27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
-I have received a return to the writ which I issued on 13th August for the election of a member to serve for the electoral division of Chisholm in the State of Victoria to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sir Wilfrid Selwyn Kent Hughes. By the endorsement on the writ it is certified that Anthony Allan Staley has been elected.
Mr Anthony Allan Staley was introduced and made and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance as member for the Division of Chisholm, Victoria.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That due to higher living costs, including increasing charges for health services, most aged persons living on fixed incomes are suffering acute distress.
Thai Australia is the only English-speaking country in the world to retain a means test for aged pensioners and that a number of European countries also have no means test.
That today’s aged persons have paid at least 71 per cent of their taxable incomes towards social services since the absorption of Special Social Services Taxation in Income Tax and continue to make such payments. (1$ per cent of all taxable incomes for 1966-67 amounted to $783,082,150 and this year will produce more than $800,000,000, more than sufficient to abolish the means test immediately.)
That the middle income group, the most heavilytaxed sector of the community, subsidises the tax commitment of the upper income bracket through the amount of social services contributions collected by the government and not spent on the purposes for which they were imposed.
That the abolition of the means test will give a boost to the economy by -
additional tax revenue from pensions
swelling of the work force, and
increased spending by pensioners.
That it is considered just and right to allow people who have been frugal, have lived their lives with dignity and have been anything but an encumbrance on the nation, to maintain that dignity to the end of their lives free from fear of penury.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to abolish the means test for all people who have reached retiring age or who otherwise qualify for social service benefits or pensions.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– 1 present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That they are not gravely concerned that moral standards in the Australian community may be changing, particularly in regard to the community’s willingness to treat adults within it as reasonable and responsible people who are capable of making up their own minds as to what may be perfectly acceptable or unacceptable material in books, magazines, plays, films and television and radio programmes, and particularly when this material depicts life in human society, including language habits and sex habits and gives warning of the dangers of the use of violence and narcotic drugs.
That they in fact welcome this change, having regard for the fact that it demonstrates an increasing tolerance of and respect for the rights of individuals to think their own way through their own lives, free from information-withholding restrictions which people of one religion or one standard of morals may seek to impose on eitherthe majority or minority who do not hold the same views.
That they question the simplistic view that nations ‘perish’ because of a so-called ‘internal moral decay’ unless such ‘decay’ is taken to include an increasing unwillingness to face the facts of life in open discussion and freedom of thought.
That they welcome the statement by the honourable the Minister for Customs and Excise, Mr Chipp, that the concept of censorship is abhorrent to all men and women who believe in the basic freedoms and that, as a philosophy, it is evil and ought to be condemned.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on Rims, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to give the maximum freedom to adults to choose what they will watch, read and listen to, even in the face of pressure from those who seek to impose their ideas and morals on others who do not share (hem.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That they are not gravely concerned that moral standards in the Australian community may be changing, particularly in regard to the community’s willingness to treat adults within it as reasonable and responsible people who are capable of making up their own minds as to what may be perfectly acceptable or unacceptable material in books, magazines, plays, films and television and radio programmes, and particularly when this material depicts life in human society, including language habits and sex habits and gives warning of the dangers of the use of violence and narcotic drugs;
That they in fact welcome this change, having regard for the fact that it demonstrates an increasing tolerance of and respect for the rights of individuals to think their own way through their own lives, free from information-withholding restrictions which people of one religion or one standard of morals may seek to impose on either the majority or minority who do not bold the same views;
That they question the simplistic view that nations ‘perish’ because of a so-called ‘internal moral decay’ unless such ‘decay’ is taken to include an increasing unwillingness to face the facts of life in open discussion and freedom of thought;
That they welcome the statement by the Honourable the Minister for Customs and Excise. Mr Chipp, that the concept of censorship is abhorrent to all men and women who believe in the basic freedoms and that, as a philosophy, it is evil and ought to be condemned -
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to give the maximum freedom to adults to choose what they will watch, read and listen to, even in the face of pressure from those who seek to impose their ideas and morals on others who do not share them. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
– 1 present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That they are not gravely concerned that moral standards in the Australian community may be changing, particularly in regard to the community’s willingness to treat adults within lt as reasonable and responsible people who are capable of making up their own minds as to what may be perfectly acceptable or unacceptable material in books, magazines, plays, films and television and radio programmes, and particularly when this material depicts life in human society, including language habits and sex habits and gives warning of the dangers of the use of violence and narcotic drugs;
That they in fact welcome this change, having regard for the fact that it demonstrates an increasing tolerance of and respect for the rights of individuals to think their own way through their own lives, free from information-withholding restrictions which people of one religion or one standard of morals may seek to impose on either the majority or minority who do not hold the same views;
That they question the simplistic view that nations ‘perish’ because of a so-called ‘internal moral decay’ unless such ‘decay’ is taken to include an increasing unwillingness to face the facts of life in open discussion and freedom of thought;
That they welcome the statement by the Honourable the Minister for Customs and Excise, Mr Chipp, that the concept of censorship is abhorrent to all men and women who believe in the basic freedoms and that, as a philosophy, it is evil and ought to be condemned -
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that honourable members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will seek to ensure that Commonwealth legislation bearing on films, literature and radio and television programmes is so framed and so administered as to give the maximum freedom to adults to choose what they will watch, read and listen to, even in the face of pressure from those who seek to impose their ideas and morals on others who do not share them. And your petitioners, as iti duty bound, will ever pray.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
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 iti 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.
We, your petitioners, therefore humbly 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.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully sheweth:
That they are gravely concerned at the apparent appalling increase in crime in Australia, particularly in densely populated areas;
That they fear the police forces of the various States and Territories are undermanned and under equipped to handle the increase in crime;
That their concern is aggravated by the apparent number of unsolved crimes particularly those involving violence to the individual including murder,
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable Members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that the Commonwealth Government will seek the co-operation of the States and supply extra finance to the States to enable;
proper town planning and development to halt the increase in densely populated areas which leads to increased crime,
the proper staffing and equipping of police forces to enable adequate crime prevention and detection measures to reduce the frightening increase of both solved and unsolved crime.
the proper detention of and rehabilitation of criminals, and
compensation to victims of crimes of violence, and your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
MrMARTIN -I present thefollowing petition:
That they are gravely concerned at the apparent appalling increase in crime in Australia, particularly in densely populated areas;
That they fear the police forces of the various States and Territories are undermanned and underequipped to handle the increase in crime;
That their concern is aggravated by the apparent number of unsolved crimes particularly those involving violence to the individual including murder.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the Honourable Members of the House of Representatives will seek to ensure that the Commonwealth Government will seek the co-operation of the States and supply extra finance to the States to enable:
– I ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the Australia to Europe Shippers Association is the shipper body designated by him to negotiate on freights with the Australia to Europe Shipping Conference? Has he designated for this purpose either the British Wool Federation or Interline? If not, would he agree that agreements reached in Paris between these bodies and the Conference have no standing under the Trade Practices Act? Will he use his powers under the Act to reconvene discussions between the Conference and his designated negotiator? Failing agreement, will he refer the matter to the Trade Practices Tribunal?
– The body to which the Leader of the Opposition refers is the designated body to negotiate with the shipping Conference in respect of overseas freights. This has been done unsuccessfully in the broad. But the bodies whichcomposetheAustraliantoEurope Shippers Association are not directly the responsibility of the Government. The Government’s concern is with the total group of interested shippers who themselves select the negotiators to conduct the negotiations. As I understand the position, the ship owners requested a certain rise in freight rates. The shipper body refused to accept this and discussions proceeded with some interruptions. In the meantime the Interlaine people in Paris met the ship owners and reached agreement with them for a 4 per cent increase in the freight on wool. This was entirely within their rights. It is unquestionably the right of the people who own the wool that is being shipped to make a decision on what freight they are prepared to pay. That was done. This undoubtedly to some extent undermined the status of the Australian shipper body in its negotiations. From memory, I think the ship owners had previously negotiated a 5 per cent increase in the freight on fruit if other rates moved by a greater amount. It is my understanding that that result has occurred because ship owners insisted on an increase of 10 per cent in the freight on other general cargo. This was not accepted by the shipper body. A counter offer at a lower rate was made to the ship owners. That was not accepted. The position reached a stalemate, with a negotiation which in the total sense has never reached any conclusion.
The Australia to Europe Shippers Association has. I understand, now abandoned the negotiations and has announced that it is for the various shipper groups, such as the meat, dairy and canned fruit people, to decide whether they will accept the 10 per cent increase stipulated by the ship owners. The Trade Practices Act has enabled me as Minister for Trade and Industry to have an officer of the Department of Trade and Industry present at all the negotiations. He has kept me informed. He is present but he does not possess, from the Trade Practices Act or anything else, an authority to intervene or stipulate. He is there merely to inform the Minister for Trade and Industry who, of course, is the Government for this purpose.
– And who can refer to the Tribunal.
– No. The Minister can refer to the Tribunal, not a dispute on freight, but the question of whether the ship owner authority is providing an adequate, efficient and economic service. It is on the basis that the ship owners provide an adequate, efficient, and economic service that they become free to be legitimate as a conference and not denounceable as a monopoly. This is inherent in the whole dealing of the Trade Practices Act with this body. It has not been suggested to me by any source that the ship owners’ service is not adequate, efficient or economic. Therefore, I have not the grounds to refer the matter to the Trade Practices Tribunal.
– ls the Minister for the Interior aware that a number of questions have been asked both in this House and in the Senate relating to the activities of police taking photographs at demonstrations in front of Parliament House? Is it a fact that a number of demands have been made for the destruction of films and photographs taken by the police during these demonstrations? If it is a fact, can he inform the House why the demands have been made and what action he proposes to take?.
– ] think that some members of the public are genuinely interested in finding out what becomes of films and photographs taken at such demonstrations. But I suspect that some members of the Opposition realise that in respect of one or two demonstrations they have made a grave error of judgment. 1 really suspect that the Leader of the Opposition himself, being the man of destiny he claims to be, will realise that many thousands of Australian people are genuinely concerned that the Leader of the Opposition and some of his supporters should, while making antiVietnam speeches, be seen to be so patriotically attached to the Vietcong flag that they should make speeches under the Vietcong flag.
– I take a point of order. Mr Speaker, You will remember that last May the Minister for External Territories, I think it was, made a comment, in answer to a question, that I had been seen under some Vietcong Mags. I have never seen any evidence since photographs were taken of any such event. J certainly did not speak under any Vietcong flags or in the vicinity of any. The point is that unless one takes a point of order at this time the question is recorded and repeated. Mr Speaker, you will remember that last week I refrained from taking a point of order when a question was asked by a notorious Whitlam watcher, the honourable member for Mitchel), and 1 made a personal explanation after question time. Nevertheless the question was rebroadcast that night. I feel, therefore, on this occasion I have to take the point of order promptly and at the time. I have no knowledge of any Vietcong flags being anywhere near me when 1 spoke to 2,000 Australian National University students in front of Parliament House last Friday morning.
– On the point of order, this is simply a matter of fact; it is not a matter of argument. I am referring to something that, in my memory, I saw from my window in my office at the May demonstration of the Moratorium - that members of the Opposition, 1 think the Leader of the Opposition included, were speaking and seen to be speaking not only by me but by many others under the banner of the Vietcong Bag.
– Mr Speaker, on the point of order, I believe T am entitled to your protection in this matter. There were no Vietcong flags anywhere in my vicinity or in my sight. There were none last May, and certainly last Friday there were none in my sight as I spoke or anywhere in my vicinity as I approached the rostrum. If there were any Vietcong flags (here they must have come behind me and after f had starred speaking.
– Order! The House will come to order. In relation to the point of order that has been raised by the Opposition, the Chair has no means of knowing whether the flags were there or not.
– Neither has the Minister.
– Order! II the honourable member keeps interjecting I will deal with him. The Chair has no way of knowing whether the Vietcong flags were there or not. It really developed into a personal explanation by the Leader of the Opposition and therefore I do not think there is a point of order on which to rule. The Minister may continue to answer his question.
– J think if the Leader of the Opposition is in any further doubt about this he might well ask the honourable member for Lalor and some of the other supporters who were there with him on the day. To conclude-
– I rise on a point of order. My point of order is that the honourable member for Lalor was in Canberra last” Friday when Mr Whitlam-
-Order! There is no point of order. I allowed the Leader of the Opposition the privilege of making more or less a personal explanation on a very important matter. But the honourable member for Reid cannot debate the question.
– I am not debating it.
-Order! 1 suggest to the honourable member that he come to the point of order in accordance with the Standing Orders.
– The point of order is that the Minister stated that the honourable member for Lalor was there. He was not at the meeting.
– There is no point of order.
– In other words, he can say a lie?
-Order! He can but he will be pulled up if I know that his statement is incorrect The Chair is not in a position to judge the accuracy crf statements and you cannot debate this question on the floor of the House. The honourable member for Reid will resume his seat.
– He just made a lie.
-Order! The honourable member for Dawson will withdraw that remark.
– Mr Speaker-
-The honourable member for Dawson will withdraw the remark.
– What I said was-
-Order! The honourable, member for Dawson will withdraw the remark.
– I withdraw it and say that it is an untruth.
-Order! The honourable member for Dawson will withdraw the remark unreservedly.
– I rise to order.
-Order! You shall not debate a point of order at the stage I have reached in the proceedings. The honourable member for Newcastle will resume his seat. For the last time I ask the honourable member for Dawson to withdraw the remark unreservedly. As the honourable member has refused to do so I name him.
– I move:
– The question is:
That the honourable member for Dawson be suspended from the service of the House.
All those in favour say Aye; to the contrary No. I think the Ayes have it.
Opposition members - The Noes have it.
– Is a division required?
Opposition members - Yes.
– Ring the bells. (The bells being rung)
– I want to move as an amendment that the Minister for the Interior be suspended.
– I do not know what the honourable member-
– This was taken into account on a previous occasion. My amendment is not a direct negative. I move:
– Order! The Standing Orders provide that there shall be no debate on a question that a member be suspended.
– This is an amendment.
– I wish to dissent from your ruling.
– The honourable member can do this later.
– I want to do it now. If you rule that I cannot, I will move dissent from that ruling.
– You may do that later.
– I am doing it now.
– The honourable member for Hindmarsh will resume his seat.
– I will not. I want to move dissent from your ruling.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I will not.
– I shall deal with the honourable member for Hindmarsh when the present matter before the Chair has been resolved.
– I move that you leave the Chair.
– I second the motion.
– Order! We will deal with one question at a time.
– I move that you leave the Chair; do it now. A few months ago you allowed a negative of a motion. Now you reject it. Why do you not be more consistent? You are making a farce of Parliament; you are making a joke of Parliament. This is just a rabble and we might as well all go home. You are making a farce of Parliament carrying on as you are.
– Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will resume his seat.
– It is not a direct negative according to your rulings in the past and I move:
– The Chair cannot accept the motion. Lock the doors.
– I am going to move a motion of dissent from your ruling that you will not accept my amendment.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. The question is: ‘That the honourable member for Dawson be suspended from the service of the House’.
– On another point of order, Mr Speaker, I am going to move a motion of dissent from your ruling that you cannot accept my amendment.
– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I will not be seated. I am going on a previous ruling you made in this House and my motion is not a direct negative.
– I appoint the honourable members for Henty and Mallee tellers for the ayes and the honourable members for Gellibrand and Hunter tellers for the noes. Is there no teller available from the Opposition?
– Count them yourself.
– I declare the question resolved in the affirmative. The honourable member for Dawson is suspended from the service of the House. (The honourable member for Dawson thereupon withdrew from the chamber.)
– I rise to order. In answer to an interjection that the Minister for the Interior could tell a lie in his reply to a question you said: ‘Yes, he could, but the House would deal with him’. I ask–
– I am not quite sure that that is the phraseology I used, but if I did I qualified it by saying that the Chair was not in a position to judge this question.
– Sir, I might be able to help you because the Minister for the Interior stated that the honourable member for Lalor was also there on Friday.
– He did not. He said: ‘Ask him’.
– The Votes and Proceedings of the House show that on last Friday the honourable member for Lalor was not present at any time during the sitting.
– With all due respect, this is not a point of order. The Chair cannot sit in judgment on a question such as this. This is a matter of debate and is not a point of order.
– May I speak to the point of order because I believe that a great deal of what has happened here has been the result of a misunderstanding. I believe that it is unquestionably true that the honourable member for Lalor was not here last Friday because he was engaged in leading demonstrations in Melbourne. I also believe that the Leader of the Opposition, during the course of his remarks, had referred not only to last Friday but to last May and that the Minister for the Interior was saying that last May the Leader of the Opposition spoke with Vietcong flags flying and that at that time the honourable member for Lalor was also there. I do not know whether that was true or not, but I suspect that it was true and I do know that last Friday, though the honourable member for Lalor was not there, there were Vietcong flags in evidence above the crowd to whom the Leader of the Opposition spoke.
– On the point of order, I am told that the words the Minister for the Interior used were: ‘He should ask the honourable member for Lalor and others who were there.’ If the Minister for tha Interior said that, it was not accurate. The honourable member for Lalor was not here.
– As a point of explanation on all this- -
– Before we go any further I would like to say at this stage that there has been a tendency to develop this into a debate and not take a point in relation to the Standing Orders of this House and I believe that this practice should be discontinued.
– I move:
-Order! 1 have called the Minister for the Interior on a point of order.
– I am entitled to answer the question. I have not said that the honourable member for Lalor was there on Friday, noc have I said that the Leader of the Opposition was under a Vietcong flag on Friday.
-Order! The honourable member for Sydney and the honourable member for Newcastle will come to order.
– I am trying to assist. I was talking about the Mav demonstration. I do not know whether the honourable member for Lalor was present or not at the May’ demonstration and the record will show that I did not say that the honourable member for Lalor was present in May either. Let the record stand as it is. What I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition is that if he is in any doubt about the point I raised, he ask the honourable member for Lalor and some other supporters of the Labor. Party as to whether or not there was a . Vietcong flag at the May demonstration . and whether or not the Leader of the Opposition was seen sneaking under a Vietcong flag at the May demonstration.
– On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The Minister for the Interior appears to me to be debating the subject. I personally believe that we ought to suspend Standing Order.; so that the matter - may be resolved foi the benefit of the House and I am prepared to move that so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the resolution of this problem forthwith and perhaps the return of the honourable member for Dawson to the House.
– Before I deal with that I call upon the honourable member for Hindmarsh to apologise to the Chair for disorderly conduct.
– Yes, Mr Speaker, I do apologise.
– I also call upon the honourable member for Sydney to apologise for disorderly conduct.
– No, Sir, I do not intend to apologise. I am only going on a previous ruling of yours that if there is not a direct negative-
– Order! I again ask the honourable member for Sydney to withdraw.
– I will not withdraw it.
– I name the honourable member for Sydney.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) proposed:
That the honourable member for Sydney be suspended from the service of the House.
– Mr Speaker, will you bear with me on this matter? Sir, I have not had the opportunity to speak with the honourable member for Sydney. I think you would concede, as we all would, that his conduct in the House has not given rise to any disorderly conduct at any time, and he is one of the senior members of the chamber. I would not contest your having called on the honourable member for Hindmarsh to withdraw because, in heat, he said things to you which should not be said to a Presiding Officer, and he has had the grace to withdraw unequivocally and promptly. But my recollection is, and I trust your recollection is, that the honourable member for Sydney said nothing unparliamentary to you at all.
– That is correct.
– He was trying to take a point and move an amendment. You said that you would not take it at that stage, but he has an arguable case that a member can move an amendment to a suspension, relying on your ruling, of which I was the subject, that a motion to censure the Minister for Labour and National Service as Leader of the House could be negated by an amendment to censure the Leader of the Opposition. Whatever you do about the honourable member for Sydney and if I have the opportunity I will ask him to comply with your wishes but I have not had that opportunity I do hope that his failure to act in this matter as the honourable member for Hindmarshhas acted will not prejudice the return of the honourable member for Dawson who was incensed at the reference to the Vietcong flag. The honourable member for Hindmarsh has done what he can to facilitate the return of the honourable member for Dawson. I do ask that you do not-
– Order! I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition may talk with the honourable member for Sydney. (The Leader of the Opposition having conferred with the honourable member for Sydney) -
-I withdraw the remarksI made, Mr Speaker. But I should like also to make a personal explanation after question time.
– Very well. Will the Leader of the House withdraw his motion for the suspension of the honourable member for Sydney?
– Mr Speaker, I think that I do not need to ask for leave. I will ask for the indulgence of the Chair to withdraw my motion.
– Very well. The question now before the Chair is the motion proposed by the honourable member for Wills.
- Mr Speaker, I move:
I move this motion so that we can work the situation out.
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
-I request the honourable member for Wills to submit his motion in writing, signed by himself and by the seconder. (The honourable member for Wills having submitted his motion in writing) -
– Might I state briefly the reason for moving that motion?
– It is obvious that there is a dispute between us about facts. This dispute has resulted in one honourable member of the House being suspended. I believe that this is a very important matter. Unfortunately, there is no machinery in the place except that of continual personal explanations and so on, which is quite unsatisfactory. I believe that the only way that we will resolve this matter for the benefit of the House and the people involved is for each person to state the case and for the House to resolve it by a vote.
– Mr Speaker, it does seem to me that there is some substance in what the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) has said although, perhaps, the timing may not be appropriate. This is a most important matter of fact which should be resolved. In order to resolve it, the evidence should be available. Therefore, although this should be discussed and discussed in full, I do not believe that this is the appropriate time to do it. Perhaps tomorrow at some time when the evidence can be brought forward the House will be in a position to discuss the matter which the honourable member for Wills quite properly has said should be discussed and should be resolved in this House on the basis of the evidence.
- Mr Speaker, I do not wish to speak long-
Motion (by Mr Snedden) put:
That the question be now put
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Question put -
That the motion (Mr Bryant’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority .. .. 8
Question resolved in the negative.
DrJ. F. Cairns - I ask for leave to make a very brief statement.
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent me from moving that it be a direction to the Principal Parliamentary Reporter to impound in unaltered form the whole of the Hansard transcript of the initial statement by the Minister for the Interior and all relevant proceedings subsequent to the disorder which followed the Minister’s statement, and to make available a copy of the transcript to the Prime Minister and to the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr Speaker, if you gave a direction along those lines to the Principal Parliamentary Reporter there would be no need for me to proceed with this. It has been pointed out by one spokesman from the Government side that there should be a debate on the matter which erupted this morning, but it should be held later when people have had a chance to consider and digest the so-called facts. I would like to ensure that the so-called facts do not appear in some sort of altered form, in much the same way as the so-called statement of facts and rights in ‘1984’ were altered by people-
– All that has happened this morning demonstrates the need for proper evidence to be presented to courts in civil cases before civil courts. I say that to the honourable member for Henty in answer to his question.
– I ask the Prima Minister: Are Commonwealth Police systematically planted at public rallies and meetings to take photographs and to consolidate secret dossiers on parliamentarians and others opposing the Government’s Vietnam policy? Is a Labor senator being subjected to interrogation by Commonwealth Police following a recent address at the Australian National University? Does the Prime Minister regard this practice as politically intimidatory, oppressive and synonymous with the worst features of a police state?
– The answer to the last part of the question is definitely no. The answer to the second part of the question is that I think that any citizen in this country is subject to being questioned as to what he said when he makes statements about almost anything. There is no reason for him to answer. It is apparently thought that attempts to find out the facts are bad things by those of the Opposition. I think this is thoroughly ridiculous the facts which the honourable member objects to somebody trying to find out. In regard to the first part, I do not know, because it has not come directly under my control. But, as I have said before, I see nothing wrong with photographs being taken at public assemblies.
– Has the Prime Minister seen a recent statement which advised young soldiers in the Australian armed forces to disobey their commanders? Would he consider it even more serious to reject the authority of the commanders of Australia’s defence forces than to spread disaffection for democratic authorities among the body politic, as has been advocated? Who has advocated that course of action, and what are the consequences?
– You are a liar.
– Order! The honourable member for Robertson will withdraw that remark.
-I will withdraw that remark.
– I have seen what I am told is an official transcript put out by the Leader of the Opposition, indicating that the Leader of the Opposition had made statements along these lines, the statements being that he would advise young men-
– I take a point of order. You, Mr Speaker, are as wise in the ways of the Parliament as those on your right and anybody else. Quite obviously this is a concerted question to get a comment from the Prime Minister on something that I have said outside the House. As I said before, unless I take the point of order now it will be recorded and repeated. If the Prime Minister wishes to make a ministerial statement and somebody moves that it be noted, then I have the right to make a statement following it, if I am ready to do so, or later on an adjourned occasion of the Government’s choosing. I put it to you, Sir, that honourable members on both sides are entitled to your protection. It is very prevalent now, I know, for Ministers to make comments on views which are attributed to or even expressed by me, above all, and by other people too. This is a travesty of question time. If the Prime Minister wants to make a statement about me, let him make it in a way that I can answer it. I am prepared to do it outside the House or inside the House. Outside the House it will be by mutual arrangement; inside at a time, obviously, like any ministerial statement, of his choosing.
– Order! The honourable member cannot debate the matter.
– Mr Speaker, I ask for your protection against this travesty of question time.
– Order! 1 have said to the House on numerous occasions that during question time a Minister who is answering a question may answer it in a manner in which he thinks fit provided it is relevant to the question. The honourable member for Lilley, as I understand his question, did not ask for comment. If the honourable member for Lilley had asked for comment, the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition would be valid. But I repeat that the honourable member for Lilley did not ask for comment, in my recollection. The Ministers, of course, have a responsibility to the Parliament, the same as those who ask questions have a responsibility to the Parliament. Provided that the matter is in the public interest and is within the Minister’s jurisdiction or administration, the Chair cannot interfere with the manner in which the Minister may answer the question.
– On that point of order, Mr Speaker, you said that the honourable member for Lilley had not asked the Prime Minister to make comment. My memory is that he asked him. in effect, to give an interpretation, and the Prime Minister had sufficiently answered to say that he had seen the transcript of a Press conference. If he has seen this, he need not summarise it; he need not interpret it: he need not even comment on it. He can table it. Let him do that.
– Order! It is not within the province of the Chair to say what any Minister or any honourable member should or should not do in relation to his conduct in the House.
– This would be putting me under censorship.
– Further to the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition, it seems to me that this is not a matter within the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister. This relates to a comment allegedly made by the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition is not under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister yet. The matter to which he referred is not a matter within the Prime Minister’s own jurisdiction but is within that of another Minister. It seems to me that this question is completely out of order on that ground.
– The Prime Minister is responsible for the policy of the Government irrespective of what Minister may be involved.
– Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would like to make it clear that at the time that an attempt was made to impose censorship on what I was saying I had made no comment at all. What I was doing was discussing a document put out, and the facts in that document are of relevance. They are of national significance, because if a Leader of the Opposition who seeks to be Prime Minister should advocate mutiny in the armed forces and that soldiers should disobey their orders, surely this is a fact that in this House ought to be able to be brought out without it being interrupted and it is something that the people of this country ought to know. In this document, this official transcript, there is no doubt that it is a fact that the Leader of the Opposition does say that he advises young men to register for national service, to serve in the Army, but to refuse to obey orders when they are in the
Armyifthoseordersaregoingtosendthem to some place which in their judgment they do not believe they should go to.
– What is wrong with that?
– What is wrong with that? This is the voice of the Opposition speaking. You can hear if backed up.
– That is not mutiny.
– What about some discipline?
– Order! I will show the honourable member for Newcastle what discipline means in a minute if he keeps interjecting.
– The Leader of the Opposition interjects and says that if people in the armed Services refuse to obey orders this is not mutiny. Perhaps he is taking a legal point that if one or two refuse to obey it is not mutiny I do not know. This does not matter. The real point is that he is urging young men in Australia’s armed forces to refuse to obey proper lawful commands of the forces in which they are serving. That being so, I think it is no wonder that he has gone to such lengths this morning to try to prevent those facts being brought out in this Parliament for people to hear. I believe there is no difference between the advocation for the overthrow of civil authority which has been made by the honourable member for Lalor and the call for soldiers serving in the armed forces to refuse to obey legal commands made by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Mr Speaker, I have heard somebody over here or over there say the Prime Minister was a liar, and I think it ought to be corrected.
– We can give the transcript of what the honourable member for Lalor said.
– Order! I inform honourable members that the continual taking of frivolous points of order is against the Standing Orders.
– I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw that remark. I find it offensive. He has no proof. I have never advocated the overthrow of civil order. I deny it completely and I ask the Prime Minister to withdraw that remark as I find it offensive.
– I am sorry the honourable member finds it offensive but it is in a transcript of the speech which he made here in Canberra in public saying that he hoped that authority had had its day. If that is not calling for the overthrow of civil authority, I do not know what is.
– Mr Speaker-
– Does the honourable member rise on a point of order?
– I am not askingfor this to be debated.
– Does the honourable member rise on a point of order?
– No. I have asked the Prime Minister to withdraw a remark that 1 find offensive.
– Well, the Prime Minister has given his explanation, I think, on this.
– I regret that I cannot withdraw something which comes out so clearly. For example, I quote:
And I believe those who are ready to resist authority are those who are behind the new reformation today.
If this is not calling for the overthrow of authority and action against it, 1 do not know what it is. There is no difference between that and the call for mutiny by the Leader of the Opposition.
– On a point of order, Mi Speaker, I ask you to direct the Prime Minister to withdraw that statement. The honourable member for Lalor has said the statement was false. The Prime Minister cannot place his interpretation on what an honourable member has said. An honourable member has stated that it is false, and we ask you to direct the Prime Minister to withdraw his remark.
– Order! As I have said before, the Chair does not sit in judgment on the facts that are put before the Parliament in debate or in questions. I think every member of this House is aware that to say that something is untrue is not unparliamentary. Everybody in this House is aware of that.
– I take a point of order. My impression of the Standing Orders is that if a member of the House has been referred to by another member in a way that that member considers to be offensive, he has a right to ask for a withdrawal of that remark. If that is not so, I have been under a misapprehension in the whole of the time that I have been here in this Parliament. I think the Standing Orders have been drawn up to protect members from this kind of attack, and it seems to me that all that has had to be proved on a number of previous occasions in my presence in this House is that once the member offended claims that he has been offended, once he claims that the matter is offensive, there is a responsibility on the member making the accusation to withdraw it.
– On the point of order, standing order 75 states that no member may use offensive words against any other member. Standing order 76 states:
All imputations of improper motives and all personal reflections on Members shall be considered highly disorderly.
Standing order 77 states:
When any offensive or disorderly words are used, whether by a Member who is addressing the Chair or by a member who is present, the Speaker shall intervene.
Standing order 78 states:
When the attention of the Speaker is drawn to the words used, he shall determine whether or nol they are offensive or disorderly.
The Prime Minister has used disorderly words about me, saying that I am inciting to mutiny. He has used offensive and disorderly words against the honourable member for Lalor saying that he has incited to violence or the overthrow of authority. There could scarcely be more offensive or disorderly terms used about honourable members who engage in the law making process and who are sworn to uphold it. The Prime Minister has no more licence, I put it to you, than any other honourable member to be offensive or disorderly. Sir, you have a very difficult task to perform, not least this morning, but I submit that you should call even the Prime Minister to book this morning.
– I rise on the point of order. If the point of order taken by the Leader of the Opposition were to be pursued to its finality then any member who said anything at all could be called upon to withdraw it if some individual got up and said he found it offensive. It is surely not offensive to quote from speeches made by members opposite and to quote such words as ‘I sincerely hope that authority has had its day’ and to go on in this Parliament to say that that is a calling for the overthrow of authority. Surely that is a part of proper debate and of a proper bringing out of the facts and there are no offensive words being used of the honourable member concerned by me.
– I rise on a further point of order. In support of the point of order raised by the Leader of the Opposition I draw your attention to your own ruling on a previous occasion in which you stated that an honourable member could say, for instance, that all the Government supporters are Fascists but he could not say that the Prime Minister was. You ruled that if you refer to one individual it must be withdrawn but collectively it was inoffensive. My point is that the honourable member for Lalor has been very offensively addressed by the Prime Minister and that on your ruling the remarks should be withdrawn. After a long time in this Parliament 1 know from experience that honourable members from all sides, when requested by the Speaker to withdraw words which the member concerned claims to be offensive, inevitably withdraws them. In ruling as you have today I think you are departing from a precedent that can be vertified throughout the records of this Parliament.
– On the point of order. 1 submit that the question hinges on 2 phrases - the phrase ‘hope that authority has had its day’ and the phrase ‘this means incitement to overthrow authority’.
– By force.
– Overthrow by force. The question is this: Does the Prime Minister’s inference of the second phrase from the first represent imputations 0 a motive by the honourable member for Lalor? I submit that it does. If in saying that he hoped authority has had its day the honourable member for Lalor meant that he hoped that authority would be changed by lawful means he was certainly and clearly not inciting anyone to overthrow authority by force. I submit that the Prime Minister has incorrectly read a motive into the words of the honourable member for Lalor.
– The honourable member is now debating the question. The matter I am required to rule on is the point of order that was raised by the honourable member for Lalor in relation to a statement being untrue, i have said that the word ‘untrue’ is not offensive. It is a question of being within the ambit of parliamentary language. I understand from the Prime Ministers answer to the question, and I further understand from what the Prime Minister said in speaking to the point of order, that what he was doing in relation to this was quoting from a document that he has with him.
– His interpretation of it.
– Yes, Mr Speaker, certain quotations were made, such as ‘1 certainly hope that authority has had its day’ and so on.
-If this is contained in a document there is nothing the Chair can do.
– I ask, in accordance with standing order 321, that the pamphlet quoted from by the Prime Minister be laid on the table.
– ls question time over?
– Not yet.
– I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.
– I desire to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, I claim to have been grossly misrepresented by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). The Prime Minister has accurately quoted from a speech I made in Canberra 1 think last Monday week. I was speaking in that speech about authority and the need to make democratic the process by which authority is represented. The Prime Minister interpreted my remarks, and said so in this House, as an advocacy of the forceful overthrow of civil order. This is a gross misrepresentation which 1 find offensive. My whole philosophy is a non-violent philosophy and has been so all my life. I have never used force. Even in the 9-J years I was in the police force I did not use force on anyone.
– You must have been an exception.
– I was an exception. It is always possible that there is an exception. I would have thought tthe honourable member was brilliant enough to know that.
-Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Prospect cease interjecting. 1 do not think the honourable member for Lalor needs his assistance at this stage.
– -During my political work I have continuously worked against those who would use physical force in demonstrations or in other actions and what 1 did on 8th May and 18th September in Melbourne was a full illustration of that. I find it completely offensive that the Prime Minister of this nation should give his own interpretation to something I have said that neither the words nor my actions justify.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. 1 was misrepresented by the Prime Minister and I will presently read from a document of which he has a copy and of which any honourable member can get a copy. But before 1 come to that I am moved by the answers and the statements made by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) at question time to point out that I was also misrepresented on 7th May last, the day after I addressed a meeting outside Parliament House to protest against the Vietnam war. On the following night about 2 hours after 1 had spoken on Papua and New Guinea, the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) in speaking to the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 1969-70, said this about me:
I suppose he thought that all he had to do was to get out in front of Parliament House under a couple of Vietcong flags and address the crowd.
During earlier points of order I said that the Minister for External Territories had made this statement during question time, but in fact he said it during a speech. I have learned from this morning’s experience that one should make personal explanations immediately so that passages like this from Hansard cannot subsequently be quoted against one. The fact is that as far as T know I have never spoken under a Vietcong flag and I would never knowingly do so.
I now come to the more serious allegations made by the Prime Minister. I should make it plain forthwith that I have never advocated mutiny. If a man is in Vietnam he owes it to himself and to all his comrades in arms to obey orders. What I did say to the Caucus yesterday was that I have given and will give advice to those of my constituents who seek my advice in the very difficult situation where they may not have that general conscientious objection to all war which would entitle them to exemption under the National Service Act but have a conscientious objection to the war in Vietnam. I would point out that on the eve of the last election there were 250,000 people in my electorate. It was an exceptionally young population. There were thousands of men very seriously troubled about this question. They were entitled to come to me, just as they go to many other persons whom they expect to give advice - members of the clergy, family friends and so on - and as a member of Parliament I am not going to spurn anybody who seeks my advice in a matter concerning Federal laws or Federal administration.
Accordingly in the Caucus there was a discussion on this matter and I said what I had done in these matters. Late last night my Press secretary was asked by certain Pressmen whether I had said in the Caucus that if conscripts or soldiers were sent to Vietnam they should not obey orders. This was such a garbled version of what I said, so damaging a version, that I invited the Press into my office at 11 o’clock, and departing from my practice of not giving what are internal matters in the Caucus, other than those which will give rise to parliamentary action, I told them what 1 had said and within half an hour my staff had a transcript of what 1 said available in the Press gallery.
I wilt read it so that there can be no doubt, by ill disposed persons or anybody else, as to what I said, what my actions have been and what I believe my actions as a member of Federal Parliament are entitled to be. I said this:
It arose on a motion to ask the Caucus Executive to consider the position where the police had tried to interrogate Senator Keeffe concerning a report that he had given advice that conscientious objectors should not register under the National Service Act. I told the Caucus that if I were asked by a man who objected to the Vietnam war as to the course he should take I would give this advice: He should register and at the time of doing so give written advice that if he was inducted and ordered to go to Vietnam he would not obey that order. If he was ballotted in then he should present himself for his medical examination and if found fit and should he be inducted, then he should give written advice that if he was ordered to go to Vietnam he would not obey the order. The reasons I gave for this advice to men who conscientiously objected to the Vietnam war was this: one could not say that at all times and in all places conscription was immoral. If members of the Caucus, for instance, were members of the Labor governments in Sweden, Switzerland, Israel or Singapore at the present time they would support conscription in the circumstances in which those countries find themselves. Again, one could not say that at all times and in all places it was immoral to bear arms. A very great number of members of Caucus have done so in a good cause. The crisis of conscience was the war in Vietnam.
Then I said:
I thought I had better clear that up with you. Never have I said that a man should not obey orders in Vietnam.
The Press then asked some questions and perhaps I should read those.
– I think this is going a little beyond the bounds of a personal explanation. As the Leader of the Opposition has read a full statement, I think he has dealt with the matter.
– That motion would be out of order.
– Standing Order 321 states:
A document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister-
– I will not be that until after the next election.
– Standing Order continues:
There was a document called for by the Opposition in relation to this situation this morning and the Prime Minister agreed to table it. That document has been tabled. Now, the Leader of the Opposition quoting from a Press statement has been asked by the Prime Minister to table itand I would now call upon the Leader of the Opposition to agree to table it. Upon his tabling it I would move that the House take note of the paper so that there would be a vehicle for a debate. If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to have a debate he will agree to whatever course is necessary for the tabling of it. I would like him to indicate to me now by way of interjection whether he agrees to the tabling of it.
– Order! I might point out that this is a matter entirely for the Leader of the Opposition himself.
– Does the honourable gentleman agree to table it? I am asking the Leader of the Opposition whether he agrees to table it because bis answer will shape the course of action I am about to take. If he agrees to it I will take one course and if he does not agree to it I will take a different course.
– I might point out that under the Standing Orders the Leader of the Opposition is not required to table the document. He was making a personal explanation.
– In view of what the Minister for Labour and National Service has said, I wish to continue my personal explanation.
– Do you wish to table the document?
– I wish to continue my personal explanation.
– Does the Leader of the Opposition wish to make a further personal explanation?
– Does the Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I am not entitled to table documents but I would be very happy to do so. I did in fact, you will recall, when the Prime Minister was answering the question from the honourable member for Lilley, ask him to produce the document. I am very happy for it to be tabled and for any debate to proceed.
– I rise to order. My point of order is that the honourable gentleman says that he is making a personal explanation and that personal explanation has now proceededforanumberofminutes.Ihave indicated that depending on the answer the honourable gentleman gave I would pursue a certain course of action. If he would indicate that he is prepared to have it tabled I would do one thing, that is,I will move for the suspension of so much of the standing orders that would enable the paper to be tabled. If not I will myself quote from it and one of the members of the House will, no doubt, ask me under
Standing Order 321 to table it. But it depends on the answer the honourable gentleman gives.
-The Leader of the Opposition can table the document only by leave. I think he has indicated that he wants to continue with a further personal explanation. The question is whether the Leader of the Opposition wants to table the paper or not and, as I said before, this is a matter entirely for him.
– 1 choose to make my personal explanation in the form of reading the rest of the document. The proceedings are being broadcast and 1 want to have the right, which any honourable member should have, to clear myself.
-I would suggest- to comply with Standing Orders - that the personal explanation that the Leader of the Opposition asked for in the beginning when he read that paper was a fairly full explanation of that point of order. I would suggest that the Leader of the Opposition now - because this is going beyond the bounds of a personal explanation - might ask for leave to make a statement.
– Well. 1 ask leave to make a statement.
-Is leave granted?
– 1 should like to know a little more about what this statement is.
– You have it.
– I have a document, but the Leader of the Opposition has asked leave to make a statement and I am not sure what that statement is going to be. If it is, in fact, what is in the document then surely, Mr Speaker, if this gets tabled in Parliament as we are suggesting and becomes a matter of public knowledge and an avenue for debate then it becomes fully public and there is no need for a verbal reading of what eventually I understand the Leader of the Opposition will table. I am not sure he is going to do so.
– Well, Sir, 1 will rely on my right to make a personal explanation.
-Is leave granted?
– Not from me.
– Leave is not granted. I will allow, in these particular circumstances, the Leader of the Opposition to continue his personal explanation.
– Mr Speaker, after 1 made the statement which I previously read I was asked questions as follows:
That is referring to my Press conference at the end of each Caucus meeting - because it was only a reference to the Executive.
Then there was a question which could not be heard.
That was the end of the document
-I rise to order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 321 states:
A document relating to public affairs quoted from by a Minister, unless stated to be of a confidential nature or such as should more properly be obtained by address, shall, if required by any Member, be laid on the Table.
I believe that the Prime Minister has quoted from a document recently referred to by the Leader of the Opposition.I, as a member of the House, wish that document to be laid on the table. It is not encumbent upon the Prime Minister to do so but on the Leader of the Opposition.
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition is not a Minister.
– The Prime Minister has quoted from it and it must be laid on the Table.
– I desire to make a further explanation.
– On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think the honourable member for Evans claimed that I had quoted from a document and that under the Standing Orders he wanted me to table the document from which I quoted.
– There is nothing to stop the Prime Minister or any other Minister laying on the table that document.
– In that case, Mr Speaker, I table the document from which I quoted which is a statement read just recently by the Leader of the Opposition.
– Mr Speaker, I move:
Debate (on motion by Mr Snedden) adjourned.
– I desire to make a further personal explanation.
– Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes,I do. Since 1 last made a personal explanation I have had an opportunity to read the transcript from which the right honourable the Prime Minister himself read and I find the misrepresentation is even worse than I thought. The right honourable gentleman used a sentence from my speech on page 7 of the document which reads as follows:
Ladies and gentlemen, 1 sincerely hope that authority has had its day.
The right honourable gentleman then went on to say that I advocated the forceful overthrow of social order but, Mr Speaker, immediately following that sentence and not in any way underlined on this document, and not in any way referred to by the right honourable the Prime Minister, are these sentences:
And I sincerely hope that by the methods we are using here tonight, by the methods of writing articles and books, by the methods of demonstrating, by the methods of marching, by the methods of making people aware of the necessity to act in their own interests and to convince them that if they leave it to other people, leave it to authorities, they will be fooled and let down invariably, then that lesson is the great lesson that this century is bringing home.
Not only did I say specifically the way I thought action should be taken and said it clearly and the right honourable the Prime Minister must have been well aware of this because he had the document in front of him but he deliberately chose to select from that document and then he deliberately chose to give it his own personal twisted interpretation rather than to give the full text of the way in which I considered action should be taken to overthrow authority.
– Order! The honourable member is going beyond his personal explanation.
– I won’t even bother now to reply.
– You got better treatment from us when you were in a bit of slushy trouble.
– In slush up to your ears.
– Order! The Leader of the Opposition has the call and is on his feet.
– I just want to explain-
– Order! The honourable. member for Reid will resume his seat.
– I wanted to remind him that when he was in slushy trouble we-
– Order! [ warn the honourable member for Reid.
– Good, I will take the warning.
– I call the Leader of the Opposition.
– You talk about garbage-
– Order! The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting. The honourable member for Prospect will cease interjecting.
– 1 do not want any more diplomatic incidents concerning the Prime Minister. Mr Speaker, I ask leave to table a photograph which shows me addressing a crowd outside Parliament House last Friday. It shows the date. It is quite easily identifiable as last Friday. There are clergy and civilians in the background and I flag - an Australian flag - and I appear to be wearing an Air Force tie. I do not know what the procedure is-
-I am afraid that I do not either but you can ask for leave. I suggest that you ask for leave to table the document and then what happens to it as far as Hansard is concerned I cannot say.
– I seek leave to table it.
– If the honourable gentleman wants to bring along the family album we will give him leave to. table that too.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
- Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I will admit that, this morning I did beat the gun in regard to asking you to accept an amendment. The correct procedure would have been for me to wait until the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) moved his motion that the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) be suspended from the services of the House. Now, Mr Speaker, you do not suspend anyone from the House. This is done by resolution of the House. There is nothing to stop me from moving such an amendment proposing that somebody else be suspended instead of another honourable member - in this case, the honourable member for Dawson.
You made a ruling in regard to this matter in a previous case where a censure motion was moved and the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) moved what I considered to be a negative amendment But the Parliament considered that it was in order according to our Standing Orders. Under these circumstances, I submit that you must accept an amendment moved to the motion moved by the Leader of the House in regard to the suspension of an honourable member who has been named. No doubt, you will quote from some standing order. But I say this: To be consistent with your ruling in the previous case as to what is a negative, you must accept what I think is a negative amendment also in this case, that is, in the naming of a person and in the suspension of that person. I claim that, having regard to your previous ruling, if you wish to be consistent, you must accept when in future the Leader of the House moves that a person be suspended from the services, of the House, an amendment to that motion. You must do that to be consistent with your previous rulings because that amendment would be relevant to the matter before the House.
-Order! This is a matter for interpretation. Might I make the position clear by referring to the standing order which I interpreted this morning - and, I believe, interpreted correctly. I refer to standing order 304 which deals with the suspension of an honourable member. I will not read all of the standing order. It is in the Standing Orders for every honourable member to see. Standing order 304 says in part: . . and the Speaker shall forthwith, on a motion being made, put the same question, without amendment, adjournment or debate. . . .
-Order! Is leave granted? There being no objections, leave is granted.
– Thank you, Mr Speaker. I table the photograph.
– Pursuant to section 10 of the Seat of Government (Administration)
Act 1930-1963, I present a statement of moneys received and expended during the year ended 30th June 1970 by the Commonwealth in the administration and development of the Australian Capital Territory.
– Pursuant to section 6 of the National Fitness Act 1941, I present the annual report on National Fitness activities for the year 1969.
– Pursuant to section 39 of the Housing Loans Insurance Act 1965- 1966, I present the sixth annual report of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation for the year ended 30th June 1970, together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s report on those statements. An interim statement of the Corporation was tabled in the House of Representatives on 16th September.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
– The Vietcong flag is being held by a Liberal.
-Order! No point of order f% i*i Cac
Bill presented by Mr Lynch, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the new arrangements settled at the Premiers Conference in June for the payment of financial assistance grants to the States over the 5 years commencing with 1970-71. These arrangements are to replace those which have operated since 1965 and which were given effect in the States Grants Act 1965 as amended. By way of background I should point out that, as the financial assistance grants finance about one half of the current Budget outlays of the States, they are a very important factor in determining the standard of services provided by State governments. They are also, of course, an important element in the Commonwealth Budget, where they account for about onesixth of total Commonwealth outlay.
Under the arrangements which operated from 1965 the grants formula provided for the grants to increase each year in proportion to increases in the population of each State and in average wages, these being the two main factors responsible for increases in recurrent outlays of State budgets. In addition, the grants increased in accordance with a betterment factor of 1.2 per cent, this element being designed to help the States improve the standard of their services.
The effect of this formula was to increase the grants at a rather faster rate than gross national product and this was undoubtedly one of the main factors behind the increasing proportion of national resources that has been devoted to the provision of government services in the State sector. Outlays by the State sector as a whole increased from just over 14 per cent of GNP in 1959-60 to 16 per cent of GNP last year and, contrary to the impression given in some quarters, this enabled a significant improvement in standards of State services over the period.
To keep up with community demands for improved services the States have, at the same time, had to increase the severity of their own taxes and charges. Against this background the States argued that, with fairly limited tax fields, they have found it increasingly difficult to maintain the rate of growth of their expenditures. Their own solution to this situation, advanced in a joint statement made prior to the February Premiers Conference, was to suggest that they be given access to income tax broadly along the lines of the system operating in Canada.
However, the Government did not accept this approach. Allowing the States access to income taxation would make the Commonwealth’s task of managing the economy more difficult, and a scheme along the Canadian lines could result in different rates of income tax applying in the various States. This would mean the end of uniform income taxation, which we believe has great advantages for the community and is the system preferred by the Australian public. Further, as income tax collections fluctuate markedly from time to time, adoption of the States* proposals could have created difficult budgetary problems for the States in some years. In addition, the fact that the per capita yield of income tax varies significantly between the States would have made it difficult to work out ‘equalisation’ grants satisfactory to the less populous States.
The Commonwealth did accept, however, that there was a need for a significant increase in Commonwealth revenue assistance to the States and this is to be achieved in 2 main ways - by increasing the financial assistance grants and by reducing the burden on the States of debt charges. The reduction in the burden of debt charges is provided for in 2 separate Bills which will be introduced shortly, but I would like to emphasise that the combined effect of the new measures should be to increase the rate of growth of total Commonwealth general revenue assistance to the States by an average of between 2i and 3 per cent per annum more than if the old arrangements had continued. Since, as I have mentioned, the grants under the old formula had themselves been growing at a faster rate than the GNP, this represents a very significant improvement.
The total amount of Commonwealth assistance that will accrue to the States under these new arrangements cannot bc estimated precisely as it will depend on a number of unknown factors such as future movements in average wages, in population and in interest rates. However, if average wages and population were to increase at approximately the same average rate as in the 5 years ending in 1969-70, and on certain other assumptions, the States would, under these new arrangements, receive an estimated $70m more financial assistance in 1970-71, and about $800m more over the 5 years as a whole, than would have been the case if the previous arrangements had continued unaltered.
The increase in the financial assistance grants provided for in the present Bill is being achieved in several ways. First, while the grants formula applying under the previous arrangements will continue to be used to determine the formula grants payable to each State in 1970-71, there will be payable in 1970-71 a further amount of $40m which will ‘ be distributed between the States in the. same proportion as the formula grants. Secondly, for purposes of determining the formula grants for 1970-71 and subsequent years, the additional amount of $40m paid in 1970-71. is to be included in the formula grants base and the formula itself will be improved by increasing the betterment factor from 1.2 per cent to 1.8 per cent. Thirdly, in addition to the revenue grants to be distributed between all the States, further grants of a general revenue nature are to be paid to particular States.
For Queensland, there is to be a continuation over the coming 5 years of the $2m annual addition that was made to the base on which the State’s formula grant was calculated over the 5 years of the previous arrangements. The Government takes the view that, in spite of the considerable improvement that has been effected in Queensland’s share of the grants over the last 5 years, the share of the grants now being received by that State still compares adversely with those of the other States and needs to be further increased. Over the coming 5 years as a whole the increases should yield nearly $40m for Queensland on top of the State’s share of the normal formula grants.
Western Australia will also receive grants in addition to its formula grant and in lieu of the amount of SI 5.5m paid in both 1968-69 and 1969-70. These additional grants will start at $ 12.5m in 1970-71 and be reduced by $3m per annum in each of the subsequent 4 years. This comparative reduction is proposed because of the significant improvement that has been occurring in Western Australia’s relative financial capacity. The Government takes the view that, if Western Australia were to continue to receive the same share of the total assistance grants as previously that would be unfair to the other States and could result in a distortion in the allocation of revenue funds between the States. However, in recognition of the rapid rate of population growth and economic development in the State, the Commonwealth has undertaken to support in the Loan Council increases in Western Australia’s share of capital funds available from the borrowing programmes to offset the comparative reductions in the revenue grants.
The Bill also- provides for .the payment of a grant of $2 per capita to New South Wales and Victoria in each of the next 5 years. Those two States have pointed out that the absolute gap between their per capita grants and those of the smaller States has been becoming larger year by year. These per capita grants are not to be included in the base used to determine the formula grants payable to New South Wales and Victoria.
I should add that it was made clear at the Premiers Conference in June that, in the event that any of the 4 less populous States considered that the additional per capita grants for New South Wales and Victoria would adversely affect their ability to provide services of a standard comparable with those in New South Wales and Victoria, it would be open to them to make an -application to the Commonwealth Grants Commission for a grant in addition to their share of the financial assistance grants. This may be contrasted with the previous grants- arrangements under which all States that had not been applying for special grants were expected to refrain from doing so.
Honourable members will be aware that, since the Premiers Conference, South Australia has made an application for a special grant and that the Government has accepted the Grants Commission’s recommendation for the payment of an advance of $5m to the State in 1970-71. A Bill to authorise the payment of special grants to both South Australia and Tasmania in 1970-71 will be introduced when the Grants Commission’s report becomes available.
I might interpose here that the question of the distribution of the general revenue grants between the States is one of considerable complexity. It was for this reason that it was suggested by the Commonwealth at the Premiers Conference that, in addition to its responsibility for recommending annual special grants to claimant States, the Grants Commission might also have the task of investigating and recommending on the distribution of the general revenue grants between all the States for purposes of the quinquennial reviews of the arrangements. We are still consulting with the States on this suggestion.
Since the Premiers Conference, the Government has decided, following a request by the Premier of Tasmania, to reduce by SI Om the special grant recommended by the Grants Commission for payment to that State in 1970-71 and to add the same amount to its financial assistance grant. The Bill therefore provides for the payment to Tasmania of an additional financial assistance grant of $10m in 1970-71 and for the incorporation of this amount in the base to be used to calculate the State’s financial assistance grant for 1971-72 and subsequent years. I should make it clear that this arrangement will not affect the total general revenue grants paid to Tasmania in either 1970-71 or later years. That total will continue to bc determined, in effect, by the special grant approved each year on the recommendation of the Grants Commission.
As under previous arrangements, an important feature of the new arrangements is that the financial assistance grants are provided on the basis of the existing division between the Commonwealth and the States of financial responsibilities and of tax resources. Any significant change in the present division would enable review of the arrangements with a view to adjustment of the grants. Provision for this is made in clause 1 1 .
In this context I wish to make particular mention of the responsibility of the State governments for’ their local authorities. The Commonwealth Government is well aware of the pressure being exerted by the community for an expansion in local government services, just as it is aware of the increasing demands for expansion in other areas of State Government responsibility. These demands for continued improvements in all areas of State Government responsibility were an important factor in influencing the Commonwealth Government to improve the revenue grants arrangements in the manner proposed and, given the calls that we ourselves are facing, the Commonwealth Government must continue to look to State governments to assess the needs of their local authorities in the light of the expenditure responsibilities of those authorities and the revenue resources available to them. I feel confident that the new financial assistance arrangements constitute a significant improvement in CommonwealthState financial relationships and they should help the States to continue to improve the standards of services they provide. Of course, an even faster rate of improvement in standards would be desirable. But the supply of real resources is limited and, if we
1 emphasise that, while the estimates of additional assistance should prove to be close to the mark, the figures of total assistance are dependent on the assumptions stated and should not be regarded as precise estimates or forecasts of the total amount of Commonwealth revenue assistance to be provided under the new arrangements. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
– Before I move that this debate be adjourned I ask the Minister assisting the Treasurer whether he will are to provide proper scope for the growth of the private sector of the economy, the achievement of higher standards in government services must necessarily be a gradual progression.
Honourable member will doubtless be interested in the total assistance to be provided to each State under the new arrangements and I ask for leave to have incorporated in Hansard a table which sets out estimates which have been compiled on the assumptions mentioned earlier. The table is designed mainly to show the additional assistance to each State by comparison with the assistance that would be provided if the previous arrangements continued unaltered. make available information on the system which operates in Canada which was referred to earlier in his second reading speech. Will he supply from Treasury sources details of the Canadian scheme?
– I will have a look at the . suggestion and discuss it with the honourable gentleman.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 12.43 to 2.15 p.m.
– by leave- Mr Speaker, before the business of the House commences I would like to refer to the suspension of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). Might I prevail upon your good graces in respect of this matter? You might recall that the honourable member for Dawson made a remark for which he was subsequently expelled from the House because it was understood that he had not withdrawn it. I have the Hansard copy of this morning’s proceedings which shows that in the course of those proceedings you said:
Order! The honourable member for Dawson will withdraw the remark.
Dr Patterson said: I withdraw it and say that it is an untruth.
Order! The honourable member for Dawson will withdraw the remark unreservedly.
The honourable member for Dawson did not say any more. I understand he was under the impression that he had withdrawn the remark when he said it was an untruth and ‘untruth’ is not an unparliamentary word. In those circumstances I wonder whether, if the honourable member for Dawson came back into the House and tendered his apology for what has taken place, consideration could be given to his readmittance
-The honourable member was suspended from the House not because he withdrew the remark and said it was an untruth. He was suspended when he failed to accede to my request to withdraw the remark unreservedly, which would, in my view, have been complying with a reasonable request from the Chair. I think in these, circumstances it is a decision for the House. I was going to state my opinion but as the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) indicates that he wishes to say something, I will hear him.
– Mr Speaker, before you make a decision which may prove irrevocable might I say that some conversations have taken place between the Leader of the House (Mr Snedden) and the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart). Perhaps this matter could be deferred for a while so that discussions may take place with you later. Maybe if the matter could be stood over for a moment this would be a way of getting over it.
-In other words, the honourable member for Grayndler will withdraw his request to me.
– The honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) and the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) were speaking to me while the bells were ringing and we heard over the intercommunication system that the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) had raised the issue here. We ceased our conversation and came into the chamber. Our conversations are only in the preliminary stages at this point and I would be quite happy to agree with the honourable member for Hindmarsh that those conversations should continue, if that is your will.
– I am quite prepared for that course to be taken.
Bill presented by Mr Lynch, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to give effect to the undertaking by the Commonwealth at the June Premiers’ Conference that, as part of the new financial assistance arrangements designed to provide increased revenue assistance to the States, the Commonwealth would t-‘k? over responsibility for the debt charges on portion of existing State Government debt. The background to the new arrangements, and their overall effect, has already been explained in my speech introducing the States Grants Bill 1970. The background to the present measure, and to the States Grants (Capital Assistance) Bill which I will introduce shortly, is the complaints which State Governments have made in recent years concerning the effect of their growing indebtedness in requiring increasing outlays from their budgets on interest and sinking fund charges. In particular, they have pointed out that perhaps one-half of their capital expenditure is on works that are generally of a non-revenue producing nature. As a consequence, the debt charges on such expenditure have to be financed, in effect, from general revenues.
While the financing of debt charges naturally results in less funds being available to the States for expenditure in other fields, debt charges have been one of the slower growing items of State Budget expenditure. There is no evidence to indicate, that they have brought about a deterioration in the financial position of the States, as has been suggested in some quarters. The General Revenue Grants paid by the Commonwealth to the States, out of which the States have been free to meet debt charges on non-revenue producing capital expenditure, have been growing at a faster rate than these debt charges. However, in the light of the States’ complaints about the burden of debt charges, the Government felt that it would be appropriate to provide some of the increased revenue assistance to the States under the new financial assistance arrangements in the form of assistance with debt charges. This Bill provides for grants to the States in respect of the interest and sinking fund charges on a parcel of State debt amounting to $ 1,000m, details of which are set out in the first and second schedules. The Grants will be one-fifth of the interest and sinking fund charges on this debt in 1970- 71 - equal to $11. 5m - two-fifths in 1971-72, and so on. In this way the Commonwealth will by 1974-75 be providing an annual grant of $57. 5m to meet the total debt charges on the parcel of $ 1,000m of State debt. It is proposed that the debt concerned will, be formally transferred to the Commonwealth in June 1975.
I should mention that the securities in the parcel of debt carry an average interest rate of 5.5 per cent. This is significantly higher than the average rate of 5 per cent on all State Government securities on issue at 30th June 1970. The total grant payable each year will be distributed between the States in the same proportion as the total outstanding debt of each State under the financial agreement as at 30th June 1970.
The amount payable to each State in 1970- 7 1 under this arrangement is as follows:
f commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Lynch, and read a first, time.
– I move:
This Bill provides for the payment in J 970-7! of a grant of $200m to help the States in financing capital works from which debt charges are not normally recovered, such as schools, police buildings and the like. As in the case of the States Grants (Debt Charges Assistance) Bill, this measure is one element in the new financial assistance arrangements to increase the revenue assistance available to the States. By way of background to this particular measure I should mention that, throughout the post-war period, borrowings by the Commonwealth in Australia and overseas have fallen well short of the amounts required to finance the total capital expenditures of the Commonwealth and State governments. In this situation the Commonwealth has recognised that, if it had taken a significant proportion of public sector loan raisings, with (he division of tax resources that has prevailed the States would have had limited scope to finance capital expenditure from revenue resources. In these circumstances, the greater part of loan raisings has gone to the State sector. However, in all but 2 years since 1951-52 new money raisings have been insufficient even to finance the borrowings approved by the Loan Council for the works and housing programmes of the State governments.
Rather than see a shortfallin these programmes, the Commonwealth has agreed to make up the difference through special loans issued on terms and conditions based on those offered in public loans raised during the year. In recent years the funds subscribed by the Commonwealth to these special loans have been derived from general revenue sources.
The interest and sinking fund charges on special loans have featured as an important element in the States’ complaints about the burden of debt charges and, as one way of helping to ease this burden, the Government decided that it would be prepared to make available part of the States works and housing programmes in the form of capital grants. The grants will mean that the States will have to meet less debt charges from their revenues than would otherwise be the case. In this way revenue funds will be freed for expenditure by the States in other directions. The provision of the capital grants will not, of course, result in any increase in the total capital funds available to State governments from the Loan Council borrowing programmes. It will mean, however, that the States will have available substantial capital funds, on which no debt charges will be payable, to help meet expenditure in non-revenue producing fields.
The Bill provides for a capital grant of $200m in 1970-71 to be distributed between the States in the same proportion as the total 1970-71 works and housing programme; excluding a special loan allocation of $3m for Western Australia. Because of the timing of interest and sinking fund payments on loans raised during the year, there will only be a marginal saving of debt charges as a result of the 1970-71 grant. However, in 1971-72 the full year’s saving in debt charges from the 1970-71 grant is estimated at approximately $14m. Further, as the Commonwealth has undertaken to increasethecapitalgrantinfutureyearsin proportion to the increase in the total works and housing programme, the annual saving in debt charges will increase year by year and, over the 5 years of the new financial assistance arrangements, the resultant saving to the States would be nearly $150m on the assumption that current interest rates continued. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Consideration resumed from 23rd September (vide page 1566).
Department of Customs and Excise
Proposed expenditure, $28,112,000.
Department of Primary Industry
Proposed expenditure, $77,867,000.
Department of Trade and Industry
Proposed expenditure, $40,030,000.
– I had not intended to speak but, as noone else was rising, I thought I should take the opportunity on this occasion. We are discussing the estimates of the Department of Primary Industry, which I think is the chief department concerned, the Department of Customs and Excise, and the Department of Trade and Industry. I want to praise the Department of Customs and Excise for the fine work it has been doing in discovering drugs and such things which people attempt to bring illegally into this country. The staff of that Department is doing an excellent job. On the ships that they search they find all sorts of places where drugs are hidden. They must be complimented by honourable members. It is very seldom that they are complimented. Some people do not seem to worry much whether drugs are brought into this country or not. Many members of the Opposition as well as members of the Government have spoken against the drug trade and have said that it must be stopped. The young people of this country, and the older ones too, are in danger all the time from drug pedlars. Some of these drug pedlars are very pleasant people and they make an impression on certain young people with whom they come in contact.
I read a story the other day about a young boy who had drawn a very ugly looking picture. He showed it to his father and said: “This is a picture of the devil’. His father said: ‘Oh, no, that is not the devil’. ‘ So the boy went back to school, got all sorts of things together and made a very hideous sort of picture. He came to his father again and said: ‘I have got it right this time. This is a picture of the devil’. The father said no and explained to him that the devil is not necessarily ugly.
The devil may be a beautiful girl or a handsome young man. If the person, who was distributing drugs and other things that are illegal, was ugly people would not be attracted to him. But young people today do not recognise for what they are the plausible manner and the appearance of people who are peddling drugs. Therefore, it is a very serious matter. Let me say to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) that we believe the work being done under his guidance is for the benefit of all Australia. I commend his Department for its arduous work which is dedicated to stopping the entry of drugs into this country.
I turn now to the Department of Trade and Industry. Recently in this House someone spoke about the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr McEwen) as being the gloomy dean because he had gone overseas, had made investigations into the Common Market and had come back here to report on what he had found out. What did honourable members opposite expect him to do? He bad been on a mission overseas to investigate, amongst other things, matters regarding the possible entry of the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community. What should he have done? Should he have come back here and given a bright picture, quite the reverse to what he found? It seems that the truth was not popular. When the Minister for Trade and Industry came back to Australia he reported exactly what he bad seen. The Minister has had an almost lifelong experience in trade negotiations overseas. I think we must accept what he has said and do all we can to get other markets in preparation for the time when the United Kingdom may go into the European Common Market.
Recently I suggested to the Minister for Trade and Industry something similar to but not exactly the same as I have suggested over the years. I suggested that Australia should appoint for a start at least three accredited and efficient salesmen of high integrity to go overseas and move from trade post to trade post trying to co-ordinate the work of trade commissioners in finding markets and selling Austraiian goods. Such men have proved to be very valuable in private enterprise. If stock agents, for instance, have stock for sale in New South Wales or Victoria they send their men round to the different branches to find out what they have for sale and also to find buyers. They do not make the actual sales. They coordinate the marketing. Without them business would not be so good.
As I have said before, trade commissioners are not necessarily good salesmen. Most of them are appointed because they have a university degree. I have personal knowledge of two young men who, because of their university degrees, were recently appointed to a certain position that had to do with primary industry. The post to which they were appointed had been run for many years by a man who did not have a degree, but he had to teach these young men all about what their job really meant. 1 believe that Australia should appoint salesmen. The Minister was quite right in saying that the Government collects information from its trade posts around the world and makes it available to manufacturers in Australia. But what about the small manufacturer? He cannot take full advantage of it. Therefore these men continually travelling and working in conjunction with Australian trade representatives all over the world would pay their way. 1 think that this is something that should be looked into.
It is said that primary industry is in a bacl position financially and that its prospects are not good. I listened to the honourable member for Eden-Monaro (Mr Allan Fraser) and I had to agree with him to a certain extent. I believe that if wheat quotas had not been introduced and if there had not been very low prices for wool, the primary producer would still have been heading for a bad time because of rising costs. As the honourable member for Eden-Monaro said - and I agree with him - costs are affecting the profit of primary industry. 1 have often said in this place that the primary industry that is not stabilised is out of step with reality. After all, this country is divided. When Abraham Lincoln was trying to free the slaves in America he said:
This country cannot long remain half slave and half free. 1 do not expect the Union to be dissolved but I do expect that it shall cease to be divided.
It was resolved. More than three-quarters of the people live in metropolitan areas, where there is great prosperity. We hear arguments here all the time that make me very tired. We hear about moratoriums and other Jiangs that are happening, flow could young nien appear & & streets 55 Fridays and other days, how could they leave their jobs and their universities to take place in a march if there were not great prosperity in the metropolitan areas? I have not heard of yoting men marching in places that I represent, such as Mildura. I have not heard of them having marched in any country town.
The money is in the metropolitan areas. It has been said that for every ten men who can stand adversity only one can stand success. Financial success that is to be found in the cities is going to the heads of a lot of people and they have to find something to do. Therefore they participate in a Moratorium march or something else. 1 am not saying that these activities are good, bad or indifferent at this stage, but there only has to be a call for a march and people come from everywhere. They are nearly all young people who should be studying to fit themselves to represent this country in the way we expect them to when the Government pays so much for their education.
Tariffs do a great job in protecting our secondary industries against low standard of living countries which, if they could market their manufactured goods in Australia, would put most of our secondary industries out of business. Primary industry has ceased to be an employer of labour. With very big machines two or three men can do what it took 22 or 23 men to do in the days of the horse and the slower machines. Employment is not to be found in the country areas. If Australia wants to progress it must have population for many things, including defence. Secondary industry plays its part in this regard. If we were to lift tariffs too much, industry would collapse. Exorbitant tariffs do 2 things. First of all, they protect the inefficient manufacturer. The Conciliation and Arbitration Commission grants wage rises according to what industry can pay, and if an industry can pay handsomely because of the tariffs it enjoys workers receive high wages and are encouraged to work as slow as the slowest worker. If these working conditions are not adhered to a strike is called quick and lively.
I have suggested in this place on a lot of occasions that primary industry should receive price support for its exports on a basis that is at least as financially favourable as that which the tariffs give to secondary industry. This would in time even up the distribution of population and would even up the economy. There is an everwidening gap between the economies of secondary industry and primary industry. If the primary producer could buy in Australia everything he needed for his property and could sell in Australia all that he produced he would not want any assistance at all; but he does not do that. A market is a place for buying and selling; but if the primary producer can only buy on the home market and has to sell most of his goods overseas, it is only half a market. The primary producer has to sell on markets in low standard of living countries against which our secondary industries are protected by tariff. We can give the primary producer as much temporary help as we like, but he still has to face rising costs. We must try to include the primary producer in the buoyant economy that is apparent in our cities.
While I have been speaking members of the Australian Labor Party have been trying to interject, but I remind honourable members of Labor’s constant great cry about one vote one value. I have coined the statement that we need decentralisation of political representation. It is of no good talking about any other kind of representation, because if a big factory is to be built the voting power in the city attracts support for it like a magnet. Therefore we must have decentralisation of political representation. As soon as I speak about this the Labor Party puts forward the principle of one vote one value. This is right on the spot as far as primary industry is concerned for the simple reason that if we do have such a principle the primary producer cannot continue to exist. If the primary producer has the voting power in the country he will be able to bring about conditions that are favourable to primary producers and primary industry generally. Members of the Labor Party talk about gerrymanders and put forward the principle of one vote one value. Where is there a principle of one vote one value? It is a fallacy. Although Tasmania has a population of fewer than 400,000 people and New South Wales has a population of more than 4i million, Tasmania has the same number of senators as
New South Wales.- How do honourable members opposite work that out? I cannot work out their arguments about one vote one value.
I would 1 ike to say that primary industry and primary producers are not the same thing. We have to help primary producers in bad times by giving them some financial assistance. But primary industry covers a wider scope.’ I believe that if primary industry is prosperous the efficient primary producer should be prosperous. Therefore, I say that this Government and this nation must give a lot of thought to providing better conditions for primary industry to participate in [the highly buoyant financial state of our economy at present. There is plenty of money in this country but it is in the wrong places. Honourable members opposite oppose its spread all over the country. Primary industry has played its part in building this nation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I listened with great interest to the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull). He conveniently overlooked one-
– The honourable member has already spoken to this appropriation.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- That is all right.
– I rise on a point of order. I think that the honourable member for Sturt (Mr. Foster) should have the call.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The order of debate is for the Chair to call one Government speaker and then one Opposition speaker. Although the honourable member for Cunningham has spoken before he rose first and it is quite in order for him to speak and to make 2 contributions in a debate on these estimates.
– I listened with great interest to the. honourable member for Mallee and to his schemes for populating the rural areas. I wish’ him every success. But I would like to point out for his information that in other parts of the country there will be plenty of job vacancies within the iron and steel industry in the immediate future. This situation will arise because of developments that will occur. Quite a lot of the projections of the Country Party relating to decentralisation are for its political survival. The whole trend has been, as the honourable member said, that because of mechanisation there will be progressive depopulation of the farms and at the same time, because of mechanisation, production will be kept up. Do not let us mislead ourselves or the country on this point.
Yesterday, when I was addressing myself to the estimates of the Department of Trade and Industry I made the point that there is an urgent need for the complete testing of our known coal resources because we will face in the very near future an acute world shortage of coking coal. Every honourable member ought to be reading the text of the proceedings of the international conference on coal technology which met in Tokyo a few weeks ago. In my own constituency the existence and the measure of the coal deposits is a matter of life and death. The question will arise in the near future, because of the world shortage of coking coal, as to whether some restriction should be placed on exports, at least from my own district. Of course, there is development within the Bowen basin of very substantial and in fact formidable reserves. But even taking that into account and what is available in Canada-
– Mr Deputy Chairman, did the honourable member speak to the same appropriation yesterday?
– Yes. It is in order for him to speak again today. He is entitled under the Standing Orders to make 2 contributions to a debate on these estimates.
– I would suggest, in fairness to the honourable member for Cunningham, that if he wants to address himself a second time to these estimates he might consider his colleague the honourable member for Sturt and yield after a few more minutes to allow him to speak before the debate is guillotined at 7i minutes past 3.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- There is no point of order. The next call will go to the Government side.
– In reply to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), I was asked to speak. Had I known that the honourable member for Sturt wished to address the House I would have been glad to have given him every possible facility.
– I am not complaining.
– The point I want to make is this: Australia will have to take stock of its coal reserves because by the year 2000 the blast furnace will be a thing of the past in steel production. Steel production of the future will depend upon the use of the electric furnace. This means that we need to look very seriously at our known uranium resources because the electric furnace, with the use of metalised aglomerates, will be the ultimate in steel production. Australia has a unique opportunity because in the major and older traditional centres of steel production there is relative obsolescence in the methods being used, and there must be reconstruction. These centres are looking for a location to offset the competition of the Japanese challenge. The Japanese have infinite advantages’ and any person who comes into a major industry such as this does likewise. With tide water steel plants and their huge freighters the Japanese are able to get every conceivable advantage of transport costs from the nearest available source of raw material. Our future lies in the development of our known mineral wealth. It lies in the beneficiating - that is, the upgrading - of the ores and the reduction of those ores and metals from them and the rolling and the processing of these metals. That is the point I want to make because this potential exists along the east coast of Australia and it will first occur in the utilisation of what remaining coking coal we possess, in the further improvement of steaming coals and in the development of metalised aglomerates in Western Australia. This is where Australia’s future lies.
I know that this Government would be prepared to sell anything as long as it can carry on. I know that I have a duty to protect the employment of the coal miners within my area. I also have a duty to state the case and to sound the warning, and a warning there ought to be. But above all, we can take an example from the known activities of the Armco consortium in relation to Jervis Bay today. That organisation is interested in Jervis Bay for one reason. It has specialised in the production of steel by the electric furnace process and it is looking for a site for simitar development in this country. This is a far seeing group and it knows exactly what it wants. Thanks to the recent Nabarlek discoveries of uranium, we have world ranking resources. We could quadruple those resources if we are prepared to forget the brash statements of the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton). He is supposed to be Australian to the boot heels; there is perhaps another epithet I would apply in terms of stupidity. He has to put his pride in his pocket and ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Then the necessary technology will be made available to him and to this country to enable us to upgrade our supplies of uranium. We will want that technology and this is the cheapest way to get it. It will pay us even to use the gaseous diffusion process for the purpose of upgrading uranium. To do this would mean to quadruple the efficacy of this resource. This would mean that our resources would be quadrupled because uranium is the most important element in the world today.
Australia can be a world ranking power in terms of the production of metals and their reduction from their ores if we choose to grasp the opportunities that are there to be taken. In conclusion I would like to say that this would mean a revision of existing export programmes. I do not want to interfere with these programmes but I want to know - there is no person in Australia who can give me an accurate estimate - the extent of our coking coal reserves. Even in respect of what we have exported we have been a collection of fools. The Japanese buy as a cartel. They buy as one and they hit with all their buying force and buying power. We have had a collection, of fools in charge of competing coal interests and they have cut each others throats to secure these contracts instead of getting the best price possible. lt has been stated by the vicechairman of the British Steel Corporation that there will be a cutout point in the utilisation of coal in steel technology when the price reaches $20 a ton. That is at least 50 per cent more than we are getting today. There is only one thing the Japanese understand and that is hard fisted bargaining and I want to see a little more of it in the future negotiation of our coal sales to that country.
– Because the debate is to be guillotined at 3.7 p.m. I will make my speech short in order to give the honourable member for Sturt (Mr Foster) an opportunity to speak. I wish to raise here this afternoon the problem which has arisen out of the old battle of federalism and centralism, and I hope in raising this question I will not be branded a centralist but rather one who can see the weaknesses at times of the Federal system. The question I raise is one affecting the blue mud crab. The blue mud crab exists along a 250 mile stretch of the Australian coastline extending from about Yamba on the north coast of New South Wales to about 100 miles past the Queensland border. Over the years because of over-fishing and so on this crab has become almost non-existent. There has been a complete lack of conservation over the last 20 years.
Unfortunately New South Wales - and I am being critical of the New South Wales Government at the moment - has never applied any restrictions whatsoever on the taking and sale of small, immature crabs or female crabs. While this lack of action has denuded the crab population in New South Wales it has also assisted in denuding a large area of the Queensland coast by allowing Queensland professional crabbers to send to the Sydney markets both undersized and female crabs, both of which it is illegal to take in Queensland. Of course, honourable members might say: Well, it is up to the Queensland Government to be even stricter in its enforcement of the taking of crabs’. But the point is that while there is such a good market for them in the south we will always have those people who are prepared to do things illegally to cash in on an opportunity. It is for this reason that I raise in the House the need for interstate co-operation. It is no good 1 State having laws to protect animals, fish, crabs and so on and the State next to it completely disregarding them. This in the long term leads to the extinction of the particular variety.
Realising that time is short, but believing that brevity sometimes gets a point across, I will move on to the next subject. I notice that the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) is present today. In his previous portfolio he was also MinisterinCharge of Tourist Activities and he now represents the Minister-in-Charge of Tourist Activities (Senator Wright) in this place and he is very much aware of the importance of tourism. But as the Minister for Customs and Excise he and his predecessor have come under pressure from time to time to ensure that we relax the procedures for checking people as they arrived in Australia from overseas. I would hate to think that the Department of Customs and Excise and the Minister were working under political pressures and taking too much notice of the criticisms of the procedures by various organisations, particularly those associated only with the promotion of tourism.
As a member of the Government Members Tourism Committee I recognise the great importance to this country of that industry. But whilst we read and hear at times of claims that countries all over the world are relaxing their procedures for allowing people to enter, in the last 3 or 4 years I feel that I have been around the world enough to be able to say that if they are relaxing they must have been pretty tough before because they are still very tough. I remember landing at San Antonio in the United States and one would think that I was a GI coming out of the marihuana fields of Vietnam. They took my word that I did not carry anything illegal but I stood by and watched every passenger being thoroughly searched. I know that a new system has been introduced where 1 out of 10 or 1 out of 6 passengers is searched. I hope that the Minister never loses sight the fact that it is the responsibility of himself and his Department to make sure that Australia is protected from people who make great fortunes by trading illegally in products such as marihuana and other undesirable commodities.
– First of all I want to make brief mention of the speeches of some Government supporters who have entered this debate and in the main confined their remarks to rural industry. I think the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), who spoke just a short while ago, made some brief reference to ships. I would suggest that if his knowledge of ships and the searching of ships is no better than that which he displayed in this chamber he had better stick to the rabbit burrows of his electorate and rural affairs about which he might know something. But what does annoy me is that the honourable member for Mallee came into this House after a by-election in 1946, if I am informed correctly, and has sat here for all those long, fruitless, wasted years and has not had sufficient initiative to ensure that as from 1960, when the writing was on the wall that rural production as at 1960 would be maintained and would increase between 1960 and 1968, some interest would be shown in obtaining additional markets. He spoke about the Australian Country Party and the tariffs it has obtained for industry.
The Country Party has dictated the tariff policies of this country for some considerable time and today there is probably a considerable argument in the Country Party as to who will have the tariff whip in his hand when the grand old man finally retires. But more deplorable still is the fact that the honourable member made some mention of the European Economic Community. Those members who have been here much longer than I will recall that at one time the present Treasurer (Mr Bury) on an evening programme mentioned the European Economic Community an>i made some individual comment on it. Did not the then Prime Minister ring him up and say: ‘Is that you, Bury, old boy? You were a Minister; you are sacked.’ That is how far back it goes but nothing has been done by honourable members opposite to explore the possibility of finding new markets.
I rose today principally to protest against the Government’s action in this Budget of imposing a most unfair, unjust and stupid excise on wine. Here was an industry almost alone in the rural context that has not joined the long queue for the handouts and subsidies which the honourable member for Mallee mentioned. He is in a grape growing and agricultural area but he made no mention of wine. I have a number of wine distilleries within my electorate. Perhaps some honourable members are surprised and wonder why I raise this matter but 1 would have done so even if these wine distilleries were not within my electorate. The point I want to make here is that .this wine excise has been most unfairly imposed on an industry which, without being controlled by the Govern ment as so many other primary industries are in spite of what has -been said, was able to look to its own shortcomings and was able to look forward to a considerable programme of expansion, at least in South Australia. The return to the grower is a matter of considerable concern to him and he is a person about whom honourable members of the Country Party ought to be concerned. After a struggle with the wine producers some few years ago they were able to stabilise a price to the grower but the imposition of this excise returns to the Government just as much as, if not more than, the growers receives.
The reason for the problems in our rural, industries today is that the Government has not recognised that in almost every sphere of primary industry the grower is not getting sufficient return. In the last few weeks Government members have been prone to regard wages as being a dirty word and profits, irrespective of who gets them and at what scale, is the magic word. Government members have condemned the Australian Council of Trade Unions and trade unions generally for rises in costs and for the resultant shortcomings in the primary industries but they know as well as I do. but have not the courage to say it. that the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd board of 5 or 6 men created the higher cost factor for primary industries and not the trade union movement.
I have taken up with the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) a number of complaints from wine producers in South Australia. I only hope - and J have no reason to doubt it - that he is attending to these matters of concern to the wine producers since they are, of course, of interest to his Department. The imposition of the proposed tax will, in fact, mean that the wine industry may well join the long and woeful queue of primary industries that are in trouble. The dismal Minister for Primary industry (Mr Anthony) tells us almost every day what dairy producers, wheat growers and other primary producers ought to do. He says that they should get out of the industry. No doubt it will not be fong before he is saying this of wine growers, because the Government has placed a tax. on wine previously untaxed. The Minister should pay some greater attention to this matter and he should examine the situation in more detail. 1 do not say this critically. I am criticising the tax which should not be imposed. 1 do not think the Government will ever remove it. I do not think it has sufficient common sense to listen to the sound arguments of the growers who are saying: ‘Knock it off. Do not proceed with it.’ The Government has imposed this stupid tax so I say to the Government, for God’s sake, as far as the Customs Department is concerned, whether or not it may mean some increase in expenditure in some small narrow area, at least relieve the wine makers of the burden of any additional cost with which they are likely to be inflicted under the proposal. - .
Order! The time allotted for consideration of the proposed expenditure has expired.
Proposed expenditures agreed to.
Department of Education and Science
Proposed expenditure, $129,478,000.
Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) . (3.8) - I move:
GO inequalities of educational opportunities, and
establish continuing commissions to investigate and make recommendations on -
Commonwealth intervention in the field of education, while it has been tremendously welcome, has nevertheless been sporadic. There was an intervention in the establishment of scholarships. The demand for those scholarships has increased enormously without the number of scholarships being significantly increased over the same period of time. There was the establishment of the science block assistance scheme and now we have had the incursion into migrant education. But the Commonwealth has not looked at the problems of education in the systematic way which we, for a long time, have felt to be necessary and, as a consequence, we are moving this amendment. Honourable members will note that we are also asking for a look at the objectives and quality of Australian education.
Education might be denned as that development of the personality which takes place as a result of the individual’s learnings, and the personality might be defined as the sum total of our attitudes and aptitudes. I suppose that technical education has especially to do with aptitudes and general education has especially to do with attitudes although scientific education can also produce attitudes and we cannot really sever the personality artificially like that. But we are not asking, and we have not been asking in Australia for a long time, what are we trying to do wtih our educational system - what are the purposes of education? We have a system which just grew. It grew out of the English traditions in education which began, in its very inceptions I think, with the idea that a classical education was the education of a gentleman. We have not asked ourselves whether wc are educating for national efficiency or whether we are educating for a sane and stable community - what we are trying to do with education. We just have a traditional system which has grown.
We believe that it is now necessary for the best minds thinking into educational problems to take a look at the question: What are the objectives of education? They should then start reforming the educational system accordingly. I do not think the point about inequalities of educational opportunities needs stressing. In the Government’s form of assistance there are some quite tragic features. The poorest convent school - if we consider the private sector of education - the resources of which are actually a minus because it may be having to feed migrant children, as is done in certain of the poorer areas of Melbourne, gets the same per capita grant as Geelong Grammar School which, in point of fact, in terms of need does not need any grants at all. A Christian Brothers college which charges a fee of $60 a year and nothing for the third son gets the same degree of assistance as one of the grammer schools near my electorate where the fee charged is over $600 a year - and this would not be a high fee for a day boy by comparison with some of the schools in the eastern States. The same thing is true if we look at the State sector of education. There is absolutely no idea of eliminating inequalities in educational opportunities.
I do not think we can rush into this and carry through a Commonwealth educational scheme aimed at helping to smooth out these inequalities. What we are asking for is a really systematic effort to think into these inequalities and to remedy them. This is why the amendment has been moved. Then there is need for a tertiary commission to co-ordinate all forms of tertiary education. 1. suppose - and I am speaking now of Western Australia - that just about all of the people who have had a tertiary education and who want to be teachers are offering themselves for teaching. I understand that 47 per cent of the people who have a tertiary education are offering themselves for teaching. I think that some of the explanation that we make for the very great leakage in the teaching profession - namely that the salary is not attractive enough - is not the full explanation. I believe that the inadequacy of our Commonwealth scholarships system is one of the explanations why there is a tremendous leakage of those who have trained as teachers and who do. not pursue their profession.
A teachers bursary or a teachers bond is a way someone may graduate in science, economics or commerce. But a number of the persons who graduate in this way have never had an intention at any stage of pursuing a career in the teaching profession. When their training has been completed, some of them may be prepared to forfeit the bond or to spend whatever time is necessary in the profession to discharge the bond and leave the teaching profession. Their real objective was to use the teachers bursaries as a means io obtaining a higher education.
I think that this is a consequence of the fact that we have never really looked at the whole field of tertiary education and co-ordinated it. We do not have any scheme for co-ordinating all levels of education. The growing vote for the organisation which calls itself DOGS- the Defence of Government Schools Organisation - is also a sign of a growing conviction about the neglect of State schools in the poorer areas of our country and failure to establish an educational system which will eliminate inequalities in education. I very much suspect that it is the younger section of the community which votes for the Defence of Government Schools organisation. In the recent Chisholm by-election die vote for this organisation was approximately 9 per cent of the total vote.
I believe that this is symptomatic of the very serious concern that is developing in the community for privilege in Australian education. This is a particular marked feature in South Australia and Victoria where educational snobbery was always more powerful than it was anywhere else. This is a sign of the discontent of so many of the people whose children go to State schools and who feel that the whole Commonwealth attitude towards State schools is one of neglect. These people believe that State schools are treated as though they had exactly the same problems and exactly the same needs as those schools - either State schools in the very well to do areas, new and modern State schools or private schools - which are quite well endowed and where the student body attending the State schools can afford to pay high fees.
I wish to make one passing reference to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which also comes within the estimates that we are discussing. I believe it is time that, in the CSIRO, a method of promotion was devised which would eliminate one factor of discontent. The factor of discontent is that, following the usual procedure in government departments to promote people in terms of seniority, we find at the head of research departments people whose capacity for research has disappeared and who are beyond the age of new dynamic research ideas while those who are in the process of their most fruitful thinking are lower down on the scale. These people are the ones who feel that they are not getting value for their services while other people with obsolete skills, skills that are obsolescent or who are past their research prime are in a position of superiority. This must be an enormously difficult problem in any scientific department. But the complaints about it are fairly widespread. I believe that it is something that needs to be looked at.
However, I wish to turn attention back to the feature in my amendment which asks about the quality of Australian education. I do not think that we have any longer a clear view of what we are intending to do with colleges of advanced education. Some of them in some of their aspects are moving towards taking on the functions of teacher colleges. Some of them are tending towards being a kind of university. I do not imagine that originally it was intended that they should be degree conferring bodies. But I believe that no doubt exists that some of them are evolving in the direction of universities. We have not clearly formulated what we intend to do with colleges of advanced education. This is one other reason why there should be this look at the purposes of what we are doing in education, as my amendment asks.
Finally, the other request in my amendment to which I wish to refer is the one which asks that the Commonwealth should: use its good offices to secure the immediate publication of the Commonwealth/State survey of educational needs and make emergency grants accordingly.
This request is directed not so much at the rather platitudinous statement which emanated from the Commonwealth-State conferences but at what must lie behind it and what must have been perceived in the discussion about educational needs. and the need for the Commonwealth to make emergency grants to meet the problems which the States themselves have said they are encountering in conducting their educational systems. Australian education has advanced in certain waves. We had one wave of advance in about 1911. We had a wave of advance immediately after the Second World War. A good deal of our thinking now has exhausted itself. It is time that we started looking at education and at what it should be for the rest of the century. This is the purpose of the amendment that I have moved in relation to the discussion of these estimates.
- Mr Chairman, it was Edmund Burke, I think, who said: ‘To tax and to please is no more possible than to love and be wise’. The reaction and response of the Opposition to the Budget, the debate on which preceded the debate on the Estimates, could fairly be summed up in that vein. I am a little disappointed to hear the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) damning the Government’s attempts at the Commonwealth level in the educational sphere with such faint praise. That is not to say that I do not feel a good deal of sympathy for a number of points which he made.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that we are operating in perhaps the most difficult field to establish lines of communication and lines of direction that it is possible to imagine. Although the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1970-71 provides $129m for the Department of Education and Science, we have under review a total proposed government expenditure of some $3 12m on education for the 1970-71 period. That amount does not include all the trappings of education in the broader sense. We have, for instance, $45m earmarked for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation which, in the broadest sense of education, certainly has many implications for the development of learning in this country.
I suggest that this is a difficult area of operation, lt is difficult I think, for 2 main reasons. First, it is open ended, lt would not matter what was done at the Commonwealth level, what the States did or what anybody did; there would always be the capacity and in fact the need to spend more in the educational sphere. The second reason is that there are very many viewpoints in the educational field. 1 might say as a generalisation that nearly everyone thinks that he or she knows something about primary education. Rather fewer people, but still a great proportion of the community, think that they have something to offer or certainly have some interest in the secondary sphere of education. Very much fewer know anything about tertiary education and that tends to be left a little more alone by the public at large. I do not suggest that these are bad things. In fact, it is good that there should be a universal or nearly universal interest in education. But valuable though that might be, the fact remains that a great deal of money is required from a pool in which experts and so-called experts are trying to point the way.
I do not put those points forward as being any face saver at all for what the Commonwealth Government is doing in education. To suggest these difficulties is not meant to be any sort of red herring or an excuse. As I have said, the Commonwealth Government has provided for education$3 12m this year, $249m last year and in 1966-67, some 4 years ago, $143m. So it can be seen that the Com
monwealth’s involvement is in fact very real. With the concurrence of honourable members, I incorporate in Hansard tables which appear at pages 42 and 43 of the August 1970 bulletin of the Department of Education and Science.
Those statistics bear directly on what I am saying at the moment. They indicate, for example, that direct expenditure by the Commonwealth on education has increased over the period from 1961-62 to 1970-71 by very nearly 500 per cent- 471 per cent or 472 per cent - and that expenditure on various other facets of education has increased by much the same order. For example, expenditure on scholarships and allowances has increased by 374 per cent in that period of some 9 years. So it is a little bit rough to suggest that the Commonwealth is hardly cognisant of what is happening in this field or that it has no real intention to improve the lot of education.
I believe that I can hardly disagree with one point which was made by the honourable member for Fremantle; in fact, I agree with it very thoroughly. He emphasised the need for quality in education. It is an abstract quantity, if we can use that term in relation to quality; it is a difficult thing to pin down. It is entirely in the hands of the educators, and the educators themselves are in the hands of other educators before them. If I may express a view which might not find total or universal acceptance, education has in many ways become a status symbol. In the postwar period there has been, to my way of thinking, a constant watering down of educational programmes and curricula largely by the infusion of increasing amounts of social content so that all can be in a process progressively, unfortunately progressively to my way of thinking, lacking in discipline. Teachers become less selected, students become less selective and the end point of that, if it continues, is a magnificent mediocrity.
I do not have time, nor would it be appropriate at this stage, to embark on a full scale debate, at least from my end of the stick, on comprehensive schooling and that sort of thing. At the moment we are dealing with rather more specific matters. But that, of course, bears on the point which I have just raised. I should like to take the honourable member for Fremantle up on one or two of his remarks. He said that the number of scholarships had not in any notable way increased. I think he could be held to that remark. For example, the number of university scholarships has increased from 20,500 in 1966 to 30,500 in i 970. The number of graduates has increased from about 34 per hundred thousand of the population in 1959 to 96 nearly three times as many per hundred thousand of the population in 1969. It is obvious that this sort of increase has put tremendous demands on the education purse.
In that sense, of course, we very rapidly come to the question of FederalState involvement in this field. I have a view on this matter. To put it very briefly, it is inherently a view which holds that while the Commonwealth should be very considerably involved, as it is, in the educational sphere it cannot be held to be totally responsible. There are a number of varying viewpoints on this matter. Some bodies in the States would very much like the Commonwealth to give money earmarked for education but not any more specifically than that. That would enable the Commonwealth to be taken to task when any inadequacy could be shown to exist in these educational grants but not in such detail as might become embarrassing. In other words, if the Commonwealth were to give, as it has recently, increased moneys to the States and were to say to the States: ‘You decide how you will distribute that money; you take the responsibility as to whether it is spent on roads, bridges, education or whathaveyou’, the Commonwealth would stand much more firmly and would be much less open to ridicule and criticism in that area. I believe that that is about what should be done.
What can be done can be illustrated varying by what has happened in the States. I do not have all the figures but, for example, the New South Wales Budget which was recently brought down proposes the expenditure of 43 per cent of total funds on education. That is not a bad proportion of the total income or revenues of the State to be spent oh education. I am quite sure that many people in New South Wales educationists and others, and the same would apply in the other States could point to many inadequacies in education in that State. But given the increases in expenditure, the increased interest in the number of fields as illustrated in the tables which have been incorporated in Hansard, it is totally unfair to suggest that these things can be changed overnight. 1 think other people will take up the need for an education survey, but I should like to query the honourable member for Fremantle’s apparently uncritical acceptance of that. It may well be better than it looks, but I am immediately suspicious that the State Ministers, in whose hands the result of that survey rests it is not with the Commonwealth have seen fit to publish what they have published in the very broadest sense. It does not mean very much to me that they might need another S 1,400m. At least, that was the figure before the increased moneys were given to the States in the recent Premiers Conference. But it does not mean a thing to me that they think they want that much over the next 5 years, or whatever the period is. I want to know where it is wanted, by whom and why. Until such time as the State Ministers see fit to publish meaningful figures, I cannot go along with the honourable member for Fremantle in accepting that as the total needs.
– I will take you for a drive around Melbourne.
– The honourable member merely substantiates what I have said - that it would not matter where you went or how much was done, there would still be things to do. That is no excuse. It is merely an observation about education that will exist from now to kingdom come. It is up to the Victorian Government, or to some other State government, to order priorities and to use the greatly increased moneys made available by the Commonwealth for education and other specified or unspecified purposes for those priorities so that the glaring things that hit one in the eye as one tours around somewhere or other are not so glaring in a year or two. But that is not the business of the Commonwealth. In fact, it would be very severely resisted by the States - it always has been - if the Commonwealth were to get involved in the detail - I need not say trivia - of day to day educational needs. In that sense I come back to agree with the honourable member for Fremantle who said that the concept of quality in education is the first thing to which we should be looking. It cannot be divorced totally from bricks and mortar, but there are educational authorities which see education as something which relates very heavily to bricks and mortar and they often are not quite so concerned about quality which bears on teacher training, curricula and that sort of thing.
I want to make one or two observations in the short time remaining to me. Expenditure in the field of education is not by. any means as efficient as it might be. I would be very hard pressed to prove that statement, but from some personal knowledge I think I could say that even universities - perhaps people would like to leave out uni versities - which have had such greatly increased sums of money expended on them in the last few years are guilty of that. Like many Government departments and perhaps even private enterprises, universities sometimes find themselves at the end of a financial year in receipt of certain moneys which need to be spent. They face the problem of having an incentive to increase their estimates of expenditure for the next year; otherwise it looks as though they are standing still or stagnating. When that is done across the board on a sort of interdepartmental competitive basis, departments and other bodies can in fact spend more money than they actually need. I think that is probably less evident in the field of primary and secondary education. But at the same time I know of a few examples where schools have equipment which they do not use. 1 think it probably more particularly relates to the science field where schools have duplicate projectors or duplicate machines that shake soil or do something else. But the fact is that efficiency is not exactly a key word in education and there could be greater examination in detail - that would mean, of course, at the State level and even at the institutional level - as to how the money which is increasingly being made available might be spent.
In the short time that is left to me in this debate ! want to take up one or two other points. First and foremost I think is the question that the States have a clear responsibility to order their priorities in this matter and to put education in the context of all expenditure in that State as they see it. It has been and probably will continue to be for some considerable time, under whatever government, essentially a State responsibility to structure the system, to decide how many years teachers shall be (rained and to organise a system so that those things can be carried out in the best possible way. It will be up to the States essentially to see whether or not vast inadequacies exist or whether they can manage to reduce some of the more glaring of those. By doing that I do not think that the State-Federal problem in this sphere will be, perhaps at any time, totally solved. But nevertheless we have to leave for the time being judgments on those matters, whether it be quantity or quality, bricks and mortar or teachers and students, to the State departments. In that sense they must be pushing as hard as they can conceivably push to do the best they can with the unspecific grants as distinct from these special area grants, whether they be for libraries, laboratories or what have you in this sphere of education.
One of the most important things to me in the area of educational advance of recent years has been the increase in scholarships. The estimate of Commonwealth expenditure for this year is $37m.
The figure for last year was S32m and it was $24m in 1966-67. There has been a considerable increase in the number of scholarships. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard 2 tables which are from the bulletin I mentioned before. These tables give some details of the development of scholarships over the last few years and I think that this is entirely complementary to what I am trying to say.
The Commonwealth, while it would do well to take heed of one or two of the points made by the honourable member for Fremantle, is not in such a parlous position as far as its education policy is concerned.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I support the amendment and the reasons which ray colleague, the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley), gave for it. Honourable members will recognise that his reasons are those embodied in the platform of my Party. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) is among the worst informed and least informative members of the Ministry. I had to wait from 4th March till yesterday for information from him on the amount and nature of those Government subsidies to government and non-government schools for the buildings, grounds, equipment and services which parents’ organisations have to finance in Australia but which governments themselves finance in all comparable countries. Since 14th April I have vainly sought from him information on the number and proportion of qualified students who unsuccessfully sought enrolment this year in universities and colleges of advanced education. On 9th June he told me that such ques tions involved statistics from every State Government and at times from every university in the country. I make no apologies for these questions, which refer without exception to matters for which the Commonwealth has made legislative provision or can exercise constitutional responsibility. I had to wait from 12th June till 26th August for answers on secondary and technical scholarships. I still have questions on the notice paper from that date on post-graduate awards and university and advanced education scholarships. There can be no justification for a system which denies information on Commonwealth benefits to students after this stage in the academic and financial year. Australian children cannot be educated economically, equitably and effectively unless and until comprehensive educational statistics are collected on a national basis.
I was prophesying 17 years ago in this House that the Commonwealth would gradually be obliged to take on the financing of schools. Still less now can the States meet unaided the cost of schools. The Commonwealth’s contribution to the costs of government schools and of needy nongovernment schools is utterly inadequate and often irrelevant. The population of government schools has risen since 1959 by 36 per cent and of non-government schools by 23 per cent. In 1959 23 per cent of
Australia’s children aged IS to 18 were attending school and today 40 per cent are doing so. In 1959 13 per cent of the children who entered government schools remained for the matriculation year and today 20.4. per cent do so. Since 1961-62 the States have increased the proportion of their budgets devoted to education from 18 per cent to 21.8 per cent.
They acknowledge the inadequacy of that outlay to purchase ‘an education consistent with the requirements of citizenship in a modern world1 - in classes of reasonable size, taught by teachers with adequate preparation, in functional buildings, the classrooms being well equipped and the pupils provided with sufficient textbooks’. They acknowledge that ‘if the States continue to increase their contributions to these educational services at an annual rate of 10 per cent and if the Commonwealth increases its current contribution to the States for specific purposes at the same rate . . . an urgent need is seen for additional funds to the value of $l,443.7m to close the gap between funds .needed and funds available’. These quotations are taken from the bowdlerised version of. the ‘Nationwide Survey of Educational Needs’. They are taken, that is, from the report of the survey which both the Minister for Education and Science- and- his predecessor used for 2 years as a pretext to defer the Commonwealth assistance which Australian schools so clearly and urgently require.
It is unpardonable that this report which the Minister saw as long ago as the end of May and ‘ which was discussed at the Premiers Conference and the Australian Loan Council meeting in June has been ignored in the preparation of these estimates for his Department. It is extraordinary that the Minister should argue that a different report would have been produced by the States if they had been writing after the recent alterations in CommonwealthState financial arrangements. The Minister asserts that the Prime Minister has written to the States to ascertain what’ course of action they propose to bridge the gap.
– It has never been referred to as ‘bridge the gap’. It is what course of action they propose to take.
– I do not agree with the Minister if he implies that significant or substantial modifications to the. report are likely. I do not believe that the pressing needs of Australian children and schools should be disregarded for yet another year simply because the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) chooses to initiate his correspondence on the matter after the Budget comes in.
Pre-school education enhances the value of all later education, in particular for those children who are economically disadvantaged or culturally deprived. Liberal education policies deny recognised pre-school education to all but 2.9 per cent of the eligible children in New South Wales, to all but 7.3 per cent in Queensland, 9.9 per cent in Western Australia, 14.3 per cent in Tasmania, 14.5 per cent in South Australia and 27.1 per cent in Victoria. Compare and contrast pre-school education in each and any of these States and in Canberra, where 1 year of pre-school education is available for all children. The Liberal Ministers who initiated the ‘Nationwide Survey of Educational Needs’ did not bother even to include pre-school education in their terms of reference. They restricted their inquiries to primary and secondary schools. The disabilities of Australian schools may have been concealed. The disparities of Australian schools have been exposed. In the last 6 years the Commonwealth has done a little to curb the disabilities - for example in science blocks and libraries - and nothing to curb the disparities. Very few Australian schools have adequate staff and buildings, facilities and equipment. Those schools are nearly all non-government schools and they include only a small fraction of the Catholic schools. Nearly all our government and Catholic schools would be regarded as quite inadequate in Europe, North America or Japan.
I shall analyse the Minister’s answers to me in order to show the disparities in Australia’s schools. The number of pupils per teacher varies in government primary schools from 22.7 in Victoria to 32.6 in Western Australia, in Catholic primary schools from 32.6 in South Australia to 44 in the Northern Territory, and in other non-government primary schools from 16.3 in the Australian Capital Territory to 22.2 in Queensland. The number of pupils per teacher in Catholic primary schools exceeds the number in government schools in Western Australia- by 12 per cent, in
Queensland by 13 per cent, in South Australia by 18 per cent, in Tasmania by 29 per cent, in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory by 32 per cent, in Victoria by 74 per cent and in the Northern Territory by 76 per cent. It exceeds the number in other nongovernment primary schools in South Australia by 50 per cent, in Queensland by 59 per cent, in Western Australia by 68 per cent, in New South Wales by 76 per cent, in Tasmania by 80 per cent, in the Australian Capital Territory by 106 per cent and in Victoria by 110 per cent.
The number of pupils per teacher varies in government secondary schools from 15.9 in Victoria to 19.4 in Western Australia, in Catholic secondary schools from 15.7 in the Northern Territory to 27.1 in Victoria and in other non-Government secondary schools from 13 in the Australian Capital Territory to 18.8 in Queensland. The number of pupils per teacher in government secondary schools exceeds the number in non-government secondary schools other than Catholic schools in Victoria by 7 per cent, in Queensland by 11 per cent, in South Australia by 12 per cent, in Tasmania by 14 per cent, in Western Australia by 27 per cent and in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory by 31 per cent. The number of pupils per teacher in Catholic secondary schools exceeds the number in other nongovernment schools in Queensland by 32 per cent, in South Australia by 50 per cent, in Western Australia by 60 per cent, in the Australian Capital Territory by 62 per cent, in Tasmania by 64 per cent, in Victoria by 80 per cent and in New South Wales by 85 per cent. Yet Liberal legislation provides almost as much per pupil in aid and concessions for those splendidly boused, staffed and equipped private schools, of which very few are Catholic, as it costs per pupil to run government secondary schools, but at least one third less to the great majority of Catholic schools where the need is so obviously greatest. The annual cost per pupil to the public purse is $380 at government secondary schools, $340 at prestige private schools, $290 at other non-Catholic private schools and $210 at Catholic secondary schools.
The same bias is shown in scholarships for students as in expenditure for schools. The Liberal maxim is ‘Unto every one that hath shall be given’. Last year secondary scholarships were awarded to 4.7 per cent of the pupils at government schools who applied for them, to 7 per cent of the applicants from Catholic schools and to 14.3 per cent of the applicants from other non-government schools. Government schools which accommodate 74 per cent of Australia’s school population received only 57.3 per cent of the secondary scholarships which were awarded, whereas Catholic schools received 20.6 per cent and other non-government schools 22.1 per cent. Is it any wonder that only 20.4 per cent of the students at government schools and 27.5 per cent at Catholic schools complete their secondary education whereas at other nongovernment schools 76.3 per cent do so? Nor is this the only area of inequity. In 1968 78 per cent of the boys and 23 per cent of the girls at Victorian metropolitan secondary schools completed the secondary course but at country secondary schools only 25 per cent of the boys and 20 per cent of the girls did so.
I have not received from the Minister the answers which would enable me to update the figures I gave in my Budget speech on Commonwealth tertiary scholarships. However, the Minister has told me that it would cost the Commonwealth about $ 1 1.5m to abolish fees at universities and $3m at colleges of advanced education. The Commonwealth must also involve itself as fully in teacher education as in the other forms of tertiary education. Teacher trainees are disregarded by the Commonwealth in a way it disregards no other tertiary students. Teacher trainees for both government and non-government schools should receive their education with allowances and without fees. They should be free to serve in any State or Territory or with any institution.
On schools as on so many other matters, and now more than ever before, Liberals look back with nostalgia to the days of Sir Robert Menzies. Intransigent adherence to the shibboleth of State rights allowed Sir Robert to avert for years the Commonwealth involvement in education which his successors have since accepted on a biased, partial and spasmodic basis. Unscrupulous exploitation of the shibboleth of State aid has allowed them to divide the advocates of Commonwealth aid for government schools and those of aid for needy nongovernment schools, whose interests now increasingly are seen to be identical. Byelections last weekend mirror a great resentment among teachers at government schools that their schools are slipping by world standards and great resentment by parents that education at government schools is not free and is becoming less free. DOGS, who are by no means all Paisley’s pups, should recognise that there is no prospect of government schools catching up with schools in comparable countries unless the Commonwealth is involved. They must learn to recognise that there is no prospect of an effective Commonwealth involvement in the standards of government schools alone.
The choice at Federal elections is between the Liberals who give assistance to non-government but not government schools, who show interest in schools before but not between elections and who seek advice on the needs of universities but not of schools, and on the other hand the Labor Party, which has a considered, comprehensive, continuing commitment to all schools on the basis of needs and priorities. There will never be enough teachers and adequate facilities and equipment in government or most non-government schools in this country until the Commonwealth sets out to do the same and as much for teacher education and for technical, secondary, primary and pre-school education as it does for universities. Australia will not keep pace with comparable countries in schools and teachers, government and non-government, until our national government accepts the same responsibilities as other national governments have already accepted in both federal and unitary systems.
– As a supporter of the Government, may I say at the outset that 1 deprecate the very unfair and provocative comments made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) about the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen). I thought not only were his comments about the Minister inaccurate but also in extremely bad taste. The humble committee on which I serve - the Government Members Education Committee - has had from the Minister nothing but:the most generous and lav ish assistance so far as the imparting of information on education in this country is concerned. 1 think we all owe a debt to the Minister for the work he has done in this regard, particularly since the Government is still taking part in a new field. The Commonwealth’s role in education, apart from its role in the Territories, is a comparatively new one compared with those matters given to the Commonwealth under the Constitution. 1 would have thought that in those circumstances the work of the Minister - and 1 say without any hesitation that of the 2 previous Ministers for Education and Science also - deserves the highest commendation by the Parliament. The Leader of the Opposition made particular reference to the fact that he has asked a number of questions of the Minister that have not been answered. He has also asked a great number of questions of other Ministers which have not been answered. I would have thought, with respect to the Leader of the Opposition, that for one who holds himself out to the community as one who knows all the answers, he would not necessarily have to behave in such a petulant way because all the questions have not been answered.
The case put forward by the Leader of the Opposition - it was only revealed in its true simplicity at the end of his speech - was one calling for a virtual complete take over of education in this country by the Commonwealth. That is a view with which
I do not agree. It is a view with which the Government does not agree. We certainly believe the Commonwealth has a rale to play in education. The facts speak for themselves and they indicate that this and previous governments have recognised that the Commonwealth does have such a role and that the Government has started to carry out that role. I for one believe that there are other areas where the Commonwealth could take a very active part in education - in particular aspects of education that hitherto have been the sole province of the States. For instance, the Commonwealth has had a very successful secondary school libraries programme. I would have thought that programme could well have been extended to primary schools.
– Hear, bear!
– Thank you. When 1 see that a proposition I make is acceded to by the honourable member for Wills I realise
I have the whole country on my side. The importance of the libraries programme is recognised universally throughout Australia. I would think that the importance of it and the great value of it having been so recognised by educational authorities, speaks volumes in support of the proposition that the scheme should be extended to primary schools. There are many other areas where the Commonwealth could take a positive part in education. In those areas the States are solely concerned at present. As I said, I for one feel that the Commonwealth could usefuly operate in some of these areas. Nevertheless education is primarily a matter for the States. No matter what fulminations the Leader of the Opposition goes through in his annual budgetary rituals, the hard facts remain that, constitutionally, education is a matter for the States and not for the Commonwealth.
The day to day running of schools should be a matter for the States because the State governments are closer to the schools, closer to the people and closer to the children who use those schools. The administration of the schools should, as it is, be a matter for the State governments and not for the Commonwealth Government. It would indeed be an unfortunate day when the Commonwealth Government was involved, to that detailed extent, in the day to day running and administration of schools.’ These are matters for the States. The case that was put forward by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) in support of his motion was a rather thin case. I will not concern myself to refer to more than one paragraph of the 3- paragraph motion that he put to the House. Indeed, as far as I can recall, he did not advance any reasons in support of the other 2 paragraphs. The main burden of his argument, as I recall it, was in support of paragraph (b), which the House will recall was in support of a proposition that the Commonwealth should:
establish committees to examine and make recommendations on -
The short answer to that is that the work that would be done by such committees is already under way. In the first place there is the work of the State education departments and the Commonwealth Department of Education and Science. These departments are doing the very work that is contemplated by paragraph (b) of the motion put forward by the honourable member for Fremantle. Secondly - it is curious that the honourable member for Fremantle did not make any reference to this - the Commonwealth has already established a committee, presumably of the type that is contemplated by this motion. That is why I say it is very curious that the motion should be phrased in this way.
The Government has already established a committee which is known as the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education. If honourable members look at the terms of reference of that Committee they will see that the work that will be done by that Committee will be of the same type as that of the committees proposed to be established by the honourable member for Fremantle. Let me refer briefly to some of the terms of reference. The first is that the Committee shall advise on priorities in educational research. The second is that within the limit of the funds made available from time to time by the Commonwealth the Committee shall examine and make recommendations to the Minister for the financial support of proposals submitted by various people or bodies, which are then set out in the terms of reference. Such proposals may include educational research projects, the dissemination of information about completed research and research in progress, and measures for the training of research personnel. I could mention other terms of reference of the Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education. Merely to state those 2 terms of reference that I have already stated, I would think, makes it quite clear that the work of that Committee is the work that would be contemplated and done by the type of committee proposed by the honourable member for Fremantle. It being duplicated and overlapping work, it seems to me that there is no substance in that part of the motion put forward.
The criticism I would make of the comments of the honourable member for Fremantle relate to the reference - this was followed up by the Leader of the Opposition - to the Commonwealth activity in education having been spasmodic. This seems to me to be a very inaccurate and very unfair description of what the Government has done so far in the Commonwealth sphere in education. I feel that the facts bear this interpretation out: The Government has started off with the proposition that education is primarily a matter for the States but that nevertheless there are areas in education where the Commonwealth can meet particular needs. The Commonwealth, having started off from that presumption, has sought to examine and to locate those areas of need and meet them as it can. Honourable members know, without my repeating them, the particular projects on which the Commonwealth Government has embarked. It has followed the method that I have outlined and has analysed the structure of education throughout Australia to see whether there are any particular pockets of need that can be met by Commonwealth activity and Commonwealth finance. The particular ones are the libraries programme, the science blocks programme and the teachers colleges programme. Many others are set out in the useful material that the very informed Minister for Education and Science has put before the House in these proposals.
I think, therefore, that it is very unfair and very inaccurate to say that the role of the Commonwealth has been a spasmodic one. Rather, it has been a continuing search for those areas where the Commonwealth is fitted and suited to try to meet a particular need. It is curious that the honourable member for Fremantle overlooked the measures that have been proposed by the Government in the Budget. I refer to the items covered by the estimates which are before the Committee at the moment. It is well that they should be recorded because I believe that each of them is a very substantial monument to the achievements of the Commonwealth Government in education. An extra $3Om is to be provided for the teachers colleges programme over the next 3- years. University Commonwealth Scholarships have been increased in number by 1,000. Further, post-graduate research scholarships have been increased by 50 to 700 for this year. Additional post-graduate specialised scholarships for particular courses to meet the needs of industry, commence and government create a new field. Under this scheme 100 scholarships will be provided this year. The most striking increase in the expenditure of the Commonwealth on education for this year is the proposed expenditure on colleges of advanced education. Not only is it an expenditure of $40m but it is an increase of 75 per cent on last year’s expenditure. 1 fail to see how the finger can be pointed at the Commonwealth Government and how it can be said that the Commonwealth is failing in its activities in education, when we see expenditure of that magnitude and increases to that extent in 1 year. The same point can be made with respect to the overall expenditure by the Commonwealth on education. This is a comparatively new field for the Commonwealth. Its expenditure . on education this year will increase by 25 per cent over last year’s. It. is well to remind the community at large that that expenditure is now over $300m in a field which is a new one for Commonwealth activity and one that until comparatively recently was the exclusive province of the States.
I want to conclude on one matter that was referred to in particular by the honourable member for Fremantle. I emphasise that what I am about to say is my own personal view. I am not happy at all with the present method of distribution of aid to independent schools. Let me emphasise at the outset (hat my personal view is that I support the general policy of giving aid to independent schools. Reasons have been advanced in support of that policy by the present Minister for Education and Science, by other representatives of the Government on numerous occasions and by the community at large. It has been accepted as a general proposition that independent schools should be supported.
The point I am not happy about is that it should be within the abilities of the Commonwealth to analyse the individual needs of particular schools or particular groups or types of schools to see whether they are more deserving and more in need of the State aid that is given than other groups of schools. One occasionally trots out examples of wealthy independent schools like Geelong Grammar and Melbourne Grammar, to mention two in Victoria. I must say that it is that type of school that concerns me. When I see in my electorate small parish schools that are struggling for survival, when I see Christian Brothers schools or schools in that category, when I see other small independent schools that are on the verge of closing down, I find it hard to justify per capita grants to those schools in the same quantities as to the more prosperous schools.
Indeed, my view would go even to the extent that it is unwise for independent schools and greater public schools such as those I have mentioned to accept aid on these lines for this reason: At the present time they are counting on Government assistance. At present they are making their calculations on $50 a year for each secondary school pupil. In the future they will be assuming that these grants will be increased, and in the normal course of events one could presume that they would be increased. Once an independent school, particularly of the type I have mentioned, the wealthy schools, begins to calculate its finances on that sort of basis, that is the thin edge of the wedge that is being driven into the independence of that school. It is the first sapping of the independence of those schools; it could lead to a very substantial lessening of the independence of such schools. In conclusion, I would like to see more emphasis placed on State aid for the poorer parish schools that need it more than the more wealthy public schools, and less emphasis placed on giving State aid across the board.
– I congratulate the honourable member for Snake Gully the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown).
– Mr Speaker, during question time in the House you asked me to withdraw the following remark:
He just made a lie.
I withdrew that remark and said:
It is an untruth.
You asked me then to withdraw the remark unreservedly. Due to a misunderstanding with respect to the word ‘untruth’ I regret very much that I did not comply with your direction. I now withdraw the remark unreservedly and again express my regret.
– In view of the remarks made by the honourable member for Dawson I will have no objection to a motion to allow the honourable member to resume his part in the proceedings of the House.
Motion (by Mr Snedden) - by leave - proposed:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Dawson resuming immediately his part in the proceedings of the House.
– In supporting the motion I would like to thank you, Mr Speaker, for your part in the re-admission of the honourable member for Dawson.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I am pleased to second the amendment that the Opposition has brought forward. A number of points have been made by Government members about the role of the State and the Commonwealth in education. Invariably these references by Liberal members are concerned solely with means that can be applied to restricting the development of State education in Australia. There is no point in talking about the rights of States in education if the States are coming begging to the Commonwealth for assistance and if the Commonwealth is prepared to recognise its obligation to provide that assistance.
I would like to congratulate the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown), who has just left the chamber, upon his suggestion that there are grounds for very serious criticism of the way in which the Commonwealth is disbursing moneys to independent schools. At long last somebody on that side of the chamber can see some of the truth in the argument advanced over a number of years not only by the Australian Labor Party but also by many people outside the Parliament who are generally distressed at the extravagance and the squandering of public money. It was regrettable, however, that he was concerned with only one aspect of education and was not concerned to look also at the needs of the stale education system.
My prime concern in this debate is to deal briefly with the survey of educational needs that has just been compiled by the State governments. This survey is a monument to the political dishonesty of the State and Commonwealth governments. It is a massive indictment of the apathy and contempt with which State and Commonwealth governments have treated state education over the last 2 decades. The survey brings home one simple and inescapable fact: The Commonwealth has so disastrously under-invested in state education that the most optimistic picture for the future of state education over the next 5 years can be only one of despair and gloom.
I suggest to all honourable members that they get hold of a copy of this emasculated report, this summary of the report which I have before me, read the first few paragraphs and study in detail the information that follows. They will be very lucky if they can find any clear guidelines as to what the States really require. They will be fortunate if they can find any specific statement on what are the standards to be achieved for Australian education, what the objectives of Australian education are, what the quality of Australian education should be, how many teachers there should be, what their education should be, what the ratio of pupils to teachers should be, what the children should be taught, how many buildings there should be, what the buildings should be and what sort of equipment there should be. It is just incredible.
This document is an insult to parents of children in slate schools, to teachers, to taxpayers in general and to all parliaments that are charged with the responsibility of looking to the needs of Australia in education. I notice that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) smiles slightly. I do not know why. As far as I am concerned this report is a disaster. Yet I assume that if the Government is to act at all in the next 5 years - a questionable proposition - it will act at least partly on the basis of this report.
The report contains 14 pages and has taken 18 months to compile. 1 calculate that its length is about 4,500 words - slightly longer than an university undergraduate student’s essay. It has less logic than a university undergraduate’s essay. It contains less information and it has less integrity. It is a shallow fraud. It is a disgrace that the Commonwealth Government has not used its good offices to establish an open, thorough and independent inquiry into education. It is a disgrace that it has not used its good offices to ensure that all details of the reports brought down by State governments are made available for critical examination by all Australians concerned with the future education of Australians. Furthermore, it is a disgrace that no action has been taken so far, apart from what has been dealt with in the grants to the States, to cope with these fantastic needs of education in the future.
What has the report concluded? I would briefly mention that the tentative figure of what the States will have for education over the next 5 years is approximately $6± billion. I suggest that this is a tentative figure because I believe that in the process of being compiled it has been emasculated by the Commonwealth. T refer here - T think this is contained on page 2 of the report - to the very tentative, almost concealed, statement to the effect that when the State Ministers brought their summaries to the Commonwealth - I think it was in May - the Commonwealth ensured that the final draft was revised. An entirely new document came out of the meeting of Commonwealth and State Ministers in May. This was an incredible thing. Why was a revision of the original document brought down by the State Ministers? I believe this was for 2 reasons. It is almost impossible to find one’s way through the cloud of vagueness that characterises this document, but apparently the Commonwealth had some concern about the economies of the States over the next 5 years.
Equally interesting is this tact: So severe and so great has been the backlog of building requirements of State education over recent years that it was actually considered at this meeting between the Commonwealth and States that the building industry in Australia might not be capable of meeting the needs of new buildings and renovations to old buildings. This is an incredible thing. So great is the backlog, so great is the neglect and so great has been the apathy of governments, State and Commonwealth, over recent years that it was actually considered likely that the building industry of Australia would not be able to cope with the building needs of State education over the next 5 years. Accordingly, the document brought down by the State governments was revised. One might also add at this stage: Where is the Government’s set of priorities? What is important? Is it important for us to go on building hotels, motels, boatels and supermarkets to supply consumer goods? Is this what we call prosperity? Is. this what we call quality of life? Should we not be setting our priorities along the lines of education? Apparently the Commonwealth has taken due consideration of all the other priorities and only the projects which are considered feasible over the next 5 years are considered in this report. I stress that the report is at once limited by the fact that it has to take account of what is feasible. Incidentally there is not much definition of what feasible means.
The proposition that the States will have $6) billion over the next 5 year period has also to take into account the fact that this calculation is based on the assumption that the State governments will increase their expenditure in the fields of education covered in the survey by 10 per cent per annum. It also assumes that the Commonwealth will increase its grants to education for specific purposes by 10 per cent per annum. As for the assumption that we can rely upon the ability of the States to increase the amounts being spent on the subjects which were dealt with in the survey by 10 per cent over the next year, 1 would say that this is an excessively optimistic approach. I recall that only a few days ago the New South Wales Government increased its expenditure on education by $39.2m. As far as I can see teachers in New South Wales are requesting an increase in salaries of 12 per cent, lt is quite likely that the majority of the amount being allotted for an increase in education expenditure will be consumed by salary increases alone. So I say that the suggestion that the States will have £6i billion to spend on education over the next 5 years is a highly inflated and over optimistic picture. Indeed, the State survey itself shows that it may not be possible for the States to reach this situation.
How much do the States need? They need a staggering figure - almost $8 billion dollars. There will be a short fall of approximately $H billion. I ask honourable members opposite to stop resorting to stone age concepts of State rights and State obligations and to recognise that here is a situation where the States have actually asked the Commonwealth to sit down with them, .work but their needs and give them the money. The question is not what is a State obligation and what is a Commonwealth obligation. The question is this: Is the Commonwealth Government prepared to stand by its national obligations to the education of young Australians? I can see no sign of it so far. It is deplorable that it has taken 18 months since March last year, when the decision was made to conduct the survey, for the survey to be taken. Yet, apart from this brief assistance in the grants to the States no significant emergency grants are to be seen in the future. Indeed, when the Minister for Education and Science replied to a question in this House last week he said once again that the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) had written or was writing to the States and that he would like to have their views on the situation. He went on to say that once he received their views they would sit down and they would have a nice little discussion. Once again it has happened. It is always procrastination - put it off until tomorrow and discuss, discuss and discuss.
Meanwhile we keep on building up this second rate system of education which we call State education. It is second rate. I say this with no condemnation of any of the people who operate the system. It is a second rate system of education when I look at the facilities and the lack of objectives, the poor philosophy behind the system and the fact that the education system has struggled on decade after decade without any apparent guidance to where it is going. But of course second rate is good enough for the people of Australia. It is not good enough apparently for some of those wealthy private schools. The honourable member for Diamond Valley took some offence at the use of the term ‘wealthy’. If the honourable member wants to know the Commonwealth’s attitude on education he should have a look at a publication entitled Dept of Education and Science Reports’. On page 5 of this report under the heading grants for educational purposes, secondary science facilities scheme’ there is a picture of a science laboratory. What sort of school do you think is in this picture? Is it a State school? The school is Prince Alfred College in South Australia. On pages 2 and 3 there are pictures of libraries which have been financed out of Commonwealth moneys. Are these State schools? Page 2 shows a picture of St Raphael’s College in New South Wales. The library building on page 3, which was built during 1969, is part of Brisbane Grammar School. The principal of that school was outright embarrassed at the enrichment with Commonwealth moneys. He said that he did not really need them. That is how much the Government thinks of State education.
There are so many other things that could be said about this report which is a survey of the needs of the States. However, I will mention just a few aspects. The thing that strikes me most of all about the report is the suppression of information, the abundance of generalities, the suppression of detail, the suppression of goals and the suppression of standards. We hear references again and again to the high quality education. But nowhere is this defined. We hear talk about the size of pupil increases. We are not told what the increases amount to. We are informed that more teachers will be required but we are not told how many more. Also, we are not told what their qualifications should be. Indeed, the survey very gloomily and probably realistically recognised one fact about the Commonwealth and it is this. It simply will not be able to get the teachers. The survey says at page 7:
The survey does not envisage that within the5 years it will be possible to obtain a sufficient number of teachers to achieve the goals sought.
It does not say why. There are some very tantalising and cryptic little references to things called some factors hitherto unfore- seenapparentlybyalltheeducation administrations of Australia, things like the rapid acceleration of social mobility.
People are not becoming teachers any more; they are going into other jobs. We are not told, but one of the reasons might be that they are simply not being paid enough. Another factor is opportunities for overseas travel. They are all going to Canada. It is passed off as an opportunity for overseas travel, something hitherto unforeseen by the administrators of education. There is also a higher proportion of young married women not staying in the schools. Why not? If they are not staying why are not enough men being recruited into teaching? Yet we have this disastrous situation where over the next 10 years we must train at least 15,000 teachers annually. At present we train only 10,000 per annum. This is equal to the annual wastage rate of about 10,000. We now have 90,000 Government school teachers and by 1975 we will need 152,000. We will not be getting them. The Commonwealth will not be providing the money. It shows no evidence of providing the money. The States do not have the money. Indeed, the survey adds again the tantalising and cryptic little statement that it will be necessary to recruit teachers from non-local sources. This apparently means that we will have to import them from overseas. We are turning away thousands from our teachers colleges and universities so we will have to import teachers. It is a most disastrous and disgraceful document. The Commonwealth has played a hand in its final preparation. I call upon the Commonwealth to do what it can to give the money that is needed for investment in state education.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Once again we have been treated to the familiar cries and wails of woe from members of the Opposition, especially the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) who says, of course, that not enough money is expended on education. The other day he said that not enough money was spent on social services, and so it goes on. No Government can meet all the demands that are imposed upon it and he is intelligent enoughttoknowthis,Iamsure.His speech was just another very useful political exercise from the Opposition. 1 think that his speech could be wrapped up in one word, and that is ‘exaggeration’. I demonstrate that by pointing out that he did say that all the teachers are going to Canada. What exaggeration! The amendment moved by the Opposition once again demonstrates the length to which the Opposition would be prepared to go if elected to office to usurp absolutely the sovereign rights of the States. There is no doubt in my mind that the intention of the Opposition, which was expressed by its leaders on different occasions, to abolish the States would in fact take place. They are centralists in their ideals and I believe that all the States must be very concerned at some of the expressions that have been made in this place on this score.
In dealing with the estimates for the Department of Education and Science I want to concentrate principally on the needs of primary and secondary schools. 1 want to give some emphasis to the fact that in this Budget there was a 25 per cent increase on last year’s allocation of resources to education. I think that this is absolutely necessary because there is no better investment that a nation can make than in education to try to bring out the best in its young people. But of course the investment is only sound if the system is right, if the quality of the teachers is good and if aptitude and morale in the teaching profession is good. In this age education certainly ranks among the highest of priorities in our expenditure. It does in this country in spite of some statements that are made loosely from time to time. Apart from the additional funds that have now been made available to the States under the new 5-year financial reimbursement formula for the State works programme for new school buildings and so on, direct assistance to the States for education this year amounts to $160m which is an increase of $34m on last year. It represents an increase of 370 per cent since 1963. Certainly some people will say that this is not enough, but all governments and all countries have limited resources and as I said earlier, we can only expand our operations in accordance with the availability of these resources.
I believe that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) is a dedicated Minister and is doing his utmost to try to ensure that adequate funds and resources are extended by the Commonwealth to assist the States in their education programmes. The fact is that the Government has recognised a need to aid the States’ education programmes to the maximum. The figure that I have just mentioned doss not include the assistance to non-State schools. The Government will help the non-government schools to the extent of approximately $32m this year. The independent schools have an important place in our education system, educating about 25 per cent of our children. I wonder where we would be today if we did not have the independent schools. What a drain on resources we would have to suffer if we did not have the independent school educating 25 per cent of our children. There are people who resent aid to the non-State schools, but let them remember that the parents sending their children to these schools are doing so at great cost to themselves and are helping to pay for the education of the children their critics are sending to the Government schools.
In 1968-69 the State Governments were allocating 25 per cent of revenue funds to the running of Government schools while the independent schools were receiving about 1 per cent of State revenues. Yet, as I said earlier, those schools are educating 25 per cent of all children. From 1970 the Commonwealth has joined with the States to help the independent schools with their running costs. Assistance now represents about 2 per cent of State revenue funds. This is helpful, but naturally it does not go far enough. The $24.3m of Commonwealth grants at rates of $35 and $50 per primary and secondary school pupil has helped to supplement the State efforts in aiding the running costs of independent schools. However, there is still one very big need in the independent schools, and that is the need for capital assistance to enable these schools to provide additional accommodation and extensions at their schools. In many non-State schools in my electorate the classrooms are overloaded and old and extensions and renovations are needed. But capital or loan funds are not readily available to them at reasonable interest rates. I believe a great measure of assistance would be rendered if either the Commonwealth or the State governments agreed to subsidise the interest rates on borrowings for new school buildings in the non-State school sector. Admittedly the $7.6m this year for science laboratories and libraries will be of great help to them in any extensions that they plan to make. This problem in the independent schools is demonstrated by the better pupil-teacher ratio in the Government schools. In spite of a rapidly growing enrolment in the State schools there has been a steady reduction in the number of oversized classes. There has been quite a distinct improvement in the pupilteacher ratio in our Government schools.
But let us look at the overall position. In 1963-64, for instance, the recurrent expenditure on State schools at primary and secondary levels, on technical colleges and on teachers colleges was about $300m or about 22.1 per cent. In 1969-70 we estimate that$570m will be spent in this area, or about 24.2 per cent of State recurrent expenditure. In New South Wales, for instance, the total amount that is allocated to education is in the vicinity of about 43 per cent of the State’s total Budget, so this demonstrates that the State governments are. in fact, doing their utmost in trying to meet the need. The Commonwealth’s share of total capital expenditure by governments on education in the States has risen from 12 per cent of the total in 1963-64 to 31 per cent in 1969-70. Capital grants this year are $81m; last year they were $64m. allowing for a reasonable increase in State government expenditure. The Commonwealth contribution should represent over 334 per cent of the total Government expenditure in the States this financial year.
The total Commonwealth direct expenditure in 1970-71 equals about $3 12m, but we should remember that 25 per cent of the State revenues are used to the benefit of 77 per cent of the children attending the State schools while the combined CommonwealthState assistance to the independent schools equals about 2 per cent of the revenues of the States; so who would begrudge the amount of money that is, in fact, going to the independent schools? This really shows the problem facing the independent schools in trying to keep pace with the needs of today. 1 want to say a word about the findings of the Australian Education Council’s recently completed survey. I was shocked to hear the honourable member for Bendigo rubbish the report on the activities of the State Departments of Education in trying to come to grips with the problem of undertaking a survey and making certain recommendations. Firstly, the Council started its survey in March 1969. The Council consists of 6 Ministers of Educa tion from the various States with the Commonwealth Minister for Education and Science joining in discussions by invitation. This survey has been completed and the independent schools are conducting their own survey but this, I understand, has not yet been completed. In May of this year the State Ministers met with the Minister for Education and Science after putting their report to their own State governments. The Council has already made demands for additional direct assistance especially for grants for school buildings. This demand was taken into account in the formulation of the new 5year programme with the States at the Premiers’ Conference and in the framing of this Budget. Under the new revenue arrangements grants made at the recent Premiers’ Conference will provide a faster rate of increase in total Commonwealth revenue assistance to States and the new debt charges assistance will help the States write off about $ 1, 000m over the next 5 years. The rate of growth will be 21/2 per cent to 3 per cent faster than it would have been under the old formula. Even the old arrangement allowed for a faster growth rate than the gross national product. This is a big improvement and it will help the States in their problem of providing additional facilities for education.
Once again I want to emphasise that the administrative problem for primary and secondary education must remain the responsibility of the States. I believe that the availability of their own revenue this year should help the States to meet a great portion of the growing needs of education. I give an example. In 1970-71 the Commonwealth Government has agreed to support an increase of 8.6 per cent, or $823m. in funds for works and housing. This includes $200m provided for capital works of a non-revenue producing nature. If we add to this the special purpose grants ofacapitalnature$388mthetotal funds available to the State governments in 1970-71 are 10 per cent higher than they were in 1969-70.
I believe that the needs of education were taken into account when this new 5year CommonwealthStates financial agreement was determined. However the survey does reveal an enormous financial need for education over the next 5 years for running costs, for salary costs and for capital works. The Prime Minister has indicated to the State Premiers that the Commonwealth Government will discuss further needs as they arise. Let us not forget that tremendous efforts have been made, are being made and will be made by this Government to assist the States to meet the growing needs of primary, secondary and tertiary education in Australia. While all is not perfect at least the maximum of our available resources is being extended to meet the problem.
– 1 rise to support the Opposition’s amendment to the proposed vote for the Department of Education and Science. The amendment outlines many deficiencies in the Australian educational scene. It would be hard. I suppose, to indicate which would be the more serious. For my own purposes I think that the matter of the supply of qualified teachers and the assistance given to students would be among the most important items in our educational programme. Looking at the matter of teachers for a start, I think the position is most chaotic in our secondary schools. 1 can only describe the position as I know it as desperate. Unfortunately the prospects are that the position will get worse rather than better in the immediate future. Let us examine the situation. Informed sources indicate that 11,500 of Australia’s 90,000 government school teachers will resign this year. That is about 12£ per cent of the total government teaching force is expected to resign this year on the indications of past recent performance. Professional teacher organisations claim that the percentage is as high as 16 per cent and they expect that it might become as high as 20 per cent by next year. That would be equivalent to a complete turnover of teaching staff in each 5 years.
The rate of resignations is said to be almost double that of a few years ago. Teachers of all kinds in secondary schools are in short supply but the shortage is most acute in the key subjects of science, mathematics and English. Many highly qualified teachers are leaving to enter industry, commerce and tertiary education. Teaching periods in these vital subjects are being reduced in New South Wales. How lopsided our programme is in respect of science is well exemplified or well referred to in a report in the ‘Australian’ of 9th
June of this year where it quotes from an editorial of the ‘Australian Science Teachers Journal’. This editorial, in part, said:
Millions of dollars worth of laboratories, books and curricula represent a great boost to science education (despite some unanswered questions about their effectiveness). But the foundations of these very laboratories might goon become tombstones of science education when the laboratories are bereft of science teachers.
I am sorry that I have not time to quote more of what this particular journal said. We have spent a lot of money in providing science laboratories and science equipment but we have never in our history been so short of science teachers to make use of those facilities.
Teachers are being imported from overseas. Many are unable even to speak English fluently. This is not their fault, lt seems we are reaching the point where anyone who says that he can teach will be employed to bolster up the collapsing educational system. Many schools have suffered a change of subject teacher several times during the one year. In other cases classes have been broken up and reallocated because teachers have been withdrawn from the staff. Often this causes acute disruption involving changes of text books for study and disruption because of different teachers proceeding through a syllabus in different sequence. This applies even in examination classes such as the fourth form and the sixth form in New South Wales. Many teachers have not the qualifications to teach the subjects they are required to teach. It is not their wish that they should be teaching these subjects. But by compulsion they must do so.
In New South Wales, the Minister for Education admits that there are 884 teachers, with no professional training, who are employed in secondary schools in the State. The shortage of teachers and large classes have meant little available individual attention to students with problems and, accordingly, inequalities of achievement are the obvious result. What action has the Commonwealth taken? Well, admittedly, since 1967, the Commonwealth has been giving some direct help towards meeting the teacher crisis. Unfortunately, the assistance, inadequate as it is, has come far too late for the fast swelling ranks of secondary students. They and their successors for years to come will pay the enormous penalty - and so will the nation incidently - for the blank refusal by a succession of Liberal Party-Country Party federal governments to see the obviously approaching crisis years before it came. The Government was warned - by teachers, by parents’ organisations, by the Committee on the Future of Tertiary Education in Australia, commonly known as the Martin Committee, which the Government itself established in 1961, and not least by the persistent campaign of the Australian Labor Party from the 1950s onwards.
The Commonwealth has provided assistance but it is woefully inadequate. Teachers college capital grants will help as also will training assistance through some of the colleges of advanced education. But let us not fool ourselves: Some of the new teachers colleges are mainly replacing old obsolete buildings. I am quite conscious, for instance, that in my own State this is so in the case of the Balmain Teachers College and the Newcastle Teachers College. The Macquarie College of Advanced Education at Bathurst will absorb the former Bathurst Teachers College. The proposed College of Advanced Education at Wagga likewise will absorb the already existing teachers college in that city. Many of the older established teachers colleges - and 1 used to be a lecturer in one of them in Sydney - are shockingly inadequate in terms of facilities and maintenance. For example, they have not even the modern science laboratories that the Commonwealth is providing for secondary schools. People who are supposed to be training teachers lack the same facilities which exist even in some of our privileged secondary schools. Colleges, such as that at Wool.longong receive no Commonwealth assistance for expansion - grants are made for new colleges only - and, as a result, students are being carted around the city to al! kinds of makeshift buildings in order *n hold lectures.
Ironically, in the midst of this desperate teacher shortage in all States - and I am very conscious of it in my own State of New South Wales - there has had to be a rejection of hundreds, even running into a couple of thousand I understand, of applications for teachers scholarships by well qualified students each year in New South Wales. Youngsters who earnestly wish to become teachers have not the opportunity to do so. Yet, we are scouring the world trying to recruit teachers. This is not to say that 1 am against bringing in new blood and new ideas from other States and from other countries. This is a measure of our desperation at the moment. I feel certain that many of those who take up the relatively scarce teachers college scholarships do so with no real intention of making a career in teaching. I have jolly good evidence to that effect. Because the Commonwealth Government provides such an inadequate number of university and tertiary scholarships, many students, having failed to gain such a scholarship, seek and accept a teachers college scholarship tenable at a university. They obtain a degree in economics, science or commerce and, having done so, very shortly afterwards they quit the teaching service and enter into more lucrative fields in industry or higher education.
I turn now to another matter of gross inequality in the educational field. 1 refer to some of the Commonwealth scholarships. The Budget for 1970-71 provides for an increase of 1,000 Commonwealth university scholarships - open entrance scholarships - but no increase has taken place in the 2.500 advanced education awards. I understand that in 1969 only 6 per cent of students at colleges of advanced education held scholarships as against 34 per cent of students holding scholarships at universities. I am more concerned though with Commonwealth secondary and technical scholarships. The Commonwealth secondary scholarship scheme was partially introduced in 1965. It was a reaction to the election promise of the Australian Labor Party in 1963 to provide secondary school scholarships to every student in the last 2 years of his or her secondary education. The Government nowhere near matched that promise. It promised a flat 10,000 scholarships to be awarded on merit. From 1966, the number of such scholarships has remained the same, that is, 10,000 per annum. Only 10,000 of these scholarships have been awarded each year.
Since 1966, a large increase has occurred in the number of applicants but the Government cynically has resisted making any increase in the number of scholarships. In 1966, the number of applicants for these scholarships was 61,619. In 1969, the number of applicants had crept up to 83,821. That is, there were 22,202 more applicants. That increased number of applicants had only the same number of scholarships to compete for in 1969 as was available in 1966. This has meant that the percentage of successful applicants has fallen from a meagre 16.2 per cent to 12 per cent by 1969. The latest advice from the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) is that of the students enrolled in the third last year of secondary schooling in 1969 - namely, in my State, for instance, those who are in fourth form - the percentages of those who in fact did achieve a Commonwealth secondary scholarships in 1970 were in government schools, 4.4 per cent; in Catholic schools, 6.9 per cent; and in other nongovernment schools, 15.6 per cent. Overall, 5.8 per cent of students at all schools achieved a scholarship.
What can we conclude from these available statistics? First, proportionately, there are three and a half times more students at other non-government schools who receive these Commonwealth scholarships as against students enrolled in government schools. Overall, about 94 applicants out of every 100 miss out on a scholarship. Because no means test is applied to scholarships most of the scarce scholarships are going to the children of wealthy parents who can provide much greater assistance, extra tuition and a more stimulating home background. The result is that many of the students in government and Catholic schools particularly must drop out in the senior years and many miss out on scholarships at the tertiary level into the bargain. They cannot stay at school long enough to qualify for them. This kind of situation moved Professor M. E. Harvey of Melbourne, in May this year, to express lament that a great deal of potential talent in Australia was being wasted - this is the seriousness of it; it is not only an injustice to the students themselves but also is an injustice because of what it is doing to Australia and the development of its economy not to say its cultural and social wellbeing - because many children did not have the chance to go on to tertiary education. Analysis showed that 49 per cent of university students came from only 23 per cent of Australia’s parents, usually professional people. This means chat fewer than a quarter of Australia’s parents provide almost half the students in our universities. Well might it be said that the other 77 per cent of Australia’s parents should be capable of supplying a much bigger share of able students who should continue on to tertiary education.
I turn to Commonwealth technical scholarships. These scholarships were first awarded in 1965, when 2,500 were made available. In 1970, we find that the number available has not changed. In 1966, when the scheme was fully in operation, there were 10,916 applicants. In 1970, the number of applicants has risen to 27,919. In other words, there has been a trebling in the number of applicants for Commonwealth technical scholarships between 1966 and 1970 and yet the number of scholarships available remained the same. In 1966, 17.2 per cent of applicants were successful in obtaining technical scholarships. In 1970, only 9.5 per cent were successful. That means that approximately 9 out of every 10 applicants for a Commonwealth technical scholarship bad to miss out. Yet honourable members are lectured in this chamber about the need to increase Australian productivity.
I am sorry that I will not have time to mention another matter fully, and that is the matter of science laboratories and equipment in secondary schools, another scandalous example of inequality of provisions. From 1964-65 to 1966-67, the Commonwealth made grants available for science laboratories and equipment in both government and non-government secondary schools. The annual amount provided was S9.9m. The distribution - this is what I wish to point to - between government and non-government schools was on the basis of their respective school populations as at August 1963. This meant that expenditure per head was the same for both school systems.
However, in 1967-68 the Commonwealth doubled the provision for non-government schools but left the grant for government schools as it was. In 1967-68 the science laboratory grants was $63.50 for every child in a non-government secondary school and $29.70 for each child in a government secondary school. Thus the student attending a government secondary school has had spent on him only 46.7 per cent - less than one half - of what has been spent on a non-government school student. Particularly does this apply to some of the wealthier schools and to children of the wealthiest people in our community. This trend of more limited assistance to government owned schools has continued in each year since 1967-68. In fact, it has worsened for the simple reason that over the last decade the proportion of students attending government secondary schools has been increasing whilst the proportion of those attending non-government schools has been decreasing. I am not against State aid, but I believe in the Labour Party’s policy that aid ought to be given according to need and priorities.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– It seems that the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) takes an unnecessarily gloomy view of the outlook for education in Australia. I remind him that it is only a few short years since the Commonwealth came actively into the field of education. If we care to glance back through the records during the 5 years or so since the Department of Education and Science was established, with the present Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) as the first Minister for Education and Science, I believe that we have reason to be satisfied with the progress we have made. That is not to say, of course, that everything has yet been ironed out - far from it. There are still problems, as the honourable member for Barton said.
The honourable member referred specifically to the teacher training field and to the shortage of teachers. This is true, and it is a problem which is affecting not only Australia. He referred also to the waste of potential amongst students. Undoubtedly there is a degree of waste of potential, but I suggest that that wastage is becoming less and less. As the Commonwealth is assisting more and more in the education field, I believe that greater use will be made of this talent in each year. I think that looked at against the figures and the context of the Appropriation Bill which we are examining, there is all the more reason to be satisfied with the progress we are making.
I should like to compliment the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) on his plans for the extension of our educational and scientific programmes and services for the current financial year. If one glances at pages 25 to 30 of Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1970-71, one sees very substantial increases in allocations over the previous financial year, 1969-70. As the Minister has pointed out, this has resulted from the introduction of new measures as well as from the continued development of programmes already in operation.
I should like to say a special word about the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Earlier this afternoon the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) referred to this Organisation. He referred particularly to the system of promotion. I want to express special appreciation of the brilliant work that has been done over a long period of time by very dedicated officers of the CSIRO. They do much credit to the Organisation and to this country. I believe that their work is recognised in many parts.
I want to say a word, too, about the Metric Conversion Board. I do not think that reference has yet been made to this matter in the course of the debate, but it is a subject in which I am particularly interested. I am pleased to see the provision of $107,000 to further metrication in Australia. I trust that the Government, in co-operation with the various sections of the community, will press forward and exert every endeavour to ensure that we achieve complete metrication in Australia within the 10 year period which the Minister mentioned when he introduced a Bill some time ago.
The Australian Universities Commission is a very important body which deserves particular mention. It does a lot of hard work - particularly the Chairman. I notice that $220,000 has been allocated to the Commission this year. I suggest that the time is coming when it may be necessary to have more full time members of the Commission. I understand that the Chairman is still the only full time member of the Commission, and it seems to me that he is carrying a very heavy burden. With the growing problems in universities - a number of universities have very acute problems - perhaps consideration will need to be given to the appointment of some additional full time personnel to assist the Chairman in the very large and important task which he is performing.
In his Budget Speech on 18th August, the Treasurer (Mr Bury) expressed the view that the greatly improved system of general revenue grants to the States over the next 5 years should enable them to do much more for education than hitherto. 1 draw to the attention of the honourable member for Barton and to those other honourable members opposite who have been critical about education and expenditure on education, particularly in the state field, the fact that substantially larger allocations are being made for education in this current financial year. In a direct and an indirect way the Commonwealth is assisting more and more in this very important field of education. I think that my friend the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown), who spoke earlier, pointed out that there has been a 25 per cent increase in the allocation for education in this financial year, 1970-71, over the allocation for 1969-70. I believe it is a healthy sign that there is a continuing demand for greater expenditure and effort in the overall field of education.
The honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) referred to this fact. He is an educationist of note. 1 agree with him when he said that the field is virtually unlimited. In a young and developing country like Australia, with a very great future before it, there will continue to be a growing demand in all fields of education. Specific purpose payments to the States are expected to rise this year from $148m to approximately $19Im - in other words, by 29 per cent over last year. That is not an inconsiderable increase. The Budget Papers show that the main items in this category will be payments of $78m to universities; payments of $35m to colleges of advanced education; payments of $48m for special purpose unmatched grants for school facilities, technical colleges, and teacher training colleges; and per capita grants of $24m towards the running costs of independent schools.
Another very pleasing aspect of the Government’s increased education pro gramme - despite what has been said by the honourable member for Barton and one or two other honourable members opposite - is the expansion of the Commonwealth scholarship scheme. I agree with the honourable member for Denison when he says that there will be a very satisfactory expansion of Commonwealth scholarships in this current financial year. The number of open entrance university scholarships is to be increased by 1,000 to a total of 8,500, in addition to the present 4,000 later-year university awards and 2,500 advanced education awards. The number of post-graduate awards for research training will be increased from 650 to 700, and a new category of postgraduate awards far course work leading to master’s degrees will be created. A total of 100 of these new awards will be provided in 1970-71.
Contrary again to what one or two members opposite have said, 1 believe that the national survey on education conducted by the Commonwealth in conjunction with the States will prove to be of great benefit as time goes on. I do not agree with the concept advanced by honourable members opposite concerning the centralised control of education in Australia. I am totally opposed to it. I think perhaps that we need to be reminded - certainly honourable members opposite do–that constitutionally education is primarily the responsibility of the States. But nevertheless the Commonwealth has, in my view, very properly provided increased financial assistance to education in a variety of ways.
There is no need for me to emphasise the ever-growing importance in education of the role of the teaching profession. I believe that the Commonwealth’s role in the overall field of education needs to be clarified, and no doubt this will be done in the future. As I see it the Commonwealth and the States must co-operate and work closely together in order to obtain the best possible result and this is being done through the nation-wide survey and the Australian Education Council. In the rapidly growing field of tertiary education there is, I submit, a strong case for a review of the present formula for matching grants. Capital grants are matched on a £1 for $1 basis but the recurrent grants formula of $1 for $1.85 calls for a review having regard to the financial position of some States. I am thinking particularly of diy own State of Queensland. Tn my speech during the second reading debate on the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) I put forward the view that the time has come for a wide-ranging inquiry into tertiary education similar to that conducted by Sir Keith Murray in 1957. I was interested this afternoon to hear this view supported by the honourable member for Fremantle.
Increased overhead costs of universities, particularly in relation to sharp rises in non-academic salaries and wages, warrant urgent consideration. It is clearly beyond the present capacity of the State Government to provide the extra financial assistance needed in Queensland and I repeat the plea that I made here on 27th August. It should be stressed that the vast majority of university students in this country are hard working and law abiding and are anxious to obtain their degrees. This fact tends to be obscured by the publicity given to the activities of a handful of radicals and extremists whose aim appears to be to cause trouble and disruption. I sincerely trust that genuine university needs will not be prejudiced by the highly unpopular actions of a very small minority on the campuses. I believe it is most important that the real needs of the University of Queensland at St Lucia be met in the current triennium, particularly as increased grants will have to be made in the next triennium towards the establishment of a second university at Mount Gravatt.
The demand for tertiary education has partly been met by the colleges of advanced education but as was mentioned earlier by the honourable member for Fremantle and as is pointed out at page 1 of the second report of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Advanced Education these colleges are ‘an evolving concept not susceptible to close definition*. Their development is aimed at extending the scope of tertiary education io meet our growing technological needs. At page 77 of its second report, the Commonwealth Advisory Committee states:
Australia’s problems in tertiary education differ in some respects from those of other countries and Australia should attempt to adapt the best in other systems to its own needs and resources and to learn from mistakes made elsewhere.
At page 78 under the heading ‘The Education Explosion’ the Committee refers to the growing numbers of secondary school leavers who want to continue with tertiary education and the importance of considering the motivation of students who undertake tertiary studies. The whole of chapter 10 of the report - no doubt some honourable members have read it as I did with interest - under the heading Trends in Tertiary Education’ deserves the most careful study and after examining the systems followed over the years in a number of countries the chapter concludes with these words, inter alia, on ‘Forward Planning’:
The trend in the past has been for educational systems to evolve slowly to meet changing conditions and too often changes have been forced upon them by the demands of the community . . Standardisation and uniformity must not be the aim. Imaginative use of the results from well-selected investigations will lead to sufficient flexibility to enable the needs of each individual be met.
Surely this should bc our goal in Australia.
– Australia is one of the half-dozen wealthiest countries in the world. Yet its achievements in education relatively are indifferent. Its expenditure in this field as a percentage of gross national product ranks it sixteenth among developed economies in the world. Australia’s 4.2 per cent of GNP fares poorly alongside Canada’- 7.4 per cent or Sweden’s 7 per cent. As a result of this lag there is a quantitative and a qualitative gap between what we offer and what they provide. The central importance of adequate investment in education to economic growth has been widely and authoritatively attested. Batchelder in The Economics of Poverty’ asserts that United States’ productivity doubled between 1929 and 1957. He claims that 40 per cent of this increase was attributable to improved education.
Again the Martin Committee report contended:
Statistics can be produced showing that there is a clear association between the proportion of the population engaged in full-time education and the annual production per head in various countries. The USA is the outstanding example of a country’s affluence being supported by an elaborate and expensive educational system.
Australia’s experience of high per capita living standards concurrent with a comparatively inferior investment in education does not contradict these assertions. By sponging off the prosperity generated by a generous endowment of natural resources the adversity which would have otherwise been caused by our defective educational policies has become less obtrusive.
The system of education in Australia is symbolised by an altogether too inadequate and too inequitable distribution of resources. Because of this the development of human resources quantitatively and qualitatively is inferior to the levels of achievement which would be easily within the capacity of this nation and its people. For instance, the Conservative Government at Canberra maintains a distressing inertia towards the alarmingly high drop-out rate at the nation’s State secondary schools. Four out of 5 students drop out before the full period of secondary training is completed. This is an enormously large scale loss of human resources which the Conservatives at Canberra tolerate to the long term disadvantage of this country’s social-cultural-economic development. The costliness to parents of State secondary schooling is an influential factor in this drop-out rate. O’Neil and Paterson, in The Cost of Free Education’ relevantly state: . . in our efforts to provide a higher standard of compulsory education for all children, we are actually inhibiting those who are most in need of it because of the costs which have become an inevitable part of secondary; and to some extent of primary, education.
Instead of comparatively enlarging the area of aid which the Commonwealth provides the Conservatives at Canberra have been responsible for a relative contraction. Commonwealth secondary scholarships granted have fallen from 19.6 per cent of applications in 1965 to 12 per cent in 1969 - that is, nearly 8 out of every 9 children seeking one of these scholarships misses out. This is appalling. Without this aid many young people are forced to terminate their education prematurely. There is a community loss, too, through the underdevelopment of these human resources. Clearly, it is in our State systems of education where the highest priority need exists. It is because of grave, deepseated defects in those systems that State secondary schools with 67.1 per cent of total enrolments in 1965 could attract only 52 per cent of Commonwealth secondary scholarships.
The unchallengeable advantages which the independent non-Catholic schools pro vide for their pupils - high standards in accommodation, environment, quality of staff, facilities and curricula - were a direct, major influence in 28 per cent of secondary scholarships being attracted to those schools in spite of the fact that they represented only 13.7 per cent of total enrolments. The persuasive case, then, is that discrimination in Commonwealth aid ought to favour those areas of greatest need. Through inverted priorities, however, the Conservatives here were responsible in
The States’ resources are fully extended merely holding the present totally unsatisfactory position. Only the Commonwealth Government can provide the sort of funds necessary to overcome this sort of blight. Similarly, finance is urgently needed to overcome classroom over-crowding.
A recent Queensland Teachers Union survey established that 44 per cent of eighth grade classes in that State exceeded 35 pupils. The Scott report in New South Wales discloses 35 per cent of State secondary school classes there exceed this level. In England-Wales the proportion exceeding 35 is less than 9 per cent; Scotland less than 6 per cent: New Zealand less than
In spite of the extensive imperfections in our State education system the Federal Government doggedly refuses to provide any direct financial assistance. In contrast, the high standards of excellence already achieved by the independent non-Catholic schools are generously subsidised by a direct per pupil grant of $35 for primary students and $50 per pupil for secondary students. On top of this, generous income tax concessions subsidising the cost to parents of fees at these schools must be calculated. Let us put it this way. A moderate income worker at Redfern on $2000-53000 receives none of these benefits for his child at the local State school. An earner of $20,000 a year supporting a wife and a child boarding at Shore secondary school attracts cash benefits of $185.72 as an income tax saving on the cost of fees, plus $50 allowance. That is, nearly $236 of the public’s money is provided to help educate his child. It is highly questionable morality on the part of the Conservatives at Canberra to subsidise so generously those who are. indisputably, best equipped to pay their own way.
For instance the fees for a secondary school boarder at Shore this year will be $1,395. It is moral irresponsibility of the most censurable type to pursue these sorts of practices while many parents of State secondary school pupils will be unable to meet the cost of school uniforms. O’Neill and Paterson, in the opposite citation, have pointed out on this point:
From our own observations we know that in many low income families children can obtain only the basic items and sometimes not even thse . . .
While Shore will enjoy a bonanza of $51,650 provided from the public purse by the Federal Government the clear, urgent needs of Cromwell Street State School at Collingwood are ignored. There is a callous indifference to want and a peculiar concern to protect privilege on the part of our Conservative Government at Canberra which beggars all descriptions. The ‘Australian’ of 16th January 1970, in the series
The Schools’ describes some of the fine attributes of Shore:
On 13 acres, at North Sydney, the school has views across the harbor near the bridge. It also owns 23 acres of playing fields at Northbridge, as well as a fine boatshed at Gladesville and 80 acres of land and a bush hut in the Blue Mountains.
The description reads like an idyll in contrast with the narration of almost infernal conditions at Cromwell Street State School, Collingwood. Ian Baker writing in ‘The Age’ of 12th March 1970 describes the dreadful state of affairs there:
The widespread defects of the State systems of education are so grave and apparent that not one Liberal Minister in 1969 allowed any of his children to attend a State secondary school. These architects of generous direct aid to independent schools all ensured that their children of secondary school age attended an independent secondary school. What is specially damnable about the Conservatives’ practice of excluding State schools from the direct assistance provided for independent schools is that this policy widens even further the great gap which exists between the opportunities which can be provided for a child attending State schools and those excellent opportunities provided for children attending independent non-Catholic schools. What in fact is happening is that public money is being used to nourish and foster the development of a small hereditary elite in this country.
The prominence of this elite and its association with the exclusive non-Catholic independent schools has been convincingly established by several sociological investigations.
Encel in ‘Equality and Authority refers to a survey of Victorian entries in ‘Who’s Who in Australia’, 1962 edition, which revealed that more than one-half of the Victorian entries were products of that State’s 6 leading ‘public schools’. He refers to another survey of the 1965 edition of this profile in vanity where it was established that Kings, Sydney Grammar and Shore provided 16 per cent of the New South Wales entries. Hylda Rolfe in ‘The
Controllers’ which deals, inter alia, with the background of the directors of Australia’s SO largest companies points out that most of the directors had been educated at Melbourne or Sydney private schools. She specifically states:
State schools did not appear often in the lists for either city.
It should not be the role of public finance to prop up and cosset the privilege and affluence of an elite. The immorality of such a misuse of public funds is all the more pronounced and inexcusable where, as in the case of Australia, there exist extensive areas of deprivation and need, as in our State education system. This is also true of a large area of Catholic education. Dr Radford’s findings of several years ago, substantiated by recent smaller surveys, establishing a gross over-representation of students from upper socio-economic families and an excessively large underrepresentation of children from lower socioeconomic families at universities only adds grist to the mill of protest at the way in which want in education is institutionalised by neglect, and privilege and advantage fostered by direct government support.
It is well established that social class is a major scource of inequalities in education which do not stem from differences in endowment. Thus the disproportionate imbalances disclosed by Radford’s work and succeeding surveys are largely explained. The middle class orientation of our education systems disadvantages too many children who are not familiar with the middle class environment and its values. In these circumstances a complete refurbishing of our education systems is needed, allowing for more flexibility and experimentation on the part of teachers to assist children to reach out and fulfil their unique innate qualities and capacities as individuals in a diverse world. This in turn involves a plea for discrimination which favours need. But the Commonwealth alone can provide the sort of money required for such a programme.
However the submission by the Australian Council of Education calling for the provision of $1,443 .7m over the next 5 years to support the education systems of the States has been ignored by the Federal Government in spite of the verifiable fact that the Minister for Education and Science had that report available to him for at least 2 months before the Budget was introduced. Any effective restructuring programme will have to proceed according to a plan. This will require not only finance from the Federal Government but also co-ordination between it and the States. To date grave imbalances have been caused and priorities thrown completely out of alignment in important areas of the States’ education programmes because of the spasmodic and seemingly impulsive manner in which the Federal Government has proceeded into an involvement in education.
Instead of commencing at the base, at pre-school and primary school education, and working through to the peak of the structure so that the education system would be firmly grounded, the Commonwealth has latched upon special areas where it thought there would be electoral advantage without testing to establish that those areas were in fact ones of priority need. The Conservatives at Canberra abjure planning in spite of the best advice by the best experts of its absolute necessity. A Labor government is committed to the planned provision of needed assistance to the State schools and the Catholic schools systems of education according to priority need.
Finally, education should seek to develop more than mere tools of production in training young children. A healthy, inquiring, critical faculty should be encouraged. Tlhe essential constructive and creative individuality of each student should be fostered and allowed to bloom. The blight of disciplinarianism, of gearing training to levels of mediocrity due to overcrowding and lack of facilities, should be abandoned. Most especially, students should be encouraged to analyse society, what man’s role should be in that society, and how the present structure of and relationships in society should be reformed to achieve really worthwhile goals for mankind.
– There is no doubt that arrangements for the provision and staffing of educational facilities within Australia have excited more comment and feeling within the community during the last 10 years than most other issues. Governments, both Federal and State, have felt and are still feeling the effects. Tt is safe to say that the Federal Government has received much of the criticism. It is obviously beyond the scope of this debate fully to investigate whether the blame apportioned to this Government has been more or less than a fair share, but I would like to raise a few points which I feel should be kept in mind by those people who continuously sheet home to the Government criticism of its efforts in the field of education.
If one looks at the history of Commonwealth involvement in education one can see that expansion in this field began to a significant extent following the Second World War. After the defeat of the Australian Labor Party in 1949, the Commonwealth first made financial grants to the States for education in 1951. These grants were to assist universities with accommodation problems. But great acceleration in assistance came following the report of the Murray Committee on Australian universities in 1957. It is only fair to point out that the recommendations of that Committee for Commonwealth financial aid to the States on both capital and recurrent expenditure of the universities were largely adopted, as was the recommendation for the formation of an Australian Universities Commission. In subsequent years the Commonwealth has demonstrated increasingly its concern for the provision of adequate university facilities, and has demonstrated this to the tune of nearly $3 15m as the Commonwealth’s share of a total provision of nearly $679m for capital and recurrent expenditure for the 1970-72 triennium. Let us add to this the part played by the Commonwealth in assisting the development of colleges of advanced education throughout Australia. Again, the Commonwealth has made provision for an expenditure of Commonwealth funds for capital and recurrent expenditure during the triennium, 1970-72, of more than SI 06m out of a total of approximately $236m.
Une of the aspects of this Federal aid which pleases me personally is that during the current financial year funds will be provided for residential accommodation at colleges of advanced education in country areas. We are all aware of the need to provide incentives for people to live away from the overcrowded major cities. Such facilities as will be provided can only help this process. In the current financial year funds set aside for universities and colleges of advanced education total (113m, as against $95. 7m last financial year. The Commonwealth has set aside $19lm in total for specific purpose payments to the States. I remind honourable members that as recently as 1963-64 the total of direct grants to the States for education was only $34m. If one is fair minded, keeping in mind that the figures I have quoted also reflect that this financial year new financial agreements of great benefit to the States will operate - agreements which will channel an extra $291m to the States - one can see that much extra money is being made available for use by the States as they see fit. Personally, I hope that a significant proportion of this money will be devoted by the States to education. I think that the recent Budget brought down by the Premier of New South Wales illustrates that my hope may be well founded.
The Commonwealth Department of Education and Science is concerned with many more activities than I have outlined - activities which, to my mind, are often forgotten by critics of the Government. The contribution to teacher education, preschool education, the child migrant education programme, student assistance by means of the expanded Commonwealth Scholarships schemes - we have already mentioned that this afternoon - and assistance for Aboriginal students are examples of this. If one looks at the figures one sees that total direct Commonwealth expenditure on education has risen from $54,500,000 in 1961-62 to an estimated $3 12m this year. Expressed as a percentage of the total Commonwealth Budget expenditure, it has risen from 1.9 per cent to 4.4 per cent over the same years. I think it would have been much fairer if the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) had outlined this increase in the percentage of expenditure as a percentage of the total Budget expenditure.
Under the circumstances I believe that while much still remains to be done this Government has shown a consistent interest in and concern with the problems of education and has sought, within the bounds of its responsibilities and particularly over the last few years, to alleviate the problems of those with the responsibility of providing educational facilities to a rapidly expanding number of students. I do noi want to pretend for a moment that everything in the garden is rosy, but I do think it is worthwhile to point to the genuine efforts that are being made. I would like now to deal briefly with the nationwide Survey of Educational Needs undertaken by the Australian Education Council whose report has led to much criticism of the Federal Government. The initial report was first presented to the Education Council meeting in Perth during the latter part of February this year. Because of some differences in approach by the various States in estimating costs it was amended, and the amended figures were presented to the Federal Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) in May of this year. At that time it was agreed that before any action should be taken the individual State Ministers should present the results of the survey to their own Premiers, while the Federal Minister agreed to present the survey .to Cabinet. At this time talks were proceeding between the Federal and State governments concerned with CommonwealthState financial relations. The results of the survey were considered in this context.
I mention this because the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) has been accused of brushing aside representations made by the States, based on the findings of this survey. That is a serious allegation, I believe, because education is to me such a vitally important consideration for the community. The allegation is untrue and must be exposed as such for the following reasons: Firstly, as the report on the survey states, the Commonwealth Minister for Education and Science, while giving the survey every encouragement from the outset, also asked that private schools be included in the survey because only in this way could an accurate picture of total educational needs in the nation be obtained. The survey presented does not as yet contain the estimate for private schools and so is incomplete. Secondly, and more importantly, the survey based its figures, when estimating the educational expenditure required by the States during the period 1971-75 together with the additional funds necessary, on the previously existing Commonwealth-State financial relationships. These arrangements, as every Premier knows, were no longer operative at the time when the representations were made to the Prime Minister.
The survey in its estimate of total expenditure listed costed requirements as $7,960.4m, and anticipated funds - these were based on the old financial arrangement - as $6,5l6.7m, leaving a shortfall of $l,443.7m. This figure of $6,5 16.7m following the new arrangement was obviously incorrect, as the States would presumably now be able to meet more of their commitments than before.
– Only marginally so.
– Not only marginally so. Under these circumstances the Prime Minister, quite rightly, I believe, asked the States for their own reactions to the survey, together with an assessment of the requirements of the private schools. The Commonwealth would then be in a position to make more fully informed judgments. People may say - and they have said this afternoon - that this procedure is designed to thwart the States in their claims for assistance. But when the figures of the magnitude expressed are involved and when it is appreciated that substantial sums have recently been made available, both directly and indirectly, I believe that the procedure followed is not only necessary but highly desirable. That there are problems in secondary education - and major problems at that - is all too obvious. One of the most serious aspects of the total problem concerns the staffing of secondary schools. On this matter I am much in agreement with the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds). It is all very well to talk about new classrooms, libraries, science blocks, visual aids and a host of other material things, but these are rendered largely redundant if the teachers are not present to staff the classrooms, teach the sciences or utilise the educational aids.
The staffing problem has many facets. Although the number of teachers has risen dramatically there are still not enough. Many of the teachers who are teaching are insufficiently trained. The turnover in teaching staff at individual schools is often far too high and can only have a detrimental effect both on the teacher and on the pupils. Some disciplines such as mathematics and science have a serious, almost chronic, shortfall in adequately trained staff. While individual State education departments have done much to increase their student-teacher numbers, much mon will have to be done. It has been estimated that, should the rate of increase in enrolments experienced between 1966 and 1968 persist, we can expect a total population in Government secondary schools by 1972 of about 800,000 pupils. For a class size of no more than 35 in the lower secondary school and of no more than 30 at the senior level, an additional 10,000 teachers will be needed, and this figure could be an underestimate.
Although the lack of staff is a serious problem, merely to increase the numbers of teachers is not enough. Clearly there is a great need to attract more highly trained people into the teaching profession, to reduce the amount of teacher mobility, to provide more personally rewarding conditions of employment and to provide a readily visible means of salary progression. Whilst salaries for teachers vary between States. I do feel that more attention could be paid to the monetary rewards for teachers who have spent some time in the profession and who have attained positions of authority. I find myself in agreement with R. T. Fitzgerald of the Australian Council for Educational Research, who states in his book ‘Secondary Schools at Sixes and Sevens’:
Any long term progressive improvement in the quality of the secondary teaching force will depend essentially on the image of the classroom teacher’s role and function. Increasingly the secondary school in Australia will have to compete with tertiary institutions particularly the Colleges of Advanced Education for qualified and experienced staff. In terms of salaries and working conditions, the secondary school remains at a distinct disadvantage. It may be one thing to attract talented people to classroom teaching but quite another to retain their services in the secondary school.
I have mentioned only one of the many problems facing those concerned with the administration of educational facilities. The total task is a huge and growing one and I believe that there is a very good case for a national examination of the administration and organisation of the total educational sphere from the pre-school level to the tertiary level. This must occur if we are to continue to develop within Australia the undoubted talents of our young people.
– I thank the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) for giving me at least a few minutes in which to say a word or two in this debate. My impression is that generally speaking honourable members opposite are not really aware of the situation in most areas of state education, and I presume that that applies equally to very large areas of nonstate education. I represent the 2 suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg in Melbourne. There are 26 State primary, secondary and technical schools, two or three specialised technical institutions, and 10 Catholic schools in that area. In 1938 I was a student at the Melbourne Teachers College. During the period I was a student teacher I spent several terms of two or three weeks in those schools. I would say that at the present moment nearly every child in Brunswick and Coburg is not as well served in education as were the children attending those schools in 1938. In 1938 practically every teacher in front of a class in that area was qualified. In 1938 all except two or three of these schools were 30 years newer. We are continuously going backwards. This is a problem that this Parliament never faces. Education is not just a constitutional concept. It is an attitude of mind; it is a responsibility that devolves upon all of us. For the last 15 years, particularly over the last 12 years, we have been campaigning here for the Commonwealth to accept a full scale personal, direct parliamentary responsibility for the schools.
In the few minutes that are available to me 1 can refer to only some of the things that I think are characteristic of Australian education and which are challenged by our amendment. I wish that when honourable members opposite spoke they could, as the honourable member for Warringah did, take their minds out of the partisan area of the parliamentary system and see that our amendment embodies some good points, particularly the section about which I want to speak the one that calls for the establishment of a commission to examine the objectivesandqualityofAustralianeduca- tion. Australian education is highly centralised in every State. New South Wales and, I understand, one or two of the other States are now breaking away from this idea, but Australian education is still highly centralised in comparison with most areas overseas. Education in Australia is unduly conservative. We still teach French, for instance, instead of teaching Indonesian over large areas.
There are still great areas of inequality. Women do not get the same go from the education system as do young men. The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) outlined the social difficulties associated with our schools system. It is still largely university orientated. We on this side of the chamber believe that much of our education is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the needs of the community for which we turn out the citizens. We believe that education has too low a priority in the considerations of this Parliament and, generally speaking, in the social and economic structure of Australia.
I represent one of the industrial areas of Australia. Last year a freeway that passes right through my electorate was opened. The State Government, which is always whining for funds, spent$35m on the freeway out to the Tullamarine Airport. It could have rebuilt every school in my electorate to the standard of schools in Canberra and had $14m change. I believe that this is a serious departure from the way social priorities ought to lie. Schools in my electorate are starved of all services. The educationists are now accustomed to living in a situation in which there is very little secretarial assistance, the schools are architecturally unsuitable for the tasks which they have to perform and in which, in general, they are supplied with chalk and the walls and very little equipment.
There is a lot of wastage. Over the last few years there was a wastage of 81,000 young men and 34,000 young women in our universities. This is a serious and tragic social wastage. About 46,000 or 47,000 young women who are the equals of their brothers in social background and intellectual attainment are deprived of a university education not because of their intellectual incapacity but because they happen to be women. With a university education women can solve many of the shortages at the intellectual and professional levels. But, of course, we do not believe that education is turning out people to perform a certain function in society. We are not in the business of turning out better butchers, doctors, teachers or engineers.
– Order! The time allowed for the consideration of the proposed expenditure has expired.
That the amendment (Mr Beazley’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr P. E. Lucock)
Majority . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 5.51 to 8 p.m.
Department of External Territories
Proposed expenditure. $104,616,000.
– Discussion of the Department of External Territories estimates should take into account the other budget presented to the New Guinea House of Assembly by its Treasurer on 1st September. A copy of his speech has been distributed to honourable members together with a statement prepared by our own Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes). Both documents ooze self-congratulation. The Minister’s notes are in some areas positively misleading. To understand what is happening in New Guinea we have to go to the ‘Review of Progress: Programmes and Policies for Economic Development of Papua and New Guinea’ prepared by the Office of the Economic Adviser and also issued on 1st September. This thorough document takes a much cooler and more objective look at the economic situation in New Guinea.
Let me illustrate the difference by reference to the 5 year economic development programme announced in September 1968 to cover the period 1968-73. These crucial 5 years should be providing the key-stone for the future economic development of Papua and New Guinea. The successful progress or otherwise of the plan is, alongside the political development, one of the 2 most important matters upon which we might expect the Minister to have reported to members.
In a brief treatment the Minister tells us that the programme is currently ‘being reviewed’ and leaves the unmistakable impression that it is merely a matter of some adjustments. The report of the Office of the Economic Adviser puts it more bluntly when it says:
It is now necessary to revise the original programme and this work is now in hand with the object of presenting a supplementary programme early in J 971 .
Clearly more is involved than a mere review of the programme. Indeed, the report makes it explicit that there are a disconcerting number of failures to meet the programme’s targets.
In education the Economic Adviser refers to significant shortfalls in indigenous secondary and technical education enrolments in 1969. This year technical education enrolments alone were 15 per cent under target. In the more immediately important area of tertiary education, enrolments were short of target this year by 25 per cent. The report states that the main deficiencies have been at the Institute of Technology, the Public Service Training Centre, Vudal Agricultural College and in teacher training. But when one turns from the report to the Minister’s notes we find a very different picture. He has contrived to provide 8 paragraphs on education without a single reference to these crucial failures to reach enrolment targets.
On recruitment to the Public Service, the Minister refers to ‘difficulties in recruiting experienced professional staff’. Contrast this with the relevant extracts from the Economic Adviser’s report. He said:
All departments and agencies came under greater pressure because of increased activities and continuing recruitment difficulties. Some important consequences have been the retarding of the agricultural extension effort, delays in timber marketing, utilisation and logging plan surveys, staffing difficulties in the Business Advisory Service and Co-operative Registry. Servicing departments were also seriously inhibited for the same reason.
The report goes on to note that the difficulties will be reduced by the prospective large increases from New Guinean tertiary institutions but it added:
A significant impact cannot be expected from this source for some years.
It was also pessimistic on the immediate prospects for skilled and semi-skilled manpower. While there was an increasing number of apprentices, shortages were increasing in almost all categories.
Nowhere is the effect of the shortage of professional and semi-professional staff more damaging than in the rural sector. While mining will provide an important and indeed major contribution to New Guinea’s economy, it has to be understood that for the foreseeable future the growth of a stable New Guinea society and the personal prosperity of the greater part of its people will depend on agricultural, pastoral, fisheries and forestry development. As yet another tropical ex-colony, independent New Guinea will be struggling to find markets in a very competitive world. So the importance of rural education and extension work now is paramount for the improvement of productivity and quality tomorrow. But this year the number of agricultural farmer trainees will actually decline by 25 per cent to 1,200.
The root cause of this is the spectacular failure of the recruiting programme for expatriate specialist professional officers. In 1968-69 the target was 36 new officers; 19 were recruited. In 1969-70 the sights were reduced to 30; only 17 could be obtained. This failure in turn has had its effect on training sub-professionals, the diplomates who will carry the burden of the local field work. Vudal Agricultural College, as already noted, is producing diplomates below target. Further, only about half its students are joining the government service. The provision of a rural development officer for each of the 206 district administration stations would seem a modest enough target, but at the present rate it would take more than 10 years before New Guinea would be anywhere near that objective and that makes no allowance for wastage. It is not an over-statement to use the word ‘crisis’ to describe the position in this most important department, but one can detect no sign of any Government concern. It is not altogether surprising that the departmental expenditure for agriculture, stock and fisheries, inclusive of the overseas allowances, is only 7 per cent above last year - barely enough to keep up with normal wage increases.
The same situation applies in the Forestry Department. To carry out the current 5 year development programme, an additional 100 professional and semiprofessional staff were needed. Two years later the net gain is less than two-thirds the number required. It follows naturally from this that the Forestry departmental expenditure is only up by 5.6 per cent in the current year. In another area, assistance for the participation of indigenes in business where the Administration has lagged very badly in the past, shortage of staff is affecting the programme. For example, no new business advisory offices will be opened this year.
It is little wonder, then, that the Office of the Economic Adviser has set out to revise the whole programme. It would be commendable if the Minister himself had openly recognised the problems instead of issuing a set of smug and all too often misleading background notes. It may be that an attempt will be made to meet the criticism over staff shortages in these key New Guinea departments by the claim that the establishment of the Australian Service
Overseas Corps, as announced by the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) in July, will solve staffing problems by stemming the drift of expatriate officers and encouraging the recruitment of new officers.
It is significant that neither the New Guinea Treasurer nor the Office of the Economic Adviser made any reference to ASOC, which has proved so far to be a damp squib. As the Public Service Association of Papua and New Guinea stated in July, ASOC is ‘the wrong solution to a problem correctly stated’. The Association then posed 15 questions which have still not been satisfactorily answered. No less than 16 branches of the Public Service Association in every major centre of New Guinea have rejected the Prime Minister’s latest panacea. How can a genuine and relevant revision of the country’s economic development planning be carried out unless the Government is prepared to face up to the Public Service’s twin problems of recruitment and retention?
The provision of adequate housing for expatriate and local officers is inextricably tied in with staff shortages. In July when the Prime Minister at last visited New Guinea he was presented with a submission from the Public Service Association which stated that an investigation into all aspects of housing for local officers was long overdue. The Association’s submission spoke of an endless stream of grievances’ and wretched conditions’. We hear nothing of any inquiry. Indeed the notes distributed by the Minister do nothing to recognise the existence of any grievances at all.
They refer instead in vague terms to the overall objective of the housing programme being to provide conditions under which the people of the Territory have maximum opportunities to obtain housing and improve the standard of their housing. These sentiments are commendable but when we turn to the projected performance for 1970-71 they are shown to be hollow. For this financial year there will actually be a decline in the number of units being built for local married officers from 1 ,03 1 last year to 950 this year. Even if we did not have the evidence of the Association as to widespread discontent among local officers, could it seriously be thought that the demand for housing for local married officers is decreasing? Perhaps, as in so many areas of New Guinea policy, justified complaints have brought an equal and contrary reaction.
When one comes to look at the situation for non-Public Service indigenes, the situation is even more unsatisfactory. A target for Housing Commission units is 704. We should set this alongside the report of the Office of the Economic Adviser which cites a survey taken in May this year which showed that in and around the 7 main towns there were about 42,600 people living in 181 main squatter settlements. They occupied approximately 5,700 houses, most of which were sub-standard. Important as the problem of housing for the Public Service is, it is over-shadowed by the magnitude of the social problem of the squatters. This Budget contains no provision for an imaginative and necessarily massive attack on the problem. It follows the line of so many past colonial powers, that is to ignore the problem and hope that it will go away. Unless it is tackled we will leave a legacy of urban instability and unrest to the new nation of New Guinea. The melancholy recent history of smaller African states is an eloquent testimony to the danger to democracy of dispossessed fringe urban squatter communities.
There is another aspect of the New Guinean budget worthy of censure although it is a sin of commission rather than omission. Just as in our own Budget the Australian Government chose to boost its revenues by regressive sales taxes, so the little Canberra of Konedobu faithfully followed. lt imposed a general import levy of 2.5 per cent which will affect the whole population without discrimination. As the New Guinea ‘Post-Courier’ said on the morning after:
A 2i per cent increase in the cost of essential commodities docs not hurt a man earning $5,000 a year and his wife with $3,000 nearly as much as it hurts an indigenous clerk on $1,500 or the laborer on $500.
In our own Budget the Treasurer (Mr Bury) naturally enough made some play with the grant given by Australia to assist New Guinea. We owe to New Guinea the kind of debts that all colonial powers owe to their colonies, the debit piled up by early speculators and exploiters. This is not to disparage the generosity of the Australian taxpayer who is certainly prepared to give a greater priority to assisting New Guinea to a stable and prosperous nationhood than this Government is prepared to concede. This Government casts the cloak of Australia’s aid grant over the shortcomings of its administration and planning in New Guinea.
There was another comment in the Minister’s notes which 1 have left till last. He parroted the common cry: ‘An arbitrary dale for the independence of Papua-New Guinea should not be set’. As usual he deliberately sets out to confuse a certain minority of New Guineans by ignoring the distinction between self-government and independence. The Government’s obstinate refusal to consider target dates stems from petulance rather than reason. In support of the sanity of establishing target dates, let me quote from a resolution of an organisation, which contains some of those I have criticised and indeed who have criticised me - the Public Service Association of Papua-New Guinea. It stated:
The PSA Congress adds its voice to those of other responsible community groups calling for the setting of a target date for the granting of full internal self-government to the people of Papua-New Guinea . . . The target date should bc chosen by agreement between the House of Assembly and the Australian Government.
We may well ask: Why not?
– -The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has just given a not untypical speech on New Guinea. He based his speech for the most part on a report or a review of progress prepared by the direction of the Administrator of the Territory and drew attention to items in that report to which he objected. Any objective report would show some shortcomings. He drew on a few isolated statistics which, I think the record will show, he drew right out of context. I do not think that is very helpful. I do not think that so little research helps the Parliament and the country to understand the problems which exist in the Territory. These usual criticisms amount, in the main, to the restriction of finance, and we always seem to get back to discussing money in our debates. Surely the Leader of the Opposition - the Leader of the Australian Labor Party - will not, in discussing the estimates of the Department of External Territories, add to his already vast proposals of increased expenditure which he built up in his reply to the Budget Speech.
More important than this are his statements on questions in the past, and I propose to join issue with him on several of those points because I want to put to the Committee certain political and economic facts relating to the Territory of Papua and New Guinea in a realistic context. He speaks as though there are few problems to our merely granting self-government, but for goodness sake let us be responsible, for we now have a responsibility in this particular area. Let us face the reality and try to help the people of New Guinea in words and deeds, not spoil the development, to which I shall soon refer, by encouraging inflammatory situations and encouraging disruption and retrogressive action when he tours this sensitive Territory. It is right for us to ask what good his visit did last December for the people of New Guinea. Did it do any good in their interests or did it do harm? I believe that the people of Australia have come to the conclusion that it was the latter, and they are not proud of it.
The major problem which the Government faces in its present administration of the Territory lies in the pressures which are being exerted for the definition of dates for home rule and for independence. In principle, I think that the Government’s announced policy is a very correct one - that is, that it is the people themselves who must decide when they want home rule and when they want independence rather than having these things imposed upon them by the administering authority. The practical difficulty, however, derives from the fact that we have here a great number of disparate tribal groups with the concept of national unity understood and subscribed to by the relatively educated few. The roughly 2 million indigenes employ some 750 different languages. Fragmentation occurs also because of the topography of the country, traditional self-sufficiency and tribal warfare. It is difficult to avoid oversimplification but, in broad terms, we can view the people as consisting of the more sophisticated coastal races and the less sophisticated, down to completely primitive, highlanders and back country tribes.
The coastal people of Papua to the south, of the Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain and of the Madang and Morobe districts on the north coast of New Guinea have, for a relatively long time, been exposed to modern living and administration. They have also had some opportunity for education; first, at schools established by several Christian missions and, more recently, at Administration schools. Development in other parts of the Territory and, more particularly education, has come post-war and quite recently. It can be seen instantly, therefore, that if home rule were imposed in the immediate future the more sophisticated and educated coastal people would very largely control government and public service and, perhaps, army, leaving the highlanders, in particular, as an unrepresented and highly resentful part of the community. The highland tribes themselves, of course, manifest antipathy between each other, and this is historical, but in the situation that we are now looking at they would be capable of establishing some cohesion to react against what they would regard as an inimical government. Other animosities exist between the coastal races themselves and between them and the island peoples.
Within the limits of this speech, the foregoing is an over simplified exposition naturally, but it is at the practical root, I believe, of the Government’s disinclination to impose target dates, and that accounts for its policy - which is correct, in my view, on both philosophical and pragmatic grounds - to expedite development throughout the Territory so that, when the people determine for home rule, there will be, first, some prospect of a national outlook; secondly, some prospect for cohesion against secession movements - there are at least 4 active in Bougainville, the Gazelle, the Highlands and Papua - and personal ambitions for leadership, but perhaps they can form together a federation; and, thirdly, some prospects of government under a democratic system rather than relapse into army or political dictatorship under some strong man, a few of whom can be seen today striving mightily with the cry. Immediate independence’.
The people need time to form political ideas, to form a consensus view of political institutions, to build confidence in a political system and not by despair to resign themselves to a dictatorship government. The character and capacity of the people are apparent to all who visit the Territory and the battles of Kokoda attest to their loyal to and support for our people in the Sixth Division of the Australian Imperial Forces in their great time of need.
Independence means different things to different people. I wish to emphasise that there can be no true and full independence, whatever the political situation, without economic independence. The Territory of Papua and New Guinea has, understandably, far too small an economy of its own. Its income is merely 30 per cent of its expenditure. A need exists therefore for much more work and entrepreneural endeavour by New Guineans and indigenes themselves as a matter of urgency. Australia’s growing expenditure - very considerable as it has been - cannot and should not continue to support such a high proportion of the total revenue expenditure, though no doubt our contribution will and should increase steadily each year in the existing conditions. I hope that in the public debate on independence fundamental economic facts will not be ignored.
Only in economic independence will there be true independence. It is easy, of course, to criticise Australia’s administration. But it has been a good administration and the public servants are, in the main, men and women dedicated to the job that they are doing. A considerable emphasis is placed today on economic development, lt may be that this should have come earlier. Education, I believe, should have earlier concentrated on developing primary and secondary training and entrepreneural skills rather than education for tertiary services, for in highly developed economies tertiary skill can be and is afforded last and rests squarely on national production itself. The main difficulty is that the economy rests essentially on the Australian grant and on cash crops. Virtually all of the cash crops such as cottee, cocoa and copra are vulnerable on the world markets.
There is probably very little prospect of securing a viable economy on an agricultural basis, though it may come in the long term. It has become extremely important, however, that agriculture be developed so that the country may feed itself on a decent standard, and a great deal of endeavour is directed accordingly. The major problem is to convert the country from the diet consisting mainly of either locally grown carbohydrates or imported protein to a home grown balanced diet. Very little meat or even fish is eaten and pigs are a sign of wealth only to be eaten in special ceremonies. While bananas and fruit abound in some areas, the people live in most areas on sago, sweet potato, yams and taro. The development of cattle in the Highlands to provide meat is of fundamental importance, therefore, to diet and to the economy through better land use.
For a sound economy, the country must look to mineral development and, I think, to forest products. There is every hope of the future turning out well. Bougainville copper is fairly close to the production stage and little doubt exists that the copper ore bodies in the Western and West Sepik districts will be developed. Petroleum gas has been discovered and there is some thought that nickel may be available in commercial quantities. Until this kind of development proceeds, however, the Government’s task must include the more rapid development of surface transport facilities, not only for economic reasons but also for the social development than can be secured only by road systems. This is being pushed as quickly as possible, to a large extent with funds from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Our problems thus lie in many areas but, in broad terms, the problems are: First, economic development; secondly, political education; thirdly, development of a national outlook; fourthly, the training, at least, of top level public service administrators; and, fifthly, ensuring participation in business by indigenes. It is probable that, while all of these can be achieved, they will not come exactly in the same phase. Political concepts are largely unknown even il> educated people and this will cause difficulty for a considerable time. Indigenous participation in business is difficult obviously because this again is a new concept to so many indigenes but also because it does go against the interests - or, at least, the short term interests - of overseas companies and small business men. Nonetheless, all these problems are being tackled and, against the overall plan, specific difficulties simply must be resolved as they arise.
There are numerous other interesting questions and problems on which I have no time to touch. These include land use and tenure with the problems of inheritance, the further problems of developing social progress and the economy given the influence of an extensive village social life, and cargo-cultism which pervades the country everywhere to some degree.
To sum up, I would say that Australia’s position has to be that the people in Papua and New Guinea can have home rule and independence whenever they decide that they want it, secure in the knowledge that Australian assistance, in terms of money, advice and technical and administrative know-how - and we have built up expertise and experience in this less developed country - will continue for as long as the people want it and circumstances remain reasonable. It will be for Australia probably a thankless task internationally and internally.
– Mr Chairman, I wish to support many of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). But, in addition, 1 wish to move an amendment to the appropriation provided for the Department of External Territories. Therefore, I move:
That the proposed expenditure be reduced by $2, as aB indication to the Government that recent events in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea for which the Government is responsible constitute a danger to the civil liberties and rights of the people of those Territories. Mr Chairman, the purpose of the amendment is to persuade the House and the Government that civil rights and civil liberties are not being enhanced as they should be or even protected in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at this time. Very little time is available to me to make a detailed analysis of the Public Order Bill which recently passed through the House of Assembly in Port Moresby on the initiative of the Administration and where it was introduced by the Secretary for Law, Mr Curtis. However, it is my intention to point out certain unsatisfactory features which 1 believe to be repressive and unjustified, and which have to be understood in the context in which our system of law has been allowed by the Government to operate in Papua and New Guinea.
The events that have happened in New Guinea, including the Public Law Ordin ance, already have been the subject of forceful criticism from the International Commission of Jurists, and these criticisms and the publicity attached to them did lead to some amendments being offered by the Administration in order to overcome some of the worst features of the Public Order Bill. However, in order to set the tone of my remarks, I wish to quote from the Committee Report of the International Commission of Jurists which dealt with the proposed Public Order Ordinance. The Committee said:
The Territory is at a stage in its development when political activity and the free movement of people, and the free expression of ideas should be encouraged, and not repressed or discouraged, except where it is clearly necessary to do so . . .
The Ordinance creates many new criminal offences and many new and additional powers to the police and to the courts. It makes many offences summary offences, that is, offences triable summarily by magistrates and not on indictment in the Supreme Court where there are more safeguards for an accused person. It all must be understood against the background that the indigenous population of Papua and New Guinea invariably has recourse to one lawyer and one lawyer only, and that is the Public Solicitor of the Territory. He is the only person who can act for them when they come into conflict with the law. The role of the Public Solicitor is also under attack from the Government today.
I will draw the Committee’s attention to some of the features of the Public Order Ordinance, but before I do so I would like to say a few words on one of the lesser known roles that is played by legislation of this sort. I have in mind its deterrent, inhibiting effect on the values of an emerging country. Civil rights legislation can be of two kinds. There is the liberalising kind exemplified by a Bill of Rights with its guarantees of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of movement. Then there is the opposite. There is the repressive kind of legislation that is not civil rights legislation but is the antithesis of it. The Public Order Ordinance comes into this latter category.
People learn about civil rights and civil liberties when they have a Bill of Rights to guide and influence them. The enormous progress made in the United States of
America in recent years is evidence of this, lit is the best example. In a country that has many social, racial and economic problems, they have had a common standard and a common set of values to which these problems could be referred and against which they could be solved. The youth of America are brought up on a Bill of Rights. They know its value and they would never put up with the inroads upon their rights that are accepted without question in many countries without a Bill of Rights, and indeed in this country. A Bill of Rights has enormous educative value.
If one looks to New Guinea one sees how the Attorney-General for the Commonwealth has warned the people of New Guinea about flirting with a Bill of Rights, and one wonders why. What possible harm can come from a Bill of Rights? How can anything but good come from it? It sets out in clear language minimum standards and reasserts fundamental values. However, the legislation that expresses this Government’s view on civil rights is to be found in the Public Order Ordinance and its recent attack on the role of the Public Solicitor in New Guinea. What does the Ordinance do? It controls public meetings and processions in those parts of the Territory which are declared to be appropriate by the Government. The decision whether an area is declared, where it is an offence to organise or convene a public procession or a public meeting and where it is an offence to be present at a public procession or a public meeting is left to the Administrator or to a person appointed by him. There is no practical way in which a person can appeal against that decision because it would involve making an application to the court, and the person most likely to make the application has only the Public Solicitor to act for him. As I will point out later, the Public Solicitor is being required by the Government to impose conditions of a political kind on the applicant before he grants legal aid to him. It is not an objective test on the Administrator, it is a subjective one. If he is of the opinion that it is desirable he declares the area, and it would be very difficult to go behind it and get to a court.
Even if a permit is given, the Ordinance gives power to senior commissioned officers of police to prohibit the holding of the procession or meeting, or to disperse the people who are present. It is not enough to say as a justification that the police officer must have reasonable grounds because, as I have said, the only way to challenge that in a court is to use the services of the Public Solicitor. Even then, as 1 have said, the wording of the section is such that it is a quasi-subjective test in that the reasonable ground must appear to be reasonable only to the senior police officer. There is power to stop and control vehicles and to control traffic by closing off roads, and this power also is given to a police officer. In the section which gives power to the Administrator or to a person appointed by him to decide whether or not a procession or a meeting can be held, and where it creates a right of appeal from that decision to a person called a commissioner, who is a stipendiary magistrate, it is spelt out that the commissioner may inform himself on the question in any way he thinks proper without being bound by legal forms or rules of evidence. These are the rules and forms that have grown up over centuries and centuries in our system. They provide essential safeguards to accused persons and to persons who want to go to court. In other words, the system which we have imposed upon the people in New Guinea is that all the legal safeguards, in that context at least, are dispensed with.
The Secretary for Law said when he introduced the Bill that many of the powers given were to be found in the common law, and he even quoted Blastone in support of this proposition. Whatever the truth of that statement, the fact is that most of these old powers that he had in mind are dormant, virtually dead, and are not used. The effect of the Ordinance will be to resurrect them in the public mind and make them available for use. The Ordinance gives power to a magistrate to make an order binding a person over to be of good behaviour and to comply with residential conditions. Even though that person has not been found guilty of any criminal offence, he can be ordered out of the Territory or required to live in a particular area. It savours very much of the iniquitous pass laws of South Africa.
The Secrteary for Law when he introduced the Bill said that many of these provisions were directed at what he called unemployed trouble makers. It should not be a criminal offence to be unemployed, and if the best thing that this Government can do to overcome unemployment in Papua and New Guinea is to introduce laws like this, then the sooner we get home the better. The Secretary for Law also said when he introduced the Bill that it was necessary to have control so that the magistrates will have power to deal with these unemployed migrants. He did not mean people from other countries; he meant people from other parts of New Guinea who get into trouble of one kind or another.
He referred to drunken brawling around taverns, assaults, offences against property and petty thieving, and he tried to justify the Bill in this way. However, the Ordinance is against him because section 21 of the Ordinance gives power to the court, where it considers it advisable for the preservation of peace and public order that a person should not be in an area where processions and meetings cannot be held without a permit, to order that the person should remove himself to another area, and that he stay outside a specified area. So it has nothing to do with petty thieving and drunken brawling. It is sheer politics. It. has nothing to do with the things to which the Secretary for Law said it was related.
The Ordinance puts the burden of proof on the defendant in very many cases. Let the Government try to deny it. The Secretary for Law claimed in his speech, which may have influenced the House of Assembly in passing the Bill, that many of the provisions merely spelt out the common law. However, section 4 of the Ordinance states that the Ordinance is not to be in derogation or amendment of any other law of the Territory, but is to be an addition to those other laws. So the old common law powers remain, and this Ordinance does give additional powers to the Government.
I now come to the Public Solicitor and his role in New Guinea. We all know that some of the Tolai people on the Gazelle Peninsula have refused to pay tax to a certain local government council. They have been charged in the courts with failure to pay that tax. We make a lot of the fact that they should use the courts. They have applied to the Public Solicitor for aid, and I have seen his letter in reply to their application. He states that they satisfy his test of being without means and of having an arguable case with which to defend themselves, but that he has been directed by the Secretary for Law - and there can be no doubt where that direction came from; it came from Canberra - that legal aid was not to be given unless the applicant gave a statutory declaration disclosing his intention to pay the tax in any event, and that such a declaration had to be made available to the Administration for its general purposes. That is the effect of what he said in the letter. The grammar is not particularly good, but that is the best one can make of it. The alternative condition imposed was that the applicant pay tax first, because if he won his court case his legal defence would be overcome by retrospective legislation. Retrospective legislation, as we all know, is always bad and can only be justified in very extreme cases.
The other condition was that the Public Solicitor had to be satisfied that the applicant was refusing to pay tax and that his refusal was an independent act on his part - independent of the policy of the Mataungan Association. The Public Solicitor was not to give legal assistance where he was not so satisfied unless the applicant supplied him with a statutory declaration from an office bearer of the Mataungan Association setting out all the assets of the Association. This is like saying to a member of the Liberal Party who has a court case on his hands, who has no means but who has an arguable case, that he cannot have legal aid unless he first discloses the assets of the Liberal Party. In conclusion, the Ordinance does nothing to further progress or advancement in Papua and New Guinea. Neither does the political direction to the Public Solicitor. In their combined and separate effect they are very repressive.
– Some time in the future, and the not too distant future, Australia will have lying to its north the independent nation of New Guinea. At its nearest point, New Guinea is no more than 100 miles from Cape York and what we say and do today will have a great bearing on our future relationship with that country. In developing the Territory of Papua and New Guinea towards eventual independence we must always keep in mind the hope that when independence finally does come Australia will have gained a friend and ally, one with whom we can continue close cooperation in our mutual interests. The policy of this Government has been that independence should neither be hastened nor delayed, but rather that it should reflect the capacity and the desire of the community to accept greater responsibility.
While the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) was Leader of the Opposition we saw a sound and responsible attitude on the part of the Australian Labor Party towards New Guinea. Whatever else may be said about the right honourable member for Melbourne, he would in no way prejudice future Australia-New Guinea relations by playing party politics. But this policy by the Labor Party was changed when it changed its Leader. It was certainly changed dramatically by the visit of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) early this year. Let us, in retrospect, consider the effects and the blunders of that visit because many people in New Guinea consider irreparable harm was done. As the ‘Gazelle News’, a publication in New Guinea, said:
Few people will forget that visit, for he left behind him a trail of promises, uncertainties and half truths.
His first stop was at Daru Island in western Papua where he was reported to have urged the local members of the House of Assembly to take political action as soon as possible to demand that the Australian border be withdrawn closer to Australia. It was also at Daru where he was reported to have said for the first time that New Guinea under a Labor government would have internal self-government in 1972 and complete independence in 1976, irrespective of whether the people of New Guinea wanted it or not. In the Highlands he met the same type of political thinking that has nonplussed United Nations visiting missions - the fear of the coastal people developing too quickly and dominating the Highlanders, allied wim the suspicion chai once independence comes the Australians will go home taking their money with them. He assured them that if Labor became the Australian Government, we would ‘go on giving New Guinea plenty of money*. But it was in Rabaul that he reached his highpoint.
Addressing several thousand antiAdministration Mataungan Association Tolai people, he commended the Mataungans for their nationalistic fervour in their opposition to the duly elected Gazelle MultiRacial Council. As far as the residents and the Gazelle councillors were concerned here was the alternative Prime Minister of Australia giving Labor Party support for an organisation which had run against democratic government, beaten up influential leaders of the Tolai people, refused to pay taxes duly levied by the Gazelle Council and drained the Central Treasury, because of police actions, of money vitally needed for general development. Is it any wonder that angry residents of Rabual sent a cable of protest to the Prime Minister (Mr Gorton)? In his reply, the Prime Minister said that he believed the statements of the Leader of the Opposition were calculated to worsen the divisions among the Tolai people. He pointed out that the Mataungan Association had been given the opportunity of a referendum to solve the Council dispute by secret ballot but had refused. He said that the Association had resorted to violence and that the Leader of the Opposition’s support of this attitude and action was emphatically repudiated by the Australian Government. He said that he hoped the Government’s expression of intention would help repair the damage caused by the Labor Party visit.
Let us read what a local publication called ‘Islands Newsbeat’ had to say. It is published in Rabaul, ft described the visit of the Leader of the Opposition as: . . being one of the raggiest political games ever played in the Territory. The Opposition Leader without so much as a blanche swept himself past the thoughts of law-abiding citizens to give strength to the hard core dictating to the masses of the Mataungan Association. He threw up false hopes to the Association’s uneducated and semi-literate, and in arm-waving displays of affection and brotherhood rattled off inaccuracies and ill-informed compliments.
Hie Opposition Leader seems to have achieved ens thaI - if the mjority of Australians h- ve the wit with which they are credited, his tour has assured him of his regular seat in the Opposition Benches after the next Federal Elections. Pity, however, the poor Mataungans who so gullibly swallowed the Whitlam prophesy that he will be Prime Minister within 3 years. Pity the poor Mataungans, their intellectually blind, lame and needy, who flocked to squat at the feet of their saviour and came away from the Matupit Island meeting unhealed.
And pity, more than any, the law abiding majority of Tolais, the other native groups, tha
Europeans, the Chinese and the Mixed Race communities who will have to live under tensions and fears of violence because of the political paddling of a man whose party has as much hope of victory at the next elections as Rabaulites have of seeing snow on the Mother Volcano.
Whitlam thought he had scored a point because 10,000 Mataungans turned up, He’d lost. 10,000 certainly did turn up - but 56,000 other Tolais stayed away.
It was into this sort of atmosphere that the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham), the honourable member for Evans (Dr Mackay) and I came when we landed in Rabaul a week or so later. As one local resident said to me, the damage which the Whitlam visit has done to New Guinea will live long after he has gone. Another said to me: ‘Mr Whitlam states we New Guineans are capable of running the country and making our own decisions. Then he goes on to say that he will force us to accept complete independence by 1976. Surely if his first statement is correct then we are quite capable of telling him and not he us, when self-government will come.’
There is a genuine, land problem on the Gazelle Peninsula. There are something like 70,000 Tolais and they have a natural increase rate nearly 4 times as great as Australia’s and the Mataungan problem is, in part, a manifestation of the growing pressure for land. The Germans seized land for plantations between 1884 and 1914 when they ruled New Guinea and there exists today a mutual feeling of dislike between some planters and some Tolai. The solution to the land problem in New Guinea is not an easy one and here again Labor Party policy has come under attack. Angus Smales, a newspaper correspondent in New Guinea since 1956, recently published an article entitled ‘Mr Barnard is wrong . . . Our New Guinea land policy is right’. That article states:
The Deputy Labor Leader, Mr Lance Barnard, appears to have fallen into the same trap as many other critics of Australian policy in PapuaNew Guinea.
Mr Barnard suggests that some benevolent commission merely has to strip white settlers of their land and hand the land over to the Rabaul Tolais to make all the problems magically disappear.
He is quite wrong.
This would achieve nothing more than a postponement of the present crisis for a few years after which the problems would return with greater intensity.
If the entire Rabaul area were turned over to the Tolai people today land pressure would be eased for only 10 years at the most.
Quite clearly the answer to the problem docs not lie in agricultural land in the Rabaul area.
The Tolai people will have to learn to migrate to other settlement areas - something they have opposed for years, although other New Guinea communities have learnt to do so.
They will also hope to develop a greater interest in work and industry not directly associated with the land.
He then makes this rather interesting point:
Furthermore, before the white man came to the Rabaul area retention of land rights was by brute force. Historical research indicates a continual ebb and flow in so-called ownership.
Little more than a century ago the Tolais themselves pushed out the Bainings people who originally inhabited the Rabaul area.
Hie only sacredness about Tolai land claims today is that the Tolais happened to be in power when the white man arrived.
The Government is well aware of the land problem on the Gazelle Peninsula and has recently resumed 15,000 acres for subdivision to the Tolais, including the Mataungans. In addition the Administrator, Mr Les Johnson, disclosed recently that the Administration is looking at the possibility of buying 30 plantations from existing expatriate owners and turning them over lo native farmers. A recent review of these problems to find the best solution to speed economic progress and still protect native customary land has been made by the Government. Legislation has been proposed to provide for a single register of titles, a system of deciding customary ownership in specially selected areas, control of local bodies over dealings in converted land and registration of customary groups of land owners.
Whilst I was in Rabaul 1 met 2 of the leaders of the Mataungans, Mr Oscar Tammur, the member for Kokopo in the House of Assembly, and Mr John Kaputin Oscar Tammur refused to meet the honourable member for North Sydney, the honourable member for Evans and me but a friend did drive me out to his village. At first he agreed to meet me half way between the car and his home and eventually, as it rained, we moved into the car. I asked him why he had this resentment towards Australia. Apart from the multiracial council and the land problem, his complaints were like those of any other politician. He blamed Australia for the poor water supply in Rabaul and the poor roads. He demanded a new and enlarged airport and so on. If ever I needed convincing that New Guinea should have early internal self-government I was convinced by that conversation. It is obvious that with self-government Mr Tammur would no longer be able to blame the Australians. He would then have to front up to his fellow countrymen in the House of Assembly and state his case.
John Kaputin, the other Mataungan leader, comes from a respected Tolai family and received bis secondary education in Australia. He speaks perfect English and is an emotional and fiery speaker. He is a man who could become a future leader of his country. I have met him on a number of occasions and have had long discussions with him. He has visited my home in Melbourne and I think I can regard him as a friend. He is a person who could do a great deal of good for the people of New Guinea or he could do a great deal of harm. I have said this to him. I suggested he should stand for election to the House of Assembly in 1972 because I believe, rightly directed within the democratic process, his talents could prove a valuable contribution to his country.
Unfortunately, attempts have been made already by members of the far left from both the University of Papua and New Guinea and Australia to influence him and use his talents for their own purposes. We saw recently how the organisers of the socalled Moratorium Campaign paid his fare to Australia and endeavoured to depict him as some sort of Black Power leader. I hope he is strong enough and intelligent enough not to allow himself to be used by these people. If he does fall under their control I believe it will be New Guinea’s loss. The birth of the new independent nation of New Guinea will not be an easy one. There are many problems to be solved. They will not be solved by the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition during his visit to New Guinea earlier this year. I regret that the Opposition has decidedtoplaypoliticalfootballonthe question of New Guinea. There are no votes to be gained here in Australia for such a policy but there are much graver issues at stake. The decisions we make today will undoubtedly affect for good or for bad the whole future relationship of our 2 countries.
– The task which has faced Australia in the development of Papua and New Guinea has not been an easy one. It is a very diverse country with extreme difficulties in communications, transport and language. Its people have known many rulers the German administration up to 1914, the Australian military administration between 1914 and 1921, the Australian civil administration from 1921 until the Japanese invasion in the 1940s, Japanese control until the surrender of Japan in 1945 and Australian administration from 1945 to the present time. The situation is further complicated by the fact that whilst the Territory of Papua is administered by the Commonwealth of Australia in its own right, the Territory of New Guinea is administered under a trusteeship agreement approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. However, the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949 provided for the government of both Territories in an administrative union with the title of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
This Government has stated that it has 3 basic economic objectives in its administration of Papua and New Guinea. They are, firstly, to accelerate progress towards economic self-reliance; secondly, to accelerate indigenous involvement, that is, involvement by local or native people, in employment, management and ownership; and thirdly, to raise the standards of welfare of the local people. They are very worthy objectives. I would like to analyse critically the performance of these objectives in an unbiased manner. I recently heard an address given by Reverend Arthur Preston of Wesley Church, Melbourne, at a meeting of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship Association. He made this very true statement:
Every system is to be judged by how it serves people.
As regards Papua and New Guinea, the system and the performance of the system should be judged by how it serves the indigenouspeople,thelocal people; the native people; whichever name you chose to call them. In June this year I visited Papua and New Guinea with the purpose of seeing conditions as they actually were. I saw many good things and many bad things. I would like to make it clear that Australia’s main objective should be to bring about independence for the Territory as early as possible. This can be done only when a core of skilled people is created for the needs of nationhood. Education is the key to independence. Much still remains to be done in this field. Finance is in very short supply but in the schools which I visited the lack of finance was partially offset by the extreme dedication of the teaching staff. As an instance of this I would like to quote my experiences at the Bugandi High School at Lae. By Australian standards it would be classified as a technical high school where most trades are taught up to 4th Form level. Most of the pupils are boarders who live in reasonable conditions. The pupils come from all parts of the Territory. This school is fortunate to have a dedicated headmaster and teaching staff. The school day starts at 7.30 a.m. and goes through into the night with evening lessons.
The tireless headmaster and the teaching staff, almost on their own, have in 10 years built up this school, by extracurricula agricultural activities, to the stage where it could be more properly described as an agricultural high schol. The considerable profits made by these agricultural ventures are voluntarily used in making improvements to the school. In addition, the pupils are trained in agricultural methods. This story of dedication could be told about every school which I visited and I am proud to say that nearly every teacher was a fellow Australian. The Territory has a fine university, as yet only in its infancy. The first graduates came out this year but they only numbered 10. I was informed that the Government target of graduates is 200 by 1972 but the ViceChancellor informed me he would be lucky to get that . number by 1980. Medical facilities in the larger towns are reasonable. However, much still needs to be done in the non-paying or native sections of the hospitals, particularly at Port Moresby. In these hospitals also there is a degree of dedication by the medical staff, both native and European, which has to be seen to be believed.
Possibly the greatest criticism that one can make is against the inequalities in the wage structure. There is in existence a system of indentured native labour which is similar in many respects to the slave labour system which applied in the United States of America in the worst days prior to the American Civil War. This system applies particularly to plantation workers.
The practice is to recruit native labourers in their villages - they are commonly called bush kanakas’ - and to bring them down, a couple of hundred at a time, to work on the plantations. The Department of Labour ordinances prescribe a princely sum for their work. The prescribed minimum wage payable to these plantation workers is $52 a year in the first year of employment, $58.50 a year in the second year and $65 a year in the third and subsequent years of continuous employment with the same employer. In addition they are fed and housed in a somewhat primitive fashion. Is it any wonder that the Speaker of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly, Mr John Guise, made the charge that Papuans and New Guineans were being exploited as cheap labour?
I beg to differ with the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) who stated on 7th January 1970 that:
Wages in Papua and New Guinea had to be based on local conditions and the country’s current stage of economic development.
In the eyes of the local people it is sheer exploitation. Industry in New Guinea can afford to pay more. A cursory look at its profits will show this. If these people are exploited now, I shudder to think what will happen to the Europeans when independence is granted. The lesson should be: Wake up before it is too late. The educated and partly educated local native people are treated a little better, but there is too great a difference between the salaries paid to the local native officers and to the overseas recruited Europeans, who are mainly Australians.
I quote some examples. A local native patrol officer receives a minimum of $1,070 per annum. In comparison, the overseas officer receives a minimum of $4,991 per annum. An artisan on completion of his apprenticeship, if he is a local native officer, receives a minimum of $1,070 per annum whereas an overseas officer receives a minimum of $3,660 per annum. A local native medical technologist who is fully trained receives a minimum of $1,290 per annum while an overseas officer receives a minimum of $4,550 per annum. In addition to this, married male overseas officers are paid an allowance at the rate of $360 per annum which the local native officer does not receive.
This pattern is followed throughout the whole of the New Guinea Public Service. I again quote John Guise, the Speaker of the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly, as reported in the ‘Canberra Times’ of 23rd April 1970. He said:
It is only human nature for the Papuan and New Guinean people to want the same things, particularly when you are on the basic wage which is approximately $7 per week.
There are grave discriminations in the Navy rates of pay. We must remember that the New Guineans and the Europeans serve on the same ships. First year apprentices in the Royal Australian Navy, if they are Europeans, receive $12.04 a week and Papuans and New Guineans receive $3.22 a week. A leading cook in the Royal Australian Navy receives $8.34 a day and the Papuan or New Guinean receives $2.84 a day. A cook, in the Royal Australian Navy receives $7.56 a day and the Papuan or New Guinean receives $1.24 a day. A fully trained radio operator in the Royal Australian Navy receives $8.84 a day while the Papuan or New Guinean receives $1.24 a day. In addition, Royal Australian Navy personnel receive marriage allowances and other allowances which the local native sailors do not receive, ls it any wonder that there is discontent?
I have spoken of some of the good and bad things that I have found. In the long term view I consider that the problems of Papua and New Guinea should be taken out of the realm of party politics. We are dealing with the future of over 2 million people. We are dealing with their lives. We are playing with fire. Australia’s future defence is closely tied up with having a well ordered, friendly nation on our doorstep. I think the time is ripe for the Government to give consideration to the setting up of a joint select committee from the Government and Opposition parties to consider long term policies for the good of the Territory and for the good nf Australia.
– In the brief time available to me it is impossible to deal with the very great question of New Guinea. I shall make a few brief comments that I think are relevant to the question. I claim to have some knowledge of New Guinea, having served there during the war and having been back on a number of occasions, including 3 visits as a representative of the Government at Anzac Day services. On each of these occasions 1 spent some time in New Guinea and I got to know quite a number of people up there - indigenous and European - in the Administration,, in business, on the plantations and on the missions. Each time I go back to New Guinea I am tremendously impressed with the progress that is being made. Such progress is not easy. Roads are being built in difficult places, airstrips are being built and developments are taking place in housing, social services and all the other amenities that are so necessary for these people.
It is very easy, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has done, to pick out a few things which are not quite as good as we would wish. Money is a great problem. As the previous speaker, the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin), has said, there are many areas with which we are not satisfied. It is quite ridiculous to compare, as he did, the different standards of wages and conditions. First of all, that country has not the money to pay the same salaries to the indigenous people as it pays to the expatriates. The standard of living is very much lower. Anybody who has spent much time up there knows that the efficiency of these people just does not match the efficiency of the expatriates. In time no doubt it will. It has been said by many people who have lived there for many years and who know the native population that you can train and educate these people but you cannot give them background and you cannot give them responsibility. They must have experience before they gain these things. That is one of the great problems that face us.
It is interesting to read the report of the United Nations on previous visits and then the report on the latest visit. All honourable members know the very different trend, the very different atmosphere and the very different story of the various meetings that the United Nations mission held with the native people throughout New Guinea, in the highlands, down on the coastal areas and over on the Gazelle Peninsula. They have expressed their appreciation and admiration for the tremendous work that has been done. Most of the indigenous people who were questioned at these meetings said that they are far from ready for independence. Many of them have expressed the desire for some form of growing home rule, but they emphasise over and over again on every occasion that first of all they require education. They require fitting to carry on the tasks that will be theirs in this new, developing nation. They need education not only in the academic field but in the manual skills. Perhaps this is where we have the greatest job to do.
One thing that really shocked me when I went up to New Guinea last Anzac Day was the bitter criticism of the statement of the Leader of the Opposition. I expected that criticism when I went up, knowing New Guinea and knowing the uninformed and irresponsible statements that the Leader of the Opposition makes. I knew that he had made these dictatorial statements before he went there. He did not go there to learn and to understand the problems but he went there to try to gain some political kudos. I heard criticism here at home too, but it was not so severe or universal as that which I heard in the Territory. This criticism came from many, many areas within the community, lt came nol only from indigenous members of the Administration but from the missions, the business people and almost every section of the community - and it was volunteered. This blatant attempt - it could not have been anything else - by the Leader of the Opposition to gain political advantage at home backfired both here and in New Guinea. But the great tragedy is that it has done a lot of damage in New Guinea. It has destroyed a lot of confidence not only in the native people but in the Administration.
– What tripe.
– The honourable member has not been to New Guinea and would not know. Many other people also have not been there. The actions of the Leader of the Opposition were condemned by many able people as a blatant attempt to stir up trouble between the Administration and the people of New Guinea for the sole purpose of upsetting and embarrassing this Government. His support of the Mataungan extremists drew the most bitter criticism of all. The Mataungans are considered in many areas as a group of irresponsible law breakers who have a vested interest in breaking the law.
There are many educated and cultured people in New Guinea. 1 have met very able educationists. There are some people in the Department of Law who are very able indeed. But the cultured and educated people are in the great minority. They are most emphatic that the Territory has a long way to go before it will be ready for self government. The Territory has a great need to build up an export earning capacity. It also has a need for better education. Much has been done in the field of education. Those of us who have seen the teachers college at Goroka know just how excellent a job is being done in this field by the Administration and the Australian Government. I would say that the teachers college in Goroka, for its size - it is quite a large one - is equal to anything here in Australia in its building, setting, equipment, staffing and administration. It is expanding year by year and turning out trained and able young people who will do a tremendous job.
But perhaps there is an even greater need in New Guinea for people who have not necessarily been trained in the academic field. Far too many of those ‘being turned out by the high schools find that no jobs are available. There are not a great many jobs for white collar workers outside the government departments, but there is a great need for skilled artisans, technicians and tradesmen. I think that perhaps in this field there is even more to be done. There is a need for engineers, mechanics, plant operators, carpenters and bricklayers. The local people do these jobs particularly well. They seem to be peculiarly fitted to do skilled work with their hands.
There has been tremendous development in the agricultural field. Tea, a comparatively new crop, has been tremendously successful in the Highlands. The local farmers are being educated and assisted by the expatriates who have land up there and by some who are not expatriates but are second generation Australians in the Territory. These people have helped the indigenous people surrounding them in their attempts to farm better and to raise their! standards of living. Coffee, of course, has been the backbone of the rural industries^ particularly in the Highlands. We find large cattle ventures up there. While I was! up there one indigenous cattleman informed me that he bad received a $30,000 grant from the New Guinea Development Bank to develop his enterprise.
A tremendous lot of work is being done and there is a tremendous number of successful indigenous people. In the Highlands particularly one can see more new trucks and utilities, principally Japanese, being driven by native people than one can see driven in some of our areas down here. I found in most areas a particularly good feeling between the Europeans who have been there for some time and who consider themselves Territorians and the native people. This is quite contrary to what our Press would very often like us to believe. I think of the tremendous help that has been given by these people who have made the Territory their home. 1 think of the families like the Leahy and Collins families who went up there many years ago. I think also of Bill Driver, with whom 1 stayed at Milne Bay, where T served during the war.
Many of these people have started new enterprises, coffee and tea plantations, coffee and tea factories, cocoa ventures, cattle ventures, pig ventures and trading centres. They have taken into their businesses a great many indigenous people as partners. They have indigenous people running many of their stores and they have a tremendous respect and regard for these people. I have been in the homes of these people and I have seen them welcome into their homes over and over again an educated indigenous person as a complete equal. One of them said to me: ‘You would not ask a hobo into your home. You do not expect us to bring the savage into our drawing room.’ But they bring into their homes those natives who have been educated and are cultured. Many indigenous people have 2 and sometimes 3 generations of education behind them.
This is the picture that is seldom painted for Australians because seldom have sufficient numbers of our own people gone up there and taken an interest. Far too often those who have gone up there have criticised and condemned before they have even looked at the place. I am very pleased to see that Australians generally today are showing a much greater interest in New Guinea than ever before, because we as a nation have a tremendous responsibility to develop New Guinea and to bring its people along the road to a better way of life. A fact of which every Australian should be extremely conscious is that what we do in New Guinea is being watched by every Asian, and it is tremendously important that we do the right thing and do not cause trouble between the Administration and the people or between the Government and the people. Asia will judge us very largely on our actions and our success or failure in New Guinea.
There are very many different ethnic groups in New Guinea. It is not a nation yet. We are hoping that some day, with our guidance, it will move further along the road towards nationhood. The people in the Highlands are very different to the people on the coast. The people in the Highlands are hard working people who have not long been under the influence of civilisation but who in many cases are much better off financially than those on the coast. These are conservative people - mostly farmers who have developed the land and who have a stake in the country, in Rabaul and the Gazelle Peninsula we find the Tolai people, who have been pretty progressive and who have been in contact with European civilisation for many generations. They are successful farmers, business men and traders. These people are generally much better off than those on the mainland. But they have problems because they are paying heavy taxes and are not very happy about paying taxes for the development of people on the mainland, for whom they do not have a great deal of sympathy. On Bougainville all the people expect to become millionaires and they do not want to contribute some of their wealth. Is that not so human? lt happens down here. These are the problems we face in the Territory.
As I said before, the Territory does not earn very much export income, and this is a great problem. Many an educated and sophisticated native has asked me where the Territory would get iiic money if ii received independence tomorrow. They ask where it will get the $100m and more that Australia pours into the Territory each year. The great majority of the indigenous people are emphatic in their statements that they are not ready for self government. They would like some form of home rule with the assistance and guidance of the Australian Administration. There is a small section of militants, aided, abetted aud encouraged by a few left wing people from down here and up there, who are trying to force self government before its time. One of the saddest spectacles we have seen lately was the bringing of John Kaputin down here to be exploited by an extremist group. Those who saw him questioned on television must have felt extremely embarrassed and extremely ashamed of Australians who would take advantage of such a man and put him in that position where he showed how difficult it was for him to accept our standards and to know what he was really talking about. 1 can think of no more despicable or disloyal action than to exploit a principally primitive unsophisticated native people for purely politically ends, ignoring facts and not even caring what happens to them and their future. I say, as one of our leading administrators up there said, that we have brought these people a long way along the road towards a better way of life. It could all be destroyed overnight by irresponsible statements such as the statements that have been made by the Leader of the Opposition and other left wing people who have gone up there. We could have another Biafra overnight. These are the words of the people who have lived up there all their lives and served these people. I say that we have a tremendous responsibility. It behoves every loyal Australian to look closely at New Guinea to see what is happening there and to see that we do the right thing by the people of New Guinea because our future is dependent upon what we do now.
– My submission in this debate on the estimates for the Department of External Territories will be confined to Papua and New Guinea. My comments will be praiseworthy in some respects and critical in others. The honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) has deep interests in New Guinea from a political education point of view. It is true that the honourable member met people when he was in New Guinea last Anzac Day, as I was, who praised the administration. But many of the Europeans up there are very diplomatic; they would have known that the honourable member is a supporter of the Government. They would not have wanted to hurt his feelings by being critical of the Government, knowing that he was a supporter of the government that administers Papua and New Guinea.
Firstly 1 want to thank the Minister for External Territories (Mr Barnes) for the great courtesy he has shown - this is the praiseworthy side of my comments - and his officers for the courtesy extended to me whilst in New Guinea last Anzac Day. In particular I want to thank District Commissioner Hicks and his Assistant District Commissioner at Wewak. These officers went out of their way to see that every courtesy was extended to me. I mention these officers in particular because most of my time was spent at Wewak. I thought they were very good officers and I was able to gauge the esteem in which they are held in the town. I also want to thank Chief Police Inspector Ron Rae, whom I knew in Sydney years ago, and the customs officer at Wewak. These officers seem to be highly regarded in Wewak by all sections of the community. From Wewak I went across to Rabaul where I heard differing opinions about the statements of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) in connection with the Mataungans. Those people who found out that I was a Labor man seemed to hold the view that the Mataungans had an argument which was not without merit. Probably if I said I was a member of the Government parties they might not have expressed such a view.
The people who expressed an opinion in favour of the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition seemed to be from the educated section of the indigenous people who had learnt about the exploitation of other countries by great vested interests. They are learning more about this. John Kaputin’s name was mentioned tonight by the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman). It might be true that certain socialistic minded people in Australia have taken Kaputin under their wing and are educating him. No-one can deny the shocking exploitation by big businesses, in particular Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd. I think the Leader of the Opposition hit the nail on the head tonight when he said that we are paying for the sins of the colonisers of New Guinea in the years gone by. I know that there are some very wealthy European people in New Guinea and they have gained their wealth out of exploitation of the indigenous people. One can use all the semantics in the world but there is no way of getting around it.
I have been to a coffee plantation in
New Guinea and I have seen the indigenous people - man, wife and little child - at work shelling coffee beans. They work 7 days a week. The plantation owner was so ready to tell us that the indigenous people did not have to work on that day. He said that they had volunteered to come in because it happened to be a Sunday. That would not be right. What he said was an insult to my intelligence. I did not like to offend the plantation owner at the time so 1 said nothing to him. But he emphasised that they did not have to work on this day; that they had volunteered. We know that the big white man boss would threaten them; otherwise they would not have been working flat out at the plantation at the time I was there.
Another thing that irritates me and, 1 believe, with all his decency it must irritate the Minister for External Territories, is the use in New Guinea of the word ‘master’. This is something that began years ago. The word is not heard in the British Solomons where I went after 1 left New Guinea. But in New Guinea one can hear the phrase: ‘Yes, master.’
– Your Leader calls himself a leader.
– Yes, but it is different to master’. To the ears of an Australian the use of the word ‘master’ conveys the impression of a downtrodden person talking to someone who has trodden him into the ground. This would be what the average Australian would think. Able Seaman Killen would hate to have to refer to anyone in this way. I venture to say that when he was jackarooing in Queensland many years ago, never expecting to some into this Parliament and be become the Minister for the Navy, he never reduced himself to the level where he had to say to big man grazier: ‘Yes master, what do I do next’. No-one would have resented this more than the Minister for the Navy.
We are all interested in New Guinea. The Australian people are becoming more interested in New Guinea and we all want to see this country obtain self government as soon as possible. There are different opinions between the Government and the Labor Party on this question. To my mind there will be a period of chaos no matter when New Guinea gets self government. There will be a period when newspapers and groups of people will say: ‘There you are, this is the fault of giving them self government’. But to my mind this will be like a newly born child: If you do not allow it to toddle it will never learn to walk and if you do not teach it to walk it will never be able to run. i believe it was incorrect of the Government to allow CRA to go into New Guinea and to develop its copper interests when that country is on the fringe of self government. The people of New Guinea should have been allowed to make this decision for themselves. CRA has one objective in view, and it is not to improve the lot of the New Guinea people unless it is compelled to do so.
J was reared on the northern coalfields of New South Wales. The coal owners have done nothing for mine workers except what they were compelled to do by legislation. 1 remember when Mr Jack Baddeley, who was a Deputy Premier of New South Wales, had to impose a levy on coal when he was Minister of Mines and compel the coal owners to put baths at all the coal mines so that a miner would not have to take home the filth from the mine. Under this awful capitalist system, which is dying a very tragic death, companies have to produce the highest possible profit for their shareholders. When they cannot achieve this the shareholders get rid of the directors. Therefore, it is incumbent on the directors to exploit those who help to make this great profit, because the shareholders come first.
I want lu refer to another matter iiia L concerns me about New Guinea that has not been referred to by speakers in this debate. This is the frightful hotel charges that one has to pay in New Guinea. They are higher than the charges of any hotel in Australia. Tt costs around $16 or $17 a night for bed and breakfast and I understand the chief reason for this is the one I just mentioned in regard to CRA. Investors in hotels in New Guinea look for a 20 per cent return on their investment. This is something the Government could well have corrected by setting up Commonwealth hostels and breaking this monopoly. The Government is always a champion of free enterprise and competition and this is a perfect opportunity for it to further this idea particularly up in the Highlands at Goroka and Mount Hagen.
– Like the Hotel Kurrajong.
– Yes, a place like the Hotel Kurrajong up there under part Commonwealth control would compel the sharks, as I call them, in the hotel industry to reduce their exorbitant hotel charges. They are getting cheap labour up there. The hotels have a staff-boarder ratio that is better than any hotel in Australia has and so should be able to charge cheaper rates than they do. One would not mind paying the exorbitant charges if one knew the indigenous people were being paid a reasonable wage. Whilst the honourable member for Hume (Mr Pettitt) made an interesting contribution to this debate tonight he kept away from any reference at all to the speech made previously by the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin) who disclosed the shocking discrepancy between the wages paid to indigenes and Europeans in New Guinea. One would not expect - this is my own personal view - the indigenous people to get exactly the same wage as a skilled European worker, but the discrepancy between the two, as pointed out by the honourable member for Banks tonight, would make any decent thinking Australian shudder.
The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) spoke at length tonight on the legal system in Papua and New Guinea and he made reference to the Office of the Public Solicitor. I want to comment on that and say that for the greater part of a day at Goroka I attended the trial of an indigenous woman for murder. She was defended by the Public Solicitor and I thought that the Public Solicitor put forward a case for this unfortunate lady as skilled as any trained criminal lawyer in Australia would put forward provided he did not resort to the villainy that some Australian criminal lawyers resort to.
– -As good as Jim Killen?
– Yes, but conscience makes cowards of us all and it is pricking the conscience of the Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) who is interjecting because he knows some of the villainy that he has probably resorted to in the courts. Since he took up criminal law the Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane is full to capacity.
– With his clients.
– Many of his clients are in there.
– I suggest that if the honourable member for Hunter aud the Minister for the Navy want to talk about the prison situation in Queensland they go outside the Committee to do it.
– I thought that this unfortunate lady would probably be convicted and I said to the Crown Prosecutor: ‘What will she get if she is convicted?’ He said: What do you think would be appropriate?’ I said that I thought she would get 12 months or 2 years. She killed a man for indecently assaulting her 8-year old daughter so sometimes we have a higher standard of morals shown by the indigenous people up there than we have on the mainland.
– What did she get?
– She got 12 months gaol. She tried to part his hair with an axe. I thought she was very well defended. I would like to see the Office of the Public Solicitor up there expanded so that the indigenous people can make greater use of it because they will need it as the years go by. That is all T want to say in this debate. I hope that the transition period after self-government in New Guinea does not create the chaos that I think it unfortunately will. But it has to come and the sooner they get independence the better.
– As the Committee knows I do not have a fragile collection of feelings but I did feel mildly outraged by the observations of the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) concerning the legal profession and in particular those members of it who practise at the criminal Bar. II am sure that the honourable member with a little effort will be able to recall those halcyon days when, for some heavily disguised reason, he was a detective,sergeant in the New South Wales Police Force. I am sure that the honourable member-
-I rise to order. To which section of the estimates of the Department of External Territories is the Minister for the Navy addressing himself?
– I would remind the Minister for the Navy that the estimates we are discussing relate to the Department of External Territories.
– Yes, I am dealing with the Office of the Public Solicitor in New Guinea. A reference was made to it by the honourable member for Hunter.
– Under what section-
– Do not be so tendentious.
– In regard to the point of order raised by the honourable member for Wills the Minister for the Navy has said that he is dealing with the Office of the Public Solicitor within the Department of External Territories. I suggest that the Minister for the Navy continue his remarks.
– Try to become a little more placid. I just want-
– I rise to order. It seems to me that the Minister for the Navy, who is an upholder of law and order in this country, rather than discussing the Territory of Papua and New Guinea is about to cast a slur on the New South Wales Police Force.
– The honourable member for Oxley will resume his seat. There is no valid point of order. I remind the honourable member for Oxley that he should not take points of order that are not relevant to this particular discussion.
Committee that what the honourable member said about the Office of the Public Solicitor in New Guinea is completely without foundation.
– I praised it.
– Praised it, but praised it on the basis of saying that it did not resort to the same degree of villainy as did those who practise elsewhere. I would have thought that that was very much a trammelled form of praise, but then, of course, the honourable member for Hunter must have some most peculiar views as to what constitutes praise. I would hope that the honourable member would find-
– Stop dissembling.
– Oh, really! The police at long last have joined forces, the sergeant and the constable. I am sure that on reflection the honourable member for Hunter would take the view that what he said was not merely without foundation but completely unfair to a very distinguished body of people in this country.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member for Hunter claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. I thought I praised the Office of the Public Solicitor in New Guinea. If I did not make it clear I make it clear now that I was very proud of the way in which the Public Solicitor defended this woman in Goroka who was charged with murder and I sat in the court for most of the day. I did not criticise the Office of the Public Solicitor-
– Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Hunter has explained his position.
– The Minister for the Navy (Mr Killen) was unusually at sea tonight.
– However, I think he was at cross purposes with my friend the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James). Usually, honourable members will recall, there was in the past a great communion betweentheconstabularyandtheBarto the great disadvantage of the citizenry. I want to place a few points before the Committee concerning the position in Papua and New Guinea as I see it. Firstly, there is the isolation of this particular area of Australian government from this Parliament. This is no real reflection upon the current incumbent of the Ministry, but it has been one of the bad habits of more than the last 20 years. Here we have a large depart- ment of State, one responsible for administering 2.5 million people in an area which is about twice the size of Victoria and with probably some of the world’s greatest social problems. Yet it is the preserve of one department of State. I have always felt that this was an error and that some other system should have been established by which this Parliament would be able to keep it under continuous scrutiny. Unfortunately many members of the Parliament have very little local knowledge of that country at all. lt is a serious inhibition on our continuous scrutiny of that area that we are able to travel to it freely only once every Parliament. Something should be done about this. I believe it should be almost compulsory for every member of this Parliament to visit the Territory as often as possible and at least once every Parliament. in a debate about the trusteeship Territory there are some things which are noteworthy achievements for Australia. First of all in an area twice the size of Victoria - J think it is about the size of New Zealand - Australia has established reasonable peace and good order, even in the most remote vastness of it. One has only to travel to other parts of the world to realise how great and efficient have been some of the efforts that we have made in Papua and New Guinea which is one of the world’s most mountainous countries. It probably has some of the greatest divisions between people, in language and everything that one can think of, anywhere in the world and yet we have managed to bring the essence of government - I suppose we could call it that - to almost every part of the Territory. This is an achievement of no mean order when we think how serious are the errors and deficiencies in many of its near neighbours.
Secondly, there has been the beginnings of a total education system. In other words, there has been an effort in the past to establish a universal education system. I regret that one of the recommendations of the World Bank report on the development of Papua and New Guinea was that this be slowed down. At the time I opposed this recommendation. I believe that in future people will see that this was a serious error even to have considered it at all but, on the other hand, a very large number of people in Papua and New Guinea, in areas -of great geographical difficulty, have begun to receive an education system. Thirdly, I suppose - and of this, I think, we should have made much more - there are the beginnings of political democracy. I have always regarded our steps in this area as slow moving and unduly conservative and cautious but, in fact, considering the way in which the rest of the world moves, we ought to move in this matter with far less inhibitions. I believe that we have done ourselves a serious disservice whenever people have come to Australia and have wanted to visit New Guinea. No matter whence they came they have been prevented from travelling there.
There are some areas in which Australia has made steps of which we can be reasonably proud but, on the other hand, there have been failures which were quite unnecessary and which will be quite serious in the future. The first is in the area, of higher education. We are not going to be able to produce a Papua and New Guinea with full social self-confidence and selfreliance, able to handle the problems of a modern nation, unless there is a large number of university graduates or people with some sort of higher education. One has only to look at the population of Queensland, which is of the same order as the population of the Territory, and see how many people it takes to run its Public Service, how many graduates it takes to staff the education system and all other areas, to see how meagre has been our effort in this regard in the Territory. Some years back in West Irian, for instance, there were many more people graduating through its higher education systems than we had, although our population was much higher. If there is anything that will strangle the future development of Papua and New Guinea it has been our failure to develop higher education at greater speed. I congratulate the young people who have now ventured forth as the first graduates - I think there are half a dozen or 8. There are another 50 or 60 to come and in 12 to 18 months there will be a further 200 or 300. I only wish it were thousands. This is a difficulty we cannot overcome very easily but it is something that is going to prevent a self-reliant, self-confident, self-administering Papua and New Guinea from developing in the way we would like it to develop.
On the other hand I believe that we have been unduly cautious and conservative in our approach to economic development. The economic development of Papua and New Guinea is meagre to the point of nonexistence. How many industries are there in Papua and New Guinea? Why is it that we have not been able to develop light industry, for instance, there? How large is the import of shoes, clothes and processed foods which could have been manufactured there? Certainly in the light industry field such things as clothes and shoes I can think of no reason why we should not have developed production in Papua and New Guinea. Of course we have a private enterprise government which believes that this is no area for government enterprise. I believe that that simple piece of doctrine will be one of the strangling influences on the future of Papua and New Guinea. Even if it cost something, this Government should have established industries at this level throughout the Territory. I have always regarded it as a serious social error to have permitted the development of industries like breweries.
What: about the commercial development of the country? I understand that its banking system is integrated with our own. In some ways there is something to be said for the integration of some of the facilities in Papua and New Guinea with our own facilities but it is time that the people of Papua and New Guinea had some kind of internal banking system of a more sophisticated nature than they have at the moment. The same would apply to all the other areas of service industries. There is no reason why this should not get off the ground at this time. I remember that when the State Savings Bank of Victoria was launched back in 1884 the population of Victoria was only in the tens of thousands. In many respects we have been so inhibited about the development of government enterprise in Papua and New Guinea that we will slow down the whole future of that country. This is, in some ways, probably the most serious failure and most serious deficiency.
The third area in which we have failed to be as outwardgoing as we should have been has been in the development of the higher echelons of the Public Service in the Territory. The Government has been in office for 21 years. How long does it take to develop a person to the stage where he is able to control a public department? Why is it that 10,15 or 20 years ago we did not set out a programme providing that by a certain time say 1970 we would have 500, 600 or 1,000 people to staff the upper echelons of the Public Service? Offhand I do not know how many indigenous people we have in what might be called the ‘top bracket’ and ‘policy making areas’ of the Public Service of Papua and New Guinea. I think the number is one or two, if any at all. There is no excuse for this. I believe that in many respects we have adopted what might be called an ‘attitude of unconscious racial superiority’. We should have foreseen long ago that Papua and New Guinea would have this requirement.
There is the serious deficiency of insufficient cash in the community. I think this is part of the economic conservatism of the present Government. It is 12 months or so since I visited the Territory but it seemed obvious to me that no Papuan or New Guinea would be able to have the kind of living standard which we had reason to expect in a modern community. A person in Papua and New Guinea who has been to school and is now working in the Public Service, for TransAustralian Airlines or for Ansett Airlines of Australia, is living beside people who have a living standard such as we have, and he wants transistors and butter on his bread. He wants shoes for his children and a bedroom for each member of his family. We have failed to accept the fact that this is an important social factor. I believe that the social consequences of the decision to keep wages at a low level are much more serious than the economic consequences of perhaps inflating the system inside that country. It wasoneofthedecisionswhich,ibelieve again will cause serious disabilities for that country in the future.
Another area in which we have failed is in the development of a road system. It is true that the country is formidable. There are few parts of the world where the geography is so intimidating when it comes to the question of road development. I do not see how a national concept can be developed unless some kind of land surface transport system which brings people together is available. It would cost a very large amount of money to put a road system through the Territory which would bring the people together. Now. of course, the Government will say that this suggestion is ridiculous; it cannot be done because the mountains are too high, the jungles are too dense and economic development is at too low a level. These arguments are, I believe, nonsense. Roads have been the way in which nations in the past have knitted together for centuries. Our failure in this regard I think will have a serious effect on the future. These are the Government’s failures.
On the other hand, Australia has made some major errors. I. believe that the differential wage scales which have been the subject of debate in the Territory for a long time, and which are still a subject for debate there, are one of the most serious social errors that we have ever perpetrated. People cannot work beside one another doing the same job and not receiving the same pay without feeling great resentment about the situation. My honourable friend from Hunter pointed out that hotels in Papua and New Guinea charged just as much as Australian hotels charge. In fact, they charge even more. Yet, hotels in the Territory pay indigenous workers very minor salary scales, perhaps $5 to $6 per month, to do the sort of job for which people in Australia receive $40 to $50 per week. I believe that this is again a social error that we have perpetrated. My own beliefs are that these social questions are much more important than economic conditions. We see here a community which is developing very closely beside one of the world’s most wealthy and egalitarian societies. Many of the mores of this community and the attitudes of mind that we have have seeped through into Papua and New Guinea. If great unrest occurs in the future, a great deal of it will flow from the social insensitivity of the Administration over recent times.
Another matter that I question is the development by Conzinc Riotinto of Australia. It is true that this development may produce some kind of great overseas credit advantage for the community in the time to come. I have my doubts about that. 1 have never seen figures which have convinced me that in fact these profits will flow back to the community itself. I still cannot understand why the Government did not establish some kind of national corporation with which to tackle this task. Honourable members opposite cannot tell me that the $200m that might be involved in the long term for this project is beyond our resources. If it- is within the resources of Australian enterprise, k is inside the resources of our community. My own regret is that probably a very large corporation will develop there which a future developing independent community will find very difficult to handle.
There are other areas which, I believe, we should have tackled. One of them is that social discrimination, which ought never to have been tolerated and which we ought to have tackled with great vigour at its very beginnings, developed in some areas. I wish to make a few points about the education system. I suppose that the best we can do is hope that we are able to give the country the greatest possible educational support. As I remarked earlier, the difficulties of the country in some ways, as far as we are concerned, stem from its isolation from us and our difficulty to see and to understand its problems. In a way, we are developing there an education system in isolation. Our own education system in Australia needs, J suppose, one would say, a complete revamping. I am not too sure that in Papua and New Guinea developments are going the way they ought to.
One of the most important things for us to consider is our future relationships with that country. 1 would hope that, as it develops towards independence - and I believe that the parliamentary system is the way in which it will develop its independence - we will recognise that every time it makes a law which is not vetoed at a higher level, this is an exercise of selfgovernment, and that is the way it ought to go. 1 do not think that there is any ready formula. Self-government can develop only by the evolution of the people themselves and the grasp of the parliamentary system over their growing society. I hope that this Parliament very shortly will examine the kind of relationships that we ought to have with the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. I would hope that we will be able to develop all kinds of very close co-operative systems in travel, perhaps mutual commercial enterprises and so on. It is time that we got on with the job. I hope that, no matter what the future bears, this Parliament will take some concrete steps towards closer examination and analysis of where we stand and where the people of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea stand in all these matters.
– Mr Chairman, unfortunately, I have 5 minutes only in which to answer the various questions which have been raised during the discussion of the estimates of the Department of External Territories. Obviously I cannot answer all questions raised. I am grateful to honourable members on this side of the House who, I believe, have covered the situation very well. Unfortunately, a lot of misrepresentation about Papua and New Guinea occurs. I regret that the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) has given one side of the picture only, just as his Leader- that, is, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) - did. The honourable member seems to follow in the steps of his Leader and I suppose this is the proper performance from a follower.
In the few minutes left to me, I wish to comment on the remarks of the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) who has moved an amendment of protest at the Public Order Bill which is concerned with law and order. That Bill was introduced into and passed by the House of Assembly in the Territory. I state at the outset that the people of Papua and New Guinea are very conscious of the meaning of law and order and what law and order has meant to their existence in the Territory. It was only a few years ago - this still happens in some areas - when ten iiic massacres occurred. Tribal group fought tribal group, one clan against another. Out of the blue, whole villages were massacred. This was the practice all over the Territory just a few years ago. That such events occur infrequently now demonstrates the most magnificent effort of the Australian patrol officers who have gone out among these primitive savage people. Generally speaking, there is probably one Australian patrol officer, a group of carriers and a few native policemen to a party.
These people have brought over 2 million in the whole of the Territory under a reasonable control of law and order. There is nothing to equal this achievement in the world. Practically no loss of life occurred in the process. This is a demonstration of justice and fairness. These officers have been able to show the people that, by accepting Government rule and Government law, they can be safe. The people of the Territory are concerned about their existence and their freedom from massacre or murder and those frightful blow-ups which used to occur and still do occur in some remote areas today. They are very conscious of this. They are very concerned also about the tensions in this area. Undoubtedly tensions exist there. We are bringing practically a stone age people into our way of life in just a few years. Psychological tensions are created. There are misunderstandings, probably superstitions and suspicions.
– The Minister has plenty himself. He has not got over them.
– The honourable member will hear the story. I hope he appreciates it. The people of the Territory have these superstitions. They see stirrers coming into their area to make the most of these facts. There are elements in this world particularly in the Western world - Papua and New Guinea is not alone in experiencing them - which are seeking to undermine our way of life, our cultures, and our laws.
– Undermining what you have been exploiting for 100 years.
– I know that the honourable member does not like to hear this but I wish to explain the position. What do we see in every debate on the Territory in the United Nations? We see the Russian delegate making most irrational and irrespon- sible statements on Papua and New Guinea. In essence, he is denigrating our efforts there. He wants to see chaos. Well, is it not the aim of Russia and all those in the Communist area to cause chaos? It is the only way the Communists wi!l catch up with us. Honourable members will recall that, earlier when he was VicePresident of the United States of America, the present President of the United States of
America met in Russia the then head of the Soviet Union-
– What was his name?
– Mr Khrushchev. Discussing economic advancement, Mr Khrushchev said: ‘We will bury you’. What has happened is that Russia has gone down the scale. Nevertheless, its subversive activities have been most successful. We see this today in the United States of America where a few elements have been able to turn a large section of the American people against the war in Vietnam and has reduced their will to fight that war. That subversion has been a great success here.
In the moment left to me, I return to what Mr George Dimitroff, who was once the SecretaryGeneral of the Communist International said. He stated:
As Soviet power grows there will be a great aversion to Communist Parties everywhere.
So, we must practice the technique of withdrawal, never to appear in the foreground, let our friends do the work.
We must always remember that one sympathiser is generally worth more than a dozen militant commands.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Drury) - Orderl The time allotted for consideration of the proposed expenditure has expired.
That the amendment (Mr Enderby’s) be agreed to.
The Committee divided. (The Deputy Chairman - Mr E. N. Drury)
Majority . . . . 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Department of Health
Proposed expenditure $36,328,000.
– For too long the development of public health services in Australia has been shaped and promoted on the auction block of election expediency. Political opportunism, rather than criteria of public need, has determined the course of that development. In consequence public health services are fragmented and lack balance. There is an absence of integrated forward planning just as there is an absence of adequate evaluative processes for assessing the efficiency with which spending in this field is applied or for testing the adequacy of services provided. The result is that gapping and overlapping blight these services and in some areas, such as nurse training and public hospital facilities, a serious erosion of service is evident.
There is a remarkable lack of order, balance and integration in public health services. No private business would conduct its affairs in such a skilful, fitful manner. If it did it would go broke and deservedly so. It is incredible that the shaping, application and development of these services should proceed in this way for in aggregate they represent one of the biggest public expenditure items and one of the greatest users of manpower in the community. In 1968-69 total expenditure on public health services by all public authorities and enterprises was $730m, that is, about 2.6 per cent of the gross national product. Australian public health services are burdened with extensive and somewhat self-defeating imbalances in the supply structure. Thus, in Australia in spite of the proven fact that domiciliary services are cheaper to operate per patient than public hospital beds this area is relatively neglected in the provision of our health services. One does not imply that people needing hospital in-patient care should be denied it, only that where in-patient care is not essential and where the patient prefers domiciliary treatment this should be available in his interests and the interests of responsibly and efficiently using public funds.
The biases in the structure of our health services lead to many unnecessarily costly, and from the point pf view of the public’s best interest, many odd incentives. Thus preventive and long term chronic care services are submerged to acute and crisis care. Again, imbalances arise through the varying facility of access of different areas of the health care industry to the sources of finance. Easily the best example of this is the difference in equipment and starring standards between Repatriation and mental hospitals. Patient utilisation of public health services has been deterred by price penalties. Thus in the last 10 years the increase in maintenance expenditure provided for public hospitals in Australia by the Commonwealth was 41 per cent. The increase in this cost item borne by the patient was 70 per cent. Additionally, the so-called improvements’ by the Government in its health insurance in face make the scheme enormously more costly, involving an average price increase through the common fee concept of about 20 per cent. Of the $54m increased cost, about half goes as increased doctors incomes.
Rather surprisingly, after setting up the Nimmo Committee to inquire into the extensive and deep-seated defectiveness of its health insurance, the Government shunned the Committee’s cautionary advice that contribution rates were already as high as most people are prepared to afford. It promptly did the very thing which would encourage membership withdrawals - it made contributions significantly more expensive, especially for the underinsured. It is quite clear that Labor’s scheme of universal contributory health insurance could not be more expensive than’ the Government’s scheme, no matter how hard we tried. In fact with any given volume of funds our scheme not only uses that finance more efficiently but provides a much wider area of services than does the Government’s. Indeed the’ Government pours money into its health insurance scheme with the abandon of a person who churns his money out of a counterfeiter’s press. It is obvious that by the time of the next general election the Government’s scheme will be so bloated by costliness and its institutionalised inefficiency that it will be totally discredited to the public.
If public health services in this country are to be adequately supplied according to rationally identified criteria of priority need, if public money is to be efficiently used so that service and benefit to the public is maximised, and if structural distortions on the supply side of those services are to be erased and balance established and maintained in the pattern of those services provided and in their expansion, there will have to be a clear Commonwealth commitment. The Commonwealth commitment must not only be through an improved health insurance scheme which gives universal protection but also involves the Commonwealth financially and physically in co-operative action with the States in the planning, provision and evaluation of public health services.
For instance, only the Commonwealth has available the sort of financial resources to avert the gathering crisis in Australia’s public hospital services. To persist in refusing this responsibility will cause an inevitable collapse in important areas of this service. In 1966-67 nearly $6.5m was written off in bad debt by Australian public hospitals and by now the figure would be much higher. Victoria writes off 30 per cent of its public ward fees for this reason. In the meantime, apart from the deterioration in public hospital services, there is not the broadening, quantitative and qualitative uplift of public health services which should be provided for the public. That is, we are not doing what we are capable of, physically and financially, to provide adequate public health services. As the United States National Commission on Community Health Services noted:
We have the knowledge to prevent more disease than we prevent today; we have the knowledge to treat more illness than we treat; we know more about controlling environmental health hazards than are put into practice.
And this is true of Australia. This situation of defective and deficient public health services is unacceptable to the Labor Party. We believe that in a prosperous, advanced society such as ours a comprehensive scheme of public health services should be available to all. Every individual should have access to social, preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative health services. Labor accepts this principle and proposes 2 thrusts to its campaign to establish comprehensive health services for all of the population. Firstly there will be universal contributory health insurance. This insurance will preserve the doctor-patient relationship for consultations. Medical service will be on a fee for service basis. All Labor proposes is an equitable and an adequate method of funding plus an efficient use of those funds, for health insurance purposes.
We assert positively, and a careful analysis of our scheme demonstrates the correctness of our claims, that the role of the personal physician, the family doctor, is essential to its operation. He will be the first point of contact for patients and his decision will establish, as it does now, the course of further treatment. Our scheme also frees doctors of worries about the income potential of an area or any tendency for bad debts - that is, he can concentrate on bis professional practice, free of those worries. Additionally, the cost of public ward treatment in public hospitals will be covered by the scheme and that treatment will be means test free.
Those who elect to use private ward treatment will have credited to their account the equivalent of the public ward bed cost being met by the Commonwealth. Today this credit would be approximately $10 a day compared to only $2 a day under the current scheme of the conservatives. The difference between the private ward daily charge and the Commonwealth allowance can be covered by private insuring with voluntary schemes.
Contributions at H per cent of taxable income work out cheaper for 4 out of 5 taxpayers than is currently the case. Thus under the Government’s scheme a man supporting a wife and 2 children on $50 a week currently pays 3.91 per cent of taxable income for private health insurance, on $75 a week he pays 2.45 per cent of taxable income and when we get into the higher income brackets we find the cost amazingly less onerous. On $130 a week under the Government’s scheme he pays 1.04 per cent of his taxable income. This is in contrast to our proposal of H per cent of taxable income. In fact it has been frequently shown that for comparable insurance cover the actual cost, after taxation deductions are claimed, is less for the higher income earner than for those in the middle and modest wage and salary ranges. That is: Need is penalised, privilege is subsidised. On 1968 incomes and costs a ceiling income of $100 would be struck for total taxable wage and salary income of a single person or married couple. Thus if husband and wife between them earn more than $100 a week taxable income they pay contributions on $100 - that is, 1 .25 per cent of taxable income. Clearly, the rate of contributions under our scheme overwhelmingly favours contributors. Not only that, it gives greater protection and services.
The basis of the scheme is very similar to the one which I recently studied in Sweden where health services, comprehensively available to the public, are superior in every way to those available here. Administration costs there are a little over 6 per cent of contributions. In Australia administrative costs of the health insurance scheme, that is, medical and hospital cover, as a percentage of contributions was nearly 13 per cent in 1967-68, the latest year for which I have been able to obtain details, lt is twice as expensive to operate a fragmented, inadequate system in contrast to the comprehensive one in Sweden. The overall costing of our scheme is, in spite of its superior and more extensive protection to contributors and notwithstanding its being cheaper to most contributors, no more than the Government’s cumbersome, costly and unsatisfactory one before the recent increases. Costing of our scheme in 1968-69 according to the latest figures on which I was able to calculate proceeded as follows: Total benefit payments at $404m. This is $6m below the Minister’s calculation of our scheme. But his calculations are questionable. For instance he bumped up administration costs alone by $4m more than our calculation.
Where he does differ and where in differing he is less than candid in acknowledging the operating cost of his scheme is on the revenue side. A conservative estimate of contribution revenue was $168m. This has been carefully calculated and the Minister’s estimate is errantly understating this figure by $22m. But then he was $13.5m or nearly 100 per cent out on his estimate of his Government’s proposed amendments at. election time so we must anticipate these unfortunate aberrations into fantasy. He neglected to include $50m income for our scheme from levies on third party and workers compensation. The sum for income now reads - contributions at H per cent taxable income, Si 68m; matching Commonwealth grant, $168m; levy on insurers, etc., $50m; total, $386m. Commonwealth contributions would be Si 68m as a matching grant, $3.5m low income subsidy, and $18m to cover the deficit on benefit payments. A total of $189.5m. The scheme of the Conservatives in 1968-69 cost roughly this figure. There was firstly the sum of $126m in actual cash payments and tax concessions on contributions to benefit funds of at least $55m, which the Minister carelessly neglects to include in his calculations, plus a low income subsidy of $8m - a total of $189m. These are 1968-69 figures and are the best I can work on.
In the light of these figures the Minister’s exaggerated costing of our scheme is as ridiculous and as unreliable as his costing of the Government’s election promises on its health insurance scheme proved to be. There is no justification in fact for the Minister’s disingenuous assertions that a scheme such as ours, which does not involve a mandatory deterrent fee, leads to abuse and excessive public costs. In the last session he quoted the cure of Saskatchewan, Canada, claiming excessive costs forced the introduction of such a fee there. When in Canada a few weeks ago 1 checked on this claim with top officials of the Canadian Department of National Health and Welfare. It transpires that all provinces barring Quebec, which is in the process of entering the scheme, participate in the universal health insurance scheme. None, other than Saskatchewan, have introduced a deterrent charge and there was no evidence of abuse of the scheme in any of those provinces or even in Saskatchewan. A change to a conservative government in Saskatchewan led to the introduction of a patient fee solely as a matter of archaic philosophy. Incidentally, on this one score alone that provincial government looks like being defeated next election. So much for the Minister’s flights into fiction.
Labor’s second thrust will involve the setting up of a national hospitals and community health services commission. The commission membership will comprise Federal and State representation and will establish hospital and health services planning procedures. Criteria for priority development of these services and evaluating the effectiveness of their service to the public not only as consumers but as financial investors in these services, will be developed. Evaluation processes arc imperative yet they are neglected. For instance, why does Queensland spend only $9.75 per bed in public hospitals as maintenance expenditure but Victoria spend $16.39? Again why, on a comparative basis, do hospitals in New South Wales admit 25 per cent more patients than Victoria or why are there 9.53 approved hospital beds per thousand population in the Northern Territory but only 4.98 in Victoria. Taken together these two things seem to indicate this could mean a grave under-provision of hospital beds and therefore considerable neglect of the public’s health needs in Victoria. The Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs recommended the need for such planning. Labor will work in co op ° 022 with tits States *n this? respect and will devise practical means to assist the financing of public hospital and community health services developed according to a balanced, integrated plan.
– I have often tried to follow the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) in his gross distortions of the facts in relation to what he claims are the deficiencies in the National Health Scheme as administered by this Government and his attempts to bolster a scheme which the Labor Party has tried to foist on to the public for many years. The Labor Party keeps telling us it can finance its scheme on H per cent of income. This is supposed to be some magical formula. But it forgets entirely that having taken this H per cent it will have to take an enormous sum out of revenue to build up the deficiency in the national welfare account if that is all it is to be credited with. The estimates debate is not the time to discuss the merits and so on of the various schemes. There are certain things that happen and small deficiencies discovered which, while we may find that the scheme is working admirably and that people are getting very good service in many areas, should be brought to light at a time like this.
One matter with which I am particularly concerned .is the dispensing fee that is allowed to chemists under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. I had the misfortune to be absent when the Government Members Health Committee had a couple of meetings, but ‘ I understand it has accepted as reasonable the latest payment that has been offered by the Government. Two cents has been added to the remuneration to the chemists for their dispensing. This is the miserable amount that has been allowed after many years of negotiation and investigation of the facts of dispensing. I want to remind honourable members that until now there has been no increase in the fee paid to chemists for dispensing since 1961. At that time there was a 10 per cent increase and the Prime Minister of the day, Mr Harold Holt, was responsible later for continuing an arrangement by which there would be automatic adjustments from time to time. When there was a need for an adjustment because other fees were increasing - wages were increasing, costs were increasing and the chemists felt they had an entitlement to ask for an increase - we were told that the formula we were supposed to work on gave a freakish result. We could not get anything more freakish, if we like to accept the use of that word as a reasonable way of getting out of a tight corner, than the survey done over the last 6 or 7 years, jointly paid for by the Government and the Pharmaceutical Guild, in an attempt to find out what the actual cost was. Without going into a great deal of detail, it is quite apparent looking at it from the outside that if we are trying to find out what should be a correct dispensing fee, if is not reasonable to take into account the chemist’s whole business, including his retail trade in all sorts of cosmetics and maybe cameras, films, confectionery and all the odds and ends which make many chemist shops, particularly in favoured positions, almost like variety stores. What happens in the front of the shop has nothing to do with what goes on in the dispensary. I would have thought that any survey would have concentrated on this. But no, the survey was to find the total profitability of the chemist’s trade. Eventually the survey arrived at 3 degrees of profitability. There were a few very favoured pharmacies that had pretty big profits and there was quite a range in the middle that were quite comfortable. I do not think chemists are complaining that they are poor. This is not the point. But a lot of chemists who go out into newly developed areas and open a shop in the hope that it will expand and development will be worth while are struggling just as much as the 40,000 wool growers who, I am told, have an income of only $2,000 a year.
This is inevitable in any type of business. On examining the list of figures we find that the Government and the Guild agreed on quite a lot of bases. They agreed on the cost of goods sold for trading profit, reduced by expenses. These things were shown in the survey. The chemist feels that if his whole business is taken as a basis then he ought to be given something for goodwill. After all, the goodwill in a chemist shop is a big item. If one is going to do a costing one should admit some goodwill. Some other figures were agreed on, such as the value of the business in most assessments. Something should be allowed for interest. So there is a great discrepancy between the 2 figures - what the Guild claimed was a fair thing and what the Government said it felt was right. But at that time the Government said that the chemists should get nothing.
The chemists, in adjusting their figures, suggested an increase of about 40c for each prescription. This is a freakish figure; there is no question about it. One could fully justify it if it affected one’s own pocket. After cutting out all the possible frills and everything else one gets to a figure of about 10c. On the figures that I have seen, that result is inescapable. After a lot of negotiation, waiting, the Minister saying: ‘We are looking into this. We are doing our best. We will come up with an answer some time,’ and the chemists becoming very restive over the whole thing, they were offered 2c. All the chemists in my area agree that this was miserable.
– Are you a chemist?
– -No, I am not. My interest in this has been developed over many years of having examined a lot of the health problems in my association with our health committee. I am not a medical man. I have had a fair bit of experience, unfortunately, as a patient. My association with pharmacies has been only on the buying end. I have no financial interest in them. This is why I feel that in discussing estimates of this nature we should bring out some of these points of dissatisfaction where we have a scheme which operates very well indeed. I am very happy about most aspects of the national health scheme. 1 do not like the two-tier price for the doctors’ fees. I think that is ridiculous.
I had an enormous amendment ready when the national health scheme was introduced in the last session but no amendments were allowed. We were short circuited on that. A working committee is now trying to bring some sense into the scheme, and I think eventually we will get down to a single scheme. 1 do not see why the doctors have to worry about it. They have been very well treated compared with the way in which the chemists have been treated. Over this period since 1961 that 1 have been talking about the doctors’ fee for pensioner service has gone up from $1.10 to $1.20, $1.60 and $1.70. trie tee is being increased regularly for doing a job, but the chemist is fobbed off and told: You are getting more money because there are more prescriptions.’ The Government is taking items out of the private area in which the chemist has been dispensing for years, and putting them on the free list and then saying: ‘You have got more money.’ They are reducing his rate of profit on the items.
One other item came to my attention in the last few days. I wish I had known about it before, particularly when we were discussing medical benefits last year. My attention has been drawn to a case in which a patient goes into hospital for an operation by a specialist, the operation is performed and eventually the patient is faced with an account. It includes a hospital bill for so many days’ accommodation, X-rays, pathology and also a fee in about the fifth or sixth column for the assistance at the operation by the medical resident who assisted the specialist surgeon. The specialist surgeon puts in his account separately, as does the anaesthetist and everyone else. I am referring only to this 1 item in the hospital account. The specialist’s account cannot cost the patient more than $5 if he is fully covered by a contribution to an insurance scheme as this patient was. Practically the whole of the bed charge is recoverable. Most of the X-ray fee is recoverable. Most of the pathology fee is recoverable. Almost all of the surgeon’s fee is recoverable. But in this other column there was an item of $94 for the assistance at the operation of the medical resident. I always understood that in normal circumstances the resident doctor was paid by the hospital and that he could not render an account. In order to try to build up their funds the hospitals have latched on to a loophole in the scheme and have added $94 on to the bill for that patient. The $94 in this case happens to be the common fee. Why was that particular amount arrived at in connection with the assistance given by a man who is on a fixed salary?
This is a weakness in the whole scheme. If the assistance at the operation were given by a medical man the fee charged should be recoverable through the fund in exactly the same way. As a matter of fact, ii would not cost anything, because under the generous treatment of this new scheme, for 2 things going on at the same time the patient pays no more than $5 for the whole lot. So here we have a picture of a patient who has undergone a rather serious operation and a pretty expensive one. The patient had to pay $5 for (he specialist but he has to pay without resort, $94 for the assistant doctor who .was only assisting the surgeon.
– The estimates debate in its restricted time scarcely allows for a wide ranging debate on health matters. Admittedly, we have quite recently had a debate on changes in voluntary medical insurance, which is only one facet of the matters dealt with by the Department of Health. I believe that the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) should make a ministerial statement on the Commonwealth Government’s across the board attitude to its whole range of responsibilities in the health field and should allow full debate on it. For the present I will content myself with trying to deal with 3 matters. The first is the attitude of doctors to the medical benefits scheme. The second concerns the problem of the aged, with nursing homes. The third matter concerns the problem of special groups, particularly those requiring home renal dialysis machines. I am prompted to deal with the first matter because of the general feeling in the community that doctors are more interested in material reward and their claim of great privileges for themselves than in the setting up of a proper health scheme. I believe that this sort of attitude will be a real threat and will cause a complete breakdown of the Government’s scheme, with all its faults.
Initiating this thought was an address on fees by the retiring President of the South Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association, . Dr J. Magarey- -an address which contained very little humility or sense of community responsibility but plenty of making sure of material reward. In his address he described doctors’ fees in the past and continued the inference that these, both past and present, have always been a matter of direct payment between doctor and patient. This is demonstrably untrue. For example, in ancient Greece doctors were paid by a third party, the community. In Rome it was the army, and in mediaeval times it was the feudal lords. When we shift to modern times, many honourable members will remember the per capita payments by lodges which formed the very basis of doctors’ incomes. Dr Magarey quoted with approval 3 statements by Dr Hudson, the President in 1967 of the American Medical Association. Dr Hudson stated:
Direct billing is not a primary objective in itself. Its significance is that it constitutes a reminder of the constant threat to make medical care impersonal.
He further stated:
A living, strong, fully understood and fully honoured contract between the patient and his physician is a solid barrier to socialised medicine.
Of socialised medicine he stated:
The broad objective is to create a feeling of entitlement to medical services and at the same time to destroy a feeling of responsibility for paying for them.
What nonsense all this is. American doctors have a very real third party in most of their transactions and are subjected to a great deal of private and governmental control which they reasonably accept, although they may chafe at it, and which I am afraid, although Australian doctors are completely intransigent and claim privileges given to doctors in no other part of the world, will be necessary here from sheer practicability and weight of human feeling. I remind honourable members that many doctors in the United States are salaried.
Even if we forget the substantial subsidy the community gives Australian doctors in their training and practice there are other factors. As a warning to them I would like to quote from an article in the ‘New Statesman’ of 31st July 1970 headed ‘US Lesson for British Doctors’. It states:
British doctors who rail against increasing assaults upon their professional freedom by government and other interfering and uninformed outsiders often look longingly towards the US. Some of them even go there. But before deciding finally that the medical life is wonderfully different in America, our native practitioners would well to note what Walter V. McNerney, President of Blue Cross has to say.
Mr McNerney stated:
We have shifted more toward the community side - away from the hospital doctor - and Blue Shield have come through quite a noticeable shift too, because they simply can’t stand the allegation that they’re nothing more than a tool of the medical profession. It just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. The consumer groups are getting very suspicious. They want somebody to represent them in bargaining.
That refers to those voluntary insurance bodies in the United States. The article in the ‘New Statesman’ further states:
Therefore the voice of the people who provide, handle and disburse this cash is powerful and persuasive. In the first place Blue Cross and government together are exhorting the individual institutions which take their money ‘to think on a community-wide basis in planning their future’, and the exhortations are backed by an increasing use of legislation which already exists in all 50 States of the Union, giving the civil power the right to approve or prohibit new medical buildings. The thesis here is that unless you get control of the capital structure you’re in troublein other words, it’s not the down payment that kills you, it’s the mortgage payments that follow.’
Secondly, Bue Cross is trying to promote the practice of what McNerney calls ‘incentive reimbursements’. This would replace the ‘cost-plus’ type of payment at present in use, which is equivalent to an open cheque in the case of Institutions, or the vague or contentious ‘usual and customary fee’ in the case of the individual physicians
Which we have here. The article continues:
Self-esteem,’ says McNerney, ‘isn’t the best discipline in the world, and the ideal prospective is that you and I would work out a scheme a schedule if you’re a physician, so much per day if you’re running a hospital and you live with it and within it for, say, 2 years and then negotiate.’ Thirdly, the insurers are taking a deep interest in the organisation of primary medical care.
The Nixon Administration is encouraging non-profit organisations like Blue Cross to provide a full range of services, including primary care, and the Government then negotiates a per capita sum for which the contractor agrees to look after the needs of local citizens for whom the State has assumed responsibility. I regret that I cannot outline this in detail. The article continues:
Finally, Blue Cross is coolly exploiting the fact that even doctors and hospital administrators are human, and are swayed by human emotions such as shame and pride. Computers are making it easy for the organisations to demonstrate how different hospitals vary widely in efficiency . . Similarly it is becoming possible to quantify and compare the clinical efficiency of individual physicians . . .
The lesson is still predominantly conservative British medical profession-
You could substitute ‘Australian’ there - should learn from all this is that the day of the domineering and self-sufficient doctor, blinding his clients with Aesculapian magic, is gone forever. The customer demands efficiency, accountability and satisfaction, and is able to impose his will as muchthroughtheagencyofaprivate insurance scheme, as through the voice of his elected government.
I may question the complete truth of the last proposition, but it is certainly one in relation to which Australian doctors ought to wake up and co-operate in giving a decently planned opportunity to the community as is occurring elsewhere in the free world. Dr Magarey would have done his profession a service by reminding them of this instead of repeating old shibboleths.
The honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) has pointed out that we see the Government playing an even greater role in the financing of services. We believe that all should contribute. We believe that the doctorpatient relationship can be preserved, but what is required is a partnership between the doctor and the community, not a constant battle for exorbitant reward for the doctor. 1 move on to the matter of nursing homes. The 1969-70 report of the DirectorGeneral of Health indicates an increase of nursing home benefits by $ 1 5.7m to $47 . 4m. These benefits may have increased but the increase may have been at the expense of a saving in hospital benefits. I remind the House that there are 2 components to nursing home benefits. There is an ordinary benefit of $2 a day. Then there is a supplementary benefit of $3 a day payable to patients who are classified as needing and receiving intensive nursing home care. But a lot who apply for the extra $3 get knocked back. Despite the fact that they have been transferred from institutions on the instruction of their attending doctor who says that they need and will receive this intensive nursing home care, they do not receive it.
Many of these patients who may be insured are admitted to private hospitals which are subjected to inspection. On inspection the percentage of aged and chronically ill at the hospitals and the length of their stay is taken into consideration. There is an implied threat that if these patients are in the hospital for more than 6 weeks and there is an increasing number of them the private hospital will be downgraded to a nursing home. In other words an effort is made to get them out of insurable private hospitals to uninsurable nursing homes where so many of them receive only $2 a day. A practical example of this is found in today’s ‘Sun’. It concerns a man who has been 50 years in a hospital benefits fund, has a chronically ill wife with brain damage in a nursing home but he cannot receive any benefit at all from his voluntary insurance. An ordinary aged person or an elderly pensioner who has a stroke will go into a public hospital where because he is a pensioner he is accommodated and treated free of charge.
Because public hospital beds are intended for the treatment of acute cases this elderly person will eventually be shifted out. If he is insured he will go to a private hospital. He will probably stay there for 6 weeks because he is able to claim voluntary insurance. He will then be pushed into a nursing home. A nursing home charges anything between $60 and $90 a week. To pay this amount the elderly patient has his pension of $15.50 and the Commonwealth subsidy of $14 which totals $29.50. This leaves a residue of some $30 to $60 to be found by the patient’s family. In many cases families are unable to meet this sum. I admit that some subsidies are paid from State instrumentalities like the Hospitals and Charities Commission .of Victoria. If a person’s assets are down to $300, he can receive some assistance. But there is always a substantial subsidy to be paid by the family. There is a shortage of beds in public institutions for geriatric cases. In Victoria the State Government has 4,000 beds with a waiting list of 5,000. I believe that this position holds in all States.
The nursing home system for the chronically ill and the aged is the most shameful facet of our health services today. The accommodation and care for the aged, whether it be housing or hospital accommodation, cannot be taken in isolation. I regret that with my time expiring 1 cannot take up a plea for some of the special groups under the health scheme. I have written to the Minister regarding patients suffering from renal diseases who need home dialysis units. I gave him in some detail what happens in this respect. He courteously replied, but he did not seem to appreciate that the outlay in supplying this home dialysis unit allows the patient to be converted from a chronic sufferer on a pension to a person who can at least return to work, often full time, and save the expense of. the pension. These people can support themselves at less than half the cost that the community would incur if they were in hospital. I ask the Minister to review this position urgently and see what can be done for these people.
– 1 rise to speak on the estimates for the Department of Health in the Northern Territory. Prior to doing so I would like to refer to some comparisons made by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) between the Northern Terri tory and Victoria. His figures were probably correct but he overlooks the fact that the Northern Territory hospitals - of which there will be five when the one at Nhulunbuy is built - carry almost the entire health scheme of the Northern Territory. There are few private doctors and very few surgeries in the Northern Territory. I think there is only one nursing home and that is the old timers home at Alice Springs. While on this subject I want to point out that it is of urgent necessity for us to do something about caring for the sick aged in the Territory. These people can spend their final days only in a hospital. This is not good for them and it is not good for the hospitals. Another point that the honourable member for Oxley overlooked is that most Aboriginal patients and their children spend a far longer time in hospital than do white people.
I would like to commend the Minister for Health (Dr Forbes) and the Government on some of the things that have been done recently in the Northern Territory. I notice that works in progress for the Department of Health in the Northern Territory amount to $7.7m. The estimated expenditure on works for 1970-71 is $6.3m. I also notice that during last year there was a shortage of accommodation for nurses at Alice Springs Hospital and the Department spent $240,000 on nurses quarters. Again, in the estimates for this year I see provision for another accommodation block to accommodate 40 nurses. It is just as well to give the Minister for Health a pat on the back sometimes because I very often attack him about things that are wanted in the Territory.
When I was at home over the weekend I saw an announcement about a new hospital at Alice Springs costing $llm. I know that we have all been doing a lot of work on this proposal. This hospital is most necessary. This very welcome announcement was made in my home town. I hope that the new hospital will be built with expedition because some of the troubles in the present Alice Springs Hospital are certainly caused by the fact that buildings are widespread and some of them date back to before the war. This state of affairs causes a lot of problems in the running of a hospital. I notice that at Darwin Hospital $750,000 is to be spent on a divisional store which I imagine will lead to the smoother running of the whole service and to a streamlining of medical services in the Northern Territory. In addition. $993,000 is to be spent on accommodation for nursing staff and single medical officers. A very welcome allocation has been made for a psychiatric day clinic. This is most necessary and I am very glad to see that the Department has programmed for it. We probably need a clinic of this type in Alice Springs also but this is a start and it is most welcome.
The Katherine Hospital, which has been in a lot of bother for many years with accommodation, is to have $620,000 spent on nurses quarters, administration, an outpatients block and a new boiler house. The Government has seen a problem in the Northern Territory and it has taken steps to rectify it. As I said before, I have been critic of the activities of the Commonwealth Department of Health in the Northern Territory, but I must give credit where credit is due. I urge the Minister for Health to continue with his Department’s recruiting campaign for nurses. I know that at the moment the pressure is to some extent off in the Alice Springs Hospital. Normally the nurses at Alice Springs Hospital, work under a tremendous pressure. The nurses there have felt that they could not do the job to the best of their ability and quite a number have left. But this is not the case at the moment. The Department at present has nurses at Alice Springs Hospital. The morale of nurses at the hospital is quite a lot higher than it used to be and that in itself is a good thing. I do not think we should sit back complacently. I know that the Minister will not do this. The situation in Tennant Creek in regard to dentists is similar to that which prevails all over Australia. Dentists are very hard to come by. Tennant Creek is 320 miles from Alice Springs and that is a fair way for people to have to travel to visit the dentist. I know that there is one dentist up there and that he is a very good one.
The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Drury) - Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 26th August, I shall report progress-
The Parliament - Export of Wheal to United States of America - Education of Children with Learning Disabilities
-Order! It being 11 p.m., in accordance with the order of the House of 26th August, I propose the question:
That the House do now adjourn.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– No. I want to explain to the House the point that I was making this morning. During question time this morning it was said that I had stated that the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) was present at the May march in Canberra. I have read closely the Hansard version of the discussion and the first sentence that refers to the honourable member for Lalor could give the impression that 1 believed that the member for Lalor had attended the march in Canberra. This thought was never in my mind as it was well known that the honourable member for Lalor bad been leading the march in Melbourne on that day. But the construction put on those words led to the suspension from the House of the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson). This 1 regret.
- Mr Speaker, I rise tonight to protest against the imposition of a blatant political ban on the export of meat to the United States in the guise of quarantine and wholesale meat requirements. The situation is one which requires the’ strongest protest and action by the Australian Government. It might be remembered that following a ban imposed on Australian mutton the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony) told the Parliament that it had been rejected by United States authorities because it did not meet the standards laid down under the United Slates Wholesale Meat Act. The Minister said Australian mutton has been rejected because it was unclean with particles of foreign matter. He defended in fact the action of the United States administration and 1 would hope he had been merely misled. He did tell the House some of the requirements were impossible. But he did not say the Government had acted firmly and strongly against the sudden imposition of impossible conditions on an Australian export industry. In fact all the Government has done is to recruit some additional meat inspectors. But it has failed to realise the whole excuse that our standards are not high enough could have been exploded by an immediate investigation in the United States itself.
I have just received a report from Washington DC which indicates clearly that standards prevailing in many United States meat plants are far below the standards generally prevailing in Australia. At a time when a political ban was being imposed on our exports, at a time when it was claimed our mutton was not meeting high United States standards, at a time when indeed we were being asked for impossible conditions and the Minister was talking about our mutton being ‘unclean’, the United States administering agencies were accepting much lower standards at home. The report from Washington is the report by the General Accounting Office which states that Government investigators found meat contaminated by rodent excrement, hair and rust in 35 slaughter houses and packing plants in the Mid-West, the meat centre of United States of America. At 9 other plants the investigators found animals being slaughtered and meat products being prepared under unsanitary conditions which could result in contamination. It was only after the General Accounting Office, which is removed from United States meat industry influence, made its report that the Department of Agriculture forced 5 of the plants to stop selling their products interstate, 2 plants were closed and steps were taken to protect products in 10 others and 27 further plants had to be upgraded. This is what was found after an investigation by the General Accounting Office of only 48 plants out of the many hundreds scattered across the United States. Even more interesting is the fact that some of the condemned plants met existing United States standards and the GAO said they found inspections generally lenient. But the federal investigators found rats, mice, dead flies, cockroaches, dirty equipment, crumbling plaster, peeling paint and carcasses lying on the slaughtering floor. At one plant they saw metal shavings on the blade of the carcass saw which could have become embedded in the meat - and some of the shavings were an inch long.
These were the conditions of a country which suddenly and savagely shut the door in our face and asked the impossible. This is despite the fact that we buy $ 1.000m worth of products from the United States of America every year and have access for only half that for our own products.
I want to say in the House of Representatives tonight that I have visited abattoirs in many parts of Australia, in the Riverina, in Gunnedah and at Homebush in Sydney where only a year ago the most modern plant in the Southern Hemisphere was brought into use. I have never seen the conditions I have described tonight from the United States report in any Australian abattoir. The meat inspectors located in our abattoirs are drawn from both State and Commonwealth. They duplicate each other’s work, they double up on inspections. They know the standards are high. They know they are doing the job.
– -New South Wales is the only State with dual inspections.
– That is right, but I was thinking in terms of the ones we have in New South Wales. The honourable member is quite right but they do duplicate. They double check and they do the job well. But they resent being pushed around by someone else’s regulations born out of purely political decisions, 10,000 miles away.
Mr R. G. Jones of the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council has expressed his resentment and that of the Council. Mr P. J. Anderson of the Australian Meat Board has said exporters are faced with $200m expenditure to meet United States demands. Mr Stan Hill, Chairman of the Metropolitan Meat Industry Board, has described the many demands as having nothing to do with the product processed for the United States.
It is obvious the United States administration acted under pressure from its meat industry lobby. It has been quaintly described as a home town decision. That is understandable but what is not understandable is why our Government did nothing and why it agreed with these extravagant demands. I ask the Minister and the Government to send an urgent mission to the United States to confer with the General
Accounting Office, seek the facts of the situation and then lay it on the line to the United States Administration that we are just not going on giving them $2 for $1 in trade if it is going to slam the door in our faces every time some pressure group in that country demands it.
– Tonight I want to make an appeal to the Government to give special assistance for the remedial teaching of children with specific learning disabilities. The debate on the estimates for the Department of Education and Science naturally enough was mainly concerned with the education of normal children. I believe that the problem of children with specific learning disabilities is even more urgent. It is true that with the new CommonwealthState financial arrangements some improvement will be possible in the provision of education facilities by the State governments. In the case of children with specific learning disabilities, partial improvement in the position is not enough. Funds must be made available for the express purpose of remedial teaching for these children before they are too old to benefit from it.
What are called specific learning disabilities cover a wide range of problems. Until quite recently, this group of disorders was given the name of dyslexia. However, dyslexia is only one form of a large group of disabilities. These children are, apart from their disability, otherwise normal having average or above average intelligence; but due to difficulties particularly associated with reading and writing the condition manifests itself firstly by the child failing to keep up with his classmates in his work. Sometimes the teacher may misinterpret this as lack of intelligence, sometimes even as laziness. After the first few years the child’s work indeed becomes impaired in all subjects because no subject can be handled if a child is unable to read properly. Then follows the common complication of psychological effects. Due to frustration from being unable to perform as well as his classmates, in spite of an average or sometimes above average intelligence, certain behavioural problems frequently occur.
All this is due to a problem which can be overcome with special remedial teaching. Such teaching can result, therefore, in a dramatic improvement in relation to the child’s performance not only at his school work but in his personality and behaviour. Essential needs for these children are adequate facilities for diagnosis, for training of remedial teachers and for other equipment for teaching purposes.
I hope that the Government will take an active role in overcoming this problem. It is an extremely common disability. Some members of the medical profession consider that the incidence is as high as 20 per cent. Some teachers regard the incidence as being even higher. I submit that no country can afford to have 20 per cent or more of its children growing up with an inadequate education. The need for special assistance is even more apparent when one considers that these children will receive the full benefits of education if they can have that special remedial teaching as well. Let us not deny these children the full benefits of education just for lack of some remedial teaching.
Equally important is to avoid the social consequences. Some statistics of the United States show that a high percentage of criminals have left school before completing their secondary education and are unable to read. The inference can be drawn from this that the emotional and behavioural disorders which result from this inability to read may be a common predisposing factor in criminal behaviour. Surely the best way to achieve law and order is to prevent the development of the criminal personality.
So far governments have done relatively little to help these children. All the initiatives in this case have been taken by the voluntary organisation known as SPELD. It is quite futile for the Government to expect a voluntary organisation to cope adequately with this problem. As an analogy, let us look at the Catholic schools where many parents strain their financial resources to the limit to give their children theeducationoftheirchoice.Yetsuch children frequently find themselves in overcrowded classes and in schools which lack adequate facilities and which in most respects are quite unsatisfactory. How much more difficult, then, will it be for parents of the children with specific learning disabilities to cope, if these children require more than average in the way of facilities and personalised instruction?
I hope that the Government will immediately take steps to finance the training of remedial teachers. There is a recent precedent for this in that the Commonwealth Government has recently intervened in educating the child in another field of learning disability, that of those who cannot cope with the English language. Here the Commonwealth has undertaken to finance the training of teachers of migrant children. I hope that the Government will consider the provision of funds for capital works for these children with specific learning disabilities.
In order to do this, 1 believe that the Handicapped Children’s (Assistance) Act must be amended so that assistance can be given in respect of works carried out by the State education departments. I am glad that the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) is in the chamber. He has probably heard submissions on this matter already. As that Act stands at’ the moment, there is an incentive for SPELD, the voluntary organisation, to set up its own facilities for these children. It is my belief that such a programme would be doomed to failure because no private organisation would have the resources to carry out this programme adequately. The Handicapped Children’s (Assistance) Act as it stands at the moment is an incentive for private rather than government bodies to carry out the remedial teaching. The members of this organisation even regard themselves as inadequately equipped to carry out. this programme themselves.
A relatively simple method of screening these children has recently been evolved in New South Wales. If the Commonwealth would finance the provision of. the facilities for testing children at pre-school or early school stage, the early diagnosis would gain valuable time. The Government already has the means to provide other assistance. This is the library grants. If these could be extended to primary schools, provision could be made for special equipment for those children who are unable to read and therefore unable to use the facilities of such libraries.
I know that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr N. H. Bowen) has already received representations for Commonwealth intervention in this field. I hope that the Government will move quickly. I believe that the case is unanswerable. Furthermore, the need is urgent. If the Government takes 5 years to make up its mind many more children will pass through primary school without receiving that special assistance which is all that is needed to give them a normal education and to prevent untoward behavioural problems for the remainder of their lives.
– I rise, prompted by the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun), to enlarge on the problem of handicapped children. As the honourable member has rightly pointed out, there is a need for more diagnostic facilities. These are urgently needed for the children he mentioned and for many other handicapped groups, because very often the handicap is discovered too late to give them the benefit of the attention they need at the time they most need it. I want also to stress the point that remedial teaching should not be merely initiated, planned and carried on by voluntary organisations with subsidies. Nowadays there are so many kinds of specialised disability, not only the specific learning defects that the honourable member mentioned but the ones that have been with us for such a long time - crippled children, spastic children, subnormal children, the blind, the deaf, and the blind and deaf who are now having special facilities which are more expensive again, the multiple handicapped children, the special classes in children’s hospitals and autistic children. These are multiplying. Every year we hear of a new group, and the incidence of these disabilities is amazing. When these groups have been operating for a few years it is found that there is a far more extensive need for their services than was at first believed possible.
With regard to subnormals, for instance, there was a time when it was believed that there were only certain groups - the imbecile level and the moron level if you like, the higher grade, and the medium grade defective children who could in any sense be trained or educated. But through the work that has been carried out at the Newcastle institution it is now realised that short of the actual vegetable - the child who is practically completely helpless and who has a mental age of 6 months or less - these people can be helped by a more positive and productive approach. All credit must go to the New South Wales Government for developing this work during the last few years. However, the point is that it is no longer possible for the general population to sustain these multiplying demands on charity and on the time of charitable workers for all these separate organisations. These are specialised fields which require and demand full time professional, expert and public assistance. It is not right that they should have to rely on handouts.
I know that it will be said that the Opposition is always asking for a bit more money to be spent on this and that. Unfortunately what these critics overlook is that a lot of these things do not cost; they pay. The outstanding example is the one raised by the honourable member for Kingston. These children are made social wrecks and are cast on the social scrap heap. Very often they are discontented people, very often delinquents, sometimes criminals, and always misfits or for most of their lives misfits, for the simple reason that they have not been able to break through the literacy barrier. They have not been able to get the initial jump off which would allow them to continue education in any of the capacities they may have. Nobody knows what these capacities are because the basic essential of most schooling is lacking that is, literacy.
I want to bring out one more point on the question of literacy and that is that dyslexia in particular is a disease of English speaking countries. It is a very serious condemnation of English speaking countries that they have done nothing about this point. The spelling of English is the worst in the world with only one other contender, that is, French. But English and French are the only 2 languages that are so archaically spelt. We do well to compare the progress of children who are taught in Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, Malay or other languages which have more or less phonetic or logical spellings. The child in the English speaking country has to spend between 1 and 2 years of his schooling in learning spelling as a subject. This does not happen in other countries. While a child in an English speaking country is struggling agonisingly through his first year at school with sentences like the cat sat on the rag mat’, the Italian or Mexican child is reading fascinating stories that appeal to children. Whether or not they are fairy stories, they deal with words of 5 syllables and take them in their stride words which are familiar to them. That child can immediately pick them up because he knows his alphabet within 3 weeks. When he knows the alphabet he knows how to read.
English speaking countries should do something about this. I give credit to the Minister for External Affairs (Mr McMahon) for at least taking the first step because he has agreed to bring the matter up at discussions with representatives of other English speaking countries with the idea of something being done about our atrocious, criminal and archaic spelling. Other countries have done something about their spelling and it can be done here.
I commend to honourable members who are interested in this subject a practical and feasible way of going about it They should read a book written by a Canberra resident called ‘Spelling Reform, A New Approach. It was written by a person named Lindgren and it is available in the Parliamentary Library. It shows how this can be done at once. It is being done. It does not depend only on governments because the author has shown that it can be done at once in this way. A person who adopts his method simply changes the spelling of one sound in the English language. There are only about 40 basic soundsin our language. If you correct one of those sounds at a time it does not matter whether you take 5 years or 10 years to get that first sound generally accepted then the other stages can be brought in later. At the foot of any article you write at any time you can always put SRI’ which means ‘spelling reform step 1’, or ‘SR2’ and so on as the different stages are agreed to. The author has put a most cogent case for adopting as the first stage the spelling of the vowel sound in the word ‘egg’ by using the letter ‘e’ wherever it occurs in English.
I have adopted this routine in letters I write to Ministers and in other things. An editor of an educational journal has adopted it in the last few weeks. Even before that it was adopted for all editorials in a teachers’ journal and it is still being used in that way. Various newspapers, including the ‘Australian’ and other prominent Australian newspapers, have accepted letters written in this way when requested to do so. A journey of 10,000 miles starts with one step. Let us give the children one sound in this language of which they can be sure.
– I am not going to comment on the technical matter raised by the honourable member for Capricornia (Dr Everingham). I do not feel competent either to agree or disagree with him but I know there are two sides to the question. I do not think it is quite as simple as he would like us to believe. On the other hand I am not prepared to reject what he said because 1 do not know enough about the subject. 1 simply know that it is a complicated question about which I am not able to express an opinion.
I want to thank both the honourable member for Capricornia and the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun) for bringing the general business of handicapped children before the House. I agree with them on two matters. Firstly I agree with them that as our methods of diagnosis become better, as we become better acquainted with the various kinds of disabilities, we will have a proliferation of the kinds of things which we can treat, such as dyslexia and autism in children. Incidentally, it is in what was until recently part of my electorate, at Belrose, that the main centre for autistic children was established. I have visited that centre. 1 agree with the honourable members on this first point: We know more now and therefore should be able to help better.
I agree with them also on the second point. The sooner we start assisting handicapped children the better because very often something can be done for a child if that child is treated at an early age and helped when it is young. The capacity to help a child is lost if its treatment does not start until later in life. The most dramatic case of this is the totally deaf child who can be helped to what is normal intelligence if it can be given by specialist training early in life, the power of conceptualisation and symbolisation through some medium other than the hearing that it has lost. If such a child does not receive this training early in life its intelligence, as I think the honourable member for Kingston implied, can be impaired permanently. This is a limiting and dramatic case. But the general principle, even in less dramatic instances, is still true. The younger a child is treated the better because the better is that child able to be helped.
I am not certain that I agree with the honourable members in point of fact, on the whole I would be inclined to disagree on their views as to the role of both State and voluntary bodies. I would agree with them that a place exists for both kinds of bodies in the scheme of things. There are some things which are for the State or government and some which are for voluntary bodies. On the whole, 1 am inclined to think that we obtain the best results in most cases not all by subsidising and helping voluntary bodies. The honourable member for Kingston can argue as to whether we do this adequately or not. This is a legitimate argument. I would feel that, while this Government has started in helping handicapped children with capital buildings and equipment, this is by no means the end of the road. I would regard this as the start.
There is a place for the voluntary body. After all, the voluntary body does have the advantage of mobilising resources which otherwise would be wasted. The voluntary body has the advantage of involving people in the community it is important that the community as a whole should be involved and it has the very great and I think deciding advantage that in some ways it can give a more personal attention to children than can State and government bodies. I am not saying that the subsidies that voluntary bodies receive are always adequate, but I do point out that by giving capital subsidies to these bodies as we are starting to do now we do take some of the burden and we do enable the States to have more funds which they can devote to their running subsidies.
I think it is perhaps not a good thing to have too many governments involved in the same kind of operation. If the capital and the running can be separated out, that does not involve too much confusion; but if the running be partly Commonwealth and partly State this may bring about a degree of confusion which may not be to the advantage either of the organisation concerned or, what is much more important, of the handicapped children.I have indicated a very great measure of agreement with what the 2 honourable members have said. I have indicated some limited measure of disagreement in regard to it. I will not detain the House further. It was my wish to put that position on record.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 1130 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
Will he before the resumption of the debate on the States Grants (Universities) Bill provide an answer to my questions Nos 82. 83, 84 and 87 on university fees which I placed on the Notice Paper on 4th March 1970.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Questions Nos 83 and 84 were answered on Friday, 5th June 1970 (Hansard pages 3091 to 3094), question No. 87 was answered on 20th May 1970 (Hansard page 2489) and question No. 82 was answered on 4th September 1970 (Hansard page 1078).
asked the Minister for Education and Science, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Part (1) and (3) The number and proportion of qualified applicants who unsuccessfully sought enrolment this year in universities is set out, by State, in the following table.
It should be remembered that, after (he submission of applications for admission to universities, there are always some who decide to enrol in a College of Advanced Education, or other tertiary institutions, others who decide to return to school in the hope of gaining a scholarship in the following year or who, for one reason or another, decide not to proceed with tertiary education. Thus, the actual number of disappointed applicants would be lower although the precise number cannot be ascertained.
It is not possible to provide comparable information in respect of Colleges of Advanced Education. However, I would refer the honourable member to the information givenin parts (10) and (11) of my answer to his question No. 1347 of 12 June 1970 which may be of assistance to him.
Part (2) The information with which to prepare this answer was not available in time for an answer to be provided earlier.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 September 1970, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1970/19700924_reps_27_hor69/>.