Australian Government. I think that, to suggest it would, is absolutely uncalled for.
I come to the main factor and this is contained in the first point in the letter. I remind the authors of the letter that the conference at Manila was suggested by the President of the. Philippines and that it was strongly supported by Thailand, South Korea and other Asian countries. On many occasions, the point has been made that the Government should be most careful not to offend the people in Asia and that we should co-operate with them. I emphasise that the conference at Manila is being called on the initiative of the President of the Philippines. It is only right and proper that the President of the United States should be associated with it and that we in Australia should also participate. As most honorable members know, it was my privilege just a short while ago to attend the Second General Assembly of the Asian Parliamentarians Union. At that Assembly, I was gratified at the expressions of appreciation for the part that Australia is playing in the Asian area and for the contribution that we are making to the progress and development of the area. Many members at the Assembly expressed to me their full appreciation of Australia’s efforts. I had a most interesting and, I might say, educational time at the Assembly. We were able to discuss matters concerning this area.
The point I want to emphasise is that, to my mind, this is a further illustration of the fact that sometimes people who come out perhaps with all the good intentions in the world are mistaken. As I say, I do not deny the right of any individual to criticise; but this letter to my mind is a further indication of the danger that can be created to the future safety and security of Australia by people who make broad general statements without a full appreciation of all the factors. I am sure that all right thinking people will express their appreciation of the initiative of the President of the Philippines in trying to arrange the conference at Manila, and in succeeding in his efforts. Delegates to the conference no doubt will discuss matters relating to the situation in Vietnam and to the problems of the whole of the Asian area. 1 was extremely pleased to know that the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) and the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) will attend the conference. This can only enhance the prestige of Australia.
.- This afternoon I want to speak about aged persons’ homes. When I returned from overseas, I was very disappointed to find that nothing had been done to alleviate the conditions of pensioners in my electorate and in other electorates throughout the Commonwealth. I spoke to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Sinclair) on several occasions and I had every hope that the Aged Persons Homes Act would bc amended to enable councils, such as city councils and county councils, throughout the whole of Australia to give land in their areas to organisations that were willing to build homes for the aged. For some reason or other any other organisation can give money and land to help provide homes for the aged, but not councils. Councils would have an interest in helping to provide such homes. Elderly people do not want to come from the bush down to West
Sydney, nor do they want to go from West Sydney to the bush, so it would be better if the councils were allowed to help the establishment of homes for the aged by donating land. Once the land was donated there would be no trouble at all in collecting money to construct the homes. If organisations interested in providing such homes have to obtain sites in West Sydney or surrounding areas the cost is out of the question. Many organisations have promised to help my association in establishing homes for the aged. The New South Wales Trotting Association is ready to help by holding additional trotting meetings to raise finance, provided it can obtain the consent of the appropriate New South Wales Minister.
– There is nothing to stop the council giving the land.
– The council cannot give the land.
– It can give the land if it wants to do so.
– The honorable member should know, because he has been tinkering about with the legislation for the last five years. However, nothing has been done. I will take the honorable member to the Sydney City Council which will tell him that it cannot give the land. It has land, and it has offered it to the association I represent so that homes for the aged can be built on it, but the council has been prevented from giving the land. This makes it extremely difficult for organisations which are willing to help not only in raising finance but in conducting the homes. We do have one home in Glebe that the City Council assisted in establishing. The council purchased the property for £10,000 and my association raised another £10,000 to renovate the property. Some 80 to 90 people are now living happily there in nice accommodation.
The University of Sydney has taken over 18 acres in Darlington, which is in my electorate, and 224 pensioners have been dislodged from their homes. In most instances the pensioners occupied single rooms. The University approached the property owners and said: “It will be worth £400 to £500 for you to clear out and let us have the property”. This happened in several instances. Terraces of homes were purchased in Glebe Road by another company. I tried to protect the tenants. I went from house to house and found out that 27 pensioner tenants were affected. They had no money to buy homes. They had to pay rent from their pensions. A representative of the company came along and said: “ We have bought these places “. I said: “ What is going to happen to the pensioners? “ He said: “ If they do not get out within a reasonable time we will put the bulldozers through the places “. This is the sort of thing we have to put up with because of the New South Wales Liberal Government, which is a branch of this Government.
– They are all the same.
– I hope there is some way out of the situation, and 1 will speak to the honorable member later. Perhaps he knows of a way out. Within 12 months we hope to have a home in Glebe to accommodate at least 100 women. We have the means, and the organising ability to proceed with the project if the council is allowed to give us the land. However, the present law prevents the council from doing this. Before I went to Canada I asked the Minister for .Social Services to do something about this situation. But what did he do while I was away? He did not amend the law, so it is the same now as it was before I went away. I guess it was no good expecting him to do anything. However, if the Government, even at this late stage, would see the point and do something it would relieve the situation in many areas.
I know that nearly every religious organisation in Sydney which becomes possessed of land can approach the Government and get £300,000 or £400,000. They are able to do this simply because they have the ground on which to build. They can get money from the Government and can go into business straight away; but not so an organisation that has no money but which is prepared to look after the poor unfortunate people in our community who each year have to beg to get an extra Si a week in their pension. That $1 disappears in about 10 different ways. The landlord increases his rent by 20c or 25c a week and every shopkeeper increases his prices. After the last one dollar increase had thus disappeared the New South Wales
Liberal Government, which promised that fares would be reduced if it were elected, increased public transport fares. There have been two fare increases in the last 10 months. How on earth can pensioners hope to continue to live when half their pension goes in paying for a room and they are penniless for most of the week? The Sydney City Council has done a good job. It has built centres in about 12 areas that supply meals to pensioners. At these centres pensioners can get a three-course meal for 2s. This helps tide them over. But accommodation is badly needed. If the Minister could do something about the situation and we could get the O.K. for land we could go into business.
Last Friday I spoke about the Glebe Post Office, which is the greatest scandal ever perpetrated on any people, lt was built in the centre of an area containing 22,000 people. The nearest other post office is one mile away. A pensioner Jiving down the road has to pay 9d. for a bus fare to go to the Glebe Post Office to buy a stamp and when he gels there he is lucky if he can get inside the door. In the post office there are about three rooms containing about 15 workers. If the Minister comes to my electorate, or if he sends someone down there, I will show him the Glebe Post Office. We hear much about how easy it is to rob banks-
– Order! The honorable member’s time has expired.
.- I did not think I would have the opportunity to speak during this grievance debate. 1 was prepared - indeed I was warned - to allow the honorable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr. Allan Fraser) to speak if he desired to reply to the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth). However, he is not here.
– He has not got a reply.
– Perhaps so. In the short time available to me I wish to make a plea to the Prime Minister’s Department and to the Public Service Board on behalf of people who suffer from various afflictions which prejudice their obtaining employment. I speak particularly of such people as diabetics. I am sure that you are aware, Mr.
Speaker, that a campaign has been put forward under the auspices of the World Health Organisation for a diabetics week throughout Australia and, indeed, throughout the world in which the public are encouraged to come along and be tested to see whether they are suffering from this malady. The response throughout Australia has been quite considerable. 1 think it should be recognised that this disease has increased very considerably right throughout the world. Science has not been able to find out why this is, but the figures which are now coming in from surveys conducted in various areas have revealed quite an alarming increase in this malady. Surveys carried out quite recently in both Goulburn, I think it was, and Toowoomba showed that the figures were considerable. The important thing is that this is a matter which may affect us all. 1 could sit at home and do nothing about this because 1 am all right. If I adopted a policy of “ I’m all right Jack “ I would say nothing. Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. Because I was elected to the Parliament and have served for a sufficient time I am entitled to a pension, but other diabetics and children who may become afflicted with the disease are not in the same fortunate situation. I would like to say to every honorable member, and to every member of the public, that from the figures it appears that before long there will be few families who will not have some member, however distant it may be, who is afflicted with this malady.
The important point is that medical science has now moved so far forward that the disease is nothing more than a nuisance factor and it should not prevent anybody leading a completely normal life and taking up any normal occupation. I am not suggesting that a diabetic would necessarily make a good steeplejack where he could be on top of the highest towers. This would not make sense. However, 1 am suggesting that in my opinion there is a duty on the Commonwealth Public Service and the Commonwealth Government of Australia to show some signs that it is prepared to encourage people who have - I do not call it a disability - this nuisance factor to obtain full employment and to live a normal life. Every encouragement should be given by the greatest employment agency in Aus tralia because medical science has enabled diabetics to live a normal life. I feel that there is a responsibility on the Government to set an example and to ensure that diabetics are encouraged to live such a life instead of being forced on to a pension, whether it is the invalid pension or any other kind of pension. But this situation could occur at the present time.
I recall that when 1 first obtained employment everybody said, “ Yes, you look healthy enough “, but when they found that 1 was a diabetic it became very difficult indeed. In that situation, if a person was lucky enough to have a father or someone else who could exert influence, the employer would say: “ Yes, we will employ you, but of course you cannot be put on the superannuation scheme “. For almost 30 years, so far as 1 and many hundreds of thousands of others are concerned, we have not been able to get the security of a superannuation scheme, although we have had regular employment. Many diabetics have been in the same job for nigh on 30 or 40 years. I can understand that perhaps the Public Service Board wishes to protect the Superannuation Fund and does not want to take what was once regarded as a poor risk, but science has changed this today, if one looks at the figures which are available one finds that it is in the age group from 45 years onwards that the great number of diabetics are being found.
A person employed at 18 years of age may be employed by the Public Service and, at the age of 40 or 45 years, it could well be found that he is a diabetic. In that situation he is not sacked; his employment continues. He is capable of being employed until he reaches the retiring age of 60 or 65 years. Therefore, why should not the Public Service accept a young person who has this malady but is capable of carrying out a job in the civil service. After all, it does not take very much in the way of physical prowess, so far as I can see, to sit at an office desk and to do the things that are required in civil administration. Let such a man come into the civil service; let him go forward and seek advantage and advancement and all that he can attain because he is quite capable of doing the job. On the records he will not have as much absenteeism as perhaps some others have through other maladies such as influenza, brewers’ elbow or whatever it may be that a person suffers from. Perhaps it would be a good idea if in respect- of these people the Commonwealth Government decided that rather than pay them invalid pensions, rather than say that they are outcasts in respect of employment in the Commonwealth Service, it could pay in addition to a diabetics subscription to the Superannuation Fund a loading to the Fund so that it is not depreciated. I do not think that it would be depreciated.
What I am now saying does not apply to diabetics alone; there are other similar maladies. A case which was reported to me involved a young boy who had sought employment with the National Library. His case was investigated and it was found that he had the ability and the educational qualifications. At that stage he was the only man they could get for the job. But it was discovered that he was a mild epileptic. Seemingly that was enough for them to say that he was finished and could .tol take the job which, up to that lime, he had been regarded as capable of performing. We know that epileptics may have a mild attack perhaps once a year or perhaps twice a year, but anybody who knows how to treat the condition knows that it is only a passing phase. The attack takes 10 minutes and the boy is then quite capable of returning to his work and carrying on. I should just like briefly to read what thi World Health Organisation said in 1965 at page 31 of a report on diabetes -
The Committee viewed with dismay the restrictions in many countries hindering the employment of diabetics. All too often these restrictions are purely negative and are based on prejudice or ill-informed opinion about the effect of diabetes on a person’s working ability or capacity. This Injustice is perpetuated and even increased by the tendency to regard all diabetics as a group of patients with identical characteristics. This is bound up with the mistake of failing to distinguish between mild cases and cases under proper medical control on the one hand and uncooperative, uncontrolled cases on the other. The Committee urged strongly that a much more liberal attitude of mind be adopted, which should sim at eliminating the discrimination against diabetics that has arisen simply on diagnostic grounds.
I suggest, as was said to me by one very learned doctor, that perhaps the only way to get acceptance for diabetics in the Public Service and other such organisations is one day to have a Prime Minister of Australia or a Leader of the Opposition suddenly stricken and becoming a diabetic. I suggest that then we may get more humane attitudes, which I suggest will come within a number of years.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 19th October (vide page 1969), on motion by Mr. McMahon -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- The Bill to grant financial’ assistance to Western Australia and Tasmania gives effect to the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission under the Commonwealth Grants Commission Act 1933-1957. These funds are paid to the claimant States of Western Australia and Tasmania for disabilities under Federation and to enable them to discharge their responsibilities on somewhat equal terms with the principal States of the Commonwealth. I put it to the House that it would be impossible to consider the problems of Western Australia and Tasmania without having regard to the overall problem of Commonwealth and State relationships and the condition of all States of the Federation. To attempt to consider the affairs of Tasmania and Western Australia in isolation from those of the other States would be completely unreal. It would not give an appropriate picture for the consideration of questions of the kind with which the House is now concerned. The capacity of the States to discharge their duties to the people of those States is a matter that is interwoven with the whole principle of Federation. Since Federation, and certainly since the uniform taxation system has been in operation, I doubt whether the representatives of the States have ever left any Premiers’ Conference satisfied that they have received fair treatment. The States have constantly protested about difficulties encountered at Premiers’ Conferences and meetings of the Australian Loan Council. They have argued that they have been unable to discharge their responsibilities to the people because of the
Inadequacy of the funds made available by the Commonwealth. I am not debating the merits of these arguments at this stage; I merely state that there is dissatisfaction.
After each Premiers’ Conference we hear charges and counter charges. Complaints are constantly made about the treatment received by the States. We all remember reading in the newspapers about how the Premier of Victoria, in an arrangement behind the Chair with the former Prime Minister, was able to obtain additional funds, thus greatly displeasing the Premiers of the other States. Special consideration is given to the problems of the claimant States of Tasmania and Western Australia, but we find that New South Wales and Victoria, the two most populous States, are dissatisfied with their financial arrangements with the Commonwealth and have sought special private discussions with the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) to consider their own needs.
All of this suggests to me, as 1 believe it must to other honorable members, that the lime has arrived for a new look at the problem of Commonwealth-State relationships. We should try to discover what is i .-quired to prepare a satisfactory blueprint tor the distribution of revenue in Australia, having regard to the overall development of the nation. 1 have before me a document giving details of Commonwealth payments to or for the States. It is an excellent publication which was made available with the Budget documents. It indicates a growing trend for the Commonwealth, quite apart from distributing tax reimbursements to the States, to increase the amounts given to the States under Section 96 of the Constitution. In 1951-52, grants for specific purposes were made, payments of a revenue nature amounting to $12,266,000. In 1965-66 these payments were $38,839,000, and the estimate for the current year is $44,647,000. Specific purpose grants of a capital nature in 1951-52 amounted to $8,629,000. Added to the payments of a revenue nature, this gave a total of $20,895,000 as against $110,617,000 for the combined payments of revenue and capital nature for the year 1965-66 and an estimated total of $122,972,000 for the year 1966-67.
These figures clearly indicate a trend in Commonwealth-State relationships. Despite the distribution of taxation revenues, increasing amounts are being made available to the States in this other direction. Some thought should be given to the question why these moneys are being provided, ls it part of a co-ordinated plan? Is it the result of a careful consideration of the needs of the States, or are these payments made simply for various specific purposes? In most instances these grants are for special purposes, such as for universities or for colleges of advanced education. I believe it is necessary for the Commonwealth to keep a very tight rein on these grants. I think the States should be clearly told that if money is made available for a particular purpose it must be used for that purpose. Perhaps this is a proposition that people who believe in State rights would reject, but if the Commonwealth is to find the money for specific purposes it has a responsibility to see that the money is used for those purposes. I note that among these purposes there is a reference to softwood planting. Until recently New South Wales had taken no action to implement a policy in relation to this activity.
The votes we are considering at present are provided for Tasmania and Western Australia because of the special disabilities of those States. The report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission for 1966, which contains recommendations for which this Bill gives legal sanction, provides that $4,706,000 should be made available to Western Australia as a completion grant, together with an advance grant of $14,700,000, giving a combined total of $19,406,000. In the case of Tasmania the completion grant recommended is $1,166,000 and the advance grant $19,500,000, making a total for that State of $20,666,000. So we see a total of $40,072,000 that is being provided through the legislation that is now before us.
I submit to the House that there is a need for a new approach to the distribution of taxation revenues. The claimant States are not satisfied. Western Australia is exceedingly displeased that it has not been given enough funds to enable it to proceed with the development of the major undertaking on the Ord River. It wants extra money in order to carry out this development, which it claims is a legitimate activity for the State of Western Australia. There is general dissatisfaction because the Commonwealth has not provided additional funds to enable Western Australia to proceed with a co-ordinated plan for the development of the Ord district. I think that the way out would be for the Commonwealth to establish a north Australia authority and accept full financial responsibility, and then proceed with this work without regard to the internal financial arrangements of Western Australia as a claimant State. Western Australia’s problems as a claimant State could receive separate consideration and annual votes decided upon in conformity with the recommendations of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Major tasks such as the development of the Ord could receive special attention, as could the great problems of the development of Queensland.
These are reasonable submissions that I put to the House. I do suggest that this is a course that should be followed. A new approach should be made to the requirements of the States and the requirements in the broad sense of the whole nation. Determinations can be made on such matters only after the fullest possible information has been gathered. We have before us the excellent report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I would like to place on record my appreciation of the activity of the Commission in compiling this report and in presenting to honorable members, and to the community, a document of very great value. But if a wider consideration is to bc given to these problems, further information is required. Above all it is necessary for the Commonwealth to determine what course it intends to take - not the hit and miss method of doing something this year in the field of education, the development of the brigalow lands, or the construction of beef roads - to co-ordinate the plan for national development, economic expansion and the balanced growth in Australia. It is necessary to consider all the reports that are available. These include the Vernon Committee report, which is of very great value, the beef roads report and the Loder Committee report on transport costs in the north of Australia. All of these reports should be made available and considered.
Another matter of tremendous interest to people throughout Australia, and to the governments of the claimant States in particular, is the activities of the joint committee of Federal and State officers on decentralisation. This is a matter we hear little about. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen) described decentralisation as the “ slow boat to China “ in his famous Echuca speech. The activities of this committee on decentralisation are of great significance. I regret very much that those activities have not been speeded up. Another matter which should receive further attention from the Parliament - and no doubt the Deputy Prime Minister, who is Minister for Trade and Industry, is giving attention to it - is the survey into decentralisation by the officers of the Department of Trade and Industry. I hope that all these reports will be presented, that the Parliament will have information on these topics and that honorable members will be able to consider national needs in a more intelligent and meaningful way.
The honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Ian Allan) has put to the House on numerous occasions the question of doing something about the Darling River. The Minister for Conservation in New South Wales has drawn marks all over a map of the Darling River and its tributaries to indicate where he would have weirs for water storage. But nothing happens. We cannot get round to this work unless there is a new approach to the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States. These are subject matters that I think should receive very careful consideration by the Government. So far as education is concerned, we had the reports of the Murray Committee and the Martin Committee which provided some sort of a blueprint for this field. We need a blueprint for the development of Australia. Then the grants made under section 96 of the Constitution could be made in a much more orderly way. I regret that some of the votes made in the past seem to have been dictated more by political considerations than by considerations of economic planning and the development of Australia.
All States are concerned about decentralisation, and this subject is included in the considerations of the claimant and principal States. It has a great effect on cil sections of our community, on people in country areas in particular. Decentralisation needs financing. This affects the State Governments’ and their position in Federation. Money is required and policy matters need to be determined, yet nothing seems to be happening. We cannot attain decentralisation unless local government is assisted financially. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, have played a most important role in this field, as the Lord Mayor of the important industrial city of Newcastle. Local governments must be given the opportunity to expand and serve their communities. lt is well known that local government, because of the population growth, is being called upon to spend increasingly large sums to provide amenities and services for our growing cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. Parks and playgrounds, libraries, community centres, kerbing and guttering, paved streets, water services and so on are required. These things are great burdens on local government. Representatives of local government have submitted to the Commonwealth, time and time again, the need to have three way discussions by representatives of the Commonwealth, the States and local government on their financial relationship. Every honorable member has heard time and time again from people in the electorates about the crushing burden of rates and taxes. These charges have gone up by leaps and bounds. Honorable members have heard how these increases have affected people who have been thrifty and who have managed to buy a home or are in the process of paying off a mortgage on a home. Local government authorities have sought funds from the Commonwealth to help them meet their additional tasks, but the Commonwealth on every occasion has rejected and spurned these overtures.
One of the most disappointing events of recent times was the refusal of the Premier of New South Wales to lead a deputation to the Treasurer and the Prime Minister seeking a policy change in respect of country cities and towns. Some 25 mayors of country towns and cities wanted to come to Canberra to talk to the Government. The Liberal Premier of New South Wales refused to lend, and the Liberal Prime
Minister and the Liberal Treasurer of the Commonwealth Government refused to hear this deputation. Local government bodies throughout New South Wales have been shunned by the Liberal-Country Party Government. I often wonder why the Country Party tolerates this state of affairs, when it claims to represent the country people. During the coming election campaign when the Treasurer, the Prime Minister or some other Liberal Party member is present at a civic function in a country city or town, let them admit to the first citizen of the community that they are not prepared to do anything to permit him to present a case on behalf of his ratepayers to the Government here at the national capital. Honorable members should voice a strong protest against the refusal by those concerned to make possible a deputation of some 25 mayors from country towns and cities to the central government of Australia.
All these matters I have raised are in need of urgent attention. The great burden of rates is weighing heavily upon all sections of the community, ft is affecting ali Stales. There is a reference in the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission to the effect of the basic wage increase on the financial capacity of the States. They require additional funds from the Commonwealth to meet their obligations. Surely this increase also affects local government, which is unable to pass the resultant increased charges on. For this reason also I suggest that the deputation of local government representatives ought to be heard here at the centre of government. There are other contributing factors to the present position of local government. The price of copper rose recently. We know how this affected electricity undertakings. All these things are matters which deserve consideration, and the States and local government are entitled to present their case.
When I consider the Commonwealth Government’s financial arrangements 1 realise that the Commonwealth has never had it better. With inflation the revenue booms; greater sums are collected in taxation and the Commonwealth is able to meet its commitments, generally, out of revenue while State Governments are frequently called upon to meet their commitments out of loan funds. Checking over the figures for the interest burden borne by the State Governments and the Commonwealth 1 find that in 1947 the Commonwealth had an interest debt of $129,082,000. In 1964-65, it rose to $143,368,000, an increase of $14,286,000. But look at the extraordinary effect on the various States. For example, in 1947-48 the States had a debt of 580,730,000. This rose at an alarming rate to $339,213,000 an increase of $258,483,000. I suggest to the House that this is a question that ought to be considered by the Parliament and by the incoming Government. A new deal is required in Commonwealth-State financial relationships. The Treasurer and those who advise him will say there is no great harm in the situation; that it is only a matter of bookkeeping. But it certainly affects the States and if it is good policy to apply that method of accounting to the States it should be good policy to apply it also to the nation.
I speak now just briefly about the affairs of Western Australia. 1 make a special plea that the great undertaking on the Ord River should not be halted because of lack of funds for Western Australia, which is a claimant State. Some action must be taken, and taken quickly, to proceed with this work. It is important that the Ord River district, which forms part of the Kimberleys area of the north-west of Western Australia be developed as rapidly as possible. From day to day we read harrowing stories of great distress and hardship amongst our Asian neighbours. We have a responsibility to help those people. We have the capacity to grow food and therefore the capacity to succour and help less fortunate nations and so to strengthen the tics of goodwill and friendship with them. Such ports as Wyndham and Darwin could become front gateways for Australia and I can only hope that a new financial deal will be undertaken. 1 have advocated that there should be a north Australian authority. Perhaps some States are reluctant to accept a proposal of that kind because of the Commonwealth Government’s neglect of the Northern Territory, which is its own special responsibility. Tasmania’s cause has been ventilated in this Parliament time and time again by the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard) the honorable member for Braddon (Mr. Davies) and the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), who are great advocates of their island State. There is great unity among those people, and their cause in matters relating to health, education, transport and so on is ventilated here quite frequently. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has spoken’ quite tellingly about the disabilities of Western Australia and the need for greater activity there.
I close my remarks by saying that the Australian Labour Party believes in the balanced development of this nation; but we cannot have balanced development unless the claimant States are developed; unless the whole of Australia is developed and unless we have decentralisation of inJ us try and a growth of population to our country centres. In order to achieve these things, the Opposition would enter into new financial arrangements with the various States with regard to grants to enable them to play a greater part in the development of this nation. The Opposition supports the Bill before the House because it believes that the recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission deserves the support of the Parliament. We can only hope that additional funds will be made available for the greater development and, therefore, the greater security of the nation.
– J should like to place on record my appreciation of the report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. I believe it is one of the best of the various reports presented to the Parliament. It is certainly set out in a way which can be readily understood, and this is appreciated by all who read it.
One of the greatest problems connected with the disbursement of Commonwealth funds to the States is the fact that the States are never satisfied. We are witnessing proof of that now in the performances being put on by the Premiers of Victoria and New South Wales. We learn that there is a possibility of further talks between the Commonwealth and those two Premiers about the needs of their respective States. It is well known, too, that Western Australia and Tasmania are not satisfied; that South Australia and Queensland are not satisfied and that, of course, the Commonwealth’s own territory, the Northern Territory, is not satisfied. I suppose it is only to be expected that all States would like to get more funds, but it would seem that before very long consideration will have to be given to overhauling the legislative machinery relating to the disbursement of Commonwealth moneys to the States, particularly to those States which produce very large export surpluses.
The two States which produce the greatest export surpluses are Western Australia and Queensland. Western Australia’s present export surplus is very large. In the last 10 years, the excess of export earnings by that State over the value of its imports has totalled $1,350 million. The other State making a very large contribution to our export income is Queensland which, in the same period, had an excess of export income over the value of imports amounting to $3,150 million. So, in 10 years, these two States between them were responsible for an excess of S4.500 million in export income over the value of their imports. In the same period, New South Wales and Victoria between them had the staggering deficit of $4,800 million. The surpluses provided by Western Australia and Queensland are being used by the populous States of New South Wales and Victoria to accelerate their own development by importing goods of far greater value than the value of the goods they produce for sale overseas. This means, of course, that the major beneficiary from the export surpluses of Queensland and Western Australia is the Sydney-Melbourne complex.
I am afraid that this position will worsen instead of getting better because the rate of growth of the Sydney-Melbourne complex, in absolute terms, is far greater than that of Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland or South Australia. This is reflected in the great stimulus given to industrial activity in the Sydney-Melbourne complex. The Sydney-Melbourne complex is able to exploit Western Australia and Queensland in particular because of the fact that the major centres of manufacturing are located in those cities. In the last 10 years Western Australia imported from the eastern States a total of $2,850 million worth of goods. It exported goods valued at only $950 million. So its deficit in interstate trade was Si, 900 million. In this period. Western Australia earned from its wheat and wool, and its minerals in particular, an export surplus of $1,350 million. That State has had to rely on Sydney and Melbourne mainly for its requirements of consumer goods. This has resulted in a deficit in interstate trade of SI. 900 million.
Lel us compare the situation of Western Australia with that of Queensland, which is its sister State in terms of export surpluses. Imports into Queensland from interstate, principally from New South Wales and Victoria, totalled $5,100 million over the last 10 years, and interstate exports amounted to $2,400 million, giving a deficit in interstate trade of S2.700 million. The very large export surpluses of Queensland, totalling S3, 150 million, have been used principally by New South Wales and Victoria - mainly in Sydney and Melbourne - to promote and stimulate industrial activity in those cities. The multiplier effect therefore creates further demand and supply in those places. This leads to the cycle of extra production, some of which flows back to Queensland and Western Australia, admittedly.
I believe that because of this something must be done to place greater emphasis, in relations between the Commonwealth and the States, on the development of export producing areas. This Government, and particularly the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. McEwen), for many years have emphasised that the central theme of economic growth is the ability to produce goods that will sell profitably in the export markets. It is therefore to Australia’s great benefit for us to be able to stimulate activity in the export producing areas. At present, the greatest export surpluses are produced in Western Australia and Queensland. Those States will become more and more important in the future for a number of reasons. Let us consider mineral development first. It is estimated that from 1966 to 1980 export surpluses totalling $1,800 million will come from the Pilbara region of Western Australia alone. What will that State get out of this? Certainly, it receives royalties and also Commonwealth assistance in the provision of services needed to develop particular areas of the Pilbara. But the main beneficiary of these earnings of $1,800 million will be New
South Wales and Victoria, chiefly the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. They will be able to use the returns from this export surplus to pay for a greater volume of imports. This in turn will create additional demand and supply and a greater number of jobs with a consequent need for more labour, thereby providing more employment. This promotes the cycle which we are so used to seeing and which is self generating in the capital cities.
This will mean a further drift of population from the country to the cities. For a long time, we have been hearing much talk about decentralisation, but it is of no use to talk about it unless one thinks in terms of industrial activity. The only exception to this is large scale irrigation schemes. Primary production based on such schemes is the only means known to rae that will increase population in country areas to a major degree. We have seen this happen in the Shepparton district of Victoria, at Leeton and Griffith in New South Wales and at Renmark in South Australia. So one must make the observation that if Western Australia and Queensland can continue to increase their export surpluses - there is no doubt that they will do so because of the mineral development in the north generally, and especially at Mount Isa and in the Pilbara - and can develop the water resources that are available in the north, the result will be greater economic activity, particularly in the southern States. 1 have said many times that Western Australia and Queensland, which are producing large export surpluses and earning much export income, arc producing the milk but are being left only with the skim product while the other States take the cream.
– What about South Australia?
– South Australia had the greatest run of financial inflow in history under the administration, of Sir Thomas Playford, due to the operation of the principle that I was explaining before.
– It is just the same since the change of Government.
– It seems to me that that State is getting even more money under the new Government than it obtained under the administration of Sir Thomas Playford. So South Australia is doing well. I support the remarks made by the honorable member for Macquarie (Mr. Luchetti) about the need for planning in national development, particularly in Western Australia and Queensland. If we are to increase our exports, we have to rely principally on either the further development of primary industry or greater efficiency in secondary industry. We know that we have tremendous scope for expanding primary production and developing our mineral resources. Yet it is extremely difficult to find the semblance of a short term plan, even for only 1 2 months, for the development of our natural resources, much less a long term one.
– We are just too busy developing them; that is all.
– I hope that a decision is soon made on the honorable member’s pet subject - the Ord River scheme. Perhaps we shall see what happens about it in the next few days. The honorable member has been one of the most bitter opponents of that scheme that 1 have known for many a day, as he has demonstrated by his speeches in this chamber. However, it is refreshing to learn that he has apparently changed his attitude. I understand that in recent months he has begun to change his mind about the scheme.
– Does the honorable member think that we should go ahead with the Ord River scheme?
– I do. most certainly.
– At whose expense?
– The honorable member, who belongs to the Australian Country Party, wants to know whether I believe that we should go ahead with the Ord scheme. The Country Party is more responsible than any other Party for the fact that the scheme is not going ahead. The truth of this will be demonstrated very forcefully in the forthcoming Federal general election when we see how the Country Party fares in Western Australia.
– I try to give the honorable member credit whenever 1 can. However, the statement that he has just made is wrong.
– I repeat that tha Country Party is the party in this House that is most opposed to the Ord River project.
– That is completely false. Can the honorable member prove it?
– I have no difficulty in proving it. I have only to read newspaper reports of statements made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr. Anthony), who is a member of the Country Party, to show the absurdity of his remarks. A friend of his from northern New South Wales, who is now in the Ord River, area, has just bought a red Mercedes Benz car. That shows what he is making out of the Ord River scheme. Yet the Minister still says that the scheme is not economic.
– Not one member of the Country Party in this House has mentioned the Ord River dam for a year.
– Members of the Country Party mention it outside the House. They do not like to hear what I am saying, because the truth hurts. 1 was privileged to be at the opening of the Ord River diversion dam by the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. I believe that he was in favour of the scheme. Members of the Country Party are the ones who have never made one statement in favour of it in this place.
– It sounds as if the honorable member is to have a Country Party opponent at the election
– I had one at the byelection at which I was returned to this House. The night before the poll was taken, he claimed he would win by a majority of 10,000 votes. What happened?
– Did the honorable member recommend the establishment? of a sugar industry on the Ord River?
– It is hardly worth bothering to answer the honorable member. His reputation in Queensland is about the lowest one could find. The problem of development has often been thrashed out with the Commonwealth by the Western Australian and Queensland Governments. This was certainly the case prior to the last war. Since 1946 we have seen renewed activity on the part of Western Australia lo get closer to the Commonwealth in the formation of a northern Australian development commission or authority.
Honorable members will recall that when Labour was last in office the Northern
Australia Development Commission was created under the joint chairmanship of the Prime Minister and the Premiers of Western Australia and Queensland. The Commission had at its disposal the services of an expert body of officers under the chairmanship, as I recall, of Dr. Coombs. This was a very good Commission. It did good work. It was responsible for establishing the Division of Land Research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. It was responsible for making economic and agricultural surveys in northern Australia, particularly in Western Australia. But the coming to power of this Government in 1949 meant the end of the Northern Australia Development Commission.
In 1961 the Premiers of Western Australia and Queensland again approached the Commonwealth, seeking the establishment of a northern Australia development authority. As we now know, the Commonwealth talked them out of it by establishing the Northern Division of the Department of National Development. The Premiers were happy at the time. 1 assure honorable members that they are not happy now. The Government’s promises to the Premiers are a matter of record, as are its reasons for stating that the Northern Division would be better equipped to deal with the problems of northern development than would a northern Australia development authority. But if we had such an authority we would have complete co-operation between the States and the Commonwealth. There would be a budget for the authority. The Commonwealth would be able to allocate funds in a rational way, based on priorities. We would have a steady rate of growth. The Vernon Committee, for example, pointed to the need for a special projects commission to examine and determine priorities in under developed areas. But the Committee’s report was rubbished by the Government. The report of the Loder Committee has been referred to time and again in this House. That report is vital to Western Australia, but we have not seen it. Five or six more days will see the end of this Parliament. It would appear that we are not to see the Loder Committee’s report before the end of this Parliament. The report was promised to the people of Australia before the last election. Apparently they are not to see it unless it is produced on the eve of the election or just after the election. It would appear that the Parliament will not see the report. If this does not amount to contempt of the Parliament and the people I do not know what does.
In the disbursement of Commonwealth funds to the States greater emphasis should be placed on export earning capacity because this is the hard core of our economy. The development of mineral resources in Western Australia; the development of tropical pastures in Queensland, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia; the development of the Ord River; and the development of the major river basins in Queensland and the top end of the Northern Territory all will lead to large surpluses of export income. So 1 urge a new approach to Commonwealth and State relations, giving far greater emphasis to the position of States such as Western Australia and Queensland, which are producing the export income which is so urgently needed by the southern States and by the Australian economy as a whole.
.- I had not intended to speak on this Bill until a few minutes ago, as I walked into the chamber, I heard the honorable member for Dawson (Dr. Patterson). I would like to draw attention to some of the inaccuracies in his speech. While the honorable member for Dawson was speaking, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) entered the chamber and, by way of interjection, asserted that no Australian Country Party member from Western Australia had spoken about the Ord in the last 12 months. When I tried to correct the Deputy Leader, what happened? He walked out of the chamber,
I refer to a speech delivered in this chamber less than 24 hours ago. I am glad to see the Deputy Leader of the Opposition again entering the chamber. I would like him to listen to what the honorable member far Canning (Mr. Hallett), who has spoken frequently of the problems of Western Australia, including those of the Ord, said less than 24 hours ago. He said -
There are sufficient members in the House to look after the interests of Tasmania so I shall confine my remarks to Western Australia. How ever, before doing so I would like to comment on the remarks of two previous speakers. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam) referred to the Australian Country Party and its lack of activity in relation to the development of the Ord River.
– Hear, hear!
– We get “ hear, hear “ from the honorable member for Dawson. What the honorable member for Canning said was true. Referring to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, he continued -
He went so far as to say that no Country Party member had spoken in recent times on this important project. I remind him that only last week I spoke about Kununurra - and anyone who knows Western Australia and the Ord River knows Kununurra. I referred to the high cost of freight and building materials applied to the people developing the north.
These were the remarks of the honorable member for Canning - someone who is supposed not to have spoken about the Ord River.
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition would not know where that was. He should apologise.
– I would appreciate an apology from the Deputy Leader, because his remarks were an insult to the honorable member for Canning.
– When was this speech made?
– Less than 24 hours ago. The honorable member for Canning continued -
I did this because I am concerned about the development of the north and the high costs imposed on individuals who are willing and able to go into the north of Western Australia to take up residence with their families. Previously on many occasions 1 have referred to the development of Australia’s water resources-
That is interesting. He continued - and I have included in such discussion the Ord River development.
I hope the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is listening. The honorable member went on to say -
As a nation we cannot afford not to develop our vast resources. The honorable member for Moore has spoken of the Ord River development.
The honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) interjected and said -
So has the honorable member for Gwydir.
It seems rather strange to read these words after listening to the assertion of the Deputy
Leader of the Opposition. I do not want to read the whole of the speech of the honorable member for Canning; it is in “ Hansard “ and available for anyone to read. I recommend that honorable members do read it, because it is another good and accurate address from the honorable member for Canning.
The honorable member for Dawson went on to say that we had not taken any special interest in this project. When he was challenged to prove his point, he ignored my interjection. Although I did not want to enter into this debate, I thought that this was one occasion when I should defend my colleague, the honorable member for Canning. Now that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is here, I am reminded of a little story. Quite often the honorable member for Dawson and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition speak on subjects about which they know little. The Deputy Leader has been able to get away with this because of his gift of oratory. However. I would like to tell the little story to which I have referred because it is rather interesting. It is entitled “ The Legal Way “ and is as follows -
When a man gives you an orange, he simply says. “ Have an orange “. But when the transaction is entrusted to a lawyer, he adopts this form. - 1 apologise to my other legal friends; this does not refer to them. It is more appropriate when applied to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. This is the legal form - “ I hereby give and convey to you, all and singular, my estate and interest, right, title, claim and advantages of and in said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp and pips and all rights and advantages therein with full power to bite, suck and otherwise to eat the same or give the same away with or without the rind, skin, juice, pulp and pips, anything hereinbefore or hereinafter or in any means of whatsoever nature of kind whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
I liken this to some of the statements of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have been misrepresented. The honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. King) has asserted that I have been inaccurate in saying last night and again by way of interjection this afternoon that neither of the two members of the Australian Country Party from Western Australia in this House had advocated the completion of the Ord scheme in the last year. The last reference which I can find in “Hansard “ to the use of the water of the Ord by the honorable member for Canning (Mr. Hallett) is in “Hansard” of 31st August of last year. The honorable member was speaking during the Budget debate. The last reference I can find in “ Hansard “ to the Ord by the other member of the Australian Country Party from Western Australia is on 7th May 1964. It was a question. Honorable members can see for themselves whether on either of those occasions the two honorable members urged the completion of the Ord scheme. It is true that last week the honorable member for Canning referred to Kununurra and transport costs to and from Kununurra. He did not refer to the Ord main dam. Last night he referred to this subject after I had said that it had never been mentioned by him or by his colleague from Western Australia. Accordingly, I stand by what I have said. I have correctly stated that the members of the Australian Country Party from Western Australia have neither for a long time nor ever urged the completion of the Ord scheme.
.- The main purpose of the Bill before us is to authorise the payment in 1966-67 of special grants totalling $40,072,000 for the States of Western Australia and Tasmania. The payment has been recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission in its Thirty-Third Report, which has already been tabled. Anyone listening to this debate may completely lose sight of the object of the legislation. Therefore, I repeat the explanation given by the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon) in his second reading speech. I support the Bill wholeheartedly and I think it will be found that the Opposition will not call for a division on it. Some Opposition members have taken the opportunity to speak about various kinds of Commonwealth and State relations. This right is given to them when a Bill such as this comes before the House.
– That is right.
– That is perfectly right; they are completely within their rights. I want to mention one or two matters. I was one of those who interjected when the honorable member for Dawson (Dr. Patterson) said that members of the Australian Country Party were against the completion of the Ord project. When we asked him who had said this, he named one member of the Australian Country Party who had opposed it. This is very strange logic. First he said that not one member of the Country Party supported it. Then he said he named one member of the Country Party who opposed it.
I want to refer to a passage in “ Hansard “ that will prove my point. Last night, a prominent member of the Australian Labour Party said -
We of the Labour Party have consistently said that we should trade with all countries . . .
Does that mean that every member of the Labour Party is quite happy to trade with mainland China? That is the same type of argument as the honorable member for Dawson has used. I use his method and say that the passage I have quoted shows that every member of the Labour Party is completely in accord with trade with mainland China.
– Do you support the Ord or do you not?
– I put up this argument. Of course, the honorable member for Dawson is a bit disturbed because the logic he has used is completely wrong. He picked out the remarks of one nian. 1 pick out from “ Hansard “ the remarks of one man who said we should trade with all countries. I will not read all of his speech, but “ Hansard “ shows that he named certain honorable members who are opposed to trade with China and he found fault with them. Does this implicate the whole of the Australian Labour Party? I would be fair and say that it does not. Does the fact that one member of the Australian Country Party says he is against the Ord implicate the whole of the Country Party? Of course it does not. This is called haywire logic.
– You are all of the same kind.
– The honorable member for Eden-Monaro is interjecting. Does he think that this is sound logic? 1 have never pretended to be an authority on all things, but I know that what I am saying now is right, and I know it can be proved from the words in “Hansard”. After all, what the honorable member for Dawson said does not carry very much weight in this House as an argument against the
Country Party. Why has the Country Party been picked out for special attacks and special statements?
– Because it has sabotaged the Ord scheme.
– I have proved some of the statements of honorable members opposite to be false. Why do they attack the Country Party? For the simple reason that the honorable member for Dawson is being opposed by a Country Party candidate and for the special reason that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has a special interest in the Labour candidate for Hume. They try to disparage their opponents. This, of course, is completely wrong. I want to pay a tribute to a Labour member, and after I pay that tribute I will name him. He said - 1 have apologised for both personal attacks-
He said previously that he had made only two personal attacks in the House- and 1 will do my utmost not to make any personal reference to any individual during debates. 1 do not say that 1 will achieve that, but I do say I will do my utmost not to make personal attacks on individuals.
– The honorable member just made a personal attack on me.
– I did not. There was nothing personal in that. I was only putting the honorable member right.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr. Jones).Order! Will the honorable member for Mallee try to relate his remarks to the Bill before the House?
– Certainly, Sir.
-The honorable member might mention, occasionally, the States of Western Australia and Tasmania.
– With your permission, Sir, I am referring my remarks to the remarks of the honorable member for Dawson when he was remarking on the Bill. That is how it works out. The Bill is desirable. The States that have not the advantages of States with great populations should receive grants. These grants have been recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. They are very acceptable to the States concerned and I am sure that this Parliament will give the Bill its approval.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Howson) read a third time.
– I move -
Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 16) (1966). Customs Tariff Proposals No. 16, which I have just tabled, relates to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariffs 1966. The amendments will operate from tomorrow morning. Amendments contained in Proposals No. 16 arise from consideration of reports made by the Tariff Board on Footwear, vanillin and ethyl vanillin, and candles.
The Board has found that a period of considerable change is materially affecting the Australian footwear industry. The number of factories has declined although employment has remained relatively steady. Developments in manufacturing processes and materials used, technological developments and major changes in the nature of demand for footwear have all affected the industry. The more efficient and adaptable units of the industry have benefited from these changes and from the new demands and styles generated by imports of new types and styles. The Board considers that it is now appropriate to treat the Australian footwear industry as one unit for tariff purposes. It finds that the industry is still labourintensive, despite increased use of machinery and labour saving devices, and still needs assistance.
In the long term the Board considers that the Australian footwear industry should be assisted by duties of 45 per cent. General and 25 per cent. Preferential. However, it considers that some sectors of the industry require, for a limited period, additional assistance to adjust to an industry rate pending the readjustment and rationalisation now taking place within the industry. These sectors are those producing sand shoes and waterproof rubber footwear, where assistance alternative to the industry rate is recommended at approximately the same levels as now apply, and those producing thong sandals and footwear with non-leather uppers where the recommended alternate rates are lower than those now in existence. The Board considers that these sectors should be again reviewed in about three years. The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Tariff Board on footwear. However, some international negotiations are necessary before the Board’s recommendations on footwear can be implemented in full. These negotiations will be concluded at the earliest possible date.
The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) is examining a number of matters arising out of references in the report relating to dumping of footwear with a view to deciding upon the most appropriate course of action. In the meantime a close watch is being kept on imports. Should any increase in imports of dumped goods become apparent, immediate steps will hp taken to invoke the anti-dumping law. The Government has accepted the Board’s recommendations for reductions in duties on pure vanillin and ethyl vanillin. The Board believes that there is scope for reduction in costs of local production of pure vanillin and for negotiation with the overseas suppliers for a significant reduction in prices paid for crude vanillin from which it is refined. Ethyl vanillin is not made in Australia but is similar to pure vanillin and is used for the same purposes, mainly in the food industry as flavourings, and will be dutiable at the same level as pure vanillin.
The Board has found that local manufacturers of coloured and decorative and beeswax candles have considerable disadvantages against some imports. It has recommended increased duties of 7.5c per lb. General and 5c per lb. Preferential on all candles. The Government has adopted the Board’s recommendations. Proposals
No. 16 also contain tariff changes that follow the completion of international negotiations with Sweden and Finland. These changes reduce the margin of preference on building boards from 20 per cent to 1 0 per cent ad valorem. The remaining changes in Proposals No. 16 are being made to improve the translation from the Customs Tariff 1933- 1965 to the new tariff based on the Brussels Nomenclature which operated from 1st July 1965. Details of the tariff changes are contained in the summary of Tariff changes being circulated to honorable members. I commend the proposals to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
. -I present the reports by the Tariff Board on the following subjects -
Vanillin and ethyl vanillin.
Ordered that the reports be printed.
Debate resumed from 29th September (vide page 1427), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Is it the wish of the House to debate the subject matters of the two measures together as suggested by the Minister? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
.- These two Bills represent the most successful effort which the standing committee of Commonwealth and State Attorneys General has made in achieving uniform laws after two dozen meetings in the last six years. Before 1961 there were several meetings of the AttorneysGeneral devoted to consideration of the draft uniform Companies Bill. There is still no uniform companies law because of the constant amendments which are being made to different sections in the different States and Territories. In this field of maintenance law, however, the uniform bill drawn up by the AttorneysGeneral has been passed in all States except Queensland.
Two Commonwealth bills had to be passed to make the scheme complete. The first, the Maintenance Orders (Commonwealth Officers) Bill deals with the situation of Commonwealth officers because State laws cannot bind the Crown in respect of the Commonwealth. Commonwealth officers had to be covered by specific Commonwealth legislation as they were by the Commonwealth Motor Vehicles Act to complete the scheme of third party insurance and the Commonwealth Employee’s Compensation Act to complete the pattern of workers’ compensation. Another example where Commonwealth legislation was necessary, not because Commonwealth employees were concerned but because interstate trade was concerned, was the Seamen’s Compensation Act.
The other Bill, the Matrimonial Causes Bill, is necessary because the uniform maintenance legislation has been agreed on by the AttorneysGeneral in a slightly different form to that in the Schedule of the Matrimonial Causes Act. I am not sure - I have not checked whether the two mainland Territories have enacted the uniform maintenance law.
– The ordinances are almost completed; they are in draft form.
– I thank the Attorney General. When Queensland enacts the Bill and when the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory ordinances are made there will be a uniform maintenance law throughout the Commonwealth. These two Bills will complete the pattern so far as laws within the jurisdiction of this Parliament are concerned.
– Would the honorable gentleman permit me to interrupt for just a moment so that there will not be a wrong impression? It will not be a uniform maintenance bill in the sense that the grounds are the same for getting maintenance; it will be uniform in the sense of enforcement of orders that are made.
– I appreciate that the State Acts, too, bear different names and provide different procedures. Nevertheless, it will be easier within Australia to enforce maintenance between States and Territories, as regards Commonwealth employees and as regards persons subjected to the Commonwealth Matrimonial Causes Act, than has ever been the case before. This is a notable advance.
I mentioned that these Bills will complete the pattern so far as lies within the power of the Parliament. The Parliament’s powers are to make laws under paragraph (xxi) of section 51 of the Constitution with respect to marriage and under paragraph (xxii) with respect to divorce and matrimonial causes; and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants. It will be seen that it would be impossible for the Commonwealth itself to pass an act which covered all aspects of the substantive law of maintenance which are covered by the various State Acts and Territory Ordinances. There is a special aspect which the Attorney-General had in mind in that maintenance matters are usually dealt with in the inferior courts. It would be an elaborate and superfluous exercise for the Commonwealth to set up courts which would deal even with all the maintenance matters for which the Commonwealth itself could pass laws. It might be useful to refer to the general situation concerning maintenance laws. I first remember them being raised in the House 10 years ago by the former member for Balaclava, now Mr. Justice Joske. On 29th May 1956 he asked the then Minister for External Affairs, who is now the Governor-General, to explain to the House- . . why he has decided that Australia should not be represented at the United Nations Conference, to be held in a few days’ time, on the enforcement of maintenance orders on an international basis.
Mr. Casey, as he then was, replied
I am grateful to the honorable member for raising this question, not only because of his own very considerable personal knowledge and experience of the matter, but also because I believe that misapprehension regarding the Government’s decision may become widespread. In fact, 1 have already had indications that the Government’s decision not to be represented at this convention is being interpreted as a lack of interest, concern or sympathy with the subjectmatter. The simple fact is that the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations set up a committee of experts to report on the enforcement of maintenance orders on an international basis. As the honorable gentleman has mentioned, a conference will take place in New York, under the auspices of the United Nations organisation, in a few days’ time, and it is also true that I, on behalf of the Government, decided that Australia would not be represented at that conference. The point is that this is a matter almost entirely for the State governments. As soon as we received the invitation to attend this international conference, the Attorney-General’s Department circularized all the State governments on this question. Only four of them replied, and those four all said that they did not wish to be represented, because they believed that the enforcement of maintenance orders could very much better be carried out by bi-lateral arrangements between countries than on the suggested international basis. That was the simple reason for this Government’s belief that we could not, with advantage, be represented at the conference. It was not, I repeat, because of any indifference on the part of this Government to such an important subject.
On 24th November 1959 I received a reply to the following question which I had asked upon notice -
Does Australia propose to accede to . . . the 1956 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement Abroad of Maintenance Obligations?
Mr. Casey, the then Minister, replied
Australia does not propose to become a party to the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance. As the Minister explained when replying to a similar question on this subject on 29th May 1956-
That was Mr. Joske’s question - the negotiation of bi-lateral agreements on this question is considered more appropriate than its regulation on a multi-lateral basis.
On 25th October 1962 I received an answer to the following question which I had asked upon notice -
Now that many migrants have arrived from countries which have ratified the 1956 United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance Obligations and the Commonwealth Parliament has made laws with respect to divorce and matrimonial causes, does the Government propose to accede to the Convention?
The then Minister, Sir Garfield Barwick, replied -
The then Minister in his reply of 24th November, 1959, to a question asked by the honorable member indicated that the negotiation of bi-lateral agreements on this subject has been considered more appropriate than action on a multi-lateral basis. Matters relating to the enforcement of maintenance orders are, however, being considered by the Commonwealth and States following their recent agreement to introduce substantially similar maintenance laws, and the question of Australia’s accession to the United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance will be further examined in that connexion.
I next want to quote an answer which I received from the present Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck) on 5th May this year to the following question -
What Steps have been taken since his predecessor’s answer to me on 25th October 1962 to accede to the 1956 United Nations Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance?
The Minister replied -
As has been indicated in previous replies to questions on this subject, the States take the view that bi-lateral arrangements in this field arc more suitable to their needs than arrangements made under a multi-lateral convention. Since my predecessor’s reply of 25th October 1962. all but one of the Stales have enacted new maintenance legislation containing provisions that will enable reciprocal arrangements for the enforcement of maintenance orders to be made with any country having similar legislation. In the circumstances Australia does not at present contemplate becoming a party to the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance.
The latest reply I had on this subject was on 13th September of this year, when the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) said -
The meeting of Law Ministers -
That is of Commonwealth Law Ministers who met in London in April and May this year - also discussed the need for more effective provisions in some member countries of the Commonwealth for the enforcement of maintenance orders made in other member countries. As honorable members are aware, the whole subject of the making and enforcement of maintenance orders had been the subject of extensive consideration by the Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral and I was able to give the meeting of Law Ministers copies of the uniform legislation agreed to by the Standing Committee and to inform the meeting of the progress of the adoption of this legislation in Australia.
I compliment the Attorney-General on the part he played at the meeting of the Commonwealth Law Ministers on the subject of extradition. I hope that as a result of the discussions which I take it he initiated at that conference concerning maintenance orders, the machinery for enforcing orders as between members of the Commonwealth will similarly be modernised.
In his 1962 reply the Minister for External Affairs gave the whole mosaic of arrangements between Commonwealth countries under the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Acts. These arrangements are complex but not complete. In particular the West Indies affords a happy haven for expatriates from Australian States other than New South Wales. Not even New South Wales has made arrangements with Sierra Leone, presumably relying on the latter’s reputation as the white man’s graveyard. The Federal Government, however, has officiously effected arrangements between most Commonwealth countries and the Australian Capital Territory. A wife, therefore, can usually be advised where to reside in Australia in order to vindicate her rights to maintenance. The least vulnerable refuge for Australian husbands is in either Brunei or North Borneo, because maintenance order arrangements exist between those countries and Cocos Islands and Christmas Island only. Maintenance arrangements with Ireland are in doubt. The situation can provide one of those test cases with which Irish belligerence has so often embellished the common law.
These, then, are the arrangements which so far have been made between the Australian States and present or former members of the Commonwealth of Nations or the British Empire. They have not been altered, so the Minister for External Affairs told me on 5th May last, since Sir Garfield Barwick’s reply to me on 25th October 1962, on the basis of which I have made this analysis.
Despite the fluctuations in attitudes illustrated by the replies I have quoted from Ministers, I still urge that the Commonwealth should consider the question of a convention with other countries. It is only in the maintenance field that the States still have any international, or I suppose it could be said quasi-international, status. There is no other field in which the States make arrangements with other countries. In every other instance the Commonwealth alone makes them. It would seem particularly appropriate, since the Commonwealth has occupied the marriage and divorce field, that it should amplify or augment its powers in the maintenance field by adhering to this 1956 United Nations Convention. It will be noted that I say “ augment its powers “. I do this for two reasons. I think it is very desirable that laws should be simple and accessible. They clearly will be more easily ascertained if they are negotiated for all Australians by one legislature instead of through State Acts, a Commonwealth Act and Territory Ordinances, as has hitherto happened in this field. 1 very frequently contrast the advantages of the federal system in the United States, particularly regarding commercial matters, with the disadvantages of the federal system in Australia. 1 have envied the United States having so many States within a comparable land mass to Australia, because transactions so readily become interstate and therefore federal in scope. I have also envied the United States in having a Supreme Court which has more generously interpreted and applied the interstate commerce powers than the High Court of Australia has done or might do. In this field, however, 1 must confess that the Australian federation has the advantage of the United States federation. In the whole question of domestic law, matters of succession, matrimonial causes, maintenance and custody, the United States federation suffers from much greater complexity and expense than Australia. lt is true that national development has been promoted in some American States by this diversity, notably in Nevada. It would not be possible in the United Stales to bring about the degree of uniformity in maintenance which the AttorneyGeneral and his State colleagues have now achieved.
The first reason I give for urging that the Commonwealth powers in this field should be amplified is that we would then have a law which would be more easily ascertained. The other reason is the law would be more properly debated. As things are now, whenever the Attorneys draft a uniform bill and introduce it in the seven legislatures the members of those legislatures either accept the bills as they stand, including what they may regard as faults, and thus secure uniformity, or they amend the bills to accord with what they may variously consider to be better principles and thus lose the uniformity. The position then is that reform in Australia must proceed at the pace of the most lethargic legislature or to the taste of the most backward legislature. It is very difficult to secure uniform or modern laws in Australia. In I his case there has undoubtedly been a reform, an improvement. If either House of this Parliament were to amend either of these Bills the uniformity would be destroyed. it is important that members of Parliament should be able to debate intricate matters such as commerce, science and law. There is no better field in which parliamentarians could have their intentions, energies and skills engaged than in law reform. This could be done not only in the House or in the Committee of the Whole, lt could be done by standing committees, as is done in the United States Congress or in the British Parliament and, I understand, in the other common law countries. In all these countries there is much more, because there can be much more debate by parliamentarians in the parliaments or in standing committees on law reform. The Standing Committee of Commonwealth and State AttorneysGeneral in this case has done a service for the Australian people. It is trying to produce more uniformity and modern laws; but in the process inevitably members of Parliament are excluded. The most parliamentarians can do is initiate debates before the draft has been completed or before a subject has been raised. We can ask questions. 1 may have displayed as much curiosity as any other honorable member in that regard. Nevertheless, if this Parliament has a power to pass a law on any subject, and exercises it, as it has in regard to marriage or divorce, or if this Parliament acquires a power either under the external affairs power because of a treaty or convention, or by reference by the State Governments, then it is possible for all members of the Parliament to consider questions of law reform. We can then initiate and conduct a meaningful debate on any of these subjects. The people’s representatives can effectively and publicly reform Australia’s laws insofar as they fall within the power of this Parliament
Accordingly, so that we can have a complete code debated by this Parliament and enacted by this Parliament in all matters that concern Australian families - married persons and their children - I hope that continuing attention is given to the possibility of adopting the present convention or concluding further such conventions.
I congratulate the Attorney-General and his State colleagues on having achieved this measure of uniformity in a matter which from its very nature great numbers of people encounter but do not publicise.
– in reply - Mr. Deputy Speaker, with humility I accept the congratulations of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). I feel very pleased with these two pieces of legislation. They complete the fabric of uniformity in relation to the enforcement of maintenance orders - a most important social adjunct to our community. I am proud also to say that the basis of the uniformity sprang from the Schedule to the Matrimonial Causes Act, an Act brought in by my predecessor, Sir Garfield Barwick, now Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. That explains the reasons for the companion bills. The uniformity was used as the base. The Third Schedule of the Matrimonial Causes Act was indeed improved upon. We now bring to the Parliament an amendment to the Third Schedule so that we can have uniformity in the enforcement of maintenance orders.
As to the general comments of the honorable gentleman about law reform, again I find myself in agreement with him. I believe that law reform is something which should be constantly in our minds. The law is a living dynamic material which fashions our lives. Therefore it is necessary that it be brought up to date to meet the needs of the community at any given time. It is undesirable that any law should become regarded by a Parliament or by a community as something which ought not to be changed because it is too awkward to change. If social advancement requires, in the interests of the community, that the law be changed, then it ought to be changed. The work of the Standing Committee of AttorneysGeneral is achieving a great deal in relation to uniformity and in relation to reform.
Reform is a problem which confronts every country. Different solutions have been adopted in various countries, but I am not able to say that any solution adopted in any country has been the answer, because it follows that, with any law reform, there is inextricably interwoven with the amendment matters of political judgment. It is not possible to confer matters of political judgment, matters of the interpretation of the will of the community, in the hands of people who are not responsible, and perhaps not even responsive, to the community that the laws serve. So we must always have the difficulty of the development, side by side, of technical change and social change. I know of no expedient or solution so far adopted in any country which has been able to bridge those two competing requirements.
There is indeed a dilemma. I have come to the conclusion that the only way success can be achieved is through the medium of an interested law Minister and a devoted and competent law department having access to people who are prepared to serve the interests of the community, very often without much reward - certainly without much financial reward, and very often without much reward in the form of public compliments. One of the important features of the Standing Committee is that it does on occasions come up with reform and uniformity. But even the Standing Committee has found itself very seriously hampered sometimes by its inability to have ready to serve it people competent to make suggestions for law reform.
I might say - and I feel that this will fall on receptive ears with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition - that a great problem about law reform that confronts every country of the world to my knowledge, is the shortage of parliamentary draftsmen. We do not, I think, often enough realise just how important parliamentary draftsmen are to the institution of parliament and how important they are in the service of the community which elects a parliament. We are fortunate in the Commonwealth Parliament to have draftsmen of the very highest skill, competence and devotion. The hours they work and the pressure under which they work are really quite extraordinary. Not long ago one of them was settling a bill while he was in bed with a serious attack of bronchial pneumonia. I shall not mention this draftsman’s name because that kind of experience is not confined to him. It is not often that one gets the opportunity, with relevance, to point out the role of draftsmen in the whole range of uniformity and reform.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Snedden) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 29th September (vide page 1428), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- The Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) has pointed out that the code for maintenance orders in Australia flowed from the earlier Schedule to the Matrimonial Causes Bill. This is an excellent example of how the Commonwealth can pass a bill which can then be copied by the States. The Judiciary Bill applies State laws of procedure to trials in courts exercising Federal jurisdiction. The States should be encouraged to apply Federal laws of procedure to trials in their courts.
I quote once again a passage which has always appealed to me from a speech by Chief Justice Dixon at the 10th Legal Convention of the Australian Law Council, in July 1957. It reads-
Is it not possible to place law reform on an Australiawide basis? Might not there be a Federal Committee for Law Reform? In spite of the absence of Constitutional power to enact the reforms as law, it is open to the federal legislature to authorise the formation of a body for inquiring into law reform. Such a body might prepare and promulgate draft reforms which would merely await adoption. In all or nearly all matters of private law there is no geographical reason why the law should be different in any part of Australia. Local conditions have nothing to do with it. Is it not unworthy of Australia as a nation to have varying laws affecting the relations between man and man? Is it beyond us to make some attempt to obtain a uniform system of private law in Australia?
In this instance, the Commonwealth enacted a code for maintenance under its matrimonial causes power. As a result of this, the States have modernised their laws. In the process, they made some improvements, which are now being incorporated in the Commonwealth’s own original law. It would be possible to have within the Parliament a standing committee on law reform to propose and draft, in relation to other matters, reforms which could be enacted within the Commonwealth’s powers. We might have the same happy result as has flowed from the Commonwealth’s use of its matrimonial causes power in this instance.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Snedden) read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 4.47 to 8 p.m.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1965, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to this House: - Extensions to Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, New South Wales.
The extensions are required to increase the present inadequate surgical facilities and to group the scattered sections of both the pathology and administration departments. The extensions consist of three main elements. The first is the provision of two extra floors to the existing administration building to provide four additional operating theatres and supporting facilities. The new floors will be connected to the existing multi-storey ward block where the present theatre suite is located. The estimated cost of this element is $514,000.
The second element consists of internal alterations to the ground floor of the existing nine storey building to enable expansion of the pathology department and the installation of two new lifts, all at an estimated cost of $541,000. The third element consists of the demolition of two old stores buildings and the erection of a new administration building at the estimated cost of $170,000. The total estimated cost of the project is $1,225,000.
In reporting favorably on the proposal, the Committee has recommended that planning of future building requirements should be maintained on a continuing four year programme basis and it is proposed to accept this recommendation. On the concurrence of this House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1965, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the committee has duly reported to this House: - Proposed new kitchen at Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria.
The proposal involves the erection of a new brick single storey kitchen with a part basement, at an estimated cost of $994,000. The new kitchen is designed to provide modern facilities whereby a first class food service may be given to all patients and staff. It will replace the two existing kitchens, one of which was destroyed by fire and partially restored to provide temporary facilities. The Committee has reported favourably on the proposal and, on the concurrence of this House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee.
Question resolved in. the affirmative.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate -
Without requests -
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1966-67.
Without amendment -
Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1966-67.
Air Navigation (Charges) Bill 1966.
Debate resumed from 14th October (vide page 1819), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Order! Is it the wish of the House to debate the subject matter of the two measures together, as has been suggested by the AttorneyGeneral? There being no objection, 1 will allow that procedure to be followed.
.- We are debating two Bills together. The first is the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill. It will replace the Imperial Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881. It will take effect under a system of reciprocal laws between Australia and other countries which belong to the Commonwealth. The other Bill the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill will succeed the Imperial Extradition Acts passed between 1870 and 1935. It will take effect by way of treaties between Australia and other States.
It will be noticed that the Acts which are being replaced are ones of some antiquity. Their antiquity is all the clearer when one reads their provisions. The Fugitive Offenders Act still applies between Australia and other Commonwealth countries on the basis that they are still colonies. The Extradition Act provides for Britain to make arrangements between Australia and other countries. In fact, the GovernorGeneral is treated under this Parliament’s only act as if he were still a British official. This might have been the case at the time. He is given the powers of a Secretary of State of Great Britain. The GovenorGeneral now is the regent of an independent and separate kingdom which makes its own international arrangements. For the time being, it is proposed to maintain the treaties which Britain made for Australia with some 43 countries, according to answers given to me by the Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hasluck), or 40 countries, as the Attorney General (Mr. Snedden) stated in his second reading speech, he realising that three of the countries with which we have treaties, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are no longer regarded as such.
The subject of extradition has come before the Parliament quite rarely and then at times of considerable emotion and heat. It would have been very difficult for the Parliament to have dealt with the subject on those occasions. The AttorneyGeneral mentioned one case. There was another in March 1961. It did not arise under an extradition treaty which Australia had made for it by Britain in fact, there was no extradition treaty with the country concerned but it was alleged to arise out of the war crimes trials after the last war.
To show the heat which can be engendered by extradition I recall the regular procedure which now arises in the courts when action is being taken to deport a Chinese national who has deserted his ship or who has been sacked from a restaurant. The plea is always raised that he will be sent to death or persecution in China. 1 hasten to add that there is not and never has been an extradition treaty between Australia and China. I merely illustrate to honorable members the heat which can be engendered when matters of extradition arise.
After an earlier case, the Foreign Affairs Committee of this Parliament, no less, considered the question of extradition. It did so 10 years ago. After a suitable lapse of time I put a question on the notice paper to the Minister for External Affairs. I asked -
What action has been taken on the report which the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs made in October, 1956, relating to extradition.
On 2nd May 1961, Mr. Menzies replied -
After careful consideration, and after an exchange of views and experiences with the governments of some other countries, including those of the United Kingdom and United Slates, the Government decided against the termination of the treaties mentioned in the committee’s report. It felt that safeguards existed to provide adequate protection to individuals, and it also had very much in mind its declared policy that it would not entertain a request for extradition, unless it were thoroughly satisfied that such a move was not being sought for political purposes.
Mr. Menzies also said in his answer to me -
As to the committee’s recommendations that in certain cases the onus of proof should be altered by amendment of the Extradition Act. the AttorneyGeneral has decided that a review should be made of the act, and the committee’s recommendations are under consideration in this connection.
In the following year, I asked the Attorney General whether he had completed his review of the Act. On 5th April 1962, he replied -
No, but the honorable member would be greatly mistaken if he thought that the matters calling for consideration as a result of the report were the only matters in the extradition system that I have had to consider in my review.
I am still wondering whether the Attorney General was irked more by the Committee’s report or by my question. Nevertheless, the situation continued as it was. Then a situation arose the AttorneyGeneral mentioned this in connection with Nigeria at atime when Nigeria still had the same monarch as the United Kingdom and was therefore still covered by the Fugitive Offenders Act. Chief Enahoro had taken refuge, he thought, in Britain. The Nigerian Government wished him to be extradited to face a charge of treason, a political crime. There was no ground upon which the Secretary of State in Britain could resist the extradition. The Chief was returned to Nigeria. He faced trial and was convicted. He has weathered two subsequent revolutions in the safety of his prison.
– He is now free.
– Yes. The latest revolution has resulted in his being freed. Nigeria meantime became a republic. We in Australia felt the repercussions of the political storm which arose in this case. Other Commonwealth countries, particularly the United Kingdom whose legislation was involved, were prompted to deal with the matter. Accordingly, in Canberra in September last year, after the Commonwealth and Empire Law Conference in Sydney, the Government sought a discussion with the Law Ministers.
– The Government issued an invitation to the Law Minister of all the Commonwealth countries to attend a separate meeting.
– It was held in Canberra on this subject after the conclusion of the Commonwealth and Empire Law Conference. Both the Lord Chancellor and the Attorney-General of England attended, lt was arranged that there should be a Commonwealth Law Ministers conference in London last April. As a result of these two conferences, in which the Australian Government played a notable part, the whole question of extradition between Commonwealth countries has been brought up to date. I feel that the balance between criminal responsibility and political liberty has been well achieved in these twin Bills. lt is admirable that the Commonwealth is giving an example in this matter. Such matters never arose in the days of the British Empire, where there was the one sovereign for a quarter of mankind. Now is the stage, while there are the remaining links afforded by the Commonwealth, to promote further reforms in international law. Latin America, through its Hispanic and historic links, has developed very great skill in international law. Western Europe is now once again achieving the homogeneity which it had for a thousand years. The Attorney referred - one hopes his counterparts will give attention - to the European Convention on Extradition at Paris on 13th December 1957. This was drawn up between fourteen countries of Western and Southern Europe. It has now been ratified by three Scandinavian countries and by Ireland, Italy, Greece and Turkey. It has some very enlightened provisions. The arrangements that Australia has had made for it by Britain with other countries date in antiquity between 1872, the treaty with Belgium, and 1939, the treaty with Luxembourg. All these treaties remain until Australia makes new ones.
It will be noticed that there are two ways in which these two Bills will come into effect. One is through reciprocal laws with Commonwealth countries. The other is through treaties with foreign States. I mentioned in regard to the twin bills on maintenance this afternoon that our Federal system and our parliamentary principles cannot be reconciled in achieving uniform laws. One method has so far been devised, lt was initiated by Sir Garfield Barwick in respect of the uniform company laws and pursued by him and the present Attorney in respect of a great number of other laws. It is now virtually complete in respect of the laws giving effect to maintenance orders. The method that has been adopted is for the Commonwealth and State Attorneys, with the very great assistance of the Commonwealth Draftsman, to make drafts on all these subjects. Then the 13 Houses of Parliament - the six State Parliaments and the Commonwealth Parliament - must enact the model bill which has been settled by the Attorneys-General and the Commonwealth Government must make ordinances in the same terms. If any parliament alters the bill the uniformity is lost. A great deal has been said, in the last couple of years in particular, concerning the declining status of parliament. This is one of the fields - the technical field of law reform - where the parliaments in our federal system are excluded if uniformity is to be achieved. This is one of the reasons why I probably would bc somewhat of a fanatic in hoping that the Commonwealth would, by reference from the States or conventions with other countries, increase its powers. Then the Commonwealth Parliament could debate the laws. We could do it in the House or in the Committee of the Whole, or we could do it in standing committees. We could have a Law Reform Committee. There would then be some Australian parliamentarians who could suggest and debate various law reforms.
The present method has increased the role of the Executive, lt is bringing about uniformity, and this is good, but it is diminishing the democratic parliamentary role in bringing about uniformity. In these twin Bills on extradition the problem is somewhat different. Australia is dealing with other countries. No country can deal with another country except through its executive. No congress deals with another congress. No parliament deals with another parliament. No legislature deals with another legislature. Treaties are inevitably made by the Executive. Under the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill 1966 the Executive decides to what extent Australia will reciprocate with other Commonwealth countries. This is a complex Bill indeed. It is an intricate Bill. It is a skilful
Bill, lt makes detailed provision for the Executive’s action. Under the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill 1966 the Executive can make a treaty or need not make a treaty with another country. It can denounce a treaty which we already have. It can substitute a treaty for any which we have. The Parliament can perform no functions. The only way that the Government can be influenced on extradition is the same way it can be influenced on external affairs generally - by having an alert, inquisitive Parliament and public constantly watching such subjects.
These Bills, in the present dormant state of extradition, are not likely to arouse very much public interest. They are, however, Bills which can be brought into the limelight overnight. I think we can be confident that the next time a crisis arises in these fields - because they are always crises, there is never a trivial case of extradition - Australia will be in a better position both to ensure that persons who committed crimes in Australia are brought to book and to ensure that persons who are alleged to have committed crimes overseas and who are now in Australia are not extradited except for good reason. We shall be in a much better posture than we have ever been.
The Bills achieve a good balance. 1 admire the skill with which they have been drafted. The Parliament ought to take some pride in the fact that our Minister and his advisers have taken a full role in achieving these arrangements within the Commonwealth. Accordingly, we do not oppose the Bills; in fact, we positively support them.
.- It is a wonderful occasion to be able to start a speech by saying that I find myself in complete agreement with my friend, but nevertheless my opponent, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Whitlam). He has given the indication that the Opposition supports the Bills. For my part I am happy to say that I support them, more so since in the course of the last few hours the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Snedden) has indicated that he is prepared to make one or two minor, but nevertheless in some respects significant, adjustments to the legislation. This is most welcome legislation. In a very real sense it is quite historic legislation. It is perfectly true, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has said, that it is only rarely that a matter of extradition arises. It is only on odd occasions that a person’s extradition from this country is sought or has been sought. It is only on rare occasions that a person abroad is sought to be extradited to Australia. It is also perfectly true, as the honorable gentleman pointed out, that whenever these occasions do arise they generate a considerable amount of emotionalism. In the vast majority of cases it is significant to note that there is a considerable degree of political content associated with the extradition.
I do not have recent figures of extraditions sought in relation to the United Kingdom, but I do know that in the 10 years up to 1963 - that is, up to when the extradition of Chief Enahoro was sought by the Nigerian Government - there were some 16 extraditions sought by the United Kingdom authorities from various countries around the world and, in relation to the United Kingdom, some 76 applications had been made to extradite people. This totals 92 extraditions over a 10 year period. This is not significant, but when one reflects on the fact that in the great majority of those applications there was a matter of high political moment, then it is proper that parliaments around the world should give adequate consideration to the question of extradition.
I have described these two Bills as being historic. Without affecting to use the slightest degree of condescension, may I say that the Attorney-General of this country, by virtue of this legislation has, in my opinion in the finished form of the legislation, put this country, in terms of its understanding of political environment, some 20 years ahead of the rest of the world in the matter of extradition. The honorable gentleman had a conference in Canberra with Law Ministers from the Commonwealth. He went to London and had a further conference with them. He has put into this Bill - and I am speaking now of the Bill relating to the extradition of criminals to and from Commonwealth countries - in clause 11 a most significant provision. That is to say, the AttorneyGeneral, if he has substantial grounds for believing that “ the requisition for the surrender of the fugitive “ - I leave out the rest of it, - is due to “ his race, religion, nationality or political opinions “, he can refuse to give either his warrant or a notice under the respective provisions. This is quite remarkable. The significance of this provision, to my mind, is that it puts on every AttorneyGeneral in every Commonwealth country the responsibility of facing up to critical world opinion whenever an extradition application is made.
If I may take the case of Mr. X whose extradition is sought from this country to another Commonwealth country, when upon the plainest of tests it may be considered that this man has committed a criminal offence and should be extradited, in the first instance the Attorney-General directs his mind to consider whether or not Mr. X should be extradited on account of his race, colour, creed or nationality, as the wording makes clear. In other words, what he does is to look behind the offence. I think this puts every Attorney-General in every Commonwealth country upon his mettle. When 1 say that this is historic legislation, I think one can regard this legislation as being a very significant development in Australia’s international personality. This may seem to some people to be a rather pedestrian observation, but when we reflect upon the fact that as far back as 1937 this country’s Constitution was altered by the Imperial Parliament, 1 believe it puts out into the plainest of relief the fact that Australia is now in the full blood of nationhood.
As has been put to me by some of my friends, the alteration, was made to this country’s Constitution in 1937 without any consultation with the people of Australia, but it was in a sense through error or fortuitous. Be that as it may, the fact remains that in 1937 the Imperial Parliament, legislating at Westminster, altered the Australian Constitution and gave to this Parliament power to legislate with respect to the Geneva Convention of that year. When one reflects on that and we find here today that this Parliament is legislating in the matter of extradition, I think it is quite an extraordinary affair. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has adverted to the Fugitive Offenders Act 1881. This has been the Act which has served the British Empire in its turn and has served the Commonwealth in its turn, but it has become hopelessly outdated. I do not believe that any person would gainsay that. It is interesting - I suppose it is a novelty - to acknowledge the fact that until last year the people of Eire used the Fugitive Offenders Act for the purpose of extradition. I think the Attorney-General will know one of my confreres, that distinguished common law lawyer Mr. Dan Casey of the Queensland Bar. When on one occasion he sought to get some person out of Ireland for some reason or another and our respective researches led us to the conclusion that the Irish were still using the Fugitive Offenders Act, all of us who were Irish were struck dumb with complete disbelief. But this is the case.
– The honorable member should not attack the Irish.
– I am not. 1 am both north and south-
– 1 rise to order. Is the honorable member allowed to violently attack a friendly country like Ireland?
– Order! There is no substance to the point of order.
– I was about to say that 1 am both north and south of the Boyne and when a person puts to me that that accounts for my being so completely impossible, 1 suppose that is true, but I do not want to vent any anger, however synthetic, upon the honorable member for Watson. I thought that this would have engaged even his interest, but, still, I shall talk to him later in a more gentile way. The fact that the Fugitive Offenders’ Act has now found itself hopelessly out of date, is, I believe, of great significance. The British Empire and the Commonwealth have lived through the time when they had one Crown, one system of law and one executive, in a sense, but all that has gone by the board and various members of the Commonwealth have found themselves at cross purposes with each other in relation to extradition.
This was brought into the open in 1963 when the Nigerian Government sought the extradition of Chief Enahoro. This has been adverted to by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and by the Attorney-General. The London “ Times “ of 15th March 1963, commenting upon the Enahoro incident, wrote -
That is, the dilemma of using the Fugitive Offenders Act 1881 - was recognised by the Lord Chancellor and th Home Secretary yesterday. It was recognised last year by Mr. Butler when, as Home Secretary, he ruled against returning to Cyprus two Cypriots wanted on murder charges. In that case, there was a threat to the lives of the men, outside the processes of law, because they had worked for the British Government during the fighting in Cyprus. The Government therefore had a moral obligation to protect them. The present case is different. The most relevant question, as the law stands, is whether Chief Enahoro will get a fair trial. There is no reason to believe that he will not, and a refusal to return him could only be interpreted as an unwarranted reflection on the Nigerian judiciary. It is nevertheless desirable that the British Government should be spared embarrassing decisions of this kind. There should be urgent consultations with other Commonwealth countries to change the Fugitive Offenders Act.
What was significant about the Enahoro case, as my friend the Attorney-General pointed out, was that even though it was upon the plainest of tests a political offence for which the extradition of this man was sought, it was no defence to him in a friendly country - in a Commonwealth country - to seek to stay there; in other words, to seek asylum because it was a political offence. This was because the Fugitive Offenders Act made no provision whatever for giving to a person the right to seek asylum on the grounds that he had committed a political offen.ce.
This may be contrasted with the. United Kingdom Extradition Act which was, in a sense, a fountainhead of extradition treaties all over the world, it has always been a sacred principle of our people that no person, because he has committed a political offence, should be denied political asylum. But in the Enahoro case, even though he was charged with a political offence, it was denied to him by dint of the statute, whereas if he had come from a non-Commonwealth country an application for him to remain in that country could well have been granted. I. hope it will be of some interest if I remind the House that in the 1920’s, I believe it was, a gentleman in Hong Kong by the name of Nguyen Ai Quoc sought political asylum with the British authorities in Hong Kong on the ground that he was a political refugee. It was denied, and the French sought extradition of him back to Indo-China. In the first instance his application for asylum failed. He appealed and the appeal collapsed. Eventually the appeal was taken to the Privy Council. It was taken by that distinguished lawyer, the late Sir Stafford Cripps. The Privy Council ruled that the man was a bona fide political refugee.
The name Nguyen Ai Quoc is possibly not as well known to the world as the name he later assumed - Ho Chi Minh. This occurred some 40 years ago and the scrupulous regard shown by the British for the sincerity of an individual seeking political asylum was vividly illustrated on that occasion. One may wonder how different the world would have been, particularly our part of the world, if on that occasion there had been a contrary result. But this is merely an illustration of what [ had in mind when I talked about it being a sacred principle of our people that no person should be denied asylum simply because of his or her political association or political involvement. But with respect to Commonwealth countries this, of course, has not been the case.
With respect to Chief Enahoro, the then British Home Secretary, Mr. Brooke, speaking in the House of Commons on 21st March 1963, made the following observation -
I think that it is common knowledge- that the reputation and integrity of Nigerian justice have been testified to by Chief Awolowo, who is Chief Enahoro’s parliamentary leader.
Regrettably, shortly afterwards Chief Enahoro was convicted and sentenced to, I think, 12 or 15 years gaol. The gentleman who was Chief Enahoro’s parliamentary leader was also sentenced to gaol for a term, 1 think, of 10 years. This is relevant in the sense that it points up the changing nature of the Commonwealth and of the world, and the change in values, standards and attitudes. Things that might once have been considered immutable have all changed. The attitudes of people towards various things have changed, and the only way to protect the liberty of the individual against the tyranny of a state in the matter of extradition is to erect, all along the line, barriers, institutions to check, to challenge and if need be to control those who seek to impose the tyranny that may be available to them. We are all - and I hope we remind ourselves of the fact from time to time - ephemeral. We axe here today and then gone. 1 am delighted that the Attorney-General has agreed to accept, among other things, two significant amendments to this legislation. May I again, without any sense of being patronising or condescending, say to him that I am delighted that he has indicated to me that he will allow me to move one of the amendments that 1 suggested to him in relation to the matter of a political offence. I know that my friend did not share all of my fears with respect to the issue of a political offence and this, if nothing else, stimulates me to acknowledge what the honorable gentleman has done. It is to this subject that I now wish to refer.
The great difficulty is to determine what is a political offence. This has been considered on many occasions. It was first considered in our courts - when 1 say “ our courts “ 1 speak of the tradition, the stream of our existence and I include the English courts - in a case involving a gentleman by the name of Castioni. I have said that it was first considered in this case; I mean that this is the first significant case in which the matter was considered. The case is reported in 1890, 1 Queen’s Bench Division Reports, at page 149. This gentleman was a Swiss. He was living in a Swiss canton and during the course of an insurgency he shot a person whom one might call without disrespect a member of the establishment. Then he escaped from Switzerland and went to England, and the question that came up for consideration was whether or not the shooting of the individual - that was in a very real sense the murder of an individual - was a murder as murder or whether or not it was an offence that had a political overtone. The court considered this matter and I would like with the permission of the House to read part of the judgment given by Mr. Justice Hawkins. He said -
Now, I entirely dissent, and I think all reasonable persons would dissent, from the proposition that any act done in the course of a political rising, or in the course of any insurrection, is necessarily of a political character. Everybody would agree, I think, with this - that it is not everything done during the period during which a political rising exists that could be said to be of a political character. A man might be joining in an insurrection, joining in a rising, joining in that which in itself is a pure political matter, but notwithstanding that he were engaged in a political rising, if he were deliberately, for a matter of private revenge or for the purpose of doing injury to another, to shoot an unoffending man, because he happened himself to be on: of an insurgent crowd and had a revolver in his hand, no reasonable man would question that he was guilty of the crime of murder, because that offence so committed by him could not be said to have any relation at all to a political crime, namely, a crime which in law ought to be punished with the punishment awarded for such a crime.
Then the judge went on to say -
Now, what is the meaning of crime of a political character? I have thought over this matter very much indeed, and I have thought whether any definition can be given of the political character of the crime - I mean to say, in language which is satisfactory. I have found none at all, and 1 can imagine for myself none so satisfactory, and to my mind so complete, as that which I find in the work which 1 have now before me.
He went on to cite the view given on this question of what is a political crime or a political offence by his brother Mr. Justice Stephen, which is to be found in “ History of the Criminal Law of England “ in volume II, pages 70 and 71. The next significant case that developed with respect to the question of what is a political crime concerned a matter which was considered some four years later. It involved a Frenchman by the name of Meunier and it is reported in 1 894, 2 Queen’s Bench Division Reports, at page 415. Mr. Justice Cave observed -
It appears to me that, in order to constitute an offence of a political character, there must be two or more parties in the State-
If I may, I emphasise that requirement that there must be two or more parties in the State- each seeking to impose the government of their own choice on the other, and that, if the offence is committed by one side or the other in pursuance of that object, it is a political offence, otherwise not.
In other words, what I submit emerges from the two judgments 1 have cited is that in order for a political offence to be committed there must be two political parties in the State. As one looks around the world one finds a number of countries in which there are not two political parties. There are, as we all know, one party States, and this is significant in the Commonwealth context. It is significant in the world context, in the world community. I refer to countries that have deteriorated or found themselves wandering away from the democratic tradition and moving towards the establishment of the one party state. This is a reality of life, and no amount of sweet soothings can take us away from that fact. In relation to these two Bills, whereas it would be open to the Attorney-General, in the first instance in respect to the Commonwealth of Nations, to say whether or not a matter was a political offence, beyond that it would then rest with the courts of this country.
What I am putting to the House is this: There is a stream of authority which although, admittedly not binding upon the courts of Australia would nevertheless be of high persuasive significance and which would suggest that unless there were two political parties in the country you cannot commit a political offence. Again, this was considered some four years ago by the House of Lords in Schtraks case. The gentleman concerned was from Israel. The House of Lords did not like the authority established by the two earlier cases. There is no complete definition on the point. Nevertheless there remains a measure of doubt - it may be held to be a minor amount of doubt - as to whether or not the authority of the two earlier cases would survive in this country to the extent that if a court in Australia were called upon to consider the position of an individual seeking political asylum, and if it were a ona party state that was seeking to extradite him it, of course, would not be open to the court to hold that it was a political offence. For that reason I am delighted that the Attorney-General has agreed to accept the suggestion indicated in the particular amendment.
I think that this legislation is a very fine expression of a country seeking to keep itself in touch with developments around the world. I will quote the words of a Swiss court, to be found in 1952 International Law Reports, dealing with the case of Kavic. Talking about the hardening of :he consideration in relation to people seeking political asylum and whether or not the consideration should be according to any hard and fast rule, this is what the court observed - . . it does not meet the intention of the law, nor take account of recent historical developments, such as the growth of totalitarian States. In such States all political opposition is suppressed and a fight for power is, if not impossible from the start, at least practically without any chance of success. Those who do not wish to submit to the regime have no alternative but to escape it by flight abroad. . . . This more passive attitude for the purpose of escaping political constraint is no less worthy of asylum man active participation in the fight for political sower used to be in what were earlier considered to be normal circumstances. The spirit of justice undoubtedly ascribes a political character to such a flight abroad, and a liberalisation of the practice of the Court, with a view to adjusting it to recent developments, appears justified.
I believe that this legislation is in keeping with that; that here is a lively example of the willingness of a young country - a country that not long ago found that here it had to be controlled by the Mother Country - anxiously and eagerly legislating in this field. For that reason I am delighted that this legislation has been introduced and, with respect, I warmly congratulate the Attorney-General on his initiative and enterprise.
.- I rise to support these two Bills. 1 want to say a word or two first about the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill. This Bill, if passed, will apply in the future to extradition from Australia to other countries, excluding countries in the British Commonwealth. In the past we have acted under the Imperial Acts known as the Extradition Act 1870 as amended, and under extradition treaties which have been entered into by Great Britain and which became binding upon us. It is one aspect of the growing maturity of Australia in international affairs that in the future, following passage of this Bill, we will be prescribing our own requirements for extradition from Australia. I hope that in the future we also will be concluding our own extradition treaties. It will still be possible for us to put in additional stipulations over and above those which are contained in this Bill if we feel that it is appropriate in the case of the particular country with which we are concluding the treaty.
Turning now to the terms of the Bill, I would like to refer to clause 12. This clause provides that where this Bill applies in relation to a foreign state, every fugitive from that state is liable, subject to various matters, to be apprehended and surrendered to that state as provided by this Bill. Then it continues with some immaterial matter. The definition of a fugitive is dealt with in clause 4. Broadly, a fugitive is referred to as a person accused of an extradition crime. An extradition crime is defined, again in clause 4, as an offence against the law of a foreign state, the act or omission constituting which would, when it took place in or within the jurisdiction of Australia - to summarise it - be an offence against the law in that part of Australia, provided that it is an offence contained in the -First Schedule to the Bill. When one turns to the First Schedule one finds a list of 33 types of offences, starting with wilful murder, murder, manslaughter and, going down to No. 31, piracy, and so on. lt contains a list of 33 offences against the law of Australia or a part of Australia - some State - which if they were also offences against the law of a foreign state would be extradition offences. There is a qualification to this in clause 13 which says that a person is not liable to be surrendered to a foreign state if the offence to which the requisition relates is an offence of a political character. The honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) has referred to the difficulties of defining an offence of a political character. lt may be worth, for a moment, going back a little further into the law or into international practice on this subject. There was no rule of international law which required any state to extradite persons within its borders at the request of another state. On the contrary, throughout history states generally have insisted upon their right to grant asylum to any person. Further, in the case of crimes like murder, bigamy, and kidnapping, mankind generally believes that people who have committed these crimes should be delivered up to face trial in the country where the crimes were committed; and so extradition treaties have been arranged. The practice has been to hand over people at the request of the prosecuting state - to surrender the bodies of these people. There have, however, been various exceptions to this practice. The most important exception, and the one which is embodied in the clause I have just read relates to political refugees. It has always been one of the exceptions that a political refugee would not be delivered up but would be granted political asylum. That is what is at the back of clause 13 (1.). It is also, of course, a fact that some countries in the past have insisted on two other exceptions. One related to military offences such as desertion from the army of the other state, and the other related to religious offences. We have not incorporated those in our legislation, but we have incorporated the exception relating to political offences.
Generally speaking, the question whether the person to be handed over was a subject of the state that was handing him over, or the state that was requesting that he be handed over, or a subject of some other state altogether, was regarded as entirely irrelevant. France and Germany adopted the principle of never extraditing their subjects, but of arranging to punish them under special laws within their own borders for grave crimes committed abroad. Great Britain, on the other hand, did not make any exception in the case of handing over its own subjects. Neither do we in this legislation. It was also a principle that, to be an extraditable offence, the act complained of must be a crime not only under the laws of. the country which was asking for the man to be handed over but also under the laws of Australia, if this were the country where he was residing. It will be noticed from the definitions that this principle is also incorporated in our law.
There are other conditions imposed here which are worth brief mention. One is that when the person is extradited he is to be tried only for the offence for which he was extradited and not for some other offence altogether. This is covered by subclause (2.) of clause 13. Finally, in this Bill there is the provision to which some reference was also made earlier, which gives the Attorney-General of Australia a discretion as to whether extradition will be given in those cases which are referred to in clause 4. If the Attorney-General has substantial grounds for believing that the requisition for the surrender of the fugitive, although purporting to have been made in respect of an offence for which, but for this clause, he would be liable to be surrendered, was made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions, the Attorney-General may refuse extradition. He may also refuse it if he has substantial grounds for believing that if the fugitive is surrendered he may be prejudiced at his trial by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions.
This is not something that has appeared commonly in extradition treaties. It is a departure which has been sought by Australia, and it now appears in our legislation. This seems to be a wise provision in this modern world where questions of religion, race and the political opinions of others seem to have become more important as the world has shrunk, bringing us so much closer together and permitting much freer passage of individuals from one country to another.
I should like now to make some comments about the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill. Formerly, extradition as between Commonwealth countries was covered by the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1881, an Act of the United Kingdom. I use the word “ formerly “ in the sense that I am assuming that the Bill under discussion will be passed. As between Commonwealth countries, there was not this provision of an exception in the case of crimes of a political character. Therefore, one question to be determined is whether, in the case of handing over a fugitive to another Commonwealth country, there would be any need for an exception covering crimes of a political character. I think honorable members will agree that it is desirable in the case of some of these Commonwealth countries to have this safeguard which is common to extradition treaties with foreign countries. It is pleasing, therefore, to see that in clause 10 of this Bill, exception from extradition is provided for in the case of offences of a political character. Furthermore, the Attorney-General takes a similar discretion where he has substantial ground for believing that a person may be prejudiced by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions. But there is an additional set of exceptions. These are set out in sub-clause (2.) of clause 11. They concern cases where, by reason of the trivial nature of the offence; or because the accusation against a fugitive is not made in good faith or in the interests of justice; or where, because of the passage of time since the offence was committed it would be unjust, oppressive, or too severe a punishment to surrender the man. These, too, are made grounds for refusing extradition. I notice from the circulated amendments which the Attorney-General has stated he proposes to move when we are discussing the Bill in committee that these exceptions are to be placed in the hands of a magistrate and can be given effect to by a legal process.
One aspect of this Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill to which I think some reference should be made is Part III which relates to extradition to and from certain Commonwealth countries neighbouring Australia, lt appears from clause 22 that the countries referred to are New Zealand, the Colony of Fiji, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. These are treated in a special way. If, for example, there is in Australia a fugitive from New Zealand, all that is necessary is for the New Zealand policeman carrying the New Zealand warrant to have the warrant endorsed in this country and he can then operate under the authority of that warrant to arrest a person in Australia. It is also provided in the Bill that the Australian police of any State or Territory will assist him. We are including a provision which, in effect, provides that a New Zealand warrant will run in Australia for the purpose of apprehending offenders. This provision will apply also to the Colony of Fiji the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony and the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. This puts them almost on the same footing for the arrest of offenders, as if they were States of Australia. The provision treats the area, if one can put it this way, as being Australasia. This appears to be a wise provision.
There is, of course, no exception in this case with respect to offences of a political character, although one finds on reading clause 26 that in the case of a trivial offence, or where a great deal of time has passed since the offence was committed, certain discretions are vested in a magistrate in Australia not to allow the transfer of a person to the other country to go forward. Altogether, I think that with the deletion of Part IV which the Attorney-General has forecast, this Bill is one which is worthy of the support of this House.
In view of the remarks made by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) on the question of political offences, perhaps I could add one or two remarks on that topic. This is a matter which a court here would have to consider if it were alleged that the extradition was sought for murder and it was claimed that this was a political offence. It is not always easy to see whether a murder is a political offence. A man may throw a bomb into cafe as a terrorist act. He may assassinate a head of state. He may take part in an insurrection and in the course of it shoot a government soldier. There are various degrees. One may say that in one case he has a political motive, that in another he has a political purpose and that in another he is taking part in a political disturbance. A good deal of difficulty in the definition of a political offence is shown by the cases.
However, I put it to the House that the situation is by no means made rigid by the cases to which the honorable and learned member for Moreton referred. Perhaps I may read a brief passage from the last case that he mentioned. This was the case of “Schtraks against the Government of Israel and Others “. It was reported in 1964 Appeal Cases at page 556. Lord Reid, delivering his opinion, is reported at page 584 as having made some remarks about offences of a political character which are referred to in section 3 of the Extradition Act of 1870 of the United Kingdom, which we shall be superseding. He finished with this rather general statement -
It appears to me that the provisions of section 3 of the Act of 1870 are clearly intended to give effect to the principle that there should in this country be asylum for political refugees, and I do not think that it is possible, or that the Act evinces any intention to define the circumstances in which an offence can properly be held to be of a political character.
I believe that what flows from this is that it would be unwise to attempt to define in a statute what is a political offence, and that it should be left, as it will be left in this Bill, to the good sense of our courts to determine in the light of the circumstances and the political knowledge and climate of the day when any such case arises whether or not the offence alleged against a person is to be classed as a political offence. For the reasons that I have given, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I support these Bills.
– Mr. Deputy Speaker, I, like previous speakers on both sides of the House, support these Bills. I congratulate both the Government and the Attorney-General (Mr.
Snedden) on their introduction. These extradition measures emphasise the somewhat sad fact that in some respects the world is not so well ordered or so well organised a place as it was 30 or 40 years ‘ago. These measures are designed to provide a balance between two objectives. They are intended, first, to provide a mutually acceptable extradition procedure in respect of real crimes and, secondly, to protect the right of political asylum that we accord in Australia. I wish to discuss particularly the second of these objectives, though in fact I am speaking about the reconciliation of the two. I should like to refer particularly to a report by the Foreign Affairs Committee that was put before this House in May 1956 after there had been extradition proceedings concerning a man named Rancic. In this instance, one of the Soviet satellites sought the extradition of a man who had been a centre of resistance against Soviet domination.
– It was Yugoslavia.
– I believe that it was Yugoslavia. The pretext given was not the alleged commission of a political crime or even of a crime that had political overtones. Rather, the pretext was the alleged commission of a simple crime of embezzlement. One knows from experience that it is easy for the authorities in countries behind the Iron Curtain to cook up evidence of any crime that they like to fasten on any one of their citizens. We need not go further than the evidence of Mr. Khrushchev for this. Honorable members will recall that he denounced his predecessor, the infamous Stalin, for the way in which Stalin had cooked up evidence against Soviet citizens and sent them to torture and death in order to further his own designs in Russia. This is now admitted on all sides. It was stated by Mr. Khrushchev when he was Soviet Premier and the leader of the Soviet Union.
There is no doubt that if the authorities in the Iron Curtain countries want to incriminate one of their citizens falsely, they can produce sworn evidence, which is hard to rebut, of anything that they desire to establish, because inside their own countries they have available to them the machinery of perjury - the machinery needed to set up false witness. This is in point of fact characteristic of a Soviet satellite. In these circumstances, Iron Curtain countries can apply for extradition of a person not merely on political grounds or on the grounds of a crime having a political element but on grounds which, prima facie, have no political element at all, though they may be based entirely on political motives. This was what happened in the Rancic case. An innocent man who had not committed any crime in the normal sense was subjected to proceedings for extradition. In order to have him extradited, perjured evidence was submitted. This was evidence not of a crime with a political connotation but of a crime without any political connotation.
As I have said, this, unhappily, is characteristic of the Soviet system. The authorities in the Iron Curtain countries have available to them any amount of perjured evidence that they may use against a person against whom they bear a grudge or have any resentment. Such a person is always liable to be accused falsely of crimes that are not political. It is important that such persons should not be extraditable from Australia. I am glad to see that the Extradition (Foreign States) Bill will enable us to give such people proper protection in Australia. This is a matter of grave importance. I have always held, and I think most honorable members of this House would hold, that the right of free emigration from one’s own country to any other country that is willing to receive one is a precious right.
One of the ways in which the Soviet terrorises its citizens is to tell them that there is no escape from the prison. This is one of the main mechanisms by which the Soviet maintains discipline in its own totalitarian sphere. There is to be no escape. I remind the House that the Soviet Union still maintains the death penalty for escape - for unlawful emigration - from the Soviet Union. This is a capital crime. Until a few years ago - this may still be true, but I am not sure - members of the family of a man who escaped were heavily penalised if they knew of the escape and they were subjected to severe and savage penalties, including transportation to Siberia, if they did not know about the escape. This is the kind of travesty of justice which is characteristic of Soviet law and the totalitarian system. It is very important when these people escape and come into the jurisdiction of Australia or some other democratic power that the power to extradite them should not be available to this vicious Soviet system.
I know that the Attorney-General has had this kind of thing in mind in the drawing of these Bills, which are based very largely, I think, on the principles put forward by the Foreign Affairs Committee in its report to the Parliament in May 1956. I have a copy of the report here. I will not read it but I invite honorable members who are interested in it to examine it and see how the principles there set out are being translated into this legislation.
I know that the Attorney-General has had to negotiate this legislation fairly skilfully in a number of external conferences. I know that the Bills are not the end of the process of negotiation; they are only one stage in that process. But I do feel that the Government and the AttorneyGeneral should be congratulated on the principles which are embodied in the Bills. I again emphasise to the House that one of the great mechanisms of Soviet tyranny is the denial to Soviet citizens of the right to emigrate - to get out of the prison house. Anything which gives to these people a little freedom, even if only a small chance of freedom, is a Wow struck for democracy - a blow struck against the totalitarian system. I support the Bills.
– in reply - I rise only to say that I accept with great humility the congratulations offered to me by honorable members. I share the view expressed on both sides of the House that this is a most important piece of legislation and will be a cornerstone of liberty for people against whom political offences are alleged.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 - by leave - taken together.
.- I direct the Committee’s attention to the fact that the word “Commonwealth” is used in the title of this Bill for the first time in the sense of Commonwealth of Nations.
The word “ Commonwealth “ has been used in the title of some 27 acts, not counting amending acts, but never in this sense. This afternoon, for instance, we passed another Bill relating to Commonwealth officers where we were using the term in the other sense in which it has always been used in the titles of our acts as meaning “ Commonwealth of Australia “.
It might be apposite for me to say, on the eve of the Manila conference, that the term “Commonwealth of Australia” is regarded in the Philippines as having the same meaning as “ Commonwealth of the Philippines “ used to have. From 1934 to 1946 the Philippines enjoyed Commonwealth status. This is what in Australia we used to call “ self-government “ as distinct from “ independence “.
– Was not Arizona once the Commonwealth of Arizona?
– I shall come to that in a moment. In the Pacific therefore, the term “Commonwealth of Australia” is thought to indicate that we are still dependent on Britain. This impression is reinforced because between 1934 and 1946 the head of state in the Philippines was called, as he still is in Australia, the Governor-General. The Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) mentioned, as is correct historically I imagine, that “ Commonwealth “ is understood in the United States to mean a State. There is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or, older still, the Commonwealth of Virginia. Some radical suggested at the time of the Federation conventions - I believe Quick and Garran refer to it - that the term had slipped through without delegates realising that it was the term given to Great Britain when it was ruled by Oliver and Richard Cromwell.
– I remember them well.
– The honorable member’s ancestors came from one of the most rebellious parts of the country under the restored Stuarts. Monmouth landed in the Pollards country.
I am encouraged by the use of the word “ Commonwealth “ in its proper sense in the title of this Bill to follow up the tribute that the Attorney-General made to his draftsmen and encourage them to use the term “ Commonwealth “ only in this sense.
There has been an irrational interchange and unnecessary use of the words “Australian “, “ Commonwealth “, “ Federal “ and “ National “ in our publications. There has been a similarly irrational interchange and unnecessary use of these terms in our statutes and regulations.
– I remind the honorable member that the Constitution itself does not use the common term.
– Quite. I know that Mr. Speaker takes the attitude that we should not discontinue to use the term “ Commonwealth “ on our notice paper or in the Parliament because of the constitutional use, The States are not so pedantic. We do not see State statutes or stationery with the constitutional term “ State of New South Wales “. The States use the geographic term “ New South Wales “. We ought to use the geographic term “ Australia “, just as Canada and New Zealand have dropped the term “ Dominion “.
My proposition is that we should use none of the words “ Australian “, “ Commonwealth “, “ Federal “ or “ National “ unless they serve to identify or distinguish and that we should prefer the geographic term to the others, particularly to the term “ Commonwealth “. If it is desired to distinguish an Australian organisation from a foreign one or to identify it overseas as Australian, the best word is “ Australian “. “ Federal “ applies to many countries - for example, West Germany, India, the United States, Canada and Mexico. “ National “ applies to every country and “ Commonwealth “ promotes confusion with many international institutions - for instance, Commonwealth preference. Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Law Conference and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. If it is desired to distinguish a body responsible to the Australian Federal Government or Parliament from a body responsible to an Australian State Government or Parliament, the word “ Australian ‘” would again appear appropriate in al) circumstances. “ National “ or “ Federal “ are apt counterparts for the word “ S’.ate “ but do not encourage the States to distinguish between their own similarly tit led instrumentalities by using their geographic description. For instance, there are very many State instrumentalities in every State bearing the same name. Unless one looks at the address of the body, one does not know to which State it refers. In the present context, in the Commonwealth Acts “ Commonwealth “ is most likely to be confused with the Commonwealth of Nations.
Perhaps I might illustrate how, not for any constitutional reasons, in the AttorneyGeneral’s own Department there is this use of unnecessary terms. He is administratively responsible for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Commonwealth Police and for the Commonwealth Industrial Court and the Federal Court of Bankruptcy. Many other Ministers have the same variety of terms. I shall not have time to give them all. This week we have had, for instance, in the fields of education and science, reference to the Commonwealth Office of Education, the Commonwealth Scholarships Board and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, but the Australian Universities Commission and the Australian Research Grants Committee. Again in the last week we have had, in reference to matters which fall within the competence of the Treasurer (Mr. McMahon), the Australian Loan Council, the National Debt Commission, the Commonwealth Debt Conversion Act and the Commonwealth Grants Commission. Yesterday and today we discussed the States Grants (Special Assistance) Bill allocating sums recommended by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.
In all these matters, is it relevant to use the distinguishing term? Is there any confusion within Australia if we drop these terms? If we use the term “Commonwealth “ in our statutes, we shall cause the least confusion if we use it in the sense it bears in this statute. Where there are bodies dealing with the same subject matter but responsible to different governments, as with the police, railways and marketing boards, a clear distinction is made both within and outside Australia by using the geographic term “ New South Wales “ or “ Australia “. I would suggest that even if we continue to use the term “ Commonwealth of Australia “ in official parliamentary publications, we should in general usage promote the practice of the Common wealth Parliamentary Association, which refers to the Parliaments of Canada, India, Pakistan and Malaysia, but the Provincial Parliaments of Canada, the State Legislatures of India, the Provincial Legislatures of Pakistan and the State Parliaments of Malaysia. In the present case, the term “ Commonwealth “ is likely to come under notice in other countries. It is a case where the term “ Commonwealth “ is appropriate and unavoidable. In most of the other statutes, 28 other statutes I believe, the term “Commonwealth” could have been omitted without causing confusion. I would hope that the excellent draftsmen at the service of the Attorney and his successor will mark my words. I wish them all success in subsequent law requirements.
– Order! The honorable members time has expired.
Clauses agreed to.
Ordered that clause 3 be postponed until after consideration of clause 31.
Clauses 4 to 9 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Ordered that clause 10 be postponed until after consideration of clause 31.
Clauses 11 to 15 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 15a.
.- I moveThat the following new clause be inserted in the Bill- “ 15a. If a Magistrate before whom a person is brought in pursuance of the last preceding section, or a Court to which the person has applied for a writ of habeas corpus, is satisfied that, by reason of -
Honorable members will notice that the amendment I have moved differs slightly from the amendment that was circulated. In the third line the words “ the Supreme Court of a State or Territory “ have been omitted and the words “ a court “ have been inserted in their place. I realised after I had circulated the amendment in its original form that it might have the effect of excluding the High Court if the party went on appeal from the Supreme Court to the High Court. We most certainly do not want to have that result.
I have had the opportunity for discussions with my colleagues who are private members in the broad sense and some of whom are members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In the course of those discussions it was pointed out to me by a group of them that the provisions in relation to offences of a trivial nature, or the accusation not having been made in good faith, or that the passage of time was too great, ought not to be exclusively in the hands of the Attorney-General; that they ought also to be capable of determination by a court. I considered this matter very closely. I found some difficulties in it, but I came to the conclusion that the benefits that would flow from the proposition outweighed the difficulties. I decided therefore that it would be desirable to move the amendment. I hope that the Committee will support it.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Clauses 16 to 26 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 27. (1.) Where-
.- I move -
In sub-clause (1.), paragraph (a), omit “under sub-section (5.) or sub-section (6.) of section 25 of this Act”, insert “under sub-section (6.) of section 25 of this Act or under the last preceding section “.
We have been very generous in our comments about the Parliamentary Draftsman today, but he has to take his knock now. This amendment arises from a technical error, certainly not by Mr. Kolts but by one of the junior officers whose task it was to check the drafting and who missed this. I therefore ask the Committee to correct this technical error.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 28 and 29 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Part IV - by leave - taken as a whole.
Part IV. - Extradition for Political Offences.
– (1.) Sub-section (1.) of section 10 of this Act does not apply in relation to a country in relation to which this Part applies. (2.) For the purposes of the application of this Act (other than this Part) in relation to a country in relation to which this Part applies -
Australia that is known as treason; and
– I move -
Omit Part IV.
The reason for the inclusion of Part IV was to enable us to make arrangements with certain Commonwealth countries with whom we have such a close identity of interest and such a close identity of loyalty that it would be desirable that we might extradite people charged with political offences to those few countries. Whether or not we can make such an arrangement, I am unable to say at this stage. Certainly an arrangement has not as yet materialised. The proposal here involved was to provide power so that an arrangement could be made and could be put into effect by regulation. It has been put to me by my colleagues by my honorable and learned friend the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Bowen), my honorable and learned friend the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) and by the honorable member for Mackellar (Mr. Wentworth) that it would be better to wait until an arrangement materialised and then to introduce a bill to authorise it. I think this is the proper course and I therefore suggest to the Committee that it not agree to Part IV. Part IV. contains two clauses only, and they are enabling clauses. If events materialise the situation can be taken care of legislatively then.
.- I am absolutely delighted that Part IV. is being deleted from the Bill. The last group of independent countries to undertake tohand over political offenders was the Holy Alliance of 1816-17. One would not regard the Commonwealth of Nations today as a holy alliance. The deletion of Part IV. is a clear expression that Commonwealth countries are adult countries in their dealings one with the other and there should not be any preferential treatment in the consideration of political offenders. I am absolutely delighted that the Attorney General (Mr. Snedden) has taken this action.
Amendment agreed to.
Postponed clause 3.
This Act is divided into Parts, as follows: -
Part I. - Preliminary (Sections 1-7).
Part II. - Extradition to and from Declared Commonwealth Countries.
Division 1. - Application of Part (Section
Division 2. - Extradition to Declared Commonwealth Countries (Sections 9-17).
Division 3. - Extradition from Declared Commonwealth Countries (Sections 18-21).
Part III. - Extradition to and from certain Commonwealth Countries neighbouring Australia (Sections
Part IV. - Extradition for Political Offences (Sections 30-31).
Part V.- Miscellaneous (Sections 32-38).
– I move -
Omit “Part IV.- Extradition for Political Offences (Sections 30-31).”.
This clause was postponed to enable an adjustment to be made to the provisions of clause 3 which set out the Parts of the Act. The amendment is necessary to make the clause coincide with the deletion of Part IV.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed clause 10. (1.) Subject to Part IV., a person is not liable to be surrendered to a declared Commonwealth country if the offence to which the requisition for his surrender relates is, or is by reason of the circumstances in which it is alleged to have been committed or was committed, an offence of a political character.
– I move -
In sub-clause (1.), omit “Subject to Part IV., a insert “ A “.
This amendment is consequential on the deletion of Part IV.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I move -
After sub-clause (1.), insert the following subclause: - “ (1a.) For the purposes of the last preceding sub-section, an offence against the law of a declared Commonwealth country may be regarded as being an offence of a political character notwithstanding that there are not competing political parties in that country.”.
During the second reading debate I adverted to the concern I had regarding the development of oneparty states throughout the world. The views I had on this issue I put to the AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Snedden). He was kind enough to agree to remove the doubts that I had by agreeing to an amendment in this form. My friend the honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Bowen) has adverted to the Schtraks case and said that this clause probably removed the doubts; but, with respect, I differ. If I may, by way of illustrating the doubts I have on this matter, I direct the Committee’s attention to a very fine article written by a Singhalese research scholar, a Mr. Amerasinghe, who is a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from Cambridge, a Master of Law at Harvard, a Lecturer in Law of the University of Ceylon, and who was formerly a law student of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, a Director of Legal Studies at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Harvard University Law School.
– A dilettante, clearly.
– That may be so, but it is a fine list of qualifications, as my friend would agree. Writing in the “ Modern Law Review”, 1965, volume 28 at page 27, he referred to cases to which I have adverted. He mentioned the Castioni case, the Meunier case and the Schtraks case. In the Meunier case, where an anarchist threw a bomb into a caf6 and killed people, the court in England held that the man was not entitled to political asylum, lt took the view that here there were not two competing political parties. This distinguished gentleman, writing about the Meunier case, said -
Further, the court emphatically stated that there were not two political parties in the case, thus denying that the anarchists were a political party. This stresses the important part that political parties play in the definition. It is not a question of political objects or motives as such. But it is essential that political parties be at variance before the notion of a political offence can come into operation.
Those members of the Committee who are interested should see his examination of these various cases. He concluded that there must be a plurality of political parties before the possibility of a political offence can come into being. This was a matter upon which the Attorney-General did not completely agree with me, but nevertheless he saw my fears and was prepared to concede that there was some minor basis for them. With a view to completely removing them he agreed to this amendment. The effect of it would be that if a court were called upon in Australia to consider whether or not a person was a genuine political refugee seeking asylum, even if he were prima facie exposed to a charge under the legislation, if he pleaded that the offence was a political offence it would be open to him or his counsel to argue that irrespective of the fact that he came from a one-party state the court should so regard his offence as being of a political nature. The Committee may ask whether this has any relevance here today in this year of the 20th century. I give the Committee four illustrations with respect to the Commonwealth and, with a view to saving time, also with respect to the same provision of the other Bill. There are four individuals in the world today who could well fall under the umbrella of being involved in extradition proceedings.
I take first of all the case of Mr. Tshombe who is now in Spain. A special military court in the Congo charged him in absentia with crimes. It may well be that that court would convict him. It could well be that extradition proceedings would occur. If Australia were the country involved it would enable an Australian court to consider whether or not there was a political offence and, in particular, whether or not it was a one-party political state. As I have indicated, there was some doubt in my mind, if it were a one-party political state, whether it would be open for the gentleman concerned to seek protection on that basis. The second illustration I give is that of Mr. Othman Shariff, the former Tanzanian Ambassador to the United Nations who was sentenced, again in his absence, by a revolutionary council to 15 years imprisonment. If Australia were the country involved, again the same consideration would arise. In England today there is a gentleman known as the Kabaka of Buganda, which is one of the states involved in the Federation of Uganda. The Kabaka has sought political asylum in England. It could well be that Dr. Milton Obote would seek to extradite him from England. Put Australia in the position of the country to which the request is made for extradition. It would mean that in this country, once the gentleman has pleaded that it was a political offence, it would be competent for the court to examine whether or not it was a political offence and whether it was a one-party state.
The last illustration that comes to my mind concerns the young King of Burundi, a state in Africa. The young Crown Prince some months ago deposed his father who was! abroad in Europe and today he is the King of Burundi. This is a country which has gone through a considerable amount of distress and unhappiness. If it were said that there was only one political party in that country and it sought to extradite the father to Burundi for political purposes, and if Australia was the country which was requested to extradite him, it would be open for the court to consider all the ramifications. They are the four illustrations which I have given in a very compact way and which I hope will recount to the Committee something of the concern I have had upon this ground. I am very glad indeed that the Attorney General and the Government have agreed to accept this amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 32 agreed to.
Clause 33. (1.) The Supreme Court of each State is invested with federal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction is conferred upon the Supreme Court of each Territory, to hear and determine applications under sections 17, 27 and 28 of this Act.
– I move-
In sub-clause (1.), after “sections”, insert “ 15a,”.
This is a consequential amendment to insert clause 15a to which the Committee agreed a few moments ago. It will insert in clause 33 a reference to clause 15a as well as to sections 17, 27 and 28.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Snedden) - by leave - read a third time.
Debate resumed from 14th October (vide page 1820), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– I refer to clause 4 which reads in part - (3). For the purpose of this Act, a person shall be deemed not to have been convicted of an offence against the law of. or of a part of, a foreign state where the conviction is, under that law, a conviction for contumacy, but a person so convicted for contumacy shall be deemed to be accused of an offence against that law.
I move -
After sub-clause (3.), insert the following subclause: - “ (3a.) For the purposes of this Act, an offence against the law of a foreign state may be regarded as being an offence of a political character notwithstanding that there are not competing political parties in that state.”
The Committee will realise that having accepted the amendment moved by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen) to the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Bill, it is necessary to insert a similar provision in this Bill.
Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Snedden) - by leave - read a third time.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Bury, and read a first time.
. -I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
In 1961, we introduced legislation to grant long service leave to waterside workers. It provided for a grant of 13 weeks’ long service leave to waterside workers who had accumulated 20 years’ qualifying service in the industry. In 1961 this was, putting aside the different approach of South Australia, the standard pattern of State long service leave legislation. Since 1961, the legislative pattern has become 13 weeks’ long service leave after 15 years’ service.
As well, since 1964 the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission has made awards in a number of industries providing for long service leave on this basis.
Following the Commission’s action, the Waterside Workers’ Federation made representations to us to apply this new general standard to the stevedoring industry and to widen considerably the application of the long service leave scheme. Whatever the merits of .these representations, the prevailing climate in the stevedoring industry - if I may speak euphemistically - was hardly calculated to lead us to be well disposed to the introduction of enabling legislation. These days, to the great credit of all concerned, the climate is vastly different. In part this draws something from the national conferences of all the parties associated with the stevedoring industry which have been meeting, under the chairmanship of Mr. A. E. Woodward, Q.C., for just about twelve months.
Incidentally, it is worth noting that in the 12 months to September this year manhours lost because of stoppages have been of the order of 25,000. If I tell the House that in the 20 years back to 1946-47 for which we have comparable figures, the loss in the best previous year, 1957-58, was 346,000 man-hours, and the loss in the worst year was 3.3 million man-hours, the change in climate is starkly revealed. But, far more important, these figures only go to show, as my two distinguished predecessors have so often said, that the stevedoring industry need not be any more difficult from an industrial relations point of view than any other industry.
While this is not the occasion for a discussion about the national conferences, I must take this opportunity of congratulating all concerned in them - the Chairman, Mr. Woodward, the Federation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the employers and, of course, the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority and my own Department - for the very remarkable atmosphere that they have engendered in, and the tremendous amount of constructive thought they have brought to, the conferences.
Now, if I may return to the immediate purpose of this speech, during the course of the conferences the Waterside Workers Federation, supported by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, asked that the Government consider its earlier request for improvements in the long service leave scheme. In the light of progress being .made by the conferences and the changed situation on the waterfront, the Government was pleased to accede. Indeed, it felt that the circumstances warranted its going in some respects beyond what had been sought. In particular, the Government decided that the quite unique circumstances of the stevedoring industry justified in some respects somewhat more favorable provisions than are generally applicable to industry at large. In the first place, provision is made enabling those waterside workers who maintain continuity of work to earn additional long service leave - to get, as it were, a bonus.
In short, the Bill provides that for each period of a fortnight’s continuity of work a waterside worker will accumulate additional credits. The net effect is that a waterside worker in an “ A “ class port who completes 15 years qualifying service without any stoppages will accrue a bonus of long service leave of roughly 2£ weeks in addition to his normal 13 weeks long service leave. Because of the rather different circumstances of “B” class ports - those ports where work is not continuous - special provisions applicable to waterside workers in them are made but their general purpose is the same.
Secondly, up to the present, waterside workers in “ B “ class ports have been under a considerable disadvantage. At present, a waterside worker has to accumulate 13 weeks long service leave before he can take such leave. This concept is quite satisfactory in industry at large and also in “A” class ports where each day a man works or is eligible for attendance money counts towards qualifying service. However, in “ B “ class ports where work is intermittent, a waterside worker receives credit towards long service leave only for days when stevedoring operations are actually taking place in the port and the waterside worker works or is available for work. This means that in some “ B “ class ports a waterside worker could spend a lifetime in the industry without ever accumulating sufficient qualifying service to enable him to qualify for 13 weeks long service leave. In fact, some would never qualify for leave.
We felt we should ameliorate the position of these “ B “ class port men. Having taken that decision we considered that it would be best to have one approach to the stevedoring industry at large. So this Bill will now enable a man to take whatever leave he has accumulated after 15 years qualifying service. It may be that, in the case of waterside workers at” B “ class ports, the quantum of leave may amount to only 3 or 4 weeks but at least for the future they will get whatever leave they have accumulated over that period of service. The same rule will apply in relation to the pro-rata provisions.
Part IIIa of the Stevedoring Industry Act, which provides the code of long service leave for the industry, is extremely complicated. If we had grafted on to it the amendments necessary to give effect to the Government’s proposals and decisions in relation to the Federation’s request PartIIIa would have become even more complicated. So we have taken the course of re-making the whole of Part IIIa. This is done in the very lengthy Clause 4.
Apart from the points to which I have already alluded the main alterations introduced by the Bill are as follows:
The period of qualifying service which will entitle a worker to long service leave will in future be 15 years and not 20 years. As with the State legislation and the Commission’s awards, a man with 15 years’ service now does not qualify straight away for 13 weeks’ leave. On the other hand, as 1 have explained, to meet the unique circumstances of this industry a man with 15 years’ service will be able to take whatever leave he has accumulated.
In future, Sundays will be excluded in assessing entitlements to long service leave and these will be based on a six day week, Monday to Saturday. Hence the repeated reference in the Bill to 78 days instead of 13 weeks. These provisions will remove a further disadvantage that has been operating against workers in “ B “ class ports.
The basis of ascertaining the amount of long service leave to which a waterside worker is entitled has been changed from “ qualifying service “ to “ qualifying days “. Under the Bill all the days described in the definition of “ qualifying days “ appearing in what will be the new section 45a will be counted in assessing leave entitle ments. For every 80 qualifying days up to 1st January 1966. one day’s long service leave will accrue. For every 60 such days after that date one day’s leave entitlement will accrue.
The provision dealing with pro-rata leave has been altered to bring it into line with the awards of the Commission by substituting the phrase “ domestic or other pressing necessity “ for “ pressing necessity “ as a ground on which a person may obtain pro rata leave on leaving the industry after 10 years’ service.
The present limit of 15 days of absences on sick leave and on workers’ compensation in counting qualifying clays will be removed.
Days absent on jury service or as witnesses before courts or tribunals will be counted as qualifying days.
Where suspensions of registration are set aside the days restored will count as qualifying days.
A waterside worker who works for at least seven consecutive days and is then granted recuperative time off by the Authority will have that time credited to qualifying days.
Waterside workers who de-register to become members of the Sydney Waterfront First Aid Service will not have their continuity of service broken if they should subsequently be reregistered, though, of course, long service leave entitlements will not accrue while they are with the Auxiliary.
I say immediately that the description I have given of the Bill is a highly simplified account of the provisions made. In essentials the Bill provides benefits no less generous than those applying under the Commission’s awards and State legislation and in the several respects I have indicated is rather more generous because of the unique circumstances of this industry. Of course, the bonus provision the provision for extra long service leave where there is continuity of work is a quite novel concept, possible of introduction only because of the peculiar circumstances of the industry.
It had been my hope to bring down this legislation earlier this year. Because of the delay, the Government has decided that a measure of retroactivity to the new provisions is warranted. It will be seen that the major changes in the long service leave scheme operate from 1st January 1966. The Government believes that these proposals will be seen as a contribution to the future progress of this industry and to the negotiations at present proceeding in the national conference. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Whitlam) adjourned.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Debate resumed from 13th October (vide page 1703), on motion by Mr. Adermann -
That the Bill be now read a second time:
.- The measure now before the House for consideration is termed the Canned Fruits Export Charges Bill 1966 and it provides for an amendment to the principal Act. I understand that the first Act relating to export charges was passed away back in 1926 and was designed essentially to raise revenue for the administration of the Australian Canned Fruits Board. Since 1926 a substantial number of amendments have been made to the Act. It was found necessary to make those amendments to provide for the setting aside of funds for purposes other than actual administration, such as research and so on. The amendment now before the House provides for the removal of some anomalies and to facilitate easier administration of the utilisation of the charges imposed. The last amending Bill provided for a levy in terms of the then existing currency system. Since then, decimal currency has come into being and it has been necessary to revise minutely the charges imposed in order that administration will be facilitated.
The Opposition takes no exception to the measure. We stand for efficient administration. We stand in support of organised marketing of primary products. In this instance it is somewhat regrettable, of course, that even minutely increased export charges on canned fruits should be imposed at a time of considerable difficulty in the canned fruit industry trade. The Bill, in addition, provides for the application of the tax in respect to the net content of the packs rather than on the containers.
Those reforms are desirable, but I could not refrain from probing the recesses of my memory when I read the title of this Bill, lt took my memory back over 35 years to the early days of the establishment of the cooperative canned fruit industries in the Goulburn Valley and the Murray Valley and in the Mumimbidgee area of New South Wales. In the early stages of the industry the mcn growing processing fruits in those areas were very staunch co-operators. They thought, that, if they were to obtain the maximum return for their fruit, that return could be more easily obtained from the organisation of co-operative canning works. The respective State Governments of New South Wales and Victoria came to the party and guaranteed those ardent cooperators substantial capital advances to establish these works. The works went through many periods of severe travail. In many instances, this was due to inexperience and in many others to the vagaries of export market. But eventually they triumphed and their triumph was due in no small measure to the calibre of the men who directed the operations of the canneries. I well remember men such as Sir Andrew Fairley of Shepparton. I think he has passed on now. He was a great business entrepreneur in the Shepparton area. At first he gave freely of his services. Later, in a paid capacity he was a great driving force in the management and development of what is today the successful canning industry at Shepparton, Victoria. The same may be said of Kyabram where there were similar examples of great managerial capacity and indeed devotion by men of that type and character.
In the Mumimbidgee area of New South Wales, at Leeton and Griffith, we saw the same type of thing. For example, Mr. Williams, who managed the cannery and processing works at Leeton, made a very great contribution to the industry. During what was perhaps the most difficult period in Australia’s history - the World War II period - under- the administration of the Curtin and Chifley Governments, these industries rendered yeoman service to the country’s war effort not only by continuing to produce canned fruit but also by switching rapidly and efficiently to the processing of vast quantities of vegetables and other products which were in equal demand by the troops of the allied forces in the South Pacific area. I have very happy recollections of working in co-operation with the men controlling those industries. We hear much propaganda in criticism of the Labour Party’s concern for the primary producers. I remind those critics of the achievements of Labour administrations, Federal and State, during the war period. The canned fruits industry of Australia owes a great deal indeed to the Australian Labour movement. Neither in this Parliament nor in the respective State parliaments concerned, did Labour hesitate to lend a hand in firmly entrenching co-operative processing industries in every part of Australia where they could be established efficiently.
Probing the recesses of my mind, I go back to the time of my association with the fruit industry in Victoria as a Minister of the Victorian Government. In those clays, the industry was in its early stages of development. Unfortunately, it had suffered dire distress as a result of the frightful depression that beset this country from 1929 onwards. In such a depressed state was the industry at Shepparton that the processors could not afford to pay the growers one penny piece for the fruit they delivered to the doors of the canneries. At that time, I was Assistant Minister for Agriculture in the Hogan Labour Government. The Minister for Agriculture was my very great friend, the Honorable William Slater, who was also Attorney-General. He administered the Victorian law department and, under his direction, I administered the Victorian Department of Agriculture.
A delegation representing the fruit canners and the fruit growers of the Shepparton irrigation area came to me asking for financial assistance to process fruits at the canneries for export. If an export trade could have been built, it would have helped to liquidate some of Australia’s heavy debts overseas, especially in the United Kingdom. As the sovereign Government of Victoria we were in the unfortunate position of having to tell the delegation from the Shepparton canners and growers that we could not find even the meagre sum of £29,000 which they estimated would be required to pay the growers supplying fresh pears to the canneries. I remember that Mr. Slater and 1 conferred on the matter. After a good deal of consultation, we decided we would go and see that dominating character, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board, the late Sir Robert Gibson.
In due course, Sir Robert agreed to see us in his office in the Commonwealth Bank in Collins Street, Melbourne. We told him that if we could obtain £29,000 from the Commonwealth Bank to enable the fruit canners of Shepparton to make a first payment of, 1 think, £4 a ton on fruit delivered at the canneries, the export of canned fruit would contribute some hundreds of thousands of pounds towards the liquidation of our overseas indebtedness. Sir Robert sat there in his banking chamber in all his glory. He was a bitter Tory,, a real reactionary, an old Conservative. I hasten to emphasise that I do not question his honesty in any way whatsoever. He was in the position at that period of Australia’s history, of being able to control the financial destinies of this country. On that occasion, he used these words to the Honorable William Slater and myself -
Gentlemen, i have listened to your case. Your case is a good one. 1 will do anything to help your Government, but 1 would not help that man Lang.
At that time John Lang was Premier of New South Wales, and Sir Robert Gibson, Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board, appointed to that position by the reactionary Bruce-Page Government, was determined that he would destroy the Lang Government. When the run commenced on the State Savings Bank of New South Wales, he had it in his power to say-
– Order! I ask the honorable member to come back to the points contained in the Bill.
– 1 will get back to the point. He only had to say to the State Savings Bank of New South Wales: “The Commonwealth Bank of Australia stands behind you “, and there would have been no run on the Stale Savings Bank. But he had a political prejudice. These were interesting events in the history of Australia. Fortunately, the State Government of which I was a member was in good favour with
Sir Robert Gibson, and, in due course, the £29,000 for the fruit canning industry of Shepparton was forthcoming.
I mention this to emphasise that there was a period in our history when the canned fruits industry or any other primary industry could have been left on the rocks at the mere whim of the Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board. He was allpowerful at that time. Today, as a result of the wise administration of the Chifley Government, that position no longer obtains. My honorable friend, the Minister for Primary Industry knows full well that if he finds himself in difficulties with any primary industry and that industry is worthy of financial support he need have no worries whatsoever. All he has to do is to go to the Treasurer and to Cabinet and say: “ This industry is in difficulties but its product is as good as gold for security purposes”. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, know full well that if the Commonwealth Banking Corporation Board will not play ball, all the Treasurer has to do is to intimate to the Board that as Treasurer of the Commonwealth he stands for the sovereign rights of the people of Australia and that the Board must provide the requisite financial accommodation, or else.
Perhaps I have strayed slightly from the Bill now before us. I just wished to put on record an instance in which a primary industry was dependent on the whims and the decisions not of the Treasurer of the Commonwealth but of an individual, to whit, the late Sir Robert Gibson. He came good, I admit. So far as I know, he had no more experience of banking than Sir William Gunn has had. Neither of them had any personal experience in a bank. So far as I know, Sir Robert was not an accountant. He was in fact a manufacturer of cast iron products. I recall that he made a very sturdy stove. It was a very good one and was very well known. He held in the palm of his hand the welfare and the future of the people of Australia, and he exercised his power tyrannically. The people suffered. The knowledge of what they suffered had burned into my soul. The necessary remedy was adopted and no longer can we be subjected to this kind of tyranny.
The Opposition, in conformity with the attitude it has always adopted towards the primary industries of Australia, welcomes this measure. We regret that the amendments to the principal Act now found necessary were not proposed much earlier. Nevertheless, they are essential now and we support them. We hope that the passage of this Bill will facilitate the workings of the great canned fruit industry that we have in Australia today.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was interested in the historical information that the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) gave this evening in one form or another. I commend him, as I know other honorable members do, on the part that he has played in promoting the welfare of the canning fruit industry. Nevertheless, it sometimes seems to me a pity that he has to go back so far into the past. That, of course, may be due to a quirk of fate that he is not capable of overcoming. I differ with the honorable member on one point. I believe that early in his remarks - I hope he will correct me if I am wrong - he said he was sorry that this measure involved a small charge-
– A small increase in the charge, on the industry, according to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann).
– I see. My understanding of the measure is that it provides for an alteration to the maximum rate of charge that may be imposed. To my knowledge, the maximum rate has not been imposed recently. My knowledge, naturally, does not go back many years. I think that the prescribed rate at present imposed by regulation is about 20 per cent, below the maximum rate. I just point out to the honorable member for Lalor that my understanding of the Bill is that it will increase the maximum rate. The maximum rate has not been imposed recently and I see no reason to suppose that the rate at present prescribed by regulation will be any different from the rate imposed within the next 12 months, two years or whatever period we may need to consider.
I support the Bill, which is to come into operation on 1st January next year. It will amend the principal Act in three respects. The purpose of the Act is to provide funds for the administrative and other activities of the Australian Canned Fruits Board. The Act will be amended to allow the payment of levy on what I describe as a monthly bulk basis. In the past, exporters and collecting authorities have had to make a series of payments, each one being made as an export shipment was finalised. This has meant a lot of detailed additional work at intervals of, say, a month. The advantage of the proposed amendment of the Act seems obvious to me. It will obviate the need for a series of erratic payments which make administration on both sides somewhat onerous. I believe that the streamlining of administration now proposed has the blessing of both the Government and the industry.
The second amendment to the principal Act will vary the method of expression of the maximum rate of charge that can be imposed. The present maximum rate was imposed in 1965 at a farthing per 30 oz. can of fruit exported. The problem has been one of conversion to decimal currency in relation to small fractions. For instance, the prescribed rate can be a quite small fraction of the maximum rate. The rate of charge is expressed in the Schedule to the Bill as an exact number of cents. So the most commonly used export packs can be dealt with almost without the use of decimal fractions of cents, particularly with respect to the heavier range of cartons. I notice that the Minister, in his second reading speech, said -
The new form of expression does result in a nominal rise in the maximum rate, but this would easily be outweighed by the administrative advantages accruing from the simpler calculations.
That is the first point. The Minister continued -
Furthermore, the maximum rate does not apply while the regulations prescribe the lower operative rate.
That is the second point. I believe that these two points are important for the industry to note. I imagine that it will want to be convinced in the future that the simpler calculations and advantages envisaged will be of economic benefit. Only time will tell. I believe that in the meantime greater office efficiency and better streamlining of administrative procedures will produce worthwhile results. It is just as well for us to consider the second point concerning the prescribing of the lower operative rate by the regulations although the maximum rate has been raised. The industry usually mistrusts any upward movement in the maximum rate of charge that may be prescribed in legislation such as this. As I stated at the outset, the maximum rate has not to my knowledge been imposed recently. I believe that the industry can gain confidence from the fact that the rate at present prescribed by regulation is nowhere near as high as the maximum rate. The reasons for the changes proposed are valid and commonsense. Finally, 1 note that the Bill aims to overcome the ambiguity that exists in relation to certain charges on export packs. The ambiguity occurred evidently between two methods of assessing weight - whether the volume fill of the can, to use the Minister’s words, or the actual net contents should determine the method of fixing these charges. 1 am glad to see that this ambiguity is cleared up in the Bill.
The Bill makes’ no difference in principle to the Act as it relates to the canning industry. Most of the changes effected by the Bill are of a mechanical nature. I would agree with the Minister that this matter has been discussed at some length with the industry and that the measure has been introduced with its comparative approval. 1 support the Bill.
– in reply - The honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) and the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles) have referred to points which I brought out in my second reading speech. They supported the Bill. The history of the honorable member for Lalor is most interesting. He has had a long experience in Parliament. I asked him, by way of interjection across the table, when he entered Parliament and he told me that it was in January 1924, so he is old enough to vote. With the exception of five years absence, he has been in Parliament ever since 1924. That is a creditable record. 1 was wondering when the Rural Credits Department of the Commonwealth Bank came into existence, because it has been of great assistance to our primary industries. The honorable member for Angas was correct when he pointed out that the legislation prescribes the maximum rate and that regulations determine the operative rate. The rate for seven types of canned fruits arc prescribed by the regulations. The maximum rate for two dozen 30 oz. cans of apricots, for example, is 4.8c. The operative rate is 3.6c. So we have not by any means prescribed by regulation the maximum rate. The example that I just gave represents approximately the proportion of the maximum that is prescribed throughout. lt is easy to bring legislation before the House when you have unanimous support for it. Canners representing at least 90 per cent, of exports are known to be in favour of the increase in the maximum rate. They pay the levy. So we may say that we have the substantial support of the industry. I do not know of any real opposition to this legislation. The industry knows about it and has indicated its support for it. The legislation is designed to meet the requirements of the industry. It will be easier for exporters to nay their accounts every 30 days instead of on individual items. This will reduce operating costs in the industry. I thank honorable members for their support of the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr. Adermann) read a third time.
House adjourned at 10.45 p.in.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -
y asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as as follows -
2 and 3. The honorable member will bc aware that petitions are addressed to the President or Speaker and Members of Parliament assembled.
Records available to the Government do not show what immediate action, if any, has been taken in respect of particular petitions presented to Parliament. However, petitions will normally relate to matters which are of concern to the Government in power at the time and their contents, along with other indications of popular opinion, are naturally taken into account as stating the views of a section or sections of the community.
n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Has the Government considered the advisability of setting up a statutory national authority to
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The Government has had various proposals put before it suggesting action in relation to -the encouragement of the arts in Australia, and the issues involved are being considered. When the consideration is complete, I intend to make an appropriate announcement.
t asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following information -
Yes. Service pension eligibility under the Repatriation Act is a recognition of the intangible effects of strenuous war service, and hence is based on actual service in a theatre of war.
m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
What steps has the Government taken to extend the breadth of Papua’s exclusive fisheries zone to twelve miles in the light of its examination of the possibility of so extending the breadth of Australia’s exclusive fisheries zone?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The possibility of extending the exclusive fishing zone around Papua and New Guinea is being examined at the same time as the proposals for Australia.
n asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
n asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answer to the honorable member’s questions -
s. - The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
The information sought by the honorable member is not available and it would be necessary tointerview individual lessees to ascertain whether they were of part Aboriginal descent. There is one person known, who is possibly a full blood Aborigine, who holds a lease in perpetuity of town lands at Newcastle Waters granted on 12th September 1966.
Desalination of Water. (Question No. 1695.)
son asked the Minister for
National Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
There is considerable Australiawide interest in desalination, and (wo years ago the Australian Water Resources Council invited a panel of experts to report on existing processes and their relevance to Australia. Sonic of the more important conclusions of the panel were -
The Water Resources Council has recently followed up the panel’s report by asking a second panel of experts to review current research in desalination and the need for further research in Australia, to examine the need for demonstration plants, and to advise on how Australia should proceed to meet its specific needs for small desalination plants. It is expected that this second panel will report to the Council in about twelve months’ time.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1966/19661020_reps_25_hor53/>.