27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled The humble petition of residents of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:
That there is a likelihood that education in the Australian Capital Territory will in the foreseeable future be made independent of the New South Wales education system.
That the decentralisation of education systems throughout Australia is educationally and administratively desirable, and is now being studied by several State Government Departments.
That the Australian Capital Territory is a homogeneous and coherent unit especially favourable for such studies.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that a Committee of Enquiry, on which are represented the Department of Education and Science, institutions of tertiary education, practising educators, and the Canberra community, be instituted to enquire into the form that an Australian Capital Territory Education Authority should lake, the educational principles and philosophy that should underlie it, and its mode of operation and administration.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I ask a question of the Prime Minister. It concerns the nature of recent communications from the People’s Republic of China on the possible purchase of Australian wheat. The right honourable gentleman himself said on 6th April that the source within China could not be regarded as speaking on behalf of the People’s Republic of China. The next day, the Minister for Primary Industry said that the Prime Minister was referring to a statement made as a result of third or fourth party, certainly hearsay, evidence. He was followed by the Minister for Shipping and Transport who said that the matter arose from some gossiping in a cocktail bar in Hong Kong. Will the Prime Minister now admit to the House that the Government has received reports of 3 discussions, the first at a meeting between the British Charge d’ Affaires in Peking and a director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and the other two at lunches between representatives of the Australian Wheat Board and officers of the China Natural Resources Commission - lunches specifically sought by the Australian Wheat Board to discuss possible wheat sales? Does the right honourable gentleman still claim that a director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade does not speak on behalf of his Government? Does he himself regard 2 working lunches in Hong Kong, sought specifically by the Wheat Board, as amounting to gossiping in a cocktail bar?
– The honourable gentleman has his timing completely mixed up as usual. The simple fact is that what we were referring to initially was an alleged statement between the British Charge d’Affaires in Peking and somebody who was not what could be regarded as a member of the Government of the People’s Republic of China but who was an official of one of the Chinese departments. This was not conveyed to us in a written form at all. But, as I have stated - and 1 stated it again yesterday - it was oral communication in Canberra as between the British official himself and representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs. There is nothing in writing from them and this matter has come to our attention in a roundabout way and not as a direct communication from the Government of the People’s Republic of China. So that part of the story is perfectly clear. The honourable gentleman referred to other discussions. Again, these were not communications made to the Australian Government itself. We adhere to that position, which is accurate, and consequently we cannot say that there has been any communication between the People’s Republic and ourselves.
– I address a question to the Postmaster-General. In view of recent criticisms offered by artists and designers from both inside and outside Australia regarding the design of recent Australian stamps in respect of quality, clarity, appeal and the message to be conveyed in such design - and I refer now in particular to a recent stamp to commemorate 100 years of the existence of the Australian Natives Association - can the Postmaster-General inform the House whether, in future, greater consideration can be given to designs which have been prepared and submitted by the bodies involved in such a commemoration?
– I appreciate that in the area of art there will always be criticism and commendation. This applies in relation to the designs of Australian stamps just as it applies in other fields. From philatelists and collectors we do receive much commendation for the design of Australian stamps. The Captain Cook bi-centenary stamp series and the Australian nation series of stamps, for example, with many other designs received high commendation both inside and outside Australia.
The Post Office and the Stamps Advisory Committee employ people who are regarded as artists of repute as designers of stamps in this particular area. This is a special area. It may be that one can design something on a large canvas or a large area but when it has to be incorporated in the size of a postage stamp it is a different type of operation. Many of those for whom commemorative stamps are issued offer designs to the Post Office but quite a number of them, particularly in the area to which the honourable member has referred, being Australian organisations tend to think in terms of their symbolism in the Australian flag. Of course, since there have been recent issues depicting the Australian flag it is not to be expected that this motif can be repeated time and time again. So my view on this matter is that while there is criticism and always will be criticism, the number of stamps issued each year makes the task of selection and design a terribly difficult one, but in general there is a good deal of appreciation expressed as to the quality and design of Australian stamps.
– I desire to address a question to the Minister for National Development in his capacity as Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. I preface my question by stating that prior to the last House of Representatives election a Russian Embassy official broke ali precedents and protocol in addressing a Liberal Party branch meeting in Canberra while wearing a badge to vote No. 1 for the official Liberal Party candidate, a Mr Maher. I ask: Will the honourable gentleman make it known to all Embassy officials that it is most unethical to take part in another country’s political elections?
– I know nothing of th: alleged incident and my only comment would be that apparently the official made a mistake as far as the Party was concerned.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. He will recall that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition, in the course of one of his shorter questions on the China issue, asserted that the credentials of the Australian Ambassador to Taipeh contained the statement that the Republic of China was the legitimate and actual government of all and every China. The Leader of the Opposition went on to assert that the Government thereby officially maintained that Taiwan China, as he referred to it on that occasion, was responsible not only for the-
-Order! The honourable member’s preface is far too long. I suggest that the honourable member ask his question.
– Indeed I will, Sir. In view of this assertion, I ask the Prime Minister whether it is true as asserted that the credentials of the Australian Ambassador to Taipeh do state that the Republic of China is the legitimate and actual government of all and every China.
– I think it is always wise to test the accuracy and credibility of the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. He did use the words that were just mentioned.
– I rise to order. The Prime Minister is reading from a statement
– I am not.
– He should give that as a statement to the House and not as an answer to a question.
-Order! The Prime Minister or any other Minister is quite in order in referring to a paper before him in relation to any question that is asked. I want to point out that the Chair is not in any position to say whether notice is given by either side of the Parliament to any
Minister in relation to questions that might be asked. The Chair has no discretion in this regard.
– I rise to order. My point is that it is obvious that answers have been prepared in advance to questions that are being directed to the Prime Minister by members of his own Party, and the Prime Minister is merely reading them to the House.
– I have pointed out the situation of the Chair in such matters as I have pointed out on many occasions the position of the Chair in relation to the length of questions and the length of answers and the power of the Chair in rela- tion to these matters. I thought I should refer to that as it was referred to in the debate yesterday. I think I should make it quite clear that all members should be aware that the Chair has very limited powers in this regard. In fact, in relation to the length of an answer the Chair does not have any power.
– The Leader of the Opposition did refer to the credentials of the Australian Ambassador to Taipeh and he did use the phrase that the Government of Taiwan China - to adopt his term - is the legitimate and actual government of all and every China. He went further, but I think it is enough for me to identify those words. I have looked at both the forms of the letters of credence and also the diplomatic commission. The letters of credence themselves are from Elizabeth II to the President of the Republic of China and the words actually used are: ‘Being desirous of maintaining representation in the Republic of China of the interests of the Commonwealth of Australia we have made choice - * There is no reference whatsoever to the words used by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I ask a question supplementary to the earlier question asked of the Prime Minister. What does the Australian Government intend by the words Republic of China’? Specifically, what territory does the Australian Government refer to in advising Her Majesty to issue letters of credence in those terms? Is it a fact that the Government in Taipeh will accept credentials only from a country which acknowledges its claim to be the government of all China, including continental China?
– Again the honourable gentleman is confusing the issue. These are in fact the letters of credence accepted by the Government of Taiwan with no definition whatsoever as to territorial limits, and the Ambassador is still there under these letters of credence. Similarly, in the case of a diplomatic commission the words are the same. They are accepted and there is no definition of territorial limits in them whatsoever.
– I address a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. When the report on cherries was tabled in the House the Minister for Customs and Excise indicated that the Government had accepted the report in the light of the Board’s view that there are alternative new markets for local brined cherries and that the Government would maintain a close watch on the market situation during 1971. He said that the question of protection of the cherry industry would be reconsidered urgently if such alternative markets were not found. Can the Minister indicate what the close watch of the market situation has revealed to date and whether the evidence he has would lead to a reconsideration of the protective needs of the cherry industry?
– The honourable member has correctly stated the Tariff Board’s view that there is an alternative market for brined cherries and this is a significant feature in the Government’s acceptance of the Tariff Board’s report. However, because of many representations from the industry and from honourable members on both sides of the House my Department arranged for a consultation between the growers, the briners, the canners and the processors to see whether there was a likely alternative market for these cherries in 1971. Negotiations between the briners and the processors up to this date show that the potential market is very doubtful. As a result of this information I referred this matter this morning to the Special Advisory Authority for further advice. The matter having been referred to the Authority he is obliged to make a report to me within 30 days.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Immigration. Is it a fact that members of the Japanese Government economic mission in Perth recently indicated that the future of Japanese investment in Australia’s development of raw materials and industry may depend to a great extent on Australian immigration policies? If so, what demands or requests did the Japanese make in regard to the admittance of Japanese workers or personnel and what has been the Government’s reaction? Will the Minister also indicate the policy of the Japanese Government in relation to the admittance of Australian citizens on a permanent or temporary basis? Furthermore, in view of the Government’s efforts to increase trade with mainland China and the loss of the wheat sales due to nonrecognition of China, does the Minister consider that requests may also be made for increased Chinese migration as the basis on which that country will conduct negotiations? If so, what attitude will the Government take in regard to requests of this nature from mainland China or any other nation similarly placed?
– Members of this House will draw their own inferences from the text of the honourable gentleman’s question. However, I will answer the specific points made by the honourable member. I would like to make it clear, because of inaccurate Press reports, that there has been no questioning by the Japanese Government to the Australian Government of our immigration policy. In the light of the question that was asked by the honourable gentleman I point out that the Australian Government has not thought it necessary to raise the question of Japanese immigration policies with the Japanese Government.
When the mission to which the honourable gentleman referred was in Australia recently, and as I indicated the other day this was a very large economic mission, we provided to members of it a brochure which set out the basis on which people of any nationality - not only nonEuropeans - and from any country can enter Australia on a temporary basis for employment. This was not questioned by the mission. 1 would like to make this clear because there have been reports to the contrary. Again I emphasise that the rules relating to the granting of visas for temporary employment relate equally to Europeans and non-Europeans.
In relation to the last part of the honourable gentleman’s question, I think all I can say is that our immigration policy does not, of course, differentiate between the nationals of countries according to the amount of trade that those countries do with us.
– Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to the establishment of a Soviet Russian military base in Ceylon? In view of the rapidly expanding Soviet activities in the Middle East, North Africa and other countries in the Indian Ocean area, is this not further evidence of the Soviet intention to establish itself as the new colonial power east of Suez?
– My attention has been drawn to the fact that the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has agreed to the stationing of air force elements in Ceylon. I draw the attention of the House to the kind of danger that can emerge through this kind of penetration. There is an excellent cartoon in today’s Australian’ which illustrates the kind of problem that is likely to emerge or can possibly emerge. What I can say to the honourable gentleman is that this insurrection was called by the Guevarists, the real left wing of the Communist groups in Ceylon. As a result of their activities the diplomatic representatives of the Northern Korean Government have been expelled and the Government of Ceylon has been compelled to ask various Commonwealth and other countries if they will supply arms and equipment to help it suppress the activities of the Guevarists
We have given that Government a list of arms and equipment that we are prepared to supply on, as it requested, commercial terms. We are awaiting replies from it to see which kind of equipment it would like and the terms on which it would be prepared to purchase this equipment. This is a very, very difficult position because the Prime Minister of Ceylon has accepted into her Government several left wing elements. At least one group of left wing elements, not necessarily in the Government, is showing that it is dissatisfied with the Government. But we hope that soon the Government will be able to bring them under control.
– 1 address my question to the Minister for Housing. Is it a fact that the housing material index in the noncommercial sector has shown a steadily accelerating trend since it was first collated? Does the index carry a heavy weighting for timber, board and joinery, and show a more rapid increase than indices weighted with steel and iron products and most other building materials? Can the Minister say why the housing index reflecting timber, board and joinery costs has risen so much above the others? Can he say what the Government will do to try to deal with this major cause of rising housing costs?
– The latest index of the cost of materials used in housing shows a significant rise. Between the months of December and February it showed a rise of nearly 3 per cent, which is higher than in the past. As the honourable member has mentioned, the materials covered by the index are cement, bricks, timber products and many others. The honourable member will be delighted to know that the rises which have been experienced over 1, 2 or 3 months are often classified as spasmodic rises. The cost of materials used in housing is not expected to increase at that rate over a long period. The honourable member suggested what has been the experience over recent years. To put the matter into context, the experience over a 5-year period shows that there has not been a rise of this nature but a rise of about 17 per cent, which is a far slower rate of increase in the cost of materials than has occurred, for example, in indices of average earnings.
I can assure the honourable member that the Government is well aware of the problems of household construction and of rises in costs of the materials used. Within the limits of its powers, certainly in relation to the general economic situation, the Government is doing all it can to keep these rises within the levels which are appropriate for total equilibrium within the Australian economy.
– I ask the Prime Minister: Does the Australian Government acknowledge the fact that of the 109 nations in the world with a coastline Australia alone has not determined the question as to where sovereignty with respect to the territorial sea lies? Having regard to the fact that in 1973 there will be held an internations conference on the law of the sea, raising crucial issues, will the right honourable gentleman give an assurance to the House that the Australian delegation to that conference will not go to the conference with the question of sovereignty unresolved?
– I am fairly certain that the honourable gentleman knows that an assurance was given to the Government parties, to which he belongs, that before this matter is raised again in the House the parties will have a full opportunity to debate the principles and that before the Government then reconsiders the problem it will take into consideration the views that are put by the parties themselves.
– My question is directed to the Minister for the Navy. Has a major realignment been made of the catapult system on HMAS ‘Melbourne’? If so, why was this work necessary and what did it cost?
– HMAS ‘Melbourne’ is undergoing a major refit which will carry her through most of the 1970s. In the course of this the catapult as well as the decking is not undergoing a complete realignment in the sense that a new catapult is being built, but the catapult is being brought up to as new condition, as it is one of the early catapults in service. It is about 15 years old. It will be brought to as new condition. It is hoped that as a result of this the ‘Melbourne’ will be able to discharge her duties until approximately 1980. As to the actual cost, I do not have the figure on the top of my head but 1 will get it for the honourable member.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for the Interior. I refer to constant representations made by the Chamber of Commerce in Katherine, the Legislative Council member for Elsey and myself concerning the urgent need for a sewerage scheme for the important centre of Katherine. Can the Minister advise what planning has been carried out regarding this long overdue and most urgent necessity?
– I am well aware of the agitation that has been going on, since I have been the Minister for the Interior, for sewerage works at Katherine, and I am also well aware of the representations that the honourable member for the Northern Territory has made. I can inform him and the House that planning is proceeding on the basis of construction commencing in 1971- 72. It could commence early in 1972. But, as with all works of this nature costing more than $750,000, the matter would have to be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works before any consideration could be given to it. If normal approvals are granted, therefore, the works would be subject to budgetary considerations for next year’s Estimates.
– I ask a question of the Prime Minister supplementary to that asked him by the honourable member for Moreton. Is the House to understand from the right honourable gentleman’s reply to that question that it will not be permitted to resume debate on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, which was introduced on 16th April last year and which is at the bottom of the Government Bills on the notice paper, until the differences of opinion within the Government parties have been resolved? Secondly, when does he expect that those differences on this matter will be resolved?
– I do not think there are substantial differences within the Government parties. There are some, it is true; but they are not substantial differences. As to the first part of the honourable gentleman’s question, the answer is yes. As to the second part of the question, when we have made up our minds we will tell him.
– Is the Minister for Trade and Industry aware that the iron and steel industry is regarded as the shining example of the success of the infant industry argument justifying tariff protection? is the Minister aware that the infant industry is now, with age and affluence, at the very least lusty? As the industry is so good at producing iron and steel at low prices, does the Minister not think that a little competition might not be good for both producers and consumers? With this in mind, will he consider asking the Tariff Board to review the industry to see whether the admittedly low duties on the main iron and steel products are now as necessary as they were judged to be in 1936 when the industry was. last reviewed by the Tariff Board?
– It is true that in the iron and steel industry the tariffs on many products have not been reviewed since the 1920s or the 1930s. Some of them have never been reviewed. There was a review of the tariffs on stainless steel and electrical steel in 1968, and I recall being advised also that in the 1960s there was a review of hoop and strip steel, tinplate, and tube and pipe steel. These are some of the products that have been reviewed but there are many that have not been reviewed. However the Government has announced that there is to be a progressive review of tariffs, and the principles that will be used to carry out this review will be stated by the. Government. This matter is before me at the moment and, as the honourable member would know, I have been having a series of consultations and discussions with the various sections of the economy. As soon as the Government arrives at a decision, I will make a statement in the House. We will then lay down the timing, the sequence and the priority of the reviews to be carried out and no doubt in the course of time the iron and steel products will be examined.
– My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Yesterday he spent a good deal of time weeping crocodile tears for the small people of the world, in particular those in Taiwan.
-Order! The honourable member will not comment in a preface to a question on what happened in the House yesterday. I ask the honourable member to observe the Standing Orders.
– I thank you for your guidance, Mr Speaker. Why has the Prime Minister made no public protest at the slaughter of the people of East Pakistan by the military government of West Pakistan? He said that China should act responsibly in order to receive the recognition of this Government. Is the slaughter of people in East Pakistan his idea of responsible government? When is he going to be as loud in defence of humanity as he is in trying to score political points?
– Some of us have fairly good memories and can remember the occasion when the honourable member visted the Khmer Republic. Immediately before and after his return he was bitterly critical ….
– 1 rise to order. My question related to Pakistan. If the right honourable gentleman is not aware that the Khmer Republic is about 2,000 miles from Pakistan 1 now tell him so.
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I rise to order.
– Order! I was about to say something. The relevance of answers to questions asked was a matter of some debate yesterday. I suggest that all Ministers should co-operate and at all times ensure that their answers are relevant to the questions asked.
– I think 1 will be able to prove that there is a relevance in point of principle even though in geographical distance there may be a distinction that can be drawn. But I am not interested in distances, 1 am interested in people and I am interested in the principles that can be adopted. I repeat that the honourable gentleman was very unhappy - or so it appeared for the time being - that there had been a rape of the Khmer Republic by the North Vietnamese. He suggested that that was just as bad, in effect and in action, as the activities of the Germans in Belgium during the Second World War. But he changed his position quickly. This was understandable and I do not blame him for doing it. He likes to be here and he knew he could very easily have had a visitation of the wrath of the then Victorian Executive.
– 1 rise to order. I ask, Mr Speaker, that you apply standing order 145 in this case. The Prime Minister said he would find it easy to show the relevance of his remarks to the question. I make all allowances for his difficulties in most matters of relevance but he has still not shown relevance in this case. Secondly, he has referred to a political body.
-Order! If the honourable member asks me to interpret the Standing Orders let me remind him that he has raised a point of order and he should not then proceed to debate the subject matter of the question.
– I rise to order.
-If you will wait I will rule on the point of order before the Chair.
– There was another point of relevance I wanted to mention.
-Order! 1 want the House to understand that relevancy is perhaps the most difficult subject on which the Chair has to adjudicate. I want to say quite frankly that some of the questions asked this morning have been far too long and that it has become a custom in this House to deliver answers that are far too long. On numerous occasions I have requested the co-operation of both honourable members and Ministers, firstly, in asking questions and, secondly, in replying to those questions.
In regard to the question of relevance, there has been both by Ministers and by members asking questions an attempt to bring in irrelevant matter. I have also pointed out to the House that if the Standing Orders are to be interpreted as some members believe they should be interpreted, this House would be unworkable at question time and I think that the freedom of members in debates would also become rather like a relic of the olden days when parliamentarians were suppressed. Therefore, in the past I have given perhaps an over liberal interpretation of some of the Standing Orders and I intend to pursue that policy. But I would ask honourable members on both the Government and the Opposition sides, to cooperate in relation to the 2 matters that have been raised this morning.
Getting back to the point of order, I reiterate that it is very difficult to adjudicate on whether something is relevant and sometimes the Chair cannot see the relevance of something that is being introduced, whether it be in a question or in debate. But I suggest to all Ministers that when they answer questions they should concentrate on answering them and should not bring in irrelevant matters.
– Relating the question of principle to East Pakistan, the Government has taken the view, as have several other governments, that this is a matter for the interna! government of Pakistan by the Pakistan Government itself.
– Like Vietnam?
– This is an interjection which I would like to be given 5 minutes to answer, but I will not ask for the indulgence of the House to give me the opportunity to do so. We regard this as a matter for the Pakistan Government itself, as the legitimate Government of both East and West Pakistan. Of course, we regret the loss of life, and I can make it known here in the House just how much we regret that there should be bloodshed, particularly because, I point out, recently there had been an election in both East and West Pakistan and the Awami League had received strong approval from the people of East Pakistan. We also welcome the statement by the President of Pakistan that he will try to ensure that civil power is resumed as soon as possible. We hope that he can very quickly put his statement in to practice and, above all, we express the view that there should be no more loss of life and that the leaders of the Awami League should be given full authority, civilly, to represent their people in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.
– Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation, or shall I make it after question time?
-I suggest that the honourable member make it after question time has concluded.
– Has the Prime Minister seen a statement by a constituent of mine, Sir Thomas Playford, stating that there is little future in a system that encourages expenditure by States without their possessing the responsibility of collection? Does he agree that uniform taxation may have its limitation? Does he doubt, as does Sir
Thomas Playford, the efficacy of. a growth tax as a method of ameliorating the problem of State growth commitments?
– I do not know, whether the honourable gentleman was grateful for the fact that Sir Thomas is a constituent of his or whether he was expressing surprise at the statement that Sir Thomas had made. Nonetheless, looking at the 2 parts of the .question, theoretically I think it is a very good principle that those who spend the money should be responsible directly for the collection of the taxation. But the position is that uniform taxation has existed for a long time and the Commonwealth has on occasions offered to permit the States to resume the imposition of direct income taxation provided they took full responsibility and issued their own returns. The States have not appeared to be very anxious to accept full responsibility. They would like us to do the collecting and to issue the assessments, but they themselves do not want to come into the administrative business. Nonetheless, it is a very difficult problem and one to which I cannot give an answer at question time. At to the second part of the honourable gentleman’s question, at the last Premiers Conference the Commonwealth informed the Premiers that it was looking for a growth tax for them. The relevant departments concerned, led by the Treasury, are working on the problems and we hope to be able to put some proposals to the Premiers at the time of the next Conference either in June or, at the latest, in July.
-I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In doing so, I refer to the national wage case decision in which it was clearly indicated that the 6 per cent increase did not relate to over award payments. Has this limitation meant that many employees have not received the full 6 per cent increase and other employees have received no increase at all? If this is the case, how is it that the right honourable gentleman suggested that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission lacked integrity, that its assessments were wrong and that its decision was not economically sustainable? Will the Prime Minister now table the evidence on which he relied in order that this
House might assess the merits of the decision of the Commission?
– First of all, I have not used the word ‘integrity’ in relation to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. What I have said, and I emphasise it now, is that my wish is to try to strengthen the position of the Commission if the Government can do so. In particular, what I have been thinking is this: Once the Commission itself has made a decision in principle, can it ensure that not only all presidential members, but the commissioners themselves, are kept within the boundaries of the principles that have been announced by the Commission?
As to the honourable gentleman’s statement, the simple fact is that the 6 per cent increase in the national wage case will in time, because it will become pervasive, mean an increase in the wages bill of something like $900m. This is an increase of hundreds of millions of dollars more than was expected at the time the budgets of the Commonwealth and the States were announced. It also means that, whilst we could not at that time have thought there was the prospect of strong demand inflation which would be superimposed upon cost inflation, the effect of the decision is not only to influence cost inflation strongly, but also to increase demand and to superimpose demand inflation on top of cost increase. This is the big problem that we face at the moment.
As to the second part of the question relating to over award payments or the wage drift, these factors mainly are induced as the result of strike action by the employees. That strike action means that superimposed uponwhat the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission itself feels is the maximum that the economy can afford to pay is an additional wage drift of approximately 40 per cent of the total wage increases. That, in itself, must in time have a very bud impact upon the country. Naturally, we look to the employers themselves to try to resist the wage drift. But when men go out on strike and it is not so much a question of the profitability of the company that is involved but, in fact, its viability or its very existence we can understand why employers have frequently to capitulate to unjustified wage claims?
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. During the course of question time, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) referring to East Pakistan said, for some reason or other, that my position regarding the Khmer Republic in its relationship with the Vietnamese, North and South, has changed. I have not changed my position. I believe that the North Vietnamese are in aggression against both Laos and Cambodia, that both Vietnamese are now using Laos and Cambodia as their battleground, and that they should all go home. My position is that I believe that no-one has the right to slaughter people-
– Order! The honourable member will not debate the question. He is making a personal explanation. In no circumstances will the honourable member be allowed to develop his personal explanation into a debate.
– The question, as I saw it, was the slaughter of innocent people. This is the position I hold in relation to the Khmer Republic as I do in respect of Pakistan.
– (KingsfordSmith) - I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. When answering my question in which I referred to the use of the word ‘integrity’ by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in relation to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, the Prime Minister denied that he had used that expression at all. I refer honourable members to page 288 of Hansard of 18th February where the right honourable gentleman is reported to have said:
So the Commission must have its integrity and its authority re-established.
In view of that, I ask the right honourable gentleman to withdraw and apologise.
– by leave - For the information of honourable members I present the official report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. With the indulgence of the House I should like to pay a tribute to those members who accompanied me on this mission. I refer to Senators Dittmer, Condon Byrne and Rae and the honourable members for Swan (Mr Bennett), the Northern Territory (Mr Calder), Burke (Mr Keith Johnson) and Balaclava (Mr Whittorn). A Minister would not want to lead a more loyal mission or one of which he could be more proud. I table the report.
– I seek leave to make a short statement to clear up a misunderstanding concerning an industrial situation at Williamstown dockyard.
-Is leave granted?
– Far be it for the Opposition to prevent a Ministerial statement being made in the House, but the practice which has been followed is that when Ministers intend making statements, in order to secure our leave they give the shadow Ministers a couple of hours notice of the nature and texts of such statements. If the Minister wishes to make a statement in a couple of hours under those conditions I shall see that leave is given him. Perhaps he can make the statement this afternoon.
– In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969, I present the interim report relating to the following proposed work:
Ordered that the report be printed.
– On behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory I present the Committee’s report on Sunday observance in the Australian Capital Territory. I seek leave to make a short statement in connection with that report.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– Mr Speaker, the report which I have just tabled on behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, is one of considerable importance both to the growing numbers of residents and visitors to the Australian Capital Capital Territory and to other Australian cities. Honourable members will be aware of the very great loneliness which often characterises large cities. It is evident in Canberra as elsewhere. When the Minister referred the question of Sunday observance to the Committee some thought the matter trifling and inconsequential. Let me assure honourable members that the Committee rejected that view and, by contrast, went to considerable trouble to gather evidence and encourage witnesses to express views about how best to spend Sundays in the national capital. We believe that the loneliness to which I have referred could be more serious in Canberra than elsewhere. We have found that there is a very high proportion of young single persons living in hostels and away from their home environment. This fact, coupled with a somewhat lack-lustre variety in the range of facilities available to residents and visitors, has led some to remark that Canberra is dull, especially at weekends. As a consequence there is said to be a ‘weekend exodus’.
The Committee examined evidence of these matters from a wide variety of sources. There was no lack of witnesses and I am satisfied and want to assure the House that a full and proper consideration of this matter has resulted from our inquiry. I would like to take this opportunity of saying that though the Committee is made up of members from practically every Australian State, it is in a unique position to assist the Minister and the people of the Australian Capital Territory by conducting inquiries on behalf of the local community. It should be remembered that New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland have all introduced legislation in recent years affecting various aspects of Sunday observance. Tasmania has recently conducted a comprehensive inquiry and passed legislation which has sought to encompass Sunday observance in all its important aspects. Consequently, the members of the Australian Capital Territory Committee, coming as they do from these States, were in an ideal position to consider the matter on behalf of the Australian Capital Territory.
I make brief reference to several of our more important conclusions. Having referred to the need to brighten the Canberra weekend, the Committee though unable satisfactorily to define the concept of a continental Sunday, nevertheless tried to give expression to a felt desire to create an atmosphere conducive to the enjoyment of leisure. Consequently we have recommended that the use of sporting ovals be permitted before 12 noon and that, in certain circumstances, horse and dog racing be conducted on Sundays. It was considered that certain restrictive legislation be repealed or amended to allow limited Sunday trading in hotels and we have requested consideration of the introduction of taverns or non-residential licensed hotels. Mindful of the effects on Sunday employment and anxious to preserve the concept of Sunday as a family day when worship and recreation can go hand-in-hand, we have sought to have legislation enacted to protect employees from being forced to work on Sundays.
We have been concerned to permit the sale and consumption of liquor as an adjunct to normal social recreation but, at the same time, to avoid the suggestion that we wish to encourage the drinking for its own sake. Nothing was further from the Committee’s mind and we have recommended a limitation on the general sale and the consumption of liquor after midnight on Saturday nights and at fairs, shows and particularly on sporting arenas. These measurements are consistent with similar arrangements being made elsewhere in Australia. Whilst it can be said that we have attempted to meet the normal needs of Canberra residents and the large visitor population, it cannot be concluded that what is recommended will, if implemented, lead to any threat to the moral strength of this community or to jeopardise the observation of Sunday as a day of worship by those who wish to do so.
This Report opens the way for those responsible for administration and legislation in the Australian Capital Territory to meet for the years ahead the Sunday needs of the diverse age groups, cultural, ethnic and religious interests, and the swelling tide of tourists who come to enjoy and be enlightened by what we are creating in Canberra. Few of these tourists leave unimpressed by this city. Many return to their communities with Canberra in their minds as a model to be emulated. In carrying this inquiry to a successful conclusion the Committee has, I believe, given satisfaction to the residents of the Australian Capital Territory and promoted the image of Canberra so that Australians can take justifiable pride in it. Few who settled here in the early years, could visualize the majestic future of the Australian Capital Territory. We should plan its progress with special consideration to environment and the expansion of cultural, sporting, entertainment and community activities in an effort to make it a warm and friendly city, and to ensure that as the years unfold before us, the national capital will develop in beauty and splendour. I commend the report to the House.
Ordered that the report be printed.
– by leave - Immediately before coming into the House I was handed a telegram and a copy of a cutting from a recent Victorian newspaper which indicated that there could be considerable industrial upheaval as a result of a situation at Williamstown Naval Dockyard where it has been planned to hold an arts exhibition during the employees’ lunch break. The story as related in the Press indicates that the management of the Dockyard felt that this exhibition would be better conducted elsewhere because of the heavy construction programme at the Dockyard. It is true, of course, that there is a very heavy programme on hand and for the future, and the management felt that the local town hall might be a more suitable venue. I totally disagree with this view. I believe that where an art exhibition of this kind can be held in the environment of the work place - in this case in the lunch room, where it will not interfere in any way with the work of the Dockyard - it should be encouraged. I welcome activities such as this provided the exhibition or other cultural activity is genuine and is held under reasonable auspices. In this case I understand that the National Gallery is organising the exhibition. I welcome the exhibition. Immediately I leave this chamber I will ask the Navy to take steps to give every assistance to the organisers and I will make my sentiments known to the management of the Dockyard.
That grievances be noted.
– Beyond doubt the most discussed subject on the economic agenda is the problem of inflation inflicted on this country by the LiberalCountry Party coalition in 1949, and which has markedly increased ever since. After 2 decades of Liberal Government inflation is now part and parcel of its economic tools of trade. Surely in dealing with the evils of inflation, but more particularly its effects, a responsible government with any semblance of sensitivity, concern or compassion is politically, socially and morally bound to ask itself: What section or sections of the community suffer the most from its effects and have the least defence against it? Who are they who are being forced to subsist on charity and to endure degradation and poverty because of it? Who are they who are being stripped of all semblance of human dignity and self-respect because of it?
Obviously this Government does not know that they are the aged, the sick, the infirm, the families with only one parent, the unemployed migrant, the Aboriginal, the unemployed and the chronically ill.
Why, after 20 years of Liberal Government, has this Government persistently ignored these questions? The answer is simple. It is a government which blatantly supports private affluence and condones public squalor. The record of this Government should be a matter of total public condemnation. Let me, because of limitation of time, confine my remarks to one area of need which has reached crisis proportions. I refer to the plight of the sick aged. This Government’s attitude and policy can be summed up in two simple sentences. Firstly, welfare has become a matter of politics, rather than humanity. Secondly, the Government has created a vast number of pro fessional beggars because it has preferred to patch up in an ad hoc fashion a system which is outdated, archaic and at best rotten.
My colleagues and I on this side of the House have persistently stressed that this is a matter of urgency and that Government action is needed now, particularly in view of the crushing financial burden facing nonprofit nursing homes. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard recommendations of the Commonwealth Committee of Inquiry into Health Insurance and the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs relating to nursing homes and nursing home benefits.
Nursing Homes 15.9 Nursing homes are conducted by the States, religious and charitable institutions and private individuals. Only in the case of homes conducted by private individuals are charges fixed with a view to profit. Charges of the order of $50 to $60 a week are not uncommon. Although nursing home treatment has never been within the hospital insurance scheme, patients have been subsidised by the Commonwealth almost for the life of the scheme to the extent of $2 a day. This benefit has represented a relatively small proportion of the fees charged by many of the homes and sometimes great hardship has been experienced in meeting them. 15.10 The Commonwealth has recently introduced a higher scale of benefits for patients requiring intensive care. 15.11 This new benefit of $5 a day should greatly assist patients who are eligible for it, and at the same time, allow them to receive a better standard of care, provided the proprietors of the homes do not increase their charges so as to absorb the benefits, without improving the standard of care. Patients who require only light care are not eligible for the new benefit and their financial problems remain for them to resolve as best they can. 15.12 It was repeatedly stated in evidence before the Committee that the standard of accommodation and care in nursing homes varies greatly. It was stated that in some homes the accommodation is of the highest order and programmes of geriatric and rehabilitative treatment have been developed. In others, however, it was said that the accommodation is poor, the food unattractive and monotonous, the treatment almost solely confined to the administration of drugs and a large proportion of the patients become prematurely moribund and remain bed-ridden until the end. 15.13 Although the standard of accommodation and care provided by nursing homes may not come directly within our terms of reference we feel it incumbent on us to stress the urgent need for the Commonwealth Government and the Stale Governments to jointly investigate all aspects of nursing home services with a view to joint remedial action where necessary. 15.14 The need for Commonwealth-State cooperation in a simple matter of terminology was mentioned to us many times during the inquiry. It was stated that the dissatisfaction felt by insured personswho were accommodated in nursing homes, but received no fund benefits, was aggravated by reason of their nursing homes being registered under State laws as ‘hospitals’. Because they were so designated, the insured persons believed that hospital benefits should have been available to help meet the accommodation charges. Whatever inquiries and discussions are necessary before other nursing home problems are dealt with, there seems no reason why steps cannot be taken immediately to end the confusion and misunderstandings which occur because the expression hospital’ means one thing to Commonwealth authorities and health insurance organisations, and something different to some State authorities. 15.15 We recommend:
that the States be requested to prohibit the inclusion of the word ‘hospital’ in the name of nursing homes and other institutions which are not eligible for hospital insurance benefits.
Nursing homes and Nursing home benefits
That immediate co-operative action should be taken by the Commonwealth and the States to end the confusion in terminology between hospitals’, ‘private hospitals’ and ‘nursing homes’, so that it is clear what benefits, if any, are payable in respect of bed occupancy within an institution.
The reasons for the crisis are simple. There is an inadequate rate of pension which can only be described as a pittance. There are insufficient nursing home beds to cater for the sick aged especially where their only source of income is the full pension. In South Australia we need at least 1,000 beds to cope with current geriatric problems. There exist large numbers - and these turn to non-profit homes - of full pensioners for whom it is impossible to expect support from their sons or daughters who are themselves in the low income earning group. It is utterly impossible for them to supplement the pension of dad or mum to meet the additional cost between the pension rate and the nursing home cost which ranges in South Australia between $45 and $140 per week. Another reason for this crisis is the failure of the Government to update the ordinary bed subsidy of $2 a day and the intensive care subsidy of $5 a week relative to increased costs since 1953 and 1969 respectively. Another factor is the failure of the Government to implement the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs or the Nimmo Committee.In its recommendations the Senate Select Committee said:
A form of nursing home insurance should be developed either as part of hospital insurance or as an acceptable ancilliary fund benefit, to provide cover over and above the existing arrangements for payment of Commonwealth benefits.
Let me put the position frankly. Most pensioners who have paid into a hospital fund over many years to provide cover when they cannot get into a public hospital find that when they go into a nursing home they have no cover whatsoever. What is the immediate solution? It may be short term if you like but certainly this Government’s solution up to this time has been nothing but a continuity of talk and words which will not solve the problem, despite the fact that old people will literally be evicted from private nursing homes. The Government should act immediately. I suggest the following: If the Government is reluctant to increase nursing home benefits generally because an increase may induce proprietors of private nursing homes to increase their fees, the Government should alter the provisions of the National Health Act regarding the payment of nursing home benefits so as to permit all nonprofit nursing homes to be paid an additional $2 a day for all persons in receipt of a full pension whether they are classified as ordinary nursing home care patients in Receipt of Commonwealth benefit of $2 a day or intensive care nursing home patients on $5 a day. If this action were taken these nursing homes would be able to meet their financial crisis. In South Australia there has been a crisis in this field for the past 3 years and if it had not been for the generous offer of the Dunstan Labor Government last month of an immediate $1 a day bed subsidy to non-profit nursing homes, which will cost the South Australian Government and the taxpayers between January and September of this year $300,000, the situation facing large numbers of our sick aged could only be described as grim.
The situation in Victoria is equally grim. The Melbourne ‘Age’ of 18th February 1971 under the heading ‘Homes for Aged May Throw Out Hundreds’ quoted the President of the Homes and Hospitals for the Aged as saying:
If we cannot get help, we will be forced to close sections of the bornes. In other words, many . patients will have to be turned out. .
More than 8,000 aged people are waiting for beds in four public metropolitan homes, average waiting time tour years.
That private homes for the aged run mainly by church and other voluntary organisations were in even more serious trouble. They get no State assistance and have to rely on donations and fees.
The current cost of a bed in a public home for the aged is about $54 a week; in private hospitals the cost is at least $80 and generally more. These charges are not covered by hospital benefits, which allow rebates only for accommodation in approved hospitals.
How much longer will this Government tolerate this appalling situation? Is it because the collective conscience of this nation has become educated to settle for too little? Why is it that the collective conscience of this nation happily tolerates the fact that they, the pensioners, survive only to exist? Why is it that a high proportion of our pensioners are prisoners in the sense that they are deprived of the full life of the community? Why is it that the pensioners are prisoners shackled to the misery forged by this Government? The Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay) made this very noble utterance to the House on 22nd March 1968:
What I have found has often made me feel physically sick, morally indignant and deeply determined to see the nation face its responsibilities. I beg the Government to move urgently to provide relief before too many more of these fine old people die in misery.
There was only one answer and that was a comprehensive policy to provide care for the aged in three stages - the well aged, the frail aged and the sick aged. I wholeheartedly endorse his noble sentiment but sentiment is no solution whatsoever to the plight of this sick aged. These grand utterances were made 3 years ago and because of this Government’s neglect their plight has grown worse. It has deepened and become grim. Whilst the Minister’s grand remarks are recorded, let me contrast the results of the policies of this Government over the last 20 years. We have an appalling density of poverty of 1 million people. This means that one in every 12 people is living in poverty or in a condition of marginal poverty.
The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic Science in a survey in the city of Melbourne revealed that 6 per cent or 42,300 school children are living in poverty. The Federal Department of Social Services conducted its own inquiry. The Minister for Social Services does not deny this but he refuses to table the documents. The survey reveals that there are 50,000 age pensioners living in hovels. This is a ratio of 1 to 16. The Liberals may refer to this as their record but quite frankly we regard the position and the community regards the position as a national disaster. The issue of the care of the sick aged is a matter which must be dealt with now. The Opposition demands it and the community demands it. It is high time that we all - politicians and those outside this House - pondered on one simple proposition. We are the next generation of old people. Is this what we want for ourselves? Robert Frost once wrote-
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– During this month and the next few months the issue of sport will possibly hit the headlines in this country to an even greater extent than it did when the Olympic Games were held in Melbourne in 1956. Unfortunately at the moment sport is not being spoken of so much in the context of the achievements of our youth but has become a political issue. In recent weeks we have seen the Opposition and the Australian Council of Trade Unions working as one in their endeavour to force upon the Australian public and the Australian sporting bodies their views on the question of touring South African teams. However, my purpose in speaking today is not so much in this direction. I wish to speak out on behalf of sporting organisations.
Only last year an Australian team participated in the Commonwealth Games. Honourable members will recall that at that time Mr Tunstall, the manager of the team, was highly critical of the assistance given to the team by the Australian Government and the Australian people. I think $16,000 in cash was given to assist our people in their participation so far away. At that time there was quite a deal of controversy and discussion on the question of government aid to sporting bodies. It is practical to recall the editorial which appeared in the Australian’ newspaper of 28th July 1970. I have sought the permission of the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), who is at the table, and with the concurrence of the House I incorporate this editorial in Hansard.
The indignation of amateur sports ‘ officials at what they regard as niggardly government support for Australian teams at events like the Commonwealth Games has become a standard feature of such occasions. Mr Arthur Tunstall, general manager of the Australian team at Edinburgh, has long been one of the leading proponents ot the argument that as ‘official’ representatives of their country, and earning it considerable international kudos, the athletes have a natural claim on public funds.
No such claim exists as a right. Spending $7m at Expo 70 and giving the Edinburgh Games team only $16,000 may illustrate a curious doublestandard on publicity values but neither money nor publicity can be the main considerations lor either side. The general argument has assumed new implications in recent years which most Tunstall-style advocates refuse to acknowledge.
One of them clearly is the point at which the extent of government subsidy, creates direct government influence, or the appearance of it.
Any dividing-line that even existed between international politics and international sport has been demolished by the years of wrangling over competition with South Africa. The general attitude of Australian sporting bodies on this question has been to insist on complete independence from government influence. How is this to be squared with growing dependence on government money is not clear - especially when, in most cases, these are the same bodies which constitute the Olympic and Commonwealth games organisations.
The viewpoint represented by Mr Tunstall is working itself into a corner. It is claiming on one hand, for example, that our sporting activities are non-political but, on the other, they earn political benefits warranting heavier subsidisation. It is arguing that independence of the Government is essential in policy but not in finance. And it is using as evidence the examples provided by other countries which often make no secret whatever of political ambitions pursued through sport.
The Government told the Commonwealth Games Association quite openly that it was unwilling to go beyond $16,000 because it did not want it thought that it was influencing association policy or that of its constituents. If it erred in calculating the figure it was on the safe side. The Government obviously has hs thinking about what is. involved much clearer than have many sports officials.
For the purposes of this discussion I shall make reference to one or two of the passages which appear in the editorial. The editorial is headed ‘A going price on gold medals’. The article stated: .. ,.
One of them clearly is the-‘ point .at which the extent of government subsidy creates, direct government influence, or the appearance of it. ‘
The ‘Australian’ article at that time underlined a fact which is clear and has been adhered to by members on this side of the House when it said:
The general attitude of Australian sporting bodies on this question has been to insist on complete independence from government influence.
The final part of the editorial debated whether or not the SI 6,000 offered by the Government was sufficient. The editorial stated:
If it erred in calculating the figure it was on the safe side. The Government obviously has its thinking about what is involved. much clearer than have many sports officials.
This was the argument against .government assistance to Australian sporting teams by The Australian’.
It is very difficult to calculate accurately the number of teams which have gone from our shores to represent Australia. However, on the work that’ I have done I have been able to ascertain that1 137 Australian teams have made application to our national overseas airline in the last 2 years to see whether some assistance could be given under the International Aviation Transport Association contra deal system. Therefore at least 137 Australian teams have travelled outside of this country to represent us in that time. I became truly familiar with the problems of sporting organisations in the latter part of last year when I led an Australian karate team to Japan for the world championships. The amount of publicity that our country received as a result of this visit and the goodwill that we created between here and Japan were something which would be very hard to measure in terms of dollars. Yet, the Australian team members had to meet the costs out of their own pockets. Certainly some people might say, “Well, if they wanted to go they should have had to pay’. Granted, we did not meet with a great deal of success in the world championships. However, Australia made a good impression at the championships which were attended by the representatives of 42 or 43 other nations. It is right that at this time I should make reference to the fact that the fares of a number of the teams were met completely by their governmens which were not necessarily the governments of Socialist states. Apparently the governments of many other countries throughout the world make contributions to assist the promotion of sport and their sporting teams.
I know that the question of a ministry for sports is purely one for State governments. I am not suggesting that a Federal ministry of sport should be established. I believe that the State of New South Waley is the only one to have introduced such a ministry. I say good luck to that State because this is something that should be done right throughout Australia. What I am critical of is the complete lack of any financial contribution, other than to benevolent organisations, by governments to sport in Australia. I make reference to the representations I made about a year ago on behalf of the Eastern Suburbs Junior Rugby Football Club in Brisbane and the Morningside Youth Club. At that time these sporting bodies, which depend very largely upon public and parental support for their very existence, made inquiries about the payment of sales tax. The Morningside Youth Club was forced to pay IS per cent sales tax on 4 gym mats. The Eastern Suburbs Junior Rugby Football club was forced to pay sales tax on lights which it was installing around its oval so that members of the club could practise at night. Here we had an area where the Commonwealth Government, if it sincerely believed that it should not be directlyinvolved financially in sport, could have assisted in a manner completely divorced from any accusations of direct influence or interference. I hope that the Minister for the Navy (Dr Mackay), who has recently been promoted to the Ministry and who is at the table, is still inspired with the idea’s of a backbencher and that he will go to Cabinet and advocate this cause. I believe it is high time that we in Australia did something for the young people.
We spend hours in this House talking about the damage which is done because of the neglect of families. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) allocates millions of dollars each year in this area yet there is a simple answer to a big part of the problem. This is the provision or more facilities for our youth so that they will have an opportunity to grow up in a world of understanding, clean competition and sport. We in Australia are doing absolutely nothing on a Federal level to essist anyone in this regard.
Let me turn finally to the question which I discussed earlier, of whether or not the Government should provide assistance to sporting teams leaving our shores. I would like to see the establishment of a completely independent body to look into this question to ascertain whether or not governmental assistance in this field would be interpreted as influence. If it were decided that government assistance would not do any harm then this same body could decide independently the allocation of funds to assist our teams. I am not saying that the Commonwealth Government should pay the full expense account of al! our teams. If your yo-ing sportsmen and sportswomen want to go overseas, the fact that they have been chosen to represent Australia is a great honour to them and they would be happy to make a contribution if they could. But let us as a nation and as a Government show the young people of Australia that we are proud of them and let us acclaim them when they return having covered themselves with glory. Let us show that we are prepared to back them some of the way and let us reverse the present policies which are not in the best interests of the young people of Australia and of Australia as a nation.
– I refer to a matter of great national importance: The meeting held yesterday by the National Labour Advisory Council which did not finish until 1 o’clock this morning and could have thrown this nation into the greatest industrial confrontation that this country has ever seen. That would include the great maritime strike of 1890. It is quite clear that the Government had hoped that the NLAC would produce an impasse and create a political climate that would enable the Government to be re-elected in a situation which would normally not apply. The Government was bitterly disappointed. I pay tribute to the negotiating ability of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ team which represented the trade unions at that meeting. I pay tribute also to the common sense which prevailed among the employers’ representatives at that meeting.
Quite clearly the most disappointed party at the tripartite meeting of the NLAC was the Government. It obviously set out to push the employers and the ACTU into a costly and disastrous confrontation which could have cost as much as $100m each time the Government collected a fine of $1,000. The Government foolishly believes that such a situation would create a favourable political climate for its re-election in a snap election more than a year before this Parliament’s term expires. Employers, however, are not willing to lose millions of dollars just to provide political profit for a stale, tired and arrogant Government that has held office continuously for 21 years and which knows that it faces certain defeat at the next election, no matter when the election is held. It must be defeated because the industrial unrest that now prevails flows directly from the Government’s incompetence as an administrator and as a consequence of the failure of this Government’s own laws to operate for the purpose for which they were designed.
Altogether about $49,000 is outstanding in fines. Of this amount about $38,000 was imposed under the old legislation which even this Government eventually conceded had failed in its purpose and which was eventually repealed by the Parliament. Of the balance imposed under the new legislation some of the penalties are believed to have been imposed unlawfully by the Commonwealth Industrial Court. The validity of these penalties are almost certain to be tested in the High Court in the near future. This leaves only about $6,000 that can be said to have been imposed lawfully under the existing law. The employers have indicated that they see a distinction between the old fines, amounting to $38,000, which were imposed under the now defunct law and the fines imposed under the current law. My information is that most employers see some merit in the claim of the ACTU that the fines imposed under the now defunct law, repealed by the Parliament as being improper to be continued any longer, ought to be waived.
The ACTU is bound by its congress decision to resist all fines imposed for strikes taken against arbitrary decisions imposed upon unions by the. Arbitration Commission, whether imposed under the new law or under the old law. But the House will see that there is now only about $6,000 altogether in unpaid fines that can be said to have been imposed validly under the. existing law. I believe that employers see no sense at all in the Government’s plan to provoke a national strike each time fines of this magnitude are to be collected. They want a solution to industrial unrest. They do not want a continuation of the unrest which the Government’s deliberate policy is designed to bring about. The employers know that the existing law has failed. They know that the Government has failed. They see great merit in the proposition of the ACTU for a close examination of the dew proposals recently put forward by the ACTU and recently recommended by the policy committee of the Australian Labor Party in Adelaide for the conference of that Party in June this year.
The recommendations that have been put forward by the ACTU for the consideration of employers have the backing of the Australian Labor Party. When the next election is held, that will be the sort of reform which this country will see brought about. The proposal of the ACTU is reasonable. It ought to be considered properly and in depth. The Committee which recommended the proposal and which will be recommending the proposal to the next federal conference of the Australian Labor Party consists of 5 of the most powerful and influential industrial leaders in Australia. It is not some nondescript committee. It consists of Mr Hawke; the general secretary of the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations, Mr
Barney Williams; Mr John Egerton, one of the most powerful influences in the trade union movement in Queensland; Mr Ray Gietzelt, the general secretary of the third biggest union in Australia; and Mr John Ducker, the assistant secretary of the Labour Council of New South Wales and the State president of the Australian Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) was present and concurrd with the recommendations that are to be put to the Federal Conference.
So what Mr Hawke put to the conference of employers yesterday was a proposition that carries with it the endorsement of the Labor movement, politically and industrially subject to what the Conference does in June. I have not time to read it all out but 1 want to read the preamble to the proposition which was hammered out in Adelaide. It said:
Good industrial relations will be best achieved by agreements initially arrived at between trade unions and employers. Such agreement should contain provisions to ensure their observance by parties to them. The provisions most likely to be effectivein this regard will vary according to the circumstances and history of the industrial situation within which the agreement is negotiated. As a guide to parties negotiating industrial agreements the following provision would be appropriate for inclusion. In the case of a breach by an employer or by a union or by employees at the direction or with the concurrence of the union,$500; such amount shall be recoverable only at the suit of the employer orunion as the case may be in civil proceedings.
Then follows a detailed list of principles which it is believed will ensure the success of such a proposal and which, unfortunately, lack of time prevents me from reading. It is nothing new for the ACTU to see that agreements made under its auspices are carried out. Some ofthese agreements already contain enforcement provisions. For example, let me quote the headlines from a newspaper today in relation to the stewards strike on ships servicing Tasmania, which strike has been lifted as a direct consequence of Mr Hawke’s intervention in which he pointed out to the stewards that they were bound by an agreement to exempt the Tasmanian and Weipa trade from disputes of this kind. The Union immediately responded and lifted the strike so far as Tasmania and Weipa were concerned.
Another instance of ACTU intervention in settlement of a dispute covered by an agreement occurred earlier this year when
Mr Hawke again used his influence to settle a wool dumping dispute involving storemen and packers in Brisbane. The present system injects an adversary element into disputes which, in many cases, could have been settled amicably if the penal props could be kicked away from the unreasonable employers and replaced by the kind of face to face frankness in industrial relations which Mr Hawke, the ACTU and the ALP advocate. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard the policy statement that was issued after the meeting at which the tripartite statement was issued yesterday.
STATEMENT ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF MEETING OF NLAC 21 ST APRIL 1971
In the light of the agreement previously arrived at between the employers and the unions as to appropriate guidelines to be followed in the settlement of industrial disputes and parties emphasised the desirability of unions and employers adhering to these provisions, particularly during the period which would be involved in the above discussions.
The employers were unable to associate themselves with this view and in these circumstances the ACTU and the employers understood that the government will need to decide on its course of action. For their part, the Treasurer and the Minister for Labour and National Service -
I am sorry that I cannot refer to all of that statement, but these references are important: The statement indicates that the employers have now undertaken to meet the ACTU and to examine in depth the proposition that Mr Hawke and the Australian Labor Party have put forward; it indicates that it sees a distinction between the old fines and the new fines. The Government, I am told, indicated its disappointment by stating that, whilst it had no way of stopping the ACTU and the employers from continuing these negotiations, it considers it of paramount importance that the arbitration system be maintained. We agree with that. But-
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Luchetti)
Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) chooses to talk about potential strikes on a national basis in response to real or assumed provocation by this Government or some other body. In the process thereof he draws our attention to the great good works of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in, as he called it, lifting the current shipping strike in relation to Tasmania. That is a grave overstatement of the position. I wish to talk about the effect of interstate shipping, and in particular interstate non-shipping, on the island State of Tasmania. I make it clear that I much prefer to espouse causes than to join bandwagons, political or otherwise, and I hope it will be taken as indicative of the fact that I believe this to be an entirely worthy cause that I raise the matter now. It affects not only the electors of Denison but the whole of the Tasmanian population.
The present situation is that the totally irresponsible strike of the Marine Stewards and Pantrymen’s Union has brought about a position of almost total isolation, by surface transport, of the island of Tasmania. The fact that there has been a temporary release of a couple of ships to bring essential goods to the island is only a drop in the ocean, as it were. The question remains that in a week or so large scale unemployment will be experienced in no uncertain fashion in Tasmania if this strike action is to continue its effects. I say this is an irresponsible action, and I think that there is no fear of contradiction in that matter. I do not want to take time now to go into the work provisions of the shipping stewards concerned in this matter, but people on this side of the House and probably many on the other side will take a lot of convincing that there is any grave need so far as they are concerned.
The island State of Tasmania is totally dependent upon shipping for its surface transport connections. As honourable members will well know, only a small proportion of freight is possible of movement economically and even physically by air transport. So the absence of road and rail transport leaves Tasmania, as is well known, totally dependent upon its surface shipping transport. The effects are not passing effects of strikes such as that at the moment and of other disruptions from time to time in the interstate shipping service. The effects are profound and lasting. Not only is production in Tasmania impeded and inhibited but even the supplies of essential commodities at this point of time are declining and wanting. For example, supplies of materials such as nitrous oxide, which is used in anaesthetics, ammonia, which is used ,a cool stores in the apple industry, and chlorine used in drinking water purification are running down in the island of Tasmania at the moment as a direct result of this irresponsible industrial action.
I hope that 1 have established in short measure the dependence of Tasmania on its shipping. The question is: How do we solve this problem in the long term? It clearly is easy to propose, and I think a very good case could be made for it, a Commonwealth subsidy for Tasmanian shipping. I previously have put such a case to the former Prime Minister and the forme: Minister for
Shipping and Transport. They were not prepared at that stage to accept the possibility. Such a subsidy, of course, would tend to create precedents of a kind that could be put forward equally by some of the far flung corners of the continental mainland part of Australia, for example, the further parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory or Western Australia.
But 1 would argue in this regard that the total absence of other surface transport alternatives makes Tasmania’s position unique. Furthermore, it is operating, or trying to operate, as a State entity whereas these other areas, remote though they might be from the main axis of economic activity in Australia - the Sydney-Melbourne axis - are nevertheless parts of State entities which can take into cognisance their relationships with the States themselves. But Tasmania is entirely an island and any part of it has the same share as the whole in the problem of Bass Strait separating Tasmania from the larger island of mainland Australia. The question of subsidy for shipping to Tasmania can be put then on the basis that Commonwealth money aplenty is involved in beef roads in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. There have been considerable railroads built with Commonwealth assistance, for example, the Mount Isa railway. I forget the exact figure but I think the Commonwealth involvement was $50m. I believe that a valid case can be put for regarding as a direct equivalent the possibility for a continuing subsidy for surface shipping to Tasmania.
There are other aspects of the matter. I do not suggest that in this Tasmania should merely have its hand out and be hoping for Commonwealth assistance without doing anything itself. The question of freight rates was raised last year at length and was considered in some depth by the commercial people of Tasmania and by others dependent upon their effective operations. That is a question that I do not want to go into now but which I think is at least a twosided question. The present Senate committee investigation into freight rates as they relate to Tasmanian shipping may provide answers which are a little more specific than those hitherto worked on. However, there is a question of rationalisation of the ports within Tasmania. In some respects Tasmania is in the happy position of having a decentralised population by Australian standards. It has at least 3 major ports on the northern coastline and one, Hobart, in the south. Therefore there is a problem of rationalisation as to just which ports of call should be taken into account when we are talking about shipping between the mainland of Australia and the island of Tasmania. However, this is a matter which is being thought of.
I would like to go on to say that Tasmania’s achievement in the past 50 years or so in maintaining its economic viability should not be overlooked. I draw to the attention of honourable members that Tasmania, with about 3 per cent of Australia’s population, has within a few decimal points or so maintained fairly constantly 3 per cent of the Australian industrial population since the beginning of industrialisation in Australia, certainly since federation. That, of course, has been substantially on the basis of hydro-electric developments and the attractiveness of cheap power to some major industries. But this is something which is becoming increasingly hard to maintain, and even the maintenance of industries which are already there becomes increasingly difficult in the light of these shipping problems and in particular the irresponsible actions of the kind to which I referred earlier.
There are other possibilities than subsidising shipping to Tasmania. One begins to wonder whether in the light of the operations of the Australian waterfront and, perhaps one should say, in the light of the apparent weaknesses from time to time of some of the shipping companies, not just in Tasmania but generally, in dealing with this problem, as I think Mr Alan Reid mentioned in an article a week or so ago, one could make a very good case, wherever the weakness or irresponsibility lies, for thinking of re-attaching Tasmania to the Australian mainland. It is only 11,000 years since it was so attached and Aboriginals walked across the land bridge that then existed. The rise in sea level of some 300 feet which drowned Bass Strait still leaves it a shallow body of water. I seriously put forward the proposition that it is within the region of engineering and technological competence, even if it is thought to be rather high-flown financially, to bridge Bass Strait, perhaps at a cost of several hundred million dollars, or alternatively to tunnel, or to do both, thereby permanently linking this island State with the mainland and obviating the continually recurring problem of shipping irresponsibility and the shipping depenence of Tasmania.
Finally, I would add one other comment. In the continuing development of container ports throughout the country there will be only 2 or 3 places in Australia which can be considered viable for container termini development when container ships reach capacities of several hundred thousand tons or something of that order. One such place is the estuary of the Huon River south of Hobart in southern Tasmania. If it were developed in the way in which some such port in Australia will need to be developed, with increasing congestion in Sydney and Melbourne tending to put those ports further away from being a viable proposition in this regard, I believe that the proposals that I have already spoken of would be even more to the point in the tying of Tasmania’s economy to the national economy or, if you like, tying the national economy to that of Tasmania. I have only a couple of seconds left so I reiterate. . . .
– Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired.
Mr FitzPATRICK (Darling) (12.12)- 1 wish to raise the question of the congestion in the high frequency radio spectrum and put the case of the people in the far outback areas who depend on the Royal Flying Doctor Service, not only for urgent medical treatment but also for communication with the outside world generally. I draw the attention of the House to the fact that in 1965 a meeting of the International Telecommunications Organisation was held in Geneva at which it was decided to standardise throughout the world a single side band radio instead of the double side band radio. Australia agreed to this change and also agreed that the changeover should begin in 1970-71 and be completed in 1973. The changeover is being made on a world-wide basis as a means of relieving congestion in the high frequency radio 12669/71- R-m spectrum and, it is believed, should result in improved services in the outback posts.
I have been informed by representatives of the Pastoral Association of West Darling that the first changeover from a base station was proposed to take place from Broken Hill in the middle of 1971. This would be followed throughout Australia through the Flying Doctor network. However, ] am now told that owing to the hostility generated by the direction of the Government to make this changeover, and its refusal to grant any subsidy to the financially hard-pressed graziers to make the changeover, this date is now very much in doubt. It must be remembered that for many people in the pastoral areas this radio system is their only means of communication. Between 4,000 and 5,000 medical consultations are carried out monthly and between 18,000 and 20,000 telegrams are sent each month throughout Australia by this means. In addition, there is the School of the Air to be considered. Everyone knows how important the School of the Air is in education in these outback areas. We also have the problem of the secondary school students having to leave boarding schools and undertake correspondence courses because of the financial circumstances of rural industry. A double side band set costs approximately $300 and a single side band set approximately $1,000, a difference of $700 per set. Because of the economic plight of primary producers, many of whom are woolgrowers in areas serviced by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, many would be unable to bear the cost of conversion which, as I have pointed out, is estimated to be approximately $700.
I cannot understand how this Government can claim it tries to assist the primary industries when it deals out this kind of treatment. If a grazier or some member of his family has a chronic medical complaint the afflicted person has to travel from areas hundreds of miles north of Tibooburra and Bourke to Sydney and Adelaide for specialist treatment. I have been told that some people in these areas often have to make such trips monthly. This involves not only extra travelling expenses but also extra accommodation expenses. Yet these people are allowed no taxation deduction for these extra expenses. They often have to travel to towns such as Tibooburra,
Bourke and Cobar to obtain provisions. Surely these must be the most remote and highest cost areas in Australia and yet for taxation purposes the people of these areas can claim only the zone B allowance, while people in places like Mount Isa, with its beautiful lakes and nice country, can claim the zone A allowance. This is very unjust. Is it any wonder that I have been continually presenting petitions with thousands of signatures asking that the matters of the zone allowance and the extra medical expenses be looked into? Of course, the honourable member for Grey (Mr Wallis) whose electorate is also covered by the flying doctor network, has had many petitions presented to him as well.
Why should the Government take away the only means of communication for these people? It must be remembered that when decimal currency was introduced the Government granted a subsidy for the conversion of accounting machines. The Government bore the full cost of converting new machines and a proportion of the cost of converting old machines, the proportion diminishing as the age of the machine increased. Of course, the consideration there was that the Government was dealing with big industrialists, mining syndicates and, of course, the trade union movement which would be prepared to take some direct action if its members were treated in the same way as the poor unfortunate graziers in the flying doctor area are being treated at the present time. It is time that this Government stopped talking about what it intends to do for the grazier and took some definite action. Surely it is not too much to ask that after 6 and 7 years of drought these people be allowed some subsidy to cover the cost of conversion of the double side band to the single side band radio service. Surely it is not too much to ask that they receive some consideration in regard to their travelling and accommodation expenses incurred in travelling to the cities for medical treatment.
– I desire to speak this morning on a subject about which I asked a question on 6th April of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Fairbairn) in his capacity as Minister in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I asked him if he was aware that there was a serious plague of crickets around the Kerang district of Victoria and New South Wales. Since then grasshoppers have appeared in large numbers in southern Riverina. I pointed out that the ibis rookeries had deteriorated to some extent - not greatly - and that we wanted to preserve them and to foster the establishment of rookeries so that in the future we would have any amount of ibses to combat many pests, such as crickets and grasshoppers, and animal diseases such as fluke. Perhaps some honourable members do not know a great deal about fluke. It was a real menace in sheep, particularly in southern Victoria, but it has been controlled to a large extent, probably as a result of modern science. But also the ibises have played their part in controlling it.
I want special attention to be paid to what I am submitting today by the Minister for Education and Science, who is in charge of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and also by the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) who is Chairman of the River Murray Commission, because water plays a big part in this matter. Also I want to draw the matter to the attention of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Wildlife Conservation which was established by this Chamber some little time ago and of which the honourable member for Henty (Mr Fox) is the Chairman. By the way, there is an open invitation to all these people and organisations to visit the rookeries near Kerang and to see their great extent. Recently a professor from America - I cannot remember his name at the moment - visited the rookeries and said that they were the greatest rookeries of these birds in the whole world, and he had travelled most extensively. He named a little known country and said there were similar rookeries there, but not on the same scale and not nearly as pictureque
Recently I made a very close survey of what is happening in the Kerang area, at the invitation of an enthusiast, a man who is dedicated to maintaining the ibis population. I refer to Mr Des Thomas of Kerang. Through his courtesy my wife and I inspected the rookeries at Kerang last weekend. Mr Thomas made his boat available for the occasion. Although I previously had seen some of the rookeries from the land, I was amazed to see the extent of them from the water. In travelling on the road around the rookeries one gets no idea of what they are like. They should become a great tourist attraction, but I am not talking on that line today; I am talking about the preservation of ibises and the extension of their breeding, wherever possible, so that they can assist primary producers, because primary producers are harassed not only by what is happening in the economy, as has been stated in this House so often, but also by pests of all kinds which they are continually fighting. The chief natural enemy of these pests is the ibis.
There is a lot of growth in these rookeries. One can go by boat through the different parts of the rookeries which are like small islands. I am told by Mr Thomas that when ibises start to breed they come in in large numbers and bounce up and down on the top of the growth and flatten it. Then they lay their eggs on the flattened part of the growth in a certain water area. At the weekend I saw ibises in all stages of development. Some had just come out of the egg, some were just moving about slowly, not away from the confines of the nest, and others were trying to fly. I saw some which were flying up into the trees and being fed by the mother birds. Of course, I saw thousands of fully grown birds. A strange thing which I found out from Mr Thomas - strange to me for I am not an expert on this matter, but he is; he has made a special study of it - is that ibises breed at almost any time of the year if the conditions are right. Of course, the conditions must be right. The main condition concerns the movement of water. Lack of water movement is unfavourable to ibis breeding, and if there is no water movement through the rookeries ibises may not breed for periods up to 5 years.
This is a very serious matter, and I want all honourable members present to think about it and to try and do what they can to maintain the ibis population. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate the letter in Hansard.
21 Albert Street, Kerang 3579. 18th April 1971.
Mr Winton Turnbull, M.P, BOORT. Vie.
I refer to item ‘Wildlife Preservation’ page 1461 Hansard April 6th 1971 and commend you for your valued contribution to our nation’s needs by raising the subject relating to the deterioration of ibis breeding rookeries in Australia and to the correlating increase with undesirable cricket and other pest infestations in your electorate with vast agricultural losses.
It is interesting to note that you addressed your question to Mr Fairbairn, Minister for Education and Science in his capacity as Minister for CSIRO who conceded the fact that control of water for irrigation purposes was detrimental for waterfowl. I quote ‘I am informed that there is a threat generally not only to the ibis but to all water fowl in the Murray and Darling areas because of the greater control of flooding that has been exercised as a result of conservation.’ end of quote.
I agree with the Minister’s riding that there is no threat of extinction of the ibis but desire to draw your attention that as we increase our water conservation resources, and likewise ensure greater security for irrigated agriculture, creating desirable environment for pastures, etc., we likewise create the environment for considerable parasites such as crickets and we should not be budgeting for a mere survival of the ibis but should be saving existing rookeries and then plan and create more ibis rookeries to counterbalance the undesirable pests.
Much is said re insecticidal pollution throughout the world and here we have the farcical situation where the ibis is known as the farmer’s friend being systematically reduced in population because of the lack of scientific research in Australia by either State or Federal government.
On 30th June 196S the writer had the privilege of being introduced by your good self to address Mr Fairbairn in the capacity as Minister for National Development and also as the President of the River Murray Commission. I enclose this submission which relates to the concern of the ibis and quotes several extracts from CSIRO wildlife section (dated 1962), and at this date, 30th June 196S, I stated that the Second Reedy Lake at Kerang was the largest ibis rookery in the world. During 1967 to 1970 considerable dredging activities have taken place by the Victorian S.R. & W.S.C. and the middle reedy lake rookery has been seriously depreciated in its breeding volume. I enclose minutes of middle lake committee, March 24th 1971. Item 6, which confirms my statement.
As ibis only breed in southern Australia and the so called development in these States has taken a huge toll of ibis rookeries. Such ibis rookeries as Tragowel Swamp, Kerang, is dry, despite vast Murray waters running past to sea. Gemmill’s Swamp at Mooroopna existence being threatened by water aquatic sports project, Goose Lagoon,
Port Fairy, destroyed by agricultural project, Bool Lagoon, South Australia, seriously reduced by drainage project, the vast rookeries in the Barmah Forest, Echuca, adversely affected by flood mitigation of the Murray river, lt would be pertinent to ask the Minister as to what provision has been made by the Government to protect the vast ibis rookeries in the Macquarie Marshes, New South Wales, since the Burradong Reservoir was constructed.
It should be noted in the breeding movements and conservation of ibis rookeries dated 10th February 1962 by R. Carrick, CSIRO Wildlife publication ‘Summary Stated’:
Flooding at any season stimulates the breeding of ibises, and the white ibis, Threskiornis molucca (C’uvier), responds earlier than the straw necked ibis, T spinicollis (Jameson). Band recoveries show that both species disperse widely throughout Australia from breeding centres in the south.
Measures are proposed for management of Macquarie Marshes, New South Wales, as a waterfowl reserve in which the limited volume of controlled water would be utilised economically to ensure that breeding of ibises coinicides with the spring emergence of the Australian plague locust, Chortoicetes terminifera Walker. As at this date it could be assumed provision for ibis was to be made. It is imperative that CSIRO wildlife survey section be granted adequate funds to carry out current research into the alarming deterioration of the Victorian ibis rookeries and in particular Middle Lake, Kerang. CSIRO past records relate that ibis bred and banded at Middle Lake migrate to all States of Australia and as far as to Dutch New Guinea and is therefore a Federal responsibility.
Once again thanking you for your persona! interest and attention relating to this important national resource.
There are many types of birds in the rookeries. The straw necked ibis seemed to be in the largest numbers. There are also white ibises in the rookeries. Last weekend when I was at the rookeries I saw the royal spoonbill, a bird which is somewhat rare. There are many species of wild duck and I saw there some of the largest swans I have ever seen, and I have seen many swans on my trips around the country. Of course, there are many other kinds of wildfowl in the rookeries. My main concern in this matter is to assist primary producers by preserving the birds. These rookeries are the natural habitat of the ibis. Ibises breed only in their natural habitat. So many things have been written about the ibis but one just cannot imagine the true picture unless one goes through the rookeries and sees ibises in their natural state.
The Minister for Education and Science, towards the end of his answer to my question, which is reported at page 1461 of Hansard of 6th April 1971, said:
However, the Division of Wildlife Research of the CSIRO is not at the present moment undertaking any work on the ibis, but it has put out 2 excellent reports. I should be glad to make those available to the honourable member.
I thank the Minister for making the reports available to me so quickly. In turn, I made them available to Mr Thomas of Kerang who met the Minister when he as Minister for National Development visited Kerang in 1965. The point I desire to emphasise is that we want the CSIRO to continue its investigation into the ibis population and the need to keep it at its present level or to increase it.
I do not want to keep the House any longer because other honourable members want to speak on other subjects this morning. I pay a tribute to Mr Des Thomas of Kerang, who is a great enthusiast dedicated to this proposition. He is a member of the Victorian Field and Game Association. At present he is the education officer of the Association. This man has promoted my enthusiasm about this proposition and I hope that my enthusiasm is contagious and is communicated to other people. It has on record that ibises which have been bred and banded at Kerang have gone as far as New Guinea. This is really a Federal matter. Ibises know no State boundaries. They fly wherever the going is good and return to the rookeries to breed. They seek food, and they do a great service to this nation by ridding it of many pests.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to bring to the notice of the House a case with which I have been dealing. It involves discrimination against children as a result of the existence of an anomaly in the Social Services Act. As honourable members will see from the information I shall give, it is common sense that I should not mention the name of the person involved. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) knows the name of the person concerned because I have already spoken to him and told him the name, and I have also written to him about the case. So I will call the lady Mrs X.
The background of the case is as follows: Mrs X is separated from her husband, there being one child of that marriage. Her husband has custody of that child by an agreement reached out of court. The parents are not divorced. Mrs X lived with a de facto husband for 5 years, until he was placed in a psychiatric centre in May 1969. She has not lived with him since, nor has she since lived with any other man in a de facto relationship. She had 2 children by her de facto husband, one of whom is now aged 5 years and the other 10 months. After her de facto husband was discharged from the psychiatric centre in September 1969 he was convicted on a charge of embezzlement and served 6 months in gaol. When he was released from gaol in June 1970 he was re-admitted to the psychiatric centre where he remained until a few months ago.
The lady concerned applied for a deserted wife’s pension in April 1970, but this was refused. As late as November 1970 I also made an application, as her local member, on her behalf. As you will see, Mir Deputy Speaker, this was refused. She had taken maintenance proceedings against her de facto husband and appeared in court with a solicitor in September 1970. But the application was refused as the de facto husband was then in the psychiatric centre. The last I heard was that a new hearing had been set down for December 1970.
I wrote to the Minister for Social Services asking that the deserted wife’s pension be granted in this instance. I did this not because I stand as a judge. I do not believe it is for the House to consider the background of the matter. I think the most important thing for us to consider is the fact that she has very young children. Those children have to be given some opportunity in life. The Minister replied to me, and I would like to read out certain paragraphs of that reply. He makes the point:
In order to qualify for a widow’s pension as a deserted wife, a woman must have been deserted by her husband without just cause for at least 6 months. Further, a claimant who has left her husband must show that her withdrawal from the matrimonial relationship was justified. In other words it is necessary to establish constructive desertion.
The Minister goes on:
A widow’s pension is payable to a woman, as a dependent female, only if she has lived- with a man to whom she is not legally married, on a bona fide and permanent domestic basis for a period of at least 3 years immediately prior to his death.
The points I wish to make are that under the current policy of the Department of Social Services Mrs X cannot be granted a deserted wife’s pension as she was the guilty party; she left her husband to take up the de facto relationship. However, if she was to live with her de facto husband for a period of 3 years and he was to die while she was living with him, she would be entitled to a widow’s pension, which is equal to a deserted wife’s pension. I do not see any logic in that. Also, if the woman suffered bad health at this point of time and was 80 per cent incapacitated for work she could be granted an invalid pension which would include allowances for the children even though she had been deserted by her de facto husband in the same circumstances as have already occurred. On the one hand she could receive an invalid pension and on the other hand she could receive a widow’s pension even though these circumstances exist.
Furthermore, as I see it, the Department of Social Services is setting itself up as an illogical judge of the morals of the case with a resultant discrimination against the lady’s 2 children because of her de facto relationship. I do not, and I believe this House should not, excuse, condone or stand in judgment of the mother’s background. My concern is not for the mother, but for her children and their future. Because of this illogical anomaly in the Social Services Act the children are being deprived of the benefits which would accrue to the family if the mother were granted a deserted wife’s pension. This anomaly in the Act discriminates, as I said, against the children, who are the innocents in the case, by making a moral judgment on the background of the mother. I believe that I have shown how illogical it is, because in some sets of circumstances, despite that background, the mother can be given a widow’s pension or an invalid pension. If her de facto husband died while she was living with him she could receive a widow’s pension. But because he deserted her, because he is in a psychiatric centre and because he has been gaoled she cannot obtain the benefit of that pension. For this reason, I ask the Minister to consider recommending to the Parliament the early amendment of the Social Services Act to allow for the granting of the deserted wife’s pension in cases such as this, and thereby remove this extraordinary anomaly.
– I wish to touch on the matter of Commonwealth death duties or estate duties as they apply to estates which have a high proportion of agricultural land within their valuation. The case to which I wish to refer from time to time in the next few minutes can best be described as the case in which a person dies and a valuation is made on his farming property. For the sake of this exercise, let us say that the valuation figure is $55 per acre. However, by the time probate has been declared, the value per acre of the land comprising a portion or the whole of this estate has fallen to $23 per acre. At the present time, this occurrence is not uncommon. The problem that exercises the minds of those who may be beneficiaries of such an estate quite clearly is that the sale value of the whole of that property will not meet the estate duty levied on the property originally.
This matter obviously merits close examination because a clear case of rank injustice can be demonstrated when the property of a person who slugs away all his life is valued on his death at $55 per acre but by the time probate is declared its value has fallen to $23 per acre. The sum accruing from the sale of that property at auction in the case that I have in mind - depending on the size of the property, of course - does not cover the amount of commitment to the payment of death duties. In other words, any chance that that man had to hand on to his children even a box of matches as a result of his labours during his working life is thrown overboard. The illustration that I have given is the most outrageous case of which I have heard personally lately. But there are degrees of injustice according to individual cases. This must happen under the present legislation affecting estate duty on deceased estates. If it does not apply to the degree that I have described to the House, it does, on falling values, hit the beneficiaries of deceased primary producers to one degree or another.
The Commonwealth Taxation Office in South Australia has been very good to me in relation to such matters and has supplied me with a lot of information. I think that some of it is relevant to the problem that I pose today. This letter from the Taxation Office states: the law requires that estate duty be levied on the value at the date of death of the asset of a deceased person. The word ‘value’ is not denned but has been judicially expressed to mean ‘the price which the subject will bring when exposed to the test of competition’.
Exposure to the test of competition’ again is a valid matter to consider in relation to the example that I pose in respect of this problem. In this case the second value of $23 an acre was tested at auction. That is not a fair method of establishing the value of a property, as my friend, the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Turnbull), who is so experienced in these matters will know, although I do not know how else real value could be established. In fact, to be quite fair, the letter from the Commonwealth Taxation Office goes on to say:
In this regard I would agree that, subject to any unusual circumstances, the price which a property would bring at a well-advertised auction would be cogent evidence as to its value.
So, we have this rather ridiculous situation where the poor person who has died cannot unduly effect any variation in the value of his property from the time of his death to the time when his property has to be auctioned in order to provide death duties to the Government. In the case that I have quoted, if I may say it again, not enough money will accrue from the auction of the property to meet the commitment, established at the point of death, to the Commonwealth Government. I believe that the Taxation Office takes the view that estates on a rising market benefit from this particular situation and I suppose that for many years, from the end of World War II, that has been so, but it is not of much help to the beneficiaries to find out that the value of the estate left to them not only has evaporated considerably but also is less than the death duties levied by the Taxation Office. I hope that people will take notice - I shall make sure that they will, by banding on this small speech and the letter from which I have quoted - of this matter because, as I have tried to convey in a roundabout way, it is all very well from the point of view of the Taxation Office to say that the principle applies very happily on rising values, but it is not good enough to adopt the same principle and say that it should apply also to falling land values.
As I have said, this can do one of several things. First, it can apply a tremendous loading on to a property left by a deceased person, perhaps to 1 child, if the beneficiary is going to continue to have the benefit of his knowledge of that farm - a far greater knowledge than anyone else would have - and to carry on with the working of the farm as a viable operation. If death duties affect that situation, they also will affect another sector, namely, the entire problem of the viability of rural lands in Australia today. As honourable members would know, this is a very real problem. Secondly, there is the matter of equity. When land values are falling as at present, beneficiaries are disadvantaged. When land values were rising, as they were for some years after World War II, beneficiaries were favoured. But this is of no real help tothe beneficiaries of an estate or to those people who would be affected by a death in the family because, of course, they would be disadvantaged by this particular problem. I hope that the House will take notice of this matter.
– Order) It is now15 minutes to 1 o’clock and in accordance with standing order 106 the debate is interrupted. I put the question:
That grievances be noted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from 12.45 to 2.15 p.m.
Bill presented by Mr Anthony for Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill proposes one simple, though vital, amendment to the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Act 1956-1970, namely, that the maximum contingent liability which the Corporation may accept under contracts of export payments insur ance and under guarantees be increased from$300m to $500m. Export payments insurance is an important competitive element in international trading. More than 30 overseas countries provide this facility to their exporters. In Australia, export payments insurance has been provided since 1957 by the Export Payments Insurance Corporation, thus enabling Australian exporters to be protected against the risk of non-payment of foreign accounts. Under another associated facility agreed to by Parliament in 1964, the Corporation may give guarantees to commercial lending institutions as a means of assisting export ers seeking financial accommodation in respect of insured transactions involving deferred payment terms.
When the Corporation enters into a contract of payments insurance with an exporter, and when the Corporation gives a repayment guarantee to a lending institution, it accepts a commitment that, if certain things should happen, it will pay according to the terms of those instruments. In other words, it accepts a contingent liability. It follows that, the greater the volume of export business that EPIC insures and the more often it helps the financing of exporters by providing its guarantees, the higher will its contingent liability become. There is a statutory limit, however, on the amount of contingent liability which the Corporation may accept. This limit is not imposed as if to put a brake on the Corporation’s commercial operations. It applies because the Commonwealth is ultimate guarantor of EPIC and Parliament should have the opportunity to determine, from time to time, the level of commitments which the Corporation may assume. The following table shows the growth in the amount of maximum contingent liability under payments insurance and guarantees as approved by Parliament since the Corporation was established in 1956.
Export Payments Insurance Corporation
When the Corporation’s maximum contingent liability was last determined by Parliament in June 1970, it was estimated that the ceiling of $300m then approved would be adequate to cope with the expansion of business by the Corporation during at least the following two years. However, several largely unforeseen developments since June 1970 have increased business so substantially that, already, the Corporation’s contingent liabilities have almost reached the $300m ceiling. Unless the ceiling is raised the Corporation will have no alternative to declining the support of its payments insurance and guarantee facilities for a large volume of export business.
The principal factor in this unexpectedly rapid build-up in contingent liability is the insurance of wheat export transactions. This business is entirely new - it dates only from January of this year - and the amount of contingent liability involved is very high. Since June, 1970, the Corporation has also insured, and given guarantees in respect of, a higher than expected value of capital goods exports sold on long term credit. In respect of these transactions it >.s the length of the credit term, as much as the value involved, which is of concern because the related contingent liability is run off very slowly. Honourable members will be interested to know that most of this long term business consists of capital goods exports to the copper development on Bougainville. Had it not been for an amendment of the Export Payments Insurance Corporation Act which Parliament agreed to last year, these contracts could not have received the support of the Corporation’s facilities and, in consequence, many valuable orders would not have been won for Australia.
Apart from these 2 major new elements there has been a higher than average rate of gain in the Corporation’s operations generally. This reflects, in part, the increasing success of Australian industries, particularly manufacturing industry, in finding export markets for their products. It reflects, also, the worldwide trend towards more and longer term credit trading as a result of strong international competition for markets. The importance of the Corporation’s facilities as support for the efforts of Australian exporters can hardly be overstated. Indeed, the Corporation’s operations have become a vital competitive element in Australia’s export trading. Since it commenced operations in 19S7 EPIC has insured exports worth $ 1,400m, and, at the end of March, 1971, had policies current with a face value of $424m. The rate of increase in the Corporation’s business is seen in the fact that only 9 months earlier, that is, at the end of the 1969-70 financial year, the face value of policies then current was $343m.
The Corporation has discharged its responsibilities with both initiative and prudence. It has encouraged and expanded export business by making its facilities available to an ever-widening field of exporters and export transactions. It has at the same time ensured that the cost of its services to exporters has been kept to the lowest possible level. In fact, after some 14 years of operation, the Corporation’s excess of premium income over claims and operating expenses has amounted to a bare $238,000. Australia, and Australian exporters in particular, are fortunate in having, in the Export Payments Insurance Corporation, a body which has made a real contribution to the country’s growth. It is estimated that the Corporation could operate for about 2 years within the proposed new ceiling of $500m. However, this estimate provides no leeway for unforeseen occurrences such as new projects similar to Bougainville. Developments of this kind might create a need for Parliament to further review the Corporation’s liability limit earlier than is now expected. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
– Before I move the adjournment of this debate might I suggest that the Minister could supply more details about those wheat export transactions that date only from January of this year. I think in fairness to the House we should have some information as to the nature and the need for this particular amount of insurance. If it is a new development I hope he will give us a little more detail about it.
– I will try to find out how this can best be done. It might have to be done as a separate addendum that I circulate to all honourable members. But I will be happy to do what I can.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Anthony for Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to seek the approval of the Parliament for the ratification of the Wheat Trade Convention and the Food Aid Convention of the International Wheat Agreement 1971. This new Agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Geneva in January and February of this year under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD. Fifty-three countries participated fully in the negotiations and a further 17 countries were represented as observers. The Agreement is scheduled to enter into force on 1st July 1971 on the expiry of the International Grains Arrangement.
The new International Wheat Agreement is the seventh in a series of agreements since 1949 designed to stabilise the international trade in wheat. The form of the present International Grains Arrangement has been continued and the new Agreement comprises 2 separate legal instruments, namely the Wheat Trade Convention and the Food Aid Convention. The 2 conventions are linked together by a preamble. Copies of the new agreement have been distributed to honourable members.
The primary objective of the Wheat Trade Convention is the furtherance of international co-operation in connection with world wheat problems. A very important element of any international commodity agreement is the opportunity it provides for close and continuing consultation and co-operation between those countries with a, major importing or exporting interest in the product concerned. The new Wheat Trade Convention ensures that the machinery for consultation and co-operation on wheat marketing which has been developed over the past 20 years will be maintained for the next 3 years. The International Wheat Council, which has been the forum for international co-operation since 1949, will continue in existence. The Agreement provides for the full reporting and record ing of all commercial and concessional transactions in wheat and flour. The world wheat market will be kept under continuous review and the Wheat Council will coordinate appropriate action to deal with any situation of market instability which may develop in the life of the Agreement. All participants at the recent conference pledged their support for orderly marketing and recognised the need for international co-operation in order to achieve stability of the international wheat market.
The new Wheat Trade Convention differs from earlier agreements in that it contains no specific pricing provisions. It is unfortunate perhaps that acceptable pricing arrangements could not be negotiated in Geneva but this outcome needs to be assessed against the nature of the pricing provisions in earlier agreements and the background of events in recent years. The pricing provisions of successive wheat agreements between 1949 and 1967 were related to agreed minimum and maximum prices for the highest quality wheat traded internationally. This reference wheat was the top Canadian wheat - No. 1 Manitoba Northern. The minimum and maximum prices established for this grade of wheat were in the nature of a benchmark to which price levels of all other wheats were related. It is important to understand that there were no specific price levels established for the other wheats traded internationally, including Australian wheats, in these earlier agreements. Various formulas were used to determine equivalent minimum and maximum prices f.o.b. at ports of origin for other wheats while quality differentials were determined by market forces. Thus actual market prices had considerable freedom of movement according to quality, market conditions and changes in freight and exchange rates.
Honourable members will be familiar with the terms of the present International Grains Arrangement which the new Agreement will replace. Under the IGA, minimum and maximum prices were established for 14 major wheats traded internationally. These prices were expressed f.o.b. at United States Gulf ports and for the first time reflected agreed quality differentials as between the wheats specified in the Agreement. The International Grains Arrangement represented a considerable step forward in that it made a real attempt to determine price relativities or differentials as between different grades of wheat and thereby held oat the prospect of more effective pricing arrangements over the whole regimen of wheats traded internationally. Unfortunately, the entry into force of the IGA in mid-1968 coincided with a sharp and unexpected decline in the available world wheat market. Most major wheat exporting and importing countries enjoyed very favourable climatic conditions in 1968-69 with the result that production expanded and the world market contracted by nearly 6 million tons or some 11 per cent on the previous year.
In these circumstances, adherence to the agreed price relativities as between different wheats traded internationally led to a distortion of traditional trade patterns. In particular, the relative shares of the market previously enjoyed by the major exporters, Canada and the United States, declined sharply. The situation became so serious that prices were reduced below the specified minimum levels only 9 months after entry into force of the International Grains Arrangement. The pricing provisions of the present Agreement have, in effect, been inoperative since that time. Nevertheless co-operation on wheat marketing issues has prevailed over the intervening period. An understanding was reached at a ministerial meeting of exporters in Washington in July 1969 on corrective action to bring prices into a more competitive relationship at around the reduced levels in the interests of orderly marketing and price stability.
The action taken at this and subsequent meetings avoided the threat of chaos. Since that time there has been an improvement in the market outlook. Prices have recovered and currently are generally at or about the minimum levels specified in the present Agreement. It was against this background that the recent negotiating conference was held in Geneva. Those exporting countries which considered they had been disadvantaged by the operation of the International Grains Arrangement were reluctant to accept new commitments with respect to prices under any new agreement. The negotiations in Geneva were further complicated by the fact that Canada - the world’s largest commercial exporter - is undertaking a comprehensive review of its wheat grading system.
Entirely new wheat classifications will be progressively introduced from the beginning of the new Canadian crop year in August. Under the new system, traditional Canadian grades, such as No. 1 Manitoba Northern, will disappear and it will be some time presumably before the relative values of the new Canadian wheats will have been established on world markets.
It is necessary to stress that despite lack of agreement in Geneva on price objectives, all the major exporting countries are agreed on the need to obtain stable and remunerative prices for their sales of wheat. In fact, the Agreement specifically provides that when it is judged that prices and related rights and obligations are capable of successful negotiation, the International Wheat Council shall arrange a further conference with the objective of bringing them into effect within the life of the Agreement. There are quite good prospects of achieving market stability with prices at reasonably satisfactory levels. It is estimated that world trade has increased by some 20 per cent since 1968-69. Moreover, a number of important producers, including the United States, Canada and Australia, are operating restraints over production in one form or another in an effort to achieve a better balance between the supply and demand for wheat. The Government believes that market stability can be realised provided effective co-operation is maintained within the International Wheat Council.
The new Agreement will ensure that the machinery for consultation and cooperation will be maintained. I am further encouraged by the possibility that the membership of the new Agreement will be somewhat wider than was the case with the IGA which did not include major exporters and importers such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Brazil. I can assure honourable members that the Australian Wheat Board and the Australian Wheatgrowers’ Federation endorse the terms of the Wheat Trade Convention. The Chairman and the General Manager of the Wheat Board and the President of the Wheatgrowers’ Federation attended the Geneva conference and participated fully in the negotiations. Honourable members will recall that the International Grains Arrangement contained a Food Aid Convention. This was the first time that such a provision had been included in an international agareement on wheat. This worthwhile innovation has been continued under the new agreement.
The new Food Air Convention is basically unchanged on the present arrangement. A number of developed countries, importers and exporters alike, will continue to provide developing countries with food aid in the form of grains or flour for human consumption. The individual contributions under the new programme are spelt out in the Convention. Australia’s contribution will remain unchanged at 225,000 metric tons. As was the case with the earlier convention, Japan will enter a reservation entitling it to provide aid in the form of rice and a limited quantity of agricultural materials. The new Convention has fewer members than its predecessor. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Norway have declined to join the new convention. In addition, Sweden has decided to reduce its contribution from 54,000 metric tons to 35,000 tons. However, the overall effect of these changes is only marginal with the total annual contributions being reduced by 6.7 per cent (285,000 tons) from 4,259,000 metric tons to 3,974,000 tons.
Several minor changes have also been incorporated in the new Convention. A new clause provides that in exceptional cases, and on request, limited quantities of rice may be included in the programme. Also, sales on credit terms of 20 years or more will be eligible to be counted against aid commitments provided that maximum use is made of the other eligible forms of aid such as grants and sales of non-transferable local currency. There is no doubt that the need for food aid conventions will continue well into the present decade, particularly in those parts of Asia adjacent to Australia. In these circumstances, the renegotiation of this aid programme is a timely development emphasising as it does the common responsibility of affluent countries to share the burden of food aid. The new Agreement provides for continued international co-operation in the commercial marketing of wheat and for a continued high level of food aid to developing countries. I believe that it is the most satisfactory Agreement that is capable of nego tiation at this point of time. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Wentworth, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to establish a new code of workers’ compensation for Commonwealth employees. As honourable members know, a Bill for this purpose, the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1970, was introduced by my colleague, the then Treasurer, on 19th March 1970, but has been withdrawn, along with the United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Bill 1970 and the Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Bill (No. 2) 1970, to make way for this Bill and the 3 subsidiary Bills that I will introduce later. Honourable members will recall that at the conclusion of his second reading speech on the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1970 the then Treasurer said that the Government’s mind was not closed so far as the Bill was concerned and that the Government stood prepared to consider on their merits suggestions for amendment during its passage.
Representations about the Bill were received from the Council of Commonwealth Public Service Organisations, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and other sources and suggestions for amendment of the Bill were made by honourable members here and honourable senators in another place during the debates on the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Bill 1970. All these suggestions were carefully considered by a committee of ministers and many of the suggestions have been adopted. In the light of the many amendments that would have been required in the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1970 to give effect to the changes decided on by the Government it was thought desirable for that Bill to be withdrawn and for this new Bill to be introduced incorporating the amendments to which the Government had agreed. Collectively the changes which the Government proposes will reflect a considerable improvement in the code of compensation legislation for Commonwealth employees over and above that contained in the Bill that has been withdrawn.
The Bill provides for new levels of existing monetary benefits. The weekly rate of compensation for an employee without dependants is being increased from the old level of $31.80 to $35 and, if an employee has dependants, that amount will be supplemented by $8.50 for a dependent wife or husband and $5 for each child, in lieu of the existing dependants’ allowances of $7.70 and $2.80. I draw the attention of the House to the very great increase for a child from $2.80 a week to the new level of $5 a week. The basic lump sum death benefit, to which other lump sum benefits are related, is being increased from $12,000 to $13,500 and the minimum payment for a dependent child of a deceased employee increased from $280 to $500. The funeral benefit goes up from $120 to $300. By virtue of the amendments that will be effected by Part VIII of this Bill to the existing legislation, that is, the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act 1930-1970, these increases in rates will apply from the date on which this Bill receives the royal assent. Some other changes are being made in the existing legislation by that part of the Bill and it might be convenient to mention them here.
– Will people who were injured and who now receive weekly payments get the benefit of the increased weekly rates?
– Yes. The provision in the existing Act that requires a reduced weekly rate of compensation to be paid to certain minors is being repealed as also is the special reduction provision currently applicable in some death cases when, before his death, the employee had received a lump sum payment. These changes are being made because these restrictive provisions are not being reenacted by the Bill. At the same time the Third Schedule, which relates to specified injuries, is being repealed and a modified schedule substituted which, in conformity with the table of losses in sub-clause (5) of clause 39 of the Bill, will eliminate the existing distinction between left and right upper limbs for lump sum compensation purposes. The effect of these amendments to the existing legislation is that employees will immediately, under the existing legislation as amended, receive certain of the benefits of the new code of compensation. It will, of course, take some time for the necessary regulations and administrative arrangements to be made before all the provisions of the new code can be brought into effect. 1 turn now to the changes in the previously announced new compensation code that will be effected by this Bill. It now provides for compensation for injury whether the injury results from accident or not The omission of any reference to ‘by accident’ in relation to an injury has necessitated the inclusion of a provision to exclude liability for intentionally self inflicted injuries. At the same time the expression ‘injury’ is defined so as to exclude the consideration of any disease cases under the injury provisions of the Bill. Liability in respect of the contraction or the aggravation, acceleration or recurrence of a disease will have to be determined only under the provisions relating to diseases. Under the Bill a disease no longer has to be a disease due to the nature of the employee’s employment by the Commonwealth to attract compensation. It will be sufficient if employment by the Commonwealth is a contributing factor to the contraction of a disease or to the aggravation, acceleration or recurrence of a disease, whether or not the disease was contracted or the aggravation, acceleration or recurrence* occurred in the course of the employment. It might also be noted in respect of both injury and disease cases that the death, or a disfigurement, incapacity or disablement of an employee or a loss suffered by an employee, will be deemed to have resulted from an injury to the employee or from a disease contracted by or suffered by an employee if the injury or the disease contributed to the death of the employee or to a disfigurement, incapacity, disablement or loss suffered by him.
Some new benefits are being introduced. Compensation of $1,350 will be payable for loss of the sense of taste or loss of the sense of smell. Provision is being made for payment of an attendant’s allowance of $8.00 per week to an injured employee who requires the constant assistance of an attendant. This allowance, which will be additional to any other compensation for which an employee is eligible, will not be payable, however, during any period when the employee is being maintained as a patient in a hospital or nursing home, or is receiving constant nursing attention and the cost of his accommodation at the hospital or nursing home or of the nursing attention is being borne wholly by the Commonwealth.
– Otherwise, would it apply to his wife?
– Yes. Payment up to a limit of $150 in any one case will be made in respect of the provision or modification of certain aids, appliances and equipment that are not included as medical treatment but are reasonably necessitated by an injury. In this category would come the provision of access ramps in the home of an employee confined to a wheel chair, safety internal or external hand rails or grips in bathroom, toilet, kitchen or bedroom, alterations of taps, catches, handles, door openings and fittings. Provision will be made for the vocational training of incapacitated employees. I am having distributed to honourable members today copies of a pamphlet setting out some details of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. Honourable members will note - I hope, with pleasure - that the Bill lays particular emphasis on the rehabilitation aspect. The Commissioner is to be empowered to make arrangements with the Director-General of Social Services for the provision of such training in accordance with the principles observed by the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service, as set out in the pamphlet which has been circulated.
While an employee is undergoing vocational training he will be eligible for training and living away from home allowances at the same rates and under the same conditions as these allowances are payable to Social Services beneficiaries who undergo such training. These allowances will be paid in addition to amounts of compensation equivalent to the weekly rates of compensation for total or partial incapacity for work, as the case may be. The Bill also provides that the benefits of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service, under Part VIII of the Social Services Act, will, so far as they are capable of application, be available to employees undergoing vocational training. These provisions, taken in conjunction with the fact that medical treatment will in future include treatment and maintenance provided or arranged by the Director-General of Social Services through the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Services, will mean that a complete system of medical and physical rehabilitation and vocational training will be available for injured employees of the Commonwealth and Authorities of the Commonwealth. This is an important improvement in the scheme of compensation for those employees and it will, I think, place them in a more favourable position, so far as rehabilitation is concerned, than persons who are covered by the workers’ compensation legislation in the States.
Provision is being made for increases in the monetary benefits that were proposed in respect of some new benefits that would have been introduced under the Bill which has been withdrawn. The latter Bill provided for payment of $2,400 for permanent loss of the capacity to engage in sexual intercourse. Honourable members will remember the part played by the former member for West Sydney, Mr Minogue. That Bill also provided up to $600 for severe and permanent facial disfigurement. Under this Bill the amount of $6,750 which is 50 per cent of the highest amount proposed to be paid for a specified loss - that is, the loss of a limb, sense or faculty - will be payable where an injury or disease results in the loss of the genitals or the permanent loss of the capacity to engage in sexual intercourse. Payment of an amount up to $6,750 is being provided for severe and permanent facial disfigurement.
The Bill still provides for the use of a medical board in relation to claims for compensation in respect of facial disfigurement. However, consistent with the changes that are proposed concerning medical boards generally, there will be equal representation on a medical board for the Commissioner and the employee in facial disfigurement cases. A unanimous opinion of the members of a medical board as to whether or not an employee has suffered severe and permanent facial disfigurement will be conclusive evidence on this point, and if the members of the board are unanimous in the assessment of the amount to be paid, then that amount will be payable and there will be no appeal from the board’s assessment regarding the amount. However, if the members of the board do not give a ananimous certificate as to whether an employee has suffered severe and permanent facial disfigurement the responsibility will rest with the Commissioner to determine this question and the Commissioner’s decision will be subject to reconsideration or review in another independent tribunal Also, if the members of a board are unanimous in the opinion that an employee has suffered severe and permanent facial disfigurement but they have divergent views about the amount of compensation to be paid, then it will be up to the Commissioner to determine what amount is payable and such a decision will also be subject to reconsideration or review in another independent tribunal. I should perhaps mention here that a somewhat similar procedure will operate where claims for loss of the sense of taste or the sense of smell are involved. In relation to medical boards generally the Bill provides for equal representation on a board for the employee and the Commissioner, and if all the members of the board give a unanimous certificate then, and only then, will a certificate of that board be final and conclusive evidence, for the purposes crf the Act of the matters stated in the certificate.
The existing Act and the Bill that was introduced into the Parliament last year both provide for a maximum limit to the amount of compensation payable in certain circumstances in respect of any one accident. Under this Bill there will be no statutory maximum. As a corollary of this, in cases where an employee suffers multiple injuries in the one accident, he will be eligible for payment of the aggregate of the amounts specified for a number of individual losses instead of being restricted to receiving only the maximum amount stipulated for a specified injury.
– That provision was in the old Act too. It was in the original Act.
– My memory does not go back to that. It is not in the exist ing Act. May I give an example. I think this will answer the point that the honourable member has in mind. Under the existing Act and the withdrawn Bill the loss of a hand and a foot in the same accident would have attracted lump sum compensation of $12,000, although the sum of the amounts for the individual injuries, if they had been sustained in separate accidents, would have been $15,600, comprising $8,400 for the hand and $7,200 for the foot. Under this Bill, instead of the $12,000, the amount of $17,550 will be payable in respect of the loss of a hand ($9,450) and the loss of a foot ($8,100) sustained in the one accident, by comparison with the amount of $13,500 if the statutory maximum provision had been retained. I think that answers the point the honourable member has in mind. The removal of the statutory maximum will also mean that, by comparison with the existing Act and the withdrawn Bill, there will be no upper limit to compensation where an employee is permanently partially incapacitated for work. While on the matter of partial incapacity payments I should mention that the Bill also provides for overtime, penalty payments and the like to be included in both the pre-injury and post-injury earnings of an employee for the purposes of computing the extent of the partial incapacity of an employee, as reflected in his average loss of earnings. In calculating an employee’s average weekly earnings, regard will be had to his earnings over the period of 12 months preceding the injury whenever this is practicable and the amount so calculated would fairly represent the rate per week at which the employee was being remunerated in respect of his employment by the Commonwealth before the injury.
A number of changes has been made in relation to the system of administration of the Commonwealth employees compensation scheme. The Commissioner, in determining matters or questions, will be required to be guided by equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case without regard to technicalities. This requirement is imposed on the Commissioner by the existing Act, but it was not included in the withdrawn Bill. It has now been included in this new Bill that is before the House. The withdrawn Bill contained secrecy provisions and a provision empowering the Commissioner to require a claimant to give information, subject to severe sanctions, in the event of noncompliance by a claimant. Similar provisions are not included in this Bill. The Commissioner will have to maintain a register of delegations in force, the register being open for public inspection and delegates of the Commissioner will be required to make an oath or affirmation before proceeding to exercise the powers delegated. The Commissioner will have to make an annual report to the Minister, as the withdrawn Bill also provided, but now the Minister will be required to table the Commissioner’s annual report in the Parliament. Restrictions on the provision of information and documents have been removed. Under the new provisions each party to a determination will be able to obtain equal access to all the relevant information that was before the Commissioner in reaching his decision.
– Will that include all written records of reports received as to notification?
– I think so. I will advise the honourable member later on. The range of documents to be supplied will include reports by medical practitioners and medical referees as well as reports by medical boards. I think that covers what the honourable member has in mind.
– No. It covers the nature of the employee’s report.
– I will advise the honourable member about that. This Bill provides for notice of injury to be served on the Commonwealth rather than upon the Commissioner, as the withdrawn Bill required, and ignorance will be included as an excuse for failure to give notice of injury or to lodge a claim within the prescribed period of 6 months. A dissatisfied claimant will be able to have his claim reconsidered by a Commonwealth employees’ compensation tribunal or apply to a prescribed court for a judicial review of the Commissioner’s determination. The definition of ‘prescribed court’ has been amended, firstly, to make the Workers’ Compensation Commission of New South Wales the only prescribed court in that State and, secondly, to ensure that in any external Territories of the Commonwealth a prescribed court will be constituted by a person with legal qualifications if this is practicable.
– Can the Minister now include the Industrial Court of South Australia since that is the administrative body under this Act?
– I will give consideration to that. Changes have been made in the provisions concerning costs in proceedings before a compensation tribunal. Under the withdrawn Bill each party was to bear its own costs. Under this Bill, by contrast, while an employee still will never have to meet any part of the Commonwealth’s costs, a compensation tribunal will have discretion which will permit a claimant’s costs, in whole or in part, to be awarded against the Commonwealth in all cases except those where the claimant institutes the proceedings and is neither wholly nor partly successful. The withdrawn Bill imposed a time limit of 3 years within which a claimant had to commence proceedings for damages in respect of an injury for which compensation had been paid. There is no similar provision in this Bill and thus a Commonwealth employee who has received compensation will be in the same position as other members of the community who sue the Commonwealth, so far as any limitations on actions are concerned.
Several changes of substance have been made in the provisions covering the situation where an employee or a dependent of a deceased employee has been paid or has an entitlement to compensation and recovers damages, either from the Commonwealth or another party, for the injury or death in respect of which compensation has been paid or is payable. The Bill provides that where damages awarded are reduced on the grounds of the contributory negligence of the employee, the amount of the compensation repayable will be reduced in the same proportion. The existing Act and the withdrawn Bill provide that where damages are recovered from the Commonwealth there is no entitlement to compensation, whereas if damages are recovered from another party, entitlement to compensation remains to the extent, if any, that compensation exceeds the amount of damages received. Under this Bill, an employee who recovers damages from the Commonwealth will be in the same position as a person who recovers damages from a person other than the Commonwealth, that is, there will still be a liability for any compensation entitlement in excess of the damages recovered.
The Bill contains new provisions that will enable an employee to receive weekly payments of compensation and at the same time to utilise a proportion of his accrued sick leave credit to build up his payment to his ordinary rate of pay. Under the existing Act an employee who chooses to receive sick leave pay is ineligible for weekly payments. The classes of persons in respect of whom dependant’s allowance will be payable in incapacity cases has been broadened to correspond with the classes of persons who will be accepted as dependants in death cases. In relation to the latter, the time at which the test of dependency is to be applied is the date of death, with the proviso that a person may qualify as a dependant if it can be shown that but for the incapacity of the employee due to the injur)’ that person would have been dependent upon the employee at the date of his death. Under the revised dependency provisions a de facto wife will be accepted as a dependant if she is dependent upon the employee at the date of his death or incapacity and has been living with the employee for 3 years before his death or incapacity. These are just some of the changes and improvements that are being made by this Bill. The contents of the Bill and the relationship between it and the three additional Bills which T will shortly introduce are explained in more detail in the explanatory memorandum that I have arranged to have distributed to honourable members. Honourable members will realise that there are many matters of detail with which ‘ will not now take up the time of the House.
– The Minister is a vast improvement on his predecessor.
– I take the compliment, but I do not want the honourable member to think that my predecessor has not contributed substantially towards this very favourable result. I am glad the honourable member regards this as a favourable result, which it is.
Before I conclude 1 think I should mention several provisions which were in the withdrawn Bill and similar provisions which are included in this Bill. Firstly, the new legislation is to apply or to be applied by regulations to additional classes of persons, not necessarily employees in the normal sense of that word, to whom the existing Act does not apply. These persons include holders of statutory offices, members of Commonwealth authorities, members of committees appointed by the Government and certain classes of volunteers. Examples of these volunteers are - members of the Air Training Corps, the Australian Cadet Corps, the Naval Reserve Cadets and the Australian Sea Cadet Corps; volunteer bushfire fighters in the Australian Capital Territory; volunteers attached to units of the , Civil Defence Organisations in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory; members of the Repatriation volunteer workers groups serving in Repatriation institutions; also persons who, under the control or direction of an officer of the Commonwealth, voluntarily take part in air or sea search and rescue operations conducted by the Department of Civil Aviation or the Department of Shipping and Transport. Provision has been made for determining a rate of pay for a voluntary worker who, when injured, was not in receipt of earnings from other employment.
The second point [ would make is that employment by the Commonwealth will include certain attendances by an employee at various places that are related directly or indirectly with his employment. That is, the employee will have the protection of the legislation when, for example, he is attending a university, school, etc., either at the request or direction of the Commonwealth or simply with the approval of the Commonwealth; or if he is attending a place for medical examination, to obtain a medical certificate or medical treatment or undergo vocational training. The employee will also be covered when he is in attendance at his place of employment at various times, such as during an ordinary recess in his employment, or when he arrives early for work or is late leaving the employer’s premises after work; or at any time, apart from the periods to which I have already referred, when he is not required to engage in his employment, providing his attendance is reasonably incidental to his employment; and, lastly, at any place during a period when he is precluded by the terms of his employment from absenting himself from that place. The fact that cover will be provided in the last two sets of circumstances I have just described will be of particular interest to members of the defence force. They will be covered by the legislation at all times when they are in camp and, though not on duty, are not free to leave the camp, or when they are free to leave camp, if their being in camp is reasonably incidental to their employment in the defence forces.
In conjunction with the foregoing, the scope of the provisions covering injury while travelling to or from employment has been greatly extended. For employees generally, the interpretation of a journey to or from employment has been extended to include one that would have been completed not more than one hour before commencing work or one commenced not more than one hour after ceasing work. Provision is made for extending this hour of grace in certain circumstances. Cover will also be provided for any journey to or from the place of employment during an ordinary recess in employment, for example a lunch hour, as if the journey were one to or from the employment. Also included are new provisions to cover the special situation of servicemen, employees living in temporary camps provided by their employer and a person travelling to or from a pick-up centre when the Commonwealth was his last employer. The Commissioner will no longer have a non-appealable power in relation to a travel case involving a substantial interruption or deviation during a journey to or from the employment.
I have dealt with the main provisions of the Bill and. as I mentioned earlier, have arranged the distribution to honourable members of an explanatory memorandum which traces these provisions, more or less clause by clause, through the Bill. I trust this will prove helpful to honourable members. I should also mention to the House that the Government has decided to appoint an interdepartmental committee to examine further certain aspects of schemes for employees’ compensation and related payments. [Extension of time granted] Two matters which will be before this committee are, of course, earnings related to compensation and payment of periodical payments in place of a lump sum compensation to a widow in case of death. I am sure the House would agree that the committee should consider these matters. However, we have thought it preferable not to delay this Bill pending the Government’s consideration of the results of the deliberations of that interdepartment committee. In conclusion, might I say that I would hope that after honourable members, employees and employee organisations have studied this Bill, they will agree with the Government’s view that the Bill represents a major and modern scheme of workers’ compensation legislation and that when it comes into operation it will provide a generous and modern scheme of worker’s compensation for Commonwealth employees. I trust that honourable members will give this entirely beneficial piece of legislation a speedy passage and I commend the Bill to the House.
– I seek the indulgence of the House to clarify some matters which partly concern procedure and also relate to other questions. The Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) and I have already discussed these matters, but for the sake of the record it is proper that it should be done this way. I ask the Minister whether the Government still has an open mind on such matters as the recommendation in the recent report of the Conybeare Committee for increasing still further the weekly amounts, which recommendation was adopted by that august body known as the Legislative Council of South Australia only a fortnight ago. There are other matters which I have indicated to the Minister but which I will not repeat here because they relate to the same sort of things. For example, in the case of bodily disfigurement of a girl who gets badly gashed above the knee and who wants to wear mini skirts, is she to be compensated? I think the Minister will agree she ought to be. Are these matters on which the Government has an open mind and, if so, would it be sufficient for the Opposition to press them in the Senate and let them come back here as amendments adopted by the Senate? It is the Opposition’s intention to move an amendment in Committee which will represent a sort of token alternative to the Government’s proposal. To move amendments here other than in that form would be difficult. If the Government is prepared to look at any amendments adopted by the Senate, that course would suffice as far as the Opposition is concerned.
– Some of the matters mentioned in relation to the Conybeare Committee report are matters on which the Government has not a closed mind at all. As I mentioned to the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron), they are at present under scrutiny by an inter-departmental committee. I would not anticipate that the deliberations of that committee would be available by the time these sittings end, by which time, I hope, we will have this Bill in operation. Therefore, while I give no commitment at all as to the outcome of those deliberations, which have arisen very largely from the scrutiny of the Conybeare Committee’s report, and while I can give no guarantee to the House as to what the position will be, I can give a guarantee that the matter is under consideration and that the Government has not a closed mind on it. I would not anticipate there would be anything to be gained by holding up this Bill while these matters are being determined and I would hope that there would be no attempt thus to hold up the Bill. I have already indicated in my second reading speech that these are major matters to which the Government is addressing its mind.
In regard to the minor technical matters about which the honourable member for Hindmarsh spoke, such as an injury to a girl’s leg and things of that character, certainly I would be prepared to look at them on their merits. But again, I can give no commitment to the honourable member at the present stage, except to say that on these minor matters I would regard myself as having an open mind. I may say that we went through all these matters in fair detail. We examined all the submissions which had been made either in this House or in the Senate, or by the Public Service organisations, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and individuals. I think that we have fairly addressed our minds to the considerations that have been put forward. Let me say-
-Order! A second reading speech has just been made. There is a motion before the House, and I think that the indulgence of the House is being strained by continuing in this way.
Debate (on motion of Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Wentworth, and read a first time.
– I move:
That tha Bill be now read a second time.
Broadly, the effect of the United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Act 1968 is to extend to civilian employees employed by the United States Navy in connection with the station the terms of the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act as if they were employees of the Commonwealth. It also gives to these employees, or to another person, in the event of an injury or disease causing the death of such an employee, the right to recover damages at common law from the Commonwealth, and again as if the Commonwealth were the employer, in the event of damage arising from injury, disease or death suffered directly as a result of employment with the United States Navy, subject, of course, to the usual requirements concerning negligence being met.
The purpose of this Bill is, firstly, to make amendments to the United States Naval Communication Station (Civilian Employees) Act 1968, which in Part II of the Bill is referred to as the principal Act. These amendments will be effective as from the date of commencement of the Principal Act. Secondly, the Bill provides, in Part III, consequent upon the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971, for the application of the provisions of that Bill to civilian employees of the Government of the United States of America employed in connection with the station, whether within or outside the territorial limits of Australia. The amendment to section 3 of the principal Act will make clear that persons employed by an instrumentality of the Government of the United States of America, in this instance, the
Navy Exchange, whom it was always intended should be covered by the Act, are civilian employees, within the restricted meaning that that term has in this context, for purposes of the Act.
The other amendments to the principal Act will enable the principal Act to be applied to civilian employees who are employed, either within or outside the territorial limits of Australia, by the Government of the United States of America in connection with the station. When the principal Act was being prepared it was not clear whether any civilian employees of the Government of the United States would be employed outside the territorial limits of Australia and the application of the Act was limited accordingly. It has since transpired that some civilian employees proceed outside the territorial limits of Australia on work associated with the operation of the station and this practice is likely to continue. The Bill provides for the application of the Act to be extended accordingly.
I think it might be appropriate to add a few words about the clauses in Part III of the Bill. Clause 10 deals with the classes of employees to whom the Bill will apply. Clause 11 will apply the provisions of the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971, when enacted, to those employees and provides for the modification of those provisions in their application to those employees. The modifications are set out in the schedule to the Bin. Clause 12 establishes the liability of the Commonwealth in actions at common law that might be taken in respect of damage suffered through injury, disease, death or loss of or damage to property, directly associated with employment in connection with the station and in relation to which the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1971 applies. Part III of the Bill will come into effect on the day on which the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act 1930-1971 is repealed and the new compensation code established by the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971 comes into operation. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Wentwortb, and read a first dme.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Broadly speaking, the effect of the provisions of the Air Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Act 1930-1970 is to cover situations where an employee of the Commonwealth or an authority of the Commonwealth might have an entitlement under that Act to payment of damages from the Commonwealth or an authority of the Commonwealth and also an entitlement under employees compensation legislation. The purpose of this Bill is to make minor amendments to the Air Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Act 1963-1970 consequent upon the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971, which I recently introduced into this House.
The amendments provide, firstly, for reference to the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1971 to be substituted for references to the existing compensation legislation, namely, the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act, in sections 10, 11 and 15 of the Air Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Act. Secondly, in relation to sections 10 and 15, which at present contain references to a provision of the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act that covers the situation where an employee receives compensation and recovers damages - section 17a - the amendments will substitute references to the corresponding provisions of the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971, namely, clauses 99 and 100. By clause 2 of the Bill the amendments will be effective from the day on which the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act 1930-1971 is repealed and the new compensation code established by the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971 comes into operation. I commend also this consequential Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Wentworth, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to make minor amendments to the Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Act 1970 consequent upon the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971. Section 16 of the Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Act 1970 extends the application of the existing compensation legislation, the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act, to Australian members of the AngloAustralia Telescope Board and to employees of the Board. The amendments to section 16 of the Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Act 1970 being made by this Bill will enable the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1971 to apply to those persons. By clause 2 of the Bill the amendments will be effective from the day on which the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Act 1930-1971 is repealed and the new compensation code established by the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill 1971 comes into operation. I commend this consequential Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Clyde Cameron) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Holten for Mr Swartz, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to increase various rates and amounts of workers’ compensation payable in respect of seamen and their dependants under the Seamen’s Compensation Act. Such compensation is paid by shipowners and not by the Commonwealth. Compensation for seamen serving in intrastate ships, to whom the Bill does not apply, is paid under State workers’ compensation Acts. These increases are in line with the increases contained in the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Bill now awaiting debate in this House. It is of course desirable that the rates of compensation under the 2 main compensation Acts administered by the Commonwealth be kept uniform and that changes be brought into operation at the same time.
The weekly rate of compensation for a seaman is being increased from $31.80 to $35 and there is provision also for increases in weekly rates from $7.70 to $8.50 for a seaman’s wife and, proportionately, a particularly substantial increase from $2.80 to $5 for each of a seaman’s children. The basic lump sum death benefit, to which other lump sum benefits for various injuries are related, is being increased from $12,000 to $13,500, and the minimum total payment for a dependant child, in death cases, is being very substantially increased, from $280 to $500. Another large increase being made is in the maximum amount of funeral expenses payable in respect of the death of a seaman, which rises from $120 to $300.
There are 4 other respects in relation to monetary rates in which the Act is being amended in line with the Commonwealth employees’ compensation legislation. The first of these removes the existing provision requiring reduction, in some death cases, in the amount payable to dependants. This occurs where a lump sum previously paid exceeds the total of certain weekly payments. The second removes the provision which requires a reduced weekly rate of compensation to be paid to minors not receiving adult rates of pay. The weekly payment, however, will continue to be limited to the weekly pay at the date of the injury. The third of the 4 respects referred to does away with the difference in compensation between right and left arms on account of being right-handed or left-handed. Such differences no longer exist in most State workers’ compensation legislation. Left arm rates are being increased to the right arm rates. The fourth is a matter of wording only. The new Third Schedule brings the descriptions of the various injuries specified into line with the new descriptions being introduced into the Commonwealth employees’ legislation. A similar code of compensation to that contained in the legislation for Commonwealth employees has always been applied under the Seamen’s Compensation Act. In some respects the provisions have to be applied to suit sea-going conditions and shipowners necessarily have to be consulted. Action along these lines is now proceeding and a Bill to further amend the Seamen’s Compensation Act to introduce a new code similar to that for Commonwealth employees will be introduced as soon as practicable. The Bill provides considerably improved rates of workers’ compensation for all classes of personnel in our Merchant Navy and I commend it to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Stewart) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Holten, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. I introduce this Bill on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair). This Bill is the culmination of the review of the Commonwealth’s fisheries legislation, which was foreshadowed to the House when the Fisheries Bill 1970 was introduced last October. The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Fisheries Act 1952-1970 in order to provide more adequate machinery for the management of Australian fisheries, as found necessary in the light of their spectacular growth in recent years. In the 10 years to 1968-69. the net value of fisheries production increased by 160 per cent from $22.5m to $58.4m. On the export side, the value of fisheries exports in the same period rose by 270 per cent from $11.lm to $41.2m. At the time of the last study carried out by my Department of the rankings of the various industries exporting edible primary products, the fishing industry held sixth position in respect to value. Parallel to this growth, major changes in the structure of the industry have occurred. There is a steadily increasing number of company operations where once only relatively small owner-operated units existed. Larger and more sophisticated boats with modern fishfinding and catching equipment are now being built in Australia in significant numbers. Australian fishermen are extending their operations into the more isolated areas off the north of Australia and venturing further into International waters than ever before. We are continuing to take advantage of overseas developments in fishing techniques. In all, the best description that can be offered of our fishing industry is that it is coming of age, and is now making a significant contribution to the Australian economy.
In 1952, the then Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, introducing the Fisheries Bill, informed the House that the intention of the legislation was to provide for conservation of the fishery resources of Australia, The Government now believes that the Act should be broadened to provide not only for conservation but also for the orderly conduct and general welfare of the fishing industry, including the rational utilisation of the living marine resources and the rational development of the fishing industry at all levels.
The Bill now before the House contains two important new principles. First, clause 5 provides for the separate exercise of functions under the Act in proclaimed waters adjacent to Australia, Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Coral Sea islands territory by the Minister and the Secretary of the Department of Primary Industry, and in proclaimed waters adjacent to the external territories, by the Minister for External Territories and the Secretary to that Department. To allow fishermen who at present operate off both Australia and the external territories time to adjust to the new arrangement, the Government will permit a phase-out period during which the cross-endorsement of licences will be facilitated. At the end of such a period, we would expect most operators concerned to have concentrated their operations in either one or the other area.
Clause 5 also provides that each Minister and each Secretary may delegate his powers and functions under the Act. However, the power to grant or transfer licences in respect of foreign fishing boats, all fish-processing boats and all fishcarrying boats intending to operate in the proclaimed waters adjacent to Australia, may be delegated only to officers of the Department of Primary Industry. This is considered necessary to ensure proper supervision over the activities of such boats. The power to cancel a licence is now reserved to the Minister or the Secretary and may not be delegated. To ensure a clear-cut division of responsibility in administering the Act, clause 6 empowers the making of separate proclamations of the waters adjacent to Australia and of the waters adjacent to the external territories where the Act is to apply. At the same time, by definition in clause 4, both these areas remain of equal status as proclaimed waters. The second new principle makes provision, in an administratively practical way, for controlling the level of fishing effort in particular fisheries.
Clause 7 deals with the first part of the machinery for this purpose. First, it empowers the Minister to close an area to the taking of a particular kind of fish, except from boats with licences which have been endorsed for taking such fish from that area. This will provide for the effective application of licence limitation programmes, as it means that only licences for those boats permitted to enter the particular fishery will require endorsement. The principle will continue to be followed that boats entitled to work in a limited fishery will be determined on the basis of a policy publicly anounced by the Minister. Should it be necessary to apply licence limitation in any area traditionally fished by indigenous inhabitants of the external territories, those traditional fishing operations will be exempted.
Powers are also provided for the Minister to regulate the quantity of fishing gear permitted to be used from a particular boat, and to require that such gear be registered under State law before it may be used in proclaimed waters. The former of these, combined with the existing power to close seasons and the power to close areas, completes the range of controls required to regulate the level of fishing effort. The division of fishery jurisdiction between Commonwealth and States makes it necessary to link the power to regulate the quantity of gear permitted to be used in proclaimed waters to the State law, to prevent fishermen doubling up on the quantity of gear they are permitted to use by operating one set in State-controlled waters and a second set in Commonwealthcontrolled waters.
Clause 8 of the Bill contains the second part of the machinery for controlling fishing effort in the licensing provisions of the Act. In essence, these build on what is already provided. First, the present licence for a boat is qualified to permit the boat to process and carry its own catch only. Next, 2 categories of licence are provided to authorise the use of boats to process or to carry the catches of other boats. Third, power is provided for a licensing authority to endorse a boat licence to authorise the boat to operate in a limited licence fishery. In conformity with a request from the Austraiian Fisheries Council, the fishing gear registration provisions of the Act are repealed. I should like to point out that the Bill, for convenience of drafting, reenacts the discretionary power conferred by the principal Act on licensing authorities. As in the past, this discretion will continue to be exercised in accordance with the principle that unless there is good reason, consistent with the purposes of the Act, for refusing a licence, it will be granted.
Clause 8 also contains provision for the endorsement of licences as between areas of proclaimed waters. That is, if a boat licensed to fish in proclaimed waters adjacent to Papua and New Guinea is moved to proclaimed waters adjacent to Australia, the licensing authority in Australia may, without receiving an additional licence fee, but subject to the appropriate considerations of policy, endorse the licence to extend its validity to the whole or to a part of proclaimed waters adjacent to Australia. The reverse is equally possible. Clause 8 further empowers the Minister or the Secretary to cancel a fisherman’s licence or a boat licence held by a person whose State licence has been cancelled following a conviction under State law for an offence that, had it been committed in an adjacent area of proclaimed waters, would have been a contravention of a notice under the Fisheries Act, At present, this is not possible, and has given rise to the situation where a person could continue to fish or use a boat in proclaimed waters at a time when he is forbidden to fish or use that boat in adjacent waters where the State fishery law applies.
Clause 10 repeals the existing offence provisions of the Act and re-states them with certain additions, which, as a result of experience in the past, are considered necessary for the effective administration of the Act. Clause 10 also makes it an offence for the holder of a boat licence to cause or permit a person acting on his behalf to contravene a condition of that licence. It further makes it an offence for a person acting on behalf of a licence holder to contravene a condition of the licence. The combined effect will be to prevent an employer from profiting by the illegal acts of an employee, and, at the some time, to make the employee liable for his own actions. The Act at present does not bind the employee to the conditions of a boat licence.
Clause 10 will, in addition, make a fishing boat skipper or a fishing boat company liable for a contravention of a management notice, such as minimum size or a closed season, committed by a member of the crew of a boat. This does not relieve the crew member of his personal liability, but would, by also making the skipper or owner liable, enable a court to order forfeiture of the illegal catch if it thought such a penalty appropriate. Clause 10 contains a new penalty provision in relation to persons convicted by a court of summary jurisdiction of an offence where a foreign boat is involved. The maximum monetary penalty on summary conviction is $1,000. If the court does not order forfeiture of the catch, its value is likely to more than compensate the offender for the amount of any fine. The Government has decided that convicted foreigners should not be permitted to profit by infringement of Australian fisheries law, and the Bill therefore makes it obligatory for a court of summary jurisdiction, when convicting a person employed on a foreign boat, to order forfeiture of the fish and the fishing gear on the boat. Courts may, if they think fit, also order forfeiture of the boat itself.
I should like to point out to honourable members that the Government is firmly of the opinion that these penalties are necessary as a deterrent to infringements by foreigners of Australian fisheries laws. Foreign fishermen do not have to land in Australia to commit such infringements of Australian fisheries laws. This, combined with their mobility, makes the detection and punishment of their offences extremely difficult. It is for this reason that some of the provisions of clause 10 have been made as strong as they are. It is intended that they will serve as a deterrent. Clause 11 strengthens provisions relating to offences against officers in the performance of their duties under the Act, and provides an alternative penalty of imprisonment on conviction for such offences. Honourable members will note that there is no provision in the Bill for extending Australia’s fisheries jurisdiction over foreigners. However, it should be pointed out that the whole question of the law of the sea is at present being examined internationally within the framework of the United Nations, the General Assembly of which resolved in December last that an international law of the sea conference be convened in 1973. Australia will be represented on the committee that will meet later this year in Geneva to prepare, inter alia, a comprehensive list of subjects and issues relating to the law of the sea, which should be dealt with by the 1973 conference, and to draft articles on such subjects and issues.
One of the matters to be dealt with at the conference will be fishing and the conservation of the living resources of the high seas, including the preferential rights of coastal states. The outcome of these deliberations will have particular relevance to the Australian fishing industry and Australia’s jurisdiction over the marine resources in waters adjacent to Australia. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Holten, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to amend certain of the machinery provisions of the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act to ensure more effective administration of the legislation and, in conjunction with amendments proposed in the Fisheries Act which has just been introduced to bring the principles embodied in the 2 Acts into uniformity. Where appropriate, identical definitions and provisions have been introduced. As honourable members are aware, the main purpose of the Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act is to enable the fullest possible protection to be given to the living sedentary resources of the continental shelf of Australia and the external territories, including the Great Barrier Reef. Such control is in accordance with international law as expressed in the 1958 Convention on the Continental Shelf.
Turning to the substance of the Bill, I would draw attention to a number of important provisions. The proposed definitions of ‘Australian ships’ and ‘foreign ships’ are identical to those proposed in the Fisheries Bill. Clause 5 proposes, amongst other things, an amendment to empower the Minister to close an area to the taking of a particular kind of sedentary organism except by people, or by the use of ships, in respect of which the licences have been endorsed so as to authorise those people to search for and take, or those ships to be used to search for and take, those sedentary organisms from the closed area. As in the case of the Fisheries Bill, this will assist the effective application of licence limitation programmes. These provisions have immediate relevance to the Great Barrier Reef as they would enable the Commonwealth to join Queensland in regulating the taking of live coral.
Amendments proposed under clause 6 relate to the licensing provisions of the Act and are necessary to enable the Minister to endorse the licences to search for and take protected sedentary organisms in a closed area in accordance with an announced policy of allowing a limited number of persons into the closed area. Clause 6 also provides for an addition to the existing grounds on which a licence may be cancelled. As in the case of a similar provision in the Fisheries Bill, this is designed to eliminate the situation where a person may search for an take sedentary organisms or use a ship to do so in the area of continental shelf under Commonwealth jurisdiction at a time when he is prohibited from doing so on the sea-bed beneath the adjoining water subject to state fishery jurisdiction. Clause 8 is a provision similar to that in the Fisheries Bill and makes the skipper or owner of a ship liable for a contravention of a notice implementing a conservation measure such as a minimum size or a closed season, committed by a member of the crew of the ship. Clause 9 (b), similarly to the Fisheries Bill, makes it obligatory for a court of summary jurisdiction, when convicting a person of an offence involving the use of a foreign ship, to order forfeiture of any sedentary organisms, and the equipment for taking them, found on the ship. This clause also provides for the disposal of forfeited goods on the instructions of the Secretary, for an alternative penalty of imprisonment for offences against officers in the performance of their duty, and for a penalty for the offence of moving a foreign ship detained in default of a fine except with the permission of an officer.
Clause 10 authorises courts, convicting persons for offences involving the use of a foreign ship and imposing monetary penalties and forfeiture other than forfeiture of the ship, to order that fines in default be levied by distress and sale of the foreign ship. The Minister or his delegate may release the ship from detention if the fine is paid or an acceptable security for the fine is received. To prevent a detained foreign ship from fleeing, an offence is created of moving it without the consent of an officer. Clause 11 empowers the Minister or his delegate to give certificates for use as evidence as to the nationality of a ship or that, at a specified time, a person did or did not hold a licence endorsed so as to authorise him to search for and take, or to use a boat to search for and take, particular kinds of sedentary organisms from a closed area. Clause 12 provides that all minimum size notices in force at the time of commencement of the Act will continue in force.
This Bill is shorter than the Fisheries Bill but deals, in its own context, with matters also embodied in that Bill. The House may find it appropriate to consider the 2 Bills in a single debate. I commend this Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.
Bill presented by Mr Kevin Cairns, and read a first time.
– I move:
The purpose of this Bill, which is a transitional measure, is to obtain parliamentary authority for the Commonwealth to make advances to the States for housing for a period from 1st July 1971. The need for the legislation has arisen in this way. Under agreed arrangements, given expression in the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreements, the Commonwealth makes advances to the States for housing at a concessional rate of interest, currently 1 per cent below the long term bond rate. Advances under the existing Agreement may be made only until June 30th this year. It will not be possible to negotiate a new Agreement with the States in time for presentation to the Parliament before the end of the present sittings.
The States are, however, substantially dependent upon advances from the Commonwealth for maintaining their housing operations. It has been a practice of some States to draw part of their housing advances in the early part of each financial year. Some of them may wish to do so early in 1971-72, and the Bill provides the necessary authority. Might I say that the Government attaches considerable importance to the form and extent of our assistance to the States for housing. Very careful consideration has been and is being given to this matter. I expect shortly to be in a position to commence negotiations with the States and to reach agreed conclusions in good time for introduction of appropriate legislation early in the budget sittings. I commend the Bill to the House.
– Before I move that the debate be adjourned, I ask the Minister to answer the questions on the notice paper about housing before this debate is brought on.
Debate (on motion by Mr Uren) adjourned.
– I move:
In moving this motion I should like to explain to the House that the honourable member for Deakin (Mr Jarman) will be absent from the country on parliamentary business for the next 2 weeks. During this time the Committee of Privileges will be meeting to consider the matter referred to it on 20th April. It is considered desirable that the Committee should have available to it the services of the honourable member for Diamond Valley (Mr Brown) who, because of his legal qualifications, can make a useful contribution to the work of this Committee.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 16 March (vide page 926), on motion by Mr Nixon:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill is a very limited one in that it has only 7 clauses in it. The Bill deals specifically with only one subject - .the construction of a small single spur railway line in the Northern Territory. This Bill seeks the approval of this Parliament for the construction of a single spur railway line from Knuckey’s Lagoon to the east arm of Darwin harbour. Under the provisions of the relevant Acts relating to Commonwealth Railways there is a limitation of cost to $1.75m, which is the approximate cost of the construction of this railway, taking into account contingencies. There is not very much that one can say about this Bill other than whether the Opposition agrees with the proposed construction. The Opposition is 100 per cent in agreement with this proposal. There is no argument about that. There is not very much I can say about this Bill because even the second reading speech does not set out the main purpose of this railway line. However, the new line will obviously replace the Fort Hill bulk loading facility which will be transferred to the east arm of the harbour.
– But it is a good idea.
– It is an excellent idea. I agree that it is an excellent project and it is one which will certainly streamline facilities for the handling of cargo at Darwin, which is something that is most urgently required. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in its report of October last year, after having gone into tins matter very deeply, dealt with the problems .of cargo handling facilities at Darwin harbour. That Committee recommended a plan to develop the Port of Darwin and it included this proposed railway. The railway, as pointed out by the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), win be constructed to a gauge 3 ft 6 in and provision is to be made to permit conversion to standard gauge at a minimum COSt. This railway line will be a spur line approximately 4 miles long. The Minister has been good enough to provide an explanatory detailed map. I think this is a very good thing with respect to development projects. I suggest that other Ministers might follow this procedure because it makes it easier to understand a project when one has an explanatory map. A small railway line will also be constructed on Quarantine Island, but from memory this is a private arrangement and therefore does not come within the provisions of this Bill, ft is very difficult to talk on the Bill unless one ventures outside its scope and you, Mr Deputy Speaker, would soon call me to order for that. The Bill simply dennes the actual route that the railway will take. It sets out the triangular connection at Berrimah and its relationship to Quarantine Island and to the causeway at South Shell Island.
It is not often that I am stumped to say very much bat oan assure honourable members when one reads the 7 clauses of this Bill, which deal exclusively with the construction of the railway, the gauge and the route, and when one agrees 100 per cent with the Bill, as I do, there is not much one can say about it.
– I agree with the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) that the extension to the Northern Territory railway is a most important link in that railway. There is not very much that one can say about it except that this extension will be a very good thing tor the development of the port of Darwin. I see that the railway is to be constructed in 2 parts. The main part of 4i miles will go from Knuckeys Lagoon to Berrimah to East Arm where the bulk port will be constructed. This gauge will be 3 ft 6 in with provision for conversion to 4 ft 81 in. The same applies to the line from Mataranka to Larrimah. Therefore the Government has been thinking to the future. When the Government decides to construct the whole line, as I very strongly urge it to do, not only to join Tarcoola with Alice Springs, which is proposed under certain conditions, but also to join Alice Springs and Larrimah, these provisions will be there.
I would like to say something briefly about the North Australian line. The first part of 70 miles was completed in 1888. A year later the line was extended by about 70 miles to Pine Creek. Another section of 60 miles to Katherine was completed in 1917. Finally, the line was taken over the bridge at Katherine in 1928. The extension from Mataranka to Birdum or Larrimah as it is now, and which made provision for a 4 ft 81 in standard gauge was completed in 1929.
The Commonwealth Government rehabilitated the North Australian line at a cost of $5m in 1968. I commend the Government for carrying out the work originally. There was a lot of trouble in the first winter in carting iron ore - and this is why the line was built - from Frances Creek. It was estimated that 3 million tons of iron ore would be carried over that part of the line. The old rails were replaced with new 80 lb rails together with many new sleepers. At that time a lot of trains ran off the line. As I said, it was a very wet winter and the people concerned had a lot of trouble.
For the last year or so the service has been improving steadily and the Government is to be commended for this. As recently as 10 years ago the line carried only 1 40,000 tone of freight. This gradually rose to 454,000 tons in 1967 and 1,158,000 tons in 1970. The greatest increase in tonnage has come from the Frances Creek mine which is in the vicinity of Pine Creek. The ore is carried to Darwin to be loaded at the bulk loading port at Fort Hill. The ore from Frances Creek has now been joined by Mount Bundy iron ore. As a result the railway is carrying a total of 1 million tons a year whereas when the improvements to the line were first carried out it was estimated that 3 million tons would be carried over a period of 8 years. Therefore we can see that the North Australian railway line has come into its own. The line is providing a very worthwhile service to the country and will continue to do so.
As I said before this extension is a vital step in such a service. I notice that the schedule indicates that an overpass is to be constructed across the railway line at a point where the extension leaves the north-south line in the Berrimah area. Therefore the Stuart Highway will pass over the line. This will reduce the number of accidents or prevent accidents which otherwise could happen in this area because the road to the bulk port is heavily used and long trains will be operating on the line. So the situation could be pretty dangerous.
Before sitting down T once again urge the Government to take a very hard look at the completion of the line from Larrimah, through Tennant Creek to Alice Springs. I also urge the Government to get on with the construction of a line from Alice Springs to Tarcoola.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Barnes) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 6 April (vide page 1481), on motion by Mr Snedden:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– May I have the indulgence of the House to raise a point of procedure on this legislation. Before the debate is resumed on this Bill I would like to suggest that it may suit the convenience of the House to have a general debate covering this Bill and the Appropriation Bill (No. 4). Separate questions may, of course, be put on each of the Bills at the conclusion of the debate. I suggest therefore that you, Mr Deputy Speaker, permit the subject matter of the 2 Bills to be discussed in this debate.
Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering the 2 financial measures? There being no Objection, I will allow this course to be followed.
– The two measures before us are what could be described as supplementary estimates. They are expenditures which were not foreseen when the Budget was drawn up. Therefore since they cover new purposes an additional parliamentary appropriation is required. The first of the measures deals with ordinary annual services. The second one deals with capital works and various payments that are made by the Commonwealth to the States. The first Bill provides for an additional expenditure of $120,968,000, or nearly $121 m. The other measure dealing with capital works, services and payments to the States makes provision for $32,700,000. In all, the expenditure is about $l53m. As far as the ordinary services are concerned, by far the greatest part of the additional expenditure is to cover wage increases to various employees of the Government departments. Almost $72m of the $120m, or 60 per cent, covers payments such as salaries and allowances for the various departments.
I want to raise points about one or two other items of expenditure separately. The first thing to which I draw attention is the ease with which the Commonwealth can find additional money as compared with the States in the same circumstances. Noone on this side of the House objects to adequate wages being paid to anybody. We support the principle that if a court makes awards then the Government, like everyone else, is bound to make the payments. The major part of the $120m, or about $72m of it, covers that item. I understand that the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) is out of the country at the moment and is unable to be present. We were told by the Treasurer when he introduced the Bills - his first measures as the new Treasurer - as follows:
As a result of measures taken to reduce Commonwealth expenditure this year, and for other reasons, it is expected that savings of about $50m will be available in existing appropriations to offset the additional appropriations now proposed.
In other words, while the Bill seeks an additional $120m, he claims that about $50m will be saved by the measures that were announced some time ago. He said that when additional supplementary estimates were being submitted by the various departments as at December 1970 the projected demands were for a sum of $242m as against the $120m which is now sanctioned. Honourable members are not quite sure what has had to be cut in the process. This was one of the great mysteries surrounding the Government’s announcements. lt said that certain savings would be made, without being precise as to where those savings would take place.
The announcement had not long been made when the Staes had to come seeking additional revenues. They received about $43 m for ordinary purposes and additional grants of about $6m. The main part of the extra revenue given to the States was for the same kind of purpose that we are considering in this case, to cover the increase in wages for employees who are the responsibility of the States. What has happened has been quite devastating, as one can see in Victoria, the State from which I come. Hospital charges to the public will have to go up by between 30 per cent and 50 per cent, which seems to be a very high rate of increase suddenly to be thrust upon those who are unfortunate enough to be ill. In some eases now the weekly cost in public hospitals in Victoria will be in excess of $90. We have heard some complaint here today from one of my colleagues about the pensioners. Their plight is bad enough, but equally bad is the plight of anybody who becomes ill nowadays. A persons on an average income would not have to spend very many weeks in hospital to begin to experience great financial hardship. The various voluntary health schemes do not cover the entire cost.
The States have to provide for the expenditure of the hospitals. They have very limited resources to call upon. I simply contrast the ease with which the Commonwealth can get additional revenues with the difficulties of the States. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in his Press interview the other day seemed to be appalled by the fact that about $900m will be added to the wages bill in the course of 12 months as a result of the recent wage increases and what are described as flowons to the process. What he does not indicate is that the Commonwealth will get back something like $300m on that $900m in taxation. At the moment the reality is that for every dollar received by a person on the average weekly earnings - about $80 a week - he pays 30 per cent of it straight away in income tax. This can be contrasted with the marginal rate of about 17 per cent 14 years ago when income tax rates were last adjusted.
My remarks simply show some of the inequities that inflation causes among various sections in the community. Another matter to which I should draw attention and which should be highlighted is that when the Budget is drawn up in August the Treasurer of the day goes through the great pretence of taking all sorts of factors into account and balancing his revenue and expenditure. If there is a difference - a plus or a minus as the case may be - he tries to fit the plus or minus into the overall economic circumstances of the country. I suggest with all respect that the only time to make that sort of prognostication effectively would be about 12 months after the event. When drawing up the Budget for 1972 the Treasurer can tell whether or not he did a really good job when he drew up the Budget in 1971. It is highly pretentious to suggest 12 months in advance, in an economy whose total activity will rise by about $3, 000m in the course of a 12 month period, that one can be accurate within a magnitude of even $100m.
After all, one per cent of the gross national product these days is a sum in excess of $300m. The additional sum being sought by the Commonwealth in these measures is an aggregate of one-half petcent of the gross national product. These are only additional amounts after some reductions have been made. This is why 1 think it is about time that the sort of nonsense that is reported in the financial Press and other places about the precision of such sums ought to be exploded. I do not believe that anybody could have said sensibly in August 1971 that to have paid an additional sum of $3Om to pensioners would have been regarded as adding to inflation. It is sheer economic humbug to get to that level of precision. If the Government had been giving the pensioners $300m instead of $30m it might have been able to suggest that this was tending towards inflation. But I do not think one could be precise at that level of magnitude either.
– Did Mr Chifley not say the same thing?
– I think Mr Chifley had a better sense of perspective in these things than some people seem to have today. After all inflation is no new thing with this Government. Over the last 10 years inflation in this country has reached an average annual rate of 2i per cent. Why people suddenly become alarmed because in one year it seems that the rate will go from 2i per cent to 34 per cent or 4 per cent I do not think we can measure with precision. The thing that has to be done if inflation continues is to redress the circumstances of the drop-outs in the process. Of course, people on fixed incomes are one such group. As far as this Federal Government is concerned, the other such groups are the States and local authorities, whose burden is made harder by the annual rate of inflation, whether it is 24 per cent, 34 per cent or some greater rate.
I think that rather than throwing its hands up in horror because the rate has become greater, the Government ought to look occasionally at some of the causes of inflation. At least in the period since the Budget it has been established that there is no doubt that the Budget itself has been one of the greatest causes of inflation in the last 6 months. We also have the rather curious condition that one of the ways that is supposed to halt inflation is to increase the price of money or the interest rate. I am afraid that there is not always a degree of logic in that either. When the rate of interest on gilt edged securities is in excess of or near 7 per cent we also are reaching the heights of absurdity. If the Government thinks that it has to have interest rates at that level, I think it should also be doing something to look after particular sections of the community that cannot stand excessive interest rates. One such section comprises the young people who want to purchase homes. We need to have some selectivity in how the burden of the interest rate is to be distributed among the various sections of the community.
Other sections also are suffering at the moment. As I pointed out recently, can anybody in Australia at the moment seriously say that in the name of inflation, or in the name of damping down inflation, we should restrict expenditure on education and public health? Yet that is what is being done. I suppose nearly every day every member of this Parliament gets a telephone call from members of a family who have elderly parents and who find that there are not sufficient care institutions in the community for those aged parents to be adequately looked after. They go into hospitals whose fees cannot be paid out of their pension and the rest of the family has to kick in to pay the difference. At least this points to One considerable defficiency at the level of public health. There are certainly inadequate provisions for the care of the aged in the community, and in my view it is criminal rather than sound economic sense that suggests that expenditure at that kind of level should be restricted.
The other tragic levels at which public expenditure could be considerably increased, not decreased, concern education at all levels - pre-school, primary and the various branches of secondary education and what is called tertiary education. The States are not in the fortunate position of being able to plan consecutively ahead for these great needs. The Premiers are to have another . meeting here in a month or so, at which they will be told that a certain sum has been made available to them. I am sure that whatever is the sum given to them it will be deficient by $100m or more, so far as the total needs of the States are concerned.
There are a couple of items in these expenditures on which I would like more information. They are in the second of the Bills, the one that deals with capital works and services. In the division dealing with the Postmaster-General’s Department there is a demand for a sum of $12m. I should have thought that we would have at least a little information as to what it is proposed to do with this $12m. The matter to which I refer is division 870, relating to expenditure under the Post and Telegraph Act for payment to the Post Office Trust Account, and the sum is $12m. I know that under the new arrangements that prevail in relation to the finance of the Post Office we no longer have included in the Budget, as we used to have, a breakdown showing on one side how we poured into the Consolidated Revenue Fund all receipts of the Post Office and how on the other side we extracted all the expenditure, when in essence the Budget should have been affected only by the difference between two sides.
We have what is called a single line entry in the Budget on the Post Office rather than separate detailed estimates. I presume that the $12m is to help fill up the account that has run down. But again I should have thought that there would be more substantial information given about that item. The other matter to which I would draw attention is an item relating to the Department of Civil Aviation under the appropriation for the Department of Works. The sum involved is $6.3m. This item appears on page 7 of the Appropriation Bill (No. 4). The Department of Works apparently is undertaking certain works for the Department of . Civil Aviation for the sum of $6,279,000.
Some time ago, as one exercise here I compared the expenditure at the Commonwealth level on civil aviation and the Post Office with expenditure at the State level on education and health, and it was surprising to find that on the capital side as much was spent on the Post Office plus civil aviation, both in the hand of the Commonwealth, as was spent by the States at the 2 levels of education and health. I suggested that if the States had had the same sort of financial initiative as has the Commonwealth I would have been very surprised indeed if there had not been more expenditure on education and health and less on civil aviation and the Post Office. But the Commonwealth has the first bite at the cherry. Cherries are not the sorts of things that one talks about favourably these days. Apparently the cherry industry is quite concerned about what the tariff is doing to the industry. But the Commonwealth has the first bite at the total financial cherry, and it is inclined to look after its own interests first rather than to allocate money on the basis of proper planned priorities for total national needs.
We ought to be given more information at a time when we are being told that building should be restricted. Why should this sum of $6.3m for the Department of Civil Aviation suddenly appear when presumably it had not been foreseen 6 or 7 months ago? This seems to me to be a rather inordinate amount. I have no doubt that it is to help the completion of these great undertakings that are called international air terminals. Whether we want as many of those as we seem to be getting, I am not quite sure; nor am I sure that it is the proper level of priorities either. Be that as it may, I would like to have a little more information given to us. That is all I propose to say on these Bills. Honourable members will have another opportunity to participate in financial debates when the actual estimates for the first 5 months of the financial year 1971-72 come before this House, probably in a week or so.
– -It is not my intention to take much time or to generalise too broadly on the Bills before the House, but I feel that I must say that in some of the generalisations of the previous speaker, the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), regarding the precision of figures, there was some merit. I would be remiss if I did not bring to the attention of the House that in working out Budget papers and the Estimates we must still ask for precision in estimation and precision in the small figures from departments when it comes to departmental spending on an item by item basis. One could not disagree with the honourable member for Melbourne Ports that anticipating trends when one does not know what is going to happen with regard to the immense salaries content in the Budget is a very difficult problem. Therefore, I think there is wisdom in the principle we have adopted that departments should not include likely wage increases within their estimates, and certainly in Appropriation Bills (No. 1) and Appropriation Bill (No. 2). I believe that Appropriation Bill (No. 3) and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) before the House today may well be documents in which this could be more clearly spelt out. Having shared the experience of being on the Public Accounts Committee at different times, the previous speaker and I bask in the comfort of hindsight when it comes to commenting on the precision of departments in relation to their itemised spending.
In speaking on Appropriation Bills (No. 3) and (No. 4) I want to remind honourable members that when the House is considering Appropriation Bills (No. 1) and (No. 2) each year it has the benefit of the Budget speech which outlines the policies of the Government and describes in some detail the expenditure proposals and the means of financing them. Honourable members are very conscious of the great volume of supporting material, including statistics, that is made available to us at that time. The honourable member who preceded me in this debate would have few peers in this place when it comes to critically analysing and understanding this substantial volume of supporting material that accompanies the presentation of the Budget speech in August each year. One of the casualties of his Party having sat on the Opposition benches for so long is that he has been shadow Treasurer for what is unquestionably a record term. It is difficult to know whether this term will ever be equalled.
– We hope not.
– We hope not, too; perhaps even more fervently. Some may go so far as to say, when talking of the material supporting the Budget speech, that the material represents a veritable avalanche of statistics. Yet, as members of this House, I believe we must remain vigilant to ensure that within that mountain of material there is sufficient description and availability of pertinent facts to permit meaningful examination in the House. One of the matters which we must constantly consider is whether the availability of detail essential to the deliberations of this House is not obscured either by a constant endeavour on the part of the administration to simplify the presentation of the material or by the very volume of the material presented.
While this is particularly apposite to Appropriation Bills (No. 1) and (No. 2), or, as they are more commonly called, the Budget, it has equal relevance when considering Appropriation Bills (No. 3) and (No. 4). The House must have comprehensive, pertinent and revealing information made available to it whenever appropriation of funds of such magnitude is being sought from this Parliament. It should be emphasised that while the amounts sought in the additional estimates before the
House today are necessarily small compared with those sought at Budget time, nonetheless the Parliament is being asked to appropriate funds in the same way it is asked to appropriate funds in the Budget. Therefore, it is disturbing to find that the second reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden), though it described in general terms the reasons for the total appropriation of $ 120.9m in Appropriation Bill (No. 3) and $32.7m in Appropriation Bill (No. 4), which is required to be approved by the House, does not contain sufficient supporting material to explain why approval for certain amounts is being sought from this House. I would like to thank the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), who is at the table, for having made available to me during the speech of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports some of the figures that he questioned, but I still maintain that this is a little late.
We are here to debate the contents of these two Bills and though, as the previous speaker suggested, they are nothing in size when compared with the Budget and are infinitesimal when compared with our gross national product, I believe these Bills represent a principle which honourable members on both sides of this House should insist upon. As far as these Appropriation Bills are concerned, time obviously does not permit individual members to analyse all the items placed before us. I hope that when the Bill reaches the Committee stage there will be adequate material made available to honourable members to ensure meaningful debate within the time allotted for this purpose. As matters stand it would be to the great benefit of individual private members in the House, resulting in a more positive parliamentary interest and control of the public purse, if there could be adequate personal staff available to private members to examine financial data thoroughly. But it is not my intention at this stage to seek once more, seemingly in vain, the extra personal staff which each and every member of this House needs to play his part properly as a private member.
So far as Appropriation Bill (No. 4) is concerned, it is noted that the amounts sought for capital works and services range from $1,000 for the Central Bureau of Satellite Geodesy to $12m as a single line item for payment to the Post Office Trust
Account. Yet with regard to this latter significant amount I repeat that no information was placed before the House prior to the debate taking place on this subject, i believe that we were entitled to an earlier explanation of the reasons underlying what is an evident need.
Like the previous speaker, 1 remind the House that when the Post Office financial arrangements were changed to provide for one line appropriations, an assurance was given to honourable members that a paper relating to Post Office activities would be made available to honourable members in association with the Budget documents. As we know, several such papers have been placed before the Parliament so far, and, of course, such a paper cannot foreshadow all changes that will inevitably occur during the financial year. For this reason the Post Office paper presented in connection with the Budget in August last cannot be expected to have relevance to the amount of $12m sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 4). As no reasons were given in the second reading speech, I would hope that detail, sufficient to justify a single amount representing no less than 36 per cent of the total sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 4), will be made available to members of this House. I realise that time could be a factor in properly informing the House at this time. But I would commend to the Treasurer and to the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) the need for such detail to be made available to honourable members at the earliest opportunity and certainly for inclusion in future Appropriation Bills (Nos 3 and 4).
Of course, the problem is that when these figures are brought before the House the supporting evidence must have been available for these figures to have been compiled, approved and brought before us. So 1 see little reason why these matters have not been presented to us. Of course, we do not wish this to be a repetition of the Budget, nor do we wish it to be regarded as a little Budget each year. Nor indeed in this debate should the Government’s policy come under the close scrutiny that it does during the Budget debate in August and September. But if we, as a Parliament, have reached the stage of accepting a one-line item for such a major spender of Federal funds as the Post Office, I believe that the figures which have been placed before me - and
I do not know whether I can table them or have them incorporated in Hansard; I suspect that I cannot - should in future times be made available to us.
The point is that we have not only the problem which the honourable member for Melbourne Ports brought forward about the Post Office which we, as a Parliament, have accepted as a trust account financial situation in public finance, but also the situation of a department like the Department of Civil Aviation claiming $6.3m without any explanation at all being available for us to use. So I would repeat to the point of nausea, but it must be repeated, that the Parliament must have the figures. We must achieve a streamlining of the Budget Papers, and nobody would dispute, that. But when committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee, seek and receive an assurance on behalf of our constituents, namely the members of this House, that we will have sufficient data before these matters are placed before the House, then 1 believe that Appropriation Bills (Nos 3 and 4) should afford the equal courtesy, if it is a courtesy, that is extended to us in the Budget Papers.
In listening to the comments and in accepting the broadness of the subjects mentioned at this time of the parliamentary year, I would like to say that with all the talk about the needy in the community perhaps there is no more needy and no more critical area in our social situation than that of the young widow with a small family. I should like to hear more comment come from both sides of the House on the tragic situations that are faced by the young unmarried mother and the young widow with small children who do not receive anywhere near enough support for their situations. None of us would complain about the allegations that aged pensioners never get enough. This is true. But too often we are blinded to the fact that the young widow in the community does not have herself as organised as she might be in order to have a meaningful and strong voice brought forward to this House. Despite my comments on Appropriation Bills (Nos 3 and 4), I will be supporting them.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, I should like to direct a few remarks to the appropriations under the
Department of Health. 1 note under division 290 reference to a contribution ot $1,300 to the International Cancer Research Agency. The amount itself is somewhat insignificant, but I suggest to the Government that a more tangible way to assist those who are fighting the scourge of cancer would be to take a more active part in discouraging cigarette smoking. On 16th March I received an answer to question No. 2553 from the then Minister for Health. I asked him:
He replied as follows:
In my view, the Commonwealth could very well set the ball rolling by having the warning placed on cigarette packages in its own Territories, but it declines to do so. It suits the Commonwealth to be geared to the slowest State. The Commonwealth gets substantial revenue from cigarette smoking, as the various documents indicate. Excise from tobacco, cigars and cigarettes amounted to more than $245m for the financial year 1969-70. Of course, this to some extent must have a bearing on the Government’s attitude towards cigarette smoking. The following report appeared in the ‘West Australian’ of 27th January 1971:
Australian State and Federal Governments did not give enough financial support for cancer and heart research programmes, the world chairman of the finance committee of the International Union Against Cancer, Sir William Kilpatrick, said in Perth yesterday.
He also said that in most cases the governments lacked responsibility to the people by failing to block unfair television advertising of cigarettes.
After ten years of research, both the British Medical Association and the Surgeon-General of the United States had supplied indisputable evidence that cigarette smoking was one of the main causes of lung cancer.
Cigarette advertising had been banned in Britain. Italy, the United States and many European countries.
So it goes on. Of course, the vested interests in cigarette manufacturing claim that there is no absolute proof that cigarette smoking is a health hazard. I venture to suggest that many people have been hanged on far less evidence than we have today that cigarette smoking causes death by lung cancer and also causes the other ailments which have been mentioned from time to time.
Since the beginning of 1971 cigarette advertising has been banned in the United States of America. Since 1965 there have been no cigarette advertisements on British television. In the recent 108 page report entitled ‘Smoking and Health’ by the Royal College of Physicians, British doctors called for all-round bans on cigarette advertising and the introduction of legislation to compel cigarette manufacturers to print warnings on their packets about the possible dangers of smoking to health. The report showed that anyone smoking. 24 cigarettes a day stands a 1 in 9 chance of contracting lung cancer. It also established a direct link between smoking and coronary thrombosis, high blood pressure; cancer of the bladder and gastric ulcers. It estimated- that 27,500 people die in Britain each year because they smoke cigarettes. The Imperial Tobacco Co. which dominates 67 per cent of the British cigarette market estimates that the overall sale of cigarettes has fallen by 10 per cent since the January report of the Royal Colleges of Physicians on smoking and health was made public.
In the ‘West Australian’ of 7th January 1971 there is an article headed: ‘Doctors are giving up smoking’. It is interesting to note a couple of extracts from this article. In part, it states:
It seems that doctors have become alarmed by the number of deaths from lung cancer, heart disease and other respiratory complaints believed to be linked with smoking.
The article gives the number of doctors who have given up smoking in order to assist in the campaign against smoking. The article states further:
Dr Moore said that if doctors were to have any marked success with their efforts’ there would have to be a change in the attitude towards cigarette advertising.
Dr Moore said that he was tired of seeing ads in which women curl supposedly springtime fresh lips around glamorous ‘cancer sticks’.
The views of Dr Moore are quite interesting. All of us have seen these glamorous advertisements. To their credit, some world famous actors and actresses have refused to be associated with such advertising at great financial loss to themselves. They are to be admired - not so the glamorous Stuart Wagstaff who appears in television commercials regularly advertising cigarette smoking, even though he has thrown up the habit himself. It was no wonder that Barry Humphries in an interview recently said: This year I’d like to do for Australian comedy what Stuart Wagstaff has done for lung cancer’.
Australia is doing less than other comparable countries to discourage cigarette smoking. The only control on tobacco advertising at present is a voluntary code initiated by the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations. The code is useless. Consequently, cigarette smoking is on the increase. In the ‘West Australian’ of 7th January 1971 under the heading ‘Govt. Accused of Stalling on Smoking’, we read:
Australia’s leading campaigner against smoking, Dr Cotter Harvey, tonight accused the Commonwealth and State governments of delay in banning cigarette advertising on television because of vested interests.
Our Governments have admitted that smoking is harmful to health, but the opportunities for stalling on the issue seem to be endless,’ he said. .
I have here a table prepared for me by the Research Service of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library which sets out statistics in relation to deaths due to lung cancer in Australia. Figures are given for the years 1950, 1954, 1959, 1964 and 1969 - that is, the figures at 5-yearly intervals. In 1950 the number of male deaths through lung cancer was 618. As a percentage of total male deaths this represented 1.4 per cent. At crude rates - that is, per million of male and female mean population; and I will give the figures in relation to females shortly - the figure was 150. In 1954 the number of male deaths had risen to 519 which was 2 per cent of total male deaths and represented a crude rate of 201. In 1959 male deaths through lung cancer had jumped to 1,380. representing 2.7 per cent of total male deaths and a crude rate of 272. The number of male deaths due to lung cancer in 1964 jumped to 2,028, being 3.6 per cent of total male deaths and a crude rates figure of 362. In 1969 the number of deaths increased to 2,654, being 4.4 per cent of total male deaths and 428 on the crude rates scale.
I turn to the figures for female deaths due to lung cancer in Australia over the same period. The number of female deaths through this cause in 1950 was 137. This was 0.4 per cent of total female deaths and a crude rates figure of 34. In 1954 the number of deaths had risen to 162, again 0.4 per cent of total female deaths and 36 at crude rates. In 1959, 198 females died through lung cancer representing 0.5 per cent of total female deaths and 40 at crude rates. In 1964 the number of female deaths was 297 which was 0.7 per cent of total female deaths and a crude rates figure of 54. In 1969 the number of female deaths had jumped to 383 which was 0.8 per cent of total female deaths and 63 on the crude rates scale representing per million of female mean population. These figures relate to lung cancer deaths only. A direct link has been established also between smoking and coronary thrombosis - this was mentioned in the report that I dealt with earlier - high blood pressure, cancer of the bladder and gastric ulcers.
If we take these factors into account it is clear that, whilst we pay a lot of attention to deaths as a result of motor vehicle accidents, deaths caused through cigarette smoking can be considered as being greater than the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. We do not know the exact figures as to- those who die as the result of coronary thrombosis, high blood pressure, cancer of the bladder and gastric ulcers, but we do know the exact figures in relation to lung cancer. When we compare these figures with the figures of deaths through motor vehicle accidents we get some idea of the close relationship that exists between the two, especially in regard to the male rates. The figures that I will quote are taken from the official Year Book’ of the Commonwealth of Australia for 1970. In 1968 the number of male deaths resulting - from lung cancer was 2,516 while the number of male deaths because of motor vehicles was 2,605. In that year lung cancer deaths represented 4.1 per cent. The figure at crude rates was 415 for lung cancer as against 430 for motor vehicle accidents. The figures in respect of female deaths are not as high as the figures for the male rate. I suppose this is understandable. I will not quote those figures. When we consider the other factors that have a direct link with cigarette smoking - that is, coronary thrombosis, high blood pressure, cancer of the bladder and gastric ulcers - I think it can be rightly claimed that more deaths result from smoking cigarettes than from motor vehicle accidents.
The Government should use the excise that it receives from tobacco sales to finance a long term educational campaign using the same media as the cigarette industry is using to bring home to our young people - that is, young potential smokers - the dangers of smoking. We ought to be making a king-size attack upon these interests which for profit are prepared to destroy the -health and cause the early deaths of many thousands of young Australian people. I am not so concerned with adults who have been smoking cigarettes for years and who have become addicts. That is their business. If they have not sufficient sense to give up the habit, that is their concern. I am concerned about our young people who follow the example of adults, especially leaders in sport.
Endless publicity and advertising is engaged in and money is wasted to encourage our young people to take up smoking. Decent parents try to inculcate an approved line of conduct in their children, yet they must face a barrage from irresponsible vested interests which have no limit to the finance at their disposal. I am satisfied that, if our young people were protected from these king-size campaigns - this chronic brainwashing - and were acquainted by the Government of the stark facts associated with cigarette smoking, their commonsense would prevail and many thousands of them would avoid cigarette smoking like the plague. The Government has an unmistakable duty to take action. Earlier I mentioned that it suited the Government to be geared to the slowest State. This should not be allowed. Victoria and Queensland are tobacco growing States and obviously they will not do much to affect the profits of the tobacco manufacturers. The Commonwealth Government should take the initiative in its own territories by adopting the recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council and compelling the placing on cigarette packets of a label reading: Warning. Cigarette smoking is dangerous to health’. It should also ban cigarette advertising on radio and television and should use the space on this media now used for advertising cigarettes for an educational campaing to bring home to our young people the dangers of smoking.
– The purpose of Appropriation Bill (No. 3) is to obtain parliamentary authority for expenditure in the current financial year of $120,968,000 on a wide number of items, including foreign aid. The Bill provides me with the opportunity of mentioning something of the tragic cyclone which ravaged the coastal regions and off-shore island of East Pakistan last November. Also I want to speak of events leading up to the tragic situation where fighting is at present taking place between Government forces and the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. This unfortunate event has occurred at a time when East Pakistan is endeavouring to recover from the aftermath of the tragic cyclone of 12th and 13th November 1970, and it will take some 2 or 3 years before the survivors from the coastal regions and off-shore islands have been fully rehabilitated. It is indeed sad that the people of East Pakistan are again experiencing death an destruction, not as an act of God but this time man made. I am not making excuses for the. people of East Pakistan nor, for thai, matter, any country which has obtained independence during the postwar period, but I do think that the people in Australia and western countries should not judge what is happening in these newly independent countries by their own standards, as we are far removed from what is actually happening.
I believe that we expect far too much from these people. It is only natural that many of these countries are having growing pains in their early years of self-government. After all, most western countries have an early history of civil wars, slaves and violence prior to stable government. Much of the trouble in East Pakistan today could have been avoided had the people received more sacrificial help with their domestic problems. I feel that the western countries must accept greater responsibility for what is happening there today. It is a difficult job running any country and East Pakistan and many other countries that have obtained their independence really have done a remarkably good job in tackling the many difficulties associated with self-government. Their main problems are human and economic problems and they will need tremendous assistance for years to come.
We must realise that we live our lives on earth for a very simple reason, and that is to help each other. I am sorry to say that Pakistani India and many other countries are just not getting the support they need from the more prosperous and wealthy countries. Many of these countries face tremendous problems - problems of hunger, illiteracy, over-population and active Communist parties, not to mention health, housing, education, transport and many other domestic problems. Few. western countries could overcome these difficulties, and what these countries, need is far greater help and less criticism if they are to make a success of self government.
I should like to go on record as saying that we are all guilty whilst we know that 10,000 children will die today of starvation and neglect in Pakistan and India alone, and another 10,000 will die tomorrow and so on, but do practically nothing to help them. Knowing these facts, we are just as guilty as the war criminals who were tried at the Nuremburg and Tokyo war trials if we stand by and do nothing about these great human tragedies. Whilst sp little is being done to assist East Pakistan and India with their great human problems of privation and neglect, the situation in many such countries will continue to deteriorate. What is needed today is a change of attitude towards these people, and the sooner we return to the fundamental principles of why we live our lives on earth the happier and more contented we will be. If a prosperous country like Australia cannot provide greater assistance, we are out of touch with reality. These days people are protesting and demonstrating against what they claim are. unjust laws that appear on the statute books. However, when we get down to the real essence of why we live our lives on earth, we realise that we do not have to be guided too much by legislation. The real laws are the unwritten laws and if more people were motivated by their conscience we might be able to come to grips with the real issues confronting the people in these countries today. One’s real possessions are spiritual - part of the world of mind, not matter. One’s love, courage, faith in God, acceptance of responsibility, sense of art and beauty, pleasures of the past, hopes for the future and the sacrificial gifts one makes are the real things . of life. They belong to each and every one of us. It is just a matter of knowing where to find them, and it is upon this foundation that goodwill lies and Australia must stand. All these qualities are far outside the law of any land. A person’s individuality, a person’s intuition, can never be controlled by legislation and it is important that we recognise this and do not deny this right unto others..
If more people were motivated by thenconscience, many of the great human problems that confront us would not exist. Let me illustrate what I. mean. Few people in Australia responded to the call for assistance to. help the survivors of the East Pakistan cyclone last November. This catastrophe was claimed to be the greatest this century, but there was little response at the Government or individual level. Similarly, the contributions from a wealthy and prosperous country like Australia in assisting developmental projects in these countries is out of all proportion to what we really have, so I am not at all surprised at the amount of aid given to Pakistan in connection with the cyclone disaster. This being so, it is about time we raised our sights much higher. A more humanitarian approach is needed if we are to come to grips with the problems in these countries.
Early last December I visited some of the worst affected areas, shortly after the cyclone, and I am sure that neither the Government nor the people of Australia realised the size of this catastrophe, for the very simply reason that they were far removed from it. Without a doubt it was the greatest catastrophe of this century. I saw plenty of evidence of death and destruction when I visited those areas some 3 weeks after the disaster. I spoke to a number of the survivors - responsible people who included district commissioners, police officers and school teachers - in some of the worst affected areas and they gave me a graphic account of what actually happened. On one part of
Bhola Island I visited 123,000 people were drowned. On a part of Hatiya Island 46,000 people were drowned. Out of a total of 77,000 inland fishermen 52,000 were drowned. On many smaller islands that supported human life, vegetation and livestock everything has disappeared. All the people, animals, vegetation, etc., were sucked out into the Bay of Bengal. No-one will ever know the total mortality but it must approximate 2 million people. These are the figures of the East Pakistan government.
There are many stories of heroism and good fortune. Many parents frantically made small rafts on which their children floated to safety. Other people clung to trees or rode buffaloes to survive. Some escaped by climbing trees. Unfortunately the tidal wave came during the hours of darkness and this greatly hampered rescue operations. At that time of the year the majority of the farmers were harvesting their paddy crops. This is an occasion when all relatives rally to help bring in the harvest, and it meant that in many instances there were few survivors amongst very large families. Many of the dead were washed up on nearby islands, and this made identification impossible. Tens of thousands of people and complete villages have disappeared without any trace. The full extent of this tragedy will never be known. It is known, however, that hundreds of thousands were sucked out into the Bay of Bengal. Just how many noone will ever know, but without a doubt this is how the majority of the deaths occurred. I might mention that this great human tragedy has left the survivors stunned and bewildered as many have lost their entire families and possessions. Under such conditions one needs not only great courage to attempt a new start in life but also great faith and a strong desire to go on living. There are many, of course who will not take up the challenge. However, the majority have and help on a large scale will be needed for the next 2 years to assist with their rehabilitation.
I believe these great tragedies happen for certain reasons, and one of these must surely be to test our sincerity and genuineness in coming to the assistance of people in need. I am sorry to say that in the case of East Pakistan we have not done so. To try to bring this tragedy into its right perspective, I want to say that the mortality in East Pakistan was 3 times greater than the total United Kingdom and American dead in the Second World War. It was 28 times greater than the total of fatalities among members of the British and Commonwealth Air Forces in the Second World War. We go to the assistance of peaceful countries in times of war to the extent of sacrificing thousands of lives and the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, yet in times of peace when a friendly country has been ravaged by the greatest catastrophe ever known we provide less than $500,000 in assistance, and this under pressure. Surely at a time of the greatest natural disaster this century the contributions from a rich and prosperous country should not be just a mere token which does little more than indicate a casual interest by the Government and the people of Australia.
As president of the voluntary agency For Those Who Have Less that has been working in these countries for some years, I can assure this House and the Government that voluntary agencies expect much more from the Government. If the Department of Foreign Affairs was not aware of the extent of this tragedy, I was, and I was prompted to forward a telegram to the former Prime Minister and the. former Minister for Foreign Affairs the first thing on the Monday morning after the tragedy was announced, urging aid to the extent of $lm. Subsequent events have now proved this catastrophe to be the worst ever recorded, and having witnessed the aftermath of it all I am greatly concerned that so little has been done to help these unfortunate people. What more can I do than to reiterate the following facts: Approximately 2 million people lost their lives. The American Ambassador to East Pakistan estimates the total at between 3 million and 4 million people. Some 3 million survivors have been left stunned and bewildered. They are in urgent need of rehabilitation and many have lost their desire to go on living. It is the greatest catastrophe this century and it has happened in peace time, not in time of war. The cyclone had an explosive force of 100 hydrogen bombs and all this happened in one night and was not spread over 5 years as was the situation with casualties in the Second World War. Again I want to stress that the mortality was 3 times greater than the combined British and American dead in the Second World War or 28 times greater than those killed in the British and Commonwealth Air Forces. However, perhaps of even greater importance is the fact that we are expected on humanitarian grounds to go to the assistance of another Commonwealth country in its time of great need and I am sure the Australian people expect the Government to make a more sacrificial contribution, which it has not done up to the present time.
This is what I mean when 1 say that there has been little sacrificial assistance from the people of Australia to help the survivors of the cyclone in East Pakistan. Never before has there been such a catastrophe. Never before have the issues been so great and it seems to me to be a great pity that we have not faced up to our moral responsibility in this regard. Today Australia needs strong . moral leadership, and if we had sufficient leaders I am sure many more would follow, because in the past Australians have always been known as generous and fair minded people. However, if the members of the” present generation are not prepared to do more at their own particular level I would support and encourage a crusade if this is the only way to get the people to accept greater responsibility for those who have less. This great human tragedy must be faced up to in our time, and the time to act is now. Never before have so many people in the world needed succour. Every day the story of their plight is being told, from the aged and needy in our great cities to the hungry people of India, from the orphans in East Pakistan - and there are some 27,000 known orphans from the cyclone- to the victims of racial discrimination.
I feel that the great danger of all this lies in the fact that it no longer shocks us to know that these great tragedies occur every day. We are no longer shocked to know that today 10,000 children in India and Pakistan will die of starvation and neglect and another 10,000 tomorrow and so on. Out of every 20 children born in these countries 10 will die in infancy and 7 out of the remaining 10 will be stunted for life both mentally and physically because of malnutrition in childhood. Only 3 out of 20 will escape the ravages of hunger. When we take time off to think of this sit uation we tend to shrug off any thought of personal commitment at our own level. We are all inclined to sit back and wait for someone else to act or wait to see what the Government or governments intend to do about it, and that is exactly why so little is being done. I have not heard of anyone wanting to protest about these 10,000 children who are going to die today in India and Pakistan. If anyone ever wanted a good reason for wanting to protest and demonstrate this great human tragedy must surely provide one. I venture to say that such inhumanity towards those people warrants a march-past in every capital city each week until these great human problems are tackled. I wonder how many people would be prepared to march on such issues. Surely on such issues as these we should forget party politics, come together as a national Parliament and make a positive approach towards relieving hunger and privation in these countries. If all parties pulled together we could achieve so much. I urge a positive approach along the lines I have suggested, as these great human problems must be faced up to in our time.
Mr GRASSBY (Riverina) ‘ (5.26)- In the first instance I would like to commend the remarks of the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid). Only on rare occasions does he speak in this House but when he does he makes a contribution straight from the conscience. I think we all were privileged to listen to him this afternoon. I commend him for his thoughts and his genuine cry of conscience today. Consideration of items of expenditure under the Appropriation Bill conies before this Parliament at a time when the Government is suggesting that austerity should reign in relation to its expenditure and in relation to the expenditure of various segments of the community. The interesting thing is that when we talk about Government austerity we must ask ourselves where the axe is to fall.
At the present time in New South Wales children are being sent home for a period every week because of the inadequate number of teachers available and inadequate accommodation. In NSW there have been warnings by the State Government that economies must be exercised in our public hospitals system. I am not sure whether it is suggested that they should close up for a day in each week. This is the situation of public services at the present time. School children are being sent home because of inadequacies and there are stringencies in our hospitals which should not be there.
I want to draw attention particularly to the Prime Minister’s Department. Additional expenditure of $491,800 is sought for that magnificant imperial hangover known as Australia House in London. As honourable members can probably gather from an examination of the Appropriation Bill (No. 3) this house of representation is under the control of the Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet. It has been thus since the beginning because it was normal in imperial times. We did not have a Department of Foreign Affairs or even a Department of External Affairs. The Constitution did not envisage that we would ever be independent or that we would ever need ambassadors or representatives in an independent way. It was assumed that all matters would be handled through the authorities in London. We have grown up and grown out of that stage except for this great monument to the past which in a full year will cost Australia about $5. 3m. I think that for this year the expenditure comes down by a modest $250,000.
I wanted to direct attention to this because obviously it has failed to do the job that needs to be done. If any evidence is needed of this failure we have the decision of the New South Wales Government, at a time when schools are inadequate and hospitals are under stringencies, to spend another $2m on its new Agents-General’s office in London. In fact NSW undertakes the major expenditure in London apart from that of the Commonwealth. That State spends $800,000 to do the job that it feels needs to be done in trade and commerce and representation. South Australia has the biggest London bill after New South Wales. South Australia spends $320,000 for its London staff. Western Australia spends about $250,000, Victoria about $141,000, Queensland about $250,000 and Tasmania about $132,000. All these States together are annually spending a tremendous sum of money to ensure their proper representation in migration, trade, commerce and industry, and they are expanding. This is a contradiction. If we have an overseas mission that is costing us more than $5m a year and it is doing its job this expenditure is obviously not necessary. However, there has been great dissatisfaction in the States.
I can remember when I was a member of the New South Wales Parliament the concern expressed about the lack of drive by Commonwealth agencies, particularly in London. This is why the present New South Wales Government and its predecessor decided that they would expand their representation. We cannot have it both. ways. If it is correct to say that the overseas mission that we have is adequate then other expenditure is not necessary. But we do not need to have 1,300 representatives of Australia in London at this time. About 200 of them are employed by State Agents-General and 1,100 are in Australia House. That number is double the size of our staff in Washington. Our expenditure in London is equivalent to our expenditure in every mission of ours in neighbouring countries. This may have been the right thing in 1901 but times have changed and here we are 70 years later making the same obeisances. I suggest that there is room for a complete reorganisation. The first step is to’ place this matter under the control of the Department of Foreign Affairs and then to reschedule the whole of its activities, if necessary in close consultation with the States. If we are to have austerity and improvements in public services this is one place we could start with.
– The States are represented in Washington.
– Yes, but not to the same degree. I accept the interjection. When the New South Wales State Government decided to open an office in Tokyo it was concerned that the Commonwealth was not doing enough. Again this was a condemnation but in no respect is Tokyo or Washington allowed to swirl at this level of expenditure that we have in London. This matter should be examined as a matter of urgency.
– Other Commonwealth countries have their missions in London under the respective Prime Minister’s departments.
– The fact that some members of the Commonwealth may still have imperial hangovers, as we do, is no excuse to continue something which obviously is not working well. If it was working well the level of expenditure by the States need not be at these levels. We should streamline the present situation and have it examined in conjunction with the States.
– It has been moved over to the Executive Council now so why. could it not be moved to the Department of Foreign Affairs as you suggest9
– This is the logical thing to do. We would then have the advantage of the expertise which is not available in the Prime Minister’s Department. I wish to draw attention to the item of expenditure under the Department of Immigration involving SI. 2m for embarkation and passage costs. This item covers special passages under the assistance programme and one or two other matters. As honourable members would well know we have a multi-million dollar programme for the promotion of migration. We also make available money in a special way in various countries for assisted passages. In regard to the quality of the people that we need I want to direct attention to a group of people whose migration to Australia would not cost us any money at all. It would not involve the Commonwealth in any activity in finding jobs or accommodation for these people. This group of people would not number more than a few hundred families of Portuguese citizenship. These people are in Macao, which is almost a pimple on the great body of mainland China, the People’s Republic of China, the former Red China or whatever terminology may be prevalent in Government circles at this time. Macao is a very small area which has been held by Portugal for some centuries. There are a few hundred families in Macao who have links with Australia and who desire to come to this country. Most of them are skilled in one way or another. People in Australia have nominated many of them. Houses and jobs are available for them in Australia and they have ready sponsors. These people also have very high character references. They are well known to he Australian authorities just across the bay in Hong Kong.
– Why do they want to leave?
– I suggest that the future of Macao is in some question. Macao is a European pimple on the end of a great body. I am sure the honourable member knows how difficult it is to be a pimple at any time. But at this time Macao has special difficulties. As I have said, these people want to come to Australia and they have connections here. They would represent a very fine group of people. Incidentally, some of these people would wish to settle in country areas. Indeed, most have their connections in country areas.
In view of what I have said it is strange that they are not permitted to come here. They are Portuguese citizens and while all of them are not highly qualified they have useful qualifications. They have very fine families and very nice children. I have met some of them. They are well and favourably known to our authorities. Everything would appear in order so that they could come here. In addition we would not have the difficulties of passages or the difficulties of looking after them once they came here. These people obviously would settle particularly well into the community because they have links with local church bodies and that sort of thing. Also, there are no great language difficulties because many of them have studied English at Hong Kong. Indeed, many have migrated to Hong Kong which is a British territory. However, as I said before, the people interested in coming to Australia are Portuguese citizens in Macao.
I pose the question: How can it possibly be that such a desirable and fine group of migrants are not permitted to obtain visas? What possible reason could there be for this? Surely the reason could not be that the ancestors of these Portuguese citizens at one time or other were attracted to the gentle flowers of China? Surely (he reason could not be that that contribution to the bloodstream has an association with a nonracial migration policy that has been proclaimed recently? Whatever the reason is, the decision stands.
I suggest that it is this kind of decision which gives us an unnecessarily ugly visage in neighbouring countries. I hope that the Minister for Immigration will look into this matter. This decision was a ministerial one - I know this because I have checked it - and the previous Minister for Immigration, who is now the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch), indicated that he made it. I hope that this decision is reviewed. There is obviously no valid reason why it should not be reviewed. If there is a reason, the House and the nation should be told because surely this case which concerns a few hundred families is a test of our good attitude in this matter. I am very desirous and jealous of our good name in neighbouring countries.
– Have you been to Macao?
– Yes, I have been to Macao. Another matter I wish to comment concerns the Department of Trade and Industry. We desire to see our trade position improved in many directions. This is not the first time I have drawn attention to what I regard as serious imbalances in our international trade. In fact, on one occasion when I used a figure of $ 10,000m as the deficit in the current account of our trade with the United States of America and the United Kingdom, one very good friend decided that this could not possibly be so and he reduced the amount to $ 1,000m. But unfortunately this was the case.
At the moment there is a need to develop new markets and find new initiatives for our trade. Whenever we talk about new markets and new initiatives someone says: ‘Oh, we are doing everything that can possibly be done’. As an example of the sort of thing that happens, the other day I was speaking to one of our Australian entrepreneurs who wanted to find a market for his milk-based product. He found that if he was to develop a new outlet he would have to do it himself. He went to the southern Americas and came back with orders for $2m worth of milk powder products. He did this on his own initiative. Also, I have met people from national buying agencies overseas who have come into Australia with orders in their pockets for a whole range of products which we very rarely have readily available.
One of the things I suggest to the Department of Trade and Industry is that it should give consideration to something that was done with great success in other spheres in the United States during the regime of President Kennedy. The President found that among the captains of industry and the enterpreneurs in the United States there were men who were prepared to put their know-how at the disposal of the nation for $1 a year. It has been suggested that we do not have this type of person in Australia. In fact we have. We have Australian entrepreneurs who would be willing to undertake new initiatives if they were given a lead to do so.
It is pretty obvious that the present machinery is inadequate. It is inadequate when we consider that when a man in Asia wishes to buy products from Australia and wants to quote c.i.f ., which means that everything is organised and a consolidated quote is given to him, very often he cannot get such a quote and he is given a f.o.b. price. This means that he has to come down to Australia and make his own arrangements. He has to find shipping. He has to take the responsibility for getting his product from Australia to wherever he is located. Time and time again this problem has come up in regard to the sale of primary products to Asian nations, particularly in Singapore. An f.o.b. quote is available but a c.i.f. quote is not.
It is obvious that we cannot be satisfied with the present initiatives in trade in Australia. We are missing out in many directions. It is not sufficient to say that we will send a trade mission. Of course, this is very good public relations but public relations do not sell products. What we have to do is to be able to say to the buyer: This is the price of the product, this is the price of the supporting services to get it there and this is what you will be up for’. I think there is an urgency about new trade initiatives which perhaps has been overlooked. In many instances when people talk about great surpluses of primary products, there are no great surpluses at all. In fact, this is the position in relation to Australia generally. We have never had, with the exception of one or two products in one or two years only, great surpluses that could not be placed. Indeed, with new trade initiatives we could probably create shortages in most of the industries.
Therefore I want to commend to the Department of Trade and Industry and to the Minister the thought that he investigate the possibility of enlisting Australian entrepreneurs who are ready and able to serve to better the trade operation of the nation by becoming dollar a year men for a year. If such a proposition were put up I believe that such men would respond to it. I believe there is no reason why we should run away from some of the challenges we face in 1971 in international trade. I believe that we should be breaking new ground in the way that I have described in the 3 - matters which I -have raised this afternoon. I commend the three.. They touch on the - streamlining of facilities. They also touch on the real problem of our image with our neighbours and the earnest of our good faith in what we say, although this might be a bit different from what we do. I repeat my third point that new initiatives are possible. On those 3 points my submission on the appropriations at this time rests. .
Debate (on motion by Mr Lucock) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 5.46 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 6 April (vide page 1497), on the following paper presented by Mr Bury:
International Affairs - Ministerial Statement, 6 April 1971- and on the motion by Mr Swartz:
That the House take note of the paper.
– The very generalised statement of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) deserves one generalisation: It makes it clearer than ever that no initiatives, no new thinking, no new perspectives will ever come from this Government, no matter who is Prime Minister, no matter who is Minister for Foreign Affairs. The past and the policies of the past are riveted upon the Government. It is incapable of breaking out. We had a rather spectacular demonstration of this last week. This statement is barely a fortnight old; it is already out of date. The Minister spoke of the need to be ‘sensitive to change’ about China. One notes how the leader of this sensitive Government one week refers to the Chinese as ‘carpetbaggers’ and next week disparages the Foreign Minister of Canada. One notes that 10 days after we were told that the Government is sensitive to change on China, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) reverted - at the National Press Club - to the old intransigent line, and moreover did so on the very day .on which President Nixon announced new and quite momentous proposals towards healthier relations with China. And this is sensitivity!
In the same week, on the other side of the globe, we had another example of how Ministers are haunted by their past. The Prime Minister and his predecessor, now the Minister for Defence (Mr Gorton) are in conflict over the 5-power arrangements. The Minister for Defence set out for London in a spirit of self vindication. He is determined that the limitations which he placed in 1969 on the role of Australian troops in Malaysia-Singapore will be maintained. On the other hand, the Prime Minister prefers that the Australian role be verbally vaguer and wider; not, be it noted, because of any appraisal of Australia’s or the region’s requirements but because these arrangements are the last vestige of so-called forward defence, the Liberal preoccupation of the 1950s and 1960s. It was obvious from an answer ho gave yesterday that the Prime Minister is not sure that the Minister for Defence has been loyal to Cabinet instructions in London. He has to wait until the Minister returns to sort things out. The only common ground between both in this matter is that the past must prevail. The dispute between them is which part of the past - but the past it must be.
The Australian people and the Australian policy makers have to realise that nations of the size and situation of Australia can, by their initiatives, achieve significant reductions in regional and world tensions. I point to the examples of West Germany and Canada. We are not nearly so large and powerful as West Germany but we are more significant in our region than our size and power by world standards would at first indicate. We are comparable in size and power with Canada but rather more significant than Canada in the Pacific region. The Labor Government of West Germany under Herr Brandt has greatly influenced relations between the two Germanies, between West Germany and Eastern Europe and between West Germany and the Soviet Union. This was achieved precisely because Herr Brandt was willing to break out of the past, precisely because he was willing to examine the orthodoxies and shibboleths of the past and precisely because, not being burdened by the past, he was able to take new initiatives. And all of Western Europe is grateful for it and the whole of Europe is the better for it. The United States welcomes it. It eases the role and the burden of the United States in Europe.
Similarly with Canada’s initiatives. Those taken by Mr Trudeau about China last year are now bearing fruit. The Canadian initiative last year is the true progenitor of the proposals President Nixon was able to announce last week. The China lobby in Washington is reduced to sullen acquiescence. These are two striking examples of the beneficial influence on the very greatest affairs which can be exercised by medium or even small powers if they choose to exercise well timed and well prepared international initiatives. We have to face squarely the interests of our own nation and the interests of the region in which we are placed. There is no reason why the Australian Government cannot achieve the same relationship with the People’s Republic of China in the same terms and under the same formula as Canada has done. Noone accuses Canada of dishonour, no-one accuses Canada of selling out the 15 million or so people living on Taiwan. The obvious course for Australia is to do what Canada has done. Yet even if this Government is now forced to accept that course it is no use pretending that Australia can now gain credit for its initiative or foresight. This Government will be seen once again to be dragged into accepting the inevitable by the steady march of time and events.
There is, of course, an over riding reason why the past is the Prime Minister’s preferred ground. There is no English speaking democracy in which the ruling party has for so long, so cynically, used the great matters of foreign policy for domestic political purposes. There is no English speaking democracy where foreign policy has been so motivated by domestic political considerations. Yet under these circumstances Liberals have had the temerity to complain about the lack of a bipartisan approach on foreign policy. The fact is that Liberals have made foreign affairs the most partisan of all their policies. All this week we have had example after example of this approach, particularly from the Prime Minister himself. What he fails to understand, however, is that time has moved on and public opinion is changing rapidly. It is incredible that in 1971 an Australian Prime Minister should seek to gain political mileage out of kicking the Communist can in respect of China. The tactics of the past are as futile as the policies of the past.
I do not make a habit of self quotation in self vindication. I shall depart from my usual practice in the case of China not so much to show that I was, correct 17 years ago but to show how, entrapped and enmeshed . in the errors of the. past the Prime Minister still is. In the international affairs debate on 12th August 1954 I said:
Certain phases of our policy have been allowed to continue for 4i years to the provocation of the people of China and of all our neighbours. I refer to the question of the recognition of the Communist Government in China and to its admission to the United Nations. Whether we like it or not, all of the Colombo nations have recognised the Government that is installed in Peking.
I further said:
A still more serious phase, of our policy is that we say not only that the Communist Government in China is not, and should not be, the Government of that country, but also, that the Nationalist Government in Formosa is, and should be, the government of China. We must recognise the fact that the government installed in Formosa has no chance of ever again becoming the government of China unless it is enabled to do. so as a result of a third world war. When we say that that government should be the government of China, we not only take an unrealistic view but a menacing one. The Australian Government should have recognised the Communist government in China, in view of the fact that all our neighbours, including the colonial powers, Great Britain and the Netherlands, have recognised it.
– How long ago did you say that?
– That was 17 years ago. These objections to the Australian
Government’s attitude to China and Taiwan still remain as real and as pressing as they were 17 years ago. Indeed, the action of the Holt Government in credentialling an ambassador to Taipeh has deepened the difficulty. Despite what the Prime Minister said this morning, Australia has been credentialled to the Republic of China on Taiwan’s terms - that we recognise that Government as the legitimate and actual government of all and every China. The Prime Minister must know that President Chiang Kai-shek insists on being recognised as the ruler of the whole of China.
– That is untrue.
– If you told him that, he would send your ambassador packing even before you opened negotiations with Peking. The Prime Minister has shown by his replies in the House this week and by his interjection again tonight that he does not understand the implications of Australia’s policy towards Taiwan. Every time he speaks on this subject and every lim; he interjects on this subject he adds to Australia’s future difficulties and future embarrassments. The time is clearly approaching where the Prime Minister will have to eat every word that he has uttered or spluttered’ on the matter this week. Nothing so vividly illustrates the absurdity of our present relations with China than the Government’s own confusion over communications. It is not for Ministers to scoff at what they call some gossiping in a cocktail bar in Hong Kong. Their policies have produced the. situation where such gossip and such places are real factors in our communications with China. Further, there is the most distressing case of the disappearance of Mr Francis James. It is appalling that an Australian Government should be quite unable to obtain any information about the whereabouts of an Australian citizen ot even to speak about his whereabouts directly with the Chinese Government. I move:
That the following words be added to the motion: ‘and that the Australian Government should establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and work for her representation in the United Nations.’
Seventeen years ago we would, as I suggested at the time, have been wise to heed the views on China of our Commonwealth partners in the Indian Ocean. Today there is an issue which has assumed even greater importance in the eyes of our Commonwealth partners around the Indian Ocean and they are of course much more numerous than they were 17 years ago. I refer to the related questions of colour and colonialism. Australians have to realise that in the two great groups to which we belong these questions are paramount. One grouping is political - namely the Commonwealth. The other is geographical - namely our neighbourhood. All these countries with which we are linked and with whom most of our hopes for a constructive role rest, regard these questions as crucial. We who have been so ideologically preoccupied can hardly complain about the special preoccupation of the coloured ex-colonial countries with whom we must increasingly associate in trade, in defence, in diplomacy, if we are to have any worthwhile future at all.
The former Prime Minister and the present Prime Minister showed an appalling lack of sensitivity and an appallingly distorted view of Australia’s real interests in their conduct at the Singapore Heads of Government Conference in January. They quite wrongly justified their conduct in terms of their desire to maintain some British presence in our region. The fact is that the Heath Government’s sale of arms to South Africa is a sign of Britain’s withdrawal. It is the action of a government determined to look to Europe, not of a government in tune with the aspirations of the peoples in our region or anywhere in the Indian Ocean. The Government’s attitude displayed in Singapore is part of a pattern in which the Australian Government for the past 2 years has in fact taken an even less enlightened position than that developed under Sir Robert Menzies.
Throughout last year’s General Assembly Australia refused to support resolutions on colonial and racial issues which were supported by all the countries in South East Asia and round the Indian Ocean. Australia voted against 3 resolutions and abstained on another concerning the implementation of the 10-year old Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. She voted against one resolution on apartheid and abstained on 3 others. She voted against the resolution on Southern Rhodesia. She abstained on the resolutions on South West Africa, the Portuguese territories, the
Spanish Sahara, non-self-governing territories in general, Cocos and Solomon Islands and even Papua and New Guinea. On five of these resolutions she voted alongside South Africa. On none of them did she vote against South Africa. On none of them did she vote alongside the Asian and Indian Ocean members of the Commonwealth and the Asian members of SEATO and” the members of ASEAN and all Latin America.
It is in this context that the relatively marginal matter of the South African cricket tour should be seen. I must say quite frankly that I am appalled by the superficial, not to say selfish, attitude shown by so many of our fellow Australians on this issue. Protests against the tour have nothing to do with the rights of Australians to enjoy a summer’s afternoon watching cricket. No-one contests such a right. What is involved is nothing less than Australia’s reputation in the world. The inescapable truth is this: If this tour were to take place and if, as the Prime Minister has gratuitously urged the Australian public, the visitors were given a warm welcome, we would be branded throughout the world, not least in South Africa herself, at best as a people who put our passing pleasure before the rights of millions of human beings. (Extension of time granted.) I thank the Ministers and the House. At worst we would be branded as a country avowedly sympathetic towards apartheid. No politician in his senses invites involvement in a matter like this.
No-one believes that the Labor Party has taken the attitude it has taken to gain some political advantage. Quite obviously this is not a popular issue; it is not a vote winning issue. It is a matter of concern for Australia’s reputation. That is why the World Council of Churches - the galahs opposite can even guffaw at the World Council of Churches - the Primate of Australia, Archbishop Woods, Archbishops Beovich and Gleeson of Adelaide, Bishop Cullinane among others have declared against the proposed tour. If, as the Prime Minister hinted yesterday, he would seek an election on this issue” - fancy stooping to bring politics into sport - then the real issue will not be about a cricket tour. It will be between those who are concerned with the good reputation of Australia and those who apparently are blind to the harm which support for South Africa will do to our country, principally in our region but throughout the world.
The same applies to one very important matter which the Foreign Minister completely failed to mention either in his brief statement or his wide ranging annexure. I refer to New Guinea. All Australians must now realise how damaging and dangerous a reputation Australia’s present policies produce. We are a European nation on the fringe of the most populous and deprived coloured nations in the . world. What the world sees about Australia is that we have an Aboriginal population with the highest infant mortality rate . on earth; that we have eagerly supported the most unpopular war in modern times, on the ground that Asia should be a battle-ground of our freedom; that we fail to oppose the sale of arms to South Africa; that the whole world believes that our immigration policy is based on colour and that we run one of the world’s last colonies. We may rightly profess our good intentions and feel that we are merely the victims of special circumstances; but the combination of such policies leans heavily indeed on the world’s good will and stretches Australia’s credibility. The true patriot therefore will not seek to justify and prolong these policies but will seek to change them. .
It is quite infamous the way in which a handful of expatriates’ are prepared to jeopardise Australia’s future’ relations with New Guinea, our nearest neighbour, in order to prop up their own position and interests and in order to put off the inevitable day. Not content with undermining our relations with the’ people of New Guinea, they do not, hesitate to damage our relations with Indonesia. There are two things of basic importance to Australia and New Guinea. One is that we should hand over an undivided country. Indeed we are bound to do this under the terms of our promise to the United Nations. The other is that New Guinea should have good relations with her nearest and greatest neighbour, Indonesia. Behind every separatist movement in New Guinea is an Australian expatriate. They are working on the ancient principle of divide and rule. The newest device to introduce fear and confusion amongst the people of New Guinea is to speak about a takeover by Indonesia. I take this opportunity to congratulate the
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr John Guise, for his wise and patriotic efforts in establishing, even before independence, healthy relations with Indonesia.
There is one remarkable fact of postcolonial history which is relevant to New Guinea and Indonesia; indeed it is relevant to the 2 terrible tragedies now occurring in our region, in Vietnam and in Pakistan. It is this: Post-colonial governments will go to extremities to keep intact the borders inherited from the colonial power. They will go to extraordinary lengths to extend their control to the limits of the old colonial boundaries, yet not beyond them. This explains- though nothing can excuse - the horrors of Biafra and the horrors of Bengal. In our immediate region, for nearly 20 years Indonesia made unremitting efforts - diplomatic and military - to regain West Irian; yet she has. made no effort at all to dislodge Portugal from Timor and there is not the slightest indication that she has any designs on removing this curious appendage of colonialism in our region. Postcolonialism has an iron law and logic all of its own; it is a fact that we must live with. I raise it here to illustrate the absurdity of the fears. about Indonesia now most wantonly and recklessly being spread by a handful of expatriates in New Guinea. It is time that the Australian. Government officially exposed those fears for what they are and exposed those who spread them for what they are. There is a most important reason why Papua and New Guinea is highly relevant to a discussion on international affairs. Our unnatural role as a colonial ruler distorts our wider role in our region and at the United Nations. Justifying Papua and New Guinea is a major preoccupation of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs. Our diplomatic effort is absorbed and compromised by it. Independence for Papua and New Guinea will liberate our international activity.
In each of the matters I have dealt with - - China, the Commonwealth, colour, colonialism - we see how this Government’s preoccupations with the policies of the past inhibit and discredit Australia’s role. Fresh initiatives will not be possible as long as these old preoccupations persist. Our unreal and hypocritical attitude towards China has been responsible for the grossest of all the violations of sound Australian policy. We are in the Indo-China blood bath today because of our attitudes to China. Yet who today would dare assert, as Sir Robert Menzies did 5 years ago, that our commitment in Vietnam was necessary to stop the downward thrust of Communist China between the Indian and Pacific Oceans? This Government’s foreign policy is in ruins because its very foundations were false. It is time to clear away the rubble. We need a fresh start. The Minister’s statement makes it only too plain that the clearing operation must begin with the removal of a government strait-jacketed by its own past.
– If justifying Papua and New Guinea had become a major preoccupation of the Department of Foreign Affairs - and I do not admit it - the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) could take some pleasure from the fact that that would be a direct consequence of the actions he has taken over a period of time to try and depict Australia in the most unfavourable light possible. His speech, to somebody reading it casually and for the first time, appears plausible but when it is examined in more detail it is seen to be full of the kind of errors to which we have become accustomed. He mentioned the progress and success of Herr Brandt in improving relations between East and West Germany but he does not mention that any progress there might be, theoretical though it still is, depends upon a settlement of the question of Berlin, a question upon which there has been no progress of any discernible kind at all.
– You sound pleased about it.
– To state the facts is not to express pleasure or displeasure but to deny the facts and to ignore them is just the act of a fool.
The Leader of the Opposition again implies that we should follow the Canadian view of recognition of continental China. What he did not say is that the Canadians gave away more than the French did in terms of maintaining an independent status for Taiwan. The honourable gentleman may deny this but a close examination of the documents and of the statements made concerning that situation shows that the Canadians were virtually committed, if Taiwan had not acted first, to withdrawing recognition from Taiwan, thus recognising the claim of continental China to govern the 14.5 million people on that island. That is a course that I believe this Government ought not take. I wish to point to one other error. The Leader of the Opposition quoted something he said in 1954. Those words were inaccurate then an:! they are inaccurate now. He said in 1954:
Whether we like it or not, all of the Colombo . . .
He left out the word ‘Plan’, but I know of no other group of nations so I suppose he meant the Colombo Plan nations - . . nations have recognised the Government that is installed in Peking.
That was not true then; it is not true now.
– Because Thailand and the Philippines are 2, for example, that do not recognise the government at Peking. I want to say something about major trends in international affairs which will have an impact over the next 10 to 20 years upon Australia’s policies towards the region in which Australia lives. I believe there are formidable uncertainties ahead of us, uncertainties not so much because of changes in attitude, objectives or outlook by Australia but because of the changes of attitude and policies of world powers, some which are our friends and some which are not so friendly. Let me mention the changes. We are now working out new defence arrangements between the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and ourselves for that particular region. Up to the present the United Kingdom has provided an absolute United Kingdom guarantee for the defence of that area. It could not maintain it. Its continued interest is welcomed, it adds much confidence, but it is a far cry from the absolute guarantee of earlier times. If it ever provided a shield, it is certainly a shield no longer. That is the first significant change.
The United States is reassessing the manner in which it will fulfil its treaties and alliances. There has been a feeling in the past that a treaty with the United States is sufficient to allow a country under the benefit of the treaty to stand back in the traces and perhaps not do as much as it should on its own account. The Nixon doctrine alters that. The doctrine makes it plain that help will be forthcoming to countries and regions that do what they can and ought to do to help themselves. This applies particularly to the area of defence. The United States Secretary of State has welcomed the 5 Power arrangement, and that should be noted. The policy, I believe, is full of commonsense. The United States role of policeman of the world since 1945 has been costly in terms of blood and costly in terms of dollars, and there are some in the United States who have clearly come to question whether some of the causes for which the United States has fought have been regarded by others perhaps more intimately concerned as being as important as they have been considered by the United States.
The policy is full of meaning for Australia. It means, I believe, that we will have to play a more leading role in our own regional affairs. Let me give one instance of what I mean. We have had really 3 military commitments over the last 20 years, in Korea, in Malaya in the emergency, in Malaysia and in Vietnam. One of the common aspects of each of these commitments was the prior commitment by a major . power for a cause for which we stood. I believe that in the future we will have to be prepared, to stand up and be counted, before the commitment of a major power, on something we regard as important. This does not mean that Australia should be put in a position of accepting unequal responsibilities beyond our physical strength. But it may mean that we will not again be given the luxury of being able to stand in the shadow of decisions previously announced by major powers on matters we regard as important. I think that this change of emphasis and this change in attitude in Australian policies will be significant in maintaining the warmth and closeness of the relationships that we have always had with the United States and with the United Kingdom.
Let me mention the Soviet Union.’ Its supplies - the supplies from the eastern bloc countries - have been significant and, I believe, quite vital in North Vietnam’s ability to maintain that war. It is the Soviet Union that has penetrated into the Middle East with policies that have been highly successful. It is the Soviet Union that, the United States charged, had assisted Egypt in breaking the ceasefire in the early days of the ceasefire. There is a clear, implicit Soviet objective of a canal reopened, but perhaps reopened for the ships of one navy - the Soviet Union’s navy. This would clearly make it much easier for the Soviet Union to maintain and strengthen her naval presence in the Indian Ocean, a presence which must first be established before she can use that presence for political or strategic purposes.
If there are any who doubt the strength pf sea power in the pursuit of national objectives, let them remember that it >s the Seventh Fleet that has prevented the invasion of Taiwan. It was Russian ships in the harbour of Alexandria that moved the balance of military power in that part of the world in favour of Egypt by inhibiting counter-attacks from Israel. If the only naval ships to sail through the Straits of Malacca carried the Russian flag what would Singapore and Malaysia think el the defence arrangements we are now developing? It may be in 1 year, it may be in 5 or 10 years, but there will be increased tension as a result of Soviet activities in this part of the world, and the Soviet Union will use that tension and its presence to advance its political and strategic purposes, and the shorter time scale may be more relevant than the later. We are seeing, if the Press reports are accurate, the development of an air base in Ceylon. How long before that may be followed by the development of significant naval facilities and a major naval base in Soviet hands in the Indian Ocean would be a significant factor indeed. These are policies of 3 major powers, all of which will impinge upon our own region and all of which will affect the world in which Australia must forge het own path in the years to come.
I wish to turn now to a country lc the north of Australia with a great power to advance the cause of developing East Asian and South East Asian countries. In the last 25 years Japan has spent her time and effort on a remarkable industrial growth, but now some break with the immediate post-war era seems to be beginning, and Japan appears to be looking to ways and means of taking a more leading role in world affairs, and it is only natural that she should. Her future is affected by events around the world, as is ours. Sophisticated markets in the United States and in Europe will be quite essential for continued Japanese progress and industrial prosperity for the sophisticated consumer goods which she produces so efficiently. We also have a need for markets - different markets and different products - in the United States and in Europe, but a common interest in being able to get access to those markets.
The effect of an enlarged, narrow and selfish European Economic Community would be felt around the world. Its first immediate reaction could well be in increased isolationism in the United States which would have its own impact, if it became a reality, on Japanese and Australian trade. Therefore, the first objective which Japan and Australia could and, I believe, ought to have in common is to do what they can to see that the Economic Community is outward looking in its trade policies. If that failed, we would need to look to see what alternatives could be pursued. Is it possible to develop some kind of specific trading partnership? Is there a sufficient area of interest between Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan to develop a partnership which would not be selfish, as is the Community, but which would look to the advantage not only of the countries I have mentioned but also of the developing countries of East Asia and of South East Asia.
There is another matter in which 1 believe we have a common interest with Japan. No other country, in our part of the world has as great an ability and as great a power to assist the developing countries of East Asia and South East Asia as has Japan, and this is a function of power and wealth and of physical capacity in trade policies, aid policies and industrial and investment policies. But how is this future role going to develop? It is vital that it does develop because without it the progress in the underdeveloped part of our world is likely to be much slower than it ought to be or needs to be. How can it develop without giving some voice to the latent fears which some who remember the past can still recall? ls there a role in this for Australia, or will Australia prefer to stand aside? I do not believe that we should stand merely on the sidelines. We are affected by developments in our part of the world. We are a part of it. We are certainly interested in changes which inevitably take place. Therefore, I believe that there is some obligation on us to play a part in the development of those changes.
There is a matter here for discussion with Japan and with other countries of the region.
The last question on which 1 should like to touch concerns China. Clearly China in history has no cause to love any of the great powers, least of all the Soviet Union which still occupies territories that China regards as her own. I believe it is not entirely irrelevant that we find it difficult perhaps to decipher how much of Chinese policies would be founded in China’s past and often tragic history, and how much of it would be founded in some imperial Communist ideology. But quite clearly, whatever the cause, the task of getting China actively and constructively involved in world affairs will be important but difficult. But once China does achieve membership of world organisations, the character of those organisations will change and not, perhaps in the short term, change for the better.
The independence of Taiwan must be maintained. It can be maintained only with skill and with tact, and I believe that lt will not be achieved by blanket opposition to continental China itself. We need to take into account the attitudes of others at the United Nations and the changing views there expressed, and this alone, 1 think, makes change necessary and perhaps inevitable. However, continental China could not be allowed to absorb the 14i million people in Taiwan, but so, too, the Hi million people in Taiwan cannot be allowed to stand in the way of dialogue and communication with the most populous country on this earth. The myths and realities involved in this question need to be divided and laid bare, and I think that 1971 is the year in which this could be done. There are some major trends which impinge upon Australia, and I have mentioned them. We must, 1 believe, develop greater self reliance and confidence in living in and helping to shape hopefully a better world. We must co-operate within our region and beyond it with those with whom we have objectives and interests in common. Of one thing 1 am quite sure: The level of effort required of Australia in this changing world will be greater than ever before.
– Mr Speaker, the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) made bis statement on foreign affairs to this House just over a fortnight ago. It was a sound enough statement; it set down with commendable economy the Government’s attitudes to 4 questions of current interest and importance to Australia. These were Indo-China, China, the Middle East and Pakistan. The Minister also tabled a lengthy document on foreign affairs. This had its points of interest, but it contained little in the way of new insights or new policies over the broad span of foreign policy. 1 do not intend to concentrate on Indo-China in this debate tonight; it is both a long standing and a long term issue. Opposition attitudes have always been made plain and they will be emphasised again in the months ahead. The Minister’s comments on the Middle East were sound enough; the Opposition finds itself in much the same position as the Government of waiting on events before determining future policy.
The conflict in Pakistan is a particularly tragic one; the Opposition has reservations about the Government’s attitudes on this issue. The Foreign Minister said in his statement that the war in East Pakistan was an internal matter and the responsibility for resolving it was Pakistan’s alone. The Government’s attitude does not seem to have changed in the intervening 2 weeks, judged by the answer by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) to the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) during question time today. .However, the geographical nature of East Pakistan makes it difficult to confine this dispute within the boundaries of the state of Pakistan. It is at the apex of a particularly explosive part of Asia; there are real dangers that the fighting in East Pakistan could spill over into India and Burma. This raises broader questions of the intervention of Russia and China into this arena. The possibilities for future trouble in this area are immense. For this reason it is disappointing that the Government has not given a more positive lead on the need for international mediation in East Pakistan. After all, the United Nations Security Council, with the backing of Russia and the United States, managed to settle the war between India and Pakistan in 1965. There may have been some reason for standing aloof while the lives of
Australian nationals were endangered in East Pakistan. Once this was resolved it was the duty of Australia as a major nation in the region and a treaty partner of Pakistan to initiate some form of practical international action to limit the war. This conflict has the potential to turn this crucial region into a cockpit of great power rivalries that would make Vietnam look like a mere sideshow. For this reason it is a major disappointment that the Government has been both reticent and negative on the implications of this murderous war.
Having made these comments on Pakistan, I intend to concentrate on what I see as the major foreign policy issue confronting Australia. This is our relations with the 3 powers that will dominate world foreign policy in the years ahead. These are the United States, Soviet Russia and the People’s Republic of China. In the past 10 days there have been quite remarkable changes in the balance of relations between these 3 great powers. A sudden and dramatic display of friendship to Americans by the People’s Republic of China has evoked an almost hysterical response from -President Nixon and his Government. It is too early to say that this is a thaw on the model of the historic thaw that ended the Stalin era of Soviet Russian foreign policy in the 1950s. The Chinese entertained some American sportsmen and journalists. Nice words were said by the Chinese Prime Minister, Chou En-lai, about future relations between the two countries. This produced a remarkable response from the United States.
Since February President Nixon had courteously referred to this great nation as the ‘People’s Republic of China’, unlike the Australian Prime Minister who persists in all the old euphemisms such as continental China. The United States agreed to relax the embargo on trade with the People’s Republic which had existed since 1950. President Nixon announced his readiness to grant visas to visitors from China and expressed his interest in visiting the People’s Republic. It was revealed also that the President had instructed American oil companies that they should not exploit offshore concessions granted by South Korea and Taiwan and to which Peking had been laying claim. It is worth comparing this reaction to the few minor gestures made by the People’s Republic of China.
It should be noted that American businessmen were not invited to the Canton Spring Trade Fair which has been held in the past week or so. Nor has there been any hint of a resumption of the ambassadorial talks between the United States and the People’s Republic initiated in Warsaw and suspended more than a year ago. According to slogans displayed at the Canton Trade Fair the official attitude remains that the Americans are aggressors and in the Chinese phraseology ‘running dogs’. Nor has there been any sign of a softening by the People’s Republic of China on Vietnam. In the week before the first American visit to China the Chinese Press was full of what it saw as the victory in Laos of North Vietnam over the Saigon Government. The official attitude of the Peking Government’ is that the South Vitnamese Government is still a bellicose and imperialist clique. Undoubtedly China still regards the United States and Australia as ignoble aggressors in Vietnam. Chou Enlai, who has been in the forefront of the present conciliatory . attitude to America, has told the North Vietnamese that China would not shirk from the greatest national sacrifices to help them to defeat the imperialists. Nor is there any hint that China will disengage from fostering international revolutionary activity, in particular people’s wars of liberation in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The People’s Republic of China may be changing its tactics; it has not changed its basic objectives. This emphasises the almost euphoric nature of the reception given by the United States to Chinese gestures of friendship. In return for a few meagre concessions China has received an overwhelmingly favourable response from its most powerful adversary. It is a measure of the fascination of this huge and powerful nation that even the slightest sign that the barriers are starting to crumble produces such a response. This change in attitude could be interpreted as an appeal by the Chinese over the heads of the American President and his Government to the war-weary majority in the United States. It may be an attempt to project an image of moderation to the millions of Americans sickened by the Vietnam war and anxious for an end to it. The response of America shows just how disillusioned both the right and the left of the political spectrum have become with the war, particularly with the impact of the Calley trial. This explains much of the pathetically eager response of America to the first faint overtures from the power which has reviled and rejected it for so long.
Beyond relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China lies the equally crucial issue of relations between Russia and China. There has been no significant improvement in relations between these 2 great Communist powers in recent years. It comes as a shock to any visitor to Moscow to learn that these 2 powers as recently as last December had given significant consideration to negotiation’ of a non-agression pact. The SinoRussian border dispute remains unresolved. Furthermore, the People’s Republic of China boycotted the 24th Congress of the Communist Party of Russia held in Moscow earlier this month. This Congress, which is the supreme body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, saw the return of Mr Breznhev as Party Secretary and Mr Breznhev is a resolute opponent of any concessions on the border dispute. Despite the very great differences between the Soviet Union and China, it would be unwise to hope for any real rapprochement between China and America against Russia. In Chinese terms the United States is an Imperialist country; the Soviet Union is Social Imperialist.
There will always be pinpricking, such as the 24th Congress resolution which decisively rejected the ‘slanderous inventions’ of Chinese propaganda on the policy of the Russian Communist Party and the Soviet state. But the general trend of policy by the 2 Communist powers will be towards ‘normalisation of relations’ and neighbourliness and friendship’. The tone of resolutions adopted at the 24th Congress was that Russia and China should work towards the long-term key interests of both countries and those of world socialism. This presents a bleak prospect for the future of the United States Government in Vietnam. The United States is pulling out rapidly in Vietnam and this is apparent to the Chinese Government, which has referred to the vicious scheme of Vietnamisation. At the same time there has been no falling off in the level of Russian and Chinese help to North Vietnam. The only inhibition on this assistance has been the very serious division between Russia and China in recent years. Any reduction in these divisions and tensions will certainly be reflected in increased aid to North Vietnam. This is an increasingly grim prospect for the United States and for the Australian Government.
To summarise these points, foreign policy in the next few years is certain to be determined by the balances between the 3 great powers - China, Russia and the United States. Any rapprochement between Russia and China will present grave policy problems to the United States. It will be a very delicately-balanced triangle with constant manoeuvring and subtle shifts in the balance of power. Regrettably, the machinery of Australia’s foreign policy, lacks the sophistication to secure the maximum benefits for this country from this fluctuating power structure.
We are over-committed to the United States. Our whole structure of policy making and response is geared to this one great power. There is no machinery at all for government-to-government relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China. The institutional framework for relations between this country and the Soviet Union is remarkably primitive. The Soviet Union does not lack interest in Australia but quite clearly it regards it as an anomaly - a country which cannot be accommodated in its geographical region. For this reason Australia is lumped in with the United Kingdom and South Africa in the Foreign Affairs. Department of the Soviet Government. It is not treated as part of the South East Asian division or the Far Eastern division but as a remnant of the old British Empire. This puts Australia in a very difficult position to assert its foreign policy to the Soviet Union in a regional context.
At the present time the United States is over-extended in Asia and is substantially cutting its presence. Russia which has had only a token presence is sharply increasing its influence in the region. The People’s
Republic of China is poised to assert itself much more positively in a region where it sees itself as unchallenged leader. The rivalries between these three powers will be projected much more intensively into our region. This will present dangers to Australian foreign policy. It will also open opportunities for diplomatic initiatives and trade gains.
Nothing is more certain than that Russia will become increasingly active in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean and that China will follow its lead. At the same time the Americans will be breaking their necks to get their troops off the Asian mainland and transform their role to diplomacy and trade. We must accept this rapidly changing world and try to exploit it as best we can.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.’
– Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to the motion without closing the debate.
– There being no objection, leave is granted.
– The . Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) made a detailed statement to the House on 6th April and it is not my intention to re-traverse in detail any of the ground covered by him in that statement. There have, however, been a number of significant developments during the period since the debate on which, I feel, the House should be informed. I propose therefore to deal with these briefly in the present debate. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) < has moved an amendment to the statement calling on the Australian Government to recognise the People’s Republic of China.
In his address to the National Press Club on 15th April, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) drew a clear distinction between the problem of recognition of Peking and the problem of its possible admission’ to the United Nations. The immediate question we face is not that of recognition but the problem of the representation of China in the United Nations. As the Prime Minister said in his address, there is likely to be a majority of the United Nations in favour of the admission of Continental China, and a majority also who would like to find a means by which the Republic of China on Taiwan could also retain its membership. That is the objective we shall be pursuing in the coming months leading to the next session of the General Assembly in September.
The Opposition’s new found interest in recognition presumably derives from the publicity that has lately been given to the Chinese invitations to Australian and American table tennis’ teams, and recent, moves by the United States. What do these developments signify, and what are their implications for Australia?’ First it should be noted that when President Nixon last week announced new relaxations of American restrictions on travel and trade with China, he said it would be premature to talk about recognition or admission to the United Nations. For their part, the Chinese authorities also seem to be making the important distinction, to which the Prime Minister referred on Tuesday, between the steps they have taken and the question of inter-state . relationships. Radio Peking’s attacks on United States’ policies are continuing. They are apparently hot yet showing an interest in renewing official contacts.
The policies of the People’s Republic of China affect the whole Asian region - the region in which we live. Durable peace and stability in the region require the cooperation of Peking. Our long-term policy must therefore be to ‘seek a normalisation of bilateral relations with the Government of the 750 million people on the Chinese mainland. It is true that the Chinese leaders have lately been showing signs of greater interest in the development, of understanding between peoples and in regularising their relations with certain Western and. non-aligned governments. These are developments which we are watching with close interest and attention. But in other areas, including neighbouring countries, the Chinese leaders are continuing their support for armed revolution and insurgency, and this support is material as weir as ideological.
In considering the question of recognition, just as for the question of representation at the United Nations, we must also pay regard to the status and rights of the people of Taiwan. Peking of course, denies’ that the people of Taiwan and their Government have any independent status or rights. The Australian Government could not accept courses of action which would leave 14 million people - more than the population of Australia itself - to face Communist China without recognition Jr the support of friends. To do so would also be to weaken our standing amongst Asian countries.
To sum up, the conditions in which diplomatic recognition of Peking would be possible for the Australian Government have not yet been realised. We feel no animosity towards the Chinese people. We are conscious that they and their Government face huge domestic difficulties. We welcome the limited thaw in China’s relations with the outside world made possible by Peking’s interest in the development of personal exchanges. We are responsive to this interest. Within the limits the Prime Minister outlined on Tuesday, we wish to see a greater flow of trade between the 2 countries. Nevertheless, as the . Prime Minister stressed, the evolution of interstate relationships . must be a step-by-step methodical process. We hope that the positive contribution which Peking’s recent moves have made to international understanding will lead on to equally positive adjustments in China’s attitudes having a more direct bearing on inter-state relationships. While we shall continue to oppose what is destructive and negative in Peking’s policies, we shall seek to encourage what is positive.
I wish briefly to refer to the situation in Ceylon because events there have been moving rapidly. The series of armed attacks on Government installations and police stations throughout the country that took place on 5th April came as a surprise. The Ceylonese Government knew of the existence of groups of young dissidents who professed allegiance to principles of Marxist-Leninist thought and who had expressed dissatisfaction with the slow progress of economic and social reform in Ceylon, but armed revolt was not expected. The Government had earlier, on 16th March, declared a state of emergency, and apparently had reason to believe that its measures, including arrests and the seizure of arms caches,. had effectivity removed any such threat. But in order to contain the armed insurgency which erupted on a scale suggesting the existence of a well-organised and extensive underground movement, the Government found it necessary to turn to outside sources of assistance.
Appeals for military aid were made to a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, the Soviet Union and Australia. Assistance has been provided principally by the United Kingdom, India and the USSR. The possibility of Australia’s supplying rifles and ammunition on a commercial basis is still at this stage under discussion between the governments of Australia and Ceylon. The aid given by India and the Soviet Union involves, in both cases, the provision of military personnel from those countries. The Soviet Union has sent pilots with its helicopters and MIG 17 fighter aircraft. According to latest reports these pilots will train Ceylonese personnel. The Government of Ceylon is faced with a considerable task in restoring law and order and regaining control over areas now held by the insurgents. We cannot assess at this stage how the operation will progress, nor the length of time that foreign arms and personnel will be required by the Ceylon Government. The Australian High Commission in Colombo remains in close touch with the Ceylonese Government and will, of course, , act in what ways it can to protect Australian interests and Australian citizens in Ceylon.
I want now to refer briefly to the situation in Pakistan. It is now one month since the martial law authorities in East Pakistan set out to restore the Government’s control by force of arms, but there still appears to be no end in sight. The Pakistan armed forces have established their control in the main centres, but we continue to receive reports of bloodshed and destruction, of the flight of refugees over the borders, and of economic dislocation and hardship. The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated on 6th April that Australia recognises that the situation in East Pakistan is an internal matter and that the responsibility for resolving it rests with the Government of Pakistan alone. Nevertheless, the Australian Government views the continuing bloodshed and destruction with concern and anxiety, and repeats its hope that conditions of peace, order and security will be restored as soon as possible.
Now I deal briefly with the situation in Vietnam. On 7th April, President Nixon announced that a further 100,000 American troops will be withdrawn from South Vietnam between the end of the present withdrawal phase, 1st May, and 1st December. By that date the total of American troops remaining in South Vietnam will be 184,000, compared with a peak of 535,000 in early 1969. The United States Secretary of Defence, Mr Laird, stated in a subsequent Press conference on 13th April that United States ground combat responsibilities will be turned over to the South Vietnamese armed forces during the coming northern summer. He went on, however, to indicate that those American ground forces remaining in South Vietnam would have a continuing security or combat role in the protection of the entire remaining American force, which will include air, artillery and logistic support units. The American air and artillery support units will, of course, continue to play an important combat role in backing up the South Vietnamese armed forces.
As the Prime Minister remarked in Brisbane on 8th April, President Nixon’s announcement indicates ‘the growing capacity of the Republic Of Vietnam to provide its own defence’. It follows a period of progress during which the Government of the Republic of Vietnam has increasingly shifted the responsibility for local security to regional forces whose improved performance has progressively allowed the regular armed forces- the ARVN - to undertake operations against enemy main force units, as well as to undertake cross-border operations. ARVN forces recently undertook three simultaneous large-scale operations, in the U Minh forest in the southern Delta region, in Cambodia, and in Laos. This is indicative of the degree to which the ARVN has now improved its strength. Communist forces were unable to capitalise on the massive concentration of ARVN forces in these operations by mounting significant attacks on rear areas, despite the propaganda appeal which such attacks would have had.
Another indication of the growing Vietnamese capacity is the announcement by the Korean Foreign Minister, Mr Choi, on 19th April of his Government’s decision to withdraw in the near future one of the Korean divisions from Vietnam leaving about 34,000 men there. In his announce ment the Korean Foreign Minister laid particular emphasis on the progress of pacification and the build-up of the combat capabilities of Vietnamese forces. President Nixon’s refusal to set a terminal date for the total withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam is fully supported by the Australian Government. Such a step would, as he stated, remove any incentive for the Communists to enter serious negotiations and would leave the American prisoners of war being held by the North Vietnamese as their absolute hostages.
I did intend to refer, to some other situations that are at present creating problems in the Middle East but I see that my time has almost run out. I would conclude by saying that after carefully studying the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, under the present circumstances and at the present time the Government is unable to accept it. (Quorum formed)
– The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Swartz) referred in his statement to what he described as a new-found interest by the -Australian Labor Party in the recognition of Communist China. I would like to remind the Minister that the platform of the Australian Labor Party has had as one of its fundamental planks for the last 15 years the recognition of Communist China. The annual foreign policy dissertation by this Government has become one of the year’s predictable yawns, and on this occasion, we were not disappointed but if the complete irrelevance of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) had to say about world events as they actually are were not so serious it would be mirthful. But Australian sons, husbands and brothers have died through this Government’s criminal neglect of Australia’s interests. We have been no more than an echo of whatever administration happens to be in power in Washington. Our marionette performance has not helped the United States and it most certainly has not helped Australia’s position in South East Asia. This Government through its policy has effectively isolated Australia from the countries and people of South East Asia. Australia urgently needs a foreign policy. For too long we have marched to the beat of another drum. We are capable of measuring our own steps and fixing our own direction. But quite clearly this Government is not. Australia’s foreign policy is, in a word, in a shambles.
The Labor Party not only foresaw but warned against the direction that the Liberal Party was taking. We were right. The Australian people were gravely misled and unconscionably deceived. But there is little satisfaction in being proved right when our nation is the victim. Australia’s international relations have to be rebuilt. This is not the time for empty slogans, fabricated myths or manufactured threats. We are not a powerful country. We cannot threaten, nor should this be our aim. But we can seek to understand and associate ourselves with the aspirations of our neighbours. The countries of Asia have become increasingly disenchanted with the activities of the big powers. They reject being used as pawns in an international game over which they have no control and as a result of which they are likely to be the devastated losers. They - seek an environment free from external interference. Yet neither in the Minister’s speech nor in the fourth form essay that he. tabled, under, the guise of a review of foreign affairs is there any mention of the changing attitude of the countries of Asia. One would think that Australia was a midwestern State of the United States rather than a country that’ is vitally involved in Asia.
The deceptions, lies and myths which have been the only components of this Government’s China policy are now being exposed - most tellingly by the United States Government itself. The Government, we are told, is reviewing our policy towards China. Quite clearly something has been happening because since I have been in this House T have heard reference to Red China, mainland China, Communist China and now continental China. We are also hearing now prim references to China as the People’s Republic of China. Apart from this monumental achievement, the review after intense diplomatic effort brought forth the epoch making phrase that ‘we must be sensitive to change’. As usual the Government is wallowing along reluctantly and incredulously in the wake of United States foreign policy. It is a great pity that this Government could not have been as positive as President Nixon in his review on 25th February 1971 when he said:
The United States is prepared to see the People’s Republic of China play a constructive role in the family of nations.
We do not wish to impose on China an international position that denies its legitimate national interests.
President Nixon went on to talk about the influence to which China’s achievements entitled it. This Government has deceived the Australian people for so long about China that, clearly, it has come to believe its own propaganda. The sudden switch is too much for it. The Minister for Foreign Affairs just had to hang on to some of the debris of the foreign policy wreck, as the following statement indicates. He said:
But it is necessary to point out that the isolation of China from the international community has been largly the result of its own international attitudes.
There have been two walls of China, one built by China’s traditional insularity fortified by the dismal record of contact with the avaricious European powers in the 19th century and with Japan in the 1930s. The second wall was methodically built by the United States’ to contain China. China was ringed by a series of United States bases from South Korea through Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Okinawa, South Vietnam, Thailand and earlier Pakistan. The Seventh Fleet has dominated the China Seas, and United States spy planes have operated at will. It is time, in fact past time, that we looked calmly and objectively at what we have come to regard as the Communist Chinese threat. For too long we have reacted emotionally to massive campaigns depicting the downward thrust of China, of technicolour Democratic Labor Party and Government propaganda of the Red threat oozing over South East Asia and dripping on to Australia. We have been propagandised into believing that hordes of Communist Chinese will turn up on Bondi Beach next Sunday. The hysteria was deliberately generated and then exploited by this Government for domestic political reasons. The former Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, an astute but shallow politician, saw the electoral advantage of playing to the lowest common denominator in the makeup of Australians - a traditional antipathy to Asians and a blindly unselective fear of Communism. The yellow hordes and Red menace became a colourful election winning formula. Those who sought to examine the premises and question the conclusions were branded as traitors, as was the Labor Party in its campaign of 1966. But we have been proved right and the Liberal Party continues to be proved wrong. But the Communist Chinese have no monopoly on aggressive intent. Depending on one’s orientation, a well documented case of aggressive statements and aggressive actions could be made against almost every country. But in the words of the children’s rhyme ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me’. What sort of sticks and stones does China have? It has a regular armed force of 2,780,000, which is an awesome number until it is related to the population of 750 million. On this basis China has a relatively smaller force than has any of the countries in its proximity. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Mansard a table of statistics relating to the military balance of South East Asian countries.
The Chinese Navy has no battleships, no cruisers, no aircraft carriers. It has only 4 destroyers. It is, if anything, more antiquated than the Australian Navy but it at least avoids running over the Hong Kong ferries. The makeup of the Chinese Air Force is defensive in character with emphasis on fighter interceptors. In short in comparison with other countries China’s military strength, particularly for an aggressive role, is not particularly convincing. Tonight on the basis of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs said and what the Act ing Minister said I might issue a warning or a caution. Do not let us go overboard about the position of Taiwan. It is absurd to talk about the interests of the people of Taiwan when the vast majority of them have been denied any political expression. Our policy towards China should not be bedevilled by a mistaken loyalty to a regime that forfeited its authority over the people of China 22 years ago and which has proved incapable of earning the loyalty of the Taiwanese people. We are told that it would be morally wrong to jettison Taiwan and that Taiwan has as many people as Australia. But what the Government is really saying is that we should not jettison the Chiang Kai-shek regime. The Chiang Kai-shek regime was foisted on the Taiwanese people in 1945. For the previous 50 years Taiwan had been a Japanese colony. Under the postwar settlements as foreshadowed in the Cairo Declaration of 1st December 1943 Taiwan was returned to China. Chiang Kai-shek’s forces, assisted by a small United States team, took over in September 1945. The United States has produced remarkable evidence at this stage to indicate the corruption and the extortion of the Kuomintang Chinese in Formosa. General Wedemeyer in his report on his mission to China dated 17th August had this to say:
This is the Chaing Kai-shek army, the army that is still in Taiwan - conducted themselves as conquerors, secret police operated freely to intimidate and to facilitate exploitation by Central Government officials.
Numbering less than 2 million out of a total population of 144 million the Kuomintang to this day effectively control political, economic and military power in Taiwan. Only 10 per cent of the National Assembly of the Republic of China are Taiwanese. In the much more influential Legislative Yuan, which has 457 members, Taiwan representatives hold only 26 seats. Is this the sort of regime that an Australian government should seek to perpetuate?
The people of Taiwan have been ignored, and their wishes remain unknown. Surely they should be given an opportunity of. pronouncing on their own fate. If Taiwan is to remain an independent country, the Taiwanese should be given the opportunity to rule their own country. On the other hand they may wish to revert to being part of China. But it is absurd to suggest that the present position should be supported by Australia to the detriment of our relations with the People’s Republic of China. Canada has recognised the People’s Republic of China. The regime in Taiwan by its own decision has broken off relations with Canada because it continues to insist that those who have diplomatic relations with it recognise it as the Government of all of China - a mistaken impression that the Prime Minister continued to perpetuate in statements he made in the House today.
The Malaysian Government, despite the misleading information that the Prime Minister has given in the past to this House, has stated that it regards the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of all China, including Taiwan.
The direction of our policy is clear. We should move toward, first, the recognition of the People’s Republic of China; secondly, the representation of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations; and thirdly, resolving the political future of the peoples of Taiwan, lt would pay us well to keep in mind the words of a very great Foreign Secretary pf the United Kingdom in the 19th century, Lord Palmerston. These words, which take the form of a motto, we perhaps should write across the doorway of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Lord Palmerston said:
In foreign relations there are no permanent friends, no permanent allies, only permanent interests.
– To any thinking person it would be ridiculous and unacceptable that whenever the word Communism’ is mentioned honourable members on the other side of the House say: ‘There they go again on the Red bogey’. I issue a challenge to members of the Opposition: Let anyone of them rise in his seat and indicate when he has ever defended the role of our troops in Vietnam. Let any member on the other side of the House say when he has ever uttered one word of commendation of the United States of America or when he has ever done anything but speak in the way in which honourable members from the Opposition have spoken tonight. To hear members speak one would imagine that we already had diplomatic relations with Red China. Each and every one of the speeches that were made tonight could have been a speech of an ambassador from Communist China.
I remember Clarrie Fallon, a great leader of the Australian Workers Union, who wrote a series of articles called, I think, Out of the Night’. He said that the technique of future intrusion of Communism into this country would be the ‘destruction of patriotism’. 1 challenge honourable members on the other side of the House to indicate when they have ever waved, as it were, an Australian flag in their hearts and in their spirits. All that they have done tonight has been to stand up one after another and defend Communist China. Mr Deputy Speaker, you will remember well, no doubt, as will other honourable members of this House, that the same group of people over here - -
– On a point of order-
– Not so very long ago-
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lucock)Order! If the honourable member for Sturt wishes to raise a point of order I suggest that he do so.
– Thank you. My point of order is this: You, in your position as Deputy Speaker of this House at the moment, are allowing a speaker to challenge the loyalty of honourable members on this side of the House who probably have a better record than, or if not then equal to, that of the gentleman who is on his feet.
-Order! This is a matter of debate. There is no substance in the point of order. The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– Am I not allowed to finish my point of order? My point-
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. There is no point of order.
– Will you not allow me to make my point of order?
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– With great respect, Sir, are you ruling that it is not objectionable to Opposition members for the honourable member for Kennedy to impute or say that they lack patriotism or that they are destroying patriotism?
-The honourable member for Kennedy did not say that.
– Yes, he did.
-Order! The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat.
– But he did.
-Order! I warn the honourable member for Sturt. The honourable member for Kennedy invited honourable members opposite to make some comment. I would suggest, to the honourable member for Kennedy that to invite interjections was completely out of order. That is the only thing that the honourable member for Kennedy did out of order.
– Can I accommodate the honourable member for Kennedy?
– No, the honourable member for Reid cannot accommodate the honourable member for Kennedy because the honourable member for Kennedy was out of order in inviting an interjection.
– I support Senator Fullbright Senator Mansfield and all those progressives in the United States Senate-
-Order! The honourable member for Reid will be out of order if he interjects and I will take action- against him.
- -Mr Deputy Speaker, the House-
– I rise on a point of order. I take exception to the fact that the honourable member for Kennedy said that no-one in the Opposition has ever waved an Australian flag. That is not true. I waved one in 1954 when Her Majesty the Queen arrived in Australia.
-Order! The honourable member for Sydney will resume his seat.
– Members of this House and the public of Australia will no doubt recall the famous debate which took place here regarding a woman who supposedly had water thrust down her throat. What struck me as being completely remarkable was the fact that this woman was a spy. It was alleged that she was responsible for possibly 28 Australian deaths. Not one word was uttered about the Australian blood that had been shed because of her spying. Honourable members opposite were terribly upset that this spy had some water poured down her throat. I know what would have happened to this woman in any other country. In Mainland China, the country that honourable members opposite have been championing tonight, she would have had her head chopped off. It is a damn pity that the Australians did not do just that very thing.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) referred to improved relations between East and West Berlin. He referred to the magnificent contribution which Herr Brandt had made. Recently I had the opportunity to Vist Berlin. It would be interesting to know how many members of the Opposition have visited Moscow recently. However, I took the advantage to visit Berlin. If these relations had been improved, I would very much like to have seen them prior to my visit, which was long after Herr Brandt had had all this publicity about improved relations. Let me tell honourable members something about the wall. On the west side of the wall there is gaiety, freedom and a normal way of life. They have motor cars. If one can get through the gates into East Berlin, as I did, the first things one strikes are machine guns and trained dogs. There are guards. The remarkable thing about the east side of the wall is that there is an uncanny quietness.
My guide pointed out an old lady sitting up at a window. The guide said: ‘Now watch that old lady, because that policeman down there in the blue uniform is specially trained to arrest people if they wave from East Berlin to West Berlin.’ Is this freedom? The old lady waited until the policeman walked up a side street and she came out and waved like this. The great desire of the people of East Berlin is to’ escape into West Berlin if at all possible. A story is told about Maria Callas, who is known to many people, particularly to Mr Onassis. She gave a recital in East Berlin. Herr Ulbricht - I know that honourable members opposite would be very familiar with Herr Walter Ulbricht - the leader of East Berlin was so thrilled at her magnificent performance that he said: ‘Madam Callas, that was magnificent. I want to do something for you.’ Herr Walter Ulbricht was so thrilled and enthusiastic about her performance that he said: ‘The city of East Berlin would like to show its appreciation.’ She said: ‘Herr Ulbricht, would you open the gates to East Berlin for one hour?’ The honourable members who are interjecting are spoiling my story. “ Mr Daly - I raise a point of order. Is it of any interest to the Australian Parliament to know what Madam Callas is doing?
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I am going to finish this story. Honourable members opposite can use all the tactics in the world. I will reiterate what Herr Ulbricht said to Maria Callas: *We want to do something for you.’ She said: ‘Well, Herr Ulbricht, open the gates to East Berlin for one hour.’ He said: Ah! You want to be with me alone?’ This story is told in West Berlin to indicate that the spirit of the East Berliners is still high. There is one example of the. great freedom that these people opposite are championing time and again.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to order. I have heard this story before, and it should not be told in this place.
– Order! The honourable member for Hindmarsh will resume his seat.
– We heard the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard) referring to the ‘almost hysterical reaction of President Nixon. This is one of the attributes of honourable members opposite. When have they ever cast their minds back to the days when these same Americans whom they despise and detest fought for this country? The attitude of all members of the Opposition towards the people of the United States is known there. Where were they when the Coral Sea battle took place? Where is their gratitude to these same Americans for saving this country? They say that President Nixon has stated that it is premature to talk about recognition or the admission of Communist China to the United Nations. This is an hysterical reaction? How inconsistent Opposition members are. They are consistent in only one attitude, and that is in being completely pro-Communist China. Let any one of them get on his feet and say truthfully that he has spoken against the regimes in Communist countries throughout the world.
The honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) said that Australia has completely isolated itself from South East Asia. This is completely and utterly untrue. I had the opportunity of spending 3 months among these very same people and I met the cream of their diplomats and their parliamentarians. They have an extremely warm and living friendship towards the people of Australia. I remember well one night early in my stay in New York when I was invited, along with people from other South East Asian countries, to attend a dinner. I happened to remark that I was the only member from a non-Asian country. They said: That is quite ridiculous. Your country is a part of the Asian family.’ That is the attitude they have towards us.
I want to comment about Australia’s political alignment as it affects some of our trade opportunities. My comments are based not only on discussions, I had in the Middle East on my way through to the United Nations but also on various discussions that took place over that period of 3 months. It appears that there are great trade opportunities in the Middle East which can be exploited. It is very necessary that we indicate to the people of the Middle East that although we have the friendliest possible relations with Israel and we have close trade ties, this does not preclude us from having the same situation with many of the Arab . countries. I remember well a discussion relating to the provision of flour to Saudi Arabia/ One of the delegates from Saudi Arabia pointed out that recently an advertisement had appeared in one of their prominent newspapers indicating to the local bakeries that if they used Australian wheat they would receive priority in securing a licence for running their bakeries. Our Trade Commissioner in the Middle East was able to point out that a way of exploiting these trade opportunities was to have many more Australian business people visit both Israel and the Arab countries on an equal footing. It is in the interests of all of us that better relations exist with the Middle East countries generally.
Let me turn now to Ceylon. The Situation in that country is that there are 2 Leftwing parties. It is quite obvious to all that the present government of Ceylon is proMarxist There is now an . intrusion of other left-wing elements. No one knows for sure whether or not they are backed by Peking. It is anybody’s guess. What we do know is that there exists another deterioration and another situation where a most strategic part of the world is under complete pro-Communist domination. One would imagine that these people would recognise the danger to their country. They say there is no danger from Communist China. How utterly ridiculous! What do they suggest is going to happen when the American and Australian forces withdraw from South Vietnam? No one in his right senses could conclude that there will be a non-Communist regime there when he knows that the North Vietnamese have been backed by Russia and China. Does anyone suggest that with 1,000 million people backing them-
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
-I propose that the honourable member for Kennedy be granted an extension of time.
-Order! The question is that the honourable member be granted an extension of time.
– I would like to know whether the Government will give an assurance that extensions of time will be granted to members of the Opposition..
– In the circumstances, may I suggest that the honourable member not finish his speech.
– No magical results will follow from either the recognition or the non-recognition of Communist China. The United States had no magical achievements from not recognising China, and the United Kingdom had no magical achievements from recognising China. What must be discussed now is a question of common sense, not in a field of exaggeration to make recognition non-recognition one of the great issues of foreign policy. There are two doctrines of recognition. One was laid down by a very great British Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister, George Canning. It was that you recognised a fact; you recognised a government which was actually in control of territory; you recognised a government which could protect your nationals; you recognised a government which paid its debts; and you recognised a government with which you traded. In pursuit of the classic Canning definition of recognition, Britain recognised Red China.
But there is another doctrine of recognition, sometimes used by Britain very effectively, and that is that recognition is an ideological weapon to produce a change in fact. The Polish Government in exile in London during the war, the Free Fench in London during the war, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland and her government in London during the war, the Norwegian government in London during the war, from the point of view of Canning’s doctrine, were all absurdities. They were cabinets without nations. But they in fact had the allegiance of millions of people in Nazi-occupied Europe, and when the time came for the invasion the people rose to support their governments. That was recognition used as an ideological weapon.
The United States believed initially that by recognising the Government of the Republic of China, which is now on Taiwan, it could have the ideological advantage of a transformation within China. Indeed, the great majority of prisoners of war taken during the Korean War opted to go to Taiwan and not to go into the authority of the Peking Government, which at that stage of time appeared to indicate that there was still a great deal of allegiance towards the government of Taiwan. Very few people believe today that Chiang Kai-shek, if he managed to land in China, would be hailed as a liberator. Honourable members opposite can make all these lurid statements about people in their attitude to the recognition of Red China or trade with it. I remember the late Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes saying that the money in the pockets of the Country Party was stained with the blood of peasants in Tibet. That is how he regarded your wheat trade with China. He was perfectly consistent in that - you did not recognise and you did not trade. That was America’s policy - you did not recognise and you did not trade. Australia’s policy was that you did not recognise and you did trade. What is more, you sent strategic materials to China, too, and you sent from the beaches of Bunbury in Western Australia some of the most vital metals that are used to make engines resistant to heat - essential in jet aircraft and essential in rockets. So your trade was not just in wheat. But we will leave that aside.
There is no such thing as saying that you. are going to eject the government on Taiwan from the United Nations because the United Nations does not know any government of Taiwan. The government which is on Taiwan is known as the Government of China. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in all his evasions today cannot escape the fact that those who recognise the government on Taiwan recognise it not as the government of Taiwan but as the government of mainland China. Let us face the fact that both Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Communists claim Tibet. Both Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Communists claim some of the disputed border territories. But Chiang Kai-shek has denounced the Chinese Communists for ceding territory to Burma. We had a lecture, a discussion, on one occasion from a diplomat from the country concerned, who told us of the great numbers of Chinese troops in the north of Laos who periodically despoiled villages to get supplies - and they were not Chinese Communist troops; they were the troops of Chiang Kai-shek who maraud and depredate in the north of Laos and also in the north of Burma today.
I do not want to get into a state of denouncing anybody. We are all selectively indignant; we are all selectively hypocrites. The Government of Pakistan is carrying out in East Pakistan atrocities equal to or beyond any atrocities ever committed by a Communist government, and nothing is said about it. One of the biggest girls schools was surrounded, set on fire, and as the girls came out they were mowed down with machine guns. I was in Dacca in 1954 when the West Pakistan Army came in and overthrew the government of East Pakistan in East Bengal. I was the guest at afternoon tea of Iskander Mersa, who was the general in command, and I was also the guest at morning tea of the displaced Chief Minister. You could see quite palpably that the people of West Pakistan and
East Pakistan are not the same race. The people of West Pakistan are the decendants of the Arabic Persian conquerors and the people of East Pakistan are black and they are regarded as inferior.
The situation is a colonial situation. You say that Pakistan is fully entitled to try to re-establish its authority over East Bengal, over East Pakistan. East Pakistan showed in an election that Sheik Mujibir could get 167 seats out of 169. That overwhelming victory would have given him a majority of government in West Pakistan. That was why the democratic procedure was finished. It would have meant East Pakistan domination of West Pakistan, and that was not tolerable. The 2 Pakistans, separated by a thousand miles of Indian territory, speak different languages, have different cultures, and have nothing in common except the Islamic faith. If Pakistan is entitled to try to re-establish her authority under those circumstances, then North Vietnam would be entitled to try to re-establish its authority over South Vietnam - the same language and contiguous territories. But we are selectively indignant. We do not want it in the case of North Vietnam, unjustified or justified as it may be; we do not mind it in the case of Pakistan, justified or unjustified as it may be. We have just made a choice, but for God’s sake do not pretend that it rests on any moral basis. It is a choice that rests in terms of sheer power.
I think it is time that we stopped talking rot about China. Why did. General de Gaulle change his attitude on China? It is not a question of holding up bogies; it is a question of rational analysis, The Russian Ambassador took one look at this country a couple of years ago and said: ‘Racists’. He said: ‘Good. The Soviet Union will work with you to prevent the Chinese thrust south’. And poor Freeth fell over himself to agree. If China were . thrusting south the Soviet Union would be supporting her. The Soviet Union’s objection to China was that China was raising the question of the 600,000 square miles of Chinese territory annexed by the czars after 1858 and was raising the kind of ideological issues which are a potential dissolvent of the Soviet Union, whether Georgians, Ukranians or others would continue or wish to continue to be subordinate to the White Russians in what is a vast colonial empire of the Soviet Union. The revolutionary anti-colonialist principles of China are a potential dissolvent of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union has 3 million troops along the borders of China.
De Gaulle realised that if the Soviet Union could get rid of this Chinese distraction nothing would stop her from occupying with the greatest of ease Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania - all Communist countries. But she cannot get a foreign policy out of Communist countries that she wants unless she occupies them. She would never get the foreign policy she wanted out of Poland if Russian troops were not stationed there, nor out - of Czechoslovakia, nor out of Hungary, nor out of Herr Ulbricht in East Germany. Therefore, she follows the old Czarist policy of putting in troops as assurance. But De Gaulle realised that at worst the Chinese distraction could be a factor in .war against a successful Russian thrust right through to the Channel Ports and at best in normal times stop the enormous increase in Russian pressure power on Europe if she occupied the other Communist countries.
Without the Chinese distraction what has Russia got? She has got the power to put enormous pressure on Europe - that is westward - or, by swinging the pendulum south to put it on India, or, by swinging i! east to put it on Japan. Whether we like Mao Tse-tung or not, a lot of people who have not the slightest sympathy with his regime would prefer Mao if he is not subordinate to the Soviet Union than Liu Shao-chi if he was prepared to go into unity with the Soviet Union. We do no! even begin to assess Chinese policy, and the ridiculous debates in this House because the Government can get the preferences of the Democratic Labor Party by yak-yak-yak about Red China are a disgrace to this Parliament and would be unacceptable in a high school. The whole position of Communist China is not analysed. If Communist China was purely interested in nationalist issues why does it not occupy Hong Kong and Macao?
– What an arrogant man you are. Sheer arrogance.
- Mr Deputy Speaker, may I ask your protection from the Minister for Repatriation. He is just calling personal abuse at me. He is not answering my arguments. And, what is more, he is not sober.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I object to that last comment by the honourable member for Fremantle and I ask him to withdraw it.
– 1 withdraw it and I also ask the Minister to withdraw the names he has been calling me.
I ask the Minister for Repatriation to withdraw the offending remarks.
– Is the Minister going to withdraw them or not?
-Order! The honourable member for Reid will cease interjecting. - -
– 1 do not press my request for a withdrawal.
-The honourable member for Fremantle has the floor and any further interjections will be out of order.
– If China pursued a simply nationalist policy, as India did in regard to Goa and took Portuguese Goa on the ground that here was a Portuguese imperialist intrusion that had no right to be there, she would take Macao. Whatever justification there was for India taking Goa, China would have that same justification to take Macao. Why has she not done so? Why has she not taken Hong Kong? We do not know a great deal about Chinese policy.
Assertions about the southward thrust, with no evidence, are constantly being made. There has been no preparation of a navy to do it, no preparation of a merchant marine. I do not think there are any magical results from recognition or nonrecognition of China. All that is needed is a simple and sensible recognition of a fact. The Government is now asserting, without any hope of using it as an ideological weapon to change the facts on the mainland of China, that the Government on Taiwan is the Government of China. This is simply not a fact. Entry of China to the United Nations will not be determined by our recognition or by American recognition, just as Communist China has never got into the United Nations on British recognition. This issue will be determined only by a majority in the United Nations and that is a separate issue. The question of recognition is only a matter of trying to have a contact with China as one step towards the development of a sane world.
– The honourable member for Fremantle concentrated to a large extent on the issues involved in recognising continental China and on the current very unfortunate situation in East Pakistan. I regret that time will not allow me to reply in detail to the points he has raised but I intend to use the time available to me to make my own constructive contribution to this debate. A statement on foreign affairs is an event of major importance in this Parliament, dealing as it does with one of the principal responsibilities of the Federal Government. Of course it cannot be dissociated from our defence policy because without a defence policy to back it a foreign policy cannot be pursued with any confidence, credibility or sense of purpose. This is one of the issues which distinguishes those on this side of the House from those on the ^Opposition benches. Honourable members opposite put forward many highly, desirable idealistic concepts but they refuse to acknowledge that in the real world in which we live idealism will not of itself achieve desirable results. A government has a responsibility to ensure that its country not only makes its voice heard but also that its views are backed by the capacity to uphold them. This is surely the supreme objective of our foreign policy as defined by the previous Minister for Foreign Affairs, as reported in Hansard of 19th March 1 970. He said:
To protect .and enhance our security and other vital interests - political, economic and social.
Over the last year or so statements or. foreign affairs and defence by the responsible Minister have set the future course of this Government. We accept that Australia’s place in South East Asia, geographically and economically, carries corresponding responsibilities. Any Australian who has travelled in South East Asia must have been aware of the remarkable degree of goodwill shown towards Australia by the countries of this region and this is in a large measure attributable to the skill of our Foreign Affairs officers. Australia is held in respect but not in fear, respect because of our considerable economic significance and the fact that we are a good example of what can be achieved by a relatively small population; respect because of our considerable defence capacity but not in fear because it is universally recognised that we have no expansionist ambitions.
Unfortunately this is not true of all other countries in the region. Clearly Russia is now attempting to increase her influence, probably for a mixture of motives, perhaps to check Chinese infiltration or open up trade opportunities. But, first and foremost, we delude ourselves if we believe that Russia’s intentions have is their main aim anything except Russia’s own self-interest. However, Australia will have to live with this situation whilst at the same time being acutely aware of its implications. In more recent times continental China, to use the title in- vogue ai the moment, has earned a reputation for encouraging instability and subversion in the region and, in the case of Tibet and India, committing actual aggression. II appears that the technique of ‘the so-called wars of national liberation, -the technique of war of proxy, has ushered in a whole new concept of what is war. Apart from the catastrophe of possible world suicide by an all-out nuclear war, it seems that future conflicts are likely to be on the pattern of the Malayan emergency and the attack by North Vietnam against South Vietnam; that is, there is unlikely to be war in the traditional sense of one country attacking another by means of mass troop or aircraft movements across a national border. However, the possibility of direct attack cannot be discounted altogether. Therefore, we have to be prepared for a wide range of possible situations
I return now to the subject of continental China. A quite remarkable change in her attitude is revealed by- such recent events as the invitation to the American table tennis team to visit China. Such an invitation would have been almost unthinkable until quite recently. However, ii is interesting to note that it is by no meant, a new experience for Australia. We had a table tennis team visit. China in, I think, 1961. But during the cultural revolution and for some time afterwards it is well known that continental China virtually cut herself off from the rest of the world. Her diplomatic missions were recalled and if became very difficult to get reliable information or assessments of what was happening in that country. During this period continental China suffered severe setbacks in her efforts to influence countries in Africa. It is extremely interesting and important to note that in most, if not all, cases the rejection or deterioration of the Chinese position was attributed to undue interference in domestic political affairs. For example, China often had to choose between supporting the existing government of a country or revolutionary forces within the same country. At the same time as all this was going on, continental China was of course also supporting the North Vietnamese in the Indo-China conflict.
In about 1968 there were discernible signs that China wanted to regain her rapidly declining influence, but to do this her foreign policy tactic had to change. This in turn brought about some indication that she might be prepared to make some compromise on the pure Maoist revolutionary theories. If this is so, it brings up a question and answer which together are of absolutely critical importance not only for Australia but for all countries. The question is: If - and I stress the word ‘if - the assessment that China has changed her attitude is correct, what has brought it about? In trying to find the correct answer, let us assume that certain things which we have done had not been done. Let us suppose that we had not resisted the attack by North Korea on South Korea. Let us suppose that we had not been successful in overcoming the Communist emergency in Malaya. Finally, let us suppose that we had not opposed the aggression in Vietnam. If we had not done these things, surely no-one can seriously doubt that Korea, Malaya and Vietnam would have been overrun by Communist forces. If that had been, would continental China have had any reason to re-assess her aggressive, subversive and disruptive policies? In my opinion, the answer to this question in these circumstances would have to be no. If she had evidence that her technique of revolutionary guerilla warfare, the technique of war by proxy of which I spoke earlier, was successful, what reason would she have for giving it up? One of the clearest lessons of history is that unopposed aggression, of whatever kind, never halts of its own accord.
I admit that what I am going to say now is getting somewhat into the realm of speculation, but I believe that speculation may be useful in this case. If it is true that continental China is moving towards a desire to become a part of the community of nations, and if she has finally realised that the policies which she has been following are preventing this because they are not acceptable to the great majority of countries, the implications are tremendous. Above everything else, the policy of this Government in opposing aggression against small countries would be proved right. I quite agree that it is far too early yet to assume with any degree of confidence that continental China has abandoned or even modified her previous policies. Certainly it would take some time for a clearer picture to emerge on which sound assumptions can be based. But if the circumstances and events of which I have spoken have been related to our actions and policies in the way I have described, it would be a triumph for this Government’s resolution in the face of great pressures and difficulties.
There are many other questions of great importance, the answers to which will be of vital interest to this country. For example, how will continental China exploit her growing nuclear power? What will be the final outcome of the increased Russian interest in the Indian Ocean? On the other side of the world but nonetheless of urgent relevance for us is the question of British entry into the European Economic Com;munity and, if so, on what terms. Unfortunately, we are not in the comfortable, detached position of being able to read or watch an exciting world wide serial. We cannot just sit back in the pleasurable anticipation of finding these questions answered in the next thrilling instalment. Even though our capacities to take the initiative in the field of foreign policy are necessarily limited, this must not inhibit or prevent us from taking every available opportunity to influence events to our advantage. We have a highly respected and professional Department of Foreign Affairs representing this country throughout the world, and the Minister’s comprehensive review of the global situation and how it affects Australia provided clear evidence of the valuable contribution which the Department is making in its own field. Under this Government we can look forward to Australia continuing to take an active and progressive role as a partner in maintaining security and improved economic conditions in our geographical region.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, by leave I should like to apologise to the Minister for Repatriation (Mr Holten) for what I said. I am satisfied it was not true and. in any event, it was not parliamentary and should not have been said. I am not satisfied to leave it merely at a withdrawal. I apologise to the Minister.
Mr Holten - I thank the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) very much. I suppose that I ought not to apologise for interjecting in this place because it has become a fairly common practice. But I admit that I became rather emotional during the honourable member’s speech. I thank him very much for his apology.
– On a point of order: The interjections of the Minister for Repatriation who is now sitting at the table, during the contribution to this debate by the honourable member for Fremantle - and 1 heard the interjections, sitting some 20 feet away - were such that I feel quite confident in saying, without having consulted my parliamentary colleague, the honourable member for Fremantle, that he ought to be given the opportunity by you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to stand on his feet and debate the issue before the House.
– Order! There is no substance in the point of order. The honourable member will resume his seat
– Why is he not allowed to do that?
-Order! 1 call the honourable member for Bendigo.
– What we are discussing tonight is Australia’s foreign relations, and the characteristic of the foreign relations that must emerge from the debate which has taken place on the Government side is that this Government’s policy is in a state of inanimate suspension. The policy has no drive or direction, lt cannot even react to current changes in world affairs and world events. It has no answers to the problems facing this country in its relations with its neighbours in the region.
There is one vitally important subject that 1 want to discuss very briefly, and it is the forthcoming visit of the South African cricket team to Australia. I regard this as one of the most dangerous events that this Government could sponsor because 1 believe that from the point of view of international relations, this visit can only stigmatise Australia as being in collusion and sympathy with the apartheid policies of South Africa. This Government has taken the view that it can renounce its own responsibility in its external relations and its own responsibility for who comes into this country. I maintain that that is not possible. The arguments that have been advanced by the Government so far for renouncing its responsibilities - that is what it is doing - are, firstly, that to reject the visit to Australia by the Springbok cricket team would be an interference in the affairs of South Africa and secondly, that in any case this is merely a sporting affair and therefore must be left within the jurisdiction of the Australian sporting authorities. This is simply not the case. This is an argument based upon hypocrisy.
For one thing, apartheid in South Africa is not in itself the purely domestic affair of South Africa. Indeed, it is an affair that concerns the whole world. It has been condemned as a major threat to world peace, and that is the context in which this situation must be seen. The suggestion, as an argument for its abdication of responsibility, that this is a domestic affair in which the Government must not interfere flies in the face of the fact that this Goverment has already made statements about the visit. Unfortunately, the statements themselves do not mean very. much. If one cares to read the statement which the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) has made in this House, one sees that all he has said is that the Australian people regard the matter with bitter disappointment and regret - the Australian people, not the Government. In other words, the Government to that extent has interfered already. But most important is this: I believe that a distinction must be drawn here between the apartheid policy of the South African Government and the people who come to Australia on behalf of that policy and that Government.
It must be conceded that apartheid is an international affair. It does concern us. Nevertheless, apartheid is a policy of the Government of South Africa and it is the responsibility of that Government. That Government has set its course along the line of apartheid and that Government must eventually pay the penalty for it. Australia has no responsibility directly for the apartheid policy of South Africa. But Australia does have a responsibility for the people who come to this country and the people who are coming to this country in the South African cricket team are people who are sent as the overseas travelling salesmen of that apartheid policy. That is quite clear.
We cannot take refuge in the argument that this is purely a sporting affair. We cannot take refuge in the argument that to reject the visit is an unwarranted interference in the affairs of the Government of South Africa because this means that, in effect, we are accepting a visit to Australia by a sporting team not on our terms but on the terms of the Government of South Africa. With that sporting visit comes all the violence, all the corruption and all the inhumanity of the South African apartheid policy. It is for that reason that I believe that this visit is wrong and that it should be rejected.
The most important reason why this visit must be rejected is the humanitarian principle that this nation must give not the slightest appearance of sympathising with apartheid or even of being unwilling to criticise it. Unfortunately that is the case. But the situation is that a more serious principle is involved. This is the principle of Australia’s own self interest. No nation living in the geographical situation of Australia, with its neighbours being Asian and African, can afford such a gratuitous insult to its neighbours. Mark my words: There is no doubt that this visit, because it bears with it sympathy for South African apartheid, is an insult to the people of Africa and an insult to the people of Asia. One of the most important assets that Australia must have is the goodwill, mutual understanding and confidence of its neighbours. This visit subverts these assets.
I wish to speak briefly about China. The honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) has made the point very clearly that what we are talking about here principally is a matter of bringing rational relations into Australia’s affairs with other countries. Australia simply cannot go on in the way that it has been going on for 20 years. We cannot keep trailing behind American policy on China. If we see a change in American policy on China, Australia must be the first to get out - not to follow the United States but to lead it. Unfortunately, this is just what this Government has not done.
It is very interesting to consider the environment in which the original policy of military and diplomatic isolation of China evolved and to see some of the justifications on which this policy of separation of China from the world community was based. It is very interesting to note that, in the early 1950s, policy towards China was not created by the United States on a rational basis. It was created more within the framework of American domestic politics, and those politics were the politics of fear and artificial hysteria created in the McCarthy period of antiCommunism in the early 1950s. It is interesting to know that Dean Acheson and John Foster Dulles in the early 1950s when the Communist Party had taken control of the mainland expressed the view that the United States should wait, let the dust settle and see what emerged on the mainland. If the government in Peking was in effect the government of China, it should be recognised as such.
These were early enlightened and practical views. But these views were crushed beneath the weight of McCarthyism within the United States and a policy of diplomatic and military isolation of China was introduced. Some of the aims of this policy of isolation were to bring about a breakdown within China. This policy was aimed at denying China its rights and recognition as a great power. It was aimed at continuing the civil war in China. It was aimed at stopping the spread of Communism. Here is an interesting aim wrich the course of history has passed by. This policy was aimed also at preventing the expansion of Russian power because, interestingly enough, in the early 1950s, the official American view in this environment of antiCommunism was that China was in fact merely an extension of Russia. It was Dean Rusk who went on record - and who for years later regretted saying it - that China was in fact not China but a ‘Russian Manchukuo’. The policy of isolation and containment of China was aimed also at modifying China’s aggressiveness and changing its outlook towards the world.
Looking back over those aims after 20 years one can see today that none of those objectives has been achieved. For example, the objective of preventing the expansion of Soviet influence has been proved to be ludicrous in the first place because Russia is now No. 1 enemy alongside the United States in the minds of the Chinese. As far as the spread of Communism is concerned, it is hard to see any gain that Communism has made anywhere in the world as extensive as the gains that it has achieved in Indo-China. North Vietnam is Communist. Large sections of South Vietnam are under Communist control. Laos and Cambodia have been brought within the ambit of the Communist power. Nor has the isolation of China taken place.
Indeed, the whole reason why the Government is beginning now to rethink its policy, although the burden of the argument on the other side has been denied, has been the fact that China now is gaining the numbers in the United Nations. In addition to that, Australia has trade relations with China and is only one of a very large number of nations that recognise the reality that China is a nation that buys and sells. So, the original policies and the original aims on which these policies were formulated now have been proven to have been ineffective. Unfortunately, the Australian Government cannot realise this situation.
The argument is now being used that on moral grounds, and moral grounds alone, Taiwan cannot be abandoned. My opinion is this: I am not concerned to give a blank cheque to Chiang Kai-shek who has held illegitimate power in Formosa for 20 years. What does concern me is my belief that the native people of Taiwan have a claim to be a separate nation. It is for that reason that I would like to see their rights recognised. On the other hand, we simply cannot accept any pretensions by Chiang Kai-shek to be the ruler of Taiwan. There is nothing that we can do to change that; that is a reality. What we especially must reject are the fatuous claims of Chiang
Kai-shek that he rules all China. It is the height of absurdity for the Government in this situation to have its foreign policy on a subject that concerns the peace of the whole world decided by one little man leading a carpet bagging government on the island of Taiwan. That is the reality of the situation. If we are to start talking common sense, we must recognise that the Government of Peking is the de facto government of the mainland of China and that there is nothing that we or anybody else in the word can do to change that situation.
I am particularly concerned about this problem for the reason that the United Nations can never deal properly with the main issues of world peace while China is refused admission to the United Nations. If there has been one fundamental principle about the United Nations it has been the principle of universality. Incidentally, on 24th October of last year, during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations, a resolution was passed, supported by Australia, that all efforts should be taken to implement the principle of the universality of the United Nations. The Australian Government refuses to carry out that principle. One thing which is very interesting in the case of China and the United Nations is the view that has been taken by the Indian Government. Despite the fact that. in the 1960s there was serious trouble between India and China, India nevertheless has maintained the view consistently that it should continue diplomatic relations with the Chinese and should continue to press for the granting of legitimate rights to the People’s Republic of China. On 20th November 1970 the Indian representative on the United Nations said:
Our support for the restoration of the rights of the People’s Republic of China is based on the principles of the universality of our Organisation as also on the provisions of the Charter. India is among those countries which have voted consistently on this matter for the last 21 years and which have taken a logical view of the question. As recently as 2nd October this year the Foreign Minister of India stated before this Assembly:
We regret that the universality of membership of the United Nations has not been achieved. In particular, there is a general recognition that without the rightful participation of the People’s Republic of China this Organisation will continue to face difficulties in solving several basic problems.’
If we are to have a rational world in which all nations will be enabled to carry out their obligations as members of a comity of nations it is absolutely essential that China should be in the United Nations. The Government should leave aside spurious moral arguments because, in any case, as has been said, they are based on selective indignation. The Government should recognise one fact: The Government of China is here to stay. It has been here for 20 years and the Government should start to treat it with dignity as a sovereign nation.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– The rather dehortative individual who has just resumed his seat presented a speech filled with inconsistencies. He is a model of the new young left of the Labor Party - the hope of tomorrow. He is a model of the inconsistently minded people that this House is being forced to listen to on various occasions. We often hear members opposite criticising the Government for censorship standards of requirements in respect of books, pornography and drug indulgence. They call for the opening of doors and yet suddenly on an issue like this they are filled with indignation. They say: ‘Shut the doors to the South Africans. Keep them out.’ It is pertinent to note that not one member of the Australian Labor Party has drawn the attention of the Parliament to Communist persecution - Soviet persecution - of the Jews, Czechoslovakians and Hungarians. It suits them to forget about the actions of the left. They harp on the actions of what they describe as the right wing countries. To me the persecution of any people is wrong. Another factor members opposite failed to mention is that by leaving out coloured players who may be better than white members is to South Africa’s disadvantage. If the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Kennedy) does not want to watch the South Africans playing rugby union or cricket that is his business, but for heaven’s sake I appeal to him not to use the machinery of his Party or of the trade union organisation to force his views down the throats of other Australians because, come the next elections, he will see what Australians think of such tactics.
On 6th April the new Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Bury) presented a fairly comprehensive statement to the House on the current situation in the field of international affairs. He spoke mainly on Indo-China, China, the Middle East and Pakistan. Unfortunately, with only a quarter of an hour at a member’s disposal, it is not possible to dwell too long on any one area. In view of the fact that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) saw fit to move a very carefully worded amendment about China - I say this because he made no reference to Taiwan - I thought I might speak about the South East Asian area. When we talk about South East Asia it would be a cardinal sin to omit looking at troubles that have arisen and been caused in the past as a result of China’s role. On 2 occasions in the past few years I have paid my own way to visit South East Asia, an area which is so important to Australia. It is rather amusing or perhaps tragic to recollect the words of the Leader of the Opposition on 26th March 1968 when, in this House, he referred to the Tet offensive in Vietnam. Honourable members may recall that the Leader of the Opposition left Vietnam a few days after I did, just prior to the commencement of that Tet offensive. On 26th March, in this House, referring to that offensive, he said:
It was clear before the Tet offensive that the policy of punishing North Vietnam had not destroyed the capacity of the Vietcong to mount highly organised and highly effective offensives and to overrun and hold temporarily any city or town in South Vietnam. It was apparent before the Tet offensive that the South Vietnamese Government had in no way won the confidence or the active support of the people of South Vietnam.
In all these respects, and in every respect, the complete failure of the policy pursued by the allies and supported by the Australian Government was manifest. The Tet offensive has merely underlined these failures. The result has been that no city, town or village - not even Saigon itself - is perfectly secure.
By our presence and by the American presence in Vietnam the stage has been reached where consideration can be given to the withdrawal of troops. The South Vietnamese, with our assistance, have been able to equip themselves and prepare themselves for the task of defending their country. We responded to a call for help. I do not believe that Australia or the United States intended that the stay in this area would be forever. As a result of our response to a call for help and as a result of our contributions, the stage has been reached where withdrawals can be made. The predictions of the Leader of the Opposition in 1968 have since been proved inaccurate. In South Vietnam today a large percentage of the villages and hamlets are completely safe. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition or my friend the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), who seems to be getting his airline tickets ready, might not be prepared to live in one of the villages or hamlets at night, but a large number of these villages have been made secure from the Communists. The people have been strengthened in their determination to keep their country safe.
In 1966 the crucial decisions were being made. If the Australian people had voted for the Australian Labor Party and if there had been a complete withdrawal of our troops, our future position would be such as very few thinking Australians would envy. A Labor victory then would have meant that we would not have given support to those countries upon which perhaps some day in the future we will be depending - countries with which we belong in a family and with which we work to secure peace. Australia is not an aggressive nation. It has retaliated, but it has never been the first to declare war on any other nation. I think that the inherent make-up of Australians is such that they just want peace. Another thing that the Leader of the Opposition has underestimated in recent times is the determination of the Australian people to make a contribution where subversion by Communist powers could possibly threaten our future security. In March 1968, following my first trip to Vietnam, in relation to Laos I said: 1 wonder bow long the situation can continue in this area as it is at present, without some form of involvement becoming necessary, or without the country requiring some form of assistance.
In respect of Cambodia I said:
I wonder what the future of this country is and whether it can continue to live in that part of the world without at some time taking sides. I forecast - and I say this with a heavy heart - that in the years to come, unless we win in Vietnam, Cambodia will be subjected to the same upheavals and attacks as we are presently witnessing in other parts of South East Asia.
Those statements in 1968 are as true today as they were then. My predictions have come true. The Labor Party has failed to comprehend that had we withdrawn from that region it would have fallen into Communist hands by now.
The Leader of the Opposition commented that Australia is involved in the Indo-China bloodbath today because of our attitude to China. What an exaggerated statement. What a statement made without foundation and thought. I wonder which member of his staff will be chastised for having written that into the speech that he read here tonight. We recall clearly that when the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Bass (Mr Barnard), came back from Vietnam approximately 2 years ago, he described in an off-guarded moment the situation in South Vietnam as being like that in Korea. Even though some members of the Opposition have newly arrived in this place, they are up with their history and do not need to be told again the true facts about Korea. We also remember that the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) went to great personal expense while he was in Phnom Penh to send telegrams to the Australian Prime Minister calling for arms and equipment to be sent to Cambodia. Yet we, and the Australian people, are supposed to sit and listen, to members of the Opposition decrying our involvement in that part of the world. Every member of the Opposition who goes there and sees for himself what is happening has to be very guarded on his return in case he slips out the truth. This in itself is a most significant point. The Leader of the Opposition is one who believes that with the effluxion of time what he said in the past is not important. I believe that we have to consider what has happened in the past as well as what may happen in the future.
The Australian Government is very much aware of the important role we have to play because of our geographical position. We as a nation - I have said this before in this place - are respected more than is any other non-Asian nation, if I might use that term, in this part of the world. The people of Asia trust Australia. They recognise that we do not go to their countries with the intention of overrunning, but to assist and help uplift their position in the world. That is a commendable attitude and has created great friendship towards Australia.
The Leader of the Opposition referred also to Canada’s recognition of China. Noone can predict what might be in the minds of others or what motivates them. Canada is in a very lucky geographical position. We in Australia, in the Southern Pacific, are many thousands of miles from such nations as the United States which might come readily to our aid. The Leader of the Opposition has so often in this House urged the Prime Minister of the day to go to the President of the United States and say: ‘We want you to do that’. He has suggested that the President of the United States would respond and say: ‘Yes, Mr Australian Prime Minister, we will’. But that is not the situation. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition constantly has over-emphasised the importance of Australia and the influence it can wield. The point I am making is that Canada is on the northern border of the United States. I have been to those 2 countries and one could not help but be aware of the competitive attitude that exists between them. But Canada can afford to thumb its nose at the United States. It can do anything it likes - within reason - because it knows that in the event of its being attacked the United States, by the mere fact of its geographical situation if nothing else, would come to its aid. I am not suggesting this as a reason for Canadian recognition of China or the policies it has adopted towards China but this is something which has never been mentioned in this House by any member of the Opposition and I believe it is a factor which cannot be dismissed out of hand.
We know that Australia is in a different part of the world. It is very pertinent to remind the House that the isolation of the great nation of China in the last 20 years has been brought about by its own doing. Mainland China has isolated itself. It has hardly wanted to have anything to do with the rest of the world and members of the Opposition realise this but skirt very quickly across it without great conscience while completely disregarding the future of Taiwan. The speaker from the Opposition who is to follow me - the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) - has a reputation in this House as one who cares about people. He has made many contributions in this field but I would like to ask him now what he intends should be done with the people of Taiwan as it seems that he will support this motion. I remind him that the Leader of the Opposition has left out any reference to Taiwan. It will be very interesting to hear what he has to say because we can be sure to hear a speech on the cricket tour and the rugby union matches. But let us think about the 14 million people of Taiwan as well.
– It is always a very difficult task to follow a powerful speech from the honourable member for Griffith (Mr Donald Cameron) because usually by the time he finishes the House is empty. Now, I do want to refer to the matter of the cricket tour by South Africa and apartheid. The most fascinating aspect of the proposed South African cricket and rugby tour controversy is the new tack now being taken by those who support the tour. Until the South African Government’s action in dictating to their cricket association that they would not be permitted to select coloured players in the team, the proponents had always allowed their case to rest on the standard cliche: Do not mix politics with sport’. Then comes a quick about turn and it is ‘we must not interfere in the internal affairs of another country’. Emotive terms such as long haired demonstrators’, ‘organised hooligans’, ‘opportunistic politicians’, are now emanating from a plethora of sports writers, radio commentators, sporting officials, some newspaper editors and many writers of letters to the editor. My greatest fear, that the debate would degenerate into a left wing versus right wing, labor versus liberal, protest versus anti-protest squabble, appears to have been realised.
One prominent sports writer accused some politicians of ‘hopping on the bandwagon’ and others have suggested that it was ‘this year’s issue’ for protesters who didn’t really know very much about apartheid anyhow’. I can only suggest to those who believe this to be true that they take the time to read Hansard over the past few years. The tragedy of the situation is that rational debate may soon be out of the question while both sides polarise and content themselves with hurling insulting epithets at one another. A considerable number of red herrings have been dragged into the debate, such as: ‘Why do you not protest against the Russian Soccer team and the Moscow Circus because of the treatment of Soviet Jewry?’ My only reply to that is I am not aware of Jews being excluded from soccer, ballet or the circus simply because they are Jews. The same Liberal-Country Party politicians who attended a meeting I helped to organise on the question of Soviet Jewry enthusiastically looked forward to the opportunity to do some Soviet bashing, but were less than enthusiastic when invited to hear the Australian Wallabies, and at a later date Bishop Crowther, give their reasons why the tour should not take place. Not one Government supporter bothered to attend these two meetings. I should add that there seems to be some confusion as to whether they received invitations to the second meeting.
Perhaps it would be best to restate the argument against the tours taking place so that those who want to try to understand our position can do so. We believe that Australia’s national reputation has been damaged because many of its policies are interpreted as racist - I refer to those on immigration, Aboriginals and New Guinea, just to name a few - but primarily we believe that it is wrong to play sport against a team which deliberately excludes players of a different colour. Almost the entire world condemns South Africa and its policies. AH major political parties - the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Country Party and Democratic Labor Party - say they are opposed to these policies, but with the exception of the Labor Party none of them is prepared to make even a token gesture towards helping to change them. One can take the fatalistic view and wait for the predicted bloody revolution or one can exert pressure in an attempt to effect change. Pious platitudes about deploring apartheid have a hollow ring of insincerity about them unless they can be supported with some action, even if that action is as insignificant as asking the Australian sporting organisations not to play sport with South Africa while its sporting teams are segregated.
It is not difficult to understand the cricketers’ and footballers’ argument that all they want to do is play cricket and rugby. As a cricket enthusiast for the past 25 years, I can understand their feelings. What we are asking is that they understand our feelings and the feelings of the 16£ million black and coloured people who have to suffer under apartheid every hour of the day, every day of the week, for the whole of their lives. It is simply that in our order of priorities cricket and rugby come second.
I have had discussions with one or two cricketers who have close contact with the cricketing hierarcy and I have been impressed with their genuine abhorrence of apartheid and their desire to see change. However, they claim that they cannot see how anything they can do will bring about change, and that bridge building or dialogue is the best way to effect change. This is an incredibly myopic way of looking at the history of change, small as it is in South Africa. South Africa has now been expelled from 14 world sporting organisations including the Olympic Games and the Davis Cup. However, in South Africa the most popular sports would be rugby union and cricket.
The Olympic Games would be an event in which South Africa would dearly love to participate. In 1964 South Africa was expelled and for the following Games in 1968 South Africa offered to send a multiracial team. The offer was rejected because the Olympic Games Committee rightly objected to the fact that South Africa would not select its team from integrated sport at home. Nevertheless, the offer by the Government to allow a multi-racial team to be selected was a significant breakthrough.
The 3 most important things in South Africa, we are told, are ‘politics, religion and rugby and not necessarily in that order’. When the 2 greatest rugby countries - South Africa, the Springboks, and New Zealand, the All Blacks - meet, up to 70,000 people attend. Until recently the South African Government always rejected the suggestion that Maoris would be included in a New Zealand side that toured South Africa. The New Zealand Rugby Union weakly acceded to its demands until 1967, when it jacked up, to use a colloquial term, and called off the tour. Presto; the 1970 tour included 2 Maoris and a Samoan. Evonne Goolagong, the outstanding part-Aboriginal tennis player, is now touring South Africa as part of a public relations attempt by South Africa to get back into the Davis Cup and to assuage world opinion. Such a tour, however, would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
Finally we come to cricket and the controversy that at the moment of speaking is generating the most heat. MCC tours of South Africa have been called off until such time as cricket in South Africa is multi-racial. The D’Oliviera affair was the beginning of the end of cricket relations between England and South Africa. The West Indies, India and Pakistan do not play against South Africa because of South Africa’s racial policies. This leaves Australia and New Zealand - which, with apologies to my Kiwi friends, I must say is a second rate cricket country - as the sole remaining countries to play against South Africa. The only country of cricketing stature available to play against South Africa is Australia.
Previously the loss of South Africa from the cricketing arena would have scarcely caused a ripple owing to its low ranking as a cricketing nation. However, since the earlier 1960s and the advent of the Pollocks - Peter and Graeme - Eddie Barlow, Mike Procter and more recently Barry Richards, the Springbok side, under the captaincy of Dr Ali Bacher, has emerged as probably the best side in the world. Naturally, cricket enthusiasts the world over, including people like the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) and myself, are anxious to see this team in action against other nations and none more so than the South Africans themselves who have taken a renowed interest in cricket almost akin to their fanatacism for rugby. The cricketers themselves see a situation arising when they will be completely isolated from test cricket.
This brings us to the present situation that has culminated in the South African Cricket Association’s request for two coloured players to be included in the team, rejection by the Government of multiracial touring teams and the subsequent dramatic walk-off by white South African cricketers. Our own cricket officials now argue that the South African cricketers have shown their opposition to apartheid, therefore Australians should not protest against a team of fine sportsmen who have done their best. Our officials say: The South African Government is to blame, not the players and nothing can be done to change their mind. We are only cricketers and it’s not our concern what happens in South Africa nor could we do anything about it, if we wanted to. The cricketers have completely overlooked the day to day change and current climate in South Africa and that firm support for the stand taken by the South African Cricket Association and their cricketers may be just the sort of pressure that needs to be exerted to end racial discrimination in cricket and permit South Africa to tour not only Australia but the rest of the cricketing nations of the world.
After the walk-off at Newlands, Mr Waring, the South African Minister for Sport - don’t mix politics with sport - accused the cricketers of hypocrisy and challenged them to state that they wanted integrated cricket at all levels, right down to local club cricket. He added that if this was the wish of the vast majority of the provincial cricket associations he was prepared to submit the matter to Cabinet. In the interim, three public opinion polls showed an overwhelming majority of South Africans in favour of integrated cricket. A number of provincial associations have intimated that they would be happy to integrate and the general consensus appears to be that Mr Waring, the South African Minister for Sport, may well have the challenge flung back in his face. Opponents of the tour prefer to see integrated sport in South Africa rather than two coloured players selected as a sop to world opinion. If one argues that the only basis for selection should be ability, then there would be no objection to no coloured players being in the touring team provided they had equal opportunities to play against those selected, enabling them to lift their standard and show their worth. In 1961 the last time that a non- white team played against the Springboks the non-white team won by 30 runs. Since then, some 20,000 coloured cricketers play in week-end competitions in the most appalling conditions.
Another specious argument is that we should attack every form of injustice and discrimination that exists in every country in the world at the same time. Like my colleague the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) there are very few countries that I would regard as beyond criticism and a considerable number who are on my short list of those who ought to be severely censured - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Pakistan, Ceylon, Nigeria, Greece, Spain, Portugal, United States of America; most of the Arab countries to name a few. This is a red herring by our opponents and well they know it. There is a difference between a government, sponsored, policy of discrimination, segregation, oppression and cruelty based on the colour of a man’s skin and discrimination against a man’s political views. There is no way of adapting to apartheid if you are coloured. I suppose my opponents will now say that I condone political discrimination. I do not. I just think that racial discrimination as practised by South Africa is worse. 1 want to deal now with the role that I would like to see opponents of the tour play. Firstly, I think there is a growing awareness amongst us that there is an enormous gap between the intimate knowledge of apartheid of a small informed section of the community and the ignorance of it of the great majority of Australians. I have been appalled at the general ignorance of apartheid in this Parliament. If one were to ask the man in the street what he thought apartheid was, he would probably reply that he thought it meant the blacks and whites had to use separate toilets and that there was segregated sport and so on. He would be shocked if you told him that 900,000 blacks were arrested for not having their passes on them, or that a person could be detained in gaol indefinitely without trial, or that striking or even absence from work was a criminal offence. What would our Returned Services League clubs and ex-servicemen say if they knew how many of the governing Nationalist members were formerly members of the South African Nazi Party and that the Prime Minister, Mr Vorster, was interned during the war for his Nazi activities?
Unquestionably there is an urgency, for those who want to see Australians take a stand against apartheid, to embark on a massive education programme. Unfortunately we have seen the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in recent weeks exploiting this massive information gap by resorting to the worst sort of gutter politics reminiscent of the Menzian era when the best form of electioneering was hysteria that played on every prejudice circulating in the community. History will show that this opportunist of a Prime Minister is not half the man his predecessor was.
I would like to see Australians follow the lead given by the Leader of the Opposition and the Premiers of South Australia and Western Australia and boycott the matches. I would like them to urge others to do the same and peacefully protest against the tours. I am completely opposed to attempts to disrupt the matches because although I do not want people to watch the matches I would defend their right to do so. I would also like to say that at the moment I have grave misgivings about the trade unions’ proposal to stop the tour by withdrawing the work force. I believe in civil rights and the freedom of the individual to follow his conscience and choose his own method of protest. I am delighted to see the Australian Council of Trade Unions take a stand on this issue. I shall ask the unions however to reconsider thoughtfully the full implication of their proposals. I am inclined to want to see them follow the lead given by the Australian World Council of Churches and the Labor leaders and educate, demonstrate and activate.
What happens next is anyone’s guess but it appears obvious that the South African Government and the South African Cricket Association may well be heading for a confrontation. I would take the view and I realise that it is difficult to assess from so far away, that if the cricketers informed the South African Government that they intended to integrate cricket at all levels and to select the best players for overseas tours irrespective of their colour, the Government would back off and the greatest breakthrough in apartheid would have occurred since 1948, the year the Nationalists came to power. Once it was over it would be only a matter of time before all South African sport was integrated.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Debate (on motion by Mr MacKellar) adjourned.
Motion (by Mr Fairbairn) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
– Like the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen), I wish to speak about the visit of the South African cricket team. Yesterday I received a letter from Father R. J. Buchhorn, a Catholic priest of Quirindi, New South Wales. He sent to me a copy of a letter he forwarded Australian rugby union footballers likely to be selected in the Australian team this year. I think it is an excellent letter, asking those, footballers not to take part in matches against South Africans. I think it makes the point on apartheid very clear and I should like to read most of it to honourable members. The letter states:
One of the contradictions of our age is that people are ever mme aware of the sufferings of their fellow men, but at the same time feel more inadequate and frustrated when it comes to helping them. Many would like to build a new, a better world. But when they ask: “ What can I do? “- the suggestions seem, so petty, so futile, that they end up doing nothing.
I would see part of my. role as a priest as trying to help people see the possibilities open to them for effective action on behalf of others. And that is why I am writing to you.
As a Rugby Union footballer likely to be asked to play against the Springboks during their tour of Australia this year, you are in a position to act simply but’ effectively by publicly declaring yourself unavailable for any match against them. This I ask you to do.
Your decision, as is my request, would have to be made against a background of a fair knowledge of the situation in South Africa. Because this is so important I enclose a reading list to supplement the following brief comments.
In South Africa, a man’s race is all important. It determines whether he can vote, join a trade union, use a trowel, compete for an award for playing Beethoven, belong to a political party nominating candidates for parliament; whom he can marry; whose hospitality he can accept; what education he can get, what wage he can be paid, what work he can do; where he can live, get medical treatment, buy a stamp, get his drycleaning done, be buried.
And in all these things, the 19 per cent white portion of the population call the tune, very much to their own advantage. The land reserved for each white man is 27 times that set aside for each non-white. A white man has 58 .times a better chance of matriculating than an African. For each white child contracting kwashiorkor, a disease caused by malnutrition, there are 1,400 cases among African children. The average wage for a white man in the mining industry is 16 times that of the African.
The non-whites are subject to daily humiliation and degradation by discriminatory laws administered with a ruthlessness unequalled since the days of Nazi Germany. South Africa is a bitter reminder to the coloured peoples of the world of what they have suffered at the hands of the white man. Its racism, according to U Thant, is the greatest single threat to world peace. It is a test case, confronting mankind with a choice: discrimination or brotherhood.
It is impractical and pointless to seek to share out the blame for the creation of this tragic state of affairs. But can any man remain indifferent and apathetic as to the future? Dare any man wash his hands of this sordid mess, and just say: There’s nothing I can do’. Could you close your eyes to a possibility which is open to you? Robert Kennedy, in 1966, summed it up: ‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage that human history is shaped.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or. acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from different centres of energy and daring,, those ripples build a current that will sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’
Let us hope this is true. The letter continues:
There are 3 reasons for directing this request to you. Firstly, one expects that sportsmen would be more open to ideals’ of equality and ‘fair-go’ than businessmen or politicians . . 1 wish at this stage not to read the next few portions of this letter which refer specifically to sport because they have been covered. He then makes the point that the question of racial discrimination is a result of deliberate Government policy. He goes on to say:
The Prime Minister of South Africa assured bis parliament (11/4/67) that ‘. . . no mixed sports between whites and non-whites will be practised locally … if any person either locally or abroad, adopts the attitude that he will enter into relations with us only if we are prepared to jettison the spearate practising of sport prevailing among our own people in South Africa, then I want to make it clear that … I am not prepared to pay that price. On that score I want no misunderstanding whatsoever … on this principle we are not prepared to compromise, we are not prepared to negotiate and we are not prepared to make any concessions . . .’
This, of course, as we all know, has been implemented. The letter went on to state:
Secondly, ostracism in the field of sport is proving effective. Certainly decades of acceptance in international sport did nothing to reverse the intrusion of apartheid into sport within South Africa, and many who have played against them discount any possibility of this ever happening. But isolation in various fields of international sport has brought leading South African sportsmen to the point of questioning, publicly, the wisdom of apartheid in sport in a way which would never have happened a few years ago. It has led to certain concessions: . . .
Unfortunately these concessions are more signs of desperation for acceptance in international sport than of a cracking of the system. But they are cracks, and worth working on.
The whole point about the campaign against racialism in sport is that if South Africans could play sport across racial lines, they would soon discover a common humanity, and notions of racial superiority, or at least of racial differences as being something all-important, would crumble. And it is these notions which provide the underpinning on which the whole system of apartheid depends.
A senior Nationalist said in 1965: Today it is Rugby, tomorrow it would be cricket and the next day swimming. Where will it all end? It would be the first step towards social integration. It would be playing right into the hands of our enemies.’
He made a specific point about Rugby Union which I will not deal with at this stage. In addressing footballers he then said:
If you do what I ask, and take your stand with Bryan Palmer and the 6 Wallabies mentioned above, your action may or may not unleash a landslide. Nevertheless, I would see it as having a number of effects.
Firstly, it would confront all Australians, and especially those concerned with the administration of sport, with the question of our tacit acceptance of racial discrimination and political interference in sport. It would also pose questions for those politicians and businessmen whose dealings with South Africa while described as ‘neutral’ with regard to apartheid, actually lend support to it. And as Australians are not altogether blameless in the matter of racialism, it could challenge us to face up to our own shortcomings.
Secondly, there would be no more effective way open to you for getting disapproval of apartheid across to the ordinary white South African. The impact of a unanimous resolution of the United Nations condemning apartheid would be chickenfeed by comparison. Nothing could be better calculated to bring them to question their racial policies: And there is no greater service one could render the white community in South Africa than this.
Thirdly, you would bring hope and joy to a considerable number of people - black, coloured and white - in South Africa: People who dare to believe in the equality of man, and act on that belief. They have suffered for that belief, given of themselves in working for the brotherhood of men: People of awesome courage and moral integrity: People who because of what they are, what they believe, are now imprisoned, exiled, banned, under house arrest. They have no voice - the Government has seen to that. For you to speak out for their ideals would be to lighten sad hearts, strengthen resolution, and win their lasting gratitude.
Camus’ description fits them admirably: indomitable men devoted to the unconditional defence of liberty’. His call to us follows: ‘we must tell them they are not alone, their action is not futile, there always comes a day when the palaces of oppression crumble, when imprisonment and exile comes to an end, when liberty catches fire . . .*
This applies not only to the Sobukwes Mandelas, Helen Josephs, but also to their friends and wives and children who wait for that day.
Their esteem would outweigh the probable resentment of people closer to home. To continue the quote from Robert Kennedy:
Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society.
Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.’
What I am asking would indeed take moral courage. It would demand honesty, too’, in facing up to the objections and rationalisations which will present themselves as excuses for doing nothing. But it is not beyond you. The fact that one wears a football guernsey does not free him from his responsibilities as a human being.
With countless others, I await your response.
Fr. R. j. BUCHHORN
I agree in principle with those people who put up the argument that we should not treat the Russians any differently to the South Africans. South Africa and Russia have much in common in their approach to individuals living there. But there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that we Australians and the Australian Government are opposed to the sort of government which is in existence in the Soviet Union. There is no necessity for us to make special statements on that proposition. But there are grave doubts in the minds of people all over the world as to the attitude of this country with regard to South Africa and its policy of apartheid. I therefore strongly support the proposition that, we should do everything in our power to make it quite clear both to South Africans and to the world at large that we completely disagree with the sort of propositions which have been put up.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– I wish to raise the question of the report of an inter-departmental committee which was set up by the Government to inquire into the siting of the second airport for Sydney. 1 do this because together with the honourable member for Mitchell (Mr Irwin) 1 took to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) on 17th November last year a deputation of representatives of constituent councils which were concerned about the possibility that the airport would be established in the Richmond area. I want to make this clear: There has been a lot of double talk on this issue. It is not a matter of whether it is to be the Richmond Royal Australian Air Force Base. Reports have been drifting around that an airport could be established in the Londonderry-Richmond area - in other words an airport quite separate from the Richmond RAAF base. This is the proposal which everybody is concerned about, not a question of the transfer of the RAAF base to the Department of Civil Aviation.
The Minister received the deputation at the request of myself and other honourable members representing areas which would be affected by aircraft noise if such an airport were established. The councils concerned were the Colo Shire Council, the Blue Mountains City Council, the Windsor Municipal Council, the Blacktown Municipal Council and the Penrith City Council. Later the Minister sent me a precis of the meeting at my request. In opening the deputation he said: ‘Yes, it is so that the Richmond area has been considered by the Committee. I will say only this, that it has been considered by the Committee but it is amongst approximately 40 sites.’ He said: We have now reached the stage where we have cut the number of sites down very considerably. I hope to be in a position by early January to refer the recommendation of the Department of Civil Aviation to Cabinet for a decision and for consultation with the various State governments.’ Later during the course of the meeting with the Minister I said: ‘You have already stated that Richmond is on the long list. Now you state that a short list has been drawn up. Is Richmond on that short list?’ He said: ‘I refuse to answer.’ The great majority of members of the deputation left that meeting with the impression that Richmond was on the short list. I should men tion that the Minister said that when he referred the matter to Cabinet he hoped that he would have it down to a smaller list - what I call the short short list. The Minister said that by the time the matter got through to Cabinet it could possibly be down to 2 sites.
Ever since then people have been pressing the Minister to have the matter dealt with by Cabinet. They want to know when it will be referred to the State governments and also the reason for the extreme secrecy surrounding this whole matter. The Minister gives the excuse that this was a departmental committee set up to advise the Government. But the inference - not the statement - in the early stages when the committee was set up was that the report would be made public as far as this House is concerned. This is a very important issue which will affect many areas. If Richmond is chosen as the site, that area and such areas as Penrith, St Mary’s Mount Druitt, Cambridge Park and Windsor will all suffer from severe aircraft noise.
This has nothing to do with increasing the size of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. The Minister made it clear in a statement he issued in late March that Sydney needs 2 airports and that any proposal for a second airport was not connected in any way with proposals to increase the size of the existing airport. I wrote to the Minister for Civil Aviation on 11th February as follows:
It would be appreciated if you could give me an early advice as to whether the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Siting of the Second Airport for Sydney has now been referred to Cabinet.
Not only have I not received a reply to that letter, I have not even received an acknowledgment. The extraordinary secrecy surrounding the Government’s intentions still exists. It has existed right through, and it is obvious that the Government intends to maintain secrecy on an issue which will affect vitally whatever are’ in which the airport is placed. Recently the Windsor Municipal Council criticised the fact that the decision was to go to Cabinet, according to the Minister at that deputation on 17th November, early in January. A question was put to the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation in this House one day. He said, only within the last 6 weeks, that the matter had not as yet been brought to Cabinet. In other words, the undertaking given by the Minister to that deputation has not been fulfilled.
Apparently there is still a refusal even to give any answer on when we can expect a decision on this very important issue. I think that most honourable members will agree that a second airport will be a necessity for the future of the Sydney region, and that the sooner a decision is given the sooner the speculation will stop. There is speculation not only in the minds of people but also in real estate. I recollect that the Minister, during the course of the meeting, referred to the fact that this could increase the price of land. This is when he was speaking in front of a number of aldermen. For these reasons I am concerned that this speculation should end as quickly as possible. I am deeply concerned that the second airport should not be placed near-
– In your electorate.
– It is not my electorale or anywhere near it. If the honourable member wants it in his electorate he can have it. I want to make sure that it is not put near any built-up area where its only effect will be to transfer the aircraft noise problem from the area surrounding Mascot into the new area, wherever it may be. 1 am particularly concerned that the Minister stated that the Richmond area was on the long list. I am concerned that, having admitted that, he refused to give an answer to a question as to whether it was on the short list, let alone the short short list. For these reasons I ask the Minister who represents the Minister for Civil Aviation in this House to give honourable members an indication tonight as to when a decision will be made by Cabinet, when the State Government will be consulted, and when we can expect further consultation of the municipal councils in the area which are vitally affected by this very important problem.
– I rise to question the action of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Western Australia in refusing to broadcast Saturday afternoon football matches. It has been the practice for it to do so since the inception of television in Western Australia. This refusal is to the disadvantage of the aged, the sick, the shift worker, the weekend worker, the country resident, and it is the result of a blind unethical following of the dispute between the two commercial television stations and the football organisations over arena advertising. One can understand to some degree the decision of the commercial stations which are interested only in the profit motive, and their profit comes from advertising. The arena advertising is a direct challenge to those stations and their advertisers - although one would think that people would be watching the play on the field and not the side fences.
However, they are free to protect their collusion in this matter as they are private enterprise. But to be supported by a body which is by public money, taxpayers’ money, and to deny to people who pay their way a service that they have been receiving, simply, to promote the profit motives of other commercial television stations, is appalling. What do people pay television licence fees for? Must this government body support moves that are designed to stand over and dictate to the mootball organisations who are only trying to attract as much revenue as possible in what is supposed to be a free enterprise system. They are trying to attract enough monetary support to improve the quality of the game and the facilities of the clubs for their members, players and the public attending the football games.
The Australian Broadcasting Commission is a public institution which must hold itself above the harangues which occur in the commercial world. Its programmes should revolve around professional standards, ethics and public demand. There is a public demand for these football programmes. The Commission and the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) must look at this problem urgently in order to ascertain whether the Commission’s obligation to meet public demand is satisfied. The arguments proposed that perimeter, advertising would give free advertising to these advertisers in no way deserves merit, because when a football match is featured in a news coverage or is depicted in still photographs the self-same advertisements are shown. Panel discussions on football matches which are shown on television at a later date also show these advertisements in the background. So in reality the point at issue is the support given by the ABC to the refusal of the two commercial television stations to participate in the direct telecasting of Saturday afternoon football matches.
Some excuse could be found for the ABC if it had made the decision first, but it came in as the belated hanger on, perhaps after it had been told what to do after conferring on an administrative level with the private television stations. It is about time that the ABC became truly independent of influences that act to the deteriment of its service to the public.
One can only admire the Commission’s programme selection and the standard it usually sets in Western Australia. It is a disappointment to all who support the ABC that in this matter it has ceased to be the leader and has become the follower, and a very poor follower, of the other stations. We must remember that it is a public institution and acts accordingly. I call on the Commission and the Minister to act to rectify the situation and to provide live television coverage of the principal Saturday afternoon league game, as has been done in the past. I call on them to make a satisfactory statement to the public on their reasons for what must be a temporary withdrawal of the service. I ask them to give regard to public demand and the ABC’s. obligation to the public.
I have had many complaints from the electorate on this matter, and I know other honourable members in Western Australia have also. Some newspapers have been critical of all sides concerned in the argument, but the people who are really affected, and who suffer the consequences of a commercial argument, as always, are the unfortunate people who pay all and receive the least consideration - the viewers, the consumers. It is the obligation of the ABC to re-open the question as an urgent matter. If it needs to be convinced, let it conduct an opinion poll on this matter to see what the public whom it serves wants and give service accordingly. There is no doubt in my mind that public opinion would be overwhelmingly in favour or direct telecasts. The attitude of the ABC is almost that of a little boy saying: “If you won’t play it my way I will take my ball home’. I think that the ABC should be well above this attitude.
– I want to raise a matter-
– Where is your sensitivity to your colleagues?
– I thought that the honourable member for Swan (Mr Bennett) would speak for 10 minutes.
-Order! The honourable member will continue.
– The very thing I want to raise tonight is the manner in which Ministers seated at the table see fit to treat this House.
– You would talk under boiling water.
– Let me say to the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), who is sitting at the table, that it would be very remiss for nobody in this House to rise to his feet and mention what happened recently during the course of a debate. What I am about to say may shock the Minister because he may not have been in the House at the time the incident I wish to mention occurred. Some words were directed to an honourable member on the Opposition side of the House who was addressing his remarks to the House in the course of a debate. I feel quite sure that the words were heard by the then occupant of the Chair. The words used were that the person addressing the House was an arrogant bastard.
– The words were that he was a Com lover.
– These are the words.
-Is the honourable member quoting from Hansard?
– No, I am not quoting from Hansard.
– When did this incident occur?
– I will come to that in a moment, Mr Speaker, if I may.
-I think the honourable member should watch his language.
– I am repeating the words I heard from where I sit in the chamber. They were that the honourable member speaking was a Com lover, that he was an arrogant so-and-so, and other words to this effect. The words were directed to the honourable member over a considerable period of time and then the person responsible made a gesture of spitting on the floor of this chamber. What I say is true. It happened during the course of the debate in this House last night. I will not name anybody. During the course of a division more than harsh words were spoken but they went over my head. They did not refer to me. But the fact is that during a debate in this House yesterday these words were uttered by an honourable member who holds a portfolio in the Government and who was sitting at the ministerial table because that was his rostered position or because the Bill being debated had something to do with his portfolio. That Minister carried on in the manner I have described. These are very strong words to have to use. I am somewhat further removed from where the Minister is at the moment sitting than is the occupant of the chair, yet I heard the words. I heard these remarks and I am quite sure that they must have been heard by the then occupant of the Chair. 1 want to know, Mr Speaker, what means are available to me, as a member of this House, to move for the suspension of the person concerned. It is obvious that nobody on the Government side of the chamber would move for his suspension because this person was not named. I am now making very serious allegations. That is why I would appreciate your advice, Sir, as to how this matter can be brought before the House. The person concerned made some form of a belated apology by saying that he was in fact somewhat emotional at the time. I am sure that he was not as emotional as the person who was speaking at the time. I was somewhat reluctant, Mr Speaker, in view of certain rulings which have been given in this House and in view of the fact that you might rule me out of order, to say what was the subject of the debate which was ensuing at the time that these remarks were made. However, I point out that the remarks were made during a debate this afternoon and the Minister who was at the table later left the chamber. In view of the allegations I have made against the occupant of the Chair at the time of the debate, I think this matter ought to be investigated. I hope that you will advise me, Mr Speaker, as to the manner in which I can have this matter investigated by the House because I seriously believe that it should have been brought to the attention of the House immediately these words were uttered and the person concerned spat on the floor of the chamber. Everything I have mentioned was clearly audible and visible to me and must have been clearly audible and visible to the then occupant of the Chair.
– 1 wish to raise a matter which has received considerable publicity in the last few hours, namely, the announcement made by Captain Richie, the General Manager of Qantas Airways Ltd, which is owned by the Commonwealth of Australia, to the effect that 96 second officer pilots, 42 cadet pilots and 17 flight engineers had been given 6 months notice at a meeting at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport today. Captain Richie is reported to have said that reductions in non-profitable services and the cancellation of plans to extend Qantas services had reduced the requirement for flying hours by 10,000 hours this year. I do not have time to quote his full statement, but he is also reported to have said that overall staff economies will mean the airline should enter 1972 with more than 1,000 fewer employees than it had planned.
I think the Parliament is entitled to some explanation from the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) or his representative in this chamber of just what is happening with Qantas today. What is the real reason for this decision to terminate the services of so many highly skilled trained men in Qantas? A pilot or flight engineer cannot be trained overnight. Thousands of dollars have been poured into the training of these men, but what has happened to them? Their services have been abruptly terminated. The phoney part about this matter and what concerns me most is the fact that on 22nd February of this year 5 flight engineers were engaged by Qantas, but on 22nd April - 2 months later to the day - the same 5 flight engineers, together with 12 others, were given 6 months notice of the termination of their services. For some considerable time the management of Qantas has been begging the flight engineers and pilots to try to persuade any of their friends overseas who are anxious to come to Australia to do so. It has tried to rope in recruits by asking these people to tell their friends what a great place Australia is and what a great airline Qantas is to work for. Despite this we find notice being given of the termination of services.
Early in February of this year Qantas announced that it was going to undertake a recruitment drive for pilots. It said that it would go overseas if need be to engage an additional 44 pilots. Less than 2 months later 96 pilots received dismissal notices. Why? I direct this question to the Minister at the table because I think honourable members are entitled to an answer. Up till March last year there were 25 new pilots engaged and 20 more cadet pilots were processed and put on the staff of Qantas. There are questions to which I think honourable members are entitled to answers. Where is this airline going? Last year it had an absolute profit in excess of $8m - I do not want to go to the book to quote the exact figure - but this year it is allegedly in serious economic strife.
Why in the last 12 months did the Department of Civil Aviation grant permission for American Airlines to operate 3 flights a week into Australia from the west coast of America? Qantas took up the 3 corresponding flights to which it was entitled. Incidentally, I believe American Airlines is now pressing for an additional 2 flights a week from three to five. Pan American Airways has increased its carrying capacity with the addition of 2 jumbo jet flights into Sydney and is pressing now to bring 3 jumbo jets in each week. I believe that -Qantas in August will take delivery of its first jumbo jet and the remaining 3 aircraft will be taken over some time between then and the end of 1971, so that it will have these additional aircraft operating between Australia and overseas ports. Yet we are told by the General Manager that the number of skilled pilots and air crew I have mentioned will be dismissed in 6 months time. Whilst we may be prepared to accept this state of affairs, I ask: What is really happening to Qantas so far as charter operations are concerned? Are charter operations having a serious effect on the operations of Qantas? If so, what remedial action is contemplated by the airline? Does it intend to take action similar to that announced by British Overseas
Airways Corporation to set up a subsidiary company and operate charter flights in opposition to charter operators? At the present time flights are going out of Sydney with a maximum number of passengers to Singapore at which point the airlines are losing their passengers to charter operators.
These are the questions I hope the Minister can answer. Why, in the light of the forecasts of expansion made earlier this year, are we now told that Qantas will have to curtail its activities? Are the commercial managers of Qantas so inexperienced, so poor, so incapable of making reasonable forecasts of the operations of Qantas that within 2 months the airline goes from a recruiting expansion campaign to a campaign of contracting its affairs? To me the proposition is just too ludicrous to accept. I want some information from the Minister tonight on this subject and 1 ask him whether this situation has been brought about as a result of industrial trouble between Qantas and the airline pilots. Is it a fact that Qantas and the Federation of Airline Pilots cannot reach agreement on conditions applicable in the industry, particularly when the jumbo jets begin to operate? Is it a fact that the pilots are not trained and that the airline has no experienced air crews to take over the first jumbo in August or September this year, whichever date it becomes available, and the 3 jumbos which will become available almost immediately after? Is it because of the fact that Qantas has no experienced men to operate the jet that it has now taken other measures to bring about a settlement of the dispute? I am not in a position to answer these questions but it certainly seems strange to me and everyone in the industry.
I talked to some of the people in the industry today and they were astounded when the information was conveyed to them this morning in quite a queer manner. I am advised that Qantas invited the union representatives to meet it in Qantas House at 10.30 a.m. At the same time a meeting of the aircrews and the men involved was held at Mascot. It all happened at 10.30 a.m. this morning. After the conference at Qantas House had concluded the union officials left the building to travel to Mascot. But when they came outside the building they saw to their surprise the newspaper posters about Qantas laying off a certain number of pilots and all the rest of it. So it is obvious that this was a carefully prepared plan by the management of Qantas, designed in such a way that everything went like clockwork at the one time.
I am wondering what the real answer to this question is. 1, in common with everyone else, will be interested to get from the Minister tonight some informataion as to what is the real answer to this question. Is it really economic circumstances which are forcing Qantas into this position, or is Qantas taking some retaliatory action against the pilots and the people employed in the industry by laying others off? If this is the case, it would not be the first time that an employer has adopted this tactic. When an employer cannot settle a legitimate dispute with his employees, he resorts to the use of the old weapons of layoffs.
I hope that the Minister can give me the information that is required. This Parliament is entitled to some information in view of the fact that Qantas has a firm order for the 4 Jumbo or Boeing 747 aircraft that I have mentioned, recently it placed a firm order for an additional Jumbo and it has an option on another, which would give it 6 Jumbos all told. Also, Qantas has options on 4 Concords and 6 Boeing 270-300 aircraft. These aircraft cost a lot of money, and I think that we are entitled to some explanation.
– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– Two matters regarding civil aviation have been raised in the debate this evening. I have not got the answers to the questions which were asked, but I will see that the matters are referred to my colleague in another place and that the information is obtained as quickly as possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.32 p.m.
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Telegraphic Facilities, Townsville (Question No. 3063)
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Monday to Friday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday - 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The office will be closed all day on Sundays.
Telegraphic Facilities (Question No. 3064)
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice:
What towns and cities in Australia have telegraphic facilities open to the general public during weekends.
– The answer to the honourable gentleman’s question is as follows:
Telegraphic office counter service is available continuously at the Chief Telegraph Offices in all capital cities including Canberra and at Launceston and Darwin. At Newcastle the hours of such service are Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. to 12 midnight, Saturday 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. and Sunday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Whenever counter service is not available at any office for the lodgement of telegrams they may be telephoned to the nearest office which is open. If it is necessary to make a trunk call a trunk fee of not more than 15 cents is charged irrespective of the distance involved.
asked the Postmaster-Gen eral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Citizenship (Question No. 3107)
asked the Minister for
Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Subject to satisfying other requirements a European alien whether he has professional qualifications or not may be granted Australian citizenship earlier than the completion of five years residence in Australia in the following circumstances -
Statistics maintained by the Department of Immigration record only the occupation claimed at the time of application for citizenship. ‘Occupation’ is not shown on Certificates of Citizenship and no attempt is made to establish whether claimed professional qualifications were obtained in Australia, as some were, or overseas. Statistics showing occupation are not recorded by year of arrival and information is not available to show the number of persons with professional qualifications who arrived during the past five years, who have become Australian citizens by naturalization.
Immigration (Question No. 3108)
Mr -Morrison asked the Minister for
Immigration, upon notice:
– The answer to the honour able member’s question is as follows:
Applications for entry by well qualified peope wishing to settle in Australia will be considered on the basis of their suitability as settlers, their ability to integrate readily, and their possession of qualifications which are in fact positively useful to Australia.’ The announcement also stated:
Examples of those who, under the new decision, will be admitted in numbers greater than previously are: persons with specialised technical skills for appointments for which local residents are not available; persons of high attainment in the arts and sciences, or of prominent achievement in other ways; persons nominated by responsible authorities or institutions for specific important professional appointments, which otherwise would remain unfilled; executives, technicians, and other specialists who have spent substantial periods in Australiafor exemple, with the branches here of large Asian companies - and who have qualifications or experience in positive demand here; businessmen who in their own countries have been engaged in substantial international trading and would be able to carry on such trade from Australia; persons who have been of particular and lasting help to Australia’s interests abroad in trade, or in other ways; and persons why by former residence in Australia or by association with us have demonstrated an interest in or identification with Australia that should make their future residence here feasible.
In October 1967 the third example was amended to read:
Persons eligible to practise in. professions in which they may be readily absorbed.
Naturalisation (Question No. 3109)
asked the Minister for
Immigration, upon notice:
Under what circumstances can a person of Asian origin become naturalised within 5 years of taking up permanent residence in Australia.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The normal residence requirements for naturalisation as defined in the answer to the honourable member’s question No. 3107, apply to Asians as to others, except in relation to persons admitted under the Government’s decision of March 1966 as quoted in the answer given to the honourable member’s question No. 3108.
asked the Postmas ter-General, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Television: Cricket Test Matches (Question No. 2564)
asked the Postmaster-
General, upon notice:
What was the total cost of televising, by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, each of the 7 cricket tests between England and Australia.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The total direct cost, excluding overheads, of televising the recent 7 Test Cricket Matches was $205,180, of which $58,000 was for the total cost of the rights to telecast the matches; $141,652 for the cost of relaying the matches through interstate lines provided by my Department; and $5,528 for the cost of fees, fares and travelling allowances for commentators and programme staff.
Papua and New Guinea: Local Government Council Advisers (Question No. 2381)
asked the Minister for
External Territories, upon notice:
How many advisers to local government councils in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are (a) indigenes and (b) expatriates.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Persons designated as Advisers to local government councils include:
12 indigenes and
Persons not designated Advisers but having duties consisting mainly of assistance to local government councils include finance officers, and assistant finance officers, local government officers and local government assistants, and patrol officers. These include:
54 indigenes and
In addition there are 44 Specialist Advisers, 4 indigenes and 40 expatriates, in the following fields as shown:
1971, asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The matter referred to is one which falls within the authority of the Assistant Ministerial Member for Lands in the House of Assembly for Papua and New Guinea. The Administrator on the advice of the Assistant Ministerial Member for Lands has provided the following information.
Tenders were called for a picture theatre lease in Port Moresby in the Government Gazette of 26th March 1970.
Tenders were received from -
Colin Aberdeen Towers
Eddie Joseph Yun and Helen Therese Yun
Mervyn John Bennett
At the hearing Mr Towers withdrew his application in favour of Mrs Galli
The Land Board considered the tenders in the first instance on 4th June 1970. The permanent Chairman was then on leave and a Senior Land Settlement Officer V. E. Wasilewsky was acting as Chairman. The members were:
E. Rowe, a company managing director
P. Mea, an indigenous storeman in private enterprise
R. G. Orwin, a District Officer who was Acting Deputy District Commissioner.
The Board again considered the tenders on 25th August and on 4th September 1970 after a rehearing was directed by the Administrator’s Executive Council. The Chairman on these occasions was the permanent Chairman of the Land Board, L. J. Dawe and the members were as before.
On 2nd September 1970 the Administrator’s Executive Council deferred consideration of the applications pending a rehearing by the Land Board. The Land Board was asked to require applicants to produce satisfactory evidence of the extent of indigenous participation proposed by each tenderer and to take indigenous participation into account. At the hearing of 4th September 1970 Mrs Galli’s application was reconsidered by the Land Board together with the other applications. After considering not only the degree of indigenous participation, but also the financial backing and experience of the applicants, the Board recommended that all tenders be refused. It further recommended that the land be re-advertised in 6 months time with the stipulation that the tenderers have:
adequate experience in commercial enterprise in general and theatre management in particular
evidence of adequate finance being readily available, and
a reasonable degree of indigenous participation in the form of paid up capital investment.
The Administrator’s Executive Council accepted these recommendations on 28th October 1970.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 April 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1971/19710422_reps_27_hor72/>.