25th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir John McLeay) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– lt is my sad duty formally to advise the House of the death in Brisbane last Saturday of Senator Sandford. He was a very well known senator, representing the Australian Labour Party, very highly regarded by all parliamentarians here as a member of the Senate and I am sure very highly regarded throughout Australia. The late Senator Sandford had a long record of service to the country in a variety of spheres. He was first elected to the Senate at the general election in 1946 and took his place in the Senate on 1st July 1947. With the exception of a period of one year, he served his State, Victoria, continuously in the Senate from that date. He was a member of the Joint House Committee from 19th February 1959 until his death. He was a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances from 15th March to 11th April 1962 and he was a Temporary Chairman of Committees from 26th February 1964 until his death.
The late senator was a member of the Australian delegation to Inter-Parliamentary Union conferences in Warsaw in 1959 and in Teheran this year. It was while returning from the conference in Teheran that he suffered an illness which shortly afterwards resulted in his death. The .late senator had a long and distinguished war service. Indeed, he enlisted in the First Australian Imperial Force within a fortnight of the outbreak of war in 1914 and he served until his discharge in February 1919. Senator Sandford served in the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade as a gunner. He was present at the landing at Gallipoli. Afterwards, he served with the A.I.F. in France until he was discharged, as I said, on 27th February 1919.
Senator Sandford won respect through many qualities. He was the essence of sincerity in all his dealings. He was a very diligent man and was particularly noted for his devotion to the interests of exservicemen. We all will share regret at his passing. On behalf of the Government, the Government Parties and, I am sure, the Parliament, I extend the deep sympathy of all of us to Senator Sandford’s son and daughter.
I move -
That this House expresses its deep regret at the death of Senator Charles Walter Sandford, a senator from the State of Victoria, and places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.
– The Opposition joins with the Government in extending sympathy to the son and daughter of the late Senator Charles Walter Sandford, and to his seven grandchildren, in the very sad bereavement they have suffered from his untimely and unexpected death in Brisbane on Saturday last. He arrived back in Australia a few days earlier, after having attended an international conference as a representative of the Parliament, and he had a heart attack either immediately before or on his arrival. However, on Saturday morning he seemed to be making good progress. He had arranged to fly to Melbourne today so that he could later be present in this Parliament before this, its last session, concluded, but fate decided otherwise.
The Acting Prime Minister spoke about a man - of whom there are very few left - who was present at the landing on Gallipoli. He was very little more than 18 years of age when he landed with his unit on Gallipoli on the afternoon of the landing. He was not at the dawn landing, but he landed with his unit in the afternoon. He was subsequently evacuated and served in France. As the Acting Prime Minister said, he served for nearly four years in that terrible war which history now knows as World War I. The Acting Prime Minister spoke of his services to this Parliament. We all knew him as a diligent man. He was a man not given to ostentation. He was full of friendliness. He had plenty of courage, and he never set out to make an enemy. He followed a dictum which many of us learned from the late Prime Minister Chifley - one enemy is one too many and 100 friends are not enough.
Charlie Sandford was the epitome of kindliness and courtesy. He never willingly made an enemy. He was born in Creswick in Victoria in 1896. Creswick is a littleknown town these days, but it will feature in history, because among other notable personalities who were born in Creswick was a very famous gentleman, the late General Sir John Northcott, who became Governor of New South Wales after his service in two world wars. Creswick was the birthplace of a very famous Prime Minister - John Curtin. Creswick was the birthplace and hometown of one of the most distinguished families that has graced Australian life - the Lindsay family. Charles Sandford knew them all as a young boy, and he often told us his experiences with one or other of them. Our late friend was quiet and, to some extent, self effacing, but he served the Parliament and all the interests to which he devoted himself. He served the cause of returned soldiers. He was a member of the Gallipoli Legion. On the industrial side of his life, he was a member of the Australian Workers Union for a time; he was quite an active member of the Australian Railways Union in Victoria; and he was also a very good member of the Federated Clerks Union of Australia. We regret his passing and I join, on behalf of the Opposition, in extending sympathy to his son and daughter and to his grandchildren. I should like to say in conclusion that I think Charlie Sandford died in part from a broken heart, because he lost his wife and helpmate two years ago, and he never recovered from that sorrow.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable members standing in their places.
Mr. MORTIMER presented a petition from certain citizens of Australia praying that the Australian Government increase by a considerable amount its contributions to non-military overseas aid, to be financed, if necessary, by increases in taxation, administered by some international organisation such as the United Nations and offered to countries without reference to political advantage or purposes, but solely on the basis of need.
Petition received and read.
– On Thursday, 20th October, the Prime Minister informed the House that Senator J. G. Gorton would act as Minister for External Affairs during the absence of the Right Honorable Paul Hasluck at the Manila Conference. I wish to say that during Mr. Hasluck’s absence I shall deal with external affairs matters in this House.
– I desire to ask thi. Acting Prime Minister a question. In view of the Prime Minister’s failure to deny that General Westmoreland asked the Minister for Social Services and the honorable member for Brisbane, on their recent visit to Saigon: “ When are you sending that third battalion? “ and the additional fact tha: buildings are being erected at Puckapunyal Camp in Victoria to house additional troops’ and in view of the fact that Genera’ Westmoreland, addressing the Manila Con ference yesterday, told the allied leaders tha: more troops were needed and that the war was far from over, will the Acting Prime Minister now indicate, unequivocally, whether or not the Government has decided to increase Australia’s commitment of troops, if it wins the general elections, to 6,000 o- 9.000 immediately the elections are over? Finally, will he say whether it is the Government’s policy to conscript more 20 year olds and to include more age groups, up to 25 year olds, to make up the numbers for the increased target figure now decided upon?
– The question asked by the Leader of the Opposition is based on what he alleges to be the failure of the Prime Minister to answer certain questions. This is not for me to comment upon. I am not responsible, nor is the Prime Minister responsible, for what General Westmoreland may say, or what anyone, foreign or Australian, outside the Cabinet may say on the matter referred to by the honorable gentleman. But what I can say quite unequivocally and finally is that the Government has made no decision in respect of sending additional forces overseas. The Government would make any such decision, or review any situation, in the light of what it might judge to be the requirements of our military involvement. That is not secret. Any government would adopt that attitude. What 1 say quite unequivocally is that the Government has made no decision on this matter and that the Government has not considered this matter. I think it is quite an unhappy situation if it is suggested that because some spokesman or-
– Or some general.
– Or some general, if you like - writes or speaks and gives a number, this must bc taken as indicating that the Government has made a decision, lt has made no decision in this regard; it has not considered the matter. As one of my colleagues reminds me, the numbers of men to be called up for national service have been announced by the Government and there has been no consideration of any numbers other than those that have been publicly announced.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for National Development. To help the House gain the correct perspective on the Ord River project decision as announced on Friday last by the Prime Minister, will the Minister indicate the value of the announced deferment pending alternative cropping experimentation, first to the Ord River farming community, secondly to the Western Australian Government and thirdly to national finances? ls there a simple and frank answer to the Western Australian Premier’s question: “ What more can be done to satisfy you?”
Mr. FAIRBAIRN__ There is a quite simple and quite frank answer to this question of what more can be required to come out of the Ord River project. There are still areas of uncertainty and doubt and it is because of these areas that the Commonwealth decided not to go along immediately with the request for increased finance. The first uncertainty concerns the yield per acre. I point out that for three years cotton has been grown on the Ord, though in the first year only by five farmers. In the first two years the yield was disappointing, although it improved in the second year. This year the yield has been considerably better, but it is still not at a level that wc would like to see and at which we think it could be sold at export prices without some kind of subsidy. The Western Australian case to the Commonwealth Government was based on half the area growing stub cotton. This is a system whereby the cotton plant is allowed to bear another crop in the second year. The system has been adopted in some areas of the world but not always with great success. In fact in some areas it has led to a build-up of pests and for this reason it is suspect. So far on the Ord only 35 acres of stub cotton has been grown. So we feel that there is a need for some further information on this aspect.
The case was also based on the growing of wheat and sorghum as alternative additional crops over and above the 450 acres of cotton. I point out that until now no single farm has grown 450 acres of cotton, although the case of the Western Australians for economic assistance was based on 450 acres being grown. In addition, wheat and sorghum have not been grown at all on farms at the Ord. They have been grown in the research station and remarkably good results- have been achieved. Finally I would point out that we would like to see further trials of some kind of beef production. There are two ways in which beef production could .be increased. One is by the growing of tropical pastures, and this has not yet been done. In fact, I do not think there is any knowledge of the type of pastures which could he grown under tropical irrigation in the Ord River area. Secondly, beef production could be increased by using the cotton seed cake to keep alive the store cattle on stations round about. A couple of small experiments, which are very encouraging, have been carried out in this area. But this is certainly not something on which we could base a decision to spend a large sum of about $65 million. I point out that the Commonwealth Government has advanced $12.4 million so far for this project. If it were not for this there would be none of the results at which we are now looking.
– I would like to ask a question of the Acting Prime Minister. I point out to him that Tasmania is shocked by the refusal of the Commonwealth Government at the weekend to grant the 33i per cent, shipbuilding subsidy to a Dutch firm willing to set up a substantial shipbuilding industry on the Derwent River in southern Tasmania. Is the Minister aware that it took the Tasmanian Government 12 months of difficult negotiations to secure the Dutch company’s choice of Tasmania for its industry - an industry to employ 1,000 men initially and eventually to build ships of 60,000 tons? In view of this Government’s statement that the need for coastal shipping is increasing and that a Commonwealth oversea shipping line is desirable, why did it kill this new industry, which could have co-operated with other shipbuilders in Australia to start us on the way to having an overseas fleet of our own? Finally, is Tasmania to be forever kept in a mendicant status by this Federal Government, which has already refused to help that State with a thermal power station and an irrigation project?
– If the Tasmanian Government spent 12 months negotiating for the shipbuilding firm to come to Tasmania then I would be a little surprised if that experienced Government did not spend a few minutes studying the policy in respect of shipbuilding. That policy is well known and widely published. The policy of the Government for the support of shipbuilding in Australia - an industry which we need and desire - is the outcome of a careful study by the Tariff Board of the circumstances in which we can have a viable shipbuilding industry. The conclusion of the Tariff Board, accepted and adopted by the Government - and publicly announced - was that there should be a subsidy on ships built in Australia above a certain small tonnage and that the subsidy should range up to 33) per cent, cash from the Treasury. This is backed up also by a tariff and a provision that no ship may be imported without the consent of the Minister for Shipping and Transport.
This is a clear policy. An integral and important part of the policy as recommended by the Tariff Board is that those shipbuilding yards which are established should have sufficient business to maintain continuous and profitable building. The means recommended by which to do this were that there should be a limit at this time to the number of yards in which building would attract subsidy. That is a well known policy and I cannot believe that it would not be known to the Tasmanian Government.
Obviously, the purpose of the policy is to avoid the proliferation of shipbuilding to a point where there would be more yards than there are at present, and a position where there would not be continuous employment, and where perhaps no yard would be showing a profit. I have no doubt that in the fullness of rime there will be a shipbuilding industry in Tasmania, subsidised in the way that other yards are, but it would not be desirable that one should be established at the cost of a policy aimed at preventing the destruction of the basis which makes shipbuilding profitable in Australia now.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Is it true that when licences were issued to oil tankers on the Australian coast to be manned by Australian crews, among the first registrations were the three tankers owned and operated by R. W. Miller & Co. Pty. Ltd.? Was the Government advised by the major oil companies that 12 tankers were required to ensure that the coastal shipping of petroleum products would be carried out without delays and, therefore. 9 tankers operated by the oil companies were granted registration? Was the Government misled by this advice for the purpose of squeezing out of the coastal trade the independent operations of the Miller tankers? Is it a fact that two of the three tankers of Miller’s are tied up with no hope of getting cargo? .Is this a scheme by the oil companies to prevent legitimate competition in freight rates? What does the Government propose to do about this matter?
– Perhaps I could correct a few of the statements made by the honorable gentleman in his question.
– The Minister is always against Millers.
– The honorable member is obviously not interested in facts. I remind the House that in 1963 the R. W. Miller company sought permission of the then Minister to bring one oil tanker, “ Miller’s Canopus “, on the coast and permission was then granted. The Government then consulted the oil companies and the R. W. Miller company with a view to framing a policy about the carriage of oil around the Australian coast. Having consulted all those people it decided that the R. W. Miller company would be granted permission which had been sought from the Government to import three tankers and that the oil companies would be granted permission to bring in oil tankers for themselves on the basis that each imported tanker would be replaced by one Australian built tanker. At that time there was no suggestion that there should be any limitation of tanker tonnage on the Australian coast and at that time this policy was accepted by R. W. Miller company and by the oil companies, lt was only at a later date when the Government sought security documents from the R. W. Miller company to guarantee the building of Australian tankers that the request of that company for a four year limitation on tonnage was agreed to. The tonnage agreed to was that considered to be reasonably adequate for the Australian coastal trade.
The Government did not take the advice of the oil companies as to what was a reasonable tonnage required for the Australian coastal trade; it was a very simple matter for the Government to look at the figures in respect of oil carried around the Australian coast over a number of years - these figures are on record and can be produced - and to project over the years ahead what it thought would be a reasonable requirement having regard to the number of ships that had operated and the number of ship sailing days that had been used. These figures were projected forward over a number of years at a steady progression to make its assessment. This assessment was reasonably correct for two years, during which time all the 12 tankers which had been given permits to operate were reasonably fully employed. Not only were they reasonably fully employed but also on occasions a licence had to be given for a foreign flag ship to make a single voyage.
– Who asked this question?
– I do not know whether the honorable member is interested, but some of his colleagues seem to be interested in this subject. With the operation of these three tankers, there were disputes wilh the oil companies over the freight rates charged. The oil companies themselves admit that, because of their complaints about high freight rates, they altered their pattern of coastal shipping. They increased exchanges between themselves. Three new refineries had come on stream, two in Brisbane and one in Westernport in Victoria. This meant that, instead of the normal amount of oil being shipped round the coast less oil was being shipped than in previous years. There has. in fact, proved to be employment for only 10 tankers at the present time. 1 am asked by the honorable gentleman whether this is a scheme by the oil companies to prevent legitimate competition in freight rates. There has been very little competition in this, I might say. The Australian Navigation Act gives a coastal tanker an absolute priority over any foreign flag ships. So, if there is only one vessel available for a cargo, the owners can virtually charge what freight rates they like, and while we have the number of tankers tailored exactly to the quantity of oil that has to be carried around the coast, there is not much competition. In fact, the R. W. Miller company was able to charge freight rates which I think, on analysis, can be regarded as fairly high. Under the circumstances, since the company currently has no employment for two of its tankers, the Government has felt that it would be unreasonable to insist that this company should place an order immediately for the building of Australian replacements for those imported tankers. Therefore, it has given the company a period of three years to make up its mind whether it will place an order for these tankers. I do not think there is anything more the Government could reasonably be expected to do under the circumstances. What the final outcome will be, I cannot say, but I am confident that the Government’s policy of having Australian flag ships and eventually Australian built tankers operating around the coast will be carried out because the Government has means of ensuring that.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. He will recall that four weeks ago, he spoke at question time on his proposals to establish a viable overseas shipping line transporting bulk commodities in large bulk carriers. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether he was referring principally to exports of iron ore and coal by Japanese buyers who, with the approval of the Department of
National Development, have been allowed to purchase these bulk commodities on an f.o.b. basis and are therefore entitled to ship in foreign vessels unless they voluntarily relinquish part of the cargo to Australian vessels. Does he know of any plans for an Australian shipping line to compete with the conference lines in providing regular scheduled services for our exports to any of our major markets?
– The Deputy Leader of the Opposition began his questions by referring to what he described as my proposals to establish a viable shipping line. I do not think that “ proposals “ is a word that I would have’ used. The word “ hope “ would truly describe my attitude. I hope that it will be possible to have such a shipping line and 1 have had discussions in a number of places about it.
What I have said is that I believe that there are circumstances attaching to the operation of modern giant bulk carriers which would enable certain trades out of Australia by ships flying the Australian flag and manned under Australian conditions to be competitive whereas - and this is purely my own view - I have not seen the same opportunity for trading by Australian ships in general cargo under present conditions. I still say that I do not think the additional costs that would be attached to manning under Australian conditions would enable an Australian line to be competitive in the general cargo trade with conventional lines. However, as I have said, I do not believe this to be the position with respect to certain bulk cargo trades out of Australia.
It is true that a great deal of the export of bulk iron ore and of some other items from Australia takes place on contracts under which the sale is f.o.b. But that does not apply to the total. Some contracts are entered into on a c.i.f. basis and the seller retains the right to make his own shipping arrangements. I think that this applies to coal. I believe that even in some instances in which contracts for coal are not necessarily on a c.i.f. basis there is an understanding that the Australian entrepreneur can arrange shipping. In one instance, there has been active negotiation for the establishment a jointly owned Australian-Japanese shipping line to carry coal from Australia to Japan for the Japanese purchasers. No finality on that subject has been reached in any regard to my knowledge, but I can say of my own knowledge that negotiations are still actively proceeding, in some instances on the part of purely Australian interests and in others on the part of joint AustralianJapanese interests, for the purpose of establishing a trade in which Australia would enjoy part of the profits and part of the exchange earnings.
– I address a question to the Acting Prime Minister. Has an interdepartmental committee been established to investigate avenues of assistance that the Commonwealth Government might be able to open in order to assist Australian inventors to get their ideas into production for their own benefit and to the advantage of the nation as a whole? Which departments are represented on such a committee? How long has it been in existence and what progress had it made to date?
– My understanding of the position is that, consequent on representations made to the Government and to a number of Ministers by the Inventors Association of Australia, an interdepartmental committee under the chairmanship of a representative of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department has been examining what, if anything, may be done to assist inventors in the way indicated by them. The committee is composed of representatives not only of the Attorney-General’s Department, but also of the Treasury, the Department of Supply, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Oranisation, the Department of Defence, the various Service departments, the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, the Department of Works and the Department of Trade and Industry. The Government, when it receives the report of this committee, will consider what role it could play in assisting individual inventors on receipt of a request for assistance from the Inventors Association. I am advised that the interdepartmental committee will make a report - and, I have no doubt, recommendations - in the near future.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Is it a fact that young Australians serving in Vietnam, if captured., could be shot or executed and that no action could be taken against the leaders of North Vietnam in the way in which action was taken after the Second World War against the leaders of countries that were our enemies in that war? Is it a fact, in other words, that the War Crimes Act could not be invoked, because no war has been declared by Australia in relation to Vietnam?
– The question contains a most disparate array of thoughts and I am not sure that I follow it. One thing is quite clear: The Australian forces are properly serving in Vietnam. They are serving the interests not only of this nation but also of the free world. It is equally true that the Geneva Convention provides for the proper treatment of personnel who are captured. As to the reference to the Crimes Act, 1 do not follow the point that the honorable gentleman makes.
– I was referring to international crimes.
– International crimes? If the honorable gentleman would like to phrase his question in a way in which it will be clear to me, I shall consider the matter.
– The honorable member, for Wilmot asked a rather obtuse question of the Acting Prime Minister about shipbuilding. 1 ask a question directly of the Minister responsible, the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Are Australian shipyards more fully occupied than ever before and are they so busy that it would be difficult for them to undertake additional orders? If so, will the Government reconsider its decision not to grant shipbuilding subsidies to our new shipyard in Tasmania? Has the Government taken into account that the Verolme United Company would bring to Australia a number of skilled tradesmen as worthwhile additions to the work force?
– The Australian shipbuilding industry is healthily occupied at the moment. This has happened before in our history. In shipbuilding, there is often cither a feast or a famine. One of the great problems associated with this industry is to ensure long term continuity of shipbuilding.
This is rather more important than having a number of orders on hand at the immediate present. When one looks at the long term situation one must concede that we do not have an assurance of a continuation of the present situation beyond the next two or three years. One would hope that we did have this assurance. If the revival of interest in the coastal trade continues we may have an assurance of a long term continuity of shipbuilding, but we do not have any such immediate assurance. This was one of the reasons which actuated the Government in deciding that the more appropriate time to consider the recognition of additional shipyards would be when the next Tariff Board inquiry into the shipbuilding industry was held in 1969.
On Friday last, the honorable member for Denison asked a similar question. I told him that the Government’s policy does not prevent a company from setting up in Tasmania an engineering business, a small shipbuilding business or a major ship repair business requiring a floating dock. To encourage the company referred to by the honorable gentleman to do this, I gave permission, as soon as it was requested, for the company to import a floating dock. I understand that the company has some arrangement with the Tasmanian Government whereby the Tasmanian Government will buy the dock and lease it to the company for ship repair work as required. Part of the case on which this company rested its claim for recognition was the fact that it hoped to be able to establish an engineering business in Hobart. This does go hand in hand with shipbuilding. On the evidence which the company offered I would have thought that there was nothing to deter it from undertaking an engineering business, a ship repair business or a small shipbuilding business if it so wished.
I cannot offer the honorable gentleman any encouragement that the Government may reconsider its decision not to recognise for subsidy purposes the operations of this company, but we will be happy to do everything else that we can to assist the company to set up operations in Hobart. The honorable gentleman asked whether I had overlooked the fact that the company would bring to Australia a number of skilled workers from Holland. This would be a useful aspect of the enterprise, but I point out that in shipyards throughout Australia there is a shortage of skilled workers. One of the reasons for this shortage is that skilled workers leave the shipbuilding industry from time to time because they cannot be assured of the continuity of work that exists in other industries. If the Dutch company were to bring skilled workers to build ships in Australia, it might easily lose the workers to other industries if continuity of work were not available for the shipyard. I do not think that the interests of Tasmania would be well served at this time by approving for subsidy purposes a shipyard that would not be immediately successful and be assured of continuity of orders.
– I ask the Acting Prime Minister: Has the Government been approached to set up a tribunal similar to the Eggleston tribunal of 1964 to make recommendations on salaries for academic staffs of all Australian universities for the 1967-69 triennium? Has the Government rejected this request? If so, does this negate an undertaking, or at least an understanding, given by the previous Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, that there would be an inquiry at the end of each triennium? Will the right honorable gentleman recognise that it is necessary now to establish appropriate salaries for academic staffs for the coming three years? Does he recognise also that recent awards have given to professional officers, both inside and outside the Public Service, very substantial increases in salaries and that, by comparison, academic staffs in universities are trailing? Can he give some statement of the Government’s intentions in this regard?
– I am not in possession of the information that would permit me to reply now to the honorable member’s questions. I will secure the facts and see that he is furnished with them quite promptly.
– I ask the Minister for Immigration a question. Is it correct that the Australian Government now requires all foreign students to pass an English examination to become eligible for study at Australian universities? It has been suggested that Strine would be sufficient.
– I did noi quite catch the last part of the honorable member’s question. He referred to Strine and I find it a strain to understand Strine. It is true that overseas students for the 1967 academic year are required to pass examinations in English. For a number of years, our overseas posts have had varying standards of examinations in English. The result has been that some students who have come to Australia have found difficulty in understanding the lectures in the classrooms because the English used in the lectures is different from conversational English or the English set in formal examinations. After the present type of examination was developed by the Commonwealth Office of Education, the countries concerned were consulted. They agreed to the examination. They consider that it will lead to far better results for the students themselves. The examination is made progressively more difficult to fit the type of study that the students propose to undertake in Australia. We trust it will result in more comfort and a better standard of study for the students who come here and who in the past have found difficulty in understanding the English used in lectures.
– I direct a question to the Acting Prime Minister. What method was adopted to decide which States President Johnson would visit during his recent stay in Australia? Was this determined by agreement or by a ballot system? Is there any significance in the fact that South Australia. Western Australia and Tasmania were not included in the President’s itinerary? Would it have been by arrangement, luck of the draw or a remarkable coincidence that Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville - all visited by the President - are in States where public reaction to Government policy on Vietnam and conscription has reduced the Government’s electoral stocks to a record low level and where votes are badly needed at the forthcoming Federal election?
– I frankly doubt whether this question is genuinely based. The honorable gentleman would know that a man in President Johnson’s position would be unlikely to make an extensive tour of the Australian States. He went to New Zealand and he came to the National
Capital of Australia. It was obviously a matter of convenience for him to go to Melbourne and Sydney, the two principal cities of Australia. Brisbane and Townsville were on his route to Manila. This is the explanation which I am sure the honorable member is in no doubt is the true explanation: It would be perfectly obvious to him. I really think that those who have attempted to score some points about President Johnson’s visit are exhibiting their own sense of need of electoral support.
– I preface my question to the Treasurer by reminding him that although previously such items as refrigerators and carpets were classed as luxury items, today we recognise them as essential articles. Although only a small percentage of our better halves declare cosmetics to be an essential item, many of them desire to use them to add to their powers of attraction. In view of the Minister’s great taste and experience in this subject matter, will he consider suggesting the easing of sales tax on all cosmetics as one of his contributions to the Government’s election policy speech?
– During the course of the Budget discussions I gave consideration to reducing sales tax on cosmetics. 1 can assure the honorable gentleman that from a personal angle, and from a domestic angle, undue pressure was not exerted on me to do so. Nonetheless, I assure the honorable gentleman that I regard cosmetics as a conventional necessity. During the course of the next Budget discussions I will, I assure him, look at this matter again.
– I address a question to the Acting Prime Minister, ls ft a fact that an Australian Broadcasting Commission broadcast on Friday, 14th October, at 8.15 a.m., called “ Saigon Report “ indicated that desertions from the South Vietnamese Army for the first six months of this year had reached the all time record total of 75,000 - a rate, I may say, which if maintained for the whole year would be equal to one, quarter of the Vietnamese Army? Did the report say that, extraordinarily enough, up to September this year there has never in South Vietnam been a penalty for desertion and, equally extraordinarily, that many Vietnamese Government officials have made fortunes in corruptly providing exemptions from the draft? If these are facts, can the Australian Government in all conscience go on conscripting Australian youth, and settlers in Australia, under severe penalty for default, to go to Vietnam to fill the ranks of these Vietnamese who have so little faith in their own Government’s administration and objectives?
– The honorable gentleman asks me whether some report was made over the A. B.C. at a certain hour on a certain day. My answer is: I do not know.
– I, too, address a question to the Acting Prime Minister, ls it not a fact that large scale desertions, so called, on the part of South Vietnamese soldiers are due to their great eagerness to return to their rice paddies when the harvest is due, and that these soldiers return when the harvest is over? Is not the reason why harsh penalties have not been invoked heretofore that it is known these soldiers will return?
– I think this is an occasion for me to keep the score even by saying: I do nol know.
– I preface my question, which I address to the Acting Prime Minister, by reminding him that on 13th September I asked him a question concerning the functions of the Commonwealth and States Departmental Committee on Decentralisation. I now ask the right honorable gentleman whether he is able to tell the House what progress has been made by the Committee in its work, when it last met, and how many meetings have been held since the inception of the Committee.
– It is literally true that J am not in a position to answer the quite specific question that the honorable member has asked me. I will try to secure the information he seeks and supply it to him.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, Mr. Speaker. In the mail today I received a letter from Sir Harold Raggatt, which states -
Dear Mr. Beazley,
In “ The Australian “ for Saturday last you are quoted as stating that, whilst 1 have supported the Ord Scheme since I retired from the position of Secretary, Department of National Development, I did not do so when ] held that position.
If you did make this statement, I think you should publicly retract it. 1 have been a consistent advocate of the Ord Scheme both in and out of office. You may easily confirm this by reference to Mr. Charles Court or your Parliamentary colleague, Dr. Rex Patterson.
I did not make the statement to which Sir Harold Raggatt would rightly take objection if 1 had made it. This is what I did say-
What concerns us is that when the Commonwealth Government’s advisers leave by retirement or by going into politics they say ‘things different from what the Government implies is the advice of its experts.
I then quoted Sir Harold Raggatt’s statement as reported in the Melbourne “ Age “.’ I repeated my point by saying -
The point is that the Government’s expert has indicated that the Government’s assessment of any sort of northern development, including vital water development, is quite inadequate and it seems that the Government’s anonymous experts who have been cited here say immediately that they are free to speak that northern development has not been given adequate priority.
Again I said - . . but we are told that the expert advice of the Commonwealth Government’s advisers is against proceeding with the project. The moment a man becomes free by retirement he seems to contradict, the Commonwealth’s claims.
It will be seen from the statements 1 have quoted that I did not accuse Sir Harold Raggatt of having advised against the scheme while he was in office and then having advised for it when he left office. I did say that the Government’s advisers, when free to speak, appeared to be in favour of the scheme.
– I present the following paper -
Audit Act - Supplementary Report of the Auditor-General upon other accounts, for year 1965-66.
Ordered to be printed.
.by leave - It gives me great pleasure to be able to inform honorable members that, on the basis of the data provided to him by the Superannuation Board, the Commonwealth Actuary has now completed his recalculation of the surplus in the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund as at 30th June1 962, as required by the Superannuation Act 1965, and that I have determined the arrangements for the final distribution among the eligible pensioners and contributors. Honorable members will recall that an interim payment of approximately $2,000,000 was made to pensioners in December 1965. Former contributors to the Provident Account have already received $380,000 and over $1,000,000 has been credited to the accounts of those who are still contributing to the Provident Account. Consequent upon the reduction in rates of contribution earlier this year, excess contributions totalling over $12,000,000 have also been refunded. The final distribution of surplus that is now to be made to pensioners and contributors, including interest to 1 0th November 1966, will amount to approximately $25,000,000, of which pensioners will receive about $4,500,000 and contributors $20,500,000. Thus, the total amount that will have been distributed will exceed $40,000,000.
I thinkI should recall at this stage the prodigious task which we foresaw in this recalculation and distribution of the surplus in the Superannuation Fund as at 30th June 1962. The difficulties in making the complex actuarial calculations were increased by lack of sufficient qualified staff. The actuarial problems and the administrative task of equitably distributing this amount exceeding $40,000,000 among some 140,000 persons have, I believe, no precedent. The accomplishment of the task reflects the greatest credit upon all who have contributed to it.
The President of the Superannuation Board has now reported to me that the mailing of cheques for pensioners will commence this afternoon and will be completed by the end of this week. The payments to eligible contributors will again be made through their departments and will also include interest calculated to 10th November 1966. The Superannuation
Board expects to authorise most of these payments and those to pensioners who were contributors at 30th June 1962, by 14th November. Some payments for contributors or pensioners at 30th June 1962 who have died will take a little longer to finalise as it will be necessary for the Superannuation Board to establish the potential beneficiaries. The Board will communicate with them as soon as possible but any who might not have received advice by the end of this year should write to the President of the Superannuation Board in case their present whereabouts are unknown to him.
I present the following paper -
Superannuation Fund - Distribution of Surplus - Ministerial Statement, 25th October 1966- and move -
That the House take note of the paper.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Luchetti) adjourned.
Assent to the following Bills reported -
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1966-67.
Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1966-67.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 2000), on motion by Mr. Adermann -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This is a Bill to amend the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act 1964. Honorable members will recollect that in 1964, with the consent of, and after consultation with, the dried vine fruits industry, the Government decided to introduce a scheme guaranteeing prices and providing for a stabilisation fund. That was something new for this industry. With the passage of time, it was found that the machinery set up for operating the scheme did not provide a sufficiently efficient method for making the variety of calculations that were required to be made.
The first of the amendments of the Act that are proposed is one which relates to the substitution of decimal currency terms for the terms now used. Another amendment relates to the position where a grower of dried vine fruits has an arrangement with a packing house under which he has authorised the packing house to collect from the proceeds of the sale of his fruit a debt he has incurred to that packing house. It is provided in the Bill that that practice may continue and that it will not interfere with payment of the bounty.
– The amendment will allow the bounty payment to be added to the realisation.
– That is right. It will allow the bounty payment to be added to the realisation, and the person to whom the grower is indebted will receive his dues. Another amendment provides for an alteration in the procedure for determining the average returns. I understand that now growers have to wait until the whole of the sale proceeds are in the hands of the packing houses, and that in future an averaging procedure will be used, based on sample returns.
The Opposition does not quarrel with the amendments that are proposed, which are designed to facilitate the efficient operation of the scheme. For as long as I can remember we on this side have supported anything that would ensure adequate returns to the growers engaged in the Australian dried vine fruits industry. We recollect that after World War I settlements were established or enlarged along the River Murray in the States of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. In the bad old days of the depression, most of the settlers, who were returned soldiers, suffered acutely owing to the depressed prices that operated in respect of the major proportion of their crops, which they then had to market overseas.
Since then, the industry has had good times and bad times. When the original Bill was first put before the Parliament, the industry had just come through a period of very low prices. That measure did provide, on the one hand, for a guaranteed price under certain circumstances. On the other hand, it provided that where the grower received an amount in excess of the guaranteed price, he paid the surplus or a proportion of his returns into the stabilisation fund. That arrangement is all to the good of the industry.
We, as an Opposition, are glad to see that up to date the stabilisation plan is operating efficiently. I understand that there will be some returns in excess of the guaranteed price and certain payments will be made to the stabilisation fund. This is a very good sign indeed. It indicates that better prices have been obtained and that the grower is in better circumstances than he had been. In addition, 1 see that it is hoped, and perhaps expected, that a similar set of circumstances will exist this year regarding lexias and other dried vine fruits. We support the Bill. We hope that it will do that which the Minister has indicated it is expected it will do.
.- I wish to join wilh the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) in supporting the amendments proposed by the Government to the Dried Fruits Stabilisation Act 1964. The honorable member for Lalor has covered most of the points regarding this matter. In passing. I should like to mention that the dried fruits industry is the backbone of the economy of many irrigated areas, probably more so in the area represented by the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) than in the area in the electorate of Angas that 1 represent. Nevertheless, the same principle applies.
I wish to associate myself with the interim annual report of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board for the year 1965-66 in commending the conferring of the knighthood on Mr. Eugene Gorman. Indirectly, the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board, of which he is the chairman, is the basis of the prosperity in this industry. In days gone by, approximately 80 per cent, of the crop was exported. This went entirely to the United Kingdom. In more recent times, the portion has remained at approximately 80 per cent. - I think, speaking from memory, it is 79.6 per cent. - but only 40 per cent, of that goes to the United Kingdom. The other 40 per cent, has found alternative markets in Canada and New Zealand and there is a small incipient trend to Japan. Still referring to the report I wish also to commend the people with whom I have most to do. I refer to Mr. Symes, Mr. Mead and Mr. Kentwell of the Department of Primary Industry.
The only point on which I wish to comment to any extent is the matter of finance and reorganisation of the financing of the stabilisation scheme through the medium of the guaranteed price, which is referred to in the second reading speech delivered by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann). It seems to me that we have to take into account certain facts in any re organisation of the finances of this industry. 1 should like to quote now, as I am afraid I have done in the past, from volume XIX No. 2 of the “ Quarterly Review of Agricultural Economics “ and the conclusions that are reached in relation to “ Indebtedness in Dried Vine Fruits Industry “. Under the heading “ Conclusion “ the article states -
The information presented in this article suggests that the degree of indebtedness in the dried vine fruits industry is considerably greater than in certain other rural industries and in the farm sector as a whole. About 8 per cent, of the population of farms were estimated to have gross debts equivalent to 80 per cent, or more of farm capital. No general tendency for farms with a high ratio of gross indebtedness to farm capital to bc earning lower incomes than farms with a low ratio of debt to capital was evident. However, some farmers, especially occupiers of some low-income properties, appear likely to experience difficulty in increasing the equity of their holdings-
Of course, this is far more so in the case of war service land settlement blocks where farmers were not prohibited by lack of capital in taking over such a block -
The article goes on to comment by pointing out the fact as 1 have just done regarding World War II growers.
I quite see that the Minister for Primary Industry in presenting the amendments in this Bill has the backing of the Australian Dried Fruits Association. 1 quite see also that situated in his position in Canberra he must take note of industry leaders. There are things with which I would agree. Nevertheless, there are a few matters that trouble me a little. The first one is the relevant cost of production figures on which the guaranteed price is based. Speaking from memory, I should say that this is the calculated cost of production per ton for the season less SIO. 1 looked in the Parliamentary Library today for these cost of production figures, but I found that the Library did not have any records there. So I must imagine that these figures are of a more restricted nature than I had believed. However, from the information that I have gleaned from my electorate - this information may or may not be correct - I gather that the cost of production figures on which the guaranteed price is based are at this time 18 months out of date, or behind the times. It seems reasonable to me that costs in many industries have risen particularly over the last six months. I notice the quite big movement
In the basic wage for a start. If my contention is somewhere near the mark, I suggest that the Minister should look urgently at the possibility of producing up to date cost of production figures. There is not a great deal of help in an industry having a stabilisation scheme to assist it to overcome difficulties due to price fluctuations particularly when the industry exports 80 per cent, of its crop, if such a stabilisation scheme is geared to cost of production figures that are not reasonably up to date.
I turn to the second matter. This was mentioned by the honorable member for Lalor. He pointed out the difference between the traditional method of paying the proportion of the total amount per ton that goes direct to growers, in other words the guaranteed price proportion of it. He pointed out that this Bill enables the Government to do two things. In effect, it enables the Government to deal through a certain company. I note that the Minister makes the point that he feels that in the long term he is not necessarily tied to dealing through a specific company. But this company has been formed since the early days when the Bill regarding stabilisation was before the House. T refer to the Dried Fruit Stabilisation Co. Ltd. In one way, the amendment to this Act enables payments to be made in effect through to this company, without the permission of individual growers. This seems to me to streamline the operation. I see nothing wrong with the amendment. On the other hand, I do question a little this matter of enabling funds - that is, the guaranteed price portion - to be paid directly through packing sheds. Again I hasten to point out that the packing sheds are co-operative. They are owned, logically, by growers, and the industry leaders logically tend to become the leaders of packing sheds also. But I think we would be deceiving ourselves if we imagined that necessarily this solves all problems.
There is quite a large section of the industry that is a bit frustrated at present and dissatisfied with the industry leadership. I may say that I do not agree with the people who feel this way, but human beings being what they are, some of the people in the industry are frustrated to a degree by the present situation, and I am afraid a large proportion of them would be affected by this amendment, because 78 per cent, of the blocks are subject to quite considerable indebtedness. Again I think that this is more so in the area of my friend, the honorable member for Mallee, than in my own area, if I can believe the figures that have been provided by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. But the point is that we are now taking action by way of amendment so that where an agreement exists between a packing shed and a grower the proceeds under the guaranted price may be paid to the packing shed, and from those proceeds the shed can take its commitment before passing on any left-over portion of the deal to the grower.
– Only with the consent of the grower.
– Well, subject to an agreement - I see the Minister’s point - which means logically, I suppose, with the consent of the grower. Whereas the Minister might well have to take advice, and indeed, according to his own sincere summing up of the situation, go along to industry leaders and to co-operative sheds, and in other Slates to the proprietary packing sheds, the point I make is that as a backbencher I can go perhaps a little deeper than this and point out some of the problems involved and some of the views of people who think differently from some of the leaders in the industry. I hope it will be appreciated that when one takes on a financial onus, this automatically ties one to a repayment and some responsibility.
In conclusion let me say that although the dried vine fruits industry is not in the very best state of repair in spite of the efforts of stabilisation schemes, this is not by any stretch of imagination the fault of this Government. In South Australia the financing of many of these war service blocks was carried out in a manner different from that which was followed in respect of similar blocks in other States. I do not know whether the decision of the South Australian Government at the time was necessarily wise.
– The South Australian Government was merely the agent of the Commonwealth.
– Let me put it this way: The honorable member for Lalor knows that when people engage in negotiations they usually adopt some kind of halfway measure. But my point is - and I think this is probably an answer to the honorable member - that the Upper Murray area of my electorate has a tremendously high debt involvement, particularly with the Commonweatlh Development Bank which has been in recent years the main source of finance. One can only congratulate the Government and the Development Bank managers in the area for providing finance when, frankly, the indebtedness in terms of a farm’s capital structure has been in some instances appallingly high. This action has been of very great benefit to the industry over the years. We should welcome any move that can be made to improve liquidity in an area in which we often find back payments due for periods of a year or more. Everything possible should be done to provide more liquidity,, even if this means providing “money at a lower rate of interest, than that, normally prevailing. This may be something, that governments in the future will have to look at very carefully.
I have only one more comment to make. I give fair warning that in my judgment, after looking into the crystal ball, there will be moves throughout the entire grape growing industry in the future for some’ form of Federal stabilisation. I appreciate, as the Minister has told me very briefly, that if all organisations in all States pull together and adopt a common line of. thinking that line of thinking will receive the. earnest consideration of the Government, and this is a source of satisfaction to the industry. But I think it is fair to point out that there may well be requests along these lines in years to come. However, having pointed out one or two of the difficulties and problems that have exercised my mind,. I support the proposals outlined by the Minister.
.- Dried fruit is produced, as has been stated by the honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles), in South Australia. It is also produced in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. But it is significant that more than 75 per cent, of the total dried fruit pack of Australia is produced in Victoria - and, perhaps I should say, in the Mallee electorate which I represent. For this reason I am very interested in any legislation affecting the dried fruit industry.
I was pleased to hear what the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) said about this, and I fully agree with him. He has been an advocate for a better deal for primary industry, including the dried fruit industry, and this is appreciated not only by me but also by the fruit growers themselves.
The honorable member for Angas has engaged in a wide field of debate on the subject, into which I do not intend to follow him because the Bill is confined to certain amendments. But I would like to reply to one or two things he said. He spoke about dissatisfaction with the leadership of the industry - or perhaps not dissatisfaction but rather frustration on the part of some growers who do not agree with the present leadership. It is true that there is such a feeling, but does the honorable member or anybody else know of any industry in Australia in which all the people connected with it are perfectly satisfied with the leadership? Of course not. Everywhere in Australia we find certain people who are dissatisfied. If there are people in this industry who are dissatisfied with the leaders, they have their remedy because a completely democratic vote is taken before persons can achieve positions as leaders. If there are enough dissatisfied people to vote out the present leaders, and if they think it is necessary to vote them out because they are not. administering the legislation and attending to the industry satisfactorily, then this course is open to them. Everything that is being done is with the approval not only of the Australian Dried Fruits Association but also of individual growers, because the packing sheds can operate only on the basis of agreement by growers regarding these aspects of the stabilisation legislation. The Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Act resulted from a democratic vole of growers who decided that the industry should operate under a stabilisation scheme. I very much appreciated the readiness with which the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. Adermann) at my invitation went to Sunraysia and attended vital meetings, after which it was not long before we had a stabilisation scheme for this industry. He heard what the people had to say and he had discussions with them. The Government and the dried fruit industry seemed to be in agreement at that time and they are in agreement now.
Towards the end of bis second reading speech the Minister said -
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 have been in close touch with the dried vine fruits industry, the Australian Dried Fruits Association and the Government on this matter and I can support the Minister’s words right up to the hilt. They are perfectly true. I have no crystal ball that I can look into to see the future of the industry. All I can say is that, as the member who represents the major part of this industry, I shall watch its interests as long as I am here.
I appreciate the goodwill and cooperation that have been extended to me by the growers, the people who control the industry, employees of the Government whether they serve with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics or the Department of Primary Industry, and by the Minister for Primary Industry himself. Their co-operation and helpfulness have been very much appreciated by me. I commend them for their vigilance in watching this industry for the good of the industry and of Australia.
– in reply - I thank the House for the unanimous support that has been accorded to the amendments which, as the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) said, arise largely from experience gained over a period of 18 months or nearly two years. Experience gained with two crops has revealed anomalies which must be removed if the scheme is to be administered expeditiously. The taking into account of all the fruit sold in order to determine the average return has considerably delayed final payments to growers. It is now proposed, under the terms of the Bill,, to arrive at a figure based on a substantial sample. That sample will embrace all the packing houses that are registered. By adopting the method proposed we will be able to get payments out to the growers more quickly.
The honorable member for Angas (Mr. Giles) asked a pertinent question about the cost of production. The cost of production is determined by the Minister for Primary
Industry in accordance with section 6 of the original Act. As happens under the wheat industry stabilisation scheme or any other stabilisation scheme, the cost of production in this industry is calculated in accordance with cost movements each year. I cannot state from memory what the cost of production was in the first and second years but I do know that it moved up considerably in the second year. It will continue to move according to cost movements throughout the industry. The figure determined will be as recommended to me and the industry by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and will be gazetted in about July or August each year.
My interjection about orders fulfilled by the packing houses was probably unnecessary. 1 had not heard the earlier remark by the honorable member for Angas that the retention by the shed of its share of the realisation was done by agreement. Nevertheless, my interjection did emphasise the fact that the grower had to consent to any payments being taken out. I do not quite follow the warning given by the honorable member about a Federal stabilisation scheme. As this industry extends over three States, to all intents and purposes the stabilisation scheme is a Federal scheme.
– What I was referring to was the other side of the vine.
– If the honorable member had in mind a more comprehensive scheme for the grape industry, going beyond dried vine fruits, then I can follow him. As the honorable member for Mallee (Mr. Turnbull) said, I went to the areas involved, surveyed the position, and talked with those who were engaged in the industry, lt will be recalled that at that stage the prices being received were not satisfactory; they did not come up to the cost of production. The Government took a risk. It indicated its willingness to accept a stabilisation scheme, which, on the face of it, seemed as though it would involve the Government in certain payments. Actually, the industry has benefited, because world prices have risen. We pay tribute to Sir Eugene Gorman for being able to get the Greeks and the Turks together^ and to get them to agree. That was no mean task. Not only did they agree, but they have continued to work together in regard to prices with the result that, instead of the Government being involved in paying a bounty to the industry, in the first year in respect of each of the three commodities covered by the scheme money has been paid into the stabilisation fund. So far, details have been finalised only in respect of currants in the second year, but again a payment will be made to the fund. Under the stabilisation scheme, growers contribute to the stabilisation funds when their returns exceed the cost of production by more than SIO per ton. They draw from the funds when their returns fall short of the cost of production by more than SIO per ton. In omer words, the Government guarantees a price which is $10 per ton below the cost of production. The limit on contributions is $20 per ton. The growers receive anything above that.
Because of costs and unsatisfactory returns, the industry was in a depressed state when the stabilisation scheme was negotiated. It is pleasing to note that the first two years of operation of the scheme have proved to be satisfactory. I am sure all hope that that state of affairs will continue. I thank the honorable member for Mallee for his complimentary remarks about my work. Everybody knows what a generous host the honorable member is. He certainly was a good host when I visited the growing areas. He ensured that I met all sections of the industry so that I would be enabled to complete the drafting of the scheme. I again thank the House for its support of this measure.
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. Adermann) read a third time.
Bill presented by Mr. Howson, and read a first time.
.- I move-
Thai the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill makes provision for the payment of bounty on agricultural wheeled tractors during the period commencing on 26th October 1966 and ending on 30th June 1971. This Bill will replace the current Tractor Bounty Act, 1939-1966. The proposed legislation incorporates recommendations on bounty made by the Tariff Board in an interim report on the tractor industry. This report will be tabled later in the day.
Hitherto, bounty has been payable on tractors having a range of between 20 and 80 belt pulley horsepower and produced in Australia for use in the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth. Under this Bill there is, however, no maximum limit to horsepower in the proposed new bounty scale. The demand is growing for tractors in the higher horsepower ranges and already some tractors exceeding the existing horsepower limit for bounty purposes are being used for agricultural purposes. This Bill continues the existing provisions whereby maximum bounty is payable when the factory cost of materials and parts wholly made in Australia is not less than 90 per cent, of the factory cost of the tractor and that the bounty shall be reduced by H- per cent, for each I per cent, by which the percentage is less than 90 per cent. No bounty is payable if the percentage of local content is less than 55 per cent. Under the earlier legislation bounty payments were subject to a profit limitation clause but it has been decided on the recommendation of the Board not to impose this restriction in the proposed legislation. Other changes to the existing legislation extend bounty to tractors sold for use in Nauru, relate the bounty rates to the currently accepted method of rating tractors by horsepower at the power take-off, provide for advance payments of bounty and permit the delegation of the Minister’s powers.
In addition to bounty, the Tariff Board recommended that agricultural wheeled tractors and derivatives thereof should be subject to an import duty on and from 1st January 1970 at the rate of 10 per cent, preferential tariff, with the general rate in accordance with international commitments. The Board took the view that the deferred duty would serve as an indication u importers that future assistance to the tractor industry is likely to be substantially, if not wholly, by means of protective duties. The Board was of the opinion that such a duty would reduce the present somewhat high selling margin available to distributors of imported tractors. The Government has not accepted this recommendation because it is concerned that a tariff on imported tractors could lead to increased prices. Primary producers in recent years have been meeting rising costs and many have also been severely affected by the drought. Further, it is considered that bounty assistance would be more appropriate than assistance by duty, or by duty cum bounty, so long as imported tractors are supplying the greater part of Australia’s requirements. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
– I move -
Customs Tariff Proposals (No. 17) (1966).
Customs Tariff Proposals No. 17, which I have just tabled, relate to proposed amendments to the Customs Tariffs 1966. These arise from the adoption by the Government of recommendations in the Tariff Board’s report on Industrial Chemicals and Synthetic Resins. Honorable members will recall that several years ago, immediately following the removal of import licensing, the Australian chemical industry was making frequent applications for assistance because of increasing competition from imports. In a three year period, for example, there were 27 separate Tariff Board references on chemicals and a further 14 references concerning the need for temporary protection on such products. The industry came to the Government with a request for an overall review of its protection. It stressed the complex integrated relationship of many of its manufacturing processes and the dislocation that had occurred when fluctuating imports of one product altered the balance of production and demand of other products made in the same production complex. The industry’s overall concern was to achieve an optimum level of throughput in order to keep production costs and prices as low as possible. In this highly capital intensive industry, throughput, of course, is the key to cost economies. For these reasons, local manufacturers considered there were dangers and difficulties in assessing the need for tariff protection on individual products in isolation.
The Government accepted the need for such an inquiry. The Tariff Board was given terms of reference permitting it to hold a free ranging investigation into the particular problems of the chemical industry. The Board submitted a comprehensive report on this reference. It made an overall assessment that the sound development of the chemical industry should make an important contribution to our economy by widening the base for industrial growth. It also found that Australian manufacturers of chemicals have particular disadvantages inherent in the Australian economy. The most significant of these is that local producers cannot achieve the same economies of scale as manufacturers in other countries. The Australian market, although growing, is small by world standards. Chemical plants in Australia, therefore, are smaller than those in North America, Western Europe or Japan. This is a serious disability for a capital intensive industry. High internal transport costs and high charges for electricity also add to the local industry’s cost disadvantages.
The Board recommended a comprehensive scheme of assistance intended to offset these disadvantages. On a wide range of chemicals it recommended the alternative of either a duty cum bounty arrangement, involving bounty payments on seven basic chemicals, or of assistance by protective duties alone. The Government has decided to adopt the second alternative - that is, that assistance be given mainly through the tariff. A range of chemicals will be dutiable at 25 per cent, ad valorem, general, and 15 per cent., preferential, whilst on others, needing a higher level of protection, the duties will be 40 per cent, ad valorem, general, and 30 per cent., preferential. These rates represent increases in duties in some cases and decreases in others.
The Board’s recommendation that four products - polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, synthetic rubber and vinyl acetate monomer - should be accorded a higher level of protection has been accepted. All of these are vital to the economics of particular chemical complexes. Duties of 60 per cent., general, and 50 per cent., preferential, will apply to these products. A specific recommendation for a higher level of protection on hydrogen peroxide has also been accepted. However, in the light of the Board’s opinion that there is scope for future cost reductions in the production of these five products, these duties will be reviewed in three years’ time.
The Government’s adoption of other recommendations of the Board will be implemented as follows. The Sulphuric Acid Bounty Act will continue unchanged, bounty payments on sulphate of ammonia will continue at the present level, a new bounty on urea at the rate of $16 per ton will be introduced and the Vinyl Resin Bounty Act will cease to operate as and from today. Bounty bills to give effect to these decisions will be introduced at a later hour today.
The Board’s recommendation that chemicals and chemical intermediates which can be substituted for locally produced products should be dutiable at the same rates as the local product with which they compete has been accepted. Those substitute chemicals on which the Board made specific recommendations will be so dutiable as from tomorrow. In cases where the imported substitute has other end uses for which the local chemical cannot be used it is proposed to waive the duties under customs by-laws. Future cases of alleged substitution will be dealt with along the lines recommended by the Board. The Board’s proposals for replacement of the existing drawback provision by by-law procedures will be further examined by the Government in the course of a general review of existing drawback provisions now in progress.
In the course of its inquiry, the Board received a wealth of evidence to show that the tariff has been rendered ineffective in many cases by disruptive low pricing of imports. The chemical industry, being capital intensive, has been particularly vulnerable to these practices and existing normal counter measures have not always prevented disruption of local production. The recommendation that products subject to disruptive low pricing be protected by support values is being implemented in respect of the 23 products nominated in the report. This form of assistance should protect local industry against disruptive low pricing, but still provide some pressure on local manufacturers to effect cost savings.
– What is meant by the word “ support “?
– I will read the next paragraph and then I will answer that question. In a moment I shall be tabling the Tariff Board report, and I think it might be wise if the honorable member for Wakefield read the report.
– Could the Minister also table a statement showing the profits of these chemical companies over the last five years under the existing tariff?
– I think it might be wise if first I tabled the report, as I shall in a moment. Later this week when we are debating the validation proposals honorable members will have an opportunity to raise all these matters. If during the debate honorable members ask these questions, I shall be able to deal with them as I sum up the second reading debate on the validation proposals. I think that would be of assistance to honorable members.
Procedures for applying support values in cases of future disruptive low pricing will be along the lines referred to in the report. Likewise, all chemicals to which support values apply will annually be referred to the Board for inquiry on the need for, and the level of, the individual support values. Some chemicals, for which support values will be introduced, are subject to anti-dumping measures. In such cases, the anti-dumping measures will not apply from the date the support values come into force.
The Government will adopt the Board’s recommendations for a planned system of reviews. As already stated, there will be an annual reference covering all support values. A further reference in 1969 will call for a review of the support value system, of all chemicals subject to bounty payments, and of those chemicals having protection in excess of 40 per cent, ad valorem, general. An overall review of all aspects of assistance to the industry will be held in 1972.
In brief, with the exception of payment of bounties on basic chemicals and for replacement of the present drawback system with a by-law arrangement, the Government has accepted the recommendations made by the Board. These proposals will be the subject of a validation bill to be introduced later this day and legislation to give effect to the proposals will be introduced in the next Parliament, when honorable members will have an opportunity to debate them. I commend the proposals to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Reports on Items.
– I present the report by the Tariff Board on the following subject -
Industrial chemicals and synthetic resins.
I also present the report by the Tariff Board on -
Agricultural tractors (Interim report).
Ordered to be printed.
Bill presented by Mr. How son. and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill provides for the validation until 30th June 1967 of customs duties collected in pursuance of Customs Tariff Proposals Nos. 10 to 17 which have been moved in this House since 16th August last. These proposals, which include those I have just tabled, arise out of Tariff Board reports on glassware; motor vehicles; hollow bars, tubes and pipes of iron or steel; clothes, pegs; coffee; footwear; candles; vanillin and ethyl vanillin; and industrial chemicals and synthetic resins. They also deal with reports of the Special Advisory Authority on polyvinyl chloride products and metal-working sawing machines, with changes following international negotiations and with certain amendments to improve the translation from the Customs Tariff 1933-1965 to the present tariff.
Honorable members are aware that legislation to give effect to changes on such a wide range of commodities could not be adequately debated before the end of the present Parliament. Legislation to give effect to the changes will be introduced in the new Parliament, and an opportunity to debate the changes, including the new concepts of protection introduced as a result of the Tariff Board report on industrial chemicals and synthetic resins, will then become available to honorable members. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Howson, and read a first time.
. -I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill makes provision for the payment of a bounty on urea produced and sold in Australia as a fertiliser during the period commencing on 26th October 1966 and ending on 31st December 1969. The question of assistance to producers of urea was examined by the Tariff Board in conjunction with its overall inquiry into the production in Australia of industrial chemicals and synthetic resins and the relevant Tariff Board report was tabled earlier this day. This Bill gives effect to the Board’s recommendation concerning urea.
In accordance with the Board’s recommendation the rate of bounty will be $16 per ton and the amount of bounty payable in any one year is limited to $500,000. The Government has also accepted the Board’s recommendation that payment of the bounty should not be subject to profit limitation provisions. 1 commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Howson, and read a first time.
Mr. HOWSON (Fawkner- Minister for
Air) [4.30].- I move-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, this Bill provides for the extension of the operation of the Sulphate of Ammonia Bounty Act 1962- 1966, under which bounty ceased to be payable on sulphate of ammonia after 30th September 1966. The Tariff Board has completed its review of the question of assistance to producers of sulphate of ammonia in its recent inquiry into the Australian chemical industry.
In accordance with the Board’s recommendation, the Government has decided to continue the payment of bounty on sulphate of ammonia until 31st December 1969. However, as from 26th October 1966 it is proposed to change the conditions attached to the payment of the bounty. At the present time, the limitation on the amount of bounty payable is governed by a maximum annual payment of $900,000 in respect to all producers and a 10 per cent, profit limitation clause in respect of individual producers. The Board has recommended that assistance to this sector of the chemical industry would best be met by merely raising the allowable annual payment to $1 million and deleting the provisions relating to profit limitation.
– The Government has accepted this recommendation. I commend the Bill to honorable members. I suggest to the honorable member who interjected that the answer to his question might be found in the Tariff Board report which I have just tabled.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr. Howson, and read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time. Mr. Deputy Speaker, this BUI makes provision for the extension of the Cellulose Acetate Flake Bounty Act 1956-1965 until 31st December 1969. This is another chemical recently examined by the Tariff Board and the extension proposed is in accordance with the Board’s recommendation. No changes arc made to the existing provisions in the Act except for the extension to the end of 1969 and the conversion of money references to decimal currency. I commend the Bill to honorable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Pollard) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 2056), on motion by Mr. Bury -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This is a Bill to provide a new feature of long service leave to waterside workers. The introduction of the measure brings to our minds the first legislation for long service leave for waterside workers, which came to the Parliament in 1961. The waterside workers’ organisation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions opposed that measure because of some bad features of it. It was regarded as bad legislation. On that occasion we argued - and I think it was obvious to anyone who cared to examine the Bill - that it provided not only for long service leave but also for a system of penalties for waterfront stoppages under which three penalties could accrue for one offence. It was on that basis that the watersiders vigorously opposed that legislation. I argued then, and I argue now, that the first step towards getting peace on the waterfront is a system of continuity of employment for persons engaged in the industry. 1 think that will come before many moons have passed.
The watersiders are an important body of unionists, but, the history of the waterfront for over a century has been one of turmoil and frustration. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) in introducing this measure, referred to the fact that there is now a better atmosphere on the waterfront than for some time past. I think I could say it is better now than ever before. That is a healthy sign. This measure is a great improvement on the 1961 legislation, but I had hoped that in 1966 we would be able to go much further than wc have gone and to give the waterside workers an entitlement to long service leave without that entitlement having tied to it all the provisions that are referred to in this measure.
The Bill is of 26 pages, containing many detailed and intricate provisions. I argued in 1961 - 1 hope I will live to see the day when this will be adopted by the Government and ils advisers - that long service leave entitlement should not be on the basis provided in this legislation. The waterfront industry is very important to the nation, and, in my view, long service leave in that industry should be granted on the same basis as in any other industry on what 1 may call a straight annual level. If there must be deductions for some purposes, the deductions should not be on a day to day basis. I am glad to see that in this measure up to two months can be lost through illness and so on without interfering wilh a man’s continuity of service. I hope I will live to see the day when on the waterfront long service leave entitlements will accrue on an annual basis. If any penalty must be imposed - I do not think it should - let it be imposed on the basis of a given period, not on an hourly or daily basis.
In this industry, to use (he term that is used by the watersiders, a blow up can occur over a particular loading in a particular ship. I think it is completely wrong to have long service leave entitlements affected by stoppages in an industry such as this, where bitter feelings may cause a stoppage. I know that the Act provides that if a deregistration takes place and an appeal against it is successful, the days concerned are not disallowed, but 1 do not think the entitlement should be on this basis at all. 1 have always felt that long service leave is, first of all, an entitlement for service to an industry. If there is to be a penalty related to some misdemeanour, it should be in a form other than interference with long service leave. Entitlement to long service leave should be broken only when a man leaves an industry. Long service leave is precious in an industrial sense.
Although this Bill goes a long way towards improving conditions provided in the legislation of 1961, I put it to the Government and its advisers that more consideration should be given to this aspect of the legislation following the national conferences of all parties concerned. The Minister for Labour and National Service mentioned these conferences in passing and I was pleased to note that he paid tribute to the magnificent efforts of the Australian Council of Trades Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation as well as the representatives of the employers at these national conferences which preceded this legislation. Certainly the employers are split on the question at present, contrary to the expectations of most observers who expected that a split, if one occurred, would be among the representatives of the workers. I do not think the Minister or his advisers expected that the employers would be divided on this issue after twelve months of deliberation. My only comment on this is that it is unfortunate there has not been clearer understanding between the employers.
Many of the features of the Bill affecting employment on the waterfront have been inserted at the instigation of the A.C.T.U. and the Waterside Workers Federation. I said in 1961 and I repeat now that it i3 terribly important to get continuity of employment on the waterfront. When this is achieved we shall have made a major stride forward, and one of the ways to gain this objective is to remove the provisions that take away from waterside workers the entitlement to long service leave that would accrue to them if it were placed on an annual basis.
Members of the Opposition are accused of many things by supporters of the Government and I was pleased by the references of the Minister in his second reading speech to the activities of the Waterside Workers Federation and the A.C.T.U. because the representatives of those organisations have been led at the national conferences by Labour men who understand what is necessary to get peace on the waterfront and therefore efficient handling of our exports and imports. Thus goods and materiel wilt be handled to the best advantage by an efficient waterfront service.
I strike one note of warning in this connection and my comment arises from the current relations among the employers organisations: The Government is watching developments on the waterfront and as a result of the national conferences between interested parties, it hopes to get continuity of employment on the waterfront. Accordingly, it has introduced this legislation. But we should be sure that control of waterfront employment does not drift into the hands of overseas monopolies.
I am concerned about the drift towards monopoly control in all other branches of transport in Australia. Generally, these monopolies are held by overseas interests. I am fearful that very soon all land transport in Australia outside the railways will be under the control of four hauliers, resulting in the elimination of competition. Once there is a complete monopoly of transport, either sea or land, competition is eliminated and there is a closed book in relation to charges and all other costs. Australia has not yet taken steps to introduce legislation such as that which was found to be necessary in the United States of America to control this sort of thing in trade and commerce. I can foresee the development of a trend towards monopoly in the handling of goods, not only at the seaboard but also in transit from the seaboard to inland centres. The interests concerned are out to get a monopoly on the waterfront and are prepared to give away something in order to gain the support of employers so that they can make further inroads into the transport industry. They want to see the monopoly of land transport coupled with a monopoly on the waterfront. I sound that warning so that the Government may be prepared and watch these developments. Who would have believed that great organisations such as Mayne Nickless Ltd. would be controlled by people other than the founders? That is what is happening in the transport industry today and it could well happen on the waterfront, as surely as night follows day, unless something is done to counteract this trend.
I agree with the Minister that the Bill before the House is a complicated measure. If we examine it critically, not with a view to opposing it but in relation to the various points I have stated, we shall see that it provides a gateway to the development of our export and import trade. But four pages of the measure are devoted to specifying what are qualifying days for long service leave. These provisions cover paragraphs (a) to (k) of this part of the measure. All this space is taken up by provisions to determine how a waterside worker shall work 60 qualifying days in order to accumulate one day’s long service leave. Surely in 1966 we are past such a formula.
This Bill is based on the principle of a working week of six days. No other industry in Australia, particularly in the transport section, recognises Saturday or Sunday as an ordinary working day. In every case, penalty payments are applied for work on Saturday and Sunday, and those days are not taken into account as ordinary working days. Every award of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission stipulates that the working days are Monday to Friday. Yet under the provisions of this Bill entitlements to long service leave will be based on a six day week from Monday to Saturday. For every 80 qualifying days up to 1st January 1966, one day’s long service leave will accrue and for every 60 such days after that date one day’s leave entitlement will accrue. One of the good features of this Bill is that there is to be retrospectivity to January 1966. That is why both the Government and the Opposition are anxious to get the measure through the Parliament before its life ends.
The Bill also improves the provisions applying to waterside workers in B class ports. The first of these measures was introduced in 1961 and the Minister and his advisers have acted wisely in drafting this amending legislation. It was impossible to amend the 1961 legislation to give effect to some of the principles contained in the Bill now before the House without making it so complicated that it would provide a feast for the lawyers. I hope that does not happen in the case of the long service leave legislation. As I have said, for every 80 qualifying days up to 1st January 1966, one day’s long service leave will accrue. As from 1st January 1966, long service leave will be calculated on the basis of one day’s leave for each period of 60 qualifying days. The Minister rightly points out that any waterside worker who has not lost one qualifying day in 15 years of service will receive a bonus. It is pretty clear that the figure of 80 qualifying days has been based on a service of 20 years. As I see the position - I may be wrong - the waterside worker is going to be disadvantaged for the five years between 1961 and 1966. When long service leave was first introduced, the ordinary transport worker was granted the full amount of long service leave to which he was entitled at the end of 15 years, but as I read the Bill, the waterside worker will not be able to obtain the full benefit of his entitlement at the end of 15 years because in the five years from 1961 to 1966 the value of his entitlement is on the basis of 20 years’ service.
I put it to the Minister that the figure of 60 qualifying days should have been applied to the whole of the service including the years 1961 to 1966, with a maximum, if need be, of one year in any one calendar year. That is a reasonable approach and 1 suggest it is the one that should have been adopted. Instead of providing for 80 qualifying days between 1961 and 1966, it should have been on the basis of 60 days wilh a maximum of one year; otherwise we take away from the waterside worker, in respect of the period between 1961 and 1966, the value of the shortening of the qualifying period for long service leave. Every other worker in Australia in those years accumulated long service leave over the whole period of five years, but in the case of waterside workers we stick to the 80 days qualifying period and deny them any possibility of getting a morsel of advantage out of their service in the five years between 1961 and 1966. If the results of the all-in conference are as I believe they will be. before very long amending legislation will be introduced to do as I have suggested should have been done. 1 come now to the definition of .” port operating day “. When we study this, we get a clear indication of the point I am seeking to make. A port operating day means a day on which stevedoring operations were carried on, or waterside workers were required to attend or make themselves available for employment at the port. This applies to every day in the year. Sunday is to be excluded from any calculation of qualifying days as from 1st January 1966. Up till 1st January 1966, the whole of the 365 days are taken into account. This provision does not operate in the conditions relating to service or days of duty in any other industry in Australia. I say to the Minister that at least the waterside worker should get some benefit, for the period between 1961 and 1966, of the general reduction from 20 years to 15 years, in the qualifying period for long service leave. That applies throughout Australia, with a maximum of one year. The railway worker, the transport worker, the tramway worker, indeed every other type of worker enjoys 13 weeks’ long service leave after 15 years of service. In my view, we should not deny the waterside worker this advantage between the years 1961 and 1966, and I submit that my suggestion could be adopted without hurting anyone, provided we legislate for a maximum period of one year in any one year. I submit that the entitlement should be based not on some figure that has been plucked out of the air but on what shall apply at 1st January 1966.
The provisions relating to the determination of qualifying days will be found on pages 3 to 7 of the Bill. Then, in order to ascertain what is to be taken as qualifying service, we find provisions covering seven pages of the Bill - from pages 7 to 13. I know that the Minister and his officers set out to try to improve upon the 1961 legislation. They have achieved that objective because it would be impossible to make it any worse than it is. I submit that in making calculations from now on as to what long service leave waterside workers are entitled to receive, a year should mean a year. The number of days taken to represent a year should be the same right through the period. We should not provide that a year shall be taken to be 365 days up to 1966 and then some lesser number of days after that. In this instance it is proposed to deduct from the period deemed to be a year of service the amount of annual leave taken by the employee. This is not done in any other industry in Australia, or in any other country that I know of where long service leave is granted. Even the worst award of which I have knowledge is based on a ten day fortnight. Most awards provide for a five day week. Now the year is to be taken as 313 days. I submit that this should apply right through. It may be argued that this is a continuous industry. It is. But so is the railway industry. In all transport industries the workers are required to work only on five days of the seven. Nothing more should be required of the waterside worker even though it is a continuous industry.
On page 16 of the Bill we find a clear example of how, by legislative provision, it is possible to avoid providing for long service leave through other channels which are available. On page 16 we find proposed new section 45f of the principal Act, which prescribes how the waterside worker shall take his long service leave. Four paragraphs are required to do this. Then, after taking all that time to decide how the leave shall be taken, we come to clause 45g which provides that while he is on long service leave he shall not be called on for duty. Having read these clauses, we cannot help but conclude that legislation is not the proper method by which to provide for long service leave in this industry.
I now have some submissions to make with relation to proposed new section 45h and I ask the Minister to say whether I am right in what I suggest. Sub-section (1.) reads -
Sub-clause (2.) reads -
Unless otherwise agreed by the Authority and the waterside worker, the amount payable to him under the last preceding sub-section in respect of long service leave shall be paid to him in equal weekly instalments throughout the period during which the leave is taken.
Does that mean that if the Authority does not agree, he has to turn up every week in order to get his instalment? Does it mean that the Authority will have the power under this Bill to say to the waterside worker, if it feels so disposed: “ We will not pay you a lump sum for long service leave. We will pay you in weekly instalments.”? I. am dealing with what actually goes into his pocket and how he gets it. Proposed new section 45j deals with the assessed amount of pay. Sub-section (1.) reads - (1.) For the purposes of this Part, the assessed amount of pay for a day of long service leave is an amount equal to one-sixth of the amount determined by the Authority under this section to be the average weekly earnings of registered regular waterside workers at continuous ports during the last applicable period of twelve months.
Sub-section (3.) of the same proposed new section reads -
In determining the amount of those average weekly earnings, the Authority shall not have regard to any sums paid - .
by way of attendance money . . .
Take the case of a waterside worker who is to begin his long service leave at Chrismas of this year. The payment for his long service leave will be based on the current calendar year - the period during which the heaviest payments of attendance money have been made. I have not looked at the latest reports but it is common knowledge that as a result of many factors there has been this year a heavy falling off in the amount of work available to waterside workers. If I read this provision correctly, the amount that a waterside worker in the port of Sydney would get would be based on the average earnings in the port of Sydney this year, exclusive of any amounts paid in attendance money, although he had to hold himself available on every one of those days on which attendance money was paid in order to qualify for long service leave. If we are to strike an average for the year, it should be an average of everything that is paid. Proposed new section 45j (3.) provides also that in determining the amount of average weekly earnings the Authority shall not have regard to any sums paid -
I do not know, but it could be that the Authority would take those weeks that were lost by a waterside worker from the total figure in order to strike an average. One of the things that always strikes me is that the worker seemingly gets the crumb. In a case in which 1 once appeared I heard an argument based on averages. His Honour looked down at those who were engaged in the argument and said: “Averages do not impress me very much. A child who dies at birth and chap who dies at age of 70 may die on the one day; this gives an average age at death of 35, but that is not of much help to the baby.” If the Minister tells me that, in striking this average, the periods relating to the amounts referred to in proposed new sub-section (3.) are to be taken from the periods by which the earnings are to be divided, nobody will quibble about whether it is the right thing to do. If one figure is reduced, the figure by which it is divided should be reduced. But I join issue as to whether, if attendance money is paid in respect of 3,000 man days in 1966 and the total period is not correspondingly reduced, a fair average will be obtained. Too often there is a tendency to write down the value of long service leave payments. I should like to be sure that the average is obtained by a consideration of the total time worked and the total amount earned.
Proposed new sub-section (2.) refers to the average weekly earnings of registered waterside workers. A week, as I understand it, is regarded as six days. If the total days worked, excluding the days that are related to the provisions of proposed new sub-section (3.), are to be divided into the told amount earned, this would be the proper thing to do, but 1 doubt whether that is the case. If I read these provisions correctly, although the amounts earned are not included, the days involved are included.
It is true that the Bill will bring some improvements to those persons working on the waterfront, first, by reducing from 20 years to J 5 years the period of qualification for long service leave and by providing for pro rata payments. As 1 understand the Bill, once a waterside worker has 15 years service, whatever the reason for his dismissal after that, he will get 15 years entitlement, which will be 13 weeks. If he has, say, 17 years service and if his registration is cancelled for a misdemeanour, as 1 understand it he will not receive a pro rata payment in respect of long service leave entitlement for his service in excess of 15 years. I know that such a provision applies to many instances of long service leave entitlement. I think I am correct in saying that whatever the reason for cancellation of a man’s registration after 15 years, he will get his 15 years entitlement.
Less rigid long service leave provisions will now apply to workers at B class ports. This will bring some satisfaction to those who accrue long service leave entitlements at those ports. As indicated by the Minister, in some cases the leave will be only a few weeks. But at least it will be something, whereas up to this stage many waterside workers have had no entitlement.
I think the decision to remove the present limit of 15 days in respect of absence on sick leave or workers’ compensation is a step in the right direction. Having regard to the fact that this Bill does improve upon the legislation of 1961 - as I say, it could not do otherwise - the Opposition does not oppose it, but I do hope that when a bill in relation to long service leave for waterside workers is next to be debated in this Parliament, some of the things that I have said today will have some effect on those who draft the legislation.
I have always considered that this Government believes that even if there has been no untoward happening or a breach of any requirement of the law, the imposition of a penalty that would prevent some benefit from accruing to a waterside worker or any other worker has some attraction. We on this side of the chamber do not agree with th.it. We believe thu the only attractive proposal is something that will help to provide first class conditions for men to work under. I repeat that the waterside workers represent an important section of the trade union movement in Australia. They work at the gateway through which are channelled our exports and our imports, on which a wealthy future for this country depends. I know that if we can get continuity of employment on the waterfront as a result of the all-in conference that is in progress, great changes will be needed. Waterside workers will become the employees of captains of industry rather than of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority. This will mean great changes in the legislation concerning the waterfront enacted by this Parliament. I hope that the day when this will come about is not far distant.
In 1961, I stated that until permanency of employment is achieved on the waterfront and long service leave entitlement accrues annually on the same basis as does the entitlement of workers in other callings, we cannot hope to achieve on the waterfront the sort of continuity of employment that is desirable and essential to the welfare of the nation. Nor can we obtain the kind of efficiency that is essential. The changes that will take place on the waterfront in the immediate future will demand ever more efficiency. Therefore, let us in this Parliament give a lead in formulating legislation relating to conditions of employment on the waterfront. Let us establish a code and a set of conditions applying to long service leave that will give to waterside workers an urge - not a drive imposed on them by outside forces - arising from their own Australian good sense, to give to the nation the high standard of efficiency that is necessary to the proper future development of our waterfront industry and to the efficient operations on the waterfront on which the nation’s welfare depends.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have only a few brief observations to make. I support the remarks made by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison), who made a very good contribution to the debate on this measure, which provides for alteration of the conditions applying to long service leave for waterside workers. The honorable member has proved to the House that he has a deep knowledge of the conditions of employment on the waterfront. Before discussing the new provisions, 1 would like to go hack to the time when long service leave for waterside workers was introduced in 1961. The measure introduced at that time was described by the Australian Council of Trade Unions as having been brought down in indecent haste under the cloak of a proposal designed to grant long service leave to waterside workers. This was done to an extent, but further penal provisions were introduced and the measure was designed to drive the older workers from the waterfront with totally inadequate gratuities. The then Menzies Government designed its long service leave proposals in such a manner as to make them in no way comparable With the long service leave standards enjoyed by other workers. Until that time, waterside workers were permitted to carry on in their respective jobs according to their individual abilities, without any restriction on agc.
Wl r. Chipp.-What is the honorable member quoting from? I did not hear what he said.
– These are my own words. A large number of the most efficient and competent hatchmen and winchmen were in fact about 70 years of age or older. Under the waterside workers’ long service leave provisions originally implemented, aworker was required to be available for work 360 days a year for 20 years to claim long service leave. In other industries, workers needed to work only 260 days a year for 20 years to obtain similar benefits. The honorable member for Blaxland described the requirement imposed on waterside workers as representing seven over seven for them compared to five over seven for workers in other industries. We could describe the proposal now before us as representing six over seven for the waterside workers. So the Government is going half way towards doing what is required. In a number of ports, men who had been in the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia and available for work for varying periods up to 40 years were to receive nothing under the original long service leave provisions. The additional penal provisions that were incorporated in the Act along with the provisions for long service leave were completely unnecessary and did not add to the efficiency of operations in tha industry. They seemed to be aimed solely at the subjugation of the members of the Federation. It is true to say that the additional penal provisions only worsened industrial relations and aggravated problems in the industry. In objection to the penal provisions and to the great number of other unfair provisions contained in the legislation of 1961, industrial action was taken by the members of the Federation in an endeavour to bring about better provisions. This seemed to be absolutely necessary, as no one in his wildest dreams could have visualised any alteration without this sort of objection being taken. After a long struggle, and with the full knowledge and assistance of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, a great number of amendments to the long service leave provisions we’re accepted.
I turn now to the provisions embodied iri the Bill that we are at present considering. I agree wholeheartedly with the remarks made by the honorable member for Blaxland. Up to the present, waterside workers in B class ports have been totally unable to gain the benefit of the long service leave provisions. A waterside worker has to accumulate 13 weeks’ entitlement of long service leave before he can take any. In . B class ports, this is found to bc absolutely impossible. In such ports, waterside workers could spend a whole lifetime in the industry - perhaps 40 years - without accumulating sufficient days of service to qualify for 13 weeks’ entitlement of long service leave. Indeed, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury), in his second reading speech, stated that some waterside workers had no hope of qualifying. Different conditions governing the qualifying period are now being prescribed. A waterside worker is now to be credited with the days he has worked. Therefore, it will no longer be necessary for him lo accumulate the years of service that are now required to qualify for 13 years’ entitlement of long service leave. The period formerly prescribed is being reduced from 20 to 15 years, and a watersider will now be able to take the entitlement of leave that he has accumulated over that period. An employee at a B class port, though he may have an entitlement of only a few weeks, not amounting to 13. will still be able to take the entitlement that he has accumulated. I am pleased at the amendments to the principal Act now proposed and glad that the Government has seen fit to extend the long service leave provisions in a manner that will give practical benefit to men engaged in the stevedoring industry at 8 class ports.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, I rise to say how pleased I am that something is being done for the waterside workers. I congratulate the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) on a very fine address. He ably demonstrated to the House his knowledge of waterfront employment. He has had a great deal of experience of industrial matters, especially those of the kind that we are discussing now. I know that he has spent a lot of time with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and with Mr. Fitzgibbon, the General Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, in relation to this matter.
This Bill is belated but I am glad that it is now before the House and that something is being done. When working conditions are improved there is an incentive for men to do better. Waterside workers, over the years that I have known them, especially since 1927, have passed through some stormy times. I remember when the big strike took place in Port Adelaide where I was born. Port Adelaide was ruined, men were thrown out of work and all States of Australia, with the exception of New South Wales where members of the Federation did not go on strike, were in a state of siege. From then on - I know this because I was at sea for many years - there was a lot of uncertainty on the waterfront. But it takes two to make a quarrel. I am glad that things now seem to be evening themselves out. By granting waterside workers long service leave, the Government is showing that it is treating them, to some extent, as human beings.
On the subject of time lost, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) had this to say in his second reading speech -
Incidentally, it is worth noting that in the 12 months to September this year man hours lost because of stoppages have been of the order of 25,000 … in the 20 years back to 1946-47 for which we have comparable figures, the loss in the best previous year. 1957-58, was 346,090 man hours, and the loss in the worst year was 3.3 million man hours.
Those are a lot of man hours lost and they represent a lot of money. I will say something about that later. I have seen the waterfront pass through various stages. I have seen huge gangs operating and, because of mechanical contrivances which have been introduced, gangs comprising very few men.
The waterfront has always been unsettled but the Government’s present proposal will help to put things on an even keel. The Minister referred to 1946-47. I had just been discharged from the Navy then and was manager of a stevedoring firm in Sydney. In fact, it was the biggest stevedoring firm in New South Wales at the time. During the war the whole of the waterfront was taken over by the Government. The Government paid the men’s wages and paid the shipowners their costs plus 10 per cent. I had been on the waterfront about three mon:hs when the Government - a Labour Government at the time - said rightly: “ We will hand the wharves back to the shipowners. They will have to look after themselves. The cost plus 10 per cent, arrangement is finished.” While the cost plus 10 per cent, system operated gangs working on interstate ships in Sydney consisted of 27 men. I was given the job of saying to the waterside workers: “ From tomorrow the gangs will consist of 15 men”.
You can imagine what happened, Mr, Deputy Speaker. No-one turned to. The Sydney waterfront was idle for some 14 days and Senator Ashley, who was then the Minister for Transport, got in touch with me and asked what was happening. I pointed out that over the war years gangs had been built up from 15 to 27 men because it was more profitable for the shipowners having regard to the fact that the more men they employed the more money they received from the Government. As can be readily imagined, the men were rather upset when they were told that gangs would be reduced from 27 men to 15 men. They did not like it. Now I believe things are evening themselves out. With the grant of long service leave they will be treated more like other workers in industry.
We know that containerisation is moving apace. This is a subject that this Parliament will have to look at for the sake of the nien. I think it is a case for a round table conference to try to settle the demarcation dispute as to who will load and unload the containers because the gang system on the waterfront as we know it today will go. Instead of having 10 or 12 men to a gang there will be only two or three, or even less, because the cranes now hook and unbook themselves. It is a matter of re-arranging the industry. Some waterside workers will have to be transferred from the waterfront to warehouses but they will still have to be known as members of a branch of the Waterside Workers’ Federation so that they will qualify for the long service leave benefit which has now been granted them.
I congratulate the Minister on introducing this legislation which I believe is the result of prompting by Mr. Fitzgibbon and the Minister’s understanding of these men and his treatment of them as human beings. I rose only to say that I am pleased something has been done. I hope that greater improvements will be made in this industry. When we talk about starting an overseas shipping line we must take into consideration all the costs involved in running a ship. The cost of providing a ship is probably the cheapest thing in running an overseas shipping line. Stevedoring costs are high, as they must be, because they are in proportion to the wages paid in this country. No country can afford to have ships laid up because that is how money is frittered away. I hope that there will be deeper understanding on the part of both the shipowners and the employees in this industry so that it will expand and go ahead to greater things.
.- I, too, would like to compliment the Government on this small but important piece of legislation which, as the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson) has just said, contains a humanitarian aspect. I am delighted that it has been possible for representatives of this particular trade union to sit round the table sensibly with employers and other people and put up a concrete case to the Government. The trade union movement should know that when this Government receives a moderate, reasonable request for legislative reform from moderate, responsible men, it will not only listen to their case but will act upon it also.
As the honorable member for Batman has said, and as the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) pointed out in his second reading speech, it is interesting to note the difference between man hours lost in the 12 months to September this year and man hours lost in the previous 12 months. Man hours lost in the 12 months to September 1966 totalled 25,000. I believe that the number of nian hours lost in the 12 months ending in November this year will be considerably less than it was in the previous 12 months because honorable members will remember that in November 1965 this Government introduced legislation relating to the waterfront. That legislation has proved an outstanding success. However, without being unkind to my friends on the Opposition side, particularly in view of the friendly atmosphere in which this present debate has been conducted, I must remind them that they were vigorously opposed to it. It is worth while to recall for a moment what it did. At that time Communists and other extreme elements on the waterfront were riding roughshod over the decent men in the Waterside Workers Federation. Today, because of that legislation, decent men in the Labour Party - decent trade unionists - arc responsible for conducting the affairs of the Federation. The legislation has allowed decent, moderate and responsible men to sit around a table and, for probably the first time in the industry’s history discuss logically, calmly and objectively the problems of the human beings on the waterfront. I am proud to be associated with the party that introduced that legislation.
I wish to refer briefly to the matter of containerisation raised by the honorable member for Batman. I agree with everything that he said on this subject. This is a problem that must be faced. I have just returned from a visit to three fairly highly industrialised countries, and on this subject I would make this one point: I do not think we should become hysterical about this matter of containerisation. Perhaps hysterical is too strong a word. We should not become too emotionally charged. For what it is worth, I put the personal view that containerisation in the bogy form is still a long way off in Australia, and I still have some reservations about whether it will have the impact on the industry that many people seem to think it will have.
Palletisation is a problem that is being relatively disregarded while too much emphasis is placed on containerisation and its effects. I think the Federation and the industry would better serve the men on the waterfront if they consideration palletisation more and containerisation a little less.
Finally, let me refer to the conference being conducted under the chairmanship of Mr. Woodward. It is pleasing to note how the various parties to the conference, who have been at daggers drawn for years, are now sitting around the table talking. The honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) said that the employers arc split. Unhappily, this is true. As the honorable member knows, it has been true for years. But I do not wholly agree with the honorable member that the trade union movement is presenting a unified front. Of course, in the Federation at the moment a united front is being put to the conference. Moderates like Stewart and Fitzgibbon are going along with Docker and other extremists, and at the moment they are unified.
– Do not forget the influence of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
– I concede that. That is not the point I am making. I think the Federation and the responsible, moderate men in it would be doing other members a disservice if they forgot that there is a deep philosophical cleavage between men like Docker and men like Stewart and, perhaps, Fitzgibbon.
– No “ perhaps “.
– Well, for sure. But, acknowledging the existence of a cleavage there, let us come back to the cleavage between the employers. Without being too harsh on individuals, I believe there is a plan - I was about to say a plot - by certain overseas shipping interests to gain a monopoly of work on the Australian waterfront.
– Use the word “plot “.
– I will; I believe it is a plot. This would be tragic not only to the industry but also to the men in the Federation. There are a number of courageous and highly efficient independent stevedoring companies working on the Australian waterfront whose claims and points of view on this matter have not, in my opinion, been aired or given the credence and attention they warrant. I would imagine that it would be the wish of the moderates in the Federation and the A.C.T.U. to preserve the independents in the stevedoring industry and not to have a monopoly. None of us wants this monopoly. I am sure that the honorable member for Blaxland, the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Mortimer) and the honorable member for Batman agree with me. But I wonder whether the Communists in the union, who at this moment are going along with everything, want the independents in. I have a suspicion - I hope 1 do not have an over-suspicious mind - that there may be some kind of unholy deal between the extremists in the Federation and these other people who want to control the industry to sell out the independent stevedores, because extremists in a union would much prefer to deal with a monopoly than with a democratically constructed industry. 1 hope that the chairman of the conference, the A.C.T.U. and the responsible and decent members of the Federation will be deeply conscious of the big stakes involved. I hope that they will be conscious of any move, no matter under what subterfuge, to squeeze out the highly efficient independent stevedores. There is a danger of this happening. Reading between the lines of some of the interim reports that have emanated from the conference, I am a little uneasy that the ordinary decent man on the waterfront will not get the justice he deserves and that the decent independent Australian owned stevedoring company will not get the justice it deserves. For example, I am very perturbed about the proposal concerning the two types of stevedoring companies - the holding company and the other kind. Under the proposal, I cannot for the life of me see how equalisation of earnings can be achieved. This is one of the things we must watch.
My remarks may not have been strictly within the confines of the Bill but I felt that I would like to make them in passing. 1 join with the honorable members opposite in commending the Minister for introducing the Bill.
– I had decided to let the case rest after the very excellent presentations by the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr.
You can achieve all kinds of results if you like to be sufficiently repressive or oppressive. If you imposed the death sentence for the offence of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor you could produce figures showing a .sharp decline in convictions for. this offence. If you imposed -the death sentence on people who wore their hair long you would find that people no longer would watch .V—-I:– .’ and certain other television programmes. So there is nothing terribly wonderful about bringing in repressive legislation and it serves no purpose to give the results that are achieved by it. I went to Pentridge not long ago to see a person who had been known to me for a while. I made inquiries about Mr. O’Meally and I was pleased to learn that he, too, had become rather subdued and quite gentle to speak’ to. He could not very well be otherwise, because the moment he showed any sign of being ungentle he would be put back into solitary confinement. That is one way of dealing with all kinds of people good and bad.
The Government introduced repressive legislation, the like of which we had never seen in the Parliament before. For the very first time in the annals of the nation, the Parliament exercised power that was normally regarded as the sole’ prerogative of the judiciary. By Act of Parliament it took the right to deregister a union and to appoint a scab organisation in its place. That was the proposal the Government put before the Parliament. No wonder the waterside workers and their leaders - the moderates, the extremists and the extreme right wing members of the union - see no future in fighting, even for their rights. They think it is far better not to fight even for their rights if to do so means losing their registration and their identity. I would hope that they prefer to fight for a better kind of Government, a government that will not use this kind of repressive legislation to obtain results. 1 could understand the Government’s bringing down oppressive forms of legislation if it applied them also to employers. But it never does this. The only people to whom it ever applies repressive legislation are the workers, lt never thinks about bringing in laws that would impose the extreme and dire punishment that flows from deregistration on people who make excessive profits, who batten on the- community generally and who obtain more than a fair share of the community’s wealth.
-Order! I suggest to the honorable member for Hindmarsh that he has made his point and now is developing an argument that is not relevant to the subject-matter before the House.
– Yes, I think that is right. The title of the Bill is fairly tightly drawn. ] thank you for letting me go as far as I have, because I wanted to make that point. The honorable member for Higinbotham said that the Government is always prepared to listen to a moderate case put by moderate men. 1 do not know whether he means that the Government is not prepared to listen to a moderate case put by immoderate men. He seemed to suggest that, before the Government consider the case, it looks at who is putting it, the basis being that it is not a matter of what is right but who is right. That seemed to be implied in the honorable gentleman’s remarks. I hope he does not correctly interpret the Government’s attitude, although I strongly suspect that he does.
A couple of points have not been mentioned so far. One relates to officials who come from the ranks of the Waterside Workers Federation, having had, say, 10 years of service. When they become officials of the union, the union is, of course, quite prepared to pay into a special fund whatever premiums are necessary to maintain their continuity so that if they cease to be officials and return to the industry they will be entitled to long service leave after the appropriate period of service. This suggestion was put to the Government in negotiations but was rejected. Perhaps it was not rejected in a way that will make it impossible for the application to be renewed.
Another point that was put to the Government and rejected related to foremen. At the moment, I understand that men who are temporarily employed as foremen for periods of less than six months remain entitled to long service leave. Their service as foremen is counted as service in calculating long service leave entitlements. But should they be transferred permanently as foremen, they are no longer regarded as employees of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority. Of course, this is true. Technically and in every way they are not. But it seems to me quite wrong that a person who may have 10, 11 or 12 years’ service should lose the credit for this when long service leave is calculated simply because he is made a permanent foreman and therefore is no longer an employee of i he Authority.
This seems to me to be a situation that is so unjust that it should not be allowed to continue, and it should not be beyond the wit of man to evolve some means of meeting the situation. If the Government does not do this, it will find that the best types of men who would normally be considered desirable for appointment as foremen will say: “The amount I will lose in my long service leave entitlement does not make it worth my while to change over and be permanently appointed as a foreman “. This was put to the authorities during negotiations and was rejected. I think the Government should keep in mind the provisions of the Commonwealth Employees’ Furlough Act, so far as it relates to long service leave for temporary employees, and the Commonwealth Public Service Act, so far as it relates to permanent employees. Surely if it is possible for persons temporarily employed by the Commonwealth to be transferred to the permanent staff without losing credit for any service in the calculation of long service leave or persons working in a government instrumentality or for a State Government to have his long service leave entitlement transferred to his new employer, it should be possible for permanent foremen to transfer their entitlement to long service leave.
That is all I want to say. There is nothing terribly wonderful about the Bill. All it does is to give the waterside workers the same amount of leave after working more days a year as everybody else gets for working fewer days a year. There is nothing terribly wonderful about that. It surprises me that the Government has been willing to give even this small recognition to waterside workers, but it is nothing to boast about. It is merely doing for these people what everybody else is compelled by law to do. It would be a pretty poor show if the Government withheld this from the waterside workers.
.- I represent many waterside workers in Tasmania and I believe that I should record my thoughts on this legislation briefly. I take this opportunity to congratulate the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) for explaining the Opposition’s reaction to the legislation. I thank my colleagues, the honorable member for Grey (Mr. Mortimer) and the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron), and the honorable member for Batman (Mr. Benson), for their contributions to the debate. We know that the waterside workers want this legislation to be passed as quickly as possible. This will be done, because it will be through this House before 9 o’clock tonight. I hope it will get a very quick passage through the Senate and will become law this week.
We all know that the story on the waterfront has been a long and tragic one of an unequal fight by the waterside workers to be recognised as human beings and not mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for the shipping companies and all the people who have battened on them, fought them in the Parliament, vilified them outside the Parliament and tried to fight elections by tearing down the characters of waterside workers. These have been tough and hard days. We have had some very tough and hard debates in this Parliament in an effort to bring humanity to the waterfront through Commonwealth legislation. All that I can say about this Bill - I think my colleagues will agree with me - is that at last it brings to the waterfront humanity on a very vital issue, namely, long service leave.
In this Parliament over the years we have debated waterfront legislation to which the honorable member for Hindmarsh referred briefly a few minutes ago. Much of it has been a disgrace to the Parliament and to the Government that introduced it. It has been callous, brutal, intimidatory and designed to blackmail the Waterside Workers Federation into co-operation in what the Government thought should be done on the waterfront.
– The Government wants to make the Federation a tame cat union.
– That is quite right. The late J. B. Chifley, in one of his final speeches, expressed the hope that the unions would not become tame cat unions. That is exactly what the Commonwealth Government has tried to make the waterfront unions, especially in the middle fifties.
– That is absolute rubbish.
– lt is not absolute rubbish; it is absolute fact. We have had to wait until the seventeenth year of this Government’s reign for a bill of this sort to come before us. That is a disgrace. We have had to wait for 17 long years for this bit of justice to be given to these men who work around our coastline, loading and unloading our ships, and who are a vital cog iri the economy of the country.
– The Government took them back to being workers in B class ports.
– That is right. The men in B class ports have been right on the outer until the introduction of this legislation. It is really a disgrace to the Government that nien in B class ports, of which there are several, have had to wait until the seventeenth year for recognition for the purposes of long service leave which, as my colleague, the honorable member for Blaxland, said, is enjoyed by every other worker in every other industry in Australia today.
Vast and powerful changes have been coming over the waterfront picture in the last few years as a result of mechanisation and, recently, containerisation. Bigger changes will take place in the next few years. It is estimated that the membership of the Waterside Workers Federation will be reduced from the present 22,000 to 12,000 within the next 5 years.
– Whose estimate is that?
Mr. DUTHIE__ It appeared in a Press report. It can be corrected if it is wrong. That is what could happen under the massive impact of containerisation. Another thing that has been planned by the overseas shipping companies is the bypassing of certain Australian ports and the bringing of exports and imports to major ports. These changes are taking place under our eyes. I understand that the Government has guaranteed to the Federation that the men who will be displaced by these new methods of automation will be given suitable other employment. But the suitable other employment may mean much heartbreak for many waterside workers and their families. These men have been waterside workers all their lives. It is not easy to change a waterside worker into a factory worker or a worker in some other industry overnight. The Government has a bounden duty to the men who will be displaced to see that, at 40 or 50 years of age, they obtain suitable employment for the rest of their working lives.
The B class ports have been included in this legislation. We are very grateful for that, lt has been a long struggle to obtain recognition for long service leave purposes not only for men in B class ports but for men o,n the waterfront as a whole. They were looked upon as a kind of enemy to be fought ali the time. The Government wonders why the Federation had to fight back, at times very viciously. But that was the only way the waterside workers knew of bringing to the notice of the Government the conditions under which they were working and the fact that they were odd men out for the purposes of long service leave. This Bill tidies up the weaknesses of the 1961 legislation-
– Only some of them.
– It tidies up some of the weaknesses of that legislation. Conferences have taken place. I have read with interest the second reading speech made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury). I congratulate all the people who got around the table and tried to hammer out the answers to these vexed questions. There is no doubt that people sitting around a table can solve many problems that they cannot solve by fist fighting outside or by standing toe to toe. This legislation has been achieved by getting down to a round table conference at which people called a spade a spade and put their points of view fairly and democratically.
I congratulate Charlie Fitzgibbon, the General Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, on what I regard as the remarkable example of leadership that he has given since he took up his position. The people, the Government and the Federation have much for which to thank him. Many of the things that the waterside workers have won have been won by hard battling by him and his colleagues who are helping him. 1 believe that this legislation represents an achievement by them. This Government, during its years of office, has blasted and hammered them by calling them radicals, disturbers of the peace. Communists and every other name one can think of. On behalf of the Tasmanian members.I say how much we appreciate what is being done under this legislation. We hope that the other anomalies that still exist in the Stevedoring Industry Act will be ironed out before very long. We on this side of the House pledge ourselves to back the Government in any worthwhile, constructive move that it makes to bring still more humanity to the waterfront, which has lacked it more than any other industry throughout its long history.
I hope that the Government will keep a weather eye on the move to create major ports for loading and unloading overseas ships,I can see great danger in this move, particularly if ships bypass the northern Tasmanian ports. That would mean that Tasmanians would have to bring their beef, lamb, wool and dairy products across Bass Strait to be loaded on to overseas ships at Melbourne, which would be made the major port. If that were done, the costs of our primary producers would increase. It would help to cripple further many sections of primary industries in my State.
– Including the apple growers?
– The apple growers might not be affected, becauseI do not think the overseas shipping companies would dare to bypass the major apple ports. They would still come into Hobart to pick up our apples. But all the other primary industries would be affected. Of course, the waterfront would be affected. I ask the Minister to keep a weather eye open for such moves by the shipping companies. If the Government could prevent them bypassing the northern Tasmanian ports, it would be doing a great service to our State.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
.- There are one or two items that I desire to speak on in relation to this Bill, and both concern proposed new section 45c (4.), which, in part, reads -
For the purposes of paragraph (b) of the last preceding sub-section, a person shall be deemed not to have ceased to be continuously registered as a waterside worker under Commonwealth stevedoring legislation by reason of -
a break in the continuity of his registration caused by the cancellation of his registration if the Authority is satisfied that-
the cancellation was the result of his becoming, or intending to become, a member of the Sydney Waterfront First Aid Service;
he was or is subsequently registered as a waterside worker under this Act; and
iii) he was during the whole, or substantially the whole, of the period between the cancellation referred to in sub-paragraph (i) of this paragraph and the subsequent registration referred to in the last preceding subparagraph a member of the Sydney Waterfront First Aid Service;
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) in his second reading speech referred to this provision and said -
Waterside workers who deregister 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 arc with the Auxiliary.
I feel that a rather parsimonious attitude has been taken on this. Surely it must be admitted that the Sydney Waterfront First Aid Service is part of the waterfront facilities. If a waterside worker moves from the Waterside Workers Federation to the Sydney Waterfront First Aid Service 1 understand he takes with him his service as a waterside worker and is granted a ceredit for that service in calculating his long service leave entitlement with the First Aid Service, but while he is with that Service his service there is not counted in determining continuity of service if he subsequently seeks reregistration with the Waterside Workers Federation.
The whole waterfront activity should be regarded as part and parcel of the industry. If a person serves for a number of years in a State Public Service department and transfers to the Commonwealth Public Service, in most instances he is granted continuity of service from the time he started with the State Public Service. However, under the provision we are now discussing a man can be a waterside worker for a number of years, can join the First Aid Service - and. I stress, can have his service as a waterside worker counted in calculating his long service leave entitlement as an employee in the First Aid Service and can seek reregistration as a waterside worker and not have his period of employment in the First Aid Service counted in calculating his long service leave entitlement as a waterside worker. This is a parsimonious attitude and if the Government wants peace on the waterfront it should regard these occupations as part and parcel of the one industry. The Government should not take away the amenities that waterside workers receive by including in this Bill a provision such as this.
Proposed new section 45c (4.) states further that continuity shall not be lost because of -
a break in the continuity of his registration that occurred before the commencement of the Stevedoring Industry Act 1961 if the Authority certifies in writing, for the purposes of this paragraph, that it is satisfied that -
I wish to refer to a specific case concerning a man who was first registered as a waterside worker in Queensland in 1938 and who was registered on the Sydney waterfront in 1942. Between 1942 and May 1960 he served all but continuously as a waterside worker. He cancelled his registration in May 1960 and joined the Foreman Stevedores Association. He resigned from that organisation in January 1961 and sought reregistration as a waterside worker. This was granted to him. He now finds that because he sought to better himself in the industry - because he sought to make the industry more efficient by becoming a foreman stevedore; and surely all of us will admit that in any industry we must have foremen and supervisors - his long service leave entitlement has been affected. He was a waterside worker and he resigned to become a foreman stevedore. He found he was unsuitable for the position, or perhaps that the position was unsuitable for him. He sought reregistration as a waterside worker, and this was granted to him quite readily. Most of us have some idea of the situation on the waterfront. I feel that a man who can become a foreman stevedore and resign from the Foreman Stevedores Association and be readily accepted by the Waterside Workers Federation must be efficient as a waterside worker and efficient, just and reliable as a foreman stevedore. However, he has found that his service since 1942 in Sydney and since 1938 in Queensland up to May 1960 will not count for long service leave purposes. His union made representations to the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority in Sydney and received a reply from the Authority dated 4th October 1963, signed by Mr. T. J. Bellew the Secretary of the Authority. The relevant part of that reply was as follows -
According to the Authority’s records Mr. Doyle was originally registered as a waterside worker in the port of Sydney on the 31st November, 1942. He cancelled his registration at his own request on the 23rd May, 1960, to become a Foreman Stevedore and was reregistered as a waterside worker on the 16th January 1961. As you explained in your letter, Mr. Doyle joined the Foreman Stevedores’ Association to gain further experience in the industry but found that he was not suitable for that occupation.
A certificate under Section 45c (2) (e) (i) in respect of a break in the continuity of a waterside worker’s registration cannot be issued unless, at the outset, the cancellation of registration was intended to be temporary and was in the interests of the industry, etc. You will note that subparagraph (i) of section 45c (2) (e) expressly requires that the cancellation was for the purpose of relieving him “ temporarily “ from his obligations as a waterside worker.
This means thai a waterside worker, whose registration was cancelled because he undertook other employment, is not entitled to the issue of a certificate simply because he returned as a waterside worker after finding the other employment not as attractive as he had supposed.
Mr. Doyle’s employment as a foreman, extended over a period of some 8 months, lt seems that, when he accepted the position, he did so, not for a temporary period, but with a view to bettering himself permanently.
For these reasons, the break in the continuity of Mr. Doyle’s registration is not such as to entitle him to the issue of a Certificate under section 45c (2) (e) (i) of the Stevedoring Industry Act.
This man’s service as a waterside worker would count for long service leave entitlement as a foreman stevedore, but because be finds he is not suitable for the job he took up, for one reason or another, and goes back to be a waterside worker, the previous service he has given as a waterside worker is not taken into consideration for long service leave entitlement. Here, again, I have to use the same phrase as I used before: 1 think that a parsimonious attitude is being adopted by the Government and by the Authority in this instance. This man has spent a great number of the years of his life in the waterfront industry. Because he has moved up to better himself, he finds, when he regresses to become a waterside worker, that he has lost his long service leave entitlement.
Surely the Minister must appreciate that the industry will be looking for foreman stevedores. A man who has served for a number of years and is entitled to long service leave under this Act may be offered a job as a foreman stevedore because he is capable of doing the work - has the ability to control men and can engender harmony amongst gangs on the wharves and between the Stevedoring Industry and the waterside workers. Such a man will be reluctant to take the position of foreman stevedore. If the industry does not have foreman stevedores who understand men, who appreciate the conditions under which watersiders operate, who understand the thinking of waterside workers and are able to understand their attitudes and approaches to various problems, then it will not be possible to estimate how many man hours will be lost in future years. A provision to safeguard the rights of men who become foreman stevedores should have been included in this Bill. I understand that it was requested by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Waterside Workers Federation. Why it is not in the legislation 1 cannot understand.
The Government has decided to allow a man to move from the Waterside Workers Federation to the Sydney waterfront first aid service and still retain his service as a waterside worker for long service leave purposes. But if a man spends a certain time as a first aid officer and then desires to go back and seek registration as a waterside worker, the time he has spent in the first aid service will not be credited to him for long service leave purposes under this Bill. The first aid service forms a part of the facilities and amenities that operate on the waterfront and I am reasonably certain that ti was only introduced because of the demands of the waterside workers. Work on the waterfront should be regarded as one whole whether a man is working as a casual waterside worker or a permanent waterside worker, whether he is working as a foreman stevedore or as a first aid officer. All work on the waterfront should be credited to these men for long service leave purposes under this legislation whether they have worked as foreman stevedores or as first aid officers.
If the Government were to grant the provision for which I ask it would not cost a great deal. I am reasonably certain that there would not be too many men who would move from the position of waterside worker to that of first aid officer or foreman stevedore and who would then wish to go back to become a waterside worker. In any case if the Government is not prepared to go all the way and say that all phases of the waterside industry are part and parcel of the one industry for the purpose of crediting long service leave, I do not think it is unreasonable to request that if a man seeks to become a foreman stevedore, finds he is unsuitable for that position, and then seeks re-registration as a waterside worker within 12 months or two years, his total employment should be counted as continuous service on the waterfront. I ask the Minister quite sincerely, honestly and genuinely to have another look at this provision. To do what I request is not going to cost a great deal and it certainly will settle the issue in a few cases on the waterfront.
Mr. JONES (Newcastle) [8..16J.- I just wish to say a few words on this Bill which provides basically for an increase in long service leave entitlement for waterside workers in A class ports and, for the first time, grants long service leave entitlement to waterside workers in B class ports. I was very interested to read in the second reading speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Bury) his reference to the fact that in the last 12 months 25,000 man hours had been lost as a result of stoppages on the waterfront. He then went on to give comparable figures for the 20 years back to 1946-47. He disclosed that the best previous year was 1957-58 when 346,000 man hours were lost and that in the worst year 3.3 million man hours were lost, I think that those figures give a clear picture of what a turbulent industry the waterside industry has been over the years. Many of us in this House have spoken continually of the need for the Government and the Stevedoring Industry Authority to do something about improving conditions on the waterfront. We have seen campaign after campaign by the Waterside Workers Federation for a non-contributory pension scheme, for permanent hiring, for long service leave, sick leave and annual leave. All of these things have been gradually achieved but none have been granted gratis by any authority. They have all been won after long and costly struggles by the workers in the industry, and at great cost to the economy of the country as a whole. We know that ships tied up at wharves, cargo lying in cargo sheds waiting to be loaded, or cargo waiting to be discharged costs money. These troubles have all been brought about because of the long standing antagonism between the men in the industry and the people who have been responsible for the administration of the industry. This great loss of man hours has been the result of industrial stoppages and the industry should realise that the men engaged in it are entitled to the conditions that are applicable in other industries.
Let me briefly digress for a moment to refer to the recent decision in the mining industry. Look at what was granted to workers in that industry recently. Mr. Justice Gallagher said that because the industry was working very harmoniously he had decided to award a substantial increase in long service leave entitlement. As the honorable member for Blaxland (Mr. E. James Harrison) reminds me, the miners now get three months leave after eight years service as against three months leave for 15 years service in this industry. I think there is some justification for the stand taken by the men in this industry. Whilst the Bill we are considering does go part of the way towards bringing the waterfront industry on to a level comparable with other industries throughout the Commonwealth, I regret that the Minister has not seen fit to amend the Act by abolishing that obnoxious piece of legislation that was introduced in 1961. The Government granted long service leave in the waterfront industry at that time for one reason only. The reason was that the Labour Governments of New South Wales and Tasmania were proposing to introduce legislation which would have granted long service leave on conditions much better than those that the Commonwealth provided in its 1961 legislation. Fortunately the Minister for Labour and National Service has seen fit to bring down the amending Bill which is now before us, but he has not rectified by means of this Bill the anomalous position created by the 1961 legislation. As I interpret this amending legislation - I would be delighted to have the Minister tell me I am wrong, although I am confident I am not wrong - all entitlement prior to 31st December 1965 will be calculated on the long service leave provisions of the Stevedoring Industry Act that were in operation prior to that date. The Minister in his second reading speech listed the changes that will be made to the old legislation. He said -
The present limit of IS days of absences on sick leave and on workers’ compensation in counting qualifying days will be removed.
That limit of 15 days is specified in the old Act. The Minister then said -
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 clays restored will count as qualifying days. lt appears to me that the objectionable portions of the old legislation will still apply to service before 1st January 1966, and the men will not have the entitlement that is available to men in other industries. Consider, for instance, the New South Wales Department of Railways. When the honorable member for Blaxland was a member of the Legislative Council in New South Wales many years ago the entitlement in the Department of Railways was one month’s leave after 20 years service. The provision was later widened to give three months leave after 20 years service. Then the qualifying period was reduced so that men could get three months long service leave after fifteen years service and finally the provision was extended to give six months leave after 20 years service, with provision for pro rata leave in every case. This means that a man who has had 50 years service in the New South Wales Department of Railways will have his long service leave entitlement calculated on the basis of six months for every 20 years of his service. This Bill does not grant such a concession.
The new provisions will become applicable as from 1st January 1966. I do not think this is fair and I sincerely hope that the Minister will have another look at this. I am not suggesting for one moment that the Bill be withdrawn and redrafted now. I hope it will be carried in its present form, but I hope that the new Minister for Labour and National Service in the next Parliament - I hope it will be the honorable member for Blaxland - will have a look at this matter and bring down suitable amendments to bring the legislation in line with conditions prevailing in outside industry. If we do not do this we will be perpetuating an anomalous position that existed before 1st January 1966, as the Government obviously acknowledged when it introduced these amendments, lt is not fair and reasonable that so many men will not be entitled, in respect of service before 1st January 1966, to concessions which are applicable in respect of service after that date.
I think the request we make is quite fair and reasonable. Take the case of an exserviceman who, because of accepted warcaused disabilities, spent a considerable amount of lime in a repatriation hospital or was unable to attend for work for periods amounting to more than 15 days. Under the new legislation a man will not lose qualifying days for absences beyond 15 days, but under the legislation in operation before 1st January 1966 no absences beyond 15 days will count as qualifying days. Bear in mind that such a man would most probably have sustained his disabilities in World War I or World War II, and in all probability he would have had years of service on the waterfront. Because of his disability he would probably have lost a considerable amount of time. He will be severely penalised if these new provisions are to apply from 1st January 1966 only. ( hope I am wrong and that the Minister will tell me before this debate concludes that I am wrong. But if I am right I hope he will be prepared to do something to rectify what I consider to be an anomalous position. The opinion I hold is the opinion that is held by many people well versed in the interpretation of legislation such as this.
As I said a moment ago, the conditions specified under this legislation are not comparable with those that prevail in outside industry. The waterfront industry is going to be subjected in the very near future to considerable stresses and strains because of new methods of handling cargoes. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr. McEwen) held a conference early this year that was attended by people from various parts of the world interested in shipping and stevedoring. They discussed the future of Australia’s exports and imports and the new techniques to be applied, such as containerisation and the use of pellets to an increasing degree which, as has been indicated in the report of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority, has resulted in a substantial increase in the cargo handling rate. I notice that the cargo handling index showed an increase from 101.4 in 1964-65 to 107.5 in 1965-66. 1 might remind the House of the effect on the waterfront in Tasmania of the introduction of the “Princess of Tasmania”. I believe that 10 men are permanently employed in connection with that vessel, it replaced the “ Taroona “, and in those earlier days 50 men were employed for six shifts, and in all about 2,400 hours were employed in handling the cargo.
We know that with the new types of ships being used and the new techniques, such as containerisation and roll-on roll-off vessels, there will be a much greater increase in the cargo handling rate and fewer waterside workers will be required. I hope that the Woodward Committee which is at present investigating the waterfront will find some solution to the problem of redundancy which obviously will arise in the waterside industry in the very near future. If the Government is really eager to create and maintain some degree of harmony between the Authority and the men in the industry, here is an opportunity for it to do so. lt should take heed of some of the suggestions of the honorable member for Blaxland and the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart) and do something about amending the legislation so that men who have been in the industry for years and years will have their long service leave calculated according to the formula that will apply under the legislation we are now considering, and which is provided in legislation covering other industries. When a man becomes entitled to long service leave his entitlement should be calculated on the formula applying at that moment, and not on one that applied 20, 30 or 40 years before. I think that what the Opposition has said about this Bill is fair and reasonable. Our requests are fair and reasonable. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to do something along the lines suggested by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart), the honorable member for Blaxland and myself to improve long service leave conditions in the waterfront industry.
– in reply - In the course of his remarks, which 1 am sure were listened to with great interest by all honorable members, the honorable member for Blaxland (Sir. E. James Harrison) asked me to reply on a couple of questions about which he was in doubt. The first relates to the form of payment for long service leave at the time of the taking of leave. The provisions concerned are designed to give the worker a choice between taking the monetary equivalent of the leave on a weekly basis and taking it in a lump sum payment. The person concerned elects what he wishes to do. The other matter raised by the honorable member related to the calculation of average wages. It is true, as he pointed out, that such calculations exclude attendance money. But on the other side of the coin is the fact that the calculations to determine the average wage do include all penalty rates, overtime rates and weekend payments, which is not the case in other industries. So, although attendance money is not included, on balance the chances are that the waterside worker is favorably placed by this method of calculation as against workers in other industries.
– It takes into account Sunday rates?
– Yes. All penalty rales and overtime rates are counted in, so this puts the waterside worker in a relatively advantageous position. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) raised the question of continuity on passing from one field of employment to another. First, he spoke of a man moving from his job as a waterside worker into the rank of foreman. The honorable member may have had in mind the question raised by the honorable member for Lang (Mr. Stewart). Such a person, if he has a 10 year entitlement, can either take his entitlement at the time he becomes a foreman, or the monetary equivalent, or if he has less than 10 years service he gets credit for what is already due to him when he joins the ranks of the foremen by agreement with the employers. The honorable member for Hindmarsh also raised the question of continuity of long service rights in the case of a worker who becomes a union official. In this case all credits due before such a person takes union office remain while he is in that office - although the time he spends in that office is not counted - and if he returns to work on the wharves his previous entitlement will be counted. I understand that it is only in the stevedoring industry and the coal mining industry that union officials enjoy this concession.
The honorable member for Lang referred to this question of continuity in two forms. First. 1 will deal with the Waterfront First Aid Service. The honorable member will be conscious, of course, that these provisions are an improvement. As in the case of the union official, if the worker passes from the wharves to the First Aid Service, although the time he spends with the Service does not count, he will pick up his original entitlement if he returns to the wharves afterwards. In most other industries, when a man passes from one occupation to another he does not take with him his long service entitlement.
– Would the Minister not say that he is in the same industry? His occupation still relates to the waterfront.
– This involves a lot of parallel questions which, unfortunately, I cannot resolve tonight. There are people in other fields connected with the industry, such as tally clerks, and a whole range of occupations, as there are in other industries. It is rather difficult to move on this front without taking in all the implications in other directions.
– Has consideration been given to allowing the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority some discretion in cases of the kind cited by the honorable member for Lang? It has not discretion now.
– In regard to what?
– In regard to the kind of case mentioned by the honorable member for Lang. The Authority has no discretion at all at present in this kind of matter.
– If I may, I will move on to deal with the case which the honorable member for Lang mentioned, the James Doyle case, which he also referred to in the House the other night. This is a very unfortunate case, and is due to the fact that Doyle left the wharves and became a foreman before the first lot of long service leave provisions came into effect. Unfortunately he does not have continuity. If he had continued as a foreman he would have been all right, but now, when he goes back as a waterside worker in the ordinary sense, he will be caught up in the cut-off point. I must say that I have some sympathy with this cas:. I do not recollect either the Waterside Workers Federation or the Australian Council of Trade Unions raising this with us, but I think the Stevedoring Industry Authority did. I am afraid that this certainly is not a case which we can cover with the legislation before the House. However, I have some sympathy with it.
The main point made by the honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Jones) dealt with the transition period before 1st January 1966, from which date this Bill comes into force. I gather that he wants to know why the new basis cannot be applied, throughout the whole period of service, to persons getting entitlement now, instead of the old basis until 1966. The provisions incorporated in this Bill are on all fours with what has gone into most of the awards on the subject and in State legislation. In these there is a cut-off dale on which the legislation begins to operate and the entitlement operates on the new basis only from that date. So this legislation does follow what has become a fairly general practice.
– In which awards?
– This is the general pattern.
– No, it is not. I beg to differ.
– We differ in that, and I am afraid I cannot resolve this question at the moment. The other question raised by the honorable member for Newcastle, and which was touched on by other honorable members, related to containers and the transition in methods of handling cargo on the wharves. Although this transition may not come about as quickly as a lot of people suppose, as I said the other day in a speech on this subject, this question is undoubtedly going to become increasingly important. It is one on which we have to reach agreement on sensible arrangements. That is one very good reason why we should keep talking around the table rather than having disputes between people who are wide apart and who never get a chance to know each other’s views. I accept the remarks of the honorable member for Newcastle, and other honorable members, that this is a serious question. The whole subject of work on the wharves, and the way cargo is handled, is now in the melting pot. In the meantime I stress that this legislation will be a useful contribution. Whilst criticisms have been made I thank members of the Opposition for the general support that they have given to this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion of Mr. Bury) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 21 st October (vide page 2084), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- This is a technical matter only. As the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) indicated, this is the last of the measures which convert references to pounds, shillings and pence - L.s.d., it used to be, but apparently those letters have a different meaning now - to dollars. We offer no objection to 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. Freeth) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 20th October (vide page 2005), on motion by Mr. Snedden -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Is it the wish of the House to follow the procedure suggested by the honorable member for Fremantle? The Chair raises no objection to that course being followed.
.- The Opposition supports all these Bills. The Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill, the major one which sets out the finance for the coming triennium, means that the Government has made a decision that university education will become much more expensive. I do not say that the Government sat down and decided that university education would become much more expensive; but the consequence of the decisions which have been made is that university education will become much more expensive. The Australian Universities Commission made a recommendation for finance in the triennium 1967-69 for $56 million in excess of what the universities will receive. The universities will be forced to increase fees. I will attend a meeting of the committee of the Council of the Australian National University which will consider fees to be charged next year. I think these Bills represent a crisis in university finance. Legislation has encouraged the growth of universities and they have grown rapidly. There has been a growth in population leading to a great increase in the demand for universities. There has been a change in the views of the Australian community concerning the desirability of university education and tertiary education, but underlying this crisis are other factors. The first is that the States are finding it difficult to keep up with the Commonwealth in the recurrent expenses of universities. The State must grant $185 for each $1 granted by the Commonwealth, and as the States are feeling the greatly increased costs of other sectors of education they are finding it harder and harder to match the Commonwealth grant of $1 for recurrent expenditure with SI. 85. In fact, the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission would go beyond the resources of the States. I believe that this means there is a real crisis in education.
The Bill authorises $175 million of grants from the Commonwealth to the State Universities from an anticipated expenditure of $446 million in the triennium. The balance is to come from the States, from fees, endowments and from other income. The universities are particularly susceptible to changes in the basic wage and changes in margins. We very often tend to think of university salaries as being the salaries of professors and lecturers, but the universities employ a very great number of technicians who are very highly skilled in many cases. They are the sorts of technicians to whom one of the academic staff engaging in research will go with a request that he devise a particular piece of apparatus which will enable certain vital experiments to be carried out. The existence of this apparatus is essential to the experiment and the technician very often has to be a creative man who can produce a piece of apparatus which has never existed before. He is, therefore, very highly paid. He receives a margin for skill and decisions concerning the basic wage and margins mean very heavy extra expenditure for the universities. We need to face the fact that the Commonwealth Government’s unprecedented rejection of the Australian Universities Commission’s recommendation means that the universities are going to be forced to try to absorb all increases in the basic wage and all increases in margins for the next triennium. I understand that it is not expected that there will he emergency grants to meet this situation.
There is, of course, a diversity of needs which are met in part by this legislation. Commonwealth grants for recurrent expenditures will be SI 14 million over the triennium. In addition, $41 million will go on buildings, equipment, furniture and computers. There is $5.76 million for research in the universities and $5.5 million for the Australian Research Grants Committee. There is $9 million for residential colleges and $4,927,000 for the capital costs of teaching hospitals. This represents an increase of 30 per cent, over the previous triennium. But I want to say from what is now 20 years experience on the Council of the Australian National University that when the Australian Universities Commission makes recommendations to the Government concerning grants over the triennium it has already pruned quite drasti cally in some cases the request put by the universities. In fact, I have felt rather critical of the Australian Universities Commission which is a buffer between the universities and the Government. That is to say, the universities produce their plans and the Universities Commission says in advance, more or less: “This has very little chance of acceptance by the Commonwealth Government.” The Commission suggests alterations to the requests being put forward by the universities. This may in some respects be a good thing if we assume that universities are entirely unrealistic in what they are putting forward; but I do not think it would be a bad thing for the Cabinet to be aware of the many avenues of research and expenditure which universities may have in mind.
In a sense, the Australian Universities Commission has been a censor in the direction of what it would call realism. But I do want to say that the Australian Universities Commission certainly cannot be accused of irresponsible recommendations, and that the cut of $56 million is quite serious as far as the Australian universities are concerned.
– lt is an increase of $120 million over the last triennium.
– Yes, but it is a cut from the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission. 1 have said that it is an increase of 30 per cent, over the last triennium but increases have to be related to needs. Many provisions may represent an increase in expenditure but the real question is whether they are keeping pace with the growth in community needs. I have not the least doubt that the Australian Universities Commission’s recommendations are among the casualties of the increased defence vote. There are cuts in other directions in Government expenditure. This is one of them, and the price will have to be paid for it.
The universities themselves are not particularly vocal in public since they have had the Universities Commission through which they may speak, but I have sat at several council meetings of the Australian National University and I have had to hear the things which must go by the board at that Univisity. Of course, the Australian
National University is not provided for in this legislation; it is quite separate; it is not one of the State universities. Senator Gorton’s own estimate, which certainly would not be one that could be accused of exaggerating the adverse affects of the cut, was expressed in this way?
The universities will probably not be able to employ as much extra staff during the next triennium as they would like to.
I just want to take hold of the words: “ As they would tike to.” I have never been aware, in my 20 years on the Australian National University Council, that the people who have participated in discussions about the employment of extra staff were talking about what they would like to do. They were talking about what they felt was needed for the student body, where they were dealing vith undergraduates, and what they felt were the needs of research, where they were dealing with the post-graduate part of the University. It is not a question of what people would like; it is a question of what people estimate to be the need. Senator Gorton went on -
But the increases in university grants are sufficient to allow them to employ enough extra staff to cope with expanding student numbers.
This might seem all right if the ratio of staff to students were already satisfactory in Austraiian universities; but the staffing ratio is not markedly satisfactory in Australian universities. The “Australian” newspaper contends that in New South Wales the reluctance of the State Government to try to match the SI grant with SI. 85 is due to the cost of the new Wyndham secondary school scheme and to the effects of the drought which have severely curtailed the Government’s funds for tertiary education. We ought to recognise that the States are going to bc the targets of many increasing claims for education. They have an expanding secondary school population. Even many of those parents who have not yet come to regarding tertiary education as essential, already regard secondary education as essential, and now we are having a strong movement in the Australian community to make the States face responsibility for at least assisting education in the private sector through State grants in aid of denominational schools. All of this will make it harder and harder for the States to find SI. 85 to match every Sl granted by the Commonwealth for recurring university expenditure.
I think it is true that the States are beginning to move beyond their resources in relation to university education when, unlike the Commonwealth, they are the targets of tremendous demands for expansion in education at the primary and secondary levels. The Commonwealth, in a sense, is dealing with the most manageable aspect of education - for instance, no compulsion applies - when it deals with tertiary education.
The other measures before us have very little in them that is controversial. No one can find any exception to the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill (No. 2). It is an intelligent alteration that expenditure of $10,000 or less should be considered as recurrent and not capital expenditure. It is obviously necessary to change the name of part of Adelaide University to Flinders University, and the grant of $38,000 for the university college at Townsville in Queensland is one to which no exception could be taken.
The States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill, by which the Commonwealth assists liberal arts colleges and institutes of technology, provides for an expenditure which, while it is important, does not seem to envisage a tremendously rapid growth of those institutions over the next three years. A capital expenditure of S24 million over three years is quite impressive except when I remember what various buildings of the Australian National University cos: and how very frequently during the building stage their estimated cost was revised because of increases in the basic wage. In fact, some buildings cost possibly twice as much as the original estimate. 1 have quite a fear of this kind of thing.
– There will be a doubling of students.
– Yes. For that reason I wonder whether S24 million is a sufficient estimate for these liberal arts colleges and institutes of technology. It is good to see provision for unmatched grants for libraries. The S ates have been very weak in the provision of libraries in any sector of education. For a long time, libraries were regarded in schools not as essential but as a luxury, and it is quite an important departure on the Commonwealth’s part to have made the reasonably generous grant of $500,000 for libraries. But here again is a held in which expenditure can very rapidly grow. 1 remember for instance, that we used to think that £1 1,000 a year was quite a reasonable expenditure for our Parliamentary Library and the National Library. Now the figure is well over £100,000. Unless there is some kind of generosity from private individuals or corporations, I think it will be found that these measures alone will not produce the money that is needed for institutes of technology and liberal arts colleges and libraries. 1 think that somehow or other in Australia government is moving towards an American philosophy on tertiary education. But Australian business is not moving towards the idea of generosity to universities adopted by American business. In the United States of America, universities do not depend so heavily on government grants as do universities in Australia, although they receive very generous assistance. Over and above that, libraries, sporting facilities and sometimes whole universities are the creation of individual donors. This may be because more of American business belongs to individuals who can make decisions of this sort, whereas Australian business tends to be owned by companies and in this situation no-one can make decisions giving away profits of the companies to achieve private objectives. This may be why we in Australia do not have any great system of private donations to universities. If this is so. we ought not to legislate with the idea in the back of our minds that, any funds additional to those granted by governments will be available. The University of Western Australia, which the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), who is now at the table, and I attended, originated as a result of endowments made from the private fortune of Sir Winthrop Hackett. The inflation that has occurred since 1911 would probably mean that expenditure of the magnitude originally envisaged would be quite insignificant compared to the expenditures of the University today. I believe that before the war the University was run on an expenditure of something like £40,000 a year. I do not think that $80,000 would go far today. This University, before the war, certainly was not facing the enormous expenditures that universities must make today on items of equipment, especially electronic equipment such as computers, which are now7 a normal requirement for research.
We on this side of the House do not offer any opposition to the three measures now before us. But we doubt whether, over the triennium from 1967 to 1969 inclusive, it will be proved that the Government is right in granting S56 million less than was recommended by the Australian Universities Commission. 1 believe that the Commission has usually been quite reasonable in its recommendations. It has scientifically anticipated the community’s needs. The cut in the sum recommended by it will be serious for Australian tertiary education.
.- Mr. Deputy Speaker, the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said that the measures now before us will make tertiary education more expensive. It is true, of course, that tertiary education is becoming increasingly expensive. However, this is due to a variety of causes. It is unfair to attribute it to the measures that are now before the House. What is clear is that these Bills will make tertiary education much more widely available. They will also raise the standard of buildings and of equipment. The objective of these measures is admirable. The honorable member also claimed that the funds provided by these Bills will fall far short of the needs of tertiary education. He seemed to suggest that the needs to be met are the overriding consideration. It is true that, if possible, the genuine needs of education should be met. But surely another criterion, equally important, is: How much money is available to these needs?
Not much more than 100 years ago, the educational problem in Australia was one of literacy. Prior to 1854, we had no university. Nowadays, primary and secondary education are available to everybody. Since the Second World War, a very substantial, and increasing, proportion of people going on to secondary education have wished to continue to tertiary education. This is not a problem that is confined to Australia. It is common to all the countries of the Western world. There has, as it were, been an education explosion. I believe that the Commonwealth Government, limited as are its constitutional powers over education and the funds available, is acting with imagination and generosity in the field of tertiary education. If any criticism is to be offered it is rather that the Commonwealth has so far felt itself unable to come to the assistance of the States in the fields of primary and secondary education to the same degree as it has in the field of tertiary education.
May I now say something about the Bills before the House. I shall deal first with the Slates Grants (Advanced Education) Bill. In Clause 6 of this Bill, there is provision for the making of grants to the States dollar for dollar in respect of capital expenditure on colleges of advanced education. The particular institutions and projects are set out in the Third Schedule. A brief reference to some of the items mentioned in this Schedule may indicate the wide scope of the financial provision that is made. Let me deal with New South Wales first. Capital grants to be made for the purposes of the New South Wales Institute of Technology total $7,123,000. More than $3 million is to be provided for the construction of buildings on the Broadway site. There is to be provision also for the erection of a laboratory and classroom building at Granville, another at Strathfield, another at North Sydney, and another in the St. George district. These works are to be undertaken so that students in their first year at the Institute may undertake their studies in local areas. The principal centre of the Institute on which this large sum is being spent for expansion at the Broadway site will take the students in the later stages of their courses. A total of $300,000 is to be granted for capital works at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College and $411,000 will be allocated to capital works at the Wagga Agricultural College. I do not propose to go through the list of the individual colleges and institutions in the various States. It is interesting to notice the totals, however - New South Wales, $7,834,000; Victoria, S5,562.000; Queensland, $3,090,000; South Australia $2,721,600; Western Australia, $2,742,750; and Tasmania, $1,299,650. These are the sums to be granted for capital works alone in respect of technical colleges, or, to use the description preferred in the Bill, colleges of advanced education.
Clause 4 of the Bill relates to grants made to these colleges for recurrent expenditure.
The clause refers to the First Schedule. Reference to the First Schedule shows that during the triennium generous provisions will be made for the various colleges. For instance, in 1967 the New South Wales Institute of Technology will receive a grant of $205,190. A similar amount will be granted to the Royal Melbourne institute of Technology and a somewhat larger amount to the Queensland Institute of Technology. These grants are for recurrent expenditure. The grant is made on the basis of a proportion sum, which varies according to the amount contributed by the States by way of direct contributions and by way of fees. I understand that the proportion is about 1 to 1.85. This is a substantial contribution by the Government towards the running of these colleges of advanced education.
Clause 5 of the Bill refers to grants for recurrent expenditure for certain specific colleges of a type referred to in the Second Schedule. These include, for example, the New South Wales College of Occupational Therapy, the School of Physiotherapy at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the New South Wales College of Nursing. They include colleges in the various Suites which give what is called “ paramedical training “.
The Bill provides also, as the honorable member for Fremantle mentioned, an outright grant of $500,000 for library facilities. This amount is not allocated by any schedule as between the different tertiary institutions in the various States but rests in the discretion of the Minister, who will determine, according to need, where it will bc spent. The total provision for capital expenditure is $24 million. The provision for recurrent expenditure is $11,1 80,000. I suggest that this is a substantial provision towards carrying out the recommendations of the Martin Committee. The House will recall that the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia, known generally as the “ Martin Committee “, recommended that tertiary education in Australia should give greater emphasis to technical training. It suggested that sufficient provision from our resources was being made for pure university training; too little for the requirements of those who desired to do technical courses. The Committee stressed the importance of technological efficiency and excellence for the future development of Australia and our economy.
The Committee’s recommendation was that institutes of colleges should be formed in each State and that technical colleges should be given a higher status than they have now. It recommended that technical college courses should be more broadly based so that they not only gave training in specific skills - engineering or other technical skills - but also provided a wider form of education which embraced the arts, the social sciences and management. That is to say, they were to give courses in which a man could obtain, not only purely technical training, but a wider education as well. The provision made in the Bill for buildings, equipment and the cost of running these colleges will enable effect to be given to this aspect of advance in technical education.
In speaking on the recommendations of the Martin Committee, the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, accepted broadly the Committee’s recommendations in this field but indicated that the carrying out of the recommendations rested largely with the States which had different kinds of technical institutes. The Bill follows consultations between the Commonwealth and the States and the first report of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education. What is done here broadly represents implementation of the recommendation of that Committee. 1 suggest to honorable members that it represents a massive contribution over the next three years towards the advancement of tertiary education on the technological side.
May I say a few words now about the other Bill - the Universities (Financial Assistance) Bill? This Bill also provides for capital grants to the States on a Si for St basis. These grants are provided under clause 5 of the Bill, wherein reference is made to the Second Schedule. I would like to refer again to the Schedule to indicate the scope of the capital works that are envisaged by the provisions of this Bill. A total of $4,049,000 is to be made towards capital works for the University of Sydney. These works are split up into various kinds. I notice that provision is made for the erection of a building for the Faculty of Law at a cost of $1,700,000. I am very pleased to see that.
– Not enough.
– I will talk later to the honorable member about that because it is a subject on which I know something. However, I do not think it is worth discussing in this debate. The University of New South Wales at Kensington is to receive a grant of $3,799,000. The Wollongong University is to receive $506,000. The University of New England is to receive $1,300,000. The University of Newcastle is to receive $1,800,000. J am particularly pleased to note that a grant of $3,905,000 is to be made to the Macquarie University, which is being built in my electorate. The total expenditure in New South Wales will be $15,359,000. Total expenditure in Victoria will be 514,748,000. Other amounts are to be spent in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
The Bill provides also for grants for the recurrent expenditure of the universities. These again are on a sliding scale based on a proportion sum, worked out according to the contribution made directly by the State and by the fees obtained. These are provided in clause 3. which refers us to the First Schedule. Reference to that Schedule shows that substantial amounts are being provided under this head.
– ls it enough?
Mr. BOWEN__ I think the Commonwealth’s provision is very generous, and will be adequate when allied with the State funds. I doubt if you ever would be able to do all that you wanted to do in this life in every field of government expenditure. You would never get enough for defence, pensions or education. So there is not much sense in posing the question. What is important is that what is being provided will enable a massive attack to be made on the problem of tertiary education in Australia. We will have a first rate system. It may be that for a time there will still have to be some quotas, but I visualise that within the next 10 years this attack which is being made on tertiary education in Australia at university level and at technical college level will enable anyone who demonstrates the capacity to take a particular course at a university or a technical college to take the course of his choice and not be excluded by a quota. This is in spite of the fact that the grants-
– Only if his parents have sufficient money.
– No. This Bill, of course, does not deal with scholarships. They are dealt with in a separate bill. Perhaps the honorable member has not paid sufficient attention to that, but there is no reason why anyone who has the capacity and the desire to take a course will not be able over the years to get free entry to that course.
– That is not a very ambitious statement, is it? Ten years? Will you have quotas for 10 years?
– I think every western country will find this difficulty for a period. If the honorable member studies the graphs of the increasing numbers of those at secondary schools who desire to go on to a university or technical college, he will see that the problem with which governments are faced was unforeseen. The immediate rush of people returning from the war who, with rehabilitation grants, wanted to undertake a tertiary course could be foreseen, but governments could not have foreseen this amazing growth in the percentage of students who want to take a university course. The estimates are thai the graph will level off and that what we are now providing will take care of those who wish to study at universities in about that period.
Clause 6 of the Bill provides grants for special research projects. Clause 7 provides capital grants in respect of halls of residence, and these are quite generous. The various halls of residence are set out in the Fourth Schedule. Honorable members will recall that the Murray Committee and the Martin Committee both stressed the advantages to be gained by people studying at tertiary level who have the opportunity to live in colleges, to live in halls nf residence, and to get the full benefits of life in a .university or a college. They would not get this if they simply attended each day. This is recognised as something of value and substantial provision is made in clause 7 and the Fourth Schedule for it and, in clause 8, for the recurrent grants for ibc running of halls of residence. The Bill also provides for capital grants in respect of teaching hospitals. The hospitals in some of the Stales are specified already in the schedules, but a total amount is set for New South Wales, with a bracket against the various teaching hospitals. The money will be allocated to the hospitals as time goes on. At the time the Bill was drafted, insufficient detail was available to make specific allocations to specified teaching hospitals. Clause 11 provides for the recurrent grants for the running of the teaching hospitals. The total expenditure for the Colleges of Advanced Education is $55,180,000 and for the universities $175 million. This is a grand total of $230,180,000. 1 suggest that, having regard to the pressing priorities with which the Commonwealth Government is faced in the fields of national development, pensions and defence, this is substantial and that the way in which it is allocated shows a degree of wisdom and a degree of generosity. As I say, I visualise the time when those who have demonstrated their capacity to undertake tertiary education will be able to do so and will be able to take the course of their choice. I think that our problem will then lie not so much in the field of tertiary education as in the field of primary and secondary education.
.- The honorable member for Parramatta (Mr. Bowen) has not left us with any feeling of urgency or high priorities about education. He began his speech by referring to 1854, when universities were first established in Australia. 1 begin by agreeing with him. Undoubtedly what is being proposed in these Bills is an advance on 1854. lt is also an advance on the immediate post-war period. This we do not dispute.
The Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton), in a statement he made in another place, pointed out that during the time the Australian Universities Commission has been operating, the number of full universities has risen from 9 to 14, university colleges from 2 to 3 and full time students from 36,650 to 77,420, with an expected number of 96,390 by the end of the triennium. If nothing else had happened but an increase in universities, university colleges and students in this time, a vast increase in the amount of money provided by the Commonwealth would have been inevitable. It had to happen. The Commonwealth could have done little but provide at least the same standards for a larger number of students. I do not think the Commonwealth or the States have done much more than that. The honorable member for Parramatta said that he thought the Commonwealth had met requirements with imagination and generosity. I do not know whether the honorable member is easy to satisfy, but certainly very few people, except those in administrative places in the universities themselves, would say that what is being done in this triennium is showing imagination and generosity. Apparently the amount provided is just right. It is not too much. Honorable members on the other side of the House have not suggested that the Government is providing too much. They do not think any more should be provided. This is just right; it is just the amount of money that meets requirements. It just happens to be that amount. The honorable member for Parramatta said that the Government cannot do everything it wants to do. It has to cut down on some activities. But when a government chooses lo cut down $56 million on education in Australia, it shows a pretty wrong sided kind of priority. I think a cut in education of $56 million-
– This is not a cut; it is an increase.
– It is a cut on the amount that the Australian Universities Commission recommended. As the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) said, the Commission does not recommend any amount other than that which it thinks is essential. This is a cut in any real sense of the word on the amount that should be provided for education today. The Government could not hope to get away with a cut on the amount it provided last year. Even the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), who is at the table, would not recommend a cut on last year. I do not suggest for a moment that the Minister would even consider such a cut. But I say that this is a cut on the amount that was recommended by the Australian Universities Commission as being the amount required for university education in Australia in this triennium. That is significant enough to justify the use of the word “ cut “.
The honorable member for Parramatta showed his sense of priorities and urgency when he looked forward to an elimination of quotas over the next 10 years. He said he thought that by the end of 10 years from now, anyone who demonstrates capacity to go to a university will be able to go. I should imagine that parents and children today will be comforted by the thought that in 10 years, if a government such as this one remains in office, they will be able to go to a university if they qualify. That is a wonderful ambition for the Government to have and I am thankful to the honorable member for Parramatta for admitting that that is his priority. He has had his opportunity to go to a university, of course. Many students in Australia today have become eligible to go to a university and have the ability, but they cannot go because there are no places for them. Many thousands of them will be diverted to Colleges of Advanced Education in the next year or two by the dilution of education that will result from the inadequate provision of money. Supposing we accepted the priorities the Government has for defence, for war, for social services, for health, for the conduct of Commonwealth Departments and so forth, would it not be possible to get a little more money from taxation? Is there anyone on the Government side who would not support an increase in taxation to provide more money for education?
– Would the honorable member increase taxation?
– Of course. Would not the honorable member? The honorable member for Gwydir interjects suggesting that he would not be willing to increase taxation for education purposes. 1 should think the people in his electorate would be interested to hear his admission, even though they are taxpayers. I think there is hardly a taxpayer in Australia who would not be prepared to pay more in taxation if he thought that it would make possible more adequate provision for education in Australia. In a few minutes I will suggest how this might be done by an increase in taxation. I want to begin by sharing the acknowledgments that the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) made when he made a ministerial statement on tertiary education in another place. He acknowledged the work of the Australian Universities Commission, of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and of the Australian Research Grants Committee, but in so doing he did not point out - and I think it ought to be pointed out again, as the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) pointed it out - that the Universities Commission has not been a body that has looked at education in universities in Australia and has recommended what it thinks is necessary properly to expand and develop university education; rather has it taken a more conservative and responsible decision, lt has recommended in its reports’ what it thinks there is a reasonable chance of the Government providing - what, given the practical limitations and the pressures of finance and so forth, it ought to recommend without getting too far ahead of what the Government is prepared to do. It has pruned, as the honorable member for Fremantle has pointed out, one recommendation after another that has come from one university after another before it has submitted its own recommendations to the Government. It has proved a most effective buffer between the universities, which need more money, and the Government, which is not willing to provide more money. I acknowledge the work that has been done by the Universities Commission in this respect, particularly during a period of interesting and important development in Australian universities.
The Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education has not yet done sufficient work for us to judge what it is doing, or for us to judge what the various colleges of advanced education will be worth when they become developed. The Minister said that the Government is allowing for an expansion of advanced education activities. I would prefer to judge this Committee and its work, and the kind of colleges set up under it, in a few years time. I would not be prepared to judge the Committee at this stage. The Minister pointed out that the Australian Research Grants Committee is a miniature national science foundation. I think it is to be regretted that in 1966 we have nothing more advanced than a miniature national science foundation. Surely even the honorable member for Parramatta and the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth), who is now at the table, would agree that science should not be stinted and that in 1966 Australia might hope to have something better than a miniature national science foundation. However, apparently we are still going to have that, because its own recommendations are going to result in $17 million being provided for science as against $30 million recommended for the States and the Commonwealth as a whole during the triennium. In other words, just over 50 per cent, of what has been recommended is going to be provided.
– Where does the honorable member get those figures from?
– From the Minister’s statement, which appears at page 58.1 of the Senate “Hansard” for 21st September 1966. The Government, of course, is meeting practically all of the recommendations in respect of the colleges of advanced education except those recommendations that would result in the establishment of more residential colleges. This is undoubtedly because the States cannot afford to provide residential colleges. I am going to examine this question in more detail later on. However, the Minister has admitted that in relation to universities Government support will be about $56 million less than the programme recommended by the Universities Commission. This reduction is primarily because the States cannot afford any more than that. The Minister was straightforward enough to point out that even if the States could have provided more the Commonwealth might not have gone any further. The Minister said -
Indeed we felt, just as the Stales felt, that in total the suggested programme made too great a demand on the resources available for education.
I think that is extremely debatable. I cannot find anywhere in the report of the Universities Commission, in the report of the Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, or from any of my references of the matter to people in universities or in teacher training colleges, that there is any shortage of resources that money could not put right.
Where are the shortages of resources to which the Minister referred in his ministerial statement? I found no reference in his speech to demonstrate such shortages. Noone in the other place demonstrated these shortages, and certainly no-one in this House has tried to do so. Where are the shortages of resources that are limiting the amount of money that can be spent on universities, on advanced colleges of education or on teacher training? I suppose tha silence that prevails in the House at this minute will prevail for the rest of the debate and we will not get an answer to a question like this. The evidence is that it is not a shortage of resources that is troubling people in the universities; it is the fact that they will not have money to pay to the people who are available. In the “ Australian “ newspaper of October 20 is an article headed “ Universities face cuts in staff “ which states -
Most Australian universities are planning to increase fees, economise on staff and impose harsher quotas for new students over the next three years.
Specifically the “ Australian “ says -
Vice-chancellors of the four N.S.W. universities are conferring with the State Government on plans to increase fees to help meet the critical situation.
Is that happening, or is it not happening? I understand from inquiries I have made that it is happening. The “ Australian “ continues -
Plans for extensive cuts at the university colleges of Wollongong and Broken Hill- both attached to the University of N.S.W. - have been formulated. fs it a fact that extensive cuts at these university colleges are proposed to be made? Will the Minister be able to tell us whether this is so? The “ Australian “ continues -
Sir Fred Schonell, Vice Chancellor of Queensland University, has said that his university will have to consider raising fees and imposing quotas.
In South Australia, university authorities are talking in terms of a 5 per cent, cut in academic staff.
Does that mean that there is a shortage of reseources? They are going to cut staff by 5 per cent. What is going to happen to the 5 per cent, of the people who are put off? Are they going to add to the shortage of resources that are not available for university education? The “ Australian “ continues -
Melbourne University is likely to have to make cuts in its academic staff next year, but the ViceChancellor, Sir George Paton, last night said the possibility had not yet been discussed. . . .
A spokesman for Monash University said it had not been badly hit, but it might not be able to appoint as many extra senior staff, particularly professors, as it intended.
Does that indicate that there is a shortage of professors? Apparently Monash University had in mind professorial staff it was going to appoint, so is there any shortage there? Wherever one turns in the education field, except in specific cases, the shortage is not due to any general level of demand. However, in particular fields there may be some shortages. I should like those people who are supposed to know, to give some evidence of this rather critical statement in the Minister’s speech -
Indeed we felt, just as the States felt, [hat in total the suggested programme made too great a demand on the resources available for education.
Where are the resources unduly pressed? I think the House, and certainly the people, have a right to have an answer to this question. Continuously in this House for the last 11 years I have listened to debates in which the Opposition has submitted questions and proposals of this sort which one Minister after another has simply brushed aside and made no attempt to answer. Sometimes in the Press it will be reported that there is no effective opposition in the Commonwealth Parliament, but hardly at any time is it reported that there is no effective reply by a Minister to dozens of questions that go unanswered in debate after debate in this Parliament.
I wish to refer to one other question. I am dealing with only a few of these matters. The honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) will deal with many other items of deficiency in what the Government is proposing to do. I wish to refer to libraries. The Commission in its report wanted a grant on a ?1 for ?1 basis to provide $2 million for libraries. Anyone who knows the library position in Australia, who has tried to borrow books or to make use of books in university libraries, will not hesitate for a moment to agree that there is a very crippling shortage, and anyone who knows the estimate of what is necessary to make up for that shortage will know that $2 million is a most conservative figure. The Minister said -
One recommendation is for $2 million to be made available in the 1967-1969 triennium as a special contribution towards development of material in university libraries for the humanities, social sciences and law. We are not prepared to make this special provision. The other proposal is that $1 million be set aside for the purchase of items of equipment costing up to $40,000.
That of course will be granted. Wherever you turn you find deficiencies of that sort. As I said, the honorable member for Barton will have more to say about that when he speaks. I want to say one other thing in general. The Government has acceded to the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on colleges of advanced education with the exception, as far as I know, of the one thing I have pointed out. In the speech of the Minister there is a paragraph which makes this proposition look quite attractive. In order to put the matter in balance [ will read that paragraph. The Minister said -
I draw the attention of the Senate to the wide variety of colleges and courses which are, in the report, recommended for assistance. A completely new college will be built in Tasmania during the triennium. Included among other colleges are not only the well established tertiary colleges in the capital cities but also such institutions as the Hawkesbury and Wagga agricultural colleges, Gatton College in Queensland, the agricultural and forestry colleges in Victoria, the new colleges at Toowoomba and Rockhampton, the School of Mines at Kalgoorlie, and country colleges at Ballarat and Bendigo; while among the courses recommended for assistance are post-graduate nursing in New South Wales and Victoria, other para-medical studies in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, music in Queensland and Tasmania, and art in South Australia.
If the advanced colleges are to be able to broaden and blossom out in a field like that, no-one would deny their value, and no-one could but welcome a development of this sort, but I have a feeling that the whole development of these colleges of advanced education has come about as a result of the fact that the Governments, State and Federal, are not prepared to provide enough money for the necessary development of universities. I feel that there will be provision in these colleges for people who want to go to them. The report itself on page 22 states -
Students entering colleges of advanced education will tend to have a different outlook and different needs from those attending universities who have more interest in the application than in the development *of knowledge.
I concede that some students who will be entering these advanced colleges will have a different outlook, a different requirement and a different need. These are things which, perhaps, these colleges can adequately satisfy, but I am sure also that there will be many students entering these colleges who will be there only because they cannot get into universities. They will have the qualifications and the ability to get into universities but because of the quotas they will not be able to do so and will be diverted to the advanced colleges. In other words, there is going to be a dilution of education in Australia partly as a result of this development.
I think this has been demonstrated already. We notice in the Commission’s report at pages 40 and 43 that the predictions of the numbers of students who would be entering Australian universities in the years recorded have never in any one year been reached. The predictions have always been in advance of the number of those who have actually got there. The Commission points out several reasons for this - quotas and things of that kind. Undoubtedly, the actual numbers would have been higher, as the predictions intended, if we had had opportunities in universities for everyone who is qualified. If this country in 1966 cannot provide opportunities in universities for everyone who is qualified I think we are in a pretty bad way. I do not think that is a situation for which we should wait for 10 years for a solution, as the honorable member for Parramatta indicated.
There has also been an increase in part time students. The Universities Commission has always been unsympathetic towards part time students but despite this there has been an increase in the number of part lime students because the people of Austrafia cannot afford to go full time to a university.
– Sixty per cent, of the advanced college students will be part time.
– Yes. If this is not going to result in a dilution of education of people who qualify for universities I am going to be very much mistaken. I am not saying that advanced colleges are not desirable, but I am saying that they should be set up in association with the development of universities which will admit everyone who reaches matriculation standard and who wants to, and can afford to go to the university.
There is only one other matter to which I wish to refer before I sit down. I said earlier that I would favour an increase in taxation if it would provide more adequately for education. With Australia’s increasing involvement in war there is a likelihood that after the next general election many thousands of Australian servicemen will be fighting in Vietnam. The cost of that war and other things associated with it will skyrocket in 1967 and 1968 as we become involved in wars all over South East Asia if they occur. This is going to mean an increased drawing upon our revenue. If the Government is simply going to allow revenue to do no more than rise in proportion to the rise in national income then this war economy that the Australian Government is planning to build in this country can be built only at the expense of other essentials. It can be built only at the expense of education, social services and health. That is where the money will come from.
– The Government can give up all hope of abolishing the means test.
– Yes. It can give up all hope of abolishing the means test or even of making appreciable differences to it. The only alternative is to keep down war expenditure and nothing that is happening in South East Asia would justify that.
– Order! The honorable member is getting onto general matters.
– Only in passing, and it is necessary. The only way to prevent this from happening would be to increase taxation as a proportion of the national income. In respect of the Commonwealth’s commitments in relation to education, in the triennium 1964-66 there was an increase on 1961-63 of $131 million. In the triennium 1967-69 there will be an increase of $176 million on 1964-66. In the first case the increase each year averages $44 million and in the second $59 million. In other words we have an increase in expenditure, in a field in which the Commonwealth is partly responsible, of not less than $60 million a year. 1 would think that in the relatively near future, with the increased Commonwealth responsibility for education such as in teacher training, perhaps paying teachers’ salaries and other things of that kind, at least $75 million will have to be provided. If this is to be done without cutting in on other fields, or without cutting in on education, there must be an increase in the revenue obtained, as a proportion of taxable income, of between .3 per cent, and .5 per cent. This would not be terribly difficult to obtain. The report of the Commissioner of Taxation for 1963-64 shows on page 22 that taxable income of persons was $9,028 million, partnerships $1,423 million, trusts $182 million and companies $2,374 million, giving a total of about $13,000 million. It is certainly likely that during the next triennium this total will increase by about 12 per cent., bringing it to about $14,500 million for total taxable income. To get $75 million from that we would have to obtain in taxes an amount about equal to .5 per cent, of taxable income.
I suggest that what Governments in Australia will have to consider before very long in respect of education and a number of other things is a tax specifically for education or for other specified purposes. We will have to consider an education tax of, say, .5 per cent, of total taxable income, levied on a progressive scale as income tax is at the moment, or perhaps on a more equitable scale. This money must be made available for future developments of education, so that bodies like the Universities Commission, the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education and the Australian Research Grants Committee may plan for the future and not just make recommendations about what they think the present arrangement will cover without any increase in revenue or cutting into other fields. They should not be restricted to making conservative estimates of what they think is possible today. We should have gone beyond that stage in Australia; we should now be able to plan for advances over a period of at least three years, and I do not believe that we can do this unless we plan also to get more revenue in the form of taxes for the use and the purposes of the Commonwealth. This stage must be reached and I think that the sooner it is reached the better for education in Australia.
– The honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns) laid great stress at the beginning and throughout his speech on this so-called cut of $56 million. He did eventually concede that there was a 30 per cent, incerase in this triennium over the previous one.
– I did not concede that. There might be but I did not concede it.
– Well, I thought the honorable member did, after an interjection by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr. Freeth). The honorable member quoted fairly generously from the speech of the Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and
Research (Senator Gorton) in another place on 21st September, but he did not quote this section of the Minister’s speech -
We expect that universities will be able to accommodate undergraduate students without restricting their entry to any greater extent than at present, and I would stress that the financial resources available to Australian universities in the next triennium as compared with those available in the 1964-1966 triennium will increase at a greater rate than that at which the enrolments of equivalent full time students are expected to increase.
This, of course, is the basis of the move that has been made by the Government in consultation with the States. Both the honorable member for Yarra and the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) have tended to take the view that this is a matter in which the Commonwealth Government alone is involved. The matters we are discussing are, of course, section 96 - Grants, and the States themselves are consulted not only in terms of the grants but also in terms of the conditions that go with those grants. These consultations have resulted in the reduction in the amount that was recommended by the Australian Universities Commission in its report.
The honorable member for Yarra also laid a fair amount of stress on the dilution of standards in tertiary education in Australia. I would point out that according to table 7 on page 37 of the Commission’s report student numbers have increased very greatly since earlier years. Honorable members may take whatever earlier year they wish, but if they take 1950, for instance, they will find that numbers of students enrolled have increased from 23,394 to 91,160 this year. These are not full time students but include also part time students. If one considers a period since the Commission itself has been in operation, the numbers have increased from 47,219 in 1959 to 91.160 today. But if one considers the numbers as a proportion of the population aged between 17 and 22, one finds that in 1950 only 3.3 per cent, of the population in that age group was enrolled in universities. The proportion has now increased to 7.8 per cent, today and it is expected to rise, within the triennium we are discussing, to 8.4 per cent. Paragraph 2.4 on page 37 of the Report says -
There k no evidence yet that the percentage enrolment is approaching a constant value.
In addition, when we take a look at table 9 on page 44 we see a similar result when the proportions for effective full time students are taken out.
The honorable member for Yarra expressed criticism of the fact that numbers of part time students have increased. He laid great stress on this, saying that the Commission itself was not trying to encourage this trend, but that it was occurring. When we take a look at the increases in the last triennium we find that in 1964 we had 44,620 full time students, while this year we have 56,910. This shows an increase of about 12,000 in the three years. The numbers of part time students have increased by only about 2,000, from 25.250 to 27,360.
These are points tha! I think should be brought out. Another fact which I think is of great importance is that during the last six years or so the student-staff ratio has improved very greatly in the older and larger universities. Over the whole field of Australian universities, excluding the Australian National University, since 1961 there has been a reduction of the ratio from 10.9 to 10.5, but if we take a look at the two main and largest universities in Australia, we find that in 1961 the ratio was 14 for Sydney University and 12.3 for Melbourne. Today it is down to 13.3 for Sydney and 11 for Melbourne, and it is expected to go down to 11.1 and II for these two universities respectively in 1969.
I join with other honorable members on both sides in paying a tribute to the Australian Universities Commission for the work it has done. I would particularly like to pay a special tribute to Sir Leslie Martin, who retires at the end of this year. Sir Leslie has made some remarkable contributions to Australia in the field of tertiary education, not only as chairman of the Commission but also, of course, as chairman of the Martin Committee which looked into the future of tertiary education. I believe a great tribute should be paid by all members of the House to Sir Leslie Martin for what he has done. I would also like to join with other honorable members in paying a tribute to Professor Robertson and members of the Australian Research Grants Committee, and also to Dr. Wark and his new committee, the Commonwealth
Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, which tabled its first report a few weeks ago. Today I believe that we have a structure for great development in tertiary education in Australia per medium of the Australian Universities Commission, the Australian Research Grants Commission, the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, the other advances that we have made in recent times and the knowledge that we have obtained. I think that the Government has a remarkable record. The Minister in the other place pointed out in his speech that since 1959, when the Commission was set up, the number of universities has increased from nine, with, I think, two university colleges, to fourteen universities and three university colleges today. In addition there has been a remarkable increase in the number of students. Just in that period there has been more than a doubling of the number of effective full time students. In itself that is a remarkable record.
– But an increase in population too.
– But not to the same extent. Our population has not doubled since 1959. In the field of colleges of advanced education, as the honorable member for Yarra said, it is probably too early to judge the results, as the colleges have only just started work. But it is estimated that the number of students attending those colleges will double in the next three years, from 24,000 today to 49,000. If wc look back to 1949-50 we find that there has been about a 300 per cent, increase in the number of students attending our universities since then. We have had. as mentioned, a great increase in the student-staff ratio. There has not been a dilution of the standard of education as the honorable member for Yarra said.
The measures we are discussing at presenare for our universities for the next triennium and will cater for university needs, bearing in mind the enrolments in that period. The honorable member for Fremantle said in his speech that whilst Australian business methods are moving towards the American pattern, Australian business interests are not adopting the American pattern so far as endowments to universities are concerned. I think he raised a fairly good point. But I wonder whether the onus or initiative should rest purely on business organisations. When 1 look at university calendars and the grants made to universities and colleges of advanced education from many sources, I wonder whether the initiative should come to a greater extent from within those universities and colleges. I know that the university at which I worked on the administrative side set out to get large sums of money for two schools. I refer to the Nuclear Research Foundation at Sydney University as one example of a university taking the initiative. It was able to raise very large sums of money to establish schools, chairs and other facilities for research. Similarly, the research foundation in the Department of Animal Husbandry raised some $500,000 in a period of some five years to create research facilities at the university’s farm at Camden. I believe that this should be a two way process between universities and industry. I believe that this is starting. Australia is a small country and wc have small companies which find it difficult to give money for this purpose, but this is a matter well worth examining.
When we consider the measures we are discussing tonight I do not think we should take them out of context with the full range of activities that have been initiated at the Commonwealth level in the last few years. Because of the pressure of modern science at the university level there was a need to give aid in the teaching of science at the secondary education level. In the time of this Parliament the Government brought in legislation to help establish science laboratories in secondary schools. Under that legislation some 228 State schools, through the various Stale Governments, 328 independent schools and seven Territory schools have received grants. In all, 563 secondary schools in Australia have received grants from the Commonwealth for the construction of science buildings or for the purchase of science equipment. In addition to this aid there are the various scholarships promoted by the Commonwealth for students in our secondary schools. The Commonwealth has also given assistance for technical training. One instance of this was the grant made to Hornsby Technical College in my electorate. The Commonwealth is providing $318,000 by the end of this year for that college.
In addition to the Australian Universities Commission we now have the colleges of advanced education and the Australian Research Grants Committee. Australia now has a structure for tertiary education which should give us the basis from which to expand and fill our needs in the foreseeable future. I believe that the action of this Government, in the time of this Parliament, in setting up the Australian Research Grants Committee under Professor Robertson has had a very great effect on education. I think it was the honorable member for Yarra who said that the amount of money for research had been reduced considerably. I think he said it has been reduced by half. He must have been looking at the wrong set of figures, because whilst the recommendation by the Universities Commission for research was $9,600,000, and the Commonwealth has agreed with the State Governments to make available $5,760,000 through the Commission, he did not take into account the additional $11 million which the Government has agreed to bring forward through the Robertson Committee, half of which will be paid by the Commonwealth provided that the States meet their proportion. This money will have a great effect in our universities. Undoubtedly it will increase the quantity and quality of research because it will be allocated through the universities.
The Minister in the other place described the Robertson Committee in his speech as possibly a miniature national science foundation. This was denigrated by the honorable member for Yarra; but it is quite true. The honorable member for Yarra said, if I remember correctly, that it is a shame that in 1966 Australia does not have a full national science foundation. When we consider the development in science in Australia and the structure created in that field through bodies such as the Robertson Committee, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and various bodies associated with government departments, I think we are approaching the stage where all we need is a body to advise the Government on the allocation of money for research. This was outlined in March last year by the then Prime Minister when he tabled the Martin Committee’s report. The body that I envisage is not a science foundation as such but is just an advisory body. It is not the type of body which has been outlined in the platform of the Australian Labour Party, ft is with these bodies and committees that we have developed in the last few years that we have obtained vital and important practical knowledge and experience and have got very close to that which I have recommended in previous speeches and which undoubtedly will come to pass in the near future.
When we consider publications such as the O.E.C.D ones “ Science, Economic Growth and Government Policy “, “ Sciencand Parliament”, and “Ministers Talk Science “, we see the difficulties experienced by other countries in the narrow types of science foundations that they have set up. We see the bodies that have been set up and broken down and the changes which have occurred in countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada. We are starting from the bottom with a series of highly technical professional committees and advisers in creating a structure in science which will undoubtedly mean that we will go through this transition period in Australia from a simple economy to an industrialised economy. Through the work that we have done as Federal and State Governments in creating a tertiary education system which will meet our needs, and the work we are doing and have done in the field of science to provide necessary research work I believe Australia is being well served not only by the Governments but also by people such as Sir Leslie Martin and his committee, Professor Robertson and Dr. Wark and their committees, and our own departments of education at the Commonwealth and State levels. This country is going through a period of very great expansion in education, but I believe that it is meeting the problem.
– First let me express my regret that this debate had to take place at this time. One must have a great deal of respect for the tremendous amount of work that must have gone into the preparation of the third report of the Australian Universities Commission. It is a voluminous document which involves hours of study and consultation. It involves work which must have extended over weeks, months, and possibly years. When one looks also at the report of the Commonwealth
Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, which is the first report of that body to the Parliament, and considers all the work, study, research and thought which has gone into that publication, one hesitates to speak at a time like this, when the Parliament is coming to the end of its existence, with any hope of giving justice fo the subject. However, this is the position that we are in and 1 hope that we cun have something like an informed discussion even at this time.
The legislation before us arises from these two reports, one by the Australian Universities Commission and the other by the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education. One of the first things that occur to me about the subject is that the two reports point up two important lessons. The first of these is the advantage that is to bo gained by a regular review of advances made and difficulties to be overcome in any segment of education. These reports are in fact a survey of the scene, a survey of existing problems and propositions for their solution over a period of time. The second lesson provided is in enabling funds to be made available for a programme of development which can be planned for three years ahead and which allow tertiary institutions to proceed smoothly with their work from year to year. I ask honorable members to contrast that situation with what obtains in the purely State activities in primary, secondary and technical institutions and in teacher education. What a great disadvantage those important bases of our whole educational structure must suffer through not having the same opportunities and facilities available to them as are available to the levels of tertiary education dealt with in the legislation.
The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Bridges-Maxwell) spoke eulogistically of the Government’s performance in erecting the structure of education. I am prepared quite happily to acknowledge that much has happened. I could not honestly say that I could have walked about the campuses of the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, the University of Melbourne or any of the other universities that I visit from time to time without being able to acknowledge that contributions have been made towards the development of these educational institutions. But, and it is a great but “, whilst we have erected this structure which is by no means perfect - I believe that no Government supporter would suggest it was - we have substantially failed to provide the energising power to carry the structure into effect. I refer to the supply of well trained teachers and lecturers who need to be available within the whole structure. For the colleges of advanced education we have been told that the Commonwealth and States will spend S9S million over the next three years. We have been told that this sum will provide for an 88 per cent, increase in enrolment in thic form of tertiary education. It is all very well to provide more money and to increase the number of students to be enrolled, but I have doubts about where the teachers and lecturers will come from to staff colleges of advanced education and to meet the increased requirements of universities with their extended range of education. We must not forget, of course, the demands of teachers colleges and secondary schools where more and more students, in total and in the proportion who are 1 6, 1 7 and 1 8 years of age - are staying on to complete their secondary education. In most States this will amount to six years of secondary education.
Knowing something of what had to be done under the old leaving certificate in New South Wales and comparing it with what my eldest son is doing in the fifth form under the new Wyndham scheme and what he will have to do in the sixth form under the Wyndham scheme, I recognise immediately, as I hope does every responsible parent in the community, that the new system will demand even more highly qualified graduate teachers. But we do not have them. I do not want to trespass on a debate which occurred in this place only a few days ago, but in New South Wales 46 per cent, of teachers in secondary schools are graduates. In Queensland only 20 per cent, of secondary school teachers are graduates. It was regrettable that the Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Holt) was not able to inform me in respect of science education, which is a sacred section of secondary education in the eyes of the Commonwealth, how many science graduates were available in any State or Commonwealth Territory system of education. Whilst it might be quite in order to talk about the development that is coming up in terms of dollars to be spent or in terms of the enrolments of students, what about that most important requirement, the teachers and lecturers who are to provide the tuition in all these places? I see nothing of any particular consequence in this Bill that will provide the answer to that question. I am not surprised at the Council of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation passing a unanimous resolution on 24th September last in these terms-
The Council of the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation welcomes the provision of funds by the Federal Government for tertiary education, but affirms that the funds supplied are insufficient to meet the needs of tertiary education in Australia and is gravely concerned that no provision whatsoever is made for teacher training.
Further, the fact that such amounts are granted on the condition that a big part of the total sum spent on tertiary education must bc provided, by the State Governments involves the draining away of funds, already inadequate, from primary and secondary and technical education and teacher training.
This diversion of funds from basic forms of education undermines the whole educational structure, including that of tertiary education, and is a denial of the finding of the Martin Committee, that primary, secondary and tertiary education are interdependent.
For how long have we been saying that much of the expenditure on these developments in tertiary education, whether it be on colleges of advanced education, universities or other institutions, will be of no avail if we do not have the staffs necessary to ensure that the students who will go to these institutions are provided with a sound primary and secondary education. Then, of course, there is the need to train the staffs of the tertiary institutions themselves.
The States Grants (Advanced Education) Bill, one of the three measures we are discussing, provides for a programme of expenditure of §98 million over the next three years. That is not a fantastic amount, particularly when we remember that it has to be jointly provided by the various States and the Commonwealth, lt is all very well to read banner headlines such as “ $610 Million to be Spent over the Next Three Years “ - I think that was the sum - for universities and tertiary colleges in Australia. But when we analyse the position, we find that this does not represent a really dramatic step forward. Of the S98 million to be spent in this trien- nium on colleges of advanced education, the six States will provide $63.3 million and the Commonwealth will provide $34.68 million. The Commonwealth will also provide $.25 million for research into how liberal arts can be worked into professional courses in colleges of advanced education. Incidentally, it seems to me to be a little bit late in the day to be carrying out research into how these colleges of advanced education are to work. I would have thought that some research would have been carried out a year or two ago when they were being first mooted. We in this Parliament were sold the idea - if I may put it that way - that these colleges would not provide just material, utilitarian types of professional courses in some kind of applied science, but that they would combine the requirements of a profession with the provision of a general or liberal education. We are now providing $.25 million to carry out research into how this system of liberal education can be woven into the provision of professional education at this tertiary or subtertiary level.
– Did the Martin Committee recommend that?
– Yes, but I am complaining of the delay that is taking place. The whole machinery has yet to be set up. I am not complaining about the research being done; I am complaining about its being delayed. This is typical of so many things that we do - we delay the research that is necessary to make the most efficient use of the funds we propose to spend. Even when research is carried out, as it was by the Martin Committee in connection with teacher education, what does this Government do? It does absolutely nothing. Meanwhile the years are going by and leaving us with a terrible deficit in the supply of adequately trained teachers to service our various educational institutions. I cannot emphasise that point too strongly. 1 am glad to know that the Government proposes to provide $500,000 in unmatched grants for library books and library materials in approved colleges of advanced education. How far that will go, only the future can tell. I recognise that the colleges will also be getting aid for their library facilities in the capital expenditure and recurrent expenditure grant. 1 have referred to the fact that it is expected that there will be an increase in enrolments in these colleges of advanced education from 24,342 in 1965 to 49,948 in 1969. I am amused by predictions that nominate a figure so precise as 49,948. What if it turns out to be 49,949? But here again, despite the recommendations of the Martin Committee and despite the repeated recommendations of the Universities Commission, a large percentage of these students will be part time students. I think that over 60 per cent, of them will be part time students. I have always regarded full time attendance at tertiary education institutions, with consequent full time intermingling of students, not only at studies and in lecture halls but in the various activities around the campus, as being an important part of a genuine liberal, humanitarian education. I have heard other people connected with education express the same view. Part time university training or part time training in tertiary colleges is no substitute, in my mind, for the advantages of full time attendance. It is better still if the students are able to take up residence and so get all the intangible educational benefits that go with tertiary education.
Probably one of the most important recommendations of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education with relation to colleges of advanced education was that the Commonwealth should contribute, dollar for dollar with the States, in the provision of recurrent expenditure grants. We have had complaints year after year from the States about this item in connection with universities. The States are required to provide SI. 85 for every $1 provided by the Commonwealth in respect of recurrent expenditure grants. This is just too big a burden for the States to carry, lt is because of this burden that even the recommendations of the Universities Commission have had to be pruned to the extent of S56 million over the three year period.
It may be that there are still some people listening to us who are wondering what the devil we are talking about when we speak of recurring expenditure grants. Broadly speaking, the recurring expenditure grants are used mainly for the payment of the salaries of teachers, lecturers and other staffs necessary to service the institutions. These payments average about 71 per cent, of what I would call the recurring expenses of a university or college. It is this burden which makes it so difficult for the States to co-operate with the Commonwealth in carrying out the kind of minimal educational programme that the Universities Coramission or the other committee dealing with colleges of advanced education recommended. It is quite true, as the honorable member for Yarra has said, that the expenditures recommended by the Universities Commission, and presumably those recommended by the other committee on tertiary education, had already undergone severe pruning before they were submitted in a report to this Parliament. In fact, we have evidence of this in the admission by the Universities Commission in its report that it made inquiries of universities regarding their requirements for teaching materials. In effect, it asked such questions as: “ How much do you require for specialised teaching equipment in your university? “ The answer as a total came back: “ Between $6 million and £8 million”. The Commission said: “ That is too much. You will not get even to first base.” In so many words, it said that it would recommend only SI million, not S6 million or $8 million. As I have sadly to relate, the Commonwealth rejected the proposition and would not grant even SI million.
In the programme for colleges of advanced education, $48 million is to be allocated to capital expenditure and $49 million to recurrent expenses. So in respect of colleges of advanced education, the distribution between capital expenditure and recurrent expenses is pretty’ much 50-50. But it is in respect of the universities that we see showing up the real burden about which the States complain at Premiers’ Conferences. For the universities, the programme is to provide $116 million for capital requirements and $329 million for recurrent expenses. In other words almost $3 for recurrent expenses will be required for every $1 for capital expenditure. However, whereas, in respect of the relatively minor item of capital expenditure, the Commonwealth will share the cost dollar for dollar with the States, in respect of the much more demanding item, recurrent expenses, which are three times as much, the Commonwealth expects the States to find SI. 85 for every $1 that it provides. This is where the real burden is to be found. This is where the bitter complaints from the Stales are directed.. lt is all very well for the Commonwealth to win headlines in the Press concerning the provision for tertiary education. But it is in fact the States that are bearing the biggest part of the burden. Indeed, with respect to universities over the three year period from 1967 to 1969 inclusive, the Commonwealth will provide in grants for capital and recurrent expenditure $175 million, and the States will be left to find $271 million - nearly $100 million more than will be provided by the Commonwealth, with all the resources that it has at its disposal, compared to what arc unanimously and universally accepted as (he grossly inadequate resources of the States. Mr. Askin even makes that complaint, as is reported today. He is a bit late in the day. He did not say this when he was in Opposition. In those days, he used to say that the Renshaw Government in New South Wales received almost unlimited sums from the Commonwealth. But he sings a different song now that he is saddled with the responsibility for trying to match Commonwealth grants in respect of universities.
– He is saddled with debts that the Labour Government left him.
– He is saddled with the burden of the inadequate financial provision made by the Commonwealth Government, and he has the strong support of his colleague in Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte. I imagine that the people of all the other States would like to think that they had been given educational facilities as good as those that were provided by the Labour Government in New South Wales. I have vivid recollections of the generous statement by the former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, who paid tribute to what Mr. Heffron and his successors had done for education in that State.
I come back to universities and put aside for the moment the colleges of advanced education. In the three year period from 1967 to 1969 inclusive, student numbers are expected to increase from 91.160 to 109,480 - an increase of about 20 per cent., compared with an increase of 32 per cent, in the three years to the end of 1966. What is to happen? It will be still harder for the son or daughter of an ordinary family to get into a university. From now on, three hurdles will have to be cleared. The first is the hurdle of quotas, which the Australian Universities Commission hoped would be no more stringent if the Commonwealth and the States accepted its recommendations. They have already said that they will provide $56 million less than the Commission recommended. If the recommendations had been accepted, over the next three years the proportion of young people getting into the universities would have been the same as that over the previous three years. In other words, the quotas would have been no more stringent. 1 do not say that they would have been any more relaxed, but they would have been no more stringent than they would have been over the last three years. Goodness knows how many young students whose parents struggled to put them through secondary education and who wanted to go to a university were unable to do so because of the imposition of quotas.
Secondly, children of families who are not able to pay the fees and cannot afford the upkeep of a child at university, will have to vie for the small number of Commonwealth scholarships. This is the second hurdle - the chance of winning a scholarship. 1 do not think 1 shall have time tonight to describe just how difficult it is to win a Commonwealth scholarship these days. Of the number of students newly enrolled at the universities this year, 24 per cent., or fewer than one in every four, were able to get a Commonwealth open entrance scholarship. What are known as later year awards of scholarships are made to students who, not having won a scholarship for the first year of the university training, have completed the first year course satisfactorily. According to my recollection, only 46 per cent, of students in this category who apply for later year awards were able to get them last year. The Minister in Charge of Commonwealth Activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton), suffering from some qualms of conscience, bas just announced that the number of those scholarships is to be slightly increased next year. But the increase will do nothing more than match the increase in the number of applicants. There is so much that I would like to say about scholarships at the advanced education level and the secondary school level and in the technical colleges, and about the failure to adjust the number year by year in proportion to the increase in the number of applicants. This situation is denying justice to students in one year compared to those in another.
In the three year period from 1967 to 1969 inclusive, the number of full time staff in the universities is expected to increase by 30.7 per cent., compared with an increase of 41.8 per cent, in the previous three years. These figures come from the recent report of the Universities Commission. As I said earlier, they were based on the assumption that the Commonwealth and the States would accept the Commission’s recommendations. But this has not happened. As a result, we see in the newspapers headlines such as the following, which appeared in the “ Australian “ on 20th October -
Universities face cuts in staff.
Fees may be increased for extra revenue. 1 would not agree wilh that. I would not say that fees may be increased to provide extra revenue. I guarantee that fees in every university in Australia will increase by about 30 per cent., and maybe as much as 50 per cent., after the election. The Sydney “Sun “ was a bit more dogmatic. It stated -
Students’ fees in the five N.S.W. universities will rise by at least $30 to $60 a year next year.
So, first of all, there is the hurdle of quotas to get over. Secondly, there is the scarcity of the Commonwealth scholarships to be vied for. Thirdly, having missed out on everything else, the family of a student who has to pay fees knows that they will be increased to help the State Governments provide their share of the matching grants so that the requirements of the Commonwealth shall be complied with. The “ Australian “, on 24th October, under the headline “ No new staff for 3 years, say academics “, referring to the Australian Universities Commission, stated -
The A.U.C. considered it’ had already cut its recommendations to rock bottom. “ It is clear that the position will bc worse than grim for the next three years,” another senior official said.
Of course it will. There is none of this glowing prospect that some people would like us to believe exists. In chapter 6 of the University Commission’s report, which deals with recurrent grants, I looked for some indication that the Commission would recommend as did the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education, that the Commonwealth provide dollar for dollar in respect of recurrent expenses. But the report was silent. I wonder why. Admittedly, in a table on page 34 of its report the Commission presupposes that the old prescription will still apply and that the States will still be required to find SI. 85 for every Si provided by the Commonwealth, but in another chapter the Commission spells out very clearly its renewed recommendation that the Commonweath grant SI for $1 in respect of capital expenditure. I wonder whether the Commission knew that the Commonwealth was not prepared to make a grant of $1 for SI in respect of this costly item of recurrent expenditure. Did the Commission know that the average parent would have to foot the bill by way of substantially increased university fees for those who were able to get through the quota barrier? The Commission renewed its old complaint that in some universities, particularly the older ones of Adelaide, Brisbane. Melbourne and Sydney, the student-staff ratio was still unsatisfactory. Throughout the report there is a lament that the older universities have been forgotten. In the haste to build up new universities the older universities have been left behind. In Sydney University the student-staff ratio is 13.3. In Melbourne it is 1 1.0. In Brisbane it is 11.4. The Commission assures us that the position will improve and that there will be more lecturers 10 cater for student requirements in 1969 if the recommendations of the Commission are accepted. But I have already indicated that the recommendations will not be accepted. In fact, the Commonwealth is providing $56 million less than was recommended by the Commission.
The Bills contain some useful provisions and will help to develop educational opportunities in this country as they are being developed in countries all over the world. The situation we are experiencing in university education is not peculiar to Australia. Wherever you travel you will find the same zest for educational opportunities for all who can handle them. While acknowledging this, I regret that the biggest deficiencies of all in these Bills are the lack of provision for teacher education and the onerous burden still residing in the States to match the Commonwealth grant in respect of recurrent expenditure. If the States do match the Commonwealth grant in respect of recurrent expenditure it can be only at the expense of primary, secondary, technical and teacher education, not to say anything of all the other responsibilities that properly belong to the States.
.- I do not intend to take up much of the time of the House. I wish to make submissions on behalf of constituents in the electorate of Hunter who have raised with me the subject of lack of provision for public libraries. I think this matter comes within the provisions of this legislation, having regard to the reference by the Attorney-General (Mr. Snedden) to facilities for colleges of advanced education.
I am deeply proud of the submissions made in this debate by the honorable member for Barton (Mr. Reynolds) and the honorable member for Yarra (Dr. J. F. Cairns). The honorable member for Barton makes a speciality of studying Australia’s education problems. The Opposition does nol oppose this legislation, but we on this side of the House take this opportunity to criticise the lack of proper provision for education in this country. I think it may be truly said that a nation with high educational qualifications is a rich nation - rich in standards of living, conduct, health and leadership to other nations which do not have the same availability of good education. Being a member of Parliament gives one. at times, an opportunity to see other countries and to make comparisons between them and Australia. From time to time we hear bitter criticism in this place of Communist countries and countries which are moving towards Communism. Such criticism comes particularly from honorable members opposite, including the honorable member for Bradfield (Mr. Turner), who is listening attentively to the debate and who will be received in Newcastle soon by a very warm and enthusiastic audience when he engages in debate with Francis James.
– Order! The honorable member should relate his remarks to the Bills.
– I am talking about advanced education.
– I thought the honorable member referred to Communism.
– 1 will link my remarks with education.
– The honorable member will confine his remarks to the Bills.
– I appreciate your guidance, Mr. Speaker. Would I be out of order in saying that Brazil is on the verge of a Communist revolution-
– Order! The honorable member need not ask me that. He knows the answer.
– Brazil is on the verge of a Communist revolution through lack of education - the very thing we are debating.
– Order! The honorable member will get back to the Bills.
– The Bills before the House deal with the allocation of Commonwealth money to the States for the furtherance of education and the provision of colleges of advanced education. I understand from advice I have received that I may be able to introduce, with the tolerance of Mr. Speaker, the subject of the lack of Commonwealth aid for public libraries.
-Order! If he does so the honorable member will be out of order.
– University libraries.
– That is a good bit of prompting.
– The Government makes inadequate financial provision for university libraries and kindred libraries. I wish to refer to a report in the Melbourne “ Age “ of 25th August last year. The report reads -
The Minister in charge of Commonwealth activities in education and research (Senator Gorton) yesterday forecast greater assistance by the Federal Government to libraries in Australia.
I believe that he was referring to libraries in general.
– The report continues -
Senator Gorton was speaking at the opening of the 13th biennial conference of the Library Association of Australia. He said that in the future a greater Federal assistance would be asked for and provided for. “ But this stage has not yet been reached “, Senator Gorton added. “ It would be a matter for your conference, the people of Australia, and the various Governments of Australia to decide when and how far we should go.” Senator Gorton said something had been and was continually being done in the field of library finance.
I do not think )’ou would ever get a more evasive or non-committal statement made by a Minister, which causes people-
– This is not related to the Bills.
– It is. It is related to university colleges.
– Order! I think I should point out to the honorable member that we are not dealing with public libraries. He should stick to the libraries about which he has been well prompted.
– I referred to university libraries. Students have held “ sit in “ demonstrations at universities to protest about the inadequacy of the finances being provided by the Commonwealth to the States for university libraries. The university “ sit ins “ have protested about the inadequate library provisions not only for those who want to learn but for those who want to carry out research for the benefit of their careers and the benefit of the nation. However, the subject on which I wanted to speak and the matters relating to libraries, including public libraries, in my electorate that I wanted to raise appear to be outside the scope of the Bills. If this is so, I would prefer to wait until I had another opportunity in some appropriate debate in the House to raise the matters about public libraries that were in my mind.
Debate (on motion by Mr. Duthie) adjourned.
House adjourned at 10.52 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated -
Commonwealth Office Accommodation. (Question No. 2125.)
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
Quarantine: Importation of Cheese. (Question No. 2148.)
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
s asked the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will he, in order to protect the interests of the Australian people and in order to safeguard the reputations of public representatives, take action to have the incomes and sources of incomes of all public representatives published by the Taxation Commissioner annually or periodically as is done in some other countries?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The secrecy provisions of the taxation laws do not permit the Commissioner of Taxation to publish information as requested by the honorable member. The principle of not divulging the taxation affairs of taxpayers has been accepted by all governments in this country since the inception of Commonwealth income tax in 1915. This Government docs not propose to depart from that principle.
Farm Development Loan Fund.
n. - On11th October in replying to a question without notice by the honorable member for Indi (Mr. Holten) about the Farm Development Loan Fund, L undertook to make inquiries to determine whether commitments by trading banks to provide loans from the Farm Development Loan Fund were increasing and whether the intentions of the Government and the Reserve Bank were being carried out.
The Reserve Bank has assured me it is satisfied that the trading banks in the administration of the arrangements are complying fully with the aims for which the Fund was established. From the resources of the Fund totalling $50 million, loans actually approved by the banks and available to customers by mid-July 1966, i.e., after the first three months of operations of the arrangements, totalled almost $5 million. By mid-September this figure had increased to just over $8 million and would have since risen further. At the present rate of approvals, loans approved by the banks will have amounted to about one-half of the Fund by June 1967.
n. - On 1 1 th October, in reply to a question without notice from the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) I said I would provide further information regarding the disposal of withdrawn £ s. d. silver coin.
Tenders have been invited from Australian and oversea interests for the refining and/ or purchase of these coins. These tenders close on 15th November next. There are several considerations which may affect the final decision on the method of disposal, and these will be fully investigated before any contract is concluded.
m asked the Minister for Territories, upon notice -
At what places and on what occasions have French ships and aircraft called in Australian territories on their way to and from Tahiti and its dependencies in the last four years?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
In regard to the movement of French aircraft on their way to and from Tahiti via Australian territories I have nothing to add to the information supplied by my colleague the Minister for Civil Aviation in answer to a question directed to him on this matter. Of the French ships that have called at ports in Australian territories during the last four years it is not known whether any came from or went to Tahiti.
State Traffic Laws. (Question No. 2096.)
n asked the Minister for
Shipping and Transport, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The Commonwealth raised the question of containers and their transport by road at the last meeting of the Australian Transport Advisory Council, in July. The Council decided to ask the Australian Motor Vehicle Standards Committee to study the use of containers overseas in relation to their movement by road transport.
As far as can be ascertained the question of amending legislation to enable 40 ft. cargo containers, and overweight 20 ft. containers, to be transported by road has not been otherwise raised with State road transport authorities.
n asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice -
– The Minister for Customs and Excise has furnished the following answers to the honorable member’s questions -
Details of imports of timber, newsprint, pulp, paper board and plywood for the years 1964-65 and 1965-66 are contained in Schedules A to E attached.
Source - Commonwealth Statistician.
A new statistical classification of imports was introduced in 1965-66.
Values quoted for 1965-66 have been rounded to the nearest$’000 and any discrepancies between totals and the sum of components are due to this.
Search for Oil. (Question No. 2031.)
n asked the Minister for
National Development, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follows -
The companies which have received direct financial assistance under the subsidy scheme arc listed below, together with the actual payments from the scheme’s inception in 1957 to 31st August 1966.
e asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice -
– The answers to the honora Ne member’s questions are as follows -
Dart engines with three stage turbines fitted to Viscount aircraft have approved overhaul periods of 5,000 hours for Ansett-A.N.A. and 3,0C0 hours for T.A.A.
The approved overhaul periods are established on the basis of operators submitting a planned program of proving runs to higher hours followed by dismantling and inspection under the surveillance of officers of my Department
The Australian approved overhaul periods are below the maximum period of 6,000 hours currently approved overseas for both two and three stage turbine Darts.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 October 1966, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1966/19661025_reps_25_hor53/>.