26th Parliament · 2nd Session
The House met at 2 p.m.
The Acting Clerk - I desire to inform the House of the unavoidable absence of the Speaker, who is on parliamentary duties overseas. In accordance with standing order 14, the Chairman of Committees will take the chair as Acting Speaker.
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Lucock) thereupon took the chair, and read prayers.
– On 20th August I informed the House of the intention to hold the general election on Saturday, 25th October 1969. His Excellency the Governor-General has now indicated that, pursuant to section IS of the Constitution and in accordance with the law of the State concerned, the Governor of Victoria and the Governor of South Australia have agreed that elections to fill casual vacancies in the Senate in those States will also be held on 25th October. The date recommended to His Excellency the Governor-General for the return of writs for the general election for the House of Representatives is 24th November 1969. Advice has been received from His Excellency that this date has also been adopted by die Governors as the date for the return of writs following the elections to fill the two casual vacancies in the Senate.
– I ask the Minister for Health a question. Is the honourable gentleman aware that universal hospital insurance as proposed by the Labor Party has been in force in Canada since 1959? Has the Minister’s attention been drawn to an address given by the Immediate Past President of the Canadian Hospital Association, Mr R. Alan Hay, to the 1969 congress of the Australian Hospital Association? Did Mr Hay assert: ‘The modern saga of Canada’s hospitals really dates from 1959. I cannot believe that even the most wild eyed reactionary between Newfoundland and the Yukon would want to turn back the clock. Indeed, it’s impossible to imagine what state our hospitals would be in today if government had not stepped in 10 years ago’?
– I rise to order. The honourable gentleman is quoting a statement made by somebody in Canada.
-Order! I sugest that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition not take too long in stating the preamble to his question.
– The statement was made in Australia. If the Minister would like to see it as printed, I will let him have a copy.
-Order! I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that only recently Mr Speaker drew the attention of honourable members to the length of questions and to the manner in which question time was being used by honourable members. Where the statement read by the Deputy Leader was made is not relevant. What is relevant is that the honourable member is giving information. This practice may be allowed to a certain extent in order to clarify a question but the honourable member is not in order in making a lengthy statement or in taking too long to ask his question. I ask him now to come to the point.
– I will conclude by asking the Minister: If so, why does he suppose that universal hospital insurance would be less acceptable or less successful in this country than it has proved to be in Canada?
– I have read Press reports about what the gentleman in question had to say. I have a number of things to say in reply. Firstly, this represents one man’s view of the situation. Secondly, he specifically related his comments to hospitals in Canada. This is more a question of the provision of overall finance for the hospital system than a question relating to the manner in which people pay their contributions for an insurance scheme. Questions of this sort go to the heart of the basis on which countries make their financial arrangements. Although Canada is a federation, its financial relationships with the Provinces are different from the Commonwealth’s financial relationships with the States of Australia.
I have noted also that in Canada - this was commented on by the Nimmo Committee, which visited that country - there is considerable concern about containing costs. Costs there are getting completely out of hand, and presumably to some extent this is due to the system. The Canadian medicare scheme has only just been accepted by the last of the Provinces, yet costs are getting so much out of hand that the Federal Government of Canada has announced that it will be abandoning the scheme in 5 years time. Almost immediately after the introduction of the scheme the Federal Government of Canada proposes to hand responsibility back to the Provinces because it sees this as the only way of containing costs under this system.
The first part of the honourable gentleman’s question related to compulsory, or what he referred to as universal, health insurance in Canada. The honourable member can only be talking of the part played by the Federal Government in respect of financing hospital and medical care in the Provinces, because the arrangements made for insurance vary widely in their details from one Province to the next. From the standpoint from which he was putting it forward it is almost impossible to talk about a health scheme in Canada. I am glad that for the first time the honourable gentleman has recognised that the main problem in providing a valuable and reasonable health system is not the means by which people pay their contributions but the way in which the whole scheme is organised and in which the money provided - in Australia 60% is provided by governments or comes from outside the insurance system - for such a system is employed. This the first time I have found any recognition by the Opposition that this is an important matter in providing an adequate health system.
– My question, which is addressed to the Treasurer, refers to the comprehensive census forms/ recently distributed to factories and/business enterprises. Is the Treasurer aware of the concern of many >.people about the magnitude of the information that has been requested? Secondly, will he explain the importance of this census and perhaps give an undertaking that such details will be requested only on the S-yearly basis that has been mentioned and that the contents of the census forms will be completely confidential?
– I shall answer the last question first I can give an assurance to the House and to the public of Australia that the details contained in the census will be confidential and will not be made available, in particulars, to any other person or corporation. As to the actual census itself, what everyone has to recognise is that if we want government policies to be based on the greatest availability of facts it is essential that information -has .to be made available to us. The census form itself is an attempt to obtain that information. Before the document was prepared every organisation that the Statistician thought could give him advice in compiling the census form and in getting the kind of information that was necessary was consulted. The honourable gentleman will know, too, that the Government Statistician already has published a document setting out the reasons why he felt the additional information was desirable. I will have a look at that document to see whether it should be given a wider circulation than it has been given at the moment.
– Now that the Prime Minister has familiarised himself with the Indian Ocean does he concede the need for naval and maritime facilities on the Western Australian coast? Why is there no mention in the’ Defence Report about the Government’s intention on the future of Cockburn Sound? Why was there no mention by the Minister for Defence in his speech on the Budget about any Government decision on the feasibility study completed by Maunsell and Partners in April 1968?
– I am glad the honourable member asked me that question because it gives me the opportunity here to refute an entirely false report which appeared in a New South Wales newspaper to the effect that the Government has abandoned the prospect of constructing a naval base at Cockburn Sound. There was no foundation for that report at all and I thank the honourable member for giving me the opportunity to point this out. Regarding the rest of his question, the feasibility study referred to had been supplied to the Navy and is now under consideration by the Department of Defence. That is where the matter rests at the moment.
– I address a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. What is the actual cost to the Australian Government of buying its container ship from the associated container transportation group of shipowners? What is the actual cost of adapting the ship to meet the higher standard of crew accommodation for the Australian crew? What is the additional cost of operating the ship with an Australian crew compared with the operating costs of the other container ships employed in this trade? Is the Australian Government prepared to operate the ship at a financial loss in preference to agreeing to increasing the existing freight rates? Finally, is the Government bound to accept the majority decision of the conference lines in determining freight rates?
– At this stage I have not the exact figures of the cost to the Government of the acquisition of two ships for the Australian National Line to operate in the Australian to Europe conference and in the Australian to the east coast of America conference. However the approximate figures were given by me in a second reading speech some time ago and I will endeavour to update those figures for the honourable member and let him have them. He has asked also about the additional cost of providing accommodation for the Australian crewing of these vessels. This amount is of the order of $100,000. This takes into account the somewhat higher standard of accommodation that has been provided for Australian seamen than would have been provided if the ships had been operated under the British articles which were originally to be applied.
He asked also about the freight rate to be levied between Australia and Europe in the course of Australia operating these vessels. This, of course, is a matter of negotiation by the conference with the Australia to Europe shippers association. The Government, as such, will not be a party to this negotiation although the Australian National Line, which is, of course, a wholly owned company responsible to the Government as its shareholder, will be a party. The Line will participate as a full member of the conference and, of course, will participate in determining the freight rates in the same manner as any other member of the conference. The Government will recognise freight rates to the extent that they are agreed upon after discussion between the shippers association and the shipping conference. The level of the freight rates will not be affected by any additional charge which might have been applicable in the costing of the ships because of the additional burden of providing higher standards of accommodation or higher operating expenses because of Australian crewing. These things have been expressly excluded by the Government in the arrangements with the conference and consequently they will not be taken into account. They will not affect the level of freight rates applicable in either that conference or the conference which operates between Australia and the east coast of the United States of America.
– I direct my question to the Postmaster-General. I have been, informed that telephone communications between Thursday Island and the mainland are to be improved. If this is so, what work is entailed? What is the amount to be expended? When is work expected to be completed?
– I am sure the honourable member will appreciate that it is impossible for me to keep in my mind what is happening in relation to the extension or variation of cable routes around Australia. I know that some work between the mainland and Thursday Island is being done. I shall obtain the exact details and will let the honourable member have them.
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the tax concessions on permanent farm improvements, as announced in the Budget, will assist wheat growers in providing storage for any over-quota wheat they might harvest.
– The new policy aspect revealed in the Budget involves a further tax concession to primary producers for certain purposes, including permanent grain storages as distinct from movable grain storages. Obviously, if this policy attracted a primary producer to install a permanent grain silo it would enable him to hold overquota wheat until such time as the wheat could be taken into the system. Speaking as a farmer, I would think that the proposal is very attractive indeed.
I have been told that if one were to install a 3,000 bushel silo the total cost, including the sale price, freight and installation, would be about $1,000 and that a 4,000 bushel silo would cost about $1,300. In the first year a farmer with a taxable income of $6,000 a year could recoup about $400, as a taxation allowance, against the cost of installing a 3,000 bushel silo. A farmer with a taxable income of $6,000 a year who installed a 4,000 bushel silo would be able to recoup about $500. The recoupment would be slightly less, of course, if the farmer’s rate of income tax were lower. This concession does hold out an opportunity for farmers to install silos. These would be a benefit not merely in the short term of the present exceptional wheat circumstances. It is notoriously known to all farmers who grow oats, and to an extent barley in the course of rotation, that generally prices are substantially better a few months after harvest than at the time of harvest.
– I desire to ask the Minister for Health a question about the decision to allow two American citizens entry into Australia without quarantine restrictions being enforced because of the irregularities in respect of a smallpox clearance. I ask the honourable gentleman: Have any overseas visitors prior to last week, having failed to meet the health requirements, been quarantined for 14 days? If so, why the discrimination?
– The short answer to the question is that exceptions have been made in particular circumstances in the past, so this case is not unique. I am not quite sure what the honourable member means by his reference to the two American visitors. I do not know whether the hon ourable member is talking about the American entertainer who arrived in Australia with an invalid vaccination certificate and, as has happened in many cases in the past, accepted vaccination and was therefore cleared thereafter. This reduces the number to one, namely, Mrs Rice, the wife of the American Ambassador.
In her case there were quite a number of circumstances. One was that she had a certificate which indicated that it was inadvisable on medical grounds for her to be vaccinated. Another was that she had been vaccinated regularly every 3 years since 1945 and therefore had a considerable degree of immunity. The third was that she was under the impression from what she had been told in the United States that arrangements had been made for her to be released in Australia under surveillance. All these facts added up to a considerable case for varying the arrangements and making an exception.
But that would not have been done if it had not been for the fact that for some months now an intensive examination has been taking place in my Department directed towards changing, the present rules in order to permit people who have a medical condition that makes smallpox vaccination inadvisable and who desire to enter Australia from Canada and the United States, which is a smallpox free area, to do so if they are prepared to sign a statutory declaration that they have not been outside Canada and the United States for 14 days and that they are prepared to go under surveillance when they come to Australia. Various administrative arrangements had to be made before that could be implemented; but a firm decision in principle had been made to implement this change in about one month’s time. Therefore, the circumstances that I have described plus this projected change in policy meant that the Director-General of Health felt that he could not reasonably refuse Mrs Rice entry. I concurred in this decision but I also decided that the change should have a general application as from now instead of in a month’s time.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Shipping and Transport. Will the Government guarantee to exporters in the capital city of Tasmania the services of containerised shipping at the same costs to exporters as those enjoyed by exporters in all other capital cities of Australia? Is he aware that, in fact, the sea mileage from Hobart to the terminal port of Melbourne is less than the sea mileage from Adelaide to the terminal port of Melbourne and also is less than the sea mileage from Brisbane to the terminal port of Sydney, which ports have already been included in the basic rate?
– I can well understand the concern’ of the honourable member and indeed of all people from Tasmania for the provision of an adequate shipping service for an island whose economy is so dependent upon her access to mainland markets and overseas exporting markets. It is because of this that some concern has been expressed, I know by the honourable member and others, as to the availability of future shipping services for the island. At this stage, of course, the container movement of cargoes has not long been introduced and consequently the provision of feeder services to all out ports has not been completed. The Government has been advised that in the case of Hobart a feeder service, integrated within the container system, will be provided during the first half of 1970. It has of course always been the custom to apply uniform freight rates to all conference shipments from the principal ports of Australia to ports in the United Kingdom and other ports of Europe, The Government supports this principle and hopes that it will apply to future shipments of container cargoes. The Australia-Europe Shippers Association and the Australia-Europe Shipping Conference are at present conducting discussions to ascertain to what extent it is possible to centralise cargo handling in Tasmania and so provide an adequate facility which might enable them to quote the same container freight rate from the port of Hobart as that which applies to the other ports to which the honourable gentleman referred.- It is the concern of the Government that this should be done as soon as possible because it is obviously necessary for the effective transport of the cargoes with which the honourable member is concerned.
– My question to the Prime Minister concerns a letter which the Chief Justice of Australia, as President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, sent him and four other Ministers four months ago forwarding the Foundation’s recommendation that the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments set up a commission on Barrier Reef development and conservation and making his own suggestion that urgent consideration be given to a special inquiry into the safety of oil drilling before Queensland revoked its suspension of such drilling. I ask the honourable gentleman: Was consideration given to Sir Garfield’s suggestion of a special inquiry before Queensland revoked the suspension of oil drilling on the Reef? Has the Government approached Queensland about the setting up of the commission suggested by the Foundation at the seminar his Ministers attended? Has the Government acted in any other way on the view of the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction expressed at the seminar by Sir Percy Spender and brought to the Prime Minister’s notice in Sir Garfield’s letter?
– I think the Leader of the Opposition would or should know that the question of oil drilling is only one of the matters which might affect the ecological balance and the safety of the Barrier Reef. We should not confine our discussion of this merely to the question of oil drilling because mining of the sea bed and other matters could have equally important or perhaps more important results. At present I do not think that enough is known of the possible effects which disturbances on the Barrier Reef itself might result in, and the question of setting up a commission is one that is under consideration by the Government. But it is not simply a matter of proposing that a commission should be set up as between the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, but what authority such a commission ought to have, and these matters are even more important than the mere setting up of such a commission. This is a matter engaging the attention of the Government.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer the Minister to a question which I directed to him recently concerning air services to and from Canberra. Is the Minister aware that air travellers are still being seriously inconvenienced by the cancellation of some services, the late arrival and departure of others - some being more than two hours late- and the substitution of Friendship aircraft for Viscounts and Electras which have been scheduled? Is he aware that whilst passengers are being left lamenting at Canberra airport on many occasions the opposition company’s flight departs with a number of empty seats? Will he examine the practicability of ordering each airline to give its passengers the opportunity of transferring to the other airline when the flight for which they have booked is more than 30 minutes late?
– When the honourable member asked me his question the week before last I indicated that an investigation would be made into the situation. That investigation is being carried out at the present time. However, I may inform the House that 2 days after the question was asked the aircraft in which I was travelling to Canberra was considerably late; not only that, but the airline also lost my luggage. So there is an added incentive to undertake this investigation. At the moment some problems have been indicated, specifically in relation to Canberra. When there is fog in the morning the time tables are thrown out. Also, fogs at other centres, such as Melbourne, cause problems at various times. But in addition to that, there has been a very big upsurge in the traffic growth over recent months, particularly during the recent school holiday period when the growth rate was higher than could possibly have been expected. The airlines have been operating under pressure, particularly during the last month or two. However, despite that we do insist that the airlines maintain their schedules as they are published and as we approve of them. As I have said, I have a full scale investigation being undertaken at the present time. I will advise the House as soon as I get the result of the investigation.
As regards the question of transfer to another airline, this can. be arranged individually if the passenger contacts the airline concerned either &t the airport or at the city office. If this is ‘ done, I am sure that necessary arrangements can be made, provided it is known at the particular time that the aircraft of the opposite airline will be late. If there is any problem in this particular field, and it is drawn to my attention I will see that it is rectified.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Has he received representations from the Australian Capital Territory Division of the Association of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Draughtsmen of Australia expressing concern at the failure of the Public Service Board to grant interim pay increases to naval architects and engineers pending a decision by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in what is known as the professional engineers’ case? As these professional officers consider themselves to be considerably disadvantaged by the failure of the Public Service Board to make an interim increase, will the Prime Minister have discussions with the Board in an endeavour to see that these officers are given a relative increase similar to that which was given to other classifications of Public Service employees who are similarly employed?
– I would not undertake to say that I am fully au fait with the particular differences between the naval architects and engineers referred to by the honourable member and other sections which he says are comparable sections in the civil service. But I think it would be a wrong principle for a government, as indicated in the question of the honourable member, as it were to tell the Public Service Board what it ought to do in the matter of fixing wages for members of the Public Service, and it would be much better, safer and more proper to adhere to the normal constitutional and actual processes of having the Public Service Board, as an independent authority, settling these matters in the way in which it usually does.
– Can the Treasurer inform me whether he or his Department is carrying out a general review of the Australian taxation structure? Is it true that under our pay-roll tax system there is an exemption of up to $20,800 at present? Has this ever been increased at any time? Will the Treasurer consider including this special tax in the review? Is it true that as the position now stands, and with the increased rates of salaries being paid, pay-roll tax is being paid today by many business houses which previously were exempt from the payment of such tax?
– As to the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question, I point out that I have already informed the House on two occasions that the Treasury and the Taxation Branch are carrying out a detailed and comprehensive study of all aspects of taxation in Australia. I can assure the honourable gentleman that that study includes pay-roll tax and the exemption limits. The honourable gentleman also asked about the present exemption limit. I think the figures that he gave are correct. I can also state that at various times the exemption limit has been raised but we did not contemplate raising it in the present Budget pending the review that I mentioned a few moments ago. I will have a very careful look at the requests made by the honourable gentleman and if I feel there is any further information I can give him I will let him know.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Health. Did the Nimmo Committee conclude that an unduly high proportion of the contributions received by some health benefit organisations is absorbed in operating expenses? Were the organisations to which the Committee referred the great open funds which include 68% of all contributors? Have senior officers of his Department confirmed in testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs that statistical information supporting the Committee’s conclusions has been available to him for some considerable time? Would the saving to contributors between 1959 and 1967 have exceeded $30m if he and his predecessors had insisted on operating ratios for the health insurance industry that were no greater than those incurred by the Hospital Benefit Fund of Western Australia?
– From recollection, I should say that the honourable gentleman’s question does not contain an accurate statement of what the. Nimmo Committee had to say. The first point the Committee made was that the great majority of the health insurance funds in Australia were economically and efficiently managed. It then went on to say that some organisations had exceeded what it believed to be a reasonable level of administrative expenses. At no point in its report did it suggest that this comment applied to all the great open funds. In fact it virtually, but not completely, limited its criticism on this score to open funds in New South Wales. So the basis of the honourable gentleman’s question is inaccurate. The Nimmo Committee made recommendations about administrative expenses. As I have said on a number of occasions in this place, this aspect is being very carefully studied by the Government. We will announce our decisions when they are taken.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Is the presence of the Russian warships in the Indian Ocean an encircling movement? Does the right honourable gentleman view with concern the infiltration of Russian influence east and south of Suez? Is he aware that Russia could consolidate its position in South East Asia by passing through India and entering the vacuum that will be left if and when the Americans withdraw from South East Asia? Is not the position being reversed? Did the previous timetable provide for China to attack India, this attack being abandoned when the Communist coup in Indonesia in 1965 failed?
– On all the information that is available to me, from defence and other sources, it would be quite wrong to regard the presence of some Russian naval ships in the Indian Ocean as in any way something which can be described as an encircling movement. I believe that there is no evidence available for that judgment at all. In regard to the influencein areas of Asia, I can only say to the honourable member that it would depend in which direction such an influence was exercised whether it should be regarded as inimical to our interests or not.
If the influence was exercised, for example, in the way of helping to relieve the international debt burden of such countries as Indonesia and thereby helping them to build up their economies to strengthen themselves economically, then I could not regard such an action as being inimical to our interests at all. Indeed, as the honourable member will know there have beenin the past continuing endeavours particularly in the case of Indonesia to seek an easing of the repayments of the internationalloans that she had in such large measure from Russia, the United States and other countries in order to help her to finance her. own interests. In that sort of way, I can see nothing but good flowing to this country and to the countries to which I am referring by the exercise of influence in that direction.
I do not know what else the honourable member has in mind. If he was suggesting that there should be garrisons of Russian troops or something of that kind in these countries, then that would be an entirely different matter altogether and one that I do not believe one could regard at all without some feeling of danger. But this has not been proposed. I know of no such proposition at all. On the general question, any actions that might be taken and which in our view would achieve the ends which we ourselves want to see achieved for these countries up north could not hurt us as long as they were in accordance with the steps which we would like to see taken up there.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question. The question arises from the action of the Deputy Prime Minister in having dispatched some 70,000 letters at Government expense to wheat growers in explanation of the Government’s policy on wheat sales. I ask the right honourable gentleman: Is it in accordance with Government policy for any Minister to send out such vast numbers of letters at public expense on any matters which currently fall within a Minister’s responsibility?
– I do not know that it is within my province at all to count the number of letters or alleged number of letters that have been sent out by the Leader of the Australian Country Party who is the Deputy Prime Minister or by the Leader of the Opposition who no doubt also sends out thousands of letters on numerous occasions. I remember indeed that on the occasion when the honourable member was elected for the seat of Bendigo the Leader of the Opposition came out publicly and said how pleased he was that he had managed to send a letter to every member serving at Puckapunyal. I did not count those letters. But in general I am a little surprised that the use of letters by responsible members of Parliament on either side for the explanation of their policies in various matters and the taking of that explanation to individual voters should be cavilled at.
– Mr Acting Speaker, may I give a supplementary reply?
Opposition supporters - Oh!
– They do not want it.
– He can table the letter.
– Order! Honourable members will cease interjecting.
– I have a supplementary question.
– Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will resume his seat. The House will recall that the honourable member for Bendigo in his question used the words ‘Is it in accordance with Government policy’. I allowed that, because the honourable member for Bendigo is a new member in this House. In the circumstances, I feel that it is justifiable, considering the Minister for Trade and Industry was mentioned in the question, that the Minister should be given the right also to make reply. I call the Minister for Trade and Industry.
– A point of order.
– Order! There is no point of order-
– Yes, there is. I raise a point of order.
– Mr Acting Speaker, I rise to order.
-Order! I call the honourable member for Newcastle.
– I rise to order. When a member of the Opposition is named in a question do you propose to allow him to make an explanation, as you propose to allow the Minister for Trade and Industry to do now?
– There is no substance in- the matter raised by the honourable member for Newcastle. What he has said shows that he did not listen to me.
– I rise to order. Firstly I want to make it clear that I have no objection to the Deputy Prime Minister making some sort of explanation, but I would draw your attention to the lack of consistency in dealing with matters of this kind. A few weeks ago in this House I asked a question-
-Order! There is no substance in the point raised by the honourable member for Oxley. He is not allowed to debate the matter. I have given the reason for my ruling and the Minister for Trade and Industry should now be allowed to answer the question.
– But your ruling is inconsistent with a previous ruling given in this House.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. 1 call the Minister for Trade and Industry.
– The question was clearly based on a misapprehension of what has happened. I sent out no correspondence in my capacity as Leader of the Australian Country Party. On behalf of the Government and, I like to believe, on behalf of all Australian wheatgrowers, I had been to Washington in an endeavour- successful as it turned out - to preserve the International Grains Arrangement Before I could return to Australia what I had been doing and the effect of it were grievously misrepresented in the Australian publicity media. For example, when I was requested, upon arrival at Mascot, to give a Press interview the Australian Broadcasting Commission was the first to interview me. The first question asked was: ‘Mr McEwen, have you sold the Australian wheat industry down the river?’ From this point there was in the minds of Australian wheatgrowers very serious concern as to whether their interests were being looked after. I felt that they were entitled to know the facts of the situation. If they could not get them from radio, television and Press, I took it as my responsibility to see that they got them. I had printed by the Government Printer for the Minister for Trade and Industry a simple, straightforward factual statement of what had occurred and what the issues were. There was not an ounce of argument in the statement. It was a straightforward factual statement. It was sent to all Australian wheatgrowers, who, to judge by the correspondence I have received, were very grateful to be put in possession of the facts as distinct from- the misrepresentation to which they had been subjected.
– I desire to inform the House that the Minister for Repatriation, Senator McKellar, left for overseas on Saturday, 30th August to lead the Australian delegation to the 15th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference which will be held in Trinidad and Tobago. Senator McKellar will be absent from Australia until 25th October. During this period the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Swartz, will act as Minister for Repatriation. Senator McKellar’s absence will necessitate some changes in the ministerial representation in the Senate. Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin, Minister for Housing, will represent the Acting Minister for Repatriation; Senator Scott, Minister for Customs and Excise, will represent the Minister for Primary Industry; and Senator Wright, Minister for Works, will represent the Minister for the Navy, the Minister for the Army and the Minister for Air.
– I present the text of the International Treaty Convention No. 122 concerning employment policy adopted by the International Labour Conference at its forty-eighth session on 17th lune 1964. For the information of honourable members I indicate that the law and practice in both Commonwealth and State jurisdictions in Australia are in accord with the provisions of this Convention. The Government intends to lodge the instrument of ratification of this Convention with the Director-General of the International Labour Office as soon as practicable.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Coral Sea Islands Bill 1969.
Defence (Parliamentary Candidates) Bill 1969.
Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Bill 1969.
Loan (Housing) Bill 1969.
Meat Industry Bill 1969.
Motion (by Mr Erwin) proposed:
That for the remainder of the session, unless otherwise ordered, the House shall meet for the despatch of business on each Tuesday at two o’clock p.m., and on each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at half-past ten o’clock a.m.
– I support the motion. I do so in order to point out that the Australian Labour Party never objects to the number of days upon which the Parliament sits. We accept the proposition that the Australian Parliament should be increasing the number of days it sits as the British Parliament and the American Congress have done. The opposition which we express on these procedural matters is to those motions which enable the House to commence a debate on matters introduced after 11 p.m. - that is, the suspension of the 11 o’clock rule - and those motions which limit the time during which the House can debate Bills or statements. The Opposition will vote against the gag. It will vote against the guillotine. It will vote against the suspension of the 11 o’clock rule. It will not vote against, in fact it will give its support to, motions which enable the Parliament to sit on more days.
– I support the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). It was obvious months ago to the Government that this was the procedure it would have to adopt. The making of a decision such as this in the last few weeks of the Parliament’s sittings is indicative of the extraordinary discourtesy that is shown to everybody in Australia. Nearly every member of the Parliament is committed, 5 or 6 weeks ahead, to all manner of activities on Fridays. There are 124 members in this House, and all here, possibly excluding Ministers, have commitments on Fridays which involve not only themselves, which is important enough, but literally thousands of other people. Members arrange to attend functions, say at 2 o’clock, on Fridays. They may be local flower shows or local activities in which possibly thousands of people will be involved. Members expect that they can be present. My objection to the whole procedure and the extraordinary discourtesy displayed is that the Parliament is handled as though it were the private property of the Ministry. Of course, this contravenes all the principles of parliamentary practice. It does not allow for the proper consideration of the nation’s affairs. To that extent I hope that the Leader of the House (Mr Erwin) will sense my objections.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Consideration resumed from 28 August (vide page 902).
Department of Education and Science
Proposed expenditure, $109,071,000.
– The estimates for the Department of Education and Science encompass what is one of the most important areas of government activity relative to the future development of Australia. In Australia in recent years we have given more consideration to education than was the case a few years ago, but we still have not reached the stage where we accept the fact that it is the responsibility of this Parliament to ensure that every child has reasonable access to educational opportunities. In fact, some of the legislation which is controlled by the Department of Education and Science acts in exactly the reverse way.
I think all honourable members are aware of the statistics, which indicate that a very low percentage of children from working class families are able to graduate from universities. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which is their background. It is reasonable to say that children from families with a low basic education start school at a considerable disadvantage when compared with children from families with a very high educational and cultural backgrund. This is a handicap which is not easily overcome. In many cases it cannot be overcome because of the attitude of parents towards education. This is an area in which a great deal more could be done by governments.
A report released in Victoria about a week ago indicated that in some of the high density housing areas in which 2,000 or 3,000 people are living compared with only a few hundred people previously children who have lived in those areas through their pre-school years begin school up to 2 years behind children from other residential areas where there are more normal living facilities. There must be reasons for this but apparently no effort is being made to ascertain those reasons. No effort is being made at this stage to cure the ills of the system.
The first thing I would suggest is that pre-school education should be made available, as a matter of urgency, in high density areas when the housing units are first occupied. It is not good enough to erect 30-storey boxes and not provide the basic community facilities. It might be said that education is a State responsibility. It was said not very long ago that all levels of education were State responsibilities. But the Commonwealth, as it has felt the political need, has moved into various areas of education. It is time that ventures into education were based on community requirements and not the political requirements of any particular time.
Kindergarten education is not taken very seriously in any of the States. No State government provides kindergarten facilities as part of its education structure. In Victoria, kindergarten education is associated with the Department of Health and it is the responsibility of local government to provide the basic facilities. There is some degree of subsidy- I think one-third - from the State Government. Local responsibility for raising money makes it impossible for kindergarten facilities. to- be: available when new housing areas - are occupied. Such facilities usually are not available until 5 or 6 years later. This means, of course, that children in such areas do not have access to pre-school education. It may be that in the past there has been some inbuilt opposition amongst teachers, and others towards kindergarten education. The fact is, however, that children entering the education system without a basic cultural background cannot hope to absorb the real advantages that should be available from the primary education system unless they have such capacity that they would succeed anyhow.
In high density areas the majority of children have poorly or inadequately educated parents. This is particularly so in the new inner metropolitan’ areas where a great percentage of migrant children live. These children enter ,a school which is not equipped to cope with their lack of basic knowledge. The teaching facilities, the training of teachers and the schools themselves in these areas are similar to those in other areas where children have a better educational background and better educational opportunities because of their parents’ circumstances. These children from poorer areas start off with a handicap.
When these children enter primary schools, because of the policies initiated by this Government they - do hot have access to what is basic if they are to improve themselves, that is, adequate library facilities. The Commonwealth now is providing library facilities for secondary schools. Children do need library facilities at primary school level if they are to succeed and are to qualify for Commonwealth scholarships which they need, in many cases, to afford adequate secondary education. If a child starts out with a basic cultural deficiency the only way in which he can improve his position is by reading and he must be provided with access to material. If a child has had no chance to acquire pre-school education he has to undertake the necessary reading and put in the necessary time to improve himself so that he has’ some chance of passing the examinations set for Commonwealth scholarships which provide an economic base for future secondary education. Very few families in the low income groups can afford to keep children at school without some form of assistance. The assistance available to children who are not able to attain high marks in scholarship examinations is much less than that available to better equipped children.
Having attained secondary school level, children from these less fortunate families must face up to the fact that, in order to attain a worth while position in the community, they must go on to tertiary institutions and obtain all the training that they are capable of receiving. From the Parliament’s point of view, these children should be trained to the maximum of their capacity for the benefit of Australia. Under the present system of quotas at universities, too many children who could make a success of tertiary education are weeded out. This happens because of the way in which the quotas operate. It would be impossible to devise a quota system which would sort out children capable of passing tertiary examinations from those unable to pass. There are plenty of people with very high academic qualifications who would not have been able to enter universities if the present method of selection had been operating in the past. They got through tertiary education because of plain hard work and capacity. The problem facing families these days - especially families in the middle and low income groups - when children reach tertiary level is the cost of higher education.
Under the Commonwealth scholarships scheme the means test on living allowances for country children is fairly severe. A family with an income of about $5,000 a year is ineligible for assistance. If students at tertiary level are unable to get assistance from parents and are unable to get the full living away from home allowance, the financial burden reacts against their education and chance of success. It is very important that this financial type of restriction does not affect the child’s education. It is very difficult for financial reasons for parents living in a country area to maintain one and possibly two children in tertiary institutions in a capital city. This is costly. It is also, in many cases, detrimental to a child’s chance of success if parents have to go out to work. Some can do it and some cannot; it depends on the persons concerned.
Another thing that operates to the disadvantage of parents in this particular situation is that once a young person reaches the age of 21 the cost of education, which, at that stage is greater than at any other stage, becomes non-deductible for taxation purposes. In other words, there is no recognition of the fact that parents are responsible for meeting the cost incurred in the latter years of a university course. This is inflicting an additional burden on a family which could well have nearly reached the end of its tether in getting a child to this level of education. In the last stages of a child’s education the little relief that the parents had been getting from the tax structure is taken away from them.
I think it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to look seriously at the education needs of the broad spectrum of the population. It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to look at the opportunities and the lack of opportunities that exist in the education system, especially for children who start their lives in an underprivileged situation with regard to education. Unfortunately it appears that those who are at the greatest disadvantage receive the least assistance.
In the short time I have left I could point out one anomaly for which, I am afraid, I cannot blame this Government. This anomaly exists in the Norlane housing commission area, which is in my electorate, where the children have a below average chance of success in education. This area has a very good and well staffed high school, but because of the manner in which State priorities were set when money for science blocks was first allocated, a science block was not constructed at this school. When the students reached the necessary level of fifth form, the priorities had been altered and the children still did not have a science block. The Geelong Grammar School which is almost next to this school, has a $66,000 science block and will now receive something like $43,000 a year from the Commonwealth. Here are two schools within 2 or 3 miles of one another. If both received the same level of assistance I would have no objection. I admit that science blocks are allocated according to State priorities, but the position does indicate that need is not a consideration at the moment in the educational policies that are being pursued. I believe that need should be basic to the Commonwealth’s approach to education - the need of the children for assistance and the need of the nation for the child to be adequately educated.
– In my maiden speech to this House some 2i years ago I spoke of the problems facing independent schools and I appealed to the Commonwealth Government to make per capita grants towards the running costs of those schools. The Australian Labor Party at that time was against aid to independent schools. Even the Government, which accepted the principle of aid to these schools for the construction of science blocks and libraries, was not prepared at that point to extend its assistance to day to day running costs. I have spoken on this matter on more than one occasion in this House and although I, as an individual, claim no credit for what the Government has done in this Budget, I believe this is a good step and is in the interest of education generally in Australia, and I congratulate the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) whom I know has worked hard to achieve this decision.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), following a gallup poll which showed that most Australians favour per capita grants to independent schools, has even persuaded the Labor Party into accepting aid to these schools, and so the principle has been established and is now supported by all parties represented in this Parliament. We of the Government believe in the dual system of education. Unlike the Labor Party, which would prefer, along with most other things, some sort of nationalised education, we in the Liberal Party believe that the freedom of choice is one that is fundamental to democracy. We believe in freedom of choice, whether it be in the banks we patronise, the airlines by which we fly or the schools to which we send our children. The independent school system has, in the past, at no cost to the Government or the taxpayer, educated some 25 per cent or one-quarter of all students in Australia.
Throughout Australia some 601,000 students attend independent schools. Based on the Victorian Government’s figures, if the State had to educate all the children at present educated in independent schools, the added cost to the taxpayer would be more than $180m per annum to meet day to day costs alone, to say nothing of the colossal capital cost to provide or purchase schools and equipment to accommodate the pupils whose parents at present not only pay the total costs of educating their children but also contribute through their taxes to the cost of maintaining the government school system. No sensible person would suggest that the independent school system is going to collapse overnight but it has been facing a crisis and as the private schools are forced to close a classroom here and a classroom there and reject more and more pupils, these pupils are being forced, in increasing numbers, to attend the already overcrowded and inadequate state schools, and this has aggravated considerably the problems of the state schools.
Figures released by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Science have shown that, during the past 3 years, although children attending state primary schools have increased considerably, those attending independent primary schools have decreased. If the dual system of education were to collapse and be taken over by the States, then those who advocate no assistance to independent schools must, in order to give their case credence, show whence this $180m and the added capital expenditure are to come. Do they suggest that the taxpayer should find this added amount or would they prefer that the pensioners forgo a pension increase? Should expenditure on Australia’s defence be slashed? The Australian elector is entitled to be told. The subsidy given in this Budget to independent schools is minute in comparison with the colossal cost of a single government-run education system. The grant will mean that, in Victoria, parents sending their children to independent schools will be paying somewhere between 80% and 90% of the cost of their child’s education, rather than the full 100%, as it has been in the past.
I would never suggest for a moment that the Government should pay the total cost of a child’s education at an independent school. But I do not think it unreasonable that the Government should meet 10% or 20% of that cost, taking into account that the parents contribute through their taxation to the cost of education. During the past few months I have visited a number of schools within the electorate of Deakin, both state and independent, and I am greatly concerned by the overcrowding and inadequate facilities in both systems. Blackburn High School, a government school which comes into Deakin under the redistribution, has over 1,200 pupils and 13 years after its establishment, it is still short of classrooms. During the last Christmas holidays the headmaster returned to find two temporary classrooms had been removed and he was told, I understand, that although Blackburn needed them, some other school needed them more. One has since been returned but the school is still one classroom worse off than it was last year.
Since the opening of the school, the parents have erected a canteen at the cost of $6,600 and have extended it at a cost of $2,750. They have spent over $6,500 on ground development, have committed themselves to pay approximately $39,000, including $7,000 interest, towards the cost of an assembly hall and have spent a further $7,000 on equipment for the hall. The story is the same at the independent and church schools in my electorate. As Professor Selby Smith, who is Professor of Education at Monash University, said recently in Canberra - and he was also a former headmaster of Scotch College, Melbourne:
The State schools face gigantic problems. They need every penny the nation can afford.
But cutting grants to independent schools is not the answer. The great bulk of independent schools are in desperate straits.
We all realise that under the Constitution the States are primarily responsible for the State school system, but if, for some reason, the States are not adequately providing for State schools, be it through lack of funds or inadequate allocation of funds, can the Commonwealth Government afford to allow this to occur? I realise that under this Budget the Commonwealth Government has appropriated over $265m for education this year, some 38% more than last year’s expenditure, and that, within this total, payments to the States specifically for education will increase this year by 53% to $I65m.
But if, despite this expenditure, the facilities still prove to be inadequate, then someone has to sit down, find out why and see that something is done about it, even if it is necessary to increase taxation to do so.
All children in Australia are entitled to a sound education, be they Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or anything else. The Government has shown in this Budget that it is concerned with the education of all Australian children, irrespective of the type of school they attend. I believe, with the Minister, that whilst the per capita grant to independent schools will not by any means solve all the difficulties of these schools, it will help stop these schools turning children away in increasing numbers and thus causing greater overcrowding in State schools.
I read with concern an article by Peter Coleman which appeared in the Bulletin on 30th August 1969. He told of a meeting at the Sydney Town Hall which, although called by parents sincerely concerned about the conditions of State schools, was virtually taken over by what he called the Paisleyites’. To use his own words: Tt would have been no surprise if the Reverend Paisley himself had walked in the Town Hall door as a conquering hero’. He went on to say that he did not think the new anti-Catholicism would get off the ground despite its formation of a new political party, the anti-state aiders. These anti-state aiders may not mean to stir up bitterness by their actions but I do not believe any clear-thinking Australian would want the same type of religious hatred to develop in Australia as is occurring in Northern Ireland. There is no place for religious bigotry in politics. The average Australian believes in a fair go for his fellow Australian irrespective of his religion or colour, and I hope that the Australian electors will make this adequately clear on 25th October.
Perhaps this anti-Party will get an approving nod from the left wing of the Labor Party. We all know how unhappy the left wing Victorian Executive of the Labor Party was when the Leader of the Opposition carried the day on state aid at the Australian Labor Party Federal Conference in Melbourne. Already the secretary of this anti-group has announced that its preferences will go to the Australian Labor
Party yet this would appear rather odd when one considers that both the Liberal and the official Australian Labor Party policies support state aid to the same extent I, as an individual, find it hard to understand how any thinking person could vote for a party which has a policy on only one matter, and an ‘anti’ or negative policy at that There are many more facets to government than just this one. Voters are entitled to know what the policy of these people is on defence, on social services, on health, on national development and on other aspects of government
The Labor Party’s policy on aid to independent schools is an interesting one. It has gone along with it, perhaps under protest, on the ground that virtually one quarter of Australia’s population is of the Roman Catholic faith. But it has made it clear that it would not give a penny to wealthy capitalistic schools.
What members of the Labor Party fail to realise is that this money, although given to the schools, is given essentially for the purpose of keeping the fees of these schools down to a level which can be afforded by the average income earner - with considerable sacrifice, no doubt, but still afforded. Would anyone seriously suggest that these schools should be denied assistance when the result would be that, in order to keep up their standards, their fees would so increase that only the wealthy could afford to attend them? This surely would be segregation at its worst. Many parents suffer hardship in order to send their children to schools such as these. It is not uncommon for mothers to go to work or for fathers to take on two jobs so that school fees can be paid.
As the headmasters of these schools will tell you, some of the parents of their pupils are financially comfortable, but many are relatively poor. Members of the Opposition, including the previous speaker, the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), are always quoting Geelong Grammar as a socalled rich school. Perhaps the fact that Prince Charles attended it may have had some influence on them. But, as the Headmaster of this school pointed out recently, one boy in ten receives financial support from the school, and the school is under a tremendous financial strain to maintain its standards because of a total indebtedness of $700,000.
At the larger boys’ schools, fees for day boys are about $200 a term. I pay $1,080 per year for my two children under 10 years of age, plus contributions towards the building appeal, at a local suburban Church of England Grammar School, and I am no more wealthy than members of the Labor Party who sit opposite, earn the same salary as I, and send their children to State schools. The headmaster of Melbourne Grammar has said that his school faces the task of raising $400,000 merely to bring the old buildings of the school, which are in a terrible state, up to date. The headmaster of Ivanhoe Grammar, the school which my own children attend’, said, on hearing of the per capita grant to independent schools: ‘We need new classrooms, a new library and a physical education centre, but all we can hope to do with this grant is to maintain our fees at their present’ levels. We don’t even know whether that’s possible.’
There was an excellent letter in the Melbourne ‘Age’ recently by a father of two children, both attending an Anglican girls’ school, who was moved to write because of the attitude of those who assume that anyone who sends children to private schools is wealthy. He pointed out that, with fees costing a total of $300 per term and a further $200 spent annually on uniforms and books, he paid out $1,100 a year for educational expenses. In order to pay their children’s school fees, his wife worked as a school teacher, and in addition to the taxes he paid as the family bread-winner, his wife in the past financial year paid $650 in direct taxation.
He stated that if he sent his children to the local State school, and then on to high school, his wife would be able to leave work, and although they would lose the benefit of her income, they would not be any worse off financially. Of course, he pointed out, the Commonwealth Government would lose the $650 revenue his wife had been paying in tax each year, the State Government would have to provide for two more children at Government schools, the community would lose the services of a trained teacher at a time of acute shortage, the pensioners would lose the SI 00 to $150 in baby sitting fees, and he would pay less tax.
In the emotion which is at present being built up, the whole vexed question of soaring educational costs and aid to independent schools is hard to argue objectively. The parents of children at inadequate and understaffed State schools and the depressed Catholic schools are rightly agitating for a better deal. But the income earners who scrimp and save and make sacrifices to get their children through what Labor members so wrongly call wealthy schools, think they deserve a bit of relief also. We cannot solve the problems facing schools in Australia by setting off one group of parents against another. The problems are common to all schools and they must be firmly grasped and overcome without delay.
– The objective of the Australian Labor Party in regard to education is to promote the love of freedom and justice and to develop critical perception, the ability to choose intelligently, the capacity for selfgovernment and a sense of social responsibility. It is very difficult to define these aims in such a way that a Federal Government can take action to achieve them. It would not, however, be difficult for a Federal Government to make this increasingly possible by encouraging these aims and attitudes among teachers. There is a tendency in the present administration of the Department of Education and Science to subsidise in the States activities such as building science blocks or libraries which can present to the elector, between budgets and between elections, something that he can see in the form of bricks and mortar. But this does not achieve the objective that I have outlined. There are more objectives in the platform of the Australian Labor Party to which I shall refer. Another objective is to ensure free and harmonious development of intellect, physique, emotions and abilities. Education should promote a belief in the equal rights of all people and respect for their essential humanity, irrespective of nationality, colour or creed. As I have said, this is a basic ideal. This is not a detailed policy. Details of policy are given in the platform of the Labor Party and they have been incorporated in the Senate Hansard of 13th August this year for everyone to read.
The honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) referred to the question of aid to state schools as against private schools, and in particular to Roman Catholic schools. He found it difficult to understand why certain sections of state school supporters will direct preferences to the Labor Party. I find this intention very easy to understand when I read these objectives of the Labor Party and the resolution which was carried at the Federal Conference of the Party. One resolution referred to the making of emergency grants to provide adequate standards of education within the shortest possible time. Of course, we have spoken of this emergency in education since before the last general election. It is not enough to plug up a few of the leaky holes in our education system which is dilapidated, ramshackled overcrowded, under-staffed, under-trained and under-equipped by comparison with the education systems in European and North American countries with which we like to compare our standards of living. It was because of this emergency in education that the Federal Conference of the Labor Party said that any emergency grant made by the Commonwealth for education shall be such as to give government schools a sum that is not less per student than any grant made to non-government schools. I think that is the answer to the question which the honourable member for Deakin has in his mind.
When we come to this question of preparing our pupil’s and students for a full life, that is, the development of intellect, physique, emotions and abilities, one of the vexed questions is the so-called decline in moral standards. Very often this question is identified in people’s minds with sexual standards. People claim that immorality is essentially some kind of sexual problem, and they identify the two questions in their minds. This problem has been faced on a wide basis in the United States of America by voluntary and public organisations. Dr Mary Calderone, who is a doctor with a mastership in public health, has travelled around the United States addressing organisations which are interested in this field. She has spoken on the subject of integrating sex education into the school health curriculum. Of course, she stresses the role of parents in this regard and the unfortunate fact that there are cultural influences which by-pass the influence of the parents. It is not sufficient to counter-balance this cultural difficulty by the one-time effort which most parents are able to force themselves to make to tell the child the facts. In other words, the child is still confused, inadequately informed and unable to approach reliable sources for information on these problems.
Dr Mary Calderone makes a call for institutional influences to counter-balance this problem. She says that the schools should make themselves largely responsible to interpose themselves between the child and these hostile factors that can act upon a child. She refers to what ought to be a truism which everybody ought to know by this time, that knowledge is the child’s armour, not chains -holding him or her down. She says that this knowledge must be gained in conjunction with the child’s moral standards, not as something tacked on. She makes a very important psychological point, that the relief of anxiety by this knowledge reduces unhealthy, morbid tendencies to experiment, which expose a child to various dangers and encourages a child to seek information in the right direction. In other words, the aim is to integrate biological1, social, emotional and phychological knowledge into the child’s life pattern.
In the early grades the focal point of this education is the family. A child learns the responsibilities and attitudes which build up and stabilise family life. The simple facts of gestation and birth are taught in primary school. Anatomy, physiology and maturation changes in adolescence are also taught in primary school. At this stage it is important that the child learn adult terminology so that he can converse with adults without embarrassment. It is also important at this stage that the parents be brought into the matter. So that parents will know the goals of this type of discussion, groups have been formed to enable parents to hear talks by authorities in the field, whether they be educationalists, physicians, clergymen or trained personnel from various government and voluntary agencies.
An excellent series of publications has been brought out in the United States by the Publications Division of the National Education Association. Slides and viewers are available for use in parent discussion groups. In some cases slides and viewers are taken home by the children to help them to break the ice to open up discussion with their parents on personal problems. Eventually this programme must involve total commitment and involvement by every person and every organisation - whether it be a religious, educational, medical or social organisation - which is interested in this field. In a survey of students in the early high school grades at Wayne State University, students were asked what topics they would like included in their sex instruction courses. They showed very little interest in the moralistic viewpoint. They asked for help in understanding their own or each other’s feelings and how to cope with them. They asked for the formation of small discussion groups where they could feel free to discuss these everyday problems in an open manner and with a person whom they could trust. I call for some initiative by the Commonwealth to assist the State and Federal authorities in a move to bring together the interested groups in the community so that they can work out an answer to this serious challenge to every adult member of society on every front - home, school, church and youth groups. We should face honestly the charge of ineptness in this part of our education system.
There are two other topics related to our education system to which I want to refer briefly. One is autism.. This has recently come to the attention of the public and voluntary bodies have espoused the interests of the autistic children, who are emotionally deprived from an early age. The important attack on this problem is aimed at prevention. Here again there is a neglect of the need for research and investigation into the emotional needs of young children. Again this is so urgent that it warrants national initiatives and national guidance at all levels from the Institute of Advanced Studies here in Canberra down to kindergarten teacher training centres.
I also want to mention another group of handicapped children. It refer to those who suffer from dyslexia or a disorder of reading capacity. This is on the one hand a rare and recently discovered disorder. From another viewpoint it is perhaps the most common of all psychological- problems in the English speaking world. It arises in most cases from the vagaries of English spelling, which have been fixed by dictionary makers and printers at the stage of middle English. We spell as our ancestors pronounced words centuries ago; While other nations have been reforming their spelling, we have let ours drift on, representing something that no longer exists, like a museum of the dinosaurs. George Bernard Shaw was a very able critic of English spelling. A practical solution to the problem has been proposed by a civil servant in this city in a book that he published this year entitled ‘Spelling Reform, A New Approach’. The author is Harry Lindgren. He is a patents examiner for the Commonwealth. I highly commend this approach as one worthy of attention by all authors.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Drury) Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
As announced by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) in his Budget Speech on 12th August, the Government has decided it would be appropriate to increase the rates of air navigation charges payable by domestic airlines and general aviation operators by 10% with effect from 1st January 1970. The Government decided to leave unchanged, for the present, the rates of air navigation charges payable by the international airlines. This Bill gives effect to these decisions.
The Bill amends the principal Act by substituting for the existing table of rates two new tables. The first is applicable to domestic airlines and general aviation operators and contains rates per 1,000 lb of aircraft weight which are 10% higher than the present rates. The second table incorporates the existing rates of charge and is applicable to the international airlines. In 1968-69 the cost to. my Department of operating and maintaining airports and air navigation facilities, including administrative costs and depreciation and interest charges, amounted to $68.8m. Departmental revenues from the use of these facilities totalled $ 16.6m, while a further $9.5m was paid by the operators in aviation fuel tax.
It will be seen that the gap between the revenue and total expenditure is still large, even though the former is growing at a more rapid rate than the latter. The Government concluded, therefore, that if satisfactory progress was to be made towards the recovery of those costs properly attributable to commercial aviation a further increase in air navigation charges was necessary.
In examining the matter, the Government had regard for the substantial increase in the charges payable by the international airlines which took effect from 1st January 1969. On that date, the rates applicable to the heavy international jets rose by about 21%, and this led the international airlines to protest that . Australian charges were too high and that they were being required to meet more than a just share of the costs of airports and facilities.
With this in mind, I have established a working group of. Civil Aviation and Treasury officials and representatives of the domestic and international airlines which is currently examining the problem of analysing the costs of my Department. It is hoped that this working group will be able to determine whether any particular proportion of these costs can be attributed to each section crf the aviation industry, thereby showing whether the contentions of the international airlines are correct or not. In the meantime, pending the outcome of this study, the Government considered it was reasonable not to raise the international charges. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Wentworth, and read a first time.
Suspension of Standing Orders
Motion (by Mr Erwin) - by leave - agreed to:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Minister for Social Services when moving the second reading of the Social Services Bill speaking without limitation of time.
– I move: That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill gives effect to the two fundamental principles of the Government’s social services policy, first, to raise the general standard of pensioners, directing special relief to the areas of greatest need, and secondly to encourage thrift, self-help and self-reliance.
These are not new principles, because they have been the guidelines of our policy ever since 1949, when the present series of Liberal-Country Party Governments took over the reins of Government. In these 20 years, the real value of the pension paid to a single aged person or an invalid who has nothing else and who pays rent will have been increased by about 75%, and in addition the pensioner medical service and other fringe benefits have been made available to him, so that, in terms of real purchasing power, counting in the fringe benefits, these people, who are the ones most in need, will today have nearly twice what they had in the old days when Labor was in office. Widows with children will have had increases significantly greater than this.
The ‘merged means test’, which was brought in in March 1961, removed the savage penalties against pensioners who had saved small amounts of property, while under the means test the ‘free area’ for all a single pensioner’s means has been raised from $3 per week in 1949 to $10 per week today. In this field the proposal for a ‘tapered means test’, which is incorporated in the present Budget, is in itself the greatest step forward yet taken to ‘encourage thrift, self-help and self-reliance’ not only among pensioners but, even more importantly, throughout the whole community.
The present Gorton Government is thus moving in the same direction as its predecessors, even though it is certainly moving farther than they did and it is probably moving faster. We have a coherent social services policy which is adapted to the real needs of Australians, which is practicable within the limits of our available resources, and which is being progressively improved in accordance with the increase in these available resources. Indeed, being directed to the increase in productivity, it will help, by a kind of feed-back mechanism, to develop Australia’s real potential, which is the base upon which not only our social services but also our whole standard of living is founded.
Our social services policy is not, of course, isolated from other measures in the welfare field - health, housing and repatriation. The present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), in setting up the Welfare Committee of Ministers, has given the most practical expression to this principle of coordination.
Let me now summarise the benefits to be conveyed by the Bill which is at present before the House. The standard rate of pension for aged persons, invalids and widows with children is to be increased by $1 per week to $15 per week. The married rate of pension, which is also payable to widows without children, is to be increased by 75c per week to $13.25 per week. The additional pension payable for all children after the first is to be increased by $1 per week to $3.50 per week. Where there is a child under 6 or an invalid child requiring fulltime care, the mother’s or guardian’s allowance is to be increased from $4 per week to $6 per week. The period for which age, invalid or widows’ pensions may be paid in respect of temporary absence from Australia is to be extended from 12 weeks to 30 weeks. Conditions under which a widow who returns to Australia after the death of her Husband overseas may obtain a pension have been liberalised. A tapered means test will replace the old ‘knock-out’ means test. Under the old system the pension payable was reduced by $1 for each $1 by which means-as-assessed exceeded the free area’. Under the new system, the reduction for each $1 will only be 50c. Under these new provisions some 110,000 existing part social service pensioners will receive increases, and some 130,000 new pensioners will become eligible for the first time. In total, therefore, about 240,000 pensioners - age, invalid and widow - will benefit in addition to the 32,000 service pensioners who will come within similar taper provisions under the Repatriation Act.
The deduction from income for all pensioners with children will be extended from $3 per week to $4 per week in respect of each child. Rates of sickness and unemployment benefit for an adult or a married minor are to be increased by $1.75 per week to $10 per week: The corresponding increases in respect of an unmarried minor are to be $1.25 per week for those over 18 years of age, and $1 per week for those aged 16 or 17. The additional wife’s benefit for unemployment and sickness beneficiaries is to be raised by $1 per week to $7 per week. An unmarried minor, 16 years or over, who has no parent living in Australia, is for the future to be paid unemployment or sickness benefit at adult rates. Allowance for children of those receiving unemployment or sickness benefit, which is at present $1.50 per week is to be raised to $2.50 per week in respect of the first child and to $3.50 per week in respect of other children.
The present ‘waiting period’ of 7 days for unemployment and sickness benefits will for the future be applicable only once in any period of 13 weeks. Discretion is to be given in special cases to waive recovery of sickness benefit from compensation awarded.
The ‘allowable income’ for unemployment and sickness benefits is to be increased by $2 per week to $6 per week in the case of an adult or married minor and by $1 per week to $3 per week in the case of an unmarried minor. For this purpose, also, an unmarried minor without a parent living in Australia is to be treated as an adult.
The House will recall haying passed, a few weeks ago, a Bill to provide an additional $5 per week to aged persons’ homes for each resident over 80 years of age receiving personal care in hostel-type accommodation. This Bill forms part of the Government’s social service programme for this year.
Let me go through the cost to the Budget of these benefits. The benefits which I have just enumerated, which are contained in the Bill now before the House, are estimated to cost some $72m in the present Budget and some $96m for a full year. It may interest honourable members to recall that this latter amount is approximately 10% of the total of the social services items paid from the national welfare fund.
I think it will be conceded that this is a very considerable increase, outstripping as it does the estimate by the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) of a 6% increase this year in Australia’s national productivity. However, it should be remembered that part of this cost is in the tapered means test, which is itself designed to add to national productivity, and which will thus, in the long run, create resources to offset the Budget expenditure. Taking this into account, I would say that the social services benefits given in this Bill are perhaps a little greater than the proportion strictly related to the increase in national productivity. They are generous, but not irresponsible; insofar as they include measures designed to improve the economic tone of the whole community, they will help to pay for themselves. In this regard, they will have to be judged by the response of the community to the new incentives offered; if that response is good - and I have every reason to believe that it will be good - then the present measures can be followed by more in the same direction, because the burden on the Budget will be self-liquidating. It may take some time before these factors can be adequately assessed, because the changes in outlook and activity which these new measures are likely to effect - and which, to some degree, they are designed to effect - will not all take place overnight
Let me now return to a more detailed description of some of the features of the Bill. I refer firstly to the rate of basic pension. The increases in the ‘standard’ and married’ rate of pension now push these - $15 per week standard and $13.25 per week married - to the record heights, not only in terms of money values, but also in terms of real purchasing power. Incidentally, there will be corresponding increases in the rates of Service pensions, but these will be provided under repatriation legislation.
Using the change in the Consumer Price Index in the 12 months between the June quarter of 1968 when the index was 104.2 and the June quarter of 1969 when the index was 107.2 as the best available measure of the change in living costs, the increases now necessary to maintain the pension at static purchasing power would be 40c per week standard and 36c per week married rate. The actual increases given - $1 per week standard and 75c per week married - are a little over twice these notional figures, and thus indicate an increase in the real value of the- pension. This increase comes on top of a similar increase last year, which was itself greater than would have been justified simply by reference to the price level. Thus the cumulative 1968 and 1969 increases in the real value of basic pension rates are probably greater than have occurred in any preceding two consecutive years since the inception of our Australian pension system. All these basic rates which I have quoted are exclusive of supplementary assistance, which is payable to those most in need, and also of the mother’s or guardian’s allowance and the additional, pension for children.
The House will recall that in June 1966 Professor Henderson and his colleagues of the University of Melbourne devised an arbitrary ‘poverty line’, of $33 per week for a man, wife and two children. This datum was set by taking the then basic wage of $30.70 per week and adding to it child endowment and an arbitrary margin of 80c per week. The Consumer Price Index was then 98.4, as against its latest level of 107.2, so price changes would now increase the old datum of $33 per week to $35.95 per week. The Melbourne survey then suggested a formula for equating incomes of single persons or family units of varying size to this datum point. Adopting the formula they put forward, the following figures emerge in relation to pensioners who pay rent and have no means beyond their pension - those people who are really at the bottom of the income scale. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard the following table:
Thus all these rates in terms of real purchasing power are now substantially above the Melbourne survey ‘poverty line datum* of $35.95 per week, which is the figure originally put forward in June 1966, adjusted for subsequent changes in the price level.
I am well aware that some people would argue that pension rates should be correlated with changes in ‘average earnings’ rather than with changes in the Consumer Price Index. There is, however, a logical fallacy inherent in such an approach. It is true that in recent years average earnings have risen faster than prices. This merely measures the success of the Government’s economic policy in the non-pensioner field. Under this policy the real standard of living of most workers has increased because the rise in their pay packets has been greater - indeed it has been substantially greater - than would be required by any price increases. This is something about which nobody should complain. But when one is talking about some arbitrary ‘poverty line’ the proper measurement is the amount of goods which can be bought by the available pension: This is what counts for the pensioner at or near this arbitrary ‘poverty line’. It would be strange indeed if the success of the Government’s economic policy for non-pensioner wage earners were to be used as a criticism of pension rates.
Let me deal now with assistance for children. Last year the rate of additional pension for the children of age, invalid and widow pensioners was raised from $1.50 per week to $2.50 per week. This year there will be a further increase of $1 per week to $3.50 per week for all children after the first. These increases, of course, also apply to Service pensioners.
The ‘mother’s allowance’ for widow pensioners with one or more children in their care was introduced in 1963 at $4 per week, and in 1965 a similar ‘guardian’s allowance’ was made available to age, invalid and service pensioners. An additional $2 per week is now to be given’ to all these pensioners when one of the children is under 6 years of age or is an invalid needing and receiving full-time care. This new ‘special allowance’ will help those pensioners, and particularly those widow pensioners, who would normally desire to supplement their income by full or part-time employment, but who are precluded from this by their special family responsibilities.
Incidentally, it may be noted that a widow in addition to her $10 per week free area’ for means test purposes, will, under this Bill, be allowed a $4 per week deduction from her income for each of her children, and will also get the benefit of the new means test taper, so that no longer will she be deprived the opportunity of improving the status of her family by her own efforts: For example, a widow with three children all over 6 will receive a pension, apart from any entitlement to family endowment and supplementary assistance, of $28.50, and this will be unaffected by her earnings, assuming that her assessable property does not exceed $4,500, up to $22 per week: and thereafter only half her additional earnings will be deductible from her pension, so that she would keep some pension until her total means reached $79 per week. Contrast this with the position when Labor went out of office in 1949. Then the total pension for a widow and her children was $4.75 per week, without any pensioner medical service for herself or her family and without the other Commonwealth fringe benefits, and her meagre pension was reduced by every $1 she earned over $3.50 per week, so that she was virtually deprived of any chance to better the condition of herself or her family by her own efforts. In those days, the widow and her children were left permanently and irremediably poor.
This Bill also provides for a drastic increase in the payment for children of unemployment and sickness beneficiaries, which at present stands at $1.50 per week. This will go up to $2.50 per week in respect of the first child, and to $3.50 per week in respect of all other children. The present Government is thus directing special relief to all social service beneficiaries with children, and especially to widows with children.
I turn now to the tapered means test In spite of the successive liberalisations of the means test which have been carried out, the present system still has some unsatisfactory features, towards which this Bill is directed. In fact, this Bill embodies the most significant and far-reaching reform of the means test which has been undertaken since pensions were introduced in 1909. The present system is as follows. An applicant for a pension has ‘means as assessed’. This is 10% of the value of his property, excluding such things as house .and personal possessions, plus his earnings and income, excluding such items as his income from property. With married couples, the figures are aggregated and then halved, so that each of the couple has the same ‘means as assessed’.
The first $10 per week in the case of single pensioners and the first $17 in the case of married couples constitutes the ‘free area’, and does not affect the rate of pension; but above this ‘threshold’ every extra $1 per week in means as assessed causes an exactly equal decrease in the pension payable, so that, until the entitlement to pension ceases, there is no advantage to be gained from the additional income or property. With present pension rates at $14 per week for a single pensioner the limit at which pension entitlement ceases is $24 per week under the existing system; for a married pensioner couple it is $42 per week. This limit at which pension ceases might conveniently be called the ‘vanishing point’.
Thus in the ranges between threshold and vanishing point - at present from $10 per week to $24 per week in the case of single pensioners, and from $17 per week to $42 per week in the case of a married pensioner couple - there is in effect a 100% tax on means as assessed. In this range, there is no incentive for the pensioner to earn or the prospective pensioner to save. This has quite naturally created the position where potential workers have not worked and potential savers have not saved, because it would profit them nothing to do so unless they could lift themselves out of the pension field altogether. Quite apart from the substantial economic losses which this situation has inflicted upon the whole community, it has created a climate of resentment and frustration in ways which it is quite easy to understand. It can be described as a ‘knock-out means test*.
The Government has decided to meet this situation by providing that henceforward there is to be a tapered means test, under which only one-half of the pensioner’s means, over and above the existing threshold, will be deducted from his pension. This will benefit all existing recipients of part pensions, and will make many people who are now outside the pension range eligible for a part pension. In effect, the vanishing point will now become the threshold plus twice the rate of full pension; that is, for a single person it will move from $24 per week to $40 per week, and for a married couple it will move from $42 per week to $70 per week. These new upper limits mark the points up to which a part pension is payable. For persons without income, excluding of course income from their property, the upper limits of property which a pensioner may own moves to $21,200 in the case of a single pensioner and $37,200 in the case of a married couple. For persons with various combinations of income and property the provisions of the merged means test will continue to apply. I seek the permission of the House to incorporate in Hansard a ready reckoner which sets out the position for age and invalid pensioners in regard to these combinations. Incidentally, I should like to acknowledge that the form of this ready reckoner was suggested by the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Wilson).
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The numbers of people who will benefit from this tapered means test are estimated to be as follows:
The amount of the increased or new pension will, of course, vary with variations in the means as assessed of each pensioner. The maximum increase will be one-half the full rate, and it will be reached at what would be the vanishing point under the new pension rates, but with the old means test, that is, at $25 per week for single pensioner and $43.50 per week for married couples, tailing off gradually to nil at the new vanishing points - $40 per week for single pensioners and $70 per week for married couples.
The Prime Minister, in his speech on the Budget, gave details of the operation of the new tapered means test. These are incorporated in Hansard of 21st August 1969 at page 589, and there is no need for me to repeat them now. I give just the following examples:
I would like to make one other point. Among the main beneficiaries from the new arrangement will be recipients of superannuation pensions and recipients of war pen.sions, including those totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners and war widows who have little private resources outside their repatriation entitlements. In the past, these war pensioners have often been faced with the anomalous situation where an increase in their repatriation benefits has’ been balanced by an exactly corresponding decrease in their social service benefits, so that in total they were not advantaged by the repatriation increase. This anomaly will now cease. Every repatriation increase will bring some net benefit to those who receive it.
Analysis of our records discloses that, among the 274,000 who will benefit from this tapered means test, war pensioners, including TPI pensioners and war widows, as well as those entitled to full and part general rate war pensions, constitute very significant groups. In fact the tapered means test is equivalent to a substantial increase for a large proportion of repatriation pensioners. With the concurrence of honourable members, 1 incorporate in Hansard a table showing the benefit which some of these war pensioners and war widows will receive from the tapered means test:
Naturally the calculation of the new rates, consequent upon the introduction of the tapered means test, has thrown a great strain upon the staff of my Department. We are, however, making arrangements under which all existing pensioners will be paid at the new rates, including the changes made by this tapered means test, on the first pay day after this Bill receives the royal assent.
As regards new claimants who become eligible for the first time by reason of this tapered means test, the Bill makes the special provision that their entitlements will be dated from the same first pay day after this Bill becomes law, provided they put in their application forms before 31st December 1969. We will endeavour to assess these new claims with the least possible delay, but the House will realise that this task cannot be carried out overnight. However, as I have said, these unavoidable departmental delays will not cost the claimant anything in the long run because pensions, when approved, will be paid back to the base date I have mentioned. Let me add that claim forms are available now at Post Offices and Social Services offices, and there is every reason why those who think they may have an entitlement under the new means test should fill in their claims and forward them to my Department as quickly as possible. There is no need for claimants to delay completing these forms until the Bill becomes law. The sooner we get these claims, the quicker we can complete the task of assessing them and paying the new pensions. As soon as this Bill becomes law we shall, of course, advertise the details widely, so that those who become entitled to pensions under these new conditions may know what they are entitled to and may claim accordingly. It is the policy of my Department to help every prospective pensioner to get his full entitlement under the law.
The House will recall that the Treasurer has already introduced a Bill to increase the age tax allowance to all men over 65 and all women over 60 years of age. These new scales have been worked out in conjunction with the tapered means test and will operate to give substantial additional tax relief. It would be out of place for me to go into details now, but I remind the House that, under these proposals:
Single aged persons will pay no tax on taxable incomes up to $1,300 per annum and will pay tax at reduced rates on incomes between $1,300 per annum and $2,275 per annum.
Married aged couples will pay no tax when their combined taxable incomes are less than $2,262 per annum and will pay tax at reduced rates on their combined taxable incomes between $2,262 per annum and $4,121 per annum.
In summary I would say that this new tapered means test, together with the new age tax allowance, removes the greater part of the inequities and inefficiencies inherent in the old ‘knock-out means test’. It has achieved this within the limits set by financial responsibility, without either requiring the imposition of new taxation or impairing the ability of the Commonwealth to service the other functions and developments which depend upon its Budget. The relief given has been substantial; the cost has been kept within reasonable bounds.
I have already stressed the point that there are credits to be taken into account against the gross cost of the tapered means test, because it will increase saving, reduce the tendency of prospective pensioners to dissipate their assets, and encourage pensioners to supplement their pensions by earnings. This last, point is of special importance in the present situation, where Australia is experiencing something of a labour shortage. Many pensioners - not all pensioners, of course- can hope to benefit from part time or seasonal employment. This benefit is not only financial: Some occupation can give them an interest which increases their enjoyment of life and improves their health.
In conjunction with the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury), I hope now. to be able to work out plans in this regard in. the interests both of these pensioners and of the whole economy. Naturally these things take time; but now that the introduction of the tapered means test gives us the opportunity to start, we do not intend to waste time. It is clear, too, that the introduction of the tapered means test can have a beneficial effect upon the operation of the sheltered workshops, which we first supported in 1967, and which are now developing so splendidly. At another time, I would hope to elaborate upon this whole sheltered workshop programme and its future development, but I will not attempt this in the present debate.
It has been decided that the new pensioners who come in by reason of the extended taper limits, will not be entitled to the Commonwealth fringe benefits which are available to existing pensioners. Accordingly, those with means as assessed in excess of the free area plus the full rate of pension will not qualify for these extra concessions - pensioner medical service, funeral benefit and rebates on telephones, radio and television. In effect, those single pensioners who at present have means as assessed of $25 per week or over - married couples $43.50 per week - will not be eligible for these Commonwealth concessions.
In making this decision, the Government took into account the fact that it was precisely at this point that the application of the taper conferred the greatest pension increase - that is, $7.50 per week for a single person and $13.25 per week for a married couple. It Ls true that, in proportion as pensioners’ means increase beyond $25 per week single and $43.50 per week married, the maximum pension gain under the taper is reduced by one-half of the excess until it tails out at means of $40 per week single and $70 per week married couple, but it is felt that pensioners in these upper ranges should be able to afford normal hospital and medical insurance and to pay for their telephones, radio and television at the normal rates.
It should not be forgotten, too, that the aged will also receive substantial income tax concessions. It is not possible, of course, to equate means as assessed exactly with taxable income, since the relationship differs with different individuals, but as an approximation one might give some examples which, with the concurrence of the House, I incorporate in Hansard.
I need only reiterate that the combination of the tapered means test and the new age tax allowance gives substantial benefits to those who might have felt themselves unjustly deprived under the old system.
In respect . of unemployment and sickness benefits I have already set out the increases in these rates, which I need not repeat. These increases are substantial and familyoriented. For example, a beneficiary with a wife and three children would now receive a total benefit, exclusive of family endowment, of $26.50 per week, made up as follows:
Compare this with the $5 per week which this man would have received under Labor in 1949. Even allowing for the change in price levels, this would only be $11.43 today. The difference between this figure and $26.50 represents the real increase in this benefit adjusted for changes in the price level. There are at present some 12,000 recipients of unemployment benefit and some 8,500 recipients of sickness benefit - a total of 20,500. So far as the unemployed are concerned, the real help given by our Government has been in the reduction of their numbers through our. full employment policy. Registered unemployed today are only some 50,000, against which there are some 40,000 registered vacancies.
Nevertheless, although the number of registered unemployed is so low, I look for further improvement. Included in their numbers are a few thousand of hard core unemployed, who have been continuously registered for 6 months or longer. No doubt this includes some who have alcoholic or other personality problems, who can be better helped by the churches and voluntary bodies than by direct government action, although certainly not all of the hard core fall into these categories. I have asked my Department for further work to be done on this, in co-operation with the Department of Labour and National Service. I hope that it will not be long before we have some re-training proposals - on the analogy, perhaps of our recent and successful widow’s retraining programme - to help these hard core unemployment cases.
May I remind the House of two proposals in the present Bill relating to unemployment benefit. First, we are raising the allowable income in respect of eligibility for both unemployment and sickness benefits; and, secondly, we are requiring the 7 days waiting period to be served only once in each period of 13 weeks. The combination of these two proposals will make it easier for beneficiaries to accept casual jobs, and thus give them a better opportunity to supplement their income by their own efforts. As I have said, regular employment is offering for most people, and we are formulating plans to help at least a significant part of the hard core unemployed.
I turn now to the question of sickness benefit, where, of course, this Bill gives the same increases in rates as with unemployment benefit. Here I confess that I am not entirely happy with the present position, and I am having it re-examined. It impinges, of course, upon the functions of other departments, but I would hope to be able to bring forward concrete proposals before very long.
In the past, it has been customary to tie the rate of sickness benefit to the rate of unemployment benefit. I am not convinced that this nexus is entirely justifiable or logical. I realise, of course, that sickness beneficiaries often have medical schemes available to them, and often receive additional help from State or charitable sources, or from former employers. Some of them may eventually qualify for an invalid pension, though this may not be for them the most acceptable outcome. Some, again, may become eligible for a Commonwealth rehabilitation course or for a corresponding State service. But even allowing for all these factors, it still seems to me that we might find that there is more that we could be doing in this particular field - and perhaps it may even be possible to devise constructive schemes which are directed towards the recovery and re-employment of the patient. The initial outlay upon such schemes might be counterbalanced, so far as the Budget is concerned, by the reabsorption of the patient into normal life. But the amounts in question are not big, and the interests of the patient are naturally the over-riding consideration.
I have already mentioned the minor benefits conveyed by this Bill, and I would not wish to enlarge upon these except to draw the attention of honourable members to the provision which extends from 12 to 30 weeks the period of temporary absence in respect of which a pension is payable on return to Australia. This provision will be of special interest to migrants who wish to revisit their homelands. It is not of consequence to British or New Zealand migrants, who are already covered by reciprocal agreements, but migrants from Europe will find it of great advantage. These often prefer to make their return visits by sea rather than by air, so that the present limit of 12 weeks leaves them little time in their old homes. With the new limit of 30 weeks this situation is radically changed in their favour.
There are also two matters of mechanics to which I should draw the attention of honourable members - sub-clauses 3 (g) and 3 (i) of the Bill. These are designed to prevent anomalies which would otherwise be created or accentuated by the new tapered means test. One relates to the position of a married couple whose means as assessed are greater than the $70 per week, which will be the upper limit for pension. By the device of one partner claiming as a single person, the limit could be extended to $77 per week and clause 3 (i) is meant to preclude this device. Similarly, clause 3 (g) is meant to avoid an anomaly under which the upper limit of income in respect of married couples with children could otherwise be extended not by twice but by four times the amount of the full rate of additional children’s pension.
In conclusion, I think that the House will agree with me that this Bill represents one of the most significant forward steps yet made in our Australian social service system. It should not, of course, be considered in isolation: It is part of the advance made over some 20 years by the present Liberal-Country Party Government, and it is the second instalment of the advance made under the Gorton Government. Nor should it be considered as something final and complete. We have done much but there is still much that we hope to do. This policy will develop concurrently with the expansion of the base of the Australian economy, which provides the increased resources, an appropriate part of which can be devoted to the improvement of our social services. May I emphasise again that these two things should continue to be inter-related: Growth of productivity and improvement , in social services must, in the long run, go together.
No doubt the Prime Minister, in his forthcoming policy speech, will set the main direction for our advance over the next few years upon all fronts, including the social service front. Some lesser issues, however, will already have become evident. Firstly, for the future, greater emphasis will be placed upon the rehabilitation aspect - help for invalid pensioners in their desire to re-integrate with the normal community; the re-training programme for the disabled; the further development of sheltered workshops; better employment opportunities for the aged, both part time and even full time; and a more rational development of our resources of fringe labour. All these things will be for the benefit both of these special groups and of the Australian community as a whole. Secondly, for the future, our system of social services is to become more decentralised. Without shrugging off any of our proper Commonwealth responsibilities, we propose to make greater use of the co-operation available from church and other voluntary bodies, using them for the purposes for which they were, established and for which, I believe, they will be glad to be used. We will also, I hope, have closer relations with the States, using and assisting State machinery, in a spirit of co-operation rather than of competition.
This Bill embodies the current instalment of the Government’s social service policy which was outlined in the Treasurer’s Budget Speech. Some critics have suggested that we are not doing enough for the pensioners and the less fortunate sections of our community. Other critics have suggested that we are doing too much, and that the amount we are devoting to social services absorbs too much of our available resources. I am reminded of the couplet which used to appear at the masthead of so many old newspapers:
In moderation placing all my glory,
When Tories call me Whig, and Whigs a Tory.
The fact that we are getting these criticisms from extremists on both sides suggests that the. middle course, we have chosen is. just about right. The opposing viewpoints balance one another. It is true that some honourable members of the Opposition take the illogical course of criticising us on both grounds simultaneously but I do not think that many people outside their professional ranks will be involved in this illogicality. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Daly) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to the Government’s Budget proposals in the repatriation field. The Government has again this year given consideration to improvements in repatriation pensions and other benefits and has been able to propose further valuable assistance, particularly for the more seriously handicapped and for war widows. The Bill therefore provides increased rates for totally and permanently incapacitated pensioners and for those who, because of the nature of their disabilities, receive pensions equivalent to the TPI rate. It provides also for an increase in the intermediate rate and in the special compensation allowance introduced last year for general rate pensioners whose actual war caused incapacity is assessed at or above 75%. Pensions for war widows are increased. There are also increases in attendants’ allowances. In addition the Bill makes the necessary changes to apply in the service pensions area the advances proposed for comparable pensioners under the social service legislation.
The present Bill provides for amendment to the Second Schedule to the Repatriation Act to give effect to an increase of $2.50 per week in the special or TPI rate of pension, which is payable to those whose war caused incapacity is such as to prevent them from earning more than a negligible percentage of a living wage, and to the war blinded. It is also payable to ex-servicemen who are temporarily totally incapacitated, and to certain sufferers from tuberculosis. The new rate will be $36 per week.
Amounts payable under the first six items of the Fifth Schedule to the Act for serious amputations and loss of vision are being increased by $2.50 per week in consequence of the increase in the TPI rate of pension. The intermediate rate war pension, payable under the First Schedule to those who, because of war caused incapacity, are able to work only part-time or intermittently, will be increased by $2.25 per week. The new rate will therefore be $26:50 per week.
The Sixth Schedule is being amended to provide an increase in the special compensation allowance. The allowance will be increased by $2 per week at the 100% rate, scaling down proportionately to $1.50 per week at the 75% rate. The new rate of allowance will range from $5 per week for those war pensioners whose actual incapacity is assessed at 100%, to $3.75 per week for those assessed at 75%. The First Schedule is being amended to provide an increase of $1 per week in the war widow’s pension which will become $15 per week. Attendants allowances payable to some classes of severely disabled ex-servicemen including the war-blinded, the paralysed and certain double amputees are to be increased. The allowances are at two separate rates, and the Bill provided for amendments to the Second and Fifth Schedules to increase the lower rate by $1 to $8.50 per week and the higher rate by $2 to $14 per week.
The changes proposed for age and invalid pensioners, including increased pensions rates and the application of the new tapered means test, will, in the main, apply automatically in the repatriation service pension area through amendments to the social services legislation. This Bill, however, makes three necessary amendments to the Repatriation Act to apply the social services changes to service pensioners. First, the Social Service Act is being amended to provide an increase of $2 per week in the guardian’s allowance where there is an invalid child who, in the opinion of the Director-General, requires full time care and attention. The appropriate comparable authority in the repatriation area is a repatriation board, and an amendment to section 83 covers this point.
Secondly, the deduction from income for means test purposes for a dependent child of a pensioner is to be increased by $1 to $4 a week. This is provided by an amendment to section 87. Finally, it is proposed, and the Bill provides, that those who become eligible for service pension because of the new tapered means test, and apply for pension before 31st December 1969, may have their payments back-dated as far as the date of commencement of the Act.
In addition to their pensions, service pensioners also receive from the Commonwealth some other benefits commonly referred to as fringe benefits. These are the same as the fringe benefits available to social services pensioners and include the Pensioner Medical Service for the exserviceman and his dependants, concessions on licences for radio and television reception and on telephone rentals, and funeral benefits. The ex-serviceman service pensioner himself, however, is entitled to treatment under the repatriation system for disabilities not due to war service, and normally elects to be treated by repatriation rather than under the Pensioner Medical Service.
In announcing the introduction of the means test taper the Government indicated that the fringe benefits would not be available to means test pensioners whose eligibility for service pensions depended on the taper and clause 5 of the Bill makes these provisions in respect of service pensioners. The Bill also appropriates the consolidated revenue fund to the extent necessary to provide during the current year the additional benefits to which the Bill gives effect. AH of the foregoing amendments will come into force from the date on which the amending Act receives Royal Assent.
A table which sets out in full the repatration Budget details including those covered by this Bill has been prepared. It is available for information, and for convenience has been attached to copies of this speech which are being circulated. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the table in Hansard:
The measures I have outlined confer valuable benefits on repatriation pensioners, and I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stewart) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Sinclair, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to increase the pensions and allowances payable under the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act, in line with the similar increases in the Repatriation Bill, as announced by my colleague the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) in his Budget speech. Clause 3 of the Bill increases the ‘intermediate’ rate of war pension by $4.50 per fortnight to $53. The intermediate’ pension is paid to seriously disabled persons whose war-caused incapacities render them incapable of working other than on a part-time basis or intermittently.
The special compensation allowance introduced by the Government last year provides additional compensation for those general-rate pensioners under the Act who, although able to work, are nevertheless seriously incapacitated by war-caused disability. The rate of the allowance is, by clause 4 of the Bill, increased from $6 to $10 per fortnight for the 100% pensioner. As provided for under section 22b (2.) of the Act, the new rates scale down proportionately, and for the 75% pensioner the new special compensation allowance will be $7.50 per fortnight.
Clause 5 increases the rate of fortnightly pension payable to a widow on the death of an Australian mariner by $2 to a maximum of $33.60 per fortnight. The clause also provides for the fortnightly allowance payable in respect of an attendant for an Australian mariner suffering from a specified war caused disability to be increased by $2 to $17 and, where the mariner has lost both arms, by $4 to $28.
The increase of $5 per fortnight in the rate of the TPI pension, bringing the rate to $72 per fortnight, does not have to be provided for by this Bill, as the amended rate under the Repatriation Act will apply to seamen pensioners by virtue of section 22a of the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act.
It is intended that the Act will come into operation from the date it receives the Royal Assent, and the increased pensions and allowances provided for in the Bill will be payable on the first pension pay day after that date. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stewart) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Bury, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The main purpose of this Bill is to seek Parliament’s approval to pay grants, amounting to $25m over 5 years, to the States for the erection of self-contained accommodation for single age pensioners and those who qualify for service pensions by reason of age. I think we all would agree that those persons most in need of housing assistance include single elderly pensioners living in miserable accommodation or paying too high a proportion of their pensions in rent. These pensioners are independent people who are capable of looking after themselves and include those who, because they live in deplorable conditions, sometimes suffer an untimely breakdown in their health. Experience has shown that, when they can be moved into adequate modern housing, their health frequently improves and their life expectation is increased. If they are required to pay only a reasonable rent, their financial worries are reduced and more of their pension is available to provide them with a modest standard of living. Top. often rent is the killer.
Eligible pensioners are defined in this Bill as single persons in receipt of the age pension and those who qualify for service pensions by reason of age, all of whom are receiving or are eligible to receive supplementary assistance under Section 30a of the Social Services Act or under Section 98a of the Repatriation Act. To be eligible for supplementary assistance their means as assessed must be less than $3 a week apart, of course, from the pension. They are the most needy, and comprise at least 80% of all single applicants to lease aged persons’ units from State housing authorities.
To meet their needs, there .must first be alternative accommodation of a reasonable standard to offer them at rents they can reasonably be expected ‘ to pay. Second, if they are not to suffer substantial personal disturbance, the alternative accommodation in the majority of cases needs to be offered in the vicinity of the places where they are now living.- The localities in which a large proportion of them are living and where most of them wish to continue to live are the older inner suburbs of our capital cities.
The purpose of our offer of advances to the States is to assist them to carry out a number of building projects. A project may include the purchase of land, the preparation of land for the erection of a building, the planning and erection of a building and the installation of water, electricity or other services to provide self-contained dwellings for eligible single pensioners.
In making this offer to the States we have not overlooked the very considerable amount of aged persons’ housing built by many charitable and other non-profit organisations throughout Australia with the assistance of the $2 for$1 grant under our aged persons homes scheme. Under this scheme self-contained units and, in addition, hostel-type accommodation and nursing home beds have been provided for many of our elderly citizens. We wish to see the activities of these charitable and other organisations expand further under our offer of assistance to them, for as long as there is an insufficient supply of suitable aged persons’ accommodation.
Nevertheless there are still large numbers of needy aged pensioners who are far from adequately housed. Many of these are living in the poorer inner suburbs of our capital cities. There is a large unsatisfied backlog of demand for decent and moderately-priced accommodation for these pensioners. This problem is mainly being tackled by the State housing authorities. A more rapid reduction of the backlog is an urgent welfare need for those involved, and this may most efficiently be achieved by providing finance to the States to permit them to expand their activities in this field.
The $25m has been allocated among the States broadly in the proportion that the number of age pensioners receiving supplementary assistance in a State bears to the total number of these pensioners in the six States. The proposed legislation does, however, provide that, in the unlikely event that a State does not wish to accept the full amount of its share of the $25m, any shortfall may be transferred to another State which is willing and able to spend it on the approved purpose. An amount equal to one-fifth of the $25m will be available to the States for expenditure each year, and any amount available but not advanced during a year will be available for expenditure in the succeeding year.
As more aged persons’ accommodation is urgently needed, and as the purpose of our offer is to achieve this, each State has been asked for an assurance that it will spend from funds other than our grant during the 5-year period commencing 1st July 1969 not less than five times its average annual expenditure for this purpose during the 3 years ended 30th June 1969. Where neither a State nor its housing authority has as yet built homes specifically for aged persons capable of looking after themselves, such a State will be expected to agree to spend for this purpose a reasonable and increasing amount from the funds available to it other than the grant.
Clause 4 of the Bill empowers the Minister to approve a building project, and Clause 6 provides that the grant may only be spent on approved projects. An approved project may include that part of a building being erected by a State authority that contains specified single person units reserved solely for occupation by pensioners eligible under this scheme. Approved projects may include those whose construction commenced on or after 1st July 1969. Projects to be built with our advances will be approved only if they are to be provided in localities in which there is a demonstrable need, and if the homes to be erected will be of an adequate size and standard and be offered at reasonable rentals.
As early as practicable after the end of each financial year each State will be required to supply to the Minister a statement certified by the Auditor-General of its expenditure out of advances under the Act on each approved project, and a statement of its expenditure during the year on the erection of aged persons’ accommodation from funds other than the Commonwealth grant. As soon as practicable after the receipt of this information, the Minister will be required to report to Parliament on the past year’s activities under the scheme.
In the interests of all those needy pensioners who stand to benefit under this scheme, I have much pleasure in commending this Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stewart) adjourned.
Consideration resumed (vide page 940).
Department of Education and Science
Proposed Expenditure, $109,071,000.
– We are discussing, as you have just said, Mr Chairman, the appropriation for education and science in this country, and I suppose that there really is no more important subject that we can discuss. I must say at the beginning that I congratulate the
Government on its Budget proposals in this regard because they represent an all-time high, as I understand it, in Commonwealth participation in total expenditure on education. 1 think we all agree that tremendous progress has been made in education, particularly in the last few years since this Government established a separate Ministry for Education and Science. In this regard one must applaud the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) who was the first Minister to hold the new portfolio, and I think it was he who laid the foundation for the great progress that has been made in education in Australia. Of course, his example has been followed very ably by the present Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) who is putting great effort into his handling of this important portfolio.
We all know - this is undeniable, and it has been stated in 4his chamber this afternoon - that constitutionally education is entirely a State responsibility. But because of the enormous growth that has occurred in Australia over the last few years, the great prosperity which we are experiencing, the vast immigration programme which we have undertaken, the changes in methods of education and the advances which have been made in education, children today are staying longer at school and more children are taking advantage of advanced education. All of these matters have created great difficulty in the financing of education, particularly by the States, which are basically responsible for education. They have imposed a great financial burden upon all States. Of course, I think we must all admit that they have also imposed a great burden upon independent schools. Pressure has been applied not only upon state schools but also upon independent schools.
Every State in the Commonwealth adopts a different approach to the question of education. There is no uniformity between the States. Again, a different approach is adopted by the Commonwealth itself in its own Territories for which it is directly responsible. So one cannot blame the organisations which are responsible for providing education. They live with their shortcomings. Education is their life’s worry because it is their life’s work. So they do their best to bring pressure to bear in order to overcome the difficulties with which they are confronted. The Teachers Federation and other ancillary bodies which are concerned with education stir up the parents and citizens associations and other public bodies which in tum bring pressure to bear upon the State governments. Perhaps it is understandable that when the States are unable to meet the demands that are made upon them by these new education programmes, and when they are not able to face up to the problems confronting them, they put the blame on the Federal Government. This process is going on interminably. The Commonwealth Government is the tax gathering authority and it has the final responsibility for the fiscal policy of the nation. No-one appears to accept the proposition that there are limitations to which the national government can go in the provision of finance. Everybody should understand that there are limitations and that the Commonwealth Government cannot pass the buck on to anyone else. Everyone passes the buck to the Commonwealth Government, and there it remains.
I know that all the arguments that are used regarding the value of education are true, but so too are the arguments that are used in connection with other matters which require the expenditure of money, such as our national security and defence and social welfare for the needy. This afternoon in this House we heard the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) outline a magnificent programme to assist the needy in Australia. These matters require additional money. We must also consider the health and hospitalisation of people in need, the national development of our growing young nation, the question of transport, including aviation, shipping and roads, and also the question of rural and urban development. All of these matters require money. Of course, there is not sufficient money to spend on all the projects which the people require to be carried out. I know that the States are jealous of their sovereignty and that they resent any undue interference. All they want is money. But if all the money for which the States and other organisations ask were provided, we would be in a pretty pickle and we would not be able to carry on with development either in the education field or in any of the other fields which are so necessary.
The first intrusion into education by the Commonwealth - and this was agreed to by the States - was the assistance given to universities by way of the provision of scholarships on a national basis, lt must be remembered that some years ago the Commonwealth had its own particular problem in Canberra where we were building the capital of this great new nation. The problem arose from the drafting of thousands of public servants from the various capital cities to Canberra and the need to provide education for their children. Schools to cater for the children were just not available in Canberra. Many thousands of the parents who came to Canberra with their children were accustomed to sending their children to independent schools. So some provision had to be made for these children. The first step which was taken in the provision of direct state aid for independent schools was, firstly, the guaranteeing of interest repayments on loans to independent schools and, secondly, the provision of capital for independent schools.
As we know, at that time there was an outcry - quite foolish, I think - because people did not understand that the Government was placed in a difficult position. It was only fair and just that it should do something to overcome the difficulty. People should remember that the attitude of this Government has always been to ensure equity and justice to the children of Australia, without discrimination of colour or creed. That is the principle upon which we have operated. After a far reaching investigation a new principle has been introduced into this Budget. I refer to the granting of direct aid to independent schools of $35 per annum a head for primary pupils and $50 per annum a head for secondary pupils. Again there has been an outcry. It is maintained that this money should be given to public schools and that no assistance whatever should be given to independent schools. So the propaganda machine, for political motives only, has been blatantly deceiving the people into thinking that no special help is being given to public schools. This is absolutely false. It has been stated by many honourable members opposite and in the Press that public schools have not been given any special consideration. As I say, this is absolutely false.
In 1963-64 the Commonwealth Government’s direct expenditure on education was $68m. That was quite apart from the finance provided by the States. Last year Commonwealth expenditure on education was $192m, and this year it will be $266m. This is a tremendous increase in expenditure, and most of it has been allocated, principally to state schools. How can it be said that we are not giving special consideration to state schools? Time will not permit me to quote from the ministerial statement on education which was made by the Minister for Education and Science on 13th August this year, but it points out quite clearly that the Commonwealth provides almost one-half of the money spent by the States on education. To say that the Government is not giving special consideration to state schools is just near-political deception.
The States, as I have said, are fully responsible for state schools, but no government, State or Federal, has any legal liability for independent schools. Yet as a nation we have for a great length of time encouraged the independent schools to exist and to operate. What is the position? Do we owe nothing to the children who go to independent schools when we find that these schools are in financial difficulties? They are Australian children, lt must be remembered that every Australian government and every major political party in Australia - I am glad to see that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) is sitting at the table - accept the principle of the dual system of education, state and independent. The governments require certain standards of education from both systems and children from both systems submit to examinations laid down by the State governments. It is the children we must think about. We get involved in too many bitter and stupid arguments between the respective systems and this is not good for Australia. Indeed, I cannot understand why the advocates of the state schools should not also be advocates for the independent schools and vice versa.
In 1967 we had 1,856,120 children going to government schools and 580,532 going to independent schools. In 1968 these figures had increased by 201,348 in the government schools and by only 20,442 in the independent schools. This reveals quite clearly the proportionate decline in the attendance of children at independent schools. Roughly, as has been said before, the cost of a child at a state school is $275. I do not intend to be bound by the figure; it is only a rough estimate. On the basis of present numbers, the total cost of children at state schools would be about 8560m per annum. If it costs the same amount - I do not say it does - to educate a child in an independent school, the total cost of children at independent schools would be SI 66m per annum. State and Federal help together for independent schools averages only about $70 per child. This is a total of about $42m and means that we are calling upon the parents of the children in the independent schools to provide most of the remaining $124m as well as pay taxation for the maintenance of the state schools. So the little assistance that is given, though it is criticised, results in an enormous saving to the taxpayers. That is the economic position as I see it.
It is almost humorous to see the antics of the Australian Labor Party and particularly those of the Leader of the Opposition in relation to education. I heard the Leader of the Opposition at several big meetings on state aid, while strutting like a peacock, promise $50m, half of which would go to independent schools. But his Federal Conference knocked him down to size on this. I do not have time to read the whole of the resolution it adopted. It provides for a schools commission to be set up. This promises virtually nothing. However, the resolution had a little tail on it, which stated:
The primary obligation of governments to proVide and maintain government school systems of the highest standard open to all children.
It does not mention the independent schools. What confidence can the country have in a party which aspires to be the government of this country but which, instead of saying what it means, hides behind a promise to set up a commission to investigate? We do not need a commission to investigate. We all know the position.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Hon. Sir William Haworth) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The inequalities in Australian education, stemming from differences of income, geography and sex, have been pinpointed by the Australian Council for Educational Research for at least the last 7 years. The smaller percentage of the national income devoted to education and the larger class sizes obtaining in Australia compared with other countries have been matters of public comment for almost as long. It is enough to recall that at the end of last month, at the conclusion of their conference, the headmasters of independent schools pointed once again to the fact that we spend less proportionately on education than comparable countries do. I quote, too, from the report of Sir Walter Scott’s Committee on Class Sizes and Teaching Loads in Government Secondary Schools in New South Wales:
Australia in general and New South Wales in particular tend to have a higher proportion ot large classes than the affluent or developed countries which we are accustomed to use for purposes of comparison or as models. Our policies as well as our practices on class sizes are less advanced than those of most of the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom and some other European countries.
Our objective, therefore, must clearly be to give all Australian children an equal opportunity in life and to give all Australian children as good an opportunity in life as is given to the children in comparable countries.
The Liberal Party has until quite recently concentrated Commonwealth assistance in education on providing benefits to students under section 51 (xxiiiA) of the Constitution rather than on State grants under section 96. In each case it has first given assistance to universities. Scholarships to universities were given under peacetime arrangements in 1951. The proposal for scholarships for secondary schools was rejected in the same year. Scholarships are a device which Liberals use to defer free education for all by paying the fees of a minority. They mask the failure of Australia’s national government to follow comparable countries into the provision of education without charge. They exemplify the Liberal determination to defer pressing educational reforms by buying off potentially critical minorities within the electorate.
First then let us look at university scholarships. There are now two and a half times as many scholarships available for students entering universities as there were in 1951. There are, however, more than three times as many students entering the universities and four and a half times as many passing matriculation level examinations. The percentage of applicants who win scholarships has fallen to well under half its original level. A scholarship entails payment of fees. Fees provide barely 10% of the income of our universities and the Commonwealth pays through scholarships nearly 40% of those fees or, if we include Colombo Plan payments and cadetships, nearly half. Fees amount to a small percentage of the incomes of universities but a great percentage of the incomes of students and their parents. For barely another $10m a year the Commonwealth could ensure an education without fees for the present number of university students. Thereby university education would at last be available without fees as schooling without fees became available in the 1920s and 1930s. The benefit of attending universities whose costs are more than 80% met by governments is denied to tens of thousands of young Australians because they cannot afford fees. Thousands of others with poorer academic talents derive the benefit of an expensive education simply because they can afford to pay the fees which meet a relatively insignificant part of the cost of that education. If university education must be rationed it should be by academic standards and not by financial ones.
It is symptomatic of this indifference that a government which has provided scholarships for so many purposes has so long and so obstinately refused to provide the teacher training scholarships which were proposed by the Martin Committee and whose provision could by now have made an immeasurable contribution to the quality of education in all our schools. Most Australian schools, government and non-government, do not have teachers in sufficient numbers or with sufficient qualifications. The Victorian Secondary Teachers Association found last year that in Victorian schools only 39% of the staff are university graduates. This survey confirmed the findings made earlier by the Australian College of Education. The New South Wales
Government advertised at the beginning of last year for persons without teaching qualifications to begin teaching in secondary schools after a 3 weeks crash course in basic teaching techniques. The Queensland Government endeavoured at the same time to compress into a 3 months period teacher training which in most other States takes 36 months.
These pressures to dilute professional standards have so far successfully turned back in the face of the opposition of teachers and their organisations. Such pressures would not have developed and teachers would now be qualifying in adequate numbers if the then Minister for Education and Science, Senator Gorton, had heeded the advice of the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia, known as the Martin Committee. The Government received that advice in August 1964 and publicly rejected it in August 1965. The Martin Committee predicted most of the problems which have arisen and made recommendations which, had they been implemented, would have prevented the growth of those problems. The Martin Committee report stressed repeatedly Australia’s need for more teachers and for better trained ones. It pointed to the 6 years of opportunity - now more than half gone by - during which our present disastrous teacher shortage could be made, up before the beginning of yet another emergency in primary schools beginning in 1971. It argued for 3-year courses as a forerunner to 4-year courses conducted by State boards of teacher education independent of State departments of education.
On 29th April last, the Minister for Education and Science told me that the number of teachers employed last year in government primary schools was 5 1 ,600 and in secondary schools 39,800 and that the numbers required this year were respectively 51,500 and 39,700.
– Well, that is the second time the Leader of the Opposition has misquoted those figures.
– I quote your answer. The Minister takes about 3 months on the average to answer the questions which I put on the notice paper. I quoted the answer directly. I do not believe the Minister when he says that we need 100 fewer teachers in both primary and secondary schools this year than we needed last year. No section of the Martin Committee report is more enlightened or more helpful than its proposals for teacher training. No section was more brutually or less needfully struck down by the Government. Yet Senator Gorton underwrote and the Gorton Government underwrites the proposition that the intellectual, moral, aesthetic and physical training of children at crucial stages of their development may safely be left to boys and girls of 19 who have had 2 years at a teachers college.
Teachers’ salaries are the next point 1 wish to stress. The Commonwealth has been concerned with university salaries but not with teachers’ salaries. It has been concernd with scholarships at universities but not with scholarships at teachers’ colleges. Because the High Court of Australia held 40 years ago that teachers did not work in an industry, teachers have not been able to secure a Commonwealth industrial award and to make the great gains in professional status which have been achieved through the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in recent years, by, for example, engineers. Mr Justice Eggleston reported on university salaries. Mr Justice Sweeney has done so, although his report has not yet been tabled, in relation to salaries of staffs of colleges of advanced education. The same method should be provided whereby the Commonwealth could recommend the salaries which it could help the States and the non-government schools to pay to attract and to retain sufficient teachers in all our schools.
I have mentioned scholarships at universities. Now I come to the scholarships at secondary and technical schools. They, too, reveal the same Liberal disregard of proper priorities and particularly the determination to give to those who already have. In 1965 - the first year of operation - 19.6% of applicants for secondary scholarships received them while this year the figure is 12.4%. This year, 58% of the scholarships went to government schools where 4.7% of the applicants received them; 20.7% went to Catholic schools where 7% of applicants received them; and 20.7% also went to other non-government schools where 14.3% of applicants received them. Between 1965 and this year, the percentage of students who won scholarships fell from 5.5% to 4.7% at government schools and from 9.7% to 7% at Catholic schools, but rose from 13.9% to 14.3% at other nongovernment schools. In 1965, 29.5% of applicants for technical scholarships received them while this year the figure stands at 11.3%. Statistics of enrolments at technical colleges are not available in sufficient detail to enable one to say what percentage of students received scholarships.
A Labor government would not give scholarships to children whose families are in any case able to support them throughout their school careers, while it refused grants to the schools on which under-privileged Australians depend for an equal opportunity in education. It would also give grants to government schools and not merely to nongovernment schools. The Australian Universities Commission provides an appropriate constitutional and fiscal model for Commonwealth aid to all schools. Guided by a representative commission, Labor will develop in both government and nongovernment schools the excellence which at present characterises only an affluent and privileged few. Labour will selectively invest in schools the resources required to combat cultural deprivation and the economic disadvantages from which it springs. It will provide the living allowances which families with smaller incomes require to support children throughout their secondary schooling. It will entrust the schools commission with the responsibility for regularly examining the needs of all government and non-government schools and recommending grants which the Commonwealth should make for necessary buildings and equipment on the basis of needs and priorities.
The Minister has declared himself against an Australian schools commission. In his time, he has voted against the establishment of an overseas shipping line, a Commonwealth Bureau of Roads, a Commonwealth Department of Housing and even against the Commonwealth Department of Education and Science which he now administers. The Minister proffers two arguments against a schools commission. He claims that it would need a vast bureaucracy to investigate the needs of our 10,000 schools and that a commission would mean Commonwealth centralisation of education. Both arguments are false. The schools commission would exist to recommend how the Commonwealth can and should best help schools as the Universities Commission recommends how the Commonwealth can and should best help universities. The schools commission would receive claims from the State education departments, the Catholic schools and the various existing science blocks and library committees. It would make recommendations on these claims in the light of standards established by its own expert staff. This would be a continuing process. The commission itself would be fully representative of both government and non-government schools. For the first time, teachers would be represented at the decision making level. A schools commission could no more dominate or displace the State education departments than it could dominate or displace the Catholic system. It could and would have no powers of compulsion over government or non-government schools. It could and would have great means of assistance for both systems. It would not engage or pay teachers. It would give teachers a voice in determining the quality of education in Australia.
Compare and contrast these practical, effective arrangements with their alternative. The State education ministers last March themselves decided to make a nation-wide survey of educational needs up to the completion of secondary schooling and in teacher education. They did not get round to drawing up the terms of reference until last month and they omitted from those terms of reference the non-government schools which the Minister has now revealed are to be invited to conduct a similar survey but which in fact have not yet been invited to do so. What we are to have in place of a national inquiry is, in other words, a dozen separate surveys conducted by busy officials from at least a dozen separate authorities into the immediate needs of their own circumscribed areas of interest. We are to have in a word plans for a house designed on the basis of six people each designing a single room or. in some cases, half a room. Moreover, these surveys are to be conducted without special facilities for research and in the absence of even a common statistical base upon which comparisons between States and between systems might be based. We will still have
Victoria best served in pre-school education and worst served in external studies while New South Wales still persists in its refusal to join the project to develop junior science curricula and teaching materials. We will’ still be no nearer developing a national outlook on national needs, responsibilities and opportunities in education.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I suppose it is the function of a Leader of the Opposition to fish in muddied waters. We have been treated to the usual farrago of loaded and misleading information from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). 1 am afraid that we have come to recognise the honourable gentleman as one of our richest mines of misinformation. This is a distinction he has earned by his assiduity in this field. However, I would remind honourable members that the functions of education still lie primarily with the States. My recollection of the history and record of Labor governments in Queensland is a very sorry one.
– And in New South Wales.
– And in New South Wales I am led to understand by my friend. The appalling record of Labor in Queensland over so many years would need to have been seen to be believed. During Labor’s reign there was absolute stagnation. No schools were built. Existing schools were woefully inadequate. Facilities for teaching were appalling. Since the advent of a Liberal Party-Country Party Government the situation has been completely transformed. 1 say without any exaggeration that any community with the population to support a high school now has a State high school In the area. This is something which could not have been said in the years from 19 IS to 1957 under Labor governments, which had ample opportunities to make some efforts in education but which showed woeful neglect and in fact did nothing. Judging from the arguments adduced by honourable members opposite I would say that they have a vested interest in obstructing education.
My purpose in speaking on these estimates is primarily to praise the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation for the absolutely magnificent work it is doing on a remarkably small budget. The papers accompanying the Budget show that this year it is estimated that the CSIRO will spend $39,575,000. This is an extraordinarily small sum when we consider the wonderful results that have flowed from the organisation’s activities. The research being carried out at Brisbane into wallum country, to mention just one aspect of the organisation’s activities, has absolutely transformed the potential of this type of country. Formerly it could not support cattle at any level but such areas may now fatten one beast to the acre. This is an incredible performance. It has completely revolutionised the concept of cattle fattening in these areas. When the results of this research are fully employed Queensland, which has large areas of wallum country, will reap incredible benefits. Having successfully entered this field, the CSIRO is now investigating comparable methods in the dry tropics, which again will benefit Queensland in particular and to some extent areas of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The organisation is also experimenting with new plants, such as a new tree legume to improve existing types of pastures.
The wide range of the organisation’s work may be gauged from a brief reference to some of the work it is doing. In the primary production field it is investigating ways of avoiding contamination in meat. It is studying means of transporting meat without the use of mobile refrigeration plants. Success in these investigations will save enormous sums of money now spent in the transportation of meat from our more remote areas. A marvellous piece of research has been the production, in very fruitful partnership with private enterprise, of a utritious biscuit for use in Asia. The amount of research that has gone into this project may be gauged from the fact that production of this biscuit is an economic proposition. The biscuit will be invaluable to the undernourished people of Asia, Africa and South America, although in the first instance it is directed towards Asia. In the production of the biscuit lactose has been removed from milk. All of the elements of milk except lactose are present in the biscuit. Honourable members may ask: ‘What does this matter?’, but it has been shown that Asian people are unable to digest lactose. If they drink milk or consume milk products they suffer violent after affects caused by their inability to digest lactose. In the production of this biscuit lactose is economically removed from milk and in its place are substituted wheaten flour and cane sugar. These ingredients may be varied according to need. I congratulate the CSIRO on this magnificent breakthrough in the production of such a valuable commodity. It will be of inestimable value to the undernourished people of the world.
Among the other projects being undertaken by the CSIRO are new methods of cloud seeding, which is very vital, particularly as Queensland and Western Australia are still plagued by drought. The organisation is also investigating new smelting procedures and boiler practices to minimise air pollution. This is another very important phase of its work. The range of the organisation’s work is far wider than my limited time will permit me fully to indicate but I will advert to one aspect of. the organisation’s programme. I refer to marine research. In its 21st annual report for 1968-69 the CSIRO states:
The Minister for Education and Science, Mr Malcolm Fraser, announced in June 1969 that the Government would provide finance to enable the Division of Fisheries and Oceanography to undertake a programme of research on prawns in northern Australian waters. The work will cover an area ranging from eastern Queensland to Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia and will be aimed at obtaining a thorough knowledge of the biology and ecology of the various prawn species in these waters and the factors controlling their distribution and number. This information is essential for the development of sound management practices that will enable the resources to be utilised fully without detriment to breeding stocks.
I need not emphasise the importance of this research. We know that at certain times prawns apparently disappear. We are not fully aware of the limits to which we can go in fishing for prawns; there is a danger that we will eliminate prawns from Australian waters if we are not careful. So I commend this research. I understand that its implementation has been delayed owing to difficulties created by the New South Wales Government, which wishes to acquire the land on which the research laboratory stands. Obviously further work cannot proceed until there is some certainty about the future of the laboratory. It is unfortunate that the land is marked for resumption because there is already in existence there a fully operative concern, lt would be economical and a great saving of the taxpayers’ money if the work at present being undertaken in this complex could be extended to include research into prawns. However, if the future history of this area is in doubt, and this work is to be held up any longer, 1 wish to urge as strongly as possible that Moreton Bay be chosen as a site for the establishment of at least a prawn research laboratory.
– It is being held up at the moment because of the New South Wales Minister for Lands.
– 1 appreciate this. I realise that it has nothing to do with the CSIRO. Jr has nothing to do with this Government whatever. The attitude of the New South Wales Department of Lands is responsible for the delay. This must be emphasised. The position is beyond our control. I understand that this Government is taking urgent steps to try to clarify this matter. 1 have pressed the claims of Moreton Bay for such an establishment already, and I have had a reply from the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser). If he does not mind, 1 will quote from his letter to me. He said, amongst other things:
A considerable amount of detailed and statistical information will need to be processed and the staff and computer facilities for this work are already available at Cronulla. Moreover, a number of other scientific facilities and special items of equipment which have been developed at Cronulla would be available to the scientific staff engaged in the prawn studies. The establishment of a centre for the prawn programme at a site away from the headquarters laboratory would mean a considerable duplication of facilities. 1 accept this completely, and I am not asking the Government to duplicate any facilities. But I point out that it could be to the detriment of the prawning industry if this programme, which has already been approved, is to be held up indefinitely because of the attitude of a government which is not directly answerable to our Government. I would point out that the facilities already at Cronulla could still be used. For example, the computers obviously could still be used. The data could be processed and the computers in Cronulla could be utilised for this purpose. I would like to point out the advantages of having a station in Moreton Bay. Firstly, there is adequate deep water; it is an eminently suitable situation. If the existing staff of marine biologists do not wish to transfer, there is a very good Department of Marine Research in the University of Queensland which is producing excellent graduates in this field.
– In what electorate is this?
– Moreton Bay is mainly in the electorate of Bowman. There is a very interesting point about Moreton Buy. Off the western shores of Stradbroke Island there is a greater concentration of plankton than in any other part of the seas of the world. 1 understand from the report of the CSIRO that the emphasis will be on ecology and factors influencing the growth and breeding of prawns. Incidentally, Moreton Bay is a prawn breeding and a prawning area. There are extensive prawning areas off the coast. There would be a great advantage in having a laboratory right on the spot where this research could be carried out without transporting equipment here, there and everywhere. Again, the area is much closer to the Great Barrier Reef. I have no doubt that studies are proceeding and will proceed at an increasing pace on the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef. It would be very convenient to have a research station situated closer to it. The duplication of facilities would also be limited by the fact that the CSIRO already has a small marine research establishment on the shores of Moreton Bay. T am suggesting that this could be expanded. If this research is to be held up for any length of time it would be to the great advantage of this very important industry if some positive steps were taken soon.
Perhaps the duplication of facilities will not be as great as the Minister feels at first sight.
In conclusion, I congratulate the CSIRO for the magnificent work it is doing in this field. I neglected to mention the field of conservation, which has been very much in the news lately. The CSIRO is steadily carrying out work on conservation research and ecology in general. This of course will be of tremendous value when these matters are more closely considered. I congratulate the Minister for Education and Science upon his direction of his Department, not only of the CSIRO which is doing such a wonderful job and which is progressing more rapidly than in some past years. 1 congratulate him upon his work in the field of education in general. He is studying closely the whole field of education. It must be stressed that education is primarily the sphere of State governments, and J do not think it is the wish of the people of Australia that education should be strictly centralised in one government. But in the areas available to him the Minister is doing much work which will be greatly appreciated.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Unfortunately I cannot express the same sort of enthusiasm for the record of the Government on education because I think that in many respects the record of the Government has been abominable.
– The honourable member has not been here long enough.
– If the honourable member cares to take the usual attitude that members of the Liberal Party take and says: ‘We spent X amount of money 10 years ago or 20 years ago, and this time we have spent X plus’, then he is happy as usual. But if the Government looks at the needs of the education system overall and sees what it is doing, it cannot take very much pride in its record. One criticism I want to make to begin with is that some of the vital stages of education are being ignored by this Government. 1 refer to the early stages of education - the pre-school and kindergarten stage. Most of us are aware that only a small percentage of the population can attend pre-schools or kindergartens; but we know that it is a very important area of education, because the cultural background of a student can affect the sort of success that student may have throughout his school career. What we are doing at the present moment is leaving it in the hands of parents. We are leaving it to the luck of their income and to the States, but the States are not doing the job. The States need more help from the Commonwealth, and the parents need help from the States and the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth should be prepared to go into the pre-school and kindergarten area of education, because it is so vital, lt is particularly vital to children of working class parents and of middle income parents. We in the Australian Labor Party believe that it is necessary to set up a pre-schools commission so that this subject can be dealt with on a national basis.
– Would the honourable member like to control it from Canberra?
– 1 am not talking about control. The Minister for Education and Science has heard what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has said about pre-schools.
– 1 was asking what your views were.
– Do not be scared of taking over a little bit of extra control from the States, because this Government has been doing it successfully for 20 years, lt has the best record of centralisation of any government in this country. Ask Sir Henry Bolte. One other aspect of education being ignored is primary school education. The buildings of many of our primary schools are still archaic, the equipment is outmoded, staff is insufficient, and classes are still too large. Schools in the poorer areas of my electorate are particularly disadvantaged. The success of a child in his school career, as I pointed out earlier, will depend on his pre-school, kindergarten and primary school education. So the States should provide an adequate primary education, but they are not doing this at the present moment. They must have more help from the Commonwealth. We have stated our policy regularly. We believe in having an
Australian schools commission so that we oan make grants to primary, secondary and technical schools throughout Australia.
– Is the honourable member talking about Bendigo or Australia?
– Did I not just say the word ‘Australia’? Did the honourable member hear that? All that the Government has done so far has been to say: ‘We will give private schools $35 a head in the primary school sector’. If a state primary school with 800 students were given this $35 a head it would make a tremendous difference. It would mean the difference between a third rate education and a first rate education.
There is one other aspect I want to deal with. I mentioned it in my speech in this place. I refer to the needs of education in country areas. I believe that education in country areas, like the education of the children of working class families, is one of the Cinderellas of Australian education. We know that fewer country school children than city school children go right through the educational system; that fewer of the country school students are successful in matriculating; that fewer of our school students in the country areas get secondary scholarships; and that fewer get to university. These are well known facts. The Government should be well aware of them but unfortunately it is not doing anything to eliminate these problems. We face the general problems of overcrowding in classes and insufficient numbers of staff. Country areas face extra problems, such as the mobility of staff. This will tend to upset the whole stability of a school’s discipline and a school’s tradition.
There are a number of things I should like to advert to briefly, but I have not time to deal with them all. I should like to mention some of the dangers facing country education in Victoria. One cannot blame the Commonwealth for all these things but I am saying that the Commonwealth, because of the way in which it starves the State education system by starving the State government, is contributing to the problems faced by country students. In Victoria at present there is a very serious threat to country education. It is in the form of a plan of the Victorian Department of Education to abolish classes at Leaving level that have fewer than ten students and at Form VI level that have fewer than seven students. This is a serious threat to country education because many of the high schools and technical schools in country areas have classes beneath those levels. If these classes are destroyed the child’s variety of choice is destroyed and the possibility is that the senior sections of the schools will be lopped off.
Another problem facing country education is that there are no adequate residential facilities for teachers. We need to attract teachers to country areas. Honourable members are aware that there is a need to provide added attractions to get doctors to country areas. I have been speaking with professional men recently and have discovered that this applies to other professions too. The same applies to teachers. If we want teachers to go to country areas we want extra incentives, and this includes the provision of additional residential facilities. This aspect is something that the Commonwealth should consider in consultation with the States. In Pyalong and Elmore, in my electorate, residences for teachers are being closed down. This is a severe blow to the schools in those towns.
Another aspect I should like to mention briefly while discussing country education is that educational facilities for teachers who come to country areas must be equal to those that are available to teachers in city areas. Over the last few years this Government has presided over the extinction of external courses at universities in Melbourne. This means that if teachers who want the extra qualifications to go further in their teaching career cannot get them in country areas via these external courses they will simply return to the city. They are doing this. This is one way in which country schools lose a lot of staff. As they lose staff they lose the means by which they can equal the education available to city students.
I turn now to secondary and technical education. This is an area where we see the inbuilt inadequacies of the earlier stages of education beginning to show up. It can be seen in many ways. It can be seen in the way in which this Government has dealt with the issue of state aid. This is a vital question which will play an important role in the forthcoming election. 1 believe that there will be a severe backlash against this Government because of its obtuseness in giving aid only to one section of the population. Why is it that the Liberal PartyCountry Party Government has given aid only to private schools? Why has it been so lavish in its aid to certain wealthy schools? Why are schools which are already well endowed being enriched further? Some private schools are actually embarrassed by the sort of money the Government is giving them. Recently I watched the television programme ‘Four Corners’ when Mr McMahon was interviewed. He was asked about his views on State aid and why it was that he had given large amounts to very wealthy schools. He said: ‘The Government cannot discriminate. The Government does not discriminate’. The result is that the rich schools get richer and the poor schools poorer. The Opposition has a policy which supports aid for all schools and it is a policy of which we are proud. I noticed recently that the headmasters of private schools - the people who are benefiting from the Government’s State aid policy and who have a greater breadth of vision and understanding of education in Australia than has the Government - said that the Government should not give aid exclusively to private schools.
– The Young Liberals said that.
– Yes, they have said it too. Here is a Government caught out. Even the private schools that the Government is so anxious to help are critical of its policy. Certain other aspects of Commonwealth involvement in education require some comment. Recently I asked the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) a question about libraries. He gave me an answer of sorts, but I recently saw a comment in the ‘Age* by the Victorian Acting Minister for Education, Mr Rossiter, that what the State would now do with Commonwealth money was to see that the people who designed state school libraries would ensure that they were built more economically. All I can say is that if the state schools can build these libraries with Commonwealth money more cheaply, why cannot the private schools do it.
– He said that they would build them to Commonwealth Government standards. You know quite well that he said that.
– He said that he would spend the money more widely.
– If they can be built more economically, sure, and everyone tries to do this. But he made the point that the libraries would be built to Commonwealth standards.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order!
– The Minister has made his point. I do not accept it. 1 do not see how it can be done and I think it will mean second rate standards in state school libraries. We will see it when they go up. Plans have been drawn for the Nunawading High School and these will be repeated in other high schools and technical schools.
I should like to comment quickly upon the tertiary level of education. Here again 1 believe we have a clear display that the Government just is not capable of coping with the education needs of Australia. The Government takes a great deal of pride in the fact that it has boosted the finances available for colleges of advanced education, but the colleges simply are not able to cope with the foreseen increases in population. To take one example, the Victorian Institute of Colleges has calculated that over the next 3 years the population of the 21 affiliated colleges will rise from 13,500 to 20,000. This is a conservative estimate which may even double. In the 21 affiliated colleges we can expect a great increase in population. On that basis the Victorian Institute of Colleges submitted estimates of its needs. It said that for the next 3 years it needed capital grants to the value of $58m and recurring grants fi om the State and the Commonwealth to the value of $74m. What it received instead of the $5 8m was $30m, which is about half, and for recurring grants $52m. which is about two-thirds.
When we consider these amounts in comparison with what the governments have been giving over the previous 3 years they look impressive, but when we look at them in comparison with the need facing the colleges we see how inadequate they are. What will be the results of this inadequate finance for colleges of advanced education? It is clear that the Victorian Institute of Colleges will cut down its intake. It has been talking already about introducing quotas. Quotas are being applied already in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. I am particularly concerned about this, because in my electorate is the Bendigo Institute of Technology which serves ,t vital role in tertiary education for country students. This is why it is vital to the electorate. What will happen to that? At present it has a population of about 440 equivalents of full time tertiary students. This population will increase by probably 50%. Its finances will gain probably the same increase as other colleges of education. Most likely the Bendigo Institute of Technology will receive about half of the capital grants it asks for and about two thirds of the recurring grants it asks for. The facts are these: It has not got what it needs and it will not be able to cope with the great increase in population that is foreseen. Its population will increase by probably 50%. This will mean that plans to move the tertiary level out to a new site at Flora Hill will be sabotaged. There will be overcrowding. I believe also that there will be no library. This is one of the vital needs of the college, but I believe that there will be no new library.
As far as staffing is concerned, the Sweeney report is now under investigation, I believe, by the State Government. If the report recommends salary increases beyond the calculations of the colleges it will be difficult for the college of the Bendigo institute of Technology to cater for the needs of its staff. Of course, the college of the Bendigo Institute of Technology wishes to reduce hours in the class for teachers. It may also be necessary-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Sitting suspended from 6.1 to 8 p.m.
Incorporation of Unread Matter in Hansard
Mr ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Earlier today the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), when moving the second reading of the Social Services Bill, obtained leave to incorporate in Hansard a complicated table described as a ready reckoner. The inclusion in Hansard of unread matter by leave of the House is subject to the authority of the Presiding Officer. If the Government Printer advises that the incorporation of material will present technical problems, will be costly or will unduly delay the publication of the daily Hansard, the Presiding Officer may direct that the matter be not included. The Government Printer has since advised that the incorporation of the material submitted by the Minister would present technical difficulties, and I have therefore directed that it be not included.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr McMahon, and read a first time.
– I move:
This Bm amends the Loan (Swiss Francs) Act 1955 to remove the necessity for redeeming from the Swiss Loan Trust Account a 3.75% Swiss loan of 60 million Swiss francs which matures on 1st March 1970. It seems likely that there will be opportunity to arrange a conversion operation for this loan on the Swiss market early in 1970. The Act, as it now stands, would not permit a conversion loan as such although our Swiss underwriters would find it more satisfactory to arrange a conversion issue than a new cash loan. The amending Bill is designed to overcome this problem. The amendment proposed would not affect in any way the original loan agreement and is concerned only with the mechanics of the Swiss Loan Trust Account. The Bill provides for any moneys remaining in the Trust Account after the loan has been repaid to be paid into Consolidated Revenue. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr McMahon, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill he now read a second time.
This Bill amends the Loan (Canadian Dollars) Act 1955 to remove the necessity for redeeming from the Canadian Loan Trust Account a 4% Canadian loan of $Can15m which matures on 1st November 1970. There could possibly be an opportunity to arrange a conversion operation for this maturity, and the Bill is designed to open the way for this in similar fashion to the action proposed under the Loan <Swiss Francs) Bill which I have already introduced. The proposed amendment would not affect the original loan agreement in any way. The Bill also provides for any credit standing to the balance of the Trust Account after the conversion or redemption of the loan to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The amount owing on the loan at maturity will be $Can8.5m. This will be the residual after annual repayments of $Can500,000 each have been made in accordance with the loan agreement. It is intended that the Bill will come into operation on 1st December 1969. This will allow the final annual repayment due on 1st November 1969 to be made in the usual way. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill - by leave - presented by Mr Fairbairn, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill is one of four concerned with grants which were announced under the national water resources development programme in April of this year. The Government has offered a grant of up to $750,000 under the programme to Tasmania to enable the construction of the CressyLongford irrigation scheme. Honourable members will recall that during the last session of this Parliament legislation was enacted to provide grants to New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria under the programme. The form of this Bill is similar to that legislation.
The Tasmanian Government submitted four projects of which the CressyLongford scheme was the only Tasmanian project included in the short list announced last year for closer examination. The proposed Cressy-Longford irrigation district comprises an area of approximately 20,000 acres of which 7,000 acres will be irrigated and is situated about 20 miles south of Launceston in Tasmania. The main farming enterprises are wool and prime lamb production, with some cereal and pulse crops, and a small amount of beef cattle and dairy production. Over 70% of the area is under some form of permanent improved pasture. The average annual rainfall is about 25 inches and there is normally a distinct summer moisture deficiency which limits growth at that time of the year.
The proposal involves the diversion of a small proportion of the water in the tailrace from the Poatina power station and reticulation through an open channel system to all farms in the proposed district. A substantial increase in pasture productivity and an increase in cropping are expected to follow the provision of an assured water supply to the farms in the district. The Cressy-Longford Valley is already highly developed under dry land farming, with a very small amount of irrigation from farm dams. The Lake and Liffey rivers on the east and west of the area carry sufficient water to allow irrigation on riparian lands, but there are no suitable streams serving the sixty-seven farms in the proposed irrigation district. Further details of this scheme are contained in the explanatory memorandum distributed with the Bill.
The works themselves, in respect of which a Commonwealth grant is payable, are described in the Schedule to the Bill, and provision is made in clause 5 for the Schedule to be varied if this appears desirable in terms of the objectives of the legislation. Provision for non-repayable grants is made in clause 4 of the Bill. Clause 6 sets out requirements in connection with the implementation of the project, and covers the provision of information requested by the Minister, ministerial approval of the works, and approval by the Minister of contracts in excess of $250,000. Requirements for information in respect of expenditure are set out in clause 7, and the usual provision for the Treasurer to make advance payments and for repayment of over-payments is made in clauses 8 and 9. I have pleasure in commending the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Luchetti) adjourned.
The following Bills were returned from the Senate without amendment:
Sulphuric Acid Bounty Bill 1969.
Pyrites Bounty Bill 1969.
Cellulose Acetate Flake Bounty Bill 1969.
Urea Bounty Bill 1969.
Sulphate of Ammonia Bounty Bill 1969.
Phosphate Fertilisers Bounty Bill 1969.
APPROPRIATION BILL (No. 1) 1969-70 In Committee
Consideration resumed (vide page 966).
Department of Education and Science
Proposed Expenditure, $109,07.1,000.
– Earlier this afternoon the honourable member for Bowman (Dr Gibbs) referred to difficulties that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation is having with its Division of Fisheries and Oceanography in the Cronulla area. It is well known, I think, that the CSIRO, with Government support, wishes to expand laboratory facilities in this area to enable very important work to be undertaken for prawn research. But the plans for this and the continued operation of the existing establishment at Cronulla have in fact been thrown into jeopardy by a 3-year notice to quit served on the Commonwealth by the New South Wales Minister for Lands.
This is most unfortunate because inevitably it will seriously delay work of vital importance for a most important and growing industry in the northern part of Australia. The matter is at the moment under negotiation.
The honourable member for Bowman mentioned the possibility of moving the whole division, if this should be necessary. Well, of course, in the ultimate, if a satisfactory conclusion cannot be reached over negotiations in this matter - and I hope such a conclusion will be reached in the not too distant future - the Commonwealth might have to look at the possibility of moving the work of the whole Division. Indeed, with the current attitude that is shown, I would say that the Commonwealth would have to consider very seriously the expansion of existing establishments in New South Wales or the introduction of new research establishments in that State. The New South Wales Minister concerned will have to make up his mind as to whether that State .-wants to be a host State to vital research establishments of this kind. But this matter will be pursued as vigorously as possible.
Earlier I asked for a copy of the remarks which were read by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) this afternoon. I wanted a precise copy of what he had said because as all honourable members in this House know the Leader of the Opposition is a master at putting facts together in a certain way that suits his own particular case. As every honourable member knows, the honourable member has no particular regard for accuracy of presentation, if inaccuracy will advance his own cause. I did not want to be unjust in criticising him from purely my own recollection and I therefore asked for a copy of his remarks which were read. But that, of course, was not given.
The Leader of the Opposition again used criticism that had been used on an earlier occasion that 1 had said that there were more primary teachers in government schools in 1968 than were going to be required in 1969. The fact remains, of course, that in the answer to the question on notice he had given at the time, the Leader of the Opposition was given revised tables based on Martin Committee predictions of an earlier period and the heading on the table and the basis of the table were essentially Martin Committee of Inquiry tables; they were not tables from the Department of Education and Science or from myself. lt was interesting to note, I think, the extent to which the Leader of the Opposition again concentrated on the Martin report and the alleged lack of response from the recommendations of that report as they affected teacher training. I say again, as I have said on earlier occasions, that in each year for which the Martin Committee made predictions concerning the requirements of teachers in government schools there have been a greater number of teachers in government schools than the Martin Committee said in fact would be necessary.
Let me take one year. In 1968 the Martin Committee said that 49,500 teachers would be required in government primary schools. There were in fact 51,600. In secondary schools, the Committee said, there would be a need for 33,000. There were in fact 39,800 teachers in government secondary schools. Of course, over this period the pupil-teacher ratios have improved at a greater rate than the Martin Committee said would be necessary and should be aimed at as an objective. The Committee said that primary school ratios from 1964 to 1968 should improve from 30 to 1 to 28 to 1. They in fact improved to 27 to 1. In the case of secondary schools, the Committee said, the ratio should improve from 20 to 1 to 18 to 1. In fact, the ratio went down to 16.7 to 1 in 1968, which was a significantly greater improvement than the Martin Committee envisaged.
The Martin Committee’s report suggested that additional resources should be provided for teacher training and mentioned the sum of $5m for 1965-66. We have, of course, provided much more than that. An amount of $24m and 5,700 places were provided. Also, 1,700 places have been provided over this same period from State funds. We are now in the process of introducing an additional expanded programme to assist States with teacher training. An amount of $30m over the next 3 yean will provide something in excess of 6,000 places. Programmes for colleges of advanced education will provide an additional 1,700. Thus, when the two programmes are put together we will find that the Commonwealth is pay ing by far the greater part of the cost of programmes which will provide very nearly 14,000 teacher trainee places throughout Australia. The improvement 1 have mentioned in the pupil-teacher ratios and the number of teachers had in fact been achieved without any impact to this stage from this capital programme supported oy the Commonwealth.
Other changes have been made by the States. All States have now accepted a 3-year period of training. But the Leader of the Opposition still chided the Commonwealth for not having done some other things that the Committee recommended. The honourable gentleman ignores the fact that certain functions are within the province of the States to fulfil. An example would be the establishment of boards of teacher training. But the reason the Commonwealth has tried it in this area is that the Australian Labor Party would like the Commonwealth to take over all education so that this field could be completely and utterly centralised and controlled in one monolithic structure from Canberra. This, of course, is not our policy. Our policy is to assist the States wherever that seems to be necessary. At the same time we have no wish to take over the control of schools in Australia, whether they be government schools or independent schools.
The proposal for the Australian Schools Commission, I also repeat, is I believe designed to achieve just this. It is quite a different thing to make a judgment about 10,000 primary and secondary schools in Australia and to make a judgment about sixteen universities which have quite a different structure. We would need an enormous bureaucracy if the Commonwealth were to do this in its own right, ignoring in so doing the judgments of the States and the judgments of the independent authorities. But this again is clearly what the Leader of the Opposition intends. It may well be that this in part is one of the things that he has done to placate members such as the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) who wanted no part of any support for independent schools but who would accept it, if by some device, the Commonwealth could be persuaded to establish a situation in which it controlled all schools throughout the Commonwealth.
The Leader of the Opposition was strangely silent about the cost of various Labor Party proposals in education. He mentioned a figure of $100m for the cost of tertiary proposals, saying that this money could be used partly for independent schools and partly by the States. As in most costing by the Leader of the Opposition, the figure is grossly inaccurate. The cost of promises in the tertiary area would not bc $100m; it would be $200m. When we add to that the costs of other educational proposals they would come to, I believe, not less than $300m a year. I have a detailed break-up of these proposals and the costs. When we add this additional expenditure to the promises in health and the promises in social services it becomes very clear to the Australian public that the Leader of the Opposition will not be in a position to fulfil what he has in fact promised.
I think it is worth looking to see what has been done in the schools area in recent times because again we are too often left with the impression that not a great deal has been achieved. I have already indicated the position in regard to teacher training. But if we look at the numbers of oversized classes in the States we find that in the last few years there has been a significant reduction in the number of such classes in primary and secondary schools. Indeed, one would expect this from the improved teacher-pupil ratios. But if we look at the establishment of new schools throughout the Commonwealth we find that in the 10-year period to 1967 in New South Wales 291 new schools were established. In this period 1 3 1 new schools were established in Queensland; 99 new schools were established in South Australia; 125 new schools were established in Western Australia; 40 new schools were established in Tasmania; and 283 new schools were established in Victoria. This represents an enormous achievement in providing facilities for the greater number of people of either primary or secondary school age who are seeking an education. It shows the extent to which the States are making a very real effort to improve facilities within their own boundaries In the few years from 1963-64 to 1968-69 the expenditure on schools and teacher training in the States went from $300m to S500m. In the same period direct Commonwealth payments to the States in creased by 300% from $34m to $141m. These increases were mostly in areas which involved new initiatives for the Commonwealth. The expenditure on universities was a continuation of earlier programmes, but the expenditure on colleges of advanced education, funds for the Research Grants Committee, for science laboratories, for technical training, for teachers’ colleges, for pre-school teachers’ colleges and for Aboriginal advancement all represented new programmes which have been introduced in the period from 1963-64, since the time when the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in earlier capacities first had direct responsibility of one form or another for education. Under his leadership in earlier capacities the Commonwealth programmes in support of education have been very greatly expanded in a number of directions, as the performance and the figures indicate.
The Commonwealth’s share of total capital expenditure on education over the same period has risen from 12% in 1963-64 to 28% in 1968-69, and to probably a third or even more this year because in this year the capital funds that we are spending will be rising from $53m to $82m. Over the whole year Commonwealth expenditure on education will rise to a level1 38% higher than that of 1968-69. The proportion of gross national product being spent on education is an imperfect measure for comparing what is done in one country with what is done in another, but it does provide a measure of a country’s effort within it own borders. The proportion of gross national product devoted to education in Australia has been continually rising in recent times from the miserably low level at which it stood when the Labor Party was last on this side of the House, from 1.7% to 4.2%. In the years after the last war - and the House is probably weary of references back to that time - one would have expected a heavy investment in education because of the lack of investment during the war years. It was still an area which the Australian Labor Party of those days, and which some say was a greater Labor Party than the one which now exists, almost completely ignored. It has been up to subsequent governments in the States, with Commonwealth support, to repair the damage done by lack of earlier investment and to begin to provide the kind of educational structure and opportunity that is necessary for all children in the Commonwealth.
We have a deepening involvement in all levels of education and I bel’ieve that the decisions made in this Budget demonstrate this very fully indeed. It is an involvement that is aimed at providing adequate and proper opportunities for all children no matter what school they want to go to, a government school or an independent school, and providing a broad spectrum of opportunities from the end of secondary schooling in one kind of tertiary institution or another. I believe that the programmes that have been supported by the Commonwealth have led Australia very significantly along the road to better education for its future citizens.
– Mr Deputy Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Does the Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has misrepresented me on three matters. First of all, he commented on references I made to an answer he gave me about teacher employment and teacher requirements. Honourable members will be able to see from Hansard of 29th April last at page 1473 two tables, the first headed Full-time Teachers Employed in Government Schools’ and the second headed Estimated Numbers of Teachers Required in Government Schools’. Honourable members will observe from these tables that in 1969 the estimated number of teachers in government schools, both primary and secondary, in each case was 100 less than the number actually employed in 1968. This was the third answer I had had to extract from the Minister on this subject, the first question being placed on the notice paper in May last year. Secondly, the Minister misrepresented me in references to the Martin Committee’s report-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The time allotted for the consideration of proposed expenditure has expired.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of External Territories
Proposed expenditure, $100,209,000.
– I do not wish to speak to this matter but I wish to make a personal explanation on matters in which I was misrepresented at an earlier stage in today’s proceedings. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) in the debate on the estimates-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The Leader of the Opposition will not debate the question and introduce new matters.
– Certainly not. The Minister referred to comments I had made on the Martin Committee’s report of August 1964. I pointed out that in August 1965 the Martin Committee’s recommendation on teachers’ college scholarships had been rejected. My comments on the Martin Committee’s report were limited to its scholarship recommendations. The Minister also referred to my estimate of the cost of university education. He mentioned the sum of $10Om. I made one reference only to the cost of university education. It was not to the sum of $10Om but to $10m. I pointed out that for an additional annual expenditure of S10m all university places at present available could be made available without fees.
– Mr Deputy Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?
– I do.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- I hope the Minister will keep it short because we are now engaged with another item of the estimates.
– I realise that, Mr Deputy Chairman. This would not have been necessary if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) had read out in full the question he asked and the answer he was given. He read out only part of the question and 1 am now going to read out the rest of it. Part of his question, No. 1163, was:
Can he now give an amended form of Table 8.1 (Estimated Numbers of Teachers Required in Government Schools, 1964-75) of the Martin Report in the light of predictions of enrolments subsequent to those upon which that table was originally based (Hansard, 26 November 1968, page 3284)7
After giving a table which indicated the actual numbers in government schools up to 1968 I then gave a table which was a revised estimate of the Martin Committee table but using the same assumptions, in important respects, as the Martin Committee. It was not a table of the numbers that might be needed, or that I thought might be needed or that my Department thought to be needed, and the heading ‘Estimated Numbers of Teachers Required in Government Schools 1969-75’ was a heading taken directly out of the Martin Report. There is a second matter on which the Leader of the Opposition has again quite deliberately sought to confuse the issue by misrepresenting my remarks. When I said that his proposals for tertiary education would involve $200m and with the other educational costs and promises about $3 00m, I was not referring to what he said in the debate on these estimates - which would cost $10m or $12m, as he indicated - but to the cost of the Australian Labor Party’s election platform proposals, which has been published in this document I have here, and which would cost about $300m.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The Minister will not debate the question. I call the honourable member for Wills.
– I take it, Mr Deputy Chairman, that you want me to speak to the estimates of the Department of External Territories.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- That is so.
– Eager as I would have been to speak on the recent question and put the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) straight - he needs a certain amount of correction - that can wait until a later time. The House realises, as, of course, all Australia does now, how important is our responsibility in Papua and New Guinea, how difficult is the task before us and how fraught with dangers for the future is anything which produces errors in the way we go about it. This matter has, of course, been before the House on many occasions. Most honourable members have probably visited the Territory and all of us accept the responsibility that we have there. Most Australians have had to put their faith in the fact that Australia is generally well administered; that most governments, even governments like the present one, though in serious error in some matters, will carry out their duties with a certain amount of faith in and respect for the principles of Australian government. But in the last few months many of the great works that we have developed in Papua and New Guinea, and much of the sacrifice and dedicated service that has been put into the country have been brought not to nought, but will get round to nought by errors - some of them of magnitude and others simply the result of a failure to understand how one deals with people who happen to be in a subordinate position.
I do not believe that any of us think of the people of Papua and New Guinea as being subordinate or inferior. But the fact is that in the development of government in this country, and at least in the last decade of rule by the present Government, there has been a tendency for Government departments and Ministers to act as though they had a priority right over anything which they administer. To nothing is this more applicable than the Department of External Territories, whose work in the Territory is completely isolated from proper scrutiny by this Parliament, and which is isolated both by geography and by administration from being properly the trust and responsibility of this Parliament. Our responsibility in Papua and New Guinea is to develop a new nation. This opportunity is not given to many nations. To us it is a very important trusteeship. It is probably more important than any other factor in our relations with our neighbours. We want to develop a nation which will1 be neighbourly to us and which will remember its association with Australia with affection and trust and develop it No-one knows how this association will develop. I think it is futile to attempt to develop formulas - whether there be seven States or independent dominions or colonies or call them what you like, totally autonomous or with close relationships. The world, in fact, is developing towards a co-operative attitude between nations.
Many of us in this Parliament have lived through two great wars which developed in Europe. In the first instance they started between the French and the Germans. Now we find these people in close affinity with one another in the European Common Market. Our own relationships in this part of the world are developing closely, administratively and, in some areas, legislatively with, for instance, the New Zealand people. So I think we can see that no matter what happens in the future there will be a close relationship with Papua and New Guinea. Therefore, we have to develop a neighbourly spirit towards it. But we have to develop a self-reliant country. We also have to develop a self-governing country. The requirements for independence, as I call it, are, first of all, an efficient Public Service. That is a tremendous task. One has only to look at the State of Queensland which has a population equivalent to that of Papua and New Guinea and take a rundown of the structure of its Public Service - the number of people employed in the teaching services and the health services; the size and structure of all of its administration, from land to taxation to civil police; and the control of public order, mental health and so on - to see the task which lies before us in developing a Public Service capable of controlling and developing Papua and New Guinea along the lines of standard modern practice.
The next requirement we want is a stable political system. No-one knows the formula for this. A stable political system is the good fortune of perhaps 20 or 30 countries, of which we are one. The next requirement, I suppose, is national unity. Some of the steps that have been taken in recent years tend towards this development. One of them is the development of the parliamentary system itself. The fact that elections are held throughout the country, that people come together whenever Parliament is in session and that the administration operates all over the Territory does help towards producing this state of affairs. But this should be one of the lessons of recent times. The tragic lesson of Africa and of many countries is that tribalism and regional diffi culties are great disorganising factors. They are factors which will cause the disintegration of any nation. Even solid, well developed and well administered countries such as Malaysia have run into trouble in this regard.
Then, of course, economic development is essential to a nation. So in cases such as this one has to examine how we have proceeded along these lines. In some instances we have been partly successful, but in other instances I do not believe we have even started. In most instances we are ignoring a good many of the lessons that have been shown to us by the rest of the world. I refer to the lessons of the Congo, or of Indonesia or of South America. They are all there for us to see. No other people have had this kind of opportunity to investigate and find out what is happening elsewhere and to try to apply it. I believe that there is no political formula which we can foist upon the people of Papua and New Guinea or apply to them or give them. I do not believe we can say that the Westminster system, as we see it and work it here, will work or will not work in Papua and New Guinea.
Some of my colleagues, particularly my friend the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), have been advocating a presidential system for Papua and New Guinea. I do not think that this necessarily answers the questions, either. The Westminster system in Australia, under which Ministers are a part of the Parliament and are totally responsible in all sorts of ways to the Parliament to which they belong and to the electorate who send them here, has worked successfully in one or two countries. It is true that they are hardly underdeveloped countries in the way in which one speaks of Papua and New Guinea or some of the African countries. It seems to me that the give and take of political democracy, the Westminster system, has worked in Israel, India, Ceylon and Singapore. On the other hand, the presidential system which has operated in the African states, in the Arab states and in the Philippines cannot be regarded as being successful. The case of Ghana possibly is an appropriate analogy in this instance. Ghana started with what you might call a presidential system. But the trend now is back to some kind of parliamentary or Westminster system, if that is the term we are to apply to it here. I think that we should be exploring methods by which this can be done.
I note that the Parliament in Papua and New Guinea has appointed a committee to examine this question. I hope that the committee will have an opportunity thoroughly to examine the situation round the world and that it will not start with preconceived notions. For instance, the Swiss system is slightly different from ours, although as I understand it, the members of the Swiss Council of State sit as members of the parliament. They are elected as members of parliament. I think, from memory, there are seven members on the Council of - State. The position of President of the Republic rotates from year to year. So the Swiss have a combination of personal responsibility in the parliament and the kind of parliamentary and ministerial system which we have in Australia. I believe that we have to do something to encourage a more exploratory and adventurous attitude in the House of Assembly. 1 believe, from documents I have been able to obtain, that in a large measure the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly has achieved some kind of legislative autonomy. From the document I have in front of me it appears that a large number of measures have been passed by the House. I presume that some of them originated in the House itself from amongst the indigenous members. I would be interested to learn from the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) how this process is going. So far as 1 can see, from the glance which one can give from here and from the information that is available, a certain amount of legislative autonomy is developing in Papua and New Guinea. A limited number of Bills passed by the House have, as I understand it, been vetoed by the Minister.
On the financial side it appears to me that the House of Assembly has no autonomy whatsoever. In the two arms of government - the legislative one in which the laws have to be made and the other one which is responsible for the way in which the finances of the country are controlled and developed - h appears to me - and I will be happy to be disabused of this belief if the Minister can do so - that there is very little local say. All the top people are in fact Australian public servants working in
Papua and New Guinea. It does not seem as though the indigenous members of the Assembly or the committee system in the Assembly have any say in the actual allocation or priority of finance at all. I believe that this is an important matter. It is bad enough in Australia, but we at least know how the system works. We have the doctrine of the financial initiative of the Crown - which I think is completely outdated. All the initiative lies with the Ministry. The doctrine goes back 300 or 400 years. I do not think it is applicable any longer here. There ought to be machinery in this Parliament to initiate money Bills so that they can bc properly considered, and the Government ought to be forced, if necessary, by the Parliament to implement them. I think that probably the most important step towards achieving some sense of selfreliance in the people of Papua and New Guinea and some feeling that they are not just rubber stamps for decisions made by others, would be for the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea to have an effective say over its own finances.
I know that the argument will be advanced that only about one-third of the financial structure is produced from inside the Territory’s own resources and that the age old story of those who pay the piper call the tune should apply. I do not think that is the way our trust should develop at all1. I think we have to surrender quite a number of the revealed doctrines which we use in this place and in the Australian system in order to allow a proper development of financial autonomy inside the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I can imagine that the people in the House there feel completely helpless when faced with the system that we have here. The lessons are apparent even in the Bougainville copper project. No doubt a good case for the development of the copper project can be made. I do not happen to agree with the project, but I can see that a line of argument can be developed. However, it is still a system of paternalism in which the investigation has been carried out by other people and m which the proposal has been put before the House as a fait accompli. The local people did not have a chance to be in at the beginning of the negotiations. As I recall it. it was not until the people of Nauru had very ruthless and skilled negotiators operating on their behalf that they received an adequate equity in the operations on their own island
This is the challenge that we face. Somehow we must surrender a good deal of power from here and place it in the hands of the people of Papua and New Guinea. But we must not allow the errors of the past, some of which have been perpetuated, to continue any longer. Perhaps a case can be made to show that the people of the Gazelle Peninsula are being unduly difficult on the question of a multi-racial council. It would appear to me that racialism is bad whether it is perpetrated by white people, black people or brown people. But is it true, as one is led to believe from reports, that part of the reason for the revolt against the system is that it is being imposed on the people? There is racial discrimination in Papua and New Guinea, call it what you will and describe it how you will. The fact is that wages in Papua and New Guinea for most Papuans and New Guineans are much lower than those for the Australian expatriates who work there. An economic case can be made for this, but it is not possible to make a psychological or a moral case for it. This has been a matter of burning resentment since it was introduced. As I say, it is possible to produce sound economic arguments for this situation but, in the light of history and of the experience of the rest of the world, any such discrimination will only produce difficulties there. There is discrimination in the elevation of people to the higher echelons of the Public Service.
One aspect we must watch is the way the Army develops. When I first visited Papua and New Guinea I thought the armed Services were a way in which we could develop the country. But all the lessons of other countries show that a powerful army can only be a danger to a developing democracy. This is our greatest challenge. It is a challenge for which no ready made formulas or solutions are available. I do not think that we can say say: ‘Let us have independence now’. I do not think we can say: ‘Let us have it in 10 years time.’ As I see it parliamentary democracy is an evolutionary process which has developed for us over the past 800 or 900 years, but I think we must go a tittle faster than that in the Territory: The first requirement is an anonymous, efficient and loyal Public Service. This will not be developed rapidly from the indigenous people, but somehow we must do something about it. The 400 or 500 young people in the University of Papua and New Guinea are possibly the key to the future. The people of Australia are now showing deep concern at the operations of the last few months. It would be tragic if all the good work that has been done - the dedication, the loyal service and the magnificent drive that has been behind some of it - were imperilled because we have not been able to handle the psychological questions of a new and developing nation. These people are people with thoughts and emotions just like the rest of us and have the competence to handle material affairs.
– I do not propose to answer the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) other than to say that, if there is any merit in casting doubts on the success of the policies that the Government has followed in relation to Papua and New Guinea and if there is any merit in casting doubt on the future, it will be reflected in due course because that doubt will communicate itself to the people of the Territory. I think it is not unreasonable for me to say that certain Opposition members have found some political merit from time to time in appearing in the Territory and subsequently, for publicity reasons, taking advantage of circumstances to advance their own political cause. I wish to deal tonight with the progress in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I would like to repeat the general basis of the programme as it was put to this House by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) on 10th September 1968. The Minister said:
Emphasis will continue to be put on increasing production in the Territory, on advancing Papuans and New Guineans through secondary and higher educational and vocational training, and on the acceptance by Papuans and New Guineans of greater responsibility. Major aims will be to build up the capacity of the local people to develop and manage their own enterprises and also to provide greater opportunities for employment in private industry and in administration.
The 1969-70 Budget for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea provided for a record expenditure of Si 75,900,000, an increase of $23,040,000 over 1968-69. This expenditure includes the Commonwealth grant of $96,300,000. We believe that the natural growth of the economy and the revenue resulting from the construction phase of the Bougainville copper project could be expected to provide internal revenue of $66,430,000 without new revenue measures. This is a very happy position for the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at the beginning of the financial year 1969-70. The internal revenue estimates for 1969-70 included the collection of $20m in direct taxation - that is a rise of $2,800,000 over 1968-69- $20,200,000 from customs duties and just under $5,100,000 in postal and telecommunications revenue. Other income would come from timber leases, land rents, mining rents, royalties, licence revenue, stamp duty and public utilities.
The target for Territory loans this year is $10,500,000 compared with receipts of $7,200,000 for last year. Duties are being increased on cigarettes, wine and spirits, jewellery, tape recorders and record players, motor vehicles and petrol. The pattern with which we are familiar in this Parliament is gradually emerging inside the Territory. Spending on economic development is expected to be $59,980,000; on social services, including health and education, $57,350,000; and on general administration $39,670,000. Funds for the rural development programme will be increased to Sim this year. This increase marks the significant progress being achieved with this form of central government assistance to local development projects introduced in 1968-69. The vote for the Department of Information and Extension Services includes provision for developing new radio stations at Madang and Lae.
There will also be more money for increases in staff in the Public Service Board, primarily directed towards improving the rate of training and localisation within the Public Service. The appropriation for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs of $7,827,000 will make provision for the first stage of a major telecommunications installation on Bougainville to service the mining project. The appropriation for the Department of Trade and Industry will include provision for additional staff for the business advisory service and the co-operative extension section. The Administration will spend just over $5m on housing and the Housing Commission’s separate housing programme will take $lm. The Development Bank will be allocated a further capital contribution of $3,500,000, part of which will come from international sources. The Papua and New Guinea Electricity Commission will receive loan funds of $3,200,000, the University of Papua and New Guinea $3,650,000, and the Institute of Higher Technical Education $2,580,000. A grant of $75,000 is to be made to the Tourist Board.
Now, all these facts indicate the type of programme that is developing within the Territory. I wish to deal with a number of particular cases and to place them in the records of this Parliament. I do this because of our enormous contribution to the Territory. I wish to outline some of the advancements that have been made and also to say a few words, which I will do in the first place, about the concept of the future. In 1969-70 and in subsequent years of the programme, the rate of growth of the economy is likely to be considerably accelerated by the following main reasons which I will outline.
First of all, I refer to the very large expenditures to be associated with the Bougainville copper mining venture. 1 do hope that this Committee is aware of the fact that this copper mining venture on the island of Bougainville is of enormous importance to the welfare and development of the Territory in the future. There will be possibly further mining development, further expenditure on transport, telecommunications, power and other infrastructure as well as a substantial increase in tourism, associated expenditure on hotels and other facilities, and a continuing rapid industrial expansion. The likely further expansion of the economy in 1969-70 in Papua and New Guinea and later years undoubtedly will set up certain stresses in the economy. There will be problems of organisation and coordination in both the public and the private sectors. Skilled manpower will be in short supply. There will be strong pressures on both the physical and financial resources of the Territory. These problems were recognised in the development programme which stressed the need to achieve the maximum degree of increase in productivity and the fastest possible rate of indigenisation of economy.
Now, 1 wish to say one or two words about the recent developments in the oil palm industry. Considerable progress has been made in establishing a nucleus state and associated smallholder blocks as part of the Cape Hoskins oil palm project. As at June 1969, estate plantings totalled approximately 1,500 acres and smallholders had planted 1,130 acres. A total of 283 indigenes has been established on the Tamba and Kapore sub-divisions. All settlers have planted 4 acres compared with a development programme target of 3 acres at this stage. A further 300 settlers are expected to move on to blocks in the Tamba. Kapore and Sarakolak subdivisions during 1969-70 and additional blocks are now being surveyed in the Buvussi sub-divisions with a view to settlement in 1970. All this is progress understood by the people who live in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, unencumbered by political procrastination, political difficulty or political emotionalism. This is the reality of what our Public Service representing our people is doing in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
I wish to say something also about what has been done in relation to tea in the Territory. By June 1968, approximately 5,500 acres of tea had been planted in the Territory. This is consistent with the overall programme estimate, but indigenous plantings have been slower than anticipated. New plantings by indigenes amounted to 119 acres in 1967-68 and, at the end of that period, the area of indigenous tea totalled 359 acres compared with a programme estimate of 600 acres. Approximately 300 smallholder tea blocks have now been established in the Wahgi Valley and 300 additional blocks are expected to be settled by the end of 1969. A detailed engineering and economic investigation may be commenced in 1969-70 with a view to reclaiming part of the Wahgi Swamp for tea development. Tea production increased from 38 tons in 1967-68 to about 300 tons in 1968-69 and is expected to exceed 1,000 tons in 1969-70. If achieved, production at this stage will be about 12 months ahead of the development programme projections.
I turn now to say something about cattle. As at June 1968, there were approximately 59,300 head of cattle in the Territory, including an indigenous herd of 4,400. It is thought that the total number increased to about 64,500 by June 1969. This is consistent with the development programme target, although the number under indigenous control probably fell short of the 1969-70 target of 6,000. The indigenous demand for cattle has exceeded the available supply and an outbreak of brucellosis on the Baiyer River station during 1968-69 further aggravated the problem as no heifers could be released from that source. During this period, two indigenes in the Highlands became eligible for the freight subsidy on breeders imported direct from Australia. As part of a 5-year programme to build up the breeding herd, the Papua and New Guinea Development Bank lent approximately $480,000 to nonindigenous graziers during 1968-69. Further funds for this programme are being negotiated with the International Development Association. In line with the development programme proposals, imports of breeding cattle totalled 2,010 in 1968-69 and a further 2,600 are expected in 1969-70. The number of cattle slaughtered however could fall short of the 1968-69 target by 1,600. The annual turnoff is now expected to be about 10%. As this is somewhat lower than anticipated for programme purposes, the turnoff in 1969-70 is likely to fail short of the programme target of 10,400.
I wish now to deal with the development of air transport within the Territory for this is a vital part of the Government’s programme. In the last few moments left to me to make this speech, I have this to say: Apart from the regular services - these are the aerial services to which I am referring - to Australia, the Territory is now served by three main international routes. These are: Port Moresby-Hong Kong-Manila; Port Moresby-British Solomon Islands-Fiji; and Lae-Djayapura, which is in West Irian. Internal scheduled services on the regular passenger transport routes showed little change during 1968-69 except that Manus Island is now served by a single service each week from Rabaul. It is expected that Mount Hagen will be incorporated into the F27 network during 1969 and Kieta in 1970. A feature of the year has been the extension of the ‘third level’ operations - we know them here in Australia as commuter services - which are allowed as scheduled services by exemption under the Air Navigation regulations. Such services now operate in the Sepik, Madang and Highlands districts and will shortly be extended to other districts.
I conclude by saying that the Government’s programme under the guidance of the Department of External Territories has been exceptionally to its credit. The fact is that development is taking place in Papua and New Guinea at a level and at a standard which will be something for the whole world to observe. This development is following a proper and real pattern in which the people are understanding their progress and their development. There is the evidence of a sense of democracy and a sense of responsibility to be seen from time to time in the House of Assembly in Port Moresby which, in due course, may be regarded by historians as something to be observed by some people in honourable Houses within the Commonwealth of Australia.
- Mr Deputy Chairman, I am inspired to comment on some of the remarks made by the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham). I believe that it is generally accepted on this side of the Committee that the Government is doing a reasonably fair job in the administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. However, to my mind, the Government in administering Papua and New Guinea is like the cow that gives a bucketful of milk but kicks it over every now and again. The Government has made one of the greatest blunders that it has ever made in the administration of the Territory in connection with the Bougainville copper deposits referred to by the honourable member for North Sydney. I think that that is what prompted me to make the reference to the cow.
The honourable member for North Sydney apparently did not receive in his mail today a circular letter which, I understand, went to all members of the Parliament and which advocated the reading of a recently published book entitled ‘The Angry Australians’. I suppose some of the criticism in that letter could well be applied to the Australian Government’s administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and particularly its handling of the Bougain ville affair. The letter refers to that admirable public servant, the late Sir Harold Raggatt, and states:
Yet with hundreds of millions to be lost annually in Australia’s export earnings over the many future decades the Gorton Government is doing what the late Sir Harold Raggatt was adamant should not be permitted.
I do not think anybody would ever question the integrity, the ability and the expansiveness of mind of the late Sir Harold Raggatt, who was at one time Secretary of the Department of National Development.
The honourable member for North Sydney said that a new dawn is awakening for the people of Bougainville because of the discovery of vast deposits of copper in their area. Who is to own and work those deposits? Who is to profit from them? They will be worked by Conzinc Riotinto of Australia, a subsidiary of the greatest mining monopoly in the world. What is the history and record of monopolistic mining companies in such places as South Africa, Chile and the northern coalfields of New South Wales, where I was reared? What is their history in the J & A Brown and Abermain Seaham mine? The Minister for Territories (Mr Barnes), for whom we have a certain admiration, has blundered more than any of his predecessors in allowing this powerful mining company, CRA, to take over the Bougainville deposits at a time when the people of the Territory are on the eve of independence. The Government has allowed this to happen without the people of Bougainville having any share in the profits from the project.
– The royalties will amount to 10%.
– The sum will be peanuts compared with what the people of Bougainville should get. Did Conzinc Riotinto put the copper there? Did its scientists develop the copper? This is a God given asset which should be .worked in the interests of the people, not of a few powerful investors. The Chilean Government has seen fit to do something along the lines I advocate because copper mines in Chile were being worked in the interests of investors instead of in the interests of the people of Chile.
– What about Zambia?
– It is the same story. I thank the honourable member for McMillan for his interjection. Apparently his seat is in jeopardy, otherwise he would not help the Labor Party with such interjections. The Chilean Government is not offering compensation for the take-over of Chilean copper mines. We know that the Chilean copper mines are owned principally by the same people who control the Mt Isa mines in central Queensland.
– Would you say they have ruined us?
– I think they are doing very well. They can afford to pay the workers employed there much more than they are paying now, if what I read in the Press is any guide. For the financial year 1968-69 the company operating Mt Isa earned something like $27. 7m. Nobody would object to such profits if the company were prepared to share them with the men who go into the bowels of the earth and help the company to earn those profits. As the honourable member for McMillan has implied, the Government of Zambia has seen fit to nationalise its copper mines.
– What about the coal at Cessnock?
– It is a pity the coal industry was not nationalised many years ago. The northern coalfields would today be one of the richest parts of Australia if the profits made by the mining companies had been reinvested in the area in which they were made.
– A Labor government did not require that to be done, did it?
– No, but it would have done so if it had remained in office after 1949. The Labor Government was too busy prosecuting Australia’s war effort and ensuring the re-employment of thousands of men coming back from the war, otherwise it would have done much more about the coal industry. A State Labor government did the next best thing: lt opened many State coalmines around Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. The people of New South Wales should be proud of Labor’s effort in this regard. But the New South Wales Liberal Government is now disposing of State coal mines, which are the asset of the people. Recently the New South Wales
Liberal-Country Party Government disposed of the Oakdale mine at Lithgow and it will undoubtedly try to dispose of others. The New South Wales Government is operating contrary to the wishes of the people of the world.
I recently visited Papua and New Guinea. One’s interest in the area deepens when one visits the Territory. I thank the Minister for the courtesy extended to me and my colleagues on our visit. The public servants in the Territory are doing a pretty good job. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant), the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) and I made an on the spot investigation of the border dispute involving West Irianese who were flooding across the border from West Irian. Because they had advocated free choice in the matter of West Irian’s future they had been persecuted by Indonesian soldiers. They fled across the border to a place called Wutung which my colleagues and I visited, and from there went to Vanimo. This whole incident is a blot not so much on the record of the Minister for Territories as on the record of the Minister for External Affairs (Mr Freeth). Indonesian soldiers came into Wutung. which is in Australian controlled territory, and ransacked without warning native houses in the village. The Minister for External Affairs has described this as a minor incident. We know that such incidents have been regarded as acts of war in the past. Whether the Indonesians are friendly towards Australia or otherwise does not matter: They had no right to violate the Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea. An immediate apology should have been demanded of the Indonesian Government over the actions of its soldiers only a few months ago at Wutung lt is unfortunate that the patrol officer stationed at Wutung has no effective means of communicating promptly with Vanimo 17 miles away, where we have Public Service offices, a police force and Army units in training. These could have been alerted in case things got worse at Wutung. I suggest that the Minister consider improving communications between Vanimo and Wutung lest a similar incident again occur, although we hope that it does not. Government members visited the area, and I know that they have views similar to those of the members of the Australian Labor Party who visited the area. They believe that this was a violation of Australian territory by Indonesian soldiers from West Irian.
On the other hand, I commend the Minister for what the Administration has done in giving political asylum to these people from West Irian and in setting up camps for them. These people were being persecuted by the Indonesians in West Irian. As I said earlier, the honourable member for Wills, the honourable member for Oxley and I spent some hours at this camp 4 or 5 miles out of Vanimo speaking to the leaders of the political refugees. They spoke English very well, and they convinced us that they had suffered and that many of their friends and relatives back in West Irian were undergoing persecution for not supporting the act of free choice in West Irian. The extreme right wing government in Indonesia, if I may use the vernacular, has lopped off the heads of about half a million people in recent years.
– At least half a million.
– The right honourable member for Melbourne has assured me that it would be at least half a million. These people have had their heads cut off and placed on sticks in the street. This is the type of government that our Government does not want to offend. The Indonesian Government is an extreme right wing reactionary government and, as I read in the Library recently, is regarded in many parts of the world as the most extreme right wing government in the world at the present time. If this invasion of Australian territory by armed Indonesian soldiers had occurred without warning when the Sukarno government was in office, there would have been headlines in all the newspapers and 1 believe the Australian Navy and Air Force would have been immediately dispatched to the area. Because the present Indonesian Government commits an act like this nothing is said about it and all is well. I believe that the Australian Government should be consistent. The present Government is going down the drain in public opinion polls because the people of Australia have woken up to its falsity, subterfuge and insincerity. 1 commend the Minister for the work that is being done at the animal husbandry section I visited at Port Moresby. It would do credit to any government or animal husbandry organisation in the world. The beautiful cattle there are well cared for. I fail to understand the reason for the price of timber in New Guinea. I inquired about the price of timber for home building and I was assured that it is just as high as it is in Australia. Timber for home building is pretty expensive here.
– That is no mystery.
– The honourable member has said that that is no mystery. Do not tell me that they have sharks up there the same as we have on the mainland. Professed Christians say: ‘As thou sowest. so shalt thou reap’. They are sowing pretty well here and reaping pretty well under a Liberal Government. I would not like to see the same profit making happen in New Guinea. Hotels in New Guinea are as expensive as anywhere in Australia, or more expensive.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– By looking at the section of the Estimates relating to the Department of External Territories on page 35 of the document entitled Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1969-70’, in particular Division 280, we see how the money that the Department expects to spend in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea during 1969-70 will be spent. We find that the Australian people, through the Department of External Territories, will grant to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea a total of $96,334,000. This is S9m more than the amount that was granted last year. So it would appear that each year the Australian Government will be spending in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea 10% more than it did in the previous year. However, to this figure must be added expenditure by the Department of Civil Aviation and the Department of Works. I believe that the Postmaster-General’s Department also spends some money there from its Australian allocation, although certain expenditure by the Postmaster-General’s Department is included in the estimates for the Department of External Territories. Last year the separate departments spent a total of some §31m. 1 shall speak more particularly about the Territory of Papua and New Guinea simply because 1 was a member of the Government Members Mining Committee that went there last July. I am surprised that the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) mentioned Bougainville, because when we were in New Guinea we were adviesd that he got as far as Rabaul but did not proceed on to the island of Bougainville or to the area where the fracas has erupted since he was up there. We saw not only in Bougainville but in other parts of the Territory some of the results of our policies over recent years and some of the results of the decisions made by the Australian Government and by the people in the Territory who work for the Department of External Territories. We saw the results of the tremendous expenditures that have been granted to the Territory by the people of Australia.
I listened with a great deal of interest to the debate on 1 2th August last when the question of Bougainville was submitted to the House for discussion as a matter of public importance. I did not participate in that debate because there were a number of other speakers on this side who took part on behalf of the Government. There was a great deal of merit in the arguments put forward by members on both sides of the chamber. But 1 do not believe that the crux of the problem was hinted at during that debate. In other words, our responsibility as trustees for the people of Papua and New Guinea was hardly mentioned. Reference was made to the economic viability of the Territory. Mention was made of the protest by the indigenes, and criticism was levelled at the Administration. We have a real responsibility as trustees of the Territory and we should be looking more and more at what the indigenes want and less and less at what Australia wants in the Territory. During that debate honourable members on this side of the chamber pointed out many of the advantages that had accrued to the indigenes because the Administration in the Territory, on behalf of the Australian Government, was carrying out policies similar to those that would be carried out in Australia, which is a white man’s country. They also pointed out the advantages that would accrue to the indigenes because of the activities of Conzinc Riotinto of Australia following the discovery of copper near Kieta at a place called Panguna.
At page 25 of Hansard of 12th August 1969 the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) rightly pointed out that as a result of this ore body and the activities of CRA the people in the area would be paid an occupation fee of 5% of the unimproved value of the land or $2 an acre, whichever was the greater. He also said that CRA would pay $2 for every tree on the land, whether it be a coconut tree or a cocoa tree. He mentioned many other financial incentives given to the people who live in the area to make sure that they did reap advantages from the activities of the company. This is all very true. The honourable member for Henty said that this was freehold land and that it was not being absorbed by the Administration but was being leased. I think that he should have gone on to say that the lease period was 40 years. But to all intents and purposes, after a lease has been in operation for 40 years, the people who presently till the land and grow coconuts on it would have very little interest in the proposition that it should then be returned to them. Roads, bridges and buildings will be built at the town site on the ocean front. It would be fairly useless for agricultural purposes. 1 believe that the whole story should have been told and not part of it. lt is true also that the operating company, CRA, has offered to the indigenes other land that they can till. It has offered them the opportunity of building up this land so that it can be viable after 10 years. It has offered them the coconuts that they now obtain from their present land. In other words the company has given them, in white man’s language, all the things that they should receive, but these people are not white people. They are different from us. Their customs and habits are quite different. As Australians we have the responsibility to make sure that our message is conveyed in full to the natives and that, in turn, the message that they convey to us is conveyed in full and appreciated in full.
We have too great a tendency to talk at the people rather than talk with them. This was emphasised by the meeting that we had - and this was mentioned in tb* previous debate - on the beach where the Rorovana tribe listened to propositions put by members of our committee and we listened to their propositions. This meeting at Kieta was chaired by Mr Paul Lapun, a member of the House of Assembly. It seemed to me that on every occasion when people from the Rorovana tribe put a viewpoint to us we came back to the economic advantages that would be received not only by the Rorovana people but by all people in Papua and New Guinea because of the activities of the company and of the Administration which is responsible to the Australian Government. There are enough people with sufficient knowledge in the area to know what they need without our talking at them. We can and should be able to communicate with them in their language, because we have been there for at least 20 years. I speak this way because after our party had been to Kieta and had looked at Panguna, where the ore body is located, and after we had talked with the Administration and the Rorovana people, we found that there was still much trouble between the Administration and the Rorovana tribe. It was only when Mr Paul Lapun and a spokesman for the tribe, Mr Raphael Bele, travelled to Melbourne and talked to representatives of CRA that some amicable arrangement was arrived at for the Rorovana people.
Not only have we seen this dissent in Bougainville but we have seen it in Rabaul also. This is not the first time with the Tolai people who live in the Gazelle Peninsula, of which Rabaul is the heart, that trouble has erupted in that area, and generally it has been about the local government council. The attitude of the Tolai people is that they are the majority of the people who live in the Gazelle Peninsula and that they are the majority of the people who should be represented on the council. In fact, they are the majority of councillors on the Rabaul local governing body. If my understanding is correct, there are 34 Tolais, 3 white people and 1 Chinese on the council. Until recently the council consisted entirely of Tolai people but for some reason or other it seems that the Administration decided that because Chinese live there and because white people trade there they, too, should be represented on the council. So it was decided that a multi-racial council should be formed of Tolai people on the one hand, white people on the other and a Chinese as well. Mr Tammur, a member of the House of Assembly, felt that because the Tolai people had controlled this council for 19 years there was no real reason why the multi-racial council should be formed. Here is a point of conflict between the Tolais, who are born there and who have lived there for all time, and the Australians. Here, 1 believe, we are lacking in communication with the indigenes of Papua and New Guinea.
The honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) mentioned that we went to Maprik which is west of Wewak, where we met a group of fifty farmers and agriculturists who had found gold at times. They explained to us, as was said by the honourable member for Henty, that they wanted not only Australians but people from other parts of the world to come to their area and find the minerals which they felt were there. What the honourable member for Henty did not say was that Mr Pita Lus, a member of the House of Assembly who was also at the meeting, was adamant at all times that if ore bodies were found in the area by people from overseas the local people of Maprik should have 50% of the results of any mining operations that eventuated. In fact Mr Pita Lus left the meeting in high dudgeon not necessarily over these discussions which extended for a long time but over other matters as well.
I point this out only to show that there will be more dissent and more protest and a greater eruption of trouble in this area unless the Australians who have responsibility as trustees of the area change their attitudes. I believe that the Australian people are quite prepared to spend the $96.3m that we are now spending in the area, but they want to see that it is spent properly. They do not want to read about problems between indigenes and other people. The Australian public want the territorians to become more involved in what is happening in the Territory. We read about troubles at Rabaul. The fact is that among the Tolai people there are many who are educated and sophisticated in the ways of the world. I believe that our responsibility should change. We should change direction and use these educated and sophisticated people to build a better society for the territorians. It is not our responsibility to change their habits and customs. Our responsibility is to make sure that they will build for themselves a better society which, in the end, will be for the betterment of Australia.
It is true that we are educating and are helping to educate many people in the Territory, but it is true also that in Port Moresby some of the semi-educated and fully educated indigenes are unemployed. In fact, 10,000 indigenes are unemployed. They are brought to high schools and educational centres in the cities but once they have completed their courses they are unemployed. This is not good enough. Our responsibility is to cause the involvement of these people in the future of their country. We should do a great deal more. We should change direction, sit down and talk to these people and ask them how they want us to accept our responsibility.
Mr BRYANT (Wills) 9.28]- 1 join with the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn). The sentiments he has expressed are sentiments with which I am more or less in accord. Probably most honourable members feel that way too. The problem, as he pointed out and as I have tried to point out, is that there is not enough communication between the two groups of people. No matter how educated a person is, if we are paternalistic the people on the receiving end will resent it. This is a fundamental characteristic of modern society. The Bougainville copper project is the best exemplar of this and of the way the Government has gone about it. It is not good enough just to have economic arguments. How did the situation develop? A number of honourable members have been to the area. I sat on the beach with some of the people and spoke to them. I travelled as much as I could in the brief time available to try to find out what has happened. I read documents placed before the House of Assembly and I read speeches and questions.
I do not claim to be an expert but I do have an interest in the situation. I have a deep concern about it and I realise the worries that Australians have about it. In fact, as people put it to me, the first inkling that the natives had that this project was to be developed was when they saw strangers in the area - scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and surveyors from mining companies - actually trespassing on their land. I do not think we can pay enough respect to the fact that the people believe that they own the land themselves - that it is their land. We have no particular rights to the place; we have only duties and trusts. So that was the first impact upon them of the developing project. We must remember that this is not our land and that Papua and New Guinea, particularly New Guinea, is not a part of Australia in any sense whatsoever. We must remember that we are trustees for it and that we cannot deliver the goods under this trust for 25 years. I believe that when we take a step which will require 25 or 30 years to develop we should do it in a very tentative way and that if there are any doubts whatsoever we ought to hesitate. The psychological needs of the people, their emotional regard for their land and so on, are much more important than the temporary economic advantages that can flow from a project such as this no matter how large it is.
This is a very large project. From what I have read it is estimated that 760 million tons of ore are involved. The people will end up with a hole in the ground which will be 8,000 feet long, perhaps half a mile deep and about half as wide. It will be the second largest hole in the world. One of the piquant points about it is the assurance that when the operation is completed the people will be given back their land. I do not know what they will use it for, unless they can build portable swimming pools or something like that. In place of their present land they will have the second largest hole in the world. Given their present attitudes to land, 1 do not think the people can receive sufficient financial compensation.
This copper project is a tremendous development, but was it beyond the resources of Australia to develop’.’ I join with my friend the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) in his fears about introducing into that country one of the largest mining companies and monopolies in the world. According to (he statements 1 see in the appropriate digests about mining and mineral companies, it is one of the most diversified companies in Australia. I thought that the BHP company had this honour.
It is a tremendous company; it is large in anybody’s language. We are introducing it in such a way that the people will not be able to handle it in the future. I do not believe that the future Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly- whatever type of government is adopted - will be able to negotiate with these people on equal terms once they get their foot in the Territory. Already they have a very large foot there. Is this not the lesson of South America, the African countries and most of Asia? The lesson is that developing countries cannot compete with very large and powerful international industrial concerns.
If we are to develop this copper deposit I believe it should be done publicly by means of some sort of public enterprise such as a local equivalent of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. The Government might say that the capital required is beyond our reach. I do not believe that that is so. I am not convinced that the scheme needs to be on such a tremendous capital investment scale as is at present involved, although the economics of it, as one reads the documents, seem to lead to that conclusion. One becomes accustomed to the economic argument being employed to dazzle the political figures of the administrators. What are said to be the economic advantages of this project, remembering the disastrous impact that it has had upon Australian attitudes to Papua and New Guinea and Papuan and New Guinean attitudes to Australia and all the rest of it? The sight of the police wrestling with the women of Rorovana and so on will linger for many years in the history books and in the accounts of happenings there. It will not disappear now. The thought of tear gas being used in that situation will not float away with the last fumes of that gas; it will stay in the hearts and minds of the people for the next generation.
We are told that the local people will get employment. This is true. But how well have we planned this? They are going to get a town. But what kind of town? Of course, a new town will be placed upon the Arawa plantation and upon the immediate environs. I have no doubt that it will be a modem town, built to the best standards. There will be air-conditioned homes and air-conditioned public buildings. There will be paved streets, motor vehicles, shops and supermarkets. But no matter what is done, within a mile or two of that town will be the simple remaining villages of the people of Papua and New Guinea, the people of the island of Bougainville, and there will be a development of two societies. We have done a lot of work and made a lot of progress in developing the material things of life. We can build cities very effectively. We can do all sorts of things. We can pipe gas for hundreds of miles. We can dig huge holes in the ground. But we have not solved the simple human problem of taking social advancement along with environment. Therefore there will be two types of society in that land. We should remember all the experience developed in other countries. We will have one set of advantaged citizens and one set of people who appear to be disadvantaged, underprivileged and second class. This is the most dangerous aspect of this project. I do not care how much you get out of this project economically. I do not care how great will be the flow down the pipeline to the bulk carriers. This is a social problem which so far we have not resolved.
I understand that we are to have a very large export income for Papua and New Guinea. I would be interested to hear from those who know all the details just how much will flow to Papua and New Guinea. I understand it will be from $100m to $120m a year. How is this to be achieved? Panguna, some 15 or so miles from the sea, is the location of the mine. The ore will be turned into a concentrate and put into a pipeline; it will go in sludge form down to the beach. There it will be poured out to dry and, when dry, will be shipped to Japan in bulk carriers. There will be no industrial development in the locality. I understand that no smelting will be done in the area. Therefore the people in Japan - some company or other, Mitsubishi or Mitsui, or some equivalent - will pay Conzinc Riotinto for the ore. How will this money be paid? Will it be paid by cheque, by bank order or something else to the bank in Kieta? I doubt this very much. How much of this money will actually flow into the coffers of the people of Papua and New Guinea? How much of it will be profit for Conzinc Riotinto? How much will be spent on all the ancillary services that operate everywhere outside this area? How much of it will be paid into the pockets and the bank accounts of the people who will go there from Australia and other countries to work for 2, 3 or 5 years? 1 believe that what is said about this project is fantasy. Many of these projects throughout the world have shown that the local people rarely benefit to the extent that we are told they will benefit.
What are we to do? I am told that there is copper there, that Conzinc Riotinto is going there and that there is great resemblance between this project and the development of the project on the land of the Yirrkala people in Arnhem Land. We are told that it was part of the agreement to lease this land in Bougainville promptly. How is the Administration going to grant leases promptly in Papua and New Guinea in the light of the history of land leases there? One has only to look at the history of the attempt to develop the airport at Rabaul to see that this Government cannot grant leases promptly in Bougainville or anywhere else. Nobody knows who owns the land. A lands titles commission is at present at work. Land ownership is a tremendous tangle. It is part of the history of the people. They do not use the Torrens system. They never wanted it. They do not have our kind of simple land ownership. Their system is complicated. Therefore the people who signed that agreement did not think about it or did not care. It was careless and irresponsible to give that undertaking.
We are told that we are to develop the air strip at Bougainville. We are going to be responsible for the design and construction of the Arawa township, including a primary school, a technical school, a high school and a major base hospital, construction of which is to commence in October. I understand we also are to pay for this. There are also to be improvements to the AropaKieta road. Is this not remarkable! The people have been there for a long while and so have our people. I think the Germans first put down the road now being used and which is being substantially torn up by heavy traffic. But now that there is a mining company going there, now there is to be a new town, we can put in technical schools, primary schools, and high schools. Why could we not have done this for the local people last year, or the year before, or 4 or 5 years back? We could not do it then because it was not economic; they are simple Bougainville people and they were not important then. They were not part of the function of copper.
Of course, this development will create its own problem. It will be years before the local people will be able to provide doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers and architects. It will be 10 or 15 years before any of them will reach the stage of being able to undertake this kind of technical employment and feel that it is part of their operation. I believe that that is the fatal error that we have made. We have been involved in the administration there for some 5 or 6 years. The young people of 14 or 15 years could have been well on the road to technical and professional skills had we done the necessary work. The point I make is this: When some mining company moves into such an area we can suddenly find the money for the schools and all the rest of it. I visited one of the schools there. It was humble in the extreme. People were cooking in the open. No-one had lavished any great resources on them. The people who worked in the school - I think it was a Catholic school - had ravished dedication, devotion and professional talent; the Government had lavished very little indeed. But now in the materialist society of which the Government is the administrator it is able to find the wherewithal to do many things because a mining company is going there. This is years too late. It is too late to the bourgeoning spirit of the people of Bougainville because they understand. They know where values He. To the honourable member for Balaclava I say that we have to find a new system of values. The copper can stay in the ground for another 5 or 10 years - it will not perish - but the hearts and minds of the people of Bougainville and the rest of that part of the world cannot stand the assault upon them of the tear gas, the police and the other things that flow from this change. In the long run, I believe, unless urgent and immediate steps are taken to prevent such action there wil’l be a tragic development of two societies* - a lesser one in the native villages and a major, substantia] and affluent one in the Australian towns beside it. I hope that something can be done to prevent this.
– In the movement of capital out of Papua and New Guinea a very considerable amount is coming from expatriate plantation owners. I think it is time that a very hard look was taken at the whole structure of plantation wages. In Australian New Guinea a plantation worker receives his rations and $4 or $5 a month. In competing countries right next door - in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, for instance - the minimum wage for a plantation worker is $30 a month and rations. In French New Caledonia it is about $23 a month. By any standards the Australian scale of wages in the plantations is exploitation. It does not lead to efficiency. It does not lead to a maintenance of adequate standards of health or dignity among the people concerned. I think it is time that the matter of plantation wages was looked at again.
In Africa ‘plantation’ is a dirty word. I am afraid that were it not for the tremendous structure of native co-operative plantation it might also in the future of Papua and New Guinea be regarded as a dirty word. I think there is a need now for the Government to state a date for independence - in probably 5 years - and before that there should be a period of self-government. I think there ought to be an agreement between the political parties in this country about the continuance of the grant after independence; that is one of the vital features of the future. I think that the expatriate civil service in Papua and New Guinea should now be made part of the Commonwealth civil service so that the civil servants will have security after independence has been granted and also so that there can be sent to Papua and New Guinea for short periods of service expert members of the Australian civil service.
I think in respect of the House of Assembly we should now follow the Swiss model. I do not consider that the Westminster model is the perfect model for all the world. As there are no real political parties in Papua and New Guinea except the Pangu Pati, I think the Swiss system whereby the House of Assembly would elect its cabinet should be adopted. Switzerland functions with a multiplicity of parties. There are Conservatives, Socialists and what-not serving in the same Cabinet. As Papua and New Guinea does not have a social class structure that leads to the sort of political parties that we have in Australia, in Papua and New Guinea it will be much easier for the House of Assembly to elect its cabinet. 1 believe that that cabinet should have real authority. As early as possible, I believe, the Administrator should become pro-President, acting in a manner preparatory to the development of the presidential system. I do not think it is necessary for us to assume that Papua and New Guinea can be forced into unity. I do not think that many sections of Papua and New Guinea are as advanced, for instance, as England was in the days of the Anglo-Saxons. In the days of the Anglo-Saxons there were kingdoms like Mercia and Wessex.
Nationalism, which could bring together large units, is a later development. I think we have accepted the development of nationalism in Papua and New Guinea too quickly. I would desire to see Papua and New Guinea united and continue in unity, but not if this is going to lead to the kind of disaster that occurred in various parts of the world and where the West Indies Federation, the Central African Federation and Nigeria have fallen apart after the withdrawal of the Imperial Crown, with the withdrawal of colonial authority. If it is the desire of the people of Bougainville to return into unity with the British Solomon Islands or even if it becomes a serious source of dispute whether some of these outlying areas want to remain associated with Papua and New Guinea, I think it is better that rather than break the entity to pieces after it has been given independence, they should start off as separate entities and maybe later they will federate. I think also there is a need to look at the struggle that goes on in Papua and New Guinea of what I might call administrative empire building.
The Australian National University has just carried out a survey of missions as a source of foreign funds in Papua and New Guinea. The investigators removed from their survey that expenditure which we might say was involved in the maintenance of the churches, the building of cathedrals, ritual and worship and so on, where there is no parallel with tha activities of the Administration. Then they concentrated their attention on the health services and the education services of the missions, which services are also conducted by the Administration. They found that for the maintenance of these services about $10m comes into Papua and New Guinea every year. There is a very considerable structure, for instance, in regard to Catholic education. There are three Archbishops and thirteen Bishops of the Catholic Church in Papua and New Guinea. Also, there is the old Lutheran structure, especially centred on Lae. To the Lutherans comes money from the Lutherans of the United States, Germany - because of its former associations - and South Africa. The total amount of money coming into Papua and New Guinea for education and health in the missions is $10m a year.
The analysis went further. The people concerned with the survey examined the qualifications of the teachers, the nurses and the doctors in the missions. They found that if the teachers, nurses and doctors were paid by the Administration at Administration rates according to their qualifications it would cost $44 a year for their services. Therefore, one mission dollar went as far as about four and a half Administration dollars. Here there is a colossal effort to build up a structure of Administration education. I doubt very much whether after independence Papua and New Guinea will be able to maintain or expand this structure. I saw education in Nigeria after independence. The Nigerian Government had given up the effort to make everyone literate. In the Moslem north, of course, only 2% of the children were attending schools. In the Ibo east 70% were receiving education. But this education depended very largely on a form of outside assistance which still came in mission education. The Government of Nigeria concentrated its attention on higher secondary schools and the development of universities and technical education. The struggle to spread primary education everywhere was beyond it. I think realistically that will be the position in Papua and New Guinea after independence.
In Papua and New Guinea some Directors of Education have been empire builders who wanted a sphere of their own authority regardless of whether this was the future of education in Papua and New Guinea. At one stage four-fifths of the children were in the mission schools with one-fifth of the money and one-fifth of the children were in the Administration schools with fourfifths of the money. It is not as bad as that today. The development of the Administration education is more extensive. It is a very fine structure of education; it is a very expensive structure of education. If we rush to assure everyone that we cannot pay wages - the old Hasluck idea of equality of pay for equality of qualifications in the civil service - because Papua and New Guinea will not be able to maintain it after independence, take a look at the education structure and ask how much of that can be maintained after independence too. So that I think it would be wiser to put a lot of money into the capital costs of these mission schools because they are likely to continue after independence just as they continued in West Irian after the disappearance of the Dutch. In West Irian they are virtually the only form of education which is working today.
Apart from continuing the grant for a number of years after independence, there is another aspect of education in which I would like to see the Commonwealth Government not dismiss Papua and New Guinea with a golden handshake. The university which has been constructed in Papua and New Guinea has been constructed on very, very elaborate lines. It is a very fine institution. I doubt that a government struggling to maintain primary education would be able to maintain the standards of that university after independence and I believe therefore that it would be a gracious act on the part of this country to endow the university, to endow the technical schools and to endow certain of the teachers’ colleges. These are the key central points from which education can move down to the general mass of the people. The higher technical schools, higher teachers’ colleges and universities could be endowed from a special issue of Commonwealth bonds which the Commonwealth Government could use to continue endowment for something like 30 or 40 years after independence, so that this country would not have to cope with the staggering burden of tertiary education and so that it would have an investment stake in Australia to begin with. No emerging countries have any overesas investment, and overseas investment for this purpose, to establish higher education in Papua and New Guinea, could be very important. I believe that this would be a valuable form of aid, and a continuing form of aid for this country to give.
I think that Australia ought to recognise that we have an interest in the general Pacific area. In the last war the Territory of Papua and New Guinea was strategically important to Australia. I do not believe it has the same strategic importance today, but it was then of strategic importance to Australia. But so were the British Solomon Islands, and I believe it is time, in what must obviously be the last phase of Australian administration in Papua and New Guinea, that much more was done in coordination with neighbouring authorities such as the British authorities in the Solomon Islands, and that higher education in Papua and New Guinea should also serve to a much greater extent than it is serving today the needs of the people of the British Solomon Islands. There are very real affinities between the peoples of the Solomons and Australia.
I want to say again that I believe it is time that the official elements left the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea. I realise that they are valuable advisers, but they are actually civil servants and it is quite fascinating to see them sit there and play the game of politics. Instead of becoming objective advisers they have to manoeuvre legislation through the Parliament. They have to get up to all the sorts of tricks that this Government would have to get up to in this House if it did not have a majority party behind it. They cannot be certain of the votes of all those uncommitted members so there is a good deal of misrepresentation. I have heard the flattest, most palpable untruths coming from official members in the Parliament of Papua and New Guinea. In the 5 days I listened to their debates I heard absolutely misleading statements about the rule of law and all sorts of similar concepts. It was quite tragic. Because they were compelled to manoeuvre alt the time to get their votes they were making a party of the Highlanders to back them against people who were pressing them for changes. It was a serious mistake, and I think it is a serious mistake for these people to continue as politicians in the Parliament when their real role is that of objective advisers. If the House of Assembly of Papua and New Guinea bad an elected Cabinet and these men came to the Cabinet Ministers as advisers and did not sit in the Parliament as politicians I think the quality of their influence on the Government of Papua and New Guinea would be far higher. It is a very difficult role for civil servants to play the most sophisticated politicians in a pretty unsophisticated Parliament, but 1 doubt from what I have seen whether it really is advancing the parliamentary education of the members of the House of Assembly of Papua and New Guinea in the way that we have envisaged.
I believe that the setting of a date for independence, even if we make it 10 years from now, will put the Administration under a discipline of achievement which it is not under now. I think we have congratulated ourselves for too long on not setting a date and it is time we set one and got to work.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bosman) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Unfortunately I have deprived myself of an adequate opportunity to reply because an extra speaker on the Opposition side wished to speak. I only have 2 minutes to speak and this is too little time to cover the situation. I am grateful to the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) and the honourable member for Balaclava (Mr Whittorn) for the speeches they made. They answered the speeches from the Opposition side of the House. In a brief reply to the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), I realise his sincere interest in the Territory, but I am unable to agree with the point he has made as to what should be the future form of government in Papua and New Guinea. He suggested alternative forms of government such as the Swiss system or the presidential system, but I do not think we can make guinea pigs of these people or conduct experiments with them. Unfortunately, both these systems, to my way of thinking - and this is a matter of judgment - lead to a sort of dictatorship.
I would like to point out that no developing country in the world enjoys the benign interest which Australia has showered on the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. A total of $118m of Australian money has gone to Papua and New Guinea with no strings attached. This is a tremendous contribution when one considers that there are slightly over 2 million people in Papua and New Guinea. No country in the world is supported in the way we support Papua and New Guinea. Unfortunately I cannot enlarge on this matter any further.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Immigration
Proposed expenditure, $63,935,000.
Department of Labour and National Service
Proposed expenditure, $12,371,000.
– We are debating two departments which are, 1 think, correlated at only one level; the Department of Labour and National Service runs Commonwealth Hostels Pty Ltd which provides accommodation for our newly arrived migrants, lt is unfortunate that these departments should be coupled in this debate and that the time allowed for the debate should be so short. I am sure that there are a number of honourable members who would have wished to debate aspects of both these departments and it will be completely impossible to do so in the short space of 15 minutes which is allotted to each speaker in a strictly limited timetable. But I wish to deal with one or two matters which are relevant to the Department of Labour and National Service but which at the present time do not come within the estimates of that Department. Under the Department of Social Services there is provision for the rehabilitation of people who have suffered injuries or disabilities and who the Department can reasonably estimate will be able to return to gainful employment. Unfortunately, in most provincial centres, although a person with a physical handicap or disability is able to be returned to gainful employment, such employment is not normally available. I think this is true of most of the regional centres throughout the country. It is definitely true of Geelong, which is in the electorate I represent.
I think it is fair to say that in Geelong there are approximately 100 individuals who are in receipt of unemployment benefits for the simple reason that they are not sufficiently disabled to qualify for an invalid pension; but they are disabled in such a manner that they are not able to compete for the normal employment which is available in the area. Were these people living in Melbourne it might be possible for them to obtain jobs. They have almost no prospects of employment in Geelong. 1 do not have access to the records of the Department, but I think they would show that some of these people have been on the books with almost no referral to employment for periods of up to 12 months. They have to live on unemployment benefits. This will destroy a person both mentally and physically. If a person, especially the male bread winner, is not given the opportunity to be referred to jobs there is a tendency for him to feel that he is no longer a useful person on our community. I think it is important that something more positive be done for these people than is being done at present.
I believe it would be a good idea if, through the Department of Labour and National Service, investigations could be carried out into the possibility of fostering sheltered workshop type employment. Most of these people need only the opportunity to obtain employment where they do not have to compete on the open market or on an over-full local market. In most provincial centres there is an over-full local market. If these people could be encouraged to obtain work it would be of great benefit to the community and it would relieve the Commonwealth of the burden of having to keep them virtually on unemployment benefit without any return. It would also restore to these people the dignity to which a human being is entitled - that of being able to earn his own living. I realise that this is not an area into which the Commonwealth has actively entered, although the Commonwealth provides assistance in the provision of sheltered workshops. But I believe it is an area in which more than merely offering assistance to communities is necessary. There are basic planning requirements and a considerable amount of knowledge in the operation of sheltered workshops, and a great deal of drive is required in the people who manage these workshops in order to obtain work in industries for people who have some disability. I am sure that work exists and that with reasonable sound backing, especially from the Commonwealth, many of these people could be placed in gainful employment.
Added to the 100 or so people 1 mentioned who are receiving unemployment benefit of Geelong, most likely there are at least 100 people on the invalid pension who could carry out some useful work and who would benefit from doing such work. 1 am not suggesting that these people who receive the invalid pension would be able to carry out a full time job. But I am quite sure that some gainful employment would be of value to the families of these people because of the small amount of money they would be allowed to earn. It would be of value to these people because they would become active participants in our community. They would be doing something. It is soul destroying, especially for a man who is used to leading an active life, to suffer a heart attack or a back injury or some similar complaint. Because of the requirements of insurance companies for workers’ compensation, such a man is not able to obtain employment. The question of workers’ compensation seems to be the major debarring factor in obtaining employment, especially for people who have suffered a coronary attack. Insurance companies will not cover these people, therefore employers cannot take the risk of employing them. This is not a problem which affects a great many people, and overcoming the problem would not gain much political kudos for anyone. But if ‘he problem could be satisfactorily solved that would mean a great deal to the few people who are involved. As I say, these people are mainly in regional centres.
I should like to mention briefly one other matter which is within the province of the Minister for Labour and. National Service (Mr Bury) and of which I think he is most likely aware. I refer to the problem experienced by persons who seek to join the Citizen Military Forces prior to being called up for national service. I do not know how extensive this problem is, but I have come across one or two isolated cases of persons who have sought to join the CMF but have been found to be medically unfit. They have then been called up for national service and, having already been declared to be medically unfit, they have neglected to exercise the necessary option to join the CMF and have found themselves passed fit for national service. I believe that these people are being denied their right of choice, even though the right of choice is set out on the form. 1 think it is fairly natural that a person who has been before an Army doctor and has been found to be medically unfit would expect that he would be ruled unfit a second time, provided there had been no real change in his health. There are cases where a person has passed the second medical examination and found that although he endeavoured to exercise an option to undertake CMF training, the option was denied to him because of medical factors. He has suddenly found that he is fit for national service. I know of a couple of cases like this. I am quite sure there are more. I think that it is a denial to these people of the right to exercise an option. 1 should like the Minister to look at this question to see whether this anomaly can be dealt with satisfactorily, because I believe that if a person attempts to join the CMF and is found to be medically unfit it is reasonable to say that he is also medically unfit for national service. If he is not found to be medically unfit he should be given a further option to join the CMF, as he intended to do in the first place.
There is one final matter I should like to raise. It is becoming increasingly evident that a number of migrant families who are raising the necessary capital to pay for their fares to Australia are finding themselves in serious difficulties in meeting the repayments. I realise that these people negotiate a private loan. It appears that they are negotiating these loans on the basis that they expect to be able to meet the repayments out of their earnings after arrival in Australia. For reasons which I do not know and which I do not suppose anyone else knows, these people are committing themselves for sums of money which they find impossible to meet after arrival in Australia. Numbers of cases of severe hardship arise from this cause. Some families have loans of $1,000 to repay to an agency or some other organisation, but they do not have a sufficient amount left from their earnings after paying their rent and rates and buying the necessities of life to meet these repayments. I have come across three or four such cases in 2 or 3 weeks.
Some form of assistance should be available to these .people, even if the assistance only enables them to reduce the amount of the loan and so make them liable for lower repayments. This assistance would be of substantial benefit especially to the members of families who find they are not able to earn the levels of income that they expected. If the Commonwealth decided to give this assistance, the cost would probably not be high. I am not suggesting that the bills should be written off. If they were, the same cl’aim could be made if a person bought a motor car and could not pay for lt. But these people are entering into contracts to repay money before they come to Australia and without a full knowledge of their earning capacity. They are borrowing the money because they want to come here and I believe the people who are . prepared to pay to come here are the people we ought to welcome. Some relief should be available to them so that they can spread their debt over a longer period and have a lower rate of repayment. This is a serious matter to the families that find they are obliged to pay $20 or $30 a month out of an income of $40 or $45 a week. This happens fairly frequently, and if these people suffer some sickness or some other financial setback they cannot meet the repayments.
Another matter that I would like to mention briefly relates to the Department of Labour and National Service. I refer to waterside workers in regional ports. With the changed methods of cargo handling and the degree of centralisation of port usages, waterside workers in regional ports are having increasing difficulty in maintaining their levels of employment. Where the ports are sufficiently close to the capital cities, waterside workers are travelling almost constantly to and from the central ports to obtain regular employment. It seems to me that regional ports, especially those close to the capital cities and the major cargo handling facilities, could be better used. We see in the major ports a good deal of congestion of cargo coming to and from the ports. By some method of rationalisation of usage, it should be fairly easy to arrange for some of the general cargoes to be handled in the provincial ports close to the capital cities, thus making use of fairly costly and often very good facilities. Such an arrangement would also make use of the waterside labour that is available in the provincial ports and should result in a quicker turn round of ships. I am quite sure that ships coming to these ports could be dealt with more effectively and more efficiently than they can in the capital cities and that the cargoes could be cleared much more quickly.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– There is a certain repetition in rising to support the fine record of this Government’s continuing policies in the field of immigration. For the past 20 years we have seen a remarkable history of concern for and achievements in the problems of re-settling the vast inflow of migrants to Australia. It is truly one of the great social achievements in modern history and we will reap an ever growing harvest from this sound policy as the years go by. The real strength of this policy lies in an ever present capacity to incorporate changes and overcome what some people regard as a natural tendency in large institutions - namely, over-institutionalisation. This constant search for the solution to problems, this constant search for improvement, this constant search’ for new migrants has brought a freshness and a clarity, which is reflected in the fact that last year 175,000 migrants, of whom some 45% came from continental Europe, decided to make Australia their permanent home.
At a time when most European countries are enjoying an economic well-being that does not encourage emigration, we are making tremendous advances in the numbers of continental Europeans who are coming here to settle. The attractions of our competing recipient nations remain as they have always been. The attractions of Australia quite obviously are increasing. As I have mentioned here before, no other country in the world provides accommodation for migrants or the follow up in seeking to establish such migrants in normal community life as does Australia. We lead the world, and despite the criticisms we hear from certain Opposition members that we are falling down on the job of properly housing or employing our migrants, we still have managed in the past couple of years to double the number of migrants coming to Australia and to double the number who are making applications to come. This hardly reflects a dissatisfaction with the standard of housing or the quality of social services that pertain in Australia by migrants vis-a-vis other countries. Why, if a migrant goes to Canada or the United States of America he is on his own once he walks through the barrier gate apart from very strict registration procedures and very strict standards regarding residential requirements.
Of course, the standard of accommodation offered to migrants who seek hostel accommodation has not always been good, but there has been positive action taken in trying to improve it. Those who knew or know the barrack type standard of temporary accommodation that was offered at such places as Benalla and Bonegilla will be glad to know that these places have been closed, though I understand there is still room at Bonegilla, if needed, for some 750 people, but Only for another year or so. I was particularly pleased to see the Cronulla hostel closed. Although the residents may have enjoyed one of the finest views in Australia, the standard of accommodation there was nowhere near as high as it should have been. And no-one can deny that there are still too many examples of the old sub-standard accommodation in hostels. But they are fast disappearing as the Government’s policy of replacing all Nissen huts by 1973-74 gets firmly under way. In July 1966 some 26,250 beds were of the old type accommodation. By November 1969 the new programme will have provided attractive brick quarters with private toilets, showers and wash basins for individual families to the extent of some 4,356 beds. Anyone who has seen these new quarters at centres such as Wacol in Queensland will be most favourably impressed.
But the programme of improvements does not relate only to these new quarters which are replacing the old huts that are being steadily demolished. Special improvements are being made, particularly with the en largement of main bedrooms and the installation of private wash basins and a much needed improvement to laundry, toilet and ablution facilities. In fact since July 1966 some $12,300,000 has been spent on these replacements and special improvement programmes. As I have said before, much remains to be done but we should not forget that it is planned for all sub-standard accommodation in hostels to be replaced by 1973. The current programme is one of which we can be proud and one which is reflected in the dramatic increase in the numbers of migrants coming to Australia. I can only hope that we never reach the day when our target for new migrants is reduced as a matter of policy for, as long as we continue to have migrants trained and educated in their homelands coming to Australia, to be immediate members of the Australian work force, we can only continue to prosper by their coming here.
Migrants come here not only as social assets, as we all have seen and experienced, but they come as sure economic assets providing as they do an integral part of our economic development. Without them we would not be in the position to plan so that our already high standards of living are not only maintained but improved at the rate we have known for the past 20 years. No longer does the phrase that was coined by the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) - populate or perish - have the same significance as it did 20 years ago for, no matter how fast we may increase our population by immigration and natural increase, our population vis-a-vis Asia will inevitably become an even smaller and smaller proportion. Of course, our population must increase but for different reasons from those stated 20 years ago.
Mr Deputy Chairman, I wish to mention the urgent requirement for us to find some solution, and as quickly as possible, to that one great gap that remains in our immigration policies. I refer of course to the recognition of professional and technical qualifications obtained in overseas countries. Here again, the present Minister is to be commended for having established in cooperation with his ministerial colleagues in die States a Committee on Overseas Professional Qualifications. I believe that its terms of reference are broad enough to allow its findings to be effective, and even though the work of this particular committee will be long and complex and even though one may anticipate some lengthy period before specific results may emerge from its findings, one can only hope that local professional groups will not place unnecessary or traditional and therefore emotional barriers in the way of this committee.
The tragedy of non-recognition of qualifications obtained overseas is that professional men and women who are contemplating emigration from their homelands are not even considering coming to Australia. Instead, people in this group go to such places as Canada and the United States. Until we in Australia reach an intelligent and enlightened approach to overseas qualifications, or rather until the Australian professional and technical associations achieve this enlightenment then, and only then, will we have a migrant flow that is not unbalanced because we shall be receiving our proper share of those educated migrants who are seeking the opportunities which Australia offers to all other types of migrants into our country.
One of the greatest encouragements for such recognition comes from the Medical Journal of Australia which concluded an article in its issue of 26th April 1969 by saying that the Committee established by the Minister will -
Perhaps it will bring us a little nearer the elusive but much-to-be-desired uniformity of registration throughout Australia under an Australian General Medical Council.
Mr Deputy Chairman, there must be no ‘perhaps1 in this matter. All professional groups, including the Australian Medical Association, owe it not only to themselves but also to Australia to see that traditional protections and prejudices are not allowed to restrict the number of professional skills which we need so badly to receive into our community, both economic and social, with open arms. This Government deserves, I believe, full recognition of and praise for its continuing efforts to develop Australia, not the least of which is its vigorous and refreshing immigration policy.
- Mr Deputy Chairman, in a way, I am sorry to think that the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Dobie) will not be with us much longer because he does now and again, as happened tonight, make a valuable contribution to a debate. I am extremely sorry that a premature election will interrupt what looked like being a promising parliamentary career. Other than for a few observations that I intend to make, I agree in principle with the speech that he made. I think, though, that he was a little unfair to the Opposition in respect of immigration. The immigration scheme did not start 20 years ago. It started almost a quarter of a century ago. I think that he might have charitably done what other members on that side of the Committee have done, that is, pay a little tribute to the Labor Party on this side of the Parliament which commenced the scheme and which, to the credit of the governments concerned, various Ministers have continued in a bipartisan way. As the honourable member mentioned, it is one of the really great achievements of our time, the Australian immigration programme.
It is fortunate for this country and for our people that whilst we differ on politics and whilst we differ maybe on the administration of the programme, there is general agreement on the principles behind it. All parties in the Parliament have made their contributions to its success. I think that what I am about to mention is worth mentioning. I do not mention it in any party political way. We are quick to criticise departments and others when we are engaged in debates on the Budget and the Estimates. But on occasions like this, it is nice to pay a tribute to the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), the first Australian Minister for Immigration, who instituted this great programme which is acknowledged by people on each side of the political fence to be a great contribution to the development and expansion of this country. Successive Ministers for Immigration - the late Mr Holt, the late Athol Townley, Sir Alexander Downer, Sir Hubert Opperman and the present Minister, Mr Shedden - to their credit have administered impartially, soundly and tolerantly what is a very human programme requiring the handling of a great number of people, transporting them to this country from other parts of the world and settling them here.
Between 194S and this day, 2.5 million settlers have arrived in Australia. Not all of them have been British people, not all of them have been our own kith and kin, because amongst them were about 346,000 Italians, 184,000 Greeks, and persons of numerous other nationalities. This great mass movement of people is something of which honourable ^members on all sides of this Parliament may justly be proud. Whilst from time to time criticism may come from this side of the Parliament 1 think that my Party of all parties is entitled to make it because, whatever may be our shortcomings, 1 believe that on immigration our criticisms have always been presented in constructive approaches to this great human problem. It would not be fair on occasions like this not to pay our tribute to those in the Department who have made possible this progress. I refer to the former Secretary, Sir Tasman Heyes; the present Secretary, Mr P. R. Heydon; Mr R. E. Armstrong, O.B.E., and other officers of high standing at home and abroad whose tolerance and understanding of the problems of migration are such that I think that Australia undoubtedly is indebted to them in a great measure.
Down the line, in the numerous offices throughout the world today, officers are encouraging people to come to this country in such a way that we may be proud of their efforts because they are contributing to the development of this country. I think that officers of this Department, despite all the temptations that may well have been presented to them by some people wanting to get to this country, have displayed a remarkable degree of integrity, capacity and performance. I feel tonight that in my own way, without endeavouring to lay it on too thickly or in any parliamentary or political party way dealing with the matter, I should pay my sincere tribute to all those who have made possible what we are discussing tonight which is concerned with the expenditure of $63m this year on one of the great programmes for the mass movement of people. It was instituted in 1945. it has been carried on successfully ever since and it still has much to contribute to the development of this country. 1 am pleased that improvements are being made in respect of hostel accommodation. The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury), who is at the table, made a statement in regard to the hostels recently.
I hope that the day will come when all migrant hostels will be modern buildings and for use on a temporary basis. 1 am pleased that the time spent by newcomers in the hostels is being reduced. The latest figures available show that the period has been reduced from 29 weeks to 19 weeks. I hope that the scheme that the Minister outlined in his statement a few weeks ago will be fulfilled within a short period.
There are are or two aspects of immigration on the local level to which the Government might give consideration. I noticed, when J was last in Great Britain, that the offices of the Department of Immigration have been decentralised. Today the Department has established offices in various parts of Great Britain because it cannot handle all of its work at Australia House or from the centre of London. I should like this decentralisation to be extended to the suburbs of London because I do not think that the work can be carried out from central points. In Australia - I speak particularly of Sydney - the Government is sending out mobile caravan units to advise migrants in the various centres. I mention Sydney because I know it, but what I am about to say could well apply to other capital cities. I see no reason why the Government could nol establish regional offices where migrants could get advice and assistance on various problems. I think it might welt be surprised by the impetus this would give to the naturalisation of immigrants, particularly those who find the language barrier a problem. I hope that the idea of caravan offices and mobile units will lead :o the establishment of permanent offices.
– There is one in Wollongong.
– You can imagine the situation that would exist if that office was not there. It is a hardship for people uninitiated in the Australian way of life to be asked to travel to the city from places such as Parramatta, Seven Hills or even my electorate, where there is a large migrant population. I hope that the Department will consider extending the practice it has followed in Wollongong, which I understand has proved a huge success. I hope that in the short time he will be in the Parliament the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Dobie) has an opportunity to see a migration office established near Como or Cronulla - the area from which he comes. These are important matters.
The Department of Immigration is one Government department of which all Australians can be proud. With the tremendous development taking place in Canberra - with all the modern and beautiful buildings being erected by the National Capital Development Commission - I can never understand why the Department of Immigration does not occupy the best building in the most convenient place in this great capita). If any department can take pride in its contribution towards the development of Canberra and other places in Australia the Department of Immigration can. While 1 do not criticise the internal facilities available in the present offices of the Department, I urge the Minister for Immigration and the Government to consider providing in Canberra an up to date office for those who labour in the Department and for those members of the public, including our new citizens, who have reason to visit the Department. Nothing impresses our new citizens more than an up to date office in keeping with a developing and expanding country of which they are now a part. 1 hope that the Minister and his colleagues will be able to prevail upon the Treasurer (Mr McMahon) to build not only great hostels for our migrants but also up to date offices in Canberra for the Department. These would not only act as a symbol of what the Department has done but also would provide facilities for those who are involved in this great scheme.
We were recently told that last year 175,000 migrants came to Australia. This is a remarkable achievement, because notwithstanding the remarks that have been passed on the other side of the chamber, the Department does have some problems. Having regard to the wonderful social welfare programmes of such countries as Holland, West Germany and Italy, anybody trying to sell our social services programme to prospective migrants in Europe would be starting behind scratch. Australia must be a great country to be able to attract people away from those countries of Europe which have such wonderful social welfare programmes. The Department’s success is due to the untiring efforts of its officers. What good salesmen they must be. People are expected to come here under our immigration scheme and if they have young children, within 12 to 18 months some of those children may not be in Bondi, Mascot or Marrickville but in Saigon or elsewhere in Vietnam looking down the wrong end of a rifle. So the officers of the Department have their problems in selling our immigration scheme overseas. The fact that they are able to do so is a measure not only of their efficiency but also of the attraction of Australia. I pay my tribute to those officers.
These are matters worth recording. People may think that all you have to do to get people to come to Australia is go to Europe and ask migrants to come here. Although they would not admit them publicly, I am sure that the officers of the Department have their problems. If in the short time left to it the Government were to pull up its socks as far as social services are concerned it would attract far more than 175,000 migrants to this country. I think it is important to point to these matters at this time. 1 think it will be agreed generally that one of the greatest problems associated with the integration and assimilation of migrants is the fact that many of them cannot speak English. I was interested in a Press statement made by the Minister for Immigration on 10th August in which he said that accelerated intensive courses of instruction in the English language will soon be provided for migrants with professional qualifications. The crash course to which the Minister also referred may be tpo intensive for those migrants without adequate educational qualifications. I hope that the Department wilt do all in its power to see that all migrants have an opportunity to learn the English language and are encouraged to do so. I hope that they are made aware that their future happiness in this country depends in no small measure on their ability to speak English. I hope that ultimately a less intensive course will be available to less talented migrants. This would assist their assimilation and would go a long way towards making them happy in this country.
The honourable member for Hughes said that other countries, such as Canada, do not offer migrants anything when they arrive. When they get there, that is the end of the matter. But . travelling from Europe to Canada - a matter of only hours -is not like travelling 10,000 or 12,000 miles across the world. Australia must offer attractions which Canada and other countries close to the homeland of migrants may not need to offer. I see no reason to lower the standards of our migration scheme. All I hope is that the facilities which we make available to migrants will be such as to make them contented when they get here. Subject to their showing some application towards wanting to become good Australians, I have no doubt that the average Australian will welcome and encourage them. If any proof of the . success of our immigration scheme is needed I would point out that since the scheme was instituted our population has increased from 7 million to 12 million. In a non-political way, which the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) will concede is always my approach to matters of national importance, I again record my appreciation of the efforts of the Department of Immigration in handling the numerous requests that I have made of it for many years. I say with pride that I am one of the few remaining members of the Parliament who was here when the scheme was commenced. I do not know how much longer I will be here but if I see nothing else in my political career it has been a matter of pride to see the commencement of this wonderful scheme; to see our population grow as it has because of the scheme; and to see the general acceptance by the Parliament and the Australian people of this great mass movement of people to Australia from other countries.
– I would like to congratulate the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) and his Department on their very rigorous migration policy. I particularly commend the Minister on his supreme effort to restore our immigration flow to what it was previously and even to increase it very substantially. He has gone to the trouble of visiting heads of overseas governments in an effort to iron out anomalies. If you have an opportunity to talk to him about some of the problems he has encountered overseas you will see how much he has been able to do. He has investigated whether Australia is getting the kind of migrant it wants. I commend him for his enterprise, determination and hard work on our behalf. There have been many difficulties associated with our immigration scheme. Only by talking to people on the spot is it possible to overcome many of these difficulties.
The total immigration policy is tremendously important to this developing country. We have to hold this country. If we are to do our job not only in developing our own country but in playing our part in this developing area of the world we must have more people. The need for people is one of the greatest needs that faces this young developing nation. Many of the migrants are bringing in not only new skills and ideas but new cultures. They are bringing in skills that we are perhaps not able to develop here as yet. Many young people are coming here and are adding very much to the development of this country. In a country such as Australia we need new ideas, new skills and new cultures. We need an inspiration from time to time if we are to get the supreme effort in a country which needs a little greater effort than a country of older origin.
Migrants create employment. When they come here they must be fed and clothed. They need houses and they need to be educated. Many of our problems with regard to housing, education and social services are due to the fact that we are suffering from the growing pains. Migrants create more jobs. It is said in regard to decentralisation that every permanent job that can be given to a man in a country town brings at least five people to that town because it takes people in service jobs to look after a man in a permanent job. The figure five represents his share of the butcher, the baker, the chemist and so forth. The average pay packet provides for at least two and a half people. It is estimated that every new wage earner you bring into this country, and into the country areas in particular, means an increase of five in the population straight away. Migrants create a home market for our primary products. Let it not be forgotten that the best friend of the primary producer is the man on a salary or a wage. He must spend the money he earns in order to live. He is the best market we have for many of our products, with the exception of course of wool, 93% of which we export. But he provides a market for meat, fruit, canned goods and dairy products as well as for secondary goods.
We have great problems of assimilation. The Minister for Immigration has gone to some lengths to see that the type of migrant we bring in is able to be assimilated in this community. This is of tremendous importance. We do not want to build up the problems that other countries have built up. One problem that I have been particularly aware of in the Snowy Mountains area, which constitutes a very large part of my electorate, involves many hundreds of young men. Today we do not have as many young men as we used to have. When I first came into this Parliament I threw a spanner in the works. I said that many of the young men had been here for 5 years and had become naturalised but were unhappy because they could not find a wife and could not settle down. It is true that other Australians, too, have not been able to find wives. Many of these young men were very good citizens but were unable to find a wife. I suggested that if they were able to go back to their country of origin and find a wife the Government should pay for the fares of both back to Australia. That suggestion was not looked upon very favourably when I first put it forward, but today the Department of Immigration provides a free passage for the bride at least. The Department has gone further along the road in that it will now assist with the passage of any female member of a family even though she may not be under 21 years of age.
But this has not solved the problem completely. I think the problem has been exaggerated in some areas. I do not believe that we will really complete the job until such time as we make it possible for all these very good types of migrants who are coming to this country to marry, settle down and rear families. It is the children who are the real Australians. No matter how much those who come here adopt our ways and become assimilated they are never quite the Australians that their children are. Even the children who come out here at a young age become very much Australians overnight. This is not an easy problem to solve, but I press for a reconsideration of the idea of bringing more young women out here so that the many hundreds of these very good new Australians may become part and parcel of this community by being able to settle down, set up a home and rear a family.
Whenever 1 go back to my electorate, particularly to the Snowy Mountains area, people ask me what I have done about the girls. As yet I have been unable to say that I have done anything really satisfactory, but I am still trying. At least now those who go back to their home country and marry have their bride’s fare to Australia paid. I do not know what the answer is. I am very aware of the time we brought out a number of female Italian migrants and we had quite a lot of problems with them. Some of the men would say: ‘She is my sister’ or ‘She is my cousin. I will look after her.’ We almost had to mount an armed guard to get them away from the port. That was not quite the answer. We should see what can be done, because behind this problem Lie a lot of political problems. Because a lot of these young men are not able to live a normal life they revert to the old political organisations they had in their own countries, even the Mafia.
I said that I would not speak at length. [ again commend the Minister in particular and members of his Department who are always co-operative with and helpful to those of us who face the problems of assimilation that invariably crop up. I commend both the Minister and the Department of Immigration for the tremendous job they are doing in what is a very important national project.
– I rise to say something about the estimates for the Department of Immigration. Like my colleague the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), I find that the Department of Immigration is and always has been one of the departments that has been run in a way that would be a credit to the government of any country. Unfortunately, it has been responsible for carrying out government policy in certain things and this has tended to tarnish an otherwise good reputation. I want to refer to two matters. First of all I refer to the Government’s policy rather than to any defect on the part of the administration of the Department in regard to naturalisation.,
Last week I read a statement by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) which would lead one to believe that very few people are refused naturalisation on the grounds of security. ‘Security’ is the word used to cover people holding political opinions that differ from the opinions held by the Government. This means, of course, that anybody with extreme right wing tendencies, Nazi tendencies or Fascist tendencies, are automatically accepted for naturalisation. I know of no case where the Government has rejected an application for naturalisation by a former Nazi war criminal. I have known of Nazi war criminals to get into the country and to become naturalised.
– Would the honourable member like to name them?
– Yes. I can name Dr Viks
– Is he a former Nazi war criminal?
– Yes. Dr Viki was responsible for the murder of many people. He came to this country and was admitted as a migrant and naturalised. On the other hand, some people who hold Socialist views, that is the views to the left of the Government’s point of view, are treated as suspects and are refused naturalisation, sometimes in most extraordinary circumstances. I have told the Parliament before and I am going to keep on telling the Parliament because up to date my remarks have had no impact on the Government, that I know of the case of a tomato grower in South Australia whose wife was refused a permit to come to Australia because her husband had allegedly handed out Communist how-to-vote cards when, in fact, what he did was to hand out Labor Party how-to-vote cards calling for a ‘No’ vote in the Communist Party dissolution referendum in 1951. That lady was eventually given permission to come here, but died on her way to Australia. That man and his wife were never reunited because of this policy of political discrimination.
I know of another case currently before the Minister and still unresolved. The woman concerned has been living in Australia for 15 years. Her husband, who has been living in Australia for longer than that, is naturalised as are the rest of her family. She still cannot get naturalised because she is too far to the left. She is the wife of a market gardener. She minds her own business except that occasionally when she believes that something is wrong she will join in some demonstration, which it is her perfect right to do, but because some member of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation happens to see her marching in a procession or a demonstration she is tagged as a Communist or subversive agent and is therefore classified as a security risk and is refused naturalisation. She has lived in this country for 15 years, she is married to an Australian citizen, the rest of her family are Australian citizens yet she is singled out for this treatment.
– Where did Dr Viks come from?
– From the same sort of place as I should imagine the honourable member came from, judging from the way he carries on in this place. I know of a person of Greek origin, a Mr Pappas - and I name him because I have done so before - who has been in this country for about 50 years and who would not hurt anybody. The only crime I have known him to commit, if it can be called a crime, is that years ago he sold, and even to this day he probably sells, the Communist Tribune’ of a Saturday. What a terrible thing. Here is poor old Steve Pappas who has worked hard all his life and has earned a decent, honest living as a builder’s labourer during the whole time he has been here, and who has committed no crime and has no police offence against his name. The only thing against him is that he is a Communist.
– Would you naturalise a Communist?
– I would naturalise anybody who was a good citizen and who obeyed the laws of this country. If he did not do so, I would deport him.
– Would you naturalise a Nazi?
– Yes, if he observed the laws of this country and was a good citizen. The fact that a person holds a different political opinion to the opinion I hold is no reason for me to debar that person from the right of citizenship. While he is here he has to pay income tax and other taxes the same as anybody else. If he is a person who is obeying the law of the country he should be granted citizenship.
– Are you prepared to say that you would deport people on political grounds?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett)- Order!
– You made a statement but you are not prepared to answer a question. Would you deport people on political grounds?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! I ask the Minister for Immigration to cease interjecting and 1 ask the honourable member for Hindmarsh to direct his remarks to the Chair.
– Would you deport a person on political grounds?
– I would not deport a person on political grounds. What I said was that I would deport anybody
– Would you deport-
– Look, I think you have been drinking too much water tonight.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! I ask the honourable member for Hindmarsh to direct his remarks to the Chair and I ask the Minister to cease interjecting.
– As I said, I think the Minister has been drinking a little bit too much water tonight and this has affected him in some way. because normally he does not carry on like this. I am making it perfectly clear that I would not deport anybody because of political reasons, but if a person was subversive and was carrying out subversive actions or activities against this country, of course he should be deported.
– What is the difference?
– The difference is that if a person is to be deported because he holds political views contrary to the Government’s viewpoint the honour able member would be one who would favour the deportation of every person who supported the Australian Labor Party.
– We want to know what you would do.
– I have told you what I would do.
– I am finding it hard to get an answer.
– I would not deport a person for any political views be might hold, but if a person was carrying on subversive activities against this country and endangering this country’s security-
– Who would say that it was subversive?
– If a person is organising subversive activities against this country’s interests, those activities are defined clearly in the Crimes Act. The Crimes Act is wide enough to cover anybody who ought not to be here. If there is anybody in this country who could be dealt with under the Crimes Act he ought to be dealt with. If he cannot be dealt with under the Crimes Act he should be given citizenship. lt is as simple as that. We have to get things in proper perspective on this matter of political discrimination. This Government is discriminating politically against people who come to Australia. If the people now being denied naturalisation are so bad that they should not be naturalised, they should never have been brought here in the first place and there is something wrong with our screening activities if this is so. But the people T am talking about-
– Your government even stopped the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ from being issued because it disagreed with you politically.
-It did nothing of the kind and I do not know why you do not get your facts straight.
– Well, tell me the facts.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member for Barton will cease interjecting.
– The honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) hit the nail on the head when he said that immigration officers overseas have a hard job selling Australia because of our poor social service laws and because no sooner does a family come here with boys of military age than they can be conscripted into the Army to fight on some foreign battlefield in an undeclared war. Of course these are deterrents. Of course these things must make it difficult for immigration officials abroad to recruit people to Australia.
More has to be done in the field of housing. The Minister for Immigration will recall that only the week before last I had to complain that the Department of Immigration has no idea at all of what might be the housing needs of the migrants it brings into Australia. 1 could get no figures from that Department; it did not have any. Apparently it had not gone into this aspect. Somebody else is supposed to do it’, said /he Department of Immigration. ‘It should have been done by the Department of Housing’. The Department of Housing says: How do we know what migrants’ needs might be? We do not bring them here. We do not recruit them. We do not know what their needs are when they come to Australia. You’ll have to go to the Department of Immigration for that’. So I was shuffled back to the Department of Immigration. I did not go back because I had already been told by that Department that it did not have the information. The Minister ought to look at this matter.
The Parliament ought to ask the Public Accounts Committee to investigate some of the expenditure I see listed in the estimates of the Department of Immigration for certain overseas posts. The Public Accounts Committee should investigate thoroughly - even if it means the Committee going overseas to do it - the costs of the office in the Federal Republic of Germany. These seem to be extraordinarily high at $819,000, which is an increase of almost $200,000 over last year’s expenditure. I should like the Committee to investigate thoroughly the costs of maintaining the Department of Immigration’s office in the United States of America where an expenditure of no less than $255,000 has been listed for this year. What are we getting for it? What have we to show for the tremendous expenditure listed? For Italy the sum listed was $940,000 and for the United Kingdom it is $967,000. We have something to show for expenditure in those two places and nobody would criticise it. But what about West Germany where the expenditure is to be $819,000 and the United Slate of America where the expenditure is to be $255,000? Those figures seem to be exceptionally high, and some explanation ought to be given to indicate what we are getting for the money.
We ought to look at some of the other costs. The total estimated expenditure in Yugoslavia is $241,000 and this seems high except when we remember that it is a new post. New buildings have to be obtained and staff have to be engaged. We must remember that the Department is branching out. We have to expect a fair deal of expenditure until the post is established. Our activity in Yugoslavia is to be commended. It is one country in Europe that one can enter without a visa. It is a country which allows its nationals to migrate without offering any impediment at all. The Yugoslavs are good migrants. They are hard working people. We ought to be doing everything we can to encourage them to come to our country. The Swedes are much the same but how will the sum of $407,000 that is to be spent in Sweden next year compare with the results that we achieve? Why is it that we do not have a mission in Norway?
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), over a period, of time, has stood here on a number of occasions and has pronounced to honourable members, and to anybody else wishing to listen, that there is a. bipartisan attitude towards immigration. He stated that the Australian Labor Party supports immigration. On occasions he has referred to the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell), quite correctly, as having commenced this immigration programme. There has been an attitude in the mind of the honourable member for Hindmarsh, in the period of almost 3 years that I have occupied this office, which has enabled him to stand up for a bi-partisan attitude. On occasions he has left me cringing in embarrassment because of the compliments he has paid to me.
I have seen him sitting next to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and I have had to say to his leader: ‘Watch out for the knife in his hand’. The honourable member for Hindmarsh has produced the knife tonight. He has produced vituperation such as I have not heard in this Parliament He has made a statement to the effect that we should give citizenship to a person or else deport him. As I remember what he said, he spoke on the basis that any Communist should get citizenship. He then said: Give them citizenship or deport them.’ I interjected and asked: ‘Do you say that a person should be deported on the ground of a political offence? Do you believe that a person ought to be deported because of political belief?’ What was his response? It was personal vituperation directed at me. In his next sentence he opted out by saying: What I really mean is that you should give them citizenship unless they have offended against the Crimes Act’, whatever that means. This is the man who came to me and said: T am going on a trip overseas. Would you be kind enough to ask people in your Department to receive me and show me around?’ The officers of my Department were asked to do just that. But then the honourable gentleman, having received the warmth of reception from officers who are proud of their work, starts to say that we need to look at these things, that we need to look at the expenses. The truth is, and I confess it, that part of the expense was occupied by the honourable gentleman being shown around by the officers of my Department who felt that he, as the spokesman on immigration for the Australian Labor Party, ought to have access to all the information that they had and to see the areas in which they operated. The honourable gentleman said the other day in a statement by leave that the Immigration Department knows nothing about the housing situation. At the time that he made that statement by leave, which was granted to him by me-
– By the Parliament.
– By the Parliament, although I could have objected to it, and so too could the honourable member for Corio, who would have been wise if he had done so. I went to the Department and asked what this was all about. I then learnt that the honourable member for Hindmarsh had been to the Department and had said: I am making a speech on the Housing Bill today and I would like some information about housing’. My officers did all they could to provide the information and pointed out to him the dichotomy of responsibility between immigration and housing. Any officer in my Department would do all that he could to provide information, and my officers did so on this occasion. Nevertheless, they sought to make it clear that there was a Department of Housing which dealt with housing matters. The honourable gentlemen then came into this chamber and pretended that he had sought information to make a statement about immigration and housing when he had specifically said to officers of my Department that he was seeking information for the Housing Bill debate.
After I had made my statement on immigration the honourable gentleman asked for leave to make a statement and, indeed, spoke by leave on the immigration statement and then spoke on the Housing Bill. He is entitled to and will receive at all times the greatest co-operation and courtesy from my Department and from every officer in my Department. But when he gets to the stage of pretending to the Parliament that he did not receive that information from officers of the Public Service, I believe that he should mend his ways. He has spoken in the broadest terms about the refusal of immigration. He will say something at one time and something different at another time, but at all times he implies that a person who votes other than for the Liberal Party would be refused citizenship. He implies that anybody who has, as he would so characteristically describe it, a left wing tendency would be refused citizenship. 1 leave it to the Committee and to the public to judge just how real this is. We have had a massive planned immigration programme into Australia over the last 20 years. A great number of people have come here and have immeasurably enriched our society and given us immeasurable economic progress. By that economic progress they have enabled us to realise the social objectives that we set for ourselves. We welcome them as migrants and as permanent residents and citizens of this country. Of the persons who have come here, 605,630 have been granted citizenship and in the 20 years under review 521 have been refused citizenship of security grounds. Let honourable members opposite do the mathematics: This is less than 0.1%. Are there only that many people who support the Labor Party in Australia? Sometimes erne would think this is all the support the Labor Party deserves. Of the 521 migrants who were refused naturalisation, 116 were subsequently given naturalisation. Therefore, whilst 605,630 were granted citizenship, only 405 were refused citizenship on security grounds. If there is any weight at all in the proposition that the honourable member for Hindmarsh puts up, the House will judge it. Those are the figures. I can only say in conclusion in dealing with the honourable gentleman that it is a great shame - a very great shame - that the bi-partisan attitude he has hoped to create over the years has been now shot asunder.
Mr CLYDE CAMERON (Hindmarsh)I wish to make a personal explanation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– I have been misrepresented by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) who has made some wild and woolly statements about what I said. I just want to make it quite clear to the House, if it is not already clear, that at no stage have I criticised any of the countries that I visited in 1967. I did not visit Germany, nor did I visit Sweden or the United States of America. I visited Yugoslavia, but I did not criticise that country. I visited Italy and I did not criticise it. Also, I visited the United Kingdom and did not criticise that country. None of the countries that I visited did I criticise. Yet, the Minister had the effrontery to get up here tonight-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member cannot debate the statement.
– I rise on a point of order. Is the honourable member for Hindmarsh on his feet on a point of order or is he speaking to the estimates of the Department of Immigration? I would suggest with ultimate respect to you, sir, that if he is speaking on a point of order he is trading upon the charity of the Chair.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh is making a personal explanation. I suggest that the honourable member for Hindmarsh may not debate it.
– The Minister in stating that I had criticised some of the expenditure which I myself had incurred is just not telling the truth.
– But the honourable member was not telling the truth either.
– Of course I was telling the” truth and everyone who knows the facts knows this to be true. The Minister also said that I made a statement that anyone who holds a political viewpoint that is not acceptable to the Government ought to be deported or given naturalisation. That is not what I said at all. I said that any law abiding citizen in this country should be given citizenship, not that any person who holds political views contrary to those of the Government should be deported or else given citizenship. That is not what I said. I went on to say-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh shall not debate the statement.
– I think the wheat growers have upset you. You seem to be-
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will resume his seat.
– You are preventing me from clearing up a matter of misrepresentation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– Mr Deputy Chairman, I think that the honourable member should withdraw his statements concerning the Minister because he knows they are not true. Early in his speech he made statements concerning the Minister. I believe that they were quite untrue and that he should withdraw them.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- No statements made by the honourable member for Hindmarsh were unparliamentary. I call the honourable member for Wills.
- Mr Deputy Chairman-
– Mr Deputy Chairman, I raise a point of order. I clearly heard the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) make a statement which I would have believed reflected on your integrity. He said to you directly: ‘I think the wheat growers have upset you*. That remark was addressed to you as Deputy Chairman of this Committee. I would have thought that it was offensive to you and to this Committee. I suggest for your consideration that you ask the honourable member for Hindmarsh to withdraw that statement as it affected you.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- I have not regarded the statement as offensive.
– If the speech made by the Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) is a demonstration of a change of attitude to his parliamentary manners, it is a good thing. Tonight he has delivered to us a homily on how well one should behave in this chamber and how one should address one’s colleagues. Even those of us with not very long memories remember how he introduced McCarthyism into this chamber on many occasions and on one occasion was forced by his own leader to withdraw. I wish to refer to one or two of the things he said tonight. He referred affectionately and proprietorially to ‘my Department’. The unfailing conceit of the members of the present Ministry is shown in the way they regard their departments and the Public Service as their private property and, as an act of grace, allow other members of this Parliament to obtain information from those departments.
I wish to support my colleague the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) in one or two of the things he said. It is true that in this country at the present moment there is political discrimination in the granting of naturalisation. The Minister said that 405 people had been refused naturalisation, as security risks.
Some of those people are Communists and to my knowledge, which is as certain as one’s knowledge can be in these matters, some of them are not Communists. My own view is that, no matter how outrageous his political views appear to me to be, anybody who is living lawfully and peacefully in this community, in a democratic Australia, ought to be entitled to citizenship of this country.
But the besetting sin of the Department of Immigration and of the Minister is that the 405 people denied naturalisation are the subject of injustice by administrative decree. I do not believe that in this community we should tolerate a situation in which people are denied what is, in my view, a fundamental right, the denial of which at least creates a great deal of hardship for them, by any judgment, without being confronted with the charges and given the opportunity to deny them.
I know a number of these people. I ask the Minister to take them to his office, confront them with the charges and let them answer them then and there, or to set up some administrative tribunal that will do so. I believe that this is the fundamental way in which we should handle this matter. On those grounds I believe that there has been political discrimination. Until the Government has the courage, the nerve and the wit to face the people who are the victims of its judgment, I do not place much credence in that judgment. As far as J am concerned, it is political discrimination to engage in the present practice.
Then, of course, there are other political discriminations. A year or so ago there was the case of Air Vice-Marshall Hawkins, the Chief of Staff of the Rhodesian Air Force and on any judgment a rebel in arms as far as this country is concerned. Honourable members might have different views on the Rhodesian situation, but the fact is that by all our operations and attitudes in international affairs Air Vice-Marshal Hawkins was in fact in rebellion against the Crown and against the laws that we acknowledge. But he is an Australian, and the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Minister for Immigration did what I think I would have done in the same situation. They said: ‘He is an Australian; he -is entitled to come home’. What is good enough for Hawkins is good enough for Burchett. If Burchett is guilty of any crime, then bring him home and let him answer for it.
On the other hand, I understand that some deserters from East German ships - I am not sure of this and I hope the Minister will correct me afterwards if I am wrong - were allowed to stay. Deserters from East German ships or from Communist ships have been allowed to stay but deserters from Greek ships have been sent home. So as far as this concerns naturalisation it has become a political matter. But I rose tonight to speak about another matter, in particular the failure’ of the Department and the Government to attack the question of the educational problems of new Australian children, particularly as they are situated in my electorate in the suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg. I did not intend to speak at any length tonight. There is plenty of evidence about to say that this is the case. At a recent meeting in Carlton a’ paper was presented, and if the Minister had stayed in the House I would have asked his permission to have it incorporated in Hansard to show just what are the difficulties of non-English speaking migrants and their families in this country. The facts are that literally thousands of young people are being poured into this country and nothing is being done to solve their educational problems. There is one school at Malvern in my electorate, a primary school, where there are sixteen language groups. Some of these groups contain only three or four children. There are half a dozen who are Turkish, but there is only one young officer in a bank in the district who can speak Turkish. None of their parents can speak English.
It is an almost insurmountable educational problem, but then, of course, in the same school there are SOO Italian children. Some of them arrived a few weeks ago and some have been here for 12 months. There are dozens of Greek children. It is a problem that the education system in Victoria is not equipped to tackle. The Commonwealth is the only authority which can do something about it, and I believe it is important that we tackle this problem in some thorough way. In Toronto, in Canada, which has something of a similar sized problem to that of the metropolitan area of Melbourne in that there are some 200,000 Italians in Toronto, the local education authority has between 180 and 200 specialist teachers on the job of solving the language problem of these people. The problem of language affects people’s whole lives. There are dozens of children in the schools I speak of in Victoria who speak different languages. They come from Yugoslavia, Greece or Italy and they cannot even mingle in the school grounds, and when they get into the classroom the teacher has no chance of tackling the problem. They become completely out of focus with the education system. This is tragic, and I believe the Commonwealth ought to do something about this problem. A good deal of material has been written out it. It is a Commonwealth created problem.
The statistics show- that, last year I think it was, between 35,000 and 40,000 young people between the ages of 5 years and 19 years arrived in Australia. As the average school in the metropolitan areas of Australia has an attendance of about 800 children that means that there should be the best part of between 45 and 50 complete new schools. This means perhaps some 2,000 teachers are required and the State school system cannot cope with it. Where these children arrive is, of course, often fortuitous. The families happen to be settling in the industrial areas of Melbourne, and presumably in the industrial areas of Sydney and the other capital cities. Most of the schools in my area are crowded with young people of this kind, and something ought to be done about it by the Commonwealth in all conscience. So I just place it on the record here tonight because it is a great and burning problem throughout many of the metropolitan areas of Australia. It is a Commonwealth responsibility. We cannot shirk it. We cannot duck behind the smokescreen of State rights. Tonight, of course, we are also debating the system of labour and national service. A good deal has been said in this place about the present system of national service. At present, I understand, some 60 or 70 young people are likely to be charged with failing to register for national service, failing to appear for their medical examination or failing to report for duty in military service. They all will become victims of the National Service Act that we passed.
In the first instance the charge will be that they failed to register. Next it will be that they failed to take the medical examination. Next it will be the charge when they have failed to report for military duty. Is this Government going to continue to inflict these penalties upon the young people of Australia? Is that the only way in which a civilised democratic Australia can operate in 1969 with a war which is behind it all and which has nothing to do with the military sacrifice of these young people moving to some kind of close? Will there be dozens more young John Zarbs? An increasing number of young people whom I am acquainted with will refuse to register. They will refuse to pay the fines. They will refuse to plead in the courts. Does the Government intend to put these thousands of young people in the prisons? Will the Goverment search its conscience and change the National Service Act to bring it more in line and focus with the needs of the community?
– The Minister for Immigration (Mr Snedden) appeared to think that there was something wrong with one requesting his Department to provide certain facilities overseas and then offering criticism on return to this country. I do not know whether many honourable members today received a document entitled, if I remember correctly, ‘The New Citizens Document’ which complained about the shortage of women for new Australians. If anybody cares to read that document, he will see that there is grave cause for complaint. I suggest that honourable members should read this document. I do not think there is anything wrong with asking a department to offer courtesy when one goes overseas as a member of Parliament. When I was overseas I accepted certain courtesies from the Department of Immigration, as did the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), with whom I was associated on my trip to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, and I must say that we were treated most handsomely and helped in every way possible, I feel it is the duty of any department, and in particular the Department of External Affairs. If I went to the International Labor Organisation conference, as I did when I was out of Parliament, I would expect the same courtesy to be extended to me by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury).
I want to make a constructive contribution to this debate; it concerns the Department of Labour and National Service. Recently the Minister for Labour and National Service issued a news release on the growth in the use of computers in Australia. He said:
Already in the first half of 1969 there have been 116 computer deliveries: this and the present large number on order should lead to a greater increase of computers in use in 1969 than in any year since the first electronic computer was installed in Australia in 1931.
Table 1 issued with that statement shows the growth of the number of computers was from 34 in 1960 to 813 in 1969. Table 4 shows the industries in which they operate. The monthly review of the employment situation for July 1969 released by the Minister showed that unemployment had decreased by 5,328 but that there were 49,538 persons unemployed. In that document the Minister expressed the belief that full employment, as he called it, will continue as technological changes take place. But will it? Why does he think that of all the countries in which automation is increasing Australia should be the only one that will escape repercussions in the form of unemployment? The Commonwealth Statistician, Mr Archer, has a different view. In the ‘Australian’ of 12th August 1969 the following report appeared:
Australia was fortunate that the introduction of computers had coincided with a rapid expansion of the economy, the Commonwealth Statistician, Mr K. M. Archer, said yesterday.
This had allowed people displaced after the introduction of computers to be absorbed into other areas, usually within the same organisation, he said.
But Australia could not afford to be complaceent for if the displacement was growing as fast as the use of computers, there might be an urgent need for action.
He was addressing 1,470 delegates to tha fourth Australian computer conference in Adelaide. He said that in future the reduction in jobs might happen too fast for society to cope with. It was important for society to be able to plan to avoid a situation where this became a social problem. In some areas it might be necessary to slow the introduction of computers to reduce the social costs.
It is not good enough to be complacent about these social repercussions on the grounds that they are difficult to predict or measure,’ he said. ‘To measure and minimise the social costs of computers to the community, we need timely and accurate analysis of the impact of computers on the workforce.’ A lot had been heard about the potential benefit to society from computers, but insufficient attention might have been given to the social cost involved.
That was a statement by the Commonwealth Statistician, and I think it is a very important statement of which the Minister might take note. Automation has become a solid reality in the United States, and it is worrying the unions more and more in the United States. There is not the slightest doubt to Americans that automation, as the tate President Kennedy said, is a major problem. The United States Labour Department estimates that 1.8 million workers are being replaced each year by new machines and computers to operate them. In industry after industry there is declining employment, paralleled by increasing production. Few industries can be immunised against the march of the new technology. Despite what the Minister has said from time to time, onions know better than to believe that the new technology will create jobs. Automation is specifically intended to destroy manual labour, and it does. As it has done in the United States, so it will do here. Unions know from experience that society is not very good at looking after those whom it rejects for one reason or another. I ask the Minister to take note of that fact. There must be some national responsibility in this matter. This responsibility is not in evidence yet, and from remarks which the Minister has made from time to time, I doubt whether such a responsibility will be accepted by this Government.
Major research is now being carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom into the social and economic problems being created by automation. It is hoped to prevent the new technology from becoming a blight to human hopes and asperations I pose this question to the Minister: What planning is going on in Australia? I think the answer is none. It is claimed that automation will not create unemployment. In some industries there are no outright layoffs due to automation, but the workforce is gradually being reduced. In the United States it is known as ‘firing by not hiring’. In the United Kingdom it is known as silent sacking’. You do not put anyone off under those terms, but you do not put anyone on and gradually the number employed is reduced. That is happening here. So far workers laid off have been found other jobs, but there will be a great number of workers laid off in the future who will not be found jobs. We should be preparing an economic substitute, for example, for the war in Vietnam which is happily coming to an end. The numbers in the Army and the spending on the Vietnam war are creating a large amount of temporary employment. What about when it finishes? These lads will have to be employed in industry, and at the same time there will be a cut back in the labour that is now used to supply their needs in the Army. I ask the Minister: What is being done about that? Surely something must be done.
The scene is changing remarkably. When most of us started our working lives - and I refer to almost every member of this Parliament - we could safely assume that when we had trained for a skilled job we would be able to follow that occupation for the rest of our working lives. Son often followed father in a particular line of work. All this could change very quickly and instead of son following father, the father might bc very lucky to follow his original trade until he retires. The chances are that if he reaches the age of retirement the job will have changed so much that it will be unrecognisable or even non-existent. What does this mean? It means that workers will be forced to train for new and different jobs part of the way through their working lives. Re-training will be a normal part of a working life. A worker who enters a re-training scheme should receive full pay during the period of his re-training. Everyone must be given the maximum opportunity to receive the highest education. An article headed ‘Humanising Technological Change’ appeared in the American journal Labour News’ of December 1966. It states:
Another area in which automation makes national action especially urgent is the field of education. The demands made upon education by our changing technology are greater than those imposed upon almost any other institution in American life. Now, more than ever before, every child, every worker, every citizen, must be educated to the limit of his ability. Without adequate education, people cannot function effectively in an age of automation.
The revolution in technology, therefore, requires a commitment of our resources to education and training on a massive scale and a willingness to explore new paths to better education for all Americans. Few expenditures would yield a higher return than such an investment in America’s human resources’.
What’s more, few other undertakings could bring America closer to full employment. The construction of needed schools and libraries would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, including many located in the very areas in which the unemployed reside and many requiring only the limited skills which most of the unemployed presently possess. Better facilities, improved teaching techniques and adequate financial assistance would lure many out of the labour market and back to school. And additional training and education would make further inroads on unemployment by providing workers with skills to match the job requirements of an automated economy.
The article contains a very important statement about an educational policy that is lacking. That is equally true of the educational policy of the Australian Government. It has failed the people in the field of education. Our education system cannot function properly because not enough money is available for education. Education deserves more of our resources. Our children are growing up into an increasingly scientific and technological age. In an increasingly competitive world Australia faces the future with a grave shortage of skilled labour in almost every field. Our economy is unbalanced between the public and private sectors. On the one hand is private affluence and wealth. Adequate funds are available for luxury buildings. In the opposite direction, schools, hospitals or national development works are financially starved. The task for the educationists is not merely to provide workers with the right skills, but also to equip people to live full lives in the new society that’ technology will bring forth. This new technology must be used to liberate men still further and not to enslave them to machines.
A choice is open to us. The first alternative is to accept the challenge of technological change and to make certain that it is used for the benefit of all mankind. The second alternative that I direct to the attention of the Minister is to sit pat and do nothing. The Minister follows that course. Unless there is a change we shall become victims of the great forces of automation. We must make certain that the workers do not become disadvantaged as a result of technological change. If their interests are protected and advanced I am sure that the trade unions will respond and co-operate with the employers and the Government. It is important here to make a point that I made during a debate on the penal provisions. Early in the last 12 months they were not an important issue, but recently they have become very important. As we put them to the Parliament 3 or 4 months ago, so they became important. We advocated changes in the penal provisions for 12 months or so before the Government became aware of the need and it was only in the last stages when we were getting closer to a crisis that the Government took notice of us. This issue of automation is an important issue now and the Government should take notice of it now so that we will be protected from the repercussions that will come from it in the future.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Hon. Sir William Haworth) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I welcome the query that the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Webb) has just thrown across to me. I certainly did note the comments made by the Commonwealth Statistician in Adelaide. I regret that he was not better armed with the results of work that is going on in other sections of the Government. Had he known about the work that is being done on a large scale in my Department, he would have been able to modify some of the impressions that he created. Not many months after I became the Minister for Labour and National Service I established in the Department a special new section to deal with technological change just because of the kind of problems that have been mentioned by the honourable member for Stirling. This section is staffed with the best people we have been able to obtain for the task. We combed the English speaking world to get the best people we could. We have achieved a good result and we have a very effective section.
In dealing with computers, the honourable member referred to my Press release of 27th July, which was the third report in the series on employment and technology prepared in my Department. It contains a number of case studies. This one dealt with technical changes in the printing industry and the effect of them. This is not a subject on which generalisations can be used to an undue degree; case studies have to be made. It is only by looking at the history of individual cases, noting what has happened and what is likely to happen, that a total picture can be built up. If the honourable member has not received sufficient information so far on the effect of computers, I would like to inform him that in October a major report on this subject will be put out by my Department. This will deal in a practical way with the numbers displaced, the numbers who stayed with firms and have been retrained and what in fact has occurred as a result of the use of computers. It is because of the potential in this that we are working so hard on the problems.
I suppose the honourable member for Stirling knows that the National Labour Advisory Council, which has equal representation from both employers and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and of which I am a member, considers that one of its most important activities is dealing with technological change. This subject is so regarded by all members of the Council. As the honourable member raised this subject, I take the opportunity to point out that the Council issued a pamphlet on adjusting to technological change. The Council consists of representatives of both sides of industry. Its members are Mr Dillon, Mr Polites, Mr Gibson, Mr Curtis, Mr Walker, Mr McCusker who is the New South Wales Commissioner for Railways and is chairman of the Council’s Technological Change Committee, Mr Monk, Mr Petrie, Mr Souter, Mr Marsh, Mr Devereux and Dr Cook, who is the permanent head of my Department.
Quite apart from computers we have made a large number of studies, and have published as many as practicable so far, on the effect of technological change. The picture which is emerging is that most of those who are displaced by computers are absorbed in other work connected with the computers or in another job in the firm. There has been a great deal of job training for other positions and the number who have actually been displaced so far - I always admit the caveat ‘so far’ - has been remarkably low. In fact in many cases the aggregate number employed has increased because the computer itself leads to a train of requirements for skilled people.
-You do not think that will continue, do you?
– That remains to be seen. I would not assume that it would continue. If it did continue and it was thought likely to continue in that form, it would become a lesser problem and perhaps we would devote less energy and attention to it than we do now. This is a movement which could change. This is what has happened in the industries which have been affected so far. We are very alert; we watch what is going on to try to anticipate events and prepare the necessary action as soon as we can. That is why we are putting out this pamphlet on the principles which should be adopted in adjusting to technological change as a guide to all concerned in industry. One of the principles relates to the provision of early information to those concerned. An important part of this refers to the collection by the Department of Labour and National Service of information on the nature arid incidence of technological change occurring and likely to occur in industry, and to research by the Department into the impact on employment of such change. Of course, the more cooperation we get from employers and trade unions to assist in this task, the more effectively we can take action.
I assure the honourable member for Stirling that we have devoted a great deal of time and attention to this but for some reason it is still almost impossible to publicise effectively what we are doing. Despite putting out pamphlets and despite making Press statements and so on, enormous numbers of people do not know about the work being done and assume that nothing is being done. I assure the honourable member that this is very far from the case. This is one of our most important tasks.
The honourable member for Stirling referred to worries about unemploymentthat is the implication of his remarks - when and if the Army contingent is withdrawn from Vietnam. As far as those directly employed are concerned I can see no redaction in employment The removal of our Army contingent from Vietnam will not automatically reduce the need for a base for an Australian Army. The Australian Army is about the size it was intended to be.
Irrespective of whether part of it is in Vietnam, it still remains an enduring national requirement. As far ahead as can be foreseen, we see a real problem in the chronic shortage of labour. The honourable member himself referred to a shortage of skilled labour in many directions. Our problem at present is to find enough labour to satisfy requirements. I am busily considering by what other means we can get additional accretions to our labour force. We have had some notable accretions as a result of immigration and the movement of married women and other women into the work force. Still, over and above this, we do need to look in every nook and cranny we can find for extra labour. Without this extra labour the danger of inflation and frustration on many projects becomes more lively. As far as being ready for this is concerned, I regret that there is not currently, here and now, more labour available.
– That is now?
– Yes, now. This is the case as far as one can see things immediately ahead. There is a greater shortage of some skills, particularly in the metal and electrical trades, than of others. There is also a chronic shortage of semi-skilled workers in vast numbers of industries and places. This is an immediate problem. Of course, the economic climate changes. We have had long experience of that. Personally, I feel confident that for some time ahead our resources will be very fully employed and our problem will be a shortage rather than a surplus of labour.
The honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) did raise a few points bearing on my Department. Particularly did he dwell on the gainful employment of some people who were not precisely handicapped. They could not become eligible for relief as invalid pensioners. They could work but could not work effectively in full competition with others on the labour market. He pointed to the fact that in the big centres this problem is a minor one but in regional centres, such as Geelong, this was in itself quite a problem. Well, on this matter, certainly constant endeavour is being made by my Department to put these people to effective work. However, I believe that in Geelong and in one or two other centres in the country there are some special problems.
In drawing attention to this matter I think that the honourable member for Corio did a service. The more this problem is known, the easier it becomes to solve as understanding of it grows and employers and others become more willing to take labour of this kind. I thank again the honourable member for Stirling for bringing before the Committee these problems about displaced labour and the effects that technological changes may have on labour, because this has given me the opportunity to refer to some of the things which are being done. I mention again to the honourable member that in October a report will be available which I think will be of considerable interest to him.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
House adjourned at 11.55 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
Education (Question No. 1148)
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The following schedule of installations operating under governmental agreement has been compiled from in forma-
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
What will be the annual cost to the Commonwealth (a) Public Service and (b) instrumentalities of the equal pay judgment on 19 June 1969.
– The Public Service Board has advised me that the actual amount to be received by each eligible female from 1 October 1969 (which can vary from $125 p.a. to $1 p.a.) and subsequent dates can only be ascertained at departmental level and that, as the actual form of the implementing determination of the Public Service Arbitrator has not yet been decided, departments are not yet aware of the method of salary adjustment. In the circumstances it is not possible at this stage to provide the information sought by the honourable member.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
Can he give information on social workers later than that be gave me in his answer on 7 November 1968 (Hansard, page 2676) to my question No. 749 of11 September 1968.
– The Public Service Board has advised me as follows - (1), (2) and (3) The schedule at Attachment A’ updates the information provided in the answer to question No. 749. The statistics relating to the number of students who qualified refer to those who had degrees, diplomas or post-graduate diplomas conferred between August 1967 and July 1968. Information on the number who qualified at the end of 1968 will not be available until later this year.
The latest preliminary estimates available, based on information obtained from departments, suggest that the total number of Social Worker positions in the Commonwealth Service will increase to between 260-270 over the next three years. There are also approximately 38 current vacancies. Against these needs the Commonwealth Service has 23 Cadet Social Workers and plans to recruit a further 23 to commence their cadetships in 1970.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:.
On what dates and with what results has action since been taken by any of the persons or on any of the matters mentioned in his answer on 17 April (Hansard, page 1274) to my question of 6 March concerning the Commonwealth/State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Work has continued on the processing and analysis of material for the studies which I indicated were in progress in my statement of 17 April 1969. Consultations between members of the Technical Sub-Committee have taken place where necessary. In addition a further study has been commissioned by the New South Wales Department of Decentralisation and Development from Macquarie University, which will examine the subsequent location of recent school-leavers in certain country towns. The present position with respect to the studies which were in progress at the time of my reply of 17 April is as follows:
The detailed analysis for the New South Wales study of the costs involved for firms and individuals in locating in various areas has been completed, and a report is in preparation.
The ‘Historical Costs’ part of the New South Wales study of the relative costs of providing public services in various locations has been completed. The detailed work for the Victorian study on that topic has continued, and computer processing of some sections has been commenced. Detailed work has continued for the Estimates’ part of the New South Wales study.
Detailed work has continued for the city water supply costs study, and the traffic congestion study.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
International Conventions (Question No. 1661)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice: .
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a), (b), (c), (d), (e). The following conventions were drafted or reviewed at conferences at which Australia was represented:
This Proces Verbal was drawn up at the twenty-fifth Session of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on 19 November 1968. Australia supported the adoption of the Proces Verbal and has become a party to it by signature. The Proces Verbal entered into force on 17 December 1968.
United Arab Republic to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
This Proces Verbal was drawn up at the Twenty-fifth Session of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on 19 November 1968. Australia supported the adoption of the Proces Verbal and has become a party to it by signature. The Proces Verbal entered into force on 27 February 1969.
This Protocol was drawn up at an International Civil Aviation Organization Conference held at Buenos Aires in September 1968. Australia supported the adoption of the Protocol and became a party by signature. The Protocol entered into force on 24 October 1968.
This Agreement was drawn up at the United Nations Sugar Conference which resumed at Geneva in September 1968. Australia supported the adoption of the Agreement which was opened for signature between 3 and 24 December. Australia became a party to the Agreement by Signature and the Agreement provisionally entered into force on 1 January 1969. Australia’s Instrument of Ratification was deposited on 23 May 1969. The Agreement definitively entered into force on 17 June 1969.
This Convention was drawn up by the United Nations Conference on the Law of Treaties held at Vienna, the first session of the Conference being held from 26 March to 24 May 1968 and the second and final session being held from 9 April to 22 May 1969. Certain of the provisions were regarded as unsatisfactory, principally provisions contained in Part V providing for the invalidity and premature termination of treaties. For this reason Australia did not support the final vote taken at the Conference on the adoption of the text of the Convention as a whole. Voting on that issue was 79 in favour, one against (France) and 19 abstentions, including Australia. Australia is not considering becoming a party to the Convention at this stage. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
This Agreement was drawn up by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference held at London during 1966. Australia . supported the adoption of the Agreement and became a party by signature. The Agreement became effective on 1 April 1969.
This Agreement was drawn up by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Conference held at London during 1966. Australia supported the adoption of the Agreement and became a parly by signature. The Agreement entered into force on 1 April 1969.
This Agreement was drawn up by the ASPAC Standing Committee in May 1969. Australia supported the adoption of the Agreement and became a party by signature. The Agreement entered into force on 1 1 June 1969.
This Convention was adopted at the International Labour Conference held at Geneva from the 4 to 26 June 1969. Australia supported its adoption. The question of Australia’s becoming a party to it is being considered. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
This Convention was adopted at the International Labour Conference held at Geneva from 4 to 26 June 1969. Australia supported its adoption. The question of Australia becoming a party to it is being considered. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
This Convention was adopted by the twenty-third session of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 November, 1968. Australia voted against its adoption. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
This Convention was drawn up at an international conference under the auspices of the International Maritime Consultative Organisation at London in May and June 1969. Australia supported the adoption of the Convention and the question of Australia becoming a party to it is under consideration. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
This Convention was drawn up at the United Nations Conference on Road Traffic held at Vienna in October and November 1968. The question of adoption is at present under consideration. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
Convention on Road Signs and Signals 1968. This Convention was drawn up at the United Nations Conference on Road Traffic held at Vienna in October and Novemebr 1968. The question of adoption is at present under consideration. The Convention has not yet entered into force.
The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 21 September 1965, entered into force on 4 January 1969, 30 days after the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification or accession was deposited in Poland.
In relation to the International Labour Organisation Conventions, I refer the Honourable Member to the answer provided by the Minister for Labour and National Service to his question 1662.
The undermentioned countries have become parties to the following conventions listed on pages 3059-3063 of Hansard (16 and 17 November 1964).
Papua and New Guinea Entry Permits (Question No. 1666)
asked the Minister for
External! Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Information, including the countries to which applicants belonged, is available in the case of diplomats from April 1967 and, in the case of journalists, from 1965 and is as follows:
The permit system is not designed to record applications from academics separately, but an examination of records for the past year shows that about 300 entry permits were issued within Australia to academics during that period.
No break-up by countries is available and a detailed analysis to give this information (from permit applications still in existence) would involve many hours of research. In any case the analysis would be incomplete as the figure does not include permits issued by Australian offices overseas.
No diplomats or academics were refused permits to enter the Territory during the past five years. The only journalists refused wereIoulian Semenov (in April 1969) and Yuri Yasnev (in March 1964), both Soviet citizens.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice:
Why cannot fire brigades in South Australia and Western Australia use the universal adaptor which has been developed by the Commonwealth Fixe Board for joining hoses and which is satisfactory for joining couplings used in the other four States.
– The Minister for Works has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
The universal adaptor has been developed for use with threaded type couplings but it has not been possible to devise an adaptor which will fit all threads.
The female coupling of the universal adaptor will only partly engage the South Australian male coupling and water pressure or bumping will disengage the coupling rendering the equipment ineffective.
The male coupling of the universal adaptor is too large in diameter to fit the South Australian female coupling. The adaptor therefore cannot be satisfactorily used in South Australia.
The hose couplings used in Western Australia were a threaded type but are at present being changed to the British instantaneous press-on type of coupling. The universal adaptor cannot be used with this coupling.
The type of fire hose coupling used is a matter for the State Authority concerned.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Question No. 1748)
asked the Minister for
Education and Science, upon notice:
– The following answer is now supplied:
Each category is made up of a number of constituent grades (usually 4 or 5). The range of percentage shown for each category covers the individual percentage increases applicable to the grades which make up that category. The percentages have been calculated from the maximum salary figures of the salary ranges appropriate to the various grades, and the figures shown are the lowest and highest percentages for each category.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
What was the date, nature and result of the latest consultation between the Commonwealth and Queensland on rectifying the 1878 boundary between Papua and Queensland which for some 60 miles proceeds within 3 miles of the Papuan coast.
– The following answer is now supplied: 1 have been advised by the Minister for External Territories that the matter remains as set out in the answer given to Question No. 518, page No. 2746 of Hansard of 3 November 1967 except that the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Bill has been enacted.
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Will he give figures of net private capital flows to developing countries corresponding to the last table in Statement No. 8 attached to his Budget speech and subsequent to his answer to me on 26 November 1968 (Hansard, page 3289).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The information requested by the honourable member is set out in the following table:
The figures quoted above for official flows differ from those contained in Statement No. 8 attached to the Budget Speech for 1969-70 because the latter relate to official development assistance only and do not include official loans or export credits extended on non-concessional terms or subscriptions to bonds issued by international institutions like the World Bank which bear market rates of interest.
The figures for 1968 shown in this table are, however, comparable with those for earlier years supplied to the honourable member on 26 November ‘1968. .
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
What payments have been made to the (a) sterling area and (b) non-sterling area for films (i) for use on television and (ii) for other exhibition purposes in each year since his predecessor’s answer to me on 14 September 1965.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Overseas exchange has been allocated as follows during the last four years:
FILMS FOR USE ON TELEVISION
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Munich Agreement (Question No. 1816)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
No formal action was taken by the Australian Government to recognise nor, subsequently, to denounce the Munich Agreement.
On 30th September 1938 the then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Lyons, issued a press statement officially confirming that an agreement for the settlement of the Sudeten question had been signed at Munich by representatives of Britain, Germany, France, and Italy.
On 17th March 1939 Mr Lyons issued a statement expressing profound disappointment and alarm at events of the past few days from which - it was clear that the German Government was effecting a military occupation of territory inhabited by people who were not of the German race. The Munich Agreement, which had been accepted by the powers concerned, had determined, he said, the extent of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. He said that hopes for the regulation of relations between the powers by methods of consultation and conciliation had received one more set-back and that attempts on the part of one nation to achieve a wide domination by force or the threat of force would be resisted.
Governments-in-exile (Question No. 1817)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, upon notice:
With reference to my question No. 1255 (Hansard 29 and 30 May 1969, page 2575) are there governments-in-exile of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania which Australia recognises?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Lithuania which were forced into exile by the U.S.S.R.’s invasion and occupation of those States in 1940.
Royal Australian Navy (Question No. 1839)
asked the Minister for the
Navy, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Cockatoo Docks & Engineering Co. Pty Ltd
Sydney, New South Wales 1 River Class Destroyer Escort -
Williamstown Naval Dockyard
Williamstown, Victoria 1 Oberon Class Submarine -
Messrs Scotts Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd
Scotland, United Kingdom 3 Torpedo Recovery Vessels -
Williamstown Naval Dockyard
asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice:
How many certificates of. naturalisation were conferred in the last two years in each local government area in which more than 100 certificates were conferred?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The following table shows the local government areas in each State in which 100 or more certificates of Australian citizenship were conferred during the two years ended 30th lune 1969:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice:
What has been the expenditure by the Department of Works over the past 3 financial years in each of the States?
– The Minister for Works has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
The expenditure by the Department of Works over the past three financial years in each of the States is as follows:
Although the total of $246,368,440 agrees with the total expenditure shown in the report of the Auditor-General for the year ended 30 June 1969, at paragraph 271 some adjustments have been made in expenditure for certain branches. The adjust ment is necessary to allocate to the branches concerned some recoverable expenditure included by the Auditor-General in the New South Wales total.
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
What finance has the Commonwealth contributed for road safety annually for the past 10 years, and how was this money spent?
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth has contributed a total oi $3,150,000 for road safety over the past 10 years, made up of grants to State Governments foi expenditure on road safety public education and Commonwealth appropriations for the promotion of road safety practices. Details of annual expenditure under these two headings arc:
Grants to States are expended by the respective Governments under prescribed conditions which restrict the expenditure generally to road safety education. The Commonwealth Appropriation is expended mainly in support of national public education campaigns carried out in co-operation with State Road Safety Councils, and in the production of road safety educational material for use in schools. An approximate ratio of expenditure over the past 10 years would be:
Mass Media (Press, Radio, Television and Drivein Theatres) - 70%.
Printed Material- -20%.
Public Relations and Monthly Journal ‘Report’ -
Finance: Graziers’ Overdrafts
– On 14th August in replying to a question without notice by the honourable member for Darling (Mr Clark), I undertook to ascertain to what extent the recent increase in bank interest rates would apply to current loans and overdrafts, particularly those of graziers affected by recent droughts.
As stated by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia on 31st July 1969, when announcing details of increases in maximum trading bank deposit and lending rates of interest, arrangements with banks provide that when the maximum overdraft rate is changed, general movements in most other trading bank lending rates are made in the same direction and broadly to the same extent. In such circumstances, therefore, banks would normally adjust rates on both new and existing overdrafts. lt is a long-established Government policy tor banks to extend preferential treatment in the interest rates charged to rural borrowers on finance provided for primary production purposes, and the Governor indicated in his statement of 31st July that the degree of preferential treatment accorded by the banks for such purposes would be maintained. Moreover, the trading banks have assured the Reserve Bank that they extend sympathetic treatment to rural borrowers affected by drought.
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
In addition to the enrolments itemised there are 343 non-indigenous students in the Territory enrolled with Australian correspondence schools. Other enrolments in the Territory not itemised include 548 indigenous and non-indigenous students at the University of Papua and New Guinea and 136 at the Institute of Higher Technical Education. There are also over 500 students taking tertiary level courses at the Papuan Medical College, the Dental College, Goroka Teachers’ College, Vudal Agricultural College, Bulolo Forestry School and the Administrative College.
The nature and cost of the assistance for education in Australia and elsewhere is as follows:
Secondary - Assistance under Administration scholarship and subsidy/scholarship schemes meets the cost of tuition, accommodation and all necessary living expenses, together with one return fare to the Territory per annum. The cost to thi Administration is estimated at $1,530 per secondary student per annum on average.
University - Administration assistance for Administration sponsored students comprises allowances to cover tuition fees, accommodation, clothing and text books, medical and dental expenses, living expenses and one annual return air fare to the Territory and is estimated to cost an average of $2,000 per student per annum. Administration assistance for private students is one clothing allowance of $100 and an annual return air fare.
Secondary - Parents who are not public servants and who live in the Territory and send their children to secondary school in Australia are entitled to the Territory secondary education allowance which is at present $290 for the first child and $390 p.a. for second and subsequent children in Australia at the same time, together with one return air fare annually for each child. The same allowances were available to Territory Public Servants until 1968 when the Public Service Arbitrator granted instead a Child Education Allowance to be paid as a term and condition of service of the employment of overseas officers of the Territory Public Service, at the rate of $480 per annum for each child.
Students studying outside Australia receive the same allowance together with the equivalent of a return air fare from Sydney to the Territory.
University - The Administration meets the cost of one return air fare per annum as far as Sydney providing the student is not in receipt of other assistance or fares.
Other Education - 14 handicapped children receive an annual return air fare and up to $200 p.a. for tuition only; 11 students at tertiary institutions other than universities receive air fares assistance.
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
What are the total casualties to date in all categories of Australian Military Forces in Vietnam.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Australian casualties in Vietnam to 22nd August 1969 were:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
In how many cases in each year since its establishment has the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (a) made an award which included a bans clause and (b) varied an award by inserting a bans clause.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
What was the amount of costs ordered against each of the employers mentioned in his reply to Question No. 1026 (Hansard, 25 February 1969, 72-80) in respect of each penalty stated in the question.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Such information as is available on costs ordered against employers mentioned in my reply to the honourable member’s question No. 1026 is given in that reply (Hansard, 23 February 1969, 72-80).
Conciliation and Arbitration Act (Quern-Inn No. 1579)
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
By what criteria did the Commonwealth Industrial Court impose the various penalties on the respondent organisations mentioned in his reply to question No. 1027 (Hansard, 25 February 1969, pages 81-90).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Industrial Court is empowered under Section 109 (1) (a) of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to order compliance with an award proved to the satisfaction of the Court to have been broken or not observed. The Court is also empowered under Section 111 of the Act to impose a penalty in respect of a contempt of the Court consisting of a failure to comply with an Order of the Court made under Section 109(1) (a) of the Act. The Court imposed the various penalties on the respondent organisations mentioned pursuant to the powers vested in it under the Act after considering the merits of submissions put to it by the parties concerned.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Tie on 22 August 1968 (Hansard, page 535).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Australian Government delegates supported the adoption of all four instruments.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Why do Victoria, Queensland and South Australia still refuse to accept, as. New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania many years ago accepted, the Commonwealth proposal of August 1955 that the Commonwealth should authorise State inspectors to police Commonwealth industrial awards and that the States should authorise Commonwealth inspectors to police State industrial awards.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The reasons why Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have not accepted the Commonwealth’s proposal of August 1955, for the exchange of inspection authorities involve matters of policy for the Governments of those States.
asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
In addition, periodical patrols by Japanese fisheries inspection ships may be expected, of which the first was undertaken in mid-July and early August of this year by the vessel Hakuryu Maru. Australian patrols are undertaken in the 12 miles declared fishing zone at the expense of the Commonwealth and to that extent, it may be said that part of the cost of ensuring compliance with the Agreement is being borne by Australia. No money is paid by either Government in respect of the patrols undertaken by the other in connection with the Agreement.
Sale of Drug Company Shares by Controller of Enemy Property (Question No. 1871)
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
To whom and for how much did the Controller of Enemy Property sell the shares in (a) Bayer Pharma Pty. Ltd. and (b) Schering Pty Ltd.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Controller of Enemy Property sold the undermentioned shares by public tender -
35,000 shares of $2 each fully paid in Bayer Pharma Ply Ltd. to Sterling Drug Inc. of New York U.S.A. for the sum of $227,500.
15,000 shares of $2 each fully paid in Schering Pty. Ltd. to Australian United Corporation as agent for Duco A.G., West Germany, for the sum of $540,000.
Average Earnings in Australia (Question No. 1826)
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Average weekly earnings have been calculated in terms of male units, i.e. total male employees plus 55 per cent of female employees. This proportion is derived from the estimate ratio of female to male earnings in Australia. The figures relate to civilians only. They include, in addition to wages at award rates, earnings of salaried employees, overtime earnings, over-award and bonus payments, payments made in advance or retrospectively during the period specified, etc.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 September 1969, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1969/19690909_reps_26_hor65/>.