27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston’ took the chair at 10 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr STREET presented from certain residents of the State of Victoria a petition showing that because of uncontrolled shooting for commercial purposes the population of kangaroos, particularly the big red species, is now so low that they may become extinct; that there are insufficient wardens in any State of the Commonwealth to detect or apprehend those who break the inadequate laws which exist; as a tourist attraction, the kangaroo is a permanent source of revenue to this country; and it is an indisputable fact that no species can withstand hunting on such a scale, when no provision is being made for its future.
The petitioners pray that the export o£ kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government take the necessary steps to have all wildlife in Australia brought under its control. Only a complete cessation of killing for commercial purposes can save surviving kangaroos.
Petition received and read.
Mr BROWN presented from certain electors of the Division of Diamond Valley a petition showing that our national symbol, the red kangaroo, is through shooting for commerce being reduced to a numerical level where, if the shooting is not stopped, the animal will become extinct; reports from scientists, conservationists, tourists, graziers and shooters, confirm that State governments are unable to enforce effectively legislation to control shooting and that kangaroos are already extinct in many areas where they once were prolific; science has established that kangaroos seldom come into direct competition for forage with sheep and there is. therefore, no reason why this unwarranted killing which is branding us internationally as barbarians, should be allowed to continue; and we, the residents of this nation, want the kangaroo, which can be found nowhere else in the world, to be part of the Australian landscape. We believe that tourists, who will play an increasing part in the national balance of payments, want this too.
The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will ban the export of products made from kangaroos; and quickly pass the legislation necessary to make the kangaroo a protected animal throughout Australia - the culling of herds for the protection of the few property owners genuinely threatened by excessive numbers, or for the welfare of kangaroos themselves, to be carried out by or under direct supervision of Government officers.
Mr JAMES presented from certain citizens of the Commonwealth a petition showing that the Commonwealth Parliament has acted to remove some inadequacies in the Australian education system; a major inadequacy at present in Australian education is the lack of equal education opportunity for all; more than “500,000 children suffer from serious lack of equal opportunity; Australia cannot afford to waste the talents of one-sixth of its school children; only- the Commonwealth has the financial resources for special programmes to remove inequalities: and nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States have shown that the chief impetus for change and the finance for improvement* come from the national Government.
The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives make legal provision for a joint Commonwealth-State inquiry into inequalities in Australian education to obtain evidence on which to base long term national programmes for the elimination of inequalities; the immediate financing of special programmes for low income earners, migrants, Aboriginals, rural and inner suburban dwellers and handicapped children; and the provision of pre-school opportunities for all children from culturally different or socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Petition received and read.
Mr HURFORD presented from certain citizens of the Commonwealth a petition showing that the Immigration Department has refused to allow Ernest Mandel entry into this country; that it appears to be a consistent policy of the Immigration Department to refuse visas to prospective visitors whose views conflict with prevailing conventional wisdom; that your petitioners find objectionable the denial of the right of Australians to listen to, and argue with, a person who has had different experiences and holds different views to many people in this country; that the secrecy which surrounds the bureaucratic decisions of the Immigration Department makes these decisions neither amenable to democratic control nor even in any real sense available to these democratic controls; and that blanket, virtually meaningless, phrases like national security’ arc no substitutes for reasons.
Your petitioners pray that the Mouse take action to encourage the Minister for Immigration to review the decision of his Department in this matter and permit Ernest Mandel to enter Australia.
Petition received and read.
SOUTH PACIFiC CONFERENCE
- Mr Speaker, 1 ask the Foreign Minister a question. Has the right honourable gentleman given further consideration to my question a fortnight ago on Australian representation at the South Pacific Conference next September in Fiji on the eve of that country’s independence? In particular, I refer to the nature of the representation by his Department, by the Ministry and by the Parliament.
– Mr Speaker, I draw your attent on to the fact that the question was asked of the Foreign Minister. This is another abuse by the honourable member
-Order! The honourable member will not make a statement at question time on this matter. No point of order arises. I call the Minister for External Affairs.
– I gave very careful attention to the question asked by the honourable gentleman immediately before I travelled to Indonesia about 2 weeks ago. I will reply to what I believe to be the 3 points raised in the honourable gentleman’s question. First of all as to parliamentary representation, as the House will know on 2 other occasions the Parliament has been represented at conferences and discussions of this kind. So, I take it that, on this occasion too, the Parliament will be represented at the forthcoming meetings in Fiji.
Secondly, as to ministerial representation, I already have given this matter consideration and shortly I will be writing to the Prime Minister asking whether he will approve of ministerial representation as well at this Conference. As to the third part of the question raised by the honourable gentleman - that is, as to which department in fact should appoint the senior commissioner - I have taken this matter up already with the Department of External Affairs which is discussing it with the other relevant departments concerned. Up to the moment, I have not received a reply from those departments.
– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I refer to the recent measures taken by the Government to curb the overheating of the economy. I ask the Treasurer: Are any signs yet discernible that these measures are achieving some success?
– The honourable member did not specify which measures when he asked me his question. Certainly, there has been some psychological reaction to the measures taken and the other things which have been said. But, normally, economic phenomena do take considerable time to work themselves out and the total result is by no means clear as yet.
– lt is true that W. D. Scott and Co. did. on behalf of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs, carry out a survey on the south coast. As a result of that survey certain policy measures have been put into operation. I shall be glad to give to the honourable member an up to date summary of the effect and success of those measures. There has been some impact. 1 would not say that the problem has been solved any more than I would say that the difficulties of Aboriginal education and employment have been totally solved in any part of Australia. But I can assure the honourable member that some progress has been made and 1 will sec (hat within the next few days he gets a detailed account of what that progress is and what is planned.
The Wilcannia area in the west of New South Wales is an area which I visited recently, lt is hoped that some kind of co-operative organisation will be established there, but at the present moment I cannot give the honourable member a definite assurance. We are endeavouring to organise something on those lines. The problem of Aboriginal housing and employment in the west of New South Wales is one which is causing considerable anxiety not only to myself but to the Government of New South Wales. That Government has been particularly active in the functions of the new Minister, who has been in close contact with the area. I am hopeful that as our plans gather momentum more will bc achieved here also, on both the housing and employment fronts.
– 1 ask the Postmaster-General: Did the authoress of ‘Love is a Many Splendoured Thing’ recently visit Australia? Was she given so much time by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to promulgate the thoughts of Mao Tse-tung that she herself was so surprised and delighted that she publicly expressed her warmest thanks to the ABC? Was a recent ministerial visitor from Nationalist China offered similar time on ABC television? If not, why not, if the ABC wishes to be regarded as impartial?
– The honourable member will know that the Australian Broadcasting Commission has almost complete autonomy in relation to its programming. I therefore am not kept informed from day to day as to who participates in the public affairs programmes of the ABC. 1 will obtain such information as 1 can in answer to the honourable member’s question and let him have that information.
– Has the Minister for External Affairs noted thai the Security Council yesterday condemned the recent Israeli raid into Lebanon without reference to the guerilla activities from the Lebanese side of the border which provoked it, or the apparent disinterest of Lebanon in curbing those guerilla activities? Would the Minister agree that the Security Council resolution was neither balanced nor helpful in the present Middle East situation? If so. will he undertake to convey that view to our Commonwealth partner, Great Britain, which is not only a member of the Security Council, and voted for the resolution but also a member of the so-called Big Four’ purportedly seeking a fair and just solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict?
– I have read the cables and particularly the newspaper reports this morning relating to the meeting of the United Nations Security Council. I note that some of the countries represented in the United Nations Security Council said that the resolution was not a balanced presentation of the facts nor was it fair. Having said that, I can see no reason why this country should enter into a controversy about this problem. It was neither consulted about the resolution as a government nor was it asked to vote upon it. As the question embraces issues of the most delicate character, I for one would not be prepared to comment on the decision on this problem in relation to either side.
– My question is directed to the Minister for External Affairs. Has the Minister seen the article in one of the newspapers concerning Australian exports to Rhodesia? Can the Minister let me know the Australian attitude in regard to the export of wheat and whether any subsequent events would indicate the
Government’s attitude relative to the resolution of the United Nations Security Council on this matter?
– The Government’s attitude to Southern Rhodesian sanctions has been made known to the House on several occasions. We abide by Resolution No. 253 of 1968 of the United Nations Security Council. This resolution has two safeguard clauses. The first one is that the regulation does not apply - in fact, there are exemptions - first of all, to educational material, information and the means of obtaining information. The second is that exports can be permitted on humanitarian grounds. On the second of these grounds our wheat exports can be justified. The resolution itself is interpreted on the basis that the country involved has the right to determine whether the exports come within the meaning of Resolution No. 253. The Government’s attitude was clearly expressed only yesterday with respect to $500,000 worth of ammonia that was destined for export allegedly to Lo urenco Marques. As we were unable to identify the final destination of that ammonia, action was taken by means of a regulation agreed to yesterday by the Executive Council to prevent the export of this ammonia until such time as the Minister for Customs and Excise is satisfied as to the exact destination. This, I think, clearly indicates the attitude of this Government. It abides by the United Nations Security Council resolution. When it feels that exports which do not come within the two exemptions are destined for Rhodesia, it will take action to prevent them from moving out of this country.
– I ask the Foreign Minister a quest on supplementary to the-
-Order! The correct designation of the Minister is the Minister for External Affairs.
– Very well, I will persevere with the archaism. I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question supplementary to that asked of him by the right honourable member for Fisher. Has any organ or committee of the United Nations taken up the propriety of Australian exports of wheat to Southern Rhodesia in the light of the exemption in favour of exports of foodstuffs on humanitarian grounds? If any organ or committee has queried Australia’s conduct in this matter, which organ or committee was it and at what time did it raise the matter?
– It has been reported that 1 country has referred to the United Nations Security Council the question of export of Australian wheat and the honourable member knows that in time reference would be made to the Sanctions Committee. So far as this Government is concerned, the matter has been referred to us and we are now looking at it.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. Is it a fact that professional and other working women who require domestic help in the house, or for child minding purposes, are unable to claim such costs as a deduction against taxable income? If this is so, does this discriminate against women or are males also denied such deductions? Will the Treasurer have a look at the implications of this question in relation to the drawing up of the next Budget, including the costs concerned in child minding centres?
– I asked a similar question last week.
– There is a general provision in the taxation law which covers both men and women without discrimination as to sex. Either, living alone, employing a fulltime housekeeper to look after children below the age of 16 years, is entitled to a deduction. However, as the honourable member for Shortland mentioned by way of interjection, he asked me a question along similar lines last week. I would be grateful if the honourable member would set out the circumstances which he wishes me to look into. I will examine the facts and proceed as he has asked.
– I direct to the Minister for Primary Industry a question which relates to Australian meat exports to the United States of America. I preface it by saying that considerable concern is being expressed in my area that the meat export quota may be filled before the end of the calendar year which will lead to a disruption of the meat industry trade and a decline in stock prices. Can the Minister advise the likelihood of a suspension of exports to the USA before the end of the year?
– L would certainly hope that there is no suspension of our meat exports to the United States this year. We have been operating a regulatory system of exports of meat to the US market for 2 years now by the use of the diversification factor. In the first year of the operation of the scheme it was necessary to suspend exports 2 months prior to the end of the calendar year. However, last year we managed to continue exports right through the year, lt was a little fortuitous in that an extra quota was given towards the end of the year so we were not obliged to cut off any exports. This year the Australian Meat Board is being particularly cautious and has improved the monitoring of meat that is actually being exported. The diversification factor has already been tightened.
In reply to the honourable member for Maranoa a few weeks ago 1 announced other conditions that were being applied. After June, I think it is. approval will have to be given for all exports to make sure that we do not export in excess of our overall yearly quota. At the moment there is some fear that we may be running ahead of our estimated quantities. If the global amount of meat com-ng into the United States of America exceeds the estimated quota in July, that being the time when he generally looks at the matter, Secretary Hardin is obliged to advise the President whether quotas should be triggered. If that does apply there is a roll back of 10% of the quantity that we would be able to get into the United States. I am hopeful that this will not happen. The Australian Meat Board will be taking every measure lo ensure that wc do not exceed our quota.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Docs the Government intend to proceed by legislation with the establishment of its proposed wool marketing authority? Did Sir William Gunn announce that the authority would be operational by 1st May and would operate in the August wool sales? Have industry spokesmen described the announced proposal as a means of maximising profits for brokers, who will dominate the authority, and buyers but not growers? If legislative authority is not to be sought, will the Minister say why he proposes to bypass the Parliament, or is the proposal already stillborn?
– It was announced that the Australian wool industry had agreed to set up a wool marketing corporation to lay down standards for the preparation and presentation of the Australian wool clip, to enable interlotting of 1, 2 and 3-bale lots, to handle bulk classing of these lines, and also to have a pooling arrangement for them. This will proceed as already has been announced. It is an orderly wool marketing arrangement with the voluntary consent of all sections of the industry and does not need legislation to enforce it. Therefore there is no need for specific legislation to be brought before the House. The finance that the Commonwealth Government is providing to meet half the cost of interlotting and bulk classing will be provided in the annual appropriations at Budget time to cover these contingencies.
The honourable member makes the comment that the proposal will advantage brokers. The Commonwealth Government, by providing half the cost of- interlotting and bulk classing, is equally assisting the wool growers. If the Government was not paying half this cost, somebody else would have to pay it, and we generally find that the cost is passed back to the grower. By paying half the cost the Commonwealth will relieve the wool grower of part of his cost.
– 1 direct a question to the Minister for Defence. I ask: Have American engineers finished surveys and investigations into a proposal to establish an Omega navigation facility in Australia to cover the southern Tasman Sea? If so, has a definite proposal been put to the Government for the establishment of such a site? What areas were surveyed by the Americans as potential sites for the facility?
– I will see whether there is any information that 1 can supply to the honourable member.
– Has the Minister for Education and Science had brought to his attention the occurrence of a series of fires in Melbourne when State schools have been destroyed or, iri some cases, seriously damaged? Has the Minister been advised of the extent to which the fires have affected the school building programme in Victoria? Will he see whether there is some form of assistance that the Commonwealth can give to Victoria to help it overcome this loss to its education system that it has suffered?
– My attention has been drawn to the series of fires in some schools in the Melbourne area. I share the concern of parents with children at those schools, some of whom have communicated with me about the effects on the children of disruption of classes. I am unable to say how those incidents have affected the school building programme in Victoria but I can say that in the Legislative Assembly on 23rd March last Sir Henry Bolte stated that there was in the Treasury a reserve fund, established in lieu of insurance on schools, to cover this kind of contingency and that adequate funds existed to rebuild. I am not aware of any approach by the Victorian Government to the Commonwealth for assistance in this regard. From what Sir Henry Bolte has said it appears that he has the situation under control.
– As an ex-butcher I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: What meat inspection standards are required by the United States market with which Australian mutton packing works do not comply? Do American meat packers conform to these standards? Are the standards reasonable or simply an excuse, brought about by pressure from American meat producers, to stop the importation of Australian meat?
– I can understand the honourable member’s interest in this matter, he being, as he said, an ex-butcher, but I was under the impression that he was a medical practitioner. The standards that have been laid down by the United States Administration regarding imports of meat are the same as have applied with respect to federal registration of abattoirs within the United States. Quite a political debate is ensuing in the United States regarding registration of abattoirs and the general standards of meat preparation in the country. In the United States no meat may pass across State borders unless it comes from abattoirs which have federal registration. It is this provision that has produced the conflict amongst the American States, the meat industry and the United States Government. The American authorities are quite emphatic that they will not allow meat to be imported into the country from abattoirs wilh a standard lower than that required of their own abattoirs seeking federal registration.
The meat that has been rejected so far by the United States has been rejected because it contained particles of foreign matter. In other words, it was unclean. The meat also contained certain organisms which are objectionable by United States standards. As I have already mentioned in the House, these organisms - caseaus lymph adenitis and cysticercus ovis - are harmless to humans. We have been eating this meat for years in Australia. It is acceptable by British standards. On health grounds I see no reason to object to it, but the American authorities consider it objectionable and they will not allow it to come into the country. That is why for the time being they have placed a temporary ban on all mutton entering America. I am hopeful that Australian abattoirs which are affected by the ban can be brought up to a standard acceptable to the American authorities and that we can improve our inspection procedures so that the objectionable organisms may be excluded from our mutton.
– I. ask the PostmasterGeneral: ls this House to understand from his reply to the question asked by the honourable member for Chisholm that the Government is not prepared to take any steps to insist that the Australian Broadcasting Commission provide a balance against obvious political bias and propagandist activities? Will the Minister provide the House with transcripts of the broadcast statements made by Dr Han Suyin, especially her ‘Guest of Honour’ programme and any others denigrating United Nations action in Korea and justifying Chinese aggression in Tibet and against India?
– The legislation under which the Australian Broadcasting Commission operates was passed by this House and it is quite competent for this House to alter the charter of the Commission if it so desires. But I think if we reflect on the responsibility which might be reposed in a government or a Minister we would quickly come to the conclusion that it would be undesirable for an individual to have full responsibility in determining who should or should not participate in programmes on the ABC. I think it would be to the disadvantage of the community generally Whenever a honourable member of this House has asked me whether T would obtain a copy of a script used on the ABC 1 have been able to obtain it and make it available to him. I am prepared to continue to make such requests to the Commission at any time an honourable member asks me to do so. If the honourable member for Evans desires to have the script to which he refers I will obtain it and give it to him. Tt can be made available to honourable members of this House and they can make their own judgment as to its value or otherwise in the interests of the Australian community.
– I ask the Treasurer whether he considers that the employment figures recently released by the Department of Labour and National Service indicate that the inflationary pressures on the Australian economy appear to be levelling out. If he does, will he initiate the necessary action to reduce high interest rates and the consequent restrictions on home building?
– In relation to employment statistics, 1 certainly do not recognise in the honourable member’s question anything akin to what my colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, or any other competent authority has said. What was noticeable was that the pressure had become rather less intense. This is very natural as we reach up to and beyond the ceiling of employment. When so few people are unemployed in the whole of Australia, the rate of absorption is almost bound to diminish just through physical factors, but I would certainly not read the statistics in the way the honourable member suggests.
– I ask the Minister for External Affairs a question. What is the position of Australia in relation to the European Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development? Does Australia intend to join?
– I have read reports that Australia intended to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Late last night or early this morning it was reported to my Department that an article on this matter had been published in one of the London newspapers. The position is that the Government did approve of exploratory negotiations being carried out to determine the terms and conditions on which Australia might enter the OECD, if it decided to do so at a later date.
I point out to the honourable gentleman that the OECD is purely an advisory body and cannot in fact dictate what should be done by any party that might become a member of it. I also point out that we are already a member of the Development Assistance Committee which does look at the problem of aid to various countries and that organisation has been high in its praise of the Australian effort. After a report has been received it will be considered by the Government and it is only then that a decision will be made as to whether or not we think that entry into the OECD is justified.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. I ask: Has the Minister had an opportunity to study the report presented early this year to the Canadian House of Commons by a government mandated commission inquiring into the costs of agricultural equipment? If he has, and having regard to the commission’s findings and the complaints regularly being made at primary producers meetings throughout Australia about the costs of spares, the selling of spares as package units on the one hand and the substantial gifts being offered to purchasers of new machinery on the other hand, will he cause a similar inquiry to be held in Australia to ascertain whether Australian primary producers are being taken for a ride?
– I have not seen the report to which the honourable gentleman refers. I will make inquiries, see whether my Department has any information or a copy of the report and make myself familiar with the position.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has his attention been drawn to the highly satisfactory migration and employment statistics just released in South Australia? What do these figures reveal when compared with the same period in 1967? Is there justification for the assertion by the Premier of South Australia that his Government’s policies have helped to return South Australia to the level of prosperity enjoyed under the previous Liberal Government?
– The honourable gentleman in his question has provided the answer. The Premier of South Australia has every justification for making the statement he has made. I released employment figures on Monday of this week and it is quite clear from them that unemployment in South Australia today is 1.1%. I remember that 3 years ago it was 1.7%. There has been an overall expansion of the work force. These statistics would show it. But there is a more significant way of measuring this in personal terms and that is by the migrant flow.
There was a period when the migrant flow to South Australia was higher than it was to any other State in the Commonwealth and then it had quite a marked drop. The test of this is that migrants go to a State depending on the opportunities available to them and depending on the reports they get from their friends and relatives already in the State. So the people in South Australia are themselves expressing their confidence in that State and its recovery by encouraging their friends and relatives to come to that State.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industry. I ask: Is ‘the Minister aware of the extreme dis content among meat inspectors in Australian meat works who claim that lack of meal breaks, inability to obtain regular annual leave and other considerable disabilities, including a serious pay disparity with other persons working in meat works, are causing a serious lack of applicants for training in the positions of meat inspectors from persons likely to complete the course? Also, is he aware that only 1 in 5 of those who begin the course complete such training? As these are Commonwealth employees, will the Minister look into improving the pay and conditions of meat inspectors, providing them with the opportunity to take their annual leave and also allowing them permanency of employment under the same conditions as other Public Servants?
– ‘Last week I answered a question by the honourable member for Gellibrand on this matter. When he brought this matter to my attention I informed him that I was concerned about the insufficient number of meat inspectors and also the fact that they were unable to take their annual leave because of the acute shortage of meat inspectors. I would like to inform the honourable member that my Department, which is involved very much in this matter, has been in touch with the Public Service Board and has been trying to get some improvements and alterations so that these inspectors can take the annual leave to which they are entitled and so that we might be able to hold the numbers that we are recruiting into the service.
– Is the Minister for External Affairs aware that the honourable member for St George while stationed at Kuala Lumpur as a counsellor associated with the extreme left and those who hold to a radical and extremist line towards any capitalist country? Is he aware that the honourable member for St George is the chief spokesman in the Opposition for South East Asian affairs? Has he stated that Australians are not welcome in Malaysia? Has this statement been rejected absolutely in that country and been received with puzzlement and amusement? Is he also aware that the honourable member was domiciled in Russia for some time?
– I do not pay a great deal of attention to what is said by the honourable member for St George.
– I rise to order. A few days ago I was called to order, when asking a question about a man named Huxley, for reflecting on his integrity and making a personal reflection. I submit that the question asked by the honourable member for Mitchell reflects on the integrity and honour of the honourable member for St George and is out of place.
– Order! The 2 cases are not parallel. The other man was not a member of this House. However, I remind all honourable members and the Minister who will be replying that any personal reflection on the conduct or character of a member of this House is strictly out of order.
– I raise a point of order. I believe that this question asks for an opinion from ‘the Minister on matters not within his jurisdiction, and I believe that it should be ruled out of order.
-Order! There is no valid point of order.
– I had no intention of reflecting upon the honourable member for St George because, as I said previously, I do not pay a great deal of attention to what he says. But if I may answer the third question asked by my colleague and friend about whether Australian troops are welcome in Malaysia, I can say that in the discussions I have just had with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tun Razak, he assured me - and I know it to be a fact - that Australian troops are welcome there because they give a degree of stability and confidence that otherwise would not be present. To that extent any statements to the contrary made by the honourable member for St George are not in fact true.
– In directing a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service, I refer to the country apprenticeship scheme, which is a very good scheme, and which can be improved by including in it other trades in country areas. I ask him whether he will consider including in the scheme bakers and pastry cooks, boat builders, cooks, dental technicians, funiture tradesmen, hairdressers and piano tuners to enable the youth of the country to obtain employment in country areas instead of coming to the cities and depopulating country areas.
– The country apprenticeship system that was introduced by my friend and colleague, the present Treasurer, has been working very well, but certain trades are not covered by it. The honourable member in his question has enumerated a number of them. I am at the moment looking at the scheme in a broad sense, and I will be glad to take into account the matter raised by the honourable member. When I am in a position to do so I will give him a reply as to my consideration of the matter.
– I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Earlier today, quite appropriately, you insisted that I use the precise, if colonial, term ‘Minister for External Affairs’. 1 take the point that you should correct the Minister for External Affairs and require him to give the correct designation to Tun Razak instead of, with his own new found expertise in relation to external affairs, designating him as Mr Tun Razak.
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order. It is not for the Chair to endeavour to interpret the titles of people throughout the world.
– 1 desire to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I refer the House to today’s issue of the ‘Australian* and an article which states:
Slowly but unenthusiastically the benches filled up, and the day regained a semblance of normality with the Country Party Whip, Mr Winton Turnbull, passing among his colleagues a lavish pamphlet from the Basic Industries Group, an organisation designed, according to the Country Party leader Mr McEwen, to destroy him and his party.
The article was written by Mungo MacCallum. I have no intention of doing anything to destroy the Country Party’s magnificent leader or this great Party. I was merely putting around copies of this pamphlet which I have in my hand. I would like to explain to honourable members that the article in this pamphlet was written by Mr George Tilley, who is the editor of the Sunraysia Daily’.
-Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he conclude his personal explanation.
– Sir, 1 want to explain that the 3 letters ‘BIG’ do not represent the Basic Industries Group. The cover of this pamphlet states:
Think BIG for an International Airport at Mildura.
I point out in conclusion that copies of the pamphlet are available for all honourable members.
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I would like to make 2 points. As was suggested by the honourable member for Mitchell, 1 did serve in the Soviet Union, from which country I was expelled twice. 1 also point out that I did have contacts with left wing groups in Malaysia. I also had contacts with right wing groups and I had very close associations with the Government of Malaysia.
Apple and Pear Industry - Railways: Diesel Electric Locomotives - The Parliament - Recording of Telephone Conversations - Psychiatric Centre at Bendigo, Victoria - Housing - Government Medical Officer, Newcastle - Teaching of Profoundly Deaf Children - Australian Press.
That grievances be noted.
- Mr Speaker, since this Parliament reassembled, debate and counter debate have taken place with regard to the crisis facing primary industry in this country. Indeed, discussion of the crisis was promoted by the Opposition as a mater of public importance. I do not intend to weary the House with a recapitulation of the issues that have been discussed already. This morning 1 wish to speak of the continued and continuing delay in the implementation of the stabilisation scheme for the apple and pear industry which is so vital to that part of my electorate in which this industry flourishes and indeed vital to the State and the nation.
The growers, the associations, the organisations and the commitees concerned - such as the Stale Fruit Board of Tasmania - have exhibited a quite remarkable patience with this Government. That patience, I suggest, is very fast running out. The first moves for a stabilisation scheme were begun in 1967. This is May 1970 and still no finality has been reached. Is it any wonder that my electors who are engaged in this industry are becoming restive and dissatisfied? I wish to quote and point out in some chronological order what has occurred in the past few months.
In December of last year, the outline scheme incorporating the basic principles was submitted to the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) in anticipation, that negotiations between the Government and the industry would commence immediately. Secondly, notification was received that the Government would have to study the report of a survey by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics before there were discussions with the commitee concerned. .It was notified that the result of this survey would be available at the end of 1969 and. therefore, a meeting in January of this year was anticipated.
On 28th January of this year, a meeting of that committee was informed that the Minister had arranged a study by Treasury officers of the likely cost of the scheme. He anticipated that the results of this study would be available in February and that he would be in a position to commence negotiations in the later half of that month. On 3rd March of this year, the committee met and reached decisions on administrative details regarding which the Minister required such action. The committee also received confirmation from the Attorney-General’s Department that the legal aspects of the scheme on which some doubts had been raised in fact were quite in order.
In March 1970 - and this is a most important aspect of this whole issue - the imposition of new regulations relating to import quotas by European Economic Community countries prompted inquiries in Canberra as to the progress that had been made on this matter. A stock reply was received that investigations were proceeding as expeditiously as possible. In April 1970, at the request of the State Fruit Board of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Minister for Agriculture sent a telegram to the Commonwealth Minister for Primary Industry urging him to meet the committee and to commence negotiations before his departure overseas. The reply received was to the effect that investigations were proceeding still. Indeed, while the Minister for Primary Industry was overseas, I put a question to the Acting Minister for Primary Industry, the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon), on this subject, to which he did not know the answer.
This industry has played and will continue to play a very notable part in the economic stability not only of Tasmania but also, indeed, as 1 have said, of this nation as a whole. This industry has produced people of great initiative, people of great courage - and they have needed it - and people of extraordinary inventiveness because they have produced the world’s finest product. They wish to continue to produce and to sell the world’s finest product. But they can do so only if the Government will deal with the stabilisation scheme as a mater of the utmost urgency. I want to quote some statistics to illustrate the continuing decline of the industry in this part of my electorate. Population is one of the things we should all be vitally concerned with. In the Bruny Island area of the electorate in the year 1961 the population was 504. Now it is down to 410. These figures are taken from the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, and there can be no argument with them. This area is in the very heart of the fruit growing areas. In the Huon area, which is affectionately known as the hub of the fruit growing district, in 1961 the population was 5,460. Now it is down to just over 5,000. In Port Cygnet the population in 1961 was 2,754. Now it has dropped to 2,400-odd. This represents over that period of time a loss of nearly 1,000 people in a vital primary industry area. It is of very great significance.
The total number of orchards in southern Tasmania in the year 1964-65 was 1,080 and we had 413 small fruit holdings, a total of 1,493. For the year 1968-69 this figure has declined very dramatically. We now have only 885 orchards and 304 small fruit holdings, a total of 1,189. These are significant factors that reveal the dramatic problems facing this industry. The continuing decline cannot be allowed to continue. For the year 1964-65 the value of the total export of apples and pears from Tasmania was 513,815,000. There has been a steady decrease, but I will not bore the House by going right through the statistical table. For the year 1968-69 the figure was SI 2,23 1,000. We must remember that in the big year, 1965-66, the value of exports was S20,251,000. It can be readily seen from these figures that the decline is continuing. These figures highlight in the most dramatic way the startling crisis that has developed in this industry. It has had the most impossible burdens thrust upon it.
The problems of Tasmania are many. It has the problem of shipping and freight rates which have always been intolerable. The final indignity this season was the imposition of higher rates for cartons, which was introduced at a time which to say the least was most inopportune, because the manufacturers enjoyed a considerable profit in their previous year. These are some of the burdens that my electors are being asked to carry, quite unfairly. They have been asked to carry them for far too long. The industry has co-operated in every way with the Minister’s own Department and his officers. The Committee set up has been most punctilious in the carrying out of its duties and in its application to them. My own conclusion - I think this is supported by the industry and by the figures and statistics I have quoted - is that the Federal Government shows a great lack of appreciation of the urgent need for the stabilisation plan. I now ask the Minister to state clearly, precisely and categorically when this scheme will be implemented now all the facts are known. As the elected spokesman for the industry I have a right to advocate on their behalf to see that this protracted and frustrating delay is arrested now. I ask: Are all these people to go to the wall? Is this industry to languish in despair? If this is the Government’s view - a government that proclaims an interest for people and their welfare - then its policy and approach to the problems of the people that I have talked about this morning are bankrupt. In conclusion I call on the Minister to move with alacrity and make an immediate announcement that the stabilisation scheme will be put into effect now.
-Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.
– Some time ago, at the beginning of this session, the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) made a request to the Government for one of the diesel electric engines of the Commonwealth Railways to be named after the late Right Honourable J. B. Chifley. 1 support that request very strongly. I was staggered when I beard it to find that no engine had already been named after him, because it seems to have become a habit that these engines should be named after people who have been a Minister, Prime Minister or prominent in railway transport, matters. In my humble opinion the late Mr Chifley had more to to do with the diesel electric engines originally coming to Australia than anyone else, except perhaps the late Sir Harold Clapp.
About the middle of 1947 I became the Minister for Transport in Victoria. I remember walking down the rather long steps in front of Parliament House in Victoria with the late Sir Harold Clapp after a conference at Parliament House. He said to me: ‘Why do we not buy diesel electric engines?’ Having been away at the war for a long time, I did not know very much about diesel electric engines and I could not answer him. I went down to the Victorian Railway Commissioners and repeated the question. I asked: ‘Why do we not buy diesel electric engines?’ My Commissioners at that time had serious doubts as to whether the road beds were sufficiently strong and whether the curves were not too sharp to take the diesel electric engines. I said: ‘Well, go away and investigate whether we should buy them or not’. After about 3 months they came back and said: ‘We want to buy 19 diesel electric engines’. J immediately arranged to have an interview with the late Eddie Ward, the Commonwealth
Minister for Transport, and the late Right Honourable J. B. Chifley, who was then the Prime Minister. We discussed the matter of diesel electric engines. At that time, with post-war reconstruction, there was considerable difficulty in obtaining sufficient foreign exchange if we wanted to buy, as recommended at that time, the American diesel electric engine.
After a discussion I arranged with the late Mr Chifley that we should send Mr Oscar Meyer overseas. He was then one of the leaders of the backroom boys whom Sir Harold Clapp had working on the standardisation of railways. Mr Meyer had a very fine Army career in the Engineer Corps and he had a very high reputation as a railway engineer. As I said, we arranged that he should be sent overseas to make the investigations in both Britain and in America. The Commonwealth Government, through the late Mr Chifley, said that it would pay half the cost, and 1, on behalf of the Victorian Government, arranged to pay the other half. Mr Oscar Meyer went overseas, came back and said that he regretted that he could not recommend the British diesel electric engine at that time as, owing to difficulties during the war which were not encountered in America, they had not got what are popularly known as the ‘bugs’ out of the English diesel electric engines. The late Mr Chifley was a bit worried about this because we would require quite a large amount of foreign exchange if we were to buy the American engines in toto and import them into Australia. I then went overseas with the then Victorian Premier, the Honourable T. T. Hollway. While in Britain I had a long talk to the head of the firm that was manufacturing the English diesel electric engines. I went so far as to say: All right. We want to buy the English diesel electrics. If you are first in it will probably mean that the whole of the railways in Australia will buy the English machine. But because they are not really in complete working order you would have to establish a repair depot in Victoria until such times as the engines themselves have been brought up to a high stale of efficiency.’ If I remember rightly, 1 was told that we were a primary producing country and they’ had no intention of establishing a repair depot.
When I arrived back in Australia I had a further talk with the then Prime Minister, the late Mr Chifley. At that time an Australian company had arranged with an American company to build all of the diesel electric engines, except the necessary electricity machinery which would have to be imported. As a result the late Mr Chifley then gave me, as the Victorian Minister, authority to go ahead and order 18 of these diesel electric engines. I think about 3 months later the Commonwealth Railways, through the Chief Commissioner, asked whether it could include another 9 engines in that order. This made 28 engines in all. That is how diesel electric engines were introduced in the Australian railways system.
Sir Harold Clapp was the main instigator, but through the support of the late Mr Chifley we in the Victorian Government were able to get the foreign exchange that was necessary to go ahead with the ordering of these machines. For that reason I feel that the request of the honourable member for Chifley was a very correct one. The first diesel engine in Victoria to run on rails was named after Sir Harold Clapp. The first diesel engine to run in the Commonwealth Railways was named after a later Prime Minister who, as much as I respect him, had nothing to do with the diesel electric engines being introduced into Australia. Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope that the Government will take note of the request of the honourable member for Chifley and rectify an omission which should have been rectified long ago, in my humble opinion.
– More than 5 weeks ago I listed a question on notice to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) asking him to consider the setting up of a select committee to review the operations of our parliamentary system and the functions of parliamentary members. The Prime Minister has not yet found it possible, or perhaps has not considered it necessary, to reply to that question. I regret that he has not done so because on all sides I hear the Parliament denigrated as a charade, a farce, a hollow shell, a puppet show, and it is remarkably difficult in all honesty to construct a defence to this criticism. We are at a stage where most of a mem ber’s constructive work is done outside the Parliament, while a great deal of his time is still spent within it. Surely the question that has to be faced is that we spend so much time here, how can we make the best use of it?
It seems to me from my short and admittedly limited observations of the system at close quarters that an honourable member of this House can do 3 things. He can vote; he can question; he can speak. But I wonder how much reality there is in each of these functions. The way in which an honourable member votes is determined even before he steps inside this chamber and his vote is uninfluenced by anything that happens in debate thereafter. That, by and large, applies to all Parties. Question time has been traditionally regarded as a special right of the Opposition and the back bench member. But I am led by observation to doubt that as well. Like every other aspect of the system, questions are distorted and question time is manipulated, whenever it is considered necessary to serve the purposes of the Executive. The rule that a Minister may answer a question in his own way is abused by Ministers who use a question on one aspect of a subject to make a statement on another. Last Thursday, for example, I asked the Treasurer (Mr Bury) what rate of inflation and what rate of unemployment he would consider tolerable. He answered me with a discourse on what he called the seasonal ‘illiquidity’ of the Australian economy. How remote can you get? Yet that answer was by no means untypical of ministerial response.
The third role open to a back bencher in the Parliament is to speak in debate. As I have already suggested, the purpose of our debate is not to influence the decision of the Parliament. It is in the main directed at the public and with a view most often to the next election. That no doubt is a legitimate aim and exercise. Yet to serve it, is it really necessary to indulge in the extraordinary repetitiousness which characterises our discussions? With every respect to speakers on both sides of the House, was there really anything said in the speeches of the 26th, 27th and 28th speakers at the second reading stage of the National Health Bill that had not already been said amply and, indeed, several times by the time we had heard the 8th, 9th and 10th speakers in that debate? 1 know that part of the repetition is due to the desire for some publicity at home. 1 do not comment on that. But I strongly suspect that another element fostering the process is simply the lack of anything better to do and the feeling that that is the system and we may as well play out our role in it. [ find that latter attitude genuinely appalling. After all, honourable members offer themselves for election on the basis that they have something to contribute to government. That contribution must surely be something more than periodic half an bour speeches.
Our presence here, quite apart from any other consideration, is expensive to the public. In my own case, for example, it would be costing the taxpayer, 1 would estimate, at least $30,000 a year. What sort of satisfaction can we get and what sort of value can the taxpayer get from our work within the present parliamentary framework? There is a need also to provide background training and experience for potential members of future ministries. That also is a theoretical function of the Parliament. Yet how well is that function served? The basic difficulty in this area is that the parliamentary framework was set up before and necessarily without taking account of the effect of disciplined political parties. Frankly. I do not know whether we will ever be able satisfactorily to accommodate the new facts to the old system. But we surely have to make the attempt.
The most common suggestion advanced in this field is. of course, that the committee system be extended. But it is hard to know what we are waiting for at least to give this system a try. We should be doing so this year. We should be setting a basis for it this session. The justification for such a move is, I think, well illustrated in one paragraph of the report of the Senate Standing Orders Committee when it refers to standing committees. That report states:
The essence of the Report is that a standing committee system is standard and essential equipment of the modern legislature. Work-load alone is a compelling reason. Equally important to Parliament in its consideration of public affairs is that the legislature may, through its committees, call upon scholarly research and advice equal in competence to that relied upon by the Government in other words, Parliament should be equipped to scrutinise the Government’s programme properly rather than merely to rubber stamp it. The Senate has in fact taken the initiative on this matter and we are peculiarly slow to follow it. Over the past 2 or 3 years the Senate has set up so many select committees that rumour has it that it is running short of potential members for them. Today listed on the Senate notice paper is a motion calling for the setting up of a comprehensive standing committee system in that House. Why should we not be doing that here? This House, by contrast, has twice the membership and hence at least twice the capacity to constitute committees and yet only 1 current committee is now functioning on a policy matter, namely, aircraft noise.
Last week we agreed to set up a second select committee which will consider the preservation of the red kangaroo. What about the preservation of the Parliament? What about the preservation of the parliamentary member in some meaningful sense? If the Government will not agree to go straight to a comprehensive system of standing committees why not at least a short-term select committee to make recommendations on the subject? Indeed that was the point of my question on notice to the Prime Minister and I hope that when he does find it possible to reply he might remember that he himself was one a backbencher and give these matters their proper due.
– Last Tuesday 1 asked the Attorney-General (Mr Hughes) a question on the subject of the use of tape recorded conversations in the inquiry at present being conducted in Victoria. That question followed a speech which I made on 7th May when 1 raised the whole question of tape recorded conversations and their admissibility in court as evidence. 1 make no apology for raising this matter in this debate today because the apparent lack of interest on this subject in our society has driven me to the stage where 1 believe that I must keep keeping on and keep drawing attention to what I describe as the erosion of the liberty and privacy of the individual in this nation. Section 16a of the Post and Telegraph Act states that it is illegal to tape record a telephone conversation. We have all listened to radio programmes wherein interviews are had with people who telephone in. Honourable members will recall that when the programmes are broadcast there is a beep every 15 seconds because it is a requirement of the law that if anyone uses one of those terrible 4-letter words the interviewer should have an opportunity to cut it out. In conformity with the provisions of the Act every 15 seconds the beep is given to warn the person being interviewed that the conversation is being taped. Yet in the last 12 months or so happenings in this country have indicated that State governments are making a complete farce and a mockery of the laws of the Commonwealth.
I remind the House of the case of the late Alderman Penridge in Queensland just over a year ago. He was convicted on the evidence of a tape recording. Honourable members will recall that I have mentioned this case before. He had been charged with having worked a deal with an estate agent to solicit a sum of money and a commission in the event of the sale of a building to the Cairns City Council, and he was convicted. Yet the Commonwealth stood by while the State was prepared to forget about the Commonwealth Act. I wonder what collusion is being worked between the States and the Commonwealth on matters such as this. Recently I was in the United States of America. Honourable members will know that since my arrival in this House this matter of tape recordings has been of great interest to me. When I was in the United States recently I tore an article out of a newspaper, the city of origin of which unfortunately I do not recall. That article is headed ‘Developer Smith Wins Dismissal of all Perjury Counts’. It reads:
San Francisco- all five perjury counts against Los Angeles developer Keith Smith were dismissed Thursday after two tape recordings the prosecution sought to introduce as evidence in the trial were ruled inadmissible.
I wonder exactly where we are going in this country. I refer to the Melbourne ‘Age’ of Thursday 29th January and read an extract which refers to the Victorian abortion inquiry. Here wc have it in black and white:
Mr Vernon asked permission to play a recording of another alleged conversation between Mrs Berman and Ford.
Mrs Berman had said this tape was made after her first visit to the Solicitor-General’s office and on the morning of an edition of Truth newspaper which was mentioned in the phone call. She said it was some time before Christmas.
The tape purports to begin with a woman asking: What does it say?
Man: Oh, the front of it ‘We paid off the Cops,’ by Evan Whitton . . . It’s all you, Bert, someone coming to . . .
It goes on and on and on. Yet on Tuesday the Attorney-General said that he was considering whether or not proceedings will be taken against Mrs Margaret Berman. I am very pleased with the co-operation and the genuine interest that the Attorney-General has shown in this matter but 1 do not think there is any question of whether or not proceedings should be taken against Mrs Margaret Berman. She has breached a Commonwealth Act. If honourable members in this Parliament are prepared to sit year in year out and see Acts which protect the individual completely flouted, I wonder where this nation will finish up. if in a few months we have doctors, policemen or nurses convicted as a result of Mrs Berman’s tape recordings what hope has the ordinary individual of claiming protection against this method when such a strong precident has already been created. I abhor the precedent which has been created in Queensland. The Queensland Government has somehow allowed the use of a recording in the case against the late Alderman Penridge which was heard by a stipendiary magistrate.
Recently 1 mentioned the case in Brisbane of Mr Des Neylan who had recorded a telephone conversation and actually was so naive as to write to the Brisbane Telegraph’ stating what he had done, lt is high time that this Government took some action. It is high time that this Government moved to amend certain sections of the relevant Act to bring it more into line with what can only be regarded as the electronic age. Honourable members in this Parliament have been entrusted to look after the welfare of the people of this nation. Unless we show more concern for some of the very basic and important issues I do not believe that any of us has any right to condemn those who resort to more rash methods of attracting public attention. The Parliament is letting these important issues pass, lt is little wonder that the young people in Australia turn out in the streets and take part in demonstrations. I believe questions such as these are very easily answered. I do hope that both the PostmasterGeneral (Mr Hulme) and the Attorney-General will meet together to work out something which will ensure that the people of Australia are not frightened to have a telephone conversation for fear that a recording might be made. It is so easy to get a tape, cut pieces out of it, join ii and then go along to the police and say: ‘This is exactly what happened’. The Act was introduced originally to protect people. Let us ensure that we invoke the Act and thus stop the situation which seems to be developing today in Australia.
– Today is Grievance Day and I have a very serious grievance that I want to raise in the House on behalf of my electorate. The grievance refers to the fact that it has taken so long for the Bolte Government in Victoria to get down to building, for the people of the Bendigo electorate and outside it, the psychiatric facilities that have been promised for a long time. The need for a psychiatric centre and hospital in Bendigo was recognised as long ago as 1957 by the mental hygiene authority of Victoria, lt is now 1970 - 13 years later - and we still have no guarantee as to when the hospital itself will be opened. Statements are being trotted out by the Government suggesting that the psychiatric centre will be opened, but these statements need to be treated with the gravest suspicion, because it is clear that the hospital itself will not be opened for some time. It will be confronted by serious difficulties. What we will have is a day centre opened. There has been some very serious bungling in the administration of the Mental Health Authority and other departments that have been concerned with it in the development of this psychiatric centre at Bendigo.
Just to show honourable members the dimensions of the costs involved I point out that the estimated cost of the psychiatric centre, the hospital and the works at Bendigo has been put down at $3m, and we still have no guarantee as to when the full facilities, which the people of the Bendigo electorate are entitled to, can be properly used. This can be aptly described as a monument of maladministration by the Bolte Government of Victoria. I stress that 1 am making no reflection whatever on employees in Public Service departments who are involved in the establishment of the day centre. 1 believe that the fault lies directly with the Government. At present the Government is saying that the psychiatric day centre at Bendigo will be opened this year but, as I said earlier, I think that this statement needs to be looked at closely.
For a long time there has been a great need for expanded psychiatric facilities in Bendigo. Other regional centres outside the metropolis have had them for some years. Bendigo has had to wait until it is among the last. Other places like Traralgon, Ararat, Ballarat and Beechworth have had these facilities while my electorate has had to wait. The psychiatric centre that 1 am talking about is very important to my electorate because it will service such places as Bendigo, Heathcote and Castlemaine in my electorate, and other places outside it such as Swan Hill and Euchuca. These people have been denied this service, which is an essential public service, for far too long. While the need for this service has been ignored mentally ill people have been leaving my electorate to go to Ballarat.
The need has been recognised for many years, but it seems that for the time being the only facility we can expect in Bendigo is a day centre. There will be 144 beds whan the hospital section for resident patients comes into operation. I point out that originally in 1957 the Mental Health Authority said that there was an urgent need for a psychiatric hospital in Bendigo. In 1963 the Honourable Clive Stoneham, a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, reported that this had been stated. In January 1964 the Victorian Minister for Health said that a psychiatric hospital would start with a first stage of 400 beds. I have been informed that actually the original proposals were for 600 beds. Anyway, in 1964 the Minister for Health said that he hoped work would begin in June 1964. In 1966 the ‘Age’ reported that the chairman of the Mental Health Authority had stated that a new psychiatric centre would be built in 2 years, the first stage to include an early treatment unit of 48 beds and 2 rehabilitation wards to accommodate 98 patients and ancillary services. The second stage would add 132 beds and the third stage 144 beds. What is the situation today? It looks as though it will be limited to 144 beds - 48 for early treatment and 96 for rehabilitation patients, lt appears to me that the Government has scrapped entirely the project for 6 geriatric wards of 268 beds. I am particularly concerned with this because there are many aged people in Bendigo who should have these facilities available to them. In other words, what 1 am saying is that the development of the psychiatric hospital at Bendigo has been very severely restricted.
I should like now to make some reference to the stages of building. In 1957 it was said that there was an urgent need. In 1964 the Victorian Minister for Health said that he hoped that building would commence in June 1964. In 1966 the chairman of the Mental Health Authority said that the facility would be built in 2 years. 1 should like to quote from a report entitled Menial Health Services in the State of Victoria Controlled or Supported by Mental Health Authority’, written in January 1967. lt states:
New Psychiatric Services In Progress. Bendigo Psychiatric Hospital construction scheduled to commence in 1%6 with an estimated 2 year time of building operation.
In other words, it should have been completed in 1968. I refer now to the actual stages of the buildings, and I stress the extraordinary time it has taken for the work to begin and to be completed. In approximately 1965 the ground was cleared, in approximately 1966 water was put on, and in approximately 1968 the buildings were commenced. At the present stage the main buildings for accommodation of patients have been completed, but the problem is that there has been a gross blunder somewhere along the line because accommodation for staff was not built simultaneously with the main buildings. Therefore patients from Echuca, Swan Hill, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Heathcote have had to be sent to Ballarat or other places while facilities at Bendigo have been lying unused because staff accommodation was not ready at the same time as the main buildings were completed. Patients could have been occupying beds in Bendigo 6 months ago, but this cannot be done because of blunders in administration. I stress the desperate need for accommodation, especially as patients from my electorate are being sent to Ballarat.
The question is whether the psychiatric hospital will be opened this year. The
Victorian Government is now trying to head off criticisms to which it is very vulnerable. The Government is promising to open the day centre this year, but while an official opening may take place - and I think it will - I point out that because of bungling administration and red tape rarely has a psychiatric hospital been opened on time in Victoria. I believe that the full extent of existing facilities will not be available this year. It is incredible that a project costing S3m, when there is an urgent need for beds, should be so delayed. The Government cannot promise that these beds will be available this year.
The day hospital will be available. 1 am confident that this will be successful. I believe that the staff is already doing a first class job. However, their functions will be strictly limited. They will cater for day patients only. Those patients will attend for treatment, entertainment, therapy and so forth during the day and then go home. The day centre will certainly be an asset. I am concerned about the hospital because I think that it will be faced with serious problems in getting staff. There has definitely been no move so far lo get staff for this year. Vacancies have not yet been gazetted. The stuffing situation generally in Victoria for nurses and psychiatric staff is not good. Within the Mental Health Authority there is a 28.5% undercutting of trained psychiatrists. There is a 20% understaffing of such professional staff as speech therapists, social workers and psychologist. There is a 25% understaffing of all psychiatric nursing staff, trained and untrained. The figures have been deteriorating progressively since 1965. The situation in Bendigo is that there is a shortage of nursing staff. I instance the position at the Bendigo Base Hospital at which extra accommodation costin” S3 14.000 has been provided. Il will be difficult for the Bendigo Base Hospital to get staff for the extra wing and this may mean that the hospital will not be able fully to use those wards.
I believe that the psychiatric centre will have to bring in from outside trained and experienced nursing staff as a nucleus for teaching young nursing recruits. This will probably have to be done at the expense of other areas. I here is a problem in getting training recognised by the Nursing Council of Victoria which recognises only postgraduate trainees - those who have done general nursing training. Traralgon has had some trouble in this respect. It may be necessary for the Bendigo psychiatric hospital to send trainees, who are starting their nursing course, to Melbourne for training. I stress that I am keen to see this hospital go ahead. It is very important for the people of my electorate to have the general range of health facilities provided. What angers me is that it has taken so long for this work to be commenced and completed. I repeat, it involves the expenditure of $3m, but because of blundering and bungling by the Bolte Government the people still cannot be guaranteed when they will gain the full benefit of facilities for which they have paid in taxes. This is a disgraceful situation.
– I wish to refer to a situation which, although perhaps most intense in my electorate of Kennedy, would apply with equal force in the electorate of Kalgoorlie. I refer to the situation in areas where development is proceeding at such a rate that they are bursting at the seams, making the application of ordinary formulas for growth impossible. The places I have in mind are Mount Isa, Blackwatcr, Moura and other areas that are subject to intense mining development. My remarks on housing could apply to the developing brigalow areas.
Let me refer particularly to the city of Mount Isa. Many of the people who call into my office in Mount Isa are desperately seeking housing for their families. Intense interest is being shown in Mount Isa in the subject of housing. The local authority is in the process of examining the situation very closely with a view to arriving at a blanket formula for the provision of housing. Do not think I am beingparochial in referring to Mount Isa. The Treasury of this country has benefited greatly from the earnings of this great industrial centre. The value of Mount Isa to the Treasury was evident when the tap was turned off during the great strike a few years ago.
Almost daily there is some new development in Mount Isa. My remarks apply almost exclusively to areas where you have sudden and dramatic development. Housing is being provided at a fairly abnormal rate but it is not nearly sufficient to cater for all the people coming to Mount Isa with their families. People are forced to live in caravans and other sub-standard accommodation. It is always regrettable when a man comes to the town to work but cannot bring his wife and family with him due to lack of housing. These men do not have large financial resources. They are forced to wait, hoping that a house will become available.
When a town is dependent almost exclusively on the operations of a great industrial giant such as Mount Isa Mines Limited you might expect the company to provide housing. It has done so to a large extent, but I am afraid much more needs to be done. I sometimes think that institutions such as insurance companies and lending institutions could do more in this field. They have great reservoirs of finance, much of which has come from the earnings of the people who live in places like Mount Isa. Some insurance companies make no secret of the fact that their representatives in those areas each year write$1m worth of business. These companies erect grand buildings in the capital cities. I am not knocking the large capital cities. We are proud of their growth, but their growth should not be at the expense of the areas from which the companies derive their wealth. I do not think anybody would disagree with my view that if you derive tremendous earnings from a country area it is pretty raw to put those earnings into a palatial building in a capital city, at the same time contributing nothing towards the housing of the community from which the earnings are derived.
I do not want to go too deeply at this stage into the matter of housing because I have under way in the area a survey to ascertain housing needs. The local authority in Mount Isa is doing an excellent job in providing housing, and I do not say that simply to throw bouquets. I mean it. But it is necessary to obtain the views of all sections of the community on this matter. That is why we are conducting the survey. I will place the results of the survey before this House, not because I expect the national Parliament immediately to evaluate the situation and do something about one inland city. That is not the point, but a general principle is involved. State governments, with their limited resources, cannot provide facilities in a place that is subjected to abnormal growth of the kind occuring in Mount lsa. I will have a lot more to say about housing in Mount lsa at a later stage.
I turn now to another problem: The provision of medical facilities in these inland communities. There is fairly adequate provision in Mount Isa but a great problem exists in the town of Moura. Five or 6 years ago only a dozen children attended the little country school in Moura. Today 500 or 600 children are enrolled at the school. The problem of Moura’s growth is snowballing. My concern arises from the fact that there is no hospital in Moura. 1 know that the Queensland Government is closely examining the problem. Time and again I have confererd with the State member for the area, who is a Cabinet Minister. The Queensland Government is doing as much as its resources will allow with a view to overcoming the problem as soon as possible. If the Queensland Government had the resources to do more I would condemn it for not providing hospital facilities in the town but it has only a certain amount of money and can do only so much, lt is vital that hospital and medical facilities be provided for this community. In a mining community the likelihood of serious accident is greater than it is in other settled inland communities.
We cannot consider the provision of housing in these outback areas without at the same time considering the provision of air conditioning. I am sure that we all concede that it is vital to retain people in these great mining areas which provide billion.; of dollars for Australia in export earnings. When the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill, which we passed in the early hours of this morning, becomes law the earnings of these areas will increase considerably, making them more important to Australia than they are now. In view of the importance of these areas we should be doing something to improve living conditions in them. In the small town in which 1 live a scheme has been introduced, based on the earnings of the lowest paid worker in the town, to enable air conditioning to be installed in the houses. Our scheme could be a protoype which the Commonwealth Government might examine with a view to assisting local authorities in other areas to introduce similar schemes. If one little country town can do this, surely the Com monwealth Government can do something. 1 propose to place before this House details of the scheme which operates in my town. 1 am sure that all honourable member will support it.
This is my grievance. We will have to evaluate the situations of these communities which are bursting at the seams - growing at an abnormal rate - with a view to providing the States with financial assistance to meet this abnormal growth. IF any honourable member wants to se<; a classic example of the abnormal growth to which I have referred I shall be happy to receive him in my electorate. Many people come into the area, particularly at election time-
Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The matter that 1 desire to raise in this Grievance debate today is, 1 consider, of considerable importance to the citizens of Newcastle and the hinterland. For too long the citizens of this important region of Australia have been shabbily treated by responsible Government authorities in not having a permanent Government medical officer appointed to carry out the responsibilities of the Government medical officer in that city. This is a State appointment. While I am on this point, I am reminded of some of the remarks of the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter) who has just resumed his seat. He used the phrase ‘the States are starved for funds’. This becomes a matter worthy of being raised in the national Parliament because it could well be that the position existing in Newcastle regarding the permanent appointment of a Government medical officer has been brought about by the Commonwealth starving the States for funds. It is some 12 years since a permanent Government medical officer was appointed to that position in Newcastle following the retirement of the former permanent Government Medical Officer, Dr Eglund. He retired from that position on the grounds of ill health.
I knew the late Dr Englund well. He was a conscientious, dedicated Government medical officer whose whole attention was directed to the performance of the medical supervision for which he was appointed.
Since his retirement at least 4 medical practitioners have been appointed from time to time as acting Government medical officers in the City of Newcastle. These medicos have to perform the duties of Government medical officer as well as carry out their own private practice, lt is obvious to any reasonable man or anyone acquainted with the position in Newcastle that an acting Government medical officer cannot afford the necessary time to carry out thoroughly the duties of a Government medical officer or the duties of forensic medicine and meet the requirements of his own private practice. I am doubtful whether the same degree of enthusiasm would be shown to the work of a Government medical officer when those duties came into conflict with matters appertaining to his own private practice. I think it is commonsense that he would give preference to the obligations of his own private practice. I believe that the remuneration offered to Government medical officers or acting Government medical officers, as the case may be, is considerably lower than that which a doctor can earn in private practice. This is probably the reason why, for approximately 12 years since the retirement of Dr Englund, the position of permanent Government medical officer at Newcastle has not been filled. 1 believe the responsible health authorities have been treating the citizens of this important city, which is the industrial heart of the nation, in a mean, shabby and contemptible way. Some honourable members may think I am a little impatient in raising the matter when only a mere 12 years have elapsed since the appointment of a permanent Government medical officer to this important city. I believe that, because these people are predominantly working class, the health authorities have got away with gross neglect in the matter to which I am referring. One might well ask how long the citizens of Bellevue Hill, Point Piper, Rose Bay, Wahroonga and Toorak, which is just outside Melbourne, would put up with this type of shabby treatment. One might ask how the absence of a permanent Government medical officer affects the community. Is it serious to the community? I say it is. I particularly want to refer to the position of the next of kin of deceased persons whose near and dear ones die in circumstances where an autopsy is requested by the Coroner. Frequently in
Newcastle autopsies cannot be held for some 4 or 5 days probably because of the Government medical officer’s lack of enthusiasm or because he is too busy with his own private practice. This causes prolonged mourning by tha widow, widower and near and dear ones and also causes extreme inconvenience to relatives who travel from distant parts of the State or interstate to attend the funeral. The funeral is held up because the autopsy is held up. The Coroner will not release the body to the undertaker until he receives the medical report of the autopsy. These things have been imposed on the people in my district for too long and should be immediately rectified. Relatives are left languishing in distress for long periods.
Furthermore, we have to think of our police investigating officers when a person dies in circumstances where poisoning is suspected. Many of us know that certain modern poisons, which can be used to dispose of someone whom one docs not like, disappear from the body in a very short period of time. This necessitates holding a postmortem as promptly as possible so that investigating officers can be apprised of the cause of death, and can pursue their line of inquiry as they would like to do once the cause of death is determined. We all have in mind the unfortunate Bogle case where the medical officers could not determine the cause of death. It was suspected that a poison known as ‘1080’ could have been used. A very high class pathologist might have difficulty in tracing this poison in the body. The poinson ‘1080’ is supposed to leave the body in a very short period of time. One can understand why in Newcastle there has been bungling with government medical officers, not always because of their incompetence. The recent acting Government Medical Officer, Dr Raschke, is a very outstanding and dedicated doctor but he has a lot of obligations with his own private practice. 1 do not think he was enthusiastic about taking over the duties of Government medical officer. The acting Government medical officer prior to Dr Raschke is under committal for trial at the moment for performing an illegal operation.
I believe that the job of government medical officer, which is so important to society, is not made attractive enough by the responsible Government department. I believe that as soon as possible a highly qualified medical practitioner, skilled and trained in forensic medicine, should be offered a salary attractive enough for him to dedicate himself to this position so that the citizens of Newcastle will be lifted to a higher grade and one worthy of the important part they play in the development and the economy of the nation. I sincerely hope that as a result of my bringing this matter forward in the debate today this very unsatisfactory position in Newcastle regarding the appointment of a permanent Government medical officer will be quickly rectified.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– 1 addressed this House only recently on the subject of profoundly deaf children and return to it for 2 reasons: firstly, because of the general unawareness and ignorance that abound on the problem of deafness and secondly, because of the widespread, long-standing neglect of deaf children by Federal and State governments, and I might add, by society generally. I am more or less an amateur in this field, although a good deal better informed than I was. Most outsiders look upon deafness as simply one of a number of afflictions that are classified loosely as a handicap. They imagine that one is just as unfortunate as the other. Most outsiders, quite incorrectly, consider deafness as a case of gradual and partial loss that comes on with agc. They would, I am sure, be stunned, as I was, by the realisation of the fact that the child born totally deaf - and otherwise normal - comes into the world with a burden of staggering proportions.
Consider this single fact: A child with normal hearing at the age of 4 or 5 years has all the basic structure of his native language without ever having been taught, solely by being communicated with. How can a child who is born profoundly deaf learn his native language? The answer is: He does not. Further enlightenment might come to an outsider by considering that what 1 might term ‘the old fashioned deafness’ - cases when deafness was a single handicap - is giving way to the more complex problem of the growing population of the multiple handicapped deaf children.
I mentioned as my second reason for addressing honourable members on the problem of the profoundly deaf child the widespread and long-standing neglect by both Federal and State government We are, all of us, familiar with the thinking of not so many years ago that put ali these human problems into the dark backwaters of institutionalisation. We have hidden the mentally retarded, the afflicted, behind the walls of protective custody. We kidded ourselves they did not exist.
Deafness too has shared this treatment. We will profit nothing by submerging any social problem. Perhaps the following statements will answer the question: Are we guilty today in 1970 of studiously and deliberately submerging a critical social problem? There has never been a Commonwealth or State inquiry into the needs crf deaf children. In no State of Australia is the person in charge of the education of the deaf an educator of the deaf. Imagine the chaos if this was the case in the area of science and mathematics. States do not even have comprehensive State plans for the education of their deaf. There is no single authority to co-ordinate educational and para-educational facilties within most States. Supervision of the work of teachers and of the children themselves is almost nonexistent. Obsolete, defective aud inadequate auditory training equipment is apparent. The increase in the number of day classes for the deaf is not accompanied by a concomitant increase in the number of supervisory personnel. In an era characterised by sophisticated teaching methods and well prepared books, most schools for the deaf in this country are fumbling still with unprofessional, ill prepared guidelines and syllabi.
Much more could be said. However, the central issues are: Urgent need for teachers of the deaf and adequate facilities for diagnosis, assessment and parent gu:dance. Although speaking as an outsider in this field I hope I am speaking for a society that is ashamed that it has looked the other way for so long when the problem of the profoundly deaf child has been mentioned. I was one of that society. I hope, too, that I am speaking for a Government that is at least, after long years of looking the other way, prepared to come to grips with the problem. In my electorate at St Gabriel’s School for the Deaf we have a wonderful, dedicated man in Brother Jerry McGrath.
– Is he a good fellow?
– He is a wonderful man and he is assisted by other wonderful men. He has been invited to Stockholm to participate in a very scientific symposium for the teaching of the deaf. Of course, the school I am most interested in is not blessed with great amounts of money. I appeal to all honourable members and to anyone who may be listening to assist us to send Brother McGrath to Stockholm. He is a man of great learning, a man that can assimilate, but above all a man who can disseminate what he has learned. In 1965 or 1966 there were about 150 children born who are profoundly deaf. If we could have had them brought to this school when they were about 1 year old they now would be able to speak their native language. So this is a wonderful opportunity for people of goodwill to assist us in this regard. I appeal to anyone, especially honourable members who can help us, to send a donation to St Gabriel’s School for the Deaf, Old Northern Road. Castle Hill. People who make such donations will be doing a magnificent work of charity, assisting people who cannot assist themselves, and helping Brother McGrath and his staff in the great and wonderful work that they are carrying out.
– 1 support the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) in his remarks. I believe the whole community and both sides of the Parliament - all political parties - have in large measure neglected what would be their duty to people who are disabled by some form such as deafness and blindness and nearly any other physical disability. These are handicaps for which the state accepts very little responsibility.
This morning I want to say something about the Australian Press and the need, I believe, for a new ethic to be established in respect of the Press - a new attitude towards the ownership of the Press and the need for a different sense of responsibility, so far as the Press is concerned, to the Australian public. This is a very important medium, and the folk who control the Press also control to a large measure radio and television.
I am moved to speak on this subject today by the fact that the British Press Council has been in existence for some years and it is time that Australia had something similar. The British Press Council is a voluntary body and it has these functions: To consider complaints about the conduct of the Press or the conduct of persons and organisations towards the Press. It works both ways - both to preserve the freedom of the British Press and to maintain the character of the British Press in accordance with the highest professional and commercial standards. I am moved to this because at this stage there are 2 very important State elections pending in Australia, one in Victoria and one in South Australia. In Victoria, particularly, because of the mass population of Melbourne, the fact that the Press, radio and television are controlled by a small group of interests and the fact that there is a small number of papers circulating in Melbourne, it is important that the Press not only publishes all the news but publishes it accurately and does not create news.
In Victoria, in my view, there has been a suppression of news or, one might even say, a distortion of news by the Melbourne Herald’ in its treatment of a recent gallup poll. For instance, its headline in April about the gallup poll reads: ‘8% Swing to Gorton Since October’. That is fair enough. That was the figure for Australia. But as far as the people of Victoria are concerned, it is that State which is important. The ‘Herald’ suppressed, I have no doubt consciously and with a view of concealing from the public the danger of the defeat of the Bolte Government, the facts relating to Victoria as disclosed in the gallup poll. In Victoria 1 ,693 people were interviewed, and the poll showed that 827 or 48.8% said they would vote for the Australian Labor Party. On the other hand only 7.7% said they would vote for the Democratic Labor Party. This is the significant figure: Only 33.7% said they would vote for the Liberal Party. That information was suppressed, and I believe that such a headline indicating that there had been a swing against Labor in Victoria was a distortion of the news. Admittedly the ‘Herald’ owns the copyright for the gallup poll, and 1 suppose te that extent it can do what it wishes. But the Australian Press, because of its monopolisitc control of the forms of information, has a duty to the community. So 1 want to place on record my concern with the way in which it has operated in this matter.
In Victoria at the present moment there are 3 large newspapers - the ‘Herald’ and the ‘Sun News- Pictorial’, both owned by Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, and the Age’. I regret that ‘Newsday’ folded up. I believe that it did not meet the requirements of a modern society in Melbourne, but Melbourne could have done with another daily evening newspaper. On the other hand, the Press is guilty of creating’ news. Recently there have been discussions about certain parts of Labor’s policy in Victoria, but the heading ‘Labor in Pieces’ in a leading article in the Melbourne ‘Age’ of I. 1th May was in fact quite false. People might have had views about policies but there was no internal dispute in the Labor Party in Victoria and I believe that this was a piece of mischievious misreporting. This is the kind of thing a Press council would be able to deal with and it would be able to establish some ethics. Another area in which it could become involved, particularly in Melbourne, is the control of the Press itself. This would represent an addition to the charter of the British Press Council. Something must be done about the growing monopoly of the Australian Press. 1 want to quote from another organ which 1 do not ordinarily quote as an organ of informed democratic opinion, but last year the ‘Daily Telegraph’ published an article headed: Danger from Melbourne’s Growing News Monopoly’, lt states:
If the Melbourne ‘Herald’ succeeds in its bid for the ‘West Australian’ and “Daily News’, Perth, it will have tentacles in every Australian capital except Sydney.
In the few minutes one has this morning one cannot elaborate on the control which this institution exercises over Australian Press, radio and television. One can find details of it published in many quarters. In particular, this article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ shows its investments in newspapers, television and other fields of great concern.
Of course, there are other things to which a Press council ought to turn its attention. The Australian Press on occasions seems to disregard the rights of private citizens. 1 have just had a survey made of the number of writs issued by private individuals against the Press in New South Wales alone over the last 3 years. In 1969, 10 were issued; in 1968, 10 were issued; and in 1967, 9 were issued. These are writs issued mostly by individuals against the Press for defamation, libel and so on. Of course we on this side of the House are aware of the great battle that went on for many years between the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) and the Press, .in which the honourable member for Reid was finally triumphant. Other members of the Parliament has suffered in the same way. Recently the proprietors of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ had judgment given against them for 520,000 in a case brought by an individual in Sydney. In the ordinary course of events an individual cannot initiate campaigns against the Press.
There are other areas in which I think the Press is quite unethical. One of them, of course, is its intrusion into private individuals’ lives. I believe that I am supporting here in some way the remarks of the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron). I do not believe that the Press has the right to publish photographs which harrass or cause concern and distress to people. Many of the photographs one sees of accidents are quite unethical, and some of the remarks that are made by Press writers are equally unethical. I came upon a remarkable piece of journalism in the Hobart ‘Mercury’, which I think has a monopoly of the morning news in Hobart. The paper, referring to the Moratorium a week or so back, said:
The goings on at the Moratorium affair today will just have to be anti-climax after the affectionate displays of tolerance. . . .
Then the article runs on with some reference to Hitler and Mussolini. I believe this is a disgraceful article to be either written by an Australian journalist or published by an editor. It states:
For today let me remind you that spitting on the footpath is illegal, so be accurate.
What kind of editing is that? It is a completely unethical publication. On the other side, we have to do something about the protection of the freedom of the Press. I have here a report of a case brought by Maxwell Newton Publications in Canberra last year, I think, in which Maxwell Newton
Publications finally obtained judgment. The case involved unethical use by the Government of its power or, one might say, abuse of its power. In Vietnam the Press is controlled in a large measure by the Australian forces. 1 understand that Australian journalists may interview an Australian soldier only when he is accompanied by an officer or a public relations man. This is a restriction on the freedom of the Press. One is reminded of the reports that came back from Gallipoli during the First World War from the late Sir Keith Murdock which revolutionised attitudes in this country.
But there also has to be some protection for the journalist and some freedom to print. There has been too much secrecy. There is a tendency to regard news as being a security matter. 1 believe that for the sake of Australian democracy it is urgent that what one might call the contradiction between the 2 sides of the Press - the freedom to print and the freedom of the individual - be resolved. It will be resolved only by some authority which is able to examine each of these cases on its merits. lt is important that citizens, and particularly working journalists, be protected against the arbitrary decisions of the managements of Australian Press, managements which are largely irresponsible in the political sense and becoming increasingly monopolistic in the strictest and most liberal sense of the word.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– For the information of honourable members I present a copy of a speech, made on Wednesday, 13th May, by Dr J. D. Gunther to the Fourth Waigani Seminar on the Politics of Melanesia, entitled ‘Background to the House of Assembly’. I ask for leave to make a statement on this subject.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– On 15th May I undertook to make a statement concerning some allegations made in an address at the
Waigani Seminar by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Papua and New Guinea that there had been interference with the proceedings and deliberations of the House of Assembly select committees on constitutional development. On the day that Dr Gunther’s remarks were published in the Australian newspapers a Press conference was held in Canberra for the Papuan and New Guinean advisers about to depart for the Trusteeship Council and for Mr L. W. Johnson, the AdministratorDesignate who will be the special representative at the Council. It is unfortunate that the newspapers which gave wide coverage to Dr Gunther’s criticisms did not report Mr Johnson’s comments. These were in form of the answers to questions:
Mr Johnson’s views accord with the Government’s position. Both the previous Select Committee and the present Committee sought the Government’s views on constitutional development in the Territory and on proposed developments in the Territory which might have a bearing on Australia itself. On 26th November 1965 the previous Select Committee, chaired by Mr Guise, presented its first interim report to the House of Assembly. Dr Gunther had resigned from that Committee on 24th November - only 2 days earlier. The report said, inter alia:
The Committee is at present considering how these various alternatives can be put to the people in such a way that the people can understand the different possibilities and make a wise choice.
The Committee is also concerned that the policy of the Australian Government with regard to constitutional development in the Territory should be clear before the people of the two Territories are asked to choose their future. Many of the choices affect the future of Australia as well as the future of Papua and New Guinea.
Thus the Committee feels that it would be unwise to present possible alternatives to the people without first establishing just what future associations with Australia would be acceptable to the Australian Government. It is obvious that in all constitutional development of this Territory the Australian Government would have the closest interest.
The Committee considers that it should have exploratory discussions with representatives of the Australian Government particularly on the matter of the range of special relationships between Papua and New Guinea and Australia that would be acceptable lo Australia.
I first met the Select Committee on 17th January 1966. At this meeting the Chairman indicated a number of matters on which the Select Committee would seek the Government’s views. I replied that many of the matters ra sed would need Cabinet consideration and suggested a later meeting with Ministers in Canberra.
In a statement in the House of Representatives on 3 1st March 1966 1 informed the House of the wish of the Select Committee for exploratory discussions. I said that the Committee wished to discuss particularly the range of special relationships in the future between Papua and New Guinea and Australia which might be considered by the Government of the day.. I also said:
Any proposals for changes in the composition of the House of Assembly would need to come before the Commonwealth Government this year for consideration so that if legislation to amend the Papua and New Guinea Act were decided upon it could be brought before the Parliament in due time and so that any legislation relating to proposals for adjustment of the Territory electoral boundaries may be considered by the House of Assembly in time to enable all actions necessary for holding of the elections to be taken.
On 21st April 1966 I made a detailed statement in the House on the discussion which had taken place earlier that month between Ministers and the Select Committee.
Any suggestion that this discussion with Ministers or that advice given by official members on the Committee had influenced elected members improperly was met by a speech by the Chairman of the Committee, Mr John Guise, in the House of Assembly on 9th June 1967 when he said:
Last night a news item from 9PA spoke briefly about the select committee and in a part of it said that the select committee was forced to restrain its recommendations for fear of offending the Commonwealth Government by asking for too much. It is good that criticism of this nature is broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission. It is a very healthy sign and, as a member and Chairman of this Committee, I accept and welcome this criticism. However, the news item gave me the impression that the report of the select committee committee does not go far enough and that its recommendations are too conservative and would no doubt, be pleasing to the Department of Territories and to the Commonwealth Government.
Mr Speaker, it has been a basic policy of the Committee that it would seek the views of the people on the matters it was examining and be guided by those views. In the second interim report it followed the wishes of the majority of the people by providing for increased representation in the House of Assembly of 1968. The committee visited all district headquarters for the purpose of finding out what steps the people wanted taken in the constitutional development of our country.
It heard the views of our people and was able to obtain an indication of the amount of change desired. The Committee felt obliged to give effect to the views of the people and its recommendations were made in accordance with those views. The majority of the people desired to step forward. They wanted the members of the House of Assembly in 1968 to take a greater part in the future government of our country. They did not request radical changes. I am speaking of the majority view of the people. Members will, of course, be aware of the thoughts and opinions of their people and constituents in this matter and will be guided by this. Mr Speaker, the committee does not know the views of the Department of Territories at least I do not. The Committee has been concerned with the views of the people and all the local government councils of this Territory, and not those of any department whether it be the Department of Territories or the Commonwealth Government or the United Nations or any other outside body.
In his address Dr Gunther says that he has reason to believe there is interference with the present Select Committee chaired by Mr Arek. This statement is at odds with the second interim report of this Select
Committee on Constitutional Development which was tabled by Mr Arek in the House of Assembly on 12th March. It states:
So that members may follow the thinking of the people of Papua and New Guinea as expressed to the Select Committee, I am circulating reports of proceedings before the Committee. These reports are also being circulated to the Press.
It is a matter for comment that the criticism contained in the statement which 1 have tabled should come from a person who was an official member of the Committee. The difficult position in which a public servant finds himself when acting as an official member of the House of Assembly and its committees has been referred to on a number of occasions in this House. Dr Gunther is reported to have said that as official members were appointed to the Committee by the legislature they were free to enter into general discussion without being restricted to any narrow official point of view. The Government does not see it as appropriate to equate the role of a member who holds office by virtue of election with that of a public servant who is a member of the House of Assembly by appointment by the Governor-General on the nomination of the Administrator. The Government regards Mr Johnson’s explanation of the role of an official member of the House of Assembly serving as a member of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development as being entirely appropriate. Mr Deputy Speaker, I present the following paper:
Papua and New Guinea - Allegations at the Waigani i Seminar - Ministerial Statement, 2 1st May 1970.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the House take note of the paper.
Mr Deputy Speaker, 1 thank the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) for having made this statement which I sought during question time after the statements by Dr Gunther were reported in the Press. Allegations of the nature which are the subject of the Minister’s statement must always be taken seriously. Especially is this so when they come from a man so respected and responsible, so informed and independent as Dr John Gunther is. Dr Gunther is one of the few men of authority in the Territory who can speak freely.
The restriction on public servants is well known and in fact affected the Waigani Seminar. An Administration circular, before the Seminar, quite clearly attempted to dissuade public servants - to intimidate them - from speaking at the Seminar in a political way. Even if we accept such restrictions for Australian public servants, it is clear that such restrictions have little relevance for a developing nation in which a large proportion of the people who can make a meaningful contribution to public debate are in public employment.
This transposition of Australian factors has posed many problems in the Territory.
For example, the present crisis in the Administrative College in which over half of its staff is about to resign seems due to the application of an Australian perspective to the role of a public servant. The attitude seems to be that the College should not be regarded as a tertiary institution but rather, as its new name reflects, a public service training centre. In the Minister’s statement, he indicates that a similar attitude is reflected in the perceived role of official members of the House of Assembly. This is precisely what Dr Gunther objected to when he resigned from the previous constitutional committee. The allegations which Dr Gunther made are more than a sidelight on history; they are a reflection of the basic paternalism that permeates the attitude of this Government to New Guineans.
For years, the Government has sought to confound its critics by an assertion that self-government would come when the people wanted it, or asked for it. How trite these constantly repeated slogans are becomes clear when one asks the question: Who decides al what point the people of New Guinea should decide on their future? When should they ask? When should they make this request? That basic decision quite clearly continues to rest in Canberra. All the basic political advances in the Territory have similarly been decided in Canberra. Yet, at the same time, the Minister for External Territories refuses to accept any responsibility for future political development whilst hiding behind the smokescreen of these glib paternal statements with which no one could disagree.
As I have said constantly - the last time a fortnight ago on the Appropriation Bill - the basic decision which will have to be made in the very near future is that of determining the time when the people of the Territory will take their political future into their own hands. The only way in which the Government has attempted to involve people in the Territory in resolving this basic issue is through the successive constitutional committees. It is for this reason that Dr Gunther’s allegations of administrative interference in the workings of the previous committee and the present committee are of major importance.
Let us clarify the nature of these allegations. No imputation of bad faith is made.
However, there is an inference that this paternalism of Government attitudes has affected the work of these constitutional committees. It is the essence of the pernicious nature of paternalism that decisions are made and influence is exercised from misguided good faith or from the assumption that those who have always exercised power know best how power should be exercised; or that those who have made decisions on behalf of others cannot accept the possibility that decisions could be made for them. There is no plot; there is no conspiracy; there is an all pervasive attitude, an attitude which discourages self confidence and saps initiative. There is no directive or formal control, for these are not necessary in a self perpetuating power structure which instinctively has come to expect the objects of this paternalism to tell it only what it wants to hear.
If we are to have friendly and fruitful relations with the future independent nation of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, we must begin the job of destroying this constellation of attitudes here and now. The basic allegation which Dr Gunther has made is that the previous Select Committee on Constitutional Development appointed by the House of Assembly in May 1965 was subject to ‘interference by the Government through directions to the official members’. Such an allegation cannot be ignored, not simply because of the stature of the man who made it, but because he himself was one of the official members of that Committee. He ought to know.
He resigned as a member of the Committee. My understanding is that he resigned because of attempts by the Department of Territories, as it then was, to direct the actions of the official members. No doubt, he made the usual excuses about pressure of work or something of that nature. But I understand that he in fact resigned because of Canberra interference which contrasted with the lack of direction given to the first committee of which he had been the chairman. My information is that Dr Gunther announced his intention to resign at a meeting which was called by the then Administrator, Sir Donald Cleland, at the instigation of the Head of the Department of Territories, Mr Smith. This meeting was called for the official members.
I ask the Minister for External Territories to investigate whether any such special meeting was held and, if so, what was the purpose of such a meeting of official members if it were not to discuss that Committee’s affairs. There is no allegation that Canberra interference affected the actual recommendations of the final report. 1 understand that the purpose of the intervention was to ensure that the Constitutional Committee concentrated on issues of development of the existing system rather than the broader issues which the Territory would have to face.
This difference in emphasis can be borne out to a certain extent by the available documents. Let us compare, far example, the first interim report of the Select Committee and its final report. In its interim report, the Committee stated: the most important initial task that is being tackled by the Committee is the formulation of a list of the possible alternatives from which the people of both Territories may choose their future- even though the committee went on to recognise that:
There is nothing in its final report which delineates the broad alternatives to which the Committee had referred. In paragraph 53 of the final report the Committee states:
Although the Committee has examined long term constitutional matters, including the constitutions of other countries and the relationship between the legislature and the executive in such countries, it has restricted the ambit of ils recommendations to matters affecting the 1968 House of Assembly. 1 thank the present Committee for. its reference to the discussion that it had with me. As I understand its deliberations, not only due to the official membership but to the expatriate membership, it is still not yet coming to grips with what must surely be the basic constitutional development which we must envisage for New Guinea - the presidential and congressional system, or the parliamentary and ministerial system - the Washington or the Westminster system.
As we all know, there has been constant pressure from expatriate members and official members of the House of Assembly to disparage and downgrade the role of political parties in an elected assembly. By comparing the history of our legislatures in the Australian States in the last century with those in this century and by looking at the experience in other parts of the world, we know that it is the party system which makes an elected assembly work. If there are not parties upon which a government can depend then there is either a constant rotation of governments as loyalties in the Parliament fluctuate or a constant series of elections as the Government asks the head of State to dissolve the Parliament and produce a workable one.
– Do you think coalitions can work?
– I think that passing years show increasingly that they do not work in this Parliament or in State parliaments. The party system has not been allowed to develop in New Guinea. There is no prospect, as things stand, of stable government, consistency of administration or progress in legislation by a continuation of the ministerial or parliamentary system. There is such a hope that both the Government and the Parliament will have some prospect of continuity if the presidential and congressional system is developed. Little attention is being given in the deliberations of the Committee to this key matter from the point of view of any developing country. On the other hand I notice that obviously on the inspiration of expatriate members of the Committee a great deal of attention is being given to such exotic concepts as an upper House, or a federal system, or safeguards against nationalisation.
One can appreciate the inference that the earlier Committee was sidetracked from the broader issues by the remaining official members. The indication of the Government’s attitude to this Committee is found deeply embedded in a host of generalisations in the Minister’s statement to the House on 3 1st March 1966. After the usual statement of government benevolence on how the Government does not intend to make any decisions at all, we find the following revealing sentence:
The Government would regard transitional steps towards eventual responsible ministerial government as appropriate at this stage.
That is the basic assumption that the Government makes, which may be completely inappropriate to a developing country, particularly New Guinea which has had a House of Assembly succeeding a legislative council and where no strong party system has yet developed. There is, however, new hope for the people of the Territory. It has been accepted in the Territory that when the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) at last visits it later this year he intends to announce a date for home rule and that that date will probably be in 1972. If the Government is seriously thinking along these lines then it should now be willing to admit past errors, including the one to which Dr Gunther has drawn our attention.
The Government has always used reports of the constitutional committees as an alibi for its own conservatism. Statements in this House and in the Trusteeship Council have used any report of the committees as though it was a full indication of what the people in the Territory wanted. Any allegation that the Government interfered in the scope of the committees’ reports casts doubts on such claims. The final report of the Committee was very limited.I note that the report of the United Nations Visiting Mission to the Territory in 1968 stated that the members were a little timid in their approach to constitutional progress. This has now been explained. Dr Gunther did out line his motivation for making these effects public at the time. He stated:
We had reason to believe that there was similar interference with the present committee.
He went on to say:
I hope by making this interference public it will cease so that advice to the public is truly perceived and reported.
I am not aware of any direct interference by Canberra with investigations of the present Committee. I am informed, however, that when the Committee was in Canberra recently and called on the Prime Minister the chairman, Mr Paulus Arek, asked that the representative of the Department of External Territories and one of the official members of the Committee should not accompany them into the Prime Minister’s suite. One may infer that Mr Arek seemed aware of the possibility of interference. As I and my colleagues, the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), have stated in this House on several occasions, when in the Territory we were met with an instinctive reaction to the term ‘self government’ again and again but we always found complete agreement in favour of all propositions which come to make up self government. This has also apparently been the experience of some members of the present Constitutional Committee.
Thus another allegation was made at the Waigani seminar by Mr Michael Somare, a member of the Committee. He stated that the day before the Committee arrived in Wobang a local kiap had told the people that if self government came all white men would leave. Such incidents have probably happened throughout the Territory. There is no directive from Canberra to this effect. There is no standing policy to this effect. But the Minister for External Territories is the only Minister who is responsible to any elected body for actions such as these. The Government’s general attitude to the Territory is consonant with such expressions of opinion.
This Government must be regarded as an accomplice in any such attempts to influence the people of New Guinea. At the recent Waigani seminar many accusations similar to those of Dr Gunther were made. An ex-member of the House of Assembly accused the Government of stacking the official membership of the House with district commissioners from the Highlands because they could effectively lobby the conservative indigenous members. A member of the consultative committee appointed to consider local government in Port Moresby indicated at the seminar that members of the Administration attempted to influence the operations of that Committee. He stated:
As interpreted by the Administration the meanings of the terms consultation, information and explanation become virtually synonomous.
Government officials found the activities of the Constitutional Committee objectionable not only because they might upset the timetable laid down by the Department of External Territories but also because the Committee challenged the monopoly of policy making.
He gave as another example a meeting held to obtain the view of local councillors on a land matter on which 67 out of 90 minutes were taken up by speeches of European officials. If consultation is to degenerate to such farce then this Government has betrayed its responsibility for the future of the Territory and its trust to the United Nations. 1 think the experience of all of us in New Guinea is that at any gathering where there are officials or expatriates they will hog the discussion, they will take the points of order, they will be the bush lawyers, and they will discourage and in fact-
– Yes, interrupt. It must be admitted they humiliate the indigines, including elected indigenes. The great thing that has to be done is to build selfconfidence - a feeling of manhood and nationhood among the people of this Territory. There is certainly nothing intrinsically difficult to believe in the allegations which Or Gunther, Mr Michael Somare and others that I have mentioned made at this seminar. These allegations were made by people who were free to speak. There were a great number of people at that seminar. There were a great number of people in positions to form public opinion in New Guinea but who at this seminar had to listen. They could not speak. They could not meaningfully participate. 1 may say that I was able to keep track of the proceedings at the seminar and I was able to get early copies of the papers because a member of my staff visited the seminar. I would like to say on his behalf, as I have earlier said on behalf of my colleagues who went to New Guinea and on my own behalf, that we appreciate the facilities that the Minister and his senior officers have made available to us, wherever we have gone to such functions in the Territory.
I conclude by drawing attention to another paragraph in the statement which Dr Gunther made and which the Minister has tabled. He was referring to the experience that he had as a member of the Select Committee in 1962. He said:
There was a widespread fear of the United Nations (and the United States of America because of its part in proposing the Bunker Plan). There was a fear that Australia would be pushed and would then walk out taking her money and knowbow with her. It is a great evil that this fear still exists amongst much of the population today, and it is a sad commentary on the Australian Administration and the Australian Government that they haven’t made every effort to repudiate completely such beliefs.
– 1 think it is right that someone from this side of the House should follow the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), particularly in view of one or two comments that he has made. My comments will be in the highest possible vein, so I hope that 1 heard what he said accurately. My note is that he said the last Select Committee - in other words, the previous one - did not talk about ultimate arrangements. This is quite contrary to my understanding of the work of the previous Select Committee. With respect, I think this point wants questioning if I am not in a position to refute it. Nevertheless, I think it can be refuted on the evidence of the statement just made by the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes). I would like to start by commenting on that point.
The Minister’s statement largely deals with the job of the Select Committee on Constitutional Development. 1 want to say briefly that I had the opportunuity while in New Guinea with the delegation on Anzac Day of attending a meeting of the Select Committee at one of the points where it took evidence in the Gazelle Peninsula. It was a most enlightening experience. Views were put forward by a wide variety of Tolais, I should imagine. They were put over in a most erudite and sensible fashion. There are other lessons that 1 think one can absorb by sitting in for an hour or two, as the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) and I did on that occasion. I think the first attitude of importance that was conveyed to me was that in many cases it is not only the members of this House who do not know precisely what is meant by the Westminster system. The indigenous people of the Territory when attempting to refer to it and to criticise it are also in that position. Views were put forward in relation to the Westminster system. Views were put forward concerning the presidential system, as it was termed on this occasion. These views, as examples of commonsense and logic, were first-class and must be commended. Again I make the comment that their views on the presidential system, frankly, are not in accord with my own understanding of the presidential system, for what that proves.
The debate then went on and, for the sake of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), I must say it continued without any interruptions or any influence being exerted. It was a thoroughly good example of proper tapping of people’s feelings. People put their views. The speakers were then subjected to questioning by members of the committee who were in attendance on that occasion. But where they really got into deep water, if ] may use that term with respect, was when they got into a composite of a federal and 2- House system or bicameral system. One can only sit back and wonder whether in fact this is not a form of completely mythical thinking that has no reality in relation to a society of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea. 1 saw fit to comment to one or two people afterwards that coming from a State Upper House in a Federal system and going to a Lower House in the central government - the Commonwealth Government of the country - I thought I was in a pretty fair position to say that the majority of the people of Australia do not know the difference, even in our sophisticated society, between one House and another. Views were put forward on this occasion that an attempt should be made to transform the Federal system with a bicameral system in order to satisfy their aspirations for localised control. But that can so obviously be carried out in innumerable other ways without wishing to take the worst features of the Australian Constitutional system to the Territories of Papua and New Guinea. I make those comments in good faith.I was tremendously intrigued by the views put forward. They were put forward wonderfully well and remarkably concisely within the limits of their understanding of the position. However,I would also add those reservations which I have mentioned as to the evidence that was received by this Select Committee at that part of the Territory.
If I may, I would like to deny as best I can the contention of the Leader of the Opposition that in some way force is being used to stop the formation of the party structure in the Territory of Papua and New
Guinea. I do not believe this is true. I have had first hand evidence of 2 moves to form parties in the last 6 months in the Territory. We all know that a party of some consequences has already been formed. I refer to the Pangu Party. I am quite sure this is a trend that will evolve. I would like to make the point that, when we consider the remarkable and successful exercise in lifting a people without much training and certainly without an infrastructure at all from the stage they were at immediately after the last war to the peak that they have reached today sociologically, in terms of political awareness and in terms of economic growth, we should have a little more perspective in this Parliament in relation to this exercise, if 1 may use that term. It is no earthly use picking out isolated fields and attempting to damage the structure and the success that has been achieved. I think in many ways people such as the Leader of the Opposition will have a lot to answer for in the future. I expect it is not worth mentioning in any detail the fact that some shipping proprietary company-
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
– Before the suspension of the sitting 1 was pointing out that 1 had made several visits to Papua and New Guinea in recent months and that as leader of a delegation last Anzac Day I was able to listen for a time to evidence that was given to the Select Committee on Constituti onal Reform. I made some comments in relation to that. This Parliament has a great responsibility that it would do well to remember in relation to the future economic and sociological progress of the Territory. I was referring rather regretfully, to demonstrate the sort of problem that exists, to a Press report. I am assuming that the Press statement represents the true facts. It may well be that it does not, so I make that qualification. But according to a Brisbane newspaper of 20th May the Steamships Trading Company, through its legal officer, Mr J. K. Smith, reports that it intends to build a 150-bed modern international hotel in Port Moresby. Mr Smith said that the company was ready to begin construction but the money was pulled out after the violence on the Gazelle Peninsula, which is some distance from Port Moresby, and the visit to the Territory by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Gough Whitlam. Mr Smith did not name the source of the money. He said that the company had sought other investors from Australia and elsewhere, but all had refused to invest because of the unrest on the Gazelle Peninsula and because of statements by Territory and Australian politicians. One must regard the latter as an objective remark concerning the paucity of capital for this particular project. I have quoted this report intentionally because it seems to me that the Minister, the Government and the Parliament have a proper role to play constructively in the development of Papua and New Guinea in all phases, lt does not help the Territory’s progress one bit for any honourable member to go there and make wrong, inaccurate or unfortunate statements. It is just as well that we be aware of this.
Prior to the suspension of the sitting 1 sa d that I was satisfied that the rapid development of the Territory probably had no analogy. It is probably the greatest developmental exercise ever undertaken by any one country, big or small. However, one thing does concern me. 1 know that the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) is due to follow me in this debate. He is not altogether bereft of philosophical ability nor does he neglect research. On occasions he is very good. So 1 pose to him this question: How do we tell what can motivate indigenous people to rise above their environment and to take proper jobs and acquire higher qualifications? I will get back to this point in a moment. I think frequently of the remarks of several of my friends who are indigenous politicians and who have had the opportunity on occasions to go to the United Nations. But what do they see there? They see what is tantamount to a cement jungle - a sterile environment - with hardly a blade of grass, a tree or a living plant. They see this and they wonder: Is this the sort of progress that people seek to impose on us? Is this the way that people are trying to convince us the Territory should progress?
On a recent visit I made to Papua and New Guinea a responsible Minister in the Territory Parliament said to me: ‘Is it not a fact that the average Australian would like to retire and go fishing, hunting and swimming when he is 40 or 45?’ 1 suppose this is true, and the indigenous people feel that this is what they can do now. Even in the Chimbu Valley, which is not famous for its development and where one of the consumer commodities that the indigenes can purchase from the local store is tinned pork, instead of the traditional pig, an average of H days’ work a week on a relatively established coffee plantation is sufficient to enable the indigenes to satisfy their requirements of consumer non-durables.
One of the matters on which the more thoughtful members of this Parliament should be concentrating their attention, is trying to find out what docs motivate or could motivate the indigenous population. How can we sell them the idea that there is a requirement in any newly developing society for people to do something about qualifying themselves and having a wish to do something for their country? Much of this is related to national aspirations, lt is not easy, as I have found out to my cost over some period of time, to go to the Territory and try to discover what national aspirations the people have or would wish to have. This Government, I think, found ohe answer to the national aspiration problem when not many years ago it took the worthwhile risk of permitting, within stated limits and qualifications, a total vote in the Territory. This was a great experiment and something which, at that stage of development, met their feelings of national aspiration. 1 think that members from both sides would agree, to some degree or another, that the Government has attempted to encourage, by a step by step process, the subsequent fulfilment of national aspirations. I say this very seriously because not only is there probably some merit in the statement made on behalf of the Steamships Trading Co. but because unless this national aspiration can be pinpointed and satisfied investment obtained, the Territory will become a questionable commodity regarding economic expansion.
There is good reason to suppose that there will be advantage to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea if all races are enabled to exist side by side and to work together towards an economic plan and in, what is probably slightly more difficult, a sociological fashion, and towards more political awareness. I am not one of those people who believe that no progress has been made in terms of political awareness. I find - and 1 have no doubt that other honourable members would back up my point of view - that there is a tremendous awakening in political awareness in the Territory. The fact of the matter is that it is largely involved in the people’s own local government and their own environmental circumstances. I think that this is understandable in a territory where mass communications are still not good. In terms of the very rugged terrain tremendous progress is being made by telecommunications and by light aircraft covering the areas, and development is occurring at a very rapid rate. I think we are stuck with the problem that in many of those areas politics or political awareness is something they know about through their own locality and this is of course particularly true in terms of the Gazelle Peninsula.
I return to the point that 1 think we must always keep in mind. We must consistently inquire into what can motivate the people to accept greater responsibility. We must consistently inquire and talk and commute wilh them as to what their national aspirations are and meet those in as com.monsense a fashion as is possible. I do not mean to say, for instance, that if one or two half-trained academics are loose in the environment up there and hold the view that kiaps must get out or that we must lop the heads off the while people, that is a national aspiration of which we need take much note. A week or two ago I was at long lust able to get to a place called Cape Hosking which 1 had not seen since there were 150-odd Japanese planes on it many years ago. When I got there I found that not only is it the centre of the palm oil industry but also - more importantly to the issue I am trying to get to - there was a Papuan district officer on the north coast of New Britain. 1 said to him: What motivated you to go through years of training to reach this very responsible position you hold?’ As so often happens when talking to these people on a personal issue, the answer you get back is not simple. One feels, as one feels in Asian countries sometimes, that there is a natural embarrassment and a reticence to try to analyse their own feelings. But it is the job of the responsible members of this Parliament to try to reach an understanding on these issues. I hope that in future there will be a little less loose talking.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) 12.14] - At the outset 1 would like to thank the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) for his great and typical courtesy in providing us beforehand with copies of his speech and also copies of the Waigani paper of Dr Gunther which touched off the discussion which we are having in the House today. The issue in part is the charge of improper influence by the Government on a constitutional committee. This question of influencing the indigenous members of Parliament or indigenous opinion at all in any respect is one of the difficult questions in Papua-New Guinea. One factor, I think, is the chronic and constant tendency of the expatriate community of Papua-New Guinea to overreact. In this they are very like the Europeans of Rhodesia and the Europeans of South Africa. In the tragedy surrounding South African sport at the present time there is apparently a complete inability lo see that the decisions made about Basil D’Olivera and Arthur Ashe have had their consequences outside, because the expatriate community is cut off from the mainstream of world thought. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with what the Leader of he Opposition (Mr Whitlam) had to say about plantation wages in Papua-New Guinea, the reaction of the planters can only be described as hysterical. I saw it there. Telegrams were sent to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). Apparently the Prime Minister is to stop the Leader of the Opposition from saying that the wages are not adequate. This is the cut-off sort of thinking that you get there.
If any honourable member wants to do a fascinating exercise I suggest that he have a look at the debates in this House on 4th July 1945, the day John Curtin died, when the first post-war statement of policy on Papua-New Guinea was submitted to the House. Then follow the debates through, especially in the speech of the late Sir Thomas White, who was then the honourable members for Balaclava, and later our High Commissioner in London. The planters began to send letters to him because indentured labour was being abolished. The whole sky was going to fall. They knew the natives but Mr Ward did not know the natives; ridiculous wage levels were being promised; it was ridiculous that there should be an interference with the question of indentured labour. The forecasts of disaster are so utterly unreal, and yet always surrounding the indigenous people of PapuaNew Guinea when one goes there are thi hysteria reactions to anything happening in the world. Each time I have been to PapuaNew Guinea there has been an explosion. The Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Menzies, had said in Australia that independence must come sooner or later and he favoured it sooner rather than later; a bombshell through Papua-New Guinea. Then Sir Hugh Foot went through, recommending a parliament of 100 and various other changes; another bombshell went through the expatriate community. One would have thought that by now they would realise that these are passing things and that the Papua-New Guinea community is evolving like other communities and that they should stop lacerating the nerves of the indigenous community with their infantile reactions to every criticism that is made of anything that is up there.
A very distinguished expatriate member of the Parliament is Mr Lussick who has organised the independent group of 26 in the House of Assembly and virtually handed them over to the chairmanship of Oala Oala-Rarua. Mr Lussick came before us and we were having a discussion about the future. I said to him: ‘Mr Lussick, one of the things I feel that the indigenous members of the House of Assembly should be doing, instead of being encouraged to be roads and bridges members all the time, is to get around the community with a positive intention of creating national unity. Why do they not have travel rights?’ He said: A lot of them are trouble makers and stirrers’. I said: ‘Mr Lussick I am speaking about your colleagues in the House of Assembly’, and he said: ‘That does not make any difference. They are trouble makers and stirrers’. This is the attitude. I urge honourable members in this House to read a book that has just been produced by a man who for many years up there was correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr John Ryan. The book is called ‘The Hot Land’. He said that at a meeting in Port Moresby when
Oala Oala-Rarua launched his National Party of New Guinea it had what he regarded as an extremely intelligent programme. Sitting in the audience were 2 members of the Special Branch taking notes. He indicates that in the hysteria reaction beforehand certain members of the House of Assembly who intended to attend thought better of it and did not. That is the National Party of New Guinea which then faded out. You do not encourage the formation of political parties or political thinking by members of the Special Branch taking notes. The next thing that happened was the formation of the Christian Democrats which was fundamentally a Catholic party. John Ryan describes it as starting its proceedings with the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary - and there were members of the security branch sitting in the audience. These things may be quite innocent. The members of the security branch, for all I know, may have been interested as private citizens.
– The Minister nods. That is right. But with the interpretation placed on these things owing to taut nerves, and sometimes elaborated upon by expatriate members of the Parliament or expatriates in the community, does have an effect on the indigenes. With the greatest respect to the Minister 1 would say that he has made perfectly clear in a number of utterances that he does not approve of the Pangu Party. 1 do not think we should approve or disapprove of any political parties in Papua-New Guinea. It is a matter for them to evolve their own political parties. I think it was a pity that when the select committee visited Australia it did not sit with the Government members’ territories committee or with the Opposition members’ territories committee. 1 want to say one thing quite clearly: We do not agree with the Government that it is real to say to the people of Papua and New Guinea that independence will come when they ask for it. The modern world just is not like that. Nor is it right to say that in a relationship between Australia and Papua and New Guinea the only ones who will make any decisions will be the people at the Papua and New Guinea end. I do not want to hurry them or stampede them. We strongly favour continuing a treaty for 15 years after independence: to continue providing economic, financial and technical ass stance to them. There is no question of applying pressure or stampeding them. As far as the Labor Party is concerned, it is not a matter of the only factor being what the House of Assembly decides and if somebody can organise the highlands bloc efficiently never to ask for it, independence never comes or does not come for 50 or 60 years. That is nol the only factor in independence. There must also be intelligent discussions. But the idea that they can stay immovable wilh a complete veto on Australian thinking is an unwise attitude to encourage there because the modern world is nol like that.
– Have you not stampeded them by announcing target dates?
– We have announced a target date for self-government. Selfgovernment exists the moment we take the veto off the legislation of the House of Assembly. There will be no physical difference in appearance, procedures or anything else. Then in 1976, after 4 years of discussion, assuming the Labor Party had power to decide these things, you would commence your discussion about independence, lt is not a matter of pushing them off the cliff but at that time the discussions on the subject of independence might take place. They may take as long to evolve their constitution as Australia did to evolve its constitution, and we took from 1891 to 1901 - 10 years. But at some stage - we believe in 1976 - they have to start giving their minds to the question of full independence. I think an earlier part of Dr G unifier’s statement is more significant than the part that has been the subject of most comment. He spoke about the situation after Sir Hugh Foot went through the Territory and said:
There was widespread fear of the United Nations and the United States of America because of its part in proposing the Bunker plan. There was a fear that Australia would be pushed and would then walk out, taking her money and know-hew with her. It is a great evil that this fear still exists amongst much of the population today and it is a sad commentary on the Australian administration and the Australian Government that they have not made every effort to repudiate completely such beliefs. 1 found that in Papua and New Guinea the United Nations was something you had to talk about darkly with bated breath. Ever since the Foot mission the United Nations has been depicted by expatriates to the indigenous community as something sinister. What is significant is nol that the United Nations as an assembly passes resolutions which are overwhelmingly in favour of independence: What is significant is that something like 100 governments of the world, having sat down and considered Papua and New Guinea, have instructed their delegates to urge the independence of Papua and New Guinea. It is not true that Australia can simply ignore the opinions of the world in this way and it is not wise to encourage the indigenous people to believe that we can.
One or two points need to be made about our policies and about the select committee. The tragedy of the select committee was that it got to Fiji, a country which is on the point of independence, when nearly all the crucial members of the Fijian Parliament had gone to London. It is rather a pity that their presence in Fiji coincided with a diminished ability to speak to their Fijian opposite numbers. After all, Fiji has moved along the road to independence and will become independent in October. We should be encouraging the people of Papua and New Guinea to think of certain specific problems. We should be encouraging them to think of their relationship with the Solomons. The British have given us Cocos Island and Christmas Island. In our attitude to the relationship of Papua and New Guinea with the Solomons we completely exclude the idea that Buka and Bougainville might go back to the Solomons. We are bound by a treaty between Lord Granville and Bismarck in 1884 - apparently a sheer accident of colonial history - which put a line through the Solomons. 1 do not think we should bc so bound. It is not right to consider, either in extension or in diminution, that there should be no change in the boundaries of New Guinea.
In the 1 880s the Government of Queensland look islands within a few hundred yards of the coast of Papua and New Guinea. I wish the House would understand what underlies the statement of a man like Ebia Olewale when he says: ‘Papuans are Australian citizens. Why are we not entitled to social services, unemployment benefits and so on?’ We have confused the indigenous people. Papuans are not Australian citizens. There are no Australian citizens under the Australian Constitution. The Australian Constitution acknowledges a person only as the subject of the Queen - a British subject. In our modern terminology we choose to call these ‘Australian citizens’. When Papuans were called British subjects it was not assumed that the British subjects of Papua had rights in Australia any more than the British subjects of India but we changed the terminology for the sake of international window dressing and we called them ‘Australian citizens’. They have no rights of residence in Australia.
In the area which Ebia Olewale represents there are families, some living in Australia, on those islands which Queensland outrageously took in the 1880s within 200 or 300 yards of the Papuan coast and the mainland people speak the same language. The Australian citizens on the islands receive child endowment and other social service benefits as residents of Australia. They say that they receive those benefits because they are Australian citizens. The people opposite, who may be represented by Ebia Olewale, cannot understand why they do not get those benefits when they also are called Australian citizens. Who is confusing the indigenous people? It is we who are confusing them with impossible concepts of such creatures as Australian citizens who do not even have the right of residence in Australia. This is impossible terminology and we make it extremely difficult for them to think accurately of their problems. This is why a thoroughly intelligent man like Ebia Olewale is campaigning for social services, child endowment and what not for the people of Papua and New Guinea.
I believe that the unwarranted pushing of Queenland’s borders into Papua’s territorial waters - to within 200 yards of the Papuan coast - is something that must be revised. In this respect the territories of Papua and New Guinea may well be expanded. As far as Buka and Bougainville are concerned, they became the German Solomons and then part of Papua and New Guinea. Buka and Bougainville are being pushed towards complete secession -which is what they would probably vote for, union of the British Solomons which might be an intelligent settlement, or federation.
Having had an experience of the House of Assembly being used as an instrument to deprive them of their land there is a sentiment among them that they would not mind having provincial or State Governments with power over land just as Australian State Governments have, so that never again would Port Moresby authorise seizures of their land. In that respect they are very Australian.
Honourable members opposite have advocated these decentralisations of power. We have this inability of the central government to nationalise, and these definitions of the relationships between the central Government and the States to protect property which is the conviction now of the people of Bougainville. Yet we stand deploring their very accurate imitation of fundamental attitudes in the Australian body politic. The honourable member has twitted the Opposition with not realising what influence it has. I suppose investors are more attracted to a Papua and New Guinea controlled by Australia than they are to one not controlled by Australia. The honourable member knows, if he has any sense as an investor, that nobody with the alternatives of investing in Papua and New Guinea or investing in Australia would invest in Papua and New Guinea except in very rare circumstances. Certainly that is the position with the construction of hotels, if one has $4m to construct a hotel. Perth recently was regarded as not a good enough risk for the Chevron group, so I am not at all surprised if somebody has decided, after 2 good modern hotels have been built in Porth Moresby, that the Territory is not sufficiently attractive. The decision that investors should wait until they see what independence means is very intelligent on their part.
It is quite obvious that some of the Ministerial Members read statements prepared for them by expatriates. I think it is a tragedy that the people of Papua and New Guinea are being further confused by these statements. One statement that has undue influence was recently made by the Ministerial Member for Labour. After the Leader of the Opposition’s criticisms of the wage levels in Papua and New Guinea, he said that New Guinea cannot afford a higher level of wages. New Guinea is not paying anybody any wages. Burns Philp and Co. Ltd, W. R. Carpenter and Co. Ltd, Conzinc Riotinto of Aust. Ltd and the planters are. The wages that they can afford is a matter for arbitration and there should be an arbitration system to determine the level of wages. It is just another form of confusing the people, like an Australian citizen does when he says that New Guinea, whoever that is, in the future cannot afford to pay wages. The question is whether the expatriate employers or any of the employers can afford to pay wages. It is a tragedy of influences and terminology which the indigenous members do not yet understand being used as instruments to entrench vested interests in the Territory. I think this is why there is some value in Dr Gunther’s statement. It should at least remind us all to keep undue influence, especially influence in the direction of confusion, out of the affairs of Papua and New Guinea.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill presented by Mr Anthony, and read a. first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The principal object of this Bill is lo amend the Wool Industry Act 1962-67 so as to give effect to new arrangements for the financing of wool research and promotion. The proposed arrangements envisage that the Government will provide a greater share of the funds needed for these activities, as foreshadowed by the Treasurer in the Budget speech last August. In addition, other amendments are proposed which are designed mainly to widen the borrowing powers of the Australian Wool Board in order that the Wool Board can rebuild and renovate the wool stores which are at present placed under its control and to construct and equip integrated wool selling complexes, if this is required by the industry. I think it can be said that this Bill has a twofold purpose. There is no need to labour the point that the wool industry is today facing great difficulties. Wool prices are now at (heir lowest point in more- than 20 years, while costs over the same period have risen very considerably. To quote a frequently used but true expression, the Australian wool industry is caught in a severe cost-price squeeze.
In saying this, however, let no one think that our great wool industry is on the road to extinction. On the contrary, I firmly believe that with sound planning, the application of modern business techniques and management, combined with the resilience that wool growers have displayed over the years, the present problems can be tackled and, I believe, surmounted. I have used the term ‘our great wool industry’ and I have used it deliberately. The wool industry is, and will continue to be for many years to come, our biggest single industry. Even at the current extremely low level of wool prices wool still contributes around onequarter of our total export income. This has been only possible because of the remarkable increase in wool production which has been achieved in spite of the plague of droughts which in recent years appear to have reasserted themselves as an inescapable part of the Australian scene; Wool growers are to be ‘ commended for this great achievement.
We should never forget that the great prosperity enjoyed by the bulk of Australians has been due in a large measure to the contributions made to the economy as a whole by the wool industry. No one could possibly assert that the development of our economy achieved to date would have been attained without wool providing much of the wherewithal for the imports of essential materials and equipment. Similarly, there is no doubt in my mind that, despite the spectacular growth in our mineral industries, wool’s continued contribution to our export earnings is indispensable for our continued development and well being. As well as its continuing prominent role in Australia’s export trade, wool growing is an essential component of the rural sector of the economy. Thousands of people rely on the industry either directly or indirectly for their livelihood. Large tracts of inland Australia would be totally unproductive without the woolgrowing industry - the only activity of economic importance for which these areas are suitable.
The Government fully recognises the significance of the woolgrowing industry not only as an export income earner but also as a vital factor in the economy of the rural areas. For this reason the Government wishes to help the industry in its present difficulties, by relieving it of the greater part of the cost of financing wool research and promotion - 2 activities which are of great importance in maintaining wool’s position as the leading apparel fibre in the face of ever-increasing competition from synthetic fibres. This assistance is the first of the two purposes of this Bill which I mentioned earlier. The second purpose is to help the industry to help itself in the longer term by cutting some of its heavy cost items. An area where substantial savings can be achieved is in the handling of wool. Studies conducted by the Australian Wool Board show that very significant cost reductions are possible in the handling and processing of wool for sale by the establishment, on a national scale, of integrated wool selling complexes. For legal reasons these complexes are referred to in the Bill as ‘wool selling centres’.
I think it can be said that all sections of the wool trade agree that the establishment of well laid out wool complexes incorporating modern mechanised handling equipment for common use by wool selling brokers for the speedy movement of wool into store, within store and out of store to the ship can introduce great efficiency into the wool selling and handling procedure. Further, such complexes could also provide a vehicle for the early introduction of other beneficial innovations such as the pre-sale sampling and testing of wool, that is, objective measurement, and the streamlining of bulkclassing operations. For a number of reasons the quickest way of making wool selling complexes a reality could be for the Australian Wool Board to undertake the task of constructing and equipping them. If the Wool Board is put in a position to borrow for the purpose of carrying out this task this may overcome some of the financial obstacles which are militating against the early establishment of such complexes. I would like to stress, however, that the Wool Board will only take on this role if the wool trade, including the selling brokers, wishes the Board to do so.
I now turn to the main provisions of the Bill. Provision is made in the Bill for increasing the Government’s contribution for wool research and promotion from the present level of $14m a year to an average of S27m during the 3-year period commencing on 1st July 1970. At the same time the levy paid by woolgrowers under the Wool Tax Acts 1964 will be reduced, by regulation, from 2% to 1% of the gross proceeds from the sale of shorn wool. On present prices this will mean a saving to wool growers of about SI. 20 per bale. I should mention that due to the overlapping of rostered wool auction sales into July of this year, it has proved necessary to set the commencing date for the reduction in the levy at 1st August 1970. In keeping with its greatly increased contribution for wool research and promotion, a number of changes are proposed to give the Government a greater say in the administration of these activities and these are provided for in the Bill.
In the first instance, the annual apportionment of the money contributed by wool growers and the Commonwealth Government for wool research and promotion will be determined by the Minister for Primary Industry after consultation with the Australian Wool Industry Conference. At present the apportionment of the money is made by the Minister on the recommendation of the Conference. Secondly, the Bill provides for some changes in the manner of selecting the Chairman and some of the members of the Australian Wool Board. It is proposed that in future the Chairman of the Wool Board will be appointed by the Minister for Primary Industry after consultation with the Board itself. At present the Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Minister on the nomination of the Board. The Bill also provides for the Chairman of the Board to have a deliberative vote as well as a casting vote. Currently the Chairman has only a casting vote. It is furthermore proposed that the 3 members with special qualifications on the Board will in future be appointed by the Minister for Primary Industry after consultation with the Wool Industry Conference. At present these members are appointed by the Minister from a panel of names submitted by the Conference.
While the Australian Wool Board with its expertise and experience will continue to be responsible for the promotion programme, the measures which I have just outlined will provide greater safeguards for the public interest in the funds involved without disturbing the special relationship which exists between the Wool Board and the International Wool Secretariat on the matter of promotion. Thirdly, it is proposed to amend the arrangements for the control of wool research funds. The Bill provides for the deletion of the stipulation in the Act that the Minister for Primary Industry can approve the expenditure of money from the Wool Research Trust Fund only on the recommendation of the Australian Wool Board. Insofar as the allocations for individual recipients of grants from the Fund for scientific and economic research are concerned, the Wool Board will retain the power to recommend grants for recipients other than the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. These other recipients include mainly State Departments of Agriculture and universities. Grants from the Fund to the CSIRO will in future be made by the Minister for Primary Industry after consultation with the Minister for Education and Science. The Minister for Primary Industry himself will determine the grants to be made to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Nevertheless the Wool Board will still retain a meaningful role in regard to the research programmes of the CSIRO and the BAE. In relation to these 2 bodies it will be a function of the Board to advise the Minister for Primary Industry on the general scope of their research programmes in relation to the wool industry’s problems. In doing this the Board will be expected to advise on the emphasis to be placed on the various aspects of the programmes and to make an assessment of the potential benefits of the programmes, taking into account problems of immediate significance as well as those which will have an important bearing on the future prosperity of the industry. It will not, however, be the function of the Wool Board, as at present, to recommend allocations from the Fund for the CSIRO and the BAE, nor will the Board be concerned with the management of funds allocated to these two bodies. To enable the Wool Board to make a full assessment of the CSIRO wool production and wool textile research programmes, the Board will be provided with the respective programme budgets along with the reports on the work carried out in the previous year. The form of these reports will be agreed upon between the CSIRO and the Wool Board, but the Minister for Primary Industry may also ask for special reports from the CSIRO on any particular matter.
For the wool production research programme this will cover the avenues of application as well as the areas of research. Further, in order to permit the Wool Board to examine the CSIRO sheep and wool research programmes in total, information will be provided to the Board concerning the CSIRO research programme financed from other sources which is clearly related to industry problems. In addition, provision will be made for the Board and any committee which it may establish to visit appropriate wool production and wool textile research laboratories of the CSIRO from time to time. As far as the capital items required by the CSIRO for wool production and textile research to be financed from the Fund are concerned, the Minister for Primary Industry will refer these to the Board for advice where appropriate. In regard to the BAE it, too, will provide to the Wool Board all relevant information so that the Board can advise on its economic research programme. It is proposed that the CSIRO and the BAE will have freedom in the management of their research programmes within their respective allocations from the Fund. It will be incumbent, however, on these two bodies to take due note of any views which are conveyed by the Wool Board. The Australian Wool Board in dealing with the research proposals of the State Departments of Agriculture will be obliged to consult with these Departments at least once a year on their programmes.
In view of the changed role of the Australian Wool Board in relation to wool research it is no longer necessary for the Board to maintain its present 2 statutory research advisory committees, namely, the
Wool Production Research Advisory Committee and the Wool Textile Research Advisory Committee. Accordingly the Bill provides for their abolition. However, the amending legislation has been drafted in such a way as to enable the Board to appoint research committees to assist it in its work if necessary. Opportunity has also been taken to provide in the Bill for the abolition of the provision in the Act for a statutory Wool Marketing Committee. This has been recommended by the Wool Board and endorsed by the Wool Industry Conference. Provision was originally made for this Committee to assist the Wool Board in its marketing investigation work. However, it has been found that it is no longer necessary to have a statutory committee of this nature. The establishment of the Wool Marketing Corporation will relieve the Board of a good deal of its marketing investigation work. However, the amending legislation will still enable the Wool Board to appoint ad hoc marketing committees should this prove necessary.
Finally I turn to the provisions of the Bill intended to widen the borrowing powers of the Wool Board to permit the Board to borrow money for the rebuilding and renovation of its existing wool stores and for the possible establishment of integrated wool selling centres, as well as to pledge its assets for such borrowings. The Wool Board has under its control some 280 wool stores which are a legacy of the wool purchasing arrangement between Australia and the United Kingdom which operated during the last World War. These stores are vested in the Wool Board under the Wool Industry Act which obliges the Board to maintain the stores in a satisfactory condition and the stores may be re-acquired by the Government in the event of a national emergency.
The majority of the stores are about 30 years old. Accelerated deterioration of these stores and rising maintenance costs have placed the Board in a position where, to fulfil its obligations under the Act in respect of the stores, substantial expenditure is essential. A thorough study by the Board indicates that restoration of these buildings to their original condition is no longer an an economic proposition. Accordingly the Wool Board would like to undertake a major reconstruction programme over the 5 years 1970-71 to 1974-75. The programme calls for the rebuilding of a substantial number of stores in line with modern building standards and practices and the complete renovation of others. A study commissioned by the Board shows that the proposed programme is a sound commercial proposition and the additional income derived by way of rental from the stores will augment the moneys available for wool promotion and thus benefit woolgrowers generally. Funds of the order required for the stores reconstruction programme arc not available from the Board’s present sources of income. As the Wool Industry Act now stands the Board can borrow only for temporary shortfalls in wool promotion funds and for the activities of the Australian Wool Testing Authority. Hence the provision in the Bill to enable the Board to borrow also for the purpose of reconstructing its wool stores.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the areas offering woolgrowers considerable potential for cost savings is the handling of wool and in this respect the construction of integrated wool selling complexes holds considerable promise. To facilitate early establishment of such complexes, the Bill contains explicit provisions to empower the Wool Board to borrow money for the financing and/or the construction and equipping of the complexes. The provision will enable the Board to construct and equip wool complexes which it would then lease to selling brokers and other interests, or alternatively the Board will make the finance available for a commercial developer to undertake this task. What role the Wool Board may play in this regard is, however, a matter which will be decided by the industry. In relation to the proposed borrowing powers for the reconstruction of the existing wool stores and for the establishment of intregrated wool selling complexes, any borrowings under this power will require the approval of the Minister for Primary Industry with the concurrence of the Treasurer. Opportunity has also been taken to bring the existing borrowing powers of the Board in relation to the Australian Wool Testing Authority into line with those for wool stores and complexes.
The amendments which are proposed under this Bill come at a time when the woolgrowing industry is facing difficult times. The whole situation of the industry is being studied as a matter of urgency by the Government and in this regard the Government will be assisted by the findings of the special Advisory Committee of the Australian Wool Board. Meanwhile the increased Government contribution for wool research and promotion will bring some relief to woolgrowers and will also ensure that these activities essential to the maintenance of the competitive position of wool will continue undiminished. Finally the provision which can open the way for cutting, handling and selling costs by the establishment of integrated wool selling complexes provides the industry with a new means of help itself. I commend the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Nixon, and read a first time.
– I move.
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to enable the commemoration at the Australian War Memorial of all Australians whose deaths are attributable to any war or warlike operations in which Australian forces have participated. The present Australian War Memorial Act 1962-1966 does not enable the Board of Trustees of the War Memorial to commemorate non-service personnel, as section 6 of the Act states that the War Memorial established by the Australian War Memorial Act 1925 is continued in existence as a Commonwealth Memorial for Australians who have died on or as a result of active service. These existing provisions of the legislation are restrictive as they do not permit the commemoration of those Australians who served Australia either in non-service occupations related to a war or warlike operations in which Australian forces have participated or in other forces allied to Australia.
Representations in support of the proposal were received from members of Parliament, and from merchant seamen’s associations. The Board of Trustees of the War Memorial supports the amendment to the Act which will enable the commemoration, in particular, of members of the Australian Merchant Navy, civilians who served with Australian forces, Australians who served in the forces of other Commonwealth countries and Australians who served with allied forces. The form of words proposed by the Bill would amend section 6 of the Act by extending the defined purpose of the War Memorial to cover all Australians who have died in or as a result of activity connected with any war or warlike operations in which Australians have been on active service. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Daly) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Chipp, and read a first time.
– I move:
Mr Speaker, the Customs Tariff Bill now before the House provides for amendments to the Customs Tariff 1966-1969 and relates to changes introduced into Parliament since the commencement of this session. The most recent amendments in the Bill relate to tariff changes introduced in April 1970 implementing Tariff Board reports on:
Man-made fibres and yarn, tyre cord and tyre cord fabric;
Gelatine and animal glues;
Floor and wall coverings;
Gloves and mittens;
Electric circuit breakers and switch units; and Gang slitting machines and a report by the Special Advisory Authority on cherries, preserved by sugar - drained, glace or crystallised.
At the time 1 introduced those proposals I explained at some length the nature of the changes involved. In order not to delay unduly the business of the House I do not propose to traverse the same ground again.
If any honourable member would like a copy of what I said on those occasionsI will be glad to supply him with a Hansard extract. I might reiterate however that, with the exception of the changes relating to man-made fibres, gelatine andanimal glues and petroleum products, the other subjects had been introduced in the previous Parliament and had been the subject of a validation Act in that Parliament. Honourable members will recall that the changes relating to certain petroleum products involved conditional duties to give effect to the Government’s policy in relation to the absorption of crude oil production in Australia.
Other changes in this Bill are changes introduced between the time the previous Parliament was dissolved and before this session commenced. These changes arise from the Government’s adoption of Tariff Board reports on:
Time switches and movements and parts therefor;
Compressed gas cylinders;
Flexible metal tubing, piping and transmission shafts;
Belts, belting ami woven cotton fabrics over 15 ounces per square yard;
Drawing, measuring and calculating instruments;
Syringes, injection or puncture needles, etc.;
Chlorine and sodium hydroxide. and Special Advisory Authority Reports on:
Metal-working machine tools;
Vegetable oils: and
Curtain hooks of base metal.
Also included are changes agreed to by the Australian and New Zealand governments for the addition of new commodities to Schedule A of the New ZealandAustralia Free Trade Agreement and some additional concessions with respect to handmade traditional products of cottage industries of developing countries, were introduced. These changes had been made originally, by Gazette notices, while the Parliament was in recess. On each occasion my colleague the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) issued a Press statement giving details of the changes. For the record and for the convenience of honour able members during the ensuing debate I ask for leave for these statements to be taken as read and incorporated in Hansard.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The statements read as follows:
Temporary Protection Metal-working Machine Tools
Released 4 p.m., 2nd October 1969
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr J. McEwen) today announced that temporary duties would apply to imports of certain general purpose lathes and grinding machines following adoption of a report by the Special Advisory Authority. The temporary duties would operate from tomorrow. They will be additional to the normal duties of 40% (General), 27½% (Preferential) on these items. The Minister explained that on general purpose lathes, the additional temporary duties would be at the rate of 7½% ad valorem plus the amount, if any, by which the f.o.b. price of the imported lathe is less than a base figure which varies according to the lathe’s size. On grinding machines, the additional temporary duties would be at the rate of 12½% ad valorem. The temporary additional duties would not apply to goods in direct transit to Australia on 19 August 1969 provided they are entered for home consumption within 21 days after importation.
Mr McEwen said that the Special Advisory Authority had found that urgent action was necessary to protect the Australian industry against serious damage from import competition pending receipt and consideration by the Government of the Tariff Board’s report on a current inquiry on Machine Tools. The public hearing on this inquiry has not yet been completed. Mr McEwen added that the Special Advisory Authority had advised that temporary protection was not necessary in relation to imports of radial drills, or imports of tool and cutter grinding machines. The duties on these products would not be varied.
Reports of me Tariff Board
Released 4 p.ni., 10th October 1969
The Minister for Trade and Industry today released reports of the Tariff Board on flexible metal cubing, piping and transmission shafts; time switches and movements and parts therefor; taximeters; compressed gas cylinders; and almonds. Mr McEwen said that the Government had accepted the recommendations and findings in each of the reports. The duty changes would apply as from next Monday morning. The Minister explained that the only change in the duties on flexible metal tubing and piping would be a reduction of the duties on tubing and piping consisting wholly or essentially of spirally wound wire. As a result the duties on all the goods covered by the report would in future be 7i% General and Free Preferential.
The duties on time of day synchonous motor time switches and movements and parts therefor would be increased from 30% General and 22±% Preferential to 35% General and 25% Preferential. The duties on time switches controlled by electric master clocks would be reduced to 7i% General and Free Preferential. These rates would continue to apply also to other time switches, movements and parts.
In the case of taximeters, there would be no change in the present ad valorem duties of 35% General and 25% Preferential, but the alternative fixed rate duties would be removed. All parts and accessories for taximeters would become dutiable at the same rates as those applying to the taximeters. Because of impending developments in the industry, it is intended to have the Tariff Board review the protective needs of the industry at the end of three years.
The effect of the adoption of the Tariff Board’s recommendations on gas cylinders would be to increase the duties on most seamless cylinders from 12i% General and Free Preferential to 35% General and 25% Preferential. Duties of 40% General and 30% Preferential would apply to cryogenic containers and welded gas cylinders over 350 lb water capacity. The duties on smaller welded cylinders would remain at 12i% General and Free Preferential.
The Minister added that adoption of the Tariff Board’s recommendations on almonds would increase the duties on most imports, particularly on processed and packaged almonds, which up until now have been mainly free of duty. The new duties would be 15% (General and Preferential) on almonds in the shell, kernels and processed almonds
The Minister also announced that other tariff changes of an administrative nature would be made at the same time. Action would be taken to make materials which are substitutes for low boiling point brake fluids dutiable at the same rates of duty, 25% General and 15% Preferential, as currently apply to low boiling brake fluids of the type produced in Australia. An administrative change is also being made to apply to diodes for alternators, for use as original equipment in motor vehicles, the same duties as normally apply to similar diodes used in other applications.
Reports of the Tariff Board
Released 4 p.m., 17th October 1969
The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) today released reports of the Tariff Board on drawing, measuring and calculating instruments; syringes, injection or puncture needles, etc.; forged steel flanges; and belts, belting and woven cotton fabrics. Mr McEwen said that the Government had accepted the recommendations and findings in each of the reports. The duty changes would apply as from next Monday morning.
The Minister explained that in the case of drafting machines, duties would be increased from 30% General and 20% Preferential to 40% General and 30% Preferential. The present duties on steel measuring tapes less than 15 feet in length would be reduced from 35% General and 27* % Preferential to 27i% General and 20% Preferential. A uniform level of duties of 35% General and 17±% Preferential would apply to other drawing, measuring and calculating instruments covered by the Tariff Board’s recommendations.
Mr McEwen said that duties on syringes of artificial plastic materials would be reduced from 35% General and 25% Preferential, to 30% General and 20% Preferential, while duties on other syringes would remain at li% General and Free Preferential. For the present, the existing ad valorem duties of 423% General and 25%
Preferential would continue to apply to injection or puncture needles, whether or not the needles were imported with syringes, but current temporary specific duties on certain disposable hypodermic needles would cease to operate. On and from 1st January 1973 the duties on needles would be reduced to 30% General and 20% Preferential. The Minister added, however, that as the factory producing needles had been destroyed by fire, the goods will be admitted under by-law until local manufacture is recommenced.
Mr McEwen went on to say that duties on imports from New Zealand of syringes, needles, etc. and on drawing, measuring and calculating instruments would be duty free. On some goods, therefore, the duties on New Zealand goods would be removed earlier than the date presently provided in the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
There would be no change in rates of duty on forged steel flanges. The present duties are 40% General and 28% Preferential.
The Minister added that adoption of the Tariff Board’s recommendations on conveyor belts and belting would result in a reduction of duties on metal reinforced rubber belting to 30% General and 20% Preferential, and in the case of textile reinforced rubber belting, duty rates would become 35%, both General and Preferential. Rates for other vulcanised rubber belts and belting would be reduced to 35% General and 25% Preferential, whilst duties on PVC/ textile conveyor belting would be reduced to 40% General and 30% Preferential.
Other types of textile conveyor belting would be dutiable at increased rates of 40% General and 30% Preferential. Leather and composition leather belting would be dutiable at 35% General and 25% Preferential. These duty rates would also apply to conveyor and elevator belting imported as part of conveyor systems. Reduced rates of duty of 50% General, 40% Preferential would apply to woven cotton fabrics over 15 ounces per square yard. The present duties on these fabrics are mainly 60% General and 50% Preferential.
Report of Tariff Board
Released 4 p.m., 6th November 1969
The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) today released a report of the Tariff Board on chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda). Mr McEwen said the Government had adopted one of the alternatives recommended by the Board in ils report. As a consequence, the duties on caustic soda would be increased from the present rates of 25% (General) 15% (Preferential) to 55% (General) 45% (Preferential) as from tomorrow morning. No change would be made in the present duty free entry of chlorine. The Minister said that the present arrangement, under which producers of alumina for export secure supplies of caustic soda under bylaw would bc continued, In future, however, this arrangement would be extended to cover caustic soda used in the production of exports of aluminium metal, aluminium semi-fabricates, rare earth metals and rare earth hydrate.
Mr McEwen added that the quantity of caustic soda needed to supply these export industries was far in excess of the availability of local supplies. The Government had expectations that, in time, large scale manufacturing plants would be established in Australia to supply this market at prices competitive with those in overseas countries.
New Zealand- Australia Free Trade Agreement
Released 4 p.m., 18th December 1969
The Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) said today that the Australian and New Zealand Governments had reached agreement on a further list of commodities, mainly goods crf iron and steel, to be added to Schedule A of the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement as from 1st January 1970. The additional iron and steel products were being included in Schedule A subject to cerain conditions which were similar to those applying to some other neel items already included in the Agreement. Mr McEwen commented that these additions were part of a continuing process of extending the scope of the Free Trade Agreement and indicated the desire of both countries to expand the opportunities for mutually beneficial trade between them.
Temporary Protection Vegetable Oils
Released 4 p.m., 24th December 1969
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr J. McEwen) today announced that temporary duties would apply to imports of certain vegetable oils following adoption of a report by the Special Advisory Authority. Mr McEwen said that the temporary duties recommended would be in the form of sliding scale duties on the main oils covered by the report and a temporary ad valorem duty on epoxidised vegetable oils. The temporary duties would operate from 30th December 1969. The Minister explained that the sliding scale temporary duty would be equal to the amount, if any, by which the f.o.b. price of the imported oil was less than $1.00 per gallon. It would apply to peanut oil, soya bean oil, rape seed oil, linseed oil, sunflower seed oil, safflower seed oil, cotton seed oil and maize oil. The temporary duty, which will be in addition to normal duties, would not operate where the f.o.b. price is $1.00 or more per gallon. On epoxidised vegetable oils, the temporary duty would be at the rate of 15% ad valorem. This duty would also be in addition to normal duties. The temporary duties will not apply to goods in direct transit to Australia on 12th November, 1969, provided they were entered for home consumption on arrival.
Mr McEwen said that the question of the long term protective needs of the industry had been referred to the Tariff Board. The temporary protection now applied was holding action pending the Government’s decision on receipt of the Board’s report.
Temporary Protection Curtain Hooks of Base Metal
Released 4 p.m., 6th February 1970
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr J. McEwen) today announced that a temporary duty of 25% ad valorem would apply to imports of curtain hooks of base metal, following adoption of a report by a Special Advisory Authority. Mr McEwen explained that the temporary duty, which would operate from 9th February 1970, would be in addition to the normal duties. The temporary duty would not apply to goods in direct transit to Australia on 8th December 1969. provided they were entered for home consumption on arrival. Mr McEwen said that the question of the long-term protection of a range of base metal fittings and mountings, including curtain hooks, was under examination by the Tariff Board. The temporary protection now applied was holding action pending the Government’s decision on receipt of the Board’s report.
Comprehensive documentation setting out the various changes in the rates of duty is now being distributed for the use of honourable members during the debate on this Bill. I commend the Bill.
– Mr Speaker, may I have the permission of the House to ask the Minister a very short question about this matter?
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– I ask the Minister for Customs and Exercise whether he is prepared to give the House an assurance that he will allow the general proposals in the Bill to be fully debated at the second reading stage and the detail of the proposals in the Committee stage?
– I am pleased, on behalf of the Government, to give the honourable member for Wakefield that assurance. Essentially, this matter will be in the hands of the Chairman of the Committee but I assure the honourable member that the Government will not only welcome such a course but will facilitate it.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Homes Savings Grant BiB 1970
Message from the Governor-General recommending an appropriation of revenue for the purpose of an amendment to be made upon request by the Senate to the Homes Savings Grant Bill announced.
- Mr Speaker, I understand that this announcement is made in accordance with standing order 298 which states:
Any message from the Governor-General recommending an appropriation of revenue or moneys for the purposes of or in relation to an amendment made or requested by the Senate in a Bill which originated in the House shall be announced before that amendment or requested amendment, as the case may be, is considered.
It seems to me that this procedure is peculiar. The message recommending appropriation of the main part of the expenditure involved in this measure was announced, as is normal, after the second reading stage was completed. This is a Bill which, under the terms of the Constitution, the Senate may not amend. The Senate has got over this restriction by the use of this curious power of request. I suggest it is time that this House asserted its rights in respect of what are called money Bills - that they must originate only in this House and that they may not be amended. A request would not have been necessary if the House had had the commonsense to accept the amendment moved in this place by a colleague of mine. Because the Government had sufficient numbers in this chamber but not in the other place it now has to eat humble pie, as it were, and to accept the words proposed in the request. At this stage, if I may, I would like to draw the attention of honourable members to a document-
-I thought the honourable member was raising a point of procedure. Does he want to make a statement?
– I would like to explore this matter a little further, if I may, because I consider this to be an important point.
-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– A document was tabled in this House on 16th March 1943. It consisted of a learned legal opinion from such authorities as Garran, Knowles, Bailey and Castieau and dealt mainly not with a request but with what are called reiterated requests. These matters can arise some-‘ times. At pages 671 and 672 of one of the earliest books written about constitutional procedure in this country, ‘The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth’ by Quick and Garran, this statement appears:
In the case of a Bill which the Senate may not amend-
This particular Bill is in that category - the House of Representatives alone is responsible for the form of the measure;
This is the point whichI hope will be observed shortly: That this House alone is responsible for the form of the measure. The authors continued: the Senate cannot strike out or alter a word of it, but can only suggest that the House of Representatives should do so.
It is proposed that this should happen in this case. The authors continued:
If that House declines to make the suggested amendment-
I understand that the Government does not propose to decline the request on this occasion - the Senate is face to face with the responsibility of either passing the Bill as it stands or rejecting it as it stands.It canot shelve that responsibility by insisting on its suggestion, because there is nothing on which to insist. A House which can make an amendment can insist on the amendment which it has made; but a House which can only request’ the other House to make amendments canot insist upon anything. If its request is not complied with, it can reject the Bill, or shelve it; but it must take the full responsibility of its action. This provision therefore is intended to declare the constitutional principles (1) that the House of Representatives is solely responsible for the form of the money Bills to which the section relates; (2) that the Senate may request alterations in any such Bill; (3) that if such request is not complied with, the Senate must take the full responsibility of accepting or rejecting the Bill as it stands.
I merely observe thatI hope the House will take note of the priority of its rights in this matter. There is no crisis on this occasion. The position seems to be clear, However, it is curious that the message should have been announced before the House knows what it is supposed to do. I think this is rather odd. I have taken this opportunity merely to repeat what I think are the significant and important rights in this House in relation to money Bills.
Consideration of Senate’s request.
After section 4a of the Principal Act the following section is inserted: - 4b. - (1.) In this section - “prescribed housing loan” means a housing loan of an amount of not less than Seven thousand dollars repayable over a period of not less than twelve years;
Senate’s request -
In proposed section 4b. - (1.), in the definition prescribed housing loan’ leave out ‘Seven’, insert Five’.
That the requested amendment be made.
Clause 5 of the Homes Savings Grant Bill lays down the conditions with which individual credit unions are required to comply if they are to become and remain approved credit unions for the purposes of the homes savings grant scheme. One of these conditions is that not less than 15% of the total amount lent by a credit union in its most recently concluded financial year must have been in the form of prescribed housing loans. The Bill as it was passed by this House defines a prescribed housing loan as a housing loan of not less than $7,000 repayable over a period of not less than 12 years. The term ‘housing loan’ is also defined in clause 5. The Senate has now returned the Bill to this House with a request for an amendment that would reduce from$7,000 to $5,000 the proposed minimum amount of a prescribed housing loan. The request was made by the Senate on a motion by the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) after she had had the opportunity of hearing submissions made in the Senate as well as by representatives of the credit union movement.
The Government has accepted the point made in these submissions, that its objective of promoting an increase in the volume of savings available for home finance could in fact be advanced if the minimum amount of a prescribed housing loan were set at a figure that, while still relatively substantial, would be more readily attainable by individual credit unions.
– The Opposition accepts the request for the amendment made by the Senate. I would like to give a brief outline of the history of this legislation. It was first introduced into this House on 5th March 1970, being part of an election promise. It was designed to increase from$1 5,000 to $17,500 the value of a home, including the value of the land, on which a loan may be made. Homes were becoming so expensive that the Government had to raise the maximum amount which would attract a loan to enable people to get any benefit from it. That is the only real value crf this legislation. As a smoke screen the Government set out in clause 5 certain proposals under which credit unions may become eligible to seek loans under the homes savings grant scheme. No negotiations were held with the credit union authorities, there was no discussion with the respective State governments, and there was no discussion between the Department of Housing and the Department of the Interior which controls credit unions in the Australian Capital Territory. Canberra has more public servants and a greater percentage of people who are members of credit unions than any other sector of Australia. The relevant ordinance for the ACT provides that no loan can bc made in excess of $2,000. Yet here we have an amendment that will reduce from $7,000 to $5,000 the minimum amount for a prescribed housing loan. I hope that the people who live in the Australian Capital Territory see the hypocrisy tff the Government in this regard. To put the legislation into perspective so that the Department of Housing would have sufficient time to discuss it with the State governments and other departments, the Opposition moved as an amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bill that the clause relating to credit unions should be redrafted to give credit union savings complete and unconditional recognition under the Act. That motion was defeated because the Government had the numbers. We explained that section 7 (d) of the New South Wales legislation covering credit unions permitted a maximum loan of $4,000. At that time this Government’s proposal was for a minimum amount of $7,000. Now it is to be reduced to $5,000.
Seventy per cent of the members of credit unions live in New South Wales. Even so that 70% are not brought under this clause of the Bill. Since the legislation was introduced in this House the New South Wales Minister who deals with credit unions has stated clearly and publicly that he will not increase credit union loans beyond $4,000 No further statement has been made to clarify that position. This provision for a minimum loan of $5,000 will prevent members of the credit unions from being included. As I said, 70% of the members of credit unions live in New South Wales. Some 307 credit unions exist in New South Wales, 234 of which have assets of less than $150,000. If honourable members look at clause 5 of the Bill they will see that the minimum amount in subsequent years that the credit unions must lend is $50,000. We tried to explain to honourable members opposite that the credit unions were not really geared for long term loans or to be forced into repaying them over a period of 12 years.
In another place my Party moved that the minimum amount for a prescribed housing loan be reduced from $7,000 to $3,000 and that the repayment period be reduced from 12 years to 5 years, lt also proposed that the total amount required to be lent by credit unions to their members during the financial year be reduced from $50,000. The vote was 25 to 25, which nullified the proposition. If the Government had accepted our proposition it would have enabled many credit unions to be brought under this clause of the Bill. But it was refused. This legislation is a face saving device. The Government says that it is going to reduce the minimum amount of loan from $7,000 to $5,000. This still will not bring in the 70% of credit unions in New South Wales, unless there is an amendment to the New South Wales Act. I refer to page 1285 of Hansard of 16th April 1970. There set out are the assets of the credit unions of New South Wales. Of the 307 credit unions 234 have $150,000 or less in assets.
The credit unions are not competing against the banks, which the Government is interested in protecting. It has practically forced people to go to a bank to become entitled to the special grant. People are not interested in that. These credit unions are in competition with the hire purchase companies. I gave as an example in the ear er debate 3 of the major hire purchase companies which are involved in providing loans for housing, land for housing, or alterations to homes. The Bank of New South Wales holds 42.8% equity in one of those hire purchase firms. The Bank of Scotland owns 30% of another of those hire purchase firms. The third of the firms that I mentioned is owned wholly by the Bank of Adelaide.
The request which has been returned by the Senate with the Homes Savings Grant Bill is not fooling anybody. It is not fooling those members of credit unions in Canberra who would like to participate in this homes savings grant scheme. These credit unions cannot become involved in this scheme. Its members cannot benefit under it. This is because, under an ordinance, the Government has said that $2,000 is the maximum amount that may be provided as a secured loan for housing purposes by credit unions in the Australian Capital Territory. In fact, the amount available for such purposes on an unsecured loan is $800 only. So, I hope that in particular members of the credit union organisations study the hypocrisy of the Government after the long and patient negotiations that the credit un on movement has undertaken with the Government, the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) and officials of the Department of Housing.
- Mr Chairman, I rise as an active credit unionist to express my disgust at the stages through which this Bill has gone before being returned to this Committee. Let us trace the history of the Bill and the clause that is now under consideration. The Bill was introduced into the Parliament and, at the second reading stage and during the Committee stages, the Opposition moved certain amendments including amendments to the clause which is now under discussion. The amendments were defeated by the Government by sheer weight of numbers.
No consideration at all was given by the Government to the honest and sincere suggestions which were put forward by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) and other speakers on this side. No real consideration was given by the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) who represents in this chamber the Minister for Housing (Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin) and the Government to the sincere and practical suggestions which were put forward by representatives of the credit union movement. The Government could have accepted in part at least those amendments that were suggested before the Homes Savings Grant Bill was transmitted to the other place.
Let us look at the situation when the Bill reached the other place. A situation exists there in which 4 senators representing another Party than those represented in this Committee occupy a position of power because of the numbers of the various parties there. These members are in a position of power because they happen to hold the balance of power in the other place. During the second reading debate on this Bill there, the spokesman for that Party - which is the Australian Democratic Labor Party - had this to say in relation to the clause under consideration. I quote the words of Senator Little:
But the part of the legislation in which I feet the Government has failed to do what it set out to do is in relation to the eligibility of credit unions for people who wish to save the amount of money prescribed to be necessary to qualify them for a homes savings grant.
I propose to show the sheer hypocrisy of the arguments advanced by the members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party.
Senator Little continued:
I believe that the Government has set out to do something very worthwhile. The credit unions are entitled to this because . they have operated in this field and in the more minor fields of housing which are as necessary as the building of the house itself, that is, the equipping and furnishing of the house.
I invite honourable members to listen to this pious hypocrisy. Senator Little continues:
Heavens above, nobody would expect anybody to live in just a house. The equipment that is inside the house is surely just as necessary to make a home as is the building itself.
He said further:
My criticism is that the legislation does not do what it set out to do, that is, to make credit unions attractive for young people to continue saving with for the purpose of getting a homes savings grant because it is obvious that only 1 - perhaps none - of the credit unions can meet the requirements of the legislation.
Senator Little suggested ; I will generalise on his remarks and will not quote them directly ; the 3 improvements which had been suggested by the credit union movement. But his party did not move an amendment in the other place along the lines of those suggested improvements.
What happened was that the credit union movement - and rightly so - made representations to all parties. It made representations to the Australian Labor Party - the Opposition here and in the other place - to the
Government and to the Australian Democratic Labor Parry which is represented only in the other place. The Australian Labor Party took note of its representations and moved an amendment in the other place to comply with what the desires of the credit union movement were. The amendment fitted in with the expressed views of Senator Little in his speech during the second reading debate.
I come now to what happened after that amendment was moved. I quote from page 1215 of Hansard of 7th May 1970. Senator Little said:
I am vers’ much aware that whatever remarks I make at this stage must be associated with an amendment that was most surprisingly moved after 1 spoke on the Rill itself . . .
We initiated all of the ideas that are now contained in the amendment that is before the Senate as to the necessity for compromise particularly on the question of the stringent conditions applied to the credit unions.
The Australian Democratic Labor Party did not initiate those ideas. The ideas were initiated by the credit union movement itself in representations to the 3 parties concerned. Senator Little continued, after indicating why members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party would not support the amendment, by saying this about Senator Poke who moved the amendment on behalf of the Opposition in the Senate:
He has stolen my ideas.
What greater rank hypocrisy could you get Mr Chairman? It is just like the little boy who took his bat home-
– Order! I would suggest to the honourable member for Banks that he restrain himself in regard to the language and the phraseology he uses in referring to a member of the Senate and to the motives of that member.
– I am very conscious of that duty, and I will accept your judgment on that point, Mr Chairman. I will not infer motives. I will just quote, if I may, his exact words. Senator Little said:
He has stolen my ideas.
The vote was taken on that amendment. The members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party voted with the Government against the ideas that Senator Little had expressed previously. I make no comment as to their motives.
– lt sounds like a bit of hypocrisy.
– It was rank hypocrisy on the part of the members of the Austraiian Democratic Labor Party who sit in another place.
Mr Chairman, the amendment agreed to in the other place has now been returned as a request to this Committee, lt will have absolutely no effect and will provide no benefit at all to the credit union movement at this stage. Even if the amendments which the Government has introduced are carried, no credit union in New South Wales could qualify under the legislation - none at all. What are the real motives of the Government in ensuring that no credit union can qualify? 1 suggest there is 1 motive and 1 alone. The Government fears the growth of credit unions. That is the reason deposits with credit unions are not eligible for the grant now. I suggest that these deposits will never be eligible while we have this Government in power.
– I fully support the comments of the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin), who has just resumed his seat, ft is worth noting the very real reasons that the Government has for doing everything that it can to frustrate while pretending to patronise the credit union movement. The greatest mistake that was ever made by the general banking system of Australia was to fail to give accommodation to the ordinary, honest man who may not have had a lot of assets but who was of good character, honest and in a steady job. The greatest bank in the United States of America today was built precisely on that principle of granting personal loans. This is precisely what the credit union movement does. The bank to which I referred was the Bank of America. It was founded and developed by a man named A. P. Giannini. It was built on that principle, and he walked into a niche in the banking movement which enabled him to ride to success and to develop the greatest general bank in the United States today.
Similarly this Government in the early 1950’s sought to curb hire purchase companies which at that stage had been discounting their promissory notes with the orthodox banking system. They chose to go outside the banking system and to raise money on what is commonly called the grey market. In turn it was found that they were able to thrive and to offer serious competition in general banking to the general banks. Then, of course, using the good old maxim: ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’, we find the situation where every major trading bank in Australia today has its subsidiary hire purchase company. These companies are making fantastic profits which range between 18% and 28%, according to the last balance sheets. Because of this, the Government fears the credit unions and is determined to do everything that it can firstly to frustrate them and ultimately to crush them. I remind honourable members that when the Homes Savings Grant Act was introduced savings in credit unions were recognised for 12 months in the hope that they could be enticed away into the more orthodox institutions. Credit unions are in fact workers’ banks. The workers who are controlling the credit unions are learning the principles of credit assessment and of general banking. They are getting to the point where in due course they will be applying for their own charter.
Let me deal now with the amendment that is suggested by the Senate. It is speaking with tongue in cheek when it suggests a limit of $5,000 for a housing loan. In fact, as is well known and as was thoroughly ventilated in the original discussion here, the limit of advances in New South Wales is $4,000. It is in New South Wales that 80% of the credit union movement operates at the present time, and this is where the funds are. There is a credit squeeze at the present time. It is certainly equal to the notorious 1960-61 affair, and it will get worse. If this Government wants to tap further sources of finance for home building, let it reduce the limits. The credit union movement can come in and help most effectively by the granting of loans for home improvements and for additions to homes. There is every incentive for the average home owner to use the credit unions rather than the orthodox banks. At the, present time the banks will not give him money anyhow, because bank accommodation is limited to old clients who have long standing accounts and who have had substantial deposits for a number of years. That being so, the credit union movement is the only field to which the average worker can have recourse.
The Government is determined to pursue its policy of continuing immigration. A couple of weeks ago the Minister for Immigration (Mr Lynch) claimed great credit and announced with a very great flourish that the Government would be bringing in about 180,000 immigrants a year. How are they to be accommodated when there is a credit squeeze? How will this Government cope with the housing needs of Australia with its stop-go economics? How will it provide the necessary expansion of accommodation? Australia has been short of housing accommodation ever since the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove. That shortage is continuing and is being intensified by this Government. It is getting to the stage where people will have to fend for themselves, because this Government is determined at all costs to curb the inflation that it has created. To construct a house is not inflationary. To finance a home for a worker and his family is not inflationary. The best of all migrants to Australia is the Australian child born of Australian parents and reared in an Australian home. We want the other migrants as well. They are welcome because we need to fill this country. But this Government is determined to do its best to ensure that people will have to fend for themselves under the worst possible housing conditions. The proposed amendment is a disgrace.
– The Opposition has no alternative but to accept the course indicated by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren). We are placed in a position where we are unable at this stage to put forward the type of policy which we believe is necessary for the housing of the people of Australia. We are unable to widen the scope of the Bill. We have to accept the situation as it exists. For that reason I support the dignified plea and protest of the Opposition which has been made by honourable members on this side of the chamber. Surely this great human problem of housing ought to have roused the conscience and feelings of honourable members on the Government side. Certainly there can be no honourable member who has not been approached by his constituents pleading the need for money and urging the need to make representations for additional finance to be made available at the appropriate and satisfactory interest rate. This is true; yet we have an organisation throughout Australia - the credit union movement - which is playing a most important part in helping people in their campaigns of thrift to save money for essential purposes. But this Government, which has expressed its concern about growing inflation and says it sees the need to save and to stop wasteful spending, is not prepared to encourage the credit unions to make available the funds which should be made available for home building or for any other purpose.
I believe that to become a member of a credit union is a badge of good citizenship and something which should be applauded by all honourable members. Yet the work of the credit union movement is spurned and disregarded by the Government. Instead of marshalling the resources of the credit unions and encouraging this important work of providing homes for the newly marrieds, for migrants coming into this country and for all of the people wanting to build this nation through building houses, as they must, the Government has remained cold and aloof from the human problem. I think that we ought to take every opportunity to accept funds from all types of savings organisations and to channel them into the building of homes in this country. One can offer credit to a government which proceeds with plans for home building and encourages people to save. But why should the Government close the doors upon organisations like the credit unions which are indeed making a significant contribution to saving funds and providing money which is necessary for the building of homes and establishing people in homes, as has been indicated previously by other honourable members who have spoken in this debate.
The Opposition is distressed to think that at this time when so many homes are required the Government has failed to grasp this opportunity to collect the additional funds which could be made available to help overcome the great lag in the required number of homes in this country at the present time. I deplore the fact that people are compelled to go out to the fringe financial institution and pay I2i% and more for money for the purpose of building homes, causing great burdens to be placed upon them which they will be compelled to carry throughout their working lives. The proposal for the utilisation -of the funds of credit unions which was originally made by the Opposition could have helped to overcome these difficulties. I join with other honourable members on this side of the House in voicing the strongest protest and expression of disgust at the attitude of the Government in respect of this matter.
– 1 rise again to speak because the Minister is sitting at the table and apparently he does not intend to answer any of the criticisms levelled by honourable members on this side. This astonishes me. I want to know, and members of credit unions throughout not only New South Wales but the length and breadth of Australia, and in particular in Canberra, want to know from, the Minister in the Committee stage why the Government is adopting this policy. Before this legislation was drafted why did nol the Minister or officers of the Department of Housing, or even the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), have some discussion with the credit union people? After the legislation was placed before the House on 5th March there were discussions but even then there seemed to be no compromise al all on the part of the Government. The Labor Party proposed a reduction in the amount of loan from $7,000 to $3,000, a reduction in the repayment period from 12 years to 5 years and a reduction in the amount of S50,000 required to be lent every year. There is a provision in the Bill that if they accept an applicant for a loan credit unions meet these requirements or be liable to a $500 fine. I make that remark only in pawing.
I want to know from the Minister why the figure of $5,000 was set. 1 want to know why it was not reduced at least to $4,000 so as to give an opportunity to some credit unions in New South Wales to come within the provisions of the Bill. Why has the Government continued to force them to make long-term loans over a period of 12 years when they have not th” apparatus for th:s purpose. I want to know from the Minister why the Government insists on the figure of $50,000.
There is no understanding of what a credit union is. What is a credit union? Members of a credit union have a personal association which brings them together and into contact with one another and which gives each member a strong sense of responsibility to the entire group. They can be employees of an organisation, members of the same church, union or lodge, or residents of a well-defined community area. They are a co-operative and collective group, and they should be encouraged by this legislation and other Commonwealth legislation, but there is no encouragement under this legislation.
The other matter concerns conditions which I regard as stringent conditions. One of the conditions that has not yet been mentioned is that the loans must be made at an effective rate of interest of not more than 74% per annum on a reducing balance basis. This legislation will compel credit unions to make loans at not more than 74%, yet the Commonwealth bond rate at present is 7%. The Minister said that the rate must be not more than 74%’ per annum. We must clearly understand that the credit unions are not in competition with the banks. They are in competition with the fringe institutions and, as I pointed out earlier, the major shareholders of the fringe institutions are the banks themselves. One of the major institutions which enters into the financing of housing, land and alteration of homes, is wholly owned by the Bank of Adelaide. The Bank of New South Wales has a 42.89% interest in such an institution. If one looks at the interest rates of the fringe institutions with which the credit unions are in competition ‘one will see that they are 19% to 20%. At no time do credit unions charge a high interest rate. In fact it cos!s them 5% to 6% for their money. Yet they are forced to make loans at not more than 74%.
All we want to do is to allow these cooperative and collective groups who want to help their fellow beings to have the opportunity at least to share in the homes savings grant of $500. I might say in passing that the interest rate of the Commonwealth Savings Bank has increased, by 14% during the period June 1964 to April 1970 and on a $15,000 loan the interest is $3,700 more. This docs not come within this section of the Bill and I want to keep my criticisms at this time to this section alone. 1 hope that I first see the Minister and then that 1 hear his voice, if he has any voice or any positive thoughts on this matter. I want to know why his Government maintains these stringent conditions. Why has it reduced the amount only from $7,000 to $5,000? Why did it not reduce the 12-year repayment term to 5 years? Why does it insist on credit unions having to spend at least $50,000? Some of these small credit unions are groups of people in a firm, a church or a union and in some cases they make available more money for housing per member than do many of the larger credit unions. But there is no consideration whatsoever of what the credit unions do. I will outline some of the assistance which credit unions give. They make money available to their members for the purchase of a block of land. They make money available to cover a second mortgage. They make money available for alterations. These are the major tasks of credit unions. They do not . have the financial backing to make long term loans. The Government knows this. The Government represents the great banking and financial monopolies. It is not concerned with people. It is not interested in helping the credit unions. It is not interested in helping the small person. It represents only the wealthy sector of the community. It stands by the wealthy sector of the community and will not give the credit unions a fair go. The Government knows that if it were to help the credit unions the banks would put the brakes on, as they did with regard to the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolution reported; report adopted.
Debate resumed from 4 March (vide page 72), on motion by Mr Anthony:
That the Bill bc now read a second time.
– The principal objective of this Bill is to provide a more realistic maximum rate of charge that can be imposed on dried fruits - currants, sultanas and raisins - exported from this country. This charge, which is the major source of income of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board, has remained unchanged at a maximum of 0.1c per lb since the legislation was originally enacted in 1924. At one time the Board operated on rates lower than the maximum, but in recent years its operative rate has been the maximum rate of 0. lc per lb. It has become apparent that the Board has insufficient funds to carry out its activities in the field of export promotion. This has been due in some measure to adverse seasonal conditions which have reduced the Board’s income. The objective of the Bill is to increase the maximum of levy to 0.3c per lb and thus provide a more realistic relationship between the operative rate and the maximum rate. But as costs increase one might expect the operative rate to increase until it is equal to the maximum rate. We would then have to consider the problem anew.
The increase in the maximum rate is designed to provide the Board with more finance but we must not forget that the levy is paid by the farmer. The standard of living of Australia’s small farmers is fast becoming a matter for concern. This is particularly so in the case of small farmers producing for the export market, an activity in which most small farmers are engaged. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the small farmer, such as the producer of dried vine fruits for the highly volatile export market, is fighting a losing battle against increasing costs. So while the Board needs more money to carry on its promotional work, which all honourable members will concede is necessary, the small producer is burdened with higher levies. The matter of costs is very relevant because, as has been pointed out in the House many times, the small farmer is the backbone of the intensive agriculture districts of Australia. The small farmer plays an important role in decentralisation. Very often he is highly efficient, no matter what physical criterion you adopt - productivity per acre or productivity per man hour. The continual drain on his resources from production costs, higher living costs and increased levies is a vexed problem. I know that the Government is aware of the seriousness of the problem. It is referred to as a ‘small farm problem’. The only defence open to the small farmer who grows for the export market is to try to increase productivity and so decrease his average costs of production or to hope for higher export prices. These matters, of course, are often beyond his control.
The Bill is a machinery measure. It is not one which affords opportunity for a wide ranging debate on the dried vine fruits industry. I would like to refer to the stabilisation plan and the referendum, but 1 have been informed that I would be out of order if I did so. The debate is confined to the relationship of the operative rate of charge by the Board to the maximum rate. Although I may have strayed a little in my remarks 1 do not think I have transgressed unduly. The Opposition supports the Bill. We believe in export promotion. In a situation of inflationary growth policies we see no reason why the Board or any other organisation charged with the responsibility of promoting sales in the interests of the industry and of Australia should not have more revenue. The Opposition supports the BUI and hopes with this qualification that the Government will take serious notice of the increase in costs, which is one of the reasons why the Board wanted more finance, and of the burden on the small farmer. If this increase in costs continues it is obvious the small farmer will need more financial assistance, even if it is in the form of subsidies. All these points are relevant to a degree, but are not completely relevant to the Bill. Mr Speaker, the Opposition supports the Bill.
– I join with the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) in supporting this Bill, lt is a Bill with very narrow confines. Clearly the Dried Fruits Export Charges Act is involved with the raising of levies. The legislation under which we could branch out into a wider debate would be the Dried Fruits Export Control Act which I gather deals with the regulations that govern the activities of the Board. The Board is financed by levies imposed by the Dr ed Fruits Export Charges Act. This amendment today aims to increase the maximum charge in order to provide finance to the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board. The maximum rate at which the producer could be charged in the past was 0.1c per lb and this Bill aims to ra se it, as the honourable member for Dawson said, to 0.3c per lb. I gather - the honourable member for Dawson did not say this - that the forecast for the current season is 0.2c per lb.
– That is not current.
– This, as I understand it, applies to the three-
– Is this current in time?
– It applies not to the type of fruit but to the point of time. In other words, the current charge will be 0.2c per lb. This is reasonable. It is the sort of action the Government has had to take quite recently over the Wine Grapes Charges Bill which came before this House a Utile while ago. The difference in these levies is one worthy of comment. We did apply an increased optimum charge in the case of the wine industry at a time when that industry was in a buoyant state, as it still is. This is not necessarily so in relation to the dried fruits industry because of the particularly tragic time the industry had to put up with during the year 1969. At that time, the electorate of the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), for instance, had the most serious floods and storms. This made it an impossibility for a big volume of dried fruits to be sent to the factories. It was not only a matter of a low volume year but I have no doubt the quality of the fruit also suffered due to the ravages of the storms and climatic problems in that year.
The industry may be at some onus as compared with the wine industry because the year 1970 at this stage looks like being a big volume year. Even if the returns per unit from that big volume are not very high, no doubt this will increase the capacity, at any rate in the immediate past term, of primary producers, who will have a better chance of meeting increased charges, including the one referred to in the Bill. I will confine my remarks to the narrow issues dictated by the Bill and once again say that I have pleasure in supporting this Bill whilst regretting the fact that in some cases the industry, for the reasons I have mentioned, is not in a better state to take this type of increase.
Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) [4.5J- I join with my colleague, the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), k supporting this measure which relates to the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board and its financing. I appreciate that the scope of this measure is limited but I think it is appropriate to refer to the Board and some of the operations which it finances. Of course this does not deal with the wider issues at the grass roots level as far as the growers are concerned and I am pleased to hear in this Parliament that at least references have been made to the difficulties that the growers have faced and continue to face. We will leave the grass roots problem in detail to another debate on another day, as is dictated by the confines of this measure. lt is true that the Bill comes before the House at a time when the dried fruits industry is facing uncertainty but I think it can be said that the industry itself is seeking the best road to progress. It is not unanimous on it at the present time or on the forms of organisation. The dried fruits industry is more susceptible than any other primary industry to the vagaries of the weather and natural disaster. I think it is extraordinary that such an important and successful industry should have been left exposed for so long to the natural disasters which are endemic in the areas in which the industry is situated.
In relation to exports the industry has done particularly well. Since 1925 production has doubled from 50,53S tons to no less than 103,581 tons in 1967. The percentage of the crop exported has barely moved in the 35 years, lt was 73.6% in the period from 1925 to 1931 - that was the 7-year average - and in 1966 it was almost the same. A year later the percentage had risen to 78.3%. The percentage of home consumption has fallen slightly in the 3 decades- from 26.4% to 22.8%. That is the last year for which I have figures and for which figures have been made available to this House by the Board, which is the subject of this measure. But we are eating, I am delighted to say, 10,000 tons more currants, sultanas and raisins. This is a healthy thing and I am delighted to see at meal times that honourable members of the House of Representatives are doing their share to eat us into prosperity. This is very good to see. The 44th annual report of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board for the year 1967-68 strikes a note of stability. I thought it might be worth while in debating this measure which relates to it to put that on record.
-Order! Before the honmember proceeds on this matter I suggest that this is a very narrow Bill and the 2 honourable members who spoke prior to him restricted themselves to the correct interpretation of the Bill. I inform the honourable member for Riverina that this Bill amends the Dried Fruits Export Charges Act. A further Bill, which has already been enacted, as he knows, deals with export control.
– I was aware of that and I did not intend to stray. What I intended to do was merely to sum up the position in relation to this measure on a note of high stability. It might be a very good preliminary reference to the next measure on this industry that will be coming before the House. I will just give these 2 brief sentences which I quote from the 44th annual report of the Australian Dried Fruits Control Board. The report says:
By contrast with many other Australian industries the Australian taxpayer has not been required to assist the Australian dried fruit grower in any way.
The report also says:
In general terms the Board is unaware of any agricultural commodity in the world trade today having had a greater degree of stability since 1963 than dried vine fruits.
I think this is a remarkable testimony to an industry which has had great hardship but which has done so extraordinarily well. 1 join with my colleague, the honourable member for Dawson, in commending this measure. I hope that, against this background of extraordinarily fine performance, we will be able to note and act accordingly to the needs which are created so regularly as the result of the natural disasters which are endemic in the areas and to the industry itself. I support the measure.
– First of all I agree with what has been said by the 3 honourable members who have spoken and, of course, I support this measure. I am influenced to a very large extent by the fact that this charge is approved by the Australian Dried Fruits
Association which is the main controlling body in the industry. It has approved and I believe recommended this charge. This is the body that has guided the dried fruits industry since its inception. In this House - not so much in the last few years but when I came into it and for many years thereafter - the dried fruits industry marketing system was pointed to as a model for other industries to follow.
I just want to say briefly that with the small crop last year and an almost record crop this year I believe that large and small dried fruit growers will be benefited as far as export is concerned. Also the Control Board will have money to use to promote sales. Therefore both of these interests will be benefited by this legislation. Because of the small crop last year the amount of money available to the Control Board became very low. The Board wants a fair amount of money for the promotion of the large crop this year. Therefore, I think this legislation is very, very appropriate.
I do not need to go into the amounts involved because other honourable members have given these details. I do not want to undulge in tedious repetition. The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) probably represents quite a number of dried fruit growers. Of course, the Mallee electorate represents at least 70% of the whole pack of Australia. It is not exactly right to say that the dried fruits industry has never had any assistance from the taxpayer for the simple reason that in this House, after a certain amount of advocacy about 15 years ago, a grant of £300,000 - or $600,000 - was made. This money did not come out of thin air; it came from the taxpayer. This industry is a very precarious one and as has been said by the honourable member for Riverina and other honourable members the season last year was a tragedy for the growers. Last year the drying of the fruit became very difficult.
This Bill, I believe, is in the best interests of the industry which, for the quantity of fruit it grows and the amount of money involved on a percentage basis, is a very large exporting industry which benefits the whole of Australia.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Anthony) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 11 March (vide page 309), on motion by Mr Peacock:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The main purpose of the Bill is to amend and revise the Second Schedule to the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952-68. At present an electoral allowance of $2,750 is paid to a member of the House of Representatives whose electorate is classified as city and $3,350 per annum to a member whose electorate is classified as country. The Second Schedule of the Act, which it is proposed to amend, lists electorates for which the lower or city rate is to be paid. Other electorates not listed are all paid at the country rate. The amendments are made necessary because of changes made to the electorates following the redistribution of boundaries in 1968. At that time some electorates were abolished, new electorates were created, names were changed and the character of some electorates was altered.
The amendment to the Second Schedule takes account of these changes according to the Government’s interpretation of city and country electorates. .1 again mention according to the Government’s interpretation of city and country electorates’, lt is stressed, however, that the amendments do not provide for any change in the base rates- $2,750 city and $3,350 country - or the classification pattern which remains unchanged and which was established by the salary committees of inquiry of 1952, 1955 and 1959. The Bill provides for an increase in the electorate allowances for senators of $100 per annum to the city rate of $2,750. I might mention, to summarise that aspect of the legislation, that a reduction in allowances is brought about by listing 71 instead of 61 electorates in the Second Schedule. Because of the amalgamation or abolition of electorates in the old schedule and the creation of new electorates there are 20 electorates in the new schedule which were not in the old one. Therefore, the Bil) would reduce by $600 the allowances received since the election by the members for just on 20 electorates. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard a list of these electorates:
I thank the Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) who is at the table. The electorates which are to be eliminated are, I. stress, amongst the areas with the highest rate of growth in the various States in which they are located. In other words, they are the electorates where it may be expected that the greatest growth in population will come, yet, the electorate allowance has been taken from their representatives under this new proposal.
In addition to the matters I have mentioned the Bill clarifies the provisions of the Act in regard to the limits for this time during which both allowances in the nature of salary and electorate allowance are payable to members and senators. Clause 3 inserts a new section specifying, for the purpose of paying allowances, ‘the day of election’ is polling day, or when there is no poll, the day the result is declared. Thi: has applied to parliamentary allowances for many years. The Bill, as the Minister for the Army has said, confirms tha existing practice. Secondly, following the redistribution of 196S attention was drawn to the term ‘successor’ and to doubts arising in cases of changes of boundaries as to the identity of each successor. This doubt is removed by amending clause 5 to ensure that a member will be paid his allowance until the day before the day of his reelection or if he is not re-elected the day before polling day. Those, broadly, are the terms of the legislation under discussion.
The Opposition does not oppose the Bill. I say so somewhat reluctantly because, as I shall explain later, I believe electorate allowances for all members of this Parliament are completely inadequate in view of the changes that have taken place. The fact that we do not oppose the Bill, though, should not be taken as an indication that we are satisfied with its provisions or that it is not subject to a very critical analysis for a number of good reasons. The measure, of course, being a money Bill cannot be amended at this stage in the Parliament. I shall outline our reasons for this approach as the debate proceeds. I say at this stage that it is the considered opinion of the Opposition that the amendments proposed are based on guesswork. They reveal no sound basis in support of some of the changes and the time is long overdue for a thorough, searching survey into the basis of the allowances with the object of establishing a more equitable and just basis to enable members and senators - city and country - to fulfil their parliamentary and electoral responsibilities effectively.
The present Schedule of the Act includes the names of 61 electorates, for which allowances at the city rate of $2,750 is payable. The new Schedule totals 71 - an increase of 10. This means that there has been a saving in allowances of $600 per annum in 10 electorates or, $6,000 in all by transferring 10 electorates from the country to the city. The number of country electorates, excluding a newly created seat, has been reduced by 10, balancing the saving. For the information of the House I quote figures given to me by the Prime Minister’s Department. They show that the expenditure under the old Act for city electorates, country electorates and senators was $537,800. The amount under this proposal is exactly the same, with the addition of 1 country seat, which means an extra $3,350. In other words it is given with one hand and taken away with the other. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate these details in Hansard:
The number of country electorates, excluding a newly created seat, has been reduced by 10, as I stated, balancing the saving. I might say that senators have been granted an extra $100 per annum to bring them into line with the city rate of $2,750. This means that with 60 senators the total additional payment for senators, by a remarkable coincidence, is exactly $6,000 per annum - the exact amount saved by increasing the number of city seats under the Act from 61 to 71, mainly in areas which have the most rapidly increasing population in Australia. In other words, the increase to the senators has been made possible at no cost to the Government. I congratulate the Treasurer (Mr Bury) on his ingenuity in this matter. But the increase is actually subsidised by reducing the allowances paid to members of the House of Representatives, many of them, I repeat, in the fastest growing areas on a population basis in Australia.
This proves beyond doubt that the Government has no sound basis for the classification of electorates. It has been carried out by a system of eeny, meeny, miney, mo or you stay in or out you go. It is as simple as that. That is the basis of the Government’s policy generally, and it has carried it through to the electorate allowances. No amount of argument by the Minister can prove the contrary. The figures which were provided to me by the Prime Minister and which I have had incorporated in Hansard prove the point I have made, lt is a juggling system based on guesswork. As I say, it is a system of eeny, meeny, miney, mo. Whilst agreeing that under the present legislation an amendment may be necessary, it should be on an equitable and proper basis and should not be done by subterfuge and juggling as has been done in this case.
The simple procedure adopted by the Government to provide for the senators was that when they were $600 short some electorates were classified on a catch as catch can basis as city electorates in order to balance the budget. I will be very surprised if senators are happy to find that, representing a whole State as they do, they are now worth only the allowance of an inner city member, which is the lowest possible rate in the nation. As the Act stands at present, because of redistribution, it includes names of electorates that have been abolished in the second schedule such as Dally and East Sydney in New South Wales and does not include other newly created seats such as Berowra and Cook in NSW or Holt in Victoria, just to mention a few. The position is similar in most States.
This means that under the Act, as it stands at present, some members representing city electorates are being paid the country allowance pending the amendment to the Act. Somewhat regretfully I say today that when this Bill goes through my colleague the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope) will be about $50 a month worse off under the juggling system. I do not think that gentleman can afford such a reduction because he has a big electorate and is a very active member. This indicates the suffering that will be caused in respect of this matter by the Government’s process.
This applies to some newly named or created city seats in all States such as Sydney and Berowra in New South Wales.
The members in these electorates are in fact being overpaid what is due to them as an electorate allowance, and will continue to receive their present allowance until the Act is amended. But on the brighter side, let me say that there is no requirement that they refund the extra amount. This would appear to make the amendment desirable, depending on how it is looked at. But at the same time it raises the question: Is a new method of classification desirable and overdue? Are wide open spaces and distances such as those represented by the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) to be the only criteria for deciding the allowance, or should it be based on a population or some other basis?
One may well pose this question: Is not representation of people just as expensive in heavily populated city electorates as in sparse and far flung country areas? I do not say that this is necessarily the case, but at least it is worth a full and complete investigation. Let me briefly state the history of the electorate allowance. The Nicholas Committee reported on parliamentary allowances in 1952. On page 12 of its report, it said:
We recommend that each senator and each representative receive an allowance of £1,750 per annum, an addition of £250 per annum to the allowance at present received; litis sum to be liable to a statutory deduction in respect of the weekly contribution to the member’s retiring allowance fund and to income tax. We further recommend that each member receive an annual sum not liable to taxation or to statutory deduction which would supersede any deduction for expenses now made by the Commissioner for Taxation. In the case of a senator we recommend that the sum payable be £550 per annum. In order to determine the tax free amount to be paid to a member of the Mouse of Representatives we recommend that electorates be divided into 5 groups and (hat each member bc paid the amount tax free set out below, opposite the number of the group in which his electorate is included.
Il then listed 5 groups, and the allowances ranged from £400 to at that time to £900. Then it said - and I do not think the senators could have been happy with this:
We formed the opinion that a senator, although he represents the State as one electorate, is not faced with the same calls nor is he so closely in contact with his constituents as a member of the House of Representatives.
I quote that in connection with the commencement of the electorate allowance. The
Richardson Committee in 1956 brought down further recommendations in respect of this matter. It said:
We consider that all members representing country electorates should be paid the same rate of electorate allowance.
In other words, it divided them into city and country. The report goes on:
We feel that senators are in an intermediate category and a separate recommendation is made in their case.
That is when the senators came within the scope of the Act. The report goes on:
The Nicholas Committee accepted a division of electorates identical with that compiled after detailed investigation by the Commissioner of Taxation. This Committee considers that all group 1 electorates (see Appendix b) should at this stage be regarded as city electorates and all others as country electorates. The redistribution of electorates may affect this classification.
In other words it divided them into city and country on facts or figures provided by the Commissioner of Taxation. Because that Committee did not believe in tax-free allowances, the allowances paid to members became officially known as ‘electorate allowances’. In 1959 the Richardson Committee fixed new figures for the allowances. They recommended that senators should be paid £700 per annum, members for city electorates £600 per annum, and members for country electorates £800 per annum. In the course of its report the Committee said:
The 1955 Committee considered that no section of the community should receive as an allowance for expenses any sum which was statutorily exempt from tax, and recommended that, in addition to the basic salary of £2,350 to be paid to each senator and member, electorate allowances should be paid …
It is interesting to see what these electorate allowances are supposed to cover. In its report the Richardson Committee said:
The Electorate Expense Allowance is designed to reimburse a member for outgoings necessarily incurred in the performance of his duties as a member and which are not otherwise specifically provided for.
It said that the allowance should cover, for instance, postage. The postage expenses of all members is now practically double what it was then because of the number of electorates plus the number of requests that are made. But that is one expense that must be covered. Politicians must be the only section of business representatives in the world who pay for their own postage. The better the member you are, the more letters you write and the less salary you are working for.
Then the Committee said that travelling within an electorate should come within the scope of the allowance. A city member uses his own car, public transport or hire cars and taxi cabs. A country member, the report says, necessarily uses his own car. I will not go into all the other expenses that are supposed to come out of his electorate allowance. According to the Committee, it is supposed to cover donations and subscriptions. The 1955 Committee said that this was a big part of a member’s expenditure and that in many cases it amounted to political blackmail. Then a member is expected to pay for telephone rental and local calls from his own home out of this allowance. The Committee said that in the case of country members the allowance should cover travelling expenses and accommodation during trips within the electorate. Every body admits that this is a big item in the yearly budget of a country member. Then the Committee referred to members who desire to visit the Territories. Members may visit the Territories once every three years, but a trip to New Guinea is a pretty costly one to meet out of one’s own pocket.
The electorate allowance of $2,750 not only has to cover every aspect of electoral representation within an electorate; it also must be used to gain information about the multiplicity of problems of which parliamentarians are expected to have knowledge today. Entertainment expenses are included in the electorate allowance, amongst other things, but election expenses are not included. In this respect the report stated:
The expense of conducting elections is a necessary incident of a Member’s employment. It occurs at least every third year; it is (within certain limits) allowed by the Commissioner of Taxation as a statutory deduction; it causes many Members to get into debt; and it might be considered that provision for it should be included in the amount of the expense allowance. We have felt unable to adopt this view, because it is wrong in principle that a silting Member should have his election expenses paid out of the public purse, while his opponents enjoy no such advantage.
I repeat that this allowance does not include election expenses, which undoubtedly are a big item. The committee went on to say:
The rates which we recommend are in our opinion no more than sufficient to ensure that Members shall have available for the maintenance of themselves and their families, for the upkeep of their homes, for the education of their children, and for other outgoings normally paid by persons in private employment out of their remuneration, the full amount of their parliamentary salaries (less, of course, the compulsory Retiring Allowance contributions).
Broadly, that is the history of this Act. Further on this report states:
These rates also should enable Members to undertake service on parliamentary committees and visits to Territories and developmental projects, which at present are denied to many of them simply because they cannot bear the expenses involved. In short, we believe the recommended rates would help Members generally to do a better job for the community.
That is a rather extensive outline of the matter we are debating today. I ask any honourable member representing a city electorate whether, in all fairness, he can run his car, do all the things I have mentioned, see the Territories and give effective parliamentary representation with an allowance of $2,750. At the same time I ask country members whether their allowance pays much more than the cost of replacing a car, plus the running costs involved over a period. True it is that one can get deductions for certain things if you keep a note of every item. But when you are buying a beer in a soldiers club how can you jot down 15c or 20c every time you put your hand in your pocket?
I think it is generally agreed that the allowance is inadequate. I am surprised that the Government did not look into this when it thought of the new responsibility. One fact stands out from these reports, that is, that there is no such thing as an official definition of a country electorate. One may surmise or take for granted that areas such as the electorates of Kalgoorlie, Darling, Mallee and Kennedy would fit into the average person’s idea of a country electorate. But what of some electorates on the fringe of the cities which are half and half such as Werriwa, Cunningham and Prospect in New South Wales, and others of a similar nature in other States? Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they are country or city electorates. There is room for differences of opinion. It may well be that the basis for the payment of an electorate allowance should be population, with special consideration being given to members with huge areas and distances to cover in the form of an extra travelling allowance or some other allowance. Perhaps the electorates should be divided into several categories as they were in the first place, such as inner city, urban, inner country area and far flung country districts.
Another fact stands out. No member of Parliament or senator should be placed at a financial disadvantage simply because he does his work diligently and effectively. The present system does not remove this disability. The redistribution of Federal electorates did not provide for any definition as between country and city electorates. In other words, each State was considered as a whole. There appears to be no requirement b the Act making it mandatory for electorates to be defined as city and country electorates. The only reference in this regard is in the amendment to the Electoral Act, No. 48 of 1965. Incidentally, the relevant section was forced on the Liberal Party by the Country Party at the end of a political shot gun. Section 19(1.) of that Act states:
In making any proposed distribution of a State into Divisions, the Distribution Commissioners shall so determine the proposed Divisions that each Division contains a number of electors not exceeding, or falling short of, the quota of electors by more than one fifth of the quota.
The section goes on to provide that certain matters, such as community of interest, shall be given consideration. This is the closest it gets to defining a country electorate. There is no definition. Those words may be taken to mean a country electorate but the Act does not say so. That is why the Act refers only to electorates in the Second Schedule of the Act One may well ask: What is a country electorate?
Whilst the salary reports in 1952, 1956 and 1959 had in mind city and country electorates when providing for different rates of allowances, it is significant that section 5(2.) of the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952-1968 does not designate them as such but uses these words: if he is a member of an electoral division specified in the Second Schedule of this Act
This means that no firm line is laid down for classification and electorates may be changed on application by regulation, as was done in the case of the Australian Capital Territory - which was not designated as a country electorate in the 1952 report - and, later, with the electorates of Hunter and Shortland.
The anomaly and injustice of the present Act does not apply only to the definition of city and country electorates. There are glaring anomalies in the payment of electorate allowances for country electorates of varying areas and population and also for senators. 1 want to quote a few examples. The electorate of Darling, with an area of 132,642 square miles, receives the same electorate allowance as the electorate of the honourable member for Hunter (Mr Janes) with an area of 559 square miles. In Queensland, the electorate of Kennedy, with 247,500 square miles, is on a par with the electorate of McPherson which covers 2,270 square miles. In Western Australia, the electorate of Kalgoorlie, covering an area of 897,815 square miles, attracts an allowance equivalent to that paid to the honourable member for Forrest (Mr Kirwan), who represents an area of 15,670 square miles. Again, the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), with an area of 520,280 square miles and a population of 68,000, receives an allowance equivalent to that paid to the member for the Australian Capital Territory, with an area of 939 square miles and a population of 122,000.
Does anyone suggest that similar allowances should be paid to members representing these widely differing electorates and areas? Is it to be said that the costs involved are the same in Kalgoorlie as they are in Hunter, and the same in the Northern Territory as they are in the Australian Capital Territory, or should some arrangement be made whereby huge expansive areas receive extra allowances tapering down according to the needs of the electorate?
Let us look at the situation which faces senators. The figures I propose to cite are as at 30th June 1969. New South Wales has an area of 309,433 square miles and a population of 4,478,800, yet the senators from New South Wales receive the same allowance, that is $2,750, as Mr Speaker, the honourable member for Phillip (Sir William Aston), who represents an area of 5 square miles and a population of 93,850. Queensland covers an area of 667,000 square miles and a population of 1,768,000. Senators from Queensland receive the same allowance as that paid to the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) who represents an area of 15 square miles and a population of 100,313. Victoria has an area of 87,884 square miles and a population of 3,384,100, Senators representing Victoria receive the same allowance as the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) whose electorate covers 9 square miles and embraces a population of 92,930. South Australia covers 380,070 square miles and has a population of 1,144,400. Senators from South Australia are paid on the same basis as the honourabe member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) whose electorate covers 18 square miles and has a population of 95,530. Western Australia has an area of 975,920 square miles and a population of 946,400. A Western Australian senator receives the same as the honourable member for Curtin (Mr Garland) whose electorate covers 28 square miles and contains a population of 91,380. The area of Tasmania is 26,383 square miles. It has a population of 388,500. Yet a senator representing Tasmania receives the same allowance as the honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) whose electorate covers 53 square miles and has a population of 75,450.
Senators represent an entire State. It is true that there are 10 senators for each State but the States are not divided into 10 sections. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that they are expected to give electoral representation to every square mile of their State and to every electorate. Yet we find that senators are on the lowest rate of all - that of a city member whose area, in 1 case, covers no more than 5 square miles.
One fact stands out crystal clear in this argument and that is that it is time that a full inquiry was made into electoral allowances. It is beyond doubt that every honourable member, whether he represents a city or country electorate, and every senator at present may justifiably claim that the present arrangements and payments are inequitable and insufficient. They are unjustifiable above all else because the whole basis is decided on guesswork. One may again ask the question: Do a member’s expenses for discharging his duties depend on area and location? That seems to have been the sole criterion hitherto in assessing allowances. Or do they depend on the character, growth and size of its population? It may truly be said that aliens and infants, who may number thousands in many electorates, generate as many representations and expenses per head as do citizens and adults. To elaborate, I ask: What makes work? What costs money for representation? Is it people, distance, and activity of the member, or a combination of all these factors?
Let me give a few examples of what I mean. The electorate of Sydney in the 1966 census had a population of 126,430 and in 1968 it had an enrolment of 59,967, compared to the seat of Lyne with 45,751 electors and a population of 79,730. In other words, the honourable member for Sydney (Mr Cope), with 14,216 more electors and a population of 46,700 more, receives an allowance of $600 less than the honourable member for Lyne (Mr Lucock). The electorate of Paterson has 46,783 electors and a population of 80,170. In my electorate of Grayndler I have 13,512 more electors and 45,000 more people than the honourable member for Paterson (Mr O’Keefe) has and yet I receive $600 per annum less as an allowance. The seat of Wills in Victoria in 1966 had an enrolment of 58,213 and a population of 116,980, providing the member with an allowance of $600 less than that of the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), whose electorate has an enrolment of 45,218 and a population of 30,750. The honourable member for Mallee has 12,995 fewer electors and 30,750 fewer people than the division of Wills.
These cases appear to support the contention that population should be a predominant consideration, as well as area, in the allocation of electorate allowances. Every State bears out this disparity. Probably more striking examples could be given, but I quote a few in order to show the need for an inquiry and reassessment of the situation. I do not say that country members should have their allowance reduced. They need an increase. All I say is that more than guesswork is required to assess a member’s needs, and the Government has a responsibility to investigate and inquire and provide a reasonable basis of adjustment instead of the trapeze act and juggling proposition that they have put before us today.
Let us look at the senators’ allowances. They are worth looking at. They are now to rise to the equivalent of those of city members under the catch as catch can basis of adjustment. Senators represent the whole State. If it is the view of the Government that electorate allowances are to be paid on an area basis, or even on a population basis, senators are entitled to the highest rate of all, whereas they have climbed only to the lowly status of a city representative. The Government cannot have it both ways. If area, acres and distance demand extra electorate allowances for country members - and it evidently accepts this principle - then senators have the highest claim. It is reasonable to say that all senators, as they are dedicated and sincere men, devote their energies to giving effective representation to the people of their State. This being so, travel, accommodation and other expenses must make heavy demands on their- resources. They must travel extensively in their own State as well as interstate in order that they may be known to their electors and be fully informed on national affairs.
Their representation costs beyond doubt are high. In these circumstances the allowance of $100 extra per year at the expense of colleagues in the House of Represenatives is a miserable, niggardly and degrading approach to a senator’s responsibilities. Furthermore, if the Government will not provide for all senators, what about those who reside in country areas and work accordingly? Would this not justify the payment of an allowance at the country rate to the senators concerned? The facts of the matter are that a member’s or a senator’s needs cannot be assessed by guesswork. There must be a basis, and it is time that the Government placed members and senators above the level of second class businessmen and provided adequate electorate allowances to cover all the needs of parliamentary representation in these demanding times. As an ex-senator, the Prime Minister evidently attaches little substance to the work of senators. If his appreciation of their work is to be assessed on the basis of an increase of SI 00 for their electoral work, made at the expense of members of the House of Representatives, then his opinion is indeed very low and their place in the political spectrum in the eyes of the Prime Minister is hardly worth a mention.
As a comparison. 1 now want to turn to the few other matters which are relevant. Recently the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) asked a question which appears in Hansard at page 1762. He asked:
What arc the estimates of enrolments for each of the 125 House of Representatives electoral divisions as at October 1972. based upon current rates of growth?
The answer was given to the honourable member in some detail. The significant fact is that 84% of the electorates show an increase in population between 1969 and 1970, which means that the allowances should be subject to periodical review. The figures appear in Hansard so I do not want to incorporate them. Of all the electorates in Australia the population of only 19 have not increased in the period from 1969 to 1970. Sixteen per cent have remained stationary and, as I said, 84% have increased, but the electorate allowances are not being taken into consideration.
I had papers compiled for me by the Parliamentary Library. They show the increases in enrolments in electoral divisions in Australia from 22nd November 1968 to 26th March 1970. Each electorate is given. In New South Wales there has been an overall increase in enrolments of 3.62%, in Victoria an increase of 4.23%, in Queensland an increase of 4.52%, in South Australia an increase of 4.15%, in Western Australia an increase of 6.98%, in Tasmania an increase of 4.98%. in the Australian Capital Territory an increase of 20.18% and in the Northern Territory an increase of 21.16%. It is interesting to note that the seat of Chifley in New South Wales has gone up in that time by 14.22% and yet that is one of the electorates that is noi designated a country electorate under these proposals. That growing electorate has been given no consideration. The enrolments for the seat of Cunningham have gone up almost 10% in that time, and yet that seat has been deleted from the country electorates despite the fact that it is not so much a borderline case as a country electorate from the viewpoint of the ordinary individual. The seat of Mackellar, which is certainly an inner city seat, has gone up by 11.52%. Yet the electorate allowance that the member should be getting is now being shared by a couple of Liberal senators by the Government’s goodness.
In Victoria the seat of Bruce is another which has been designated as a city seat. Enrolments there have gone up by 12.84%. Enrolments for the seat of Casey have gone up by 13.18%. The honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) is not here at the moment; he was here a short time ago. Enrolments in his electorate have gone up by 17.37% between 1968 and 1970. Yet all those seats are designated as city electorates and the money for the electorate allowance has been taken from them and given to the Senate under the strange system adopted by the Government. Enrolments in the seat of Holt have gone up by 17.25%, and in the seat of Lalor by 11.29%. That brings home the point I made earlier - that the Government has taken money from the fastest growing areas and electorates in Australia to spread $6,000 amongst the senators instead of making an overall investigation of the position and substantially increasing electorate allowances to make them commensurate with the times.
In the seat of Petrie in Queensland there has been an increase in enrolments of 10.99% and in the seat of Ryan there has been an increase of 8.31%. I could go right through the electorates. Even in Fremantle in Western Australia there has been an increase of 8.07% and in the seat of Stirling there has been an increase of 12.04% in enrolments between 1968 and 1970. In the seat of Denison in Tasmania there has been an increase of 5.09%. All of these indicate that the position is far from being static and that the Government should do something to enable members to give adequate representation. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate those documents in Hansard.
I have taken out from the same source further figures to show that in 1968 the average enrolment in electorates in Australia was 51,784. The average enrolment for the 6 States at 26th March 1970 was 53,554. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate in Hansard that document setting out the average number of electors per Commonwealth electoral division, 22nd November 1968 and 26th March 1970. It is:
I have quoted these figures and made these points in order to show that at a time when the population is increasing, electorate responsibilities are becoming greater. Enrolments are increasing.I leave aside the increase in population and do not take into consideration aliens, migrants and other people who are not entitled to be enrolled. But, while enrolments are increasing, the Government is doing nothing at all to enable members of the Federal Parliament to carry out their duties adequately by making available additional funds for this purpose. When all is said and done, any member with a huge migrant population within the boundaries of his electorate has more demand placed on his resources. But there is no return on that demand. That is why I say today that all the factors that
I have quoted show that the Government has not looked at the matter but has just guessed at some figures right from the beginning. I have proved, by the figures that I have quoted, the casefor a review of these electoral allowances. The classification of electorates into city and country divisions is shown to be guesswork. No sound basis for it exists.
I summarise my comments to the Government by saying that, whilst the Opposition does not intend to oppose this measure, this does not mean that we could not have done so justifiably and, I think, been supported by all those who believe that parliamentarians, like people in other sections of society, should be entitled to have adequate allowances paid to them in order that they may carry out their responsibilities efficiently. Parliamentary representation in this day and age presents demands and challenges not experienced or faced in other days. 1 think that that would be agreed generally. The immigration programme with its many social problems, the international scene, the need for members and senators to be freely available throughout their electorates, the increased cost of travel, population increases, larger electorates, the needs for members of Parliament to be informed electorally and on the Territories of the Commonwealth all present heavy demands on time and money.
Members of Parliament do not desire to make a profit out of these allowances, but all must bear the cost of representation - some more than others. Country members with travelling expenses and city members with electorates that have huge populations all indicate the need for adequate, not excessive, electorate allowances. In one minor way, it does seem strange that Federal members and senators must pay for their own postal costs from the allowances provided. The better a member, the more postage he will have to pay and the less income will be received from those allowances. What a farcical position to place a representative in. No self-respecting businessman would pay for his own postage. It is the responsibility of the Government to give earnest consideration to the matters that I have raised. The Government should look at this Act, the cost of representation and the just claims of the members of all Parties for a review of representation costs. Research, secretarial assistance and matters of that kind also should come within the scope of these allowances.
I hope that my remarks will not be taken in any political way. What I have spoken of concerns members from both sides of the Parliament. I make my submission on behalf of all who sit in this Parliament, because I believe that the Australian electors are entitled to full and effective representation from their representatives on both sides of this House and in the other place. Their representatives, in their turn, are entitled to adequate facilities by way of staff and allowances to give this representation. The leaders of the parties and
Ministers in the Government are reasonably well looked after. No complaint is raised at that. But to neglect the huge number of members in the Parliament who are dependent entirely on their own resources to carry out their duties is not, I think, an example of doing the best for democracy. I conclude by saying that 1 hope that the Government will heed my views and keep in mind that, whilst we do not oppose the measure at the present time, the need is there for effective action by the Government in line with the thoughts that I have expressed for a review of this matter of the provision of adequate allowances for members of Parliament. This is an important topic.
Mir DONALD CAMERON (Griffith) [4.54] - Mr Deputy Speaker, for the last 40 minutes the House has been treated to a speech by that analytical and statistically minded man, the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). I listened to the honourable member. All members of this House listen with great interest at times when the honourable member for Grayndler speaks. It is unfortunate that not all of his speeches are as full of deep thought as the one that he has made today. Usually, the honourable member branches off into politics and destroys his efforts. Today, he has resisted this temptation.
Even though the honourable member is a rapidly ageing gent, I could not help but recognise that some of the remarks that he has made are very much in keeping with modern developments. However, he has drawn a rather false analogy in suggesting that the roles of a senator and a member of the House of Representatives are as different as he said. I could not help but ask: What does a senator spend his allowance on? Granted, a senator is not connected with all the organisations and other bodies with which members of the House of Representatives are because their representation is on a more localised basis. On the other hand, a senator is confronted by continual travelling expenses and, in particular, accommodaton expenses. When the honourable member for Grayndler receives his copy of Hansard tomorrow and reads what he has said in this debate, he might have some second thoughts as to the comparison that he has drawn and take the opportunity on the motion for the adjournment one night to correct the impression that he has created and left in the minds of honourable members.
The honourable member for Grayndler said that the whole business of allowances for members of Parliament depends upon how a member works. The keynote of the consideration of parliamentary allowances rests with each individual member. If a member is the type who, every time he receives a letter from a constituent, tears that letter up and drops it into a waste bin, he can save money on postage. But if the member of Parliament does the right thing and answers his constituent, or constituents by the hundreds, he will find that the provision of this type of service very quickly eats away his allowance. The point is that I am not complaining this afternoon about the amount of money which is paid to me by way of parliamentary allowance. In fact, 1 would rather make reference to 2 other matters. I refer to the policy of the Government with respect to lbc office that I occupy in Brisbane. 1 also wish to ask the Government to adopt an attitude which will be of assistance to members of Parliament and which will be more in keeping with the spirit of the 1970s.
Mr Deputy Speaker, you would know, as you are the honourable member for Ryan - an electorate on the other side of the Brisbane River to my electorate - and share the same Commonwealth offices in Brisbane as I do, what a lousy deal the honourable member for Griffith has had since he was elected to Parliament in 1966. I can tell you, and all honourable members of the House, that my office in Brisbane is no bigger than a bathroom in an average sized home. It is so small that, when my secretary types my letters, my desk trembles. Her table is right at the end of my table. Every time she types a letter, my arm shakes on my table. This is the situation that I have had to put up with since my entry into this Parliament.
I am quite certain that, when 1 was elected in 1966. the powers that be said: Well, he is a Liberal holding the seat of Griffith, he will be out in 3 years, so we do not need to worry about taking any notice of his complaints about his office’. The point is that I have been returned to this House at the last election. I will be returned to it for many years to come. I am not prepared to continue working in the conditions under which I have been expected to work for the last 3± years.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! I remind the honourable member that this Bill relates to electorate allowances.
– Electorate allowances, yes. As I was saying, if members of Parliament were paid more by way of electorate allowances, they would be able to hire more accommodation space outside Government offices. That is where I draw the comparison. I am very sympathetic towards you, Sir, because the office which you must use in Brisbane is not what I would regard as suitable for a member of your calibre and a man of your standing.
Further. I wish to make reference to the 1970s. The Australian national Parliament commenced on the 1st day of January 1901. Here we are, nearly in the middle of 1970, and I would say with great respect to you, Sir. that as far as conditions of and assistance for members of Parliament are concerned, we are back in 1901. As most honourable members realise, I was in the United States of America recently. I paid my own costs on that trip. I went to the United States and to other countries to learn what is being done in them. 1 could not help but be impressed by the realistic attitude adopted by the Government of the United States in relation to providing assistance for members of Congress. I readily concede that, as some of our electorates have 60,000 voters on their electoral rolls while some country electorates, such as the electorate represented by the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), have approximately 32,000 voters, that no comparison can bc drawn between our city electorates and most of our country electorates and the 300,000 to 400,000 constituents in United States seats. But the point is that when we take it on a population basis the American Government has a far more acceptable and realistic attitude.
Members of the United States House of Representatives are provided with research workers and more than just one secretary. As a member of the Federal Government representing approximately 120,000 people in my electorate, I have just the one girl in Brisbane to take care of things while I am hire and to help me with my work when I am back there. I would suggest with great respect that this is completely unrealistic. For a start, each member should be supplied with a junior girl. This of course depends on how a member of Parliament runs his electorate. If he does not care a tinker’s damn about his constituents and does not try to keep abreast of things he probably would not need anybody. He could probably bring in his aged mother-in-law on 1 afternoon a week when he is out playing golf. But if he is a conscientious member who wants to do the right thing he cannot get by with the present facilities.
I return to the point that I made about United States Congressmen, who are provided with research workers. I feel great pity for members of the Labor Party, particularly for those who make up the front bench, because every time they wish to make a speech they have to prepare it in opposition to Ministers and they have a minimum of help. In this field more assistance should be given. As I say, it should be given to all members of Parliament if they so desire. I know there have been cases in the past where some secretaries have not been usefully employed. Perhaps the Government could introduce a system whereby members of Parliament could be given additional assistance on the basis that they pay a percentage of their allowance towards the cost of the person’s salary, if they genuinely believe that they need this assistance, and the Government make up the rest of the salary. We live in a changing world. The papers which come to my table every day, both in Canberra and in the electorate of Griffith en the southern side of the Brisbane River, is absolutely amazing. Those organisations which take so much trouble to prepare literature to forward to us do not know just how much is thrown into the rubbish bin and never looked at. It is absolutely impossible for members of Parliament to do anything about it.
We are referring, of course, to the matter of parliamentary allowances, and I realise that you are about to draw my attention to that fact, Mr Deputy Speaker. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), who is a member for the Opposition, told me that during his first 3 years in this Parliament - I have not spoken to him lately about it - he was well and truly out of pocket on the expense allowance. 1 am not saying he was complaining. I do not think I make money or lose money. But I do believe that it is high time that we as members on both sides of the House commenced strong and united agitation for an improvement of the conditions and facilities under which we work. Even a tally clerk at the local fish markets at the other end of my electorate has a bigger office than the bathroom size office that I have. I know it will be said that I am being offered a different office but, Mr Deputy Speaker, might I tell the House what the Department of the Interior was about to offer me? It was about to say: ‘Your secretary can move out of your office.’
I ask the honourable member to come back to the Bill which deals with parliamentary allowances.
– I was about to suggest that perhaps consideration could be given to an increase in allowances to cover the very matter of which I am about to tell you. There is in the Brisbane office a tearoom where all the secretaries of the members have their cups of tea in the morning. The Department of the Interior is going to put in two 7-foot high partitions and have 3 girls in the tea room with these 7-foot partitions separating them. If I were sharing an office in Brisbane with the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly)I am quite certain I would not want my secretary to be sitting in an office separated only by a 7-foot partition from his secretary
-Order! I have already asked the honourable member to relate his remarks to the Bill before the House. It deals with parliamentary allowances.
– I will abide by your ruling, Sir, but I could not let this opportunity pass without letting the people of Australia and the House know the conditions under which members in Brisbane are working. Furthermore, of course, I support the Government’s Bill on this occasion.
I do hope, as I said at the beginning, that we as members do more than just say that we want more money in the form of allowances. I think a more realistic attitude has to be adopted so that we have the type of assistance that will enable us to represent the people in our electorates as effectively as possible, and so that when we come here we will know what we are talking about and will not just jabber on for something to say, as unfortunately happens at times.
Dr KLUGMAN (Prospect) 15.6]- I have listened to the remarks of the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) with interest. I support many of his propositions, especially the proposition that every honourable member should be provided - or supplied, I think he said - with a junior girl. I do not know if this is part of the Bill or whether the Government could really provide this. However, under the proposed amendments to the National Service Act I suppose it just might be possible. I think that the question of parliamentary allowances is a fairly important one on the general issue, and not so much on the amendments that are being put today.
I was almost forced into this debate after ] read a report of one of the Canberra correspondents, Stan Hutchinson, in the Sydney Morning Herald’ on 1 2th May. Amongst other things he said:
Watchers from the galleries will have lo remain alert to notice the Parliamentary Allowances Bill slipping through.
To me the implication there was that parliamentary allowances were to be raised and that parliamentarians were the sort of people who objected to discussing this in public. I think the implication is quite clear in this article. I wrote a reply to the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ but so far it has not been published. May I make it quite clear that my own income is being reduced by $600 per year, as is that of 10 other honourable members. As far as I know no honourable member in this House receives an increase in income arising from this legislation. So it is obviously wrong to suggest that we would rash this through because there is some benefit to one or more of us in this House.
I also feel a bit more confident in speaking on this subject because I have only recently become a member of this House and I have taken a significant drop in in come. I do not object to this because the position was known to me when 1 nominated for Parliament. But I do ask people who know better and who value parliamentary democracy not to spread falsehoods about political incomes. The following passage from a report on parliamentary salaries is significant:
In his statement announcing the appointment of the 1951 Committee the Prime Minister -
That is Mr Menzies, as he then was: said: “There are many grave misapprehensions about Ministerial and parliamentary salaries and privileges.” the 1955 Committee - lt has been referred to earlier today: complained thai the general public, without full information and often in complete ignorance of the facts, tended to offer unreasonable opposition to any alteration in parliamentary allowances; that little attempt was made to inform the public or lor members of (he public to seek accurate information; and that much of the publicity given to the matter was deliberately distorted. We have observed the same phenomena. The Prime Minister’s announcement of 17th January, 1959, was followed by comments (in some newspapers and in letters to the Committee) of the familiar kind, in which phrases loaded with false and abusive implications were freely used, misstatements abounded, and malice took the place of judgment.
As I have said previously in this House, democracy is a fairly fragile institution everywhere and generally its supporters should not attack it falsely. To some extent parliamentary democracy will depend on attracting reasonable and able people with at least some sense of public service. This does not imply that 1 think parliamentarians have to have any spec : al education - tertiary education - though this will probably increasingly be the case. But it does mean that those selected and elected would be able to enjoy a fairly high standard of living if they do not enter Parliament. I may add that 1 do nol mind being abused or attacked for my views on issues, but what I do object to is being depicted as a lazy Tammany Hall type of politician who is in politics for the money. I do object to the present haphazard method of fixing salaries, although I can see the difficulties involved. There have been at least 3 committees of inquiry during (he 1950s on this matter. The 1955 Committee, of which Sir Frank Richardson was Chairman, said:
A periodic review of parliamentary salaries is necessary irrespective of the way in which changes are made and, in fact, whether any changes are made.
The then Prime Minister, who was at that time Mr Menzies, said:
In the course of the last Parliament, my colleague the Treasurer, the Right Honourable Harold Holt, in his capacity as Leader of the House, intimated to members that a review of these matters should be made early in the life of each new Parliament and, subject only to quite abnormal circumstances, the conditions then determined should apply unchanged throughout the life of that Parliament. That is the view of the Government.
It is obvious to me that that is no longer the view of this Government because the last change was made in 1968 and apparently none is proposed in the near future. I think that it is important to emphasise that being an MP is a full time job, or it is certainly a full time job for most members of Parliament. I would like to quote a finding by the 1959 Committee of Inquiry: lt is contrary to the interests of the community that members of its Parliament should be underpaid to the point of financial embarrassment.
The results, in our opinion, would be that:
The salary of a member should be fixed at an amount which is not so low as to deter a man of good attainments and abilities who has no private income from entering or remaining in Parliament.
The report of the 1955 Committee stated:
We do not believe that anyone should seek election to Parliament for personal profit nor do we believe that anyone should be debarred from a seat in Parliament simply because he cannot afford the financial sacrifice.
I appeal to the House and to the Government to devise some method of varying parliamentary allowances. This should be a method which will appear to the general public to be just. Whilst saying this I find it rather hypocritical of newspaper proprietors to lead the attack on parliamentarians. When Sir Frank Packer applies to an independent authority for permission to increase the cost of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ by 40%, as was done recently, I shall be more impressed. It appears that he could not even persuade Messrs Murdoch and Fairfax that such an increase was justified.
Let me deal quickly with one of my pet subjects. Part of the expenses of honourable members are election expenses. These expenses are increasing continuously, not necessarily as far as each individual member is concerned but as far as political parties are concerned. The cost of political advertising on television, radio and in the Press is enormous. I feel that we are not a true democracy unless all political parties can get their view to the market place. This is not peculiar to this country. In all the Western countries the cost of elections is tremendous. American presidential elections cost up to $100m, including the primaries, and this is rising rapidly. This means that contestants are either limited to multimillionaires or become dependent on contributions from large corporations, and this is obviously wrong. This is bad for democracy. The difficulty there has not been to raise money for these election expenses, but to raise money from enough people so that the amount of pressure that any one contributor could put on the political party to which it contributed would be insignificant. A committee presided over in the United States by Senator Russell Long proposed that there should be a $1 per year surcharge on every taxpayer’s return for political purposes. This was finally rejected, mainly because of the argument as to distribution.
I suggest that we might consider at some stage in this country a 20c surcharge every year on every one of Australia’s 5 million taxpayers. This would raise $lm per year for political purposes. We should provide for the right to contract out. But I feel that few Australians would begrudge 20c per year to make democracy more effective. The obvious point there is that most of that Sim raised would finally finish up with the owners of the mass media for advertising and they would be likely to give us a reasonably good run on that sort of proposition.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! I suggest to the honourable member that he come back to the terms of the Bill which deals with electoral allowances.
-I am about to finish. I would like to make the point that to be an effective democracy, to have reasonable people in Parliament, to have an informed public knowing what it is voting for, is partly connected with the Parliamentary Allowances Act. To some extent that Act does provide for electoral expenses. I wanted to throw this final point into the ring, realising that it would require much more thought on how to distribute the money raised for the various political parties. 1 realise that there would be arguments as to where the money would be distributed. Any money that is available could be distributed according to the number of honourable members in the House, or the number of votes received at the last election, or the amount of money that has been spent. I suggest to the Minister, to the House and to all honourable members in general, that they might at some stage think about this type of proposition bearing in mind that it is in fact at present in force in West Germany and that it has been considered in the United States. I commend the proposition to the House.
– I had not intended to speak on this Bill and therefore I will not take very long for I know that there are a few other honourable members who want to say a few words. I agree with most things that have been said by honourable members on both sides of the House. I think the suggestion by the Press - which is understandable I suppose - that this legislation would be rushed through without any debate was clearly a normal one except that I do not think it was one which was made with much knowledge of the situation. 1 agree with what the honourable members for Prospect (Dr Klugman), Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) and Grayndler (Mr Daly) have said. I was at a luncheon a short while ago with members of the Press in Melbourne and I was asked the question: Do you travel much around Australia? I presume you are very busy travelling interstate and inspecting things that are going on.’ My reply was that when I first came into this House, I was. Indeed, most honourable members when they first come into the House are but as circumstances change and as you perhaps gain more responsibilities in respect of a young family or whatever it may be, you find that you cannot do it.
What I put to the member of the Press was this: My responsibility as a member for a seat in Victoria is equal in relation to a naval base in Western Australia to that of a Western Australian member. Indeed, if an honourable member is doing his job instead of just saying: ‘Yes’, he should travel. If 1 support the move of the Government ‘to build a naval base in Western Australia’, or it may be ‘to build a harbour in Queensland’, I have a responsibility to endeavour to see some of these things in order to ensure that my vote is being rightly placed. But under present conditions this is becoming more difficult. Let me refer to my own situation. I have no hesitation in doing so. My bank manager insists on asking mc why he should maintain me in Parliament. I think he has a good point, and I am sure that some honourable members opposite would agree with him. This is a situation in which we should not be placed. It is all right for a Minister: He gets his travelling allowance wherever he goes as long as he is on official business. If you are the Minister for the Army it is not loo much trouble to go somewhere to look at some Army installation - perhaps to visit an entertainment unit consisting of 4 men and receive a full travelling allowance and free accommodation. But if a private member thinks he should go to Western Australia to investigate the proposed naval base he has to pay his own way. We get free travel, but we have to pay for our own accommodation and living costs and while we are away we have to maintain our families at home.
Believe me, after a term in Parliament there is not much left if you have done your job well. Democracy as well as the Parliament and the people are not well served if the member of Parliament feels that his sole responsibility is h s electorate; if he feels that he has no responsibility for what is happening in the rest of Australia; or if he feels that all he need do is attend charity bazaars and naturalisation ceremonies and kiss a baby or two. If a member of Parliament adopts this attitude the people of Australia will not be well served because they will have in Parliament people whose outlook is purely parochial and electoral. They will not be prepared to tackle wide issues and to investigate things that are of vital concern to the people. Therefore, I agree with what has been sa’d by honourable members on both sides of the chamber.
The newspaper reporter to whom I earlier referred is a senior reporter who frequently writes very critically about Parliament and members of Parliament. This is his right, but he should understand some of our problems. 1 do not know how long my bank manager will allow me to stay in Parliament. In one way this worries me, but in another way it does not. 1 was asked whether I would write a newspaper article which would be published in the weekend edition. A member has pride. I am not crying poor mouth but at the same time 1 have no business to fall back on. Daddy did not leave me a great enterprise. I do not have a pastoral property. 1 do not own a cha:n of hotels. 1 am dependent solely on my salary as a member of Parliament. I try to do my job to the best of my ability but it is getting more difficult to do so. I am sure that other honourable members who do not have private incomes, great wealth or some other interest are finding it equally hard to perform their duties.
If such members are forced out of the Parliament or prevented from entering the Parliament we may well get a type of parliarmentarian who is very limited in his ou I look. People who would be of the greatest value to this Parliament may well say: ‘1 have a good job with good prospects. Why should 1 give up all this for the present lot of a member of Parliament?’ The Government should examine the situation of members of Parliament. The people should consider their situation. I think the newspapers are beginning to take a more realistic view of our situation. By improving the lot of the parliamentarian you may get a better member and the people may be better served.
– Like other honourable members, I shall be brief. I must say that it is rather unique to be able to agree with the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess). I thought his contribution this afternoon was the best I have heard from him since I entered the Parliament. 1 intend to speak to his bank manager with a view to keeping the honourable member here, at least until the end of his present term. I want to refer to one or two matters touched on by the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman). These are matters that have caused me some con cern since 1 came to Canberra. I do not object to working about 120 hours a week, as I now am. I started with nothing and built up a fairly successful business before entering Parliament. 1 thought I was working fairly hard; I was making a fairly good income. But since entering Parliament my hours have been 3 times as long as they were in private business. To cap it all, I notice that the ‘Daily Mirror’ recently accused parliamentarians of spine bashing.
– Less than that. The honourable member will find out.
– In my case it is a little more than $12,500. An executive - say a sales executive or the manager of a reasonably large company - is provided with a car and an allowance for operating costs. A member of Parliament has to provide his own car and pay for his petrol. In the 18 months since I purchased my present car 1 have travelled 45,000 miles. About 98% of that travelling was on electoral business. This is about double the milage 1 was doing when I was a business man. At my present rale I estimate that I will give about $1000 a year in donations. A further $1000 goes in superannuation and about $2000 in tax. In private business the car, the donations and many of the other expenses would be paid for by the company. Nobody asks a business executive to run his own car or to make donations from his own pocket. His golf club expenses and entertainment expences are provided by the company, but we have to pay such expenses out of our own pockets. The public has an erroneous impression of the amount of money we get.
We are reminded that we have a gold pass. Big deal. So far I have used mine 3 times to see Sheffield Shield cricket matches, it has saved me about $3.50. I will not get wealthy at that rate. The Minister for the Army (Mr Peacock) never needs to use his gold pass. He does not cross a bridge in his travels and so does not need to show his pass to save the toll. He never needs to use his pass to see a cricket match or a football match. He is a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club, so his gold pass does not save him one cent. We have travel warrant books. We can go all over Australia, having a magnificent time. So far I have used my travel warrants only to travel between my electorate and Canberra. I have never used them for any other purpose. It does not look as if I will get an opportunity to use them except on parliamentary business.
Recently I visited the electorate of Gwydir. In my view anybody who represents some of our outback country places should have his salary doubled. When I saw the roads with which the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) has to contend I said to him: ‘When I get an opportunity 1 will support you in a move to get further Commonwealth assistance for country roads’. Country roads are shocking. They are a scandal. I recently travelled through the electorate of Darling. The honourable member for Darling (Mr Fitzpatrick) should have his allowance trebled and his salary doubled for having to represent such a large electorate. I took my car on a trip with a committee on Aboriginal Affairs and did about 2.000 miles. I ripped the insides out of it; it took me 3 weeks to get the dust out of it. We get not a cent for that sort of thing. We toured Walgett, Collarenabri Brewarrina, Bourke, Lightning Ridge, most of it in the electorates of the honourable member for Darling (Mr Fitzpatrick) and the honourable member for Gwyder (Mr Hunt). In the electorate of Darling we travelled -400 miles between villages. The allowance is quite insufficient. I am not in the situation of the honourable members 1 have mentioned. I am fortunate; my electorate is a semi-country and semimetropolitan electorate and runs about 80 miles from one end to the other. There does not seem to be any consideration for honourable members such as those I have mentioned. In my opinion they are entitled to a much larger allowance for the type of electorate they represent.
The final point 1 want to make - I did promise the Minister I would be brief - is not on the question of allowances. It concerns the point that the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) made. He does not make many good points but this is one of them. The worst feature I find here is that we are provided only with a private secretary. We on this side are supposed to be preparing to run the country; honourable members on the other side are supposed to be running the country. I will not enter into the rights and wrongs of that. This is the role we are supposed to be playing and we are given a secretary. [ do not know what work one could prepare or what research one could do with one private secretary.
– T must point out to the honourable member, as I pointed out to the honourable member for Griffith, that this is not a debate related to member’s secretaries or accommodation. It relates to electorate allowances.
– It should include a research officer either paid for by the Parliament or by us. An enormous amount of material is being made available to honourable members, much more than there was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. There is a much more scientific approach to a much larger number of problems. I have found since I have been here ‘that information is being pumped at me from all directions. All of a sudden after 6 months I am supposed to be an expert on everything, including science and technology, the Army, the Navy, defence, repatriation, wool and wheat. I am supposed to make decisions on all these matters. I do not have the time or the capacity - I do not think any honourable member has - to absorb all this information. What one needs to have in these allowances is a provision for a research officer.
I will ask the Minister or someone in this Parliament to make available for showing in the Parliamentary Library a film that was produced about 3 years ago which compared the life of a senator in the United States Congress and the provision of facilities for him, what he did in his electorate, his staff and so on, with that of a member of the House of Commons. Compared with the House of Commons we arc almost spoilt. In that parliament members get a locker and that is about all they do get. Their salaries are worse than ours. I do not think we should say that because Westminster is worse off than we are that is a basis for comparison. We should have that film shown in the Library so that we may compare what is offering to Congressmen in the United States of America with what is offering to members of the House of Commons in Great Britain so that we may get an idea of the assistance that is available to members of Parliament. I can recall that the average Congressman in the United States of America, although the provision did vary considerably, had as few as 10 on his private staff and anything up to 25 or 30 who did research work for their member and provided him with speeches. We may find that we have suddenly to make 10 different speeches in 3 days. In my electorate on Monday morning I addressed architectural students on urban development. The next day I spoke on something else. The next day I spoke on the problems of civilian widows and on repatriation. It is impossible to keep up with the constant flow of information with which we arc provided, to research it, to prepare speeches and at the same time do our other duties in the Parliament and attend social functions in the electorate. I hopeI have kept my promise to the Minister to be brief.
– This will be one of the shortest speeches on record. The main thing I want to speak of - I would have made a personal explanation, except I did not want to do that - is that the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) in his lighthearted way said the Mallee electorate has 32,000 constituents. If I had not been here to hear that it would not be corrected and people reading Hansard or hearing it on the air would think it was correct. But here they are in the electoral roll; they can be counted. The number in the Mallee electorate is 45,043. That is 13.043 more than the number that the honourable member for Griffith gave. It is absolutely wrong to make a statement like that. I do not want to be hard on the young fellow but he must give the facts. Four honourable members have spoken and the sizes of the electorates of the honourable members who have spoken arc 9 square miles, 18 square miles, 169 square miles and 772 square miles. I represent an area of over 19,000 square miles.I said this would be a very short speech.I wanted to put right the number of electors in the Mallee electorate; I have done that. After being here for many years, I support the bill.
– in reply - I regret that in the midst of the sympathy that has obviously been engendered into the atmosphere of the Parliament prior, at least, to the speech of the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), the impecunious circumstances in which some of the honourable members are placed were shown. In concluding the debate on the Bill I should remind honourable members that my second reading speech pointed out that the main purpose of the Bill was to revise the Second Schedule of the Parliamentary Allowances Act which felt out of line with the redistribution of boundaries. The present Bill does not open at all the question of the sufficiency of the amount of electorate allowances but only the question of classification.I am sure the points made by the honourable members for Grayndler (Mr Daly), Prospect (Dr Klugman), Robertson (Mr Cohen) and La Trobe (Mr Jess), and to some degree the points made by the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) would be taken into account if a full-scale inquiry into the matter of Parliamentary allowances and salaries were held. But this is not the purpose of the Bill before the House today.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Peacock) read a third time.
Debated resumed from 8 May (vide page 1937). on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– When this debate was last adjourned I was mentioning to the House the grave problems that are associated with the Malabar sewerage disposal adjacent to Maroubra beach in my electorate. I did mention on that occasion that a large protest meeting had been held. Those attending it were very concerned at the amount of industrial and sewerage waste that was being scattered over a wide area. I mentioned also that there had been a proposal by the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board which, they said, would effectively correct this problem. My submission on the previous occasion was that the research one could effectively do in a short time clearly indicated that the treatment works now being installed would not cure the problem of marine pollution. I draw attention to the fact that this Bill is concerned with maintaining the marine environment, and that includes the whole Botany Bay complex and also the beaches immediately adjoining. So it is virtually misleading the people in my area to leave the whole problem to what might be termed the sanitary engineers who may, of course, effectively design a better treatment works for the more effective and quicker discharge of effluent, but if the water itself is so polluted, that in turn destroys the whole of the marine environment. 1 want to suggest to the Minister - and I have already indicated to him - that it would be very appropriate in respect of this Institute, whose activities need not necessarily be limited to the Barrier Reef, to have in clause 7 of the Bill a provision that the interim council make recommendations as to the establishment of various branches of the Institute. I also suggest that, when we deal with sub-clause (2.), we not limit this provision to the Barrier Reef but relate it to the problems created for the marine environment, by allowing sewage to be discharged without proper treatment. Proper treatment obviously includes not only a primary and secondary treatment but also a tertiary treatment.
In the short time I have at my disposal 1 would like to indicate the attitude of the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board, which is no small authority. The amount about to be expended on the treat ment works is S32m, the number of people involved is more than 1 million, the work itself has already cost, I would say, as much as a small opera house and the effect appears to be very small indeed. In fact, the whole sea is now discoloured because of the sewage, and the people in the area are genuinely worried. Pollution is a factor that would worry most of us, but people in this area see it every day, they smell it every day, and they realise that the whole beach environment is being destroyed. Therefore, my plea to this House and the Minister is: Get this expert committee by all means to have a look at what has already happened to the Malabar ecology and estimate future dangers. A representative of the water board has said at a public meeting that it is not concerned with any health hazard; its main problem is to dispose of sewage and if it does not dispose of effluent effectively there are so many people waiting for further sewerage extensions that there will be a greater problem. We will recognise that for what it is worth. It only means this: The Board is only dealing with a small portion of the problem. If we look at the papers that have been prepared as a result of research overseas, particularly in the United States and in Canada, we find this sort of result. One paper states that domestic sewage and industrial wastes are oxygen demanding. The paper says that it has been predicted in the United States that by the year 1980 the oxygen demand of treated effluents will be great enough to consume the entire oxygen content of a volume of water equal to the dry weather flow of all of the United States 22 river basins. The Canadians have established, quite effectively, that raw or partially treated sewage is a major source of pollution. Many municipalities, particularly in Ontario, have established primary treatment plants which rid the water of about 60% of the solids. This is the proposal for Malabar - only the elimination of the solids. Very few have secondary treatment plants involving a biological process which removes all but 5% of the organic waste. Lake Erie in Canada is so polluted now that it is dying. The water has been robbed of the oxygen. All the fish have gone and choking growths of algae thriving on the rich phosphates in the sewage will turn the lake into a swamp.
This could well be the position now in Botany Bay because a number of industries are discharging their waste material into the bay. in addition, the Commonwealth authorities have aggravated the problem by dredging from the bay a quantity of material for the construction of the extension of the runway at the airport. That, in turn, has affected the whole foreshore of the bay. The area represented by my colleague, the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison), is affected to the extent that the surfing or bathing facilities there have virtually been destroyed. Also, the oyster industry which is closely associated with the same area could well be vitally affected. A British Columbia paper says with regard to pollution:
The increase in human population can create more wastes than nature can handle. . . . Even now the methods of sewage purification rely upon nature’s biological systems . . . the organisms living upon the wastes when the same are held in containers.
The paper then went on to state:
Biologists can contribute to the development of sewage treatment in a major way. lt is suggested that by selecting and improving species of micro wildlife in the treatment of sewage and organic wastes valuable materials for agriculture would be created. Wilh respect to the problems of nitrate and phosphate which remain in effluent waters it is known that algae flourish on these waste nutrients. Clearly algae grown in such controlled nutrient stripping systems could be used as . . . soil fertiliser and that nutrients are thereby properly relumed to their place of origin.
The paper went on to say that the ultimate source of sewage wastes are the green plants in the soil. It said our populations require more food and of course that in turn produces more sewage. The paper said that to maintain increased yields phosphate rock deposits and nitrates are essential but that these resources are finite. The paper said:
We are therefore creating a system which produces more sewage and more pollution and yet puts nothing back into the soil. No attempt has been made to produce a self-perpetuating stable cycle. Waste in terms of sewage is not waste at all and does not need to be disposed of. It requires nothing more than the methods for processing and re-utilisation of these organic materials.
The test used by the Department of Health in New South Wales is called the coliform count or the biological oxygen demand test. This is the test we now use as being most effective. The research in Canada clearly indicates that these tests are archaic. that they were developed about the turn of the century about the time that the major treatment for sewage was thought to be sufficient if it was discharged into a marine environment. The research people in Canada have been able to say that the mere fact of having a coli lest does not indicate that all the bacteria in the water has been destroyed. In fact, tests carried out in New Delhi clearly indicated that despite treatment by chlorine, hepatitis virus remained active; it was thought lo remain active for some 10 hours after it was discharged.
Again, on the medical aspects of pollution it has been clearly indicated that whenever human faeces are discharged into water their presence can be traced by the coliform bacillus, lt is acknowledged thai large bodies of water are capable of sterilising human waste. The paper says:
No one would object if a pint of sewage were poured into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but many would fear if 5 million gallons … a day were poured into a . . . channel . . .
At Malabar it is 70 million gallons a day now and the discharge is going to increase to 210 million gallons. So we can well imagine the amount of pollution that has already taken place and will take place. The paper goes on to say:
The survival of coli bacteria docs nol necessarily mirror the survival of many pathogenic organisms and viruses. For example, a polio virus type can survive from 6 to 9 days in sea water . . .
In the area which I represent a large hospital disposes of its sewage untreated, lt is an infectious diseases hospital for both polio and hepatitis patients and the people in the area are justifiably concerned that this method of disposal is not in accordance with the best standards of health. What can the Commonwealth do about it? Of course the Commonwealth would have to get the co-operation of the State in any action it wished to take.
The public meeting that I mentioned - it was held in January - was attended by a representative of the Premier. He indicated he would write to the Prime Minister about this matter. It is no known whether the Prime Minister ever received the letter. I am very fearful that unless there is an opportunity for both the Premier and the Prime Minister to discuss this problem nothing more will be done. Having had a look at the treatment works recently I fear this would be the case. The water board people who are in sole control say: ‘We are not interested in any other work than work we are now undertaking’. That means that polluted water - certainly not having all the solids in it, but still effectively polluted - will continue to be discharged at Malabar merely 5,000 feet off shore, lt is not sufficient to say that this is the proper way to dispose of sewage effluent. Overseas authorities have said:
What moral, let alone legal, right does a community have of disposing of its wastes in the water without considering how this will affect the millions of people living along the shores? . . It should be clearly understood that the engineering view that ocean out-fall in natural waters is the most suitable way to dispose of sewage is just not true today . . . One widely used facility is the dano bio-stabiliser produced by an engineering firm in Copenhagen. Their mechanical biological process accelerates the conversion of refuse and sewage sludge to pathogenfree compost in 4 to 5 days followed by an ontheground maturation of up to 12 weeks. The final product is a clean mull-like material excellent for maintaining high soil fertility. In spite of these advantages one must nol be mislead thai a composting plant alone is sufficient.
There we have it in a nutshell. This country, 1 submit, is not doing any work in the field of the biological treatment that is essential to maintain marine environment. I have mentioned the articles in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, 7 of which related to Botany Bay. Alexandria Canal, as far as I am concerned, is equivalent to an oil slick. Man has effectively destroyed it. What a joke the name ‘Botany Bay’ is. I emphasise the word ‘Botany Bay’ because it was virtully a botanists dream when Cook found it. but it has now become a nightmare because it has been destroyed by us - by nobody else. The effluent from industrial factories has been discharged there. We, the Commonwealth, have disturbed what be termed the ‘base of the Bay’ by dredging.
We now have the sewage pollution. The shell fish industry has also been affected. It has been established that shell fish readily absorb the hepatitis virus. They absorb it some 200 or 300 times more than the water in which they are located. This itself is a problem. The fishing industry is being destroyed. It has been established overseas that the estuary where the fish spawn and breed is the main source of food, but thi< is the main source of our pollution and nothing is being done about it.
If we have a look at what is happening overseas, we see that in Sweden, which has a population of only 8 million, they are effectively dealing with this problem. Sweden has banned DDT and all other chlorinated hydrocarbons as from 1st January 1970 and has the usual types of legislation to fund research, established standard, and provide matching grants to help industry and local government to buy anti -pollution equipment. Not only in Sweden but also in Great Britain, and particularly in Canada and the United States, effective research establishments have been created. So the precedent is there. The opportunity is there, but the problem is with us. Its solution cannot wait any longer. We have, thank goodness, excellent biologists, chemists and ecologists, all of whom would be consulted as to what sort of Interim Council should be created.
I am suggesting that they be encouraged now to have a look at the treatment works at Malabar, evaluate if they can the problem that is already there, and warn the Government, whether it be State or Federal, what will be the problem in the future unless some effective treatment is encouraged at both the secondary and tertiary levels. It is no good just leaving it to the engineer. We want these scientific men employed now. We want them to go to the surf clubs and these other organisations that are so vitally interested in this problem because they see it and have in fact raised this matter to the extent that it was brought to the notice of the Premier of New South Wales and thereby to the notice of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). It has been known for years that the problems at Malabar, could perhaps be solved, but it has become known now for the first t:me that they cannot be solved in the way in which it was thought they could be solved. The suggestion that the solution is merely to discharge the effluents into the marine environment is no longer tenable. There must be a better method for the treatment of sewage. It can no longer be disposed of by discharging it into the marine environment. It will destroy the whole future of the area. It has effectively destroyed up to this date Botany Bay as such. With the future of Botany Bay involved now is the last opportunity to suggest to the Commonwealth that it encourage this group of scientists to have a look at this problem and report to this Parliament if need be. Now is the last opportunity to set up a select committee if need be to warn the people of the nation. At least 1 million people are involved in this project and many more will be involved in the future.
– As a Queenslander, I am more than happy to bc associated with the discussion on the creation of the Australian Institute of Marine Science in North Queensland in the electorate of Herbert. Honourable members will recall the announcement by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) last October of the Government’s intention to establish such an institute. This Bill provides for the establishment of an institute to be known as the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and makes formal provision for the detailed planning of its functions and powers. Many people no doubt wonder exactly what this marine institute will do and what it will set out to create. I respectfully suggest that there are many areas in which an institute of this type can do a lot of good work. It is most appropriate that we as an island continent should be, as we enter the 1970s, stepping into this area.
For instance, such an institute would be most important to the fishing industry. As has been done in overseas countries, an institute can often inquire into the management of existing fisheries and the efficiency of fishing operations and new fisheries. There is also the subject of fish preservation, the subject of fish and shellfish cultivation and the modification of the environment. lt could also help the seaweed industry. Many honourable members on the other side of the House do not realise that in Scotland there is a seaweed industry that is worth some S2m a year. The seaweed is actually cultivated. The honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) mentioned the pollution of water by oil, by sewage and by industrial and agricultural wastes. lt is most appropriate that Townsville in the State of Queensland has been chosen as the centre for this Institute. The Great Barrier Reef is a formation which more and more Australians are realising is more than a lucky blessing to this country. As a Queenslander, I am very happy that it is by the shores of Queensland. I am very conscious of the responsibility not only of members of the Parliament from Queensland but from all over Australia to do something to make sure that the future of the Barrier Reef is never jeopardised and that everything possible is done to preserve it not just for the next generation but for generations many hundreds of years away.
I might make mention of the officers who have been appointed as the Interim Council. They are: Professor Burdon-Jones of the University College of Townsville, as it has been called; Dr Fisher of the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources; Professor Dorothy Hill from the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Queensland; Mr Walter Ives, Secretary of the Department of Primary Industry; Mr D. F. McMichael, Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the State of New South Wales; and Professor R. J. Walsh, representing the Australian Academy of Science. We all know that the Prime Minister himself has taken a particular interest in the creation of this Institute. I take this opportunity to also compliment the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), because I know that behind the scenes the honourable member for Herbert has been pushing for the creation of an institute such as this. Again I compliment the Prime Minister on his appointment of the members of this Interim Council.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The House has been discuss:ng the setting up of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Before the sitting was suspended for dinner ] said what a great pleasure it was to me as a Queenslander, that the Prime Minister, who played such a major part in ensuring this scientific advance, had chosen Townsville, so close to the Great Barrier Reef, as the site for the Institute. 1 want to refer to the international aspects of marine science but before doing so to point out that Queensland is one of the States which make Australia such a great international tourist attraction. Every honourable member - 1 include the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) - believes that his little home town or his little orchard is something for the world to see. However if we are realistic we realise that, in most cases as with the honourable member for Mallee, there are many days between visits to our home town areas by people from overseas.
The Great Barrier Reef is the heritage of Queensland and of Australia. I believe that this Government has an obligation to ensure that this heritage is protected. Tourism is now worth just over SI 00m a year to Australia. However, recently when on a private trip through central America and north America 1 learnt that tourism was worth more than $1 b:mon a year to Mexico, over $80m a year to the little island of Jamaica, and that the State of Florida in the United States earned $6,000m a year from this source. 1 do not think we have any reason to be smug because we earn $10Om a year from tourism. We must look to the resources within our reach and fully expand them to achieve the maximum income from tourists. 1 w sh to mention some of the international aspects of marine science and the scope for international co-operation in this field. Marine science is being recognised increasingly as an important avenue for international co-operation. Four principal areas call for multi-lateral co-operation on the part of interested nations. The first is the provision of effective international systems for co-ordinating and standardising the collection, processing and dissemination of scientific data. The second is the promotion, planning and co-ordination of major projects of research and exploration which, by virtue of their scale, cost and complexity, require the pooling of resources and facilities. Investigation and monitoring of ocean circulation, the inter-action between ocean and atmosphere, the influence of long range trends in the marine environment and the productivity of fish resources are examples of such projects. The third is the provision of the best available scientific advice to organisations responsible for the national utilisation and management of marine resources or the safeguarding of the marine environment from pollution The fourth area is the facilitation of the exchange of ideas and techniques between marine scientists and technologists of all countries.
We in Australia are no different from the rest of the world. We are witnessing the expansion of the problem of pollution. lt is spreading like a cancer. There are 25 suburbs in my electorate of Griffith on the south side of the Brisbane River. Bulimba Creek is located in that electorate. On my recent trip overseas 1 made a study of the pollution problems in Chicago. I came back to Australia convinced that if the Americans think they have pollution problems then they should have a look al Bulimba Creek in my electorate. About 18 years ago. when I was a very young boy, I used to go fishing in the Brisbane River at West End, which is also in my electorate. I went to Davies Park, which is now the home ground of the Southern Suburbs Rugby League Club.
– lt is a great football club.
-It is. We used to go fishing there after school and at the weekends. We could always be sum of bringing home 8 or 9 perch. But now, in the 1970s, 1 would not consider throwing anything into the Brisbane River for fear of being charged with polluting the water I would nol be able to catch anything, anyway.
The Institute of Marine Science will investigate not only what can be done in the waters of the Great Barrier Kee!’, lt will concern itself also with our rivers where pollution by mankind is contributing to the despoliation of our environment. Areas of research that this institute can cover in years to come are almost boundless. I hope thai the Opposition will support this Bill with the same enthusiasm that was displayed by the Prime Minister when he introduced the proposal last year.
There is a long history of international co-operation in marine research. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. an inter-governmental organisation, was set up as far back as 1902 to encourage research in connection with the exploration of the sea and the co-ordination of the research activities of participating governments. In parallel there has been much non-governmental co-operation through the International Council of Scientific Unions and ils constituent unions and numerous disciples, and more recently, in the field of basic oceanography, by the Council of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research. Since the last war specialist intergovernmental organisations of the United Nations have assumed an important role in marine research, especially the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, and also the World Meteorological Organisation.
In this day and age when the population in certain countries is trebling, man most certainly is headed for definite destruction unless he makes some contribution towards ensuring that the seas continue to produce food. We must consider particularly the areas of Asia. One only has to visit Hong Kong and similar areas to realise what great reliance people place upon the sea continuing to provide food. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen), who is in charge of the passage of this Bill, is present in the chamber and I hope he will take note not only of my remarks but those of the learned bodies throughout the world who have considered marine science at great length.
The production of fish is important also to Australia. In the last couple of years we witnessed the controversy surrounding the prawning industry in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the trouble caused by the arrival in that area of ships from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I believe that the sea has food enough for each and every one of us; but we cannot continue to go in with the big nets, just swoop away the fish, and hope that they will replace themselves. We must, in some tangible way, make some contribution to finding out which is the best time to take fish so as to ensure that there will be plenty left to continue the process of breeding and thus make food available for all mankind.
One indication of the recent world interest in this field is provided by a United Nations Resolution on the Resources of the Sea which was adopted in December 1966. It called on the Secretary-General to prepare a survey of the present state of knowledge of the resources of the sea and of activities in marine science and technology, and to formulate proposals for an expanded programme of international cooperation to assist in a better understanding of the marine environment through science and in the exploitation and development of marine resources with due regard to the conservation of fish stocks. That is the point I am making. The survey and the proposals have now been published. I wonder how many Australians in 1970 have actually read this report. I wonder how many people connected with the fishing industry have had the interest to find out what is behind it. I wonder whether the fishermen, the wealthy boat owners and owners of fleets of ships have ever had the interest themselves or whether they have just looked at it in pure, hard economic terms and have gone out to reap the fish from the sea and if the fish have not been there in the following year they have moved to some other area. I hope with great sincerity that this organisation will provide as much information as possible, not only for the scientists of the world and the scientists of Australia but also for the people connected with these industries.
I mentioned earlier the importance of tourism. I believe that there is great opportunity here for the Minister for Education and Science to discuss with the MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities (Senator Wright) the best way that the new Institute can be exploited from the tourists’ point of view. My friend, the honourable member for Herbert, who was very much instrumental in having the Institute situated in Queensland and who worked closely with the Prime Minister, has told me only tonight that the Interim Council which has been appointed has already been to the city of Townsville looking at some possible sites. I hope that the architects who design the building can embody the principle of letting John Citizen see what is being done. Far too many of our centres of science and centres of learning are closed to the average citizen. Through his taxation he provides the money to build them. The scientists go to work and no-one ever knows what is going on behind those walls. But if we are to get maximum co-operation from the people involved in eliminating or lessening pollution, it is up to us to make provision for people to see for themselves. What a great opportunity we have here now at the beginning to do something with this Institute in Townsville so that tourists from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and even Western Australia who flock to my home State of Queensland when winter arrives and also during the summers can go up there to north Queensland and see exactly what is being done. Thus promotion of what was being done in this particular field would be facilitated. As I said earlier, a lot can be done.
Scotland has the seaweed industry worth about $2m a year. Fish and shell fish should be cultivated. Just 3 weeks ago a little north of Brisbane dozens of acres ot oysters suddenly became useless. This is a field where the Institute could go to work. I mentioned oil pollution and sewage pollution. One could once catch perch in the Brisbane River, f do hope that the Minister will bear these things in mind. I support the morion with great pleasure and I know that my colleague and friend, the honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) is about lo speak. During my speech the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) came in and whispered a few things in his ear. I am quite certain that my friend is quite able to present a speech on this subject without outside interference and assistance. 1 know that he, as a Queenslander, will share-joy with honourable members on this side of the House in the fact that the Institute is to be built in Queensland, our home Slate.
– I thank my colleague, the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron), for the kind words that he uttered, lt is customary on occasions like this, even when we are dealing with an academic matter, a matter of some importance in the field of science, to be a little political. I intend to be a little political for a few minutes. 1 would like to give the credit for the establishment of the marine research station to the man who raised this question in the Parliament. Surprisingly enough it was not the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) nor was it the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). The record shows that our Senate colleague, Senator Felix Dittmer, in his maiden speech in 1959, raised the question of research into the tropical environment. He put this proposal to the Prime Minister, when he was in another place, on 25th September 1963, as appears at page 833 of Hansard.
If the Prime Minister lakes .some credit lor his interest in this establishment then he was considering it for about 7 years.
A very important symposium was conducted by the Australian Conservation Foundation in May of last year. Our distinguished ex-colleague. Sir Garfield Barwick, who has now been translated to the judicial field, wrote the Prime Minister a letter on 2nd June 1969. In answer lo a question from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) the Prime Minister said:
On 9th April 1970 i wrote to Sir Garfield Barwick informing him of progress made on the mailers he wrote lo me about un 2nd June 1969.
So we see that there does not happen to have been as much urgency about this matter as we would have liked.
J return to the Bill and the proposal to establish an Australian institute of marine science, lt is a very apt time to be doing this, in the year of the discovery of iiic east coast of this continent by Lieutenant James Cook in the HMS ‘Endeavour’, He made the first contributions to marine science on the east coast of Australia and certainly his expedition charted new fields in oceanography, hydrography and scientific investigation of the marine environment. About 100 years ago, in 1873, the HMS Challenger’ set out on the world’s first oceanographic expedition. Now one hundred years later this Government is setting about this very commendable enterprise in the first year of the international decade of oceanographic exploration.
We are all very concerned these days with conservation. Many of the honourable members who have spoken in this debate, including the honourable member for Griffith, have mentioned the pollution of our environment. Of course we all are concerned with this, but real conservation is based on a proper survey of the flora and fauna of our nation and the ecological system - the environment in which plants and animals live and how they may best be preserved. What areas of our continent are biologically unique and ought to be preserved inviolate? What areas of our continent and its environs are capable of being used and developed and their natural resources husbanded in such a way that they may not be destroyed?
As the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H, Bowen) has shown an obvious interest in matters of scientific research, I should like to draw his attention to two previous proposals that have been put to the Government by the Australian Academy of Science, both of which are in a field comparable with the proposed Australian Institute of Marine Science. The first was a proposal early in 1962 for a Flora of Australia outlined in a paper by Dr S. T. Blake of Brisbane. More recently, in May 1969, the Australian Academy of Science submitted to the Government a suggestion for a Biological Survey of Australia, to be principally domiciled in Canberra, which would involve a complete survey of the flora and fauna of our continent in order that we might know what we ought to develop, what we ought to exploit, and what we ought to conserve. It is on the basis of scientific research that conservation is founded. So, the Australian Labor Party welcomes the proposal that the Government has placed before us.
We are very much in favour of the establishment of an Australian Institute of Marine Science. Naturally, as a Queenslander, I am pleased to see the proposal to establish this Institute at or near Townsville in North Queensland. For my part, I am extremely pleased with the personnel who have been appointed by the Minister to the proposed Interim Council. We have a well balanced team. We have Dr M. F. Day of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation who is associated with entomology; Professor Burdon-Jones, the Professor of Marine Biology at the James Cook University of Townsville; Dr N. H. Fisher of the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources, a Queensland graduate; Professor Dr Dorothy Hill the research Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Queensland; Mr Walter Ives, Secretary of the Department of Primary Industry, who was previously a member of the Executive of CSIRO; Mr D. F. McMichael, now the Director of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in New South Wales, but previously the Director of the Australia Conservation Foundation; and Professor R. J. Walsh, Professor of Human Genetics at Sydney University representing the Australian Academy of Science. So, the Minister has brought together, because the principle pur pose of this Bill is to appoint an Interim Council and to give it a charter, an expert and well balanced team of people with backgrounds in a number of scientific disciplines and people who have been concerned not only with science but also with administration.
My plea to the Minister is that he gives this Interim Council the widest possible charter as to the site and the purpose of the various installations which will be associated with the Institute. I am interested - and I would be interested if the Minister would develop this - in the role of the proposed Institute as a national centre for marine science. I would hope that it would be possible to have a national centre in Townsville. But 1 am not unmindful of the fact that marine science and oceanography are carried out in our nation by many authorities - by the universities, by State government instrumentalities, and. of course, by private organisations such as petroleum companies and the like.
Accordingly, 1 feel that one cannot establish a national centre in a field as broad as marine science. I feel that the Government should look into some coordinating system - perhaps, a national committee on oceanography - with a much broader charter than anything that we have had in Australia to this point in time. I know that there are committees, one of which I think is concerned principally with the use of facilities that the Navy makes available in its oceanographic frigates. As I have said, I welcome this Institute. What I am saying is not to be taken as criticism of the idea of establishing this facility in North Queensland, but merely as suggesting that there are some matters associated with th s Institute that should be looked at carefully and that the Minister should be guided by expert advice from the people he has appointed.
I wonder myself whether it could be more appropriate for this institution to be known as the Australian institute of tropical marine science or, perhaps, the Great Barrier Reef institute. Everybody can have an institute of marine science but only Australia can have a Great Barrier Reef institute. The Great Barrier Reef is unique in the world. It is the largest coral reef at present in existence or, as far as is known, is the largest coral reef that has existed through geological times, from the Ordivician till now, when coral reefs have existed.
I am interested also in the question of the site of this Institute. We all recognise that the site of an institute of this kind must be associated closely with a university where people from other scientific disciplines are available and where laboratory facilities as well as backup facilities of various kinds are available. Such an institute must be located in an area where scientists who may be carrying out research on the Reef can go to people in other scientific persuasions and with other specialities in fields such as chemistry, physics and the like - of course, the use of computers is associated with almost all levels of science today - and where they may discuss these matters and take advantage of the knowledge of their other colleagues.
But part of a national centre for marine science would involve also backup facilities in terms of oceanographic vessels. This means port facilities, facilities for instrumentation and the care, maintenance and replacement of the equipment that an institute of marine science normally has. So. I hope that that portion of the Bill which speaks about the site of this Institute as being at or near Townsville will be flexible enough to be able to have research stations built on the Reef at places like Cairns or other areas in North Queensland which, by virtue of the fact that the Reef is closer to the shore at those places than it is at Townsville, may be better places in which to establish such a centre. I am sure that, quite apart from the buildings of the Institute itself, it WIll be necessary to put research stations actually on some of the islands in the Reef area and in the various environments that exist on the Great Barrier Reef.
I turn to one matter of concern to people who are interested in marine science. I would hope again that the Minister will give an assurance that the establishment of this Institute in no way will mean any lessening of Federal assistance to other forms of marine science and oceanography in Australia, lt is inevitable that programmes of oceanography and marine science will be carried out by many authorities throughout a nation as large as Australia is. At the present time, the principal authority in oceanography in Australia is our own Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The headquarters of its Division of Fisheries and Oceanography is at Cronulla near Sydney. This Division has been concerned principally with the ocean as it affects the fishing industry. This work is vital. From its headquarters and from sub-stations, work has been carried out in important industries such as the crayfish industry in Western Australia, the tuna industry, the prawning industry and a whole range of fisheries research.
Then, there is the Royal Australian Navy. Anybody who knows anything about oceanography realises the great debt that the universities, CSIRO and other organisations owe to the Royal Austraiian Navy for its co-operation with oceanography and marine research over the years. The Royal Australian Navy more recently has reestablished a submarine fleet. It is a long time since we have had a submarine fleet of our own. Now, we have 4 Oberon-class submarines and 2 more submarines of that same class on order. This means that the Navy has a very real and continuing interest in hydrography and in marine science generally. The Navy always wifi make its judgments in accordance with its defence responsibility, and that is very proper. Then, we have the Bureau of Mineral Resources. I suppose that one could say truthfully that the Bureau of Mineral Resources has carried out only a modest amount of research on the continental shelf, lt has carried out 3 major marine geophysical surveys. They were in 1965, 1967 and 1968. lt has published only I paper, in conjunction with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, on the area between Australia and Timor. Because of the many problems associated with the continental shelf, of what we need to know about, the continental shelf, of what it means in terms of the coming of fauna and flora lo this country, and of what it means in terms of the actual coming of primitive man to this country, we need more research. I would hope that the Bureau of Mineral Resources is able to expand its activities in this field with its own specialist calling.
I would also like to say something about the universities, because I am making a case for national co-ordination in the fields of oceanography and marine science. I think we should all recognise that the universities and Government departments have played a very great role. There is 1 organisation which has been operating in Queensland since 1922. I refer to the Great Barrier Reef Research Committee which has been associated since its inception with the University of Queensland. This organisation has a research centre on Heron Island. The research centre was established after the Second World War in 1948. A great deal of work has been done there. It has never enjoyed the assistance from the Commonwealth Government that this enterprise in Townsville will enjoy. The Barrier Reef is so large that there is a need for research in many places at the same time and at different times. I would particularly hope that the finance and the programmes which will be given to and organised through the new Institute of Marine Science, which will be located at or near Townsville, will also take into account the pioneering work that has been done by the Great Barrier Reef Committee on Heron Island and elsewhere over the period and will see that this work is nurtured, enhanced and assisted in every possible way.
I have dealt at some length, and I suppose it is natural for a Queenslander to do so, with the Great Barrier Reef. It is something of which we are very proud. Other honourable members have spoken about the Barrier Reef as a tourist attraction and its importance from the point of view of fisheries. The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) spoke, about it as a source of protein. We know that the Barrier Reef is all of these things. But while we now know a lot more about the Barrier Reef than we did 50 years ago, when we look at the tremendously rich fauna of the West Pacific and Indian Oceans, we recognise what a great deal there is yet to be learnt. When one looks at the detailed work that has been done on the Barrier Reef, one finds for example that the expedition conducted by the British Museum in 1929 on Low Island did work which has never been repeated. Indeed, the reports of that exercise were still being written into the 1940s and, I think from memory, into the early 1950s.
So there is a great deal of work to be done on the Barrier Reef.
The Royal Society itself in 1972 will be conducting an expedition to the Barrier Reef. We need all of this knowledge. We need all of this research. We on this side of the House are pleased that the Commonwealth Government is making this contribution. While much of the discussion is concentrated around the Barrier Reef, let us not forget that we have one of the largest continental shelves in the world. Whilst the Barrier Reef may be what one may perhaps call the glamour element of our continental shelf, there is much to be learnt about other sections of the marine environment of Australia. When one looks at the amount of money that this country spends as compared with Canada, for example, one realises that the Australian record is not as good as it might be. From the United Nations report on oceanographic research statistics in 1967 we find that Canada, which has a continental shelf of 926,800 square miles - a little bit larger than Australia’s 830,148 square miles - spent $38. 55m on oceanographic research while Australia spent $2. 20m. In that same year Canada had a manpower of 500 engaged in oceanographic research while Australia had a manpower of 85. Canada had 22 research vessels in the field while Australia had 8 research vessels, and many of them were on a part time basis. So I hope that the importance that this Institute will give to the Barrier Reef does not mean that the great need for the development of other facilities in other parts of Australia - the need to encourage programmes being conducted right around our continental shelf by organisations such as the Flinders University in South Australia, universities generally, and the CSIRO - is not forgotten. The Labor Party welcomes this Bill and it trusts that it is an indication of a continued interest by the Government in research into Australian flora and fauna.
– in reply - I am glad to see that this Bill has the support of honourable members on both sides of the House. I wish to express my appreciation of the speeches which have been made, particularly those made on previous occasions when this matter has been before the House, but also those made leda.. 1 believe that they were thoughtful and constructive speeches. I have in fact forwarded to the members of the interim Council, who are inquiring into what should be the precise structure of this Institute, copies of Hansard which incorporate the earlier speeches. I propose also to send those members copies of the speeches which have been made today. The Chairman of the Council has indicated to me that he and his members have been particularly interested in some of the ideas which honourable members have put forward in their speeches on this Bill. Perhaps 1 should qualify that to some degree in that the speech of the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) related almost entirely to his own electorate and the sewage outfall at Malabar. Although this type of pollution would be a matter for marine scientists, I would not like to be asked to give any direction to this national Institute that it should first concentrate on the honourable member’s electorate.
The honourable member for Brisbane (Mr Cross) said that he thought he would be political, and he was. Perhaps as a quid pro quo 1 could be momentarily political in return. He did try to make light of the very great part that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has played in the establishment of this Institute. The form of the Institute, its general structure and the objective of supreme excellence in marine science, which the Prime Minister stated in his policy speech last year, are very much projects which he has had closely at heart and behind which he has put his energy. The honourable member for Brisbane referred to some remarks made by Senator Felix Dittmer in another place many years ago. I would remind the honourable member only that the endorsement of this same senator was withdrawn last year by the Australian Labor Party. This drew from him the response: T have been sacked by a bunch of gangsters.’ This seems to be a little inconsistent of the honourable member. Here he is referring to a man who claims that the Labor Party which sacked him is a bunch of gangsters, and then he wants to praise him for this measure. I think the connection is a little remote. However, I will not dwell on that. I reply only because of the injection of this element into the debate by the honourable member.
There were certain points in the speech of the honourable member for Brisbane on which I wish to comment. It is the fact that this Institute, although it is situated in Townsville and will be closely connected with tropical waters, is a national Institute of Marine Science. Under the terms of reference it will not be restricted in any way simply to tropical waters. Indeed much of the marine science of great interest will relate to the cold waters. However, I think the Institute’s early priorities will be connected with tropical waters and with the Great Barrier Reef, lt has an enormous area to cover, as the honourable member for Brisbane pointed out. The continental shelf of Australia is nearly a third as large as the land mass of Australia itself. The problems from cold to tropical waters vary enormously. They cover a very wide range. The problem for this Institute will be the extent of the resources which can be devoted to it in enabling it to do its tasks and the availability of personnel because the world is rather short of top class marine scientists. Wc will have to go along in the best way that we can and probably look around the world, as well as in Australia, to get the top quality of marine scientists for this Institute so that it will have the degree of excellence that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has outlined for it.
In closing the debate perhaps I might refer to the fact that the Prime Minister in farewelling Her Majesty the Queen at the Sydney Airport announced the creation of Queen’s fellowships in marine science to commemorate Her Majesty’s visit, lt might be convenient if I now give honourable members a few more details about these fellowships which will be under the administration of myself and of my Department. The fellowships will be awarded each year for study in some aspect of marine science. They will be tenable at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the James Cook University of North Queensland, or at an other Australian university or research establishment on the recommendation of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Until the Institute is established in its final form the Interim Council will be the one to advise on these fellowships, to allow flexibility in selecting the best men available the stipend and allowances will be offered at 2 levels. One level, which is identical to the rate currently paid for Queen Elizabeth II Fellowships, offers a salary of from $6,000 to $6,500 per annum plus allowances. The higher level involves a salary of up to the rate for a professor, together with allowances. The lower level or ‘fellow’ is designed to attract those with Doctor of Philosophy, or equivalent qualifications in marine science and an age limit of not more than 30 years has been set. The higher level or senior fellow’ is designed for those who have achieved professional distinction in the field of marine science and hence no age limit has been set. Because of these differences the period of tenure for a fellow shall be 2 years with a provision for extension in exceptional cases to a third year, while the senior fellow shall be for a period of up to 1 year.
We may by this type of senior fellowship get some extremely distinguished world scientists in this field, perhaps on a year’s leave, to take up work at the Institute. The number of awards will be up to 5 in each year, with flexibility in selection as between fellow and senior fellow. Applicants will be eligible regardless of their country of origin or citizenship. I will be responsible for selection after advice from a special selection committee, my Department will provide private secretariat services and administrative support. In closing the debate I wish to say that I appreciate the contributions made and the support which has been given to the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen) read a third time.
– I present the third report of the Printing Committee.
Report - by leave - adopted.
Debate resumed from 4 March (vide page 87), on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This legislation enables Monash University and the University of Tasmania to complete 2 halls of residence, which were not the subject of Commonwealth matching grants in the last triennium because, in the words of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) ‘unavoidable delays in planning meant that the amount of Slate funds expended on these projects up to 31st December 1969 was insufficient to attract the full Commonwealth grant’. The Opposition naturally supports the grant of $454,930 for Roberts Hall at Monash and $47,241 for the Women’s Hall of Residence within the University of Tasmania. The development of universities with huge enrolments raises the question of whether the halls of residence, which are purely dormitories, might not be better if. like Latrobe, a collegiate form of university were created and the halls of residence became colleges.
The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge are largely autonomous. They elect officers, admit undergraduates, administer endowments, and make rules, although they do not determine matriculation standards which are determined by the university as a whole. The university in that sense is a federal corporation including in its government college authorities - the Vice Chancellor enjoys a 3-year term and is always a college head - and in its membership college students. The colleges appoint their own tutors and this does lead to a general excelence of teaching and a close relationship with the students. The university appoints professors, demonstrators and readers and their lectures are open to all students who have the close inspiration of the college tutor and the general contact with the university teachers. There is therefore collegiate teaching and intercollegiate teaching. The colleges are still dominant. I am speaking of Oxford and Cambridge.
I believe that the pressure of numbers will force the universities of this country to become more and more selecstive, to emphasise excellence and to adopt a collegiate form to counter soullessness. These halls of residence will be inadequate in nature. An American educationalist looking at the collegiate organisation or organism had this to say:
The Oxford colleges . . . are . . . interested in ability. Yet the life of the college is so organised that brain power cannot be said to be its besetting passion. . . .
And these men arc distinguished by a certain sanity, which, to be sure, may in part bc the product of social and political experience, but is assuredly in part due to the type of education that the English receive in school and college. We talk in America endlessly of educational technique; there Ls, I grant, something in it. But Oxford and Cambridge establish a personal relationship between the undergraduate and his tutor that is, despite possible personal limitations, the most effective pedagogical relationship in the world.
I believe that the halls of residence can become a way towards this personal relationship between an udergraduate and his teachers, and while welcoming this measure I believe it is time that the Commonwealth lost its preoccupation with the bricks and moi lar of the physical buildings, and began to look at the halls of residence as educational instruments to be perfected, and not as dormitories to be erected. The Opposition supports the Bill.
– In the absence of the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter), who I thought would precede me in this debate, I should like to add a few words to what the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) has said. Clearly this is a matter on which we could speak at great length if we were to take into account the general philosophy of university education, what we do for the students during their time at university and how they are accommodated. Perhaps it is inappropriate to speak at length on such a matter, although I do not in any sense decry what the honourable member for Fremantle has just said. If we were to introduce a discussion on the whole concept of the possibility of introducing what I might well call the Oxford-Cambridge system of university college structure, associated tutorial accommodation and so forth, we might spend a long time on this debate.
However, I look forward, together with the honourable member for Fremantle, to talking about these matters at some other time.
I should like to commend, if that is necessary, the Government for taking on this follow-up proposition in relation to these 2 halls of residence. Despite the fact that there are elements in the community who consider that universities get perhaps more than their just due and that the ultimate provision of full time accommodation for university students is something which perhaps we could do better without, I commend the present trend. It is interesting to mention some relevant figures in relation to trends in Australia and elsewhere. If we look at recent figures for Australia we find that in 1969, which is as recently as we can hope to find figures, 15% of the full time students in all Australian State universities were accommodated in halls of residence. Only the Australian National University figure was somewhat different. About 53% of its full time students were in residence. These figures compare roughly with those of the United Kingdom. The latest figures that I have available are up to the end of 1966. They indicate that in the United Kingdom as a whole - that is, England, Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland - 33% of full time male students were in residence in colleges of residence in the universities and about 39% of females, although the females were fewer in number. In addition 48% of the male students ; and about 44% of the female students were in lodgings or flats so-called. The remainder, roughly 19% of the men and 13% of he women, were living at home. As honourable members may have noticed, there are 3 categories - those living at home, those in provided halls of residence and those somewhere in between, that is, in lodgings or flats. Herein lies the problem with which the Bill is concerned, and this is the only way by which the problem can be dealt with. When people have to leave home to go to universities, which still, despite the postwar expansion, are relatively few in number, and have to remain away from their homes to be attendant in these places, they have 2 choices - first, to get themselves into a university hall of residence or, secondly, to find some other berth.
The problem has increased quite rapidly in recent years when the number of university students away from home has increased and the number of university students generally has well outstripped the provision of college accommodation. If I can relate this situation to my own State, the position in Hobart has become quite intense, quite highly pressured, in the last few years only. The University of Tasmania is a small university with roughly 2,500 students but with a pressure on accommodation which shows itself very early during the lung vacation. Well before the university starts its year all the available accommodation of any suitable character in flats and lodgings is taken up. On that case alone - certainly we could duplicate it in most other centres of university learning - there is ample argument for having further accommodation for full time university students. Of course, this is quite an expensive operation. In this Bill we have 2 widely diverse sums. A sum of $47,241 is mentioned in the case of the women’s hall of residence proposed for Tasmania, and a figure considerably in excess of that for the hall of residence at Monash University. The Tasmanian figure is, in fact, the change out of $50,000 after the expenditure of a few thousand dollars on very preliminary planning. Already a sum of $566,000 is earmarked to be shared by the Commonwealth and the States for the first stage of real building of this women’s hall of residence.
The University of Tasmania has only a few colleges, as I indicated by talking about the pressure on private accommodation. The men’s hall of residence, Hytten Hall, has expanded very considerably in recent years under the very able wardenship of a longstanding colleague of mine. The other colleges for males - the Catholic college and the Church of England college - have been doing a sterling job in accommodating students and they are expanding rapidly. The only women’s hall of residence is one which is not of the university but has long been associated with it. lt is named Jane Franklin Hall after the wife of a former governor, Sir John Franklin. Until the recent advent of a rather small Catholic women’s college, again off campus, this was the only accommodation available for female students. So the proposition that there should be a women’s hall of residence - the direct female counterpart of Hytten Hall - is to be commended, lt is very much in demand and will be amply and properly used when the time comes.
Regarding the total Australian situation - and I want to refer only briefly to this - there is quite a wide range in the percentage of students accommodated in residences at the universities. For example, in the University of Sydney only about 10% of the full time students are in residence. I should think, from memory, that that is the sort of figure which has obtained for quite some time, although there may be a variation of a few points. At the other extreme is the University of New England in its rural locale and not in a big city, unlike most, if not all the other universities, with about 86% of its students in residence. As 1 observed them some years ago the halls of residence were well appointed and, for the most part, well a archlectured. However, excluding the Australian National University, the total Australian figure is about 15% but the range is quite wide. The University of Tasmania is somewhere near the median figure, with about 244% of its full time students in residence. Monash University, which is also dealt with in this Bill, is at the bottom of the list with about 9% only of its students in full time residence. Quite clearly in each of the universities mentioned in the Bill - whether or not we compare them with other Australian universities or with overseas universities, and we could take it further if time were available - there is plenty of case to be made for the validation of the Bill to enable the building to proceed as has long since been planned. 1 do not wish to take up much more time of the House now. I commend the honourable member for Fremantle for his remarks. 1 should not like to extend them, to take issue with them, or to agree with them in greater detail at this stage. In summary I should like to say that this measure is entirely worthwhile and that I hope we will be able to continue the process by which some significant proportion of university students are accommodated in quarters which are conducive to learning through the involvement of their tutorial systems, the esprit de corps which they develop and that sort of thing, and that a decreasing number of Australian university students will have to be in the position, as some people are in some other institutions, of having to dig around on the off chance of finding lodgings, often quite unsuitable for study although, at the same time, something that people try to provide as best they are able.
– I think there is fairly unanimous support for this Bill. I think all honourable members support the proposal to provide a high standard of accommodation in university colleges and the facilities to enable students to study properly. Under this Bill $47,241 is being provided for the women’s hall of residence at the University of Tasmania and $454,930 for the Roberts Hall at Monash University. These are genuine contributions. Having said that 1 would like to draw attention to the position of some university students who unfortunately are not able to take advantage of the accepted conventional type of university college accommodation. The underprivileged student with a real desire to equip himself for his chosen profession - the type of person who eventually becomes one of our most valued professional men - does not have the means to live at a university college. He usually works during vacation in order to accumulate sufficient funds to pay his board and at least part of his university expenses. He is taxed on his earnings, which may be quite significant over a period of perhaps 3 months. But his accommodation expenses and fees paid to the university cannot be claimed as deductions for income tax purposes. This is most unfair. When considering university accommodation we certainly should consider the student to whom I have referred. 1 hope that the Treasurer (Mr Bury) will again examine the matter I have raised with a view to finding some way to grant a concession to these students and permit these deductions.
These days, unfortunately, when we think of university students we immediately think of the small sad group of people who have proved that they are misfits. They have to find some way to make an impact on society, and they readily fall victim to the drug pusher and the porno pedlar. They become Pinochios who jump when the strings are pulled by some Communist controlled group.
– This is irrelevant.
– lt is most relevant, because the taxpayers are providing this sum of more than $500,000.
– I rise to order. In view of what the honourable member has said I ask you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to rule on the matter. The honourable member is not speaking to the Bill. His remarks are not related to the Bill.
– I suggest that the honourable member for Kennedy keep a little closer to the Bill.
– I will leave the garbage and turn to the more genuine students, who make up about 90% of those who attend our universities. The Commonwealth provides substantial sums of money for accommodation at universities. My remarks are designed to show that the majority of university students are worthy of the facilities provided. I have drawn attention to a small group which is most unworthy.
I would like to draw attention to contributions made by some university students. These contributions are rarely publicised. Not many people would know that during commemoration week at the University of Queensland a competition is held to see whether the previous year’s record for the giving of blood to the blood bank can be broken. This is a most worthy contribution by a great body of university students at one university in Australia. Another activity engaged in by these students, who seek to prove that they are worthy of the facilities provided by the Commonwealth, is an annual picnic for the crippled children of Brisbane. Underprivileged and crippled children from every institution in the City of Brisbane are brought to the university campus and entertained by students. These activities are not recorded in newspaper headlines. No television cameras record them. Every year Queensland university students take part in a walk against want. Their purpose is to raise funds for Community Aid Abroad with a walkathon. I could go on and on reciting the worthwhile contributions of university students. 1 pay a tribute to the Government for providing funds to establish these grand university colleges. But as my learned colleague, the honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) pointed out, with his vast experience of university life, many university students do not enter these colleges. We should look to their circumstances. They should be assisted more than they are at present, particularly in the matter of deductions for purposes of income tax, to which I referred earlier. I will have much more to say on that subject on another occasion.
– I do not wish to delay the House, but I should like to make a few comments about this measure. I noted with interest the remarks of the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley). While I applaud his laudable sentiments about the establishment of colleges and their endowment, there is a word to be said for another type of university quite distinct from the cloistered ivy clad college in the tradition of Cambridge and Oxford. I refer to Wollongong University College, which could be categorised as a red brick university along the lines of what is so typical in the more densely settled parts of England, where the local university or university college does not strictly need residential colleges because it caters for a densely populated compact local area. That precisely is the situation with the Wollongong University College. While there is an undoubted case for the endowment and construction of colleges of the types envisaged in this measure, there is at the same time a very real need for the red brick universities to get their share of Commonwealth funds. The Wollongong University College has a student enrolment of between 1,300 and 1,400. lt is unique in that more than 50% of the students enrolled - ‘by far the highest percentage of any university or university college - are part time students. This itself reflects the character of the area which is underprivileged in terms of average family income. If it were not for the existence of that local university college it would not be possible for the sons and daughters of many workers to live at home, work part time and go along to the university college part time to acquire a tertiary education. I know from my own experiences the advantages of a higher education and what I missed by not having the opportunity to go to a university. I had to be supported by my mother who is a dressmaker and I know what I missed. But even to go to the universities in Sydney was beyond the financial competence of 95% of the families within my area and still is.
We need in our particular area autonomy; we are a vassal university college at the present time in tutelage to the University of New South Wales. There is a clamant demand for autonomy and there is an equally clamant demand for all the barest essentials of universities. In particular we have a wholly inadequate library; we have wholly inadequate laboratories. Through the whole range of faculties we are, in almost every respect, just as under-privileged as the people in the area. I suggest to the Minister at the table that he might give a pretty sharp nod to the Australian Universities Commission to see that we get our fair share of the loot from the University of New South Wales. We are on the thin end of the ration financially from the Kensington University and the sooner we are severed from them and the sooner wc can speak in our own right and get our own direct allocation the better it will be for tertiary education in the area.
– With reference to the Bill before the House. I just want to make some comments, some of them with particular reference to my own State of Queensland. I do not want to take up more time than I need to and I think the illustrations I will give will serve to emphasise the point I want to make. Student residences at Australian universities are of 2 types - the traditional affiliated residential college which is sponsored by a church or other organisation or the university hall of residence which is responsible to and is an integral part of the university. The part they play in education might be demonstrated by the fact that in April 1969 there were 46 affiliated residential colleges accommodating 6,641 students and 26 halls of residence accommodating 4,313 students. Both figures are for the whole of Australia.
The Acts which established the 6 Stale universities in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century provided for the setting up of residential colleges. The acceptance of the 6 Australian colonies, which later became States, and the doctrine of free. compulsory and secular education of all citizens placed a heavy financial burden on the States. They relied to a great extent upon churches for the establishment and control of colleges and, while the amounts provided by governments for residential colleges varied among the States, it is generally true to say that the amounts decreased over the years so that the time lag between the establishment of a university and the foundation of collegeaffiliated with it became longer, lt is also true to say that because the colleges found it necessary to charge comparatively high fees they came to be regarded as abodes for the privileged and wealthy. This has been improved on very greatly. We sometimes think we are not making progress, but in this field we have.
After World War 11 the colleges were faced with 2 urgent problems - the influx of ex-servicemen studying under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme and the pressures of inflation. No large scale building programmes were embarked upon and students were packed in, leading to a large increase in residential student numbers. Two important steps after 1945 greatly helped the colleges. The first was the introduction of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and its subsequent extension in 1951. The provision of a living allowance, subject to a means test, under the scheme brought the prospect of a place at a residential college within the reach of students who were not comparatively wealthy. The second step was the provision of an annual unmatched grant by the Federal Government from 1951 onwards towards the teaching and administrative costs of student residences. The initial grant in 1951 was $50,000 and this has been further improved.
A further land mark in the development of Commonwealth assistance to residential colleges was the report of the Committee on Australian Universities in 1957, commonly known as the Murray Committee, which, recognising the benefits of college experience, recommended that the Commonwealth should provide $1.2m in 1958-60 for capital works for colleges on a $1 for $1 basis with State governments. The acceptance of this recommendation by the Commonwealth invigorated a programme of college expansion. Tn Queensland the provision of Commonwealth aid of $27,500 to each college, together with aid from the Queensland Government of about $200,000 to each college, enabled 7 of the 8 colleges to move to the St Lucia site by the end of I960. Such assistance was particularly important in Queensland where decentralisation of population, unparalleled anywhere else in Australia, dictates the urgent need for residential accommodation. The expansion in residential places for students since 1957 has been well illustrated in figures I have here. I will not quote them because I am trying to save some little time in this address. The total Commonwealth grant to all States for residential colleges, excluding the Australian Capital Territory, between 1958 and 1969 was $21,258,119, while proposed expenditure for 1970-72 is S9,16S,700.
Student residences are an accepted part of university planning. In country areas such as Townsviile or Armidale the existence of a university depends on the provision of student residences. This is demonstrated very clearly by the numbers which I will quote. The number has already been quoted by the honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) but I was not in the House to hear them. It is interesting to note that the percentage of students in residences - if the honourable member for Denison has quoted the figures, they are still worth repeating - at the University of New England was 85.9%; at the University of Townsville it was 73.8%; at the University of Tasmania it was 24.5%; and at the University of Queensland it was 20.5%. So of the 4 highest percentages it can be seen that 2 of them came from Queensland. In demonstrating that I might point out that, while that is particularly apparent in those universities, the universities of the cap ta cities also can only fulfil the needs of their students by the establishment of colleges and halls of residence to accommodate country students. It is widely recognised that apart from providing essential accommodation, the colleges offer students unique opportunities for study, discussion and thought. These circumstances which are suitable for study and discussion are not easily found in lodgings other than in these colleges.
In addition to the percentages and the figures I have quoted - and I want to say how pleased I am to see the expenditure for the triennium being completed in the 2 instances that were quoted - J. also want to point to another set of figures taken from the Australian Universities Commission’s fourth report of May 1969. This gives the number of students coming from country areas. Here again the decentralisation that operates in Queensland is demonstrated. This is something which 1 believe all governments should take a great interest in and something which should be encouraged. I refer again to this table. It says that the number of students in residence from country areas at the University of Townsville is no less than 87%; at the University of Tasmania it is 73.6% ; at the University of New England it is 72.8%; and at the University of Queensland it is 69.1% - again the 4 highest percentages for students from country areas. I have already mentioned that the halls of residence and these residential colleges do form an essential part of the universities situated in metropolitan areas. 1. rise tonight mainly to stress the tremendous importance to my own State of Queensland and I recognise in some slightly lesser degree this follows throughout the whole of this great Commonwealth of ours. In supporting the Bill, I express the hope that we will continue to improve in every field the standard of education throughout the Commonwealth because we have a need to do it. Those people who have studied education overseas realise this only too well. It is against that background that I have very great pleasure in supporting the Bill.
Dr JENKINS (Scullin) [9.20J- I do not wish to delay the passage of this Bill. I have no objection to it, nor have I any objection to most of the remarks that have been made by other speakers. But this is a Bill that affects Monash University, and I spent something over 8 years on the University Council from the first year of the operations of this institution. Indeed, one of the jobs 1 had arising out of that was to serve for a time on the Naming of Buildings Committee which dealt with the naming of halls of residence. I think it is generally realised that due to an initial misunderstanding on the establishment of Monash, ils origins were hurried along so that it could start operating from 1960. Of course, Monash started the very successful experi ment with these halls of residence in Deakin Hall, which was the first hall at the university.
This Bill deals with the problems of Roberts Hall and, as the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) staled in his second reading speech, due to delays in planning, the matching grants from the State had not caught up with the Commonwealth amount for the triennium to 1969. Therefore, this Bill is for the purpose of allowing that amount to be used. I think it should be realised that in this area, with perhaps the somewhat artificially accelerated rate of development of Monash, there has been some advantage in this delay, in that the delay in the expenditure and in the planning that occurred in the preceding triennium allowed the planning of this hall to be integrated with the building programme for the 1970-72 triennium. In effect, because of the delay and now that we have to authorise this expenditure, the University itself will probably end up with a much better residential complex in this sense.
When we speak of these residential colleges we are not necessarily dealing with the total university concept. I think we should remember that these halls provide more than just living quarters for young men and young women who attend these universities. These halls provide the opportunity for them not so much to take part in community affairs, although so many of them do - they are not for the minority who take part in excessive university dissent, and they are very much the minority - but they are places where students are taught to think and to question and, if necessary, to dissent and raise problems. Residential halls as such assist this education by helping students to sort out what they feel is right and wrong and to express their feelings in this way. The students in these residential halls have a great advantage in living with other students, being able to discuss and receiving the guidance of tutors in the college which would not be available to those who did not use residential colleges. It may be that out of the experience of these sorts of colleges the La Trobe University has come forward with the idea that all students there, if not living in, at least should be associated with the residential colleges for various parts of their university life.
I believe that some of the experience of Monash and other universities has probably led to this concept. I am sure it is going to give us much better rounded personalities among the educated people the universities produce because despite all that is said about university students, the majority of them come out as useful citizens, some of them perhaps with my political views or the political views of the Minister for Education and Science. But they are well rounded individuals in their profession, and that is what we want. This is what we want to encourage.
J believe that this concept of residential halls where all students have some association is going to lead to much better development of the future. One of my colleagues mentioned the problem of part time students at the university of Wollongong where residential halls do not have so much effect. I was a part time student during study for my degrees in both science and medicine, so I know what they experience. One of the great criticisms that has been put forward is that amongst these part time students there is a high failure-to-finish rate as far as courses are concerned. But I would suggest that the gaining of a degree is not necessarily the measure of the education of the individual and that many who have failed to finish but who have essayed this part time activity are much better suited for the community because of it.
We should note some of these factors when we are discussing residential halls because while here we have specific instances in Tasmania and Victoria, in the future this Parliament will be faced with many other problems. There will be a problem in Victoria of how we are to set up a fourth university, which undoubtedly will have to be in a country area. If one knows the population distribution of that State one will realise that the residential hall complex at that university will have to be quite large. Our experience in what has been done on a State and Commonwealth co-operative basis in providing residential halls will, I think, allow us to evolve a system rather different from the old Oxbridge tradition and more in the tradition, as mentioned by my honourable friend, of the red brick university.
Most of the universities of today are red brick universities. Perhaps from this experience we will be able to develop universities that give university students not only just a rigid training in a discipline but make them well rounded and well educated individuals, not just technicians who will give great benefit to this country.
– in reply - I have listened with interest to the speeches of honourable members on this Bill. I think that the Bill does show 2 things. Firstly it shows the interest and support of the Government for halls of residence at the universities. The Government regards these institutions as valuable in a number of ways. Of course, they provide a place of residence for those who, by reason of distance otherwise would find it difficult to attend a university. But more than that, as some honourable members have been pointing out, they provide a more rounded education at the university for those students who are able to attend them. There is the opportunity for close exchange with fellow students and there is the opportunity for guidance by tutors. We regard them as a valuable means of assisting in education at the universities.
The second point is that the two halls of residence mentioned in this Bill - the Roberts Hall at Monash University and the womens’ hall of residence at the university of Tasmania - are simply the residue of halls for which we provided massive support during the triennium of 1966 to 1969. It so happened that by reason of delays in planning, as has been mentioned, these halls of residence were not able to get their entitlement to these matching grants because the matching expenditure had not taken place before 31st December. The fact that this Parliament is now asked to approve these payments, although in fact entitlement to them was not reached because expenditure could not be made before 31st December, shows, I think, a readiness to cut the red tape. I would expect the House not to hold up the expectations which have been built up by the previous Bill, but not realised for these 2 halls of residence, by voting in favour of this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr N. H. Bowen) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 16 April (vide page 1270), on motion by Mr Anthony:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– The principal purpose of this Bill, which is a machinery Bill, is to allow the repayment to growers of excess moneys which have accumulated in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund because of administrative delays in effecting a reduction in the excise levy on canned deciduous fruits. This Bill relates to the operations of the Australian Canned Fruits Board, which engages in promotional activities throughout the payment of market development allowances for the promotion of Australian canned deciduous fruits in overseas markets. A rate of excise is imposed on defined varieties of deciduous fruits and these moneys are paid into the Canned Fruit Excise Fund. The objective of this fund is to promote the export marketing of canned fruits. This is done principally through the payment of market development allowances and, at the same time, by engaging in constructive promotional activities in various markets overseas. The rate of excise was originally 30c per dozen 29 oz cans. After an agreement was made with the United States of America the rate was reduced to 5c per dozen 29 oz cans.
After the agreement the payment of the market development allowances with respect to the export of canned fruit was discontinued. They were discontinued, as the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) mentioned in his second reading speech, from 1st January 1969. When they were discontinued the Board recommended that there should be a reduction in the levy. This of course took some time to put into effect. It was not until 31st March, approximately 3 months later, that the machinery to finalise the reduction was swung into action. This meant, in effect, that surplus moneys were being held in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund. The decision of the Government and the purpose of this amendment is to refund a proportion of that excess money to the producers. That is the principal objective of the Bill.
The Bill is more limited than the one we spoke on this afternoon, soI suppose that means I have to spent less time on it than I spent on the one this afternoon - and that was pretty limited, too. The Opposition has no objection to this Bill. The principles contained in it are sound. There has been an overpayment of excise by producers, and the Government is now refunding to the producers the amount of this overpayment. The overpayment came about because of the cancellation of market development allowances following an agreement between the United Stales of American and the Commonwealth Government.
– The honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) has quite accurately described the machinery of the Bill and there is no need for me to repeat what he has said. I will however touch on it initially in order to make One more comment. The Canned Fruit Excise Fund, which is controlled by the Australian Canned Fruits Board, is the fund in which the surpluses described by the honourable member for Dawson are held. As the honourable member for Dawson explained, these excess funds are to be paid back to the canners under the terms of this legislation. I am not quite clear whether the growers will receive any part payment of this amount from the canners.
I would add only one thing to his general argument. He mentioned quite properly the agreement following which the industry or perhaps the Board decided, after some negotiations, to discontinue as from 1st January 1969 its promotional activities in the West German market.I think one can continue this argument just a stage further and say that there is a lesson in what has happened for members of Parliament. The
Fund is a government fund, although the contributions came from the industry itself; the moneys are not held by the industry.
My understanding of what happened is that one signatory to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in this case I think the United States, objected in some way to our trade promotional activities on the West German market. The lesson to be learned from this situation is that it is very difficult, whether by growers funds or governmental funds, to subsidise some forms of primary industry without running into this type of objection from signatories to GATT who happened to be concerned with a market outlet.
That is about all I wish to add to the remarks of the honourable member for Dawson. This is nol an important Bill. It is a very minor one. But it will provide the machinery to allow the surplus funds held in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund by the Australian Canned Fruits Board to be disbursed to the canners. There is one other point. It is the intention of the industry to mount a bigger and, I suppose, a more expensive type of promotion fund in 1970. Some of the moneys for this will come from the excess presently held in the Canned Fruit Excise Fund. 1 support the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Anthony) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 19 March (vide page 649), on motion by Mr Bury:
That the Bill be now read a second lime.
Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) [9.40J- 1 did not realise that this Bill would come on for debate quite so suddenly. The purport of it is to increase the quotas in the International Monetary Fund by approximately 36%, or a little more than onethird in total, from SUS21.3 billion to $US28.9 billion. The Australian Labor Party has always supported the inter- national Monetary Fund as an organisation designed to look after the short term difficulties of international liquidity. In recent times we have seen the interesting development of the special drawing rights which are sometimes described as paper gold.
– I am glad that the Treasurer was caught by surprise, as I was, by the precipitate way in which the business of the Mouse has been conducted, lt is true that this Bill has been on the notice paper for about 2 months. However, such is the way that this House works that suddenly we get through a lot of business and wc have to deal with a matter which we did not think would come on for discussion. I am sure that the Treasurer is aware of the Per Jacobsson Address which was delivered on Sunday, 28th September 1969, by a Belgian economist, Alexandre Lainfalussy.
– A Scot, of course.
– -He may be a Scot, by tendency, but he is a Belgian by origin. Any honourable member who wants a copy of this document may get one free by writing to the Reserve Bank of Australia. This should appeal to my colleague the honourable member for Boothby. Al page 22 he said:
There is no general agreement on a simple way of measuring whether there is adequate international liquidity or not.
What we are now concerned about is a scheme to increase international liquidity. Last night in this House there was a great debate centred upon an organisation known as the Australian Industry Development Corporation.
– I think we won it, too.
– The Government won in a rather hamstrung sort of way. If the honourable member claims that the Government won it on the basis of 102 votes to 4, then I hope that a lot more propositions in Australia will be won in the same way. Nevertheless, such dissent as there was in that debate came from honourable members on the Government side. Such dissent as there was came from what might be called the hill-billy attitude of certain elements in the Party which the honourable member for Boothby represents. Those honourable members on his side who dissented in the debate on the Australian Industry Development Corporation do not realise that we are living in a period which will change very significantly in the next 10 years. We were dealing last night with some of the mystifications, if one likes to refer to them in that way, that can surround the business called banking. One of the points that was not clearly brought out last night was that once an organisation is called a bank it has certain capacities within itself to create credit. Last nightI instanced a body espoused by the Government parties - the Australian Resources Development Bank. With an initial capitalisation of the magnitude of $10m it has been able to posit advances of the order of $250m.I contrasted that with thatI called the pigmy institution, the Australian Industry Development Corporation, which has been hamstrung by the initial capitalisation provided by the Government. It is to attempt to borrow principally externally, but I have some doubts about how much external borrowing it will be able to achieve on the terms available today. It can expand its activities only because it is a fund rather than a bank.
There have been recent developments in the International Monetary Fund around the concept of what is called paper gold.I submit that this is of significance for any who have great faith in gold as a measure of international currency.I want to quote from an article which I commend to all honourable members interested in banking. I refer to a series called ‘Penguin modern economies’. With due respect to the Government, sometimes I am not sure that it is aware of what modern economics are. I think the Government is caught between the world of laisser faire, which is no longer applicable anyway, and modern economics and that it is not quite sure what it has to do in this modern world. The particular volumeI refer to is entitled ‘International Finance’ and is edited by R. N. Cooper. It contains an article by Mr Machlup, an authority who I am sure my friend the Treasurer (Mr Bury) will acknowledge, which is entitled ‘The Cloakroom Rule of International Reserves: Reserve Creation and Resources Transfer’. It appeared in the quarterly journal ‘Economies’, volume 79, at pages 337 to 355. I submit firstly that Mr Machlup is not a gentleman who could be described as a credit crank. We get some curious examples at times of what can happen in this field. In recent times the Treasurer has been submitted to this sort of assay in connection with the recent rise in interest rates. I shall quote what Mr Machlup said about three fundamental propositions. He states at page 343 of this volume:
The essential points will be understood more readily if we go back to some more general relationships that hold on different levels of the monetary system and can be formulated in three fundamental propositions:
For payments among customers of the same (commercial) bank, the assets (amounts, quality, composition, liquidity) of the bank are irrelevant; they become relevant only for payments to customers of other banks, that is, for inter-bank payments.
In other words he is saying that if my friend the Treasurer and I are customers of the same bank our transactions take place quite simply within the bank. It is only if he happens to be in a bank other than mine that the structure of my bank relative to his arises. Mr Machlup goes on to note:
For inter-bank payments -
That is to say, payments between the Commercial Bank of Australia and the Commercial Bank of Sydney, the difference being more in name than in substance - in the same country the assets -
And again he notes amounts, quality, composition and liquidity - of the National Reserve Bank are irrelevant They become relevant only for payments to persons or banks in other countries, that is, for international payments.
Then the learned writer goes on to note thirdly:
For international payments in the same world -
At the moment whether we like it or not we are still living in the same world. We can have significantly political differences but we are still part of one world - the assets -
Again he notes amounts, quality, composition and liquidity - of the International Reserve Bank (or an appropriately organised IMF) are irrelevant. They become relevant only for payments to persons, banks or reserve banks on other planets, that is for interplanetary payments.
Al this stage we have not had to face the question of interplanetary payments. At least that is what the writer is hinting at. He notes some quite distinct reservations about what took, place at the Bretton Woods Conference, as my friend the Treasurer knows. An attempt was made to have an international currency. The principal reason why we did not achieve an international currency was that the most preponderant economic power at the time, the United States of America, did not want it. The author notes this at page 34 1 . He says:
The United Nations and other founding countries did not want the Fund to be a credit-creating institution and. hence, they anxiously avoided what would have been a pre-condition to the creation of a new international currency, namely, the acceptability of the Fund’s deposit liabilities in international payments among national monetary authorities.
By adopting the special drawing rights, which are sometimes blithely described as paper gold as 1 have said, we have accepted the fact that there can be international creation of credit. I know that we get into great difficulties once we talk about the creation of credit. Some rather curious doctrines have been expressed on this subject.
I quote from a later book by Mr M.achlup, which is available in the Library, entitled ‘The Structure of the IMF’. He said;
The debt character of money has confused economists and lawyers for centuries. The fact that the recipient and holder of money has, on the one hand, taken over a legal claim against the issuer of the money and, on the other hand, acquired an economic claim against the rest of the community lo be honoured, when he so desires, in goods, services, or other titles to wealth, has been the source of perennial bafflement and endless twattle. The ‘loan’ to the legal debtor and the Moan’ lo the community implied in the exchange of present for future goods or services have rarely been separted wilh sufficient clarity in the students’ thinking.
This is the point at which we have arrived concerning international liquidity. 1 am glad to see the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) in the chamber. He at least has more practical experience than some of these other gentlemen. T am glad to see also the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) who claims to be a student of financial transactions. I have mentioned the Australian Resources Development Bank. There is no doubt that once any institution is allowed to call itself a bank - this was the essence of the debate last night but we did not get around to it - it has within itself the capacity to create credit. Some people suggest that there is no limit to the capacity to create credit. Unless some limits are placed upon it we distort the existing arrangements of any people who hold money in one remove or another.
That is the situation in which we are placed at the moment in regard to international transactions. I submit again that it is quite clearly brought out in Mr Machlup’s article, to which I have referred, that the great problem in world trade at the moment is the disparity between the standards of living of the rich and the poor. I heard a certain gentleman at the farmers’ protest march say that if Australia suddenly increased the amount of its aid to poor countries from 1% to 2% - we have not even reached 1% yet - by some mysterious process all our surpluses of wheat and wool would evaporate. This is sheer nonsense, economically. Nevertheless if we had more systematic arrangements for international transfer - surely this is what has to happen - we could arrange for the transfer of physical surpluses from one country to another. I am sorry that the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) is not present at the moment.
– He is not the only one who is not present.
– There are a lot who are not present. I am afraid that this is all too true about most of the debates that take place. Many honourable members are here when a fight is on but not many are here when we come to consider reasonably fundamental proposals. Mr Machlup says:
When gold is the only international reserve money, some Africans, Australians, and Asians (and a few North Americans) must work in the mines to dig the stuff out of the ground. When credit entries in the books of an acceptable organisation become substitutes for cold, work on highways, railroads, harbours, power plants, hospitals, and schools of developing countries can take the place in gold mines.
I submit that this is a pretty salutary lesson for most of us.
– Perhaps it is your friend, the honourable member for Kalgoorlie, who should listen to this.
– I am not trying to secure political capital. I will illustrate what 1 am trying to suggest. I read 2 days ago in the Australian Financial Review’ that it may not be long before Australia becomes an importer rather than an exporter of gold. Well, candidly, I hope that we never reach that silly day, but this is the sort of suggestion that is made. It is suggested that we could produce a lot more gold if the price of gold were higher. I think that what the gentleman whom I am quoting is pointing out is that gold is produced only because people, who could well be employed somewhere else, are digging the wretched stuff out of the ground. If it is still thought that it is a systematic sort of economic appraisal to have people digging gold rather than, as the writer says, building highways, railroads, harbours, power plants, hospitals and schools. I think that this shows what curious sort of thinkers we are sometimes. The author says:
As I understand it, the difficulty with the SDR system - that is, the special drawing rights system - or the paper gold system, was experienced in providing the greatest potential credit availability not to those who needed it most but to those who needed it least. This, it seems to me, is the sort of dilemma that one has to resolve. I am afraid that, in the long run, the only argument to which we can return in order to try to obtain some sort of rationalisation about this process is to compare the amounts which countries spend on defence with what they spend on economic aid.
At the moment, Australia spends approximately 4% of its gross natonal product on defence. Australia spends less than 1% of its gross national product on economic aid and more than half of that amount goes to the area in which we have great individual responsibility, namely, Papua and New Guinea. I am not arguing about th:s as a proposition, but surely the point that we reach is this: It would be a lot easier from our point of view if we could sell all our wheat, wool and sugar to all countries. As I pointed out in a debate last night, more than half of ail products that we sell other than wool and almost the whole of the wool that we sell, are not sold in this country at all. Those products are sold on external markets. The difficulty in being able to sell those products is the lack of purchasing power of the people to whom we would like to sell. That is why I find at least a little bit interesting
– That is the problem, not the solution.
– What is the solution? Some of the honourable member’s colleagues showed last night how hillbilly is the approach of honourable members opposite to this problem. Let me illustrate what some honourable members opposite were frightened about last night. I notice that my friend from the bank - the honourable member for Mitchell - is almost rearing to go. He calls himself a practical banker. But. if he is a practical banker, I am sure that one of the terms of his practicality is that he does not wish the mysteries to become available too freely. This, I think, is one of the great difficulties.
If one reads monetary history - one should read it - one would know that 100 or so years ago in Great Britain a great argument took place between what were called the currency school and the banking school. Fortunately for the history of mankind the banking school won. The fact that the banking school won simply showed that, if anything is called a bank, provided those who wish to go to that bank will accept, if honourable members like, the credibility - that is an awful word in 1970; I am sure that the word ought to be creditability rather than credibility in that sense - of that bank and provided they accept the ‘creditability’ of the institution, it will function.
What happened fortunately for the history of mankind is that it has been realised in most modern communities that unless the total volume of the credit is controlled in the public interest, private manipulators will use it for their own advantage. With all respect to my friend from Mitchell - he and 1 talk in a quite friendly fashion on some things; but we certainly do not agree about the proposition last night - this seemed to me to be-
– Oh, Frank, don’t be ridiculous.
– Are you still friendly?
– I hope that I am friendly with most people in this audience. What I am trying to suggest is that we have a pretty substantial proposition in front of us. I think that the one thing that the Government does not realise, with all respect to honourable members opposite, is that it has allowed what it calls private enterprise to develop in this field. Candidly, how the Government uses the term ‘private enterprise’ in a monopolistic kind of system is beyond my ken. 1 think the Government’s idea of private enterprise is that there is no difference to be found between the milk bar on the corner that employs a husband and wife and the factory 200 yards away, which the milk bar mainly serves, employing 1,000 people. That is why f think honourable members opposite must rethink some of their propositions.
I am interested lo see the progress thai has been made in the International Monetary Fund by the acceptance of SDRs as a basis for regular expansion of the total availability of international liquidity. The next step that we must take is the one that Mr Machlup points out. We must realise that if we do acknowledge the fact that we can create credit on the international scale as well as the internal scale, the fundamental proposition to be faced up to is: Who gels the availability of the expansion? What he suggests is that it means fundamentally a transfer of resources, if honourable members like, or in terms used by those gentlemen who are sifting on the front bench, the selling of surplus wheat in Australia. I am sure that none of them argues that we can sell our wool and that we can use our wool and wheat in Australia. Those gentlemen ought to be interested in some mechanism that will make the flow of trade better than it is. To my mind, this is what is being attempted. The great struggle still is whether it is controlled in the interests of the majority of people or in the interests of the people who control the total volume of credit at the moment. I have been rather interested in recent days to read about the attempts of Australia to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. I hope that in the course of this debate somebody will explain much better than was done in an answer to a question today, which was certainly rather veiled in its implications, whether Australia intends to join this Organisation and what sort of impact it will make if it does join. Surely the impact must be in terms of the expansion of Australia’s trade overseas.
It is for these reasons that we on this side of the House offer no objection to the increase of Australia’s quota to the International Monetary Fund. I am sure that my colleagues were just as surprised as I was to find that this preliminary essay in terms of the special drawing rights was much more adventurous than was initially thought. We had thought that the expansion would have been in the region of SI billion. Figures can be supplied to show that the availability of total international resources is somewhere in the region of $70m. Mr Lamfalussy’s text also stated that the availability of total international resources is far less in terms of gold than it used to be and that a higher volume of international trade is being encompassed with a lesser degree of total reserves than was formerly the case. Although my friend, the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard), is not present I think I must say that the ominous signs are that if special drawing rights become more extensive - personally T hope they will because it simply shows the extension on the international plane of what is done in internal banking - gold will become a less and less important element in terms of international trade. I am afraid that I for one have no tears to shed about this proposition.
If people like to score cheap points about the fact that that means employment in the gold mines in Kalgoorlie will fall, they are quite welcome to score such points. This is not only true of the gold mining industry. I think it is true of many of our primary producing industries. Are we to maintain the same total level of employment in certain industries as we have done in the past? When 1 read the article in the Financial Review’ a day or two ago which staled that we may become an importer of gold rather than an exporter. I thought that the writer was becoming a little bit over-enthusiastic about the same point that I am trying to make, and that is that gold will become a less important element. I am sure that the Treasurer reads as I do the various articles that emanate from international sources. In one of those articles someone described what they called the defusing of gold. The more we substitute the capacity of the International Monetary Fund to have its own sort of securities that will be acceptable in the rest of the world, the less will gold become an element. As I said earlier, I will shed no tears about the loss of gold. It seems to me to indicate in its most extreme form the futility of mankind. He will dig out of the ground something that in many respects would be better left there. This is done only on the assumption that unless we dig it there is nothing else more acceptable to promote the flow of trade in the world. If we are to continue to subscribe to that sort of mystification, it seems to me incredible.
As Mr Machlup indicates in the passage that 1 quoted, surely what we are doing when we export gold - the same situation would apply if we export iron ore from Australia - is to get the Japanese, for instance, to pay the equivalent of the labour used in the production of the raw material, whether it be iron ore or gold. The wages that are paid to the Australians in consequence of digging either the ore or gold goes into part of the expansion of the economy of Australia. The wages that are paid become the demand for other industry in Australia. What is earned by the export of gold or iron ore, or any other product, in turn enables Australia to import something else that we are not able to develop for ourselves by reason of the stage of our economy. Surely this is what international trade is. It seems to me to be a healthy move in the long run to support any measure that will increase the total availability of international liquidity. There will still be on the international plane the same sort of difficulty that there is on the internal plane. It is not that there is any limit to the capacity to generate credit, but unless there are some limits set on its generation, the real value of those who own assets, those who own money or those who have claims on the existitng levels of activity in the community will be destroyed.
It took a long time internally to accept this as part of economic reality. It will take a much longer time to extend the same sort of attitudes to what is really there - an ability to do the same thing on an external plane. I think the difficulty is that it has taken us a long time to accept within a community that a lot of redistribution can be done by taxation, by control with the total volume of credit and by other devices. But on the international plane the great difficulty is that people And it hard to comprehend that you are doing anything but give away what it has taken physical resources to compile. I think this is the great problem at the moment. Unless we see through this sort of nexus and realise that unless we sell something to somebody else they will not have the ability to exchange the other way. This is one of the most complex problems, I suppose, in modern economics. In fact, I. think 2 of the most difficult things to comprehend in modern economics are the operations of the tariffs, which are the barrier that countries set to the free exchange of goods, and the level of exchanges which operate between the transfer of those goods. They are 2 of the most complicated propositions in modern economics. Sometimes I am afraid that one is a little bamboozled by the sort of curious characters who think that by some sort of transfer of the pen all these problems can be solved overnight. They cannot be solved internally in that way: less so can they be solved externally.
It seems to me that the SDR scheme is a move in the right direction but the great dilemma that still has not been solved is that it has mainly been confined to what is called the group of 10. I suppose that if the group of 10 had not agreed to it the scheme would not have got off the ground at all. I think that even Australia thought that the group ought to become a group of 11 by the admission of Australia. Unless the group of 10 sees the thing through much more realistically than it has in the pa.-,t, it is likely to get bogged down in what may be called the use of capacity to expand the total availability of international liquidity. The main advantage will go to those who need it least and the least advantage will go to those who need it most. This seems to be the greatest problem that faces the world.
We have a decade of development which which never got off the ground because these propositions were not faced up to. From 1970 to 1980 we hope to do what we did not do between 1960 and 1970. I hope thai we will progress further between 1970 and 1980 than we did between 1960 and 1970. But we will not do this unless we think through a lot of these problems. I ask the Treasurer to make available to the House a lot more of the documentation that is available about these propositions than is currently the case. They are not easy problems to evaluate, and I think he will agree with this. But unless they are thought through we will be perplexed in the next 10 years by even more difficult problems than we have had in the last 10 years.
– I always enjoy hearing my friend the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) speak on such matters as the one now before the House, the International Monetary Agreements Bill 1970. Though we have slight differences in the main we are in agreement. I join with him in the remarks that he made regarding the fictitious value of gold which has now been replaced - we hope successfully - by another fictitious form of currency which the honourable member called ‘paper gold’. I think we should be proud that the former Treasurer, now the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon). did take a very active interest in the creation of this fictitious substitute for gold, ft is in the experimental stages, of course, but it has got off to a reasonably good start. On the basis of papers which 1 have read only in the last 2 hours I trust that I will be able to make a reasonable contribution. I am more or less in the same position as the honourable member for Melbourne Ports. I was caught unawares in regard to this matter. So far as Australia is concerned we have come out of the matter reasonably well. The Treasurer (Mr Bury) said in his second reading speech:
A Bill was put before the House on this subject in December 1968 and parliamentary approval was obtained then to Australian participation in the scheme. Australia has since received a first allocation of SA75m for the calendar year 1970 and should receive additional allocation’; of about $A60m in each of the succeeding years, 1971 and 1972.
The purpose of the Bill is to increase our allocations. From an international point of view we have got off to a good start for 1970. The balance of payments position and financial difficulties of the various countries received a fillip, and we set off on 1st January 1970 as the first date on which the allocations were made. The franc appeared much better after the fight in regard to the gold standard earlier in 1969 and before that in 1968 when the franc was in a desperate position from time to time and with the Russians holding large reserves of gold it did appear that something had to bc done to protect the international monetary system and trade between nations.
In England the position improved and it now appears that although there will certainly bc many difficulties, there is a reasonable chance of the scheme succeeding. For the first time in history the world will start to use an international currency which is independent of any national government, which is nol backed by gold or any other precious metal, although it does have a nominal gold value guarantee, and it can be increased simply by international negotiation. This may be right but tradition dies hard and we will find that gold will not fall. This may not always be the position but for the next 50 to 100 years gold will still attract and will have that traditional value, although fictitious, which appears to bring about a sense of security, which no other form of currency has been able to do since time immemorial. The immediate effect of the special drawing rights scheme has lo a small if imponderable extent been undermined by the agreement on South African gold sales. That country, like my friend from Coolgardie, wants to keep up the value of gold, which is understandable, for it is the bread and butter of the people in Kalgoorlie as it is of the people of South Africa.
Since it was also believed that the United States would be obliged to end its balance of payment deficit, the only source of new international liquidity would be through the increase in the International Monetary Fund’s loanable funds by means of bigger equity subscriptions or steadily expanding distributions of special drawing rates. That is why we are dealing with this Bill tonight. In the event, the American deficit has got even bigger and the agreement with South Africa has reopened the door to increases in official monetary and gold holdings. So the desire lo continue with the gold standard will persist.
If the gold mining groups were correct in believing that industrial demand has already overtaken production - while it may not be true today, it will probably be true in a few years time - then South Africa will have little long term need to sell outside the free market. Moreover, any sales which are made to the Fund will put gold at the service of the international community at large, in contrast with the past 10 years when it was frequently used as a weapon in the diplomatic war between France and the United States. The initial distribution of the special drawing rights which took place on 1st January this year will amount to $US3,500m. This will be followed by a further allocation of $US3,000m on 1st January 1971 and $US3,500m, I think in 1972. At the moment the special drawing rights may well become the only source of new liquidity and they may also replace the dollar as the standard of value for other currencies.
The one thing that seems vitally certain is that gold will play a diminishing role in the international monetary system, whatever the South Africans may claim. I think that the honourable member for Melbourne Ports and I can take heart from the possibility and the feasibility that the scheme commenced last year by the International Monetary Fund will succeed. After all, I suppose we could use a different word for the currency that we are creating. I think the honourable member for Melbourne Ports will agree with me that we could substitute the word ‘confidence’ because that is the beginning and the end of international finance. If the International Monetary Fund, through this paper gold, can create confidence then it may ease the balance of payments position of several countries which, in many cases, is only for a transitory period. It requires only the confidence of the other members of the Fund, and I think this is being created. I commend the Bill to the House and I congratulate the honourable member for Melbourne Ports upon his usual worthwhile contribution to such debates.
– I must record my disappointment, indeed my resentment, at what has happened in relation to this Bill tonight. International liquidity is one of the most important subjects. It relates to the standard of living that we enjoy. It is important for the amount of trade that this nation can secure and, indeed, for the trade that other nations are going to be able to partake in. Trade, as most of us know, affects the standard of living of people in Australia as well as in other countries. Yet this Bill has been brought forward without prior warning. It was not listed on todays programme, and on the actual notice paper it was listed as Order of the day No. 21. It involves a subject that requires a fair amount of study - study that many of us should be undertaking in depth.
The first document to which we turn in examining a subject like this is, of course, the second reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr Bury). I think I can repeat the sort of criticisms made by the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) last night about the Australian Industry Development Corporation Bill. Although the second reading speech of the Minister is quite adequate concerning the small point of raising the amount to be contributed by Australia to increase international liquidity it is quite inadequate in relation to the understanding of this House of the sort of crises that there have been in international liquidity in recent years. I am sure that most honourable members, even though they may not take an interest in these economic affairs, will be aware that there have been crises in earlier years in respect of the £Stg. Fortunately for Britain it has had a government which has got to the root causes of this, and Britain is now enjoying balance of payments surpluses which have put that country in a far different situation from that which it was in when Mr Wilson took over. But, of course there have been crises also in France. To the other extent there have been surpluses in Germany where subsequently the Deutschemark has been revalued. That, in itself, has had a tremendously worthwhile effect on the whole international liquidity of the world. These are the sorts of subjects about which this Parliament ought to be served information such as the information which is given in the White Papers that come down in other parliaments. 1 do not pretend to be an expert in this field. It is 12 years since I have had an opportunity to devote time to these affairs. As a new member of this House I should like to have had at least some sort of warning that this Bill was to come before the House. I shall not detain the House any longer. I thought several speakers were listed but I suppose that they were caught in the same way as the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) and, indeed, the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) admitted they were caught.
– It has been on the notice paper for 2 months.
– Yes. But the honourable member knows that it is listed as Order of the day No. 21 on the notice paper and it has been elevated from there. I have reason to commend what is happening throughout the world in lifting the reserves. I agree that this sum of $US41m should be contributed so as to make these greater reserves available but at the same time we should have taken the opportunity to look at the whole problem of international liquidity and to ensure that Australia makes its proper contributions in the councils of the world to make sure the world does not proceed on an ad hoc basis from one crisis to another. This contribution to the International Monetary Fund is only one way to overcome these crises when they occur. A lot more work in depth remains to be done in this field. I hope that we will have future opportunities to look at this matter. I hope that when we do we will have before us papers which will give us the necessary information to enable us to study this legislation in the way it should be studied because it is of tremendous importance to the world and ail honourable members should be interested in it.
– in reply - I thank the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) who led for the Opposition, for supporting the project outlined in the Bill. Of course, in the final analysis the project is, from Australia’s point of view, quite simple. It is a way of increasing Australia’s liquidity in the international system. I take it that this subject is dear to
15361/70- -R - (961
the hearts of honourable members on both sides of the chamber but no more so than to the heart of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports. I should point out to the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford) that a good deal has been said about the increase in quotas. If he would like me to provide any specific information on this subject I will be only too pleased to do so. I would appreciate the interest of all honourable members in this subject, which certainly helps to form a national view and back a sound continuity of policy. If there is any specific way in which I can better inform honourable members I would be pleased to do so. I thank the Opposition for its support.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Bury) read a third time.
Mount Druitt Development - The Parliament - Education - Apartheid - Dartmouth and Chowilla Dams - Fire at Whyalla Shipyard - Aircraft Noise
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– I wish to refer tonight to an area near Sydney which is probably growing faster than any area of similar size in the country. To many honourable members this will be a remote area and many will not have heard of it. I refer to the tremendous development taking place around Mount Druitt. Much of this development has been brought about by the activities of the New South Wales Housing Commission. The State Planning Authority estimates that by the time the Housing Commission’s activities are over 80,000 people will be living in the area. This is the largest Housing Commission development in New South Wales and perhaps, for that matter, in Australia. The present population of the area is about the same as that of Wagga Wagga. But if you go to Mount Druitt you will not find a policeman or a police station there. You will not find a baby health centre.
– In an area as large as that?
– That is right. There is no baby health centre notwithstanding that there are probably more children in the area than in any other similar area in Australia. A local parson told me recently that in one of the small suburbs of Mount Druitt there are. on average, 4 children to a house. As 1 have said, there is no police station at Mount Druitt although its population is as large as that of Wagga Wagga. There is no baby health centre and no dentist. The transport service is inadequate. If ever an area needed careful consideration and assistance this is it. I realise that the responsibility for these matters rests largely with the State, but in the view of the Australian Labor Party the Commonwealth cannot ignore the expansion taking place in areas such as this on the perimeters of our great cities. In the last 3 years the suburbs of Whalan, Tregear, Lethbridge Park, Emerton and Dharruk have been established in Mount Druitt. Recently the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) visited one of the schools in Tregear. About 1,700 children attend the Whalan public school. More than 1,700 children attend the Tregear public school. More than 1 ,200 children attend Lethbridge Park public school. There are SOO students at Mount Druitt High School. Already there are 150 pupils from Whalan public school attending Mount Druitt High School. These are described as ‘boarders’; they are primary school children attending the high school because the primary school which they should attend does not have the facilities to cope with them. There are 70 pupils from Lethbridge Park Primary School attending Mount Druitt High School in a similar capacity.
The position is becoming completely chaotic, notwithstanding that the Housing Commission planned in co-operation with the New South Wales Department of Education to build schools which it thought would cope with the school populations of those suburbs. But the schools cannot cope with the number of children seeking to attend them. One of the major reasons for the overcrowding in public schools is the fact that there are no denominational schools in the Mount Druitt area. In some Stale schools only recently built the playgrounds are already studded with temporary buildings. The provision of school facilities is only one of the problems in this area. The transport system will not be able to cope with the huge population moving into the area month by month. The railway system will not be able to carry the people going east to Parramatta and west to Penrith and beyond.
In all the circumstances the Commonwealth must do something to assist this area, particularly with regard to transport and the provision of playgrounds for the children. Here is an area with probably more children than any similar area in Australia. You could go through the area and not find a playground for the kiddies. 1 sympathise with the local council in the colossal problem it faces in finding the necessary funds to carry out its work in the area. I hope that the House will consider this matter in a commonsense way.
I appeal to the Minister for Education and Science to co-operate with his counterpart in the New South Wales Government, firstly on the provision of educational facilities in the area. Let us start with that. After all, it is possibly the most important aspect of government outside health. I think, if he could co-operate with and meet the local State member, Mr Southee, the member for Blacktown, at the moment - a redistribution of boundaries has just occurred - the Minister for Education in the State Parliament as well as myself as the local Federal member, we could sit down and try to work out some ways and means of overcoming what will become a very serious problem. This is not just a simple social problem; it is one which can have very serious effects in the years to come for a lot of children who are not being given reasonable opportunities today. I hope the Minister will heed this request. If we can arrange for some type of conference on this problem both on the spot and elsewhere, if we can start on this basis, 1 believe we can get somewhere.
I also ask the Min:ster while he is about it to give consideration to this question of the necessity to establish a university in the western areas. I know he represents a western electorate, as I do. There will be a very great need in the future for a university and I sincerely hope he will give consideration to this proposal. Education is only one of the problems of this area. There are others in regard to transport, local government finance, the great need for adequate baby health centres, health facilities and the like. However, as a first step to overcoming the great problems of this area I ask the Minister to give an undertaking that we can set to with the local State member and the Minister’s counterpart in the State Parliament to overcome the serious problems in regard to the educational facilities in this very important area. As I sai d, it has more children in it and more future young Australians who will build this country than probably any other area in Australia.
– I would agree that the honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) has put his finger on a problem in this area. As he mentioned, I visited the area recently and my information was that even taking all adults into account the average age of the population was 8 years. I cannot deal with the various matters such as the lack of a police station or a baby minding centre. I know the honourable member realises that these are essentially matters for the State Government. But the question of schools is one in which I have some interest. The Tregear school that I inspected is a new school catering for kindergarten, infant and secondary pupils. It is a first rate structure and a first rate school. It is quite impressive in its setting and a credit to the State Government which has erected it. I have discussed the matter with Mr Southee in the area.
First of all I would like to say that it would be unfair to suggest that very great efforts are not being made by the State Government to cope with these problems, many of which could not have been foreseen some years ago. For example, in 1960, taking the period since Captain Cook landed, in New South Wales there were about 166 secondary high schools. In the next 9 years 123 were erected. It is true that there are still shortages but the immense effort that has been made to cope with these problems is evident. I do not think that the problem can be solved by just dealing with one area at a time. It is an Australia-wide problem and the honourable member will probably be aware that a survey is being conducted of the needs both in secondary and primary education as well as teacher training for the next 5 years. There has been one progress report and I am meeting with the State Ministers next Monday to discuss further this report and I am meeting with the State Ministers including New South Wales, for the next 5 years. I think it is necessary to take the matter on a complete basis rather than on individual electorates and this is the way in which we are approaching it.
– Mr Speaker,I suggest that events in this House in recent days confirm that parliamentary government is in decline and is forfeiting public respect. While the individual rights that exist here are still far greater than under totalitarian regimes, they also are being steadily eroded and reduced. The power of the Parliament is becoming ever smaller and the power of the Executive is becoming ever larger. That is the road to dictatorship. While the conduct of the Parliament arouses popular contempt its decline may proceed without much stir among the citizenry because they no longer have interest in it. They become apathetic. But a system of government in decline inevitably eventually invites and brings about its own replacement no matter how loudly we seek to reassure ourselves that it cannot happen here. For those determined to believe that all is for the best the ideas I now present, based on proceedings here in the last few days, will be devoid of interest. But I am encouraged to think there is an increasing number of members on both sides of the House deeply concerned at the progress of the Parliament towards debacle.
In the 10 minutes available in the adjournment debate it is possible only to sketch in a few vaguely worded proposals for restoring the reputation of Parliament as an effective legislative instrument of the will of the people. Firstly, the proceedings of the censure debate last Friday demonstrated beyond all doubt that the House needs not only a Speaker who is impartial but a Speaker who is seen to be impartial.
– Order! The honourable member will not reflect upon the Chair.
– That is the very last of my intentions, Sir. I have said a Speaker who is not only impartial but who is seen to be impartial, as with the judiciary. That involves a change in the method of choosing the Speaker and of establishing him in his office entirely free from all ties of Party allegiance and from all appearance of Party allegiance. The Speaker might well bc chosen for life - and I hope that is no reflection that will upset you, Sir - subject of course to certain provisos, and appointed to represent a special electorate for which his re-election would be automatic during his Speakership. Something of this kind is found essential in some other Parliaments and with sufficient will it could bc done here. Since no Party newly elected to government could possibly be expected to yield its power and its traditional Australian right to appoint one of its own as Speaker, the change would seemingly need an allParty agreement to operate from a certain date far enough in the future to make certain that the then composition of the government at the time of the change would be unpredictable. T would hope, Mr Speaker, that with this change there would be no repetition of the strong feelings evoked and the wearisome hours spent in debating dissent from your most remarkable ruling that a no-confidence motion did not require a straight yes or no but could be made subject to a sort of 5 bob each way amendment.
-Order! The honourable member knows full well that when speaking on the motion for the adjournment he cannot debate a question upon which the House has made a decision.
– 1 am not going to do so.
– The honourable member cannot debate such a matter or refer to that debate.
– I have, of course, not the slightest intention - it is here in my notes - of canvassing that ruling now, but propose for the consideration of the House that to avoid such a ruling ever being given again the Standing Orders could be amended to ensure that on a no-confidence motion the House must be able, without any alternative, to decide on the floor of the chamber by vote whether the Government is or is not to be ejected from office. lt would then, of course, be the duty of the speaker, as it is now, to interpret that standing order. That would restore the position which always existed in this Parliament until very recent days and would be another step, I believe, towards restoring and maintaining confidence in the effective working of the Parliament. 1 now turn to the guillotining of the National Health Bill through the Committee and third reading stages in the House a couple of days ago and what could be done to prevent a repetition of such a glaring mishandling of the parliamentary process. For here was a most important, most complex and a most detailed piece of legislation, vitally affecting the daily health and indeed the very life of everyone in Australia, men, women and children alike. Members on both sides wanted to propose amendments to various clauses, over 100 of them in total and all of them, I believe, designed by those who sought to make them to improve the working of the national health plan. Whether they would have improved it is now beside the point and I have no intention of debating that. The fact is that the large majority of those proposed amendments were never even considered for a minute, and this, I think, is a vital interest to all those concerned with the working of the parliamentary system and maintaining public respect for it. The fact that this was done, of course, made a farce of the Committee stages of the Bill, ft aroused the frustration and the fury and eventually the contempt, I am afraid, of very many people all over Australia who were and are most keenly interested in national health. Of course, it made puppets, even dummies because they were not allowed to speak, of many members of Parliament sent here by their constituents to endeavour to make this legislation as good as it could be made. 1 speak now as one who considers the Committee stages of a Bill the most important stages with which this Parliament deals and as one who remembers when they were so regarded in this Parliament and who recalls hearing both from the Press Gallery even way back when the Parliament was sitting in Melbourne, and from my seat in this chamber many discussions in this
Committee conducted in a non-party spirit with the government prepared to consider amendments on their merits; discussions conducted, Sir, after the principle and main features of a Bill had properly been decided by vote between’ government and the opposition at the second reading stage. As I say, many discussions in Committee conducted in a non-party spirit resulted in valuable changes, not in the principles or purposes of the Bill so much as in its machinery.
I realise, Sir,that you cannot turn back the clock but I would suggest for the consideration of the House that it might be possible to adopt the machinery whereby, when the Bill is ready to enter the Committee stage, members of the House who are particularly interested in that legislation could meet in a Committee room with the Minister in charge of the bill and with the aid of departmental officers and even with the Parliamentary Draftsman examine in what way the machinery of that Bill could be altered for its improvement without affecting the main purpose for which the Government had introduced the legislation. Such a Committee would return to the Committee as a whole and bring to it its report and recommendations and thus facilitate the proceedings of the Committee as a whole of the House.
– Would Hansard be taking notes?
– No, it would not be my idea that it should because the Committee’s proposals would come back into the House for debate and open discussion with Hansard taking notes of the Committee as a whole. But this would not happen at the stage of the preliminary Committee consideration.
– We would have a well briefed Parliament.
– Yes, that is right. Sir, I meant to mention a couple of other matters but my time is up and I hope that you will allow me to continue this at a later date.
– I want to deal with two matters concerning education that are vital to Victorian people and in particular to country students in that State. The first one I wish to consider is the way in which we are dealing with external studies for country students. At present there is a State election campaign in progress in Victoria and two proposals are being offered as remedies for the chronic inadequacies in the staffing in country schools. The first proposal is the one put forward first in time on behalf of the Australian Labor Party by the Victorian Leader of the Opposition, Mr Clyde Holding. That is the proposal to establish Victoria’s fourth university, which has long been overdue, in a regional centre. This proposal was for a regional university outside the capital city. There is every reason why this should be established. Other States have universities outside of the capital cities. I think that New South Wales has 3 universities outside its capital city and that Queensland has one outside of the capital city. There is every reason why such institutions should be established outside of the capital city in Victoria. That is what the Labor Party proposes to do.
Most importantly Labor’s proposal in Victoria is that it will concentrate upon coordinating adult education, and predominant amongst its tasks will be the provision of external studies. We have seen a gradual dissolution, a gradual winding-up of external courses in Victorian universities. There is almost nothing left at Melbourne’s university. I believe there are about 100 students at that university. This is Labor’s proposal. It is going to expand those facilities so that we can provide our large scale external courses, particularly for country teachers, to give them the qualifications that at present they cannot get without going to the metropolitan area.
I have stressed Labor’s policy in that respect. The Liberal Party in Victoria has come forward with a cheap immitation of Labor’s policy. It has seen just how attractive in country areas Labor’s policy is on a regional university. All that the Liberals have offered to do is this: Provide $100,000 for taking on additional external courses. While the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) is at the table, I would like to ask him whether such a request for assistance from the Commonwealth has been put to him by the Minister for Education in Victoria. The Liberal Party policy starts off with $100,000 - a princely sum no doubt to deal with a problem which has reached disaster proportions in Victoria. What exactly will $100,000 do? I want to emphasise this very strongly: 1 believe this sum of money will not even scratch the surface of the problem. I point out that in New South Wales there are approximately 5,000 external students. In Queensland there are approximately 2,000 external students. However in Victoria there are approximately 100 remnants of the old days when external courses were given on a large scale basis. Just look at those figures and see all that is being provided for Victoria. At present the State has courses for about 100 students whereas another State with a population comparable with that of Victoria provides courses for 5,000 students.
What exactly will the Liberal Party’s proposal do in Victoria? Under the Australian Universities Commission’s thinking an external student should cost, the equivalent of one-half of a full time student. In other words, $600 is the cost of maintaining an external student. Let us divide $600 into what the Liberals in Victoria are offering. I believe that 600 goes into 100,000 about 166 times. In other words, what the Liberal Party of Victoria is offering to solve this massive problem of the shortage of external courses is 166 courses. Incredible! At the present moment Victoria provides only 100 external courses, while New South Wales’ provides 5,000. All the Liberal Party in Victoria can find in its imagination to provide is extra courses for 166 students. That is just incredible.
I want to point out that of all the States in the Commonwealth Victoria is the only State without even a minimal external course. Let us compare New South Wales and Victoria on a population basis. If we have 5,000 external students in New South Wales as well as the vast numbers they have inside the universities, Victoria should be providing courses foi- 4,000 students. So we can see just how significant is the reply of the Liberal Party in Victoria to the problem of providing external courses. I believe that any Victorian government that is worth its salt should come forward and say that it will deal with this problem. We are very concerned about the grave injustices and the inequality of opportunity that affect country students in particular. We must realise that one of the reasons why country students suffer from this inequality of opportunity is that teachers come to country areas quite often because they are forced to under the bonding system. Many of them, unfortunately for country areas, would not come there quite voluntarily, and many of them later leave the country areas for the metropolitan area purely and simply because they cannot get further qualifications in the regions in which they are living. They have to come down to the metropolis. So we can see just how insignificant is the reply of the Victorian Liberal Party to that problem.
The Labor Party policy is to provide a fourth university in a regional area. The task of this university ‘will be to provide externa) courses on a large scale. We should be able to deal with this problem in Victoria in the same way as it is being dealt with in New South Wales. We should be able to provide, say, 3,000 to 5,000 externa] courses for university students. Incidentally, what is the reason why these additional courses are being provided in Victoria? The only reason why they are being provided is that, after years of allowing external courses to fold up in Victoria, the Liberal Party has suddenly realised how attractive Labor’s proposal is. In order to con a few votes in the countryside the Liberal Party is now offering an extra 166 external courses. That will bring the grand total of external courses in Victoria up to 266 compared with 5,000 in New South Wales.
There is one last point I want to deal with: I asked a question of the Minister for Education and Science last week concerning the very distinct likelihood that fees in colleges of advanced education and universities in Victoria would rise next year.’ I would point out at this stage - I am making this statement on the basis of what has happened in other States - that in the other 5 States of Australia the fees at universities and colleges of advanced education have been rising. I am prepared to guarantee at this moment that this is exactly what will happen in Victoria if Sir Henry Bolte gets back into power. What has happened in other States this year? New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia have raised fees at their universities by 20%. Western Australia has raised university fees by 7%. Tasmania has raised them bv 12%. Sticking out like a sore toe is the State of Victoria. Victoria, for some strange reason, has not raised fees. Is this because Sir Henry Bolte believes in free education or cheap education? Does he want to remove the inequalities in education? Not likely. He has an election to face this year. This is why moves to increase fees are being stalled.
The reply the Minister for Education and Science gave me last week was very interesting. I asked him why Victoria had not raised fees. Naturally, being a representative of the Liberal Government in Canberra, the Minister for Education and Science was not going to say that Sir Henry Bolte has not raised them for the very simple, shrewd opportunist reason that he has an election to face. The answer was an evasive one but what the Minister for Education and Science did say in reply was interesting. He said virtually that every State government, under the existing financial arrangements between the State and Commonwealth governments, has a vested interest in raising university fees and college of advanced education fees. These are the words he used in answer to my question last Friday:
To this extent it might be said that the States have some interest in the level of fees because it follows that the higher the revenue from fees the smaller is the direct contribution from the States.
In other words, any State which does not raise its fees is a fool. It has less money to pay towards the cost of the universities and colleges of advanced education and it can get that recouped by the Commonwealth, anyway. Now, what has happened in the field of colleges of advanced education? Increases in this year should be noted. In the New South Wales Institute of Technology there has been an overall increase of up to 50%; in the Tasmanian Advanced College of Education, an increase of 10%; in the South Australian Institute of Technology, a 20% increase; and in the Western Australian Institute of Technology, an increase of up to 50%. Why has not Victoria raised its fees? Is it because Sir Henry Bolte believes in cheap education? Does he want to cut down the costs of education? Not likely. It is an election year. If Sir Henry gets back, up will go those fees. He will try to bring those fees into line with the fees as they are in other States after being raised. Those are the 2 points I want to bring out tonight, but most importantly I want to stress just how useless, how inadequate and how hopeless is what the Liberal Party in Victoria is offering in the way of external courses - an increase of 166 external courses.
Mr N. H. BOWEN (Parramatta - Minister for Education and Science) - by leave - I want to make 2 brief points as the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) was dealing with matters of education. The first is that before the honourable member makes this type of speech appropriate to a soapbox in a State election campaign he should get his facts correct. The facts are, of course, that the Commonwealth has offered massive aid to the 3 Melbourne universities for external courses and I myself have had some discussions on this subject with them. There has been some response from Monash University. I can assure the honourable member that it is not a lack of money in this area, but a lack of will on the part of the universities to undertake external courses. The universities do not want to do it, and I do not know whether the honourable member realises that universities are autonomous bodies or whether he has the view that if Labor was in power that they would cease to be autonomous. But I think he should understand the position and if he is worried about external studies let him have a talk with the universities and see why they are not taking up the money to use for those courses.
The second thingI would say without going into the matter of the policy speech is to call the attention of honourable members to the reports which have been appearing in the Press of the policy on education stated by the Victorian Executive of the Australian Labor Party, of the ultimate reduction and phasing out of aid to independent schools. This is not only paying scant regard to a very substantial section of Australians–
– I rise to order. I thought that the Minister asked for leave to make a statement in answer to the speech made by the honourable member for Bendigo. He is going right away from that. He is introducing new matters altogether. He is breaking an arrangement.
-The Minister was given leave and the Minister will continue.
– The honourable member for Bendigo wanted to discuss the policy stated in the State election campaign and the ultimate reduction and phasing out of aid to independent schools is part of that policy as far as the State Australian Labor Party Executive is concerned. This not only pays scant regard to a very substantial section of the Australian public who, after all, are trying to exercise their right to send . children to independent schools and who pay their taxes, but more than that it will obviously place a very great financial burden on the State school system. Either improvements will not be made which ought to be made because the moneys have to go in order to cope with the problem that is created for the Government schools by this or some other question of need will have to be foregone.
– I rise to order. This is disgraceful. We gave leave to the Minister to answer the questions that we raised on this subject. 6 want the answers to the questions that I raised, not the questions he is suddenly introducing out of the blue.
-Order! Leave has been given to the Minister to make a statement and he is in order as long as his remarks are relevant to the question.
-I have nothing further to say.
– I rise this evening to bring to the attention of the House an event which is of some significance in view of what has been happening in England over the past few weeks. There has not been one Australian newspaper of note that has not in the past 15 or 21 days contained headlines such as Government acts on cricket tour’. I am referring to threats to cancel the English cricket tour by the South Africans. This subject has been -hotly debated in England. Probably it is the most contentious issue being discussed there at this time. I think this matter is significant because of prospective tours of Australia by South African teams in the near future. I refer to the proposed tour by the Springboks in 1971 and the South African cricketers in the season 1971-72.
T do not think there is any need for me to remind the House of my interest in and opposition to apartheid. I am sure all honourable members are aware of it by now. I mention this matter tonight because of an interview on this subject I had last night. A report of the interview was distributed to the Press gallery last night. This morning it was published intact on the centre page of the ‘Australian’. It was an interview with 4 members of last year’s Wallaby team - Bruce Taafe. Jim Roxburgh, Paul Darveniza and Barry McDonald.
I shall give a bit of information about the background of these 4 nien. They are not known for their radical views on politics. I understand they have never yet become involved in politics. They come from backgrounds that probably are more akin to those of honourable members on the Government side of the chamber than to members of the Opposition, f believe that three of them went to Cranbrook College and the other went to The Kings School. The significant thing is that, having gone to South Africa without any political views about apartheid, they have on their return made a stand which probably has never before been made in Australian sporting circles. They have stated that they will not now or in the future play sport against South Africa. The report of this interview was distributed to all other newspapers. Some saw fit to write it up. The ‘Canberra Times’ gave it a good run and I or 2 other newspapers gave it a small paragraph.
I am afriad that unless Australian sporting officials face up to the question of future visits to Australia by South African sporting teams we will have the same sort of controversy raging here next year. That is why 1 am glad this interview took place - so that people may examine this question now and we will not have threats of violence and of disrupting cricket and football matches when they are about to take place. There ought to be public debate and discussion now about whether we want South Africans visiting Australia in a sporting capacity and not 3 weeks before a tour commences. I am sure honourable members are aware that in recent months or years South Africa has been expelled from the Davis Cup, the Olympic Games, world boxing, basketball, soccer, fencing, volley ball, judo, weight lifting and table tennis. Cricket and rugby are now the only 2 sports played on an international basis with South Africa.
I had invited the honourable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes) to attend the interview last night, as he has been an opponent of my attitude on this question.
– What about the honourable member for Boothby.
– The honourable member for Boothby has not made any statement on the question of multi-racial sports, so 1 see no reason for having a shot at him.
– Why not?
– If the honourable member wants to be in it then I will be quite happy to have him brought in. I wilt say that the honourable member for Chisholm has been consistent in his attitude that we should not mix politics with sport. He has applied the same rule to Communist countries that he has to South Africa. I hope that what I have to say and the quotations I present will illustrate that this attitude is wrong. First I will quote what Bruce Taafe said when asked about his attitude to apartheid after being selected for the tour. He said:
As far as 1 was concerned we had been selected to play sport, and politics just didn’t come into it. Before we left, the South African Embassy sent me a wad of tourist literature which was pretty impressive and made me feel that apartheid was a workable policy.
Barry Macdonalds reply, when questioned about an appeal by the Students Representative Council to withdraw, was:
It’s no secret that Anthony Abrahams had a few qualms - he had studied the subject pretty carefully. But he decided against pulling out - which would have been pointless without support from other team members. At that stage I had no idea bow unjust Apartheid is and the Australian Rugby officials had warned us against discussing it during the tour.
Bruce Taafe’s remarks, when requested to give specific instances of apartheid, were:
My worst experience in the early day? of the tour was a walk through Sharpeville with the local police chief. What came out was his utter contempt for blacks. 1 disliked the way he tossed a few coins into huddles of cowering natives, and stood back as they fought among themselves for possession of them. I was amazed that he really thought this would entertain us, by demonstrating the natives’ humility.
All 4 then illustrated their disgust with the way Africans were treated at the grounds the team played at - -including the worst positions on the ground and an incident where, after the Australians took the lead in an exciting match, the blacks, roaring with excitement, edged on to the ground. Jim Roxburgh said this:
That was the signal for the police waggons to arrive, and for police to club several Africans. Police with alsatians patrolled the black sections for the rest of the match.
Probably the most damning part of the transcript is that part where Paul Darveniza describes his friendship with an Indian girl and a visit to her home. On returning to Cape Town he was handed a message, through the team management, that stated that his activities in relation to this girl had not passed unnoticed. The team manager carpeted him and told him that this sort of thing was to cease forthwith otherwise there would be a lot of trouble. The inference was that the South African secret police bad followed him, reported to the Government, from there to the South African Rugby Union Board and from there to the Australian team manager who thought-
– Where did this happen?
– Mr Speaker, would you ask the honourable gentleman to be quiet? He has not stopped interjecting ail the time I have been speaking.
-Order! I have already asked honourable members not to interject.
– The team manager thought that it was a shocking thing to happen in a civilised country but was forced to warn Dr Darveniza for the welfare of the team as a whole. There was also a continual harassment by the police of Tony Abrahams. Jim Roxburgh gave the lie to those who cry that you should not mix sport with politics. He said:
Everywhere we went we were given civic receptions, and each time the local mayor would remark how South Africa and Australia were 2 great countries with so much in common, and how alike our ideas and policies were.
There is no doubt at all that South African officials made use of the tour on this propaganda level, and of course the infuriating thing was that we had lo stand mum. We were guests in the country, accepting its hospitality, so our tongues were tied.
As time is running out I want to conclude by mentioning one incident that makes me very proud of our. Austral ian team. It gives me great faith in humanity and in the basic decency of Australians. Jim Roxburgh said:
We went on a coach tour of Sharpeville, and after driving through’ native slums the bus pulled up outside a couple of much better, European-style homes, probably given to influential Bantus and used as display pieces for tourists. The officials hopped out, and the idea was that we should just walk right through their homes, without asking their owners’ permission. Well, out of 28 blokes on that bus, ib sat tight. We just were not going to degrade the occupants by barging through their home.
I am proud of these 4 men and the fifth, Tony Abrahams, who did not take part in the interview because he was in England. I think that the Australian sporting officials have to face up to this fact now and heed the warning bells that are sounding in England. If we do not, we will be faced with disruption. I will regret that because I am a lover of both rugby and cricket and a continual attender at games. I do not agree with the policy of spoiling cricket matches, but I am not sure that everybody else in Australia feels the same way.
– I wish to raise the question of the Chowilla and Dartmouth dams and to make an analysis of where the Liberal Party members in South Australia stand on the issue and particularly where Country Party members stand. There is no doubt where members of the Liberal Party stand on this issue but there is certainly some confusion as far as the Liberal Party, members in South Australia are concerned. In a recent grievance debate the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) in his concluding remarks had this to say:
But any party that tries to play ducks and drakes on a matte, so important as water is to South Australia deserves the censure it will unquestionably get at die State election to be held soon.
The honourable member was looking for the adjective ‘capricious’. It means: ‘guided by whim’, ‘inconsistent* or ‘irregular’.
When the diversion of the headwaters of the Murray into the Mumimbidgee took place Sir Thomas Playford, a Liberal Premier of South Australia, challenged this and as a result of that was able to extract from the then Commonwealth Government in compensation for the diversion of that water an undertaking that the Chowilla dam would be built in South Australia. Subsequently the Chowilla project was ratified by the 3 States and the Commonwealth in 1964. If the word ‘capricious’ means anything at all it cannot be used to describe the attitude of the Labor Party in South Australia. If cannot be applied to S>r Thomas Playford. Much as I regret to say it, it cannot be applied to the independent Speaker in the South Australian Parliament, Mr Stott. If anything, one thing above all that can be said of the Labor Party, Sir Thomas Playford and the Independent Speaker in South Australia is that they have been consistent in trying to safeguard the welfare of South Australia by insisting on the Chowilla dam.
If the honourable member for Angas wants to accuse any political party of acting purely from political caprice it should be the Liberal Government in South Australia and in the Commonwealth. Let us look at the confusion that exists amongst the Liberal members from South Australia. The honourable member for Angas had this to say on the question of Chowilla:
Is it possible that Chowilla will be built. Tt is to my interest ultimately that it should be. It is something for which I will fight on behalf of my electorate when I see any possibility.
When the Bill was before the House the honourable member for Angas gave no indication thai he would attempt to amend the River Murray Waters Agreement to ensure that Chowilla would be built. Let us look at the position of the Country Party. If one looks at copies of Hansard of 8th and 9th April 1970 one will see that the only Country Party member who passed any observations at all on the question was the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull). In my speech at that time I said:
What I find singularly odd is that in a press statement early last December the Australian Country Party’s Federal Council adopted the South Australian motion calling for a close study of the case for building the Dartmouth and Chowilla Dams at the same time. I wonder what decision the Country Party members in this chamber will make on both of these Bills.
As I understand it, the honourable member for Mallee was speaking for the Country Party when he said:
I am not saying when I will build it or when the Government will build it. … I might even support the building of Chowilla at a later stage.
He said that it was not correct that the Federal Council of the Country Party had agreed to build Chowilla and Dartmouth together. They agreed to consider investigating the possibility. That was precisely the recommendation implicit in the amendment that the Labor Party moved in the second reading debate.
– Is that from Hansard?
– Yes. He further said: i spoke against the Chowilla Dam being built . . .
Let us not give up the hope of Chowilla being built.
Then he said: i say to honourable members opposite: Do not forget about Chowilla; keep it in mind, and every time you get the chance say something about it.
What are we faced with -today? We are faced with a mountain of confusion. This is what the honourable member for Mallee, speaking on behalf of the Country Party, said: ‘I am not saying I would build Chowilla. I might even support it. 1 spoke against its being built.’ Surely this is incoherent to anybody who tries to analyse it. Now, one of the reasons why I rose to speak tonight is that the honourable member for Mallee has challenged my colleague, the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby), to stand on the banks of the River Murray and, as I understand it, to confront him, perhaps with the support of Government Ministers, on the subject of wheat. But now apparently the honourable member for Mallee is going to wriggle out of that and deal with the question of Chowilla. I think it is about time that he found some courage en -the issue and said one way or the other where the Country Party stands on the question of Chowilla.
– And on wheat.
– And on wheat, in particular. His Part>> is a part of the Government which has failed the Australian people. There arc no two ways about that. What has to be understood is that 10 years work has been done on Chowilla and $6m has been spent on it. Where is the next storage to be on the River Murray? As I understand it, if the computer analysis is of any assistance at all, undoubtedly it will be at Chowilla.
As regards the question of confusion as to where the next storage will be on the
River Murray, as I said in my speech on 8th April, there is no doubt in the minds of the independent member in South Australia, Mr Stott. After a complete analysis of the waters of the upper river, apart from the dominated councils along the river, the growers throughout the upper river area are supporting the simultaneous construction of both the Chowilla and Dartmouth dams.
– They are not doing that in the Mallee.
– 1 am not interested in the Mallee at the moment. In the few moments that I have left at my disposal 1 want to indicate what the honourable member for Angas has failed to inform the House. It is my belief that the Liberal Party in South Australia, which has had no right to govern since 1968, has used the question of Chowilla and Dartmouth as an excuse to hold an election at this point of time, rather than holding an election in March of next year. There are 4 basic reasons for this, and they are sound reasons. The first is that the Government in South Australia knows full well that this year’s Budget will not be very acceptable to the Australian people. The second reason is that the ramifications of the Budget will have adverse economic effects on the people of South Australia. The third reason is - and there are no 2 ways about it - that primary industries are in one complete mess because of the ineptitude of this Government for a period of 20 years. This will have an adverse effect on the electors’ votes in the country areas of South Australia, if the State election is left until March of next year. The fourth reason why the Government in South Australia is to hold an election at this point of time-and I raise this matter for those people who are not aware of it - is that we have the greatest electoral gerrymander and it is associated with the Upper House in South Australia. It is a national disgrace. The Government in South Australia knows full well that, if it goes to the polls at this point of time, the Upper House is not forced to go to the polls. That House has not faced the electors for 81 years. I believe that these are the basic reasons why the Liberal Government in South Australia has decided to go to the polls at this time.
– I will not take more than a couple of minutes to point out one or two facts in case the Opposition is confused by its own political position. But before 1 deal with Chowilla, I point out to the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) that he should read something about constitutional government. He should realise that when a Party wins a number of seats and can govern, that is the constitutional position. It is no use getting blinded with science about the loss of percentages. The Labor Party’s own former leader, Arthur Calwell, put the Labor Party, federally, in exactly this position. The Australian Labor Party wasted votes in areas like Port Melbourne and elsewhere, and well honourable members opposite know it, to the point at which if an election was held tomorrow in this nation, it would take the Australian Labor Party marginally more figures as a percentage to form the Government than it would us. This is the fault of the Party of honourable members opposite, as they well know.
Mr Speaker, I rose purely to make 1 or 2 remarks on the matter of the Chowilla Dam. Over and over again, the Opposition, seeking a new image, an intelligent image, has proved itself quite incapable of understanding quite simple mathematical facts. I know that some honourable members opposite have tried very hard and I know that others have kept very quiet. But the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) tonight has not. He has seen fit to show some courage for a change by tackling this matter of Dartmouth and Chowilla.
The first point that the Opposition misses is that it does not understand what yield is. The second point that honourable members opposite miss is that they will not comprehend the necessity for flow in a river or what happens downstream from a dam if, for a period, the river does not flow. The third thing that they do not understand is very simple. Chowilla Dam was to be constructed to produce 1.254 million acre feet to cut out the years of low yield. It would never quite do this on the old mathematics. According to the new mathematics - I would invite people who want to take an intelligent interest in the matter to have a good look at these figures - Dartmouth will cut out in years of poor yield, not at 1.254 million acre feet but at 1.5 million acre feet. Any member of Parliament, in any Party at all, who wants to look after the interests not only of his own State but also of the other States involved in the Agreement could not but come down on the side of the fact that the Dartmouth Dam must be built.
If it is built and if Chowilla Dam, with a stroke of the wand, could appear immediately afterwards, the increase in yield would be .23 million acre feet to .24 million acre feet to the total system. What dictates the How of water to South Australia is its entitlement. It is because of the action of the South Australian Labor Opposition and the action of the Independent member in the South Australia Parliament that South Australia’s entitlement has fallen from 1.5 million acre feet - that is what it would have received had the legislation been passed and the Agreement ratified - to where it has been since 1915. I cannot imagine a more reprehensible, dishonest attempt at vote catching on cheap political grounds.
I think that the Premier of South Australia was quite right to go to the people in that State when he was defeated on the floor of the House and not by the people of South Australia. Now, it is well known that South Australia has twice as many city seats and 23% fewer country ones for the first time. It may well be - I do not know - that Mr Hall will not be able to take the reins of government again. But he will give South Australia a big shake-up in terms of past votes - a vote that will put the seat of Adelaide, federally, in dire jeopardy for the Australia Labor Party. It will be a vote which will have the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) not puffing out his chest or looking quite so pleased as he does now because Mr Hall is right. This is the point that people who are prepared to think are slowly starting to comprehend. That is all that I wish to say.
– Mr Speaker, it is obvious that the honourable member for Angas (Mr Giles) has been whistling in the dark and hoping that if he talks long enough he may be able to convince himself, but certainly not the people of South Australia, that Hall will be re-elected. The matter to which I wish to refer tonight is the recent fire at the Whyalla shipyards when the ‘Amanda
Miller’, a tanker which was well under construction, was almost totally destroyed. This fire broke out on 18th April 1970. On 22nd April, on the adjournment debate here, I asked a number of questions of the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair). These were questions to which I considered at that time, without having inspected the ship, it was necessary for the Minister to provide honourable members in this place with answers. In reply to me the Minister said: i have not made a statement to the House, but
I intend to make a statement when 1 have the facts before me which I believe the House should have at its command.
Although that statement was made by the Minister for Shipping and Transport on 22nd April it is now 2 1st May - almost a month later - and no statement has been presented to the Parliament on what happened at Whyalla where in the vicinity of $2m of Commonwealth money, involved by way of subsidy, was lost because of a fire. On 8th MayI placed on the notice paper 3 questions, Nos 969, 970 and 971. If the Minister does not know the answer to the questions now I will give him the answer. If the Minister is being correctly advised on what happened and what is happening in connection with that unfortunate event he should be able to answer these 3 questions. The first question was made up of 6 parts, the second was made up of 8 parts and the third was made up of 6 parts. If the Minister has been correctly advised he should have been able to answer them long before now. But, as I said a moment ago, if he docs not know the answers I will give them to him. In this way we might be able to have some of these questions removed from the notice paper.
The most important part of this matter is that on 22nd April in reply to me in the adjournment debate the Minister gave an undertaking that he would make a statement to the Parliament on what happened on that occasion, but here it is a month to the day later and we have had no reply. I am pleased that the Minister is in the chamber. I gave him notice thatI would be making a statement tonight which would concern him. I hope that he can give some information as to when he will make a statement on the lire that occurred on 18th
April and, most important, about when he proposes to answer the 3 questions which are of vital concern and in which many people are interested.
I notice that the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) in this place, is present. He is aware of what I want to speak about soI shall deal with the matter that concerns him.In reply to question No. 644 on 12th May the Minister answered some questions which I had put on notice dealing with the breaking of the11 p.m. curfew at Sydney Airport and Melbourne Airport. With regard to Sydney Airport the Minister advised me that between 1st April 1969 and 3 1 st March 1970 there were 350 movements by jet aircraft during the curfew period from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., that of this total 178 were special flights arranged to meet the heavy traffic demands of holiday periods such as Christmas. New Year, Easter and other school holidays, and that the remaining 172 were scheduled services delayed unavoidably by adverse weather.
I accept the explanation for the 172 aircraft which were delayed because of adverse weather which probably caused a bad connection with flights coming in from other cities. These are circumstances which we can all appreciate. I do not think any of us would like to see people delayed unnecessarily because of adverse weather or because of the late arrival of an aircraft. So I accept the explanation regarding the 172 aircraft which broke the curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. In the case of the 178 aircraft which broke the curfew during that 12 months the explanation is not acceptable to me. I know that the explanation is not acceptable to any honourable member on this side of the House whose electorate is involved with the problem of aircraft noise. It is time for the Department of Civil Aviation, and particularly the Minister for Civil Aviation who apparently has granted permission for these flights, to review the policy and not allow airlines to operate in curfew hours.
So far as Melbourne is concerned, the answer discloses that in the period from 1st May 1969 there were 69 movements of which the Minister approved involving regular transport aircraft.
This information shows that over a period of 20 days during the Christmas holidays there were 44 movements consisting of 16 departures and 28 arrivals. During Easter 1970 there were 36 movements, consisting of 14 departures and 22 arrivals over a 6-day period. During the AugustSeptember school holidays there were 1 1 movements, consisting of 3 departures and 8 arrivals. All these figures relate to Melbourne. So the same thing applies there.
The Department should not approve of scheduled flights such as these. On another occasion Ansett Airlines of Australia applied for, and was granted, permission for a Boeing 727 t» leave Sydney at 1.07 a.m. The purpose of this flight was to take a computer to Melbourne which had been ordered by the Melbourne Stock Exchange. Here was a case where the Department should not have granted permission for this machine to be transported by aircraft from Sydney to Melbourne in the curfew hours. It is obvious that even though the Government gives lip service to doing something about aircraft noise, in reality it is doing nothing. One thing that is obvious is that the airlines today have insufficient aircraft. There are numerous cases where aircraft passengers are unnecessarily delayed. I saw 2 instances just recently. On 30th April I was booked to travel from Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide on the 2.15 p.m. flight out of Sydney. Everyone was on board the aircraft. The motors were started up and we thought we were on our way. Then all of a sudden the motors were cut out and we were tipped off because there had been an hydraulic fault in the aircraft. That meant that instead of getting out of Sydney at 2.15 p.m. in fact I got out at 7.15 p.m. This was because the aircraft on which I was to have travelled to Melbourne at 2.15 p.m., if I was to make the connection to Adelaide from Melbourne, was unable to make the connection. So I had to sit around twiddling my thumbs until 7.15 p.m. A number of other people were unfortunate to be in the same position as myself.
We saw an incident, in my opinion of maladministration on the part of TransAustralia Airlines. On Tuesday, 19th May, flight 421 which usually leaves Sydney at 8.30 a.m. was ready to depart. We sat there until about 8.55 a.m. when we were suddently advised that because flight 499 from Newcastle was not able to make the connection, which would be flight 499 to Canberra, it had been decided to transfer all the passengers in Sydney who were booked from Sydney to Canberra onto flight 421. I am not objecting to this. It is something that they should do more often. But the fact of the matter is that the TAA people in Sydney knew that the flight from Sydney to Newcastle that morning would not be able to land because Newcastle was fog-bound. I was fortunate enough to get out on a Masling aircraft. They knew that the Friendship, flight 499, would not be available, and while they were making up their minds what to do the aircraft was still circling around over Williamtown, Newcastle, waiting to land. There should be people there who aTe able to make decisions on the spot.
In relation to the shortage of aircraft - and it is obvious that there is a shortage of aircraft - until such time as additional DC9 and Boeing 727 aircraft become available to supplement planes already in service, the airlines should be giving consideration, if necessary, to chartering aircraft from overseas so as to ensure that the curfew hours will not be broken during holiday periods. This would also ensure that when an aircraft is unserviceable at least there will be another aircraft to replace it. I hope that the Minister and the Department of Civil Aviation through TAA will give serious consideration to rectifying this anomaly.
-Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.
– The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has referred to a number of questions outstanding on the notice paper. These relate to the circumstances of the fire which occurred at the Whyalla shipbuilding yard. An inquiry has been conducted by my department and there is also an inquiry, as yet incomplete, being conducted by the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. I can easily answer the questions to which the honourable gentleman refers. However, I intend to try to cover the whole circumstances, not only of the fire but also of the general effect that this will have on future shipbuilding programmes in Whyalla. This seems to me to be of major importance. There has been a decision by the
South Australian Government not to conduct a coroner’s inquiry, which would be the normal form of legal inquiry. This indicates that from its preliminary assessment there has been no criminal negligence on the part of anyone involved. It is also an indication that the retrospective inquiry is not as significant as the prospective one. However, I will undertake to make a statement in this House on the matter as soon as I can.
– The honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has raised a number of matters relating to civil aviation. I will see that those matters are referred to my colleague in another place and a reply obtained for the honourable member.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Howse adjourned at 11.56 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
NOTE - Thisfigure includes freighter services and special flights.
NOTE - This question has been interpreted to mean regular public transport ser vices normally scheduled to depart before midnight which actually took off between midnight and 6 a.m. because of re-scheduling or delay in departure. The figures quoted exclude special, charter and normal freighter services. Special’ flights are not classified as regular services. The last two categories of flight are not operated by jet aircraft and their operations are not restricted in the night and early morning hours.
Papua and New Guinea: Native Members of the Forces Regulations (Question No. 729)
asked the Minister for
External Territories, upon notice:
How many claims have been met, and how many are still -
anticipated under the Native Members of the Forces (Papua and New Guinea) Benefits Regulations.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Universities: New Students (Question No. 750)
asked the Minister for
Education and Science, upon notice:
Can he now give information on the (a) number and (b) percentage of new (i) male and (it) female university students in each State and Territory for 1967, 1968 and 1969 (Hansard, 26th September 1969, page 2116).
– I had already sent written advice to the honourable member when his question appeared on the notice paper. The answer to the question is as follows:
The Commonwealth Statistician altered his definition of ‘new’ students in 1968. This change affects the count of new post-graduate students in particular, in 1968 and 1969. The attached table therefore shows the number of new bachelor degree students by sex, for the years 1967 to 1969.
Public Service: Superannuation (Question No. 602)
MrHayden asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
Does the Government conduct periodic reviews of superannuation for retired Commonwealth Public Service members.
If so, is a review based on a concept of a notional salary adjustment as it affects superannuation units of retired Commonwealth Public Service members.
Has there been a substantial movement of salaries in the Commonwealth Public Service since the last review in 1967; if so, can he give some indication of the magnitude of that movement.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
United Nations Charter: Review (Question No. 985)
asked the Minister for
Externa! Affairs, upon notice:
What arguments did Ghana, Australia or others give in support of Ghana’s amendment to the United Nations Charter review resolution referred to in the answer to my question No. 722 (Hansard, 5th May 1970, page 1652).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Views expressed by delegations to the United Nations General Assembly on a Ghanaian amendment to a resolution on the subject of a review of the Charter of the United Nations (resolution 2552(XXIV)) are in documents A/C. 6 ‘SR. 1174 and 1175, which are available in the Parliamentary Library.
United Nations Charter: Review (Question No. 984)
asked the Minister for
External Affairs, uponnotice:
Will the Government:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Government would welcome serious and informed public discussion of suggestions for a review of the United Nations Charter. United Nations documentspertaining to proposals for Charter review will be made available in the Parliamentary Library and the National Library as soon as they are received from New York.
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answers to the honourable members questions are as follows:
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
Will he consider approaches to the major English-speaking countries to ask for their support in principle for a treaty to set up an international commission to advise on approved changes in English spelling conventions and usage and which will take into account (a) the evolving nature of language, (b) the relative fixity of spelling, (c) the emergence of dialects in India attributable in part to confusion due to outdated spellings, (d) the discovery that illogical spelling is the major cause of dyslexia and costs English-speaking scholars one to two years schooling time as compared wilh scholars speaking most alphabetised languages and (e) the publication in 1969 of the first comprehensive but gradual phonetic reform possible by Lindgren.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
This is a matter which will require extensive consultations both in Australia and abroad. When these have been completed I will be in a position to give a complete reply to the question.
asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
These figures are for bilateral aid and do not include benefits to Fiji from multilateral programmes !o which Australia contributes.
asked the Minister for National Development, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Following the tenth meeting of the Council in Darwin on 7th September 1969, a press statement was issued on behalf of the Council by my predecessor as Chairman, and this indicates the important matters discussed. A copy of this press statement is being made available to the honouable member.
asked the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice;
What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of the Forestry Council in Hobart in October for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
As was advised the. honourable member in reply to a similar question last year, the Australian Forestry Council is an advisory and consultative body of Commonwealth and State Ministers and public pronouncements are not necessarily made on all matters that are discussed.
Following the eighth meeting of the Council In Hobart on 3 1st October 1969, a press statement was issued on behalf of the Council by my predecessor as Chairman, and this indicates the important matters discussed. A copy of this press statement is being made available to the honourable member.
asked the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:
What requests or suggestions were made at the meeting of die Minerals Council in September for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The Australian Minerals Council is an advisory and consultative body of Commonwealth and State Ministers. Public pronouncements are not necessarily made oil ail matters that are discussed by the Minerals Council.
However a press statement was issued after the September, 1969, meeting of the Council which had been called to discuss the question of legislation to govern exploration for and exploitation of off-shore minerals other than petroleum.
I am arranging for a copy of the press statement to be made available to the honourable member. As announced in the press statement, State Ministers made known their belief that a scheme similar in broad outline to the off-shore petroleum arrangement should be adopted in relation to minerals other than petroleum. The press statement records that the Commonwealth Ministers present agreed that they would refer the State proposals to the Federal Cabinet for consideration.
Shipping: M.V. ‘Slott’ (Question No. 979)
asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The agents were acquainted with the rates of pay offered to the crew of the M.V. ‘Slott’ and understood that food, accommodation, and other issues were also to be provided. Living conditions were considered satisfactory by labour and marine officials before the articles of employment were signed.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: (1), (2), (3) and (4) A member of the Victorian Housing Commission was asked by my predecessor as Minister for the Interior to provide advice on economic and efficient housing administration in the Australian Capital Territory. No report was requested by or made to my Department and the Department therefore has no report to publish. As a consequence of the advice tendered by the member of the Victorian Housing Commission an Interdepartmental Committee is at present examining the best ways and means by which the government housing function can be economically and efficiently administered in the Australian Capital Territory.
Australian Capital Territory: Housing Finance (Question No. 738)
asked the Minister for the
Interior, upon notice:
Will he bring up to date the answers which he gave the late honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory on 29th May 1969 (Hansard, pages 2575 and 2576) on deposits, mortgage payments and rents received by the Commonwealth in the Australian Capital Territory.
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
What has been the (a) date and (b) extent of the increases in the price and rent of government houses in Canberra in the last 20 years as a result of successive increases in bond and bank interest rales in that period.
– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:
Prior to September 1961 rents of Government dwellings in the Australian Capital Territory were calculated without reference to either the bond or bank interest rates.
From 1st September 1961 rents have been calculated on a rental formula which includes components for capital and operating costs.
Capital cost is calculated by amortising the construction cost of a dwelling over 53 years at an interest rate which is 1% less than the long-term bond rate operating at the time of the dwelling’s construction.
This is a similar procedure to that adopted under the Commonwealth and States Housing Agreements.
The following interest rates have been applied to amortisation of capital costs:
As a guide to the effect on weekly rent of fluctuations in the interest rate, a charge of 0.5% on each$1, 000 of construction cost would vary rent by $0.06 a week.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
There are two separate Commonwealth housing assistance schemes.
The Commissioner for Housing Loans Scheme
(a) The maximum loan amount under the Commissioner for Housing Loan Scheme in 1950 was $4,000.
Timber house 25 years.
On 19th May 1955 the scheme was amended to provide that the Commissioner may lend 95% of the Commissioner’s valuation where the valuation does not exceed $4,000 and where the valuation exceeds $4,000 the Commissioner may lend 95% of the first $4,000 and 90% of the balance up to a maximum of $5,500. These conditions have remained constant and subsequent amendments have increased the maximum loan to $8,000.
Sale of houses to tenants
(a) The maximum mortgage amount in 1950 was $4,000.
Timber or fibro house 25 years.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Transfers from one form of government housing in the Australian Capital Territory to another.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
What action and studies have been undertaken pursuant to the further development of investigations suggested in the report by his predecessor in May 1967 on self-government for the Australian Capital Territory.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Since the tabling in Parliament of the paper Self-Government for the Australian Capital Territory - a Preliminary Assessment’ by my predecessor in May 1967, my Department has continued further investigations into matters associated wilh self-government for the Territory.
In 1968 the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council initiated an inquiry into selfgovernment, for which I made available two officers. The Council however has not proceeded to finality in the inquiry.
Over the last couple of years a major study has been made of municipal accounting and its possible application to Canberra. This has been a long and detailed task which will culminate in the publication this year of the municipal accounts for Canberra.
Other aspects of possible forms of selfgovernment in Canberra have been under study and these studies are continuing.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able members question is as follows:
At (hal time the waiting time for a one-bedroom flat was 62 months and for a bed sittingroom flat 53 months. These times have since increased to 67 months and 59 months respectively. The suspension will remain until the wailing times are considerably reduced. Ii is not possible at this stage to forecast how long this will be.
Australian Capital Territory: SelfGovernment (Question No. 748)
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for National Development the following question, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
What proposals have been made and what decisions have been taken with respect to the parkway system for the southern part of the Australian Capital Territory.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The National Capital Development Commission has made preliminary investigations into an extension of the proposed Molonglo River Park system, to follow the Mumimbidgee River. The N.C.D.C. has made preliminary investigations into the provision of scenic driveways to link the proposed extended park system.
The honourable the Leader of the Opposition will be aware that an area of 11,500 acres has been set aside and is being developed as a nature reserve in the Tidbinbilla Valley, which lies in the southern portion of the Australian Capital Territory.
The Department of the Interior at present has under consideration the establishment of a wilderness park in the Naas-Gudgenby catchment, sometimes known as the Mount Kelly area.
These various proposals, when developed, would provide a series of major park areas which would be linked by roads running into the southern part of the Australian Capital Territory.
asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
– The answerto the honourable member’ s question is as follows:
(a) Successive Ministers forthe Interior have exercised authority under the A.C.T. Public Parks Ordinance 1928- 1956 to declare unleased land to be a public park or recreation reserve on the following occasions: 25th October 1961 - declaration of 12 public parks. 1st December 1961 - declaration of 5 public parks or recreation reserves. 9th October 1962 - declaration of 16 public parks or recreation reserves. 12th October 1963- declaration of 17 public parks or recreation reserves. 1 0th May 1968- declaration of 13 public parks or recreation reserves.
Australian Capital Territory: Reserves (Question No. 833)
asked the Minister for the
Interior, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Careless Use of Fire Ordinance 1936-1959
Roads and Public Places Ordinance 1937-1959
Mining Ordinance 1930-1959
Animals and Bird Protection Ordinance 1918- 1959
Wildflower and Native Plants Protection Ordinance 1936
Timber Protection Ordinance 1919-1967
Protection of Lands Ordinance 1937-1959
Public Baths and Public Bathing Ordinance 1956-1959
Fish Protection Ordinance 1964
Gun Licence Ordinance 1937-1964.
There was correspondence and submissions to previous Ministers and to my Department dating from August 1963.
The matters raised by the Association have been considered and there have been discussions between representatives of the Association and officers of my Department and the National Capital Development Commission.
Following these discussions it was recently announced that the Black Mountain area would be declared as a public park within 3 months.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 May 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1970/19700521_reps_27_hor67/>.