House of Representatives
28 August 1968

26th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

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Prime Minister · Higgins · LP

Mr Speaker, it is my sad duty officially to inform the House of the death in London yesterday of Her Royal Highness Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. Princess Marina, who as we all know was aunt to Her Majesty the Queen and the widow of Prince George, Duke of Kent, had a particularly warm place in our hearts. With her charm, natural beauty and quiet courage she was, 1 believe, regarded with special affection not only in Britain but throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. The youngest daughter of Prince Nicolas of Greece, she endeared herself to the British people on her marriage to the Duke of Kent in 1934. She at once took an active part in public life, travelled widely and showed a special interest in hospital and nursing work. The war robbed us of the pleasure of having Princess Marina in Australia as the wife of the Governor-General. The Duke of Kent had been appointed Governor-General but with the outbreak of war he became involved with military duties. Her courage and composure on the tragic death of her husband in1942 in an air crash won admiration and sympathy, and despite her grief at her husband’s death she bravely took over many of his interests and many of his public duties.

Princess Marina was frequently called upon to carry out duties on behalf of the Sovereign. She made a Far East Commonwealth tour with her son, the Duke of Kent, in 1952, and in 1954 she toured the United States of America with Princess Alexandra with whom she also visited Canada and Latin America. In 1957 she was the Queen’s representative at the independence celebrations of Ghana, and in 1966 she represented the Queen at the independence celebrations of Botswana and Lesotho. We were delighted to have her here with us in Australia in 1964. She came here for the British Exhibition and while in Canberra, as many members will remember, she declared open the headquarters building, Department of Defence, at Russell Hill. We also had the honour of entertaining her at a reception in this Parliament.

When we think of Princess Marina we also think of her daughter, Princess Alexandra, who, reflecting in every way her mother’s grace and charm, made her own memorable visit to this country. Princess Marina had other links with us. She was honorary Commandant of the Womens Royal Australian Naval Service and, of course, ever since the war years she was Chief Commandant of the Womens Royal Naval Service in Britain. And who can forget the films and pictures of Princess Marina, the tennis enthusiast, watching Wimbledon and handing over the trophy to the champion, more often than not an Australian? She was in fact President of the All England Lawn Tennis Club for 25 years.

I think that even from these few vignettes it is clear why Princess Marina enjoyed such high regard and such warm affection. I had the pleasure of meeting her during her Australian visit and, like all who shared that privilege, I still have warm memories of that occasion. Princess Marina had known for months that she was suffering from an incurable sickness yet, as might be expected, she faced death in the same way as she had faced life, with that quiet courage and dignity that endeared her to us all. Mr Speaker, I. move:

That an address to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 in the following terms be agreed to:

To the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty:

Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, have learned with heartfelt sorrow of the death of your aunt, Her Royal Highness Princess Marina. On behalf of your people throughout the Commonwealth of Australia, we express deep sympathy to Your Majesty and members of the Royal family in the loss which you have sustained.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– I support the motion of condolence which the Prime Minister has moved. Princess Marina had been a member of our Royal family for more than half her life. When she married into it before World War II she created as much interest as was created when her cousin married into it after World War II. The Greek Glucksburgs have been more fortunate as consorts than as monarchs. More tragically still, Princess Marina’s mother was a

Romanov. The British Royal family has been durable throughout the last generation because its members have been identified to an exceptional degree with the people in peace and war.

Princess Marina lost her husband in World War II. He was the first English prince to die on active service since the Wars of the Roses. She devoted herself to her sons and to her daughter who, like herself, is warmly remembered within our shores. She continued the very exacting round of public duties at home and abroad which falls to members of the British Royal family. The Prime Minister has very aptly and eloquently referred to the range of those activities as to place and time. Princess Marina contributed to a very great extent in her own right. She had in a very real sense charm, grace and style. She had charisma. At this time we remember her own children and the family into which she married. I believe that all who ever saw or met her will remember her.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honourable members standing in their places.

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Death Sentence - Northern Territory

Mr BRYANT presented a petition from certain members of the Portuguese community in Melbourne praying that the House of Representatives take any action necessary to assist in obtaining a commutation of the death sentence passed on Jose Manuel Da Costa.

Petition received and read.

Social Services

Mr CREAN presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth praying that the Government implement Article 25” of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by providing increased social service and housing benefits for the aged, the invalid, the widowed and their dependants.

Petition received and read.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is there any truth in reports that the Government intends to invest between $30m and $40m in the British shipping company,

Port Line Ltd? If so, what is the basis of the Government’s negotiations with the company? Is it intended to operate ships of the Australian National Line in association with Port Line Ltd?


Mr Speaker, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) will be going to Geneva in the very near future to lead the Australian delegation to the resumed International Sugar Conference which is of so much importance to Australia. While he is away he will be making some inquiries in London relevant to possible Australian participation in shipping. It will be known to the House that the Government is interested in entering into the carriage of some Australian goods in Australian ships, as has been evidenced by the arrangements made with the K Line to have an Australian ship operating in the Japan and British trade. That is simply where the matter stands.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Social Services. Has his attention been drawn to the public appeal at present being conducted in Victoria for the Aboriginal Advancement League? If so, will the Commonwealth Government give some support to this very worthy cause?

Minister for Social Services · MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– This is indeed a worthy cause which has been supported by the Victorian Government. Money raised is to be used for the erection of hostels for Aboriginal children, for the maintenance of those hostels both in Melbourne and elsewhere, and for the training of teenagers to enable them to obtain apprenticeships and bursaries. The Victorian Government has supported this appeal, which I understand has amongst its patrons both Archbishops of Melbourne. I understand that the Victorian Government has allocated $10,000 for this purpose. The House will recall that in the Estimates now before it an amount is set aside for such purposes. When the Estimates are passed, I propose to ask the Prime Minister to allocate a matching grant of $10,000 for the furtherance of this very worthwhile public appeal. I hope that this evidence of both State and Federal support for what is a good project will lead to even greater generosity on the part of the citizens of Victoria in coming to the help of these young Aboriginal people.

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– I ask the PostmasterGeneral a question regarding the establishment of the Post Office Trust Account, ls it proposed that all Post Office earnings will be paid into this Account and that funds from the Account will be appropriated to Post Office development, maintenance and other uses? Can the Postmaster-General say whether this procedure will reduce the heavy interest payments made each year by the Post Office to the Treasury? Does the Minister know that this year interest charges cost the Post Office $94m?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The principle behind the Post Office Trust Account is that only one line is to appear in the annual Estimates in regard to the capital works programme. This does not necessarily mean that the sum shown is the total capital works expenditure for the Post Office; rather does it represent the net funds required. This amount, together with all receipts of Post Office revenue, will go into the Trust Account. From this Account will be met recurring expenditures and also expenditure in relation to capital works. The effect on the interest bill of the Post Office will be very slight. Indeed, it will be to the advantage of the Post Office, because we are able to arrange an automatic daily drawing on the Treasury for additional funds that may be required.

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Mr Andrew Jones:

– I preface my question, which is directed to the Attorney General, with the following remarks: A sinister and evil publication entitled Kangaroo Court’, published by the Hubbard College of Scientology in England, has recently been produced in which the character and integrity of notable leading Australians has been defamed. It concerns an investigation into the conduct of the board of inquiry into Scientology in Melbourne and the subsequent banning of the practice of Scientology in that State. Is the AttorneyGeneral aware that Victoria and the integrity of its legal profession have been held to contempt by allegations of conspiracy and collusion, perjury, intimidation of witnesses, witch hunting, victimisation, bias and graft and that the church itself has been held to ridicule? Will the AttorneyGeneral please initiate urgently an investigation into what is now regarded as a brainwashing, blackmailing and corrupt organisation which is preying on the minds and the pockets of a patient public - an organisation whose real aims have been shown throughout the nation to be to confuse, solicit and to make profit-


-Order! 1 ask the honourable member to direct his question, lt is far too long.

Mr Andrew Jones:

– As all members of the Australian public are concerned and are targets of this scheme, if these claims cannot be substantiated will the AttorneyGeneral consider banning Scientology throughout the nation in the interests of the nation?


– I have not read the publication referred to and therefore I am not aware of its contents. However, I would make these comments: I have a high regard for the Victorian judges and for the legal profession in that State. I will be interested to read the publication if the honourable member will supply me with a copy. T will have some study made of it and give him a considered reply.

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– 1 would like the Minister for Primary Industry to clear up confusion over the payment of the devaluation subsidy to Tasmanian apple and pear growers. T think this confusion would exist in other States also. To whom does the Government require the devaluation payment of 50c a bushel for apples and 53c a bushel for pears to be made? Are exporters acting correctly when they pay the grower in the form of a credit slip instead of by cash, thus ensuring that they recover their debts but depriving the grower of a choice in the payment of his accounts?

Minister for Primary Industry · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The Government announced that the devaluation compensation of 50c a bushel for apples and 53c a bushel for pears would be paid to the owners of the export fruit. The Australian

Apple and Pear Board has been charged with distributing this money. Naturally it is the exporter to whom the compensation goes because he is the owner of the fruit at that time. In some instances it is expected that this money will be passed on to the growers as an ex gratia payment. In other instances the exporter may not see justification for passing it on. I cannot very well make any comment on the method of payment, whether it be by a credit slip or in some other form, but if the honourable member will allow me to contact the Australian Apple and Pear Board I will find out what the facts are and advise him accordingly.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. I refer to the recent road needs survey by the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities, which is known as NAASRA. Is it a fact that in this survey the emphasis is placed on high quality roads and expressways in city and suburban areas at the expense of roads in food producing rural areas? Does the Minister consider that roads of a tolerable standard, as suggested in the survey, and therefore of a lower or sub-standard, for rural areas, will reasonably fulfil the requirements of country residents?

Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The survey being undertaken by the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities for the first time is to establish a standard pattern from which an assessment can be made of road needs throughout Australia. This, of course, will be necessary during the Government’s examination of the next term of the Commonwealth aid roads grunt, the present term expiring on 30th June of next year. It will be necessary, of course, for us to examine the standards that have been prescribed by NAASRA and also those suggested in many rural areas as being more applicable to their needs. There is no doubt that, wherever the situation of a road, it is necessary to take into account not only design factors but also safety factors. These are necessarily matters that the Government will consider at the time that recommendations are made for the ensuing quinquennial term of the Commonwealth aid roads grants.

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– I direct my question to the Treasurer. What action does he contemplate to ascertain the true cost of production of crude oil from its Bass Strait holdings by the Esso-BHP group? Is he in a position to refute the calculations of Dr Hunter of the Australian National University that the cost of such crude at the refinery gate valve in Melbourne is $1.20 a barrel, including depreciation and depletion allowances? Would this figure give a net taxable profit rate of over $200m a year on the group’s declared production rale in 1970 on the present pricing policy of this Government?


– As to the first part of the question asked by the honourable gentleman, it might more appropriately have been addressed to my colleague the Minister for National Development. It is within his portfolio and not within mine other than for the purposes of checking. As to the second part of the honourable gentleman’s question relating to the cost of production and the profit margin as estimated by Dr Hunter, again this is a question which could well have been directed to my colleague because other than for the purposes of carrying out an audit or checking, ii remains within his portfolio.

Mr Connor:

– Are not von interested in company taxation?


– Yes. I am.


-Order! The honourable member has asked his question. He will cease interjecting.


– I am interested in the Commissioner of Taxation and the returns, but I do not interfere with his work. I accept his findings. It is this that distinguishes the Australian Labor Party from the Liberal-Country Party Government.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for the Army who will appreciate that one of the problems of the Army has been to enlist sufficient medical personnel to meet our growing needs. What progress has been made in the construction of a military hospital which I understood was to be at Holsworthy? What capacity will it have? How many doctors will be required and are these available? Have arrangements been made for the attendance of honorary specialists? Is it intended to give young doctors an opportunity to develop as specialists in military medicine, as is done in most overseas hospitals?

Minister for the Army · FLINDERS, VICTORIA · LP

– There are, of course, military hospitals at present at Ingleburn and also at Yeronga, but these hospitals do not constitute the larger Army general military hospital as envisaged by the honourable gentleman. I can inform him that a hospital of this latter type will in fact be constructed at Holsworthy and that on present planning bases it is expected that construction will commence in 1 970. It will have an establishment, of some twenty-one full-time doctors. It is expected that by the time the hospital is completed and is in a position to function these positions will have been filled. It will have a capacity of 200 beds with a capability for further expansion. Arrangements will also be made for the attendance of honourary specialists, including specialists in military medicine, a number of whom are serving in the Army at the present time.

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– I ask the Prime Minister a question which is supplementary to that asked by my Deputy. I assume that one of the great advantages of the shipping consortium which the Government is now considering is that it will enable the Government to ascertain the techniques and costs of transporting our exports and imports. Has consideration been given to repurchasing the Australian Government’s shares in British Petroleum Co. of Australia Ltd so that the Government can ascertain the costs of extracting, purchasing and transporting oil for Australia from overseas?

Senator GORTON:

– The answer to the second part of that question is no.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. I refer him to a recent Press statement that was made concerning the circulation of a memorandum pertaining to defence viewpoints of the Minister for External Affairs and the Prime Minister. I ask the Minister whether he would inform the House who originated the memorandum.

Minister for External Affairs · CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · LP

– There has been a good deal of public misrepresentation about this memorandum, and perhaps the easier way for me to clear it up is to read the circular to the House. But before I do so I would like to make two points clear. One Press statement implied, or said by headline, that this circular was the composition of the permanent head of my Department, Sir James Plimsoll. That is completely false. Sir James Plimsoll’s part in the matter was simply that at my request he circulated a statement which I had prepared. Another mis-statement made in another newspaper concerned the Prime Minister’s part in this. The decision to circulate was one that I made. As a matter of courtesy - and proper courtesy, I believe - I showed it to the Prime Minister, but it was not, as stated in this newspaper, an agreed statement between the Prime Minister and myself.

The reason why 1 circulated this is that senior officers of the Department of External Affairs, both those holding diplomatic posts abroad and those who have senior posts in Canberra and are responsible for advising the Government on these matters, do need to be free of confusion and misunderstanding. They need to be free from any involvement in political matters if they are to make their representations with directness and do their thinking with clarity. Because of the way in which these matters have been canvassed in public 1 felt it to be my duty, in fairness to my own officers, to ensure that their work, done on behalf of the Government with the detachment and high sense of integrity that they have, could be done free of confusion. I will read the statement circulated by the Department of External Affairs on 23rd August 1968 to heads of Australian diplomatic and consular posts and heads of divisions, branches and sections. The circular, which is marked ‘Confidential’ reads as follows:

Mr Hasluck has asked that the following statement by him be circulated to all officers of tho Department.

Members of the Department may have seen two articles in the ‘Bulletin” on 24lh August. One is by Allan Reid entitled “Out of Unity, Division”. The other is an unsigned article “Turning the Tables on John Gorton”. 1 would like officers of the Department to know that the account of the Party meeting given in those articles is quite inaccurate both in fact and in spirit. It would be a breach of the secrecy that should attend Party meetings for me to give information on what happened or to indicate in what respects the articles are false, but officers of the Department may be assured that they are not true.

The reports in the articles of differences between the Prime Minister and myself are equally misleading. It is part of political life that stories get circulated, either to secure political advantage or to create a sense of drama, which give a picture of differences between Ministers. Officers can be assured that the picture given by the two articles in the “Bulletin” is false. 1 make this statement to officers of the Department of External Affairs because they have a natural interest in matters that affect their work or which question the value or acceptability of what they are doing. What has appeared in the “Bulletin” should not be taken as accurate, nor other articles of the same tenor which might appear in other publications.’

I would only add to my statement that, as members on both sides of the House know, party meetings are private. Information about them can come only from either a pimp or the imagination of a journalist. I do not think either the stories of a pimp or the imaginings of a journalist are dependable evidence.

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Mr Charles Jones:

– I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport whether an American shipping company known as Farrell Lines recently announced that it was building five container ships for the Australia-East Coast of America trade. Have British, Swedish, German and French shipping lines combined to form a container shipping conference to carry Australian trade to and from the United Kingdom and European ports? Is the Russian national shipping line pressing these overseas owned shipping lines for a portion of this lucrative container trade between Australia and Europe? In view of these negotiations and the bargaining by foreign owned shipping lines to carve up Australian shipping trade among themselves, can the Minister say whether the Government has given any consideration to building and operating container ships to carry a reasonable part of this country’s European and American trade similar to the recent decision to enter the Japan-Australia container trade? If this important matter has not been considered can the Minister say when it will be considered?


– The first part of the honourable gentleman’s question related to developments in overseas shipping generally. As all honourable members will be aware, a number of new vessels soon will be introduced into the Australian trade. Container vessels operating on the United Kingdom run will be put into service as ft om March 1969. Thereafter an additional container vessel will be put into service at intervals of approximately I month. There is a general reorganisation of world shipping. In this situation of change it is not unnatural that the Australian Government should have an interest in developments. It was because of this interest that the Australian National Line entered into an arrangement with the K Line to provide a roll-on roll-off service to Japan. Honourable members will be aware that this service was negotiated with the Japanese Government late last year by my predecessor. Looking into the future, the Australian Government will continue to take an interest in developments in international trade. The announcement by the Prime Minister of the impending visit overseas of my colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry indicates the Government’s continued interest in developments which might be of advantage to Australian shippers and the carriers of goods to Australia.

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– Has the attention of the Minister for Social Services been drawn to an anomaly which exists in the payment of student child endowment to parents of four or more children? The endowment actually paid in such cases diminishes with the payment of student child endowment. As this situation appears to nullify the spirit of the legislation, will the Minister take some action to remove the anomaly?


– This matter has been brought to the attention of my Department, which is at present studying it. As the present legislation operates, the smaller families do in fact profit while the larger families sustain a certain amount of loss. It is a small anomaly but it is one which is due for correction. As I have said, the matter is being studied. The position is complicated, but it is not insoluble.

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– The Prime Minister will recall that yesterday, in answering a question asked by the honourable member for Reid, he said:

Mr Speaker, the Government in question, which appealed for aid to President Kennedy and the United States, was the government led by President Diem-

Would you tell the Parliament, Sir, how President Diem was elected and who was the Leader of the Opposition in that country at the time?


– According to my recollection, and I believe it is an accurate recollection - certainly I am answering the honourable member in accordance with the best recollection I have - President Diem was, either before he became President or shortly after, elected or confirmed by a plebiscite in much the same way as President Ho Chi Minh was elected by a plebiscite in North Vietnam.

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– I ask the Leader of the House: Will the business of the House permit all honourable members wishing to participate in the Budget debate to do so? If not, will the honourable gentleman assure honourable members that they will be given an opportunity to discuss whatever sections of the Estimates they wish during the debate on the Estimates?

Minister for Immigration · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– I propose that the vote on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill be taken tomorrow night at, I would think, about 10.30 p.m. One of our handicaps in having such a big majority - a handicap which I am content to put up with - is that some honourable members on this side of the House will not have the opportunity to speak in the Budget debate. There will be about half a dozen such members. The Whip has the responsibility of deciding who will speak in the debate. He has exercised that responsibility but he has said also that those who do not get an opportunity to speak in the general Budget debate will have priority in the debate on the Estimates. I think that the honourable member will be able to make a selection of the estimates on which he wishes to speak.

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– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. Is it a fact that Osta Chemicals (New South Wales) Pty Ltd recently mistakenly supplied the Canberra Community Hospital with washing soda instead of dextrose for use in the Hospital’s artificial kidney machine? Is it a fact also that the mistake could have caused loss of life if the washing soda had been used in place of dextrose either in the kidney machine or for some other purpose, such as in the preparation of mixtures for babies’ bottles? Is it a fact, too, that the company was fined $40 for a breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act? Does the Minister believe that this penalty was severe enough for such a serious case of neglect which could have caused loss of life? Will he consider tightening the law to help prevent such an error occuring again?

Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– In general terms, the answer to the honourable gentleman’s question is: Yes, I shall consider the proposal.

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– My question, which is supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Riverina relating to the survey conducted by the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities, is addressed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Will the Minister accept submissions from authorities controlling rural roads in support of their contention that there is an urgent need to maintain the allocation of Commonwealth Aid Roads funds to country roads at least at the present level? If he will accept such submissions, will he bs good enough to indicate the time by which they should reach him?


– As I intimated previously, there has been a survey supplementary to that organised throughout Australia by the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities. That supplementary survey has embraced many rural areas. It is expected that its results will be considered by the Government when it is re-examining the Commonwealth Aid Roads legislation. If bodies other than NAASRA are particularly concerned with the development of roads of a standard or a nature that they believe have not been taken into account adequately in these surveys, I shall be happy to receive their submissions. The legislation at present in operation is to terminate by the middle of next year,, and it is expected that it will be necessary for the Government to consider new legislation either late this year or early in 1969. Any submissions that interested bodies wish to make would have to be received by the Government before it considers the new legislation.

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– 1 ask the Minister for Social Services: Is it a fact that he will shortly be leaving for New York to attend a conference on social security? Is it a fact also that his absence may delay the introduction of legislation to give effect to the meagre improvements in social service benefits for age and invalid pensioners which are provided for in the Budget? Will the Minister give the House an assurance that he will return in time to. avoid, firstly, delay in the commencing date of the higher rates of benefit and, secondly, restriction of debate or the legislation and therefore curtailment of criticism of the Government’s policy? Furthermore, will he consider doing what should always be done in these matters and backdate the new rates to 1st July?


– I can assure the honourable member that my absence overseas will not be as prolonged or as needless as was his absence from this country at a time when he came to be known as Dilly-Dally Daly. My absence will not in any way impede or delay the payment of the increased rates of benefit which this Government has proposed in its Budget. I shall attend a meeting of Ministers responsible for welfare in many countries throughout the world which has been convened in New York and which, I believe, will terminate on 12th or 13th September. I shall return immediately after the meeting, in time for the introduction of legislation soon enough for the new rates of benefit to operate from the earliest possible scheduled date. May I say that my Department is at present engaged on the work that is necessary to permit the increased rates to be paid without delay.

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– 1 address a question to the Minister for External Affairs about the dispute which seems to be continuing between the Philippines and Malaysia over the territory of Sabah. Is it possible for the Australian Government to offer to act as mediator in this situation, which could represent a danger to the area if the dispute develops?


– 1 am happy to be able to report that there has been a very considerable lessening of the tension between Malaysia and the Philippines over the Sabah dispute. The two governments concerned are talking with each other from time to lime on this matter, and I can see no useful opportunity for Australia to be a mediator in this dispute. Already we have taken action to counsel moderation by both Malaysia and the Philippines. By reason of the fact that I was visiting both countries at the time when the tension was at its height 1 had the opportunity of speaking personally to the heads of government in both countries, and also to the appropriate Ministers, expressing our concern and the hope, too, that the two countries, with both of whom we are in the closest friendship and intimate association, should not come into conflict with each other. I believe that the counsel and the words that were spoken on behalf of Australia did have some moderating influence.

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Mr J R Fraser:

– I ask the Prime Minister: Since the right honourable gentleman has described the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia as an act of perfidy and a brutal use of force, can he say why his Government has not acted to withdraw its recognition of the Soviet and the accreditation of the Soviet’s representatives in this country?


– I direct the honourable member’s attention to the fact (hat while condemning the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia - I merely throw this in for the purposes of accuracy - what I described as a massive act of perfidy was the planning of that operation, the mounting of that operation, during a period when smiles were being exchanged and the public air, as I said, was full of smiles. That was the massive act of perfidy. The act of international brigandage was the actual invasion itself. 1 am at a loss to see precisely what benefits for the Czech people would follow from pursuing the course that the honourable member suggests.

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– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware of the fact that cotton farmers on the Ord River are concerned that they may not share in the bounty payable on the 1968 crop because they harvest their crop some months later than growers in the eastern States, who can supply all of Australia’s domestic needs? Can the Minister say whether any action will be taken on requests made to the Government on this matter?


– Since 1964 the Raw Cotton Bounty Act has provided $4m annually for the sale in Australia of Australian produced raw cotton. This Act expires on 28th February next. We have not had a problem with the distribution of the bounty while there has been a deficiency of production to meet Australia’s needs, but during the last year of operation of this scheme Australian production has expanded to such an extent that there will be a slight surplus. It is possible that those who harvest their crop late in the season will not be able to share in the bounty. For that reason the Government has agreed to extend the present term of the bounty for another 4 months, to enable Ord River farmers to have the chance to sell their crop on the Australian market.

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– 1 refer the Prime Minister to widespread concern amongst primary producers that compensation for devaluation losses on overseas markets will be limited to the one year. I ask: Will the Prime Minister give an unqualified assurance to industries such as dairying, fruit and others that genuine losses resulting from devaluation will be compensated for by the Government and that the undertaking given by the late Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt, in November 1967 will be honoured?

Mr Gorton:

– The Minister for Primary Industry will answer that question.


– From the very- begining the Government has said that it would compensate for those devaluation losses which were unavoidable and demonstrable. It has announced that it will compensate losses for this year. As far as future years are concerned the Government will have to look at the circumstances then applying.

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– I address a question to the Minister for Education and Science. I ask: In order to reduce the failure rate of university students, has the Minister given serious consideration to the need for universities to use closed circuit television on a much greater scale to replace those lecturers who may be incompetent? Are the qualifications of lecturers to teach seriously checked before they are appointed to the academic staffs of universities?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

-The honourable member should appreciate that he is asking a question about a matter in which the universities are autonomous and a matter upon which the universities do, within their financial limits and responsibilities, make their own decisions. I believe that in the great majority of cases the academic staffs of universities jealously guard the standards of appointment of new staff. The honourable member may be interested to know that at Sydney University and the University of New South Wales - I have not been able to ascertain the position at other universities - closed circuit television and radio have been used on quite an extensive scale. The University of New South Wales began external courses using radio 10 years ago and more recently it has been using television. I think that it is the only university in Australia with its own radio station and television stations. From the end of this year the power of these stations will be magnified many times. This university has also extensively used closed circuit television for its own internal courses.

I have been told by the university authorities that this does not in essence reduce the work load on the teaching staff but that it does enable high quality staff to make contact with a much greater number of students, so that time which might have been spent in repeating lectures and that sort of thing is in fact spent on tutorials amongst more intimate groups of students. For the last 3 or 4 years Sydney University has been using closed circuit television in much the same way. Indeed, last year almost 400,000 student hours were spent on teaching by these techniques. I think that this is something that will be growing and extending if the experience of these two universities is any guide. I imagine that, if their confidence is justified, other universities that have not already moved in this direction may make a decision to do so.

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– My question to the Minister for Social Services follows on a previous answer that he gave today. I ask: Is the Minister aware of a very commendable appeal conducted by the Melbourne Herald’ to provide blankets to pensioners? In view of the desperate need of these people, will the Commonwealth Government consider making a contribution to this appeal?


– I am not aware of this appeal though, on the face of it, it seems good. I shall consider the matter. However, I do not think it is appropriate for such an appeal, which aims at a public response, to be made directly in this Parliament.

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– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Is there anything in the proposed Government wheat stabilisation plan which in itself would cause a reduction in the first payment to wheat growers this year as compared with the first payment on deliveries in the three previous years?


– The current wheat stabilisation scheme and the proposals that have been put forward by the Government do not include any provision for a set amount for the first advance payment to wheat growers. The Government determines annually what this rate shall be. For the past11 years it has been $1.10. Normally the Government makes an announcement in October of what the rate will be. It has yet to consider the rate for this year. However, I hope to be able to announce it so that people who are harvesting this year’s crop will know the rate as early as possible. The announcement should be made about the beginning of October.

page 622


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed from 27 August (vide page 604), on motion by Mr McMahon:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Upon which Mr Whitlam had moved by way of amendment:

That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘this House is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision:

to lighten taxes and health costs for families and to increase benefits for them,

to plan defence procurement and expenditure,

to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities, and

to retain control and promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources’.


– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) last week. This Budget has been tabbed a Budget of compassion or a social welfare Budget.I think it would be more accurately described as a ghost trick Budget’, introduced by a phantom Prime Minister. It takes me back to my schooldays when we used to put a white sheet over our heads to frighten another boy. It was called the ghost trick. This Budget is nothing but a ghost trick. It does not make provision for the needy, the poor, the aged, the weary and the weak - that long line of people who, down through the ages, have borne the labours of the human race. I was amazed to hear the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs), who was speaking in this debate ratherlate last night, say that the Budget indicates that we are on the verge of a new era in the field of social welfare. He said that it is a very exciting development in social welfare and is an example to the rest of the world. Yet we find that the social welfare measures in Canada, Sweden and other parts of the world leave ours for dead in this so-called affluent society.

The Government has failed to meet the needs of the needy for fear of offending the greedy or high income groups from whom it derives so much electoral and financial support. I refer to the privileged and wealthy section of the community. People in this section of the community have the most sensitive hip pocket nerves. They have a more sensitive hip pocket nerve than pensioners, the aged, the infirm and those in the low income brackets. Yet research would probably reveal that during freedom from hunger campaigns and when other appeals are made to the community, proportionate to their income, those in the low income groups would give more than people in the rich sections of the community. It is well known, particularly in the Newcastle area in the Hunter electorate, that when these appeals are made pensioners will contribute 10c or 20c because they know what it is to have experienced hunger and deprivation. The Budget provides a miserly $1 increase for single aged and invalid pensioners and widows with children. This is insufficient even to make up for the increase in the cost of living since the last miserly increase in their pensions. The Treasurer has automatically tabbed himself as Dollar Bill - the only man who can tell people how to live in Kings Cross on $10 a week.

In industrial areas such as the electorate which I represent, where employment fluctuates with local and overseas orders for commodities or minerals produced and where fear of unemployment is a constant nightmare, no increase in social service or sickness benefits has been made. Such an increase has not been permitted by this Government. 1 remind the House that some years have elapsed since the Government has seriously considered raising the sickness benefit or social service benefits. An unmarried person in the 16 to 17 years age group who is unemployed receives $3.50 a week. If girls of this age are unemployed the tendency, particularly in city areas, is for them to be forced into an immoral life of prostitution with the result that parasites like the late Joe Borg can amass a fortune of about $250,000. I am damned if I know why the Taxation Branch did not catch up with him while he was alive. Unmarried persons in the 18, 19 and 20 years age group receive a miserly sum of $4.75 if they happen to be out of work. This is disgraceful. I definitely think that the Budget is correctly tabbed as a go-stop Budget

Every member of this House should appreciate that even the most thrifty of people in the low income group who aic out of work for 2 or 3 months take at least 12 to 18 months to recover. During the period they are out of work mental anguish is imposed on them. In many instances the breadwinner develops a sense of nobodyness. This is one of the reasons for an increase in alcoholism. Many people turn to drink to forget their worries and problems. The wife and children of an unemployed person suffer. The wife in particular suffers as much mental anguish as her husband, or even more, because she has to face the tradesmen who come to the door for payment of food bills that accumulate. I know of many instances in which a boy’s schooling has been interrupted Decause the father has not been able to afford to send him to high school as a result of temporary unemployment. The Government expects such a man to live on a miserly social service payment that it has not considered increasing in this Budget.

The Government has apparently abandoned any idea of gradually abolishing the means test. I would like to quote briefly some of the gross injustices that have been imposed as a result of the means test. Le! me quote from a letter written by Mr J. P. Magnay, of Newcastle, who represents the Retired Police Association. He said:

Sydney Mc Alister McLeod, now aged 78 years, retired in 1949 when the basic wage was £6.2.0. per week. He is a widower and is in receipt of superannuation payments of S24 per week. He has no other income and has to pay his own medical and hospital costs and full council rates on the cottage in which he lives and owns; full bus and rail fares, etc. He compulsorily paid 4% of his salary towards superannuation over the whole of his police service.

His brother, a retired railway driver, also a widower, under the old railway superannuation scheme, could not pay more than 51c per week towards superannuation, and received about $12 per week railway pension. He is therefore eligible for almost the full old age pension and together with his railway pension is in receipt of $23 per week. He is therefore eligible for and receives; free medical, hospital, dental and optical benefits, rebate on rates if he owns his own home, transport concessions by bus and rail and also periodic rail passes as a retired railway employee.

Yet supporters of the Government have the temerity to rise in this place and tell us that this is a new era of social welfare. I do not know how they can say this without their consciences being pricked. It is obvious that they have no conscience.

I want to make some mention of retired mine workers, many of whom are constituents of mine. They have to pay heavy medical costs. Although they retire at 60 years of age they are not eligible for the age pension until they reach the age of 65. They receive no rates or travel concessions. Many of them suffer from ailments, chest ailments in particular, which are peculiar to this industry. Yet the Government fails to recognise their need. The Government should make a grant to the States to enable them to give these people an automatic increase when age pensions are increased by the Commonwealth. In the United Kingdom the Government gives retired miners who worked for the National Coal Board free issues of household coal. Retired mine workers in Australia do not receive a benefit they enjoyed when they worked in the industry. This Government could easily follow the United Kingdom example. With modern mechanisation in the coal mines today, it would cost almost nothing to give retired miners a free coal grant. Perhaps this grant could be made each quarter; it would see them over the winter months. Such a benefit could easily be arranged by the Government by increasing the welfare grant to the Joint Coal Board. I urge the Government to give serious consideration as soon as possible to granting this long overdue right - not concession - to the mine workers who have worked underground in this arduous industry. The Government could well have increased the welfare grant to the Joint Coal Board.

The Government has promised tax deductions for expenses incurred in travelling to work. When I have asked questions about this the Treasurer has said: ‘Yes, we will consider it in the next Budget*. As a result of changes in the economy and in industry, men are compelled to travel long distances to work. It is only fair and right that these men should be allowed a tax deduction for the cost of travelling to and from work. Particularly in Newcastle and the electorate of Hunter, because of sweeping changes in the coal mining industry many men have to make an 80-mile round trip each day at a cost of as much as $5 or S6 a week. Yet they cannot receive the benefit of a taxation deduction. Doctors, businessmen, commercial travellers and the like are able to claim travelling expenses as part of their business expenses for taxation purposes. These people are in a higher income group than the unfortunate men who have had to change their employment due to changes in the coal mining industry. The Government ignores this section of the community because it realises that they are not sympathetic to its line of politics, even though it is pledged to act fairly and squarely in regard to all manner of people.

I have in my possession letters from the Retired Railway and Transport Veterans Association. The first one is from Mr Lawson of Merewether, Newcastle. 1 also have a letter from Mr Edwards of the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers Association, who pointed out the anomalies of the means test. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has indicated publicly that he will do his utmost to abolish the means test gradually. Now is the time for the Minister and the Government to indicate to the people of the nation that they intend gradually to abolish the means test. The Government says that it virtually cannot abolish the means test yet because it would cost S340m a year to do so. If we abolished the means test for all persons over 75 years of age the cost would be $65m. It would cost SI 2m more to abolish it for pensioners who are over 74 years of age. Why did not the Government take this line of action? It has not done so because it has not been sincere in its public statements that it intends gradually to abolish the means test. As I said earlier, the Government has had the temerity to describe this Budget as introducing a new era of social welfare.

The Government has again failed to bring medical and dental costs down to a more practical level such as exists in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. The schemes in those countries should be examined and, as a prime national priority, made a part of our health insurance scheme. The Australian funds, if I may use the vernacular, pocket about 25% of the contributions. The funds in Canada retain 15% of the subscriptions paid by contributors. I. agree that some doctors are very conscientious and honest men, but some of them are the greatest rogues that the community can produce. We want more doctors of the type of the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham). I congratulate him on his forthright and honest speech in this House last week. It was a credit to the Australian Labor Party and a credit to his high and rich principles. I was disappointed that the doctor on the Government side of the House, the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs), did not follow the example set by the honourable member for Capricornia.

Recently a constituent of mine received a medical account for $180 for a minor operation. He was not in a medical fund and he took the money to pay the account from bis bank. He went to the doctor’s receptionist and said: ‘1 have the money here to pay the account. 1 have just drawn it out of the bank. The account is a bit steep, is it not?’ He was told: ‘You can get the money from your medical fund.’ He said: ‘I am not in a medical fund.’ The doctor’s secretary withdrew the account and gave him another one for $60. What is going on? The Australian Labor Party did not receive any support in the Senate when it suggested a short time ago that a committee be set up to investigate the hospital and medical schemes in Australia. Anyone who picks another man’s pocket is liable to imprisonment for 6 months, but when people in the upper strata aci as they do they are unhindered and unembarrassed.

Mr Duthie:

– They are given honours.


– As the honourable member for Wilmot says, this is sometimes the sure way to receive a knighthood. These pillars of our society indulge in these methods and then receive honours. While this is happening, I. will always support moves for a royal commission to investigate medical and health schemes in Australia. I believe that such an investigation would disclose some activities that are as revolting as those that were disclosed by the Royal Commission into liquor that was held in New South Wales not many years ago. On that occasion the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales put the pillars of society into the witness box and under cross-examination they were shown to be engaged in some of thi; most wicked rackets that could bc imagined. Some of the evidence revealed nauseating activities. But we rarely have a royal commission that investigates the people in high places who hold up (heir heads and seek knighthoods and honours from the Queen.

The Government should urgently consider increasing the unemployment and sickness benefits. The Treasurer had the temerity to call this Budget a social welfare budget and a budget of compassion. But he failed to increase child endowment. Endowment for the first child now has not been increased for 17 years. The need io increase the maternity allowance has been completely overlooked, ls it any wonder that the abortion rate in this country is rising rapidly? People who have done research into this subject estimate thai there are about 100,000 illegal abortions each year in Australia. Yet the Government will not honour its commitment to the community. This country urgently needs a rising birthrate and not a declining birthrate. But in recent years, while this Government has been in office, there has been a shocking decrease in births. One reason for this is that the Government will not meet the needs of the under-privileged section of the community.

Each year deaths on the roads have shown a sharp upsurge, but the Government continues to ignore the real cause of this situation. We are told by some experts that speed is the cause; yet we make faster and faster motor cars. We ire told that drunken drivers are the cause; yet we legalise longer drinking hours. It is my belief that the main cause of the increasing toll of the roads is thai the roads themselves are inadequate. They are not built to meet the demands of the modern and faster motor cars. Roads of the proper standard are not built because the Commonwealth has failed to meet its obligations to the States and so enable the States to improve the roads and reduce the toll of the roads. The Government is willing - I believe rightly so - to contribute money for the construction of rehabilitation centres, such as the Melville Rehabilitation Centre in Western Australia, where people injured on the roads are trained for new jobs. But the Government would do better if it contributed finance that could be used io prevent these people from being maimed.

The greatest contribution the Government can make is to help the States to overcome the rapid rise in motor accidents.

I think you would agree with me, Mr Deputy Speaker, that if the figures were taken out they would show that, since the new expressway between the Hawkesbury River and Wyong has replaced the old twisting road, the number of serious and fatal accidents in this area has fallen to an extent that is amazing. The expressway was built as a result of the actions of the present Leader of the Opposition in the New South Wales Parliament, Mr Pat Hills, when he was Minister for Highways. If the toll of the roads is to be reduced, the Commonwealth Government must take some practical action. It must give more money to the States so that the States can build highways and improve rural roads. The Government has continually failed to meet the urgent need to give more aid to the States to improve roads in rural and urban areas. The Government, under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, requires the States to spend not less than 40% of the money it grants on roads in rural areas other than main roads. This imposes on the States a burden that they cannot carry.

I was surprised to hear the answer given yesterday by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) to a question asked by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). It is no wonder that the members of the Liberal Party are getting fed up with the Prime Minister, as the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) pointed out last night. He has deceived the nation and the Parliament. Yesterday the Prime Minister made a misleading statement to the House. He is not unknown for this. I find myself restrained here.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! If the honourable member for Hunter does not find himself a little more restrained, he will transgress the Standing Orders.


– The action of the Prime Minister yesterday is not something new. He should be reminded that a half truth is no truth at all. He should also be reminded that there was a time when the basic truths of the scripture, such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, were either believed or rejected and such belief or rejection determined whether a person was a Christian. The words used yesterday by the Prime Minister were more or less a verbatim account of a passage at page 53 of the book ‘Living with Asia’, which was written by the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns). This is a magnificent book and it is accepted by all universities as an authentic document. Before I read from it, I will quote from the answer given by the Prime Minister yesterday. It appears at page 542 of Hansard. He was answering a question, which was asked by the honourable member for Reid and which dealt with Vietnam. It related to the invitation to the United States Government to send troops to South Vietnam. The Prime Minister quoted the following extract from a report of the International Commission:

In examining the complaints and the supporting material, in particular the documentary material, sent by the South Vietnamese mission, the committee has come to the further conclusion that there is evidence to show that the Vietcong has allowed the zone in the North to be used for inciting, encouraging and supporting hostile activities in the zone in the South aimed at the overthrow of the administration in the South. The use of the zone in the North for such activities is a viotation of various articles of the agreement.

He continued to quote the report:

Having examined the complaints and the supporting material sent by the South Vietnamese mission, the committee has come to the conclusion that, in specific instances, there is evidence to show that armed and unarmed personnel, arms, munitions and other supplies have been sent from the zone in the North to the zone in the South with the object of supporting, organising and carrying on hostile activities including attacks directed against the armed forces and administration of the South.

Then the Prime Minister stopped. That is practically verbatim what appears on page 53 of Dr Cairns’ book. But half truth is no truth at all. The Prime Minister omitted to read this statement from the report of the committee of the International Control Commission which was responsible for keeping peace in Vietnam after 1954, and in the Cairns book it follows immediately the quotation referred to by the Prime Minister:

Taking all the facts into consideration, and basing itself on its own observations made in the US of America and the Republic of Vietnam, the Commission concludes that the Republic of Vietnam has violated Articles 16 and 17 of the Geneva Agreement in receiving the increased military aid from the US of America in the absence of any established credit in its favour.

The Commission is also of the view that, though there may not be any formal military alliance between the Governments of the US of America and the Republic of Vietnam, the establishment of a US Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam, as well as the introduction of a large number of US military personnel beyond the stated strength of the MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group) amounts to a factual military alliance, which is prohibited under Article19 of the Geneva Agreement.

Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, on this evidence I am fully entitled to accuse the Prime Minister of telling the Parliament an untruth, which you somewhat resented a little while ago.


– Order! If the honourable member for Hunter carries on in this way he will be resuming his seal. The Chair directed his attention to the Standing Orders. The honourable member will not reflect on the Chair in any way.


Mr Deputy Speaker,I respect your high position. I am citing the facts, but if you are ruling against me I will cease to tell the truth to the Parliament. The United States White Paper on this matter also omitted to point out these other sections of the report of the Committee of the International Control Commission. But, Mr Deputy Speaker, due to the attitude you have taken I will have to curtail my remarks in that regard.

I also point out that right from the inception of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war, the Government frightened the Australian people by saying: ‘If we do not stop them there we will have to stop them in our own backyard.’ When I was speaking one night the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) asked me: ‘Do you believe in stopping them here at Lake Burley Griffin?’ I have never heard so much piffle in all my life. I refer honourable members to a publication entitled the ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’ of 15th August 1968. It is a conservative magazine. It is printed in Hong Kong for the information of businessmen. Under the heading ‘Singapore’ it says:

Official statistics showed that Singapore’s and Malaysia’s rubber exports totalled 735,847 tons during the first 6 months of 1968,123,000 tons more than 1967’s corresponding period. The biggest importers were Russia (122,930 tons), United States (112,808), China (75,451)-

And China is said to be the great threat to the Australian people -

Britain (58,331) and Japan (52,255)

If China is such a great threat in South East Asia and to Australia, it is a pity that Malaysia, which is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations is allowed to export this strategic material to China. I suggest that the Government has lied to the Australian people, it has deliberately misled them and it has instilled a fear into them by telling them that China could be regarded as the ultimate threat to Australia. There is no possible threat from China because it has a great Army but it does not have a Navy or an Air Force. AsI have said previously in this Parliament, the real basis of the Vietnam war is international money. The war has been instigated by the war mongers so that they can enrich themselves. International finance knows no principles and it has no boundaries.


– I support the Budget and oppose the amendment which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). No budget in itself does all that individual members would like it to do. The case is always made out that there are certain people for whom more should be done, and there are people paying taxes who would like to pay less. But the proper way in which toconsider the Budget is to look at it in its entirety. Over a period of time the Government has been providing more and more in the field of social services. The important point is that by its economic policy it has created a climate which has enabled this country to expand its economy and to develop in a way that is the envy of the rest of the world. One has only to leave Australia and to return to see what is happening in this country. Anybody who has moved around Australia particularly in the north and in the north-west, and who denies that amazing and fantastic development is taking place in Australia is simply not keeping up with current facts. This is very largely - nobody would be so biased as to say ‘wholly’ - due to the wise economic policy that has been adopted and maintained by this Government.

It is rather interesting that the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) should refer to half truths and distortion by innuendo. I want to draw the attention of the House to something that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) said last night, and in doing so I take the opportunity of congratulating the leader of the nation on an excellent speech. The Prime Minister said that the Leader of the Opposition had been incorrect regarding one matter. I suggest that that was not the only matter in the speech by the Leader of the Opposition which was incorrect. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the moneys that are directed to the States and the moneys which are raised by the States for road purposes. He said that the States allocate more than 80% of the grants received under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act and more than 80% of their general road expenditure to roads in rural areas. Of course, this applies to all States. But it is interesting to note that the Leader of the Opposition was reported in the ‘Courier Mail’ of 29th July 1968 as saying that 90% of Commonwealth roads finance was spent on roads in rural areas and 90% of the road revenue raised by the States was spent in rural areas. If he were taken to task about this statement he would say that his statement in the House was quite correct because he said that more than 80% of the money is spent in rural areas.

The fact of the matter is that in New South Wales, in particular, all revenue fi om licence fees, motor vehicle registrations and road maintenance contributions - that is the ton mile tax - is derived from within the State. Of this money, 20% goes to the County of Cumberland and 80% goes to the remainder of the State, which includes Newcastle, Wollongong and all provincial cities and towns. The money is not spent entirely on rural roads. Of the money received under the Commonwealth Aid Roads Act, 40% goes to non-classified roads largely in shires, many of which, incidentally, embrace towns, and some goes to urban councils and municipalities. The remaining 60% goes to the Department of Main Roads. Of this, 12% goes to the County of Cumberland which results in a figure close to that given by the Leader of the Opposition. The other 48% goes to country towns and cities but not to rural roads. This is misleading. I will be generous enough to say that the Leader of the Opposition has been misinformed. I will say that NSW does not stand for Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong. It stands for New South Wales. This needs to be looked at in a sensible, reasonable and equitable way. The Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) answered a question of mine today about the road survey that has been recently carried out. If I may use an ungenerous word, this survey has been slanted very much in favour of the roads in the cities. The emphasis is placed on the high standard that is set down for rural roads but this standard, termed a tolerable standard, is not reasonable and realistic. The means of contact that people in rural areas have with commerce, centres of culture, amenities and centres where they can gain medical aid should be of the highest standard that our economy and technical knowledge can provide. The decision to build high standard rural roads has been a wise one, because it has helped to develop certain areas and to expand industry. It has been a contribution by this Government to the expansion of industries which earn the greater portion of our export income. This income, in turn, enables us to import the raw materials and other things that keep industry going. That is a simple, basic economic fact.

I am pleased to note that in the Budget the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has referred to a matter which I have brought up in this House over a period of time. I refer to drought bonds. He said that primary producers in arid areas will be given the benefit of purchasing drought bonds. One thing disturbs me. Who will determine what is an arid area? If drought bonds are to apply only in the arid areas I have referred to where 30% of our wool is grown, I am very much afraid that because of drought conditions in the last few years not too many people will have made sufficient profit to be able for several years to come, to put aside an amount for drought bonds. I would like to see drought bonds available to all primary producers, because they afford a method of saving by setting aside profits in years of higher taxable income for use in years of low income. This system has operated very successfully, particularly in New Zealand. The system in New Zealand is not quite on the same basis as that proposed in the Budget but fundamentally it is the same.

This Budget provides for an increase in the superphosphate bounty. A good deal of this increase of $2 will be lost because the sulphur used in manufacturing superphosphate has increased so much in value recently. Nevertheless the increase in the bounty is a sign of good intention on the Government’s part, and will be a great contribution to the continued expansion of primary industry. As was ably pointed out by my colleagues, the honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) and the honourable member for Calare (Mr England), in their speeches on the Budget, the situation in regard to primary industries is one for concern, particularly the wool industry. In the light of what has happened over the last 10 or 15 years this calls for very careful reflection and very careful consideration. Whilst costs have continued to rise - there is no way that the primary producer can avoid fixed costs in the form of fixed tax and fixed charges - the price of the product has remained at about the same level, or at least any increase which has taken place has not been consistent with the increase in charges. The wool industry in particular has suffered. I am not one who goes around saying that the wool industry is finished. To do this is one of the very worst things we can do for our industry. It is very far from finished, but nevertheless it does require considerable consideration. Perhaps ‘assistance* would not be too strong a word to use. The figures quoted by the honourable member for Canning are worth repeating. Those figures used as a base on a 5-year period ending in June 1950, that being the year when the price of wool was at the highest point ever known. Using 100 units as a base, the price received for wool has declined from 62 units to 49 units between 1965 and 1968 whereas in the same period costs have increased from 235 to 247.

Very many things influence costs and prices. Tariffs seem to be very much to the forefront in the minds of many growers. Tariffs very definitely pose a problem in relation to costs. Many of my colleagues in the wool industry almost see a tariff man behind every salt bush. This is dangerous thinking, because there has to be a balance in our economy. We must have secondary industries to build up our population, to keep up our immigration programme and to enlarge our home markets. But this needs watching and does call for careful consideration. It is interesting to note that 76% of the products we bring into this country come in tariff free and that we impose tariff duties on only 24% of imported items. The general position of rural industries is not one where, as we were led to believe, everything is rosy and thriving. To some extent every industry is causing anxiety. Our wheat industry, which I hope to say more about during the Estimates debate, has gone through a period of prosperity, and I have reason to believe that that prosperity will be maintained. The most prosperous industry at the present time is our beef industry. The prosperity enjoyed by this industry is due in a fairly large measure to the increase in our exports to the United States of America over the last decade and particularly over the last 5 years. There has been strong pressure and strong lobbying in the United States to increase the content of soya bean meal in processed meat from 3% to 7%. Although this is not a matter for alarm, it is a matter for considerable thought, because the 4% meat content that would be displaced in American processed meats coincidentally equals approximately the quantity of meat imported from Australia.

Australia has emerged from a time of drought into one of the most bountiful seasons ever known. The present good season tends to lull people into a false sense of security and to blind them to the importance of water. I still maintain that water is our most vital commodity, not only for irrigation purposes but also for domestic and industrial use. In many cases the only limiting factor on mining in northern and central Australia is the availability of water. Fortunately, a good deal of work is being done in surveying underground water resources. Our next breakthrough will probably be the discovery of large quantities of underground water. It has already been found in large quantities in parts of central Australia. Some people become very worried, as well they might, about the economics of using underground water, but surely in a world hungry for food we can do something to utilise the water resources that exist beneath the surface.

Some people are prone to say that large monuments of concrete in the form of dams are built without regard to their cost or productivity. In this regard it is interesting to note that in the 5 years ended 1965 the total annual value of production using irrigation was $150m in Victoria. $100m in New South Wales and S50m in Queensland. I am not able at the moment to give the capital cost of the irrigation works which enabled this production to take place, but it was a little more than one-eighth of the total value of pastoral and agricultural production and about one-quarter of the value of our gross agricultural production. This production came from an area of about 2.5 million acres or about 6% of our present cultivated land. It has been possible to dissect costs in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Capital investment in the MIA amounts to $32m but the return from that area now exceeds $32m a year. So one should not condemn the cost of irrigation projects without looking at the other side of the picture. As the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has rightly said, the future of our nation must be built on a sound economy and the development of our industrial potential.

We all must have been rudely shocked by the events of recent weeks, particularly of the last week. I refer to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by troops of Russia and her Warsaw Pact satellites. The Prime Minister has said that the invasion must have been planned in advance. I would suggest that the Warsaw Pact military exercises carried out in Czechoslovakia some weeks before the invasion were nothing more than a rehearsal for what took place. It is very difficult to understand how anybody could claim that Russia was able to invade Czechoslovakia because the Americans were preoccupied in South Vietnam. It is interesting to note that the only nation to congratulate the Russians on their efforts has been North Vietnam. Of course, Ho Chi Minh is an expert in these tactics. He adopted them in invading South Vietnam.

The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) said this afternoon that China did not pose a threat to this country because China does not have an Air Force or a Navy. Apparently the honourable member has never read Mao Tse Tung’s red book. Surely nobody believes that the threat from

China is a threat of immediate invasion. The Chinese are far too wise for that. They say that time does not mean anything. The threat comes from subversive activity directed at the countries in our region. I would hope that the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia will cause the British to revise their decision to withdraw from the Persian Gulf, where the Russians have been exerting a tremendous amount of influence in recent times.

In conclusion I repeat that although we all would like to do more for people less fortunate than ourselves, this Budget does assist to alleviate the difficulties faced by the needy people in the community without detracting from the development and defence of the nation. I therefore support the Budget.

Mr Daly:

– I rise to order. Did you notice, Mr Deputy Speaker, that while the honourable member for Riverina was speaking not one member of the Liberal Party was present in the chamber?


-Order! There is no substance in the point raised by the honourable member. [Quorum formed.]


– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), which clearly specifies the inadequacies and shortcomings of the Budget introduced by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon). Like other members of the Australian Country Party, the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Armstrong) expressed the usual token thanks to the Government for the wise economic measures taken in the administration of the affairs of the country. The uttering of such platitudes is the usual custom of the junior partner in this coalition and is one of the reasons for the maladministration of the economic affairs of the country by the Gorton Government.

In this Budget we have once again witnessed the scandal of a Liberal Government protecting the interests of the greedy at the expense of the needy. This situation is highlighted in the field of taxation. No attempt has been made by the Government to rectify the unjust, unfair and scandalous practice of placing the emphasis on indirect taxation instead of on direct taxation. Since the Chifley Labor Government went oat of office in 1949 Liberal-Country Party Governments have adopted the practice of placing the emphasis on indirect taxation, thereby imposing a burden on the great mass of workers in this country. The need to consider the position of the people on lower incomes is clearly outlined in the preface of a book, ‘Taxation in Australia - Agenda for Reform’, which was written by a group appointed by the Social Science Research Council of Australia - Professors R. I. Downing, H. W. Arndt, A. H. Boxer and R. L. Mathews. The preface states:

The report submits for consideration a number of proposals designed primarily to improve the equity of the Australian tax system with special reference to direct taxes on income and wealth. We have also borne in mind the need for the tax system to contribute to the stabilisation, efficiency and growth of the economy. Equity, nevertheless, has been our touchstone. Many people have said to us, in the course of our work, that they do not think equity is of such great importance. We on the other hand would regard it ac irresponsible to rate equity less highly than we have. It has seemed to us an axiom rather than a value judgment that people with more or less similar economic strengths should be taxed similarly. It seems just as important that people with differing economic strengths should be taxed in such a way as to reduce inequality. We certainly do not suggest that there should be anything drastic or revolutionary about this process - but simply that, for some time yet, inequality should be gradually reduced.

Every member of the community accepts the responsibility for taxation to achieve orderly administration of the affairs of the nation. Therefore, governments of democratic communities have a responsibility to provide a tax system which is just as fair and equitable to those with low incomes and little wealth as it is to those who have high incomes and great wealth. Successive Federal Liberal-Country Party governments since 1949 have increased excise, sales tax and company tax - in other words, indirect taxes - and liberalised tax concessional deductions in such a way as deliberately to place the burden on those in the groups with low and middle incomes. This so called compassionate Budget recently presented by the Treasurer provides for an increase in the general rate of sales tax from 12i% to 15% on commercial motor vehicles, motor spare parts and accessories, soaps and detergents, potable spirits, typewriters, office furniture and equipment, sporting goods, toys, motor cycles, lawnmowers, caravans, polishes and chemicals, travel wares and musical instruments. It is significant to note, however, that the Treasurer has learned a lesson from the mistakes of his predecessors and has chosen not to increase the rate on noncommercial vehicles, which already are subject to sales tax at the rate of 25%. We recall that an increase in the sales tax on motor vehicles generally initiated the Government’s credit squeeze policy in 1961, with all its disastrous results.

The increase of 2£% in the general rate of sales tax will raise an additional $44m a year. The rate of company tax will be increased from 42i% to 45%, bringing a further $60m a year to the Government’s tax revenue. These two increases alone will bring in a total of $104m a year, all of which will have to be paid by the consumers in the form of indirect taxation, because the impost will be passed on to them. I know that some honourable gentlemen on the Government benches will dispute the claim that company tax is a form of indirect taxation. However, 1 am sure that all honourable members who are conversant with the manner in which the wealthy business enterprises of this country operate are well aware that, despite the pious platitudes of the Treasurer, the increase in the rate of company tax will be treated as a cost of production and will be absorbed in prices charged to the consumers for the commodities that they buy. On 20th July 1968, more than 3 weeks before the Treasurer presented his so-called compassionate Budget, there appeared in the Adelaide ‘Advertiser’, under the heading Steep Rise in COL for State’, a report in the following terms:

South Australians were hit by the highest cost of living rise in Australia in the June quarter.

In Adelaide, the rise was 52c.

This is shown in figures issued today by the Commonwealth Statistician Mr K. M. Archer.

Mr Archer’s figures show that the main factor in SA’s cost of living rise was the price of meat.

An average family’s meat bill rose by 38c in the quarter.

The average potato bill also went up 2c. while the price of other foodstuffs rose by 4c.

The average cost of living in the State capitals rose 28c, or 0.8%, in the quarter, the Federal Statistics Bureau reports today.

Sydney was up 25c, Melbourne up 35c, Perth up 30c, Hobart up 2c and Canberra up 18c.

On u weighted average of the six State capitals, housing showed the biggest cost rise - up 1.3% - followed by food 0.9%, household supplies am! equipment 0.8% and clothing and drapery 0.5%.

The weighted average of the cost of living in the- State capitals was up SI. IS over the financial year.

By city this was: Sydney. 98c; Melbourne, $1.12; Brisbane 9Rc; Adelaide, 92c; Perth, 82c; Hobart. S 1 .OK 1 ilia II refer to this article in more detail later when I come to various aspects of social services. lt is an interesting study to analyse taxation by type for ail public authorities. 1 huw 1.,ken from the publication entitled Australian National Accounts’ for the years 1953-54 lo 1966 67 figures for direct taxation and for indirect taxation of public authorities, including Commonwealth and St.ite governments and local government authorities, showing these types of taxation a– percentages of the gross national product. lt is most noticeable that between 1953-54 and 1966-67 there were at times sharp decreases in direct taxation but indirect taxation progressively increased. In 1953-54, direct taxation totalled $1,1 16m, or 12.3% of the gross national product. Indirect taxation totalled S968m, or 10.7% of the gross national product. In 1958-59, direct luxation represented only 10.4% of the gross national product, whereas indirect taxation had risen to 11.5%. A similar trend was noticeable again in 1959-60. This trend clearly indicates that Liberal governments place greater emphasis on indirect taxation than on direct taxation, though indirect taxation operates to the disadvantage of those in the low and middle income groups.

This attitude of Liberal governments is further highlighted by changes in the concessional tax deductions that have been allowed. The greater a person’s income, the more advantage he can take of these deductions. A particular instance is the concessional deduction of $1,200 allowable in respect of life insurance premiums. How many workers - or even people in the middle income group, for that matter - can afford to take full advantage of this deduction? It has become a major selling point with insurance agents in their efforts to sell life insurance. I am well aware of this because I have a friend who is in the insurance game. He has informed me that his company has told him and his fellow agents to use to the utmost the argument that this deduction provides a means of obtaining assistance from the Commonwealth in the payment of life insurance premiums. The Commonwealth takes over part of the responsibilities of a taxpayer who can afford to take advantage of this concessional deduction. Similar considerations apply over the whole range of concessional deductions. So a person who pays tax at the rate of 50c in the dollar has the advantage of having the Commonwealth pay half the expense that he is allowed to claim as a concessional deduction, whereas the person in the low or middle income group gains much less benefit, though it is those in these income groups who most deserve assistance from the Government. Events have proved, particularly this Budget, that they have not received it.

The “Commonwealth Taxation Assessments 1965-66, Bulletin No. 5’ provides information about concessional deductions as related to ranges of income. It indicates clearly the unjustness and inequity of our taxation structure. 1 regard the average wage earner in Australia as the person who is earning between $1,801 and $3,000 a year, lt is interesting to compare this wage earner with the person in the classification of $4,001 upwards. It is obvious from the information contained in that booklet that abuses are made of taxation deductions, particularly by the wealthy supporters of the Government. There are 1,669,800 wage earners who are receiving between SI, 801 and $3,000 annually and 594,300 earning $4,001 and upwards. Statistics indicate that the average wage earners receive 33% of the education deduction benefits whereas those earning more than $4,001 a year - one third of the number of average wage earners - receive 35.1%. This pattern extends right through the concessional allowances. It applies to claims for medical costs, for chemists’ charges and particularly for life assurance payments. I cannot stress strongly enough the abuse being made of life assurance concessions by those who have the means to take advantage of the situation. Those in the average wage class get 27.7% of the life assurance concessions whereas those in the wealthier class get 41.5%. This is a clear indication of how the Government looks after its wealthy friends.

The taxation structure, as administered by the present Government, is loaded la favour of the haves as against the havenots because statistics indicate that 30% of the face value of concessions goes to fewer than 13% of the taxpayers and the tax worth of the concessions would be nearly 40%. Surely this situation clearly illustrates that the time is long overdue for a reform of our tax structure. It would be more equitable and just to abolish all concessional deductions and to make a reasonable payment to wives and children, in the same way as child endowments are made, and to levy taxation at progressive rates on total income. This at least would go some way towards ensuring equality in the tax structure.

I should like now to make some comments on the social service benefits as contained - or perhaps I should say not contained - in the Budget. The Australian public was treated to a fanfare of Press statements, following the election of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the appointment of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth). Both of these gentlemen made numerous statements that social welfare would occupy a predominant place in the immediate future, but the Budget makes it crystal clear that the Government is not taking action to rectify the glaring anomalies that successive Liberal-Country Party governments have allowed in the social services field. The Government said that it would look after the less privileged and less fortunate people in the community who have to rely on age pensions and unemployment and sickness benefits. The first thing I want to do is to comment on the great hand-out to pensioners. It is most interesting to refer to newspaper articles and to headlines concerning pension payments. In one newspaper, under the headline ‘Pensioners Happy’, and bearing the date line Canberra, 14th June, the following article appears:

Representatives of the Australian Pensioners Federation today met the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) for 2* hours.

We had a good hearing,” the Federation’s national president Mrs Irene Ellis, of Melbourne, said. ‘We are happy now.’

Mr Wentworth commented: ‘It was a most useful meeting. I now know the pensioners’ priorities and they outlined what they wanted most clearly.’

The day following the introduction of the Budget a newspaper published an article headed ‘Pensioners Are Unhappy’. It stated:

Pensioners were in a fighting mood last night after learning of the $1 pension rise in the Federal Budget.

The secretary of the 80,000-member Commonwealth Pensioners Association, Mrs Irene Ellis, of Victoria, had this to say in Canberra: ‘We aro disgusted. It is a mere pittance, and pensioners will still have to live at a subsistence level. We will fight it. We will call on the Australian people at the next Federal election to show their objection through the ballot box.’

During the last financial year there has been an increase of $1.15 a week in the cost of living, and in the last Budget no provision was made for pension increases. So it is obvious that the increases proposed in this Budget are measly. When the Minister for Social Services was a back-bench member he took a considerable interest in social service matters and I should have thought that he would have done more for pensioners. Consideration should have been given to the allowance paid to the wife of a pensioner. She should receive at least the age pension even if she were under 60 years of age. A number of such women are living at a mere subsistence level and cannot obtain the agc pension. It has been suggested that if these women went to see a doctor they would probably be able to get medical certificates that would enable them to qualify for an invalid pension, but this should not bc necessary. When a man reaches 65 years of age and qualifies for the age pension he still has the same responsibility to maintain his wife. It has been argued by some honourable members opposite that if we granted wives an age pension before they reached 60 years of age. and when their husbands reached 65 years of age, this would encourage a lot of young women to marry old men. I have never heard a more stupid argument. The Minister for Social Services was a great champion of pensioners before he was appointed to his portfolio.

Mr Daly:

– He was a rebel then.


– That is so, but he was a great advocate for the abolition of the means test. So he should have been. The abolition of the means test was one of the main items of the platform of the Liberal Party of Australia in 1949 when it defeated the

Chifley Labor Government. It was an election promise that the Liberal Party put forward to get the support of the public. But at no time since has the Government attempted to bring legislation of that nature before this Parliament. The Government has been in office 19 years. During that period it has introduced at least eighteen Budgets. Tt has liberalised the means test but it has not attempted to introduce the legislation that it promised in 1949 for the abolition of the means test.

The honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) this afternoon put forward a detailed case for the abolition of the means test. He suggested that abolition of the means test should begin with all persons over 75 years of age. I suppose that I am a little more radical than the honourable member, but I would prefer to see this Government or some other government in the future make a more positive approach towards abolishing the means test. At least a decision should be made to abolish the means test over a period of two parliaments. In other words we should go one sixth of the way each year for a period of six years. The thoughts expressed by the honourable member for Hunter are most valid.

This Government has a poor record as far as unemployment and sickness benefits are concerned. An examination of the rates will show that they are the same now as they were in 1962. Six years ago the rate for an adult was $8.25 a week, with $6 for a dependent wife. The same rates are still in force. I am indebted to the Minister for Social Services, who is sitting at the table, for this information. The last time that there was an increase in unemployment and sickness benefits was 1962, yet the cost of living has increased by $1.15 in the last 12 months. I understand that a similar increase occurred in the previous 12 months. Why should those who have to accept unemployment and sickness benefits be asked to live on the same amount today as in 1962?

During the last period of this Parliament I asked the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) whether consideration would be given to providing travel vouchers to those seeking jobs. I said I had been approached by a constituent who had been directed by the Department of Labor and National Service at Elizabeth, which is my electorate, to go to Adelaide, a distance of approximately 19 or 20 miles, to get a job. A return ticket by train costs 64c. The man has not been successful in getting a job although he made four other attempts. I received a nice reply from the Minister to the effect that he had made some inquiries and that in the future people might be assisted with travel warrants for a return journey to an agreed destination, but that recipients of this assistance would have to undertake to repay the cost of the fare involved after they had commenced employment and were receiving wages. A mere pittance is involved and yet this compassionate Government, which has supposedly gone out of its way to make things easier for recipients of social services, expects to be reimbursed.

Time does not allow me to discuss fully maternity allowances and child endowment rates, but I will take the opportunity of doing so during the Estimates debate. Every person has a moral right to share in the wealth of the Australian community, and this applies to pensioners as well. Australia’s growing productivity and expansion are making us a richer nation. Yet the Commonwealth Government refuses even to maintain social service benefits at the levels of from 5 to 20 years ago, let alone do anything to ensure their continual advancement in value. The manner in which the Commonwealth Government is acting is entirely contemptuous of those who are the most needy and who should be given extensive consideration. The Government should increase all social service payments at least to their former levels and should take early action to make them commensurate with current living standards.

This year is Human Rights year - so determined by the United Nations. There can be no greater human right than the health and welfare of the nation’s citizens. This is a year when we have ali been asked to recognise the suffering, misery and needs of those requiring assistance and least able to fend for themselves. As a matter of conscience, the Government should read and heed the 1963 report of the International Labour Organisation, which showed that in regard to the amount of money spent per head of population on social security, Australia had slipped from its 1949 position of third to sixteenth out of twenty-six countries. The position is even worse today.

Mr WENTWORTH (MackellarMinister for Social Services) [4.471 - I think that this is the nineteenth Budget to which 1 have spoken. It is the first to which I have spoken as a Minister. I wonder what subject I would have chosen if I had been speaking from the backbenches. Perhaps I would have spoken on foreign affairs, which commands much of our attention today. Perhaps I would have spoken on the economic climate or overseas trade. 1 may even have spoken on the revolution which is taking place in grain production throughout the world with the introduction of the new strains of wheat and rice that will transform the grain economy of the world and will have tremendous significance to Australia because they will mean that for only 3 or 4 years at the most will it be possible for Australia to find a market for large wheat crops.

This revolution may require some adjustment of our rural economy in the interests of the wheat growers, whom I hope will not be let down by their friends. It will mean that for the future Australia must look to minerals and meat rather than to wool and wheat as the mainstays of our export income. I do not for one moment mean that there will nol be any wheat exports or that wool exports will not be the biggest item in the receipts from our exports. But those two commodities will lose their predominant importance. Therefore, some kind of adjustment will be necessary.

Those are the subjects that I would have preferred perhaps to speak about from the backbenches. However, I think that the House would prefer me to say something about social services this afternoon. 1 feel that I should do so because the Government really has a story to tell in the Budget. It has a plan to put forward. It has already achieved a great deal. When the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) took office he set up the Welfare Committee of Cabinet to consider the whole question of social services and what is incorporated in this Budget is the first instalment only of the plan which the Prime Minister set out. Honourable members will know very well that there is naturally some tendency for social services to grow in a haphazard way under the influences of political and other pressures. This is helped in our system by two factors, the first of which is that these services are divided between the Federal and the State Governments. I think it is proper that each of these Governments have their sphere and in the passage of, for example, the deserted wives legislation only a few months ago this House very properly recognised that.

There is the other factor, however, which does lead to this kind of haphazard growth, namely, that of necessity the real field of social services impinges upon more than one Commonwealth department. The greater expenditure, of course, lies in my Department, but this cannot be entirely divorced from the operations of the Department of Health or the Department of Housing, or indeed from other aspects of the Government’s administration. This is of the nature of things. Until the present Prime Minister took the matter in hand there was a tendency for each of these Departments to develop its plan without proper reference one to another, so there was some kind of overlapping and wasteful duplication which was not to the benefit of people who needed help from the Government.

Until this present review started there was not a proper co-ordination between the services provided by the Commonwealth and those provided by the various States. Now, for the first time, we are setting out on a purposeful and coherent plan. But this is not yet fully developed. As I have said, this Budget is the first instalment. The Prime Minister has laid down twin objectives: First, that our resources should be directed primarily to the areas of real need so that they should do the most good. We do not have unlimited resources, but we do have increasing resources and, as honourable members who listened to the Prime Minister last night will know, it is the Government’s intention to allocate increasing resources for this general purpose. The second objective is that in so doing we do not want to neglect entirely the thrift which is the basis of our economy and which provides the sinews without which the maintenance of our structure of social services would be entirely impossible.

Let us look in general at the plan that is envisaged in this present Budget which we are now debating. Firstly, there is the raising of the standard rate of pension throughout by Si. I think the House should note that in the cases of greatest need the supplementary assistance is also payable. The pension is therefore $16 plus the fringe benefits. The House might appreciate that this, in terms of real purchasing power, is the highest level to which the Commonwealth pension at standard rates has ever come. This is the high water mark. I do not say that it will not go further forward, although it may well be that in its development of its objectives the present Government may be more selective rather than increasing very much the overall rate above any changes in the cost of living.

I think the House will remember that when the pension is looked at in terms of present day purchasing power - I have adjusted this to the changes in the cost of living throughout so that I am using a set of figures which can be compared, one with another - from the inception of Commonwealth pensions they did not go above the $6, $7 or $8 level until towards the end of the Second World War. It may be, and I think it was, that in those days families had more regard for their responsibilities as a family. There may have been other factors at work, but up to a time towards the end of the Second World War, $8 was the ceiling in terms of present day purchasing power. From then there was a rise under the Chifley Government to a ceiling of about $10 in terms of present day purchasing power. At the time of the change of government in December 1 949 the pension rate in terms of present purchasing power was about $9.35. This was an improvement on the level of the past, but it was vastly less than the level of today. I remind the House again that in those days the main fringe benefits in the shape of medical services were not available to pensioners to the degree that they are today.

So honourable members can see that in the lifetime of this series of governments since our side came to power in 1949 we have just about doubled the rate of pension in terms of real purchasing power, and the rate proposed in this Budget is the highest it has ever achieved. Perhaps honourable members would say that it is still not enough. In point of fact all of us would like to pay more to everybody. This is a general view. However, I have a feeling that if we are to increase these rates it may be better for the future to have selective increases devoted to the areas of greatest need.

In this Budget, as in some previous budgets, the increase in the married rate has been less than the increase in the single rate, but there is a good reason for this. This is an example of the principle of directing funds towards the areas of greatest need, using available resources where they will do the most good. I know, and everybody knows, that there is the odd exception to any rule. But the married couple would be better off than the single person if they received exactly twice the amount, because some of the expenditures, not all, are shared. For example, rent and items of that character are shared.

Professor Downing, who conducted the needs survey in Melbourne, but forward the general principle that the single rate pension should be 60% of the married pension rate. Under the Government’s present proposals, I think the figure is about 56%. The difference between the pension of a married and a single person is not as great as it is in most other countries and is not as great as the university people would like it to be. But I believe that in this case the Government has a sound point in mind. The Budget is directed specifically to the needs of widows and of widows with children. The child’s allowance has been raised from $1.50 to $2.50. This is a great, significant and good rise. It is something from which widows with children particularly will benefit. Provision has been made for the surviving partner of a married pensioner couple. We propose to pay the double pension for 12 weeks after one of the partners dies. In the case of a migrant widow we will no longer insist on residential qualifications. Provision has been made for a special rehabilitation course to help widows to train for profitable industry. We have made a small change - it is not of tremendous importance, but it will be of advantage wherever it operates - in the method of calculating the allowance for the first child. We have also made provision for an increased wife’s allowance. For a full year these benefits will cost S70m. They will benefit over 1,000,000 people consisting of 800,000 pensioners, 80,000 widows, 105,000 children and 20,000 wives. I have rounded these figures a little and because of this they are not entirely accurate to the last decimal place. But I am giving the House a correct picture of the situation.

The Government has also looked at the subject of health, which really is of concern to the pensioner. In the past the pensioner has not enjoyed proper provision for his hospitalisation. There will now be no limit to the time insured people may spend in hospital. Most important of all perhaps, we have raised from $2 to $5 a day the subsidy for heavy nursing cases. These matters concern the Department of Health rather than the Department of Social Services. But primarily they affect the pensioner. This is an example of the way in which the Welfare Committee of the Cabinet has been able to co-ordinate a policy which is directed towards the real needs of pensioners irrespective of whether the action should lie with the Department of Social Services or the Department of Health. We intend to put more emphasis on voluntary effort. Provision is made for an extra subsidy for home nursing in this Budget. We are developing a new system of domiciliary care whereby support will be given to all those excellent and wonderful organisations, such as Meals on Wheels, which are of benefit to pensioners. Senior citizen centres will be subsidised in accordance with a plan that will be worked out with the States. The Welfare Committee has only just really started its work which will be carried on into the future.

Finally, I do not wish to take up the time of the House too long, but I would like to discuss briefly the question of accommodation for the aged, sick and needy. Perhaps the most important aspect of all Ls that if a person can obtain proper accommodation, other problems become manageable. The Government will further develop its system of providing aged persons homes. This matter is at present under consideration by the Welfare Committee of the Cabinet and I am hopeful that before Christmas 1 shall be able to introduce a Bill to improve yet further what has turned out to be an excellent scheme. I would like to mention to the House one important by-product of the Government’s decision to raise the heavy nursing subsidy from $2 to $5 a day. As honourable members will know, under the existing provisions it is possible for an aged persons home to have, as an adjunct, a nursing home that may consist of up to half the number of beds in the institution itself. Full advantage has not been taken of this because many of these organisations have felt that they would not have the financial resources to run the nursing homes, lt is inevitable, though perhaps regrettable, that as people advance in age more of them become heavy nursing cases. We can well understand the reluctance of some aged persons homes to undertake commitments which they felt they did not have the financial capacity to maintain. This impediment will no longer exist because, under the scheme announced in the Budget, even though there will be a high proportion of heavy nursing cases in the home, it will still be possible for the organisation concerned to obtain finance to maintain the attached nursing home on an even keel.

Under existing arrangements we have a leeway of about 10,000 nursing beds for our aged persons homes. This is the number of beds which are available under the Government’s existing legislation but which have not yet been taken up by these organisations. All these beds will not be taken up, of course, in a single year. But I am certain they will be taken up at an increasing rate as these organisations realise that under the proposed scheme as announced in this Budget, it will be possible for them not only to obtain a $2 for $1 subsidy for their nursing homes but also to obtain an additional $2 a day for light nursing cases and an additional $5 a day for heavy nursing cases. Under these arrangements the maintenance of their homes will be financially possible.

I should like to have said many other things if I had the time to do so. I should like to have said something about the Government’s desire to develop its rehabilitation services. Time will not permit me to do so. May I finally and just in passing say, not in regard to social services but in regard to my other responsibility, Aboriginals, that here again this Budget breaks new and, 1 am sure, fruitful ground. I have made a statement to the House and I hope it will be debated as soon as time can be made available for it. Therefore, I will not pursue this matter. I hope it will be possible to have the House discuss it later.

Could I just say by way of summary that the Government is providing in this Budget an extra $10m for Aboriginal welfare. This is in addition to the $7m or so it provides for Aboriginals in the Northern Territory and the estimated $13m a year that is being spent on social services for Aboriginals within the scope of my other responsibilities. Therefore, this amount of $30m a year - the special amount of $10m, the $7m to the Northern Territory and the $13m in social services - is a substantia] Commonwealth contribution to the welfare of Aboriginals for whom we have now this new responsibility, which the Commonwealth Government will do everything it can to discharge. In both areas, social services and Aboriginals, although we are providing the financial sinews, we will not be as successful as we should unless we can mobilise, as I believe we can and will mobilise, the goodwill that is inherent throughout our community for both sections - for the pensioners, for the aged, for the needy and for the Aboriginals who also in a sense fail within this same category.


– 1 rise to support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). The tragic events of the last week have overshadowed the Budget. The Parliament quite properly interrupted this debate to express the dismay and the resentment of all sections of the Australian people at the illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Red Army. I should like to place on record my support for the sentiments that were expressed during the debate that took place last Thursday. Having said that, I would like to deal with some aspects of the Budget presented to the Parliament by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) two weeks ago. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), in the speech that he has just concluded outlined quite a number of propositions. He made one point that I found rather fascinating. He said that the fringe benefits now available to pensioners were not available prior to 1949. In at least one respect, and I think a major respect, the benefits available under the pensioner medical scheme were not required before 1949 because people in all sections of the community were able to obtain public hospital treatment without cost.

Dr Forbes:

– If they could get a bed.


– If they could get a bed.

Dr Forbes:

– Which they could not.


– I mention to the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) that if they can get a bed now they are very lucky. If they live in a country area, where there is bush nursing or only private hospitals, beds are just not available.

Dr Forbes:

– The honourable member should confine his remarks to Victoria.


– 1 happen to represent an electorate that is in Victoria and the people who are in Victoria are the people on whose behalf I speak in this place. In his speech, the Treasurer constantly referred to the Budget as a social welfare Budget. This, 1 would suggest, was a deliberately misleading term. It has already been shown that the words were little more than an empty catch cry. It may be as the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has suggested, that the Government has social welfare in mind, but it has very little social welfare in this Budget. Pensions have been treated in exactly the same way as they have been treated by this Government over a considerable period of years. In 1946 the combined pension for an aged couple represented 73% of the basic wage. The basic wage has since been abolished, but at the time it was abolished - the actual value of the pension has not materially altered since then - it still represented 73% of the basic wage. That basic wage was not related to the C series index as the basic wage in the past has been. The basic wage was frozen in 1953 and had not advanced with the cost of living.

The rate of child endowment for the first child has not altered since it was introduced in 1950. The rate for the second child has never been altered at all by this Government. It remains at the level at which it was fixed in 1947. Since then money values have altered substantially and the cost of maintaining a family, in relevant terms, has not changed for the better. Indeed, I suggest that the cost of maintaining a family is now higher in relevant terms than it was in 1947. Applied to young families and those dependent on social services, this Budget could not possibly be described as a social welfare Budget. It seems to me that social welfare means the acceptance by the community of responsibility for those persons who for many reasons are unable to care for themselves. I do not think at this time that this Budget even suggests that we are accepting that sort of responsibility. A married couple, without children, in receipt of sickness benefit or unemployment benefit - of course, the position of people with children is no better - are left to maintain themselves, sometimes for long periods, on a sum of $14.25 a week. I would ask any honourable member on the Government side who has the courage to stand up and say that this is social welfare.

Mr Jess:

– What about the other benefits?


– What other benefits?

Mr Jess:

– The fringe-


– What other benefits are available to a person receiving unemployment benefit or sickness benefit? This applies especially to a migrant family receiving sickness benefit because they are not eligible for an invalid pension and must remain in receipt of the sickness benefit until such time as they are eligible. It is impossible for a married couple to live on sickness benefit or unemployment benefit of $14.25 a week. This is the sort of situation in which many people are placed. I think that every honest member will admit that people have been in his office telling him of their troubles and that he has been forced to tell them that they have to go to charitable institutions to try to obtain additional assistance. Widows with children who, for various reasons, are not in a position to obtain employment and people who are virtually permanently on an invalid pension are hardly dealt with in a manner which could be classified as conforming to social welfare.

An independent survey conducted in Melbourne by a section of the University of Melbourne suggested that a very high percentage of Australian people were living below the poverty line. The Government has not been prepared to accept the findings of that survey, as has been indicated in answers to questions in this House, but it is also not prepared to conduct its. own survey to ascertain the real position. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) in his speech indicated that he at least is aware of some of the problems which exist in the community. But not all of them relate to social services. Because of land speculation, shortages and high interest rates, the cost to a family of finding suitable accommodation is extremely high. In many low income families it would represent one-third of their total income. This cost cannot be afforded unless a person is able to purchase his own home. In many cases it is necessary to do this in order to obtain accommodation. But rates are continually rising, interest rates are increasing and recently the rates charged by the Commonwealth Bank to housing societies were raised by one-half of 1%, which added approximately $2.50 a month to repayments by members of co-operative housing societies. These increases which are constant are making home ownership a burden for persons whose incomes would not be classified as being in the middle income range.

Employment for persons who are unskilled or semi-skilled and who are over 40 years of age is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. It makes home ownership a real gamble for persons who will be over 40 years of age at the completion of the long-term purchase of a home because unless they are skilled in a trade which is not likely to become obsolete with technological changes, they are contracting for something which they have only an even money chance of being able to pay off under a long-term arrangement. Thirty years is a long time for anyone to undertake to meet repayments.

Turning to the question of employment opportunities, it is extremely worrying to examine trends which have taken place in the United States of America. The percentage of the United States work force listed as farm labourers was 4.5% in 1950, but it dropped to 2.7% in 1964. Those listed as farmers and farm managers represented 7.3% of the work force in 1950, but the percentage dropped to 3.1% in 1964. The percentage of persons listed as semi-skilled workers dropped from 22.8% in 1950 to 17.7% in 1964. Even among those classified as skilled workers and foremen there was a fall from 13.6% in 1950 to 12.2% in 1964. The position among clerks and sales people was practically static at 21%. There was a movement of only 1% in the period between 1950 and 1964. The big rise in employment opportunities took place in the service field. In 1950, 7.2% of the work force was employed in this category, but it had jumped to 16.7% in 1964. Substantial rises also occurred among the professional, managerial, proprietor and official sections of the work force.

It is true to say that, in future, prospects for employment will diminish with age and technological obsolescence. Already those in the 40-plus age bracket are finding it difficult to obtain constant employment. This situation applies particularly to unskilled and semi-skilled persons who are aged over 40 years and who, in the main, were denied educational opportunities for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the advent of the depression in the 1930s and the World War in the 1940s. This was the period when these people, if they had had the opportunity, would have completed their secondary and tertiary education. Apart from the extremely successful rehabilitation scheme following the last World War. little or nothing has been attempted which would bring about the necessary upgrading of the all too large section of the community which must at present depend on continued labor shortages in order to retain their employment.

The policy of the Government and of industry today appears to be: ‘If you are over 40 years we would be obliged if you would stop making a nuisance of yourself.’ Even Government departments have policies which deny employment to persons over 40 years. The tragedy of people in the over 40-age group is more than matched by people who are physically handicapped, mentally retarded or have some other disability which prevents them from obtaining regular employment. 1 1 is unlikely that any member of this House can say that he is not aware of cases of persons who have not been able to get a job because of some disability which constitutes a bar to normal employment. These people represent one of the great tragedies of today. Unless they are helped they must surely sink deeper into the morass of hopelessness which is already so evident in so many cases.

I would like to put forward for the Government’s consideration - and I hope for implementation - a proposal which I believe would go some of the way towards easing the plight of these people and enabling them to seek employment in sheltered workshops. I would suggest that the Commonwealth should offer to pay the salary of a manager and a supervisor in any sheltered workshop which is established by the local community as a non-profit venture. Also, invalid pensioners who are employed in the workshops should be allowed to retain their pension as part of their income in order to make up their total earnings to at least 85% of the award rate for the job which they are doing. That would encourage them to obtain work in industry so that they could earn the full award rales, lt would also enable them to recover their self-confidence, which is an important matter in a number of cases.

In the Geelong area alone I would suggest there are at least 500 persons who receive sickness benefits, unemployment benefits or the invalid pension and who could perform useful work but at present they are not able to compete for jobs on the open market.

Mr Jess:

– Did not your Party oppose Ihe adult apprenticeship scheme?


– I do not know because I was not here. The field of education is one in which much remains to be achieved, and every day that action is delayed means that some child has had his future jeopardised. The under-educated of today are finding employment difficult to obtain. Tomorrow they will find it impossible to obtain employment. A child should be able to obtain an adequate education, irrespective of the financial position of his parents. Unfortunately, this is not the case at the present lime. Children who are fortunate enough to have well endowed parents can expect to obtain the maximum possible level of education which they are able or willing to accept. For the less fortunate children cost is often the only relevant factor. A low income family does not normally provide a child with the broad cultural outlook which would serve as a base for educational expansion. The schools which these children will attend are often less well equipped because under present policy most school equipment must be paid for by the parents.

Even in the field of Government grants there is evidence that low income areas are not as well served as are the more affluent districts. In my area, for instance, the only co-educational high school without a science block is at Norlane, which serves Geelong’s biggest Housing Commission estate. This, I admit, is a matter of State priorities. But the fact remains that these children are less well endowed than those in more affluent areas where parents are able to afford the greater part of the cost of their children’s education. Every child, boy or girl, who is forced out of school because of the economic circumstances of its parents, or who is subjected to less than adequate educational facilities, as often happens in schools which are established in temporary accommodation that is not suitable for the level and type of education being attempted, is disadvantaged for the rest of its life. It costs a parent up to $150 per year to keep a child in a State high or technical school. Where there is more than one child of secondary school age the situation constitutes a severe economic strain. lt is impossible if for various reasons the breadwinner is unable to earn a reasonable level of income constantly. Migrants are adding to the strain on the education system and have had a severe effect on both independent and State schools. To date the Commonwealth has not appeared to concern itself with assisting to meet the financial problems faced by schools, and the educational problems faced by children who lack a sufficient command of the language or teachers with classes so large that they cannot give the attention that is needed. Education is vital to every child, lt is time the Government stopped skirmishing with the needs of the entire education system and came to grips with problems which are placing too many children’s future in jeopardy.

The other area of welfare which has been neglected in this Budget is health. Under our present so called health plan no person can afford to be sick. The cost of adequate insurance cover is beyond the financial capacity of most low income families. Pensioners are placed in a position of having to deny themselves care that they may need because they cannot afford the cost. The longer the Government delays effective action to solve the glaring weaknesses in the present system, the will become to bring about effective reforms. The present system has already created within itself vested interests that are prepared to do everything possible to maintain the status quo. It should be the right of any person who needs medical attention to have treatment irrespective of his ability to meet the cost. To describe as a welfare budget a document which so neglects the whole welfare structure is plainly dishonest.

I would now like to deal with one or two specific matters which are related to my own electorate. A week ago during an adjournment debate I spoke about discrimination by the Commonwealth against persons who live in the cities of Geelong, Newtown and Geelong West in the allocation of funds for drought relief. A serious disability has been placed on the residents of one-third of the urban area of Geelong. In an answer I received from the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) within the last 2 days he said that the object of funds for the relief of drought caused employment was to maintain employment in rural areas. I dispute that this in fact was the manner in which these funds were distributed. The city of Ballarat received some $60,000 for relief of drought caused unemployment, the city of Bendigo received $59,000, and the Shire of Corio, which is part of my electorate, received about $40,000. The Shire of Corio has 36,000 people living in the urban area of Geelong. The Shire of South Barwon, which adjoins my electorate and is represented by the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street), and the Shire of Dellarine which is on another side of the three cities which make up central Geelong, were all able to use funds for the relief of unemployment caused by the drought. Only the cities of Geelong, Geelong West and Newtown in the areas outside the Melbourne area in Victoria were excluded, ft is not true to say that this money was allocated only for rural areas. The facts are that it was allocated for part of the urban area of Geelong. There seems to be no reasonable ground why a person who lives in a brick house on one side of Boundary Road, which is about 50 yards from my home, and who works at Jackson’s meatworks on a boning line and who was put out of work because of rain, the price of stock going up and the re-stocking that took place following the drought, should not receive some form of relief. It seems unreasonable to say that a person who lives on the east side of Boundary Road is drought affected and the person who lives on the west side is not, merely because the name of the municipal area in which he lives is different. That is the only difference between the two areas. There are 70,000 people in the urban area of Geelong who are or were eligible for employment on drought relief projects and 46,000 persons who were not so eligible.

I also draw attention to the continued running down of the Government Aircraft Factories, particularly that section which is at Avalon in my electorate. In answer to a question on 13 th August the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) indicated that rationalisation of the aircraft industry would most likely mean that it would not be possible to maintain three aircraft establishments in Australia. He also indicated that the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, which is privately owned, had no real problem in maintaining staff and that the Government aircraft factory was more likely to be affected. The employment figures for Avalon which were supplied to me indicate that at 1st July 1966 and 1st July 1967 405 persons were employed at that plant. At 1st July this year 328 were working there, a drop of seventy-seven during a period of 12 months. Another thirtynine have received notice of retrenchment and it is expected that others will receive notice before Christmas. This is an establishment to which a large number of persons have devoted a lot of time. Most of those who are being dismissed are classified as tradesmen but have been up-graded to that position and have little or no hope of obtaining employment as tradesmen outside the industry. They are skilled in aircraft production. They are being thrown on to the employment scrapheap.

The employment position in the area in which they live in Geelong is such that at present about 900 persons are in receipt of unemployment benefits. A lot of these are over 40 years of age and will not be eligible for employment in major industries, which have a policy of not employing persons over 40. They are being seriously jeopardised. I suggest that the Government has treated very lightly what I regard as being a very vital defence establishment. The skills which have been attained in this industry through the construction of the Sabre, the Canberra bomber and the Mirage fighter would be vital to this country if ever we were involved in a defence emergency. It is not reasonable to expect that we would be able to send our aircraft to some overseas establishment for maintenance during a defence emergency. If provision had been made for the Fill aircraft to be serviced in Australia - this should have been possible - the people employed in these establishments would have been able to attain the skills necessary to maintain the aircraft if they were required in the active defence of this country. I hope they will never be required for this purpose.

I would like now to draw attention to something which the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) mentioned and which is in my opinion an even more serious problem than the Minister suggested. I refer to the lack of Commonwealth activity in the field of geriatric care. The Minister mentioned the Aged Persons Homes Act. I would like to make a suggestion which I hope the Minister will consider. In the Geelong area Grace McKellar House caters for most of the geriatric patients in need of intensive care. Grace McKellar House has 185 beds but there are 171 persons on the urgent waiting list for admission to Grace McKellar House. Most of these people will die before they can be admitted. At the present rate at which finance is being provided by the Victorian Government, which has refused to accelerate its provision of finance, 12 years will elapse before Grace McKellar House will have sufficient beds to accommodate all the urgent cases awaiting admission. In addition to the urgent cases there are 700 other people on the list awaiting admission. In all probability these people would benefit greatly from the expert care which the home could provide but they have no chance of being admitted unless they are virtually on their death bed.

A number of organisations have provided housing under the homes for the aged programme. T suggest that where an eligible organisation does not wish to accept the Government’s offer of grants towards the provision of intensive care units it should be affiliated with a central regional unit approved by the Government. Grace

McKellar House would be such a unit. Under such an arrangement the Returned Services League, which provides housing for elderly citizens but is unlikely to enter the field of intensive care, could affiliate with Grace McKellar House. The Government could then make a grant to Grace McKellar House for the provision of intensive care units, which could be better provided by Grace McKellar House as it is an institution already providing this type of care. This would enable facilities at Grace McKellar House to be enlarged, thus providing accommodation for a greater number of persons. I hope that the Minister will consider my suggestion when drafting amendments to the Aged Persons Homes Act because this is a matter of serious concern to many people in my electorate. I have had brought to my attention most pitiful cases of people needing intensive care. All T can do is recommend to them a private nursing home, which in many cases will not have the required facilities or skilled staff. In many cases also such a home is beyond the means of the people needing attention.

Mr STREET (Corangamite) [5.431-1 regret that lack of time will not permit me to reply to some of the matters raised by the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), in particular the matter of re-training for industry. On page 92 of Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1968-69 is an entry of $945,000. This is not a large sum as national account entries go, but it refers to a body exercising tremendous influence on the whole structure of the Australian economy. I refer to the Australian Tariff Board. Probably no economic domestic issue of recent years has created such interest and discussion as has the tariff question. This is not surprising and it brings me to the first point that I would like to emphasise, namely the very widespread effect of tariff policy. Tariff policy vitally affects our export industries, particularly our primary industries, and their ability to maintain a competitive position in world markets, lt affects our secondary industries - not only those which enjoy a high rate of protection for their products but also those which have to pay a high rate of duty on imported raw materials required in their business. We must not forget that secondary industries will have to make a constantly increasing contribution to export earnings and that unwise tariff protection would jeopardise their future prospects. Finally, tariff policy affects the Australian consuming public since it has a most important bearing on our wage and cost structure. lt is important to understand just what tariffs are. 1 thought that the honourable member for Moore (Mr Maisey) gave a good definition of tariffs yesterday. He pointed out that tariffs are a tax on imports. They make an imported article dearer and hence permit local producers of the same article to charge a higher price than they could otherwise charge. The honourable member gave mc a list of typical items enjoying tariff protection - several enjoying protection of more than 100% and one enjoying protection at the almost unbelievable rate of 150%. Any increase in prices gives rise to repercussions throughout the economy and reduces the income of wage earners by reducing purchasing power. In other words, tariff policy affects every man, woman and child in the country and ideally should be considered on a non-party basis. Only under such conditions, free from the emotion and prejudice which seem to be inseparable from party politics, can we expect to reach a true and balanced conclusion on this matter. Probably at no time since the introduction of our tariff policy have conditions been more favourable for such a dispassionate debate than they are now. because early in this Parliament we had a clear indication that the Australian Labor Party has drastically modified its former policy of protection at all costs. On several occasions the honourable member for Yarra (Dr J. F. Cairns) has spoken to this effect.

The Australian Country Party, representing as it does many primary producers, is vitally interested in tariffs, as are members of the Liberal Party from both country and metropolitan electorates. So we have a climate in which it should be possible to make a dispassionate examination of tariff policy. In the old days it used to be a question of free trade versus protection but, of course, this no longer applies. ] do not know of any thinking person who would advocate a policy of free trade today, and I certainly do not, but between a policy of free trade on the one hand and over-protection on the other there must be an optimum level of tariff for every industry, taking into account not only the industry concerned but the Australian economy as a whole. I personally feel that recently our tariff policy has been directed too much towards asking, How much does this product or industry need protection?’ rather than asking, ‘How much does the Australian economy need this product or industry?’ I also appreciate that one has to be realistic about this subject. lt is clearly impossible to dismantle overnight a tariff structure built up over the years but it is possible to stop its undesirable extension in uneconomic areas and to encourage its expansion into those industries which contribute to the national income and in which we have proved our ability to compete successfully on world markets. Everyone agrees that Australian industry needs protection. Indeed, the original terms of reference of the Tariff Board are as sound now as they were when first introduced. Our tariff policy has been a vital factor in building up Australia’s industrial capacity and wisely applied I am sure that it can continue to aid Australia’s industrial development in the future, but over the years it seems that we have lost sight of the original guide lines laid down for the Tariff Board.

The situation today gives considerable cause for concern. At this stage it may fairly be asked. Concern to whom? Certainly not just to me. It caused concern to the Committee of Economic Inquiry, known as the ‘Vernon Committee’. It is causing concern to the former chairman of the Tariff Board. Sir Leslie Melville; to the present Chairman of the Board, Mr Rattigan; to a Board member, Mr Tucker; to many economists such as Dr Corden and Dr Coombs; to many honourable members of this House; and to many members of the Australian public. Indeed, Sir, those who are in full agreement with our present tariff structure may soon, perhaps, be compared with the proud mother watching a battalion march past who proclaims: ‘Look, everyone is out of step except our Johnnie’. There are too many highly competent men of great experience in this field who are expressing serious doubts about our present tariff policy for their doubts to be dismissed or disregarded. I should now like to examine a few of the comments made by some of these men. Sir Leslie Melville, I believe, was the first to direct attention to the fact that a higher proportion of the work force was engaged in secondary industry in Australia than in the United States of America. He made this vital point: Whatever economic or social benefits are to be gained by a genera] growth and diversification of secondary industry and employment, we must by now have gained them. Again, he said:

Our standards of living would be on a firmer basis if we ourselves provided the domestic savings to develop the new mineral and pastoral industries.

Here we come to a sentence that should be marked by every member of this House. Sir Leslie said:

However, our tariff policy is diverting our scarce resources of capital into high cost industries, some of which make little contribution to the national income.

My final quotation from Sir Leslie Melville is this:

Some of our tariffs against Asian imports have now become so high that it is possible to say that they are reducing rather than increasing our standard of living. With a policy of full employment, they are not needed, either to provide or to maintain employment.

Mr Rattigan, the present Chairman of the Tariff Board, makes the very important point that when the lines on which the Board works were first established the main problem was Io find uses for resources not fully employed. Now, the uses for our resources are in greater supply than the resources themselves. He considers that the Board’s recommendations should lead to the growth of industries best able to contribute to our national objectives. 1 ask. Sir: ‘Can this be said of the results of all recent tariff decisions?’ Mr Tucker, a member of the Board, considers that it is highly desirable that any future inquiries into tariff policies or administration should have terms of reference permitting inquiry and report on the relations between the Board and the Government, the nature and extent of the independence that the Board should enjoy in the community interest, and the conditions which should be observed by the Government and the Board to maintain its independence. Any inquiry, he considers, should be nondepartmental in character and should take account of the returns which are obtainable from the use of resources in sections of industry not dependent on the tariff - that is, should take into account the opportunity costs of tariff protection. Dr Cordon made this comment:

One is struck above all by the very high rates of protection afforded in almost all cases. This is so even though 1 have not been able to calculate the implications, in ad valorem terms, of support prices for chemicals.

I may say, Sir, that this is an extraordinary statement for a highly skilled professional economist to make. It illustrates the complexity and the hidden costs of the tariff. Dr Corden stated also:

The chemical industry report tells us a lot about the industry and its point of view. But it is quite devoid of information enabling the reader to assess the impact of its recommendations, nor does it contain a critical examination of the issues involved in protection by support prices.

Dr Corden then made two suggestions. One is that the Tariff Board be attached to the Prime Minister’s Department. The second is that the tariff on products which are important inputs into export industries should in general be somewhat lower than they otherwise would be. Next, 1 should like to quote a short comment by Dr Coombs who, until recently, was Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. He said:

I think the time has come when we could, with advantage, review the generality of the protection and begin to use it with more discrimination. It must be remembered that when we are fully employed, a subsidy or tariff in one area of industry reduces spending power or raises costs in another.

Finally, I should like to quote Mr L. C. Bridgland, who might be considered to favour fairly high rates of protection. He stated:

There is a necessity for a most discriminatory approach to the fostering of industry if costs and prices are to remain reasonably stable.

I could go on and give innumerable examples like these, Mr Deputy Speaker, but surely those that I have given are enough to prove my point.

Mr Chaney:

– They are very good ones.


– J quite agree with my colleague from Perth. These are the views of men of substance and learning. Whenever a major review of tariff policy is suggested, the claim is always made that a general lowering of tariffs would inevitably lead to a reduction of employment and a slowing down of Australia’s industrial development. The observations that I have just quoted show that this is a fallacy based on outdated economic thinking. It is clear that we now have the ability, by the skilful use of fiscal policies, to maintain employment without recourse to excessive - I stress the word excessive’ - tariff protection. For my part, I believe that the time has come for a careful examination of the rates of tariff protection applying in this country and, perhaps even more important, full consideration of the question of whether the methods currently employed to determine the rates of protection are based on sound economic principles. The Tariff Board itself obviously is concerned about this question. I completely support it in its proposal to classify industries into those receiving high, medium and low rates of protection. Duties payable on more than half the 3,500 items studied by the Vernon Committee have not been reviewed since the end of World War II, and probably not since a time long before that. Although, like the character in Gilbert and Sullivan, we have them on the list, I strongly suspect that further investigations would show that, to quote well known words: ‘They never would be missed; they never would be missed’.

Unless we are prepared to make a thorough objective assessment of our current tariff policies and where they are leading us, the economy of this country, and especially the export industries, I believe, are in for serious trouble, because present tariff policies are a major factor in increasing the costs of export industries, especially primary industries. We have heard the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) say that Australia needs to earn about $5,000m annually in export income by the mid 1970s. We have also been told that for as far ahead as we can see primary industry will have to earn the major part of our export income. But primary producers are finding it increasingly difficult to earn this income, for they are at the end of the line in terms of their capacity to absorb further cost increases. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that while all other sections of the community have recourse to some means by which they can maintain the purchasing power of their incomes, no such means are available to the unprotected primary industries that contribute to our export trade. Manufacturers can appeal to the Tariff Board. Wage and salary earners can appeal to the arbitration tribunals. Industries selling a substantial proportion of their products on the home market can appeal to the Government. But the unprotected exporting industries have no-one to appeal to and are at the mercy of rising costs at home and falling prices abroad.

As I said a little earlier, I congratulate the Tariff Board on its last report. I believe that if its recommendations are accepted we shall be on the point of a real breakthrough on the tariff problem and on the verge of a more enlightened era of tariff policy. The Minister for Trade and Industry has said that the question of the classification of industries into those receiving high, medium and low rates of protection should be approached with great caution. I agree that it should be approached with caution, but for heaven’s sake let us make sure that we not only approach it but also tackle it. We must not be like a frightened horse. It, too, approaches an obstacle with great caution, but shies away at the last moment. It is vital that this classification be made. Here, I am reminded of the old navigation axiom: ‘If you do not know where you are, bow on earth do you know where you are going?’ I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later stage.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

page 646



Ministerial Statement

Minister for Immigration · Bruce · LP

– by leave - Last week this House unanimously approved a motion expressing its distress at events in Czechoslovakia and stating its sympathy for the people of that country in their ordeal. Yesterday, you, Mr Drury, asked me whether I could assure the House that the Australian Government will provide maximum facilities to enable refugees from Czechoslovakia to come to this country. In reply I said that, in the event of a refugee situation arising from the circumstances that have been precipitated upon Czechoslovakia, the Australian Government would respond as it has responded in similar situations in the past. I am sure that the question reflected the concern of other honourable members, and of the community generally, that Czechoslovakians wishing to begin a new life in Australia should have the opportunity to do so.

At this stage there is no suggestion that a major refugee situation has arisen. However,I have just received reports from overseas posts that there is a large number of Czechoslovakians temporarily in countries outside their homeland and that there is interest amongst them in resettlement here. We have for many years been granting assisted passages to refugees from countries of eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia. In line with this, I have instructed immigration posts overseas that they are to offer all possible help to Czechoslovakians wishing to come to Australia for resettlement.

Mr Barnard:

Mr Deputy Speaker, I ask leave to make a short statement.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)There being no objection, leave is granted.


– I wish to support the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden). I assure him that the Opposition supports and appreciates any moves he may make to assist Czechoslovakian refugees. We believe that Czechoslovakians have been very good citizens in Australia. If we can facilitate the passage to Australia - possibly under the assisted passage scheme - of Czechoslovakians who are not living in Czechoslovakia but in other parts of Europe we hope that the Minister takes the necessary measures. We fully support his attitude and the action that is proposed.

Sitting suspended from 6.2 to 8 p.m.

page 646


Second Reading (Budget Debate)

Debate resumed.


- Mr Deputy Speaker, before the suspension of the sitting- [Quorum formed.] Before the suspension of the sitting I was referring to the vital necessity to support the proposal of the Tariff Board to classify industries into those receiving high, medium and low rates of protection. As an illustration of the need for this I used the old navigational axiom: If you do not know where you are, how on earth do you know where you are going?’ I sincerely trust that reference to the Tariff Board of sections of chapter 84 of the tariff covering agricultural machinery is the first sign of the new era of tariff protection that I mentioned before the suspension of the sitting. Another most welcome sign is the reference under section 15(h) of the tariff in March 1968 involving case board and panelling. This reference, which was initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry, is to determine whether a manufacturer is taking undue advantage of the protection afforded him. Section 15 (h) has not been used previously so this is one of the most important precedents in Australia’s tariff history. I trust that it will be followed by many more such references that will enable the Tariff Board to fulfil its true function of contributing to the development and strength of the Australian economy. Obviously, it can do this only if it investigates possible cases of over-protection as well as cases for initial or increased protection.

I believe that these decisions are welcome straws in the wind. I. hope that they are indicators of an awareness that economic conditions change, that the relative prosperity of sections of the community changes and that the order of national priorities changes over the years. What was a correct decision 30 or 40 years ago may not be correct today. The Tariff Board has recognised the necessity for a modern assessment of rates of protection. Of course, the decisions themselves have to be made by ‘.he Parliament. I hope that Parliament will be instrumental in formulating a programme to establish a tariff policy in Australia that is based on sound economic principles, with an appreciation of the problems caused by current demands on the rapidly expanding full employment economy and with a much greater appreciation of the wider issues involved than has been evident in recent years.


– In a Budget debate one can cast one’s net over a wide field. That being so, I take the first opportunity I have had since the sad events in Czechoslovakia one week ago to pay my tribute to the gallant Czech people and their Government. I trust that their undoubted courage and determination will prevail in these very difficult days through which they are going. Ever since I have been a member of this House I have believed that members of Parliament should endeavour to maintain good relations with, and develop understanding with, all the nations with which Australia has diplomatic relations. Accordingly, I am one of those who believe that there has been a positive trend in Soviet foreign policy over a period of time. I hope that the happenings of the past week are an aberration and an exception rather than the rule.

I support: the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in his speech on the Budget. It states:

That all words after ‘That’, be omitted with a view lo inserting the following words in place thereof: this House is of opinion that the Budget is inadequate in that it does not make provision -

to lighten taxes and health COM. for families and to increase benefits for them,

In plan defence procurement and expenditure,

to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities, and

to retain control and promote development of Australia’s mineral, fuel, land and marine resources.

I would like to discuss the amendment against the background of the claims made by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) and other honourable members opposite. An attempt has been made to make some political capital out of that portion of the amendment that seeks provision to meet the problems of Australia’s capital and provincial cities. I notice that members of the Australian Country Party have tried to draw the conclusion that in this section of the amendment the Australian Labor Party is turning its back on the people in rural areas. At this stage of the game I would like to give the lie to any such suggestion. The ALP believes in the well being of all sections of the Australian community. It recognises that there are substantial needs in road construction and in other fields in the capital cities, in the provincial cities and, indeed, in all the small towns in rural areas throughout Australia. I propose to discuss the Budget against the background of the Treasurer’s claim that it is a social welfare Budget. The Treasurer said:

Indeed I believe it will be clearly seen that the Government has placed the objective of helping the aged, the sick, and the needy in the forefront of its domestic programme. 1 do not think that the Government’s claims are borne out by the figures contained in the Budget papers. Page 3 of Statement No. 1 indicates that in the year ahead it is estimated that expenditure will increase as follows: Defence Services by 9%; payments to or for the States and State works and housing programmes by 7%; social services and repatriation benefits by 8%; Commonwealth payments to industry, principally primary industry, by 21%; departmental running costs by 7%; and external economic aid, including Papua and New Guinea by 14%. The estimated increase of 8% in benefits is just marginally ahead of the increase in the running cost of the Government. At page 5 of the document entitled National Income and Expenditure 1967-68’ the increase in the gross national product for 1967-68 is shown as 4%, compared with a 6% increase in the previous year. Wages, salaries and supplements are also shown in that document as increasing by 8.3% in 1967-68 compared with 8.7% in 1966-67. We all know that the slight decrease has been caused by the effects of the drought experienced in that year. Therefore, an 8% increase in social welfare expenditure will not keep pace with the increased earnings in all other sections of the community. 1 suggest to the House that when one claims to have made great advances in fields like social welfare it is not merely necessary to do an exercise in figures; it is necessary to show also that the increase being given will keep pace with the increased wages and salaries, the increased prosperity and the increased welfare of all other sections of the community. If 1 might make some comparisons, the income of trading companies increased by 11% in 1966-67 compared with 8% in the previous year, whereas on the other side of the picture we see that company taxes increased by 2.5c in the Si. In other words, company income increased from S2.200m to $2,437m for the year just gone, an increase of S237m, but the revenue from them will increase by S60m in a full year and will be substantially less in the current financial year.

I believe that this is a Budget which has as its only purpose the keeping open of options for a possible early election but not otherwise to rock the boat by risking inflation or disturbing the supporters of laissez-faire economic policies and, therefore, supporters of the Government. I propose to speak principally on the social welfare aspects of the Budget, but before doing so 1 wish to say that J consider that the Government should give earnest consideration to developing ways and means of determining the areas of greatest need, rather than leaving pensioners and others at the mercy of political considerations. I believe that if we took account of the increase made in the pension and other social service payments over the entire period that this Government has been in office we would find that there has been a curious coincidence between the increases and election years : or near election years. Indeed, if one were of a mind to believe these things, as 1 believe them, one would say that any increases in social welfare made by the Government had been motivated by the ballot box rather than the wellbeing of the people concerned.

For example, in my speech on the Budget last year 1 drew attention to the rates of sickness and unemployment benefits. At that time the amount was $8.25, and it is still unchanged. In answer to a question this week I was told that the number of people registered for employment was shown as 61,000. In the Budget the anticipated expenditure on sickness and unemployment benefits will fall from $18,832,000 to $18,400,000, a drop of $432,000. We would all be happy to know that there will be a lesser number of people in Australia unemployed in the year ahead and we hope that the Government’s predictions in this matter arc correct. However, I believe that the reasons why other forms of social service payments and pensions were increased and why the unemployment and sickness benefit was not increased was the small numbers involved and the limited effect on the ballot box. it is a shocking thing to ask people to live on $8.25 a week. The last increase which was made was, if 1 recall correctly, given in February 1962 at a time when the rate of unemployment in this country had very recently shown a substantial effect on the ballot box. I refer to the 1961 election when the Government very nearly went out of office. Not only is the amount of S8.25 for an adult too small but there are great anomalies in amounts payable to persons aged 16 years or over. They receive S3.50 a week. Persons between the age of 18 and 21 years receive $4.75 a week. I believe that this very modest payment takes into account the belief that young people of this age will be living at home with their parents who will be substantially able to support them. It does not take into account the fact that they may have left home or may be orphans or may be young people whose fathers have passed away. The mother may be an invalid pensioner, in which case these young people are in very dire straits. I believe that because of the small numbers involved and their limited effect on the ballot box no attention has been given to the unemployment and sickness benefit in this Budget.

I would like to see the Commonwealth establish an institute for research into social welfare at one of the universities. It could be similar to the Institute of Applied Economic Research at the University of Melbourne or other similar organisations throughout Australia. I believe that the Commonwealth should finance a programme of research into social services, health, housing, education and, indeed, any matter which is involved in the quality of Australian life. There are precedents for this. A programme of this kind should be financed by Commonwealth money. We all know that the Commonwealth provides a great deal of assistance for research in some other fields, including this one, throughout the Australian community and the universities. I believe that such an institute should use the resources of the universities and voluntary organisations to find out where the greatest areas of need are.

A problem which has existed for some time, which exists now, and which will always remain is where to spend the $1 in the area of greatest need. We all know that the Department of Social Services and other government departments accumulate records over a period of time, but the knowledge (hat they obtain is not publicly available. No reports are published which give this information to members of Parliament and the public, and the people who may be needing assistance are left again to the political hazards of this Parliament. If 1 may cite some examples, 1 recall that previous Ministers for Social Services have said in the Parliament that they did not think this was an avenue for the Government and welcomed some of the surveys made by private organisations. A number of surveys have been made in Australia. 1 mentioned one made by the Institute of Applied Economic Research into poverty in Melbourne, but there have also been specialised surveys in other areas, such as those conducted by Robb and Rivett in Marrickville, the Red Cross in Sydney, Jean Aitken-Swan on widows with dependent children in New South Wales, and Appleyard on housing needs of migrant families. My belief is that the Government should finance at one of the Australian universities an institute of research into social welfare in order that proper programmes of research may be undertaken, the knowledge made public and this Parliament given an independent yardstick, apart from the information available on the Government side of the House through its departments. This would enable us to determine whether the people in the community who are in needy circumstances are being properly catered for.

I now wish to refer fairly briefly to the question of health, but before doing so I should like to say that although I have pointed out some deficiencies in the system in making social service payment increases, we on this side of the House welcome the increases which have been made, lt is a great pity that the Government does not programme for increases of this kind perhaps year by year so that the pension and other payments can be built up to a more acceptable rate than they are at present. On the matter of health I would ike I to express my appreciation for the concessions given in the Budget to widows for the period of 12 weeks immediately after the death of their husband in order that they may enjoy the benefit of the married rate pension. I appreciate also the removal of the qualification period of 1 year from widows who have come to Australia and have shown that they intend permanently to reside in Australia. These are useful steps forward. However, there are a number of other fields of health to which I should like to see some attention given.

  1. think we all welcome the increase to $3 a day for intensive care patients in nursing homes, but the anomaly still exists that the subsidy of $2 a day for all other patients has remained unaltered for many years. According to my information the subsidy was last altered in December 1962, but 1 have a feeling that the rate of $2 may go back earlier than that. I am one of those people who always welcome assistance to local nursing homes and particularly the small suburban convalescent homes. I believe that it is very important for old people who believe that they are becoming too much of a burden for their family or need nursing rather than merely care at home to be able to go into some local home rather than into some much larger institution which might be a considerable distance from where their families and friends reside. At present, assistance is given through the Aged Persons Homes Act. Churches and charitable organisations are able to build much larger homes and to operate them on a much sounder economic basis while the small suburban convalescent homes are forced out of action or are being forced to operate on very small returns. Indeed, there is great need for an increase in the subsidy for the general rate patient. I wait with some interest to see the definition of intensive care and how it will be applied to patients, particularly in the convalescent homes in the Brisbane division, because in the electorate that I have the honour to represent there are a great number of people in convalescent homes. A lot of other aspects of convalescent homes leave a lot to be desired.

Elderly people in convalescent homes sometimes decide to get married. The result is that the pension payable to them is reduced to the married rate and, unless their families are able to support them or unless the convalescent home can make concessions by way of reduced fees, the home may be forced to turn them out to live in a flat or some other institution where they might not be cared for as they have been. This is a field of activity that should be looked at but not through the eyes of a government department. I am not attacking the govern ment departments; but the information supplied by departments is available to Ministers and the Government but is not available to the public or members of the Opposition. In fields such as health a proper programme of research paid for by the Commonwealth should be undertaken by the universities. Independent research would, I believe, show the areas of need much better than we know them today. 1 welcome the increased involvement in the field of education. This year the Budget provides for an expenditure of $27m over a 3-year period - presumably $9m per annum - to provide libraries for secondary schools. The section of the Treasurer’s speech which refers to the provision of libraries for secondary schools also mentions the successful programme for providing science laboratories. Every member of the House, certainly every member of the Opposition, welcomes the increased Commonwealth involvement in education. Indeed, it is part of the policy of the Australian Labor Party, if elected to office, to hold a full and comprehensive inquiry into primary, secondary and technical education and teacher training similar to the investigations carried out by the Australian Universities Commission so that we can place money where the need is greatest. Although the Government’s present proposal may be welcome, it is certainly just another case of the Commonwealth not facing up to the realities and of merely playing with education.

I have been to some very fine science laboratories in the metropolitan area of Brisbane where science facilities are provided for four or six teachers. However, in such schools there is sometimes only one trained science teacher. It is not of much use providing fine buildings and equipment if these schools do not have properly trained science teachers to operate those facilities. I know the Government regards this as a State matter. But surely any government that was sincere about wanting to improve education would see that coordination took place. However, I believe people will welcome this gesture because, by and large, library facilities in our universities and secondary and primary schools are a disgrace. The present arrangements are not resulting in the money being put where the need is greatest. Once again the Commonwealth has failed to respond ta pressures from this side of the House, churches and other sections of the community, and I expect from back bench members on the other side of the House. The Commonwealth has felt that it had to make a further gesture to increase Commonwealth involvement in education. But I will be surprised if any person well informed in the field of education regards this as being the best way in which the Commonwealth could become further involved.

As one member on this side of the House who has taken some interest in Aboriginal affairs, I welcome the fact that for the first time we have SI Om allocated for the well being of Aboriginals throughout Australia. We do not have much information on the way this money is to be spent. A lot will depend on this. When we consider the large number of Aboriginals there are in Australia, we realise that this field has been neglected for many years. It has been completely neglected by the Commonwealth because until recently it has not sought to amend the Constitution since the days of the Chifley Government. Expenditure on Aboriginals has been limited also by the financial resources of the States. I hope that the Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Wentworth) will keep the Parliament apprised of how the money allocated in the Budget will be spent. It seems to me that this amount is small. I suppose one should be thankful for small mercies. But at least it is a step in the right direction.

I hope that as far as possible this money will be disbursed through Commonwealth departments rather than through State Aboriginal welfare departments and the like. If we are going to give Aboriginals the opportunity to be assimilated in our community or to be integrated within their own communities, which I believe should be the case, we should not encourage them to be dependent on the State Aboriginal welfare departments. I am not saying this to reflect on these departments, which in some ways do good work but which in other ways adopt a paternalistic and possessive attitude thinking they own the Aboriginals rather than that the Aboriginals own them.

I do not propose to keep the House any longer except to say that I have listened to a number of budgets in this Parliament.

None of them has been very spectacular. Most of them have just jogged along. None has explored new avenues of welfare and none has distributed among the whole Australian community the prosperity that exists among smaller sections of the community. This is the Budget of a government that has been in office for too long; which has run out of steam; which has sought not to rock the boat but to take a minimum return in increased company taxation to make small concessions to pensioners and others. It is keeping the options open for a possible election this year and a certain election next year. The Budget has provided for some welcome steps forward but by and large it will be very disappointing to the Australian community. The House should carry the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition and condemn this most unsatisfactory document.

Northern Territory

– I notice that the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) mentioned relations with Czechoslovakia. Before I commence my speech on the Budget I would like to say just briefly that I flew with some very gallant Czechs and as a result of having fought with them in other skies I cannot do other than grieve deeply at their plight and pray, as I know they do, for those who still live in their homeland.

I must say that generally the Budget has been received favourably throughout the country. Of course, there are some who are not satisfied. There are some who never will be satisfied and some who cannot afford to be. Naturally I speak of the Opposition. But I think the man in the street expected an increase in direct taxation to pay for the increases in social service payments and benefits. The man in the street was agreeably surprised when this did art occur. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), in his amendment, which I reject wholeheartedly, said that the Budget failed to plan defence procurement and expenditure. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has stated in this chamber repeatedly that a defence review is currently taking place and that he will make a statement about it later in this session. Therefore, this section of the amendment is an obvious piece of band-wagoning. Speaking to paragraph (c) of his amendment, the Leader of the Opposition made much of the lack of roads, railways and sewerage. He specifically mentioned sewerage and spent some time on this subject. Let me read from the ‘Civil Works Programme 1968-69’. It gives details of the following works:

Darwin - connection of sewerage to hospital; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $54,330.

Darwin - Rapid Creek sub-division - Construction of sewerage, roads and drainage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $715,886.

Darwin - Kahlin Oval sub-division - Construction of roads, drainage and sewerage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $232,379.

Darwin - Bagot Reserve sub-division - Contruction of roads, drainage and severage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $413,723.

Darwin - Casuarina sub-division - Construction of roads, drainage and sewerage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $961,265.

Yet the Leader of the Opposition said that nothing was being spent on sewerage. The list continues:

Darwin - Escarpment sub-division - Construction of roads, drainage, sewerage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $287,792; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $52,313.

He said nothing was being spent on sewerage in the towns and cities. Did he not look at this document? It continues:

Darwin - Alawa sub-division (stage 2) - Construction of roads, drainage, sewerage and provision of water supply; amount authorised, $1,044,059; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $811,504; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $232,555.

Darwin - Jingili sub-division - Construction of roads, drainage and sewerage and provision of water supply; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $229,630; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $786,301.

Darwin - Ludmilla Creek sub-division - Construction of roads, drainage and sewerage and provision of water supply and associated services; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $429,984.

There are plenty of items here and I will’ continue with them because I think they should be on record. The Leader of the Opposition said that nothing was being done, but this list goes on:

Alice Springs - Construction of sewerage scheme (stages 4 and 5); expenditure to 30th June 1968, $153,521; to be spent after 30th June 1968. $37,864.

Alice Springs - Connection of sewerage to eighty-nine houses; expenditure to 30ih June 1968, $39,328.

Maningrida - Welfare Settlement - Erection of three ablution - latrine - laundry blocks; amount authorised, $62,871.

Hooker Creek - Welfare Settlement - Sewerage disposal and water chlorination; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $40,468; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $51,463.

Delissaville - Welfare Settlement - Erection of dining-kitchen block, ablution - latrine block and associated services; amount authorised, $120,856; expenditure to 30th June 1968, $19,642; to be spent after 30th June 1968, $101,214.

Darwin - Gardens Hill area (Palmerston Park) - Extensions to sewerage and erection of pump station, $80,000.

Darwin - Nightcliff - Provision of water supply and sewerage for private sub-division, $210,000.

Alice Springs- Construction of sewage treatment ponds (stage 2), $1 15,000.

The Leader of the Opposition took nearly as long as 1 have just taken saying that nothing was being done. The statements of the Leader of the Opposition can be refuted by facts such as I have given. As usual, his statements are not backed by the facts and 1 suggest his other arguments are similarly lacking in truthful backing. The Prime Minister made this point when speaking in the House last night.

I come back to the Budget. Provision is made for an increase of 13.8% in Government expenditure in the Northern Territory. This expenditure is now in the vicinity of $40m in addition to the cost of beef roads, which amounts to $8,585,000. Under this Government the Territory is having one of its most exciting and progressive times. This is shown by the figures. The value of buildings in the Northern Territory in the first half of this year amounted to $20.4m, which is more than the total for the whole of last year. Savings bank deposits this year were nearly double what they were 5 years ago. Motor vehicle registrations rose steadily to 17,865 in December 1967. They rose by 2,100 in 12 months. The port of Darwin saw its exports doubled since 1966. The figure for 1967-68 was 282,000 tons valued at $1 5.6m.

The drought bond scheme, which is mentioned in the Budget, is very welcome indeed. It should spell new hope for families that have been battling in the outback for years. I hope that under this scheme pastoralists will be able to insure against crippling droughts and devastating bush fires. They should be able to release their losses by purchasing stock. After the last drought these men had to breed up their herds laboriously again. This scheme will encourage self help and self reliance, as the Governor-General said in his address and as the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) repeated in his Budget speech. Most of the north is enjoying an excellent season, so the more quickly use can be made of this scheme the better it will be for the economy. It should be a self-servicing drought relief scheme. 1 ask that, when these drought bonds are implemented, too strict a limitation will not be placed on the amount at any one time. For instance, an owner who started the dry time with the equivalent of $150,000 in the bank, an unencumbered property and a herd, finished the period with about the same amount in the red and a bare minimum of breeders. He lacked neither the ability nor the will to work. He would have worked about 16 hours a day on his property as I did on mine. Men such as these should be allowed to provide for the future when conditions permit them to do so. They are the men who continue to push back the frontiers of our vast country. Men such as the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), who is interjecting, do not.

I want to deal now with roads. Because of the shortened time for the debate, I shall leave the question of pastoral, access and town roads until we are debating the Estimates. Bui may I say briefly that the beef roads programme is contributing immensely to the development of the north. I shall mention only two roads. The Stuart Highway, which is a vital lifeline between Alice Springs and Darwin, is falling to pieces and is urgently in need of upgrading. The other road runs from Alice Springs to Port Augusta, lt is another road of great national import. At present it is closed south of Kulgera, close to the border with South Australia. This was caused by rain during the weekend and about 26th and 27th August. Trucks are again bogged and tourism is at a standstill. The tourist industry and transport arc disrupted, not by great floods but by steady, soaking, normal rains. Buses loaded with people are bogged at Ayers Rock. Five aeroplanes arc bogged on the airstrip and the airstrip has been out of commission for some considerable time.

The Alice Springs-Port Augusta Road Development Organisation, known as ASPARDO, has been working hard for the past 5 years to have this road sealed.

Correspondence giving a negative reply to representations has been received from several Commonwealth Ministers and from at least two Premiers of South Australia who held office before the present Government came to power. Many of the South Australian Ministers have given similar replies. Now the present South Australian Minister for Roads, Mr Murray Hill, has come out in support of ASPARDO and recognises the urgent need to carry out work on this road. So I hope something will be done.

The North Australian Railway has been upgraded at a cost of about $2m. It now is carrying FIMCO iron ore for export and cattle for the Darwin meatworks. While speaking of this railway line, may I put in a plea for a speedy turn round of the new passenger coach between Katherine and Darwin. But the Alice Springs to Port Augusta railway is an entirely different proposition. After some very indifferent performances during the past good seasons in the north this line has proved to be an uneconomic proposition. The reason for the high cost of maintenance on the line is the ancient bridging and inadequate track. ( entreat the Government, as I have done on numerous other occasions - and I have been very ably supported by the honourable member for Grey (Mr Jessop) - to heed our presented case for a new standard track from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. This line may well be out of action now as a result of rain which has fallen since the weekend. 1 turn now to the Port of Darwin. Despite the slow turn round of ships in the port, over $ 1 5.5m worth of export cargo passed through it this year. As I said before, in 1967, 282,000 tons passed through the port. The Government which has erected a stacker-reclaimer and an ore jetty at the port is greatly assisting in boosting the export trade through the port. We must not allow the port to burst at the seams. I referred to this matter last year. There is much at stake. A great deal of the development of the north is being drastically slowed up. The whole Territory’s population is being made to suffer hardship. The port of Darwin has its problems. I refer to the lack of manoeuvreability and space, heat on the wharves, poor gear on some of the ships visiting the port and other stevedoring problems. Last week the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair) in answer to a question asked in this House stated:

In the long term perspective it is necessary, with increased volumes of goods being shipped out of and into Darwin, for the standard of port facilities to be continually improved. It is into this phase that an inquiry is being made amongst the relevant departments within the Commonwealth Government, each of which has some responsibility for the upgrading of the port.

The Minister went on to say that there was another problem confronting the port. Then he said: lt is one which the people of the Northern Territory themselves can help to alleviate by directing the attention of those who are unnecessarily causing industrial unrest on the waterfront to the cost impost that they are producing for all the other people in the Darwin community.

So, to sum up the problems on the Darwin wharves, we must have new wharf facilities and we Territorians must remove the Communist domination on the Darwin waterfront.

The superphosphate bounty will be increased from $6 to $8 per ton of standard superphosphate. The weight of approved compounds of trace elements incorporated in superphosphate will receive bounty at the same rate as the superphosphate. This has been done to encourage greater use of superphosphate as a means of increasing production for export. Sales of superphosphate expanded rapidly from 2.8 million tons in 1962-63 to 4.2 million tons in 1965-66. This bounty should provide the incentive to bring the superphosphate industry to Darwin.

I turn now to pensions. Pensions are fixed incomes. The Budget has provided for increases in both age and Service pensions. Hospital benefits have been increased and additional assistance has been provided for home nursing services. I repeat that pensions are fixed incomes. When you move 1,000 to 2,000 miles from here things cost more and money does not go so far. This is elementary. Supplies are liable to run short. The benefit of an increase in pensions is whittled away, but there is no taxation zone allowance for people trying to live on the pension. There is a strong case for the provision of a northern differential to equalise this fixed income with those in the south. This comment also applies to war service home loans and to homes savings grants. It must be remembered that one-third of the cost of a home in the north goes in freight. So my previous argument applies to these questions as well.

I commend the Government on the proposal to establish an Aboriginal trust fund. Admittedly the Government is spending $7m on Aboriginal1 affairs in the Northern Territory, but of the $10m which is to be spent as a result of this Budget, $5m will be in the form of non-repayable grants. I gather from the breakdown of this figure that the Northern Territory can expect to receive Sim for special projects, some in respect of individuals and some in respect of community efforts. So we should now see Tim Jabangardi and his miners at Yuendumu, who have been amassing a supply of copper over the years, get their copper show going. They are in need of this sort of assistance. There are many other such ventures. There is a tourist venture at Jay Creek and there are various cattle ventures at Hermannsburg. This assistance will be of great benefit to Aboriginals. For those who doubt what I have been saying I say to them: Come to the Territory. In the last minute or so before I close I would like to read an article from the ‘Northern Territory News’ of 25th June 1968. I think most honourable members would know that this newspaper does not always support this Government. The article states:

A dangerous new game seems to have been developed in which the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal problem’ is the football. Not New South Wales’ or West Australia’s, or Queensland’s Aboriginal problem . . . just the Northern Territory’s. The players are an assorted bag of characters including some quite notable identities, egged on from the sidelines by political agitators, professional do-gooders and a gaggle of illinformed if well-intentioned folk who appear to have become suddenly conscious-stricken at a most inappropriate time. The game could be called Stirremup’.

Further on it states:

It’s difficult to know whether these gentlemen and many others like them are just bandwagoning at a time when the national conscience has been aroused, and Government agencies are well advanced with education programmes and legislation aimed at bringing some measure of equal rights to the Aboriginal peoples of this part of Australia, or whether they sincerely believe they are giving impetus to the cause.

Further on it stales:

They ignore the costly and progressive education programmes that Welfare Branch in the Territory has built up over a number of years until there are now over 5,000 Aboriginal children at schools. They ignore the legislation already introduced aimed at wiping out all discriminatory laws. They ignore the fact that in matters affecting Aboriginal rights and welfare, the Northern Territory is a long way ahead of any of the States.

It concludes as follows:

The players of this game will better serve the people they claim to wish to help, by putting away their bats and scoresheets. They should learn a little more about what has been, and is being attempted by the people in a position to really do something, and then come up with some really practical ideas, on employment for instance, if they have any.

That article was written by the editor of the newspaper. He has lived in the Territory for years. I say again to those who have any doubt about what T have been saying: Come to the Territory, as the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) has done on four occasions since taking the portfolio and as the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) will shortly be doing for the second time since June this year. The future of Australia is in the north.


– Tonight the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) has listed a long programme of sewerage and other works which are to be carried out by the Government in his electorate. I would have thought that the honourable member might have refrained from exposing the Government for its lack of interest in the Territory over a period of 19 years. It has ‘taken the Government 19 years to recognise the need for the work to be done. I believe that this is an indictment of the Government’s maladministration over a long period.

Mr Nixon:

– You are just against progress.


– This is progress, but it is very late. Despite the plaudits the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) has received from bis own colleagues and the acclaim of the Press barons for the 1968-69 Budget, which has generally been praised as being a welfare Budget, I find myself in complete disagreement with the sentiments expressed. I support the amendment moved by my Leader, which I think highlights the Budget’s deficiencies to the letter. I believe that students of finance and all fair-minded people will condemn the Budget for what it is - a crafty, cruel and harsh document, void of compassion, conceived and designed to deceive in particular those people who have to rely on it to eke out an existence. It cons all of us into believing that pensioners are living to a standard much higher than they really are. The truth of the matter is that everybody in the lower income bracket, including the pensioner, is having his standard of living systematically reduced. I only hope that the kissing episode, in which the Treasurer appeared to be keep to participate between himself and some women pensioners on the morning of Tuesday, 1 3th August, will not be taken as a licence by him further to reduce the pensioners’ base standard of living as he has done in I his Budget. It is morally wrong for the Government to give with one hand and to take back with the other, as the Treasurer nas done in this Budget, in the form of sales tax increases on the consumer goods which are used by every man, woman and child in Australia. After the presentation of the Budget it was most noticeable that the Treasurer was being snubbed by even those who earlier had been keen to kiss him.

It has been said in the lobbies that the Budget is an election Budget and that an election will be held before the end of (he year. All I can say is that if an election is held this year it will have been put on before the people who live on fixed incomes feel the adverse effect of increased living costs which must surely follow increases in sales tax and rising costs of living as a result of further wage increases the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission is obliged to grant to workers in industry. The Government Statistician has already revealed that in the June quarter of this year average weekly wages rose by $4 to $65.90 a week. In the circumstances the Opposition will welcome an early election, if only for the purpose of ascertaining the extent of the Treasurer’s popularity and seeing whether the people are really satisfied with the Government’s handling of the national economy, especially in the light of increased taxation at a time when the nation’s resources are bursting at their seams and are crying out to be used. In every Budget that the Government has been responsible for, Treasurer after Treasurer has stressed and has continually instilled into the minds of the people the fear that inflation is lurking around some corner or other. This Budget is no exception because it contains a veiled threat or two as to what could occur should the economy become unbalanced. I am sure that this wishful thinking is only being indulged in to keep a Labor Government out of office, just as for years the Prime Minister of the day and members of the Government canvassed the Communist bogy at election after election.

In my view much of the material contained in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech could have been eliminated for it does not make sense to thousands and thousands of people who listened to it. In fact, over the past few years the Budget has been presented to the Parliament in a different form each year. It is becoming much more complicated for members to understand in the time available to them between its presentation and the ensuing debate. The movement of funds through accounting procedures somewhat intrigues me. For instance, in statement No. 2 attached to the Budget, dealing with the estimates of expenditures for 1968-69, one sees the letter (a) beside several of the items. Those items relate to the movement of thousands of millions of dollars; so I do not suppose they are very important after all. However, underneath the figures this explanation appears:

  1. Some of the figures for 1966-67 and ‘1967-68 have been adjusted for accounting changes to place them on a basis comparable with the estimates for 1968-69.

That is all we are told. The amount of money involved is not revealed. But if one looks at the 1967-68 Budget, particularly tables 1 and 2 which contain a summary of Commonwealth receipts and expenditures for the years 1953-54 to 1966-67, an explanatory note of the movement of the funds I have been referring to will be found. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the two tables in Hansard so that my speech will become a little more intelligent to those who study the figures and so that the business of financing the Government may remain continually within the public gaze. They are as follows:

Tables setting out the composition of the various items of expenditure and notes on the main variations follow. The movement of the funds is of considerable importance to the community, especially in the light of the Government's fiscal policy pursuant to which it has budgeted for huge deficits in almost every year of its existence by the use of the Loan Fund in one form or another. In the past 15 years the Government has used more than §3. 500m of Loan Fund finance to keep itself in office. Yet when the Opposition tells the people it will use the same means of finance to give effect to its policy of cheaper money for national road programmes, to finance local government, for home building, a national health service, increased social services and repatriation benefits, etc., the Press barons and members of the Government cry: 'From where will the finance come to implement these promises?' A week or two ago the Treasurer was credited with saying in a television interview that the Government was considering a reduction in pay as you earn taxation for people in the $1,000 to $ 0,000 income group. That, of course, was just another of the Treasurer's gimmicks. But should income tax be reduced, I ask whether the Treasurer intends to use increased bank loans to finance the proposition or to increase indirect taxation, as he is doing in this Budget, to offset the increased benefits he has given to pensioners. Already in the Australian Capital Territory pensioners' rents are being increased by 41c for married tenants and 20c for single pensioners. One thing is certain: It is that the Government will not be able to repeat next year the type of Budget the Treasurer has brought down this year and get away with it. Another interesting feature about this year's Budget that the Treasurer appears to have hidden and about which he has had nothing to say is the amount of money he will take from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to place in the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve to meet the debt of more than $345m which will be needed to pay for the Fill aircraft, including spare parts. From my reading of the defence vote, an amount of $1,069,884,000 has already been made available by the Appropriation Bill No. 1 1968-69 whereas the Budget asks for an appropriation of $1,217,160,000 for the total defence vote. Notes on the Budget show that it is anticipated that a debt of approximately $345m will have to be met for the purchase of the Fill aircraft. If those figures are anywhere near correct $197,767,000 will have to be appropriated from consolidated revenue to the investment reserve. At present the Estimates make no such provision, as will be seen from a perusal of Division No. 554. Does this mean that there will be a further increase in the defence vote for 1968-69? If not, where will the $50,491,000 needed io balance the accounts for the payment of the Fill aircraft come from? I object to the Parliament's not being informed in a proper way of how much will have to oe appropriated from revenue to meet the cost of the Fill. Honourable members should not have to browse through the papers in order to inform themselves on this subject. I would like to know whether the Australian people are receiving value for the vast amount of money being spent on defence. I do not think they are. Since 1953-54 the defence vote has increased almost fourfold, although officially the nation has not been at war. In the same period the vote for national welfare payments has increased to a similar extent. This year the vote for defence purposes is $1,217,160,000, which is an increase ov:r last year of $111,726,000. The vote for the National Welfare Fund is $1,160,512,000, which is an increase over last year of $85,463,000. Of course, the great different is that the national welfare vote is divided among twenty-two different categories of social welfare services and comes entirely out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, whereas the defence vote is heavily subsidised from the Loan Fund, the amount charged to the Loan Fund in 1967-68 being S329m. This year the amount charged '.o the Loan Fund could be of any order, because the Treasurer has said that he will introduce a Loan Bill, which will mean, tn effect, giving a blank cheque to the Gove; nment for defence borrowing in 1968-69. Evidence of the Government's intention in this regard may be found in the Budget documents. In view of the efforts of the Prime Minister and the Treasurer to impress the Australian public that they have great concern for the requirements of the sick, the needy, the poor, the aged and the invalid and that this Budget has been designed to help those unable to help themselves, pensioners should remember the old motto: Actions speak louder than words, in my opinion the Government's claim amounts to nothing more than another gimmick, as a perusal of taxation statistics will show. The Government bleeds taxes from everybody, down to and including the kids earning a paltry $416 a year. I remind the House that under a Labor Government married taxpayers earning the basic wage were not required to pay income tax. Taxation statistics show that today about two million taxpayers are earning less than $36 a week. After the Government takes its chop out of such earnings in the form of payasyouearn income tax and increased sales tax on such items as ice cream, confectionery, school requisites, detergents, soaps, stationery and sports goods it will be seen that the Treasurer's concern for the underdog emerges in the form of concern for profit. Is it any wonder that his dear old pensioner friends did not offer to kiss him after he had delivered his Budget Speech? ls it not a fact that pensioners have to shop in the same shops as millionaires frequent? Will somebody tell me why Loan Fund finance cannot be provided to finance substantial increases in all classes of social welfare payments, including unemployment and sickness benefits? Will somebody tell me why earlier this year farmers in Queensland were allowed to bury their banana and pineapple crops while large numbers of people were too poor to purchase fruit? Are we to believe that it is proper to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of Loan Fund finance in the purchase of Mirage or Fill aircraft, motor vehicles and ships for defence and write off the loss by the cancellation of Treasury bills when they crash, while at the same time allowing production to rot on the farms for lack of finance? This is what we seem to be doing. If the small people of this country allow their Government to continue with its present system of financing they will deserve all that is handed out to them by way of depleted pensions, the value of which will be reduced considerably in the next few months by the increased cost of the commodities to which I have referred, which will be brought about by the increase of 2±% in sales tax. Every householder has to buy ice cream, confectionery, soaps, detergents, soft drinks and stationery, all of which will increase in price because of increased sales tax. Recently the honourable member for Gellibrand and I saw beautiful pineapples growing on farms in Queensland. Because the bottom had fallen out of the pineapple market the fruit was rotting on the ground while shopkeepers in New South Wales and elsewhere were charging more than 20c each for pineapples. At some farms pineapples were offered for sale at as low as $1 a case, with no buyers. Does anybody mean to tell me that some Loan Fund Finance could not have been made available to enable marketing authorities to send that fruit to the cities and towns where it could have been distributed amongst sick pensioners and other needy members of the community, if not sold in the markets? Pensioners may rest assured that there is every possibility of costs further increasing in the next few months due to increases in wages as other cost factors are passed on. Notwithstanding the Prime Minister's announcement earlier this year that a committee of Cabinet would be appointed to make a comprehensive examination of existing health and social welfare schemes, the provision in this Budget for social services leaves much to be desired. It is clear beyond doubt that the Government is intent on playing pensioner against pensioner in its quest for the political support of pensioners, because we see an ever-widening gap in the types of social service benefits payable, whether they be rates of pension, health benefits or funeral benefits. In my view nothing has been done to eliminate the many anomalies which exist in the Social Services Act and the Repatriation Act. The Government steadfastly refuses to give full effect to its legislation. There is more resentment in the community now over entitlement to pensions and other benefits than at any other time. A perusal of the Budget papers will show that unemployment and sickness benefits have not been increased for more than 6 years. Can any honourable member imagine the humiliation suffered by a married man with a wife and children who is forced to live on about $17 a week? A single person in receipt of unemployment or sickness benefit receives only $8.25 a week, whilst a single minor receives between $3.50 and $4.75 a week, according to age. I know of case after case of unemployed persons having their unemployment benefit cancelled simply because they had not been able to comply with the regulations laid down by the Department of Labour and National Service and had not been able to submit work returns- or to satisfy the Department that they have been genuinely seeking work. How can a married person be expected to search for work in cities and at places of industry while living 6 to 20 miles or more from potential places of employment and receiving an income of only $8.25 a week? The fare aspect alone rules out any hope of such people obtaining employment. Once again, I say to the Government that fares or travel warrants will have to be provided for all unemployed persons to enable them properly to search for work. The official figures give the number of unemployed at 1st August as 61,000, but there are hundreds of others who are not registered for work, simply because departmental officers refuse to believe that they want work. In my view, every person who is unemployed or ill should be in receipt of some benefit, regardless of the circumstances responsible for his situation. The Government's claim that this is a welfare Budget is hooey. Even Government supporters accept the fact that only 54% of the people who are qualified by age receive an age pension. No-one as yet has been able to determine the number or percentage of men and women who, because of ill health or for some other reason, are virtually unemployable and are not receiving any government social service benefit. People who fall into this category are widows under 50 without children, widows who are under 45 when the youngest child turns 16, and persons who are classified as being approximately 50% to 84% incapacitated, as well as de facto and former de facto wives. The treatment handed out to these people is indeed shocking, for it virtually compells them to perform acts of dishonesty and depravity foreign to Christian ideals. I. ask: Is there one member of this House who would himself employ any man or woman from whom he could expect Io receive only a 20% or 50% working effort? It is people such as these who are virtually starving in our community today and who are without medical services simply because they have not the money to pay for the service they need. If the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** is honest in his prediction thai Australia will become a welfare state, why does he not immediately take the first step towards that end by making section 124 of the Social Services Act really work? This Government's continued widening of the gap between the standard rate pension for single persons and the rate for married couples is somewhat alarming because, in the final analysis, by adopting this approach, the Government is impoverishing the married base rate pensioner, as can be seen in whatever comparisons one chooses to make. The single rate pension, inclusive of the supplementary allowance, will shortly be SI6 a week, and the rate for married couples will give them a total of S25 a week. Already the Government has announced rent increases for pensioners occupying government homes. I hate to think how much rent married pensioners renting privately owned homes are being asked to pay today. Married pensioners occupying their own homes are even worse off. In addition to having to meet maintenance and insurance costs, they are required to pay land and water rates, which alone come to a minimum of more than S2 a week. Added to these expenses is the cost of light and fuel. All these costs must be met out of an income of $25 a week. To illustrate the extent to which some base rate pensioner couples become impoverished, let me mention a case that came to my notice recently. The couple concerned were aged 48 and 49 years respectively, and they occupied a Housing Commission home. When the husband died a few weeks ago, it was found that he and his wife had at least six cash loans outstanding to five different finance companies. At the date of his death, the balance owing on the loans was $768. The fortnightly payments came to $41 leaving the couple S6 a fortnight on which to live and pay their rent. Details of the loans were: I am aware, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that some honourable members will say: "What of it? These people are masters of their own affairs and are responsible for what they do.' But I wonder whether such people really understand the consequences of their own actions. I believe that in their hunger and ignorance they become caught up with unscrupulous high pressure canvassers for finance companies v/ho pitch all sorts of yarns to snare the ignorant into a trap from which there is no escape. I consider that this Parliament should, by legislation, protect such people against companies of the kind that T have just named. Among the 46% of the people who are of pensionable age but are not pensioners are thousands of retired public servants and their wives who receive a gross income from superannuation of between $50 and $60 a week. These people are paying dearly today for the thrift and enterprise that they displayed during their working lives. Many of these couples are now much worse off than is the maximum rate pensioner couple who receive a supplementary income of $34 a fortnight in addition to the pension and who, after the proposed increase in benefits takes effect, will receive a maximum income of $84 a fortnight. If a superannuitant couple's income is reduced by the income tax paid, together with payments in respect of which pensioners receive concessions, and like amounts are added to the maximum income of the pensioner couple, a fairly accurate comparison can be made. For this purpose, let me illustrate the cases of a pensioner and a public servant each having expenses similar to those that 1 have to meet. The gross income of an age pensioner couple, after the proposed increase of $3 a fortnight becomes effective, will be $84 a fortnight, or $2,184 per annum. Add to this figure the $258 that he would be paid in tax on that income by someone not a pensioner, $46 for land rates, $78 for medical and hospital benefit fund contributions, at least $104 that the pensioner couple are saved by the pensioner medical service and free pharmaceutical service, $35 for the concession on television and radio licences, and, at a conservative estimate, $20 for fare concessions. This gives a total of $2,725 per annum. Now we turn to a superannuitant couple with thirty-four units of superannuation, giving a gross income of $3,094 a year. After allowing for concessional deductions, income tax would be equivalent to ninetwentieths of $282, making the tax $127. If we deduct also $46 for land rates, $68 for medical and pharmaceutical expenses, $78 for contributions to hospital and medical benefit funds, $35 for television and radio licences, this being the amount of the concession to pensioners, and $20 for fares, this being the equivalent of the fare concessions to pensioners, the total deductions come to $374. Deducted from the gross income of $3,094, this leaves the superannuitant couple with $2,720. So they are worse off than the maximum rate age pensioner couple. Indeed, my comparison is somewhat marginal, as numerous superannuitants would incur medical and pharmaceutical costs much heavier than those which I have taken into account. These people are living at standards foreign to them and much lower than they deserve. Tonight I appeal to the Minister for Health **(Dr Forbes)** to introduce a little realism into the administration of the Department of Health by at least examining the difficulties under which superannuitants in all classifications live with respect to payment for health services. I refer particularly to retired mine workers, whose health in the main is much worse than that of the average retired worker. Mine workers are compulsorily retired at 60 and are not entitled to an age pension until they are 65, unless they are ex-servicemen, when they may obtain it at 60. Why the Government refuses to extend entitlement to medical and hospital benefits free of charge to retired mine worker superannuitants is impossible to comprehend. I again ask the Government to review this aspect of its policy and to grant pensioner medical cards at least to all pensioners whose net income is equivalent to or below the total of the maximum age pension and associated benefits. There are some very commendable new social welfare benefits in this Budget. The Minister for Social Services is to be given all possible credit for their introduction, and it will be interesting to see how they work. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Cope)Order!** The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-28-0-s4 .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR:
Barton **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** the honourable member for Shortland **(Mr Griffiths)** began by complaining that the figures given in the Budget were too complicated. There are some very smart people in this House, but I would defy any of them to understand the mass of figures that the honourable member launched at us in the closing stages of his speech. I look forward to hearing them continued in the Estimates. 1 assume he has worked out his figures. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I rise to support the Budget brought down by the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon)** and to oppose the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam).** This Budget was brought down at a time when the people of Australia were greatly disturbed by the grave situation in this world of ours, and by the complete refusal of the Opposition in this Parliament to either recognise that situation or to come to grips with it. Is it any wonder that at the time the Budget was brought down more and more people throughout this great nation were commenting on the fact that the Opposition and its glib 'man of destiny' were consistently denigrating the efforts of the Western world to maintain a positive balance in world affairs, and consistently failing to offer any sustained criticism of the Communist countries for their efforts to stir up trouble in the world? I acknowledge that since then the Opposition has bowed to overwhelming world opinion and joined the great mass of people in condemning Russia over the rape of Czechoslovakia - but of that, more anon. Let us have a quick look at the world situation outside of Czechoslovakia. We should remember that other crisis spots still exist. Apart from Czechoslovakia the most serious events endangering world peace are undoubtedly the conflict in Vietnam, which is, after all, the Czechoslovakia of Asia, and the series of crises in the Middle East and Africa. But there are other world trouble spots. Every Australian must be concerned about the acquisition of the hydrogen bomb by Communist China; the speed up in Soviet re-armament; the accelerated guerilla warfare and subversion - Communist engineered and inspired of course - in Latin America; Russia's continued refusal to reach an effective settlement of the outstanding differences between Moscow and the West; the heightened Communist interest and activity in the countries of Africa and Asia; the continued repression of the Eastern European satellites, culminating in the occupation of Czechoslovakia; and the upsurge of Communist activity in most of the Western countries. Seldom do we hear the Opposition taking the side of the Western nations on any of these issues. In fact, how often do we hear the Opposition debate any of these problems objectively, instead of seeking some political advantage from what is a serious problem for Australia and the rest of the world? There is no doubt that Moscow, Peking, Havana and Hanoi look upon America as the main enemy of Communism and the strongest obstacle to their continued aim of world conquest. The consistent Communist aim has always been to weaken the United States of America and to divide America from its Western allies. The Communists want to drive the United States out of Vietnam and the rest of Asia, out of Africa, out of Europe, and out of Latin America, because only then can the Communist nations succeed in their aim of world conquest, and only then can Australia fall under Communist domination. It is my contention, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** that Opposition members and their strange bed-fellows help the Communists in their aims by sapping the Western world's will to resist. We have to realise that the greatest safeguard to world peace is the strength and unity of America and her democratic allies. Weaken these ties, weaken the will to fight Communism in any or all of these nations, and you automatically strengthen the Communist bloc. Direct confrontation is not the only way to defeat the West. The Communist bloc loses no opportunity to foster mistrust and disunity among our allies. Its members concentrate, as their major European aim, on the withdrawal of the American forces from Europe and the dismantling , of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This line is being pushed vigorously in Europe and its achievement would be a major triumph for the Soviet, which suggest that on its part it would revoke the Warsaw Pact it NATO were dissolved. This, of course, would be a great victory for Russia, as it would mean the withdrawal of American troops from Europe while not diminishing the Soviet power of aggression. In fact the Soviet Union has already taken measures to continue the Warsaw Pact in another form by expanding its network of bilateral assistance pacts with its Eastern European colonies. On the other hand France has weakened NATO by the withdrawal of its armed forces from the integrated command and its stated doubt as to its remaining in NATO after 1969. I trust that the NATO members will prepare a reorganisation of NATO by 1969 to strengthen and revitalise this organisation, should France, as anticipated, not sign the treaty when it is up for renewal. 1 would like to refer briefly to the war in Vietnam. Once again we have heard speakers and interjectors from the Opposition implying that the Allied countries are solely responsible for all the misery the people of Vietnam are suffering in this war for the freedom of all Asia, and indeed, for the freedom of Australia itself. As the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** so dramatically pointed out, South Vietnam is the Czechoslovakia of Asia, a country striving for democracy and self-government, invaded by a Communist force directed towards forcing Communism on a country and on a people who want none of it. The lack of popular support for the murderous Tet offensive only confirms this. Yet the Opposition draws a distinction between Czechoslovakia and South Vietnam. One wonders why. But one does not wonder why many of our soldiers in Vietnam - young men who are doing a magnificent job for us back home in Australia - get disheartened and dismayed when they hear the destructive criticisms of the Opposition relayed over Hanoi radio and printed in the newspapers they receive. They must ask themselves why the Opposition would unit to oppose the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia and yet not oppose a similar Communist invasion of South Vietnam. And who can blame them for some of the conclusions they will reach? 1 would like to refer for a while to the tragic invasion of Czechoslovakia by the troops under the direction and control of the Soviet Union. I am sure that all Australians will feel sympathy for the people of Czechoslovakia, but they should not be surprised at this latest example of Russian savagery, for the Communist forces were only being consistent with the philosophy they have espoused for the past half century. Their philosophy is one of repression of the right of their own people, and of the people of other countries, to have some say in the type of government they desire and the type of life they wish to follow. The Czechoslovakians had committed a cardinal sin against the basic tenets of Communism. Their Government had decided to give them the right of free speech - within limits of course, lt had decided to allow freedom of the Press - with inbuilt self-censorship - and a secret vote. These were revolutionary concessions although we in the Western world have taken them for granted for centuries. The fact that these were considered to be new and sensational concessions will allow honourable members to realise what type of despotic dictatorship and stifling repression the Communists had forced on the Czechoslovakian people - a nation that little more than two decades ago was the model of European democracy. To us these seem mild reforms, but in the framework of Communist doctrine they were heretical enough to cause alarm on ihe one hand and euphoric jubilation on the other. I think we may be wrong in assuming that the brutal takeover by Russia of its colony Czechoslovakia was solely motivated by the granting of relative freedom to the Czechoslovakian people by the totalitarian government controlled by **Mr Dubcek.** There are too many imponderables to make a concise judgment on Ihe thinking behind the Kremlin on this matter. Were those in the Kremlin afraid the people would find the truth about the murder of Jan Masaryk? Were they afraid that the other colonies of this huge Russian imperialist empire would also insist on what are, after all, only basic freedoms? Were they really afraid that one of their buffers between Russia and West Germany would be weakened? Were they afraid of their own vocal minority who were clamouring, in a rather muted way, for greater freedom of expression? Or were they afraid of the great inarticulate masses in the Soviet Union who despise their Communist dictators and yearn for the life that is taken for granted in the West? Whatever the reason - and there are many other possibilities - neither any one, nor a combination of them, can justify the actions taken by the Soviet leaders against this fellow Communist colony. I must confess that to me the invasion was not a great surprise, but a logical move in the Russian pattern for world conquest. In my maiden speech on 2nd March 1967 I said, inter alia- {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- I will never forget it. {: .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR: -- I hope that the honourable member remembers it and that he takes notice of it. I said: . . let us realise that the ultimate Communist aim is still world conquest, and that their people are still living under the greatest repressive imperialism that the world has ever known. Again on the 5th October 1967, in a speech in this House I said, amongst other things: >I trust I will not be considered precocious if I sound a word of warning about one phase of our international outlook, because it is a matter on which I feel 1 must sound some note of warning. It is on the subject of Communism and our attitude towards what is often referred to as the new Communist threat to the free world. I get tired of reading and hearing from the mass media warnings of a 'new Communist threat' to our way of life. I feel we should all realise that the Communist aim of world conquest does not ebb and flow, lt is constant and ever present. Only the methods used to attain this aim vary in their techniques. The aim of eventual world conquest is an avowed one - it is a deadly serious one, and it is immutable and never changing, lt was enunciated by Mara, confirmed by Lenin, and has been the dominant theme of every Communist theoretician since. It is as serious today as it was when the first Communist manifesto was published. > >My tourist guide in Moscow - an articulate, intelligent, thoroughly doctrinaire party official - was quite frank about the eventual Communist victory over the, as she called them, 'decadent forces of the Western world'. > >Others discussed with me the tactics which subtly eroded the Western will to resist - the periods of ostensible easing of Red attitudes, followed by the re-imposition of harsh stands- The very thing that is going on iti Czechoslovakia today - which again gave way to relative accommodation, and kept the Wot alternating between hope and fear, to the detriment of their unswerving will *w* resist. They talked- And this is another thing that is going on in Czechoslovakia today - of the 'two steps forward, one step backward' tactics which they often apply, thus steadily gaining ground from what to some people appears to be back-tracking and compromise. But the only way the West can win out against these insidious tactics is to be constantly on guard and to realise that even though the tactics used may vary, the aim of world conquest is constant, and can be beaten only by eternal vigilance. [Quorum formed] I was quoting from a speech that 1 made in the House last October. I said: >In each of the Communist governed and dominated countries that I visited I found amongst the Party authorities the same fanatical faith in the ultimate success in their aim of world conquest. 1 repeat that the West must maintain a constant guard against the insidious, subtle and often diabolically clever methods used to attain this ultimate goal. So that, much as I regret the Russian military take-over of Czechoslovakia, I am not unduly surprised. I feel that it is an inevitable historical sequence in the span of a philosophy and political doctrine which has violence as an inevitable and intrinsic part. If the Russians treat a member of what has been referred to as their 'Democratic Socialist Brotherhood' in this way, one can imagine with what ruthlessness they will treat the democratic nations when the time is considered ripe to attack them. I still recall with great sadness and genuine emotion being in Hungary after the abortive uprising there and speaking to some of the people who took part in the movement that was so brutally crushed by the Russians. They had a sense of disillusionment, extreme bitterness and complete hopelessness in the face of Russia's cynical, barbaric and sadistic brutality. I recall their pathetic plea for me to do the only thing that was left for the West to do in this situation - to think about them, talk about them, and pray for them. In this present situation I feel - even thought I know that this is not a popular stand - that we could have done more than this. It is my personal belief that we should have broken off diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the countries which have abetted Russia in this infamous act. But, more than this, 1 feel we should have refused to trade with these countries while this crisis exists. It is useless Australians professing to be supporting the Czechoslovakians in this crisis without being willing to make some sacrifice to give effect to our impassioned, sincere protests. I think I know the Austraiian people well enough to say that they are willing to give help in some practical way to the Czechoslovakian people, even if it means some personal sacrifice on their part. I emphatically reject the cunning suggestion put forward by the honourable member for Yarra **(Dr J. F. Cairns)** that by our protests we are expressing support for the Communist Government of Czechoslovakia. What we are doing, and what the Australian Government and people have always done, is to express horror at the fact that a large and powerful nation can, by force of arms, the use of murder and the slaughter of innocent people, take over, in an act of open and brutal aggression, a smaller country, whatever its political system. This certainly does not imply that we are giving our approval to the government of the conquered country; it is a simple statement of an ideal which I trust the Australian Government and people will always espouse. We have done it in relation to Vietnam, and we have done it in relation to this further act of aggression by the Communists in Czechoslovakia. Any inconsistency certainly does not exist on our side of the House. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** I would like to comment on other aspects of the Budget - those nearer home. I commend the Government on its decision to raise the limit of war service homes loans from $7,000 to $8,000. This is a step in the right direction. I hope that the Government will, in the future, see its way clear to correct an anomoly in the War Service Homes Act by making loans available to single ex-servicemen and exservicewomen. There are many former nurses, to take one example, who, perhaps because of the period spent in war service, have never, and will never, marry. I feel it is wrong to debar them from war service loans, just as it is wrong to debar any single ex-servicemen in a similar situation. While on the subject of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, I would like to see several changes in the Repatriation Act. I feel it is wrong to include war pensions as income for the purpose of calculating the means test for other pensions. A man is given a war pension because he has suffered some disability as a result of his war service. It is really a compensation, not a pension, in the general use of the word. I think it logically follows that this compensation should be above and outside any other pension to which he may be entitled, and I would like to see this come about. I believe also that the funeral benefit should be increased. It is an unreal figure and has no relation to present day costs. I believe that it would be a compassionate move to give full repatriation medical1 treatment to all exservicemen over the age of 70 years. The number is, unfortunately, not large, but the human advantage to these people of being able to be treated amongst their fellow exservicemen is a great one. In the field of health, I commend the Government on the compassionate measures it has introduced, especially the increased subsidy for home nursing. This will fill a long felt need. I commend also the raising of the subsidy to approved nursing homes for patients suffering from chronic, preexisting or long term illnesses and the introduction of a supplementary benefit of from $2 to $5 a day for those patients in intensivecare nursing homes. I share the hope expressed by many of my constituents that the hospitals will not use this as an opportunity to raise their fees by the same amount and so give no real benefit to the patients. I feel sure that the Treasurer and the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton),** both of them kindly people - like some of our friends opposite - agree with me that it would be a good thing if age, invalid arid widow's pensions could be taken away from the political field and made the responsibility of a nonpolitical, impartial body which could work towards the abolition of the means test and the payment of a pension that would allow aged people not just to live a life of bare existence but to spend their last years in the dignity and comfort which they have surely earned. When I hear the protestations from the Opposition regarding the pension, I cannot help but remember that only one government has ever reduced the age pension, and that was a Labor government. I feel that the way to tackle this problem is to have a detailed survey to find out the problems and needs of the aged, invalid and widows, and then to recast our social service programme to fit these needs. For example, we have a rental subsidy for those who pay high rents. But there are many pensioners who are paying off their home - and paying high costs for repairs and maintenance of old homes - whose needs are not catered for. There are also many people on fixed incomes that are just beyond the pension limit who have precisely the same medical, pharmaceutical and hospital costs and yet they get no assistance. This whole field, in' my opinion, needs a thorough examination and I hope the Minister for Social Services will direct some of his undoubted great talents to this end. And when we replenish those small leaflets which are ostensibly a guide for pensioners, for goodness sake let us express them in simple language and in large print so that aged people, whose eyesight is generally not good, can both read and understand them. I would like, if *I* may, to pay a tribute lo the staffs of Ihe Department of Social Services and, indeed, all departments with which an honourable member has to deal, for their unfailing courtesy and helpfulness. Without exception 1 have found them to be most efficient and' helpful. In the field of education, **Mr Speaker.** I also congratulate the Government on its new measures to assist in the field of education. There will never be enough done for education: of course, as the demands are so great and education is, in the last analysis, a responsibility of the States. However, the provision of libraries to all schools will fill a much needed gap in our schools. I am sure F echo the feelings of most honourable members in this House when I say that we will never be satisfied until all children, regardless of the type of school they attend, have the best facilities it is possible to provide for them. Before I conclude, **Mr Speaker,** I would like to say how much I deprecated the attack on **Mr Askin,** the very able Premier of New South Wales, by the honourable member Ibr Kingsford Smith **(Mr Curtin)** on Wednesday last. I notice that the honourable member is not in the chamber. {: .speaker-K6V} ##### Mr Courtnay: -- He could not stand it any longer. {: .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr ARTHUR: -- Perhaps it is because I warned him that 1 was going to say this tonight. To refer to **Mr Askin** as 'the half witted Premier' is both inaccurate and insulting. However, I believe the honourable member is accustomed to using this type of appeal in his own Party room. **Mr Askin** and his Party, who won Government in New South Wales in 1965 after 20-odd years of Labor mismanagement, have dramatically changed the climate in New South Wales, to such an extent that his Government was re-elected this year wilh an increased majority. After 20-odd years of Labor mismanagement, and arrogant disregard for the needs of the people - a pattern which seems to typify Labor governments; indeed all Socialist governments - **Mr Askin** had to undo many of the stagnating policies which had typified the Labor mis-rule, and the people of New South Wales showed at the recent election that they heartily approve of **Mr Askin's** Government. **Mr Speaker,** although this Budget did not do all that I would have liked it to have done, I commend the Treasurer and the Government; I support the motion moved by the Treasurer, and reject the amendment moved hy the Leader of the Opposition. {: #subdebate-28-0-s5 .speaker-JPJ} ##### Mr BIRRELL:
Port Adelaide -- I think all honourable members would agree that al this stage of the Budget debate it is rather difficult to make a contribution, the subject of which has not already been covered by some other speaker. Nevertheless, I feel that the few issues that 1 wish to raise are of importance and, as such, I trust that they will be received with due and earnest consideration by the Government. I can assure the House that I shall nol follow the line taken by the honourable member for. Barton **(Mr Arthur),** who has just resumed his seat, by reporting on a trip around, the world. I shall be content to confine my remarks to issues within Australia. {: .speaker-JMC} ##### Mr Arthur: -- The honourable member would not know about anywhere else. {: .speaker-JPJ} ##### Mr BIRRELL: -- I suggest that the honourable member who has interjected would not know the names of half the streets of Sydney, yet he comes into this place and tells us about what has happened in every other part of the world. 1 support the amendment so eloquently moved by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam).** I. believe that the Budget is a regressive document and, like all previous budgets of the past few years, has been carefully and deliberately designed to act harshly against the vast majority of Australian people, including pensioners, widows, those covered by repatriation benefits and the work force. When I refer to the work force I mean all those people who are working for wages and salaries in industry and commerce, regardless of whether they wear blue collars or white collars. If one cares to peruse the Budgets of the last 2 years in which the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon)** has triumphantly used such terms as 'the best performance of recent years' and 'the present bouyant economic conditions' one will see that in 1966-67 the gross national product rose by between 5% and *6%* and average weekly earnings rose by close to 7%, whereas the comparative figures for both these indicators in 1967-68 was 6% in each case. Thus we find that out of the huge increases in income received by the Treasury by way of income tax and sales tax due to the increased average weekly earnings and the rise in the work force of over 200,000 during this period, and in spite of price rises approximating 7% in the 2 years in question, the aged, the sick, those in receipt of repatriation benefits and other sections in need of help did not receive lc from this so-called increased performance. In the Treasurer's own words, at page 6 of his circulated Budget speech: >Payments from the National Welfare Fund relating mainly to age, invalid and widows' pensions, child endowment, medical and hospital benefits, pharmaceutical benefits and other health services are expected to increase by $85m . . . This will make a total expenditure from the National Welfare Fund of $1,1 61m. He continued: >Expenditure on repatriation pensions and benefits is expected to total $286m, this year, a rise of S25m. The total of the increase in these two fields of expenditure will be $1 10m. However, in the next breath the Treasurer announced that company tax would bring an increase of S56.5m this year, sales tax S34m, broadcasting and television licence fees S5m and Post Office tariffs S5m. These amounts, plus light dues, air navigation charges and passenger service charges will at least equal the sum allocated for the miserable increases in social service, health and repatriation benefits. The whole of this amount will, either directly or indirectly, in the final analysis be borne by the wage and salary earner. By this I mean that those extra charges made against companies will be passed on - plus - in the form of increased prices. In the field of social services I desire once again to raise what I firmly believe to be the worst feature of an overall very inferior social service structure, that is, the continual refusal to grant to the wife of an aged pensioner a similar benefit regardless of her age. Week after week most honourable members receive inquiries on this matter from couples in the terrible position where, because the wife is under 60 years of age, she is not eligible for a pension. The Treasurer and the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** know only too well that most people caught in this tragic and frightening situation are forced by financial necessity to use whatever influence possible, lawful or otherwise, in an effort to obtain either an invalid pension or a wife's allowance in order to exist. The only alternative to that is that one of the couple must endeavour to obtain some type of employment, which everyone knows is virtually impossible for people in their age bracket. To illustrate the position more clearly and at the same time to prove the lack of sincerity of the Treasurer, especially having regard to his opening remarks when delivering his Budget speech when he said: >My Government will review the field of social welfare wilh the object of assisting those in most need- I desire very briefly to refer to a case which came to my notice some weeks or so ago. The husband on reaching the age of 65 years was retrenched. He applied for and received an age pension. The wife, aged 581- years, who has had 10 children, has not worked for wages for almost 40 years, has no skills other than those of a housewife and mother, is now expected to seek employment in order to ensure that during the next 18 months she and her husband will be able to exist. This woman who mothered 10 children, instead of being completely disregarded by the Government and left to fend for herself in the unskilled-employment seeking jungle should, in my humble opinion, be immediately granted some government assistance. In fact, any government with any sense of pride or decency would honour rather than humiliate her. I am aware that this type of situation has been raised many times in this Parliament. lt seems to mc that the one reason why no corrective action has been taken is the fear that a small percentage of single pensioners may marry younger women in order to obtain the married couples' rate of pension in lieu of the single rate. This type of reasoning- is completely unacceptable to me. However, in an effort to offer some kind of compromise solution, it is with deep respect and sincerity that I suggest to the Minister and the Government that the Act be amended to make the wife of an age pensioner eligible for a similar pension, together with the fringe benefits, provided the couple have been married for at least 5 years prior to the date that the husband becomes eligible for the pension. I say this although in my heart I believe that this amendment should not be necessary, because the wife should receive the pension when her husband becomes eligible. If the Government will not go the whole hog it might consider the proposition I have just made. I desire at this stage to refer to the drastic changes made over recent years by the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission - and at the same time to reflect upon the disastrous effects these changes have made to our economy and industrial relations. A short history reveals that prior to 1953 the nation's wage structure was set in the concept of a basic wage based on what was then known as the C series index, with automatic quarterly adjustments to take care of price rises or falls, plus a margin entitlement for skill and responsibility. In 1953 automatic quarterly adjustments of the basic wage were discontinued. However, that part of the national wage was kept at approximately its correct level by way of annual reviews until 1960. As a consequence the worker had some assurance that this section of his wage still took care, to a reasonable extent, of price rises or falls in the preceding 12 months. In 1960 the C series index was replaced by a new index known as the consumer price index which was introduced with the blessing of this Government and accepted with some misgivings by the trade union movement on the assumption that the new index, if accurately and properly applied, would reflect some reasonable stability in living standards for the Australian work force. While on the subject of the consumer price index, let me quote some comments from the Commission when it used this new system in the 1961 basic wage case. The Commission said: >We acknowledge the fact that the new basic wage under the consumer price index is in fact lower in money terms than would have been the case under the old C series index. However, in our view the material available demonstrates the superiority of the consumer price index over the old C series retail price index. The Commission concluded by saying: >Having considered the standards of the seven basic wages of the last decade we regard the consumer price index as most appropriate for present adoption and future maintenance. The important section of the Commission's observations is in the concluding paragraph where it used the words 'and future maintenance'. Following that, a campaign commenced in 1965, just 4 years after the introduction of the 'most appropriate' consumer price index. The employers of this country with the active support of this Government literally forced the Commission to abandon the two unit wage, which over the years had held some restraint on price movements, and replaced it with a single unit wage which gave to management an open cheque to increase prices at will with little or no danger of such increases being reflected in future wage decisions. Having succeeded in the sabotage of the two unit wage, some responsible Ministers of this Government have made violent attacks on the Commission each time wages have been increased by using the unrealistic argument that such decisions would cause inflation. But anyone with the slightest knowledge of the history of wage fixation in this country knows perfectly well that it is only with a two unit wage, with automatic quarterly adjustments based on price fluctuations, that price stability will prevail and inflation be curbed. Not only is such a system designed to curb inflation; it would also substantially decrease the wave of industrial disputes we have witnessed over the past few years. This most important aspect of industrial relations would be further improved if the Treasurer and the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Bury)** would refrain from making public statements which gave the impression that they, on behalf of the Government, were trying to intimidate the Commission. The Treasurer in his Budget Speech made a brief reference to the rising sales of motor vehicles during the past 12 months, and he seemed to accept the fact that such a situation would continue indefinitely. I cannot agree with this reasoning. A number of forecasts of future demand have recently been made by economists after studies of the industry and their findings suggest a marked decrease in demand of up to 30% in the Australian market by 1972. These studies have revealed, after having regard to an increase in population due to migration and natural causes, that the saturation level may be reached by the early 1970s. Some studies have suggested that a substantial drop in demand could be evident before then. Whilst f agree with the Treasurer that the industry at the moment is in rather good shape, in view of the results of the economic studies I have just referred to I strongly suggest that plans must now be prepared to ensure the security and stability of the Australian motor vehicle industry if local production and imports outstrip demand in the near or distant future. It is my belief that the Government's vehicle production plans, which provide, firstly for manufacturers who produce vehicles with 95% Australian content and. secondly, for small volume assembly firms which provide for limited production levels of vehicles with various lower levels of Australian content, have not achieved their objective. Car imports are still able to compete on favourable terms with the products of the local plan A manufacturers, who produce vehicles with 95% Australian content. The reason for this is elementary. It is well known and universally accepted that the low unit cost depends in the main on high volume output and because Australia has four A class manufacturers, which is a large number having regard to our rela tively small domestic market. Our vehicle industry has a comparatively high cost structure, although its facilities are modern and up to date by world standards and its work force is highly skilled. Until some months ago this . situation allowed high volume, low cost, Japanese imports to penetrate the Australian market regardless of the tariff barrier and freight charges. Recently these imports have all sustained price increases and as a result their level of penetration has temporarily declined. However, in view of the fact that the Japanese Government is at present negotiating plans to allow high volume produced American vehicles to be assembled in Japan, thus reducing the market for Japanese produced vehicles in that country, it appears certain that Japanese interests will leave no stone unturned in an endeavour to increase their share of the Australian market to offset this loss. The Australian vehicle manufacturers - by that I mean those who produce cars of 95% Australian content - claim that their' investment in foundries, machine. . shops, tool rooms, and press. . . lines . will be seriously jeopardised .by further, development of small volume assembly operations. I entirely agree with this point of view. For instance, it is generally recognised within the industry that for every 1,000 small volume assembled cars produced in Australia in substitution for 1,000 95% Australian content vehicles over 180 Australian workers lose their jobs. This, to my mind, is of vital importance. Another factor of considerable importance in this context is that the manufacturers of cars with an Australian content of 95%, with their modern machinery and technical know-how and with their highly skilled work force, are a great asset to Australia and are capable of converting to defence production in case of need. To realise their worth, we have only to recall their outstanding contribution during World War II, when the industry was in its infancy in Australia. Having briefly and, I trust, fairly covered the position of the Australian vehicle industry today, I appeal to the Government to ensure that the future of the manufacturers of cars with an Australian content of 95% is not placed in jeopardy. If the occasion does arise in the near or distant future, I hope that quick and positive action will be taken to maintain these people in their rightful place in Australia's industrial complex. I suggest, therefore, that, if the economic studies I have already mentioned prove to be correct in any way, as a first step the sales tax laws be amended to provide that the higher the Australian content the lower the sales tax, and vice versa, in lieu of the present situation in which the sales tax is based on the price of the vehicle. {: #subdebate-28-0-s6 .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN:
Balaclava -- My contribution also to the debate on the Budget will refer to the unprovoked and indeed unpremeditated aggression of the Soviet Union on one of its neighbours, the country we know as Czechoslovakia. During the 8 or 9 years that I have been in this Parliament I have seen and read of aggression by various countries on their neighbours. Usually this takes the form of a country crossing the border of a neighbouring country and trying to impose its will on that country or on its leaders. Alternatively we have seen the establishment of so-called national liberation fronts where a small band of people enter a country from a neighbouring country, usually a Communist country, and try to upset the balance in the country they have entered. We have seen this sort of activity in the various states of South Africa. It is a shame that the South African states, many of which are trying to build up a national spirit, have to put up with this form of interference and aggression. We have seen it also in the various states of South America. We know that the Communist rulers in the Kremlin, in Moscow, have endeavoured, unsuccessfully I hope, to impose their will on the various South American states through Fidel Castro in Cuba. At the same time we have seen interference by Communist regimes in the countries of South East Asia. Of course the classic example is the intrusion by North Vietnam into the affairs of South Vietnam. But the cold-blooded effrontery of the Soviet Union when it invaded Czechoslovakia and tried to impose its will on the people of that country last week surpasses the actions of other countries- {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- What about South Vietnam? {: .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN: -- Almost simultaneously the Soviet Union sent its representative to the heads of governments throughout the world. It sent a representative to the Australian Prime Minister **[Mr Gorton)** and told him, told this Parliament and told the people of Australia that the Soviet Union had been invited into the country known as Czechoslovakia. This calls for the strongest protest on my part and I hope on the part of the Party to which I belong. [ believe that the censure of this Parliament should be sent to Moscow, to Peking and to the capitals of other countries that think they can interfere with the regimes of smaller nations. {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly: -- Why do you sell them wool? {: .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN: -- The honourable member for Grayndler asked about South Vietnam. Today he heard the Prime Minister give a short discourse on the reasons we are trying to uphold the established Government in South Vietnam. We know that the North Vietnamese, Ho Chi Minh and his assistants, have tried to impose their will on the Government and the people of South Vietnam. This has been set out in many documents, including documents from the International Control Commission. I believe what the Commission has said; apparently the honourable member for Grayndler does not. I heard over the radio, with a good deal of anguish the news that the Soviet Union had invaded Czechoslovakia. Of course, it abruptly ended the dreams of the people of Czechoslovakia who were looking for a liberalisation of the controls that had been imposed on them for many, many years. These people love freedom and have done so for generations. They are a culturally inspired people and they could not withstand the oppression of a Communist regime for all time. It is customary when a skirmish takes place, such as this might have been, for some provocation to cause it. In other words, there has been shooting by one side or the other. We have seen this in the Middle East. We saw what happened 12 months ago when the United Arab Republic tried to provoke Israel and we saw the results of the provocation. But this cold-blooded effrontery of the Soviet Union, this stark display of what it will do without having regard for world opinion, has had nothing to match it for at least 12 years. This was a dastardly act by the Soviet Union. We in Australia, and no doubt peoples throughout the world, realise that the Government of Czechoslovakia was negotiating with the rulers in the Kremlin early this month and during July. We saw the pictures that were taken when the leaders of the Soviet Union kissed the cheeks of **Mr Dubcek.** I saw these pictures on 9th August, so no doubt the kissing took place on 8th August. But obviously at the same time the Soviet Union had set up its forces to ensure that its will would be imposed on the Czechoslovak people, even though the Soviet leaders had kissed the cheeks of **Mr Dubcek,** the recognised leader of Czechoslovakia. What did the forces of the Soviet Union do? In the dead of night they roared in with their tanks, their armoured vehicles and (heir men armed with tommy guns and they took over this small and wonderful country, these people who realise that freedom must be earned and that there are responsibilities associated with it. The Czechoslovak people met these forces in their pyjamas and dressing gowns. This demonstrates how unprepared these culture-loving people were when the hordes of the Soviet Union invaded their country. To cap it all, the representatives of the Soviet Union were instructed by their leaders to come to the Prime Minister of this country and say that the Communist troops had entered Czechoslovakia at the request of the people of Czechoslovakia. The position is set out in the 'Soviet News Bulletin' of 23rd August. I have no doubt that all honourable members received a copy of it. It states: lt is generally known that the Party leaders and statesmen of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic have asked the Soviet Union and other Allied slates to render the fraternal Czechoslovak people urgent assistance, including assistance with armed forces. Unfortunately, the Soviet representatives do not tell us which were the armed forces. They just say that they were invited into Czechoslovakia by the leaders of that country. 1 find it difficult to understand why people in Australia can believe that Communist regimes have any right to impose their will on any other country. We saw this type of activity in 1956, but the people of Australia - and obviously the people throughout the world - forgot the desecration of Budapest in 1956 when the Soviet Union slaughtered Hungarians and caused a blood-bath which horrified the whole world and shocked and sickened the people of Australia. Now, 12 years later it is the Czechoslovak people's turn. How can we form a detente with the people of the Soviet Union? How can we have an easing of relations with these people when they shake the hand of their so-called friends, on the one hand, and stab them in the back, on the other hand? At the same time as they are doing the stabbing they tell the leaders in this country that somebody told them to do the stabbing. I find it impossible to express myself because this is not world relations as I know them. Last year I was fortunate to represent the Government side of this Parliament at the United Nations. There 1 saw in action the representatives of the Soviet Union, **Mr Gromyko** and **Mr Federenko.** There at all times it was obvious in a brutal way they endeavoured to impose their will and their strength on the smaller nations in the United Nations. Whenever their will was thwarted by a majority vote they used the veto. This is the form of a Communist regime. In the case of Czechoslovakia they have overrun a people who were looking for individuality of thought and freedom to express their views. The Czechoslovak people had an aspiration to live their lives in a better way and to have a better way for their children to live in future years. We expect this sort of idea to inspire the Czechoslovak people because, as I have said, for generations they have been a freedom loving and culturally inspired people. 1 believe that **Mr Dubcek** was endeavouring to give these freedoms to the people of his country. He knew his people, he knew what they expected and he knew that they wanted liberty from oppression because their individuality and their need for self expression have been a part of their nature for generations. The Czechoslovak people are leaders in art, in work-a-day life and in politics. Whilst **Mr Dubcek** and his assistants were carrying out this experiment, we in this country looked on with a great deal of interest and a great deal of encouragement at what we thought would take place. Then we saw **Mr Dubcek** and his assistants meet the Kremlin leaders head on and we wondered what would be the result. The grim masters of the Kremlin had no illusions about the result because they knew and were prepared for **Mr Dubcek** and his assistants. The masters of the Kremlin knew that freedom and Communism just do not jell. They know that they do not mix. For 50 years they had seen that the democratic way of life was not important, so far as they were concerned. This morning during question time 1 heard an honourable member opposite ask the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** who was the Leader of the Opposition in South Vietnam when Diem was leader of that country. I then felt impelled to ask: Who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Who is the Leader of the Opposition in East Germany? Who is the Leader of the Opposition in Hungary and in the other satellite countries of the Soviet Union? These Russian people realise that civilisation and Communism are incompatible. They do not jell1. I believe that they only know of barbarism which was born out of Marx's hate filled mind. Marx wrote the books that these people follow, and they will follow them until the people in these other countries rise against this hate filled philosophy. The Kremlin masters are committed to the eventual barbarisation of the whole world, unless the peoples of the world stand up against them. They are committed to the mutilation of the human spirit. That is what they are doing to the Czechoslovak people, and that is what they have been doing to the Hungarian people since 1956. They are committed to evil methods and to diabolical naked aggression. Their instruments have always been, firstly, subversion, secondly threats and thirdly the use of force if their will cannot be imposed on the leaders of their satellites. Once they take over a country we know that freedom is extinguished, fear rules the people of the country that is taken over and persecution reigns. **Mr Dubcek** knew this when he met the leaders from the Soviet Union. He knew it when the Soviet Union decided to invade his country. That is why he asked his people not to resist the Soviet forces. He knew what would happen to his people because he saw and read what had happened to the people of Hungary in 1956. The Soviet leaders crushed Hungary in 1956, and it will take generations before the people of Hungary regain the feeling of liberalisation that they felt prior to 1956. The Soviet leaders established a puppet government in Hungary, as they tried to do in Czechoslovakia without success. They tried to name the puppets who had called them into Czechoslovakia, again without success. The Soviet representative at the United Nations was asked who was the leader of the new Czechoslovak regime, but he failed to answer the question. So this spontaneous request to enter Czechoslovakia obviously was made by the faceless men, but we do not know where these faceless men were. The world wants relief from this sort of treachery and aggression. The peoples of the world, in all parts of the world, want more freedom, not less. People - whether they be black, brown or white - in all parts of the world want more independence of thought and more freedom, not less. But now all of us have on our consciences this invasion, this aggression by a very large country of 240 million people against the Czechoslovak people who number 14 million. This was a distressing and unforgivable act of aggression. We should not become emotionally involved with Communism - J find it difficult not to do so - but we must be aware of the results when Communists impose their wills on the other peoples of the world. I am speaking in this way tonight so that those people who happen to read what I have said will be alerted against the type of aggression that the Communists use when they want to impose their philosophies on other people. The people in my electorate of Balaclava should be alert to the Communist philosophies. 1 never forget that Communism and socialism are so close together that one can be a travesty of the other unless people are alert and vigilant to the possibilities. The phrase which is often used in Australia, 'it could not happen here' should be buried by all Australians. Australian people must be alerted to the dangers of Communism and to the brutality of dictators, whatever form they might take. People must be alerted to the dangers of Fascism, Communism, dictatorship and totalitarianism. They are all sickening to people who believe in a democratic way of life. We may read what the honourable member for Melbourne **(Mr Calwell),** a former Leader of the Opposition, said and we could have heard it had we listened to radio station 3KZ on 18th August. He said: >Russian influence today is built on peaceful co-operation between all nations and it is becoming increasingly successful. On 21st August, less than 24 hours after the Soviets had invaded Czechoslovakia, the same man said thathe stood by every word he had uttered 3 days before. Is it any wonder that the young people of Australia protest against the leaders of parties, the leaders in politics, when they hear words such as those uttered by the formerleader of the Labor Party on 18th August and 3 days later, even after this sad aggression of the USSR against the people of a small country like Czechoslovakia, hear him say that he stands by every' word he spoke? The young people of Australia will protest unless older people like myself and the people in this Parliament say what they mean at all times, whether it affects their political future or their party. I will always encourage university students and other people who feel they must protest against the inexactitude of sayings by people in high places. I will join with them on all occasions. **Sir, I** commend the Treasurer for his Budget. {: #subdebate-28-0-s7 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Like the Chairman of Committees, the Australian Country Party member for Lyne **(Mr Lucock),** I am bitterly disappointed with the Budget because once again it imposes heavy indirect taxation upon the community in the form of sales tax. Speaking in this debate on 20th August, the honourable member for Lyne said: I wish to make two comments about the Budget. Speaking personally, I would have preferred to see an increase in income tax rather than in sales tax. There are two factors relating to an increase in incometax. Firstly, the increase is more evenly shared throughout the community. Secondly, people have a greater realisation of what they are paying. In many instances sales tax is literally a hidden tax. Some people may not realise how much they are paying in sales tax. That is a very true and correct statement of the position. This Budget proposes to increase sales tax from the present scale of 12½% to 15%. There are two other categories of sales tax, one of 2½% and another of 25%. These amount to a total of $400m per year. In other words, when it is divided between the community, every man, woman and child in Australia today is paying $33 per year in sales tax alone. But if one adds to the sales tax the other forms of indirect taxation imposed by this Commonwealth, including excise on beer and tobacco and many other forms of taxation such as revenue tariffs, not protective tariffs alone, one finds that the average amount each man, woman and child is paying is $132 per year. As the honourable member for Lyne so correctly pointed out, the worst feature of sales tax and other indirect taxation is that a single man pays less than does a man with a wife and three children to keep. That married man paysfive times as much as a single man pays. This is so whether the family man is poor and the bachelor is rich or whatever else their position is. Surely no-one can say that it is a fair method of levying taxation. The burden of taxation placed upon the family man, especially the young family man who is trying to rear children and educate them, has now reached the point where it is really beginning to hurt. It is more than he can really bear, and he cannot bear it much longer. I often wish that every member of the Parliament could find time to do what I regularly do, that is, to visit the poorer homes in their electorates and see how people really live. I believe that a member of Parliament ought to go and visit the poorer areas, because until we visit and enter the homes of these people we have no idea how poor people are in Australia today. We have no idea of the extent of poverty in this rich country of ours. It is a disgrace to the Government that this great disparity between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the underprivileged, the weak and the strong, should be allowed to continue. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- The Government encourages it. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- As my friend says, the Government encourages it. Each Budget that increases the burden of indirect taxation makes the position of the poor worse than it was before. It is of no use anyone pretending there is not any real poverty in Australia. This Government has deliberately carried on a form of taxation which imposes on the poorer sections of the community a bigger burden than they can really afford to bear and which only imposes an increase upon the very rich when the Government thinks it has reached the point where it cannot get any more from the very poor. If we examine the form of taxation deductions we get an idea of how the system works. A rich man may claim a deduction of $312 for hrs wife. If the rate of taxation is 50c in the $1 he is able to claim 312 times 50c; so the benefit of a wife to a rich man on a high income is infinitely greater than it is to a poor man. Yet, a rich man finds it easier to maintain his wife and has much more money left over after he has maintained his wife than the poor man has. I would like to see the nation evolve some system of deduction for dependants under which a stipulated cash deduction would be applicable to all taxpayers, irrespective of the rate of tax. If the amount to be allowed for a dependent wife were to be $50 a year, S50 a year should be deducted from the amount of tax payable by every person regardless of whether he pays 10c in the $1 or 50c in the $1. No taxpayer should be allowed to get a greater cash benefit in the form of a cash rebate for a dependent wife than another. As the position now is, a rich man gets a far greater cash benefit for a wife and the first and subsequent children than does a poor person. This surely cannot be justified on moral or other grounds. {: .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr Peters: -- lt is outrageous. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I agree with the honourable member for Scullin: It is outrageous. The tax deduction scale should be recast to meet the spiralling inflationary trends that have plagued the Australian economy for the past 19 years. But whilst the Government is very niggardly with the amount of deductions it will allow to those in the lower income group it is quite generous towards company directors and other people on high incomes. A company director may claim as a tax deduction travelling expenses and entertainment expenses. Company directors and other people on very high incomes may claim as deductions large sums paid in entertainment expenses but a worker cannot make any claim for the cost of travelling to and from his place of work, and some workers live so far from their place of employment that it costs them as much as S3 and $4 a week to get to and from work. Let us talk now about advertising expenses. For a long time I have believed that the .Government should do more to try to reduce the amount of smoking in Australia. Everybody in the world now admits that smoking is a definite threat to a person's health and even to his life. Smoking is now known to be the cause of heart deterioration and lung cancer. The world's leading medical authorities are convinced that smoking presents one of the most deadly risks to health. The Government says that it cannot do anything to stop people advertising cigarettes. I do not believe this. I believe that the Government could do two things. It could tell the television stations that it will not renew their licences if they continue to advertise cigarettes or continue to promote the smoking of cigarettes. Secondly, although the Government has no power to enter the field of newspaper advertising, it could make it clear that money spent by tobacco companies on cigarette advertising will not be allowed as a deduction for company tax purposes. The Government should tell those .people who want to advertise cigarettes in newspapers and magazines and on television that the expenses involved will not be allowed as a tax deduction. It cannot be denied that anybody who smokes to excess is literally destroying himself. A person who smokes at all runs the risk of reducing' his capacity to resist disease generally. Yet we not only allow manufacturers to encourage people to do things injurious to - their health but we also permit them to claim as a tax deduction every penny spent on advertising. There is very little difference between cigarettes and narcotic drugs. Tobacco is a form of narcotic. What would- the Government say if somebody advertised heroin or opium and then sought to claim his advertising expenses as a tax deduction? There would be a hue and cry, but the only difference between the effect on one's health of nicotine and the effect of other drugs upon which we frown is one of degree. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- What about the breweries? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is a relevant interjection from my friend the honourable member for Wilmot. I do not believe in stopping people from drinking. If people are foolish enough to spend their money on drink, that is their bad luck. I spend a little of other people's money on drink, but not very much of my own. I submit that the breweries, the wine makers, the brandy makers and the whisky makers should not be allowed to claim as a tax deduction money which they spend in trying to make people disregard the advice given every Sunday afternoon by the honourable member for Wilmot **(Mr Duthie).** ] want to say something about other forms of tax deductions. Up to $1,200 a year may be claimed, as a deduction in respect of premiums paid to life assurance companies. This represents approximately $24 a week. How many workers would qualify for the full benefit of a deduction in that category? This provision is all very well for the very rich who have more money than they know what to do with. They have the extra $24 a week, which they cannot spend on anything else. They can afford to pay this much for life assurance and claim it as a tax deduction. But this should be a Budget to help the very poor. No government, Liberal or Labor, could occupy the treasury bench on the votes of the rich alone - on the votes of people who have $24 a week to spare for life assurance premiums. If honourable members had to rely on the votes of people with $24 a week to spare for life assurance they all would lose their deposits at the general elections. All of us are in this place because people in the low and middle income groups have voted for us. Since we are here as a result of their votes we should be doing more for them than we are now. The present situation in respect of tax deductions is a disgrace. Take the case of a person who owns a factory. Every penny spent on the maintenance of his factory - on repairs for example - is treated as a tax deduction. But a worker who must maintain a home from which to go to work in the factory is not allowed to claim any deductions in respect of repairs to his home. What I am suggesting may sound revolutionary but it is not; I am merely stating elementary principles of social and taxation justice. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- It sounds stupid to most of us. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -It may sound stupid to the honourable gentleman but he should remember that he sits on the front bench because people for whom I am pleading voted for him. If he had to rely on the votes of people of the class I am now attacking he would lose his deposit at the elections. That is the point I am trying to make. Since everybody in this Parliament is here as a result of the votes of wage and salary earners we should behave as if we are the representatives of those people. Now I wish to advance another proposition. We have heard a great deal from time to time about the wonderful generosity of the Government in providing the age allowance for taxation purposes. I have a great respect for the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Bury),** who is at the table. I seem to have put him to sleep. Now that he is awake I should like to know how he can justify the application of an age allowance for income tax purposes to a person not eligible for the age pension, yet refuse to apply a similar allowance to an invalid who. because he has an independent income equivalent to the pension, is not entilled to receive the invalid pension. I have knowledge of a retired police officer in Adelaide who was crippled as a result of his work. He has been bedridden for 15 years. His superannuation amounts to a little more than the age allowance but because his superannuation is too high to enable him to qualify for the invalid pension he is not allowed to claim any of the allowance which people similarly ineligible for the age pension are allowed to claim. I would like the Minister, who has a financial background, to talk about this matter with the Treasurer. Let him tell the Treasurer that he has heard my speech and that he is impressed with its logic. I should like the Treasurer to look into the matter and see whether the situation that I have mentioned can be rectified. Tax evasion is the next subject that I want to discuss. It is impossible for a worker to evade tax, because the tax that he is required to pay is taken out of his pay envelope every week. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- It is impossible for a superannuitant also to evade tax. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -It is impossible for him also. He plays a big part in the scheme of things these days, too. But large companies such as those controlled by Reg Ansett are able to avoid a good deal of tax by what is regarded as legal means when they buy other companies that have been making losses and average those losses over 5 years in order to reduce their tax. **Mr Ansett** does not hesitate to buy a company that has made losses for 5 years in succession, so that he can add it to his already long string of companies and average its losses and deduct them from the earnings of his other companies. He never hesitates to become the proud owner of a company that has made losses for 5 years. Indeed, it pays him to buy such a company and use its losses to offset the tax that he is required to pay on the earnings of companies that have made profits. {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: -- Bushranging. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Of course it is bushranging. This sort of thing does not stop there, however. Ansett, as everybody knows, decided to buy a television station. He has lost money on it ever since he acquired it, but that does not worry him, because he is able to use the losses to offset the earnings of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, a holding company. By spreading the losses of the company operating the television station over the profits of other companies that he controls he gains a benefit. {: .speaker-K8B} ##### Mr Curtin: -- Does the honourable member think that any Government supporters have shares in Ansett companies? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I know they have, because I have taken the trouble to look at the share registers of Ansett Transport Industries and other companies associated with it. I have discovered that a considerable number of members of this Parliament have a few shares in Ansett companies tucked away somewhere in their portfolios. Those honourable members are not all on the side of the chamber directly opposite me, of course, because some of them sit in the corner occupied by the Australian Country Party. I now turn to the subject of television licences, about which T have heard very little said in this debate. The raising of charges for television licences is resorted to by governments of the political complexion of the present one as a handy method of slugging the poor. This Government chooses to impose excessive charges for television licences because, the more it can make the little people pay for these licences, the more are its rich friends relieved of the obligation to pay by means of a graduated income tax. If 1 had my way- 1 would have all these revenues paid in the form of graduated taxes instead of in licence fees. 1 would hit the rich until it hurt, just as this Government is now hurting the poor. The present Government Parties could have all the votes of the rich people who would be affected, but the candidates of those Parties would still lose their deposits in many instances, because the very rich are few and the poor are many. We ought to see to it that those in the community who could so easily pay more are made to do so. I now turn my attention to the reckless manner in which this Government spends public money. I am directly opposed to its reckless spending of public funds, and I do not hesitate to make my position clear in this Parliament. 1 condemn the wasteful expenditure of $350,000 on air conditioning for the main dining room in this building. It is a wicked waste of .the taxpayers' money to undertake that expenditure on a building that the Government proposes soon to replace with another which, we are led to believe, will be built, on Capital Hill. Nobody can justify expenditure of that order on this building at the present time. This scandalous waste of the people's money ought not to be tolerated. There is also other wasteful expenditure of public money to which I wish to direct attention. I am not satisfied that all the tendering that characterises the activities of every government is above board. I realise that f am making a pretty serious charge, and I make it with full cognisance of what I am doing. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- Can the honourable member prove anything that is wrong? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Yes, I can prove something. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- Let the honourable member do it, then. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I can prove something. The Minister for Defence **(Mr Fairhall)** knows of a case which 1 discovered in Adelaide and in which tenders for the supply of meat were called. Because one particular tenderer happened to submit a tender that was too high, fresh tenders were called so that he could tender below the figure submitted by another tenderer. The Minister for Defence knows all about this because, when he was Minister for Supply, he investigated the case and found that what L had said about it was true. It concerned the Metropolitan Wholesale Meat Co. Ltd, of Adelaide. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- It sounds to me as it that action was taken to protect the public funds. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I shall tell the Minister what protection was extended to public funds. I ask him to try to understand what I am saying. When the original tenders closed, it was found that the person who eventually was successful had put in the highest tender. So fresh tenders were called and he then tendered at a lower figure than his competitors. He brought his price down. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- That is not what the honourable member said at the beginning. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -It is what I say now. How can the Minister justify this kind of skulduggery? When we know that this Government has been caught out once in this son of thing are we not entitled to assume that it can happen again? When I was listening to the debate in another place today I found that the Government has refused point blank to tell members of this Parliament, who are the elected custodians of the people's money, what were the figures of the tenders submitted by various successful tenderers. A question was asked about how many companies had tendered for the right to service car parking areas at airports. The Avis company now has the sole right to service airports with drive yourself vehicles and to service parking meters and the like at airports. The answer given was that more than one company had tendered for these rights. However, the Government refuses to tell members of the Parliament the amount of the successful tender. This is a scandal. If the letting of tenders has been fair and above board, the Government ought to be able to tell us the figure submitted by the successful tenderer. Unless this information is revealed, how do unsuccessful tenderers know whether their prices were above or below that of the successful tenderer? Only by revealing these particulars can the Government remove the suspicion of skulduggery and crookedness in the letting of tenders. Unless the Government is prepared to change its policy, I for one shall always be suspicious. The Government has no right to treat a public tender as private property. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- Does the honourable member think that the conditions should be made known? {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- They should be made known to the public. The people own all these public properties. Public funds have been used to acquire them. The people have the right to know that those who are given exclusive rights to enterprises associated with public property are being made' to pay the maximum charge for those rights. If this information is not given to the people, the calling of tenders is a mockery. Details should be thrown open to the public and to anyone interested, and in particular to unsuccessful tenderers. The figure submitted by the successful tenderer should be made known to all who are interested: Tendering is no different from an auction sale. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- The conditions attaching to tenders come into consideration. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I know that. But the conditions apply equally to everybody. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- No, they do not. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- But they ought to. {: .speaker-KIF} ##### Mr Hulme: -- Tenders are submitted on different bases. The honourable member does not know what is going on. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- This must be the new ruse adopted to circumvent proper . tendering practices. Whatever the conditions and tender prices are, they ought to be made public. If one tenderer, is successful because of the attaching of certain conditions to his lender, those conditions ought to be made public so that his competitors will know what they are and can submit tenders with similar conditions on future occasions if they wish. Let us consider what is happening in respect of motels at airports. 1 have discovered that a motel is to be established at Adelaide Airport, and ) believe there is to be one at Brisbane Airport. Indeed, I understand that a motel is to be established at every principal airport and that the right to operate these motels has already been given to certain motel interests. It is said that this has been done by tender. But apparently we will never be told what was the price submitted by the successful tenderer. The unsuccessful tenderers will never know whether they were robbed because of some skulduggery and the Government, for the sake of its own decency, ought to throw this open for the world to see. Why should it not? The Government is the custodian of the public purse. It has no right to withhold information from the people who own the buildings and establishments. The Government does not own the airport restaurants and refreshment rooms, nor does it own the Lobby restaurant in Canberra. The people of Australia paid $105,000 for the building of the Lobby restaurant and we ought to know how much was paid for the lease of that restaurant and what are the conditions of the lease. We should know where we stand in respect of tenders. I am not making this a purely party political matter. I dare say that the same sort of thing could have happened in other days with other governments, but 1 have no evidence of it. Let us consider for a moment the refreshment rooms and liquor bars at airports. I should like to know the tender submitted by the Federal Hotel of Melbourne for the exclusive monopoly of these facilities at the Melbourne airport. I should like to know what were the tenders submitted by other interested bodies. What are the conditions applying to the use of those facilities? We are entitled to know these things. Let us look, too, at the Hotel Canberra. I. am told that the rental which is paid by those who have the licence of the Hotel Canberra, which is owned by the people of Australia, is not enough to pay the cost of the gardeners who look after the gardens of the hotel. Although it seems hard to believe, I have it on reliable information that part of the conditions attaching to the lease of the Hotel Canberra is that the Government is responsible for keeping the gardens in order. All these things smell to high heaven. There is something very suspicious and very smelly about the tendering situation. Since I am here as the elected representative of the people to look after their interests I demand that the Government explains the position. {: #subdebate-28-0-s8 .speaker-KDS} ##### Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Failes:
LAWSON, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-28-0-s9 .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT:
Maranoa -- The honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** who has just resumed his seat - I wish that he had done so long ago - talked a lot about the poor people. He has not a monopoly of sympathy for poor people. If the Australian Labor Party had control of the treasury bench 1 suggest that there would be a lot more poor people because- under the present Government unemployment has not increased and people have had the opportunity to secure good jobs. Australia's good economic position is founded on the stability of the Government. It is obvious from the speeches of honourable members opposite during this debate that a Labor government would not be able to maintain a sound economy and consequently the people who would suffer most would be the working people. The Budget presented to the Parliament this year highlights the soundness of the Australian economy. It is estimated that without any change in rates of taxation or charges, revenue will increase by about 9% while Commonwealth expenditure will be limited to an increase of 7.8%. This will result in a decrease of $97m in the deficit as compared with 1967-68: At the same time Australia will be able to cope with increasing expenditure on defence, social welfare, education and in other fields without resort to any serious increases in taxation. This demonstrates, in no uncertain fashion, the real strength of the Australian economy resulting from sound government policy. Much has been said about defence, and I intend to touch on it for a few minutes. Defence represents one of the largest items in the Budget, and deservedly so. It is essential that we have the strongest possible system of defence in' relation to our resources and the demands of development. This point was well made by the Prime Minister **(Mr Gorton)** in this House last night, lt is also essential that we provide our servicemen with the most modern arms and equipment, and this can be very costly; but it is unthinkable that we should do otherwise. I freely accept the necessity to increase our defence spending by $10lm to a total of SI, 2 17m. The provision of aid to developing countries is tied up with the overall defence of Australia. This is one way in which we can help countries to rehabilitate their economies and to maintain stable government. I believe that prevention is better than cure. Rebellion is liable to occur when a country's economy becomes unsound and the people suffer. Any aid that we provide to developing countries is money well spent. The total official economic aid which Australia provides to developing countries each year has increased by more than $110m over the past decade, from $41,897,000 in 1958-59 to an estimated $155,029,000 this year. Expenditure on external economic aid has increased at a much faster rate than both national income and total government spending since 1958-59. All told, Australia has provided, as outright gifts, more than $l,130m in official economic aid to developing countries since the end of World War II, and a further $155m is expected to be provided in 1968-69. That is a proud record, and Australia ranks second only to France in terms of the net transfer of official resources to developing countries expressed as a percentage of national income. Time is limited, but there are one or two other matters that I should like to mention, i have referred to the soundness of our economy. I turn now to social services. The pensioners deserve every cent of their increase. I believe the increase is less than is necessary to enable this section of the community to enjoy as high a standard of living as would be desirable. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- That is an admission. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT: -- Wait a minute. However, it is only fair and reasonable to consider the cost involved. The present increases in social services require an amount of some $63,426,000, lifting the total amount allocated for this purpose to $856,160,000. I emphasise that it must always be remembered that unless the economy remains stable and unless inflationary trends are kept in check the value of any increase is soon lost. This is an important point, and while I believe that greater assistance was deserved I. commend the Government on having improved the lot of pensioners. It is particularly pleasing to see tha: repatriation services, including pensions, are to receive a worthwhile increase. One of the highly creditable achievements ot this Government has been to maintain economic stability in conjunction with the record growth and development of the nation. I know that this hurts the Opposition, which would like to be able to do as well. This situation has been brought about because the Government's policy has encouraged investment of capital in Australia by investors at home and overseas. The end result is that this country is enjoying an era of prosperity which is the envy of countries throughout the world. The work force - I hope that members of the Opposition are listening to this - has benefited tremendously because wage fixing tribunals have considered that the economy can stand an unprecedented strain and have increased wages beyond the limit that would have been thought possible only a few years ago. In fact, this has been the best workers' government that Australians have ever experienced. The other side of the picture is that costs will rise to an extent that will have a serious effect on those primary industries which are largely dependent on world markets for the sale of their products. There is a real danger that exporting secondary industries may be priced out of some of their markets. Many of our primary industries have gone through a difficult period in the last decade. Not only have world prices been very depressed over recent years but also, until this year, seasonal conditions in much of eastern Australia have been extremely bad. Devaluation of sterling has also disadvantaged primary industry. The Government has taken steps to compensate primary industries for reduced returns in Australian currency due to devaluation of sterling and other currencies, but the full extent of the adverse effect of devaluation will be hard to measure. I submit that it will take some time before the adjustment is complete. In the meantime, primary industries will have to carry on at a loss that cannot be measured. These changed circumstances more than justify the benefits to primary industry that are contained in the Budget, especially when viewed against the great contribution that primary industry has made to the development of Australia as a result of the export income it has earned and is still earning. In 1966-67 rural industry still contributed no less than 66.6% of Australia's export income. Since export income is vital to the Australian economy, the total payment to rural industries of $179m in this Budget is a sound national investment, (t is the minimum sum required to keep these important industries operating. Other sections of the community share in the prosperity enjoyed by Australians generally and arc able to pass on the increased costs, but the primary producer has to absorb the increased costs as best he can. The drought bonds that have been announced in this Budget have been constantly advocated by the Australian Country Party as they can serve to equalise the income of primary producers and at 'he same time provide a reserve of funds for the preservation of livestock. This is certainly in the national interest. Wheat stabilisation has long been recognised as a worthwhile feature of our national economy. When stabilisation was first introduced the wheat grower was subsidising home consumption. The wheel has turned a full turn. But even if it seems unlikely in the near future, who can say, with rising standards of living and increasing population throughout the world, that wheat stabilisation will not once again be able to stand on its own feet. In the meantime, it needs and deserves at least the assistance it is attracting. Water conservation must be continued. I commend the Government for providing the States with finance for those water conservation schemes which have been thoroughly investigated and have been shown by stringent cost-benefit analysis to be sound economic propositions. While some crops which could be successfully grown under irrigation are at present in over-supply, there are alternative crops or improved pastures which can utilise the water available. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and 1 would be interested to hear of any area in the Commonwealth now enjoying the benefit of a properly investigated irrigation scheme which now says it would have been better off without irrigation. Far too often in this House, and indeed outside of it. we hear detractors of water conservation as an instrument of national development. Too many city dwellers and representatives of city dwellers follow this line without, I am sure, having given the matter the consideration it deserves. These people would no doubt label my opinion as biased. Therefore, I will quote a statement made by a city dweller who is an eminent authority of this subject. I refer to no less an authority than Professor Munro, who is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales. Addressing a meeting at Stanthorpe recently he said, inter alia: >The procedure is that wc have to compute the annual benefits and the annual cost of the water conservation project and if the annual benefits are not greater than the annual cost; in other words the ratio of benefits lo cost is not greater than one, then the project must not proceed, but worse than that, in order to get a project supported by the economist you have got to have a benefits-cost ratio of something like two to one. This is as far as water resources are concerned. Other investments are not subjected to this vigorous test, only water, and in doing this we are only allowed to count the tangible benefits; i.e. what you can measure in terms of money. We are only allowed to count ihe direct benefits, the primary industries. We are not allowed to count secondary benefits or indirect benefits . . . lt amazes me to contemplate a stale of affairs where economists and governments insist on rigorous benefit-cost analysis to justify the building of irrigation dams, insisting that only tangible and direct benefits can be counted on the credit side, and yet similar analysis is not insisted on when a capital city asks for more dams to keep the rose gardens blooming and the suburban lawns green. In addition to that extract, I would like to quote the words of **Dr Alan** Patterson who said, in his 1966 Curtin Memorial Lecture: >The principal reason for the negative approach to development in Western Australia and Queensland is the increasing stranglehold of the SydneyMelbourne axis on Federal funds to finance their urgently needed requirements resulting from the almost uncontrolled octopus-like growth of their cities. The self-generating expansion of this densely populated infra-structure results in huge demands being made on the resources of the nation, particularly if the standards of living in the cities are to be maintained. Yet the fact is rarely grasped that much of this development in these populous areas involving heavy capital outlay in such projects as parking lots, multi-storey buildings, railway electrification, urban roads and bridges, seaside resorts, opera houses, artificial lakes and bridges to cross them, super highways to coastal resorts, etc., may be relatively unproductive investment so far as increases in the real income of the nation are concerned. If investments in such major undertakings were subjected to the same exhaustive and rigorous benefit-cost analysis, as are insisted upon by the Commonwealth wilh respect to all northern development projects, the resultant answer would come as a shock. We would find that in cases the investment, from the national viewpoint (the criterion insisted on by the Commonwealth Treasury when passing judgment on northern projects) is so uneconomic that it could not be justified. There was a lot more along those lines said by those two eminent men but as my time is limited I must pass to another matter. 1 want to refer now to local government. Local government, particularly shire councils, has been called upon in recent years to carry greater responsibilities. Local government has had to provide more amenities such as modern swimming pools, caravan parks, libraries, well appointed recreation areas etc. and is now maintaining aerodromes under the local ownership plan. Local councils can raise money only by a rate on property. Because of this, many people are not called upon to equitably share the added financial burden of the payment of these, heavy charges. I refer to the payment which arises over and above whatever subsidy may be applicable to any of these expenditures and, indeed, that can be very heavy. The time has come, in my opinion, to at least review, with the object of increasing, the amount of money made available to local governments by the Commonwealth through the State governments. The whole system could be profitably examined but in the meantime let us at least increase the amount that local government now has to accept. Referring to roads, as the present Commonwealth legislation for aid to roads expires in June 1969, a full scale review of the arrangements for road grants will have to be conducted during the current financial year. I believe that this review will require vigilance on the part of local authorities, particularly shire councils, to see that the conditions of the legislation remain at least as equitable as they are at the present time. In my opinion, demands will be made by the capital cities for a lessening of the share which is now applicable to rural roads. Because of this, I view with great concern the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** in his speech in the debate on the Budget, lt is obvious that his concern is for the city dweller and, since he speaks as the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, it must be accepted that this also is the policy of that Party. Time does not permit me to elaborate more on this subject but I would like to do so. Australians generally will appreciate the added assistance to education which was revealed in the Budget and details of which have been given by the Minister for Education and Science **(Mr Malcolm Fraser).** The need for better standards of education, in all fields, is growing more and more apparent. The decision of the Commonwealth Government to lift its estimated expenditure on education by $34m over the allocation for last year to a total of over $210m clearly indicates that it is accepting its share of responsibility in this direction. This is further emphasised when it is realised that Commonwealth expenditure on education 5 years ago was less than one-third of this amount. There is, however, one field of education which is very deserving df assistance and which has not been mentioned. I refer to independent primary schools in the various States. The saving to the Government and the community at large over the years has been a very large amount of money and this saving is still being enjoyed. The Government has recognised the value of independent primary schools in the Northern Territory by increasing the pupil allowance from $1.2 to $20 per pupil a year. It is high time that assistance was given to these schools throughout Australia as many of them will not be able to continue on the same scale without it if , indeed, they can carry on at all. If the contribution made by these schools were withdrawn, the Government would be faced with finding a lot more teachers, a lot more finance and a lot more accommodation for children. It would obviously be very good business from the Government's point of view to give some assistance before it was too late, and it is very late even now. This afternoon's Sydney Press features on the front page news that Catholic schools in Sydney are likely to discontinue fifth and sixth year classes, which would comprise about 5,200 pupils. It states that the elimination of the fifth and sixth forms would place an almost intolerable strain on State schools, which would have to accommodate the overflow. To get back to my own opinion, I suggest that the Government must give serious consideration to this position. 1 am concerned with the welfare of the children involved. They are the nation's most precious asset and their future education is of the utmost importance to Australia. This has been highlighted in the Sydney Press, as I have pointed out. 1 hope that the Government will- take serious note of the position which has arisen and will look after the future of these children. It should at least consider what can be done and what is likely to happen in the future, and should deal with this very serious situation in phases. In the few minutes that remain .1 would like to talk about some of the problems of the inland areas of Australia. One of the most earnestly sought amenities in inland Queensland, and no doubt in other States, is television. Whilst it is true that well over 90% of the people are receiving the benefits of television, the people who are not receiving them are those most in need because of the lack of alternative entertainment and because the educational value would help to counter the lack of educational facilities. The financial ' success of commercial television as shown in recent company reports suggests that commercial television might be prepared to move farther afield if given reasonable encouragement. I urge the Government to investigate fully all practicable possibilities in this direction. A continuous telephone service in this day and age is a necessity but it can be provided in many rural areas only by the use of automatic exchanges. The introduction of subscriber trunk dialling and other scientific advances shows up in bold relief the disabilities of subscribers who still have restricted hours of service. For balanced progress to be made in telephone communication it is necessary that a greater proportion of Postal Department expenditure be applied to the provision of more automatic exchanges. A great deal more should be said to promote the welfare of people in my area, but I have not time to say it because I intend to keep to the limit that has been imposed. I merely say in conclusion that I believe this Budget will continue to promote the prosperity of Australia and will continue to promote the welfare of Australia and her people. I have very much pleasure in supporting the Budget and in opposing the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition. Debate (on motion by **Dr Patterson)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 683 {:#debate-29} ### ADJOURNMENT Taxation - Trade with Communist Countries Motion (by **Mr Bowen)** proposed: >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-29-s0 .speaker-KXZ} ##### Mr PETERS:
Scullin -- On 27th August 1968 1 asked (he Treasurer **(Mr McMahon):** >Will the double taxation agreement now being compiled with Japan reduce by at least 50% the amount of taxation payable in Australia by Japanese on dividends from their investments in this country? The Treasurer said: >The answer to the question is no. In Hansard on 16th May 1967 the Treasurer is reported as having told me that where a shareholder in a company operating in Australia is a resident of a country with which Australia has a double taxation agreement, such taxpayer is called upon to pay half the amount payable by a taxpayer resident of a country with which Australia has no agreement. The Treasurer set out in his answer details of amounts of taxation payable by shareholders resident in countries with which Australia has double taxation agreements, by those in countries with which Australia has no agreement, and by Australians. A shareholder in a country with which Australia has a double taxation agreement receiving from Australia taxable dividends of $20,000 would pay Australian taxation of $3,000. A shareholder in an Australian company, a resident of a country with which Australia has no double taxation agreement would pay $6,000. An Australian taxpayer pays $9,486 on the same taxable income. I asked the Treasurer whether the taxation concessions to Japan would exceed by an immense amount any reciprocal taxation advantages to Australia. The Treasurer said: >The answer is no. The investment of Australian money in Japan equals a small fraction of Japanese investment in Australia. I asked: >Will the agreement boost Japanese exports to Australia and Japanese takeovers of Australian industries and resources? The Treasurer replied: >The answer to the third question is thai I see nothing in the agreement that could lead to the conclusion to which the honourable gentleman has come. . . . The Prime Minister of Japan has made it clear that Japan wants a double taxation agreement to reduce its unfavourable trade balance with Australia. The Melbourne Herald' of 28th August 1968 contains this statement: >The agreement could result in the establishment here of big Japanese manufacturing firms, lt may also increase direct Japanese investment. lt is of the greatest urgency that the abilities and resources of this country be marshalled to prevent Japanese businessmen, armed with cheque books and assisted by our Government, from taking over the natural resources and the industries of this country. A control that the Japanese could not secure with their embattled might in time of war they are seeking to secure in time of peace per medium of investments in this country. I have said before, and I repeat now, that it is not anti-Japanese but pro-Australian to oppose the Government of Australia giving to Japan taxation concessions that will help Japanese investors to deprive Australians of their financial interests in Australia. All I suggest is that our Government take action to retain the control and the government of Australia for Australians by Australians just as the Japanese have taken and continue to take action to keep control of Japan by the Japanese. 1 ask the Treasurer which of his answers was correct - that of 16th May 1967 or that of 27th August 1968. 1 challenge him. Does he still contend that the Japanese will not get advantages from a double taxation agreement out of all proportion to those gained by Australians? I emphatically state that the Japanese want taxation concessions to boost Japanese exports to Australia and to promote takeovers by the Japanese of Australian industries and resources. Those who sell their country in time of war are called quislings. Apparently those who assist to sell their country to other nations in time of peace can claim to be liberal statesmen. I had informed the Treasurer that I intended to dispute his replies to my questions, that 1 intended to bring this matter up. He has not seen fit to be present this evening. Apparently the object of not only the Treasurer of this country but also the Press of this country, which relies upon the advertisements of overseas interests, is to conceal from the notice of the people of this country the intention of the Japanese to secure concessions that will enable them to take over Australia's resources and industries. This is a most important and urgent issue and one that should be discussed fully by the Parliament before an agreement, which has already been concluded with the Japanese, is presented. This action should be taken so that we as a government or as a people should be able to make our statements and give our opinions in connection with the agreement, before the agreement is ratified by the leaders of this country and of Japan. {: #debate-29-s1 .speaker-JXI} ##### Mr FREETH:
Minister for Air · Forrest · LP -- I do not rise to reply in full to the honourable member for Scullin **(Mr Peters),** but I think he was a little less than just to the Treasurer **(Mr McMahon).** The Treasurer was unavoidably absent tonight. He knew that the honourable gentleman was to speak and asked me, out of courtesy to the honourable member, to listen to what he had to say. I have listened with care to what was said. I shall discuss it with the Treasurer who will have the opportunity on some other occasion of replying. I think the honourable member was trying to make a little more of this than he needed in the circumstances. His attitude to any sort of foreign investment in Australia is well known and I think that colours his whole attitude to this subject. {: #debate-29-s2 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY:
Grayndler -- During the week I have listened to some rather startling speeches. Earlier tonight 1 listened to a couple of very frightening speeches by the honourable member for Balaclava **(Mr Whittorn)** and the honourable member for Barton **(Mr Arthur).** So frightening were these speeches that I was prompted to speak to show up the differences of opinion in the approach of Government supporters to international matters. It is on record that the honourable member for Balaclava has stated that there is little difference between Communism and Socialism. I wonder why he continues to enjoy the fruits of Socialism when he travels by Trans-Australia Airlines? I wonder whether he banks at the Commonwealth Bank because by his definition this is something very close to Communism. I wonder whether he supports the wheat stabilisation scheme? Does he believe in the stabilisation of markets? I wonder whether he believes in government railways and whether he delivers his letters by hand or sends them through the socialised Post Office. The honourable member made a hypocritical approach when he spoke about the great fear of Communism and the danger to this country and others of Russia, China and other Iron Curtain countries. I thought I should remind the House of the immense trade with those countries even when our servicemen are fighting and dying in Vietnam under the conscription laws of this Government, lt is to the credit of the United States of America, which is fighting in Vietnam, that it says it is opposed to the Chinese Republic and will not trade with it. But the Australian Government has two standards. The members of the Australian Country Party, who nominate and choose the Prime Minister and keep the Government in office, say we must trade with and sell wheat, wool and other primary products to Communist countries irrespective of who our enemies might be and no matter how many Australian servicemen are dying in Vietnam today. The Australian Labor Party does not object to trade with any country at all. But if we thought, as the Minister for External Affairs **(Mr Hasluck)** and others say, that Red China is the real threat to our security and we had to conscript men to fight in that part of the world, I do not believe the Labor Party would trade with that country. In addition, if the monstrous things being said by the Government are true in relation to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, why did the two honourable members opposite who spoke earlier and nearly make us tremble with fear on the dangers of Communism, give silent assent to the immense trade being done with Russia? Today national servicemen are dying in Vietnam. Probably the soldiers who are killing them are eating food made from wheat that has been sold to Red China with the support of honourable members opposite, because if their stories are correct, the Chinese are a threat to us and are engaged in this conflict against us. If the Government's story is true, Czechoslovakians are suffering today at the hands of Russian soldiers whose uniforms are of Australian wool that has been sold to Russia by an Australian Liberal-Country Party Government. Where do members of the Government parties stand on this issue? Do they stand with the United States? Have they the courage of their convictions? Or do they want it both ways? They frighten the daylights out of the people in regard to Communism and clothe and feed the very people who they say are engaged in the destruction of all the things that we stand for. Let us look at the present situation. Mainland China is Australia's fifth biggest customer. An answer given to the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** quite recently shows that only Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand have more trade with us. Do the two honourable members concerned support that policy? Do they support the sale of wool to Russia? Do they say that all the things that they have said tonight are true and that these people are endangering the security of the world and our security? If they do, let them stand up in this Parliament and tell us how they split their ethics, if I may use that term, and, in a most hypocritical way, quite wrongly condemn the Labor Party for being affiliated with the Communist Party, and trade with and condemn these people as enemies at the same time. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr McEwen)** has been to Iron Curtain countries recently and has signed trade agreements there. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** went to Moscow recently. I thought he had gone Communist because when he returned he sang the praises of what he had seen in Russia in regard to farms and other things. The praises of the Russians and others were sung to the highest by this disciple of Country Party policy on exports and production. Of course, members of the Country Party are practical politicians. They do not like the politics of these people, but they love the jingle of Communist gold. So do members of the other Government party. The Minister for Trade and Industry is smiling handsomely and is of happier countenance than ever these days. He is shaking hands and signing trade agreements with the representatives of Iron Curtain countries. But we do not see him behind the closed doors when the negotiations are taking place with the Communist leaders whom he condemns as a menace to world peace. According to the 'Australian' of 19th August, at this very moment we are trying to sell more wheat to China. An article headed 'We try to sell more wheat to China' states: >A three-man team from the Australian Wheat Board has been in Shanghai for a week trying to sell more wheat to China. > >According to the Australian Trade Commissioner in Hong Kong, **Mr R.** Holberton, the delegation is headed by the Board **chairman, Mr Callaghan,** with the general manager, **Mr L.** Borman, and a board member, **Mr P.** Shannon, assisting him. Shortly we will see the Minister for Trade and Industry shaking hands with representatives of Red China as they sign an agreement. Then we will see him standing up in this Parliament a few days later and, supported by other members of the Government parties, condemning the menace of Red China as a threat to the security of the people of this country. It is scandalous to think that the Government conscripts boys to fight for freedom and liberty, as it says, in Vietnam where, it says, the future of this country is at stake because if Vietnam falls so will Australia. Yet the boys who are fighting there are being opposed by men who may be equipped with and fed on products sent to them by the very men who are using this monstrous law in order to conscript Australian servicemen to fight there. Honourable members opposite cannot have it both ways. Why are not they like the Americans? Why do not they say: 'These people are the enemy and we will not trade with them'? Do they prefer to sell the lives of Australian servicemen for trade? That is precisely what the position appears to me to be. It was not until the Labor Party raised the matter that it became known that the Government was selling tallow and steel to North Vietnam and that some of the tallow may well have been used in explosives that blew some of our soldiers to eternity- in Vietnam. These matters are worth elaborating. I am sick and tired of being almost frightened, when an election is pending, by members of the Liberal Party thundering about the dangers of Communism. The very people whom they are condemning the most are the ones with whom they have the greatest trade. They are misleading the Australian public in the most hypocritical way because they know that what they are saying in many respects is not true. They know that their policy on Vietnam has been condemned not only in this country but in various other countries. Yet members of the Liberal Party are prepared to give in to the Country Party and to sell1 to these people, irrespective of the consequences to the people of Australia. Let me make the Labor Party's attitude quite clear. {: .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden: -- Let us hear it.; {: .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr DALY: -- We believe in trade with all countries. I am pleased that the Minister is here. He is one of the Ministers who have said that our security is in danger in Vietnam and that Red China is the threat to this country. If he believes that, why is he putting wheat into the bellies of the soldiers who are shooting down Australian boys in Vietnam. Let him answer that question. Honourable members on the other side speak of the rape of Czechoslovakia. What is their attitude to Russia? Do they still believe that Russia is a great menace? 1 admit it was a remarkable change to hear the Liberal Party in this Parliament defending a Communist regime. If honourable members opposite believe that these matters are deserving of condemnation, they should stand up and say why they are trading with the Communists. I repeat that they are condemning the Communist countries as a menace to Australia and they are the ones who are supplying those countries with the sinews of war, with wheat, wool and steel. Why do they do this if their case is true? The real reason is that their approach is hypocritical. They are prepared to sell their goods and take the gold of the Communists while at the same time, they send Australian boys to die at the hands of Communists. I have raised this matter in the Parliament because I think it should be elaborated. One or all of the silent members opposite should rise and explain their position. I invite the Minister to explain why he takes gold from the Russians and Chinese and at the same time condemns them as a threat to world peace. {: #debate-29-s3 .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN:
Balaclava -- It is not my intention to delay the House for any length of time.I had no idea that the honourable member for Grayndler **(Mr Daly)** would attack me tonight. {: .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- He wasout of order. {: .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN: -- He had notes and told the House of statements I had made. But he placed interpretations on my remarks that are quite contrary to what I intended. Although the honourable member for Mallee **(Mr Turnbull)** says he was out of order, perhaps he thinks- **Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W.** J. Aston)Order! The Chair will decide when an honourable member is out of order. {: .speaker-L0N} ##### Mr WHITTORN: -- Perhaps the honourable member for Grayndler thinks he was in order. I referred tonight to the duplicity of the Communist regimes in Europe and to the fact that the leaders from the Kremlin who had kissed **Mr Dubcek** on the cheek on 9th August decided to stab him in the back on 20th August. The Australian people should know of these matters. They should not be buried. Australians should know that such things can happen in Australia as they have happened in Europe every 12 years or so. In 1940 the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, knew what to expect from the Soviet Union. In 1956 Hungary felt the whip lash and the brutality of the Soviet regime. On 20th August 1968, having kissed **Mr Dubcek** on the cheek a few days previously the Russian leaders stabbed him in the back. The Australian people should know about these matters. They should keep them in their minds and at election time, if need be, cast their vote accordingly. But I will answer the honourable member for Grayndler in my own good time. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.33 p.m. {: .page-start } page 688 {:#debate-30} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: {:#subdebate-30-0} #### Australian Capital Territory: Schoolchildren (Question No. 324) {: #subdebate-30-0-s0 .speaker-JWX} ##### Mr J R Fraser:
ALP er asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In respect of each of the last ten years how many children in the Australian Capital Territory have been granted permission to leave school before attaining the normal leaving age? 1. Who possesses the delegated power of the Minister to grant exemptions from attendance at school? 2. Are officers of the Child Welfare Department consulted before decisions are made on applications for exemption? 3. Is there a minimum age below which applications for exemption will not be considered? 4. On what grounds may the Minister, or his delegate grant exemption from attendance at school? 5. Can he say how many children were granted exemption on each of these grounds during each of the past ten years? {: #subdebate-30-0-s1 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Detailed records are available for the period from the beginning of the school year 1961 to date. During that time 265 exemptions to leave school were granted. (For annual distribution see answer to 6.) 1. An Inspector of Schools has the power under the Education Ordinance. 2. Officers of the Child Welfare Department are consulted before decisions are made on applications for exemption. Usually a comprehensive written report is provided by the Child Welfare Office. 3. A minimum age is not specified in the Education Ordinance. Usually, exemptions are for only a few months before the pupils reach school leaving age. Consideration of exemption below the age of fourteen years would be very rare indeed. 4. The Education Ordinance gives the following grounds: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. that the child receives efficient instruction at home or elsewhere; 1. that such conditions exist as make it necessary or desirable that the certificate be granted; 2. that there is not adequate school accom modation; or 3. that the child is of the age of fourteen years or more and has completed the primary school course of study in a school in the Territory maintained by or on behalf of the Commonwealth or a school certified under this Ordinance, or has been educated up to a standard accepted by the Inspector of Schools as equivalent thereto, and that the home conditions of the child are such as to warrant exemption. 5. In relation to the grounds for exemption set out in5 above the following were granted: {:#subdebate-30-1} #### Off-shore Drilling Vessels (Question No. 333) {: #subdebate-30-1-s0 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr Hansen:
WIDE BAY, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has permission been given for a foreign owned off-shore drilling vessel to operate on the north-west coast? 1. Has the Australian-owned drilling vessel Investigator' been moored in Darwin Harbour because of shortage of contract work? 2. Is permission usually given to importships for special purposes when an Australian vessel is available? {: #subdebate-30-1-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
CP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. At the conclusion of its drilling programme at Ashmore Reef the oil drilling ship 'Investigator ZO owned by Zapata-O.D.E. Ply Limited proceeded to Darwin. Subsequently, it departed overseas to undertake a further drilling contract. 2. No. {:#subdebate-30-2} #### Chemical and Biological Warfare (Question No. 481) {: #subdebate-30-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: >What action has the Government taken .n response to Britain's proposal to extend the 1925 Geneva Convention to ban later means of chemical and biological warfare? {: #subdebate-30-2-s1 .speaker-ZL6} ##### Mr Hasluck:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >On 16th July, the British representative in the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament (E.N.D.C.) proposed that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should prepare a report on the nature and possible effects of chemical weapons and on the implications of their use. > >On 6th August, he submitted to the E.N.D.C. a working paper which proposed the early conclusion of a new Convention for the Prohibition of Microbiological Methods of Warfare, which would supplement but not supersede the 1925 Geneva Protocol. > >On 15th August, the E.N.D.C. adopted an agenda for its discussions, lt is understood that consideration of the question of chemical and bacteriological warfare could occur at some point under item 2 of this agenda, which deals with nonnuclear disarmament measures. > >Australia is a party to the Geneva Protocol but it is not a member of the E.N.D.C. The Government intends however to keep in close touch with any developments within that body concerning chemical and biological warfare. {:#subdebate-30-3} #### National Service Training (Question No. 249) {: #subdebate-30-3-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: >Will he supply the following information in respect of each national service intake since the scheme was introduced: fa) the number of applicants for deferment in each State and in the Commonwealth; > >the percentage of the total applicants in each State; > >the number of applications granted in each State and the Commonwealth; > >the percentage of the total applications granted in each State and in the Commonwealth; and > >lbc grounds on which applications were based, and the (i) number and (ii) percentage of applications one each of these grounds in each State and in the Commonwealth? {: #subdebate-30-3-s1 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
Minister for Labour and National Service · WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. to (e). National service registrants are eligible for deferment in a range of circumstances. In addition to those balloted out, indefinite deferment of call-up is granted to men who marry before call-up action commences for their age-group and those who, before the ballot following their registration, have elected and continue to serve under the required conditions in the Citizen Forces. Those whose callup may be deferred temporarily include students and apprentices, registrants granted deferment by a court on the ground that the rendering of service would impose exceptional hardship on themselves, their parents or dependants and migrants who are not called up until they have resided in Australia for two years, and in the case of non-British subjects before they reach 21 years of age. The only comparable information available bearing on the honourable member's question is the total number of registrants actually under deferment on the various grounds outlined above, at the 30th June each year. The latest information at 30th June 1968 is detailed in the statement on National Service: The First Three Years which 1 released 8th August 1968, copies of which were distributed to all honourable members. {:#subdebate-30-4} #### National Service Training (Question No. 310) {: #subdebate-30-4-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones:
NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In what years since 1950 has national service training been in operation? 1. How many mcn were trained in each year? 2. How many trainees on completion of their training transferred to one of the permanent services? {: #subdebate-30-4-s1 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. 1951-1959 inclusive; 1965-1968 inclusive. 1. Between 1951 and 1959 the number of men called up for training was 227,076. The numbers called up for service in each year since 1965 are: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. From 1951 to 1959 a total of 2,491 national servicemen enlisted in the Regular Army during their period of national service. No record is available of men who may have enlisted in the Regular Army or the other Permanent Forces subsequent to their period of training as national servicemen. From 1965 up to 30th June 1968 a total of 357 national servicemen transferred to the Regular Army. In addition one enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and twelve in the Royal Australian Air Force. {:#subdebate-30-5} #### Transport Advisory Council: Report on Pattern and Trends of Transport (Question No. 391) {: #subdebate-30-5-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. On what date did the Australian Transport Advisory Council accept the Report on Pattern and Trends of Transport in Australia, 1955-1956 to 1963-1964, prepared by the Committee of Transport Economic Research? 1. Why has this report not yet been published? {: #subdebate-30-5-s1 .speaker-5E4} ##### Mr Sinclair:
CP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The Report on Patterns and Trends in the Transport of Goods and Passengers in Australia, prepared by the Committee of Transport Economic Research, was received by the Australian Transport Advisory Council at its twenty-fourth meeting in July 1966. 1. Council considered the publication of the complete report arid agreed to its reproduction for limited distribution only. This distribution has been effected. {:#subdebate-30-6} #### Graylands Migrant Hostel (Question No. 496) {: #subdebate-30-6-s0 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr Webb:
STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What has been the capital and maintenance expenditure on the Graylands Migrant Camp in each of the past 5 years? 1. What is the planned estimated expenditure in the future? {: #subdebate-30-6-s1 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury:
LP -- The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Expenditure on the Graylands Migrant Hostel in each of the past 5 years was: {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Planned for the current financial year is an estimated capital expenditure of $172,000, and maintenance of $46,000.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 August 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.