27th Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 2 p.m. and read prayers.
The Acting Clerk - Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled the petition of the undersigned electors of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:
That on 10th December 1948, Australia signed the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, Article 25 reads: ‘Everyone has the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Yet, 23 years later.in our country of great national wealth and abundance it is to the nation’s shame that many thousands of our people live in a state of being inconsistent with the dignity and worth of the human person languishing in poverty and want, neglect and the lack of proper care necessary for their health and well-being.
We, the undersigned, respectfully draw to your attention that the conscience of the nation is not at ease while the records of our country show that social services are not comparable with that of other advanced countries administering such services, therefore, we call upon the Commonwealth Government to immediately legislate for:
Base pension rate 30 per cent of the average weekly male earnings, all States, plus supplementary assistance and allowances based on a percentage of such earnings. Unemployed benefits equal to the foregoing.
Completely free health services to cover all needs of social service pensioners hospitalisation, chronic and long-termillness, fractures, anaesthetics, specialist, pharmaceutical, hearing aids, dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropody, surgical aids and any other appliances.
Commonwealth Government to promote a comprehensive national scheme in cooperation with the States and make finance available to provide for the building of public hospitals, nursing and hosteltype home necessary to effectively meet the special requirements of aged people, in conjunction with a comprehensive domiciliary care programme to enable aged people to stay in their homes.
Mental illness placed in the same position as physical illness.
Substantial Commonwealth increase in the 85 subsidy a day per public bed pensioner patient in general hospitals.
Ten per cent of Commonwealth revenue to local government for general activities which now include social welfare, health, con servation and other community needs. Commonwealth subsidy for the waiving of rates for pensioners.
Commonwealth Government to increase the nonrepayable grant to the States for low rental home units for pensioners.
Royal Commission or other form of public inquiry into Australia’s social welfare structure that Australia may be brought into line with accepted world standards of the most advanced countries.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Salter, Mr Calwell, Mr Jeff Bate, Mr Brown, Mr Daly, Br Everingham, Mr Hansen, Mr Hayden, Mr Keith Johnson, Mr Keogh, Mr Killen, Mr Scholes, Mr Stewart, Mr Uren and Mr Webb.
Petitions severally received.
The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:
That the Postmaster General’s Department, Central Office policy of centralising Post Office affairs and activities under the various titles of Area Management, Area Mail Centres, Area Parcel Centres and similar titles is resulting in both loss of service and lowering of the standards of service to the public, directly resulting in the closing of Post Offices which is detrimental to the public interest.
Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Drury and Mr Allan Fraser.
Petitions severally received.
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:
Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives will take whatever action fa necessary to ensure that the new and permanent Parliament House is built on the Capital Hill site and not Camp Hill as previously announced. by Mr Bryant
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of Aborigines and Non-
Aborigines citizens of Australia, respectfully sheweth the 1967 Referendum has failed to carry out,
Whereas the Aboriginal people in a serious state of neglect with regard to Land Rights and Compensation.
Your Petitioners request that your Honourable House make legal provision for:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Grassby.
To the Honourable, the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the employees of the Australian Aircraft Industry and Citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully sheweth:
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Keating.
– I ask the Treasurer: Is foreign investment flowing into Australia at an unprecedented rate? Do the investment guidelines laid down by the Gorton Government encourage rather than discourage overseas borrowing by companies operating in Australia? Has the Government just borrowed money overseas when the capital was readily available at comparable interest rates in Australia? Has the pegging of the Australian dollar at. the low end of the 21/4 per cent variation allowed by the International Monetary Fund encouraged further capital inflow. Is it a fact that neither the Treasurer’s speech yesterday nor the Treasury document foreshadows anything other than continued inaction? Finally, when will the Government control inflation by restraining capital inflow rather than by putting people out of work?
– The honourable gentleman has asked at least 5 questions. 1 lost count at that number.
– Can you not count beyond 5?
– Not on only one hand. Many of the questions asked by the honourable member showed a misunderstanding of the whole basis of capital inflow. The first point is that capital inflow is at an unprecedented high level. If the honourable member had read the White Paper he would have understood the reasons for it, and he would have understood that there is at the present time in the world an extraordinary high level of liquidity and an extraordinary mobility of money, especially in the Eurodollar market. Now there is talk of the development of an Asian dollar market. Because of these circumstances those people who have a command of great amounts of funds channel them from place to place as it suits them. It so happens that many other countries have been, so to speak, attacked at a currency level. So far as the evidence we can gather shows, Australia has not been subjected to such an attack.
Imove to the next point, the guidelines. Those guidelines were adopted and are operating. The purpose of the guidelines was to maintain as high a level of Australian equity in the totality of Australian enterprises as was possible. The concept was to enable money in Australia to be used for equity investment. However, the result has been not merely the upholding of the level of Australian investment in equity but also the encouragement of people to borrow elsewhere because of a shortness of money in Australia or because the guidelines prevent them from borrowing. All this has contributed to the inflow at a time when a tremendous amount of money was available. The guidelines policy therefore has to be seen in its 2 aspects. I will look at the Hansard report of the honourable member’s question and provide him with an answer to the other points.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs representing the AttorneyGeneral. Is the Minister aware that the Australian Federation of Police Unions recently passed a resolution calling on all members of this Parliament, both Government and Opposition, to assist police to maintain law and order in the light of the growing tendency to resort to organised violence at demonstrations in the streets and in other places? Is there any evidence that certain members of this Parliament have advised, organised and encouraged demonstrations resulting in lawlessness in utter disregard of this appeal from the police association?
– I have seen the resolution of the police, and I think all members of Parliament would appreciate the call that is made on them to assist in the maintenance of law and order and to assist the police in this regard. This matter goes wider than the demonstrations themselves. There seems to be a tendency to attack police, particularly at demonstrations. One has evidence that provocative actions are. planned both by the use of obscene language to policemen and by kicking them on the ankle. When the police react they are photographed and the heading is always ‘Police Brutality*. This is a technique which is taught and preached at gatherings to get the police accused of brutality. I think that anyone who upholds our system of parliamentary democracy, under which the Parliament passes our laws and the police, under ministerial control, see that those laws are carried out, has a vested interest because of his own security and safety to see that every support is given to the police. I believe that this also applies to other members of the community who have this interest in a safe, orderly community. Demonstrations can be of various types, but we all know that something sensational must occur in a demonstration if it is to receive coverage by the media or headlines on the earlier pages of newspapers. So, there is a tendency when demonstrations are organised for some form of violence to occur. This is not always advocated by those who are organising the demonstration. Indeed, quite the reverse applies. Very often with their mouths they preach peace, but in the demonstration they walk always along the edge of violence.
– My question is addressed to the Minister for Primary Industry. Has the Government received the final draft of the Randall Committee report? If so, when does he expect the report to be presented in this House? Is it expected that legislation to change wool marketing procedures will be introduced in this sessional period, even if the House has to sit beyond the end of next week when presently it is planned the House will rise? Lastly, since the Minister recognises the need for Commonwealth and State agreement before a new scheme can be implemented, will he inform the House of the steps he has taken to ascertain the attitude of the States to wool acquisition or other marketing schemes, to facilitate early legislative action?
– I am delighted to see the Opposition at long last taking an interest in the marketing of wool. In terms of the Government’s deliberations on wool, the Prime Minister commissioned Sir Richard
Randall to head a committee, constituted by senior representatives of a number of policy departments, to report to the Government on aspects related to the position of wool as a textile fibre relative generally to wool marketing. That report will be the basis of much of the Government’s deliberations. A preliminary report has been lodged with the Government; a second report has now been received by the Government; and I understand that further reports might well be submitted to the Government by Sir Richard Randall and his fellows on the committee.
As I explained to this House the other day, the problems in relation to wool marketing need to be seen in 2 lights. The first is the time factor necessary for the introduction of change in the system of small lot handling, or the price averaging plan. The small lot handling system which is now operating has been seen to be very much in the producers’ interests in the last 6-month- period of rising wool- prices. The time factor given to us by the wool brokers was that, if a scheme other than PAP were to be .introduced, they would need to be advised by 1st May. Cabinet decided that it was not practicable to .introduce a change from the PAP system as from 1st May to apply as from 1st July. Therefore, during the period from 1st July to 31st December there will be another pool period under PAP. The other recommendations of the Australian Wool Industry Conference will be considered in conjunction with the consideration of the report from Sir Richard Randall, and I hope that the. Government will be in a position to come to a decision on these well in advance of the opening of the new wool selling season which, of course, begins on 1st July next.
– I address a question to the Prime Minister. My question concerns the High Court of Australia. Let me, by way of brief preface, observe that it is now a little over 6 weeks since that distinguished Australian, Sir William Owen, died. Having regard to the very heavy burden of work which the High Court of Australia carries, can the Prime Minister say when the Government will fill the vacancy caused by the unfortunate death of Sir William?
– This matter has been under consideration and I hope to be able to make a decision soon. As soon as 1 have done so, as is usual, the decision will be made known to the House.
– I ask either the Minister for Immigration or the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Is it a fact that a man described as a businessman well known in Croatian circles in Melbourne was in Canada recently when his Australian passport was seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and he was issued with a document which allowed him only to return to Australia? Will he say why the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took this reported action? If the Minister is not aware of the objection, will he find out and inform the House of what it is? If he is aware of the objection, will he say whether his Government was aware of it when this man left Australia and, if so, why he was allowed to proceed on his journey with an Australian passport?
– After Mr Rover left Australia, information became available to me that his role in the Croatian nationalist movement was such that it was not in Australia’s international interests to have his travel facilitated by the Australian Government, that is, by bis possession of an Australian passport. In the circumstances, I exercised the powers available to me under section 8 of the Passports Act to have Mr Rover’s passport cancelled and Mr Rover issued with a document of identity which would enable him to travel back to Australia.
– My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Science. Is it a fact that there has been a cut in the sheep research projects being carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation? If so, can the Minister say how many personnel have been transferred from sheep research to other projects? To what extent have the cuts been made in research funds previously available for this work? Will the Minister ensure that sheep research projects are not reduced but in fact expanded in areas where research is required to resolve many questions? 14211/ 72 - /f - f 1 001
– Firstly, there has been a re-organisation of some of the activities of the CSIRO. One of the reasons for the re-organisation is the reduction in the wool research funds available to the CSIRO. That, of course, as the honourable gentleman would know, was an industry decision. But additional funds have been made available by the Commonwealth Government to build up the research moneys to the levels that would have prevailed had the price of wool remained higher and moneys been available to a greater extent from the wool research funds. The reorganisation that has taken place within the CSIRO has not taken research workers outside of the primary industry-rural area. There has been some re-organisation within the primary industry-rural area. I am, and will bc, having some discussions with the Minister for Primary Industry concerning future emphasis on wool research and other research related to agricultural industries. There has not been any basic reduction in the agricultural research, but there has been some movement from the wool area into other agricultural areas.
– I desire to ask a question of the Minister for Education and Science. Has the honourable gentleman analysed or caused to be analysed the contentions of Professor Goldman that new expenditure on education under the Government’s plans will be $33m-odd a year for State schools and $41m a year for private schools? 1 also ask the honourable gentleman whether, under the envisaged plan of matching grants by the States, the States would on the one hand receive SI 67m over the 5 years and be obliged to offset that to the extent of more than $90m in matching grants?
– There is no obligation on the States in the terms suggested by Professor Goldman. Whether the honourable member for Fremantle <s just repeating Professor Goldman’s suggestion or making it again on his own account 1, am not sure, but there is no obligation of that kind upon the States. What the Commonwealth has done is initiate major new capital programmes for government schools and for independent schools, the funds for government schools to be at the discretion of the States according to where they see their highest priority requirements. In addition to that we have suggested to the States that they join with us in providing independent schools with one-half of 40 per cent of the cost of education in government primary schools and secondary schools so that they will have a firm basis for forward planning. I am delighted to know that the State of Queensland has already publicly indicated that it will join with the Commonwealth in that matter. The analyses that have been made by Professor Goldman, and one or two others, ignore the amount of $825m that State governments will spend on government and secondary schools and teachers colleges this year. It will be a higher sum next year; it will be a higher sum again in the year after that, lt is a sum that has grown very substantially and, of course, through the tax reimbursement formulas the Commonwealth provides 50 per cent of that $825m. Putting this on a per capita basis, governments spend over $300 a head for children in government primary schools and significantly over $500 a head for children in government secondary schools.
The second basic fact that Professor Goldman and his associates ignore is the normal school building programme of the States which is financed out of the States’ works and housing programmes. At the moment that particular programme is running at the level of $130m a year or something a little better. In addition to that $130m, the Commonwealth’s continuing programmes for libraries and science laboratories, together with the new programme which has just been announced and which is by far the most substantial, will add an additional nearly $44m a year to the capital programmes of the States for a programme which are now running at about $130m to $133m. That shows the extent of the increase or increment which is being provided by the Commonwealth.
The additional funds to independent schools will total about $14m a year in this capital area. That SI 4m will be provided for the 22 or 23 per cent of children in independent schools and $43m will be provided for children in government schools. Roughly, on a per capita division over the total Commonwealth capital assistance, about 24 per cent will be going to the independent schools. Another point that has been ignored by Professor Goldman is the fact that State capital funds have been growing by about 7 per cent a year over the last few years. There is no suggestion that they will not cease to grow. State recurrent expenditure on education over the last 2 years has been growing at about 16 per cent a year, and there is no suggestion that these funds will not continue to grow in the years ahead. Indeed, arguments that Professor Goldman used seem strange. They mixed up capital and recurrent expenditure in much the same way as the honourable member for Bendigo did yesterday. They gave, or attempted to give, a completely distorted picture of the most forward looking programme in educational advance that the Commonwealth has seen in many years.
– I ask the Minister for Defence whether he can give the present position and potential of Project N, the light aircraft, which has been developed at a cost of $4m or $5m by the Government Aircraft Factories.
– The testing and assessment of the 2 prototypes of Project N which have been produced are going ahead extremely well. I understand that the 2 aircraft have flown more than 250 hours so far, and that this testing has shown that the performance of these aircraft is at least equal to, and in some areas better than, what was expected from the design. It is expected that the Department of Civil Aviation certification will be available in about a fortnight’s time, towards the end of this month. The Royal Australian Air Force and the Army have assessed the potential of this aircraft and their assessment was considered by the Defence Force Development Committee early last week. That Committee has reported to me, and I hope to be in a position very shortly to bring a report to the Government for its decision.
– My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. It is now 7 weeks since the right honourable gentleman announced outside the House that the
Government Parties had discussed the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, introduced in April 1970 on his behalf when he was Foreign Minister. I. ask the Prime Minisster whether the Government Parties have since discussed this Bill in association with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, which is dropping lower and lower on the notice paper? Is it a fact that debate on either or both of those Bills will not be resumed this week or next week because the Queensland elections are to take place at the end of next week?
– First I think it should be known that it is a golden rule that we say nothing publicly about Liberal-Country Party discussions in joint party meetings. Certainly no-one at official level does so. Secondly, as to the last part of what the honourable gentleman has said, if he can contain himself in patience for not very long I am sure he will get an answer.
– I ask the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts whether he has seen a report of comments made by Professor Ali Mazru of Uganda recommending a policy which encourages Aboriginal children to be educated with ot without the consent of their parents and suggesting that some degree of coercion is needed if Aboriginal children are to be separated from parental influence and absorbed, through education processes, into the mainstream of change? Does the Minister agree that this is a view held by many Australians? Will the Minister inform the House what is proposed in Commonwealth administered areas to ensure that Aboriginal children are given every opportunity to overcome their present environmental handicap? Does the Professor’s suggestion that in the future boarding schools should be used much more than they have been in the past have any appeal?
– This is an interesting question relating to the problem of trying to maintain the family environment in the Aboriginal community and at the same time increasing education standards. I think the honourable member is aware that since 1 969 an Aboriginal study grants scheme has been in operation. This scheme has helped a number of Aboriginal children to undertake a wide variety of post secondary school activities. Some students benefiting under this scheme live away from home. Also, since 1970 the Aboriginal secondary grants scheme has been in operation and has encouraged a large number of Aboriginal children to stay at school longer than they would have done otherwise. These schemes offer allowances for living away from home, the purchase of school books, clothing and so on. In the past year the amount allocated to these schemes was more than $3,500,000 which has been used to encourage over 3,500 students to gain education along the lines advocated by the honourable member.
– I address a question to the Treasurer, following on a question asked earlier by the honourable member for Kingston (Dr Gun). Yesterday the Treasurer introduced into this House a White Paper on foreign investment. That paper revealed an appalling shortage of up-to-date statistics in relation to the flow of foreign money into Australia. How does the Treasurer justify his attitude on beneficial foreign investment in Australia when the foreign exchange regulations of the Reserve Bank are not being used, at least to the extent that there is no real screening of money coming in or the destination of that money? I remind the Treasurer that amounts under $250,000 a day may be brought into Australia without coming under the scrutiny of the Reserve Bank. Would it be fair to say that imports of money up to $240,000 every day would not have to be reported to the Reserve Bank? Does not this practice contrast with the supervision by the Department of Customs and Excise of goods imported, bearing in mind that even for very small articles or quantities of goods numerous documents must be prepared and submitted?
-Order! I suggest that the honourable member conclude his question.
– The last part of my question is: Could not the Reserve Bank police the importation of capital into Australia in much the same way as the Department of Customs and Excise polices the importation of goods?
– The honourable gentleman draws attention to a lack of statistics in 2 senses: One is the coverage and the other is in terms of times. Statistics are available relating to an earlier period. In both cases there is strength in what the honourable gentleman says. I am not satisfied that the statistics are as up to date as they need to be in order to make current judgments. The Government has been doing what it can through the Treasury and the Reserve Bank - I may say with the full co-operation of the Treasury, the Reserve Bank and the Commonwealth Statistician - to broaden and bring up to date those statistics. The broadening of statistics is constantly a matter of value judgment as to how much man-effort ought to be put into gathering particular statistics because, although in the end the statistics may be fascinating information, they may not be vital for policy formulation. Therefore, judgments have to be made. For instance, to follow an amount of money that came into the country through the various intermediaries to its end point would be a very big job. It would be easier to measure it from a different direction when it arrived at its destination so to speak.
The other question concerns the fact that for amounts less than $250,000 there is no need for exchange control regulation. This procedure was adopted at a time when the exchange markets of the world were closed after the Smithsonian agreement. This was the end point of our liberalisation programme which we went ahead with at the time, when from a closed down situation we opened it up. At this stage I see no reason to change that situation. I think it is operating quite properly. As for the proposition that we should police incoming capital in the same way as incoming goods are policed under the customs and excise regulations, I fail to see a direct analogy between the two. Regarding the inflow of capital, policies will be developed by the Government and will be announced when they have been determined.
– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether the latest figures released show considerable improvement in the unemployment position. Has unemployment in country areas of Australia remained static? Has con siderable confidence been restored and will future figures show the same improvement trend?
– There were a number of encouraging features of the recent employment release which was published by my Department. I think of the relatively large fall in the level of those unemployed of approximately 4,500; the improving trend in relation to the job vacancies in all States; the firming of demand for adult males in some metropolitan areas and, certainly not least of these factors, a slight improvement in the level of overtime worked. The honourable gentleman specifically queries the situation in country areas. I believe that if one looks at the April figures one can see a continuing improvement in the country areas in relation to employment, due in part no doubt to the improved rural outlook and also to the success of the Government’s rural unemployment programme which last month saw approximately 14,000 persons employed under that scheme. So far as the forward picture is concerned, the labour market is a very sensitive area, determined as it is by so many factors in the general economic climate. The Government is confident that when the impact of the monetary and fiscal measures which have been taken by the Government have worked their way through the system we can look forward in the months ahead to a much stronger rate of economic and employment growth.
– I direct to the Minister for Primary Industry a question supplementary to that asked by the honourable member for Forrest. The Minister will remember telling the honourable member for Maranoa on Tuesday of last week that the report of the Randall Committee was expected within about a fortnight and that the Government would then again consider the matters on which the Committee was asked to report. I therefore ask him precisely, as the honourable member for Forrest asked him today: will all the reports of the Randall Committee be received, as he forecast, by next week? Does he expect to introduce legislation before the end of the present sessional period, namely next week, or, if need be, in the week after?
– Last week when I replied to the honourable member for Maranoa I was replying in confirmation of a statement made by the Prime Minister following upon a Cabinet discussion when he indicated, following our deliberations, that the report would be available in about a fortnight. My reference was intended to be to the same period. I have this morning stated that 2 reports have been received from the Randall Committee. There is still an area within which no advice has been given and, consequently, I would expect further information from the Randall Committee on those aspects. In regard to the parliamentary programme for the rest of this session, I think that the honourable gentleman would be aware that there is a mass of legislation before the Parliament. Accordingly I doubt that the legislation would be introduced before the rising of the Parliament, but 1 would hope, as soon as possible after the Government has come to a decision on its deliberations on the wool industry, to make a statement on that decision. I would hope also that this would be made well in advance of the new wool selling season.
– I address a question to the Treasurer. Is the State Labor Premier of Western Australia now negotiating overseas loans with foreign financiers? How do loans such as these affect inflation and how do they line up with the remarks of carping critics who continually raise matters of public importance in this House about overseas investment in Australia?
– There are 2 tongues when the Labor Party speaks on economic measures.
– Forked tongues.
– To that interjection I do not respond, but no doubt it does have reality. The plain fact of the matter is that the Labor Party will choose whatever grounds it can to try to make political capital of economic measures. The Labor Party scarcely ever has any real regard for the national interest in economic measures and it sees them always in political terms only. An example of this is contained in the question asked by the honourable member. What the Labor Premier of Western Australia says is quite different from what Labor spokesmen say in this House. Very often in this House one spokesman will be saying something and others will be saying something different. For instance, in education the honourable member for Bendigo will be saying one thing while other members of his Party are terrified about where he is carrying them. There are a number of other examples on the question of inflation. For instance, the Labor Party never states an attitude to a wages policy. There is a very real reason why it does not do so - because it does not dare. If anyone in the Labor Party were to say that there should be a brake on the increase of wages he would suffer the same fate as the honourable member for Hindmarsh who received a flood of telegrams when he had the temerity at a Federal Executive meeting in Adelaide to suggest that very thing. That was the closest the Labor Party ever came to a policy on wages. So it is with the inflow of capital into Australia. The Labor Party is prepared and anxious to climb on whatever bandwagon it sees going by. The unfortunate thing is that many Labor supporters are on different bandwagons. Sooner or later they will have to pull their policies together. Then perhaps there will be a reconciliation between the views of the Premier of Western Australia and of other Labor spokesmen.
– Has the Minister for Shipping and Transport received from the Bureau of Roads a report on a survey of highways between capital cities? If so. when did he receive the report and when will it be presented to the House?
– I have received a report from the Bureau of Roads concerning the highways of Australia. At this stage it is a document for Government information and therefore I do not propose to table it in the House until the Government has had an opportunity to consider it.
– Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware of growing community concern, even within the legal fraternity, over the high cost of divorce and the punitive nature of its provisions? Is he aware of the financial burden characteristically placed on the male party in a broken marriage and which falls with particular severity on the working man who may be required to pay more than half his weekly wage, even to a wife who has deserted him? What steps is the Commonwealth taking to introduce some elements of justice and reason to this backward area of our social milieu?
-I understand the concern of the honourable member with this subject. There is considerable concern in the legal profession about the cost of divorce and there has been a good deal of consultation between judges and the profession on that subject. However, it is a very complex subject and a great deal of detail is required to answer the question that has been asked. Therefore I will refer it to my colleague the Attorney-General in another place.
– My question relates to activities of the Treasury and to housing and therefore I am directing it to the Prime Minister. I preface my question by stating that the average cost of land and a dwelling throughout Australia last year was approximately $15,000; in fact, in Sydney it was $20,000. The Prime Minister would be aware that interest rates have not been reduced on housing loans by savings banks since they were increased in April 1970. He would also be aware that the maximum first mortgage housing loan by savings banks is $9,000. Will the honourable gentleman agree that interest rates with savings banks are too high and that first mortgage loans are too small? Will he take action to reduce interest rates on housing loans and increase first mortgage loans by savings banks?
– During the course of this Parliamentary sessional period I was asked a question relating to interest rates and the degree to which they had fallen. I can assure the honourable gentleman that it is clear from the Treasury paper I have received that the reduction over the whole range of interest rates was of the order of 1 per cent. The honourable gentleman asked about the amount that can be made available for building loans and the interest charged by savings banks. I will have some discussion with my colleague the Treasurer, and Treasury officials, and I will be only too happy to communicate to the honourable gentleman the information I obtain.
– Is the Prime Minister aware that a tour of inspection of living abodes of pensioners in inner city areas revealed that exorbitant rents are being charged and that, in most cases, the pensioners have stated that they could manage quite well but for the increased rents? Will the Prime Minister invite the State Premiers to meet him in an endeavour to have the position corrected?
– I will give very careful consideration to the question asked by my colleague. I will have no hesitation whatsoever in approaching the State governments and letting them know the substance of the honourable gentleman’s question and then, if they care to do so. I would have no hesitation in discussing it with them.
– I direct my question to the Minister for Social Services in his capacity as the Minister responsible for the Compensation (Commonwealth Employees) Act. Is he aware of the case of Mr Bede Tongs, a Commonwealth public servant working in Canberra, who on 15th February 1972, whilst driving a motor vehicle in the course of his employment with the Commonwealth, stopped to render assistance to a lady motorist whose car had broken down? The fan blade of the lady’s car flew off, struck him in the left eye and destroyed his sight. Is the Minister aware that his claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been refused by the Commissioner? I ask the Minister: Is this the sort of result that was contemplated by the Government when it introduced this legislation last year? Also, will he take steps under section 20 of <he Act, with the Commissioner, to see that the whole matter is reconsidered?
– I am not aware of this case. This is the first that I have heard of it. I will have it examined. I cannot give any commitment beyond that. As the House will realise, the Commissioner is, very rightly, independent of ministerial control. But I will have the matter looked at, with particular reference to where the responsibility lies in this case.
– 1 address a question to the Minister for Labour and National Service. Has it been standard practice for some organisations as well as government departments to deduct union membership contributions from salaries and wages, and to hand the dollars to union secretaries? Has the Teachers Federation now imposed a $14 increase to be so deducted, which will be used to assist the Opposition to conduct its general election campaign? What is the Government doing about this insidious practice which contravenes all feelings of a fair go for individuals, most of whom do not want to see a socialist government in Australia?
– I am aware that this practice is followed in a number of companies throughout Australia. 1 am not aware of the details of its application in the Commonwealth Public Service. I will certainly seek that information for the honourable gentleman. To the extent to which this is a matter which comes before the attention of government, 1 will consider what he has put forward and provide him with an answer in writing.
– by “leave - I have recently returned from an overseas visit, the basic purpose of which was to enable me as the Australian Governor for the Asian Development Bank to attend the 5th annual meeting of the Bank which was held in Vienna from 20th to 22nd April 1972. I do not wish to discuss now the deliberations and developments at that annual meeting. Suffice it to say that I assured the Board of Governors in Vienna of Australia’s continuing support for the Bank. In pursuance of that assurance a Bill was submitted to the House recently providing for Australia to make an additional subscription to the capital stock of the Bank. This will involve a paid-in contribution of $US25.5m to be paid over 3 years. Honourable members may wish to go further into the work of the Asian Development Bank and Australia’s relations with it, when that Bill is debated before the House. What I do wish to do now is to inform the House about the international monetary situation overseas as 1 found it on this occasion and to make some observations on the outlook for the period ahead.
When I last made a statement to the House on this matter - that was in October 1971 - the world’s foreign exchange markets were in a state of great confusion. On 15th August, President Nixon had announced the suspension of the convertibility of the United States dollar into gold and other reserve assets. A 10 per cent surcharge on all dutiable imports into the United States was imposed. Certain other measures were announced and one of these, the job development tax credit, had the effect of discriminating against imports into the United States of capital equipment items. This announcement was followed by a period of just over 4 months during which the currencies of most of the major countries floated upwards against the dollar. Over those 4 months the air was rife with argument between the major countries. There were differences of view about defence burden-sharing, trade concessions, the removal of the import surcharge and the job development tax credit, and the broader issue of how a currency re-alignment would be achieved, who would make a contribution to that, when and how much. We, in Australia, saw great dangers in a continuation of this state of confusion. Both the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and f urged early reconciliation of these differences on the member countries of the Group of Ten in statements both here and abroad. We believed it was simply not good enough for the rest of the world to have to sit back and wait and see when the protagonists in this struggle would reach an early settlement - and we said so.
The so-called Smithsonian Agreement reached in Washington on 18th December cut through this impasse. There was agreement between the members of the Group of Ten on a new pattern of exchange rates between themselves, on a 7.9 per cent devaluation of the United States dollar, which also involved an increase in the United States dollar price of gold from $35 to $38 an ounce. The import surcharge was removed together with the related provisions of the job development tax credit. Pending agreement on longerterm monetary reforms, provision was made for 2£ per cent margins of fluctuation above and below the new exchange rates. It was also agreed that reform of the international monetary system should be given prompt consideration. The new pattern of exchange rates agreed to included an appreciation over the existing par value of 7.7 per cent for the Japanese yen, 4.6 per cent for the Deutsche mark and 2.8 per cent for the Netherlands guilder and the Belgian franc. Sterling and the French franc kept their par values unchanged. The Smithsonian Agreement restored the foreign exchange markets to some semblance of order. There was increased confidence in the dollar, at least in the period immediately after the agreement. The countries outside the Group of Ten, and that includes Australia, adjusted themselves in various ways to the new pattern of exchange rates. The net result was a significant appreciation in terms of the United States dollar of most of the currencies of the countries with whom the United States traded to any large degree, and that again included Australia.
The immediate state of euphoria which followed President Nixon’s announcement of the Smithsonian Agreement wore off rather quickly. Towards the end of January the United States dollar came under heavy selling pressure. There were a number of reasons for this. In the first place, the United States balance of payments deficit measured on an official transactions basis reached the awesome figure of $US29.8 billion in 19 1. But of that total only SUS2.8 billion was to be accounted for by the deficit on current account. Of the remaining $US27 billion the net outflow on long-term capital account has been estimated at around $US6.5 billion. The rest, some SUS20.5 billion, consisted of short-term capital outflow and errors and omissions which probably represented, in one way or another, movements out of United States dollars for speculative or protective reasons. What was hoped was that the Smithsonian Agreement would lead to an immediate and significant return of confidence and reflow of short-term funds back to the United States. This reflow did not occur to any significant extent. That was the first and perhaps most important reason for the renewed doubts about the dollar early this year. A second reason, and also an important one, was that, although the major countries of the world agreed on a new pattern of exchange rates in relation to the dollar on 18th December, there was no agreement as to where the currencies of those countries would open in the market in relation to their par values or central rates. In point of fact, most currencies opened up at the bottom, or thereabouts, of their permissible range of 2i per cent below or above their central rates. In these circumstances those who were in a position to move back into dollars had nothing to lose, and perhaps a good deal to gain, by delaying that return since the foreign currencies could only move up against the dollar, and with widened margins the possibilities of further gain - up to 4 per cent or so - were quite significant. A third reason was that interest rate differentials at the short end of the market, already in favour of Europe, initially widened further due to a sharp fall in United States rates. This operated as a further factor influencing those who might otherwise have transferred funds back to the United States to defer doing so for the time being since their money was earning rather more where it was. A fourth reason, perhaps of lesser importance, was that doubts arose in some quarters about the permanence of the Smithsonian Agreement because of expected delays in Congress in approval of the gold price legislation.
The net result of this slump in confidence was some further rise in dollar liabilities overseas - though considerably slowed down - and a continued rise in the official reserves of some of the United States’ trading partners, particularly Japan. There was a sharp increase in the price of gold in the international gold markets and there were some signs that those operating in foreign currencies had some further incentive now to move out of dollars in anticipation of increased exchange controls in Europe and Japan against further capital inflow.
In these circumstances, the currencies cf the major countries began to move up steadily in the market against the dollar and generally passed out of the lower half of their 2i per cent margin and into the top half. This applied to the Japanese yen, the pound sterling, the Belgian franc, the Netherlands guilder, the French franc, the Deutschmark, and the Swedish kroner. Early in March there was a sharp speculative flurry on the exchanges, with a renewed run into several European currencies. This proved short-lived, partly because of the renewed imposition of a range of exchange controls by many of the major countries whose currencies were threatened. By the end of March, however, these post-Smithsonian Agreement blues appeared to have evaporated, at least for the time being. The financial authorities and the bankers in Europe and Japan are currently taking a more optimistic, certainly a calmer, view of things. And by the beginning of this month the dollar was firming again in the foreign exchanges, and there are some signs that a reflow of short term capital to the United States has emerged.
The role of the prophet is a thankless one, but looking at the international monetary situation at this point of time, and in the light of the discussions I had while in Europe and Japan, I incline to the view that there is indeed a little more brightness on the horizon than there has been for some time. There are many ifs and buts in the situation. But with application and co-operation the rest of 1972 may show signs of a return to a more stable situation. What justification is there for taking that view? Well, for one thing, those concerned one way and another with international transactions are currently taking a longer term view of the currency realignment. No-one can say whether the pattern of exchange rates which emerged from the Smithsonian Agreement was, or was not, exactly what was required. But it has given the American economy a sizable boost in terms of international competitiveness.
Depending on how the calculation is carried out, the currencies of 12 major countries have formally appreciated on a weighted average 7.5 per cent on one basis, or 10.5 per cent on another, against the United States dollar. That must give the United States trader a head start over the next year or so.
Of course it takes time for the effects of these exchange rate adjustments to work themselves out in terms of trade and payments between countries. In the first quarter of this year the United States almost certainly recorded another sizable basic balance of payments deficit, while Japan, in particular, continued in heavy surplus. But the lags involved in adjustment are now more commonly accepted. The effects of the exchange rate changes on the United States balance of payments seem likely, on present evidence, to be supported by trends in the economies of major countries. In particular, price and costs movements in the United States have been in favour of the United States compared with its major trading partners for some time and this, if continued, will further strengthen the competitiveness of the United States. So there could well be some basic improvement in the United States current account position in the period ahead. Meanwhile exchange rate trends within the margins are more likely now to be in favour of the dollar and the speculative reason for deferring a transfer of funds back to the United States has lost its weight. If the basic United States balance of payments begins to show some signs of firmly based recovery in the course of 1972, it is not out of the question thai this could be strongly reinforced by short term flows. Altogether, then, it is certainly possible now to be more hopeful about the outlook for the international monetary situation than was possible 6 months ago.
But it will not be enough to find our way out of the recent monetary crisis. What has to be done now, and this is recognised in the Smithsonian Agreement, is to establish a monetary system which will facilitate international balance of payments equilibrium and which will be conducive to the continuation of a high level of international trade. What we have said in the past is that we should proceed cautiously in this matter of reforming the monetary system. We have said that we needed first to deal with the current crisis and only then should we consider the question of possible reform.
What are some of the major issues to be considered? First and foremost we would put the balance of payments adjustment process. Last year a succession of large United States deficits culminated in a $US29.8 billion deficit. Meanwhile other countries equally persistently earned surpluses culminating in a Japanese surplus, for example, of SUS10 billion. The pressures and incentives for countries to maintain reasonable equilibrium in their balance of payments have broken down. In the second place I would put the problem, and it is allied to the first, of international movements of short term, interest sensitive and speculative capital flows. This is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years the flows have reached unprecedented heights. Ironically the problem has been a consequence in part of the development of the post war monetary system. It has been facilitated by the widening convertibility of currencies and by the growing interdependence of international capital markets. It has been partly a by-product of the very vitality of the western world economy and the growth of the multi-national corporation. And. of course, the problem has been intensified in recent times with some break down in confidence in individual currencies. The closest attention will have to be given to this matter in any discussion of future monetary arrangements.
Then there is the question of exchange rates. The Bretton Woods system has as one objective the replacement of the uncertainties of fluctuating exchange rates by a system of stable rates. There are some who say that the Bretton Wood system, in turn, has led countries to hang on to indefensible rates too long. There is a wide range of opinions on this subject. Australia, for its part, has seen significant trading and financial advantages in stable rates. There has been some support for wider margins and. indeed, the Smithsonian Agreement provides for that on an interim basis. But we have argued that flexibility should not go so far as to derogate from the basic objective of a system of relatively stable parities.
There is the issue of international liquidity. The Fund devised special drawing rights as a rational approach to the question of maintaining an adequate level of international liquidity. Right now, however, the build up of United States dollar balances in other countries’ reserves has meant that the world, if anything, is suffering from a surfeit of international liquidity. Will these dollar balances show early signs of being run down? If not, what is our attitude to be to further issues of special drawing rights in the period ahead?
Then there is the issue of the desired composition of world reserves and related to that the question of the degree of freedom countries should have in the disposition of their reserves. There are proposals, for example, which are designed to displace foreign exchange balances from official reserve assets and substitute for them further issues of special drawing rights. Australia has historically been a substantial holder of foreign exchange - mainly dollars and sterling - and we would need to be satisfied about the asset we were being offered before we could even begin to consider accepting such a change.
I have mentioned a number of issues. There are others. They are all issues which will have to be discussed over a period - probably an extended period - before any general agreement is- reached. It would be misguided of us to attempt to take firm positions on such matters now. What we are firm about, however, is that such matters are vital to us and we must be present when they are under discussion.
While the Smithsonian Agreement of last December laid the basis for the present period of relative calm in the foreign exchanges, it was wrong, we believe, that a restricted group of countries, established originally for quite a different purpose, should have played such a dominant role in settling a new pattern of currency arrangements. We would not wish to see that period of confusion and anxiety between President Nixon’s statements of 15th August and 18th December repeated. It would be even more wrong if decisions about the basic monetary system of the future should be similarly handled. It is for that reason that 1 spoke in the most forthright terms recently in Europe and Japan on this matter. I said that Australia was determined to insist on its ability and right to participate in the consideration of the important international monetary issues which confront us all, for the international monetary arrangements under which we operate can be of quite critical importance to all Australians - the farmer, the businessman, the trader, the financier and ultimately the man in the street.
I think it is fair to say that the views I have expressed above are now fairly generally accepted. That is to say, it is commonly agreed that there must be a forum where the future of the monetary system can be discussed among a wider group of countries than those which participated in the Smithsonian Agreement. There is a proposal which has received support in many quarters for a group of 20. This would be based on the existing fund constituencies. It would include representation from developing countries and it has been suggested that it would cover some trade matters as well as finance. Whether such a group will be established and, if so, what its terms of reference would be and how it would be managed and serviced remains to be seen. But I have made it quite clear that if such a group is established, Australia would wish to participate in it.
I will be returning to Europe at the end of this month - in fact, I will be leaving on Saturday and I will be away for 8 or 9 days - to attend the ministerial council meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. This meeting will be concerned with a number of issues, but most discussion will revolve around matters relating to the working of the international monetary system, to interconnexions between trade and monetary affairs and to the appropriate forum for future negotiations. I will be taking the opportunity to press Australia’s viewpoint, and particularly our claim to representation, in future discussion of these vital issues.
The contribution we can make in such discussions has many sides. For one thing, whereas most countries in the existing Group of Ten are capital exporters, we are a significant importer of long term development capital. With Britain entering the European Common Market, our relations with the enlarged European Economic
Community will undergo fundamental change and it will be more important to take every opportunity to make our own point of view known to Europe. In pressing our case for inclusion in any wider group I have been fortified by the consideration that Australia is rapidly emerging as one of the more significant of the developed economies in the free world and it has a role to play in discussions on the international monetary system. I am referring here not so much to the fact that in terms of gross national product we probably rank now about eighth among the OECD countries but more particularly that in terms of our trade and financial relations with the outside world we are now a country which is of some significance. By the end of this financial year we will have a level of reserves which will not be too far short of $4 billion. Of course, this build up in our reserves has principally come about through the sharp increase in the rate of capital inflow, but it has also been a consequence of a considerable and relatively unnoticed improvement in our basic trade position. On both counts our position in the world has changed considerably in the past 2 years or so.
Beyond that Australia is a major exporter of basic raw materials and commodities and as such is bound to have a strong position in the future in a resource hungry world. We are a very important holder of foreign exchange, holding as we do roughly $1 billion in United States dollars and $li billion in sterling. As an industrialised and rapidly developing country in South East Asia we have a unique and important perspective on world trade and financial matters and we intend to make sure that our point of view is heard, whatever forum of discussion may be agreed upon. I present the following paper:
International Monetary Situation - Ministerial, Statement, 17th May 1972.
Motion (by Dr Mackay) proposed:
That the House take note of the paper.
– I should like to thank the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) on this occasion. At least, before he goes on his journey he has given what might be called a statement of intent, which I am afraid we have not had on other occasions; and often, on return from a journey, there has been very little said, either. I support the Treasurer’s proposition that the issues facing us at the moment are the establishing of a monetary system which will facilitate international balance of payments equilibrium on the one hand, and which will be conducive to the continuation of a high level of international trade, on the other hand. I think that for too long there has been the tendency to separate these monetary manipulations from the fact that basically most people hope that what the monetary arrangements do is merely to underpin sound trade and capital movements. It is timely that this statement follows the very long document that was given to the House yesterday, which, I suppose by now, at least some honourable members have had the opportunity to read.
The Treasurer indicated what he thought were some of the major issues to be considered. Probably there are other issues, but the Treasurer has listed the major ones. He cites first the balance of payments adjustment process and says that the pressures and incentives for countries to maintain reasonable equilibrium in their balance of payments have broken down. I would think that one of the difficulties that our own country has to face is that we have the illusion of ease in our balance of payments arrangements. The Treasurer cites the fact that by the end of this financial year the level of reserves will be not too far short of $4 billion. He seems to think that is praiseworthy, but it seems to me that in some respects we tend to be doing what he is condemning other countries for doing, namely, building up larger reserves than are currently needed. 1 must confess that I find it somewhat mystifying, in terms of reserves of this kind of magnitude, why Australia needs to borrow yen at the moment. The only reason that seems to be given is that Australia will be the first foreign country for something like 50 years to float a loan in Japan. That is a psychological rather than an economic reason for so doing.
– It is the closeness of financial relations.
– It may be the closeness of financial relations, but equally I think that we ought to be much closer to Japan on the question of trade relations, and I have no doubt that negotiations are taking place on this question. I think that the emphasis through the Treasurer’s speech has been that no longer should these things be the preserve of the wealthy nations as against what might be called the less wealthy nations. I do not know where Australia falls in this category, or whether a group of 20 is necessarily better than a group of 10. I suppose it is better to be in the group of 20 if you are excluded from the group of 10. But I think that once we begin to create wider mechanisms, at least we ought to have some idea what it is we want to talk about, and I still think that primarily Australia, as a great trading nation, should continue to place much more emphasis on the trading side than merely on the monetary side. At least the word ‘trade’ is studded through the Treasurer’s speech. Apparently trade is inseparable, as I think it ought to be, from the mere monetary arrangement.
The second matter that was listed as important was the international movements of short term interest sensitive and speculative capital. Again 1 think the document on foreign investment presented yesterday indicated that in this country it is pretty difficult yet - and one of my colleagues asked a question about this matter this afternoon - in our mechanisms to tape the capital movements into this country to ascertain whether some of the capital is coming in on a short term basis, whether some is coming in because of the interest rate position - and often it is the interest rate position in conjunction with the tax pattern as well that is significant - and finally how much is coming in on the speculation basis.
There will be some change in the Australian exchange rate in relation to other currencies. During the recent devaluation issue, I must confess to having been one who believed that there was no case for Australia to devalue. I was somewhat disappointed that the Treasurer bowed to the pressure of the Australian Country Party and, instead of maintaining our currency at parity with sterling, chose to come down not to an 8 per cent revaluation, in terms of the dollar, but only to a 6 per cent revaluation. Apparently that 2 per cent was claimed as a great victory for the gentlemen in the corner who represent the Country Party. I would hope that in the future decisions as significant as this are made on much more substantial grounds.
The Treasurer goes on to say that the flows of capital have been partly a byproduct of the very vitality of the Western world’s economy and the growth of the multi-national corporations. I indicated yesterday that I think that one of the matters that need to be developed is a code of good conduct on the part of capital flow and investment. I think that too often we have experienced these crises - usually in May and again towards October and November. They are called international currency crises. One hears about sums of billions of dollars being transferred across exchange barriers in a matter of seconds and minutes. I would think that these things are still very mystifying to the gentleman to whom reference is made in this statement - the man in the street. But the man in the street finds it a bit difficult to contemplate what those sorts of transactions have to do with the price of his daily bread. It is the suggestion that we allow our currencies to be vulnerable to speculation that in many ways could be one of the undoings of Western economies which. I submit, are under great challenge in many respects at the moment, both internally and externally, for a number of reasons on which I do not have time to elaborate now.
Another matter that is mentioned in the Treasurer’s statement as being important is the question of the exchange rate. Again, yesterday’s document suggested that one of the things that we have got to get clear - I think that was the term that was used - is what our exchange rates should be. I happened to read articles in 2 newspapers yesterday, one of which, unless it was a misprint, suggested that Australia’s currency was over-valued. Oddly enough, that was in the ‘Australian Financial Review’. I am not sure whether I read the article in its proper context. But most other people, I think, suggest that the Australian currency tends still to be under-valued. Whether it is or is not, of course, has a great deal to do with this relation of capital inflow, which may be volatile, to the fact that in real terms we still have an adverse balance of trade - merely counting exports and imports and the normal invisibles associated with trade. To some extent a degree of illusion is created by counting our reserves as S4 billion without contemplating some liabilities or the volatility of capital inflow; in some cases what flowed in quickly may just as easily flow out. This is another reason why we indicate that there are great deficiencies in the statistical and collecting arrangements for taping the flow of capital into this country. In answer to a question today the Treasurer suggested that he was not satisfied altogether with the statistical arrangements. All I say again is that the Government has had many years in which to have done something about this. After all, this very large capital inflow certainly has been prevalent now for a number of years.
– May I interrupt to make it clear that I was making 2 points; one was that there is a sheer incapacity to get some statistics, not merely a failure to get them.
– I would accept the word incapacity’ but I suggest that we should try to remedy that incapacity. A means should be found to bridge that incapacity. One of the things mentioned in the document tabled yesterday was that both Canada and the United States of America seem to have superior kinds of mechanisms for registering the flow of capital in and out. All I suggest is that we should give serious consideration to remedying what the Treasurer has described as an incapacity. I acknowledge the incapacity. One can see it only too clearly. Surely one of the duties of the Government is to reduce our incapacity. The final thing about which mention was made as a major issue is international liquidity. Reference was made to these rather curious things. SDRs, not to be confused with SRDs in the Australian context. SDRs are special drawing rights or what were in the early days rather sneeringly described as paper gold. We can create or use the same devices externally or internationally as we sometimes use internally for the creation of credit.
Initially what seemed to be wrong with SDRs was the tendency to give more of this new kind of resource to those who in one sense needed it least of all. On one occasion I described it as rather like extending an overdraft to someone who already had credit at a bank. The people who want an overdraft are those who want to get something moving but have not got the credit necessary to do so. In some respects this is part of the difficulty in international trade. Many countries - and Australia is still in the category of countries vulnerable to variations in terms of trade - do not have a great deal to say about the prices they obtain for the goods upon which they must rely for export earnings. In the case of Australia wool and wheat are significant examples of such goods, as are minerals. Many countries are still dependent for their survival on income received from the sale of raw materials and basic commodities. I am sure those countries would like to see greater stability in the terms of trade and it always seems to me to be a pity that very little reference is made in this Parliament to the meetings of the other side of this equation, UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the body that deals with international trade relations.
I am pleased to see that on this occasion the Treasurer has acknowledged the importance of both of these matters in transactions. Admittedly he is going to attend the international monetary conferences. I certainly wish him well in his deliberations and negotiations there, and I hope that Australia’s voice will be decisive and that we will give definite opinions where they can be given. I concede that sometimes it is difficult to be definite about these things, and I, being on the threshold of becoming Treasurer rather than holding that office at this time, am reluctant to make grand pronunciamentos in advance. I think that in many cases there must be consultation, dialogue and resort to the techniques of experts and so on, of which we have plenty in this country. I hope that at these conferences the Treasurer will at least make some impact on behalf of Australia.
Debate (on motion by Mr Giles) adjourned.
– by leave - In my statement on Foreign Affairs to the House on 9th May I touched briefly on the increasing attention the Government is paying to the South Pacific. I spoke of our commitment to South Pacific regionalism and of our common membership with New Zealand of the South Pacific Forum established by the independent and selfgoverning South Pacific islands. I outlined some aspects of our interest in this part of the world, including my own visit to Fiji, Nauru, Tonga and Western Samoa, and mentioned our pleasure that the Prime Minister of Fiji will be paying an official visit to Australia from 22nd May. The South Pacific is remote from the major world centres. The 5 independent countries of the region are small in terms of territory and population and are geographically isolated. They are, however, close neighbours of Australia. In so far as they may wish to turn to us for assistance in meeting the many problems which confront them as emerging nations, we would wish to respond to the best of our ability. We arc presently engaged in consultation with the governments concerned to pinpoint areas in which we can be of help.
Our assistance programmes for the South Pacific have been growing rapidly. In 1965-66 the total value of all our aid, including our contribution to the South Pacific Commission, was $350,000. During the present financial year we expect the total to exceed $2m for the first time. In keeping with its growing interest in cooperating in the economic development of the area and concern for the welfare of the people of the region, the Government has now decided to make further increases in its economic and technical aid. We have also decided to strengthen the planning of our programme on a longer term basis. We see considerable merit in approaching our aid programme for a region such as this not as a day-to-day or year-to-year affair but as a long term commitment. This has practical value for the countries concerned because it enables them to draw up their own forward programmes and priorities in the certain knowledge of the level of support which will be forthcoming from Australia.
I now wish to inform the House that the Government has decided to commit a total of $15m in assistance to the South Pacific region over the period beginning July this year until the end of the calendar year 1975. This period coincides with Fiji’s current development plan which will run until the end of 1975. Fiji is the largest country in the area and has been the principal recipient of Australian aid. But we have also made significant contributions over the years to British Solomon Islands Protectorate, Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, New Hebrides, Tonga and Western Samoa and have progressively extended our offers of assistance.
While Fiji will continue to receive a substantial part of our aid in our forward planning, we have very much in mind also the needs of other countries of the South West Pacific. I want to stress that there will be an increase in Australian assistance to all these Pacific countries. The development problems of the different countries are diverse. The Government will draw up its programmes to ensure that the maximum benefit will be derived from the increased flow of assistance. This outline for forward planning and our intention to provide $15m in assistance for the South Pacific over the next 3£ years will consolidate and extend the activities under our different programmes. We provide bilateral aid to the South Pacific countries under the South Pacific Aid Programme administered by my Department and under the scheme for Commonwealth Co-operation in Education administered by my colleague the Minister for Education and Science. We assist the region as a whole through our contributions to the South Pacific Commission and by taking an active role in directing the attention of the international aid institutions to the needs of the Pacific. Food aid is also given to Fiji under the Food Aid Convention.
The main increases involved in the $15m will fall within the South Pacific aid programme. This programme has almost doubled in 1971-72 to bring it to $lm. We expect the average rate of increase to be 50 per cent a year over the next 3 years, which would bring the allocation for 1974- 75 to over $3m. We expect that our aid will continue to offer support for economic development programmes and projects, for the supply of experts, for technical assistance, including arrangements specially designed to meet training needs in the area as well as the provision of formal academic training. There will also be smaller increases in our expenditure on the Commonwealth Co-operation in Education scheme and in our contribution to the South Pacific Commission. We expect that food aid in the form of flour and sharps valued at over S 600,000 annually will continue to flow to Fiji.
The announcement of this forward commitment is a practical demonstration of the Government’s view that it is in Australia’s long term interest to adopt policies which will help to further the economic and social progress of our neighbours in the South Pacific. It is a recognition of the special importance of the countries of this region to Australia. It is an earnest of our determination to make a positive and enduring contribution to their development.
– I seek leave to make a statement on the same subject.
Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.
– On behalf of the Australian Labor Party I support the programme which the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr N. H. Bowen) has announced. There are 2 great merits about it. The first is that it represents an increase - percentagewise a considerable increase - in Australia’s assistance to the region. The second is that it represents a long term commitment. In consequence our neighbours will be able to plan ahead.
It might not be otiose to remind honourable members that under the Constitution this Parliament always has had the responsibility of passing laws with respect to external affairs under paragraph (xxix) of section 51 of the Constitution. Not only that but also with respect to the relations of the Commonwealth with the islands of the Pacific, under the following paragraph, (xxx). It has always, therefore, been envisaged that Australia, even in the old colonial days, should have a particular responsibility in this regard. It is for this reason that my Party is committed to establish a Pacific Islands Division within the Department of Foreign Affairs to second and support skilled personnel requested by Papua New Guinea and other islands of the Pacific for their civil and armed forces.
It is reassuring that the Government should now have made this increasing and long term commitment. It has to be acknowledged that in Fiji in particular there has been resentment at Australia’s lack of interest in such commitments for the size and the period of such commitments. In the mid-1960s for instance, the Australian Government rejected an official request for a grant to Fiji on the ground that Fiji was Britain’s political responsibility. This was not received very kindly in Fiji since Fiji has long been an Australian economic colony while it might have been a British political colony. All of Fiji’s significant trading companies, commerce and banking companies are in the hands of Australian organisations. The sugar industry, Fiji’s largest industry, is controlled by Australia. The international and regional airlines of Fiji are controlled from Australia through Qantas Airways Ltd. Now tourism is also being promoted from Australia which has benefited from all these enterprises in Fiji.
There is still resentment in Fiji in official as well as at widespread popular levels that Australian investors and Australian companies have shown so little interest in developing industries in Fiji. Australia has been long and increasingly interested in those enterprises in Fiji which provide a dividend and employment for Australians. One would hope that succeeding Australian governments will do what they can to ensure that Fiji is able to industrialise and to employ its large Fijian and Indian populations. The amount which has been made available under this programme is certainly an increase on amounts provided in earlier years. Honourable members will be able to see the figures for 1965 to 1970 in an answer that the Minister’s predecessor gave to me on the 7th April last year. I asked the present Minister on the 11th April this year to bring these figuresup to date. It will be seen from the answer that the Minister’s predecessor gave me in respect of Fiji that the amount of Australian aid rose from SA71.158 to SA838.149- a large escalation. Nevertheless, it is still small compared with Britain’s aid which, in 1969 was$US6,494.000. But for Britain’s aid Fiji’s economic position would be very much weaker than it is. Fiji is in a region where the United States of America incomparably the most munificent country in all history has given very little. The answer I referred to shows that Fiji received in 1970 from the United States $US22,000 and in 1971 nothing. In his answer the Minister stated:
New Zealand has also granted assistance in education, defence, civil aviation, meteorology and health to Fiji. Total figures are not available but the aid provided includes the donations of the RNZAF site and buildings (valued at approximately $3m) as the site for the University of the South Pacific, and the training of Fijians in New Zealand.
I make passing reference to the position of other British colonies in this area. In 1969 Britain gave assistance to the Solomon Islands of $US7,3 15,000. Australia gave $A41.793. To the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1969-70 Britain gave assistance of $US1,294,000. Australia in 1969-70 gave $A34,198. To the New Hebrides condominium Britain in 1969 gave assistance of $US2,928,000. Australia in 1969-70 gave$A1 8,330. It is clear that while there is a long term increased commitment by the Australian Government, it does not bulk largely in our region when compared with commitments undertaken by Great Britain, whose geographic interest must clearly be so much less and whose political interest must be declining comparatively. She has given so very much more.
The Opposition supports the announcement by the Minister. It shows for the first time a long term commitment by Australia to the development of the countries in her region, these countries which in a great surge in the last couple of years have become independent members of the Commonwealth, members of the United Nations and neighbours who speak and vote for themselves. It is gratifying that the Prime Minister of Fiji will so soon be making a return visit. I believe that the Minister’s announcement today will reassure him as to the nature and extent of Australia’s increasing interest in his country, which in so many political, economic and social matters has been the forerunner for developments in our region.
Assent to the following Bills reported:
Customs Tariff Bill (No. 2) 1972.
Papua New Guinea Loan (Asian Development Bank) Bill 1972.
States Grants Bill 1972.
States Grants (Capital Assistance) Bill (No. 2) 1972.
-I have received a message from the Senate acquainting the House that Senator Fitzgerald has been discharged from the Joint Committee on Public Accounts.
Bill presented by Mr Snedden, and read a first time.
– I move:
That the Bit) be now read a second time.
In a statement to the House on11th April last, I announced a proposal to vary the operation of section 26(a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act so as to provide greater certainty in the taxation law for people having stock exchange transactions in shares. This Bill is designed to give effect to that proposal. Under the present law, a person who acquires shares or other property with the sole or dominant purpose of reselling at a profit is subject to tax under section 26 (a) on any profit he makes on sale. If the sale of property acquired with this purpose results in a loss, a complementary provision section 52 - authorises the allowance of an income tax deduction for the loss.
These provisions do not apply if the property is acquired for purposes other than that of profit making. For example, a person who buys a house for his residence or invests in shares principally for the purpose of deriving dividends from them, is not taxable on any capital profit he may make, nor is he allowed a tax deduction for a loss of capital he may suffer when he eventually disposes of the property.In the Government’s view the basic principles of the law are sound and should be maintained as a broad general rule. In one area, however, the Government has accepted that there is evidence that the application of the principles has caused some undesirable uncertainty as to the practical operation of the law.
The area 1 speak of is the acquisition and sale of shares traded on stock exchanges. The Government has thought it desirable to take action to reduce the uncertainty without fundamentally chang ing the principles. It accordingly proposes amendments to the income tax law which will provide a more certain basis for determining the taxability or otherwise of share profits. For this purpose the Bill, in broad terms, provides that profits or losses made by a person on the sale of shares listed on a stock exchange are not to be taken into account for income tax purposes if the person had owned them for a period of at least 18 months before sale, and had not acquired them as an incident of carrying on a business. It is proposed that the new provisions will apply to shares acquired on or after 12th April 1972, the day immediately following my announcement of the Government’s intentions.
Under the proposed amendment persons who are not engaged in a business of share dealing, or whose share transactions are not incidental to their business activities, may be sure that any profit arising on the sale of listed shares that they have held for at least 18 months will not be subject to income tax. As a corollary, losses on the sale of shares they have held for at least this time will not be tax deductible. The amendments will not apply where, on or before lodging his first return after acquiring particular shares, a person has notified the Commissioner of Taxation that the shares were acquired for the purpose of profitmaking by sale. Where such a notification has been given in accordance with the existing section 52 of the Assessment Act the present law will have effect regardless of when the shares are eventually sold by the person concerned. The present law will also continue to apply, of course, as regards shares sold within 18 months of acquisition.
The amendment will apply where persons acquire shares jointly or alone and will have effect whether or not shares are registered in the name of the owner or in the name of a nominee or trustee, provided the beneficial ownership of the shares does not change within 18 months. It will apply also to an interest in shares acquired by a person as an owner in common if he remains the owner of that interest for at least the statutory period. Changes in ownership of shares due to the death or bankruptcy of the owner will, however, be disregarded.
To meet the case where a person is allotted shares in a new issue by a company, the Bill requires that, for the 18 months exemption to apply, the shares must become listed on a stock exchange within 3 months after he became the owner of them. The amendments proposed by the Bill will apply only where shares are owned by individual persons. The tax situation of companies will therefore remain unchanged.
The Government has decided on the course of action I have outlined as a means of providing greater certainty in the application of the income tax law to people who, for any of a number of reasons, buy shares which which they may later sell, but who are not engaged in a business of share dealing. The operation of the proposed amendment will be carefully watched and, should experience show that it is tending to lead to the devising of arrangements to avoid or minimise taxation, the Government will have no hesitation in introducing such further amendments as may be thought necessary to prevent systematic income tax avoidance. A memorandum explaining technical features of the Bill is being made available for the information of honourable members. I commend the Bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.
– I move:
The proposal involves the erection on the summit of Black Mountain of a single multi-purpose communications tower, the prime purpose of which is to provide for the expected future growth of radio telephone trunk traffic and television programme relay facilities into and through Canberra. It will also provide for the comasting and accommodation of the present and future television stations at the national capital. In referring the proposal to the Committee, this House asks the Committee to note that the Government has not endorsed a particular design for the tower. It requests that, in its report, the Committee express its views on whether the function of the tower should be confined to communications only or whether, having regard to tourist considerations, it might incorporate certain revenue producing facilities in the form of a rotating restaurant or a viewing platform or both. I table plans showing several possible designs for the proposed tower. The estimated cost of these designs ranges between $5m and $6m.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 9 May (vide page 2260), on motion by Mr Snedden:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I move:
That all words after That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not opposing the second reading of the Bill, the House is of opinion that a Parliamentary select committee should be appointed to investigate and report to the Parliament on the closing down of particular sections of industry and consequent loss of employment’.
The necessity to move the amendment arises from the growing numbers of unemployed in non-metropolitan centres throughout Australia. Most of the capital cities I can be more positive than that and say all capital cities at presentare expanding at a much greater rate than any of the large rural centres. I believe that position has been brought about by overcentralisation through the introduction of container cargo shipping and new marketing techniques. At one time warehouses and the like were established in country centres and firms did all their trading with the retailers in those centres. Industries were set up in the country and in large non-metropolitan centres such as Wollongong and Newcastle.
Because of the new technique that has been evolved by industry and commerce there has been a contraction to the capital cities. I propose to deal in particular with my own district, the Hunter Valley district as a whole, and to show just what is happening there. I will explain what a terrible effect the change is having on employment and development in that region. The same can be said about almost every port in Australia. The situation at Newcastle can be compared with that at almost every other Australian port. In Western Australia the contraction of employment has affected Albany, as it has affected Portland in Victoria. The ports of Queensland and South Australia have been similarly affected. I do not want to deal in detail with that aspect at this stage because I want to leave it to other honourable members who will be speaking in this debate.
The numbers of unemployed in the Newcastle district at present are causing great concern. 1 have been keeping records of the number of people in receipt of unemployment benefits and the numbers of unfilled vacancies from 1957, based on the monthly statistics issued by the Department of Labour and National Service. These figures show that at present the numbers unemployed in Newcastle are higher than they have been since 1962. In April 1972 a total of 3,694 persons were unemployed in the Newcastle district. The highest previous figure was 4,246 in 1962. In 1963 the number of unemployed was 4,487.
The worst feature is that at present there are 137 unfilled vacancies for males and the number of registered unemployed is 2,512. There are 115 unfilled vacancies for females out of a total number of 1,182 registered unemployed. To my knowledge the number of unfilled vacancies is the lowest since 1957 and the position at Newcastle is much worse than at any other centre in New South Wales. 1 refer honourable members to the publication in April 1972 by the Department of Labour and National Service setting out the employment situation. The facts set out on page 6 bear out the statements I have just made. The publication shows that in Australia for every 4 males registered for unemployment benefits there is one vacancy. In Newcastle there is one vacancy for every 18 males registered for unemployment benefits. In New South Wales there is one vacancy for every 2 persons registered as unemployed. In Newcastle there is one vacancy for every 10 persons registered as unemployed. The figures clearly illustrate that in Newcastle there is a major problem which requires some action by this Government, and also by the New South Wales Government. We cannot do anything about a State government, but at least in this place I can move the motion I have moved, and the Government can accept it and do something positive about it.
The preliminary figures I have cited to honourable members show quite clearly that Newcastle is in a serious position. The employment position there is aggravated and will be much more aggravated by the end of the year as is shown by a statement made by the Brownbuilt Industries Division of John Lysaght (Australia) Ltd. I have here a cutting from the 27th April edition of the ‘Newcastle Morning Herald*. It shows that the company proposes to lay off 600 men out of a total employment force of 1,080. The 600 men will all be displaced between July and December of this year. 1 am particularly alarmed because of the way that a question asked by my colleague from Newcastle, the honourable member for Shortland (Mr Griffiths), was answered by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch). The Minister did not answer the points raised in the question. He did not attempt to tackle the problem. He was asked a genuine question by the honourable member for Shortland and, as usual, the Minister tried to bring in irrelevant matters. In his answer he said that one of the basic factors causing the company to report reduced profitability for the past year was the very high level of industrial unrest which it has been suffering.
Quite frankly, what the Minister said is all bunkum and is typical of the irresponsible statements for which he is becoming renowned in this place. It is also typical of the provocative statements that the honourable gentleman makes on industrial matters. The company issued a Press statement in February which does not contain one reference to industrial trouble as the reason why it is laying off 600 of its men and closing down sections of its business. I do not have time to read all the statement but I would be happy to do so. The company stated that diversification into new activities - that is into engineering - had not yielded a satisfactory return as the rural market, on which there was heavy dependence, had seriously declined. In the enginering section the volume of profitable business available was falling and the company stated that therefore it was unable to continue those operations. If I had the time I would love to read the rest of the statement in order to show that the Minister for Labour and National Service is irresponsible in the statements he makes to this Parliament. The reason he gave for the closure of sections of the business is not borne out by the facts. I had discussions with trade unionists and learned that in fact this company has had less industrial trouble than other companies in the heavy engineering industry in Newcastle have bad.
Newcastle has been renowned for many years as a centre of steel manufacture. A survey that was conducted in 1961 disclosed that 70 per cent of the work force in manufacturing industries in Newcastle were employed in what was classified as class 4 of manufacturing, or manufacturing metals. In 1968 thai figure had declined to 69 per cent whilst at the same time, Australia wide, the work force in that same class 4 had increased from 44 per cent to 47 per cent and in New South Wales it had increased from 48 per cent to 50 per cent. So Newcastle is being very badly affected by the contraction and the withdrawal of industry from Newcastle and related areas into the capital cities. I have here a list of 32 major companies in Newcastle which have reduced their employment level between 1968 and 1972. I have another list which shows that for the same period 16 industries have completely closed down and finished their activities in the Newcastle district. They have either gone to Sydney or just gone out of existence. No centre, irrespective of how large it is, even if it is a city of the size of Newcastle, can stand that type of situation.
The same thing is applying on the waterfront and in the wool industry. I have figures here which disclose that, for example, since the introduction of containerisation and the development of the Yennora wool handling centre in Sydney, there has been a reduction of employment in the waterfront industry in Newcastle. Twenty years ago between 1,500 and 1,600 men were employed on the handling of general cargo and coal in the port of Newcastle.
As from Sunday of this week the port quota will have declined to 372. Honourable members can work that out. In 22 years, there has been a decline in employment on the waterfront from between 1,500 and 1,600 to 372. That 372 includes both coal and general cargo. This reduction has been brought about as a result of containerisation and the opening of Yennora. The same thing can be said about the wool industry. To give the real picture I have some photostat copies of a table which I ask to have incorporated in Hansard. These tables dislose quite clearly the effects of containerisation and the opening of the Yennora wool handling depot in Sydney.
– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -
– On the employment side, the important thing is that the figures show that for 1969 20 men were employed in technical employment. In 1972 that figure had declined to 15. The number of clerks declined from 40 to 30. The number of typists declined from 25 to 20. The big decline took place in the number of storemen, permanent and seasonal - from 600 to 300. The number of casuals dropped from 100 to 20. In 1969, 785 men and women were employed whereas in 1972 the number had declined to 385. This is something that no industry and no centre can stand. The Government must do something about this position by providing alternative means of employment. The amendment I have moved calls for the appointment of a select committee. This is one way to correct the position.
I referred to the number of industries that have closed down. I did not deal with the foodstuffs industries and the intrusion of Peters Ice Cream Pty Ltd, Streets Ice Cream Pty Ltd and Devondale Cream Pty
Ltd into the market. Peters closed down 2 years ago, displacing 146 men. Other companies in the wholesale warehousing section of the foodstuffs industries have likewise closed down, and now business is transacted on a management to management level. As a result of this over 100 men and women have been displaced from the food wholesaling section of the Newcastle economy. In my remarks a moment ago I mentioned wool. I have some figures showing the movement of wool through the port of Newcastle over the last 10 years. They disclose that in 1963, 309,000 bales of wool were shipped through the port of Newcastle. In 1970-71 that figure had declined to 62,265. It is estimated that in 1971-72 less than 40,000 bales will be shipped through the port of Newcastle. On the other hand, other figures disclose that the number of bales of wool transported by rail from Newcastle to Sydney in 1967- 68 was 83,000 and in 1970-71 was 219,317. This increase occurred as a result of the operation of Yennora and as a result of containerisation. The Government must do something positive about the matter.
I should like to have had time to deal with the effects of shipping as a whole on employment in the Newcastle district and with the need for some assistance to be given to the State dockyard by way of a new graving-dock. Whilst I have moved the amendment on behalf of the Opposition, the Opposition would be very pleased to withdraw the motion if the Minister in charge of the Bill would have a look at it and, if necessary, indicate to me as the spokesman for the Opposition on this amendment that the Government would be prepared to set up a select committee to investigate employment and the effects of centralisation in industry today. In the last few weeks on behalf of the Opposition I went to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) and put a proposition to him that the Government should set up a parliamentary select committee to investigate road safety. I am pleased to say that on that occasion the Minister for Shipping and Transport agreed to the request. The result is that the committee had its first meeting yesterday morning.
– Was that when the debate was half over?
– lt was well before?
– In fact it was some days before. I am making the offer here today that the Opposition will be quite happy to pull out this amendment. We are not endeavouring to score political points. We want action on this most important question of getting the labour which has been going to metropolitan areas back into country centres. It is an important matter. It directly involves every member of the Australian Country Party. It concerns a considerable number of members of the Liberal Party. The same thing applies to the Australian Labor Party because it represents just as many rural centres as the Country Party represents. In fact, if one added them up one would find that the Labor Party represents more rural centres than the Country Party represents. I am speaking today as the member for Newcastle. I have a major problem in my electorate. I have shown figures that establish the decline in employment in Newcastle. Something positive has to be done about it. To correct the decline in employment I suggest that the following things should be done in this order: The harbour should be deepened to 50 feet to permit the entry of ships up to 10,000 tons so that Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd will not be restricted by the heavy cost of transport today resulting in the curtailing of its activities and fewer men being employed by BHP today than were employed 8 years ago. This would also permit additional ships to handle coal. It will also permit additional ships to come in and take wheat. There is a need for a graving dock in Newcastle. The Government has been playing around with this project now for months, and it is time that it came up with a decision. I know that a decision is to be made at the end of this session, and I hope it will be that Newcastle will get what it badly needs - a new dock. There is a need for a new coal loader in Newcastle and for Newcastle to become a major wheat exporting port. There is a need also to develop the Sandy Hollow-Maryvale railway line so as to have an alternative means of bringing business through the city of Newcastle. There is a need for the transport inquiry at present taking place in Sydney by a Dr Nielsen to be extended to include not only the Cumberland district in Sydney but also the Northumberland County. The road coordination tax, which is 2.5c per ton mile, needs to be eliminated on the carriage of goods from the country to the city. The New South Wales State Planning Authority should use its planning powers to prevent the development of additional industry in Sydney, which is unnecessarily causing congestion and creating huge problems in the Sydney district because of the demand on authorities to provide sewerage, roads and urban transport. Land values have skyrocketed to an exorbitant rate. If all the things I have suggested could be done in an endeavour to prevent the development of industry in Sydney, it would help nonmetropolitan areas.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Cope)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired. Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.
Mr MacKellar (Warringah) (4.12)- At 10.56 p.m. on Sunday, 20th July 1969 Neil Armstrong touched one foot on the moon’s surface and he said:
That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
It was a particularly significant achievement made even more dramatic by the fact that millions of people all over the world saw it as it happened. The whole situation was made possible because of the tremendous refinement and sophistication in the field of communications - and Australia played and has continued to play an important part in the development and success of communication technology. People are apt to become very blase about technological advances which play a significant part in their lives and these become accepted very quickly as being the natural order of things. You would remember, Mr Deputy Speaker, as I do, that it is only about 16 years ago that people in the sophisticated city of Sydney were standing around shop windows in great crowds looking for the first time in their lives at this phenomenon called television, it is only a very short time ago that the task of making a telephone call between major cities in Australia was a hazardous and often unsatisfactory undertaking. The thought of telephoning anyone overseas scarcely entered the minds of businessmen, let alone the private citizen. All these things are now taken for granted, but there are other aspects of the story of communications within Australia upon which I would like to elaborate.
All people and all nations seek better communications services. There is no doubt that conventional communication technology has made tremendous advances, particularly in the past few decades, to meet the expressed needs, and there is no doubt that it will continue to do so. But despite the advances, there is a growing feeling that they will be unable to cope with future needs. Such things as the growing requirement for the provision of multiple world wide services for handling news, for the facsimile transmission of documents, for transmission of weather data, not to mention, of course, the ever increasing demand for additional telephone call facilities. There is absolutely no doubt as to the increase in demand for additional communication services, and I believe - and it has already been shown - that domestic communication satellite systems are one of the most significant means whereby the sufficient lift in capacity to ensure rapid expansion of services can be achieved.
To back up this claim I would like to talk a little about the characteristics of conventional as against satellite communications. In conventional systems we may have pairs of open wires, cables or radio. Open wires on poles are clearly vulnerable all along their route to both natural and man made hazards. Cables which may be underground or submarine are also vulnerable, although of course less so than open wires. Radio links vary. Some in the medium frequency bands can, under suitable conditions, reach all parts of the world, but they are subject to atmospheric interference, and I am told the frequency band is greatly oversubscribed. These links are therefore unreliable, and because of the available band width cannot carry complex intelligence reliably.
A great deal of communication is now carried on using microwave networks. Television, telephone and data transmission is increasingly carried by microwaves. These networks consist of relay stations, each equipped with a transmitting tower which must be in line of sight of at least 2 other network towers. Because of the earth’s curvature and the practical limitations on the towers the distance between them is limited to 30 or 40 miles. Therefore, to cover a distance of only 1,000 miles, some 30 or more microwave stations are required. The microwaves themselves are virtually interference free, and have the capacity to carry complex data, but because of this virtual line of sight requirement, the location of relay stations is often remote from habitation. Whilst they operate unmanned, maintenance is costly, and the provision of power is often more than a small problem. Each relay station is therefore subject to an added risk from natural causes, as well as being highly vulnerable to human interference. Additionally since the whole system depends on a series of relay stations, and networks providing alternative routing are costly, many stations are vital to the system as a whole.
As against this, what can the satellite do? A geo-stationary satellite really acts as a super high tower, carrying a relay or repeater station for a whole microwave network. Stationed above the equator it can cover approximately one-third of the world’s surface. If it were stationed above Australia, it would cover all of Australia, plus New Zealand, the islands of the South Pacific, New Guinea, all the states of South East Asia, the Philippines, Japan, and significant parts of India, China and Russia. However, the area covered can be reduced and prescribed by varying the aerial system of the satellite. I spoke of geo-stationary satellites. These are satellites which rotate about the earth in a circular orbit above the equator. Their orbital speed precisely matches the earth’s rate of rotation, and this means that they are effectively a motionless communications relay point 22,500 miles out in space. Such a satellite can spread the signals it receives over a very large area, as I have just detailed. It can distribute television or telephone signals to many widely separated points simultaneously. The distance between the points is relatively unimportant; land features or oceans cease to be obstacles and there is no part of a community, however, remote or temporary, which needs to be isolated from a communication aspect. Contrast this with a land based system in which the cost and the complexity grow according to the distance covered and of course are extremely dependent on the nature and accessibility of the intervening terrain.
What can these communication satellites carry? They can carry virtually any form of electronic communication. This can be relayed or rebroadcast by such a satellite. High quality telephone and telex trunk circuits can be provided between centres within the coverage area. This can allow remote communication to be integrated into the national system in which land links would be uneconomic in both initial cost and maintenance. The rebroadcasting of radio and television services could be achieved. It is doubtful whether any location would be too remote, hidden or screened from the transmitting station via a satellite. I do not want it to be thought that I am suggesting for a moment that conventional techniques are made redundant by the use of a satellite. The reverse is the case. The 2 systems are entirely complementary and to obtain maximum benefits would have to be closely integrated.
I should like to deal with just a few more points on satellites before discussing in more detail their benefits. The number of possible communication satellites which may be placed in a suitable orbit for Australia is limited. There is a natural limit imposed by the number of satellite frequencies that are available in the electromagnetic spectrum, and this requires satellite separation to avoid interference between satellite transmission beams. The number of earth stations corresponds to the number of localities to be served. Their size and type depend on the service to be offered. But existing stations would play an important part in the development of the whole system.
The number of satellites is also important. The Canadians have suggested a system with 2 synchronous satellites in stationary orbit over the equator. The idea is that the second satellite would ensure continuity of service by providing complete duplication, in orbit, of the functions of the first. A third satellite would be held in reserve on the ground. On present indications the satellites would be replaced in orbit after 5 to 7 years. The capacity of these communication satellites would vary according to design, but it is possible to have up to 5,000 2-way telephone circuits or 12 colour television channels, or permutations and combinations of these facilities. It is also possible to have up to 36 black and white television channels. Specific circuits could be set aside for particular purposes, such as defence usage, but the actual configuration for usage of the satellites’ capacity would have to be decided by consultation between the various interests concerned with it.
What would be the benefits to Australia? I do not pretend to know them all, but I would like to suggest some which I believe are strongly in the national interest. Firstly, of course, telephone, telex and data communication would be enhanced right throughout the nation and beyond. Obviously the Postmaster-General’s department would be interested in this, and facilities could be made available for industry, commerce, government, air traffic control, weather forecasting, and the dissemination of national public service information. Additionally, television and radio programmes could be beamed on a national basis both for entertainment and for cultural development. Such a television channel could be made available for education of children and adults in remote locations. I particularly draw attention to the concept of a national open university, whose nationally beamed lectures and discussions could be supplemented by poster written material. Such a university, using land based transmission, is already operating successfully in the United Kingdom. This use of the possibilities supplied by the possession of such a satellite could be of inestimable benefit to people in the remote areas of Australia, as all schools could receive live broadcasts of current affairs or particular educational programmes prepared and performed by specialists in their field.
The satellites could play a highly significant part in national defence and security as the security and flexibility of satellite communication - which can work to a transportable ground station - would make them a significant asset in defence terms. It is worthwhile noting that security risks are minimised because damage to the ground station affects only the local area since none of them needs to be a vital relay centre. The destruction of a satellite in orbit by hostile forces is an extremely difficult and costly process, which even so is not certain of success. Australia’s relationships with its neighbours could also he enhanced as special programmes could be prepared and shown to neighbouring states. Additional benefits could be expected to flow in the long term to Australia’s electronic and allied industries, resulting from Australian co-operation and involvement in the satellite system, particularly in terms of the ground stations which could virtually be wholly Australian made.
It is, of course, no use talking about something like this, and ignoring the cost of it all. It has been suggested to me that the current cost of a communication satellite is in the region of $5m. However, if there were any deviations or particular requirements, not included in the standard design, this cost would escalate. The total cost of a worthwhile system would, I believe, be less than $10Om; but I hesitate to mention that figure as I believe that the whole concept should be the subject of a detailed study by a specialist committee appointed by the Government and, of course, the economics of the proposal would be one of the main areas of concern. Whilst saying this, I strongly believe that a domestic communication satellite system does have enormous potential benefits for Australia. There are systems available which can be designed to an individual country’s specifications, launched into orbit and maintained for the purchasing nation.
I believe that there is a real need :o determine the value of such a system for Australia, keeping in mind that potential users - there is an enormous range of them - and industry need a communication satellite policy to guide their planning. I feel that the best way to go about acquiring information on the whole subject is to set up a national study by a specialist group to provide the Government with facts and guidance on which it can make its policy decision. I believe that this should be initiated as soon as possible so that interested government departments can plan properly against a known timetable, development and research where required can be started, and Australian industry can be involved, trained and equipped.
– I support the amendment, the main detail of which will be dealt with later by the honourable member for Forrest (Mr Kirwan). However, I cannot leave the subject completely alone because my experience in my electorate and in the areas surrounding it in the far western suburbs of Sydney has shown that there is a tremendous growth in unemployment in all industries. A number of organisations in the North St Mary’s industrial complex, which is one of the largest industrial complexes in the metro, politan area of Sydney, are putting men off weekly, and I have people coming to me day by day with problems associated with unemployment. For this reason and in view of the growth of this problem over the last couple of months, I cannot help but doubt the validity of the unemployment figures which are published and wonder whether some adjustments are being made to them. 1 have put questions on the notice paper in regard to this matter, but 1 have not yet received what I consider to be reasonable replies.
I will reduce my speech as much as possible in order to allow other members to speak. I should like to give an example of how the processing of Australia’s natural resources is passing into the control of overseas multi-national organisations or corporations. However, before I deal with the actual example I quote some figures related to the outflow of dividends on foreign investment in Australia. In 1949-50 the total outflow of dividends on foreign investment was $38m. By 1961-62 - the year in which, as the member for Mitchel], I first spoke on this issue in this Parliament - this figure had grown to $I29m, and by 1970-71 it had grown to $351m. In 1949-50 the investment income payable overseas as undistributed profits by companies - not individuals - in Australia was $31m. By 1961-62 - as 1 said before, when 1 first spoke of this growth which was occurring - it had grown to $66m and by 1970-71 it had grown to $322m. I think that this is an example of how, by allowing uncontrolled foreign investment in this country, we are setting up a tremendous potential drain upon our foreign reserves. At present, these reserves are in a very healthy situation, but it was not very long ago that they were in a most unhealthy position and that same unhealthy situation could obtain again in the comparatively immediate future. If a sudden run were made on our overseas reserves we would need every single dollar that we could possibly get. Yet we are in the position where there has been a steady growth of dividends actually remitted from $31m in 1949-50 to $322m in 1970-71, of potential dividends - funds kept here for reinvestmentfrom $38m to $35 1 m.
The case I wish to cite is that of Queensland Alumina Ltd. which is refining bauxite mined at Weipa into alumina and which most Australians would regard as an Australian owned organisation. I have done a little research into the background of this company. I have done so because I saw an advertisement in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald* by Queensland Alumina Finance NV of bonds which were offered and sold outside of the United States of America totalling $25m. In very small type the following words appeared in that advertisement: ‘This advertisement appears as a matter of record only’. There is not one Australian firm or individual in all the bond-holders listed in the advertisement. For that reason I thought it was time to do a little bit of research as to just what this company is.
Queensland Alumina Ltd operates a refinery at Gladstone which refines bauxite mined at Weipa into alumina. It is a consortium company in which each partner is committed to supply raw materials, guarantee finance and share output in direct proportion to its equity interest in the company. Therefore over time, as the company expands its operations, the proportionate interests of the various partners may change. The point is that late in 1971 the respective interests in QAL were as follows: Kaiser Aluminium and Chemical Corporation of the United States of America, 37.3 per cent; Alcan of Canada, 22 per cent; Pechiney of France, 20 per cent; Comalco, 11.3 per cent and Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Ltd, 9.4 per cent. It should be kept in mind that the Rio TintoZinc Corporation Ltd of the United Kingdom holds an 80.65 per cent interest in CRA Ltd and that the ownership of Comalco is as follows: Kaiser, 45 per cent; CRA, 45 per cent; and the Australian and New Zealand public, 10 per cent. Given the proportion of local ownership in the participating companies, a maximum of 19.35 per cent and 10 per cent in CRA and Comalco respectively, the effective local ownership - that is, the Australian ownership - of Queensland Alumina Ltd is unlikely to exceed 4 per cent.
Obviously this bond issue repesents one of the capital funds necessary to complete the current exapnsion programme at the Gladstone refinery, which is scheduled to be completed by early 1973. That is why this bond issue was made. But I impress upon the House that the present ownership of the company is no more than 4 per cent Australian and that, as far as this bond issue of 525m is concerned, not one Australian organisation or individual is included. Of course, we have also the extraordinarily cryptic remark that ‘this advertisement appears as a matter of record only’. I have not been able to get down to the root of this inscription. The fact is that organisations right throughout Australian - the latest being the Australian Bank Officials Association - are complaining bitterly about how Australia’s natural resources and the secondary industry engaged in the processing of these resources are steadily moving more and more into the hands of overseas organisations. I repeat that in 1962 I warned that the remittance of dividends overseas would grow steadily. 1 think the figures 1 quoted a little earlier show that very effectively.
Before I sit down I would like to quote an example of how students in the far western suburbs of Sydney are being discriminated against in educational opportunities as compared to students in the more affluent areas of Sydney. There are many reasons for this. They include the lack of buildings and equipment and the shortage of teachers in the western suburbs. A lot of the teachers do not want to work out there; they want to work nearer their homes, which are not in the western surburbs. For the same reason there is a lack of experienced teachers. Another reason is that so many mothers are forced to work. I do not have any objection to a mother working if she wishes to do so but I think that the necessity for 2 incomes is a tragedy. The Government is forcing some mothers to work because of the state of the economy. Another reason is the lack of local employment opportunities. Because both parents come home from work at night tired they are often unable to concentrate on the affairs of their children and give them the assistance they need in order to ensure equality of educational opportunity. 1 wish to quote some figures of the number of Commonwealth and State scholarships granted in 1972 to students in secondary schools. No means test is applied to Commonwealth scholarships, but a means test is applied to State senior secondary scholarships. For example, 3 Commonwealth scholarships and 8 State scholarships were granted to the Blacktown Girls High School. I repeat that no means test is applied to the Commonwealth scholarships but a means test is applied to the State scholarships. Pupils at the Seven Hills High School received 4 Commonwealth scholarships and 5 State scholarships; at the Grantham High School, which is still in the western suburbs, 3 Commonwealth scholarships and 5 State scholarships were granted; at the Mitchell High School 2 Commonwealth scholarships and 11 State scholarships were granted. The figures for the Rooty Hill High School were 4 and 9 respectively; for Greystanes High School, 5 and 9 respectively; Normanhurst Boys High School, 1 1 and 5 respectively; Pennant Hills High School. 25 and 7 respectively; Epping Boys High School, 16 and 5 respectively, Cheltenham Girls High School, 33 and 7 respectively; North Sydney Boys High School, 28 and 1 1 respectively; and North Sydney Girls High School, 54 and 10 respectively.
What I want to show is that where a means test is applied the schools i.i the western suburbs of Sydney receive a fairly high number of State secondary school scholarships and the schools in the more affluent areas of Sydney receive a far lesser number. But where no means test is applied - I emphasise that there is no means test on Commonwealth secondary school scholarships - those from the western suburbs receive a very small number of scholarships whereas those from the more affluent areas of Sydney receive a very large number. For example, the breakdown for Commonwealth scholarships is 3, 4, 3, 2 and 4 for the western suburbs compared with 25, 16, 33, 28 and 54 for the more affluent areas. That is the position where no means test is applied. Where a means test is applied - that is, in relation to State scholarships - it is 8 5, 5, 11 and 9 for the western suburbs as compared with 7, 5, 7, 1 1 and 10 for the more affluent areas.
The case I wish to put is that until the Australian Labor Party’s policy of granting a scholarship to any pupil who has the capacity to go on to 5th and 6th year of his or her schooling is introduced it is essential that a means test be placed upon Commonwealth secondary school scholarships to ensure that there is equality of education for all children. After all. a scholarship is granted for only one purpose - to give financial incentive and assistance to a person in order to enable that person to continue his or her education. Scholarships should not be given to people who can afford to pay for their education. They should be given to people who have the capacity and ability but who cannot afford to go beyond the fourth year of secondary schooling unless they receive the financial assistance which is given under a scholarship.
– The Bills before the House this afternoon appropriate certain funds not previously made available by the Parliament. They appropriate quite a lot of money in order to supply the needs of the various departments. The Opposition has moved an amendment which calls for the formation of a committee to investigate and report to the Parliament on the closing down of particular sections of industry and the consequent loss of employment. As we all know, the employment situation in Australia is not as good as it has been in many years past - at least 10 years past. There seems to be a proliferation, if 1 can use that word, in Australia today of committees making investigations. Every time we seem to run into a bit of trouble, which needs a little thought, somebody calls for the formation of another committee. This indicates to me that Australia is breeding the, type of man who is not prepared to accept the responsibility to make a decision. As soon as we get into the position where we have to make a decision on something, we want to form a committee to make an investigation.
History has shown that certain things have happened in economies over the years, particularly in our economy. There is every indication as to why the present situation exists in Australia. Surely we have learned from some of our experience in this country and we know precisely what our problem is. Surely we do not have to form a committee to define the problem. We know what the problem is; therefore, we should be able to do something about it. What happens after a committee has investigated a particular matter for months and months? In Australia, in the last two or three years the base industries have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars. This is real money. The only real money in this country comes from the soil: it can come from nowhere else. If these funds are not coming through, as they have normally come through in recent years, obviously we reach the situation in which we presently find ourselves, where money is not available in certain areas. In other words, the purchasing power is lost, to a large extent, in those areas.
This economic situation is world wide; we are not the only ones in this situation. There has been a down turn in the prices received for raw materials, and the amount involved is of some magnitude. We can trace this back through history as far as we like to go and we find that as soon as this has happened there has been a repercussion in the economies in the world, and this is precisely what is happening now. In other words, if the purchasing power drops, obviously the spending power at the other end of the scale also drops. One cannot happen without the other.
This afternoon I asked the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) a question about research in the sheep industry in Australia, and I want to develop that theme now. It had come to my knowledge that certain things were being done; certain cuts were being made in the research which the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation was carrying out in the sheep industry. I have not any doubt at all that these cuts have been made because of certain thinking in Australia in relation to the sheep industry. This is wrong. The sheep industry is the largest industry in Australia. The sheep industry is sound enough if in fact Australia faces up to the situation and does the right thing in relation to the industry. It is a tremendous industry, and let us not neglect it. Research into this industry should not be cut. Once we start to lose faith in our major industries we will finish up in the situation which I have just mentioned.
We know that in recent years the sheep industry has been passing through a rather torrid time. If we go back through the history of the industry we also know what has been happening in the industry in the last 20 or 30 years or, if one wants to go back further, in the last 50 or 60 years. The point I want to make this afternoon is that I and many other Australians were deeply concerned as a result of the statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) on, I think, 2nd May last in relation to the proposals being put forward by the wool industry to the Government concerning the future marketing of wool. That statement referred to a so-called Randall Committee. It has always been the policy of this Government - and I remind the Government of this - that when an industry has required certain things to be done in relation to marketing or research or in any other field, the Government has negotiated with the industry concerned. That has always been the policy, and it is the right policy; I stand on it. This is what should be done in the present circumstances. If agreement can be reached between the wool industry and the governments concerned - and I say ‘governments concerned’ because in the overall situation the marketing of Australian wool is a national industry - (Quorum formed.)
When I was interrupted I was referring to the overall situation and to the fact that the marketing of wool concerns both the Commonwealth and the States, because when a national marketing scheme, such as that which has been suggested for the wool industry, has been introduced it has been necessary for the States to become involved because of their constitutional responsibilities. I was also saying that this Government has always stated - and I agree with it - that it is the responsibility of the industry to come to the Government with a proposal. Then the Government negotiates with the industry on the details of the proposal and, after agreement has been reached, introduces the necessary legislation. I will not have a bar - and I will be frank about it - of having side issues, such as the setting up o he Randall Committee or other sorts of committees, placed in the way of that policy.
The Government is entitled to get any information that it requires. But the problems facing the wool industry have been well known over the years, and I will say quite frankly that the Randall Committee probably will be a good school exercise in history.
We require something for the future. We have enough experience and knowledge to be able to assess precisely what has been going on in the past and to know what should be done in the future. I call on the Government to move ahead and bring confidence back into the wool industry which, from all the information I have received, is losing confidence again in what the future will bring to the industry. Confidence is most important to any industry, lt is most important in relation to the Bills we are discussing today. We must bring confidence back to the nation and v.e can do this only by making definite decisions on major proposals being brought forward. Wool is the biggest industry in Australia and people involved in that industry do not want to be left in doubt in any way about the future. The industry has indicated what it requires. The Government ha< the machinery to do certain things relating to those requirements. 1 have said in this House on many occasions that the Government must go to the States and get agreement between the States so that it can help the wool industry in a positive way. That is the constitutional arrangement. (Quorum formed.)
It is most unfortunate that we should suffer these interruptions during a discussion on such an important matter as the Australian wool industry. This topic is relevant to the amendment moved by the Opposition. If we can get our major industries back on to their feet we will not need this sort of amendment to legislation. I am well aware of the pressures in Australia and elsewhere against doing anything for the great wool industry in this country. If anyone thinks we are blind to these sorts of things or if anyone thinks that any man in Australia, whether a parliamentarian or someone else, is bigger than the Australian wool industry, he is mistaken. Our wool industry is a tremendous industry and all the indications are that before long there will be a world shortage of this fibre. This is obvious. Anybody who has been following the techniques evolved on the wool auction floors in Australia over the past few months would be able to work that out for himself. Anyone who has studied these things knows where wool stands, lt is right on top. We cannot afford, as a government, as a parliament or as a nation, to fool around with the wool industry. We must make decisions. The Government must indicate precisely what it is doing and in this way put confidence back into the industry.
It is not a matter of the industry wanting a large amount of revenue, and I particularly emphasise the word ‘revenue’ The Press seems to be horribly mixed up, as we noticed again earlier this week when there were certain reactions in the Press following a statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister. The wool industry is quite capable of looking after itself but it must be given the opportunity to do so. Like any other business enterprise the wool industry needs capital. It must have capital to finance its transactions on a commercial basis. That is all it needs if it is handled correctly. Exactly 12 months ago 1 made certain statements in relation to the wool industry and where it was going, and they have turned out to be perfectly correct. I ask the Government and the nation to get behind the industry and do what needs to be done; in this way a lot of our problems would be solved. On many occasions history has shown that once primary industries start to drop, whether it be through low prices, drought or whatever else, within a year or 2 the nation’s economy is affected. The new money and the only real money is the money that comes from the soil, and without it the economy will break down. There can be plenty of froth and bubble on the top but once the sound basis has gone the economy is in real trouble.
I should now like to deal with another matter, education, only a small matter in relation to the Bill before us today but quite a large matter in the community. The Bill refers to the expenditure of $5,200,000 on education. Recently the Government has made large sums of money available for the advancement of education, and this action is to be applauded. I agree with the Government’s policy. However, there is one area which does not seem to have been taken up by the Commonwealth or the Stales. I do not intend to argue whose responsibility this is but, as I see it, clearly it is a national issue. I refer to children who do not have a school located within reach of their home. This problem has become a tremendous burden on many families throughout Australia. Many children must travel great distances to receive an education. I believe there should be no discrimination and that all children should be given the same opportunity and consideration.
The policy of education authorities to locate schools in large country centres and in various parts of metropolitan areas requires many children to travel great distances, sometimes hundreds of miles, to receive their schooling. 1 believe that these children should have the same opportunity of travelling to school for their education as other children have. I do not believe that a child who lives within an area of a high school, or adjacent to or within travelling distance to that establishment, should have any advantage over a child who lives hundreds of miles away from a high school. It is the policy of governments to locate high schools and other schools in certain positions but it is necessary for proper development of our country that people should be located in all parts of the country. I believe the Government should pick up this problem and do something about it and in this way help the children concerned to receive the same type of education as is enjoyed by their brothers and sisters in other areas of Australia.
– We are now debating the motion for the second reading of the Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1971-72, to which the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones) has moved an amendment as follows:
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: whilst not opposing the second reading of the Bill, the House is of opinion that a Parliamentary select committee should be appointed to investigate and report to the Parliament on the closing down of particular sections of industry and consequent loss of employment’.
The previous speaker referred principally to one industry, the wool industry, developed, by virtue of its nature, solely in country areas. That industry employs many thousands of people and contributes to the employment of many thousands more. The wool industry has had problems developing within it for at least 10 years and the deterioration in its stability has been progressive and steady. About 12 months ago the situation was reached where the price paid for wool was the same as was paid in 1946-47, despite prices generally and wages having increased by a factor of two or three in that period. The honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) referred to the setting up of committees and he said he thought them unnecessary because men ought to be able to arrive at the decisions required and necessary for the development of our country.
Obviously this is the thing that is lacking most in the present Government. It is the factor that has contributed to the marked increase in prices in the last 12 months and the marked fall in employment to the point where prices rose in the March quarter of this year by the greatest amount for 19 years and where unemployment was running at a rate higher than for the past 10 years. These things themselves have been progressive and steady in their development but no action has been taken to meet the situation or to arrive at a solution of the problems as they developed. Instead, when the situation was grave the Government introduced rural unemployment relief which was meant to reduce unemployment figures and not to go to the seat of the problem at all.
For many years the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) and other members of the Opposition have been advocating the need for the Government to bring down a decentralisation policy and to come to an agreement with the States for the implementation of a decentralisation policy, but nothing has been done about it. Perhaps that is not quite true. The Minister for Trade and Industry and Leader of the Country Party in this Parliament (Mr Anthony) set up a committee to examine decentralisation in 1964, so something was done. But that committee has not presented a report to the Parliament, so it has achieved nothing. Yet the same Minister has said that this is a matter of national concern and national importance. This is indicative of the way the Country Party deals with matters of national concern and national importance. The Party is responsible for administering the rural industries of Australia. That Party is responsible for the present situation in the wool industry. That Party is responsible for the inaction at present, lt is that Party’s Minister who is saying that we must wait until a series of Randall reports come down before action is taken. That Party must accept the responsibility for that attitude. That Party has been charged with the responsibility of setting up decentralisation machinery and of coming to agreement with the States. The Party has failed to do this. The Country Party took 4 years to come to agreement with the States over the marginal dairy farm legislation- 4 years to come to an agreement on a Bill that was to operate for 4 years. Although the industry was in a parlous state this proposal was gone about in a dilatory manner. The same thing is likely to happen, and indeed has happened, with the wool industry which has been 10 years in reaching its current state of need and recession.
The present situation is illustrated by Australia’s population figures from 1949 to 1971 - the period of office of the Government. When it came to office in 1949 only S0.02 per cent of our population resided in the metropolitan areas. During 20 years of this Government there has been a steady progression and the point has been reached where that figure stands at 63.01 per cent. The figure for Western Australia was 54.40 per cent in 1949 and is now 68.27 per cent. At present in that State it is difficult to obtain employment even in the timber industry. All rural industries there are maintaining a minimum of employment and the mining industries are putting men off and are in a state of minor recession. Yet the Government seems to have no concern for this situation. It would be bad enough if that were the sole side of the picture but the situation is such that concern is felt in many areas of our community about the cost of the continued growth of our capital cities and the strategic danger that is inherent in having so large a percentage of our population residing within the 5 major capitals. Indeed, in the May 1972 bulletin of the Australian Industries Development Association it was said:
Decentralisation is becoming an unavoidable issue in Australia-
That is the only time that the Government ever faces an issue - when it is an unavoidable issue - as the Slate capitals are pressed lo absorb increasingly larger populations, while country areas suffer from the rural decline and the growing rate of non-metropolitan unemployment. The reduction of employment opportunities in rural industry and in country towns is pressuring young people toward the metropolitan areas in search of work. There appear to bc two alternative choices for countering this drift to the cities. Either the problem can be faced through an endless provision of subsidies, with the rather dim hope that the problems underlying the present situation will eventually disappear, or through the formulation of a national policy for regional development supported both by the States and the Commonwealth.
I believe that the latter is the desirable choice. It is one that the Government should accept and should work for, right from the present time. Indeed it has only 6 months in which to make some preparations. We know that once that time has expired a Labor government will see that it is carried forward at a far more rapid rate and more effectively than under the present Government. I contrast the attitude of the Government with the attitude of the State Government of Western Australia. Immediately on attaining office the Western Australian Government set up a Department of Decentralisation within the Department of Development. This year in Western Australia 2 seminars on decentralisation have been held. It is obvious that people from the eastern States are prepared to travel to Western Australia to attend seminars because they see in that State some desire to come to grips with the problem. The Western Australian Minister for Decentralisation, Mr Graham, has set down guidelines for decentralisation as follows:
Financial assistance for land and buildings be extended from 30 per cent to 75 per cent for country industry generally and to 100 per cent for selected country industry.
Interest on loans for capital expenditure be subsidised up to 5 per cent per annum for selected country industries, the subsidy phasing out over 5 years.
New, more effective rail freight concessions be introduced on a selective basis to replace existing concessions.
The Industrial Lands Development Authority acquire and develop land in the main country centres to attract new industry.
Government administration be further decentralised.
These guidelines have been laid down in that Government’s first year of office. They show that the State Labor Government is prepared to come to grips with the problem, even though it is not as serious a problem in Western Australia as it is in other States. 1 hope that the House will carry the amendment so ably moved by the honourable member for Newcastle and that a committee will be set up, because the Government will not make the necessary decision. I agree with the honourable member for Canning (Mr Hallett) that committees are undersirable when there is a government that will make decisions, but when there is a government that will not make decisions someone must be found to do the work, carry out examinations and intro duce proposals which then only have to be implemented. However we know from experience that even when committee reports and recommendations have been received, the Government has failed to act.
– I thank honourable members opposite who have spoken for their courtesy in providing me with the opportunity to speak for a few minutes in this debate on the Appropriation Bills Nos (4) and (5). I shall not occupy much of the time of the House but I should like to raise the subject of allowing sullage charges as income tax deductions. I understand that as the law now stands, deductions can be allowed only if authorised by section 72 of the Income Tax Assessment Act, in that this section permits the allowance of deductions for outgoings for which the taxpayer personally is liable and which constitute rates which are annually assessed. As those of us in this House whose electorates are burdened by this socially revolting practice of sullage - or sewage pump-out. as it is technically called - know, there is a diversity of practice in the imposition and calculation of charges for the removal of sewage. It is this diversity which has caused the Commissioner of Taxation some doubt as to his ability to allow charges in respect of sewage pump-out to be classified as rates which are annually assessed.
Honourable members will realise that I have been asking for these expenses to be made tax deductible since I was elected to this House in 1966. Again I ask the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) to consider making an appropriate amendment to section 72 of the Income Tax Assessment Act so that specific provision of the law will allow these outgoings of a private and domestic nature to become deductible for income tax purposes. For those who do not live in the Sydney metropolitan area and who are not acquainted with the dreadful social disadvantages which attach to weekly or twice weekly removal of sullage from their septic tanks, I can assure them that this practice is just about as barbaric as the dry pan system which also is still used in the metropolitan area of Sydney. I believe that those people who are suffering from the necessity of having a sullage system for sewage disposal should not be penalised a second time by not having the expenses, which are very often high, allowed as a tax deduction. So, yet again, 1 ask the Treasurer to give this matter a very high priority consideration in connection with the 1972-73 Budget. It is an anomaly which deserves rectification.
– I could not agree more.
– I am pleased to hear that the honourable member for Robertson agrees. He also suffers from this problem and 1 notice that people do not sit next to him. I ask the Treasurer to give this matter very high priority when considering the next Budget. While talking on tax deductions I would also like to put forward yet again a case to the Treasurer to consider allowing tax deductions for donations to the scouting and the guiding movements whose magnificent contributions to the quality of life in Australia most of us know. I have always thought it unfortunate that donations to these magnificent movements, which, strangely, do not enjoy the support of ali members of the Opposition, do not qualify as tax deductions, so 1 make this request to the Treasurer again.
In considering these 2 Appropriation Bills I would like to point out to honourable members the competence of the Public Accounts Committee and the role it performs in helping this House to control such financial Bills as come before it, including Appropriation Bills. I would hope that the Parliament would not under-estimate the role of this Committee, which is so ably chaired by the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham), but I would like to say that it is seldom that this House seriously considers the financial management of the country. At the present time the only way and the only forum for this House to control the financial system and its ramifications is through the Public Accounts Committee. I would hope that we would see the reports of the Public Accounts Committee which are brought to this House debated in the same manner as is being done these days with reports coming forward from the Public Works Committee, which in turn is so ably headed by the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly). 1 hope that in this House we will follow the system that is followed in the House of Commons in that members of the Public Accounts Committee will see their way clear to commenting on the report within the Parliament. As we are aware, in the Commons members of the Public Accounts Committee speak on specific sections of the reports and this brings into the House itself a realisation not only of the work that is done by the Committee but also of the ramifications of the important role that Parliament should be undertaking in the financial management of the country.
In conclusion, I would like to express my personal regret that a very well known and loved member of the Public Accounts Committee, Senator Joe Fitzgerald, was forced to resign today from the Committee due to ill health. 1 would like recorded in Hansard my own personal appreciation of the dedicated work he gave to that Committee for many years. I hope that this reduction in his duties will help him in his medical recovery.
– I am speaking in reply on behalf of the Treasurer (Mr Snedden). This debate has been a cognate debate on 2 Appropriation Bills. Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 1971-72 seeks parliamentary authority for expenditure for which no provision was made in Appropriaation Act (No. 1) for that year. Appropriation Act (No. I) covers items for the ordinary annual services of the Government and includes requirements for salaries, administrative expenses, other services and defence services. Major items are referred to in the second reading speech. The other Bill, Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 1971-72, seeks parliamentary authority for additional expenditure for which no provision was made in Appropriation Act (No. 2) for that year. Appropriation Act (No. 2) covers requirements for capital works and services, payments to or for the States and certain other services. Major items again are referred to specifically in the second reading speech.
Departments budget, in the first instance, on the basis of known cost and a large proportion of additional requirements relate to increases in cost since the Budget. Other items are required for new legislation and decisions made during the year.
Many speakers have taken part in this cognate debate and have covered many areas and many subjects. The honourable member for Calare (Mr England) was perhaps one of the few speakers who spoke directly on the Bills. I. acknowledge his thoughtful contribution and assure him that the suggestion he made will be weighed in a consideration of the Budget. Many items were raised by other honourable members and I will ensure that replies are given in writing to specific Treasury questions on these estimates. I shall not reply to them in these remarks.
I do not propose to follow the remarks of the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly) through the realms of irrelevancy. The honourable member for Scullin (Dr Jenkins), the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay), the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James), the honourable member for Barton (Mr Reynolds) and the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid) all, I believe, made contributions which can be weighed, though they were not very closely related to these Bills. The honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) spoke about a matter which impinges directly on my own portfolio and I will certainly ensure that the matter he raised is closely examined. The honourable member for Chifley (Mr Armitage) presented what might be regarded as traditional Opposition gloom; a sort of partisan gloom. In the remarks he made about the economy he said that unemployment was increasing. He went on to say that the figures did not bear this out so, of course, logically he was forced to say that therefore the figures must be incorrect. Obviously the figures are not incorrect. Clearly he did not like the improvement which has occurred in this area. He made a number of other remarks in that vein.
I want to make some specific remarks about the speeches made by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones), who moved an amendment to the motion that these Bills be read a second time, and the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean) who spoke in this debate as the leading speaker for the Opposition. The honourable member for Melbourne Ports is known as the shadow Treasurer for the Opposition. The honourable member for Newcastle moved an amendment which was circulated. The amendment is in general terms, yet his remarks were specifically on the situation as he saw it - and I emphasise *as he saw it’ - in Newcastle. He maintained adamantly at one point that it was not a political speech, but I think any fair-minded person who heard his remarks would form the opposite opinion. The honourable member invited me to take some action and he tried to compare his remarks with an approach that he made to the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) on another matter. But of course the honourable member omitted to say that without warning, as far as I was concerned, he had popped this into a debate which was half over and that he was inviting me to take precipitate action. Of course I would not agree to that.
It is only proper to point out that it is quite absurd to talk about closing down complete sectors of industry. If this had happened it would have been reflected in a massive increase of unemployment and that simply has not occurred. What we have seen happening in recent days has been a decline in the total number of persons registered for employment. From a peak level of 130,000 at the end of January, when the figures were inflated by an influx of school leavers onto the labour market, actual unemployment has now fallen to about 93,000. In seasonally adjusted terms also total unemployment declined somewhat in April, the most recent month for which figures are available. On seasonally adjusted figures, declines occurred in all States except Western Australia and Tasmania. The honourable member for Forrest (Mr Kirwan), who had such praiseworthy comments to offer about the Labor Government in Western Australia, might care to dwell on that point. The Government has always recognised that there are problems in specific areas and has taken measures to combat them. I refer, for example, to the scheme of grants to the States for employment creation works in non-metropolitan areas which include, of course, areas such as Newcastle, and to the rural reconstruction scheme. However, it is a fact of business and economic life that at any particular time some firms and industries have, good periods and others have bad periods. Those businesses which close down are replaced by those which start up and it is obviously necessary to look at the matter as a whole.
The honourable member for Newcastle referred specifically to Newcastle and only to Newcastle. Specific measures for the Newcastle area obviously come within the constitutional responsibilities of the New South Wales Government. However, the Commonwealth is presently considering a request by the New South Wales Government for financial assistance with the construction of a graving dock at Newcastle. An examination of the honourable member’s remarks will show clearly that he made a party political speech and I have no doubt that it was in favour of his candidature for the Newcstle electorate.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports asked a number of technical questions which, in the limited time available to me, I would like to take up. He asked why a saving of $2. 2m was made on drought assistance to Queensland. He asked whether it occurred because the drought was not as bad as was expected or whether there was something wrong with the mechanism by which drought assistance is made available to those people who should receive it. The machinery for distributing such funds is, as the honourable member would be aware, a State matter. Commonwealth assistance is given as reimbursement of expenditure already incurred by the State concerned. Both the original appropriation and the present appropriation are based on the Queensland Government’s estimates of expenditure on drought relief. 1 understand that the main reason for the saving is that seasonal conditions were better than had been allowed for in the Queensland Government’s original estimates. That factor accounts for practically the whole of the sum to which the honourable member drew attention. I think it is worth noting that over the 6 years ending June 1971 the Commonwealth provided almost $45m in drought relief assistance to Queensland.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports also drew attention to the increase between September 1970 and March 1972 in the holdings of Commonwealth Government securities by trading banks as referred to in the April 1972 Treasury Information Bulletin. The honourable member asked whether the large increase in government security holdings by these institutions means that the trading banks as providers of credit have lost their audacity’. He said that it seemed indicative that because of lack of confidence in the business community there is just not so much investment taking place and not so much recourse to trading banks for loans as occurred previously. The strong increase in holdings of government securities by the trading banks in the period to which the honourable member referred can be traced to 2 major factors. The first factor is the strong growth in trading bank liquidity in the first three quarters of 1971-72 emanating from Commonwealth budgetary transactions, the high rate of private capital inflow and the easier stance adopted on monetary policy since about September or October of last year, including the substantial reduction in the statutory reserves deposit ratio announced in December 1971. The second factor is the natural predilection of the trading banks to reestablish their liquidity positions from the relatively low levels which prevailed for a large part of 1970 and the first part of 1971. The very strong increase in new lending commitments of the major trading banks since all official constraints on their lending were removed late last year indicates both a willingness by the banks to lend, and, perhaps more importantly a willingness of the private sector to borrow. As indicated in the April 1972 Treasury Information Bulletin, new lending commitments by the major trading banks averaged a weekly rate of $69m compared with the weekly rate of $41m in the corresponding period of 1971. During the 2 months preceding mid-April new commitments were running at double the rate of a year earlier.
I would like now to make one or two general observations on the comments of the honourable member for Melbourne Ports. The Government has explained at length in its statements its policies for economic management. They are there for those who will read them and try to understand them. They are policies which have been devised in the circumstances at a particular point. They are the best judgments on given situations and place no reliance on hindsight, an element which was so obvious in the honourable gentleman’s speech. It is really ridiculous and glib to say that the Government has ‘no sense of where it is going and just reacts to a situation’. That is a form of abuse and is therefore meaningless. Detailed explanations have been given and I am sure that honourable members who will read, listen to and try to understand those statements will be able to apprehend them. I underscore the point that to make a superficial criticism is not only unhelpful, but in the case of many is also a deliberate act.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports said that the Government seemed to have had a ‘great fear of unleashing savings’. If he reads the Budget speech of the Treasurer he will see that the Treasurer referred to ‘potential demand’ and said that it was more than possible because of the much greater rate of increase of savings by the Australian people as shown in the increased levels of funds in savings banks, building societies and so on. So to speak of a ‘great fear of a sudden unleashing’ is unreal when it is obvious that the Government has the responsibility to make judgments about what may happen. It is no great help for someone in the House, all these months later, to tell us that it did not happen. That type of superficial comment cannot really be seriously regarded.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports went on to make a few party political points about defence and other matters that I do not think require comment. In his speech, and in an earlier speech a week or two ago, he referred to what he called a desultory interest in this Bill and the way in which he said it seemed to imply that somehow it was the fault of the Government. Of the large number of speakers in this debate, the honourable member for Calare was one of the few who spoke on the Bill. The opportunity was given to do so but 2 of the honourable member’s own Party took time out to discuss aircraft noise. That is permitted within the Standing Orders, but I point out that the opportunity to discuss the Bill is given and it is certainly not the position of the Government to do more than provide time. Honourable members can take the opportunity if they wish.
The honourable member for Melbourne Ports went on to say that after looking at the Budget he considered that there was not enough expenditure in some areas and that there ought to be more expenditure in other areas. The honourable member gave one or two examples, but it is not impressive to look at one or two items in isolation. Appropriation Bills and the economy have to be seen in the context of the whole Budget. Any budget is necessarily a compromise between what the Government would like to spend and keeping taxes at the lowest level possible. The complaint has been made that taxes have been too high in some areas and that expenditure has been too low in others. I have no doubt that each person in this Parlaiment could say that, but it is no impressive argument unless it is part of an overall examination. It is very easy to say that there ought to be more expenditure and that taxes ought to be less. We all know that the demands for increased expenditure are numerous and vast. These demands come in on all sides, and increased expenditure necessarily requires increased revenue raising.
It is all very well to call for more expenditure here and there - the Australian Labor Party does this several times every day - but let it be fully realised that this would result in higher taxes. As I understand it, the proposals of the Labor Party for health alone include a proposal to increase income tax by 10 per cent. Added to that, their demands for increases in social services, education and urban development, just to name some that quickly come to mind, grow into an enormous and irresponsible expenditure. So this debate has confirmed once again the view of the Government, that if the Labor Oppostion ever became the government of this country its policies would quickly result in vastly increased expenditure, much higher taxes and, not lower, but ever greater inflation.
That the words proposed to be omitted (%1/ Charles Jones’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Deputy Speaker - Mr P. E. Lucock)
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Garland) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 13 April (vide page 1617), on motion by Mr Snedden:
That the Bill he now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Garland) read a third time.
Debate resumed from 27 April (vide page 2107), on motion by Mr Garland:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– Is it the wish of the House to have a general debate covering the 2 measures? There being no objection I will allow that course to be followed.
– These 2 Bills provide the beginning of supply for the financial year commencing on 1st July 1972. The Bills we have just discussed appropriated additional amounts for the period to end on 30th June 1972. The Supply Bills are formalities that arise every year, usually in May, and they grant supply, without which the purposes of government could not be carried on. They grant supply for the first 5 months of the next financial year, from July until the end of November. I would have thought myself that, in view of the hazardous state of this
Government, it should have sought supply for only 2 months and should be going to the country in an election so that the people would be able to decide whether the majority of them still support this rather ramshackled government that seems to be taking all sorts of desperate measures in anticipation of the next Budget to save its own political skin. There have been plenty of examples of such desperate efforts in recent times.
At the beginning of the statement that the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) made on education the other evening he referred to the fact that the Government - I am not sure whether he said ‘at long last’ - certainly realised that we should not expect to have all our financial measures neatly encompassed within the scope of one Budget and that there was need to revise and anticipate. That is what he was endeavouring to do when making his announcements on education. I do not want to go into the merits of those measures. They are really projected measures because mostly they will be contained in legislation that will be part of the next Budget brought down in August this year. I merely observe that I fully agree with him that it is not reasonable in Australia to suggest that what we do on the second or third Tuesday in August every year sets the course of the economy for the rest of that year. I think it is time we got past this annual Budget type of concept. Parliamentary procedure makes it necessary that appropriations should go into the neat divisions of financial years, but many projects are continuations of earlier measures and projections of measures that will take some years to encompass.
There is a lot of talk now about forward budgeting, programme budgeting and other such things. I think the former Treasurer, the honourable member for Wentworth (Mr Bury), indicated nearly 3 years ago that the Government was suggesting the preparation of forward Estimates covering a period of 3 to 5 years. Unfortunately nothing came of that proposition, but I would hope that the new government, whoever it might be, after November or whenever the election will be, will revive that concept. This is done now in the United Kingdom, where it was done originally by means of a Green Paper as distinct from a White Paper so that the proposition could be canvassed and evaluated. I would have thought that this kind of thing would be quite useful in the Australian context in many of the things we have to do, particularly in relation to the large amounts of money that are paid from the Commonwealth to the States. Increasingly there is the suggestion now that amounts should be paid to local authorities also. It would certainly be much better for those bodies if they had some idea several years in advance of what moneys they were likely to receive. Whatever views may be had on what is described as planning, there is no doubt that any large scale enterprise has to do a degree of forward planning if it is to survive in a commercial sense. Equally, on the national basis, when so much falls within the province of parliament to supply revenue for a variety of purposes, a need exists for forward planning.
The last Budget made provision for an expenditure of close to $9, 000m and I suppose it is a pretty good bet that the next one will break the £ 10.000m barrier. Less than half of what the Commonwealth seeks sanction for is actually spent by the Commonwealth itself, when we take into account capital works as well as appropriations for other purposes. Something like one half of what the Commonwealth is in essence responsible for is not spent directly by the Commonwealth itself. Of course this raises all kinds of problems in trying to reconcile finance and function. We have quite a degree of argument still within parties and within Parliament about this. Whilst it is the province of the States to do certain kinds of duties, they certainly look to the Commonwealth to provide finance. Sometimes there is a suggestion that we ought to shift function to where finance is, but this is a very slow process to get agreement upon. As I say, it is now being suggested that finance should be shifted down to the third functional level, that is the level of local authorities, whether they necessarily be the local authorities as at present constituted or whether they be local authorities with the same boundaries. Of course that is one of the matters relating to administrative arrangements that needs to be looked at.
What we have before us is the pro rata provision for the first 5 months of 1972-73. We simply say that we gave the departments so much last year for 12 months and with one or two exceptions we take five-twelfths of last year’s estimate. The estimates are provisional and of course no money can be expended by any department unless it has first had the sanction of Parliament. That is still the procedure under which we work, and I suppose again this points to a need to scrutinise the procedures that are being followed here and have been followed for a large number of years in the past. 1 think 1 can remember the year when, for the first time, the Budget reached a figure of $ 1,000m. 1 think I can say, without being likely to be very far wrong, that the next Budget will be of the magnitude of $1 0,000m. Of course, we must bear in mind that in the 20 years or so that I have seen Budgets come and go the Australian population has almost doubled, as have prices, and when one relates prices and population to expenditure the effective increase in Budget expenditure is somewhat reduced. Nevertheless, it is probably true that in 1972-73 a higher proportion of the gross national product will go through the hands of this Government than was the case in, say, 1951-52.
I think that that poses some philosophical problems for a government which claims that private enterprise should be the mainstream and, willingly or reluctantly, that public enterprise should perform the rest. J think that it poses some philosophical problems for all parties in a mixed economy, which means that there is some degree of private enterprise in industry and commerce and also a fair degree of public enterprise in such fields as railways and other forms of public transport, power and road making. lt is always a difficult task to adjudicate on what should be the mix between public and private expenditure and between public and private investment. My view is that, in the future, the mix in the investment field will be in the direction of more public investment, with a certain reduction of private investment. At the moment, 25 to 26 per cent of the gross national product in Australia goes into what is described as investment expenditure as distinct from consumption expenditure. The mix of that investment expenditure is something like two-thirds private investment and one-third public investment. Of course, private investment includes the great expenditure on domestic dwelling construction. However, over a period of years it might be necessary to shift this expenditure ratio from the present one of 66i per cent private investment and 33i per cent public investment to something like a 60 per cent and 40 per cent ratio.
One should also take into account the estimate made by Professor Karmel in a report on education that he prepared for the State Government of South Australia. He said that, whereas then - 12 months or so ago - we were spending 4.2 per cent of the gross national product on education, he envisaged that by the latter half of the 1970s - that is the period from about 1976 onward - we should be spending 6.7 per cent of the gross national product on education. That would mean that, in terms of the gross national product, we would have to raise the total expenditure on education at constant prices by something of the magnitude of $750m. This certainly would require a change to less private expenditure and more public expenditure, particularly in the capital field, because the limiting factor in any of these matters is not the desire to spend more money on education but the reality that that expenditure can be sensible or meaningful only if it is in terms of properly trained teachers, properly equipped schools ad enough school buildings to hold teachers, the equipment and the pupils. After all, that in the long run is what education is about. It is not so much a matter of money, it is a matter of the matching of money, materials, manpower and techniques to do the job.
We live in an age in which there is more and more talk about pollution and the fact that we no longer can allow industry to be untrammelled and to do what it wants and to discharge whatever it wants to discharge into the streams, the rivers, the atmosphere, and so on. Recently I saw a document which indicated that in Japan pollution safeguards will add an extra 10 per cent to the cost of major projects in the future. In other words, if a person were to build some kind of industrial structure that normally would cost $10m, he will have to spend Slim - another 10 per cent - in order to provide pollution protection. So, a higher cost will be imposed on the private section of the community to protect what might be described as the public environment. I hope that we in Australia are beginning to anticipate these sorts of changes rather than waiting until they overwhelm us. lt seems to be one of the tragedies of civilisation that it does not recognise a problem until it becomes a crisis. When one tries to solve problems in an atmosphere of crisis, one does not always arrive at the most rational solution. I believe that Australia is still relatively small enough to be a communicating democracy. We should understand and be able to evaluate what are these problems, to get some sense of their perspective and, above all, to achieve the dedication and intention to try to remedy them.
As I see it, in the long run, that is mainly what democratic government is about. It is the solving by evolution and rationality, rather than by revolution, the problems that we face. I believe that, increasingly, whether we claim to be dedicated supporters of what is described as private enterprise or whether we want only to be good nationalists or good Australians, there will need to be public intervention in spheres that formerly were thought to be private. Whether that is done in a democratic rather than a - to use that awful word - bureaucratic way depends to a great extent upon how we as parliamentarians enunciate these problems and respond to the opinions and the expertise that are available outside the Parliament for the solution of these problems.
There is nothing else I want to say about these measures. I suggest that they are only temporary. The real test will be in the next Budget. I hope that there will not be too much squandering in that Budget merely to save political skins, but that there will be a sense of responsibility about it. In some respects, 1 think that elections should be held 6 or 8 months before the presentation of Budgets rather than a month or two afterwards, because there is the tendency to throw things into that last Budget before an election. I am sure that there has not been a more desperate government in the last 20 years in Australia than this Government. I hope that its despair does not make it lose all sens: of public responsibility.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 8 p.m.
– The purpose of the Supply Bill (No. I) 1972-73 is to appropriate moneys to cover Government expenditure during the first 5 months of the 1972-73 financial year. It covers a large area of departmental expenditure, including expenditure by the defence Services. An amount of $30m is sought for advances by way of a loan to the Australian Wool Commission. There is also a provision for SI Om for capital expenditure by Qantas Airways Ltd. 1 wish to stress the importance of the provision of an advance to the Australian Wool Commission and comment on the adverse attitude of large sections of the Australian Press to any assistance given to the wool industry.
The attitude of a large section of the Press in the cities is quite difficult to understand. I think the usual phrase used by this section of the Press is that the Australian taxpayer is supporting the wool grower. This is plain nonsense. I admit that it looked as though some funds would have to be provided to tide the wool growers over an extremely difficult situation, but what has happened? The policy of the Commonwealth Government in giving support to the proposal for a guaranteed price of 36c a lb for wool has brought confidence back to the industry in Australia and an appreciation overseas of what a very fine fibre wool is. There is no substitute for it. The world has at last seen that wool is a valuable product. That has not cost the taxpayer lc. Average wool prices have provided good returns recently. I think the average price of the wool sold at the Goulburn sales today was 41.8c a lb. The setting up of the Australian Wool Commission was a magnificent gesture on the part of the Government to restore confidence to this great industry. Nevertheless the metropolitan Press seems determined to misrepresent the situation. For some strange reason, I think it would like to see the wool industry collapse.
– Oh, no!
– The honourable member for Griffith should use his influence in some of the city areas to change that situation. One of the consequences of a collapse of the wool industry would be the collapse of our country towns. A total of 85 per cent of the people of Australia today are living within 25 miles of the sea. If an industry such as the woo) industry were to collapse it would be the end of our country towns and we would have nearly the whole of our population living on the Australian seaboard. Australia has lived off the wool industry right from its beginning. The wool industry has supported Australia’s secondary industry. Up to the end of the First World War the Australian wool grower received the top world price for his product and he was then able to buy his station requirements at the cheapest prices in the world. But Australia’s population was growing. In a statesman-like attitude the government of the day decided that secondary industry had to bc fostered in Australia in order to provide a wide range of jobs for the increasing population. Australia’s first big companies were Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd and H. V. Mackay, which manufactured farm machinery. Obviously those infant industries had to be given some sort of protection from overseas competition. So the Tariff Board system of protecting Australian industry was developed.
It should not be forgotten that secondary industry has been a great advantage to primary industry also. There are some sections of primary industry that are misguided enough to say that it has cost them dearly, but that is not so. The wool growers may have a point in this respect, but most of the other primary industries have benefited from the large increase in our population that has been made possible only because of the growth of secondary industry in Australia. An increase of 5 million or 6 million in our population has been due to the development of secondary industry in Australia and for this we can bc thankful. When one takes into consideration that Australia’s annual per capita consumption of beef is 90 lb, of butter 22 lb, of mutton 40 lb and of cheese 6 lb one can see that every increase of 1 million in the population of Australia makes a tremendous difference to the income of the primary producers. After all our local markets are the best. We do not have to take what the rest of the world has to offer. It does not matter at what price we endeavour to sell our primary products in such places as the European Economic Community because we have little prospect of doing so.
I wish to deal now with the subject of Qantas Airways Ltd, which is another great Australian enterprise. It was started in far western Queensland. Qantas was originally a mail service between Longreach and Charleville. It expanded to the stage where at one time it was one of the world’s greatest overseas airways. Unfortunately, as the result of some irresponsible industrial action by its pilots a few years ago-
Opposition members - Oh!
– Opposition members may laugh at what 1 say but Qantas has never recovered from the irresponsible action of its pilots a few years ago. Those people are now screaming because, due to a recession in civil aviation. Qantas cannot take on any new pilots. The pilots brought that on themselves by their irresponsible action. Unfortunately the whole community will have to pay for their actions.
A lot is said by honourable members on the other side of the House about unemployment. Look at what is happening in Queensland. A new coal industry is being established in that State. It involves a vast open cut mine. There have been all sorts of strikes and demarcation issues in that industry. The development of such an industry would bring with it a new town and the service industries that go wilh it. Unfortunately its development has been stagnated because of industrial action. Despite that one hears cries from the other side of the chamber abo.it unemployment. Of course, if people are not prepared to do a decent day’s work there will be unemployment. One does not advance a country with industrial irresponsibility and lawlessness. One has only to look at what has happened in other countries. Germany and Japan have recovered from the war by hard work. They are the leading countries in the world today. We have to make up our minds whether we are going to do a decent day’s work.
Another matter I would like to discuss is defence. I do not think many Australians realise the importance of the security of the Indian Ocean to us. The Indian Ocean has been free of any hostile or prospective enemy action. At the present moment 46 per cent or nearly one-half of Australia’s total global trade goes into or through the Indian Ocean and that trade is growing. I have the figures in this respect for the 1969-70 financial year. The statistics which are available so far for 1970-71 already show an increase of 22 million tons in
Australia’s exports to South Africa alone. This is not generally known. South Africa is a country that the Opposition likes to forget. Of Australia’s total global trade, 39 per cent is carried across the Indian Ocean. This is our trade with the Middle East, South Africa, the rest of Africa and Europe, It is even more important to remember that 55 per cent of our total global trade is with either South Africa or Europe and is carried across the Indian Ocean. In other words, 35 per cent of our global trade either goes to or has to pass the Cape of Good Hope. I think Australians must realise that this is an important area to Australia. We want to keep this area free so that we can carry on our trade. We hope for peace in our time, but we have to be prepared for war. We have to prepare so that we will be able to protect this trade which goes across the Indian Ocean.
There is only one naval base in the Indian Ocean available to the countries of the Western world and that is the base at Simonstown in South Africa. Until we build the base at Cockburn Sound, for which I have no doubt provision is being made in the Bill we are considering, Simonstown will be the only base open to the fleets of the Western world. We know that the Soviet Union has an arrangement and is using the island of Socotra at the southern end of the Red Sea to carry out naval repair work and so on. Undoubtedly, some of the countries in northern Africa will make naval bases available to the Soviet Union which is interested in the area. China is building a railway from Tanzania across to Zambia. We have to take notice of these things. As I have said, Simonstown is the only naval base in that area.
We hear a lot of propaganda from die Opposition and from the Press denigrating South Africa which is governed by a white race. The white race did not overrun the indigenous race in South Africa. The Bantu came from the north about 200 years ago, just about the same time as the Dutch came up from the Cape of Good Hope, and they met at the Fish River 125 years ago. So there were 2 groups coming to South Africa, and both of the groups were in the same situation. It was not a case of the white robbing the black of his area or the black taking away an area from the white. The black Africans have a sense of nationalism. Why should not white South Africans have a sense of nationalism and want to keep their identity too? The present problem in South Africa is a South African problem, and I do not think that we should enter into the matter and criticise South Africa for what it is doing. We should thank our ancestors for their wisdom in preserving our identity here in Australia. We do not have the frightful problem which confronts South Africa. But I think that we have to remember that the only country of some substance of Western civilisation in the Southern Hemisphere is South Africa. We need friends in the Southern Hemisphere, and we have to take a kinder view in relation to the problems confronting South Africa than we are taking at the present time. With those few remarks I conclude my speech.
– I have not delayed the House or the Committee very often or for very long in the years since I retired from the leadership of the Australian Labor Party, but there is something I want to bring to the attention of the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp). I presume that he is the responsible Minister. I have here some exhibits which are a product of William Butler Tobacco Co. Ltd, 50 Marshall Street, Surry Hills, Sydney. The brand of the tobacco is Dr Pat. It is an Irish mixture. It is just a lot of stalk which Australians are expected to smoke. I will hand these to the Minister.
– Put them in Hansard.
– 1 well remember the day when a very distinguished colleague of mine, the Honourable John J. Dedman, got the permission of the House to erect a blackboard in this House in order that he might explain his economic theories. That was a famous occasion. This sort of rubbish, which T have produced, is being sold to the Australian people. I remember before I came to this House, back about 1940, when Australian pipe smokers were able to get pure Virginia leaf. After that time, and during the war, the Australian tobacco manufacturers chopped up the stalks, impregnated them with something or other, and included them with their products. The situation has followed that pattern ever since. I do not want to anticipate a debate or a measure that is coming forward, but I have a very strong feeling that many thousands of dollars - perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars - are being spent by the tobacco interests to try to save themselves from the Government’s legislation. I know that a lot of commercial television stations will lose many thousands of dollars a year if the Government’s legislation is passed, and I hope it will be passed.
I have a telegram from a very good friend of mine, MacAlister Blain, who was a member of this Parliament for many years. He went to the war and he was a guest of the Japanese. He holds very strong feelings about it all. I cannot do what he wants me to do, and that is to read his telegram in full. But he said:
My hearty congratulations your stand multiracial.
Then he says:
Give those white corpuscle vote cadgers their medicine.
Well, I have tried to do that. He wants me to mention his name - MacAlister Blain of 40 Tombonda Drive, Kiama. He said further:
Disgraceful black power salute -
I suppose he was referring to what happened at Government House in Melbourne -
But I rose to continue a little debate that I have had with the National Civic Council. I put a question on the notice paper on 2nd December last and I was told by the Minister for Defence (Mr Fairbairn) that all the records had been destroyed. There was no reference to the fact that I had made any representations to the government of the day for an exemption from national service for Mr Santamaria and 2 other people. The Melbourne ‘Herald’ did a very good job on this matter and produced a very good documentary report. I do not want to go over it all, but I did say in the course of my remarks that I had made representations to the Government for the exemption from national service of Mr Santamaria who is the President of the National Civic
Council which I said was a predominantly Roman Catholic organisation which claims that it has about 5,000 members devoted to fighting communist influences in unions, politics and other areas.
In the course of my remarks I said that 3 persons had been exempted from service and that I had made representations on behalf of each of them. Mr Santamaria denied all this but he would not submit himself to an interview by representatives of the Press nor would he appear on television to discuss the matter. 1 had a feeling that he was prevaricating at the worst and equivocating at the best. Being rather tenacious as well as having a sense of history I thought I should pursue the matter further. The other 2 people involved were Mr F. K. Maher and Mr Kenneth W. Mitchell. All I said was that the late Bishop of Sale, Bishop Lyons, who was formerly the Vicar-General in Melbourne, had asked me to have these 3 gentlemen exempted because their work was equivalent to that of a chaplain in the forces or a person pursuing some work in a spiritual sense of interest to the nation. Mr Santamaria said that I had claimed to have sought military exemption for Mr Maher, Mr Mitchell as well as himself. He then said that both Mr Maher and Mr Mitchell had informed him that they were beyond military age and the call-up did not apply to them. The truth of the matter is that at that time Mr Mitchell was 37 years old.
I remember that dreadful period well, when the Japanese were almost breathing down our necks. The government of the day decided that all men who were eligible for service could be conscripted in 5 classifications and among these classifications were married men and widowers without children, aged 18 to 35, and married men and widowers with children, aged 35 to 45. It is true that at that time Mr Mitchell was 37 years of age but had the war situation deteriorated further it is certain that he would have been called up, so he was never really exempted by virtue of his age. I made application on behalf of these 3 persons and they were exempted. Mr Maher came out of this business very well. He said he thought he had been exempted because he was a member of Catholic Action. He said that Archbishop Mannix might have had ‘some discussion with him’ about an exemption from service. He said also: 1 think I was too old for military service, and the service would have been with the Allied Works Council. I am not sure if I applied for any exemption, but it would have been because of valuable work I was doing in the Church.’
I apologise to the House and to the nation, and say that had I known what was going to happen in the future I would never have applied for exemption for these people. Mr Santamaria is now 56, Mr Mitchell is 66; and Mr Maher is about 68. Mr Maher told the truth much more than did the others. 1 am sure from what I saw at Rowville in the war period, with men of 35 with three or four children conscripted and in training, that had the Japanese managed to land anywhere in Australia and had they bombed Sydney these people would have been called up. In fact, the Japanese did enter Sydney Harbour in submarines and they shelled Vaucluse from the Pacific Ocean.
– They shelled Bondi, too.
– Yes, they shelled Bondi. They also put a shell into the Broken Hill Pty Ltd works at Newcastle, but the shell failed to explode.
– They missed the Speaker when they shelled Bondi.
– Yes but he was away and performing his duty in the forces very meritoriously and he did not apply for an exemption. What I said on the former occasion was quite true. I did not have an answer to the question that 1 asked in the House on 9th December last. The Minister said that no records were available. 1 thank the Minister for Defence for what he has done in this matter. He was not satisfied that all the records had been destroyed and he pursued the matter further. Subsequently I received from the Minister for Defence a letter dated 23rd March 1972 which reads:
In my written reply to your question on notice concerning exemptions from military service in World War 11 for Messrs Santamaria, Mitchell and Maher, I informed you that Commonwealth records relating to individual exemptions were destroyed over 20 years ago. This was bas:d on written evidence to my Department that relevant records bad been searched.
I have now been, advised that, although records relating to exemptions have been destroyed, some papers relating to applications for deferment have been held on a sample basis. These include records showing that, apparently al the behest of the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, the Right Honourable J. H. Scullin. M.P., sought a deferment for Mr Santamaria and another person, and that in December 1941 a deferment for at least 6 months was given by Army authorities. This deferment was given to enable consideration to be given to alternative arrangements for the performance of the duties carried out by these 2 people.
Mr Santamaria said he had been approached by a Mr Malcolm, Director of the Rural Affairs Division of the Victorian Branch of Labour and National Service. A spokesman for the Department said that papers relating to incidents and people of that period were not of permanent interest and were discarded, on the advice of the Commonwealth Archives, when the economy moved off a war footing. The Department’s spokesman said also that the department had no idea who Mr Malcolm was and had no record of a Mr Malcolm having approached a Mr Santamaria suggesting that he could offer better service out of the Army by looking after rural matters and encouraging the production of food. Mr Santamaria is reported as having said:
asked me, as secretary of the Catholic Rural Movement, to assist in the organisation of the war agricultural committees and in organising work connected with the fruit harvest in the Goulburn Valley and Mildura.
I think the Minister for Defence has given the lie completely to Mr Santamaria’s pretensions and I hope that now he has been exposed he will at last agree to be interviewed by the Press and to appear on television and answer questions, perhaps on This Day Tonight’, or for that matter on any other day or night or even tomorrow on a television programme. Things were done during the war that perhaps should never have been done in the matter of exemptions from war service and I admit that in a way I was a party to what happened in the cases I have quoted.
I do not want to harm the future prospects of Mr Maher in semi-retirement, because he is a good man, nor of Mr Mitchell, but Mr Mitchell should have told the truth. He has 2 sons aged 31 and 30 who might have served in Vietnam so I suppose it pays to belong to the National Civic Council or the DLP - the demented lunatic party.
– How many members of the Democratic Labor Party served in World War II?
– None of those in the other House.
– Were they air raid wardens?
– I do not know how many members of the DLP served in World War II but whenever I look at Senator Gair on television I look at an animated toad that croaks like a frog.
-Order! The right honourable gentleman will not cast reflections upon any member of another place.
– I am sorry, Sir. Have I offended?
-Order! The right honourable member must not cast any aspersions on a member of either House and in that respect he has offended.
– I am sorry, Sir. I withdraw the remark.
– Tonight in this debate I should like to touch on the value of decentralisation to Australia generally. The basis of decentralisation must, of course, be in maintaining the population that is already in country towns and rural areas. We will not be able to do this at all unless we are able to retain whatever benefits exist in these areas at present, and make all reasonable effort as a government to provide more of those benefits; otherwise the comparison between life in country towns and rural areas and the larger cities will be such as to continue to attract people away from those country areas. If we are to promote decentralisation it is essential that we should try to provide those amenities which are most necessary. Certainly among the most necessary of the amenities that we need in those areas as an aid to living in itself and as an aid to economic production is a satisfactory telephone service. Such a service is vital and it is in this field that I stress the need for a greater allocation of funds.
I do not believe it can be argued that it is not essential that we should have satisfactory telephonic communications in rural areas today. It is more important now than services to those who have applied for it has ever been in the past. We still find that there is quite a lag in the provision of services to those who have applied for them. Part of that is due to the splendid policy of this Government in its desire to provide a high standard of telephonic communication. It is indeed a necessity that we should have such a standard of line construction that we are able to use the advanced methods of communication that are available to us now, namely, subscriber trunk dialling. It would be impossible to have this on anything less than the ultimate in the way of communications through the lines that are provided because it was recognised - I give the Government full credit for this - that no doubt this would be beyond the capacity of many people to provide. So the Government agreed to provide some 15 miles of line free of cost and charge on a reasonable basis for the rest of the line and for maintaining it. This will enable satisfactory telephonic communication to be maintained. But the flaw in this scheme is that because of the demand that was generated as a result of this offer it was round that a long delay was attendant upon installation after an application had been received. 1 think it must be agreed that in 1972 this is not a tolerable position to be in. The question is: How do we go about rectifying this position? 1 submit that the very first need is the application of more funds to the Postmaster-General’s Department, it has been explained to me by those in authority that funds alone are not sufficient to take up the existing lag. But . 1 do not accept it as fact that the provision of more funds would not lessen the gap that already exists. So in this debate tonight I urge that a higher priority be given to this particular aspect of rural life. It is not only a matter of making it economic in the way of production but also there is a great human element which I would hope that every member of this House would be conscious of, namely, that within these areas where telephones can be provided - I know that even in my own area and in other parts of Australia there arc areas where telephones are not available but ii is not that type of area that I talk about - telephones should be provided.
In the development of this country people are trying to cope with modern conditions and wives and families are living in areas where, for example, an ambulance is available but they do not have the means to call it simply because the PostmasterGeneral’s Department cannot provide telephone services. People cannot call for an ambulance or fully utilise other services available to them. Surely we must look closely at the need to provide a greater proportion of funds for this particular purpose.
No government will ever be able to provide the finance needed for every area that comes under its jurisdiction. It becomes a matter of determining priorities and it is my intention tonight to try to encourage the Government and perhaps to demonstrate to the Government the need to lift the priority in this particular field. The programme that is being looked at at the moment and the planning that has taken place will provide for a considerable number of automatic exchanges. Because of this advance the situation must be looked at. We find that there is a lag in the number of automatic telephone services. These are planned to go in a particular position. The present lines that people are using or the lines that might be used if they were to be connected are going in an entirely different direction from where they will go once the automatic telephone exchanges are installed. So in this particular field I urge very strongly indeed that special attention be given to the provision of more automatic exchanges because this is the area in which people are not now able to have phones at all While the supply of these exchanges is limited I suggest in all sincerity that provided a forward order can be given it seems to me to be sound common sense, at any rate, that the building up of the production of these automatic exchanges will be in accordance with the orders that are likely to be received. That is ordinary common business practice. The point is that we are slipping back on the time factor. There was a time - and I have had examples of it - when people were told that they might be able to get a telephone service within 2 years. These people have found that because of the great demand on funds and the lack of automatic exchanges their applications have been delayed and they have been told that it may be 4 years or 5 years ot even longer before they will receive these services. I suggest that this is an intolerably long time.
– You should resign from the Government for that.
– The honourable gentleman who has just interjected suggests we should blame the Government for that. One of the reasons for the delay is the understanding that the Government has of the need for the provision of the best possible type of service and the benefits that eventually will accrue to people generally, particularly in the country areas by virtue of the policy which has been adopted by the Government. Providing a service has brought about the problem that exists. I venture to suggest that had the Labor Party been in power we would not have had the advantages that have accrued from the Government’s policy, though possibly we would not have the lengthy delay that exists at the moment. We have made one good step forward; what we now have to do is to follow it up by providing funds which will enable the policy of this Government to be implemented in the interests of the people about whom I am talking tonight. 1 have been told by people who should know this subject that money alone will not provide what is required. I accept that. But I have also been told by people in the field who know this subject that much more effective use could be made of the manpower and everything else that is available to us - 1 refer to the technicians and the materials that are available - if there were no limitation on finance. I do not , accept the proposition that limitation of finance is not having an adverse effect on the provision of telephone services. My argument is enhanced by the decision of the Government to provide colour television. Tremendous expenditure is involved in this field. I sincerely suggest to the Government and urge most strongly that this lag in the provision of telephone services should be caught up, at least in part before colour television is introduced. In fact I would like to see it caught up completely. In my opinion there is no excuse for any delay in the provision of telephone services because of a shortage of finance while we are contemplating the expenditure of large sums of money for colour television. I am not arguing against colour television. My argument is directed to the priorities that should be given to expenditure by the Government, particularly if it is within the capacity of the Government in today’s economy to provide the large sums of money that will be necessary to introduce colour telvision for the community at large. I do not object to the introduction of colour television, but I do object to expending large sums of money if, in the interim, we are not going to make very big inroads on the delay which is occasioned in the provision of telephone services to areas that are so sorely in need of them.
I want to emphasise to this House that it is of vital importance to people conduct ing businesses in rural areas to have satisfactory telephone services. Unless we provide facilities for them we will be handicapped in providing the economy of production which is very much needed. I would like to follow up this point a little further. One of the greatest costs facing people in the community is the cost of telephone services in areas where those services are available, although this point is of secondary importance. Ever since I have been in this Parliament I have advocated that it is not unreasonable to expect that every subscriber should have a unit call service available to his general business as it is sometimes termed or, to use a phrase which I have often used, a place where medical and professional services are available. Usually that would involve the provision of a unit call service to a person’s place of business. Unless this service is provided these people will be handicapped very greatly by virtue of the fact that every time they make a call it will be a trunk line call, even if it is to order a loaf of bread. This adds very greatly to the cost of running a farming or grazing business. I understand the problem confronting the Postmaster-General’s Department in providing this facility because it is something which I have discussed regularly with officers of that Department. There is no doubt in my mind that if we are to provide equity among the population of this country this is one matter to which this Government must give very serious consideration. There are areas in which people are able to obtain this type of service, even in some of the fairly widespread areas of this country, but often people who live in nearby districts do not have the same advantages. I appeal to the Government for some degree of equity in its consideration of this matter.
I have been told that there would not be sufficient lines to enable services to be provided. This brings me back to the old story about a shortage of cable. Again this comes back to the question whether finance is available. If finance were available we could place forward orders, particularly for cable. This is an important matter that I want to emphasise again in relation to this aspect of country living. An annual charge would not be required to provide a service. But unless we bring the services in country areas up to a reasonable standard the inequity will continue. Unless we can catch up this delay will drag on and on. Efforts will have to be made to catch up. I cannot stress this matter too strongly.
I will not take up all the time that is available to me in this debate because I know that the Government is anxious to get on with the business of the House and I want to set something of an example. I hope it will be followed by other speakers in this debate. This subject is very important as it deals with a very human problem. I condemn some people on the other side of this House who say that members of the Country Party represent trees. I am speaking on behalf of a very deserving section of the community, human beings. I appeal to the Government to provide these benefits to the people in these areas. I make this appeal, not for the trees or the sheep, or because of the criticism that is levelled against members of the Country Party, but for the people whom I represent and who are scattered over 200,000 square miles of this country. All we ask is for some degree of equity in the decisions of this Government. We ask that the Government give some priority in considering the business needs of rural communities. This Government should take into consideration the human aspect which is involved. I cannot too strongly urge this Government to give very full consideration to the points that I have raised in this debate tonight.
- Mr Speaker, I do not wish to take up the time of the House. I just want to reply to the remarks of the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) who has given us the best example that I have seen of the need to have a change of government.
Motion (by Mr Giles) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 8
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Garland) read a third time.
Consideration resumed from 27 April (vide page 2108), on motion by Mr Garland:
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.
Bill (on motion by Mr Garland) read a third time.
– The Canberra ‘Times’ this morning published an article regarding the holding of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation meeting in Parliament House. In order that all honourable members are aware of the arrangements that have been made I believe I should outline the position to the House.In March last year the Minister for Foreign Affairs wrote to me to ask whether the House of Representatives chamber and suitable ancillary office accommodation could be made available in Parliament House for the meetings of SEATO due to take place in June this year. In his letter the Minister stated that be was making the request only after extensive inquiries in Canberra and in Sydney had failed to reveal any other suitable site. As there had been criticism of the use of Parliament House in 1966 for SEATO meetings I sought the views of the Leaders of the Parties on the Minister’s request. I should say here that the Party Leaders received my letter in the week before Easter and time did not provide them with the opportunity to discuss the matter with their colleagues.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Nevertheless, it was only after I had received the concurrence of the Party Leaders and bad discussed the matter with and had received the concurrence of Sir Alister McMullin, then President of the Senate, to the request that I replied to the Minister indicating my agreement to the use of the chamber and rooms on the House of Representatives side of the building for the conference. I have been most concerned to ensure that the rights of senators and members are not interfered with in any way whilst SEATO personnel are accommodated in this building and that the guarding of the chamber and the rooms to be occupied bv SEATO is done as unobtrusively as possible.
To this end I have placed the following conditions on the use of the House by SEATO: The first condition is that senators, members and visitors in the company of a senator or member, provided they are recognised by House attendants who will be stationed alongside each SEATO security guard, are to be permitted to proceed without any restriction through any passageway or corridor in the building. The unrestricted right of access to all passages and corridors in the building by senators and members will not of course give members any right of access to the chamber or to any other room handed over to the conference for its use. All other persons - that is parliamentary and ministerial staff, Press representatives or visitors not in the company of a member and desiring access to restricted passageways or corridors - that is where the rooms of SEATO personnel are located - will need to have either an identification pass or an appropriate escort. These restricted passageways will be the corridor of the two wings housing Ministers’ and members’ rooms. Access to all entrances to the building will not be affected.
The second condition is that no Service personnel, either in or out of uniform, are to be used for the purpose of providing security guards in the House. The third condition is that security guards for the conference areas are to be members of the Commonwealth Police Force who will not wear uniform but will be identifiable by a lapel badge only. I wish to stress that these police officers will not be armed. As honourable members will know. I have written to a number of honourable members seeking their concurrence to the use of their rooms for the conference, and it is open to each honourable member to agree to his room either being used or not. I have also written to each of the Party Whips asking whether or not their Party rooms could be made available. I believe that the arrangement that I have made will enable the conference to take place in Parliament House with the least disruption to the normal working of the building. I want to stress that only the meeting of the Council of Ministers, that is, the Foreign Ministers of the countries taking part in the conference or their representatives - will meet in this chamber. The meetings of the military advisers to the conference will take place in the Department of Defence buildings at Russell Hill.
Debate resumed from 23 March (vide page 1140), on motion by Mr Malcolm Fraser;
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– -In terms of the contingent notice of motion in my name, I move:
It is as well to remind honourable members that the Bill which I suggest should have precedence over the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill appears as Order of the Day No. 87 on the notice paper. It has been on the notice paper since 16th April 1970. The purport of the Bill appears from its long title) - a Bill for an Act relating to the territorial sea and to certain other waters of the sea and to the continental shelf. I apprehend that this Bill comes up this evening because of a decision by the joint Government parties at their meeting this morning. The Leader of the House (Mr Swartz) issued a Press statement after question time this afternoon which read as follows:
The Prime Minister, Mr William McMahon, raised the matters of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and the Territorial Sca and
Continental Shelf Bill at the meeting of the Joint Government Parties today. … It was generally considered that the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill was not urgent and consequently that the Bill should not be taken to a vote at this stage.
Apparently then there was discussion in the joint Government parties meeting on various matters such as the Senate committee report on off-shore petroleum resources, and the law of the sea conference projected at the United Nations for the next northern summer, on which the next preparatory committee meeting will be held in this northern summer - next July.
To remind honourable gentlemen I go through some of the history of the matter to show how from the outset of this Parliament the 2 Bills mentioned in my motion have been linked indissolubly. When the Governor-General outlined the Gorton Government’s legislative programme for this Parliament in opening the session on 3rd March 1970 he stated:
My Government has examined the presently unresolved legal question as to which Government is entitled to exercise sovereign control over the resources of the sea bed off the Australian coast to the outer limits of the continental shelf.
At present, the various State Governments claim sovereign rights in respect of such resources from low water mark to the outer limits of the. shelf. The Commonwealth believes that, except for internal waters as they existed at Federation, it has sovereign rights in this area.
It is the view of my Government that it would serve Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position resolved. In order that this may happen, my Government will ask the Parliament to pass legislation to assert and establish what the Commonwealth conceives to be its legal rights.
This legislation will not affect the existing agreements between the Commonwealth and the States concerning off-shore petroleum.
My Government will introduce legislation forthwith to establish an Institute of Marine Science at Townsville.
On 16th April 1970 the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz) read a speech on behalf of the then Minister for External Affairs, the Present Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), giving a second reading of the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. The Minister for National Development delivered a speech of over 7 pages but I believe it is necessary for me to read about 4 excerpts from it to remind honourable gentlemen of the importance and urgency of the legislation that the present Prime Minister regarded it as having, and also to show the link with the Bill upon which I rise to speak now. Quoting the present Prime Minister’s words, the Minister said:
The object of this Bill is to carry out the Government’s decision, concisely stated by His Excellency the Governor-General in his speech at the opening of the present session, to introduce legislation asserting and establishing the exclusive right of the Commonwealth to exercise sovereign control over the resources of the sea bed off the Australian coast, from the low water mark to the outer limits of the continental shelf. At present, the State governments also claim sovereign rights in this same area. The Commonwealth believes that, except in respect of internal waters as they existed at federation, the States hare no such rights. The legal issue is presently unresolved. The Government’s view is that it would serve Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position resolved as soon as practicable. This will be a matter for decision by the courts.
Again the Minister, quoting the present Prime Minister, went on:
In the case of a federal state, where for domestic purposes supreme legislative and executive power is divided between the federation and its component states or provinces, the question frequently arises whether the control of off-shore resources is exercisable, as a matter of internal constitutional law, by the federation itself, or by its component states or provinces, or is shared between both. This question has been specifically answered by the courts in both of the 2 overseas federations which are of particular interest to Australia - the United States and Canada. In the United States, the matter was litigated in the Supreme Court by the State of California and subsequently by other States. In Canada by virtue of a special legislative provision, the question was referred to the Supreme Court at the instance of the Federation itself in relation to the Province of British Columbia. In both federations, the Supreme Court answered the basic question in the same way. Sovereign control over the mineral resources of both the territorial sea and the continental shelf was held to be vested in the Federation alone, to the exclusion of the component States or Provinces.
The present Prime Minister’s text then quoted the views expressed by Sir Percy Spender, former President of the International Court of Justice, at a meeting attended by many then Ministers in April 1969, and also the judgments of Chief Justice Barwick and Justice Sir Victor Windeyer in the High Court in August 1969 in the case of Bonser v. La Macchia. The present Prime Minister’s text concluded as follows:
In these circumstances, the Government feels that, without prejudice to the petroleum agreement and to the action that has been taken in pursuance of it, the constitutional issue should now be decided once and for all, and without delay. Until it is so decided, the Commonwealth cannot either disclaim responsibility for what is done in off shore areas or itself take appropriate action.
I give a concluding quotation from the present Prime Minister’s text of April 1970. It said:
I have mentioned that this Bill will be followed later in the session by a Bill which will apply a mining code to the off-shore areas in respect of which the present Bill establishes Commonwealth authority.
The later Bill will provide the detailed rules under which mining titles may be issued and exploration and exploitation carried on for all minerals other than petroleum.
It will be noted that at that time, over 2 years ago, it was regarded as being an urgent Bill. The words used were:
Again, right at the beginning, it was said:
The legal issue is presently unresolved. The Government’s view is that it would serve Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position resolved as soon as practicable.
In these circumstances it is remarkable that the Government Parties should have held this morning that the matter was not urgent. It was in the national and international interest, according to the Prime Minister, speaking as Foreign Minister in April 1970, that it should be determined as soon as practicable.
– I have told you twice, but you will not listen, that it was not prepared by me. It was prepared by the then Minister for External Affairs. You are on the wrong track.
– You have in fact been very happy to accept the authorship of it, because on 30th September last year, when I congratulated the Minister who delivered it on the very thoughtful and scholarly speech, he pointed out that it was made on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at that time, and you interjected, saying:
Could you thank him on my behalf too?
The Minister said: ‘Yes’. I said:
I think that ought to be recorded.
– How is your memory now?
– A phenomenal memory, Sir. In April 1970 this had to be determined as soon as practicable in the national and international interest. They are the Prime Minister’s words. Then towards the end of the speech it was said that it had to be determined without any further delay. They were the Prime Minister’s words. It is true that there appeared subsequently to be some disputation between the Liberal Party in this Parliament and the Liberal Party in some of the State parliaments, and some changes were made in the Ministry in this Parliament. Nevertheless I will quote 2 Ministers who, whatever their own differences might be with those who still support the Government’s legislative programme in this matter, supported it then. I quote what was said on 15th May by a new Minister for the Navy of perhaps a different calibre from his predecessor.
– Larger or smaller?
– The new man is of lesser calibre but a bigger bore. The new Minister for the Navy expressed his view that the Commonwealth is under an obligation to have the High Court decide the sovereignty over this area. He said:
I believe it is proper in so proceeding.
Again the then Minister for the Interior, now the Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon), said:
In February 1969 Cabinet made a very clear decision that the Commonwealth would legislate to assert total rights over the seabed outside the 3-mile limit. . . . This is not an offer to the States; it is and always was intended to be a clear Government intention.
That was 2 years ago. No difference on this matter existed at that time, but there have been developments since then. At the beginning of last December, after a very extensive consideration, the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources made several recommendations on this matter and concluded the recommendations in this way:
It is not in the national interest ultimately for questions of constitutional authority where uncertainty exists to be put aside in fact to the exclusion of the High Court which in the constitutional framework is charged with their determination and, in effect, as the Committee has indicated, to the exclusion of effective Parliamentary decision.
The concluding recommendation of the Committee in its summary is this:
The Committee considers that, notwithstanding the advantages to the national interest which the legislation and its underlying conception has produced, the larger national interest is not served by leaving unresolved and uncertain the extent of State and Commonwealth authority in the territorial seabed and the continental shelf.
There have also been developments in the meantime overseas. When I spoke in this House the day after the Senate Committee’s report on this very subject was tabled honourable gentlemen may remember that I quoted the example of 3 federal states in our region. On 1st September 1968 Mexico declared the northern part of the Gulf of California to be part of Mexico’s territorial sea. In 1970 the Canadian Parliament passed an Act, the Territorial Sea and Fisheries Zone Act, permitting the Government of Canada to draw fisheries closing lines across the entrances of such bodies of water as the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic Coast, and Queen Charlotte Sound and Dickson EntranceHecate Strait on the Pacific Coast. The Government of Canada proclaimed the closing lines on 18th December 1970. Malaysia in the third week of November last made a declaration, jointly with Indonesia, at a conference which was attended by Singapore, which noted the declaration that the Strait of Malacca was within their territorial limits. In each case, Mexico, Canada and Malaysia - federal states - acted in this matter through the federal agency. The States and the Provinces did not act. There has been no challenge to any of these federal actions in our region in any international body.
This matter will be discussed this July in one of the conferences preparing for the next Law of the Sea Conference in about July next year. Australia will go to this conference without having resolved this matter. The Commonwealth and the States cannot resolve this matter beween them. One of those bodies cannot give power to another which it does not have. The only way this can be determined is by the High Court, and everybody in this place apparently agreed on that problem in February 1969, but certainly it was promised in the Government’s legislative programme in March 1970. There is precious little time in which to have this determined by the only body which can determine it. But furthermore there are other difficulties now, because later the Government went ahead with a proposal for the Institute of Marine Science at Townsville. It is proposed to spend $8m there over the next 5 years. It is the fulfil ment of a matter which Senator Dittmer first raised in this Parliament in 1963 with Senator Gorton, who was the Minister assisting the Prime Minister in matters of education and science at that time, 9 years ago. Professor Burdon-Jones was quoted last January as saying that he would have looked elsewhere from Cape Pallarenda near Townsville if he had known that a nickel smelter would be built a few miles away. He gave all the technical reasons why it would be so wasteful to go ahead with the Institute of Marine Science there if the environment in which it has to work can be polluted. Honourable members will remember that when the Minister for Education and Science introduced this Bill on 23rd March he referred to this factor. He could give no assurance that the marine environment in which the Institute would have to work at Cape Pallarenda would remain unpolluted.
I must conclude with other matters in our immediate area. It is unsafe to go ahead with the Institute of Marine Science Bill until the Commonwealth, which is financing this Institute, is able to ensure the proper environment for it, and that can only be done if the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill is enacted and the States have an opportunity to test it. The Labor States will not contest it because the Labor Party’s policy is that the Commonwealth should legislate in these matters.
– That is not what it said in May 1970.
– Since I am challenged on that particular matter, may I quote the resolution from the Federal Conference of the Labor Party in Launceston last June. It states:
The Commonwealth to legislate for regulation and exploitation of the Continental Shelf and off-shore resources.
But we are dealing also with the continental shelf. The convention on this matter has not been ratified by Indonesia, the Philippines or Singapore. This obviously is a relevant matter to Australia. The Commonwealth has never raised the matter of the continental shelf with New Zealand. It has not concluded the continental shelf boundaries between Australia and Indonesia - only between Indonesia and Papua - and there is the continuing matter of the boundary between Papua and Queensland upon which the United Nations Visiting Mission reported about 10 months ago, which report apparently has not yet been referred to the Queensland Government. It is essential that the Government’s legislative programme be taken together. These 2 Bills were listed together in March 1970 when that programme was enunciated. Every subsequent event overseas and at home has shown how important it is that the Commonwealth should be able to be certain of ils powers over the territorial sea.
– Order! The honourable gentleman’s time has expired, ls the motion seconded?
– I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.
– This afternoon. the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) asked me a question without notice about the Bill before the House relating to the territorial sea and the continental shelf; that is, order of the day No. 87. I also draw the attention of the House to the fact that the fourth notice of motion - a contingent notice of motion in the name of the Leader of the Opposition - also is relevant to this Bill, as is order of the day No. 16, the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. Before I touch upon the substance of what I want to say relating to the Government’s attitude to the 2 Bills and to the contingent notice of motion, may 1 deal with 5 matters which have been referred to by the Leader of the Opposition. I do so only to keep the record straight, because each of the statements is wrong.
In the first place, the Leader of the Opposition referred to discussions within my Party room about the 2 Bills. As 1 have said, his impression is wrong, and a guess therefore must be completely disregarded. Secondly, in his speech, the Leader of the Opposition kept saying ‘the present Prime Minister’s Bill’, despite the fact that he had been corrected. The simple fact is that I was a member of Cabinet at the time we decided to introduce a Bill and I, as the then Minister for External Affairs, gave approval that this should proceed. From then on, I had little or no association with the Bill. In fact, the second reading speech was completed during my absence and was approved by the then Acting Minister for External Affairs and presented to the House by the present Leader of the House (Mr Swartz). I kept correcting the Leader of the Opposition; but, in his own inimitable fashion, being very, very clever and very, very smart about these matters- (Honourable members interjecting)-
-Order! The House will come to order.
– The truth is that the first time I sighted a copy of the speech was when it was sent to me in Singapore, when I was there with the then Prime Minister at a prime ministerial conference.
The third matter that I want to point out to you, Mr Speaker, relates to the urgency of the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. The fact that according to the Leader of the Opposition it was introduced over 2 years ago itself shows that the Bill cannot be regarded as urgent. If it were as vital as he likes to point out, surely the attitude would have been taken that provision would have been made in the orders of the day for the Bill to be presented. However, this was not done and I believe that that shows the degree of urgency of the matter and the fact that again the Leader of the Opposition is wrong. To refer to the fourth point, which clearly illustrates that no urgency can exist, if the Leader of the Opposition wants the matter to go to the High Court of Australia for determination, it could not go to the High Court this year: there is no possibility of it going; and, therefore, the sense of urgency, if there ever was one, has disappeared.
– Bring it above the kindergarten level.
– That is because you are here. Finally, Mr Speaker, there is no doubt at all that there is little direct connection between the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill and the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. There is a very good reason why we want the Bill relating to the institute to be established at Townsville to go through, and it is this: From Townsville’s point of view and from the point of view of the research that can be carried out, it is an important Bill. As I have given assurances to my colleagues that we will put the Bill through, that is the policy that will be adhered to by the Government. It is true that this morning I initiated a discussion in the Government parties and a unanimous view was then expressed that we should proceed immediately with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill.
I also want to point out to honourable gentlemen that negotiations are now proceeding between the Commonwealth and the State governments on matters relating to 3 related subjects. They are the Senate committee report on off-shore petroleum resources and the law of the sea conference for the United Nations conference in 1973; and discussions are also taking place between the Commonwealth and the States in the Australian Minerals Council relating to the report of the Senate Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources. These discussions have been initiated not only on a ministerial basis but also on a Prime Minister to Premier basis, and I am pushing ahead with these negotiations just as quickly as I can. I am doing this in an endeavour to bring them to finality as quickly as is possible.
However, I also point out that the Government wants to ensure the closest cooperation and goodwill between the Commonwealth and the States. We do not want to take any action which will prejudice in any way the conduct of these discussions. Accordingly, we have decided to proceed immediately with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and, after the passage of that Bill, there will be some debate on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. In view of the present position of Commonwealth-State negotiations, the second reading debate of that Bill will not at this stage be carried to a final vote. That is the indication of the Government as to what it intends to do. So, before the continuation of the debate on the motion which has been moved by the Leader of the Opposition, I want the House, and particularly members of the Opposition, to know clearly what the position of the Government is.
Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa- Leader of the Opposition) - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.
-Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?
– Yes, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) has misrepresented me. Ever since this Bill was introduced, the notice papers have shown it as being the responsibility of the Minister for External Affairs or the Minister for Foreign Affairs. That was the case when the right honourable gentleman held those posts and it still is the case. The Bill has always been in the name of the Minister for External Affairs or the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
– The House has listened with some interest to the explanations given by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) in what I would regard as a most extraordinary statement in which he in fact condemned the Cabinet decision that was taken with respect to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill 1970, condemned the previous Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, and, what is more condemned the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz). The Prime Minister virtually has completely divorced himself from the Cabinet decision at that point of time. What he has implied, and what must be sweet music to the ears of some of his followers, is that if he had been in Australia the second reading speech which introduced this Bill would not have been made. That is a most serious, extraordinary and damaging statement from a Prime Minister. To my way of thinking he has ratted on his mates. The Prime Minister was a member of the Cabinet at the time. It should be remembered that the Prime Minister who made these extraordinary statements is the person who, when he was first appointed, said that he believes in Cabinet decisions, that he always consults his Cabinet and that he always abides by his Cabinet. What he has done tonight is virtually to condemn his then Cabinet, condemn the previous Prime Minister and condemn the Minister for National Development for having the temerity to introduce this Bill into the House. That is what he has done.
Another remarkable statement that the Prime Minister made was that he fails to see any real relationship between the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill and the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. I do not know whether the Prime Minister has studied the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, but if he has he will know of the fundamental applied research that is to be done by the Institute as regards the sea. the sea bed, the swimming and non-swimming fish, the subsoils, the crown of thorns starfish and also marine pollution, which is a subject of importance in this day and agc. That is one of the reasons why the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) has moved this contingency motion, lt is quite clear that the Territorial Sea Bill has relevance to the Institute of Marine Science. It has vital relevance. Because of the grave uncertainty with respect to the law today, both domestically and internationally, regarding offshore resources it is imperative that there are Commonwealth laws to protect the work of the Institute. The research of the Institute of Marine Science, both applied and fundamental, should be conducted within a framework of legislative certainty. There is uncertainty at the present time. Surely the Commonwealth must make laws to minimise the effects of marine pollution. The States claim that they have what they call sovereignty up to the 3-mile limit of the territorial sea. The Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill declares that the Commonwealth has the sole right or the sole sovereign control over the resources of the territorial sea, which is important not only domestically and internationally but also for the good conduct of research.
The Leader of the Opposition has dealt also with the question of urgency. I was absolutely amazed to hear the Prime Minister state that the territorial sea legislation is not urgent. That, again, is a complete condemnation of the decision of the Cabinet of the day and of the Minister for National Development. Does the Prime Minister think that that Minister is a complete fool? Of course he does not, nor does anybody else here. The Minister made what the Opposition regarded as a well considered speech when he introduced the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. He made it quite clear in that speech that there was a great deal of urgency with respect to this matter. I point out that he said that 2 years ago. What he said on that occasion must have been approved by the present Prime Minister, but only tonight - 2 years later - the Prime Minister has virtually condemned that statement. If that is not, as J said before, ratting on your mates-
-I do not like that word. I would say that it is completely unparliamentary. I allowed the honourable member for Dawson to get away With it in the context in which he used it before, but I will see that he does not use it again.
– You know what I mean, Mr Speaker. I am quite certain that everybody else, including the Prime Minister, knows what I mean. The Minister for National Development, in speaking about the need for urgency, said:
In these circumstances, the Government feels that, without prejudice to the petroleum agreement and to the action that has been taken in pursuance of it, the constitutional issue should now be decided once and for all, and without delay.
I repeat that the Minister said 2 years ago that the constitutional issue should now be decided once and for all and without delay. He went on to say:
Until it is so decided the Commonwealth cannot either disclaim responsibility for what is done in off-shore areas or itself take appropriate action.
Those were the words of the Minister for National Development on behalf of the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is now the Prime Minister of Australia, and those are the words which the Prime Minister apparently now denies. They were strong words and they were words which expressed the voice of the Cabinet. I should have thought that the least the Prime Minister could have done tonight was back those words and back the Minister who made that speech. But he did not do so.
Let me refer now to the remarks of tha previous Attorney-General, a man whose judgment in these matters is highly respected on both sides of the House. In a Press statement he said:
The Commonwealth Government is firmly of the view that it is highly desirable in Australia’s national and international interests to have the legal position as to the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth and the States in off-shore areas resolved as soon as possible.
He went on to say:
Once this is resolved the ‘ Commonwealth is willing to enter into agreements for the mining of off-shore minerals, other than petroleum, and these agreements will be similar to the off-shore petroleum agreements.
All the evidence refutes the Prime Minister’s statement that there is no urgency about this matter. It refutes also his statement that there is little or no relevance to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill in the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. Of course there is relevance. Marine pollution from agricultural chemicals in the environment of Townsville itself and the proposed establishment of a nickel refinery at Townsville are quite relevant to the argument. All those matters are relevant. The Opposition is arguing tonight that it is quite wrong for the Government not to go ahead with the debate on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill and pass it before making a decision with respect to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. One of the problems to be resolved concerns the actual ownership of any benefits flowing from the research itself. Tremendous research is being carried out in the world today with respect to edible organisms within the sea, and this is of great value. This is one of the avenues which has to be clarified.
For example, one of the areas in which the Institute of Marine Science will be carrying out research concerns the crown of thorns starfish or the box jellyfish. According to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, this research will be carried out in Commonwealth waters. Surely this is relevant to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, if this research is carried out in Commonwealth waters, as the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill asserts or declares. For the Prime Minister to say that the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill is not relevant to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill can lead to only one conclusion - that he has not even read the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, or he has not read the Bill relating to the establishment of the Institute of Marine Science. In fact, the majority of the work of this Institute will be carried out with respect to resources off the coast of Queensland. The Institute also will be working in close proximity to Torres Strait and to New Guinea. In recent weeks we have seen statements made by the Queensland Premier and by responsible people in New Guinea to the effect that it is high time that this question of the boundary between Australia and New Guinea was clarified. Surely this is an urgent matter of direct relevance to the Commonwealth, to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill and to the research that will be carried out at the Institute of Marine Science.
I am just quoting examples to illustrate how absurd it is for the Prime Minister to suggest that there is no relevance between the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill and the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. Of course there is relevance, and it is important that this issue be clarified. Australia is in an intolerable situation. 1 suppose that it is one of more than 100 littoral countries in which this issue concerning the continental shelf has not yet been clarified. Important international conventions are being considered, and still the issue has not been clarified. Australia is supposed to attend the conferences which will consider these conventions. What sort of a view can it give? Surely it is not too much to ask that when the representatives of Australia attend international conferences they speak on behalf of Australia; they should speak for Australia, backed by Commonwealth Government decisions. But that is not so in this case. Australians attend these international conferences, but they have no authority to speak on behalf of Australia, under the existing laws relating to the States’ alleged sovereignty over the resources. lt is quite clear that the States have never had sovereign powers over the resources off the coast of Australia. This was made clear by the Chief Justice, Sir Garfield Barwick. The States never had these powers which they allege they had. Notice of this important Bill, the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill, was given at the end of 1969. It was first publicly announced by the Governor-General at the start of this Parliament, which is in its third year. It was then introduced by the Minister for National Development on behalf of the present Prime Minister. There has been a stalemate since. The Government has been frightened to act to assert or to declare its rightful authority over the off-shore resources of Australia and we have seen nothing done in that 2-year period.
This is an important matter. For the Prime Minister to get up tonight and to make this most remarkable statement - to imply that if he were in the country at that point of time, the type of speech which was made by the Minister for National Development would not have been made - was to adopt a cowardly approach to his own Cabinet at that point of time. It completely belies the statements that he has made about Cabinet solidarity.
-Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa- Leader of the Opposition) - Mr Speaker, I gave a personal explanation as to where the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) had misrepresented me. I should have added - I have now checked - that the Prime Minister said that at the time when the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill was introduced he was in Singapore with the then Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton). In fact, he was in Singapore with the then Prime Minister on one occasion only, and that was 9 months later, in January 1971.
– Let me, at the outset, say that I do believe that this question of sovereignty over Australia’s national seas ought to be resolved. I believe it is of great national and international importance, as the spokesman for the previous Government has said, that it should be resolved. However, I do not believe that it is necessary for this matter of sovereignty to be resolved before the Bill to establish the Institute of Marine Science at Townsville is passed. This Institute, which also was promised to the Parliament in a speech made by the GovernorGeneral on behalf of the Government which I led, is clearly going to be of great advantage to science not only in Australia, but to scientific activity throughout the world. It will push back the boundaries of knowledge. It will enable us to understand more easily the processes that go on in the ocean depths, and to become more able to control or to affect that great part of the world which is covered by ocean waters.
It will also - and this is a secondary matter but one not to be completely lost sight of - be of great assistance to the city of Townsville itself if this Institute is established, particularly at this time, as quickly as possible while that city is still suffering from the disadvantages of the cyclone that hit it. Let us assume, just for the sake of argument, that the States do have that power over the territorial sea and the continental shelf which they claim. Let us assume that the matter has gone to the High Court and that the High Court has said the States do have this authority. Would we then refuse to establish this Institute? Would we say that because of this we will not go ahead and establish the Institute? Of course we would not. No matter who had the powers eventually over this area of water and sea, the Institute of Marine Science ought to be established, and I am sure that when members of the Opposition put their minds to this they will agree that that is so.
If that is so, then it is necessary for the question of sovereignty to be first established before the Institute of Marine Science is established because wherever sovereignty lies that Institute should go ahead. Therefore, that is all I have to say on this matter. I believe it shows quite conclusively that the Opposition has not made out any case to establish that it is necessary to postpone the establishment of the Institute of Marine Science until such time as the very important question of sovereignty is resolved, because however it is resolved the Institute should go ahead. That is my position.
– I support the motion before the House. It seems to me an incredible situation when the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) can come into the House and say that there is no need for urgency because after more than 2 years his Government has not seen fit to bring this legislation into the House and to proceed with it to the stage to which it should be taken.
That is an incredible statement. We all know why it has not been brought in. The Government has been prodded by honourable members who sit on the Government benches. The last speaker, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen), the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) and others at various times have pushed, prodded and complained, with good cause, asking that this legislation be proceeded with. The reason it has not been proceeded with to date is perhaps not specific but surely is reasonably well known. There are conservative elements - perhaps I can put it this way - in the Australian community, reflected at certain State levels. They do not want this legislation proceeded with, notwithstanding that it would be the overwhelming wish, I believe, of Australian people, and of all the members of this House, that this legislation should become law. I doubt if there would be any person in this House who would not want the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill to become law, yet it is being stalled.
-Order! I appreciate what the honourable member is saying, but this is the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, not a Bill dealing with off-shore areas.
– I appreciate that but there is an obvious connection between the 2 Bills. The connection has been spelled out at great length by the Leader of the Opposition and by other speakers. It is not for me to be repetitious here, but-
– Order! What I want to remind the honourable member about is what I have reminded him about on 2 or 3 other occasions. We are now dealing with the suspension of Standing Orders and a debate on the Bill referred to by the honourable member would be completely irrelevant. The question now is in relation to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and the suspension of Standing Orders.
– Quite so, and 1 am not canvassing your expression of opinion but surely it is relevant for me to put reasons why the motion should succeed at this stage?
-I agree with the honourable member but I do not want him to make that the whole tenor of the debate.
– The reason I am puling it this way is that we have already seen 2 years go by. Other speakers have referred to the need to clarify the continental shelf issue with Indonesia and with Papua New Guinea. There is the pressing problem of the uncertainty that surrounds the validity of some oil leases off the Australian coast. Who does give title to leases of that nature? Does the sovereignty in these matters rest with the States or with the Commonwealth? Surely this uncertainty makes the matter one of urgency and justifies it being brought on now? Uncertainty flows from the fact that the States do not or may not have legal sovereignty and, as previous speakers have said, this is a matter for the High Court. While the Government persists in stalling with this legislation and not bringing it forward to its resolution there will be no finality and the uncertainty will go on. There is no doubt that uncertainty is not a good thing. The Prime Minister (Mr McMahon), almost as an act of grace, has said he will allow some debate on the continental shelf legislation. What good will that do? Is that some kind of quid pro quo for some members, perhaps on his own side of the House? Is there to be some little concession allowed with a few members able to speak, after which the matter will be adjourned again? How at some future time does anyone bring it back into the House? When is there to be finality? When will the uncertainty be brought to an end?
As the Speaker has reminded me, a motion to suspend Standing Orders has strict limitations and one cannot go beyond those limitations and into the realms of the merits of the Bill itself. One is continually prevented from doing so, and rightly so, under the Standing Orders. If a motion to suspend the Standing Orders has such limited use how does the substantive matter come back on? I look at the honourable member for Berowra. Who brings the legislation back to the House? Where does the initiative come from? Is it to be sailed forever notwithstanding that there are important international conventions and agreements pending, the ones we have been told about? Is this uncertainty to go on forever? Is Australia, with such an enormous coastline, to be the only nation in the world that cannot make up iti mind about this matter? Do we not kne w, 72 years after the Commonwealth has seen formed, who owns the off-shore are: s along our coastline? Australia will be the laughing stock of the world. I should like to know who will bring the matter back here? The Government has control of the legislation and graciously it says that it will allow a few people to have a few words on the subject tonight and then it will again adjourn the matter. That is making a mockery of the whole process. I press this matter with all the points of emphasis and urgency that this legislation calls to mind. I recall the points made over and over again by the honourable member for Moreton in articles he has written for newspapers and speeches he has made in this House, but it appears at this stage that for some quid pro quo, some pressure, some little inducement perhaps, I do not know what, somewhere along the line this evening the Gre seems to have gone out of members on the Government benches.
– I hope I can correct at least one allegation which the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) has made and that is that the fire has gone out on this side of the House. The immediate question before the House is the contingency motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam), that before the House proceeds to deal with the Institute of Marine Science Bill we should turn to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. In fact, there are 3 debates before us; there is the one now occupying our attention and there is a vista of 2 to come. Water, somehow or other, seems to consume us immensely in this place. Once, in a moment of charitable aberration, I described the Leader of the Opposition as being the artesian bore of Australian politics. Looking at the performance of Opposition members this evening my mind swept back to the origin, at least of some of us, in St John the Baptist.
– One of my mob.
– No, I think he missed out on you. I would describe the performance this evening by the Opposition not as being the dance of the 7 veils but rather the speech of the 3 veils. There was my friend the Leader of the Opposition, Salome appealing to Herod, looking for the head of John the Baptist, and he did not even bother to even give me an acknowledgement. I was a bit put out about that.
– Tiberius has just come in.
– I am delighted to hear that. At long last we will be able to take block. I want to deal with the contingency motion. It is notorious, I think, where I stand on this matter. I have written about it here and there. I have written for what I shall describe for the benefit of the listening public as Australia’s best informed
Sunday paper, the Sunday Australian*. Forgive the commercial; it used to be the National Times’ but one’s affection changes somewhat. The Prime Minister may doubt this but it is a fact that about 3 weeks ago 1 wrote a piece about the law of the sea. That is quite true and I will swear it on a stack of bibles. The Prime Minister can have his Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) deliver bibles to me one by one and I shall swear on them all that 3 weeks ago I wrote an article which appeared only last week. In that article I said that suggestions that my distinguished friend from Berowra (Mr Hughes), the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) and myself were going to oppose the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill was nonsense. One character, whom I shall cloak in anonymity, said to me this afternoon, ‘I do not understand where you stand on this’. I congratulated him and said: ‘Why do you say that?’ He said: ‘You say that you are not going to hold this up. Where do you stand with the contingency motion of the Leader of the Opposition?’ This brings me to our muttons. What my friend from Berowra and I were going to do was to seek to amend the contingency motion of the Leader of the Opposition to provide for precisely what is to happen tonight. In other words we were going to say that we would amend the contingency motion to enable the House to proceed with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, get it out of the way and then turn to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill.
– When? In 1990?
– On the contrary I would hope that we would look to ourselves to ensure that it would be at about 12 o’clock tonight when I hope that the honourable member who interjected will not be in his usual grumpy mood. My friend from Berowra said: ‘This is the position. We will amend it.’ I congratulate him. He has an incredible sense of resourcefulness. I think it is a pity that the national Parliament is to lose him. Still there it is.
– He would have made a great Leader of the Opposition.
– His abilities may well be found in more ethereal circles. What would have happened? I put this to my friends opposite as a matter of brute politics. If the honourable member for
Berowra, my right honourable friend from Higgins and 1 had moved, seconded and supported an amendment to the contingency motion of the Leader of the Opposition to provide that before the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill was discussed the House should proceed with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and we had been defeated, what would have happened? There would have been no discussion in this Parliament on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. At least we will turn to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and get it out of the way. May I. without any sense of obtrusiveness. remind the House that there was a policy speech commitment. My complaint about it is that we have done so little in this field. I will say something about it when we come to the Bill itself. However, we are to deal with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill, get it out of the way and then turn to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. I hope to make my views plain.
– Many things have been said in this place-
– If 1 were to start correcting what has been said in this place I would be doing nothing else. I do not want to offend my honourable friend in this regard.
– You may have to appear before him some day.
– I would do it with typical deference, as I would appear before you. In conclusion what 1 want to say is simply that the House has an opportunity of dealing with the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. Whenever water is mentioned in this place it seems to do something to people. If the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) were to introduce a private member’s resolution dealing with, say, the Burdekin Dam-
Br Patterson - Or the Condamine.
– The Condamine? Lord only knows I have been lustrated by it many times. I repeat, if the honourable members were to propose a motion concerning the waters nf the Burdekin flowing into the ocean or some measure relative to the River Murray, it is seriously contended that there should be a contingency motion saying that the House cannot deal with such a matter because it deals with the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill? Ludicrousness, even in its most perfect state, should have its own limitations. The last thing I want to say, I want to say without any acrimony. Lord only knows this place knows me. It has known me for too long, according to the critics, with all my manifest imperfections, but I want to say this not by way of complaint but by way, I hope, of typical Killen explanation. A statement was put out this afternoon purporting to record my views and the views of others on what happened at what I would describe euphemistically as ‘a meeting of friends and supporters’. I refer to the fourth paragraph of this statement which, to mc, seems to be the mediterranean of it all. Mr Deputy Speaker, I am sorry that fell so flat. The statement said:
It was generally considered that the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill was not urgent.
This is a point of view that some of my friends around me here and there take. I do not subscribe to it.
– Not many over here do.
– That may be. The honourable member, at least impliedly, admits that there are some. This is something that surely lends itself to argument and when we come to the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill I hope that I may be able to persuade, by hook or by crook, or by hook again, to hang a few people on to the conviction that it is a matter of urgency. Finally, I refer to the last paragraph of the statement that was issued by, bless him, the Minister for National Development (Mr Swartz), well known for the stunning brevity of his answers. It stated: lt was agreed that after the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill-
Look, we have reached accommodations in this matter. I am not going to parade what I would describe as the ‘trivia of party conflict’. I am interested very much in this country, interested in its problems and interested in its people and I hope to make my views plain on this issue when we come to these 2 Bills - the first one of immense importance to this country, the second possibly of transcendental importance to Australia and to the whole of its relations throughout the world.
– I think that what the previous 2 speakers have said should be reduced to plain terms. What they were saying is that they have conceded that the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill will not be passed during this Parliament. The contingency motion - and members may use any words they like to describe it - provides the only means by which the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill will be passed during this Parliament. If, as has been set out by the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) - I think the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) understands this as well as I do - we proceed to the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill and then to some limited debate on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill but to no vote, that Bill will then go to the bottom of the notice paper. If the honourable member reads the Standing Orders he will see that only -Ministers can rearrange the notice paper. It will not be debated in this House next week. That is obvious. When we resume for the Budget session, nothing but the Budget will be considered. There will be no time for anything else. I think that the honourable member for Moreton, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) and the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Hughes) are all aware of this fact.
– lt was a sell-out.
– I am not worried about what they have done. They are concurring with the decision of their party that this Bill will not be carried during this Parliament. That will be the effect of voting against the contingency motion. I think we all understand the purpose of the contingency motion. It is an attempt to bring the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill on in this House for a vote. Those who vote for the contingency motion will be voting to have the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill passed. Those who vote against the contingency motion will be voting against the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill. That is the position; it is nothing more and nothing less. This is all I want to say, but I think that the House should be clear and understand exactly what this is all about. A lot of humbug has been spoken about how it is not necessary to pass the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill before the Australian Insitute of Marine Science Bill.
This may or may not be true. One thing is true: That this Parliament will not again see the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill if the contingency motion is lost tonight.
– I shall be very brief in my remarks this evening because there are matters of greater substance than the present motion to be debated. I want to explain my position as clearly as it can be explained. I shall not attempt to emulate the coruscating wit of the honourable and learned member for Moreton (Mr Killen) but I want to say just this: One melancholy thought that obtrudes in my mind when I go back over 2 years - and we have lived with this problem of the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill for just over 2 years - is that if it had not been made, as much as it has been made, the plaything of party politics, I rather suspect that bv now we might well have had a decision from the High Court of Australia on the great constitutional issues involved. I am not being over critical of the Opposition in saying that this Bill has been made the plaything nf party politics.
– But we have alwavs supported it.
– I know that, but let me continue with my remarks. The game of party politics is part of the fabric of our parliamentary life, but let us face the fact that in May 1970 - 2 years ago yesterday, I think - the Opposition, acting in what it conceived to be its best interests, tried to capitalise on certain differences of viewpoint in the Government parties by moving a want of confidence motion. T remember sitting in this House for the length of a very long day wondering whether I would be in office at the end of it, or the day after, because, as the Duke of Wellington said after the battle of Waterloo it was ‘a damn near run thing’. I remember that day very well. The Opposition thought then that it could gain some party advantage - there was nothing improper in this - in trying to drive a wedge between the Government parties. It failed. It just failed.
Now tonight the Opposition is at the same ploy again. I do not blame it. It is the Opposition’s sovereign right to play this game, and it is not an unworthy game to play. It is trying to drive a wedge between members on this side of the House. The Opposition thought it might have a chance of getting the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), under whom 1 had the privilege to serve, my honourable and learned friend representing the electorate of Moreton and me to cross the floor in order to bring on the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill for passage through all stages before the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill was passed. I for one do not subscribe to the view that the Territorial Sea Bill is a non-urgent matter. I think it is a matter of very great constitutional and national significance. I want to make perfectly clear, as is my right, that I do not agree with some of the views that have been expressed in this chamber tonight to the effect that it is not urgent. I would have thought that any Bill that was said 2 years ago by whomsoever, but by a member of the Government, to be a Bill that ought to be passed in Australia’s national and international interests so that a definitive decision of the High Court could be obtained is not a Bill lacking in urgency 2 years after those remarks were made. But I pass that by. 1 have exercised such rights as 1 have as a member of my Party and as a member of the House to procure that some discussion takes place in this the national Parliament, on a matter that I do regard as a very important one. I think that at least something is achieved if there is some discussion, even if it is not a concluded and definitive discussion, on this matter before the negotiations that are now in train with the States are carried any further. 1 have taken the view that it is of great importance that this Parliament should be able to express some views in debate on this great national issue as to where the sovereignty should lie and as to whether there should be legislative provision for a decision before the matter goes out to be discussed in conferences between State Ministers and Commonwealth Ministers. So that much, I think, has been achieved. But I will not, as far as I can possibly avoid it and I have been able to avoid it on this occasion use my feet to cross from one side of this House to the other on a matter on which I may have strong views when 1 know, and know full well, that the Opposition, for motives that are not open to criticism, but motives which I well understand, is trying to use the forms of this House to promote the idea that there is a basic disunity in the Government ranks.
The honourable gentlemen opposite know very well that at times members of a Party have to submerge their quite profound convictions on matters of personal conscience in order to support the Party to which they belong. 1 have to face the same problem myself on this side of the House. Sometimes the task of facing up to the problem I find not altogether palatable. But it seems to me that one ought to recall that politics consists very largely in the art of compromise and if one can achieve some degree of compromise, if one can achieve some degree of progress, even though it may be only a few inches or a few feet, one has done something at the end of the day. I am not on this contingency motion going to be used as the plaything of the Opposition to create the impression in the country at large that there is such disunity that a member in my position, who may have strong views of his own, will not submerge those views in the general party interest.
That the motion (Mr Whitlam’s) be agreed to.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
That all words after ‘That’ be omitted with a view to inserting the following words in place thereof: while welcoming the proposal to establish the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the House views with deep concern the possibility that the work of the Institute may be hindered by the pollution of the sea water by the establishment of a nickel refinery near Townsville and is of the opinion that the successful operation of the Institute demands the immediate passage also of the Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf Bill in order to secure to the Commonwealth the powers necessary to deal with pollution and like problems which may arise’.
Until recent months the Government gloried in not having advisory councils to give direction and purpose to its scientific research. Then a body came into being which might give some direction to marine science research and the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) made a statement about an advisory committee in the sciences. The situation in the marine sciences has been similar to the situation regarding science as a whole; that is, no independent policy advisory committee existed in the area. As the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) stated in a speech to the Academy of Science in 1960 in which he made a philosophy of this purposelessness:
We may then be wisest to continue our pragmatic evolutionary approach seeking advice from different people as different projects arise. In ‘.his way we can establish a network of informed ad hoc relationships.
This viewpoint may be the explanation of the Government’s long disinclination to establish far-ranging policy advisory machinery in the marine sciences. Australia’s interest in marine science is obvious. Over 60 per cent of Australia’s population live within 100 miles of the sea. Because of this all Australians are aware of the ocean and the recreational aspects of the ocean are a popular part of our culture. As an island we are completely dependent upon shipping to support our international trade. Our continental shelf has an area of over 800,000 square miles and is the fourth largest in the world, after that of the United States of America, the Soviet Union and Canada. It contains the largest and scientifically most interesting reef structure in the world. The discovery of off-shore oil and natural gas, first in Bass Strait and more recently on the north west shelf have greatly altered our energy situation.
As Noakes of the Bureau of Mineral Resources has pointed out, exploration for minerals other than petroleum on our continental shelves has already been significant and discoveries of tin, phosphorite, mineral sands and manganese nodules have already been made. However, to quote Noakes. ‘It is therefore important that we recognise that although technology has enabled us to begin a new era of investigation and development of mineral resources off-shore, these resources, apart from those associated with the consolidated rocks of the shelf and slope, occur in environments of which ‘ve have little real knowledge. With the exception of construction material, other resources off-shore are not likely to be discovered or developed as readily as was petroleum; indeed, success in the future in all fields off-shore is likely to depend on how effectively we tackle the tasks of investigating new environments and improving technology to cope with the problems of exploitation.
For many years it has been apparent that the marine sciences in Australia are fragmented and poorly financed. This is nowhere more apparent than in the constant struggle for marine scientists to obtain ship time and in their pleas for an oceanographic vessel for Australia. Until recently the picture was one of increasing interest in industry, principally in the field of petroleum, and increasing academic interest - examples of which are the formation of the Australian Marine Sciences Association in 1963 and the establishment of the Horace Lamb Centre for Oceanographical Research at Flinders University in 1965 - with declining official interest going on at the same time. From the early 1960s to 1967 the budget of the Division of Fisheries and Oceanography of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation declined as a part of the CSIRO budget. In the Navy the effort given to the hydrographic service also declined. Peter Robinson’ in the ‘Australian Financial Review’, quoting a paper from the Royal Australian Navy hydrographic service, said that it was planned for the Navy to continue hydrographic surveys after the War, with 3 surveying ships and 3 tenders. Robinson stated:
The planned level of 6 ships assigned to surveying duties has not been achieved since. For 2 years, indeed, no ocean surveying at all was carried out. In 1952, a more modest programme was reinstitated with one or two vessels working at a time … in 1960 the Royal Australian Navy assigned 2 modified river class frigates, HMAS “Diamantina’ and HMAS ‘Gascoyne’ to oceanographic work. The idea was that they would spend part of their sea time on naval assignments and the remainder carrying scientific teams from the CSIRO and other interested organisations - but mainly the CSIRO. For 6 years these 2 ships provided the facilities for the only really sustained period of pure oceanographic research in Australian history.
The Interim Council of the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences itself quotes a statement by the United States National Council on Marine Resources and Engineering Development, which was published in 1968. This statement is the declaration of the achievements of the Government in this field at this time. The American survey of the National Council on Marine Resources said this about Australia:
It has been estimated that no more than 2 per cent of the total Australian research and development budget is spent on the marine sciences. In relation to overall scientific activity in the country and the benefits which might accrue from marine exploitation, this percentage is very low.
It is interesting to note that this report, prepared in the United States, was up until the publication of the Interim Council’s own report the most comprehensive statement of marine science activities in Australia available, and it is a work carried out in the United States while the Government allowed marine sciences in Australia to die.
Captain A. H. Cooper of the Royal Australian Navy was reported as stating in 1965 in relation to marine sciences:
In Australia many agencies are making observations for their own projects, but the investigations are of a fragmentary nature. For the nation’s future well being there must be a well founded Government policy and a concerted programme of observation and research. He made a proposal for the formation of a national committee to plan and co-ordinate oceanography in Australia. Commonwealth Department!! should have the means of co-ordinating their oceanographic activities and of obtaining the advice and assistance of the Universities and other nongovernmental agencies.
But the Minister was committed to the view that we should continue on our pragmatic, evolutionary approach, seeking advice from different people as different projects arise. In this way we establish a network of informal and ad hoc relationships. It does not sound like an effort of science; it sounds like an old boy network. The functions that Captain Cooper was recommending in 1965 would appear to be similar to the functions suggested by the Interim Council for the proposed Australian Marine Science Council. By 1967 increased activities by universities and by the CSIRO began to put considerable pressure on ship time. Australia, of course, had no research ship. The Government responded by establishing a committee to allocate the available ship time. As Hawkins stated:
As a stirring in the hoped for awakening of the Government to this national responsibility, a Technical Committee on Oceanography, with representatives from Government Departments and Universities, has been constituted. This Committee which grew out of an interdepartmental national advisory committee on oceanography which SM has not been formally constituted acts in an advisory capacity to the Navy in the allocation of the very limited ship time available - although CSIRO still received preferential treatment.
Hawkins also stated in the same paper:
Government research in oceanography has been extremely limited. … In view of the very meagre national effort in oceanography, the Universities of Australia have a particularly important part to play in this area of research. This is not to say that University research has not a very important role in a properly conducted national programme in oceanography, but that it has an even greater significance in the absence of such a programme. Further the lack of a fully equipped research vessel and the grossly inadequate time available on poorly equipped Navy ships is a very severe impediment to both University and Government research.
In regard to his own research programme he stated:
With regard to the problems which face us in conducting such programmes, these are of 2 kinds: First, the lack in this country of a fully equipped research vessel or even sufficient time application on a relatively unequipped Navy ship such as HMAS ‘Diamantina’, and secondly, the need to obtain sufficient financial support to obtain the necessary equipment and carry out the survey.
The Australian Marine Sciences Association established in 1967 a sub-committee to report on developments in marine science in Australia. It commented on the changing situation regarding ship time with the withdrawal of one of the Navy frigates from service and stated:
Under this system the amount of ship’s time available is likely to be even more fragmentary then before, and the number of positions aboard few.
In 1967 Peter Robinson of the ‘Australian Financial Review’ wrote 2 articles on oceanography in Australia, one of which I have already mentioned. A selection from another article of his will set out the frustration experienced by scientists. He said:
There are stirrings of both ambition and bitterness among Australians engaged in oceanographic fields of research - hope that the growing commercial interests in off-shore resources may stir Government aid to oceanographic research, coupled with bitterness at the almost total lack of facilities for advanced research in the field.
Like space research, in fact, oceanography is intrinsically a modern organisational or operational concept rather than a traditionally independent and clearly defined scientific discipline, This may explain the remarkable neglect which oceanography has so far had in Australia, a country which has more to gain from an intensive exploration of its surrounding waters than most, but which is also notably averse to the co-ordination and long range planning of many inter-related projects.
This is the ad hoc relationship approach that the Minister felt was our chief glory when he spoke to the Australian Academy of Science. The article continued:
The present state of oceanography in this country is in fact very typical in its fragmented improvisation, its underfinanced scattering of remarkably talented, dedicated scientists and its dependence on the willingness of other nations to give poverty stricken Australians a helping hand with such expensve equipment as ships and computers.
Last year the Australian Marine Sciences Association held a round table discussion on the sea going needs of Australian marine scientists, ships and shore support, and proposals for implementation and representations to the Commonwealth Government. It passed a resolution that ‘the Australian Marine Sciences Association strongly deplores the lack of facilities available for all workers in every aspect of oceanography, and strongly urged that representations be made to the Government to take steps to rectify the situation’. Outlining the current situation in Australia, the Interim Council of the Australian Institute of Marine Science said:
Although the aggregate effort in marine science is small by comparison with that of many other countries and unrealistic in relation to Australia’s needs, its effectiveness is further handicapped by excessive fragmentation. Marine science is essentially inter-disciplinary, requiring sizeable research teams at any single institution - a point repeatedly stressed by overseas marine scientists whom we have consulted. As noted above, much of the present Australian research, especially in universities, is conducted in comparative isolation and often with inadequate facilities. Only in limited fields have real attempts been made to overcome this isolation and to promote co-operation and joint effort.
The above quotations and statements illustrate the state marine scientists in Australia had reached before the decision by the Government to establish the Townsville Institute. In the light of the report of the Interim Council, it is clear that the Government’s action was inappropriate, as there was a lack of investigation at least at the public level prior to the decision to establish the Institute. The choice of the site was inappropriate to the concept of establishing a ‘centre of excellence’, to use the words of the right honourable member for Higgins, in the marine sciences. The amount of money originally suggested as the cost of establishing the Institute was inadequate to fulfil the stated aims. The decision was taken without considering the appropriate institutional linkages with other marine science organisations both within the governmental structure and outside.
The Interim Council, which had terms of reference merely to investigate the needs of the Institute, reported on a number of border issues in order to get some sort of adequacy in what it was saying. Firstly, the Townsville site was useful for only limited purposes and not for the broad range of purposes as suggested by the Government. Secondly, the Council pointed out that there is a need for further institutions to conduct research for which the Townsville site is inappropriate. Thirdly, for the limited number of activities envisaged for the Townsville Institute more money is required than was first suggested by the Government. Indeed, to fulfil a complete range of research in marine sciences a much greater amount of money is needed than that shown in the body of the report. Fifthly, the establishment of a nickel refinery in Townsville may conflict with the functioning of the Institute. Sixthly, there is a need for broad policy machinery to co-ordinate and plan marine science in Australia. Seventhly, the key lack in Australia is ship time for marine research.
This summary does not, of course, represent the bulk of the recommendations from the Interim Council’s report, but deals mainly with the broad considerations regarding overall policy, and in particular those aspects which are not dealt with by the Bill currently before the House. In the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill of 1972 the Government has implemented those recommendations from the Interim Council regarding the establishment of the Institute. It does not implement the broader considerations regarding the development of marine science. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) has accepted that marine science has been rather neglected in the past in the sense that the efforts of isolated groups, through praiseworthy in themselves, have scarcely been commensurate with the magnitude of the problems which await investigation’. That is an acknowledgement that ad hoc relations were not adequate. In respect of the broader issues, the Minister has mentioned that 2 of them are far reaching and important and are being examined in depth by the Government from within its own resources. That is a rather meaningless statement which holds out no immediate prospect of the development of marine science which the country needs.
As regards ship time, the key logistical problem of marine science in Australia, the Minister stated:
The question of acquiring a vessel of about 120 feet is one which is being examined by the Government in the context of rather similar requirements by the Division of Fisheries and Oceanography of the CSIRO.
He said this despite the fact that the Interim Council reported:
We stress most strongly therefore that the provision of proper sea going facilities, expensive though they might be, is vital to the success of the Institute at Townsville.
In other words, Townsville was considered in conjunction with a ship. So far the ship is not forthcoming. The Council further reported:
Indeed we would go so far as to say that if there was any danger that money for these facilities
The ship - could not be found, it would be unwise to proceed with the establishment of the kind of institute we propose.
According to the latest data, the Council has stated:
We consider it desirable that CSIRO should have a vessel for use in its own research programmes.
The Government’s action in introducing this Bill and accepting the portion of the Interim Council’s report that it has accepted will solve one problem only, that of establishing an Institute of Marine Science to study tropical marine science at Townsville. The basic problems of marine science in Australia, as revealed in the Interim Council’s report, remain, and marine science in Australia cannot develop adequately until they are solved. The following sections of this paper discuss the direction indicated for Australia by the Interim Council. The report reveals that there is a fundamental incompatibility in having a ‘centre of excellence’ at a site in Townsville with a small budget. It states:
We fear that in seeking to arrange excellence in the smaller institute proposed for Townsville, we might fail to achieve excellence in any one branch of marine science. We further recognise that the geographical situation of Townsville and its distance from the larger population centres impose some limitations upon its suitability as the major Australian Institute in such fields as physical oceanography and marine and coastal engineering. We should prefer to see additional funds for these branches of marine science devoted to the development of existing or new research centres elsewhere in Australia.
Consequently the Interim Council concludes that rather than being a wide ranging centre of excellence ‘the research programme of the Townsville Institute should be concentrated in those regions and in those branches of marine science for which Townsville forms a natural geographical centre’. The report draws out the limitations of the site. For instance, adequate berthing facilities and storage space are unavailable at Cape Pallarenda. Townsville is unsuitable as a major centre for all fields of research in marine science. Townsville, so the report goes on, may be an unsuitable site for a governing body of the Institute with a policy making function. This function has not been adopted in the legislation.
Nickel sulphur is highly dangerous to fish and other marine life, and the development of a nickel smelter near the Institute could introduce significant pollution. The report suggests that every effort should therefore be made, supported by appropriate legislation, to ensure that all forms of pollution from areas in the vicinity of Cape Pallarenda are kept to levels below those which are toxic to any forms of marine life. The Council speaks about appropriate legislation. Unless the Commonwealth assumes its powers over the territorial sea, I do not know whether it will have any power to legislate to protect the Institute against these toxic effects, if these toxic effects are in fact present in the nickel refinery.
In many research fields the report indicates the unsuitability of Townsville. I am not saying this as a criticism of putting the centre at Townsville. I am saying it as a criticism of the idea that all our eggs should be in this one basket for so long. With regard to underwater research and technology, the report states that it would obviously be quite impractical for the Townsville Institute, with its limited resources, to compete in this field. With regard to physical oceanography, the report states:
The implementation of a full programme of research and physical oceanography would be much beyond the limits of financial resources envisaged for the Townsville Institute.
With regard to marine and coastal engineering, the report states:
The Institute at Townsville will not command the facilities, nor will it be well situated geographically, to serve as an Australian centre for marine and coastal engineering.
With regard to research on living resources, the report states:
These important areas of research could not be catered for by the Institute at Townsville.
The report states:
The principal aim of the Government was to establish a research centre physically located in the vicinity of Townsviile.
However, this choice has introduced severe limitations into the type of research that the Institute can carry out. As a consequence, the report suggests the need for new institutes elsewhere to fill these gaps. The report stated that research on beaches, estuaries and coastal waters could be: the primary responsibility of a new institute to be established at a more suitable locality.
In regard to physical oceanography, the report states:
Because of ship requirements it would appear to be preferable to establish such a centre in the south and eastern parts of the continent, either by expansion of an existing institution or by the development of a new institute suitably located in relation to major universities and of interested research organisations. As a centre for marine and coastal engineering should be established where strong scientific and engineering facilities are available and where the problems, especially of the preservation and pollution control are most acute, a site in close proximity to one of the State capitals on the temperate coastline of Australia would be suitable.
The fact that the Interim Council’s thinking was dominated by the question of shiptime has been adverted to previously. It is an aspect which comes up many times in the report. The members stated:
We are concerned that Australian experience in the past has been that vessel facilities have almost always been inadequate for the research needs; this applies to Australia’s major marine research institution, the CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography.
The report continues:
The difficult factor limiting the development of oceanography is the shortage of shiptime. The Navy, has not been able to make sufficient shiptime available to meet the needs of other bodies. This limitation has had serious impact on the oceanographic work of CSIRO and especially on that of the universities. There can be no doubt that the situation in Australia compares most unfavourably with that in some other countries. While at best, the interested Australian group have had to share the part hiring time of use of one or two vessels, most of the major institutions overseas have at least one ocean-going vessel upward of 120 feet for their exclusive use, as well as several smaller craft. Many have several large ships. A progressive increase in the number of ocean-going ships is desirable.
Whereas the United States National Science Foundation devotes 41 per cent of its expenditure on marine sciences to ships in support operations, there are no similar sums for the Australian Research GrantCommittee.
I have referred to limitations on Australian marine science caused by the present lack of finance. The Interim Council, in its report, adverts to many large gaps in marine science research in Australia which will require additional financing in the future, as well as the obvious need to support existing research. These gaps were referred to when the need for additional institutes was adverted to and are detailed in section 3 of the report of the Interim Council. These gaps were revealed in the survey conducted by Professor B. R. Morton, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Monash University, in his paper to the symposium on marine sciences conducted by the Australian Academy of Science.
This Bill is welcome as a beginning. We fear that the Institute cannot be, without all these other developments, the great centre of excellence that the former Prime Minister envisaged. It is a welcome first step. It would be good to hear from the Government a complete programme of development. It was welcome to hear from the Minister of the construction of a ship which no doubt will eliminate some of these criticisms on ship time, when it is in existence. But it is alarming that, although every commentator on this subject regards Australia as having so much to gain from the development of marine sciences, Australia is far behind in work in this field and needs much more than simply this very welcome Institute which, rather doubtfully, the report of the Interim Council assigns to the city of Townsville where, at any rate, it is adapted to certain aspects of tropical research.
– - Is the amendment seconded?
– I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.
– With regard to the Opposition amendment moved by the honourable member for Fre mantle (Mr Beazley), I notice that it includes the words: ‘the possibility that the work of the Institute may be hindered by the pollution of the sea water. I think that the operative word there is ‘may. I suggest that if honourable members opposite had done their homework, in conjunction with Metals Exploration Qld Pty Ltd which is promoting the Greenvale project, it would have dispelled some of their doubts. While listening to the honourable member for Fremantle I gained the impression - I may be wrong - that had the Opposition nad the responsibility of establishing the Institute of Marine Science it would not have put it at Townsville, for various reasons which the honourable member mentioned. I hope that in the brief speech that I will make on this subject I will be able to dispel some of those doubts.
Now that all the fiddling about has stopped, it is a pleasure to support the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. Regardless of what has been said, this Institute not only will bring prominence to north Queensland where it is to be established but also will add to the prestige of Australia. I think that this was rightly pointed out by the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) earlier this evening. Because of this, it is a matter of sincere regret that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) decided to play politics and, in doing so, stopped the passage of this important Bill through this House some weeks ago. I can promise the Leader of the Opposition that the people of Townsville will not forget it.
– Oh, go on.
– They will not. A marine institute such as the one that the Government is proposing to establish has been needed for some time, as has already been mentioned, and the decision of the Government to enter this new field of scientific research is a welcome one. The work performed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has proved beyond doubt that organisations such as this are of tremendous importance and benefit to the development of the nation, and, regardless of the opposition which has been expressed to its establishment. I am positive that the proposed Institute also will prove to be of great benefit to us.
While the collation of information no doubt will be undertaken at the one centre when the Institute is established, I think that recognition should be made of the valuable work on marine science performed in the past by isolated groups, as was mentioned by the honourable member for Fremantle and, earlier, in the second reading speech of the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser). They have contributed greatly to our knowledge of marine matters. It is to be hoped that they will make full use of the facilities that will be available once the Institute is fully established. I could not grasp the claim by the honourable member for Fremantle that the establishment of the Institute would mean putting all of the eggs in the one basket. I do not envisage the staff of the Institute just staying at Cape Pallarenda and operating at the Institute; I envisage field work being done. Mention has been made of the estuary of the river. Certainly the staff will be moving out and doing field work and the centre will be used for the collation of all the information obtained.
I believe that the Interim Council, which had to study all aspects of the requirements needed to establish the Institute, is to he congratulated. I can imagine that its task was not an easy one. The decisions and observations it made proved that the Interim Council realised the responsibility associated with such a task. But there are some people who deserve no credit whatsoever. Although such an institute is regarded by most people as being a valuable asset to Australia, I am amazed that there are people- fortunately they are few in number - who would wish to knock the idea of it being established in Townsville. It has even been claimed - I have, as honourable members can imagine, been closely associated with this project since it was first mooted - that the proposal was a political gesture.
– An honourable member opposite asked why. If he does not know why, I do not know why he is sitting on the other side of the chamber, lt has been claimed that the proposal was a political gesture. My answer to that is very simple. I do not believe that any government, regardless of its political colour, would be prepared to assist a back bench member by throwing $8m down the drain just as a political gesture. The claim that this Institute is to be established in Townsville as a political gesture is completely ridiculous. There have also been people who have wanted to change the present location because of the possibility of pollution originating from the Greenvale project. I do not know whether those people realise the harm they are doing to the north when they knock a project such as the Greenvale one. It was not just decided overnight to establish a smelter at Greenvale without thought being given to the possibility of pollution being caused by the processing of nickel. The nickel smelting process certainly causes some concern about pollution of the surrounding sea waters. But that matter was taken into consideration when the site at Townsville was decided upon. In fact, I sat in at one of the conferences that discussed the matter of pollution. The Greenvale people themselves have also made a study of the possible pollution problem and have stated that they can overcome it. The Queensland Government took close recognition of possible pollution and how it could be overcome.
I advise those people who would establish the Institute at any place other than Townsville that the evidence that was presented - I mean all the evidence and not just a summary of it - was taken into consideration when it was decided that Pallarenda was the preferred site. The possibility of pollution from the Greenvale smelter was given attention. Although the laboratory is to be at Pallarenda, the major aquarium facilities are not likely to be located there. The sites for aquariums will be chosen by the Institute’s permanent council when it is appointed. I may be wrong, but I imagine that one could be established as far north as Lizard Island and another as far south at Daydream Island. But the major aquarium facilities will not be at Pallarenda.
Townsville is regarded as being the best site for the Institute because it is essential for reasons of access to have the Institute located on the mainland and not on an island, as some people have suggested, lt is also very important - and I think this point has been overlooked - that the Institute should be established in a university city because it will be necessary for the staff of the Institute to work in close collaboration with the staff of a university, and Townsville is the only university city in the tropics.
Although the site of the Institute will be approximately 40 miles from the Great Barrier Reef, Townsville is centrally located for reef studies. It is central to the whole reef. It is also a substantial port, as the honourable member for Fremantle mentioned. This is important for the Instiute’s future shipping needs. One of the important factors that should be mentioned is that Townsville can provide the support of industry, which is not available in many northern coastal cities, and the support of industry is vital to the operation of the Institute.
One suggestion which I would ask the permanent council of the Institute, when it is appointed, to consider seriously relates to the commercial exploitation of marine products. There may be times when the council will have cause to recommend certain measures to the commercial world, and should this eventuate I would suggest that the council should seek the advice of a qualified person with an accepted and proven knowledge of commercial matters before making its recommendation. I think that this would assist the council and certainly it would considerably benefit the commercial world.
The Institute will be an excellent asset to north Queensland. It is just one further indication to me of the important part which north Queensland is playing in the economy of our country. This Institute could also be claimed to be an example of decentralisation, and by that I mean decentralisation of the study facilities. Quite a number of people have come to me and said that they are of the opinion that the Institute should have been established in Sydney, and there are some interesting arguments both for and against its being established in Sydney and not in Townsville. But the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has proved to be of tremendous benefit to our development, and so will this Institute, although I do not envisage that it will remain in the one situation. It will spread and have branches throughout the whole of Australia.
The time factor is one of the important considerations, and according to our marine biologists, studies will be undertaken on one of our greatest assets - the Great Barrier Reef, with all its resources. We do not know the extent of the resources for obtaining food and medical products. But the time factor has been mentioned by the marine biologists. They have said that it is most important to get the samples that they may take from the Reef to the Institute or to a laboratory as quickly as possible, and that is why Townsville is the best site for the Institute. The James Cook University is probably one of the greatest investments that we have ever made in northern Queensland. In that university at the present time there are students of marine biology, and this Institute will be a tremendous asset to those people who are studying this subject. .
I should like to see this project commence as soon as possible. As has been stated by the honourable member for Fremantle and by the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser), this Institute has been needed for a long time; it is required for Australia’s future development. Not only that, but it will be the means of distinguishing even further Australias contribution to - the sciences throughout the world. The Institute will make it possible to cement further friendship and co-operation with other nations. I do not support the amendment moved by the Opposition because, as I say, the operative word is ‘may’. I think that the Opposition could have done a little more homework on this matter. I have great pleasure in supporting the Bil) as it is. I trust that no further nonsense will delay its passage through both Houses.
– The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) who has just resumed his seat has made the suggestion that some nonsense has delayed and prevented the passage of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill through the House until this time. As the next speaker on the Opposition side and as the seconder of the motion moved by my colleague and friend the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) I repudiate completely the idea that the Australian Labor Party has been irresponsible in this matter. The Labor Party is very keen to have the establishment of an institute of marine science near the Great Barrier Reef. The Labor Party is committed to an expanded programme of research around the whole of the Australian continental shelf; in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Coral Sea and, indeed, around the Australian territories, not the least of which is the Australian Antarctic territory. Very few other nations have such a range of opportunities open for marine research.
Tonight we are committing this Government to the expenditure of public money. It follows that we have a responsibility to ensure that that money is spent wisely and well and that we are not contributing merely to building a monument at some site or other. We have a responsibility to see that the money spent lays the basis of a real centre of excellence as was originally envisaged by the then Prime Minister at the time this measure was first canvassed. It is for this reason that the Opposition submitted 2 propositions. The first proposiion sought to have the legislation relating to the territorial sea and the continental shelf passed before this Bill was considered. Now we seek to draw attention to the vital importance of Commonwealth control over the continental shelf as an impediment to pollution which would be dangerous to this institute. We wish not only that the institute might be established but also that it might be the success for which we all hope.
I rather gathered from the substance of the speech made by the honourable member for Herbert that this institute was an extremely good thing because it was in his electorate. I say that as a person who has a great affection for Townsville. I spent a very happy year of my life there as a schoolboy before the Second World War when my father was in charge of the telegraph branch of the Post Office. I lived on the Strand. I know this area fairly well. I am going to say things for and against the institute. 1 would not like anybody to think that I have a prejudice against Townsville or its environs. Indeed, I have a great affection for the place. Of course there are substantial reasons in favour of the establishment of an institute of marine science at Townsville, in particular to study the Great Barrier Reef. As the honourable member for Herbert pointed out, Townsville is central to the Great Barrier Reef. I add that it is adjacent to the Coral Sea. Of course it is central to the tropical coast on the eastern seaboard of Australia. As we all know, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the world. It extends from Torres Strait to Lady Elliott Island.
The point was made in the report of the Interim Council of the Australian Institute of Marine Science that the proposed institute will be associated with the James Cook University of North Queensland, with all that that means in terms of academic back-up. There will be people with other professional skills such as chemists, biologists, geologists and physicists in Townsville at the James Cook University. The research people associated with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation are there or near there as well. They would also make their contribution. Of course that is not the greatest amount of back-up which could be provided in Australia. Many other universities are much better provided. But it is the only tropical university, and this is another valid point in favour of establishing the institute at Townsville. Townsville has a fine artificial harbour and it has engineering back-up facilities for the maintenance of vessels and for the repair and maintenance of instruments and other equipment which would operate in association with the institute. Townsville has a fine airport as well. Equipment could be flown in. Through the airport it will be easy for scientists from other parts of Australia and overseas to obtain access to the institute.
Although an amount of $8m has been allocated for the construction of the Institute itself, when one gets down to bricks and mortar the actual expenditure is fairly modest. It is obvious that this is only a base from which programmes in biological and geological research will be carried out. The Townsville site is well suited to the study of beaches and estuaries, carbonate sedimentation, coastal protection and river pollution on the Queensland coast. Of course, a great deal will depend upon the type of vessels made available. That will determine the effectiveness of the Institute’s work, as was pointed out by my colleague the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley). A further and, one would hope, temporary aspect of the tasks of the Institute, although nobody knows the time factor in this, is the need for research into the depredations made by the crown of thorns starfish. Order of the day No. 78 on today’s notice paper refers to a report on the crown of thorns starfish, a ministerial statement and a motion to take note of that statement. The adjournment was taken on 30th March 1971 by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson).
This matter has never been brought back to the Parliament for debate, notwithstanding the fact that obviously some aspects of the report should be debated. At that time the Government set up a committee to administer a research programme and the Commonwealth and Queensland governments each decided to vote $35,000 in the first year for the research programme. Although that statement was made in March 1971, it was not until March 1972, one year later, that the allocation of the research grants was announced by the committee. There has been one year’s delay - a further year for the unmonitored and uncontrolled spread of the crown of thorns starfish. One of the bad features of the grants approved for 1972 is that, of the total of $70,223, $37,725 was handed back to Queensland for projects under the control of its Department of Primary Industries. I have no criticism of Mr Haysom, the marine biologist involved, for whom I have great personal respect; but I am concerned that the administration of the Department of Primary Industries in Queensland may not lend itself to the publication of research findings if the monitoring of the crown of thorns starfish suggests it is still spreading. There is a particularly urgent need for the Institute at Townsville to investigate this specific problem.
There are a number of arguments against the site at Townsville. I make the point that the Opposition supports the development of this Institute, but I should like to place these matters on record because they are important and should be recorded before public money is spent on this project. The first is that the level of pollution at the Cape Pallarenda site it not known. No pilot study has been done of this site to determine the present level of pollution. For a long time dredge spoil from Townsville Harbour has been dumped into Cleveland Bay. This action has affected the coral reefs surrounding Magnetic Island and three-quarters of those reefs are now dead. As a result of public pressure and the pollution of water off the Strand and some of the suburban beaches, dredge spoil has been dumped further north and the level of pollution at the Cape Pallarenda site is already high. I should think that a pilot study of that area might have a fairly high priority. It was suggested by the Minister in his statement that aquaria would be established at Magnetic Island or at some similar site. I point out That the level of pollution at Magnetic Island is not known. If aquaria are to be built in either of these areas it will be necessary to obtain a water supply, but no studies have been done as to what will be needed by way of pipelines and the like. I make the point that the Wildlife Research Institute had an option on land at Nellie Bay on Magnetic Island for a marine research establishment, but it subsequently withdrew from this option and, although it has not yet gone elsewhere, it is looking for another site because the pollution level there was so high.
A point has been made in the report of the interim council of the possible pollution from the Greenvale nickel refinery. There is no evidence placed before us from the Townsville city plan as to further possible industrial developments in this area immediately north of Townsville. Is the Greenvale refinery only the first of such establishments north of Townsville? No-one has indicated whether the town plan of Townsville has been altered in such a way as to ensure that further pollution does not take place. The interim council decided that it would be a grave mistake to try to develop Townsville as the major centre for all fields of research in marine science. So the point is made that Townsville is a useful base from which to operate, given its back up facilities, but the marine research principally will be carried out elsewhere. Townsville is a long way from the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. The nearest reef is the Lodestone Reef which is approximately 45 miles away. Then there are reefs a little further away - 50 or 60 miles. But Townville is not well equipped for studying the so-called outer barrier and, indeed, for some of these matters a site at Bowen probably would have been better.
The second point, of course, is that all of the reefs near Townsville have been devastated by the crown of thorns starfish. The time factor in this regard is not known. Some people have suggested that the reefs will recover in the order of 20 years. Professor Dorothy Hill, who was a member of the interim council, is on record as saying that the recovery could be in 2 human generations and that this is a very short period when geological time is taken into account. Notwithstanding the fact that 2 human generations are a short time when compared with the geological time scale, this is a long time when $8m is being voted to establish an institute of research in an area where reefs have been depleted of many of their corals.
The tidal range of Townsville is about 8 feet. No reef within 100 miles of Townsville has an island associated with it. Rarely is it possible to walk upon any of the reefs at low tide. All collecting and research work would have to be carried out by divers. The report makes the point also that Townsville is well situated for the use of helicopters. Of course, this is because of the Air Force base and airport facilities there. But on the other side of the coin, there has to be somewhere for these helicopters to land, and the fact that there are no islands on reefs within 100 miles of Townsville does not make it as satisfactory a place to use helicopters as the report envisages.
I make the point also that the distance of the reefs from Townsville means that winds can generate heavy seas in that area, and that the so-called sea wasps - -chironex flecker - occur in the waters off Townsville from November to March and one has to be fairly careful. These are among the factors that should be taken into account as the institute develops. What is needed? Let us accept the fact that Townsville is suitable as a base for the engineering and scientific back up. I think that is beyond dispute. Before anything is built there should be an investigation of pollution levels at Cape Pallarenda, Magnetic Island or any other site where it is proposed to build an aquarium. There should be absolute guarantees against nickel pollution and other industrial pollution. One part in one million of nickel salts in water is toxic to marine organisms. While I am dealing with the question of pollution, information about the results of tests carried out by the Greenvale organisation at New Orleans, where the ore was sent, and a study of the leeching process using magnesium sulphate have not been made available.
I was interested in the comment made by the honourable member for Herbert that he had sat in on discussions about pollution. I do not know what his expertise is, but certainly none of this information has been made available. No criteria yet have been laid down by the Queensland Government for the ponding system which will be used. I understand that the scheme is to balance out through lagoons. In matters of conservation the Queensland Government has a poor record indeed. Again I make no reflections on the public servants. Mr Henry, who is in charge of administering the clean water legislation to which effect was given in Queensland last year, is a very competent person. His worth was recognised by the Senate Select Committee on Water Pollution. But it is a question of what considerations prevail - his scientific and engineering knowledge or the desire of the Queensland Government to have an industry at that particular site no matter what its cost might be to the institute we are establishing.
It is necessary also to have research stations, not just aquaria. I was interested in the point made by the honourable member for Herbert about this institute being important for students. Not a great number of students at the James Cook University are engaged in the field of marine biological research. Heron Island has accommodation for a substantial number of students in the project conducted over a great many years by the Great Barrier Reef Committee with which the University of Queensland now is associated. It will not be of any use for students if the base is at Townsville if the aquaria are elsewhere, say at Lizard Island and Daydream Island as the honourable member for Herbert mentioned. What we really need are research stations on the reef. Lizard Island is an excellent site in that area. It is not affected by the crown of thorns starfish. However, one would think, given the research station on Heron Island, that a high priority would be given to a further research station somewhere in the Torres Straits area in waters which clearly are known to be Australian. These research stations could be set up for expenditure of the order of Sim.
I make the point that this should be a centre of excellence. The needs are fairly modest but they would have to be built where scientists can get out and work for weeks or months on the reef. Of course the report emphasises - we agree completely with it - that the institute should be provided with adequate vessels to carry out its work not only in the biological field, which naturally predominates in discussions of this kind, but also in the geological field and the other areas of marine research. What members of the Opposition have set before the House is a realistic indication of the sort of institute that we would like to see established at Townsville. Townsville does not require a monument or a tourist attraction. The nation requires a real centre of excellence in an institute of marine research.
We note that the Bill does not give the proposed council the broad responsibility envisaged by the report, nor does it establish another national body to carry out these functions. This, of course, is a pity. However it would be undesirable for the council of this institute to distribute research grants across the board when it has a particular administrative responsibility for the project at Townsville itself. It would follow that whatever it might have done, whatever it may do in the future, the council would always be subject to criticism that it was looking after its own institute for which, of course, it has a first responsibility.
The honourable member for Herbert cast some scorn on the suggestion that a marine research institute could be established in Sydney. Of course, in Sydney there are problems of pollution. No national programme of marine research can be domiciled in any one particular place. The institute in Townsville is, I take it, designed principally to carry out research on the Barrier Reef. There are problems in setting up a centre of excellence - the task of co-ordinating programmes of study and research over our enormous continental shelf and of obtaining a first class director. An institute of the type that was envisaged by the original statement would cater for students - probably a small number of students - but one would presume that it would cater for post-graduate research rather than research by university students. In conclusion, may I read from a report from 2 members of the Great Barrier Reef Committee because I think it is apt? In 1967 they said:
The Great Barrier Reefs, then, and the waters around them may be looked upon as a great marine laboratory, a huge reservoir of tropical and sub-tropical animals and plants, with a variety of calcareous sediments and a great range of reef and island forms. A laboratory with enough problems to occupy hundreds of zoologists, botanists, geologists, geographers, chemists, biochemists, microbiologists, physiologists and parasitologists for an indefinitely long period. It awaits the hundreds.
The Opposition trusts that this Institute, properly administered and properly protected from pollution, will make that contribution.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Drury)Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.
– in reply - There are only one or two points I want to make in reply to this debate on the motion for the second reading of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Bill. The first concerns the question of pollution. Discussions between the Commonwealth and State authorities have been held on this subject. I am informed that Queensland is treating very seriously indeed the question of pollution by industrial waste from the proposed nickel smelter. Effluent will have to conform to proper standards. I am advised also that a Queensland Government technical committee has been appointed, and that it has a significant membership, including Professor Hill, who was on the Interim Council, and Professor Burdon-Jones who, I understand, is acting for the James Cook University of North Queensland. I am sure that this committee would want to see established a regime that would be effective and useful, and which would serve the purposes for which it was appointed. It needs to be understood that the Interim Council, according to my advice, was well aware of the possibility of the establishment of this industrial plant when the recommendations were made to the Government. I have had considerable discussions with the chairman of the Interim Council, since coming back into this portfolio, and there was no hesitation in his recommendation and selection of the site.
I make one other point: Anyone concerned about pollution in this area would certainly not be concerned only about the impact on the waters around the Institute but also about the Great Barrier Reef as a whole. It may well be that the aquarium and other things required by the Institute will be established away from the site at Cape Pallarenda, but that will be a matter for the Council to determine in consultation with the director. Neither the Government, the Interim Council nor I would want to prescribe the authority that the Council and the Director might have in regard to that matter. I want to emphasise, however, that pollution is taken seriously. There have been consultations between the Governments and we have been advised that the company will be required to conform rigidly to rules that will be laid down. There is a well balanced technical committee with appropriate people from State authorities represented, together with Professor Hill and Professor Burdon- Jones, as I mentioned, so I believe that the Queensland Government has the matter under control.
The question of shiptime was mentioned in the debate. It is recognised that this is an inhibiting factor in the development of marine science. As honourable members will know, the Government has accepted in principle the necessity for an 80-feet vessel. Before getting the recommendations of the Interim Council, the Government had been examining the need for probably a 120-feet vessel for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. It was felt proper to refer to the same inquiry the requirements for a 120- feet vessel for the Institute of Marine Science so that if there is a requirement for 2 additional vessels, as may well be the case, they can be constructed in an orderly way and at the same time so that in the early stages there could be a sharing of the shiptime which thus would be made available. This matter is being examined. I have no doubt that we will receive recommendations which will serve the interests of marine science.
I want to remind the House also that the Government has not put aside the wider proposals involved in the Interim Council’s report. These wider proposals involve much more than the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth’s own instrumentalities. The wider proposals quite clearly have significant implications for the Australian Fisheries Council, for works which the States undertake and for works which are undertaken by universities. Therefore it was felt that the words in the Interim Council’s report in this wider area were not an adequate basis for action on those wider proposals. We therefore wanted to put this to further study. This has been done. I believe that these proposals will be a most significant advance in marine science in Australia.
It may not be generally realised that in some areas of its own activities governmental effort has been developing. In the defence area, 2 ships are virtually involved in defence oceanographic research almost full-time, and clearly the Government envisages a much greater effort in this area than has been assumed before. This Institute will be of advantage not only to Townsville and to the Great Barrier Reef; it will also add to the knowledge and expertise in a wide area of marine science, concentrating initially on problems associated with the Reef. I have no doubt that the Institute will branch well beyond that, and in the areas in which it does undertake research I have every confidence that with the support it will be given in a financial and material sense by governments, and with the expertise which I very much hope it will be able to attract, that it will become the centre of excellence in the areas in which it will be involved. This does not mean to say that it will be able to cover the whole area of marine research. It may be that there is no institute in the world which can do that, but in the particular areas in which it will be involved I believe it will become a credit to Australian scientists and I hope, inadvertently, to the Government which has sponsored and supported it.
That the words proposed to be omitted (Mr Beazley’s amendment) stand part of the question.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker- Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 8
Clauses 1 to 11 - by leave - taken together.
– Am I to understand that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) proposes to have the remainder of the Bill dealt with tonight, after it has been on the notice paper for approximately 2 months? We have had prepared for some time important considerations to be raised in the Committee stage. If the remainder of the Bill is to be dealt with at this hour of the night, 11.45, I regard it as an outrage. Operators opposite, at the flick of a finger or by some sleight of hand, always line up in operations such as this, without any consideration for the issues, then go out and claim to be liberals, independents and strong-minded. I regard it as an outrage. We are discussing an important principle in the establishment of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. A number of important considerations in the structure of the Institute should be given consideration by at least some members opposite. They should consider the various matters that will be placed before the Committee. In general, I object very strongly to and resent the idea of approaching a matter such as this at 11.45 p.m. or at any late hour any night.
– I refer briefly to clause 9 because the Interim Council made a recommendation on that clause. It relates to the functions of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The functions are:
That function is not included in clause 9, yet it was one. of the recommendations of the Interim Council. While it has been said that the Bill is in the national interests, it is more like a home town decision for Herbert when we look at what happened in respect of the provisions of the Bill. If there is to be marine science it should be in respect of many of the problems of marine science which are referred to on page 14 of the Interim Council’s report. It should be in respect of what are deemed to be the most urgently required investigations. One of the most urgently required
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time. investigations is in relation to industrial and sewerage pollution of beaches and coastal waters near the major cities. The Bill does not contain a provision for the establishment of additional marine research institutes. It rings very hollow when one realises that the Government will spend $8m now and an annual expenditure of $1.5m on marine research which will be so limited.
I would like an explanation from the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) why such a powerful recommendation, that there should be reports to the Minister on all matters relating to marine science and in particular the establishment of additional institutes, has been ignored. I know that it has been said that the Government will do something later. Surely such a provision could have been included in clause 9. Sydney has one of the greatest beach pollution problems due to sewerage that any city could have. Yet the. Institute of Marine Science would have no power to investigate that problem if the State Government referred the problem to it. On would think that, when we are dealing in so many millions of dollars, we should be looking at the problem of marine science pollution. Why was not the recommendation in paragraph 30(a) inserted in clause 9?
– There would be nothing to stop the Australian Institute of Marine Science, if the Council and the Director so wished, from undertaking research into marine science pollution, but I think that the recommendation in the Interim Council’s report to which the honourable member for KingsfordSmith (Mr Lionel Bowen) referred was one of the wider recommendations going beyond the establishment of the Institute at Townsville. The Government’s original intention was to establish the Institute at Townsville.
– Why limit it?
– We are doing precisely what the Government intended. The wider recommendations in which the Interim Council saw fitto involve itself are of great concern not only to the Commonwealth Government but, as I mentioned when closing the second reading debate, also to State governments and universities. The wider proposals require a good deal of investigation before they can be given effect to. They also involve the Australian Fisheries Council which undertakes a significant amount of marine and fisheries research. So this wider examination is being undertaken and it will be pursued vigorously. But while this wider examination, which would involve governments other than our own, is proceeding we want it to proceed without delay to the establishment of the Institute of Marine Science at Townsville, and that is why this Bill is now before the House.
Clauses agreed to.
Clause 12. (1.) The Council shall consist of a Chairman and four other members. (2.) The members shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral. (3.) At least three members shall be persons possessing scientific qualifications. (4.) Subject to this Act, each member holds office for such period, not exceeding 5 years, as is specified in the instrument of his appointment and on such terms and conditions as the Governor General determines, but is eligible for reappointment. (5.) An act or decision of the Council is not invalid by reason only of a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Council.
– I move:
Omit the clause, insert the following clause:
– (1.) The council shall consist of a Chairman and at least seven other members. (2.) The Chairman shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Australian Academy of Science. (3.) Two members shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Australian Marine Science Association. (4.) Two members shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Great Barrier Reef Committee. (5.) One member shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Geological Society of Australia. (6.) One member shall be a Senator elected by the Senate. (7.) One member shall be a Member of the House of Representatives elected by that House. (8.) Such other members as is deemed necessary from time to time, may be appointed by the GovernorGeneral, but so that of every three members of the Council two shall be persons possessing scientific qualifications. (9.) A member of the Council elected by either House of the Parliament holds office, subject to this Act, for such period, not exceeding five years as is fixed by that House at the time of his election. (10.) Subject to this Act each member appointed by the Governor-General holds office for such period, not exceeding five years, as is specified in the instrument of his appointment and on such terms and conditions as the GovernorGeneral determines, but is eligible for reappointment. (11.) An act or decision of the Council is not invalid by reason only of a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Council.’.
The Opposition proposes that the Council should consist of a chairman and at least 7 members instead of 4. The chairman should be appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Australian Academy of Science. The Opposition believes that it will be valuable if the whole field of related sciences is involved in the governing of this Institute; that there should be 2 members to be appointed by the Governor-General from a panel submitted by the Australian Marine Science Association; that there should be 2 members appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Great Barrier Reef Committee; that there should be a member appointed by the GovernorGeneral from a panel submitted by the Geological Society of Australia; that there should be a senator elected by the Senate and a member of the House of Representatives elected by that House; and that there should be such other members as is deemed necessary from time to time appointed by the Governor-General, but of every 3 members of the Council 2 should be persons possessing scientific qualifications. The Opposition believes that a member of the Council elected by either House of the Parliament should hold office, subject to this Act, for such period not exceeding 5 years as is fixed by that House at the time of his election; and that subject to this Act, each member appointed by the Governor-General should hold office for such period, not exceeding 5 years, as is specified in the instrument of his appointment and on such terms and conditions as the Governor-General determines, but would be eligible for re-appointment. The Opposition believes that an act or decision of the Council - this is taken from the existing clause - should not be invalid by reason only of a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Council.
We want this Council to be one which befits the institute of excellence that was envisaged by the former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton). Our proposed Council would comprise members with high qualifications and breadth of vision which we believe would help it to be an institute of excellence.
– -It is interesting to note that the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett), having established his memorial at Cape Pallarenda, has vanished from the field. The amendment which the Opposition is placing before the House gives honourable members an opportunity to consider the actual structure of such an institute as is being formed so that we can bring a greater consideration to bear upon it than appears to me to have been brought to bear by the people who have drafted the legislation. The legislation says that the Council shall consist of a chairman and 4 other members. My belief, which is based upon my experience as a member of the National Library Council, is that that would be much too small to solve the problems, answer the questions and have the flexibility necessary for such an operation.
What we are proposing to establish is a national institute, the responsibilities of which will range over a very wide area of Australia, its territories, all the sea around about - millions of square miles - and countless different scientific operations. The Australian Labor Party and I believe that it is important that the people who are charged with this duty have enough support amongst their own members to be able to cover the wide field. I put it before the Committee, from my experience of sitting on the Council of the National Library, that even 7 or 8 on a council of this nature is too small a number. We only need one or two people on a body such as this to be away, out of the State, unable to come or absent from the country and it cannot work. It only needs to expand its interest into some newer fields of science or some different field of biological or marine science and it does not work effectively. At the present moment the Council of the National Library would like its numbers to be expanded so it can take in other areas of learning.
I believe that the Minister should have applied himself more studiously to this general question of the establishment of statutory authorities. Therefore we place before the Committee considerations of this nature. I say, as I said earlier, that it is disappointing that honourable members opposite are not turning their minds to the question at all. We believe that an institute such as this should be representative of the learned bodies associated with this particular field of science. We believe we should pay a compliment to people such as those on the staff of the Academy of Science by asking them to submit a panel of names for the position of chairman. I believe also - this has been established practice in several other institutions - that the Parliament itself should be represented on such bodies. I do not believe that this Parliament involves itself in great enough depth in the administeration of the country. There are countless opportunities in instances such as this for all of us to be involved in the administration of bodies established by the Parliament to carry out the nation’s work. Therefore, just as the Parliament is represented on the Council of the Australian National Univesity, the Institute of Aboriginal Studies and the Council of the National’ Library, the membership of the Parliament itself ought to be represented on the Council of this Institute.
I only regret that this matter has been brought before the Parliament at this time and in this manner. The very way we operate in considering such a matter does not really allow honourble members opposte a chance to examine the measure in the depth to which it is entitled to be examined. We on this side of the Parliament sat down and considered the matter at some length. We had before us people who were prepared to give us advice about the matter. That is the reason why these amendments are before the Committee. As I say, it is disappointing that we can get no adequate consideration of it, and I resent the fact that what consideration is possible is being pursued at midnight. I do not believe that we are paying a proper compliment to the task that this Institute has to perform. I hope that the Minister will give serious consideration to the matters we have placed before him.
– I think that the opening remarks of the honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) are unworthy of him and not typical of his normal character in this Parliament. The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) pressed and fought for this Institute over a long period of time. Because of a necessity which could attack even the honourable member for Wills, he departed from the chamber for the few minutes that drew the unworthy comment from the honourable member for Wills. The Government cannot accept this amendment. The amendment moved by the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) reveals a basic difference between the philosophies of both sides- of this Parliament about the way in which this kind of Institute ought to be established and run. The question of numbers on the Council is a matter for judgment. The Interim Council itself placed the numbers at not fewer than 3 - a chairman and 2 other members. The Government came to the decision, having in mind the scope., seriousness and importance of the Institute, that the numbers of the Council should be 5 - a chairman and 4 other members. That is the reason we have, chosen those numbers.
But going beyond that, we believe people appointed to the council should be appointed for their own particular expertise and standing, largely, of course, in the scientific field. We do not believe that people should become representatives of organisations on a body of this. kind. While organisations themselves might, and would, have a high standing and knowledge in their own particular areas we do not believe that organisations as ‘ organisations ought to be represented but that the Government should take the responsibility for appointing to a council such as this people who, because of their expertise, standing, knowledge and excellence, are able to contribute as one would expect. I think that this arrangement broadens the scope for people of the best possible standing and quality to have the opportunity to get on to the council. In other words, there is no limit to the scientific field from which people can be chosen to be placed upon the council in the form in which the Government proposes.
I do not believe that it would be appropriate for someone from this House or from the Senate to be a member of the council. I know that there are some traditions in another area. Members of the Parliament serve on the Council of the Australian National University. Also, the honourable members for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) and Wakefield (Mr Kelly) are members of the advisory committee of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. These precedents might lead to the suggestion that such representation might be allowed to occur in this area. I would envisage that the council or the director would establish advisory committees in a number of fields and it would be op to that body or the director to determine who ought to be on these committees. But I do not think it is a proper function for a member of the Parliament to serve on the council. Therefore, I think that this part of the amendment basically falls to the ground. The Government stands on its own proposals in this matter and must oppose the amendment.
Thursday, 18 May 1972
– I suggest that the honourable member for Wills make his second speech.
– It ls my great courtesy to do so. However, I do not withdraw anything I mentioned about the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett). The honourable member is always here to vote for the gag or to keep us in this place after dark. But when he is making such great efforts to gain haloes for himself he should stay in his place and take part in the consideration of the Bill under discussion. As far as the construction of the council is concerned, I say from my experience that the number proposed will be too small for the job. I say this for all sorts of reasons. Because of the size of the country and the kind of people who are going to be employed in, or appointed to. the council, there just will not be a decent number of people operating all of the time. That is a consideration of some importance.
On the question of the actual membership, the suggestion of the Australian
Labor Party is not that someone would be appointed to represent the Australian Academy of Science, but in fact that this learned body that covers people in the scientific area ought to be entitled to be considered, and in the general relationships of things a panel submitted to the Minister would cover the kind of people he would himself appoint. I think it is necessary in a consideration of government appointments that all sorts of names which may not naturally flow to the Minister’s desk should be placed before him. Also there is the question of the membership of the Parliament and the responsibilities of Parliament in this matter. I do not believe that this is simply a scientific question. I believe it is a question of the responsibility of the Parlia-ment to administer the affairs of the nation more directly than it does at the moment. The Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is directly responsible for the administration of a large number of matters. 1 will say this about him: As far as I can tell he tries to keep in touch with them; he has a good idea of what goes on although he does not do as much about the things that ought to go on as he should. However, he accepts this responsibility as a member of the Parliament.
I believe, the Labor Party believes and in other instances the Parliament has believed, that these organisations councils or statutory bodies are advantaged by having the members of the Parliament directly represented on them. One honourable member has interjected and asked: ‘Why handicap them?’ We can always leave people of that sort off. The facts are that there is a direct representative responsibility imposed upon this Parliament which also ought to be carried into instumentalities which carry out the Parliament’s intentions. As the Minister said, this perhaps is a difference in philosophy between this side And the other side of the chamber; but in fact, in general, the Party on the other side moves in this direction on occasions.
I wish that we could have given the matter more consideration and that better machinery was available for across the table consideration of it. I am sure that, if we had a committee system operating in the place, we would arrive at a better communion about these matters. Instead of the committee system in this Parliament being a confrontation, there should be a consultation and a communion about it. Unfortunately, that will not happen. However, we are offering the Minister our best wishes and, if we have to wait 6 months to fix it, patience will bring its own reward.
– The honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) said that a S-member committee will be sufficient; yet a Melbourne member of the Australian Labor Party said that the number should be 7.
– That is not where he is now living.
– I understand that he lives in Canberra. The spokesman for the Labor Party on these matters comes from Fremantle. So, Melbourne and Fremantle want a 7-member committee.
– Where do you live these days, Jeff?
– I am coming to that. The honourable member for Herbert-
– Have they not caught up with you yet?
– Look, members of the Labor Party are running dead, anyway. One-eighth of them have gone home. Forty-nine of them voted on this Bill and 56 of them voted about an hour ago. So, it is no good interrupting, because the Labor Party is a sham. There is no doubt about it; members of the Labor Party are running dead. They are going home every minute. They cannot take it. The honourable member for Wills (Mr Bryant) talked about getting into government. That will mean that we will go home about 5 o’clock in the afternoon because they cannot stay here and vote. As I said, 49 honourable members opposite took part in the last vote. What will the number in the next vote be? Will it be down to about 33?
– Somebody called Bate should be able to do better than this on marine science.
– Of course, the honourable member for Wills is rude. His first statement was in a tone that is not often used in this chamber.
– Oh, go on.
– The honourable member for Wills is making a loud noise while members of his Party go home to bed. I was asked where I live. Often I spend about a month on the Great Barrier Reef. Queenslanders are fiercely proud of the heritage they have in the Barrier Reef and they welcome the establishment of this Institute.
– It is no wonder you cannot get preselection for Macarthur.
– Order! The honourable member for Prospect will cease interjecting. I suggest that unless interjections cease the numbers might be down a little more on the next vote.
– Queensland will note with interest that spokesmen for the Labor Party said-
– He is very provocative.
– Order! The honourable member for Sydney will cease interjecting.
– I said that he is very provocative.
– Order! I warn the honourable member for Sydney.
– Well, he keeps on looking at me. I will not have him looking at me.
– 1 have seen more beautiful sights than the honourable member for Sydney, whose electorate stinks, anyway.
– Mr Chairman, 1 think that the Committee-
– Order ! The honourable member for Hughes will resume his seat.
– Mr Chairman, 1 am raising a point of order.
– The honourable member for Hughes will state his point of order.
– 1 intend to state it, Mr Chairman. There is no need to yell at me; I am not at all deaf. I just thought that it might be appropriate if you could explain whether the honourable member’s remarks have any relevance to the clause now being debated.
– They have as much relevance as remarks that were made by other honourable members. There is no substance in the point of order.
– I agree, Mr Chairman; but I had to reply to 3 separate comments by the honourable member for Wills which were not as relevant to the business before the Committee as my comments have been. We want a committee of 5 members. We want the committee of 5 to operate at the James Cook University at Townsville. That is relevant to the amendment. If I may say so, it would be better to have the. committee of 5 at Townsville than somewhere else. Townsville is the place for it. It may not appear in the Hansard record, but the remark was made in this chamber that the Labor Party thinks that the committee of 5 could work in a better place than Townsville. The electors of Queensland should consider that remark. No suggestion was made as to where it should work. I do not know whether it is the view of the Labor Party that it should work in the electorate of Fremantle or in the electorate of Hughes. Perhaps it is thought that it should work in the. electorate of Kingsford-Smith, which is where a lot of pollution is occurring.
– Do you want jobs for the boys?
– Perhaps the committee of 5 should take into consideration the pollution of the sewers in the electorate of Kingsford-Smith as a result of the Water Board strike. The people in that electorate are experiencing some pretty tough conditions. I believe that this amendment will be negatived because the Labor Party is not sincere about it. Most of the members of the Labor Party have gone home and left a rump behind to make some noise.
– I will not detain the Committee very long but I think I should point out that a difference of principle is involved here. It has been pointed out that the committee originally recommended 3 and the Government decided on 5. The Government decided that the committee’s recommendation was for a council which would be too small. The Opposition has suggested a somewhat larger council. This has arisen out of the desire that the Government has expressed to have a centre of excellence.
The range of marine research is so wide that it will be necessary to bring people from many disciplines to that council in order that all of the fields of science are represented when priorities are being drawn up and the knowledge is there at the level of the council when research programmes and the like are being considered. Accordingly, the Opposition’s suggestion is that the chairman should come from the Australian Academy of Science. I think the Labor Party would completely reject the idea that just because Townsville happens to be the site of all the people who are going to serve on the council should come from Townsville. It wants the best people in each of the fields involved to be present..
The Opposition’s proposition is that the chairman should come from the senior scientific body in Australia - the Australian equivalent of the Royal Society of London - that is; the Australian Academy of Science. It also recognises that several other major fields of research would be involved. The Australian Marine Studies Association would bring together all of those people who are interested in marine research, particularly biological research. The Geological Society of Australia would bring together all of those people in the nation who are interested in geological research. The Great Barrier Reef Committee has been recommended in recognition of the fact that since 1922 it has carried out a continuous programme of research, that it has world wide membership, that it has attracted expeditions from the British Museum, that it will have another expedition next year and that it. already operates a very successful research station at Heron Island.
The proposal that the Labor Party has placed before the Committee is for a council of greater breadth, a more effective council - not a localised one - to ensure that the best brains in the nation over the range of scientific persuasions are made available at the discretion of the GovernorGeneral. I point out that these people will not be representatives; they will be members of a panel from which the Government, through the Governor-General, will select the breadth of knowledge, expertise and management Capacity necessary for a real centre of excellence at Townsville. That is what the Opposition wants.
– 1 was rather disturbed by the remarks of the honourable member for Macarthur (Mr Jeff Bate). I realise that in the brief visits he makes to the Parliament from time to time he feels he must make sufficient noise to be heard. The point he has made - I hope the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) will refute it - is that this organisation should have a council which is exclusively manned by people who live in Townsville. I think that is a completely irrational proposition. This marine institute, as the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett) has said, is an organisation which is to be called the Australian Institute of Marine Science. I would hope that any self-respecting person, and any self-respecting government, would want that organisation to have a council which consisted of the best people available to run such an institute. If we are to take at face value what the honourable member for Macarthur has said and if there are not 5 or 7 people qualified in this field in Townsville, the institute is to be filled with cow cockies or someone else. The honourable member for Herbert has not to this stage said that the institute should have people from Townsville only on its council.
– It will not, either.
– I am glad of that interjection because I believe that the honourable member for Macarthur did the honourable member for Herbert a disservice in what he said. I believe that the honourable member for Herbert as the person who represents this area would want the best possible body of men to run this institute. The amendment which is before the Committee relates to a difference on how the council would be constituted. It is nothing more or less. It is nothing to do with local parochialisms or anything of that nature as was suggested by a previous speaker. I hope that the Committee will look at this amendment on the basis of the best method of forming the council and will vote on that basis and not on the basis of what could only be described as ‘simpleton parochialism of the worst type’.
-Quite frankly, I cannot understand the proposition put forward by the previous 3 or 4 honourable members who have spoken. If I may say so with the utmost respect, I think that they have only aired their ignorance in respect of governing bodies of institutes, universities or colleges of this kind. The suggestion that one would try to have represented on such a governing body every possible area of academic expertise in the field is nothing short of ludicrous. No university council, no college of advanced education and no research institute of this kind attempts to do that in a governing body.
A reasonable number is being provided. I have no more idea than honourable members opposite what a correct number to govern and to administer such an institute would be. Should it be 3, 5, 7, 9 or 11? The council will take its advice on matters of academic interest from the people who in fact are employed to take an interest in matters of that type. Quite frankly, I think that just about all of the remarks which have been made in the last IS minutes are totally null and void in any sensible academic respect. Therefore, a non-issue is involved here. It may be that 7 people do a job better than 5 people. The good old committee of one member principle, in any sort of logic, probably would run here. But we are not talking about a vice-chancellor. We are talking about a chairman plus certain other members.
Really, there is just no validity whatsoever in the proposition that in respect of a body such as this an attempt should be made to have a supposedly wide ranging area of academia involved in marine science. I would point out only that marine science despite its apparent breadth is only in its infancy compared with most other comparable fields of academic interest. In fact, I presume that the reason why a relatively small number is proposed here instead of the usual involvement of 20, 30 or so people is a recognition of that fact. Quite clearly, as the field will develop and the institute may well grow in 10 years or 20 years time it would be possible to make provision for a larger governing body.
We are not providing at this stage for representatives from hither and thither to represent the government here, another institution there and an education department somewhere else, as is the usual procedure with respect to a fairly highly developed institute with numerous avenues of academic interest with respect to which some attempt is made to make the size of the governing body comparable with that of the institute. There is no magical number here. Quite frankly I believe that we are wasting time in discussing whether 5 members or 7 members is the appropriate number of members for this body. There is no argument that can be put forward by anyone to show that one number is more magical than another.
– I do not wish to delay the Committee for any length of time, but I feel that the comments of the honourable member for Denison (Dr Solomon) require some rebuttal. I realise that he has served on the staff of a university, but other members of this Parliament have had experience at universities both on the staff and on university councils. I was concerned with the handling of the Bill that provided for the enlargement of Monash University Council, the Bill that set up the La Trobe University and the Bill that set up the Council of the Victorian Institute of Colleges. A lot of consideration is given to the type of person or group represented on the councils of such institutions if they are to be effective.
Here we have an Australian Institute of Marine Science, not the Townsville Institute of Marine Science. I do not begrudge the fact that it is in that very fair city which is well placed for the type of investigation that will be carried out. At biological schools in every university in Australia there is increasing interest in marine science. Embryonic attempts were made to do this sort of research work in earlier days. I recall the effort to use the Institute of Marine Biology of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation at Cronulla. In about 1945 students were taken from Australian universities to be introduced into the procedures of marine science research. I know that at the zoology schools of a number of universities the question of setting up these institutes for individual universities has been considered.
When it comes to setting up an Australian Institute of Marine Science we must think of the widest possible representation on the council of such an institution. I support the amendments that have been put forward by my colleagues of the
Opposition, and rebut the suggestion that there is no reason for this wide representation. Surely we have tried to cover a field embracing all those concerned with this subject. We have taken those responsible bodies with an interest in marine science. We have acknowledged the fact that Parliament whether it be the Commonwealth Parliament or a State parliament because it is taking an important step in setting up such an Australian institute, should have as representatives upon it, as it does with other institutions, members of Parliament who need the knowledge to put forward arguments for the institutes both in this House and outside it, and to understand what is . needed. I believe that the propositions that have been put forward are entirely sensible. They will give a wide representation of persons interested in the field. I accept that the Minister may have a different view, but I think he should be persuaded by the arguments adduced to increase representation on the council so that it will be a truly representative council and the truly effective Australian Institute of Marine Science.
That the clause proposed to be omitted (Mr Beazley’s amendment) stand part of the Bill.
The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr P. E. Lucock)
Majority .. ..5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clauses 13 to 20 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
There shall be a Director of the Institute, who shall be appointed by the Governor-General
– 1 move:
After ‘Governor-General’ insert ‘on the recommendation of the Council’.
The clause would then read:
There shall be a Director of the Institute, who shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Council.
We believe that the Directorship-
– Order! I know that the hour is late, but I suggest that the Committee come to order. These amendments are complicated and we are trying to deal with them as speedily as possible. If honourable members will listen to what is being said it will help when the Committee makes its decision; no-one will say that he was not aware of what was happening. I suggest that honourable members listen to the honourable member for Fremantle.
– As I as saying, all that we want to do by this amendment is to provide that the Director of the Institute shall be appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Council. The Council should have the say in a matter so intimate as the appointment of the Director of this body.
– I support the amendment. If we apply to this Institute the principle which Government supporters apply to those engaged in rural industries, particularly wool growers, I would have though that the Minister for Education and Science (Mr Malcolm Fraser) and the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp) who is sitting beside him at the table would bend over backwards and accept the advice that they have just been given. We could get this measure through much more quickly if a little common sense prevailed on the Government side and the Government accepted the amendment which has been proposed.
– In Part IV of the Bill the position of the Director of the Institute, the powers of the Council, the powers of the GovernorGeneral and the powers of the Minister are outlined. We believe that the general principles behind this matter ought to be studied more closely and that as a matter of principle the Director of the Institute ought to be more directly responsible to the actual Council of the Institute; therefore, he ought to be appointed on the recommendation of the Council. This would mean that the Minister or the GovernorGeneralinCouncil would have the right of veto if the person recommended was totally unacceptable to the government of the day. As I understand the position in universities, the vice-chancellor, who is the senior executive officer in a university, is appointed by the university council, and the same position should apply with this Institute.
In Part IV of the Bill- and I will refer to this matter now in order to save one’s saying these things again - the question of salary arises. I will raise this question now so that I will not have to speak on it when we come to consider clauses 24 and 29 which cover this general question. One provides that the Director shall be paid a salary at such rate as the Parliament determines. This is an impossible provision in many ways. We know that once such a decision is made by the Parliament it is easy for the Director’s salary to be frozen because it is not possible to keep up with developments outside the Institute, and so on. There is also the provision in clause 29 of the Bill that the Director shall not engage in paid employment outside the duties of his office except with the approval of the Minister. Again we believe that that question ought to be resolved by the Council.
I believe that this Parliament has to pay much more attention to the way in which it is to control statutory authorities, to the way in which it is to be involved in these matters and to the way in which they are to operate. We have the general principles which we have established through the operations of the Public Service Board. We have the conciliation and arbitration processes, and so on. But in fact, if we are to set up an independent body, and if we are to recruit to the Council the kind of people who can manage this Institute, we have to place the responsibility for the actual nomination of the Council’s executive officer in the hands of the Council - subject to the right of veto. The salary of the Director has to be adjusted to the rates applying in the rest of the community. Therefore, the determination of the Director’s salary ought to be in the hands of the Council - perhaps subject to some veto provision. Other questions ought to be reserved for the Minister. Some of the more simple administrative matters ought not to be reserved to the Minister; again they should be matters for the Council. We on this side of the House do not believe that ministerial responsibility ought to be removed or mutilated. But we do believe that when we appoint a Council such as this it should have the kind of authority which can make its work effective and make the membership of it feel that it has some substance. Therefore the director ought to be directly responsible to the Council. If we study the statutory bodies which the Commonwealth has established we will find that there is quite a great difference between them. Possibly it is time that Parliament gave close examination to this general question and established some general principles for the next 5, 10 or IS years instead of the ad hoc arrangements which come up from time to time in matters such as this.
– Yes, the Government accepts the amendment
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 22 and 23 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 24. (1.) The Director shall be paid salary at such rate as the Parliament fixes but, until the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and seventythree, the rate of that salary shall be such rate as is prescribed. (2.) The Director shall be paid such allowances, other than annual allowances, as are prescribed.
– Clause 24(2.) states:
The Director shall be paid such allowances, other than annual allowances, as are prescribed.
We believe that the Council should have that authority. Accordingly I move:
In sub-clause (2.), after ‘prescribed’, insert ‘by Council’.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 25 agreed to.
Clauses 26 to 28 - by leave - taken together.
The Director may resign his office by writing under his hand delivered to the Governor-General, but the resignation does not have effect until it is accepted by the Governor-General.
The Governor-General may retire the Director on the ground of invalidity.
If the Director-
Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) (12.37 a.mO - I move:
In clause 26, omit ‘Governor-General’ (twice occurring), insert ‘Council’.
In clause 27, omit ‘Governor-General’, insert Council’.
In clause 28, omit ‘Governor-General’, insert Council’.
Our amendment to clause 26 would provide that the Director may resign his office by writing under his hand delivered to the Council instead of the GovernorGeneral. The resignation would not have effect until it was accepted by the Council. Clause 27 would read:
The Council may retire the Director on the ground of invalidity.
We believe that, consonant with our general approach to the powers and rights of the Council and the autonomy of the Institute, these powers should be given to the Council.
– I second those amendments.
Clauses agreed to.
Clauses 29 and 30 - by leave - taken together.
Clause 29. (1.) The Director shall not engage in paid employment outside the duties of his office except with the approval of the Minister. (2.) The Minister shall not give an approval for the purposes of the last preceding sub-section unless he is satisfied that the paid employment will not interfere with the performance of the duties of the Director under this Act
Clause 30. (1.) Where-
– I move:
In clause 29, omit ‘Minister’ (twice occurring), insert ‘Council’.
In clause 30, omit ‘Minister’ (wherever occurring), insert ‘Council’.
The purport of our amendments to clauses 29 and 30 is to substitute a decision of the Council for that of the Minister. Clause 29, if amended, would read: (1.) The Director shall not engage in paid employment outside the duties of his office except with the approval of the Council.
The amendments have the effect of giving authority to the Council.
– My own belief is that an unnecessary imposition is placed on the Minister by this clause. The matter should be covered by the Director reporting paid employment outside his duties to the Minister rather than having to obtain the Minister’s approval. Perhaps the Minister can disagree afterwards. I support the amendments moved by my friend from Fremantle (Mr Beazley).
Clauses agreed to.
Clauses 31 and 32 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 33. (1.) Subject to this Part, the Council may appoint such officers of the Institute as it thinks necessary for the purposes of this Act. (2.) Except with the approval of the Minister a person shall not be appointed under this section unless -
– I move:
Omit sub-clause (2.).
We believe that it would be sufficient if this clause read as does sub-clause (1.) of clause 33 which states:
Subject to this Part, the Council may appoint such officers of the Institute as it thinks necessary for the purposes of this Act.
We believe that the officers would use their common sense in relation to health. We believe that the requirements in relation to a British subject are out of date and that some of these old Public Service requirements which we go through automatically in every Bill should be omitted.
– The Opposition is of the view that there is no necessity for a prospective officer to be a British subject, as my colleague the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Beazley) has suggested. Recently in the debate on the Commonwealth teaching service legislation it was pointed out that this requirement was totally irrelevant in this sort of situation. I believe that in the scientific world this provision is not only redundant and irrelevant but also bad and wrong. We should not impose this sort of restriction upon persons engaged in this field of operation. As I understand the position, academics move around the world to advantage. There is an international world of learning in the sciences and we should encourage it. Paragraph (b) requires the Institute to be satisfied, upon medical examination, as to the health and physical fitness of an applicant. I believe that that, too, is an unreal requirement in modern times.
We are looking for a person’s intellectual attainments and scientific capacity and it should not matter whether he is physically fit in terms of ordinary standards, so long as he can bring his intellectual capacities to his work. There have been plenty of instances of people who, had they been required to pass a medical examination, would not have done so and therefore would not have produced wonderful work. Paragraph (c) requires an applicant to make an oath or affirmation of allegiance. I personally believe that that belongs to the Dark Ages and does not produce a satisfactory result in a search for the right people for this work. It is not the kind of operation one would fight strenuously but in fact one’s loyalty and so on are not based upon subscribing to any oath but to other factors. We believe that in respect of an Australian corporation operating in a community which already has within its shores somewhere near 1,500,000 people who are not naturalised or who have not been in the country for very long, the provisions contained in this paragraph are unnecessary and may well inhibit the recruitment of staff.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 34 and 35 - by leave - taken together.
Officers are not subject to the Public Service Act 1922-1972 but hold office on such terms and conditions as are, subject to the approval of the Public Service Board, determined by the Council.
Clause 35. (1.) Subject to this part, the Council may employ such temporary or casual employees of the Institute as the Council thinks necessary for the purposes of this Act. (2.) The selection of persons for engagement as employees under this section shall be made in accordance with such requirements as the Public Service Board determines. (3.) A person shall not be employed under this section unless, if he is required by the Council to do so, he makes and subscribes, before a justice of the peace or a commissioner for taking affidavits, an oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the form in the Schedule to this Act. (4.) The terms and conditions of employment of employees shall be such as are, subject to the approval of the Public Service Board, determined by the Council.
– Clause 34 begins promisingly by saying that officers are not subject to the Public Service Act but hold office on such terms and conditions as are determined by the Council. Unfortunately incorporated in that clause are the words ‘subject to the approval of the Public Service Board*. The same applies to clause 35. Again in the interest of autonomy of the Council I move:
In clause 34, omit ‘, subject to the approval of the Public Service Board,’.
In clause 35, sub-clause (4.) omit ‘, subject to the approval of the Public Service Board,’.
Clauses agreed to.
Clauses 36 to 44 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.
Clause 45. (1.) The Minister may, at the request of the Council, appoint a Committee to assist the Council in relation to a matter specified in the request. (2.) A Committee appointed under this section shall consist of such persons, whether members of the Council or not, as the Minister thinks fit. (3.) A member of a Committee shall be paid such fees and allowances, other than annual allowances, as are prescribed, and shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the Minister determines. (4.) A Committee shall make such enquiries, and furnish to the Council such reports, in connexion with the matter in relation to which it has been appointed as the Council directs.
– I move:
In sub-clause (2.), omit ‘as the Minister thinks fit’, insert ‘as the Council with the approval of the Minister thinks fit’.
In sub-clause (3.), omit ‘as the Minister determines’, insert ‘as the Council with the approval of the Minister determines’.
In other words, we believe that the Council-
– The Government is prepared to accept both amendments.
Amendments agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Remainder of Bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report - by leave - adopted.
Bill (on motion by Mr Malcolm Fraser) read a third time.
-I have received a message from the Senate acquainting the House that Senator McAuliffe has been appointed to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Motion (by Mr Chipp) proposed:
That the House do now adjourn.
Mr COHEN (Robertson) (12.47)- Mr Speaker-
Motion (by Mr Giles) put:
That the question be now put.
The House divided. (Mr Speaker - Hon. Sir William Aston)
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 12.56 a.m. (Thursday),
The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated:
asked the Minister represent ing the Minister for Health, upon notice:
– The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:
In view of the lack of doctors interested in a rehabilitation medical career as referred to in the 1970-71 report of his Department, what steps are being taken by his Department to induce doctors into this field or to accept responsibility for recruitment and training of medical students who are prepared to enter the Rehabilitation Service on graduation.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: _ The Department’s initial proposal for ten additional doctors’ positions included four which would provide a point of entry for doctors wishing to specialise in physical medicine within the Rehabilitation Service. Only one of these positions has been approved at this stage.
In the light of experience with this position the Department may consider requesting the Public Service Board to review again the need to provide additional positions of this type.
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
Because of a reorganisation which took place during the past year, it is not possible to provide a detailed breakdown of the effect of the reduction of 656 groundstaff in the various Qantas departments.
asked the Minister repre senting the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
What progress has been made since his predecessor’s answer on 3rd May 1971 (Hansard, page 2414) towards introducing the new Acts Interpretation Act.
– The Attorney General has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
It has still not been possible to allot to the task of the general revision of the Acts Interpretation Act the priority necessary to enable progress to be made with it.
Training and Retraining Schemes (Question No. 5385)
asked the Minister for
Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister repre senting the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
What progress has been made with the review of the Telephonic Communications (Interception) Act (Hansard, 28th August 1970, page 701 and 20th August 1971, page 468).
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
The matter is still under consideration. No specific proposals for amendment of the Act have yet been formulated.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, upon notice:
– The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:
– The answer to the right honourable member’s question is as follows:
asked the Minister repre senting the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:
When the AttorneyGeneral answers my question No. 5480 concerning the review of the Telephonic Communications (Interception) Act, will he say whether he is persisting with his proposals to amend the Act to permit police interception in such areas of crime as (a) extortion, (b) kidnapping and(c) attempts to pervert the course of justice.
– The AttorneyGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:
See answer to question No. 5480.
Pre-school Age Children (Question No. 5699)
asked the Minister for
Labour and National Service, upon notice:
When does he expect
to receive and
to release the report of the interdepartmental committee on the care of pre-school age children (Hansard, 6th May 1971, page 2867).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Wool Marketing Research (Question No. 5164)
asked the Minister for
Primary Industry, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
A report in July 1964 recommending a floor price scheme for wool. This scheme was not implemented because of its rejection by wool growers at a referendum held in 1965.
A report in 1967 which resulted in the elimination of small lots of wool from sale at auction and the introduction of the Price Averaging Plan for wool from such lots.
A report in June 1970 which led to the establishment of the Australian Wool Commission.
An Integrated Marketing System for the Australian Wool Clip’, March 1972. The report deals with the amalgamation of the Australian Wool Board and the Australian Wool Commission and the acquisition of the Australian wool clip.
Nevertheless, both the Board and IWS are constantly endeavouring to measure the effectiveness of their promotional activities. Thus, every individual promotional or merchandising project is reviewed and an assessment made of the results achieved. No real difficulty is encountered in such an assessment of an individual project, as the Board can obtain manufacturers’ and retailers’ figures for the number of garments sold through the specific campaign or in a particular selling season, and compare this with previous seasons or previous figures for the product in question. What cannot be measured very easily is whether increased sales have been completely at the expense of competitive fibres or have resulted partially from transferring purchases from other wool products.
During the last 12 months, the IWS has been exploring a new technique for measuring overall effectiveness of promotional/product marketing activities, and preliminary results are very favourable. Further studies have yet to be made before publishing details of the method and results.
Expenditure on promotion in Australia is taken to mean expenditure by the Board’s Market Development Group as now constituted and by the comparable Divisions prior to the formation of the Group.
International Court of Justice (Question No. 5503)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Has the review of the terms of Australia’s acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice yet been concluded, if so, with what result (Hansard, 23rd February 1971, page 543).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
The review of the terms of Australia’s acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, mentioned in my predecessor’s answers to the honourable member’s previous questions, has been concluded. It is not proposed to vary these terms at the present time.
Extradition Treaties (Question No. 5506)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Will he bring up-to-date the information on extradition treaties which his predecessor gave on 7th April 1971 (Hansard, page 1649).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Telecommunications Conventions in Western Pacific (Question No. 5516)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
(a) The International Telecommunications Convention drawn up at Geneva on 21st December 1959.
The Republic of China is a party to agreements 1 (a) and 1 (b).
asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows: .
Australia-New Zealand Agreement: Ministerial Conferences (Question No. 5663)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Have any conferences of Ministers of State been held under the Australia-New Zealand Agreement 1944 since the answer by a former Minister on 8th November 1962 (Hansard, page 2293).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
There have been no conferences of Ministers of State under the Australia-New Zealand Agreement 1944 since the answer by the then Minister for External Affairs on 8th November 1962. There have, however, been many Ministerial meetings and visits by individual members of both Governments at which matters of substance and mutual interest have been discussed.
Racial Discrimination Convention (Question No. 5664)
asked the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
Will he clarify this apparent inconsistency.
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Prime Minister had with the Premier and Deputy Premier of Queensland about the legislation concerning Aborigines in the State of Queensland and I said that broad agreement was reached on the nature of changes which should be made in the legislation. My reply continued that the matter of changes in the legislation was briefly discussed at meetings of Commonwealth and State officials and Ministers in Cairns on 21st and 23rd April 1971.
asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:
What progress has been made in training Papuans and New Guineans in the work of a foreign service (Hansard, 7th April 1971, page 1652).
– The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 17 May 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1972/19720517_reps_27_hor78/>.