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 enducation 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 take, the educational principles and philosophy that should underlie it. and its mode of operation and adminisstration
And your petitioners, as In duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
To the Honourable the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of New South Wales respectfully showeth:
That they are gravely concerned the tax concessions for people residing in Zone B have not been increased for eleven years.
Their concern is aggravated by the fact that many towns of high living costs which are situated geographically in isolated areas are either classified as Zone B or receive no Zone classification.
They are also gravely concerned that taxpayers living in these isolated areas receive no tax deducttions for travel and accommodation expenses when they or their dependants are forced to travel to cities to receive specialist medical treatment.
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the honourable members of the House of Representa tives will seek to ensure that the Commonwealth Government will take immediate steps to amend the above tax anomalies by:
An early investigation of the location of Zone A and Zone B areas so that towns of equal isolation and cost factor will receive the same Zone concession.
An early investigation of the amount of concession entitlement for Zone B with a view to an increase in that amount.
The Income Tax Assessment Act be amended so that travel and accommodation expenses be allowable deductions when a taxpayer or his dependants are forced to travel from isolated areas to cities for specialist medical treatment.
And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of tho Commonwealth respectfully showeth:
Your petitioners request that your honourable House make legal provision for:
A joint Commonwealth/State Inquiry into inequalities in Australian education to obtain evidence on which to base long term national programmes for the elimination of Inequalities.
The immediate financing of special programmes for low income earners, migrants, Aboriginals, rural and inner suburban dwellers and handicapped children.
The provision of pre-school opportunities for all children from culturally different or socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
And your petitioners, as In duty bound, will ever pray.
Petition received and read.
– I present the following petition:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That there is a crisis in Aboriginal Welfare in the South West Land Division of Western Australia resulting from a population explosion, poor housing and hygiene and unemployment and unemployability.
That there is a need to phase out Native Reserves in the South West Land Division of Western Australia over the next three years.
That town housing must be provided for all Aboriginal families where the bread winner has permanent employment or an age or invalid pension entitlement.
That such housing must be supported by the appointment of permanent ‘Home-maker’ assistance in the ratio of one home-maker to every eight houses or part thereof.
That incentives of housing, ‘home-maker’ services and training facilities must be created in centres of potential employment for those who are currently unemployed or unemployable.
That insufficient State or Federal assistance has been made available to meet these requirements.
That adequate finance to meet these requirement can only be provided by the Commonwealth government.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will give earnest consideration to this most vital matter. And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.
– I give notice that at the next sitting I shall move that sub-section (2.) of section 3, and section 5, of the Parole of Prisoners Ordinance 1971, which is No. 3 of 1971, made under the Seat of Government Administration Act 1910-1970, be disallowed.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that in 1969 the United States of America spent more than $29,000m to press the war in Vietnam? Is he aware that this is more than twice the amount of money which was provided by all of the developed countries, including the Communist ones, for aid for underdeveloped countries in that year? I ask the Prime Minister whether he can suggest why it is that one of the developed countries finds it easier to provide an enormous amount of money for death and destruction - greater than the developed countries find to participate in constructive roles to assist the development of underdeveloped countries? Finally, and without asking him to canvass Australia’s contribution of aid to underdeveloped countries but to be broader in his outlook, what action has the Australian representation taken in the United Nations to raise this particular imbalance and to seek a greater sense of moral commitment from the advanced countries in respect of did to developing countries?
– If the honourable gentleman is anxious to get an accurate report he should direct the first part of his question to President Nixon and not to me. There is a big difference between my position as Prime Minister of Australia and President Nixon’s position as President of the United States of America. As to the second part of his question, I have frequently said in this House that we do not interfere in the internal business of other countries and we bitterly resent other countries too frequently interfering in our own affairs. We have not raised this question in the United Nations and I doubt that there is a forum there, unless it is the General Assembly, in which it could effectively and properly be raised.
– I ask the Prime Minister a question concerning the ban on visits to Australia of sporting and cultural bodies. I do this without in any way expressing support of the philosophy and practice of apartheid. Is the Prime Minister aware that there has been no criticism of Russian and other Communist visitors to this country? Is he aware that in Russia there is no freedom of the Press and that departure from the country and internal movement within it are severely restricted? Is he aware that there is suppression of all religions, persecution of 2 million to 3 million Jews, and the exile of whole races including Volga Germans and Crimean Tartars? Is he aware that there is a ruthless secret police organisation? Is he aware that liberal writers are suppressed and that there is no freedom of expression? Is he aware that slave labour camps exist and that 4 million kulaks and millions of others have been murdered? I ask the Prime Minister further: Is he aware that in South Africa there is practically 100 per cent freedom of the Press and religion, that passports for departure from the country are freely available, that there is a fair judiciary and that there are other signs of democratic freedom? Once again I say that I ask this in the hope of a reasonable balance in Australia’s official approach to these kinds of matters.
– The honourable member has raised a provocative question that is difficult to answer during question time. I cannot now disagree with the contents of the first part of his question. Nonetheless I will have it more carefully examined and if there is any reason for disagreement I will let him know. The facts seem to be correct. As to the second part of the honourable member’s question, relating to South Africa, again I believe that the contents of his question may be correct. Nonetheless, again I will have a check made and if there is any basis for disagreement I will let him know. But I would be fairly certain that he is posing this question against the background that the Labor Party and the Australian Council of Trade Unions are attempting to stop the visit of South African sporting teams to this country. 1 want the Leader of the Opposition to pay particular attention to this because the attitude he displays to this question will show whether he has genuine sporting instincts or whether he is prepared to jump on bandwagons instead of adopting an objective and rational approach to the problem. We want to identify those who are against dividing sporting and political activities and I am sure that for this reason, if for no other, the question by the honourable member is justified.
– I ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council a question about one of the multitude of cultural responsibilities he inherited from the exPrime Minister 6 weeks ago, namely the National Gallery. I wish to follow up the last oral reply I had from that right honourable gentleman, who told me that Mr Sweeney had just received an offer of appointment to the position of Director which was advertised as far back as December 1968. I ask the Vice-President: Has Mr Sweeney accepted the offer? I also ask: What action has since been taken on the design and erection of the Gallery for which an architectural competition was held early in 1968, the winning firm being announced in July of that year?
– A reply either of acceptance or rejection by Mr Sweenev has not been received as at this time.
– Has any reply been received?
– No reply has been received in writing from Mr Sweeney in relation to this invitation by the previous Prime Minister to take up appointment as Director of the Gallery. The whole question of the Gallery is at present under consideration. The interim council completes its term on 30th June. A permanent council will be appointed as from 1st July and under these circumstances it is believed that we should hasten slowly in regard to certain requirements associated with the Gallery. However, I should say in relation to the architectural design that sketch plans have been prepared. These plans have not yet been placed before Cabinet but I believe they will be at a very early date. The documents have been distributed to Cabinet Ministers.
– Will there be an Act to establish the permanent council?
– That is a matter we will have to look at. I could not say at this stage off the cuff.
– In directing my question to the Prime Minister I refer to sporting or entertainment bodies visiting this country. Has the Prime Minister witnessed widespread protests against the Bolshoi Ballet or the Moscow Circus, especially in view of the cruel discrimination shown by Russia against religions, particularly the Jewish religion?
– So far as this Government is concerned we have welcomed cultural relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, particularly the Bolshoi Ballet coming to Australia. For that matter other cultural organisations are also sending their representatives to Australia. I believe it is astonishing that we, being willing to accept cultural organisations and for that matter sporting organisations of this kind, should now be subject to the unbelievably contrary action by the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
– And the World Council of Churches.
– Well, if you like, portions of the world Christian churches. If you want to be completely frank and state those parts of the Christian churches which have said they would welcome-
– There are none in this country.
– There is one and it is a very important one too, in case the honourable member does not recognise it as being part of the Christian Church. At least one very important leader of the Christian church has said that sporting teams should come here.
I am glad that this has been raised to the point of a national issue because I think this clearly indicates the difference in approach to great national problems, between the Liberal Party and the Country Party on the one hand and members of the Labor Party on the one hand, dominated as they are at the present moment by the leadership of Mr Hawke in the ACTU. We will do all we can to permit the teams to come. We have already stated that we raise no objection to the teams coming. I believe that there will be a growing number of Australians- this is particularly so in view of an 85 per cent gallup poll in favour of the visit - who will, when they have an opportunity to do so, express the opinions at the games themselves.
– In asking a question of the Minister for the Army I refer the Minister to a grenade incident at Singleton earlier this week when a soldier was killed and 5 others injured. Has the Minister investigated this incident? If so has it been established bow the grenade was detonated? What safety procedures were adopted during this practice throwing of grenades? 1 finally ask: Will these procedures be revised as a result of this incident?
– Firstly I would say that the normal and accepted safety methods were adopted on this occasion, as I am advised. Secondly, the matter is being investigated. My inquiries yesterday revealed that the investigation had not been completed but immediately it is I will advise the honourable member. In reply to the question as to whether we will actually revise the safety methods adopted on this occasion, this will be dependent upon the result of the investigation.
– Has the Prime Minister’s attention been drawn to a statement attributed to Mr Borthwick, Minister for Lands, in the Victorian State Parliament yesterday when amongst other things he said that the rural aid plan is sure to fail; that out of 78 applications processed only 2 would qualify; and that you, Mr Prime Minister, had asked State governments tj agree to the scheme by Friday, which is today? In view of such statements, I ask the Prime Minister: What States have agreed to your recent request? Has Victoria offered any alternative to the Commonwealth proposals? Does the Prime Minister share the State Minister’s pessimism in what appears to be a determined effort by the Commonwealh to try to help those primary producers who, through no fault of Government policy, but rather the international position, find themselves in financial difficulies?
– I have not read in full the statement made by Mr Borthwick, but I can answer the question put to me by the honourable gentleman in this way: First, Victoria has not yet approved of the proposals put to it by the Commonwealth. I hope that it will do so today. Unless that State gives an approval quickly we may not be able to introduce the necessary Bill into this House, and to the extent to which it will improve the position of many primary producers, we may be unable to have a legislative basis on which we can act. I hope that the State of Victoria will not be obstructive.
Secondly, no, Victoria has not put any alternative proposals nor have I received any subsequent recommendation from that State. I received none yesterday or today. Thirdly, the Commonwealth at least is making an attempt to come to grips with this problem.
The Minister for Primary Industry ought to be given an opportunity to ensure that those primary producers who are known to be viable can be helped. Of course we have been extremely worried about those who may not be viable. My colleague the Minister for Primary Industry not only in discussions with me but in papers he has presented has indicated the position of those non-viable farmers. We will be giving urgent attention to this, I hope, in the very near future. Certainly I will let the House know as soon as we have been able to make a decision about it.
- Mr Speaker, 1 desire to direct a question to you. You will recall that during the course of the adjournment debate last night I raised a matter concerning the conduct of a Minister when he was at the table. At that time I was unable to refer to this because of the debate that ensued in this chamber last night. Therefore, I ask: Have you been able to have the matter of the conduct of a Country Party Minister who was in charge of the House last night investigated? If so, what action is to be taken in regard to the shocking -
-Order! That part of the question is out of order. The conduct of a Minister or any member of this House cannot be raised at question time. The honourable member may ask me the first part of his question but be cannot ask me at this time a question about the conduct of a member or Minister. Other forms of the House are available for this.
However, in reply to the first part of the honourable member’s question, I have had a look at the matter since he raised it late last night. My inquiries have not been completed but I have checked with Hansard, and Hansard has informed me that no words as suggested by the honourable member for Sturt were heard by the reporters at the table nor is there any evidence of them on the tape.
– I ask the Treasurer a question. Is he aware that President Nixon recently announced a new $4,000m foreign aid programme? The President went on to say that America could no longer ignore poverty, hunger and disease in the world any more than a person could ignore the sufferings of his neighbours. Can the Treasurer inform the House whether this Government shares President Nixon’s concern? If so, can he indicate the total aid flow from Australia to developing countries in 1970 and its relation to gross national product?
– I have not read the statement of President Nixon although I have seen reports of it. The Government, of course, has attitudes to foreign aid that are well known. We are among the top three countries in the world in the flow of official aid to developing countries. Not only does our money go to developing countries in a high proportion but also it goes almost entirely untied. That means that the recipient country has freedom of action to apply the money as it wishes. As to the latter part of the honourable gentleman’s question about the flow of money as a proportion of gross national product, the United Nations adopted a proposal that countries should contribute 1 per cent of their GNP as total aid flow. Within total aid flow it is necessary to identify the two constituent parts. One is official aid and the other is private aid flow.
Australia has always argued that the 1 per cent of GNP is a most inappropriate measure when both types of aid are lumped together because the motives with which they are given are different. Official aid is aid with the motive of helping the developing country. With private aid, on the other hand, the motive is profit. Private aid is not mobilised by government; it is mobilised by the individuals who possess the capital and who send it out seeking profit. It is true that it does achieve indirect aid to the developing country, but the motive is quite different. Australia never accepted this test because of the disparate nature of the two forms of flow. However, the United Nations did adopt the proposal for 1 per cent of GNP. We did not believe we were likely to achieve it because we are an importer of capital, but in 1970 private capital investment from Australia in developing countries increased quite markedly, the net result of which was that in that year Australia’s total aid flow was 1.1 per cent of GNP. We are one of the very rare countries of the world-
– But that included Bougainville, which is not all Australian.
– That is so- that part which is Australian. It included Bougainville. The honourable gentleman has intervened. If he intervenes because he opposes the concept of the United Nations lumping the two types of aid together he will not be disagreeing with me, nor I with him. I am reporting the simple fact that Australia’s total aid flow was 1.1 per cent of GNP in 1970. Even though it was 1.1 per cent of GNP, which puts us in a rare position among countries of the world, I still believe it is an inappropriate test to lump together the two constituent parts of official aid and private aid flow.
– I have a question for the Minister for Labour and National Service. Was his interjected comment on Tuesday during my contribution relating to the employment training scheme for persons displaced by technological change the first indication from the Government that a scheme relating to those displaced through changes in primary industry is currently under review? If not, when was this information previously given? What are the details of the review? For instance, how many officers of his Department are engaged in this work? What is the status of these officers? Are there any retraining plans at last being formulated to assist the decentralisation of industry to help overcome the hard core, serious unemployment in country areas?
– 1 am not certain that I recall all the questions posed to me by the honourable gentleman, but in his first question he asked whether my interjection on his comments on the technological retraining programme - an interjection concerning advice of a retraining scheme for farmers - was the first announcement of that programme made by the Government. That interjection, of course, should not be seen to be one of any substance. It was not the first indication of the retraining scheme for farmers. This matter had been referred to previously by the Government, in the form of a statement, that it was looking at the general proposal. Discussions at officer level between the appropriate Commonwealth and State Government departments have been proceeding for some time with a view to formulating a proposal which will have as its objective the retraining of farmers who are forced to leave their land because of the non-viability of their holdings. At the present time I am actively working on a detailed proposal and I hope that I will be in a position shortly to bring it before the Government. I say this without commitment, because the matter is still under development by me at this stage.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration. Is the Government’s policy on immigration to be altered in any way as a result of the ambivalent attitude towards immigration revealed in recent conflicting statements attributed to 2 spokesmen on this subject belonging to the Opposition?
– Mr Speaker, I seek a ruling. I have no objection to your allowing this question if you similarly allow questions on reported differences of opinion between Government Ministers in the House or at some of their recent party meetings. If you allow this question will you allow us to follow up with some questions on the Victorian Country Party conference this week?
-Order! Every question has to be dealt with at the time it is asked. The Chair should not have to commit itself in advance in regard to any proceeding in the House. As I understand it, the honourable member for Warringah was asking a question as to whether there is to be any change in the Australian Government’s policy as a result of differences of opinion expressed in statements that had been made. To that extent the question is in order.
– May I raise a point of order?
– Does this mean that the traditional practice in this House will be upheld whereby those questions designed to embarrass the Labour Party will be in order but those designed to embarrass the Liberal Party will not be in order?
-Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.
– I raise another point of order. Can questions be asked of Government Ministers relative to future changes of policy?
– Yes, of course, subject to the Standing Orders.
– Or any matters of policy?
– Honourable members want to raise questions relating to matters of policy at question time. As I said yesterday, if honourable members want the Standing Orders to be adhered to strictly they will not have any question time.
– Mr Speaker -
– Wait a moment. A question in relation to policy can always be asked of the Prime Minister. If a Minister makes a statement the Prime Minister can be asked whether it is the Government’s policy. That is what the Standing Orders provide.
– I ask for a ruling. Will it be in order for me to ask a question concerning disagreement between Ministers
-Order! No point of order is involved.
– Just a minute. You have not heard the question.
-Order! If the honourable member is going to canvass a question in relation to a point of order he will be out of order.
– Turn it up. You have not heard what I was going to say.
-Order! I am saying to the honourable member for Hindmarsh -
– You are the most impartial chairman I have never seen.
-Order! I call the Minister for Immigration.
– Before we go on 1 want to raise a point of order because there may not be any opportunity later to do so. The question has now arisen as to the degree to which the Standing Orders are to be applied. I think this is quite an incorrect procedure. I should think it is out of order for you to take up the position that you will apply the Standing Orders only to a certain degree. You must either apply them or not apply them.
-Order! As I said previously, under the Standing Orders the substance of the question asked by the honourable member was in order, and if the honourable member for Lalor looks at the Standing Orders he will find this to be so.
– Mr Speaker -
– Give us a go.
-Order! I suggest that while I am speaking it would be in order for honourable members to refrain from interrupting. I would also say that as to my giving a prior ruling on questions that may possibly be asked, this would be completely impossible.
– I raise a futher point of order. My point of order is that the expressions of any honourable member on this side of the House do not come within the ministerial responsibilities of any member of the Government. The Minister has a duty and responsibility to reply only in connection with matters which come directly under his jurisdiction as a Minister of the Crown.
– Yes, I agree to some extent with that point of view but surely a matter connected with a change in Australia’s immigration policy is something for which the Minister is responsible. I call the Minister for Immigration.
– Are you allowing the question?
– Yes, I am.
– I move:
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
– I move dissent from your ruling because quite obviously the question was designed for two reasons, both of which would result in a distortion of the Standing Orders, an abuse of question time and a misuse of this institution. You, Sir, sat there allowing this to happen as though you were a party to the abuse of the Standing Orders. You are not behaving in the impartial way that you ought to be. You are acting as though you are a party hack and your behaviour suggests that that is all you are or ever were.
– Order! My behaviour in this Chair is not relevant to the motion of dissent from my ruling. The question before the Chair has relation only to. my ruling.
-It is quite clear that the Standing Orders prevent any person from asking a Minister . for a declaration of policy. When honourable members on this side of the House have asked questions relating to the policy of the Government you have always ruled them out.
– Oh, no, not in all cases.
– Wait a minute, of course you have ruled them out. lt is no use your shaking your head. You have always ruled them out of order. You sit there seeming wise and shaking your head as though you have never done so when the fact is that you have always ruled out questions on policy. You have never allowed honourable members on this side of the House to ask questions concerning happenings inside the Liberal Party or concerning disagreements between members of the Liberal Party and yet you have the cheek to sit there and allow Government members to ask questions concerning alleged differences of opinion between the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) on immigration. They have nothing to do with the Ministers or with the Parliament or with you, Sir, as to what happens between members of my Party outside the Parliament. In my opinion it is an outrage for you to allow a question to be followed by the member asking: ‘Does the Government intend to alter its policy in regard to immigration because of some alleged differences of opinion between two members of the Opposition?’ As the Speaker of this Parliament you are the last one who should allow such an outrage and, if I may say so, you ought to be thoroughly ashamed of of yourself.
-Order! Before this motion of dissent goes any further, seeing that I have been accused of misinterpreting the Standing Orders perhaps I should read the standing order to the House.
– Which version will you read?
-It is standing order 142, and it shall be read unembellished. It reads:
Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which he is officially connected, to proceedings pending iti the House, or to any matter of administration for which he is responsible.
– I wish to speak in support of the motion of dissent. I do so not so much on the ground that this was a matter of policy on which questions should not be asked. That is usually a subterfuge adopted by Ministers when they are asked questions. I principally want to oppose your ruling, Sir, because the question in this instance commenced: ‘Would reported differences of opinion on immigration matters between leading members of the Opposition lead to a change in policy by the Government?’ If any of us had asked questions this week commencing with the words ‘differences of opinion between the Country Party and the Liberal Party revealed at this week’s conference of the Victorian Country Party’, my impression over some years experience is that you, Sir, would have nipped the questions in the bud.
Similarly, if any of us on this side of the House had asked a question prefaced with the words ‘differences of opinion revealed within the Liberal Party at the recent meeting of that Party in Queensland’, my impression is that you would have nipped the question in the bud. On each of those occasions you would have said that the questions were not the responsibility of the Minister in this House.
-If I might interject, I think I would have been right in saying that this was a matter of policy.
- Sir, I think you would have been right, but all I am asking you to be is right in this case as well. We have made complaints previously about the irrelevance of replies, that is, where these party matters are obtruded in answers which Ministers have given to questions which are admissible. Sir, all that we ask you to do in your position is to be fair to both sides or to apply the same rule to both sides. We certainly do not mind if questions are permitted on questions of political differences within or between parties, but we wish you, Sir, to apply that rule to both sides.
There is an additional handicap under which an Opposition labours, I suppose under the Standing Orders however they are interpreted. It is that at question time members have to confine their questions without notice within certain strict rule?. They have to be within the Minister’s responsibiliy. They cannot involve imputations and so on. But it happens that Ministers’ replies need not apparently be relevant and imputations can be made completely freely in those replies. This motion of dissent from your ruling, Sir, is being moved to ensure that you apply the sam? principle to questions from the Government side as you do, quite rightly, to questions from the Opposition side. If, however, this motion of dissent does not prevail we will expect you, Sir, to permit questions of a similar character from the Opposition side.
-Order! Before any other speakers participate in this debate, I would state briefly that the 2 examples that the Leader of the Opposition gave were not in relation to matters of policy of this Government. The question under consideration is in relation to the policy of this Government. If questions in relation to the policies of this Government are brought into this House in the correct form under the Standing Orders they shall be allowed.
– Righto. Well, we will act on that.
– Very well. I call the Minister for Immigration.
– In that case, the motion will be withdrawn. We will act on this Ma lenient in the framing of our questions.
– That is quite all right with me.
– Well, the motion is withdrawn.
– ls leave granted for the Leader of the Opposition to withdraw his motion?
-Order! 1 call the Minister for Immigration.
– Before answering the question, I make the point that I remember that yesterday the Leader of the Opposition asked a question in which he clearly referred to alleged differences of opinion in the Government parties on the off-shore mineral business, and you took no exception to that whatsoever.
-Order! The debate on that matter is closed and the Minister will answer the question.
– Not on the off-shore mineral business, Mr Speaker?
– No, on the question of my ruling.
– In reply to the question, what I understand that the Leader of the Opposition said on the occasion referred to by the honourable member for Warringah was that the honourable member for Grayndler did not express the Opposition’s policy or that his views did not represent the Opposition’s policy on immigration. The fact is that-
– I take a point of order. The honourable member for Grayndler was not mentioned in the question. It was the Leader of the Opposition and another member. The honourable member for Grayndler was not mentioned in the question. How does the Minister know the question refers to the honourable member for Grayndler?
-Order! Yesterday I requested that answers by Ministers should be relevant to the questions asked. I pointed out that the relevancy of answers to questions is most difficult for the
Speaker to determine. 1 request that, when the Minister is answering the question, he answers it in relation to the main. portion of the question that the honourable member for Warringah asked.
– Yes, Sir. It is relevant to this country’s policies on immigration and to the Government’s policies on immigration that the Leader of the Opposition has chosen to repudiate the bi-partisan approach to immigration which has been the rule in this country for as long as I remember. That is what he has chosen to do by repudiating the honourable member for Grayndler because the honourable member for Grayndler had been the spokesman for the Opposition over many years on the view strongly held by the Government that immigration policy should be directed to the preservation of a homogeneous Australian society and the avoidance of the problems which have caused such grievous difficulties in other countries. That is what the honourable member for Grayndler has said. That is the Government’s policy and, up until the time that the Leader of the Opposition spoke, as I understand it that has been the view of the Opposition. The honourable member for Grayndler in making his statements over the years had followed in the steps of previous spokesmen for the Opposition on immigration in this House, and I believe that the views stated by them and by the Government were overwhelmingly supported by the Australian people. Now, the Leader of the Opposition says that the views expressed by the honourable member for Grayndler do not represent the policy of the Australian Labor Party. He says this, what is more-
– Mr Speaker, I rise on a a point of order. I know the attitude that you are taking in respect of the application of the Standing Orders. There is a standing order that the Minister is limited to being asked questions and, by implication, answering them, on matters that are within his own responsibility. I submit that the Minister has a responsibility for Government policy, but he does not have a responsibility for Opposition policy. I listened to the question. I accept your ruling that it is a matter of degree, but I think the Minister’s answer has been about four-fifths an answer on Opposition policy and one-fifth an answer on Government policy. I suggest that this is stretching the standing order too far.
– Mr Speaker, I also rise on a point of order. The Minister is not confining his remarks to matters arising out of the question. He is launching into a statement. If he wants to make a ministerial statement he can seek leave at any time and he will have it. There should be a debate on immigration in this Parliament, but it will not arise from ex parte statements in answers to questions without notice. I put to you, Sir, that in length and relevance the Minister’s reply is inappropriate.
– Regarding the length of the Minister’s reply, again according to the Standing Orders the answer should not develop into a statement. The Minister is entitled to answer a question adequately. If this is to be a long answer to the question I would suggest that the Minister, and all Ministers in future, take cognisance of the fact that the Opposition, according to the Leader of the Opposition, will grant leave for the making of statements after question time. This may be a practice at which we should look in relation to the number of questions that can be asked at question time and also as a means of enabling Ministers to give fuller explanations in answer to long and involved questions.
– Mr Speaker, may I respectfully put the view that I do not believe that my reply has been unduly lengthy? If it has taken a lot of time, that has been due entirely to the sensitivity of honourable members opposite about divisions in their own Party on this vitally important question. If I am left alone I shall finish my reply in one minute.
– This is reflecting on you, Mr Speaker.
– It is not. If it is reflecting on anybody it is reflecting on the sensitivity of the Leader of the Opposition.
– He is making as big a hash of immigration as he did of health.
-Order! The Minister is entitled to be heard in silence.
– I was making the point, and I believe it to be of vital importance to Australia and to the House, that if the Leader of the alternative government in this country chooses to repudiate what has been a bipartisan policy in respect to something basic to the future of Australia it is appropriate that it should be the subject of a question in this House. The Leader of the Opposition has done this by repudiating the honourable member for Grayndler. He has done this in a context which suggests that he is in favour of a much larger nonEuropean immigration to this country. That was the context in which he said this.
– Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Minister is inserting into his reply things which not only I have never said but also which I have never been reported as saying.
-I thought that the Leader of the Opposition rose on a point of order. I would suggest that immediately the Minister has completed his answer I call the Leader of the Opposition.
– I take a point of order now, Mr Speaker. You allowed the question on the basis that there was nothing to stop the Minister from stating the Government’s policy in relation to immigration. So far the Minister has not attempted to tell us what is the Government’s policy, but has concentrated on the Labor Party’s policy. Will you please get the Minister to answer the question? The questioner did not want to know what Labor Party policy was, he wanted to know what the Government’s policy was.
-Order! The honourable member has made his point.
– I rise to take a further point of order. The Minister for Immigration is obviously answering a question of the kind commonly known in this House as a Dorothy Dixer. He is reading from a prepared statement.
-Order! There is no substance in the point of order.
– I submit that if the Minister wants to make a statement, then, as the Leader of the Opposition has indicated, he should ask leave to make a statement after question time.
– That is a matter which is entirely in the hands of the individual Ministers and is not a question for the Chair.
– We will think seriously about future statements unless this is done.
– That is beyond the province of the Chair.
– I rise to order. I would like to make this clear and I would like, Mr Speaker, to have your ruling on it. I submit that the Minister is exceeding the limits imposed upon him by the standing order which requires him to answer questions in relation to matters for which he is responsible. He has no responsibility for the policy of the Opposition or what the Leader of the Opposition or any other member of the Opposition might have said. He has paid no attention to answering the question that you said he had been asked, that is a question in relation to the policy of the Government which, I agree the standing order allows him to answer since it has been amended. I submit that he is grossly exceeding what he can do under that standing order and I would like to have your ruling on that precise point.
-I have already read standing order 142 in relation to public affairs with which he is officially connected. I have also said that the Minister must answer a question in accordance, with, I think, standing order 145, and I am not sure that the answer should be relevant to the question. As I recollect the question it was to this effect: ‘Is there going to be any change in Government policy as a result of some statements made by people in the Opposition? Surely to goodness in relation to that question those two matters are relevant, or so it seems to me.
– I raise a point of order. Is it competent for a Minister to interpret Opposition policy? Up to now the Minister has not devoted any part of his reply to what the Government is doing, although this is what the question was seeking. All he has endeavoured to do is to interpret the Opposition’s interpretation of its policy. I ask: Is the Minister competent to make an interpretation of our policy?
-I would not have the audacity to say whether the Minister was competent or not.
– A Solomon come to judgment. That is the best ruling you have given.
-Order! I call the Minister for Immigration.
– I raise a further point of order. The honourable member for Warringah asked a question which was no doubt based on newspaper reports. Time after time you have ruled that questions based on newspaper reports cannot be allowed unless the reports can be authenticated.
-Order! I think my ruling has been, in relation to questions based on newspaper reports, that the reports shall not be quoted unless they can be authenticated.
– Your predecessor would not allow it.
– I believe my predecessor did. I do not intend to enter into argument, but in fact he issued a statement on that very point. I call the Minister for Immigration.
– The Government has a policy which was framed essentially in 1966, with the support of all members of this House, and it has had the effect of bringing into Australia annually nearly 10,000 people of mixed race and nonEuropean descent. The Government’s policy has had the effect that more than 10,000 Asian students may be in Australia at any one time, and there is an increasing number of Asian visitors coming to this country for short stays for tourist and other purposes. That is the Government’s policy. That is the policy which has been supported in the past by the Opposition, with the support of the honourable member for Grayndler. As the Leader of the Opposition has repudiated the honourable member for Grayndler, I think it is up to him to tell us now how many people he is going to bring in. What size is his programme? What is their programme?
What is the basis on which the Opposition wants to do this? These are matters which the Australian people will want to know.
– Mr Speaker, I have been misrepresented and I will make a statement to show it.
– Do you ask for leave to make a statement?
– I am exercising my rights under the Standing Orders.
– Do you seek leave to make a statement?
– No. I have been misrepresented.
– Is it a personal explanation?
-I call the Leader of the Opposition.
– Apart from my personal explanation, I would like to make a statement and as soon as the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) makes a ministerial statement I will make it. The Minister gave a reply which he purported to base on newspaper reports. There was no relation whatever between most of his reply and any newspaper reports whatever on this subject. There is one element only in which there can be said to have been a reported difference of opinion between my colleague the honourable member for Grayndler and myself. It was at the first meeting of the national Young Labor Association a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne. There was an item on the agenda for that conference concerning the honourable member for Grayndler and one other member of my Party. At the end of my opening speech I was asked questions. Among them was this question:
On three occasions recently Fred Daly, whom you have appointed as shadow Minister for Immigration, has given a racist interpretation of Federal ALP policy on immigration. Do you intend to nominate him for this position …. in 1972 or would he become Interior and you will have a person in this position who will interpret it in a non-racist manner?
Sir, I replied in these terms, and I am quoting-
– He hangs on every word.
– The Minister hangs himself with his own words. I am quoting from a tape of the proceedings the reply which I gave to the question. I said:
I don’t like to seem to be picking and choosing among my colleagues in this fashion. Obviously I don’t like commenting on people in their absence but Fred Daly would be the Minister in charge of the electoral system. On this I believe his ideas are completely in accordance with what the Party ought to achieve. He is skilled on it. He has got excellent drive in it I dont believe that he would want to have the portfolio of Immigration. You couldn’t have one man doing both those jobs - Immigration and Interior.
We would have 26 positions to allot, not just 14. The answer continues:
He would do an excellent job in Interior. Nobody would do it better. On the question of Immigration, while I might have differences here with him, I do have differences here with him -
I interpolate to say that I was referring to the St Clair Allen case - the fact is he is better informed than anybody in the Parliament at the moment on the actual present practice and statistics of Immigration. For the job of keeping track of what the Department does at the moment, none of us can fault him. If you look at Hansard you will see that he is on top of the job of Immigration as it is done at the moment You can’t fault him.
– Mr Speaker, I ask leave of the House to make a statement on the Labor Party’s immigration policy as I know and understand it.
-Is leave granted?
– No. Let us have a Ministerial statement.
Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Grayndler making a statement on the immigration policy of the Australian Labor Party as I know it and interpret it.
– Order! Is there a seconder to the motion?
– I will second it and add this addendum: and to permit the-
– We will have to get the original motion passed first.
– Then I want to move an addendum, too.
-Order! The question is that the honourable member’s motion be agreed to.
– I want an addendum to the motion so as to permit the Minister for Immigration to make a statement on the same subject.
– I think we have to get the motion passed first and then you can immediately move your amendment. The motion before the Chair is:
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Grayndler making a statement on the immigration policy of the Australian Labour Party as I know it and interpret it.
- Mr Speaker, I have moved this motion arising out of the refusal by a certain honourable member in this House to allow me to make a statement on immigration. I say at this stage that I have been grievously misrepresented and in the eyes of the Australian people I have been placed in a very unfortunate position, having been classified as racist in character. In the interests of my Party I have kept this matter confined within the bounds of our organisation. To that extent I believe it should never have been uttered in public. In the face of great provocation I have had nothing to say publicly on this matter. But I can hardly remain silent today when again I am publicly misrepresented in respect of our immigration policy. Honourable members on both sides of the Parliament know that I was the author of the policy that exists in the Australian Labor Party platform today. In my hand I have the documents. I was Vice-Chairman of the Committee that wrote the policy.
I have been represented in the eyes of the Australian people as having misinterpreted or not knowing our immigration policy. This is something that no man of my standing in this Parliament can tolerate. I was here when that policy was first introduced. What position would this Parliament place me in as a member if I did not ask leave to make a statement today to explain my attitude? My electorate would be entitled to think that I was lying about the policy of the Australian Labor Party. After almost 40 years membership of that party I think that I am entitled to say that I should know its policies. I do not wish to criticise anyone on either side in this debate. All I want is the right to put my case. That is why I have moved the motion. I say it is regrettable that after some have seen fit to raise this matter, and newspapers and the Australian Labor Party’s Conference have been quoted, I should be denied the right by my own side to put my case in the Parliament. This is incomprehensible. Mr Speaker, whatever the penalty might be to me I will vote to see that I am heard in this Parliament today. I formally moved the motion because I believed as a member of this Parliament I was entitled to do so. Above all, I am entitled to state what the Austraiian Labor Party’s policy is and not what some people think it ought to be.
– I second the motion pro forma and reserve my right to speak. I also want to move an amendment.
– The question is:
That the motion be agreed to.
The Leader of the Opposition would have the right to speak now.
– In supporting the motion I want to make it quite plain that it is not my belief that my colleague the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) is a racist in any sense. I have never asserted that; I have never condoned any such assertion by anyone else. I have disagreed with him on one matter which I have identified. But this is an important matter which should be discussed in the Parliament. There are many aspects of immigration now which are of very great concern to people who have migrated here and who want to bring friends and relatives here; there are many aspects which are of vary great concern to those areas of Australia where municipal and other institutions have exceptional burdens because of the immigration programme. Also there are many aspects concerning students which the Minister has mentioned as well as many aspects concerning our new Commonwealth neighbours, particularly Fiji and Papua.
So that the Parliament can have a proper opportunity to discuss these matters - not just at question time, but a proper opportunity - I move:
That the following words be added to the motion: and also to permit the Minister for Immigration to make a statement on the Government’s policy on immigration.
– Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment.
– Order! As the amendment has now been seconded the immediate question is:
That the amendment be agreed to.
- Mr Speaker, I wish to speak against the amendment. I shall be brief because I do not want to go over what I have said. This morning I was incriminated in a certain statement in this place. I asked a simple question - the right to explain my position, nothing more nor less. To do that I had to explain the policy I interpreted. That right was refused me. Now I am in the position where some members seek to get out from underneath what has been done to me by taking on some other issue. I am quite prepared to hear and debate a statement on immigration but I am not having it tied up with the question of me answering a charge that has been made against me in this Parliament this morning. Let us divorce the two issues. Let the Minister make his statement and let us debate it. But at this stage I ask support for the motion I have moved.
– The question now is that the original motion be agreed to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
- Mr Speaker, I thank the House for the opportunity to make a statement on a matter that has become of great personal interest to me in particular and one that is of great importance to the Australian public - that is the immigration policy of the Australian Labor Party. My views on it have been misinterpreted after a silence of 5 years since this aspect of the policy was introduced in 1966 I seek to explain not only my interpretation of the policy but what the policy is accepted to be and has been stated by me to be in this Parliament over the years. Firstly, let me say that in the 1963 Conference of the Australian Labor Party a resolution was passed which stated:
Conference directs the Federal Executive to set up a committee of 4 members of the Federal Executive and 4 members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party for the purpose of consultation with representatives of the ACTU and the AWU in order to bring before the next Conference a recommendation on the Party’s migration policy.
The members from the Federal Executive on that committee were: Honourable R. W. Holt, Ll.B., Victoria; Mr C. T. Oliver, New South Wales; and Mr F. E. Chamberlain and Mr D. Dunstan, M.P. The Federal Parliamentary Labor Party members were Mr Frank Stewart, M.P., Mr F. Daly, M.P., Mr F. Collard, M.P., and Senator J. Fitzgerald. The first meeting of that Committee was held on 7th August 1964. The agenda is available for all to see. It set out the procedure to be followed. The Committee subsequently met. Mr Chamberlain submitted a motion for discussion and Mr
Oliver submitted a motion for discussion. But arising out of the meeting of that Committee I was designated to write a policy in support of the established immigration policy of the Australian Labor Party as we knew it at that time. Other members were delegated to assist in that respect. That was the basis on which the policy was formed. On 10th May 1965 I received a letter from Mr Wyndham, the then Secretary, in which he said:
To: All Members of the Immigration Committee
A meeting of the Immigration Committee will be held in the offices of the Federal Secretariat on Saturday, 22nd May 1965, commencing at 9.45 a.m.
That meeting was subsequently held and I presented a 21 -page report on recommendations for the Immigration Committee. In that I said:
At its first meeting the Committee decided that the review of our immigration policy should be divided into two parts: (a) The racial aspect, and (b) the general aspect.
And then I quoted our policy as it was at that time, which had the words ‘White Australia’ in it. Then I said:
It is my task to deal with the racial aspect. I preface my remarks by saying that the term White Australia’ used in our policy is a term which has no place in our official vocabulary but has become a popular but not an official way of describing our immigration policy. I believe the reason it is shown in Labor’s platform as such is because of the difficulty in finding appropriate terms to fit the policy whilst maintaining the principle involved.
I also said:
I believe that the term ‘White Australia’ should be eliminated from our platform. At the same time, whilst removing this term I maintain that Australia’s immigration policy shall be based on the principles laid down since federation on the ideal of maintaining a predominantly homogeneous population and avoidance of difficult social and economic problems.
That report then went in. It detailed practically every aspect of immigration policy and was adopted unanimously by the Committee that I mentioned a moment ago. Arising out of that policy we wrote the following final recommendation:
That the present section of the Platform - Immigration XXI be deleted, and that the following be inserted:
Convinced that increased population is vital to the future development of Australia, the Australian Labor Party will support and uphold a vigorous and expanding immigration programme administered with sympathy, under standing and tolerance. The basis of such policy will be:
Australia’s national and economic security;
the welfare and integration of all its citizens;
the preservation of our democratic system and balanced development of our nation; and
the avoidance of the difficult social and economic problems which may follow from an influx of peoples having different standards of living, traditions and cultures..
That policy which is written into the Australian Labor Party platform was adopted by that representative Party committee, comprising at that time an AttorneyGeneral, 2 State secretaries and 4 Federal members, and submitted for the consideration of the ALP Conference. On 12th July 1965 Mr Wyndham wrote to me and enclosed a copy of the decisions I have just read out and he enclosed a copy of the letter that he was then sending to the Federal Executive to be decided at its Conference in August 1965. He related all the details that I have mentioned and at the bottom he said:
After close examination of the existing platform the Committee unanimously endorsed the following recommendation . . .
And that is the policy I read out a few moments ago. The Federal Conference was held in Sydney on 2nd August 1965 and the policy was there subsequently adopted. I have the minutes. At the 26th Conference held in Sydney at Hellenic House, Elizabeth Street, from 2nd to 6th August immigration was discussed. This makes the interpretation that I am about to make very interesting for the House. The policy that I read out that is now in our platform was brought up for discussion. Arising out of that, when it was moved some amendments were moved. One amendment in particular was interesting. Senator J. M. Wheeldon moved:
That in accordance with Agenda Item 15 from Western Australia, paragraph (d) of the Committee’s recommendation be deleted.
In other words, he moved for that final section (d) which I read out a few moments ago to be deleted. It was seconded by Mr Jamieson and supported by Mr F. E. Chamberlain. On being put to the meeting it was lost by 12 votes to 24. The motion was then put, and the policy of the Australian Labor Party was adopted at that Conference by 36 votes to nil. The very basis of it, as honourable members can see, was in the text of the report that I laid down.
I prepared a statement on the policy, which I was to make at that Conference, but by a political dodge of a person who is no longer with us - it was nobody in the Parliament - I was sidetracked and did not get there to make the statement because I was not told that the matter was on. That document which would have explained all the things that were there, consequently has never become official in the eyes of the Party, but if the House is interested I will incorporate it in the records. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate it in Hansard.
I have pleasure in submitting the Report of the Immigration Committee for the consideration of the Conference.
The unanimous Recommendation of the Committee, which has already been circulated to delegates, is: -
That Clause XXI Immigration of the Platform be deleted and the following inserted: -
Convinced that increased population is vital to the future development of Australia, the Australian Labor Party will support and uphold a vigorous and expanding Immigration programme administered with sympathy, understanding and tolerance.
The basis of such policy will be:
It is worth recording that the Committee consisted of two State Presidents, a State Secretary, an Attorney-General and four members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.
In addition, invitations were extended to Hon. A. A. Calwell, M.H.R., and Mr E. G. Whitlam, M.H.R., to attend. Mr Whitlam was present as Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and participated in the discussions.
The fact that this Committee- so widely representative of all points of view on this subject - unanimously approved the Recommendation is a matter which I feel should not be overlooked when the report is under consideration.
Subsequently, the Federal Executive at its meeting in May 1965 considered and adopted the Committee’s recommendation.
At a time when immigration policy is under discussion, it is appropriate that we should pay tribute to Australia’s first Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Arthur Calwell, MHR, Leader of the Opposition, whose vision, energy and statesmanship laid the foundation for the success of the scheme, and whose efforts quite rightly have been acclaimed by political friend and foe alike.
In 1945 - twenty years ago- at the commencement of our Migration Scheme, our population was slightly more than 7,250,000. At this date it is about 11,400,000. This increase in population includes more than 2,000,000 migrants assisted and unassisted, and more than 700,000 children born to migrant families - a really grand contribution to our population growth and the development of a nation.
To the Labor Government and Arthur Calwell who made it possible, let us recall today with pride, their achievements in implementing one of the greatest mass migration schemes in history, which, with the Snowy River Scheme, must rank as one of the really great achievements of our time.
It has provided security and happiness for thousands of migrants from many countries, and given a stimulus to the growth and development of Australia.
With a glorious background in the field of immigration and the experience of the integration and problems connected with the transfer of thousands of people, I feel sure that delegates will study and debate the Recommendation of the Committee with the predominant ojbective to not only continue an expanding programme, but to maintain the harmonious society in which we live.
I believe it to be true that there is general agreement on the need to maintain an expanding planned migration programme. Our future depends on an increase in population in order to fully develop and protect this vast nation.
Naturally, the safeguards applying to our social and economic welfare, and a programme in keeping with our capacity to absorb migrants of the right type are fundamental to the success of the Scheme. There appears to be no doubt that this broad principle is shared by most Australians of all political points of view.
The criticism or the objection to our Immigration policy is directed, in the main, at what is more popularly - but quite wrongly-described as the White Australia policy’. For this reason, I intend to devote some time to this aspect of our policy before dealing with the Recommendation of the Committee.
WHITE AUSTRALIA or OUR ESTABLISHED IMMIGRATION POLICY
Part 1. of Labor’s policy commences with the words: -
Maintenance of a white Australia shall provide the basis for immigration policy’ . . . I preface my remarks by saying that the term White Australia’ used in our policy is a term which has no place in our official vocabulary, but has become a popular - though not an official - way of describing our Immigration policy. I believe the reason it is shown in Labor’s platform at this stage is because of the difficulty in finding appropriate terms to fit the policy whilst maintaining the principle involved.
The Committee considered that the term ‘White Australia’ should be eliminated from our platform for reasons which I will outline later. At the same time, whilst removing this term it was considered that Australia’s Immigration policy should be based on the principle of the avoidance of difficult racial, social and economic problems.
For the benefit of delegates, and in view of the importance of this aspect of our Immigration policy, I give a brief survey of the history of the policy.
The present Immigration policy, or what is quite wrongly referred to as ‘White Australia’, is the outcome of experiences throughout Australia, particularly in the latter half of the nineteenth century. During that time, Asian labourers and other Asian migrants had been introduced to many activities - mainly the goldfields. Rioting, bloodshed and other events had been the unhappy consequences during that period and led to widespread demands for adoption of such a policy.
Furthermore, the introduction of Kanaka labour to the Queensland canefieids with all the sordid consequences following the activities of the Blackbirders’ made the demand for immigration reform unanswerable. In fact, the need for action to cope with this problem was one of the important factors making for the adoption of our Federation.
The policy as such is not based on any sense of racial superiority, but rather is it based on the demands of those times to prevent exploitation and cheap labour. However, it does recognise that successful assimilation is unlikely where there are great differences of race, creed, custom and habits of life. This has been the official policy of all governments and all political parties since Federation, with the sole exception of the Communist Party and the DLP, namely, to maintain certain restrictions against the permanent residence in Australia of non-Europeans.
It would be correct to say that the very basis of our Immigration policy is humanitarianism - the recognition of human dignity and the avoidance of great cultural differences between peoples, rather than any feeling of racial superiority.
The term ‘White Australia’ is undoubtedly a major reason why objection is taken in some quarters to our policy rather than to the policy itself. The fact that the term has no official basis is evidently not known, or overlooked. This term was invented about 40 years before Federation. It is a term that finds no place in any of our laws. It is a popular but not a legal term.
There has always been a measure of criticism from some people in regard to what is known popularly - but wrongly - as the ‘White Australia’ policy. In more recent years this criticism has become more vocal. It has come from sections of the press, clerics, certain academics, and some citizens, many of whom may have well been prompted by the highest motives and ideals. Some of the objections emanated from the rise of Asian nationalism. In some cases, however, their suppport was based on unfortunate events that have occurred in relation to non-Europeans who may have been refused admittance or the right to stay here.
In other cases, they apply to non-European persons ineligible for citizenship but who gained admittance to the country on a tourist visa, or overseas students - Chinese, Malayans, Indians, Filipinos and other nationalities. These cases are known to all. Time does not permit me to deal with them in detail other than to mention them as reasons prompting some people to urge a change in the policy.
Broadly speaking, the case for a change comes under the following headings:
Comments on these reasons will be made in the course of the Report.
The supporters of a change of policy range from those favouring the ‘open door’, to the sponsors of a quota system either on a governmenttogovernment agreement basis, or by legislation.
The Committee gave careful consideration to these views. It is our opinion that the unpleasantness and adverse publicity, created by the Press would not justify a radical change in policy, or the abandonment of the principle involved, but could be overcome by wise and tolerant administration. At the same time, careful consideration was also given as to whether or not our present policy should be maintained, or whether the ‘open door’ policy or quota system should be adopted.
Broadly speaking, there was general agreement that some modification of the policy was necessary to meet changed conditions and to remove any impression that there was racial discrimination; but some of the major reasons against a drastic change or abandonment of the policy may be summed up as follows:
To those who advocate a change of policy - no matter how well intentioned - a study of events in other parts of the world is worthy of consideration. We have none of the racial problems comparable to those of Great Britain, America, Malaya, Singapore, The Philippines, or South Africa. This has been achieved without any great friction with our Asian neighbours.
If for no other reason (and of course there are many), the very fact of our freedom from racial hatreds and strife should be enough to convince people of the value of the policy and the need to maintain it In principle.
Let us look at the significant developments abroad in recent times. Take for example, Great Britain, a reasonable comparison for the purpose of this subject. When the Immigration doors were opened by the Government, supported by the Labor Party, Great Britain was flooded with nonEuropean labour, most of it unskilled. It has resulted in the congregation of these people in certain areas - in racial discrimination- riots - ugly scenes - and examples of racial hatred similar to those in the United States of America.
The effect on electorate results was dramatic. Some Tory candidates campaigned under the slogan: ‘If you want nigger for a neighbour vote vote Labor.* Patrick Gordon Walker- brilliant Labor intellectual and later Foreign Secretary- was defeated in this safe Labor constituency after holding it for 19 years. He was known to have very broad views on coloured migration.
Great Britain now has an imported racial problem with all the strife and bitterness that follows. The British Labor Party prompted by the highest ideals has now found that the ideals were sound but it was an impractical proposal: integration is just not possible. In fact it is now the view of most members of the British Labor Party that whilst it is morally desirable to open the gates to all members of the Commonwealth, the practical reality is that it creates an even more explosive problem. The British Labor Party has learned the hard fact that people of different colour, cultures, idealogies and living standards cannot be integrated without passions and emotions and hatreds being aroused.
To the credit of the British Labor Party, they have not been slow to recognise the trend and have adjusted their policy on migration in an endeavour to overcome the problems created by their idealism. Restrictive immigration laws have now been imposed.
We too should learn from their experiences and be grateful that Australia today has been saved the problems imported to Great Britain by their change of Immigration policy. Fortunately, because of our policy we have been saved the hatreds, riots, bitterness and discrimination existing in Great Britain and other parts of the world.
This week in Great Britain the Labor Government will announce plans to tighten controls on immigration. They effect students and visitors, and is a bold attempt to take migration and the colour question out of party politics. Therefore, do not let us make the mistake of radically changing our policy and so bring similar problems to Australia.
In the United States of America, South Africa, The Philippines, Malaya, and Singapore, Ceylon, Pakistan and India, tragic and ugly events indicate the problems that arise in countries where racial hatreds are inflamed.
Harlem - Alabama - Little Rock - Birmingham - are just a few of the names that bring to mind these bitter experiences. These lessons are grim and revealing. Surely, if for no other reason, we have an obligation to our people to keep this country free from such events and the bitterness and hatreds that follow. We have no right to import or create a problem which is non-existent at the present time.
I now direct a few remarks to criticism of our policy and demands for a change by ‘open door’ or quota system.
Some people endeavour to create the impression that we are the only country in the world with an Immigration policy of this kind or maintains the right to keep certain people out. This, of course, is not the case. Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore, India, United Soviet Socialist Republics, and every country in the world exercises this right, and rightly so. It applies particularly to Asian countries, and the right to exclude those whom we do not desire to come and live amongst us was a principle endorsed by the Asians Relations Conference in New Dehli in 1947.
It is said that our policy gives offence to Asian nations or non-Europeans. This may be so for those who apologise for it; who do not understand it; or will not explain it, particularly as to the categories of persons from Asia who may enter the country temporarily or permanently and who are eligible for citizenship.
Every Asian country has similar immigration laws and it is not that our policy is objectionable, but rather does it go unexplained. In fact, Mr Calwell had no difficulty when addressing the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference 1959 - which was attended by many non-Europeans - in explaining the policy and having it understood and accepted. This argument about offence to Asians has never been supported (when the policy has been fully explained) by any significant figure in Asian politics, and I consider that the argument cannot be substantiated.
Our Immigration laws are much more liberal than those of other countries. The categories of non-Europeans who may settle in Australia are extensive and administered as favourably as possible to our Asian neighbours.
Firstly, an Australian marrying an Asian may bring his wife or her husband, as the case may be, to live amongst us. This applies to naturalized Australians as well as natural born. Children can accompany their parents.
Secondly, an Asian lawfully admitted to Australia, who has lived here for 15 years, abided by the conditions of his entry, is of good character, has a working knowledge of the language, and subject to a few other requirements, may remain in Australia indefinitely and become an Australian citizen.
Thirdly, for some time the Government, desiring to bring about a better understanding of Asian culture and ideas, has provided specially for the entry of distinguished and highly qualified Asians to the Australian community.
Non-Europeans may be admitted to Australia for temporary and permanent residence under certain conditions subject to the discretion of the Minister. These include doctors, merchants, overseas representatives, buyers, etc., and people in these categories are already in Australia.
I believe criticism of our policy stems from ignorance at times, particularly in respect to the great numbers taking advantage of the opportunity to settle in Australia temporarily or permanently.
Our policy is not - and never has been - directed at the total exclusion of non-Europeans; not- is it based on any assumption of racial superiority. It is subject to ministerial discretion and each case is dealt with on its merits, including humanitarian and national interests.
Here are just a few figures indicating the liberalism of our policy. Under the Colombo Plan 5,749 trainees have benefited to date, and it has cost the Australian taxpayer £55,426,000 to educate the nationals of Asian countries to assist in the development and betterment of their own people and country.
There are 37,300 non-Europeans resident in Australia today- 12,400 Asians and non-European students. In addition, more than 10,000 persons of mixed descent have been admitted to Australia during the post-war period from Ceylon, Asia and elsewhere. 800 Asian evacuees were accepted and allowed to remain here.
In the last 10 years, 3,452 non-Europeans were granted Australian citizenship.
In the past 5 years 22,000 visitors non-European were in Australia for varying periods of ‘12 months or more.
These facts should be remembered and restated for the benefit of those who do not know.
Our Immigration policy is highlighted and comes under criticism now and again when some person in Australia for study purposes, or on a visitor’s permit, is asked to leave in accordance with the terms on which his or her visa was granted. In most cases they seek to transfer to permanent residence. This not only applies to non-Europeans, but also to Greeks, Italians and other nationalities.
It is what is termed ‘category hopping’ and no other nation in the world tolerates this form of admittance for permanent residence. In Great Britain, U.S.A., the U.S.S.R., and Iron Curtain countries, and Asian nations, actions of this kind would not be tolerated because before the people enter the country they are advised and given the visa on the understanding that it is for a given time and a given time only. (Delegates who have travelled abroad know this to be the case.)
Sympathy extended to people in this category in many cases is based on false grounds, and it seems to apply only when non-Europeans are involved. Many Greeks, Italians, even ‘British and other European persons have been deported as prohibited migrants and it has hardly raised a flutter in the press or elsewhere, merely because they do not happen to be non-European. However, when a non-European is asked to leave the country we immediately hear the cry of racial discrimination.
So far as the Press is concerned - and some other people - it seems to care little about Europeans being deported or asked to leave the country, whether it be just or unjust; their only purpose being to stir the pot of racial strife, and in most cases they fail to print the facts of the case.
I want to deal with the alternative to ministerial discretion, that is an ‘open door’ or quota system.
The question of an ‘open door’ policy is impracticable, we even have to limit European migration. The only parties who want ‘open door’ are the Communist Party and the DLP- both extremes in politics and both enemies of the Labor Party.
Our rate of expansion demands that only a given number of migrants be taken in any one year - approximately 150,000. If the policy is changed, and working on the basis of those who say we should admit Asians in great numbers, our economy would be flooded with disastrous effects. This appears to completely destroy the argument that there should be an ‘open door’ policy.
It has been suggested that a quota system should be devised, either by arrangement with governments or some other way, whereby we could take migrants who are acceptable to us because of their skill. As a matter of fact, this applies now under the present policy, and many non-Europeans are employed in Australia because of their qualifications.
Firstly, a quota system will not make any contribution to raising the standard of living of the countries concerned, particularly if we only take skilled personnel.
Secondly, the quota would have to be the same as that applying to Europeans, otherwise we would be accused of discrimination.
Again, what would be the position if India said, for instance, you cannot have a hundred persons but you can have 100 coolies or unskilled personnel. If we rejected this proposal we would be accused of discrimination.
Again, a quota system involves mathematical fixity. How do we apportion the numbers between Indians, Burmese, Chinese, Ceylonese, Malays? Will it cover the inhabitants of all Asian countries. These questions must be answered. How, for instance, would you explain away the taking of 100,000 British migrants and only 100 Indians. To say the least, the Indians would hardly be flattered that every Briton was worth more than 1,000 Indians.
There are more than 2,000 million people in Asia and to 99.9 per cent of them Australia would be a closed country under a quota system. In addition, if a quota system were adopted nonEuropeans in Australia would be the first to apply and the applicants would vastly exceed the places allotted for years to come.
Then there is the reaction of a quota. Has anyone considered the public reaction if nonEuropeans continued to hold positions for which Australians are eligible and could not be employed.
To summarise, the quota system provides all kinds of problems. What then is to be the quota? How many from each country? What types are they to be? Who will be the persons eligible - skilled or unskilled; and above all else, from what countries will they come? Are Asians already here to be given first priority? Will we take migrants from Communist countries, Iron Curtain countries, or will they be restricted to those whose governments are favourable to our views?
To overcome unfavourable publicity in regard to tourist visas and overseas students, certain administrative action could and should be taken. There is no need to detail them at this stage, but if taken in the same way as that of other countries, these problems could be overcome. This would be covered by the term ‘sympathetic understanding and tolerant administration.’
I now deal with the Recommendation. It was the view of the Committee that on Immigration policy too much detail was given. It was our desire to make a clear and concise statement of the broad principles of our policy within the framework of which a Labor administration would function.
For this purpose, we recommend the deletion of the present policy statement which includes considerable detail and that our policy read in accordance with the recommendation outlined.
A study of the Recommendation shows that it removes from our policy the popular though objectionable term ‘white Australia’. This seems a natural move as there is no such term in the official records of the Parliament and reasons have already been given why it was used. (At this stage the only Party with its immigration policy described in these terms is the Australian Country Party.) This eliminates that section of the policy to which objection has been taken and a wrong interpretation based upon it.
In addition, the first clause in the recommendation confirms that the Australian Labor Party will support and uphold a vigorous and expanding Immigration programme, subject to certain principles. This in effect continues the programme commenced in 1945.
Its administration shall be carried out with sympathy, understanding and tolerance, and these words should be interpreted in the widest term’s. If this is done it should eliminate many of the objections of which mention has been made in the press from time to time.
The basis of the policy is clearly set out in sections (a) (b) (c) and (d). No one at home or abroad can object to the terms used. They seek to provide for our national and economic security; the welfare and integration of all our citizens; the preservation of our democratic system and balanced development of our nation; and the avoidance of the difficult social and economic problems which may follow from an influx of people having different standards of living, traditions, and cultures.
Under the policy, any person European or nonEuropean who can meet the requirements of this policy, is entitled to be admitted for temporary or permanent residence.
It is for the Minister and the Government to decide if he or she meets the standard laid down.
The deletion of the objectionable words ‘white Australia’ and the refraining of our policy as recommended by the Committee will prevent misinterpretation of the principles underlining our Immigration policy (a policy endorsed by all Australian Governments since Federation).
The resolution should be interpreted as a clear, concise, unobjectionable statement of our policy, free of any taint of racial discrimination or superiority, based on the principle and ideal that the composition of our population will be such as to insure the integration of all people and the sharing of our freedom, independence and way of life.
Surely, no reasonable objection can be taken to these broad principles on which a great programme shall be implemented and a country developed.
The Committee believes that the policy as stated maintaining ministerial and Governmental responsibility for those who shall enter Australia permanently or temporarily, gives effect to the principle accepted as a right of any nation to decide the composition of its population. It is the same test applied to migrants by every nation in the world.
Our Immigration policy is not and never has been a suggestion of racial superiority. will not be the basis for the admission to Australia of certain people such as wealthy Chinese and others from various parts of the world. We also require an assurance that the persons admitted under this category will be only those with qualifications not possessed by available Australians, and also that skilled personnel, professional men and others shall not be taken from underdeveloped countries which require their talents more than Australia does.
We must also be assured beyond doubt that non-Europeans will not be brought in to meet general labour shortages, and that there will be no large-scale admission of workers from Asia. This matter was referred to by the Minister and I see no reason why the assurances he has given should not be accepted.
We of the Opposition consider that we are entitled to ask for these assurances. We have no desire to see any breaking down of living and working conditions in this country, nor do we wish to fan the flames of racial hatred. The Minister stressed throughout his speech the principles that would guide him in the administration of this legislation. We have little to disagree with in the sentiments that he expressed, but the fact is that he may not always be the Minister and we believe that Government assurances are essential and that they must be fulfilled.
If that is not a clear statement of Labor policy, I am a Dutchman. Other members spoke on this matter. If honourable members study that speech made 5 years ago they will see that no challenge was made to my interpretation of the policy then. It was carried out on the instructions of a Labor caucus. Is it to be said today that the policy I enunciated is my policy and not in accordance with Labor policy, when I have read the very minutes of the caucus meeting mat gave that policy to this House? The position is intolerable. Honourable members opposite know that my interpretation is correct. One of the men who was a member of that committee and who moved an amendment to delete the clause about which there is so much dispute - the clause in respect to the avoidance of difficult social and economic problems which might follow an influx of people having different standards of living, traditions and cultures - was Mr Chamberlain. I know that he will not mind my saying it, but I received a telegram from him as follows:
Paragraph (D) immigration platform permits no other interpretation than that presented by you.
Is that not good enough for me to say that my interpretation is correct? The situation in this country is that some people are stating what they want the policy to be, but I am stating what it is. Consequently I make this statement to the House today to clear up the position. Irrespective of what might be said by anyone, that policy was laid down by the Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party. I have accepted it over all these years and so have honourable members on this side of the House. Until another Federal Conference changes my interpretation I will continue to state that policy and say that it is the policy of the Australian Labor Party.
I say quite impartially, and somewhat personally, that honourable members know that there is nothing racially inclined about me. I have endeavoured to write into the Australian Labor Party’s immigration policy tolerance and understanding. That is why I am resentful today about being refused the right to make this statement. I have been misinterpreted by people, in many places outside this Parliament, who have not read the policy and who base their statements on newspaper reports. I thank the House for giving me the opportunity to make my statement. I know the policy of the Australian Labor Party. It is as I stated it. It is documented chapter and verse. Without taking any personal accolade that I should not, I think that the members of that committee will know that on the question of non-European migration I was the author of the policy. Therefore, to say today that I do not understand it is, to put it bluntly, insulting, humiliating and hurtful, particularly when there is no basis in fact. This is the policy I support. This is the policy that I helped to write. I thank the House again for giving me the opportunity to explain it.
– The House can have the papers. I present the papers formally.
-Order! Is leave granted to move an appropriate motion? There being no objection, leave is granted.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) - by leave - agreed to:
That the House take note of the papers.
Debate (on motion by Mr Swartz) adjourned.
– I wish to make a personal explanation.
– Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes. A headline to a report in The Canberra Times’ this morning is, I believe, fanciful. It says: ‘Split in Government ranks on China’. The report goes on to state:
While the Government has defended its refusal to grant recognition to China and to approve its membership of the United Nations on the grounds that it had to defend the rights of 14i million Taiwanese, Mr Fraser totally reversed the argument.
If honourable members look at what I said last night, which was the first mention of this aspect of the discussion, they will see that I said:
The independence of Taiwan must be maintained.
A little later I said:
However, continental China could not be allowed to absorb the 144 million people in Taiwan.
Those 2 statements were very clearly made before any mention of the other consideration. But I did go on to say: the 14) million people in Taiwan cannot be allowed to stand in the way of dialogue and communication.
I ask the House to note the precision of the words ‘dialogue and communication’. This is a matter that needs to be handled in steps, as it is being handled. I repeat that the headline to the report this morning is utterly fanciful.
Motion (by Mr Swartz) agreed to:
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until Tuesday next, at 2.30 p.m.
– I have received a letter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:
I call upon those members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places. (More than the number of members required by the Standing Orders having risen in their places)
– The new Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) enters today into negotiations with Australia’s toughest trade union having conceded in advance that its claims are reasonable and that the Government is powerless in any case to resist those claims even if it felt justified in doing so. My party rejects the attitude of the Minister in its entirety. The proposed increase of 15 per cent in general practitioner fees was unjustified in February when the former Prime Minister (Mr Gorton) described it as ‘appalling’ and it remains unjustified today despite the Minister’s fatuous assertion on a television programme that it could be described as within bounds’. The former Prime Minister was right in February when he insisted that doctors’ incomes should become subject to an arbitration process and the new Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) will be wrong if he retreats from his predecessor’s stand. The medical profession long ago priced itself out of the reach of patients and on current rates of income increase will shortly price itself beyond the means of governments as well. The Prime Minister and his Ministers cannot in consistency or fairness underwrite for general practitioners an increase in the price of labour greater by 150 per cent than the December minimum wage increase which they have so vehemently and vociferously condemned.
The index of doctors’ fees rose in New South Wales between 1959-60 and 1969-70 for surgery consultations by 100 per cent and for home visits by 140 per cent, whereas average weekly earnings increased over the same period by 70.8 per cent, award wages by 49.2 per cent and the combined pension by only 39.5 per cent. Spokesmen for the medical profession protest that these 2 most common of all medical services present an unfair picture, so let me put the matter another way. Taxation statistics reveal that in 1952-53 the mean weekly income for doctors was $108.25 and the average weekly income for the community as a whole was $31.38.
By 1966-67 doctors were earning $238.50 and the average weekly income was $60.70. This represented an annual rate of growth in money terms of 5.6 per cent for doctors and 4.6 per cent for average income earners, in real terms of 3.4 per cent for doctors and 2.4 per cent foi average income earners. The real rate of growth in doctors’ incomes thus exceeded the rate for the community as a whole by 40 per cent.
This trend is an accelerating one. The Commonwealth’s own submission to the Senate Select Committee on Medical and Hospital Costs shows clearly that the rate of increase in doctors’ fees relative to average weekly earnings was reasonable throughout the first decade of the Liberal health scheme, although even at that stage fees rose faster than consumer prices. Since 1963-64 doctors have increased their fees at a rate grossly disproportionate to prices fixed by other sections of the community for both products and labour. The weighted average fee for medical services increased between 1964 and 1970 by 58 per cent whereas the increase in average weekly earnings over the same period was 47 per cent, the increase in award wages was 36 per cent and the increase in consumer prices was only 21 per cent. Doctors thus elevated themselves in the space of 5 years to a new niche in Australia’s income structure justified neither by precedent nor by equity. They achieved this result either by pulling the wool over the eyes of successive Liberal Ministers for Health, or conniving with those Ministers. The party of privilege gave this already privileged profession a position more highly privileged than ever.
Since the introduction of the common fee system last July, general practitioners have increased their incomes by 7 per cent. They have enjoyed, that is, since July the increases for which other sections of the community had to wait until December, and their median net income has risen to about $14,000. Increases for which the AMA now. argues and which the new Minister for Health has described as within bounds amount in fact to another $1,000 annually for a section of the work force which charges already for its labour 3i times the average national price. Increases of 4 per cent in each of the last 2 years would have maintained the money value of the GP’s income and increases of 8i per cent would have maintained their value at constant prices. But the AMA seeks in addition to the 7 per cent which they have already received not 10 per cent but 15 per cent. I can see no reason why taxpayers and health fund contributors should finance a further widening of the gap between prices charged for labour by general practitioners and prices charged by other sections of the work force. I see no reason for the government to underwrite maintenance by private practitioners of a niche in the income structure which they have attained only in the last 6 years.
Impetus for the AMA’s current efforts arises in fact not so much from relativities between the medical profession and the remainder of the workforce as from relativities within the profession itself. While the incomes of GPs have increased since last July by 7 per cent those of specialists have risen by 35 per cent. The average cost of specialist services has risen for example in Western Australia by 18 per cent for obstetrics, 42 per cent for pathology and 50.9 per cent for X-rays. As a result, specialists now earn annually about $3,000 more than colleagues in general practice. The question, however, is not whether rivalries within the medical profession are justified but whether they should be resolved at public expense. It is whether the government should provide this year a free bonanza for general practitioners simply because last year Mr Gorton spent like the proverbial drunken sailor to purchase specialist goodwill for his medical insurance scheme.
I have demonstrated that the proposed fee increases can be justified in terms neither of maintaining the real value of doctors’ incomes nor of preserving the position of the medical profession in the income structure of the work force as a whole. Let me now turn to the implications of the increases in terms of inflation, productivity and arbitration. The former Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, the new Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) have constantly asserted that our present inflationary problems exist because increases in the price of labour have outstripped increases in productivity. Let me, therefore, draw their attention to the figures as far as doctors are concerned.
Increases of 100 per cent in the New South Wales surgery consultation fee and of 140 per cent in the New South Wales home visit fee between 1959-60 and 1969- 70, an increase of 58 per cent in the weighted average fee for medical services between 1964 and 1970, and an increase of 120 per cent in the mean annual income of doctors between 1952-53 and 1966-67 exceed respectively by 73 per cent, 113 per cent, 41 per cent and 83 per cent increases in productivity for each corresponding period.
Clearly the rate of increase for doctors’ fees and doctors’ incomes has consistently exceeded the rate of increase in productivity and has done so by a margin more gross than that of almost any other section of the workforce. Clearly doctors have had more than their fair share of extra resources made available by productivity growth.
On 8th April the Treasurer foresaw and deplored a situation in which, he said, ‘a person would have an income which determined his standard of living, based on whether or not he was a member of a powerful union’. He described this situation as ‘contrary to the egalitarian ethos of Australians’ and ‘something I don’t like’. Let the Treasurer now apply this reasoning to the AMA and its current fee increase proposals. Let him show as much zeal in denouncing the income aspirations of doctors as he shows in denouncing those groups under Arbitration Commission awards. The issue at stake is not merely whether doctors are to become richer but rather whether the stated position of the McMahon Government on matters of inflation, productivity and arbitration is to retain any shred of credibility at all. It can retain that credibility only if the Prime Minister now insists that doctors, like most other groups within the work orce, justify increases in the price of their labour through public processes of arbitration.
Only 2 months ago the former Prime Minister rejected as appalling the AMA claims that there should be a 15 per cent across-the-board increase in fees. Will his successor now cave in simply because the increase applies for the moment only to GPs and the cost has been reduced to $10m? The former Prime Minister was determined to bring doctors within the scope of an arbitration system; can the new Prime Minister do less? The question is one not of amounts and distribution but of justification, process and public information. The Minister for Health insists that governments have no power to establish the incomes of doctors, but in fact few members of the Australian workforce are dependent on doctors not for income alone of which 75 per cent is derived from taxes collected or forgone by governments but for the Commonwealth scholarships which see 74 per cent of their number through university courses and the hospitals on which their practical training depends. It is anomalous indeed that award wages paid in the main by private employers are determined by public arbitration, whereas doctors’ fees derived overwhelmingly from the public purse are determined by the profession alone.
The high cost of Liberal election gimmickry is nowhere more evident than in matters of health. In October 1969 the former Prime Minister said in his policy speech that it would cost $19m to give a Gorton look at the ailing Liberal health scheme with its 114 separate insurance bureaucracies. In March 1970 the former Minister for Health revealed in his second reading speech on the National Health Bill that the $19m had risen to $45m, an additional $26m being required, as I have said, to sweeten the specialist-dominated governing body of the AMA into accepting his modified scheme. As we now know, the Minister’s estimate too was conservative, and the real cost of last year’s specialist windfall has substantially exceeded his expectations.
Taxpayers and health fund contributors are now asked to underwrite a further subvention of at least $10m which, as I have shown serves no other purpose than to restore income relativities within the medical profession itself. They are asked to assume this additional burden at a time when the AMA has clearly indicated that it will be back before long for the 15 per cent increase in specialist fees which the former Prime Minister found appalling in February. The new Minister for Health clearly has no stomach for attempts to break this vicious cycle. He does not even have as much stomach as his predecessor. The new Prime Minister clearly has no intention of putting back the lid removed by his predecessor from Pandora’s Box. A Labor government will not countenance any increase in doctors fees which was not determined through the arbitration process. It will not discriminate in laying down procedures for fixation of the price of labour and skill between doctors and other sections of the work force.
I say now to the Prime Minister that he shall not divide Australia with a de facto incomes policy which sets one standard for ordinary members of the work force and another for privilege. Neither Parliament nor the people will accept arrangements under which there are Snedden’s rules for those who come within the ambit of the Arbitration Commission and Rafferty’s rules for all the rest. There is room within any incomes policy for only one form of discrimination and that is discrimination in favour not of those sections of the work force which are already glutted with affluence but of those whom affluence has passed by.
The Prime Minister cannot any longer at the same time and from the same dispatch box abuse the Arbitration Commission and appease the doctors. He cannot any longer advocate a measure of wage restraint on the part of sections of the work force which he is not prepared to require from the work force as a whole. The issue is a simple one. Either the doctors go to arbitration or the Prime Minister admits that all the calumny which he and his Ministers have heaped on the Commission since its December award is hypocritical. There are in fact only two courses open to the Prime Minister. He must put up proper proposals for arbitration on the price of doctors labour or remain silent on the labour pricing issue as a whole.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, I should like to ask the Leader of the Opposition how he would apply that to the legal profession.
Order! There is no point of order.
– Mr Deputy Speaker, the House would take the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) more seriously if he himself were not applying both a double and an impracticable standard on this issue. He makes great play, as do many others, of the fact that everybody else in the community has to go to arbitration and justify their claims for increased wages and that doctors do not have to do this. Will the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden), who is to follow faim on the Labor side in this debate, tell the House the Opposition’s attitude to the fact that, as I understand it, 40 per cent of the Australian work force is operating on the basis of remuneration other than that determined in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission?
In other words, 40 per cent of the Australian work force is enjoying over award payments, many of which have been achieved as a result of militant strike action, without a word being said by honourable gentlemen opposite. Therefore, one must assume that they tacitly support such a situation. What hypocrisy it is to criticise the medical profession from that point of view. I do not support the medical profession in everything that it does, but it is hypocrisy to criticise it from that point of view when more than 40 per cent of Australian workers are being remunerated on a basis other than the one which they have justified before the Arbitration Commission. That is the situation.
The Leader of the Opposition, as usual, has treated this Parliament with contempt. He had a long prepared statement which he had to read quickly in order to complete it in the time allotted to him. He has come into the chamber and read the statement so quickly that even if people had wanted to comprehend it, it would have been difficulty for them to do so. In other words, it has been an exercise mainly for the Press. Before I refer to the argument of the Leader of the Opposition and to the justification which he has given for raising this matter this morning, let me remind the House that fae has raised this matter this morning when the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood), is on behalf of the Government, meeting in Sydney, the leaders of the Australian Medical Association for crucial discussions on which the whole viability and future of the health scheme might depend.
Does the Leader of the Opposition believe that the raising of this matter in a party political sense and in a highly provocative and highly antagonistic sense so far as the medical profession is concerned will contribute towards the objectives which the Minister for Health and the Government seek, that is, to continue a viable health scheme? Of course he does not. He knows that the raising of this matter in the House this morning will have exactly the opposite effect. That is why the Opposition has chosen to raise the matter this morning of all times, although this question about doctors fees arose more than a week ago. The Opposition has raised some pettifogging matters of public importance which could have been replaced by the matter which is being raised this morning. The Opposition chose to raise the matter today - the very day on which the Minister for Health, on behalf of the Government, is undertaking this difficult task. The Leader of the Opposition himself acknowledged that it is a difficult task when he referred to the characteristics of the Australian Medical Association and to the strength of the AMA. It is a difficult task because it concerns all the patients and all the contributors to the health insurance scheme in Australia.
– You have not said anything yet.
– I am expressing, I hope, pretty strong views about the motives behind the raising of this matter at this time. This is typical of the Australian Labor Party in its attempt to be the alternative government. But let me continue because the basic argument advanced by the Leader of the Opposition is an invalid one. If his initial basic argument is untrue, his whole argument falls to the ground. He based his whole argument on the fact that the Government conceded, before it entered into negotiations, that an increase of 15 per cent in general practitioners fees is round about the mark. On Tuesday of this week the Leader of the Opposition himself asked the Prime Minister Mr McMahon), the head of the Government, a question regarding this matter. The Prime Minister, amongst other things, said:
Subsequently I was informed that after a meeting on Sunday they had agreed to the Government’s request, the effect of this being that the cost, instead of being $32m, as an across the board increase would have involved, would now be about $10m on their percentage increase. This figure of $1Om as being the maximum, as advised to me by the Department of Health, has not been agreed to by the Government nor have the various percentage increases that have been pro posed for the various States and in special circumstances by the AMA been agreed to.
I repeat: The Leader of the Opposition has based his whole argument on the fact that the Government has agreed to what the AMA has now announced should be the appropriate increase in fees for general practitioners. In response to a question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister has replied categorically on behalf of the Government that that is not true. What is more, the Prime Minister went on to say to the Leader of the Opposition that this was one of the matters about which our colleague, the Minister for Health, was going to see the AMA today. I submit that t’-.at basic argument not being correct, the Government has no real case to answer in this matter. I should have thought that as negotiations were to take place, the appropriate, honourable Lod responsible thing to do would have been for the Opposition to reserve its judgment until it saw what came out of the negotiations; until it saw what the Government’s decisions were, based on those negotiations, the Prime Minister having foreshadowed that the Government had not agreed to the increase of 15 per cent as proposed by the AMA and having said that this was a matter which would be the subject of negotiations with the AMA.
Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 3 p.m.
– Before the sitting was suspended, I had made 2 basic points about this matter of public importance which the Opposition has proposed for discussion. The first point was this: In bringing forward this matter of doctors’ fees and medical benefits for discussion at this time, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has based the whole of his case on the fact that the Government had conceded to general practitioners an increase of 15 per cent in their fees. This morning I quoted from an answer given by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in response to a question asked of him. The Prime Minister made it perfectly clear that it is not true that the Government has conceded that increase. The negotiations and discussions which are taking place today between the Executive of the Australian Medical Association and the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) are directed towards this very point. It is not true that the Government at this stage is satisfied that the increase of IS per cent, or whatever the proposed percentages are for the various States, is appropriate and is acceptable to it. Therefore, the whole of the case made by the Leader of the Opposition falls to the ground.
The second point that I made concerned the motives of the Opposition in bringing this discussion forward on the very day on which the Minister for Health has gone to Sydney to undertake a difficult task in the interests of Australia and of contributors to the health scheme. It seems to me that the action of the Opposition today accords with its lack of responsibility. In the few minutes available to me, I wish to indicate why the Opposition has brought this matter on for discussion today rather than wait for the logical time to propose it which would be after the Minister has engaged in negotiations and the Government has made its decision. After all, the fees have not risen yet. They are not going to rise - if they are to rise - until 1st July. So, time is still available to discuss this matter. Why has the Opposition proposed this matter for discussion today? I believe that there is one main reason for its action. This is that the Opposition is desperately worried because the health scheme that the Government has introduced has worked so well in the protection of Australians against the cost of illness. The Opposition is worried that the success of this scheme will continue.
The Opposition is worried also because its members, aided and abetted by the Press, have made a deal of political mileage out of misleading the Australian public with respect to the Opposition’s so called free health scheme. The Opposition is terrified that in the context of the success of the Government’s scheme the public will discover that, for all practical purposes, the Opposition’s scheme is not free at all. There is no better atmosphere than the present one in which to drive this point home. The public is aware in the current atmosphere that the medical profession is not exactly an easy profession with which to deal. I remind the public that the scheme proposed by the Opposition as a free health scheme is dependent entirely on the medical profession in Australia agreeing to charge 85 per cent of its common fee. If the doctors do not agree to charge 85 per cent of the common fee the patients will have to pay 15 per cent of the doctors’ bills however large, whereas under the present scheme, particularly in relation to the larger medical bills, at the point at which the patient really needs protection the patient pays no more than $5 for a medical service when the doctor charges the common fee. Under the Labor Party’s scheme if the doctor charges more than the common fee the patients will have to pay more than 15 per cent.
I ask the House to consider, I ask the country to consider, and 1 ask the Press of this country, which has forborn from adequately probing and analysing the Labor Party scheme, to consider, with recent events and attitudes on the part of the medical profession fresh in their minds, how many medical practitioners of Australia will agree to charge 85 per cent of the present common fee. The Labor Party is terrified that the public will realise just how much of a confidence trick the Labor Party’s scheme is. Members opposite know that the Government’s scheme has worked, and if we are successful in our discussions and negotiations with the doctors it will continue to work, and it will continue to work well. This is why I believe members opposite have raised this matter of public importance today, on the very day in which the Minister for Health is going forward to negotiate with the medical profession. Members opposite hope that by this means they will wreck the negotiations.
– Order! The Minister’s time has expired.
– The former Minister for Health, now the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) - perhaps a less controversial, or at least for him less controversial, portfolio - seemed to make a Freudian slip in the course of his discussion. He frequently referred to the subject of terror, exposing almost a preoccupation on a personal level or probably a hangover from his previous experiences as Minister for Health. An interesting point which arose from his speech was his discovery that there is a conspiracy in this country between the capitalist Press and the Socialist Opposition. This is a rather interesting proposition that he has proposed.
– They are just lazy; they have not analysed your scheme.
– Oh, the gentlemen of the Press are lazy. The Minister is expressing his attitude. If he has any more opinions perhaps he would like to express them so that we can have them on record. The Minister proceeded in his speech with further nonsense, for which he is a past master, and talked about the free health scheme of the Labor Party. There is not even a free meal available in the Australian community. Someone has to pay for it. It is a fundamental of economics that if more resources are to be devoted to a specific area it must be taken away from another area in the community. What the Opposition has been talking about in its approach to health insurance is a more efficient use of the public’s money. It is not our money; it is the taxpayers’ money. This is a point that I want to develop a little later.
The Minister’s terror about whether doctors would accept the IS per cent rebate because of the economies which would be derived through mass charging is quickly refuted by the fact that under workers compensation, the pensioner medical service and our rehabilitation system all doctors accept the rebate. While the Minister has been concerned about the common fee acceptance - a concept similar to his scheme as to ours - I draw the attention of the House and of the public to statements the Minister was making before the 1969 elections when he was trying to indicate that there was a difference between a scale of fees which we were proposing and the common fees which the Government proposed. He is now, in fact, conceding that there is no significant difference in the concept, though in practice it is another thing. According to an article written by Mr Eric Walsh in the ‘National Review’ over the Easter weekend, something like 20 per cent of doctors are charging more than the common fee set by the Government. So the Government scheme has not been particularly successful and accordingly this is one of the reasons why we have made some suggestions about arbitration. Again, if I might take another point the Minister mentioned, he said that the Opposition is desperately worried that its scheme may no longer be as attractive as it once was and that the Government’s scheme is proving more attractive. Over the Easter weekend I had to go to Melbourne for some work to further the cause of democracy and while I was there I noticed a gallup poll finding in one of the Melbourne daily newspapers which indicated that the Labor Party has something like a 20 per cent lead on the Government as far as public popularity and public opinion of the relative merits of their health schemes are concerned. If I were the ex-Minister for Health I would feel no balm from the fact that the national health scheme in Great Britain, which he frequently stigmatises, is able to attract something like 75 per cent popular support in the national opinion polls when his Government’s scheme can attract only about 15 per cent.
Let me move quickly to rebut 2 more points the Minister made. He said that the Labor Party was asserting that the Government had in fact accepted the proposals of the Australian Medical Association on fee increases This is not quite so. If one rereads the speech of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) one will quickly detect that what he was trying to do was to put a bit of backbone into the Government to induce it to face up to the AMA and protect the taxpayers’ interests - because it is the taxpayers’ money we are using in this case. But if anyone in the community believed that the Government had ceded to the AMA the right to these increased fees then that person would be justified in that belief. This belief is borne out by what they read in the daily newspapers. For instance, in the ‘Courier Mail’ of the 20th of this month it was stated:
But last night the Health Minister (Senator Greenwood) said that doctors had set up a new fees scale and “we have to live with it”.’
I have a copy of a transcript of a television interview with the Minister for Health (Senator Greenwood) on an Australian Broadcasting Commission programme in which he said: . . this is what the doctors have come up with, but what can the Government do? The doctors have recommended this fee to all doctors throughout Australia and accordingly I presume that is what doctors will charge.
Now, what Government must do is, as far as possible, see that the cost of our health scheme ,is kept within bounds. ‘ ‘
So he was whimpering for concessions like a lap spaniel reproved by the AMA without even trying to fight on behalf of the Australian taxpayers who are bearing a very large proportion of the burden of keeping this scheme going. The final point made by the Minister is, as with all the others, demolished quickly. He was talking about arbitration and the 40 per cent of the work force in Australia outside arbitration. This is precisely the point we are making. Doctors are part of this 40 per cent and nowhere does one see any evidence that penalty clauses are applied against doctors when they challenge the Government’s right in relation to fees and participation in the scheme. I ask the Minister, for the healthy change it would provide for him, to produce a little rational thought when he approached these things.
The fact is that the Government’s health insurance scheme is a model T performance in the space age. Tinkering with the spark plugs or fiddling with the motor of this museum piece proves inordinately expensive. It achieves only marginal and very short term improvements in performance. As a vintage show piece model Ts may have their place and interest but only in the proper setting, a museum where they may rightfully, harmlessly and inexpensively blend into the past, their right milieu. The scheme is, of course, as has often been said in this House, cumbersome and costly to contributors and taxpayers and inefficiently and unsatisfactorily uses the public’s money. Let me give some cases of this. In the period that the scheme has been in operation, from 1954-55 and 1969-70 funds benefits have increased by 642 per cent - I am speaking of the benefit going to contributors when they make a claim on the scheme - but reserves have increased by more than 1,173 per cent, at a rate, incidentally, nearly twice as fast as the rate of increase in fund benefits, and an acclerating rate at that. So what is happening is that the reserves are larding the insurance companies at the expense of the contributors. Over the same period reserves as a percentatge of contributions rose sharply from 18.4 per cent to 43 per cent. This represents a substantial amount of money.
In 1969-70 contributions amounted to $79m. They will probably be more than $90m for this year. We are talking about a lot of money. It is not our money; it is not the Government’s money. It is the public’s money. These people work hard for the money they have. They have a lot of competing demands to meet in their personal budgets, not the least of which is daily living, maintaining educational standards, accommodating standards and the normal sorts of things that are needed in daily existence. We have to see that when we take money from them through a tax scheme, whether it is voluntary on the side of the contributors or compulsory on the side of taxpayers as it is to prop up this scheme, we get as much mileage as we can out of every $1 that we spend of their money, consistent with good standards of professional service, the rights of people and so on. This has not happened.
Between 1954-55 and the end of this financial year the increased burden that taxpayers will have to carry will have grown by more than 1,061 per cent or more than $89m. This is a fantastic increase. There has been no case presented to justify this increase. In the same period the consumer price index will have increased by only 48.8 per cent. This grand and depredating old dame, the AMA, with more subtlety but equal determination to Genghis Khan pressing a siege, wants $3 5m. The terms are $10m and the rest later. Later the rest will probably be $25m to $30m. An indirect subsidy to the scheme will be provided by the taxpayers to the extent of $27m to $30m.
When we look at the medical side alone the charges additional to last year’s increase of $41m will be from $62m to $72m, and that will be so without even touching the area of hospital insurance. Again, where is the justification for these increases? Doctors who are swinging to preventicare get a free full-time qualified sister worth $60 a week and a free electric typewriter connected to an IBM computer which takes the history and reduces the work of the general practitioner considerably. One would have expected that this would be the time for a halt in increased charges and indeed this may well be an argument for reducing the charges. Arbitration clearly must be considered and if the AMA will not be responsible in this matter then we have a far greater responsibility to the taxpayers of Australia and to the contributors of Australia to ensure that their money is responsibly protected (Quorum formed)
– The matter of public importance raised by the Opposition consists of exactly 5 words - Doctors’ fees and medical benefits’. To speak only in terms of fees and medical benefits when dealing with this great area is to ignore the main issue if any government, regardless of where it may be, concentrated solely on the financial aspects of medical health and forgot the real personal and social aspects, I believe that it would be heading for trouble. I listened quite carefully to the two speakers from the Opposition side of the House on this matter. They almost entirely - and this certainly applies to the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) - spoke about the fees related to medical health, doctors fees and so on. This is not to say that fees in respect of medical health and doctors are unimportant - they are important. But even more important is the doctor-patient relationship. If we destroy this, as has almost been done in some other countries, and endeavour to establish socialised medical and hospital benefit schemes, we destroy the whole of the medical scheme of a country. That is why I believe that such a :relationship is so very important.
The Government has a responsibility to -participate in any medical health scheme in this country. But up to this point it has been only participation so far as the Gov- ernment is concerned. If the Government were to take over and establish a socialised scheme and thereby destroy the individual approach which is so extremely important it could destroy the relationship between the doctor and the patient. Heaven forbid the day when that happens in this country. This always has been uppermost in my :mind because I believe that even now in some cases we are moving into this area. For various reasons certain of our hospitals are perhaps overcrowded. In many cases doctors do not have time to’ give this personal attention. For instance, when, there are road accidents or when there is an influx of patients, such cases have to be dealt with in a hurry. At these times the workload on doctors is tremendous and we lose to some extent the necessary doctorpatient relationship - we take away the time factor that is needed to develop the relationship between the patient and the doctor.
There are, of course, many things that one could mention about this subject. However, in my opinion the doctor-patient relationship is the most important. I believe that we must never lose sight of this and talk solely about the economics of the matter. Patients must feel that they belong and are not just a part of a pushbutton machine age. They must feel that they belong to someone when they are in a hospital to be treated. An interest must be taken in them. There are other areas of medical services which concern me to some extent. One is the variation in doctors fees between the States. Perhaps as time goes by the position may be rectified by those concerned. Discussions on this matter take place from time to time. Indeed, I understand that such a discussion is taking place today. The point was made by the Minister for Immigration (Dr Forbes) that when matters of public importance are brought forward from time to time - and this has been quite frequently in recent weeks - it is noticeable that they relate to issues which are being debated by the Government or the responsible authorities and others involved. Often, as has happened today, a matter of public importance has been brought before the House when negotiations are taking place. Of course, this is the wrong time for such a matter to be discussed in this Parliament. These matters should not be raised when negotiations are taking place. I hope that in future when delicate negotiations are being undertaken on various aspects by people who are interested, the Parliament will not be called upon to debate such matters at that time.
I have mentioned - let me return to them to some extent - the facts of life in the field of health today in Australia. Numerous people are involved in this area. There are the patients and of course also the doctors. Doctors are extremely important and we must have plenty of them. Some areas of Australia simply do no have enough doctors and this is a problem. The benefit funds also are a part of the scheme. They are important too. Of course, both Federal and State governments have their areas of responsibility. Whilst these various sections work in conjunction with each other we are moving in the right direction. If they cease to work together and the main responsibility falls on the Government to administer all aspects of health through the public purse and by Act of Parliament, I fear that the health of the people will be in jeopardy.
All through the ages doctors have been independent inasmuch as a doctor runs his own practice in his own way and treats his patients, with whom fae builds up a relationship, in his own way. It is well known that many doctors treat individual patients and their families for a lot less than the actual fee which may be charged. This is part of the relationship and the confidence that is built up between the patient and the doctor. If these things are changed by governments that very valuable relationship will be destroyed. Moving on further we have the hospitals and the nursing profession, which is a profession of its own. Those working in a hospital must be able to understand the patients. A hospital is not a machine on which buttons can be pressed. It is not a machine that can work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is an institution that must work around the clock. Hospital officials must understand every minute of the day what is going on with the patients in that hospital.
We should not discuss the subject of health only from the point of view of the funds and the benefits that are available from a government or anywhere else. There are personal relationships between the people concerned and these, above all, are important. The matter that has been raised today refers only to fees and benefits. It does not deal with what I think are the major health issues; it deals with only one area. I hope that this Government will never look at only one area when it is dealing with health matters, whether it be in negotiations with doctors or whether it be in negotiations with the States or anybody else. I hope that it will not exclude from its considerations the interests of the patients and the doctor’s responsibility to his patients. I would expect a matter of public importance relating to health to cover a broad area. I sincerely hope that we maintain the situation which we find in Australia today, and I am sure that it will be maintained while this Government is in office.
– The discussion is now concluded.
– by leave - I am pleased to be in a position to inform honourable members that it is the Government’s intention to introduce legislation into the Parliament later this year to provide for the extension for a further 3 years of the Commonwealth Secondary School Libraries Programme. The Commonwealth Libraries Programme, which will have provided a total of $27m for library facilities in Australian secondary schools between 1st January 1969 and 31st December 1971. Wl provide $30m over the 3 years beginning on 1st January 1972. This is an increase of $3m over the total amount available during the first 3 years of the Programme. In the 2 years of its existence so far. the Libraries Programme has been widely accepted as a valuable contribution to Australian education at the secondary level. Considerable progress has been mae to date but it is clear that an extension of the Programme is required in order to meet the further needs of schools in this field.
We believe that the decision to extend the Programme, will allow the States and the non-government schools to engage in necessary forward planning, in the same way as has the recent announcement of the extension of the Commonwealth Technical Training Grants Programme and the earlier announcement of the Government’s intention to extend the Secondary Schools Science Laboratories Programme when the present triennium finishes on 30th June 1971. The decision to continue these educational programmes is a clear indication of the Government’s concern that Australian education should continueto develop to meet the growing needs and. expectations of the Community. As honourable members are aware, the Government is at present discussing with the States and with non-government schools the information obtained from the recent nation wide survey of needs in primary and secondary schools and in teacher education.
Bill presented by Mr Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The purpose of this Bill is to obtain Parliamentary approval for payment to the International Development Association of a. sum not exceeding the equivalent of $US48m in connection with the third replenishment of the Resources of that institution. As most honourable members will be aware, the International Development Association, or IDA as it is commonly called, is an affiliate of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which is often referred to these days as the World Bank. IDA was set up in 1960 because many less developed countries were not able, or could not afford, to borrow overseas on commercial terms. Many of these poorer countries did not have access to international capital markets because they could not establish a satisfactory credit rating. Moreover, most of them were already feeling the burden of external debt repayments and had little or no capacity to service additional overseas loans at normal rates of interest and on normal terms of repayment. IDA was established for the express purpose of providing loans on concessional terms to such countries.
IDA loans, or development credits as they are called, bear no interest and are repayable over 50 years with a 10-year period of grace. A small service charge of i of one per cent per annum is levied to cover administrative expenses. I would emphasise that, notwithstanding these soft terms, the projects which IDA finances are subject to the same rigorous analysis and appraisal with respect to both their economic worth and their technical feasibility as the World Bank itself applies in its own lending operations. In fact the 2 institutions have a common staff and a common executive board. IDA now has more than 100 member countries which are divided into 2 broad groups. The more economically advanced countries are known as Part I members and the less-developed countries as Part II members.
In 1960 Part I member countries, including Australia, agreed to subscribe roughly $US150m a year for 5 years to the initial capital stock of IDA. Australia’s share of this total was 2.7 per cent involving us in annual contributions of a little over $US4m. In 1963 Part I member countries agreed to replenish IDA’s resources over the 3 years 1965-66 to 1967-68 at the rate of roughly $US250m a year. Australia’s share of this total was again 2.7 per cent, involving us in annual contributions equivalent to $US6.6m, or about two-thirds more than the rate of our subscription to IDA’s initial capital stock. A second replenishment of IDA’s resources, involving contributions of $US400m a year, was agreed for the 3 years 1968-69 to 1970-71, although it came into effect only in July 1969 due to a delay by the United States Congress in ratifying the relevant agreement and passing the necessary legislation to authorise that country’s participation. Australia reduced ils percentage share of this second replenishment to 2 per cent, involving us in contributions of $US8m a year.
All of these resources - which have been supplemented by interest earned on investments, some additional voluntary contributions by a few Part I countries and transfers amounting to $US485m which the World Bank has made to IDA out of its annual profits since 1963-64 - are expected to be fully committed by the end of June this year for lending to less-developed countries. The need for a third replenishment of IDA’s resources is, therefore urgent if IDA is to be able to continue its lending activities. After lengthy negotiations, Part I member countries reached agreement in June 1970 that, subject to parliamentary approval in their respective countries, IDA’s resources should be replenished at the rate of $US800m a year over the 3 years commencing 1971-72. This represents a 100 per cent increase on the rate of contribution under the second replenishment exercise. Some special additional contributions will in fact raise the level of replenishment over this period to about $US813m a year.
Agreement to replenish IDA’s resources at this rate was reached only after some modifications to the percentage contributions of certain Part I countries. France and South Africa reduced their percentage shares, while Finland, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden increased theirs. Switzerland, which is not a member of IDA, but which participated in the second replenishment exercise, has agreed to contribute to the third replenishment on the basis of an increased percentage share. In addition, three Part II member countries, namely, Ireland, Spain and Yugoslavia, will be participating for the first time in a general replenishment exercise. With the concurrence of honourable members I incorporate in Hansard a table entitled ‘Contributions to IDA by Part I Members’ which compares the prospective contributions to IDA by Part I member countries and Switzerland over the next 3 years with the contributions they have already made.
Honourable members will observe from this table that, in this third replenishment, Australia’s share will be maintained at 2 per cent. This will mean a doubling of our present rate of contribution to $US16m a year over the next 3 years. In deciding that Australia’s share of this replenishment should be maintained at 2 per cent, the Government had a number of considerations in mind. First and foremost IDA, like the World Bank, is an efficient institution. We know from practical experience that it can tackle complex development problems in a technically proficient way, country by country. It is by far the largest agency lending on concessional terms in the world today. In its first 10 years, for example, IDA extended 221 credits totalling nearly $US2.8 billion to 55 countries. In 1969-70 alone, 56 new credits totalling more than $US605m were approved. The Government is conscious of the fact that there is now something of a swing back in world opinion in favour of multilateral aid, particularly through the international development finance institutions like IDA.
Needless to say, the developing countries, as a whole, attach great importance to a generous and early replenishment of IDA’s resources. We are also mindful that IDA has been, and will continue to be, of particular benefit to the developing countries in our own part of the world. In the past, about three-quarters of all IDA lending has gone to countries in the Asian region. Last financial year, India alone received nearly $US230m from IDA, while Indonesia and Pakistan each received about $US80m.
Finally, there is the prospect that Papua and New Guinea will benefit from this replenishment of IDA’s resources. To date, Papua and New Guinea has received credits and loans totalling more than $US22m from IDA and the World Bank. Another loan of $US23m is expected to be approved shortly. Further proposals to borrow from these two institutions on the Territory’s behalf are under consideration at the present time.
During the discussions on the level of the third replenishment, agreement was also reached on a proposal to adjust the relative voting rights of individual Part I countries so as to reflect more accurately the total amounts which each such country had, or will have, contributed to IDA since its inception. By way of background, I might explain that voting rights are based on subscriptions to IDA. I would emphasise this word, ‘subscriptions’. By general consensus at the time, it had previously been decided that the additional resources put at IDA’s disposal under the first and second replenishment exercises should not affect voting rights and for this reason the commitments then entered into took the form of contributions, and not additional subscriptions. In response to pressures from certain countries, which felt they were disadvantaged by this arrangement - that is, those which had increased their percentage shares, or made supplementary voluntary contributions to IDA, since it was first established - it has now been decided to redress this situation. This will be done by permitting Part I countries to make additional subscriptions, which will carry voting rights, to IDA as well as contributions under the third replenishment exercise, the relative proportions between the two varying in each instance so as to produce the overall voting adjustments desired.
As a consequence of the fact that Australia reduced its percentage share under the second replenishment exercise to 2 per cent, and now proposes to maintain that figure, our relative voting strength is to be reduced slightly. Complex calculations undertaken by the staff of the Association indicated that, of the total amount of $US48m which Australia is expected to make available to IDA over the next 3 years, $US583,440 should take the form of an additional subscription with voting rights. The balance will take the form of an additional contribution as in the case of the two previous replenishment exercises. This distinction is provided for in the Bill.
The agreement governing the third replenishment exercise is subject to the explicit condition that it must be ratified by at least 12 Part I member countries whose prospective subscriptions and contributions aggregate not less than $US1.9 billion. Because of the size of the pledge to be made by the United States, this means that the agreement cannot enter into effect unless and until it is ratified by that country. It is hoped that all of the formalities to this end will be completed by 30th June 1971 so that IDA will have appropriate authority to enter into new lending commitments from the start of the next financial year.
I ‘ should also like to explain to the House that our annual contributions to IDA are paid in the form of promissory notes which are cashed as and when funds are required by IDA. Actual cash payments reflect the pattern of disbursements by IDA and these usually lag well behind the commitments entered into when projects are approved. For example, cumulative cash payments to IDA by Australia as al the end of the current financial year are expected to amount to about $A36m, compared with total pledges of more than $A57m by Australia since IDA’s inception in 1960. I have a detailed break-up of these figures before me and, as they may be of some interest to honourable members, with the concurrence of the House I incorporate them in Hansard.
CONTRIBUTIONS AND PAYMENTS TO IDA BY AUSTRALIA
Contributiun Payments Lated - 1— balance
Cumu- Cumu- out-
Year Annual lative Annual lative standing $’000 $’000 5*000 S’000 rooo
INITIAL CAPITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS (tUS20.18m)
1960- 61 3,604 3,604 900 900 2,704
1961- 62 3,604 7,208 226 1,126 6,082
1962- 63 3,604 10,812 2,692 3,818 6,994
1963- 64 3,604 14,416 2,726 6,344 7,872
1964- 63 3,604 18,020 2,346 9,090 8,930
FIRST REPLENISHMENT ($US19.8m)
1965- 66 3,893 23,913 5,684 14,774 9,139
1966- 67 5,893 29,806 6,005 20,779 9,027
1967- 68 5,893 35,699 7,134 27,913 7,786
SECOND REPLENISHMENT (SUS24m)
1968- 69 7,143 42,842 2,020 29,933 12,909
1969- 70 7,143 49,985 2,820 32,753 17,232
1970- 71 7,143 (a)57,128 0>)3,OOO (b)35,753 (b)21,373
The significance of this point is that while Australia will be called upon to pay the first instalment of $ US 16m on its contribution to the third replenishment exercise in November next, the impact upon the Budget for 1971-72 of actual payments to IDA will be very much less than that.
This Bill provides us with an opportunity to. demonstrate once again our support for IDA as an effective and efficient development finance institution, and our willingness to help, through IDA, the less developed countries to achieve faster rates of economic growth and thereby improve their standards of living in future. I need not emphasise the importance to be attached to this broad objective. I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.’
Bill presented by Mr Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill seeks the approval of Parliament to borrowings by the Commonwealth of $US29.58m ($A26.4m) from the ExportImport Bank pf the United States and the Boeing company, and $US30m ($A26.8m) from a syndicate of United States commercial banks led by the Chase Manhattan Bank of New York to assist in financing the purchase of jet aircraft and related equipment by Qantas Airways Ltd. The loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank and Boeing appears as the First Schedule to the Bill and the Second Schedule contains the agreement with the commercial banks. The Export-Import Bank Agreement has been signed by all the parties but some of the banks have yet formally to sign the other agreement. However, it is expected that this process will be completed shortly.
The proceeds of the loans will complete the finance for the purchase by Qantas of its first 4 Boeing 747 aircraft and related equipment, spares and services estimated to cost in all SUS140m ($A125m). Because of the cost of these aircraft and the fact that a large proportion of the contract price was not due to be paid until this year, the borrowings of approximately $US113m ($A101m) required by Qantas for the purchase were arranged in two tranches. As honourable members will recall, in 1968 a borrowing of $US53m from the ExportImport Bank, Boeing and a syndicate of United States commercial banks, led on that occasion by Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, was arranged to finance pre-delivery payments on the aircraft and was. approved, by Parliament The present loans will complete the finance required by Qantas. The; general arrangements for the borrowings are similar to those approved by Parliament- for other loans for Qantas and Trans- Australia Airlines in recent years. The Commonwealth will he the borrower in the first instance, and the full proceeds of the loans will be made available to Qantas on terms and conditions to be determined by the Treasurer pursuant to clause 6 of the Bill. These terms and conditions will be the same as those under which the Commonwealth itself borrows the money. As the airline will be required to meet all charges under the loan agreement, the Commonwealth will, as usual, assume the function of an intermediary in these arrangements.
Drawings on the present loans will commence in August, when the first aircraft is due for delivery. In accordance with normal lending practice in the United States, a commitment fee of. one-half of one per cent per annum is to be paid on the undrawn amounts of both loans. The Export-Import Bank loan is to be repaid in 7 semi-annual instalments beginning 15th November 1975. The Commercial Bank loan is repayable in 10 semi-annual instalments beginning 30th June 1972. Interest on the Export-Import Bank loan will be at 6 per cent. However, the lenders in this case have the right to sell the Commonwealth’s obligations, in respect of amounts advanced, at prices involving additional interest costs to the Commonwealth of up to a maximum rate of 7 per cent. The Commercial Bank loan bears interest at a rate which is three-quarters of one per cent above the minimum commercial lending rate charged by Chase Manhattan Bank - at present 5.25 per cent - and will fluctuate with that rate. The terms and conditions of the loans have been approved by the Australian Loan Council, and I commend the Bill to honourable members.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 22 April (vide page 1924), on motion by Mr Snedden:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– It had been my intention, during the 20 minutes that are available to members during this debate, to discuss the Australian econ omy as it affects the primary producer. However as less than half that time is available to me before 4 p.m. I . shall discuss another subject now and when the debate is resumed will , refer to the Australian economy. So, without any notes or preparation, I shall speak on a subject which I had not intended to discuss - Anzac Day. Today is 23rd April and Anzac Day is 25th April. I often wonder whether many Australians nowadays regard Anzac Day as an occasion for a holiday rather than as a holiday for a great occasion. In Victoria there will not be a holiday next Monday, but in New South Wales and other places there will be a holiday. I do not believe that Anzac Day should be made the occasion for a holiday. If Anzac Day falls on a day other than a Sunday there is a holiday but it should be regarded as a holiday for a great occasion.
– A sad occasion.
– Of course it was a sad occasion and that is why I say that we should remember on that day the thoughts of those who still have memories of persons who died in the First World War at Gallipoli and in other places and treat the day accordingly. I was extremely disappointed when the Returned Services League, to some extent, and the people of Australia decided that Anzac Day should be commemorated on the appropriate day, 25th April, and agreed to the holding of sports meetings in the afternoon of that day. Many people who go to the Anzac Day services and celebrations in the morning of Anzac Day constantly watch the time to ensure that they can get away to some sporting event.
At a pleasant Sunday afternoon which was held in Wesley Church, Melbourne, Lord Casey said: ‘Everything is changing’. We know things are changing, but are they changing for the better or worse? What is the yardstick by which we judge this? I would ask this: Are we taking into the new era, as it is called, those things that really matter to the older people in this community - justice, service, self-sacrifice and Christianity? People may say of me: ‘You are an old man and the generation gap has caught up with you’. Nevertheless we should look around to see what is happening. Many young people are aware of these things, but a lot of people are not. I believe that we have to stand and show the flag wherever we can. We must build a strong nation.
We often hear suggestions for world government, and people say that we should not try to lift our nation and be proud of it. I say that at public meetings and in Parliament we should state that we have a great nation here and we are proud of it. It seems to be suggested that we should not make exclamations of patriotism and loyalty; but after all, unless one’s country is strong and rich one cannot do much for its inhabitants. Furthermore, one cannot do anything to help less fortunate nations, nations which many people in this country have great sympathy for and are anxious to give all the assistance they can. As far as the flag is concerned, it is hoisted at the schools every Monday morning. The children salute the flag and say a few words, but that is the end of it. When I made this point an another occasion a certain minister of religion said that this was no good at all, that the children just learned the words off by heart and it did not mean a thing. He said that they should stop this practice in the schools, and not raise the flag or say the prayer. I believe that we should have these things. We have a prayer said in this Parliament every sitting day, and people appreciate it.
One can stagger around a. public place in this country drunk and no-one takes much notice; but if one stands while a troop of old soldiers march by, or if one salutes the flag - or even if one makes a speech like the one I am making now about this great nation - someone is bound to titter and say: ‘You are showing off.’ Nevertheless, one should do it just the same. One could never show a finer sen timent. Many young people now regard the men who fought at Gallipoli and even those who fought in the Second World War as just being very foolish to do these things. I have a copy of a Melbourne newspaper which was published just before the First World War. It was kept by my people. On the front page there is a great headline saying: ‘On the verge of a great war. Only a miracle can avert it.’ The spirit of the people in those days was different to that of the people of today. Everyone was trying to uphold democracy and give the people of this world a chance for a better life. We would not be in peaceful occupation of Australia, nor would I have the opportunity of speaking in this Parliament at the present time had it not been for the sacrifice of the men to whom we pay homage on Anzac Day. .Therefore I think it is appropriate to say this before I continue with my speech on the Appropriation Bills.
– You can give it away.
– That is just where you are wrong. I think I should say something about Anzac Day. When you are paying homage - and I hope you will be- to the men who died on Gallipoli and, of course, the men who served in all the fields of war - in the -air, on land and under the sea - I trust you will realise and try to make others realise that but for the sacrifices that were made by those Australians we would not be in peaceful occupancy of this country now. I cannot regard anybody who takes a different view to that as a, true Australian. I ask for leave to continue my remarks at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned. House adjourned at 3.59 p.m.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
Papua and New Guinea: Education (Question No. 2401) Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
– The matter referred to is one which falls within the authority of the Ministerial Member for Education in the House of Assembly for Papua and New Guinea. The Administrator, on the advice of the Ministerial Member for Education, has provided the following information:
Percentage enrolment Actual aged Total enrolment 7-12 to male aged population primary 7-12(a) 7-l2(a) 7-12(a) enrolment
District of population
_ Indigenous Females_
Percentage Estimate enrolments of Actual aged Total population enrolment 7-12 to female aged aged population primary District_ 7-12 7-12 aged 7-1 2 enrolments
Western Gulf Central
Milne Bay . . Northern
Note (applicable also to (1) (a) GO and (iii)).
Note - Enrolment of expatriate pupils in secondary schools is concentrated in the three districts in which the multi-racial high schools are built at Lae, Rabaul and Port Moresby. In most districts the expatriate population in the secondary age groups is so small that there is no adequate basis on which to project this from the 1966 Census to provide percentage enrolment figures within each district separately. The multi-racial high schools provide 6 years of education. Over the Territory as a whole there were 563 male non-indigenous in the relevant age groups in 1966 and 555 females. If this age cohort had grown at the rate of 4 per cent per annum, the enrolment percentages in 1970 would be equivalent to: boys, secondary 79 per cent, technical 0.5 per cent; girls, secondary 57 per cent, technical 1 per cent.
School equipment charges were introduced from the commencement of the school year in 1967. The following revenue figures are of interest:
School year 1967 1968 1969 1970
101,434 130,958 141,540 146,773
The following transfers have been made the school equipment trust account:
Financial year Amount ($)
1966- 67 .. .. 33.394
1967- 68 .. .. 124,415
1968- 69 .. .. 66.409
1969- 70 .. .. 111,222
The balance of funds in the school equipment trust account at 30th June in each year is set out hereunder:
1966 .. .. -
1967 .. .. 14,040
1968 .. .. 34.694
1969 .. .. 113,617
1970 .. .. 146,174
1971 (estimate) .. 50,000
Revenue from secondary boarding school fees in 1970 was $330,863. The estimated revenue from secondary boarding school fees for 1971 is $363,949.
Total enrolment 1971 is 1798
Boarding school fees @ $30.00 . . 53,940.00 School equipment fees @ $3.00 .. 5,394.00 Total fees . . . . 59,344.00
Allowing 15 per cent non-payment .. 89.00 Total amount expected .. 50,434.00
The information requested by the honourable member is given below:
N.C.D.C. Commission Canberra Victoria
Wagga Housing C.C. Trust. New South South Australia Wales
Housing ComiTtisToo sion woomba New C.C. South Queens- Wales land
Wangar- atta C.C.
Housing Department Tasmania town C.C
Roads- Includes kerbs and gutters and bituminous concrete-
20 ft between kerbs
24 ft between kerbs .. (lii) 34 ft between kerbs
I Footpaths - 4 ft wide concrete
Supply pipes, trench lay and backfill (0 12 in diameter (ii) 18 in diameter lini! 8. 2t- 9.38(a) 9. 44-11. 40(b) 7.50- 9.00(c) linft 8. 63-10. 87(a) 10. 73-13. 07(b) 8.50-1 1 00(c) linft 12.75-14. 84(a) 13. 95-17. 18(b) 12. 00-16. CO(c) 11.65 linft bon linft linft 0.83(i) 1.32(n) 3.92(p> 5.54(p) l.I5(j) I.10(k) 1.50-1 .60 0.85(o) 2.80- 3.00 4.50- 5.00(n)
3.80(w) 7.76(e) 9.90(f) 8.89(e) 11.20(f) 11.73(e) 14.70(f) 2.00(m) 1.50 2.20(q) 3.15(a)
1.75(1) 1. 50
Note: Where C.C. appears in
Civil Airlines: Airlines/ Charges (Qnestfoa No, 2851)
The minimum races payable on passenger charter Bights into or out of Australia are prescribed by the Australian Government, and are the same for aO carriers.
The scheduled fares and minimum charter rates payable as from 1st April, for return travel on any airline between the points mentioned using the most direct routes, are as follows:
Affinity Group charter rate (55 per cent normal applicable economy class fare). (P) Parent of Migrants charter rate (50 per cent normal applicable economy class fare).
Alternatively, arrangements may be made for the chartered aircraft to set down passengers at more than one point in Australia. In such cases the airline concerned is required to make a charge, appropriate to the extra costs involved, for each additional landing.
Australian Capital Territory Police Report (Question No. 2981) Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:
When does he expect to table the last annual Australian Capital Territory Police Report (Hansard, 27th October 1970, page 2829).
I tabled the report on 7th April 1971.
The Commonwealth provides normal first aid equipment, including stretchers, for Commonwealth staff but as with all such facilities these are available for more general use as necessary. Other organisations within the international terminal building have first aid post staffed by a qualified Sister. There is also a doctor who practises within the airport and is on call in the usual way.
Soon after the new terminal opened the staff canteen was said to be too expensive. This may have been related to the type of meals rather than to the prices which were charged for the food which was provided. In any event the problem was discussed with the Canteen Manager and some adjustments were made to both the menu and the price list.
The one house held vacant for more than 3 months was extensively damaged by a motor vehicle.
(a) To meet the requirements of priority housing allocations for Defence Forces and key civilian personnel transferred to Canberra.
There were seven such dwellings at 28th February 1971. When they are considered beyond economic repair for reletting they are demolished or offered for sale by public auction.
For the longer term the Department is revising the master plan for Mackay Airport and that will include provision for a new terminal building.
What criteria are used by the Bureau of Meteorology to classify a cyclone as distinct from a severe rain depression.
A tropical low or a tropical disturbance is a closed low pressure system of tropical origin in which the mean wind speed does not exceed 34 knots (39 mph) at any point. Mean wind in this context refers to the speed averaged over a period of least 10 minutes, not to momentary gusts values.
A tropical cyclone by international definition must have mean winds of at least gale strength (39 mph or more) somewhere in its circulation.
What was the total sum spent by the Commonwealth on airport terminal buildings in -
the Australian Capital Territory ;and
the Northern Territory, during the last 10 years.
What progress has the Government made in its phasing in of 3 hospital benefit tables, as proposed in recommendation 7 of the Nimmo Report (Hansard, 4th March 1970, page 37).
Recommendation 7 of the Nimmo Committee is That the Hospital Insurance Scheme be rationalised by confining benefit tables to 3 benefits each equal to 1 of the 3 levels of hospital fees in force in each of the States - standard, intermediate and private wards’.
On 4lh March 1970 my predecessor announced in the House that the Government had decided to adopt Recommendation 7 and that the decision required no legislative action and would be imple mented as an administrative measure over an appropriate phasing-in period. He also indicated more recently that the Government would give careful consideration to a fourth benefit table in those States where hospital benefits organisations favour the introduction of a fourth benefit table to cover the situation where private hospitals charge fees higher than those charged by public hospitals for private rooms.
The most suitable time for hospital benefits organisations to introduce a hospital benefits structure of three or four tables is when public hospital charges in a particular State are being increased. Public hospital charges were increased in South Australia on 1st March 1971, and hospital benefits organisations in that State availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by the increases to introduce from the same date a structure of 4 hospital benefit tables equated to the 4 levels of charges in public and private hospitals.
My Department has had discussions with hospital benefits organisations in other States wilh a view to arriving at a satisfactory method of rationalising the structure of hospital benefit tables in those States.
The fo Mo wing table details the number of cyclones in each year from 1951 for the Eastern Australian ana and the number of these which produced gate force or stronger, winds on the Queensland coast
Illinois Hospital, on the dangers of aerosol sprays referred to in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’, volume 214, page 81.
Doctors’ Fees (Question No. 29S2)
Did the Government in June 1967 decline to accept a recommended increase in fees submitted by the Australian Medical Association 8 months earlier.
In June 1970, the Government, after a series of discussions with the Australian Medical Association, declined to accept a proposed ‘Mechanism for Periodic Updating of Medical Benefits Tables’ which was submitted by the Association in October 1969. At the same time the Government declined to adopt the Association’s proposal for a new basis for determining fees payable to medical practitioners rendering services under the Pensioner Medical Service. In doing so, the Government acknowledged the necessity for periodic coordinated reviews of medical fees and benefits and signified its willingness to enter into further negotiations with the Australian Medical Association for periodic adjustments to the fees on which benefits are based.
Did advisers of the Australian Medical Association supply to officers of his Department details of proposed medical fee recommendations at their last joint meeting on 8th January 1971.
On 8th January 1971 the Economic Advisory Committee of the Australian Medical Association did supply to my officers details of medical fee recommendations which, at that stage, it was considering before making its report to the Federal Council of the Australian Medical Association.
Did his Department supply to the Australian Medical Association, on 8th and 29th January and 4th and 5th February 1971, estimates of gross income of the medical profession at the time when State Branches were finalising collection of doctors’ opinions on recommended fees for the extended deadline of mid-February 1971.
No. My Department, however, did provide to the Australia Medical Association tables showing the number and the cost of medical services, extracted from claims processed by medical benefit funds in each State during the quarter ended 31st December 1969 and the quarter ended 31st December 1970.
Major-General S. C. Graham, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C., Deputy Chief of the General Staff.
Daniel, First Assistant Secretary (Defence and Works Division), Department of the Treasury.
The Committee has issued to the departments and to industry, draft specifications on 10 and 20 recording surface Disc Packs for comment.
Significant progress has been made with a specification for Electronic Data Processing Tape, 1600 bpi.
Department of Defence, the Department of Supply and the Services, it includes a representative of the Standards. Association of Australia.
The Committee, makes full use of recognised Australian, British, United States of America, Canadian and New Zealand standards and arranges Defence Group representation on appropriate Committees of the Standards Association of Australia.
In excess of 500 Australian joint Service specifications and standards have been published including those mentioned in part (1) above. An up-to-date index of these documents is issued periodically and a copy can be made available to the honourable member if required.
Defence Department: Implementation of Metric System (Question No. 3132) Mr Barnard asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
What plans have been made in this Department to meet the impact of the implementation of the metric system of weights and measures in Australia?
The Defence Group of Departments has a representative on the Interdepartmental Co-ordinating Committee on Metric Conversion which is the channel of communication between Commonwealth Departments and the Metric Conversion Board.
The Metric Conversion Board has a number of subordinate committees working in various areas of equipment and the Defence Group of Departments is represented on those which are relevant to its needs. Further such committees are to be formed by the Board and the Defence Group will provide members as appropriate.
The Departments of Defence and Supply have members on the Advisory Committee on Metric Conversion of the Standards Association of Australia.
The Defence Standardisation Committee, on which the Departments of Defence and Supply, the three Services and the Standards Association of Australia are represented, is including metric measurements wherever practicable in its specifications and standards.
These activities are approaching the stage where a joint Defence Group Committee on Metric Conversion win be needed and this Committee is in process of formation.
Defence Department: Financial Policy Branch (Question No. 2899) Mr Barnard, asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:
Papua and New Guinea: Indigenes Employed in Commonwealth Departments (Question No. 2375)
What progress has been made since his predecessor’s answers to me on 18th March 1970 (Hansard, page 528) and 5th June 1970 (Hansard, page 3087) in (a) the appointment of the 4,700 local employees of Commonwealth Departments in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea to the Territory Public Service so that they can have tenure, career opportunities and retirement benefits applicable to local officers of that service and (b) the training and career development of local staff so that they can assume increased responsibility for work now being done by officers of Commonwealth departments.
Present indications, pending completion of a current survey, are that there are approximately 1,600 local staff who are employed in Commonwealth departments on conditions generally similar to those of Territory Public Service staff employed under the Public Service (Papua and New Guinea) Ordinance and that less than half that number would meet the requirements for permanent appointment to the Territory Public Service. It is proposed that the permanent appointment of these persons will be effected from a common date, which has now been set as 1st July 1971. Consideration is being given to the future status of those employed in salaried categories and who either do not meet permanent appointment requirements or may not wish to be appointed to the Territory Service on a permanent basis.
The conditions of employment of the remaining local staff who are employed by the Commonwealth largely in day labour categories are to be considered in conjunction with the proposed introduction of a Day Labour Determination to cover all Administration local employees who are not eligible for appointment to the Territory Public Service on a permanent career basis.
Eight local employees of the Bureau of Meteorology have been trained at the Bureau’s residential training centre in Port Moresby and are now capable of carrying out observer duties. An additional eight are nearing completion of initial observer training and ten have commenced training this year. One local graduate of the University of Papua and New Guinea is at present undertaking the Bureau’s one-year meteorologist course in Melbourne, and on completion he is expected to take up duties in weather forecasting for aviation and general purposes in Papua and New Guinea.
The Department ot Civil Aviation is this year sponsoring some 20 local cadets at the Institute of Technology for study towards the Diploma of Civil, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. A Civil Aviation Training College has been established in Port Moresby to provide a three-stage course for Flight Service Officers and Air Traffic Controllers (which are now called Airways Operations Officers) and ten local trainees have commenced stage 1 of the course this year. An additional seven local trainees have enrolled for the preliminary year at the University of Papua and New Guinea to improve their formal educational standard prior to commencing training as Airways Operations Officers. The Department has also arranged for local trainees to enrol at the Administration Posts and Telegraphs Training College for training as linesmen and radio technicians. Training in clerical skills is also being encouraged and most clerical assistant and storeman positions in the Department in Papua and New Guinea are occupied by local employees.
Arrangements have recently been made for local employees of the Commonwealth Department of Works to participate in the Papua and New Guinea Public Service Cadetship Scheme for full-time study at the University or Institute of Technology. One cadet is undertaking an engineering course and the Department is sponsoring seven additional cadets for tertiary level courses this year. In addition, eleven trainees are undertaking on a full or part-time basis certificate courses leading to sub-professional qualifications, sixty-five formal apprenticeships are current and eleven trainees are being trained in other industrial callings. The Department also has several trainees at the Administrative College in Port Moresby.
Similar arrangements have been approved for the Auditor-General’s Office to train local officers as auditors under the Territory Public Service Cadetship Scheme.
The Public Service Cadetship Scheme is available to all Commonwealth departments in the Territory for the tertiary training of their local staff as suitable people become available. Departments are also able to participate in the Commonwealth Government’s scheme for practical training in Australia. It is expected that increasing use will be made of these avenues for the training of local staff and for their career development.
What is the estimated additional income tax which will accrue to the Commonwealth as a result of the recent 6 per cent increase in wages in (a) the remainder of this financial year and (b) a full year.
The National Wage Case decision will affect income tax collections mainly via its impact on the incomes of wage and salary earners and hence via collections of Pay-As-You-Earn income taxation. Incomes of employers will also be affected by this increase in wage payments, but the effect of the National Wage Case increase on the incomes of individuals subject to provisional tax and the incomes of companies cannot be accurately estimated at present. These incomes will not, of course, be assessed for tax until 1971-72.
In gross terms the decision will add about $126m to P.A.Y.E. income tax collections in 1970-71. However, approximately half of this increase in .taxation collections was already allowed for in the assumptions underlying the Budget estimates so that estimated P.A.Y.E. collections will be increased by about $63m as a result of the decision.
As the National Wage Case decision will be operative for only six months in the financial year 1970-71 the full-year effect of the derision would be approximately twice the amount mentioned above for 1970-71. that is, about $252m.
In view of recent increases in salaries and also increases in cost of living, will he consider granting increases in pensions to those in receipt of Commonwealth Superannuation payments.
The Government reviews regularly the levels of Commonwealth Superannuation pensions- paid to ‘ former employees of the Commonwealth or their beneficiaries. These reviews have resulted, ever the years in substantial increase, in the employer component of these pensions.
The position will again be reviewed during the formulation of the 1971-72 Budget.
The Acting Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information in reply to the honourable member’s question:
Details of road traffic accidents involving casualties relate to accidents which were reported to the police and which satisfy the following conditions:
that the accident resulted in -
Can he give information from statements pub.lisred by the States in respect of maximum interest rates authorised by the Loan Council for semi-governmental borrowings in the last 20 years (Hansard, 28 August 1970, page 742) as he did in respect of special allocations approved by the Loan Council for semi-government or local government authorities (Hansard, 13 October 1970, page 2073).
As explained in my predecessor’s reply to a similar question on 28 August 1970, the proceedings of the Australian Loan Council are confidential. I am not aware of any statements published by the States which would serve as a basis for supplying the information requested, with the exception of advertisements for public issues by State semi-government authorities which refer to rates offered in those particular loans. I am therefore not in a position to provide the information requested by the honourable member in the way he has suggested. However, as Chairman of the Loan Council, I have written to each of the other Members - that is, the State Premiersand sought their views as to whether, none the less, the information could be provided. I shall write to the honourable member when I have received the Premiers’ views.
In the light of still later increases in interest rates, will he bring up to date the figures which his predecessor gave me on 22 August 1969 (Hansard, page 53S) and which he himself gave mc on 5 May 1970 (Hansard, page 1645) on the loss to revenue if taxpayers were permitted to deduct interest on housing loans from their taxable incomes.
The loss to income tax revenue that would occur if taxpayers were permitted to deduct interest on housing loans from their taxable incomes is estimated at approximately $100m per annum. This estimate is based on statistics of interest paid in 1969-70 on advances for the purchase of dwellings.
Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation (Question No. 2488) Mr Clyde Cameron asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
The information sought is not available as a record of these details is not maintained in the Office of the Commissioner for Employees’ Compensation. However, the records available indicate that the Commonwealth accepted liability for death in respect of the following number of claims lodged under the Commonwealth Employees’ Compensation Act -
1968 .. .. .. ..26
1970 .. .. ..21
Frequency rate (Number of accidents - involving absence of one or more days- per 1,000 employees)
Year ending 30 June -
1966 .. .. 111.8
1968 .. .. .. 127.2
1969 .. .. .. 122.6
1970 .. .. .. 118.3
The information sought on the number of workers’ compensation claims and common law claims arising from industrial accidents is not available.
Is he able to say how many common law claims for damages arose out of industrial accidents and disease in respect of (a) fatalities
What were the respective amounts awarded for (a) costs and (b) damages in the same years.
The information sought on the number of common law claims for damages from industrial accidents and disease for the categories specified and on the amounts awarded for those categories is not available.
Total Amount of Workers’ Compensation Premiums as Proportion of Total Wages. Salaries and Supplements (Expressed in terms of amount of premiums in $ for each $100 of wages, salaries and supplements)
Accidents to Self-employed Persons (Question No. 2499)
Can he say how many self-employed persons (including primary producers) were (a) killed, (b) permanently and totally disabled (c) permanently and partially disabled (d) temporarily and totally disabled and (e) temporarily and partially disabled as a result of accidents in each of the last 5 years for which figures are available.
I am advised by the Acting Commonwealth Statistician that information about accidents is not collected in this detail.
How many Australian soldiers have been (a) killed and (b) injured by mines in Vietnam.
The definition of the word ‘mine’ includes explosives rigged as booby-traps. Records of mine casualties do not differentiate between the two types.
Since 12th July 1965, as a result of mine and booby-trap incidents, 78 Australians have been killed in action and 578 have been wounded in action; of the latter, 17 subsequently died of wounds.
SCUBA diving gear; emergency breathing apparatus with communication facilities; - safety harness, lines and belts; insulated freezer suits and boots; lighting equipment; safety helmets; o personal search kits; o overalls.
What progress has the Statistician made in his examination of the desirability of compiling and publishing measures of change in product per unit in relation to the level of major industries, groups of industries and gross national product as indicated in his answers to questions No. 524 (Hansard, 5th May 1970, page 1644), No. 1821 (Hansard, 27th October 1970, page 2830) and No. 2028 (Hansard, 30th October 1970, page 3168).
As indicated in the answer to question No. 2028 there are various problems which the Statistician did not anticipate being able to resolve before the second half of 1971. Since that answer was given additional problems have arisen in connection with up-dating estimates of gross product by industry and substantial revisions to estimates of wages in total and by industry. In the circumstances the Statistician is unable to give a firm date by which his examination will be completed.
Investment in Plant and Equipment (Question No. 2706) Mr Clyde Cameron asked the Treasurer, upon notice:
What was the (a) cost of and (b) rate of growth in (i) total private investment and (ii) non-farm investment in plant and equipment in each of the last 20 years.
Total Private Non-farm
Note: Figures in brackets are approximate only.
What was the amount of private expenditure on building (a) private residences and (b) nonresidential and other forms of construction activity in each of the last 20 yean.
The Acting Commonwealth Statistician has supplied the following information in reply to the honourable member’s questions
and (4) As will be seen from the answer to the previous part of this question, there have been many meetings of the various Committees since their inception. In all, about 50 meetings have taken place and it would not be practical to do other than to highlight the more important things hat these meetings have covered. Briefly, some of these matters were as follows:
Will the Minister supply me (Mr Jones) with a copy of the report on completion of the inquiry into the near serious accident between the Canadian Pacific DC8 aircraft and a Trans-Australia Airlines Boeing 727 at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport on 29th January 1971.
Aboriginals in Royal Australian Navy (Question No. 3149)
The Royal Australian Navy enlists Aboriginals with the necessary enlistment standards which apply to all prospective entrants. No separate standards are set down for Aboriginals.
As Aboriginals are treated as members of the community no special statistics are kept relating to their enlistment or progress in the Navy.
Aboriginals in Army (Question No. 3146)
Although there are Aboriginals serving in the Australian Army, there are no statistics of their number, rank or category because race is not recorded on enlistment.
The purpose of the exemption is not to free the teachers concerned from all taxation, since they remain liable to tax under the law of their country of residence.
On the basis of these and other statistics my Department estimates that overtime earnings have amounted to about 10 pet cent of total wage and salary earnings in recent years. These estimates, however, are necessarily imprecise and should only be seen as indicating a very rough order of magnitude.
What was the (a) frequency rate per 100,000 man hours worked and (b) severity rate (man hours lost per 100,000 man hours worked) of industrial accidents in each of the States and within the Commonwealth Public Service during each of the last 5 years for which figures are available.
State compensation statistics do not contain figures for the numbers of persons at- risk and hence it is not possible to calculate frequency or severity rates.
In Commonwealth employment the frequency and severity rates, on the .basis of 100,000 man hours worked, were:
1964-65 1965-66 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69
Frequency .. 2.82 2.62 2.59 2.53 2.35 Severity .. 252 230 211 193 193
Employment: Overseas Qualifications (Question No. 2897) Mr Reynolds asker the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
Labour and National Service R. B. McAllister, Footwear Manufactures
G. Holmes, Secretary, Department of Labour and National Service
The current authority to. trade granted to Australian Airport Services Pty Ltd, expires in June 1971, and the lease and authority granted to Olims Travellers’ Services Ltd, expires in 1985.
(a) Public tenders were recently invited for catering trading rights in the TAA terminal at Sydney. Public tenders will shortly be invited for similar rights in the Ansett terminal. Catering trading rights in the international terminal were subject to public tenders in 1966.
(a) Public tenders for the catering rights in the TAA terminal were invited in February 1971, and for the international terminal in March-April 1966. Tenders will be invited shortly for catering rights in the Ansett terminal at Sydney.
Typists (ii) Telephonists (i) Typists (ii) Telephonists
Nil Nil Nil 344 plus 65 stenographers 235 plus 26 stenographers 108 plus 18 stenographers
64 40 IS
35 45 25
Papua and New Guinea: Overseas Public Servants (Qcwstioo No. 2394) Mr Whitlam asked the Minister for External Territories, upon notice:
Service of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
Place of Birth
Number Number employed appointed in Public on overseas Service conditions
West Irian 21
Fiji .. 2 I
Tonga . . . . 1
West Samoa 1 1
Territory of Papua and New 45 45
Guinea (born of European parents)_
How many (a) local and (b) overseas officers are there in each class of the Public Service of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
In answering the honourable member’s question it is assumed that the reference to each class of the Public Service is intended to mean each division of the Public Service. On this assumption the information as at 28th February 197 1 is: (The above figures do not include teachers who were transferred to the Territory Teaching Service in July 1970.)
Papua and New Guinea: Trade Stores- 1LO Convention No. 95 (Question No. 2385)
The training section of the Department of Business Development conducts formal courses at many locations throughout the Territory in trade store management. Business Advisory Officers conduct similar courses and are providing advice and assistance in the store to hundreds of operators throughout the Territory.
Generally there are far too many sub-economic indigenous owned trade stores (total over 6,000) in the Territory. Provision of training and finance would result in the closure of large numbers. Real or inferred prestige motivates the establishment of many stores which provide very poor service and prices to consumers and purely nominal returns to owners.’ (2)(a) The matter referred to is one which falls within the authority of the Ministerial Member for Labour in the House of Assembly for Papua and New Guinea. The Administrator on the advice of the Ministerial Member for Labour has provided the following information: (a) Operations of trade stores are regulated by the provisions of the Native Employment Ordinance 1958-1970, the Trading with Natives Ordinance 1946-1953, the Transactions with Natives Ordinance 1958-1963 and the Prices Regulation Ordinance 1949- 1970;
The provisions of the Trading with Natives Ordinance 1946-1953 are administered by officers of the Department of the Administrator. The provisions of the Transactions with Natives Ordinance 1958-1963 are also administered by officers of the Department of the Administrator conjointly with officers of the Department of the Treasury, who oversights and enforce, where necessary, the provisions of the Prices Regulation Ordinance 1949-1970.’
Records in the Public Service of Papua and New Guinea do not readily disclose the numbers of local officers involved in appeals as sought by the honourable member, and I am reluctant to authorise the effort and expenditure which would be involved in the preparation of such details. However the following information may be of assistance:
The number of provisional promotions of overseas officers against which appeals were lodged by local officers, and the number of successful appeals by local officers in each of the last 6 years were -
Can he say what is the (a) nature and (b) amount of assistance which other Governments have given to Pakistan following the disaster of 13th November 1970.
A number of Governments provided the services of special personnel and equipment including boats and aircraft other than those flying in relief cargoes. These were the Governments of Belgium (task force and field hospital); France (helicopters); the Federal Republic of Germany (medical teams and helicopters); Iran (medical team); Kuwait (doctors); Saudi Arabia (doctors); Sweden (doctors); Singapore (medical team); the United Kingdom (special sea-borne task force, helicopters and landing craft); the United States (helicopters) and the U.S.S.R. (helicopters). The Government of India offered mobile hospitals, river craft, helicopters and transport aircraft.
In which territories within’ the territorial scope of the South Pacific Commission have conditions for plantation workers been varied since his answer to me on 5th May’ 1970 (Hansard, page 1653).
The following information- has been supplied by the authorities in the countries and territories concerned (information concerning French Polynesia, and Western Samoa is not yet available and will be supplied when received):
American Samoa, Guam and Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
No change -
Take home - pay for copra cutters now averages $20.25 per month on a 5 day week of some 35 hours. The predominant rate of $18 per month for a 45 hour week for other plantation workers is unchanged.
Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelaus No change
On Fanning and Washington Islands plantations, workers are paid $1.25 per day plus 2c per day for each completed year of service. A bonus on an incentive sliding scale is paid for copra cut. Accommodation and limited electricity are supplied to workers.
On Christmas Island plantation workers are paid $30.50 per month, increasing to $32.75 after 18 months’ service and $33.50 after 3 years’ service. A bonus is paid of 2c per 5 lbs of copra cut and there is a camp allowance of 50c for those not cutting copra. Accommodation and electricity are provided.
The minimum monthly wage for full-time agricultural labourers is $130.70. The accommodation deduction is now $9.80 per month and meal deduction is now $34 per month.
So far as is known there are no substantial changes.
Territory of Papua/New Guinea
Information on the actual wages paid to plantation workers in Territory of Papua/New Guinea, of the kind contained in Labour Information Bulletin No. 6 (that was mentioned in my earlier reply) is not yet available for dates beyond 30th June 1968.
The cash portion of the prescribed minimum wage paid to plantation workers in Papua and New Guinea, quoted in the Minister for External Territories’ answer to question 167 (Hansard, 6th May 1970, page 1760), was increased by S26 per annum from 1st January 1971. The prescribed provision for issues of food, clothing, other issues and accommodation remained unchanged.
On 17th February 1971, the Ministerial Member for Labour in the Papua and New Guinea House of Assembly . announced that the Government would introduce, at the March session of the House, legislation which would convert the present cash and kind wage to an all-cash wage, and which would provide for a minimum all-cash wage of $5.90 per week. Deductions may be made from this cash wage (for food, accommodation, clothing and other issues provided by the employer) by agreement between employer and employee. The prescribed scale for these deductions would be as follows:
The objects of the amendments are given in the following summary of the note prepared by the Malaysian Parliamentary Draftsman to accompany the Bill as it appeared on the Order Paper:
Clause 6 amends Article 153 to:
Clause 8 makes amendments to Article 16U consequential to the amendments made to Article 153.
Refer to 1 (e) above.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 23 April 1971, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1971/19710423_reps_27_hor72/>.