House of Representatives
11 October 1972

27th Parliament · 2nd Session

Mr SPEAKER (Hon. Sir William Aston) took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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The Clerk:

– Petitions have been lodged for presentation as follows and copies will be referred to the appropriate Ministers:

Overseas Aid

To the honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth humbly showeth:

That the undersigned believe . . .

That hunger, illiteracy, abject poverty and injustice are intolerable anywhere in the world.

That the knowledge, skills and resources to change these unjust conditions now exist.

That to obtain justice among peoples, world financial and trading systems can and must be changed.

That Australia has the capacity to play a mors significant part in enabling the developing countries to achieve improved social conditions for all their people.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that . . .

Australia’s Official Development Assistance in 1972-73 be increased to at least $240m.

Australia’s aid’ policies be reviewed so that aid given provided maximum benefit to the peoples of developing countries.

Australia’s trade policies be reviewed to provide more favourable conditions for developing countries. by Mr Chipp, Mr Brown, Mr Garrick, Mr Giles, Mr Hansen, Mr Jarman, Dr Jenkins and Mr Kennedy.

Petitions received.

Advertising in Telephone Directories

The Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of Citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth:

That we, the undersigned, protest against the action of the Commonwealth Government in letting the contract for the advertising rights for the Victorian Pink Pages Telephone Directories to an American Company, General Telephone & Electronics Corp. U.S.A., trading in Australia as Directories (Aust.) Pty Ltd.

That this will mean that the American Company now controls the telephone directory advertising in all but one State of the Commonwealth.

We respectfully request that this contract be revoked in the National interest, and your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Sir John Cramer, Mr Crean, Mr Grassby and Mr Pettitt.

Petitions received.


To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth respectfully showeth: that they are deeply concerned at the lack of provisions by the Government for Aboriginal Land Rights.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled urge the Government to-

  1. Bring in legislation to giveland rights to the Aborigines of our country.
  2. Ensure that all Aboriginal land rights carry full mineral rights.
  3. Establish corporate land titles for Aboriginal tribal communities.
  4. Continue and expand the policy of purchasing suitable properties to be held by Aboriginal groups as Reserves.
  5. Press for similar measures to be taken by all State Governments.

And you petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Dr Forbes and Mr Hurford.

Petitions received.

Social Services

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 undesigned, 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. Unemployment benefits equal to the foregoing.

Completely free health services to cover all needs of social service pensioners - hospitalisation, chronic and long-term illness, 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 hostel-type homes necessary to effectively meet -the special requirementsof aged people, in conjunction with a comprehensive domiciliary care programme to enable aged people to stay in theirhomes.

Mental illness placed in the same position as physical illness.

Substantial Commonwealth increase . in the $5 subsidy a day per public bed pensioner patient in general hospitals.

Ten per cent of Commonwealth revenue to local governments for general activities which now include social welfare, health, conservation and other community needs. Commonwealth subsidy for the waiving of rates for pensioners.

Commonwealth Government to increase the non-repayable 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 Jenkins and Mr Webb.

Petitions received.


To the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

A vigorous and efficient shipbuilding industry is required to benefit the citizens of Australia. Specialised skills are required to enable ship construction to be performed in this country.

Workers with shipbuilding skills are being laid off by VickersCockatoo Dockyard Pty Limited due to lack of contracts for naval ship construction and their skills will be lost to the industry.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled wilt take immediate steps to allocate the order to construct the auxiliary oiler escort vessel at Vickers Cockatoo Dockyard.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Cope.

Petition received.

Public Service

To the honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the recent salary offer to the Manipulative Group (typists, stenographers, steno-secretaries and machinists) by the Public Service Board fails to recognise their work value.

That the promotion structure for this group is minimal.

That there is insufficient recognition that: clerical tasks are specified as basic duties in the Position - Classification Standards Manual; typists and machinists can do clerical work but clerks cannot perform the Manipulative Group’s jobs without months of special training; today’s sophisticated business world needs secretaries who are highly trained, educated and responsible.

That many competent secretaries are forced to leave this structure and become clerks or clerical assistants for economic reasons, and conversely it is becoming increasingly necessary -to classify secretaries as clerks and clerical assistants in order to get competent staff.

That many school leavers, especially in Canberra, are unwilling to spend time and money training as secretaries or keyboard operators when they can get easier and more highly paid positions with only their school leaving passes.

That there is an increasing number of graduates interested in secretarial work but at present there is no scope for them within the Public Service, and therefore they must seek employment in industry although their basic degree may bemore suited to the Public Service.

That there is naturally going to ‘be a high turnover of staff within this group while these conditions persist.

Your petitioners therefore most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to:

  1. Have the Commonwealth Public Service Board offer the Manipulative Group an interim wage increase of 20 per cent across-the-board as an urgency measure to halt the current drain from this area.
  2. Have the Commonwealth Public Service Board make an early decision on the promotion structure within the- Manipulative Group, with a view to increasing promotion opportunities.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Enderby.

Petition received.


To the honourble the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the sales tax on all forms of contraceptive devices is27½ per cent. (Sales Tax -Exemptions and Classification Act 1935-1967). Also that there is customs duty of up to 47½ per cent on some contraceptive devices.

And that this is an unfair imposition on the human rights of all people who wish to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And furthermore that this imposition discriminates particularly against people on low incomes.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the sales tax on all forms of contraceptive devices be removed, so as to bring these items into line with other necessities such as food, upon which there is no sales tax. Also that Customs Duties be removed, and that all contraceptive devices be placed on the National Health Scheme Pharmaceutical Benefits List.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Enderby.

Petition received.

Canberra: Development of Parkland

To the honourable the Speaker and members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of residents of the Division of the Australian Capital Territory respectfully showeth:

That the National Capital Development Commission have advised us of their intention to develop the entire western side of Melrose Drive with flats and townhouses.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that the aforesaid strip of land on the whole western side of Melrose Drive be reserved for development as parkland. Your petitioners are concerned that such a development will place an excessive strain on the schools of the area, and will result in a diminution of the land available for recreation purposes, and will create traffic hazards. And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Enderby.

Petition received.

Education of Children with Learning Disabilities

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectively sheweth:

  1. That surveys have shown that a substantial percentage of children in Australia have learning disabilities, and therefore require suitable remedial education.
  2. That remedial services for these children in Australian Pre-School and State Primary, Secondary and Technical schools are seriously impoverished by lack of funds.
  3. That shortages of School Medical Officers, clinical and educational psychologists, child psychiatrists, speech therapists, social workers and remedial teachers are causing frustration, unhappiness and emotional instability for large numbers of individual children and their families.
  4. That in many cases there is a correlation between educational failure and juvenile delinquency, with a resultant economic loss to the community.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate action to provide sufficient funds for the States to finance the setting up and maintenance throughout Australia of:

  1. Special training courses for experienced teachers in remedial education for children with learning disabilities, at all levels. (Preschool, infant, primary, secondary and technical).
  2. Fully-equipped multi-disciplinary regional resource centres.
  3. Special training facilities for child psychiatrists, clinical and educational psychologists (and development of graduate programmes designed to produce an adequate number of highly qualified diagnosticians in all areas of learning disabilities).
  4. Multi-disciplinary research into all aspects of learning disabilities.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Mr Erwin.

Petition received.

Overseas Aid

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of the Commonwealth humbly showeth: That the undersigned believe . . .

That hunger, illiteracy, abject poverty and injustice are intolerable anywhere in the world.

That the knowledge, skills and resources to change these unjust conditions now exist.

That to obtain justice among peoples, world financial and trading systems can and must be changed.

That Australia has the opportunity and capacity to play a more significant role in enabling the developing countries to achieve improved social conditions for all their people.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that . . .

Australia’s Official Development Assistance in 1972-73 be increased to at least $240m and that the increase be made chiefly through international agencies.

Australia’s aid policies be reviewed so that aid given provides maximum benefit to the peoples of developing countries.

Australia’s trade policies be reviewed to provide preferences for, or remove discrimination against, imports from less developed countries.

Australia’s own employment level be safeguarded by the provision of improved re-training schemes for labour likely to be affected by reductions in tariff barriers against imports from less developed countries.

Gifts of $2 or more made by Australian citizens md companies to organisations associated with the Australian Council for Overseas Aid be made taxdeductible. by Mr Jarman.

Petition received.

Social Services

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The Petition of the undersigned respectfully showeth:

That the rates charged by Local Councils and Shires are rising rapidly and are beyond the capacity of pensioners to pay.

That a Commonwealth Grant be made to Local Authorities and thereby enable councils to make a SO per cent remission on pensioners’ water, sewerage and general rates.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled, should give urgent attention to this heavy burden on persons living on social service pensions. by Dr Jenkins.

Petition received.

Education: Pre-school and After School Centres

To the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

Pre-school and after-school education facilities are in urgent need within the Australian community. The shortage has become more acute as more mothers join the work force.

In advanced countries pre-school and afterschool education are recognised as essential aspects of education for all children.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to provide the necessary finance to enable state education departments and local government authorities to establish:

  1. Pre-school centres
  2. After-school centres.
  3. Facilities for training the staff for such centres.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray. by Dr Klugman.

Petition received.

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– The Prime Minister would be aware that enormous investment is proposed by the Commonwealth Government, insurance companies and foreign investors in office ‘ development in the centres of Australian major cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, in the next few years. Is he aware that this type of overdevelopment in the centres of these cities .has to be subsidised by way of excessive costs in the upgrading of all services, such as sewerage, telephones, road and rail transport? Is the Prime Minister also aware that this type of development counteracts any action that might be taken by his. Government in its proposed decentralisation policy?

Prime Minister · LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Today I will be introducing a Bill relating to urban and regional development. The honourable gentleman then will be able to see the extent to which the Government has authority to take action in respect of the kind of development project mentioned in the Bill and in the statement that I made to the House. As to the 2 specific questions asked by the honourable gentleman, it has been made clear that with respect to State jurisdiction the Commonwealth has no constitutional power to intervene. Nonetheless I will take the matter up with my advisers and if there is anything that I can say to the honourable gentleman as a result, I will do so.

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– I direct a question to the Minister for Trade and Industry. Is it a fact that the extra cost to the national and commercial television stations of radiating colour television programmes is estimated by the Broadcasting Control Board to be SI 16m? Is it a fact that the only way that this cost can be recovered is by a large number of television viewers ‘changing their black and white TV sets for colour sets? ls the Minister aware that the pace of this changeover will be slowed down if the industry is protected at any price, causing the price of TV sets to rise from about $300 to approximately $800, as is confidently expected? If this happens, will not the rather weak voice of the user of colour television be reinforced by the strident tones of commercial stations which will resent having to invest heavily in colour television equipment–


-Order! The honourable member is now making comment. I suggest that he conclude his question.


– Knowing that the opportunity for recovery of costs will be handicapped by a policy of protecting an infant industry which can never hope to be weaned and which will have to be nurtured on the consumers’ milk for ever-


– Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.

Deputy Prime Minister · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– I do not know what moves the honourable gentleman to ask this question other than the fact that there has been an announcement that the Government will introduce colour television in 1975. There have, of course, been discussions between my Department and the electronics industry in relation to the introduction of colour television and the possibility of rationalisation of the manufacture of parts for the production of colour television, but 1 can assure the honourable member that at the moment there are no proposals before my Department for increased protection to the industry.

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– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware that a number of small hospital benefit funds have shown substantial losses in the past year? If such a fund fails, who meets the costs of outstanding medical and hospital bills owed by contributors? It it intended that fund contributions will be increased early next year to cover increased fund costs? Is the Minister aware of an application by a major fund to the Victorian Government for permission to enter into speculative investment? If such permission was given by a State government, would the Commonwealth be required to cover any losses to contributors which may be incurred by the failure of such investments?

Minister for Immigration · BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · LP

– The honourable gentleman has asked me whether I am aware of certain things. I am aware of none of them and I would not believe them to be true, least of all his assertion that there is an intention to. increase contributions to the funds in the near future. However, I will convey the honourable gentleman’s question to my colleague in another place and ask him to provide the honourable member with a detailed reply.

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– I ask the Treasurer: What is the extent of moves in inter national monetary forums to develop a neutral reserve asset? What is Australia’s position in relation to these moves?

Treasurer · BRUCE, VICTORIA · LP

– We are holders of large sums of international currency. Our attitude is that we will participate in an examination of the development .of a neutral reserve asset which is currently being called special drawing rights (modified). We are quite prepared to have an examination of this matter but I have made it clear in the International Monetary Fund forum and the World Bank forum that we are good holders of international currency which we regard as valuable. We are not prepared to sacrifice that holding for the sake of a piece of paper which is so labelled until it has attached to it all the values which are attached to other forms of reserve asset.

As an illustration of our attitude let me say that if the Governor of the Reserve Bank were to send to me a notice saying that we were proposing to transfer our reserve currencies into some form of special drawing rights, I agreed, and they were transferred over, the people of Australia would think that the Government was off its head. I have no doubt that the Opposition would fall for that and would be off its head. The essential point ‘is that the official holdings of reserves amount to the holdings of the individuals of this country who are engaged in trade and commerce and we will not put them at risk in any way.

If there can be development of a neutral reserve asset which has the acceptance of the whole world and can be presented for value Which does attract a reasonable interest rate such as the currency investments hold, we will go along with it. However, it is important to understand that it will take a long time for the world to accept that this particlar reserve asset has such a value. Until that happens we are not prepared in any way to prejudice the holdings we have and that our people have built up.

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– Has the Prime Minister noted the comments by Sir Kenneth Bailey that in the purchase of 6 DC3 aircraft from Jetair Australia Ltd the Departmen of Foreign Affairs, under the administration of the present Prime Minister, had engaged in as irregular an administrative procedure as it is possible to conceive? Is it a fact that the right honourable gentleman during his long tenure of many portfolios had become familiar with the proper procedures for the purchase of property on behalf of the Commonwealth? If so, how did he approve a recommendation to purchase the Jetair aircraft which made no reference to the proper procedures having been completed? How did he also, before the issue of a certificate of inexpediency for tender, approve a recommendation to offer aircraft to Cambodia on the assumption that the Jetair fleet would be purchased.


– This question obviously indicates a complete lack of experience by the Leader of the Opposition of the functions of the Minister and of the way in which the administration of the Department is carried out. (Honourable members interjecting) -


-Order! The call to order applies also to honourable members on the Government benches. If honourable members want their questions answered they must play the game. I feel like a dog that keeps barking all the time and finishes up biting at its own tail. Unless I receive some co-operation from honourable members the bark will be heard and acted upon.


– If the honourable member reads in full the letter that was written by Sir Kenneth Bailey he will see that, while Sir Kenneth Bailey believed there was an initial irregularity, he doubted whether the letter that had been written by the official from the Department of Foreign Affairs had legal validity. He went further and said that it appeared that the irregularity had been cleared up. Let me take it a stage further. The matter was referred to by the Auditor-General and was covered by a letter written by the permanent Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. After an explanation was given by the permanent Secretary no further questions were asked by the Auditor-General. So that, in truth, ended the matter so far as the Irregularities were concerned.

I received a recommendation from the permanent head of the Department. Naturally enough, I do not go behind such recommendations and ask: ‘Have you fully carried out your responsibilities as the permanent head of the Department and have you done this, that or the other?’ Such an assumption must appear to be absurd to any honourable member on this side of the House and it can be looked at only against that background. I say without any hostility of any kind that the Leader of the Opposition in asking this question has shown a complete lack of experience.

Mr Clyde Cameron:

– Lack of experience in telling lies.


– His lack of experience; the honourable member is quite right. The letter written by Sir Kenneth Bailey, who is a very eminent lawyer and a person who is respected everywhere, completely absolved the Department from responsibility for the irregularity and said that it had been cleared up.

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– I ask the Treasurer: Has there been any reaction by Western countries, particularly the United Kingdom and the United States of America, to Australia’s recently announced measures for capital inflow? If so, what was the nature of the reaction?


– The countries of the world are aware of the rapidity of international capital flows. That matter was considered at the meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and in the Committee of Twenty countries of the International Monetary Fund. The United States Secretary of the Treasury, in his speech at the International Monetary Fund meeting, was really arguing for a free capital world market. He felt that there should be no limitations on capital flows. He recognised that there were problems for countries from capital flows and that this was a matter for consideration. Essentially he was looking for an open market.

When I spoke I made the point that we did not want to see a dominant economy like that of the United States of America being able to export capital without limitation on balance of payment constraints and that therefore the situation for Australia was vastly different from that of the United States. The United Kingdom has certainly been one of the countries greatly affected by the volatility of capital flows. It understands our position as do all the other countries of the world which are subject to these dislocating capital flows on the one hand and also the aggregation of overseas ownership of their assets on the other. I think there is understanding throughout the world of these problems. Australia’s action was understood and I believe that many countries will be interested to see the way in which we handle the problem. Indeed, at the International Monetary Fund meeting 2 of the developed countries, through their Finance Ministers, asked me for a copy of the statement so that they could submit it to examination to see whether it would be of assistance to them.

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(Mr Enderby proceeding to address a question to the Minister for the Interior) -


-Order! The honourable member is giving a great deal of information in his question. I suggest that he confine himself to asking the question. (Mr Enderby continuing his question) -


-Order! The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory should put the question on the notice paper.


- Mr Speaker, may I bring it to a conclusion?


-Order! No. I have made my decision. I warned the honourable gentleman that the question was far too long. I call the honourable member for Chisholm.

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– I ask the Acting Minister for Health: Is it a fact that while-


-Order! The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory will cease. He has been asked to . resume his seat and he will not disrupt questions. I call the honourable member for Chisholm.


– I ask the Acting Minister for Health-

Mr Enderby:

– I rise to a point of order, Mr Speaker. Were you, Sic, addressing me a moment ago? You asked someone to resume his seat. I was seated at the time.


– Order! There was somebody in that direction mumbling and talking.

Mr Enderby:

– But you asked somebody to sit down and I was seated at the time.


-Order! If I have offended the honourable member and made an error I apologise to him, but there was some noise coming from his direction when the honourable member for Chisholm was endeavouring to ask a question.

Mr Enderby:

– Thank you, Sir. I accept your apology.


– Is it a fact that while a Commonwealth Government has no direct power under the Constitution to nationalise medicine, the Commonwealth Government nevertheless has ample indirect power under the Constitution to nationalise medicine absolutely and effectively through every doctor’s surgery and hospital in Australia? Was this confirmed by the Chief Justice of Victoria, Sir Henry Winneke, in the Arthur Mills oration to the Royal Australian College of Physicians in May 1965 entitled ‘Significant trends in Australian federalism’?


– The honourable gentleman referred to me as the Acting Minister for Health. I am glad to announce that my colleague has returned, so I am now representing him. I believe that the ‘honour-able gentleman has performed a public service by drawing attention to the opinion of a distinguished jurist like Mr Justice Winneke and his comments in the Arthur Mills oration on this particular matter. He is performing a public service because members of the Opposition, and particularly front bench members of the Opposition, have repeatedly attempted to lure( the public into a sense of false security by claiming over and over again that the Constitution would prevent the nationalisation of health services. As Mr. Justice Winneke says, this just is not so. Therefore, not only have they the power to nationalise health but also I believe, on the basis of the statements they have made and their actual scheme itself, they also have the will to nationalise health, and indeed I believe that they intend to do so. What other interpretation can one .-put on (he statement by the Leader of the Opposition in respect to the proposal to establish on’e great bureaucratically run government health fund? What other interpretation can one put on his statement that this would be nationalisation in the traditional sense than that they propose to nationalise health in Australia? The proposal to limit benefits to payment at the public ward level would also have the effect of indirect nationalisation by forcing the specialists of this country to work for salaries in public wards. Their proposal to establish health clinics staffed by salaried medical practitioners would have the effect of nationalising the general practitioners of this country by forcing them to work for salaries. I could go on. Sir. The whole proposal reeks of nationalisation.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that the television station on Mt Bellenden Ker is now complete and could be in operation? If that is correct, what is the cause of the delay and when does the Minister hope to have this station in operation?

Postmaster-General · PETRIE, QUEENSLAND · LP

– The honourable member, who accompanied me recently at the handover of the cableway of this station, knows that the building at die top of the mountain has been completed and that the installation of equipment was under way at that time. I announced earlier that it was hoped that this station would be on air in December, I still believe that is the time when it will be on air, although testing of the station will have to be carried out before the actual date of opening in the total sense.

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– My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it a fact that the Government has made a decision not to accept the offer to purchase Phantom aircraft?

Minister for Defence · FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP

– Yes, it is a fact that the Government has decided not to accept the offer of the United States of F4E Phantom aircraft for purchase by Australia. This offer appeared to be a generous one at the time it was made. We were offered 23 aircraft for a price of about $54m, which would have been $20m less than the price offered under the original arrangement which was made at the time when we decided to lease the aircraft. But on assessing the latest offer the Air Force found there would be additional costs because we would have to buy spares and also ground handling equipment which we have not purchased at present because we are only leasing these aircraft. Also if these aircraft were brought into the Royal Australian Air Force it would be necessary to disband one Mirage squadron as well as to recruit and train some 320 pilots and airmen. Therefore a Phantom F4E squadron could not be fully operational until at least a couple of years time. We should remember that the pilots who are now flying the Phantoms will be transferred to Fill aircraft when these come into service next year.

So for all those reasons the Government has decided that it should not accept the offer. At the present time, we have in the air superiority and ground attack field in the RAAF and Royal Australian Navy 88 Mirage and 20 Skyhawk aircraft. It was assessed by the RAAF that the F4E aircraft were superior to these aircraft but they were not markedly superior, only marginally superior. The Government therefore decided that it would be preferable to wait, as we had agreed to do under the 5-year rolling programme, until the 1974-75 financial year and make a decision then when there would be available to us new and improved types of aircraft which would be, we hoped, markedly superior to the Mirage rather than accept one which was not that much ahead of the aircraft at present being flown. I might say that this decision was agreed to by the Defence Forces Development Committee because it felt there were no other projects which should be displaced to make way for this proposal. I am sure this was the correct decision.

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– I address my question to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Has there yet been any resolution of the impasse in relation to the importation of natural gas pipes to Australia by the Australian Gas Light Co.? Are that company and its general manager resolutely opposed to any proposition or compromise on the basis of part of the contract going to Australian manufacturers and the balance coming in under bylaw? What is the exact position? Is the

Minister aware that the Standards Association of Australia recently adopted a standard for natural gas pipelines which is considerably below the impossible and arbitrary standards which are still being said to be imposed by the Australian Gas Light Co.?

Minister for Customs and Excise · HOTHAM, VICTORIA · LP

– As I informed the House 10 days or so ago, delicate negotiations were talcing place and they are still taking place on this issue. I emphasise that my own role and that of my Department is limited to the importation of any pipeline or steel under by-law. Duty can be waived if a suitable equivalent is not reasonably available in Australia. Although discussions are continuing I can now say that there is an indication that some of the pipe for the main line may be produced in Australia. It is hoped that a significant part of the subsidiary lines will be produced in Australia. One of the issues which the honourable gentleman referred to is the allegation, if I may call it that, that Australian steel is not suitably equivalent to imported steel. The honourable gentleman sets himself up as an expert on Australian steel. I would readily concede he knows far more about it than I do but he would not be the expert to whom we would necessarily turn for advice. On a matter like this in which a great deal of money is involved and where the Government wishes to make a decision we of course seek expert advice. On this point the Government has recently appointed Professor Muir, the Professor of Physical Metallurgy and the head of the School of Metallurgy, University of New South Wales, to advise the Government on this matter. Professor Muir is a doctor of science and one of the leaders in the field of metallurgy, in this country. As soon as his report on this specific highly technical matter has been received it will be considered by the Government.

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– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware of statements by some medical authorities that animal fats are not the major contributor to the incidence of heart disease in the Australian community? Is he aware also of - reported research findings in France that rapeseed oil, a vegetable oil, could tend to promote heart disease? As rapeseed oil is used in both France and Australia mainly as a cooking oil, will the Minister request the National Health and Medical Research Council to investigate immediately the possible health hazard in human consumption of this vegetable oil and, if confirmed, will the public be informed of this danger?


– I am aware that there is a consensus of medical opinion that the dietary intake of animal fats is only one of the factors which may cause the development of coronary heart disease. I am aware also that investigations in Canada and Europe have suggested that rapeseed oil with a high erucic acid content may contribute to the development of heart disease. I understand that rape growers in Australia have been urged to grow varieties with a low erucic acid content. In relation to the last part of the honourable gentleman’s question, I can inform him that the National Health and Medical Research Council has the matter under consideration at the present time.

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– I ask the Prime Minister a question. Yesterday in answer to a question asked by the honourable member for St George about the statement made by the Prime Minister on ‘Monday Conference* that -our battalion in Singapore would prevent the possibility of trouble emerging between that country and Malaysia, he said that he had discussed the matter with senior representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs that morning and that they saw no difficulty in it at all. I ask: Is it a fact that the Malaysian Foreign Ministry has sought clarification of the right honourable gentleman’s statement? If so, what answer has been given?


– The first part of the honourable gentleman’s question is untrue because I did not state this as a positive fact; I stated it as a possibility. The second point I would like to mention is this’: I confirm that I did speak to the most senior official in the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday and again this morning, and he confirmed that there are no difficulties associated with this matter.

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– Has the Prime Minister yet heard from the Premier of South Australia regarding a request for Commonwealth aid for particular drought stricken areas of that State such as Mallee regions? Is this step the accepted procedure in relation to applications for drought aid from the Commonwealth?


– To the best of my knowledge, I have received no communication recently from the Premier of South Australia relating to drought in the Mallee area. There is a well recognised formula and procedure to be followed in matters of this kind. If the Premier feels that it is beyond the capacity of his State to pay in accordance with the formula, then he can invoke the Commonwealth and ask whether assistance can be given. If such a letter is written I will consider the request and ensure that it is answered as quickly as practicable.

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– My question is directed to the Postmaster-General. Is it a fact that a further delay appears likely in the establishment of a television station to serve the Ceduna area of Eyre Peninsula io South Australia which previously was programmed to commence operations in June 1973? What are the measures that will result in the likely postponement of the commencment of operations of this station? When can it now be anticipated that this station will commence operations? Are similar delays likely to occur in relation to the commencement date for the television station at Woomera which the Postmaster-General said in a statement was programmed to commence operations in October 1973?


– I have always indicated to the House that because much of the equipment required for the expansion of television comes from overseas there could be delay in its receipt and subsequent installation. I have not been informed of any delays in relation to the stations which the honourable member mentioned, but I will make inquiries and confirm whether that is the situation.

page 2376




– My question is directed to the Treasurer. I ask: As the Government has identified a revival of consumer spending as holding the key to stronger economic growth and reduced unemployment, can the Treasurer inform the House what the latest trends are in consumer spending and what his expectations are as to the future trend?


– The last complete figures we have are for the position as at the end of June, but we do have monthly figures for July and August, which at this stage represent only a collection of the information and are not firm. Inasmuch as the Commonwealth Statistician has put them out, I think we can rely on them reasonably strongly. They show that for the 3 months to the end of August consumer spending went up by an annual seasonally adjusted figure of 1 1 per cent. By contrasting that with the growth in consumer spending over the whole of the previous financial year of about 7.8 per cent it can be seen that consumer spending is going up. As to the future trend, I think that those figures - as the honourable gentleman will realise - show that there was an inherent recovery in consumer spending in the economy then existing. I expect that recovery to continue. Moreover, the effects of the Budget had not been felt at that point of time. I expect that in future months - in September, October and so on - the figures will reflect the effect of the Budget, the purpose of which was to identify consumer spending as a very important trigger to economic activity. It will be recalled that we reduced personal income taxation and very greatly increased social service expenditure in the Budget so that there would be a much greater disposable income in the hands of individuals. As that disposable income is used, so consumer spending will go up by much more.

The Treasury estimates that for the whole of this financial year the economy will grow at the rate of about 5 per cent on constant prices, which means to achieve that over the year the rate of growth from now on will have to be at a higher level than 5 per cent. As this higher growth rate continues so all the slack in the economy will be taken up, the unemployment rate, which has been too high for our purposes and for community and social purposes, will diminish’ and the general tenor of the economy will be one of great activity.

page 2377




– I wish to ask a question of the Prime Minister. What are the exact terms of the Si 5m special loan made by the right honourable gentleman, in the absence of the Treasurer, to the State Government of New South Wales to assist that State with its budgetary difficulties? Is it agreed that each of the 6 States is suffering enormous budgetary difficulties? Will the Government make a pro rata loan of, say, $4.5m to my own State of South Australia on the same terms and, indeed, make similar loans to the other States to help them to alleviate, in particular, their bad unemployment situations, which have been caused by the Commonwealth Government’s policies? If not, why not and why is there this discrimination?


– The loan was granted on exactly the same terms as that granted to the State of Victoria 2 or 3 years ago and that granted to New South Wales last year. The honourable gentleman should recognise that his State applies to the Commonwealth Grants Commission which recommends very large grants. These are immediately agreed to by the Commonwealth Government. It ought to be very significant to the honourable gentleman that the States which have a bad record in employment and unemployment are Labor governed States. If the honourable gentleman will control himself in some patience for the’ next week, I think he will find that the next unemployment figures will be an enormous disappointment to himself and, particularly, the Leader of the Opposition.

page 2377



Assistant Minister assisting the Postmaster-General · COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · CP

– My question is directed to the Minister for Labour and National Service. I refer to the shutdown of the Ampol oil refinery in Brisbane, which is a major supplier of fuel to northern New South Wales and Queensland.

Mr Cope:

– I rise on a point of order. Mr Speaker, is an Assistant Minister entitled to ask questions in the House of a Minister?


– Yes.


– I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service: Has the shortage of fuel in the area concerned during and since the national oil strike in June and July been growing worse because of the effect of action taken by unions within the oil industry and the consequent rundown of adequate reserves in oil depots? Will consideration be given to emergency action to meet this critical situation for all sections of the community in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland?


– I will answer this question, Mr Speaker, because I have been in control of this matter this morning. 1 realise the great difficulties that have -been caused by the oil strike to people in both northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. This morning the Premier of Queensland, Mr Bjelke-Petersen, contacted .me urgently to see whether the Commonwealth would be able to ensure that the- oil industry case to go before the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission was brought on for hearing immediately because of the great difficulties that the present situation was causing te Queensland, particularly to industry within the State. I immediately contacted the relevant officers - 3 officers, in fact - of the Department of Labour and National Service to ensure that they took immediate action to try to have this matter brought before the Commission The problem here may well lie not so much with the Commission itself -but with the parties in dispute. I have caused the ‘information to be conveyed to Mr BjelkePetersen and as soon as question time is over I will again contact him. Officials of the Department of Labour and National Service have assured me that they will do all in their power to ensure that this matter is brought before the Commission at the earliest possible moment and certainly not later than 4 o’clock this afternoon.

page 2377




– Is the Minister for Primary Industry aware that because ot the serious shortage of wheat in Australia to meet commitments at home and abroad the black market, free market or .grey market - whatever term he likes to use-price has risen to $1’ a bushel at the ‘farm £ate in many places? is he further aware that farmers’ sons, share farmers and farmers taking over traditional wheat properties who have grown wheat this season but have no quota, have been told that they cannot deliver that wheat to the Australian Wheat Board? In view of the shortages and continued growth of the black market will he initiate urgent action to suspend quotas for this year at least and increase the first advance to safeguard orderly marketing and the long term interests of family farmers?

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

– I find it interesting that the honourable gentleman, who for so long has claimed to be a spokesman for primary industry, chose this as the first occasion on which to ask me a question without notice on the substance of primary industry. In terms of the rising price for wheat, it is also of interest to note that he is very knowledgeable about black market negotiations and the prices that are prevailing there. If he was interested he might follow the trend in world markets and he would see that, in addition to the improvement in prices which he claims has taken place here, there has been a similar substantial improvement in prices overseas and that this has contributed to the prospects for enhanced wheat earnings from sales of Australia’s future wheat production.

In terms of the determination of the level of production for next year, I think it is again of interest to note the implications that members of the Opposition constantly bring to bear in their restrictive policies with respect to agriculture. They seek themselves to determine the level and quantity of production. The honourable gentleman’s question this morning has indicated that he believes it is for the arbitrary decision of the government alone, not for the decision of the wheat grower or the Australian Wheat Federation, as to what the level of production should be next year. This Government works in partnership with industry. In fact quotas were introduced by the Australian Wheat Federation. They were not imposed on the industry. They were not dictated to the industry but were set by the Australian Wheat Federation which consists of representatives of wheat growers throughout Australia.

The wheat growers and primary producers of this country need to be conscious that if there were ever to be a Labor government - pity help us - the individual producer would not have the opportunity to decide for himself, in conjunction with his colleagues, the level of production or the nature of production. It would be arbitrarily imposed upon him. This Government does not act on that premise. It works through the establishment of wheat quotas applied after discussions and negotiations with the Australian Wheat Federation and the Australian Agricultural Council. So it will be this year.

page 2378



- Mr Speaker, I was misrepresented during question time.


-Order! Does the Leader of the Opposition claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes, by the Minister representing the Minister for Health. The honourable gentleman attributed to me the proposal to nationalise the medical profession or some such thing. The Minister made a reference to a speech which 1 made in July under the auspices of the Fabian Society in Victoria. I quote the relevant passage:

The major act of nationalisation in the traditional sense to be undertaken by a Labor government in the next term will be through the establishment of a single health fund administered by a health insurance commission with contributions made according to each taxpayer’s means and treatment according to each patient’s needs, but health insurance is only one aspect of the health problem.

I then referred to hospitals being the crux of it. I made no reference to medical practitioners or any other persons working in the medical field. I should point out my Party’s attitude on this matter. The constitution was amended-


-Order! The Leader of the Opposition will not be able to indicate Labor Party policy. This is a matter where he says he has been personally misrepresented by the Minister this morning. The Leader of the Opposition cannot go beyond that.


– I appreciate that, but may I put this point to you, Sir? If Ministers were to take your hint of making statements after question time which honourable members concerned in those statements could themselves speak to, this position would not arise. I can assure you I am not proposing - 1 am not seeking - to make a personal explanation of nearly the length of the reflections that the Minister made about me in answer to a question ostensibly without notice. The quotation 1 have made is not the only occasion on which I have spoken on health. That would be a matter of public knowledge. I believe I am entitled to put the other 3 matters that I put at that time and since on this very subject.


– Order! I am not disputing the right of the Leader of the Opposition to make a personal explanation where he has been personally misrepresented, but if he is going into policies - I think that was the word he used - he will be out of order.

Mr Wentworth:

Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. Will the Leader of the Opposition be given indulgence to quote the passage from his speech immediately preceding the passage he read out?


-Order! There is no point of order. The Minister will resume his seat. There are far too many interjections from both sides of the House and I ask for the co-operation of honourable members.


– The constitutional position is that this Parliament can pass laws with respect to the provision of medical and dental services but not so as to authorise any form of civil conscription. Those words were put into the Constitution following acceptance of a referendum proposal sponsored by my Party in 1946. My Party’s platform used to contain the proposal ‘nationalisation of health’. Those words were removed in 1965 and no words such as them have since been inserted. In conclusion I would like to point out, as I did on ‘Monday Conference’ a little over a week ago. that it is nonsense to suggest that my Party which will abolish conscription for the armed services would introduce conscription for medical services.

The Prime Minister also misrepresented me further and I ask for leave to make another personal explanation.


– Is it another misrepresentation?


– Yes, Sir. The Prime Minister referred to me in answer to some other questions. He misrepresented me in one answer and I think it is of sufficient moment to take it up. He said that I had not staled the facts truthfully or accurately in my question to him about Malaysia and Singapore. Therefore I want to point out that I referred quite precisely in my question to the following passage during his interview on ‘Monday Conference’ this week:

Well, those were his words to me-

Referring to Tun Razak- but we would have to pe prepared to . . .a situation might arise, a battalion, stationed somewhere in Singapore would give him-

That is Tun Razak- the degree of confidence they would need that the possibility of trouble between Malaysia and Singapore would not emerge.

I was most careful to use the words ‘possibility’ and ‘emerge’.

Mr McMahon:

– I would like to reply immediately because-


-Order! Does the Prime Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr McMahon:

– No, 1 have not been misrepresented. I was previously misrepresented in the original question.


-Order! I suggest that the Prime Minister seek the indulgence of the House or ask for leave to make a short statement.

Mr McMahon:

– 1 ask the indulgence of the Leader of the Opposition to point out-


-Is leave granted?

Mr Whitlam:

– Yes.


– Leave is granted.


– The Leader of the Opposition, as well as the honourable member for St George, tried to create the impression both yesterday and today that I was being specific in what I had said, but the Leader of the Opposition in his subsequent statement this morning has made it abundantly clear that 1 said a situation might arise. Therefore I was not talking about what was actually happening today but about a potential difficulty. Therefore I stated that we could be helpful in problems that might arise in the future. We were not considering an immediate problem that required the immediate attention of the Government.

Mr Whitlam:

– May 1 have the same indulgence?


-Is indulgence granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


– My question without notice to the Prime Minister referred to the question asked by my colleague the honourable member for St George about the Prime Minister’s statement on ‘Monday Conference’ that our battalion in Singapore would prevent the possibility of trouble emerging between Malaysia and Singapore. It will be noticed how closely my words followed the words of the Australian Broadcasting Commission transcript. While I could not in my question refer to a newspaper report I was in fact relying upon a report which appeared in the Melbourne ‘Age’ today. It states:

Malaysian officials are angry at a statement last night by the Australian Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, that the presence of Australian troops in Singapore could prevent possible trouble between Malaysia and Singapore.

It will be noticed that I did not quote those words. I quoted the transcript. The article continued:

Officials said Mr McMahon’s statement was most irregular’ since all 5 nations had emphasised that their joint force could be used only in the event of external aggression.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that immediate clarification had been sought from the Australian High Commission.

Until this had been obtained there would be no comment on the issue, the spokesman said. There was also reference made today on the radio and in other newspapers with the same purport.

Mr McMAHON (Lowe - Prime Minister) - I ask for leave to clarify this matter.


-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


– I contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs this morning and I understand that no further action will be taken about it.

Mr Cope:

– May I move that further personal explanations be placed on the notice paper?


– I think it is an honourable member’s right to be able to make a persona] explanation. It would be a sorry day if that were to be cut out. At the same time, I do not think honourable members should be able to keep on saying that the Parliament has been misrepresented* or that they have. been misrepresented or whatever the case may b». There seems to be ah increasing number of personal explanations which are taking up a great deal of time.

Minister for Immigration · Barker · LP

– I agree entirely, Mr Speaker. I do it only in circumstances in which I have been grievously provoked.


-Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) misrepresented me by suggesting that I had no basis for the statements I made during question time. I quote a part of his lecture to the Fabian Society which he did not quote himself. He said:

It would be intolerable if a Labor government were to use the alibi of the Constitution .to excuse failure to achieve its socialist objectives-doubly intolerable because it is just not true that* it need do so.

He added:

My basic proposition is this: If section 92 is held up as the bulwark of private enterprise, then section 96 is the charter of public enterprisesection 51 the key to national responsibility and national regeneration.

I made a statement about general practitioners which the Leader of the Opposition disputed. I quote from the Australian Labor Party’s Platform, Constitution and Rules. It reads:

The provision of General Practitioner Medical Services staffed by salaried medical .practitioners willing to join and available without charge and without Means Test to persons who choose to use such services.

If that is not a charter for the nationalisation of general practitioners I do not know what is.

Mr WHITLAM (Werriwa- Leader of the Opposition) - I wish to make a personal explanation.


-Is the honourable member claiming to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. In his answer to the question without notice upon which I sought to make a personal explanation the Minister for Immigration .’(Dr. Forbes) said that I and my Party wanted to see that the medical profession was nationalised. There is nothing that I have said, that my Party has said or that any of : my .colleagues have said which would justify such a contention, and the matters that the Minister has now quoted have no relevance, “Section 92 and section 96 of the Constitution! do not enter into this matter in any way at all. Of course, the passage I did quote from section SI shows it is possible, and has been since 1946, for the Commonwealth to provide medical services but they cannot be based on any form of civil conscription. It is possible for persons in those services to be salaried or paid sessionally, but that is a different matter from nationalisation as I would have thought a former political science lecturer would understand. Doctors have an option under Labor’s scheme which they do not have now. They would have their present options but they would have additional ones.

Mr Foster:

Mr Speaker, I take a point of order under standing order 66. I refer to a debate in the House yesterday.


-Order! There is no point of order. The honourable gentleman must take his point of order at the time of the occurrence. He may not take a point of order.

Mr Foster:

– May 1 seek your guidance in this matter to correct the situation that arose yesterday?


– The honourable member may seek my guidance, yes.

Mr Foster:

– 1 seek the indulgence of the House. Yesterday in the House I made a speech in which I accused-


-Order! I can listen to the honourable member on a point of order, but if he wants the indulgence of the House 1 cannot grant that.

Mr Foster:

– On a point of order.


– What is the honourable member for Sturt doing?

Mr Foster:

– I am seeking your guidance in relation to a matter. Standing order 66 reads as follows:

A member who has spoken to a question may again be heard, to explain himself in regard to some material part of his speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood . . .


-In other words, the honourable member is seeking to make a personal explanation in relation to a speech he made, is he?

Mr Foster:

– Yes. The Postmaster-General entered-


-Is the honourable member asking the House for the privilege to make a personal explanation?

Mr Foster:

– Yes.

Sir Winton Turnbull:

– His instructor said ‘Yes’.

Mr Foster:

– For the information of the honourable member for Mallee, the Minister asked me how long I wanted.


-Order! I suggest that the honourable member for Sturt (joes on with his personal explanation to show where he has been personally misrepresented.


– I was personally misrepresented on the basis of a speech I made in this House yesterday. I said that the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme) had received deputations on a matter relating to the pink pages directory in Victoria. He said that he had not received a deputation last July from the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) in regard to this matter. The deputation placed all the submissions from Edward H. O’Brien Pty Ltd before the Minister. So the Minister was not correct in saying to the House yesterday that he had not received a deputation on this matter.

page 2381




-I lay on the Table the following publication:

Commonwealth Hansard - Its Establishment and Development 1901-1972 (Second Edition).

The publication is edited by the Principal Parliamentary Reporter, Mr W. J. Bridgman. The question of printing it will be referred to the Publications Committee.

page 2381


Minister for Trade and Industry · Richmond · CP

– Pursuant to section 18 of the Tariff Board Act 1921-1972 I present the annual report of the Tariff Board for the year ended 30th June 1972. The report is accompanied by an annexure which summarises the recommendations made by the Board and shows the action taken in respect of each of them.

page 2381


Treasurer · Bruce · LP

Pursuant to section 14 of the Commonwealth Grants Commission Act 1933-1966 I present the thirty-ninth report of the Commonwealth Grants Commission on the applications made by the States of Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania for financial assistance under section 96 of the Constitution. Incorporated in this report is the special report on the application made by the State of Queensland for financial assistance under section 96 of the Constitution.

page 2382



Downs - Minister for National Development) - Pursuant to section 29 of the Air Navigation Act 1920-1966, I present the twelfth annual report on the administration and working of the Act and Regulations and on other matters concerning civil air navigation.

page 2382


Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts and Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities · Casey · LP

– Pursuant to section 29 of the Australian Tourist Commission Act 1967, I present the fifth annual report of the Australian Tourist Commission for the year ended 30th June 1972 together with financial statements and the Auditor-General’s Report on those statements.

page 2382


Bill presented by Mr McMahon, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Prime Minister · Lowe · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

On 19th September, I made a statement to the House announcing that the Government proposed to take new initiatives to work with the States towards urban and regional development objectives. I said that the Government had decided that it will take immediate steps financially and in other ways in a co-ordinated programme with the State Governments. The introduction of this Bill fulfils the commitment I then gave to introduce interim legislation into Parliament this session. Although the legislation is interim, the new authority set up by the bill will nevertheless be required to operate with vigour and in accord with its charter from the outset. In a vast country which is developing as rapidly as Australia, it is most important that the Government take responsible action which will influence the distribution of population and economic activity to the economic and social advantage of the nation.

The stresses and strains of growth are having an impact on the living conditions and the environment of the entire Australian community. These pressures which are being felt in many countries, present issues of national moment warranting co-operative action between the Commonwealth and the States. We have the experience of the United Kingdom, France and Canada amongst others to draw on. The Government believes that unless we embark on a vigorous, imaginative and responsible programme of urban and regional development, in partnership with the States, our efforts to secure a better quality of life for the Australian community through a wide variety of existing programmes will be compromised. The consequences of the imbalance caused by the concentration of population and employment around the principal Australian cities with the resulting problems of congestion and pollution are such that action must now be taken. The trend to increasing concentration is already evident to a degree which is causing concern. If no action is taken, the problem will become more acute as our population grows from 13 million to possibly 22 million over the balance of the century. The increasing concentration of population in our great cities will magnify the consequences of increasing population growth. It is the geographical distribution of population and industry rather than total scale which calls for our attention.

We believe it is widely accepted that these are national problemsrequiring urgent attention, and that the Commonwealth should participate with the States in. solving them. We believe too that a properly conceived and well managed programme of urban and regional development will be approved and welcomed by the community generally. It is clear that the Commonwealth and States must work together. ‘It is also clear that there will be a need for additional expenditure and the Commonwealth stands ready to contribute its share. As, importantly, we will shape our own policies and programmes where appropriate so as to ensure that urban and regional implications are fully taken into account. The implementation of a successful national programme of urban and regional development could mark a turning point in the social and economic life of this country.

Our efforts must be successful. Therefore, they must be properly conceived. The Commonwealth/ State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation which conducted its researches in the Australian context concluded that the only type of decentralisation which offers significant prospects of success is selective decentralisation. As I stated on 19th September, the Commonwealth endorses this conclusion and favours the development of a small number of carefully selected centres, having regard to factors likely to be favourable to their growth, kater on, with the benefit of more experience and the availability of more resources, it can be expected that additional centres will be selected for accelerated growth. We will want to identify and encourage the balanced growth of submetropolitan centres as an alternative to growth in the existing city areas.

In co-operation with the States, we will look for those sub-metropolitan centres that offer the greatest potential for rapid development. These will be centres near to but distinct from the existing major cities. It is our view that the development of regional growth centres and sub-metropolitan centres - projects capable of being defined, programmed and financed - offers the most direct and beneficial means of immediate Commonwealth involvement. As 1 have emphasised, however, the action to be taken must be taken in consultation and partnership with the States. Our early discussions with the States will have as their first objective the fullest understanding of the nature of the problems to be overcome. We will be seeking to establish how best the combined resources of the Commonwealth and State Governments can be marshalled to tackle these in an economic way and in the interests of the nation as a whole.

As 1 have said previously, it will be necessary to guard against the cost of development of selected centres being inflated by increases in land values directly attributable to the policy initiatives of the States and the Commonwealth. This bill is the first step towards implementation of a new Commonwealth initiative. It is, however, designed to establish the National Urban and Regional Development Authori on a proper and sound basis and to enable it to commence its work immediately. The nature of any later legislation will, of course, be determined in the light of experience. Nevertheless, the name given to the Authority clearly indicates the Government’s longer term interest. We are concerned with national objectives in urban and regional development and we are concerned with development itself. Ours is a practical approach and the concept of a statutory authority and of the title chosen for it reflects our practical aims.

It is proposed that the Authority be constituted by a Commissioner. I have already announced that with the passage of the legislation, the Government proposes to invite Sir John Overall to serve as the first Commissioner and to guide the new organisation in its initial establishment period. The Government is fortunate in having a person as experienced and so able as Sir John to call on until his retirement in July next year. The bill also provides for the Commissioner to be assisted by a Deputy Commissioner. The appointment of statutory office holders will be effected as soon as possible after the bill is passed. The duties of the Authority are stated in Clause 12. It will be required to investigate and report to the Prime Minister on matters relating to urban or regional development. This investigation and advice would be designed to assist the Government in making decisions having urban and regional implications. It will also be designed to assist the Government in its consideration of the grant of financial assistance to a State in connection with urban or regional development.

Such matters as the selection of centres for the promotion of rapid growth, tha particular steps by which this might be encouraged, practical arrangements tor rapid development, and financial questions including the scale of Commonwealth support, are relevant to the establishment of a co-ordinated programme. Advice would be available to the Government from the Authority on the terms and conditions on which financial assistance for urban and regional development might be granted by Parliament. The bill provides for the Authority to have power to do all things that are necessary or convenient for the performance of its functions. It may undertake pilot or experimental projects, studies, including feasibility studies. It may enter into consultative engagements with professional groups and Government agencies, and provide information and advice to other authorities.

Provision is made in the Bill for the Authority to comply with any directions given by the Prime Minister with respect to matters to be investigated by the Authority. This clause will ensure, for example, that decisions reached by the Ministerial Council, consisting of the Prime Minister and the Premiers, to which I referred in my statement in this House on 19th September, are followed through in the operations of the Authority.

In addition to the normal provision for an annual report, the Authority is required to report to the Prime Minister not later than 30th June 1973 on matters relating to urban and regional development during the 5-year period thereafter. It is not the Government’s intention that the Authority should produce by that time a definitive statement on a national urban and regional development strategy. The Government does, however, propose to move in an expenditure sense commencing from the financial year 1973-74. It will be the responsibility of the Authority, therefore, to advise the Government in time for its Budget considerations in 1973 of the broad direction in which Commonwealth activities in urban and regional development might be shaped over the 5-year period. This will not be a final blueprint but rather the first statement of an active programme. The steps involved in its preparation will be discussed by the Ministerial Council. Funds w.ill be made available during this present financial year 1972-73 for the initial operations of the Authority.

The Bill, of course, contains appropriate provisions relating to officers’ rights, staff, audit and finance. The Bill establishes an advisory committee of up to 12 members including the Commissioner. The committee will be comprised of persons who, by virtue of- their knowledge and experience, can assist the Authority in the performance of its duties. This is a formal committee created by the statute with membership appointed by the Prime Minister and designed to ensure the availability of a wide range of advice and response to the Authority.

At the level of governments, I have already mentioned that ‘we propose the establishment of a ministerial council consisting of the Prime Minister and Premiers as the principal body for consultation and co-ordination in the field of urban and regional development. I have already written to the Premiers about the Commonwealth’s intentions. .Honourable members have already noted from my remarks that the Authority will be responsible to me as Prime Minister. This central place in the machinery of Government will add strength to the discussions between me and my State colleagues.

This Bill is amongst the most important legislation introduced into the Federal Parliament during the post-war years. It marks our recognition that there is a direct contribution that the Commonwealth Government can make in national urban and regional development for the benefit of all Australians. Commonwealth assistance for urban and regional development is not new. What is new is Commonwealth participation with the States in a co-ordinated programme of urban and regional development.

Our objectives - the objectives of the Liberal and Country Parties - will not be achieved easily dr overnight. But it is important to make a start in the prevailing climate of accord about the need for new initiatives and the broad nature of them. We will pursue these objectives vigorously. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by .Mr Uren) adjourned.

page 2384


Bill presented by Mr Anthony, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Trade and Industry · Richmond · CP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time. The purpose of this Bill is to amend certain provisions of Part ‘XII of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1971, containing the overseas cargo shipping provisions. These amendments will enable the Australian Shippers’ Council to undertake all negotiations with shipowners and conferences operating in all ‘Australian export liner trades.

Broadly speaking, the overseas cargo shipping, provisions, which we administered by the Minister for Trade and Industry, bring under control restrictive arrangements relating to the carriage of goods between Australia and other countries. They require shipping lines to register with the Government details of conference agreements and to give and observe certain undertakings. Among the undertakings which shipping lines can be required to give the Minister is the undertaking to negotiate with shipper bodies he has designated under the Act. Such negotiations cover both the arrangements for and the terms and conditions of carriage of export cargoes in Australia’s overseas liner trades.

The existing legislation requires the setting up of a separate shipper body for each trade. The Minister, before he designates each shipper body, must be satisfied that its membership appropriately reflects the volume and nature of cargo in the trade. Five such bodies have been formed and designated in relation to the trades from Australia to Europe, to Singapore and west Malaysia, the east coast of the United States of America, the east coast of Canada and the west coast of North America. While these are among our most important trades, shipper bodies have not been formed in relation to some 14 other export trades served by conference arrangements and some of these are quite large and important.

Various factors have inhibited the formation of shipper bodies in these trades. The principal impediments have been: The practical difficulty of securing participation by exporters in a proposed shipper body where a wide variety of export interests contribute to the cargoes carried; the reluctance of shippers to support several separate shipper bodies operating on an ad hoc, part-time basis, particularly as these make heavy demands on executives’ time and require separate financing; the shipment of exports forming a major part of the cargoes carried in a particular trade was controlled by foreign importers; and some export interests dominating a particular trade considered they were better placed to negotiate separately,’ ignoring the interests of the minority of shippers.

The existing legislation makes it mandatory for there to be a designated shipper body before shipping lines are required to negotiate under the provisions of the Act with shippers in a trade. This has meant that Australian shippers in many trades have been unable to require the conferences or shipping lines serving those trades to negotiate formally with them under the provisions of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act.

In 1971, a study team initiated by a very wide cross-section of export organisations made an in-depth examination of their export shipping requirements. The study team, by arrangement with the then Minister for Trade and Industry, worked jointly with officers of my Department. The study team accepted the basic principles of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act which it regarded as worthwhile to Australian exporters. To overcome the difficulties which militated against the formation of separate shipper bodies in each trade, the study group recommended to me that the existing legislative provisions be amended to allow a nationally constituted Australian Shipper’s Council to be the one designated body for negotiations in all trades. It saw such a Council as a national body, fully representative of producers, commodity groups and exporters. It would be backed up by a permanent staff with comprehensive research facilities. The Council would ensure adequate representation of shipper interests in all negotiations with shipowners.

After considering the study groups’ recommendations and reviewing the operations of the shipping provisions of the Act, the Government decided to amend Part XII to give effect to these proposals. This does not entail any change in the present policy that these are matters for commercial negotiation within the framework of the Act. Rather it ensures that all Australian shippers in liner trades could avail themselves of these provisions. The establishment of a single body will avoid the need to establish a multiplicity of shipper bodies in other trades, all attempting to maintain small, duplicatory research secretariats, operating on inadequate finances. I can now inform the House that the Australian Shippers’ Council, a body representative of major exporter, commodity and producer interests has been formed and has held its inaugural meeting. It has appointed an executive committee and a full-time Director, all of whom have had extensive experience and a long association with export shipping. The amendments proposed in this Bill will enable the Council to be designated as the sole body to negotiate with shipping conferences and shipping lines in all Australian export liner trades. 1 now refer to the main provisions of the Bill. Clause 5 of the Bill amends section 116 of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1971 by omitting from sub-section (2) the word ‘relevant’ wherever occurring and inserting in its stead the word ‘designated’, and by omitting sub-section (5). As amended, section 116 will then permit the Minister to designate a shipper body, and require parties to shipping conferences to undertake to negotiate with that body. In addition, the Bill makes 2 other minor alterations to simplify the administration of the legislation. Clause 5 further amends section 116 of the Act by inserting 2 new sub-sections, (5) and (6).

The Act at present makes provision for an officer, designated by the Minister, to be present at negotiations conducted under the Act. Under the new legislation, the scope and frequency of such negotiations, by definition, will be greatly extended. The new sub-section (5) will permit the appointment of deputies, who will be able to attend negotiations in his stead and exercise the powers of the designated officer in relation to that particular set of negotiations. The new sub-section (6) simply defines ‘the designated officer* and ‘the designated shipper body’. Division 4 of Part XII makes provision for situations where a particular route is serviced by a single shipowner instead of by a conference of several shipping lines. The Act provides for such a line to have substantially the same obligations as apply to an ordinary conference. Accordingly, clause 6 of the Bill makes similar amendments to section 122 of the Act to those I have outlined in relation to section 116.

The Government is satisfied that the designation of the Australian Shippers’ Council, by extending negotiations under the Act to all export trades and providing a single research and negotiating body, will substantially strengthen the collective bargaining power of shippers. The Council will speak with a national voice; it will build up a detailed knowledge of all our export trades and those who serve them; it will bring to its task an increasing degree of negotiating expertise. Honourable members will be aware that the Commonwealth has regularly contributed to the finances of shipper bodies set up under .the existing legislation. As the successful operation of the Council is important to the effective implementation of the present policy, the Government has decided that it will continue to provide such financial assistance and has made provision for this purpose in the Budget. The Government is pleased to bring forward these amendments which exporters themselves have recommended. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 2386


Bill presented by Mr Chipp, and read a first time.

Second Reading

Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now’ read a second time.

This Bill to amend the Customs Tariff 1966-1972 comprises 7 schedules. The First Schedule to the Bill constitutes a replacement of the First and Fifth Schedules of the principal Act -plus amendments to the Third and Fourth schedules of that Act. These- changes implement the Government’s decision to introduce metric terms into the customs tariff. Other changes arise from drafting amendments to the Brussels Nomenclature instigated by the Customs Co-operation Council in Belgium. These changes are identified in the comprehensive document available to honourable members by the prefixes ‘M’ and ‘BNC’ respectively. Any variations in respect to previous levels of duty are minimal.

Included in the First Schedule and in other schedules, as I will indicate, are changes arising from consideration of the following Tariff Board reports: Industrial chemicals and synthetic resins, etc.; industrial gamma ray equipment; shipbuilding; shot, angular grit and -wire pellets of iron or steel (Third Schedule); A.C. .generators exceeding 120 kVA; rotary converters exceeding 50 kW (Third Schedule); hand tools; interchangeable tools for hand tools or machine tools, etc. (Third Schedule); metal working machine tools and accessories (Fifth Schedule); insulators; porcelain or glass insulators (Dumping and Subsidies Act) (Seventh Schedule); fittings and mountings; hat racks, etc., of base metal (Seventh Schedule); ceramic tableware, etc. (Seventh Schedule); and reports by the Special Advisory Authority on: Isoocty alcohol; continuous filament raw yarns of polyamide or polyester and resins of the propylene type.

The First Schedule also includes the reduction in the duties on gripe wine which was introduced last May. The Second Schedule includes changes agreed to by the Australian and New Zealand governments to extend the list of commodities to which the New Zealand-Australia Free Trade Agreement applies. Other tariff concessions relate to hand-made traditional products of cottage industries of developing countries. The Fourth Schedule makes provisions for the duty free entry of tobacco, cigarettes, cigars and snuff when for use in approved medical or other scientific research programmes. It is complementary to an amendment to the Excise Tariff in respect to locally produced tobacco products. The Sixth Schedule to this Bill incorporates changes arising out of the Government’s decision to implement the Tariff Board’s reports on knitted shirts and outergarments and woven shirts. Honourable members will recall . that my colleague, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), gave details of the Government’s decision on 31st August last.

At the time the various Tariff Proposals were introduced the nature of the changes was ‘explained at some length. Jo fact’ ‘tate honourable members’ research for the ensuing debate 1 ask leave to incorporate in Hansard details of earlier relevant speeches and their whereabouts in Hansard.


– Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -


– Comprehensive documentation setting out the nature of the changes in rates of duty, together with a glossary of more unusual terms, is now being distributed to honourable members. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 2388


(No. 2) 1972

Bill presented by Mr Chipp, and read a 6rst time.

Second Reading

Minister for Customs and Exercise · Hotham · LP

– I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is complementary to the Customs Tariff Bill (No. 4) which I have just introduced. Honourable members will note that the earliest commencement date of that Bill is 1st July 1972, the date of metrication. This Bill validates the collection of duties of grape wine and ships, boats, etc., up to 30th June 1972, that is, before metrication. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Crean) adjourned.

page 2388


In Committee

Consideration resumed from 10 October (vide page 2332).

Second Schedule.

Department of the Interior

Proposed expenditure, $142,036,000.


– In this debate on the estimates for the Department of the Interior I intend to make some remarks about the proposed Commonwealth office development at Woolloomooloo. The Liberal-Country Party Government has argued that the health of the cities is a State matter, that the Commonwealth Government cannot and should not involve itself directly in the planning of Australia’s urban settlements. My colleagues and I reject this viewpoint as being contrary to and an abdication of the national Government’s responsibilities to the people of Australia. We find the present Government’s attitude quite incredible in the light of the obvious evidence to the contrary. After listening to the second reading speech of the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) this morning on the National Urban and Regional Development Authority Bill, I do not think he really understands what are the problems of the urban areas and what cities are. The Government really does not know what its responsibilities are in thu regard. The Prime Minister does not really understand what he said in his speech this morning. He said that the Government had made the important decision to involve itself in urban and regional development Of course, urban development involves cities. At question time this morning the Prime Minister in fact said that the cities were a State responsibility. On the other hand, when he made his second reading speech he said that the Commonwealth will involve itself in urban and regional development.

However, I want to deal with this important Woolloomooloo development. The main engines of urban growth in Australia in the last 20 years have been the Federal Government’s twin projects of rapid industrialisation and large scale immigration. It is the Federal Government which provides most of the funds for urban transport. Unfortunately, this is used only for roads and not for urban public transport. At least up to the present the Commonwealth has not provided funds for urban public transport but again this will be an election gimmick at the eleventh hour. Even more obvious are the decisions of the Federal Government which directly affect what happens to a city. Airports are the most obvious example of this type of decision.

I want to talk about a very glaring example of the entry of this Government into the field of urban affairs. The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Public Works has recommended against the proposal from the Department of the Interior to build an office complex in Woolloomooloo for 15,000 Commonwealth public servants. Of this number 9,000 will be accommodated in the first stage. I commend the recommendation of the Committee that this proposal be rejected. We on this side of the House have been advocating this for a long time. The Commonwealth proposal raised very important town planning issues. A new office building of this size either can add to existing congestion or it could be used in a positive way to encourage the development of new areas of business activity away from the central city. Typically those issues were not considered by this Government when it put forward this proposal. They were not raised because this Government does not have a real urban policy. It denies any responsibility for the state of our cities.

The development spotlight turned on to Woolloomooloo when those redevelopment enthusiasts, the City Commissioners, asked the State Planning Authority for some planners to carry out for the Council a redevelopment study for the area. The request was ill conceived and the response was worse. What emerged was an old fashioned plan with tower buildings artistically placed on a model but with no apparent thought for the people living there, the regional impact of the scheme, or of how commuters and cars would get into or out of the already congested valley of Woolloomooloo. It was irresponsible planning. Unfortunately, the State Planning Authority has been stuck with the mistakes of its own planners. The reign of the City Commissioners ended, leaving Sydney with a legacy of an illconceived, badly planned office boom.

The incoming Council appointed consultant planners to try to sort out the mess. The main point made by these planners was that the city’s future office development should be kept within the long, thin area between Circular Quay and Central Railway. These planners at least recognised the absurdity of trying to move all those office workers in and out of Woolloomooloo. For example, their report shows that a work force of 80,000 in Woolloomooloo, which is easily possible if the present plans go ahead, would result in up to 45,000 people trying to use Town Hall station at peak hour instead of the 15,000 to 20,000 who use it now. For a variety of reasons, some of which are best known to themselves, the Civic Reform Councillors and the State Government have rejected this considered and documented advice and have given generous support for the developers’ plan for the destruction and over-building of Woolloomooloo. Nobody is more in favour of this proposal than the State Premier of New South Wales, the Hon. Sir Robert Askin, who is a centralist and a strong advocate for the redevelopment of the Woolloomooloo area.

On top of all these mistakes the Commonwealth wants to add its own massive piece of congestion. What concerned me most about the proposal was ‘its failure (o consider the decision in terms of the opportunities which could be grasped by decentralising Commonwealth offices away from the Sydney central area. The Council’s planners projected that Sydney’s central office employment would rise from the present 231,000 to 358,000’ by ‘.the year 2000, an increase of 55. per cent. The number of office workers coming in from the outer western and southern suburbs is estimated to rise from 50,000 to 121,000, an increase of l’40 per cent. If in fact this happens, intolerable budens will bc placed on the workers and their families, on the State Treasury for the cost of upgrading the train service to cope with one-way peak loads, and on the Commonwealth taxpayer in order to pay for destructive inner city expressways and bridges.

The construction of office buildings in Parramatta, Liverpool, Penrith, Campbelltown and in other decentralised ‘locations where most of the people’ live ‘“is necessary. Public servants wm reside in the new decentralised cities that we plan for the future. We need to create a better balance for our transport systems than we have in urban areas such as Sydney. At the present time they carry only one-way traffic, and with the type of development that we propose we will be able to balance these transport systems and therefore save money in the long -run. The land released at Woolloomooloo could easily be made into a park. We stress the fact that this area should be made into a park because it is needed. so ‘badly in the centre of Sydney. This would .bear on the future plans for the development of the Woolloomooloo area. It should be a residential area but redeveloped on a ratio of dwellings to business premises similar to that which exists at present.

This is an election vear and, as far as the Labor Party is concerned, the crisis in our cities and the future role of the ^Federal Government in relation to that crisis are major issues. It is a year in which ‘we have had some irrelevant talk from toe ‘Liberal.Country Party Government about decentralisation, but if it carries on a development such as that proposed in die Woolloomooloo area it is working against the policy of decentralisation. It is also a year in which a Minister from the Country Party put forward a proposal to build a Commonwealth office complex of a size and in a place which the Public Works Committee had the good sense to reject. This type of policy has to stop. But later we are to be told of a proposal for a development in the centre of Melbourne which will house not 15,000 public servants but in fact a proposed 20,000 public servants. This type of planning is utterly foolish planning.

We are living in a day and age when over-centralisation in the cities has to stop. My visit to the United States of America recently has convinced me that if our cities are to remain civilised places in which to live all levels of government must give a lead. There are many areas in which the Commonwealth is already deeply involved in the form and functioning of our cities. Unlike other national governments, including those which have a federal constitution, this Government refuses to recognise or accept its responsibilities. Even on such an obvious matter as the building of a major office complex the Government sees its role in only the narrowest terms. The Commonwealth’s proposal for the construction of an office block in Woolloomooloo is not leadership; it is just following the mistakes of others. The position in Melbourne is the same. There is a need for positive decentralisation policies. Commonwealth public servants will have to be the basis of many of our future cities. In this year of 1972 we should not be building huge office blocks to house 15,000 Commonwealth employees in the centre of Sydney and 20,000 Commonwealth employees in the centre of Melbourne. That is wasteful expenditure and poor planning. We on this side of the chamber are opposed to that type of development.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– I have listened very carefully to the remarks of the shadow Minister, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), and have found that he has suddenly taken a great interest in country areas and decentralisation.

I had the pleasure of listening to his replies to questions he was asked during a broadcast a few days ago, perhaps a week ago. I was most impressed with his sincerity and honesty about his position. I appreciated what he had to say. Among other things he said: ‘I am a city man and know little about country conditions’. He advocated the building of more houses in the fringe areas of the cities so as not to place people at the disadvantage of having to make long journeys to their places of employment. I think he will agree that I am quite correct in saying that.

I am not looking for votes, as honourable members know I am retiring at the end of this Parliament. I suggest to the honourable member for Reid that he would be well advised to visit country areas and discuss with country people these matters with which he is concerned.

The very basis of the subject that the member for Reid has spoken of with regard to decentralisation is politics, and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918-1966 is the basis of politics in this regard. I have in my hand a copy of that Act. It depends on how Electoral Divisions are framed when a redistribution is being made. We all know that at given periods a census is held to determine the number of people there are in Australia, and that the number of people is divided in order to arrive on a quota. I have frequently spoken on this subject. I suppose I have not missed participating in one debate on the estimates of the Department of the Interior for 20 years.

What I am saying may be considered to be tedious repetition, but there is a break of 12 months between each such speech. The Electoral Act states: in making any proposed distribution of a State into divisions, the Distribution Commissioners shall so determine the proposed divisions that each division contains a number of electors not exceeding, or falling short of, the quota of electors by more than one-fifth of the quota’.

Let me give you an illustration. Let us assume that the quota is 60,000. One-fifth above that number would be 72,000, and for a quota of 50,000 it would be 40,000. Therefore, for a quota of 50,000 relative figures would be 60,000 and 40,000.

I have mentioned for a long time that these figures should be applied as 72,000 for city electorates and 48,000 for country electorates. Honourable members have said that I want votes for rabbits and kangaroos but this has only been to draw attention away from what I am saying. As far as the redistribution of electorates is concerned I coined the phrase ‘decentralisation of political representation’ as the only true means of satisfactory decentralisation of population.

Mr Bryant:

– The people of Mallee could do with a Labor representative.


– Until we get the redistribution to which I have referred people will continue to move away from country areas. The honourable member for Wills has just interjected, but if a proposal were put forward for a factory to be moved from his electorate to the Mallee, his constituents would come to him saying: ‘Do not let it go out of our area. If this industry is taken away from our electorate we will suffer’, and the honourable member for Wills will be the first one to step in and fight for his constituents and try to keep the factory in his electorate. He is entitled to do that as a member of Parliament.

I desire that the Electoral Act be amended to provide for a larger quota of electors in the metropolitan areas and a smaller number elsewhere. At the present time the ratio in this Parliament in favour of metropolitan areas is at least 2 to 1. As a result the city areas get more amenities with a snowballing effect, for the man in the country says: ‘I cannot get jobs for my boys or girls here and my job is a bit shaky owing to the way the population is moving’. He then also moves to the city and when there is a redistribution a little later he and his family of voting age are taken into consideration.

I believe that the decentralisation of political representation is necessary. All the talk about ‘One vote, one value’ is a fallacy. Look at the position in the Senate. Tasmania, which has just under 400,000 people has the same number of representatives in the Senate as New South Wales which has 41 million people. Can any Labor member tell me how that is ‘one vote, one value’?

It has been said by a member of the Labor Party that Labor would abolish the Senate. The Labor Party, however, has had the opportunity but has made no move towards abolishing the Senate.

Why do these questions crop up only at election time? Why are gimmicks in this regard only raised then? I am making these remarks today in the hope that those who will be organising and those who will be attending the conference of the Constitution, which it is said will be held next May, will take some of the points I have raised into consideration. 1 am not against an equal number of senators representing each State. In fact I approve of it. but if it is a fair thing to have equal Senate representation of the States within a nation, surely it is a fair thing to have similar opportunity of House of Representative membership within a State.

Give the metropolitan areas and their fringe area up to say 30 miles from the centre of the cities a certain amount of electorates and give the areas beyond the same number of electorates. Under this system country representation would at least have the opportunity of creating decentralisation.

I understand that most people believe that the Constitution is right in giving all States the same number of senators, but I repeat that it should be right to have the chance of equal House of Representative representation within a State.

I know that the whole foundation of the question of decentralisation is political. Therefore the Electoral Act should be amended and brought up to date to fulfil the requirement of a growing country like Australia.

Mr UREN (Reid) - Mr Deputy Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


-Yes. I will not delay the House for long. I am sure the honourable member for Mallee did not mean to misinterpret me but he said that in my advocacy of decentralisation I said that we should build more houses on the fringes of our cities. What I said, and what I have said consistently, is that there are 2 phases of decentralisation - urban development and regional development. There has to be a quality of living on the fringes of our capital cities. A Labor Government would, on the fringes of our capitals, develop cities similar to the Belconnen and Woden developments. At the same time we would develop cities along the major corridors of development between Sydney and Melbourne. I mentioned also other corridor concepts. I have said that improving the quality of living on the fringes of the capital cities would be done hand in hand with developing cities in the country areas.

Sir WINTON TURNBULL (Mallee)– Mr Deputy Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes, but not deliberately. I appreciate the honourable member for Reid saying that I did not misrepresent him deliberately. I dealt only with the first part of what he said. I did not deal with the second part. I listened to him on the radio and he advocated strongly the building of homes on the fringes of metropolitan areas. The reason he gave is in my mind. It was that workers would not have to travel such long distances as they would have to travel if they lived at, say, Sunbury outside Melbourne or somewhere like that. The other part of the story I did not tell. He has told it now.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The only thing we are concerned about is a misrepresentation that may have occurred in the Parliament this morning, not what occurred on a radio session.


- Mr Deputy Chairman, I too wish to make a personal explanation.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


– Yes. The honourable member for Mallee misrepresented me too. During the course of his oration he said I would raise objections to factories in my electorate being moved out. He might recall that in the debate on the Commonwealth Clothing Factory, which was moved into my electorate, I suggested that it should not be moved there. The last thing we want to do is to crowd more people into my electorate. I can understand them coming there; they want good representation in this place. 1 have never tried to operate in the way the honourable member has suggested.


– Forrest Place, Perth, will be known by many members of this place who have spoken at the distinctive lunch hour open air meetings which are held there during every election campaign. Along the entire eastern boundary of Forrest Place is Padbury Building, a structure built on Commonwealth land in 1925 under a 50-year land lease which expires in less than 3 years - on 6th May 1975, to be exact. It was most disturbing to read Press reports in March this year to the effect that Padbury Building was to be demolished and its site redeveloped for the Postmaster-General’s Department. Those reports were subsequently confirmed by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) on 16th May in reply to my question on notice No. 5605, though I regret to say that a request to the PostmasterGeneral (Sir Alan Hulme) 3 months ago for some detail on the matter has still not produced a substantive reply. Given that delay, I think the least I am entitled to suggest is that whatever use the Postmaster-General envisages for this area can hardly be an urgent one.

There is no doubt that Padbury Building should be demolished. It is old, undistinguished architecturally, and both uneconomic and inappropriate for the central site it occupies. The question, therefore is not whether the building should go but what should replace it. I urge on the Parliament the view that it should be replaced by nothing in a structural sense, that is, that it should be made available for public open space. As the Minister is aware, there is a long standing proposal to sink Perth railway station, which constitutes the northern boundary of Forrest Place, and to devote most of the land released by that project to a reserve for parks and gardens. After years of delay by previous governments, the present Western Australian Government is now proceeding with plans for that railway sinking and has sought the assistance of the Commonwealth to finance the project. In the overall plan of the area, however, it has always been envisaged that Padbury Building would be demolished and its land incorporated into Forrest Place to provide a plaza and assembly place for public purposes. This, in turn would blend with and create an outstanding frontage to the cultural centre which is also being developed in this area, but cut off from the city for the time being by the railway.

To demolish Padbury Building and replace it with another building would be to lose a unique opportunity for civic development. I believe the Commonwealth should avoid that course by making the site available to the State of Western Australia for incorporation into Forrest Place. The effect would be to increase Forrest Place from an area of approximately 3,900 square yards overall to about 6,400 square yards or something a little under half the size of Martin Place, Sydney. Given the respective sizes of the 2 cities, that area for a Perth square would appear to be reasonable. I should point out that the cost to Commonwealth revenue would be negligible as land rental amounts to only $12,520 per annum, and the asset foregone, even if the site were to be gifted to the State, would be only Sl.lm on the Minister’s own valuation. At very least the Commonwealth should offer to sell the site to Western Australia. I have no doubt that such an offer would be readily accepted. But given the proposed use of the area and the relatively small sum involved, a grant would obviously be preferable and more appropriate.

It is inconceivable that any real detriment to the Postmaster-General’s Department could result from such a gesture. If a building is essential in close proximity to the General Post Office in Perth, the Commonwealth should be looking at the property it already owns adjacent to the GPO rather than to Padbury Building, which is opposite. In any event the proposed sinking of the railway and the subsequent spread of the city northward would open up more land for commercial development than could conceivably be used by the year 2000.

Words like ‘environment’, ‘ecology’, ‘conservation’ and ‘quality of life’ are all inwords today. No-one is against the concepts they involve, but too few of us are prepared to face up to their cost. In this respect the present Western Australian Government has set a good, example which is to its credit and which could well be followed by the Commonwealth. Very early in its term of office the Western Australian Government established an environmental protection authority, and the Government has consistently acted on the basis of its recommendations even where, as in the postponement of the Pacminex refinery project, they were in conflict with other basic Government aims. -But in environmental matters, as in all areas where costs are heavy, we will not get anywhere without Commonwealth involvement and commitment. To grant the Padbury Building site for a Perth City square .would be no more than a very small gesture ‘of intention to act in this field. I urge it on the Minister and on the Parliament, however, as a gesture well worth making and one whose benefits in terms of urban aesthetics and public enjoyment would be out of all proportion to the modest cost involved.

Northern Territory

– In speaking to the estimates for this Department I would first like to speak on the matter of constitutional development for the Northern Territory and the ‘transfer of responsibilities to a Northern Territory executive. Currently there are ,2 different policies in the Northern Territory Legislative Council. The Australian Labor Party and its supporters and some independent members are calling for complete self government for the Northern Territory whereas the Government members, and the members of my Party,’ are calling ‘for a stop by step movement towards the Northern Territory running its own affairs. When considering these proposals, the Government, the Legislative Council and the people who elect the members of that Council, must bear in mind that the Government :is putting in approximately $125m which , would have to be administered locally immediately were the Australian Labor Party > policy ‘‘to come into operation. I ask whether the people of the Northern Territory want self govern ment at once. The Government “should set out guidelines and -take clear steps towards a definite target of greater representation by the people of the north, in their own affairs with a view to eventual statehood. The people themselves must be given freedom df expression before this legislation is introduced.

The Government and the Public Works Committee have done a very good job in bringing ahead the sewerage scheme for Tennant Creek, but Tennant Ore& and Alice Springs, as we know, are in dry parts of this continent and have an ‘annual rainfall of about 10 to 12 inches. I would ask the Government to spend more time in seriously trying to plan a recycling of the waters from these schemes for the purpose of growing green belt areas, especially in Tennant Creek which has very strong, almost year round, north-east and southeast winds blowing into the town. A green belt area of trees, grass and shrubs would be of tremendous advantage to this town. I know that work is proceeding with respect to recycling of water but I would urge the Government to redouble the efforts because water is scarce in these parts of Australia. If such water could nol be used immediately for farming areas, which are short of water, it could be used for ovals, green belts and that type of amenity. I ask the Government to look at this aspect.

Yesterday, when the Minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry on tourism (Mr Howson) was in the chamber I referred to tourist assistance. 1 stressed that the Department should look very hard at the overall development of the programme for tourism in the Northern Territory which has many tourist attractions. I instance Ayers Rock, the McDonnell Ranges. Katherine Gorge, the Arnhem Escarpment and other places which are all fabulous areas for people to visit. The tourist operators in these areas are asking not for charity, but for developmental assistance. They have viable business operations in the areas but they cannot expand to cope with the number of overseas and Australian tourists who are flocking into the areas. They do not have the capital. They are quite capable of repaying the money - their businesses will stand it.

In addition to the excellent beef roads scheme which the Government has implemented and under which Katherine will be joined with Kununurra, the Stuart Highway improved and bitumen roads extended towards Wave Hill, 1 would urge the Government to look at the pastoral road programme in order to back up the very good work that has been done with regard to beef roads.

The Department of the Interior has a vote of approximately $142m. The expenditure under the control of the Northern Territory Administration is Si 12.9m, which is an increase of $21. 8m on last year’s figure. I strongly commend the Minister and the Government on their actions in keeping Northern Territory development advancing at a satisfactory rate that is entirely satisfactory. Not included in this $112m is the amount provided for the education and science programme in the Northern Territory. This involves an estimated expenditure of $8.2m which can be added to the $112m. This $8.2m includes provision for 2 new primary and pre-schools in the Darwin area and the construction and completion of various buildings. The Casuarina High School has been allocated $2.2m, the Darwin Community College $4m, Nakara primary school Si. 3m, Bradshaw primary and pre-school $1.3m and the Tennant Creek area school $297,000. I am pleased that the Government has maintained this programme in the Northern Territory. I might mention also that proposed expenditure of $4.4m by the Department of Health is not included in the amount of $1 12.9m, which is to be administered by the Northern Territory Administration. For a new hospital at Casuarina and the redevelopment of the Alice Springs hospital a sum of over $39m has been provided. I hope that these projects go ahead and do not have any setbacks as has sometimes happened in the past. Included in the Northern Territory Administration appropriation, for buildings and works, is a sum of $37m. This is the greatest total that has been allocated so far and it provides for the erection of an Alice Springs power station for $3m, the Katherine sewerage scheme for approximately Sim and other projects such as office blocks, power houses, water supplies for settlements and missions, houses, electrical reticulation schemes in many areas - not only in towns but across the whole Territory at missions and settlements - street lighting, police stations, several 12-bed hospitals at missions and settlements and sewerage systems at some missions and settlements.

In the proposed new works $5m is provided for the enlargement of the Darwin steam power station. Power will be needed for the rapidly developing northern suburbs area of Darwin where the Government is building many houses to which I referred earlier. This power also will be available for areas south from Darwin through the Batchelor area to the township of Adelaide River. Through this area are many farms and small holdings and people living in the country. I commend the Government for its action in this matter.

Australian Capital Territory

– There are many things that one could say and one would like to say about the estimates for the Department of the Interior as they relate to Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. The time allotted of 10 minutes does not permit adequate discussion of all matters, but certain matters stand out. One matter of which the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) is aware is the disaster - if I may call it that - that has occurred in land prices in Canberra in recent years. Another matter is the great shortage of housing here that is reflected in the increase in the waiting period by three or four months in the last 12 months and the increased number on the waiting list for government houses. The number has risen from 5,200 to over 7,000. As my time is limited, with the leave of the Minister for the Interior, who is at the table, 1 would like to shortcut the debating process a little. Many of my views on the land situation are contained in the editorial that appeared in this morning’s issue of the Canberra Times’. It summed up the situation at least as well as I can. 1 ask the Minister for leave to have the editorial incorporated in Hansard.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Cope) - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

page 2395



The anomaly of a boom in land values continues in a city in which, by Act of Parliament, land cannot be ‘sold’. The average price paid for leases offered al the September auctions, $7,514, represents a rise of 23 per cent on the average paid in July and, on the authority of the National Capital Development Commission itself, the average price for residential leases at the end of Surus 1972, was 62 per cent higher than at the end of June 1971. The fundamental cause of the boom is that land in Canberra has now become virtually freehold: the only remaining characteristic of the leasehold system is that the ‘freehold’ is bought for a fixed term of years. Whatever the politicians may say, the business community has had enough acumen to see that the system is ‘in practice equivalent to freehold’ and is acting accordingly.

There are a number of other reasons to explain the rising demand for building land - the light control on the sale of government houses, higher wages, the increased availability of loan money, the movement of young people out of hostels into houses - but the capital fact which many people, including senior public servants and senior politicians, still do not understand is that under genuine leasehold tenure a boom in values of the kind we are witnessing would be an impossibility. The leasehold concept introduced by the founding fathers of the national capital was so designed that land values would not automatically respond in kind to the vagaries of the economic climate or to the speculative pressures of a capitalist-oriented economy. But the system has in effect been destroyed by the administrators of the ACT, first by the introduction of a cash sale price for a lease and subsequently through the abolition of land rent, which is the essential ingredient of leasehold land tenure, and by the imposition of a reserve price.

Perpetual revenue

The belief that a vast increase in the supply of serviced land and the building of greatly increased numbers of government houses would stop values from rising is an illusion. In crude practical, and political, terms the demand for land and houses in Canberra can never be “ satisfied “. During the past 12 months the population of the city grew by more than 13,000 people and the waiting list for government houses has for a long time had more than 7,000 names on it. No political party in government, with the mercenary eyes of six Premiers on it, could dredge up the political will to “ solve “ the housing problems of Canberra. Even a large increase in the number of leases offered at restricted auction for first-time bidders would not greatly affect the prices paid for the more numerous leases sold at unrestricted or group auctions: the prices paid at these auctions are always much higher and thus set the upper limit toward which all market values normally gravitate.

The administrators of the ACT are as much at sea as the people who bid at the auctions or as those who have had their names on the waiting list for government houses for up to three years. As long as true leasehold is not reinstated, a solution that is becoming more difficult every day, any expedience seized by the Government will be no more than a palliative, a plaster on a fatal wound. The fact that the administration still does not know what to do about the renewal of leases when their term expires is conclusive evidence that it has never had a coherent conception of what leasehold means. Had the basic elements of leasehold tenure remained untouched the solution to this problem would be simple: the land rent, adjusted to a realistic economic level throughout the previous tenure, would simply go on. Now the the business community is having nightmares and the absurd proposition that it would pay a lessee to let his property run down in the final years of the lease seems to be the only reasonable attitude to take in the circumstances.

An unprejudiced observer of the Canberra scene could be excused for thinking that the Department of the Interior, abetted by the apathy of politicians whose interests do not go beyond the boundaries of their electorates, are out to destroy the original concept of Canberra as an urban community which has deliberately avoided the sky-rocketing land prices that are strangling the State capitals. The ultimate tragedy of a land tenure system that is falling apart in Canberra is that the model that should have acted as a guide for the planners of new cities in the Commonwealth no longer exists: the ideal of cheap land available to all, whose appreciating value would forever remain the property of the Australian people and yield for them an “ inextinguishable “ revenue, and which would escape the evil influence of the speculator has been sacrificed to expediency, ineptitude, and selfinterest.


– I am indebted to the Minister. I wish now to raise a miscellany of unrelated matters that I think call out for attention in the Australian Capital Territory. The first matter is the almost appalling features that are inherent in the Minister’s answer to my question on notice No. 6162, a matter that I tried to raise at question time this morning. The Minister will recall that I asked him to describe the system used by the Government to auction government land in Canberra. Two firms of auctioneers are employed, but I did not specify 2 firms. I did not know what the system is. I did not know whether it is a regular arrangement. In what I call the appalling answer that came back we are asked to believe that the 2 firms concerned, which exist for the purpose of making a profit for their directors and shareholders, do this work for nothing. We are told that they do it on an honorary basis and presumably there is no contract at all with the Commonwealth. Yet they are paid a flat rate for what are called expenses.

To have a flat rate equated with expenses is inconsistent in itself because expenses vary. One thinks of expenses as covering overnight accommodation, the hiring of halls, newspaper advertisements telephone charges and so on. They vary, and to have a flat rate is inconsistent with covering expenses which vary from time to time. If the Minister in his answer is trying to suggest that in some way the auctioneers are reimbursed for fees they would have earned if they had been spending their time doing ordinary auctioneering or real estate work somewhere else, it is not correct to call the payment expenses. If I as a barrister went somewhere and said that I would work for nothing if my expenses were paid, I would expect to be reimbursed for my overnight accommodation, telephone charges, travelling costs and so on. If I said that I could earn $100 or $1,000 a day doing something else, and I wanted to be paid that amount I would be asking for a fee, and it would be sophistry to call the payment expenses.

There are some other very unsavoury features of the system. Does the Minister know that the 2 firms involved include their understanding - I use the Minister’s word given to me in his answer - in their assessment of their own goodwill? If that is so, what value do they place on the understanding that presumably gives them no reward? There is something terribly strange about that. Does the Minister know that the leading director of one of the 2 firms is president of the local branch or section of the Liberal Party? If appearances mean anything, I suggest that appearances of that sort have to be avoided because they give rise to all sorts of unpleasant - and sometimes proper - inferences.

Last year in Canberra only 10 or 11 auctions of government land were held, at a flat rate of $900 a day. The hire charge of the Albert Hall, the most outstanding expense - it is only about $50 or $60 a day anyway - is paid by the Department of Interior and not by the auctioneers. The costs of advertising in the Canberra Times’ and other newspapers are paid not by the auctioneers but by the Department. What is left that can be called expenses? What, for example, has caused increases in the flat rate of payment which is so inconsistent with the idea of expenses? In 1963 the flat rate rose from $200 a day to $600 a day. It then varied between $500 and $600 a day depending on whether the land auctioned was for residential or commercial use. Why would the expenses differ? The flat rate was then raised to $900, the going rate. In the last 12 months about $20,000 has been paid to these 2 firms in the circumstances I have described. I put it to the Minister that this calls for a serious explanation which should be forthcoming when he replies in this debate.

In the short time left to me I would like to raise some other unrelated matters. In Canberra a Moneylenders Ordinance operates, the existence of which is not widely known even amongst lawyers. One reason that it is not widely known is that proceedings under the ordinance are required to be held in camera, in secret, by the Supreme Court. This is a departure from every principle of justice with which we are familiar. The ordinance provides that proceedings will be held in camera unless a court decides otherwise. Judges have ruled that it is necessary, to avoid incamera proceedings, to show something special about a case, something other than it is a moneylending application. In order to open up a court it is not enough to say that it is an application to prove excessive interest, or that the transaction is harsh and unconscionable, or that the circumstances are such that the court should give relief.

Practising lawyers can tell the Minister that in many cases grave allegations have been proved against corporations that are operating here in Canberra as moneylending corporations and whose transactions were shown to be harsh and unconscionable. But the public has never been told about them because of the operation of the relevant section of the ordinance. I would like the Minister to take all the necessary steps to have that section repealed and taken out of the Moneylenders Ordinance. A similar position applies to another unrelated matter, the law that bans the advertising of contraceptives in the Australian Capital Territory.

The case of L. W. Smith v. McErlane was decided by the High Court as long ago as 1962. It places people who are injured in Canberra, in workers’ compensation situations, at a great disadvantage when compared with people who are injured in workers’ compensation type situations elsewhere in Australia. Judges have protested about it. Magistrates have protested, as I have done, but the Government has done nothing to overcome the effects of that decision handed down by the High Court as long ago as 1962. lt is time that people in the Australian Capital Territory ceased to suffer from this type of discrimination.

Another unrelated matter concerns discount stores. Why cannot a system be worked out that would allow Canberra to have the advantages of discount stores such as are enjoyed by people who live in Sydney and Melbourne? Such stores sell at prices 20 per cent to 30 per cent lower than those of ordinary retail outlets. Yet because of facts with which the Minister is familiar it seems certain that we are not to have in Canberra discount stores that can operate in the way that they traditionally operate. The principal obstacle is the insistence that there be an auction system of land which keeps land prices at a level beyond the normal reach of discount stores.

I come to another unrelated matter in the field of workers’ compensation. The Minister will recall the case of a man called Maljevic to which I referred in one of my questions on notice addressed to the Minister. He was injured and as a result became a paraplegic. That condition results from serious injury. He was awarded $90,000. His employer did not have the necessary insurance because of the failure of the Government to enact legislation making it compulsory for employers to have insurance of that magnitude, notwithstanding the fact that it exists in other parts of Australia. I am aware that legislation has been introduced to raise the level to $50,000, but in the case of Maljevic that would still leave a gap of $40,000. Mr Maljevic has been given employment by the firm concerned and that takes away some of the hardship but it does not alter the fact that this sort of case could recur at any time. A man can be seriously injured when employed by a company which is under-insured because of inadequate action by this Government.

I turn now to consider factories and shops legislation. As long ago as 1970 I asked the Minister when he would introduce factories and shops legislation into the Australian Capital Territory.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.


– In debating the estimates for the Department of the Interior I think immediately of one of the best examples of regional development in the history of this nation. I refer to the city of Canberra. The concept of regional development will provide exciting and stimulating thinking. Our minds boggle and in many ways our imagination is titillated at the thought of precisely how regional development projects will be established in the future. It can be said that Canberra was founded on the raw material of Parliament and a vast civil service. Those were the resources for its development in geographic terms. Once a city founded on the resource or commodity of people reaches a certain stage economic take-off will occur. One would ask: At what number of people in towns such as Canberra do light consumer industries occur?

Honourable members may think of regions that they know better than Canberra, such as Albury-Wodonga, Murray Bridge, Orange and Shepparton, that have been developed regionally for one reason or another. Whether we look at developing nations or at regional development in this country, the important question is: At what point does economic takeoff occur? If an area has X population, at what stage in its journey towards 2X population does economic take-off occur? When do proper, viable industries go into that area? The problem that has applied in departments of economics and in areas in which great work has been done on these projects has been to find out how much of this time can be saved by heavy capital infusions. The 2 variables are: At what stage economic take-off occurs and how quickly that stage can be reached if enough money is infused into that local regional environment.

Sir John Overall will have a most interesting time in the next few months, or however long it might take, looking at projects put to him and instigating other projects himself. In each case the variables that I have discussed - the size and resources of the region and the intention for the region - will concern anyone taking a proper economic look and planning accordingly. One has to know whether in remote areas an industry can be established that is not market oriented. Honourable members will have perceived in recent years the strong trend towards market orientation of newly establishing industries. Sometimes the cost factor of the movement of goods is more important than the cost factor of the movement of raw materials. Instead of being raw material oriented, industries have become established nearer the market source. It is easy for all of us in this Parliament and for members of State parliaments to say that we will build a magnificent concept of a new city, that we will develop a new region, that we will start where there are few people - perhaps 10,000 - and try by capital infusion to turn the area into the sort of environment where people will be most fulfilled and happy in the years to come. That is the easy part.

The hard part is to know where to find jobs for people particularly during the development stages. An example of this is Elizabeth near Adelaide. I was a member of the South Australian Parliament before I came to this Parliament and I remember the argument that raged in South Australia. People said that Playford built Elizabeth too close to Adelaide, that this was not decentralisation, that it could be urban development but it was far too close. It might have been too close for the purists who felt it should have been built on the other side of the hills near Murray Bridge, but it was far enough away for the people who bought houses in the area and who had to travel immense distances to their jobs, even though it was just outside the perimeter of the city of Adelaide. If it had not been for the Greater Port of Adelaide Development Plan at the time, which envisaged reclaiming land for factory purposes which would be fairly close across country to the new satellite town of Elizabeth, people could not have gone to that .-.iea in its early stages, bought land, built houses and gardens and bred their children there because they would have been too far from job opportunities.

The big problem the Government faces and which governments throughout the world face in interior development is purely a matter of whether those matters can be correlated. People cannot just go and live in a house. There is a lot more to do with the internal structure of these projects than is apparent initially. I think that in the years to come the Department of the Interior, acting with the wealth of experience of Sir John Overall who has gained a magnificent reputation for his planning of Canberra, will have to look very closely at many factors included in this type of regional development. I suggest that it must decide what to do about uneconomic industries. There is no doubt that, in the centres of some cities in Australia today, due to altered cost factors and altered distances to markets, industries have become uneconomic. In those areas governments should encourage the reestablishment of those industries. The footloose industries might be used for regional development in the more outlying areas. I use that classic description to refer to industries making such things as ball bearings, cameras and goods with a low cost factor to move but of a high value. They could be established in areas remote from the markets they would aim to supply.

These are just one or two points that must concern all thinking Australians as we aim lo develop newer societies in newer regions. 1 am quite sure that great cooperation is needed. It is no good this Parliament talking about it if the State governments do not agree. There is no use the Slate governments agreeing to it unless local governments in most areas are also encouraged perhaps to bend some of their present laws relating to the establishment of industries so as to make housing a cheap, realistic and attractive proposition. I finish by saying again that I believe that we are facing most exciting times in the future in these regional projects. I hope that the Government and the people generally will give great co-operation to the idea.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

– Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.


– In speaking on these estimates 1 should like to refer to the question of ministerial housing. The Committee no doubt would recall that well over a year ago I raised this matter in the first instance by way of questions and special resolutions in this chamber. As a result, on 13th September 1971 the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) gave an undertaking that the whole question of the policy on ministerial housing would be reviewed and that he would let the public and the Parliament, no doubt, know about it. Nothing else occurred. We heard nothing more until, on 14th September this year - well over a year later - 1 again asked the Prime Minister a question on the subject. I asked him when we were to hear what the new policy would be. I quote his reply from Hansard. He said:

If the honourable gentleman wants me to answer the question, I will refer the matter to my colleague and get him to give an answer in writing to the honourable gentleman.

When, a week later, I still had not had an answer to my question without notice in this chamber, I wrote to the Prime Minister. Accordingly, a statement was made in the House by the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt), who is now sitting at the table, on 26th September outlining the new policy. I agree with the policy. It is one which I advocated when I first raised the matter over a year ago. It is the same policy which 1 advocated in the statement to the Press in the Minister’s own electorate. The policy is to the effect that any Minister who finds it necessary to live in Canberra in order to carry out his duties should be provided with rented accommodation and that he should give up that accommodation on his relinquishing his portfolio or no longer being a member of the Ministry. The Minister said:

The Government has concluded that furnished or unfurnished flat or house accommodation should be made available to Ministers who wish to live in Canberra. But there are 2 new elements. Houses will be occupied by Ministers only while they remain in the Ministry and there will be no right of purchase.

As I say, I agree with that, lt is the same as the proposal I made well over fi year ago, namely, that Ministers should be treated the same as the Prime Minister who, of course, is given the Lodge during his term as Prime Minister and has to vacate it immediately afterwards.

However, there are some angles in this issue which need to be looked at. The fact. are that there are 4 Ministers and former Ministers, including a former Prime Minister, who still have houses bought at bargain rates and who will be able to make a very tidy profit at the expense of the taxpayer. I know that the present Minister for the Interior, when I brought this matter up over a year ago, was in the process of getting a house which was on the best site in the whole of Canberra. He was to get it at the price then prevailing and, of course, in due course would have made a considerable capital gain. When the matter was raised he saw the dangers of accepting the house and to his credit he then withdrew from the arrangements. However, if we look at the background of others in this place we see that the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton), who incidentally was Minister for the Navy at the time - the inference in the past has been that these houses went only to Ministers for the Interior - in January 1962 paid $17,738 for his house. Independent valuations of it now would be about $30,000.

The present Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), purchased a house in December 1964, 2 days before the introduction of new rules which made people in executive houses wait for the time applying to people on the Government’s housing list before being eligible to purchase houses. He paid a deposit on the house, the price of which was $18,910. The value is now $25,000. Of course, at the time he was the Minilster for the Interior. The present Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair), who was then the Minister for Social Services, in December 1966 paid $17,500 for a house that is now valued at $40,000. The present Minister for Shipping and Transport (Mr Nixon) has not made such a great gain. He bought his place under the new system for approximately $32,000. It is now worth $37,000.

The point 1 wish to make is that there needs to be some adjustment in regard to this matter. I agree with the new policy announced by the Minister for the Interior. I think it is a sound and a commonsense policy. I think it is a pity that this type of activity should exist where all Ministers get at the taxpayers’ expense special facilities which are not available to the general public, particularly in a city where there is some housing shortage. That is not a just policy. For these reasons I think that it needs to be adjusted.

Another matter I wish to mention is that of the staff of members. An honourable member is allowed one person to handle all his work. When the member has a reasonably easy electorate to handle this is sufficient. But in the perimeter electorates on the borders of the great cities I believe that as the work grows one female secretary is not sufficient to handle all the work involved. I do not pretend to be Robinson Crusoe in this situation. I know there are many other honourable members in the same position; their offices are absolutely inundated all the time by inquiries and by a mass of work. I make the suggestion that there should be some facility available where at least some junior assistant could be provided in addition to a private secretary in those areas where it is proved by investigation by the Department of the Interior that such assistance is necessary. I am not suggesting that this should be an open slather for every member. I do not suggest it should be provided purely on a member’s own word or behest. But I believe there should be some facility available when it is shown quite clearly and proved beyond doubt that such assistance is necessary. The assistance should then be given in the interests of the people who we, as members of this Parliament, represent and so that we can give an adequate and full service to those electors.


– I want to speak briefly on the matters raised by the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) regarding constitutional reform in the Northern Territory and to refute his claim that the Labor Party has stated that the Northern Territory should have self-government immediately. He did not elaborate on it and tell us who in the Labor Party said that or whether it was said in the Northern Territory or in Canberra, but to the best of my knowledge this has never been said by any member of the Labor Party. I have made it very clear over the years - and I used to speak a lot on the Northern Territory - that I believe there should be an accelerated programme of constitutional reform for the Nothern Territory and that that constitutional reform should proceed step by step in an orderly manner. But I have criticised, and I still criticise, the Government for the fact that although it has been in power for 23 years we still have not a plan, or an announced plan, for a programme which will progressively lead up to self-government for the Northern Territory.

On 3rd November 1971 I made the following statement in the House:

What is needed is a progressive step by step plan. This is a prerequisite to political development in the Northern Territory.

This is the Australian Labor Party’s policy. The honourable member for the Northern Territory said that we were demanding self-government for the Northern Territory immediately. This is not Labor’s policy. We want a step by step progressive and accelerated policy for the constitutional reform of the Northern Territory. This would occur in the following manner. Our policy is for a fully elected Legislative Council in the Northern Territory. Such an objective will not and could not be achieved overnight. The present members of the Legislative Council realise this.

However, it could be achieved quickly. A fully elected Legislative Council could consist initially of, say, IS or 16 members of which the non-elected members would perhaps be no more than 2 in number. The Legislative Council would need the Crown Law Officer, a man familiar with the laws in the Northern Territory, and perhaps the Assistant Administrator who is concerned with relationships between Canberra and the Northern Territory Administration. That balance would be needed until the various functions were progressively handed over.

In the first instance it is axiomatic that there are certain powers which could be and are being given to the Legislative Council, I refer to powers relating to such organisations as the police force and prisons. The need to hand over such powers is self-explanatory. The second type of power which can be phased in would of course be powers relating to statutory boards, sewerage, water, power, fisheries, motor vehicles, cold stores, wildlife, parks. The handing over of these powers would follow as a natural progression. The two dicey areas, of course, are lands and minerals and. of course, treasury-like functions. The Government, of course, will hang on to lands and minerals for as long as it can. We have seen what has happened in northern Australia during the years that the Government has been in power. The Government would not want the people of the Northern Territory to control the lands and minerals of the Northern Territory. I believe that this will be the thing that will be given to the Legislative Council in terms of absolute power. But such a change must come over time. The same thing will happen in regard to treasury-like functions. Therefore in the end there will be a step towards self-government.

The Commonwealth Government in time will create a Northern Territory Legislative Council, or whatever we like to call it, capable of self-government, with a Cabinet consisting of Northern Territory ministers who will handle the functions 1 have mentioned, namely statutory boards or police and prison-like functions, matters dealing with land and minerals and lastly the delicate matter of Commonwealth-State financial relationships. This type of development surely is no different from the way

Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland grew to a state of self-government. The Commonwealth of Australia as a nation gave assistance to those States. I can see no reason why in the immediate future the Northern Territory should not go ahead step by step towards selfgovernment.

Mr Hunt:

– Executive power over Statelike functions.


– Executive power over State-like functions but gradually then leading into full self-government of the Northern Territory.

I will again go over the 4 steps that I see will take place as 1 see them. Firstly I refer to what is happening now with respect to obvious matters such as police and prisons. Secondly the Legislative Council will have complete control over statutory boards. Thirdly, and most importantly, it will take control of lands and minerals. Then it will take over the treasury-like functions and Commonwealth-State relationships. Honourable members may ask me whether the Legislative Council should take over responsibility for Aborigines. My answer to that question is that I do not know. As one who lives amongst Aborigines frankly I do not know what the best policy is. I do not know whether the Northern Territory itself should handle Aboriginal welfare or whether this should be a national responsibility handled directly by the Federal Government. I know that this question is open to argument among members from both sides of the House. The honourable member for the Northern Territory would have his own views as to whether self-government for the Northern Territory should in fact include complete control over the Aborigines who live in the Northern Territory.

My own personal view would be that the Commonwealth should have control at all times over the future welfare of these people. I would like to see this happen in Queensland and in all States of the Commonwealth because I believe that this would be the best way in which the welfare of Aborigines would be looked after from a national point of view. This would be preferable to having a proliferation of State and local government laws in regard to Aborigines. However, as I hav * said, 1 do not really know what should be done. I am not qualified to speak on that subject, but from mixing with Aborigines and having lived with them over the years I do know some of their problems and I think this is a national responsibility.

That is all I want to say on this matter. I just wanted to make it clear to the honourable member for the Northern Territory, who is now in the chamber, what is the Labor Party’s policy in regard to selfgovernment of the Northern Territory. I wanted to refute the statement he made that the Australian Labor Party wants selfgovernment now. I have never said this. The honourable member can read in Hansard what I have said. Also if he likes, he can read what 1 have said in the Northern Territory papers. I hope that all members of the Australian Labor Party are saying what 1 have just put to the chamber - that what we want is a much faster appreciation of the need for progress in the Northern Territory towards constitutional reform. I believe in the next 3 years, and no longer, irrespective of what government is in power, a plan should be put forward to the Northern Territory people which will outline step by step the Northern Territory’s progress towards self-government. This plan would outline the points that I made regarding the various powers that the Northern Territory Legislative Council would take over, which would lead to a Northern Territory cabinet, whatever one likes to call it, and under-secretaries who would be the equivalent of Ministers, until full self-government is given to the Northern Territory. When this stage is reached the Northern Territory will, of course, have to rely on Commonwealth assistance just the same as the States of Australia today rely on Commonwealth assistance, and will do so for a long time to come.

Mr Hurford:

– Like Papua New Guinea.


– Yes, like Papua New Guinea, for example. If this Government had done half as much for the Northern Territory as it has done for Papua New Guinea constitutional reform in the Northern Territory would be much more advanced than it is at the moment.

I have spoken in this debate to make the record clear. I am sorry that the honourable member for the Northern Territory was not in the chamber to hear the start of my speech. I want to make it perfectly clear that I fully endorse the need for greater constitutional reform in the Northern Territory but this should be achieved step by step, taking into account the problems which the people of the Northern Territory appreciate and understand, and then leading progressively to selfgovernment. In the next 3 years, irrespective of what government is in power, the government should sit down with the people of the Northern Territory and announce a plan for self-government. Lastly, I believe that we should give the people of the Northern Territory a vote in the Senate. They had it up to 1911. Why should they be denied, as are the people of the Australian Capital Territory, a vote in the Senate? After all, they are Australians, and the people of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are fully entitled to take their place in constitutional government. They are not second class citizens as this Government apparently states they are. They have the same rights as the rest of the people of Australia. We have a vote in the Senate with the exception of the honourable member for the Northern Territory. Why should not the people of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have a vote?

Mr Calder:

– I would like to make a personal explanation under section 66 of Standing Orders.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Corbett) - Order! Does the honourable gentleman desire to make a personal explanation?

Mr Calder:

– J rise under standing order 66. I believe that 1 should explain myself in regard to some material in my speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood. I have not received the green copy of my speech from Hansard but I can say that I was referring to members of the Legislative Council in the Northern Territory and their supporters and, I think, T said some independents. The members I meant were the members of the Legislative Council in the Northern Territory. These members have stated the views I outlined to the House before today. I was not referring to members of the Australian Labor Party here in Canberra. I was outlining the policy of members of the Legislative Council in the Northern Territory.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– In speaking to the Estimates for the Department of the Interior I wish to refer to a number of speeches which I have made and questions which I have raised in this House. Because the present Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) was only recently appointed to this portfolio I would hope that he will take some note of what I am about to say about things which happened in the past of which he is probably unaware. It is time that he became acquainted with some of the realities of the manner in which the electoral system is being exploited. I refer to page 1503 of Hansard of 28th September 1967. I hope that the Minister will take down these references and read them later. I refer him to a question I asked in this House on 3rd October 1967 which appears at page 1561 of Hansard and to a question which I asked on 15th October 1968 which appears at page 1915. I refer also to a speech I made on 28th November 1968 which commences at page 3485 of Hansard.

The subject I referred to on those occasions was postal voting. I believed with the faith that only a recently arrived member of the House of Representatives could command that something would be done after the Government’s attention had been drawn to what was going on, particularly in the State of Queensland. At that time I pointed out to the House the manner in which the postal voting system was being played with in Queensland and the manner in which the system was being exploited. I would say it is still being exploited to an extent which would command the respect even of Al Capone because he himself is credited with having had an interest in various election results during his day. The facts of life are that we as a government have done absolutely nothing over the years to come to grips with this problem to eliminate the malpractices which have continued throughout Australia and more particularly within the State of Queensland. I draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that in the election of 1966 on which I did a lot of work, postal votes represented 2.4 per cent of the total number of votes cast. In Queensland, postal votes represented well over 3.5 per cent. In these days when people await so eagerly the results of various polls which are conducted amongst the population and look for a 0.5 per cent swing or a 1 per cent swing one way or the other it is obvious that the percentages I have cited are significant.

We do not allow a political party representative to follow a voter into a polling booth on election day to see how he votes or to take his ballot paper and fill it in for him.

Mr Foster:

– They do in the Northern Territory.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– If the honourable member for Sturt wanted to open up his heart I bet that he could rewrite the books on how to rig ballot papers.

Mr Foster:

– Ask Steele Hall in Adelaide about that one.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– Listen to him.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- Order! The House will come to order, f ask the honourable member for Griffith to keep to the subject under discussion.

Mr Donald Cameron:

– I was sidetracked, unfortunately. 1 was about to say that we do not even allow a political party representative to wear the badge of his Party when he is anywhere near a polling booth yet we continue to allow political party representatives to march into the homes of the ill and the aged and to take from those people, by gentle persuasion or other methods, their ballot papers and fill them in. 1 have said all of this some years ago and at the time I first raised (his matter in my original speech when I first came to this House I did so with eyes wide open and I was filled with hope. These were the words at the opening of my speech in 1967:

I believe that each and every person sees something unsavoury in the world in which he lives which impels him to make a private vow that if he ever is in a position to correct the situation he will do his best in (hat endeavour. I have now found myself in the position to make a contribution to my electors in the Brisbane electorate of Griffith to the electors of Queensland, to the electors of Australia and to the cause of democracy by directing the attention of the Committee to a situation which I believe needs a complete overhaul.

I see that the Minister has turned around and appears to be contemplating the remarks which I made at that time. I hope that history will record this Minister, because his predecessors have failed, as having done something about cleaning up the Australian electoral system. How can any of us in this place make comments about Vietnam and other South East Asian countries being undemocratic because their polling systems are open to outside direction when we in this country have an electoral system which is open to exactly the same thing. If Australia pretends to stand up as an example of a true democratic country with an honest electoral system then we owe it to ourselves to do something about it. 1 know that the Minister will say that at the beginning of 1971 an electoral BUI was introduced and that it still has not gone through. But the amendments contained in that Bill are not satisfactory. They are totally inadequate to eliminate the malpractices which exist. I hope that I will be in this place after the next general election. 1 do not really need to hope that because J am sure that I shall be here. But I give notice now that if something is not done very shortly I will continue a campaign which will make it unpleasant for anyone who may be the Minister for the Interior. I owe it not only to myself but also to electors throughout Australia to do something because as 1 see the system, to use the words I used in 1968, it is on the nose and if Australia is to hold its head high it will need a complete overhaul. As far as I am concerned, 5 years’ notice is long enough for anybody.


– In speaking to the estimates for the Department of the Interior I want first of all to draw the attention of the Committee to the proposed expenditure for the Northern Territory. I support the remarks made by the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) which refute any claim there may be anywhere that the Australian Labor Party was suggesting that there could be immediate self-government for the Northern Territory. I know that by way of explanation, after the conclusion of the speech of the honourable member for Dawson, the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) said that he had not been referring to Australian Labor Party policy generally but to views apparently, as he sees them, of elected Labor Party members in the Legislative Council of the Northern Territory. Let me name them. There is Mr Dick Ward, M.L.C., Mr Bell, M.L.C., and Mr Eric Marks, M.L.C. I know them well.

As the honourable member for the Northern Territory would know, we do not have in this House a Labor Party member representing the Northern Territory. He is the one elected member for the Northern Territory in this chamber and he is a member of the Australian Country Party. Consequently, as Adelaide is a good place from which to visit the Northern Territory 1 have visited the Territory quite often.

I remember also very clearly the occasion on which a delegation from the Legislative Council came to this Parliament in order to negotiate with the Minister for the interior in relation to future constitutional development in that Territory. I have before me a cutting from the Northern Territory News’ which contains an article written by Kim Lockwood in Darwin. The article is headed: ‘N.T. seeking more powers’. This article shows clearly that the delegation generally was setting out, I presume for negotiating reasons, on an extreme course. The demands made were, among other things, for a fully elected Legislative Council; ministerial responsibility and control over the executive and budgetary functions of government; an end to the Federal Government’s veto powers over Northern Territory legislation; Senate representation for the Territory; and a vote for Territorians in Commonwealth referendums. That apparently was the case put forward by all of the members of the Legislative Council who came here. 1 remember that Dr Goff Letts was one of the members of that delegation.

Admittedly I am only quoting from a newspaper article in relation to these matters, and I will admit that these demands were merely to put the delegation in a negotiating position. Every honourable member in this place who has done any negotiating will know that if one hopes to achieve anything one does not start off with the position which one hopes to achieve; one starts off with an extreme position. As far as I can see and as far as I can remember, at the meeting that Mr Dick Ward, who was the Labor Party member of that delegation, had with a group of interested members of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party in this Parliament House at that time, ki no way was he advocating immediate self government for the Northern Territory. I know that this would be an extremely unpopular move in many quarters in the Territory.

One of the people who has been most vocal, and with good reason, has been the President of the Public Service Association in the Territory. It would seem to me that whatever was decided, the people of the Northern Territory should be given an opportunity to voice their opinions because, for instance, many public servants in the Northern Territory who are seconded there from Canberra would feel that if such changes were made as those that were suggested by the honourable member for the Northern Territory they would be bound to stay in the Territory; they would become public servants of the Northern Territory, and indeed it is not their idea to stay in the Northern Territory for that space of time.

What we are advocating is similar development to that which has taken place in Papua New Guinea - organised transfer of powers. What we are suggesting is that the next Legislative Council elections, which are due in 1974, should be the time at which the next stage of this orderly transfer takes place. After all the last changes took place in 1968, which is some years ago. With the development in Darwin, Gove and other parts of the Territory, 1974 will not be too soon for the next stage of this orderly transfer to take place.

A matter which is much closer to my heart than even that constitutional change is the matter of greater autonomy within the Public Service in the Northern Territory to allow more decision making to take place in the Territory. When I talk about the Territory I do not want to suggest that the people of Alice Springs will be happy with a situation in which all the decision making takes place in Darwin. When we cut the Gordian knot which exists at the moment between the public servants in Canberra who are interested in Territorian affairs and the Territory itself, we must make sure that decisions relating to Alice Springs are made to the greatest possible extent in Alice Springs. Where there is a will there is a way. The changes were made very satisfactorily in Papua New Guinea after the visit to that part of the world by the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) when he was Prime Minister. One of the great problems in Papua New Guinea before he went there was that so much decision making was being done here in Canberra, A great deal of this decision making could have been done in Papua New Guinea - in Port Moresby. The right honourable member for Higgins cut that Gordian knot. I suggest that he did so because of the stimulus created by a visit by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) a few months earlier, but it was done and I give him credit for doing so.. There is no reason why similar steps should not be taken in relation to the Northern Territory, and when they are taken let us hope we give the people of Alice Springs some autonomy in their decision making.

Another matter concerned with the estimates for the Department of the Interior that I would like to raise relates to transport costs in the Northern Territory. I am disappointed that in looking through the estimates I can see no appropriation for a thorough inquiry into the transport problems of the Northern Territory. My colleagues in the Australian Labor Party and I look upon transport costs as one of the tremendous difficulties that have to be sustained by the people who live in that part of Australia. There must be greater rationalisation between transport by sea, transport by rail, transport by road and transport by air to the Territory. At the present time there is tremendous wastage. We find goods going to the Northern Territory by, say, rail and road but, as we know, there is no railway line between Alice Springs and Larrimah as yet. Goods are being sent to the Territory by, those means and trucks are coming back empty. But there are other forms of transport. We find that in the case of road transport which is used to carry goods from the Territory to other parts of Australia, the lorries return empty. This is one case in which a little planning would make a tremendous amount of difference and, indeed, transport costs could be saved. We are living in the age of the computer. In this age we should be able to find answers to this problem of the tremendous freight costs in that part of Australia. I know that the Government has put some money aside in this present Budget to update the railway line between Port Augusta and Alice Springs, but at the moment there are no plans for further railway development. At this stage we do not know whether this development ought to be carried out because an inquiry to determine this, which in my view is necessary, has not taken place.

One further matter that I would like to raise is in relation to education in the Territory. At the moment education facilities in the Territory are divided. Education on the settlements and missions is in ‘.he hands of a section of the Department of the Interior. Education of the children in the main centres is the responsibility of the Department of Education and Science. I believe that most responsible people interested in education in the Territory recognise that today it would be far better organised if it were to be placed in the hands of the Department of Education and Science. 1 hope that attention is being given to this matter. If the present Government survives the forthcoming election 1 hope that we might have the announcement in this regard. I can promise that a great deal of attention will be given to this matter by honourable members on this side of the Parliament when a Federal Labor government comes into power later this year, as we confidently expect that it will


-(Mr Locock) - Order! The honourable member’s time has expired.

Minister for the Interior · Gwydir · CP

– 1 thank honourable members on both sides of the House for the contributions they have made in the debate on the estimates for the Department of the Interior, i want to make some comments upon the various observations that have been made by a number of honourable members. Firstly, the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) condemned the Government for referring to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works a proposal for a S-stage Commonwealth office project to house 15,000 public servants in the central Sydney area and also for referring to the Public Works Committee a proposal to build a major Commonwealth office block in Melbourne. I think it is essential to realise that in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney the Government and the community does have a requirement for the location of a great number of public servants in the central metropolitan areas. We have been paying very high rentals to developers in Sydney for office space. In fact, we have been paying well over $5 a foot. I think I should make the point very clear for the sake of the record that the rental equivalent of stage 1 of the Woolloomooloo offices, if built by the Commonwealth, would be about $3.65 a square foot per annum, which compares more than favourably with the rental now being paid for office space in the city of Sydney area and North Sydney of about $5.50-plus a square foot per annum. That is an average figure I have given. On present indications the level of rental might be expected to be about $6.50 a square foot per annum or more by the time the first stage of the Woolloomooloo offices would have been ready for occupation if the proposed construction had been approved.

As I said a moment ago we are going to have a continuing need for the location of public servants in central city areas. The Commonwealth felt it had an obligation to try and provide the most economic facility for this purpose. Undoubtedly, unless the Commonwealth Government does proceed ultimately with the construction of its own facilities in the central Sydney area, it is at some stage going to be at the mercy of the developers in that region. The honourable member for Reid has crowed somewhat over the rejection of the proposal by the Public Works Committee. I admit that there is a case for the location of a great number of those public servants who would have been housed at Woolloomooloo in other areas of Sydney. This possibility has been studied by the Government, lt is still being considered at the present time. Indeed, we have been carrying out a survey in the Parramatta area to ascertain whether we could accommodate a greater number there in the future. 1 do not argue against the wisdom of locating a great number of public servants in certain appropriate regional centres throughout the country. I do not believe for a moment that central office staff can be put in those regional centres. But there are certainly elements of the Commonwealth Public Service that can be located in areas other than the major metropolitan regions. The State Planning Authority of New South Wales was mentioned with respect to the Public Works Committee hearing. In evidence it gave in Sydney the State Planning Authority strongly favoured the early stages of development of a Commonwealth office project. I think it is very important to bear that factor in mind.

The honourable member for Perth (Mr Berinson) raised a point regarding the Padbury Building. As he so rightly said, the matter he raised comes principally within the area of responsibility of my colleague the Postmaster-General (Sir Alan Hulme). 1 will certainly convey the points that the honourable member for Perth made to the Postmaster-General. The honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder) referred to the use of recycled water, particularly at Tennant Creek, in a tree planting programme to help provide a windbreak for the people living in the area. He rightly said that the Administration has been studying this possibility, particularly with respect to the Alice Springs area. I think the idea has a tremendous amount of merit to it. I believe the Government should - I hope it will - spend a lot more money in the future on research into the recycling of water, particularly in arid areas. There is no doubt but that, with proper windbreaks, the living conditions of people in remote areas could be improved.

The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby) drew attention to the rapidly increasing land prices in Canberra. He made some reference to the shortage of housing that has resulted from, in particular, the rapid increase in the population, which has risen this year by over 13,000. There is a waiting list for homes in Canberra of, I think, about 7,000 people at the present time. The Government has endeavoured to try to overcome the problem by increasing the availability of land turnoff. In spite of that, it is true to say that there was an increase of 25 per cent in land prices in the last September sales. Last year we offered 2,300 blocks. This year we plan to turn efi 3,100 blocks, which represents a substantial increase. Prices averaged out at about

$3,500 for restricted blocks and $7,500 for unrestricted blocks at the last auctions. There is undoubtedly an unprecedented demand for land and housing in the Australian Capital Territory. But I do want to make the point clear that the waiting time at present for a Government house in the Australian Capital Territory of 35 months is less than it was 10 years ago. In 1961. 1962 and 1963 the waiting time was 37 months. The construction of Government homes during the last 10 years had been maintained at a rate designed to keep the waiting time under 3 years. That compares more than favourably with the waiting times for houses generally in other parts of the Commonwealth, especially when it is taken into account that the Government housing list in Canberra has been open to all comers without any means test being imposed.

The Government has also provided greatly increased amounts of money for direct housing loans in the Australian Capital Territory through building societies and the Commissioner for Housing loan scheme. The financial allocations have risen from $6,303,000 in 1967 to $14,530,000 in 1972. In the estimates now before the Committee provision is made for an allocation of $20m. Mr Chairman, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table with respect to Government rental housing in the Australian Capital Territory and a table with respect to the Government’s housing programme for the Australian Capital Territory.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock:

– Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows) -

1972-73 Estimates- 796 houses and 104 family flats- Total cost $9,500,000 - Producing a house waiting time of 36 to 40 months (depending on changes in policy affecting sales conditions) - The supply of serviced building blocks would not permit of a greater construction programme of Government homes without lowering the supply (and increasing the price) of private residential blocks. - Estimate does not make specific provision for SO houses for compulsory transferees.


Housing Quarterly' published by the Department of Housing reported (quarter ended December 1971) that the number and value of loans approved by savings banks increased considerably and most were able to meet demand by eligible applicants. 663 loans valued at $6,900,000 were approved in 1971 compared with 470 loans valued at$4,100,000 in 1970. {: .speaker-GH4} ##### Mr HUNT: -- In its annual report the National Capital Development Commission made reference to the very big problem that we are facing in the Australian Capital Territory of trying to provide sufficient land at reasonable prices to those seeking land for a home. At page 30 of its annual report the NCDC stated: >One change which appears tobe significant is that young people have moved from hostels to share flats and houses. About 44 per cent of private flats are occupied by single people alone or sharing. This movement appears to have been stimulated by a rise in hostel tariffs and an increase in wages in late 1970 and early 1971. > >Another factor could be the steady increase in the rate of marriages in Canberra leading to a more rapid increase in the number of households. Consequently there has been an unexpected increase in the demand for residential blocks for detached houses. > >The strong downward movement of the indicator shows that, in total, blocks are passing from auction to occupation in much shorter periods than has applied, and shorter than is desirable for moderate prices. Although instances no doubt occur it is clear that witholding blocks for speculative purposes has noi been a significant factor in the general rise in prices. The major factor is continuing strong demand. > >The situation outlined illustrates the problems of providing for urban development with sufficient reserve capacity to meet unpredictable changes in development markets, while complying with need for balanced development. The Commission went on to indicate what actions it intends to take to try and overcome the problem. It has been a matter of some concern to me to see prices of land escalate to the degree that they have, but there is a very strong underlying demand. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory also drew attention to a question he raised some time ago with respect to the 2 auctioneers whom the Department of the Interior engages to auction blocks at the various land sales. They are L. J. Hooker Ltd and R. A. McKillop and Co. Pty Ltd. They act in conjunction as honorary auctioneers on the understanding that their expenses are met by the Department of the Interior. The agreed expenses are calculated on a rate per day basis as reviewed periodically. The payments made to the auctioneers do not relate to the value of the properties sold. Arrangements for the conduct of auctions are reviewed from time to time according to requirements. The number of auctions has increased very substantially in recent times as the turnoff of service land has grown. The Department of the Interior is currently reviewing the present system. Until recently it would not have been economic, and it still may not be, to employ our own qualified auctioneer and staff. The auctioneers presently engaged provide a staff of about 13, including a principal and an assistant auctioneer. They collect the money paid and account to the Department of the Interior for it. The fee of $900 a day paid to the auctioneers was assessed after having regard to the auctioneers quotations of their costs. The rate of expenses has been reassessed on the basis of the auctioneers time, the staff engaged in the auction hall and the preparation of accounts received. Beyond that I do not think it is fair to say that there is anything sinister about the present practice. It has been a long standing practice but the Department is currently reviewing this matter. The honourable member for Griffith **(Mr Donald Cameron)** has also brought to the attention of the Committee a question that he has raised on a great number of occasions, namely, infringements of laws relating to postal voting. It is true, as can be seen from the representations that he has made over the years, that he has worked hard to try to have the present law amended. I have noted from the statistics at pages 1S03-S in Hansard of 28th September 1 967 that the extent of postal voting in Queensland is much higher than in other States. I am concerned that some overenthusiastic party workers of various political parties appear to have stepped outside the law in seeking postal vote applications but it is difficult to get sufficient evidence to prosecute. It is an offence to persuade or induce an elector to make an application for a postal vote. If the honourable member for Griffith or any other members have any evidence of any infringement of this law, they should refer it to the Chief Electoral Officer and appropriate action will be taken against any offenders. A Bill that I introduced into the Parliament last year, which still has not been dealt with, provides for the establishment of mobile polling pools at hospitals. This, of course to some extent will reduce the need for postal vote applications, but I grant that efforts must be made to amend the law. Having read the various speeches he has made on the issue, I think the honourable member for Griffith gives powerful enough reasons why we should take some action. The honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** spoke of the need for constitutional advancement in the Northern Territory. As he knows, a joint study group of elected members of the Legislative Council and various senior officials of respective Commonwealth Government departments has been formed. That study group concluded its discussions late last year and there was a meeting between 5 Ministers and 5 elected representatives of the Legislative Council on 3rd March this year. A joint Press statement was issued by **Mr Tony** Greatorex, the President of the Council, and myself after that meeting. The Council has since responded to the discussions that have taken place both at the ministerial level and at the joint study group level. The Government is nearing completion of its considerations, and I hope that a step will be made towards an advancement in this area in the not too distant future. The 1972-73 Budget reflects a continuing expansion of the activities of the Department of the Interior in the Australian Capital Territory, in the Northern Territory and in its other fields of responsibility. In the time available to me I wish to make a few remarks about the Northern Territory. Expenditure by or on behalf of the Department of the Interior in the Northern Territory is estimated at almost $I13m, an increase of about $22m or 24 per cent on expenditure in 1971-72. This dramatic increase reflects 3 main things. The first is the Government's new policies and expanded programmes for Aboriginal advancement. In this year's Budget we have allocated in excess of $24m to help advance the Aboriginal people. This is a substantial increase on last year's allocation. The other factors are the expansion of economic and general community services to cope with the rapidly growing population, and large scale new investment, particularly in the mining industry. I think these moves are due principally to the hard working and good representative that we have from the Northern Territory, who never ceases to put a very sound case for advancement in the Territory. Let me speak about the growth of the Territory and the Government's new measures to cater for this growth and to stimulate development. The population of the main centres of the Territory has been growing at the exceptionally high rate of about 12 per cent a year. Indeed Darwin is today the fastest growing city in Australia. The Government has approved new works valued at $94m over the last 5 years to provide serviced land, housing, elec tricity, sewerage, water supplies and other services. The 1972-73 civil works programme for the Department of the Interior includes new works valued at more than S24m for those basic services. The honourable member for Adelaide **(Mr Hurford)** made some reference to the need for rationalisation of or research in the field of transport. I fully agree, and I am sure the honourable member for the Northern Territory would agree, that the question of transport costs is one of the biggest problems facing the residents and people of central Australia. In the field of transport 2 developments of major significance for the future are the provision of S3. 4m for the commencement of the new standard gauge railway from Tarcoola to Alice Springs, which is estimated to cost a total of $54m, and the allocation in the works programme of $835,000 for the sealing of a further section of the Stuart Highway south of Alice Springs. The total estimated cost of sealing the highway from Alice Springs to Erldunda is $3. 4m. We have seen enormous growth in mining in the Northern Territory. We have now what appears to be a uranium province of world significance in Arnhem Land in the East Alligator River area. The tourist industry in the Territory is growing at about 15 per cent per annum. The Government is at present considering various proposals for the provision of additional facilities and services for visitors, who last year numbered 1 15,000. In all areas of development the Government is giving special attention to the environmental factors in the Territory. A major environmental fact-finding study of the Alligator River area is now under way. In depth and scope this is probably the most advanced study of this kind ever undertaken in Australia. It has been financed equally by the Commonwealth Government and the mining industry. Its controlling body contains representatives of government, the mining industry and the Australian Conservation Foundation. Detailed studies are being done on the ecological as well as social and economic aspects of possible future tourist development and conservation in the Ayers Rock area. I stress that the Government is not pressing development for development's sake or simply because it may be economic. In considering development proposals the Government's aim is to achieve a balance between all the relevant factors, and it is paying careful attention to social and environmental aspects. I know that the honourable member for the Northern Territory has been most anxious to ensure that these aspects be taken into consideration in any development. Once again 1 thank those honourable members who have contributed to this debate and who have brought to me and my Department certain aspects relating to the estimates that the Committee is considering. {: #subdebate-31-0-s9 .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER:
STURT, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I want to refer to one or two matters relative to the estimates for the Department of the Interior. Earlier today mention was made of a report relating to a Commonwealth block in Tasmania. I have risen before in this chamber to speak of the construction of Commonwealth offices in Adelaide. I would appreciate it if the Minister for the Interior **(Mr Hunt)** would listen or the Leader of the House **(Mr Chipp)** would let him listen. As 1 said, I have previously referred to the construction of Commonwealth offices not necessarily in Adelaide but at least in suburban Adelaide. For how much longer is the Australian tax payer to be required to pay rental for Commonwealth accommodation to wealthy insurance companies? The AMP building in Adelaide consists of 16 floors. Commonwealth officers occupy in excess of 10 floors, including the whole of the 15th floor. The rental for this accommodation is being paid by the Commonwealth Government from the pockets of the Australian taxpayers. The amount being paid will probably meet the whole cost of this building within a period of 5 years. For a number of years officers of the Department of the Interior have been accommodated in Da Costa building in Gawler Place in Adelaide and with other Commonwealth departments probably has already contributed to the full cost of construction of that building, again from the taxpayers' pockets. The Department of the Interior now intends to move from that building. Apparently Da Costa building is out of the red so the Department will now move into a new building on the corner of King William and Grenfell Streets in Adelaide. This building was constructed in the last 12 months by the Investment and Merchant Finance Corporation Ltd, a merchant banking organisation. Why are other Commonwealth departments being transferred from quite modern and adequate buildings into new buildings? Almost every insurance company in Adelaide is benefiting from such transfers. Why does the Department of the Interior continue to refuse to recognise the need in South Australia for a Commonwealth office block? Why do the Department of the Treasury and the Taxation Office remain in the 'Advertiser' building in Adelaide paying exorbitant rents to a wealthy South Australian combine? Noone can suggest to me that the Adelaide Advertiser' or the Bonython family are going to the wall or are on the rocks. Let us consider some of the rentals that the Commonwealth Government is paying in Adelaide. The Department of Immigration occupies an old and almost dilapidated building opposite the Adelaide railway marshalling yards. This building is not quite opposite the Adelaide railway station platform area. According to an answer to a question asked in the Senate last year, the Commonwealth is paying as rental $10.1 a square foot per annum for accommodation in this old and dilapidated building. Is it because the directors of the company which owns that building have been associated for so long with the top brass of the Liberal Party in South Australia? I believe that the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health pay an average of about $4.35 a square foot per annum for accommodation in the AMP building. Why then is the Government coughing up to chemical companies in Adelaide in excess of $10 a square foot for inferior office space? These are questions that should be answered by the Minister for the Interior. Obviously he has something else on his plate because he took up a fair amount of time a little while ago and be does not intend to reply to any other questions. I turn now to the question of votes for 18-year olds and to what the Minister for the Interior said in August 1971. I quote from a document 'Liberal and Country League; Replies to Resolutions Passed at the Annual General Meeting of Delegates held on 6th and 7th August 1971 through the Hon. A. J. Forbes, M.P.'. In regard to the 18-year old vote I quote from the statement by the Minister for the Interior, who said: >An Interdepartmental Committee recently examined the question of lowering the age of legal responsibility, including the matter of the franchise age. Although the franchise age could be lowered as a separate exercise without the complications that would attend a lowering of the age of majority, you will appreciate that the 2 matters are inter-related. The Government has yet not examined the Interdepartmental Committee's report nor has it taken any decision on the franchise age. The franchise age question is one of policy and an announcement of the Government's intentions will be made as soon as a decision has been reached. The lowering of the franchise age for State and local government elections is, of course, a matter for consideration by the respective State governments. Let us consider what the Minister for the Interior has said in this chamber about votes for 18-year-olds and compare that with the speech which was delivered on his behalf by the Minister for Immigration over 12 months ago. If we make such a comparison we can see the twisting attitudes of the Government on this issue. I say no more on this matter for the moment. We still have not had from the Department of the Interior - surely it must accept some responsibility because it signs the cheque, as it were - information concerning the purchase of Everard Park for use as an Aboriginal reserve. I have raised this matter on previous occasions. The Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** now is not going to keep the promise he made or honour his undertaking in reply to a question to table all relevant documents concerning that particular land transaction. I would have hoped that today the Minister for the Interior would have informed honourable members about the situation and told honourable members how a very prominent member associated with the Liberal Party in South Australia came to lay his hands on this property at a time when the Commonwealth Government was negotiating the purchase of the property, according to the Prime Minister's statement of 26th February of this year relative to Aboriginal land rights. How much money was made by the private speculators, if I may use that term, on this transaction? We were told by the Minister responsible for Aboriginal affairs that the land was being purchased by the Government for the Aboriginals. Later we learned that the MacLachlan interests were involved with this property. The MacLachlans are associated with Jumbuk House in Adelaide in South Australia. If I were to read out here what their company and pastoral interests are, quite apart from their political interests with the LCL in South Australia, I would need an extension of time which would occupy all the time until this chamber adjourned at about 11 o'clock tonight. Honourable members should be informed why it was that, when such a land transaction was being negotiated by the Commonwealth Government and when cheques were being written as payment for it, it was found that the land was in the possession of a private vested pastoral interest. It is no good for the Minister to be chatting to a back bench member who is now trying to occupy the front bench temporarily because he will not be here after 2nd December. I want the Minister to tell the Committee whether this land transaction was above board or whether, as is suspected by a large number of the general public and not only myself, it was not. I want him to inform honourable members what went on. Why was the Prime Minister telephoned by a brother of the President of the Liberal and Country League in South Australia, who said: 'Look, Billy, you can have it back'? It was because the Government was in the hot seat. We do not want to hear from the Minister any glossing over such as we had with the Jetair affair. We want from the Minister facts and figures. For what amount was a cheque written by the Commonwealth? How much was the Government prepared to pay and then how much finally was paid to the MacLachlan interests in this deal? Has the property been properly purchased on behalf of Aboriginals in accordance with the Prime Minister's statement of 26th January last year? That is the least that the Government can tell us to clear its name and the name of the Department. In the few seconds remaining to me I want to say that it is time that the Department of the Interior handed over the administration of Aboriginal affairs to an appropriate Commonwealth department, properly constituted for that purpose. The administration of Aboriginal affairs should not be split down the middle, half being dealt with by the Department of the Interior, the administration of which the Country Party considers to be its sole province, to be dictated to and ruled and dominated by the Country Party ever since it has been in office. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. Motion (by **Mr England)** agreed to: >That the question be now put. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Department of Labour and National Service Proposed expenditure, $26,004,000. {: #subdebate-31-0-s10 .speaker-KXI} ##### Mr WEBB:
Stirling -- In discussing the estimates of the Department of Labour and National Service I want to say that the Government can make all the excuses it likes to make but it is clear that we are still faced with the most serious unemployment situation that has existed for over a decade. This is proved by the figures which are published by the Department of Labour and National Service under the heading 'Employment Situation'. When seasonally adjusted the latest figures show that over 120,000 people or 2.14 per cent of the work force are unemployed. This is an increase of 7,763 over the previous month. Job vacancies totalled just under 32,000 which means that almost 4 people are unemployed for every job vacancy offering. It is to the eternal discredit of the McMahon Government that the August 1971 Budget was framed with the deliberate intention of creating more unemployment in an effort to dampen down inflation. The Treasurer **(Mr Snedden)** admitted that in his statement of 20th January last on the consumer price index. The 1971 Budget failed to dampen down inflation and left Australia with an unemployment pool that is now completely out of hand. The figures for each month are worse than those for the previous month, when properly analysed and seasonally adjusted. Of course, the suggestion is made that the situation will improve in the next quarter, but we will examine the figures when the time comes. We have found that the Minister refers to the actual unemployment figures for one quarter when they suit him, and in the next quarter refers to the seasonally adjusted figures because they suit him. The seasonally adjusted figures for Western Australia show an increase in the numbers of unemployed for July. The number is now 13,544 while job vacancies total 1,958. The gap between the number unemployed and the number of unfilled vacancies is 11,586. It means that nearly 7 people are unemployed for every job vacancy. The Government has been requested to provide special financial assistance to assist in creating employment for people unemployed in Western Australia, particularly in the metropolitan area of Perth. Finance could have been made available in many ways for urgent public works, but all that happened was that the Western Australian Government was given a temporary addition of $3m to its semigovernmental borrowing programme for 1972-73. That is not good enough. Some of the temporary increase in borrowing authority was made available to the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Board of Perth, but it is insufficient for its requirements. I point out to honourable members the contrast between that miserable addition of $3m to Western Australia's borrowing programme and the loan of $15m to the New South Wales Government to balance its Budget. That gives some idea of what is happening. The Commonwealth should make additional finance available to Western Australia to cope with sewerage problems. This would have an important effect on our unemployment problem. At the most only 50 per cent of the Perth metropolitan area is deep sewered. The septic tank system in Perth gives rise to a pollution danger. In Perth, because of the sandy soil, it is certain that at least some part of the septic tank effluent eventually finds its way into the water courses and drains. The Perth Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Board is using substantial amounts of ground water from shallow bores and it must increase such usage as the demand for water grows. As pointed out by the Chairman of the Board, there is a risk to health through pollution of our water supply. The Board wants to overtake the major lag in the provision of sewerage in developed areas and to provide it in newly developed areas. Substantial amounts of finance are needed for this purpose. The Western Australian Government does not have that kind of finance and the only source from which it can come; - the Board does not have it - is the Federal Government. The importance of the Commonwealth's providing funds for this purpose lies in the fact that it would relieve our unemployment problem and set in motion an important public works programme that would safeguard our water supply from possible pollution. I emphasise that such work is labour intensive and quite a lot of the slack in employment could be taken up. It is ridiculous to expect the Western Australian Government to provide from its limited resources the finance necessary. The Chairman of the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Board in a letter to the Minister for Supply and Minister assisting the Treasurer **(Mr Garland)** pointed out the difficulty that exists. The Chairman of the Board was good enough to give me a copy of the letter in which he stated: >Perhaps to illustrate the position which the Board in the Perth metropolitan area finds itself, may I point out that out of an estimated $125m to $130m required for sewerage, out of the $245 m estimated as being needed for water and sewerage over the next 10 years, the Board would only be able to provide - if the same basis of capital funds for sewerage in 1970-71 were carried on - an amount of about $76.25m instead of the $125m to $130m over the next 10 years. That extract highlights the difficulties facing Western Australia in that area. In a letter to me dated 16th August 1972 the Chairman of the Board said: >I must say that of all the replies that I have received, the Board cannot see yet any answer to its sewerage problem except the provision of the necessary shortfall of funds from Federal sources. The Premier of Western Australia made a submission in those terms in his application for a general increase in the funds necessary for Western Australia, but the result was an increase of $3m in the borrowing programme for 1972-73. That is not nearly enough. The unemployment situation in Western Australia could be relieved in another way. I refer to the provision of additional finance for the Western Australian State Housing Commission, particularly for the provision of houses for Aborigines. That need is apparent from headlines in the Press such as 'Native Housing Worst in World'. That headline referred not only to housing in Western Australia but also in Queensland and central Australia. It is a rather sad situation. In a newspaper article an American civil rights worker was reported to have said: 1 have never seen housing conditions anywhere in the world worse than the Aboriginal humpies - not in Missisippi Indian reserves, not in India or South East Asia - nothing has been worse. That is a sad reflection of our attitude towards the Aborigines. The Senate Committee was told that at least $20m was needed to overcome the backlog in housing for Aborigines. The Western Australian Commissioner for Aboriginal Planning, **Mr Gare,** said that a survey had shown that nearly 1,500 families were living in substandard housing in urban areas. That related to the Aboriginal population. The Manager of the State Housing Commission said that Western Australia wanted $10m over the next 2 years to eliminate the most urgent problems in Aboriginal housing. It wanted at least $20m over the next 5 years and $4m to $5m a year after that. So there are 2 ways in which the unemployment situation could be helped considerably in that State. This is a humane way of providing homes for Aborigines and at the same time keeping our building workers in full employment. Last month's figures on the unemployment situation in Western Australia showed that the number unemployed in the building trades was over 4 per cent, which was higher than the figure of 2.99 per cent for the general work force. The Federal Government has provided some funds for unemployment relief, but the tag attached to it is that it has to be spent in rural areas. Of course, this was a sop to the Country Party. It means that unemployed people in rural areas will receive between $50 and $60 a week on work subsidised by the Government while the unemployed in the city will receive the miserable unemployment benefit of $17 plus $8 for a wife and $4.50 for a child. The Western Australian unemployment problem is mainly in the metropolitan area where there are 9,000 people unemployed. The Federal Government has been asked for finance to relieve this situation but we have not been able to receive sufficient to do that. The Liberal Opposition in Western Australia tries to put the blame on the Labor Government there. But as the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** admitted, this situation has been going on for 2 or 3 years. The Labor Government there has been in office for about only the last 18 months. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett)** - Order! The honourable members time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s11 .speaker-KU8} ##### Dr SOLOMON:
Denison -- The honourable member for Stirling **(Mr Webb)** spoke of unemployment as being appropriately within the jurisdiction of the Department of Labour and National Service whose estimates the Committee is now considering. I would like to say a few words on this subject too because <t is one which concerns most people in Australia, but perhaps not so much as honourable members of the Opposition like to think. They cry havoc in relation to this particular field of operation, or inoperation in the case of unemployment, on numerous occasions in this Parliament and outside it. Even when the figures on employment are not running as well as we would like, running at about 100,000, honourable members opposite after some little time find that an inadequate figure on which to base their cries of havoc and they speculate that the figure will be 250,000 in the not too distant future. In other words, they just think of a number. Unemployment is no laughing matter for anybody who is unemployed and who wishes to be otherwise. Most of all it is no fun for people who have developed, by one means or another, real skills and who find that despite holding those skills they are unable to put them to proper use. In any circumstance in any country that must be regarded as a socially unacceptable situation insofar as the problem can be solved. Nevertheless, we have to look behind the gross figures to understand the situation and to know the realities of the position. While we have 100,000 or so people registered or nominally unemployed, we have a quarter of that number of jobs registered as vacant. So we can immediately reduce the number of unemployed by quite an appreciable extent. We then look to the people who, rightly or wrongly, are disinclined to travel to the vacancies that are available for their skills or lack of them and to the people who are disinclined to take a particular job as it is not one that suits them because it does not pay them as much as they think they ought to be paid or for some other reason of that kind. That sort of thing has not been thoroughly assessed at the present time. I concede that it would be difficult to assess in a thorough manner. 1 think that more should be done. If that sort of thing were assessed we might reach a situation that is a little more real than the tossing off of round figures of the gross unemployed in the country. In only the last few weeks or so certain people have made public statements, even on television interviews, for example in Sydney, to indicate that they are unemployed and they wish to remain unemployed until such time as they can find something that best suits their inclinations. It would be very nice if we could find exactly the things that suit our inclinations. lt would be very nice for all members of this Parliament who are in danger of losing their seats at the end of this parliamentary session if they could just plop into whatever they chose to do. That will not be the case for all the people who may be in that situation and it is not the case for members of the public generally. We have a situation where numbers of people have stated publicly that they are not thoroughly unemployed, to the extent that they are not prepared to work in particular avenues. This is not totally dependent upon the lack of exercise of given skills. The situation was publicised recently of a garment industry that has over a period of time been trying to find a work force of 400 or 500 in a northern Sydney suburb, lt has been able to find only a maximum of 200 at any one time. So rather than develop the industry in that particular suburb it was moved to a more industrial area out of the Sydney region. This may or may not have been a good thing, hut the industry was not able to obtain a female work force of adequate proportions in a well known Sydney suburb because sufficient people were not interested to be employed. In that case female labour was involved. The Department of Labour and National Service has been studying and promoting from time to time particular initiatives, such as the one relating to child care centres, in regard to the female work force. The Department has recognised the increasing involvement of females in the labour force of the country. One facet of this operation has been to make available Commonwealth funds for a development which will enable the children of working mothers to be reasonably looked after, probably to be productively and constructively looked after, while their mothers are at work. In this context I would mention that some very persistent thought should be given to the problem of the working father who does not have a wife. I have met only a few of these people but I have found no more poignant cases of the need for this facet of work force provisions to be developed. The males in this position are not eligible for social service benefits or for the assistance of the kind which females receive who have lost their husbands and who have dependent children. There are some very poignant cases of husbands who, by the death of their wives or for some other reason, have been left with 2 or 3 young and sometimes very young children to look after. They find themselves physically incapable of doing this and conducting their general work at the same time. In one or two cases I know of they have had mental breakdowns. The result is that the husband has lost his wife, the husband may lose his job at least temporarily and the children certainly hove lost the benefit of the presence of both parents. It is time we had a look at that situation, whatever women's liberation may say about it. The question of women in the work force raises another facet of unemployment. A couple of weeks ago I asked a question without notice of the Minister for Labour and National Service which related to my experience in talking to about 4,000 people since the beginning of this year, 7 of whom had raised with me the question of unemployment. I know that is not a statistically tenable proposition in the proper sense of statistical dependability but it is indicative that there were not very many of those people who had unemployment heavily on their minds. In the same context I also raised a question to the effect that for over a month I had been unable to acquire the services of a housekeeper for a time when I would be in Canberra and my wife would be in hospital. **Mr Speaker** interjected and said that that was not really within the province of the Minister for Labour and National Service. I think that in the terms of the child care centres and other things it is thoroughly within the province of the Minister - not my personal problem but the problem of the unemployment of women who are available for employment. If, in fact, we are doing the sort of thing that was projected yesterday in this chamber in relation to child care centres, then clearly there are measures being taken to make it possible for women to make themselves available for various forms of work. The fact that workers are unobtainable over an extended period of time in this or that place surely means that there are vacancies in the work force and people are not eligible to fill them. That, of course, has a direct implication and connotation in relation to the unemployment figures which honourable members opposite are so fond of talking about. I would be remiss in concluding my remarks in relation to the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service if I did not draw attention to a matter that was discussed at some length in this chamber not very long ago and which is very much within the province of this Department. We discussed a thorough revision of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act. During the discussion many honourable members, on the other side of the House, rejected the idea of the involvement of the public interest. They were happy to see agreements between employers and employees which did not necessarily take account of the public interest. I think as time has gone on those honourable members have already been found and will increasingly be found to be grossly in error in their judgment in that matter. It is, indeed, very much incumbent upon anybody who has social concern in Australia to take cognisance of the public interest in any arrangements that may be made of a wage fixing kind or any related matter in the public arena. Likewise, the question of a 35-hour week, which was thoroughly discussed at one stage, is increasingly showing honourable members on this side of the chamber to be right. Of course the introduction of the 35-hour week will be inevitable, but timing - I say this for the benefit of those honourable members who speak about it being time - is absolutely of the essence. The fact that the 35-hour week will come at some other time, as the 40-hour week came in the past, is not the point. The point is that the time is not appropriate for its introduction now. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett)** - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s12 .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP -- I join this debate on the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service and I would like to make some comments on the speech just delivered by the honourable member for Denison **(Dr Solomon).** He was very vocal about the public interest, but neither he nor any of his colleagues sitting on the other side of the chamber - some of them very knowledgable men on the question of law - can in fact define what is the public interest. It seems to me that when we talk about wage rates and working conditions, we should keep in mind that a very large section of the Australian community is either involved directly in earning wages and obtaining good working conditions or their families are relying on it. If one is going to ignore them and pretend that those very people who are seeking these improvements are not part of the public interest then 1 have yet to be persuaded what is the public interest. The estimates that we are debating revolve around the Department of Labour and National Service which is the Department that has the very onerous task of administering the National Service Act. Because it is iniquitous the Act has fallen into great disrepute in the community recently. My own son is doing his national service training. I know very well from the reports that I receive from him and his friends who are also doing their national service training that this iniquitous Act has failed and failed miserably. These young men are appalled at the futility of the whole situation and the frustration that is forced upon them. The loss of the 18 months that they must serve away from their interests, away from their friends and away from their employment weighs very heavily upon their shoulders. The Act has another very bad effect. As a former trade union official I always have been concerned about the wage rates and working conditions of people in industry. I think a regular soldier or a career soldier, whatever one calls him, is a man working in industry and his wage rates and working conditions should not be put at risk. Yet, with the introduction of the national service scheme and the continuation of it, this Government has put at risk the wages and working conditions of the regular soldier or the career soldier. So long as conscripts are dragged into this so-called 'man's army' and made to stay there no matter what, at the risk or threat of imprisonment if they do not, then certainly the wage rates and working conditions of the other soldiers are at risk. The lives of the young men who have been conscripted have been disrupted. As has been indicated in another place, on occasions their lives have been terminated at their own hands as a result of the frustration. Nothing is being achieved. The jingoistic Government supporters, with their archaic attitude, resolve all problems by considering the question of war and would not think of looking anywhere else for solutions. I have said enough on that subject. The 35-hour week was mentioned by the honourable member for Denison and I believe it to be a very contentious question in Australia at the moment. It is one of those matters for which the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** would find himself with some degree of responsibility, although it must be recognised that the Commonwealth Government, under the Constitution, can legislate for working hours for its own employees only. Nevertheless, it should not be doing the things that it is doing and using the Public Service - people paid by the taxpayers of Australia - to present a very slanted and a very biased case to the Australian people to stir up their emotions and to try to turn them against themselves. This is the old divisive tactic of conservative governments down the ages, employed very carefully by this Government and used by it to great advantage over the last 23 years. In this case the Government tries to divide the community by trying to show to the community how the 35-hour week, in the Government's view, can only be of detriment to the community. A poll was conducted in July of this year and people were asked whether they thought that the 35-hour week should be introduced generally into industry in Australia. The response to that poll was that half of the people said that they thought that it was time - to use that very fine slogan - that a 35-hour week was introduced into industry. That is pretty significant, because the people who work and many people outside direct manufacturing would have been involved in this poll. They are the people who do not necessarily work the 40-hour week. It is one of the features of our community that only those who are directly engaged in manufacturing have awards containing a 40-hour week requirement and are bound to work that 40-hour week. Those people who are ancillary to manufacturing generally work somewhat less than 40 hours a week, ranging from 36¾ hours a week down to 35 hours a week. Very emotional statements were made on this whole question by Government supporters. I shall quote some of these to the Committee. The Minister for Trade and Industry **(Mr Anthony)** called upon international corporations to fight Australian workers. He said: >Many of these capital intensive industries are dominated by international corporations. The Government will be looking to these corporations to resist the demand for a 35-hour week. That is a fine example of an Australian statesman calling on overseas interests to join issue with Australian working men. A statement was also made by the Minister for Shipping and Transport **(Mr Nixon).** He said: >As one of the world's top trading nations Australia would suffer an explosive cost problem- Very emotional language - if a 35-hour week became the national norm. The same gentleman, in a statement headed: **'Mr Hawke's** Myth', endeavoured to show that employees at the Australian National Line's terminal depots did not work a 35-hour week but worked a 40- hour week. Of course, he demonstrated his own lack of knowledge of rosters when he said that they worked a week of 5 days on and 3 days off. If he cares to follow that through to its 8 weeks conclusion for the cycle of the roster he will find that over the 8-week period the average hours worked per week are in fact 35 hours. There are 3 weeks at 40 hours and 5 weeks at 32 hours. Those 8 weeks work out at an average time of about 35 hours a week. I have here a document headed 'Shorter Working Week'. It is prepared and distributed by the Honourable Phillip Lynch, M.P., Minister for Labour and National Service, and is dated 28th August 1972. It bears the curious inscription at the top of the page which says: 'Government Members Only'. {: .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch: -I do not mind you reading it. You might learn something. {: .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP -- The Minister interjects and says that he does not mind me reading it. It is a lengthy document. I would be delighted if the Minister would give me the time to read the whole document into the record. But I very much doubt whether he will do so. The Minister is a very generous man, but I doubt that he is so generous that he would permit me to read the whole document. I would like to read from pages 11 and 12 of the document which I believe to be significant because we must bear in mind the comments 1 have made about the enormous cost that will be incurred by the Australian community on the introduction of the 35 hour week. Under the heading: 'Cost of Introducing a Shorter Working Week' the document states: >A costing of the introduction of a shorter working week is inherently a complex and imprecise exercise. This is due to 3 considerations. Firstly, it is not possible to predict the precise conditions which unions will seek and which employers will concede or industrial tribunals will award. Secondly, it is not possible to assess any beneficial effects which a sh orter working week may have on productivity. Thirdly,, account cannot be taken of relative use of various possible adjustments by employers such as the employment of additional labour, increasing overtime working, cutting back the level of production or readjusting production techniques. Time is running out so I will skip some of this material which, although relevant, I do not have the time to read. Further on the document states: >However, the above estimates assume no direct improvement in productivity as a result of the introduction of a shorter working week. To the extent that productivity does improve, the above estimates would have to be correspondingly reduced. Further the phasing-in of a 35-hour week over a period of years could lessen the impact on the economy. It is quite possible, for example, that allowing for some offsetting productivity improvements and the !phasing-in' of the 35-hour week over 5 years, the increase in unit costs in any one year could be 11 to 2 per cent. The figures of 12 per cent, 15 per cent and 25 per cent, as the increase in costs, have been bandied around by various Ministers. Also sums of money of the order of S3.5m have been mentioned. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Hallett)** - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s13 .speaker-2E4} ##### Mr LLOYD:
Murray -- The appropriation of the Department of Labour and National Service for employment training schemes lists rural reconstruction or the rural re-training scheme. It states that in 1972-73 the estimated expenditure is $250,000. This compares with an appropriation for the scheme last year of $300,000 - an actual expenditure of $27,000. The small expenditure last year has been used by some as a criticism against this scheme, that there is something wrong with it, that the moment we have a scheme there should be a lot of people flocking into it. I believe this is ignorant criticism for a variety of reasons. One of them is that any scheme takes time to develop. As of August of this year the figures for those in the rural retraining scheme were as follows: Approved 99, actually in training 77, awaiting commencement 21 with one completed. I think this shows the gathering impetus in the scheme. But I still think that is the wrong sort of criticism if one is to criticise the scheme. In a way, if there have not been many takers, and people are not going to accept this scheme, I believe it could mean that perhaps things are not as bad in the country as some people would like to see; that there are not as many young people who are eligible because of the rural reconstruction criteria that they can take part in the scheme, and that perhaps things are not so bad after all. Also I think it shows that we have less of a structural problem in agriculture than in most other countries of the world, that there is more natural mobility amongst younger people in country areas - and as I live in a country area I can see this - that when they feel that opportunities are not there for them they naturally move out. This is the sort of thing that would worry me more with the scheme than the criticism that has been made so far. Also it has been said that the criteria are too restrictive. However, reading comparable schemes in northern Europe and North America the criteria of this scheme and those of those other countries seem to be virtually identical. The allowances for this scheme and the schemes in North America and northern Europe also are virtually identical. However, I would remind the Minister for Labour and National Service, **(Mr Lynch)** that we have inflation in this country and the allowances should be flexible and upgraded from time to time in this regard. If I were to comment on the scheme I would say that it is basically half a scheme rather than a whole scheme and that it has rather dangerous social and agricultural implications for Australia. That is not to say that we should not have the scheme because I believe we should. But if one reads what is being done in European countries and North America - and they started 10 years earlier than we did so therefore they have had more time to sort things out, and they have had greater structural problems in agriculture - we see that they have a retraining scheme for younger people generally and an earlier retirement scheme for older people in farming. The problem with agriculture around the world generally is that the average age of farmers is too high and this trend is increasing. It is too high for the dynamic type of agriculture we would like to see continue in this country. Therefore, if we have a scheme that encourages younger people to leave instead of encouraging the older group in agriculture to move out, this can have dangerous implications, not just for dynamic agriculture but social problems in the sense that we have fewer people available in the rural community to provide leadership in the community, to provide the backbone for community services required in a rural community, whether this be in regard to the school committee, the hospital or anything else of this nature. I am pleased that the Minister made his statement in August which indicated gathering impetus towards improved training practices in industry and commerce. The Minister mentioned the general redundancy scheme which, by itself, adequately answers any criticism that the criteria are too narrow because if someone is not eligible under the criteria for rural retraining, he is eligible under one of the other retraining schemes. The document, which I think is a very important one for general retraining in industry in Australia, sets out the improved subsidy scheme for the appointment of apprentices and certain improvements in relation to country apprentices. I think that this is important in providing the opportunity for employment in rural areas, not just for farming people but also for people from country towns. I compliment the Minister on these improvements. I have received some criticism as well as congratulations from some people in regard to the scheme but I think we have to see how it works before I make any more comment on it. I think the scheme is important for people in country areas. Also important is the ability of the children of country people to obtain a good secondary education because people will need to have a basic education to be able to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain other forms of employment. This education will allow them to undertake such employment. I would now like to move back to the point I made about the other half of this scheme. When one reads the Mansholt plan for the reconstruction of European agriculture - and I know that this is not being accepted in full in Europe - and also the existing programmes in European countries, there appears to be the general tendency to the alternative that if a person is under a certain age group and he wants to get out of the industry he can be retrained' so that he can do this; if he is over a certain age group he can virtually be pensioned off. This latter part of the scheme starts at the age of 55 usually and provides some form of income maintenance or negative income tax scheme which to me would be our rural equivalent if this country were ever to introduce some more general form of negative income tax or income compensation. The idea of this is to see that the older people who are less mobile in a rural community are moved off the farms so that there is a better opportunity for younger people to stay in agriculture. There is a problem where we have the older generation and the younger generation together and one of the generations has to go. The younger generation, because it is probably more dynamic and mobile, is the one that moves. From the point of view of the future of agriculture that is the wrong generation. In addition, we should do something to ease the older generation out of agriculture - and the abolition of the means test is of considerable significance here, with the property component so far adding to the immobility of older people in agriculture - and allow them to move into a nearby rural community where socially they are happier and they are still in their own environment. Also the introduction of the urban and regional development plan has relevance here because if one reads the European schemes, the Europeans have been working on regional planning for longer than we have. If one is to have both the rural retraining scheme and some form of retirement scheme that is as appropriate as possible, we should do it in conjunction with regional planning that allows both groups of people to be retrained or retired as close as possible to home. If one looks at the growing problem of a structural imbalance in agriculture it will be seen that this is caused by not enough young people moving into agriculture and too many old people staying on for longer than they themselves would like to stay. We have reached what on first appearance is a contradiction: On the one hand there is a rural retraining scheme, which I support, to encourage young people to leave agriculture but, on the other hand, it appears that we need to have some sort of special credit facility or loan scheme which will encourage young people to move into the field of agriculture and overcome the high capital barrier which prevents so many of them from moving in. Although, on the surface, it may appear to be contradictory, I think that in addition to having the rural retraining scheme, from the point of view of dynamic agriculture in this country, I think we have to introduce some sort of retirement scheme for farmers and also some form of credit arrangement to allow young people to come into agriculture. Generally speaking, I believe that the present proposal is a start and I congratulate the Minister whom I urge to disregard the criticisms which have been made. I believe that they were ignorant criticisms made by people who like to base everything on statistics but who have no idea of what actually happens in the rural scene. {: #subdebate-31-0-s14 .speaker-JOU} ##### Mr BENNETT:
Swan -- In speaking on the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service I wish to raise some aspects relating to the situation in Western Australia to which I have made reference on previous occasions. Firstly, I refer to the lack of a residential Commonwealth industrial commissioner at Perth, one of Australia's furthest points from Melbourne which is the home of the majority of the Commonwealth Industrial Commission although I understand that one commissioner is resident in Adelaide in South Australia. I recently attended a meeting in Perth of the Industrial Relations Society. At that meeting this need was made known to **Mr Justice** Moore by way of a question from a person who I understand represented the Employers' Federation. **Mr Justice** Moore quite properly indicated that this was a political decision and not one within his jurisdiction. So I take this opportunity to raise with the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** this need and I ask him to meet it. I point out that travelling time and travelling expense are both tremendous when disputes occur and cause unnecessary delay in the settlement of disputes, resulting in lost wages to employees who are affected by the dispute and lost production by employers. The commissioners must necessarily spend some time familiarising themselves with the background of the disputing parties. If the commissioners were resident locally they would be fully familiar with the matter and in most cases would have the advantage of a personal relationship and the mutual respect which grows out of such a relationship which is so important in the settlement of industrial disputes. A local commissioner could be an advantage if the person appointed already had that happy relationship. Although Federal awards at this point of time are not in the majority in Western Australia their application in the main is to the whole of the State which represents an area which is as large again as most of the other areas in which an award may apply. It is imperative that this section of industrial relations should function smoothly. I do not say this in any way as a criticism or as a reflection on the staff of the Commission. I do so to highlight a deficiency in Commonwealth jurisdiction which must increase with the more widespread application of Federal awards to Western Australia and the growth of those industries to which Federal awards already apply. Another matter which is of particular importance to my constituents in Swan and the constituents of the electorates of Moore and Canning living immediately adjacent to the Swan boundary, is the question of the insufficiency of the Victoria Park District Employment Office. Again, I hasten to add that this is not a reflection on the people who work in that office. In fact, the Minister has a right to be proud of these people who are working under crowded conditions to assist a high volume of unemployment relief applicants. If that office were a profit making business or dependent on convenience and service to the public, it would have had to be extended to allow for more working space, more public area and more staff. The 21 people who work in that office all work under pressure. The counter staff spend 90 per cent of their day on their feet. If they want to use a telephone they must wait their turn until someone vacates it. These people are so devoted to their duty and to their obligations to the people whom they serve that in one instance recently a gentleman attending to the needs of the public at the counter was reluctant to take time off to attend to a personal bereavement. The staff in that office are a fine team. What are the alternatives to the situation? An immediate drop in unemployment would possibly be too much to ask of the Minister at this time. A lesser number of registrations would give some relief but this is not the complete or immediate answer. The answer lies in the immediate opening of offices at Cannington and Belmont which are situated near industry and population. This would lessen the distance which would have to be travelled by the unemployed to register. Let us remember that the Victoria Park office serves a population of 193,000 people which encompasses all of the Swan electorate, a large proportion of the Canning electorate through the Kenwick, Gosnells, Armadale, Byford, Pinjarra corridor and extends into the Moore electorate in the Maida Vale, Kalamunda, Lesmurdie area. The location of the Victoria Park office means that the unemployed have to travel many miles in order to register. A large proportion are migrants, some of whom have been unemployed for weeks or months. Because they are migrants who arrived in this country with little or nothing they are heavily in debt through purchasing furnishings and paying for accommodation and transport and who can ill-afford the luxury of the trip to the employment office. All that they are going to the office for is, in many cases, to re-affirm their right to unemployment benefits. When you have been there and stood and witnessed that as many as 98 people are being processed in half an hour before a long weekend commences it brings home the total inadequacy of the situation - the hopelessness of these people even being offered a position. One wonders at the tremendous pressure under which the interviewing staff are placed with an average registration in one month of 392 a week against an average placement of 240 a week. One wonders whether a prospective employee can be given the proper time for the interview because the nagging thought must be in the mind of the interviewing officer of the large number of people yet to be handled. He would be thinking of the large number of men and women who are standing crowded in the waiting area. If chairs were available to place in the waiting area - and they are not - there would be no room to put them because the counter was moved forward 6 feet into the public area some months ago so as to accommodate the staff. So the unemployed stand crowded like cattle waiting to be processed by grossly overworked staff. The original building was not designed for such a volume of work. Originally, it was a house set back from the roadway. An office was built between the front rooms and the footpath in a single story form, so h is not easy immediately to expand the size of the office. The possibility of creating an annexe to cater for female registrations at premises nearby is one alternative which could be undertaken whilst the other much needed offices are being investigated with a view to their establishment in Belmont and Canning. In those areas ample rental accommodation is immediately available. There could be some problem with an annexe adjacent to the Victoria Park office area but on a temporary basis I feel sure that the local authorities would co-operate in waiving any zoning difficulty which exists. The problem is there, lt is a real human problem which I am sure the Minister will look into on behalf of the people who are affected in the 3 electorates and on behalf of those people who so faithfully work for his department. But in choosing a site for a new office I make one comment in relation to public convenience. It is hoped that sufficient seating will be available for all applicants to allow them to wait in reasonable comfort. Sufficient room should be available to allow them to wait indoors during inclement weather. Public conveniences should be available with easy access. There should be sufficient nearby car park facilities so that interviews are not interrupted or the opportunity for an interview is not lost because a person has had to move his vehicle. All these problems exist at the Victoria Park office. Another matter which is of importance to my constituents is the situation which can and does exist in the case of many employers who go bankrupt or who are associated with liquidated companies and who subsequently return business as directors of new companies even though their former employees, sub-contractors and suppliers of the previous business have not been paid. In the case of employees, holiday pay and long service leave entitlements and wages outstanding have been lost. In the case of sub-contractors, particularly in the building trade, this is often the reason why they have to go heavily into debt or even into bankruptcy. The chain reaction is always severe. Yet people who are directors of companies started with nominal capital are able to find loopholes which enable them to continue the performance time and time again. I understand that the legal aspects of this matter are to be looked into by the Attorneys-General but this in itself is not sufficient. All aspects which affect employment need to receive attention by the Department of Labour and National Service and legislation should be passed by this Parliament, lt is in the employee area that the effect is felt most. Protection in the sub-contract field must be given not only for the sake of the subcontractors affected but also for the sake of the stabilisation of the industry affected, the firms affected and those people of sound intention who wish to remain in the industry without recourse to these unfortunate tactics but who must compete in the same industry with those who adopt unprincipled business methods. By legislating, by interesting itself in these aspects, the Government will do a service to the community and in fact reduce the call on the services of the Department itself by people affected by unemployment arising out of the situations which are being felt so much in the critical national unemployment situation which exists today. {: #subdebate-31-0-s15 .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT:
Maranoa -- In speaking to the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service first of all I would like to commend the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** and the Government on their desire to see that the arbitration system in this country operates in the best interests of the employee and the employer as well as in the best interests of the community as a whole. Despite this very sincere desire and the provisions that have been made for the settlement of disputes and the hearing of claims of unions, we find only too often that unions take matters into their own hands and hold this country to ransom. Undoubtedly this is often the result of the activities of left wing socialists and communist union leaders who have little regard for the welfare of the people they represent or the community as a whole. The damage that could be caused to :he people's welfare was demonstrated very strongly in the recent petrol strike. In the settlement of that strike it is well to recall, I believe, that it was only the willingness of the Government to do everything possible to resolve the dispute that finally brought results. The Government, or at least some Ministers, came under criticism from members of the public for being prepared to make sacrifices and travel long distances at short notice to enable discussions to be held. But this action brought the dispute to an end and enabled the wheels of industry to turn again, and it prevented even greater hardships being experienced by wage earners and many others whose interests honourable members opposite often claim to represent. But the attitude of honourable members opposite to industrial disputes so often results in financial loss to the wage earning section of the community as well as to the people as a whole including, of course, businessmen and all residents of country towns. These disputes add considerably to the cost of living generally and the burden of these costs falls very heavily on the people who have no opportunity of passing on these costs. Whatever else may be said about the Labor Party, there is no doubt that it is firmly in the grip of the trade unions and in the grip of the leader of those trade unions in the person of **Mr Hawke.** {: .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr Fulton: -- You are in the grip of the DOGS. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT: -- That is a matter of opinion, but the honourable member's opinion is not always as wise as he would like us to believe. I am happy to remind the people of Maranoa and the people of Australia generally that the trade unions and their leader will have the power to dictate policy to any Labor government, and the honourable member who interjected will find this position to his cost if ever he sits on the side of a Labor government. He is one of the responsible men on the other side of the chamber, despite his interjection. {: .speaker-YI4} ##### Mr Robinson: -- He will not get the chance. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT: -- My friend the honourable member for Cowper said that ite will not get the chance, and I do not doubt that the honourable member for Cowper is right in saying that. I would like to remind people in rural industry also that they will have to carry the very great burden of a 35-hour week. Despite what was said by the honourable member for Burke **(Mr Keith Johnson)** who tried by a series of figures to reduce the cost of a 35-hour week, I think the Australian people generally are well aware that the cost will he much heavier than that which was described this afternoon, lt will be *a* *cry heavy cost and the burden of that cost will rest most heavily on those people who have no opportunity of passing costs on. I refer to people in export industries who are dependent on the prices they receive overseas for their products. This in turn will affect the country businessman who is dependent for his living upon the prosperity of rural industry. It will affect also the people in country towns whose jobs are dependent upon the prosperity of business in those towns. So the rural community in general will have to bear this heavy cost, and therefore it is those people who are most concerned about it. It is easy for someone to talk from the point of view of a metropolitan area where costs can be passed on and say that the cost will not be as heavy as is sometimes suggested. I say, too, that it is absurd for Labor spokesmen to say that, if a Labor government came to office, the 35-hour week will apply only to particular industries. How would a Labor government cope with the demand for the flow on of the advantage of a 35-hour week? It would not be in the race to control the trade unions. Undoubtedly very shortly after the advent of a Labor government the 35-hour week would apply across the board. I challenge honourable members opposite to prove that it will not apply across the board. I do not agree with this idea that it can apply to a particular industry and not flow on to other industries when we look at the record of what union leaders have done to try to get a flow on throughout the whole of their unions of any advantages that may be obtained. It is just absurd to say that the unions will not put up a fight. It is just as absurd to say that a Labor government would not cave in to those demands. How the honourable member for Riverina **(Mr Grassby)** and the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson),** to name but two, can delude themselves into thinking, if in fact they have done, that under a Labor government the 35-hour week will not apply to rural industry is beyond my comprehension, because they know the past history of what has happened in all of these fields that I have mentioned. {: .speaker-KFU} ##### Dr Gun: -- It is 44 hours at present, is it not? {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT: -- If the honourable member does not know, I think as a member of this Parliament it is lime that he learnt. {: .speaker-KFU} ##### Dr Gun: -- You tell us. {: .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT: -- The honourable member ought to know. I do not have the time to try to educate him. It would be a hopeless task, anyway. The adverse effect of unions getting control was amply demonstrated in the recent petrol strike. The flow on from that strike is the very grave shortage of petrol in Queensland at the present time. The position was aggravated in the first place by the break-down at the Ampol refinery following that strike, and it was aggravated further by the strike which has caused a shut down of the refinery and the delay which must inevitably occur before full production can again be reached. Here again we find this problem of industrial disputes causing great hardship, because in that area the wheat harvest, which is very necessary to the welfare of the people in the wheat industry, is just commencing. The people in the industry have had a gruelling time in that they have had very unfavourable seasonal conditions during the last few years. The towns in these districts are dependent upon the harvest, and all of the people in these towns are involved. This strike certainly threatens very seriously the prosperity of those people. The tragedy of it is that with our arbitration system so much of this industrial strife and the stoppages which occur are unnecessary. An honourable member has interjected. I do not know what the interjection was. It was probably no better than the type of interjection we have heard already. If it was not, it is not worth anything. So the position is that this strike was completely unnecessary. So often people go out on strike, they come back after it has been settled, and what happens? The very people who have taken part in that strike are the people who are financially disadvantaged by it. It is not the union leaders who have organised it, it is not the members of Parliament who have encouraged this sort of thing, as they sometimes do, but the workers themselves who have been engaged in the strike who are disadvantaged. We have an arbitration system which, if utilised fully and effectively, can settle industrial disputes without placing added burdens on the wage earners and the community as a whole. I believe that it is in the interests of all Australians that the arbitration system should be as independent as possible, but I feel also that some guidelines should be provided for the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I am very strongly of the opinion that wage and salary increases should bear a relation to the increase in productivity, and the Commission should have to take into consideration the effects of any decision it makes on the economy as a whole and not simply on the industry concerned. I deplore the move to replace the arbitration system with a system of collective bargaining. I do so because I believe that it will lead to industrial chaos. It is essential to maintain the arbitration system. Of course, it is quite in order that we should look at the arbitration system from every angle with the object of improving it. There is no suggestion that it is absolutely the last word, but it is a system which I believe is envied by many nations. I make the plea for co-operation from all sections of the community in making the arbitration system work in the interests of every Australian. {: #subdebate-31-0-s16 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I rise to expose the duplicity of the Government's method of quoting the unemployment figures. The Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** has told us in advance that on Monday next we can expect a very large drop of almost 6,000, or perhaps slightly more, in the raw figures and that the movement in the seasonally adjusted figures will be less than that. That means that the seasonally adjusted (figures are going to stand at 114,000 because in August- {: .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch: -- He did not say that. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Well, an official of the Department of Labour and National Service is quoted as having said it, which is usually the Minister of Labour and National Service leaking this information to the Press and saying: 'Do not quote me. Say it came from an official of the Department'. {: .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch: -- That is a lie and you know it. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- The Minister says that what he said to the Press was a lie. We will see what happens. »n August 120,000 people were out of work, according to the seasonally adjusted figures, which was the highest number we have ever had in August since the seasonally adjusted data was first introduced. One would have to go back to the depression period of 40 years ago to find a figure as high as that. So there would need to be a very substantial reduction in the seasonally adjusted figures. It is very interesting to note how the Government changes or oscillates from using the seasonally adjusted figures to using the raw figures whenever this suits. In February of this year the Minister for Labour and National Service was quoted in the Adelaide 'Advertiser' as having said that there had been no major increase in the jobless during January. He could arrive at that conclusion only by quoting the seasonally adjusted figures because the raw figures which the Government now quotes showed that at the time that the Minister said that there had been no major increase in unemployment 130,000 people were out of work. This represented an increase of no less than 9,700 on the previous month's figures. The Minister was quoted in March as being confident of a drop in the jobless. But by then he had decided to quote the raw figures. He said that there were 115,000 jobless people in February compared with 130,000 previously. Only then did we hear about the raw figure of 130,000. It was brought in at that stage only in order to establish his case or his assertion that there had been a drop of 15,000. Of course on the seasonally adjusted figures, which he had used in the previous month, there was an increase of 7,200 and not the drop of 15,000 that he was able to produce by oscillating from the seasonally adjusted figures back to the raw figures. Since the Minister is laughing about what I am saying and I have 111111 in a good mood, perhaps he will agree to my incorporating in Hansard 2 tables showing the exact figures as produced for me by the Statistical Service of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library. I seek leave to incorporate those tables in Hansard. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)** - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The documents read as follows) - [footnote continued on bottom of next page. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Included in the papers that are incorporated is another interesting thing. It shows that the Department of Labour and National Service is cooking the figures. I suggest that it is cooking the figures with the knowledge of the Minister. {: .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr Lynch: -- You should withdraw that statement. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I will not withdraw it because I will prove that the figures are being cooked. I have already tabled in a previous debate a document to show that the Department gave instructions as to how the figures should r>e cooked. Let me prove, by using an official document which 1 have now incorporated in Hansard, how badly the figures have been cooked. The Department of Labour and National Service issues its own figures on registrations and its own seasonally adjusted figures. When 1 was at the Canberra Club one night - apparently I was not recognised - there was behind me an officer, who could have been employed {: type="a" start="e"} 0. Published each quarter only - February, May, August, November. 1. The Commonwealth Non-metropolitan Unemployment Relief Scheme commenced in December, 1971. 2. Not yet available. Compiled at request by the Legislative Research Service from information contained in (a) issues of 77ie *Labour Force,* (CBCS) and (b) issues of *Monthly Review of Employment Situation* (Department of Labour and National Service). by any department at all, but who was chortling about how the Government was tricking the Opposition by putting in figures which were different and contrary to the figures of the Bureau of Census and Statistics. I put a question on the notice paper to find out whether it was a fact that the Department of Labour and National Service's figures were different from those of the official statistician, the Bureau of Census and Statistics. The answer was that they were; and they are. Let us examine the official figures issued by the Commonwealth Statistician for the month of May this year - they are the latest I have - on the 1 per cent survey that the Bureau makes. The Department of Labour and National Service said that there were 96,000 people out of work in that month. The survey conducted by the Bureau of Census and Statistics showed that there were 110,000 people out of work in the same month. It will be interesting to see what they show for August. But it is no accident that this occurs. If one were to go through the figures right back to 1964 one would find that there has been a vast disparity between the official figures provided by the Bureau of Census and Statistics and the figures provided by the Department of Labour and National Service. The Department of Labour and National Service does not give the full picture. The true position can be perhaps best obtained by looking at the 1966 census. The difference between the unemployment figure quoted by the Department of Labour and National Service for the month of June that year and the figure of those who in fact described themselves in the census as being out of work represented a variation of 31 per cent. In effect, a total of 31 per cent more people out of work was disclosed by the census taken in that year than by the figures of the Minister's own Department. I would like to know why we do not have the real unemployment figure for the month of June 1971, which is when the last census was taken. Is it because this would show a vast discrepancy between the real number of unemployed and those that were reported to be unemployed by the Minister in the month of June 1971? lt is IS months since the last census was taken. Why do we not have the figures now? Why have we had to wait so long for them? Let us have a look at what has been said as to whether the seasonally adjusted figures or the raw figures that the Minister now momentarily relies upon should be quoted. The Prime Minister said in a 'This Day Tonight' interview this year and at a Premiers Conference that we must look at the seasonally adjusted figures. According to a Press report of a television interview on the programme 'This Day Tonight' on 14th February this year the Prime Minister said: . . the original unadjusted figures had an emotive quality, created the greatest public interest, and could be used for political purposes. But if you want to look at it for economic and national purposes the figures that you should look at are the seasonally adjusted figures. Of course, in the same month we had no lesser an authority for the same kind of statement than **Mr Lynch** himself. When we have the Minister agreeing with the Prime Minister and saying quite openly that the figures one has to look at are the seasonally adjusted figures and not the raw figures, why on earth is the Government now quoting the raw figures. Of course there is going to be increased unemployment. We need an expansion rate of 4 per cent in the work force, but we have one of only 1 per cent. The Treasurer **(Mr Snedden)** has said that we cannot confidently expect any more than a 2 per cent rate. So the unemployment situation is going to get steadily worse. There is no doubt at all but that by February we will have an unemployment pool of no less than 200,000 people. It is no use the Minister looking at percentages. We are not talking about percentages; we are talking about persons. It is no use calling an unemployed person a percentage and saying that you do not, therefore, have to worry about him. It does not matter where the percentages of unemployment are. The fact is that 86,000 people are out of work in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and 30,000-odd are out of work in the 3 Labor States put together. They are all human beings and it does not matter where they live. It does not matter what their percentage is. They are people, wherever they are. They are entitled to a job. A government that deliberately adopts an economic policy that makes it impossible for people to get work ought to be thrown out of work itself. {: #subdebate-31-0-s17 .speaker-KIM} ##### Mr LYNCH:
Minister for Labour and National Service · Flinders · LP -- As the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** would be very well aware, there can be no question concerning the integrity of officers of the Commonwealth Employment Service. For the first time in this Parliament in my recollection the honourable gentleman has in fact gone much too far. It is one thing, in terms of political diatribe of the type that he and the honourable member for Sturt **(Mr Foster)** engage in from time to time, to cast aspersions upon a government, a Minister or any other front bench member on this side of the Parliament for political reasons, but it is another matter for any member on the other side of this chamber to cast aspersions on the integrity of officers who are unable to defend themselves in this chamber. I believe that what the honourable member for Hindmarsh has just said is in fact an indictment of the approach which the Opposition has taken, consistent of course with what the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam)** has said, concerning the Commonwealth Statistician. The charge made by the Leader of the Opposition has been clearly rejected by the Federal Treasurer **(Mr Snedden)** and I notice that in recent weeks there has been no further comment by the Leader of the Opposition. Therefore 1 reject in its entirety any suggestion by the honourable member for Hindmarsh that there is any doubt about the integrity of the officers who prepare the figures which are included in the monthly release of employment statistics. 1 can say without any shadow of doubt that these figures are compiled by the Department. The Minister in fact has no involvement whatsoever in the collection or collation of the figures. His responsibility is in relation to the Press release which accompanies those figures. What we have heard on this occasion is what we have heard consistently from the Opposition in recent times. It is a general diatribe designed to generate in this community a sense of gloom, despair and despondency concerning Australia's economic climate. No party which seeks to govern this country in years ahead, I believe, is fit for office when it seeks to generate gloom and despondency and to impair Australia's economic growth at a stage in this country's economic history when the central question is that of confidence in the economy. As the honourable member for Hindmarsh should be very well aware, the figures produced by the Commonwealth Employment Service through the Department of Labour and National Service are compiled on the basis of registrations at offices of that Service. The Statistician's figures are calculated on an entirely different basis. They are calculated on a random sampling householder contact basis and they take into account persons seeking part time employment. This is the essential difference. I would be more than happy to show the honourable gentleman in the course of the next day or so the 2 sets of figures and he will see that they are very similar. That is a categoric fact with which I am certain, on recollection when he sees the figures, he will not have any general sense of disagreement. But I do not want to take up undue time on the question of employment because the honourable gentleman really is worried that the employment figures soon to come to hand might be far more favourable than even he might expect. The central question before the Committee is simply this: If one talks about industrial relations, I believe it is fair to recall what the Leader of the Opposition said in Sydney approximately 12 months ago. He said that a Labor government would not be the unthinking mouthpiece of trade union officialdom. Those words at that time, of course, were brave, but they have proved to be totally Pyrrhic in their application. Examine the record since that time. The Opposition's policy on industrial fines has been completely rejected and the Leader of the Opposition humiliated in company with the shadow Minister for Labour and National Service, the honourable member for Hindmarsh. The Opposition has pursued a policy which would withdraw the power to impose sanctions from the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission thereby effectively eroding its power and weakening its authority. The Opposition has adopted a policy which would place trade unions above the law by rendering trade unions immune from civil action for acts committed by their members during the course of industrial disputes. I use that in the narrow sense as understood by the honourable member for Hindmarsh. The Opposition has continued to condone the rapid escalation of wage and salary costs, which we know is the mainspring problem underlying our recent inflationary experience. It has given a very powerful thrust to the whole concept of collective bargaining. It supports claims for a 35-hour working week in particular industries. We recognise how industrially naive this is simply because of the inevitable effects of flow-on throughout the general community. I will not take up the attention of the chamber on this matter any further. A number of points have been usefully made by honourable gentlemen on both sides. I thank the honourable member for Swan **(Mr Bennett)** for the references which he has made to the Commonwealth Employment Service. The pressures under which the Victoria Park district office is operating is a matter for urgent review. I will be in contact with him as soon as I have further information following the review which is taking place. A number of comments have been made concerning the Department's training programmes. They will be the subject of consideration and 1 will undertake to write to the honourable gentlemen who have raised those comments during the debate on the estimates for the Department of Labour and National Service. {: #subdebate-31-0-s18 .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON:
Leichhardt -- I will not take long although if I thought I would do any good I would talk all night. I want to criticise the Country Party member, the honourable member for Maranoa **(Mr Corbett),** who had the audacity to refute the figures which the honourable member for Burke **(Mr Keith Johnson)** gave in relation to costs that would be involved if a 35-hour week was introduced over a period of 3 to 5 years. Government members already have the figures he cited. They are not his figures; they are figures provided by experts so their authenticity cannot be questioned. Members of the Country Party have been saying this afternoon that costs would increase by 35 per cent or thereabouts if a 35-hour week was brought in. I do not know whether honourable members on the opposite side know that many years ago the international organisation which was considering mechanisation and its effects unanimously decided that shorter working hours would be the answer to mechanisation and modernisation because if the work force was to be fully employed this was the method it should use. I did not intend to talk on this matter. I have only a few minutes. I want to speak about the National Service Act. When the Government brought in this Act it said that it was necessary. I did not think so myself, nor did my colleagues. If it was necessary then, it is less necessary now. The Government should take a more humane, commonsense attitude towards the people who are called up for national service. I talk of, for example, sons of dairy farmers upon whom their families have relied for many years to make a living. All of a sudden the chief provider, the eldest son or the second son, is taken away from the family to do national service. The lads themselves do not object to national service training but their families are in a bad position because they cannot afford to employ other people even if they could get them. Apprentices also are vitally affected by national service. It sometimes happens that an apprentice who has served one year or 18 months of his apprenticeship is called up for national service and his apprenticeship training is disrupted. If he is lucky he can return to his apprenticeship training when his national service has concluded. However, the Government has no rehabilitation scheme for national servicemen such as was introduced by **Mr Chifley** who ensured that servicemen were given sufficient training to bring them up to the standard they had attained prior to their entry into the armed forces. The Government should consider such a scheme for national servicemen particularly if they are to have a chance to continue in the trades to which they have dedicated themselves. Nowadays we hear much about academics and people who want to be doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants, but this country has to rely on people who work with their hands as well as with their minds and 1 do not think sufficient attention has been given to the subject of apprentice training. The more tradesmen we can produce the better it will be for Australia in the future. The Government should look at the situation because there is considerable disruption to the education of men being called up for national service. A similar situation may apply to academics who are studying for their doctorates. The Government should take a more sympathetic attitude. Surely there are plenty of labourers out of work who could be accepted into the Army. More sympathetic consideration should be given to the boys who are starting out on their careers, apprentices particularly. Not many firms nowadays will accept as apprentices persons aged 18 or 19 years because the employers are frightened that these young men will be called up for national service. I should like to debate this subject at greater length but I have agreed that a colleague of mine also should have an opportunity to address himself to these estimates for 5 minutes. National service not only disrupts the families of cockies but also the families of apprentices who are undertaking their early training and hoping to be helpful to Australia when they finish their time. {: #subdebate-31-0-s19 .speaker-KFO} ##### Mr FOSTER:
Sturt -- I understand that the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** has cleared out. It is no good him saying that unemployment figures have not been cooked. It is no good the Minister leaving the chamber because he does not want to hear the truth. The fact is that recently in this chamber sufficient evidence was produced to show quite clearly and concisely that incomplete figures have been made available. If my memory serves me correctly, figures were given by the Commonwealth Statistician regarding migrant unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment, but recently these figures have been omitted and migrants have been a high percentage of the total. It is no good the Minister saying that this situation does not exist in the community. In Adelaide last week 125 people were sacked from the motor industry. Because my colleague the honourable member for Kingston **(Dr Gun)** could not take part in this debate he has written a letter to the Minister on this subject. As yet, of course, he has not received a reply. The Minister goes from this chamber and claptraps about trade unions. His Government, through one Commonwealth Department, is letting contracts fall into foreign hands. The Assistant Minister assisting thi Postmaster-General **(Mr Robinson)** can listen to what I have to say about Edward H. O'Brien Pty Ltd. There was an undertaking in respect of the staff of this firm, but what has happened? Five juniors have been offered employment by the foreign contracting company. Because of the uncertainty of the situation 33 employees have left the firm. Seven senior clerical officers have been interviewed but have not been employed. In Adelaide the firm of Clarkson Ltd is to be taken over by what I regard as foreign owners. At least 50 per cent of its staff will not be absorbed by the takeover company. This represents 250 people who will be dismissed. It is not good enough for the Minister to say, when some honourable member suggests that the books have been cooked, that he is lousy on it. Not one thinking member opposite - I pay some regard to the mental capabilities of honourable members opposite - can honestly say that there are more people unemployed than are registered for unemployment benefits. About 30 per cent of the kids in my electorate went back to school last year because they could not get employment, but they do not appear in the unemployment figures. If any honourable member wants to say that the books are cooked, having that information in mind, it is perfectly valid for him to do so because he can back his claim with figures. I have made representations in Canberra, as the Minister for Education and Science **(Mr Malcolm Fraser)** knows, to the Academy of Science for biology books for use in the 3 principal high schools in my electorate. This requirement has been made necessary because of the school leavers who have not been able to obtain employment. What is the position of the bloke who is out of work, who has 3 or 4 dependants and whose wife is working and bringing in $30 a week? He cannot get any benefit. Is he shown in the unemployment statistics? I invite the Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Street)** to answer this question. Is this man shown statistically as being unemployed? Honourable members opposite talk about industrial relations and wage justice, and the Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** on Monday Conference' or some other programme of that nature the other night said that in 12 months time Australia will have overfull employment. This Government has never had a proper policy of industrial relations. It has never had a proper policy of employment of the whole of the Australian work force. It has an ad hoc attitude to employment. It has been by good fortune that people have been employed. The Government has not planned for employment. It has not planned for any national development to cater for the people employed by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority. I invite the Assistant Minister to say that what I am saying is untrue. He knows darn well it is not untrue. Finally, I come to the question of the wage gap. We have the situation now - I am not saying that it is wrong - that the wife of an employee aged over 60 years who is dragging in $100 a week becomes entitled to a form of social welfare pension. I do not disagree with this and I make this abundantly clear. If the Minister for Social Services **(Mr Wentworth)** is not asleep but merely has his eyes closed he will agree with what I say. Remember, I said $100 a week and $103 is the cut off point. Yet in every State of the Commonwealth minimum wage and salary earners have to take home pays of less than $50 a week, and they each have 2 or 3 kids to maintain. At what point is Professor Henderson's poverty line drawn? It is $52 a week. What does the Government propose to do about the ever-widening gap in wages? All it has done within the last 6 months has been to seek to update the salary of personnel of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission by 37 per cent. At the same time it goes crook about the unions making demands on behalf of workers who have a take home pay of less than $50 a week, which is below what Professor Henderson says is the poverty line. Where is the Government's honesty? Where is its integrity in this matter? Where is its sense of standards? Where is its sense of proportion in respect of the standards that people should expect in such a lucky and wealthy country? What is the Government's atti tude to this gap in salaries? Does the Government intend to leave it to the trade unions to try to remedy the situation? Is the Government intending to leave it on the basis of Commonwealth and State financial relations? How can State governments with their meagre Budgets and with no access to the income tax field pay more than a mere pittance of $50 a week to the bloke who works for water boards and sewerage boards and does the lousiest jobs in the community and gets the least for it? This situation must be examined. If the Government says that the States are burdened by restricted Budgets why does it not, in the interests of the wives and children of men on this low wage and salary level, make grants to the State governments to enable them to lift those wages by at least 20 per cent? The same situation applies to some employees of the Commonwealth Government. Is the Commonwealth Government not an employer? Can any honourable member opposite claim that he has ever stood in this chamber or elsewhere publicly and said that people are entitled to a wage rise, except when it concerns himself? Tell me when you have done that. Tell me of any Liberal Party of Country Party candidate for office who has ever stood publicly or in this place under privilege and supported a wage or salary increase other than for yourselves or the top brass within the Commonwealth structure. That is where the great gap lies today. That is where the poverty line is placed. How do you expect people to exist on the lousy pittance that you give to an unemployed bloke with a wife and 2 children? The honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles)** seeks to interject. If he wants to gag me, let him go ahead and do so, but I point out to him that farmers in his electorate have suffered from drought after drought. The South Australian Government, that he attacks here, has done more for those farmers than this lousy Federal Government has ever thought about doing. It gave no grants towards the efforts of the Dunstan Government in South Australia to put the unemployed on local government work and the honourable member knows that. He should not interpose on that point. The penny will drop so far as people seeking employment are concerned. I remind *the* Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and National Service, who is now at the table, of the difficulties of the long term unemployed. A man who is out of work for 6 months finds it more difficult to get a job and develops a mental attitude towards the unfortunate position in which the Government places him. It becomes harder when you are unemployed. The honourable member for Cowper **(Mr Robinson)** is laughing but I point out to him that it is harder for a man who has been out of work for 6 months to get a job than it is for a man who has been out of work for 3 weeks. If he does not have enough common sense to see that, there is something wrong with him. It is even more difficult for a man who has been out of work for 9 months. The Department's figures are revealing that the numbers of long term unemployed are increasing. You cannot expect people in the community to exist on a few lousy dollars a week at a time when an employed person taking home $100 a week can still get something from the Government. It is time that the Government did something for the people at the other end of the scale. You do not realise what you inflict on a wage earner when you push him into unemployment and deprive his children of the proper facilities for education, particularly beyond the primary school age. Honourable members opposite who purport to have the interests of the community at heart should be looking at those aspects about which I get emotional and concerned. Government supporters show no concern at all about them. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)** - Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-31-0-s20 .speaker-KVM} ##### Mr STREET:
Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and National Service · Corangamite · LP -- In the 10 minutes available to me obviously 1 cannot cover all the points raised by the 2 honourable members who have spoken in this debate since the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** made his contribution. The honourable member for Leichhardt **(Mr Fulton)** referred to the way in which the national service scheme affects people such as the sons of dairy farmers. The first point I would like to make in reply is that given the need for a national service scheme there must be the universal application of liability. I am sure that the honourable member is not suggesting, given the need for the scheme, that that principle should not apply. I point out to him that a number of courses of action are open to the people who feel that they have been severely disadvantaged and are suffering exceptional hardship in circumstances such as those outlined by the honourable member in respect of the sons of dairy farmers. The first alternative to full time national service in the Regular Army is service in the Citizen Military Forces. Service can be of 2 kinds, the first of which involves an annual camp and weekend parades. Alternatively young men living more than 25 miles from a CMF unit - which often happens in country areas - may attend special units involving one annual camp of approximately 33 days duration. In addition, a claim for deferment can be made on the grounds of exceptional hardship. The honourable member for Leichhardt also raised the question of the return of apprentices from national service to their employment. I remind him that the National Service Act imposes on employers an obligation to re-employ such apprentices after national service in a way that does not disadvantage them. I agree with the emphasis that the honourable member placed on apprenticeship. The estimates we are now discussing contain details of the new Government proposals to provide subsidies to employers to encourage them to employ first year apprentices. A double rate of subsidy is payable to employers in country areas to encourage the maximum number of young people in country areas to become skilled tradesmen. The honourable member also referred to the lack of training on completion of national service, but all national servicemen are eligible for the national service vocational training scheme. Many thousands have taken advantage of the opportunities available to them under the scheme, including apprentices who may wish to gain higher qualifications. The honourable member for Sturt **(Mr Foster)** made the sort of speech we have come to expect from him. He alleged that certain figures were suppressed - I think that is the word he used - or cooked by the Commonwealth Statistician and not included in recent reports. I remind the honourable member that his allegations caused great concern at the time to the very senior public servants involved. The allegations were quite specifically denied by the Treasurer **(Mr Snedden),** who is responsible for the administration of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. The honourable member for Sturt also raised the question of the salaries of commissioners of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. I am rather surprised that the honourable member raised that subject because the Australian Labor Party attitude to it caused very great antagonism towards the Labor Party from Public Service organisations. He referred to long term unemployment and the mental attitude of some people with a long history of unemployment because of the difficulties they face in getting employment. I agree that this is a problem, and the Government also agrees, lt is precisely because of the problem that the Government has introduced the general employment retraining scheme, provided for in the estimates we are now debating, with subsidies to be paid to employers who employ people with a history of long periods of unemployment. I agree that it is a problem. The very fact that we have done something about it proves that the Government recognises the problem. I point out for the honourable member's benefit that although the scheme has been in operation for only a matter of weeks people are already in training in subsidised employment under the scheme. In the few minutes left to me I would like to speak about the wider responsibilities of the Department of Labour and National Service because some people regard the Department as being responsible merely for running the Commonwealth Employment Service and the national service scheme. Important as those aspects are they are only part of a very much wider responsibility. The function of the Department extends far beyond the provision of employment officers throughout the country and I would like briefly to discuss some of its other duties. One of the most important policy responsibilities of the Department is to encourage the development of the work force in Australia so that, most importantly, the full potential of each individual may be achieved. Also, so that Australia is enabled to maintain its position as an industrialised nation in an international producing and trading environment which is becoming increasingly competitive and sophisticated. These objectives are really the basis of the work of the Department. Our industrial relations, employment and training policies are all directed towards that end. The attitude of the various sections of the community to these issues will in turn either facilitate or hinder the achievement of our aims. A responsible and sensible approach to wage demands and prices charged for goods and services will benefit everybody. The irresponsible actions of sectional groups may show some short term advantages to a few but only at the expense of the many. Policies of full employment cannot succeed if irresponsibility becomes the norm rather than the exception. One ot the particular responsibilities of the Department is the administration of training schemes for industry and commerce. Over a period of years the Government has steadily extended training opportunities for workers and management in Australia. The schemes now cover a wide range of people and have been constantly expanded and updated to meet emerging and changing needs. We can now see the results of these imaginative programmes. A series of schemes directed towards all levels of industry and commerce is available. There are now comprehensive courses to train training officers and a subsidised scheme to encourage industry organisations to employ manpower development officers. This is where, training must start, because the principle must have management backing if it is to succeed. Training should be part of the management function and should include the training of management itself. First class material is prepared by the Department on training for supervisors - this is a most significant area of training need - material which is capable of being adapted to the requirements of individual companies. The material provided by the Department is available free of charge. Training within industry programmes for supervisors are being redeveloped and will be available, again without charge, from the Department. Schemes provided by other approved non-profit organisations will be subsidised. There are training schemes for Aborigines, for national servicemen to whom I referred a moment ago, for those displaced owing to redundancy or replaced by technological change, for women wishing to re-enter the work force, and there is training provided under the rural reconstruction scheme. In the estimates provision is made for new initiatives, for schemes to include those with a history of long periods of unemployment who are worrying the honourable member for Sturt, for a greatly improved and expanded programme of subsidies to employers of first year apprentices which I included in my remarks when replying to the honourable member for Leichhardt. By our encouragement of double incentives to employers of apprentices in country areas we are providing opportunities to young men and women who would otherwise have to leave the country to seek employment. This is all part of the Government's stated determination to bring about a better distribution of population throughout Australia. These are just some of the aspects of the work of the Department. Even from the brief description I have been able to give it will be apparent that we are working steadily towards creating the widest possible range of opportunities for all Australian citizens, young and not so young, male and female, to enable them to develop their talents to the full, to their own social and material benefit and that of the nation as a whole. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Department of Housing Proposed expenditure, $7,989,000. {: #subdebate-31-0-s21 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid -- I move: As an instruction to the Government: >To assist State public housing authorities to provide low cost housing and to reduce housing costs by - > >enabling publicland development commissions to be set up in co-operation with the States to acquire necessary land, hold it in public ownership, develop it and make it available on reasonable terms on a leasehold basis similar to Canberra prior to 1st January 1971; > >making grants and increased loans to State governments to increase construction of public housing to reduce any public housing backlog; > >making grants to permit public housing authorities to be responsible for (i) ensuring that electricity wiring is placed underground, (ii) tree planting and landscaping and (iii) community centres in public housing communities; > >reducing interest rates; and > >establishing uniformity of building codes, standards and practices. The blow that was struck by the Commonwealth Government to the home building industry in April 1970 was one that has taken a good deal of time to overcome. Building commencements are up 6 per cent this year on the same period last year. But if one compares them with commencements for the same period 2 years ago one finds that they are up by only 1 per cent. Taking into consideration that there has been a net increase in immigration of 300,000 and that over 200,000 marriages have taken place during this period, one will realise the record of the home building industry since 1970. In New South Wales the commencments were up 1.2 per cent this year on last year and 5.3 per cent down on 2 years ago. New South Wales is the most heavily populated State. There are many reasons why the housing sector has not increased in the manner which is necessary to catch up with the housing backlog. The Federal Government's policy has been to retain housing at a very low priority. In 1954-55 public housing expenditure represented 2.68 per cent of budgetary expenditure. In 1971-72, even including special loans that were made to try to stimulate the economy and including the new Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement last year, the figure was only 1.82 per cent. Housing in both the public and the private sector is in great difficulty. The worst affected State is New South Wales. Land prices are spiralling, particularly in Sydney. In Sydney the average price of land is nearly $10,000 a block and in Melbourne it is nearly $8,000 a block. Interest rates are still high. There has been no reduction in interest rates by the biggest lenders - the savings banks. First mortgage loans are inadequate. Monthly repayments are too high. Few people are able to meet the repayments on the average house and land. In Sydney the cost of the average house and land is between $22,000 and $23,000. We want to take the cost of land out of the cost of land and dwelling so that more people will come within the financial sector than can afford to acquire a home. In Melbourne it is between $20,000 and $21,000. Growing numbers of young couples are unable to meet the 'deposit gap'. That is the difference between the cost of land plus a house and the amount a borrower can obtain as a loan. That is why approximately 90,000 families are awaiting homes on housing commission lists throughout Australia. In New South Wales there are 40,000 alone, and 26,000 of them are in Sydney. The Housing Industry Association's survey published in September 1972 reveals: >A reduction in Government dwelling and nondwelling contraction was a deliberate policy, announced in the 1971-72 Budget, when it was considered that restraint in Government expenditure was needed to help contain inflation in the economy. It went on to say: >A more direct and immediate effect could have been obtained on the economy generally by stimulating the housing sector- by measures to reduce land prices through greater allocations for provision of essential services; by taxation and/ or direct subsidies to reduce effective interest rates on housing loans: by special allocations to assist lowerincome families to obtain homes. The home building industry of Australia needs an immediate stimulus, firstly, so that young couples can obtain housing and, secondly, to stimulate the economy. The housing industry and associated industries are the biggest employer of labour in Australia. In the few minutes available to me I would like to explain the Australian Labor Party's proposal. This is an election year and I think that we should put forward positive proposals so that members and people know what our proposals are. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the Australian Labor Party's urban land proposals. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)** - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) - >LABOR'S URBAN LAND PROPOSALS > >A Commonwealth Labor Government would encourage State Governments to retain their Crown lands in the public sector. When the land is released it should be on a leasehold basis. > >A Commonwealth Labor Government, in co-operation with the State and local governments would acquire land on the fringe of the provincial capital cities and country towns. Land could be administered by State Housing authorities, land allocated on need and/or ballot on leasehold or sale. > >Sites for new cities created from broad acres - After agreement between the Commonwealth and State Government or governments on proposed sites for a new city, legislation would bs enacted by the State Government as was the case in Murray Newtown (Land Acquisition) Act in South Australia. > >State Governments would acquire land and Commonwealth Government would provide the necessary finance. Land would remain leasehold on a similar basis to that prevailing in Canberra prior to 1st January 1971. The area would be developed by an authority similar to the National Capital Development Commission, which would include representatives of the Commonwealth, State and local governments. > >A Commonwealth Labor Government would make finance available to State Housing Author ties to acquire land for urban renewal. Land would remain leasehold. > >A statutory land authority would be established with powers to operate on similar lines to those of TAA to compete with the private sector and act as part of Labor's policy to reduce land prices. The authority to be known as the Land Development Commission. Its functions and details of operation are set out in the attached. > >LAND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION PREFACE > >The basis of a successful land use policy ls the ownership of land. A government can pass laws restricting the use of the land, but market pressures will win out in the end and cause a change in the law. Where appropriate, the government may resume land or they may buy it on the open market. > >Land prices are set on current usage and people's expectation of what land will be used for in the future. If a new railway or a new town is announced then land will go up in value. Government should buy it before it announces such policies. > >If a development proposal threatens an historic building or scenic headland, swift action is needed or else the proposal will be approved or the area or building destroyed. Government, therefore, needs the ability to enter into the land market as quickly and easily as any private land dealer. At the same time because public funds are used any government body must be accountable, particularly in a field as open to irregularities as the land market. > >PROPOSAL > >That a statutory corporation be established similar to TAA to obtain the land for 2 part purposes: > >To acquire the land for development, residential, industrial, commercial and recreational. Land acquired would be developed by another government authority or urban development authority (similar to the NCDC, or New Towns Commission in Britain). State Housing authorities, etc. where appropriate, would develop the land itself and allocate generally on a leasehold basis. > >To acquire land of national importance; for example, land for national parks, land on which historic buildings or building with special architectural merit; land which, if owned by the government, will affect the course of urban affairs. Above all, land along the coastline of Australia, especially the eastern coast: other areas of special concern - the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and the Dandenongs east of Melbourne, would be acquired so as to protect them for future generations from the present excessive subdivision. When possible, land of national importance would be handed over with proper safeguards to State governments, local authorities, National Trust, conservation groups, and other such bodies whose purposes are consistent with the Land Development Commission. {: .page-start } page 2437 {:#debate-32} ### SHORT AND LONG TERM AIMS Industrial and commercial land would be auctioned but special arrangements may be entered into where it is considered a certain industry or commerce should be encouraged in that area. Our land policy will play an important function in our decentralisation policy. As a matter of policy, short and long term, we seek heterogeneous development in our land, housing and new cities programme. The private sector of industry would be encouraged to assist in the development of these areas, together with the public sector. {: .page-start } page 2437 {:#debate-33} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-33-0} #### FINANCE The LDC would become self-financing in time. The earner land is acquired the cheaper it will be, and accordingly to do this task properly the LDC would need an extensive amount of finance to begin with. We would need $200m each year for 5 years. The LDC would not be required to pay payroll income or company tax. While the LDC should be free to make its own decisions without political Interference as to what land it purchases, it would be necessary for the LDC to know the areas that the Department of Urban Affairs and State governments were proposing to develop. Its complete records should be open to scrutiny of a Parliamentary Committee on which both Government and Opposition members are represented. {: #subdebate-33-0-s0 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -I thank the House. The first proposal deals with the question of trying to encourage the States to keep crown lands within the public domain. The second proposal seeks to enter into cooperation with the States to acquire land on the fringe of capital and provincial cities and country towns. The third wants to see the repetition of new sites for new cities by acquiring broad acres on a similar basis to the Murray Newtown (Land Acquisition) Act in South Australia. The fourth proposal is that a Labor government would make finance available to State housing authorities to acquire land for urban renewal. The fifth proposal is to set up a land commission. The other aspect that is an important part of Labor's housing proposals is that of the public housing sector. We would return to the Chifley Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement, making money available to the States at 3 per cent interest. This housing would be for rental only. If public housing were purchased there would be a slightly higher interest rate. We would make special grants to the State housing authorities to meet all rent rebates to those unable to meet their rental' payments due to disability. We would grant the State housing authorities moneys to put electric light wires underground, undertake tree planting schemes for streets, retain nature areas and if they are not in an area we would help to develop them and we would help build community centres within public housing authority schemes. We want public housing communities to be communities and not just boxes for people to exist in because this Government is just not concerned in that regard. In regard to the private housing sector, even though record amounts of money are in the savings banks the Government still retains the first mortgage loan at $9,000. We will use our Commonwealth powers to make sure that the savings banks increase their first mortgage loan from $9,000 to at least $12,000. We will encourage them to reduce their interest rate. This is a very heavy social problem. We will really move into housing both in the public and private sectors to make sure that we develop our communities, whether they are on the fringes of our capital cities or in country areas. We want to see these communities become communities in a heterogeneous society; we do not want any more homogeneous developments of public housing, whether it is on the fringe of our capital cities or whether it is part of our policy of decentralisation which we will carry out after December of this year. The Labor Party has a humane and progressive policy. It is about time that public housing and private housing were lifted in priority and did not finish at the bottom of the priority list as they have done for so many years under this Government. {: #subdebate-33-0-s1 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The price of housing could be reduced greatly in Australia if we had a Federal government that was prepared to take initiatives. But that has not been the case. There is no point in me directing advice to the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** who sits at the table, because I believe that his days are numbered. He has lost his chance. He and successive Liberal-Country Party governments have for 23 years been presiding over a deteriorating housing situation. The products of the Government's efforts can be seen in long Housing Commission waiting lists, as was mentioned by my colleague, the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren),** high land costs in overcrowded cities and crippling interest rates. But I believe it is an appropriate occasion to talk about the kind of thing that can happen with a change of government and will happen under a Labour government. The several things that I am going to mention briefly are not new by any means. They have been mentioned before by my colleague at the table, the honourable member for Reid, and by the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam),** whose attitude has been the very opposite of the conceptual drought that has characterised the honourable members opposite. I ask the Minister why he and his Government have made such a holy cow of requiring people to have deposits for housing. This afternoon I read an article by Angus Moir, who is the chairman of the terminating building societies in New South Wales. He said: >What is it that makes a man with a 10 per cent equity so much more morally reliable? Is a family without a deposit a delinquent family? He went on in that article to indicate that the building society movement is prepared to give loans without deposits; that is, to give 100 per cent loans. I want to know why the Government has not had some kind of enthusiasm about this sort of matter. My colleague from Reid mentioned that there are over 90,000 people stacked up with State housing authorities around Australia. Why are they in such a queue? Why are they not attending the building society offices, the insurance companies and the banks for the purposes of obtaining a loan so that they can obtain a house of their own instead of being a tenant in somebody else's house? There are several very obvious characteristics about their problem. One is very often that they cannot raise a deposit. For a loan of $21,000 I think the average deposit is about $5,000. We should be able to bridge this deposit gap. The second thing we should be able to do is to provide terms for these people over an extended period of time. We now have things like the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. There does not seem to be any reason why a 100 per cent loan cannot be made. These insurance corporations, both the public one and the private one, have had extremely lucrative results in the short time they have been in operation. I notice that in 1970 the Corporation was required to pay back only $23,379 for defaults as against loans insured in that year of $ 165.5m. Because of the rapid increase in real estate values in recent years housing loan insurance involves very little risk. Encouragement should be given by the Government, channelled through to the building society movement. The Government should say: This is what we want and this is the way by which we can eliminate the heart breaking queue which people have joined - those 94,000, I think it is - for homes from State housing authorities'. Then we should be able to extend the period of a loan. On average at the present time, the interest repaid on a loan of $15,000 over 25 years at, say, 8 per cent interest is $19,732. I give the Committee another example. If $15,000 is borrowed over 25 years at *8i* per cent interest the, interest repayment on that loan is $21,235. The rate of repayment for such a loan is $120.78 per month. To repay that amount one needs to earn $120 a week. But the bulk of Australians do not earn that amount. In fact, the minimum wage today is $2,700 a year or $54 a week. Anyone who is on the minimum wage has only half the capacity to repay a loan of $15,000. Average earnings in Australia are said to be in the vicinity of $5,000 a year or about $100 a week. Of course., we know this figure is cooked. The tall poppies are included in that calculation. {: .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr Giles: -- Why did you look at the honourable member for Kingston when you said that? {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- lt would have been more appropriate for me to have looked steadfastly ahead when I made reference to tall poppies. Nevertheless, a lot of money is needed these days to pay off this kind of loan. The average income of $5,000 a year or $100 a week is insufficient to meet the repayment on a $15,000 loan - the average loan obtained from a building society in Australia. I believe that there ought to be an onslaught on that matter in the way I have mentioned and the Government ought to be able to extend the period of the loan over 35 years. There are processes by which the loan can be periodically recalculated and readjusted according to the earning capacity of the family. Of course, inflationary trends often take care of these matters. If a person commits himself to a certain amount, in 10 years time he can easily find that that commitment is not a difficult one to discharge. However, we ought to get these people into the system by the process I have mentioned. In addition, the Opposition has contended for a long time that there ought to be a move or an initiative taken by the Government to reduce housing costs by way of establishing uniform building codes in Australia. Nothing has been done in this regard despite requests by architects, builders and others engaged in the housing industry. We would like to see something done about chopping conveyancing costs which are enormously expensive, which contribute to delay and add unnecessary financial burdens. It is obviously a ridiculous situation that we require solicitors who are necessarily highly paid people to do work which should be remunerated at a lower level. In other words, we need a new pro fessional force in this country; if not a new one, a resurrection of the old one. We need a conveyancing force re-established so that people can be trained to undertake a prescribed and precise job of work - the business of transferring ownership of land from one person to another. In all the States of Australia except South Australia there is a scale of fees which are paid to solicitors by vendors and purchasers of land which make the transaction extremely and unnecessarily expensive. South Australia, which operates under the Land Agent Act 1955, provides a much better deal and much lower rates. Time does not permit me to say any more. However, no new ideas have come from the Government side for a long long time. The Opposition is anxious to have the opportunity to make an assault against unnecessary housing costs in this country not only in respect of the matters I have mentioned but certainly and especially from the standpoint of cutting the price of homes and making leasehold land available in decently planned communities around Australia. {: #subdebate-33-0-s2 .speaker-K7J} ##### Sir JOHN CRAMER:
Bennelong -- It is a great pity that today's proceedings are not being broadcast because if they were some of the people, would have heard the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** and backed up by the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson).** It is also a great pity that although the 2 honourable members are conscientious and very nice members - I am fond of both of them - their ignorance in housing is pathetic; they just do not know what they are talking about. The amendment in part states: >That the proposed expenditure be reduced by SI. As an instruction to the Government: >To assist State public housing authorities to provide low cost housing and to reduce housing costs by - > >enabling public land development commissions to be set up in co-operation with the States to acquire necessary, land, hold it in public ownership, develop it and make it available on reasonable terms on a leasehold basis similar to Canberra prior to 1st January 1971; On that basis I do not suppose they are thinking in terms of fewer than 100,000 houses. If we take 100,000 houses as a basis the astronomical cost to the Government would be about $2,000m. I do not know where a Labor government would get that money from. Of course, that is not the end of it. A Labor government would develop all sorts of things. Part (b) of the amendment states: making grants and increased loans to State gov ernments to increase construction of public housing to reduce any public housing backlog; The Labor Party knows nothing at all about housing. If members of the Opposition had made any investigations at all they would know that there is no housing shortage in Australia today. There is a problem in relation to low rental housing which is being covered by what the Government and the States are doing but there is no real shortage of houses to meet the needs of the people who live in this country today. To increase the construction of public housing as the Opposition proposes would be just plainly and simply crazy. I have never heard anything like it in my life. It is obvious to me that the honourable member for Reid - and I would like him to listen to me for one moment because I do not have long to talk during this debate - does not understand what a proposal like this on a leasehold system means in cities which are already established. The honourable member would put a leasehold system around these already established areas. One cannot make a leasehold system stick under those circumstances unless one puts an embargo upon the resale of a leasehold property. If the honourable member looks at the statistics he will see that every residential property in Australia changes hands or ownership 7 times in the lifetime of that property. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- That is a house property. {: .speaker-K7J} ##### Sir JOHN CRAMER: -- Yes. In the first instance a Labor government may give a great benefit and subsidy to the fellow who first obtains the leasehold title. This would be given in the form of a present from the government. But when demand is created and that fellow wants to sell, be sells according to the market value - and that market value does not take any recognition of the fact that there is a leasehold title or a freehold title. If there is a house there and someone wants it the government will not be able to do anything to stop the holder of the leasehold title from selling. It will have done nothing whatever to suppress the costs of housing to the people of Australia by the idea of leasehold title. Such a scheme just will not work. The people will wake up to the fact that if a leasehold scheme is introduced they will not cwn their own land. Therefore the honourable member for Reid had better change his tactics in regard to this matter. A Labor government would set up commissions in each State and one central commission in Canberra under the control of the Commonwealth government so that the Commonwealth will control all housing in Australia. This, of course, is something that the Labor Party has tried to do before and it is just plain blatant socialism. The sooner the people of Australia wake up to the fact that what the honourable member for Reid and members of the Labor Party are trying to do is to fool people into the idea that they will get cheap houses or land and concentrate and establish a central housing commission to own all the land in the future development of Australia, the better. Can we imagine anything so stupid or unrealistic? I can tell honourable members opposite that the people of Australia just will not fall for this kind of trick because this is not the sort of thing that the people want. The Opposition and the people of Australia should realise that this Government has done a tremendous amount for housing and the money which is being made available at present runs into quite prodigious figures. Another thing they must remember is that constitutionally the responsibility for housing rests with the States. Money for the purpose of housing can be handed out to the States. Money is being handed out at the present time. An amount of $982m for the State works and housing programme was approved by the recent Loan Council meeting. Of this amount $248. 5m has been made available in the form of non-repayable grants. If that is not a healthy situation, I do not know what is. In addition to that special grants are made. An amount of $2.75m for 30- odd years, which adds up - and the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** who is at the table can correct me if I am wrong - to $4 15m or $425m has been made available by way of subsidy in relation to reduced rentals and so on. An additional SI. 25m has been granted to reduce rentals for needy families. {: .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- Labor opposed that. {: .speaker-K7J} ##### Sir JOHN CRAMER: -- Yes, the Labor Party opposed this when it came in. Money is now being made available to the States to deal with this single problem in housing - low rental accommodation for the low income group of people. If you play around with the other side of housing then you are just being so stupid that it does not matter. It is very desirable to have electricity wiring placed underground. But does the honourable member for Reid know what is involved in that proposition? Has he the faintest idea what is involved? I was the Chairman of the Sydney County Council and I went into this matter pretty thoroughly. It would not be possible to undertake such a task in any city in Australia because of the cost which would be involved under our taxation system. I would like to see it done and it can be done in certain of the new areas but it would be very costly. The amendment moved by the Opposition was designed on a completely socialist basis to try to indicate to the people that under a Labor government they will get cheap housing. This will not work. Honourable members opposite should learn what is involved in a system of leasehold land. I repeat that to make it work you would have to place a bar on everybody who obtained a leasehold title. It would mean that they would not be able to re-sell their homes. In other words, they would not be the legitimate owners of the property. It would continue to be owned by the Commonwealth of Australia. The people would be living in socialist homes. They would be directed to live in certain areas and to live in certain kinds of homes. Does the honourable member for Reid know that the quality of housing in Australia today is increasing sharply? Only 2 years ago the average home in Australia was 12.9 squares but it is now 13.5 squares. This trend is increasing the quality of housing tremendously. The Opposition's amendment is a stupid one and I hope that the Committee will reject it. The **DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Jarman)** - -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s3 .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP -- It is always a delight to follow the doyen of private enterprise and land developers from the electorate of Bennelong. It almost saves one the trouble of preparing a speech because there are so many fallacies in the arguments put forward by the honourable member for Bennelong **(Sir John Cramer)** that one could spend 10 minutes tearing them to pieces. However I do not intend to do that because there are some thoughts of my own which I would like to contribute. Firstly, I should like to draw the attention of the honourable member to one fallacy in his very last statement which showed that he could not, in his own thinking, divorce houses from land. He could not conceive a proposition in which the land would belong to the Commonwealth and the house would belong to the person who had built it. He is not aware that the greatest cost component in most cases of ownership of houses is the land content. His mind is so blocked up after many years of being an arch-conservative that these sorts of thoughts would not register with him. I thought that the honourable member's statement that there was no housing shortage in Australia today was rather delightful. He substantiated that statement by saying that the only problem was in the low cost housing area for the low wage earner. I recall the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** and the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** stating that the waiting lists for all the State housing commissions total something of the order of 90,000 to 96,000 families. If that is not a significant proportion of the Australian community I am afraid that I have lost as much touch with the community as has the honourable member for Bennelong. He backed up that figure by saying that there would be a need for some 100,000 blocks of land to be purchased by the Government if we were to adopt the amendment which has been moved by the honourable member for Reid. Therefore he is satisfied that there is a shortage of the order of 90,000 to 96,000 houses in Australia. This is after 23 years of Liberal Government rule. The honourable member has a simple solution for all these things. Anything that is new to him, anything that is away from the usual run of the mill things to which he has been used to dealing with, he wipes completely off the slate by saying that it is pure blatant socialism. For many years Australia has endeavoured to live in a free enterprise society. It seems to me that the problems which exist today are not new problems but problems that have existed for all of that time, so free enterprise society does not work. I do not think the honourable member is serious when he simply wipes these things off by calling them socialist proposals. One could almost repeat the speeches made in the past on the same subject in this chamber and they would be as relevant today as they were when they were made because nothing has changed in the intervening period and nothing has been done to make the position any easier for those who seek to avail themselves of the basic requirement of those who live in a civilised community, and that is shelter from the elements. The practice has grown in Australia of home ownership and the myth of the security that home ownership allegedly brings has been fostered by successive Liberal-Country Party governments. I doubt whether many people actually seek ownership of their homes simply for the pleasure of owning a home. Rather do I believe that the search is for security of tenure. I believe this is what people seek more than ownership - the security of tenure. The statistics made available to the Committee by the honourable member for Hughes on the repayment of loans points to the foolishness of people owning their own homes in the present financial set-up. The honourable member stated that a $15,000 loan at 8i per cent interest required a repayment with interest over 15 years of $22,000. That, to me, is the real crux of the problem. By fostering this myth of the desirability of people owning their own homes the various government bodies in the States are moving their responsibility to provide low cost homes on to the people who are not only lumbered with high interest costs and high prices for land but also with rates and the cost of maintaining their properties. The cost of land is of great concern to people who wish to own their own home. Here again we could, perhaps, allude to the slavish adherence to the free enterprise system adopted by governments of the political colour of this Government. This not only allows the manipulation of the land supply but it encourages such manipulation. Developers alone can decide when large sections of land come forward for subdivision. No local authority can encourage, persuade or force owners of large tracts of land zoned residential to bring that land forward for subdivision. So developers retain land as broad acres until other factors make it more than profitable to subdivide and sell. That action frustrates the law of supply and demand. Demand is created by withholding supply. Prices soar as a result of this manipulation. The neglect of the Commonwealth Government - and let us not forget that we have been inflicted with a Liberal-Country Party coalition government for 20 years - and the ineptness of State governments has meant that our largest cities have been allowed to develop at the whim of the -and developers and without essential services such as roads, drainage and sewerage being developed to keep pace. When the situation is so desperate that the danger of insurrection almost exists, the problem is solved by governments legislating to force developers to construct roads and drains and now, at least in Melbourne, to provide sewerage reticulation in housing estates. However, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works cannot provide trunk services even to Westmeadows, North Fawkner, Campbellfield and other places in my electorate, all within 9 miles of the Melbourne General Post Office. This situation in itself aggravates the cost of land because if the Commonwealth were sincere in its endeavours to have the cities serviced it would make funds available to statutory bodies to do the work. It would make funds available either as a direct grant or at a very reasonable and nominal rate of interest. However, by placing the onus on the real estate developer the buyer nf the house now finds that he buys not only a block of land but he buys also the services such as roads, drainage, and now sewerage reticulation. Because he is buying all of the services from the developer - and the services are provided out of loan funds or moneys belonging to the developer - the buyer of the land pays the current -.ate of interest, which once again is determined by the Federal Government, on the work that is done, and there arises the profit motive. Were the Commonwealth Government to make funds available to these statutory authorities to do the work the cost of land would be reduced considerably. The proposition put forward by the honourable member for Reid is sound and would enable public land development corporations to be set up in co-operation with the States to acquire the necessary land. The honourable member for Bennelong **(Sir John Cramer)** was astounded at this proposition. He did not think it was possible. He believed that a large sum of money - he mentioned $2,000m - would be required to acquire the land. I am sure that he is overlooking the fact that the land will be sold- that people want that land and are prepared to pay money for it. So the availability of the money is no problem at all. The money exists. The only problem at the moment is that it is in the hands of a multitude of people. It could very soon be placed in the hands of one body. The difficulty caused because of the multiplicity of owners of the land ceases to exist when the land is placed under the ownership of the one body. Many things such as zoning and land use become much easier when the land is under the ownership of one person, and this is the sort of situation that the amendment envisages. I support the amendment. It deserves the support of this Committee. It should be approved and agreed to by this Committee and it should be reported to the House as this Committee's proposal on the estimates for the Department of Housing. {: #subdebate-33-0-s4 .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr BROWN:
Diamond Valley -- I would like to address a few impromptu remarks to the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren).** I use the word 'impromptu' because we have had not more than an hour or so to examine this latest Labor Party bousing proposal. I think the first point that should be made about this amendment is that it is yet another instalment in the seemingly never ending saga of Labor Party housing proposals. Scarcely a month goes by these days without some new amendment to a policy or, indeed, some completely new policy being put forward by the Labor Party to the Australian people for their acceptance. I think that is the first point that should be made clear. Who could possibly accept that the Labor Party has any coherent, considered housing policy when there has been such a consistent flow of conflicting and changing policies. Let me make a few points about the proposals contained in this amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid. It is well that we remember the basic points contained in this amendment. First of all, there is the proposition that land should be acquired by what are referred to as public land development commissions and that their function should be to acquire land. Let us not forget that this is the basic proposal put forward in this amendment. As my colleague the honourable member for Bennelong **(Sir John Cramer)** has explained quite clearly, this is a purely socialist proposal. {: .speaker-K9J} ##### Mr Keith Johnson:
BURKE, VICTORIA · ALP -- Hear, hear {: .speaker-PD4} ##### Mr BROWN: -- The honourable member for Burke chimes in with his ready acceptance of my proposition that it is a socialist proposal. If the Labor Party wants to put it forward and argue in support of it, let it do so. But let us not avoid the obvious fact that it is a socialist proposal. The proposal is that a Government authority should be established and that it should acquire all necessary land. Presumably the necessary land referred to is all of that land which will be needed in Australia henceforth for young married couples to occupy and upon which to build their homes. I presume that is the necessary land to which the amendment refers, and that is virtually all the land that will be needed in the community henceforth. So let us get that point straight first of all. The second proposal is that this land will be held on a leasehold basis. It is important that we remember that this is a proposal to take Australia away from the basic principle that has served Australia so well at least over the last 23 years, and that is that Australian citizens should have the opportunity to acquire - that is, to own - their own land and to build their own homes upon that land. The proposal now before us is that that system should come to an end and that henceforth land should be held in leasehold tenure by the Government. Let me take this a little further. If there is a proposal for leasehold tenure, as the Labor Party has put forward, let us remember that with every lease there must be a landlord, that with every tenant there must be a corresponding owner of the land who will enter into some sort of contractual relationship with the tenant, who will be the Australian citizen. There can be no doubt whatsoever that what is proposed is that the Government should be the owner, that the Government should be the landlord, and that the Government should stand in that relationship as landlord to the ordinary Australian citizen who occupies the house built upon that land. Let us not forget that this proposal also advocates that henceforward the Commonwealth Government will determine, down to the most minute detail, all of the terms and conditions in the relationship that will exist between the owner of the land - the Government - and the people who occupy the land. So let us get that point fixed clearly in our minds before we vote upon this proposal. A suggestion is also contained in this amendment that what is sought to be obtained is the reduction of interest rates. 1 suppose this part of the proposal harks back to either the fifth or sixth last Labor Party housing proposal. I presume that the honourable member for Reid is referring to the proposal to reduce interest rates by 2 per cent, which was put forward a few months ago, and not the 3 per cent proposal which was advocated today. I presume he is not referring to the proposal to reduce the cost of a piece of land and a house by several thousand dollars, which was put forward a few months ago but which I gather has now been abandoned. I must apologise for my confusion on these matters, **Mr Chairman.** Perhaps you are confused and the Committee is confused also. But it is getting very difficult to be clear about these things when we have this succession of conflicting proposals. But assuming that what has been referred to is the proposal contained in the Labor Party platform and which was accepted at the Federal Conference, namely, the proposal that a subsidy should be given to institutional lenders to reduce interest rates by 2 per cent, let us have a look at some of the defects of that proposal, because they are numerous. I mention just 2 of them. The first of them is that this proposal will act quite contrary to the efforts of those young Australian citizens who seek to pay off their own home - who seek to discharge a mortgage within 10 years. Many young couples seek to do that. All of them would like to do that. But this 2 per cent interest reduction proposal which is contained in the Labor Party platform in fact would impose a penalty on those people who seek to pay off their mortgage within 10 years; it provides a subsidy for those who do not. In other words, it provides a penalty for those who do pay off their mortgage, and that is an absurd and inconsistent proposal and one which will penalise young people in Australia. The second defect I wish to mention - there are many that one could mention - is that the provisions contained in the proposal will apply only when the housing loan is made by an institutional lender and the terms of the proposal will not apply when the housing loan is made available by a lender other than an institutional lender. It has been said, and there is a great deal of evidence to support it, that about 30 per cent of the home acquirers in Australia obtain finance to acquire their homes through channels other than those provided by institutional lenders; in other words, they obtain money from the trust accounts of solicitors and accountants or from other private sources. It is important, as I have said, to recall when considering this proposal that no subsidy will be available for the 30 per cent of people who acquire their homes by that means. I repeat that there will be a subsidy for those who acquire homes by borrowing money through institutional sources but a penalty will be imposed on those who do not. One could go on, as the honourable member for Bennelong did, and draw attention to the attempt to impose a centralised method of home acquisition and a centralised method of determining building codes, standards and practices across the whole length and breadth of Australia, quite irrespective of the different conditions and circumstances that may prevail, but I do not want to pursue that matter because the honourable member for Bennelong has exposed it for what it is. What I do want to do is to conclude by making a few remarks about a matter of importance that was not referred to by the honourable member for Reid, that is, the home savings grant. The attitude of the Labor Party to the home savings grant - particularly that of the honourable member for Reid, who is now about to leave the chamber for about the 17th time since I started to speak - has now been made plain. The Labor Party has described it as a bribe, a fraud and a sham. As has been pointed out, there are 2 parties to a bribe, namely, the party which offers the bribe and the party which accepts it. In my view the party which is the most culpable and reprehensible is the party which accepts the bribe. Who are the people who have accepted the bribe of the home savings grant? They are the 249,000 married couples which have applied for and received home savings grants since the scheme was introduced. They are the ones who have received $108m in borne savings grants. The accusation that was made against all of those people is that they have accepted a bribe which is morally reprehensible and that they have been foolish to accept it as a bribe and not see through it for what it is, that is, according to the Opposition, a bribe. I have been reminded by the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** of a very significant event which occurred just a few days ago, namely, the awarding - happily to 2 of my constituents - of the first home savings grant under the new, increasingly improved scheme. {: #subdebate-33-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: **-(Mr Locock) -** Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s6 .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE:
Paterson -- I rise to support the estimates for the Department of Housing, which provide for an appropriation of $7,989,000 this year as against an expenditure last financial year of $7,434,378. It ls quite evident that housing is one of the most important problems facing the people of Australia and, of course, the governments, both State and Federal, which are elected by these people. At the present time housing is a bright spot in the Australian economy, despite continually rising costs, which remain a disturbing feature. The current favourable situation has been brought about mainly by the record availability of housing finance. An examination of the figures for the March quarter will reveal that the trading banks increased the number of housing loans substantially during that period. Nevertheless there was a small fall in [he volume of home building activity as compared with the position in the December quarter. The overall position for the March quarter showed that commencements were up by 1 per cent and private commencements were up by 2 per cent, but Government sector commencements throughout Australia were down by 9 per cent. From information I have received in response to inquiries I have made it would appear that there are adequate supplies of building materials but that there has been an increase in the number of registered unemployed during the March quarter as compared with the last quarter of 1971. I would like to pay a tribute to the. co-operative building societies, both the permanent and terminating societies, for the contribution they have made over the years to the provision of homes for young married people at interest and instalment rates which they are. able to meet. Over the past 2 years there has been a changing demand for housing finance in this field. As the Chairman of 8 terminating societies I have, along with my fellow directors, experienced this trend. The demand has been strong in some periods but it has fallen away in others. The demand for housing at present is very strong. There appears to have been a sudden upsurge of confidence in the Government and in the home building sector. Banks and insurance companies have been the (financial source for terminating building societies. The same source plus public funds caters for the permanent building societies. Of course, the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement provides millions of dollars for low and middle class accommodation in the various States. In some States the government housing needs have fallen considerably but in others the demand is still very heavy. I mentioned a moment ago the great contribution that is being made in the field of housing finance by the permanent building societies. On looking at the figures for 1971, I found that the permanent building societies provided accommodation to the value of $266. 9m towards home owners in this country. That is a magnificent record. New South Wales - at $ 129.4m - was the State which availed itself most of permanent building society funds. They have made a great contribution to the providing of building finance in this country. The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement has been a most successful arrangement under which the Commonwealth Government works in co-operation with the State governments in making houses and finance available to State governments. An examination of the figures in this respect will reveal that they are of a great magnitude indeed and that this finance is of great assistance to the housing industry. Sitting suspended from 6.13 to 8 p.m. {: .speaker-K5A} ##### Mr O'KEEFE: -- Prior to the suspension of the sitting I was speaking of the great assistance that the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement had been to the government sector of housing in this country. It is interesting to note the amounts of money that have been made available to the States under this Agreement from 1st July 1965 to 30th June 1970. In New South Wales the amount received has been of the order of $669m, in Victoria $566m, Queensland $179m, South Australia $25 lm, Western Australia $168m and Tasmania $86m, for a total of $1,921,535,000. These amounts indicate the immensity of the programme which has been made possible by the Commonwealth in co-operation with the State governments. I heard the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** say tonight that housing commission homes are like boxes. When the Liberal-Country Party Government took office in New South Wales in April 1965 it altered the situation that had previously existed and changed the design of housing commission homes. I am proud to say that in that State housing commission homes today are of first class design and are much sought after. The applicants who have received accommodation under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement for the same period in New South Wales number 113,572, in Victoria 87,000, in Queensland 32,000, in South Australia 46,000, in Western Australia 30,000 and in Tasmania 12,000 for a total of 322,417. This is a very fine performance. It shows what can be done with co-operation between the Federal and State governments. Recent changes made in the Homes Savings Grant Act will be most helpful to young people building homes. I congratulate the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** on the great job he has done in increasing the amount of the grant made available. The maximum value of a home which may attract a grant has been increased from $17,500 to $22,500. The maximum grant has been increased from $500 on a saving of $1,500 to $750 on a saving of $2,250. The homes savings grant scheme has been most successful, and with the increase in the grant it will be increasingly so. Between the time the homes savings grant scheme was introduced on 24th July 1964 and 30th June 1972 close to 249,000 married couples throughout Australia have received financial assistance from the Commonwealth towards the cost of acquiring their first matrimonial home. Savings accumulated by eligible persons during the qualifying period for a grant have during that time helped to provide finance to other prospective young home owners through banks and building societies, the main sources of institutional finance for private housing. From the inception of the scheme to 30th June 1972 some 248,922 grants amounting to $108,091,000 were approved. Expenditure from the National Welfare Fund has amounted to $107,827,000. Surely this is a great effort and a tremendous advantage to young people requiring housing accommodation. I have had a look at the amendment moved by the Opposition. I certainly do not go along with it because the Opposition wants to put land on a leasehold basis similar to that operating in Canberra, where the price of land has gone sky high and out of everybody's reach. The Opposition wants to ensure that electricity wiring is placed underground. This is a very expensive activity. I know, as a former chairman of a county council, that it is desirable but it increases the costs sky high. If we have the uniformity of building costs which the Opposition suggests, we will get back to the old box type housing commission homes. So I reject the amendment entirely. {: #subdebate-33-0-s7 .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s8 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr HANSEN:
Wide Bay -- The honourable member for Paterson **(Mr O'Keeffe)** paid great tribute to the homes savings grant, and also mentioned what the New South Wales Housing Commission has done, but he failed to reconcile one with the other. He should be aware that people who purchase homes through housing commissions or housing authorities do not benefit to any degree from the bornes savings grant. He mentioned that over the 9 years since the homes savings grant scheme commenced in December 1963 some $108m has been handed out. He would know that the people who had the best chance of getting the money that was handed out were those who did not need it the most. Nevertheless it has given assistance. I do not recall any honourable member on this side of the chamber using the phrases that the honourable member for Diamond Valley **(Mr Brown)** attributed to them in relation to the homes savings grant. I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren).** It is one of the few methods available to the Opposition, not so much to suggest that the amount of money made available for housing should be reduced but to express dissatisfaction with what is happening in the field of housing in Australia. The honourable member for Paterson joined the honourable member for Diamond Valley and the honourable member for Bennelong **(Sir John Cramer)** In expressing opposition to leasehold tenure of land for building. If there is anything contributing to the increasing cost of land in Canberra the honourable member for Paterson should very well know that it is the auction system that is operating here. Leasehold tenure of land for home building is nothing new. It is nothing new to Queenslanders, anyhow. It was introduced by the first elected Labor Government of Queensland in 1915 - the T. J. Ryan Labor Government - which introduced the workers dwellings scheme under which a person could buy land on a minimum deposit and a home on a minimum deposit. I recall that in 1946 a person could buy land on a deposit of £10 and build his own home on it. This meant that instead of having to make a large outlay on land he was left with the greater part of his money to put towards the purchase of a home. He paid a small rental annually. There may have been problems in this scheme, but I do not know of any problem that arises out of the transfer of leasehold land, particularly when it is leased on a 99- year term. The honourable member for Bennelong said it creates problems. I think most of the problems are in the minds of the people who are doing the dealing. It is amazing that if you want to buy something there are never any problems, but if you want to sell something all sorts of problems are put forward. If you try to sell your car or trade it in you will find out everything that is wrong with it. If you go back the next day wanting to buy it back you will find out how good it is and you wonder why you ever sold it. There is no problem to the people in Canberra in transferring land on a 99-year lease. I do not see how there would be any difference with a leasehold system elsewhere. The position today is not as it was in the early post-war period or the pre-war period. The price of land - the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** and the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** have mentioned this - is often higher than the actual cost of a home in the Melbourne and Sydney suburban areas. This situation is rapidly arising in Brisbane. If land were available and could be acquired for leasehold, instead of paying $6,000 and more for a block of land that money could be used as a deposit on a home and purchasers could save the cost on a second mortgage. The latest report of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation shows that the greatest number of loans insured with that Corporation were in the $7,000 to $14,000 range. Very few people are borrowing such large sums of money as the honourable member for Diamond Valley **(Mr Brown)** suggested. He might be used to a better income group of people than I am, but he has suggested that people can pay for their homes in 10 years. It is desirable but very few savings banks or home lending authorities lend money on a 10-year basis. Some people are able to pay off a loan in 10 years but apart from members of Parliament I do not know of many people who could borrow up to $14,000 and be able to repay it within 10 years. I do not know of many members of Parliament who would be able to do that, especially as members of Parliament have not had a pay rise for more than 3 years. In the Commonwealth-State housing field we have seen a fall off in the amount of revenue allocated by the States for rental housing. There has been a considerable drop in the private sector in the provision and building of homes for rent. Homes that have been provided are in the older suburbs of the capital cities. Some years ago the Brotherhood of St Laurence conducted a survey to find out what people could afford to pay for homes either by way of rental or by way of a repayment of the purchase price. The Brotherhood of St Laurence came to the decision that people should not be committed for repayments in excess of 25 per cent of their income. What is their income? It varies. The question of overtime arises as does the question of 2 jobs. I believe that the families of Australia are being forced into a 2-wage economy. I am quite certain of this. In Monday's issue of the Brisbane 'Australian' mention is made of a survey conducted by mothercraft nurses. They prepared a budget for a family of 5, comprising a husband, wife and 3 children on the minimum wage paid in Queensland - the lowest wage would be $46.80 - and this budget showed that at the end of the week, if they did not run into expenses, the family could have 50c left for luxuries. This situation would apply only if such a family were buying a housing commission home on which the weekly repayments were $11.62 or less and if neither adult smoked, drank or gambled. The family must not run a car. If they keep a pet, some clothing money would have to be sacrificed to help meet the cost of feeding the pet. These nurses, who work mainly in maternal and child welfare clinics, said that their survey showed that it was not practical for a family to try to live on one low income. The mother of the family would have to work part time or full time for the family to survive. Details of the budget were then outlined. The editorial in that newspaper states quite clearly that a family of 5 living on the minimum wage of $55.16 in Queensland would have 50c a week left over. So, there is a need for low cost housing and we cannot look to the private sector to provide it. The Australian Labor Party believes that the proposition it is putting forward will beat rising land costs. I know that this is repulsive to anyone who has been a real estate dealer, but it can work effectively. The State authorities would be urged to build more homes for rental. I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s9 .speaker-KJG} ##### Mr IRWIN:
Mitchell -- 1 will give a resume of the Commonwealth-State housing agreements. Under the housing agreements which operated for 15 years to 30th June 1971, the Commonwealth made substantial long term loans totalling more than $ 1,509m to the States for the provision of housing. These loans were repayable to the Commonwealth over a period of 53 years and attracted interest at a concessional rate of 1 per cent below the long term Commonwealth bond rate applying at the time each advance was made. Each State was required to divide the advances it received each financial year into 2 parts. One part was for the erection of dwellings by the State housing authority and the other part, not less than 30 per cent of the advances, was for the provision of loans to persons wishing to buy or build a home privately through building societies and certain other approved institutions. Each State maintains a Home Builder's Account for this purpose. Of the $l,509m advanced to the States over the 15 years to 30th June 1971, $ 1,024m was allocated to the State housing authorities which up to 30th June 1971 built some 145,000 dwellings with these moneys for rental or sale to families and other persons of low or moderate means. The remaining $485m was channelled through the Home Builders' Accounts in which additional moneys amounting to approximately $147m became available for lending due to the revolving nature of the accounts. The purchase or construction of some 91,000 homes was financed from Home Builders' Account moneys up to 30th June 1971. Under these housing agreements, a State was required, if requested by the Commonwealth, to set aside in a financial year an amount not exceeding 5 per cent of the loan funds allocated to its State housing authority for the construction of dwellings for letting to serving members of the defence forces. The Commonwealth was obliged to make supplementary advances to the State to match any amount so set aside. Some 12,500 dwellings for rental to servicemen were completed by the State housing authorities under these arrangements up to 30th June 1971 in addition to the 145,000 dwellings mentioned earlier. Since 30th June 1971, the agreement arrangements have been replaced by Commonwealth housing assistance to the States in the form of cash grants under the States Grants (Housing) Act 1971. Replacing the previous assistance by way of a 1 per cent interest concession on Commonwealth advances, financial assistance to the States since 1st July 1971 is being made available through the States Grant (Housing) Act in the form of 2 types of grants - a basic housing grant and a rental assistance grant. The basic housing grant is an amount of $2.75m per year, payable for a period of 30 years, in respect of State housing activities in each of the 5 years from 1971-72 to 1975-76. This will give the States $4 12.5m over 34 years. A condition of payment of this grant is that, as under the housing agreement arrangements, at least 30 per cent of each State's allocation for housing each year is allocated to a Home Builders' Account. The grant will be. applied to assist financially both State housing authority activity in relation to the rental or sale of dwellings to eligible applicants and the operations of the home builders' accounts from which advances will continue to be made to building societies and other approved institutions for lending to people of moderate means who wish to purchase private homes. The rental assistance grant is $ 1.25m a year for each of the 5 years from 1971-72 to 1975-76. It is a general Commonwealth contribution towards the cost to State housing authorities of charging reduced rents to families that they regard as needing assistance. Both of the grants are being distributed on a fixed percentage basis agreed between the States and laid down in the States Grants (Housing) Act 1971. The States are not now required to set aside any portion of the advances allocated to State housing authorities for the construction of homes for rental to serving members of the defence forces. All moneys required for this purpose are being advanced by the Commonwealth under a separate arrangement, thus releasing more State funds for civilian housing. I turn now to consider the dwellings for aged pensioners scheme. This scheme was introduced by the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 to provide the States with additional financial assistance for the accommodation of single aged pensioners at rentals they can afford to pay. An eligible pensioner is one who is in receipt of an age pension or a repatriation service pension because of age and is in receipt of supplementary assistance, sometimes known as a rent allowance. The Act provides for the Commonwealth to make non-repayable grants to the States totalling $25m over a 5-year period that commenced on 1st July 1969 for the construction of self-contained dwelling units for pensioners. To 30th June 1972, the end of the third year of the scheme, a total of 177 building schemes had been approved. These building schemes will provide 2,748 units of accommodation at an estimated total cost of $19.6m. Up to 30th June 1972, 1,654 of these units had been completed and grants totalling more than $ 13.5m had been paid to the States. The rents charged to these pensioners ranged from $2 to $3.70 a week. Had time permitted I would have referred to housing for Aborigines and to flats for migrants. However, I will now turn to consider the amendment. It is a great pity that the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** has so little practical experience of development and home building, matters with which he is concerned as a shadow Minister. Leaving Canberra aside, the people of Australia would not have anything to do with leasehold land, lt has been tried in various areas of Newcastle over the years. In regard to leasehold land for homebuilding and annuities Australians are entirely differently disposed from the people in Britain and the United States of America. As great a gambler as an Australian is, he will not have a bar of annuities. An Australian home builder wants to build his home on his own dunghill, on his own land. He will not have anything at all to do with leasehold land. I know that the honourable member for Reid is honest and sincere in what he is endeavouring to do but his knowledge is theoretical and is limited to what he has heard. If people like the honourable member for Reid had got behind me 15 or 16 years ago the present position in Sydney would not apply. It was brought into being by the Labor Government of the time, and to the discredit of the present Liberal Government it has unfortunately been perpetuated. There is nothing to be proud of in the fact that Sydney will eventually have a population of about 6 million people. We should hide our heads in shame. About 15 years ago I recommended that 3 cities be built in the hinterland of New South Wales, one to be built at Port Stephens which has the greatest harbour in the world. At that time there was no sign of people like the honourable member for Reid talking about regional development. No-one came to assist me to stop the bribery and corruption in the Cumberland County Council. We have the Labor Party in New South Wales to thank for the present state of Sydney. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s10 .speaker-JO8} ##### Mr BARNARD:
Bass -- I wish to refer to certain aspects of the war service homes legislation which have been hanging over this House for a year. In particular I want to refer to what seems to be a breach of a firm undertaking given by the Government on an important feature of this legislation. As this breach of faith involves in particular the honourable member for La Trobe **(Mr Jess)** and the honourable member for Moreton **(Mr Killen),** I hope they will renew pressure on their Government to rectify this notable piece of backsliding by the Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** and the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns).** Honourable members will recall that an amendment to the war services homes legislation was debated in this House at the end of November of last year. The purpose of the amendment was to raise the maximum loan under the scheme from $8,000 to $9,000. In the course of debate the Labor Party's shadow Minister, the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren),** moved an amendment designed to extend the range of those persons eligible for benefits under this legislation. In effect, his amendment was designed to define those people eligible as including a serving member of the armed forces or a member who had been honourably discharged from the armed forces. The existing eligibility was based on service overseas in a war zone. The Labor Party argued that if a man was prepared to join the forces he was entitled to services and amenities such as those provided by the War Service Homes Act. In discussion of this amendment the honourable member for La Trobe made it clear that if the amendment were adjusted to provide that the servicemen of today, serving under today's conditions, should be entitled to war service homes, he would support it. I believe this is a fair paraphrase of the honourable member's statement to the Parliament. Accordingly the Opposition adjusted its amendment to define an Australian soldier in the terms of a serving member of the armed forces. Quite clearly this was a genuine attempt to provide for members of the forces the benefits of war service homes finance. On behalf of the Opposition I moved a later amendment to include a serving member of the permanent forces in the ambit of those eligible for war service homes. This was designed to meet the tacit support indicated by the honourable members for La Trobe and Moreton for the principle of making home loans to present servicemen. In the event assurances were given on behalf of the Prime Minister and by the Minister for Housing that the Government would look closely at what could be done to give housing benefits to regular servicemen outside the framework of the war service homes legislation. The honourable member for La Trobe reminded the Prime Minister of this undertaking at question time on 22nd February of this year. He asked whether an assurance had been given that Cabinet would give urgent consideration to the introduction of a home finance scheme for regular servicemen not eligible for war service homes. The Prime Minister said that the undertaking had been honoured and Cabinet had considered the suggestion. He deflected the question to the Minister for Housing for further illumination. A fortnight later I questioned the Minister for Housing about the Government's attitude to service housing. The Minister said that the matter had been considered, presumably by Cabinet, and that its details were under current examination and would be announced when appropriate. During the recess there were a number of Press reports about new housing schemes for the housing of servicemen. One report published in the National Times' on 12th June claimed that Cabinet was considering a revolutionary new plan for the housing of servicemen and senior members of the CMF. Under this scheme housing loans at up to 3i per cent interest would be available to these servicemen under a scheme administered by the War Service Homes Division. A scheme of this sort would be virtually an extension of the present war service homes legislation to servicemen and senior CMF members. According to the report this plan had been brought before Cabinet by the Prime Minister himself. A modified report of the Government's proposal appeared in the 'National Times' a few weeks later, on 31st July. According to this report the scheme would be known as the servicemen's loan scheme and would provide up to $9,000 for servicemen, whether or not they had served overseas. The suggestion that CMF men be eligible for the scheme had been vetoed by the committee drawn from the Treasury, Housing and Defence Departments. The committee had recommended an interest rate of *6i* per cent or 21 per cent above the war service homes rate but rather lower than interest rates in the market. There is no reason to doubt the general accuracy of this report which predicted that the new scheme would be incorporated in the next budget. Similar reports appeared in a number of other newspapers which were substantially the same in detail, although one report in the 'Age' on 1st August suggested that the interest rate would be about 5 per cent. This scheme was not put forward in the Budget and nothing more has been heard of it since this series of Press reports until this week. In the past few days there have been new rumours that the scheme is to be revived, presumably with the elections in mind. That is not the only reason why this issue was raised at this time. The honourable member for Reid, who is the Labor Party's shadow Minister for Housing, will clearly recollect that during the course of that debate 1 referred to some of the anomalies in the war service homes legislation for which this Government was responsible and which apparently the Minister for Housing had misunderstood or deliberately ignored. The first reference I made was to those who travelled on a troopship to Vietnam, as a result of Government policy, to support the troops that had been committed by this Government to that area. I pointed out on that occasion that those who travelled on those troopships were not eligible for war service homes benefits. If they served in Vietnam for 24 hours they would be eligible. I further pointed out on that occasion that those who flew into Vietnam on a special flight again were not considered to be eligible under the terms of the war service homes legislation as administered by this Government. They were 2 anomalies. In my proposition that the regulation should be amended to provide that those people who were serving their country, who were subjected to the risks that would apply to any serviceman in Vietnam at that time, ought to be accorded the benefits of the war service homes legislation, I was supported by the honourable member for Moreton who had received representations from me when he was Minister for the Navy and who agreed that the regulation or the Act ought to be amended. On that occasion it was pointed out that the Australian Labor Party, under its policy, would be extending the benefits of the war service homes legislation to every person in this country who served in the armed forces on a volunteer basis. As a result of an amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid and the subsequent amendment moved by me, the honourable member for La Trobe, the honourable member for Moreton and one or two other honourable members on the Government side indicated that the Government ought to accept our proposition. What happened on that occasion was that the Minister for Housing, who now sits at the table, promised - he was subsequently supported by the Prime Minister - that the Government would introduce legislation which would give effect to our proposal on that occasion. I have been very patient in this matter. I have asked a question, and so has the honourable member for La Trobe, and the Minister for Housing has done nothing about it. No explanation has been given to this Parliament, but more importantly no explanation has been given to the people of Australia and certainly none to those people who have been discriminated against by this Government. This Government cannot justify in any circumstances a situation in which those who have served this country in Vietnam - whether for only a short period or not - are not entitled to the benefits of the war service homes legislation. Let the Minister stand up in this Parliament and justify these procedures and the attitude of the Government in relation to this matter. I hope that when the Minister has the opportunity to reply he will be able to justify the Government's actions or, alternatively, I hope that he will give some indication to this Parliament that the proposition that was put to him on an earlier occasion which was subsequently accepted by the Prime Minister, and the report which was promised to this Parliament will now be made by the Minister for Housing. This is the opportunity for him to do so. There are people outside the Parliament who are interested in this question and who expect a reply. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s11 .speaker-NF4} ##### Mr COHEN:
Robertson -- I have taken part in housing debates before and, frankly, I have become tired of talking and seeing the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns),** who is at the table, looking bored with everything and I am tired of seeing honourable members on the back benches opposite half asleep and disinterested. I know it must be hard work for them to stay up at night and have to listen to all these arguments from the Australian Labor Party about the lousy job the Government is doing and the statistics showing that the housing situation in this country is dreadful. Tonight I will change my normal procedure of speaking and I will read into the record 2 letters. One case came to my notice from a woman that I know very well. The other one is from a woman I have never met. I will read them without mentioning the names. One woman wrote: Dear **Mr Cohen,** This is the very first time that I have ever written to an MP. Actually I don't know what, if any, good this will do. But when you are desperate you will do anything. We have been waiting for a Housing Commission house for 21 years now. When we applied the inspector said that it wouldn't be any more than 2 years at the outside. Well, so much for that. We are a young family. My husband is 25 and I am 22. We have three daughters. The eldest is 4 in September and we have twins who will be 2 in October. My husband earns $63 a week. Sometimes he is lucky and earns some overtime which usually pays a doctor's bill or something we haven't been able to afford. My child endowment, of course, comes in handy to pay the medical benefit. We aren't in debt thank goodness (if you don't count hire purchase as debt) but you can see that it is impossible to even think of trying to buy land or save for a house. We have no alternative but to wait for the Housing Commission. I know this sounds like yet another whining letter to you (that is if you have even read this far)- That shows how much confidence she has in members of Parliament - but to us and I am sure, thousands more like us, there is not much hope for young people in this so-called affluent country of ours. I have written to the Housing Commission, not to hurry them up, but just to ask them to give us something to hope on. If they would only say, well you may have some chance in the next twelve months' or something like that we wouldn't feel so absolutely desperate. I suppose I have taken enough of your time. I am not really asking you to do anything because I know you can't. I was just wondering whether you men who run this country know what it is like for the little people who make up this country, who have less future than the migrants who come out here and because they are new and strange get all the help in the world. I am not knocking the migrants. I just wish the young Australians were given a go also. I do not think I need to embellish on that. I think it says a mouthful and does not need any comment from me. The writer of the other letter, again, will remain unnamed and I shall read the letter. The woman who wrote it is particularly well known to me and I admire her immensely. She wrote to me as follows: I suppose when I came to Australia many years ago I had the 'Australian dream' of owning a house. Both my husband and myself worked hard, paying rents of between $25-835 plus bond (which by the way, never seems to be returned) weekly for houses, not on the wealthy North Shore, but mostly in the Western Suburbs. Every few years or months, as the case may be, we moved, when houses were sold, or rents increased. Finally 3 years ago, because I was involved in an accident, we finally had the meagre compensation money which enabled us to put the deposit on an old modest timber house. Then the fun really began. Our wonderful Government had tightened the purse strings and finance, for people like us, by now in our forties with 5 children ages from 5-19 was just not obtainable. Running around from Peter to Paul we finally obtained because we have a good credit rating, Finance Co. Finance'. You borrow $8,000 over 10 years and pay back $16,000, very simple arithmetic brings you to the figure of 100 per cent profit. $140.00 per month is hard to find. As long as I had a job, we managed after a fashion. However, any day now my house will be up for sale, I became redundant 2 months ago and however hard I have tried, I have had no luck in finding another job. The Great Australian Dream' yes - for the rich, with the tax concessions, etc., etc. - but not for the average working man at least not under the present government. Those letters, I think, show very simply what is the situation in Australia today for people who are not fortunate. Having been myself through the same sort of situation some 10 years ago I can identify very well with it. I know what it is like moving around from home to home because I could not get a deposit for a home. I know what it is like paying rent of $25, $35 and $40 a week. I know how stupid is the situation in this country when the people who least need finance can get it and the people who most need it cannot. I have recently taken out a second loan to build at Erina. The rate of interest I pay on that loan is very much lower than the interest on the loan for the first home I bought simply because I am now a better credit risk. But before, when I was buying the first home, 6 or 7 years ago, was when I needed the lower interest rate because that is when my salary was low and I was battling. It is the same for people right throughout the community. The woman who wrote the second letter had to pay double the money for a very modest home - $8,000 capital and $8,000 in interest. People on her income are denied the lower interest rates. I did not mention her income before. She was a librarian in a government facility which closed. I think she was earning about $65 a week. Her husband was a slaughterman at the Gosford abattoirs earning between $55 and $60 a week. So, they received $120 a week when they were both working. Of their earnings $140 a month went on the house. But then, as I said, she was made redundant because the government facility closed. A week after she wrote that letter she informed me that her husband had lost his job because 200 people had been put off at the Gosford abattoirs. They have to pay $140 a month for their house but they have no income. I understand that she may now have a job. But still, how does a person manage first of all to cope with that sort of payment? Why do we not have some sort of Government instrumentality which, when people get into these difficulties, as they can through no fault of their own but through employment factors and recessions very often brought about by this Government, would provide some sort of housing finance for a short term while they get back on their feet again? It is absurd that this woman should have to live from hand to mouth and find money, perhaps only for a few months - 3, 4 or 6 months at the most - or have to sell her home because of the inability to find this very heavy payment. Just before I was elected to the House of Representatives the cost of land in the electorate of Robertson ranged from about $2,000 to $2,500 per block. The same land is now selling for between $6,500 and $7,500 a block. I want to make that point because I did not mention land values. The 3 problems of housing are summed up in those 2 letters and my final comment about the inability of this Government to assist in any shape or form people who are in desperate need of housing. {: #subdebate-33-0-s12 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid -- Basically tonight we have been discussing aspects of the problems of young people in acquiring a block of land and a dwelling to live in. Of course, the Australian Labor Party has put forward some progressive and positive proposals to try to alleviate these problems. We see clearly that never before have young people been exploited as much as they are today in the heavy repayments for land and usurous interest rates they have to pay in an effort to obtain shelter and to build a dwelling. I have given statistical information before and I will not repeat it now. The only place where statistical information is available on the movement in the price of land over a period of 20 years, is in the. report of the War Service Homes Division. Taking the period from 1950 to 1970 and comparing the price of land with average weekly earnings, we see that land prices in New South Wales rose *3i* times faster than the average weekly earnings. That was a conservative figure. The honourable member for Mitchell **(Mr Irwin)** read a speech to $10,000 in Sydney. The Labor Party wants to try to take the land component out of the cost of land and a dwelling. If this were, done home owners would not have to pay high prices for land. They would pay only land rental over a period of time. Labor would use a system similar to that which functioned in Canberra for something like 50 years prior to 1st January 1971. It was not good enough for this Government to continue that system of leasing land in Canberra. The system operated in 3 different ways. Land leases were, sold either on an unrestricted basis, a restricted basis or by way of group sales. The price at unrestricted sales was reduced from $4,500 in 1962 to $3,000 in May 1970. There was a one-third reduction in price from 1962 to 1970. During that same, period land prices in Sydney rose by something like 200 per cent. A block of land in Canberra before 1st January 1971 could be acquired for an average price of $900 at a restricted sale and $1,700 at group sales. Then, of course, the greed of the Treasury and the stupidity of this private enterprise Government changed the whole land system in Canberra. What has happened since? I seek the approval of the Committee to have incorporated in Hansard a table entitled Residential Block Auctions in the Australian Capital Territory, 1970 to 1972* prepared by the research service of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) - prepared by the Department of Housing and made available through the Minister, to show what wonderful achievements this Government has made. He read out statistical data. In the area where the honourable member for Mitchell lives, namely Blacktown, land prices have risen from 1969 to 1971- in 3 years- by 97 per cent. In Penrith, just west of where he resides, in 3 years land prices have risen by 140 per cent. Just south of where he lives, in Campbelltown, prices have increased in 3 years by 168 per cent. More money is being made by way of land speculation than in any other way in Australia. AH the Labor Party has suggested is that something be done about it. The average price of land and a dwelling in Sydney is between $22,000 and $23,000. Even if one can save $7,000 to $8,000 one then has to repay a $15,000 loan. At 8 per cent over 25 years the repayments would be $115 a month. If a person's repayments are. assessed at 25 per cent of his weekly earnings then he would have to earn between $110 and $120 a week to be eligible for such a loan. Yet, the average weekly income in Australia is about $100 a week. Seventy per cent of all wage earners earn less than the average weekly earnings. Let us examine the position of the man on less than the average weekly wage. I stated earlier that the New South Wales Housing Commission has 40,000 applicants on its waiting list, 26,000 of them being in Sydney alone. So it is a desperate position. The position of Melbourne is very similar to that of Sydney. The average price of land in Melbourne is $8,000 as compared {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -I thank the Committee. I do not have time to go into the table in detail. But if we examine the figures at the bottom of the table we can see that the average amount paid at restricted sales since 1970 in Canberra has increased by 465 per cent. At unrestricted sales it has increased by 1S1 per cent and at group sales by 334 per cent. This increase occurred under this free enterprise system. The Government does not want rational planning. I am proud that I am a socialist. So far as I am concerned we should adopt any progressive measure that is a step forward. I would like to give the Committee some of the findings that were made in the second report of the task force on the price of land conducted by the Australian Institute of Urban Studies. This very distinguished group was made up of Professor Gates of the University of Queensland, Barry Cartwright who is Director of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies and V. E. Jennings, of A. V. Jennings Industries (Aus.) Ltd, a company of very big building developers. What did they find? I would like to quote 2 of the recommendations. Firstly I would like to quote paragraph 1.14 on page 2 of the report which deals with public acquisition. This paragraph states: >Public acquisition at conversion value was one of a series of measures recommended by the Task Force in the First Report (1.2(m)). At that time the Task Force felt that public acquisition at conversion value was a final expedient to be used if the 'basic programme' failed. As el result of further developments and deliberations, and in the light of the continuing increase in the price of raw land for residential purposes, the Task Force is now convinced- I stress that - that any lasting solution to the problem of urban land prices must be based on a policy of public acquisition at conversion value. On the same page paragraph 1.16 states: >The T,J:k Force recognises the innovatory nature of this measure. But unless a new approach to urban development is adopted as standard policy, the price of land in Australian cities will continue to rise at an unjustifiable pace with serious consequences for the quality of urban life. These are 2 of the recommendations of a task force which studied the price of land from one end of the country to the other. The honourable member for Diamond Valley **(Mr Brown),** the young, brash, spoilt supporter of this conservative Government who has never ever known hardship, talks in glib terms about socialism. There has to be something done about the distribution of wealth in this nation. We have to stop exploiting young people. It is about time we gave young people a fair go. We as taxpayers have to make sure that we protect their interests and realise that in fact they are a good investment in the long term. This is the basic principle that honourable members opposite ought to start thinking about. Apparently it is good enough for the big land speculators to make millions of dollars from land capital appreciation. But surely the people have to have some faith in Australia. I am asking that the Commonwealth Government in co-operation with the States enter into the public acquisition of land when it has rural value, before it is rezoned into urban land, so that it can be developed in the interests of all the people of Australia and so that they can get a fair go. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-33-0-s13 .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr HANSEN:
Wide Bay -- I will not take up too much of the Committee's time. Housing constitutes probably the greatest financial outlay in the lives of most people. It is estimated that a quarter of their income goes towards providing a home. However, only 2 paragraphs of the Treasurer's Budget Speech, one relating to the home savings grant and the other to the war service homes scheme, are devoted to housing. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** pointed out how the Government has failed to honour an undertaking which it gave 12 months ago in regard to the extension of the war service homes scheme to cover members of the forces who have seen service overseas. One matter on which I wish to speak is homes for the aged. The Commonwealth makes available money to the States to provide housing for the aged. It is interesting to note that during the previous year Queensland, the State which is represented by the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns),** provided the lowest number of homes for the aged. In 1970-71 Queensland provided only 1 8 homes. I suppose that one cannot blame altogether the Commonwealth Minister for Housing. Perhaps it is the State Minister for Housing who should be blamed for this. However, in the period when only 18 homes were constructed in Queensland, 498 homes were constructed in New South Wales, 150 in South Australia, 611 in Victoria and 52 in Tasmania. These totals have improved a little in the past year. The third annual statement on the States Grants (Dwellings for Aged Pensioners) Act 1969 indicates that the number of homes in Queensland has increased to 172 compared to 803 in Victoria, 340 in South Australia, 212 in Western Australia, 87 in Tasmania, which is not very far behind, and 1,134 in New South Wales. We are led to 2 conclusions in the case of Queensland. Either that State is not interested in using the funds provided by the Commonwealth for the provision of homes for the aged or the local authorities are not making land available. But the local authorities with which I am familiar have never hesitated to make this land available. So I put it to the Minister that the should perhaps speak to his colleague in Queensland on this matter. The Minister should put more bluntly to him that he should make more use of the funds that are available to him through this scheme. I know that the Minister has been critical of the interest subsidy scheme which was proposed in 1969 by the Australian Labor Party. I am pleased that the Permanent Building Societies Association has come forward with a proposal which, with limitations, will be of great assistance to low income earners. The Association instances what a 2 per cent subsidy could mean to a taxpayer with a wife and one child who receives a loan of $12,000 for a term of 25 years. If that man had a taxable income of $4,500 it could mean a saving in taxation of about $232. We are subsidising interest under the war service homes scheme and under the State housing agreements. But I do not believe that the money given to State housing authorities for housing construction is of sufficient assistance to encourage people to build their own homes. I have already dealt with the periods of loans and said that I felt that very few people were capable of repaying a housing loan within 10 years. Referring to the criticism of the proposal that the Commonwealth Government should acquire land in the various States I point out that some years ago a far sighted Commonwealth Government acquired land in the States and constructed war service homes on it. It will be noted in the report of the War Service Homes Division that it did own a considerable amount of property and it has built up complete housing estates comprising war service homes. I think the Government should follow that example. I for one do not agree that if it is good enough for Canberra it is too good for the rest of Australia. As the honourable member for Reid said, the leasehold land system has operated satisfactorily in Canberra and it has kept the price of land down. It was only recently when the system was changed that the price of land increased in Canberra. Those people who disagree with the amendment put forward by the honourable member for Reid particularly on the proposal to acquire land to make it available on a leasehold basis should bear in mind that a Labor government will not force people to accept the land on a leasehold basis. If some people have a preference for freehold, they have the money to buy the land and still have sufficient for a deposit on a home then good luck to them. I am sure that there will be plenty of land available for them. But for those people who do not want to acquire it on that basis I believe that the proposition put forward by the honourable member for Reid offers some hope of acquiring a home of their own. {: #subdebate-33-0-s14 .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
Minister for Housing · LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The proposed expenditure for the Department of Housing amounts to $7,998,000. To this proposal an amendment has been moved by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** on behalf of the Australian Labor Party. The amendment comprises 4 parts. Very quickly I will deal with some aspects of his amendment to indicate the reasons why it should be rejected. The first part of the amendment relates to a proposal to set up a land development commission which would acquire land in the States. It is clear that the land development commission would acquire land for leasehold purposes. In relation to this proposition I point out that it has not yet been demonstrated on the outskirts of the capital cities and other existing areas of population that making land available on a leasehold basis has a lasting effect on land prices. The attitude which the Government takes when there are high costs for land is that this is best attended to by ensuring that there is an increase in the supply cf land to come on to the market. There are instances in Australia, notably in Western Australia, where land prices have escalated beyond the basic costs of land development. In Perth the action taken by the State Government through the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia and the State Housing Commission enabled a greater supply of land to be made available for development and to come on to the market Where there had been an increment in the price above the basic development costs due to an imperfect market that price decreased. It did not merely cease increasing; it decreased in absolute terms. So the attitude of the Government has been- {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- It is increasing now in Western Australia and you know it. {: .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- That is right and it is a pity that you said that because there is a Labor Government in Western Australia now. I was trying to spare you that fact. The situation in Perth illustrated quite significantly that when there is an imperfect market for land - that is an under supply of land - that problem can be attended to and the market can be altered and in cases it has been altered. Further to this point, I am interested in the predisposition to obtain land for leasehold purposes at all costs. There is a great difference between leasehold land and freehold land and there can be a great difference in the attitudes of people who have freehold land and those who have leasehold land especially where there is a collection of people who are used to the practice of land being available with freehold title. It is in relation to existing areas of population - not in relation to Canberra or new cities - that the proposition that land should be acquired on a leasehold basis in order to influence the market should be looked at very carefully. This proposition should not be adopted too hastily. If the honourable member for Reid is happy with that part of the amendment concerning the development of land I would refer him to the second study of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies and remind him that ultimately a great deal of the authority in these areas lies with local authorities and with State governments. If the Labor Party intends to undertake an expenditure of $200m a year over 5 years to acquire land for leasehold purposes then I pose this question: For what period is the lease to apply? Leases have to apply for a long period. The return on leases is quite low over a period. There is no freehold title. I suggest that on that basis far more money would be required over a greater period of time than the honourable member suggested. I presume that the honourable member would be happy with the attitudes of Labor local authorities in their administration of land development. There is no suggestion that the present practice of Labor local authorities - where they have the power - is in any way to be altered. In the second study by the Institute of Urban Studies reference is made to the Brisbane City Council which is the largest local authority in Australia and it is a Labor local authority. In the conclusions of that study on the administration of land by the largest Labor local authority in Australia the Institute states: >In principle, there seems little support for a case of negotiated rezoning. That is the principle of land administration under the control of that Labor local authority. The conclusions further state: >To give Councils a right to make any such demands can only result in delays, with subsequent increases in holding costs, which result in excessive costs to developers and therefore eventually to the land buyer. These principles would be maintained by a land development commission presumably under the control of a Federal Labor government. The conclusions state further: >When prices have escalated to the extent that developers can afford to meet demands development will recommence. This is the pattern of Brisbane development presumably under a local authority of which others have said they are very proud. One can only presume that the same kind of principles would be implemented by a Federal Labor government. I shall make two or three other quick comments on the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid. The amendment seeks also to make grants and increase loans to State governments to increase construction of public housing. I have only to mention the Bill that was passed through this House last year which made such grants available to State governments for public housing to remind honourable members how wonderfully successful that proposal has been in reducing the greatest cost in housing - interest rates. It was successful in reducing those interest rates by nearly 2 per cent in many cases. Members of the Opposition should be reminded that they took the advice of the honourable member for Reid and in fact opposed the passage of that Bill. They preferred another type of measure about which they know nothing. The Opposition opposed the passage of a Bill which last year - 1971 - did just this. So one has to doubt not only the Opposition's knowledge in these areas but also its motives. I refer to one other matter mentioned by the honourable member for Reid which is concerned with paragraph (c) of his amendment. This proposal refers to other grants for public housing authorities. Paragraph (d) of the amendment is really repeating paragraphs (b) and (c) which propose the making of grants and reducing interest rates. Perhaps enough has been said concerning that matter. However, in relation to making grants to reduce interest rates, the Committee should be reminded that the linch pin of Labor's housing policy was its gift to the people. They are not my words; they are the words of leading spokesmen for the Opposition. In fact, its gift to the people was to make subsidies available to certain institutional lenders to reduce interest rates. One knows now that that policy which was the centre point of Labor's whole programme and which was advertised as its new housing policy is no longer supported or even defended by anyone opposite. No-one would do it. It is only one of the 6 housing policies that have been announced by the Opposition since the June 1971 Launceston Conference. So, as the honourable member for Diamond Valley **(Mr Brown)** pointed out, who can believe the Opposition? Who can take it seriously? The final proposal contained in the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid is to establish uniformity of building codes. The Opposition should know that the Department of Housing developed a mode. building code in 1970. The Commonwealth Government has little direct authority in this field. This model building code was made available to those who were interested in developing uniform building codes. Arising out of that, State authorities presently are meeting and are developing a tentative model uniform building code, and one hopes that they are able to develop a uniform building code so as to assist housing and assist in reducing costs in housing where in fact they can be reduced. A number of other points were made but I will mention just one. I think the honourable member for Wide Bay **(Mr Hansen)** may have been under a slight misapprehension when referring to the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation. As I understand him, he suggested that the Corporation was catering for a pattern of wage erners who required a certain size of loan, which rather rather indicated that the Corporation was catering to the affluent sections pf society. {: .speaker-KGH} ##### Mr Hansen: -- No, the average. The greatest number were in this group earning between $7,000 and $14,000. {: .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- The same principle still applies, yes. It was suggested that the Corporation was catering to a group in society capable of negotiating loans which were significantly larger than were made under normal practice. I suggest that the honourable member should examine page 41 of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation's report which indicates that for the year just ended well over 50 per cent of those who obtained loans which were insured by the Corporation were on an average income or less. So a number of measures have been persistently maintained to ensure that the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation assists those on as low an income as possible, those who negotiate for a loan as small as is compatible with their obtaining a home. To that purpose it will be realised that there are limits on the interest rates that apply. To that purpose it will be realised that there is a maximum size of loan which can be insured by this Corporation. This has been the philosophy of the Corporation since it was established. Other matters were mentioned by other speakers but I do not intend to refer to these in detail. However, one has to come to the defence of the honourable member for Diamond Valley in relation to a reflection that was cast upon him. It was suggested that because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and because he came from an affluent family and is particularly well to do he does not understand the problems of those who desire to purchase homes as cheaply as possible or homes in relation to which the costs have been reduced as much as possible. Those implications are incorrect. I do not intend to go into the personal history of the honourable member for Diamond Valley but I assure honourable members that they are very wide of the mark. I do not know whether the honourable member has any property. He may well have one piece of property which he is trying to pay off, but he is not the landlord of several properties. For the reasons which I have outlined, as well as for other reasons, the Government submits that the amendment before the Committee should be defeated. It would not serve the purpose which it is designed to serve and h would not assist the housing situation in Australia at all. **Mr UREN** (Reid)- **Mr Chairman,** I wish to make a personal explanation. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -I do. The Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** has made a statement that my proposals were for leasehold land at all costs. Those were the Minister's words. That is either a dishonest or an incompetent statement. I say that because his Department has had a copy of my proposals since Friday, 6th October. I will give the details of how he received them. His Department rang my office and sought a copy of my proposals. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! I think the honourable member for Reid has said that the Department has a copy of his proposals. The details of how the Department received them do not matter. Mir UREN-I see that the Minister has a copy of my proposals in front of him, and it on that basis that I say that his statement was either dishonest or incompetent. {: .speaker-JTS} ##### Mr Kevin Cairns:
LILLEY, QUEENSLAND · LP -- Who is dishonest? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- The Minister is dishonest or incompetent for making such a statement. Paragraph (2) of Labor's urban land proposals reads: >A Commonwealth Labor government, in cooperation with the State and local governments, would acquire land on the fringe of the provincial capital cities and country towns. Land could be administered by State Housing authorities, land allocated on need and/or ballot on leasehold or sale. If we look at the proposals relating to the land development commission, we find that the first proposal reads: {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . State housing authorities . . . where appropriate, would develop the land itself and allocate generally on a leasehold basis. So in 2 cases it can be seen that our policy would not be, as the Minister said, leasehold land at all costs. It is about time that this misrepresentation was cleared up. I put my proposals in writing so that everybody could understand what I am advocating. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- Order! The honourable member can make an explanation, but he cannot comment. on or debate the issue. **Mr KEVIN** CAIRNS (Lilley- Minister for Housing) - **Mr Lucock,** I claim to have been misrepresented. I merely referred to the first part of the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid **(Mr. Uren),** which states: to acquire necessary land, hold it in public ownership, develop it and make it available on reasonable terms on a leasehold basis . . . There is no qualification. It simply says 'on a leasehold basis'. Then it goes on to state other things. The intention of that is quite clear. That is the amendment on which the Opposition will be voting. **Mr UREN** (Reid) - **Mr Chairman,** unlike the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns),** I do not falsify the Hansard record. I will allow Hansard to determine what his meaning was - whether be was talking about the amendment only or whether he was talking about the wide spectrum of the Australian Labor Party's land proposals. {: #subdebate-33-0-s15 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Chairman,** some of the points that the Minister for Housing **(Mr Kevin Cairns)** made in answering- Motion (by **Mr Giles)** proposed: >That the question be now put. {: .speaker-KIH} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock: -- The question is: 'That the question be now put'. Those in favour say 'aye'; to the contrary no'. I think the ayes have it. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- The noes have it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Is a division required? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Ring the bells. (The bells being rung) - {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- **Mr Lucock,** before the Committee divides may 1 mention that we spent an hour more than we agreed to on debating the estimates for another Department and we are already about 30 minutes behind in respect to the agreement which was reached with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr Uren: -- We will call off the division on this question but there will have to be a division on the amendment. Question put- - >That the amendment **(Mr Uren's)** be agreed to. The Committee divided. (The Chairman - Mr P. E. Lucock) AYES: 44 NOES: 47 Majority . . . . 3 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Proposed expenditure agreed to. Progress reported. {: #subdebate-33-0-s16 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The questionnow is: >That the House will at a later hour this day resolve itself into a committee of the whole. {: #subdebate-33-0-s17 .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
Dawson **- Mr Speaker,** the next matter that was supposed to come before us was the estimates for the Department of National Development. I understand that some arrangement has been made by which the very important estimates of the Department of National Development will not be debated until some later date. I have just consulted my Whip about this matter and we know nothing about any arrangement. I have been sitting here since 8.15 tonight waiting for the debate on these estimates, and I express my complete dissatisfaction with what has transpired. I agree with what the Leader of the House **(Mr Chipp)** has said. He has obviously made some arrangement, but I think it is a pretty poor show when Opposition members have been marshalled to speak on these most important estimates for the Department of National Development to be told only at this moment - I have just told the Opposition Whip myself of the position - that they will not come on until some later hour, probably tomorrow. I express my deep dissatisfaction with the way this Parliament is being run in relation to the debate on these estimates. {: #subdebate-33-0-s18 .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr DUTHIE:
Wilmot -- I fully support the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson).** This is a pretty poor way to run the Parliament. I have just heard at this moment that 2 hours ago the Leader of the House **(Mr Chipp)** decided that we should not debate the estimates for the Department of National Development tonight. I do not know what bis purpose is, but it is something that does not go down very well on this side. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** knew about the decision, he had a right to tell me. I have had my team lined up for the whole day to speak on national development and they are all ready to speak. I must protest. I do not speak often in this strain, and do so only when I have cause to do so. I have cause to protest tonight about the arrangement that has been made over our heads. I hope that the new Leader of the House will not adopt this tactic too often because he will be a long way behind the man he succeeded if he tries this stunt. {: #subdebate-33-0-s19 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP -- The comments have reached a ridiculous level but I will not escalate it. I know the reasons why the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson),** and surprisingly the Opposition Whip, have raised this point. One of the joys of being Leader of the House is the extreme co-operation I have had from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard).** I could not have asked for more. At a quarter to six tonight a message was delivered to his office that this arrangement had been made. 1 suggest that it is palpably unfair for the Whip of the Australian Labor Party to criticise the Leader of the House or honourable members on this side of the House for a lack of communication between this side of the House and the other side of the House. I would have thought that the proper line of communication would have been between the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and myself as Leader of the House. It is not my function to go into the Opposition Whip's office to inform him of arrangements relating to the business of the House. I think that his words tonight and those of the honourable member for Dawson might be better directed to their Deputy Leader. As far as I am concerned, all lines of communication have been honoured. {: #subdebate-33-0-s20 .speaker-JZX} ##### Mr COLLARD:
Kalgoorlie -- I express my protest at what has happened. I think that the Whip on this side is completely entitled to express his concern in relation to this matter. If we look at the blue sheet which sets out the matters to be debated today we see that the Department of National Development estimates are supposed to come on at this time. There does not seem to be any reason that I can see why the proposed programme of business should not be followed. As the Opposition Whip has said, honourable members on this side are prepared and want to develop their arguments in relation to the Department of National Development estimates. Yet we are to be forced into a position where we cannot do so at this time. Apparently the Government wants to bring on other business at this time of night. I do not know for what reason it wishes to do so. It may have something to do with the fact that the proceedings of the House are not being broadcast and the Government wants to bring on some other matter that would be very interesting to the people of this country. I express my resentment at what has happened. We have heard so many times before, as we heard from the Leader of the House **(Mr Chipp)** tonight, that arrangements were made between one side and the other. Honourable members who take their seats in this Parliament look at the blue sheet and see what is to be debated, but on this occasion the matter listed for debate next is not to come on. I sympathise with the Opposition Whip being placed in the position where, as the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** has said, he has arranged for speakers to speak on national development, which is a very important issue in this country, only to find that the estimates are not to be debated. Therefore, I express my resentment at what is going on in this place tonight, and I think we should proceed with the business as it appears on the blue sheet. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- **Mr Speaker-** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! For the information of the House might I say that the question is, that the House will at a later hour this day again resolve itself into a Committee of the whole. I want to make that clear. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- **Mr Speaker-** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member has already spoken in the debate. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- With your indulgence, **Mr Speaker,** I want to ask a question. I hope that the Government has asked for- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member has my indulgence to ask a question, not to debate the matter. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I understand that. What I want to know is why the Government has decided to give preference and priority tonight to the proposed construction of a communications tower on Black Mountain and other matters, over the estimates of the Department of National Development. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! This has nothing to do with the motion. This is a matter outside the province of the Chair. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- **Mr Speaker,** with due respect, I think that the Leader of the House should answer this question. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! 1 have put the question. I will not repeat it. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2462 {:#debate-34} ### APPROVAL OF WORKS- PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE ACT Construction of a Commonwealth Centre, Melbourne {: #debate-34-s0 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP -- I move: The proposal involves the construction of a 7 storey building plus 2 floors of a future tower block, providing a total of 160,000 square feet of net office space. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $6.3m. The Committee concluded that there was a need for the building and recommended that this phase proceed. The Committee further recommended that the Government examine the wisdom of proceeding with the Commonwealth Centre project beyond phase 1 and that studies should be made to determine whether it might be more appropriate to locate Victorian branch offices of Commonwealth departments in suburban Melbourne or in country areas. The Government is currently planning to undertake such studies. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee. {: #debate-34-s1 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I think this matter has considerable relationship to other debates that have taken place in recent weeks. I do not intend W expand the subject matter of those debates but rather to associate some of the principles then expressed with the matter which the Minister for Customs" and Excise **(Mr Chipp)** has proposed for approval. This is an enormous proposition that has been referred to the Public Works Committee. I am not sure that terribly many members are familiar with the proportions of the project which probably will become the biggest Commonwealth office complex in Australia if it is accomplished. The actual proposal before the House at this stage involves a 7-storey building but this is the first phase of a complex which will cost $64m and which will accommodate some 19,000 officers, not just in those 7 floors and the podium but also in the three octagonal 30-storey office towers which surround it. I might add that this complex will be constructed in La Trobe and Exhibition Streets in Melbourne. The Public Works Committee sensibly conceded that there was an urgent need for Commonwealth-owned office space in Melbourne because at June 197l in Melbourne the Commonwealth was leasing for Commonwealth purposes not less than 1.9 million square feet of office space at a cost of S6.5m a year. In Melbourne 3.9 million square feet of space is used for Commonwealth purposes of which almost half. 49 per cent, is leased at a rental cost of S7.03m per annum. One of the regrettable things that has happened is that the Government will be diverted from its plans and, to some extent, the Australian taxpayers will be disadvantaged because of this diversion and the delay that will take place ultimately in providing all this office space which the Commonwealth should own in substitution for that which it now rents. In other words, the incompetence of the Government - its insensitivity about these matters - will cost the Australian taxpayers a great deal, as was the case with the Sydney offices, lt seems to me that just about everybody rejects the idea of the Sydney Commonwealth office complex. It was not long ago when just a few members of the Public Works Committee did so, but now the Government has lost its enthusiasm for it. lt will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to rent space in Sydney and Melbourne because these projects will be delayed. They will be delayed because the Government does not really care and on this issue, like so many others, lacks an understanding of modern attitudes to contemporary problems. Recently we have had much talk about decentralisation and the environment - this new found love that the Government has - but why did it not apply some of these principles when it brought forward these proposals? How absurd it is to talk about a $64m building for 19,000 people - a building of 30 storeys with 3 towerlike structures, in the already congested and overcrowded Melbourne. I wonder what the' Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts **(Mr Howson)** would say about this proposal if he were available to participate in this debate. Recently he has been talking of impact studies which will be made of Government developmental projects. Was this proposal too far back for this principle to be applied? Was any impact study made from an environmental standpoint? The Public Works Committee received evidence to the effect that 2,000 cars would be entering and leaving this site every hour during office hours. It is useful that a rail loop is to be provided beneath this building. To some extent that will alleviate the issue to which I have just referred. Nevertheless the project involves inadequate car parking for the public and for office employees. In general it can be stated confidently that the proposal was a bad one. The Minister has said something of the report that has been presented by the Public Works Committee but it is worth mentioning that the Committee had a great deal more to say. It said that whilst it was conceded that authority should be given to go ahead with this first phase it did not necessarily follow that it believed that the construction of subsequent sections should proceed on this same site without further consideration being given to the suitability of their location. In paragraph 49 of its report the Committee makes the point that no consideration has been given to whether Commonwealth offices in Victoria might be better dispersed in suburban Melbourne or in country areas. The Committee said that there had been no questioning in depth of whether it might not be beneficial to the community and/or to the Commonwealth to consider significant decentralisation of some city-based operations. In paragraph 51 of its report the Committee states: . . we feel that inevitably the vehicular and pedestrian congestion which now occurs at peak periods will be aggravated and as urban Melbourne spreads, the employees and the public concerned will have further to travel with gradually decreasing comfort and convenience. Paragraph 52 states: >The Committee therefore concluded that the Government should take the opportunity before contemplating the construction of the next section of the proposed complex to examine the wisdom of proceeding further with a total project, the result of which would inevitably be a high degree of centralisation. Doubtless there are other relevant matters in the report to which I will not have time to refer but in its conclusions the Committee reported: >The Government should examine the wisdom of proceeding with the Commonwealth centre project beyond phase 1. > >The study should determine whether it might not be more appropriate to locate Victorian branch offices of Commonwealth departments in suburban Melbourne or in country areas. I think I am correct in saying that these conclusions were subscribed to unanimously by members of the Committee. As I recall it, there was no dissention on this matter. Country Party, Liberal Party and Labor Party members of the Committee took this point of view. Why is it that the Government puts up a proposition that is totally unacceptable to a committee of this kind? Is there some lack of idealism on the part of Ministers? What is the role of the Minister for Works, for example, in a matter like this? Is he aware of the public concern about congestion and the need to decentralise? Who else is involved? I suggest that the Minister for the Environment, to whom I referred earlier, would be involved. What is he doing about this sort of thing? The situation is becoming critical. It is not just a matter of wasting the Committee's time and the Parliament's time. I have made the point that I think it is significant that millions of dollars will be lost if this scheme is not proceeded with because the Commonwealth will be delayed in providing Commonwealth-owned facilities and in the meantime rented space will cost $7m to $8m a year in Melbourne alone. If the Australian taxpayers and electors are without things which they desperately need, whether it is pensions, education or health, they can say that to some extent that problem is persisting because of the incompetence that is being displayed in matters such as these relatively unprincipled propositions which are coming before the Parliament in the form of developmental proposals. I am pleased that the Committee has shown the tolerance that is in evidence in approving of phase 1. I sincerely hope that the Parliament and the Government will take notice of the recommendations that to proceed any further on the site would virtually involve discarding important town planning principles which will have a very great bearing on the welfare of many people. {: #debate-34-s2 .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wakefield -- It is more in sorrow than in anger that I point out to the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** that he is one of the members of the Committee who voted for the proposition which he now says - I wrote down his words - is totally unacceptable. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The complete project, of course. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -- We are not talking about the whole project. We are talking about the subject of the Committee's report. The honourable member for Hughes is quite right in saying that the Committee expressed the view that we ought to have a look in greater depth at the long term proposition. The Committee did not say that the whole thing was completely unacceptable in the long term. It expressed some doubts about it. It certainly did not say that this proposition was unacceptable. The honourable member for Hughes voted for it, as I did. {: .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Phase 1 only. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Yes. That is the only one before us. We are dealing with Phase 1. The proposition before us is that Phase 1 proceed and I just will not have it said that the Committee felt that the proposition was completely unacceptable. The Committee quite properly expressed some doubts about whether the other 5 stages should proceed but it did not say that it was totally unacceptable. It said that the Government would be acting responsibly in having a careful look at the long term project before it comes back to us again. The proposition which the honourable member for Hughes voted for and which I voted for we found to be acceptable. I do not think it is fair to say that the Committee found that it was totally unacceptable. {: #debate-34-s3 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid -- I involve myself in this debate mainly to speak on the broad principle of urban planning. I do so because for a number of years I have been critical on this side of the House of the mistakes of over-centralisation decisions being made by the Government. I have stated how the insurance companies of this country have increased their investments from $144m in 1961 to nearly $ 1,000m in March of this year. For every $1 spent on insurance companies, $4 has been spent on foreign investment. In regard to over-centralisation in the Sydney area I have given the examples of The Rocks area, Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross and the centra] business district of North Sydney. This puts a heavy burden on transport facilities which carry a one-way load. The transport system vehicles go out empty in the morning and return to the city loaded with workers. We took a very strong stand on the question of construction at Woolloomooloo. {: #debate-34-s4 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! I have given the honourable member a fair amount of latitude, but I remind him that this is a debate on a motion on the approval of certain work. It is not a complete debate on Phase 1. It is a debate only on approval of certain work. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I have been referring to the principle involved. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- You have not mentioned the project. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I have referred to it in passing. The honourable member for Hughes made the point that was taken up by the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly),** a former Minister for the Navy. He pointed out that even though the project is proposed to house about 20,000 employees at an ultimate cost of about $64m, the Committee has agreed to only the first stage. I would like to quote from page 11 of the report where the Committee stated: >Although in paragraph 22 the Committee concluded that a site on the fringe of the central business district is suitable for the initial Commonwealth Centre development, it doss not necessarily follow that we believe that construction of subsequent sections should proceed on this same site without further consideration being given to the suitability of their location. I am pointing out that the errors that have occurred in Sydney have occurred also in Melbourne. Over-centralisation has taken place because of the Commonwealth Government's policy. The site we are now considering is only part of the problem. Recently the Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** announced the creation of a national urban and regional development authority. He intimated originally that the Commonwealth as a matter of policy in providing for its own employees could play a part in decentralisation. It is not of much use for the Government to say on the one hand that it stands for decentralisation when on the other hand it is following a policy of over-centralisation. Development in the, central business districts of our capital cities is uneconomic. An extremely heavy cost is involved in building up the services to cope with the, heavy concentration in the area. I refer to services such as roads, railways, telephones, water and sewerage. We know that to install a telephone in Melbourne costs $1,150. The same installation in a decentralised city would cost only about $350. That illustrates the study that is necessary in the future. The Government is following ad hoc policies when it should be following a broad planning policy. I am speaking on behalf of my Party as its national spokesman on urban development. We will continue to criticise the Government for its past mistakes through centralisation policies. We will expose the so-called decentralisation policy that is proposed for the future. Until the Govern ment plays a balanced role in decentralisation through rational planning in the cities we will continue to criticise it. It has been argued that a great deal of office space in the centres of Melbourne and Sydney is being rented by the Commonwealth. I suggest that the Government should examine the glut of office space, that has been created in those areas. Again the overall policy of the Government in regard to insurance companies and foreign investment is involved. The Commonwealth Government has complete power over such investment. In Melbourne insurance companies are building office blocks close to the site proposed for Phase 1, the project we are considering. They will help to aggravate the traffic position there. The statutory funds of the insurance companies have been greatly assisted in their growth because of the tax rebate of $1,200 allowed to each taxpayer in respect of insurance payments. That means that we are subsidising the insurance policies of those people on the top incomes at the rate of 66c in every $1. That is why the Commonwealth has powers of persuasion over the insurance companies to encourage that investment where it so desires. In the case of the early legislation a 30-20 formula was brought in. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! I remind the honourable member for Reid that the matter being debated is the approval of works recommended by the Public Works Committee. I do not think it involves the formula in previous legislation. I have allowed the honourable member some leniency. I hope he will not continue in that vein. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I thank you for your tolerance, **Mr Speaker.** The Leader of the House **(Mr Chipp)** may become impatient if he wants to. This matter is part of a chain. Everything is connected to everything else. The sooner the Government appreciates this, whether in dealing with aspects of the environment or aspects of urban planning, the better this Government and this country will function. It is for that reason I am trying to correlate these matters which are only part of the mistakes that have been made. The transport system in Melbourne serving this office is inefficient. Seventy-five per cent of the rolling stock was acquired in 1928. Even though this work has been recommended by the Public Works Committee, I am opposed to it. I am opposed in principle to any further Commonwealth offices being built in the centre of Sydney or Melbourne until such time as there has been a complete re-assessment of the whole planning and development in the centre of cities. It would have been better to build these offices at Dandenong and then to spend some money on a rapid transit railway system between Melbourne and Dandenong so that there would be a balanced load of traffic instead of a peak load. The Opposition is trying to promote a rational sense of urban planning. The Government talks about planning for urban and regional development. You cannot divorce one from the other. You cannot have overcentralisation, such as this office block, in the centre of cities such as Sydney and Melbourne and at the same time talk about decentralisation policies. That is my criticism. I express my opposition to the development. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Will you vote against it? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I am addressing you, **Mr Speaker.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! There are far too many interjections from my right. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- How will you vote? {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- 1 was going to sit down, but I think I will stand for a while and enlighten honourable members opposite a little more and try to get something through their thick skulls. They are wasting the taxpayers' money by putting an office block in the centre' of Melbourne. It will cost SI, 150 for every telephone installed there. Under a decentralisation policy this could be done for $350. Water and sewerage connections to that area will create further problems. Further pressures will be created on the transport systems of Melbourne which are already inadequate. Seventy-five per cent of the rolling stock in Melbourne was purchased before 1928. The roads are now packed with cars. Provision is made in this building for 2,000 cars. One can imagine the concentration of pressure of 2,000 cars converging onto one building and the pressure on road transport that will occur. I wonder whether the planners had enough sense to consider having 9 feet or 10 feet ceilings instead of 6 feet or 7 feet ceilings so that, if the motor car becomes a proven monster to the centre of our cities as it has become in most of the major capitals of the world, that space might be able to be used for something other than parking motors cars. That is the criticism we have on this side of the House. We criticise the Government for its lack of planning. I commend the progressive clement on the Public Works Committee for its strong reservations. At least only the first section will be allowed to be built. Strong reservations have been expressed against any further development. On the question of Woolloomooloo, the recommendation was defeated. We had the numbers for that one. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The Woolloomooloo matter is not relevant. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- I mentioned that in passing. I wanted to give the Government a bit of a nudge. We have started to break through the thick skull of this Government. It is about time the Government started to heed some of the progressive planners in this country who have said that the taxpayers' money is being spent wrongfully, lt is about time the Government started to spend it correctly. Question resolved in the affirmative. Construction of Communications Tower at Black Mountain, Australian Capital Territory {: #debate-34-s5 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP -- I move: The proposed tower will rise 641 feet from ground level and will consist of a selfsupporting reinforced concrete circular shaft to carry 3 levels of technical equipment for radio/ telephone purposes and 2 levels for public use. The concrete shaft will terminate at 434 feet from which point the tower will be of open lattice steel construction to support antennae for television and radio services. The tower will provide for the expected growth of radio/ telephone trunk traffic and television relay facilities involving the national capital and meet the demands of the Canberra region for the next SO years. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $6m. In investigating the proposal, the Committee was requested to express views on whether the function of the tower should be confined to communications only or whether it might incorporate revenue producing facilities in the form of a public restaurant and viewing platform. The Committee concluded that there is a need for the work and that it would be appropriate to include the revenue producing facilities and recommended that the work proceed to construction. The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Committee. Having regard to the prominence of Black Mountain and the importance of preserving its natural state as far as is possible, the Government has given very careful consideration to the environmental question and has fully considered all of the representations which have been made on this matter. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee. {: #debate-34-s6 .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr ENDERBY:
Australian Capital Territory -- I hope the House will forgive me if I reflect for a moment on the time when I was younger than 1 am now. Then if a proposition like this one had been put in a small country town it would have been welcomed with open arms. In a town like Dubbo in the late 1940s people would have welcomed developments like this which would bring prosperity and employment to the town. But times have changed. I do not know of any single body in the Australian Capital Territory that welcomes this proposition. This is Canberra in 1972. This project will involve an expenditure, as the Minister has said, in excess of $6m. It causes me considerable disquiet. I have had discussions with the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** who is a member of the Public Works Committee. He is not happy about the proposition. It might be of some moment to remind the House that the only groups that saw fit to express their points of view - they were representatives of Canberra - opposed the proposal. The political parties that formed a view on it opposed it. The Australian Labor Party was one and the Australia Party was another. The Society for Social Responsibility in Science was another body which opposed it. There were others. The correspondence columns of the Canberra Times' were full of letters opposing the project. I cannot recall having read any letters in support of the proposition. The statutory body charged with the planning and construction of Canberra, the body that is often held up as the best example of planning and public enterprise of this nature in the whole of Australia, the National Capital Development Commission, opposed it strenuously and vigorously. Yet, the tower is to be, it would seem. What lessons can we draw from this? I suppose it tells us a lot about our political processes. * **Mr Kelty** - It tells us you were not there to give evidence. {: .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr ENDERBY: -- It tells us that. That is quite right. But members of my Party made representations and put my point of view, as you will recall. They were not accepted. What is the issue? I think one has to go back and think of that much hackneyed expression, 'the quality of life'. Canberra now has nearly 170,000 people. The latest figures indicate a growth rate - it can be called growth; increase is probably a better word - of something like 10.2 per cent. One cannot help but wonder: Where is it all leading? In recent reports of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory to this Parliament there has been an expression of concern about the way in which we are heading - the excessive amount of Canberra being put under bitumen, the excessive surrender to trends we cannot influence and pressures we cannot control, being a servant of the motor car instead of the motor car being our servant. When Burley Griffin proposed the plan of Canberra he saw it as a site nestling amongst hills with natural contours. The proposed structure will be paganlike. I could use other words, but perhaps I should not. I will have a paganlike quality. I am not trying to run down the pagans. They had qualities of their own which were desirable and good. The tower will dominate. It will have an aggression about it. It will be 641 feet high. That is 3 times as high as the present towers. It will be solid. Its base will exceed the base of this Parliament House. It will dominate the skyline of Canberra. The people who live here and drive around will not be able to escape its presence. I am not talking only about the people of Canberra, because Canberra belongs to the whole of the Australian nation. Over 1 million people come to Canberra each year. I suppose this thing proposed to be put on Black Mountain could be regarded by some as attractive. To others it will be offensive and repulsive. The Australian Capital Territory Advisory Council, the body set up to advise the Minister for the Interior, has not expressed a point of view on the project. The only proposition put before h was one of opposition. The Council never passed a resolution on the matter. Be that as it may, this thing is to be put up there. It will attract more and more tourists up that mountain, which now has something like 1,100 acres, I think, of virgin bush. Surely this project is the thin edge of the wedge. In the parklands of the big cities once one thing goes in, once one item of development enters, it is only a matter of time before somebody sees a need to complement it and the people going to service it need a certain facility. It is only a matter of time before the whole parkland has come and gone and a massive brick pile is left. I foresee the time when Black Mountain will be covered with red, blue or yellow tiled buildings. It may not be in my time, but there will be structures there in the next IS or 20 years and that beautiful skyline will be gone because this is the beginning. I do not know what to do about it. I am not going to vote for this proposition. But I do not know what one can do to stop it. I do not know whether I should accept the technical arguments because they have never been explained satisfactorily. I am not a member of the Public Works Committee. I am not critical of its work at all. I am sure its members are sincere, hardwork ing politicians who do their best. But my experience as a member of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory is that one is all too often dazzled with science. I think I speak for all members of the Committee. The Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory comes into this matter in no small measure. The National Capital Development Commission said that it opposed the plan because of what it will do to the mountain and because of the number of people it will encourage to go to the top. Much of the argument is that the plan would lead to the eventual destruction of the mountain. It will lead to diseases in timber on the hills and disturb the fragile quality of the whole of the flora and fauna that exists there. A visual assault will take place. The Department of the Interior submitted to the Committee that it would not oppose the plan. It said it was not happy about it. This is the way I read its submission. I did not hear it, but I have read it several times. The Department had a total lack of enthusiasm for the proposition. It is as though we are all caught up in some inevitable spiral which cannot stop and cannot be slowed down. One cannot get off. The Department said that in attempting to prevent the destruction of Black Mountain controls would have to be imposed on the access road to the top. This is as I read the submission. Presumably that means a gate will be erected to stop motor cars going up the road. Nobody likes to be stopped from driving to the top of the mountain. Buses will go to the top. This may mean a change in the road plan of Canberra. It may mean parking facilities will have to be provided at the bottom. This relates to the criticism that the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory has expressed time and time again, that more and more of Canberra is being put under bitumen in the surrender to the motor car. The Committee will be preempted from expressing any decision if these road patterns are to be changed. Following the long established practice, road planning proposals should be referred to the Committee. What will we do? Will the Committee be treated as a rubber stamp, again, as has happened very often in the past. {: .speaker-009MM} ##### Mr Kelly: -- You could vote against it if you do not think it is a good idea. {: .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr ENDERBY: -- Yes, I agree. I will. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Will you? {: .speaker-8H7} ##### Mr ENDERBY: -- Just a moment. Let me finish. Let us not play politics here, please. It is too serious for that. The Minister laughs. I am not trying to play politics and I would think that is pretty obvious. I am suggesting that there is something terribly wrong with our parliamentary procedures. The Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory is charged with the responsibility of scrutinising and checking any changes in the road plan of Canberra. The Department of the Interior might come along and say to us, in reference from the Minister, in 6 months time or 5 years or one year's time: We want the Committee to change the road plan of Canberra because of the Black Mountain tower.' Suppose the Committee then said: 'We will not. We do not think the tower should ever have been put there.' It is too late. The tower will be up there. The sum of $7m will have been spent. The Committee then is required just to rubber stamp the proposal, as we were with the Russell Hill complex 3 or 4 months ago. We refused to do it because we saw what was coming. I am not attacking the Government on this. I am attacking the system that has arisen - the decline in the parliamentary process that has taken place over a long period of years. Committees are not being allowed to play their part. I heard the same view expressed the other day in regard to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence. The view was in regard to the signing of agreements between Indonesia and Australia in regard to the continental shelf. The Committee was not consulted at all. It was just bypassed and ignored. This policy is followed all the way through. I suppose it is related also to the lack of representation here in the Australian Capital Territory. We have a population of 170,000 people. The only bodies in Canberra which express a point of view oppose the proposal. Their wishes are to be ignored. They are told: 'No, bad luck; there are greater values and greater priorities around. You will take it. Consider yourselves lucky.' As I see it, one cannot be enthusiastic about the proposition when one looks at it like that. One cannot be enthusiastic when one reads the submission of the Department of the Interior. One cannot be enthusiastic when one reads the opposition to it from the National Capital Development Commission, the most repu table body in the country in regard to this sort of thing. The NCDC opposes the proposition tooth and nail. If honourable members talked to the officers of the Commission as I have, they would find that the officers say, as was said to me the other day, that they will fight it to the end. However, there is not much they can do and not much that I can do. Evidence was given by the Society for Social Responsibility in Science. It is interesting to note that the Liberal Party, to which the Chairman of the Public Works Committee belongs, did not express a point of view. As far as I know the Liberal Party of the Australian Capital Territory came along and said nothing. It did not even bother to concern itself with the problem. The Australia Party expressed a view, as did the Australian Labor Party. The only other political party that exists in Canberra is the Australian Democratic Labor Party and as far as I know that Party had no point of view at all to express. There was no support for the proposal - -only opposition. The alternative to the proposal is that the unified single lattice work mast be left as it is, that the recording facilities and so on be removed from Black Mountain and be situated down in the city. The television side of the operations could be conducted in that way. I can see no objection to that. The Postmaster-General's Department's proposal is that the radio and telephonic facilities be put with the television facilities in a single solid structure which would be made to pay its way by the construction of a revolving restaurant which would encourage people to go up to the tower. But this structure - this pagan symbol, as I have called it, which stretches 641 feet into the skyline around Canberra - will dominate the landscape. What did the NCDC say about the construction of the tower? It said that the radio telephonic part of the solid structure should be put at Crace. I know that the PostmasterGeneral's Department said it could not be done and that Crace was not high enough. But I see from the submission put by the Society for Social Responsibility in Science that the PMG previously had put a different submission, that it could be done at Crace. Here, of course, I am in a weak position. Normally if one is playing politics one does not reveal a weak position. But I was there - I do not know. But if the PMG on an earlier occasion said that there was nothing wrong with the Crace proposition from the point of view of the radio telephonic work and that these facilities could have been constructed at Crace, leaving the single lattice work tower on Black Mountain, the visual assault would not have to take place and the pagan symbol would not have to be erected. Crace could have had a smaller tower, which would not have had the same notoriety as the Black Mountain proposition. If this were done we would not have a tower on Black Mountain which would dominate even Parliament House. People who drive around the city and who live in this valley would not continually be reminded of its presence. Perhaps the Chairman of the Committee, whom I see is making notes and who may well say a few words, might have the answer to this. All I can say is that even if there is an answer it is an unhappy state of affairs, whichever way we look at it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #debate-34-s7 .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN:
Reid -- I want to make some comments about the construction of the communications tower on Black Mountain. I express my concern firstly because I do not think I can see attached to the report of the Public Works Committee an environmental impact statement. I notice that the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts **(Mr Howson)** is sitting on the front bench. On 24th May of this year he made a statement that where Commonwealth moneys were involved environmental impact statements would be made. Under questioning from me about whether or not the environmental impact statements would be made public the Minister stated quite coldly that they would not be. Following this matter up the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Whitlam),** in a question to the Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** which appears on page 1972 of Hansard of 27th September, asked about the environmental impact statements. The Prime Minister said: >But I have said, and this might be the proper substitute, that attached to every Cabinet document must be a statement relating to the impact of matters concerning pollution and conservation. 1 took it that impact statements would be issued immediately decisions are announced. I will make certain, if there is any misunderstanding about the matter, that they are in fact issued. I understand that the Prime Minister gave a further reply to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition **(Mr Barnard)** in regard to impact statements. Whether the impact statements are limited statements or not, they should at least be attached to reports of this kind. Frankly, I do not accept the proposal put forward by the Prime Minister that only abridged Cabinet statements should be made and treated as impact statements. Open inquiries are conducted under the American system. I am aware that a Public Works Committee inquiry was held into the environmental aspect but I would like to know, with due respect to my colleagues on my side of the House who are members of the Committee and also to supporters of the Government who are members, what qualified environmentalist was on the Committee to give advice on the scientific evidence and to make his findings available. After all, the Public Works Committee is a public works committee. If we are to have environmental impact statements we want to see trained scientists in the field of ecology and the environment deal with these matters. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory has drawn attention to the flora and fauna in the area. It so happens that I do not spend a great deal of time in Canberra. Nevertheless I have seen something of Black Mountain. It is a magnificent area, particularly the base of it and the Botanic Gardens which has eucalyptus manifera maculosa, a beautiful mass of trees which really enhance the beauty of that area. In fact, I would think that- {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Is that term parliamentary, **Mr Speaker?** {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- As a matter of fact it is probably far more Australian than is the Leader of the House. If he had a little bit more respect for them- {: .speaker-0095J} ##### Mr Howson: -- Oh, do not say that about him. {: .speaker-EE4} ##### Mr UREN: -- The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts interjects. He does a lot of talking about the environment but takes little action. It is about time we started to give some thought to the trees in this area, particularly the native trees. Certain groups in the community say that we need something to encourage tourism and that the construction of a tower, such as one that has been built somewhere else in the world - we are trying to copy or ape such a structure - will help to do this. Wc are told that people will visit the tower if we incorporate a restaurant in it. Only those who can afford to do so will be able to visit the tower because probably it will be very expensive. But we do not really know what pressures will be put on th; environment. I could not tell the House how many tourists visit Canberra or tha average number of cars that are likely to travel up Black Mountain. The exhaust fumes from these vehicles will probably have some effect on the flora and fauna in this area. We do not know these things but we should know them. The Minister is now trying to brief the Chairman of the Public Works Committee. It is time that he got on his feet and told us what he thought about environmental impact statements. When I asked him whether he was going to make a further statement on this matter he said that no other statement would be made because the Prime Minister **(Mr McMahon)** had already covered the issue. If that indicates the limited attitude of this Government in regard to impact statements then honourable members opposite will hear a lot more about this from members on this side of the House. It is utter hypocrisy. Impact statements should not come from abridged Cabinet documents. There should be a thorough investigation into the arguments for and against proposals of this kind. We should know what the consequences will bc whether the decision is for or against a project. Arguments should be put forward by scientists. We want to know the views of the scientific people before decisions are made. These are important matters of principle. This Parliament should not bc: used as a rubber stamp for projects such as this as has happened in the past. I well recall that there was no discussion on the bridging finance which was made available for the Lake Pedder scheme. No environmental impact statements was made in this place even though we made available the bridging finance. It we had had an environ mental impact statement giving us the arguments for and against that project honourable members might have been aware of the significance of the problems that were involved. I am critical of the Government for not having made an impact statement. I want more detail from the Government on its attitude to making available Commonwealth money for projects which destroy the natural environment, particularly the proposal in regard to the Black Mountain area It is about time that more detail was mad: available to members of this Parliament, [f this is not forthcoming in the future this Government will certainly hear a' great deal more from members on this side, at least until December. After December there will be a new approach to matters of this kind. It will take a while to get it moving but we hope that in regard to environmental aspects we will make available all the arguments, we will make public any documents which are available and we will make our decisions known. We will not keep them secret as this Government has been doing for so long. **Mr KELLY** (Wakefield)' (10.33)- It is worth pointing out that the proposal to erect a tower on Black Mountain was an unusual reference to the Public Works Committee, as you, **Mr Deputy Speaker,** as a member of the Committee would remember, in that we were asked to recommend to the Government a particular design. The Government had not taken a firm stand on a plan. It referred the matter to the Public Works Committee and it was the Committee's responsibility to recommend a design. The Labor Party representatives on that Committee were the honourable member for Hunter **(Mr James),** the honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** and **Senator Poyser.** The other members of the Committee were the honourable member for Maranoa **(Mr Corbett),** the honourable member for Balaclava **(Mr Whittorn),** myself and, for some of the time, **Senator Webster.** I point out that there was no dissenting voice in the. Committee's decision. I pay a tribute to my Labor colleagues on the Public Works Committee who always with complete objectivity have carried out their duty, completely divorced from party politics. They heard the evidence and examined the matter in great detail. The honourable, member for Hunter, the honourable member for Hughes and **Senator Poyser** are not likely to be swept away by eloquence and I can think of nobody who would be better fitted to weight objectively the evidence put forward on this proposal. What is this project? The proposal is to put on top of Black Mountain a 640 feet high tower. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory **(Mr Enderby)** was notable for his absence from the Committee when he had the opportunity to spell out what he thought about the matter instead of sitting in an uncomfortable, posture with one leg on either side of the fence. He had an opportunity to say what he thought but he did not take it. Now he says that it is wrong to have what he called 'a pagan symbol' 640 feet high on top of Black Mountain. Exactly what a pagan symbol is I am not sure because I am a bit weak on classical history. However, we. received evidence on the towers at present located on Black Mountain. I think the honourable member said there was a 200 feet high tower on it. There are 2 towers, the biggest being 511 feet high. The erection of a building and tower 640 feet high will mean that the other 2 will be taken away. It also means that the tower on Red Hill which the environmentalists have been objecting to will be removed. It should be pointed out that the Postmaster-General's Department found that it was impossible to get effective television signals from anywhere, but the top of Black Mountain. It is nonsense to say that the tower should be placed on top of Crace. This suggestion was examined by the technical people from the Post Office and they found that it would be impossible to implement. That was the proposition which faced the members of the Public Works Committee. The Committee heard detailed evidence from the environmentalists. We had environment running out of our ears before the hearing concluded. All members of the Committee had every opportunity to examine the witnesses in great detail. We heard evidence on the environment over a period of 3 days. I repeat that when the Committee came to a decision there was not one dissenting voice from the honourable member for Hughes, the honourable member for Hunter, **Senator Poyser,** nor, I am proud to say, from myself, the honourable member for Maranoa or the honourable member for Balaclava. The members of the Committee weighed up the evidence as best they could. They weighed up the environmental problems and they weighed up the recommendations of the National Capital Development Commission. The honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory said that the Commission fought tooth and nail against this proposal. What did the Commission do? The Commission said - and this was spelt out without any doubt in evidence given in public: 'We will go along with a concrete tower on Black Mountain. We will go along with the open viewing platform. We will go along with the closed platform but we draw the line at the revolving restaurant' The provision of the restaurant meant an additional 15 feet of enclosed space in a height of 640 feet. If honourable members look at the different models of the proposal they will have grave difficulty in differentiating between the model which has the revolving restaurant and those that do not have it. The NCDC did not fight tooth and nail against the total proposition. It fought only the proposal for a revolving restaurant. I could not see the difference in the 2 plans. It is true that my aesthetic senses would not be as brightly polished as those of some of the more academic members of the community. But I look at the proposal with a practised eye and I really cannot see the difference. It is nonsense for the member for the Australian Capital Territory to say that the NCDC fought the proposal tooth and nail. It agreed to it when it was to be the same height, almost the same width, with a covered viewing platform and with an open viewing platform, but it could not stomach the revolving restaurant. It may be that the NCDC has a different way of at things. I would think that the difference between the 2 proposals was minute from an aesthetic point of view. Is it the proper function of the Post Office to behave in a businesslike fashion and try to recover costs? We were told in public evidence that the Post Office would expect to amortise the cost of this structure within 20 years if these public facilities were incorporated. It seems to me quite unreasonable to ask the Post Office to behave in a businesslike fashion and then to criticise it for doing exactly what everybody was telling it to do. It is worth pointing out that the decision to make Black Mountain a tourist area was made 10 years ago when a road was built up the mountain. The road will not be widened under this project. The road was built to enable tourists to go to the top of the mountain to see the view. From then on the mountain was to be a tourist attraction. Under this proposition no greater amount of land will be alienated from the Black Mountain area than at present. I see that the honourable member for Leichhardt **(Mr Fulton)** is present in the chamber. I think I have done him a great injustice because indeed he was present when we inspected the area. I seem to remember his very pungent comments about the quality of Black Mountain. I think they were a tribute to his great common sense. The proposition that this project will spoil the mountain is ridiculous. A road to the top of the mountain was there before. It is there now along with 2 towers on the mountain. It was known, and all the projections showed quite clearly, that with the escalation of tourist traffic that has occurred in the past and which will occur in the future there has to be some traffic control at the bottom of the mountain. This control will be there whether the big tower is built or whether the present look out remains. I can understand the point of view of the environmentalists who see that there is a problem. But I would repeat that the pretty hardheaded, sensible members of the Public Works Committee weighed up the evidence to the best of their ability. Let us come back to this question of limited ability. The honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** was pretty scathing in his comments about the qualifications of members of the Committee had which enabled them to weigh up the evidence on this sort of proposal. For his edification, let me point out that I have been a member of the South Australian State Conservation Committee for 17 years. I constructed the first contour banks that were ever built in South Australia. I may not be much of an orator, but when it comes to conserving the resources of my own property and, indeed, my own district, I would believe that my experience would be almost equal to the remarkable experience of the honourable member for Reid, who I do not think has done anything very much. {: #debate-34-s8 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP **- Mr Speaker-** Motion (by **Mr Giles)** agreed to: >That the question be now put. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The question now is: That the motion be agreed to'.- Those in favour say 'aye', against say 'no'. I think the 'ayes' have it. Opposition members - No. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is a division required? Opposition members - Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Ring the bells. (The bells being rung) - {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- **Mr Speaker,** I was under the impression that the honourable .member for Hughes had spoken. As leader of the House I would like to defer the putting of the motion. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr PATTERSON:
DAWSON, QUEENSLAND · ALP -- With your indulgence, **Mr Speaker,** we would like to have the division called off to enable the honourable member for Hughes to have leave to speak for 5 minutes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Does the Leader of the House agree to that course being followed? {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp: -- Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -In that case we will not proceed with the division..... **Mr LES** JOHNSON (Hughes)- by leave - I appreciate what has been done. I hope my colleague the honourable member for Leichhardt **(Mr Fulton)** will be able to account for himself because the " consideration of this project has been a little exceptional in the sense that the members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works have come under criticism for the attitude they have taken. I can assure the House that this will affect the behaviour of members of the Committee in the future. It could cost the Parliament a lot of time and, indeed, it could cost a lot pf money if we are not to be put into a more favourable position than the one in which we find ourselves at the moment. The problem here is the fact that a lot of people contend that the Burley Griffin concept of Canberra is being ruined to some extent by this communications tower which is to be built on Black Mountain. Some people take the view that it would be just as bad to put it on Mount Ainslie. They contend that Burley Griffin had a great concept, the effect of which was virtually to radiate out from these 2 mountains - Mount Ainslie and Black Mountain - and they think that no one should clutter up that great architectural or town planning concept with a modern tower of this sort. They think it is indecent and unprincipled. As I see it, that is the view substantially held around Canberra. Certainly it was the opinion of a lot of people who came before the Committee. It is wrong for anyone to get the impression that we did not hear a lot of evidence and a great deal of informed evidence. The honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** indicated that that was the case. Apart from the evidence from Canberra Television Ltd and the restaurant and catering trade organisation of New South Wales, we heard evidence from office bearers of local branches of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science, the National Parks Association, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Labor Party, and I think also the Australia Party. Among these representatives of organisations were very eminent, qualified and skilled people who had a professional point of view to put. I would like to make a lot of points in relation to this project but I will make just a few. It seems to me that some members of the House do not appreciate fully the alternatives to this Black Mountain tower. Canberra has unusual qualities about it. For example, outdoor television antennas are not allowed in Canberra; they are all indoors. There is an aesthetic standard here in Canberra which we would like to uphold. We were told that Black Mountain had certain advantages over other possible locations. First of all the trunk line facilities would be near to Civic Centre and Deakin and the future development of Belconnen. It is very important to locate such facilities close to those places, unless one is prepared to spend a lot more money. When one takes into consideration the needs of country towns for postal and television facilities one wonders just how much extra ought to be spent on Canberra. There is also the fact that 2 steel masts are already on Black Mountain anyway and not everybody regards them as having an aesthetic effect. Some people take the view that the proposed tower would have a more pleasing appearance anyhow. This location also has the advantage of being close to 2 television stations. Significantly, it was submitted to the Committee that the proposed tower would have the effect of eliminating the proliferation of communication structures around Canberra. Lots of people do not like towers on Red Hill, for example, which has one of the most pleasant mountain views in Canberra. If the Black Mountain proposal were proceeded with we would be able to get rid of a number of those structures. The Committee regarded that as being an offsetting consideration. Perhaps I should emphasise the technical factors involved in the proposal. The tower has been designed to accommodate not only television transmitting facilities but also radio-telephone apparatus. So far as the television transmitting facility is concerned, there are special characteristics in Canberra to which the Post Office has to pay very special regard. Because Canberra is spread around mountain outcrops and ranges it is important to ensure that there is a direct line of sight between each house and the television antennae. We were told that Black Mountain was the only place where this could be done sensibly. I said that I would speak for only about 5 minutes and that is all I will take, although I would like to take half an hour to discuss - this matter because many factors are involved. Finally!" the Committee was confronted with the proposition that if the tower was going to be on Black Mountain a number of massive installations would have to go into it. I want the House to appreciate that a $6m project is involved. It is to have a 3-floor base podium, parking for visitors and space for some equipment. There is to be a 641 feet tower of reinforced concrete on a circular shaft. There are to be 3 levels of technical equipment and we decided to add 2 levels for the public. From the 430 feet level there will be a lattice steel structure. The tower will incorporate a lookout, dining and refreshment facilities, including a rotating restaurant. The restaurant is designed to recoup some of the costs involved. If the things that the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** has talked about are really important, the best place to have the tower is on Black Mountain and it seems to be sensible to set out to recoup some of the cost of constructing it. It is wrong for anyone to get the impression that this matter was not looked at with the benefit of expertise because it was. It is my opinion that the Committee has taken the right decision. I confess that I am not excited about putting a tower on Black Mountain. I would prefer it not necessary to be there. I have some sympathy for those people who regard the Burley Griffin plan as a sacred concept. I have taken a number of matters into account. It is possible that I have been too accommodating and compromised too much, but I feel that on balance the Committee has taken the decision that is in the interests of the people of Canberra as well as the people of the southern States who will benefit from the installation of an efficient radio television facility. I certainly feel that the Committee has taken the right decision from the standpoint of reticulating television throughout the Australian Capital Territory. {: #debate-34-s9 .speaker-JZP} ##### Mr FULTON:
Leichhardt -- by leaveAs a member of the Public Works Committee, I want to say a few words on this proposal. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the honourable member for Wakefield **(Mr Kelly),** who is the Chairman of the Committee, and by my colleague from Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson).** I believe that a good deal of the objection to this proposal is due to the fact that people have not read the evidence that was given to the Committee. I do not think the construction of a tower on Black Mountain will alter the significance of the mountain. I think it will improve Black Mountain. The Committee made sure that the people of Canberra would not be deprived of the present right to go on to Black Mountain and have a barbecue or do some sightseeing. If they want to go up to the tower restaurant that will be their privilege. I think it will be advantageous to Canberra and a great monument for posterity. The proposition before the Public Works Committee was that all the communication facilities should be in the one place. The alternative was a separation of the radio and television facilities. We were told quite definitely by the experts that such a separation would cause ghosting in certain sections of Canberra. Nobody would want that. For the best results the radio and television facilities had to be together.I feel sure that this concept is the best for Canberra and its residents. I think it will also be in the interests of the tourist trade in Canberra, which is a very vital consideration. No-one will be compelled to go to the restaurant. As long as we preserve the right of the people of Canberra to have picnics on top of Black Mountain and also park their vehicles there we will be doing the right thing. Although there may be a large increase in the motor traffic in the area as a result of the construction of this tower, we were assured that that aspect could be catered for on the southern part of Black Mountain. People who only want to visit the reserve will not have to pay for the privilege of doing so, but I think the Postmaster-General's Department has done the right thing in trying to recoup some of the cost of this project by including a restaurant in it. I am sure that lots of people will want to go to the revolving restaurant. Somebody said to me the other day that one would get giddy going around, but that is not correct. It will not revolve at 100 miles an hour. It will revolve slowly so that people can see' the whole panorama of Canberra. I thinkthat this tower will be the best solution to the problem. I support this proposition wholeheartedly. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2475 {:#debate-35} ### SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS {: #debate-35-s0 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP -- I seek leave to move a motion which will enable Government Business notices Nos. 5, 6 and7 to be called on and moved together and Nos. 8 and 9 also to be called on and moved together. {: #debate-35-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Is leave granted? {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- **Mr Speaker,** I wish to ask a question. It is a rule of the House that we should get up at 11 o'clock. I should like to know whether the Minister's proposal has been agreed to by the Opposition? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I cannot answer that question. All I am asking is whether leave is granted. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- We on this side of the House have made it quite clear - in particular, the honourable member for Wills, who is not here, has made it quite clearthat {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honourable member is not entitled to debate the subject of how many people have been waiting to speak. The question I asked was whether leave is granted. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I simply ask the Leader of the House whether there has been some agreement. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP: -- I have an agreement with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Reid and the honourable member for Hughes. I could not forecast the time as 2 minutes to 1 1 o'clock tout we had agreed- {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- In other words we can go till dawn tomorrow? {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP: -- No. Tho honourable gentleman knows better than that. {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- I do not know better than that. Sitting at this table, I represent- {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honourable member for Dawson has asked a question. Now I shall ask a question. Is leave granted? {: .speaker-KXV} ##### Dr Patterson: -- Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Leave is granted. {: .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP: -- I thank the Opposition for its co-operation. I move: >That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent (a) notices Nos 5, 6 and 7 Government Business being called on and moved together and one question being put in relation to the 3 motions and (b) notices Nos 8 and 9 Government Business being called on and moved together and one question being put in relation to the 2 motions. In anticipation of what the honourable member for Dawson **(Dr Patterson)** might say on this motion, let me state that I expect that notices Nos 5, 6 and 7 will be moved and passed this evening. I understand from informed discussions with members of the Opposition that they will not take a great deal of time. It will not be my proposal to push ahead with notices Nos 8 and 9 tonight. I hope that we might arrange the passing of notices Nos 5, 6 and 7 within a reasonable time. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2476 {:#debate-36} ### APPROVAL OF WORKS- PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE ACT Construction of a Primary and Pre-school at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory {: #debate-36-s0 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr CHIPP:
Minister for Customs and Excise · Hotham · LP -- I move: >That, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to Parliament: Construction of a primary and pre-school at Tennant Creek, N.T. The proposed work is for the construction of additional facilities to meet the primary, infant and pre-school needs of Tennant Creek. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $1.1 5m. The Committee concluded that there was a need for the new facilities and recommended that the work proceed to construction in this instance. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee. Construction of a Power Station at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory I move: >That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to Parliament: Construction of a power station at Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. The proposed work involves the construction of a new power station with 4.2 mw diesel powered alternators, associated 22 kV reticulation, and other facilities. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $1.8m. The Committee concluded that there was a need for the establishment of a new power station and recommended that the work proceed to construction in this instance. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee. {:#subdebate-36-0} #### Construction of Casuarina Hospital, Darwin, Northern Territory I move: >That in accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1969-1972, it is expedient to carry out the following proposed work which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works and on which the Committee has duly reported to Parliament: Construction of Casuarina Hospital, Darwin, Northern Territory. The proposal is for the construction of the first stage of a 600-bed general hospital. The components of this stage consist of a multi-storey building containing ward space for 380 beds plus medical and paramedical departments and administrative and support services; boiler house, laundry, lecture theatre arid kiosk, and 6 groups of 2 and 3-storey buildings to provide living accommodation for 421 hospital staff. The estimated cost of the proposed work is $22m to $24m. The Committee, in concluding that there is a need for the proposed work and recommending its construction, also recommended that the Government should take measures which will improve its planning to provide on a properly regulated basis the medical facilities for which it is responsible. This aspect of the report has been referred to the Minister for Health who advises that measures have been taken to improve the planning of medical facilities on a regulated basis. Upon the concurrence of the House in this resolution, detailed planning can proceed in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee. {: #subdebate-36-0-s0 .speaker-K9M} ##### Mr Les Johnson:
HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is difficult to deal with 3 matters. I think I will deal with only 2. I would like to refer to the Tennant Creek power station and the Tennant Creek primary and preschool. The Opposition is pleased that this development is coming to Tennant Creek, where there is a considerable area of deprivation among the people who live there. The power station to be provided is to cost $1. 8m. I think the significant thing to say about these 2 matters - that is, the power station and the school - is that the Public Works Committee has satisfied itself that the community is to be sustained and will grow in the future. At present I think it has a population of about 1,800 people with another 800 or 900 in the adjacent area. Substantially the town itself is dependent on the mining activities there. Honourable members will probably be aware that in this area there is gold, copper, bismuth and silver production which amounted in value to $50m over the last 4 years. It is now intended to build a new smelter at Tennant Creek, and when this happens the mining industry there will be one of the world's largest suppliers of bismuth metals. Four mines are operating, and it is a very virile area. A number of mining companies are involved in exploration. We are told that ore reserves amounting to more than 8 million tons have already been established. So it must be a justifiable proposition to build a new power station at Tennant Creek. The necessity for the power station emanates from the fact that the power station which has been in operation up to now is owned by the Peko company, which contracted in 1956 to meet the demand of Tennant Creek for 1,000 kilowatts of power. Peko now requires the power station for its own purposes and seeks to terminate the contract. It has been decided to terminate it by 1974. If it had been able, Peko would have made it available for a longer period. We are told that there is a considerable demand growth rate for power in Tennant Creek running at the rate of about 15 per cent per annum. We are also told that the proposal has been sensibly approached from the standpoint of all the environmental factors that are highlighted in discussions these days in that the power station is being put behind a number of hills south-west of the town and some distance away from the town in a position where the wind will blow the fumes away. There is to be no noise problem. So the honourable member for Reid **(Mr Uren)** at least will be gratified to know that this project has a clean bill of health and there do not seem to be any environmental problems about the Tennant Creek power station. There is no environmental problem about the Tennant Creek school either. A school is to be built to accommodate 210 infant school children, 340 primary school children and 50 pre-school children. It is interesting to note that the Commonwealth concedes this concept of an infant, primary and preschool for the Northern Territory. It would seem to me that the House could take note of this to good advantage because we are talking about pre-schools now in other debates. If we are to get value for money we should do what is being done at Tennant Creek and utilise school sites for preschool as well as other school activities. An interesting feature of this school, which ultimately will be developed to cater for 800 pupils, is that it involves the new concept of open space learning areas, the effect of which is that the school is grouped around the library hub. This is similar to the Wagaman primary school at Darwin which is being constructed and which will be open in 1973, the Nakara primary school which will be open in 1974, the Bradshaw primary school at Alice Springs which will be open in 1974 and the Wanguri and Tiwi schools at Darwin on which reports were submitted to the Parliament last July and which are in the process of construction. It is interesting that this concept of education is being provided under the auspices of the Commonwealth Government in Northern Territory towns. This is regarded as the contemporary, modern and efficient way of educating children. If we are able to do this in areas under the control of the Commonwealth we should be looking at the possibility of making funds available to the States so that they can do the same. I think this is all I need say. The Opposition is pleased that the people of Tennant Creek are to have the benefit of a new power station and a new school. We hope the work will be accomplished to a high standard and as expeditiously as possible. {: #subdebate-36-0-s1 .speaker-JTW} ##### Mr CALDER:
Northern Territory -- I support the motion. The primary and pre-school at Tennant Creek is to be constructed at a cost of $l.Sm. I commend the planning for this school. An oval is to be provided which will be used by the community as well as by the school. In the 8 acres of grounds a lawn watering scheme will be provided. This certainly will be an innovation in Tennant Creek and will be a great help in developing the oval and lawns. If this motion is approved, when stage 1 of the school is completed by 1975 it will have 270 students. By 1976 there will be a capacity for 500 in the pre-school and infant school. The honourable member for Hughes **(Mr Les Johnson)** referred to the new concept of open learning areas which has been adopted in the Northern Territory. Some areas of the school are to be carpeted to ensure silence and for general comfort. Provision also is made for a medical and dental clinic and for a pupils sick room attached to the school. I commend this project. A power station also is to be provided at Tennant Creek. From evidence tendered to the Public Works Committee it seems that by 1972 there will be an increase of 18 per cent in the requirement for power at Tennant Creek. The Peko-Wallsend company has given notice that it will be unable to supply power to the town after November 1974; so there is an urgent need for this project to be approved, for tenders to be called in 1972 and the contract to be let in early 1973 in order that this power station will be in commission by November 1974 when Peko-Wallsend which has supplied power to the town since 1956 will have to supply power to its own smelter and Warrego mine, both tremendous undertakings. The company has assisted the Government substantially in the past by supplying power to Tennant Creek, and it is to be commended. I realise that it charges for the power it supplies. In certain circumstances of emergency the company is prepared to continue to supply power if there is a delay in the actual completion of the new power station. A 600-bed hospital is to be provided at Casuarina at a cost of $24m. I support this proposal. The hospital has been needed for a long time. In 1962 when there was not much forward planning with respect to the Darwin Hospital, the concept was to build a new hospital in the northern expanding areas of Darwin. The proposed hospital is to be built on the boundary of the suburb of Tiwi. I notice that the hospital will take 12 months to plan and a further *H* years to build. I am certain that the hospital will be essential by 1974, so I urge that the planning and the construction be pressed on with because of the need for the hospital. I support the motion. . {: #subdebate-36-0-s2 .speaker-K5O} ##### Mr CORBETT:
Maranoa -- (1 1.16)- 1 shall be brief, as I hope any subsequent speaker will be brief. At times in the Northern Territory we hear criticism of the operation of what local residents call the central government. The 3 projects which we are asked to approve tonight, in addition to a number of other projects for the Northern territory, indicate the interest of the Commonwealth Government in the promotion and welfare of that area. I pay a tribute to my colleagues of the Public Works Committee. Unless the Committee believes that projects are justified such projects are not recommended. It is good for Australia that projects of the kind we are considering can be approved and brought to fruition in time to meet the needs of the communities involved. The development of the Northern Territory is of great importance and it is good to note that work is being done on the basis of need. Approval for work is sought only after a careful investigation of projects. Finally I pay a tribute to my colleague, the honourable member for the Northern Territory **(Mr** Calder). for his interest in this work. It must be of great satisfaction to him to see the progress and development that is taking place in the area he represents in this Parliament. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 2479 {:#debate-37} ### SOFTWOOD FORESTRY AGREEMENTS BILL 1972 {: #debate-37-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I have received a message from the Senate returning the Softwood Forestry Agreements Bill and acquainting the House that the Senate does not insist on the amendment disagreed to by the House of Representatives and has agreed to the amendment made by the House in place thereof. {: .page-start } page 2479 {:#debate-38} ### BILLS RETURNED FROM THE SENATE The following Bills were returned from the Senate: Without amendment - States Grants Bill (No. 2) 1972 Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Bill 1972 Without request - Australian Capital Territory Tax (Sales of Marketable Securities) Bill 1972 Australian Capital Territory Tax (Purchases of Marketable Securities) Bill 1972 Australian Capital Territory Stamp Duty Bill (No. 2) 1972. {: .page-start } page 2479 {:#debate-39} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-39-0} #### Newspaper Articles - Repatriation - Telephone Accounts - Sales Tax - Plague Locusts - Artificial Milk - Gross National Product: Statistics Motion (by **Mr Chipp)** proposed: >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-39-0-s0 .speaker-BV8} ##### Mr CALWELL:
Melbourne -- Before I leave this Parliament I wish to refer to 2 bitter attacks that were made on the former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins **(Mr Gorton)** and myself back in 1969 when he was still Prime Minister and' I had ceased 3 years earlier to be Leader of the Opposition. By a remarkable piece of telepathy, or because both articles were based on something that was supplied by a third party with an axe to grind, both articles appeared on the same day, 13th December 1969. One article which appeared in 'Nation' - now happily extinct - published in Sydney was headed The Leader of the Push'. It was based on the contents of a book entitled 'A Time to Speak' by Edward St John, a former member of this House. I do not blame him in any way for the article. The author of the article about which I complain called himself S. Encel. For some reason best known to himself Encel decided to pour the phials of his wrath on the head of the right honourable member for Higgins and for some reason I also was included in his list of abominations. The article was vindictive and bitter and full of lying rubbish. Encel wrote: >Since **Mr Holt's** death and MrCalwell's retirement there has been a striking reversal of roles.It is the prima donna whois leading the Labor Party and the larrikin who is leading the Liberal Party, whereas under **Sir Robert** Menzies the reverse was true. I have never done anything to harm this contemptible creature who vilified me. Encel, who is a professor in the University of New South Wales, is a dishonoured and unrespected academic. It is he who had the audacity to call me a larrikin. I throw his insults back into his teeth. It is he, not I, who is a larrikin. For him to call me a larrikin shows that he is not only a larrikin, but also a liar and a lout. He continued in his article that the 1969 election campaign represents an important shift in the structure of political allegiance. The voting results demonstrated that it is now possible for the Labor Party to attract a sizable proportion of the votes of the middle classes'. Because I am a socialist who believes that the strength upon which the Labor Party is built lies with the trade union movement and not with middle class voters, Encel had the temerity to describe me as an incompetent larrikin. I have only one other comment to make about Encel, and that is that he has been hanging round the Labor Party for many years, smelling like a piece of rotten meat, in the hope that with a change of government he might be made head of a government department or given an ambassadorial post. Furthermore, I resent any character like Encel calling the Prime Minister of Australia, whoever he is, a larrikin, just as 1 protested against the action of another contemptible creature called Alan Ramsey who writes for a paper called the 'Australian', shouting from the Press Gallery not 2 years ago at the same Prime Minister and calling him a liar. The other person who wrote in the Melbourne 'Sun-Pictorial' on the same day is named Laurie Oakes. What he wrote is a disgrace not only to him but also to the Melbourne 'Sun-Pictorial' management which allowed his vicious libel against me and against the right honourable member for Higgins to appear. This is what Oakes wrote: >At the beginning of the sixties the Liberals were led by **Sir Robert** Menzies, a lawyer with a silvertongued, silver-tailed image. Labor's standardbearer, **Mr Arthur** Calwell, was in the 'Larrikin Australian' tradition. Now, in **Mr Whitlam,** the Labor Party has a leader who bears a remarkable likeness to **Sir Robert. Mr Gorton,** the Liberal Prime Minister, who will lead Australia into the seventies, is being increasingly compared to **Mr Calwell.** From information received, as the policeman says in the witness box, the discredited **Mr Oakes** hopes to be blanketed into a very important position in the Public Service if the Labor Party wins this election. I hope that he will not achieve his ambition if the Labor Party wins the coming, election. Every member of the Labor Party hopes that the Labor Party will win the coming election. I regard **Mr Oakes** as being nothing better than a mental prostitute. {: #subdebate-39-0-s1 .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES:
Corio -- I wish to raise 2 cases, each of which concerns constituents in my electorate. The first case, which involves the Repatriation Department, concerns a constituent who recently had his rate of pension reduced from the intermediate rate to the 100 per cent rate. I raise this matter because it seems to me to be a clear case in which tribunals have reacted not to the facts but to criticism which they have undergone recently. Having looked at this case, I think there is clear evidence for some members of this assessment tribunal to be psychiatrically examined for senility. This gentleman was first assessed at the intermediate rate in April 1969 and the assessment was backdated to September 1968. Since that assessment he has been subjected to reassessment on 3 occasions. It appears that every effort was made to change the level of his assess ment to a lower rate and that eventually a board was found which would lower his rate, and he was reduced this year to the 100 per cent pension rate which, on my understanding of it, indicates that the assessment tribunal feels that his war-caused disabilities are now less than they were 3 years ago. I come to the point of- the -argument. This man has been subjected to reassessment on 3 occasions in 3 years. He is now, at 70 years of age, considered to be in a better condition medically to go out and earn a living than he was at 67 years of age when he was assessed at the intermediate rate. I do not think it is necessary to say any more about this case, but I think that somebody along the line ought to have a serious look at why this man has been subjected to reassessment 3 times in 3 years at this great age. Surely no person in his right mind would suggest that a man at 70 years of age is better able to go out and earn his living than he was at 67 years of age. I leave that case because I think the facts are fairly clear and speak for themselves. I . hope that the Minister for Repatriation **(Mr Holten),** who provided me with the reply on this matter - and I realise that he does not have the power to reverse decisions of tribunals - will find out why this man was reassessed 3 times in 3 years at this age. It is the fact that this occurred at his age that I am complaining about. At 67 years of age he was placed on the intermediate rate, and at 70 years of age suddenly he is considered capable of going out and finding himself a job to provide himself with an income, which does not seem to me to be right. The other case concerns- the PostmasterGeneral's Department and telephone charges. Recently there has been considerable discussion about incorrect charging in and out of the Newcastle area, and I believe that this is a case in which a man has been overcharged. This again is a matter which has been investigated. The Department has said that it has checked its equipment and found that there is no way in which it could have been wrong. In a 5-week period this gentleman's meter showed 2,800 metered calls for which he was charged. It is true that his daughterinlaw, who was then his son's fiancee, was attending Newcastle University and that a number of calls were made to Newcastle. However, I suggest - and I have discussed this with both the gentleman concerned and his son - that on any basis 2,800 metered calls - at the rate of one metered call every 4 seconds, I think that is the rate - means that this gentleman or his son would have had to talk on the telephone for about half an hour nearly every night during that period to run up such a bill. Prom the information I have been able to obtain and as a result of the discussions I have had with the gentleman concerned and his son, who used the telephone on most of the occasions involved, I do not believe that the account is correct. I believe that in this case, by some means, an error has been made. The subscriber is being asked to pay the price because the Department like all government departments - this has nothing to do with the Minister - cannot make a mistake. There is now sufficient evidence from a variety of sources to show that the readings of metered calls are not always accurate and that it is possible for meters to be activiated by means other than by a caller dialling a number. {: .speaker-KDA} ##### Mr Duthie: -- That story can be repeated right around Australia. {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -- I know of at least one case where a woman received a very substantial telephone bill which the Department eventually admitted was incorrect, when she was not in occupancy of the house. In the first instance the meters were checked and found to be correct. In the case to which I have been referring the man's accounts for metered calls over a period were $11.26, $6.25, $12.56, $12.88, $49.20 which was a period when the girl was in Newcastle and the son was ringing up, as in the next period when the bill was $168.34. The subsequent bill dropped to $15.25. The client is not a person who does not know something about the charging of accounts. He works for the Geelong Gas Company where he has the same problem every day of dealing with customer complaints about the levels of their accounts and about incorrect meter readings. He is experienced in this field. I know him very well personally and I know his son personally. I believe they are honest about this, that the charges which have been levelled against them are far above the level of the calls that have been made. When a person who works for wages receives a phone bill of $168 it sets him back on his heels a bit. There is no way in the world that the customer can be protected against this type of thing. If the Department is in error there is no way in which the customer can obtain redress. {: .speaker-K5L} ##### Mr Cope: -- Is he on STD? {: .speaker-5J4} ##### Mr SCHOLES: -- Yes. For a period or that time his phone was out of order and he could not make outward calls. He has been told that he must pay the account or his phone will be disconnected. I think there is very great need of some means by which an appeal against a departmental decision can be made by a subscriber, especially where a charge is made and there is no way of recording actual calls except by a mechanical device which can go wrong, {: #subdebate-39-0-s2 .speaker-KB8} ##### Mr GILES:
Angas -- Tonight I want to refer to a matter that is of importance to grape growers in my electorate. It concerns the problem of applying for sales tax exemption on the purchase of hydraulic hoists. My inquiries have elicited the information that this type of hoist is not necessarily primarily used for the carting of grapes although it would be said to be used to a high degree by primary industries. I wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation in South Australia referring him to paragraph 13 (1) of the First Schedule to the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act which states: >Goods must be of a kind used extensively or primarily and principally in the industry. I pointed out that it was fair to say that these hoists would be used extensively, if not primarily or principally, in the wine industry and would be used more if this exemption were granted, as most wineries were rapidly changing over to bulk handling of grapes. In most cases the most efficient method of depositing grapes is by tip truck. The hoist I have mentioned is an important ingredient of that particular conveyance. Although it is possible to concede a good deal of merit in that aspect of the matter, it is section 112 of the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act, which deals with exemptions and classifications relating to the bulk carting of grain, that really demonstrates the anomaly of the position. Section 112 states in general language that a great deal of the portions of a truck are exempt for the purpose of bulk carting, excepting the cabin and, of course, bulk machinery that goes with the actual cartage of grain. The anomaly which seems to me to exist is that far less bulk machinery is required to cart grapes in that more modern fashion; the hydraulic hoist in all fairness should be exempt. I suggested therefore, as I wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, that it would be a commonsense decision, 'if you exercise what discretion is allowed to you under the Act, to include this type of hoist as a sales tax exemption under the Act*. The next move that I wish to report in relation to this matter is to be found at page 3540 of Hansard of 24th November 1971 which records that, on that day, I presented a petition from many grape growers of that area on the lines that I have just mentioned. Subsequently, I wrote to the Treasurer **(Mr Snedden)** asking him to review the written portion of the petition to which I will not refer at present. I will get at the wording of the petition in an indirect way by reading from a letter I received from the Treasurer dated 28th February 1972. The Treasurer stated: >I refer to your representations of 3 1st December 1971 concerning what was thought to be an anomaly in the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act which exempts cereal growers from sales tax on the purchase of machinery and plant for use in the bulk handling of grain, but does not extend the same concession to vignerons who use machinery in a similar role with respect to grapes. . . . > >The Commissioner of Taxation, whom I consulted on this matter, informs me that under provisions in the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Act, exemption applies to a wide range of goods used in agricultural industry including the grape growing industry. However, there is no provision that would apply to items such as telescopic or underbody hoists, truck bodies and such like for use in the transport of grapes in bulk. Sales tax exemption item 112 exempts machinery and plant for the bulk handling of grain. When originally introduced in 1933, the exemption was limited to machinery and plant for the bulk handling of wheat. It provided an incentive to wheat growers to change over to the cheaper and more efficient bulk handling methods. It is unlikely that there would, at that time, have been any other primary products handled in bulk. > >In later years bulk handling methods spread to commodities such as barley, rice and maize and, in 1954, item 112 was amended to its present form to provide exemption for machinery and plant for the bulk handling of grain as an overall category. The main classes of goods that would have been exempted for grain growers are underbody hoists and special grain bodies for trucks where the hoists and bodies are to be used primarily for bulk grain transport. > >A further amendment of the sales tax law would be required to exempt equipment for the use in the bulk handling of grapes. . . . That really is the end of the case which I wish to make out for my grape growers. Facilities exist for the granting of exemptions for plant primarily or principally used for those purposes under the section that I have just mentioned in the Sales Tax (Exemption and Classifications) Act. No such exemptions apply to or has any encouragement been given to the movement to the bulk handling of grapes to improve the efficiency of that industry. I have made the point through reading that reply from the Treasurer that back in 1933 these provisions were introduced for the types of grains I have mentioned to encourage this trend. I find that this is an anomaly that reacts against my constituents. 1 ask that the next time the Government reviews the Sales Tax (Exemption and Classifications) Act, in any shape or form, proper provision be made for the equating of the position as it applies to vignerons, as with other branches of primary industry. {: #subdebate-39-0-s3 .speaker-8V4} ##### Mr GRASSBY:
Riverina -- 1 rise tonight to deal with 2 matters, namely, the disaster threat of plague locusts straddling the New South Wales and Victorian border and a system of cheating with imitation milk. Before I deal with those 2 matters I should like to say that I am happy to support the reasoned case put forward by the honourable member for Angas **(Mr Giles).** I think that the case he made out for equal treatment for the wine grape industry is most reasonable. I commend him for putting it forward. I am very pleased to support it and I hope the Government will heed the representations of grape growers in this instance. In relation to the plague locusts problem, I want to say that it compounds the problems of the countryside at the present time, which are made worse by the spreading drought. Now there is an imminent disaster threatening from plague locusts. I ask the Minister for Supply **(Mr Garland)** who is at the table to convey to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Sinclair)** my request to take immediate action to confer with the Ministers for Agriculture in New South Wales and Victoria to ensure that everything possible be done to avert the disaster. The plague locusts have been hatching for 3 or 4 weeks and are now banding together in an army of great potential destruction which will strike on both sides of the Murray River. The outbreak extends over 3,000 square miles of the Hay and Deniliquin Pasture Protection Board districts in New South Wales. The worst affected areas in the Hay district are west of Hay on either side of the Mumimbidgee River. I have had deputations from Mathoura, Boorooban, Hay, Carrathool and Gunbar and warnings have been received from Merriwagga and Hillston. As the drought deepens every area of green pick in this great area is either a target now or a potential target for the plague locusts. Hay, which is an oasis in the west, with its market gardens and irrigation for pastures, is perhaps the most seriously threatened. Under the old laws of the State the menace is the responsibility of landowners, but the big properties of the west have no labour. The rural recession has emptied the properties of people. So there is a need for supportive action by the community. I ask the Minister for Primary Industry to take action to ensure that the disaster which threatens is averted. Crops valued at millions of dollars are in danger. It would be an intolerably cruel blow if producers who have survived recession, survived the last locust outbreak and are battling the drought were left to their own resources in the face of this menace which threatens in 2 States. I now move to a development which seems undesirable from a consumer point of view and harmful to those who produce milk. Increasingly across Australia when one orders a cup of white tea or coffee one finds that the milk is not milk at all but an artificial substitute. There is no argument about the right of the consumer to use imitations or to order imitations. But there is an argument against the consumer ordering tea with milk or coffee with milk and finding an imitation substituted for milk without his agreement. The whole development is epitomised by the use of a coffee top which is made available in my hotel room in Canberra, for example, and thousands of hotels and cafes throughout Australia. The description of the 'coffee top' is that of a 'non-dairy coffee and tea whitener'. There is no description on the packet of what makes up this imitation milk. On the Country Maid' packet there is a description of what the imitation milk is made from. It is a pretty ersatz mixture comprising 'artificial colour, sodium silico aluminate, dipotassium phosphate emulsifer, sodium caseinate, vegetable fat and corn syrup solids'. Instead of milk one is given the ingredients of a school chemistry set. 1 challenge you, **Mr Speaker,** to ask very easily for coffee with the formula *I have just read. I will not repeat it. At least on these packages it is indicated that the product is an imitation, and in one particular case the actual chemicals are named. But my concern is for the thousands of 1 lb and 2 lb tins - this is an example - which go to hotels, motels, restaurants and cafes, and the imitation product is used without a word being said, without restriction and without the customer being given a choice. I submit that it is unfair and improper for any customer who orders tea with milk or coffee with milk to be given instead tea or coffee with a chemical compound in substitute, without being given the choice or told what he is getting. So again I ask the Minister for Supply **(Mr Garland),** who is sitting at the table tonight, to convey to the Minister for Primary Industry **(Mr Sinclair)** a request that he confer with his State colleagues with a view to ordering an all-State survey to ensure protection for the consumer and for the industry whose name is being taken in vain. {: #subdebate-39-0-s4 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I am sorry to have to rise to speak on the motion for the adjournment; it must be many years since I have done this. I rise because something very shady is going on inside the Department of Labour and National Service and I think that it is spilling over into the Department of the Treasury. I say it is shady because information is being withheld from the people of Australia and from the Parliament. **Mr John** Tilling, who works for the Department of Labour and National Service has written a thesis for his degree of Master of Economics on the question of the distribution of the gross national product as between wages and profits. I know that the thesis has been seen by senior officers of the Department of Labour and National Service. I am informed, and verily believe, that it has been seen by the Department of the Treasury. In spite of this, the Department of the Treasury continues to give information which suggests that the share of the gross national product which goes to wages is increasing, whereas this thesis, which contains reasoning that cannot be contradicted, shows that it has been falling. I myself asked the Department of the Treasury for information about these figures and I was told that the share going to labour has risen. The honourable member for Wentworth **(Mr Bury)** incorporated in Hansard a document prepared apparently by the Treasury to show the same sort of thing, when at the same time the Treasury had in its possession incontrovertible argument showing that the reverse was true. Worse than that, to compound the felony, when I caused inquiries to be made from the Department of Labour and National Service and from **Mr John** Tilling direct in order to have a copy of the thesis made available to me, he said that he was prepared to do it, but later he rang back to say that he had been directed by a senior officer or by his immediate senior officer in the Department of Labour and National Service not to make it available - to withhold it from the Parliament and from the elected representatives of the people. We are entitled to know what is in that thesis, just as we are entitled to know what is in the report of the inter-departmental committee on the question of child care centres. This Parliament has no right to be called upon to debate a Bill for an Act to deal with child care centres and at the same time have withheld from it vital, crucial information prepared by a special committee which would tell us whether the Minister for Labour and National Service **(Mr Lynch)** has introduced a Bill that coincides with the facts and whether the Bill introduced by the Minister is a Bill that should have been introduced, having regard to the findings of the inter-departmental committee. **Mr Tilling** discusses both the conceptual and practical problems encountered when attempting to measure relative shares, with special reference to the Australian national accounts. From this basis, **Mr Tilling** works through a wide range of possible methods. Despite the different methods of analysis that he has adopted in the study, the results produced are generally consistent and statistically significant. Rather than stick to one base year, **Mr Tilling** has analysed the data using an unweighted series of data on wages and salaries and national product, a weighted series with 1948-49 as the base year, and a weighted series with 1958-59 as the base year. The choice of different bases to the statistical series does not affect the nature of the results of the study. An inherent problem encountered when investigating the long-run distribution of relative shares in a market economy is the changing structure of the economy in the long term. To overcome this problem of aggregation, **Mr Tilling** adopts a technique developed by Phelps-Brown, the effect of which compensates for the changing structure of the economy. In total **Mr Tilling** adopts 6 different approaches to the data: Adjusted unweighted, adjusted weighted for 1948-49, adjusted weighted for 1958-59, unadjusted unweighted, adjusted weighted for 1948-49 and unadjusted weighted for 1958-59. As to the use of national accounts, it can be said that there is considerable difference of opinion as to how national accounting data should be used in a study of this kind. Again **Mr Tilling** covers the field by adopting 4 different uses of national accounts. The first is gross national product, all industries and sectors. The second is gross national product at factor cost, less agriculture, mining and quarrying. The third is gross national product less the second and less goods and services produced by government authorities - as distinct from public enterprises such as government railways^ - and ownership of private dwellings. The fourth use is national product less the second and third and, in addition, electricity generation, public utilities generally, and the transport sector as a whole, both government and private. As outlined previously, there are 6 different statistical bases used for the study varying according to the base year used and the adjustment of the series for changing structural composition of the Australian economy. Within these series, the economy on which the calculations are based is presented in various stages of disaggregation, from the total economy - the interdependence approach - to the economic base which represents 63 per cent of the employed work force. Thus there are 24 least square regression equations which indicate the trend in labour's share in post-war Australia. In 21 out of 24 regression equations, **Mr Tilling** found that the share of national product going to labour had declined in the 20 years from 1948-49 to 1969-70. These findings are statistically significant at the 95 per cent level. That is, the investigator can be 95 per cent sure that the equation he has calculated is a true indication of the movement in the series and is not the product of chance. The 3 cases that indicated a' positive trend in the wage share were equations using an interdependent base as outlined previously, that is gross national product, all industry and sectors. It was this type of model that the Commonwealth used in the 1971-72 national wage case to argue that the distribution of income going to wages and salaries has increased between 1955-56 and 1970-71. The justification for the choice of a starting point in the 1954-55 or the 1955-56 period at the moment cannot be established. Anybody who understands the statistical approach to problems of this kind would find it very difficult to establish. I know what the Treasury does. It argues that profit rates before this time were abnormally low due to the effects of the Second World War and to other factors that are quite irrelevant and miss the point completely. The implications of this choice of starting point where profit levels are higher than the previous decade is that profit levels will be more likely to decline from that high point than if a lower starting point was taken. The case seems well established in my opinion that the proportion of labour's share of the national product in the postwar period has declined. The research work adopted a wide range of alternative approaches to the measurement of the distribution of income, and in the great majority of cases, 21 out of 24 found a statistically significant downward trend. By contrast the case for an increasing wage share, using a later starting point lacks empirical justification and is theoretically weak. **Sir, we** in this Parliament are being deceived by public servants acting under the instructions of Ministers who are deliberately withholding from the Parliament vital information that has a distinct and crucial bearing on the decisions that we make here. Tonight I have read a document which as everybody will recognise is not a document that I could have compiled. It represents the thinking of a person who has written a thesis for the degree of master of economics. {: #subdebate-39-0-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -Order! The honourable member's time has expired. {: #subdebate-39-0-s6 .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr BURY:
Wentworth -- The reference made by the honourable member for Hindmarsh **(Mr Clyde Cameron)** was to figures which I subsequently incorporated in Hansard. In fact they were figures prepared for me on 30th November last by the Commonwealth Parliamentary. Library Legislative Research Service. They were prepared from statistics published, in the Quarterly Estimates of National Income and Expenditure for the June quarter of 1971', and in 'Australian National Accounts National Income and Expenditure 1969-70*. They came from figures which were published in the first place by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics. Presumably, as with the other publications, they were not produced for any particular purpose. They were produced as honestly as could possibly be done and for the purpose for which they were produced. The figures were taken from those publications. What the figures show, in contrast to what was quoted by the honourable member for Hindmarsh, is that the percentage of gross national product factor cost which went to wages, salaries and supplements in 1949-50 - which roughly was the first year to which the honourable member referred, or the year after - was 51 per cent. Over the years it has varied slightly. For some years it has gone steadily upwards. Of course, one always can take out a particular year in order to throw out the proper impression. The 51 per cent in 1949-50 dropped immediately afterwards to 47 per cent. That was the last time it was below that figure. It climbed from 47 per cent to 55 per cent in 1953-54. The percentage slowly changed until in 1958-59 it was 55.8 per cent. By 1963-64 it had gone down slightly to 54.9 per cent. It started to climb again at that point and has gone up ever since. In 1970-71 the percentage had risen to 60.8 per cent. As far as one can judge the document the honourable member referred to was not prepared for anything except quite objective, academic, professional and high class standards, the standards used by people who are extremely experienced in compiling statistics. The honourable member for Hindmarsh quoted the work of some academic. I presume that he had permission to quote it. The standard adopted normally by academics in Australia for academic research practice is that the information is to be provided to the researcher on the condition that it will not be made public in any way without the permission of those giving the information. I presume that the honourable member for Hindmarsh has the permission of the author of this paper to quote the research he carried out. But, of course, if you start quoting various things from various authorities it depends on how authoritative and thorough they are, and good their work is. Personally I have very high regard for the statistical and other officers whom we have in our research staff in the Library and believe they would be perfectly honest and objective in the work they produced. I originally wanted these figures for some other purpose. The initial work was done by the Commonwealth Statistician and if we cannot depend on the honesty and integrity of the Commonwealth Statistician our whole body of statistics in Australia would be unreliable. Of course that is not their reputation. We enjoy a very high world reputation for our official statistical services. I would like to make clear where I got this table because the honourable member for Hindmarsh hinted that it probably had been made up or given to me by some public servant who had a particular case to prove. As a matter of fact, public servants played no part in it whatever; nor did any Minister. It is purely the work of the objective research service that we have at our disposal. Referring more widely to the points he introduced, I personally disagree with the decision made some while ago by the Commonwealth Statistician to operate Independently and to start putting out seasonal estimates of employment. Whilst I was Minister for Labour and National Service, and as far as I could influence the situation, 1 said that these should not be put out because the one thing that can be relied on is the actual figures which are collected, compiled, processed and put out giving the number of people who are actually unemployed. When you start playing with seasonal adjustments you have to remember what they mean. The people who use these properly and know the limitations can gain something from these adjustments, but these so-called seasonal adjustments are only adjustments based on past experience by statisticians. They can be extremely misleading because history shows that every year is different from the rest and employment is affected by different factors. I believe that when you look at unemployment figures the only ones that you can look at reliably are the number of actual unemployed and not the seasonally adjusted number which statisticians arrive at with a greater or lesser degree of inaccuracy. {:#subdebate-39-1} #### Thursday, 12 October **Mr CLYDE** CAMERON (Hindmarsh)Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation. {: #subdebate-39-1-s0 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented? {: #subdebate-39-1-s1 .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- Yes, I have been misrepresented. I did not say, and I am sorry if the honourable member for Wentworth **(Mr Bury)** thought that I implied, that he put to this Parliament falsified figures. He is not a Profumo. He does not look like one and I am sure he is not one. Nor did I say that the Statistician was a crook, or anythink like it. What I said was something like what the honourable member said just before he resumed his seat, when he alleged that the Statistician who drew up the seasonally adjusted figures produced a misleading result. Statisticions do produce misleading results. The misleading results arise from whatever the chosen norm might be, and if you get a misleading norm you must get misleading results whatever the end figure might be. Another point I must clear up at once is the suggestion by the honourable member that I may have quoted these figures without the permission of the academic. {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- I never said that. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- You should have because I did it without his permission. {: .speaker-JTP} ##### Mr Bury: -- I said I assumed that you had not. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- That is right. I want to make it clear that I did not have his permission to do it. He does not know that I have the figures. He does not even know me from a bar of soap. I have never seen him, never spoken to him and never written to him. In case it may be felt that he has committed some indiscretion or some act of impropriety, as a statistician, or has broken some code which the honourable member seems to be able to lay his hands on, let me say in fairness to him that he knows absolutely nothing about this. That ought to be put clearly on the record. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Order! The honourable member cannot debate this question. I think the Chair has been lenient so far. I suggest that as the honourable member is speaking on a personal explanation he should not debate the question. {: .speaker-2V4} ##### Mr Clyde Cameron:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP -- I think the Chair has been pretty lenient. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 12.6 a.m. (Thursday) {: .page-start } page 2488 {:#debate-40} ### ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS UPON NOTICE The following answers to questions upon notice were circulated: Timor Sea (Question No. (052) {: #debate-40-s0 .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr N H Bowen:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- There have been no negotiations with Portugal concerning the seabed and continental shelf in the Timor Sea. Australian Army: Civilian Staff Content (Question No. 6107) {:#subdebate-40-0} #### Gross National Product (Question No. 6134) {: #subdebate-40-0-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What (a) amount and (b) percentage of Australia's Gross National Product at factor cost is known to be expended on payment of interest to (!) banks of issue in Australia, (ii) lending institutions financed or controlled by those banks, (iii) insurance companies and (iv) manufacturers, wholesalers and pastoral companies. 1. What percentage of the amount referred to in part (1) is known to be (a) included in the Gross National Product at factor cost and (b) paid directly by (i) local government authorities, (ii) State Governments, (iii) the Commonwealth Government and (iv) semi-governmental authorities. {: #subdebate-40-0-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) Some information on interest receipts and payments is published in Australian National Accounts National Income and Expenditure 1970-71. The detailed information on amounts requested by the honourable member is not available. It should be noted that in the Australian National Accounts, in accordance with standard international practice, interest payments are treated as income transfers, not as factor incomes. It follows that the percentage of interest payments in gross national product at factor cost would not be analytically meaningful. {:#subdebate-40-1} #### Inventions: Taxation Concessions (Question No. 6135) {: #subdebate-40-1-s0 .speaker-KDP} ##### Dr Everingham: asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What taxation concessions or other incentives does the Government provide for development of Australian inventions in Australia. 1. Will the Government allow costs of development of an invention to be offset against lump sum payments for the invention in the year of receipt of these payments. {: #subdebate-40-1-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. The main direct Commonwealth incentive for the systematic development of inventions in Australia is provided by the provisions of the Industrial Research and Development Grants legislation. The original Act was introduced in 1967 and a new Act embodying a revised scheme of assistance became law last month. Under this scheme, manufacturing and mining companies which increase their research and development expenditure in a particular year above the level of such expenditure in a base period may become eligible for grants at the rate of SO per cent of the first $50,000 of eligible expenditure in 1972-73 and at rates generally below that level in respect of eligible expenditure in excess of $50,000. Net expenditure on plant and equipment for research and development purposes in a particular year will become eligible for grants without reference to similar expenditure in a base period under the new scheme. In 1972-73 it is estimated that some $14m will be paid in grants for industrial research and development activity. Assistance is also provided to the Inventors Association of Australia. The major aim of the Association is to offer assistance to its members in the development of their inventions. In 1972-73 a matching dollar-for-dollar grant of up to $12,000 will be provided by the Commonwealth to help the Association in its work. Under special provisions of the income tax law, inventors may apply to have their tax for a particular year calculated at a concessional rate to lessen any disadvantage arising from the receipt of abnormally high income in that year because of the inclusion of amounts received for the assignment of patents or from patent royalties. The income tax law also provides for the deduction of expenditure of a capital nature incurred on the development of a patented invention used for the purpose of producing assessable income. The general effect is that a taxpayer devising an invention is entitled to write off the development costs over the effective life of the patent commencing with the year of income in which he first uses it for the purpose of producing assessable income. A minimum annual deduction of $100, however, is provided for these recoupment purposes which means that in the case of relatively small development costs the full amount of those costs may be deductible in the one year, or, alternatively over an accelerated period less than the effective life of the invention. Expenditure incurred by a taxpayer in obtaining the grant or renewal of a patented invention for the purpose of producing assessable income is deductible in the income year in which it is incurred. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Income tax deductions for costs of development of a patented invention are generally allowable over the effective life of the patent where the invention is used for the purpose of producing assessable income. Where a lump sum payment for an invention forms part of the assessable income of a taxpayer for a particular year, deductions would be allowable against that income for the development costs incurred. Where an invention is not used for the production of assessable income, or where any payment received on sale or assignment of an invention is not included in assessable income, no deduction is available for the development costs. {:#subdebate-40-2} #### The Philippines: Disaster Relief (Question No. 6244) {: #subdebate-40-2-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice: >Can he say what is the (a) nature and (b) amount of assistance which other governments have given to the Philippines following the disastrous floods (Hansard, Srd September 1970, page 1030; 23rd April 1971, page 2034 and 15th September 1971, page 1393). {: #subdebate-40-2-s1 .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr N H Bowen:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >The Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator has informed us that, since the appeal for victims of the floods in Greater Manila and Central Luzon was issued on 22nd July, the following pledges have been announced by governments and organisations other than Australia as of 29th August 1972: According to information brought to the notice of the Disaster Relief Co-ordinator but unconfirmed by, the government concerned: The Disaster Relief Co-ordinator has pointed out that these figures are based on information made available directly to him by the donating source, or brought to his attention indirectly. The Philippines' flood is the first major disaster since the establishment of the office of the Disaster Relief Co-ordinator and there may have been some donations which were not reported to him. The figures above are therefore to be considered as indicative rather than definitive. {:#subdebate-40-3} #### Loan Funds: Allocations to Transport Systems (Question No. 6249) {: #subdebate-40-3-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Treasurer, upon notice; {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What amount and percentage of its loan funds did each State allocate to its tram, bus and ferry systems in each of the last 10 years. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. (a) Expenditure from State government loan funds by authorities administering omnibus, tram and ferry services on the acquisition of units is not Identified in published information. The following table shows, for New South Wales and Western Australia only, amounts of expenditure on acquisition of new units and the percentages these amounts represent of total capital expenditures by these authorities in each of the past 10 years. Source: Annual reports of State Auditors-General. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. (b) The available information indicates that loan funds are not allocated to expenditure on the maintenance of omnibus, tram or ferry units. 1. What amount and percentage of its loan funds did each State tram, bus and ferry system allocate for the (a) acquisition and (b) maintenance of units in its fleet in each of the last 10 years. {: #subdebate-40-3-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Because the Loan Funds of the various State governments, as shown in their Auditor-General's Reports, are not fully comparable, the definition of State loan funds adopted here is the total of the works and housing programme, loan repayments by State authorities and departments, and the loan balance carried forward from the preceding year. The amount and percentage of State government loan funds (as thus defined) allocated to State authorities administering omnibus, tram and ferry services in each of the past 10 years are shown in the table below. No such allocations have been made in Victoria and Queensland. {:#subdebate-40-4} #### Taxation (Question No. 6322) {: #subdebate-40-4-s0 .speaker-6V4} ##### Mr Daly:
GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Treasurer, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What was the total tax per head of population in 1949-50 and 1971-72. 1. How much of this amount was (a) direct and (b) indirect taxation. {: #subdebate-40-4-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: >In reply to parts (1) and (2) of the honourable member's question, the Commonwealth Statistician has provided the following table which shows details of direct and indirect and total taxation per head of mean population collected by all public authorities for the years 1949-50 and 1971-72. {:#subdebate-40-5} #### Stockbroking Finn: Bond Washing Allegation (Question No. 6338) {: #subdebate-40-5-s0 .speaker-1V4} ##### Dr J F Cairns:
LALOR, VICTORIA · ALP ns asked the Treasurer, upon notice. {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it in accord with a proper discharge of his responsibilities that he should give no information on the matter of (a) whether a well-known firm of Sydney stockbrokers made some $2.5m from what is known as bond washing, (b) whether a decision was made to apply tax to some or all of this sum, and (c) whether a decision was later made not to apply tax, but merely indicate that the matter was one for the Commissioner of Taxation, acting as an independent officer. 1. Did the events in part (1) occur; if so, who made the decisions regarding the taxation the firm would pay, and what were the reasons for the decisions one way or the other. 2. Have there been similar cases to this one; if so, what are the details. {: #subdebate-40-5-s1 .speaker-DQF} ##### Mr Snedden:
LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. It is nol open to the Treasurer to give information about events said to have occurred in an area outside his jurisdiction and as to which he has no persona) knowledge. As the honourable member would presumably know, the responsibility for the administration of the income tax laws rests with the Commissioner of Taxation, an independent statutory officer who is not subject to ministerial control or direction in the exercise of his statutory functions. This has been the position since the first Commonwealth income tax law was enacted in 1915. The Treasurer does not have access to the Commissioner's files and records. The Parliament has seen fit to provide expressly, in section 16 (5a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act, thai the statutory prohibition of disclosure of confidential information by the Commissioner of Taxation extends so as to prohibit any such disclosure to a minister. 1. I have no personal knowledge which would lead me to believe that a well-known firm of stockbrokers made a profit of $2. 5m from operations described as bond washing or that the other events described in the Honourable Member's question look place. I have not asked the Commissioner of Taxation for any information on the matters raised in the question, nor have I been given any such Information. The Commissioner has, however, assured me that the decisions relating to the income tax liabilities of the taxpayers referred to would have been made in his office by an independent interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the income tax law. Needless to say, I have not sought to influence the Commissioner, in any manner whatsoever, in relation to the income tax affairs of any firm of stockbrokers. 2. See answers to (1) and (2). {:#subdebate-40-6} #### China: Nuclear Tests (Question No. 6406) {: #subdebate-40-6-s0 .speaker-KEI} ##### Mr Keogh:
BOWMAN, QUEENSLAND asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. ls information available to the Government that either confirms or denies the reported intention of the Government of China to explode nuclear devices in the Pacific or Indian Ocean at an early date? 1. Should an announcement be made by the Government of China that it intends to explode one or more nuclear devices, will the Government on behalf of the Australian people immediately lodge with China and the United Nations the strongest possible protest against such a decision? {: #subdebate-40-6-s1 .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr N H Bowen:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. 1. In the House of Representatives on 16th August (Hansard, pages 213 and 214), I clearly expressed the opposition of the *Australian* Government in regard to nuclear weapons testing by China. {:#subdebate-40-7} #### Oil Pollution Damage: Compensation Fund (Question No. 6398) {: #subdebate-40-7-s0 .speaker-AV4} ##### Mr Hurford: asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was a Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage drawn up at a conference held in Brussels from 29th November to 18th December 1971. 1. If so, was the Convention opened for signature on 18th December 1971. 2. Is the Convention not yet in force. 3. Has Australia signed the Convention; if not, why not. 4. If the position is as stated, what are the reasons for the Convention not yet being in force. {: #subdebate-40-7-s1 .speaker-JRN} ##### Mr N H Bowen:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. and (2) Yes. 1. The Convention is not yet in force. 2. No. The question of Australia becoming a party to the Convention is under consideration by the Departments concerned. 3. The Convention is not yet in force because the requirements of Article 40 have not yet been met. That article reads in part as follows: 4. 1. This Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day *following the date* on which the following requirements are fulfilled: {: type="a" start="a"} 0. at least 8 States have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Secretary-General of the Organisation, and 1. the Secretary-General of the Organisation has received information in accordance with Article 39 that those persons in such States who would be liable to contribute pursuant to Article 10 have received during the preceding calendar year a total quantity of at least 7S0 million tons of contributing oil. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. This Convention shall, however, not enter into force before the Liability Convention has entered into force.' Australian National Line: Freight Increases on Overseas Routes (Question No. 6076) **Mr Whitiam** asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: On what dates and to what rates have freights been increased since his answer on 30th September 1971 (Hansard, page 1824) on the overseas routes served by the Australian National Line. {: #subdebate-40-7-s2 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
Minister for Shipping and Transport · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: The increase of 15.7 per cent from 1st October 1971 did not apply to wool rates which remained static, metal (except for an adjustment of some anomalies) and fresh fruit which were negotiated on a container basis. These rates were affected by the 8 . 57 per cent currency adjustment. It has since been agreed wool rates will be reduced by approximately 8 per cent as from 1st September 1972, while metal and fruit rates are to be negotiated. Rates for canned and dried fruits are - (Note: United States adjustment actual effective 16th September 1971 and currency adjustments as set out in previous item applied.) Proposed freight increase of 10 per cent has been deferred until 1st October 1972 and amount of increase is still subject to negotiation. {: #subdebate-40-7-s3 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minilster for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: Why did the volume of goods traffic on the standard guage railway between Melbourne and Wodonga decline in 1970-71, and again in 1971-72 (Hansard, 10th March, 1971, page 821; 26th April 1972, page 2058 and 17th August 1972, page 459). {: .page-start } page 2493 {:#debate-41} ### AUSTRALIA/WEST COAST NORTH AMERICA TRADE Pacific Coast - Australasian Tariff Bureau (Southbound) From15.6.72- United States and Canadian .. $116.00. Plus $2.35 per ton or per 40 cubic feet handling charge from United States only. Australia, New Zealand and South Sea Island Pacific Coast Conference (Northbound) From September 1971 (Conference) General Gargo. From 23rd October 1971 (PAD Line) United States and Canadian $73.50. From 28th January 1972 - Conference and PAD Line - Increase of 6.32 per cent currency adjustment. Melbourne-Wodonga Railway: Goods Tonnage (Question No. 6247) {: #debate-41-s0 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: According to the Report of the Victorian Railways Commissioners for the year ended 30th June 1972 the opening of the standard guage link between Sydney and Port Pixie in January 1970 produced the first significant downward trend in the demand for bogie exchanging at South Dynon, Victoria. This suggests that some of the goods traffic between New South Wales and Western and South Australia previously carried over the Melbourne-Wodonga standard gauge connec tion is now routed over the more direct line through Broken Hill. Annual tonnages landed via Broken Hill increased from 205,325 tons in 1969-70 to 528,304 tons and 473,398 tons in 1970-71 and 1971-72 respectively. {:#subdebate-41-0} #### Coal Loading (Question No. 6391.) {: #subdebate-41-0-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many tons of coal per hour can be loaded and what size of ships can be handled at (a) Hay Point, (b) Gladstone, (c) Newcastle, (d) Port Kembla and (e) Balmain. 1. At what ports and in what way has the Commonwealth improved the facilities for the export of coal since the implementation of the Coal Loading Works Agreement (New South Wales) Act 1961 and the Coal Loading Works Agreement (Queensland) Act 1962. {: #subdebate-41-0-s1 .speaker-009OD} ##### Mr Nixon:
CP -- The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (i) {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Under the Coal Loading Works Agreement (New South Wales) Act 1961 the Commonwealth made financial assistance of $5.3 million available to the State, on a $ 1 for $1 basis, towards the cost of improvements in coal loading works at the ports of Newcastle, Port Kembla and Balmain being undertaken by the State Government. Financial assistance by the Commonwealth was designed to expedite completion of the coal loading works and to facilitate expansion of coal exports through these ports. The State, for its part, undertook to carry out the coal loading works and related habour improvements. Of the assistance provided by the Commonwealth, $2 million was made available by way of grant from the Coal Industry Fund of the Joint Coal Board. The remaining amount of $3.3 million was provided in the form of interest-bearing loans each repayable over ten years. Under the Coal Loading Works Agreement (Queensland) Act 1962 the Commonwealth provided $400,000 of the total estimated cost of $810,000 for improvements to coal loading facilities at Gladstone. Of the total Commonwealth assistance of $400,000 half was by way of grant and half by way of interestbearing loans each repayable over fifteen years. {:#subdebate-41-1} #### Water and Sewerage Authorities (Question No. 6395) {: #subdebate-41-1-s0 .speaker-6U4} ##### Mr Whitlam: asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works, upon notice: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Which authorities attend the biennial conference of the Water and Sewerage Authorities. 1. Which Commonwealth Ministers and Commonwealth and Territory officials have attended the last 3 conferences. 2. What requests or suggestions were made at each of those meetings for legislative or administrative action by (a) the Commonwealth, (b) the Territories and (c) the States. 3. What standards did the 1969 conference adopt for the quality of water supplied to Australian capital cities. 4. Which capitals fail to meet these standards. {: #subdebate-41-1-s1 .speaker-3V4} ##### Mr Chipp:
LP -- The Minister for Works has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question: {: type="1" start="1"} 0. There are no biennial conferences of water and sewerage authorities as such, but 2 separate conferences are held bienially of senior officers of Australian water supply and sewerage authorities, one for engineers and the other for administrative officers. These conferences are for the sharing of knowledge and experience at a technical or working level and they have no mandate or authority to determine matters of policy or set standards in any form. These are issues for individual Authorities in conjunction with, when appropriate, their respective Governments. Officers from the following authorities attended the last engineers conference, held in 1971. Commonwealth Department of Works. New South Wales Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, Sydney. Department of Public Works. Hunter District Water Board, Newcastle. Victoria Melbourne and Metroplitan Board of Works, Melbourne. State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. South Australia Engineering and Water Supply Department. Queensland Brisbane City Council, Brisbane. Department of Local Government. Western Australia Metropolitan Water Supply Sewerage and Drainage Board, Perth. Public Works Department. Tasmania Metropolitan Water Board. Hobart. Corporation of the City of Hobart. Rivers and Water Supply Commission. Officers from the following authorities attended the last administrative officers conference, held in 1970: New South Wales Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, Sydney Hunter District Water Board, Newcastle. Victoria Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works. State Rivers and Water Supply Commission. South Australia Engineering and Water Supply Department, Adelaide. Western Australia Metropolitan Water Supply Sewerage and Drainage Board, Perth. Public Works Department. Tasmania Metropolitan Water Board, Hobart. Corporation of the City of Hobart. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. No Commonwealth Ministers have attended recent conferences but Engineers of the Commonwealth Department of Works have attended recent Conferences of Engineers as follows: 1967 - H. M. Wilson, Assistant DirectorGeneral (Hydraulics); D. A. Stockdill, Principal Engineer for **Major Development** (A.C.T.) 1969 - H. L. Jones, Assistant Director-General (Hydraulics); D. A. Stockdill, Principal Engineer for **Major Development** (A.C.T.) 1971 - H. L. Jones, Assistant Director-General (Hydraulics); D. A. Stockdill, Assistant Director **(Major Development)** (A.C.T.) There has been no Commonwealth representation at the last 3 Conferences of Administrative Officers although 1 understand that officers from the Department of the Interior will attend the next Conference later this month (October, 1972). {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Requests for legislative or administrative action are not a normal outcome of these conferences. However, the 1969 Conference of Engineers decided to put to the Authorities represented, as well as to the State and Commonwealth Health Authorities, a proposal that a set of criteria and objectives for water qualify for Capital Cities be recognised for Australia wide conditions. Drafts have been prepared but as yet have not been fully endorsed by all major water and health authorities concerned. Another suggestion with implications for the Commonwealth and State Governments came from the 1968 Conference of Administrative Officers as follows: Because of difficulties being met in the collection of rates and charges for water supply, and sewerage from lessees of Crown lands, it was suggested that the lessor Authorities include provision for these in the rentals applied. This matter was left for individual Authorities to take action as considered appropriate. {: type="1" start="4"} 0. The criteria and objectives for water quality regarded as acceptable by the 1969 Conference of Engineers, were not intended as 'standards' or as requirements essential to be met in precise terms, but rather as a set of aims for the guidance of Authorities. 1. I am advised that water supplied in the Capital Cities of Canberra and Darwin substantially meets the proposed criteria and objectives although there have been occasions when certain criteria have not been achieved. I am not in possession of the information sought in respect of the water supply systems in the State Capital Cities.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 October 1972, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.