House of Representatives
3 June 1970

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2 p.m., and read prayers.

page 2789


Prime Minister · HIGGINS, VICTORIA · LP

– I have to announce that Mr Peacock, the Minister for the Army left Australia yesterday for Tonga. Mr Peacock will represent Australia at Tonga’s re-entry into the comity of nations and joining the Commonwealth of Nations which will be celebrated during the period from 4th to 7th June. The Minister is expected to return to Australia on 10th June and during his absence the Minister for Customs and Excise, Mr Chipp, is acting as Minister for the Army.

page 2789


Prime Minister · Higgins · LP

Mr Speaker, I feel that honourable members would want me to make reference in this House to the death yesterday of Mr Robert Joshua, a member of the House from 1951 to 1955. Mr Joshua represented the seat of Ballaarat. He became Leader of the Anti-Communist Labor Party in 1955 and subsequently he was appointed as the first Federal President of the Democratic Labor Party, a position he held from 1957 until his death. Mr Joshua will be remembered by those who knew him in this place as a kindly man with strong convictions, with a strong sense of his duty to the nation of Australia and with the courage to stick by those convictions and carry out what he believed to be his duty. He was very well respected in the Ballaarat community as a devoted family man and as a leader of the Anglican church. He had too a distinguished war record, saw service with the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East and New Guinea, was wounded 3 times and was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. In private life he was an accountant and a member of the Stock Exchange. I extend on behalf of the Government our deepest sympathy to his widow and family.

Leader of the Opposition · Werriwa

– ] would like to associate the Australian Labor Party with the expression of sympathy to the widow and family of the late Mr Joshua. Mr Joshua was twice elected to this House, on each occasion as a member of my Party.

He was a leading participant in the momentous events of 15 years ago which led to a very sharp change in party allegiances in Australia in that decade. Severance from one’s Party is the ultimate act for a politician. Its political and personal consequences are so profound that one does not question the sincerity of those who feel obliged to make such a decision, however one may judge the decision itself. Those few of us who were in the House in those days - and we are few - will recall that the late Bob Joshua did hold himself aloof from the extremes of bitterness and vituperation which characterised these tempestuous times. He had served Australia with very great gallantry during the war. It was through an extraordinary turn of political events and through no lack of personal qualities that his service to the country in this Parliament was ended so many years before his passing.

Minister for Trade and Industry · Murray · CP

– I would like to associate my colleagues of the Australian Country Party with the references which have been made by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) to the late Mr Joshua and to join in extending the sympathy of my Country Party colleagues to his widow and to the members of the family. I, with others who have spoken, remember Mr Joshua as a man greatly respected in the Parliament. Those of us who were here remember the tempestuous days, as the Leader of the Opposition described them. I do not think any of us doubted the profound genuineness with which Mr Joshua held his convictions and took his stand. Whatever one’s view may have been on the issues, this could have done nothing but enhance the respect in which Mr Joshua was held as a person. It is a matter of deep regret to myself and my Country Party colleagues that there should be this sad occasion of referring to his death.


– As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, I invite all honourable members to stand in their places. (Honourable members having stood in their places)


-I thank the House.

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Sir WILFRID KENT HUGHES 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. .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. It is an indisputable fact, that no species can withstand hunting on such a scale, when there is no provision being made for its future.

The petitioners pray that the export of 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 CREAN 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; 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 there is no provision being made for its future.

The petitioners pray that the export of kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government take the necessary steps to have al) wildlife in Australia brought under its control. Only a complete cessation of killing for commercial purposes can save surviving kangaroos.

Petition received.


Mr DOBIE presented from certain residents of Victoria a petition showing that the red kangaroo and many other marsupials, through shooting for commercial purposes, have been reduced to a numerical level where their survival is in jeopardy; none of the Australian States has sufficient wardens to detect and apprehend people breaking the laws in existence in each State, and in such a vast country only uniform laws and a complete cessation of commercialisation can ensure the survival of our national emblem; and it is an indisputable fact that no natural resource can withstand hunting on such a concentrated scale unless some provision is made for its future.

The petitioners pray that the export of all kangaroo products be banned immediately, and the Commonwealth Government make a serious appraisal of its responsibility in the matter to ensure the survival of the kangaroo.

Petition received.

Interest Rates

Mr BEAZLEY presented from certain citizens of Western Australia a petition showing that the recent increase in the interest rate on Government bonds has caused hardship to the thousands of home buyers throughout the State due to the subsequent increase in interest rates on mortgage contracts by home lending institutions.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter.

Petition received and read.

Interest Rates

Mr MALLETT presented from certain citizens of Western Australia a petition showing that the recent increase in the interest rate on Government bonds has caused hardship to the thousands of home buyers throughout the State due to the subsequent increase in interest rates on mortgage contracts by home lending institutions.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter.

Petition received.

Interest Rates

Mr MAISEY presented from certain citizens of Western Australia a petition showing that the recent increase in the interest rate on Government bonds has caused hardship to the thousands of home buyers throughout the State due to the subsequent increase in interest rates on mortgage contracts by home lending institutions.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter.

Petition received.

Social Services

Mr MARTIN presented from certain citizens o£ New South Wales a petition showing that due to higher living costs persons on social service pensions are .finding it extremely difficult to live in even the most frugal way. The petitioners call upon the Commonwealth Government to increase the base pension rate to 30% of average weekly male earnings, plus supplementary assistance in accordance with Australian Council of Trade Unions policy and by so doing give a reasonably moderate pension. The average weekly earnings for adult mule unit wage and salary earner means the figures issued from time to time by the Commonwealth Statistician and published quarterly.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives will take immediate steps to bring about the wishes expressed’ in their petition; so that citizens receiving the social service pensions may live their lives in dignity.

Petition received and read.


Mr TURNER 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: 200.000 students from universities, colleges of advanced education and other tertiary institutions, and their parents suffer severe penalty from inade quacies in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936-1968: and Australia cannot afford to hinder the education of these 200,000 Australians.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives make legal provision for the allowance of personal education expenses as a deduction from income for tax purposes: removal of the present age limit in respect of the deduction for education expenses and the maintenance allowance for students: increase in the amount of deduction allowable for tertiary education expenses; increase in the maintenance allowance for students: and exemption of nonbonded scholarships, for part-time students from income tax.

Petition received and read.


Mr SCHOLES 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 al 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 al resources for special programmes to remove - inadequacies; 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.

page 2792


Site of New. and Permanent Parliament House


– I give notice that at the next sitting I will move:

That this House disagrees with the. announcement by the Prime Minister that Camp Hill will be the site for the new and permanent Parliament House and is of the opinion that the site should be Capital Hill.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. .Did Sir Robert Thompson, an .exponent of the domino theory, appear on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s ‘Guest of Honour* programme on .8th March 1970 and also on a half bour ABC television programme? Did Dr Han Suyin, an exponent of the view that the People’s Republic of China has a rightful place in the world community, appear on the ABC’s ‘Guest of Honour’ programme on 3rd May 1970? Doss the Postmaster-General agree that the ABC has in these circumstances maintained a balance between differing political views?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– I cannot be sure of the dates, relying on my memory, but I think that both the persons to whom the honourable member has referred have participated in Australian .Broadcasting Commission programmes. I offer only the additional comment in relation to bias .that I think one has to see through the minds of different people to understand whether in fact there is bias or there is not bias. On one occasion, I asked the ABC whether it would let me have a list, covering a 6-monthly period, of the people who had participated in its current affairs programmes in this way and the number of times each of those persons had participated. Having looked at the list and having shown it to a number of other people, I think the conclusion is that if there was any bias at all it was very, very marginal.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Will the Commonwealth Government support the strong opposition by the Australian Woolgrowers and Graziers’ Council to increases in rates of freight for wool in the AustraliaUnited Kingdom Europe trade and, until the Australia-United Kingdom ‘ Shippers Association and its constituent organisations have had sufficient time to review and to investigate any proposal put forward by the Australian Tonnage Committee, support the extension of the existing agreement for the 1970-71 season and, because of the comparative disadvantages suffered by wool in the freight rates charged and the current low wool prices, support a 15% reduction in the rate of freight for wool?


– Having regard to the economic circumstances of the Australian wool industry one certainly would hope that it could be found possible to reduce overseas freights. The discussions involve the Australia-United Kingdom Europe Conference Lines and they are in hand up to a point. Certain procedures which were determined by the Australian Shippers Association have to be followed. My understanding is that the Tonnage Committee met with the Shippers Association in April and the shippers proposed that there should be a standstill of present rates because the containerisation procedures had not been long enough in operation to make final assessments. The shipowners at that time took the stand that they needed an increase in freights because of increased costs. I understand that the outcome was that, the matter should not be proceeded with until June or July by which time certain studies of voyage results would have been made. So the discussions are in hand and these studies of the actual cost experiences will be available, I believe, some time this month or next month.

The Australian Wool Growers and Graziers Council is a member of the Australia to Europe Shippers Association. It has complete right and competence to make a claim for lower freights through its own association. It will compile its case and submit it to its association. The Shippers Association will be the negotiator with the shipowners’ Conference. This stage has not yet been reached so I am not in a position to say what stand the Government will take. As a matter of fact, whereas the Government used to have status in this matter until 1956, in that year all the Australian shipper bodies met the shipowners of the Conference in London and after protracted discussions decided on a formula to determine freights which excluded any Government participation in the negotiations. That was the position from 1956 until the current negotiations, where an observer is present. That was not done at the wish of the Government. Indeed, at the time that decision was taken I took the view that if the Australian shippers were to negotiate of their own right without the aid of the Government they needed to have a very competent secretariat to work for them. I persuaded the Government of the day to make substantial funds available to them for (he purpose of assembling a secretariat to aid . them in their negotiations.

page 2793




– 1 ask the PostmasterGeneral a . question about the Commonwealth and State ministerial conferences on the Weeden Committee’s report on educational television which was made in October 1964 and tabled in May 1966. I note from the communique the honourable gentleman issued after the last of these ministerial conferences last November that appreciation was expressed for the manner, in which the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s educational programmes were prepared, in both content and quality, and that the State Education Ministers requested that additional finance should be made available to the ABC to expand its activities in the educational television area. 1 ask the honourable gentleman whether he took account of this unanimous request by the Stale Education Ministers - I believe they were all political allies of his - when he told the Australian Broadcasting Commissioners the week before last that the increase in their appropriation for the next financial year would be no greater than the increase in their appropriations in this and recent years. How much additional finance has he agreed that the ABC should have for this additional activity which has been sought by all the Education Ministers in the States?


– I would have thought that the Leader of the Opposition would have understood the implications of my answer to a question in this House yesterday. I might say to him that I, together with my colleague the Minister for Education and Science and the State Ministers for Education, regard educational television as of tremendous importance and this aspect will be taken into consideration in the final determination of the estimates for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. -

page 2793




– 1 address a question to the Treasurer. Noting that academic salaries are to be raised by from 17% to 20%, 3 years after the last adjustment. I ask whether the Treasurer will bear in mind in connection with the next Budget the fact that it is also 3 years since superannuated Commonwealth public servants have had an adjustment in the more modest payments due to them.


– 1 do not necessarily agree that the statement of the honourable member is accurate. What happened in the case of academic salaries was that the State governments did request the Commonwealth to appoint Mr Justice Eggleston to go into the question of these salaries. That report has now been sent to the various State Premiers together with the Commonwealth’s agreement that if the States - and this is a matter at the discretion of the State Premiers who have not yet hadtime to reply - choose to adopt the recommendation the Commonwealth will stand behind them financially. I understand that Mr Justice Eggleston has recommended that the result of a national wage case should be applied to academic salaries. This is quite the customary way of handling Public Service and allied salaries.

Mr Turner:

– I asked about superannuation.


– Yes, I realise that, but I will explain it in this way: What Mr Justice Eggleston has recommended for academic salaries normally applies to awards for people actually in work. The other payments to which the honourable member referred - that is, superannuation, pensions and other schemes of this kind - so far have never been fixed in this way but have been adjusted in the context of the. annual Budget. This has been the regular means of varying them. I could not predict what would happen in the next Budget or when any change will be made in these other payments.

page 2794




– I ask a question of the Postmaster-General. How does he justify his criticism of the way in which the Australian Broadcasting Commission has handled its finances in the light of the findings of the 110th Report of the Public Accounts Committee which Report revealed no evidence of a wasteful use of funds by the Commission?


– I think one of the outstanding features of this House is the difference in view between individual members. I think I am entitled to disagree, if I see that there is justification for so doing, with other honourable members or even with a committee of this Parliament.

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– I ask the Minister for Primary Industry whether he is aware of the recent decline in wool prices in Australia, the average price obtained at the Sydney sales being a little over 31c with the lowest clearance for many years? Is he also aware that some weeks have now passed since the Australian Wool Industry Conference recommended the establishment of a single wool selling authority to handle, market and dispose of the Australian wool clip? What progress is being made by the Australian Wool Board’s Advisory Committee in its survey of the wool price problem, and when does the Minister expect a report from the Committee? Does the Government view the wool growers problem with concern, and does the Government appreciate the need for the earliest possible establishment of a single wool selling authority in Australia?

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

– I have expressed on a number of occasions - and so too have other members of the Government - very great concern about the present position of the Australian wool industry because of the low prices and increasing costs. I think all Australians should be conscious of this very serious problem because the wool industry is still our single major export earner and provides a livelihood for many hundreds of thousands of people in areas that could not be otherwise usefully employed. The Australian Wool Industry Conference and the other 2 major wool industry organisations have expressed support for a single statutory wool marketing authority. They have not detailed what they actually mean by this. It has been the thought of people in the Government that the Wool Advisory Committee, which is at present sitting and will be making recommendations to the Commonwealth Government, might be examining this question and bringing forward proposals.

I addressed this Committee when it was first formed some 6 weeks ago and one of the things I asked it to do as a matter of urgency was to bring forward a report as to the reasons for the present low price of wool and to make other suggestions of a temporary nature which might alleviate the serious position. I said to the Committee that I hoped it would report to me by the end of May, if not sooner. I have not yet received a report. I believe that the Committee is meeting next weekend and I hope that I will receive a report very shortly after that. I hope that the report will indicate the thoughts of the Committee on the present market situation and the immediate future outlook for wool. I also hope that the Committee will bring forward some other ideas that either it or the Government will be able to consider so that urgent action may be taken. I consider that the question of action for the wool industry is a matter of very serious urgency.

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– I address my question to the Postmaster-General. Does he recollect stating in his address to the Australian Broadcasting Commission Staff Association 1967 Federal Conference that programme development, programme organisation and gathering each new station into the fold was the task of the ABC and that the job had been done magnificently? In what manner has his administration of the ABC deteriorated so gravely in 2 short years that he now expresses concern about its performance? Will he please define what he means when he says that the Commission should have ‘almost’ complete autonomy in its programming?


– If I may take the latter part of the honourable members question first., he referred to this matter yesterday. ] remind him and other honourable members of some of the provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Act which relate to the Australian Broadcasting Commission. In the first place, the Parliament is required to determine the amount of money which is made available year by year for the expenditures of the Commission. There may be a mistaken view within the House and also in the community that the radio and television licence fees which are charged are adequate for the financing of the ABC. In the current year - that is the year which ends on 30th June next - the amount of licence fees will fall short of the total expenditure by Slim :ind this amount will be found from the normal taxation revenue. To this degree. I think it is recognised that the Government has a responsibility, as have Government departments, in determining the amount of money which is to be made available to the ABC.

Secondly, there is in the Act a provision which gives me as Minister the right to prohibit or to require the showing of certain films. 1 say quickly that I have not exercised that right during my 61 years as Postmaster-General. That right has seldom been used in the history of this Parliament. Nevertheless, it exists. This authority is given to the Minister by the Parliament. Another requirement is that my approval must be obtained where expenditure in excess of $40,000 is proposed. In a Bill which 1 introduced on 4th March it is proposed that the amount be increased to $100,000. This approval is extended to cover contracts and leases beyond 5 years. I believe that these provisions enacted by the Parliament require me to exercise a judgment over the whole area of ABC expenditure. It may be that times have changed since the provision was first incorporated in the Broadcasting and Television Act.

It is for honourable members to ‘indicate whether they believe times have changed and whether they believe that I should have no responsibility in relation to programming at this stage. But having regard to the tremendous cost of programmes and acknowledging the requirements of the Act, I believe that I have a responsibility to accept or reject programmes. I repeat that I have not exercised that authority, but it exists. This is why in answer to questions I have said that the ABC has almost complete autonomy in programming. I stress, however, that as Minister I have a discretion under the Act. What I said when opening the staff rooms at North Sydney several years ago I believed, but times change. Total circumstances within the community, economic and otherwise, change. If 1 express a view, as I did recently, it is because with the effluxion of lime 1 have come to that view. As I said in reply to a question yesterday, when we come to debate the Estimates I may be prepared to make some comment about the matter.

page 2795




– In a recent address the Attorney-General indicated that he has been considering an alteration to the Jaw relating to homosexuality. How does the honourable gentleman measure public opinion? Does he believe that recent Press publicity supporting a liberalisation of the law relating to homosexuality represents the view of the general public? What is the AttorneyGeneral’s present attitude? Has he discussed this matter with the Government?

Attorney-General · BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– I do not for a moment suggest that opinions expressed in the Press or by the Press are a complete gauge of public opinion but 1 do hold the view, if I may say so, that when representations are made to one about proposed changes in the law it does no harm to fry to promote rational discussion in which all viewpoints, for and against a particular proposal, may not only be put but, when put, will be listened to by me.

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– Will the kitchen which the Minister for Repatriation recently opened at the Heidelberg Repatriation General Hospital and the proposed new operating facilities which he referred to recently in answer to a question allow the opening of any of the closed beds or wards in the hospital? If not, what steps are being taken to make more beds available?

Minister for Repatriation · INDI, VICTORIA · CP

– I do not purport to have ?n expert knowledge of the effects that the opening of the new kitchen at the Heidelberg Hospital - at which ceremony, I might say, I was pleased to be accompanied by the honourable member - will have on the availability of beds there, but I do not think it will have any effect at all. The proposed multi-storey block to house operating theatres and other paramedical facilities will not be established for some considerable time and therefore will not affect the present bed shortage at the hospital. The reason why all available beds are not occupied now is the shortage of nursing staff. This matter is receiving the constant attention of the Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation in Victoria and all other senior members of the staff who are responsible for attracting nurses and other staff to the hospital. The honourable member can rest assured that the Department will continue to make all efforts possible to overcome this shortage and to make more beds available as soon as possible.

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Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes:

– My question to the Treasurer is supplementary to the question asked by the honourable member for Bradfield. Now that the Government has decided as a fundamental policy that all university staff members automatically shall receive increased salaries in accordance with minimum wage decisions, when does the Government propose to apply the same fundamental principle to all repatriation and civil pensions?


– As I pointed out in my answer to the honourable member for Bradfield, these matters have always been dealt with consistently in a quite different manner. National wage case decisions have been systematically applied to public, servants, members of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and others concerned who are actively engaged in work. Their salaries and payments are adjusted in accordance with the national wage decisions as, indeed, are those of the bulk of the wage and salary earning folk throughout the country. Regarding superannuitants and the others mentioned by the honourable member. their entitlements are fixed from year to year at the time of the Budget. At this stage I know of no immediately impending change in this practice which has been adopted by the House for a very long time.

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– In view of the Prime Minister’s firm stand on the question of authority over and control of off-shore minerals I ask him to show a similar interest respecting petroleum products won from submerged land on the continental shelf. Because of the Commonwealth Government’s acknowledged constitutional authority over minerals and petroleum products beneath the submerged lands of our continental shelf, will the Prime Minister take immediate action to settle the dispute regarding the price of natural gas which is delaying the distribution of this important fuel to New South Wales?


- Mr Speaker, I think if I may I should comment on one or two of the remarks made by the honourable member. What I believe it is essential to discover is legally who does have authority over these particular lands. I am not taking a strong stand either way, other than the stand that it is necessary for the nation to know who is legally responsible for these areas. I am not sure what the honourable member had in mind in relation to petroleum. Perhaps he was referring to the agreement which has been entered into by the Commonwealth Government and the State governments on the question of petroleum from submerged lands. If he was referring to that then he is referring to an agreement which does not settle but deliberately leaves unsettled the question of who has legal responsibility for these areas. In regard to the transference of natural gas from Melbourne to Sydney, which I believe is what the honourable member is referring to, this matter is one which should be decided by the State Government of Victoria and the State Government of New South Wales and whatever group of people they get together to build a pipeline when they decide where they want that pipeline to run.

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– Can the Minister for Primary Industry inform the House whether growers of readily saleable over quota wheat in the coming harvest will be paid up to $1.10 by the Australian Wheat Board if that readily saleable over quota wheat is sold before 30th September 1971? Further, will such over quota wheat that is sold by the Australian Wheat Board before the cut-off date be counted against the grower’s quote in the next season?


– Provision for the operation of the wheat quota delivery scheme is made in Stare legislation and there is provision in that legislation for the payment for readily saleable over quota wheat provided that wheat is called for by the Australian Wheat Board, is sold and paid for in full before 30th September in that season, lt is up to the Wheat Board to determine what the rate of payment is if it is sold. However, 1 took the honourable member’s question to relate to the next season - that is, op until 1971. All States operate under legislation on a permanent basis except New South Wales which is operating on a year-to-year basis. 1 would imagine that New South Wales will carry on the same form of legislation that it has had. In this case there will be provision for readily saleable over quota wheat. If it is sold and paid for in a year then it is not taken into account in the following season’s quota.

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– 1 ask the Minister for External Affairs: What steps have been taken to see that South African Airways comply, as Qantas Airways Ltd already complies, with the United Nations Security Council’s embargo on trade with Southern Rhodesia by discontinuing the sale of air tickets to that country7 What steps are being taken to see that Qantas complies with another aspect of the embargo by discontinuing its advertising in newspapers in Southern Rhodesia?

Minister for External Affairs · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– The first part of the honourable gentleman’s question relating to South African airlines raises a matter that concerns South Africa and the Sanctions

Committee of the Security Council and does not directly involve the Australian Government.

Mr Whitlam:

– But they have offices in Australia.


– I will have a look at that aspect of it for the Leader of the Opposition. So far as its extra-territorial activities are concerned, I have no intention of poking my nose into the business of other countries. So far as advertising by Qantas is concerned, I am not aware of the position: I will make inquiries about it and let the honourable member know the results of the inquiries.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence and refers to the impending withdrawal of the 8th Battalion from Vietnam. Has it been decided which support troops will be withdrawn with the Battalion? Will the withdrawal of support troops mean any increase in the strength of the remaining battalions? What is the strength of the new train ng team and from where will its members be drawn? Finally, where will the 8th Battalion be stationed when it is returned to Australia?

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– I have not precise details concerning the supporting units which will be thinned out with u reduction of the task force from a 3- battalion to a 2-battalion task force. I will get the necessary information from my colleague, the Minister for the Army, and let the honourable member have the answer to that. The additional military assistance teams will in fact total about 1 30 men. Two of these teams, and possibly more than 2, have already been formed. Some of them have been formed from personnel who have already been in Vietnam. In other words, it has been done through the use of people already stationed in Vietnam. The total military assistance teams will not be able to be increased in that way. Additional personnel will have to be sent to Vietnam for the purpose. These are the teams, as the honourable member will know, whose task it will be to work with regional force and popular force companies and platoons, especially in Phuoc Tuy Province, because of the increasing responsibility on these local forces as our task force is reduced.

In addition to that a cadre of about 20 training personnel will be sent from Australia to Vietnam. This action was mentioned in the announcement by the Prime Minister concerning the withdrawal of the battalion. This cadre will be to establish what could be called a jungle training centre at Nui Dat. It will be stationed in the area which will be vacated by the withdrawal of one of the Australian battalions and will in fact be starting operations before the withdrawal of the 8th Battalion. Its first task will be to train Vietnamese instructors, and then there will be a small pilot force. After the withdrawal of the 8th Battalion it is hoped that 400 to 500 junior leaders will be going through this course at any one t:me. This school is being established at minimal cost to Australia by the use of about 20 instructors who will provide the stiffening and the cadre for the total school, which is something that the South Vietnamese had requested on more than one occasion, to get the maximum use of Australian tactical doctrines spread throughout the South Vietnamese army. I do not have in my mind the precise destination of the 8th Battalion when it returns to Australia, but I Will get that information also for the honourable member. I am not sure, without checking, from which task force area that battalion was dispatched when it first went to Vietnam, but I will get that information for the honourable member. Was there any other aspect of your question that I have not answered?

Mr Barnard:

– No.

page 2798




– Is the Minister for Customs and Excise aware of statements made in the Financial Review’ recently that the Department of Customs and Excise is intruding into the policy field and so operating the by-law system as to give protection to the manufacture of motor trucks? Will the Minister assure me that any such action by his Department or the Government would be preceded by a Tariff Board inquiry?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– I have seen a number of articles in the ‘Financial Review’ and also references from time to time in the weekly publication ‘Tariff Week’, which virtually alleged that the Department of Customs and Excise has intruded into the field of tariff making and policy making. As the Minister now responsible for the administration of the Department of Customs and Excise, I say to the House quite categorically that I do not, nor does my Department, regard any function in the policy making field concerning tariffs as being the responsibility of the Department. That is and always has been the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry, and his Department.

Policy is determined not by the Tariff Board but by Cabinet after recommendations of the Tariff Board are put before Cabinet. At the moment discussions are going on between officers of my Department and representatives of the truck industry because the relevant Customs Tariff gives me, as Minister, and my Department power to admit into Australia duty free those goods for which a suitable equivalent is not reasonably available in Australia. For years, under standing bylaws relating to the truck industry, certain parts for trucks have been imported duty free because there was no suitable equivalent reasonably available in Australia. But as the Australian industry develops, suitable equivalents which have not hitherto been reasonably available in Australia for certain imports do become available. As Minister for Customs and Excise, under the terms of an Act of this Parliament, I am legally obliged in those circumstances to cancel the various by-laws which apply. That we will continue to do, applying the criteria, which are well known to the honourable member.



– I ask the Prime Minister: Did the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister for External Affairs have the use of a Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft on their recent visits to New Guinea and Indonesia respectively? Did these men extend open invitations to Press organisations to send their representatives with them? Can he say why he changed this procedure on his recent visit to Japan, when he issued non-transferable invitations to certain selected journalists? Can he say why journalists on these flights were carried free of charge and not, as in the past charged the equivalent of commercial first class rates for a flight, which is also the practice when journalists accompany the President of the United States of America on VIP aircraft provided by him for journalists to accompany him? Is he aware that responsible members of the Press gallery are genuinely concerned with this change in policy and in particular with his action in extending nontransferable invitations to selected journalists as they believe it may compromise some members into believing that if they write the truth they will not be invited to accompany him again on trips?


– Yes, the Leader of the Opposition did have the use of an aircraft during his visit to New Guinea which we will all remember with such regret. He was accompanied on that visit both by some of his colleagues and by some newspaper men. I have no knowledge whatsoever of how he went about inviting either his colleagues or his newspaper men. The Minister for External Affairs, when he attended the conference at Djakarta, also had the use of an aircraft and also had some newspaper representatives with him. I do not know how he went about choosing or issuing invitations to these newspaper men who went with him on that occasion. As for myself, 1 took some newspaper people to Japan. I think that was the occasion of which the honourable member spoke. Invitations were issued on the suggestion of my own Press secretary in order to spread the representation over as large a number of papers in Australia as possible. Finally, I think the last part of the question asked by the honourable member is just plain stupid because if he cares to read a number of the articles written by those who accompanied me on this trip he could not possibly suggest that if they wrote something unpleasant they would not have been asked.

page 2799




– I address my question to the Minister for External Affairs. Is it a fact that there are some 12,000 to 15,000 Russian troops in Egypt? What steps has he taken through international agencies to require Russia to withdraw these troops? Is the Government honestly neutral in the crisis in the Middle East or is it giving a measure of support to the Arab nations? If it is neutral, why has it been silent on the presence of Russian troops in Egypt? Why does it permit Australia’s international airline, Qantas, to land in Arab countries but not in Israel? Is Qantas being prevented from landing in Israel by the threat of economic reprisals by Arab countries?


– As to the first part of the question asked by the honourable member, little doubt exists that the armed forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are manning SAM sites in certain parts of the United Arab Republic, mainly concentrated around Cairo and the industrial centres of that country. At the moment, they have not extended to the Canal area. This is a matter between the United Arab Government and the USSR, and for that matter, if people care to draw attention to the situation, for the United Nations. I do not think that it is a matter in which the Australian Government should interfere. Secondly, with regard to both Israel and the Arab countries, we have taken up a position of strict neutrality and we will continue to maintain that position. Thirdly, as to flights in and out of Arab countries and in and out of Israel, we have agreed to Qantas flights to Damascus at the request of the Government concerned. I am not aware of the exact position so far as Israel is concerned. I will obtain information for the honourable gentleman and let him have that information later.

page 2799


Assent reported.

page 2799



– In conjunction with the President of the Senate I wish to announce the appointment of Mr Andrew Leslie Moore to succeed Mr A. P. Fleming as Head of the Department of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library.

Mr Moore is Official Secretary at the office of the High Commissioner for Australia in the United Kingdom and has from time to time acted as the Deputy High Commissioner. He is aged 56, and has the degrees of Master of Arts and Bachelor of Education. He was for some time Assistant Secretary of the Education, Arts and Sciences Section of the Prime Minister’s Department, and was a member of the Council of the National Library. Mr Moore had earlier close links with library policies and development through his association with the National Library Inquiry Committee 1956-57, known as the Paton Committee, of which he was Secretary. It was the report of this Committee which proposed the separate establishment of the Parliamentary Library and the National Library.

As honourable members are aware, the Library has undergone considerable development as a research and information department, involving a balance of work by professional librarians and by legislative research officers with qualifications in arts, economics, science, engineering, law, etc. A major task of Mr Moore will be to furtherthis development in the interests of continuing improved services to members.

page 2800


Discharge of Motions

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce- Minister for

Labour and National Service) - by leave - Mr Speaker, I move:

The the following Orders of the Day, Government Business, be discharged:

No. 33 - Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Bill 1970: Second Reading - Resumption of debate.

No. 35 - Air Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Bill 1970: Second Reading- Resumption of debate.

The reason for the discharge of these Orders of the Day is that there has not yet been time for the various interested organisations, including the Opposition, to complete their examination of the Bills. Included in the Bills is a provision for increased rates to be paid. Consultation has taken place with the Opposition which, I believe, is agreeable to the discharge of these 2 Orders so that, under Standing Orders, a new Bill can be introduced which will be confined to the rates only. In this way, when the legislation is passed, those people who obtain Commonwealth employees compensation will be able to obtain it at the higher rate instead of waiting until the next session for the higher rate when the Bill will be dealt with.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

page 2800



Minister for Labour and National Service · Bruce · LP

– I move:

The term ‘this sitting’, Mr Speaker, converted to non-parliamentary language means’for today’. The proposal is that we will sit tonight and that at 1 1 o’clock, in accordance with the sessional motion you, Mr Speaker, will be putting the Question That the House do now adjourn’. It is my intention at that time to require you to put the question forthwith. Then, we will call for a negative to that question so that Government Business can proceed beyond 1 1 o’clock tonight. I know that honourable members are not anxious to sit late at night and I say that neither am I. But there comes times when it is necessary to do so.

My purpose in moving the suspension of the11 o’clock rule for. today only is thattomorrow night the ordinary procedure should apply. That is, the question for the adjournment should be put at 1 1 o’clock.

Mr Armitage:

– What about next week?


– Next week is another week. We will reach next week next week. The notice paper contains a very heavy programme of legislation. 1 am quite sure that honourable members who have been in the House for any period will not remember an occasion when the notice paper did set out such a heavy legislative programme. Yet, I am bound to say that most of the legislation is, I think, legislation which the Opposition will not be opposing. Honourable members opposite may have attitudes which vary from the attitude of the Government on a number of items but I doubt whether many Bills will be opposed. So, although there is a large number of pieces of legislation and although each of those pieces is important in its own way, there is a great number of individual Bills which must be dealt with.

On the ‘Daily Programme’ issued today, a number of Bills are listed. The first is the Queensland Grant (Bundaberg Irrigation

Works) Bill. There remains only one speaker, the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly). When that Bill is passed, we will go on to the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill. I do not know in advance, but I do not expect that Bill to be opposed by the Opposition. Next there is the States Grants (Special Financial Assistance) Bill which the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) will handle on behalf of the Opposition. I would not expect those Bills to occupy a very great period. Then, the Marginal Dairy Farms Agreements Bill will come on. Following that will be 6 Bills relating to dairying. I would indicate that, with the concurrence of the Opposition, a cognate debate will take place on these Bills which are Orders of the Day 6 to 11 inclusive. It will be necessary at the end of that cognate debate to put the motion for the second reading of each of those Bills as a separate question. Unless the 11 o’clock rule was suspended - that is assuming that the debate goes beyond II o’clock - it would not be possible to put each of those questions at the end of that cognate debate.

I have already listed for today one other order of the day. This is the Civil Aviation (Offenders on International Aircraft) Bill which was introduced in the Senate, passed by the Senate, and has now come to this House for its concurrence. I do not have complete details but I expect that that piece of legislation would not involve a great deal of debate in this House. I have not yet made a decision as to whether that Bill should pass tonight. This will depend on the hour of the night at which the other Bills are completed.


– The Opposition opposes the motion moved by the Leader of the House, the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden), to suspend the 11 o’clock rule. Our reason for doing so is that we believe that the Government has not considered the way in which the Opposition looks at the problem of the amount of business still on the notice paper. It is quite clear that the Minister is seeking la bring about the adjournment of this House by the end of next week. The attitude of members of the Opposition is that if there is legislation requiring debate in this Parliament then the sittings should be extended. There is no legitimate reason why the Government should set a target for adjourning the House at the end of next week.

Mr Jarman:

– You are not on the air.


– That might be all right for the honourable member for Deakin, who is interjecting. He never makes any contribution to the debates. It does not make any difference whether he is here or at home but there are other honourable members who want to make a contribution. It amazed me to hear the easy way in which the Minister dismissed the business that we have before us. The fact is that the blue sheet, the daily programme for today, shows that there are 13 Bills to be debated. It is true, as the Minister said, that we may not be expressing opposition to some of those Bills, but that does not mean necessarily that there are not honourable members on this side of the House who do not want to express a point of view irrespective of whether or not we support them.

As an example I refer to the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill. There are IS speakers listed for the debate on that measure alone. If every honourable member takes the time available under the Standing Orders to debate this Bill then those IS members, speaking for 30 minutes each, would require 7£ hours. That is for that measure alone. Yet we are told by the Minister that that Bill and 12 others have to be dealt with today and in the early hours of the morning. The point made by honourable members on this side of the House whenever this motion has been before the Parliament is that it represents legislation by exhaustion. Quite obviously the Government wants some very important measures dealt with in the early hours of the morning. Frankly, I would not expect that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), for example, would appreciate having to deal with the 7 dairy industry Bills in the early hours of the morning. That is what will happen if this motion is carried. One could expect the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) to want to speak about the dairy industry. Surely one would expect even the honourable member for Mallee, who expresses interest in matters relating to the Australian Country Party, such as dairy industry Bills, to oppose this motion in order to give members of the Country Party and members on this side of the House who are interested in these measures the opportunity to speak about them not in the early hours of the morning but when the proceedings of this Parliament are being broadcast to the nation.

I already have indicated that there are 15 honourable members who want to speak in the debate on the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill. There are still 36 Bills on the notice paper. If my understanding of the information conveyed to me is correct, the Minister will have introduced into this House a further 12 Bills. This will make a total of 48 Bills on the notice paper. The Government wants the Opposition to consider those 48 Bills some time before the end of next week. This Parliament ought not to sit in the early hours of the morning. We already have had a long discussion of this problem. As a result of the attitude expressed on that occasion by the Opposition the Government acceeded to our request and decided to provide for the automatic adjournment of the House at 1 1 p.m. That ought to continue to apply. Honourable members on this side of the House do not want to be discussing important legislation in the early hours of the morning. The answer from the Government’s point of view is quite simple: It has 48 Bills to deal with between now and the end of next week. We on this side say that if they are to be dealt with in the way they should be dealt with by honourable members in this Parliament, the only solution is to extend the sittings of the House. There is no reason why the sittings should not be extended.

I have given a number of reasons why the Opposition opposes the motion by the Minister. He has suggested that the 1 1 o’clock rule should be suspended for this week. No doubt we will be faced with a similar motion some time next week if the Government adheres to its schedule to adjourn the House at the end of next week. In these circumstances, having regard to the amount of business before us, the right of honourable members to debate legislation properly - not in the early hours of the morning but when the proceedings of this House are being broadcast to the nation - without the strain and stress of considering Bills in the early hours of the morning, the motion ought to be opposed. I put that point of view on behalf of the Opposition.

Motion (by Mr Snedden) put:

That the question be now put.

The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)

AYES: 57

NOES: 51

Majority . . . . 6



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

page 2803


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 2 June (vide page 2780), on motion by Mr Swartz:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Upon which Dr Patterson had moved by way of amendment:

That all words after ‘Thai’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: ‘the technical evaluation and any cost benefit analyses carried out by the Commonwealth for the project near Bundaberg bc made available to this House’.


– In addressing myself to this Bill I want to make 2 or 3 points. I particularly want to refer to statements made by the previous Minister for National Development, the honourable member for Farrer (Mr Fairbairn), for whom I have a respect bordering on veneration. 1 must admit, however, that I find some of his arithmetic a bit queer. The honourable member for Farrer said in this House yesterday that the Keepit Dam area produces annually $4.7m worth of crops and at that rate the dam would pay for itself within 8 years. The honourable member also said that the Ord River scheme produces annually $2.2m worth of goods and at that rate it would pay for itself in 9 years. There are 2 fundamental weaknesses in the honourable member’s argument. He omitted to state that a good deal of the produce grown in those areas and evaluated in that manner was subsidised production. There are also a great many inputs other than the dams which go into the production of the produce. For example, the work, the superphosphate, the machinery, and all the inputs except water, all have an influence on production, but no allowance was made for these.

The next matter I want to deal with is the reference by the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) to the suburban lobby. I thought that he mentioned this matter of the suburban lobby with some sense of criticism. I presume that he meant by this reference those people who criticise irrigation; certainly that was the implication. I have been known to be critical of irrigation in some forms. I wonder whether the honourable member calls me a representative of the suburban lobby. I point out to the honourable member that my fore fathers came here some 130 years ago and have been farming the same country ever since. I do not know whether the honourable member could say the same. My electorate of Wakefield, which covers 150,000 square miles, is 3 times bigger than the electorate of Riverina. If I am regarded as a representative of the suburban lobby I hope that it does not get around my electorate.

I have noticed continually during this debate that there has been a tendency to be critical of Dr Davidson because he has had the temerity to criticise irrigation in some forms. I think we have to be careful about this, lt is easy to traduce people who do not think as we do. Dr Davidson had the courage to stand up and spell out with startling clarity in his book ‘The Northern Myth’ the kind of inevitable mistake that we are tending towards, and he has followed up that book with another. I do not mind the criticism made of him for what he has said, but 1 do object very much, as do a lot of other people in this country, to the kind of vilification that he has had to suffer. I have noticed the honourable member for Riverina is pretty quick at issuing challenges. If the honourable member for Riverina is so critical of Dr Davidson’s theories I think it would bc a useful exercise for the honourable member to invite Dr Davidson to participate in a debate. I understand he suffered at the hands of the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull) in a similar debate. It may be that the honourable member for Riverina would like to take Dr Davidson on under the same terms. The third thing I would like to say is that the honourable member for Riverina said that one-third of the agricultural production of Australia came from irrigated land. I do not know whether that is so or not - it depends on how he defines the term ‘irrigated land’. If 5 acres of land are irrigated on a farm of, say, 150 acres, does the honourable member measure all the products of that farm or does he measure only the products of the irrigated land? I challenged the honourable member at the time to give the sources of his information. When these sources are provided I shall be happy to have a look at them.

If we look at the Bundaberg dam proposal from the point of view of purist economists such as the honourable member for Dawson used to be - I presume this is so because he would not have gained a doctorate from being an impure economist - it does look a little queer. The cost to the Commonwealth of S 12.8m for engineering works comes out at SI 40 for every irrigated acre. The Queensland taxpayer puts in another amount of money, and the total cost works out at $225 for every irrigated acre. I presume that this scheme is costed in the same way as almost all other large irrigation schemes in Australia in that the water charge will be sufficient to cover the distribution of the water along the channels but will not be enough to pay for the amortisation of the headworks. I ask the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who is at the table, whether that is so. If it is not so, I will be interested to hear his reply. In this case the taxpayer is making a contribution of $225 for every irrigated acre in order to ensure that sugar can be grown profitably. Yet, there are other parts of Queensland where farmers are only too anxious to increase the production of sugar without any government or taxpayer contribution whatever. The purist economist would look at this proposal and say: ‘Well, it does look a bit odd. lt is hard to justify it on an economic basis’. Good cases have been made out in support of this proposal. The chief one, of course, is that it will even out the production and there will not be the fluctuations that you get from dry land farming in the area, particularly with the underground water supply drying up. It is said that unless this matter was tackled and something was done the position for Bundaberg would be a serious one. We have done something.

The important thing to realise is that the justification for this proposal is on social grounds and not on economic grounds. 1 am not saying that it should not be on social grounds but I am saying that from now on we face the fact that all of these judgments will be made on social or sometimes political grounds. I have areas in my State which could benefit from irrigation. People make a case for irrigation and say: Look what it is going to do for the starving stock’. They use this kind of argument. If we accepted that argument we could say in the case of Oodnadatta, which experiences droughts fairly frequently, that we could save the situation for the people there by constructing a large dam across a gorge in that area. If the people at Oodnadatta could get water the cost would certainly even out from a production point of view. But this would not be sensible.

Closer to Adelaide there is an area about which I have great knowledge and for which 1 have very great fears. This is an area around Virginia. The underground source of water in the area is drying up. However, there is now available a source of effluent water. I imagine that inauguration of the use of effluent water would not attract the Minister with the same enthusiasm as would the opening of a dam. lt may be that the use of this effluent water or some such fire brigade action will be needed to solve the problems of this area. It is quite clear that if judgments are not to be made on economic grounds - and the judgment in this instance has not really been made on economic grounds - they will be made on the basis of social grounds. They will be made on the basis that something has to be done for Bundaberg; that something has to be done for particular people. But I should think we could spend the money to better advantage. Therefore, if the judgments are to be made on social grounds, hereafter I will be making very strong pleas for Government contributions to solve the social problems that are inherent in this area that I know so well. It may be that it will have an economic justification. But whether it has economic justification or not. I know that from now on the judgments will be made on social and not economic grounds.

The only other thing I want to say is that the honourable member for Dawson was critical of the Government because not enough cost benefit analyses were available. I admit quite clearly that I would have liked more economic argument to sustain the case. I understand that some of my colleagues in the Australian Country Party had the advantage of this. I certainly did not. I should have liked to have had this information. But I am critical of the honourable member for Dawson for his statement that there should be economic assessments available to enable us to weigh one scheme against another. What concerns me so much in this and other debates on irrigation is that we become misty eyed about irrigation. So many of us lose all sense of economic responsibility. It is true that we ought to measure one economic scheme against another, but even more we ought surely to measure irrigation schemes against non-irrigation schemes. I can think of so many things that I could do much more profitably with the SI 00m that is to be spent on irrigation. The country is crying out for things that need to be done in the rural sector. The country is crying out for measures that will encourage decentralisation. But we become misty eyed when irrigation is mentioned. Because the whole community says that Australia is the driest continent, irrigation automatically is considered to be good. Fine flowing phrases like ‘The desert shall blossom as the rose’ overwhelm our sense of economic responsibility. I am concerned that irrigation projects always, have lacked the economic examination which I think is vital to a country with limited resources. If we do not have limited resources, well and good. But if we have limited resources - I think we are well aware that we have - we ought not only to weigh one irrigation scheme against another, as I agree we should, but also to have much more sense of responsibility. We ought to weigh an irrigation scheme against the other things that could be done with the same amount of money and which in so many instances, I think, are much more valuable. That is my main plea to the House. I know from bitter experience that it will not receive much sympathy. ] know that there are votes in constructing dams. I know that to open a dam gives an opportunity for eloquence which makes such occasions attractive to politicians, but I think as a Parliament we give way far too quickly to such temptation. We have a greater responsibility to weigh one thing against another. In the future - it is too late on this occasion - -I hope that we will do rather better in this regard than we have in the past.

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– in reply - Before referring to the Opposition’s amendment I would like to make a few brief comments about the matter raised by the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly), that is the basis on which these projects are assessed. In this case the project was, as the honourable member indicated but perhaps over-emphasised, considered on a regional as well as a national basis. This is one of the criteria applied to projects submitted by the States under the Commonwealth national water resources pro gramme. The project was considered on economic as well as regional community grounds. We should understand that this project is a supplement to the States’ works programmes related to water resources and is not intended to be a programme on its own. The previous Commonwealth programme and this present programme are designed to facilitate and expedite the States’ programmes.

The States submit to the Commonwealth an order of priority for the various projects to be considered in accordance with the standard criteria which we apply and which have been applied in this case. It is interesting to note that only recently in relation to another matter we were criticised fairly strongly for applying the criteria too severely. In this case we have been criticised apparently for not applying the criteria strictly enough. However, I say that the economic aspect as well as the regional community aspect are considered and were considered in this case. The honourable member for Wakefield raised a query about the water charge which is proposed by the Queensland Government. The report submitted by the Queensland Government shows that the charge will be sufficient to cover all operating and maintenance costs, plus a proportion of the capital cost of the head works, which would probably be in the vicinity of 25%. This was illustrated in the submission made to the Commonwealth by Queensland.

Turning to the Opposition’s amendment, it is surprising to find such an amendment moved and supported by 3 Opposition honourable members from Queensland. If the Government accepted the amendment and undertook a further study, as the amendment implies should be done, the measure would be delayed for some considerable time, depending on how long and to what extent we wanted to conduct further feasibility studies. To the relief of the Opposition, I am sure, the Government will not accept the amendment. There is another reason why we cannot accept the amendment. Nobody has yet referred in the debate to the explanatory memorandum which was circulated to all honourable members. The practice of circulating explanatory memorandums has been followed in the past in relation to projects of this kind. It was followed on this occasion and will be followed on future occasions. A summary of the State’s submissions was set out in the explanatory memorandum. The summary was not included in the second reading speech because of the length of the document. We thought it better to submit these points for consideration in a separate document, as has been done in the past. The document, a copy of which was circulated to all honourable members, condensed the feasibility studies which were submitted by Queensland and which were very carefully studied by the Commonwealth - by officers of my Department - bearing in mind the criteria which we apply in these cases. The summary set out what was contained in the principal submissions.

There were 2 main submissions regarding this project. The memorandum contained an introduction which gave a description of the area. There followed a closer reference to the project area. There were references to climate, soils and land use. The memorandum summarised the submissions regarding the benefits to the district from a regional and a national point of view - submissions which were checked carefully by officers of my Department bearing in mind the criteria which we have set as standards. The memorandum contained a description of the works and costs, the facts relating to the project, and finally an illustration in diagramatic form of the project itself. So the information which we received and which measured up to the standard criteria which we apply in these cases was accepted by the Government and has been submitted to the Parliament in the form in which similar information has been submitted in the past. For the reasons I have advanced - that it would delay the measure and that the information has been submitted in the best possible form - we do not accept the Opposition’s amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second rime.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

In Committee

The Bill.


– I wish to refer specifically to the matter of finance and I. would like to ask the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) a question about interpretation. Before doing that I would like to reply to the argument advanced about finance by the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly). The honourable member’s argument was quite fallacious and I would have hoped that the Minister might have pointed this out. There is no substance in the honourable member’s argument that because the headworks are not paid for by the farmer - because the farmer is subsidised by the taxpayer - the scheme must be uneconomic From the Commonwealth’s point of view it does not matter who subsidises what. The Commonwealth is concerned with whether the total benefits at import parity prices are greater than the total cost of the scheme. The domestic arrangements made between the farmer and the Commonwealth and whether the farmer pays for the headworks or not are completely irrelevant to a national approach, lt may be that in this case the taxpayer is subsidising the farmer but the project still could be completely economic. I accept what the Minister said about the explanatory document, but it is most innocuous from our point of view. What wc want is the Commonwealth evaluation of this scheme. I have read all the reports that the Minister mentioner on the Slate views, but as everybody knows these are received by the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth makes its own evaluation on the criteria laid down with respect to balance of payments and development, and makes certain assumptions in relation to sugar. For example, what is the price of sugar, ls it import parity or world price or the domestic average price? What we want to know is why the scheme was justified in this way, and the information we seek has not been made available.

In regard to delaying the Bill, I suggest that this is something that you, Mr Chairman, perhaps as Deputy Speaker, could look at. 1 moved an amendment at the second reading stage. I was somewhat surprised to discover that never in the history of this Parliament had such an amendment been passed. What would happen if the amendment had been passed is somewhat doubtful, lt could be interpreted politically by the Government that the Bill had been defeated. On the other hand if we read May. according to the practice in the House of Commons it could be interpreted otherwise - that it affected nothing but merely delayed the second reading of the Bill until a later hour or the following day and included the amendment as an addendum to the Bill. The problem lies in how this situation is interpreted. 1 would ask that at some time consideration be given to this aspect. 1 moved the amendment at the second reading stage because it did not seem that it could be moved as appropriately in the Committee stage. All the Opposition sought was to have information made available and. at. the same time, to support, the Bill. In other words if we lost the amendment we would support the Bill. Apparently our objective is difficult to achieve and the Standing Orders should be altered to permit what we sought. This was an example of the Opposition supporting the Bill 100% but seek ng more information. The only way to get it was to move the amendment at the second reading stage.

On the question of finance I should like the Minister to explain what is meant in clause 6 by the words: ‘reasonable progress’. The clause reads:

The Stale is nol entitled to financial assistance under this Act unless thu Minister is satisfied that reasonable progress has been made by the Slate in carrying out the construction of tidal barrages and irrigation and ancillary works -

I assume that what is meant by this is that a works programme will be set out for a period of time and that unless the complementary work is carried out by the State to the satisfaction of the Commonwealth there will be no grant for the Monduran Dam us such and everything will stop.

Mr Swartz:

– One must fit in wilh the other. It is complementary.


– Yes. They are the main points I raise. 1 should certainly like to take on the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner) in respect of sugar, but the Committee stage is not the occasion for that. I will, however, say that sugar prices have been rising consistently and not falling in the last 12 months.


– I want to take up one point that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) raised. In one respect what he says is true: It is not necessarily uneconomic if the taxpayers’ contribution comes to more than the service fee charged for the water. If production is profitable, on balance it may be good economics. My point was that if the matter is being treated from a purely economic standpoint and if the same result can be achieved without paying $225 for every acre irrigated it is a much better situation. 1 repeat, if the same result can be gained without spending any money at all it. is better than spending S225 an irrigated acre. I do not think that the honourable member for Dawson would argue with that economic treatise. That was the only point I made.


– I want to direct the attention of the Committee to clauses 6 and 7 particularly. These relate to the entitlements of the State being limited if the Minister is not satisfied that reasonable progress has been made. That is one point. The other, of course, is that clause 7 is a pretty sweeping provision, lt states that where the Minister has requested the Slate to furnish information in relation to the design or construction of the work, and unless the State has furnished thai information, the Minister would deny the State financial assistance. The Minister has to be satisfied that the design and construction are in accordance with the purposes of the work that has been agreed. He has to be satisfied wilh the contract. 1 ask the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) whether, in this particular context, this represents a completely new and radical departure in Commonwealth and State relations. In case the Minister has any doubts about the importance of this matter, I refer him to the fact that the Commonwealth has made money available for the Copeton Dam project in New South Wales This is a project about which there has been considerable controversy both in regard to the letting of the contract and in respect of the future use of the water to be impounded there.

I draw attention also to the fact that the Commonwealth is a contributor to and a participant in a partnership way in the development of the Colleambally irrigation area which, for the information of the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly), is about 5 times the size of the Ord River area and therefore would warrant his attention in respect of its economics and its sound basis. However, I say that in passing. The Colleambally scheme was drawn up and it was the subject of approaches to the Commonwealth Government. Eventually there was agreement that joint legislation should be enacted at both the Commonwealth and State level. This legislation has, in fact, been. passed. Now the question arises whether the assessment of the scheme is to be judged by the Commonwealth in the same way as it is proposed that the Commonwealth shall make decisions in respect of the legislation now under consideration.

I have quoted 2 instances where there may be some doubt as to whether the joint intention is being honoured. In clauses 6 and 7 of the Bill it is spelt out very precisely that the Commonwealth will reserve the right not to make finance available unless the intention of the project, as agreed to by the State and the Commonwealth, is followed through and implemented. I think we should hear from the Minister on this aspect during the Committee stages because this provision seems to mark a considerable departure in respect of Commonwealth contributions to State projects. I seek to relate clauses 6 and 7 to what the Minister said more or less in answer to the honourable member for Wakefield who said that the cost of the headworks should be borne by the farmers. I hope that I am not misquoting the honourable member but no doubt he will correct me if I am wrong. The Minister, in reply to the honourable member, said that the water charges would cover operation and maintenance and a 25% contribution to the cost of the headworks. Again I think the Minister is in duty bound to indicate whether or not he is undertaking a radical departure from what has been accepted since the findings of the Pike Royal Commission which established clearly that it was unfair and inequitable to charge farmers alone for the cost of headworks. I commend to the honourable member for Wakefield a study of the findings of that Royal Commission before he pursues this subject further.

I think that the Minister has a responsibility in relation to this Bill to say whether the Commonwealth requires, under clauses 6 and 7, that this be done as a condition of Commonwealth financing. If it is I think we would contest it, because there is certainly no proof at all that if we regard water as a multi-purpose commodity we should single out any one section of those favoured by its use for the whole cost of the works, or even this arbitrary section of the works which is to be charged against it. There is an important issue here, not only in relation to this measure but in relation to the disbursement of the remainder of the funds, small and modest as they are, in the national water resources programme. I would ask the Minister to direct his attention to the queries that have been raised in this matter. If a decision has been made, I would also ask him to state, in order to clear this matter up, whether the Commonwealth has required that there should be a contribution to the headworks. If it has I would ask him whether he could relate that to the findings of the Pike Royal Commission in relation to the contributions to be made by primary producers for headworks designed, of course, to impound water for many purposes, not just for one purpose. I would also ask whether a formula has been devised which will give us precisely, as has apparently been done in this instance, a breakdown between secondary, tertiary and primary industries, service industries and perhaps just visiting householders and will show how all them are to be charged sectionally for what are in effect public works that are financed out of taxation to which we all contribute. I stress again that these are important matters of principle in relation to these 2 sections. I think there should be clear, full and definite explanations because it not only touches on what we do today but on what we may very well do in relation to the disposal of the remainder of the funds in the national water resources programme.

Wide Bay

– I will be very brief. I agree with the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), who stated earlier that a certain amount of information is contained in the explanatory memorandum provided to honourable members, though certainly it is not to any extent comparable with the report prepared by departments of the Queensland Government. My understanding of the project and my support for the amendment is based on the assumption that the Queensland Government put forward a request for the entire scheme. 1 ask the Minister briefly: Did the State reduce its request for assistance to that which is provided in the Bill? Did the State not request the funds for the entire scheme? At what stage and by whose decision and following what evaluation was the Isis section of the scheme dropped?

Minister for National Development · Darling Downs · LP

– The honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Hansen) referred to the present proposal before the House as one of the 2 proposals that have been approved, 1 undertaken by the State and 1 undertaken by the Commonwealth. As the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) stated when this was first announced, and as I covered in my second reading speech, this was the full proposal put up by the Queensland Government, amending the third proposal which had been submitted. The honourable member knows quite well the whole background to the situation. We have met in full the State Government’s requirement at the present time in relation to the planned scheme and it is looking after the tidal barrage project which is, of course, going ahead. In addition to this, there is an arrangement whereby a further study will be made of other areas. This will be done by the State and I understand it will ask the Commonwealth for some assistance in this field. The studies which we accepted and the evaluations which we made have been related to this planned proposal because we had all the information from the Queensland Government beforehand.

The question was raised by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) as to whether there should be more information provided in this memorandum. As I mentioned before, this has been a standard procedure. It follows lines somewhat similar to those adopted on previous occasions. I will have a look at the situation in relation to memorandums for the future to see whether they can be extended or further information provided to the House. If the honourable member at any time wishes to look at the documents - I have one here, the last statement from the Queensland Government in relation to these projects - he is entitled to do so at any time. There is some information which is a little confidential and that is why it cannot be published. But if the honourable member for Dawson or the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly) wish to look at them I would be happy to provide them. What we have done is to follow the normal practice and to put out a memorandum which conveys what we believe to be as much information as would be required. If more is required we will certainly look at that for future submissions.

The honourable member for Dawson referred to clause 6 and I interjected by saying that this clause has a relationship to the barrage works which will be proceeding downstream and that the 2 works programmes will be complementary. The relationship there is between the 2 programmes. But the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) carried us a little further to clause 7 and seemed concerned about the form of wording used in the Bill. I reassure him that this is the standard drafting used for all these measures and is understood by the States and accepted by them. So there is no variation in this Bill from the drafting of the previous Bills. It is the legal drafting terminology that is used. It is understood by the States and they have no objection to it. The honourable member did refer to a comparison between this scheme and one or two others. However there is a difference because this is a straightout grant made under the programme whereas funds provided for some of the other schemes he had in mind were loans. There is quite a variation and therefore the conditions that apply are different.

The final request is for information regarding the charges. I indicated earlier in the debate the basis upon which the Queensland Government is assessing the charges for this particular project but this is a matter for the Queensland Government in this case, and for all State Governments. They have the responsibility. They normally inform us of the basis so we know about it but we do not have the responsibility in relation to it. We do certainly take that into consideration when the scheme is being examined.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Third Reading

Bill (on motion by Mr Swartz) - by leave - read a third time.

page 2810


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 19 March (vide page 654), on motion by Mr Wentworth:

That the Bill be now read a second time.


– This Bill proposes certain grants towards capital costs on the basis of $2 for each $1 on the conditions outlined in the Bill and also towards the purchase of approved equipment for centres which are dedicated to the training and rehabilitation of handicapped children. Because of an expansion in the definition of a handicapped child it not only includes a person under 21 years but in some cases it includes a person over 21 years, where that person has had continuous training in that centre. There are some admirable features in this Bill because it moves into an area where clearly there is a grave need for community provision, need on a much greater scale than we have seen so far. To the extent that it moves into that area, it is admirable. But it does not move into it very far. I want to speak on it at some length later but the first point I want to raise is that this seems to be an open end commitment. We do not know how much it will cost.

Normally [ would not want to quibble over something like this because whatever it costs it is worth the expenditure. However, at election times we have been used to hearing from the Government the parrot-like repetitive cry: ‘How much will the Labor Party’s policy cost? Where will it get the money from?’. It would therefore have been desirable for the Government to have shown some consistency and to have indicated how much this would cost, to have put up the basis on which the costing had been assessed so that it could have been subjected to some rigorous scrutiny, and then would have indicated where the money was coming from. We would have been shot down in flames for proposing an open ended commitment such as this at the election. We would also have had our proposition subjected to the peculiar costing of the Government, which would have resulted in our proposals being grossly inflated in the cost assessment. On the other hand, we see where the Government’s proposals are grossly understated. The Government was $13.5m or 67% out in the case of costing of health insurance. But 1 mention this by the way. It is not without its importance, nonetheless.

Adverting to the point with which I commenced and which I want to develop, this again is social welfare by instalments. The needs and priorities of the community have not been established and indeed are being ignored because of this piecemeal way in which the Government approaches social welfare. This arises because the philosophy upon which the Government largely bases its action in social welfare seems to be vote purchasing power which is cynically calculated. The main question seems to be how many votes can be bribed, rather than a commitment to people and to society which guides what is being done. Professor Brown in the June 1966 edition of ‘Australian Quarterly’ appropriately then, and equally appropriately now, said:

So long as social action is equated with charity and so long as social expenditure is seen primarily as serving political ends, the tendency will be to do as little as possible in a piecemeal fashion in response to political pressure.

This sort of cynical standard ought to be rejected, and we ought to have identified and clearly established the social welfare priorities and needs of the community. There has never been any effort, of which we are aware, on the part of the Government to do this. It is not just a matter of carrying out a survey to find out what these needs are, to identify priorities, to evaluate various need meeting processes, and then to develop policy. There is also incumbent upon us an obligation to involve the public in discussion on this subject. Where are the white papers on this particular aspect? Where are the white papers on social welfare generally? These are so much part and parcel of what is done in Great Britain. They are extremely valuable because they create an informed mind and help to develop a suitable climate for more positive reception of proposed changes in social welfare thinking.

I will give an example of how this happened in my own case. I remember 1 was asked several years ago to appear on a television programme to discuss retiring age in a round-table discussion group. My assumption then was that people ought to be allowed to retire al 65 years of age and we ought to move towards reducing this to 60 or even younger. In any event, I did quite a bit of reading in the public library in Brisbane, and one of the most influential documents I read was a report on this subject by the British Ministry of Social Welfare. This report established - and this is particularly important to people in the Labor movement because we represent these people - that there is a definite correlation between retirement and an upsurge in mortality among men within 18 months of retirement. This is more pronounced with working class people. Within 18 months of retirement there is a very marked upsurge on the graph of mortality amongst men. The conclusion reached in this report was that people who were suddenly projected into a life where they were no longer productive and suddenly realised that what they had done for 40 years was not. after all, indispensible were confronted with a grave psychological state of stress. This accentuated the mortality rate.

The importance of this is that 1 changed my attitude on the retiring age. I will not take the point any further at this stage, but the community could completely recast its approach to this important topic. The point I am making now is not about retiring age but about the value of such reports. I read this report and 1 saw the results of this evidence. This was replicated in reports from France and from the United States of America. I changed my mind. I found that the facts were quite different from what I expected. Could it not be that here even the Government might be wrong? It has never carried out any survey into this subject. I have established this. 1 understand that it is now seeking to appoint staff suitably qualified to do just this. But there has been no comprehensive national survey of the handicapping of children. We might very well find that there are different priorities, that there is an area of urgency which we are completely neglecting when we deal with grant aid only on the basis of capital expenditure or the expenditure of some sort of equipment.

Let me make one other point in relation to the need for this sort of survey. Given the secrecy which shrouds so much of what is done by Government departments which are noi associated with strategic factors, such as defence - health cannot be put into this category, nor can social welfare - and given the fact that when the Government does make an inquiry it keeps its information confidential, it is awfully difficult for ordinary members of Parliament - back benchers on the Government side, and front and back benchers on this side - to delve out the sort of information they need if they are to make valid conclusions on important matters of legislation in this House. Honourable members should contrast the situation which exists between the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and myself. He has backing him a $15. 5m administration apparatus. He has more than 4,000 employees available to work for him to produce the information that he requires. I have none of this, nor has any other honourable member on this side of the House.

If I want information in this case I have to read nearly 100 annual reports from various organisations, believe me for a very little return. It was really wasted effort in terms of the hours I spent on this in comparison with what I could have achieved doing other things. But it was one of the few avenues available to me. I have the Library available to me. but it is gravely’ overtaxed in its resources and its staff. This just is not good enough and ii is nol the way in which we ought to be proceeding in our deliberations on important social welfare policy. I leave the point there, but I do hope that the Minister does not forget it. I cannot expect that he alone will change the situation in relation to resources for private members, but he can do something about seeing that reports are produced regularly on aspects of social welfare policy or on social welfare needs in the community.

We on the Opposition side are proceeding without any estimate of cost or of the numbers of people involved. A figure of 50.000 has been quoted as an estimate, but it is not based on any factual assessment. We do not know what arc the ureas of need and we do not know where the gaps arc or where the overlapping is occurring. We may have some idea about these things. but this is purely subjective assessment from our own experience. This is limited to our experience which cannot be comprehensive in a country as big as Australia. Because of this on behalf of the Opposition I move this amendment:

That all words after That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not opposing the provisions of the Bill, the House is of opinion that a national inquiry should be conducted to identify the nature and extent of mental and physical handicaps in children, as a basis to the Commonwealth establishing a national policy for handicapped children involving Commonwealth and State Governments, local authorities and private agencies in co-operative action’.

We are seeking the reliable information of which I speak. We are seeking an involvement of each of the tiers of Government, and we are also seeking to mobilise and co-operate with each of these the private agencies which are presently in existence in the community. It is only in this way that we can hope to speak meaningfully of a campaign against poverty. The Minister for Social Services said in reply to question No. 90S which I asked on this subject:

The number of handicapped children in Australia is not known.

He said this bluntly and specifically. This is the basis upon which we now proceed. There has been a survey on this subject in New South Wales. The New South Wales Department of Public Health backed up the Council of Social Services of New South Wales, but that Council is an unofficial body and it was charged with the responsibility of making a survey in that State. The survey showed that 23% of the civilian population in New South Wales was estimated to suffer from 1 or more chronic illnesses, injuries or impairments. It also showed:

The most striking information contained in Table 12-

Which is in the report. is the large number of work-handicapped people, some 5% of the work force or 2% of the State’s whole population.

To me this is a dramatic finding. It presents a stark situation. If we. are not concerned about human values, if in fact the quality of life of which we speak so much is nothing more than an empty slogan let us at least be selfish and be concerned about economic factors.

Let us appreciate just how much this represents in a loss of productivity in the community - this degree of non-productive work force that is out of action - and how much it represents in loss to the community because the rest of the community which is productive has to provide a surplus or to set aside a reserve to maintain these people. Let us be selfish on the economic factor. On this ground alone we ought to be moved to do much more than we are doing. We ought to feel this sense of urgency about this subject.

With the Federal Government providing money, as it ought to if it accepts its moral responsibility, we might be able to get beyond the obnoxious practice of conducting lengthy telethons, beauty parades with the sort of values which they represent - not the most desirable, I believe, in a tolerant community which is concerned about people’s human qualities rather than physical qualities, which can be deceiving anyway. Then there are the cake stalls and the whole array of raffles and badgering people in the street by rattling tin boxes on collection day. This is not the way, based on charity, in which to look after those in the community who are unfortunate and who have a greater disadvantage than the rest of us. Yet this is the way in which we foist charity upon them and will continue to foist it upon them with this legislation largely because we do not proceed and penetrate into the area in the way in which we ought to.

I should like to know whether this is part of a conscious plan. Three years ago we had the sheltered workshops and now we have this. What about in 3 years time? Of course this is evidence of the piecemeal way in which we proceed, of what Professor Brown was criticising so trenchantly in 1966 and of what he criticised again last week at the Australian Council of Social Services National Conference here in Canberra. It is done for votes, not for human good. It is done for the cynical political gain which can be grabbed at election time.

Mr Wentworth:

– The honourable member knows that that is not true.


– Of course it is true. Why does the Government not carry out a national survey? The situation of handicapped children has been well known to exist in the community for a long time.

It affects a large number of people. Proceeding on this piecemeal basis is not the way in which to overcome the problem. Professor . Brown said in 1963, and even earlier:

It is sometimes said of social welfare that it is not a question of policy but of politics.

I- say this in reply to the Minister:

In the worst sense of ils usage this is true in Australia. Social programmes depend more on estimates of their vote catching strength than on serious study of people’s needs.

Of course it is true. Our casual attitude and quite inadequate approach to the needs of the physically, mentally and socially handicapped children is contrary to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, principle 5, which states:

A child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

Yet the Minister confessed in his cecond reading speech that, although it is estimated that something like 50,000 children are handicapped children within the definition of that term, only about half of them are able to resort to suitable facilities for their rehabilitation. So we ignore, as we generally ignore anyway, our moral obligations - and that is all they can be under the United Nations arrangements. We ignore, as we usually do, our moral commitment, which sounds grand when we prescribe it to the public and say that we endorse it. But when it comes into practice we totally ignore it.

The cruelty of this is the creation of unnecessary personality problems for the handicapped child. He learns early in his life by his failures and frustrations that he is in fact a failure. This attitude becomes consolidated in his personality and he develops all sorts of problems in his emotional makeup. You cannot completely eliminate this. There will be a variation between children in the extent to which this will develop. But we can do much to modify it. In some cases we can probably largely eliminate it. This is the sort of constructive and practical approach which ought to be undertaken in this House.

The real problem is not the capital expenditure for the organisations which are conducting services which help handicapped children. The real problem for these organisations concerns recurrent expenditures.

How do they pay for their staff? lt is extremely expensive. I will quote the case of autistic children directly. How do they afford transport, for instance, for spastic children who have to move over a fair distance to a centre? This happens in my town of Ipswich. Spastic children have to go 30 miles to Brisbane. It is not economically feasible to set up a spastic centre in Ipswich. This causes all sorts of cost problems.

These are the sorts of things that ought to be grappled with if we are to talk eulogistically and with self-praise about what is being done by the Federal Government for handicapped children and for the unfortunate parents who have tq bear the burden of handicapped children. In my city of Ipswich in one case a father works during the day as a truck driver and the mother works at night in a woollen mill so that between them they can have enough money tn maintain all the services that are necessary for their child who is gravely handicapped to meet the costs of his transport to and from Brisbane and the cost of special equipment, special books and so on. What sort of selfish society do we live in which tolerates this sort of discrimination? lt is discrimination to treat equals as unequals. lt is equally discriminatory to treat unequals as equals. Yet this seems to be the basic assumption upon which this legislation proceeds.

I will refer to mental retardation as a specific case of the sort of problems I have in mind generally. It is estimated that probably 1.5% of the population comes into the area of the term ‘mental retardation’. Yet the mildly retarded person can be absorbed into the community after adequate schooling. Is there in fact adequate schooling provided throughout the community? There certainly is in some areas, but what about throughout the community? These are the burning questions we want answered in this Parliament. These are the facts which ought to have been presented to us before we proceeded on this sort of debate. Is the standard and quality of education being provided good enough? I doubt it. That is no reflection on the people providing the education. I make this assessment on the basis of the deficiencies in the educational system for what could be called ‘normal children’. There are grave failings there.

Quite clearly there will be failings in the education of children who are handicapped.

What about pre-school centres for these children, perhaps mixed pre-school centres? I believe that something is being done in this direction in South Australia but what about throughout Australia? Goodness only knows that normal children are not able to obtain sufficient pre-school training. No provision has been made for the handicapped child. Yet they are children, precisely because they tend to be slow learners, who must start earlier at school and who must obtain the special preliminary training which goes with a pre-school centre. No provision has been made there.

We generally regard South American countries as being economically inferior to this country in their development and therefore as not having an economic surplus that would allow the development of social service policies such as we could implement. But in Uruguay, a country which comes in this category, one finds superior services available for handicapped children. Educationalists who are specially trained go into the homes of retarded pre-school youngsters and deal with the children’s needs, for instance, by stimulating their sensory organs, providing special toys and training them to use them. They provide speech therapy and so on. If this is done in Australia it would be done in a very limited way, but to my knowledge it is not done at all.

We have not discussed the values of segregation versus integration in some areas. We cannot do this with all handicapped children of course. I am not suggesting this. But it clearly can be done for some children. Segregation, on the basis of what I have read from reports, seems to accentuate the differences and the sense of being a failure or of being deficient in handicapped children and helps to develop and consolidate a sub-culture attitude and interfere, therefore, with rehabilitation. This often makes it extremely difficult for these children in their transmission into an adult environment. These are surely serious questions which ought to be bearing heavily on the minds of the national decision makers.

It is no good passing this subject back to the States. They do not have enough cash to deal with it. Their financial resources are fully stretched. What they are providing for the rehabilitation of handicapped children is just not good enough. Only the Federal Government is in a position adequately to finance these sorts of services. It has control of about 80% of fund raising by public authorities. It ought to be accepting a responsibility.

Krupinski, among others, writing in a survey on ‘Mental Retardation Amongst Victorian Children’ in 1966 pointed out that between 1946 and 1953 of those children diagnosed as mentally retarded before the age of 11 years, 2.7% of males and 3.2% of females were diagnosed as such under 2 years of age, and after 7 years of age and up to 11 years of age 70% of males and 60% of females were so diagnosed. Why was not a diagnosis made earlier? . This seems to raise pertinent questions which are important to policy. If the diagnosis is made earlier, a more adequate arrangement can be made for the services which will be required in the community. Quite clearly, not all children in this category can be diagnosed. But surely to goodness a greater percentage than 2.7%. of males and 3.2% of females in fact could be diagnosed under the age of 2 years.

I wish to quote now from the Third Interim Report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Council on Intellectually Handicapped Persons. The Council recommended in its report:

  1. Routine testing for biochemical abnormalities due to inborn errors of metabolism should be undertaken at birth in obstetric hospitals, or at the first visit to a well baby clinic.
  2. Efforts should be made to impress upon all those likely to encounter intellectually handicapped infants and young children of the importance of early diagnosis, and to provide, where necessary, training in the recognition of those symptoms and signs which suggest subnormality.

Why do we shirk a responsibility here? I know that we are moving into an area of State responsibility. I am not a State rightist. I am not a centralist. My philosophy is one of co-operation between the various tiers of government. I do not care who has the power just as long as the responsibilities are discharged in our community and that the job which has to be done for the Australian public is done. This is the main challenge before us. The Federal Government has the money. It ought to accept the responsibility.

While I am talking about this subject, I wish to quote from an article by Gunnar Dybwad entitled ‘New Advances in the Field of Mental Retardation*. He says:

Everywhere I travel, and Australia has been no exception, there is plentiful evidence of the fact that all too many physicians do not inform parents at all that their child was at or soon after birth recognised to be mentally retarded. Others inform parents that their child is backward but should grow out of it. Some physicians go to the other extreme and, particularly in cases of mongolism, paint an entirely unjustifiable dark and dismal picture of the child as a total idiot, unable to function even in the simplest life tasks, and urge immediate and total separation from the mother and admission to an institution. lt seems that there is a public responsibility on the part of our authorities to educate physicians so that this sort of unhappy reaction on their part can be obviated. But once having achieved this, or concurrently anyway with such a programme, great virtues would be found in establishing a register in which handicapped children could be registered at birth. Not only the mentally retarded but also other handicapped children would be registered and then handicaps identified. As I mentioned earlier, this would permit an assessment of future needs and allow the development of policy pretty well in line with the sort of projections which could be made from the details disclosed in the register.

We must go beyond educating doctors, too. We must train others to recognise the symptoms of handicap, especially mental retardation. We must train school teachers, who might otherwise ignore, not recognise or even over-react to, symptoms of pupils and so contribute to the late maturing of these children and add to their problems of transmission into an adult society. Mental retardation is a widespread problem in our community. We need better information so that we can discuss this subject here. Talking about a subsidy of $2 for every $1 of capital expenditure or of expenditure on special equipment is not the way to get an informed attitude on the nature and extent of mental retardation in the community. More than 400 different types of mental retardation are known. The cause of 50% of those types is unknown. Many mentally retarded children have multiple handicaps. For instance, they may be blind or spastic or perhaps deaf. These multiple handicaps project into our thought the need for more comprehensive policies than could possibly be considered just by a general reference to the state of mental retardation.

The challenges which are before us in considering this Bill are complex. The measure does nothing more than tinker at the periphery of what is essentially a very important and crucial problem in this age. The extent to which we are prepared to answer the challenge of handicapped children in our community will be the measure of the humanitarian values which exist in our society. The measurement of our concern, as gauged by the Bill before us, shows that it is very slight indeed.

The incidence of mental retardation in the United States of America is 10 times greater than the incidence of diabetes. 20 times greater than the incidence of tuberculosis, and 600 times greater than the incidence of poliomyelitis. That is the extent of mental retardation. We have made progress in the other fields that I have mentioned, that is, diabetes, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis. Is it not about time that we started to make more progress in the field of mental retardation? As I mentioned, more than 400 different types of mental retardation are known and in 50% of those cases the cause is unknown. It is this field in which we ought to be spending the money which presently the Government is pouring away on the Fill and other forms of extravagance.

More fundamental and applied research into the nature and needs of handicapped children in this community is required. Wc need to develop ancillary services such as diagnostic services, parent counselling, domestic help, nursing assistance, preschool transport assistance, visiting teacher services, emergency housekeeper services - a most essential part of any meaningful programme - special financial assistance, taxation concessions and the special development of employment services. The employment services provided by the Department of Labour and National Service for handicapped people - let alone young people with disabilities - are a complete failure. I wish to quote from a reply given by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Snedden) to a question upon notice asked by me concerning the courses which are provided for these people who are supposed to be specialists in fitting handicapped people into employment. The Minister said:

Courses vary in length according to subject matter, but are usually of 3 or 4 days duration.

Does anyone believe that a student or a Commonwealth public servant would learn much in 3 or 4 days about this complex field of handicap in the community? It is utter nonsense to talk about these employment officers being equipped through special training to fit people into employment.

What is the assessment of this position by an overseas expert? 1 refer again to Gunnar Dybwad and his wife Rosemary and the report which was submitted by them to the Australian Council for the Mentally Retarded. What are the views of these overseas experts in this field? Let me quote them:

But we were disappointed because so much that was good remained isolated; because of the persistence of negative attitudes towards the problem of mental retardation in general; disappointed because of persistence of outdated, long-disproven beliefs regarding the assumed limitations in the functioning of the mentally retarded; disappointed because of the gross differences in quality and availability of services between the States, and often within the States, as well as between cities and regions; disappointed because of the inadequate response from the Federal Government.

That is the view of two overseas experts - not people with a political axe to grind if that is the way in which my approach might be interpreted, but people who, out of human compassion and because of their professional training, are concerned about the welfare of the mentally retarded. What they say completely parallels what I have been saying. Referring to education, I now want to quote from the 15th Annual Report of the Queensland Subnormal Children’s Welfare Association. I do so as an illustration for the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) who thinks that the Bill before the Parliament means something to handicapped children. The report states:

The education of children is a society responsi bility and therefore a Government responsibility - whether the child happens to have an IQ of 40 or 140, and in this so-called age of enlightenment it should not be necessary to have to justify such a statement. Suffice to say that at present, society, through its government is making provision for the education of subnormal children on the cheap.

That is what the Government is doing today. It is skating out of its responsibility. It is getting out of it the cheap way. It is providing $2 for$1 without any investigation to ascertain what should be provided. It is buying off its conscience in that manner. Is that the measure of the human compassion which motivates the social welfare policy of the Government? If it is then this is far from being a fully civilised society.

According to the third interim report of the New South Wales Health Advisory Council there are 14,750 handicapped children in that State yet there are only a little over 3,000 facilities provided for them. I ask the Minister for Social Services whether he feels satisfied with what the Government is now proposing. The problem is not expenditure in the field of capital commitment; it is the recurrent expenditure on education, on providing the services of experts, paramedical specialists or even visiting medical specialists where this sort of aid for the rehabilitation of handicapped children is provided. What is so galling and revolting is that someone has to stand out in the street every year, holding a tin can and rattling it under the nose of people passing by for a miserable 20c and the occasional insult that goes with it. This is a wealthy society and we are capable of providing these sorts of things from Consolidated Revenue. It is quite unfair to expect that the money to support these programmes should be provided by those people alone who are prepared to pay. This is an obligation for the total society. We ought to spread the burden equitably within society, so that people will pay according to their means. The appropriate way to raise this sort of money is through taxation. Any other answer or solution which the Minister or his Government might like to put forward is an evasion of the real issue before us. It means that we are ignoring a group of people who have a grave and compelling need, one which cannot be ignored morally in this community.

What are the needs of deaf children? 1 do not know what they are but on the surface it seems that we are not doing as much as we should. In 1968 in Australia, of the total number of school children 1 in every 618 was attending a special centre for the training of deaf children. In Great Britain, admittedly in 1963 - the figures probably have improved since, so quoting the earlier figure will not be to the advantage of the Government - the ratio was 1 to 438. In New Zealand in 1966 it was 1 to 570. This seems to indicate that probably there are deaf children in Australia who need this sort of training and are not getting it. I do not know for sure but the figures seem to indicate this. I do not think there would be such a great divergence between the situation in Great Britain and that in Australia. I should not think that there would be such a tremendously greater number of deaf children in that country than here. We do not know but we are entitled to know if we are to discuss the sort of measure now before us. We need to develop special postschool practical employment classes for deaf children. Because of language retardation these children have real problems in absorbing theoretical concepts when training for employment.

I want to move quickly to the situation of autistic children. I thank the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Keogh) for information he provided on this subject. He has a special interest ;n autistic children and wants to see something done for them. In Queensland the conservative estimate is that there are 140 autistic children. In fact the authoritative people who operate the autistic centre - non-government authorities - know of only 50 such children under 14 years of age. Where are the other 90, or 100 or perhaps 80 children? If they are not located and given special training at a special centre which is essential for autistic children they will become lifelong inhabitants of mental institutions. It would be a more real approach for us to discuss this problem, in a debate on handicapped children generally, than to buy off our consciences by providing $2 for $1 of capital expenditure.

I want to advert to the point I made earlier about recurrent expenditures and the burden of them on the people who voluntarily accept the responsibility in our society of operating centres for the rehabilitation of these children. The ratio of teacher to pupil at autistic training centres is 1 for 1. Clearly the greatest problem lies in maintaining the salary cost structure. Salaries for the Queensland centre cost $10,000 a year. The authorities at that centre bought the building for $10,500 and spent about $2,000 on improvements. Those were once only payments. They certainly will be very happy to accept the grant proposed by the Government. But this legislation does not face up to their long term problem of finding SI 0,000 each year for salaries. And what will happen if they discover the other two-thirds of the total number of autistic children that they think are living in Queensland? They will need another 520,000 at least, probably more if they are going to extend their services within the centre to these children and maintain their operations. These people have a special need for transport services. 1 turn now to crippled children and the lack of integration, of meshing of the services provided. This gives concern to those responsible for their welfare. The Victorian Society for Crippled Children and Adults, in its 1969 report, stated:

Our Society has always been concerned with the disabled person as a ‘total human being’ and has always felt dismayed by the fragmentation of the different aspects of his care. … the hospitals have the major concern of medical care, the Education Department the primary focus of education, the Commonwealth Social Service Department is established for payments of benefits and medical and vocational rehabilitation and the Department of Labour and National Service is responsible mainly for employment. Between all these areas of operation there is no-one responsible for seeing that a consistent total plan is formulated and implemented.

This comes back to the amendment I proposed on behalf of the Opposition which has been endorsed by honourable members on this side of the House. Namely, that we have to integrate the resources of the Federal Gevernment, the State governments, the local authorities and the voluntary organisations. We have to regionalise the activities of these groups so that this sort of gapping and overlapping can be avoided; so that there will be adequate funds available for the mobilisation and the maintenance of meaningful campaigns and policies for handicapped children. To try to approach this problem otherwise is to court what must be failure in the final result.

The Australian Labor Party accepts this responsibility. It would provide the sort of finance required to overcome the present deficiencies in this area. It would seek to co-ordinate the activities of each of the tiers of government and the non-official bodies currently involved in assistance for handicapped children. After having made these criticisms I ask: ls $2 for $1 as far as this

Government is prepared to go? Is this just how good its help to handicapped kiddies is to be? What is its disjointed and uneven approach to welfare programmes for handicapped children achieving? Is it because of regional failings, missing some who have a need? Perhaps no residential accommodation is provided at training centres where their particular handicap is met and they thus miss out. ls this the sort of thing the Government is prepared to tolerate? If is not even discussing it. Is it going to create a sub-culture for some who are segregated out of sheer frustrating necessity because Government interest and funds are so meagre in too many instances?

Frankly 1 do not accept the proposition, explicit in the Minister’s second reading speech, that by providing this capital subsidy State governments will be relieved of some of their current cost burden and will be able to redirect funds into other areas of policy for handicapped children. They may. I hope they do. What is being provided is gravely inadequate for what is required in the community. The amount of money which is to be released will merely be a grain of salt in the great ocean of challenge in this area. I wonder whether they will all face up to this moral challenge that the Minister has thrown out to them to divert the money released into handicapped children services in other areas.

In Queensland it is notorious that when the Federal Government provided age pensions for those people in mental institutions the State Government immediately moved in and charged those people rent and board for occupation of the premises and it did not divert the money released in this way into increased benefits, welfare services or activities in the mental, institutions. But rather it directed this money into the sum total of Consolidated Revenue for the State. One could be astringently critical of the State government for doing this, but on the other hand one must temper one’s criticisms with the appreciation that the tasks and responsibilities foisted on the State governments today are far beyond the financial resources available to them and that these challenges and these responsibilities can be adequately discharged only by the Federal Government to the satisfaction of the community and as a measurement of the humanitarianism which motivates our society. We criticise strongly the inadequacies of the proposal now before us.


– Order! Is the amendment seconded?

Mr Berinson:

– I second the amendment.


– In supporting this Bill I wish to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) in trying to help the underprivileged and handicapped children and adults in our community. His sincerity of purpose should be an inspiration to us all. In speaking to the amendment moved by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) I would like to say that he has shown his own lack of knowledge of the extent to which the Government and various organisations associated with handicapped people have been conducting an inquiry throughout Australia. 1 have in my hand a document entitled ‘Demography of Disability’ produced by the New South Wales Department of Public Health and the New South Wales Council of Social Services. In the preface to this book the New South Wales Minister for Health states:

I would like to congratulate the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics for the penetrating study of these matters relating to the chronically ill and handicapped children which will be of great importance in evaluating our programmes for the care of almost one-quarter of our population who are affected.

The people who are most experienced in the field of caring for the mentally handicapped are very grateful to the Minister for Social Services and to the Government for what is being done under the provisions of this Bill. I want to read to the House for incorporation in Hansard a letter received by the Minister from the New South Wales Council for the Mentally Handicapped, lt reads:

It is the desire of the Executive of the NSW Council to convey to you, on behalf of 65 NSW organisations we represent in the mentally handicapped field, our sincere thanks for formulating and presenting this Bill to the Federal Parliament.

The benefits that will stern from this measure are virtually incalculable and cannot fail to give new heart to all groups, who have striven for so long to give handicapped children a chance to live as well as they cao.

We do not intend to go into any detail or stress any special point. Our wish is that the Bill will be accepted in its entirety and implemented without delay.

Our thoughts will be with you at the third reading and may success attend your effort.

Another letter received by the Minister from the Chairman of the Aid Retarded Persons New South Wales states: lt affords me considerable pleasure to advise you that at a meeting of the Society’s Executive Committee held recently, it was unanimously resolved that, on behalf of Aid Retarded Persons NSW, I extend to your good self our felicitations and hearty commendation on the enlightened prospective legislation (the Handicapped Childrens’ Assistance Bill) now before the Federal Parliament.

As a society, we have good cause to be thankful for the financial assistance we have received from your Government by way of grants to help cover our workshops and equipment. Although it is unlikely that the provisions of this Bill will affect our Society, we recognise its worth to other bodies in an area hitherto largely unassisted.

Please accept deepest thanks from myself, fellow members of the Society’s Board of Honour.ary Directors and members of Aid Retarded Persons NSW for your efforts and, if we may add, your humanitarian and national outlook.

The best informed people, those who are really doing the work of caring for handicapped people, recognise that this Government and the Minister are carrying out the necessary surveys, are undertaking the inquiries which are necessary and are bringing to this Parliament the legislation required to try to improve the lot of our handicapped people. This Bill will be of tremendous benefit to voluntary organisations and the States in giving assistance to our handicapped children. It is essential that those handicapped physically or mentally are helped early in life to reach a level of independence and become self-respecting adults able to play a productive role in the community. In the past, too little has been done in the field of care and these children have grown into fully dependent adults unable to live any sort of normal life and later have become great burdens upon the State, imposing strains upon the governments and private institutions. This, of course, results in great personal tragedy to the people concerned and to their families.

Hitherto, child welfare has always been regarded as the responsibility of the States and the voluntary organisations, although the Commonwealth has been paying $1.50 per day as a subsidy towards the accommodation of certain handicapped children who are living away from home. But the States and voluntary organisations have had to bear the bulk of the costs and responsibility of looking after the handicapped children. This legislation, although it does not provide direct assistance to State governments, does assist the local governing bodies and voluntary organisations, and this in turn will give to the State governments the indirect benefits they have been looking for. This capital assistance to the States may not help the State of New South Wales as much as it will other States. The New South Wales Government has involved itself in a direct manner in assisting handicapped children, caring for State wards and providing school facilities and of course it will not be eligible to receive direct assistance. The point is that other voluntary organisations in New South Wales will be helped directly. We hope that this Bill will give a broad interpretation to the term ‘handicapped children’ so that it will include those mentally disabled because they are emotionally and socially maladjusted children. Many of them, if helped, will become adjusted members of our community. It is desirable that every effort be made to provide special schooling and other forms of care and training for emotionally disturbed children who may not need inpatient care in psychiatric hospitals but who will become serious problems to all concerned if they are not given special assistance at an early age.

This Bill will give further impetus to the drive to cater far a greater number of handicapped children. There are an estimated 40,000 handicapped children in Australia. Yet, I gather from the second reading speech of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) that we cater for approximately only half of that number. Obviously this is not good enough but at least progress is being made. The terms of the Bill will free the States from some of the capital subventions to voluntary organisations and allow the States to assist handicapped children in other ways. Whilst the provision of capital grants for buildings for schooling and residential accommodation is vitally important the staffing of these institutions is of even greater importance. In this regard I am sure that the Director-General of Social Services will examine carefully every case for special assistance in the building of residential accommodation. This is necessary to ensure that the organisations applying for the subsidy have the necessary trained staff to cater for the children and, what is more, the capacity to pay the staff.

At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that regional development continues rather than see the growth of undesirable large centralised residential complexes in the major capital cities. In this respect the New South Wales Government has established a consultative council on the intellectually handicapped with representatives from the major voluntary organisations, the State Departments of Social Services and Labour and National Service, employers and trade unions. The council advises on the development of a balanced programme of services for the intellectually handicapped in New South Wales. The prime objective has been to encourage regional development of social services throughout the State so that services for handicapped children are located where the children’s families are living or to assist within the immediate region so that family involvement can be maintained with the needs of the children. There are 11 such regional advisory committees in New South Wales consisting of representatives of education and public health bodies and child and social welfare officers, to help guide and advise the New South Wales Government and local workers for the cause. These committees investigate all applications for subsidy and are able to achieve some rationalisation of service and the avoidance of wastage of resources or unnecessary developments. Use should be made of the expertise built up by the States and there should be a strengthening of local participation with a view to each proposed development being examined on its merits and to suggestions being made so that the best possible schemes are encouraged and a balanced development occurs.

I would like to refer to the Westhaven complex in the city of Dubbo in my electorate. I think that Westhaven undoubtedly is one of the biggest complexes off its type throughout Australia in a country area. It is an example of what can be achieved by a regional approach with local participation. It is providing first class care for our intellectually handicapped at all age levels. It is in this regard that I want to pay a tribute in the national Parliament to the great work being performed by Dr Brian Dickens and the Board of Directors of the Westhaven Association, to the staff of Westhaven - Mr Tom McCann, who is the Superintendent, Mrs Amitzbol and Mrs Wrigley - to the teachers Mrs Honfi, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Austin and Mrs Blakemore, and to the Matron Mrs Donnelly. I mention these people by name in this national Parliament because 1 think that their names should be recorded because of the great work they are doing in this centre. 1 would also like to refer to the splendid work that is being done by the men and women of the whole district in supporting this great complex in the city of Dubbo. In 1955 Westhaven was established 1 believe in a small way in the Scouts Hall. As the demand grew, the facilities had to be expanded and this in turn created greater demand from handicapped people of all ages from a wide area. Today Westhaven, as 1 said earlier, is a very large regional complex able to cater for a great number of children and adults, both male and female, who are either physically or mentally handicapped. The growth of these services is due to the dedicated workers for Westhaven - the outstanding local public support, the support from service clubs and other allied groups in Dubbo and throughout the Central West and the support that the Slate and Commonwealth governments have given this establishment over recent years. 1 would like to give some statistics concerning Westhaven. This centre has a sheltered workshop employing 25 people, a farm hostel for 55 intellectually handicapped males, a day attendance centre for 14 children and a school hostel catering for 14 children. In addition, as an example of the co-operation that has been developed in New South Wales between the statutory and voluntary agencies, the Department of Education has established an OF school for 48 moderately handicapped children, some of whom are accommodated in the Westhaven children’s hostel. Since 1964 the Association has received $28,728 from the New South Wales Government by way of capital subsidy towards the establishment of its hostel and extension of the school while the Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Social Services, has provided $41,877 towards its farm project and $18,674 for equipment used in its sheltered work programme. At present application has been made to the Federal authorities for further capital assistance, including $15,500 for extensions to the hostel and for certain equipment and $18,000 towards the extension of the sheltered workshop. Just recently the Association has entered into an arrangement with the Department of the Interior to buy land adjoining the hostel.

One of the objectives of the Westhaven Association in moving to extend the accommodation at the hostel is to qualify for the application of the Commonwealth handicapped children’s benefit. Last year the association made representations, through myself, to the Commonwealth Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) about the restrictive criteria under which the Commonwealth Government’s benefit for handicapped children was granted. Tn reply to these representations the Minister stated that the requirements for the application of this benefit had been eased and as a result the Westhaven Association is now confident that when the additions to the hostel are completed it will be eligible for the Commonwealth handicapped children’s benefit of $1.50 per day per child in residence at the hostel. I would like to thank the Minister for Social Services, who is at the table, very much for his own efforts in this regard. Within the last year the New South Wales State Government has made available a further 25 acres of land for the sheltered farm and this has been used to increase vegetable production. In recent weeks, as a result, the roadside stall which is stocked from the farm has cleared $800 per month and this is helping considerably to finance the project at least in part. I repeat that $800 per month has been raised.

This regional development has gained much from the close links that have been forged between the Association and the Commonwealth and State departments. It is vital that this co-operation be maintained and even extended in the interests of the children concerned. There would seem to be some real value in the Director-General of Social Services making use of the suitable State administrative arrangements as they exist in New South Wales to offer consultative and advisory services and to investigate applications, as they come to the Minister’s Department, for assistance under the new proposals. Such co-operation will be vital since compliance with State legislation will frequently be necessary. School facilities will be acceptable only if the schools receive certification under the Public Instruction Act, while residential facilities for children or pre-school kindergarten facilities require to be licensed under the Child Welfare Act of New South Wales. I do not know what happens in other States but this is the situa tion in New South Wales. Projects approved by the Director-General must, therefore, be constructed and staffed so as to offer programmes of care or training at an acceptable level. It will certainly be easier for a voluntary body to know that State and Commonwealth authorities are in complete agreement on its proposals.

In his second reading speech the Minister said:

The Bill will reduce the burden of the State governments as regards capital expenditure and will thus enable them … to apply their resources more effectively towards other work in this urea.

Undoubtedly this is true. However, certain people in the New South Wales Government believe that considerable strain could d be placed on the limited resources of the States since the provision of operating costs on a continuing basis is at this stage of development in New South Wales of far greater importance than the initial capital cost, especially in relation to the operation of residential facilities. In New South Wales, where maintenance subsidies are paid to voluntary agency schools but are not available to residential facilities other than hospitals, in 1968-69 capital subsidies were less than $250,000 while recurrent grants to voluntary bodies amounted to more than $4m. So Commonwealth capital assistance without subsidies towards operating costs, especially salaries, will place a severe burden on State governments or, more often, on the voluntary bodies that have accepted the initial capital grant.

Commonwealth capital assistance is nonrecurring. Operating expenses recur year after year and are constantly increasing. If States cannot afford to provide maintenance subsidies in the long run, voluntary organisations may find themselves over-committed. This could embarrass them or lead to refusal of admission except for those persons capable of paying heavy fees. By way of illustration I come back to Westhaven in Dubbo which in 1969 had a total income from all sources of $153,953 and a total expenditure of $164,835. Allowing for some adjustments in the accounts, the actual loss on the year’s operations was of the order of $7,000. Although considerable assistance is obtained from voluntary workers the undertaking has now reached such proportions that wages paid to employed staff totalled $41,207 during 1969.

Many voluntary organisations have not been able to develop the sources of income achieved at Dubbo and the loss on the operations at Westhaven, although totalling $7,000, is probably smaller than most other organisations would be able to achieve. This loss occurred despite tremendous local support and it is apparent that the need for subsidies on operating expenses is vital if progress is to be made by voluntary organisations in caring for our handicapped.

In discussions with those associated with th-j Westhaven complex I find that their greatest problem in the future will be to find sufficient funds for day to day operations because, as I have said, the complex has grown and is continuing to grow quite rapidly. I think there is a clear case for the Commonwealth and the States to get together and try to assist by some form of subsidy with the running costs of some of the larger complexes. 1 hope that this will be done in the not too distant future.

In bringing these observations to the notice of the Government I in no way detract from the soundness of the Bill or the value that will flow from it to all voluntary organisations trying to cater for our handicapped children. Undoubtedly greater contribution to non-recurring capital expenditure by the Commonwealth should relieve the States from this area of pressure and so enable a re-allocation of resources. But the high and rising costs of day to day running expenses need to be watched by Commonwealth and State governments to ensure that voluntary organisations are not too heavily overloaded in trying to carry out an essential service for the handicapped in our community. I congratulate the Minister on the Bill and, on behalf of the Westhaven Association, thank him for all the interest and assistance that he and his Department have given. What better contribution can we make to our society than to cater for those who are unable to care for themselves? I conclude by quoting from a speech made in August 1964 at the Copenhagen Conference on Mental Retardation:

The best measure of true civilisation is the standard of social care of the citizens and, perhaps above all else, the manner whereby the community cares for those who, least of all, can maintain their rights and make their claim valid - the mentally ill and deficient. This is the true measure by which a community’s progress and degree of civilisation can be determined.

I believe that this Bill will contribute to that measurement.


– The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has an unusual capacity, which I think he has himself recognised, of introducing Bills with which nobody entirely disagrees but which still leave many people dissatisfied. I am afraid that the present Bill also fails into this category, and the reason for that, to put it in a nutshell1, is that the organisations in the area covered by the Bill require not only more assistance but also and especially a different kind of assistance from that proposed in the Bill. Perhaps I. should make it clear at the outset that my arguments will be based mainly on the experiences of the spastic centres but 1 suggest that these experiences are not untypical of organisations sought to bc assisted by the Bill. This is confirmed, I believe, by editorial comment in the most recent issue of ‘Rehabilitation in Australia’, which is the official organ of the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled.

When we consider the position of such organisations as spastic centres one finds that their main problem lies not in finding funds for capital projects but in meeting the running costs of their day to day activities lt is therefore disappointing to see that the Bill provides capital assistance only. It is significant that in lengthy and closely reasoned submissions to the Commonwealth inquiry into health insurance and the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs the Australian Association of Organisations for the Cerebral Palsied (Spastics) did not mention the need for capital assistance at all. Moreover, in its submissions to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in December last the association’s request for capital assistance came fourth after three more basic requests aimed at securing recognition and support for its medical and paramedical day to day activities. i submit that the order of priorities established by the centres themselves - that is. to put maintenance assistance before capital assistance is clearly right. In the first place the organisations already have physical facilities and, while these are far from ideal, they are not grossly inadequate, as are their maintenance funds. In the second place, as 1 think will be confirmed by anyone who has had experience in voluntary fund raising, one finds that it is always easier in any case to raise voluntary funds for capital projects - for building projects - than for maintenance work. So that if there were to be I aspect of the work which had to be left to private philanthropy it should be that involving capital projects. Thirdly, and I think this is a matter for caution, the provision of capital subsidies can often lead to a tendency to encourage capital projects to develop ahead of the capacity of organisations to maintain them. Finally, and most importantly, I believe that the centres are right in their order of priorities, because what matters even more than optimum accommodation is early and especially adequate treatment. I quote the Ministers comments in his second reading speech: lt is vital that help bc given to these handicapped people early in life … the essential thing is to start remedial action while they are still young. To delay treatment has the triple effect of leaving them helpless for longer, of consuming greater resources in their rehabilitation and of militating against the effectiveness of the cure.

In spastic centres, for example, the adequate early treatment, which the Minister himself recognises as essential, requires intensive therapy under medical supervision by physiotherapists and occupational and speech therapists among others. This intensive treatment involves heavy costs and the problems of these costs are now being aggravated both by the improving status of the professions concerned and. more recently, by the trend towards equal pay for the female members of these professions who hold a large proportion of the appointments in these treatment centres.

The Minister has suggested that the proposed capital subsidy will free other funds for maintenance work. I do not doubt that it is his view that this will happen, and T am sure he would like it to be the case. 1 could also concede that this is, in fact, the likely effect for those organisations whose building programmes are at very early stage. But if 1 can revert to the position of the spastic centres again, and use the example of the Western Australian centre specifically, the position is this: On the one hand the centre has no major building project in view so that there is no question of the subsidy freeing other available funds. On the other hand the centre is now in the position where it is forced to consider reducing its professional staff in spite of increased enrolments. The latter situation surely indicates where the real need lies. Looking at the position in terms of it’s effect on the children, it will be clear that the aim which the Minister himself has set will not be achieved by the present Bill - certainly not for the organisations that 1 have mentioned and, if one takes note of the Minister’s further comments in his second reading speech, probably not for more than half of the organisations caring for handicapped children.

The spastic centres have been seeking Commonwealth maintenance finance since 1949 and it is depressing and frustrating reading to see the regular response by the Commonwealth to those requests. The response invariably has been: ‘This is a question of State responsibility; ask them’. I congratulate the Minister on at least breaking away from this approach to the extent of providing Commonwealth capital grants. But why stop there? Having made the break why does he, in his second reading speech, continue to put these proposals on the basis of helping the State contribution in the field as though to remind us that the Commonwealth still denies that there is an independent Commonwealth responsibility? Of course there is. The children we are concerned about are not just Western Australian, Victorian or Tasmanian children; they are also Australian children, and the Commonwealth’s reluctance to accept and operate on the basis of that simple fact is at the very heart of the problem which these organisations have faced in their efforts to attract Commonwealth support. As it happens, the contribution of the State governments to this work does at least bear some relationship to its worth; at least in the context of State finances.

Again using the figures of the Western Australian spactic centre, the position is that in the last financial year the Western Australian State Government met 44.4% of operational costs. The Minister has pointed out that there is already indirect Commonwealth assistance to these bodies by way of social service and health scheme benefits, but all these incidental Commonwealth benefits combined still amounted last year to only 7.1% of operational costs, and that appallingly low percentage contribution will not be increased by so much as a single decimal point as a result of the present legislation.

I want to quote a statement by Mr J. T. Michell, who is the Executive Director of the Western Australian spastic centre and the National Secretary of the Federal body. The statement, I believe, summarises the basis of their claims and the basis of their concern. These extracts come from his submissions to the Commonwealth committee of inquiry into health insurance and read as follows:

As great as these two total sources of funds are-

He was referring at that stage to. assistance from government and voluntary welfare agencies - nevertheless the spastic organisations throughout Australia, in the main, do not have enough income to adequately carry out their total responsibilities to the cerebral palsied, and this inadequacy lies mainly in the medical treatment/ medical training/nursing field-

I interpolate here to emphasise not the accommodation field - where the cerebral palsied appear to fall to a large extent between opposing forms of legislative enactments or lack of enactments.

At a later stage he says:

Therapy given at medical direction when the medical management of the patient’s case is under a registered medical practitioner is a vital part of the whole field of medicine, the professional standards and ethics of graduate registered therapists are extremely high, and therapy is recognised throughout the world as being an extremely important medical service, just the same as nursing is an important medical service. All hospitals of importance throughout the world employ therapists, and we earnestly seek the inclusion of therapeutic remedial treatments within the scope of the National Health Act provisions.

It may be suggested, as Mr Michell himself indicates in that extract, that the appropriate source of support for the maintenance of such centres should be the Department of Health rather than the Department of Social Services. But an argument as to which is the appropriate department in this matter would be as barren as that related to State versus Commonwealth responsibility. We are dealing with children and with the families of children who suffer enough because of their handicaps without having an additional financial burden with which to contend, or the addi tional concern that the children are receiving something less than the best attention possible. We are dealing with organisations which have done magnificent work in rallying public support, but whose efforts are simply inadequate to meet the need. Every argument of social conscience demands that the needs of handicapped children should not have to depend on the vagaries of beauty competitions, telethons and raffle tickets. These efforts should supplement not substitute for government action. I urge the Government to recognise that the present proposals, welcome as they are, are not the answer to the problem. Their scope now or later must be widened to cover the daytoday work - that is to say, the real work - of those engaged in the treatment and training of handicapped children.


– This is a very important measure wilh which we are dealing at present. I must congratulate the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) on his speech. It was a well thought out contribution and he dealt wilh a very important subject concerning the people of Australia. The honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) also gave an interesting speech dealing particularly with, and giving as an example, an institution with which he is familiar. I must say I did not follow too much of what the honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) said. We are dealing with the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill which provides - I state this merely for the record - assistance for capital works and equipment of $2 for every Si that is provided by authorised organisations. These organisations include religious bodies, voluntary citizens’ organisations, RSL groups, and, I am pleased to see, local government in its own right. The Bill provides for children up to 21 years of age, and persons over 21 years of age if they have already commenced training :n an institution. This clause dealing with assistance to those up to 21 years of age is better than the comparable provision of most of the States. I do not know whether the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) realises that it is more liberal in relation to the age factor. To extend the assistance given to handicapped children to those 21 years of age is an excellent scheme. It can be extended beyond that age in certain cases.

This is legislation that was promised by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in the October election and is just another new break-through by this Government. This is one of several completely new breakthroughs for which this Government is responsible in the field of social security. I think we are very fortunate to have a Prime Minister who is dedicated to this kind of thing and to have the Department represented by my colleague, the Minister for Social Services. I do not think anyone in Australia would challenge that the Minister’s heart is in assisting the people. He has a sympathetic heart and one needs that when administering legislation of this character. I know he will do his very best on behalf of the people who so much need that help. This Government will go down in history not only for this measure but for the social security it has brought to the people of Australia. One has only to refer, for instance, to the rehabilitation assistance that has been given and the recent assistance to sheltered workshops. They are growing tip and the contribution they are making at the present time to production in this country was unthought of many years ago.

Even in the fields of social services and repatriation innovations have been introduced by way of legislation. We are breaking through in a new way to meet the needs of people who require our assistance. We have before us now, but not yet completed, medical and hospital benefits legislation which is again new legislation. This a breakthrough for the permanent social security of the people of this country. In other fields, such as education, we have done immense things. We have provided assistance to private schools, which has been a magnificent thing, and in the home ownership fields we have done a great deal. I do not want to expand on that. One can remember the initiation by this Government of assistance to aged citizens, enabling them to acquire a home. I mentioned these things to justify my statement that this Government will go down in history for its forward moves in social security. This Bill is just another example of what it is doing.

Help for handicapped children is one of the outstanding social problems of our age. I believe it has been largely neglected by all governments in our past history and, indeed, one can go beyond that and say that it has been neglected by most countries until recent years. At the present time there is not only in this country but in many countries throughout the world an upsurge of understanding of the problem. This is very good to see. In this country I know there are many things to be done but there is certainly an upsurge of interest. We would like to know the extent of the problem and whilst we have learnt many ways in which to deal with it we still do nol know all the answers to the problem. At the same time, great results have been achieved, particularly with the sheltered workshops. What has happened in the past in problems of this kind?

When I speak of handicapped children i include mentally and physically handicapped children, those who are partially handicapped or partially retarded, those who are chronically affected in various ways and those who are temporarily affected but who can permanently overcome their disabilities. Then, of course, we have those with permanent disabilities. There is such a variety in this field of handicap both in adults and in children throughout the country. I heard the figures which I think the honourable member for Oxley quoted of some investigation that took place, lt is quite true that over 20% of the population of this country is affected by some handicap or another, physical or mental. One would hardly realise this but it is quite true. One wonders what happened to those people in past ages. We know that the problem and the responsibility have rested upon the families of people who have been handicapped.

Permanently handicapped children of past days were hidden in the back room and not brought out to the light of day, as though it was some blemish upon their character or something to be ashamed of for a child to be deformed or affected in some way. This was the approach in many years past where the child was left in a back room, so to speak, not to be seen by people and not. to bp. recognised or known. There they lived their lives until they passed away. They were loved no doubt by their parents and those closely associated with them, but nothing was done for them. When those who were perhaps slightly mentally retarded - and this country is full of such people today - went to school, because of some mental disability they were put down as dunces and placed at the bottom of the class. They were never recognised, as they lived their adult life, as people with ability to do things. It affected their make-up psychologically to the extent that they have not had a fair go in life. These things have happened. One has only to reflect - and I was Minister for the Army for 8 years - on the enormously high percentage of young men in this country who cannot pass an examination that a normal child of 10 could pass. We have tens of thousands of these people in this country. 1 mention these matters to place emphasis upon the range of the problem of people who suffer from some handicap. I do not believe that the public at large or, indeed, governments reflect sufficiently on this or are even aware of the extent of the problem. It is not properly understood by the people of Australia or of most countries. We know of the physically handicapped, those with deformed limbs and bodies, those with ear, nose and throat affections - I have one myself now - and those who are partly or perhaps acutely affected, and wc know of the abnormalities that are created at birth. We see the number of people injured in accidents becoming greater and greater. We read the papers and see the numbers that are affected by accidents throughout this country every year. These people are left in most cases with some disabilities or disfiguration, which has a vast effect upon their psychological outlook on life. Then there are the mentally handicapped. This disability is frequently linked with a physical handicap. There is an enormous range of disabilities in this regard. I do not propose to mention all of them, but if honourable members study this subject they will find that there is an enormous number of disabilities ranging from the incurable through those who are wholly or partially disabled to those who are affected in a slight way.

I have mentioned before in this Parliament the problem of the dyslectic child. These children are intelligent - some are highly intelligent- but they are unable to learn to read. They are unable to play certain games properly because there is just some little twist or blockage which affects them. As I have said, these children in the past were put at the bottom of the class and were looked down upon. Great things can be done for these children to help them to lead normal (ives and contribute to the affairs of this country. I believe that this in itself is a tremendous problem. There is no doubt that in the past parents of these children have suffered tremendously and have borne the brunt without help of any kind from governments or anywhere else. Parents have to give a great deal of time to assist the children in learning to read and speak. I believe that there is an awakening of the public in relation to these problems. People are beginning to realise that this is not only the responsibility of parents but is a community responsibility that we all must bear. The people of Australia must bear it both through their Government and as individuals. It is not something that should be made a subject of political propaganda. This is a case where the Government and Opposition ought to join hands because it is a problem which affects so many people and is of such proportion throughout the world.

The benefits that are to be derived from this action are not only the human understanding and help for our fellow man, but also the economic and the national good that can be achieved for this country. We could achieve this by spending money, but we do not need only to spend money. We need to awaken the people to their community responsibility. In the past there has been an enormous economic waste, but a great benefit could accrue to this country. In the past no effort has been made to create for these human beings a better way of life. If this is done now they will be able to achieve more and to produce more in an economic sense. Many handicapped people can be educated and trained to contribute tremendously to our production if they are given the guidance and the opportunity to do so. They have never been given this opportunity in the past. As I have said, the Government has already given great help in providing sheltered workshops, but much more has to be done.

There are new organisations arising in all States. In my own State there is the Subnormal Children’s Welfare Organisation and the Wheelchair and Disabled Association of Australia. In my own electorate, as in the electorate of the honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt), we have some excellent organisations such as the Sunshine Homes at Gore Hill, which are very old and well known. The Crowle House at

Ryde is a very well known organisation which has done magnificent work in the past. Another one of which 1 am patron has been established at Epping, ft is called Karonga and it was started only a few years ago. Unlike some of the other organisations, this organisation places no restriction whatever on the type of disability. It has grown to such proportions that it is almost impossible to keep pace with it. The Karonga House Special School for Handicapped Children has not been able to keep pace with requirements, but there has been enormous assistance from Rotary clubs. Lions clubs, local bowling clubs and sporting bodies in its maintenance. These bodies hold functions and they have created an enormous local public impression. The State Government also helps up to a point. The legislation with which we are dealing is a godsend to these people because it means that they will be able to increase enormously the number of children maintained in that home. It is a very well and efficiently run home. Notwithstanding that, there are many tens of thousands of children who are waiting to find a place to which they can go. There is indeed an urgent need for us to have full information in this respect. I do not think that there is any need for the amendment that was moved by the honourable member, because 1 believe that the Department has this matter well in hand now.

Mr Les Johnson:

– What is the Government doing about it?


– It is doing much at the present time, but there is still a great need to find out exactly the extent of the problem, not only of handicapped children about whom we are talking in this Bill but also of handicapped people in all aspects and in all grades throughout Australia. There is need for a survey to be made in this regard. 1 believe that there is an enormous need for co-operation with the States which from a constitutional point of view are responsible. 1 do not think that we should foist the responsibility upon their shoulders. At the same time, we must have complete co-operation between the Commonwealth and Stales on this matter. I know the extent to which the Department is making a survey at the present time, but 1 also think that this might be extended in the manner I have mentioned, because there are no reliable or complete statistics in any State, or in the Commonwealth itself on the needs and extent of this matter. I believe that this is essential and I believe that it is urgent. I would suggest to the Minister for Social Services - I know he will do this - that he might start on that sort of basis. 1 know that much is already being done in the Scandinavian countries and in -the United States of America. 1 have here a very interesting book. 1 do noi know if any honourable members have read it. I am just about to hand it back to the Library, so it will be available for honourable members to have a look at it. lt is called ‘Guidelines for State Plan Programmes for Education of Handicapped Children’. The United States has set up special organisations to get co-operation of (he States and so forth. It is very interesting to see what they are doing in relation to this. This sort of thing should be encouraged. In New South Wales we have the Specific Learning Difficulties Association, which is known as SPELD, dealing with the dyslexic child that I mentioned earlier in my speech. This organisation is particularly for dyslectic children and it is doing a magnificent job. I believe that it needs help not only from the public but from the Government. In March this year - to give some idea of the extent of the public interest in this matter - the organisation held a meeting with a guest speaker at the Sydney Town Hall. Over 2.500 people crushed into that meeting.

I know that all States are doing something, bin the difficulty is that in each State there is a different approach. Co-ordination is needed to bring the programmes into line. The New South Wales Government is doing splendidly. I pay a tribute to the Minister for Child Welfare and the Minister for Social Welfare, Mr Hewitt, who is a personal friend of mine. 1 also pay a tribute to his predecessor, Arthur Bridges, who unfortunately died. They really gol to work and started doing things in New South Wales. But it is the lack of co-ordination between the different States and the Commonwealth that needs tightening up. I hope that the States, because of the relief they will get in their capital expenditure, do not reduce the amount that they spend already - a possibility that the Minister mentioned in his second reading speech. This amount could very well go to assistance in maintenance. But the States will be the best judges of that. Above all 1 believe that there is a great need for national co-operation.

The Bill has been brought forward by the Department of Social Services, but I think honourable members may gather from what I have said that the problem of handicapped children is not one for only the Department of Social Services. It is a problem throughout Australia which should call for the attention and co-ordination, not only of the States and the Commonwealth, but of the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Science and the Treasury. It is not a problem that affects only one department. Therefore the departments should get together on it. Overall I congratulate the Minister and the Government on a magnificent forward move into a field that is of enormous importance to the people of Australia. I am glad to see that the Government is awakening. This is one matter we do not want to make into a political football and a matter on which we do not want to criticise each other. It is one in relation to which we want to offer a hand of help, advice and suggestions. Therefore let us face up to the problem as a national Parliament because I believe it is not only a human problem but a problem of tremendous economic importance to Australia.

Sitting suspended from 5.54 to 8 p.m.


– The House is debating the Handicapped Children (Assistance) Bill 1970. After perusing the Bill and the second reading speech by the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) I think I should point out that we must beware of the danger of being too thankful for small mercies. The Minister referred in the opening remarks of his second reading speech to the election policy speech of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) and the remarks he had made on this subject. The Minister then said: 1 did not hear one criticism of this proposal in the whole of the election campaign. I would take it that it has the support of the whole House.

I do not want to be critical of the Minister’s remarks. It would be wrong for anybody to criticise the humanity of this measure. But I think that much criticism - not unjust criticism but perhaps helpful criticism - can be levelled at the inadequacies of the Bill. After referring to the §1.50 per day payment which the Commonwealth makes in respect of accommodation away from home in the case of certain handicapped children, the Minister went on to say:

But, taking it by and large, it is true to say that in this area the States bear the major share of the responsibility and have enlisted the aid of various voluntary bodies to help them discharge it

With all due deference to the Minister I suggest that one word should be added to that statement. I think it would then depict the true situation. I suggest it should read: Various voluntary bodies try to help them discharge it.’ It amazes me that the Government should suggest that more responsibility be placed on the shoulders of voluntary organisations and even go so far as to suggest that the States will be freed from providing capital subventions or subsidies to voluntary bodies.

In spite of the various efforts made by voluntary and local government bodies, the problem of care for handicapped children is increasing daily. This measure sounds very good, Mr Speaker, and in fact it is good but nevertheless the procedure for which it provides creates discrimination. It is not pointed discrimination or discrimination that one likes to see. This sort of legislation creates unjustifiable discrimination. I will amplify this statement a little further. One can see examples of it in the case of kindergartens, creches, primary schools and other institutions in the more wealthy suburbs. They have much better amenities than similar institutions in my own electorate, for instance 85% of which is, I suppose, is a working-class area. What I refer to as discrimination is not something that people like to see or something which the Government wants to bring about in this measure. But by the same token this Bill does bring about that sort of discrimination and creates a feeling of unjustness in the minds of people who cannot put their hands in their pockets to the same extent as other people.

I remarked earlier about the inadequacies of the Bill but will refer to them later. In the latter half of his speech the Minister expressed his sentiments about the families of handicapped children. I know that his sentiments are very real but people with handicapped children or handicapped relatives say that eloquent words are of little help to (heir families or to the handicapped children and do nothing to assist them at the greatest point of need. The greatest point of need is during the first years of the life of the handicapped child. When speaking of handicapped children I mean children with physical as well as mental handicaps, lt is not possible to divorce the needs of the handicapped child from the needs of the family. The needs of the family are the most urgent in the early years of the child’s life. This Bill does nothing to assist the family or the child during this period. Home nursing, home help, counselling and social worker assistance during these years could reduce hospital waiting lists. Many parents, given assistance at this stage of the child’s life, could later cope with many of the problems which drive them to seek hospital placement as the only means of preventing a complete family breakdown. Voluntary organisations, with all the warmth, sympathy, understanding and drive in the world cannot adequately provide this sort of assistance. Assistance of this kind in those circumstances must ultimately be provided through Government guaranteed social service, medical and paramedical agencies.

Voluntary organisations have undertaken almost too willingly the care and education of, in particular, mentally handicapped children from the pre-school years through to the sheltered workshop. As the Minister suggested, this legislation will encourage them in this task. However, no Government expects voluntary organisations to undertake the education of non-handicapped children. A family with a handicapped child is a handicapped family. There is no getting away from that fact. The Minister himself said this. There is no justice in a policy that asks not less of this family but more because of a misfortune to which it has in no way contributed. Looking at it in its best light, this Bil) imposes an additional burden on the parents of handicapped children who, in the main, make up the voluntary organisations which will seek subsidies for the new day centres and residential referred to in it.

One of the most desperate and tragic situations that confront parents of severely handicapped children at this time is the inadequacy of hospital type accommodation for their children. I refer to children who are too severely handicapped to be able to be satisfactorily placed in most hostels run by voluntary organisations. Some church hospitals can care for these children but the numbers are pitifully small when compared with the need. I will give honourable members some indication of the need by referring to the Kew Cottages in Victoria. As at 1st May 1969 the waiting list was 1,433, of which 198 were described as most urgent and 248 described as urgent. Mrs Marie Coleman, Director of the Victorian Council of Social Service, on 16th October last year said:

The situation is tragic. A conservative estimate of the number of residential beds needed for (he severely retarded is 1.3 for each thousand of the population. Victorian residential beds amount to about half that estimate.

She went on to say that plans for the provision of additional accommodation at residential centres over the next 5 years - she was referring to Victoria - amount to approximately 636 beds. The waiting list is growing at the rate of approximately 100 each year, lt may not be generally realised that these figures are more than statistics. They represent a desperate situation for many families. Normal children are held back and the health of the parents is undermined by the tremendous strain of caring for the retarded member. This strain cannot be alleviated unless some provision is made. Parents associations have made many approaches to the State Government and have been told always that there is not enough money. This is a matter that has moved beyond State finances and has become one of national concern. 1 refer again to the position of parents. Little has been said in this debate so far about the position of parents. I call these people waiting list parents. These waiting list parents especially are the ones for whom some form of social service assistance by way of help in their homes is essential. The burdens carried by these families include high medical costs, high transport costs, special safety measures in the home, excessive laundry costs, costs of excessive clothing replacements and other excessive costs which may be incurred by the condition of a particular child. Indeed, the need for residential accommodation for these people is very great, lt could be lessened if a range of community services were available to help these families to keep a child at home. Such community services could include visiting social workers, physiotherapists, teacher and speech therapist services, financial assistance to the family whose child’s condition requires this, a home help service - especially with trained personnel - and a visiting nursing service for the very young and for the bedridden or almost totally dependent child. These are an absolute necessity. 1 could go further with this list. Grants could be made to the States to help them run a correspondence course for the mothers of handicapped children not serviced by any facility. This would enable mothers to start training their children along sound lines. There should also be compulsory medical examinations under the national health service for all 4-year-olds to enable earlier assessment of children with special needs due to a disability and hostel accommodation for the aged, orphans, and others unable to live at home for any reason, such as illness, age of parent, distance from a facility, condition of handicapped person in relation to other members of the family, size of family, etc. I believe also that provision should be made for holiday or emergency placement. 1 refer to those handicapped children at present being educated by State education departments. These children have no certainty and no security for the future. They need post-school training as offered to the rest of the school population, but training geared to the needs and abilities of these mildly retarded persons. Perhaps this could be done under the auspices of the Department of Education and Science, that is, through institutions of advanced education. Many of these people are capable of a far wider range of occupation than the repetitive assembly work usually thought of as their limit. However, post-school training, guaranteed employment and on-the-job counselling are essential. These people are not properly placed in terminal sheltered workshops and require a transitionally sheltered employment situation and frequently hostel accommodation. I know that amendments would be required to the legislation dealing with assistance to sheltered employment to achieve this end.

I wish to refer to the position in other countries. I know that comparisons are odious but I shall mention first the United

States of America. In Chicago, 1,578 young adult retardates, whose annual earnings totalled $70,000, were given intensive vocational training over a year or more. The cost of this training was $2,250,000. However, in their first full year of work after training, their total earnings were $2.5m. So, in effect, the cost of their training was met by their earnings in their first full year of work. The Dutch will spend up to 6 years on post-school training of retarded persons because it pays them to do so. Denmark pays a special benefit to all parents of mentally retarded persons. So too does Sweden.

I suggest that Commonwealth bursaries should be made available for student social workers to encourage them to work with families which have handicapped, particularly mentally handicapped, children. Bursaries should be made available also to encourage the training of nurses to work with severely handicapped children. Another form of aid would be the introduction of taxation rebates as a form of social assistance where additional expense is incurred in caring for a handicapped member of a family. The overall need is that the mentally handicapped person should be regarded as an individual personality having the same rights as other Australians and, through his lifetime disability, having greater need of specialised assistance than more gifted citizens. In making provision for this assistance, we must guard against not seeing him within the context of a family unit.

I refer now to the report of the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs. Regarding this subject of the physically and mentally handicapped, the Committee said in its report: 149. The Committee considers that there is insufficient information available on the problems involved in the care and treatment of the physically and mentally handicapped. Voluntary organisations do provide considerable assistance to these groups. There is a pressing need for a thorough assessment of the most practical forms of assistance necessary for their solution. 150. The Committee recommends: That Commonwealth and State Governments should conduct a thorough joint inquiry into the problems associated with the special care and treatment of the physically and mentally handicapped, of all ages, for the purpose of establishing the most satisfactory practical forms of assistance.

I have suggested already some of these practical forms of assistance. I could suggest others including some assistance in meeting the cost of essential drugs which are not obtainable onthe free list. This presents financial hardships to the families or the parents of handicapped children. Help is required in catering for the services that these children need or to assist mentally retarded children attending special schools. A need exists for increased mental retardation content in training courses for medical practitioners, general nurses and, in particular, nurses taking positions in mothercraft and child care clinics. These are very essential requirements. 1 do not intend to speak at any great length on this matter. The honourable member for Gwydir (Mr Hunt) quoted at length from a brochure that he had which referred to matters within his own electorate and in particular to what I think he called the Westhaven Home. The report that the honourable member read was a very glowing one. I want to read a report that presents the other side of the picture. It is one that is very real because it covers not only the metropolitan area of Victoria but also the country districts of that State. It is headed: ‘A crisis for retarded in schools’, and it reads:

Some slow learners - children with intellectual handicaps, or social and emotional problems - have to wait up to three years to get places in Victorian Government special education schools.

The delay can mean it is too late to help the children by the time they are admitted.

And some who do make it take lessons in corridors and converted shelter sheds.

These conclusions are among the findings of a survey of the State’s special education facilities made by the Victorian Teachers’ Union field officer, Mr Barrie Rimmer.

The report says that the shortage of special schools in outer Melbourne suburbs means that many handicapped children travel up to 60 miles a day.

It cites a well documented list of other special educational problems.

A shortage of psychology and guidance branch staff means that some children with specific problems - especially in country areas - are overlooked

The whole of Gippsland, including the heavilypopulated Latrobe Valley, receives only 3 visits a year,’ it says.’ ‘Officers find themselves interviewing parents and pupils in storerooms, staff rooms, sick bays and even shelter sheds. This situation is almost unbelievable when it is remembered that officers frequently wish to make tests of a sensitive nature.’

Schools for physically handicapped children arc grossly overcrowded.

The report says playing areas at Yooralla Carlton, Marathon and Yooralla Balwyn schools are totally inadequate.

These areas are small and either concrete or asphalt, making games and important physical activities impossible.’

The Fitzroy Special School and the Marathon School for physically handicapped children are singled out for scathing appraisal.

Mr Rimmer says the Fitzroy School is a disgrace’.

The old 2-storey buildingis dubbed a fire trap.

The rooms generally arc dilapidated with paint peeling from the walls and stains where the roof leaks. On the ground floor there is continual interruption from the first-floor noise.’

Six is a crowd in the art-craft room - an old 10 ft by 10 ft shed.

A stairway in the school is rotten.

The report says that the Marathon School has 9 classrooms for 1 1 classes. Mr Rimmer estimates its accommodation - used for 103 students - is adequate for no more than 75-80.

Two portable classrooms owned by the Country Roads Board have poor ventilation. The report says the rooms feature ‘extreme heat in summer and extreme cold in winter’.

There is no room for wheelchairs in the classrooms.

Andthere is no water piped to the rooms - so art work is almost impossible.

Mr Rimmer calls for: A doubling of the intake to special teacher training courses. More senior teaching jobs in special schools so experienced staff do not have to leave for promotion.

The immediate addition of four new special schools he suggests Watsonia, Burwood, Traralgon and Dandenong as sites.

That is the report on the other side of the scale and it does not suggest that all is as well in Victoria as it is in New South Wales.

The Minister went on to say:

It is vital that help be given to these handicapped people early in life, because a child - even an infant - is easier to train than an adult.

The Minister admits this but unfortunately this Bill will do nothing to overcome the problems faced by spastics, who were referred to by the honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson), dyslectics, autistics, the profoundly deaf, the blind and the mentally retarded. In all these cases the training must be given to the child at a very early age. This Bill will do little to help in this regard. The Minister in his speech said: . . both the States and voluntary bodies have been making valiant efforts in this field of assistance to handicapped children. This measure is designed to augment these efforts without interference in the proper fields of their administration.

In spite of these valiant efforts the position is getting worse every day. Private funds and local government funds are running dry. if honourable members care to look thr ough the Press in Victoria or examine localgover nment administration in that Statethey will findthat rates will take a terrific leap. How can the councils and pe opl e with inadequate means find this sort of money when it is just not there? It is ridicuiousto think that councils will be able to face up to these problems.

The’ Minister went on to say in his second reading speech:

It is clear enough that there is still much to be done. There are, we estimate some 50.000 handicapped children under16 years of age in Australia, including both those who have some physical handicap and those who are mentally reta rded. Probably under half of these are adequatelycalered for by special facilities.

The Minister is wrong. I would say probably more than half of those children are inadequately catered for. That is the position in Victoria and there is no doubt about if. Nobody can deny that that is the position. I now come to a part of the Ministers speech which shocked me a little, despite his sincerity. He said:

This Hill will help the States, because it will free them from the need to provide capital subventions to voluntary bodies, or at least will greatly reduce the need for them to do so. Insolariesas thisoccurs.It will allow them–

That is. the States - to devote greater funds towards assisting handicapped children in other ways.

To me this is a shocking suggestion. In other words it means that voluntary organisations and parents bodies will have to provide greater help. The States will be relieved of their burdens and the parents and voluntary bodies will have to bear the costs. I say without fear of contradiction that any further responsibility placed on parents associations, other voluntary bodies and local government bodies and on the shoulders of the families of these unfortunate handicapped people is only a vicious form of indirect taxation on a section of the public which is now bearing much more than its share of Commonwealth responsibility. Furthermore, if it is one of the wishful hopes of this Government to induce local government to undertake responsibilities of this nature, 1 want to say that most municipalities are now practically bankrupt and they have been telling this Government for many years that they can no longer carry out the responsibilities which they now have to face up to. As . 1 said before, rates are rising beyond - the capacity of many people to pay, and local government participation in a scheme of this kind will only increase the tremendous problems of local government and place extra taxation in the form of rates on the shoulders of these, people. It is, of course, another form of indirect taxation.

Without doubt this matter is oneof national importance. The ramifications in relation to the wide range of specialised teaching and treatment that must be given to the handicapped are beyond the resources of voluntary organisations, both economically and physically. The same can be said of local government. With the knowledge also that all Slates are screaming for more revenue from the Commonwealth Government to meet their commitments, local councils, voluntary organisations, parents organisations and the parents and families of these unfortunate people whose welfare we are. today discussing can expect little help from State governments. Indeed the provisions of this Bill could aggravate the situation. For those reasons, and for many others, although I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), I feel that such are the implications of this problem that it can be dealt with only at the national level.


– There were very many inaccuracies in the speech made by the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr McIvor) on this Bill. Unfortunately I do not have the time to deal with all of them but perhaps I might mention the one with which he commenced his speech. In referring to the second read- ing speech of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) the honourable member said that voluntary bodies arc trying to help the State governments to discharge their obligations. I think that this is an unfortunate criticism of the voluntary system as we know it. I inform the honour-, able member that many of these organisations arc established only on the initiative of people, not governments, and exist only through the work of volunteers. There is such an organisation in South Australia which I will deal with in a moment. That organisation has been in operation for nearly 70 years and for 50 of those years it received no government support whatsoever. The honourable member for Gellibrand mentioned a whole series of activities that he felt should be covered in this type of legislation. He said that free medicines should be supplied, that salaries should be paid, that kindergartens, creches, and schools should be paid for, that there should be special teacher courses and that more teachers should be made available. The position is that this Bill does not attempt to cover all of those situations and in any case they are the responsibility of the State governments. The Commonwealth Government does not wish to intrude unnecessarily into the fields of education and health. 1 feel that ] must take the honourable member to task on one point on which he was completely inaccurate. He said that there was no provision made in this Bill * for* spastics, autistics or the blind. In fact he said that the Bill will do nothing for them, and that statement is patently untrue. On the very first page of the second reading speech of the Minister those disabilities are referred to, and in any case the Bill provides that ‘handicapped children’ includes physically handicapped or mentally handicapped.


– Where are they included?


– It says handicapped children, physically or mentally. If someone has an autistic child-


– This is for capital grants.


– Of course it is. We are not dealing with all the other big brother requirements that you want.


-Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Boothby that he address his remarks to the Chair.


– I am sorry, Mr Speaker, but I did feel that it was important for me to make this point. It is untrue to say that this is not helping the States. If the Commonwealth makes available capital grants this leaves the State governments free to use their money for other purposes, and I include the purposes referred to by the honourable. .member for Gellibrand. I would like to place on record my very strong support for this Bill. I am pleased to see, even though it is reluctant support, the support . of the Opposition for this measure, which relates to one of the matters promised last year in the policy speech of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). I think the fact that this legislation has the support of the Opposition is an indication by the whole of the Parliament and therefore the whole of the Australian community that the community has an obligation to assist children who unfortunately are afflicted with this form of disability. It is recognised that this is an obligation upon the whole of the community and not just a few - not just the States or not just volunteers. Traditionally this work has been the responsibility of the parents and of voluntary organisations. I agree with the honourable member for Gellibrand that mostly these organisations are conducted by parents with some help from the State governments. Although State governments have responsibility for education and health they have been unable to expand these services to keep pace with the demand and in a sense this legislation is an extension of existing Commonwealth social service legislation whereby the Commonwealth is assisting in the area of the adult handicapped. We are extending this assistance to the area of handicapped children.

From my observations of the work of organisations in South Australia which cater for mentally handicapped children, there is no doubt in my mind that few children, if any, are ineducable. Honourable members will remember the panel on mental retardation set up by President Kennedy in 1961. In its report this panel of experts saw mental retardation as a national health, social and economic problem affecting in that country 51 million adults and children and involving from 15 million to 20 million family members. For some years I was privileged to serve on the board of Minda Home in South Australia. We have always referred to this place as a home and never as an institution. It is a home for mentally handicapped and epileptic children. The home is a good example of the type of organisation which will benefit as a result of this legislation. I understand that Minda will shortly be making an application for assistance if this legislation is passed, as I hope it will be without alteration. I repeat that I believe there are 30. or 40 organisations which have already made inquiries, in the expectation that this legislation will go through.

Mr Wentworth:

– The number is about 30.


– The Minister says that it is about 30. I believe that ‘minda’ is an Aboriginal word meaning place of refuge. Minda Home was established towards the end of the last century by public subscription and has expanded, through the enthusiastic efforts of dedicated people, into what is now a magnificent organisation catering for over 600 boys and girls.

In recent times Minda has received financial help from the Government of South Australia. But as these grants have amounted to less than 20% of its gross income the success of The Home has been due mainly to the efforts of voluntary helpers and a generous public. In the ‘1950s when I was associated with the organisation tin; cost of maintaining a handicapped person in the home was SIO a week. Today it is $26 a week and there is always a waiting list for admission. I imagine that this situation is the same all round the Commonwealth. The decision by the Commonwealth Government :o enter the field of capital assistance to places such as Minda gives tremendous relief not only to those conducting the homes but especially to parents and others who understand the value of early guidance and education for these children. Succeeding governments in South Australia have shown a continuing awareness of the problem and a first rate school operated by the Education Departmen. in South Australia- has been conducted at Minda for several years. The enrolment of this school is now 350 pupils. These arc mentally handicapped children. I hop: in the n;ar future that the Minister fo- Social Services will be able io visit Minda Home, to meet the staff who look after these children in the Home and in the school and at the same time to see for himself she work of its separately operated farm which provides useful work for the senior hoys and a significant amount of the Home’s produce requirements. That is the way that the Home has functioned’ over lnc years. lt possesses a farm which produces meat, vegetables, eggs and many other commodities for the consumption of th; children and s aft” at the Home.

Th : success attained in educating these handicapped children at Minda Home - I have no i:ie., ot the sim. lion in other places - h.ii been spectacular Ten years ago, when I was on the board, education was considered almost unnecessary - almost unkind. It was unfair to weary handicapped children with attempts at serious education. I am informed that today the Home not only operates a sheltered workshop for its more retarded school leavers but that last year it placed 29 of its young people in the work force in the community. Of the 29, 18 actually live outside the Home. Such achievements were considered impossible a few years ago and they give weight to the suggestion that mentally retarded people are closer to being normal than normal people are prepared to admit. The result of these successes - and these are only the beginning - is that more people will be able to make a contribution to the work force whereas otherwise they would have been a direct charge on the community. I believe that this Bill is not only morally desirable but is economically justifiable.

I remind the Minister again of the particular category of handicapped persons which I discussed with him earlier in the week and which I understand will be regarded with a degree of flexibility in future interpretations of what is a ‘handicapped child’. In clause 4 of the Bill the definition of a handicapped child covers children under 21 years of age in an institution 3S well as children over 21 years of agc who enter the institution before they reach that age. The flexibility which I urge the Minister to consider concerns the child who has remained with his parents and sickness or death makes it impossible for the child to remain at home. Changing attitudes by people such as those conducting Minda Home may make it possible in the future for such persons to enter these homes rather than to face the probability of having nowhere else to go than a mental hospital. This in fact is what hits happened in South Australia for years. Upon the death of the parents there is nowhere for such a person to go but to a mental institution. Minda Home has been accepting very large numbers of children in this category for the Christmas vacation and this experiment is appreciated by the children and by the parents who, of course, are able to have a rest.

Such persons are excluded from the definition of handicapped child. I put it to the Minister that ‘ a mongoloid person, for example, whatever his or her age, is correctly defined as a handicapped child. I would like to hear his comment on this aspect when he replies to the debate. In Minda Home we have had mongoloids who have reached the age of 70 years but are still called boys and girls. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have normal children can scarcely imagine the feelings of parents when- they take a decision regarding the future of their handicapped child. They must decide whether to rear the child at home or place him in an institution. None of us would care to influence a parent in this decision. There are many, such as the tireless workers for the Mentally Retarded Childrens Society of South Australia, who opt for keeping them at home. I make the point that all of us will have to do some rethinking and to examine our own attitudes in the light of the success of modern education methods such as those being perfected today at Minda. The importance placed on early training and specialised education, and the Home’s success, in actually placing former mentally handicapped children in full employment, has meant that many children ultimately will be able to lead a normal life.

By supporting such institutions and their dedicated staff in the practical way outlined in this Bill the Commonwealth is making a very great contribution. It seems to me that the key word for families who have to make the decision I have mentioned is hope’. When there is even a possibility of eventual success the decision regarding the future of a handicapped child is perhaps slightly less difficult to make. Apart from the effect on the lives of the other members in the family it seems absolutely certain that the secret of success is the commencement of the skilled training and education as a child. I commend the Bill, which seeks to make this possible, and I congratulate the Government not only on its initiative but also on its compassion.

Mr Les Johnson:

– The care of handicapped children, long neglected in this country, will to some extent be remedied by this Bill. The world’s aspiration to do something for handicapped children is best expressed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of a

Child 1959. An extract from the Declaration reads:

The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.

I think it has been conceded by every honourable member who has participated in this debate that we in this country fall a long way short of that criterion. The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) made that point, lt is significant that every honourable member who has spoken in the debate would concede that the dedicated public servants who work under the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) are concerned about the inadequacies in this field of endeavour. It is known that they have been applying themselves to this aspect for a long time.

Earlier in the debate the honourable member for Bennelong (Sir John Cramer) indicated that he was in support of our amendment but was not prepared to vote for it. He believed that more information was necessary about this subject - that surveys were needed. We all know that the officers of the Department of Social Services, dedicated as they are, have been engaging in research for some considerable time. It would be of interest to the House to know the nature of those surveys. What is the product of the surveys that have been made? I am not prepared to accept that the Minister knows as little about them as he pretends. On 19th May last, in answer to a question on notice from the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), the Minister said that he did not know even the number of people involved in this area. He said in effect that he had no idea of the number of children who could come under the heading of handicapped.

It is important for the Parliament, when considering a Bill of this nature, to know the extent to which the Department has applied itself to this work, perhaps at the request of the Minister. It is important to know the extent to which the Department’s proposals and recommendations have been accepted or rejected. If the Minister is operating in the dark we can excuse him. We will accept his apology if he cares to make it, but if facts are available to him indicating that the Commonwealth has an obligation or a responsibility to assist the States which, after all. in this and so many other areas today are mere spending agencies for the Commonwealth, a great deal of explanation is needed. Like most honourable members, 1 am involved in my local area with departmental officers and 1 know that a lot of work is being done, but I do not think the Minister is being frank with us. I think he knows a lot more about the deficiencies in this area than he has been prepared to concede. If he has an opportunity to reply at some stage in the debate I would ask him to indicate whether his Department is investigating the grey areas about which on 19th May last he told the honourable member for Oxley he knows so little. Are his officers trying to elucidate the facts and fill in the blanks or does he require them to be oblivious to what is happening? If he feels that he can operate effectively and efficiently as a Minister with th~ information at his disposal, what is the extent of that information and to what extent has a consideration of that information been denied in the preparation of this Bill? 1 have mentioned the world’s aspirations wilh regard to handicapped children. I have said, as have other honourable members, that Australia has fallen short of those standards. I suppose Australia, being an affluent country, has a greater responsibility in this area than have countries with lower levels of income or countries which suffer misfortunes of the kind we have read about in South America today. Our degree of affluence, places a bigger responsibility on us.. In many areas of social service Australia once led ‘ the world, but our record has slipped. It is difficult to get authoritative statistics on this subject, but I would not be surprised if Australia held a relatively lowly position, compared with other countries, in the care of mentally and physically handicapped children.

Mr Cohen:

– This has happened since 1949.

Mr Les Johnson:

– I think there probably is a political connotation; but I do not think we need enter the political arena as far as this Bil! is concerned because it deals with benevolence. It deals with underprivileged people - underprivileged in the sense that they have been afflicted by a handicap. We have a long way to go to measure up to the standard set not only by the world but by the Public Instruction Act of New South Wales, which makes the State responsible for the provision of education services for all children on a free and compulsory basis.

What is the incidence of afflicted people, in the community? 1 was interested to read a paper delivered by Professor J. A. Richardson in a forum known as the ‘New Frontier and headed The Provision of an Adequate Education, for the Handicapped Child’. Professor Richardson is Professor of Education at Flinders University. Among other things he set out to establish the extent of the problem. He said:

As you know, handicapped children form t by-no-nu-ans .small minority of the school-age population. Conservative estimates of incidence, pui lbc proportion - between 4% and 6% - that is of children who deviate sio markedly from normal growth and development in some significant respect - intellectually, physically, socially or emotionally - thai the regular school programmeis inadequate for their needs; who require therefore special educational provisions - a special school or class or supplementary instruction and services within the regular class.

Professor Richardson went on to refer to the extent to which some countries have identified this problem and’ have accommodated the people concerned. He said:

In the Netherlands about 5% of the 7 to 15 agc group are accommodated in special schools/ most of I hem built since 1945, with facilities and’ equipment which would make the majority of teachers in our special education services very” envious. Denmark equals the Netherlands . . ‘ Een .Communist Czechoslovakia was. planning in 1965 to double the facilities it then had for 2% of the si bool age population.

That would bring Czechoslovakia’s involvement up to 4% of the school population. The Professor continued:

And the position in Australia? I can speak wilh any certainly only of New South Wales. In 1966. I estimated on the basis of the mast recently published figures that special classes and schools provided for considerably less than 1% of the school age population between 7 and 15.

So we can start to see, in terms of themeasurement of the eminent Professor Richardson of Hinders University, that Australia is well behind in this particular’ matter - on the one hand 4% to 6% in the countries to which I have referred and in Australia down to 1%. Professor Richardson went on to say:

Special educational provision in New South Wales is woefully inadequate. 1 suspect the same is true of our own State.

Of course the State to which he was referring there was Victoria. One would probably not be rash in contending that in other States the position would not be much better. So in Australia we are catering for a much smaller percentage though the likelihood is that we would have the same incidence of casualties, if we can so term it. Surely this must underline for the Minister, and for every honourable member in this House, the apparent need to find out the facts of this situation. Tonight we have heard from honourable members in their enthusiasm and their devotion to these problems their willingness to eulogise the organisations which devoting themselves to these efforts. Vet we are aware that in many areas, because of the lack of spontaneity, there are children who have never been accommodated effectively either by State or by spontaneous benevolently inspired facilities. So those children languish. Obviously this kind of ad hoc approach is inadequate and insufficient. It certainly is for the. families and people concerned.

In many parts of Australia children scoring less than a 30 IQ are not eligible to participate in our free and compulsory education system. Instead they are relegated to the generous and benevolent efforts of charitable organisations. The parents, through necessity, have to seek placement of their children in independent charity schools if they happen to have them in their area. If they do not have them, they have to form them, to start a school from scratch and then spend much of their lives raising funds for buildings, equipment, staff wages and running costs. I suppose all of us have associated with people of this kind. They become completely subjugated to the obligations they have. I know of one establishment where, if the parents of children do not turn up to a. sufficient number of meetings in a year, they are threatened with their children’s expulsion from that school. Such is the tenuous financial situation which prevails, and the fact is that parents have to work at the lucky numbers and all sorts of illegal contrivances to get the funds to sustain the establishments. If they have the misfortune to have a handicapped child by birth or as a result of some subsequent development their lives have to be devoted to the raising of funds. Any measure, therefore, to alleviate these burdens will be welcomed by the families concerned.

My own emphasis - I think it is the emphasis of members on this side of the House, and I am pleased to acknowledge that it also is the emphasis of several speakers from the other side - is to transfer these personal obligations to the public at large through the exchequer of the Commonwealth, through public resources. There is only one fair and equitable way to finance matters of this kind. It is the same way that we finance the education of healthy, wholesome, robust Australian children, and that is by way of uniform taxation so that everybody contributes according to his capacity to pay. Why, therefore, do we deviate from this established . principle - the principle that finances social services, age and widows pensions, hospitals, defence and even the conduct of the police force? When it comes to the care of physically and mentally handicapped children how can we justify departing from that fundamental principle?

I have sat here tonight and listened to the debate on this Bill. It has been a debate similar in many respects to the debate on the Bill related to sheltered workshops and to many other Bills. The Minister and the Government hide behind their eulogies of and their dependence upon the charitable area - their utilisation of the service clubs and people of good intent, good faith and good achievements. They depend on Rotary, Apex and the Lions Clubs and many other groups which are filling a vacuum because the Government has not faced up to its responsibility and is unfortunately relegating its obligations to charity. For my part, rather than this ad hoc fragmentary approach to this great problem I would rather see the preparation and tabling of a blueprint designed to illustrate and timetable the phasing out of dependence on charity. I am not prepared to stand here and say that the Minister has failed totally in his obligations and that he should bring down a Bill now to cover, in a blanket sort of way, all the deficiencies we have experienced over the years, but he should, out of his sense of responsibility, require his Department to work forthrightly and objectively towards identification of the problem and he should be prepared to say that over a period of years we are going to relieve these unfortunate families of this depressing and pressing obligation to which they have been subjected.

If there were to be such a blueprint it should provide for a number of things. First, it should provide for the establishment of a handicapped children’s education and health authority which has the responsibility landed on its table. In my view it should be a Commonwealth authority and it certainly should liaise effectively with the States, lt is not impossible to expect this kind of liaison.- lt exists in other federal systems. In the United States of America they contrive such arrangements and they integrate with the State organisations. Their intervention and involvement are enthusiastically received, as would be the case in Australia. If we said to the States: ‘We are going to help to alleviate the burdens with which you have -been confronted for a long time and which you have not been able to resolve satisfactorily’, Sir Henry Bolte, Mr Dunstan, Mr Askin or any other State Premier would willingly accept Commonwealth involvement. 1 believe such an authority is necessary in the first instance. Then the authority should programme progressive acceptance of the total financial burden by the Commonwealth. Thirdly, it should plan provision of centres on a regional basis in each State. Instead we expect, in a miraculous sort of way, the spontaneity of charitable organisations to meet the needs of regions, and this is absurd. In fact, our expectation has been the subject of disappointment. lt has not been realised. In many regions where there is an incidence of mentally and physically handicapped children there are no such, centres and children have 10 travel long distances in attending places where there are residential facilities. lt is not enough to leave it to this ad hoc sort of expectation. We should plan it in a sensible way. Then, of course, such a blueprint should undertake the training of a specialised professional teaching force and other personnel. Indeed, it should facilitate the payment of adequate salaries to people engaged in this very useful profession. I am afraid that my pleasure with this Bill, though considerable, is tarnished by some of its glaring inadequacies, some of which I have referred to already. But there are other inadequacies. The Bill excludes buildings provided before 27th October 1969. Why should it exclude them? I know of people engaged in this field who have got together and acquired buildings before 27th October 1969, and these buildings are subjected to heavy mortgages. The people have been working hard to reduce those mortgages. Why should they not receive assistance under this legislation?

The running costs are not reduced by the provisions of this Bill, but they are the great shackle around the organisations and prevent them from attracting subsidies. The Bill does nothing to meet the cost of staff wages or the capital, the running and the maintenance costs of vehicles. I think most honourable members are aware that where vehicles are used they are deployed into areas covering many miles and this is done at great expense. As far as 1 can ascertain these Considerations are not covered by this legislation. Then the voluntary groups arc left with the enormous and crushing burden of raising the capital to attract a subsidy while the running costs are draining the day to day income away. How can they attract a subsidy with such crushing burdens? In addition, the Bill excludes people over 21 years of age if they were not receiving treatment before attaining the age of 21. They are some of the anomalies. There arc others which I may have a chance to refer to later on.

I want to pay tribute to the voluntary groups which, in the face of Government indifference, have worked tirelessly to fill the vacuum by the provision of handicapped children’s centres. .In my own electorate there is such a centre at Kirrawee called the Handicapped Children’s Centre of New South Wales. I have had the privilege of enjoying a close association wilh- this centre since ils inception 23 years’ ago. I helped to found it and have been a member of the board of management. This centre prides itself on being the first centre in New South Wales to cater for both intellectual1))’ and physically handicapped children. Recently a new centre was built at North Sutherland. It is to be opened by the Governor on 20th June and was built at a cost of SI 40.000. Some S56.000 of the $140,000 was provided by the centre and this has absorbed the reserves accumulated by that organisation over the last 23 years. Over 100 children attend this day centre. It is like many others in Australia. Another 26 children have been accommodated at a country residential centre at Kurrajong which is now to be replaced.

The cost ‘of maintaining this centre at Sutherland and the day centre is $100,000 in round figures every year. I want the Minister to grasp the several1 figures I am about to give. This is how the money has been derived: Government subsidies provided $25,000. and school and boarding fees $40,000. the. rest.. $35,000, has had to be found through donations and public subscriptions. I have sat around a table many nights trying to plan how we can get this $35,000 per annum, which is roughly about $700 per week. How many honourable members have had this experience of sitting clown with a group of 6 or 8 people and planning how they are going to find $700 a week to care for the region’s physically and mentally handicapped children? We need ‘lucky numbers’, ‘200 clubs’, beauty parades and everything that is illegal. That is what they have to do. They have to find $35,000 every year to keep this centre going in the St George-Sutherland region. It can be seen that that kind of burden is going to prevent the centre from gathering the . capital necessary to attract subsidies. It has aspired to greater things in the new building. It has had to curtail a number of things it needs, lt wanted a workshop; it cannot be there, lt wanted a domestic science block: it cannot be there. lt wanted a new residential centre at Sutherland. The estimated cost of this was $200,000 and the Centre would have to. find a third of it, which is $66,000 in the rough. How can it possibly raise that kind of money?

Let me mention some of the burdens this organisation has because it is synonymous with all the others to which honourable members have referred. Five out of 13 teachers at th:s centre attract Government salary subsidies. The salary subsidies are only $2,000 a year. That does not represent the salary that is payable, so there is a great deficiency. Why do only . 5 out of 13 attract subsidies? Because the State authorities have special requirements. The subsidy is based on a group of 10 children, but the children who are being serviced by the staff have special requirements. There is the need for toilet attention and things of this kind. 1 was there a short time ago and one group of 8 children had to have 2 teachers to care for them. One wonders why the State is so inflexible about this. I know in some of the very worthy institutions that look after the blind and deaf children the pupil-teacher ratio is 2 to 6. Yet there is this requirement which seems to be unnecessarily stringent in the case of the handicapped children’s centres.

There is no subsidy for the school principal and the 3 assistants, no subsidy for the administrator and office staff. An office staff is needed to raise the $35,000 a year, to get among the service clubs and so on. There is no subsidy for the 5 salaried bus drivers. Th:s centre has 8 specially equipped buses and 5 bus mothers. They are not subsidised in any way at all. There is no subsidy for the teachers and the supervisors responsible for children over 1 6 years of age. And there will not bc any under the provisions of this Bill. The same organisation has a country residential centre. There is no subsidy there for the matron from the State authority and there is none proposed under this Bill. There is no subsidy for the 5 assistant nurses, the 4 domestic staff or the 2 trained teachers. The cost of maintaining a handicapped ch id at the residential centre in the mountains in the electorate represented by my colleague, the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti), is $7 a week over the invalid pension. Here again there is no assistance from any Government resource, either Commonwealth or State.

I did not. intend to speak for so long on this matter, lt is a matter which is common probably to every electorate but I feel we have a superficial approach to the whole problem. I suppose most of us would like the opportunity to have a crack at this in a ministerial capacity, to utilise and deploy our staff and to say: ‘This is a problem about which there is no political quibble in the whole of Austrafia. Here is a matter about which we can make common cause. I am the Minister for Social Services. I have my staff and I am first of all going to say on behalf of the Parliament of this nation, because 1 know every honourable member in the Parliament would uphold me, go out and find the facts in the situation’. The honourable member for Boothby talked about what John Kennedy, the late President of the United States .of America, did when in 1961. he conducted such a national survey. I know he had a personal family affinity with this problem. First of all the authorities there analysed this. They were prepared to expose themselves in the sense of saying: ‘This much we have done and this much “we have not yet done’. Everyone accepted that the admission of deficiencies was an indication that the problem would be assailed. But tonight we have this ad hoc, fragmentary, superficial approach which characterises so much of the legislation which the good-hearted and goodintending Minister for Social Services has brought down before this Parliament. It is not sufficiently’ objective. It is not sufficiently targeted. It will not placate the people pf this country, lt is not good enough for the Minister to eulogise the voluntary organisations and to derive some sort of satisfaction from the> fact that they are going to be pleased. One will always be pleased in a drought if one can get a drink of water but one should resolve the whole drought problem.

I say to the Minister that we are grateful for what he has done but we are not satisfied that sufficient is done. I could continue and mention a number of matters but I am afraid time will not allow me to do it. I could offer a number of suggestions which would help to alleviate this problem still further. However; one thing is certain and that is that there should be tax relief for these families; there should be special equipment; there should be a more personalised approach. Where are the social workers? 1 happen to be the President of a regional Council of Social Services which is said to be one of the most advanced in Australia. In our region we have but one social worker to look after 150,000 people, including the physically and mentally handicapped people and their families. So in every sense we have to get down from this superficial approach into a more personalised area. We have to get domicilliary attention and aid with medical requirements. I say to the Minister: ‘Well done; we congratulate you on breaking through’. The Government has been indifferent for a long time but it should not now get the feeling that the people of this country or the Parliament at large will be happy or will consider that what it has done is sufficient to resolve a problem that for a long time has reflected on the entire nation.


– It is not my intention to take, much of the time of the House on this important Bill. I have spoken in this House on many occasions on matters relating to rehabilitation, and it is in this light that I would like to take the House’s time. I am particularly pleased to speak in support of it because I believe the legislation brings the Commonwealth into an area of rehabilitation which it has not properly supported previously and reinforces my strong belief that the Commonwealth Government should undertake supportive measures in the field of rehabilitation rather than operate direct services to the handicapped. As the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has said in his second reading speech, this Bill does give effect to another of the Government’s policies announced last October by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). I am pleased to see that the Bill has the support of members from both sides of the House, though it may have been only partial support with some of the speakers.

There are 2 points I would like to bring up. One is that I do not agree with the Opposition’s contention that all the matters relating to the care of handicapped children should be under the responsibility of the Commonwealth. I believe that we have to be very careful that we do not take away the responsibility of local interest and local concern. We have seen the success in the aged persons home scheme in ensuring that local communities are concerned and work for the care of the aged in their district. We have to be very careful as a Federal Government that we do not allow the care of the Handicapped children to become the sole care of some remote unpersonalised bureaucracy sitting here in Canberra. The honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson), has mentioned the Handicapped Children’s Centre of New South Wales. I would like to acknowledge the work he has done in this organisation. As he would be well aware, I too have had associations with this organisation. The both of us would be concerned with the future development of this important group.

It has, sadly, functioned only too well without Commonwealth support to date. 1 would plead with the Minister for Social Services that the buildings which have been completed for the handicapped children’s centre - and the actual completion date must be very close to the date he mentioned in his second reading speech - be considered for inclusion within this scheme. The raising of money, as the honourable member for Hughes has said, has indeed been a very difficult task, lt has not been easy influencing service organisations and other interested people into supporting this very important and vital work in our community. To those of us who have been associated with this work, it is a heart-breaking thing to see the children and their parents living under the difficulties they have had. So I hope that this particular organisation will qualify under this scheme. If it does, I venture to say that many of the facilities that have been mentioned by the honourable member for Hughes will be within the reach of this organisation.

But I believe that in looking at this legislation we should not bc merely sitting back and saying: ‘It is a good thing’, and leaving it at that. 1 do nor support the Opposition’s amendment that we should have a limited inquiry into the handicapped children involving Commonwealth and State governments, local authorities and private agencies. 1 have in this House made a constant request - and it is in the record of Hansard and the Minister is fully aware of it - that a committee of inquiry be established, if it can be arranged through the auspices of. the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, to have a total investigation of all rehabilitation activities in this country to determine just what the role is of the Commonwealth Government, of the State governments, of the local governments and of the voluntary organisations. To assume, as one speaker on the Opposition side has said, that this should be within the care of the Commonwealth alone is, 1 believe, far too restrictive and far too cruel for such a matter as the handicapped children. If we cannot organise a scheme that demands local interest and local consideration then we might as well give the game away. One of the. things we have to appreciate in this whole field of rehabilitation is noi what the Commonwealth ha;, not done. This is past news. We are dealing tonight with legislation the Commonwealth has brought in. Let us forget the past 20 years. Let us forget what the Commonwealth has achieved in the past 20 years and. by golly, it has achieved at lor.

Let us for a moment consider what the voluntary organisations have achieved. I listened with great interest to the honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) and I support him in his remarks - that one of the great problems in this field is the provision of running expenses. I would hope that the next .stage will be that some scheme will evolve whereby the running expenses of these institutions will be assisted and met whether it be by Commonwealth or State or local government. But lel us not overlook how most of these handicapped childrens centres originated and how they started. They did not start because some grand idea was formulated within the Commonwealth Department of Social Services or a State Department of Social Welfare. Every single one of the voluntary organisations - no-one can challenge this - started because the people involved had children involved with that disability.

Mr Kennedy:

– Yes, but no government would-


– .fust a moment. The point to be taken here is that we cannot over’00 what volunteers do. Volunteers go into new areas far more quickly than any government department or government bureaucrat will do. The honourable member for Perth referred to the spastics organisation in Perth, and I know something of the spastics organisation in Sydney. If the honourable member for Bendigo does not know this he should learn about it. Both of these organisations were created by parents of spastic children. When there was no organisation around, when no Commonwealth, no Stale, no Liberal Party and no Labor Party had considered the matter it was the parents of the children involved who supported it. The Handicapped Children’s Centre of New South Wales, which is now in Kirrawee, was started by the same process. So was the Slow Learners Association. Let us not overlook that, if 20 years ago we had been relying only upon Government support I venture to say that we would not have those institutions today. Let us not then allow this to happen in the future processes of handicapped children’s centres. Let us nol, when we are considering rehabilitation in its total form, overlook the need to encourage the parents, those interested in particular disabilities.

It is very hard to organise a district to be interested in autistic children if there is nal a body of people in the district, who are closely associated with autistic children. No amount of representation to any government, whether it is Liberal or Socialist, will bring this about if we do not have a voluntary organisation pushing, this particular interest. Let us. not be too noble about saying the Federal Government should be doing this and the Federal Government should not be doing that. I support the principle that we should today be having a total investigation of all spheres of rehabilitation, including the rehabilitation of the physically and mentally handicapped of all ages, whether they be under 21, whether they have an IQ of 30, whether they be aged 80 or whether they have an IQ of who knows what.

The important thing is that we must have some form of investigation into what role the Commonwealth, the State and, I repeat, local government authorities and the voluntary organisations are to play in this matter. Most of us who are associated with the field of rehabilitation are very much aware that a Mr Griffiths from Perth has been conducting an investigation on behalf of the Department. I would hope that as a result of his preliminary inquiries - and I accept that his report has been to the Department alone - which report I am led to believe has gone forward to the Department already, it would not be long before the Minister for Social Services is able to announce that a committee of inquiry, professionally established and not politically constituted, is formed so that we can get some guide lines for the future direction of rehabilitation in this country.

I agree with many of the criticisms that have been levelled at the Commonwealth Government. I am not being easy in saying this because, as the Minister is aware, I have made these criticisms since my maiden speech in this House 4 years ago. It is my own personal view that the Commonwealth role in rehabilitation has to be supportive.

I believe that any system of rehabilitation of the disabled has to be concentrated on district hospitals. It has to be related to their medical conditions; it has to be related to their medical treatment; it has to be related as closely as possible to the point of their disability. I frankly do not believe that the Commonwealth Government is in a position to exercise this immediacy of treatment and development of services. I believe that we as a Federal Government have to support State governments financially. I believe that we have to give them the lead within all these fields - and we have done it. We have done it in the field of sheltered workshops and we have done it tonight in the field of handicapped children.

This Bill, as speakers from both sides of the House have said, despite some uninformed interjections, is beyond politics. It is something which must exercise the minds of us all. Those of us who over a period of years have attended to and shown interest in the problems of rehabilitation in all fields will be very conscious that the interest shown by members in this House has certainly gone beyond party loyalty. So, Mr Deputy Speaker, I say to you tonight that I support the Government in this legislation before the House. It shows a forward move. As members have said before me this Government has been lax in this field of handicapped children. No-one on this side who knows anything about it would deny these allegations. But the important fact that is to be realised tonight is that we have done something about it. For this I am very pleased and I am certain that the thousands of families who are involved in this important and what has seemed frustrating situation will be very pleased too. I support the Bill.


– I would like to comment on a few of the remarks made by the honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie). It sometimes staggers me that members of the Government can adopt such an approach as he adopts to the people that it employs on behalf of the Australian people, that is, the people referred to, usually contemptuously, as bureaucrats’. A description of these people is usually accompanied by such words as remote’, ‘faceless’ and ‘impersonal*. One gets the impression that because public servants have to live in Canberra, a distance from the State capital cities, there are some special demoniacal, impersonal and inhuman qualities about them, lt is staggering to hear this. Yet obviously the honourable member who made those very same comments would not express the same sorts of views about the faceless bureaucrats who run the private banks of Australia or some of the directors of companies in which people of Australia hold stocks and shares.

Mr Dobie:

– “Bureaucrat’ is not a dirty word.


– I dare 10 suggest that in the way in which the honourable member used it it is a dirty word.

Mr Dobie:

– I suggest that in the way the honourable member interprets it it is a dirty word.


– The honourable member can leave it to my interpretation. Maybe he can reply at some other lime. I think the words he used were ‘remote’ and’. We were all cautioned very much to be on our guard lest these malevolent characters interfered in the sa.-red things called ‘State rights’ and the ‘rights of voluntary bodies’. I do not care two hoots about who runs and who finances the education of young handicapped p–op’e. It docs not bother me whether it is done by local government bodies. Slate bodies, Commonwealth bodies or voluntary bodies. My on v concern is to see that it is done. We cannot ignore the fact that at the moment it is not being done. This is why wc are worried. 1 suggest that the obvious thing to do is for the Commonwealth to sit down, reason it out with the State governments, look over the whole problem and say: What can we do? What have wc done so far? What have we not done? Where are the areas of need that should bc patched up? What do we have to do?’ That is exactly what this Government has not done. This is why we on this side of the House are angry. I simply cannot comprehend what makes federal public servants any different from State public servants or even local authority public servants and what makes public servants any different from anybody who is paid by some private profit making organisation.

The comment was made that there is something sacred about voluntary bodies.

Nobody on this side of the House argues with the importance that is placed on the job that voluntary bodies do. There is no question about that. Of course a lot of these organisations, such as the Spastic Childrens Society of Victoria Inc. could never have got started without voluntary help. But why could they not have got started? The honourable member for Cook said that their establishment was all due to the pioneering spirit. But why did they have to have this pioneering spirit? It was simply because the State government, the Commonwealth Government or the local government authorities would not do the job themselves, lt is quite true that the voluntary bodies have done a marvellous job. But they have reached a stage in their history where they simply cannot carry on.

What are we doing about the problems?cms? 1 venture to say that we are not doing very much. 1 say to the Minister: As far as I can see, this is insignificant. I would like to bc able to say that it was more important. What exactly will it do? lt is taking over an area of responsibilityitv that is at prose ii! being div barged by the State govevernments We arc supposed to assume that for sonic magical reason the Slate governm ~n’s will i.p nd on maintenance costs, lor example. l>those moneys which are presently bc;ng expendedled on capital costs. As far as I can sec, this is .sheer optimism and sheer wishful thinking, because surely the wo’e trend of financial relations between the Commonwealth and li’e State governments over recent years has been that when the Commonweath increases the amount that it pays to some body that relies on Commonwealth money tl’c first reaction of the Stale governments *i< to de re:ise the amount thai they pay or to increase changes or if the State governmentn» increased superannuation the Commonwealthth eoi ives along and lift>. off 50% of ii through « lap’-red means lest. This is what is happening ali the way along.

On what ground are wc on this .side of the House expected to believe that the State governments arc lo spend more money on the recurrent costs ot caring for handicapped children thanii they are spending at the moment’.’ I cannot see it. A.s !a: as I am eon .fined it simply wis! not hupp -n. I do noi want to .-p.n.l a;i isn I m d :>:.’*a wilh comments made by the hu o ruble member for Cook. Obviously we have different views on the subject. It is partly a question of ideology, I suppose. I am all for strong Federal goverment, strong State government and strong local government. It does not matter who does the work as long as somebody does it. Every time we stand in this House and say that the Commonwealth should be doing more we have thrown in our faces the words: ‘State rights’. That phrase is used to evade the fact that somebody is not doing the job or that somebody is not forced to do the job.

Underlying this Bill ‘s the basic Liberal Party philosophy. The honourable member for Cook said we should not talk about the past. He said the Commonwealth had done a good job generally and there were certain areas where it had not done as much as it should have done, but let us look at the future. The question I ask is: Where does this Bill fit in? What is it a:med at? Is it aimed solely at stopping a gap that the Commonwealth believes the State governments cannot fill or is it part of a philosophy of expanding Commonwealth assistance for handicapped children? That is what 1 want to know. We are told that sheltered workshops are be ng subsidised by the Commonwealth. Now we are to have capital expenditure subsidised by the Commonwealth. Is the Commonwealth intending to do one thing now, something else in another 3 years and something else again after another 3 years, or is this part of an overall scheme? The question is whether the Government is go’ng to sit down with State governments, local government bodies and representatives of voluntary organisations and plan what it is going to do in future years instead of continuing with this stop gap policy.

There is a base philosophy behind most of the Bills Introduced by the Liberal Party. I think it also underlines this one. lt is difficult to see any philosophy apart from that one. Once again, behind this Bill is the theory that the individual is in charge of his own fate. There seems always to be the argument that the individual is capable of looking after his own problems. This is very true to a certain extent. That sort of person always will come to the fore when there is a problem and the, are the sort of people we need to he’p. There seems to be in this Bill no philosophy of Common wealth responsibility. Once again the Commonwealth is relying on individuals. How sound today is the argument that things can be left to individuals? As far as I am concerned it is not very, sound at all. If we continue to have a system that relies upon individual voluntary groups to do things then we are going to continue the inefficiency and injustice we have had in . this subsidy system for years. Honourable members on the Opposition side of the House know that in the education field schools in the inner suburban areas that rely on government subsidy do far more poorly despite the fact that they have greater needs than schools in the wealthier areas. The same thing will apply in respect of this Bill, lt is not entirely a matter of capital assistance being granted according to need; it :’s capital assistance being granted according to the haphazardness and the sheer chance of local circumstances.

There is another aspect involved. There is no argument about the rights of the individual. I suppose it would be a daring thing for a Liberal Government ever to assert that any person has distinct rights. Private profit has rights, States have rights, but individuals do not have rights. As far as the education of handicapped children is concerned, there is no statement of rights. Assistance will be given to them if in certain circumstances a certain group of people come together and raise one-third of the capital cost involved. The thing that bothers me most is that nobody in Australia is settling down to look at the whole field of handicapped children, let alone the whole field of general welfare, and asking: ‘What are rights of the people that we should be looking after?*

It is not good enough to rely upon voluntary organisations because already many of them have reached a state of despair. Their finances are in a chronic state. I cite, for example, the situation of the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria. This is the sort of society that the Government expects will benefit from its generosity in providing for subsidised capital expenditure. What is the good of offering two-thirds of the cost of buildings, extensions and land if you cannot put bodies in those buildings and you cannot run them? This is the case with the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria. Until recently it had a bank overdraft of $338,000.In a fit of pre-election conscience Sir Henry Bolte discovered the plight of handicapped children and tossed them $100,000. Now, the Society’s bank overdraft will be lowered to some extent. However, that is the situation of the people that the Government thinks are going to benefit from this subsidised expenditure.

Another aspect of this Bill about which 1 want to speak is in line with the general argument I am putting forward that the Commonwealth is not looking at the whole field of assistance to handicapped people. It completely ignores the Stale system. The usual Liberal reply is that these are State rights and never mind about individual rights. Of course the Commonwealth completely disregards the fact that health authorities and education authorities throughout Australia are in desperate financial straits. The Commonwealth should si: down with each State Government and say: What do you need in your private sphere and what do you need in your State sphere?’ Having decided what the need is it should decide what assistance it can give. The Commonwealth has made a survey of Australia’s needs in education and it should be able to do this in the field of social welfare and assistance to handicapped children. There should be no artificial distinction between somebody who attends a State institution and somebody who attends a private institution.

As far as we of the Opposition are concerned there are a number of points that we can stress which would distinguish our attitude from that of the Liberals. We regard this assistance being provided to handicapped children as a matter of right. It is not a matter of accident or a matter of privilege. Every single child in Australia has a right to an education that will develop all of its capacities no matter how extensive they are or how limited they are. Indeed the more limited is the capacity the greater the need for that child’s rights to be recognised by this Government, by a State government or by somebody - just so long as somebody does recognise it. At present everybody recognises that a normal child has a right to develop to a stage of education which will bring out all of his capacities. This principle is honoured in the breach. One could not say that we had this in fact in Victoria. In that State there is a philosophy of 4 walls and a teacher. Sometimes there arc not even the 4 wails and it cannot be guaranteed that a qualified teacher is available. But in theory it is admitted that A walls and a teacher will providethe education that will bring out the latent ca pacities of normal Victorian children: But. b., God. you look beyond the normal child and ask yourself: What about the child that goes to the spastic centre, the one that goes to the school for the mentally retardedorthe one that goes to special school? Their rights arenot comparable with the right, of a normal child.

This is an amazing thing. How does this come about when it is the handi apped child especially who needs the special ist training, the physiotherapist, the speech therapist, the occupational therapist and the trained teacher? That child’s parents probably need a social welfare worker. The teacher probably also needs a psychologist to watch the child’s progress. Set these things as the standard of what the handicapped child needs and you can guarantee that the child has not got them, This is simply because nobody in Australiais prepared to accept full responsibil ity for the education of handicapped children

The philosophy of the Labor Party - it is also my philosophy - is that the assistanceto begiven ‘oa handicapped chil dis a right and it shouldbe the absolute best. The fact is, of course, that the assistance provided is among the worst. The handicapped child is among the most underprivileged of Australian school children. He ranks with the Aboriginal, the migrant child and the child of the working class family in the inner suburban areas. That is where the handicapped child stands in Australia.

One other fundamental difference between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberals is that we believe there is a need for planning. An honourable member opposite admitted earlier in this debate that there is a need for some research into this subject. Very good. There also is a need for planning and to consider what Australia needs as a whole.It is no good simply trying to patchup the State system. Obviously, each State has different standards. The quality of what they provide is different. Australia has become a nation. As far as I am concerned, it is no longer a collection of 6 States. It is all humbug to go on raising the matter of State rights. This is a problem that we should be worried about as a nation. We should bc dealing with it as a nation. We should be trying to cope with this problem in a way, at least comparable, with that of many overseas countries which are a lot poorer than we are financially and yet which do a better job.

There is a need for planning. The authorities should sit down and see exactly where needs exist. This will not happen under this continual stop-gap philosophy that is applied. Obviously country areas, including those areas in my own State of Victoria, will continue to be deprived of educational and rehabilitation facilities for handicapped children. There are also the inner suburban areas of Melbourne and the areas of high rise buildings where parents could not possibly raise one-third of the capital cost required to receive this assistance let alone pay for maintenance costs thereafter. These are the areas of need that are being ignored because nobody is planning for them.

One must accept also that there is a Commonwealth responsibility and that there is a State responsibility. I have said it before, and I think that there is no point in repeating it: Somebody has to accept the responsibility. It must be a full responsibility. We in the Australian Labor Party do. not wish to shut out the voluntary workers. As far as I am concerned it is essential to have community involvement. This does not mean that we must inflict every unfortunate parent with the task of raising money by way of fetes and door knock campaigns just in order to preserve this mystical quality of community involvement. Community involvement can still occur while at the same time we insist that the Government fulfils its full responsibility to handicapped children.

Mr Cohen:

– The Government would collapse without community service organisations.


– That is true. Furthermore, I think it is necessary to have some sort of co-ordination between the various bodies that are involved. Discussions on co-ordination should take place. Included in these discussions should be the Federal Government, State governments and local government bodies involved as well as the voluntary organisations. They all should sit down and see exactly what their roles should be. I think that this just is not happening very much. Insofar as co-ordination of their activities and their roles exists, it appears that this is co-ordination by stealth.

I think that there is one other principle that we would insist on. That is the regional concept of providing assistance for the handicapped. lt is no longer good enough to have a school here and a school there, a department here and a department there, and everything centralised. We should be able to consider the whole of the needs of the nation, look to areas as being regions and guarantee that these areas have all the appropriate government departments that are necessary. This is not happening under the Liberal system. I believe that one other point should be stressed about our philosophy. It is this: If Commonwealth money and State money are to be spent, wc should be watching how that money is being spent. If we are to spend money on building these schools, we should be sure that the buildings will be used in the best possible way. We should be ensuring also - and nobody is doing this - that the standard of teaching is the highest possible. We should be setting standards. At present, standards are not being set very much in Australia. Things are just continuing in their old familiar haphazard way.

I wish to give some specific examples of criticism of the Bill. I said earlier that we support the Bill because, after all, it is an indication of Commonwealth participation and Commonwealth involvement in part of its obligation. But the question is: Is capital assistance alone the answer? The answer to that question is of course no. Many of the organisations concerned with this field of activity are very much in debt already. Many could not afford to pay one-third of the costs as required by this Bill. Even if they did pay their part of the cost of putting the buildings up, they could not run them. I quoted figures concerning the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria Inc. That Society has 2 country centres, 5 metropolitan centres and 2 hostels. Quite obviously, it would like to expand- its activities. But how can such a body expand when it has an overdraft which only recently stood at $338,000? How does such a society pay its teachers? How does it pay physiotherapists, occupational therapists and so on? To give capital expenditure assistance only is not good enough. The Commonwealth must give an undertaking that it will enable such an organisation to maintain its buildings also.

At the present moment, the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria lnc. is greatly in need of various types of therapists. Speech therapists and occupational therapists are available only on a sessional basis in Melbourne for the Spastic Children’s Society. Some of the assistance from physiotherapists is provided also on a sessional basis while some is provided on a full time basis. The point is that the Society must have these 3 types of therapists at its centres full time. It has not got them. Part of the reason for this state of affairs is the general shortage of these specialists and the starvation that we foster in our system of tertiary education. Part of the problem is the need for finance.

Let me bring this situation home to my own doorstep. One can see the problem in my electorate also. The offer of capital assistance, as far as the spastic centre in my electorate is concerned, is just not enough because other problems are faced there as well. The spastic centre in Bendigo is a very important institution. It caters for 19 children. It has not a physiotherapist. It has not an occupational therapist. It has not a speech therapist. Of course, it has not a fully trained teacher. It has not a fully trained staff. Yet. this is just the type of organisation - and these 19 children are just the group of young people - for which these specially qualified people are needed. But this centre has not these people. If the Government is to help this group, it must offer the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria Inc. assistance towards running costs as well. If the Government can get the Society out of its debt problem, it will enable the Society to do the job that it wants to do.

Until we can get these special facilities in Bendigo, a number of these children will have to leave my electorate. As anybody can understand, severe heartbreak is involved when people must pull up roots from their home and go to the city. Honourable members know this; anybody would know it. Anybody who has to leave in circum stances such as these is faced with heartbreak and very many problems. If these facilities and specialists were provided in my electorate these children could stay there. Obviously, this is another thing that we need.

Let us look at some of the other requirements. One asks why, in God’s name, spastic children and their parents must pay for their own travel to and from school when normal children, particularly in the case of country children, receive their travel free. But no. Spastic children must pay. Why do spastic children not have at least the same rights as normal children enjoy? Why is it that parents and local bodies must pay for such items as electric typewriters for these children? They are fantastically costly. This cost should be borne by the States as their responsibility.

The second criticism that I would make concerns the ignoring of State bodies. I repeat what I said earlier. It is not good enough to draw a distinction between the special schools run by the Government and the day schools that are being run by voluntary bodies. In Victoria, there is a shortage of places in these day schools run by the Victorian Education Department. Not enough staff is available. Far too much money, which comes from parents or from other voluntary contributors, must be spent on equipment. Not enough residential accommodation is provided for the students at these schools. The buildings are archaic. Many of them should have been bulldozed down years ago. A great need exists for more buildings to be provided. Mr Barrie Rimmer was referred to earlier. The research that he undertook on behalf of the Victorian Teachers Union was mentioned by the honourable member for Gellibrand (Mr Mclvor). Barrie Rimmer’s research showed that at least 4 new buildings should be erected. When these buildings will be built, we do not know. If this is correct, the Commonwealth Government should be considering this problem in cooperation with the State Government and should deal with it.

Another very great problem is the employment of these handicapped people. Barrie Rimmer estimated that about 70% of these people leaving school could get employment. A problem arises because the progress of these people cannot always bc followed up afterwards. A check cannot be kept on them because some will go to various places and the Education Department has not always the facilities to keep following them. These people need to be assisted. If they lose the:r jobs, they often need to be given special help. Rehabilitation is the responsibility of the Department of Labour and National Service. Insofar as it is, virtually no facilityfacility is operated by the Department in the country areas of Victoria. Once again, it is the country citizen who becomes the second class citizen because many of the advantages and many of the rights which the city handicapped ch id has the country handicapped child does not have.

There are a number of points that should be made about this Bill. Some of the things which arc required in my electorate include a guarantee of more assistance from the Commonwealth to ensure that those people who are trained in special schools and in sheltered workshops can get jobs and to see that they are followed up later so that they remain in employment. In country areas employment is more scarce than it is in city areas. For this reason extra attention is needed. Many handicapped children need hostel accommodation in my electorate. This type of accommodation is necessary because, as many honourable members are already aware, one of the greatest worries of the parents of handicapped children is what will happen to the handicapped children if the mother or father becomes ill or dies. From time to time there is also a need for the parents to have a holiday, and in that case it is essential for the child to have somewhere to stay while the parents are having a rest. This is one of the greatest problems. On those grounds alone it is essential that there should be hostel accommodation, and for the mentally retarded children in my electorate this is a great need.

One thing about this Bill which concerns me is that in taking a share of the responsebility to finance capital works the Commonwealth might be driving the State governments out of a field in which they are already contributing more generously than the Commonwealth is. 1 am particularly concerned about this. At the present time the Victorian Government provides $4 for every $1 of capital expenditure. If the

State Government vacates the field entirely and the Commonwealth steps in and provides only $2 for every $1 obviously the people in my electorate who wilt be forced Vo finance their own hostel accommodation for retarded and handicapped people will have to pay heavier costs. I want to know whether the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) has examined this situation. Has he any guarantee that the Victorian Government will still contribute a share so that the people can still get that payment of $4 for every $1.

If I may. 1 will now sum up some of the main points which I think should be stressed. This Bill is inadequate because it deals only with capital expenditure. There should bc included in the Bill an undertaking to assist with maintenance costs as well. We should be insisting that every person who comes into contact with young handicapped children should as far as possible be fully qualified, f do not in any way detract from the work being done by the voluntary workers or tb’- r>-.;H 1 They are doing a very good job, but we must insist that the highest standards arc maintained in educating and training handicapped children. We should be able to guarantee that in a region such as mine, the electorate of Bendigo, there should at least be one or more physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and psychologists. There should be nursing staff available to go around and visit the families who have children in very serious situations. There should also be social welfare workers available to be able to go around and visit families so as to assist the parents in educating handicapped children if the parents are undertaking this task. Obviously there is a very great need for further development in this field. I ask the Minister whether this measure is part of a developing policy on the part of the Commonwealth. Does he foresee, and better still does he plan, that there will be even greater involvement of the Commonwealth in this field as the years go by? Another urgent need in my own electorate is hostel accommodation. My electorate is only a reflection of the situation which exists throughout Australia as a whole.

Some of the points which I have raised are very serious criticisms of the Bill but

I think fundamentally the philosophy behind the Bill is weak. I think it should be based on a recognition of the needs of handicapped children in this nation as a whole and then action taken accordingly. The Minister nods as though in agreement with what I am saying: If this measure is the first or the second step along a continuing line of involvement by the Commonwealth, then I think that this is very good. But at the present time this Bill is still full of many shortcomings and there are many inadequacies in this field. I think that much more could have been done if a good deal more planning had been put into this. It seems to me that this has been something which was worked out. pretty quickly as a result of an election promise, but nevertheless it is a step in the right direction.


Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– In the first instance 1 want to say that I support this Bill. I believe that it will serve a good cause that is in very great need and it is certainly a step in the right direction. I have listened with interest to the debate on this Bill. I believe that in the main the debate has been worthy of the cause which this Bill proposes to assist. It is sometimes an encouragement to hear the type of debate that has taken place on this Bill, and we do need that type of debate. Having said that I want to make a few comments about the remarks of the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) who has just resumed his seat. In the main the honourable member based his case on the need for planning. Over the years I have heard a lot about planning. If there is one thing that is in fairly full supply in all the fields of endeavour it is planning. I. hope that I am making a fair assessment of what the honourable member had to say. I understood that he was suggesting that the Commonwealth could do all that was required in this field provided it sits down and makes the plans. There is nothing wrong with making plans but at the same time plans alone do not achieve the objective required

If one is to plan for improvements in any field provision has to be made in the Budget for the plans. Furthermore, having done this it is necessary to provide the staff required in any given field. It is very difficult in the present circumstances to get the staff needed for the medical requirements of the community throughout this country today. If anyone finds that there is no difficulty in that field, I will inform him that there is such a difficulty in my own area. Only today in this House there was comment about the difficulty of finding staff in another field. It is not just a matter of planning, although planning is something to which I do not object, but the major feature is to progress towards the end result. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth), according to the honourable member for Bendigo, indicated that there was an intention on the part of the Commonwealth to continue in this field as a part of a programme.

The honourable member referred to- the position of voluntary bodies in obtaining assistance from the Commonwealth while they were receiving assistance from a State government. The Minister in his second reading speech said:

It will, of course, still be possible for a qualified body which receives a capital- or maintenance subsidy from the State, to receive the Commonwealth subsidy in addition.

There might be a slight overlapping in that case but it does show that there is room for the additional subsidy, and the Minister did make that point. I commend the Minister and the Government for introducing this Bill. I have already said that I feel that this measure is a very worthy step forward in the direction in furthering a project which most if not all honourable members in this House have very much at heart. One of the very important factors in this field was referred to by the Minister and I want to reiterate it because it is of tremendous importance. In the words of the Minister:

  1. . the essential thing is to start remedial action while they are still young.

This is of tremendous importance. Most people who have had experience with handicapped and retarded children realise that there is a great need for the treatment of these children to commence as early as possible. It is a tragedy to see circumstances in which it has not been possible to provide this treatment for some reason or another. I. have seen this in my area and no doubt it has been the experience in many areas.

Something to which we should give consideration - and I am sure that the Government will give it consideration - is the fact, as was stated by the Minister, that there are some 50,000 handicapped children under 16 years of age in Australia, including those who have some physical handicap and those who are mentally retarded. The Minister went on to say that probably under half of these are adequately catered for by special facilities. This indicates that the Government and the Minister recognise the need for continuing this assistance and for helping handicapped children. The Government recognises the need for expansion of the measures to help them.

One of the problems which confront the parents of handicapped children, whether they are handicapped physically or mentally or in both respects, is the problem that this disability creates in the home. In areas such as the one I represent where large distances are involved the task of taking handicapped children from one place to another adds to the very great problems that confront parents. Social activities, employment as well as ordinary domestic living are things that frequently have to take second place. I have had ample demonstration of these problems and I agree with the Minister completely that this is the case. To show how the problems of caring for these children affect parents I would like to quote from part of a letter I received recently on this matter. This letter refers to a child who is attending The Chalet for Children at Stanthorpe in Queensland, which is in my electorate of Maranoa. The letter, in part, states:

Our child has beenat The Chalet for 3 years and 4 months, and we are extremely satisfied with the way he is looked after.

Anyone who has not been personally involved in such a heart-breaking event as a young child with incurable brain damage, would not realise the tremendous feeling of gratitude and peace of mind that a home like The Chalet for Children offers.

Further on, the letter states:

At the time when our doctors told us that for the future of the rest of our family we must place our child in a home, we made inquiries throughout Queensland and in other States as to suitable institutions.

This is the sort of strain that is placed on the parents of such children. The letter goes on to stare:

Acting on a brochure we received from the Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association, we inspected The Chalet, and were immediately taken with the ‘family’ type atmosphere, and the progressive outlook of the director . . .

I can tell you, the decision to move our child from the family circle was not an easy one, and we fully examined alt aspects of his future well-being. 1 give full credit to all people who are associated with the care of handicapped children. I give tremendous creditto them. While giving full credit to those who undertake this work in a voluntary way 1 admire those who devote themselves to this work even though, because of the fact that they are giving all of their time to it. they may have to make a living from such work. They also give very sympathetic and understanding care to children who need it. so much.

It is not. my intention to take as much time as I would like to take on this subject because other honourable members wish to speak and much of. what 1 want to say has been said. But I want to quote from a copy of a letter that was sent to another member of Parliament. You, Mr Deputy Speaker, might recognise something to which this letter, refers because 1. know that you are concerned with it. The letter is from a leading psychiatrist. He states:

The children at The Chalet’ -

This is The Chalet for Children - definitely qualify forthe additional benefit . . .

That is, the intensive care benefit that was previously granted to them -

The mailer is of crucial importance to very many parents, and through them the children, and indeed to the proper functioning of the home - the facilities for intensive care of the intellectually handicapped are, in general, grossly inadequate, and any private institution dedicated to this work needs constant and very full support.

Asa practising psychiatrist, I am very aware of the needs of the intellectually handicapped, and can assure you that these children do qualify as needing intensive nursing home cure.

While this is in another field it is allied to the subject matter of the Bill we are now discussing. I make the suggestion that there needs to be co-operation between the 2 Government departments which have the responsibility of providing the benefits and assistance that these children certainly deserve.

While I commend and support the Bill I trust that the Government will give consideration to a further examination of the position of the parents whose children have to be taken into homes and who have to pay for their care. 1 hope that these parents will be assisted by the Government by way of additional assistance. By giving further consideration to the position of parents the Government will enable handicapped children to benefit from the excellent care and attention that is given in such homes as The Chalet for Children at Stanthorpe. If the Government could extend the Commonwealth benefit given to these children it would be of great benefit. Such assistance would remove from these homes some of the children who have to attend them. There is a need for special consideration for these children. I believe that every aspect of this matter should be examined and I am confident that the Government has this in mind. I leave the thought with the Minister that he might consult with his colleague the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) to see how the co-operation of their .2 departments can best be used for the benefit of these children who need assistance so very much. .


– In supporting the amendment I want to make a few points about the Bill. While we welcome the Bill because it is a move in the right direction, what disturbs me is that the B il is a continuation of the Government’s policy of subsidising private charities. It seems to me that we have reached the situation where the Government rarely accepts full responsibility with regard to any field of social welfare. This seems to me to be in line with the traditional Liberal philosophy that your place in life is determined at the moment of conception. If you happen to be lucky enough to be born with money that is good and you will continue as an affluent member of society, but if you are unfortunate enough to be mentally retarded that is just the way the cards tumble and you will continue in that unfortunate position without much assistance from the community.

I want to question tonight - and I hope in the future - the whole system of charity in Australia. It seems to me that charity as it is given operates unfairly in favour of those who have the best fund raising systems. This means that needy cases are often neglected. We can see this in many fields. It is easier to raise funds in affluent areas than it is in areas where there is poverty. It is much more difficult to raise funds in areas of poverty for the charity that one is trying to support. We have again a continuation of the squabble about whose responsibility it is to give this assistance. The honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) mentioned this aspect. He said he did not care whose responsibility it was - whether it was State, Federal or local government responsibility - so long as it was someone’s responsibility to find the money to do something about it. I remember some years ago hearing the Minister for Slipping and Transport (Mr Sinclair), who was then Minister for Social Services, say in a ‘Four Corners’ television programme that it was not the responsibility of a government to look after the needy; it was up to the community to do so. He- suggested that it was up to each little group of people to take into its fold those who were deprived. He implied that the Government could not be expected to accept responsibility for those in need.

This is the philosophy of members of the Government Parties. They, want to opt out as much as possible in this field because if the community accepts full responsibility there must be an increase- in taxes. This is something they do not want because the extra taxes will be levied from those who have the most, and they are the people who support the Government. So the Government throws the responsibility on the community. The Government says: Let the community look after them, we will give a little here and there. That salves the Government’s conscience and makes it look good. We should get our priorities right. The first and fundamental need in any society is to take care of those who are physically and mentally handicapped. Surely this is fundamental, notwithstanding other needs that may exist. I forget who said that a society should be judged by the way it takes care of its physically and mentally handicapped members, but this is true. It is a condemnation of our affluent society that we do not accept full responsibility in this regard.

I want to question the whole concept of charity in Australia. Today we have in this country thousands of organisations raising funds. The honourable member tor Bendigo said that the Government seems terrified lest it upset all those wonderful souls in the community who are raising money for charity. They have button days, they conduct fetes, they hold balls, barbecues and other social functions. You name it, they do it. They conduct walkathons, swingathons, swimathons and talkathons to raise money. The Government suggests that if it accepts full responsibility in this field these wonderful souls will have nothing to do. This is patently absurd. There is so much to be done in the community. If these people no longer had to raise money for the physically and mentally handicapped there would still be an enormous amount of work for them to do. Let me refer to only a few organisations in the area in which 1 live that could do with the support and help of these well-meaning people. Take, for instance, the volunteer bush fire brigade. What a good cause that is. Then there are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Surf Life Saying Association. If care of the physically and mentally handicapped were removed from the realm of community involvement, fund raising activities could be channelled into the areas where they are sorely needed. The people who engage in these activities have tremendous goodwill and capability and are immensely energetic.

In a community there is a basis of need. People say: T will give to those who need it most’. At the top of the list are subnormal children, spastic children, autistic children and so on. Other needy organisations, such as the surf life saving movement and the bush fire brigade, have to go to the bottom of the list and people say that they cannot afford to give to those organisations. We must accept the fact that if the Government were to accept responsibility for caring for the physically and mentally handicapped there still would be plenty for the community service organisations to do. There still would be plenty for those good souls in the community - God bless them - to do. One of the difficulties in discussing charitable activities is to gather statistics not only on the areas of need but also on. whether fund raising activities are economic. Let me expand this theme a little. I have tried to get some figures on these matters. I have placed on notice questions seeking information as to the amount of money raised by charity in Australia. I have been told that no figures are available. No estimates have been made of the amounts raised by charity fund raising organisations. I . have been informed by the Parliamentary Library that surveys indicate that the amount raised annually is between Si 00m and $200m. 1 have not been told how this money is raised and how the estimate is made of the amount raised but it seems to be generally accepted that this is the figure. 1 suspect thai the amount is considerably higher than the figure I have been given because 1 think the figure given takes into account only “the large fund raising organisations. lt does not pay regard, nor could it, to the hundreds and thousands of small fund raising activities in every community - the bottle drives, the barbecues, the rallies. How could anybody estimate the number of dollars and cents raised in those activities? The point 1 am trying to make is that this type of fund raising activity is immensely wasteful. I have been to a number of seminars dealing with fund raising and I have examined the subject fairly thoroughly. Even the most efficient form of fund raising- the eyeball to eyeball technique in which you go to somebody and say. T want you to give me $100 for a certain charity’ - has a . wastage rate of between 10% and 12%. But when you take into account activities such as balls and barbecues the net wastage can bc 50% or 60% of gross turnover.

Take, for example, the Black and White Ball held in Sydney. I do not know the exact figures relating to this activity, but we all know the spectacle created. We see 700 or 800 people bedecked in the most glamorous gowns, with hairdos costing $10, $15 or $20 - for the women that is - and thousands of dollars spent on alcohol during the evening, lt is an extravaganza. One could estimate that the cost of the function might be as high as $30,000. Tickets for such a function cost $10 or $15 a head. To raise for charity between $2,000 and $4,000 necessitates an expenditure of $30,000. This is perhaps an extreme example.

Mr Martin:

– It is not a bad social’ evening.


– A very nice social evening, but not very productive in terms of a net return to a charity. I could give other examples of waste of this kind. One, details of which have been supplied by the

Library, concerns the British Oxfam organisation, which conducted a much publicised walkathon: The target was £215,000. The amount raised was £52,664. Expenses amounted to between £28,000 and £32,000, leaving a net gain of between £20,664 and £24,664. The point I am trying to make is that expenses absorbed 55% to 60% of the total money raised. Even the very best fund raising organisations expend between 10% and 20% of the funds raised. I should think that that is a fairly conservative estimate. If $200m is raised annually by charitable organisations throughout Australia this means that at least $30m annually is expended on just raising the money. This $30m is completely wasted, unless one thinks that employing fund raisers is a profitable pastime. I want now to quote from an article in the ‘Age’ of Tuesday, 28th April 1970, concerning Mr David Scott, who is an executive director of the Brotherhood of St Lawrence. The article was written by Leonard Radic and’ it reads:

We are still working to an antiquated system of personal-tare service. Fifty years ago it was not accepted that the Government had the responsibility of helping people who could not help themselves. So there arose groups of volunteers who took it upon themselves to help the socially handicapped.

Over the years governments have relaxed this policy slightly by giving such groups a ‘modest subsidy, but without ever being prepared to accept responsibility for the organising, financing and running of the whole range of welfare services.

The dividing lines of responsibility between State and Federal governments, municipalities and the volunteer organisations have never been clearly defined.

The Federal Government has become the policy controller, as well as the financial provider. It wants the maximum amount qf control but the minimum amount of responsibility.

Its policy is a piecemeal one, lacking coherence and co-ordination, Mr Scott claims.

In England rand other countries the government’s social welfare policies are constantly under review. In Australia we almost never do this. In the past 25 years there has been only one major review of any social welfare policy. That was the Nimmo report-

Later the article states:

Public support can be drummed up for causes that touch the heartstrings - sick or handicapped children, for example.

It is much more difficult to raise money for children who are mentally handicapped, or for an organisation such as the Hanover Centre, which works for derelict men, or for alcoholics,’ Mr Scott says.

It is also very difficult to raise funds for family counselling services using professional social workers because you can’t show touching pictures of children before and after service, or pictures of huge buildings which are monuments to the money that has been raised.

All you can show is two people seated on either side of a desk in an interview room, which moves nobody.’

I will not dwell on the question of charity but I should l:ke to. expand my remarks at a later date.. In the time that is left to me I should like to talk briefly about an Organisation in my own electorate - the Fairhaven School. I am sure that the Minister is aware of this school, lt is a branch of the Sub-Normal Children’s Association. It was started in 1961 by a group of parents and friends. It commenced operations in the Kincumber School of Arts and in February 1962 was transferred to the Baptist church hall. In 1963, when it was given a grant of land by the New South Wales State Labor Government, work was commenced on a permanent home in the Point Clare district. With the help of voluntary labour, and once again depending on that good old stand-by, the community service organisations - in this case the Gosford Lions, Apex and Rotary Clubs - the organisation was able to build on the 3-acre grant of land its first permanent home. The school was opened in February 1964 by the Governor, Sir Eric Woodward. It had 20 pupils, 3 classrooms, a kitchen, washroom and toilet. Later on an activity centre was added in which was taught handicrafts, including cooking, to postschool age children. I have been out to inspect the school. One of its present activities is collecting bulk paper, wrapping it and parcelling it and selling it overseas. This is a means of raising money to help the organisation. The school now has 2 buses and is looking after 52 pupils. According to figures that are available to me we can expect that about 1 person in every 1,000 will be sub-normal, but in this area, which has a population of about 87,000, the school has only 52 pupils. At least 13 children are on the waiting list, but they cannot be accepted. It is possible that there are quite a number of children who have not applied for admission to the school and even if they did apply they would be unable to attend it. The school draws from Um:na Somersby, Warnervale, The Entrance and Terrigal - from an area within a 25-mile radius of the school. The school has 4 Association teachers, 1 departmental teacher and 2 employees who work in the day school section and who help wrap the bulk papers.

One honourable member suggested that the term ‘children’ is rather a misnomer because the term applies at this school, as it does in many other similar schools, to adults who could be 50 years of age but who, because they must be looked after like children, are regarded as children. I hope that when’ the Minister administers this legislation he will do so with flexibility. I have talked to officers of the Fairhaven School and they have been rather frustrated. I. understand that for the last 2 years they have been seeking assistance for the school through the sheltered workshops legislation. However, the type of activity in which they want to engage does not meet the requirements of the legislation or of the Government’s policy. 1 believe they are considering submitting another application for assistance for their activity centre and for other projects that they have in mind. One of their ultimate aims is to provide residential accommodation. I am not aware that they have any immediate plans but this is a long term aim.

In his second reading speech the Minister said that he- will use flexibility in his approach to this legislation, and 1 hope he will do so when the time arises. I pay a tribute to the officers of the Fairhaven School. As- is the case with other organisations mentioned by honourable members, the major problem at Fairhaven is not in respect of capital buildings, although the school will ‘ have needs in that direction shortly.- Its major problem concerns running costs. 1 did have figures with me, but I seem to have mislaid them. My memory is that the school’s running expenses exceed by some $4,000 annually the amount it receives by way of government subsidies. These are rather expensive ways of raising money.

In the time that is left to me I would like to talk about one. aspect of handicapped children that has not been dealt with specifically by any honourable member this evening, as far as f know, and that is the problem of autistic children, f want to draw the attention of the House to a form of illness suffered by children which until recently was not known widely in Australia, or for that matter around the world. My first introduction to autism was 2 or 3 years ago when I witnessed a television programme known as ‘Seven Days’. It described the plight of the autistic child and also the suffering of all those associated with it, primarily the parents, brothers and sisters of autistic children. Autism was first described by Professor Kanner of the Johns Hopkins University in 1943. He referred to it as infantile autism because he meant it occurred mainly in children under 3 years of age. The word ‘autism’ is derived from ………: meaning self-involved or cutoff. Very little was known about autism until recently and a great deal more is still to be learnt. The cause of it is still a mystery; the symptoms of the illness are many and varied and not always applicable to all children.

I have been amazed when 1 have spoken about autism to a few honourable members - and I am just as guilty as anyone - to learn just how little people know of this particular disease. The size of the problem is difficult to define and is closely dependent upon fairly calculated guesswork. Research in England has shown that there are approximately 4.5 autistic children per 10,000. However, it is not known whether these figures are applicable here, lt may well be that climatic conditions or ethnic differences may create a higher incidence of autism in children in England than in Australia. But again a great many of these unknown questions will remain unanswered until effective research has been done. Most of the information that is available has resulted from extensive research or from voluntary organisations directly associated with the illness, such as the Autistic Childrens Association of New South Wales and other similar State bodies.

I would like to define as best 1 can as a layman what is meant by autism. As I said before, it is extremely difficult to diagnose because there are no set symptoms but a pattern of symptoms that exists and it can only be recognised in a child when a conglomeration of these symptoms occurs. It appears that there are about 14 major manifestations of infantile autism and it is generally accepted that if a child shows 7 or more of these symptoms he is likely to be austistic. Taken out of context these symptoms can occur in other diseases or in perfectly normal children. I want to outline briefly the symptoms that do occur in an autistic child. The child is not as cuddly as a baby and tends to hold itself, stiff or alternatively hangs rather limply. It often has a stand-offish manner and finds it difficult to communicate with people. One of the great problems with the autistic child is its inability to communicate. This seems to be one of the most notable features of autism. They have great difficulty in playing with other children and they also look past or away from the person to whom they are talking or who is talking to them. They are physically over-active and can’ go without sleep for incredibly long periods. They may remain awake nearly all night, yet have tremendous energy the next day.

They are restless children, rushing from one thing to another ali the time and they often act as if deaf. Noise seems to upset them and they will frequently hold their hands over their ears to cut out sound. They rarely speak before 5 or 6 years of ace and mostly indicate (heir needs by gestures. They develop attachments for particular objects and will’ play with them for hours at a time without becoming boret!. They have a passion for spinning objects and can develop extraordinary skill at spinning some unusual object which will keep them facinii ted for long periods. They show strong resistance to change in their routine and will become extremely upset if any attempt is made to change particular clothes they like or introduce a new type of food. They will resist learning new skills or behaviour and will show a complete lack of fear of danger. This final aspect is a great worry to parents who have to watch the children constantly as they may run out onto a street and under a car where there is heavy traffic passing. There are many other dangers of which the child is not aware and with which it will become involved. This very, often causes loss of life.

One other symptom of an autistic child is the swaying or rocking that occurs very often during the evening- for teng periods. lt can be very unnerving for those in close association with it. 1 am not aware whether autism has been mentioned in this House’ before. It has had a great deal more publicity in the last few years than it had previously. I pay tribute to the organisations in Australia that have brought autism to the fore.

Mr Armitage:

– We saw the film that Senator Fitzgerald showed recently.


– That is right. 1 am aware that this Bill will help these autistic bodies. One of the reasons I have brought this matter forward is that my very dear old friend, Dr Andrew Vern-Barnett, is the New South Wales President of the body. He was most anxious that this matter should be aired in the Federal Parliament. If in any way we have learnt something this evening about this tragic disease, if we are at least aware that 300 children in Australia suffer from it, raising the matter has been worthwhile. Finally, I hope the Minister will give consideration in the future to enlarging the scope of this Bill so that not only will capital1 funds be available for physically and ‘ mentally handicapped children but also assistance will be given to relevant organisations to help them with their running costs.


– The Bill before the House conforms with a promise made in the policy speech of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). This promise was not challenged by the Opposition during the election campaign. The Prime Minister staled in his policy speech there would be capita] assistance of $2 for each $t towards the cost of building institutions which give training to various types of handicapped children. As a member of the Government Members Social Services Committee, J have been on tours of inspection of and have obtained information about the many wonderful institutions set up by religious and other organisations to assist these children. I was appalled to learn that in this modern scientific era, with a population of only 12 million, there are in Australia 50,000 children handicapped in various ways and at different stages. The States are primarily responsible for the care and training of such children. However, this does not prevent or preclude the Commonwealth from assisting to the maximum the institutions carrying on such services. At this stage 1 think I express the sentiments of all honourable members in this House when 1 offer our appreciation and gratitude to those people who render such dedicated and self-sacrificing service to handicapped children.

This Bill is most estimable and will make a worthwhile contribution to the erection of schools and premises for the children. I would like it to go much further; of course, all honourable members would. In those areas where schools. and buildings are now provided I would like the Government to subsidise the . payment of staff and equipment of such schools, As I toured the various institutions, how I wished I had much more time to devote to each and every one. This, of course, is not available. However, one can do much in many ways to assist.

I have been attracted to the profoundly deaf who, along with the spastic children, offer the greatest’ potential in training and achievement. Please do not misunderstand me. All handicapped children require our attention, consideration and understanding. The impact’ of profound congenital hearing loss on the processes of communication is difficult to overestimate, because language is the indispensable tool of learning which is acquired with very little effort by the hearing child but acquired in a minimal degree by the deaf child only after great effort and determination. It has been estimated that deafness is the most profound handicap a child may have. It is complex and expensive and calls for a range of educational and other efforts that are equally complex. Because of this it is necessary that anyone who has ‘ the responsibility or authority for establishing a programme for the deaf should be mindful of the complex problems involved and the educational facilities that they can provide. Deaf children in Australia have shared the treatment meted out to handicapped children generally. They have in times past been hidden behind the walls of . protective custody. We have preferred to think that they did not exist. We are now reaping the fruits of a long standing neglect. I trust and I am sure that society has now awakened to the position and will do much better in the future.

The Commonwealth Department of Education and Science has in its files the recent Babbage report. This was . a report by a national advisory committee on the education of the deaf in the United States of America. Our Commonwealth Department also has the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf Committee report to the board of directors on the interim guidelines of educational progress for deaf chil dren. The answer to the basic question: What do we have to do to ensure adequate provision for our deaf children?’ is, as I have stated, both complex and pervasive. However, some of the more central issues readily suggest themselves. Of prime importance is a programme of early attention to the deaf child. This includes early detection and parent guidance and a strong attack on a comprehensive pre-school programme of instruction in language and speech. Without such early attention it is doubtful whether a child who is born deaf will ever acquire his native language. Improved education of the deaf is unlikely without a new research effort. It is doubtful if even 1% of the cost of educating deaf children is spent on research. Improvements in the deplorably low academic achievement of the deaf will hardly come about without vigorous attention to teacher training. In some state schools for the deaf many teachers are not specially trained or equipped at all for this work.

A very real contribution to the field of the handicapped could be made by the Commonwealth by setting up a national training college for teachers of handicapped children. Present State efforts in this field are limited and inadequate. Such a college could serve as a model for further training programmes. Because the deaf are already victimised on a changing occupational outlook attention to a secondary school programme for the deaf is essential. A satisfactory system for the education of the deaf requires the availability of many medical, audiological and psychological social services and other diagnostic services not ordinarily associated with education. Such services are, however, essential to the field of special education of which education of the deaf is but a part. There is urgent need to raise the level of hopes in the field of education of the deaf. We cannot continue to offer these children the crumbs and dregs and say in effect: ‘This is good enough for you because you are deaf.’

Deaf and dumb children are dumb merely because they cannot hear. Their vocal chords and their voices are as good as yours and mine. I suppose most people, as I did until a few years ago, look on the deaf with pity and sympathy, not realising that they have been rewarded by nature with a power of concentration to compensate for their affliction. I suppose most people thought, as I did: Well, they are deaf and dumb. We will do for them what we can in the way of a menial job. But when one comes into contact with such dedicated people as Brother McGrath and Miss Walters, of whom I have spoken in this House before, who are at the State school at North Rocks, one realises what can be clone for these children. In many cases they have a very high 1Q. At St Louis in the United States of America many children have been taught to speak and have attained secondary diplomas and 12 have gone on to tertiary education. When I see these children at North Rocks and at Castle Hill bubbling over with enthusiasm and brightness, I wish that we could have more people like Brother McGrath and Miss Walters who are specially trained to impart to these children the knowledge of how to use their vocal chords so that within a few short years they are able to speak as do you and I.

I hope the time is coming when knowledge of. this system will be disseminated throughout Australia and these wonderful children with a high IQ will be able to take their places in society and render a service to the community. Unfortunately their potential ability is not able to be brought out at the present lime because they are unable to speak. I was sorry to hear the remark of the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) that this Government wanted to opt out. Of course we do not want to opt out. We are coming in in a big way and will do more and more as time goes on. Unfortunately the honourable member sarcastically referred to charities and charity workers, lt will be a sorry day for Australia, even an affluent Australia, when charity goes. Charity will always be a great blessing and a great attribute irrespective of the affluence of .our society.

Mr ARMITAGE (Chifley) 1 10.5 1]- I will nol speak at any great length tonight. I think most members know that there is a long night ahead. A lol has already been said about this Bill, but there are a few. aspects I should like to raise. I would like to make it clear for a start that the Opposition welcomes this Bill as far as it goes, lt is a Bill which will assist those organisations which in turn are assisting handicapped children by way of capital assistance for land and buildings and equipment. Of course this is only a part of the very great problem which has to be handled. The honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) referred to what the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) had said a few minutes ago. He mentioned that the honourable member for Robertson had said that the Government is opting out. The honourable member for Mitchell said that the Government is coming in in a big way. I say this in all sincerity: 1 think the Government is coming in. I would nol go so far as to say at this point of time that it is coming in in a big way because there is still so very much more to be done in this field. ‘ . .

On the contrary, 1 believe that this Bill involves an issue which has been dealt wilhin this chamber so many times, which has’ been dealt with in the Press and which has been dealt with by the various university, groups and the like. This is one of the most important sections of those who are disadvantaged in our community today.’ These are the people who have to be assisted. I believe that this Bill is a hap-: hazard attempt to grip a social problem and to satisfy a social conscience, but it does not in fact satisfy that conscience. It is a hastily drawn up measure to satisfy a hastily conceived election promise. There, has been no research into the problem, lt is for this reason that, the Opposition has moved the following amendment to the Bill:-

That all the words after ‘that’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place’ thereof: ‘whilst not opposing the provisions of the” Bill,

I want to make that clear - the House is of opinion that a national inquiry should be conducted to identify the nature and extent of mental and physical handicaps in’ children, as a basis to the Commonwealth establishing a national policy for handicappedchildren involving Commonwealth and SuiteGovernments, local authorities and private agencies in co-operative action’.

That is why 1 say that the Bill is hastilyconceived. A committee of inquiry is needed to inquire into those aspects covered by the amendment besides very many other aspects such as research into the causes of handicapped children - there is so much’ to learn yet on this - research into the treatment of handicapped children, research’ into teaching methods for handicapped children and the best way to assist governments and organisations which are endeavouring to do a job in this field to assist those children.

I can recollect first coming into this field and becoming interested in it many, many years ago when a couple who had a mongoloid child approached me. The child was 2 years of age and had not turned off its back. The father approached me to try to get the child into a State home to be looked after because at that point of time his total wage- was £13 10s a week, and he was spending £6 a week having that child looked after in a private home. His life savings of £400 were steadily being whittled away. I thought I could easily get that child into a home- how innocent I was- -where it would be looked after. I found that there were very few organisations - only charitable organisations - which could do the job. There was one State organisation where the child was finally admitted. Having had 5 attacks of pneumonia the child had a sixth attack and died within a fortnight. For that reason I became very vitally interested in this problem of handicapped children.

I believe that the whole issue here is one of great human problem. Every parent who comes to me states: ‘We have a responsibility. We have to look after these children. This is our child. We do not shirk that responsibility in our lifetime’. But they are all worried about that very important aspect of what will happen when they are no longer here. Some aspects of the Bill have to be looked into. It does not encourage Governments, State or Federal, to enter into this field as an entity themselves. It does assist or attempts to coerce private organisations to continue in the field and to expand their activities. But it does not have the same effect upon government instrumentalities, which should accept the responsibility for these children. It gives a certain amount of help. I congratulate the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) on the two-thirds assistance that the Government gives to private organisations for land and buildings, for special equipment and so on. But it still lays a responsibility on the parents or on . those people who are prepared, to volunteer to assist these children to raise, other finance. Quite frankly, we only have to look at the type of society we live in today. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the ordinary family - group to meet its responsibilities to those children who are not physically handicapped. Here they are being called upon to meet this colossal responsibility - this great liability of the child who is handicapped.

I believe that there should be an inquiry, as I mentioned earlier. There are so many problems to be looked into. There is a necessity for assistance for training teachers and the payment of their salaries. I know that the States already assist in regard to the salaries, but the assistance only covers portion of what is required. . It does not fully cover the problem. These teachers are specialists and must be trained as such. There is a need for transport. I know that the States give assistance in this respect but still it does not cover the full problem. So many of these children need special vehicles to transport them to and from school. There is a need to alleviate this problem and to assist not only those children under 16 years of age but those over 16 years of age. Under State legislation the parents have to pay for the education, transport, etc., of a child in a school for handicapped children when that child is over 16 years of age.

This raises the old issue of what happens when the parents are no longer with us. This is the greatest problem troubling the parents of handicapped children. There is always the thought in their minds: What is going to happen to our child when we are no longer here?

Debate interrupted.

page 2858



-Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 16th April, I propose the question:

That the House do now adjourn.


- Mr Speaker, I require that the question be put forthwith.

Question resolved in the negative.

page 2858


Second Reading

Debate resumed.


– I do not propose to speak for much longer but there are still one or two points 1 want to mention. I think consideration should be given by all parties concerned with handicapped children to the proposal that children should be placed in schools far earlier than they are now. They should go to school when they attain 4 years of age. Much of the damage is done to these children because they do not go to special schools early enough and naturally their parents lend to spoil them. I heard of a child who could not feed himself even though he was 6 years of age. He was sent to 3 school and the teachers simply refused to feed him. In no time he had learned to feed himself. That child’s treatment would have been so much better if he had received assistance at an earlier age. The point is that it is not only a question of reaching the child but teaching the parent as well.

For the reasons I have given I support the proposal that there should be a special committee of inquiry into the problem of handicapped children, as proposed in the amendment moved bv the Opposition. I think that committee of inquiry should investigate al) aspects to ascertain how many such children there, are. what types there are and what types of handicap exist, ft should determine and establish lines of research into causes, treatment and teaching methods, ft should ascertain the best way to assist governments and organisations looking after these children. Until this problem is tackled in this way the Parliament will not be dealing with it effectively and efficiently.


– Firstly I want to commend the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wen I worth) for bringing down a Bill of this nature and for his interest in handicapped children, lt is very pleasing to me to find, possibly for the first time since I have been following the affairs of this Parliament, a Minister who has displayed interest in this field. I commend him for his interest. Insufficient attention has been given in the past to handicapped children. I agree with the Minister when he said in his second reading speech: lt is clear enough that there is still much to be done. There arc, wc estimate, some 50,000 handicapped children under 16 years of age in Australia, including both those who have some physical handicap and tho-e who are menially retarded.

Probably under half of these are adequately catered for by special facilities.

I draw attention to the word ‘probably’. If the Minister had the facilities available to ascertain the degree of inadequate catering in this field and if he knew the number of children involved think he would be surprised.

The deficiency of this Bill, as I see it, is that the benefits are restricted to capital assistance for the training - and training alone - of various types of handicapped children. A handicapped child is defined in the Bill as a person suffering from a physical or mental disability. Training, as defined in the Bill, means vocational or other training and includes general education. I ask the Minister to explain how the word training’ is to be interpreted in app s ing the provisions of this Bill. Does it cater for the severely mentally retarded chi d? Will organisations which look after severely mentally retarded children benefit from this legislation? What is the position in regard to mongoloid children who are incapable of receiving vocational and educational training? Are organisations which took after these severely handicapped children to be denied the benefits of this Bill?

I consider that the definition of ‘training’ is too narrow. It is capable of restricted interpretation at the administrative level. Clause 5 of the Bill states:

The Director-General has, subject to any directions of the Minister, the general administration of this Act. lt refers to the Director-General of Social Services. I ask the Minister to give some lead to this House or to the DirectorGeneral as to how this clause is to be interpreted. 1 have a reason for that request. 1 think there are deficiencies in the National Health Act. One of those deficiencies which 1 think is applicable lo handicapped children is too restrictive an interpretation at the administrative level. I recognise that the National Health Act is administered by the Commonwealth Department of Health and that this Bi’l is to be administered by the Director-General of Social Services. The point I make is this: Under the National Health Act there is paid what is known as a supplementary benefit. Approved nursing homes, including nursing homes which look after handicapped children, are paid $2 a day in respect of each patient. There is an additional SUPplementary benefit of $3 a day paid where ti.e child receives what is known as intensive care. At the administrative level of the Commonwealth Director-General of Health intensive care has been interpreted to mean intensive medical care. I had a case relating to this from the Intellectually and Physically Handicapped Childrens Association of New South Wales. I led a deputation concerning the interpretation placed on the phrase ‘intensive care’. I was told by the authorities in Sydney that it was interpreted to mean ‘medical care’ and not ‘custodial care’.

I wish to give an example of this to illustrate the point. Mongoloid children, particularly the severely affected mongoloid child, not only need to be looked after on a custodial basis but also to be cared for with a lot more patience and a good deal more tolerance than. the child who is physically handicapped. It has been held administratively that, unless a child is ill - physically ill - it is denied the benefit of $3 per day on the basis that it is not receiving intensive care. I feel that this is a restrictive interpretation. I would not like to think that, when this Bill now before the House is finally passed, too restrictive an interpretation would be given by the DirectorGeneral of Social Services on that point. That is my reason for raising it.

I wish to pay tribute to the organisations that have played a large part up to date, unassisted in New South Wales by any State Government grants, and which for the first time will1 be assisted partially in their work by a grant from the Commonwealth Government. I refer particularly to the Intellectually and Physically Handicapped Children’s Association of New South Wales which has done a magnificent job in this field. This Association started in 1960. It commenced when a few people who had severely mentally retarded and physically retarded children got together and decided that they would have to do something about the problem because the facilities did not exist. Facilities were not provided by the Commonwealth or the State and the task was left to them. I commend these people for starting this Association. I commend them for the work that they have done since 1960. At the present time, only 50 people are members of this Association. They have raised some hundreds of thousands of dollars to perform a vital, important and necessary task in the community, that is, caring for severely mentally retarded and severely physically retarded children.

This Association is the only association in New South Wales which looks after and cares for the multiple hand:capped child. That is the child who is both crippled and mentally retarded. The Association has set out to equip itself to take the worst type - I do not use ‘worst’ in a derogatory sense. Perhaps 1 should refer to the worst affected metally and physically retarded children. The main object pf the Association is to take the worst first. They have set up 2 centres in the Sydney area; one is at Revesby called the Amour Park Centre and the other is at Liverpool and is known, as the Hoxton Park Centre. This Association started these centres in 1962 to cater for these types of affected children. It started off in a small way, erecting and equipping a building at Revesby at a cost of some $14,000. In 1964, due to its efforts, the Association extended the building at a cost of some $100,000. Between 1964 and the present time it has continued to extend its facilities. Renovations and extensions to the building to bring it to a stage where it is now a 80-bed hospital have cost an additional amount of $35,000. That amount is additional to what was spent on the original project.

The purpose of the Amour Park centre is to look after the child who is not capable of being educated. To cater for the child who is capable of being educated, the Intellectually and Physically Handicapped Children’s Associationon of New South Wales started in 1964 to erect a building - this is now known as the Hoxton Park Centre - at a cost of $52,000. That school for physically and mentally retarded children at the present time has an enrolment of 91. It is running as a full time school each day without cost to the State and without cost to the Commonwealth.

Allow me to point out some of the costs which have been borne by this Association and by the parents of these children at the Amour Park Centre. The cost per child is S50 per week to which at the present, time the Commonwealth contributes the ordinary’ benefit, as it is called through the Commonwealth Department of Health of S2 per day. Provided a child is entitled to receive a supplementary benefit-this has been given a very restrictive application at the administrative level - a further $3 per day is paid. That leaves $15 per day for the parents of each child to find, lt is in this regard that 1 feel the Bill falls down.

This Bill covers only the training of the child and the cost of cap’ lal improvements. lt does not do anything to assist the parents. I commend to the Minister for Social Services this suggestion which he may bring forward before the Government when the next Budget is being formulated. Does he not think that the stage has been reached when we must consider not only the child but also the parents? I feel that consideration should be given to paying to (he parents of these severely mentally retarded and physically handicapped children some type of financial assistance simitar to the invalid pension, lt should be a figure which is capable of assist-ng the parents in the every day running costs of keeping such a child at a home such as those that I have mentioned and assisting them also to meet the incidental costs that crop up but about which nobody knows.

I feel that the parents of these children are bearing a big enough burden, lt is a mental burden to them when a child is born to them who, unfortunately, is physically or mentally retarded. This burden is big enough without having to face a financial burden as well. I request the Minister to give consideration to this proposal when the Budget is under consideration and to see whether or not some assistance could be given to parents of these children. In conclusion 1 wish to commend again the Minister for Social Services for his attention to these matters. I am certain that the matters that I have mentioned will receive his sympathetic consideration.

Mr WALLIS (Grey) 1.1 1.201-1 do nol intend to occupy the time of the House for very long. In reference to this Bill I was approached by the Mentally Retarded Children’s Society of South Australia. Whilst this organisation considers that the Bill is an advance for handicapped children, it has its reservations on. 2 matters. The first matter with which it is concerned is the differentiation being made in . the Bill between the States which provide free education for all children and those where education is provided by subsidised voluntary organisations. To explain this more fully, the Society has sent to me a copy of a letter forwarded to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) from the Australian Council for the Mentally Retarded. That letter reads:

In regard to the new Bill, may we request you to give further consideration to one aspect of ils provisions which, we feel, may not be as equitable as you would wish. We refer to the exclusion of Slate education departments from the benefits of the Act as defined in section 6 of Pail 1.

The Commonweatlh Government has heretofore declined to grant assistance in this direction on the grounds that education is the responsibility of the State governments. The various Stale governments have afforded assistance in a variety of forms. In South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania the education departments have accepted the responsibility to provide free education for all children. The other States have provided financial assistance to enable parents and health departments lo co-operate in providing ‘training centres’ and more recently, to enable parents to provide schools staffed by education department teachers. This assistance is belter than nothing at all, but falls far short of the standard set by the first named stales which provide properly established schools stalled by departmentally trained teachers for all children, handicapped or nol.

In these circumstances, exclusion of the State education departments from the benefits envisaged by the Act would have the result:

That those States which have left to voluntary organisations the bulk of the responsibility to provide training facilities for their handicapped children are now lo be relieved of a very substantial proportion of their existing contribution, and, (2) those Stales which have accepted full responsibility to provide appropriate professional education facilities are specifically excluded from the Commonwealth assistance available under the provisions of this Bill. Even more serious is the fact that the provision of Commonwealth money on the basis envisaged, that is, to voluntary organisations and excluding. State education departments may possibly lead to the abandonment of State schools for the disabled in those states presently providing them, lt will certainly mean the end of any possibility of a unified nation-wide system of free education for the handicapped.

The second point that was raised with mc is the concern of the Society that the Bill, whilst providing for a subsidy on capital expenditure, makes no provision for maintenance of the assets thereafter. Maintenance and running costs are very often the more substantial part of the work, as honourable members would probably agree. It is thought that many organisations may feel that their work could be inhibited if they have to be looking over their shoulder because of the added worry of maintenance and running costs. I recently had contact with a Save the Children Fund Committee in Port Lincoln and that Committee asked me for assistance in obtaining Commonwealth finance to aid the running of a preschool kindergarten for Aboriginal children in that town. I know that they are not handicapped children in the sense that the term is used in the Bill; they are handicapped in a different way. I wrote to the Minister who informed me that the Commonwealth had already made a considerable contribution towards the purchase of a building. But what was worrying the Port Lincoln Committee was the fact that a small dedicated committee, in this case, had the considerable job of raising a further $8,000 or more to cover running costs. Many organisations working for handicapped children will find themselves in a similar position.

There is an organisation in my home town which was formed approximately 2 years ago to cater for retarded children. This organisation consists mostly of the parents of the children themselves. They received donations from numerous town organisations, enough to get themselves going, but they found that by combining with Whyalla which is 47 miles away they could give a better service to the unfortunate children. They have now had to equip themselves with a vehicle for transport, and this was another financial hurdle. The 2 organisations are the type that would find maintenance and running costs a further burden. The 2 towns concerned are comparatively small country cities, and the raising of the necessary, finance is a big problem. I therefore suggest to the Minister that he give consideration to the points I have raised and extend the provisions of the Bill to cover these 2 matters.

Minister for Social Services · Mackellar · LP

– in reply - I would first of all like to thank honourable members for their contributions in this debate. I will certainly take into account the constructive suggestions which have been raised by honourable members on both sides of the House. Nobody would deny, and I certainly have asserted, that there is still a great deal to be done in this field. I would have thought that the important thing now is to start somewhere and to do something. I know that there are honourable members on both sides of the House who have been personally interested in the matter of assistance to handicapped and retarded children and we have of course had the benefit of their advice. As far as I am aware this is the first occasion that a proposal has been brought forward in which the Commonwealth Government itself is interested. If I may I will answer a few of the specific questions which were raised in the debate. Firstly, I was asked whether the scheme covers autistic children. The answer is most certainly yes, it does. Secondly, I was asked by the honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) and also by the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin) as to whether the spastic children in all their activities would be covered and the answer is yes. There will be, in the interpretation of the words ‘training and education’, the maximum flexibility.

Perhaps I could read from a section of a draft leaflet prepared by my Department for circulation when this Bill is passed. It reads:

In general terms, training which is designed to teach a child the activities of daily living, or which is of a social, remedial, pre-vocational, or vocational nature, will be accepted. So will general education for which special facilities are required.

The spastic centres including the most advanced cases will, of course, be accepted. I was asked about mongoloid children and others of similar nature and the answer is yes, they will be covered. The honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) asked for some flexibility in regard to the admission of people over 21 years of age. I would not rule this out but I point out to the House that this Bill is meant to help children and it is not always in the best interests of children to have an adult stranger introduced into their environment. This is a matter where we always have to look at the individual case. The honourable member for Cook (Mr Dobie) asked me a question in regard to a subsidy for a building which was completed on or about the date of commencement of the Act. This is a matter of fact upon which I cannot give him an answer without knowing the facts. But again if the building was not completed before the time set down for the commencement of the Act I would say that it would be covered. However, it is a question of fact. I cannot answer without knowing the exact position about the building. The honourable member for Grey (Mr Wallis) mentioned the different positions existing in the States. I do point out to him that this is capital expenditure for new works and that those States which as yet have not developed a system of voluntary organisations will be just as eligible to share as those which already have such a system.

If I may I will turn to one other matter, the question of survey was raised by some honourable members. Perhaps they are not aware of what has already been done and what is at present being done along these lines. One honourable member referred to the ‘Demography of Disability’ which was published last year. It related only to New South Wales but it was based on an investigation carried out by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. The Government has agreed to the setting up of an inter-departmental committee consisting of my own Department of Social Services, the Department of Health and the Department of Labour and National Service to survey this whole field. The committee is at present at work. However, I point out the difficulties in arriving at any accurate result. We cannot really rely on a census. It is difficult with a census to be certain that people describe their children correctly. We can understand that even with the best will in the world we do not get from a census a good classification. This has been the experience not only in Australia but in other countries. However, I am inclined to think that we can get a better result by an intensive sampling technique applied to fairly restricted areas with great intensity so that we can obtain an accurate result from selected areas, and then by statistical technique expand that in order to get a figure for the population. But nothing is so satisfactory as determining a result from the applications for these facilities.

It is always difficult to say, if a child is deaf or blind: Where is the dividing line? If a child is mentally retarded it is difficult to say: Where is the dividing line in this case? It is not always easy to decide, but if facilities are available the child who needs those facilities will be brought into them. I say to the House, and I think everybody will agree with this; that full facilities are not yet available and in point of fact the demand for existing facilities is greater than the supply. That is one of the reasons for this Bill. In these circumstances I do not think we will ever know accurately the numbers of people who need help until we have facilities available and until there is in these facilities a place for every child that needs help and can benefit by them. We can in the intermediate time, by sampling techniques and in other ways, find out more than we know at present. But I would not think that either in Australia or elsewhere can we get an accurate result in any other way than the one I have described.

I think several honourable members made reference to Professor Dybwad. I had the privilege of meeting him when he was out here. My Department helped to finance his visit to Australia because we recognised him as an authority who could give us useful advice. I think we have benefited from that advice. May I say that the officers of my Department on matters of fact - not of policy - are always available to committees of honourable members, such as the social services committees of both Government members and Opposition members, and I hope that Opposition members will take advantage of this because I believe that in many of these matters we can have a thoroughly bipartisan approach in this House.I gratefully acknowledge the fact that on both sides there are honourable members who have had personal contact with these matters and who can give to the House and to the Department the benefit of their personal experience.

I think I would adduce 3 proofs that what the Government proposes to do, although it does not cover the full field, is nevertheless useful and welcome. Firstly, I would remind honourable members of 2 letters which were read out earlier in the House which gave the opinions of the New South Wales Aid Retarded Persons organisation and the New South Wales Council for the Mentally Handicapped. These are extremely important organisations which welcome this Bill and believe that it will further their work. They are the people who are really in the field and who know most about it. Secondly, I remind the House that, although the Bill has not been passed by the Parliament, we have already something like 30 applications in the pipeline. Only today 1 received across my desk 2 provisional applications. The proposals that the Government has made are not only welcomed by those who know most about them but they will be implemented by those who are most active in the field.

The third proof I would give arises from the remarks of honourable members in this House tonight. 1 instance the remarks of the honourable members for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy), Robertson (Mr Cohen) and Gellibrand (Mr Mclvor) who described, I think with great feeling and accuracy, the difficulties of organisations in the past - difficulties which would have been ameliorated and very much lessened had this legislative been operative then. If honourable members look iri Hansard tomorrow at the remarks of these honourable members they will see exactly what I mean. The Bill before us is part of a plan to help handicapped children, lt is not a haphazard plan; it is the first thing to do. I am not going to say it is the only thing to do. However I will go further than that - and I have in mind the remarks of my friend the honourable member for Cook in this regard - and say that this is part of a scheme to help the rehabilitation of disabled people generally. Here I am doing no more than quoting one of the main social service objectives put forward by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) which is now to be translated into action.

We have already had a- report from Mr Griffiths on the general background of the situation. I am not going to say that we know all the answers at the moment. I certainly do not. But 1 will say that we are working towards this end and the House, the Government and the country I believe will find that we will be developing not a partial plan but a complete plan. Although this plan will be carried out in parts they will not be haphazard parts. The correct thing to do is to start and not to delay or say that because we do not know everything therefore we should do nothing. The proposal we are considering is something that should be done, lt is not the whole answer but I think everybody in the House who has spoken has agreed that it is something that should be done.

I repeat that we believe in helping and subsidising the work of voluntary organisations. They account for only a small part, of course, of our total social services expenditure. I would think that probably well over 95% of our expenditure on social services goes out in other indirect ways. But this last 5% is used, or should be used, in helping and expanding the work of voluntary organisations. There has been a gap in our services here. I think the honourable member for Robertson mentioned that the excellent legislation tha; we have on the statute book with regard lo sheltered workshops does not cover this kind of case. The Bill before the House will enable that gap to be filled. Disabled children grow up and sometimes they can be entirely cured. Some of them will still be disabled and retarded even when they are grown up. There is no dividing line here for the individual and we have to have a situation where the sheltered workshop is complemented lower down the age scale by the training institution such as this Bill envisages.

I would say something finally about the relations between the Commonwealth and the Slates in this field. For the adult disabled person the Commonwealth bears nearly all the responsibility because il pays the invalid pension - the great matter so far as finance is concerned. Also, the Commonwealth subsidises the sheltered workshop system, lt does not bear the whole cost; the State sometimes comes in on the periphery, but in general you can say thai for the adult disabled person the Commonwealth bears by far the major share. Bui when you come to the child, generally speaking this is the province of the State, particularly since it is not always easy lo distinguish between the education of the partially retarded arid the education of the normal child, and education in the States is and remains a State matter at primary and secondary levels. Because of. this and because child welfare is something which requires more individual application than the granting of the adult invalid pension it is reasonable to consider that this is primarily a State function. in this area we have already done one th n£. We have provided the $1.50 a day subsidy for the maintenance of children in residential institutions. This we do because it is not normally the function of the Stale to provide boarding facilities for children, although it is normally the function of the State to provide day education for children. The principle here is, I think, fairly clear. But we can also, I think, apply some kind of capital subsidy without interfering in the administration which properly belongs to the State. If we provided a maintenance subsidy great care would have to be taken because you do not want to have the position where you have two administrations, State and Federal, engaged in controlling the day to day activities of these centres. It is better to try to keep this day to day control in a single hand. As regards children it seems to me that it is probably better for the State to do this. Under our existing constitutional and administrative arrangements this is a sphere which belongs to the State and which the Commonwealth would be very reluctant to invade. But in saying that I agree with the view put forward by honourable members on both sides that more will have to be done in this field.

As I have said, this Bill represents a start; it is not the finish. It is not based on any full research, because no full research yet exists, although research is being prosecuted. The Bill is based, however, on adequate research. It would be quite wrong to say: ‘Do nothing until you have a full plan. We are getting a full plan. We think that this will fit into the full plan. We know that this is wanted and needed and we are going to do it, I hope, if the House will permit us, straight away. May I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Hayden’s amendment) stand part of the question.

The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr P. E. Lucock)

AYES: 53

NOES: 47

Majority . . . . 6



Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Original question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

The Bill.


– There are several aspects of the Bill on which 1 seek an explanation from the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth). Within my electorate is the Ashford House School for Cerebral Palsied Children. I take this opportunity of recording my admiration and profound respect for the extremely valuable work done by the staff for the handicapped children, particularly in seeking their ultimate rehabilitation.I draw the Minister’s attention to Part III of the Bill and clause 11 which reads:

  1. the Director-General is satisfied that the equipment is to be used by handicapped children receiving approved training or is to be used otherwise for or in connexion with the provision of approved training, the Director-General may, in his discretion, approve that equipment for the purposes of this Part.

Does the word ‘equipment’ in this context include the purchase of buses and educational aids such as books, films, furnishings and orthopaedic aids? I should think that the answer is obvious in respect of books, films, furnishings and orthopaedic aids, but what is the situation with regard to buses? 1 point out to the Committee that the Government’s attitude is exactly the same in the sheltered workshops legislation. It never ceases to amaze me that whilst a goods carrying vehicle attracts a Commonwealth subsidy, the Government does not pay a subsidy for buses. The Ashford centre has 7 buses and is in dire need of 2 additional buses which would cost an estimated $7,500. The 7 buses have an average mileage of 50.000 miles per annum and the cost of running them is over $5,000 annually. As the Minister will know, patients are brought to the centre from most parts of the metropolitan area and. indeed, from as far afield as Elizabeth. The children from Elizabeth are obliged to be transported by taxis to Gepps Cross and then they are conveyed by bus to the Ashford centre. 1 put it to the Minister that it is completely unjust and illogical to continue this policy. I cannot foresee any logical argument, that could be advanced by the Minister as to why these centres and sheltered workshops should be denied a subsidy on the conveyance of patients. Many of the cerebral palsied or handicapped children come from low income families and it is of great assistance to them if the. children are conveyed by these buses. I should like the Minister to indicate whether buses will be covered by this clause. If his answer is in the negative, will the Government reconsider this aspect?

Clause 15 of the Bill states:

Grants under this Act are payable out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act.

I ask the Minister: ls it likely that a ceiling will be placed on the amount of money payable in any one year and, if so. will this result in a system of priorities? The other clause to which 1 draw the Minister’s attention is clause 7(1.) which deals with the question of buildings and capital grants for buildings. The questions that I would ask the Minister are: In the case of the centre to which I am referring I ask the following question: If it is found necessary to sell the Ashford centre because of sheer economic need - in effect, no longer is the existing centre economically sound because of the cost of maintenance, alterations, renovations and the installation of expensive equipment, and the cost factor is prohibitive - or if the organisation sells the existing established centre in a high class residential area where land values are relatively high so making expansion extremely costly; or if the existing centre or unit were sold, would this money attract the $2 for $1 subsidy under the provisions of the Bill? Finally, if the centre then bought abandoned areas where homes or buildings have to be demolished will such excess costs of clearance and demolition attract the subsidy to cover this expenditure? In effect, what I am asking is: Will these four contingencies attract the subsidy within the provisions of the Bill?

Thursday, 4 June 1970

Minister for Social Services · Mackellar · LP

[12.1 a.m.J - In regard to the first question the honourable member for Hawker (Mr Jacobi) asked, I can answer him very concisely. Sometime ago it was decided that where buses were needed for the transport of disabled persons in sheltered workshops they would be eligible for subsidy and the same principle will be applied to buses for the transport of disabled children under this. Bill. I oecd not go into the question of orthopaedic equipment and so on; that is obviously covered by the Bill. The second question the honourable member asked me was in regard to the appropriation clause and what would be in the Budget. I cannot commit the Treasurer (Mr Bury) as lo what will be in the Budget; the honourable member will have lo wait and see. If he were to ask me whether this would cause any great restriction I would say 1 think it would be highly unlikely, but I cannot commit the Treasurer in that regard. I would consider it highly unlikely there would be a financial restriction in the Budget which would impair the effective operation of this Bill in the next financial year.

The third question he asked me was in regard to the- sale of an existing building and so on. This ‘ is a complicated question which has to be decided in relation to a particular instance. I would nol like to give a commitment in regard to any particular instance but I can lay down the general principle that where an organisation has money, which is not derived from borrowing and is not derived from the Government, that money will be eligible to attract the subsidy. It will not be relative at all to whether it comes from the sale of an existing site; it will still remain eligible. Of course, I cannot give a commitment in regard to a particular instance without having a look at the full circumstances, but the general principle which I have given the honourable member will hold good.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Third Reading

Bill (on motion by Mr Wentworth) - by leave - read a third time.

page 2867


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 22 April (vide page 1426), on motion by Mr Bury:

Thai the Bill be now read a second time.

Melbourne Ports

– It is a pretty desperate duty to embark on a discussion of CommonwealthState financial relationships on the next day. This Bill authorises the expenditure of nearly SI 6m, $12m to be distributed between the 6 States in proportion to the financial assistance grants payable to them th:s year under the formula laid down in the States Grants Act, with an additional $1.5m to Tasmania. On top of that, further amounts totalling $2.5m will be expended to compensate the States for the estimated additional interest costs incurred by them up to 30th June 1970 as a result of the removal of the income tax rebate on Commonwealth loan interest in November 1968. In introducing this measure the Treasurer (Mr Bury) explained that the main reason for the additional $12m was the representations which were made at the recent Premiers’ Conference by the States that they were facing difficult budgetary problems due to wage rate increases and other factors. There were actually 2 sets of circumstances, it seems, which have put the States in the position of requiring these grants. One was the effect of wage payments on the States and the other was the removal of the taxation rebate for interest. This means that loans raised by the Commonwealth now are raised at a higher interest rate than was previously the case.

If I may, I want to look at each of these 2 circumstances separately and I would like to draw the attention of the House to the document that was presented by the Premiers to the Premiers’ Conference earlier this year. The document is entitled ‘The Financial Relationships between the Commonwealth and the States’. It is a document of 30 or so pages and it is signed by all the then Premiers of the States. There has certainly been a change now in South Australia. It is signed by Mr Askin, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, Mr Brand, Sir Henry Bolte, Mr Steele Hall and Mr Bethune, the Premier of Tasmania. They began by outlining what they call the general statement of the problem. I want to mention the 3 matters they raised as leading to what they regard as their plight at the moment. They say that latterly the tendency has been for grants provisons in categories 4 and 5 - that is, special purpose provisions - to be expended significantly more than the provisions in categories 1 and 2. They had already been listed. The types of grants that are now made by the Commonwealth to the States in categories 1 and 2 were general purpose grants and advances. Then the Premiers observed:

This has meant that more and more the Commonwealth has been able by indirect means to take out of the hands of the States the determination of priorities of expenditures over a widening area of functioning in which the States have clear constitutional responsibility.

In other words, the tendency has been for the Commonwealth to make grants not for the overall purposes of the States but to select matters that it thinks the States should be prodded into doing. Of course, often it is tied with what is called a matching grant. I had a letter today from the Colleges of Advanced Education in Victoria which indicated the difficulty that they face in that State because for every $1 that the Commonwealth provides the State has to find $1.85. They find great difficulty in paying this amount out of a short budget. They are suggesting that instead of the matching being on the bas;s of $1 from the Commonwealth and $1.85 from the

State it ought to be at least on a $1 for $1 basis. But what is being suggested in this document is that the Commonwealth in essence is determining the priorities and the pattern of development of the States in those fields that are still the constitutional responsibility of the States.

The second matter that they go on to note is this:

The Commonweatlh serves the very same people as do the States. in other words, they are saying that as well as being Victorians we are also Australians; as well as being Queenslanders we are also Australians. The document continues:

The same people are served whether the public funds derived from them by the Commonwealth are spent upon, say, postal services and’ civil aviation or upon education and hospitals, and whether they are spent by the Commonwealth Department of National Development or a Slate Department of Public Works.

Then they observe:

In point of fact those same people-

That is, the citizens of the States as States: . . would undoubtedly be belter served if the total funds they provide to all Governments combined were ‘redistributed between the States and the Commonwealth in such fashion that they could be disbursed in priorities and in proportions as actual circumstances and requirements may justify.

In other words, they are suggesting that the Commonwealth has the luxury of choice. It collects the revenue first. It decides it will spend a certain sum on, let us say, post offices and civil aviation. I have pointed out in the House before that if the capital expenditure on civil aviation is taken with the expenditure on post offices, which are Commonwealth functions, as against the capital expenditure on education and hospitals, which are mainly State functions, it will be found that there is a higher capital expenditure on civil aviation and post offices than there is on schools and hospitals. I have suggested before that if the people as a whole had a free choice as to whether they wanted more schools rather than more post offices or whether they wanted Tullamarine Airport rather than hospitals, I do not think there would be much doubt as to what the choice would be. But the choice is made in the first instance by the Commonwealth because it collects the money first, has the luxury of its own choice, and then what is left over goes to the States. This is a point made by the Premiers in this document. The third point that they note is this:

There is a clear inference to be drawn from these comparisons that, as Commonwealth grants have failed to keep pace with the ‘ costs to the States of performing their functions at an acceptable level, the Stales have found it necessary lo increase rates of taxation and extend the fields of taxation to make good the deficiency. The strong evidence is that the States have not shirked their responsibility in this regard, though an untoward extension of State taxation can have undesirable community effects, apart from the increased severity of the levies.

They point out in fact that they have no recourse for raising revenue except to indirect taxation. If one has a look at the total collections of the States as against the Commonwealth, whilst the States do not collect anything like the aggregate collections of the Commonwealth, nevertheless if a comparison was taken over a 10-year period - and the figures are available - it will be found that the States have increased their levy of taxation at a higher rate than the Commonwealth. Of course, they have had to recourse to this regressive indirect taxation. These are points that are made by the State Premiers to indicate the unsatisfactory sort of relationship between the Commonwealth and the States. I would not deny that there is a certain amount of special pleading in this document. I do noi accept everything that is in it. Nevertheless, the complaints are real enough that the Commonwealth in essence, by reason of the power of the purse or the financial domination, is able to set the pattern of development even in those fields that arc still the constitutional responsibility of the States.

If we exclude such fields as defence and social services and look at what might be called the working field, the tendency has been for expenditure to rise more rapidly in the States than in the Commonwealth. Because overall grants to the States have been inadequate in order to fill the gap, the States have had recourse to regressive indirect taxation. I know it is difficult in a federal system to arrive at anything like an equitable pattern of distribution of financial resources in relation to constitutional responsibility. The March 1969 issue of the journal ‘Public Administration’ is devoted to a consideration of national planning and intergovernmental relations. Ohe of the papers was presented by Professor Russell

Mathews. He entitled his paper ‘National Planning and Intergovernmental Relations: Commonwealth Grants to the States’. He observes:

The ultimate reason for inter-governmental grants in a federation is a lack of balance between the financial powers and responsibilities of the different levels of government. In Australia this is exemplified by a situation in which the States have the chief responsibility for nearly all the major functions of government other than defence, external relations, cash social service benefits and economic policy, while the Commonwealth controls the major sources of taxation and loan revenue. There are several courses of action that may be followed with a view to achieving better balance between financial powers and responsibilities, including: transfer of functions from the States to the Commonwealth; transfer of taxing powers or other revenue sources from the Commonwealth to the States; action to provide for the sharing of administrative responsibility or the co-ordination of economic decisions by both levels of government: action by the States to make more effective use of their existing financial powers; and increased use of Commonwealth grants within the framework of the existing division of responsibility.

If one looks at the history of things to a great extent, one will find that all of those various devices have been adopted from time to time. I think that is also pretty clear from the situation that has developed in Australia. Professor Mathews has illustrated the various things that have happened. Use can be made of tax power directly and indirectly to do things that perhaps could not be done in a strict constitutional sense, and so on. He goes on:

It will be clear from the foregoing that the amounts and allocations of Commonwealth payments to the States have been determined by a hotch potch of political bargains. . . .

There was even a suggestion during the last State election in Victoria that certain things promised by the Premier had been guaranteed in advance by the Prime Minister of Australia. I do not know whether that is true, but at least the claim was made by the Premier of Victoria that the Prime Minister of Australia had guaranteed him that if he were returned the Prime Minister would give him certain things. In other words it was a political bargain. Professor Mathews goes on: arbitrary and inflexible formula and ad hoc arrangements which for the most part appear to be unrelated to national policy objectives.

He goes on to state:

From the point of view of national planning, however, the grants machinery of the federal system should be designed to achieve an efficient allocation of resources within the framework of national economic objectives and both Commonwealth and State governments should be concerned with establishing criteria for this purpose.

Mr Grassby:

– Who said that?


– Professor Russell Mathews. I suggest that this is. just what has not happened in recent times. Australia is not evolving satisfactorily as a federal system. I suppose nobody gives greater lip service to the virtues of federalism than does the Government, and I suppose that nobody in practice does less to make it a satisfactory working system. As has already been pointed out, whether a person is in Victoria or in Queensland he is still an Australian. Surely the business of governments should be to secure the maximum overall development that is possible in terms of the available resources. I submit with all respect that that is not what is happening under the present arrangements.

I know that a lot of suggestions have been made but I do not have time to answer them. At this time of night I do not want to go into them. We will have an opportunity when the formula comes up for review later on. There have been suggestions about splitting the income tax. I must say categorically that for one I believe in the uniform income tax system. I think it is the most systematic way of doing things. It means that anybody anywhere in Australia on the same income pays the same amount of tax. There is need to lodge only one taxation return. Nevertheless a great deal has to be done about getting a better formula for distributing the available resources among the various levels of government. I would hope that in the years ahead what is called the ‘poor relation’ of the system, the local governing unit, will not be omitted when something is done to redress the balance.

I saw a statement the other day that 1 person in 5 in Australia lives in Sydney. Near enough to another 1 person in 5 lives in Melbourne. If we take all the capital cities of Australia they certainly aggregate more than half the population of Australia. It is extremely doubtful, when we take into account such complaints as are being made now about things like pollution and the sprawl of cities, whether they can be encompassed within the rather archaic arrangements that are called ‘municipal governments’. I was having a look at some figures today for something else. In Australia there are something like 899 separate municipal bodies. Some of them must be pretty small. Some of them must be pretty puny. Some of them must be pretty inadequate when it comes to trying to solve the problems that beset us at the moment.

In this document that the Premiers prepared they dealt in particular with the 2 matters that are the subject of these additional grants. The $12m is mainly to compensate the States for the effects of wage increases, and the other sum is to allow for alteration in interest policy, which I want to say something about afterwards. In part 4 of this document entitled Differential Effects of Wage Increases on Commonwealth and State Finances’ it is pointed out that nowadays something like 1 person in 5 who is employed is employed in a government agency of one kind or another. Some people deplore this. Candidly, I think it will become more than I in 5 rather than less than 1 in 5. Nevertheless wages are a significant item in the budgets of both the Commonwealth and the States. On the other hand, when wage increases are made overall in our mixed economy something like 4 out of 5 of the increases are paid by private employers who are able to pass it on in prices or who have some other way of doing it. lt also increases the return of income tax, and increases it more than proportionately. This is what the Premiers say - and 1 am accepting the figures as fair enough:

In summary, as a consequence of the $1.35 a week wage increase, the Commonwealth in 1968-69 gained $16m-

That is the difference between what the Commonwealth had to pay in the wages of its own employees and what it collected in tax from all the employees in the Commonwealth - and the States lost $14m, whilst for a full yea the Commonwealth would gain $24m and the Stales bear an impact of $13m.

Then the Premiers go on to list a number of other difficulties that faced them. They state:

A detailed analysis of the movements over the 10 years to 1969-70 in average wages and in other measures relevant to the escalation of the general purpose financial provisions of the State reveals the following estimates of average annual rates of increase:

They are taking the 10-year period from 1959-60 to 1969-70. In that period population rose each year by an average of 1.96%. The number of wage and salary earners rose by an average of 3.31% each year. Aggregate wages and salaries rose by an average of 8.76% per annum. Average wages and salaries are distinct from aggregate wages. The aggregate wages reflect that there were 3.31 more people per hundred in the work force each year. Average wages and salaries increased 5.24% per annum. Pay-as-you-earn income tax at constant rates increased by 13.69% per annum. Pay-as-you-earn tax per wage and salary earner increased 10.01%, although the wages had gone up by only 5.24% . The yield of tax went up by nearly double - 10.01%. Pay-as-you-earn tax per 1000 of population rose by 1H% per annum. Other income lax on individuals at constant rates rose by 8.88% and income tax on companies at constant rates rose by 8.22% per annum. They simply cite these as the sort of difficult situation which faces them., a community that is growing in numbers and in costs,, and they are- dependent on a static formula for reimbursement. I mention these matters as part of the difficulties that face the States. Later on, when another measure comes before us, perhaps we can go into this matter in greater detail.

I now want to refer to interest rales. Recently, as a matter of financial’ policy, the Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates. Ultimately the Government is responsible for what the Reserve Bank does. At least, if the Government does not like what it does then it can complain. In the event of dispute the will of the Government prevails. However, interest rates increased. This has meant, of course, an overall rise in borrowing rates. Some 12 or 18 months ago there was removed from the taxation laws a rebate that previously had been made available to those who invested in Government securities.

The rebate had been at the rate of 10c in the dollar and it had the effect of lowering the real interest rate payable. As a consequence the Commonwealth for the most part was able to float its loans at a lower interest rate than, for example, the semi-government and other bodies in the community. Of course, once the rebate was removed the Commonwealth had to pitch its interest rates somewhat higher. Since the money that the Commonwealth raises is lent in turn to the States at whatever the prevailing rate happens to be, it means that the prevailing rate to the States is now higher than previously. At least part of the Bil] before us is to compensate the States for the additional interest rate payable. This gets us into what are sometimes called circular arguments.

Mr Kevin Cairns:

– Not a vicious circle?


– No. not a vicious circle; just a circular argument. This leads to some rather curious bookkeeping results. One of the things which seems to disturb the State governments greatly - again J think it relates to the financial dominance of the Commonwealth - is that the Commonwealth mainly is able to finance its obligations, whether they be of an annual or a capital kind, out of revenue. The tendency in recent years has been for the direct part of the total national debt applicable to the Commonwealth to decline. On the other hand the amounts that are advanced by the Commonwealth to the States, even though some part of them is advanced out of revenue, are charged nevertheless to the States at the prevailing rate of interest. The other poor relations in the system, the semigovernmental and the local government bodies, have to raise their loans on the loan market at whatever the prevailing rate happens to be.

The tendency in recent years has been that the amount of interest payable by the Commonwealth has declined and the amount payable by the States has increased considerably. In fact I think that the annual interest bill of the States, in aggregate, on a debt of something over $8,000m is in execess of $400m. I suppose the Commonwealth says: ‘We take this interest liability into account when we make the reimbursements’. On the other hand, the local governing authorities and the semi-governmental bodies do not have that kind of defence available. They do not get any reimbursement.

If one looks at the finances of some semigovernmental authorities one finds that more than half their total revenue is absorbed in paying interest on the debt. I refer to bodies such as the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. In the other States similar bodies have various names. Something like 10% of the total rates of local governing bodies are absorbed in interest rates. The Prime Minister (Mr Gorton), in one of his rather categorical statements, said recently that he would partly cut this rather difficult knot by saying that in future that part of the advance made by the Commonwealth to the States out of revenue would not bear interest any more. Whether in the long run this makes very much difference is arguable. A rather curious situation is being created by the intricate pattern of the financial relationships that apply particularly between the Commonwealth and the States whereby the Commonwealth, rightly or wrongly, calls the tune.

I suppose that in theory I am a unificationist. lt will take a long while to get anything like a unitary system. Until we reach that day we have to make our existing pattern workable. I do not think anybody could suggest that the working arrangements at the moment are continuing without a great deal of friction. Whether the friction is imaginary sometimes rather than real leads to fine points of argument. Nevertheless I believe that by and large the States, in terms of the responsibilities that they still have to undertake - responsibilities such as education, health, public law, public transport and so on - really are inadequately reimbursed by the Commonwealth in relation to their responsibilities. Whether that means that the Commonwealth has to forgo some of the things that it does now or whether that means that in aggregate we may have to pay more taxes, I do not know, but I am sure that if the people in the States were asked they would agree that something has to be done.

One has to look only at the sample of Slate elections recently to see that one of the most dominant issues was education. Education in Australia will not be improved unless the Commonwealth provides considerably more than it provides at present. Professor Karmel of the Adelaide University stated that at least 1% more of the gross national product should be spent on education- in the foreseeable future. That 1% of the gross national product is more than $270m. Whether this will be achieved by the Commonwealth cutting down on something it does already or whether it will be achieved by raising taxes is for the people to determine. Nevertheless, the situation that we have reached is rather serious. I hope that when the Bill to adjust the formula which, I believe, expires in June 1970, comes before us the matter will be given more serious consideration by the House than this Bill has received.

The Government has brought this Bill on for consideration at midnight. I do not think anybody enjoys having to make the sort of speech that I am making at this time of night. I am sure that those listening to such speeches enjoy them less than do those who have to make them. But I think that there is a certain degree of irresponsibility about a parliament that will pass a Bill for the expenditure of $16m without really examining the legislation seriously. The Government is putting this Bill through at midnight, hoping that there will be only one speaker on it so that, when the Bill is dealt with, the House can pass on to some other matter. I think that the issues are too important to be escaped in that way.

I hope that the Bill introducing the formula readjustment will be given more than cursory examination. Meanwhile, I would hope that those honourable members who have not done so already will read the submission which was made recently to the Commonwealth by the State Premiers. In fact I would think that, whether the Commonwealth likes it or not, it ought to make copies of the submission available to all honourable members of this House. I would suggest that course to the Treasurer. Even if it is not a Commonwealth document, it is a document submitted to the Commonwealth by the State Treasurers. A certain amount of special arguing is to be found in it but I think that sometimes a lot of special arguing on the part of the Commonwealth. takes place on this matter. Honourable members ought to be aware of what the views of the State Premiers are. This was a submission on which the 6 Premiers united.

I seriously commend to the Treasurer the suggestion that he make arrangements to get sufficient copies of this document so that it can be circulated to all members of this House. If this is done, when the formula rearrangements are considered later at least this document will be part of the documentation that is available. If the Commonwealth believes that some of the statements in the submission are not based on sound grounds, I would hope that it would prepare a rebuttal of those statements and that that rebuttal might be circulated for the use of honourable members also. I am one who believes that the more information that we have on these complex problems the better it is. We are dealing with an amount of pretty large magnitude. When we take into account the reimbursement payments plus the capital works payments we find that the Commonwealth is providing approximately $2,000m to the States. If honourablehonourable members like, this is 8% of the gross national product. It is not small money and ! think that we should appraise it a little better than we do. The appraisal would be helped if we had available to us documents such as the one that I have mentioned. I conclude by restating that the Opposition does not oppose this measure because we think that it will give to the States a little bit more of the great deal more that they really need.


Mr Deputy Speaker-

Motion (by Mr Bury) agreed to:

Thu! the question be now pui.

Original question resolved in- the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

Third Reading

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Motion (by Mr Bury) proposed:

That the Bill be now read a third time.


I want to speak very briefly at the third reading stage. I will not encompass any of the matters that have been dealt with to date. I echo the sentiments expressed that for an important measure such as this, which deals with State grants at this particular stage of Federal-State relations, to be dealt with at this hour of the morning displays a scant realisation of the issues involved, and scant attention to them. Indeed, I think the term ‘irresponsibility of government’ might well be applied when such an important measure as this is handled in this way and at this time. I hope that when the next measure touching on Federal-State relations which has been foreshadowed by the Government comes down it will not be relegated to the graveyard of debates after midnight. I am well aware of the time. 1 am usually the lastto rise. 1 think this is something which many honourable members feel quite seriously and strongly about. It is unfortunate that we come to this measure at this time with the Treasurer (Mr Bury) alone in the chamber, unsupported by any other Minister during the time of this debate. Now we come to the third reading stage which means that the debate has ended and we cannot go through the matters which we could have dealt with. It does little honour to this Parliament and pays little recognition to its fundamental responsibility to have this measure treated in this way. I enter a very modest protest at this hour of the morning because of the way the measure has been dealt with.


– Honourable members have just heard the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby). He has been in this House a very short time, as have many honourable members. When Labor was in office 1 had my best opportunities to speak at 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’clock and 6 o’clock in the morning, after sitting all night. Atthose hours Bills involving millions of pounds went through. I am just answering what has been said.If the honourable member for Riverina doubts what J am saying I refer him to the authorityI have referred him to so often and that is the Commonwealth Hansard.

Question resolved inthe affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

page 2874


The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:

International Labour Organisation (Question No. 1006)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

Why did he, in reply to the first four paragraphs of my question No. 585 (Hansard, 7th May 1970, page 1881), merely refer me to a document published by his Department instead of giving me a public reply so that the press would have been in a position to evaluate the bona fides of the Commonwealth’s position in relation to ‘ the International Labour Organisation.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

My answer provided the honourable member with the information he sought. The ‘Review of Australian Law and Practice relating to Conventions Adopted by the International Labour Conference’, was distributed widely when it was published and copies are available from my Department.

Equal Pay for the Sexes (Question No. 1010) (Mr Clyde Cameron asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

Does the Government support the principles laid down by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in determing whether equal pay is appropriate.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The Government has consistently taken the view that the determination of the principles governing the application of equal pay is a matter for the appropriate industrial tribunal, which in the Federal jursidiction is the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission.

Servicemen: Interstate Travel (Question No. 1030)

Mr Stewart:

asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:

  1. Is a serviceman returning from Vietnam given a choice of the method of travel between his disembarkation point and his home State or town.
  2. If so, what are the choices available.
  3. Are interstate servicemen treated any differently from those disembarking in their home State.
Mr Peacock:
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister · KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) Kail is the normal means of travel for servicemen from their disembarkation point in Australia to their home state or town. A member may elect to travel by other means and pay the difference in costs of the normal rail fare and his choice of transport.
  2. No. However those members who have to travel long distances or interstate to reach their leave destination have the time spent in travelling added to their normal leave period. This ensures that all members, irrespective of where their home is in Australia, will be able to spend their full leave at home.

Vietnam Moratorium Campaign (Question No. 1039)

Mr Uren:

asked the Minister for the

Army, upon notice:

  1. What was the length of service of each of the twenty-one members of the armed services who were arrested in Adelaide during the moratorium demonstration.
  2. How many of these servicemen had served or seen action in Vietnam.
Mr Peacock:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Forty-five members of 3 Royal Australian Regiment are alleged to have been involved in the Adelaide moratorium demonstration.

Length of service: 19 members have 6-12 months. 9 members have 12-18 months. 10 members have 18-24 months. 4 members have 30-36 months. 2 members have 42-48 months. 1 member has 76 months.

Five members have served in South Vietnam.

National Service: Court Hearings (Question No. 897)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

Is he able to say

how many judges and magistrates hearing cases arising out of conscription for the Vietnam war are members of political parties or organisations having views on conscription for this war; and

how many judges and magistrates hearing cases arising out of demonstrations against the war in Vietnam are members of political parties or organisations having views on the propriety of this war.

Mr Hughes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No.
  2. No.

Law Reform (Question No. 93S)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. Has he received any proposals for law reform on Rhodesian lines from any Member of the House; if so, is he able to say who was the Member.
  2. Does he propose to follow the Rhodesian example and take steps to change the name of his Department to the Ministry of Justice, Law and Order.
Mr Hughes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No.
  2. The establishment and naming of Departments is a mutter for the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister (see Con.stitution s. 64).

Commonwealth Reporting Service (Question No. 1017)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:

What is the total amount received by his Department for the transcript of proceedings in which the Commonwealth Reporting Service is responsible for reporting such proceedings.

Mr Hughes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The revenue received by my Department from the sale of transcripts by the Commonwealth Reporting Service is shown in the Estimates of Receipts and Summary of Estimated Expenditure included amongst the Budget papers presented by the Treasurer each year. Revenue from the sale of transcripts by the Commonwealth Reporting Service for the financial year 1968-69 was $319,972.

Aircraft Industry (Question No. 941)

Mr Scholes:

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice:

  1. Do plans exist for merging the Government Aircraft Factories wilh the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation: if so, what are they.
  2. Will the Minister ensure that in any merger the Commonwealth Government will retain a controlling interest.
  3. Will the Minister guarantee that employees of Government Aircraft Factories will not be retrenched or downgraded because of arrangerrments arising out of any merger within the industry
Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The Minister for Supply has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. As indicated in my recent ministerial statement on the Australian Defence Aircraft Industry, there is some scope for rationalisation of activities in the industry, particularly in relation to the Government Aircraft Factories and Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd. The possibility of amalgamating these two organisations is being pursued actively but specific plans have yet to be completed for consideration.

    1. The aspect of ownership and control is receiving consideration.
    2. The Member for Corio should be aware that in respect of the factories operated by my Department, 1 am not in a position, at any lime, lo give the sort of guarantee he is requesting. However, in my ministerial statement abovementioned 1 made particular mention of the fact that in any rationalisation scheme which might be adopted full consideration will be given to the interests of the employees concerned. The aim is to achieve a more stable and effective organisation that cun develop wilh Australia’s future needs, lt is believed that this course will be in the long-term interests of the industry and those who work in it.

Papua and New Guinea: Injured Worker (Question No. 975)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

  1. What is the name of the injured New Guinean worker whose case WU: finalised in 1969 on the basis of $300 damages.
  2. Did the worker concerned have lo pay (a) costs, (b) medical expenses or (c) any other costs out nf the damages referred to.
  3. What was the nature of the worker’s injuries.
Mr Barnes:
Minister for External Territories · MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. John Fofoe Memugu. (2) (a) Yes- $10 for legal aid and costs.

    1. Yes - S2 hospital fees.
    2. No.
  2. Small wound on left calf caused by power driven nail which was subsequently removed under general anaesthetic, and required four days’ hospitalisation. - Mr Memagu has suffered no permanent disability.

Papua and New Guinea: Newspaper Reports (Question No. 10K4)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

  1. Has his attention been drawn to a statement last week “v Mr it.-i.son, Assistant Ministerial Member for Co-operatives in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea that unfair or unbalanced newspaper reporters should he removed from the Territory.
  2. If so, docs the statement by the Assistant Ministerial Member mean, that there is a need for some restriction on freedom, of speech in the Territory.
  3. If so, does the Government support this view.
Mr Barnes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. The Government has no proposals for and legislation to restrict freedom of speech (3) in Papua and New Guinea.

Papua and New Guinea: Land Resettlement Studies (Question No. 1066)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for

External Territories, upon notice:

  1. What visits have been made by elected and official persons (a) from the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to Malaysia and (b) from Malaysia to the Territory to study land resettlement schemes, and when.
  2. What reports have they made, and when.
Mr Barnes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. (a) A mission from the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly comprising the late Mr F. C. Henderson, Assistant Administrator (Economic Affairs), Leader Mr John Guise, Member of the Administrator’s Council, Mr Tei Abal, Under Secretary for the Department of Labour and Mr Sinake Giregire, Under Secretary for the Department of Agriculture, Stock and Fisheries, visited Malaysia from 18th July to 4th August, 1967, to study land resettlement schemes.

    1. Mr J. P. M. Clifford, Deputy Chairman of the Malaysian Federal Land Development Authority, visited Papua and New Guinea from 12th to 23rd May, 1969, to study land resettlement schemes.
  2. The House of Assembly Mission submitted a report dated 6th September, 1967. Mr John Guise a member of the mission submitted a minority report dated 18th October, 1967. Both reports were tabled in the House of Assembly. The report by Mr Clifford has not yet been received.

Papua and New Guinea: Public Service (Question No. 978)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

What is the ‘Family Needs Allowance’ now paid to New Guinean public servants employed by the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in each part of the Territory in which a different rate applies in respect of family units of fa) man and wife, (b) man and wife and one child, (c) man and wife and two children, (d) man and wife and three children and (e) man and wife and more than three children.

Mr Barnes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The family needs allowance payable to a married local public servant in Papua and New Guinea is such amount as may be necessary to rise his basic salary to the prescribed minimum pay applicableto thelocalityof which he is stationed. There are over 450 different localities at which local public servants are stationed and 7 different scales of ‘prescribed minimum pay’. The scale of prescribed minimum pay’ applicable to a particular locality is based on the costs of the regimen referred to in answer to Question 817 (Hansard, 5th May 1970 p. 1666). The following table sets out the scales of ‘prescribed minimum pay’ from which family needs allowance is calculated in respect of family units of (a) man and wife, (b) man and wife and one child, (c) man and wife and two children and (d) man and wife and three children.

Eggs (Question No. 1020)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for Pri mary Industry, upon notice:

  1. Was a scheme, backed by a producers’ referendum, to control egg production put to the February meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council.
  2. Was this scheme rejected by the Council.
  3. What State Ministers opposed the scheme and what were their reasons for doing so.
  4. Does he support the scheme.
  5. Has the Government expressed concern about over-production in the dairy industry and stated the need for reconstruction in that industry.
  6. Is the Government also concerned about over-production in the poultry industry.
  7. If so. what steps are proposed to overcome the problem.
Mr Anthony:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. A scheme to control egg production by imposing a levy on hens kept by individual producers in excess of established quotas was put to the February meeting of the Australian Agricultural Council. The scheme, while having the support in principle of major industry organisations. had not been put to a referendum of Australian egg producers. A provision in the scheme was that it should not be implemented until it had been approved by a poll of producers.
  2. Yes.
  3. When these proposals were placed before the Agricultural Council, State Ministers agreed that the levy recommended by the industry could be imposed o’nly by the Commonwealth. The Ministers considered however that if the proposed levy system were imposed by the Comomnwealth it would certainly be successfully challenged on the grounds that legislation to limit production was beyond the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth.
  4. See (6).
  5. Yes.
  6. and (7) The Government is concerned at the problem of over-production in the egg industry and would support any constitutional scheme acceptable to the majority of producers aimed at controlling production. However the Commonwealth has no power to legislate to control production. This is one of the sovereign rights of the States.

Dried Fruits (Question ,x. 703)

Mr Grassby:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. How was the guaranteed price for dried fruits arrived at. for the 1967 season.
  2. Were all the returns to growers on which the guaranteed price was based derived solely from dried fruits sales.
  3. If not. what percentage of the returns related exclusively to dried fruits sales.
Mr Anthony:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The guaranteed prices for the season 1967 for the varieties covered by the Dried Vine Fruits Stabilisation Scheme were the cost of production per ton for each variety in that season less JIO. The cost of production for each variety was derived for the first season of the plan (1964) from the results of a Bureau of Agricultural Economics survey of farm operations by specialist dried vine fruit, growers in Sunraysia. These cost of production figures were adjusted for subsequent seasons (including the 1967 season) to take account of changes in costs as estimated by the cost index method.
  2. and (3) Cost of production and hence guaranteed price were based on costs on the farm, not on returns. In any event, the farm survey conducted by the Bureau from which the cost of production figure was derived was confined to specialist growers in the Sunraysia district who were concentrating only on the production of grapes for drying and delivery to packing houses.

Dairy Rationalisation Scheme (Question No. 404)

Mr Kirwan:

asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice:

  1. What have been the positive achievements of the dairy rationalisation scheme forecast in the Governor-General’s Speech in 1968.
  2. What assistance is available under this scheme for dairy farmers in the electoral division of Forrest.
Mr Anthony:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The Marginal Dairy Farms Agreement Bill 1970 was introduced on 14th May. The legislation empowers die Commonwealth to make agreements with the Stales for the operation of the Marginal Dairy Farms Reconstruction Scheme. The agreement that the Commonwealth proposes to enter into with Western Australia was tabled wilh the Bill. Given Parliamentary approval it is intended that the Agreement should be signed and come into force immediately the Bill receives the Royal Assent.
  2. The form of assistance available to dairy farmers under the Scheme is outlined in my Second Read. ug speech. When the Scheme bec “ici operative wide publicity will be given to its details to the procedures to be followed by intending participants.

Papua and New Guinea: Common Law Rights (o Damages (Question No. 974)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:

  1. What steps has the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea taken to inform New Guineans that advice on common law rights lo sue an employer for damages is available from officers of the Department of Labour.
  2. What action has the Department taken to inform New Guineans of the difference between common law rights to damages and rights lo workmen’s compensation.
Mr Barnes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) In individual cases, and where appropriate, the difference is explained to the worker concerned and he is also informed that advice about his common law rights to damages is available from the Public Solicitor. In addition, where a common law right appears to be involved, the Territory Department of Labour refers the case to the Public Solicitor, who advises whether a common law action or a claim for worker’s compensation or both should be brought. The Administration has plans for a booklet for the information of New Guineans on aspects of the law, including the difference between the right to damages because of breach by an employee and the right to worker’s compensation.

Vietnam Moratorium Campaign (Question No. 859)

Mr Daly:

asked the Attorney-General, upon notice:

  1. How many persons have been charged with offences in the Australian Capital Territory for demonstrations or activities against the Vietnam War since Australia’s involvement?
  2. In each case what was the (a) name of the person charged, (b) nature of the charge, (c) verdict given, (d) penalty imposed and1 (e.) name of the magistrate or judge who heard the case.
Mr Hughes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) Records are not kept such as would enable this question to be readily answered. I would expect that persons who have been charged with offences in the Australian Capital Territory arising out of demonstrations or activities against the Vietnam war would usually have been charged with offences of a fairly general character, such as offensive behaviour, obstructing the police or insulting language. In order to answer the honourable member’s question, it would be necessary, first, to identify every charge of that nature and then examine the record of proceedings for the purpose of seeing whether the charge bore any relationship to demonstrations or to activities of the kind mentio’ned. It would not be practicable for this to be done.

Australian Capital Territory: Conservation Legislation (Question No. 875)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

  1. What progress has been made with the new conservation legislation for the Australian Capital Territory since his answer to me on 26th September 1969 (Hansard, page 2123).
  2. Has his Department sought advice from the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council on the proposed legislation.
  3. Has his Department sought advice from other organisations in the Australian Capital Territory on the proposed legislation; if so, from what organisations and on what occasions.
Mr Nixon:
Minister for the Interior · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. A preliminary draft of the new conservation legislation has been prepared a’nd is at present under consideration by officers of my Department.
  2. No advice has been sought from the Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council. However, when the terms of legislation have been drafted they will be referred to the Council for comment.
  3. On various occasions in 1968, the Department sought advice concerning the proposed legislation from the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, and’ several scientists connected wilh the National Parks Association (A.C.T.), and the A.C.T. Branch of the Ecological Society of Australia. It is also intended to obtain the views on the draft legislation from these organisations, the Australian Academy of Science and any other A.C.T. organisation interested in this field.

Public Service (Question No. 708)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the- Prime Minister, upon notice:

  1. ls it a fact that officers and employees of the Commonwealth Public Service (a) are prohibited from working in a place or job of their choice, (b) cannot be paid over-award payments as are permitted and granted in private industry, and (c) are forbidden to support their industrial demands by strikes, bans and limitations in the same way as their counterparts in private industry.
  2. If so, will he take immediate steps to arrest the depressing trends in wage and salary levels in the Commonwealth Public Service by directing the Commonwealth Public Service Board to meet with representatives of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations and the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations with a view to establishing promptly sound salary levels based upon a full regard to properly established wage relativities, and to the advantages enjoyed by employees in private industry.
Mr Gorton:

– The Public Service Board has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

  1. (a) No. The Commonwealth Service is a career service and staff are entitled to compete for promotion or transfer to positions of their choice throughout the Service, subject to their satisfying any necessary qualification requirements for particular positions. Staff recruited to the Service are initially placed having regard to available vacancies and, where practicable, their personal preferences.

    1. While the rates paid under Federal awards of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission are legal minimum rates to which over-award payments can be added, the rates paid in the Commonwealth Service are the actual rates prescribed in Public Service Regulations or in determinations of the Public Service Arbitrator. However, it has been the policy approach of the Public Service Board to determine pay rates for the Commonwealth Service in the light of rates actually paid by other employers for comparable work, including both the award and over-award elements of the rates actually paid. As recently as December 1969 the Board, following representations from the A.C.T.U., granted pay increases for a wide range of tradesmen and associated categories and support staff in the light of rates actually paid by other employers to comparable employees.
    2. Yes.
  2. The Public Service Board docs not consider that there are depressing trends in wage and salary levels in the Commonwealth Service. The Board maintains a continuing policy of reviewing rates of pay in the light of all relevant factors, including rates paid by other employers for comparable work. The Board is constantly engaged in a continuing series of negotiations with staff associations on pay rates and conditions of employment for the various staff categories in the Service. For example, in 1968/69 some 232 consent determinations (excluding duplications) were issued by the Public Service Arbitrator to which the Board was a respondent. As noted above, recent negotiations between A.C.T.U. and the Board let to substantial pay increases for tradesmen and associated categories and support staff. Since then, up-to-date rates for postal staff have also been established by arbitration, and pay rates for a large number of technical sub-professional staff have been determined by agreement with the relevant staff associations. Pay rates for most other areas of the Service either have been recently reviewed or are currently the subject of discussions between the Board and the relevant staff associations.

Housing Loans: Repayments (Question No. 560)


asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In the light of subsequent increases in interest rates, will he bring up “to date the figures which his predecessor gave me on 24 December 1969 (Hansard, page 1919) on interest rates and monthly repayments for housing loans.

Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The following table up-dates the information provided by my predecessor on 24 September 1969 concerning interest rates and monthly repayments for housing loans. The table sets out what art understood to be typical periods for loans from the various institutions, the interest rates charged (or the predominant rates) in 1949 and April 1970 and monthly repayments per $1,000, assuming a credit foncier arrangement (i.e. equal monthly repayments to cover both principal and interest), with interest charged half-yearly. Except for the War Service Homes Division there is a range of interest rates for each group; for example, in April 1970 the range for savings banks was from 6-J-7 per cent. The figures should, therefore, be taken as a guide only.

Housing Loans: Interest Rates (Question No. 126)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. What would it cost to subsidise institutional lenders to reduce interest on housing loans to the rate they charged before the Menzies Government took office in 1949.
  2. What would it cost to subsidise them so as to reduce interest for the first (a) 5, (b) 10, and (c) 15 years of marriage.
Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

There is insufficient information available for meaningful answers to be given to these questions. Any estimates that could be made would. necessarily be subject to a wide margin of error.

The table below shows the estimated value of home loans outstanding in March 1970 of the major institutional lenders for housing, together with the predominant rales of interest charged by these institutions on new loans granted in 1949 and 1970.

In order to calculate the cost of subsidising these lenders to reduce interest on housing loans to the rates ruling in 1949, the following information, however, would also be required:

  1. the average repayment period for ;h: loans outstanding to each type of institution;
  2. the rate of reduction in the interest component of the loan repayments; in credit foncier type loans the interest component bulks large in the early repayment periods but diminishes considerably as the end of the repayment term nears;
  3. the interest rates being charged on existing loans; while some lenders adjust their rates on existing loans whenever rates on new loans change, others are able to adjust rates on existing loans only infrequently;
  4. the average rest period for the calculation of interest on outstanding balances for each type of lending institution.

    1. There is also insufficient information available to allow meaningful calculations to be made of the amounts required to subsidise institutional lenders to reduce interest to the rates charged in 1949 for the first (a) 5, (b) 10, and (c) 15 years of marriage. In order to make such estimates it would also be necessary to have the following additional information:
  5. the proportion of housing loans going specifically to married couples from each type of institution; and
  6. the proportion of couples who obtain a housing loan from each type of institution before marriage, on marriage and at various periods after marriage.

Insurance Act and Regulations (Question No. 1069)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. Were officers of the Commonwealth Service invited in the Gazette of 14th May 1970 to apply for two positions for Senior Finance Officers to advise on proposals for amendment of the Insurance Act and Insurance Regulations.

    1. What are these proposals.
Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:

  1. Yes, except that the two positions include other duties in addition to those mentioned by the honourable member.
  2. Any decision by the Government to introduce amendments to the Act or Regulations would be announced at the appropriate time.

Building Societies (Question No. 125)


asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

Will he bring up to date the answer which his predecessor gave me on 26th September 1969 (Hansard, page 2136) on loans’ by building societies.

Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable members question is as follows:

  1. In regard to the information sought on the amounts advanced in housing loans by (a) terminating and (b) permanent building societies in each Stale, the Commonwealth Statistician has advised that official statistics of the activities of permanent and terminating building societies by State are now available for 1967-68 and that some of the figures for earlier years provided on 26th September 1969 have since been revised. The statistics shown below refer to loans paid over during the financial years of societies ending in the years shown.

Annual figures for 1968-69 are not yet available. However, in June 1969 the Commonwealth Statistician started collecting information each month direct from permanent building societies and details for the months of May 1969 to March 1970 are as follows:

  1. Information was also given in September 1969 on the interest rates charged (a) to and (b)by these building societies. The tables below update this information.

    1. (i) Terminating Societies. The two main sources of funds for terminating societies are governments (under the Housing Agreements) and savings banks.

The table below shows the interest rates charged by States to building societies on loans made from Commonwealth Advances in April 1970.

Rates charged by savings banks on government guaranteed loans since August 1968 have been us follows:

  1. Permanent Societies

In the answer given on 26th September 1969 it was pointed out that comprehensive information on the rates paid on share capital is not available but that in New South Wales the predominant rate over recent years had been 6%. This rate appears to be still the predominant rate in April 1970. There also appears to have been no increase to April 1970 in rates paid by societies for deposits.

To the extent that societies borrow from trading banks, the rates of interest charged to them on such borrowings would not have exceeded the maximum overdraft rate. The trading bank maximum overdraft rate- was increased from 7)% to 81% from 9th March 1970.

  1. (b) Predominant interest rates charged by Terminating and Permanent Building Societies. Terminating societies usually charge their members the same interest as they pay for their finds, plus a management fee which is equivalent to an additional per annum.

Brisbane Sewerage Loan (Question No. 909)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

In which Stale is the city council for which the Loan Council approved a special allocation for sewerage services (Hansard’. 9 April 1970, page 1023, and 23 April 1970, page 1549).

Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

As suited in my reply to the honourable member of 23 April 1970, the borrowings of individual authorities under the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ of the Australian Loan Council are not available for publication other than by the State or the authority concerned. However, Queensland authorities have agreed to release the information that a special borrowing allocation of $1,920,000 was approved by the Loan Council for the Brisbane City Council over the period 1962-63 to 1964-65 to finance a sewerage project in the Wynnum-Manly area.

Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund (Question No. 324)

Mr Reynolds:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. On what basis was the $900,000 in the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund distributed prior to Christmas 1969 among the approximately 3,500 eligible former members of the Permanent Defence Forces.
  2. What was the amount of the average payment.
  3. How many (a) senior officers,, (b) junior officers and (c) other ranks shared in the distribution.
  4. What was the (a) average and (hi total amount distributed in each of these categories.
Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable member’s uestion is as follows:

  1. For the purpose of distribution of the. surplus assets in the Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Fund, an actuarial basis was used to calculate the payment to be made to or in respect of each eligible pensioner. In these calculations, the share of an eligible pensioner was determined by reference to the contributions actually made and a variety of. other factors including the age and marital status of the pensioner, the type of pension received and variations in rates of mortality. Since Christmas, 1969, distribution of the surplus assets has continued and it is expected that the total entitlement will be $1,051,812 to be distributed to over 5,600 eligible pensioners.
  2. The average payment is approximately $185.
  3. and (4) The information sought is not available as rank was not (he basis for any part of the calculations used to establish entitlements.

Taxation (Question No. 43S)

Mr Berinson:

asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

  1. What was the total of deductions claimed by taxpayers on account of (a) contributions to health insurance funds, (b) medical expenses other than those covered by (a) and (c) donations to charities and appeals qualifying for tax deductions, for the last year for which figures are available.
  2. What was the estimated cost to revenue of each of these items.
Mr Bury:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. The latest available statistics of the total amount of deductions allowed in income lax assessments of individuals on account of -

    1. contributions to hospital and medical benefit funds;
    2. net medical expenses; and
    3. gifts to public benevolent institutions, etc., and the years to which these statistics relate are as follows -

The statistics of deductions for ‘net medical expenses’ relate to gross medical, dental, optical and funeral expenses less any amounts recouped from or payable by a Government, public authority, society, association or fund.

  1. The estimated costs to income tax revenue of allowing each of these amounts as deductions were as follows -

These estimates of income tax revenue forgone represent the amounts of the total revenue forgone (in respect of ‘total deductions’) that are attributable to the particular deduction items in each year concerned.

Commonwealth Railways (Question No. 1091)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

  1. What is the salary and what are the allowances paid to each of the following officers of the Commonwealth Railways: the Secretary, the Chief Mechanical Engineer, the Chief Civil Engineer, the Chief Traffic Manager, the Comptroller of Stores, the Comptroller of Accounts and Audit, and the Special Service Engineer.
  2. What was the salary and what were the allowances paid to each of these officers in 1961.
  3. On what date was or dates were these salaries and allowances fixed by determination of the Public Service Arbitrator.
Mr Sinclair:
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry · NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) The salaries paid to officers in Commonwealth Railways at present and in 1961 are as follows:

Allowances, other than normal travelling allowance for duty away from home station, are not payable. Nor were any allowances other than travelling allowance payable in 1961.

  1. With the exception of salary for Comptroller of Accounts and Audit, salaries currently payable are included in schedules of salaries contained in Determinations of the Public Service Arbitrator, which had effect from 21 December 1969. Present salary for Comptroller of Accounts and Audit, also effective from 21 December 1969, was determined by the Commonwealth Railways Commissioner in accordance with Section 46 (2) of the Commonwealth Railways Act 1917-1968.

National Health Scheme: Cost of Benefits (Question No. 117)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

What would be the cost to (a) contributors and (b) the Commonwealth of providing benefits at the level and on the basis (i) recommended by the Nimmo Committee of Inquiry into Health Insurance in March 1969, (ii) adopted by the Standing Committee of the Health Funds and Federal Executive of the Australian Medical Association in July 1969 and (iii) recommended by the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs in September 1969.

Dr Forbes:
Minister for Health · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. the Nimmo Committee did not make any recommendation as to the levels of Commonwealth or fund medical benefits other than to say that benefits should be equal to the amount of the established common fees less a specified amount per service.
  2. the plan submitted by the A.M.A. on behalf of the Joint Working Party representing Medical Benefits Organisations and the Australian Medical Association on 25th July 1969 included a number of proposals which at that time were not fully developed. The cost of the plan in the form then presented cannot be determined.
  3. the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs did not make any recommendations as to the levels of Commonwealth or fund medical benefit other than to say that combined Commonwealth and fund benefits should be 90% of the accepted most common fee.

Pensioners: Oxygen-administering Equipment (Question No. 788)

Dr Everingham:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

  1. Is there a need to make oxygen supplies available to pensioners at home to prevent hospitalisation or grave illness.
  2. If so, will he take action to make these supplies available in these circumstances under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme on the certificate of 2 physicians to the effect that this is necessary.
  3. Will he consider legislation to make oxygenadministering equipment available in such cases on terms similar to those governing the issue of hearing aids by the Commonwealth.
Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Yes.
  2. and (3) The question of making oxygen available as a pharmaceutical benefit, including the provision of oxygen-administering equipment, is currently under consideration by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

Health: Hazards of Smoking (Question No. 769)

Dr Klugman:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

  1. Did his predecessor in 1964, the late Senator Wade, promise that the Government would cooperate with the States in an all-out educational campaign to discourage smoking amongst the youth of Australia.
  2. If so, when will the Government implement the promise.
Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. At a Conference between Commonwealth and State Ministers for Health in February 1964 it was agreed unanimously that a campaign would be undertaken jointly by the Commonwealth and Suites to inform young people of the hazard’s of smoking.
  2. In respect of implementing that agreement, it was subsequently agreed at later CommonwealthState conferences on the subject, that health education programmes should be instituted and directed mainly towards school children. These educational programmes have been mainly a State function, but the Commonwealth has co-operated in its own Territories. A voluntary code of Cigarette Advertising, the main aim of which was to ‘prevent cigarette advertising being directed towards young people’, was introduced bythe Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations on 1 January 1966. The Code resulted from discussions between the then Minister for Health, the Federation and the cigarette manufacturing industry.

National Health Scheme: Cost to Commonwealth (Question No. 903)

Mr Hayden:

asked the Minister for

Health, upon notice:

If a maximum charge of $1 per service under the medical insurance scheme, as recommended by the Nimmo Report, was adopted, what would be the estimated total extra cost which the Government would have to contribute to the medical insurance scheme if the total increase was borne by the Government.

Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

The estimated total extra cost to the Commonwealth Government would be $3. 5m per annum over and above the cost of the proposals currently before Parliament.

National Health Scheme: Cost of Specialised Services (Question No. 544)

Mr Jenkins:

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

  1. Has he held discussions withany of the trained persons or their representative organisations who supply (a) dental, (b) optometrical, (c) speech therapy, (d) physiotherapy, (e) occupational therapy and (f) ambulance services with a view to easing the cost burden of these services to the individual; if so, which persons or organisations have been contacted.
  2. Has he made any decision regarding these services and their relevance to the national health scheme.
  3. Is he able to say whether these services are economically insurable under voluntary health insurance.
  4. What is the annual expenditure in Australia on each of these services.
Dr Forbes:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Since my appointment as Minister for Health 1 have had numerous discussions with representatives of such organisations as the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Australian Optometrical Association.
  2. The question of extending the National Health Scheme to cover ancillary services is under examination by the Government.
  3. It was the opinion of the Commonwealth Committee of Inquiry into Health Insurance that it would not be feasible to bring these ancillary services within the operation of the insurance scheme unless they were heavily subsidised by the Commonwealth Government In view of the great increase in expenditure in other areas of National Health currently being introduced it may be difficult to arrange for further extensions of the National Health Scheme at this stage.
  4. The annual expenditure in Australia on each of these ancillary services is not known but it is estimated in the aggregate to be in excess of $100m.

Road Safety: Accident Statistics (Question No. 871)

Mr Charles Jones:

asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

  1. How many road accidents were there annually in each State during the last 10 years.
  2. How many accidents involved two or more vehicles.
  3. How many persons were (a) killed and (b) injured.
  4. How many of the drivers were under the influence of (a) alcohol, (b) drugs or (c) some illness which reduced driving efficiency.
Mr Sinclair:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:


Cl) As I have advised the House previously, reporting of accidents not involving casualties is not compulsory in all States and figures therefore can only be supplied of accidents involving casualties. The number of accidents involving casualties in each State, and in Australia as a whole, are set out below for the years 1959 to 1968. Sui h accidents are defined as those which resulted in the death of any person within 30 days of the accident or in bodily injury to any person to an extent requiring surgical or medical treatment. !n the case of South Australia, the definition of an accident involving casualties was brought into line with the definition given above as from 1st October 1967, previously all accidents where persons were injured to any degree were included. Northern Territory statistics are available only from 1st July 1962.


  1. (a) and (b) The number of persons killed and injured in all types of accidents in each State, and in Australia as a whole, are set out in tables below for the years 1959 to 1968; persons injured in South Australia up to 1st October 1967 includes persons injured to any degree. Northern Territory statistics are available only from 1st July 1962.
  1. (b) -
  1. No statistics are available of the numbers of drivers involved in accidents who were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or illnesses which reduced their driving efficiency. However, statistics showing the ‘Predominant causes’ of road traffic accidents and ‘road user responsibility’ are made in several States but. because in the accident situation there are normally a number of contributing factors each of which could be a ‘cause’, the allocation of a ‘predominant cause’ has to be the subjective judgment of the. police officers completing the accident report form. Thus, there is no consistent classification between areas and statistics of predominant causes are not available for Australia as a whole. Any statistics of accidents for which drivers of motor vehicles arc held responsible and for which the predominant cause has been attributed as ‘intoxication’ are understated because some drivers obviously affected by alcohol are involved in accidents which for statistical purposes are attributed to other causes. No statistics of predominant cause are available for ‘drugs’ or other illnesses’.

Conciliation and Arbitration: Industrial Agreements (Question No. 521)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. What was the number of Industrial Agreements certified by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission pursuant to section 31 of the Act in each year since 1956.
  2. Has the Commission ever refused to certify an Industrial Agreement on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (3.) of section 31.
  3. if so, what are the details of the refusal to certify.
Mr Snedden:

– I am advised by the Industrial Registrar that the answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Cockatoo Island Dockyard: Fire Protection Standards (Question No. 944)

Mr Whitlam:

asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice:

  1. On what dates did the Commonwealth Fire Board

    1. inspect Cockatoo Island (New South Wales) Dockyard and
    2. report to his Department on the principles and minimum standards of lire protection which should be adopted there (Hansard, 5th May 1970, page 1668).
  2. What alterations did the Board recommend in the principles and standards previously applied at the dockyard.
  3. What steps have been taken to carry out those alterations and when is it expected that they will be completed.
Mr Killen:
Minister for the Navy · MORETON, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Number of Industrial Agreements certified under section 31 of the Act since1956 -
  1. and (3) The Commission has refused to certify agreements on four occasions as under:
  2. (a)16th and 17th December 1969

    1. 2nd April 1970.
  3. In addition to pointing out certain minor deficiencies which are beng remedied, the Board

    1. made detailed recommendations on firefighting equipment and facilities which should be provided and
    2. recommended that firefighting should be entrusted to professional firemen on a 24- hours a day basis.
  4. In regard to the answer given at 2 (a), the greater part of. the equipment requirements ‘proposed are already in hand or programmed under a policy of progressive improvement of Cockatoo Dockyard firefighting facilities which has provided some $400,000 worth of improvements since 1966. Apart from certain salt water mains, which when completed about the end of 1971 will provide a secondary source of water for fire fighting. all the remaining improvements recommended should be completed by December 1970. In regard to the answer given at 2 (b), Cockatoo Island Dockyard is on lease to the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Pty Ltd. The Company has been asked to advise its proposals in regard to the implementation of this recommendation.

Social Services: Pensions (Question No. 1055)

Mr Wallis:

asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that discontent exists amongst age pensioners concerning the differential rates that apply between single and married age pensioners.
  2. If so, will he ensure that these differential rates are considered during the preparation of the Budget with a view to their abolition.
Mr Wentworth:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. and (2) It is generally accepted by pensioners and all concerned with their welfare that a surviving spouse needs more than half the pension income available to a married pensioner couple to maintain an equal living standard. This matter among others will receive the normal consideration during the preparation of the forthcoming Budget.

Defence: F111 Aircraft (Question No. 645)

Mr Klugman:

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

In regard to the F-111 aircraft ordered by Australia 6 years ago, is it a fact that:

the cruising range is 2,750 miles as against a specified range of 4,180 miles;

the maximum high altitude speed is 2.2 times the speed of sound instead of 2.5 times as specified;

the supersonic dash distance is 30 miles as against 210 miles in the specification;

the acceleration from 0.9 to 2.2 mach is 4 minutes instead of the specified 1.45 minutes, and

the take-off weight has increased by 20% to 82,500 lb.

Mr Malcolm Fraser:

– The answer to the honourable members’ question is as follows:

The performance details mentioned in the question relate to the USAF F-111 A model aircraft. The USAF design criteria defined a specific mission for the weapons and flying a specific profile in relation to speed and weight. The RAAF F-111C will not have special weapons, but will carry conventional bombs, and so performance comparisons between the two aircraft are not appropriate. In addition, the RAAF has had certain modifications made to the F-111 A, such as extended wings and provisions for additional fuel, which gives the F-111C an improved range over the F-111 A.

Arbitration: Common Rule Declaration (Question No. 522)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. In what matters has the Arbitration Commision made a Common Rule declaration since 1957.
  2. What was the effect of each such declaration.
Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is set out in the attached schedule which has been provided by the Industrial Registrar.

Commonwealth Hostels (Question So. 711)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

What reduction does Commonweatlh Hostels offer for board and accommodation to female employees who are not in receipt of male rates of pay.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: 1 am advised by Commonwealth Hostels Ltd., that charges for board and lodging of Commonwealth Hostels employees are prescribed by awards and agreements and these do not provide for reduced charges to female employees.

Embezzlement of Union Funds (Question No. 811)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. ls he able to say whether any State law requires the State to conduct investigations and, when necessary, to launch prosecutions (o protect union funds from embezzlement or misappropriation.
  2. If not, will he consider introducing a Federal law similar to the United States LandrumurnGriffin Act under which embezzlement of union funds is a Federal offence and a function of the Department of Labour is to conduct investigations when necessary and to launch prosecutions to protect union funds from embezzlement or misappropriation.
Mr Snedden:

– The answer lo the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. I am informed by my advisers that they- are not aware of any such law.
  2. There are adequate provisions under Slate law for prosecution of those who embezzle or misappropriate union funds.

National Wage Reviews (Question No. 912)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

  1. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission gave an undertaking to review the national wage at regular annual intervals.
  2. ls it a fact that this has not been done; if so, will he take steps to ensure that the Commission conducts an annual on date review of the national wage with increased rates made payable from 1 July each year.
Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. No. In its decision in the 1967 National Wage Case the Commission explained that the new wage fixation procedures it was then introducing, would ensure that under the awards of the Commission ‘wage and salary earners will annually have applied to them the increases for economic reasons which it is common ground they may normally expect’. However, the Commission made it clear that the new wage fixation procedures required that an application should be made each year for an economic review of the total wage. This procedure has been followed in the two subsequent national wage case hearings.
  2. No.

International Labour Organisation Convention (Question No. 1008)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

Has the Commonwealth failed to ratify ail those International Labour Organisation Conventions which come exclusively within Commonwealth jurisdiction, and which had the support of Australian Government delegates at the time of their adoption; if so, why.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Over the years Australia has been able to ratify a number of I.L.O. Conventions on the basis of Commonwealth action alone. If the honourable member has any particular Convention or Conventions in mind he might let me know.

Conciliation and Arbitration (Question No. 1086)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

Does any section of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act permit parties to a dispute to agree to a Conciliator acting as an Arbitrator with powers to make a binding decision..

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Yes, Section 30.

Concilation and Arbitration (Question No. 1087)

Mr Clyde Cameron:

asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

What are the names of the Conciliators now practising in accordance with the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act.

Mr Snedden:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

As at 1st June, 1970 the Conciliators were Mr C. F. Lansbury, Mr T. W. S. McCloghry and Mr J. Stanton. Mr N. J. Mansini will take up his appointment as Conciliator on 1st July.

Telephone Services (Question No. 1059)

Dr Everingham:

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

  1. How many subscribers had their telephone lines upgraded from the beginning of 1968 to date.
  2. What is the estimated number of subscribers whose telephone lines will be upgraded from the present to the end of 1972.
  3. What was the average length of line upgraded for each subscriber from the beginning of 1968 to date.
  4. What is the estimated average length of line which will be upgraded for each subscriber from the present to the end of 1972.
  5. What was the average cost of upgrading each line for the last year for which figures are available.
Mr Hulme:

– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

  1. Statistics ure not available of the number of subscribers who had the privately owned sections of their telephone lines upgraded during 1968. Revised conditions governing the provision and upgrading of privately owned sections of lines to Post Office specifications were introduced in 1969 and became fully operational during July of that year. Apart from the subscribers whose private sections of lines were completely replaced by Departmental construction, during the period JulyDecember 1969, 96 subscribers with private sections of lines accepted the new conditions for upgrading of their lines to Post Office specifications.
  2. It is not possible to estimate the number of subscribers whose private telephone lines will be upgraded from the present lime to the end of 1972. The number involved will depend on several factors such as the condition of the existing private sections of lines, the number of manual exchanges to be convened to automatic operation requiring the upgrading of some existing lines, the amount of Departmental construction which can be provided to serve existing subscribers and new applicants on conversion of manual exchanges to automatic working and the number of subscribers and applicants who will proceed under the revised conditions.
  3. Statistics are not available of the average length of private sections of lines which have been upgraded from the beginning of 1968 to the present time.
  4. See answer to (2) above.
  5. The costs associated with upgrading privately owned sections of lines are not maintained because these costs are the responsibilities of the subscribers concerned who have the option of having the Post . Ollice do the work on their behalf, carrying out the work themselves or employing a private contractor. Even when the Post Office does the work on behalf of the subscribers the cost can vary depending upon whether underground cable or aerial construction is used, the nature of the terrain and whether the subscriber contributes materials, labour or mechanical aids. Then, too, individual subscriber’s costs are affected by the number of subscribers and/or applicants on a particular route.
The average costs per occupied bed day in nursing homes revealed by the survey were: {:#subdebate-29-33} #### Calvary Hospital (Question No. 1078) {: #subdebate-29-33-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What action was taken by his Department after the commitment to assist the construction of the Calvary Hospital was given by **Mr Holt** in October 1966. Since the introduction of the new conditions in 1969, the Post Office has advanced funds amounting to $18,000 to subscribers for the upgrading of private sections of lines. However, this figure does not have much significance since a number of subscribers who upgraded their lines did not require advancement of funds and, therefore, the figure of$1 8,000 does not represent the total costs involved. Hospital Bed Costs (Question No. 910) {: #subdebate-29-33-s1 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr WHITLAM:
WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. When has his Department conducted surveys of (a) public hospital costs and (b) nursing home costs. 1. What were the average bed day costs revealed by each survey. {: #subdebate-29-33-s2 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. My Department conducted surveys of - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Public hospital costs for the years 1963-64 to 1967-68. 1. Nursing home costs for the years 1964-65 to 1966-67. 1. The average costs per occupied bed day (including out-patients' costs) in public hospitals revealed by the surveys were: 2. What Commonwealth expenditure has been incurred with respect to the design of the hospital. {: #subdebate-29-33-s3 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Following acceptance by the Church authorities of the Government's offer of 4th October 1966, the Department assisted the Little Company of Mary in negotiations for a site and in the preparation of a brief for the Order's architects. Details of the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the Order were also finalised. After a year of planning and negotiation the hospital architects advised that the estimate for a 200-bed hospital of appropriate standard was $5. 5m. Various alternatives within the Government's agreed level of commitments were discussed between the Department of Health and the Little Company of Mary. The Department of Health could not, of course, vary the level of Government commitment. In December of 1967 the Church authorities, approached the then Prime Minister about the Government's level of commitment to the Calvary Hospital project and in January of 1968 the then Prime Minister replied to the effect that the Government was prepared to provide assistance for the construction of a 200-bed hospital at a capital cost comparable to that which would be incurred by the Government if it were itself directly providing the facilities. This undertaking by the Government was a variation of the original offer to provide assistance on a S3 for $1 basis up to a ceiling contribution by the Government of $3m for a hospital of up to 200 beds. The ceiling figure under which the early planning of the hospital was carried out, was, in effect, removed and a new comparative basis was introduced in regard to cost. Planning by the Church authorities was then recommenced on this new basis. After planning had proceeded for another year, two factors were reported by the Department of Health to be causing concern. These were that, because of delays in architectural matters the possible timetable for construction of Calvary Hospital was apparently falling behind, and that the estimated costs of Calvary Hospital had again increased. In November of 1968 the hospital architects had advised that the estimated cost stood at $7.287m. A later estimate given in June 1969 was $7.847m. Negotiations ensued revolving around time and cost estimates. The cost estimates for Calvary Hospital were higher than estimates of the costs Which would be incurred if the Government were to build the hospital itself. The design of the hospital was judged by both the Department of Works and the Department of Health to bc uneconomic, largely because the services designed into it were apparently sufficient for close to a 300 bed rather than a 200 bed hospital. After discussions and explorations of means of maintaining the project, it became apparent that further Government decisions were needed to resolve the matter. The facts of the situation were placed before the Government in December 1969. A decision was subsequently made by the Government that stage two of the Woden Hospital should be expedited as the most practical early means of obtaining additional hospital beds for the Australian Capital Territory and that the construction of Calvary Hospital should be deferred. Further discussions have now taken place with the Little Company of Mary with a view to the construction in Canberra of a 300 bed hospital to be built to the Order's plans. The Government is willing to provide, as previously, substantial financial assistance, and to have the project under construction in 1974. The Government has not abandoned the project. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Payments made by the Commonwealth to the Little Company of Mary to date total $266,294. {:#subdebate-29-34} #### Nursing Home Subsidies (Question No. 606) {: #subdebate-29-34-s0 .speaker-RK4} ##### Mr Hayden: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What allocation of capital cost subsidy was available and what amount was actually taken up in respect of approved nursing homes for the aged in each State in each of the past 5 years. 1. What number of patients in each State was covered by (a) the $2 per day light nursing subsidy in each year and (b) the heavy nursing subsidy since its inception last year. 2. Haw many institutions approved for payment of these subsidies in each State in each year were conducted (a) by the State Government, (b) by churches and benevolent societies, (c) by local authorities and (d) privately. 3. In respect of each of the categories (a) to (d) in the preceding question, will he give available details of (i) the bed capacity available and (ii) the average waiting list and average waiting periods for males, females and couples for each State in each year. {: #subdebate-29-34-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Under the States Grants (Nursing Homes) Act 1969 a total amount of $5,000,000 is available to be paid to the States over a five year period from 1.7.69 by way of financial assistance for, or in connection with, erection of approved nursing homes. The amounts available to each State in this period are: To date no payments of Commonwealth assistance have been made under this Act but proposals have been received from the States of Queensland and Western Australia seeking prior approval to incur expenditure and are currently being examined. Prior to the introduction of this Act there was no specific Commonwealth legislation which provided capital cost subsidy to nursing homes as such in the States. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Details of the actual number of patients who have received Commonwealth Nursing Home Benefits during any year are not maintained. However the number of approved beds and the number of days for which benefit was paid in each State in each of the last five years are given in the following table: (a) {: type="a" start="b"} 0. (i) The supplementary benefit for intensive care nursing home patients was introduced on 1.1.1969. The number of days for which Commonwealth supplementary benefit was paid for the six months ended 30th June 1969 is as follows: 1. (ii) The number of patients who were accommodated in approved nursing homes throughout Australia on 30th June 1969 and who were in receipt of the supplementary benefit for intensive nursing home care -was: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The division of Nursing Homes into the categories requested by the honourable member is not readily available. Work is proceeding within my Department to obtain this detail. As soon as it is completed it will be made available to the honourable member. Meanwhile the following information is given. 16321/70-iR.- [t06J {: type="1" start="4"} 0. (i) As in (3) work is proceeding on this part of the question. Available information is shown hereunder: {:#subdebate-29-35} #### Social Services: Supply of Spectacles. (Question No. 876) {: #subdebate-29-35-s0 .speaker-KWZ} ##### Mr Wallis: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: >In order to obviate the necessity for many pensioners to rely on charitable collections of second-hand spectacles, will he consider bringing down legislation to provide assistance where needed for age and invalid pensioners in the examination for and the supply of spectacles. {: #subdebate-29-35-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The only form of free medical treatment at present provided under the National Health Scheme is that available to eligible pensioners and their dependants through the Pensioner Medical Service. This comprises a free medical service of a general practitioner nature, such as that normally provided by a doctor in his surgery or in the patient's home, but does not extend to the provision of specialist treatment or to allied health services such as those provided by optometrists. > >Careful consideration has been given from time to time to extending the scope of the Pensioner Medical Service, but it has not been found possible to do so up to the present. > >In these circumstances, I cannot promise an early move towards the provision of Commonwealth assistance under the Pensioner Medical Service in regard to the examination for and supply of spectacles. > >It may be of interest to the honourable member that at the two public hospitals in Adelaide - the Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Adelaide - I understand a full optometrical service is available free of charge to pensioners. > >Stale Companies Act: Election of Directors (Question No. 913) {: #subdebate-29-35-s2 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls it a fact that at least one State Companies Act clearly requires that one-third of the directors of a public company must retire from office each year and, if desirous of continuing in office, must face an election by shareholders once every three years. 1. If so, will he look again at his reply to question No. 420 (Hansard, 16tb April 1970), page 1313) which slates that there is no provision in the companies legislation of the States and Territories fixing a maximum term of office for directors of public companies. {: #subdebate-29-35-s3 .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr Hughes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No State Companies Act so provides. The term of office for which a director of a company can be elected is governed by the company's articles of association. For this purpose, a company may adopt what rules it chooses. Thus, a company might provide for two-yearly or five-yearly terms. A company may, but need not, adopt paragraphs 64, 65 and 66 of Table A in the Fourth Schedule to the Companies Act or, in the case of a no liability company, paragraphs 47, 48 and 49 of Table B in that Schedule. 1. The answer to Question No. 420 does not seem to me to be inconsistent with (1). {:#subdebate-29-36} #### Industrial Accidents: Casualties (Question No. 414) {: #subdebate-29-36-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many wage or salary earners were employed in each State and Territory each year since 1950. 1. What was the number of (a) deaths, (b) injuries and (c) lost man-weeks caused by industrial accidents in each State and Territory during the same period. {: #subdebate-29-36-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The industrial accident statistics sought are set out in the following tables taken direct from published State statistics from 1950 or the first year thereafter for which they are available. A note on the statistical basis is given in each case, but for full particulars of the scope and nature of the figures, reference must be made to the separate State publications. Because of the differences in compensation law and practice among the States, it is not possible to obtain national totals on a consistent basis through a collation of the State figures. No information is available for the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory. > >The figures quoted in the tables for wage and salary earners exclude defence forces, employees in agriculture and private domestic service. They cannot be taken as showing necessarily the persons covered by legislation on workers' compensation. > >Estimates of wage and salary earners in civilian employment are revised after each population census. Particulars for periods prior to the census of June 1954 arc not available on a basis comparable with that of later periods, and owing to the adoption of a new definition of the labour force at the census of June 1965 the figures shown for the years 1954 to 1965 are not comparable with those of 1966 and later years. {: type="a" start="a"} 0. All figures taken from New South Wales Workers Compensation reports. They include accidents occurring in the courseof employment, accidents on journey to or from employment and compensable diseases, but exclude cases of less than 3-days' incapacity. 1. New cases reported. 2. For cases compensated by weekly payments, in respect of which no lump-sum payment is made. 3. Figures prior to 1954 not available on basis comparable with that forlater periods. 4. New definition of labour force adopted. 5. ) New basis of reporting. Since July 1967, when a revised form for reporting compensation was introduced, it has been possible to distinguish cases originating in the current year from those earned forward from the previous year. This distinction was not made by the old form and statistics of new cases reported in the current year were, until the end of 1966- 67, deduced by subtracting cases shown in the previous year as unfinalised at the end of that year from cases reported in the current year. The method of compilation used before 1967- 68, is known to have resulted in some understatement of new cases, mainly because of errors in reporting finalisation of cases (particularly those involving a fatality) first reported in an earlier year. Statistics for 1967-68, compiled on the new basis, provide a more accurate measure of new compensation cases reported in the year, but are not strictly comparable with those shown for earlier years. {:#subdebate-29-37} #### Industrial Accidents: Safety Procedures (Question No. 417) {: #subdebate-29-37-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: >What has the Government done to study or to update and standardise the relevant laws on industrial safety in the Commonwealth as a means of reducing the cost in life, compensation claims and lost man-weeks caused by industrial accidents in Australia each year. {: #subdebate-29-37-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The laws relating to industrial safety in all Stales arc in the hands of State Governments. Views on desirable safely standards are exchanged at meetings of the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee, which meets annually under my- Department's chairmanship, but any changes in legislation are entirely a for the Slates. > >Within Commonwealth jurisdiction both the Australian Capital Territory and (he Northern Territory have ordinances on various aspects of industrial safely. > >I am informed that in the ACT the Department of he Interior is at present examining legislation and administration practice with a view to updating existing legislation and, where necessary, introducing new legislation to prescribe conditions under which equipment and substances may bc used and conditions under which certain processes may bc undertaken in the ACT. > >In the Northern Territory the Administration has recently completed a re-examination of the Inspection of Machinery Ordinance (1941-1962) and prepared proposals for quite far reaching amendments to bring it into line with State legislation. The Scaffolding Inspection Ordinance (1932- 1961) is at .present under review wilh the object of updating its provisions and expanding it to scaffolding, protective clothing, explosive powered tools, excavation and boring, and heavy lifting. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme : Most Common Preparations (Question No. 120) {: #subdebate-29-37-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What were the names of the twenty preparations prescribed (a) most frequently and (b) in greatest quantity under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in the latest year for which information is available. 1. By which firm was each preparation supplied, and at what cost. {: #subdebate-29-37-s3 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Year ended 30th June 1969 {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The information requested relates to a significant proportion of the trading activities of competitive firms in the pharmaceutical industry. This information is treated as strictly confidential and therefore has not been supplied. {:#subdebate-29-38} #### Industrial Accidents: Causes (Question No. 415) {: #subdebate-29-38-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: >Are statistics available which show - > >the incidence and > >the cause of industrial accidents in particular industries or callings in the various States and Territories; if so, what are they. {: #subdebate-29-38-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. No. All States report a breakdown of total accident cases by industrial groups. However, accurate incidence rates for industrial accidents can not be stated since in no State are figures available for persons covered by workers' compensation legislation either in total or by industry groups, and the industry classification of accidents differs between the States. 1. Classification by industry of injuries according to accident factor or agency and type (e.g. strains, falls, burns, falling or moving objects, machinery, etc.) are considered to be useful indicators of the cause of industrial accidents. Such analyses are set out in considerable detail in the publications for each State except Tasmania. Copies of these publications can be supplied if required. {:#subdebate-29-39} #### Commonwealth Industrial Court (Question No. 685) {: #subdebate-29-39-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that the Commonwealth Industrial Court has recently ruled that a person on subpoena to produce papers or documents in proceedings before that Court may simply swear that such papers or documents are not in his possession and cannot thereafter be crossexamined by the person who issuesthe subpoena as to the whereabouts of such papers or documents? 1. In view of the position which is created by the Court's ruling, will the Government make such new regulations or amendments to the Act as are necessary to ensure that any party to proceedings before the Commonwealth Industrial Court shall be empowered to subpoena and to cross-examine on the whereabouts of such material as may be needed to enable the Court to make a proper and fair assessment of the issues before it? {: #subdebate-29-39-s1 .speaker-IIS} ##### Mr Hughes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1)) and (2) I think the case that the honourable member has in mind is Barnes v. Oliver and Ors. (B. No. 202 of 1970 in the Commonwealth Industrial Court), in which the Court ruled that a person who had been subpoenaed to produce certain documents could not be questioned by the party who had caused the subpoena to be issued to test the veracity of answers given by the person as to the existence or whereabouts of documents that he had not produced. The party who caused the subpoena to be issued could have required the person subpoenaed to go into the witness box and give evidence in the matter generally. Had this course been adopted, the witness could not have been cross-examined by the party calling him unless the witness showed himself to be hostile. As things turned out, the party who caused the subpoena to be issued chose nol to call the person as a witness to give evidence in the matter generally. As I. understand it, the person in question was sworn merely to answer the subpoena. I am not satisfied that any amendment of the law is necessary or desirable. {:#subdebate-29-40} #### Industrial Accidents: Claims for Damages (Question No. 418) {: #subdebate-29-40-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice What was the total amount paid in damages and, if available, legal costs, in settlement of common law actions in respect of deaths or injuries caused by industrial accidents in each State and Territory in each year since 1950. {: #subdebate-29-40-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >No information is available from Commonwealth sources as to payments for settlement of common law actions in respect of employers' liabilities. Combined totals are available for each Stale for claims under Workers' Compensation and settlement of common law actions in respect of employers' liabilities. These are given in the attached table. {:#subdebate-29-41} #### Industrial Accidents: Claims for Damages (Question No. 688) {: #subdebate-29-41-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What amount was paid in damages and, if available, in legal costs in settlement of common law action in respect of deaths or injuries caused by industrial accidents in each Slate and Territory in each year since 1950. {: #subdebate-29-41-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is the same as that given in reply to Question No. 418. {:#subdebate-29-42} #### Industrial Accidents: Safely Procedures (Question No. 689) {: #subdebate-29-42-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="A" start="I"} 0. What has the Government done to study or update and standardise the relevant laws on industrial safety in the Commonwealth as a means towards reducing the cost of life, compensation claims and lost man-weeks caused by industrial accidents in Australia each year. {: #subdebate-29-42-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is the same as that given in reply to Question No. 417. {:#subdebate-29-43} #### Export of Merino Rams (Question No. 705) {: #subdebate-29-43-s0 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr Grassby: asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many merino studs were there in Australia in each of the years since 1950. 1. Can he say to what extent the merino ram breeding enterprises within Australia are now owned by non-Australian interests. 2. If so, is he able to say to what extent these foreign interests are also engaged in the pastoral and wool industries in South America and South Africa, and in shipping and stock and general agencies serving those countries. 3. In view of the partial lifting of the ban on the export of merino rams, do such international participants in ram breeding enterprises stand to lose or gain from a transfer of the merino wool industry from Australia lo countries with either low labour costs or with the labour force either under police direction or in a state of peonage. {: #subdebate-29-43-s1 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The number of registered merino studs in Australia in each year during the period 1960 to 1968 was: Statistics for 1969 and 1970 arc not yet available. The substantial increase in 1967 in the number of studs registered was due to a change in the requirements of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders for registration of a merino stud. The Association's new rules allowed some studs previously precluded from registration to enter the register. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. No published information is available on the extent of non-Australian ownership of merino stud properties in Australia. However, the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders has advised that, to the best of ils knowledge, the great majority of Australian merino studs arc wholly owned by Australians. 1. and (4) Very little information is available about foreign participants in Australian stud merino breeding enterprises, lt is not possible, therefore, to comment on the other activities of the foreign undertakings concerned or on the outcome of a hypothetical situation in which they might bc involved. {:#subdebate-29-44} #### Industrial Accidents (Question No. 852) {: #subdebate-29-44-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls it a fact that many hundreds of thousands of man-hours are lost each year through indus trial acidents and occupational diseases and that, in addition to lost production, more than $100m is now paid out in worker's compensation each year. 1. Has his Department ever sought to obtain agreement with the respective States for (a) establishing mandatory occupational safety and health standards, (b) enforcement of such safety and health standards, (c) providing for research into occupational safety and health, (d) training programmes for personnel engaged in the field of occupational safety and health and (e) clearly delineating the responsibilities of the Commonwealth and the respective State governments in relation to occupational safely and health. {: #subdebate-29-44-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. According to recent estimates, approximately 700,000 man-weeks are lost each year through occupational injuries incurred in the course of employment, exclusive of diseases and accidents on the way to and from work. In 1967-68 over 5100m was paid against compensation claims and in respect of civil actions under employers' liabilities. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. (a), (b) and (c) There is effective liaison between the State and Commonwealth Departments through the Departments of Labour Advisory Committee and through the Occupational Health Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council. {: type="a" start="d"} 0. Courses and training programmes in various aspects of occupational safety in various aspects of occupational safety and health are conducted by the Commonwealth and by the State Departments concerned. 1. The responsibilities of the States in regard to occupational safety and health are defined in the legislation of each State. In the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory the relevant ordinances define the responsibilities of the Commonwealth. {:#subdebate-29-45} #### Industrial Accidents: Occupational Diseases (Question No. 853) {: #subdebate-29-45-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact that there is no procedure in the Commonwealth for providing uniform statistics for recording the incidence and cause of industrial accidents and occupational diseases in particular industries in each State. {: #subdebate-29-45-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. The reason is that industrial accident statistics are based on Workers' Compensation claims which are generally within the province of State governments and reflect differences in compensation legislation and practice that exist between States. Further details are contained in my answers to Questions Nos 414 and 415. {:#subdebate-29-46} #### Industrial Accidents: Fatalities (Question No. 854) {: #subdebate-29-46-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: (!) What number of deaths was due to industrial accidents or industrial disease in each State and Territory of the Commonwealth in each of the past 5 years. {: #subdebate-29-46-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is contained in the reply given to Question No. 414. International Labour Organisation Conventions: Attitude of States (Question No. 925) {: #subdebate-29-46-s2 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which are the five States which, according to the Review of Australian Law and Practice Relating to Conventions Adopted by the International Labour Conference published by. his predecessor last October, have not yet agreed to the ratification of Convention No. 52 - Holidays with Pay,1 936. 1. Which are the four States which, according to the Review, have not yet agreed to the ratification of (a) Convention No. 65 - Penal Sanctions (Indigenous Workers), 1939 and (b) Convention No. 107 - Indigenous and Tribal Populations, 1957. 2. Which are the 3 States, which according to the Review, have not yet agreed to the ratification of (a) Convention No. 98- Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949 and (b) Convention No. 112- Minimum Age (Fishermen), 1959. 3. Which are the 2 States which, according to the Review, have not yet agreed to the ratification of (a) Convention No. 47 - Forty Hour Week, 1934 and (b) Convention No. 123 - Minimum Age (Underground Work), 1965. 4. Which States have not yet agreed to the ratification of (a) Convention No. 100 - Equal Remuneration, 1951 and (b) Convention No. 120 - Hygiene (Commerce and Offices), 1964." {: #subdebate-29-46-s3 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The information below takes account of developments since publication of the Review. In some instances agreement to ratification is dependent on the clarification of points of interpretation raised by the States concerned. > >New South Wales, Queensland, South Aus tralia, Western Australia and Tasmania. > >(a) New South Wales. Queensland and South > >Australia. > >Queensland and Western Australia. > >(a) New South Wales, Queensland and South > >Australia. > >South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. > >(a) All States are now in agreement. > >Tasmania. > >(a) New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, > >New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. {:#subdebate-29-47} #### Australian Army: Medical Aid to Casualties (Question No. 954) {: #subdebate-29-47-s0 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr Barnard: asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice: >What methods are used to give infusions of blood, plasma and glucose to casualties in the field or on stretchers while being transported. {: #subdebate-29-47-s1 .speaker-MI4} ##### Mr Peacock:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >Intravenous infusion is achieved by inserting a needle, cannula or catheter into a vein. Techniques would vary in detail only. > >Whole blood is not used in the field because it cannot be stored without refrigeration and there are not facilities for grouping and cross matching. > >Plasma and serum (plasma from which figrinogen has been removed) are not generally used for infusion because of the danger of transmittingthe virus responsible for homologous serum jaundice. Consequently plasma fractions such as albumin and stable plasma protein solution are used in their stead. > >Glucose provides fluid and energy but no electrolytes and therefore is not generally used in the field. Ringers lactate solution, which provides fluid and electrolytes, is preferred. > >Fluids are also administered by injection, including sub cutaneous injection, stomach tube and per rectum. {:#subdebate-29-48} #### International Affairs (Question No. 986) {: #subdebate-29-48-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Mr EVERINGHAM:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been drawn to E. L. Millard's 'Freedom in a Federal World', Edition 5, published in New York in 1969 and compiled on the basis of 16 year discussions by the Conference Upon Research and Education in World Government. 1. If so, what opinions has Australia expressed relevant to the United Nations Charter revisions recommended in that publication as regards Charter Articles 9, 17, 48, 50, 95 and 107. {: #subdebate-29-48-s1 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. Australia has not expressed opinions on these recommendations. The honourable member is referred to answers to his previous questions on Charier Review and World Government. International Affairs (Question No. 1027) {: #subdebate-29-48-s2 .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: asked the Minister for External Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What countries does he include when he speaks of the "free world'. 1. Will he advise me when any changes to the list take place. {: #subdebate-29-48-s3 .speaker-009MA} ##### Mr McMahon:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >There are two fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter: > >That the people of each country shall have the right to determine their own future; and > >That countries will not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. > >In other words, that countries shall be free. > >I do not include in the word 'free' North VietNam or any other country which is violating Laos, Cambodian or South Vietnamese territories. {:#subdebate-29-49} #### Professional Engineers: Industrial Action (Question No. 1090) {: #subdebate-29-49-s0 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has his attention been directed to a decision of a meeting of professional engineers held in the Hobart Town Hall on 22nd April 1970 at which a resolution was curried recommending to their Association that industrial action be taken to force the Public Service Board to recognise the worth of professional engineers. 1. Is it a fact that the Association of Professional Engineers of Australia have never previously resorted to strike action. 2. Can he say whether the change in policy by the Hobart meeting is the direct result of the engineers belief that only those unions which are willing to resort to strike action can receive proper recognition of their worth. {: #subdebate-29-49-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. As I am informed, the meeting to which the Honourable Member refers did not resolve in favour of strike action. I understand it decided that, if salary adjustments were not achieved by 15th June, a further meeting should be held to consider appropriate industrial action. 1. As far as I know, the Association of Professional Engineers has not directed stoppages of work by its members. 2. On matters of Association policy and the reason for the policy, the Association itself is best qualified to speak. Area Services : at Woomera (Question No. 877) {: #subdebate-29-49-s2 .speaker-KWZ} ##### Mr Wallis: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Supply, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Has the work force normally engaged in the health keeping services at Woomera been suddenly reduced by 30 per cent. 1. Was this reduction effected without prior expert investigation and in the face of strong opposition by the local administration. 2. Have thousands of trees and shrubs established at Woomera at very great cost over a period of 20 years been allowed to die off because of outside area mismanagement and lack of labour. 3. Have bottles of all kinds been allowed to accumulate in gutters and on footpaths to the danger of children. 4. Has this accumulation taken place since December 1969. 5. Have room heating stoves been arbitrarily removed from houses in Woomera in the face of strong opposition from the occupants of the homes. {: #subdebate-29-49-s3 .speaker-QS4} ##### Mr Malcolm Fraser:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP -- The Minister for Supply has provided the followi ng answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The work force engaged: in the health keeping services at Woomera has not been reduced suddenly by 30 per cent. There has been a small decrease in the total number of staff employed at the hospital. This has been brought about by the difficulty of recruiting trained nursing staff. In the section which provides general area services - including such services as refuse disposal - there has been a gradual reduction of staff during the past 2 years. Because of the high turnover of this kind of labour, the work force varies considerably from month to month. Between January 1968 and January 1970 there was a decrease of about 20 per cent, partly as a planned reduction and partly due to difficulties in recruiting labour. 1. A reduction of effort was foreshadowed originally in plans which were developed in 1967 and which were based on the expected lower level of trials activities at Woomera and' on the resultant decrease in the total number of people employed. The workload and resources associated with Area Services were reviewed in detail in mid- 1 969, and subsequent management action has been taken accordingly. Because of the continuously changing circumstances at Woomera the services activities are currently being re-examined. Senior staff at Woomera have participated in the reviews, in the formulation of plans and in the implementation of those plans. 2. There are about 30.000 trees and shrubs at Woomera. During the past 12 months a few hundred have died, partly due to normal mortality of plants in this environment and partly due to watering restrictions which were applied during the recent very dry summer. 3. Bottles of all kinds have not been allowed to accumulate in gutters and on footpaths. There have been a few occasions when it has not been possible to remove immediately -bottles rubbish, which have been discarded by tenants when vacating houses. 4. There has been no such accumulation. 5. As the result of a fire in a house at Woomera an investigation showed that certain heating systems installed in some houses at Woomera constituted a possible fire hazard. Such installations are now being removed and power points provided for electric heaters. {:#subdebate-29-50} #### Civil Aviation: Jumbo Jets (Question No. 1044) {: #subdebate-29-50-s0 .speaker-KDV} ##### Mr Charles Jones: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Have Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett Transport Industries submitted any firm proposal for the purchase of jumbo jets for use on internal routes. 1. If so, which aircraft are recommended, and when is it intended to introduce them. 2. Will their use result in a better service or a reduction in the frequency of flights. 3. Will their introduction result in a reduction in fares and freights. {: #subdebate-29-50-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Neither Trans-Australia Airlines nor Ansett Transport Industries Limited have submitted any firm proposal for the purchase of jumbo jets for use on internal routes. 1. , (3) and (4) In the light of the answer to question (I), these questions do not arise. {:#subdebate-29-51} #### War Service Homes: Waiting Period (Question No. 1052) {: #subdebate-29-51-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister repre senting the Minister for Housing, upon notice: >What would be the additional cost in this financial year of abolishing the waiting period which was re-introduced for war service homes on 18th March (Hansard, 5th May 1970, page 1656). {: #subdebate-29-51-s1 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The Minister for Housing has supplied the following answer to the honourable member's question: >The additional cost in this financial year to settle without any waiting period all applications for loans which meet the requirements of the War Service Homes Act is estimated to be $5,000,000. {:#subdebate-29-52} #### Civil Aviation: Subsidies (Question No. 1056) {: #subdebate-29-52-s0 .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr Corbett: asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What subsidy is paid by the Government to Ansett Airlines of Australia to provide the Brisbane-Cunnamulla air services. 1. What is the total subsidy paid by the Government to Ansett Airlines of Australia. {: #subdebate-29-52-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. For the year ending 30th June, 1970 Ansett Airlines of Australia will receive subsidy of $41,305 for the Brisbane-Cunnamulla air service. 1. Total subsidy estimated to be paid to Ansett Airlines of Australia for the year ending 30 June 1970 will be $231,300 composed of- {:#subdebate-29-53} #### Canberra Airport (Question No. 1113) {: #subdebate-29-53-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it proposed to establish a new airport for Canberra; if so, where is it to be situated. 1. If a decision has not yet been made, when is a decision expected and when will details of the proposal be made available. . {: #subdebate-29-53-s1 .speaker-KVR} ##### Mr Swartz:
LP -- The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) My Department, working closely with the Department of Air and the National Capital Development Commission, is reviewing the civil airport needs of Canberra, both current and long term. No firm conclusions or recommendations have been referred to me and I understand that it may be some weeks before this is possible. However, on receipt of the Committee's report I will make every endeavour to consider that report as a matter of urgency. Social Services: Physiotherapy Treatment (Question No. 198) {: #subdebate-29-53-s2 .speaker-KUX} ##### Mr Stewart: asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What procedure has to be followed by a medical practitioner if he considers an eligible social service pensioner is in need of urgent physiotherapy treatment. 1. Does his Department allow medical practitioners to carry the necessary forms. 2. Can verbal approval for the treatment be obtained. 3. Is the patient ever examined by a departmental medical officer. 4. What time is likely to elapse between the request by the medical practitioner for approval and the commencement of the treatment. (6)Is it possible to improve the procedure. {: #subdebate-29-53-s3 .speaker-KFH} ##### Dr Forbes:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The information provided below relates only to the Australian Capital Territory and the > >Northern Territory. Similar procedures, if operated in the various States, are the responsibility of State Governments. > >Where a medical practitioner, practising in the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory considers an eligible Social Service pensioner to be in need of urgent physiotherapy treatment he may refer that patient, by letter, to either the Canberra Hospital or to a hospital in the Northern Territory, as appropriate. > >Forms arc not in use for this service. The patient has only to present his letter of referral together with his Pensioner Medical Service Entitlement Card to the hospital authority. > >to (5) Treatment is generally immediately available and therefore the need for verbal approval does not arise. There is no occasion for the patient to be examined by a departmental medical officer. > >It is considered that the procedure is adequate, and is functioning satisfactorily in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. 1 understand that under the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service administered by the Department of Social Services eligible invalid and widows pensioners may be considered for rehabilitation treatment (including physiotheraphy) providing there are reasonable prospects of the pensioner commencing employment within 3 years. While each case is automatically considered for rehabilitation following grant of a pension it is possible for a medical practitioner or pensioner to request that his or her case be investigated for rehabilitation purposes. There are no special procedures or application forms. The request is merely made in person or in writing to the nearest office of the Department of Social Services. Papua and New Guinea: Superannuation Investments (Question No. 1063) {: #subdebate-29-53-s4 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice: >What percentage of the funds of (a) the Superannuation Fund and (b) the Contract Officers Retirement Benefits Fund in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are invested in (i) Territory industries (ii) Territory housing and (iii) Australian securities. {: #subdebate-29-53-s5 .speaker-JOA} ##### Mr Barnes:
CP -- The answerto the honourable member's question is as follows: Part of each fund is invested in Public Loans of the Territory. The proportions are 17.81% and 24.15% respectively. {:#subdebate-29-54} #### Commonwealth Public ServicePromotions Appeal Committee (Question No. 947) {: #subdebate-29-54-s0 .speaker-SH4} ##### Dr Klugman: asked the Prime Minister upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is an appellant before a Commonwealth Public *Service* Promotions Appeal Committee entitled to an advocate. 1. Is an appellant who is appealing against failure to be granted promotion entitledto see any allegations made against him. 2. If an appellant is not entitled to see the allegations (a) how can he refutethem and (b) what is the relevant regulation. {: #subdebate-29-54-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- I have been informed by the Public Service Board that the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. and (3) A Promotions Appeal Committee has the statutory responsibility (section 50 of the Public Service Act 1922-1968) for making 'full inquiries into the claims of the appellant and those ofthe officer provisionally promoted' and shall in accordance with the Public Service Act 1922- 1968 either 'determine the appeal' or 'make a report to the Board on the claims of the appellant and those of the officer provisionally promoted'. Public Service Regulation109f states 'It shall be the duty of a Promotions Appeal Committee to make its inquiries without regard to legal forms or solemnities.' A promotions Appeal Committee is free to adopt procedures which it considers appropriate provided they are procedures under which a Committee inquires fairly into the claims of all parties to an appeal hearing. The authority for the constitution of a Promoions Appeal Committee is to be found in section 50 of he Public Service Act 1922-1968 and Public Service Regulation 109d(1) which reads: A Promotions Appeal Committee shall be constituted by - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. a Chairman appointed by the Hoard, who. while acting as Chairman, shall not be subject to direction by any person or authority under the Act; 1. an officer nominated by the Permanent Head of the Department in which the provisional promotion has been made; and 2. an officer nominated by the appropriate Organisation.' The appropriate Organisation is defined in Public Service Regulation I09d(1b). Public Service Regulation 108b provides that where a senior applicant is not selected for provisional promotion the Permanent Head or the Chief Officer, as the case may be, must inform the Officer of any specific adverse matter which was decisive against his selection. {:#subdebate-29-55} #### Perpetual Calendar (Question No. 1057) {: #subdebate-29-55-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: asked the Prime Minister, upon notice: >Will he give immediate consideration to the adoption, as from New Year's Day 1973, of The Perpetual Calendar which has been approved by the legislatures of Hawaii and Massachusetts and which could eventually replace, among other calendars, the 15 calendars of India, the 3 of Thailand, the 5 of Jerusalem, and which would have the advantage of equalising and regularising the same pattern of 13 weeks in every quarter, with each monthly and half monthly period starting on a constant pattern of weekdays, intercalating New Year's Day (January zero) and in leap years, a Leap Year Day (July zero) as holidays apart from the weekly cycle. {: #subdebate-29-55-s1 .speaker-KH5} ##### Mr Gorton:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >No. However, I have asked that developments in other places be examined and T shall bring the honourable member's question to the attention of the State Governments. {: #subdebate-29-55-s2 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- This is the way Labor used to run it. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -I am not interested in the way Labor used to run the government 20 years ago. I am interested in the way the Government is being run now. The expenditure of $25m and the reconstruction of one of the most important industries is being considered at 12.50 a.m. This is not the way a government can run any country efficiently. The principal objective of this Bill is to give effect to the Government's policy and intention, made some years ago, to make available a sum of money over a period of years for the amalgamation and diversification of certain types of dairy land. When the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** introduced this Bill some days ago it was stated that he intended to make available up to $25m over a period of 4 years for the implementation of the Commonwealth marginal dairy farms reconstruction scheme. Up until the time when the Bill was introduced only 1 State - Western Australia - had agreed in total to the provisions of the Bill. Before commencing on the actual consideration of the provisions of this Bill I would like to say that the Minister dealt at some length with economic conditions in the dairy industry itself. There can be no doubt that it is in fact quite true, as the Government has said, that there is a very serious economic condition prevailing in the dairy industry today. The latest available figures suggest a rather rapid increase in the production of dairy products. It seems that unless some brake is put on production about 230,000 tons of butter will be produced in 1970-71. That is an estimate on the latest projections. At the same time there is a degenerating average price being paid to the producers and we can see the rising costs spreading at an increasing rate throughout the economy of Australia. In the last 15 years costs on rural properties have increased in excess of 40% and although productivity has increased it has not done so with the same rapidity. And the average price has been reduced. This, of course, is due to shrinking world markets on the one hand and the application of the equalisation pri nciple on the other hand. It is not the fault of the equalisation principle at all It is simply that the more we produce with our 2 sets of prices, the world price and the domestic price, the weighted average price is correspondingly reduced. The world situation in the dairying industry issomething which must give rise for concern. Huge surpluses estimated at 300,000 tons are held by European Common Market countries. We are faced with a limited market as far as quotas are concerned in the United Kingdom, and there are the increasing practices of lobbying, etc., being displayed in the United States of America as regards imports of primary products not only from Australia but from all countries. All these things are matters for concern. At the same time we have increases in dairy production, in New Zealand, Ireland and other countries which are in competition with Australian exports. We also have the problem of butter substitutes, not only on the Australian market but also on other markets. Substitutes are being dumped by Common Market countries. Butter oil for reconstitution is an example of this. Taken by and large the position of the dairy industry in Australia is rather grim. The farmers themselves, like all farmers when the average price is reduced, work a little harder, and consequently either through technology, improved management or simply through harder work, they increase production. This is what has happened in terms of per cow or per acre, or whatever the measurement may be. The dairy industry has responded in what might be called a magnificent fashion in terms of increased production to try to beat adversity, but the only result has been and will continue to be a downward movement in the average price paid because the markets are stagnant. What has this meant? It has meant that in this season there is probably a carryover of about 5,000 tons of butter. If the projection that has been made - of $230,000 tons of butter in the 1970-71 season - is correct, we could be faced with something like 20,000 tons of butter in stocks on hand in June 1971. From my study of the position, I believe that one State - Victoria - is not playing the game. It is quite obvious that there has to be a reduction in production. That is the only way out for this industry. Dairy products are unlike wool, for which we have a market. We know that there are markets for wool at a price. But there are just no markets for surplus dairy production over a certain limit. It would seem that a beggar my neighbour policy is being followed by the Victorian Government in increasing production with gay abandon. Today 85% of our total butter exports are from Victoria and 64% of our total production comes from Victoria. The figure has increased from about 45% in 1960. Tasmania is contributing to this increase in a minor way, but Victoria is the State of Australia which today, with its beggar my neighbour policy, is causing grave misallocation in the dairy industry. To what degree the Victorian Premier and his Cabinet will take any notice of the danger signs I do not know. But surely the Victorian Premier must realise that what he and his Government are doing is simply reducing the average prices of dairy products, particularly butter, for all States. If the other States are willing to play the game and to see the danger signals that indicate that they must do something about restricting production, Victoria should do the same. Under the stabilisation arrangements, if the Commonwealth is to underwrite the agreed equalisation price the Australian taxpayers could be up for a very heavy sum of about $20m for the 1970-71 season, in addition to the $27m per annum that is paid under the stabilisation arrangements. I understand that the Minister for Primary Industry has warned the dairy industry that the Government will not underwrite it to that figure. The unfortunate part of the matter is that it will not be Victoria that will suffer; it will be the rest of the Australian States. I mentioned in passing that one of the great problems is the cost-price squeeze. There can be no doubt that, whether we are speaking of the dairy industry, the wool industry, the beef industry, the sugar industry or whatever industry it might be, this insidious increase in costs in the major export primary industries is having the effect of eating out the very heart of them. What is the remedy? I suppose that a number of things could be done. Whether they are practical, of course, depends on Government policy. The first is reconstruction, which we are considering now, to make the industry more efficient in terms of resource use. Price control of essential goods and services may be one method that will have to be given serious consideration. If prices of essential goods and services continue to rise, it is quite obvious that greater subsides will have to be paid to the export primary industries. There is also the question of tariff compensation for the major export primary industries. There can bc no doubt that they are suffering a greater disability as each year goes by, with the apparently high tariffs that are being imposed to protect secondary industry. It has been estimated on the best figures I can obtain that, taking into account total cash and imputed costs, the wool industry is at a disability of something like 19% or 20% of total costs, even allowing for the bounties being paid on inputs such as superphosphate. It is not cash cost but cash cost plus depreciation and other imputed cost - a total of an estimated 20% disability. Of course, the only other way is to reduce production. I would think the only way this could be achieved would be by licensing or registering dairy production in Australia as is done in the sugar industry. This, of course, is a matter entirely for the States. It is relatively easy to do this in the sugar industry because only one major State is concerned - Queensland. Northern New South Wales comes into this in a minor way. But production can be controlled in the case of sugar most effectively. Prices control is a matter of State policy but the wage earner has often been blamed for the increase in costs in Australia. However, the wage earner has to go to arbitraton to gel his increase in wages to offset the increase -in living costs. The export farmer in the main has to do one major thing - hope that world prices will rise or that world markets will expand. Contrast that with one of the main reasons for increased costs in our manufacturing sector - tariffs. We see in this area that the major manufacturing industries are either monopolists or oligopolists and. irrespective of the level of profits, are able to increase the pr-ces of their commodities without any reference to arbitration or any authority. We can cite for example the record profits of the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd. Despite these profits the company can go ahead and still increase the price of steel. Niether the wage earner nor the export farmer can do this. The dairying industry is striving desperately to expand its markets throughout the world. This is a pretty tough battle because most of the developing industries have particular policies of self-sufficiency and when they produce above that self-sufficiency they engage in all sorts of practices which amount to dumping of their surplus production. One of the markets which Australia is trying to break into is Japan. Some measure of success has been achieved in this direct on in regard to the export of cheese. But it would seem that the growing influence of Japanese policies on the viability of the Australian economy must be given pretty careful consideration because almost every industry is trying now to break into the Japanese market in a major way. Whether we like it or not Australia is becoming more and more dependent on Japanese markets in order to earn our vital export income which is essential for economic growth. Whether th:s be export income from minerals or primary industries we are becoming more and more dependent on Japanese policies. The one compensating factor is that we know that Japan wants our products just as much perhaps as Australia wants Japan to buy its products. The shrinkage of world markets is not only in dairy products. The downward trend in commodity prices is causing very serious repercussions throughout Australia in the rural sector and this Bill is a positive move not only to get greater efficiency in primary industry in terms of resource use but also to set up machinery which I hope will be followed by other industries in Australia because I think that in time if primary industries do not improve their economic character in terms of income earned it might be necessary to set up a Federal reconstruction Board. For example, one-quarter of Queensland today is devastated by a drought that has lasted for 3 years in many areas. Goodness knows how many bankruptcies are imminent in Queensland. I am, oi course, taking an extreme case. There is one thing in relation to the question of the expansion of markets in the dairy industry which 1 cannot understand. 1 notice that the Minister for Primary Industry is sitting at the Table. 1 wish to direct a question to him. The dairy industry is in serious trouble, lt is expanding. The industry is desperately in need of a market for all its cheese. Perhaps Japan could provide that market. But why in heaven's name have we to put up wilh cheese imports? At present close to *$5m* worth of cheese is imported. {: #subdebate-29-55-s3 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- Because wc can make it as good. The honourable member for Bradfield is about the biggest knocker in the Parliament. Last night when I was talking about the Bundaberg irrigation scheme we had to listen to him knocking it. He is now walking out of the chamber. As soon as we speak about primary industry he moves out. {: #subdebate-29-55-s4 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- 1 will admit that he is a Liberal member. I ask in all seriousness: What is the reason for imposing a 5c duty? Why should we not impose a complete embargo on the importation of foreign cheese? Surely this is one way in which we can help the dairy industry? I do not accept the fact that Australia cannot produce cheese of a quality which is equivalent to the cheese produced in Scandinavia, Czechoslovakia or the Baltic states. Even if we are not able to produce cheese which satisfies the eating habits of some people, as far as I am concerned as an Australian and one who supports the dairy industry in Australia, I can see no reason why the Government should not alter the policy which has been in force for something like 30 or 40 years. The Government should, for the time being at any rate, place an embargo on the importation of cheese. Only $5m might be involved, but $5m is important to the dairy industry at present. The main purpose of this Bill is the amalgamation or diversification of dairy lands in the so-called marginal dairy producing areas of Australia. These marginal areas have been defined in general as being in the southwest of Western Australia, the southeast of Queensland and northern New South Wales. These areas have been defined as marginal areas for a number of reasons. From a physical or land use point of view the land itself is inferior in terms of dairy efficiency. The farms on this land may be highly efficient in terms of, say, production per cow, or lactation per acre, but they are too small. As a result, they are subject to what the Government has rightly called economic strangulation. There may be something wrong with the management of these farms or there may be a lack of finance. Whatever the conditions may be, there are in these marginal areas farms which have been defined as 'marginal farms'. The principal objective of the Bill, as defined, is to enable the low income dairy farmers who voluntarily wish to do so - the word 'voluntary' is, of course, of extreme importance to the whole working of this Bill - to leave the industry and receive a fair price for their land and improvements. Then, after writing off redundant assets, the land and useful improvements will be made available to other farmers so that those other farmers can build up their properties to a viable farm level regardless of whether it be for more efficient dairying or beef cattle purposes, afforestation or whatever it may be. That is the basic purpose of the Bill. It is a good objective. A marginal dairy farm has of course, to be defined within the terms of the agreement whichwas signed. In the case of the agreement which was signed between Western Australia and the Commonwealth it must be a rural property and have a minimum of at least 20 lactating cows. At least half of the gross income of the farm must be derived from the production of milk and, in the opinion of the Stale authority operating the scheme, the farm, if used wholly for dairying or purposes incidental thereto, is not really capable of producing to the level agreed between the Commonwealth and the State. In the Western Australian agreement the maximum level, in terms of this criterion, is taken as 12,000 lb of butterfat per farm per annum. Given this objective, and given the definition of a marginal farm, the operation of the scheme is then a matter ofa reentent betweenthe State andthe Commonwealth. Of course, I should think that each agreement with each State would be different, depending on circumstances. One of the most important provisions in the Bill is to enable marginal dairy farms, within the definition, in the whole milk zone to qualify. 1 suppose that in theory and in practice even in the highest dairy production areas in Australia one will still find some degree of marginality. This is usually the case in respect of most agricultural pursuits. On the perimeter there are farms that should not be engaged in dairy production but would be better employed in, for example, beef production, forestry operations or something else. One of the criteria for defining marginal farms in the whole milk area relates to the value of the milk at manufactured prices. It is important that this be stressed. Low income producers within the fluid milk sector are eligible to participate in the marginal dairy farm reconstruction scheme. At one stage there was some doubt that the possession of a milk quota might exclude a person from the scheme. I am glad to see that if this doubt had any substance it is removed in the Bill. If a dairy farm is marginal, the farmer voluntarily can sell out under the provisions of the legislation. Another important provision relates to the disposal of assets which are redundant. The incoming farmer will not be burdened with redundant assets. It is easy to criticise, but I would suppose that the most important criticism of the Bill is that it is not going to solve or even scratch the surface of the problems of the dairying industry today. I do not think it was designed to try to solve the great marketing problem. It was designed for one objective - to make more efficient use of resources that are employed either for the dairying industry or some other industry. If we can get greater efficiency in primary industry in terms of resource use surely we are achieving something positive. For many years Western Australia has been a net importer. Although it is claimed that one of the deficiencies of this legislation is that it may result in increased dairy production in Western Australia one cannot blame Western Australia for wanting to be self-sufficient in dairy production, even though in respect of the whole of Australia there may be an increase in production. My specific criticism of the Bill is that it does not make provision for finance for the incoming farmer; it provides only for the outgoing farmer who can voluntarily sell his cattle and plant and receive a fair market value for his property through acquisition and compensation. But if his property is amalgamated with another property, what guarantee have we that the incoming farmer to whom he sells his property has the development finance to build up the farm? This is probably the main criticism that I can fire at this legislation. On the one hand the Bill is objective, but on the other hand it does not provide, other than through normal banking channels, sufficient money to enable a farm to be built up to a viable unit, whether it be for beef cattle, more dairy production or even, let us say, forestry. I feel, however, that the Bill makes a positive step in the right direction. Some people say there should be no reconstruction schemes, that the dairying industry should be allowed to look after "itself, that the normal laws of supply and demand will in themselves straighten things out. I do not share that view. I feel that the primary producers, particularly the dairy farmers and their families in marginal areas, are so entrenched in dairy production, which is their way of life, that even with this voluntary system it will be very difficult to entice many of them from their farms. We should not criticise- them for wanting to remain on their properties because this is their way of life. They want to live in this way. Although possibly they may not receive as much as the basic wage, many of them are happier than other people who work in the city. A good point about the Bill is that it provides for the voluntary surrender of a property. We must recognise that in marginal areas there are very large tracts of land that with known technology and within the known economics of dairy production simply will not be able to yield the required productivity per acre or per milking cow to provide a family with a reasonable living. I refer as an example to the south west of Western Australia, an area which has had a chequered history. It has never been much good in terms of efficiency so far as dairy production is concerned, although I hesitate to use the word 'efficiency'. The dairying industry in that area has not been able to use resources efficiently - put it that way. In fact the land resources in the south west of Western Australia have been grossly exaggerated in terms of soil fertility and productivity. There has been an underestimation in relation to the difficulties and cost of clearing and maintaining land in that area. Dairying was established in the south west of Western Australia before the introduction of phosphatic fertilisers and the subterranean clovers. Much of. the land is bad enough now even with the use of phosphate and subterranean clover, so one can only imagine how bad it was when the producers relied on native pastures in the sandy, light texured country before the pasture revolution came in. Scheme after scheme has failed in the south west of Western Australia. After the first World War the British Government financed migrants to come to the south west of Western Australia and a group scheme was started in 1921 at Manjimup. That scheme failed. I suppose the basic problem in that area now is that there is simply not enough good pasture on each dairy farm. I suppose that would be the simple way of defining it. There is just not enough feed over the 12 months of the year, tak:ng into account the seasonal nutritional stress, to give the required high plane of efficiency necessary on a good dairy farm. In northern New South Wales and south eastern Queensland we have the other 2 marginal areas of dairy production. In these areas the problems are reasonably well known. They are nutritional deficiency and, in south eastern Queensland, there is often the water problem. I suppose the best indicator of the marginality of these areas is the big scrub area of the northern part of New South Wales where on many farms there is a very low lactation period of around 5 months, according to the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, with an average butter fat per lactation of only 200 lb. Translated into production per acre, this is around 78 lb per acre per annum. In the Maclean-Clarence area it is approximately the same. South eastern Queensland is a major marginal dairying area, I cannot understand why the Queensland Government has not been part of the scheme because this is one area that will greatly benefit by the introduction of this reconstruction scheme. In south eastern Queensland there are large tracts of country which, no matter what technology is applied, are simply not dairying country. The quicker the dairying industry realises this the better because with a dry winter and dry spring and the recurring droughts and with known technology and water conditions there is just not the spread of lactation to make dairy farming efficient. On the other hand, there are large areas of south eastern and central coastal Queensland where marginal dairy farms exist which are capable of achieving high levels of dairying efficiency through reconstruction. This is what is needed. We need to be able to achieve larger farms, to have access to finance and to put the level of efficiency in south eastern Queensland on a higher plane. {: #subdebate-29-55-s5 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- I agree with the Minister. I deal briefly with south-eastern Queensland finally because this is an area of some importance to me, being a Queenslander, and an area which I know reasonably well. As I said before, from my knowledge of the area and the work with which I have been associated in the area, I know that there have been very important breakthroughs with respect to pastures. The main emphasis over the years in pasture research in this area has been the search for tropical legumes which would produce a cheap source of nitrogen for pasture improvement. The dairying areas did not have this. Unlike Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia they did not have the tropical or subtropical legumes which are essential to sound dairy production in this area. First of all. a legume has to be found. It is necessary then to know the fertiliser requirements of that legume. It has to be nodulated with effective bacteria for the nitrogen fixation and it has to be grazed efficiently. Research is now showing this and given this knowledge and this type of scheme in Queensland there can be a very marked improvement in the plane of efficiency. I would like to deal briefly with this problem because it is most important to reconstruction in Queensland. Queensland has a small scheme for trying to promote increased production through pasture work. But I have a feeling that nitrogen will be one of the most important sources of pasture growth in these areas of Queensland in the future, particularly now that large plants, such as Austral Pacific, are coming into stream. Research has shown that even in the worst soils in Western Australia, clovers will fix something like 40 lb to 200 lb of nitrogen per acre. Research in Queensland, which before was most sceptical of finding any tropical legumes which would fix nitrogen, is now showing that this can be done. In fact, it was only recently that serious doubts about the value and efficiency of symbiotic nitrogen fixation was expressed. But the breakthrough now in the Departments of Agriculture and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is such that there is tremendous potential with sub-tropical and tropical legumes. 1 will mention a few of the legumes which I saw only a few days ago in some of the dairying areas. I saw these legumes in areas Where at the present time one farmer will have a lactation period of approximately 4 months, while his neighbours who have capital, imagination and management have a lactation period of approximately 84 to 9 months. This has happened through the introduction of such legumes as desmodium, indigofera. glycine, centrosema and stylosanthes. The CSIRO is now developing a strain of perennial Townsville lucerne. With the siratro and setaria pastures there is a revolution going on in some of these areas which previously were pronounced marginal dairy farms and which will remain marginal dairy farms until we can get some semblance of sanity in the Queensland Government by its accepting positive and sound schemes like these. Pasture research in grasses is just as impressive. I would say that at the present time in the coastal areas, the most important and spectacular grass is the pangola grass. With heavy application of nitrogen, experimental work is showing yields of dry matter ranging, on the latest experiments, between 3,000 lb and 23,000 lb of dry matter per acre. {: #subdebate-29-55-s6 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- It could be used for beef cattle. This is possibly more efficient. The aim of this Bill is to encourage a more efficient use of resources. If we can get efficient use of resources, surely we are on the right track. I was talking about the pangola grass. In theory, anyhow, it means that 20,000 lb of dried matter per acre is equal to 3 beasts per acre. You are not going to get anything like that under commercial conditions. But this was land that previously was carrying 1 milking cow to 15 to 20 acres. I do not want to say anything more than that because I am in favour of the Bill. I think it is a positive step in the right direction. But I regret that it has taken 3 years to come to the party, for example, so far as the State of Western Australia is concerned, but at least it has now come to the party. After all, the terms and conditions provided in this Bill are favourable, so far as any State is concerned. No doubt the States are holding out for more money, but I would think that now that the agreement with Western Australia has been signed, if the other States have any sense at all they will come to the party very fast and get their share of the money before the period of 4 years expires. There is a limit to the time that any government can wait. {: #subdebate-29-55-s7 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON: -- The Minister for Primary Industry has informed me that Tasmania has agreed. I hope that Queensland will hurry up and agree, because it is one State that will benefit from this legislation. No Government can wait forever until the States negotiate and play behind the scenes to try to get a better deal from the Commonwealth, when in fact they have probably got the best deal possible. Surely they do not want the whole lot as a grant. After ail, they are getting half of it, if not more than that, in the long term as a grant. The main criticism that 1 have from the point of view of this specific Bill is that I believe it should have made some provision for the development of the resources for the incoming farmer. The Minister did mention the possibility of rehabilitation or retraining. This is an argumentative subject. Dairy farms are not cheap to buy even in the marginal areas. I do not know what the average price would be; prices would vary. But if a dairy farmer voluntarily sells his farm, unless he is heavily in debt, he and his family walk out with a substantial amount of money. What is the difference in principle between the position of the dairy farmer and that of the coal miner when the mine closes down, or the shop keeper in the corner shop, or whatever the case may be? If the dairy farmer voluntarily decides to sell his farm under favourable conditions and then a government is going to train him, surely it could be argued also that a government should train everybody who is forced out of a job. There is a limit on how far one can argue on this score. The main arguments I have with the Bill are, firstly, that it does not solve the main problems of the dairy industry. It is not designed for that. We admit that those problems are concerned with marketing. Secondly the Bill does not provide any finance to develop the resources efficiency on the flow-through of the incoming farmer. **Mr Deputy Speaker,** the Opposition supports the Bill as a positive move to overcome the sort of problems that we find in Western Australia. It is up to New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland to do something objective in respect of this matter in order to achieve at least greater efficiency on marginal dairy farms. {: #subdebate-29-55-s8 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr Robinson:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES -- That is not true. {: .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: **- Mr Deputy Speaker,** I am not quite sure that there is total comprehension at this hour of the morning by all honourable members present. I refer them to the Hansard report of the debates in the Legislative Assembly in New South Wales. 1 suggest they study them. {: #subdebate-29-55-s9 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: -- I am glad to see that the honourable member for Mallee is awake. What do the dairy farmers say? At. the Victorian Dairyfarmers Association conference held in Melbourne the Minister for Primary Industry in fact called for voluntary restriction on dairy production. There was a special report on this matter. It was pointed out, of course, that the call for restriction was too close to the 1970-71 season and was an extremely difficult operation for the dairy farmer himself to undertake. Surely this is another example of a crisis being allowed to develop and then a panic button being pressed. The Minister has brought into the House a measure to act as a guide to the dairy farmers and in effect to say to them: 'Well now, let us restrict. Let us now cut back. We have to do it. You are going too far.' I am wondering whether the panic is justified. What are we talking about? We are talking about 5,000 to 10,000 tons as against 230,000 tons of production. Is this a reason for panic at this stage? This panic has emerged from a background of extensive imports of cheese and other products, of some milk factories looking for products and of doubt as to whether the maximum effort is going into overseas sales and export activity. Let us have a look at some of the overseas challenges. One example that comes to mind is a possible market in Peru. Not so long ago it was reported that New Zealand had rushed a team to Peru for exploratory talks last September. The General Manager of the Australian Dairy Produce Board visited Peru in October last. There was obviously a race for the market there. The interesting thing is that the Reserve Bank apparently did not heed the need for some flexibility and supporting credit to enable us to get orders which we could have obtained with support at government and banking levels. Are we doing all we could do as a nation to support the export of products which we can produce very efficiently in many areas? We have seen the spectacle of overseas products hitting hard at our local products. Government credit policies are hamstringing overseas sales. Some processors have ben saying that they are short of dairy products. We have unlimited markets in Asia for processed products provided there is some government enterprise and efficient supporting services to enable us to exploit them. Instead, there is no talk by the Government of doing more in that regard. In fact there is talk of a cutback. It is true that some reconstruction must take place. Surely it is an abdication of national leadership that we have State and Federal schemes that appear to be diametrically opposed in their objectives. Surely it is time that we had some real national leadership in this industry. We could begin by recognising that we want and need the industry. We should review the whole of the support programme in relation to market needs. There is also a need to consider the restructuring of the total support to ensure that there is maximum production not only of what we need at home but also of exports that we could develop with proper government backing and enterprise. In other words the desire of the industry should at least be matched by the enthusiasm of the Government. We should certainly resolve the conflict between State and Federal programmes and, above all, there should be long term planning to replace the panic button pressing operations. If honourable members tonight need an example of confusion of planning at State and Federal level, surely we have it in the tuberculosis and brucellosis eradication programme agreed to by the Australian Agricultural Council. The scheme completely overlooked the southern Riverina, an area which is recognised everywhere as being amongst the most efficient dairy areas in Australia. That area was ignored. What kind of national decision is that? It is quite typical of the fragmented approach. {: #subdebate-29-55-s10 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: -- There is a certain amount of levity in the House, lt is approaching 2 a.m. {: #subdebate-29-55-s11 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: -- I suppose we could be excused for the levity because the measures debated this evening - Commonwealth-State relations and the reconstruction of the dairy industry - are considered of such minor importance that they have been debated after midnight and not before. Therefore I can understand some levity. At present the problems facing the industry are not a cause for levity. There is a case for coordinated national decisions not bom of panic but based on sound integrated planning with both Federal and State authorities playing their parts. {: #subdebate-29-55-s12 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: -- I welcome back the honourable member for Angas, who has awakened at 2 a.m., to the land of the living. I point out very bluntly and very seriously to him that at present, instead of talking eternally of cutbacks, we should talk in terms of expanding exports and of more active support by the Government. Honourable members opposite can say what they like about the industry at present, but it is able to do only a certain amount. {: #subdebate-29-55-s13 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY: -- That is right. If their approach to dynamic overseas selling and improvement in supportive services is that it is a complete joke, I think I agree with them that their efforts are a joke. Many honourable members opposite rise in the morning with Queen Victoria's concepts of trading and with that the timing of aproaches to matters that the Government has under discusion. I think it would be a very good exercise to look at the conflicts, to which I have referred this evening, between the State and Federal authorities - conflicts which are made obvious by the fact that it took the Government years to bring this legislation into the House. Many people in the dairy industry have resented being treated in a cavalier and a casual fashion when in fact, they have made a major contribution to the economy of the country. I have great pride in representing some of the people who have made that contribution. I suggest that the measures before the House tonight are part of a fragmented and disorganised approach to an industry which should enjoy a high priority in the considerations of government. I do not regard this measure as at all adequate. My colleague, the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** and I accept it as an instalment on something that should be done and certainly as only a step and not an entire programme. We will await the next series of measures which will surely recognise that there is a' future to an industry which has contributed so much, in which so many people are involved and on which they depend. {: #subdebate-29-55-s14 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr Grassby: -- Why? {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr GILES: -- The honourable member for Riverina was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He should know more about the subject than to ask why. The reason was that the States could not see that such an agreement had benefit for them at that time. I will1 touch in a little while on one of the reasons why my own State was a bit negligent in getting into the act. lt is totally unfair for anyone to rise in this House as the honourable member for Riverina has done tonight and to try to pretend that this Government has been tardy in introducing this legislation. That is just about as dishonest as his latest effort with the provincial Press some time ago. He cannot hold his head very high in this place as long as he adopts these sort of tactics. I invite honourable members to look at the conditions laid down in the second reading speech delivered by the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony).** This speech also covers the agreement. I want to get straight the objectives of the scheme. Let me remind honourable members that this is the matter that we should be discussing, not some of the other things that have been raised. I will read the objectives. They are: >To enable low income dairy farmers who voluntarily wish to do so, to leave the industry and to receive a fair price for their land and improvements: and, after the writing off of redundant assets, to make the land and useful improvements available lo other farmers so as to build up their properties to a viable family farm level and, where possible, diversifying the pattern of land use. Those are the points of the scheme which should be considered in this debate. But underneath these points there are conditions that apply to this scheme and to this agreement. The first condition deals wilh the definition of a marginal dairy farm. In what I might suggest is a rather flashing glimpse of the obvious the second reading speech states: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. lt must, of course, be a rural property. The conditions continue: 1. It must have at least some minimum number of cows. It is proposed to use as a minimum 20 lactating cows. This eliminates those farmers who are merely running a small number of cows as a sideline. That does not seem to me to be a satisfactory definition although it maybe in the agreement. Whether '20 lactating cows' means 20 potential milkers or 20 cows with half a dozen dry. I do not know, lt is not spelt out here. Nor indeed, if I could get on to a practical issue, does that definition indicate whether a forward springing heifer is or is not a lactating cow. 1 presume that these are details which can be fixed in the agreement and are part of the rights and responsibility of the State to introduce to the Commonwealth Government as part of the agreement between those 2 parties. The conditions as set out in the second reading speech continue: {: type="1" start="3"} 0. At least half of the gross income of the farm must be derived from the production of milk or cream sold at the manufacturing price. Now, I am not quite so amused by this part of the agreement. Perhaps the House would not mind if, for a minute, I spoke of the city milk scheme as it applies in South Australia. The first thing that I should say is that of all the schemes that have aimed at producing milk at a low price for ready consumption by people, the South Australian scheme leaves most others well in the lurch. It is a scheme that has benefited the consumer. Secondly, it is a very economic scheme because of the adjustability of the boundaries within which dairies are licensed. Let me outline as simply and as briefly as I can the basic principles of the scheme. Along any radius from within the boundaries of the scheme, which are in effect adjustable, dairies are licensed according to the standard of hygiene maintained at the dairy by its owner. In times of plentiful milk supply - shall we. say spring in the southern States - milk is drawn from the smallest circumference commensurate with the demand for milk in the city at that time. Although the milk is drawn from a small circumference only, the dairies that are licensed right out lo the periphery of the licensed area all share in the scheme as though they had sent their own proportion of milk into the city market. The price is equalised at that level. In autumn in the southern States when there is a small supply of milk due to seasonal influences and lack of feed the scheme might pull milk from the larger area, of licenced dairies. When spring comes there is a big supply of milk and it is hauled only from the area to meet the demand for milk by the consuming public in Adelaide. The scheme has the economic advantage of hauling milk the minimum distance required and yet it equalises payments for all licenced dairy farmers within that area. But there is another side lo the picture, lt is very important. The scheme is geared to a 4% butterfat component. In effect the percentage test, if it is the same as it was some years ago, is slightly higher than *4%.* So it is equalised in another way. A uniform percentage of milk exists in terms of butterfat sold to the consumer. I mention this because I think one matter we should keep firmly in mind is that cheese sales over a 10-year period have been soaring whereas by and large processed milk products have been saleable except for a short period. There is a world surplus of butter amounting to about 500 million tons. 1 think this House has heard me speaking on similar subjects before. We should be looking at ways in which we can dispose of surplus butter. If every capital city in Australia had a similar scheme to that in Adelaide which is based on 4% plus milk most of the surplus butter in this country would disappear within a reasonably short lime. My mathematics are not precise on this but it would make a tremendous difference to the surplus butter sitting in the channels of industry at present. 1 ask the Minister to use what influence it can through the Australian Agricultural Council to suggest the scheme as an economic one, a cheap one which suits the consumers and one that can dispose of some surplus butter. Is this not a viable scheme for this Government to suggest to State governments - not to dictate to them as the Opposition might like to do but to suggest and to point out that it might have advantages for their particular areas. Condition 3 which I have previously quoted leads me to the real cause of complaint which I want to air tonight. In spite of the fact that there is so much economic sense in the type of scheme- I have just described to the House, those capable of absorbing the facts will readily perceive (hat as the prices are equalised there is not a dairy farmer in the area who is eligible to take advantage of this reconstruction scheme. South Australia is about nine-tenths desert. Our viable agricultural area is not very great and it is logical to suppose that most of the dairy industry exists in the hills and areas surrounding the hills near Adelaide and down in the south eastern area. I maintain that a very large share of the dairy industry in South Australia has been precluded from the scheme. What economic nonsense is this? On the one hand wc have a scheme which is functional, efficient and economic for people who have to buy milk. On the other hand it is a very fair method of equalising payments irrespective of where the milk is drawn from. It is not a method that produces the quite ridiculous returns obtained in the elaborate quota system operating in Sydney, that has done nothing but increase in an artificial fashion the price of milk to consumers to an appalling extent and is not viable under any economic criteria. In spite of the fact that this is a good method it is totally precluded from any of the benefits of the scheme. I regret to have to say that I hope that the Minister will give me some assurance that he will meet as soon as he can the new South Australian Minister for Agriculture, **Mr Casey,** who comes from the arid north, so that there will be a chance to explain some of these things to him - to see what can be done about this - because to my way of thinking it is certainly quite a ridiculous situation. The fourth condition as set out in the second reading speech, is: in the opinion of the State authority operating the scheme, the farm, if used wholly for dairying or purposes . . . That condition makes it quite plain that the Government of a State has the right to negotiate within certain limits with the Federal Government the various conditions applying to that State. I hope that this will happen because if the present Government of South Australia does not succeed in introducing some measure of relief into areas such as the one in which 1 live, where some farmers still have earth floors in their houses, there will be a grave miscarriage of justice because of the fact that a proportion of their income in that area, due to the city milk price being higher than the manufacturing price, takes the ratio beyond the SO-SO set down in this Bill as the minimum condition. I have not sufficient time tonight to deal with the other factors, but that is one of them. The reconstruction factors must be seriously discussed in relation to the difficulties of the dairying industry in this nation. I applaud the Government for bringing in this one factor. Although there are many other factors I wish to discuss I hope that the difficulties I have highlighted tonight can be resolved for the sake of many marginal dairy farmers within that efficient city milk area and surrounding outlets. {: #subdebate-29-55-s15 .speaker-K9L} ##### Mr Garland:
CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- The Western Australian Government was the first to co-operate with it. {: .speaker-KGN} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -- That is right. The Minister in introducing this Bill said: >This Bill will give effect to the Government's intention to make available up to $25 m over a period of 4 years for implementation of the marginal dairy farms reconstruction scheme. Tabled with the Bill is an Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Western Australia which will come into force immediately this Bill is enacted by Parliament. The Minister has said what the Bill will do. He went on to say why it was necessary, and I wish to quote a few short extracts from his speech so as to bring them into context with my remarks. He said: >The sum total of a limited home market and an over-supplied world market means that, despite the continuation of the Government subvention of $27m per annum for butter and cheese, the equalised return to producers declined from 47.1c per lb butterfat in 1964-65 to an estimated 41.3c for the current year. Over the same period costs have risen by *161%* according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, index of prices paid by farmers. The net farm income of producers in the dairying industry has suffered severely. In order to emphasise the figures I will read part of that again: {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . the equalised return to producers declined from 47.1c per lb butterfat in 1964-65 to an estimated 41.3c for the current year. Over the same period costs have risen by 16J%. . . , The Minister also said: . . there are a substantial number of dairy farmers who. due to inadequate farm size or capital limitation or to a variety of other intractable problems, have not been able to keep pace with the changes that arc going on in the industry. The economic examination of the dairy industry conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in 1964 shows that the average net farm income throughout the industry in Australia over the period sun-eyed - 1961-62 to 1963-64 - was $2,400. At the time, some 55% of all dairy farmers earned a net farm income of less than $2,000 per annum. In the manufacturing sector of the industry, that is among those producers who do not have access to the higher priced fluid milk market, the situation was even worse. The Minister went on to outline what the Bill is designed to do in order to effect changes. He said: >The objectives of the Commonwealth scheme are twofold: To enable low income dairy farmers who voluntarily wish to do so to leave the industry and to receive a fair price for their land and improvements- I believe that that is a laudable aim - and, after the writing-off of redundant assets, to make the land and useful improvements available to other farmers so as to build up their properties to a viable family farm level and, where possible, diversifying the pattern of land use. The reason why I chose to read those extracts is that they describe very well the situation that, exists in my electorate. The incomes that are described would be very close to the incomes received by people in my electorate. 1 would say at this stage that my electorate is probably the one that is most affected by the Bill as it stands at present. I believe that I have at least 90% of the dairy farmers in Western Australia in my electorate and, as the Bill stands, Western Australia is the only State that has chosen to come in under it. {: #subdebate-29-55-s16 .speaker-KGN} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -- This Bill relates just to Western Australia. So, as the Bill stands at this stage, my electorate will benefit more than any other. The honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** has already mentioned the group scheme that started in Western Australia. I believe that there are still many people between Manjimup and Denmark and in the south west corner of the State who suffer from the effects of the group scheme. I refer to those whose parents or grandparents came there from the cities of England, They were enticed to come by the Western Australian Government, through seeing pictures of settled paddocks somewhere other than in the south west. There was no big timber in the pictures. They were enticed to go there. They were given an adze and an axe and put into groups to clear the karris and jarrahs of that area. Anyone who has been in that area would wonder that those people started at all. Anyone who has read any of the stories of the times know how many of them committed suicide and how many of them were mentally and physically broken and, therefore, will realise that those who continued were most tenacious and also that they must have overcome tremendous difficulties. As 1 have said, many of the people there are still endeavouring to overcome difficulties. it is true to say that their incomes are as low as those described by the Minister in his second reading speech. It is also true to say that many of them, in an effort to clear the land at tremendous cost, as the Minister also said in his second reading speech, go to work in the timber mills. That means that the wife is left at home to do the work on the farm and that the husband, the wife and the children have to milk the cows before they go to school and work and have to milk again when they come home from school and work. One does not have to have a very good imagination to know that the children as they go through school are never able to realise their true potential. We have a grave social problem in that as soon as some of these children turn 14 or 15 years of age they are taken out of school to go on to the farm because that is all they know. They have not been able to get out of this spiral. I believe that this legislation will mean very much. It will give quite a glimmer of hope to people in this situation who want to get out of dairying but at the present time cannot afford to do so. It will also bring a glimmer of hope to those on neighbouring farms who could not without this legislation buy up the farm that is left. They could not, without this Bill, afford to buy the capital constructions or pay for the houses, the dairies or anything else that was on the property that they would not actually require but would have to buy. I believe that the Bill will benefit those who wish to get out of the industry as well as those who will be able to run an economic unit if they are able to. increase their acreage of cleared land. It is "true that some of these farmers are still trying to dairy on the land that was cleared in the group days. Some of them are trying to subsist on areas of about 75 acres of cleared land. This is why they have to work in the mills and do the things that I have described. Because of the lateness of the hour I will not say more than that. I repeat that I believe this proposal will be beneficial in assisting people who choose to take advantage of the legislation. I hope that it will be followed by other beneficial legislation which will not take so long to come into this place as has the legislation now before us. I hope also that some thought will be given to rehabilitation schemes for the children who have never been able while living on dairies to develop their true potential and that they may have the opportunities that were given to ex-servicemen after the war to find what they can do in the fields of trades and professions so that they can take a worthwhile and useful place in the community. I hope they will enjoy the benefits that their parents may now be able to enjoy by getting off the farm with some money in their pockets or by taking over a neighbouring farm and so having an economic unit to work on. I look forward to seeing the effects of this Bill. I anticipate that many of the effects will be laudable and I commend the Minister for the quality of his speech and of the Bill and say that the only reservation I have is the length of time it has taken to bring the measure to this point. {: #subdebate-29-55-s17 .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr Foster:
STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- They passed the buck. They will not accept their responsibilities. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE: -- Yes. The Minister is getting out of it very easily. He is providing the money from this source but he is not having the problems. The problems will be with each Stale department. The Minister in his second reading speech said: >The next feature mentioned in the Bill is that the agreement must include provision that the outgoing man will receive current market value for his land and structural improvements. Who will decide on the correct current market value for his land? I feel there will have to be tribunals set up within each State to handle some of the vicious financial questions that will arise out of the implementation of the scheme, in that respect there are one or two other interesting features that I noticed as 1 went through the details of the scheme and which the poor old States will have to decide. I think that the Ministers for Agriculture in the States which adopt this scheme will have a great deal of extra work and worry placed on their shoulders when decisions on these questions have to be made. I agree with the provisions in the Bill which have been outlined by the Mininster on pages 9 and 10 of his roneoed second reading speech. They are very good provisions indeed. But the State has to decide some of these very difficult and tricky questions. For this reason the State will be a little wary in accepting the scheme. In conclusion I refer to the following words in the Minister's second reading speech: in the opinion of the State authority operating the scheme, the farm, if used wholly for dairying or purposes incidental to dairying, is not reasonably capable of producing to a level agreed between the Commonwealth and the State. A standard of about 12,000 lb of butter fat is fixed, and there is a variable between 12,000 lb and 15,000 lb. This is another delicate question that will have to bc decided by the State authority. So, in spite of the fact that the Commonwealth is to provide $25m over 4 years, the State is responsible for implementing the scheme. The Commonwealth is to charge 6% on half the money that is repayable to it, and it is hoping that from the way in which the States handle the scheme, they will receive sufficient for administrative purposes to cover possible losses. There are a lot of ifs and bum about the scheme, and we will have to see how it operates in Western Australia and Tasmania to find any weaknesses in the scheme. I expect that amendments to the scheme will have to be made within 2 years. That will be all right. Trial and error is a good thing, provided that in the process we improve the lot of the farmer who is in need of assistance. I have a few reservations about the scheme, particularly on the production side. But all in all it is something new to try. I think that we should give it a go and if in 2 or 3 years it is a failure, let us bury it very deep in the earth. However, I commend the Minister for his persistency in advocating the scheme. The overall aim of the scheme is good. That is why the Labor Party has approved of it. But, as I say, we have reservations which are only natural in schemes which are so revolutionary and new as this one is. {: #subdebate-29-55-s18 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr Robinson: -- You are dealing with the wrong Bill. {: .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM: -- I am dealing with the right Bill. The honourable member for Cowper seems to think that only sugar, wheat or wool can bc treated in this way. Every primary product can be treated in such a way that a subsidy can be given for a basic amount of production. The subsidy is sufficient to maintain the producer and assure him of a minimum income. It is high time that that was done in the case of dairying instead of subsidising total production. Regional boards can take this action. They can sst a ceiling on quotas and can take into consideration the size of a family depending on the industry, the nature of the region and the type of climate, and anything else that affects the expectation of income and the capacity and commitments of individual producers. Another proposition I could advance is that the remainder of production be purchased by the national authority to go into a No. 2 pool, to be sold at world equity prices as soon as the subsidy could be abolished. I am sure it could be tapered off in such a scheme in which disincentives will turn rural production from dairying, so long as the subsidy is tied around the necks of the taxpayers and not helping to induce self respect and self reliance in dairy farmers. The producers could be given loans at low interest rates to improve their productivity and to assist them to diversify their production, in addition to the proposal to phase out marginal farms. I do not wish to engage in glowing eulogies on the good points of the Bill. I accept and support the measure, but I suggest that there should be a co-ordinated approach to this recurring problem in all rural industries. As 1 have said time and again in this House there are basic principles. The small producer should be protected. We do not want the big producer to be oversubsidised. These basic principles should be enunciated by governments and not by producers. If the producers will discuss these points with tha Government and accept them, as I feel sure they will, the blame for not putting them into effect will lie with the Government and not with the industry. {: #subdebate-29-55-s19 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr Robinson: -- Is this the waterside workers' viewpoint? {: .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- The waterside workers have faced for a number of years in their industry a problem which is closely related to that which we are discussing tonight. I refer to redundancy. I ask members of the Country Party what they are doing for these people. Are you providing any protection for them in respect of redundancy? You are asking them to commit rural suicide. Members of the Country Party may well laugh. The fact is that you have misguided and misled them. If the trade union movement was confronted with a similar position of having its membership threatened with the loss of their livelihood, it would most certainly be looking after it members better than the Country Party is looking after the people it purports to support. I invite the honourable member for Mallee **(Mr Turnbull)** to march in Adelaide next month and join the panel of speakers if he wants to do so. He can then go his hardest, and so can the Minister. The Government is approaching this problem in the wrong way. If you had not suffered from a lousy inferiority complex over the years in respect of overseas trade, and have been almost stupid in not appreciating the bargaining position we had, and if you had not sat as you have sat for almost 20 long years without displaying any initiative at all to gain overseas markets for a whole range of products, we would not need to be discussing this problem ' tonight. Earlier today you talked about freight rates. You have done nothing at all. **Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)** - Order! I remind the honourable member for Sturt that he should address the Chair and also that he is tending to get away with remarks that are. unparliamentary. {: .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER: -- I was just giving a point of illustration. I was merely indicating that earlier in the day, in the course of questions, honourable members opposite again indicated how they let down another sector of rural industry in regard to freight rates on wool. I come back to the point that the Government has not got ofl' its backside over the years to do. what it should have been doing so far as the rural industries are. concerned, lt should have been selling the products that were produced. Belatedly, some 10 years later, the Government comes along with a proposal such as this. An honourable member opposite asks how long it took me to get here. I do not know how long it took me lo get here, but that is not the point. I. am not prepared to stay here and listen to the claptrap that I have listened to from that side of the House much longer. I have risen to tell honourable members opposite that as far as I, an individual in this Parliament, am concerned, they have let down the people that they are supposed to represent. Honourable members opposite are a pretty sad lot 'from that point of view. 1 end on that note. {: .page-start } page 2907 {:#debate-30} ### MARGINAL DAIRY FARMS AGREEMENTS BILL 1970 Second Reading Debate resumed from 14 May (vide page 2192), on motion by **Mr Anthony:** That the Bill be now read a second time. {: #debate-30-s0 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson -- This House is now required to consider a most important Bill, the Marginal Dairy Farms Agreements Bill 1970. It has been under consideration for some 3 years by the Government and now, at 12.50 a.m., we are to consider the expenditure of $25m.If this is the way a government runs- {: #debate-30-s1 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- Why do we not make cheese which is as good as the imported cheese? {: #debate-30-s2 .speaker-KWR} ##### Mr Turner: -- On the contrary, I have stayed loo long. {: #debate-30-s3 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- It is a pity they did not have the benefit of the scheme in the last 2 years before many of them walked off. {: #debate-30-s4 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Could this be used for beef cattle? {: #debate-30-s5 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr Anthony:
CP -- Tasmania has agreed too. {: #debate-30-s6 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr STREET:
Corangamite -- I should first of all like to compliment the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** on the persistence and patience he has shown over a long period in getting this legislation before the House. It is certainly not his responsibility that there has been such a long delay between the time when this reconstruction scheme was first foreshadowed and the actual presentation of the legislation that we have today. I think everybody agrees that reconstruction is a vital necessity in the dairy industry. It is a matter of concern to many of us that a great many hard working Australians arc not sharing in the general prosperity of this country. According to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, over half the dairy farmers in Australia are earning less than $2,000 per annum. Of course, this affects some thousands of farmers and their families. We have heard a great deal over the years of the alleged inefficiency of the dairy industry. This term 'inefficiency' can be used in many ways, but in popular usage it is not always used in the strict economic sense. There is an implied criticism of the farmers themselves. 1 think that in the main this charge of inefficiency when applied to the personal standard of performance of the farmers is generally unfair. Undoubtedly there are pockets of this type of inefficiency in the dairy industry, just as there are in practically every form of industry, both primary and secondary. But judged by objective criteria, the efficiency standards of the Australian dairy industry are high. In fact, they are very high. They are exceeded by only one dairying industry in the world, that of New Zealand. The main trouble that the dairying industry faces, as has been mentioned tonight, is the difficulty of competing on world markets, which have their prices gravely affected by the quite extravagant price support programmes of the European Economic Community. These policies are outside Australia's control but I think it should be pointed out that whether they are outside, our control or not the dairying industry will continue to have to face these cost price pressures. Clearly the long term objective for the industry must be to try to concentrate it on the land most suitable to it because only then will we get the most efficient use of resources and a dairying industry better able to remain competitive and to resist the pressures to which it will continue to be subjected. This legislation is aimed primarily, of course, at the difficulties of the small producer, but in talking about the difficulties of the small producer - in this case particularly the dairy farmer - I think there are lessons to be learned in looking at the situation of small producers generally, because the increasing difficulties of the small producer are not restricted to primary industry. With advances in technologies leading to revolutions in manu facturing processes the world picture of production of all kinds is changing more rapidly than at any time in history. One thing is certain, and that is that any nation which does not recognise this fact and adapt its industries of all kinds to deal with it will be left behind and will lose its competitive position in world trade. As one of the great trading nations of the world we just cannot afford to find ourselves in this position and, as I said on a previous occasion in this House, Australia must keep up with the world because the world will not slow down for us. Because of these changing economic circumstances I feel that the Government has an obligation to develop policies to make some provision for those farmers who find themselves in a situation where they have no prospect of earning an adequate income. This legislation recognises this fact. But it is also vitally necessary for the Government to encourage in the country economic and efficient primary production. It is necessary not merely for those concerned in the industries but because for the foreseeable future Australia will depend on the export earnings of primary industry to remain nationally solvent. Even with the latest projections of earnings from minerals and manufactures, the proportion of export earnings represented by primary industry will still be critically important for many years ahead. With the current difficulties facing many primary products to find world markets there is an urgent need to identify the products for which a market can bc expected. 1 would like to congratulate the Minister for Primary Industry on his recent announcement of the expansion of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics designed to improve the Bureau's capacity to issue production and market forecasts to help farmers to make decisions on their future production. Obviously Australian farmers will have to be increasingly flexible in their approach to farming. I think one of the main aspects of this legislation is to try to deter farmers away from the production of butterfat, for which the land has been used in the past, into some alternative form of production. But it would be very difficult to identify which form of production to enter unless adequate information was available. I welcome recent expansion in the Bureau's activities in this regard. It seems to me that the Government has two problems which are largely separate. The first, as I mentioned earlier, is to make reasonable financial provision for those who find themselves in the situation where they wish to leave an industry because they no longer have prospects to earn adequately in it. The second is to enable those who remain in primary industry to earn a living commensurate with that of the rest of the community without becoming a perpetual and an increasing burden on the taxpayer. To solve these problems I bel'ieve that separate and distinct policies will be required, but the problems must be tackled. Not only the future prosperity of primary industry is at stake but, for the reasons I have just mentioned, the soundness of the Australian economy itself is also directly involved. While I congratulate the Government on this realistic and progressive legislation, I am seriously disturbed that at present only farmers in Western Australia and, 1 understand, Tasmania, will be able to benefit from it. It is an unfortunate fact that there are dairy farmers in other States who would welcome the opportunity to have access to the funds provided in this legislation but because of the lack of co-operation at the State level they will be denied access to them. I sincerely hope that the introduction of this legislation will encourage and act as a spur to the other States to join Western Australia and Tasmania in helping the small farmer to obtain a reasonable standard of living because after all that is what the legislation is designed to do. I also trust that the realistic and constructive attitude to both the social and economic problems facing farmers and many primary producers of all kinds which is evident in the legislation will be applied <o other rural industries. I am thinking now in particular of the wool industry because the problems and difficulties which led to the need for the reconstruction scheme for the dairy industry are present in the wool industry and are rapidly becoming more acute. I know that my colleagues on this side of the House, including the Minister for Defence, the honourable member for Wannon **(Mr Malcolm Fraser),** share my great concern at the current financial situation of wool growers and would join me, I feel sure, in expressing the hope that in recognition of the similarity between the problems faced by the wool and dairy industries the Government will initiate policies on broadly similar lines to attack these problems and that the wool industry too will have access to long term finance at reasonable rates of interest as provided in this legislation. In the meantime 1 have much pleasure in supporting this Bill and welcoming it as a constructive effort to deal with the rapidly developing problems of primary industry which finds itself competing for resources in a rapidly developing industrial economy. I think that this kind of approach will serve us well. I hope that it is the precursor of more legislation of this type in other branches of primary industry. {: #debate-30-s7 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY:
Riverina The entire purpose of the series of measures before the Parliament is to continue some limited Commonwealth support to the dairy industry and to launch a marginal dairy farm reconstruction scheme. These measures have been long heralded and long delayed but the implied purpose in them is that they probably will bring about some reduction in production. Of course the measures do nothing to reorganise farm production or reduce it. In fact if we interpret what they could mean, it is a possibility that they will reduce 50 farms to 25 farms. They could affect towns, they could affect people and they could affect decentralisation but they will not necessarily mean a reduction in production. I think the Minister for Pr mary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** might apply himself in that way to the implications that have been given to the measures. The legislation does nothing very much to help farmers staying on their farms to enter other forms of production. It does nothing to ensure that undesired product on is abandoned and more desirable production is stimulated. It is suggested that the Commonwealth and the States have virtually agreed to freeze the present number of dairy farms and that this implies acceptance of registration. It is an interesting implication which has been put forward. Again I think the Minister for Primary Industry should apply himself to the queries raised and tell the House precisely what is in h's mind and what is the Government's intention in this regard. The Government's proposal seems to mean that the dairy farmer has 2 choices. The first is to stay and use State aid schemes such as the New South Wales feed year scheme. The other is to sell and get out, by means of this legislation, and presumably move to the city. I say .that there is a third choice - reconstruction and rehabilitation. This really is not provided for in these measures. The total inadequacy of the Government's approach to the dairy industry is perhaps illustrated by the fact that we have a Commonwealth scheme to help dairy farmers get out of the industry while in New South Wales we have a scheme to help them stay in it. We have 2 schemes. Canberra says that it will help the dairy farmers go and Sydney says that it will help them stay. In case there is some doubt about this I think I should quote the reference by the Premier of New South Wales, **Mr Askin.** 1 will quote from his speech in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He said: >The allocation for the Minister for Agriculture includes a provision of $600,000 for the introduction of a new scheme to assist with the development of improved pasture systems in the North Coast dairying districts which are outside the milk zone . . . the Government nas been examining ways and means of giving further aid lo farmers in this area and it has been decided to introduce a special subsidy scheme to encourage improved agricultural practices with the objective of assisting the farmers to obtain greater productivity and profitability. This seems to indicate a desire to see an expansion in the industry. **Mr Duncan,** a member of the New South Wales Legslative Assembly, who represents one of the major dairying areas, visualises this present Commonwealth scheme that we are debating as underwriting the State scheme by assisting farmers who have participated in the build-up by providing long term loans to enable them to stock and develop their properties. Taking the matter a stage further in the thinking of the State we find another State member - again a member of the Government Parties, of course - stating that 3,600 dairy farmers on the north coast of New South Wales had co-operated with the Government in its feed year ass;stance scheme and that this was a practical and speedy method of bringing farms into increased production. The Minister for Agriculture in New South Wales said th:s More than 4,000 dairy farmers, or 80 per cent of those eligible, are participating in the first twelve months of the Government's feed year development scheme on the North Coast. Right through the statements of the Ministers and the members concerned there is an implication that New South Wales is engaged on an expansion production programme. {: #debate-30-s8 .speaker-KWP} ##### Mr Turnbull: -- You read them. {: #debate-30-s9 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr Robinson: -- The honourable member has not mentioned brucellosis yet. {: #debate-30-s10 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr Giles:
ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- The honourable member is not causing the levity. {: #debate-30-s11 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr Giles: -- Let us hear the honourable member say something. {: #debate-30-s12 .speaker-JM9} ##### Mr Armitage: -- The honourable member should be careful or he will awake the colleagues of the honourable member for Angas. {: #debate-30-s13 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr GILES:
Angas -- Initially 1 remind the honourable member for Riverina **(Mr Grassby)** that, while he might be proud to represent - as I suppose he has for a short while - some dairy farmers, I am a dairy farmer. 1 am glad 1 am not represented by anyone who can talk as much drivel in a few minutes as the honourable member succeeded in doing. He has not brought forward one constructive idea, except to talk about our market potential in Peru. That was most interesting. He dealt with one of the major sectors of our export industry. I deprecate such a ridiculous approach to the serious problems of the dairying industry at this point of time. The honourable member does not impress me one iota. I do not intend to deal with the generalities of the Bill, which the honourable member for Corangamite **(Mr Street)** did in an extremely detailed and competent fashion; nor do I intend to touch on south east Queensland or tropical legumes. Tonight I congratulate the Government and in so doing I point out to the honourable member for Riverina that it is hardly the Government's fault that this Bill could not come forward earlier. {: #debate-30-s14 .speaker-KGN} ##### Mr KIRWAN:
Forrest -- In order to put in the correct perspective what I have to say in this debate I will quote extracts from the second reading speech of the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony).** But before doing so I compliment the Minister on the provisions of the Bill as they are laid down in his speech. I think this is a fine first step to be taken in the dairying industry, as has been said by other members of the Opposition. I believe this measure will provide relief to those people who are willing to take advantage of it. There is only one criticism of this Bill and that is a criticism that has already been made - that it has taken so long to come into effect. Bearing that in mind I reiterate that this Bill is worthy of the time taken for it to be presented to Parliament. {: #debate-30-s15 .speaker-KCB} ##### Mr Davies:
BRADDON, TASMANIA -- What about Tasmania? {: #debate-30-s16 .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr ROBINSON:
Cowper I rise to support the measure before the House. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** has for a very long time attempted to negotiate with the States on behalf of the Commonwealth to introduce this quite dramatic programme of reconstruction of the Australian dairying industry. It is very pleasing that Western Australia should have accepted the scheme. As a consequence we now are able to deal in this House with a Bill the basis of which is an agreement between the Commonwealth and Western Australia and upon which can be patterned similar agreements with the other States. The reasoning behind this measure has been well canvassed and I want to express my admiration, if I may put it that way, for the expressions that we have heard from most speakers in this debate because they have recognised the significant difficulties which have confronted the dairying industry and the remedies which are necessary to deal with the requirements of the industry. Not only hus Western Australia formally accepted the agreement but also, I understand, Tasmania is favourably disposed to accepting it. 1 hope that we will see similar action in respect of the other States of the Commonwealth. I believe that Queensland will not be long in following suit. In the case of New South Wales, which is my own State, 1 have been alarmed for some time at the fact that there has not been the response that one would reasonably expect. However, I was pleased to read only about 2 days ago that the Minister for Lands in New South Wales has seen merit in this scheme and has in fact expressed the view that there is justification for its introduction in New South Wales. It is, of course, true that a form of reconstruction has been in operation in New South Wales for some time. In electorates such as your own electorate of Lyne, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** and the electorates of Cowper and Richmond, which comprise the dairying districts of northern New South Wales, a very good start has already been made under the State's scheme, but it falls far short of what can be done under this measure, particularly in respect of the writing off of redundant buildings and the provisionsion which will allow land to be taken up and put to other use. These provisions are quite revolutionary. Infusion of a substantial amount of capital into the work which is necessary to reconstruct the industry is particularly required. I am sure that if the States are able to come to agreement with the Commonwealth soon we will see, over the period during which the amount of $25m will be made available, a very useful result from this proposal. I wish to correct one impression which was given by the honourable member for Riverina **(Mr Grassby).** He said that there was conflict between the policies of the States and the Commonwealth. He referred in particularly to New South Wales. The honourable member has, of course, failed to look into the details of the pasture scheme which is in operation in New South Wales, particularly in relation to what it means in terms of improving the efficiency of the dairy industry. If the honourable member had looked into the details of this work he would have found that it does not, as he claimed, come into conflict with what is proposed by the Commonwealth in this measure. In fact, the reconstruction scheme supplements what the States have already begun to do. On the other hand, the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** canvassed very strongly the importance of building up the efficiency of the industry so that those who wish to remain in it can be sustained and those who are finding difficulty can leave voluntarily. Certainly, to quote the honourable member for Riverina, no cavalier approach is being adopted. This scheme is a completely voluntary proposition and does not involve direction, control or any other imposition. I believe that the dairy industry has a very sound future, but it is in need of the kind of re-organisation which this measure makes possible. There is, of course, great need for a cohesive plan which will contain production so that there will be a proper relationship between realisation at a payable price and productivity. This aspect will be, of course, the subject of other debates in this chamber in relation to subsequent legislation. However, inking the whole matter on a broad spectrum, it is obvious that the dairy industry is taking a very proper approach to the problems which confront it. I wish to commend those leaders of the industry who have had the wisdom to confer and come forward with constructive suggestions to put to the Government. These very sound reasons are the basis of this measure for the re-arranging of the operations of the industry. They provide the means of sustaining the average dairy farmer, in particular the owner-operator who, with his family, is really the basis or the foundation of a very great industry which has spread across the continent but which is to be found in particular in the northern section of New South Wales, in southern Queensland, in Victoria, in parts of Tasmania and in South Australia and Western Australia. Collectively it is a very significant contributor to the welfare of the nation, lt is of great importance in earning export income. For many reasons it is an industry that is deserving of the kind of support that this measure will make possible. The welding together of a practical approach involving considerations of scientific advances which, these days, can make possible efficiency if there is an economic basis, together with considerations of community welfare give us the spectacle of an industry that concerns people; and people are the concern of this Parliament. I support strongly the measure and I hope that we will see a speedy recognition of its worth by the State governments that have been mentioned in the debate this evening. {: #debate-30-s17 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot -- We are now making rapid progress in our consideration of this Bill. I strongly support the remarks of the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** who led for the Opposition and most of the remarks of other members who have dairy farms in their electorate and who are concerned not only about the future of those farms but of the industry as a whole, of which those farms are a vital part, lt is not necessary to traverse all the facets of this legislation that have been mentioned by other speakers. The Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** gave a detailed speech in introducing the legislation and it was of great interest to those of us who have watched the progress of this scheme since it was first mooted back in 1 966. The least we can say about the Minister is that he has shown great persistency. On 1st April 1969 he made a statement in which he replied to the *Premier* of New South Wales who, along with other State Premiers, suggested that the Commonwealth should make money available to the States as a grant and not as a half grant and a half interest bearing loan as the Commonwealth has insisted and which the Stales involved have now agreed upon. The Minister, forthright as he often is, said that the suggestion was over the odds. He said that the $ 12.5m loan to the States would bear interest at long term bond rates and would be repayable over 25 years. Then he said; If I cannot get a collective decision from the Stales then I will negotiate with individual States. That was the first revolutionary statement he made during the 3 years of long, drawn out negotiations that he had with the Slates. We can sympathise with him in battling against the several States concerned with marginal dairy farms. We imagined from the beginning that this would be a collective scheme and that unless all States came into it it would not operate. When the Minister made that statement just over 12 months ago he indicated that the scheme was not going to be a collective scheme only; it would be a scheme dealing with each State annually as it came into the scheme. Western Australia is the initial State in the scheme. I agree that the Minister had to take this firm attitude. In our federal system it is difficult to get the States to agree on anything except that they should get more money from the Commonwealth. Since that time Tasmania, after a long period of indemon by both the Labor Government and the present Liberal Government, has decided at last to come into the scheme. On 26th May, **Mr Beattie,** the Minister for Agriculture in Tasmania, said that Tasmania would negotiate with the Federal Government for a scheme similar to that agreed to by Western Australia. He said that Tasmania would have preferred to act as the agent of the Commonwealth in such a scheme, but this has not been agreed upon. He mentioned 3 aspects of the scheme which concerned the States: First was the possibility that participation might involve the States in financial loss. This suggestion has now been answered by the Minister for Primary Industry who has said that in all reasonable cases the Commonwealth would stand any losses suffered by the States. The second aspect was the requirement that property be given to applicants for land who were prepared to undertake diversification. The third aspect was to restrict the participation in the scheme to dairy farmers who derived more than half their income from milk or cream used in manufacture. Then he went on to say that the Commonwealth has now agreed to amend the proposal to cover losses and diversification. So the objections of the Tasmanian Liberal Government seem largely to have been overcome. Low income producers within the fluid milk section of the industry will be eligible to participate in the scheme and will be subject to exactly the same test of eligibility as farmers in the manufacturing sector. This was the final decision which helped to bring Tasmania into the scheme. There is no discrimination between the low income earner in the fluid milk sector and the low income earner in the manufacturing sector. 1 do not expect that there will be very many small fluid milk producers who will find themselves in need of assistance or wanting to leave the industry as at present they are in a very strong position throughout Australia. The Minister for Primary Industry pointed out in his second reading speech that the Bureau of Agricultural Economics survey showed that the average Australian net income in the manufacturing sector was $2,001 and that in the whole milk sector it was just on $3,000. So the economic strength of the whole milk sector is far and above that of the boys who are battling along in the manufacturing sector selling butterfat for cheese and the like. I should like to refer also to one or two other points in the scheme. Any scheme which greatly increased production would at this stage cause more harm to the industry in the long term than the financial disability of a minimal number of dairymen. This is my main worry about the scheme. It could bring about increased production for the simple reason that when a small farmer who is not producing the required amount of butterfat wants to leave the industry voluntarily and submits his case to the State authority the farm is bought by the authority and sold to a neighbouring dairy farmer. There is nothing to stop the neighbour increasing production on the farm he has bought. He could continue to produce milk on the property and increase the cow population on that farm. The economic and efficient farmer could increase production on the farm which formerly belonged to the uneconomic farmer. It is stipulated, of course, that if a beef farmer or a sheep farmer buys one of these marginal dairy farms he must go on producing beef and sheep on it; he cannot turn it into a dairy farm. This is a good provision and in this sense production would not be increased overall with that restriction. On the other hand, a dairy farmer buying a dairy farm alongside his could increase the overall production of butter which at the present time is so overproduced in the world that we have 350,000 tons of it in store in the European Economic Community countries. It is ironical and disastrous that the EEC countries are at the moment disposing of large quantities of this surplus butter to our new Asian markets, some of them built up through hard work by Australia. They are selling butter to these new Asian markets at 18c per lb; dumping it in effect. They are carrying it all the way from Europe and dumping it. lt is our butter probably that was sent to Europe and now they are bringing it back to Asia and selling it for the ridiculous figure of 18c per lb. Another point about the 34c per lb guaranteed by the Australian Government is that this is a minimum price and is guaranteed for 215.000 tons a year of which Tasmania's share is 14,500 tons. The quota system has been suggested and approved by several dairy organisations already, including one or two in Tasmania. A recent suggestion has been made to try to limit production or control production within this overproduced industry. There are a few other things which have to be done before this industry can be kept at a stable production level. I feel that registration of dairy farmers should become a policy of State governments, because they control it within the States, so that all farms producing milk for butter and cheese are registered as such. Nobody other than those who are registered as dairymen would be allowed to enter the industry. We. register everything else. Every other producer and every other person in the country is registered within his field of operations. But farmers are not and anybody can come in at any time and suddenly decide to grow wheat or barley or any other of the cereal crops. He may even become a dairyman. There is nothing in the world to stop him. The position in the banana industry and the hop industry is much the same. There are quite a lot of problems in the dairy industry but this is not the time or place to discuss them because this is essentially a scheme to bring some sort of stability into the unstable section of the dairy industry. There is a final point that I want to make. A lot of responsibility is thrown on the States in this scheme and I feel- {: #debate-30-s18 .speaker-KYQ} ##### Mr REID:
Holt -- 1 wish to make a few general observations on this Bill which I am sure will be welcomed by most dairy farmers who are in needy circumstances. However, I would like to have a few words to say, firstly, about the product - that is milk. I have often said that milk is nature's purest food. It has stood the test of time. Why people would want to replace it with a substitute I just cannot imagine. Milk is almost as essential to a growing child today as is the air he breathes. When one sees children who are deficient in animal protein, it makes one realise how fortunate we are in this country where milk and milk products are in plentiful supply. In many developing countries two-thirds of children die because of lack of animal protein. As I have mentioned in this House previously, if you take 20 children in a developing country, 10 die in infancy and 7 out of the remaining 10 are stunted mentally and physically for life because of malnutrition in childhood. Only 3 out of 20 escape the ravages of hunger. To me it appears to be a great tragedy that we are curtailing the production of milk in this country whilst it is so urgently needed in so many Asian countries. When one considers the price of milk today, which is 10 to 11 cents a pint, depending on the State in which you live, and compares it with the price of a bottle of soft drink, which is 15c, or a bottle of beer, which is 40c, it is out of all proportion when one considers the nutritional value of milk. The price of a pint of milk should be 25c at least. This is the true value of milk in relation to soft drink. If this price were paid butter subsidies could be substantially reduced. I will not attempt to go into the cost of production, but as most people know cows have to be milked twice a day, once in the early hours of the morning and again late at night, 7 days a week. Some people say thai if the price of milk were raised the demand would fall. However, this is not the case where soft drink and beer are concerned. Prices are increased but this does not have much effect on any increase in other commodities. People accept regular price rises in most commodities which could be included as essential goods. But today people do not so readily accept price rises for the essentials, such as butter, milk, bread and doctors' fees. Perhaps if people realised the health benefit of milk in relation to the other products I have mentioned, they would be prepared to pay a higher price. After all, farmers' costs have greatly increased over the years. Not only is milk worth 25c compared with these other commodities I have mentioned, but the farmer needs this amount today if he is to meet rising costs which is one of the difficulties many of them are confronted with. No dairy farmer who milks under 50 or 60 cows can afford permanent labour on his farm. Dairy farming over the years has been mainly a family effort. That is, each member of the family takes his place in the cowshed. I suppose the days are gone when children had to milk cows before they went off to school but in many dairy farms it is still a family effort that gets them by. Farm equipment has also greatly increased the overhead on dairy farms. The farmer who milks 50 cows cannot afford very much farm equipment. He could possibly afford a tractor, a plough, a set of harrows, etc., but then he would need to get a good utilisation out of this equipment. On the larger farms where there are over 60 cows to be milked - and when I say '60 cows' I am referring to dairy farms in West Gippsland - labour can be employed and additional farm equipment, such as harvesting equipment and irrigation equipment, can be purchased. All these things assist in putting farming on a more profitable basis. In my opinion one of the greatest factors in farm costs is that few farmers today grow sufficient crops even though they have the machinery available. I would say that at least one-third of farmers' overhead costs in the western Gippsland area is represented in the purchase of fodder. If all farmers on marginal farms grew their own crops marginal farms would be on a more profitable basis. There is also the problem of diverse weather conditions. If a property is without irrigation it means that during a dry autumn additional fodder may have to be purchased if no silage is available, and I have no hesitation in saying that rising costs and the purchase of fodder are the 2 major reasons why marginal dairy farms are in financial difficulties. I know the Department of Agriculture in Victoria has always encouraged farmers to grow more crops. However, it has been difficult to have plans implemented when they can go along and purchase their fodder from the store. Whilst, I suppose, the main factor in this legislation is to enable the marginal farmer to dispose of his dairy farm because of his limited acreage and for economic reasons, increased acreage in itself is not the answer. On many farms close to Melbourne - and many of these properties have been long established as dairy farms - it is becoming uneconomic to raise cattle because of high rates and taxes and because the farms have to compete with the local industries for employees. A more economic way is to bale feed the animals and grow crops. Dairy cattle are stabled in most European countries, in north America and in Asian countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines, Ceylon and Pakistan. In the main cattle in many of these Asian countries are stabled in long concrete sheds and the farmers have been able to obtain very good production from them even in a place like New Delhi where temperatures are very high. Some cows there have been producing up to 95 lb of milk a day and in many other centres they are giving between 40 and 50 lb of milk a day. But many of these farms are quite small. I recall visiting one of 100 acres in Hong Kong. All the cattle there, 1,200 of them, were stabled and a big percentage of the fodder was- grown on this 100-acre area. It is quite an economic proposition to stable animals providing the fodder is grown on the property. I would like to see the Departments of Agriculture in some States encourage the stabling of dairy cattle in order to obtain a better utilisation of acreage. The economics of it all must surely be to grow more fodder on the farm, and the point I am making here is that there is room in the dairying industry today for the small efficient dairy farm provided animals are stabled and crops are grown on the property. It is generally recognised, however, that there is a serious economic problem within the dairy industry particularly in the case of producers relying on the sale of milk or cream for manufacturing purposes. I think it is a sound move on the part of the Commonwealth and State governments to bring into existence a marginal dairy farm reconstruction scheme whereby dairy farmers whose farms have insufficient potential to become economic units may dispose voluntarily of their land and improvements to the State at market value. For those reasons I commend the legislation to the House. {: #debate-30-s19 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr EVERINGHAM:
Capricornia -- In his second reading speech the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Anthony)** said that vocational training was a matter which would be looked into again as experience in the operation of this scheme accrued. That is an example of shutting the stable door after the cow has escaped. Now is the time to look at this matter and do some assessment of the position before people are thrown on to the labour market. Something should be done now about surveying marginal farms to find out what the farmers concerned need to encourage them to take part in this scheme. If they do not take part in it, what the Minister himself called a crisis situation when he was speaking to the Victorian Dairyfarmers Association on 26th May this year will not be overcome. In the course of that speech in Melbourne the Minister said: >Without production restraints, a conservative underwriting figure of around 29c per lb commercial butter basis would need to be adopted. An underwriting figure of 29c would almost certainly lead to chaos in the industry and a breakdown in the equalisation arrangements with States making every effort to seal off their markets. That would be a situation of complete panic and even riot. He went on: >In a situation like this we could get into a hopeless price war with domestic returns even coming down to export levels. Clearly this must not be allowed to happen. I recognise the importance to the industry of continuing the underwriting at the 34c level. This was one of the principal reasons behind my recent statements that, if the industry expected the Government to underwrite at 34c, the industry certainly would have to put up some suggestions and some proposals to the Government as to how some disincentive might be introduced against further production increases. lt is all very well to say that the industry has to put up some suggestions to the Government, but whose job is it to- create disincentives? Who creates incentive? Who created the incentive for such gross expansion of dairying areas in Victoria? Was it the industry or was it a government? The honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** has pointed out clearly that it was the irresponsible action of the Bolte Government. The Minister for Primary Industry went on: > >Much dissatisfaction exists in certain States . . . as a result of increasing production here in Victoria and in Tasmania. That was putting it mildly. There is certainly very much dissatisfaction throughout the dairying industry in all States as a result of that situation. Later the Minister said: 1 do not accept . . . that the Government should lake over from farmers and their industry organisations the responsibility for planning the production and distribution of their output. In other words, not only does he not want to start dabbling in production and distribution, he does not want to start dabbling even in planning. What does he say a little later? He went on lo contradict this by saying: ' One of the important ways in which the Commonwealth warns to help is ... in the reconstruction of the marginal or low income dairy farm. Who had the initiate there? Who was putting up the proposal for a disincentive? Was it the industry that the Minister said he did not want to interfere with or was it the Government? The answer is set out in the Minister's own words because he said: 1 am pleased lo sec in the proposals which the industry made to the Government only last week a call for the urgent implementation of this scheme. The industry did not put up the scheme but the Minister says that the industry was calling for its urgent implementation and that he was very pleased. He said that this confirmed the earlier expressions of support which the industry throughout Australia had given. Just before that he said that he did not want to take the initiative; - that he wanted the industry to produce some plan for disincentives. Yet on the very next page of this report he states that lie is very pleased that the industry had approved the Government's schemes for disincentives. This is a very muddled approach to the situation. There are ways in which the industry can bc helped and encouraged to work out these proposals. Why should a farmer who is not an administrator be asked to put up a scheme for administering? Why should a producer or distributor be asked to put up a scheme for long distance planning for an export industry? That isnot the business of the producer or distributor. lt is the .Government's business. The Government cannot back out of it and' pass the buck to the producers. The Government can suggest minimal reasonable conditions for subsidy. I am not sayingfessions this should be plonked on to the industry and that the Government should say: 'Take it or leave it'. I am not putting this forward in a dictatorial manner. -I say that this could be put in a reasonable manner to the industry, lt could be discussed wilh industry representatives and worked out in the same way as the Government can go reasonably to the medical profession or any other pro.fessions to discuss a reasonable basis for' working out their problems. I now want lo put forward some points ' that could be put to the industry. Firstly there should be non-transferable licensing of bona fids producers. The Minister has said that this has to bc left to the States. If the Government wants to leave everything to the Stales why has this Bill been presented? Why do anything? The States can do this, lt is no approach to the problem to say that it is a matter for the States. This is a matter for this Government. It has to start putting things to the States and to the industry and not continue to expect . them to come to it. to make all the decisions and do all the detailed planning. The first point is that there has to be licensing. The Government ought to take some stand on this matter. It should make some approaches and take some initiative. It should go to these people, put up a proposition and discuss it with them. The second point is that there should be a national authority with producer and consumer representation. I do not mind -if it has a maximum representation of producers. The producers have their national organisation. The Government is quite capable of coming up with some sort of ' authority to set up a plan for organised marketing. It is high time this was done. Why wait for the industry to bring forward suggestions? Why did not the Minister say that in his speech? It was something concrete ' that he could have put forward. He has plenty of precedents. It has been done in every successful organised marketing of any primary product that has been rationalised. Unfortunately this always has been done by Labor governments except, I think, in the cass of wine and honey. Another idea he could have put forward is that of regional boards to set a ceiling of a reasonable quota. {: #debate-30-s20 .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER:
Sturt -- I will not take long to say what I have to say to the House on this matter. I wish to criticise the people who are responsible for placing before this House a Bill of this nature. We live in a continent that is three fifths arid, yet we are discussing now a proposal to restrict the two fifths of the country that can produce something. The Government has got the people it purports to represent into an unholy mess because of ils lack of foresight and assessment and its wrongful and almost wilful lack of guidance in the dairy industry and other industries. Honourable members opposite may well laugh, but they might as well have gone to the dairy industry 3 or 4 years ago and suggested that it grow pot and stop trying to produce butterfat, or offered some such stupid advice as that. It is an absolute disgrace. The honourable member for Angas **(Mr Gil'es)** may well interject because he will not come into this category although he is concerned in the industry and participates in it, at the same time as he draws his salary for his attendances at this Parliament. He is not the sort of person who has to worry. It is all very well to say that the matter can be determined by restricting production. The point is that no attention is being paid to human needs in the Bill before us. {: #debate-30-s21 .speaker-BU4} ##### Mr ANTHONY:
Minister for Primary industry · Richmond · CP -- in reply - I shall take about I minute to answer 2 matters. One was raised by the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** and the other was raised by the honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles).** Firstly, I want to thank the House for the support that it has given to the Bill. I have had a little difficulty in explaining it and selling it to the States for a period of *2t* years. At last Western Australia has accepted it. Tasmania has informed us that it will accept it. 1 hope to be able to negotiate with other States to overcome their problems. The honourable member for Angas referred to the problem of the equalisation of milk and manufacturing products within the region of Adelaide. I can understand this problem because the provisions whereby at least 50% of the income must come from milk sold at manufacturing prices would preclude these people from participating in the scheme. However, i think that consultation and negotiation between the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth might: be able to clear up this matter. The honourable member for Dawson asked why we let imported cheese come into this country. Naturally I would bc very happy if no imported cheese came into the country, thus allowing a bigger market for our own cheese. There is a standard routine for giving protection to Australian industries. The dairying industry has made an application to the Tariff Board to have a higher duty placed on the importation of such cheese. The Tariff Board has not recommended in favour of such action. We have our international trade obligations under the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement. We have an arrangement to import a certain quantity of New Zealand cheese. We must realise that principally we are an exporter of cheese. For the year 1967-68 we exported 34,000 tons of cheese and imported 5,000 tons, mainly fancy cheese. One can understand the implications that there could be if a complete embargo were placed on imported cheese. Trade is a 2-way business and people can retaliate to our detriment if the matter is not handled carefully. With those few remarks I thank honourable members for the support that they have given to this Bill. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced. Third Reading Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith. Bill (on motion by **Mr Anthony)** read a third time. House adjourned at 3.2.1 a jil (Thursday).

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 June 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.