26th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. W. J. Aston) took the chair at 3.30 p.m., and read prayers.
-I have received from His Excellency the Governor-General a commission authorising me to administer to members of the House the oath or affirmation of allegiance. I now lay the commission on the table.
– I have received returns to the writs which I issued on 30th April and 1st May respectively for the election of members to serve for the electoral divisions of Bendigo in the State of Victoria and Gwydir in the State of New South Wales, to fill vacancies caused by the resignations of Noel Lawrence Beaton and
Archibald Ian Allan. By the endorsements on the writs it is certified that Andrew David Kennedy has been elected to serve as the member for the Division of Bendigo and that Ralph James Dunnet Hunt has been elected to serve as the member for the Division of Gwydir.
Mr Ralph James Dunnet Hunt was introduced and made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Gwydir, New South Wales.
Mr Andrew David Kennedy was introduced and made and subscribed the oath of allegiance as member for the Division of Bendigo, Victoria.
Mr CLYDE CAMERON presented a petition from certain electors of the State of South Australia showing that John Zarb a 20-year-old Melbourne postman, is imprisoned in Pentridge Gaol for failure to comply with the National Service Act, an Act which offends the conscience of many electors who are not directly touched by its provisions; that his failure to comply with the Act was done as a matter of conscience, and that his imprisonment must therefore cause concern to all electors who oppose the National Service Act, and the decision to send conscripted troops to Vietnam.
The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will repeal the National Service Act, and cause John Zarb, and all others imprisoned under it, to be released.
Petition received and read.
Mr BOSMAN presented a petition from certain electors of the Commonwealth showing that physiotherapy is not amongst the items included for Commonwealth benefit under the health insurance scheme.
The petitioners pray that adequate refund for physiotherapy treatment ordered by a registered medical practitioner may be included in the Commonwealth benefit scheme in like manner to other medical benefits.
Petition received and read.
Mr HOWSON presented a petition from certain citizens of the State of Victoria showing that the establishment by the Government of a Ministry of Peace and Disarmament would:
The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will do everything within its power to ensure that the Government will establish a Ministry of Peace and Disarmament to:
– I ask the Minister for
Health a question. Does he recall the assurance he gave me in a letter on 9th May that ‘should any instances occur in the future where publicity directed to purely political objectives is undertaken or financed by any registered medical or hospital benefit organisation, I will certainly see that appropriate action is taken’? I now ask him whether his attention has been drawn to reports that the Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia and other health insurance organisations registered with his Department intend to participate actively in the coming House of Representatives election and to appropriate contributors’ funds for this purpose. Will he reiterate his undertaking to take action against political activities by these organisations to which people of all political views must at present contribute if they are to receive assistance from the Commonwealth in meeting their health costs?
– I did give the honourable member the assurance that he sought, and I took an earlier opportunity at the last meeting of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Council to reiterate and explain the views that the Government and I hold on this matter. The matter raised by him today has not been brought to my attention. If it is, I willlook at it. I think the House should take into account that the executives and boards of the health insurance funds are composed of a lot of honourable men who perform selfless work, many in an honorary capacity. They have been subjected to a tirade of abuse and misrepresentation by the honourable gentleman and his colleagues in the Labor Party over a long period of time simply to serve the political purposes of honourable members opposite. Most of the allegations made against officers of these funds were rejected by the Nimmo Committee in its report. If the honourable gentleman is to behave in this way for bis own political purposes he should not scream if occasionally these people move to defend themselves and to explain their position.
– Is the Minister for the Army aware that in the programme This Day Tonight’ screened on ABV2 in Melbourne on 4th July this year the statement was made that during a demonstration that day outside the American Consulate in Melbourne troops had been standing by with fixed bayonets, although later that night the Australian Broadcasting Commission reported that this was incorrect? Can the Minister advise how this statement came to be made? Was it founded on fact? Was this claim repeated on 24th July in an article published in ‘Broadside’? Will the Minister advise the House and the country of the truth of these statements?
– I welcome the opportunity to comment on this matter. It is certainly true that some currency was given to reports that troops of Southern Command were on stand-by to prepare for and to control demonstrations which had been planned to be held against the Vietnam war on 4th July 1969. I take this opportunity to assure the House that the reports were completely unfounded. I understand that they were generated as a result of a planned programme of political propaganda directed at the Army through the Melbourne news media by left wing dissident groups which were involved in the demonstrations. False information of the disposition of troops in Southern Command was given to most of the Melbourne news media but when this information was referred to Headquarters, Southern Command, it was immediately denied by that Headquarters. In the several days prior to 4th July, Headquarters, Southern Command, was at pains to point out to all news media in the Melbourne area including the ABC that reports of this type were quite untrue. Because of this fact it is regrettable that a report was released by the ABC in the programme This Day Tonight’ stating that two companies of infantry were being held in reserve close to the United States Consulate in Commercial Road, Prahran, to assist the police should their assistance be required. Immediately the statement was made by the ABC, Headquarters, Southern Command contacted the television station concerned and a retraction of the statement was made.
– But the damage had been done.
– Yes, the damage had been done. A denial of the claim was later carried by most Melbourne news media. I express concern that a national television network should release material of this kind without endeavouring to authenticate it with responsible authorities. A similar and equally unfounded report has recently been circulated that troops have been on stand-by in case they are required in connection with the current industrial unrest involving employees of the State Electricity Commission. That report is also completely unfounded. Because the Australian Army is the principal government agency applying policy in relation to Vietnam and national service it is under continual attack in this country from the lunatic fringe of the dissident and the disaffected. Undoubtedly the two instances of unfounded rumours to which I have referred are but part of this attack and it is well that the House should be aware of the situation.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. Did he say on 3rd August that the Australian Labor Party’s alternative national health programme ‘is completely dependent on the co-operation of the medical profession in using a fixed schedule of fees’? Did the Nimmo Committee conclude that the element of certainty as to costs to be met by insurance is vital to any system of health insurance? Is it not then a fact that the present system of voluntary health insurance and the alternative programme put forward by the Australian Labor Party are equally dependent upon agreements being reached with the medical profession on the stabilisation of fees?
– The answer to the honourable gentleman is no. The Nimmo Committee quite specifically rejected the proposal of a fixed schedule of fees for the very good reason - amongst others I would imagine - that it is well known that the medical profession does not regard such a scheme as desirable and, in the Australian context, would not agree to operate a fixed schedule of fees. The Nimmo Committee did put forward a proposal related to a most common fee which is a very different matter from imposing a fixed schedule of fees on the medical profession which, as I understand it, is what is contained in the proposal of the Australian Labor Party.
But the Australian Labor Party’s proposal goes further than that. It is not only utterly dependent on doctors agreeing to a fixed schedule of fees, negotiated somehow or other - I would imagine, imposed on them - but also utterly dependent for its workability on doctors being prepared to send their bills direct to the health insurance funds and to accept 85% of the schedule of fees, which they probably have had imposed on them anyway. The only point that I make in answer to the honourable gentleman’s question is that the Nimmo Committee’s recommendations and the Australian Labor Party’s proposal are utterly different.
– My question is directed to the Attorney-General. It relates to the search ordered by Cabinet and conducted by Commonwealth Police, acting under what we now know to be invalid warrants, of the premises owned and occupied by Mr and Mrs Maxwell Newton on 23rd May of this year. Is it a fact, as has been alleged, that some of the documents seized and some of the information obtained by the Commonwealth Police had no relation to the possible commission of any offence of the kind described in the warrants? Have any of those documents or has any of that information been conveyed to the Prime Minister or any other Minister? Finally, I ask the Attorney-General: What does the Government propose to do to make amends to Mr and Mrs Newton for the unlawful invasion of the privacy of their home and the illegal seizure of their private papers?
– Dealing first with the form of warrants, I think perhaps I should point out that no form of warrant is prescribed under section 10 of the Crimes Act. That section, under which warrants are issued, is perfectly general in its terms. The particular form used is one which has been in use since 1943 when Dr Evatt was Attorney-General. It is true that Mr Justice Fox has held that the form of the warrants was bad. Now, we are considering at the moment whether we should seek a further clarification of the law on this subject in a higher place. But, accepting for the moment the decision of His Honour, I think that I should put some things into perspective.
There is no question, on His Honour’s findings, that the evidence which the police took to the Justice of the Peace to ask for a warrant was sufficient to entitle them to a search warrant. There is no question that they could have got a warrant in the proper form. If they had, what they in fact did might have been done under a warrant in proper form. Nevertheless, the warrant issued was incorrect in two respects according to Mr Justice Fox; , firstly because it did not contain a correct recital of the fact that the Justice of the Peace was satisfied by the evidence that he had heard that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting there was in any house or place anything as to which there were reasonable grounds for believing that it would afford evidence of an offence, but in fact set out that the Justice of the Peace had been informed by an officer of the police force that there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence had been committed.
But, more importantly, His Honour held that the warrant was general in its terms and did not specify that the search should be for documents relating to a specified offence, for instance the offence of the disclosure of the Paris cable about which evidence had been given before the Justice of the Peace. This was the main objection on which the warrants were held invalid, but I should point out that the authorities show that even if the warrants had been so restricted, had the search disclosed documents which might have revealed other offences the officers would have been permitted to take those other documents. There would therefore have been that degree of correspondence in the conduct of the search. Therefore I think it is quite premature to be asking me what amends should be made. No doubt the law provides adequate remedies if anyone has been injured and I do not think I should be asked to answer questions along these lines.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Health supplementary to that asked him by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I ask the honourable gentleman whether he recalls the Nimmo Committee reporting that:
For many years ‘fee schedules’ have been provided by the medical profession in Canada and have been adhered to by almost all doctors in their charges to patients … we know of no valid reason why the medical profession here should refuse to follow the example of their opposite numbers in Canada, with the same beneficial results.
Has the President of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Medical Association attributed the Association’s rejection of the fee schedule to the Minister’s own administration of the pensioner medical service? Can the Minister give any other valid reason for the Australian Medical Association’s rejection of a fee schedule?
– I answered the question of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition as he asked it. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition attempted to suggest that the Nimmo Committee proposed a schedule of fees. It is, of course, the policy of the Australian Labor Party to impose a schedule of fees on the medical profession. I said that the Committee did not propose a schedule of fees but a system based on a most common fee approach, which is a very different matter and is regarded as such by the medical profession. That was a factual answer. If the honourable gentleman wants to know the attitude of the Australian Medical Association to these things and its reason for having that attitude I suggest he ask the Australian Medical Association.
– I direct a question to the Minister for the Army. Is it a fact that there has been a change in the transport of mail to our troops in Vietnam? Has this change brought about a delay in the delivery time?
– The expeditious processing of mail to and from Vietnam is, of course, a vital factor in the morale of our troops, and every effort is made to ensure that there is no avoidable delay. There has recently been a change in the carriage of first class mail. Previously first class mail was carried to Vietnam by Pan-American Airways from Sydney to Honolulu on 7 days a week and then from Honolulu to Saigon on 6 days a week. This has now been changed and the mail will be carried by R. and R. aircraft. The change has been made possible because space which was not previously available is now available on R. and R. aircraft. Whilst it is too early to assess in detail the result of the change, officers of my Department expect that the processing of mail will be no less favourable than it was under the previous arrangement. The time for delivery of first class mail from the post box to the soldier is between 3 and 6 days, depending on where the mail is posted. This mail, of course, is carried free of charge. There has been no change in the carriage of second class mail, which is carried by RAAF courier or charter aircraft at parcel post rates. The delivery time from post box to soldier is about 14 days. There has been no change in the arrangement for the carriage of mail between Saigon and Nui Dat.
– I address my question to the Minister for Health. Is it correct that soldiers in Vietnam are exposed to a very high incidence of the dreaded disease of leprosy? Is it also correct that some troops have returned to their homeland with a leprosy infection? Is it correct that, due to the long incubation period, it may be 3 years before an infected person actually becomes aware of his insensitive areas? If this is so, what are the appropriate authorities doing to protect our boys against the disease while they are in Vietnam? Are they all tested immediately before or upon arrival back in Australia? What arrangements are made for tests during the incubation period of 3 years after they return from Vietnam? Are all American troops from Vietnam tested before they are allowed into Australia on leave or for other purposes?
– Nothing on this matter has been brought to my attention. I will make inquiries and let the honourable gentleman know.
– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. He will no doubt be aware of recent reports of increased Russian naval activity in the Indian Ocean area and what is reported to be a growth of Russian diplomatic interest in the South East Asian region. I ask him to say what significance the Government attaches to these activities.
– Naturally the Government watches with some concern the trends and the strategic developments in the Indian Ocean area. There have been recent reports of increased Soviet naval activity there, but I think it is proper to put this on a factual basis. There have in fact been three separate visits by Russian naval flotillas to the Indian Ocean since early 1968. On no occasion did the flotilla consist of more than twelve ships in all, with seven fighting ships. The composition was about two cruisers, a couple of destroyers, some submarines and the balance would be supply vessels and tankers. These ships operated mainly from the Soviet base atVladivostok. Up to the present, although there has been an increasing Russian interest it poses no threat to any Australian interest.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Health. Has he noted the Nimmo Committee’s conclusion that ‘an unduly high proportion of the contributions received by some organisations is absorbed in operating expenses’? Is it his responsibility to see that the amounts appropriated for operating expenses by registered health benefit organisations do not exceed a prescribed percentage of their contribution income? Has his Department restrained certain of the more economically efficient organisations from increasing benefits out of proportion to those offered by smaller and less efficient organisations? What action has his Department taken or initiated to remedy these anomalies?
– I am aware of those comments and recommendations, as well as the other recommendations of the Nimmo Committee. They are under review by the Government at the present time. The Government has not yet made a final decision on them, but they are being examined.
In view of the statement he made, I remind the honourable gentleman that the Nimmo Committee pointed out that on the whole and for various reasons it was not the large funds which were the most economic but the small ones, particularly the small closed funds. The suggestion which is being assiduously fed out by the Australian Labor Party that there would be economies of operation if all health insurance contributors were pushed into one great monolithic fund was completely refuted in the report of the Nimmo Committee.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether it is true that it was expected that in thelast sessional period the Government would introduce legislation for the formation of a consulting engineering corporation from the staff of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. Is it also true that the Minister-
– Order! The honourable member may not ask for information on Government policy, although he may ask for an explanation of it. Nor may he ask whether a matter is true. If the honourable member rephrases his question he will be in order.
– Is it a fact that the Minister has reaffirmed the determination of the Government to establish such a corporation? In view of the great urgency of this matter and in order to avoid further diminution of the staff from which the members of the corporation will be drawn, will the Minister now inform the House when this legislation is expected to come before the Parliament?
– The Government has reaffirmed that it will set up a consulting organisation with selected elements of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. It is the intention of the Government to bring the necessary legislation before the House during this session.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Defence. Is the Jindivik remote control aircraft which was invented and designed by an Australian in Australia being manufactured in England? What is the reason for this procedure while the
Government Aircraft Factory at Fishermen’s Bend, in Victoria, has no programme of continuity in aircraft construction? In order that continuity can be established at that factory, will the Minister take action to have Jindivik aircraft constructed there?
– I am completely unaware of the basis of the honourable gentleman’s question. I have no knowledge whatsoever of Jindivik aircraft being manufactured in England. Australia has sold a number of Jindivik aircraft in Europe, both to Sweden and the United Kingdom. One would assume that repairs are made in England to aircraft flown by the United Kingdom Government. But I assure the honourable member that I have no knowledge whatsoever of this aircraft being built in England and I would be extremely surprised if it were. However, in view of the certainty in the tone of his voice I will make some inquiries.
– My question, which is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service, is based upon reference in a recent statement by him to 44% of registrants for national service being found medically below the standard for Army service. Will the Minister expand on this point? Does the Government consider this to be a disturbing trend in the national fitness of this age group? Will the Minister review the situation with his colleague, the Minister for Health, with a view to the National Fitness Council engaging in a programme to reduce this percentage of rejections?
– The standards which are applied by my Department are those fixed by the Army and other defence authorities. The same standard has to be met by national servicemen as is met by Regular Army recruits and those wishing to join the Citizen Military Forces. It is true that at first sight the rejections appear to be high. But what, in most cases, would appear to be a perfectly fit man or even an athletic man for ordinary purposes would not necessarily be fit for service in the jungles of South East Asia. For instance, acne, tinea and quite a number of other diseases, which normally would have little effect on Australians living in a capital city, up there would cause considerable inconvenience to and inefficiency in people if they were called upon to serve in the Army.
It is our intention to continue to apply precisely the same standards as those laid down by the Army. It is not for my Department or me to apply standards. But they are the necessary minimum service standards. I have no reason to think that they are not perfectly suitable for the purpose for which they are designed.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Does he agree that Australian Military Forces will not long remain in Vietnam and that control and administration of their areas must soon be taken over by others? Would he agree that this makes it unjustifiable to risk more Australian casualties and certainly even one more Australian life in Vietnam? In order to ensure that no more Australian lives are lost unnecessarily, will he soon announce a programme for the complete withdrawal of Australian forces from Vietnam?
– I do not think that anybody could say with the kind of certainty which the honourable member for Yarra said that the actions in Vietnam of allied troops would cease at some early date. Indeed, I believe that the President of the United States has made it clear that while he wishes to disengage, that disengagement is to be dependent upon what happens at the Paris peace talks and upon the reaction of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese to the strong moves towards peace which have been made by the United States, so far without being reciprocated by those who are engaging in attacking South Vietnam.
In these circumstances, I do not believe that there is any long term precise or firm programme for the disengagement of United States troops, but that that will depend upon circumstances in the future. For ourselves, the situation, Mr Speaker, remains as I have presented it to this House before. The forces provided by the United States for what we believe to be the proper protection of a country under attack - South Vietnam - have been greatly increased since our contingent of ground troops was built up to its present size. There has been a withdrawal of some United States troops, but I believe that unless and until there is continued withdrawal of United States troops and a programme for that which depends upon the working out of these other conditions, then it is premature to talk in terms of Australian troops. What will be necessary, of course, is that if - and this is a big ‘if - there is to be on the part of the United States a specific, definite and drawn out plan for withdrawal, then Australian troops would need to be phased into that plan. That is all I have to say to the honourable member at the moment.
VISIT by AMERICAN ASTRONAUTS
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. Has any invitation been extended to or any arrangement made for the successful astronauts - Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins - to visit this country at a later date? If so, will an opportunity be given to them, should they require to take it, to visit the radio telescope at Parkes, an instrument which played such a critical part in telecommunications in this completely outstanding event?
– I have it in my mind - but I cannot be quite sure and definite while talking to the House at this stage - that it is quite likely that the astronauts will be visiting Australia. What they would see when they came to Australia would, I have no doubt, cover those installations, such as the Parkes telescope and other tracking installations, which would have been connected with this great adventure of man going to the moon. But that is contingent upon my being accurate in my recollection that this visit may take place.
– I ask a question of the Treasurer. Is the decision by the Reserve Bank to reduce liquidity and to increase interest rates an all embracing decision? In other words, does it apply to every sector of the economy? If it does, will the Treasurer exempt from these recent restrictive moves by the Reserve Bank the whole segement of primary industry, which is already heavily mortgaged, which is quite unable to meet further high interest rates for its carry-on finance and which faces lower incomes from overseas sales in the next 12 months?
– 1 will be referring to this matter in the Budget speech tonight, but I think I could tell the honourable gentleman that it would be extremely difficult to exclude particular sections of the economy from Reserve Bank decisions.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Civil Aviation been drawn to strong criticisms that have been levelled by the Executive Secretary of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents against alleged non-competitive activities and the overrationalisation of services provided by Australia’s two major domestic airlines? By way of support, I remind the Minister that on two recent occasions I have witnessed overbooking of seats by Trans-Australia Airlines in Sydney, to the great inconvenience of certain people. This inconvenience is aggravated by the parallel scheduling by both major airlines out of Sydney airport. In view of the many criticisms that are being expressed about this parallel scheduling and the overbooking of flights, has the Minister considered instituting a system wherein the over-booking of airline seats by Australian airlines will be subject to a type of penalty similar to that in force in the United States of America, where heavy fines are imposed upon domestic airlines which are guilty of over-booking of seats?
– I have not seen the report to which the honourable gentleman refers, but in relation to the comment about our two airline system which applies to the major trunk routes in Australia I point out that it is rather unusual to have major criticism of the services which are provided, because constantly I receive requests from other countries for information regarding the system which we operate in Australia. In fact, on several occasions I have had requests for people to visit Australia in order to study our system with a view to trying to implement it in their own country because they feel that it would be an improvement.
But having said that, of course, it is realised that no system can be perfect, and no doubt there are some faults associated with the present system. The question of parallel timetables is one matter. Honourable members will recall that about 2 years ago I set up a special committee to investigate this matter. As a result of the committee’s report, some improvements were made. We hope that as time goes on, with the introduction of new and additional aircraft, the system will be improved in that direction. The question of over-bookings has not been drawn definitely to my attention, except on casual occasions in correspondence, but I will certainly arrange for some investigation to be made. I may say that our system of bookings in Australia is in keeping with the best standards in the world. Most of this work now has been changed over to computers. Possibly some problems are arising in the changeover. I will investigate the matter to see whether any action should be taken, and if any is taken I will let the honourable gentleman know.
– I address a question to the Attorney-General. Were representations made to him this morning for the release of john Zarb? If so, what is his decision?
– I did, by arrangement, see Mr Galbally of Victoria who handed to me a petition for the release of John Zarb supported by other documents and affidavits and some medical evidence. This morning I also received from the honourable member for Maribyrnong representations for the remission of Zarb’s sentence, with a letter from the two parents and also some supporting material. The decision on a matter of this type rests, of course, with the GovernorGeneral on the advice of the Minister. I am having inquiries made into the matters that have been put before me. The matter will be dealt with promptly and, in due course, according to what the decision is, advice will be given to His Excellency.
– I direct a question to the Attorney-General. In view of the proceedings following the issuing of warrants on 23rd May 1969 for police to enter the premises at 53 Kent Street, Deakin, owned by Mr Maxwell Newton, and 55 Kent Street, Deakin, owned by Mrs Newton, the third warrant of 5th June relating to the Canberra Branch of the Bank of New South Wales, and the judgment of Mr Justice Fox in the
Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory in case No. 680 of 1969, can the Attorney-General advise the House whether any action will be taken to ensure that the issuing of any future search warrants is subjected to closer examination than at present by ensuring that they are issued by magistrates, rather than justices of the peace, or by some other similar means?
– At the present time section 10 of the Crimes Act, which authorises the issue of warrants, gives the power to a justice of the peace. This has been so for a very long time, the theory being that there is the interposition of someone who is independent of the police or any authority seeking the warrant. Whether this should be placed in the hands of a magistrate rather than a justice of the peace is, I think, a question that ought tq be given some consideration. However, I think we should await the consideration of the present case and, following a final determination one way or the other, give consideration to the matter that has been raised.
– I present the following paper:
Taxation Statistics 1967-68 dated 1 August 1969 and the second supplement to the Forty- seventh Report of the Commissioner of Taxation.
That the paper be printed.
Under normal circumstances this paper would have been presented to the Parliament along with and as a supplement to the forty-eighth report of the Commissioner of Taxation. However, because of the earlier availability of many crf the statistics which it contains, it has been found possible to present this volume in advance of the fortyeighth report. Accordingly, Taxation Statistics 1967-68 is presented as a second supplement to the forty-seventh report al the Commissioner of Taxation, which was presented to the Parliament in October last year. The forty-eighth report of the Commissioner of Taxation will be tabled in due course.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– by leave- On 10th February 1963 an article appeared in the early editions of the ‘Sun-Herald’ which was withdrawn from the late editions. A report on this same matter did not appear in the early editions of the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ of the same date, but it appeared in the late editions of that publication. In the week following these publications I commenced legal action in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against John Fairfax and Sons Ltd, publishers of the Sun-Herald’. I also commenced action against Australian Consolidated Press Ltd, publishers of the ‘Sunday Telegraph’. In the first trial against both the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ and the ‘Sun-Herald’ I received substantial verdicts on all counts. In fact, I received a verdict in my favour on all counts in all three jury trials, with the exception of one count against Australian Consolidated Press Ltd. On that count a new trial was ordered, but it did not eventuate. A settlement was made out of court with John Fairfax and Sons Ltd several years ago. A public apology had earlier been published on the front page of the ‘Sun-Herald’. Australian Consolidated Press Ltd apologised in the ‘Sunday Telegraph* on 20th July 1969.
The case against Australian Consolidated Press Ltd had a long journey through the courts. First of all, the case was heard before a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in reference to the declaration. An appeal was then heard before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, following which the matter came before a jury of twelve in a trial which lasted for 13 days. An appeal against the verdict in this trial again went before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. A further appeal was heard before the Full Bench of the High Court of Australia and then before the Privy Council in London. A second trial was granted and it lasted for 7 days. A further appeal was then made to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the hearing lasted for a week. On one count the Supreme Court of New South Wales awarded a third trial, a jury trial, which did not eventuate. The matter has now been settled out of court with Australian Consolidated Press Ltd.
This has been the first opportunity for me to raise this matter in the House. For the past 64 years it has been sub judice. The inspiration for the libel which was published arose from a speech made in the debate on the motion for the adjournment of this House on 29th November 1962 by the honourable member for Ballaarat (Mr Erwin). At that time he was a member of the Government’s back bench. There were interesting aspects of the honourable member’s contribution. Firstly, he read from a prepared speech, which at that time was contrary to the Standing Orders of the House. A point of order was raised by Mr Reynolds who was then honourable member for Barton. The speech of the honourable member for Ballaarat lasted for only 5 minutes, notwithstanding that he was entitled to speak for 10 minutes. His charges were that I was inspired by Mr Ivan Skripov, a first secretary of the Soviet Embassy. The honourable member’s speech is recorded at page 2820 of Hansard of 29th November 1962. In part he said:
I ask why certain members of the start of the Russian Embassy, particularly one Mr Ivan Skripov, a first secretary of the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, has been a regular visitor to this House and has been cultivating the friendship of certain members of the Australian Labor Party, in particular the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren)-
The honourable member also referred to two other honourable members and continued:
Have these members been inspired by this Soviet diplomat to ask questions on a number of sensitive foreign policy issues, and have they been briefed for foreign policy debates.
The honourable member also said: the visit to this House yesterday by Mr Skripov . . . and having in mind also the sinister remarks in the debate last night, on the motion for the adjournment of the House, by the honourable members for Parkes and Reid concerning the proposed American base on the north-west coast of Australia, I suggest that we again have evidence that these honourable members are being directly inspired by Soviet Embassy officials.
I rose to speak in the debate - it was a Thursday evening - but as I had spoken the night before on the motion to adjourn the House I was unable to get the call. At the conclusion of the following week the House adjourned for the Christmas recess. For some weeks prior to the termination of the sittings the House had been sitting, with the exception of Tuesday evening, into the early hours of the morning, in fact, the sitting of Wednesday, 5th December, extended until later than 3 a.m. on Thursday, at which time the honourable member for Banks (Mr Costa) was gagged when he sought to speak on the motion to adjourn the House. The sitting of Thursday, 6th December continued until later than 3 a.m. on Friday, 7th December. The only honourable members to participate in the valedictory were Sir Robert Menzies, who was Prime Minister, the present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and that old warrior Mr E. J. Ward - the only back bench member to speak. We all know his attitude towards valedictory speeches. At this time articles had already appeared in the Brisbane Telegraph* and the ‘Daily Mirror’ debunking the speech of the honourable member for Ballaarat and condemning McCarthyism. I regret that at the time I did not use the forms of the House to make a personal explanation and to dissociate myself from the statements made by the honourable member for Ballaarat. I will not allow such an incident to occur again without employing the forms of the House to answer the statements made.
On 7th February 1963, before the Parliament reassembled, Skripov was pronounced persona non grata. Three days later the libellous article appeared in the ‘SunHerald’ and the ‘Sunday Telegraph’. In the first trial Australian Consolidated Press tendered a newspaper article in the Melbourne ‘Age’ in support of its plea that the libel had been ‘published in the course of or for the purpose of discussion of some subject of public interest the public discussion of which is for the public benefit’. This is a protection provided under section 17H of the New South Wales Defamation Act. The newspaper article was dated 16th July 1962. All honourable members know that Parliament is in recess at that time of the year. Although I read the Melbourne Age’ when Parliament is sitting, I do not generally see the newspaper when the Parliament is not sitting. The article was headed: ‘Soviet Activities Here Arouse Interest’. It was written by the Canberra correspondent of the ‘Age’, Mr John Bennetts, who is now employed by the Australian National University. An examination of the article discloses that it resembles the speech made by the honourable member for
Ballaarat in the House of Representatives on 29th November 1962. In fact, some paragraphs of the article and the speech are identical. The newspaper article of 16th July and the honourable member’s speech of 29th November had a similar style. It appeared as though Mr Bennett’s had written both items. It differed in that the newspaper article of 16th July 1962 mentioned only ‘a number of back-bench members of Federal Parliament*. The speech made on the adjournment by the honourable member for Ballaarat mentioned two honourable members as well as naming myself. Mr Bennetts was so prompt in having the names of all three honourable members published in the newspaper he represented that his paper, excluding one other, was the only morning newspaper on 30th November, outside of Canberra, that ran this smear article. Mr Bennetts published this smear under the protection of claiming that he was reporting what was happening in Parliament.
I have come to the conclusion that two things may have happened: Either the diligent, efficient honourable member for Ballaarat’ copied word for word some of Mr Bennett’s newspaper article and utilised the remainder of the newspaper article as the theme for his prepared speech on 29th November or Mr Bennetts wrote the speech for the honourable member for Ballaarat so that Mr Bennetts might smear certain honourable members under the protection of the claim that he was reporting the happenings of Federal Parliament. I cannot say which it is. I have no evidence to say that. I cannot say for certain what inspired the honourable member for Ballaarat to make such a speech. All I ask honourable members to do is to examine the articles that I have quoted. Then, honourable members may draw their own conclusions.
In regard to the allegations made by the honourable member for Ballaarat on the night of 29th November 1961, so that it may be recorded in Hansard, I say that these allegations were completely false. Neither Mr Skripov nor any other Russian diplomat has approached me to seek any information about any matter whatsoever. Any views expressed by me in regard to the then proposed North West Cape base were exclusively mine based, on my national outlook. I was inspired - or, should I say, prompted - to ask my first question on the proposed North West Cape base of the then Minister for Defence, Mr Athol Townley, on 16th March 1961 by what I read in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 28th February 1961. This is interesting. It is a little dumbfounding for the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ that I sued the Fairfax organisation while my source of information on this matter was the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
The House went into recess. During that recess, I saw another newspaper article on this subject. Again, it was in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’. When Parliament resumed, I asked a second question on this subject of Mr Townley on 15th August 1961. Again, my source of information was the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ of 21st July 1961. If honourable members would like me to have these matters incorporated in Hansard, I have both articles here. Mr Speaker, I seek permission to have both of these articles incorporated in Hansard. I ask for leave to do so.
– Is leave granted?
– He can read them if you like.
– Leave is not granted.
– The next matter that I desire to mention is this: I asked questions of the then Minister for Defence and the then Prime Minister. The source of my information for those questions was the statement in the House of Representatives on 17th May 1962 by the then Prime Minister. If anybody wishes to check on the history of this article, he will see that the Prime Minister made a statement on 17th May, which was a Thursday morning. I had my name down for the Grievance Day debate. I made a few comments during that debate about the statement made by the Prime Minister. I followed up these questions again after the parliamentary recess and continued to agitate in regard to the questions that I raised because the replies that I received from the Prime Minister were particularly negative and because I felt that, as a member of Parliament, I had the right to seek this information.
To express my own personal view, I found my struggle in the courts a long lonely struggle.I found little justice in the law. My hopes and my beliefs in justice are in people. It is on people - the ordinary people - that we must rely for justice. That is why I will struggle to retain the jury system. I wish to thank my senior counsel, Clive Evatt, Q.C., for standing by me during these long years. I desire to thank the staff of Parliament House for they have helped me so much. I have learnt from my experience.
– by leave - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a short reply. First of all, at no time during that session did the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) attempt to rise to defend himself in relation to the speech that I gave in the House in 1962. At no time did he attempt to defend himself. Secondly, the honourable member for Reid would not have had a leg to stand on if I had named another member of the Russian Embassy at the time, a Mr Gamazeishchikov, who was here repeatedly with Mr Skripov. If I had named Mr Gamazeishchikov, I would have been able to prove that Mr Gamazeishchikov had been in the electorate of the honourable member on a number of occasions.
– What does that mean?
– It means that he was asking questions here in this House which were led off by the Russian Embassy. This is something that the honourable member for Reid cannot answer. I know it to be true. That is where I wish the matter to rest.
– Mr Speaker, the Minister for Air (Mr Erwin)-
– Order! Does the honourable member for Reid claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I do, Mr Speaker, on two aspects. The Minister for Air made the statement that a Russian newspaper man had been into my electorate on many occasions. This is false. He has been in my electorate on one occasion. That is true. The Minister said that I did not try to answer what he had said on that occasion. I did. I rose on the adjournment on the Thursday night, the 29th, after midnight - that sitting continued into the 30th - to reply. I could not get the call. If one looks at the bottom of page 2829 of Hansard of 29th November 1962, one will find that the gag was moved by Mr Downer, as he then was, and if one looks at the voting in the division that followed one will see that the honourable member for Ballaarat, who laid the charge, voted on one side and that I voted on the other side for the right to speak and to answer those allegations.
– by leave - Mr Speaker, this statement is concerned with the recent incidents near Kieta, Bougainville, in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, in connection with the provision of land for the Bougainville copper project. On 3 1st July a lease was issued to Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd under the Territory Mining Ordinance over 175 acres of land at Rorovana. On 1st August, surveyors commenced marking the boundary of this land. In view of reports that there might be violence 100 police were sent to the area in three groups. A group of approximately 20 women crowded around police guarding a concrete survey peg. The police did not use force and eventually the peg was removed and carried away by the women. Clearing and marking of the area continued on 2nd and 4th August without interference. On 5th August a bulldozer clearing scrub for the survey team was confronted by a group of approximately 65 men and women. There were approximately 70 police present. The officer in charge warned the people to disperse on at least two occasions. He then ordered a group of 15 police carrying shields and batons to move in front of the bulldozer and attempt to push the crowd away with their shields. There was a general melee and at this point the officer in charge decided to attempt to disperse the crowd with tear gas. The tear gas used is nontoxic. It was only partially effective. After further warnings police were ordered to use their batons about the legs of the natives and after a very short time the crowd dispersed. There were no injuries other than one man who appeared to have grazed his leg falling over a log. No-one was injured by the police. Minimum force was used.
The members of the Papua and New Guinea constabulary acquitted themselves with distinction in these incidents, behaving with the greatest restraint and discipline. Their actions were at all times fully in accordance with the fine traditions of this force. These are the facts of the incidents. I turn now to the situation behind them.
For many years there has been some knowledge of the mineral wealth at Bougainville Island but it was not until 1960 that an Administration geologist reported the possibility of a major low-grade copper deposit. Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd began prospecting the area in 1964. In 1967 after more than 12 months of negotiation an agreement was signed between the company and the Administration. This agreement was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament. It was debated in the Territory House of Assembly and a ratifying Ordinance was passed by the House. The House consisted of 54 elected and 10 official members. The House also amended the Territory mining legislation so as to provide that 5% of aU royalties for minerals should be paid to the owners of the land from which the minerals were taken. This was accepted by the Government.
In June of this year the Territory House of Assembly (now consisting of 84 elected and 10 official members) debated a comprehensive White Paper on the Bougainville project and again endorsed it. The motion passed by the House on this occasion described the project as ‘a major and essential development in the economic future of the Territory’.
In relation to the situation at Rorovana as well as at Arawa, the Administrator consulted the Administrator’s Executive Council, which has a majority of elected members of the House of Assembly. The Council gave unanimous support to the Administrator’s proposals for further direct consultation with the people, to be followed if unsuccessful by leasing under the Mining Ordinance or by compulsory acquisition under the Lands Ordinance, and endorsed the employment of police if necessary to ensure protection of those going about thenlawful business in the area. The Council also expressed an earnest wish that the Rorovana and Arawa villagers would sell their land to the Administration.
The Bougainville copper project offers gigantic benefits to the Territory as a whole. These benefits will include jobs for 2,500 New Guineans within the next 5 years, a township of 10,000 people, a $2m training programme for indigenous people during the period to 1973, revenue to the Administration of between $200m and $300m in the first 10 years of operation, and export income in excess of Si 00m per annum.
In addition, the Administration, on behalf of the people of the Territory, has the option of a 20% equity interest in the project. CRA has indicated that it may also provide opportunities for individual equity participation by the people of Bougainville. The project therefore offers a tremendous opportunity for the Territory to lift itself up out of the field of competition of low priced tropical products in international trade, and to make a giant stride towards economic self-reliance.
In view of its importance to the Territory and in view of the nature of the problems involved, the Government and the Administration approached this whole question with great and careful consideration of the problems extending over many months. Advice regarding particular aspects of the attitude of the local people from expert anthropologists and psychologists has been carefully examined and the whole matter has been the subject of the most careful study.
Certain difficulties were experienced in 1966 and 1967 in the actual area of mining operations at Panguna, where the open pit mine, the concentrate plant, the mine town and a location for stacking waste rock will be sited. The 10,000 acres of this land is covered by a special mining lease.
The people of Guava, Moroni and Dapera who occupy or own land in this lease were originally antagonistic to the project as are the coastal people of Rorovana and Arawa now. The problems were handled patiently and sympathetically. These inland people are now reconciled to the mining operation. They are receiving full compensation for loss of housing and gardens and there will also be annual cash payments for the loss of use of land and for royalties. In summary there are about 1,000 men, women and children involved and when the mine is fully in operation cash payments are expected to total approximately $100,000 per year. Not all the compensation for loss of houses and gardens, et cetera, has yet been determined by the mining warden but some fifty people in the village of Moroni have been awarded cash and kind compensation valued at approximately $40,000.
Other leases required for roads, disposal of tailings, sources of aggregate and limestone et cetera may total up to 40,000 acres. Much of this area will be swamp. It is not expected that village dwellings will be involved.
The incidents on 1st and 5th August that I have referred to above relate only to requirements for the port. The company had, however, proposed that the town be sited on the coast in an area of some 2,000 acres south of the site proposed for the port. This location would have deprived some 650 villagers of their houses, gardens and economic crops. To avoid this the Administration decided to locate the town at Arawa plantation of 998 acres and to supplement this area with some 640 acres of adjacent sparsely planted village land which contained no village houses.
The arrangements for land for the port and for the town that were decided upon were chosen so as to cause the least disturbance to the minimum number of native people. The land is uninhabited. No homes are lost. No villages are displaced. The people have other land. Full compensation will be paid. If need be, however, the Administration will also make other land available.
In providing land for the port or for the town associated with the copper project the Administration is acting first and foremost in the interests of the Territory. The Territory gets more out of the copper project than the company, does. The project will not be on full stream until about 1980. When that happens, however, the following points apply:
Quite apart from these financial considerations and the indirect tax benefits flowing from the huge payroll that will be financed by the project there are the jobs, training and development benefits I have already referred to. The people of Bougainville have known for years that the project would require substantial areas of land but until the detailed investigations were completed it was not possible to specify the particular areas. In March of this year the company applied for its special mining lease. This brought into operation major aspects of the Agreement, including the obligation by the Administration to provide land. For over 3 years the Administration has used all possible means to explain to the people of Bougainville the nature and implications of the mining project. The construction of Radio Kieta was expedited in 1967 to facilitate communications with the native people.
Since mid-1966 over forty Administration patrols have been made in the area affected by the mining project. A primary objective of these patrols has been to explain to the people the nature of the project and how it would affect them. In addition, individual officers have spent in the aggregate hundreds of days visiting villages and individual families for this same purpose. The Administrator himself visited Bougainville earlier this year and spoke to the people and talked over Radio Bougainville. Last month an Assistant Administrator led a special mission to the Island and held meetings in the villages most affected. This mission included indigenous ministerial members of the House of Assembly and all three Bougainville members of the House. Radio and news sheets have been used extensively and the elected members for Bougainville have been given every opportunity and encouragement to inform themselves and their people of the project and the consideration it had been given by the House of Assembly.
As an example of the detailed and painstaking effort on the part of the Administration to achieve communication with the local people I refer to the fact that the
Assistant District Commissioner of the area visited Rorovana four times in the past 4 months and the people of Rorovana themselves visited the District Headquarters at Kieta 12 times in the past 5 months for discussions. There have also been frequent discussions with the Councillors of the Rorovana Council and the Council President.
It appears that the opposition of the Rorovana people to the sale of their land to the Administration is not related to lack of information nor, indeed, to the amount of compensation offered to them. Some 175 acres of Rorovana land is required for the port area. The Rorovana people number some 450 and they have total land of approximately 1,600 acres. The loss of this 175 acres will not seriously affect their economic livelihood. They have been offered a good price and alternative productive land. There has never been any real indication that they would sell at any price. On the other hand, not all the native people are opposed. At the village of Lonsiro only a few miles from Rorovana, one native landholding family concluded arrangements with the Administration under which they were paid $5,600 for a 42-year lease of 49 acres of land.
The Administration’s position in relation to negotiations for land for such public purposes as ports, town sites, airfields and so on has to take account of the need for these public facilities throughout the Territory. The proposed port for which the Rorovana land is required will be for public and not just for company use. The legal authority for compulsory acquisition or lease of land exists in the Territory as in other countries to avoid the need for excessive payments out of the public purse, that is, to serve the interests of the public as a whole.
Compulsory acquisition is an essential power in all communities. It is used in Australia more freely than in the Territory. Individuals or small groups are not allowed to hold the whole community up. In the Territory as here the amount of compensation is in the last resort subject to law.
The Agreement between the Administration and CRA which the Commonwealth Government is backing is modern in its approach and enlightened in its ideas. There will be adequate return to the Territory Government in terms of taxes, royalties and dividends from the profits of the operation. There are those who would accept the merits of the Bougainville Copper Agreement but who would criticise the way in which the Government or the Administration had handled the matter. This is easily done. Nevertheless it ignores the tremendous difficulties of communication and of comprehension which have confronted the Administration in this matter. I have explained the painstaking nature of the Administration communication activity. There has been no effort spared. The basic difficulty has been that people of this area are living in one world and the problems of development and the requirements of development confront them with another world.
In the absence of skill and patience and moderation on the part of the Administration, especially its field officers, we could easily have had a much worse situation than that which confronts us. As it is we cannot expect easy solutions. We must understand that what happened at Rorovana and what may happen elsewhere reflect the problems of transition into a modern world and a modern society. These cannot be sidestepped by an Administration that must act in the interests of the Territory as a whole. The Government, however, is grateful to the officers of the Administration for the extent to which their efforts have so far contained the problem.
The Government makes no apology for the Agreement. It considers that the Agreement is a spectacular contribution to harnessing the interests of private capital and the skills of the large corporation to the development requirements of the Territory. Not many developing countries are fortunate enough to have the prospect of so large and so remunerative a development within their boundaries. In this, confidence plays a major part. The investment of $300m demands confidence. In this case the investors are showing their confidence not only in the Commonwealth Government but in the people of the Territory themselves because the mining project looks ahead to the time when the people will be running their own affairs. In this respect the projected investment is an act of imagination and confidence. There are many who seek to knock it but it has the backing of the Territory people through their House of Assembly. It will survive.
The Government considers the Administration’s actions are fully in accordance with the law. Action has been taken in Papua and New Guinea to test the law. The Government will welcome an authoritative and definitive judicial interpretation of the legal position.
Since 1964, the Government has made available to the Territory by way of grant in aid sums totalling $400m. The Government and the House of Assembly have last year jointly backed a 5-year $ 1,000m development programme for the Territory. The Bougainville project offers a unique opportunity for the Territory to make a dramatic advance towards these objectives of development. The attitude of a handful of people may attract our sympathy, and we may go to considerable lengths to resolve their problems. But in the last resort we cannot allow them to block this great prospect and . thus throw into doubt the policies on which the futures of more than 2 million people depend.
In the structure of ignorance, superstition and prejudice, persuasion and explanations are not easy but with other expatriate influences working in the opposite direction - some not without prestige in native eyes - difficulties become great. The present choice before the people of this Territory is whether to drift in a primitive and backward situation in close dependency on the generosity of the Australian taxpayer to provide a modicum towards health, education and the preservation of law and order and burdened by their ancient customs or whether to advance as a modern state financed substantially by its own resources.
These resources lie dormant and will continue that way under traditional attitudes. Developed they will provide the revenues for the hospitals, the schools, the better standard of life and most important a nation not only able to stand on its own feet economically but able to opt for a meaningful independence should this be desired. This progressive transition has been the way chosen by the people of the Territory; its achievement needs sympathy and understanding from us in Australia as well as our continuing support.
– Does the Minister propose to move that the paper be noted?
– I ask for leave to make a statement on the same subject.
– Is leave granted?
– The Minister for External Territories is shaking his head. He has pulled the wool over our eyes. He has squibbed a debate.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– He has squibbed a debate.
– Order! If the honourable member for Lang does not resume his seat I will name him.
– I am sorry Mr Speaker, I did not hear you. The Minister has squibbed it.
– Order! As I understand the position, the Leader of the House has granted leave for the honourable member to make a statement.
– I apologise.
– I think you should.
– My understanding is that when leave is sought to make a statement one dissenting voice is sufficient to refuse leave. I loudly and clearly said no.
– Order! In that case leave is not granted.
– Then I withdraw my apology.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate:
Without requests -
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Excise Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1968-69.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1969-70.
Meat Chicken Levy Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Cheques) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Hire-Purchase Business) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Insurance Business) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Sales of Marketable Securities) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Purchases of Marketable Securities) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Stamp Duty Bill 1969.
Without amendment -
Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1968-69.
Supply Bill (No. 2) 1969-70.
Chicken Meat Research Bill 1969.
Petroleum Search Subsidy Bill 1969.
Meat Chicken Levy Collection Bill 1969.
Judiciary Bill 1969.
Judges’ Remuneration Bill 1969.
Commonwealth Aid Roads Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Taxation (Administration) Bill 1969.
States Grants (Home Care) Bill 1969.
States Grants (Paramedical Services) Bill 1969.
States Grants (Nursing Homes) Bill 1969.
South Australia Grant (Tailem Bend to Keith Pipeline) Bill 1969.
New South Wales Grant (Gwydir River Dam) Bill 1969.
Victoria Grant (King River Dam) Bill 1969.
Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Bill 1969.
States Grants (Special Financial Assistance) Bill 1969.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Income Tax Assessment Bill 1969.
Pay-roll Tax Assessment Bill 1969.
Audit Bill 1969.
Broadcasting and Television Bill 1969.
Citizenship Bill 1969.
Independent Schools (Loans Guarantee) Bill 1969.
Income Tax (International Agreements) Bill 1969.
Decimal Currency Board (Abolition) Bill 1969.
Superannuation Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1968-69.
Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1968-69.
Supply Bill (No. 1) 1969-70.
Supply Bill (No. 2) 1969-70.
Broadcasting and Television Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1969.
Excise Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1969.
States Grants (Paramedical Services) Bill 1969.
States Grants (Nursing Homes) Bill 1969.
South Australia Grant (Tailem Bend to Keith Pipeline) Bill 1969.
New South Wales Grant (Gwydir River Dam)
Victoria Grant (King River Dam) Bill 1969.
Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Bill 1969.
States Grants (Special Financial Assistance) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Taxation (Administration) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Cheques) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Hire-purchase Business) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Insurance Business) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Purchases of Marketable Securities) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Tax (Sales of Marketable Securities) Bill 1969.
Australian Capital Territory Stamp Duty Bill 1969.
States Grants (Home Care) Bill 1969.
Patents Bill 1969.
Chicken Meat Research Bill 1969.
Meat Chicken Levy Bill 1969.
Meat Chicken Levy Collection Bill 1969.
Petroleum Search Subsidy Bill 1969.
Judiciary Bill 1969.
Judges’ Remuneration Bill 1969.
Commonwealth Aid Roads Bill 1969.
– I desire to inform the House that I have received from the Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea a letter forwarding the text of a resolution agreed to by that House on 14th May 1969. The resolution is as follows:
This House has noted the Resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 18th December, 1968 that the Assembly:
Hold free elections under United Nations supervision on the basis of universal adult suffrage in order to transfer effective power to the representatives of the people of the Territories.
This House wishes to make it clear to the United Nations and interested panics that the elected members of this House are already elected in free elections on the basis of universal suffrage and that the Resolution passed by the General Assembly is thus already out-of-date and repeats and reaffirms the terms of the Resolution passed by this House on 2nd September, 1964:
That we the elected representatives of the people of Papua and New Guinea desire to convey to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation, the expressed wish of the people that they, the people, and they alone, be allowed to decide when the time is ripe for self-government in Papua and New Guinea, and the form that such government will take and the people’s further firm conviction that the road to self-government can best be travelled with one guide - and that guide the Administering Authority, and that undue pressure from without can lead only to that disruption, chaos and bloodshed which the people have observed with great alarm in certain newly independent countries.
Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations.
I have arranged to have the full text of the letter circulated to all honourable members.
-I have received advice from the Prime Minister that he has appointed the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) to be a member of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Motion (by Mr Erwin) - by leave - agreed to:
That the honourable member for Cowper (Mr Robinson) be appointed to fill the vacancy now existing on the Library Committee.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1966, I present the report relating to the following proposed works:
That the report be printed.
– by leave- The honourable member for Dalley (Mr O’Connor), at the end of a very long and creditable career in this Parliament, has moved that this report be printed. The honourable member was elected to this Parliament in 1946, and in 1950 he took his place as a member of the Public Works Committee. He has served as a member of this Committee in eight Parliaments. Since 1962 he has served as Vice-Chairman in three Parliaments. This is the last act that he will perform as a member of the Committee. In a place such as this one becomes accustomed to buckets that fly; we have had a little bit of this in the short time that we have been sitting today. I place on record the appreciation of the members not only of the present Standing Committee on Public Works but all committees with which the honourable member for Dalley has been associated, of the work which he has done. It is rather refreshing to work on statutory committees where politics arc forgotten and people act in what they believe to be the best interests of a particular project or of the nation.
The honourable member for Dalley has been Vice-Chairman of this Committee for a period longer than that for which I have been a member of the Committee. In the short period in which I have been associated with the honourable member, I have never known him to adopt a party political attitude. He has always acted in the interests of the subject under discussion. He has attended 730 meetings of the Committee at which 135 references were looked at and reported upon to this House. I hope that when the constituents he has represented for so long and so ably reflect on what he has done as a member of this Parliament they will realise that he has devoted a tremendous amount of time to looking at all sorts of projects throughout Australia and that at all times he was a creditable member of the Committee. He is held in very high esteem not only by myself but also by other Liberal Party and Country Party members on the present Committee and on earlier committees with which he was associated.
– by leave - My colleagues and I appreciate what has been said by the honourable member for Perth (Mr Chaney), who is the Chairman of the Public Works Committee, about our colleague the honourable member for Dalley (Mr O’Connor), who has been Vice-Chairman of that Committee for many years and a member of it since March, 1950. This is the last day upon which our colleague will appear in the Parliament because be is to join, for the second time, the Australian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. The honourable member has had the rare experience for a parliamentarian of having his seat abolished twice in distributions - the seat of Martin in the distribution of 1954, and the present seat of Dalley in the distribution which the Parliament approved last year. Nine times the people have returned him to this place by enviably substantial majorities. He now succumbs not to the verdict of the people but to the recommendations of the distribution commissioners. He has been a member of this Parliament since 1946. He has been a member of the Public Works Committee since 19S0. The honourable member has held the office of returning officer for the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party for many years. He has given unstinting service and has earned unvarying praise in all his capacities. He has shown outstanding courage completely to surmount a disability. He has rendered excellent service to the people of his electorate which comprises an exceptionally large percentage of retired persons and migrants. These are the people who need the advice and the services of a member of Parliament In every sense he is loved by the people he represents. He has been a good citizen, a good committee member, a good parliamentarian and a fine colleague. We will miss him.
Ordered that the report be. printed.
-I have received a letter from the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely.
The urgent need, in view of the deterioration in relations between the Australian Administration and the people of .the Territory of Papua and New Guinea arising out of the methods used to resume land on Bougainville Island and to enforce that resumption, to appoint a Joint Select Committee of the Australian Parliament to inquire into and report upon the most appropriate system of tenure, registration, leasing and resumption of land in the Territory.
I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)
Motion (by Mr Stewart) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the discussion on the matter of public importance being interrupted and resumed at a later hour this day.
- Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Opposition, the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and the people of Australia, I have the grave responsibility of proposing that the following matter of vital public importance be discussed:
The urgent need, in view of the deterioration in relations between the Australian Administration and the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea arising out of the methods used to resume land on Bougainville Island and to enforce that resumption, to appoint a Joint Select Committee of the Australian Parliament to inquire into and report upon the most appropriate system of tenure, registration, leasing and resumption of land in the Territory.
The Opposition is compelled to take this action in an earnest endeavour to save the reputation of Australia in the eyes of the world, but more particularly, in the hearts and minds of the 2t million indigenous people of the Territory of. Papua and New Guinea. The happenings on Bougainville Island in the past few weeks are the cause of our concern. Never did we think that any Australian government or Australian administration would allow its judgment, its tolerance, its responsibility, its understanding, its patience and its reputation to be so easily shattered by acts that could have the effect of turning against us the people over whom we have been appointed trustees.
A continuation of the course being followed on Bougainville Island will smash all the good work Australia has done in the Territory since the end of the Second World War. The Opposition believes that Australia enjoyed the understanding and friendship of the people of the Territory and that our relations in the future would have continued on a harmonious plane with the eventual self-government and independence of Papua and New Guinea. But the actions on Bougainville Island, with the compulsory acquisition of land from primitive people and the enforcement by force of that resumption has done Australia great harm. It may be many years before the total cost is known. It could easily be that Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd, the company the Administration set out to please, will be the first to feel the effects of our loss of prestige and trust. The blame for the whole deplorable incident must be firstly the responsibility of the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes), secondly, Cabinet and, thirdly, every member of the Government parties. Not one of them escapes - it was the inherent Liberal and Country Party philosophy to place private profits before people which allowed the situation to develop.
Very few Australians would disagree with the words of Mr A. P. J. Newman, M.H.A., the Acting Assistant Administrator (Economic Affairs) who, speaking in the House of Assembly at Port Moresby on 16th June 1969, described the Boungainville project as: ‘an event of unprecedented economic and social significance in the history of the Territory’. But as few would agree with his further statement that The Administration intends to fulfil its obligations under its agreement with the company and take all steps necessary to bring this great national asset into production’ if ‘all steps necessary’ means the trampling on years of land traditions of the native people and the use of force to fulfil obligations which are not understood by the same people - obligations which were entered into by the Administration, after little, if any, consultation with the native land owners.
On page 17 of the speech which Mr Newman delivered in the House of Assembly on 16th June to give members the background to the project not one word is said of any negotiations with the land owners. On page 3 of his speech, Mr Newman said:
After much discussion between the Company, the Administration and the Department of External Territories, an Agreement was signed on 6th June 1967 between the Company and the Administration. The Agreement sets out the various things that the Company and the Administration would guarantee to each other.
A few minutes ago the Minister for External Territories delivered a thirteen-page statement in the House. His speech lasted for about 22 minutes. He also gave to the members of this House some of the background to the negotiations on the Bougainvill copper project and also some of the details of the happenings earlier this month. The Minister said:
Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd began prospecting the area in 1964. In 1967 after more than 12 months of negotiation an agreement was signed between the company and the Administration. This agreement was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament. It was debated in the Territory House of Assembly and a ratifying ordinance was passed by the House.
The Minister then gave some further details of what has transpired in the House of Assembly over the Bougainville Administration agreement. Before quoting further from this statement, I remind honourable members that the agreement between
Bougainville Copper Pty Ltd and the Administration was signed on 6th June 1967. I also remind them that Conzinc Riotinto had been prospecting on Bougainville Island since 1964 and that long consultations had taken place between the company, the Administration and the Minister for External Territories. In his speech which lasted almost 25 minutes and which finished at about 2 minutes past 5, the Minister said: ‘Since mid-1966 over forty Administration patrols have been made in the area affected by the mining project.’ In 1964 Conzinc Riotinto was in the area. It was mid-1966 before you bothered to tell those people, something like-
– -Tell them what?
– Tell those people that that land was likely to be required or was likely to be resumed from them.
– It was indefinite. A decision has not been taken yet.
– Who has not taken a decision? You have made definite statements. Your representative in the House of Assembly in Port Moresby has made definite statements. Both of you fall down by virtue of the fact that you have known since 1964. You have had negotiations with the company over a 12 months period. It was not until mid-1966 that you bothered to send anybody at all into the area in order to try to tell those people the position. There are approximately 20 different languages spoken in the north of Bougainville, and there are approximately 50 different languages spoken in the south of Bougainville.
– You should stay on mining and its prospects a bit more.
– What the Opposition and I are worried about is people, not mining. You have been a farmer all your life.
– And a miner.
– And a miner. If the Queensland Government came along to you and said: ‘We are resuming your land’, you would be the first to cry. But because these people are uneducated, because they speak a number of different languages and have a diversity of cultures, and because they speak perhaps only pidgin English and their own tribal language, you have decided to ride roughshod over the top of them. This is the point which the Opposition makes and which every Christian citizen in Australia and every newspaper commentator, radio commentator and newspaper editorial is making. I know what the honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay) will say later. He will refer to all the negotiations that have been taking place. I only wish that when you came into this Parliament you had retained some of the principles that you had while you were outside it.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)I point out to the honourable member for Lang that he is using the word ‘you’, but he is addressing the Chair. On three occasions he has said: “You have done this and you have done that’ I point out to the honourable member that the Chair is not participating in the debate.
– I apologise for my transgression. The only reference which I can find in any official documents that I have read to consultations between the Administration and the people is in the 1968 report of the United Nations Visiting Mission to the Territory. I correct that statement because I now have to add: Until the Minister presented his statement about half an hour ago.’ The Mission visited the Bougainville area in March 1968 - 9 months after the signing of the agreement - and the report of the Mission states, in paragraph 239 on page 29:
While the prospect of such a large enterprise of great potential economic benefit is welcomed throughout the Territory and on the island of Bougainville itself, considerable criticism and difficulties have been encountered in the immediate area and particularly among the local inhabitants in the mountains of Panguna whose land is directly affected. Lack of understanding of the nature of the agreement and of the law concerning ownership of sub-soil resources, combined with insufficient initial public relations, has resulted in hostility and resentment among the landowners which is only recently and slowly being dissipated. Both the Administration and the company are engaging in a continuous educational and public relations campaign among the people involved.
That resembles a reference made by the Minister this afternoon to radio stations, news sheets and so forth. The paragraph in the report concludes:
Recently some of (he landowners have begun to work for CRA, although some refuse to work on any piece of land to which they claim ownership.
This is a further indication that no real attempt was made to educate these people on the benefits that might be brought to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea by the development of copper resources in the area. Nobody suggests that the Administration under its mining ordinance, land ordinance or water resources ordinance did not have authority to sign the agreement and to resume any land which Boungainville Copper Pty Ltd desired for its purposes to carry out the project to a successful conclusion. The Opposition, however, suggests that the whole project has been handled in a hamfisted manner. This is the first of many large scale operations which are likely to create similar problems of land tenure, registration, leasing and resumption of land in the Territory. All of the future problems must be handled much more efficiently and with greater understanding than the present project. In these days of travel to the moon and of transistor radio, Australia must understand that the people of Papua and New Guinea know of, but perhaps do not understand, what is going on in the world around them. They certainly appear not to understand what is going on in the Bougainville area at the present time.
They are simple people with simple values. The land which they and their forbears have tilled for hundreds of years is the only real thing of value in their lives. We cannot take it without explaining why it is required and the general advantages it will bring to the people of Papua and New Guinea as well as to their ‘wan toks’. The approach which the Administration took on this issue - and I dare say on similar issues since the end of World War II - is based on the old attitude which is described in pidgin English as ‘Masta i tok, tok i dai’, a rough translation of which means: ‘The master has spoken. The talks are finished.’ The rub in this case is that no talks took place before mid-1966, and the agreement was signed in June 1967. The Administration is now in the untenable position of having to abide by an agreement which does not meet with the approval of people who know, from years of experience, that land is a valuable asset and is worth fighting for. The people of Australia and the people of Papua and New Guinea, therefore, judge the Australian Government and the Administration of the Territory guilty of an offence which offends hundreds of years of culture and tradition. 1 submit that every member of the Government has a case to answer - a case which has caused a great deal of embarrassment to all Australians.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) said that the present position in Bougainville has arisen because the Government places profits before the welfare of the people of New Guinea. That is a statement which I will shortly prove to be completely false. The honourable member for Lang lays the blame for the present position on the Minister for External1 Territories (Mr Barnes), the Cabinet and every member of the Government Parties. I believe that the blame for what has happened at Bougainville can be laid at the door of those Europeans who have a vested interest in stirring up trouble and unrest. The speech which has been made by the honourable member for Lang has done nothing to help the position in Bougainville. I want to make it clear at the outset that whatever I have to say will be said as a result of first hand knowledge of what is going on in Bougainville. It is less than 3 weeks since I returned from a visit there. I do not believe that the honourable member for Lang, who just spoke, has been there - certainly not in recent times. With members of the Government Parties Mining Committee I visited Panguna, Kieta and Rorovana and talked to Administration officials, to officers of the mining company and to Paul Lapun, the local member for Bougainville. We talked to villagers of Rorovana at a public meeting which was chaired by Paul Lapun. We talked to the head of the largest mission in that area and also to a man named McKillop, whose property at Arawa probably will be taken over. We talked, too, to another gentleman whose reputation would be known to the honourable member for Lang - a man named Middlemiss.
I believe that members of the Committee received a balanced picture of what is actually going on. But one would gather from the publicity which has been given to this subject that everything associated with the venture is of a minus nature. There are plenty of pluses. Quite a number of people in Australia feel very strongly about this whole episode, but I believe that in many cases their opinions are based on misleading and incomplete information. They cannot be blamed for forming the opinions that they have, because they can form their opinions only on what they are told. AH’ that the public has been told by the Press is that Bougainvillians are losing their land by compulsory acquisition. This is just a bald statement; it is only part of the story and a very misleading part at that. I believe that many critics would change their views if they knew the facts.
It is time that someone gave the facts, and I want to do so. The facts are these: First, freehold land has not been taken at all. The land that has been taken is on a leasehold basis. The people whose land has been resumed will be provided with an equivalent area of land if they wish it. They will be paid an annual occupation fee of 5% of the unimproved value of the land or $2 an acre, whichever is the greater. They will be paid a minimum of $2 for every tree on their land, whether it be a coconut tree or a cocoa tree. They may be paid a greater amount but it will not be less than $2. They will be provided, on the new land given to them, with the same number of trees that they have at present, and the company will see that because a coconut tree takes 10 years to bear they will be provided with the equivalent amount of fruit that they would have taken from trees on their own land for 10 years. If they do not want to go and pick that fruit on another block provided for them, the company will deliver the fruit to them in bags. The company has undertaken - and I have the company’s authority to say this - that when other land is provided for these people the company will erect for them on that land not grass huts, to which they have been accustomed, but European type houses. They will not be five-room brick houses but fibro houses with a water supply attached.
At the mine site $50,000 already has been paid for the village site. The company has undertaken to rebuild the village on a new site which is satisfactory to the natives. It is actually the site on which the village existed 50 years ago. These people will be receiving $20,000 per annum in occupation fees and $80,000 per annum in royalties.
The people from that village will receive $100,000 annually from the company as long as copper is being mined there. The Administration in New Guinea has been offered the right to take up, on behalf of the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, 20% of the capital investment in the area. The company itself is being given tax freedom for 3 years after which it will be taxed on a rising scale until about 1980 when the taxation will be at the rate of 50% .
Let us look at what the Territorians will receive. They will receive royalties with relation to the value of the copper which is being taken. They will get 20% of the profits. They will get 50% of the profits by way of taxation ultimately and they will get occupation fees. In addition to this the company is providing employment for quite a number of the natives. I understand that already more than 600 are employed by the company. We went into the assay room at Panguna where already very sophisticated equipment is being used for assaying the minerals that are being taken. This equipment is being operated by the native people. They are being checked each morning but the officer checking them said that there is no need for this because they are nearly always accurate. This is a useful skill that they are being taught. Development roads will be built and a new port will be provided as will be new schools and a hospital. A co-operative company is being set up with a 50% native ownership. In not many years, the total ownership will be given to the natives.
The company already has spent more than $21m on exploration, and it will spend a total of $300m on capital works. It expects by the mid-1970s to be earning about $50m annually. This will be the largest amount that the Administration of New Guinea or the people of Papua and New Guinea will receive from any source other than from the taxpayers of Australia. Many people who live in Bougainville have been upset, but they have been stirred by people with vested interests in creating trouble. It is easy to stir up trouble. We have only to look at the trouble that has been created in some Australian universities and at what happened outside the United States Embassy with the burning of flags and the breaking of windows. If the right type of people are doing the stirring, it is easy to upset people. The people of Papua and New Guinea have been told to wait for independence when they will get the whole amount and not 20% , but actually they are not getting 20% but more than half of the profits, as I have indicated.
The company is training these people to take over gradually the operations of the company so that when the time finally arrives they will be able to run everything efficiently for themselves. If they want to go on with it straight away, where would they get the $300m to do it? If they wait until independence comes - whenever that may be, and <I am not putting a time on it - they will still need the ability to finance the project and they have no guarantee that the price of copper then will make it profitable - for such an amount to be spent. None of us knows whether there will be a demand for copper in a few years time. The honourable member for Lang has talked about these people being upset and our upsetting the people of Papua and New Guinea. In addition to visiting Bougainville we visited a place called Maprik, which is about 50 miles west of Wewak. Native gold miners came to talk to us. Their attitude was: ‘Why cannot the company come up here and search in our area so that we can get some of the benefits that are going to Bougainville?’ These people have not been stirred up by trouble makers.
If the Opposition really wants to help the people of the Territory it would do better to point out to the people the great advantages that will result to them from a successful operation by the company and the fact that they would be better prepared for independence, which this Government wants to be successful. The Liberal-Country Party Government wants to develop a strong New Guinea. We want a united people and a New Guinea strong enough financially to resist infiltration and aggression from quarters which have a vested interest in their making a failure of independence.
– The Opposition’s proposal is not in protest against the development of mineral resources on the island of Bougainville. It is a protest at the way in which certain aspects associated with that development have been handled by the Administration of the Territory which, of course, is backed up by the Department of External Territories and the
Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes). What we are protesting at is the naked viciousness of our materialism as we have seen it displayed in Kieta in recent times. The agreement at Kieta is being enforced by tear gas, batons and the use of a para-military force. The Minister for External Territories has suggested that this is emotionalism, but after all we all become emotional about something. Indeed, some people become emotionally concerned about the welfare of race horses. I would suggest that people such as those should not be too critical about those who become emotionally concerned with the welfare of human beings.
Surely to God we should have learned a lesson from the Suez debacle. This Government - a new face on the same carcase - under Prime Minister Menzies was an enthusiastic supporter of armed intervention by the United Kingdom in Suez against the Arab States. What was the result of that armed intervention? It achieved no acquisition for the British Government, but an area of Arab countries which previously had been within the sphere of British influence is now within the sphere of Russian influence. Surely there is a lesson for the Government to learn from this in its handling of the situation in Bougainville. This is an area of long standing disaffection with the Administration. It has been a centre of the cargo cult, as a result of which on many occasions it has come into sharp conflict with the Administration.
The people on the island of Bougainville are black skinned Bukas. They are very proud of the fact that they have black skin; that they are different from the copper skinned people on the main island of Papua and New Guinea. They see their affinity not with Papua and New Guinea as a nation conceived by the Government; they see their affinity with the Solomon islanders. There is already a strong breakaway movement at Bougainville to form a new nation with the British Solomon islanders. The very things for which the Government is responsible today and for which it tries to foist responsibility on to the House of Assembly at Port Moresby are calculated, not intentionally but through incompetence, to undermine and destroy the Government’s announced objective of national unity in Papua and New Guinea.
The Minister for External Territories has made the claim on a number of occasions that the House of Assembly at Port Moresby is responsible for the agreement which is being enforced at the present time. This is altogether too facile an explanation of what has transpired. In the first place, the Minister uses the House of Assembly at Port Moresby as a mask to cover his own ineptitude, that of his Government and that of certain people who work, in University Avenue in this city.
Let us look at some of the facts about the House of Assembly at. Port Moresby. It is quite remote geographically from the people of Bougainville. There are eight. three members in the House of Assembly. Only three of them come from Bougainville. So given the standard of understanding of nationhood existing in Papua and New Guinea at the present time - it is practically non-existent - it is quite wrong for the Minister to suggest that this has been a responsible decision by the House of Assembly after careful consideration of all the facts involved. Does the Minister suggest that the use of tear gas and batons at Rorovana, and no doubt to be repeated at Arawa if necessary, has resulted from a decision of the House of Assembly at Port Moresby? Of course it has not. It has been a decision of the Administration, and no doubt the instructions have come from Canberra.
If one looks at the agreement and the “Act related to this matter one finds that the Administration has tremendous powers to vary the conditions of any lease. This is vitally important in the discussion in which we are now engaged. In fact, it is the Administration itself making the decisions about the variation of leases for the absorption of certain lands. The Minister euphemistically calls them resumptions, but he would call them seizures if he were more accurate. The facts are that in the discussions in the House of Assembly at Port Moresby there was quite clearly confusion in members’ minds as to the implications of the legislation which they had before them. Mr Grove, Director of Lands, Surveys and Mines, at page 2,408 of the House of Assembly debates on 8th June 1967 admitted that the agreement was a long and complicated document. Paul Lapun, one of the members representing the island of Bougainville in the House of Assembly, saW at page 2,556 of the House of Assembly debates on 30th August 1967 that he had discovered that not only native members of the House of Assembly but expatriate members too had experienced extreme difficulty in understanding the agreement. It is little wonder. It is an involved and lengthy legal document. To have some of the sections interpreted in the articles of the agreement I had to seek the advice of some of the legal practitioners who are members of this House. So how can one reasonably expect members of the House of Assembly and more especially the native members who have had, I expect, no experience in legal matters, to interpret this involved, long and difficult document?
I said that there was confusion. There was also misunderstanding on the part of native members of the House of Assembly. Mr Lapun, at page 2556 of the House of Assembly debates on the same date that I mentioned earlier, said that he was happy to accept the agreement because he believed that the undertakings which it covered were restricted to Panguna. He did not conceive that there would be any extension of activities to Arawa, Rorovana or any other places in the Kieta district, as is generally being anticipated at the present time. Mr Grove, the Director of Lands, Surveys and Mines, on 8th June 1967 made a statement which clearly implied that the agreement would be restricted to Panguna. Let us not have any strict technical interpretations along the lines of semantics of what he said, because clearly the gist of what he said implied that the agreement would be restricted to development at Panguna. He said:
It is almost certain that, if the mining operation commences at Panguna, a modern town with new houses, water and electric power will start to grow.
He then went on to indicate the sorts of benefits which would obtain as a result of this development. Mr Lapun made his statement in the House of Assembly some 2 months after Mr Grove made that statement. I can find no evidence anywhere in the House of Assembly debates that Mr Lapun’s misconception of how this agreement was to be applied was corrected by responsible officials in the House of Assembly. Then we have the insensitiveness of the Minister for External Territories who, according to Mr Paul Lapun in the debates on 23rd November 1966 on the
Mining (New Guinea) Bill (No. 2) 1966, after outlining a long list of causes for discontent and disaffection among the people at Bougainville as the result of this mining project, said:
A third thing, Sir, which makes my people antigovernment. When the Minister for Territories, Mr Barnes, visited us, he was asked if part of the royalties could be given to the Bougainville District Development Fund and if another portion could go to the owners of the land and, thirdly, if what remained could go to the Government. The Minister told the people that they had to observe Australian law, which is that royalties for minerals go to the Government and not to the owners of the land. The Government uses this money to develop the entire country. When they heard that all of the royalties would go to Port Moresby and none of them remain in Bougainville, the people asked themselves how then could Kieta become a large township. This finally made them of the opinion that they could believe nobody at all.
The implications of this are clear. There is confusion and misunderstanding and, even worse, there is lack of trust on the part of the native people towards the Administration. This is the sort of record for which the Government is responsible.
The Minister is trying to claim that the House of Assembly freely, and with full information available, made a decision on this agreement. Clearly these few snippets - they are all I can quote in my restricted time - indicate that there was confusion, especially in the minds of the native members of the House of Assembly. Therefore, the decision they arrived at certainly cannot be regarded as a reliable one. In this sort of situation we ought to bend the normal parliamentary procedures, because this is not a fully developed country. It is an under-developed country and they are still at an experimental stage with their parliamentary procedures. This matter should be returned to the House of Assembly so that the people can discuss it and hammer these issues out. In any event, we ought to set up the Australian parliamentary committee which we have proposed with the objective of retrieving a situation which is worsening and which could become irretrievable unless something positive is soon done.
– We have heard a speech from the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) in which he set out the physical facts of the situation at Bougainville in such a way that no Australian studying them could help but come to the conclusion that something has happened in Bougainville, and therefore in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, which is providential for the future of the people with whom we are concerned. The overall picture in the past years has been one of deep rooted concern that a nation which was moving towards independence might one day be hamstrung in that independence because it would not have within it the economic potential for selfreliance and its own viability. This situation has been changed dramatically and rapidly in the past few years because an enormous deposit of very low grade copper and a smattering of gold which has been examined over the years by modern methods and which, because of the tremendous scale of development can now be considered to be commercial, can bring these people to a position in world society which they might not otherwise have achieved for a very long time to come. This is the positive side of the picture. At the same time it must be realised that in the island of Bougainville there is a race of very primitive and most unsophisticated people. Most of these people have never seen a road of any size, let alone a town of any size. They have absolutely no concept of what is meant by a major mining venture such as is to come to their country. Description or explanation to these people is almost impossible without illustration.
Contrary to what has been said by the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) I believe that since the first glimmerings of viability emerged, not in I960 or 1964 as the honourable member sought to suggest, but when the company first became aware of the fact that this venture could be commercial - for a long time this did not appear likely - there have been unceasing efforts to explain to the people what is involved in the setting up of a city which will be the capital city of Bougainville^ - the capital of that part of the world; bigger than Lae or Rabaul. The establishment of this city will be a major contribution to the entire development of the Territory. Now a situation has emerged which has brought about a state of confusion and fuss and bother in the area. One wonders why this has come about. 1 believe that the answer is most simply given by a Christian gentleman, I would have the honourable member for Lang understand; by a member of his own faith,
He is a missionary who has lived there virtually all his life. He told me that the people have been stirred up in about ten villages by one European, who is manager of a local plantation. He told me that before that happened things were very quiet. As far as he was able to ascertain the people had accepted the fact that the town would be there. He was not referring to the mine at Panguna, which the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) claims is the only development which the natives expected. The missionary told me that the people accepted the fact that the town was to be there, in the Rorovana area in Kieta. lt was only when this matter was stirred up that the people began to turn.
Those are the words of the missionary; they are not the words of my committee, which took evidence from a large crosssection of people. It is my belief that a deliberate attempt has been made to create trouble and to exploit problems, firstly, by vested interests in the Arawa - the white man’s plantation. This is a magnificent piece of territory. It has been efficiently run. Tn anybody’s eyes it is a shame to see these lovely trees destroyed, but this is to make way for something so valuable to 2£ million people. Contrary to what the honourable member for Lang has said, the hearts and minds of 2£ million people in Papua and New Guinea have not been estranged by what is going on. As the honourable member for Henty pointed out, we were besieged by inquiries as to how soon similar things might take place in other parts of the Territory because the advantages of what was happening were obvious to people with a little more sophistication. It is laughable for the honourable member for Lang to suggest that this land has been resumed by force. What has been done by force, if you like, has been that a few policemen have acted against one or two people who were deliberately stirred up on the admission of this person who went about ceaselessly from village to village encouraging the people, as we were told in evidence, by offering to supply them with arms and to fight alongside them if they would stand out against the Administration. This is the kind of stirring that has been going on.
But there has been more, because into this area - on two occasions the ‘Four Corners’ team has gone, with one objective - to highlight divisions and differences between races. Here and now 1 accuse the Four Corners’ team of deliberate and calculated distortion. I accuse it of the attempted creation of racial clashes. We were given evidence of those whom the team approached with a view to creating demonstrations which it could photograph to show to the Australian people. We were told of the suppression of facts given to the Four Corners’ team by the news sources of the Territory. We were told by reporters that they had offered facts to the team which would have presented a very different picture from the one presented to the Australian public on its television screens. These facts were rejected out of hand by the Four Corners’, team. Other facts relating to the harmony and co-operation that existed between the Administration and the native people were given to the ‘Four Corners’ team but were rejected as not being within the charter which the team was in the Territory to pursue. I believe that the ‘Four Corners’ team went to the Territory to produce a series of programmes designed to destroy good relations between white and black people and especially to undermine the Administration. It is one thing for the Government and particularly the PostmasterGeneral to defend the Australian Broadcasting Commission against political pressure. It is quite another thing to defend it when it seeks to stir up hatred and violence that could endanger the lives of devoted Australian public servants who would serve a government of the opposite persuasion to the present Government just as faithfully as they serve this Government. I believe that this has been done.
When people have been stirred in this way at the point of their deepest emotions - their land - how do you get them to accept facts of the kind presented by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) and the honourable member for Henty? I believe that there is need for a firm decision to be made. What is the alternative? Should we allow a minority to set back the tremendous opportunity presented to millions of people in the Territory? The analogy that comes to mind is that of parents with a child who has a club foot. That child has been frightened by tales of what happens in hospital and so cries that it does not want an operation to restore it to full health and enable it to become a responsible and capable person in its adult years. I believe that a similar situation has emerged in the Territory. Many times I have discussed with my colleagues the invidious position in which Australia is placed. On the one hand we ask why we should get the kicks for something which for the most part will benefit the islanders or the company concerned. But this is not all: Should we leave these people to be exploited by those who, for their own objectives, political or financial, want to stir them up?
What of Australia’s financial outlay in the Territory? Are we prepared to deny Australians schools, pensions and development of all kinds while we exploit our own ore resources in this country and not ask the Territory to share the burden? What alternatives does the Opposition propose? The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) went briefly into the area. He proposes that the company delay its operations until the Territory has produced its own trained engineers and geologists. This would take 10 or 20 years, during which time, of course, Australian taxpayers would bear the burden. This is not the answer. Nor is the appointment of a select committee from this House the answer. A select committee there may well be. and should be, but I believe that it should be a committee appointed by the indigenous members of the House of Assembly. If they do not consider that it is necessary to have an inquiry, what kind of colonialist arrogance lies behind the suggestion that in this House we should override the decision of the House of Assembly and move into the Territory with our own inquiry into something which the House of Assembly itself has supported and which I believe still supports to a man? I think that the Opposition’s suggestion is arrogant in the extreme.
-Order! The discussion is interrupted and will be resumed at a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 5.59 to 8 p.m.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation for proposed expenditure announced.
Bill presented by Mr McMahon, and read a first time.
– In accordance with Budget practice, I now call on the Chairman of Committees to take the chair as Deputy Speaker.
– I move:
That the Bil) be now read a second time.
In doing so, I present the Budget proposals for the financial year 1969-70.
Again, social welfare has an honoured place in the proposals I make. They take us much further along the road the Government is determined to follow in accordance with the policy it initiated last year. It will remain our continuing policy to help the aged, the sick and those in need, and to do so in a way that will encourage selfhelp, thrift and provision for the future.
Repatriation benefits will be increased. Greatly increased financial aid for education will add to the scope and quality of the training and cultural development available to our young people as well as to older students. Additional funds will be provided to support the programmes to assist our Aboriginal citizens.
We shall again provide adequately for defence, for financial assistance for the States, for additional assistance to industry, for some measures of taxation relief and for many other purposes.
The various proposals, which I shall refer to in this Speech, are brought forward, it must be remembered, in conditions of high prosperity.
For both output and employment, 1968-69 was an exceptionally good year. Gross national product increased by 12% to $27,1 14m at current prices. Measured at constant prices the growth rate in real terms was more than 8.5%: approximately 2% being the result of the big increase in rural output following the drought of 1967-68. With allowance for this, a real growth rate of about 6.5% for the rest of the economy was a notable performance.
Net immigration was at the highest level since the 1950’s and added about 60,000 migrant workers to the workforce. Employment rose by about 150,000. Outside the rural sector, productivity seems to have risen by about 3.5%: the gains were widespread through industry and were particularly rapid in mining.
Last year’s increase in output was matched by rising demand, except in the oversupplied world wheat market In the earlier months of 1968-69, consumer spending increased rather slowly. It gained strength as the year went on and, for the year as a whole, increased by 6.7% to a total of Sl5,677m.
Private capital expenditure accelerated in 1968-69 to reach boom levels. Expenditure on dwellings totalled $ 1,256m, an increase of 16% over the previous year. Expenditure on other buildings and construction rose by 15% to reach $1,0 15m. After rising by only 3% in 1967-68, expenditure on plant and equipment last year increased by 10% to $2,375m. Private investment can therefore be clearly identified as the driving force behind the expansion of the economy that became apparent in the latter half of 1968-69.
Total spending by Governments and their instrumentalities also increased - by 9% to $5,948m. This was slower than the rate of increase in gross national product at current prices - 12% - and slower also than the 12% increase in public spending in 1967-68. Outlay in Australia from the Commonwealth Budget was $5,959m, which is 7.6% greater than in 1967-68 when it rose by 8.5%.
By contrast, these figures emphasise the dominant part increased private investment played in lifting gross national expenditure which last year rose by 11% to $27,461m.
The effects of the strong rise in demand began to show up in the labour market half-way through last financial year. At the end of December 1968 the seasonally adjusted figure for persons registered for employment was 67,439 a-nd for unfilled vacancies 36,866 - a difference of 30,573. By the end of June the corresponding figures were 55,308 and 44,411 respectively, so that the gap between the number registered for employment and unfilled vacancies was reduced to 10,897. This tightening occurred despite the big migrant inflow and the continuing addition of large numbers of married women to the employed workforce. There is no sign yet that pressure in the labour market is being reduced. On the contrary, the information available to us indicates a continued tightening.
An unwelcome feature of the rising pressure on resources has been the over-rapid increase in costs. In the March quarter of 1969 average weekly earnings were 8.6% above the level of the year before and for 1968-69 as a whole the increase was about 7.25%. In the earlier months, the concentration of major award increases strongly contributed to the rise in wage costs. More recently, over-award payments and other elements of wage drift have had a significant effect. As a consequence of these higher costs, the consumer price index increased by 2.9% during 1968-69. The nonfood groups in the index increased by about 3.75% - a much faster rate than in 1967-68. This emphasises the effects of increasing costs on the non-food elements in the index.
Last year more than $200m was added to our holdings of gold and foreign exchange. On official account, external payments exceeded external receipts by more than $400m. On private account, the opposite occurred. An excess of external receipts over external payments of more than $600m added considerably to monetary liquidity in Australia. The big increase in Rural Credits advances by the Reserve Bank, mainly to finance the record wheat harvest, also added to the money supply. On the other side of the ledger, the domestic surplus of receipts over outlay in the Commonwealth Budget reduced monetary liquidity. Despite this, the money supply in the form of trading and savings bank deposits and notes and coin in the hands of the public increased by $1,1 69m or 9.1%. The increase in the previous year was 8.3%.
There can be no doubt that the free availability of money has been contributing greatly to the growing strength of demand.
At this stage indications are that 1969-70 will be another year of strong economic growth. Except in parts of Queensland and Western Australia, seasonal conditions are promising and rural output should again increase. We could not, however, expect to repeat last year’s gain in rural production which followed the recovery from the drought of 1967-68. The output from other sectors of the economy also should rise well even though, with unemployment at a low level and mainly of the shortterm kind, the labour market is now much tighter than it was a year back. Practically all additions to the workforce will have to come from the ranks of school-leavers, married women entering the workforce and newly-arrived migrant workers. The numbers added from these sources will probably be much the same as last year so that, with not much change in the present low level of unemployment, it seems unlikely that this year’s increase in the numbers employed will be as great as last year’s. Nevertheless, given productivity increases comparable with those of last year, non-farm output should expand at a rate not far short of that achieved in 1968-69. An increase of at least 6% in gross national product at constant prices seems a reasonable forecast to make. If other countries can get 4% increase in gross national product they feel that they are doing pretty well.
With the expectation that there will be another good year for output we have to ask how the trends in demand are likely to develop. The rate at which incomes are rising leaves no doubt that consumption expenditure will continue to gain strength. Consumption normally accounts for about 60% of gross national expenditure so that even a small acceleration in its rate of growth can add substantially to the demands on domestic output and imported supplies.
Spending by Governments and their instrumentalities for both current and capital purposes accounts for slightly more than 20% of gross national expenditure. Last year this expenditure increased by 9%. This year it seems likely to rise at much the same rate.
The other main branch of expenditure is private investment. Another year of largescale private capital outlay seems certain. A number of big mining and other projects are at present in progress or will soon begin and give rise to a large amount of private capital expenditure.
How strongly this expenditure will be supported by capital inflow is one of the uncertainties we have to allow for. Present conditions in capital markets abroad suggest that it would be prudent to allow for a reduction in capital inflow this year. If that occurred, it could have a direct effect on capital expenditure and would tend to modify the influences adding to monetary liquidity.
At present, however, capital expenditure is imposing a considerable strain on the economy. At least in some States, the demands now being made on the building industry in particular must be pressing closely against the limit of resources. Shortages of building materials have shown up, costs have been rising at an increasing rate and construction times have lengthened. Any aggravation of these conditions must be harmful both for homebuilders and the industry.
It has to be recognised that any tendency for demand to outrun supply in the home market will have adverse effects on the balance of payments. In looking ahead, then, we must take account of the implications of excessive pressure developing in some sectors of the economy. I shall say more on this question later.
The prospects for exports seem reasonably good except in the overseas wheat market. Rural exports should increase in volume and, provided prices hold, should once more add to our export earnings. Another big rise in export of minerals is certain and it is reasonable to expect exports of manufactures to improve.
A rise in domestic demand is bound to attract additional imports. There could well be a trade surplus but the deficit on invisible payments will increase. Whether the net inflow of capital will balance the deficit on current account is difficult to assess. Excluding defence credits, official capital transactions abroad involve debt repayments amounting to some $200m and conditions in the international capital markets are not at the moment particularly favourable to loan raisings. Summing up, we can reasonably hope that there will be an approximate balance in our external transactions. We cannot, however, rule out the possibility that we may have to draw to some extent on our external reserves. These reserves are, fortunately, strong enough to enable us to cope with a temporary oversea payments deficit.
In determining the structure and consistency of this year’s Budget, we have endeavoured to make it fit the prospective economic conditions, including likely movements in monetary liquidity. In last year’s Budget, the deficit - or the amount borrowed to make up the difference between expenditure and all revenue receipts - was reduced, as compared with that of the year before, by $257m to a net amount of $385m. This year we are budgeting for a deficit of only $30m or $356m below last year’s deficit.
We estimate that total receipts will rise by $825m or 13.5% to S6,954m because of buoyant conditions and strong demand. Expenditure is estimated to rise by $469m or 7.2% to $6,983m.
The direct demand the Budget expenditure will make on resources is measured by the estimate of net expenditure on goods and services. This excludes transfer payments, such as pensions or interest, and net advances, such as those made to the States. In this Budget, this expenditure is estimated to increase by only 1.2% to $l,949m, compared with an increase of 7.8% in 1968-69. The much slower rate of increase is accounted for largely by a substantial reduction in defence spending abroad.
It has to be emphasised that it is expenditure in Australia that adds directly to demand on local resources. Net Budget expenditure in Australia on goods and services is estimated to increase by 7.3% to $ 1,646m - a significant reduction on last year’s 10% increase.
We expect total outlay in Australia, including welfare and other transfer payments and advances, to increase by 9.6% to $6,533m compared with last year’s rise of 7.6%. In the main, this is accounted for by increased welfare payments and the additional funds going to the States.
We estimate that total receipts in Australia will exceed outlays in Australia by about $500m in 1969-70. This domestic surplus would be about $300m greater than that achieved in 1968-69. Since it represents a net withdrawal of a comparable amount from the private sector’s monetary holdings in Australia, the domestic surplus should have a considerable effect in modifying the expansion of domestic monetary liquidity. This effect would be strengthened to the extent that net sales of Commonwealth securities were made to the nonbank public in Australia. Less buoyant liquidity conditions will, of course, help to contain increases in spending from local borrowings or other capital raisings in the Australian market.
I now turn to the expenditure estimates and the main policy decisions affecting them. To avoid wearisome detail, I shall give only the costs in 1969-70 of new expenditure proposals. In many instances their full-year costs will be considerably greater. Detailed analyses will be found in the statements attached to this Speech.
The Defence vote will fall this year to an estimated $1,1 04m or about 5% less than last year’s defence expenditure of $l,165m.
Defence expenditure overseas is expected to be about $243m or $87m less than last year.
The financial requirement is somewhat smaller mainly because parts of the major equipment programme have been completed and for some projects some of the expenditure is being spread into later years.
It does not amount to a reduction in our defence effort
As my colleague, the Minister for Defence, has announced, the defence programmes of the future will not be limited to set 3-year periods but will always look 5 years ahead and be kept under constant review. In accordance with this concept, studies have been undertaken in the Defence Department and equipment and works proposals have been brought forward and approved for inclusion in this Budget. Studies are continuing on other projects and as these are approved they will be admitted to the programme. The projects so far approved include ship construction and various items of capital works and equipment. The ship construction programme will include a fast combat support ship, a hydrographic ship and an oceanographic ship for the Navy and heavy landing craft for the Army. It is also proposed to put in hand a preliminary design study for new light destroyers for the Navy as replacements for some of the R:A.N.’s existing destroyers. There will be technical items of equipment ordered for all Services. The Army will be authorised to enter into forward commitments this year with the object of acquiring additional arms and armaments. This authorisation could involve expenditure of up to $60m next year but, as the orders placed will include long leadtime items, there will be a continuing commitment for expenditure in later years. A decision has also been taken to proceed with major airfield works at Learmonth, Western Australia; it is unlikely that there will be any expenditure on the project in 1969-70. Al) of these proposals, about which the Minister for Defence will give details in the course of the Budget debate, will add substantially to our defence capability.
Further additions to the strength of the Forces are planned for the year ahead. It is expected that, by the end of this financial year, the strength of the Navy will have risen from’ 16,943 to 17,360, of the Army from 46,525 to 48,010 and of the Air Force from 22,712 to 23,660. These additional numbers are required to man new ships and aircraft coming into service, meet operational commitments overseas and provide supporting elements in Australia. The Citizen Military Force is expected to increase from 34,256 to 36,000.
I turn now to one of the most important features of the Budget and that is social welfare.
The expenditures grouped under social, welfare constitute the largest single item in the Budget. They include expenditure on social services, repatriation, health and housing and are estimated to rise this year by $ 192m to total $ 1,659m.
Over the past year, the Government has continued to give a great deal of attention to this area. In a wide and searching examination of the needs of the less fortunate members of the community, we have had the assistance of the Welfare Committee of Cabinet under the chairmanship of the Minister for Health. The proposals that I shall now outlinegive relief to the aged and our needier people and at the same time give positive incentives to thrift and self-reliance.
Expenditure on social services is expected to increase by $134m to a record level of $999m, largely because of the new proposals which the Government will put before you.
Expenditure on repatriation pensions and benefits is expected to rise by$8m to $293m. Health and housing benefits are expected to require$367m, an increase of $50m.
Age, Invalid, Widows* and Service Pensions The maximum weekly rate of pensions payable to single age and invalid pensioners and widows with children will be increased by $1 to $15 per week. For widows without children the new weekly maximum rate will be $13.25. The pension payable to a married pensioner couple will increase for each by 75 cents a week so that the maximum rate of their combined pensions will be $26.50. Persons in receipt of service pensions which are repatriation benefits - will receive similar increases as will tuberculosis sufferers in receipt of allowances. For the future, the latter will, in addition, be eligible for certain benefits and concessions available to social services pensioners.
The Government has given particular attention to the needs of widows with children and proposes to introduce special measures to assist them. The allowance payable for each child, after the first, of a widow pensioner will be increased by $1 a week to bring the total payment, excluding child endowment, for each such child to $3.50 a week. This benefit will also be extended to children, other than the first, of age, invalid and service pensioners. As a further measure of assistance, the mother’s and guardian’s allowance is to be increased from the present rate of $4 per week to $6 per week in cases where there is a child under the age of 6 or an invalid child requiring full time care. As well, the deduction from income for means test purposes for a dependent child of a pensioner is to be increased by $1 a week to $4 a week. A widow pensioner with, say, three dependent children may thus earn $22 a week, hold property of a value up to $4,500 and still receive full pension and allowances. All these new benefits will be extended to age, invalid and service pensioners in appropriate cases.
We have also decided to modify the residence qualifications for widows’ pensions so that certain women who are widowed overseas may be eligible for a widow’s pension on return to Australia provided they have lived in Australia for a continuous period of 10 years. Because of the number of persons who have, in the past, migrated to Australia, and now wish to visit their home country, it is intended to permit pensioners making temporary visits overseas to receive payment of pension for up to 30 weeks absence on return to Australia. The present limit is 12 weeks.
Persons who become pensioners because of the proposed increases in basic rates of pension will become members of the Pensioner Medical Service, giving them entitlement to free medical and hospital treatment and free pharmaceutical benefits. They will be entitled also to other subsidiary benefits provided by the Commonwealth, such as reduced radio and T.V. licence fees, telephone rentals, hearing aids and funeral benefits. Persons who become pensioners for the first time because of the introduction of the ‘tapered’ means test - to which I shall now refer - will not, however, be eligible for membership of the Pensioner Medical Service or entitled to any other subsidiary fringe benefits.
– Wait a moment and you will find that all your propaganda for the next election is ruined.
Liberalisation of the Means Test
I now come to the liberalisation of the means test. Liberalisation has been the continuing policy of the Government, and the proposal I now outline will represent the most significant move forward since the Government assumed office.
Under present pension arrangements, where a pensioner has means in excess of the ‘free’ level - $10 per week in the case of a single pensioner and $17 per week in the case of married pensioner couples - the pension payable is reduced by $1 for every $1 of means in excess of these limits. This provision does not provide any incentive to earn or provide for additional income. The Government proposes, therefore, to introduce a ‘tapered’ means test under which additional means in excess of the ‘free’ limits to which I have referred will, in future, reduce the age, invalid, widow’s or service pension by only 30 cents for each additional dollar of means. As a direct consequence of this change, single pensioners with means in excess of $10 per week will all receive increased pensions and eligibility for some pension will not cut out until their means reaches $40 a week instead of $24 - the cut-off point at the existing pension rate. In the case of married couples, both being pensioners, eligibility for some pension will continue until their joint means reach a level of $70 per week.
When I come to the revenue estimates I shall outline additional concessions we propose to give under the Income Tax Age Allowance to take account of the ‘tapered’ means test.
It is expected that approximately 250,000 persons will become eligible either for pension for the first time or for increased pensions under the proposed ‘tapered’ means test.
We propose also to introduce a new allowance of $5 a week for persons of 80 years of age or over who receive approved personal care while living in hostel type accommodation provided by organisations eligible under the Aged Persons Homes Act. It is also proposed to amend that Act so that the value of land, acquired before 1957, will be eligible for subsidy. Previously, the value of land purchased or held by an aged persons’ homes organisation prior to 1957 has been excluded from the capital cost for the purposes of determining the amount granted by the Commonwealth towards the erection of a new home.
The rates of benefit payable to unemployment and sickness beneficiaries will be raised. In the case of a married minor or adult the rate will be increased by $1.75 to $10 per week and the allowance for a dependent wife by $1 to $7 per week. Where there are children in the family of an unemployed or sickness beneficiary, the allowance for children under 16 will be raised by $1 to $2.50 a week in the case of a first child under 16 and by $2 to $3.50 a week for second and subsequent children. Appropriate increases will be made in the allowance payable to unmarried minors. Where they have no parent living in Australia they will receive the adult rate of benefit. At the same time the amount of income which may be received without affecting entitlement to the full rate of benefit is to be increased by $2 to$6 a week in the case of adults or married minors and from $2 to $3 per week in the case of unmarried minors.
In order to relieve hardship in cases where there are frequent periods of unemployment or recurrent sickness, beneficiaries will in future need to serve only once in any period of 13 consecutive weeks the waiting period of 7 days before unemployment or sickness benefit can be paid. The Director-General of Social Services will also be authorised to exercise a discretion to waive recovery of all or part of sickness benefit in cases of hardship or special circumstances such as where inadequate compensation or damages are obtained. At present full recovery is mandatory.
The total cost of all of the social service proposals I have announced is estimated to be $73m in 1969-70. In consequence, total expenditure on social services this year will be $999m.
In regard to health benefits, another memorable change has been made by this Government. Consideration has been given to the recent recommendations of the Nimmo Committee. It is now proposed to provide free health insurance benefits equal to standard fund and Commonwealth benefits for - family groups of at least two units, excepting those of pensionable age, where the family cash income does not exceed $39 a week; all unemployment and sickness beneficiaries for the period for which they are on benefit plus four weeks - but if they are not insured when first entitled to benefit, there will be a waiting period of two weeks; all migrants for a period of two months after arrival in Australia.
Details of the machinery under which these benefits will be made available will be announced shortly by the Minister for Health.
The Commonwealth is already assisting in the provision of housing for the aged, particularly through the Aged Persons Homes Scheme. Nevertheless, we recognise that the housing of some single age and service pensioners with little or no means apart from their pension is below acceptable standards and the rentals they are required to pay are excessive. The States are already providing self-contained dwelling units including units for single age pensioners at reasonable rentals. We believe that more should be done and therefore propose to offer to the States non-repayable grants of $25m over 5 years, beginning this year, so that building of this type of dwelling can be expedited.
We propose a number of improvements in repatriation pensions and benefits.
The pension payable to a totally and permanently incapacitated war pensioner will be increased by $2.50 per week to $36 per week.
Last year we introduced a new form of assistance - a special compensation allowance payable to certain of the more seriously incapacitated general rate pensioners. We propose to increase this allowance by $2 per week so that a general rate pensioner who qualifies for the allowance will receive $17 per week where his incapacity is assessed at 100 per cent and $12.75 where the assessment is at 75 per cent. The rate pf pension payable to those able to work only part-time or intermittently because of a war-caused disability - the intermediate rate - will be increased by $2.25 to $26.*50 a week.
War widows’ pension will be increased by $1 to $15 a week and, in addition, the domestic allowance payable to most war widows will be . increased by 50 cents a week. In total, then, a war widow receiving domestic allowance will receive an increase of $1.50 per week, bringing her total basic pension to $22.50 a week.
Although they were increased last year, we propose to increase again the allowances payable to certain war pensioners in respect of attendants. The recreation transport allowance and the allowance to assist in meeting the running expenses of a specially equipped gift car will each be increased.
An extra $5m is to be provided for War Service Homes taking the total to $55m. This recognises the full-year effect of last year’s increase from $7,000 to $8,000 in the maximum loan.
I come to what I regard as another important element in this Budget - in fact, a very important element. Increasingly in recent years the Commonwealth appropriation for education has grown. In a country dedicated to growth, the breadth and quality of education must be a critical element. As well, education and cultural development are objectives in their own right.
The Commonwealth has progressively increased the scale and broadened the scope of its financial support for education. Through specific purpose payments and general financial grants assistance is being provided at all levels and for all types of schools. Over $265m will be appropriated in the Budget for education this year, or 38% more than last year’s expenditure. Within the total, payments to the States specifically for education will increase by 53% to $165m.
Payments will include’ the full-year cost of the new programmes of capital grants for secondary school libraries and pre-school teachers colleges introduced last year. Provision is being made for the programme of development of Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education in prospect for the 1970-1972 triennium, as well for other new policy proposals, to which I shall refer shortly.
My colleague, the Minister for Education and Science, will be making detailed statements about education including the recommendations of the Australian Universities Commission and the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education for the 1970-1972 triennium.
Broadly stated, the triennial programmes are based on the expectation that by 1972 total student enrolment, full and part-time, in Universities and Colleges of Advanced
Education will be more than 45,000 greater than in the current academic year. To meet this expected demand, these institutions will need better capital facilities and greater appropriations for recurrent costs.
The recommended programmes for these institutions in the 1970-1972 triennium aggregate$910m - an increase of $263m on the programmes for the 1967-1969 triennium. The recommended programmes for Colleges of Advanced Education will account for $127m of this increase. Reflecting the growing national importance of applied science and the technologies, expenditures on these Colleges will be more than doubled in the coming triennium.
Of the amount of $9 10m recommended for Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education during the next three calendar years the Commonwealth will provide approximately $420m, the remainder being provided by State Governments and by the fees and other income of the institutions themselves.
During the triennium, grants to the States for Universities and Colleges of Advanced Education are expected to amount to $227m and $93m respectively. In 1969-70 the grants will be $96m, or $19m more than last year. Grants for science laboratories, technical training facilities, teacher and preschool teacher training colleges and secondary school libraries will, in the aggregate, increase by $21. 5m.
For the Australian National University and the Canberra College of Advanced Education, we will provide$30.2m in 1969- 70, of which $22.5m is for recurrent expenditure and $7. 7m is for capita] expenditure. For the next triennium as a whole, the estimated provision will be about $100m.
We share with the States the conviction that the training and education of teachers is critical to help us achieve our objectives. We have reviewed our policy relating to teacher training and have made two decisions. First, we will continue with unmatched capital grants for the construction of teachers’ colleges by the States after the present programme is completed in June 1970. These grants will increase to $30m in the three years to June 1973 as compared with $24m in the previous three years. Second, we will support expenditure both capital and recurrent on teacher education within Colleges of Advanced Education and, indeed, have given the first approvals for the 1970-1972 triennium.
The number of Commonwealth scholarships at the tertiary level will be increased. From the beginning of the 1970 academic year, the number of Later Year Awards for university students will be increased by 2,000 to 4,000. It is also intended to change the basis upon which Mature Age scholarships at the tertiary level will be increased. scholarships tenable at Colleges of Advanced Education will also be increased substantially - from 1,500 to 2,500 a year.
I come now to an important new aspect of policy relating to education in independent schools. This is a significant development in the policy introduced about five years ago. From January 1970 the Commonwealth will contribute towards the running costs of independent schools throughout Australia. A subsidy at the rate of $35 per primary pupil and $50 per secondary pupil per annum will be paid to the schools. With the assistance State Governments will be providing, the Commonwealth subvention will both help the parents and enable the independent schools to improve their standards.
The State Governments will be offered grants under Section 96 of the Constitution for transmission to independent schools in their respective States. The necessary legislation will be introduced later in these Sittings. In the case of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, payments will be made direct to the independent schools as an addition to the present per pupil subsidies.
The estimated cost of this new measure is $l6.3m in 1969-70. Of this amount, $16m will be paid to the States. In the first full year, the comparable figures are $24. 5m and $24.1 m respectively.
Subsidies on Fertilisers
Turning to our rural industries, I now outline proposals that will continue our aim to assist them with their more pressing problems. Later, I shall outline some taxation concessions that will also assist them.
A subsidy of $6 a ton on standard superphosphate used in Australia was introduced in August 1963. Last year we decided to extend to October 1971 the operation of the authorising legislation and to increase the standard rate of subsidy to $8 a ton with effect from 14 August 1968. This year we have decided to increase the rate of subsidy still further. As from tomorrow the standard rate will be$1 2 per ton. At the new rate the subsidy is expected to cost $50m this year or $19m more than last year.
In August 1966 we introduced a subsidy on nitrogenous fertilisers, for which the authorising legislation is due to expire in October 1969. We have now decided to continue the subsidy for a further three years at an estimated cost in 1969-70 of $ 15m or $4m more than last year.
To afford further assistance to the woolgrowing industry, the Government has decided to offer the industry a more generous arrangement for the financing of wool research and promotion. For three years commencing 1 July 1970, the growers’ levy would be reduced from two to one per cent and the Government would meet the balance of the expenditure required for research and promotion, provided its contribution does not exceed an average of $27m per annum. In effect, the growers’ levy would be halved and the Government’s contribution approximately doubled. The Government’s offer will have to be negotiated with the Australian Wool Industry Conference together with any changes that might be required in the areas of responsibility for the administration of wool research and promotion by virtue of the increased financial commitment assumed by the Government
Since 1960-61 the Commonwealth has each year made payments to the wheat industry to enable returns to growers to be raised to the guaranteed price in respect of specified quantities of exported wheat. In 1968-69 the payment involved was $43m. This enabled the return to growers to be raised by more than 28 cents to $1.64 per bushel f.o.r. on 150m bushels of export wheat in respect of the 1967-68 season. The Wheat Industry Stabilization Act 1968 pro vides a guaranteed price on exports of up to 200 million bushels in respect of each of the five wheat seasons 1968-69 to 1972-73. For the first of these seasons the guaranteed price is $1.45 per bushel f.o.b. and for subsequent seasons it will be adjusted in accordance with movements in cash costs. It is expected that a wheat stabilisation payment in respect of the 1968-69 crop will be made in 1970-71. No provision will be needed for a payment this year.
The main features of the Government’s Drought Bonds scheme were outlined in a statement which I made in the House on 1 May 1969. Legislation authorising their issue will be introduced shortly, with a view to the first series of Drought Bonds being available for subscription on 1 November next.
Grants are made by the Commonwealth to encourage additional expenditure by Australian manufacturing and mining companies on research and development. Expenditure in 1969-70 is expected to double, increasing to $10.8m from $5.3m in 1968-69.
Well over half the item Advances for Capital Purposes comprises the provision of new capital for the Post Office, mainly to assist in financing expansion and improvement of telephone services. The provision this year for the Post Office is $229m. This compares with a provision last year of $222m and actual advances of $204.5m. The latter figure was only $1m greater than in1967-68. The increase in this year’s provision over actual advances in 1968-69 is due in substantial measure to two special circumstances; first, in 1968-69 the Post Office was able to achieve a greater improvement in its net cash operating surplus than is expected in 1969-70 and second, payments on some large equipment orders, which were expected to fall due last year, now have to be met in 1969-70 instead of last year.
The Post Office expects to be able during the year to make 290,000 telephone connections involving new lines or equipment and to hold the numbers awaiting service at about the current figure of 55,000.
The largest absolute increase in any of the main classes of expenditure is the rise of $186m in payments to or for the States. This will bring the total amount to an estimated $l,643m, an increase of 12.8%. Within this total, grants and payments of a revenue nature will increase by nearly $117m to approximately $l,274m. Payments of a capital nature will rise by $69m to close on $3 69m. In addition to, and distinct from, the payments just mentioned, the State works and housing programmes will increase by $48m to $7 5 8m. Of this amount $132m has been allocated under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreements.
There are a number of other figures here which I feel it is not necessary, to read out. Consequently, I ask for leave to have them incorporated in Hansard.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Departmental- running expenses are estimated to increase by $43m to nearly $443m, or 10.6% higher than last year’s expenditure. Close to $19m of this increase is attributed to higher rates of pay, including the increase in Third Division salaries granted as from 17th July 1969.
External economic aid will be increased by $13m, or 9.3%, to total more than $l50m. This figure includes $96m for assistance to Papua and New Guinea, which will be $9m, or 10.3%, greater than last year. In addition, it is estimated that Commonwealth departments and non-commercial instrumentalities will spend about $22. 6m in the Territory. If the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank needs more capital funds this year, the Government will consider assisting the Administration to make an additional contribution.
Commonwealth payments to industry will, on present estimates exceed $200m, a decrease on last year of $10.3m. As I have said, no wheat stabilisation payment is expected this year. Last year the cost was $43m. Devaluation compensation for primary industries is estimated at $29m, a reduction of $6m. Partly offsetting these decreases arc the increased subsidies on superphosphate and nitrogenous, fertilizers, and the increased grants for industrial research and development to which I referred earlier. Bounty payments for the protection of a number of manufacturing industries are estimated to increase. In the case of the shipbuilding subsidy the estimated cost is $ 16.6m, or $4m more than last year.
We propose to pay a further amount of approximately $7.2m to the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account to meet special expenditure in 1969-70, in particular in the fields of health, education and housing. The balance of about $1.3m in the Trust Account at 30 June 1969 will be used to meet outstanding commitments under similar programmes commenced last year; expenditure in 1968-69 on these programmes was approximately $4.0m.
Of the $10m appropriated to the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account last year, $4.7m was subsequently paid to the Commonwealth Capital Fund established under the Aboriginal Enterprises (Assistance) Act 1968. It is not expected that any substantial addition to this Fund will be required in 1969-70.
This year we are seeking an appropriation of $2. 85m for grants in support of the performing arts, an increase of $1.2m over expenditure in 1968-69. The Australian Council for the Arts, now in ils second year, has provided valuable advice to the Government. Details of the assistance to be provided in 1969-70 will be announced shortly.
I now turn to the financing of this expenditure from revenue and other sources.
Another year of high and rising incomes and buoyant expenditure in all sectors of the economy is expected and we have based our revenue estimates on this expectation. Receipts from all sources except borrowing are estimated to rise to $6,954m - an increase of 13.5% on last year’s receipts. Total taxation revenue is estimated to be $6,237m, an increase of 14.7% on last year. Details of these estimates are given in Statement No. 3 attached to this Speech.
With a large increase of revenues in prospect we considered, in the overall budget strategy, whether greater expenditures than those proposed could have been financed or whether we could have given greater tax concessions than those I am about to mention.
The essence of the situation we face is that, if our revenues rise as much as expected, it will be largely because of highly expansive economic conditions. If there were, in these circumstances, greater increases in expenditure than those proposed, we would have added further to demand on resources already under some strain. It would be much the same if we reduced taxation substantially. The consequent rise in disposable incomes and spending power would increase both demand and liquidity and would inevitably give a greater stimulus to inflationary tendencies.
We have not therefore considered it prudent to give general concessions in taxation. We have, however, thought it desirable, in order to deal with special circumstances, to propose some changes in taxes and rates of charges. I shall now outline these changes.
We propose a further liberalisation of the income tax age allowance granted to residents of Australia who are of qualifying age, that is, sixty-five years for men and sixty for women.
Under the present age allowance an aged person is exempt from tax if his or her own taxable income does not exceed $1,248 while a married aged person is exempt if the combined taxable income of husband and wife does not exceed $2,184.
For 1969-70 no tax will be payable by an aged person whose taxable income does not exceed $1,300 or by a married aged person unless the combined taxable income of husband and wife exceeds $2,262.
In order to cushion the transition from complete exemption to taxation at ordinary rates of tax, the age allowance provisions include ‘shading-in’’ arrangements to limit the amount of tax payable by an aged person with a taxable income somewhat in excess of the exemption levels. To take account of the new ‘tapering’ provisions for age pensions to which I have already referred, we propose to reduce the tax payable under these limiting provisions and to extend the ranges of income within which the limitation confers a benefit.
We propose also to amend the income tax law as it now applies to convertible securities. In 1960, the income tax law was amended to disallow the deduction of interest payable by companies on convertible securities. This action was taken because it was evident that convertible notes were being used largely as a means of avoiding taxation. In many cases, the convertible notes were essentially deferred issues of shares.
The Government recognises that convertible issues can serve legitimate business purposes. It has therefore been decided to restore deductibility of interest for income tax purposes on convertible issues but this will be made subject to conditions designed to minimise tax avoidance.
This proposal will be fully explained when amending legislation is brought in.
The Government has also decided that the present law granting tax deductions for subscriptions of capital to certain kinds of companies can, for some taxpayers, confer unjustified benefits. lt is a general principle of the lax Jaw that where a deduction for an amount of expenditure is authorised by more thar one provision only one deduction is allowed. There is under the existing law an exception to this principle, with the effect that where certain shares are sold by a share dealer, deductions granted with the general aim of facilitating the financing of mineral exploration or afforestation are disregarded in calculating the profit or loss on sale. In effect, a taxable profit on a sale of the shares is reduced through the allowance of two deductions for the cost of the shares and a deductible loss on a sale is likewise increased. In some cases, the reduction in tax liabilities can be as great as the total cost of the shares.
It is proposed to amend section 82 of the income tax law so that dealers in shares will be allowed only one deduction for capital subscribed to mining or afforestation companies. The amendment will affect moneys paid on shares after today, except where the dealer owned the shares on or before today, or became the owner after today pursuant to an application lodged, or an agreement made, by today. People who are not regarded as dealers for tax purposes will not be affected by the amendment.
I return to the Government’s frequently expressed intention to assist primary producers.
At present the cost of some structural improvements made by primary producers for conserving water or fodder - such as tanks, silos and hay sheds - is deductible for income tax purposes by way of depreciation allowances over five years. The cost of other structural improvements - such as dams, underground tanks and bores - made for these purposes is deductible in full in the year in which it is incurred. It is proposed that, as to expenditure in the income year 1969-70 and subsequent years, the cost of all structural improvements of this nature will qualify for deduction in full in the year in which it is incurred.
– I hope the next one will not leave him quite so poor.
The Government has also decided that some relief should be granted from estate duty in the case of the estates of primary producers. In reaching this decision we had in mind the desirability of providing assistance to discourage the breaking-up of economic rural holdings because of the need to pay estate duty.
Relief will be granted in two ways. The existing exemption levels will,’ for primary production estates, be raised by 20%. Some additional relief from duty will be granted in respect of land and other assets normally used in primary production such as livestock and farm plant and machinery. In broad terms, an estate will qualify for these reliefs when the assets are predominantly of the kind I have mentioned and the income of the deceased person was derived over the preceding five years principally from primary production. Relief will be granted for estates of a net value of less than $250,000.
The relief will apply to estates of persons who die after the authorising legislation has been assented to.
As a complementary measure some administrative requirements of the estate duty law are to be relaxed. The necessity to lodge security in order to obtain an extension of time for payment of duty is to be eliminated and the statutory limit of two years on extensions of time is to be removed.
Consistent wilh the Government’s policy of narrowing the gap between airport and airway costs and revenues, we propose to increase by 10% the rates of air navigation charges payable by the air transport industry for the use of airport and airway facilities provided by the Commonwealth. The new scale will apply only to domestic flights. As for international flights, international operators have claimed that they are already meeting a relatively high proportion of costs. A study is currently being under taken of airport and airway costs and revenues and the Government will give further consideration to charges for international flights.
Last year, despite a domestic surplus of about $200m in the Budget, the money supply increased by SI, 169m. The rate of change in. bank customers’ accounts suggests that the turnover of funds, or velocity of circulation, also increased. As I have already said these monetary influences undoubtedly contributed to the rise of inflationary pressures.
This year we expect the Budget to produce a domestic surplus of about $500m. This would withdraw a similar amount from the money supply. Against that, receipts will exceed payments in private transactions abroad - possibly by much the same amount - and this will add an equivalent amount to the money supply. Further additions to the money supply will be made from other sources. In particular, the Reserve Bank will again add to Rural Credit advances outstanding as it finances payments on delivery of wheat and other commodities pending sale: though the net injection of liquidity from Rural Credits will be smaller than last year when a record harvest followed a year of drought
Loans and advances by the banks will again add to the money supply. Action has been taken to moderate the rate at which the banks increase their lending. Trading banks are being called upon to transfer to their Statutory Reserve Deposits an additional amount equivalent to 1% of their deposits. This will leave them with much the same ratio of liquid assets and government securities to deposits as they had a year ago. This action has been accompanied by a rise of 0.2S% in maximum trading bank fixed deposit and maximum overdraft rates of interest. A new maximum rate of 5% now applies to both fixed deposit and certificates of deposit and within this maximum the term and rate structure has been made more flexible. On the one hand, the higher interest rates will assist the trading banks to attract funds into fixed deposits or certificates of deposit and, to that extent, to compete more effectively with other operators in the money market. On the other hand, the higher overdraft rates should induce bank customers to reduce the call they make on funds borrowed from the banks.
To counter the influences which add to monetary liquidity, the Reserve Bank has been a net seller of Commonwealth securities in its open-market operations. In 1967-68, its net purchases of securities amounted to $178m. Last year it made net sales of about $78m. A new pattern of rates emerged and was reflected in the Commonwealth loan floated last month, with the yield on the long-dated securities rising from 5.4 to 6%. We have aimed at consolidating the strength of Commonwealth securities in the market.
These measures are part of a precautionary move against inflationary trends. They will not in any way inhibit the real growth of the economy. The fact is that a large volume of monetary liquidity has been carried over from the past financial year. In the interests of stability and sound growth, we must limit the amount that will be added to liquidity this year. The real problem is to keep the increase within safe bounds and to prevent it becoming excessive.
This financial year will take us over the threshold of the next decade, the 1970’s. From an economic point of view, the prospects are basically favourable. The new resources being opened up must add increasingly to output both for domestic use and for export. Our productivity has risen and will continue to rise. Migrants are pouring in and the work force is building up rapidly. We are attracting a good flow of capital from overseas. Our reserves are reasonably strong and, despite monetary and trade disturbances abroad, our exports are growing, diversifying and reaching out into still wider markets.
This provides a margin of safety. It gives us some scope and time for any adjustments needed to keep the economy on a sure and steady course ahead.
The broad promise, of future growth does not however reduce, or change essentially, the continuing problem, of economic management, that is, of keeping the national effort close to the limit of available resources but not allowing it to exceed this limit. The problem is with us this year in characteristic form. Rapidly though our supplies of labour, equipment and materials are increasing, demand is right up with them and is growing fast. There is a clear possibility that excess demand, helped by excess liquidity could upset the balance of the economy. This Budget, : in its economic aspect, together with the monetary measures taken lately, is primarily directed to minimising this risk.
But budgets are much more than instruments of economic policy. This Budget is designed to share some, of our growing wealth with the less fortunate, to provide still better educational facilities for the young, to help rural industries improve their productivity and to meet competition abroad, and to expand great developmental works in many parts of the country.
Although economic feasibility will, in the end, set limits to what can be done in any field, economic. purposes will have little meaning unless they contribute to personal and .humane values. It is the physical and intellectual progress of the community and of the individual human beings in it that ultimately counts. It will be seen that humane values are in the forefront of the purposes this Budget is designed to achieve.
I commend it to honourable members and, if 1 may again interpolate, I think it is one of the best Budgets I have known to be introduced in the 20 years that I have been in the House.
The Budget estimates for 1969-70, in ‘conventional’ terms, provide for:
In national accounting form, the estimates imply: an increase of 8.0 per cent in total outlays, following increases of 6.1 per cent in 1968-69 and 10.3 per cent in 1967-68. Expenditures on goods and services are estimated to increase by 1.2 per cent in 1969-70, following an increase of 7.8 per cent in 1968-69; an increase of 9.6 per cent in outlays within Australia, following increases of 7.6 per cent in 1968-69 and 8.5 per cent in 1967-68; a further reduction of 8.0 per cent in Commonwealth outlays overseas, following a reduction of 6.8 per cent in 1968-69 and an increase of 27.5 per cent in 1967-68; and an increase of 14.5 per cent in receipts on the basis of existing rates of taxation and other charges, and 14.3 per cent after taking account of the revenue measures announced in the Budget Speech. In 1968-69, receipts rose by 11 . 4 per cent and in 1967-68 by 9.6 per cent.