26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr SCHOLES presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that the House press for a speedy ending to the war in Vietnam by the implementation of the proposals of the United Nations Secretary-General, U Thant.
Petition received and read.
Dr EVERINGHAM presented a petition from certain citizens of the Commonwealth praying that this House take any action necessary to assist a campaign for a lusting peaceful settlement in Vietnam.
Petition received and read.
-] ask the Prime Minister a question, lt arises from speculation and, I gather, a Press conference which he gave just after midnight, on the possibility of an American statement concerning the total cessation of: bombing of North Vietnam. If a decision is made will the right honourable gentleman consent on this occasion to make a statement on the matter in the House? Moreover, in view of the contrasting views expressed on the one hand by his Minister for External Affairs and his Minister for Defence and on the other hand by my colleagues and myself about the entire bombing policy, will he arrange for an early debate on any statement that he may make?
– I do not know why the Leader of the Opposition should ask me would I make a statement on this kind of matter on this occasion in the House because if he casts his mind back he will remember I made a statement in the House on the last occasion when the United States made a decision and announced it. All 1 can say in regard to the question of speculation which the Leader of the Opposition has raised is that the talks have been going on in Paris for a very considerable time between the United States delegation and people from North Vietnam. We have been at all stages kept quite closely informed of what was happening there, both from our representative in Paris and from our representative in Washington. There were last night overseas speculations that there might be a statement shortly made by the President of the United States on this matter. If so then I would clearly make a statement following the statement of the President of the United States but so far all that has happened is that there has been speculation as to what has been happening there and what is for sure is that we have been kept in close and constant touch with all the discussions going on.
– [ ask the Prime Minister a question. Has any decision been made by the Government with respect to the earthquake damage in Western Australia, the extent of which is well in excess of the original estimates?
– 1 understand that the Lord Mayor of Perth has opened a fund to assist the victims of this earthquake damage and that the Government of Western Australia has donated $50,000 to this fund. I have received a telegram from the Premier of Western Australia suggesting that the Commonwealth Government might donate a similar sum to this fund and I have informed the Premier of Western Australia that we are in fact prepared to contribute $50,000 to this fund. We will at a later stage, of course, be receiving from the Premier reports of the specific damage which the ‘quake has caused.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Is it true, as reported, that arrangements have been made for early discussions between himself and Premier Bolte on the subject of Commonwealth assistance for Melbourne’s projected underground railway? If so, is this the first approach that has been made for talks on this specific matter? How soon will talks begin?
– There have been requests from the Premier of Victoria that this matter should be discussed. Of course, this is a perfectly common and normal occurrence when a Premier of a State wishes any particular matter discussed. 1 have indicated my willingness to meet him and discuss it with him but there is no firm date fixed for it as yet.
– I ask the Treasurer » question. Has there been a noticeable decrease of private investment in Australia from British sources? Was the British Government planning to impose controls over private British funds flowing to Australia and did our action in increasing company tax eliminate this need?
– I do not know of any grounds to support the view that the United Kingdom Government is contemplating further restrictions on the flow of private capital investment into Australia - that is, placing any restrictions at all on portfolio investment or institutional loans. As to the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question, it has been disclosed already that there was a deficit of $55m in our balance of payments in the first 3 months of 1968- 69. I have rough estimates of the various elements such as the trade deficit, the deficit on current account and the capital inflow on both private and official accounts. There was a substantial improvement on official loans account, and an apparent fall, but not necessarily a serious fall, in private capital inflow.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Has he or the Prime Minister received either correspondence or personal representations from the Premier of New South Wales ot the Minister for Public Works in that State for financial assistance to build a new floating dock for the Newcastle State Dockyard so that ship repair activities there can be maintained and so that the new and larger bulk ships operating on the Australian coast may be docked and serviced in an Australian shipyard instead of in overseas docks? If such a request has been received from the Premier of New South Wales, has the Government considered it? If the Government has considered such a request, what is the decision? ls assistance to be given to this important national industry? If representations have not been received from the Premier, has the Government given this subject any consideration as an aspect of the defence preparedness of this country? Will assistance similar to that given by a previous Federal Government be given to rebuild the existing worn out, antiquated dock?
– To the best of my knowledge there has been no approach made by the Premier of New South Wales to the Prime Minister for financial assistance to provide for the replacement of the existing floating dock at Newcastle. However, the Minister for Public Works in New South Wales has mentioned to me his concern at the present state of repair of that dock and I understand that proposals are under way for some planned replacement of the dock. But the nature of the financial considerations and the way in which the New South Wales Government intends to provide the necessary funds are not known to me.
– My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Trade and Industry. As he is aware, a great deal of attention is at present focused on the need for exports. Would he agree that the primary industries of this country are still the major contributors in this regard? Would he agree also that primary industry is the greatest contributor in the field of decentralisation? In order to sustain at a high level this contribution to national prosperity, will the Minister discuss with his Cabinet colleagues and leaders of primary industry ways and means of giving further assistance?
– It is true that some 70% of Australia’s export income is still earned by Australian rural industries. I hope that the volume of sales, and opportunities for the sale, of these primary commodities will at least be maintained in the future at their present levels and that in many sectors they will be expanded. It is true also that in terms of the numbers of people employed in rural industries, unfortunately, there are not the same opportunities for the employment of newcomers to Australia and for the employment of the next generation of Australians as there are in secondary industries and the service industries, both of which in many instances provide materials for primary industries. Accordingly it is necessary in decentralisation to consider not only primary industries but also those other industries to which I have referred. However, I can assure the honourable member that the Government is constantly aware of the contribution made to the Australian economy by the primary industries. Consequently, whenever financial proposals are under discussion every consideration is given to the posit;on of those industries to ensure that they continue to play such an effective part in maintaining the stability of the Australian balance of payments.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Civil Aviation, ls it correct that Hicks Aviation Co. Pty Ltd. or some other airline operator has been or will be granted in the near future a licence to carry passengers and freight between Geraldton and Perth? If so, will MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd also continue to operate a passenger and freight service between the two centres? If the answer is again in the affirmative, does it mean that the Government has altered its policy of not licensing another company to operate on the same route as a subsidised airline, and does it mean also that Trans-Australia Airlines now will be permitted to operate the Perth-Darwin route?
– MacRobertson Miller Airlines Ltd still will continue to operate on the route mentioned by the honourable member. MMA has an agreement with the Commonwealth to provide services throughout Western Austrafia That agreement continues until 1971. It will be reviewed at that point. I may mention also that most of the routes that are operated by MMA are fairly heavily subsidised by the Commonwealth to ensure that services are provided to the far flung areas of (he State where development is taking place.
In addition to the regular public transport service provided by MMA there are now a number of commuter operators who, we believe, will be given licences to operate on some of the routes in the future. Announcements have been made already regarding several routes from which MMA is considering withdrawing. These services will be taken over by commuter operators. So, the pattern is changing to some degree in that some routes will be serviced by commuter operators. But the major routes still will be serviced by MMA in the meantime until1 the agreement is reviewed.
– Considering the fact that the standardisation of the railway gauge from Perth to Port Augusta is completed and that the Broken Hill-Port Pirie link will be finalised, I believe, before the end of 1969, can the Minister for Shipping and Transport give me any reason why the proposed railway line from Port Augusta to Whyalla should not be proceeded with as soon as the Broken Hill-Port Pirie section is completed?
– I well appreciate the concern of the honourable member at the operation and possibility of a railway line between Port Augusta and Whyalla. At the same time, from surveys made over past years of the volume of traffic between Port Augusta and Whyalla, it would appear that most of the Whyalla trade would move through to Adelaide and that consequently, there being a standard gauge link to Adelaide, there would necessarily be a transshipment from the standard gauge line onto the narrow gauge line. With bogey exchange and so on, it was considered that the construction of the line would not have as high a priority as the line between Port Pirie and Adelaide.
Recently, the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd has announced that steel products are to bo transported from Whyalla to Sydney by rail instead of by ship. In the result, it could bo that the economics of the construction of the standard gauge link between Whyalla and Port Augusta could well be different now from that which existed before. In order to determine the position, a survey is being undertaken at this time by officers of my Department and of the Commonwealth Railways-
- Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The Minister is now giving in answer to a question without notice an answer which I have been waiting for him to give-
– Does the Leader of the Opposition particularly not want the answer?
– I want the answer but I do not see why the Minister cannot give the answer when this question has been on the notice paper - -
-Order! There will be no debate on this matter. 1 ask the Leader of the Opposition to indicate the question on notice to which he refers.
– lt is Question No. 854(2).
– 1 think that the question asked of the Minister by the honourable member for Grey is slightly different from the one that is on the notice paper. I suggest that the Minister is in order.
– I. thought that even the Leader of the Opposition might have been interested to know the present position. I know that the honourable member for Grey has a very close, personal and continuing interest in this matter. 1 assure him that the matter he has raised will continue to receive the close scrutiny of the Government.
– I. ask the Minister for the Interior whether the New and Permanent Parliament House Committee appointed by Parliament considered any other site for a new parliament house than the two sites under discussion? What site did Walter Burley Griffin recommend?
– The site that Walter Burley Griffin recommended was the Camp Hill site. The chain of events that led to the present debate commenced in 1957 when Lord Holford came to Australia at the invitation of the Australian Government to look at a site for a new parliament house. At that time it seemed apparent that the Camp Hill site that had been recommended by Walter Burley Griffin could not be used because of the existence of this present parliament house. One has to remember that in 1957 building methods were somewhat different from what they are today. At that time it was not envisaged that the present parliament house could be built over or made use of in the construction of a new parliament house. So under these terms Lord Holford excluded the Camp Hill site. He recommended the lake site in preference to the Capital Hill site against thai background. Ten years have passed since then and it is true to say that building methods have changed considerably. [ believe it is now possible that the Camp Hill site could be used. Several members have expressed an interest in retaining the parliament house on the Camp Hill site by building a new parliament house or incorporating the present building in the available area of approximately 60 acres. 1 have sought the Prime Minister’s agreement to moving a further amendment during the debate on the new and permanent parliament house to give the opportunity to members of the Parliament lo discuss the Camp Hill site along with the Capital Hill site and the lake site.
– I address my question to the Prime Minister as the Minister who cares for the conduct of affairs in this place and keeps them at a high standard, ls he aware that some years ago a report of a so-called meeting of the Government members mining committee was published on the front page of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ with very good pictures of all the members right across the centre of the front page? Is it a fact that the meeting was never held but was the result of members probing to see whether the Press would lap up any nonsense fed to it? ls it a fact that the unfortunate pressman involved received hostile treatment from the proprietors of the newspaper he worked for when the mistake was discovered? Is it a fact that the present humourless correspondent of that newspaper in Canberra is very willing to hand out punishment in respect of leaked reports from Party meetings but is unwilling to take punishment? ls it a fact that in the whole sorry context of these leaks from meetings the ‘Daily Telegraph’ is at least less inaccurate than the Sydney Morning Herald’?
– I am very much inhibited in attempting to answer the question asked me by the honourable member because I have no knowledge whatsoever of the publication or non-publication some years ago of a meeting or a non-meeting of the Government members mining committee. Consequently, the whole basis of the question is something I would have !o examine before I could answer.
– 1 direct my question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. The Minister will be aware that in the last four seasons serious unemployment has occurred in the large coastal sugar towns of Queensland and that these areas are again faced with this situation of unemployment in the next 6 months. I ask the Minister: In view of 4 years of experience of serious unemployment in which millions of dollars have been paid out in unemployment benefits, has the Government any constructive plan to put an end to the waste of this valuable manpower which is now occurring year after year, or is it again simply to allow the payment of unemployment benefits in these areas?
– The seasonal problems of the sugar industry in Queensland go beyond the last 4 years; they have existed for a long time. As the honourable member knows, each year there is a great increase in employment in sugar areas from both local and outside sources. To some extent the problem could diminish because new machinery makes it possible for a lot of the work which previously had to be done by labour from outside to be performed by those living in the areas. lt is clear thai in a situation such as arises in Queensland where there is work available for only part of the year, the position can be met only by transferring people to work elsewhere or by some initiative to take work of another character to these areas. The Department of Labour and National Service has worked on this for a long time. lt. is unlikely that people living in these areas would wish to live in another town for a great part of the year. So there is. .i very serious inherent problem. My Department would certainly do its best to assist the Queensland Government or anyone else who put forward proposals whereby this seasonal’ problem could be remedied, lt does not, of course, lie within the narrow powers of my Department to shift industry around or plan ils location. But the advice and facilities of my Department arc available. Certainly we would be very pleased to hear of anything which could reduce this serious problem.
I think the honourable member realises the basic intrinsic nature of this problem because of the shape of the economy and the seasons. Offsetting seasonal unemployment is extremely difficult over rural areas which are scattered over a wide compass of Queensland. The honourable member asked whether there was a solution. If there is 1 will be glad to hear it. But the only immediate remedy would not be acceptable 10 those concerned in this industry.
– I ask the Minister lor Civil Aviation a question. I refer to the trenchant newspaper criticism of the Government concerning the alleged delay of development of Sydney Airport and air transport facilities generally in Australia. I ask: What is the true position in this matter and are the charges of failure by his Department justified, particularly in regard to the development of air transport and the tremendously important development of the tourist industry?
– I. have read reports, particularly those appearing in two Sydney newspapers today. One newspaper contained a very constructive and factual report in relation to airport development in Sydney. Another Sydney newspaper published a most destructive and critical article of the Government and my Department. Also, I read a leading article in another newspaper which was critical of the Government particularly and which based its case on the fact that it. claimed that no planning was being done by the Government for the future development of the aviation industry in Australia. At the outset I would say that the two critical articles to which I referred are based entirely on wrong foundations.
I have said from time to time in this House that there is no department or industry that is looking further into the future than the Department of Civil Aviation and the aviation industry. I have indicated that we have been projecting our planning so far ahead that it is now extended to the end of the century - over 30 years hence. We aTe working on this projection in respect of the provision of facilities. No industry in Australia is growing at a faster rate than the aviation industry. Just a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity of opening a new airport. It was the 671st licensed aerodrome in Australia. When we add to that number over 6,000 authorised landing grounds, we get some idea of the facilities that are provided for a nation of just 12 million people. No other country provides aviation facilities to this extent for such a population and in such an area. In addition, I do not know of any country that is devoting a greater proportion of its financial resources to providing these facilities. When these criticisms are directed towards the Government I think these facts should be made known.
In relation to the development of Sydney Airport it is very interesting to know that recently when I was overseas and had the opportunity of having discussions with government officials and with representatives of the aviation industry in the United States of America, as well as the opportunity of inspecting a number of airports there and in several other countries, I discovered that Australia is further developed in her plans for the acceptance of a new generation of aircraft than even the United States at this point of time. Criticism of this type is not helpful to our image and certainly does no good for the country. In conclusion I would say that the planning for the future will continue and I am sure that the Government will support the programme of development as it has done in the past.
– Since the Minister for Shipping and Transport seems to find it easier to answer questions without notice than questions on notice I ask him: Did Prime Minister Chifley and Premier Playford in 1949 sign an agreement under which the Commonwealth would provide the finance for the conversion of South Australia’s 5 feet 3 inch gauge railways and suitable 5 feet 3 inch gauge locomotives and rolling-stock to standard gauge, and did both Houses of this Parliament without dissent or division, approve the agreement in October 1949? How many miles of the State’s 5 feet 3 inch railways and how many units of its rolling-stock have since been converted to standard gauge, and how many still remain to be converted?
– It is true that legislation approving an agreement was passed by this Parliament on the’ approximate date to which the Leader of the Opposition has referred. However, within that legislation and within that agreement, there was no obligation placed on the Commonwealth as to a specific time by which any standardisation of gauge or any conversion of rolling-stock of the South Australian railway system need be implemented. Discussions have taken place over the years in order to determine in what way and to what extent standardisation throughout Australia might best serve the needs of the Australian people. As the honourable member will know, in South Australia a substantial part of the east-west standard gauge programme is nearing completion and it is hoped that during the latter stages of 1969 the line might be opened to traffic. As to details of the length of 5 feet 3 inch gauge line that has been converted to standard gauge operation, I am not in a position to advise the honourable member. However I shall be happy to look at the details, and perhaps I can write to him and give him the additional information.
– Would the Minister prefer me to put my question on notice?
– If the honourable member feels that that is necessary I should be happy for him to do it.
– I address my question to the Minister for Defence. Are the reports correct that even at this stage Communist China has available nuclear tipped medium range ballistic missiles? In view of the effects these developments are having on the political situation in Asia and the recent moves by Singapore and Malaysia to he concerned with regional security, will the Minister assure the House that the forthcoming defence review will follow a strategy based on these facts as well as on the capabilities of other free Asian nations? Further, will this strategy have its application in the areas outside the immediate vicinity of Australian and New Guinea territorial waters?
– I would believe the honourable gentleman’s assessment of the possession by the Chinese of limited range ballistic missiles to be true. Whether they have available nuclear warheads for the missiles is another matter indeed. As to Australia’s future defence proposals, I can assure the honourable gentleman that, as I have said before, the study of the strategic possibilities in our whole sphere of interest, which dearly encompass the areas mentioned by the honourable gentleman, is being conducted in all the depth possible and will clearly have its effect on future defence plans.
– I ask the Prime Minister whether the Deputy Prime Minister has completed his talks in London on possible Australian participation in a British shipping line. If he has. can the right honourable gentleman inform the House of the results of the discussions?
– As I informed the House on some previous occasion, one of the activities in which the Deputy Prime Minister would be engaged would be to examine the question of the possible entry of Australia in some way in overseas shipping. Naturally the Deputy Leader of the Opposition must know that the results of such talks would be reported to Cabinet and that decisions made upon them would be matters of Government policy. Therefore. I. think be clearly would not expect, me to answer his question in the way it was put.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Has his attention been directed to the reported statement of the honourable member for Yarra at the conference of the Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament in Sydney over the week end in which he recommended that Australia should allow a quota of non-European migrants to come here each year7 Does the Minister consider that the introduction of such a quota system in lieu of the present selective arrangements would be of material benefit to Asian ami African countries as well as to Australia? For instance, how many migrants would need to be admitted into Australia annually to assist India’s population problem? ls it true that this conference is in effect another anti-Government forum promoted by the Communists and their fellow travellers?
– I do not share the view of (he honourable member for Yarra that we should have a quota system.
– Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I was at the meeting. No such statement was made. The honourable member is quoting from a newspaper report, which is false.
– Order! There is no point of order, because-
– On the point of order-
-Order! The honourable member for Yarra will resume his seat. The honourable member for Reid has raised a point, of order on which no ruling has yet been given. The point of order raised by the honourable member for Reid, as it relates to this question, has no substance. The honourable member for Boothby-
– Mr Speaker-
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. The point of order has no substance, as the honourable member for Boothby is seeking information.
– Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. No honourable member can during the time allotted for questions without notice, I submit, ask a question based on a newspaper report unless he will vouch for the accuracy of that report. The honourable member for Boothby has not even purported to vouch for the accuracy of the report that he quotes and 1 submit that, therefore, the question is out of order.
-The custom and practice of this House have been that an honourable member may quote sufficient material from a newspaper report to make his question intelligible. This has been the custom and practice of this House since I have been in this chair. Therefore the point of order is without foundation.
– I raise a further point of order. 1 contend that the Minister for Immigration is not responsible for the proceedings of the body about which he is asked to comment. This organisation does not come within his ministerial responsibility, and, as I understand the position, the Government does not at present propose to control such bodies.
– On the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition 1 would advance the argument that the question deals with the responsibility of the Minister for Immigration in that it purports to be a question about the methods of immigration into this country which is clearly his responsibility. I would advance the further suggestion that the Minister for Immigration was asked whether his attention had been drawn to a report. That is a question which he can first answer and then go on to give the House his views on the responsibilities he holds.
-The question is completely in order, as I have ruled before, and it is within the Minister’s responsibility to answer the question, particularly that part of it which relates to the immigration programme and policy of the Government.
- Mr Speaker. I move:
That the ruling be dissented from. (Dr J. F. Cairns having submitted in writing his objection to the ruling.)
-Is the motion seconded?
-! second the motion. I wish to point out that standing order 144 provides:
Questions should not contain -
statements of facts or names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated.
It is the last word that I want to stress. I was at the meeting in question. The honourable member for Boothby said that the honourable member for Yarra had stated that he advocated a quota system for Asian immigration. Dr Cairns made available to the Press a copy of his speech. I have a copy of it in my office. I can assure the House that the statement made by the honourable member for Boothby is false. He has now gone out to get the newspaper and he is now trying to show that what is in the newspaper is true. He must be able to prove-
-Order! The verification of the truthfulness or otherwise of the question is not a matter for the Chair to decide. The Chair has to decide only whether the question is or is not allowed by the Standing Orders. I have ruled that it comes within the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. If the honourable member pursues the line he is now following I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.
Motion (by Mr Gorton) proposed:
That the question be now put.
-The question ls, That the ruling be dissented from’.
– A division is required on the gag before you presume to put the other question.
-The question is. ‘That the question be now put’.
– This is twice you have done this in a fortnight.
-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will not reflect upon the Chair.
– I will do it when it is required.
-If the Leader of the Opposition persists in haranguing the Chair I will name him.
Question put -
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon. W. J. Aston)
Majority .. ..31
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the ruling be dissented from.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. W. J. Aston)
Majority . . 33
Question so resolved in the negative.
- Mr Speaker–
Motion (by Mr Barnard) put:
That the Minister for Immigration be not further heard.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon.W. J. Aston)
Majority . . 33
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move:
That this House expresses ils profound regret that Her Majesty’s British Government is still permitting ships sailing under the British flag to enter the Port of Haiphong in North Vietnam when that port is the major port of entry for military supplies lo North Vietnam and to the Viet Cong, and calls upon Her Majesty’s Australian Government to draw to the attention of Her Majesty’s British Government the fact that troops owing allegiance to Her Majesty are fighting in South Vietnam, and further, that it is the view of this House that while hostilities continue, Her Majesty’s British Government should direct that no ship flying the British flag should enter the Port of Haiphong.
In March 1966 I asked the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) a question regarding British flag ships going into the port of Haiphong. Since that time J have endeavoured to do two things. Firstly, I have endeavoured to focus some attention in the country upon the fact that British ships are going into the port of Haiphong in North Vietnam. Secondly, I have endeavoured to persuade the Australian Government to ask the British Government to do something about it. This motion is the most recent effort by me to try to secure an end to British flag ships going into North Vietnam. Having said that, I ask the Minister for External Affairs whether he will tell the House plainly today what the Government proposes to do about this matter. If he finds that the terms of the motion are exceptional or that the Government cannot agree to the motion, I want him to say so to enable the members who arc in this House and the people of the country to know where they stand.
Since we have been involved in South Vietnam this country has been deeply divided on the issue. It would not be proper for me to canvas the merits or demerits of our involvement in South Vietnam, and 1 do not do so, save to say that the Communist technique of the war of liberation, as manifested plainly in South Vietnam, in my view, will persist into the foreseeable future. I believe that the doctrine of flexible response in South Vietnam has been a failure. But Australian forces are in South Vietnam along with American forces and it is a consideration of their position that prompted me to move this motion. When we first sent our troops to South Vietnam, the then Leader of the Opposition the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) said: ‘We disagree with sending troops to South Vietnam, but we say lo the Australian troops going into South Vietnam: “You will not be lacking in support”.’ I think that would be the view of every person in this House no matter what his personal views may be on our involvement.
My argument concerns the safety and welfare of the Australian troops that are in South Vietnam. I argue from this premise that the Port of Haiphong is of crucial importance to the North Vietnamese and Vietcong. I argue that if the Port of Haiphong were closed the conduct of the war in South Vietnam would take on a dramatically different character. But while the port is open and the judgment value is not to close it, at least we are at liberty ro speak out when we find our kinsmen allowing British flag ships to go into that port. I refer the House to the conclusions reached by the United States Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services on the air war against North Vietnam in relation to the Port of Haiphong. I refer to this report to illustrate the fact that the Port of Haiphong is of crucial importance. The Committee concluded:
All military witnesses-
These were military witnesses of the Chief of Staff level in the United States- stated that the closure, neutralisation, or isolation of the Port of Haiphong was the single most important thing which could be done in North Vietnam from a military standpoint.
One of the witnesses was Major General Meyers, former Deputy Commander of the 7th Air Force in Vietnam. In his evidence he said, amongst other things, this:
T understand that additional targets have now been released. Of course to the military man, the No. 1 target in North Vietnam is the Port of Haiphong. This port represents to North Vietnam what the industrial capacity of Germany and Japan represented to them during the World War 11 lima period.
North Vietnam is basically an agrarian country. They do not have the industrial capacity to produce the wherewithal to fight a war. As a result of this, they must import these necessities. A great deal must of necessity come through the Port of Haiphong. It has been estimated to be somewhere between 75% and 83% of the total North Vietnam imports enter through this port.
British ships are taking goods into North Vietnam through Haiphong. To give some illustration of the proportion of so-called free world ship arrivals in Haiphong, let me cite some figures. Take the 4 years front 1964 to 1968. There were 1,852 merchant ship arrivals in the Port of Haiphong. Of those 810 flew flags of the so-called free world. Six hundred and eleven of the 810 were from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries. I wonder how seriously the world does take the Communist issue. In the same 4 years, 429 Russian ships and 430 Communist Chinese ships entered Haiphong. For the 4 years up to and including 1967 more so-called free world ships went into Haiphong than did ships from the two major Communist countries in the world. It is an incredible situation. Taking the first 5 months of this year, we see that there were 49 British arrivals out of 61 nonCommunist arrivals. The rate of British flag ship entries into Haiphong for this year is in excess of the rate for Communist China. 1 think it is a sordid and scandalous state of affairs. I think that this country should say something to the British Government about it. If our relationship with the United Kingdom today has become so attenuated and so weak that that relationship is to be put in jeopardy if we speak out about this matter, let me say, as one whose instincts and sentiment have long been attracted to the institutions of the United Kingdom, it would be just as well if we were to finish that relationship.
Australian servicemen are in the field in South Vietnam and the enemy is sustained by British flag ships. Can I ask this question of every honourable member in the House: What would your own feelings be if you were an Australian serviceman in South Vietnam and you had the realisation that British flag ships were bringing in subsistence to the enemy? I think one’s view would be of utter revulsion. It has been suggested that nothing can be done about this. I submit, with respect, that is not true. Section 117 of the Hong Kong Shipping Ordinance applies the British Merchant Shipping Act to Hong Kong, most of these ships coming in and out of Hong Kong. I will deal with the argument that these ships are registered in Hong Kong and as a consequence cannot be controlled later. But for a ship to be placed on Lloyds Register and registered as a British ship in various ports under the control of the United Kingdom, it must be owned by a British subject - this is contained in section 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 - or bodies corporate established under and subject to the laws of some part of Her Majesty’s dominions and having their principal place of business in those dominions. Therefore for a ship to fly the British flag it must be owned by a British company or subject and is subject in turn to British municipal law.
On 14th August this year I asked the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) a question about these ships going into Haiphong. In reply, the Prime Minister said, in part:
All these ships, I understand, are registered in Hong Kong. They are owned by citizens of Hong Kong . . .
I do not say this in any carping way at all but that information was not correct. I know that the right honourable gentleman has made no attempt to mislead the House. But this information was not well founded. I have a list of ships that are British registered and are trading into Haiphong. I will tell the House where the ships are registered according to Lloyds Register. The ships are as follows: ‘Ardrossmore’, owned by Mullion and Co. Ltd, registered in Gibraltar; , ..1–…–, owned by the same company and registered at the same port; Dartford’, owned by the Peninsula Shipping Co. and registered in Hong Kong; ‘Greenford’, owned by the same company and registered in Liverpool; ‘Isabel Erica’, owned by St Merryn Shipping Co. and registered in London: ‘Kingford’, owned by Hemisphere Shipping Co. Ltd and registered in Hong Kong; ‘Rochford’, owned by the Peninsula Shipping Co. Ltd and registered in Hong Kong; ‘Santa Grada’ owned by Verder and Co. (Hong Kong) Ltd and registered in Hong Kong; ‘Shienfoon’, owned by Dak Lien Shipping Co. Ltd and registered in Hong Kong; ‘Shirley Christine’, owned by St Merryn Shipping Co. and registered in London; ‘Shun Tai’, owned by a company registered in Cardiff; Taipieng’, owned by a company registered in London; ‘Vercharmian’, owned by a company registered in London; and the Yungjutary’, owned by a company registered in Hong Kong.
It will be seen that some of these ships are registered in ports other than Hong Kong - not that there is anything in this point at all. But the fact in my submission, is that these ships can and should be controlled. But if there is any doubt in the minds of honourable members about the scope for control over these ships, may I refer them to section 1 of Article 5 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas of 1958 to which the United Kingdom is a signatory and which I. believe has been received into British municipal law. The section states: 1.Each State shall fix the conditions for the grant of its nationality to ships, for the registration of ships in its territory, and for the right to fly its flag. Ships have the nationality of the State whoseflag they are entitled to fly. There must exist a genuine link between the State and the ship; in particular, the State must effectively exercise its jurisdiction andcontrol in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying its flag.
I do not think there is any ambiguity about this Article whatsoever. But to take a. practical illustration, what would be the position of the United Kingdom Government if ships went into Beira in East Africa? I think there would be an instant reaction. But to my knowledge there has not been any supplementary legislation introduced in the United Kingdom to control shipping into the port of Beira. SoI say that plainly it is humbug on the part of the Fabian Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to say that these ships cannot be controlled, if the Australian Government takes that view, I hope that the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) will at least tell us on what authority this proposition rests.
– You would not advocate a blockade?
-I am not making any military judgment value of Haiphong.I merely say this to my honourable friend: All of the Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America have concluded that Haiphong is their number one military target. My view is uncluttered - it is a simple one.I would not like to be involved in a war when the politicians back home were not determined to win.
The next aspect 1 want to turn to - and this is plainly in the motion - is the position of Australian servicemen. An Australian serviceman takes the oath of allegiance which states: 1, do swear that 1 will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd her heirs and successors according to law as a soldier in…… ……. for the period………… or until my service is sooner or lawfully terminated that I will resist her enemies and that in all matters appertaining to my service I will faithfully discharge my duty according to law.
What is the position of the master of one of these British flag ships who happens to be on the Naval Reserve and as a consequence is under an oath of allegiance to the same Queen and to the same Crown? For the first time in the long history of our people we now have the absurd position of the Crown being at war with itself. This is no trifling matter. I believe it has infinite constitutional1 significance and it is one of the aspects that is wearing away the links with the Crown. There was a time, as recorded in the Engineers Case in 1920 when this was observed by the High Court:
The first step in the examination of the Constitution is to emphasise the primary legal axiom that the Crown is ubiquitous and indivisible in the King’s dominions. Though the Crown is one and indivisible throughout the Empire, its legislative, executive and judicial power is exercisable by different agents in different localities, or in respect of different purposes inthe same locality, in accordance with the common law, or the statute law there binding the Crown.
We have come a long way since than. Ubiquitous and indivisible! The way things are trending at the moment I would submit that it is no longer indivisible but it may well be in fragments unless we have the sense of frankness to say that we do not want this sorry business to continue.
The last thing to which I want to refer to lend some emphasis to this appalling situation is the statistics of those who have been killed and wounded in South Vietnam. Up to yesterday 251 Australianshad been killed and 1,395 wounded. The United States of America had 27,484 killed and 171,000 wounded up to 31st August of this year.I mention these figures merely to point out that this has been the cost of our involvement in South Vietnam. The question of our involvement has deeply divided the country and the world. I do not argue the merits of these statistics, which do not reveal the intense sorrow that they represent, but while our troops are in South Vietnam they deserve to be supported in a complete and uncompromising manner, whatever the value judgment of our involvement there may be.
I come back to what the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) said the evening when the announcement was made concerning the despatch of Australian troops to South Vietnam. He said:
We disagree with it, but while you are there you will not lack any support.
To the extent that ships flying the British flag are taking goods into the port of Haiphong Australian troops are not being supported. These ships are owned by our own kinsmen or by companies of our kinsmen and are registered on British registers. They are taking in goods and to that extent they are aiding and abetting the enemy. I hope that the Minister for External Affairs appreciates the deep sense of revulsion that I and, I am sure, a very wide section of the Australian community hold regarding this. 1 hope that the Government will say to the United Kingdom Government: ‘Please, will you ensure that those ships flying the British flag do not enter the port of Haiphong? If there happens to be some deficiency in the Merchant Shipping Act which would not enable that to be done, let that Act be amended’, because I believe that if this situation continues much longer the relationship between Australia and the United Kingdom will deteriorate.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.
– I have already spoken on this subject on a previous occasion and I do not want to engage in a lot of repetition when time is short. But I should like to hear the answer from the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck). Like the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) I regard the entry of ships flying the British flag into the port of Haiphong as one of the most iniquitous acts permitted by the old mother country towards Australia since our foundation. What would the British Government have said had we started to send trading ships into German ports in the last war? The same principle applies. It is said that because there is not a declared war in Vietnam all sorts of things can be done, but a war is not declared these days. It was not declared by the Japanese in World War II; they merely flew out of the skies one morning and bombed Pearl Harbour.If the legal argument holds that because it is a non-declared war all sorts of things can be done which cannot be done in a declared war, it is time the Government declared war. 1 know the feelings of the troops, as does the honourable member for Moreton and anyone who has been in the Army or any of the Services, when they are not being supported 1 00% by their own Government and the people who sent them to fight, and when they are not being supported by people who should be our allies and who have been supported by us, rightly or wrongly, in the Boer War, World War I and World WarII, not entirely in their own interests but in our interests as well.
Why should the owners of British ships at this stage, or at any stage, of the proceedings in Vietnam consider that trading with the enemy through the port of Haiphong is not the same as trading with the enemy in World War I or World WarII? When I raised this matter on a previous occasion the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) said that if I could give him details of Soviet ships that were trading into Hanoi that matter would receive consideration. I know that we are talking about British ships now, but the Prime Minister has already had information concerning some Soviet ships that are trading with Hanoi. At least three Polish ships that are trading with Hanoi will be calling at Australian ports in the next month and already British woollen mills are signing up to get cheaper freights on the way home irrespective of whether the ships have been carrying supplies into Haiphong. I hope that British members of Parliament enjoy wearing worsted suits made in England from wool stained with the blood of Australian soldiers, because this is the fact of the situation. I recall the words in ‘Macbeth’; ‘Out, damned spot!’ No dry cleaning will be able to get rid of the stain.
I cannot understand the British people not raising objections to this kind of trade when we are involved in a war which the
Government says - and I agree with the Government: - is in the interests of our own security and the security of our allies in this part of the world. I cannot understand the Government not even daring, wishing or wanting to enter a protest when numerous British ships are trading into the port of Haiphong obviously for no other reason - and there cannot be any other reason - than to supply, not necessarily just bullets or war equipment, but any goods to assist the enemy that we are fighting against, thereby assisting the enemy morally and helping him to prolong the war and cause more casualties among Australian soldiers. I could not understand this when I raised the matter on a previous occasion and 1 cannot understand it now. So 1 should like the Government to explain why, when it sends troops into action - and I approve of them being sent for the same reasons as the Government has enunciated - it will not give them 100% support. The Government is participating in trading with the very enemy against whom its own troops are fighting in the front line.
The conference lines are objecting to Communist ships coming to Australia to pick up, at cheaper rates, back trade from Australia. I agree with the conference lines, particularly when that cheaper rate for back loading is applied to ships which have come direct from Haiphong. If the British want us to give them aid they had better take action to stop British ships going into Haiphong in the present numbers. Are any United States ships flying the American flag going into Haiphong? No! What would have happened if the principle now adopted in relation to these British ships had been adopted and Australian ships had gone into enemy ports in the last war? I have said before, and I say again, that Lord HawHaw, whether he is up above or down below, must be saying: ‘What was all the trouble about me, and why did they bother to execute me for treason?’
– 1 will not detain the House for very long. I agree with the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen). I am very concerned about ammunition being taken into the port of Haiphong by British merchant ships. But this situation has in it a very important nautical legal aspect. We speak about ships on the British register. But we should have clearly in our minds that we send one of our ships, the ‘Jeparit’, to Saigon and it is on the British register. For some time now I have been raising in the House the proposal that we should establish our own register of ships. I want to explain briefly to the House the difficulties that we face. 1 raised in the House the issue of our own warships going into this area while flying the White Ensign. Probably the remarks I made here led to the introduction of our own naval ensign. I just make that point in passing, because these are very important issues.
It is very wrong for British ships carrying munitions to go into Haiphong. I have been at sea for most of my life. I know that some of the ships going into Haiphong will also carry some Red Cross stores, i am not capable of discussing international law in detail, but I am quite sure that if this matter were brought to a court all sorts of explanations would be offered. It would be said: ‘Yes, we did have some ammunition, but we had Red Cross stores on board.’ With ships trading over the oceans of the world, seamen who sign on for periods of .12 months or 2 years are placed in a difficult position and I would like to speak on their behalf. If their ship is in, say, Shanghai or Hong Kong and is loading stores, no matter what they are, the seamen are in a very awkward situation. With the little knowledge I have picked up during my seafaring days, I can understand their position. Nonetheless, I deplore the fact that munitions are taken into Haiphong on British ships. I believe that it would be very good if the munitions could be destroyed in Haiphong before they could be used in some other part of Vietnam.
On the other hand, Australia has some 10,000 members of the Navy, Army and Air Force in the area. Our ally has 500,000 servicemen there. I do not know whether the Government has had negotiations on this subject with the American authorities, but we are in a very awkward position. I think Haiphong should be blockaded, but we are not in a position to blockade Haiphong before we confer with our big ally. I do not know what has taken place between Australia and America on this issue. I believe that no ammunition at all should go through the port of Haiphong. When 1 knew that this matter was being raised in the House. I realised the position that Great Britain is in. Great Britain is a cochairman of the Geneva Accords. If Britain wants to be strictly neutral and wants to assert its position as co-chairman with Russia, it should be very careful to remain strictly neutral, lt should make sure that its ships are not in this area. On the other hand, British naval ships should be in the area to stop British merchant ships going from China or Hong Kong towards Haiphong. British naval ships do this in other parts of (he world. After all, that is why a country has a navy. Anyone who joins a navy is laught very readily that naval ships are constructed for the purpose of protecting merchant ships. 1 will not develop that theme, because we all know that that is (he main duty of a fleet.
A blockade has been imposed on Rhodesia. Surely it. is not possible to draw a distinction between Rhodesia and Vietnam. As the honourable member for Moreton has said, the deaths and mannings in Vietnam have reached colossal proportions. There is no fighting and no bloodshed in Rhodesia but the port of Beira is blockaded. I hope that Great Britain will re-examine its position. I do not know whether the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) will be able to tell us what negotiations have taken place between Australia and America on the question of blockading Haiphong.
– 1 wholeheartedly support the motion moved by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen). We should view this matter from first principles. The main question is: Do ships flying the British flag go into Haiphong harbour? I think the answer to this question must be yes. The honourable member for Moreton has advanced some very convincing arguments on this subject and in fact the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck), who is at the table, has also given statistics which show that some ships flying the British flag are entering Haiphong harbour, although his statistics differ from those of the honourable member for Moreton. It is established then that British ships do go into Haiphong harbour. Indeed, according to all the laws of probability ships flying the British flag would be entering Haiphong harbour. We know that there are always people who, for a profit, will do anything at all. In doing so, of course, they bring disrepute on the free enterprise system, but nevertheless such completely ruthless and unscrupulous people do exist. We have it from one of the arch apostles of Communism that, given enough rope, capitalists will hang themselves. This is a prime example supporting his argument and he would be very pleased if he could know that he has been vindicated.
According to the laws of probability and according to such facts as we have, ships flying the British flag aTe entering Haiphong harbour. Does it matter what, goods they carry? I do not think it does matter to any substantial extent because, whatever goods these ships carry, they must be supporting the North Vietnamese war effort, lt does not matter whether they carry food, apparel or anything else. Even if they do not carry arms, the goods they do take into the port give support to the North Vietnamese war effort. Therefore, the fact is that ships flying the British flag are supporting the North Vietnamese war effort.
We are in opposition to the people of North Vietnam. J do not propose to canvass the rights and wrongs, the pros and cons, of our involvement, but I support it. The Australian Government, after very careful consideration, decided that it was right for Australian troops to be in this area containing the aggression of North Vietnam. The people of Australia wholeheartedly support this action. They have demonstrated this at the polls and in many other ways. The people of Australia support our involvement in Vietnam for many reasons. We need nol canvass the matter; we need look only at the activities of Red China. We could call her the mad dog in the international sphere today. Red China is utterly irresponsible and makes numerous threats as to what she will do to people in the free world and shows every intention of carrying out those threats. Red China is wholeheartedly supporting the North Vietnamese war effort. Everywhere around us we see aggression, infiltration and subversion. We see the situation of the poor Burmese today. We have seen aggression in India. We see what is happening in Thailand, where acts of subversion, aggression and murder are being committed. We see a similar situation in Malaysia and. nearer to home, in Indonesia. Of course right here on our home front we will see a co-ordinated effort on 27th October by left wing organisations, many of them Communist fronts, which are trying to subvert the people of Australia and to weaken their resolve to continue this struggle, in which, incidentally, there is every indication that we are having some success. Consequently it is most important that these British ships be kept out of Haiphong.
Has the British Government any responsibility to deter these ships from entering Haiphong harbour? Why should it deter them?If the British have no great interest in the South-East Asian sphere why should they be bothered? We can understand, perhaps, the attitude of some British politicians because we know that the more a person moves to the left of the political spectrum the less resolution he shows in his opposition to Communism.
– That is a Fascist outlook.
– This has been demonstrated time and again by members of the Opposition in this House, one of whom has just produced the usual brainless and meaningless catch-cry ‘Fascism’. I repeat that people who are to the left of the political spectrum show little if any resolution in their opposition to Communism, and I put it to the House that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is such a person.
Apart from this, is there any reason why the British people should deter British ships from entering Haiphong? I believe there is. 1 believe they owe to the people of Australia a great deal of loyalty. Apart from the ties of blood and culture and sentiment, surely there is something to be said for what Australia has done in the past on Britain’s behalf. Continually we have demonstrated absolute loyalty to Britain. If Britain has been involved in a conflict Australians have joined in that conflict without hesitation, have given their lives and have worked to their utmost to support Britain in her struggles. Now we come to what is probably the first occasion on which Australia has found herself in a struggle through motives not entirely selfish but very largely because of a consideration of the people who have been suffering from North Vietnamese Communist aggression. Yet on the very first occasion on which this has happened we see the people of the British Isles perhaps giving some small lip service to their support for Australia but taking no practical steps whatsoever to support us. Loyalty is a twoway traffic, and the time has long since passed when Britain can expect blind loyalty from the people of Australia. Britain must show some earnest of her loyalty to us.
SoI believe that some steps should be taken to prevent these ships from entering Haiphong Harbour. It seems to me to be quite obvious that such steps can be taken. We have heard legal argument from the honourable member for Moreton. It convinced me although I have had no legal training. But despite the legal aspects of the matter it is quite obvious that ships flying the British flag can, as a matter of practicality, be prevented from entering Haiphong Harbour. I believe that steps should be taken to prevent them from doing so and it is most important that they be taken. If there is only one ship entering that harbour that ship is supporting the North Vietnamese and is in fact acting to the detriment of our Australian soldiers in that area. We have to consider this matter very carefully and I think the people of Britain, and Mr Wilson, the Prime Minister, in particular, should consider this matter seriously.
We have at hazard in Vietnam a large number of the finest of our youths, people who have been selected for their physical and mental stamina and capabilities. These people are at hazard at this very moment, and if the British people continue to allow ships flying the British flag to take arms and other materials which will support the North Vietnamese war effort into Haiphong, they are acting directly against our boys. As the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) has said, the blood of these boys must be on the hands of the British people and the British Government. The blood of our youths is on their hands for the first time in history because they have failed to deter British ships from bringing munitions of war and other materials into this harbour for the purpose of prosecuting the war of aggression which is being waged in the area and in which we are fighting not only for our own protection but also for the protection of the people of that country who are suffering the effects of aggression. The arms that are being brought into this harbour are being used for a purpose directly contrary to our interests and the interests of the soldiers we have there.
I make the strongest possible plea lo the Minister for External Affairs to take strong action. I believe he can do so. He has shown himself quite able to take strong and effective action and I ask him to do so on this occasion to try to secure the cooperation of the British Government. I ask him to try to exert as much pressure as possible upon the British Government to induce it to take effective action in this matter. The time has long since passed for us to be mealy-mouthed about matters such as this. Any display of weakness in these affairs is immediately seized upon and used (o our detriment. A strong stand is always respected and 1 think a strong stand will be respected now. So 1 ask the Minister to see that every possible step is taken to induce the British Government to call a halt to these terrible acts of hostility towards the soldiers and the people of Australia, people who have in the past shown loyalty to the mother country absolutely beyond the call of duty. I ask the Minister to take the steps suggested.
– I rise to support the honourable member for Morteon (Mr Killen) and the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes). The young men who are serving Australia in the present conflict are fighting more directly for the preservation of the security of Australia than did the members of the first Australian Imperial Force, of which J was a proud member, and of the second AIF who answered the call of the old country at the beginning of the Second World War. Those contingents went abroad for several reasons, one of which was to preserve, indirectly, the security of Australia. But our soldiers fighting in the present conflict are more directly preserving Australia’s security than did the members of either the first or second ATF.
We sacrificed Poland and Czechoslovakia in an endeavour to preserve peace, but we became embroiled in the First and Second World Wars because we believed that an aggressor should never prevail.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! As it is now 2 hours after the time fixed for the meeting of the House, the debate on the motion is interrupted.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) agreed to:
That the time for discussion of notices be extended until 12.45 p.m.
– All of our young men serving in Vietnam are there for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to prove to the world that an aggressor shall not succeed. If I was not the first member in this House to plead that Haiphong be bombed, then I was one of the first to do so. 1 am proud that Haiphong has been bombed and I am sorry that some of the ships trading under the British register did not suffer some damage. When the clarion went out in 1914, the men of this country went abroad to fight to preserve the liberty that we have enjoyed over the years, lt is beyond my comprehension that the old Dart would let us down in our period of travail. 1 had a great inspiration from Lord Rowley, formerly Mr Arthur Henderson, a great statesman of the British Labour Parly, who asked me to go to Lord Shepherd and to plead for the United Kingdom Government to keep a force east of Suez in the area that is referred to in the old country as the Far East. Lord Rowley was disappointed and ashamed at the United Kingdom troops being withdrawn from east of Suez. He said to me: ‘Go to Lord Shepherd and ask him whether the Government is prepared to keep a United Kingdom force east of Suez; then request him to initiate a Commonwealth force of which an integral part would come from the United Kingdom’. I think that my friends on this side of the House who have deplored the taking of goods to Haiphong in British ships will be pleased to know that such a great British statesman understands the situation. 1 am sure that if the British people understood the position as Lord Rowley understands it, they would be up in arms against the British Government for not doing something to prevent ships flying the British flag from carrying goods to Haiphong.
But over and above that, Communist ships engaged in this trade are now taking our primary products back to Europe. Twenty-six Russian built ships and six Polish ships are now offering to carry our goods to Europe. They are trying to break down the present agreement with the overseas shipping conference, which has existed for many years. We find that Russian and Polish ships will carry goods between Australia and Europe only one way, and this will interfere with united efforts to transport our primary products to Europe and the United Kingdom. These Russian and Polish ships are tendering for the carriage of our goods at a lower price than that at which the conference ships can tender. When the conference is broken, until we establish our own line we will be left at the mercy of Russian and Polish ships for the carriage of our goods to the United Kingdom and Europe. I implore the Minister to use his best endeavours In an appeal to the United Kingdom to do for us what we did for that country in two world wars - that is, to help in a period of difficulties.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) has moved a resolution which expresses certain criticisms of the British Government and which calls upon the Australian Government to take certain action in respect of the matters complained of. The matters complained of concern the trading with the port of Haiphong in North Vietnam of vessels sailing under the British flag. I do not think that any dispute about the facts needs to detain us in this debate. There may be differences on detail and some differences about the implications of certain facts. That is natural, because these are not matters that are capable of being resolved by reference to established statistics. The facts are obtained by observation - some open observation and some undercover observation - and by gathering information from a variety of sources.
The position as it is known to the Government - and this is subject to verification - is that during the first 6 months of this year the total number of arrivals at North Vietnamese ports by ships flying the flags of non-Communist countries was 78, and of these, 61 arrivals were made by ships flying the British flag. The total arrivals during the period were something of the order of 260, or perhaps a little more. So, broadly, the position is that somewhere less than one-quarter of the number of arrivals of trading ships in the port of Haiphong is made by ships flying the British flag. As several of the ships made more than one arrival, our assumption is that the number of ships actually trading would be of the order of 12, 13 or 14, or something in that neighbourhood.
These ships are registered at various ports where British registry is obtainable. Most of them are owned by Hong Kong Chinese and, if not actually owned, are under charter by their owners either to Hong Kong Chinese or to North Vietnam or to Communist China. The fact of registry at a British port is something that is related mainly to questions such as the seaworthiness of ships, the observance of safety regulations and the submission of ships to marine inspection at various times. While registry entitles the ship to fly the flag of the country of registry, it does not, in itself give to the registering country full legal control over the trading operations of the ship. It is true, of course, that registry might be withdrawn from a particular ship for sufficient reasons and that then another registry would have to be sought. The motion moved by the honourable member for Moreton expresses regret that the British Government is permitting ships sailing under the British flag to enter the port of Haiphong. Enlarging on that part of the motion,, the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) asked; What would the British have thought of us if we Australians had sent ships to trade with Germany at a time when Britain was fighting with Germany?’ There seemed to be an implication in that question that we thought the British Government had sent these ships. I think such an implication would be unfair and untrue. It is not a case of the British Government sending the ships or even permitting them to go to Haiphong; it is a case of being unable to prevent them from entering Haiphong. I suppose that in the extreme, British registry could be refused, but that action would not in itself prevent these ships from entering the port of Haiphong because registry elsewhere in the world could easily be sought and obtained. If these particular ships were not engaged in the trade other ships would be available on charter for the trade.
The resolution refers - it is an implication rather than a direct statement - to Haiphong as being the port of entry for military supplies to North Vietnam. The implication is that the only cargoes being carried or that most of the cargoes being carried in these British ships constitute military supplies. It is not possible to deny absolutely that some military supplies may be carried, but a great deal of the information that is available to us is that the cargoes being carried into Haiphong and out of Haiphong are more in the nature of general merchandise. In respect of the carriage of military supplies or supplies of any strategic significance, the British have power to apply to loadings al a British port a list of strategic goods in respect of which there is an embargo. That strategic list is in fact being applied by the British to the loading of any of these ships <ir of any other ships in British ports but it is not possible for the British to apply an embargo if these same ships load at a foreign port not under British control.
The resolution calls upon the Australian Government to draw the attention of Her Majesty’s British Government to the fact that Australian troops are fighting in South Vietnam. The British Government is well aware of this fact. It has joined with the Australian Government and other Commonwealth governments in certain resolutions and actions relating to the war in Vietnam. The resolution asks the Government to request the British to direct that no ship flying the British flag shall enter the port of Haiphong. The British Government is well aware of the feelings of the Australian Government on this matter. I submit that for the reasons I have indicated it would be beyond the capacity of the British Government to control the loadings of these ships or their trading operations. I submit that it would be unreal for us to ask the British to give a direction that no ship flying the British flag shall enter the port of Haiphong. This seems to me to be a request to do something which would be rather unreal and unlikely to result in any improvement. We as a Government are naturally deeply concerned that this trade should continue but the information available to us is that the British Government does apply, where it can do so. strategic embargoes to the loading of goods at British ports.
-Order! The time allotted for precedence to General Business has expired. The Minister for
External Affairs will have leave to continue his speech when the debate is resumed. The resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day under General Business for the next sitting.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a a first time.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Bill received from (he Senate, and read a first time.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Bill received from the Senate, and read a first time.
Bill presented by Mr Freeth, and read a first time.
– Mr Speaker, 1 move:
That the Bill be now read a second time, lt is proposed by this Bill to amend the Income lax Assessment Act in three respects. One amendment will continue for another 5 years - but in a revised form - the incentive provided in the income tax law for the promotion of exports from Australia. The second amendment is designed to ensure to enterprises engaged in activities associated with petroleum exploration and mining on the continental shelf of Australia are treated in the same way for income tax purposes as enterprises carrying out these activities on the mainland. The third will terminate the operation of certain special provisions applying to residents of Nauru which are no longer appropriate now that Nauru is not an Australian Territory.
The income tax incentive for export market development expenditure is one of two incentives provided for exporters through the taxation laws, the other being provided through the pay-roll tax law. These incentives, which were introduced in 1961. terminated on 30th .lune 1968. Honourable members will recall that legislation was enacted during the autumn session to revise and extend the pay-roll tax incentive for a further period of 5 years from the end of the financial year 1967-68. Corresponding action regarding the income tax incentive is proposed by this Bill.
Up to 30th June 1968 the income tax incentive operated in the form a special income tax deduction for specified expenditure incurred in promoting exports from Australia. The availability of the deduction was not in any way dependent upon the results achieved in export sales: the deduction was intended to encourage firms to incur promotion expenditure in advance of export sales and to build up methodical and regular selling arrangements so as to ensure the continuance of sales. The latter feature of the scheme will not he changed in the revision proposed by this Bill.
Under the scheme operative to 30th June 1968. the special deduction provided as an export market development allowance was in addition to the deductions ordinarily available in respect of the particular classes of expenditure under the general provisions of the income tax law. In effect, a double deduction was allowed for the expenditure, subject to a maximum tax saving of 80c for each $1 expended. The main change proposed by the Bill will be the allowance of a rebate of income tax of 42.5c in the $1 for specified promotional expenditure instead of the allowance of a special deduction from income. There is provision in the Bill for the case where the rebate allowable for an income year exceeds the tax otherwise payable for that year. In such cases, the amount of unabsorbed rebate may be carried forward, in much the same way as losses are carried forward under the income tax law, and may be set off against the tax payable in any of the next 7 years of income.
As under the previous scheme, a limit is proposed on the maximum tax saving which may be obtained from the deduction allowed under the general provisions of the income tax law and the rebate allowable for export promotion expenditure. This limit will, however, be increased from 80c for each $1 expended to 871c. lt is also proposed by the Bill to widen the scope of expenditures subject to the export market development allowance. Under the previous scheme the costs of promoting export sales did not qualify for the allowance if the income derived from these sales was exempt from Australian tax because it was taxed by the country in which it had its source. It is proposed that, in the future, eligible expenditure incurred in promoting export sales shall be subject to the export market development allowance, notwithstanding the fact that it has been outlaid with the purpose of promoting sales the income from which would be exempt from Australian tax for the reason I have mentioned.
In addition the allowance will be extended to the cost of obtaining protection overseas for Australia-developed patents, copyright or trademarks and to expenses incurred in selecting or designing special export labels and packaging. Costs of promoting the sale overseas of certain ‘know-how’ that has a meaningful Australian content will also be brought within the scope of the allowance. These costs will be eligible for the allowance even though they may be of a capital nature and thus not deductible under the general deduction provisions of the income tax law.
The final point I would mention in connection with the export market development allowance is that the BDI will empower the Commissioner of Taxation to communicate certain information to Ministers and to the secretaries of the Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry. This will be information that the Treasurer considers necessary to enable Ministers and the departments concerned with policy aspects to form a judgment of the operation and effects of the scheme. Officials receiving such information will be under the same obligations to maintain secrecy as apply to taxation officers. In this connection I recall to honourable members that earlier this year a similar amendment was made to the PayRoll Tax Assessment Act in connection with the export incentive provided under that Act. The new export market development allowance scheme will have effect in respect of promotional expenditures incurred after 30th June 1968.
I turn now to the amendments proposed by the Bill which relate to enterprises engaged in activities connected with the exploitation of petroleum on Australia’s continental shelf. These measures are complementary to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act which was enacted last year. A major objective of these amendments is to make it clear that Australia may tax income derived from, or in connection with, the exploration for, or the exploitation of, petroleum or natural gas deposits on its continental shelf when the income is derived by persons who are not residents of Australia for income tax purposes. These persons are subject to Australian tax on income derived from a source in Australia and the Bill proposes, in effect, that for the purpose of determining the source of the relevant income the continental shelf is to be treated as if it were part of Australia.
Special deductions are authorised by the income tax law for capital expenditure incurred in prospecting or mining for petroleum, including natural gas. If certain conditions are fulfilled, deductions are also available for share capital subscriptions to petroleum exploration companies. These deductions expressly apply to prospecting and mining activities in Australia or the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The amendments proposed by the Bill are designed to ensure that taxpayers, both resident and non-resident, are entitled to the same income tax deductions in relation to petroleum activities on the continental shelves of Australia and the Territory as they would be if the activities had been carried out on the respective mainlands.
These amendments will apply to income earned after today from activities associated with petroleum exploitation of the shelf and to past and future expenditures incurred by a petroleum exploration or raining company in searching for or exploiting petroleum or gas deposits in those areas.
As I have already indicated, the other measure proposed in the Bill is concerned with the taxation of residents of Nauru. In the past special provisions of the income tax law have provided certain concessions for residents of Nauru. These were based on Nauru’s status as a Territory of Australia. One result of the special provisions has been to exempt from Australian tax income earned in Nauru by Australians employed in that country. Under the general provisions of the income tax law, income earned overseas by Australian residents is taxed in Australia unless it is taxed by the country in which the income is earned. Another result of the special provisions has been to entitle Nauruan residents to deduct from their Australian income the same concessional allowances as residents of Australia are entitled to deduct from their income for the maintenance of dependants, medical expenses, education expenses and so on. These concessional allowances are not available generally to persons who are not residents of Australia.
As Nauru has, from the end of January 1968, become an independent country, it is proposed by the Bill that Nauruan residents be treated by the Australian income tax law in the same way as residents of any other independent country. The main effects of this change in the law will be that persons who remain residents of Australia, although employed in Nauru, will be subject to Australian tax on their Nauruan earnings, and that Nauruan residents will not be eligible to deduct concessional allowances from income derived in this country. The amendments will apply as from the commencement of the current income year.
A memorandum giving more detailed explanations of the provisions of the Bill is being circulated to honourable members and I do not think that it is necessary for me to go into further detail at this stage. 1 commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Reference to Public Works Committee Mr KELLY (Wakefield- Minister for the Navy) [2.32] - 1 move:
That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, the following proposed work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for investigation and report: Construction of sound broadcasting studios for the Australian Broadcasting Commission at Collinswood, South Australia.
The proposal involves the construction in reinforced concrete of three interconnected buildings - a nine-storey administration block, a three-storey studio wing and an orchestral studio. All occupied areas of the complex will’ be air conditioned. The estimated cost of the proposal is S3. 7m. 1 table plans of the proposed work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 20 August (vide page 328), on motion by Mr Gorton:
That this House is of the opinion that the new and permanent Parliament House should be situated on the lakeside site.
Upon which Mr Bryant had moved by way of amendment:
That the words ‘the lakeside site’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘Capital Hill’.
– The debate on the site for the new and permanent parliament house has created great interest, not only in this chamber and in another place, but also throughout the nation. Many words have been written about it and many more spoken about it, and rightly so, because the new and permanent parliament house is to be the central and dominating feature of Australia’s national capital, a capital that more and more will symbolise and reflect Australian pride and achievement in the decades ahead. Not only will the building be the centre of policy making and thus bear witness to Australia’s undoubted destiny as a great nation, but also it is to be a monumental building to last 200 or 300 years. Therefore, it is essential that every care be taken in the siting of this new and permanent parliament house.
Because of the controversy raging over the respective merits of the Capital Hil’l site and the lakeside site, and because of the undoubted interest of many members in this location which was chosen as the site of Canberra by the architect Walter Burley Griffin, 1 have made a study of the Burley Griffin papers and later papers to see why it appeared to be necessary to depart from the original concept. 1 would like to recount to the Parliament the full history of the proposed siting of parliament house. I draw the attention of members firstly to the original submission made by Walter Burley Griffin in 1912 in the competition for the design of the national capital in which he quite clearly stated that Camp Hill ought to be the site of the national Parliament. I turn then to page 5 of the Report Explanatory of the Preliminary General Plan of the Federal Capital by Walter Burley Griffin, who by the time this report was issued had become Federal Capital Director of Design and Construction. This report was made in 1913 and on page 5 Walter Burley Griffin said that it was a simple matter to locate the parliament houses on the lower offshoot of Kurrajong Hill - which offshoot was called Canberra Hill - on the same line towards Ainslie. Canberra Hill is now known as ‘Camp Hill’ and Kurrajong Hill is now called ‘Capital Hill’. On the same page of his report, Walter Burley Griffin slated:
Kurrajong is deemed loo large and too high for a convenient working organisation of Parliament.
Right from Canberra’s inception Camp Hill was the chosen spot by the architect of Canberra, Walter Burley Griffin. I would like to quote next from the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works relating to the erection of a provisional parliament house in Canberra. I quote from page 114 the words of Walter Burley Griffin on the work of Canberra. He said:
I am emphatically of the opinion that the permanent structure should be on Camp Hill. I consider that to have been one of the earliest decisions, on which everything else was shaped.
I would like to quote further from the same report the words of Mr John Sulman, later Sir John Sulman, who was a noted architect of the day. On page 120 he said:
Mr Murdoch proposes in his sketch to put the provisional Parliament House on Camp Hill. That would make it no longer available for the carrying out of Mr Griffin’s scheme, which, on the whole, I think is the better one. It is the one part of Mr Griffin’s plan of which 1, and my colleagues also, really cordially approve.
This demonstrates that in 1923 the national Parliament of the day was of the mind to accept Camp Hill as the prospective site for the new and permanent parliament houses. 1 want to quote now from a later report by Sir William Holford, who was commissioned by the government in 1956 or 1957 to have a look at the future development of Canberra. I remind members that this was before the National Capital Development Commission was formed. Sir William Holford submitted his report in 1957 and it was printed in 1958. On page 1 3 of that report he said this: 1 do not think it is reasonable to expect the present Parliament House to be demolished for a long time to come. Provisional as it is, it enshrines a good deal of history. It has a useful future for library and archive purposes, and for conference and office use. With this building standing, and the east and west buildings at the level they are, the Camp Hill site is unattractive and too small for Parliament - even though the actual floor space could be easily accommodated on the site.
The essential thing to remember is that Sir William Holford went through that stage of considering a site for the new and permanent parliament house on the assumption that this present Parliament House would remain on its present site. He vetoed the Camp Hill site because of the existence of this present building. I submit that times have changed and that there are ways and means of incorporating this building in the new building or demolishing it. We will be building a national Parliament to last 200 to 300 years. The least this Parliament ought to do is to take into consideration the Waller Burley Griffin plan. The report by Sir William Holford is followed later by the first report of the National Capital Development Commission in 1958, when it was asked to report on Sir William Hoi ford’s report. I quote from page 3 of the Commission’s report. When it was discussing the lake site, the Commission reported:
The site is the only suitable one in the parliamentary triangle unless’ the present parliament house were demolished.
This demonstrates without any equivocation that the Camp Hill site was eliminated from discussion by those who were expert in this field of selecting a national Parliament House site. They turned their minds to only the Capital Hill and lakeside sites. The Commission brought down a report on the recommendation of Sir William Holford that the lakeside site ought to be the site. I set out then to find out why it was that the lakeside site came forward without some consideration having been given to the Camp Hill site. The reasons arc the ones I gave a moment ago and earlier this morning at question time. It was believed by all these men in 1958 that the Camp Hill site was debarred because of the location of the present building. This building was intended to be only a temporary building in the first place. That statement is supported by evidence from over the years. That fact is stated unequivocally in the 1923 report of the Public Works Committee.
This Parliament is faced with a decision to site a new and permanent parliament house that will last 200 to 300 years. With such a decision we have a responsibility to test further the sites available. This building has served us well. It is a temporary building and is now 40 years old. It is and was always planned to be a temporary home for Parliament. Previous Parliaments have believed in and preferred the Camp Hill site as the proposed home for the new and permanent parliament house. All 1 ask is that this Parliament and its members accept an opportunity to study the feasibility of Camp Hill. I would suggest and propose to move at the appropriate time an amendment.
– Why not move the amendment now?
– I cannot move it now under the forms of the House. But I foreshadow an amendment I will move if the lakeside site is defeated, because this is the only way under the forms of the House that I can move my amendment. I will move that the following words be added to the words proposed to be inserted by the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant): or the Camp Hill area and that the matter be referred to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House for report on the alternatives and that the Committee be requested to submit its report by 15 November 1968. 1 will also move that this resolution be conveyed to the Senate seeking its concurrence to the procedure. The advantage of reference to the Select Committee is that it gives that Committee the right to study in detail the feasibility of the Camp Hill site and to obtain all the technical and expert advice possible and to report to Parliament, which can then debate the issue. All members of Parliament can use the time before the report is presented to Parliament to think out for themselves their views on this alternative and then vote accordingly. The procedure to be adopted would be as follows: The House will vote first on the lakeside site. If that site is adopted, no further action is required. If it is defeated, I will move to add the words I have just read out to the motion moved by the honourable member for Wills. The House will then vote on my amendment. If that is adopted it will be referred-
Mir Stokes - I rise on a point of order.
-Order! 1 suggest that the honourable member wait until the Minister has finished.
– He has finished enough, as far as I am concerned, for me to take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister has foreshadowed an amendment. He said that when the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills has been dealt with, he will then move his amendment. Upon the amendment being lost or won, he would move his amendment. Before this debate was adjourned a few weeks ago, 1 foreshadowed an amendment which was consequent upon the defeat or success of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills. I would like your ruling as to where my proposed or foreshadowed amendment stands with regard to that of the Minister. I claim precedence for my amendment over the amendment moved by the Minister.
– I have no knowledge of the honourable member’s amendment at this stage. I have not yet had any notice of his amendment. Therefore, 1 cannot give a ruling.
– It is with the Clerk, Mr Speaker.
– I was explaining the procedure that would be followed in respect of my amendment. As I understand it, the House will vote first of all on the lakeside site. This procedure will be in accordance with the forms of the House and there is nothing we can do about my amendment until the lakeside site has been dealt with. If the lakeside site wins there will be no need for my amendment or no need to worry about Capital1 Hill. If the lakeside site is defeated, I will move an amendment, adding to the amendment of the honourable member for Wills the words that I have just read to the House. A vote will then be taken on my amendment and if that is adopted it will be referred to the Senate. If it is defeated the vote will then he taken straight away on the Capital Hill site only.
I want to make my personal position clear - I am a lakeside man. The action I have taken is not a device by any means to get back to the lake site. My action is to give an opportunity to the Parliament to discuss the Camp Hill site. There is only one opportunity to vote for the lake site. If the lake site is defeated and my amendment stands, there will be an opportunity at a later date to discuss separately the issue of Camp Hill versus Capital Hill. I will therefore cast my vote for the lakeside site this afternoon when the vote is taken. If this is defeated I intend to pursue my amendment with vigour. I hope that honourable members will1 give very careful consideration to the proposition.
– I rise on a point of procedure.
– Has the honourable member spoken in this debate?
– Yes, but I rise on a procedural point. So far the debate has proceeded upon two propositions; one proposed in a motion moved by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the other in an amendment moved by my colleague the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). It seems that subtly or otherwise there has now been inserted into the debate a third proposition. If the third proposition had been put as another amendment, technically anyone who had already spoken in the debate would be able to speak again. With all respect to the Minister-
-I remind the honourable member that the amendment is not as yet before the House. It has only been foreshadowed.
– 1 am seeking some guidance about the foreshadowing of the amendment because this is a little more obvious than a shadow, if I may say so. After all, as the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) has said, the building we are contemplating is something that may be permanent for 300 years. With all respect, I think the method that has been adopted is a little unfair. There has been quite an amount of debate-
-I think the Chair should point out that this is a procedural question and the honourable member should not continue to debate the merits of it.
– I ask the Minister to indicate what 1 think are some of the difficulties in this procedure.
– I would suggest with respect, that this is a matter for the indulgence of the Chair at this moment.
-The Chair has already been lenient. The amendment has only been foreshadowed and therefore there is nothing for the Chair to mie on. I suggest that the honourable member come to the point quickly.
– If I may come to the point: While an amendment is foreshadowed I say, with respect that it takes the substance from both of the propositions. For that reason I do not think we can intelligently continue a debate as though it is on proposition A or B when rather roughly there is intruded into the debate a third proposition C.
-Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he can speak on this matter when the amendment is before the House. At the moment the amendment is not before the House.
– I seek the sort of indulgence that was more or less hinted at by the Leader of the House. Surety the majority of honourable members who have spoken have done so on the basis that they prefer the lake or the hill site.
– Or none.
– That is right, or none.
– Wait a minute, I have not spoken.
– I suggest that we are somewhat at a loss. I think I know who thinks he is lost, if I might say so. But we now find that suddenly there is the intrusion of a third proposition.
– The honourable member can canvass it in debate.
– Those who have not spoken in this debate can debate or canvass it. But the debate has already progressed a certain way and as the Minister knows, the list of speakers shows that there are four people only left to talk. Anyway, I leave it at that.
– I find that the point of order is not at all compelling, lt seems to me quite clear that the forms of the House will require the questions to be put in such a way that when the question is put, there will be before the Chair a question to which members can direct their attention.
– 1 rise on a point of order.
– There is no point of order; it is only a matter of procedure.
– I wish to speak on a point of procedure because I disagree with what has just been put by the Leader of the House. At the moment the point is that under this procedure we will be able to debate lakeside versus Capital Hill and later Capital Hill versus Camp Hill. There will be no opportunity to debate Camp Hill versus lakeside. This is a point on which a number of people may wish to speak. I think that this point should be given some consideration.
-The question of the lake is before the Chair now.
– The fact is that any honourable member can canvass Camp Hill, the lakeside, Capital Hill, Black Mountain or anywhere else he wishes. Any honourable member can canvass any site and my amendment has not done any damage to that position.
– 1 rise to support the amendment before the House. I. want to express my very strong conviction that the location of the new parliament house should be on Capital Hill. I was not present during the earlier debate and I will endeavour not to traverse ground that has already been well and truly trodden between the lake and the hill. We now have before us a further proposition and we have just been discussing when there can be specific reference to what has occurred this afternoon. I hope that there will be no ruling against the right of members to make contributions to a discussion on what has just occurred. The Minister’s foreshadowed amendment is, to my mind, a belated proposition and one that should surely have deserved greater consideration by the Government before this whole question was brought into the House. It would seem obvious that the reason that this did not happen before was that there was a feeling abroad that members would just accept the lake site and go quietly on their way and that would be that. 1 hope that although other members have spoken without knowledge of this subsequent development, opportunity will be given to those who have a great deal of knowledge on this matter, and who have studied it, to present their views about Camp Hill. If this means that the debate has to be continued into next week, then let it continue, because surely as a national parliament we have the ability to make a decision and to make it on some basis that will forever get rid of confusion and doubt.
The Minister said that if his foreshadowed amendment is accepted after other procedures have taken place, certain inquiries could be undertaken and a further report could come to the Parliament by 15th November. That is all1 very fine but I cannot see how we can suspend our considerations in the middle of this debate in order to take a further report into account. If there is further information concerning Camp Hill which has not been given to members then it ought to be stated in greater detail now. Our considerations should not have to depend on information from further inquiries that will be made known to the Parliament by 15th November. Surely if that is the case then we should not be expected to make a decision today without the benefit of further information. It seems highly confusing to me, and my own immediate reaction is to say that the present reference to Camp Hill reveals a somewhat inbred approach to a fundamental question, namely: What are the requirements of a site for a parliament house?
My own opposition to the lake site is based first on my own reaction in looking at the landscape. Canberra is a beautiful city and if it is to grow and become a centre of attraction, of atmosphere and of dominance in Australia then 1 do not think that the lake site provides the basis upon which there can be this dominance for the capital of Australia. On the other hand the hill1 site has the advantage. It will give us the opportunity to develop a truly national capital, the centre of which must undoubtedly be the house of parliament wim appropriate buildings surrounding it and with space and facility to service it.
When one turns one’s mind to what has been the practice for some centuries in other countries in trying to create an atmosphere, one can have no doubt as to the wisdom of placing the buildings on the high land rather than down on the lakeside. Perhaps that very great Australian, Sir Robert Menzies, did have some conviction about the lake site and perhaps this has permeated the thinking of many people. After all, Westminster is on the Thames and Westminster has great tradition and great atmosphere, but let us remember that over 500 years ago, when that seat of democracy was being established, transportation was largely by water. People rowed up and down the Thames because there were no roads that they could traverse. They did not have the facilities of this day and age. So the situation was greatly different. Subsequently, when the site for the capital of the United States of America was chosen - and the dominant feature of that capital is the Congress building on high ground-
– What about the United Nations building?
– My immediate response to that interjection is that if a person goes to the United Nations building and looks at it, it leaves him very cold and depressed for more reasons than one. As a building the United Nations building offers nothing from which to gain inspiration. 1 was referring to the situation in Washington. I do not think it was any accident that the great planners came to the decision to establish the Congress building on Capitol Hill, nor was it any accident that in most States of the United States the Capitol buildings are placed on high ground overlooking the surrounding countryside and providing an atmosphere and something that is inescapable if there is to be the kind of recognition that a parliamentary building, and all that it stands for and must stand for in Australia, merits.
I have mentioned Westminster, and it is interesting to study the position in some of the older European countries. In Paris, for instance, the Assembly Nationale is not a very dominant building. It is an old and interesting building, but stands among other buildings and does not leave any impression on one’s mind. As is the case with Westminster, there is little facility and it is beset with problems of access to traffic, to the public, and to those who serve and work in the parliamentary establishment. It suffers because of its placement in relation to the great departments that serve it. Surely in Canberra we must have the foresight to have parliament house so placed that as the nation grows great departments can grow around it. I refer particularly to the complete lack of any adequate building for the Department of External Affairs, one of the most senior and most important instruments of government in Australia. If wc do not take the high ground for the parliamentary buildings how can we possibly ensure that a vital department like the Department of External Affairs will be given the opportunity to develop on an appropriate site in a manner that will accord with what has been done in other countries? If we so to Rome and sec the great foreign affairs building there, and recognise its worth and importance, wc leave with the inspiration that we must have something similar in Australia. If we go to Washington and spend some time in the State Department building and evaluate what we must have in Canberra wc realise that we must provide adequate space.
The greatest obstacle to proper development would be to have the parliamentary building in an accessible place on the lakeside where there will not be the opportunity for quick access from other facets of government - from the great departments that must grow around it - and where forever there will be the restriction that we cannot extend and expand as will become necessary.
It would take longer than any honourable member has in this debate to traverse all the important aspects of this subject. But let us think of some of the mistakes that have been made in other countries. Let us remember, for instance, that some difficulties are still encountered in Washington, although the planners of that city did have foresight, opportunity and time. Enormous difficulties were met in the construction stages of the great secretariat culled the Sam Raeburn Secretariat for members, which is constructed beside the Congress building in Washington. It has been completed only recently at tremendous cost. This was the result of lack of early planning as to the siting of the building. Access had to be provided so that members could go to and from the offices in which they would work because they could not be properly accommodated in the Congress building.
No matter how good the planning of our architects may be. if the new parliament house is erected on the lakeside site, all the ambition in the world will not ensure that for 100 or 200 years hence the building will provide ali the facilities that will be required. If the building is land locked and water locked in that location, it will be impossible to do even what is being done in Washington now to meet the difficulties that have been found there. We should never forget the problems that have beset the Parliament of the United Kingdom for so long. Tt is accommodated in an old building that is too small for the purpose. In London we see the various administrative departments stretched along Whitehall, all striving to obtain the space they need but unable to get it because of the problems of access, communication and service.
Let me very briefly give several further examples of the difficulties that will arise if wc provide a restrictive site for the new parliament house. I say on my very quick judgment, following the introduction of the Camp Hill proposition this afternoon, that almost the same problems of restrictiveness apply to Camp Hill as apply to the lakeside site. If further information is available, it is a pity that we have not yet been given it. I want to make a further point about the provision of departmental accommodation. Recently I went for good reason to the Department of Agriculture in Washington to discuss some matters that concern me greatly. I thought 1 would gather some useful information there. This I achieved to a point. But I found that it was very difficult for people who knew the building, who knew the Department and who had worked in it for 20 years to find their way around the building, because this Department employed no fewer than 8,000 public servants in the one great building. I observed that their work was impeded because of the difficulties of access and because of the problems of getting from one place to another. But they faced an almost impossible task in trying to get to a sister department a few miles away, transact some business there and come back to their own Department. This situation was not created simply by lack of proper planning and the provision of adequate space in the initial stages. What has happened is that communications that were adequate to meet requirements 40 or 50 years ago, by progression of time, have turned out to be a substantial impediment in the normal functioning of government administration today.
I am willing to listen and to learn, if anyone can prove to me that there is any alternative to the simple need for space, and adequate space, in our future parliament house. We must consider this matter in the context of the new building becoming part of the total administration and the hub of the total administration that will be carried on in this great national capital in the centuries that lie ahead. Of course, I have said nothing at all about the needs of the members who will work and live in this capital in the future. 1 have served in two parliaments - in the New South Wales Parliament and in this Parliament. I am sure that the public generally would not believe that members of Parliament must try to do their work in such poor conditions. The public would not believe their members work in restrictive conditions because of lack of adequate space and planned office accommodation. The restrictiveness in this building is absolutely ridiculous, and 1 do not speak only for myself. 1 referred earlier to the Department of External Affairs. No-one would believe that an important diplomat, who had come to Australia and who wanted to call on our Minister for External Affairs in this Parliament House, would have to walk downstairs into what is nothing more than a dungeon and be received in surroundings of which we should be ashamed. Australia is not the only country that suffers from this sort of disability, lt is a fact that in most democratic societies governments are hesitant to provide adequate accommodation for the parliament and for the government departments because they may be criticised for providing something that is a bit too grand or a bit too ambitious.
If today we are to make a decision that will provide for the future needs of this nation of ours, we must be farsighted enough to ensure that our decision does not lead to a restrictiveness that will mean the perpetuation of the difficulties that I have mentioned. I hope that honourable members will see clearly the vital necessity to ensure that we do not create a situation for posterity that can never be adequately resolved. If we choose the lakeside site, we will do this. We will leave to future generations a legacy that will be a great detriment to this great capital city, to this nation and to all who in the future will labour to try to build a bigger and a better Australia. I have not seen any evidence at all that would justify the Parliament choosing the lakeside site. On the other hand, despite the lack of effort to give honourable members adequate information about the sites on Capital Hill and now, in this more recent development, on Camp Hill, I believe that the Parliament can follow only one course and that is to vote strongly for the Capital Hill site, despite the subsequent amendment that will be proposed. If we take that first step we will do what our forebears and the future generations would have wished us to do.
– Two months ago when this subject was discussed in the Parliament, I was unable to be present, as I was indisposed. However, I listened to almost every speech that was made for or against the Capital Hill site and the lakeside site. But I did not hear mention of such a place as Camp Hill. 1 will stand corrected if anybody did mention it. Today a third fish has been let loose in the pool, lt reminds me of a tote ticket with first, second and third places. If the horse does not come first, it has a chance of coming second or third. 1 think the Minister has simply taken a ride on the merrygoround so that he can have another shot in his locker if the lake site fails.
Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I am very pleased to be here to give my wholehearted support to the Capital Hill’ site. I do not see how any other member or any Minister could do otherwise. We are told by some members that the proper place for the permanent parliament house would be the lake site, which has an area of 43 acres as against twice that area in other suggested sites. What are the advantages of building the parliament house near the lake? We would be attacked by flies and mosquitoes every evening, lt would not be a proper place at all to build the parliament house. I have made my decision in favour of Capital Hill not just over the last couple of months. When the Patents Office was built on the southern side of Kings Avenue I said that this was the. wrong place in which lo locate such a building. I still think this to be true.
I hope that the Parliament will make a firm decision on this matter because we all have to go back to our Labor Leagues or other similar organisations, the members of which have a sense of duty, especially since the Sydney Opera House has not proved a successful venture. They question their representatives as to when the new parliament house is going to be built, and if one gives them a short answer such as: ‘In about 20 years time,’ they take a poor view of it. But it seems to me from the way we are going that it will be 20 years before the new parliament house is built. Whether it takes 10, 15 or 20 years, however, there is only one place for the parliament house and that is on Capital Hill.
The Minister has told us today that when the present Parliament House was built it was intended only as a temporary structure. 1 remember 7 or 8 years ago attendants going around various parts of this building with buckets every time it rained in order to collect the water that leaked through the roof. Originally there was a flat roof, and bits had to be added to it here and there from time to time. This building could be used for scarcely anything else but a parliament house. Certainly it could not be used for any form of business activity because no businessman would rent it. The Government spends thousands of pounds year after year on painting it and renovating it so that it looks quite well and serves its purpose.
When we consider the way our population has grown in recent years, both through natural increase and through immigration, it becomes obvious that in another 5 or 10 years our population will practically double. Yet we have until now relegated the Parliament to a kind of hillbilly structure somewhere around the corner. This is entirely wrong. In any case 1 believe that in 10, 15, or 20 years time this building will have had its day and be ready for demolition.
Everybody seems to be complaining about the conditions in this House. I am not complaining because it was only recently that I got a new tease of life for another 12 months. But the fact is that many people complain about overcrowding in this building. It is wrong, however, for them to claim that this building will be retained and that the new parliament house therefore must be built on the lake site. If in 15 years or so this building is demolished and a new parliament house is built, then we should take advantage of the beautiful serene views that we can get from Capital Hill and put the new building there.
About 8 years ago 1 spoke in this place about the Patents Office. I think the Government made a mistake in allowing the construction of buildings on the southern side of Kings Avenue because when a prestige building is erected on Capital Hil! we will need around it two or three times the open space that is available now. When we finally build on Capital Hill the first place that will be pulled down will be the General Post Office. The second will be the Patents Office and the third, with all due respect to the man for whom it has been named, McEwen House. It is all very well for the honourable members to laugh about the matter at this time, but in 15 or 20 years time the population of Canberra will be such that the people will not be able to move around the highways and by-ways as they do now. I make these remarks in all sincerity because we have here a main highway leading to Queanbeyan and, in fact, to all parts of Australia, and that highway will cause a major problem if the parliament house is build near the lake.
I give full marks to the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), who told me some 15 or 20 years ago that Capital Hill was the right site for the parliament house. The Capital Hill site was his creation. We have people coming here from Westminster and telling us what to do. I had the honour to be in Westminster 2 years ago. I went into the House and sat in a gallery something like the public gallery in this chamber. When the sitting of the House commenced the Speaker came along and occupied a chair similar to the one in which Mr Speaker sits in this House. When questions were being asked I noticed that about 100 people were crowded in behind the Speaker. I could not understand this. I thought it might be a demonstration of strikers such as we sometimes see here in Kings Hall. Another 50 or 60 people were crowded together in another part of the House. I made inquiries and found that in the original design of the building provision was made for only 380 members. There are now 640 members, and over 200 members experience grave inconvenience. 1 do not want to display any prejudice against Westminster or against England, but I do say this: For goodness sake watch carefully the architects that you get from over there because they will design something that will not be worth having. 1 found that when members of the United Kingdom Parliament vote they go outside the chamber and into boxes very much the same as the polling booths that are used for elections in this country. There is no place to sit down. All these things must be considered. Further, the people deserve to know what the Government intends to do. They should be given seme idea of when the new parliament house will be built. I ask the Government to let the people know at once when it will be built, because they should not be left waiting for 4, 5 or 10 years before they are informed what is to happen. I know that the day will come when the new parliament house will be built on Capital Hill. I am glad to be able to give 100% support to the Capital Hill site this afternoon.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, today we are debating where the new parliament house will be built, not when it will be built. It may be that it will not be built for 10, 20 or 50 years. But it is important to decide where it will be built so that other planning may continue and roads and other buildings can be placed in their proper areas, having regard to the site which ultimately will be occupied by the new and permanent parliament house. I should like to make some observations about the three sites to which we have to give some consideration. I say at the outset that my own preference would have been for the Camp Hill site. By this I mean to include not only the area, strictly, of Camp Hill, but also the site of this building and the gardens on either side. If I were forced to choose between the Capital Hill site and the lakeside site, my vote would go to the lakeside site.
It is not possible in 20 minutes - and I think that all honourable members are disadvantaged by this - to cover all the various arguments for and against the respective sites. All one can do is call attention to one or two matters. T should like to attempt to clarify one or two points which 1 think may have been lost sight of. I think that one point we have to remember is that the Capital Hill site was decisively rejected by Walter Burley Griffin. I refer not to his preliminary report prepared in Chicago but to the report which embodied his considered opinion after he had tested his views on the location. This report was dated October 1913 and was ordered to be printed on 28th September 1916. His view, as expressed at pages 18 and 19 of this print, was that Parliament should be ‘in an accessible but still quiet area’. In his report he referred to Capital Hill, which he called Kurrajong Hill, in these terms:
It is deemed too large and too high for a convenient working organisation of Parliament.
He chose Camp Hill, which he referred to in his report as Canberra Hill, for the site of the parliament. On this he said: . . Parliament edifice has thus a lofty setting, slopping the long axis of the reservoir, crowned by the lofty Capital behind, and supported on the flanks by the lower departmental buildings.
That was his plan. The fact that that was his plan was made quite plain by the drawings and plans which he prepared. One has only to look at them to see that he envisaged a parliamentary triangle. I have listened to debate in this House which has suggested that Capital Hill is the apex of the parliamentary triangle. This is not so. Nobody who has looked at the plans or drawings could possibly assert that Capital Hill is in or even near Griffin’s parliamentary triangle. The parliamentary triangle, on his plans, has Camp Hill as ils apex. Capital Hill is out of and well away from the parliamentary triangle. Before we vote for the Capital Hill site, let us be clear about these facts.
I have heard it suggested that it would accord in some way with Griffin’s view to pui the new parliament house on Capital Hill, lt is said: ‘At some stage Griffin, in his report, said that Capital Hill would not accommodate two houses of parliament. Even if von do not agree with thai reason, it is suggested you may conclude that his opinion becomes the opposite and that he is in favour of Capital Hill.’ But this reference to the two-house parliament was only incidental to the reasons he gave in his report. He did refer to the difficulty of putting two houses of parliament on Capital Hill, but he said it in these words, which make it quite clear that it was almost an afterthought:
The fact that Parliament is in two ‘Houses’ is an incident in addition to the topographical situation that precludes making of that, structure a focal feature. lt is clear that his two-house argument was thrown in more or less as an afterthought and that he would not have a bar of Capital Hill as a site for the Parliament. This does not prevent us from deciding on Capital Hill, but do not let us do so under the mistaken impression that it was Griffin’s plan.
After Griffin came Sir John Sulman and his co-advisers. Just before the present Parliament House was erected, Sir John Sulman gave evidence before the Standing Committee on Public Works on 29th May 1923. Referring to himself and his advisers, he said:
We think that the Kurrajong site-
As they termed Capital Hill - would be inconvenient because Parliament House, if erected there, would be detached very largely from the main body of the administrative buildings.
Later, when referring to Griffin’s proposal lo place Parliament on the Camp Hill site, he said: lt is the one part of Mr Griffin’s plan of which 1, and my colleagues also, really cordially approve.
That is old fashioned language perhaps, but it was Sir John Sulman’s and his advisors’ view at that time. This was one part of Griffin’s plan of which they cordially approved. They rejected Capital Hill; they approved of Camp Hill. Sir John Sulman also said in his evidence that he thought the Capital Hill site was exposed. At page 120 of his evidence, given on 29th May 1923, he said:
The site is very exposed to the wind.
He repealed that statement later when he said:
The Kurrajong Hill site-
That is, the Capital Hill site - would be very much exposed . . . The wind would be very badly felt.
When listening to the debate in this House I heard one honourable member say that because the National Capital Development Commission also referred to this fact that the Capital Hill site was exposed, subject to wind and bleak, therefore, the Commission was not quite honest in what it was putting forward. That proposition was seriously put to the House, lt was said that this was subjective and coloured language and that we should not take any notice of Iiic Commission. 1 want to rectify that position. Not only would I say that the reference to the Capital Hill site being exposed was an objective understatement by the Commission, but Sir John Sulman used similar language in 1923. I do not think it is fair to say that the NCDC is not approaching this matter properly and is not giving objective advice to this House. Whatever ils own view may be. I believe that the Commission is giving objective advice and that it will take responsibility for it, if it is followed.
In 1957 Sir William Holford was invited to Australia to report on the site for a new parliament house.I have heard some criticism of him. He is not a dilettante Englishman. In his field, he probably has qualifications as good as those of anyone alive. On my information, he is a very down to earth character. In his report dated 28th December 1957. which was ordered to be printed on 15th May 1958, he came down decisively against Capital Hill. At page 13 he said:
Being required to assume that the present Parliament House could not be demolished and that it must remain, he then came down in favour of the lakeside site. He returned to Australia in 1965. On each occasion he was in Australia he traversed the ground from Mount Ainslie up to Capital Hill. In a report dated December 1965 - it was ordered to be printed on 29th September 1966 - he said:
Ail that has developed since 1957 has confirmed my own view that Parkes Place is without question an ideal site for it in terms of architecture and landscape.
There were other experts. There was Edmund Bacon. There was the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, whose members have used language about the debate which one can only deplore. Nevertheless, their opinion has been clearly expressed against the Capital Hill site. We can form our own view. Each of us has to do so. If we feel that we are better informed and know more about the matter, particularly the political side, we can reject all the advice, but let us realise that the advice is virtually all one way. Substantially, the whole of the expert advice is against Capital Hill. At least this advice should make us think carefully before taking a decision which, as some honourable members have said, could commit this country for hundreds of years in the matter of a site for Parliament House.
It is worth recording - this may be only a small point - that at least three Prime Ministers - Sir Robert Menzies, the late Harold Holt and John Gorton - with the best advice at their disposal, were opposed to Capital Hill. Three times the Cabinet has come down in its collective wisdom against Capital Hill - on 5th June 1963, 16th January 1964 and 23rd July 1968. Some honourable members may think that this is reason for voting the other way.
Honourable members ; Hear, hear!
– I have detected in this debate the feeling that the debate should be used as an opportunity to administer a slap to the Executive. If that is the kind of basis on which any honourable member casts his vote, he is a pretty poor representative of the people of Australia. It is true that many experts - they ail may be wrong, as Cabinet may be wrong - were against Capital Hill and I must confess that their reasons appear to me to have the better of the argument. If you come along King’s Avenue towards Capital Hill it seems to me that Capital Hill is way out to the left of the parliamentary triangle. If you come along Commonwealth Avenue it seems to be way out to the right and completely irrelevant to the rest of the parliamentary triangle. Capital Hill would not in any sense crown the vista from Mount Ainslie, which is a very fine feature of this capital. The vista from Mount Ainslie and the War Memorial across to this Parliament is a splendid feature of this capital, but a Parliament on Capital Hill would not crown it. The building in which Parliament now meets would continue to be the crown of that vista.
One argument that has been advanced by many honourable members is that, situated on Capital Hill, Parliament would be elevated so that it would be looked up to as a symbol. The people, it is said, look up to the Parliament. I believe that this is an argument which confuses the building with the institution of Parliament. A hill is quite appropriate for a monument, or a temple. In such a case the building is the important thing. But it is less appropriate. I believe, for the institution of Parliament. The way people regard Parliament must depend on the people in Parliament and what they do there. I believe that to confuse looking up to Parliament with looking up to a building is a serious confusion.I am not sure that one or two mistakes have not been made elsewhere in this regard. You can put a monument, a temple or a museum high on a hill but a Parliament should be looked up to by the people rather for what is done in it than because the building is on a high point
I say a word or two now about the lake site. I agree with Sir William Holford and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects that it would be a very fine site. It is true that it was not recommended by Walter Burley Griffin, but there was a slight hill where the lake site now is when Walter Burley Griffin saw the area. There was no lake, but he planned a lake - a lake of a slightly different shape. Griffin’s concept of the lake did not have the rounded shoulders that now appear in the lake. In Griffin’s lake there was no peninsula projecting into the lake, as there is now, to form a platform if one wanted to put Parliament House there.
Undoubtedly the lake and the buildings around it have become the central feature of Canberra. As you come into Canberra a fine building on the shores of the lake would be a dominating and central feature, as well as being a workable proposition. 1 am prepared to accept the word of the NCDC that foundations would present no insoluble problem and that there would be no significant danger of flooding. One honourable member suggested - this is the kind of argument that disturbs one - that when the Administrative Building was being built the basement flooded every time the Molonglo River flooded. I took the trouble to chase this particular rabbit into its burrow. I spoke to Mr Meldrum, who was supervisor on the building. He went on to the site in April 1948 and supervised construction until December 1958. He said that the only time the basement was flooded was when a water main burst on the fourth floor. He said the basement was never flooded from the Molonglo. We should not accept an argument that the lake site will be subject to flooding without checking it. The NCDC has to take responsibility in its professional capacity for advising us. I believe that in matters concerning foundations or flooding, we can rely on the advice of the NCDC.
Another argument has been advanced that it was a civil service concept to bring the Parliament down amongst the other buildings. It was suggested, in effect, by gestures, that the civil service would have the Parliament and the Executive in ils clutches if the Parliament was down on the lake site. A strong Minister will always dominate a weak department, just as a strong department will always dominate a weak Minister. If you have a strong Minister and a strong department you have a strong partnership. Whether the Minister or his department are in a building on a hill or on the flat does not make the slightest difference, and everyone knows it. I think we should put that kind of argument on one side when considering this problem.
There is one reservation I have about the lake site and I am pleased to hear that we may have an opportunity to vote for the Camp Hill site. I have said that the vista from Mount Ainslie and the War Memorial across the lake to this present building is a very fine one. It distinguishes our capital from other capitals. It is significant. It stays in the memory. This vista would be interrupted inevitably by a building on the lake site. While this consideration would not be decisive in directing my mind to Camp Hill as an alternative, it is worth while considering whether we should not carry out Griffin’s original plan and have Camp Hill. One of the reasons against choosing Camp Hill has been the basic assumption over the years that the present Parliament House could not be demolished. The views expressed by Sir William Holford and the NCDC have been based on that assumption. What are the reasons against demolition? Three are advanced - firstly that it has had 40 years of life, has acquired historical value and should be preserved; secondly that the building represents a valuable asset which should not be wasted; and thirdly that there would be difficulty in accommodating Parliament during the rebuilding period. None of these arguments will stand serious examination if one is planning for a couple of hundred years.
The present building has acquired historical value. Those of us who have been in it probably have some sentimental attachment to it. Surely the fact that the present building has been here as a temporary and provisional building should not be allowed to deflect the original plan. Adequate photographs of this building, inside and out, could be taken and put in the National Library or elsewhere so that people might always be able to recall what is was like. We are thinking of a long term project. I do not suggest that this present building should be demolished before its useful life has expired. Its useful life was originally estimated by Sir John Sulman to be 50 years. It was constructed to last, according to his intention, for 50 years. He said that if we painted the building and maintained it, we could extend its life a little. The building has been standing for about 40 years. One could say that it has another 30 years of useful life. This is a small amount of time, measured against the periods of time about which we are speaking. This building was erected to last for a certain time. Any businessman would expect to get a certain amount of use out of a building such as this and would then be prepared to carry out some major plan of rebuilding. He would not be deflected from his course by considerations of attachment to the old building. As regards inconvenience to honourable members while the new building was being built, I agree that there would be some temporary inconvenience, although I believe that the ingenuity of architects is such that this would not be as great as many people might imagine. Is this matter of inconvenience to stand in the way of a new building if the original plan is the right one? I believe that we must look at the original plan, which would preserve the distinctive feature of our Parliament House at the end of the vista to which I have referred. Parliament House on Camp Hill would be in a position of dominance, but it would not be a position of exaggerated dominance. If the assumption that this place cannot be pulled down were removed, I think there would be general agreement that Camp Hill would be the best site for the new Parliament House.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, let me make my position very clear. I am against the lakeside site. If I have to choose between the lakeside and Capital Hill, I choose Capital Hill. I want the Parliament to be built on a hill, as Walter Burley Griffin originally suggested. He wanted Camp Hill as the site for the permanent parliament house. Well, Camp Hill is behind us and Capital Hill, which is being recommended by the amendment of the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), is a little further back at the end of the Parliamentary Triangle.
We are not deciding today to build a new parliament house. That can well wait. It ought to wait for a considerable time because the present Parliament House is still a useful building. It could be extended. With the difficult situation in which all Australians find themselves today, the money that would be spent on erecting a new and permanent parliament house, if we decided to build that house immediately, could well be spent in financing the underground railway systems proposed for Sydney and Melbourne. Now that we are not to have an immediate election, I am not putting forward any political propaganda. But I think that there are a number of bridges to be built and a number of other things to be done around before we start immediately on the building of the new and permanent parliament house. 1 think that a lot is to be said for planning for the future. No matter when we start to plan, whatever we plan to do it always will be dearer than it would be if we started today. I have no objection to conducting competitions - calling for entries and that sort of thing - for the design of the new and permanent parliament house. But I think that the arguments against the lakeside site - surely that site is the one that we arc discussing - are overwhelming. Anybody who favours the lakeside ought to see a psychologist. There is no valid reason for suggesting the lakeside site. Everything is against it. We are told that we have a beautiful lake and therefore we ought to have the new parliament house on the lakeshore. When I was in Canberra 40 years ago - I was not a member of this Parliament then - the Molonglo valley and the Molonglo River were a mosquito-ridden swamp. The fact that a lake is there now does not make it any the less possible that some day in the future the area will again be mosquito ridden. The fact that we have a weir down stream near Yarralumla only increases the dangers that will accrue from a flash flood. The mosquito infestations could occur again.
A flash flood occurred in Canberra in 1927. That, flash flood wiped away the Commonwealth Bridge and the waters came pretty close to the steps of this Parliament House. This fact has not been greatly emphasised in this debate. If a flash flood has occurred in the past it can occur again. I have not the slightest doubt that if a flash flood did occur after a new parliament house was erected on the lakeside site, not only the vaults of that new parliament house, but also the vaults of the National Library and other buildings in the area, would be damaged. I think that we should have kept buildings clear of the whole lakeside area. 1 think that, the hill site which was originally recommended has great traditional, historical and psychological values perhaps to older Australians. But I think that most Australian people like to look up to a hill. They do not like to look down to a lakeside. I am not using a theological argument, but if we look up to the hill, we also will look up to Heaven. If we look the other way - in other words, if we look down on the lakeside - we look in the opposite direction to Heaven.
Everywhere we go we find that the great buildings of the world are on hills. It is true that the British Houses of Parliament which constitute the Palace of Westminster are on the Thames. This may have been the nostalgic idea that inspired Lord Holford to suggest that the GovernorGenera! should come up Lake Burley Griffin in his barge to open new sessions of the Parliament. I suppose that somebody will say that King Charles I did that. Well. King Charles I last his head. I do not think that we should lose our heads because of the arguments that have been advanced against something that is of great historic value. Lord Denman and Lady Denman came to Canberra. I think they went to Camp Hill. 1 was a precocious youth at that time. I think that I am the only remaining member of this Parliament who can remember what happened at that time. Lady Denman named Canberra on that famous occasion. Everything associated with the naming of Canberra, including the laying of the foundation stone by the then Prince of Wales at a later period, became embedded in our memories.
I also remember the occasions when Lord Mountbatten visited Canberra. I have spoken to him on at least three of his visits. He has told me that on his visits to Canberra he always goes to Camp Hill to seek the site where he stood as the Aide of the Prince of Wales when he laid the foundation stone of the new Parliament House. 1 hope I can quote what Lord Mountbatten said without his permission. He told me that he was in favour of Camp Hill as the site for the parliament house. Of course I. never have much to do with the English aristocracy or members of the House of Lords, but that was his view. I agree with his view. I think that whether the new and permanent parliament house is built on Capital Hill or Camp Hill - Capital Hill is further out than Camp Hill - some day this nation must have a parliament house that is as impressive as that of the Congress of the United States of America on Capitol Hill.
I do not believe that people are impressed when they look down on a lakeside building. 1 was amazed to. find Sir Robert Menzies in favour of the lakeside site. I asked him: “Why do you not stand by tradition?’ I might say that 1 am something of a conservative. I believe in conserving right things. I think, therefore, that the hillside is the right site. Sir Robert Menzies said: I believe that the parliament house should be down where the people can meet their members’. But I do not think that the site on the lake shore is as good as it ought to be. 1 do not think that the traffic facilities can ever be made good enough. When Canberra attains a population of 750,000 - it will have that population in 50 years time - there will be no possibility of moving around that area at that time. Therefore, 1 think that we ought to plan broadly and in an expansive way.
The Attorney-General quoted Waller Burley Griffin. He did not quote all that Burley Griffin said. We are all a bit selective from time to time in using quotations in order to bolster our cases if we feel keenly enough about those cases. Walter Burley Griffin said:
That is Camp Hill:
Might I interpret this quotation to say that as a full-blooded Laborite I am in favour of abolishing the Senate. Let me continue what Walter Burley Griffin said: lt is not beyond the capacity or the brains of the architects to design a building of symmetrical architecture for erection on Kurrajong Hill as a Parliament House.
I think that that ought to be convincing enough for any member of this Parliament.
Looking at the location of the State parliaments, we see that they are all far away from the river frontages in the capital cities. In New South Wales there is a Parliament House that has lasted since responsible government was granted in 1856. 1 told the honourable member for Scullin (Mr Peters) - my very, very dear friend - that the second part of that building which houses the Legislative Council was a prefabricated building brought from Melbourne after the gold rush days. It is still there and it serves the purpose. The honourable member did not remember what I told him. and he said it was brought out for the first Fleet.
– I said it was-
– lt does not matter very much, lt is a very old building, and it still suffices. Would anybody in New South Wales suggest that the State Parliament House, now in Macquarie Street, Sydney, should be put down on the swamps of the Parramatta River near the Homebush area? Would any citizen of Melbourne suggest that the Victorian Parliament House should be removed from Eastern Hill and put down on the swamps of the Dudley flats? What is being suggested here is that we should demolish this very fine building and erect a new one down on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. I do not support that idea. The State Congress building in Pennsylvania, in the United States of America, in which I have a nostalgic interest, is built on a height, lt was erected very soon after the American Revolution. I know something about that building because I have visited it. lt is not situated at the confluence of the Ohio River, the Allegheny River and one other river. My great grandfather was a member of that State Congress of Pennsylvania from 1820 to 1822.
All the historical evidence favours the erection of parliament buildings on hills. All the great cities have their churches and historic buildings on high hills, except for London, where there are not many high hills within the vicinity of the Thames River. I would rather see the new and permanent parliament house erected on a hill in Canberra - whatever hill it may be - than have it on a lake site; just as the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) would prefer to see Edinburgh Castle, as a feature of the new capital of a free Scotland, where it is rather than down on the banks of the Firth of Forth. I do not need to say any more; I think the numbers are with us. For once, this Parliament will make a wise decision. For once, all members of this Parliament will have a free vote on an issue. I am so happy and pleased about this that I wish the Parliament had free votes on a lot more issues. If it did. Australia might have better government than it has now.
Sir JOHN CRAMER (Bennelong) [3.591 - I do nol propose lo speak at any great length on this matter because the whole of the material has been very well traversed. I want to make my own position clear on this question of a site for the new and permanent parliament house. Strange as it may seem, men of wisdom in this Parliament, like the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) and myself, agree on one thing. I agree that we ought not to be in a hurry to spend the money that will have to be spent on a new parliament house. Perhaps that is a selfish point of view, because, when all is said and done, many honourable members in the House today perhaps will not be here when the new and permanent building is built. I think thai there are other things to be done in Australia where the money could be more usefully spent than in erecting a new parliament house. Notwithstanding this, I realise that we must plan, because a parliament house is a permanent structure of the nation and it must be looked upon in that light and planned for at this time. This is the appeal I make to honourable members: I know that there arc many members here who have preconceived ideas as to where the new parliament house should be situated but I ask them to think again before they make a final decision. There is no great hurry about this matter of erecting a new building. Honourable members should think again before they commit this Parliament to a site which may not prove in the future to be the right one for a great nation of the future. After all, the site that we choose at this time will be occupied for a long time. Having had 48 years of experience in town planning, I think that it is very noticeable that practically all of the experts from all over the world who have investigated this matter and commented on it have settled on the lake site. This is not a biased opinion. This is not an opinion that is given because of a whim or a fancy. This opinion is given by qualified people. We must admit that as individuals there are very few people in this House who are qualified to give an expert opinion on this subject. These experts have made researches into this matter; they have applied the techniques and the scientific methods of their own professions and made a decision on this matter. They have settled on the lake site, ft is all very well to have preconceived ideas, but let us consider the facts and give them their proper weight in deciding this question. Surely we cannot cast aside the opinion of the expert. There are many mistakes that can be made, such as permitting a lack of research. One can see this in almost every department. In many of our public works there is a lack of investigation, of research into the cost involved, of cost-benefit analyses and the like. There is insufficient research undertaken in relation to the development of this country. This is something which we are lacking. In this case research has been undertaken. Experts have given their opinions and have settled on the lake site. I do not put myself forward as an expert, but 1 have dealt with town planning for many years. If I had my way I would definitely prefer the site where the present Parliament House stands. This is where I would like to have the permanent building. If this site were not available and I had to decide between Capital Hill and the lake site, I would certainly select the lake site. I am pleased to see that an opportunity has been given by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) to make a move to retain what is called the Camp Hill site - the site where we are at the present time. I would prefer this site. My preference for it is because 1 feel it would keep the future parliament house in the area where all the affairs of Parliament are being conducted. 1 cannot for the life of me see why some people have chosen Capital Hill as being the ideal place. Perhaps it is only because they are looking at it from the point of view of its dominance. This is the only argument I have heard that is worth while. 1 heard my friend, the honourable member for Cowper (Mr Robinson), talking about the space available. Space is available from the lake right through io Capital Hill.
If it comes to that, the whole area is available. Where do we put a parliament house in all this area? This is something that has to be looked at. To erect the building on Capital Hill because that happens to be the extreme end of an axis and the highest point would be foolish. The top of the hill would have to be levelled off, at very considerable expense, before the building was erected. There is no doubt that it would have to be. To me it is like choosing a pimple on a pumpkin. From an aesthetic point of view, it would be objectionable to have the permanent Parliament House placed at the extreme end of the parliamentary triangle, lt would be quite wrong, in my opinion, from any designing point of view.
A lot of pressures have been applied in the propaganda in relation to this matter. People have preconceived ideas. Members ought to be big enough to change their minds, lt would be a tragedy to this nation if we made a final choice now of Capital Hill. There are so many people with differing points of view. I suggest that unless we come to a reasonable decision with a big majority we should defer the consideration of this matter until we think again. There is no hurry and we should not make a final decision that could be a fatal error. That is why I welcome the suggestion made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). I will vote for the lake site and then, if it is put, I will support the amendment that has been foreshadowed by the Minister.
I have said that I would prefer the present site because, with certain developments, it is almost the same as the lake site. There would be some difference in having the new building right on the lakeside. It would have a wafer frontage and have the National Library, which will affect every individual in Australia now and in the future, on one side. The new building to house the High Court of Australia will be built on the other side, and all the Commonwealth departments will be in contiguous positions. We should not attempt to build a parliament house if it is not going to be something really worth while for generations to come. It would please me to have it built on the lake site, preferably a little bit back from the lake. This would be the position I would choose from the areas that are being discussed by us.
Other people have suggested the same sort of thing. 1 do not want to detain the House any longer, but I do say that we should not be in a hurry to make a decision. If there is any doubt in the minds of members let them have another look at the matter. But do not let us commit ourselves to something if we are uncertain, because the decision we make on a site for the new parliament house might ultimately prove to be a tragic mistake.
area in which to have a parliament house.
We present members of this Parliament have to make a decision about what sort of parliament house this nation will want in the next several hundred years. We have to try to visualise how many members there will be in the future and what other buildings, offices and facilities will be required. We are not going to build this new house tomorrow. With temporary additions, the present building should serve us for a long while to come. We should plan very carefully and not go ahead and build a parliament house on another site merely for the sake of convenience. This House was built as a temporary house. It has already served for 40 years and will probably serve for at least another 20 years whatever we do. I understand that the architects have already claimed that we can go ahead and build the new parliament house on this site and bc able to carry on the work of the two Houses adequately in temporary quarters. They claim that there will be conference rooms big enough to house either the House of Representatives or the Senate while the new chambers are being built.
We have to hasten slowly in this matter and have another look at it. I am looking forward to the opportunity of discussing it more fully when the Minister’s foreshadowed amendment comes before the House, as I feel sure it will. I think we all agree that we are crowded in the offices of the present building. We get roasted in the dining room and frozen in other parts. The Press has shocking accommodation. The whole building is unsuitable but, as the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) said, there are other things much more important at this point of time in this developing nation. We should plan now for a new parliament house on the present site, which has all the advantages and very few of the disadvantages of the other two sites.
– There are many matters of greater importance to Australia than the building of a new parliament house. But is is proper that the House should be given the opportunity to determine the site for the parliament house of the future. There has been considerable debate and disputation about where that parliament house should be and whether it should be on the lakeside. The official point of view that has been presented to us so persuasively by the Government and supported by the National Capital Development Commission and others in authority is in favour of the lake site. I want to say at once so that there will be no misunderstanding that I am utterly opposed to the proposition that a future parliament house should be built on the lakeside. This site to me is most unsuitable for a number of reasons.
The original concept that parliament should be located on the hill top is as valid today as it was when it was first mentioned by Waller Burley Griffin. Whether that hill be Camp Hill or Capital Hill is a moot point. Authorities from time to time have said that parliament house cannot be built on Camp Hill because the position of this temporary parliament house makes that position untenable. Whether that is so or not perhaps deserves consideration. We should not be considering building a parliament house that will be adequate for the next 5 years or 10 years but we should be considering a parliament house that will be adequate for the next 2,000 years. In building Australia unlimited 1 would like to think we are building firmly and securely and using Australian granite, marble, timber from the various States of the Commonwealth - which is unsurpassed anywhere in the world - forming features of the various chambers, rooms and lobbies which will make up the parliament of the future, when we will barely be memories in the history of this nation. In considering this matter it is well to look at the pros and cons of the subject. Firstly, we have had various points of view on the democracy of it all.
In 1955 members of a select committee of the Senate made Capital Hill their choice. 1 believe today that Capital Hill is the best place to site the parliament of the future. Every morning when 1 walk from the Kurrajong guest house to this Parliament I look at the delightful slopes of Capital Hill, and the Australian flag flying in the breeze, and 1 think it is an inspiring sight; it is a sight that gives one a feeling of wellbeing, that this is Australia. This hill has very special qualities and, despite what may bc said against it, together with Camp Hill it stands out as a land mark and the apex of a triangle which in a sense dominates the City of Canberra.
Comments have been made in the report from the National Capital Development Commission as to the appearance of Capital Hill, lt has been said that the hill cannot be seen. Of course, Camp Hill was rejected by Lord Holford. It was stated in the report that Capital Hill could not be seen from Parkes Place. If Capital Hill, which is a hill that dominates the scene, cannot be seen from Parkes Place, can Parkes Place be seen from many other centres of importance in Canberra? Can Parkes Place be seen from the lakeside, Manuka, Kingston, Civic, the
Mall, Civic Square, the Canberra Theatre or 1,001 other places in this area? Of course it cannot be seen. But to suggest, as has been suggested in this document, that a hill that dominates the scene would not be noticed, of course, begs the question. The hill is a dominant site, lt stands out clearly in the whole of this area.
Looking through the report, I find it is suggested that the lakeside site is a dominant visual feature, lt suggests that the lakeside site is surounded by big buildings. It is pointed out that because the site is flanked by big buildings it will be a dominant site. Of course it cannot be a dominant site. How can it be? Unfortunately some of those who have attacked the idea that Capital Hill is a suitable place, have said: ‘But you should have the parliament house down on the lake side. It has set features. On one side it will be flanked by the National Library and on the other side by the High Court.’ What are we considering? Are we considering where the parliament of the future should be sited or whether we should be putting the site of the future parliament house alongside certain other buildings? The central consideration, of course, is the parliament itself and where the parliament should be. There would be no Canberra or no capital if it were not for the parliament. I object to the parliament taking a subsidiary role in these considerations.
One of the objections I have heard expressed was made by the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen). The honourable gentleman repeated the suggestion made by Walter Burley Griffin that Kurrajong Hill, or Capital Hill, was too large and too high. Yet, the report from the NCDC complains that it would be necessary to take a certain area from the crown of the hill and this would reduce the prominence of the site. The report, in regard to Capital Hill, states:
If a very large building were placed on Capital Hill a substantial part of the crown of the hill would have to be removed to provide a large enough base. This would greatly reduce the prominence of the site.
In one instance we are assailed by those who want the lakeside site and say that the hill site is too big and yet, when a portion of it is removed to provide an adequate base for the parliament, it is said that the site is not big enough. The two views cannot be reconciled. Of course, whatever happened, the hill site is the dominant site, lt is the focal site.
The hill site has an abundant area for the location of a parliament of the future. Let us look at the figures. The lake site is made up of 47 acres and the hill site of 130 acres. Surely space is important. We ought to consider space in the years to come. According to figures submitted in the report of the NCDC, Canberra today has a population of 110,000 and in the 1980s the population will reach 266,000. Is it not important that in this great continent we ought to be considering spaciousness and size in the planning of our national capital? To put a parliament house on only 47 acres of land surely would be going against the traditions of this country, especially when there was no need for it.
I am indebted to the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) for information that he provided in regard to Washington, the capital of the USA. In 1790 George Washington secured 130 acres of land for the capital at Washington similar to that which is being considered on Capital Hill. The area now occupied by the Capitol at Washington is 155 acres. We want to build a great and important national capital. Yet it is suggested that we put our national capital into 47 acres of land when we have 130 acres in an elevated position which dominates the country side and gives grandeur and dignity to all that is required. If we were to abandon the concept of size and spaciousness, we would be certainly doing something completely out of tone with the requirements of this nation.
The Capital Hill site presents many delightful advantages. I had the opportunity, with members of the Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House to visit the hill site and other sites and to inspect the areas generally. If we were to dismiss entirely the consideration of governments and party and were to look at this matter on a national basis, free from any ties or inhibitions, 1 believe that most certainly we would come down on the side of Capital Hill. Looking over the submissions that have been made to us, we cannot help but feel that despite the democratic expressions of the committee of the Senate which recommended the Capital Hill site in 1955 - the views of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1957 favoured the Capital Hill site - the whole of the publicity and pressure for the parliament of the future has been for a lake site.
We have the suggestion that the lake site is the dominant site. Further we have had a presentation of pictorial views of the lake site. The report issued by the NCDC contains a photograph which shows the lake side site in the centre of the picture. The Capital Hill site is on the extreme right hand side of the picture and hardly rates a mention at all. This Ls despite the fact that the Capital Hill site, together with Camp Hill, is the focal point and the apex of the triangle - it is the centre of things. Yet, it gets barely a mention in the report that was submitted for members of the Committee and honourable members to consider. The presentation of the case should have been balanced, objective and fair so that honourable members would have the opportunity to look over these things reasonably. 1 want to return now to some of the disqualifications of the lakeside site. The lakeside area is congested. It has two traffic arteries passing it and these are congested now. If in the 1980s Canberra is to have 266.000 people, with all the office blocks by the lake this area will be a traffic nightmare, and to place a parliament house in that area will make it almost impossible for people to come and go to the Parliament and the various offices there. Of course, the sitation will be aggravated by the additional number of people who will be using the Administrative, National Library and High Court buildings. There are many objections to the lakeside site. I shall not go into the question of the dampness, fogginess, frosts and other weather features, but there are considerations that relate to the foundations on that site. Only yesterday a question by Senator Poyser was answered in the Senate. He asked:
Were difficulties encountered in establishing suitable foundations in the building of the new Treasury offices in Canberra?
The answer supplied by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) was:
Yes. Detailed foundation investigations during the design phase had in fact revealed variable foundation material.
The foundations were bad and they constituted a problem. Senator Poyser also asked:
Was any additional expenditure required in excess of the original estimated cost to provide suitable foundations? If so, how much? ] emphasise that he was asking about foundations for the Treasury offices which are situated on the lakeside close to where the parliament house of the future would be built. The Minister replied:
Yes. The contract was let on an estimated depth of pile, on a rale per lineal foot following normal practice in such pile contracts. The foundations were drilled deeper than estimated in order to reach sound foundation material. The greater depth of piling led to a rise of $67,109 in the cost of the third stage of the building up to 30th June 1968. A detailed final cost is not yet available.
That is the additional cost of getting foundations for the Treasury building on the lakeside. Will honourable members, with a knowledge of these facts and with a knowledge of the type of building that the new and permanent parliament house should be, with its weight and with the depth of foundations it would require, say that we should put it by the lake? Surely honourable members would give this greater, more careful and more considered thought and would not rush this proposition as it has been suggested we might rush it. I know that it has been said about the lakeside location that it is a delightful site, that it is levelled and grassed and ready for building, but what has this cost the taxpayers of Australia? A vast sum has been involved because of the tremendous amount of work carried out in the area. Senator Poyser also asked:
For what purpose has drilling on this site been constantly carried out over recent months, and what depth has been reached?
The Minister replied:
Drilling on the site in the last few months had been to permit driving steel caissons to the required foundation depth. The maximum foundation depth reached was 126 feet 4 inches.
This was the depth to which it was necessary to go at a lakeside site. Surely this would rule out any consideration of the proposition that the lakeside site is the one for the parliament house of the future. Then, of course, we have the question of flooding. When we have regard to questions of flooding we must realise that every record that has been made is a record to be broken.
While we have records relating to possible floodings in Canberra and what they would mean. I wonder what floods were like in this area 250 and 300 years ago. What criteria have we that tell us the complete story? We have been given figures, river height above sea level, expressed in terms of feet, which show that once in 60 years there has been a flood with a peak river level of 1827.5, or 24.5 feet above the main floor level of the future parliament house, if it is located by the lake: that once in 80 years the peak river level is 1832, or 29 feet above the main floor level; that once in 150 years the peak river level is 1835, or 32 feet above the main floor level; that once in 300 years the peak river level is 1 840, or 37 feet above the main floor level and that once in 1,000 years the peak river level is 1844, or 41 feet above the main floor level. What honourable members must remember is that floods can occur at any time and that basements and other parts would be flooded even before the main floor. These are considerations that should not be lightly skipped over. They arc worthy of consideration. The figures T have quoted have been supplied by the National Capital Development Commission, and 1 put it to honourable members that, the case for the lakeside site should be rejected, lt cannot be sustained on cost or suitability. The proposition for a hill site - Capital Hill, in particular - appeals to me greatly, lt offers great advantages in providing for the parking of cars, for traffic control and for the building, on a site of 130 acres, of a parliament house which will suit Australia today and in the years to come in all its days of greatness and development.
– I rise as a quite unprejudiced observer of the somelimes passionate debate on this subject, but one with a predilection towards the lake site. This, mark you, Mr Deputy Speaker, after having closely studied the mass of absolutely objective, albeit somelimes slanted, literature on the subject. If this seems to be a somewhat cynical approach to this debate, it but reflects much of what has been spoken to date. We have had such obvious hyperbole as talk about manning the bilge pumps in the projected underground parking areas at the lake site when that unbiassed, and quite excellent, brochure circulated by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) assures us that flooding, or seepage, would not be a problem.
We have been told that we are planning for an edifice that will stand for 400 years. 1 cannot help feeling how fortunate we are then that we have people in this place with the genius to estimate precisely what our population, ergo our needs, will be 400 years hence. We have been threatened with a vision of swirling mists engulfing the parliament if it is built on the shores of the lake, despite the fact that other worthy edifices front the lake and have not been disadvantaged by these ghostly wraiths. We have been told that the view from Parliament House steps is the most magnificent panorama in the world. Now, 1 am a patriotic Australain but I have also seen a lot of magnificent scenery in other countries and while the view from the steps of Parliament House is magnificent, I must ask myself how we are going to see this view if the mists from the hike are as fearsome and menacing as the hill advocates have told us they are. The view across the lake is magnificent, but it is magnificent only from the shore of the lake onwards. This is the vista 1 should like to see from a new parliament house: A lovely stretch of water reminding us that we owe our physical origin as human beings to the sea - itself created by a beneficent God - and then the stately lines of Anzac Parade leading to the National War Memorial to remind us of the debt we owe, and will always owe, to those who have made it possible for us to sit in a democratic parliament and to make dispassionate decisions such as we are doing at the moment. I can think of no greater tribute to those brave forebears of ours than to place the new parliament in a position where they are symbolically looking down on us and our work, while we are kept ever mindful of their great contribution to this nation of ours.
I should like to see the new house sited so that people approaching it from the aerodrome and the commercial centre of Canberra can see it gleaming beside the lake, and so have no difficulty in finding their way to it. Only those who have come to Canberra by car and tried to find their way around will know how hard this can be, unless one can see one’s objective.
Those who predict huge traffic jams if the house is built on the lake pay little respect to modern traffic planners, to whom this problem would be of little challenge. To those who claim that we should build on Capital Hill so that people can physically look up to the Parliament as symbolic of their respect, let me but say that the type of respect we should seek from the people of Australia should not be the result of cricking their necks or bending their knees but the respect that comes from continued good government by men who have the wisdom to govern with foresight and compassion. And if the mists sometimes swirl from the lake and obscure for a moment the view up Anzac Parade, let it but remind us that even the wisest men can lose for a time their sense of obligation to the needs of their fellow men, both young and old, without which there can be no real democratic government.
– .1 enter this debate to put my own point of view on the record. 1 would not say that the lakeside site is not possibly a reasonable site for a new parliament house and that those people who do not agree with this view are irresponsible. We were told in a letter last week that the people who favour the lakeside site are emphatically right. I believe they are wrong and the manner in which they sent their letter to honourable members shows how bad their judgment is. Any person who considers that only his own opinion is correct is obviously irresponsible. I want to remind the House of the issue we are debating. We are not talking about a symbol of the nation or about a structure that we will start building tomorrow. Wc are talking about the Parliament of Australia, which 1 hope will continue in the future and will have far more say in the government of Australia than it has now. Governments throughout the history of Australia have had a great fear of an informed body of opinion within the Parliament. This fear may disappear one day. If it does, members of the Parliament will be provided with improved facilities and will have far more access to the affairs of government than they have now.
In my opinion the Capital Hill site provides an ideal location for a parliamentary complex as opposed to a parliament house. The lakeside site would provide only for a parliament house. All the adjoining sites have already been allocated to major buildings, such as the High Court, the National Library, the Administrative Building and the Treasury. However, the Capital Hill site is surrounded by a substantial area of land on which other buildings could be located. At Westminster, because sufficient room is not available within the Parliament House, policemen must stop the trafficwhenever there is a division. The number of members of the Australian Parliament will undoubtedly increase in the future. Such an increase may not come for 20 or 30 years; but neither will the new parliament house. If ministries continue the rate of growth that has been evident over the past 20 or 25 years, the Parliament will have many more Ministers. If the new parliament house is a building of the same type as the present building sufficient space will not be available to accommodate members; there will be space only for Ministers and their staffs. Already they occupy at least half the space available in this building. The staff of the Prime Minister has expanded and no doubt will continue to expand. The staff of the Leader of the Opposition also is increasing. The space they are taking is a matter of concern to honourable members.
For the Parliament to function effectively, it must be accommodated in a building that is big enough to contain all the facilities that 1 envisage will be necessary in the future. For instance, at some time we will have parliamentary committees dealing with various aspects of government. Once such committees have commenced their work, they will grow. They will need their own technical and other staff. It is possible that they will need their own buildings in which to do their work. If this does become necessary, they must be close to the building that houses the Parliament. They must have ready access to the parliament house, but they need not necessarily be within it. The present Parliament House will serve the nation for a long time to come. I cannot envisage any move being made to construct a new parliament house while money is required to meet pressing needs within the major cities and country areas of Australia. I cannot believe that this Parliament would ever decide to spend $40m, $50m or $60m on the construction of a new parliament house while the slums of Fitzroy still existed. This is not the issue that we are discussing, but it is an issue that we must keep in mind. If we view the cost of the new building in one context, we could find the money for it tomorrow. The new parliament house probably would not cost as much as six FI 1 1 aircraft. In that context, there is no problem in finding the money, but in another context there is a problem.
The key to the issue can be found in the question: Are we deciding where we will build a new parliament house or are we deciding where we will put the seat of government for the nation for the next 100 or 200 years? In 1923, when evidence was being taken by the Public Works Committee on the erection of a provisional parliament house in Canberra, Burley Griffin very wisely expressed complete opposition to the present building being located on this site or on Camp Hill as a temporary structure. His opposition was based on the belief that these sites would forever be unavailable for the permanent parliament house when the decision to build it was taken. The AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen) said that Burley Griffin had expressed opposition to the Capital Hill site. This is not borne out: by the record of evidence. In fact Burley Griffin said:
Kurrajong Hill is eminently adapted to a structure symmetrical from al least four sides, dominating a site which spreads all round it. A Parliament House is a working organisation which cannot be manipulated in to such a square form without doing violence to the necessities and also to the actual expression of a bicameral Legislature, lt is not beyond the capacity or the brains of the architects to design a building of symmetrical architecture for erection on Kurrajong Hill as a Parliament House. . . .
He did not say that Capital Hill could not be used; in fact he said it could be used.
We need from the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) - it is about time we had it - some assurance (hat the Capital Hill site will not be destroyed completely as a possible site for the new parliament house before any decision is taken. It is useless for the Parliament to take a decision on this matter if, when the time comes to start the construction of the new parliament house, the site chosen by the Parliament has been destroyed. Looking at the earth moving and other work now in progress around Capital Hill, it seems to me that a definite attempt is being made to destroy this site so that the will of the Parliament cannot be carried into effect if the Parliament decides, as I think it will, to recommend that the new parliament house be constructed on Capital Hill. The Camp Hill site, which has been brought into the debate at a late stage, was the site originally recommended by Burley Griffin. I do not think that it is put forward as a serious alternative. I think it is put forward now merely to give the National Capital Development Commission more time in which to destroy the Capital Hill site. No assurances have yet been given to the Parliament that the Capital Hill site will remain intact until a decision has been made. Until such an assurance is given–
– Assurances have been given on that matter time and time again. All work has stopped on Capital Hill until the decision of this Parliament is taken. I invite the honourable member to go out and have a look.
– I was out there this morning.
– Well, you should have seen-
– Order! The Minister has already spoken in the debate.
– I would like to place on record that I will support the hill site. I believe it provides the only adequate site for the type of parliamentary complex that future parliaments of this country will require. In my opinion it is not a single building that we are talking about but a whole complex. I ask anyone who is in favour of the lake site where other buildings in the complex could be placed if the parliament house were built adjacent to the lake. I also ask whether, if a decision is made to build the new parliament house on Camp Hill, we can be assured that the present Parliament House will be demolished, because obviously the two structures could not stand together.
(4.46] - One can hardly participate in the debate this afternoon without being completely charmed by the variety of views that have been taken and opinions that have been expressed, or indeed by the many arguments that have been put forward from entirely different angles to support a single point of view. The argument this afternoon is whether the new parliament house should be planned for the lakeside or for Capital Hill. We are talking about planning because I should think that construction would be well in the future.
When one looks at the history of this matter one goes back first to the 1923 decision of the Public Works Committee that if a provisional parliament house were to be built - the provisional building was estimated to have a life of 50 years - it ought to be built at the foot of Camp Hill. That is how it came about that the building we now occupy was placed at the foot of Camp Hill. I remind the House that its life was estimated at 50 years, and it will not be very long, on that basis, before the building’s time will have expired. Those who have had the responsibility of keeping this building in being, of providing the costs of maintenance and so on, and who have noticed the constant increase in pressure from members of the public wanting access to the building to hear debates, realise that the building is becoming increasingly less satisfactory for the conduct of party business.
Let me go back to the 1923 decision of the Public Works Committee. This resulted in the provisional parliament house being placed at the foot of Camp Hill and it evoked from Burley Griffin a protest that the placing of the building here might close out for all time the possibility of the permanent parliament house being built on Camp Hill where he, as the town planner and the winner of the competition for a design for the national capital, had planned it to be. So for the first time the Parliament overrode the opinion of an expert whom it had engaged to advise it on a matter involving his particular speciality. Now it seems to me that we are in danger of doing the same thing again. But for that political interference with the expert and experienced opinions of a well known town planner, the rest of whose work we accepted and has been proved to be good, we would not this afternoon be debating a second choice location for the new parliament house.
As I said, it is interesting to hear the opinions put forward. There are some who want the parliament house to stand on an eminence - on a hill - so that we might all look up to this institution which admittedly will be all-important in the future life of this community. That is one point of view.
There are other people who believe that symbolically the parliament house should be accessible to the people and that therefore it should be out on the flat. As I recall very well, Sir William Holford held that view, and if the new parliament house is not to be built on Camp Hill, redeeming the plan of Burley Griffin, then it ought to be on the flat. Many people take the view that parliament house ought to be built on Capital Hill because that is the apex of the triangle, the focal point of the Canberra town plan. But the fact is that while it might look very attractive on a paper plan of Canberra, people do not look at parliament house in plan, they look at it in perspective, and therefore we must take an entirely different view.
If we are to argue, then, between the lake and the hill let me go over a little more, but more recent, history. In 1956 when I became Minister for the Interior and the Government decided that from that time forward we should work to bring to Canberra the departments then scattered in Sydney and Melbourne, the question of the future growth of Canberra and the validity of the Burley Griffin plan to accommodate that growth became a first consideration. It was very largely at my instigation that Sir William Holford, now Lord Holford, was invited to Canberra to review the Burley Griffin plan, to take into consideration the growth of traffic, the need for public space and things of that kind, and to express an opinion before growth really began on a big scale as to whether the Burley Griffin plan would remain valid in Canberra’s future. Honourable members will remember that the end product of this exercise was to be the establishment of the National Capital Development Commission and the placing of Canberra’s future development and planning in its hands.
Sir William Holford came to Australia with a tremendous worldwide reputation as a town planner. He had indeed been invited to become one of the judges of the architectural town planning competition for the establishment of the new Brazilian capital of Brasilia. He was a man of vast experience, competent to think in <a way that would be beneficial to the future development of the city. At that time Sir William Holford was able to suggest only the most minor modifications to the Burley Griffin plan. This seems to indicate that the
Griffin plan which was drawn up so long ago has, with one minor exception - perhaps I should delete the word ‘minor’ - remained perfectly valid. The exception is this: Perhaps Burley Griffin did not foresee the days when every individual would have his motor car and would want to drive it to the steps of his office building every morning. But outside of that, the Burley Griffin plan in relation to the lay-out of the city - the placing of public buildings and so on - has proved to be good. Therefore I think we ought to consider now reinstating the Burley Griffin plan so far as the new parliament house is concerned.
In 1956, as we all recall, there was no lake. There was a cow pasture in the middle of Canberra or, as the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) would seek to suggest, we did at that time have a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I think it is a little far fetched to suggest that the present formalised lake would equally become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If that were true we would have felt their depredations long since. However, in 1956 there was no lake in Canberra. There was no certainty that the Molonglo would provide enough water to keep a lake full. But in the intervening years these questions have been answered. Stream flow was measured and checked, and the lake is now a feature of the city, lacing the two halves of Canberra together, bringing cohesion to the national capital.
Let me go back again to that earlier time. I recall that in 1956 the buildings which presently make up much of the shopping centre in Civic were of two storeys. Indeed there was a law in Canberra that commercial buildings were not to go above two storeys. What was good in the days of 1956 and complemented the size of the city at that time are no longer satisfactory and in due course we must face the demolition of these buildings and their replacement by something that will complement the present and future needs of the city. I am perfectly certain that city planning would flow and would accommodate itself to the location of a new parliament house on any of all the sites on which a new parliament house could be built. I do not think it matters where we put the new parliament house in terms of its administration. Its administration would be equally efficient if we built it out in the Woden Valley. What we are really concerned about is an architectural complement to the town plan of Canberra, which will focus attention on the important functions of this city and which will bring the people, as Canberra is now doing, to know the importance of the capital city in building here a national consciousness. If we are concerned with that kind of concept, I would choose the lake site without any hesitation at all.
The pros and cons of the Capital Hill site and the* lake site have been advanced. But I rely on the town planners who have given us very powerful reasons why the lake site ought to be preferred over the Capital Hill site. It has been said that if the new parliament house were built on Capital Hill it would be seen from many angles. As I understand it from those people who are more competent than I to express an opinion on this matter, it is a tremendously difficult job to design a building so as to show its best face or half a dozen best faces. There is another angle, and that is, that if the new parliament house is built on the hill site, on an eminence and at an altitude, it must eventually look over suburban backyards and roofs of residences. If the new parliament house were to be built on the lake site, it would certainly be complemented by the buildings presently existing, going up or planned for the parliamentary triangle. At the same time it would look in every direction over scenic vistas which are improving almost daily.
As I pointed out in my opening remarks, I think the tragedy was that Parliament overrode the town planning experts, perhaps to prejudice the proper siting of the new parliament house, by building on this site a provisional parliament house. I am so bold as to suggest that at some time in the future the present Parliament House ought to be demolished or it ought to be adapted in the interests of an adequate parliament house to reinstate the Burley Griffin plan. I point out again that the present Parliament House was estimated to have a 50-year life. No doubt we could go on patching it up and increasing the cost of maintaining it year after year for perhaps 100 years or more. But we in Australia have no great tradition for demolishing buildings which have outserved their usefulness or have outlived their time. If one looks at the capitals of the world today - from New York to London, to the capitals of Europe, to Melbourne and to Sydney - one finds that buildings that are perfectly sound from an engineering point of view are being torn down in order to build better buildings, in the light of more modern methods of bunding, more modern methods of design, greater efficiency and so on.
I again point out that what was good in the 1920s may not be nearly good enough in the future into which we are looking, which may, in our great hopes, last for 500 years, or perhaps more. I believe that much of the physical growth of Canberra in the last 20 years, in terms of building, has been virtually forced. Pressure of growth and pressure of bringing Public Service administrative units to Canberra has forced a tremendous amount of hothouse growth. I well recall that as Minister for the Interior I came in for a great deal of criticism because of this hothouse growth. I acknowledge that a good deal of the criticism was justified, but there was no alternative, because in those days there were a lot of people who had the quaint idea that because one could stand on the self-same Capital Hill and look to the horizon in almost every direction and see no buildings, we were entitled to go in for horizontal development. Their idea was that we could spread as far as we liked, that we could have as much ground as we liked and that it did not matter. But wiser counsels have prevailed. In the meantime we have learned that horizontal development carries with it a cost which the community cannot bear. Today a lot of replanning and rebuilding is occurring because we have learned that we have to have a nice compromise between horizontal development, which space invites, and vertical development, which is all that we can afford. I believe that the second generation of buildings in this capital city will give Canberra its permanent character. I think that this may well apply to the new parliament house, as I believe it applies to business houses and to a good deal of housing in Canberra.
My colleague the Attorney-General (Mr Bowen), I think, remarked that throughout this debate there has been a tendency to knock the planners as though we do not like people who are specialists in their profession; we do not like people who put before us the product of their long years of experience; we want to change it; we want to establish the ascendancy of Parliament over those whom we have invited to give us the benefit of their experience and knowledge. This would be a quite foolish and unworthy attitude to adopt in a matter of this kind, and I hope that we will have none of it. I accept that there will be an outcry about any suggestion of demolishing this building, and it may well be that we will not have to demolish it. I would like to hear again what the experts say as to how this building should be adapted to fit in, perhaps, or to complement or to stand in with a new parliament house until, in the fullness of time, something more adequate is provided for us.
We are part way through the building of a new terminal at the Canberra Airport. I hope that it will be adequate for a long time. The new terminal is being built while the airport continues to operate. It is being built over the existing building. In due course the existing building will be pulled out from underneath the new terminal in a way which engineers have of doing these things these days. I believe that a very satisfactory job is being done at the airport. Something similar may well be done, in due course, in changing from the present Parliament House to a new building, which I believe ought to stand on the Camp Hill site. There is no doubt that there is adequate space there for any building that we can contemplate as meeting the future needs of this country. The new parliament house and its surroundings could easily extend over the site occupied by the present Parliament House. We could produce, perhaps, a tiered design. I do now know. This is a job for the architects. But I do not believe there would be a great deal of difficulty in doing that sort of thing.
At a time when we are seriously thinking about embodying in a new parliament house something of the spirit of the nationhood of this country, I hope we will not be too parsimonious about making adequate provision for it. Future generations will not thank us for being short sighted about the solution to this problem; nor do I believe that we can serve posterity by thinking in terms only of what is required for our generation, or, indeed, for the immediate future. I do not think that any of us has any doubts about how much it will cost to provide the kind of building which will be adequate for our needs, which will serve far enough into the future and which will be sufficiently monumental to become the great focus of public attention, and ultimately an object of pride and affection. The task of building a new parliament house will not be accomplished quickly. What we are called upon to do in this debate is to reach a decision which will permit the planning of a new parliament house. As we are talking of planning, for my part I urge the House to return to the Burley Griffin plan and to say that Camp Hill is the place on which the permanent Parliament House of this nation ought to stand. Let us prepare both our minds and ultimately the site for that worthy end.
– The amendment which we are considering at this time was moved by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant). As I understand it, it is designed to make the motion read as follows:
That this House is of the opinion that the new and permanent parliament house should be situated on Capital Hill.
The debate has continued on several days, and this is an occasion on which I think that brevity is beautiful and clearly excellent. I want to traverse only some of the more prominent arguments that have been advanced. It is because some of these arguments were most prominent and rather intriguing that one is drawn necessarily to the proposition involved in the amendment moved by the honourable member for Wills. On the first day on which this matter was debated, who could not have been impressed by the compelling arguments of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron)? These things should be rewarded. Who could have thought that a flood once in every 1,000 years might occur in the very near future? So the honourable member for Hindmarsh presented what I thought was a rather irresistible case. It is for these reasons that I am drawn necessarily to his support of the honourable member for Wills. But then we were driven to a consideration not of the architecture of the building and not of the site, but of the symbolism of the building. We were at once reminded that the original planners and those who came in subsequent years suggested that it was a mark of humility that parliament should be situated on the lake among the people. I would be attracted to that proposition were the humility of it not to have been expressed with such force and perhaps pride. Consequently I am drawn once again to the hill.
– What about the arguments advanced by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen)?
– I will deal with the theological case later. I suggest that the real symbolism of the case is not so much that the people of this country should look upwards to their democratic institutions but surely, too, that those of us who come to Canberra every week or every fortnight require that the bureaucrats of Canberra - I say this without any venom and in as friendly a manner as possible; - be importuned to look upwards to a parliament house on a hill.
Added to these arguments are others that now need to be considered. An irresistible list of personalities has been drawn to the requirement that parliament house be on the hill. We cannot ignore the fact that the Minister for External Affaris (Mr Hasluck) has combined with the honourable member for Hindmarsh, that the honourable member for Wills is as one with the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) or that the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent-Hughes) has opted for the hill site. So, as surely as the moth is drawn to the candle I think one has to be drawn to the requirements of the hillside and, I would hope, with far less damage on this occasion.
So it is with rather a heavy heart that one finds in certain rooms in this building clear divisions as between members in their choice of a site for parliament house. In the Government Whip’s room it is with a heavy heart that I have to differ with my mentor and immediate superior. The honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin) - the Government Whip - is very firm for the lake site. I would not suggest for a moment that he is using his authority or that instrument which he has on the wall of his room in order to induce support for the lake site, but there has been as clear a split as one could have in the Government Whip’s room over this issue. Nevertheless, I must tear myself away from his authority and I do so with an extremely heavy heart.
Then one examines further the support proposed by various honourable members for the lake site. I refer to the speeches this afternoon by the honourable member for West Sydney (Mr Minogue) and the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell). I am impressed by the fact that both of those gentlemen were not in favour of the swamp area: They were not in favour of the lake site or the bog area. We know that they are proud of their backgrounds. We now know that neither of these men could be classed as bog Irish as their choice of the hill site suggests to us that they have become lace curtain Irish. So for all of these compelling reasons one must look clearly and earnestly at the advantages of the hill site. For the moment let us accept the proposition that the lake site was the one to be chosen and that a building was to be constructed there containing a multitude of rooms and cells in which members of Parliament would reside and in which they would interview constituents and others who came to put their cases to members of Parliament. Such a building would be by the lake - by the pool one would say. One could imagine that after interviewing a member of parliament a constituent would leave parliament house at the lakeside and, like the poet, could well say:
At last I left them In the filthy mantled pool beyond your cell There dancing up to their chins while the foul lake O’er stank their feet.
I suggest seriously that that is a situation to be avoided. It could be avoided only by retreating as quickly as possible from the prospect of a parliament house by the lake.
Having looked in a very discursive and quick manner at some of the arguments, one is intrigued by the proposition that will be put by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). If the lake site is defeated an amendment will be put seeking approval for another site. We who sit on the back benches are rather simple people but we at once become a little suspicious when we learn that another site is to be examined. We can make some interesting mathematical computations on the choice of other sites. The computations run this way: If there are two alternatives, only one decision has to be made. As the honourable member for Fawkner (Mr Howson) pointed out, if there are three alternatives there can be three decisions. If the Minister were to find another hill around Canberra and we were to have four alternatives, he would put us in the position of making five decisions. If an extra site were found and we had five alternatives, we would have to make nine decisions. So, being situated on the back benches and therefore being rather simple and not given to the complexities of mind of those who have the happiness to reside on the front bench I must say in all simplicity that I opt for the very reasonable and rather simple decision that the Capital Hill site is the one to be chosen, not solely for the reasons I have mentioned but also for the reason of sheer simplicity.
– I am one who believes that parliament house should be planned and erected within a reasonable time. I had the honour to act as Mr Speaker for 5i months when the late Mr Cameron was sick, and I became aware of the congestion in this building. Somebody this afternoon said that the Pressmen in the building are working in congested conditions. I suggest that conditions are infinitely worse for members of the public who visit Parliament House and who cannot obtain a seat in this chamber to watch Parliament in action. It is a crying shame to see long queues of visitors in King’s Hall with not a hope on earth of getting into the chamber to see their legislators at work. It is ridiculous that two or three members of Parliament should be asked to share a room which is no more than a cabin. It is time we recognised that we are big enough as a nation to afford a national parliament house. We should start planning for a new parliament house. Up to 10 years could elapse before the building was finished. If we cannot afford a national parliament over a period of 10 years, what is wrong with our nationhood? To those who argue that there are other works to be done, I say that there always will be other works. I have had said to me perhaps a thousand times in my own electorate, as other honourable members have: ‘Look at all the money that you are spending on the lake in Canberra’. I think the amount was £2im. But Lake Burley Griffin has made this city. Where would £2£m go over the rest of Australia, Mr Speaker, if we were to look at this matter in that light?
Let us get on with the job of planning this building and doing the work properly. We started by sending a committee overseas to get some advice. When one goes to other nations, one finds no apology is made in this respect. They really have decent parliament houses. Those people are proud of their buildings. Some really good buildings of this type are to be found overseas. So, that is where I stand on that matter. I do not agree one bit with those who say: ‘Put the construction of this building off for a number of years’. Why make a decision about the site today if the building will not be constructed for the next 40 years or 50 years? At that time it would need to be looked at in the light of circumstances then prevailing. So, I hope that this Government and succeeding governments will continue on that line of thought and will plan the new parliament house, whatever method is used. Whether a world competition is held or whether we use our own experts, let us get on with the job and give members of this Parliament more accommodation.
I will not be a member here when the new and permanent parliament house is completed. I will come back, probably with my grey hairs, and have a look at honourable members when the new parliament house is opened. Anyone who says that we are doing the right thing in not having more gallery accommodation for the public to see the Parliament at work has not the right appreciation of the functions of this institution. Three sites are in question. In spite of the ridicule directed by the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) against the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) for indicating that he will move an amendment if a certain decision is arrived at on the matter, I recall that when the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) was speaking in favour of the Capital Hill site, the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes), who is also a hillite, interjected: ‘No, not Capital Hill, Camp Hill*. So, these honourable members are divided among themselves as to which hill it is. The hillites may have a number of supporters, but which hill is it to be?
In his eulogy when this matter was before the Parliament earlier this session, the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) expressed some views about the 1,000 year flood that occurs here. The right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) spoke about a flood here. He spoke about the flooding of a narrow stream, the Molonglo River, which is half a chain wide. Obviously the river has experienced big floods. But the picture is different now because of the water conservation and flood prevention scheme concerned with the lake. In a conservation scheme such as we have now, we do not get the big floods that occurred in the narrow creek which was the Molonglo River. Let us talk some sense about the matter. The right honourable member for Melbourne said that those supporting the lakeside site ought to go to a psychologist. He meant a psychiatrist, I suppose. Perhaps he ought to go to a psychologist if that is his approach to this matter. But I do not wish to deal in personalities in this debate.
I come back to the point that three sites are under consideration. I bring to my mind the occasion when Her Majesty the Queen was here. I have yet to recall a more memorable sight than what I saw that day with members of our Services lined up in front of this Parliament House and, beyond them, thousands of children who were trained for the parade that day. That was an excellent sight. The area in front of this Parliament House is an excellent site for that type of parade.
Whether it is right for Parliament to make a decision in this instance when it is a matter for expert decision, for testing and for scientific investigation of foundations, etc., I would not know. I do know that on 1st July last quite a number of new senators were sworn in. I do know that some of them, after they had been here for only 5 minutes, were parading their knowledge of Canberra and giving voice to their views concerning this decision. What would they know about it, to be quite fair and honest? For that matter, what do I know about it? If we apply that argument, are we to reject the expert opinions that come from the National Capital Development Commission, the architectural! experts who have voiced their views and the expert who has been brought from overseas concerning this matter? They have rejected the hill site out of hand. I am not prepared to reject their opinions.
The honourable member for Hindmarsh said that the experts had indicated that 56 feet would need to be taken off Capital Hill if the new and permanent parliament house were to be built there. I think that 56 feet or more would need to be taken off the Hill to have it level enough and to provide sufficient space on which to put the building. But the honourable member for Hindmarsh added that 56 feet need not be taken off the hill. Is he suggesting that the hill should be peaked? What about provision for car parking? Every time a person went out to his car, he would have to walk down the hill. Every time a person parked his car he would have to walk up the hill to the new parliament house. When I retire to the Senate, I do not want to have to crawl up a hill. But the position is that the top of the hill must be levelled to obtain the space required. Where is the area to be used as a parade ground? If the hill site is adopted, is enough space available for the parliament house as well as other necessary buildings? Why, there is no hill of any consequence at the Capital Hill site.
– What is wrong with the lake?
– There is nothing wrong with the lake site. We should be pleased to have an alternative choice such as the lake site offers. But I respect the opinion of the experts. If there is one outstanding thing that makes me a lakeite it is that the lakeside is an exclusive site for the new and permanent parliament house. The business traffic - and with it the noise of that traffic - can be diverted from and kept out of that area. This could not be done on the bill site. It would be surrounded by traffic. That fact in itself ought to be sufficient to convince people that we ought to have an exclusive area for the new parliament house and that we can only get that by adopting the lakeside site.
I do not wish to say much more. I repeat my first point: We ought to build a new parliament house as soon as possible. This is vitally necessary. My second point is that the lakeside site is an exclusive area for the parliament house. My third point is that we ought to respect the opinions of the experts in this matter. I want my views to be known. I think that we will catch ourselves up by selecting the hill site because it is surrounded by business traffic, the volume of which will grow, and grow and grow. We cannot escape that fact. If the hill site is chosen in future years we will not bs able to escape that traffic. But we will always be able to escape this problem if an exclusive area is set aside for the national Parliament.
Mr St JOHN (Warringah) [5.24]- Mr Speaker, I grew up as a boy in the New England district of New South Wales and later, as a university student, I used to return home to the town of Quirindi, which, too, is surrounded by what someone calls its blue remembered hills’. So, naturally enough, perhaps, in the circumstances I am a hill man and I begin by declaring myself as such. To those who deplore the standard of debate in this House, I commend this debate as an example of speeches which I believe were in all cases adequate to the occasion and in many cases could scarcely have been excelled. All the relevant considerations have been canvassed, at least as regards the lake and Capital Hill sites. There is little to add except the fruit of one’s own judgment.
Having carefully considered the pros and cons as they appear in the documents and in the debate, my own decision to support the hill site was dictated largely by considerations of symbolism and aesthetics. I confess it. Indeed, what has been put by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) on the subject - I think we all owe him a debt, whether we agree with him or not, for what he has contributed - provides a cogent argument, objectively speaking, for the hill site. The dominant impression brought back by the members of the Committee which recently toured abroad was that no parliament house which they saw anywhere has adequate space. I am grateful that this objective consideration, one which I believe to be of paramount importance, reinforces a decision which, as the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) rightly says, must be for each of us, finally, a decision on subjective grounds.
Honourable members who have spoken in this debate have used the language of the Bible. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid, someone tells us. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Men of old, surrounded by desert lands, looked for inspiration to the hills and the stars, and this is evident from their writings. ‘In His hand’, they said, ‘are all the corners of the earth; and the strength of the hills is His also’.
Here we have a symbolism which is part of our inheritance and I propose to draw on it further during the course of the speech I shall make this afternoon. I reject the view that it is inappropriate to the subject matter of this debate. If we were to judge the matter by reference to what some of our detractors say of us outside we should build our parliament house in a ditch or on a rubbish heap. I prefer to think of Parliament not entirely as it is, but as it should be, and what it will become if we bend our endeavours to it - a place to which the people of Australia will look for leadership and guidance, and to which they will not look in vain.
Capital Hill may be variously described. It is the focal point, the apex, of the great parliamentary triangle; the candlestick, I suggest, upon which we shall set our light; the lighthouse from which we shall perhaps signal danger; the pinnacle of our dreams and our ambitions for a greater country ruled by a great parliament. Already in another place there has been a vote, by a large majority, for the hill site. It is also worthy of note that the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council voted unanimously in favour of the hill site. The views of this body are worthy to be placed on record, and they should be given due weight.
Another matter which has not yet been adverted to in this debate, so far as I recall, is that Capital Hill was indeed the birth place of Canberra. The inscription on the Commemoration Stone, which no doubt honourable members will have read at one time or another, reads as follows:
The Birth of Canberra was officially celebrated here on the 12th March 1913 when stones in the base of a Commemoration Stone were laid by the Governor-General, Lord Denman, the Prime
Minister, the Rt Hon. Andrew Fisher, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. King O’Malley, before a crowd of 5,000 people.
Lady Denman then announced that the name of the Federal Capital would be Canberra.
Before going further, I invite honourable members to pause and consider for a moment also the great significance of a free debate on this issue - a debate which captures the imagination of Australia for a simple reason: It has been a real debate. I believe that nothing will do more to restore the authority and reputation of Parliament and parliamentarians than a frequent repetition of this kind of exercise - free men freely expressing their minds in this free parliament. We must find more opportunities for it.
The words of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) struck me as quaint, coming from one who believes in democracy. He said:
It is exceptional for members of the two Houses to vote as they see fit on any question corning before them. This is one such case. It is proper that it should be so. No matter of ideology or doctrine attaches to the site of the new parliament house. It is a matter upon which individuals can form their own judgment.
With all due respect to the Leader of the Opposition, I suggest that this is not very exceptional. Most of the matters coming before this House are matters to which ideology or doctrine do not and need not attach. They are mostly matters upon which individuals can form their own views, and upon which individuals should be free to speak and vote as they see fit, and it is a great pity that the Leader of the Opposition’s Party in particular will not recognise that. This free debate, limited though it is as to subject matter, is in its small way a triumph for democracy and a great credit to the Government which initiated it, regardless of its outcome. I take this opportunity to say that I hope the Australian people will not expect us to live and work for much longer in this cramped and inadequate building whilst we await the erection of a new parliament house. I hope that the Government and this Parliament will soon decide to extend this present building sufficiently to provide us with adequate space to perform our important duties. In particular, amongst much else that is needful, a minimum requirement is a separate office for each member. Every member of this
Parliament represents probably more than 100,000 people. It is palpably absurd that this facility is not available to us at present. We shall look to the Press and the public, if they believe in an effective parliament, to give us their full support in any move which is made in this direction. For many, if not most of us, this will be the only parliament house we shall inhabit, and the Parliament will be here for a long time. Let us provide the Parliament with adequate space, not for us to disport ourselves, or to enjoy ourselves, but to enable us to perform our important labours with a little ease and some dignity whilst we await, perhaps for many years, for the new parliament house.
But, Mr Speaker, I digress. Today we are concerned with higher things. I have a dream of that parliament house of the future, standing on its hill and looking out over the great city of Canberra across the Molonglo River and the great sweep of the Monaro ‘to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills’. It will be the Parliament of a great nation. Let us see to it that we are worthy of it.
At the risk of being accused of emanating an odour of sanctity - if I have the words right - I quote what the Psalmist said:
Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle, or who shall rest upon thy holy hill? Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life, and doeth the thing which is right, and speaketh the truth from his heart.
That is what each one of us, according to his lights, tries to do in this House. I make a final quotation, this time from John Donne:
On a high hill, Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will Reach her, about must, and about must go.
For my part therefore, Mr Speaker, I wish to see our new parliament house upon Capital Hill. The lakeside, beautiful as it is, cannot match it.
Let us not be unduly influenced by the conceptions of experts. We are indebted to them for their advice and the objective considerations which they have drawn to om attention, but, finally, this is, as has been said, a subjective matter, and when it comes to this subjective matter which is so important to us, when it comes to a question of where parliament house should be, who better to decide it than the members of the Parliament, men with a great vision of the parliamentary institution - from whatever part of the Parliament they come - chosen by the people as their representatives to decide this and all other matters important to their wellbeing?
Architects, as they well know, must not attempt to dictate to their clients. It is their function to advise, and the final decision must always rest with the client. In this case the clients are the Australian people, present and future, but we are their representatives^ - however unworthy, their only true representatives - and ours is therefore the responsibility for decision. Since this debate was interrupted a few weeks ago, members of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects - a professional body with which I have had friendly relations and for which I have great respect - met together in Canberra, partly, it would seem, to give us the benefit of their views, but partly also, as it would appear from Press reports, to demonstrate their professional solidarity with their colleagues of the National Capital Development Commission who had appeared to stand solidly for the site beside the lake. It is unfortunate that in so doing some of those architects appear to have indicated a lack of respect for Parliament and parliamentarians. The architects are entitled to our respect and we are entitled to theirs. They do not help their cause by statements calculated even further to diminish public respect for the parliamentary institution.
However, subsequent information coming to hand would appear to indicate that members of the architectural profession, both within and without the NCDC, are by no means monolithic in their support for the lake site. Within the Commission there are those who were troubled, surely, by the difficulties encountered in connection with the foundations of the Treasury Building and it would appear that there were some at least who supported the Camp Hill site, even if they do not support Capital Hill.
In the ‘Australian’ newspaper yesterday there appeared letters from two eminent architects and town planners supporting the Capital Hill site. One of them told us:
Once again the public has been made aware of a controversy only at the last moment, when the planners and architects think they have manipulated events so that only one choke will seem reasonable.
Whether this remark is just I do not know, but I cite it as some evidence of the very real dissention which exists on the issue amongst members of the profession, despite what we were previously led to believe.
There appeared in the ‘Canberra Times’ of 27 th September an article written by Mr Peter Harrison, described as the President of the Australian Capital Territory Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and a former Director of Town Planning of the NCDC. He makes reference to an article recently published in ‘Architecture in Australia’ the journal, I believe, of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, by Edmund N. Bacon, Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, who Mr Harrison describes as a planner of the reconstructed Philadelphia, author of the monumental work “Design of Cities” and the only city planner to make the cover of “Time” magazine; an expert of some distinction’. I understand he is a man of high authority by world standards. In that article, which was reprinted in the Canberra Times’ only yesterday, and which some honourable members will have read, Mr Bacon had some important things to say on this subject and the design of Canberra generally which can be read with only pride and appreciation by all of us in Australia who are concerned with the future of this great city. I cannot quote at too much length from this excellent article, and a few excerpts must suffice. Mr Bacon speaks of a ‘growing recognition in Australia that this thing which you have created here (at Canberra) is not exclusively an Australian possession, but . . . is a significant manifestation of the creative upsurge of world culture. I profoundly believe that Canberra belongs among the greatest creations of man’. These are surely remarkable words of tribute. He goes on to say:
Canberra confirms, beyond anything else I know of, the dominant importance of space design. Here is a network of sweeping vistas, vast gulps of fresh air- which I must say in passing we do not get very much of in this House - superbly exciting and dynamic interactions between the peaks of hills and mountains and the movements of people.
It is fitting and proper that the nation of Australia should have a capital like this, a capital which, above all other including Brasilia, is really a micro-expression of the great sweeps of open space which characterise the geography of the continent.
Now that you have produced such a master work, the great issue is that you don’t wreck it If you do, the emergence of Australia as a leader in world culture, already given a boost by the Sydney Opera House-
That is perhaps an unfortunate note to strike, but I pass on - and potentially to be reinforced by a new appreciation of Canberra, will be dealt a serious blow.
I should come directly to the point. I believe that the construction of the Parliament House on the edge of the lake, in complete violation of the original concept of the plan, will ruin Canberra as the capital of Australia.
I should like to stress this passage, particularly because of the speech of the AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen), to which I listened with respect and interest. No doubt quite unwittingly, he might have conveyed the impression in one passage that Ed Bacon, as he is called, favoured the lake and opposed Capital Hill. This is not correct Whilst clearly and unequivocally rejecting the lake site, Mr Bacon has quite deliberately refrained from expressing a final preference, at least as I read his article, as between Camp Hill and Capital Hill. As Mr Harrison puts it in his article, to which I have referred, ‘Ed Bacon has not plumped for Capital Hill but has reintroduced the third possibility (that of Camp Hill) which was perhaps too readily discarded when the provisional building was decided’. Obviously Mr Harrison also, whilst not favouring the lake site, is not altogether happy about Capital Hill either. He says of it:
Capital Hill has an all too obvious appeal but as a site for a bicameral Parliament it presents a problem in civic and architectural design which Griffin considered to be insoluble.
Mr Harrison was thus of the opinion that Camp Hill should be reconsidered. He points out the difficulties arising from the existence of the present House on this site, difficulties which, I must agree, would be further compounded if we now extend it further, as I believe we must, as I have already said, unless of course we were to decide to push on with a new building with all convenient speed. Mr Harrison concluded by saying:
Whether it could be retained in whole or in part are some of the possibilities that should be examined before Camp Hill is discarded as the site for Parliament.
These views, expressed as they were by gentlemen of very high authority and the statements of the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), the Attorney-General and the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairhall) have led me to believe that we should indeed look again at Camp Hill. I had drafted out my notes for most of the foregoing before the Minister foreshadowed his amendment designed to allow us to receive a report upon and further consider this possibility of Camp Hill. Despite my previous wholehearted support for Capital Hill, at least if we are to choose merely between lake and hill, I really feel that in view of what has transpired since the debate was adjourned, and the very great importance of the decision we have to make, we should welcome the Minister’s proposed amendment and congratulate him upon it.
Apart from the considerations I have mentioned, there is the further consideration that the question of the site should not and cannot be considered apart from the question which has already been investigated by the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, namely, the kind of building we wish to put upon it. The findings of that Committee as to the kind of parliament building we need are surely of the greatest relevance in making a choice of site, and indeed it appears quite wrong to attempt to make the latter choice without first having gained at least an approximate idea of the building which is to be erected on it. If the amendment proposed by the Minister is accepted, one would hope that before the matter is further debated the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House and members generally will be supplied with material on the Camp Hill site similar to that which has been helpfully supplied to us in connection with the other two sites that were previously alone the subject of consideration.
Passing to another matter finally, I hope that honourable members will forgive me if I quote portion of a speech which I addressed a few years ago to an audience of architects and others associated with the building industry and which, looking back, appears to foreshadow some of the things I have been trying to express today and sorts well with part of what I quoted from Mr Bacon. Speaking as to the expression of the national genius by means of architecture, I said:
How well Brazil expresses her vision of the past and future, in the towering statue of Christ which looks down on Rio de Janeiro and the 20th century architecture of Brasilia towering high above the inland plains. We in Australia, too, will build such things, in our own time and in our own distinctive idiom. Over and above the necessary things, built in the necessary way, we shall also build the great things, projection of visions which soar beyond that of earthbound man and reach out to things beyond.
I proceed to quote a passage from ‘Voss’, that novel by perhaps the greatest man of genius living in our midst, Patrick White, in which he speaks of our supposed inherent mediocrity as a people. He said through the mouth of one of his characters:
I am confident that the mediocrity of which he speaks is not a final or irrevocable state; rather it is a creative source of endless variety and subtlety. . . Common forms are constantly breaking into brilliant shapes if we will explore them.
I went on in person and said to that professional audience:
Let us in Australia dare to explore the brilliant shapes into which our common forms will break. The mediocrity for which we have been scorned is not a final or irrevocable state; soon it will be seen, as White foretold, as a creative source of endless variety and subtlety. Astonishing people and things will emerge from what had seemed a flat Australian monotone. In the great south land we stand on the edge of a great future if we are prepared to step forward in to it. Transcending our colonial past and our convict ancestry, our mediocrity as a people which we and the world deplore, a new race of men could arise here, with its own distinct and genial character, not lacking in nobility, to which you can help give practical expression.
-Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.
– I wish to go along with the remarks made by the right honourable member for Fisher (Mr Adermann), who said that if we need a new parliament house we should get on with the job of building one straight away. We are begging the issue if we are going to choose a site in this place and leave it vacant for anything up to 50 years. He was quite right when he said that this place is not adequate. People come here to see how the laws of the land are made and, in many cases, when a big debate is on it is impossible for them to get in and hear it. I hope that once we have decided on a site, wherever that site may be, we will get on with the job. If we do not want to get on with the job we should leave this business alone altogether and let some future parliament decide where they want parliament house to be. I hope that we are here to decide where the new parliament house is to be. I hope that we will put the necessary money aside year by year so that the job may be progressed. If we do not want to do that we should leave it alone.
I favour the lake. I do not think we will ever have the flash floods that were spoken of because the lake has been well constructed and the necessary weir has been put in so that when floods do come down the excess water will run off. When the new parliament house is being constructed, consideration should be given to the comfort of the public who will visit this building. When I was a member of the Joint House Committee I raised a matter concerning a refreshment room for people who visited Parliament House. As my friend the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Stokes) knows, after a lot of effort we had a building constructed in front of the Senate rose garden. But this was not a place where people who visited Parliament House could obtain a light meal; it was a rather exclusive place that they could not use. I notice that steps are now being taken to set up a pie stall type of building where people can obtain a cup of tea and some refreshments. But the idea of the Joint House Committee was to build a place similar to the refreshment room at the Australian War Memorial. However, that has not eventuated. I hope that the planners will look at these matters and not make such a blunder as was made with that monstrosity - although it is a nice building - in front of the Senate rose garden. This type of building was not what was intended and the use to which it has been put should never have been allowed. When the man who took over the lease operated the establishment in this manner, the Parliament should have stepped in and said: That is not to go on. This establishment is supposed to be a refreshment room for people who visit Parliament House’. The Committee went to a lot of trouble in this matter and said that it wanted a comfort station and conveniences put in. The whole object in providing this facility has been destroyed.
I do not mind really where the site is. When I was 17 years of age I came to Canberra for the opening of Parliament. At that time everyone knew that the present Parliament House was a temporary building. I think this building has done very well to last so long. I hope that when we build the new parliament house it will last as long as 200 or 300 years as some honourable members have suggested. I think that the flood waters will be controlled and that there is nothing wrong with the lake site.
It has been pointed out that if the building were to be erected on the hill site a lot of levelling would have to be done. When I came to Canberra for the opening of Parliament, there was a hill, as I remember, just in front of Parliament House. That hill has been removed, and we have a better site. The present Parliament House has a wonderful view of the lake and across to the War Memorial. I hope that, having regard to the advantages of modern architecture and modern building, the new parliament house will be sited on the lake because I believe that is the best place for it. But no matter where the new parliament house is put, let us get on with the job. If we are not prepared to get on with the job we should leave the whole business alone. We should let someone else, who is prepared to get on with the job, take over.
– While I had been previously to the hill site and the lake site in regard to the proposed new parliament house, I did take advantage of the opportunity to examine an exhibition in this place some little time ago which consisted of a very good relief model, photographs and diagrams of both sites. Also, I went in a group of members and senators to the hill and lake sites. When I first heard about the possibility of alternative sites, my immediate reaction was in favour of the lake site. Since then I have had many second thoughts on both sites and these have only served to reinforce my conviction that the lake site would be not only the more attractive of the two but also the most appropriate site for a future parliament house.
This view was reinforced again by detailed inspections, examinations and evidence that has been put to us by the National Capital Development Commission and the various competing comments we have since received from experts in all categories, including architects. There is no doubt that both are excellent sites. They have different but very attractive views. There has been much talk in this debate about symbology and there is no doubt in my mind that a hill is a most appropriate place for flag poles, fortresses and fossils. I have heard honourable members in discussion and in this debate say that we need a monument on the hill. I do not disagree with that view - it would be a wonderful place to bury anyone.
Some honourable members have said that we need something which is a permanent representation of Australia rather than something merely built for temporary politicians. I most strongly disagree with that viewpoint because I believe that the membership here is permanent, although individuals holding the offices might change. I hope it is permanent anyhow. I can see that many honourable members who regard themselves as monuments to eternity could be attracted by the site on the hill. This is fairly well evidenced by the overwhelming majority in another place in favour of the hill. There is no doubt that the hill produces a splendid view of the traffic and is itself an excellent traffic turnabout. In this day of motor vehicles where the car and traffic turnabouts are two of the major symbols of the age, it is easy to see how the idea of putting parliament house in the centre of a traffic turnabout could acquire a certain facile quality.
Speakers for the hill have claimed that the site has a characteristic of eminence. I put it to honourable members that the lake site is a far more eminent one. It is a more eminent site when one is on it; it is a more eminent site when one is some distance from it. The mound that we have just behind this place, which would have to be substantially levelled, is from any vantage point indistinguishable from the rest of this part of Canberra. One just cannot see it - it is not high enough for that. The lake site stands out, from any point of view, in this part of Canberra. Also, even without any building on it I believe the lake site is a much more eminent site than the hill site.
The ancient worship of hills that has been so much stressed in this debate would be more understandable if indeed there was a hill to bow down to. I hasten to add that most of the hillites see themselves bowed down to rather than bowing. But is there really a hill? I suggest that there is not. This little mound could scarcely be called a hill - not in this part of the country anyhow. In the western districts of New South Wales or some parts of western Queensland such a hill in the middle of a flat plain could be regarded as a reasonable sand hill. But this is not the case here. I have seen scrub turkeys build more impressive mounds than this little bump. But we now have in this discussion several points of view which have been a little at a loss because we have not seen any design proposals. While we are talking about vertical or horizontal eminences I should like to suggest one idea before coming back to the business of the competing proposals and that is that any building we put on the lakeside site, provided it can sustain in its design a reasonable height - which could be 100 or 150 feet - would dominate this immedate area and would dominate anything that we could reasonably put on the hill without building something that looked like a flagpole.
We are now looking at 3 areas, 4 sites and 5 or more proposals. The various claims about the spaces of the areas involved are some 130 acres for Capital Hill, 200 acres for the parliamentary triangle and some 300 to 400 acres if we take all the sites together. Of course we cannot reasonably say that there is a lot less than 200 acres in the parliamentary triangle simply because there are already some buildings which complement parliament rather than detract from it. They are buildings, which if we had built parliament house initially in this triangle, we would probably have added. There are now four sites - the lakeside site, the present site, Camp Hill and Capital Hill. There are at least five proposals - to keep the present House and spend the money on something else, to keep the present House and add a bit to it to provide some extra space we need, to build a new house and scrap the old one, to build a new house and keep the old one as a conference place and for some offices and, fifthly, but not finally by any means, to examine the matter further and to look at some design proposals before making a decision for which there is certainly no great urgency. I would say that some 6 months would be a reasonable proposal and it would not suggest putting off a decision for years.
The points basically in favour of the lakeside site are that it is the most eminent site; that it is the most aesthetically pleasing site in prospect both by night and by day; that it is luckily, or by previous design, the most practical site; that it would provide the most pleasant and effective place in which to work as members of parliament; and that it is the only site which would make feasible the retention of the present House. I should like to advocate a gallery or an opera house or any monumental building on Capital Hill, but not a place to work in. There are fundamental points in favour of further examination of these things, particularly with regard to the new consideration of sites that have come under notice today. We should look again now that we are talking of four sites instead of two. We have not yet considered any design proposals for which I believe we need a little time. We should at least need a little time to provide opportunity for the same degree of consideration as we have given to the sites that Burley Griffin did not propose to the site that he did propose. I believe that the Camp Hill site might turn out to be a happy compromise, agreeable to Burley Griffin who planned this city and to both the hillites and lakeites who probably would both claim it as a victory for their camp. Perhaps it will be para.mountly a victory for the vision of Burley Griffin.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– I have listened with a great deal of interest to the arguments that have been submitted by supporters of the hill site and of the lakeside site. There is no doubt whatever that very compelling arguments have been advanced in favour of each of these sites and I see no point in wasting time by repeating them.
I am satisfied that each of the sites is a good one and I am prepared to accept the advice of the experts that a parliament house adequate to meet the needs of this country for some hundreds of years and of a standard of which this nation could be proud can be erected on each of the sites. For that reason I believe that each honourable member who will cast a vote when this debate has been concluded must do so on the basis of his own judgment. For no other reason than that I prefer it, I intend to vote for the lakeside site. I hope the Government will decide to get on with the job as quickly as possible.
– I concur with the remarks of the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) in one respect and that is that the site will not realiy make any difference to the nature of the parliament house that will be built. Even at this very late stage, when almost every honourable member has given his views, I believe there is still a need for me to express the point of view that I have held for a long time. I was very surprised when the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) advised us earlier in the day that a third site, additional to the two sites that we have already discussed, would be proposed. My opinion all along has been that a third site could be chosen. I have listened to honourable members expounding their views on the lake site and the Capital Hill site. All along I have thought that those who expressed views in favour of Capital Hill were really trying to express the idea that they did not want the building to be put on the lake site but wanted it to be on the hill. What difference would it make if it were on the lower slopes of Capital Hill or on the higher slopes of Camp Hill? Those of us who have examined the area realise that the main point that Burley Griffin had in his mind when he expressed the view that the building should be on the hill was that it should occupy an elevated position and that people should be able to see it. It should not be hidden down in the bogs around the lake and it should not be hidden by the bush. On the hill it could be delightfully surrounded by landscaping and that would make the site on the hill a most attractive one from every point of view.
I presume that we are talking about a rather massive building. It has been said that it should last for 200 to 500 years.
Therefore, we are making a very important decision. If the membership of the Senate is increased, as some people think it will be and as I hope it will not be, the new building will need to have sufficient space to provide accommodation for a large number of members. This will be a magnificent building. Some supporters of the lakeside site have said that it would be very imposing if it were down on the lake. I cannot see how a building could be in a position of eminence, as one honourable member suggested, if it were down in a very low situation on the lake site. The only way we will have an imposing structure that will really reflect what we all hope will be the final version of the new parliament house is to put a magnificent building, as I hope it will be, on the hill where everybody can see it and where the vista will be very pleasant.
I do not really need to go further into this situation for the honourable members who are listening to me now, but people outside the Parliament may also be listening and they would like to be given some idea of what this is all about. When we speak of the building being on the hill we do not necessarily mean that it will be sitting on top of Capital Hill, as some people seem to think. It will not be a pimple on top of the point of Capital Hill. It would be landscaped into the rise of the hill. This is much more than the scrub turkey mound that I heard it called before the sitting was suspended. The building would be on a piece of land that comes up into a gentle sloping eminence and from which there would be a vista all around. Eight or nine avenues come towards Capital Hill and State Circle surrounds it. Some very foolish comments have been made about possible difficulties with traffic tangles that may occur at peak hours when many people are going to or from their work. This is a minor point. With the ability that we have to engineer our traffic requirements today, traffic would present only minor troubles, especially as we have eight or nine avenues coming towards Capital Hill, State Circle around it and, if necessary, an inner circle. I would even concede that traffic problems with the lakeside site would present only minor difficulties. These are not the issues that we are here to discuss tonight.
The Parliament has been asked to make a decision on the site for a new parliament house. I do not wish to traverse the whole history of the development of Canberra. However. I will say that Burley Griffin, having designed the future layout for Canberra, envisaged the permanent parliament house as the focal point on the hill behind the present Parliament House. He had set his standards. Then in 1923, Burley Griffin was over-ruled and a decision was made to erect a temporary building on this site. I have not been a member of this place as long as some other honourable members have, but I have been here for about 13 years. I have seen the leaks in the roof, the cracks and the other problems that have been experienced with this building, a temporary building. 1 have seen the additions that have been put on to the old building and the difficulties that have arisen from the very nature of this building, which was erected so long ago as a temporary structure and was intended to last for about 40 years.
I had always intended to speak in this debate because my viewpoint from the very start has been that there should never have been a choice between the lakeside and the Capital Hill site. Lord Holford was told that the Capital Hill site was out because the hill was too high. He was told that the building which we are now occupying was to remain, and that in those circumstances it would not be possible to locate the new parliament house on Camp Hill. Consequently he had to look around for another site and he finished up on the lakeside. When the National Capital Development Commission was established it followed the advice of this eminent town planner. From that time onwards the NCDC has laid its plans on this basis. It has produced a very interesting map which shows the present Parliament House nicely situated within the parliamentary triangle. Then it shows the view straight ahead to the War Memorial on the other side of the lake. There is an open vista which is slowly but surely being cluttered up by the NCDC with a lot of square, most uninspiring buildings. Anybody can put up square blocks as the NCDC has been doing. Its imagination is not the sort of imagination that I want to see planning a parliament house for the people of Australia.
The NCDC planners have got to work with their drawing boards and they now envisage a convention centre and a national gallery. They make no suggestion of using the present provisional parliament house as a convention centre. I used to think that one of the accepted ideas was that this chamber would be a very suitable place in which to hold conventions.
– It is.
– The honourable member for Maribyrnong says it is. I beg to differ because 1 have this map before me. I see the outline of the provisional parliament house marked No. 23, and a little behind that is No. 26. which is described as a convention centre. Evidently the NCDC officers plan on providing a separate building for a convention centre on Camp Hill. Why can they not reverse the procedure, putting the convention centre in this building and the permanent parliament house on Camp Hill? What is wrong with that?
We have been told that the buildings down on the flat, amongst the reeds of the lake, would be complementary to the new parliament house. If we are to have a parliament house that the people of Australia can be proud of, and that members of the Parliament can be proud of, we must put it up on the hill, where it will be pre-eminently a place that we can all look up to. Many silly assertions have been made about this business of looking up to the Parliament, as if one were looking up to the heavens. This is only a form of speech. The Scot looks up to his Edinburgh Castle; the Americans look up to their national buildings in Washington. All over the world people look up to their national buildings. It does not mean that they have to get down on their knees and admire the people in those buildings. It is the building that counts, not the people who happen to be in it at a particular time.
I heartily approve of the amendment that has been foreshadowed. As I said before, I am a supporter of the hill site, but I did want to join in this debate to say that the question that should be put first is not whether we accept the Capital Hill site but whether we should locate the new parliament house on Camp Hill or, if you like, the lower slopes of Capital Hill, the rise behind this building. T believe that this is where we should erect a parliament house worthy of this country and that we should then take steps as early as possible to remove this building, which was originally built as a temporary structure in any case. It is already more than 40 years old and perhaps its life would be about 50 years. A good deal of money has been spent on it. A new roof was provided a few years ago because the original flat roof leaked. There is not nearly enough accommodation for people who want to come and see what is going on in the Parliament. Go out into the passageways and look at the rabbit warrens in which members have their offices. There is not even an office for every member, and many of them have to share office accommodation. The NCDC has been given far too much power. It has far too much say in far too many things connected with the planning of Canberra.
– Why do you not sack them?
– I would if it were in my power. The officers of the NCDC are given a good deal of money and they spend it very extravagantly. They put up some buildings that appear admirable if one is looking only at the marble work on the facades but which are not at all to be recommended as functional buildings. A little while ago the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) after a lot of agitation persuaded the powers that be to agree to an extension to this building so that we could have a few more amenities. As a result we have a new wing, two thirds of which is occupied by Ministers who, as soon as some extra accommodation became available, extended their requirements out of all proportion. They are now in the new wing together with a few favoured persons who have rooms to themselves on the top floor, although even in that wing there are two or three members who share rooms. This new wing is a disgrace to any planning authority. Anyone standing in the passageways can hear conversations in the rooms. If someone has a conversation on the telephone he can be heard in the room next door. If this is the best the NCDC can do it has no right to be planning buildings.
We have put up with so much inconvenience for so long in this building that it really is time we decided to do something about it. We are talking tonight about a new site. If we are not going to build a new parliament house for the next 30 or 40 years we have no right to be talking about a new site now. We should leave that until 30 or 40 years hence so that the people who will then be in our places can decide where the site should be. I believe we should proceed as quickly as possible to vote on the amendment foreshadowed by the Minister for the Interior. I must say in fairness to him that he is a lake man and he is moving his amendment on behalf of the Government so that the air may be thoroughly cleared.
– Not on behalf of the Government.
– On behalf of the Government only because it knows that it cannot win on the lake proposal. This is the real reason behind the amendment. I believe we should proceed with this as quickly as we can and we should also proceed immediately with the building of a new parliament house.
The NCDC has interfered with and delayed renovations and improvements that are urgently required by the members who occupy this building. We are badly in need of new kitchens. All the accommodation in this place is in dire need of up-dating. It is true that there is some air-conditioning in the new wing for Ministers, but there is no air-conditioning in the rest of the building. The members of the Press are crowded into a ridiculously small area. There is no accommodation for visitors. There is no place to which one can take a constituent and interview him if one does not happen to have a room of one’s own. It is essential for us to get on with the job of building a new parliament house. I hope it will be built on the Camp Hill site. This building could then be demolished after it has served its useful purpose, and plans could then proceed for the convention buildings and other structures.
But in the meantime, we are to mess about considering whether we will build a new parliament house this year, next year, some time or never. If it had not been for the interference by the NCDC in trying to brighten up the back of the present Parliament House so that people would be able to look down from the future arts centre on a pleasant view at the back of this building, we would have had the things which we need at a reasonable cost. A proposal to spend $3m, $4m, or possibly even $5m on extending the present building is a complete and utter waste of time and money. I believe that the right answer is to carry out some minor modifications to the present building. Upgrade the kitchen and let the rest of it remain as it is. Then a new parliament house can be built on the Camp Hill site as soon as possible.
– I rise only to indicate the way in which I will vote on the matter before the House. As a Scot and a descendant of the Highlanders, naturally I will vote for the Capital Hill site. I have listened with a lot of interest to the remarks-
– To a lot of boloney.
– Perhaps that is the best way to describe much of the debate that has taken place. I know that we are discussing only the site for the new and permanent parliament house. The architecture in the new building does not come into this discussion. But let me make one observation to illustrate local conditions. On a morning about 3 weeks ago, a group of other members and I left the Hotel Kurrajong, in cars, in brilliant sunshine to go to the Canberra Airport. When we reached Lake Burley Griffin, the drivers of the cars had to switch on their headlights so that they could see through the heavy fog and smog that surrounded the lake.
– That is like Scotland.
– There is no need for the honourable member to let himself be obscured in Mallee dust. We proceeded through the fog very slowly until we reached the other side of the lake. When we were near the Royal Military College, at Duntroon, we came again into brilliant sunshine. We would continually be subjected to a foggy atmosphere if the new parliament house was built on the lakeside site.
It was not so long ago that I heard honourable members on both sides of the chamber proclaiming the great virtues and abilities of the engineers of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. I was amazed to hear some honourable members talk about the engineering difficulties involved in removing so many feet of soil from the top of Capital Hill. Men down yonder in the Snowy Mountains have been boring 18 miles or more through solid mountains; yet some honourable members talk about engineering difficulties in removing soil from the top of Capital Hill. Then it was pointed out that a great deal of soil would have to be carted away from the top of the hill. If honourable members had noticed the little job that is at the point of completion in front of Parliament House, they would have seen that the level of the ground in places has been raised by many feet and that elsewhere many cubic yards of soil have been carted away. In the 14 years during which I have been a member of this Parliament I have seen many cubic yards of soil carted away from various areas in this capital and from the precincts of Parliament House.
I think it is time that honourable members stopped talking about the engineering difficulties associated with removing soil from the top of Capital Hill. If 60 feet has to be removed from the top of the hill there will be a larger area on top of it. It will be a poor day if architects and engineers cannot so design a new parliament house that the lower part can be used for the parking of motor cars. The Capital Hill site has all the required features. It has everything to commend it. I agree with the honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan), who said that all the great edifices in the world have been built on high ground on sites with sufficient area for expansion. Sufficient area is available on the Capital Hill site. I think that we should get down to the recording of our vote for the hill site or for the smog covered site down by the lake. I will vote for the hill site.
– I will detain the House for a few minutes because I have views on the question which has to be decided. Some honourable members have talked about architects and experts. We, as individuals, have to make a decision individually and we have to take the responsibility for that decision. It is not a question of what expert thinks what. The architects who now say that the new and permanent parliament house should be built on the lakeside site may be aesthetically mature; I do not know. But they are politically childish. In fact, it could be built on the Capital Hill site or on the lakeside site. But the question of where it is to be built is a parliamentary matter. It has to be decided by Parliament.
I suggest that psychological factors have caused some honourable members to say: Put the new building on the hill’. They are affected by the basic psychological urge tn people to be part of an imperial dynasty. lt is a question of being up on the hill to be worshipped or of being down on the lakeside amongst the people. 1 refer to views expressed in another place. Some members of both this House and another, perhaps feeling that the remaining part of their lease will be short, naturally turn to thoughts of monumental masonry and immortality. This is natural. Where are churches and other places of worship built and graven images erected? They are built on hills. I suggest that members of this House, whatever they may think, are of the earth, earthy - and rightly so. I believe that most honourable members in this chamber are- confident of meeting all comers, whoever they may be, on equal terms at ground level. We do not need to be stuck up on a hill.
I can understand the views of the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell). 1 do not like to be personal in this matter, but his second name is Augustus’. This streak that he has exhibited could well be hereditary. In the great Augustinian age, the emperor was on the hill. Maybe he was a sawdust Caesar, but that is where he was put. Undoubtedly people would not stay on the hill all the time. The right honourable member for Melbourne, as it so happened, was born not a ruler but a rebel, and a very distinguished and fascinating one at that.
This brings me to the other point. What keeps Parliament alive? What will keep the House of Representatives alive in the future will not be the location of the new parliament house; it will be the people who are in it and what they do - the Wentworths, the Harry Webbs, the Arthur Calwells, the Gordon Bryants-
-Order! 1 suggest that in the House the Minister should refer to members by their correct title.
– The honourable members to whom I am referring will have been recognised by now. These are the people who, in their various ways, give life to this Parliament. We might disagree very strongly with them. The only reason why 1 do not refer to the other honourable members in the chamber is because I realise that time is against me. But this is what the life of the Parliament depends on. It does not depend on Parliament being wrapped up in a great, monumental building on Capital Hill or anywhere else. It is quite clear that most of the experts believe that the new parliament house should be on the lakeside site. I might be maligning the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner), whose speech I heard over the loudspeaker in my room, but I got the impression that he would vote for the hill site in part because the Prime Minister before the last one thought that the new parliament house should be on the lakeside site. I may mention that Prime Minister by name as he is no longer a member of the Parliament. I refer to Sir Robert Menzies, who, apparently, presided over the Cabinet at the time this matter was considered previously. I was not a member of Cabinet at the time so I do not know what happened or whether his own emotions were involved. I do not know whether his emotions were engaged - whether he felt that parliament house should be on the hill or by the lake. Surely this is not a reason for voting against the lake site, just as the recommendations advanced by experts should not be regarded as reasons for voting the opposite way. lt is a matter of whether we as a popular house - we hope we are popular although most of the lime we are unpopular - should be down amongst the people. Either site could have erected upon it a building superbly executed by expert builders.
I can understand the case put for the Upper House. The members of the other place have suggested that their chamber should be on the hill, lt is characteristic of institutions and people that the more power is departed from them the more they arc interested in the outward trappings and other manifestations of their great position. I visualise on the hill a round house of suitable size to house the Senate, having a dome on top, perhaps with a large cross superimposed on it. I do not see why the Senate should be necessarily glued to us. There are strong strands of opinion embedded in some political parties awaiting the duy when they confer on the Senate not only immortality but eternal sleep. Then perhaps the Senate building could be suitably converted. But we are the house of the people. I am quite sure that whatever the result of this debate is, we will have a fine building with wonderful facilities - on the lake or on top of the hill. 1 express my personal feeling that we should remain with the people, holding our own clown here, where we will be both splendidly accommodated and more in tune with the spirit of Australia.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Bryant’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. W. J. Aston)
Question so resolved in the negative,
– Mr Speaker, I move:
A decisive vote has been registered indicating that the Parliament - both the House of Representatives and the Senate - does not want the lakeside site for the new and permanent parliament house. I accept that decision, as do all those people who were generous enough to support the lakeside site. But I make an appeal to those honourable members who were very keen on the hill site that they will be statesmen enough to back their judgment a little bit further by giving consideration to the site that was chosen by Walter Burley Griffin in 1911 and has been reaffirmed, time and time again, throughout the history of the national capita). As I said earlier in this debate, the decision is too important to be hurried at this time. Walter Burley Griffin chose Camp Hill as the site for the permanent parliament house. Those honourable members who are big enough I hope will vote for the amendment to look at Camp Hill and study the feasibility of Camp Hill as against Capital Hill. This is all I ask.
If in the feasibility study the Camp Hill site does not come up as it ought to come up. the Capital Hill men will have another opportunity to vote to put the new and permanent parliament house on Capital Hill. I will make sure that all the technical information which can be supplied about Camp Hill is gathered together for the information of honourable members and the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. Let us now be gracious enough, great enough and big enough to give the Camp Hill site - the Waller Burley Griffin site - an opportunity.
- Mr Speaker, while it may be true that there are members of the House who ought to give further consideration to this matter as regards the site and so on, I am convinced from the studies that 1 have made of it that the central area ought to be inside State Circle. That happens to include Capita! Hill and I therefore propose lo vote for the Capital Hill site. As far as I am personally concerned - 1 do not say that this opportunity has been given to everybody else - 1 consider that I have examined the matter often enough and long enough from every point of view to be able to make up my own mind about it. I would say this: When the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House first met it really did not give adequate consideration to the question of the site, noi so much to the actual placing of the new parliament house, which is one thing, but the space around it. 1 was a member of the delegation which went overseas. The further 1 went, the further-
– What did the honourable member learn?
– I will tell the honourable member for Balaclava what I learnt. The further I went, the more I became convinced that any public building of national importance needed the absolute amount of space that could be given to it and that any public building of the kind of symbolic and national value of a parliament house needs all the space that can be provided for it. 1 think that this is a most important point. There are two other points that I would make, but 1 do not wish to keep the House very long. J am grateful for the opportunity to discuss and to consider this matter in a free way. lt has been a most refreshing experience in this Parliament. 1 express my gratitude to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the members of the Government who initiated it. lt is our right to decide this matter. I say this emphatically. I have been the recipient of some professional favours over the last few weeks on my rights to decide this matter, lt has been said that this is a matter for the professionals - a matter for the experts. Well, that may be so. But in the matter of Parliament the people who work in Parliament are themselves the experts. The position, of course, is that nobody so far has built a successful parliament house: that in fact we are starting from scratch; and that we are setting a completely new standard in parliamentary endeavour. Parliaments are taking a completely new place in the nations in which they operate. Buckingham Palace is not the point of pilgrimage in London. It is Westminster. The White House is not the point of pilgrimage in Washington. The Capitol is. In this country, no matter where we put the new and permanent parliament house, that will be the point of pilgrimage and visitation.
Therefore, in the symbolism of this matter, 1 believe that the question of whether Walter Burley Griffin or Lord Holford wanted it somewhere else is of no significance. Waller Burley Griffin thought that Capita! Hill ought to be occupied by some monumental building of Australian achievement. Lord Holford wanted something to do with our aristocratic traditions to be represented on Capital Hill. The fact is that, wherever parliament house is situated, that will be the central place. Without parliament house Canberra would be just another country town. In this instance, T think that we have made the right decision. The facts are that inside State Circlewhether there is a hill there or not - there happen to be 138 acres of land. The area happens lo be 800 yards or thereabouts across, lt happens to be accessible from every direction. Those are the main important points.
I want to remind honourable members, as I have circularised them continuously, that in Washing’.on 1 30 acres were set aside in 1790 for the Capitol building. Now up to 155 acres are in use. Bui even this area is found to be crowded. The most important decision that we can make about this matter is nol whether the permanent parliament house should be on a hill or not on a hill but concerns the amount of space which will bc available around the parliament house. The only place where this space is available is inside Slate Circle. Therefore, I propose to vote against i he amendment although I concede that there are a number of honourable members who may not have had the opportunities that I have had to discuss and to consider this matter as well as to travel on their behalf to look into it.
– Mr Speaker. I propose to support the amendment that has been moved by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). I think that one or two words should be said on the subject. During the course of this debate a certain number of Ministers have exhorted us to follow the advice of experts. I have never been one of those who believe that planning is a dirty word. It is very good to hear Ministers say that we should take note of what the experts say. If we had clone this in the past, we might not have squandered$100m on the Ord River scheme.I am glad that Ministers have been converted to the idea that we sometimes should listen to the experts and that we should regard planning as important. But there are other considerations.
I am mindful that a distinguished panel of architectural experts chose one design for the Sydney Opera House. They neglected to assure themselves that it would be capable of serving the purpose for which it was intended - that is, an opera house. Though we may have regard for what the experts have to say, we should not necessarily be uncritical.
However, the Minister has come up with a very happy compromise. It so happens that two experts have given quite different opinions. Walter Burley Griffin settled for Camp Hill: Lord Holford settled for the lake. This Parliament can accept the view that we should follow the experts and not our own opinions, and we can decide on either Camp Hill or the lakeside because the experts have recommended both of them. I myself have at all times felt that the hill is the right place, but the question is: Which hill? It is only at this point of time, when the Minister comes forward with this amendment, that we learn that there is a third alternative to those proposed in the past. Hitherto we had been told it was either Capital Hill or the lakeside, and that Camp Hill was ruled out because of the location of the present Parliament House. I suggest that on the three occasions when Cabinet decided in favour of the lakeside it had only the two alternatives, the lakeside or Capital Hill. Now we have a third alternative - Camp Hill. I suggest that when Lord Holford opted in favour of the lake it was because he was told that the Camp Hill site was not available. Now, for the first time, the Minister comes forward tonight and says that the Camp Hill site is available.
In essential respects Camp Hill is as good as. and indeed, I would say, better than. Capital Hill. The decision that has been made tonight is a triumph for this Parliament. The Parliament was decisive in rejecting the lake site, and the Government has therefore had to come forward with a compromise, which I hope will meet the wishes of most honourable members. Why has the Minister put forward this third proposal? It is because not one member has been willing to see the vista across to the Australian War Memorial blocked by a building on the lake site. That vista has now been preserved from Camp Hill to the War Memorial. Of course, this is in the Australian tradition. It was . no accident that Walter Burley Griffin, an American, and Mr Ed Bacon, another American, both opted for the Camp Hill site. The reason for this is that you have a vista that gives space, and if there is one characteristic of this country beyond all others it is. that it is a spacious country. Therefore, we have the triangle that involves spaciousness as Walter Burley Griffin saw it. This was in accord with our tradition, and indeed it would be in the mind of an American because his also is a large country. Lord Holford is used to the streets of London, the fogs of the Thames, and the relative littleness of the vistas in London and of the English landscape generally, and thereforethe lake site may have appeal for him. Space is characteristic of our country. I would not neglect symbolism and regard it as being unimportant. I would not like to sec the new parliament house simply as another building down by the lake with a library building to one side, a High Court building on the other, an administrative building nearby and a Treasury building somewhere else. 1 would not like to see it as just another building. It is said by those who profess to have a great deal of humility that a site by the lake would place Parliament among the people. I suggest that a new parliament house on the lake site would suggest that the Parliament was just another institution occupying yet another building in Canberra, and not the very raison d’etre of this capital. Does anybody suppose that Washington would exist today if it were not the centre for the Congress of the United States of America - the city of the Congress and the While House, and of the executive and the legislative arms of government? Washington exists to accommodate them. There would be nothing on the Potomac River but for this , fact. There would be nothing here in Canberra but for the fact that Federal Parliament is situated here. We have honourable members who want the new parliament house, to be just another building on the lake,, amidst a National Library building, a national . gallery, a national this and a national that. That is not the place where Parliament should be. It is only right that it should stand apart as it does now, or as it could on Camp Hill.
I support the compromise the Minister has brought forward. It is not a matter of bigness or littleness in agreeing with it. The plain fact is that the Government has accepted that the parliament will not have the new building on the lake site. The Government might have been generous about this and said: ‘We recognise it; we accept it, and we now offer you a third option, one which has never been offered before’. There has been a great deal of disingenuousness on the part of the Government in dealing with this matter. It has put this third alternative before us. Various means were used to try to induce members to vote for the lake site. I rejoice that the right thing has been done by the Parliament. It will always rebound to its credit and honour that it made the right decision in rejecting what would have been the wrong choice, lt has forced the Government to come up with what I believe is the right choice.
The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) said that Parliament does not consist simply in a parliament house. Of course it does not. We can have a magnificent parliament house such as the congress building in Brasilia or somewhere else, but this does not make a parliament. Nobody agrees with the view more than I do. Indeed, however grand or tasteful - and these may be different things - a new parliament house might some day be, Parliament will be judged by what it is, by the quality and spirit of its members and the wisdom of their decisions. If the Parliament fails in these respects, it does not matter how faithful, how grand or how excellent the parliament building may bc. All this is true, and I accept this from the Minister. But the point is that we are asked tonight not to decide the basis for making Parliament a better and more effective institution than it is. That is not what we are debating. We are asked tonight simply to decide on the site for a parliament house. That is the matter before us. Therefore the speech of the Minister for Labour and National Service is irrelevant to the decision we have to make.
I support the compromise put forward by the Minister for the Interior. This will save all faces. I am not very much concerned with this objective, but basically it happens to be what the House wants, I believe, and will be right. I am pleased that this third alternative has at last been put to the Parliament. It can be accepted as embracing what 1 believe we all want.
– I cannot agree with everything that the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) has said about the Government. I believe that the Government has acted quite reasonably and quite fairly in this matter. It is true that some Ministers have pulled a few fasties on us, but the Minister for National Development, the Hon. David Fairbairn, certainly is not among them. The Minister for External Affairs (Mr Hasluck) has certainly not been a party to this sort of thing. This much can be said for the Government - and we ought to be fair enough to concede this: If it had wanted to, it could have made this a government issue. Matters of less importance to the location of the new parliament house have been made matters of party politics before and governments have used their power to discipline their supporters to force them to vote for things that are just as much outside the realm of governmental control. The Government has not done this on this occasion, and that is to ils credit. Due credit has to be given to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) because he is the head of the Government. I know that the Prime Minister did favour the lakeside. Were he a smaller man than he is proving to be on this issue, he could have chosen to have forced all his supporters to have voted for the lake site simply because he wanted it. Were Sir Robert Menzies still Prime Minister I doubt very much whether we would have had a free vote. If we did have a free vote it would be free in name only. Members would be made to understand pretty clearly that they would exercise their freedom very much at their peril.
– What makes you think that?
– He was a person who did not have the same tolerance or preparedness to give to other people the right to express themselves freely as the Prime Minister has shown on this occasion.
– Do you think that he used to stand over them?
– Yes, J do. As far as I can see, the present Prime Minister has not shown that characteristic. As a member of this Parliament, I appreciate the fact that the Government, which could have had it the other way, chose to allow us to be free to vote as we please. I have no quarrel with the attitude which has been taken by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). I am pleased that nobody has sought to make this debate a Party political debate. Nobody has sought to look at this matter in terms of a vote which could defeat the Government. We have had the refreshing spectacle of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and the Prime Minister favouring the one site. So how can any vote taken on this issue be interpreted as a defeat for the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition?
I would like to proceed to give the House my reasons why we ought not to defer a decision on this matter any longer. We ought to decide as quickly as possible, that is tonight, that the parliament house should be situated in the position which gives the building the greatest surrounding space. That position would be on Capital Hill rather than Camp Hill. If we are to have a parliament house worthy of our great country it ought to be a parliament house in size that will dwarf any other building anywhere near it. It has to be a building which has four frontages looking in the four directions of the compass. It has to be a building big enough to cater for our future needs and requirements for another 200 to 300 years. If it is going to be as big as it ought to be, it will be too big to have anywhere near it any other buildings. There is no need to go over the lake site again because that matter has now been disposed of. I make only a passing reference to it. Imagine how those magnificent buildings, the High Court of Australia and the National Library, would have looked alongside the kind of parliament house that we should be envisaging to represent this country. They would have been dwarfed into insignificance and the parliament house would appear to have been hemmed in with unnecessary encumberences.
– They would have looked like conveniences.
– They would have looked like conveniences, as the honourable member who is a West Australian wheat farmer points out. I do not care how long the erection of the new parliament house is delayed. I am not asking that it be built now. One day, maybe when we are dead and gone and our children are as old as we are now, there will rise in this place a building that will represent to the nation of Australia ils proudest possession. It will not only be a magnificent building in itself but it will magnificently portray the fact that we are a democratic people, that every citizen of this country is equal with the equal right to vote and whose vote will then be of equal value, 1 hope, even if it is not now. That is what we should be aiming for. That sort of a structure can be placed in only one position and that is on Capital Hill, because nowhere else in this city of ours can we find any other area big enough to meet the requirements. Even Capital .Hill, with its 130 acres, could prove to be small enough.
I personally would be saddened to see this present old building torn down. I do not think that it ought to be torn down if it can be avoided. If. one stands at the War Memorial on the other side of the lake, one can gaze down Anzac Parade across the lake, up the magnificent vista of open lawns separating the War Memorial from the present Parliament House and look over the top of this building and see the top of Capital Hill. Placed upon Capital Hill could be this magnificent structure that will represent our nationhood and democratic strength. One could gaze from the War Memorial, a monument to those who fought to keep this country what it is, across the lake, an unbroken vista, to the thing that they fought for, the symbol of democratic freedom - democratic and parliamentary government.
This building could be kept here to add history to the scene that would reach the eyes that looked across that vista. This is the first Commonwealth Parliament House. It ought not to be pulled down unless it is absolutely essential. People could look at this building in 200 years time and say. That is how our democracy was at the beginning. The building behind it and above it represents the strength our democracy and the strength of our nation.’ This building does not have much history compared with the history of other countries that have buildings that are 1,000 years old but it is one of Australia’s historical possessions, whatever people may think about it. It stands for things in history that are important. It ought not be pulled down. Not only would this building have to be demolished if we were to build a parliament house that was to be unimpeded by the buildings surrounding it and close to it, but the Post Office and the old Treasury buildings would have to be demolished also. 1 am not putting up any special plea for these two buildings. Perhaps they are not worthy of preservation. They do not stand for anything.
– This is a matter for the feasibility study I suggest in the amendment.
– I know. I am not attacking the Minister for putting up the proposition. I am simply saying that we ought not to delay a decision on the site for the new parliament house any longer. It is obvious and self-evident that Capital Hill is the only place where we have enough space to have the kind of building we should be envisaging, unimpeded by other buildings. Capital Hill need not be cut down 82 feet, as some speakers have said. 1 have spoken to an eminent architect who told me that the correct way to build a parliament house on Capita! Hill is to build it in terraces and to have two terraces so that this commanding height overlooking and dominating the scene is preserved. What is wrong with parliament house dominating Canberra? This is a parliamentary city. There would be no city but for parliament house. The underground car park could go under the terraces and the parliament house itself could be built on a much smaller area than is talked about by those who say that it is necessary to cut Capital Hill back 82 feet. If it could be built in terraces, there would certainly be no need to demolish this old building. It could be retained in its present form.
I agree with that part of the speech made by the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) when he said that Australia is a country of space. We are proud of the fact that we have space. We talk about it overseas with every justification. Australia is spacious and is not a country of slum dwellers. I consider that we ought not to build a capital which would lead other people to believe that this is not a great open country. We are people who are used to the spaciousness of the great open country that we are building. Our national parliament should be placed in the area of the city which will give the greatest appearance of spaciousness. For this reason I ask the Parliament not to defer this matter any longer but allow the NCDC to proceed immediately and organise accordingly.
The NCDC’s report for 1967-68, at page 1 1, has this curious reference:
External Affairs building: The Commission’s architects began to develop the master plan for the Camp Hill building complex. The first building there will be for the Department of External Affairs. Others will include office, secretariat and conference building.
We do not want a building for the Department of External Affairs on Camp Hill. Wa do not want offices, secretariat or conference buildings erected on this site. We want Camp Hill and Capital Hill to be kept free for one of the most important buildings this country can possess - the parliament house of Australia, the symbol of our democracy, a symbol that we as distinct from so many other people in the Asian area stand for parliamentary democracy. I hope that Capital Hill will be the site and that we make a decision tonight and get on with the job.
– I merely rise to support the amendment. I do so for several reasons. 1 commend the fact that the amendment would give the people who have to make a decision additional lime to consider not only the facts now before us and now before them but also additional factors that have not yet been looked at. I referred to some of those factors when 1 spoke on this subject last August. I said that we did not know a lot of things about the matter. Also, I asked why Parliament was being forced to make a decision so quickly. Do not let us fool ourselves. This matter was not brought before Parliament because a decision had to be made to build a new parliament house. Lei us face that fact for a start.
The decision we were asked to make was on (he site for a new parliament house in order to enable us to give up the options on the alternative sites, thereby clearing the way for the National Capital Development Commission to begin additional development. When I spoke previously, I pointed out that this matter was brought before Parliament because of the insistence of the Australian National Gallery on having a place to display its treasures and not because there was any mad hurry to build a new parliament house. The National Gallery was pushing to be given an area so that it could develop, lt wanted the land freed from the options.
At the time we took this matter up. we h.-id a lakeside site and. as I said before, pressures of various sort.-, had almost made ils acceptance a fait accompli. We also had the adherents of the Capital Hill site and nothing much was heard of the Camp Hill site which was originally chosen by Burley Griffin.
The main reason was that this temporary edifice in which wc now meet looked like sitting here for some time. A senator from Tasmania who was a member of the Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House made the suggestion that the new parliament house should be built on Camp Hill and that a bulldozer should be put through the temporary building. He was laughed at as a fanatic, and people thought thai he had gone over the hill. But it is amazing how sometimes a prophet is net honoured at the outset. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), who has. moved the amendment, suggests Camp Hill as an alternative site. He suggests that it is nol so stupid to have a look at the original site suggested by Burley Griffin. 1 am afraid I was concerned that there was so much haste about this matter and that all the relevant factors were not considered. We do not know what sort of buildings are likely to be put up. We are asked to decide on a site. 1 am sorry - 1 know 1 have some differences with my colleagues on this point - but I have always felt that it is vital to have some idea of the design of an intended structure before a site can be selected. For instance, is the building going to be a minaret on a hill or is it going to be a wedding cake on the flat? What is it going to be? As I pointed out when I spoke previously, buildings have already been erected on the lake site. The Nation:)! Library is constructed on the lake site. The High Court building will also bs on this site. The question of a bicameral parliamentary system should be considered because a building for such a purpose would have a tendency towards the horizontal. The design of the Library and other buildings tends towards the rectangular. These buildings would be on a lower level.
As the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) said, the hill site looks out on all directions. Because of this there would be a different requirement from other buildings in design. I was proposing to move tonight an amendment which I foreshadowed in August to the effect that we delay a decision on the site for 6 months to enable half a dozen of the leading architects in Australia to give us a rough idea of what they thought of the position. I did not envisage, them giving us a complete plan, but 1 think that we could be given a couple of designs for each of the sites. In this way we would at least ge some idea of what would be compatible with the sites concerned and make a belter decision.
The Minister has suggested that we pass this matter over to the Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House to look at the alternative sites - the one on Capital Hill and the one on Camp Hill. If this amendment is carried we will have lime perhaps to do this and get some ideas of designs for both sites to put before the Select Committee and Parliament. Of course. I hope that we do not run away with ourselves and think that our decision is final. After all, in the terms of the original motion, we are only to give an expression of opinion. The executive decision is still with the Government.
I was reminded the other day of an incident concerning the late J. B. Chifley. 1 understand that when caucus took a vote on one occasion he said: ‘The Ayes have it. but the answer is no’. To some extent I feel that we are doing a similar exercise now.
– I do not think he would ever have done that.
– I was told this on good authority. 1 am simply making an analogy with the exercise that we are going through here. Perhaps it will have the same sort of conclusion. The Minister having moved this amendment, I am very happy to know that, this matter is being taken seriously and that the decision made in the other place is being taken note of. The Minister has moved an amendment and I think even the most rabid hillites can come down from their ivory castle about two or three metres in contour to the Camp Hill site and at least see that lime is taken to evaluate both hill sites so that justice and honour can be done. We should ensure that we do not make mistakes through hastening lo meet a request from the NCDC for an expression of opinion. The Parliament, is not forced to make a decision in undue haste - a decision which could be a national calamity for something which we hope to stand for many hundreds of years. I support the amendment.
– On the occasion of the last vote I remained in the chamber but deliberately did not vote, and I intend to continue not. to vote in connection with this issue because I believe that every government should have a system of priorities and that those things that are most essential should be dealt with first. I believe that there are slums in every capital city of Australia. I. believe that there are traffic problems that necessitate the construction of underground railways in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney. I believe that homes need to be constructed for the aged. 1 believe that water supply systems are necessary for the people of Melbourne and elsewhere.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)I suggest that the honourable member for Scullin is getting a little wide of the amendment that is being discussed now. The amendment is, in reality, a continuation of the debate which originated with the motion. I would suggest that honourable members should not repeat speeches that they made when they first spoke. The subject matter of the remarks of the honourable member for Scullin is not relevant to the amendment.
– The only point 1 want to make clear is why I am going to vote in connection wilh the motion in a particular way.
– The honourable member said thai he would not vote.
– I want to make it deir why I am going to refrain from voting and why I am taking certain action in connection with the proposition that is before the Hou.se. Surely I am entitled to do that.
– Order! I suggest lo lbc honourable member for Scullin thai he made plain the reasons why he was going to abstain from voting on this amendment. He cannot enlarge and debute the reasons why he is abstaining from voting.
– Very well, Mr Deputy Speaker. The proposition is that there should be built in this city of Canberra a vast edifice that is to be the symbol of democracy for the ages that are to come. They have to look up to this symbol that is upon a hill of Canberra - put there at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately I am one of those people who believe in the realities of democracy rather than in the symbols. I believe in the creation of those provisions among the masses of the people that give to them a semblance of equality rather than in the creation of a symbol on a hill at an immense cost which takes from the common pool those provisions that are essential to meet the requirements of the ordinary individual. 1 :im making these things clear in order lo justify my abstention from voting. I do nol like to refuse to vote but in the circumstances 1 can do nothing else. Member after member has stood in this House and has said that we should get on with the joh and that a new parliament house should be built immediately, because it is an essentia! not for the dim distant future but for the dayafter tomorrow. I do not believe that it is. Because of that, I make my protest in the interests of the vast masses of the people of this country. Unfortunately I have not got a mind that sees in the creation of an opera house the realisation of the dreams of a nation. I do not believe that the Sphinx of Egypt was a vast symbol of the greatness of that nation. It was built upon the drudgery and the slavery of the people while their needs and priorities were neglected, lt was built to amaze the future. I do not believe in these things and I make my protest against them.
– I support the amendment moved by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon). Earlier this afternoon I expressed my firm conviction that we should not support the lake site and said that the future parliamentary buildings should be located on the hill. I expressed some disappointment that the proposition regarding the Camp Hill site had not been advanced earlier. 1 believe that the amendment is worthy of support for one reason, and one reason alone: It gives honourable members the opportunity to study in proper detail the implications of the Camp Hill site and the relationship of those implications to the Capital Hill site. The Minister said that a proper feasibility study will be made and that the details will be conveyed to honourable members. This is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. However, I am disappointed that the amendment, as presently worded, does not stipulate the time for such a submission to come before the Parliament.
– I intend to correct that.
– I thank the Minister. I am sure that the House will be encouraged if there is a firm date. Earlier this afternoon the Minister mentioned 14th November but perhaps that is too soon for such an important examination as that which is now envisaged.
I do not want to traverse again the ground that so many of us covered this afternoon regarding the hill site, but I want to specifically refer to the implications of the amendment insofar as they pinpoint the Camp Hill site. Many of us are at some disadvantage. We have seen or have visited Capital Hill and have examined its surrounds and over the last year or so we have had clear indications from people who are possessed of fundamental knowledge that Camp Hill was too small and could not be utilised as a site for the new parliament house. It is now apparent that on further examination of earlier reports extending back to the original proposition of Walter Burley Griffin himself, there is sound reason for re-assessing the Camp Hill site. It is fortuitous that in King’s Hall at present there is a display of maps provided by the Department of National Development. In one particular apparatus, the name of which I do not know, Canberra can be seen and if one looks closely at it obviously there is a restricted area on Camp Hill. It is apparent that if there is a reexamination of the situation there would need to be some intrusion into State Circle of the ring road which is to go around Capital Hill, and the area from the ring road to the site of the present Parliament House would still be insufficient for an adequate parliamentary building. Perhaps there would be some advantage in planning the two sites together to get a proper approach and to provide a vista from the lake right up through this area and on to the hill.
I suppose it could be said that in the last little while the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) has had his finest hour. He made the truest blue speech he has ever made or is ever likely to make and I want to commend him on many of the thoughts he introduced into this debate. Obviously he has made an adequate study of the subject and what he has said should be taken fully into account but I disagree that a decision should be made tonight! We have not been put in possession of all the facts and all the data concerning Capital Hill and Camp Hill. Fundamentally the reason for this was the attitude of the National Capital Development Commission and of the Government. Their attitude was based firmly on the belief that the lake site was the only site. That has been disposed of quite properly by this House. It is competent for us now, in an equally proper fashion, to support the amendment, to give every honourable member the opportunity to gain further information about the hill sites and to see the real implications in the proposals, bearing in mind that the majority of members are convinced that space is essential and that there should be a siting that will provide for the future adequately in terms not only of the parliament house building itself but also of all that must be associated with it. f have an open mind on the point made by the honourable member for Hindmarsh that the present building might be retained for the future. It is true that history is best seen and prosperity depends on what we do in the national interest to preserve national monuments and other historic features. This is one of the most historic buildings in Australia and perhaps there is justification for considering whether it can be retained, if there is a useful pu,pose for it and good sound reason for retaining it. This is the sort of judgment that can only be made on facts that are not in our possession at this time. I disagree with the contention of the honourable member for Hindmarsh that the final decision should be taken tonight. I hope honourable members will see the wisdom, of supporting the amendment moved by the Minister for the Interior and that we will have an opportunity to assess the situation properly and again determine in this House the final site for the future parliament house of the Commonwealth of Australia.
– The debate on this matter has been full ranging. It has been a most interesting debate in which honourable members have expressed their views. Honourable members have had an opportunity to reveal their attitude towards the Parliament and I am glad to say that it is quite clear to me that every member of this House holds this institution in the highest respect, as one would expect and as is proper. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), who has been a very strong advocate of the hill site for the new parliament house, made a speech tonight which, if I may say so with some slight sarcasm, was very sound compared to some of his other speeches with which we have been in considerable disagreement. On this occasion the honourable gentleman said, and very properly said, that while he has had the opportunity to consider a whole host of matters that have led him to a conclusion, he recognises that many other honourable members have not had access to information and have not been able to give as much concentrated attention to the proper siting of the new building as he has. I detected in what he said - I put it no higher than this - acquiescence in the amendment of my colleague, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon).
– I would not be too hostile.
– Not be too hostile or acquiesce.
– I am a tolerant man.
– The honourable member has demonstrated that tolerance tonight, at least, on this issue. I think there is very sound reason why the House should agree to the Minister’s proposal. We all accept that, when this new and permanent parliament house is built, it will stand as the central point of our Constitution, our government and our administration for centuries to come. While we would all like to have the site determined at the earliest possible opportunity, we would not like to have the wrong site chosen rather than defer a decision for a short time.
In the vote tonight, fifty honourable members favoured the hill site and thirtynine favoured the lake site. I, as all honourable members know, voted for the lake site. But since my colleague has proposed the Camp Hill site, I have managed to allow my imagination to form a picture of the new parliament house on that site, with the long vista down over the parklands to the lake. Tt seems to me that the Camp Hill site may very well represent al) that everybody wants in terms of the symbolism of an elevated site - perhaps not quite so elevated as the Capital Hill site but nevertheless an elevated site - with the approach to the wafer that a lakeside site offers. Another very important feature is the uninterrupted parkland in front of it. The Camp Hill site could very well be the perfect solution that all honourable members want. It might be - I put it no higher than that - that we could be almost unanimous on the amendment, with one slight modification that I hope my colleague will accept.
Earlier when my colleague circulated the terms of the amendment that he proposed to put, he mentioned a specific date. If my recollection is right, the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, which would consider this matter, was to report back by 17th November. My colleague in the amendment he put required it to report back at an early date. Quite clearly it would not be practicable for the Committee to report back by 17lh November. After all, this is 17th October. We would want the Committee to look at the matter conscientiously. Of course, our colleagues in the other place have yet to give their attention to this suggestion.
– They do- not always do as they are told.
– That is so. Obviously, 17th November would allow too short a time and so my colleague has used the words ‘at an early date’ in substitution for the specific date. I suggest to my colleague that he may seek the leave of the House to alter his proposed amendment by substituting for the words ‘submit its report at an early dale’ the words ‘submit its report within 3 months’, lt is true that this would carry us into next year, but the House would know that this matter will not be allowed to linger on. It will be examined with the greatest expedition possible, as the terms of the amendment would require. On the other hand it would allow sufficient time for the purpose in hand. I strongly support the amendment put by my colleague and ask him to accept my suggestion.
Mr NIXON (Gippsland - Minister for the Interior) - by leave - I wish to alter the amendment I have moved, lt is true that in the earlier amendment that was circulated I included the specific date, .1 7th November. This allowed approximately 1 month and I hoped that this would be time enough for the Committee to meet and to study the proposal. I have been informed that (he suggestion has yet to go before the Senate, which has other business to consider, and the date is. therefore, impractical. So I changed the amendment to read ‘at an early date’. This is unacceptable to many honourable members, who want an early decision, and I agree that we should have an early decision. I am willing to change the amendment to include the words ‘within 3 months’.
– Six months.
– I am informed by the experts that 3 months is long enough. I seek leave to amend my amendment by omitting the words ‘at an early date’ and inserting the words ‘within 3 months’.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I have some doubts about this amendment. While I realise that it does prescribe a date on or before which the Committee must report to this Parliament, 1 was one of those who voted earlier that the question be put. Whether 1 was acting rashly at that time I cannot say, but I was one of those members who feared that the matter might not be referred to the Parliament again. 1 am strongly in support of the proposal by the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) of the Capital1 Hill site. I think most honourable members will agree that the time of the year in which the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups are run is always a time for hedging and laying off, and I believe that this is what is being done when the Camp Hill site is introduced into the discussion. I say, without malice, that I bel’ieve heads were counted and it was decided that if the lake site proposal were defeated another matter would be introduced.
I reject the Camp Hill site because of the space available. The Capital Hill site gives us 130 acres as compared with 60 acres for the Camp Hill1 site. I have always been told by the experts that if we want an unimpeded view across the lake to the War Memorial from a new parliament house erected on Camp Hill we will have to demolish the existing Parliament House building, and I would not be a party to this. On the other hand I believe that if the new parliament house were to be built on Capital Hill the grand vista would be available to us without it being necessary to demolish the existing building.
I do not believe that the present building should be demolished, lt has been suggested that some $750,000 will be spent on extensions on the Senate side of the building to provide more accommodation for Ministers and their staffs, and to give the Press better accommodation than is now available. This extension will be similar to the one that was built on the House of Representatives side in 1965 and which is commonly known as the ‘Rex’. The honourable member for McMillan (Mr Buchanan) suggested that it had been reserved for the favoured few. If we are to spend such amounts of money on the existing building I do not think we would be justified in demolishing it even if the new building were not ready for occupation for another 10 or 20 years. 1 believe that this building will continue to have a use after the new parliament house has been completed, 1 hope, as do all honourable members, that the new parliament house will be a building of which every Australian can be proud, and which will serve the people of Australia for many hundreds of years and will become steeped in tradition. lt has been said that members arc not in full possession of all the features of the Camp Hill site. I do not know whose fault it is that full information has not been made available to members. I think most members have considered the site al some time or other because it has been pointed out that this was where the original commemoration stone was laid over 50 years ago by a predecessor of mine as representative of the electorate of Wide Bay. the right honourable Andrew Fisher, who aws then Prime Minister. He was assisted by the Honourable King O’Malley who was then Minister for Home Affairs. I think most honourable members have been made aware of the deficiencies of this site. We have been told of Burley Griffin’s ideas about it, but I point out that his recommendation was made over 50 years ago. Methods of building and earth moving have chanced greatly since the days of Burley Griffin. We have seen some photographs in the National Library of early Canberra, including some showing earth moving operations carried out by horses and drays. In those days there was no machinery available such as the scoops that are now in use and take up to 10 cubic yards of soil at one bite.
The Capital Hill site would provide no technical problems and I still believe that it is the best position for our parliament house. I believe the Camp Hill site has been introduced as a stalling device. We have been told that the Committee’s report will be made available within 3 months, but the amendment contains no guarantee that the report will be placed before the Parliament and the decision made within 3 months. For this reason I continue to support the proposal of the honourable member for Wills.
– I support the amendment arid wish to make a few brief comments about matters that have been raised. 1 believe it is important to support the amendment at this stage because 1 do not think we have had enough time to consider the Camp Hill. site, or even perhaps to consider the fourth site, the site on which our present Parliament House stands. But we should remember that the Camp Hill site was the one picked out by Burley Griffin, and it was, after all, largely his vision which gave us what we have in Canberra now. lt seems strange thai we still hear people saying there is a larger area available on Capital Hill than there is in the parliamentary triangle. The area on Capital Hill is. about 130 acres, while in the triangle it is about 200 acres. There is an area of about 60 acres on the Camp Hill site which does fit in wilh the parliamentary triangle, giving a total of 260 acres in combined area as against 130 acres on Capital Hill.
We must decide whether the buildings that are already in the area would be complementary to or would detract from a new parliament house. I suggest that wc would nol want any building to cover 50 or 100 acres; it would resemble a stockyard rather than a building. We do not want to build something 8 feet high and covering an enormous area. As to the requirement for space in which to breathe and wide vistas to look upon. I believe that all this is available in any of the sites that have been proposed.
As to the question of demolishing the present Parliament House, I believe that the only possibility we had of preserving it was by selecting the lakeside site, and this we have already decided not to do. The building of the parliament house on the lake would have enabled the present building to survive perfectly happily .because the principal aspect of the new parliament house would have been across the lake. From the top of the new building there would have been unimpeded views in all directions. The erection of the new parliament house on either Capital Hill or Camp Hill will make it essential, I believe, to remove the existing Parliament House. Perhaps this is the most expensive solution. It is certainly more expensive than the lakeside site.
But the lakeside site is now behind us. lt has been discarded by a vote in the House. As 1 said earlier today, we need a little further time - not an unreasonable time, but the period of 3 months which is suggested in the amendment - to make a thorough examination of all the sites, and particularly of the Camp Hill site as against the Capital Hill site. I believe that unless we do this we are being less than fair to the man who drew up the plans for Canberra and who regarded Parliament as being the central feature of those plans. J. believe that we would be doing far less than justice to the Australian people if we did not make this re-examination and look again at what Walter Burley Griffin proposed.
Mr LUCHETTI (Macquarie) [9.5 1 J - The deliberations this afternoon and this evening have been a triumph for the Parliament. lt is refreshing to sit in this chamber and hear the various views expressed and to note the temperate feeling of the House on a matter of concern to our great nation, not only for the present but also for the future. I do not intend to delay the House with further discussion on detail. If the amendment is carried the matter will be referred back to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House, of which I am a member. If the original motion is carried without amendment, however, the die will be cast and a definite decision will be made. Honourable members know that I have stood by the Capital Hill site. I believe that there could be a composite proposition for both Capital Hill and Camp Hill. There is no reason why the two sites should not be inter-related in the one project, giving all of the advantages and features of both hill tops. This will be a matter for the Committee, for the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) and for the officers of the National Capital Development Commission.
I want to make a plea to the Minister this evening to ensure that there is no further development in the Capital Hill and Camp Hill areas which would in any way prevent the building of a new and permanent house there. The work on the ring road should cease forthwith.
– The work has ceased.
– I am delighted to hear that. Further, I think that the type of buildings which have recently been erected at the foot of Capital Hill should never have been constructed. They are completely out of harmony with what we expect in the national capital. I am not blaming the National Capital Development Commission. Before the Parliament was invited to express itself on the site for the new parliament house, the Commission had received instructions as to where the new parliament house should be situated, and it planned accordingly. But now the Parliament has expressed itself. The type of building that has been erected al the fool oi Capital Hill does not belong to the area, and other buildings should not be erected there.
As I said earlier, I believe that we have to have spaciousness around the new parliament house. We should construct a magnificent building for the new parliament house so that it will appear as the citadel of democracy and the guardian of our rights, privileges, freedoms and heritage. I reject entirely the sentiments of those honourable members who say the affluent society in which we live cannot afford, in the foreseeable future, to build a parliament house which will be worthy of this nation. I reject that suggestion completely. When we build a new parliament house, we will employ artisans and skilled tradesmen. We will employ people in this community who are essentia! if wc are to make Australia a truly great and wonderful country. What better employment could anyone be engaged on than the building of a new parliament house? People could say: ‘1 had a hand in building it. This is my work. This is my craft. This was my contribution. The money has been well spent.’ What has occurred in the past planning of this city? Tourists and visitors are all happy to come here. They are delighted with what has been achieved in this city. Let us build on our earlier foundations and make the new parliament house the pride and envy of the world.
– I want to speak for only about 2 minutes. When the Minister for the Interior (A-lr Nixon) replies, I would like an answer on one point: I think the House has decided tonight that it is looking for a lofty, elevated site for the new parliament house and not a site down by the lake side.
– No, that is not right. We do not want a lofty site.
– This is my interpretation of the vote: We want a lofty, elevated site. We want a hill site. My understanding is that, the question before us at the moment is whether or not we are to extend the possibilities beyond Capital Hill to Camp Hill - on the slopes of which this building is partly built. The question in my mind is: If we decide that the site of the present building is to be merged with the Camp Hill area as the site for the new parliament house, what will happen to Capital Hill? In my book, it would be a grievous error for us to build the new parliament house on Camp Hill and then to see some other kind of edifice constructed on Capita] Hill.
– If I may interrupt the honourable member, as I have not the right of reply, let me say that it is not intended to place a building on top of Capital Hill: rather, it is intended to retain the flag pole or to construct a single spire.
– The Minister assures me that the construction of a building on Capital Hill is not envisaged - that there will be either a flag pole, as there is at present, or a single spire. This, of course, accords with what I am saying. The Minister has answered my inquiry.
I am a Capital Hill man. I travel to Canberra by air, as I believe most honourable members and most visitors from abroad do, and as future distinguished visitors certainly will do. As I travel in from the airport I look from King’s Avenue Bridge across the lake, I see before me a hill with a flag pole on top of it. This imposing site has always been in the back of my mind as the place on which to build the new parliament house. I leave it at this: Since the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) spoke today, I have looked with new eyes on the possibilities of the Camp Hill site. I do not believe it is hedging to refer the matter to the Joint Select Committee on the New and Permanent Parliament House. I do not believe that this is simply a matter of putting off the evil day for 3 months.
Three months is not a long time. The power to decide this matter will still be in the hands of this House. I think this would be a gracious and sensible solution to the problem and we could see what ought to be done. That Committtee, on which several parties are represented, can look into the matter and report back to us. Let us wait for 3 months and make absolutely sure before we cast the die, decide on the bite and determine the matter for all time. I started out as a Capital Hill man. and if 1 had to decide now I would still be a Capital Hill man. But 1 believe that the amendment could be carried by the House with dignity and without offending the susceptibilities or the convictions of any member of it.
Mr CLEAVER (Swan) (9.58.1-1 wish to support the amendment and to point out that, for several good reasons, I was unable earlier today to make any contribution to the debate on the important subject of the site for the new and permanent parliament house. A few minutes ago the honourable member for Wide Bay (MY Hansen) sought an assurance from the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) that the matter would be referred back to the House. 1 do not know that T wholeheartedly support the mood in which he sought the assurance. Seeing that the Minister has already spoken in the debate, may I point out to the honourable member and to the House thai the Minister is perfectly happy to give a personal assurance that this matter will be referred back to the House in accordance with the wording of the amendment. I am surprised that the honourable member should doubt that that would be done.
– Three months will lake us to January.
– That is understood. I believe that the legitimate purpose of the amendment is to ensure that those people who have been waging a campaign, which so often in my opinion has been based upon near ignorance, should not now perpetuate their error by pushing matters to a conclusion without due cognisance being given to the merits of the Camp Hill site. So I would say to my friend from Wide Bay: ‘Let us be fair and support the amendment’.
As I have read some of the speeches in the debate and as I listened to some of them during my absence from the House I have felt that an element of emotion has actuated the decision of the House tonight. 1 trust that I will not be guilty of expressing my emotions. I will try to be logical and point out that in my opinion a lot of the excellent material written and reported to this Parliament has not been assessed. Even today, in checking with some of my closest colleagues, I found that they had never read the report on the development of Canberra between 1962 and 1967. They had no appreciation pf the pictures, designs and models that accompanied the report. They did not know the content of the eightythird report of the Parliament’s own Joint Committee of Public Accounts, which was devoted entirely to the development, work and splendid achievement of the National Capital Development. Commission. They did nol have an appreciation of the work of all the select committees and the other work thai has gone on over the years in the development of Canberra and the references to the site for parliament house. They did not show evidence in speaking to me of a detailed knowledge of the Holford report. 1 found that they had not referred to the 1966-67 report of the NCDC. So here, 1 suggest, are gaps even in the earnest presentation of some of my colleagues. They did not know fully what the experts had done at the request of the Government over the last 10 years. I go so far as to say that by what we have done tonight in this House wc have thrown into the discard 10 years of splendid service by the NCDC.
– The honourable member is canvassing a decision that has been made.
– Would my friend resent the fact that I was not here to make my contribution? He has had plenty of opportunity. So, speaking to the amendment. I am prepared to make my view clear. I would have lodged my vote because, as a businessman, 1 would say that the Senate, which has been the nigger in the wood pile in this matter, had the opportunity to reject these reports, 5, 6 or 7 years ago and not to make us all look foolish by allowing the NCDC to travel so far.
The amendment draws our attention to another site - the Camp Hill site. This is significant. If we have made difficult the work of the NCDC, let us be generous enough now to give it the opportunity to report on the new proposal to the New and Permanent Parliament House Committee. The Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) made clear that in the last 10 years there have been changes in building construction . and planning. He said that those changes make possible consideration of that area to the rear of the present building and to some extent the overlapping of the very site on which this building stands. If this building has to be demolished at some future date let us see whether we can use it up to the last point. Let demolition be the last recourse. After all, if you look at the Holford report you get some words of wisdom from the man whose basic plan we have rejected today. He refers to Capital Hill. He refers in a very sensible way to the plan envisaged for Capital Hill. He said that while Capital’ Hill was the generally preferred location, in his view the parliament house erected on thai site would be symbolically and actually out of place. He referred to Griffin’s republican and Utopian capitol. which was to symbolise Australian sentiment, achievements and ideals and be a place for popular assembly and festivity more than deliberation and counsel. He said that his choice of a site for the permanent house would be in the centre of the axis. This has been referred to by a number of honourable members in this debate.
Here was a man who was prepared in his report not ji,St to press for his own idea, which was the lakeside, but to state that the Camp Hill site was unattractive and too small for parliament even though the actual floor space could be easily accommodated on the site. It was for this reason that he preferred to come down to the lakeside. He enunciated his idea of a capitol building, which was Griffin’s idea - not something as large and significant as so many speakers have said, but a symbolic building. 1 for one would be disturbed that if the Camp Hill site is to take the new building we would entirely discard Griffin’s idea for the top of the hill. We would have to take this into account.
There is very great merit in allowing some months for full investigations to be completed - not hasty reports; not just a few weeks in which we could be guilty of another mistake. 1 believe that we should give full opportunity for the Committee dealing with the parliament house to receive from the NCDC a substantial report which will indicate completely the advantages and disadvantages of the Camp Hill site. In view of what has been done this is a legitimate request. It is a businesslike request, lt is common sense. It carries logic. 1 hope that the House will not hastily discard the amendment put forward by the Minister. I hope that all honourable members who may have to admit to me frankly that they have not read fully all of the material to which I have referred-
– Some people have.
– The honourable member for Evans may have had time to read every word, but 1 know that many honourable members have not. So I suggest that we might read again this material and come with an open mind when this report envisaged by the amendment is brought forward. I would hope that what we have done today would not make too difficult the planning of a splendid new parliament house. Irrespective of where it is sited, 1 have always said that this capital of the Commonwealth deserves a building of the kind which the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) has been referring to. The only difference of opinion between the honourable member and myself concerns the site for the building. I believe that he and one or two other honourable members have waged a very arty and successful campaign. Why he should devote so much time to this subject 1 cannot fathom. But he has had a victory. I appeal to him now to be fair about the Camp Hil site and to give us 3 months. Let him accept the assurance of the Minister that he will have the information that he desires. I hope that when the vote is taken the majority will sustain the amendment.
Motion (by Mr Birrell) agreed to: That the question be now put.
– The question is: ‘That the amendment proposed by the Minister for the Interior, as amended, be agreed to’. Those of that opinion say ‘Aye’, to the contrary ‘No’, I think the ‘Ayes’ have it. The question now is: ‘That the words proposed to be inserted, as amended, be inserted in the motion’.
Those of that opinion say ‘Aye’, to the contrary ‘No’, I think the ‘Ayes’ have it. The final question is: ‘That the motion, as amended, be agreed to”. Those of that opinion say ‘Aye’, to the contrary ‘No’, I think the “Ayes’ have it.
– Mr Speaker, I ask for a ruling on a point of procedure. In view of the terms of the motion, what will be the effect if the Senate refuses to concur?
– That is not a matter that comes before the Chair at this time. The honourable member raises a hypothetical question. The matter does not arise at this stage.
Mr Snedden - No
-Does the honourable member for Melbourne Ports seek leave to make a statement?
– Yes. I ask for leave to make a statement.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I suggest that the Bill that will be next before the House deals with a matter of some importance. I am to lead the debate for the Opposition. I think that it is very unfair to expect me to commence the debate at this stage. The Government will not deny that the debate which we have just completed has taken a couple of hours-
– How long will the honourable member speak on the Bill?
– I am not going to say. All I am suggesting is that the present proposal is unfair. I ask that this Bill be held over until next Tuesday to enable such an important matter to be reasonably considered. I think that this is only a fair procedure considering that wc have been debating all day the matter of the site for the new and permanent parliament house. lt is unfair that those who are concerned with this Bill should be asked to deal with this new matter at this stage. The Government will save 45 minutes only.
– Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to make a statement.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Mr Speaker, the point made by the honourable member for Melbourne Ports comes rather strangely. The time is 10.16 p.m. It is the practice of this House to sit much later than this. Indeed, the rules of the House permit new business to be introduced up to 11 p.m. One normally would except the orders of the day to be proceeded with. The business that we have been discussing, which related to the site of the new and permanent parliament house, is Government business and is no different from any other business. As the honourable gentleman pronounces himself as being unwilling or unready to go on with the Papua and New Guinea Loan (International Bank) Bill 1968, and as T am, as everybody knows, the most conciliatory of persons, I am quite prepared to move that Order of the Day No. 2 be deferred to a later hour this day. If that motion were agreed to, the House would proceed to debate Orders of the Day Nos 3, 4 and 5 which are cognate measures. These are the Bills relating to long service leave for the coal mining industry. Therefore, Mr Speaker, I move:
That Order of the Day No. 2 be deferred to a later hour this day.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
COAL EXCISE BILL (No. 2) 1968 Second Reading
Debate resumed from 10 October (vide page 1867), on motion by Mr Bury:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Mr Speaker, may I have the indulgence of the House to raise a point of procedure on this legislation? The Coal Excise Bill (No. 2) 1968, the Excise Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1968 and the States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Bill 1968 are associated measures. It would no doubt meet the convenience of honourable members if the House were to have a general second reading debate covering the three Bills. At the conclusion of the debate, separate questions will be put on each of the Bills. I suggest that that course be followed.
-Is it the wish of the House to debate the subject matter of the three measures together as suggested by the Minister? There being no objection, that course will be followed.
Mr Speaker, the proposal’s made by the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) are acceptable to the Opposition and to myself. The purpose of these Bills is to ensure the solvency of the Long Service Leave Trust Fund and, thereby, the continuance of the provisions of long service leave for coal industry mine workers. The Opposition, therefore, supports the measures before us which will operate from 1st November of this year. These Bills - the Coal1 Excise Bill (No. 2) 1968, the Excise Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1968 and the States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Bill 1968 - amend existing legislation. It is interesting to examine briefly the history of these valuable social and industrial1 legislative enactments. They tell the story of the early days of Australia and the advancement in the welfare of mine workers.
Mine workers for years had sought improved working conditions. One of their claims was the right to long service leave. This had been discussed over many years. It had been the subject of bitter industrial campaigns. Long service leave was an objective of mine workers. But their claims were strongly resisted by mine owners and unsympathetic governments opposed these proposals. It was not until 1949 that the leave provisions were won. Conferences were held, and at one meeting Senator Ashley, a Minister in the Chifley Government said that finance would be arranged and approved by the Commonwealth Parliament for such a scheme. Mr Baddeley, a Minister in the State Labor Administration, who represented the New South Wales Government, said that his Government would play its part.
On ‘he 14th October 1949 the Coal Industry Tribunal granted long service leave. Six days later, on 20th October 1949, the Coal Excise Bill and companion legislation were given first and second readings. It is worth noting that the legislation was assented to promptly, on 28th October 1949. The commendable speed in the passing of the legislation and its becoming law is a tribute to John Dedman, the then Minister for Defence and Minister for Postwar Reconstruction. From that time, long service leave was an established fact, removed from the debate and industrial strife.
The problem of financing long service leave payments was solved by an excise on all coal produced, both for home consumption and for the export trade, lt should be noted that at this time there had been considerable discussion on how this legislation might lie financed. The coal-mine owners had said that they could not finance it. Some were strong and some were weak. The major ones said: ‘We do not want to agree to this’. The smaller ones claimed that their financial structure would not permit them to finance long service leave provisions. Fortunately, the State Government agreed with the excise provisions and approved of an excise being levied on coal from the mines in New South Wales operated by that State and its instrumentalities. The first excise levy was 6d a ton and this was later reduced to 5d or 4.17c a ton on all coal produced. In 1961 amending legislation reduced the levy on home consumption coal to 4d or 3.33c, a ton. As the trust fund was buoyant, with the object of stimulating the export of black coal excise on coal for export was removed at that time. Now that funds are required to maintain the solvency of the trust fund and to enable long service leave lo be paid, the Government believes that all coal produced should share the cost of long service leave payments. I support that view, and it is supported by the Opposition generally. We believe that those who work in the industry should have long service leave entitlements and that all coal produced should share the burden of meeting the cost. The Opposition accepts this view and notes that coal for export will not attract the equivalent full levy until 1971. This legislation provides for an excise on home consumption coal at the rate of 4.4c a ton. Commencing on 1st November this year, excise at the rate of 1.1c a ton will be levied on coal for export, and this excise will increase by 1.1c a ton each year until 1971 when it will be 4.4c a ton, the same rate as that levied on home consumption coal.
Long service leave has been a boon to those who work in the coal mines. I am pleased to support the two measures because they represent progress in a humanitarian way, security and an effective approach to the problems of the mining industry which have been neglected for many years.
The Minister’s second reading speech dealt in detail with the various aspects of the legislation. The Opposition accepts the statements made by him. We look forward to a speedy passage of the respective Bills and we hope that the harmony and peace which have prevailed in the coal industry, and the various features of advanced legislation, will continue. The Joint Coal Board made its contribution. Long service leave has helped. Retirement pensions also have been of great value. All of these have helped to uplift the mine worker and give him a place of dignity in the industrial and social life of our community. I wish the legislation a speedy passage.
– I was pleased to hear the remarks of the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti). Long service leave for employees in the black coal mining industry was a considerable innovation when it was brought in. As the honourable member for Macquarie stated, the mine workers had for years included long service in logs of claims. Work conditions in the mines are much more up to date than they used to be. We on this side of the House are pleased that we can play our part in making the trust fund solvent.
When legislation of this kind was originally brought in, it was at first thought, because it was unique, that difficulties would arise, but co-operation by the mine owners, who finance long service leave, ensured that there were none. As the honourable member for Macquarie stated, for some lime in the early stages a levy was paid on all coal produced, but because the fund was rather buoyant and to give incentive for the export of coal, it was decided not to impose a levy on coal exported. It is now necessary to bolster the fund and the levy on coal for export will be increased annually for 4 years until the rale is the same as that levied on home consumption coal. Mr Speaker, I have much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
– in reply - 1 thank the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti) and the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) who have spoken in support of this measure. The honourable member for Macquarie has a keen interest, in and knowledge of the coal industry and I am grateful for his support.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Bury) read a third rime.
EXCISE TARIFF BILL (No. 2) 1968 Second Reading
Consideration resumed from 10 October (vide page 1 868), on motion by Mr Bury: That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Bury) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 10 October (vide page 1868). on motion by Mr Bury: That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Bury) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 13 August (vide page 110), on motion by Mr Bury:
That ‘he Bill be now read a second lime.
– This is a Bill to authorise the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) to borrow the sum of Si 26m to be advanced to the States towards the cost of the States’ housing programmes for the forthcoming year. The Bill follows very closely the legislation which has been in existence in various forms for some 20 years. I am sorry, however, to notice that, once again the Government is making available to the States a large sum of money for housing without attempting to bring some sanity to bear on the question of housing planning and urban development. The time has long since passed when we can afford to go on any longer spending enormous sums of money year after year building houses without giving some thought to the need for developing our cities in a more orderly fashion than is now the case. lt is l rue that under the Constitution the Commonwealth has no power directly lo engage in home building projects other ,ha, for war service homes and homes for Commonwealth employees and members of the Services. It could even build homes. I would think, for migrants who were brought here under the Commonwealth Government’s immigration powers. But the Commonwealth has no power directly to engage in building homes for the ordinary citizen. However, the Commonwealth can and should, when making-money available to thi States, lay down certain criteria which would have to be observed by the States before they would be:eligible to qualify for the financial assistance which the Commonwealth makes available. Under the Constitution the Commonwealth can attach conditions to grants to the States for any purpose. Since we are now dealing with the question of home building programmes, we should be attaching conditions to the money that we make available to the States. A lot more money than that which is provided for in the Bill is needed.
At the same time I recognise that there comes a point where additional funds merely increase the costs. If the supplies of building materials and building labour are limited or cannot rise above a given point, all that is accomplished by injecting more money into that particular industry is the inflation of the cost of home building. I recognise that. However, I believe we are well below that danger point. We are well below the point at which we should say that we have not enough bricks to build more homes than we have now, or have not enough cement or timber or building labour to be fully used.
I am sorry to say that in South Australia millions of bricks are stacked up for which buyers cannot be found. A principal factor in that situation is the unfortunate trend in home building in South Australia to the construction of brick veneer homes rather than solid brick homes. I think this is a tragedy. I do not believe that brick veneer homes can be as durable as solid brick homes. However, the fact remains that millions of bricks are on grass in South Australia for which buyers cannot be found. So there is not really a shortage of building materials.
– In South Australia.
– That is so. I am not speaking about other States, but I do not believe that we have reached saturation point anywhere in this regard. We could be spending more money than we are spending at present. Instead of continuing to give large sums of money to the States for building programmes we should start to lay down specific standards of services, amenities and accessibility needs. I believe that that is the duty of the Commonwealth Government.
When the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury) was Minister for Housing, on several occasions he indicated that he was aware of this problem. The most generous thing I can say is that he was transferred te his present portfolio before he had an opportunity to give effect to points he made on two or three occasions in Hashes of great wisdom when referring to this problem. He said in August 1965:
To damp down housing because of undue expansion in other sections of the economy may distort our ultimate priorities for survival.
That was a very sage remark. He also drew attention to the need for proper planning. I hoped that he would stay with the Department of Housing long enough to give legislative effect to his thoughts. There is one weakness in this legislation. It is laid down that the States must provide to co-operative building societies a certain percentage of the money made available to them for private home building. That, is a good idea. It is excellent that we should earmark for building cooperative societies some of the money we make available to the States. But one of the great gaps in the provision of homes is attention to the requirements of aged and invalid persons. That is more true of invalids than of aged persons, because the Aged Persons Homes Act caters in part for aged people. That legislation does not extend to the provision of homes for invalids.
Invalids today are in dire need of homes. 1 refer to people who are not at the point of being bedridden but are so handicapped that they are not permitted to work. If those people were given an opportunity to live quietly without undue physical exertion - I refer particularly to people with heart trouble - they would live their normal life span. But when they seek an opportunity to get into a home they are told: These homes are not available for you’. The unspoken words seem to be: !We are afraid you may live too long’. I know of an invalid who is only 27 years of age. Properly looked after, he will live for another 40 years. However, according to the powers that be, it seems to be bad economics to put such a person into a home if he is to stay there for 40 years. For this reason they say that they would prefer to give accommodation in the homes to the aged - people who will die and not occupy a place in a home for a very long period. This is a callous approach and one that illustrates a complete lack of understanding of the problems of these few people. There are not many of these people compared to the number of people who are aged. But their plight is a desperate one that would bring tears to the eyes of anyone who had any feeling of sympathy for his fellow man. Only a person with a heart of stone could see the plight of these unfortunate people without being moved to want to do something for them.
I know that the Minister at this stage cannot do anything about this group. But I ask him and his advisers - who are not here, though I hope they will read what T say - either to have the plight of these unfortunate invalids dealt with by an amendment to the Aged Persons Homes Act or next year, when money is made available to the States for housing generally, to require the States to earmark some of that money for this purpose.
There is a very urgent need for the construction of homes for letting to those in the low income groups. These homes would be occupied by working men with large families who are trying to give their children the opportunity of a good education. These people are sober minded, hardworking and hardsaving. In order to save enough money, the wife, too, sometimes has to work. I know of a woman in this city who has five children and who is working to try to get together the money to buy a home. I believe that people on low incomes ought not to be overlooked. The position is even worse where children are small, the mother is not able to go out to work and the father is an honest, hardworking, Unskilled labourer who wants to save his children from being an unskilled labourer like himself and is desperately trying to give them an education. Unfortunately a man in these circumstances can never save enough money to buy his own home. The only way such a man can give his children a proper chance is by renting a home. The amount of rent to be charged should not be more than 20% of his salary.
When the Australian Labor Party first brought in the concept of Commonwealth aid to the States in 1945 the proposition was then made clear that the amount of rent charged should not be more than onefifth of a person’s weekly wage. We said that the Commonwealth would bear threefifths of the loss entailed in making up the difference from consolidated revenue provided that the State made up two-fifths of the loss. Maybe there would not be a great number of people on the present basic wage of about $36 a week who would be affected. Under the Labor Party’s formula a person on this wage would be required to pay about $8.50 a week in rent. This does not seem much to those who are on good incomes. But $7.50, when it represents onefifth of his income, is a lot to a working man who is trying to rear and educate a large family of little children and give them a fair chance in life. For such a person a rent equivalent to one-fifth of the weekly income, small though that rent may seem to be compared with normal rents, is a tremendous burden. This burden should not be allowed to grow any greater. We seem to have paid too little attention to the needs of these unfortunate people. In addition to making money available in the way that this Bill provides, provision should have been made also for an additional amount to meet the cost of reclamation and the rehabilitation of depressed areas in accordance with modern town planning proposals.
My own district of Hindmarsh is typical of most older inner city electorates. Outer electorates are not like mine. All inner city electorates are, I suppose, much the same as my own electorate pf Hindmarsh in which there are the areas of Thebarton, Bowden, Southwark, Brompton, Mile End and Hindmarsh - well-known, oldestablished areas with names known to every person living in our State. Most people who have ever visited South Australia know some of these names if not all of them. These are old places with little narrow streets consisting of shun dwellings which slowly are giving way to factories. But these areas should never be set aside for the establishment of factories. These are the best residential areas around the city of Adelaide. They are close to the heart of the city. Because they are part of the old development of Adelaide proper they are in the centre of the now sprawling metropolis. In addition to that, most of them have huge parkland frontages. They have good road and rail access to the city and to the outer suburbs. People living in any of these areas in high density flat dwellings would be in much closer proximity to their place of work than any of them are now. This is an ideal place. The churches arc almost empty now, because factories do not go to church. The hall’s are empty and are falling down. The public facilities and old shops are no longer in use, but all would spring to life again if only we had a sane approach to urban development and to our housing problems.
There is in Adelaide now a proposal for a freeway. Eventually there will have to be a freeway in Adelaide. Every city in the Commonwealth will one day have to face the problem of constructing freeways either under or over some place that is now being developed. We ought to find out now where these freeways will be situated and plan our housing accordingly. The places that I have talked about are ideal for high density population and high density housing facilities. We should be putting the bulldozer through the old slums in that area and giving to the people who occupy the slums a prior right to occupy one of the home units in the high density fiats that would take the place of the present slum areas. The people would be better off. There would be more breathing space around the places where the people now live. The factories could be made to go into parts more suitable for factories and we would have a much better city. In addition to this we ought to give some attention to the establishment of new towns.
In the United Kingdom, both under the present Government and the tory government which preceded it. tremendous advances have been made in the development of new towns out of London, in most cases at least 30 miles from London. I shudder to think what London would be like without these new towns. If one takes in the outer suburbs, that city now has 13 million people. What would London have been like without the additional 30 or so new towns that have been developed on the periphery of that great city? We should be constructing such towns in our own country. There is no reason at all why people should have to continue making the big cities bigger. Something should be done to establish entirely new cities. There are plenty of places along our coastline which would provide magnificent harbours and there are many inlets which could be developed into suitable harbours. Plenty of places are far more suitable for residential living than our great cities.
In South Australia we have two new towns. I have to give credit here to the Playford Government for seeing the wisdom of establishing new towns. In
South Australia we have the city of Elizabeth, which is miles out of Adelaide - although it is now almost joining Adelaide, so rapid has been its development towards Adelaide and the development of the northern suburbs of Adelaide towards it. We can now see that the proper place for its establishment would have been Gawler. South of Adelaide we have Morphett Vale and Christies Beach. These towns have given Adelaide a breathing space that could be multiplied in South Australia and copied in many other cities of Australia. At this stage I seek leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 26 September (vide page 1530), on motion by Mr Freeth’
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I understand that for some technical reason this Bill has to be passed here to go lo the Senate by a specified date. I was not informed of that fact earlier, but T am willing to debate it authough I raise objections to dealing with it at this time of the night. It is wrong for business to be done in haste. The Bill is to enable the Australian Government to underwrite the loan which Papua and New Guinea is incurring from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The loan, of $US7m, or $A6.3m, is to assist in financing the extension of telecommunication projects in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. The full cost of the project is about twice this amount - something like $14m. Some details of the projected expenditure are contained in the document that the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) circulated a week or two ago entitled ‘Programmes and Policies for the Economic Development of Papua and New Guinea’. One of the reasons why 1 object to this matter coming on as late as this is that the House gives very scanty attention to its responsibilities in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. It is an area that we are charged with looking after for a considerable number of years yet. It is moving towards self government, but Australia has to provide a great deal of financial assistance for many years to come. That financial assistance will help this area of about 2 million people to improve its standards of living and to take its place in the modern world. Of course communications, particularly telegraphic and telephonic communications, are important in this regard, and the report to which I referred, at page 61, states:
Inadequacies in the telephone and telegraphic services, in particular, are an impediment to economic growth. A telecommunications programme is therefore being implemented with the following objectives:
Alleviation of the present congestion and delays in local and long distance internal traffic.
Improved access to international networks.
Establishment of a modern telecommunications system capable of further development.
That is where the major part of this money will go. The money will be spent over a period of 4 or 5 years, lt will help to improve the telephonic communications in the area. Perhaps a warning should be sounded in this chamber occasionally. Sometimes, in aiding the development of these areas we tend to think that it will be patterned in the way we would like it to be patterned rather than that the pattern will bc chosen by the people themselves.
When I looked at the statistics on where these telephones are to be and the number to be installed, as set out in table 7.2 on page 62 of the document that the Minister circulated, I saw that the number of telephone subscribers at the moment is 7,703 and that in this 5-year programme it will be raised to 15,000 by 1972-73. In a population of more than 2 million - I presume that by 1972-73 the population will probably be of the order of 2± million - 15,000 telephone subscribers is a relatively small number. 1 suggest that, the majority of the telephone subscribers will be not indigenes of New Guinea, as they are called, but Europeans. One of the great difficulties in economic development, particularly capital expenditure, in these areas is to avoid the expenditure being incurred not for the majority of the people but for those in the administrative, commercial and merchant groups. I know that for a long time it will be difficult to sift out this kind of problem. Nevertheless I believe that occasionally in this chamber we should have the opportunity to argue these matters out.
The document to which 1 have referred contains a statement that gets as near as one can get to the gross territory product. When adequate statistics are not available and when the major part of the economy is still subsistent - the document shows that just on one-half of the total population of Papua and New Guinea is still at what might be called a subsistence stage of economic development - to try to calculate the gross national product, as we do with our more sophisticated statistical techniques, is not necessarily a very sensible exercise. But an estimate is made. It shows that the total supplies were of the magnitude of S500m in 1965-66. That represents about 2% of the gross national product of Australia. Yet the population of Papua and New Guinea is approximately one-sixth that of Australia. That gives some idea of the disparities between the standards in that country and those in our country. The great difficulty in Papua and New Guinea, as in many other undeveloped parts of the world, is to raise the standards. They can he raised in any extensive sense only by large injections of capital, most of which will have to come from outside the Territory.
Perhaps we could take a comparison, though, for the reasons I have given, direct comparisons are not necessarily realistic. If the same proportion of the gross national product were applied to capital expenditure as against consumption expenditure in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as is applied in Australia, capital expenditure would be of the order of $125m per annum. 1 think the current figure for capital expenditure in the Territory is about S50m. At least, that seems to be the figure, judging by an answer that the Minister gave to a question asked in the House by my colleague, the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) a few days ago. Even if the proportion were the same, much more needs to be done in the Territory through capital expenditure that needs to be done in Australia. This is some indication indirectly of what the developed parts of the world must do to help the underdeveloped parts. I suppose in the Territory we must move in a very small way. Certainly one way of improving the situation there, bearing in mind the terrain and the geography of the Territory, is to provide a better network of telephonic and telegraphic communication. Such an improvement in communication has been worked out as part of an economic plan. This afternoon an honourable gentleman on the Government side of the House said that he was one who did not regard planning as a dirty word. I am pleased to note that there is no reluctance to talk about a 5-y-ear plan for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I hope that some day we will begin lo get the same sort of systematic appraisal of the needs of the Australian economy .is seems to be thought necessary for Papua and New Guinea.
In view of the lateness of the hour and the urgent need for the Bill to go to another place, I will say only that we support the measure. I hope that at a later stage in this sessional period we will be given an opportunity to debate the problems of Papua and New Guinea more fully. The statement of the Minister for External Territories on the development programme for Papua and New Guinea is still on the notice paper. I hope that we will be given the opportunity to debate in greater detail the question of the future economic development of Papua and New Guinea.
1 1 1 .4] - in reply - 1 assure the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) that 1 am quite willing to have the House debate the economic affairs of Papua and New Guinea. Whether such a debate can be held depends on the arrangement of the business of the House, and 1 have no control over that matter. The honourable member referred to such matters as the provision of. telephones and the costs involved. The project to which the Bill relates is the result of a survey conducted by the World Bank. Our proposal has been accepted by the Bank. I point out again that this body has had considerable experience in underdeveloped countries; so our efforts in the Territory have some support when they receive its approval.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second lime.
Message from Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Barnes) read a third time.
Colong Caves - Education Motion (by Mr Barnes) proposed: That the House do now adjourn.
– This is one of the rare occasions on which I will take the opportunity to speak on the motion for the adjournment of the House. 1 wish to refer to the Colong Caves area of New South Wales and the threat to this animal and bird sanctuary by the issue of a licence to the Australian Portland Cement Co. Ltd to mine limestone in the area. This reserve in the southern Bl’ue Mountains. 62 miles west south west of Sydney, was first gazetted in 1899 for the preservation of the caves, lt was proclaimed a bird and animal sanctuary in 1928 and rededicated for public recreation and preservation of the caves in 1939. lt is one of the wildest and most beautiful unspoiled areas near Sydney and contains quite a lot of unique flora and fauna. The caves are comparable with any found elsewhere in Australia, and new caves are still’ being discovered. One cave is 1.200 feet long and contains magnificent formations of stalagmites, stalactites, oolites, shawls, helictites. terraces and sparkling crystalline (lowstone. Yet despite all’ this and the stated policy of the New South Wales Government to protect and develop national parks within the State, one finds that the boundary of the Kanangra-Boyd National Park, which includes the whole of the Colong Reserve, has been altered to exclude some 5,000 acres in order to allow the Portland Cement Co. to quarry the limestone within the reserve for the manufacture of cement. This will involve the removal of the whole of Mount Armour, the erection of a crushing plant on the site, the construction of a 100-million gallon capacity dam on the nearby Kowmung River, the disposal of overburden and cleared timber, the erection of a slurry pipe and power lines and the construction of a network of service roads and of workmen’s quarters, all of which probably wil’l cause erosion, siltation and pollution of the Warragamba Dam, one of the few unpolluted water storages around Sydney.
I have here a copy of a letter from one of my constituents, Mrs B. Goldstein, Honorary Secretary of the Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, which was addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. The letter is in these terms:
You are doubtless aware of the possible pollution of the Warragamba catchment area by the proposed working of limestone in the Colong Caves area. Not only will there be the actual works and people involved in them in the area but there is also the possibility of a dam across the Kowmung River and the use, for the purposes of the undertaking, of the water from that river.
Up to date the catchment area has been carefully protected from invasion of any kind and it seems quite wrong, as well as dangerous, that private enterprise be allowed access to an area forbidden to the public for health reasons, particularly one in which is located one of the few remaining completely unpolluted streams in the Sydney area.
We would like to hear what action you propose to take to prevent this possible pollution.
Mrs Goldstein is typical of many of my constituents who are alarmed at the action of the New South Wales Government in granting the Portland Cement Co. a licence to mine the limestone deposits in the Colong Caves area and so despoil one of the most beautiful primitive areas near Sydney and destroy much unique flora and fauna. I hope that the New South Wales Government will heed the pleas of so many of its citizens and revoke the mining licence.
Mr St JOHN (Warringah) [11.10] - I want to speak for a few minutes on three matters. First, the agitation by Parents and Citizens Associations and others for more money to be spent on our State schools; secondly, the agitation by Roman Catholic parents for more State aid for independent schools; and, thirdly, the campaign by the States for a bigger share of the moneys derived from taxation for various purposes, particularly education, which is the biggest single item in the States’ budgets.
All three of these things are quite obviously inter-related. They all reflect growing dissatisfaction with the present situation. They are in part the result of the new high educational standards which parents and their children now expect as their birthright, as evidenced by a vastly increased intake into the universities, a much greater number remaining on at secondary schools, the extra year introduced under the Wyndham plan in New South Wales, and the demand for a better student-teacher ratio, for better trained teachers, for less over-crowded classrooms and generally for better modern facilities in every aspect of the educational system.
As to the first matter, the agitation by Parents and Citizens Associations and others for more money to be spent on our State schools, I have only to refer to the meetings which are being held and the letters that are being written to me in my own electorate, and no doubt are being written to members representing every one of the other 123 electorates represented in this Parliament. The need is serious and noone denies in principle that the money must be found.
The second matter is the agitation by Roman Catholic parents and others for more State aid for their schools. Their need, too, is obvious but unfortunately some dispute still exists in some quarters as to whether governments should help. I have no doubt that they should. It is quite wrong in my view to see these claims for more money for State and independent schools respectively as being in any kind of competition with one another. In each case the demand is for more funds, which are surely needed, for our children, the children of the Australian nation. Whether they are Roman Catholic children being educated, as they desire to be, in their own schools, or children in other independent schools, or non-Roman Catholic children in State schools, is quite beside the point; in each case they are the children of this country and all of us have an interest in seeing that each and every one of them, without distinction or exception, is educated to the highest possible standard, and that they have equality of opportunity in this regard. We must assist them in accordance with their need.
A meeting took place at Manly in my electorate as recently as last Friday night, lt was attended by some 550 people. It was addressed, and very effectively at that, by a Mr W. Crowley, President of the Manly-Warringah Regional Parents and Friends Association. I wish I could repeat here some of the facts and figures he gave, but time will not permit. The meeting was also addressed by the Leader of the Opposition in this House (Mr Whitlam), by the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Hughes), backed up by myself, a Liberal and a Labor Member of the State House, and by Mr J. Kane, Federal Secretary of the Democratic Labor Party. A meeting attended by such a large number of people, all unanimous in demanding one thing, and addressed by such a collection of politicians, must necessarily have been an important meeting in social and political terms, as indeed it was. The people concerned came, I should think, very largely from within the new boundaries of my electorate, and they had one thing in common: They were the parents, or friends of parents, of children attending Roman Catholic schools in the area. They were all disturbed about the one thing - the lack of funds to carry on those schools - despite the increased burdens which they themselves were carrying. The leaflet calling the meeting bore on one side the photograph of a Mile b>>y and the words: ‘How will they educate me?’ At the foot it read:
Education in Crisis: Meeting at St Mary’s Hall. Manly, 1 1th October 1968, 8 p.m.
On the reverse side, if honourable members will bear with me, for I believe this lo bc important. it read as follows:
We invite you to St. Mary’s Hall Manly on 11th October at 8 p.m. to attend a meeting of vital importance to all Catholic parents in ManlyWarringah area concerned with their children’s education.
Members of all Stale political parties have been invited to attend and answer questions from the audience and from a guest speaker on the following crucial issues:
The closure of 5lh and 6th forms at Si Paul’s Christian Brothers College, Manly, and the grim consequences this poses for Australian school children of the Catholic faith.
The lack of consideration given lo education in the recent Federal Budget.
An explanation of the supposedly ‘free’ education system to which parents are forced to contribute millions of dollars yearly.
The impending bankruptcy of the independent school system.
Present overcrowding of classes in States schools and the impossible burden closures of Catholic schools would impose on the Slate system.
Education in chaos throughout Australia and the dangerous drift of teachers away from (his country.
The closure of 5th and 6th forms at St Paul’s indicates that independent education is in danger of ultimate extinction. The only way to avoid this happening is for you to add your voice in protest! One voice is one vote . . . you will be listened to . . . come along, and bring friends to this important meeting!
Having attended that meeting, and having heard what was said, I felt it important enough to bring the matter to the attention of this House at the earliest possible moment, and this I now do, coupling with it the equally clamant demands, to which 1 have already referred, for a belter deal for the Slate schools.
These people made out a very good case. So effective were they, indeed, that no politician present sought to gainsay (heir case, even if he did not in specific terms promise that his Party could or would do anything about it. I suppose Mr Kane was the exception to that. His Party, of course, does openly advocate increased State aid. And 1 should add that Mr Healey, the local State Liberal member, assured the audience that the State Liberal Government would do more - honourable members will know how the sentence ends - if the Commonwealth Government were to provide the necessary additional funds. The Leader of the Opposition, and the State Labor member present, inhibited no doubt by their Party’s policies, promised nothing but an inquiry, but were copious in their criticism of the Government’s shortcomings.
This brings me to the third point, if more money is needed for State and independent schools, as it certainly it, where is it to come from? My friend and colleague, the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Hughes) told the meeting that the only alternative to increased regressive taxes by the States was increased income tax lo be levied for the purpose by the Commonwealth, and left the audience in little doubt that if a choice had to be made he preferred the latter. I must say that I agree wilh him.
The requirement that more money be spent on education for the reasons which I have mentioned, which are not peculiar to Australia but apply throughout the world, constitutes, as I see it, the biggest single cause of the present crisis in CommonwealthState relationships. But the conflict between the Commonwealth and the States, although it dramatises the issue, also obscures its real nature. The real issue is whether we as . a community are prepared to find the extra money which is so obviously needed if our State and independent schools, our universities and technical colleges are to have the moneys they so obviously require if they are to reach the standards now expected of them.
So far as the independent schools are concerned, we cannot reasonably expect the parents to meet the whole of the extra costs involved. Already, by not sending their children to our State schools, and by having them taught instead in the schools they have provided, they are saving us a total expenditure far greater than anything they have yet received by way of State aid. This alone, apart from other factors, gives them a moral claim upon us which cannot be denied.
By some means or other these problems must be solved or alleviated in a satisfactory way. 1 believe that any party, any government, any member in a swing seat who fails to read the signs and to satisfy these demands will find that vengeance will be exacted at the polls. These parents mean business, and one cannot blame them.
I commend these problems to the urgent attention of the Government and all honourable members. This is not merely a political agitation or a conflict between the States and the Commonwealth; it is a national problem which we must face and to which we must find a solution.
Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 11.19 p.m.
The following answers to questions uponnotice were circulated:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea. Malaysia, Netherlands. New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom. United States of America and Vietnam.
The Republic of China was originally a member of the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council and attended the first two meetings of the Council in 1949 and 1950. It subsequently withdrew from the Council after withdrawing from membership of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
(0 Hospital, medical and pharmaceutical benefits. The League has also asked ‘that Repatriation hospital, medical and pharmaceutical benefits should be extended to all returned ex-servicemen of the first World War and the Boer War without the necessity of establishing any association between the disability or the illness with their war service’.
A precise estimate is not possible but, on the best available information, the estimated cost of this proposal would be about $3.5m annually: and on the basis used in reply to Question No. 304 in 1967 capital expenditure of up to a further$2m could be required.
It might be noted that the League’s proposal is in broader terms than was the case in 1967. (The amount of $9.3m in (a) above includes an estimated $400,000 arising from an increase in the Intermediate Kate pension which is adjusted automatically with increase in the Special Rate (T.P.I, or General Rate pensions).)
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– Fraser - The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Table A provides the information requested in respect of biological research. Table B provides similar information in respect of economic and marketing research. The cost of this research was included in the normal expenditure of the Department of Primary Industry, and special cost records have nol been maintained.
Economic anil Marketing Research - Economic studies of the western crayfish, prawn fisheries and the South Australian tuna fishery are being considered by the Department of Primary Industry for the period 1968-70.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable member’s questions are as follows: 1. (a) Fourteen patrol boats were ordered in
November 1965 and a further six in June 1966.
Two more have been completed and Wi commission before the end of this month, lt is expected that all twenty boats will ba completed by 30th April 1969.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 October 1968, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1968/19681017_reps_26_hor61/>.